One Prayer

For the past three weeks my Church has been participating, along with 1200+ other churches (approx 800,000 people) worldwide,  in something called One Prayer.  It has challenged Fellowship Church to ask some real tough questions.  Lifechurch.tv put together a video that scrolled through the names of each one of the churches that are participating in One Prayer. This is what 1200+ churches serving and worshipping together looks like:

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

Anniversaries

This post takes place in Randy Elrod’s Watercooler Wednesday

 

              

 Are you part of the 30/30 club?

Sunday, June 15, 2008 was not only Father’s Day, but mine and Erica’s 6th wedding anniversary.  I have to say that my Father’s Day was fabulous.  I got a gift from my boys, one from Erica, and an awesome handmade card that had a pic of me and the boys in it.

I felt our anniversary celebration was a bit less than stellar.  In fact, it was non-existent.  I was sad at first, but Erica and I had agreed that we wouldn’t celebrate that day.  What’s cool, is this put it in my court to “WoW” her with my planning ability, and my romanticity (is that a word?).

So, a friend of ours watched the boys, and we made our way out to dinner.  First stop was for me to get a hair cut.  Erica came with, and had some great insight as to how I should get it cut.  Here’s what we came up with:

Next we made our way over to O’Connors.  I had heard from multiple sources that this palce has “incredible food.”  O’Connors is an authentic Irish Pub. Offering the finest in Celtic fare; from the Guinness Pie, to Bangers and Mash, or Bacon and Cabbage.  One person described the place as “huge,” another said, “The portions are enormous.”

So, I had to see for myself.

When we got there, we noticed the unique styling and atmosphere. It was indeed “huge!”  The food was not only of monstrous proportions, but some of the most delicious I have ever had.  I highly recommend the Potato Pizza for an appetizer, or as a meal if you’re not sharing it.  The service was the most friendly, attentive, and sincere I have had in quite some time.

I’m sure you are wondering what the cost was…Well, you will be pleasantly surprised to hear that we walked away, tip included, for $51.00! That’s some good eats!!!

We will be going back often…or at least as often as our wallet allows.

Now you may be wondering why I titled today’s Blog “Anniversaries,” because you noticed the plurality. Well my friend…Good Question!  Below is why:

The gentleman in the tux is Dennis W.

NOTE: I am witholding his lastname to maintain his privacy.  I don’t want all the ladies out there trying to contact him or go looking for his myspace or facebook pages.

Anyways! Dennis celebrated a huge milestone on Wednesday as well.  He has been with UNUM for 35 years, and if that wasn’t enough…He mentioned to us that he was now part of the 30/30 club. Not to be confused with MLB’s 30/30 club.  This club, he went on to tell us, is when a person reaches 30 years of a career and at the same time 30 years of marriage.

He also explained that he recalls the first few years of marriage and his first few at the company as “some of my greatest years!”  Then he proceeded to tell us, a group of about 20 people, that he would have to say though, that the last few years since he has joined the 30/30 have been the “best years of my life.”

I dedicate this post to all the people out there that have toiled and persevered for many years in a career.  Dedicating themselves not to achieving greatness, but to being a great provider or example to their families.  I dedicate this to the countless, although it seems to be fewer nowadays, men and women who have fought hard to maintain their marriages, and keep their families together.

It must have been hard work Dennis, to go to work day after day.  There must ahve been some really difficult times that helped you recognize how great those good times really were. 

There must have been struggles you went through with your wife, and children.  You kept on going though, you kept on loving, you persevered.  I stand and salute your achievements my friend!

I can’t wait for the day I can be part of the 30/30 Club. 

How about you?

Livin’ Out Loud to 30/30 and Beyond!

Al

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Feed Me…As seen on Jeffsdeepthoughts!

My friend and co-laborer for Christ, Jeff, has this blog that he he writes. He has some terrific insights, and always has something that will leave your scratching your head and asking more questions.

