Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Response to the 3 Year Plan

My last post was originally for a guest post at http://thoughtsofresurrection.wordpress.com/. A question was asked after the post went up:

"I really enjoyed your article on making a three year plan. Do you have a template or any type of tool to help with making a three year plan?"

What an excellent question! Ha! I guess I ought to come up with a solution, not just a suggestion!

As I think about how to best answer this, I would think of it more as a process and less as a template:

Maybe something like this:

  • Take the Spiritual Gifts self assessment (see http://thewell.cor.org/detail.aspx?ID=44)
  • Write down what you are doing today that you are good at
  • Write down what you are doing today that you enjoy (not always the same thing)
  • Write down your job
  • Write down your talents
  • Write down your interests
  • Write down any goals you have
  • Write down what you are NOT doing that you wish you were
  • Write down the answer to this question: "If Jesus showed up and had a special job just for you, what would it be?"
  • Write down anything you feel that God is calling you to (obviously this is extremely important, but also the most difficult)
It is very important to WRITE the answer to all of these things down. Don't just do it in your head. When things are visualized, they are also easier to accomplish.

Now start looking for overlaps. For some it may jump out at them right away. For others it may take several times through the process.

I haven't done a lot of studying on this. I just came up with this on the fly. Any suggestions or tweaks? What would you do if you had to put your 3 year plan together. By the way...now that I suggested the 3 year plan, I've got to go do mine!

A 3-Year Plan

I turned 30 years old in January, and it’s an age that should make any Christian pause and think. Jesus started his ministry when he was 30 and it ended 3 years later upon his death, but what he did during those three years has influenced billions of people over the last 2,000 years.

So what am I going to do in the next three years?

This is a question that we ought to be asking ourselves every day of our lives, but we get caught up in our own routines and forget this very important question.

I have a two-year old son, and I want to see him grow up. But if my death at thirty-three would bring billions (or even thousands) to God, wouldn’t it be worth it? It’s a scary thought, but Christ tells us that those who love their lives will lose them, and those who give up their lives for him will gain everlasting life. We’re not to martyr ourselves, but it is a call to be in the world, not of it.

Businesses and individuals often make 5 or 10-year plans. In the same vein, I would lobby that Christians should set forth a 3-year plan. The messiah completely redefined the world in three years. He was setting an example for us. As if to say, “I did it, and so can you.” Given, we are not the perfection that Jesus was, but if we strive to be, then we can reshape life as we know it.

If I live to be 75 years old, I have the opportunity to develop fifteen 3-year plans during the remainder of my life. What an opportunity! But in order to maximize that opportunity, I have to start now.

In 2006, I felt called to start working on my Bible in Rhyme project. It is my hope and prayer that God intends this to be a part of my 3-year plan. I pray that it is something that can work in the hearts, minds, and spirits of Christians and non-Christians alike. I don’t know what will happen, but I trust that God will guide me the way He wants me to go. And I know that it will require a lot of hard work on my part.

Besides, isn’t hard work what God asks from all of us? We are called to love and to believe, but that’s just the beginning. To really make something happen, we have to be ready to get our hands in the dirt and work for Him. To give up our worldly lives do His will here on earth.

So today, tomorrow, and definitely at each birthday, I recommend you ask yourself, “What is my 3-year plan?” Leave 5-year plans and 10-year plans to businesses. Make the 3-year plan God’s.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Praying for a Better Prayer Life

I fall short in my prayer life. My wife says the same, as do a lot of my friends. Despite the fact that we are called to be in prayer constantly, it is a struggle setting aside time to speak to and listen to God. I feel like a poor example of a good prayer life. But I have a great mentor.

He’s not prideful. He is not vain. He is probably the happiest and most faithful person I know. However, he can be really, really selfish. But that can be excused, as he is only two years old. He is my son, Noah. One of the most beautiful and inspiring things about my son is that he reminds my wife and I to pray. At every mealtime he holds his little hands out to each side and says, “Prayers?” And he wants to make sure we say the right prayer, the one he is familiar with:

“God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food.”

We had Pastors Andrew and Nicole Conard over for dinner one night, and I began saying a different prayer. Noah was having none of that. He started trying to interrupt me so that we made sure we said his prayer. It was important to him that he participate. And it was wonderful to see that prayer was important to my son so early in life.

At nap time and bedtime, Noah knows that after we read our third story, it’s time for prayers. So he stretches out his hands again, and we say a different prayer. It’s a modification of a prayer my parents taught me as a little boy.

