Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Commericial Break

i cannot stand commercials. they drive me insane. especially if its a show that i really enjoy. it is so frustrating to have to keep watching nonsense while you're waiting to view your program.

talk radio is so obnoxious. it is frustrating really. but there are a handful of shows i really enjoy listening to. they are mike and mike, colin cowherd, hannity and sometimes rush. i'd probably rank them 1. colin, 2. hannity, 3. mike and mike, and 4. rush. i don't listen to rush all that much.

the commercials for these shows are completely ridiculous. hannity in particular is terrible. he'll talk for like 5 minutes and then there will be a 90 second break. after that break he'll come back on and take one phone call and then it will be back to a break. i know this is going to happen because as soon as the caller is on the air he says, "make it quick because we have 60 seconds." i'm like, what? we just got back from a commercial. this is so frustrating when you're driving in the car and just want to hear the point!

top chef does this same thing. top chef is like the American idol but for cooking except that 14 year old girls don't vote for you. the show starts with a "quickfire challenge." whoever wins this mini challenge gets immunity from the real challenge. after the real challenge the judges pick there least favorites. so basically, at the end of the show, the judges talk with the three losers about their performance. then they go to a commercial break. after a commercial break they come back on air for 60-90 seconds. during that time they show the most pointless conversation between the other contestants. it makes no sense at all. then they go back to a commercial. this is so frustrating! why do this? why all the commercials? why on for 2 minutes and off for 1.5 minutes? i just want to know who lost!

i absolutely hate frustration. i cannot stand it. i guess no one really enjoys frustration, do they? do you? i highly doubt it. frustration creates anger. it causes us to lose patience. it stalls us. it prevents us from moving forward. and perhaps the most irritating thing about frustration is not that something annoying is happening, but the fact that the annoyance is keeping us from something.

but isn't that how things really are? would really be that annoyed by the flat tire if we didn't need to be at work in 5 minutes? would we be so fired up if we had 5 hours to get there?

would we really be frustrated with only having $10.00 in our checking account if we didn't have an electric bill for $50.00?

would we really be upset about waiting for the train if we weren't already late for that job interview?

tell me, what is more obnoxious? the cause or the effect? is the train annoying or is being late? is it having little money or not paying the bills? what hurts more? the break up or the fact that you can't be with the one you love any longer? which is worse? the infidelity or the trust you no longer have?

its just so frustrating for a goal to be stalled. it is so frustrating for your relationship to come to a hault. it is so frustrating to be kept from something. it feels like you're excluded. it feels like you're missing something. you feel left out, don't you? and this feels miserable.

and as i observe, reflect, pursue, discern, analyze, and attempt to consider God's feelings, i think he experiences so much more pain and frustration than i could ever imagine. i believe this is so true because he is so desperate to have a fulfilling relationship with me - and I keep sending him on this revolving commercial break - and occasionally i'll come back to him to spend 90 seconds on the most useless, pointless, junk that matters not.

i am one freakin interruption after another. a constant commercial break. i'll be on with God for 5 minutes, and then will take a 90 second break. 2 or 3 months of great relationship growth with him, and then 6 weeks of nothing. then i will feel bad and come back to him for a feeble 2 weeks before i lose interest.

think about the heartache. think about how God must feel. think about the disappointment. i would venture to say that it hurts God that I am away, but hurts God even more that he is missing time spent with me. i know God is furious with some of my actions - but i believe God is saddened, disheartened, and depressed by my absence.

if only I could be strong. if only my life was like a DVD with no commercials. if only i could be true to God. if I wasn't so weak. if i wasn't so selfish. if i tried harder. if I cared more. if i was steadier. if I didn't hurt God. if I was more consistent. then maybe I could give him the relationship he desires and deserves. then maybe i could stop being so frustrating.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Temper

for the most part i am a level headed person. i can handle criticism. i can handle conflict. and it really takes a lot for me to get heated. i've never been a short tempered person. growing up my brother always was. i actually found humor in it -which is a dangerous combination. you have no idea how angry i could make him. my sister did it too. man we could get him fired up. i remember once he got so mad he was bright red with rage and stuck his whole hand and arm through the wall. i thought he was crazy then. now I think its funny.

i don't really think that I am that way. if someone is furious with me and slanders my name - i can handle that. that is fine. but for some reason it is a very different story with sports. i have become so unbelievably competitive that i just get fired up beyond belief. i play dodge ball in the city league and have found myself more angry than i can comprehend. the biggest thing is when the other team cheats. i absolutely cannot stand it. you'd be shocked at some of the things teams try to get away with. i was shocked. and that is why i nearly found myself in a number of fistfights with a bunch of adult men throwing balls at one another.

