Friday, January 27, 2012

Coming Alive

It’s been over two years since Julia’s death, and I have been healed in so many ways.  Much of my life is back to normal, or at least a “new” normal.  God is so good, and I can’t thank Him enough for carrying me through the hard times.  I am so blessed to have Sheryl.  I never thought that I could love again, but I can.  I couldn’t ever seeing myself being happy again, but I am.  Who knows what life will bring to each of us, but this I do know.   He does make all things new, and He does work all things for good to those who love Him, even the pain and grief of losing your lover and best friend. 

Sometimes I just find myself sitting back like I am out of my body and I am looking at myself watching all that is happening.  I am totally amazed by what I see and feel.  I wish my girls could have what I have.  I pray that they will get it in time.  I have been healed in almost all areas, and now I find myself coming alive in probably the last area that was left numb.  I am exercising with a passion again.  Before Julia’s death, I was running with a passion.   I had completed the “Goofey” Marathon and half marathon race in 2008 and that burned me out on long distance, but I was still enjoying running and staying in shape.  But after her death, it seemed like running was just something I did out of duty, not for fun.  I didn’t care about my body.  As I look back, I realize it was because I really didn’t care how long I lived.  Even though God was there, it seemed like it was just as easy to not be here as it was to be here.  I wasn’t suicidal or anything, I was just numb.

I could tell it in my eating and in my exercise.  I wasn’t the same.  Even after I married Sheryl, I still wasn’t the same in that area.  It was a numbness that had taken over that part of my life.  I can’t put my finger on when it changed, when the numbness left.  Maybe it was as I grew even closer to Sheryl, but I found myself really wanting to live again.  I had had dreams before, but now those dreams meant even more.  I found myself looking at what I was doing, and not being happy.  I know better.  I know that I need to exercise and I needed to eat properly.  Once again I wanted divine health.  I want to live a long time, and I need to be in shape and in good health to enjoy it.  The numbness was lifting.  I knew it was lifting when I had the urge to train for a marathon.  I know what a commitment it would take to train; yet I started at the end of January.  Wednesday I completed a 17-mile run.  I’ll do 18 next week and work my way up to 20 miles before the marathon.  That means I am running anywhere from 25 – 30 miles a week. 

Things are great; I am alive.  The training is kicking in, and the weight is slowly beginning to come off.  Sheryl and I are going to the gym three days a week to work out.  It’s like a layer of cellophane that had me bound up has been cut away.  It truly feels good to be alive.  I don’t know whether it is just being married, or moving down here to Peachtree City,  but things are changing for the better.  I know that I will be fine in all areas now.  Life is full and exciting, and I am so blessed to have a part to play in all that God has in store.  Yes, I think that this is the last area to come alive, and for a long while, I didn’t even realize it was dead.   

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Goodbye to an Old Friend

Today I said goodbye to an old friend.  You know cars are inanimate objects.  They really are not fun to buy because the minute you drive them off the showroom floor, they loose value.  That is why I will never buy another new car.  From now on, when I buy a new car, it will be new to me, but used by someone else first.  In 1999 I bought a new Mazda Miata right off the show room floor.  It was a beauty, state of the art.  The Miata had just changed body styles, and it was beautiful.  I had always loved the Miata, and had leased a 96 model, thinking I would get it out of my blood.  But it only made me want one more.

So, when the lease was up. I went and bought the ’99 Miata.  I figured that I would drive it until I retired and then I would get something sensible.  It was a fun car to drive.  I put 191,455 miles on it, and I enjoyed every one of them.  It was always dependable.  I think that in over 12 years, I broke down only twice and had only one flat tire.  It has had minimal maintenance and was very easy to drive.  The power wasn’t great, but it was so much fun to take around corners and to shift the short throw gear shift.  Yes, I really did enjoy that car.  But over the last year, she has been getting very tired.