“Dear God, we love You. Protect us. God bless Mommy and Daddy, little Noah, grandmas and grandpas, Uncle Bryce and Aunt Amanda, cousins and friends, and everyone in the whole wide world. And all the puppies. Amen!”

The ‘puppies’ part was imperative to him, and the Amen is always emphatic.

Christ tells us that we must be like little children when we come to him, and in my son I see how true this is. His faith is unwavering, unquestioning, unintentional, unrelenting, unshakable, and undeniable.

If my faith were but a mustard seed, I know I could move mountains. My son’s faith shakes the ground I walk on. If each adult I knew prayed with the fervent intensity that I see in my son, his little friend, or the masses of children I see at church, I guarantee this world would be a better place.

God, I ask that You help me pray like my son. That You forgive me for not giving You the time You deserve. And God, help me not forget those puppies too.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Penny and the Feather

A penny and a feather were resting on the sidewalk. The penny asked the feather, "What do you want in life?"

"I want to float through life, experiencing anything and everything," said the feather. "What do you want in life?"

"I want to be someone's wish and end up in that fountain over there," the penny replied.

"That is a boring existence," the feather replied.

"It's what I want to be," said the penny.

Just then a breeze lifted the feather into the air. It sailed through the city, seeing all sorts of things. But soon it came to rest in a gutter where it was swept up and placed in the garbage, then taken to the dump. The feather was very unhappy with the way things had turned out.

Meanwhile, the penny lay on the sidewalk until a little boy came upon it. He picked the penny up and threw it into the fountain, making a wish as he did. The penny was overjoyed at having achieved its one goal.

For those who know what they want and what they were made for, it is very probable that they will achieve their goals. But the aimless are often disappointed, because they did not know what they wanted before they set out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Psalm 68 in Rhyme

I was recently approached by a publishing house that is interested in publishing The Bible in Rhyme. This is very exciting, but also a bit nerve racking as I did not have an agent, and was not sure how to navigate the negotiations of a publishing contract.

So since my last post (about KU winning the championship), I have searched for an agent, found an agent, signed with an agent, been reviewing and discussing the publishing contract in hand, and editing furiously to get the manuscript into good shape. Right now my head is above water, but I don't know how long that will last.

Anyway, I thought I would post Psalm 68 from The Bible in Rhyme for today's post (and since Pastor Conard posted it on his blog Thoughts of Resurrection).

Psalm 68

May God arise and scatter his foes.
The wicked will perish as everyone knows.
Sing to the Lord who rides on a cloud.
Extol your praises, crying aloud.
A father to orphans, the widow’s defender;
He honors believers and cuts down pretenders.
We marched through the desert with You as our guide
and gained our inheritance, though we were tried.
Great was the glory of those who announced
God and His name, but those who denounced
His honor were struck down, peasant and king.
But all who have seen His power now sing.
God sends one thousand chariots out
and crushes His enemies. Now who will doubt?!
The twelve tribes have come proclaiming a song.
Egypt and Cush will submit to the throng.
Announce that He’s come across all the earth.
All who know Him know what He is worth.
Wherever we tread and wherever we trod,
He will be with us. Praise be to God!

Being Lazy is No Good

It has been forever since I've posted...and I've even had guest blogs go up on Pastor Andrew Conard's blog since my last post. So I'm going to start by getting those posts up and trying to get going again.

My humble apologies...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

It is with great humility and an obnoxiously loud "Rock Chalk Jayhawk!" that Kyle Holt accepts the championship of the Methodist Bloggers bracket challenge.

"It was tough going, but when Mario Chalmers put that shot in the air, I knew I had done it," said a contrite Holt as he took credit where credit was not due. Holt has been saying for weeks that this was his year to win this award. Since it was the first time the Methodist Bloggers had put a bracket challenge together, few understood what he was talking about.

"I had a lot riding on the line. Well, not a lot. I mean, just this award. Don't I get any money for this?" Holt asked into a Playskool microphone he set up on his couch to conduct a press conference. The press conference was attended by only Holt's two year old son who was crying and asking for his microphone back.

Said Holt, "It's all about heart. Heart and rooting for my 'Hawks. When the game is on the line, and by on the line, I mean on the TV, I'm the guy everyone turns to."

Disgusted Methodist Bloggers commissioner, Andrew Conard, voiced his opinion about the whole affair. "It's really kind of sad," he said of Holt. "I think he truly believes he did something. You know what he should be doing is posting blogs. I mean, the guy hasn't done a single thing since March 24th. I know as a Christian I should really care for him. But it's hard when he's acting like such a loser. Just watch, he'll probably post on his blog about winning. Get a life, Kyle."

