Outline For Living–Part 2


Last week we talked about dreams and how they can change or grow as we get older. This week as we continue our discussion of Joseph as an Outline for Life, we’re covering the challenges we face along the way. These “pits” if you will help mould us into who we will be as adults and depending on the choices we make can either help or hinder us along the way.

“…Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness.” (Genesis 37:22) All throughout our lives situations come and go and effect us as we grow and mature. Sometimes is because of circumstances beyond our control and other times it a direct result of a choice we have made. At one point or another we will find ourselves in a “pit”. It might even happen when you were making the right choices. Joseph found himself in just such a situation. He was sold as a slave to a man named Potiphar where is was put to work.  Now the bible tells us the he was a good looking guy and Potiphar’s wife took notice. She tried to seduce Joseph repeatedly until he finally had to run away from her leaving his cloak in her hands. Potiphar’s wife was obviously not used to being told no and so she lied to her husband saying that Joseph had tried to force himself on her. This of course made Potiphar furious and poor Joseph, who had done the right thing, ended up in prison. (Genesis 39:6-20). Have you ever felt like Joseph? You’re just going about your business, doing your best. Get up, get to work or school on-time and prepared. Chores are done, bills are paid, house is in order and then BAM! something happens and it seems like the world if falling around your ears. I know it’s happened to me more than once. Matter of fact, it feels like its happening to me right now.

That’s not to say I haven’t made any bad decisions along the way because I have, lots of them, but the key is to recognize that we are not defined by the decisions we’ve made so much as how we choose to respond to the consequences of those decisions. We should learn from them, sure, so as not to repeat them but then we move forward as Paul says “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13) The Bible gives us a really big clue as to how Joseph handled the consequences of his circumstances, he kept working, and then it says “…and the Lord was with him and showed him His faithful love.” (Genesis 39:21) That same love that God showed to Joseph is available to us too. God has promised to never leave or forsake us. The very same God to watched over Joseph and saw him lifted out of a pit and sold into slavery then slandered and thrown into jail place His favor upon him and made him success in both places. Joseph put his faith in God despite his circumstances and that’s what we need to do as well.  The pits in life are going to come whether by the a choice we’ve made or something outside of our control. We just have to put our faith in God that he will see us through. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” (Philippians 4:6)

When I started this blog today I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it.  I knew I wanted to talk about the “pits” of life and their challenges and how God can and will see us through them but that’s as far as it went. I hope that I’ve done that. As I mentioned earlier I’m feel as though I’m in one of those seasons now. Our family has had a really difficult year financially. Just when it seems like right when we’re about to get ahead something seems to pop up and we’re behind again. With Obamacare in effect, we’ve been forced to purchase our own insurance (I’m self-employed). We learned that there aren’t many doctors or specialists in-network within 100 miles of us and so getting approval to see the specialists we need for my son is difficult and time consuming. Even with in-network coverage is still really restrictive. Not that I don’t appreciate what Obamacare was trying to accomplish because I do. On top of that we’ve also been helping my mother as she deals with the – sometimes – crippling side-effects of chemo/radiation therapy. I love my mom, she’s an overcomer. Even still, in the midst of all this chaos I know that God is right here with me and that His favor is upon us. I’ve already received word from colleagues of additional work sources. Insurance or no my sons medical needs will be met but even the the bills we have God is working through it.  We were just approved for financial aid from one of the specialists we saw reducing our bill by 75% and because I work from home and our son is home-schooled, we’ve just moved our “workplace” from our living room over to my Mom’s so that we can be there when she needs us. Remember “Give your burdens to the Lord and He will take care of You.” (Psalm 55:22)

I hope you all have a great weekend and week following.  If I said posted something here you have questions about or want to discuss please leave a comment below. Be blessed in Jesus’ name and always “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)

Outline For Living–Part 1


As I was reading a daily devotional from Ps. Greg Laurie this week, he gave a quote from John Bunyon where he said, “Death is but a passage out of a prison and into a Palace.” Immediately I was reminded of the story of Joseph (Genesis 37,39:1 – 45:15). In many ways, his life’s journey from having a dream, to being sold into slavery, getting thrown into prison, and finally being elevated to leadership parallels our own walk through life.

“Listen to this dream, he said…” (Genesis 37:6) When Joseph was around seventeen, God gave him two dreams and set him on the course of his life. His dreams were prophetic and showed him being placed over the rest of his family. Even his parents would be bowing down to him!  Now that’s pretty bold and as we read in the Bible, it cause quite a bit of contention. When we are young we have all kinds of dreams about what we want to be when we grow up. I remember wanting most of all of be a pilot. My dad was in the Navy and growing up I got to see a lot of fighter planes. Once I even got to sit in a F-18 Hornet that was on display during an Independence Day celebration at the base were my dad was stationed. As I sat in the cockpit holding the joystick and looking at the consoles with their impressive array of buttons, switched and gauges, I pretended to be up in the air fighting for American freedom. The pilot also gave me his a helmet to wear and showed me how the different visors worked. It was awesome!the fighter jets looked so cool and the pilots from my young perspective looked just like the rebel pilots in Star Wars.

