Sunday, December 10, 2006

Countdown Part II


"If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he wil galadly tell you, for he is
always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; he will not resent it. (James 1:5 TLB)


I never ceased to be amazed at how God works in my life. Answers to things I am agonizing over but too ashamed to put in prayer.

Speaking of prayer, my prayer life has been pretty non-existant lately. I feel I have nothing to say. Nothing worth speaking. I know this is pride, I know it isn't true. Where do we go from here?

I know from where most of my troubles stem from. I am not quite ready to lay it out publicly just yet. Those of you who know me, e-mail and I will explain.

My situation will be resolved soon and this countdown is the beginning of marking the time until things are resolved. December 26th to be exact.

I am sorry that all of my posts lately have been gloom and doom. Y'all know this is totally abnormal for me. I know it is too and can not wait for the morning when the "Joy of the Lord" will arrive. Please continue to pray for my family.

Larry

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Journaling for Dummies

What's the deal man?

I am having a hard time getting back into blogging.

Focus is a misty cloud for me these days. Oh for just a bit of clarity.
True joy in anything is hard to come by "right now". I'm not ready to share what is going on. Some of y'all whom I have known awhile could probably put two and two together and come up with quattro. I however am not ready to say four publicly just yet.

Lord, just get me through Christmas and I can deal with it.

I want to share a recent discovery with you. In October our Celebrate Recovery group went to see Mercy Me in Houston. Audio Adrenaline and a guy named Phil Wickham opened.

He and his band are very young, (man, am I that old?) but oh the early 80's influences with modern tech backing their sound is terrific. His vocals are incredible, Even though they had some sound problems his music came through the noise. I downloaded the album off itunes and wow, I have been blown away. He sings love songs to Jesus.

What an incredible relationship he must have spiritually with Christ. I highly recommend getting his music. He sings what I feel but can't express.

I am totally in a desert place right now, Phil's work has helped me to get through.
Go to his website, listen to his stuff. God is really working through this guy.

Larry

The Lyrics to Grace, by Phil Wickham

The sky is grey and the light is far
The sea is a rage within my heart
I turn my sight to the crashing waves
I cry in the night just to be saved

I need eyes to be my guide
I need a voice that’s louder than mine
I need hope
I need You Cause I can’t do this alone

Grace I call Your name
Oh won’t Your smile fall over me
I’m cracked and dry on hands and knees
Oh sweet grace rain down on me
I need You grace.
I pray for dawn a new day to live
I pray for mercy only Jesus gives

Though darkness falls and a million cry
I believe over all there’s a greater light shining for us

Come down and save me

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Beautiful Tapestry


I find it amazing the beautiful Tapestry God weaves within our daily lives. Part of me wonders whether it is always there or, is it only there when we are in tune with God's will. I know the answer but I must pose the question.

In the depths of my despair over the last few months I wondered at times where was God? I knew full well he had never left. But again, I had to pose the question.

Now, I am finally getting back to normal. I have had some kind of wierd version of strep throat since September. I would take antibiotics get well, and low and behold it would start over again. Of course it was one of those things where you don't put two and two together until you are wore out with it.

When you can't seem to get well, your home life (IE. Family) gets difficult. Then your spiritual life. Next thing you know, man, I was in a place I don't want to travel back to.

When I was wallowing in my misery I couldn't see anything God had for me. I had a hard enough time remembering what I had for lunch. Slowly my focus has returned and I see Christ's hand in my life. The tapestry.

A phone call just when I needed it. A certain thought or song/sermon on the radio. Recognizing an amends I needed to make. A new client just when money was getting tight. My wife's beauty. A new sponser. The tapestry, carefully woven ere the foundation of the earth was laid. All for me.

I can't wait to see Jesus face to face, I'll see then what he has made, completed.

Larry

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Little Worse for the Wear


Hi there,

I want to ask your forgiveness for not posting or letting anyone know how I have been lately. Many of you have been deeply concerned. I thank all of you for the words of encouragement and support.

These last few months have been terribly difficult, mentally, physically and spritually. I can't even begin to tell you where it began or really where it may end. I am weary but, I am ok. I am not going to write much tonight. I thought I would do a bit each day until I am back to normal. (Whatever that is.) Not that I don't totally have my crap in perspective with the rest of the world. I know that compared to others my situation is nothing, but to me it is what it is.

I am commiting to writing again and I would ask that each of you keep me accountable. Even if I get on here and bang out one sentence I am accountable.

My love for Christ is as strong as ever and for those who wrote me specific verses I thank you so much. Each one was recieved at the right time and place, Praise God!

I'll leave you with one I came across in one of my studies and I will with His Grace talk to you again tomorrow.

Matthew 8:26 And Jesus answered, "Why are you so afraid? You have so little faith!"


Larry

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blessed to be Stressed, I Guess?

Can shoulders, muscles or temples get any tighter? Can you think yourself this way? Give yourself an ulcer? The elephant on the chest?

You Can.

I'm working on it unless, I give it to Jesus right now. I mean the minute I finish this post. I won't go into a lot of detail now. Suffice it to say I have let events and people overwhelm me like a tsunami. I know the steps, I know the drill, it is helping a bit but there is only one who can really save me, can rescue me from this fear driven tension arena I have driven myself.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.

Lamentations 3:40


Larry

Friday, September 15, 2006

Welcome Home


I would like to welcome home Christy, Herschel and their family from mission in Jos' Nigeria. You can read more about what they have been doing here. They just returned. I find it incredibly ironic that Christy and I went to high school together. Her Aunt is my wife, Lisa.
How about that?