Monday, March 24, 2008

In the World, Not of It

The concept of being "in the world, not of it" is one that many Christians strive to do. It is impossible for most of us, yet we try.

Today I am editing a course that my company has put together for the Joshua Center (www.joshuacenter.com). The Joshua Center focuses on helping the children who suffer from Tourette syndrome and Asperger syndrome, as well as their families and others who interact with the children. They're an amazing non-profit, and they do a ton of great work on a very limited budget. It's a true labor of love!

As I read the course, it talks about how children with Asperger syndrome live "in their own world, but within ours." How similar that sounded to me!

Since Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, I started thinking about whether we are called to be autistic related to the worldly, and it seems like a good comparison. I know that this is something I struggle with, because we're constantly bombarded with materialism, instant pleasure, and trying to keep up with the Joneses. But we're supposed to be autistic towards that, ignoring it as we live in the world that Jesus handed us.

I probably should have made this into a parable (I probably will later on), but I just read it a second ago, and felt compelled to write something...which is good since I've been a slacker lately!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day! An annual rite of drunken debauchery. In celebration of a...Christian holy leader? I know I'm not the first to be

So what are we really celebrating? Irish culture. I don't have a problem with that. In fact, I've always enjoyed St. Patrick's Day celebrations. I think that in moderation it's all in good fun, but why do we have to do so in the name of a Christian saint? Why can't it be Irish Day?

Of course, this isn't a first. We often have the same complaints about Easter and Christmas. That a rabbit and a fat man in a red suit take away from the true meaning. But in each of those cases, I would reverse my view. For those that treat Easter and Christmas as secular holidays, that's okay, because there are enough pageants, plays, songs, TV shows, etc. to remind even the most thick headed people what the holiday is really celebrating.

But not St. Patty's. The word "saint" is the only reference at all to the fact that it's a Christian-based holiday.

I'm not Catholic. I struggle mightily with the concepts of "sainthood." But that doesn't change the fact that I acknowledge Saints as the most influential men and women in the history of Christianity, except of course for Jesus himself.

Does Judaism or Islam have a day in which they venerate one of the great historical leaders with massive amounts of alcohol, a parade, and some people vomiting late in the evening? Not that I am aware of.

So can we take some time...even just a few minutes, and remember what we are really celebrating. Maybe we can be a bit more respectful of those great men and women who have come before us and laid the groundwork for our faith and our relationship with God and Christ.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Two Shepherds

Two shepherds were watching over a flock together. When they woke up one morning, one of the sheep was missing.

"We should go searching for it," the first shepherd said, but his friend said, "Who knows what happened? We can do nothing."

The next morning the two shepherds realized another sheep was missing.

"Two nights in a row! Now we have go look for the sheep," the first shepherd said, but his friend said, "Who knows what happened? We can do nothing."

When night came the first shepherd stayed awake to keep watch on the flock, while the second shepherd fell asleep. In the very early hours of the morning the shepherd caught a poor man sneaking in amongst the flock. Having captured the thief he yelled to the second shepherd, "Wake up! I told you we should have gone in search. Look! I have caught the thief!"

"Please," the poor man said, "I stole your two sheep, but I had to feed my family."

"Silence!" the second shepherd said, now fully awake. "You are a thief. You will be punished severely for this."

The first shepherd stepped forward and said to his friend, "What right do you have to judge this man? You chose to sleep while I kept watch. You have no authority over what becomes of him. You care so little for this flock, you no longer have a place watching over these sheep."

Having dismissed the second shepherd, the first turned to the poor man and said, "If you are willing to take this man's role, not only will I forgive you, but you will also be able to feed your family."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Ungrateful Woman

Tonight I read a story that is apparently a Zen parable. I was just sure I knew what the end was going to be, but when we got to the end, I was sorely disappointed. I felt it was absolutely the wrong message to send. So tonight, I'm changing that parable around into something that I feel is still applicable to Zen teaching, but more Christian in the ultimate moral.

A rich woman took two attendants with her when she went shopping. The rain poured down while she was shopping. When she exited the store, the sidewalks were flooded.

"Help me!" she yelled at her attendants, but both of their hands were full of sacks and boxes. "You worthless servants," she yelled, slapping at them.

Two men were walking by. The first one saw this woman and was disgusted by the way she was acting. The second walked over to her, lifted her onto his back and carried her to her vehicle. The woman refused to thank the man as she left.

As the two men walked on, the first said to his friend, "Why did you help that woman? Not only was she rude to you, but her behavior was despicable!"

