Saturday, July 2, 2011

Oath Schmoath


Please excuse the grammar in this wife/proofreader is out of town

Whatever happened to oaths? In fact if you read that this word on its own it sounds kind of goofy. Typically I think of an “Oath” as a solemn contract reserved for super duper special entities such as marriages, legal contracts and military personnel. But this morning I woke up convicted and challenged about some of the other innocuous “oaths” I have made....and broken such as plans to hang out with friends or plans to set aside time each day for meditation or study. Jesus says in Matt. 5, “let your yes be your yes and your no be your no” Recently I have taken a lot of license with my yeses and noses. (heehee) When I started this blog I committed to writing at least one blog a week. For the past couple of weeks I have broken this oath. Not only that but twice this week I committed to plans with other people and broken my word and I am already planning on breaking another oath I made next week because I accidentally double booked myself. I would like to justify my actions or excuse them but the truth of the matter is that I made an oath to others and didn't follow through. While it is true that inevitable circumstances arise where keeping oaths isn't always possible you and I both know that all to often we use “great excuses” to get out of obligations we really don't feel like participating in.

So what are the repercussions for not keeping oaths? Well besides the fact that my integrity takes a hit every time I back away from an oath I also feel that breaking little oaths are kind of a gateway drug to breaking the big ones....(you are free to disagree....but you're wrong)

The only way to guarantee that I am protecting the two most sacred oaths I have made. 1) to serve God with all my heart and 2) To faithfully cherish my wife, is by being a man of integrity and guarding my heart and commitments in the small seemingly insignificant oaths that I make everyday.

So I apologize for not having a post up for the past few weeks.....I ask for your forgiveness and patience as I realign my priorities and begin to renew my commitment to my yes being my yes and my no being my no.

What do you think? How are you with the oaths you make? Is your yes your yes....or is it more of a tentative “maybe”?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Step #1 admitted that we were powerless...that our lives had become unmanageable...

A bunch of years ago I was working as a residential counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center for juvenile delinquents. My job was to be a custodial guardian for 6 teenage drug addicts who were in recovery. Each morning I would wake them up, ensure that they ate breakfast and did their chores, send them off to school, make sure they did their evening chores and then put them to bed. In addition to all the other functions of my job, one of my responsibilities was to take them to nightly Alcoholics anonymous meetings. It was at one of these A.A. meetings I had my world rocked. About ½ way through the meeting the speaker asked the question, “What lengths are you willing to go to in order to stay sober?” It was at this moment that I realized I was willing to go to any length. I stood up and started to stumble my way to the front of the group of about 60 people and with tears in my eyes and all the conviction I could muster, I blubbered out loud for the first time, “My name is Andy, and I'm an alcoholic.” In the midst of 60 awkward stares and a few looks of shock disrespect on the faces of the clients I counseled, I experienced peace.

You see, at that moment I knew that the awkwardness and instability of my immediate future was only a temporary discomfort in comparison to the immeasurable rewards that awaited me in recovery. I just didn't care anymore about what others thought. I only knew that things couldn't get any worse and that no matter what happened next, whether I was fired, or ridiculed for being a counselor at a drug rehab center while all along being a closet addict didn't matter to me anymore. All that I knew was that from this point on things were going to change.

I finally admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable and due to God's grace and my willingness to stay willing, I haven't taken anything stronger than a Tylenol in over 6 ½ years.

I often wonder what it would look like for a church community to mimic A.A. And to be as honest and thorough about going to any lengths to have peace, joy, contentment and deliverance from destructive behaviors. What do you and your community do to ensure a healthy honesty?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Time to Reminisce

One of Ruthy and my favorite things to do on our “date night” is to go to a Borders bookstore, pick a random relationship book off the shelf and then read a chapter out loud with one another and discuss it. We have probably done this a dozen times over the course of our marriage and have found the practice to be quite helpful to our relationship. (Coincidentally, us never actually purchasing a book from Borders has proven to be quite disastrous for them since they are now out of Business). One of the books we read was by Dr. John Gottman. Dr. Gottman said that one of the keys to a successful marriage is taking time to reminisce. Gottman says that couples who take the time to look through old photo albums together, recollect stories and share remembrances have a much greater success rate in maintaining a healthy marriage.