Christy and her mom came to visit today with her daughter. She is also a worship leader who plays guitar. It was beautiful, songs of praise were coming through my kitchen throughout the after-noon.

At times I think I am really doing God's work. Then the Rothchilds come along and show what sacrifice truly is. The have been doing the real deal.

They are a light for to me to do more. I know God give us no more than we can handle through him but maybe it's time for me to expand my horizons.


Larry

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Out of the Loop

Sorry, I have been out of the loop. I have been isolating a bit. Tied up in job, family and new house. The more I have stared at this computer the less I have wanted to write. I don't have any particular reason. The muse seemed to have totally left me.

Since I have gone back to work full time I have been overwhelmed with business. Life has been fantastic moneywise for the first time ever in my adult life. During the time I was down from my surgury I was in a cocoon or something. The butterfly has burst forth, being productive and liking it. I had struggled so long with pain that my potential was completely lost.

I want to thank those of you who have expressed concern for my well-being. I would like to apologize for disapearing without reason. I am going to slowly get back into this. I may not write every day but, I will be around. I can't wait to get back to all of my friends and start seeing what they are up to.


Larry

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Very Nice!

I am back! I have had a few glitches with my laptop. If anyone has any ideas on why my antivirus might not be working I would love to hear from you. I have Symantec antivirus corporate edition. It messed up after a system restore. Since it is my work computer I have been paranoid to get on the web with it. HELP!! Please :). So I am now writing to you from my new computer which came with a 19" LCD flat panel monitor. Holy SMOKES! The world is for sure a bigger brighter place. Should be back on schedule posting, I have missed y'all. If anyone could help me with the other glitch I would be eternally greatful.


God Bless!

Larry

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer Swelt!

Oh my gosh! Could it possibly get any hotter down here in Houston? I know it's not any hotter than it was last year (in fact it was hotter) but each August it always feels like the hottest August ever. Houston's legendary humidity doesn't help either. You ever see those cartoons where the elevator goes up real fast? The cartoon characters are smeared on the floor in a pool. Thats the way it feels when you walk out the door first thing at 7:30am. Thank God, fall is around the corner.

Got to catch up a bit. Yesterday was my daughter and my day. She has been asking me to take her to Pirates of the Carribbean Two. So I did, and it was great! Highly enjoyable. A great swashbuckling adventure Errol Flynn style, funny too.

We went to the mall right after church and found we had two hours to kill before the show. So we go window shopping. She looked so pretty, I kept thinking while we were walking that this was one of those moments to be enjoyed. One of those times that won't come again. A time to look back on. A movie montage.

We strolled into the Limited Too kid's clothing store. Of course it is The cool store for nine year olds to 12 year olds. We come to a rack and see the clothes dummy on top with a cool outfit. She likes it so I get help from the store clerk to figure out the sizes for me. ( I am clueless)
She picks out a skirt, top, vest, scarf, stretchy pants and matching hat. We go back to the dressing room, she tries it on ala pretty woman. A beautiful father daughter moment that will last through the ages right? What ever.

She wanted to wear the stuff out. I was the cool dad, "sure I said, no problem". She is beaming ear to ear and posing at every mirror. The clerk rings us up and gives the total, $156.83. Talk about a comical moment, I take you back to the cartoon, where the character is frightened silly and makes a big gulp swallow. That was me, I liked to have died. I figured I was at about 65 bucks or so. I couldn't even imagine those clothes would cost that much. What could I do? I was stuck over the barrel. No escape. Frozen grin plastered to my face I hand over my debit card. The store girl had to use her nail file to pry it from my fingers.

It was a beautiful moment, priceless and frozen in time forever. I will never hear the end of it. Lexie had no concept of what I had done. No concept of how much I had just spent. My wife knew, and my debit card is now at the bottom of the shredder like so much confetti.

Thank God I had the money



Larry

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Politization

Is it me? Have we gotten to the point in this country where everything has to be political? I am so sick of it I could puke. I hate the fact that there is no common ground between right and left anymore. This is dangerous for our country. And let me tell you why.

I am a conservative. I totally frustrated with the Bush administration. I keep thinking they are going to get their head out of their rear-ends and start communicating what the heck they are doing. Clean up their mistakes, and take the gloves off in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

The left offers me no alternative but to continue to vote for the same stuff. There is no alternative. Who am I going to trust national security to? Hillary? Biden? Murtha? Dean? Who! The democrats in this country have screamed wolf so long and so loud about Bush that there is nothing there. And if something really sinister was going on who would believe it? Bush can't even go to the bathroom without something being said.

I want an alternative. You disagree on Iraq? Offer me a solution. A real solution. Same goes with Iran. Quit ragging on us for being Christians, quit finding excuses to kill babies, quit trying to take away our freedoms, (prayer in school, ten commandments) Quit jamming alternitive lifestyles down our throats, and you just might win an election again.

I don't buy the fact that republicans are going to lose this fall. The chance of electing irresponsible people who treat our national security like it's no big deal? We won't stand for it.


Larry

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Carrying the Message

Last night at Celebrate Recovery our lesson was on carrying the message. Not just the message of recovery but Salvation too. I have been in recovery for three and a half years. When I first started in rehab I was told that only one out of ten "make it".

Terrible odds isn't it. I was determined to be the one out of my ten.