"Why are you so upset by her?" the second man said. "Didn't you realize I did not do that to help the rich woman, I did it to relieve the suffering of her attendants. The rich have the power to help themselves, but the poor need others to help them."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Psalm 8 - In Rhyme

If you have seen my earlier posts, then you've seen the link to my website www.thebibleinrhyme.com. Today I received a rejection letter from a prospective agent. No big deal. Publishing is a business, and I understand wanting to put your money into something you truly believe in.

And maybe that's why I feel it's such a slam dunk. Because I believe in it. I am so compelled to get this project out into the market. I feel that this was a gift that God gave me to share with the world. It's the light He has asked me to shine, and I cannot hide it under a bowl. I can't turn down God. I won't turn down God. I have to do what He wants of me.

So tonight I felt like sharing one of the psalms as praise to God. So here is Psalm 8. I would love your feedback today. Not praise, but true and honest feedback. But do me a favor. After you read it and before you post a comment, read it out loud. And praise God!

Psalm 8

O Lord how majestic Your name is in all
of the Earth and I sing it wherever I go.
Praise issues out from the children so small,
that stops up the tongues of every foe.
The work of Your hands in the blackness of space
is seen in the moon and the stars set above.
Heavenly bodies that you put in place.
What is a man, that you should so love?
For You set us just a bit lower than Thee
and crowned us as rulers with glory and honor
over the birds and the beasts and the sea;
to rule over Earth and all that’s upon her.
As governors over the great and the small
we are but servants who bow down so low.
O Lord, how majestic Your name is in all
of the Earth and I sing it wherever I go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Campaign '08

Watching the '08 campaign has been strange for me this year. I find it to be an assault to my sense of ethics. In the past, I have always watched from a more secular view point, but for the first time in my life I am unable to separate my faith from my politics. I know that there have been far nastier campaigns in the past, but I have been able to dismiss God from the process. Not this year.

I keep asking myself, which candidate would Jesus pick. And I pray that I am making the right decision for mankind, not just for me or even for the U.S.

Between McCain, Obama, and Clinton, who will be a good leader? We need someone like David, Solomon, or Hezekiah...someone who does what is right in the Lord's eyes. Now that is not to say that these three did not fall away from the Lord at certain times in their lives, but they tried to be true to God.

A simple life is one in which you can try to live every moment for the Lord. A life as a political leader invariably leads you into gray areas. The President of the United States is not a job I would ever desire, but I feel like even my own life leads me into areas that are not clear cut on the right decisions.

Selecting a president is one of those areas. No president will be perfect. They will make mistakes. So in my selection, I do so with a troubled mind and a heavy heart, because the wrong selection could cost people money, health care, civil rights, or even their lives. People die every year because the President says so. I just want to make sure the person in charge remembers that they must do what is right for America, the world, and God during their presidency. But is it in that order? Or should the order be reversed?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Christian and his Brother

A Christian man was often seen at soup kitchens, halfway houses, and in his own neighborhood ministering to strangers and sharing the Good News. Many knew him as a man of deep faith, having seen the multitudes he brought to faith.

One day the man received a call from the hospital telling him that his brother had been involved in a horrible accident. He rushed to the hospital to be by his brother's side.

When he arrived and saw his brother, he immediately began to weep. The doctors told him his brother had minutes, not hours, remaining. Knowing his brother was an atheist, he went to his brother's side and said, "Please, in these last minutes of life, ask God for mercy so that He will be with you."

The brother, in immense pain, said to him, "I know the work you have done with others, but you never tried to convert me. Not until now. I'm an atheist. It is clear why I would wait until the last minute, but why have you?"

With tears streaming down his face, the Christian man said, "Because you are my brother. And I love you no matter what. I did not want to put a strain on our relationship."

"Because I am your brother, you should have been trying every minute of your life. What do you care if strangers join you in heaven, if I am not there by your side?" And at these words, the brother died.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back from San Fran

I got back from San Fran late last night. I probably should have put a post up while I was out, but by the end of each day, I was totally wiped out.

Here are some of the things I feel like I walked away with.
  1. The Christian publishing arena is the only consistently growing area of the publishing industry. All other segments are on a roller-coaster like path. You never know if it is going to be an up or a down year.
  2. The Bible in Rhyme may be a tougher sell than I thought. I thought it would probably be fairly simple because it is completely different from anything out there on the market. That actually seemed to be the biggest concern to the two agents I talked to...it is completely different from anything out there. (I don't particularly like competition, so being the only one sounds pretty good to me...but what do I know.)
  3. The industry can't make up its mind about what it wants more...great writing or authors who can sell. I think I've got both, but so did every author at the conference.
It probably sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm really not. My hope was that it would become clear whether I should look for an agent, go straight to the publishers, or self publish. In the end, I think it did become a little bit more clear. I'm going to go after agents and publishers simultaneously for awhile.

