A Flood of Thoughts After Fuzzy's

Tons flooding through my head.
We met at Fuzzy's tonight. The Ballmers, Cornwells, Hoys and I were there. Everyone else was out of town or had obligations, but the crowd was perfect.
We began by discussing Torah-observant tithing. Dave is reading a book on it and had an awesome handout he had made (for his own use) that broke out tithe down into all the categories it is to be used for. It prescribes how much is for partying (feasts) both at home and at the temple, how much is to be used for the temple itself and how much is to go to the poor, oppressed, widow and orphans. It is rather clear when you lay it all out. The thought came across my mind that Finance Committee meeting could be a lot shorter, if we just followed THE SCRIPTURES on how to spend our tithes and offerings.

The Conversation Shifted as Benji began to reflect very openly on his life and what it is and what he wants it to be and how he isn't sure how to merge the idea with the practice. I began to think of my life and jot down thoughts. As Benji described how he wanted to live with passion for God and for his family, but he didn't know how, he innocently asked, "Does it just click one day? Is it out there and then it just clicks?"

He directed this question toward Dave who seems to have things very together from out perspective. He is one of those few (very few) people in our life who truly lets Scripture guide his life and the life of his family. He has an amazing wife who is brilliant and grounded, but you would never know unless you prodded her to share, because she would rather listen. She owns the roles or helpmate, mother, wise council for young women and friend. They have 5 kids (three adopted from overseas) whom Kathy homeschools. Before I met this family I hated the idea of homeschooling, but they do it for the right reasons, and it is so admirable and attractive to me now. As this family dug into the scripture over the years the New Testament kept bringing them back to the Old Testament and they realized how utterly interdependent the two are, and yet how ultimately independent most Christians make them. This has led them to a radical faith of Torah-observance (which I would be glad to talk more about on here), which has led them to a depth of biblical knowledge like few people I know. They celebrate the feasts, they take responsibility for the development of their kids (intellectually, emotionally, physically and even SPIRITUALLY), they celebrate in worship together, they memorize Scriptures as a family, the kids are learning Hebrew (so they can REALLY dig into the Scriptures), and now they actually gather with some other Torah-observant believers on Friday nights (which David leads). I could go on, but I will return to the question Benji posed...

The question stirred Kathy. I love when she stirs! Dave prodded her to share. I pushed her to share. Others joined in the prodding. And she said, "It is in here", pointing to her Bible. "It is all in Scripture, the complete description of what your life and the life of your family should look like. You just have to know it and live it out."

So true. So Passionate. So real, and so is my response...
I don't live it out. I recognize areas in my life that I am not "Livin it" in. I see areas of Scripture that I am too selfish, too proud, too busy to live out. I am also too lazy and not disciplined enough... That sums it up. That is so hard to confess, because a friend of mind has accused of an aspect of the laziness in the one area of my life I feel that it doesn't apply. The areas my failures are most damaging are my neighborhood, my community and more importantly my Home.

As I try to label the cause of this the first one that comes to mind is my vocation. My "job" drains me, but not like other folks jobs or like it drains other pastors. I am somewhere in between. Other jobs wear you out physically. My job drains me mentally and emotionally. It is depressing to be "in ministry" and yet feel controlled by chains. If we are truly ministers how can that call be contained not just to one church BUILDING/body, but to 1 community. I feel the need to justify the Christlike urge for me to go serve in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, rather than the release. I have to somehow explain how things I do in my spare time fits into my church's vision and plan. THAT DRAINS ME. I have to prove I work enough and work hard enough. I could write about this for pages, but the real travesty is back home. The real issue is when I leave the church walls and return through the front door of my home. I return drained, fried and ready to veg-out. I want to be lazy and I want to do things I enjoy, that will occupy my mind, preferably pointlessly.

I recognize that mowing the lawn actually feels good. I like the work eve, but it is almost painful to think of starting it. It seems insurmountable, so my grass commonly reaches nine feet in height as I stare at it out my back porch window. I know that a productive garden would feel amazing and be so much healthier for our family, but starting one is virtually impossible. The prospective weeds haunt me before I begin. I realize that teaching Kelly, and eventually my children, Scripture and truths about God is fulfilling, invigorating and exciting, but taking the time to sit down and do it is overcome by droopy eyes and the desire to space out.

This ultimately leads to some hard questions for my life, but his post is already too long. I will post them later this week, after I have had more time to mull over them myself and with my community. These questions are scary and they are difficult to even write down. I was recently told that those in leadership shouldn't share these things, or at least not within earshot of those they are leading. Well, I obviously feel that it is okay, and even necessary, to share these struggles. I trust that you who have taken the time to read this will give me wise council and challenge me, whether you are "under my leadership" or not. I need you. I need to hear from you. I need wisdom through this awakening in my life.
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Bummed Out

I am really bummed. I have been given a really tough choice to make, which I feel is unfair. I want to circle "C- None of the Above", but the option isn't there. I'm not going to include details, because it would only lead to some of you being bitter at the choice giver and it would lead to me saying more than I should.

I am sitting here at the church, trying to get work done, but having a hard time subduing my frustration and sadness.

To complicate things more I found out way too much about a couple of my "solid teens" last night, and I don't really know what to do with it. I am frustrated with them, sad for them and lost in how to address these private choices they have made (that have mysteriously have made their way to my ears). So, I guess I have just had some sad stuff happen.

1 BRIGHT NOTE: One of my teen girls asked me last night if I could meet with her and her boyfriend. He is relatively new (2 months or less). I said yes of course, and then she told me why. Basically he told her he wants to know more about God. He told her that he doesn't understand it all and wants to know more. He wants to know what the difference is between Christians, Catholics and Nazarenes. He wants to be a Christian, but wants to understand what its all about first. So... that is a bright note.
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I like marriage.

It is so much fun. I came home today and was just being really honest with Kelly about some tough decisions we have to make, and I had so much fun in our conversation. When I make a comment, she already knows the reasons behind it. When I explain how I feel, she understands completely because she knows the core of who I am. When I am sharing other peoples' opinions of our decision, she laughs, even before I share my reaction, because she knows how I will.

Knowing laughs.
Understanding grins.
Shared sighs.
Real conversation.

Marriage is Good.
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