ya know, i can remember specifically the last two times i have been furious. it always seems to be that the patriots seem to lose an important game immediately before i have to take a long trip in the car. when the pats lost the superbowl i was devastated. i was shocked. literally, i almost cried. i was furious. for hours - and i mean hours - i could not calm my heartbeat. and the next morning i had to get up and drive from minnesota back to ohio. it was about 12 hours. it was the longest 12 hours of my life. (by the way, this capped off a great week with family and my sister in law's wedding.) i was completely stunned.

the second time, and most recent, was when the patriots lost - in embarrassing fashion - to the miami dolphins. i was sitting in my brother's living room (the one who used to have the temper) with my wife and his wife watching the game. as each second passed, i felt my pulse begin to race faster and faster. finally, i couldn't handle it anymore and my wife and I decided to pack up and leave with 5 or 6 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. i just couldn't stand it. (this by the way, concluded a lovely family vacation at the beach). but I had to leave. i was completely shocked by what I saw.

maybe that is what fuels my anger. perhaps i cannot stand what i consider to be shocking. i cannot stand the fact that someone would say they didn't get hit by a ball, when it bounced right off their face. i cannot comprehend how the patriots lost. i just don't get it. honestly. i'm getting fired up just typing this.

but you get me, right? you understand what i am say? i mean, i hope you do. when someone is so clearly wrong. its shocking? its shocking when somingething is so clearly off. and the shock drives us crazy.

i recently came across a website which evokes this same kind of emotion. check this out: this will take your salary and tell you how rich you are compared to the entire world. this website should shock you. it shocked me. take a second right now and look at it.

ok. to americans, i don't make a ton of money. i'm conservative enough to not reveal my salary to anyone. privacy, whatever. but i will say this - my salary is between the top 1-10% of the entire world. in fact - it is significantly better than 10%. i know my salary. believe me - i do not make much money. this is crazy. this is shocking.

just for fun, plug in random salaries. lets see how the numbers line up. a person who makes $75,000, would be in the top .82% of the entire world! crazy! lets go low. check this out: a person who makes $10,000 is in the top 13.31% of the world! 10k, and you still make more than 75% of the world population?

a little lower now. lets say you make a terrible salary of $5k. that's only about $415.00/month. if you make that tiny salary, you are still in the top 14% of the world. you would only have to make 850 dollar annually, to be right at the 50% mark.

let me ask you something. does this shock you? shouldn't this shock you? shouldn't this anger you?

i think the thing that shocks me the most, is that we - you and I - are not doing anything to take care of this problem. we think we are. the church thinks it is. but we're not. let us be honest with ourselves - we don't do squat about this huge gap between the rich and the poor. there really is no middle class.

we give and give and give. but nothing happens. why? even though corporations and churches give millions to missions and people in need, nothing changes.

perhaps the biggest reason is comfort. we, those of us at the top, have learned to give and still be comfortable. we have learned what it takes to give a little extra from our income to help someone out. we, who have so much, have learned what it means to give out of our excess. but let me ask you something, is this right?

there is a difference between giving out of excess and giving out of sacrifice. giving out of excess has no real effect on us. nothing in our life really changes - except that maybe we don't buy a drink when we go out to eat. or perhaps we take a month off from shopping for clothes. ouch. that hurts doesn't it? man we really are being generous.

sacrifice. we're called to sacrifice. we're called to suffer with others. giving out of sacrifice hurts. this means we cut our budget. this means we deny ourselves to be sure someone else has all they need. this means selling our things to be sure someone else is taken care of. this means bringing that child into our home - and not just sponsoring them and sending them a card. this means a complete and fundamental change in how we live.

we must be angry. we must be shocked. and we must move. but i am afraid we won't give - and really give - until we're shocked into it. we must let this fester in us and cause us to lose our tempers.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Senses

i really enjoy a challenge. in fact i thrive off it. i love it when something challenges me. i excel at the opportunity to win. i live and breathe for competition. i crave it and it fuels me.

let me give you an example. in October of 2006 I knew that I was going to be getting engaged shortly. well, to be correct, i at least hoped that i'd be getting engaged. the yes or no part was completely up to my girlfriend (now my wife). but when I went and bought that engagement ring in october, I told myself that i was not going to look like a fool on my wedding night. so i decided to get a gym membership and start working out. from october 2006, until september 20th or so of 2007, i worked out 2.5 hrs a day, 6 days a week. i never missed a day. not once. i ran anywhere between 20 and 30 miles a week and lifted like crazy. i went from 210 lbs and 21% body fat, to 175 and about 14-16% body fat. i did not settle for less. i made a goal and i saw it through. i was religious and psychotic about it. i had to be. it had to be all or nothing.