I have seen them come and go. The wise, the noobs, the old and young. From felons and cops, to the indigent and wealthy. All have one thing in common, a struggle with addiction. A struggle with life's hurts, habits and hang-ups.

Why one and ten? Why such a refusal to surrender? How many times do we need our butts kicked? How many times do we need to lose our wives, families, jobs, homes, etc? How much guilt and shame do we need to heep on our bodies and souls? When do we stop adding to Christ's pain on the Cross? Must we twist the nails? Shove the crown down harder?

I have found my salvation in my Lord's Grace. Not, in a mindless desire to scrupulously avoid the subject of Jesus Christ in an N/A meeting. I was clean in N/A and A/A but my recovery didn't occur until I really surrendered to Christ's care and control. Once I did everything else came together. In the N/A home group I was a part of two years ago I don't recognize but three people. The ones I do? True program believers, but none I would especially say have any joy in their life. I firmly believe it is because they don't get the whole "god thing". (I am rolling my eyes at that one.) I hate it when they say that. It reeks of sarcasm.

Three and a half years ago we had nothing and and especially no hope. I want this recovery thing to be like a Christmas present. You want it all. You don't open a present a tear at a time. You don't throw it away before you open it. You rip it open and ooo and aww at the coolness of your gift.

I owe my life to God's Grace and Christ's death on the Cross. My position and my success is a direct result of my surrender to his will. I have to remember that. I can never lose sight of where I have been. I remember the shaking and baking the days after I entered rehab. I remember going to court to get three more days before the Sheriff showed up to move you out.

If you are out there and are struggling. If you want something more than the life you have. If you are tired of living in abject misery, there is another way. It's not the route of self, of nature, the doornob or some direction on a map. It is in the direct intervention of Christ's Love and Grace in our lives. We have to take action. We have to want to be saved. We have to surrender.

Don't wait

Do it

Write me if you want to know how.


Larry



Thursday, August 10, 2006

Today's Thoughts

Wow, What a week. I have been living in my car. Each day another side of town. For those of you who don't know, Houston is spread all over the place. It has been a very profitable week however. Praise God! I needed it!

I have had a difficult time as I posted yesterday writing. So I went off to my local bookstore and bought a moleskine (reporter's/poets/writers notebook). And have been jotting down my thoughts throughout the day. I thought I would share a few with you.

I am amazed at how exposed we are to sin in our culture. Billboard ads promoting drinking, sex and gambling. We can't hardly stroll into a place to get gas without a long row of porn mags beckoning. At my doctors office waiting to be called back, the tv blared several ads to do with sex, drinking, and gambling. LOL. It would be funny if it wasn't so darn insidious.

My verse of the day, Romans 8-28

In all things God works for the good of those who love Him. Who have been called according to His good purpose.
Meaning, everything that happens in this world, good, bad whatever, happens to his purpose and somehow applies for the good of us all.

Read a quote by CS Lewis today that I really enjoyed. "If you are worried about the people outside of Christianity, the most unreasonable thing you can do is remain outside it yourself."

How do we as Christians change the culture? It seems to me that when we leave our church we enter our own missionary field. We don't have to go to Africa, or some remote South American Jungle to spread the Good News. We can be a Main Street Missionary.

Just a snapshot into my ADHD brain. Blogging doesn't have to be all about carefully crafted set pieces does it?

Cool I found a new niche for my busy busy life!

Love and Blessings!


Larry



Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Driven to Distraction

A subtle change has come over my study life the last couple of weeks.
Didn't notice it for a bit. But finally I think I have caught onto it.
Before the move I had work, a bit of play and then home to the folks house with the bedroom upstairs. Once my wife and I were ensconced on our second story perch, the sequence of events went like this. Bible study, Blogging then Bed. Sometimes Lisa and I would throw in a movie for variety. A little boring but not too bad. A nice routine. One of the things I have discovered in blogging is, it isn't easy to come up with good stuff to write about every day. However at the folk's house, not many distractions. We stayed upstairs to give mom and dad space.

Come the move, come the new house, come the big screen, distractions galore. I have adhd enough as it is. Throw all the other stuff in such as unpacking, organizing rooms and fixing the new place up, guess what? Quality blogging pops the drivers side air bag.

I know there are more important things to be concerned about but it's been on my mind. I thought I owed an explanation.



Got my routine down now.

No more worries


Larry


Saturday, August 5, 2006

The Day Off


I have written the last few weeks about how busy we have been moving. Moving, getting ready to move etc. I took a little bit of pride last week that I took Sunday off from church because I was "tired". I used the same excuse when I bailed out from church Wednesday night. "I need a break" I said. "I need to catch up on my rest".

I had a terrible week this week. Financially it was wonderful. Closed a big account and made some money. Mentally, spiritually? Terrible. I was disconnected and miserable Monday through Friday. That is until Last night when I stepped up on the stage to lead our Celebrate Recovery members in praise and worship. As soon as we started singing, the bad week melted away.

It is funny how the devil leads us away isn't it? Of course in my past I just stayed away. No worries, I just didn't have a clue. He didn't have to do much. I was right where he wanted me.
Nowadays in my recovery I have a good relationship with my savior. I am fully aware of when I sin. I confess and repent pretty quickly now.

It's usually the little stuff that gets me now. Your tired, stay home. Take a nap, take it easy. Riggght. Next thing I know I am in a bad place and miserable. If I am not carrying out his plans for me I am right back where I used to be. And that, I cannot afford.