Recently Ruthy and I looked through a few photo albums of our 7 month honeymoon and had a great time remembering old stories and laughing at some of our more "inconvenient" memories. Below are a few of the highlights we remembered.

Navigating through 1000's of jellyfish while diving Taking the scariest taxi cab ride ever in Vietnam Starting off our SE Asia trip in the middle of a Civil War in Thailand.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Working with Ruthy

My wife is an incredibly hard worker. She is a marketing consultant for LivingSocial and all day, everyday she is hustling for business all over Tacoma. She is most definitely my 'sugarmomma.' I on the other hand am a part-time waiter who enjoys the more leisurely pursuits in life such as 'Hulu' and 'Angry Birds.' Due to my recent inspiration from John Adams (see Tuesday's blog) I have decided to mirror my wife's work week. I will work as many hours on serving Tacoma Community as my wife works at her job with LivingSocial....So far today I have totally followed through on my plans.

Ruthy-has burrowed her head in her computer since we arrived at the coffee shop at 11:00 and has not stopped making phone calls and appointments since we arrived. In an outstanding effort of equally matching her work effort I have spent the past 4 hours writing this blog post.....and taking the following picture.

I must admit I am doing a pretty darn good job of following through on my commitment.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inspired by John Adams

I'm still a little fuzzy on the details but unbeknownst to me I became an adult with adult interests. (If you don't believe me then please refer to my earlier use of the adult's only word 'unbeknownst'). Up until recently, the only books I read for fun involved choosing your own adventure, cowboys, Navy Seals or a ruddy reckless young wizard. Lately however I have been fascinated by reading biographies of famous people. Currently I am reading a great biography on John Adams.

I am only a couple of chapters into it but one story that is sticking out to me is as follows:

After years of hard work and sacrifice Adams finally becomes a practicing lawyer. During his very first case defending the plaintiff he is humiliated in court and loses his case on a technicality for not filling out the brief correctly. He is very embarrassed, his client is pissed off and the whole town of Braintree (small town where Adams lives) knows of his blunder. Frustrated and upset Adams goes home that night and writes in his journal, “It is my destiny to dig treasures with my own fingers.”

Adams' found out early on that any prestige or success he had in practicing law was going to come through a lot of sweat and hard work.

I too want to share this conviction of Adams, “It is my destiny to dig treasures with my own fingers.” However, sometimes I read scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11and think that I can just play Xbox until a miracle happens. Yes, God does have plans to prosper me (whatever that means) but, if I am not careful, I can easily fall into the trap of perpetually waiting for God to bless me and the ministry he has called me to rather than being faithful with the gifts, talents and abilities that he has entrusted me with. What do you think of what Adams says?

“It is my destiny to dig treasures with my own fingers”

How does this apply to how you practice your faith?

Monday, May 30, 2011

what does a closed door really look like?

Acts 5:41 shares that after some of the disciples were whipped and beaten for preaching in the streets they left their jail cells rejoicing and pumped because they had been found worthy of suffering for Jesus. Up until recently I had always read this passage and thought it meant that I should rejoice when I am persecuted for Jesus (which, in all honesty has never really happened in my life) So up until now I have always tucked away this lil tidbit “rejoice when persecuted” and put it up on the mental shelf next to all my other “good to know” factoids. Watching Man vs. Wild has taken up tons of mental shelf space....If I ever get cornered by a hissing cobra in Madagascar I totally know what to do..... However, yesterday I was reading through the book of Acts and a new revelation hit me:

The first century church considered it an honor to be persecuted for “The Way” They rejoiced because they had been found worthy of suffering for Christ. How different the early church responded to obstacles and persecution than I currently due as a privileged North American. I view obstacles or ridicule of my ministry as God intervening to “close doors.” The first century church viewed obstacles as concrete evidence that they were in fact experiencing God's favor.......Man have I got it backwards.....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WTD part 2

Ok, after reading my last "WTD" post my wife told me I had to go check out the blog, "Jesus needs new pr" If you haven't been there yet it is absolutely awesome. Anyhoo.....I stole this youtube clip and it too is absolutely awesome....but in a different way. Enjoy.

Leave it to us Christians to get a little to enthused about sharing our faith....Do you know of any other random Christian Crapola?