but after one year of marriage i find myself settling for less. i find myself being ok with getting in the gym three times a week and just doing a little bit of weights. and the crazy thing is, when I get in, i feel ok with that. when I put in my 3 or 4 hours a week, i convince myself i've done what i need to do. yet deep inside i've developed this deep dissatisfaction with myself. i become more and more angered with my lifestyle that i continually sell myself short and don't give myself what i need. why do i sell myself short?

i seem to have this problem in life. i find that i often sell myself short in many areas. let me give you another example.

i first went to college for the challenge. i wanted to grow and learn and be prepared for my future - whatever God may bring my way. so i decided to major in business and in missions. i knew that God would want to take me into a journey of ministry and eventually that journey would probably send us overseas. so that is why the missions part was there. the business part was that i wanted the challenge and wanted to expand my horizons. but after a year of college i just decided to drop all that and do a basic religion degree because that was what made the most sense. i am still not sure why I made that decision. honestly, i did it because it was the easiest for me to do. i knew the courses wouldn't be difficult. the major made the most sense. i convinced myself, "get in, get your degree, and get out." and now I sit with a degree that is pretty much useless. why did I sell myself short? i didn't get the true educational experience. i wanted to convince myself that I had the full experience. why didn't i just go for the real thing?

i've been thinking and reflecting about this a lot lately. that is, my problem of selling myself short. and i see this problem arise more and more with the church. let me show you how.

i heard just recently of a pastor talking about his church and their vision. he was discussing their plans of starting new churches and spreading the gospel. and his words struck a chord within me. he was saying how they want to spread out and small so that people feel more comfortable. he said, "leaders like big churches. people like small." and obviously he's referring to intimacy. smaller means more intimacy. but what bothered me was when he said this: "we want to develop these smaller type churches so that the people begin to develop a sense of community." now at face value is sounds great, right? but why do we need to coerce people into thinking their is community? why do we settle for less? why not teach people how to actively engage in community? why not demonstrate what community is? i think it is because we're not willing to put into it what it deserves. you can't get people showing up one hour a week and think that community is going to form. just because it is 150 people and not 700 people doesn't mean community is going to happen. why settle for a sense of community?

let me give you another area where we've sold ourselves short because of our "senses."

christians and churches are terrified of transformation. have you noticed this? we talk about transformation but we do nothing about it. we talk about how we want to see our cities changed and the kingdom of God to sweep across them - but nothing happens. have you noticed this? i have. i've noticed how people have been ok with mediocrity. christians have been ok with things stay the same. rather than go downtown and minister to those in need, we give our church a check to supply the salvation army with more clothes. and the funny thing is, we feel like we're being such a blessing. in fact, both parties feel satisfied. the rich christians feel good because they are giving and the poor feel good because they are getting fed. yet - not one is being transformed. by sitting at home and giving money we're convincing ourselves that we're making a difference. but we're not. we're developing a sense of transformation - without the actual transformation.

its true though. christians and churches aren't willing to put forth the effort to do what we're commanded to do. we've settled for accepting our sense of community. we've settled for accepting our sense of transformation. i don't think we can trust our senses. because as time goes on, we're seeing that our senses are more counterfeit. wouldn't it be amazing if we truly experienced community and transformation?

what is it going to take? how long will we continue to convince ourselves we're doing what we're called to do? when we stop settling for less?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Isn't It Strange?

isn't it strange how we as humans assume so much? we do. we assume a ton. we assume our team is going to win the game. we assume the car is going to work when we turn the key (well most of us assume this). we assume we're not going to get fired from our jobs. we assume there is going to be food at the grocery store. we assume there is going to be fuel at the gas station. we assume our spouse is going to look out for us. we assume our government police forces are going to protect us. we assume our friends are going to contact us.

we assume lots of things. we assume the last two slices of bread in the pantry are ours. we assume the loose change on the table is for us to use. we assume we should be first picked for the football game. we assume our loan is going to be payed in full. we assume our gift is going to be reciprocated. we assume we have the right of way. our sense of entitlement is almost sickening.