My Day off, My day of rest, is in my Fathers House.


Larry


Friday, August 4, 2006

Spiritual Vacuums

Thought I would share one of my Daily Devotionals with you today.

Hope you enjoy!


Larry


Spritual Vacuums
by John Fischer

Everybody worships something or someone. Worship may be a new emphasis for the church these days, but it is not new for human beings. We have been doing it since we were created. That’s because we were created for this purpose. But God did more than create us and tell us to worship him. He created us with a NEED for worship.

Blaise Pascal, the brilliant French physicist of the seventeenth century who had a dramatic conversion to Christ and went on to write some of the most famous apologetic for the Christian faith in history, is the one who came up with the idea of a God-shaped vacuum in every human heart. That’s because he studied the vacuum and noticed that whenever a vacuum exists something by nature has to rush in and fill it. It seemed to him the perfect picture of how God created us, as constantly pulling in something. Think of yourself as a giant spiritual vacuum.

Now the thing about a vacuum is that it will pull in anything that is within its reach. Like me, you may have heard this concept before, and like me, you may have assumed its work was already accomplished in your life by becoming a Christian. God created us with a need for him—a hole inside us that is in the shape of God so nothing else satisfies that need but him, and once I respond to Christ, that hole is filled and I am spiritually satisfied. But this description doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t show that we are continuing to need him. God doesn’t plug up the hole so we can go on and indulge in whatever we like since this foremost thing is taken care of. He has made us with an enduring need to keep filling ourselves up with him. In other words, we not only have a vacuum, we are vacuums—always on, always sucking up whatever is near the heart.
Whatever you put near the door of your heart is going to be sucked in. Think of the number of things cluttering our spiritual core simply because we have not kept God and his truths close to our hearts at all times. This is why Jesus said we couldn’t serve God and something else. In order to live with our primary purpose fulfilled, we need to keep God as the focus of our worship and nothing else—not pride, or money, or material things, or even people.

What are you placing near your heart today? That is what you worship, and that is what will be sucked into the core of your being—the place where only God belongs, because only he can
satisfy.


John Fischer is the Senior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals. He resides in Southern California with his wife, Marti and son, Chandler. They also have two adult children, Christopher and Anne.

John is a published author and popular speaker.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2006

What Price Peace?

Pacifism, a noble ideal. Ghandi, Martin Luther King. Both achieved their goals through non-violent protest. They wore their oppressors down. They won the hearts and minds and minds of the people who accepted the status quo and thus, change was born. The Indians won their freedom and African Americans recieved their equality.




The first Christians went peacefully to the arenas of Rome. It is recorded that, they went to their deaths praying and singing praise to Christ as the Lions tore their flesh.

Slowly over 200 years Christ and the Holy Spirit's influence spread, as the persecutions increased until Constantine converted and the empire became Christian.

Christian Rome ruled, from the lonely isle of Britain, to the wastes of North Africa and Egypt. From Spain, to modern day Romania.

Sometime over the next several hundred years Rome collapsed in upon itself. Repeated barbarian invasions from Germany, eastern Europe, and Asia tore the ancient nation apart. The eastern empire, ruled from Byzantium (Constantinople) continued on until 1453 when it was conquered by the Turks. (Muslims)





The only vestiges of pacifism left in the world for the next thousand years were in the east. Various sects of buddism and other eastern mystic religions practiced pacifism.

In Europe different religious groups like the Amish and the Mennonites practiced pacifism. Perhaps the best known in the US were the Quakers. In the present day pacifism seems to be the politically correct thing to be. In liberal circles pacifism is almost worn like a badge of honor. Some talk it, others sincerely walk it. My friend Helen Losse at Windows Toward the World, I believe, is someone who truly walks it.

I believe pacifism is a wonderful ideal. The problem I believe, is that we live in a sinful world. There is always someone who wants to hurt another. A country that wants more. A religion who's creed is domination, or people who murder, rape and pillage in the name of that religion.

Who then, is here to protect the pacifists?


Larry

There They Go Again


It seems we can't get a break from the left or the right.
The following is an email response I sent to Paul Chesser, regarding a column he wrote for The American Spectator. My comments were directed specifically to what he had to say about average church goers being "politically aware". I did a double take when I first read it and I must say I was a bit irritated. The gist of his column was beware of categorizing evangelicals, yet that is just what he did. Anyway my letter is below.

Larry


I want to thank you for doing exactly what you accuse everyone else of in your column "Values Apply to All " My favorite sentence was "But go to your local evangelistic Christian church on any Sunday and ask the politically aware (few are, sadly) what their chief concerns are about the country, and the answers will be little, if any, different from what you hear from anyone else." Thank you for 100% missing the boat. It seems you are just as ignorant as the rest of the media/pundit/Hollywood crowd when it comes to what your average Christian is thinking. I don't mean that as insult but as a sad fact.

I attend a small Baptist Church just outside of Houston, Texas. We have a nice cross section of America who attend. Blue collar, white collar, young old, poor, and wealthy. Engineers, police officers, teachers, secretarys, sales people, machinists, mechanics, ditch-diggers etc. In the three and a half years I have been a member of this congregation I have never had a discussion with anyone about, "Issue No. 1 likely is: Do I have the promise of a job to provide for my family? No. 2 (and closely related to No. 1): Can I afford in the current economy to meet my family's needs? Never, not once and I am usually there three or four days out of the week. I lead a ministry and serve in other capacities. (When I am not there I am out pounding the pavement to make a living.)