I don't like delaying, though, so I am considering either self-publishing or setting up my own publishing company.

I truly believe that the opportunity to help people better understand what the entire Bible says is one that simply can't be passed up. One way or another, I've been called to help spread the Word.

My prayer is that the path becomes clear to me as I proceed. It has too. The more I study and progress, the more I will begin to make decisions. I just pray that those decisions are the ones that God wants me to make, and not my own.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prayer Request

I'm heading to San Fran tomorrow for a writer's conference. My brother is meeting with his agent related to his books (www.bryceholt.com). I will be meeting an agent for Christian books, and trying to figure out what is the right way to take The Bible in Rhyme.

I'm asking for any readers to say a prayer that God would lead me in the right direction with this book so that I do His will. I don't know what that direction is, whether it's with an agent, straight to a publisher, or self-publishing...or if He wants something else that I can't even fathom right now. I just want to make sure I do His will, not mine.

I really appreciate your prayers.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Brave Man and the Brave Child

A man went to work one day and found out that his company was firing him. After boxing up his possessions, he walked down to his car, put them in his trunk, then burst into tears. He did not know how to tell his wife. He did not know when he would find another job or how he would support his family, but as he got behind the wheel, he said to himself, "I'm a man. I have to be brave. I can take care of things myself."

That night he and his wife put his son to bed and went to their room. He told her the news, and soon their conversation turned into an argument. They began to yell at one another.

Their son lay in his bed. He could hear his parents yelling. He began to cry. He said, "I'm just a little boy, and I'm scared. God please make things better."

When the father found a new job, he was blessed because his son had asked for God's help on his behalf. Though he thought it was of his own doing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Three Boys

There were three boys. One who was smart, one who was full of faith, and one who was smart and full of faith.

The smart boy was easily convinced that God had to prove His own existence, or else he could not exist at all.

The boy full of faith loved God, but was easily led astray by men who could use his faith against him.

But the boy who was both smart and full of faith was neither arrogant, nor easily fooled. Though he looked for God's existence, he knew that the man could never truly prove nor disprove God. And though men came along thinking they could lead him astray, he knew their selfish motives, and he also knew what God wanted of him.

Intellectuals who put the burden of proof upon God show their own foolish. And fools and believe blindly show their ignorance. God did not give you intelligence to be ignored, nor did He give you eyes to be blind.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The False Beggar

A man dressed up like a beggar one day and went out on a street corner. Many people walked by, ignoring the man, until finally a young woman stopped and gave him one dollar. He said to her, "You have been generous with what you have, so I shall be generous in return," and he gave her a fifty dollar bill.

The young woman was surprised by this, and she went and told her friends.

A few moments passed, and an elderly man stopped by and gave the man disguised as a beggar some money. The false beggar told him, "You have been generous with what you have, so I shall be generous in return," and he gave the old man a fifty dollar bill.

The old man was surprised by this, and he went and told his friends.

A few minutes later, a married couple stopped and gave the false beggar a few dollars. The false beggar said, "You have been generous with what you have, so I shall be generous in return," and he gave the couple a fifty dollar bill.

The couple was surprised by this, and they went and told their friends.

After the couple had left, the man went home. Later that day, dozens of people were out on the streets giving money to the poor, hoping that they would find the beggar who handed out fifty dollar bills. Although none found him, the poor were helped, and the people who had given money out felt good that they had helped people, even thought they had not received money in return.

So if people would be willing to help the poor if they thought they would get fifty dollars, why would you not if you knew you would receive eternal life?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Volcano

A volcano is often noted for its massive explosions and its hot, destructive lava flows. But a volcano is just a small exposed area where we humans can see a tiny percentage of the huge amount of magma below our feet. And its destructive nature pales in comparison to its role in providing the land that we walk on and the formation of new islands and lands.

So the destructive nature of God is so often focused upon, but it is such a small percentage of His actions. His creative powers are often forgotten, because our eyes are so focused on the few times that God has displayed His destructive powers. But there around us, and inside of us, are examples of His creative and loving nature.

If only we would open our eyes.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Big Boy and the Toddler

Many of my posts are stories that are completely made up, but I saw something this weekend that I feel is just as much a parable, but which actually happened.

My son, who is 2 years old, was walking down the hallway after Sunday School. A bigger boy, probably 10 or 11 years old, walked out of his Sunday School class and nearly bumped into my son. Realizing this, the big boy wanted to be friendly to my son saying, "Sorry. Oh, hi there. Did you have fun in Sunday School?"