The speakers and sound system were going bad, and there was a constant hiss in the background.  The leather seats has long since worn out and covered with sheepskin.  Now the power windows would barely work, and it seemed that more and more things were going wrong.  With over 190k miles; the engine was on borrowed time.  At one time I thought of rebuilding the engine, but I was really looking at rebuilding the whole car.  That would cost too much.  So, today I sold the car to CarMax.  I couldn’t bring myself to sell it to an individual.  There was too much wrong with it for me to do that.  I felt like CarMax gave me a good and fair price and so I drove it to the dealership with the top down.  The sun was shining, but it was cold.  It was still fun, and as I drove I remembered some of the trips and good times that I had with this car.  So, I lost an old friend today and I was sad to see her go, yet I knew that it was time.

So, what did I replace her with?  I’m glad you asked.  I now have a 2006 copper red Mazda Miata.  It has 50,000 miles on it, so it is barely broken in.   I am excited because this is the new model that started in ‘06 and it is totally different, yet very similar.  So, I’m still not old enough for practicality when it comes to cars.  I guess that I just like to have the sun shining down on my head and feel the wind blowing through my hair (lol). 

Will I become as attached to this car as my last one.  It probably depends on how she runs.  If she is dependable and stays fun to drive; I foresee a wonderful long lasting relationship.  I hope I am still able to get in and out of this one in 12 years.  We shall see.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Infected and Contagious

I was running the other day, and I had a long time to think and meditate on things.  I was asking Father God about my life and my dreams, and how come they are so much different than my peers.  He told me that “I was infected.”  I thought OK, so what does that mean.  Then He told me that I was contagious too.  That really got my attention.  Infected? What with?  I can understand being infected with strep throat, and being contagious with it.  You have to stay isolated until you are not contagious anymore.  Well He told me “I would always be contagious.”

But I still wasn’t sure what He was talking about, and then He began to have my life flash back before my eyes as I ran.  I was saved when I was nine, but it wasn’t until 1981 that I was filled with the Spirit.  The next thing that happened was that I got connected with the Vineyard.  I was being drawn into a kingdom mindset and began to seek more after the things of the Holy Spirit, you know, the way out things that we don’t’ necessarily think about in traditional denominations.  That began to draw me in, but I still wasn’t infected.

I became infected in 1994 when the renewal broke out in Toronto.  I can trace the infection that has impacted my life back to that one visit.  It was summer of 94 and the revival had been going on every night since early January.  In fact, it’s still going on up there right now, 18 years later.  It was there that I first felt the Holy Spirit move in a tangible way.  I mean moving corporately, not just on one person.  That is what infected me.  I had to be in that environment.  I couldn’t live without it. 

Once you have tasted and partaken of it, that is all you want in a service, and you are never satisfied if you don’t have it.  Normal services don’t work for you anymore.  You are always looking, hunting for His presence.  You know that you are infected when you will drive 50 miles and bypass hundreds of churches just to be at one where He occasionally shows up.  You wind up surrounding yourself with other people who are infected also.  It’s fun, but you have no choice.  It’s the only thing that satisfies you. 

But there is a big difference between being infected and being contagious.  If you are infected, you could be safe to be around other’s who are not infected.  What you have won’t hurt them; it might not spread to them, you are no risk.  But, on the other hand, if you are contagious, you are dangerous.  You can be dangerous to those who are not infected.  Being contagious means that we are able to spread the infection to others.  I am contagious because I carry His presence in my life.  Everything that I do, I do to spread His Kingdom.  As such, I know that His presence goes with me.  It’s about His presence, It always has been about that, we just lost our focus.  But I am focused, and others like me are as well.  So, I know that I have His presence with me, and I know that if I carry His presence, then I can change the atmosphere wherever I am.  That is why I am contagious.  I’m dangerous to those who aren’t yet infected.  If they hang around me long enough, they will be.  I’m glad that I am contagious.  And I am glad I am infected.  Life would certainly be dull if we weren’t releasing the Kingdom and changing the atmosphere.  It’s a new day, and I am so glad to be a part of it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Post Number 693

It’s been two years.  Two years since I started this blog.  In the past two years I have made 693 posts.  That means that I have written all but 37 days in the past two years.  The blog has almost 32000 hits on the internet from many different countries over the world.  I don’t think that I have that much to say, but I have been blessed with more people reading it than I ever thought possible.  I didn’t really start to have people read it, but I have enjoyed it.