Here's a slice of recent discussion topics.
Gas prices, we grumble and gripe but what can you do.
The war in Iraq, it stinks but it is necessary. There is usually someone in the military on our prayer list each week. We are always praying for our troops.
Iran, why haven't we destroyed the mullahs? We know they have caused most of the problems in the middle east since Carter. Why haven't we bombed them into the stone age? Why haven't we done the same to Syria? I know I know, how can you say that and be a Christian. You see, we who aren't so "politically aware" know that without freedom we will be back in the arena fighting off lions. We know the consequences of Iran nuking Haifa, or Tel Aviv. We also know Iraq, Iran, N. Korea, Syria, and Hezbollah are all connected and the sooner they are dealt with the fewer lives lost.
These are actually rare conversations. We don't go to church to solve the world's problems. We go to praise and worship Christ our Saviour. To fellowship and serve. To love our God with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We don't always do a good job, we screw up a lot but, we don't stop trying. We all have a sinful nature, but Christ has made it possible by His death on the cross that we can be saved. He died for all of us. You, me, and even the mullahs. Our job is to accept, to have faith, to surrender to him. If we don't nothing can save us and we are then truly dead.

I am linking your article to my blog.

Thanks



Larry Hicks
ldhix@pdq.net
http://hallelujahs.blogspot.com/
To hear some Good News, click here.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Home is Where the Heart is


Holy Cow! This is it! Home sweet Home! We are finally moved in. We are finally growing roots! Deep roots I hope. My father was telling me, "I hope we don't have to do this again." I said, hopefully not for twenty years at least.

I am so happy, Lisa is too. This is almost like a dream. God has blessed us immensely. I cannot help but think that he will use this home for some type of outreach. I mean, it's just too sweet. The way we fell into it was just amazing! When first offered my wife and I were just overwhelmed. We turned it down several times but it kept coming back. I really feel we are in the right place. We need to make sure we use it for His purpose.

I need help. I want a plaque on the front and back door that has the verse "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Any Ideas on where to something like that?

Talk again to you soon


Larry

Friday, July 28, 2006

In Transition

Hey there, Just thought I would let y'all know that to day and tomorrow is moving day. It may be tough to post. I hope your weekend is blessed, I will be posting when I can.

I wanted to leave this link. It offers the best definition I have read regarding what is going on in the middle east. You can read it here.


Larry

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Survived!

Two years in a row! I have managed to survive. Two years in a row!
As I have said before, I am surrounded by girls. Seven in all. Even our pets are female!

Saturday was my daughter's Ninth birthday party. The Second one I have survived! What makes these last two parties so dangerous you ask?

Last year we continued on with my wife's tradition of having a slumber party each year for Lexie's birthday. My wife Lisa, (who really should plan parties for a living) always has tons of games planned to keep the girls occupied. On Lex's eighth birthday she invited twelve girls to stay over for her party. Lisa cooked up tons of games. Girlie games. Tie the ribbons to the flip-flops, pinata, princess wands etc. Now usually I am the police, the man who keeps the kids from getting too obnoxius and getting into things they shouldn't. IE, staying out of mom and dads bedroom, keeping the peace, and pulling the rope on the pinata. Last year this changed.

My wife invented a new game, based on the hit series American Idol. The contest was judged on two parts, dancing and singing. Other than that Lisa really didn't have it figured out. She was going to play it by ear that fateful Saturday night. Little did I know my bystander days were over forever.

My stepdaughter, Tara, was nine months pregnant with her now one year old daughter Madelyn Brook Juliano. Maddie decided Saturday night was her big coming out party!.

So, guess where my wife went? Guess who was now in charge of 12 girls ages six to ten? You got it, ME!! DUN DUN DAAAA! (pretend it's dramatic music)

Yes thats right me. I go from bystander, protecter of the bedroom to, The man! I must say, everything went off quite well. We played all the games my wife had created. Mall scavenger hunt, princess, team flip-flop ribbon putter onner etc. Only one hitch, I had no idea how to do the American Idol contest. Lex, was upset. Of course we had had soo much fun doing everything else. One thing was missing and it was all she could focus on. I had to think of someway to make it right. And Quickly.

Between you and I, a legend was born that night. A hero and character so profound the land of birthday celebrations will never, ever, be the same. American Idol did go on that night and it was a smashing success. We even had a host. Alas Ryan Secrest couldn't make it. So we had to make do with his goofy english brother.

Corky









Yes, Ryan's mentally challenged lounge singing English brother, Mr. Corky arrived to save the day. Corky hosted birthday American Idol. Last year 12 girls competed and only one was crowned. Corky saved the day!

This year was a bit different. With the move to the new house, and us being a bit dislocated we couldn't have as many girls, we had only six but Mr. Corky made it just as fun.

And yes, I did survive to tell the tale.







Till Next Year.


Corky
(oops)

Larry



Monday, July 24, 2006

Moving Week

Gotta tell you guys, I am moving this week! Hoorayy! Back to the real world. Staying with the folks has been safe harbor since my surgery but it is time to go. We signed our papers on our house today and had a paint party tonight. My posting may be a bit spotty the rest of the week. I will try and post as much as I can, but truth be told I'm so busy I can't see straight. Work and getting the house ready is consuming enormous amounts of time. Bear with me I will post as much as I can.