My son looked up at him with huge eyes, not exactly sure what to say. So the bigger boy said, "Hey watch this." He then proceeded to blow a bubble with some bubble gum. When it popped, my son laughed hysterically. So the big boy did it again. My son laughed again.

It was then clear that my son wanted to say something to the big boy, but being as he is just starting to put full sentences together and has not grasped the art of conversation, he struggled for a moment to come up with something really good. Finally he said, "I had breaksist!" (his word for breakfast)

The big boy clearly misunderstand what my son had said, because he replied, "Cool! You're in karate?" (I began laughing)

Frustrated, my son said, "No!" He then started rubbing his tummy and said, "Waffle and nanny!" (banana)

The big boy definitely didn't understand this, and he had grown bored, so he said, "Okay, well, bye," and wandered off.

To me, it was a funny story to tell my wife and some of my friends at church. But then I realized that this was a perfect parable about our prayer life. God looks down on us and thinks, "How cute my little ones are," and He has given us all the things in this world to please and entertain us. But we don't really understand Him, or how to communicate properly with Him. So we pray, but our prayers are often just as nonsensical as saying, "I had breaksist!"

He understands what we are saying, but we don't aren't mature enough to understand His full plan, so we communicate the best we can. Our prayers are self centered. They are about the things we are concerned with, which may not be what God is concerned with. And when He doesn't answer the way we want, we get frustrated, and try to explain again, as if He is the one who misunderstood. But we are just to young and naive to grasp the Lord's masterplan. And so we toddlers are left a little bit confused, but still in awe of the Big Boy.

The Short Sea Wall

A man lived in a city near the sea. He noticed one day that the sea was raising, so he built a wall one brick high. The next month, he noticed that the sea had raised to the point that it nearly came over the brick, so this time he added three. A few months after that, he saw that the sea was as high as his wall, so this time he added five bricks. A year later, the sea was ready to overcome his short wall, so he laid down on his lawn to die.

A friend saw him laying there and said, "What are you doing?"

"I have built up this wall to protect my home from the sea, but the sea continues to rise, and it is futile to fight it, so I have decided to lay down and die."

"That is ridiculous!" his friend cried. "Your wall is not even two feet tall! If you are so lazy as to be unwilling to protect your home better than this, you never deserved your home in the first place."

So those who are willing to give up their faith at the first sign of challenge never had faith to begin with. A person of great faith will use truth, belief, and reason to protect righteousness. You were not called to be blind followers, nor were you called to be argumentative. You were called to follow the Lord.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cornhole: The Movie

I know this is totally out of character for my typical postings, but I had to put it up because it's awesome. My friend, Kent Bernhard, produced this movie, and they are trying to get a distributor lined up right now. Here's the link. It's called Cornhole: The Movie.

Yes, I know what everyone thinks about when they think about the word "cornhole" but it's not about that (thought I'm sure the joke comes up many times...including at least once in the trailert). It's a mockumentary about a professional beanbag throwing tournament. It was done on a low budget, but it is going to be awesome.

Anyway, I know it's out of line with my usual posts, but since I just got back from vacation, I had to post it ASAP.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Red Outfit

A father and his daughter went to the shopping mall. The father told his daughter, "You may have three new outfits."

As they walked through the mall, the daughter saw so many outfits that she wanted. She quickly picked out three that she liked, but before they made it to the counter to purchase the outfits, she saw three others that she liked.

"Dad," she said, "can I please have these three outfits too?"

"No," her father said. "You can only have three."

The girl hung two of the outfits back up but held onto one, looking at it carefully.

"If I can't have all six, can I have four?" she asked, holding up the one outfit. "I really like this red one.

"If you really like it, keep the red outfit and get rid of one of your first selections."

The daughter debated for a moment and then hung up the red outfit. They went to the counter and paid for the three outfits.

Although the girl enjoyed wearing all three of the outfits, she often wondered if she would have preferred the red outfit over all of them.

So it is with the gifts God has given us. We want to be blessed with all of the spiritual gifts and talents God has to bestow, but no one can possess everything. God allows us to choose the gifts we want by the choices we make in life. But often we find ourselves wondering what life might have been like had we chosen a different gift.

But as it is said in Matthew 6:27 "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Take what the Lord has given and be glad for the gift.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Little House

A group of people were hiking through the mountains. The snow was blowing, the wind was howling, and the group was wondering when and where they would be able to sleep.

Suddenly, they came upon a little house. Its windows were glowing brightly with the flickering light of a warm fire. Smoke rose from the chimney and the smell of good food came from the place.

