Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Staying and Resting


How hard is it? To stay and Rest in God.

For me? the hardest of all.

I don't want to be alone with my own thoughts, much less with the God of the universe who pierces the darkness of my thoughts like a two edged sword.




I'm like a child who puts his hands over his eyes thinking he can't be seen.

How foolish, But He's got me none-the-less.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Litter Box of Life












We used to have a cat. Her name was Fancy. I was begged into it by my then five year old Alexis, and my wife, Lisa. I thought of their happiness verses the inevietable duties that would follow. Cleaning the litter box. After careful consideration, (all it took was the desperate looks on their faces that would have melted the heart of the abomidable snowman) I relented, under one condition, they would be responsible for feeding her, and changing out the litterbox. A job that is disgusting, and as smelly as a porta-can at a five day Lollapalooza concert.

Eventually, it became a battle of wills as to who would clean out the litter box. It became, a competition to see who would give in first, my wife or me. Niether of us wanted anything to do with that box. In doing so it became an eyesore and the smell would knock a buzzard off an outhouse. The poor cat was doing all she could to cover up her mess. Eventually she would move outside her box and go on the carpet.

Before you cat-lovers start gasping in anger, I know some of you have been here before. Finally, one of us (usually me) would change it out.

With my background being recovery, it occurs to me that individually, our lives can be like a giant litterbox. We are all sinners, and I imagine that our sins are that foul smelling to God. We run through life filling up our litter box with sin and because of the stench we don't want to deal with it. So it continues to rise until it spills over into other peoples lives; spouses, sons and daughters, parents, and friends.

James 5:16, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

How smelly is your litterbox? What are you doing to clean it out? When life gets crazy and all bejiggidy are you taking a look at your part in it? Do you have someone you trust that you can confess your sins to?

Do you have a nice large hefty trash bag to drop your litter in that won't break, so you can get it to the big can in the garage with the snap tight lid? God has a dumpster big enough for the worst mess if you will let him have it.

As for Fancy, she turned out to be a long haired cat that began to wreak havok on my daughters asthma. We had to find her a new home.

Now the competition is over cleaning out the mini fish tank. Ooo, I sense another analogy here.

Nevermind, the last one was bad enough.

Larry

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hectic Hurley Burley















I have always wanted to use that title for a blog post. Now is as good a time as any. Thats what the last few weeks have been like. A crazy hurley burley mess. Or ginormous cluster, oh well you get the idea. However, as crazy as its been, much has been accomplished.

First, I am back in ministry. Celebrate Recovery to be exact. It has been exciting and scary at the same time. After all I have been away actively for three years. I started off with leadership training on a few Saturdays, and did my testimony on a Tuesday night.

Amazing, I had to rewrite it from my generic, pitch CR to the congregation testimony to keeping it real, and unfettered! It felt good, being honest about everything and leaving nothing sanitized. I processed four years of unvarnished hurts, habits, and hang-ups in one fell swoop, as well as much experience strength and hope. It was balanced, and impactful. God indeed, never wastes a hurt.

Other chapters in my life are coming to a close and I am happy for that as well.

I started back to school after Spring Break only to come down with a nasty case of bronchitis. Thank God it wasn't as bad as the last. I have recovered after three days.

So now I am trying to gear up to finish this semester at school strong. I am getting organized, focusing my time, and writing papers. Its going to be a tough busy push, but well worth it. Only one more year at school and I graduate!

Thank God he has brought me this far!

I wish all of you a blessed Easter weekend. Never forget what he has done for us!

He has risen indeed!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Think I've Got it!





Finally! One of my goals this week was to get the blog re-tweeked and fix the disaster of the last template I tried. The pressure of mid-terms kept me from it.

I like the new look! If any of you have suggestions please leave a comment. Feel free to give me a thumbs up or thumbs down review.

A blog is nothing without content and I hope to return regularly. I say this with the best of intentions however, it is really hard for me to find time for a sneeze much less blog. I will do the best I can, and I totally appreciate the prayers and support.

Cool news, my hibernation from ministry is over. I have been commanded (after I whined like a little girl becuase I couldn't figure out how to find time to get back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing.) by my academic advisor, Dr. Mays, to explore intern possibilities with a CR group. So, on Tuesday nights I have been back to Celebrate Recovery! (it was never lost, it was just hard to go due to my work schedule!) Since school comes first, I now have Tuesdays off. Woohoo, God is Great!

They are struggling to find men who are able to be leaders, God put us together right on time. Next Tuesday I am giving my testimony at New Beginnings Baptist Church, here in Longview. I am a bit petrified. My testimony has so many additions since the last time I gave it, I have to rewrite it.

