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The Reason For The Season

the-nativityIn those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2 :1-20

You Lost My Funding. Seriously?

Ah, life’s glorious adventures! The twists and turns are sometimes like white water rafting. This is how yesterday started out. A phone call from the Vice President of the sector that I work under for my current contract.

Let’s rewind a bit. Let’s go back in time and relive the events that lead up to this earth shattering moment in my Tuesday. As Dane Cook would say, “Let’s Tarantino it.” Actually I just want to share a few points.

I belong to a home group (bible study, small group, whatever you want to call it). Basically we (a group of families and friends) get together and study the bible, eat, talk and build relationships… it’s fun. Anyway we’ve been studying the book of Colossians for a while now and this past Tuesday (May 15) one particular verse stood out to me. I couldn’t understand why really. It’s not a verse that I would have thought that I needed work on, certainly in light of some of the other surrounding verses. For some reason this one verse just kept coming back to my mind. What? Oh you want the verse? OK.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 (New International Version)

Now the focus of my attention was on Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Well with the verse written on a piece of paper, folded neatly and tucked into my bible we finished up and headed home.

Have any of you ever prayed for patience? DON’T! That is unless you are completely prepared for the testing and training that is about to come… nay flood your way to teach you that patience. Same principle here. Everything the following week just went wrong… fighting, bickering, terrible attitude… and that’s just me in the room by myself. The peace of Christ definitely was not ruling in my heart. It was more like the anger mongering of Satan. Just ask Aubrey; she’ll be more than happy to let the cat out of the bag. If not then I will. I was an absolute turd this past week.

Of course there have been some more stressful things in our lives of late which I attributed this all too. Plus I can always blame it on the medications I take for my migraines. But of course those are just all excuses.

So I get the call and he tells me there is no more funding and they cannot seem to find any more sources of funding to continue my position. Great. June 1st you say? Great. Hey, Stuart Little’s dad always said you have to look for the silver lining. Well, I don’t have to clean out my desk!

After getting off the phone I thought about how crumby it was to leave me with one week to find a replacement for that income source. Of course I know other people that have been left with less time than that. Then I thought… if I had read the writing on that piece of paper a little deeper the preceding Tuesday I might have had two weeks notice. Of course that’s really reaching, but my point is that God always knows what’s coming up in our lives. He knew last Tuesday that I’d get that call and so He knew that I needed a reminder that His peace could sustain me through this time. God is good.

One of the things that’s tough about trusting God is that He doesn’t tell you what’s coming up… that’s the faith part. Also if He did tell you then you could in theory tell the future and start placing bets on races and that’d be a big ole mess now wouldn’t it? Sorry; I digress.

You know the movie Indian Jones and the Last Crusade? At the end of the movie when they’re all inside the cave and Indiana has gone on ahead of everyone to get the grail in order to save his father he comes to a huge bottomless chasm. It is too far to jump to the other side and the only clue he has is Only in a leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth. That’s a little how I feel right now. Like I’m standing out on the edge of a bottomless chasm trying to trust that God knows what He is doing and that He will provide for my family, but a wee teensey weensey bit scared too.

I’ve already had numerous friends and family pray with me and Aubrey about this. If you are the praying type and would find it in your hearts to pray for us it would be greatly appreciated. If you are the hiring type and need a great software engineer then leave a comment and make sure your email is correct (won’t be in the comment) and I’ll surely give you a quick response. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

Album Review: Red – End Of Silence

Yes, I’m a little late on this one but I just discovered them so I thought I’d share. Red is a rock band consisting of Randy Armstrong (Bass) (twin brother to Anthony), Anthony Armstrong (Guitar) (twin brother to Randy), Jasen Rauch (Guitar), Hayden Lamb (Drums) (has a twin brother) and Michael Barnes (Vocals). Umm… what’s with the twin thing? Moving on. They released their debut album, End of Silence in June 2006, almost a year ago. I’m still not sure why we still call them albums. Aren’t they CDs these days? Anyway the album was nominated at the 49th annual Grammy Awards.

Michael Barnes has a great voice and he has some good backup from the band at times. There is also some good old screamo (yes that’s a real musical genre) mixed in at times and plenty of head-bangin, foot thumpin, heart racing good beats. But don’t let that scare you off; the music is very complex and there are a number of songs that are not so in your face. There are piano and string snippets mixed in to give some feelings of grandeur (synthesized of course) and a nice mix of tempo and volume contrasts to keep your interest. In fact, this album has replaced 30 Seconds To Mars – A Beautiful Lie as my current favorite.

The impressive part… they’re a Christian rock band. That’s right. Rockin with the brethren! Representin for Christ. I couldn’t believe my ears. I’m really proud that the quality of good Christian rock music has risen to the level that the “world” is nominating their albums for Grammy Awards despite blatant Christian themes in the music.

If you’re into rock or would like to try it out you can purchase Red – End of Silence here. Or if you’d like a FREE preview head on over to the band’s website where you can listen to their song Breathe Into Me online.

So how did I do? Do you have any suggestions on how I could have improved this review? Do you disagree with anything I said? Or do you just want to give me the ole two thumbs up? I’d love to hear any comments you have below! Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

In Loving Memory : Sydney Franks

Sydney Horseback Riding

Sydney Franks was in my son’s Pre-K class this year. They had an unusually small class so all of the kids were very close. She had a heart transplant at a very early age, but nothing got her down. She had a smile that lit up the room and a laugh that warmed your heart. My son was quoted as saying that, “she looks very pretty in pink.” Sydney has gone home to be with the Lord now and so while the heavens rejoice at her homecoming… we are all silent and speechless.

Sydney with Mommy and little brother

Our deepest condolences go to the Franks family. I have three children of my own, including two daughters and a son and I cannot fathom the depths of emotion that I would be feeling under those circumstances. Please know that there is an army of people who love and care for you and are praying around the clock for you.

It is always hard to know exactly what to say when there is a loss of loved ones. Especially the loss of one so young. So instead of saying anymore I will just let a few more pictures say the rest as we remember Sydney’s beautiful life.

Hugging “Miss Lori”, Sydney’s teacher.

Sydney Hugs Miss Lori

Gavin and Sydney

Gavin (my son) and Sydney.
Listening in class.

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You’re in Jesus’ hands now, Sydney. We will miss you.

Your Good Deeds Are A Used Tampon

That’s an odd quote to hear from the pulpit of your church on a Sunday morning. Kind of graphic, but it gets the point across. I decided to look it up a bit myself. The passage being referred to is in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Oh, by the way, I’m referring to the Holy Bible… the one us crazy Christian folk read, just in case you’re just tuning in. If this bothers you then you are waaaay too sensitive. Try reading my post on eating babies. Well, we do! We eat baby cows. It’s called veal. At least I do.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes… Tampons. I decided to verify the quote made from stage and lookup the meaning of the text from the passage and indeed that is the original meaning. Not actually tampons, but menstrual rags or clothes. Here’s a link to the Strong’s Concordance lookup. See for yourself.

The chapter starts out talking about how awesome and glorious God is. It talks about how God acts on behalf of those who remember His ways and those who gladly do right. It then reveals the reality of the human condition. We tried to do it our way, but we failed. We continued to sin against God’s ways and He became angry. It then talks about our righteousnesses being like filthy rags.

Take the absolute best person on Earth and he will fail. Nobody is perfect. Compare anyone’s righteousness with God’s perfection and it looks and smells like… well… a used tampon.

There you have it.