But, change is inevitable and this is a good time to make the change.  After two years the thought of doing a nightly post is really tiring.  My life has changed dramatically and there is too much going on to keep the quality high.  So, I am doing away with the daily posts.  I tried to do that last year, but I probably wasn’t ready.  Now I am.  I still plan on writing, just not as often.  Hopefully that way, my thoughts will be clearer and there will be greater insight and revelation.  So, for those of you who still want to follow this blog, I suggest the following.  Check the blog twice a week.  I plan to try and post by Wednesday and Saturday each week.  It might vary, but it should be around there, and twice a week should keep you caught up.  That is about what I plan on writing.  Sometimes if things come up I might write more, but probably not less.

I want to thank each of you who have walked with me through this journey and prayed for me.  Your support has been invaluable.  I’m not leaving, I enjoy writing too much, but there are many other things that are taking a lot of my time now, and I its time for a course correction.  Two years has brought a lot of healing.  God is good, and He is in a good mood.  Goodnight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

God is so Good

Tonight I want to reflect back some on the last two years.  It’s hard to believe that Julia died two years ago tonight.  That night was the lowest valley I think that I have ever been in.  Sometimes I look back and I just don’t believe how I got through it.  The utter shock of seeing someone who was so full of life and so vibrant, gone.  Yes, hone in what seemed like an instant.  That night I had a choice to make.  What was I going to do, was I going to blame God for this tragedy. Or was I going to choose to run into His arms and let Him carry me.  I thank Him that I had been learning and studying about His true nature.  I am so thankful that I knew that He wasn’t responsible and that I know of His goodness.  I had experienced it in a small measure, but I had no idea that He was as good as He is.

That first year, especially that first six months, I basically went to sleep with Him every night. He was always in my thoughts, and it was always about His love and His goodness.  I missed Julia so much, but His love and His comfort were there with me constantly.  I didn’t want to be with anyone, but He was there, holding me and watching over me.  It was if His Spirit was there, as a salve covering my deep wounds.  I had a choice, do I hold onto the past and try to keep things the way they were, or do I begin to try and heal, try to live again.  The school played a big part in my healing, as did my friends.  But really it was my learning to release Julia to Father God that really began my healing.

We can hold onto things and to people long after it is safe and healthy to keep them.  I could grab onto Julia’s memory, my memory of the way things were and live there, or I could release her and allow Father God to shift my memories and remove the pain from them.  You see, if I held onto her memory from that moment, then every memory would be filled with the pain of loss.  But by releasing Her to Father God, I released all the pain, and over time, He gave me memories back, but without the pain.  He is so good, we just have to allow Him to work with freedom in our life.  His goodness to me is so overwhelming.  I never thought that I could love again.  I truly thought that I would never be able to find room in my heart for anyone else.  But H had other plans.

He expanded my heart to make room for more love.  Why?  I believe because He has plans for me that needed a place for more love.  Anyway, He then connected me in ministry to a wonderful woman that Julia and I had met in November.  The rest is history, Sheryl has come into my live, a gift from my Father to be with me in this next phase of my life.  As much as I loved meeting Him every night that first year, He knew that I needed more of His love while I was here.  So He sent her to me.  My love for her is so great.  It’s something that I never thought I could experience again. I know that if I hadn’t given my memories of Julia to Him, He couldn’t have prepared me for this. 

It’s all about His goodness, but we play a part.  We have to choose to move forward and mot to stay locked in the past.  I still miss Julia, and tonight I do honor her.  But I see her all the time.  I see her especially in my girls.  They carry so much of her inside them.  Even my granddaughters carry some of her.  But now, I can see her and still love Sheryl.  That is as it should be, and I know that Julia is happy with this. Today at church, we sang “Love Came Down”.  That was my song that I listened to for a year as I wrote this blog about her.  But today it was sung is an upbeat fast arrangement.  It was like it was being performed just for me.  He wanted me to celebrate her life and His love.  I could do this, because He taught me about His goodness.