I just want to mention how wonderful my life is. Not from material things but, from my blessings from Christ. I have so many people helping me. I could never have imagined this four years ago.

Not only that, but all of you who have prayed for my recovery.

Thanks will never be enough.


Larry

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tired Again?

You know, I just can't figure out why I am so tired all the time when I blog. Oh yeah! It's usually late whenever I do it. Here we are at midnight again! I have noticed that I slip the most when I am tired. My prayer life shrinks, my behavior gets courser (language) and my thought slip.

It is so hard for me to go to bed. Since my return, my days are so jammed that I have to wait till it's late to get the "me-time" stuff done. Thats ok though, if my days are busy it means business is good and I am making a living. One of my blogging friends was writing of the opposite today, learning how to relax, her post is here.

I have been doing well each day staying focused on Jesus. Each night I pray that he empty my cup when I go to bed. This way I start empty each morning. And of course, my morning prayer is for Him to fill it. I stay concious of my Father throughout the day. This has been working well for me. My weeks have been fruitful. It's the days I stray when I struggle. I pray I can maintain this pattern. I have to remember, consistency.

I will leave you with a poem from another one of my blog friends. It is called Telescope Eyes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. In fact, I'm going to ask Helen if I can print it and frame it. I liked it so much.


Till Tomorrow!


Larry


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Warm Springs Church

I will be totally honest, I could not think of a single thing to blog about this evening. So I decided to choose one of my favorite pictures and write about it.

This is a fantastic old church my wife and I saw when we visited Warm Springs, Georgia We had been staying at Callaway Gardens, and one of our day trips was to Warm Springs.

Warm Springs of course was the home of Franklin D Roosevelt. He stayed there to bathe in the mineral waters the town was famous for. Roosevelt suffered from polio. People came here from all over the United States to get relief from the crippling disease.


Enjoy the picture.

I am hoping for no more writers block tomorrow.


Blessings!


Larry Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Consistency


I am pooped. It has been a long day.
My family owns a small insurance agency here in Humble, Texas, in the Houston area. Dad has been in the business for over thirty years. Me? A drop in the bucket but getting better. I have been working for dad almost four years. I manage all of our group major medical accounts. I am also responsible for bringing in new clients. I go out and try to bring home at least two new applications (insurance policies) a day. That is my goal. It is more complicated than that but I can't get more detailed without mentioning the companies I represent. (legal issues and stuff) Suffice it to say I sell great products that really help folks.

Before the surgery I had a problem with consistency. I get a base salary plus commision, and each new policy I sell gives me some up front cash and additional monthly income. Pre-surgery I would hustle and sell a bunch at a time, then slack off. Bunch at a time, slack off. On agan then off again etc. Paying the bills was as inconsistant as the commission checks. This is not good. It gets you behind. It also activates my wife's security gland. For those of you not familiar with this part of the female anatomy, it is right beside her heart. It goes spastic when money gets tight and the bills are late.

So part of the new me back at work is consistency. I want to make my wife feel secure and happy. I also love our new house we are moving into. I don't want to feel overwhelmed. I don't want to have to worry about moolah! Period. Plus God wants me to manage my gifts better.

Anyway, I'm not sure where I was going with this. I started this post to whine about how tired I am tonight. Ha! See? I can't even whine anymore without making a point about something.

Thank God for my Life. It is so cool. I can't wait to see whats next.


Larry

Monday, July 17, 2006

Direct Amends Wherever Possible

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5, 24-25

Let me tell you what I have been stressing about. Then let me tell you how God physically reminded me that there is no escape from the right path.
I have posted before about my struggles with making amends in Stuck in Slow Motion.
Today God made a serious breakthrough in my recovery. I had no choice. I was completely out of the loop. I have seen God work changes in others almost immediately but I have never personally experienced a burning bush until today.

I will break this down exactly as it happened.

The last two weeks have been difficult at Celebrate Recovery. I have had a real issue with another member on our leadership team that has still not been resolved. It has to do with this person's commitment to being honest and sincere in our small group and being honest in general. I have been reluctant to confront this person because of my own co-dependency. So today I am thinking I have to handle this. I cannot let this go on. I leave a message for this person and it hits me. How can I be down on this person for their recovery when I have been stalled on my ninth step. The ninth step for those of you who don't know is this.

We made direct amends to such people when ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

I admit it. I have been a total coward on this step. There are two primary people whom I need to ask forgiveness from. These things occured over four years ago before I went into recovery. One involves betrayal of a best friend and mentor. The other I took complete advantage of while renting their home.

About six months ago I noticed Sam (names have been changed of course.) in a parking lot of the building I attend corporate sales meetings at. I like to have died. Sam was my former boss and best friend I had betrayed in the depths of my addiction. I was talking on my cell phone, I walked on by hoping he didn't run up and smack me. I don't know whether or not he saw me but I was relieved there was no confrontation. I saw Sam a few more times after that. In the parking lot and clever fellow that I am, deduced he was officing out of the building. I even did some detective work and figured out which office was his. From that moment forward I knew was going to have to approach him and ask for his forgiveness. I avoided it like the plague but it continued to be a burden on my heart.

Flash back to today. This morning I was trying to decide how to confront my fellow Celebrate Recovery member on getting real and it hit me. How can I tell him to get real when I won't even finish my ninth step? I made up my mind. After my sales meeting this morning I would see Sam, ask him for forgiveness and then go and confront my friend.