isn't it strange how we as humans think? honestly, don't we think the world owes us something? if you do think that, its how you act. its true. our sense of entitlement has grown deeper and deeper and has begun to effect us at the most fundamental and serious level: the heart level. no doubt american consumerism is force feeding the issue. crap. its freakin insane.

this ridiculous sense of entitlement is forcing us as humans to be self centered and have our worlds be all about me, me, me. you can see this truth in many various ways. the question always is, "what can I get?" or, "what's in it for me?" or, "if I do this, what will you do for me?"

isn't strange how we'll only give up our time to community service if it looks good on our college application? isn't it strange that we'll only give to the needy if it is tax deductible? isn't it strange that we'll only give out of excess? isn't it strange that we will only give to God because some preacher tells us that God will give us 7 times what we've given him? where did all this come from?

hundreds and hundreds of years ago there was a man who traveled from one country to another. he was a bad bad man though. he didn't have a job and didn't want to work, but would go from street corner to street corner stealing food from clothes from everyone he could. the man was a bum. everyone knew it. if you wouldn't let this man steal your money he would beat you and leave you for death. it was well known that this man was a murderer. finally, the people got fed up and forced him out of town. this guy had a brilliant idea though. he thought, "i'll go north to the land with the great leader. everyone knows their king is gracious and always pardons his people."

when the man got there he continued down his destructive path. he was robbing food and stealing money from people. one night the man tried to steal from a baker. when the baker resisted, the man killed him on the spot. news spread across the land and this angered the king. so the king called the man to give him his punishment. the man pleaded, "king, everyone in this area knows how gracious and compassionate you are! you are a great king! you have mercy on your people. won't you pardon me?" the king replied, "where are you from?" the man answered, "I am from the south." the king replied, "you are not part of my kingdom. i cannot pardon you."

isn't it strange to think of a king pardoning a murderer who isn't even part of his kingdom? isn't it strange to think that this man would assume he would receive mercy? it is ludicrous to think that this man could waltz into a foreign land, commit a crime, and think he'd be dealt with lightly.

i am scared, terrified, that this attitude - this heart condition - has begun to affect us at our very core. we have preached and taught people to receive Christ so that they won't go to hell. we have promised Heaven to people if they will just believe. we have drawn close to God simply to receive some benefits.

what if there was no promise of Heaven? what if Christ asked us to follow him just to make the world better? what if Christ spoke nothing of what we received? would we follow? forgiveness is not the goal. our eternal safety is not the goal. it is a perk. it is a benefit. its a bonus. but it is only given to kingdom citizens. it is only when we fully align ourselves with Christ and his kingdom, that our benefits are bestowed upon us.

isn't it strange what we assume? isn't it strange what we think we are owed? we think funny things man. isn't it strange?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Sitting

i love sitting and relaxing. its just great. who doesn't love it, right? its so funny because often my wife will call me and ask, "what are you doing?" i'll answer her, "i'm sitting." like that answer isn't good enough, right? its like i've got to be doing something other than just sitting. something around me must be occupying my attention while I'm just "sitting." its rather funny.

i am a super busy person. i love life on the go. i love having and making plans. but after all of that I love to just lie on my couch. sundays are especially fruitful for me. there is nothing better than just lying on the couch watching the patriots play football. i think its the fact that everything else is just still. i can focus. i can concentrate. no distractions. i can reflect on everything that has been going on.

as i'm typing this post, my wife is sitting on the couch with me. clearly she is enjoying the wonderful rest that is offered to us by the couch. but as I'm sitting here writing this post about our wonderful couch, something dawned on me. what is it that is special about this couch? is it the fact that the couch is comfy? or is the fact that the two of us are just sitting together?

i've been stuck in the house for the past several days because i've been sick. i've had this combination of an eye infection and a cold/flu thing. its been a serious pain. while I enjoy resting on my couch, i hate to be stuck in my house. this morning, i looked at my wife and said, "where do you want to go today?" she laughed and said, "you are stir crazy." i said, "whats that?" she replied by telling me it means i'm sick of being in the house. this was definitely true. we decided to spend the day together in dayton. we drove about an hour and a half away to this really nice mall. it was great to get out of the house and walk around. christmas time at the mall is always fun. i especially love to go to stores like brookstone and try out every single gadget there is. at brookestone they even have this battery powered grill brush. i thought, "this is just plain lazy!" i also really like to walk around in the super huge sporting stores. its just fun.