As the group approached, the door was thrown open and the man who owned the house said, "Come in, come in. It is so cold out tonight. There is plenty of space in my house for all of you. And I have plenty of food for all to eat. All I ask is that you be respectful of me and of one another. Come in and enjoy the warmth!"

A few members of the group rushed to the man crying, "Thank you! We are hungry and tired, and we are so glad to see you."

But most of the group remained outside yelling at the man. "Rules?!" they yelled. "You don't get to tell us the rules in your house! We will do whatever we want to do." Then they spat insults at the man.

"What are you doing?" their friends asked them. "Come inside with us. Don't insult this man who is showing such hospitality. It's cold and dark out here. Come inside with us."

But the rest of the group sat down in the snow in protest. So the man ushered in the few who wanted his hospitality, then closed the door behind him. And though he left it unlocked should anyone want to enter, not one of that arrogant group got up to join their friends.

His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. What is the harm in joining him? Consider the consequences of rejecting him.

Sorry About a Lack of Posts

It's been almost a week since my last post, and I have no excuse other than that I have been busy. However, next week I'm out of town on vacation. Although I am very excited, I will not have my computer so all I can do is write down parables as I enjoy the warmth down south and get out of Kansas City's frigid weather for awhile.

I will be back, and I'll try to get some posts up before I leave, but I just want you to know that I haven't dropped off the face of the planet.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Snowflake

A snowflake drifted down from the sky. "Let me be a blessing to the world," the snowflake thought to itself.

It landed on a mountaintop where it was buried underneath several feet of snow. "I cannot be a blessing here," the snowflake thought.

Then as summer approached, the snow began to melt, and the snowflake turned into a drop of water that seeped down the mountain, into a stream, which fed into a river, which roared through the land, before becoming a small stream leading into the desert.

As the snowflake, which was now a single drop of water finally ended up in a small, murky pool in the desert, it said to itself, "Now I can never be a blessing. I am destined to dry up and disappear."

At that moment, a man stumbled across the arid wasteland, dehydrated and suffering. Upon seeing the tiny pool, he lay down and lapped up every single drop of water. Then he stood up, restored, and walked towards the Galilee and his destiny as the savior for all mankind.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Watering the Flowers

A woman had a pot of flowers placed in good soil that she kept in her house. On a regular basis she watered them, but it was never quite enough. The flower was always just a bit dry, but it did not die.

The woman's daughter noticed this and finally could not stop herself from saying something.

"Mother, you are not giving those flowers enough water," she said. "Just a little more and it would be perfect."

"No," her mother replied. "I know I am supposed to give it a little more water, but I like to leave it always thirsty for more. God does the same for me. He gives me enough of Himself to be nearly filled, but I am always wanting more. In this way, I continue to grow upwards, always reaching for Him, but never quite there."

Then the woman looked up and noticed her daughter in tears.

"What's wrong?" the mother asked.

"I am so dry," the daughter replied.

"Then come and be watered."

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Bible in Rhyme Website

Okay, so I've been working on a project for nearly 2 years now that I call The Bible in Rhyme. It is what it sounds like. I have been working to turn the Bible into a rhyming poem. In early December I finished my rough draft, and a few days later, my brother's agent said she'd take a look at it. (My brother is the author of a suspense series of books, and you can see his website here: www.bryceholt.com)

Today I found out that she is still considering it. Now, that doesn't mean anything, but the fact that she is still interested is a good sign, and I hope that if she doesn't take it, she will open some doors for me into the Christian book market.

So I knew I needed to get a website up for The Bible in Rhyme, so I have been working on that at night for a few days now. If you have a chance, please take a look. And feel free to leave me a comment here or send me an email at the site. The site is www.thebibleinrhyme.com.

I look forward to your feedback. (It's hard to do this and talk up your project but still remain humble in the Lord, so any help you can provide is appreciated!)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Atheist and the Believer

The atheist said to the believer, "Why should I believe in God?"

"So that you do not go to Hell."

"What a selfish answer! Is your faith so weak that you only believe so you can avoid punishment?" the atheist replied.

"No, but yours is," the believer responded. "When a child is young, you tell him not to do something or he will get in trouble. But when that child is older, he understands that it was to protect him and others. Your faith is young. And God understands that you need to grow into it before you can understand God's complexity. But to start, just believe in Him. For whatever reason. More will come when you are ready."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Inmates in Solitary Confinement

A convicted felon was in prison for a violent crime. A fight broke out between the felon and another inmate. The warden came and said, "Throw them both into solitary confinement for three days. Keep these two away from one another."