I leave my meeting and then walk through the building to where Sam's office is and I chickened out. I could not make myself walk in the door. I took a breath and here comes the old feelings of worthlessness and shame. All of a sudden I needed to answer the call of nature. Head down I walked into the restroom. I used the facilities and slowly made for the building exit.

I open then door and walk into the bright lit Texas sky and guess who is coming up the walkway? Sam.

I had no escape. There was no way we could miss each other. The only way I could have gotten away would have been to jump the hedges. He was talking on his cell phone. I waited, smiling up at the sky. I knew this was all Christ's doing. He hung up and we shook hands. I looked him in the eye and right there asked him to forgive me for what I had done. He was a bit taken aback and said that it was all right. I said no, it wasn't all right what I did was wrong and please forgive me. He did. We made some inconsequential small talk, (nervousness) I gave him my card and we left it at that.

I kind of walked on air all the way back to my car. I knew what my Savior had done for me. Not just in arranging Sam and I to meet but His dying on the cross for my sins. I know now I had nothing to fear in taking this step. This has been another nail in the coffin for fear in my life. I'll invite y'all to the wake.



Larry


Sunday, July 16, 2006

There's No Place Like Home


I want to apologize. I have been completely slack in my posting. I have a lot going on. As I recently posted I am back at work full blast. Very tiring, I am no longer headed for the couch in the early afternoon. I go all day now.

Also my wife and I are also getting ready to move! Yea! We have been staying with my parents since my surgery. It has been a safe haven here but it is time to get back to the real word.

Our mortgage company found us our dream house. It is a huge home in a great neighborhood. Lots of trees, yards, and rooms. A little large for us but perfect. God has answered our prayers. I'll post pictures of it sometimes next week. This has been my other time killer, getting the house ready tomove in. We have been cleaning and painting. There is only so much I can do. I still can't lift more than five pounds and I still can't bend very well. (I'm really not supposed to bend at all.) Thank God lots of men at our church have offered to move us.

One true test of a pure friend is one who will help you move. This would be twice in six months guys from church have moved us. We are so blessed. I wanted to let all of you know, my posting may be sporadic for the next two weeks but once we are settled I will be back on schedule. We will always consider our home to be a house of the Lord. To be used as He sees fit. It will always be his.

It couldn't have happened without lots of prayer.



Larry

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Turning it over





I have mentioned in several posts about fear. The kind of fear that would paralyze me into inaction. Below are the top four.
  1. Fear of being judged
  2. Fear of rejection
  3. Fear of confrontation
  4. Fear of failure
Since the surgery my view of fear has gone from inaction, to utilizing my steps to deal with it. Pretty cool huh?

Easy? No. But I am getting there.

Today I was at one of my accounts. One of my more difficult ones. The owner is very forceful and aggressive. Good man, but for me extremely intimidating. I usually kind of sneak in, take care of my clients and sneak out. He's a very busy guy and views what I do as disruptive to his business. Anyway I go in. Make my manners to the office manager and head off to where I do my thing in the shop. I walk in the door and there he is, surrounded by five or six of his foremen right by the door I have to go through. My heart starts beating rapidly. Mask goes on, lips contort into a smile, hand goes up in a casual wave, he slightly tips his head at me and I make it into the break room. As I am setting up my stuff I can hear him really getting after his guys.

Evidently a client was really nagging him about getting an order filled more quickly. The owner was saying "You guys get this done so I can get this blankety blank blank blank, blankhead of my back". (paraphasing of course) He was really getting after it. Of couse in my mind, I am next. The guy he was talking about wasn't there, but I was. All I could think of was, I'm next and I'm about to be judged and humiliated in front of all these guys. Talk about ready to leave.

All this went through my mind in a nano-second.

Wait, wait I think. Romans 8-15 pops in my head. You did not recieve a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear but, you recieved the spirit of sonship. And by him cry Abba, Father.

My heartbeat returns to normal and the 12 steps come back to me.
  1. Realize I am powerless. I have no control over this man
  2. Remember that God is in control
  3. And then I turned it all over to God
I began to pray for the owner of this company. I prayed that he would not be driven by his own fears. That he would take time and enjoy the abundance God has gifted him with.

The meeting they were having broke up and I finished setting up my equipment. I realized I wasn't afraid anymore. I was at peace. Amazing huh? I went on to have a very successful day with the guys I was there to see.

It really does work if you work it.


Larry

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Update and Correction

Sorry folks, I made some errors in my post yesterday about the "Headbutt Heard Round the World." First off french guy's name is Zidane not Zildane. Second, Mazzerati was the guy who was headbutted, not Zidane's last name. Told y'all I don't know beans about soccer. Oh well.

I haven't been able to focus on blogging as much lately because I have been back at work full force. Not just a little but Eight to Five thirty every day. It is actually very exciting to be back. I still have moments where I feel drop dead exhausted but praise God I am making money again. I am in sales, I was concerned about being motivated enough to get back out there. So far I have met my daily goal that I set for myself.

I apologize for not getting around to all of my blogging friends recently. It has been hard to set aside the time. I am figuring it out my "blogging time" and will be back commenting soon. I did add to my blogroll over the weekend and plan to add more this Sunday.

I do want to thank all of you one more time for your prayers and support before my surgery and during my recovery. It meant a lot knowing you were there. I still have a long way to go on my road to recovery and with God's help and your prayers I will arrive safely.

Blessings!

Larry


Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup Follies Part 2

I have seen this picture all day.
On the internet, the local paper and tv.
Seems like everywhere I turn, there it is.
Had no idea what it was about.