In his recent post about Christian’s in our generation having a tendency to be focused on being hand fed (my words not his) versus learning to self feed he concluded with the following:

“It’s tempting and easy for me to expect others to do the same.  But their gifts and experience and what not may not lie in this direction.  So when I expect people to take responsibility for feeding themselves, it’s important that I take seriously the idea that some people are better than others at doing this.”

My response was as follows:

I think this is a great insight. You are correct that we must keep in mind and have patience with people that are on all spiritual levels. Sometimes that may be easy, often times it’s not, but that’s life.

So, I agree with you on your last point, and wanted to have you think about something.  I think you’re conclusion would be said best if it was 2 fold.

The first part would be: We should remember that not everyone is at our spiritual maturity level, or our intellectual or student level (is that the right way to say that?), and therefore, we should have a lot more patience with them.

The second part would be this:
Althought their experience, and I assume you mean either their intelligence level, or academic experience (abundance or lack of) may make them a little more reliant on someone else “feeding them,” we then have a responsibility to “teach” them/ train them how to study the word of God.

I like how the King James puts it in 2 Tim 2:15:

            “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

It gives me the idea that everyone seeking to be a disciple/ Christ follower, not just a Christian, has to being willing to study the Word of God. Some will require a bit more one on one attention and tutoring, to get to a point where they are capable of doing it then themselves. While others may have a more natural ability to study, ask questions, and make conclusions based on the infortmation they have.

An inability or lack of knowledge/ experience can hinder someone from taking the time to study, but can also lead to fat and lazy, partly retarded Christians. People who have a natural ability to study, have plenty of knowledge and experience can cause that person to become prideful or arrogant.

Both situations require the help and guidance of other, more mature believers, who can come along side the person and challenge and encourage them with the truth of God’s Word. No matter what though, we have a promise that God with supernaturally, through the Holy Spirit, give us understanding of all things in His word. (John 16:13)

That way, regardless of the abundance or lack, we can all further our love and understanding of Christ. (Philippians 3:8; 2 Pt 3:18 )

Just some thoughts I had after reading. I think it is a great post, and something we all need to think on.

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

New York City…Justice?

This Post Takes Part in Water Cooler Wednesdays.

So, I was listening to the radio the other morning, and I heard them talking about this guy Jimmy Justice.  I was intrigued, to say the least, about this guy who takes it upon himself to confront the hypocrisy that has embed itself in the NY City law-enforcement department.

Basically he videotapes members of the law-enforcement department of New York city violoating traffic laws, and then confronts them about it. Some have gotten pretty upset, others give plent of excuses, and some are threatening.  He has presented his evidence to different city officials, and has yet to have his complaints taken serious.

I have thought long and hard about this situation. I whole-heartedly agree with his stance, and his feelings of frustration to see people who swear to uphold the law, publicly break it. Better yet, they write citizens tickets, and then (as if to smack us in the face) turn around and break the exact same law. It is ridiculous!

What is incredible to me is, that this level of disregard for upholding the law, is not only evident in the city or town sector, but is found throughout our various branches of local, state and federal government. Hypocrisy is a rampant disease that is found in every jurisdiction, in every branch of government.

I’m right there with you Jimmy! I am fed up with someone telling me, “Do as I say, not as I do!” I cannot stand hearing a politician make a promise, knowing that he blowing nothing but smoke up my butt. Am I to understand that I am as ignorant as they think? It’s like the saying in the South, “He’s such a nice boy, bless his heart!”

I am tired of spiritual leaders that tote a standard, holding people to some long list of rules and regualtions. All the while they are more filthy and corrupt than any “Sinner” they bash. It’s their secret sin.  As long as no one else knows about it they assume it’s “ok” for them to have it.

Now all of this ramps me up, gets my fire stoked, and thinkning of a revolting against the establishment, but then something else happens. I look in the mirror, and realize my own condition. I recognize how often I am just as hypocrtical as some of the “Leaders” that frustrate me. I remember that I can hold my head high, not because I am successful at living up to a holy standard, but because I have been showered with the Grace and Mercy of a God that loved me, and gave His Son for me.