The people at this CR are amazing! I had visited a few times a year ago but never connected. (you have to go back to do that!) I am so super-psyched that this bunch seems to be as sick, if not sicker than I am! I totally mean that as a compliment too. I feel very at home there. If your around Longview next Tuesday come check it out.

Last but not least, I am going to re-make the blogroll. (Helen, your already in. :) I am also going to add some of my new Twitter friends. If you are interested in being added please post a comment, twitter, or facebook me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Piper on the Berm

Life has been pretty intense lately. Stress has been following me around like one of David Letterman's stalkers. The primary stressor has been Greek. Missing one day of work means losing a week. My schedule breaks down like this.

School, 15 hours a week, not counting homework time.
Work, 35 to 40 hours a week, all nights primarily.
Family, and life in general, Full time.

Like one of the Flying Wallendas, one little gust of wind can push me over the edge, and into the abyss. If crisis occurs it completely throws me off. Weekend before last I broke a rib. Down time? A day in a half. Therefore, I have been playing Greek catch up for a week. Three am has been my bed time.

Today, I finished catching up, and walked over to my Greek professor's office. On the way I discovered the piper playing on the berm. One could almost imagine the clans gathering for battle on the Scottish moor. I love bagpipes. In fact, when I die, my only last wish is to have them played at my funeral. (morbid I know) I want Amazing Grace piped when they lower me into the ground. Oops, I'm digressing.

I never have time to stop and just be. Today, when I heard the piper, I stopped, plopped down on the grass like a hippy at Woodstock, and was still. The sun warmed my face, the grass was semi-green, and in that moment, all was right with the world.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Beginnings
















I hope everybody likes the new settings of Hallelujahs. There will be more to come in this revamping of my blog. It has been too long since I have given it the attention it deserves.

I appreciate all of you guys who have stuck with me so long, and I am grateful for all of the new friends I have met since beginning in 2006. It has been a long wonderful road and I hope my bipolar rants on life, recovery, and my poor attempts at being political, have struck a chord somewhere.

Its funny, at one time I thought this would be a political blog, but I found I didn't  have the desire to add to the flotsam and jetsam already out there.

So, I will stick to what I know best, recovery, my crazy life, and the blessings God has given me in the good times and bad. I have recently added a direct feed to twitter, facebook, and rss. Yikes! this means I will have to start writing a lot more!. I hope to make new friends, find new blogs to enjoy, and continue to share my sick sense of humor.

Over the next few weeks I will be adjusting my blogroll and tweaking other things.

I could not be here today if it weren't for God placing all of you in my life.

Thanks!

Larry

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recovery and Pain

What are we supposed to do when pain rears its ugly head and we are in recovery? Like a starving man on a deserted island, do I want water or food first?

I'm not talking about a headache or a little booboo on our toe, but real agonizing pain. The kind that disolves sleep, and prevents you from breathing. In my years of struggling with back pain I have realized, sometimes narcotic pain pills are the the only things that work.

Before my back surgery the only way I could function was to be on meds full time. Nothing else would touch the pain. If I wanted to get out of bed and go to work; I had to do what I had to do. Eventually I knew there would be a price to pay, and I paid it. It was one of the most suckish experiences of my life. It actually took me longer to recover getting off the pain meds than it did to recover from the surgery itself.

A week or so ago, I managed to bruise a couple of ribs on my upper right side. When I was at work Saturday night they broke. AGONY!! Like two children screaming in my ear, I couldn't move, breathe, laugh, or even get the hiccups without hurting. I finished my shift and headed straight to the emergency room.

They gave me a shot, which put me in lala land and took xrays. They saw more than they wanted because they then sent me in for a catscan. This is all fuzzy to me. Diagnoses? Fractured rib. BTW? Don't facebook or twitter when you are in this state of mind. I should have had my wife not give me my phone. (what you say will make no sense).

I was sent home with pain medication and prescription strength ibuprofen. Yesterday I stayed medicated and in bed. Today? Pain or not I had to get moving back into a routine. Time waits for no one, and my time was marching up my ribcage, like the Marine Corps marching band headed towards the barracks.

I have not taken anything stronger than my ibuprofen today for my pain. Tonight I return to work and will problably take something stronger when I get home.

I thank God he has taught me the lessons in life to avoid going back.

Larry

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Under Construction

Just a quick post. I have been playing around with a new format and have uploaded the current one. I think its pretty amazing. However, there are some glitches I have to attempt to fix. Please bear with me for the next day or so while I iron them out.




Thanks


Much Grace to You.