Evidently the guy on the left is some kind of soccer bad boy, Zildane Matteratti?. (hope I spelled it right.) Anyway, I was surfing Technorati tonight, and saw the picture again. So I clicked on it and was brought to this to this site. The title of the post was "The Headbutt Heard Round the World". The post included a video of the event which is in french.

I decided to share with you my analysis.

Dude on the right was talking a little trash to the dude on the left, Zildane. This makes him not so happy. They move up field like everything is just dandy. Zildane then sneakily but forcefully headbutts dude in the chest. LOL! no kidding. Smacks the guy right in the pecs with his head. He really laid this guy out. What cracked me up was the totally underhanded way he did it.

Watch the video, Zildane continues playing, everything is normal and then BAM! he lunges right into him. I'm not going going to stereo-type the french but I thought this was pretty lame.

Let me put this into context for you. Imagine a batter in a baseball game brushed back or hit by a pitch. He takes his base like normal, not charging the mound. He ends up on second base and then charges the pitcher from behind, knocking him to the ground. Be a good sport for crying out loud. If the guy said something about your mother or your country be up front about it. Defend your honor, don't be sneaky. This would be a bench clearing brawl at an Astros'/Cubs game.



It just goes to show, I know nothing about soccer. "Thats right Larry!" you say. "Can't appreciate it if you don't understand it." I just don't think thats true. I don't have a clue about hockey but I like watching it. Go figure.


Larry

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Christian Moments That Change Forever

I have been promising to write about a few epiphanies I have recently experienced. You know, those moments where your thinking changes forever?

I wrote a post in June titled Whats the Point? I wrote of several life changing events in my life. Among them, being born, becoming a christian, meeting my wife etc. I am pretty sure after this week I'm going to have to add a few.

First epiphany. For Fathers' Day I purchased a book by Paul Coughlin titled "No More Christian Nice Guy". I stumbled across this tome while searching for the Ideal Dad's day gift for my father. Our men's bible study group at church has been trying to figure out how to get more guys involved in our church. A very nice lady at our local christian bookstore was kind enought to point this book out to me. Bells ring! This clicks with what dad has been working on. Round peg, round hole, Happy Fathers Day.

A day or two goes by. I pick up the book and start reading it. You could have knocked me over with a brick. The Author and I have something in common. A life ruled by fear. Even though we have a lot of differences there were still many similarities. But the common denominator was fear. While recovering from my surgery I have had a lot of time to think. I believe God has used this time to wean me off of fear and this book was the icing on the cake. I understand the author's gut wrenching fear he experienced in childhood. The lack of worth. When you read about his experience, if you can relate at all, you will vividly understand. Paul brings it to life. I recomend any man struggling in life with this stuff to read this book.

People don't understand that most of what we struggle with is fear driven. Addiction, co-dependency, lying, pornography, alcoholism all are fear based. I want to share the verses he put in the book that got my attention. The ones I have been meditating on. Jeremiah 29:12 If you invoke Me and pray to Me. I will listen to you. We know this but do we really? We say it, we read it but do we know it. Roll it into John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble. But Take Heart! I have overcome the world." Fear is starting to tremble now. We all know we have problems but Jesus is saying It's gonna happen, people are going to pick on you. Abuse you. Not treat you right. But look, It isn't anything I haven't experienced. I have conquered the Grave! I have overcome the world! I will take care of you! How awesome is that. Thank God for Paul Coughlin putting this together. I needed to see the context. In my mind I knew these things but not in my heart. The last verse will blow you away. Romans 8:15 "You did not recieve a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you recieved the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father."

Epiphany number two, I have also been reading Lee Strobel's "The Case For Faith," a book about the eight "heart barriers to faith". Examples, Since evil and suffering exist, a loving God Cannot, Evolution explains life so God isn't needed. Strobel is a former atheist and investigative reporter who uses his investigative skills to track down answers to tough questions we have regarding faith in God.

Stobel was interviewing Peter Kreeft a professor of philosophy at Boston College. I plan on reading much more of Kreeft's writings. What follows is the climax to the question of how can God exist if he allows suffering.

This is what blew me away. Strobel asks, "The answer, then, to suffering. Is not an answer at all."

Kreeft responds. "Correct, It's the answerer. It's Jesus Himself. It's not a bunch of words, it's the Word. It's not a tightly woven philosphical argument; it's a person. The person. The answer must be someone, not just something, because the issue involves someone--God, where are you? Jesus is there, sitting beside us in the lowest places of our lives, Are we broken? He was broken, like the bread, for us. Are we despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do we cry out that we can't take any more? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Do people betray us? He was sold out himself. Are our tenderest relationships broken? He too loved and was rejected. Do people turn from us? They hid their faces from him as from a leper." "Does he descend into all of our hells? Yes, he does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote: 'No matter how deep our darkness, he is deeper still.' He not only rose from the dead, he changed the meaning of death and therefore of all the little deaths--the sufferings that anticipate death and make up parts of it. He is gassed in Auschwitz, He is sneered at in Soweto. He is mocked in Northern Ireland. He is enslaved in the Sudan. He's the one we love to hate, yet to us he has chosen to return love. Every tear we shed becomes his tear. He may not wipe them away yet, but he will."

Is it any wonder I have been so tied up in deep thought? There are moments in your life that change your thinking forever. I think this week was one of them.


Larry





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