As I grew older my dreams changed. The military lifestyle blessed me with a great opportunity to travel around the world, but being an introverted kid, getting uprooted every two or three years was really hard on me socially and emotionally and as I got older I started to resent it. I’ve always been fascinated by space and science fiction and I loved to imagine and draw space stations and huge capital ships when I supposed to be listening to the teacher in class. Around middle school, I decided that I should be an architect and someday I could make my dreams a reality. So I continued to practice my sketches and took drafting classes when I was in high school. I hated it. So maybe architecture really wasn’t my thing. I also took computer science classes at the same time and had a lot of fun learning how to write programs. Now that’s architecture of a sort and it was fun!

All this time, I was going to church, bible school classes and church summer camps, you’d think that at some point I might have asked someone how to go about deciding what to do in life. But I was strong! I was independent! Actually, I was scared and embarrassed and didn’t think anyone wanted to be bothered with my problems and I justified that fear by telling myself that my questions were probably insignificant anyway. I never did follow up on the programming after high school but I have made a career out of supporting those who write programs as well as those who use them.

The fear I felt? That was a lie by the way. Even if everyone I spoke to about the questions I have concerning my future did think they were insignificant, there is one who doesn’t think so and that is Jesus Christ. He tells us in Jeremiah 1:5 that before we were even born he knew us and, in Jeremiah 29:11, that He has a plan for us, a plan that will give us a future and hope. He also tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6 that He will never leave us and forsake us. Maybe you had a dream as a kid and now you’re living it. If that’s you, that’s totally awesome! Praise God! Maybe your like me and have had several dreams that have changed as you grown older or maybe yours is still changing and that’s ok too. Perhaps your reading this wondering where your dreams have gone or if you even have a dream (I promise you do, God has a plan for us all). The key, I’ve learned, is to give your dream, or your desire for one, to God and let the Author of perfection guide you into your destiny. Start each day in prayer and ask Jesus to take your dream and guide you through it or change it as it fits His will. Let us live each day to honor and glorify Him. “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)

Thanks, for joining me this week as I start a short series showing how the life of Joseph in Genesis is a great outline for our own lives today. If you have a question or comment please post it in the comments section below! Also, be sure to join me next week as we jump into the pits and challenges we encounter as we grow to fulfill our dream.  Until then, have a great week in Jesus’ name!


Hackers and Homemade Guacamole

guacamoleYou know what? I’m not gonna lie. It’s been a rough week, but before I get to the drama I have an announcement:

We have a big day coming up Oct. 25. We’re taking church “outside the walls” with all kinds of cool stuff. Free food, bounce houses, activities, games and live music (yes I will be playing, so if nothing else you can come and laugh at me).  Please be praying for us and if you aren’t already doing something, please come join us. It’s gonna be greatness! Fun starts at 10:30a! Hot smile The address is Word of Love Christian Center 1860 Precinct Line Rd., Hurst, TX 76054

OK, back to my week. For starters, over the weekend the site got hacked.  Spent the better part of the first half of this week getting it restored – with updated security mind you – only to have it get hacked again.  *ugh* So my buddy, Les, who also happens to be the site’s host tells me he nuked the entire install. Thank God I had a backup.  Otherwise we’d have all lost out on all of the awesomeness that’s been posted since …umm, last Friday. So hopefully after the re-install, a partial restore (gotta bring back those tight images, yo), and even more security we’re finally back up. I haven’t got the theme configured yet so everything still looks a little wonky but we’re getting there.

In other news, we got a much needed upgrade to the sound system at our church, Word Of Love. Much love to our pastors, Ronnie and Shirlene Moore, for making it happen.  Spent all Monday evening getting everything set and tweaked out. Our sound tech, Rob, is a mad genius. Now I can actually hear myself when I play and OMG why didn’t anyone tell me I sounded that bad? You guys are too gracious, methinks. Embarrassed smile But seriously, sound is so much better now and I really appreciate it.

So to wrap things up this week, I get back from practice Thursday evening to discover that my wife, Phaedra, has made her awesome homemade guacamole and all is right with the world again. Just the right blend of avocado, garlic, sweet peppers, onion and spices. MMMmmm, grab the tortilla chips cuz it’s time for some awesome!

I pray you guys have a great weekend and a good week following. If you have an opinion or something to say, please tell me in the comment section below. Be sure to tune in next Friday to see where the battle of life takes us.  Until then, be blessed in Jesus’ name!

