Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oh, the things you find when you're not looking...

So we're out for a nice Sunday drive...and we come across what we thought was a little strange country-bumpkin signage...

... and we laughed a little, and wondered where one would come across such a piece of art... but then we saw this...

and then this...

...and behind these two were at least 3 more... so we thought it might be best to keep driving... but then just down the road, we see this...

Clearly, it was time to go home. For all of you reading this who DONT live in Jessamine County... feel free to let your imagination wander. For those of you who do, always travel with a buddy...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Christmas... in September?

So what if I had needed a rake to rid the yard that I dont have of leaves that arent falling? The lawn and garden section of Wal-Mart, which should still be selling swimming pool chemicals (given that it was 83 degrees today), is "decking the halls" a bit early. However, if you look carefully, you'll notice that the acoustic-jammin' santa is sporting his Top Gun shades (as is appropriate in late summer)!
So, excuse me while I find a ladder to begin stringing lights from the rain gutters...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Four score; well, at least 26 years ago...

I must admit this is a little weird for me. I actually just read this story for the first time yesterday. It is my birth narrative, if you will; written by my mom soon after I was born. So here I am sharing it with you, the world. Don't worry it's not too graphic or gross, but if your curiosity needs piquing, I was born in the back of an ambulance! Check it out:

"I guess you've all heard that Justin Michael finally made his arrival, although not exactly as planned. I had no intention of even going to the hospital in an ambulance, let alone having the baby in one! As it turned out, there wasn't much time for choices. For those of you who haven't heard the story, here's how it went: I started into labor about 7 p.m. The contractions were strong, and came every 1 to 3 1/2 minutes. They lasted from 31 to 57 seconds, but were never regular. Because they were irregular and started so quickly, I believed it was false labor. Luckily, my mother was with me, and she, "just knew" I was really in labor, and that the baby was closer than I thought. She called my doctor and told him we were on our way. She then called a friend at the ambulance base to tell her we were leaving for the hospital. When Mom told her how close the contractions were she wanted us to call Station 31 and let them take me to the hospital, but I was still determined I wasn't going in an ambulance. A few minutes later, the ambulance called to say they were on the way (my friend had called on her own), and wanted me to let them take me in. Mom wasn't sure the ambulance would get there in time. The ambulance arrived, they timed a few contractions, and then loaded me into the ambulance. They called the hospital and, after my next contraction, we began to move. We got out of the parking lot and into the road when the baby started coming. They stopped the ambulance and, with the next contraction, he was born. It happened so fast!! It was 8:09 p.m., and the labor lasted just over one hour. After the paramedics cleaned him up, I heard that wonderful first cry, and I got to hold him; he was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. We dimmed the lights in the back, and he opened his big dark blue eyes and looked around at everyone. I want to praise my friends and co-workers for safely delivering Justin. After the pediatrician saw him and assured us he was completely healthy, they told me the cord had been wrapped around his neck twice. They just took care of the problem without ever skipping a beat. If not for you all, I might not have my wonderful little boy."

As I read through this story, my heart is humbled. I am reminded of our human frailties and our dependence on God and others. I am grateful for God's faithfulness and His hand when I see that I may not have even been able to take my first breath.

God, Thank you for the provision of life. You are my Father, the one who brought breath to my lungs. Draw me near to you so that everything I do is done for your glory and not my own. Fill my lungs again today that I may breathe you in! It's in you that I find my hope and my delight.
Thank you for the paramedics that worked as your hand on this day, 26 years ago.
May each of them feel your presence in a special way today.
All praise be to your holy name. Amen

Friday, September 21, 2007

Acts 5:12-42

I've been reading in Acts chapter 5 for the last few days...I am both amazed and convicted. Even before chapter 5, but especially in it, Peter and the Apostles are out healing people, teaching them about Jesus Christ and many lives are being changed. The Apostles are arrested, beaten and imprisoned, then when they are released, every time, they are told not to teach or even mention the name of Jesus again. As soon as they leave the presence of the priests and scribes, they go out from the temple right back to it.

But why? Maybe it's because an angel freed them from prison? Maybe it's because they find joy in suffering? Maybe it is because God told them to teach the words of life? Yeah, maybe it's all of these things...

But what about me, what about us??? As Christians we have been set free from prison, we have been told to count ourselves blessed if we suffer as Christ did, and God has told us to Go - make disciples. Still, day in and day out I keep the message to myself. I'm afraid people will think I'm a freak for talking about Jesus, and I don't want to offend anyone. On top of that, I'm lazy. I'm not really even in danger of being beaten or imprisoned. What then...are any of these good excuses? I guess not.

Lord, I pray,for myself and anyone reading this, that today you may put someone in our paths that we may share the Gospel message with. Give me the eyes to recognize him or her. Give me the boldness to speak up and share the message and the the love that you've so willingly shared with me. It's all about you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Quick Word...

I'm on my way to bed, but I just had to write this down before I could sleep. Jeanine and I went to see TobyMac in concert tonight at Questapalooza. If you don't know what either of those things are, you can click on the word and check them out.

TobyMac gave two simple truths to the crowd...

(1) - God loves you! He is ready and willing to help you turn your life around. When you turn to Him there is Love and Forgiveness. All your past mistakes, they are washed away. And...

(2) - You were made to worship and adore the God who created you! Each of us has this very purpose at the center of our lives.

Two simple truths: Love centered - Life changing!

Here's definitely a shout out to Quest Community Church for a great, Christ honoring, fun-filled event!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Great Weekend in the Water

In the water of baptism. Jeanine and I just returned from a great weekend with my family in West Virginia where I got to assist in the baptism of my youngest cousin, Kayley. Family members came from all over to celebrate this sacred time together. It was great to see extended family and catch up on what's been going on with each of them. I dare to say it is unique the way that our family can gather - from the youngest to the oldest - aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, great-aunts and great uncles - as far apart as we all live, there is a connection and love that I really cherish.

Back to the baptism side of the weekend though. Kayley is 4 months old and was baptized in the United Methodist Church that I grew up in. Now, whether you believe in infant baptism or not let me tell you what I know from this experience. 1. On Sunday, I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in that church like I never have before. As the light was ushered past me to the altar, my heart and mind were filled with joy in anticipation. He
stirred in a number of hearts that morning. And, 2. when taken purely and seriously, the covenant of baptism written in the United Methodist Hymnal is such an amazingly deep commitment. It is a commitment for the congregation and family of the person being baptized. Too often we treat the covenant as words on a page. It seems to me that there is power and presence of the Holy Spirit in baptism whether received as an infant or an adult. Do I have a preference, sure, but however it is done, I'm not going to limit what the Lord can and cannot do (not that I really could anyway, but it's better not to even try :).

It was quite an honor to be apart of this baptism service and I am excited to see how Kayley continues to learn and grow. As someone who was a part of the her baptism service I feel a great responsibility to do my part in leading her to faith in Jesus Christ. May He be glorified through the life of this young child!