Larry

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reflection


This post is a reflection paper I wrote on Robert E. Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism. It was a three page assignment covering how we could apply Jesus' methods of evangelism. First published in 1963, the book is a classic because Coleman takes us through the Gospels step by step, and shows us how Jesus taught the Disciples to carry on his mission after He Ascended. This book is a must read for any Christian, but more so for Pastors and church leadership no matter what the denomination. It is truly sad that this book and Jesus' methods aren't utilized as they should be. If so, the Church, Christianity, and today's culture would look very different today.



He Stayed With Them.


Why are we so drawn to buddy movies? One of my favorite mini-series is Band of Brothers. It is about a company of paratroopers in World War II. They trained together, fought together and in some cases were wounded, and died together. However, the men who survived the experience developed a bond that was never broken even 50 years later.






During my Celebrate Recovery days, in Humble, I had a similar group, whom I called my band of brothers. We were with each other in recovery and we taught others how to live a Christ centered life in recovery. We rescued each other, learned from each other, and called each other on our stuff. We were a team that forged a bond that has not been broken. Now we are scattered, and are attempting to spread what we learned from Christ, the Bible, and our program.


Unwittingly we were following a model Jesus created. Just as Jesus selected the men who were his disciples, I believe He, through the Holy Spirit put us together. Jesus and his "Band of Brothers" ate together, prayed together and shared their triumphs and failures with one another. Throughout this time, He taught the raucous band of blue collar hillbillies, and a tax collector, what was needed to carry His message to the world. It couldn't have been easy, they were obdurate, and at times egotistical. However, after Christ's ascension, and the Holy Spirit's descent, they laid the foundations of Jesus' church that conquered the world!


If I am ever blessed to be in a position of authority in ministry again, I would cultivate such friendships. We would learn from each other, pray with each other and through us create other small groups of 'brothers' to ripple out like a stone in water. Ultimately the effects may carry revival through the church, community, and possibly the world.


He Showed Them How to Live


No one led by example better than Jesus. He was tempted but did not sin. He was the creator of heaven and earth, yet he humbled Himself to take on the trappings of our flesh. Jesus did not sit under a shade tree, drink wine, eat delicacies, and order his people about. He led from the front. He never asked the disciples to do anything he hadn't done first. Most important he didn't ask them to die for Him, until He had died for them. All of the disciples except for John died carrying His message.



This is the example we must follow as we move into leadership positions of a church. Yes, delegation is important, and Jesus delegated, but we cannot ask fellow ministers, employees, and parishioners to do things we ourselves aren't willing to do. Even if that means we clean toilets and help with janitorial duties. We cannot sit on the sidelines and bark orders. We must get out into life and get our hands dirty.


Pastors are always telling us, "bring people to church", "go witness". At no time in my experiences in church did I ever see a pastor in public doing this type of thing. The one time I did see a "mega-pastor" and spoke with him he was mega-condescending. Jesus showed us how to pray, and when he was with the disciples, he led by example. He went off to pray by himself. Why is it that after some years of church I have never seen a preacher show us how to pray, or to teach us how he prays?


Jesus never forgot even the smallest iota of information. We have the Gospels, but as John said in his, there aren't enough pages in the world to tell all of the things Jesus said and did. We must follow the Master's example and lead by it.


He Expected Them to Reproduce


Just as God told Adam and Eve to "Be fruitful and multiply", so Jesus gave us the Great Commission. He wanted His message, which he promised Abraham would be a light to the world, culminating in Jesus, to be spread. Indeed it was, within 500 years after Jesus rose to heaven the known world was conquered by His church. How did they do this, and how do we do it today?




The disciples took it to the culture! Paul went to the Gentiles, he was able to relate to them and their culture. He was able to take his scholarship of Judaism and the message of Christ and filter it to the Greeks in the language of their culture. His example enabled the churches he founded to continue spreading the Gospel until the Empire was overturned to Christ.


The new wine must be people! Not programs, events, or the hottest, pop culture, Christian writer conference of the day. One quote hit me as I was reading this book, "where are our men? What are they doing for the church?" Seriously, what are the thousands of people who sit in church pews everyday doing for the Kingdom of God?


In any given situation the ratio is ten percent. Ten percent of the people do a hundred percent of the work. How do we get the other 90 percent out there doing? We must 1, Lead by example. 2, create a Band of Brothers, stay with them, train them, and have them multiply outward. 3. People are the masters of our fragmented culture. People are the ones who can relate Christ to the unreached in their sub-group. (Bikers, gamers, recovery, accounting, hunting, artists etc.)




Jesus selected his followers and trained them in the way they should go. His method has lasted for two thousand years. There are times it is forgotten. Every so often, it is grasped again and hugged like an old friend not seen in years. This is one of those times. We must grasp His method and like our predecessors lay the ground work needed to conquer the world.

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