I once again remember that I am nothing more then a man who was far from God, but was brought back to God, through Jesus Christ…

Wow…It amazes me how quick I am to judge the sins of others, how quickly I can see the hypocrisy in others, and yet how slow I am to remember my own sin and failures.

I am proud of Jimmy Justice. I hope that he doesn’t do this just to bring attention to himself. Everything I’ve read and heard from him says the opposite, but I hope it’s sincere. I agree with him, and stand with him to say enough is enough. Would the real leaders, those who want to actually stand for something, not just anything, but things that are right, please stand up and take your place in our world.

I’m calling myself out. A call to myself to stop “playing” and be real. Stop pretending I’m something I’m not, and start living out wyho God has made me to be.

I love Justice; the idea of righting wrongs. However, I know that Justice isn’t always about righting wrongs, but also includes standing for what is right no matter what the mainstream, your friends and family thinks.  It will take some of us being uncomfortable, willing to be ridiculed, and maybe even disliked or hated.

So, if you have a heart condition, can’t stomach change, are prone to failing, you mess things up pretty badly (often), know that you are in good company. I’m right there with you! The hope I offer is this: As we become honest with God, ourselves, and others, we will see a change. It may not be a world change, but it will change your sphere of influence.

Livin’ Out Loud,

Al

Happy Birthday Wyatt

I Just Found This Post…I am sooo slow sometimes!

 

So, my oldest is officially 3 years young today. It’s amazing how much he has grown, how much he has learned, and how much he has changed.  He is quite a terrific blend of Erica and I.

He has her temper and her drive.  He also has her care for what some would view as ordinary, but they view as important details of life. He makes me stop when I am so focussed on getting things done, and look around at some pretty important stuff I would have glanced over and missed enjoying with him. He is just like his mom. I love it.

He has much of my personality. He is so outgoing; a real people person. He genuinely cares for people, and you can see that he feels bad if his words or actions hurt someone. He is generous, kind, and full of questions and wonder. Having an inquisitive son makes you have to work hard at explaining things, and at creatively explaining things so he will really get it.

So happy Birthday Son!

Your Dad Loves You!

I am 10,511 days old today

This post takes part in Randy Elrod’s Watercooler Wednesdays.

I haven’t really had the drive to blog lately. Partly because life is very busy and partly because I have been in a little funk. I also think it is partly because I have been struck in my heart, and feel that I shouldn’t be using my company’s paid time to be doing non-work things. A little WWJD from the Holy Spirit maybe…Well, I am back in the game officially.

I have been sooooo busy lately, and have been trying to balance it all. Sometimes successfully, other times “not so much.” It is a cahllenge that I am truly excited about though, and I will certainly tell you why.

I calculated that I am 10,511 years old today. That calculation was, of course, with the help of this tool. Very, very interesting!

The idea that I will someday pass on, die, expire, is a bit morbid, and disturbing.  It is also one that can motivate. I realized that I have already spent many days of my life. According to most experts, I have lived just ove 1/3 of my days. 

So, I have dedicated myself to living the remainder of my days with passion, vision, and a true sense of making an impact for eternal things. I want my family to know I love them, my church to know that I would give anything I possibly could to help them, and I want to make an impact in this world for the Glory and Kingdom of God. I want every day I live to have some point to it, and I know God does too.

I am excited for 2 reasons:

Someday, I will pass from this scene, and stand face to face with the Saviour who loved me, and died the most painful death. And all the while He thought of me. I will finally be able to wrap my arms around His neck, and see Him for all He is. That will be the pinnacle of my life.

I am also excited, because in the meantime, I have a beautiful wife that I get to love and be loved by. I have 2 boys, and another little baby on the way, that I get to pour my soul, my heeart, my life into. All four with whom I get to spend a lifetime of heartache, love, passion, and a never ending pursuit of glorifying God together.

What in my life don’t I have to be excited about?

What are you excited about? How many days old are you, and how many do you plan living with purpose?

Finally Livin’ Out Loud Again,

Al