Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Life Verse

For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, but it is better for you that I live. - Philippians 1:20-24 (NLT)

What I find fascinating about this is that Paul longs for death in this world to be with Christ which mirrors my desires in a poignant way. Yet his desire for this is not sin...it is simply the truth; and while he longs to go and be with Christ, he is willing to remain to continue Christ's work upon this earth. Also, while he was personally longing for the reward of Heaven, this was written during his first imprisonment in Rome. He did not realize that he would eventually be released, have many further encounters with people to share the Gospel, and be imprisoned once more. His desire to go to Heaven was not sinful because he was willing to be patient and obedient to Christ to wait.

Three times God has spoken to me, and all three times, He has used one word. Yet within each word contained a full, rich story & instructions for me. The three words were:


Photo by Jon Sheppard. Used with permission.
Twelve years ago, I went to the mountaintops with the full intention of not returning. It was a difficult time in my life, and I simply wanted to be done with it all and enter into the Presence of Christ. When I reached my destination and made camp, a thunderstorm entered the mountain bowl, and I was suddenly surrounded by lightning. Those of you who've been in the mountains understand how intense this can be. For those of you who can't, check out Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Frasier. The lightning storm in that movie that forces them to flee into the cave for safety was really not far-fetched in terms of just how intense it can be.

So, here I was, in the mountains, wanting to leave my mortal shell, and I became surrounded by lightning. My guilt over my desire left, and I was at peace with the idea that I would die but not by my own hand. I was filled with enough peace (and exhaustion from the hike) that I actually fell asleep in the midst of the storm.

When I woke and realized that I wasn't taken, I was upset. I asked God why He didn't choose to take me when He had the perfect opportunity. His answer was: WAIT! This one word was filled with encouragement, instruction, purpose, and peace.

  • The day would come when I would receive the reward of Heaven, but I needed to be patient.
  • I was willing to die for Christ; I needed to be willing to live for Christ.
  • I came up to the mountain with the intention of giving my life to Christ, and that is exactly what happened, but not in the way I had planned. Instead, because my life had been spared & because of my relationship with Christ, every day belonged to Him.
  • God has the ability to remove me from this world at any moment He wishes. Because I am here, my time here has purpose.
  • My purpose for every day I am on this earth is to love my Lord, love others, and make disciples.

So within this passage of Scripture, I once again find the words already spoken for something that is crying out in my heart. My life is to honor Christ in every way, and when the day comes when I am allowed into Heaven, it will be cause for celebration for I will receive the reward for which I have waited for so long because my work here is finished.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time for a New Post

Sorry for the delay, my friends. I have to admit that it has been a rough patch. Maybe it's antibiotics, maybe it's the change in seasons, and maybe it's just because. All I know is that even the days when I didn't have the mental strength to get out of bed, God was with me. His Faithfulness & Love are powerful things, and I'm so thankful for a Lord Who chooses to hold on to me when I have no strength to hold my own grip.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


"I'm rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I'm tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we's comin from or goin' to or why. I'm tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I'm tired of all the times I've wanted to help and couldn't." I'm tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it's the pain. There's too much. If I could end it, I would. But I cain't." - John Coffey

- Stephen King (The Green Mile)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And Now, I'm Going To Give The Floor To...

A good way to gain insight into a person is to see what that person quotes. Here's some insight into me:

• "Given a choice between two theories, take the one which is funnier." - Blore's Razor
• "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Hanlon's Razor
• "It is easier to get forgiveness than permission." - Stuart's Law of Retroaction
• "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." - Tuco's Rule
• "Write a wise saying and your name will live forever." - Anonymous
• "Why do bad things happen to good people? Because it's funnier that way." - Anonymous
• "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams
• "Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." - Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
• "He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which." - Douglas Adams
• "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
• "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them,glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." - Apple Computer Inc.
• "Live to the point of tears." - Albert Camus
• "Nobody realizes that some people expend a tremendous amount of energy merely to be normal." - Albert Camus
• "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." - Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
• "Equations are the devil's sentences." - Stephen Colbert
• "In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends." - John Churton Collins
• "It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane." - Philip K. Dick
• "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." - Albert Einstein
• "If there's one thing I know it's God does love a good joke." - Hugh Elliott
• "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
• "I hope that someday we will be able to put away our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people." - Jack Handey (Deep Thoughts)
• "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid." - Heinrich Heine
• "The world is a mess and I just need to rule it." - Dr. Horrible
• "Technology is making us dumber?!?!" - Sara Kern
• "Nobody likes a clown at midnight" - Stephen King
• "[A] tragedy is a tragedy, and at the bottom, all tragedies are stupid. Give me a choice and I'll take A Midsummer Night's Dream over Hamlet every time. Any fool with steady hands and a working set of lungs can build up a house of cards and then blow it down,but it takes a genius to make people laugh." - Stephen King
• "We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society." - Judith Martin
• "Late to bed and late to wake will keep you long on money and short on mistakes." - Aaron McGruder
• "Don't shave angry." - Kori Miraglia
• "I hate cynicism; it's my least favorite quality, and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." - Conan O'Brien
• "You must not think me necessarily foolish because I am facetious,nor will I consider you necessarily wise because you are grave." - Sydney Smith
• "Love, peace and bacon grease." - Charlie Stickney
• "I think we'd see a pretty sharp decline in suicides if life was turned into a musical." - Ethan Suplee
• "People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." - Mother Teresa
• "The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend." - Henry David Thoreau
• "There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
• "There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president." - Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007), "Cold Turkey", In These Times, May 10, 2004
• "The more loving you are, the more attractive you are." - Rick Warren
• "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon
• "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

David & Roger Together Again

My favorite band is and always will be Pink Floyd. In the 80s, with the pressure of success & differing visions, David Gilmour & Roger Waters split and maintained a vibrant hatred for one another that lasted decades. They came together in 2005 for a Pink Floyd reunion that was the highlight of Live 8 in London. Then in the middle of July, 2010, in front of a surprised crowd of 200 people, Gilmour & Waters once again reunited to raise £350,000 for the Hoping Foundation which helped young Palestinian refugees. As the Bible says, "Love covers a multitude of sins." It is amazing what we can accomplish when we learn to forgive and to love. Enjoy the video.

Hoping Foundation benefit performance from Hoping Foundation on Vimeo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Power of "Why," Part I

"We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society." - Judith Martin

For those of you who have seen previous posts, you know life has not been "easy" lately. For those of you just joining us, let me tell you, life hasn't been "easy" lately. In fact, there have been a lot of moments of pain in my life, and many more in the lives of the people I love. I'm not going into details, but I will say that there have been moments that have left me dumbfounded & speechless.

When this stuff happens, I tend to talk to people & especially talk to myself to try to rationalize what is happening. "Well, we live in a fallen world, and bad things happen because there are consequences to sin, and sometimes those consequences are payed by people other than the person who commits the sin, and it's all really nasty, but it isn't God's fault, and if we should be placing blame on anyone, we should place it on ourselves because of Free Will & also place the blame on the world & the devil, and God doesn't cause these things to happen, but He never wastes a hurt, and we have no idea of what the Big Picture is, and we have no idea how God will use this hurt to draw people close to Him and show them Comfort in their time of sorrow; Besides, who am I to question God?"

The answer is that I have accepted Christ as my Lord & Savior which means I am adopted into the Family of God. I have every right to question God. In fact, I would even say that I have an obligation to question Him.

Sounds a bit pretentious, I know, but it's the truth. I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, and I was a good kid. In fact, I was one of the best. Teachers would continually heap praises upon me for my intelligence & behavior. However, because I had to continually earn the Love of Jehovah, there were times that even I fell short. It was a miserable life filled with judgment & shame. I finally came to the point where I made the decision that I would rather spend eternity in oblivion than with this "Jehovah," because He was making my life miserable. I doubted. I was broken. I asked, "Why?" and I got no good answer in return. Because of this, I chose to leave the Jehovah's Witnesses. After that experience, I vowed that I would never allow anyone else to do my thinking for me.