It was a horrible three days for both men. However, as soon as the two men were out of solitary confinement, immediately upon seeing one another they began fighting again. After the fight was broken up, the warden went to the men and said, "It seems you both like solitary confinement. So this time you'll each be in for seven days."

The men were placed in solitary confinement again. The seven days were even worse than they had imagined. At the end of the seven days, the two men were placed back in the prison with the other inmates. Once again, they immediately began fighting each other.

When the fight was broken up, the warden came and said, "If you two like fighting so much, why don't you both go sit in the same solitary confinement cell together. And you can fight all you want for the next three days!"

So the men were placed in the same cell together. When the three days were over, both men emerged laughing and joking. The three days had flown by because they had not been alone. And after three days together in that situation, the two men had become extremely good friends.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Wayward Wife

A husband and wife threw a dinner party. The house was crowded with their friends. But the wife began gossiping about her husband. She cursed him, calling him names amongst their friends.

When he realized what she was doing, the husband pulled her aside and said, "What are you doing? Not only are you embarrassing me, you are bringing disgrace to yourself. Are you drunk?"

"I'm sorry," she said.

"I forgive you. Now don't do it again."

But not five minutes had passed before she was gossiping about her husband again. She began to get drunk and the things she said were disgusting lies.

Again the man pulled his wife aside, saying, "Stop it! I already told you this. You are bringing shame upon both of us."

"I'm sorry," she said.

"I forgive you. But I will not forgive you a third time."

So she went back to the dinner party, but was soon inviting other men up to her bedroom, seducing them and sleeping with them. Having had enough, the husband took her roughly by the arm and threw her out of the house naked into the dark.

So the Lord will forgive you many times, but if you continue to disparage His name, cast drunken lies about Him, or lie down with false gods He will treat you as the wronged husband must treat his wayward wife. For He loves you, and will be embarrassed for and by you many times before He rejects you, but do not test the Lord, for when He acts it will be swift and it will be fair and just.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Wicked King and His Slave

A wicked king whipped a hardened criminal, and few took notice of his action. However, when the king whipped his righteous slave for a trivial matter, all who witnessed it marked the injustice and remembered it in their hearts.

A few years passed, and the people, tired of his tyranny, rose up and overthrew the king, placing him into prison. Remembering the good slave, they went to him and made him a duke of a land.

Later, these same men saw the new duke, who had once been a slave himself, whipping one of his own slaves over a minor fault, they immediately seized him, threw him into chains, and put him in the deepest and darkest of prisons.

“Why did you do this to me?” he asked.

“Because we saw you when you were oppressed, and we freed you. Here you are doing the same thing that your wicked master was doing.”

“But this was only one act of injustice. My master was far more cruel than I have ever been.”

“But you lived under his tyranny,” they told him. “You above all others should have understood the mercy that was shown to you. And you should have sought to show mercy to others every day of your life. But because you ignored the gift you received, and chose to use your new power to repress your former brothers, you will be treated worse than the tyrant.”

So the Lord has given you a gift of salvation from the wickedness of your former life. But if you choose to use this gift as a seat from which to judge others and cause others pain, then not only will salvation be stripped from you, but you will be treated worse than if you had lived every day in wickedness, never having known salvation in the first place.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Myth of Disorganized Religion

Men complain about the ills of organized religion. But what person wants to live in a city, a state, a province, or country without government? And who plays a sport without a set of rules? Do not businesses conduct themselves with contracts to lay out the responsibilities of all involved?

A man said to his friend, "I love God, but I do not love His religion. I will worship in complete anarchy."

"Very well," his friend replied. "How will you do this?"

"I will pray to Him everyday," the man said, "but I will not go to church. I will honor Him in all that I do by living a good and honest life. And I will try to spread this to others, so that they too abandon organized religion for the freedom of my type of worship."

"I see," said his friend. "So you have told me where you will worship...anywhere but church. You have told me how you will worship...by praying to God each day and living a good and honest life. And you have stated that you will evangelize your type of worship to others. How is this not organized religion?"

Humans find meaning in laying down rules. Even atheists set rules for themselves on what they will not believe, how they will not worship, and how they will evangelize their message to others. Such an organized religion against God not only mocks them secretly, but their rules bind them to godlessness in a way that saddens the Lord.

Organized religion has not caused the ills of history. Misguided men and women following their wicked leaders blindly have caused these things. Do you want to prevent mankind's atrocities? Then question your leaders, doubt those who call for blood in the name of God, and think! But do not turn from the Lord, for that is a sure path to darkness.