Walking in God’s Will


bible_openThis past Sunday morning our pastor, who is also a prophet, was giving a message about receiving and delivering a prophetic word. During the sermon he was talking about delivering the word you have received and how that word wasn’t always, in the immediate sense, positive. He paused and said to the congregation, “If you would like to receive the word that you are out of God’s will, raise your hand.” As you can probably imagine not one hand popped up. Now inside my spirit-man was practically yelling, “Yes, I want to know! Raise your hand!” but my body firmly refused to comply and so I sat there feeling a bit ashamed of myself. One of our associate pastors who was sitting behind me quietly commented with a smile “I wouldn’t want to not know,” and those of us around him chuckled.

Yet that question really resonated with me.  Most of us, I think, really do want to know if we are in God’s will but for some reason or another are just afraid to ask.  Maybe we’re doing something we know we shouldn’t be and so really already know what the answer to the question is.  Perhaps life’s going really well for us right now and we don’t want to rock the boat for fear that we’ll have to make a change that will take that away.  Mostly though, I think we just don’t want to be embarrassed in front of our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.  Which is silly really, because what comparison is there between the temporary embarrassment of a few people finding out you still sin and make mistakes with a chance to repent and change, to the possibility of standing before God as you enter into eternity only to be rejected by Him. At the very least you’re blocking the blessings God has for you. God doesn’t want that, I don’t want that and I bet you don’t want that either.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Now that seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it, Andy?”. Sure, maybe, but God has certainly made that very point to us over and over in the Bible.  At the very beginning we have Adam and Eve. I’m sure you know the story, God tells Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan, in the form of a serpent, convinces Eve it’s a good idea to eat from it. She in turn convinces Adam to eat and through that one decision sin entered into the world and they get kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Certainly not God’s will for them or us. The exodus of the Jews from Egypt is another great example (or series of examples if you will) of the consequences of moving out of God’s will for our lives (The Book of Exodus). King David  had an affair with another man’s wife, Bathsheba, and tried to cover it up first by bringing her husband, Uriah, home and trying to convince him to go be with her. Then when that failed, David sent him to the front lines to be killed and took Bathsheba as his wife. But the Lord spoke to David through the prophet, Nathan, saying that He knew what David had done and that the child would die. David repented for what he did and God forgave him, but the child still died. A potent reminder that we still will have to deal with the consequences of our sin even though we have been forgiven. It wasn’t all bad though, from the union of David and Bathsheba came Solomon, the wisest man to have walked this earth before or since (2 Samuel 11, 12:1-24). For what Satan intends to harm us God can turn around for our good and the good of others (Genesis 50:20 paraphrased). We find yet another strong example in the prophet Jonah. God told Jonah to go tell the Ninevites that He was going to wipe out their whole city in 40 days. Instead he took a boat headed in the opposite direction and landed himself in the belly of a great fish for 3 days. Jonah repented, completed his mission and the Ninevites – who, one could argue, were living outside of God’s will – also repented and God spared them (Jonah 1-3). We have many examples in the New Testament as well. The Apostle Peter who had been with Jesus since the beginning of His ministry, went back to his old life as a fisherman after the crucifixion until Jesus appeared and called him back (John 21:1-18). Probably the biggest example in the New Testament though would be the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to the Apostle Paul. Before he met Jesus on the Damascus Road , Paul made it his life’s work to destroy Christianity, only to become one of God’s most powerful tools for spreading the gospel throughout the known world through his missionary journeys and by authoring 14 books of the New Testament (Acts 9:1-17). Now that’s a pretty extreme transformation if you ask me.

So, as I sat in church that morning with the Holy Spirit giving me example after example of God telling his people when they’d stepped out of His will for them and the results of each, I found myself reaffirming that I did, with all of my heart, want to know if I ever was out of God’s will, and sooner rather than later. If that meant it required a little public embarrassment to get the point across, then so be it.  I’d rather be embarrassed here on earth, which is temporary, than to miss God’s warnings completely and end up spending eternity separated from Him. We are so blessed that we have Jesus Christ, our mediator, who gave his life so that we could be reconciled to God the Father and for His word, the Bible, and for the Holy Spirit to guide us on our journey.

So what about you, dear reader? Do you feel as I do?  Do you want God to call you out when you have stepped out of His will for your Life regardless of the cost? Please feel free to discuss it in the comments section below.

Grab your rifles, marines! The Friday Night Fights are comin’ back!

acm_imgThat’s right, starting Friday, March 01, 2013, yours truly and my good friend and fellow site author, Xlr8, will be locked, loaded and ready to get our xenomorph annihilatin’ on!  As it so happens we are also looking for a couple additional nuggets to joins us to fill out the squad.  If your game head on over to the forums and let us know!

See you in space, soldier! Hoo-ah!