You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Nine

Point to ponder: God smiles when I trust Him

Point to consider: Since God knows what’s best, in what areas of my life do I need to trust Him more?

Journal: Id like to meet the person who could honestly answer this with anything but; everywhere, every aspect, corner, thought, or perception. Everything I do is tainted with my total inability to do anything with a whole heart.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Eight

Point to consider: I was planned for God’s pleasure.

Question to consider: What could I start doing today as if I were doing it for Jesus?

Journal: Work comes to mind; it is drudgery most of the time. Despite working in the medical field, actually helping someone rarely happens. When it does I get a boost that lasts for quite awhile. Mostly however, either there is nothing wrong in the first place, or there is nothing that can be done about it anyway.

I used to think of my place of work as a kind of church, a place to meet Jesus in others and represent Him in turn, but all the government and insurance interference has turned it into a business. Now it is a crafty, code driven chess game to see who can rip the other one off for the most money. Sixty cents of every Medicare dollar goes to support the bureaucracy of Medicare, and that money is spent trying not to spend the other forty. Helping people is much harder to do these days.

Part of what is wrong though, is my attitude, and I alone am responsible for that. I will try to make work, Church again.

Cause Jesse said so...

I want everyone who reads this to ask me 3 questions, no more no less. Ask me anything you want (you may post anonymously if you wish). Then, I want you to go to your blog, copy and paste this allowing your friends (including myself) to ask you anything.

(Then we can move on to the cherry driven life.)

Monday, May 17, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Seven

Point to ponder: It’s all for Him

Question to consider: How in my daily routine could I become more aware of God’s glory around me?

Journal: This question aggravates me somewhat.

Have you ever went outside, looked up at a clear night sky full of stars, took a deep breath and yelled out “ JUST..SAY..SOMETHING...ANYTHING!”

Have you ever envied Job? You know, because despite all the suffering at the end he actually spoke with God. Not just spoke at God and listened for some little heart voice or some “sign” but actually had a conversation. Never mind that God did not actually answer the question he asked, or that Job ended up covering his mouth in shame because of his puniness. He wanted a meeting with the Ineffable Almighty and got one. My hero.

Don’t you want God to just blow you away? I mean drop you to the ground in awe, teeth chattering until they crack blown away. Maybe pull you up to the “seventh” heaven for just a glimpse. Bring you up just long enough to leave you a wild eyed, drooling crazy man for the rest of your days, eating wild locusts and honey, preaching to the air, abandoned by your family and friends? Wouldn’t you like that?

I would.

So why is it so dang hard just to hold on? Job’s suffering was merely days long, why such silence for the rest of us? Don’t get me wrong, there are times in my life where I am certain that I have seen Him with the eyes of my heart, otherwise I wouldn’t know what I was missing.
It is not about me the book says,
Yet He gave me the desire to seek Him…right?

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Six

Point to ponder: This world is not my home.

Question to consider: Since life on earth is just a temporary assignment, how should that change the way I live today?

Journal: Jesus said “Take up your cross, and follow me” which means that we should die daily. Bushido, the Samurai code says that the warrior should live close to death, and meditate on it daily. The idea being, if you are always expecting death, you will live each day as if it were your last. I know these two statements are not the same, but I see a similarity of meaning.

Trying to live in the moment is such a hard thing to do, yet so rewarding. A Christian must also look towards eternity/infinity, another of the Christian paradoxes that defines the nature of God.

P.S. Yes, I am backdating these entries. We have spent more time working with the youth praise band, bought a car for Jason to learn to drive in, and went to a wedding over a four day weekend, somewhere north of Cleveland. So I'm behind...in everything. Yet life is good.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Five:

Point to ponder: Life is a test and a trust.

Question to ponder: (1) What has happened to me recently that I now realize was a test from God? (2) What are the greatest trusts God has entrusted to me?

Journal: (1) The falling of the edge of the world, dive-bombing the lower emotions, man overboard, going down for the third time depression that I made it through once again. (2) My family; if I stopped and really thought about my full responsibility as a husband and father I might end up drooling in the corner of a rubber room.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Four:

Point to ponder: There’s more to life than just here and now.

Question to ponder: Since everything has eternal consequences, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?

Journal: 1. I only get to pick one thing? The main thing I should stop doing is worrying. I am a compulsive worrier. I try to micro-control everything, all the while knowing I can’t. I imagine the worst possible thing that can happen, and then try to prepare myself emotionally for it to happen. Life though, is so strong and unyielding trying to hold on to control is no different than trying to light a candle in a hurricane.