but the most revealing part of the trip was our ride home. at the beginning of the drive home my wife and I had a stupid argument about nothing. by the middle of the trip home we had reconciled and things were much better. she fell asleep briefly and I turned off the music so she wouldn't wake up. and it was that moment in time that I enjoy so much. we weren't talking or communicating in anyway. we weren't doing anything fun or exciting. she was sleeping and I was driving. the most enjoying part of just sitting is being in her presence.

i had an interesting experience that occurred several months ago. i have always struggled to fall asleep. i'm not exactly sure why. i just can't seem to turn off my brain. i'll be laying there and just be thinking and thinking. before I know it, an hour or two will pass. i'm not stressed. i'm not fretting or worrying about anything. just thinking.

so several months ago, I'm lying in bed with one of my thinking moments. I couldn't fall asleep and I was fed up. then I thought, "God, do you want to tell me something?" i thought this was freakin brilliant. so I went into the other room and got on my knees in front of our comfy couch. i knelt there and asked, "God, what do you want to say? what do i need to hear? i'm here. i am willing to listen to you." it was at that moment that I realized God had nothing to say to me. it was at that moment that I realized God didn't want to talk with me. it was at that moment I realized God just wanted to be there with me. so I said. "Ok, God. I know you're hear." God simply wanted me to acknowledge his presence. God wanted me to know he was there.

after that I went back to bed and fell asleep. but doesn't it make you wonder? what does God want from us? does he want our jibber jabber? does he even want to talk our ear off? or does God just want us to recognize his presence? does God just want us to know he is there?

God is always with us. God is always interacting with us. he wants nothing more than us to acknowledge his presence when we're talking with people, playing games, hanging out with friends, running errands, working out, stressing out, and yes, even just sitting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Proper Perspective

doesn't it always seem like there is something in the way? i constantly feel like there is something blocking progress. this can be a number of different things really. its different for every person, relationship, goal, and circumstance. but as humans, we are pretty gullible. aren't we? how often do we find ourselves at a stand still or even moving backwards because we keep falling for the same things.

let me give you an example. i love sports. i love NFL. i relate to football analogies very well. thursday night i was watching the patriots and the jets. well let me start off by saying that it is very difficult for me to even mention this story because the patriots lost. but I will say the win was encouraging because of how good cassel looked on the field. but several times the jets defense found themselves in a trap. the jets were super paranoid about giving up the big play so they'd bring the safeties in to help double up our wide receivers. so on numerous occasions there would be a lot of conjestion near the sidelines - and when that happened, the patriots would send kevin faulk up the middle to run a route toward the sidelines. as soon as we did that, the jets bit, and the middle of the field would be completely open. the linebacker would follow faulk to the outside and everytime cassel would just hang onto the ball and run straight up the middle. he'd grab 12 yards everytime. the jets continually fell into the temptation and as a result gave the patriots an easy first down and more.

this obviously kept the jets from moving forward. they found themselves at a stand still or even moving backwards. let me give you another example.

last week my wife and I were driving to minneapolis to visit some family. my sister-in-law and her husband live there. we left friday afternoon and got in around 2 am. when we got into wisconsin, the highway had set up this clever way of keeping cars from speeding. every 10 or 15 miles, there would be 3 sets of reflectors lined up consecutively. each set had about 15 or 20 reflectors each. the first set of reflectors were about 4 feet high and had blue and white reflectors at the top. the second set of reflectors were about 3 feet high and were red. and the third was like the first: blue and white. so it looked like this: blue/white, red, blue/white. but from a distance, they looked like the lights and details of a highway patrol car. when you drove right past them it was obvious that they were just a bunch of standing reflectors. but from 500 yards out, with your lights flashing from the distance, it resembled a cop.

every single time I approached one of these "fake cops," i would tap my brakes and would say to myself, "crap." this was instinct. i was speeding. i could hardly control this reaction. i would then drive by the reflectors and instantly feel relieved. but over and over i would fall for the same trick. every 10 or 15 miles I found myself tapping my brakes and slowing down. and then I'd drive by and think, "i fell for it again?"

how often do we continually fall for the same frauds? how often do we find ourselves falling into the same temptation over and over - only to find ourselves at some sort of a stand still or spiraling downward? i find this to be all too true with my relationship with God. God and I will be doing super well and then suddenly i find myself falling into temptation again - following a fraud that only leads me downhill. then all that work I put in with God was thrown to waste. all my discipline and time spent with God - now rubbish. all that reading in my bible, all those books i was reading, all the scripture I was studying - now worthless.