Several years later, through experiences in the past with people who shared the True Gospel & the unconditional Love of Christ combined with current friendships with Christians who were Patient & Loving with me, I accepted Christ as my Savior. It was a long process because I had a ton of questions and so much baggage from my years with the Jehovah's Witnesses. I doubted. I questioned. I tested. What I found was a God who loved me unconditionally, was willing to send His Son to die upon the Cross to pay for my sins, and Resurrected His Son from the Tomb to defeat death, itself. This Infinite God loved me infinitely & intimately, and He wanted to give me a Gift of Salvation. There was nothing I could do to earn this Gift. There was never a way I could repay Him for what He had done. All I could do was simply accept the Gift & all it had to offer.

If I had not doubted; if I had not questioned; if I was not willing to ask, "Why?" about the difficult things, I'd still be a Jehovah's Witness & still be one of the nicest hell-bound people you would have ever met.

So many of us are scared to death of our Lord. We have all of this religious baggage that keeps us from ever wanting to "draw His attention" and "suffer from His Wrath" for ever "daring to question Him." In the Book of Job, Job asks God, "Why?" God's response seems pretty harsh: "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding." - Job 38:4 But then God goes on in the last chapter of Job to accredit Job's willingness to question Him as righteousness. In fact, God was so pleased with Job's willingness to approach Him that He saved Job's friends as well.

So many of the Psalms ask the question, "Why?" A lot of times, no answer is given in return; we simply have the question to God. Even Jesus, who was without sin cried out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" - Matthew 27:46b

This is Jesus we are talking about!!! The Son of God; The Word made flesh; The Alpha & the Omega. Jesus, in His moment of pain, humiliation, abandonment, and sorrow cried out to God, "Why?!"

I believe that in the process of life shaping us to be appropriate in order to fit into society, we lose too many good child-like qualities...qualities like wonder, trust, and the willingness to appear foolish. I truly believe that when we are filled with sorrow & ready to burst, we need to let go of that pride that keeps us from giving all of ourselves to God. We need to be willing to pitch a fit, throw a tantrum, pound our hands & feet into the floor, sit in our Father's lap & sob to the point of exhaustion when we finally have gotten these hurts out and calmed so that God can hold us and give us Comfort & Peace.

I believe there is no more powerful prayer than when we look to the Heavens with tears in our eyes and sorrow in our hearts and simply ask God, "Why?"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

Let's give this another go, shall we?

Back in February, I decided I would try to post again after an absence from the blog scene following my dad's death in September, 09. When I looked at my blog, some (expletive deleted) had gone and hacked my account. I was LIVID! I copied the postings & deleted the blog. Several months later, I tried to start blogging again, but this time I decided to use Tumblr. I kept trying to add all my old posts, but it took FOREVER to load. Today, I said "(expletive deleted) it!" My blog, Laughter, Tears & Irrational Fears, is back and in business on http://jakewobegon.blogspot.com/. It only took about 2 hours to get everything reorganized.

I've got a lot I've been wanting to say over the past year or so, and it's time to do it. So many heartbreaks & joys & stories with laughter, miracles, sorrow...you name it. I'm looking forward to dusting the writing cobwebs from my mind and am excited & hopeful that you would join me.

Blessings to you all.

Under Construction

In Minnesota, we say we have four seasons: cold; really cold; oh my goodness it's cold; and, road construction. In the spirit of this, I ask that you bear with me as I attempt to recreate my blog from blogger.com which was hacked. Thank you for your patience, and remember...wait...what was I going to say?...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Well, This Sucks....

Someone has been spamming my account. I changed my password & it's still happening. It's been fun, but I gotta shut her down. Love to all of you.