2. Start doing? I should start not worrying so much.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Three: Part one

Point to consider: Living on purpose is the path to peace.

Question to consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?

Journal: As to what the driving force in my life is, Avoidance of pain is the first honest thing that comes to mind, stimulation/ avoidance of boredom also rings true, but may be a subset of avoidance of pain. Of course this is an over analyzed answer, either way. The question is fundamentally flawed. If I knew myself that well, if anyone knew himself or herself that well, they would have no need of this book.

My wife says my driving force is taking care of my family. I get up, go to work, pay the bills, all those responsible Dad things, and of course she is right. Anyone whose goal in life is to avoid pain would never become involved in intimate relationships.

What do I want my driving force to be? Of course the correct/pat/Sunday school answer is God/Love, but on a fundamental level I don't understand what I am expecting with that request. My life prayer has always been, Make me real. I don't know what that means either, so I leave it up to Him, and keep trying to stay on the path.

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Three: Part two

Question to consider: How will you answer God when He asks?
1.What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ,
2. What did you do with what I gave you?

Journal: 1. I ignored Him, rejected Him, accepted Him, ignored Him, betrayed Him, sold Him, sold myself for Him, stole from Him, lied to Him, twisted His words, loved Him, cried for Him, cried out to Him, worshipped Him, questioned Him, doubted Him, fought Him, pleaded with Him, closed my ears and shut my eyes to Him, begged His forgiveness, hardened my heart to Him, pleaded His cause, ignored His pain, shunned His Spirit, and it still goes on.

2. I wasted almost all of it. What I didn’t waste, I overlooked. What I overlooked He used in me to do the most amazing, fulfilling things of my life.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Two/Part Two

Point to consider: We discover the meaning and purpose of our life only when we make God the reference point of our lives.

Journal: From a pat answer perspective I know this is true, but it is that when we make part that throws me. If God is perfect love and has no need, then why make us in the first place? Even as flawed humans we need/desire children because we need/want to see a piece of ourselves in someone else, to love and be loved in return for no other reason than because of who we are.

To say that God had no need for the creation (as the author does in the book) is to deny the process of creating. All creating is an expression of a desire or need to be filled. Am I saying God is imperfect or incomplete without us? That depends on your definition of perfect or complete, but the short answer is yes, I am really leaning that way in my understanding of who God is. (If that sounded like blasphemy read over it again real slow)

My problem with when we make is simply why did God make us this way? If you look at what I said in the first part of this section about the ever present, unfulfilled Need of Him you could say I have already answered my own question. To put it another way, our Need is the reference point of our lives that points toward God. Does this mean that seeking to fulfill that need is our Purpose? I doubt the author’s answer will satisfy me, but I am committed to push on.

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day Two

Point to consider: I am not an accident.
Question to ponder: Knowing that God created me for a purpose, what areas of my personality, background, and appearance do I need to accept?

Journal: In the book, struggling is used instead of need. Despite the long list of things I would change about myself, if I had the power, the struggling/need is what I find hardest to accept. I recently realized that I search people’s faces, looking into their eyes for something, trying to find a glimpse of recognition or comfort. I did not realize until yesterday that what I was doing was looking for someone who can save me, salvation, a savior, the Savior, looking for Him in the faces of others.

My rational mind knows that I will not find the Messiah standing in a crowd, or across from me in a car at a stoplight, but that Need manifests itself, often in behavior that is self destructive. If He will not show Himself then I will satiate myself with something temporary to ease the pain of His Silence.

Making peace with Need, learning to live in a permanent fasting state is what I most need/struggle to accept.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Purpose Driven Life Journal: Day One

Beverle and I have begun the forty-day Purpose Driven Life Book. I am including my journal entries here in case there is still anyone out there who might want to comment, or tell me how wrong I am. :)

Day One: It all starts with God.
Point to ponder: It’s not about me.
Question to consider: How can I remind myself today that life is really about living for God, not myself?

Journal: I could wear a Kippah ;) I did start wearing my mezzuzah necklace again. I added the Hebrew letter chai, for Life, meaning Life in God, purpose driven life, the life abundant that Jesus spoke of. However, these reminders only work for a while and will become routine in themselves, as all ritual does over time.

This is the same problem Israel always had, getting back into the flow of living and losing the reason for living.

I can remind myself Today that life is about living for God, but even Moses had to ask, Lord, teach me to number my days.