yesterday I talked briefly about perspective. i think, again, today perspective is my issue. my relationship with God is not a task. my relationship with God is not a function. it isn't, by popular opinion, a discipline. while I may utilize certain spiritual disciplines to nurture and grow my relationship - like many other relationships - it isn't a discipline itself. and whenever I view it as such - a discipline, that is - i find myself relying on my own strength. and whenever I find myself relying on my own strength, i find myself falling for the same frauds. and whenever I fall for a stupid fraud, i find myself spiraling downward.

how do we avoid this? how do we combat these things? we must shift our perspective. God wishes to be in our lives. he wants to have a friendship with us. he wants to interact and talk with God. God is not something to be done. God is someone to be with.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Are Definitely Moving Forward

for sure. things are changing. and in many ways they are changing fast. i'm not exactly sure how i feel about that. i love change. i embrace it. i like new things. i like meeting new people and seeing new places. i like experiencing new cultures. i like learning about new things. for sure things are changing.

but change can be terrifying. don't you think? i mean, really. when was the last time you had a monumental shift in your life that didn't cause you to second guess things? its easy to do, right? honestly, we can't take a 180 degree turn without really asking the question, "Is this right?"

let me give you a few examples. i've moved several times in my life. now, decisions are very easy for me. i'm pragmatic. i'm not a super spiritualist. i look at the pros and the cons and I make a decision. sure, sometimes i "fester." my dad says that sometimes I am a bit "cautious." granted. but decisions are easy. however, after several moves I have often asked myself the same question, "is this right? did i think clearly on this? what if I should have..." like dave matthews says, "don't ya ever wonder if you took a left turn instead of a right you could be somebody different..."

but you get me, right? i'm not alone in this, though. many people are in the same boat. millions in fact are experiencing the same thoughts and feelings that I am right now. i mean, seriously, have you turned on the TV? people seriously are having issues with the changes that are going on. we definitely are moving forward. is that ok with people?

as my friend says, "you never want to be 'that guy.'" i'm gonna be "that guy." like millions of others, the past several months has caused me to really think about things. the election craze has consumed me. "change we need," boasts obama. but like I said, change can be terrifying.

let me say a few things, first. i didn't support obama. but I will never put him down. the ridicule that bush received was insane. no where near what he deserved. i pray that the Lord himself with guide the very thought process that obama uses to make each and every decision that will affect you and I. but we all know that this still doesn't ease the fact that change can be seriously scarey.

i was nervous about a few things. i don't want to be a one issue voting christian like most. i'm not. i haven't been. and never will be. in fact that drives me nuts. but the freedom of choice act terrfies me. it scares me to death. literally. i cannot wrap my brain around how someone could get to this point. ok i see that there is a fundamental difference between the two types of people. i get that. it makes sense. we'll probably never agree. but still, it scares me to think about someone who could devalue the sanctity of life so much to not feel convicted about letting the survivors of a botched abortion die. craziness.

i was nervous about the economical proposals of president elect obama. now, let me be honest. i get the philosophy behind redistributing the wealth. i understand our country is seriously messed up. i understand that the rich are seriously rich and the poor are for real poor. i get that. what I don't get, however, is why we create programs that seem to cripple the poor. this is what I think redistributing the wealth does. let me give you an example. my wife and I were serving with our church, helping some homeless families. this is a fun thing for me. remember, I like new people? new cultures? new experiences? we had an interesting and revealing conversation with one of the ladies who we were serving. we were talking and she said to me, "i can't get a job, because if I get a job, the government will take my health insurance away." this is the crippling effect I think redistributing the wealth has. it becomes nothing more than a glorified welfare system. and welfare doesn't work. i don't mind giving to the poor. listen, i have a heart for the poor. i mean it, too. but my giving needs to be coupled with relationship so that transformation actually occurs. (but that topic needs its on post to be discussed thoroughly).

i had other concerns about the experience of barak and his past associations with radicals. these things really really concerned me.

so i know millions of others relate to me when I say that I'm a tid-bit nervous about the change that is ahead. i don't know what exactly is ahead. but it does make me wonder if we shouldn't have taken a left turn instead of a right.

but i think perspective is key. perspective must be taken into consideration. i've come to realize that what it says in ephesians is true. that christ is above all rule and dominion. christ is above all title given. when I have this perspective, i can trust the future of this country in God's hands. do my concerns even matter? how terrified should I really be? does obama even matter? would mccain even matter? i will pray for obama, daily, but i'm beginning to realize more and more that it matters not who our president is but who Christ is.

change is coming. hopefully it is the "change we need." i pray to the Lord that it is. for sure, it is happening. we are definitely moving forward.