Never be afraid to release something to Him.  He will only give it back to you in a better way.  That is what He did with my memories and pain.  That is what He will do for you if you will let Him.  You see, He is really that good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tempest in a Teapot

Today I wanted to take a ride on my Harley, but I guess we have been traveling too much, because the battery was dead when I went to start it.  Well, the battery is hidden behind a cover that is almost impossible to get off, so I guess I will have to either find someone who knows what they are doing or take it on a trailer to the dealer.  So, I didn’t get to ride today.  I did get a workout in at the gym.  That was OK. 

I go back to work tomorrow.  I am blessed to have a job that gives me so much flexibility.  It was an interesting week though.  We got a letter giving us a 2 percent raise, but canceling our usual bonus of 6%.   I know math, and this doesn’t seem like a raise to me.  Anyway, I have never seen such an uprising in the ranks of the DGS instructors.  Really it wasn’t about the money, we get paid pretty well for what we do.  It had more to do with respect and honor.  The instructor group as a whole felt dishonored.  The way it was handled by management was not good. 

Management said that it was because of the economy.  Really it’s because they felt they could do it.  We are professionals and it doesn’t change the way we train or teach, it really doesn’t affect our paycheck all that much.  But once again a company loses its goodwill and trust by going after a few dollars.  Bill Johnson said something a few days I go.  He said that there was nothing wrong with Capitalism except Capitalists .   He also said that there was nothing wrong with Socialism except Socialists.  In other words, there will always be those who try to take advantage of any system.  Greed is what will ruin any system, and greed is rampant in America. 

So, the question for me is how do I react, and how can I bring the Kingdom of God into this situation.  First, my source is not Delta Airlines or this job.  Thank God I finally learned that lesson.  So, it doesn’t matter what they pay me.  I work for the King, and I am His representative here.  So, I will continue to give my best and do all that I can do to provide Delta with quality pilots.  Did I feel dishonored?  Yes, but once I put my eyes back on my source, it was like water running off a ducks back.  No, I think that I have learned over the past few years not to let things shake me; especially things where I have no input. 

It will be interesting to watch how all this plays out.  If it’s like everything else, it will be liked a tempest in a teapot.  Anyway, I have an A period in the morning, and I really am glad that I have this job.  It is a gift from God, and I will never take it for granted.

Getting the House in Order

The Christmas decorations are all packed up in the basement.  We got it all done yesterday, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I got the tree boxed up and all the wreaths down and packed.  Sheryl packed up all the small things and I loaded all the boxes to the basement.   We finished right before supper.  The next step was to bring back all of the furniture back into our sunroom.  We were both excited to have our sunroom back so we can have our morning coffee there.  It is a great place to read and pray as well as have coffee.  So the house is in order now, and we can begin to really settle in.

January is a time of reflection and implementation of new ideas and new strategies for the New Year.  So there is really more to “getting the house in order”.  It’s time to look at changes that need to be made.  As I have said, one of the changes I want to make is in my diet and exercise regime.   Today I completed my long run for the week.  I ran 12 miles, but it was way too slow.  I know that the weight will come off as long as I keep running.  But it needs to come off so I can pick up my speed.   But there are other things that I want to do.  I really need to make some time to read.  I have a pile of books that I wanted to read last year, but never got around to them.  I need to make it a point to read at least one book a month.  I think that I will make that one of my goals as well.  Since we are moved in, I hope that we will be able to spend more time meeting with people and doing some entertaining.  I’m not sure how that looks yet, but I know that it will begin to happen.

It was good to see the kids, but now we are about to enter a time where we will be doing a lot of traveling; especially in February.  So this month we need to take care of things around here.  One of those things is our Sozo team.  We have about five new people to train and a couple of seconds to train as first, so it will be a busy time doing tht, but we are catching up on Sozos and I can see the team beginning to form like we want it to.  God is so good and I know that He has a plan for this team.  Yes, the house is being put in order, in most every area.  This is a good thing.  I don’t like to feel that I have to run just to catch up.  I want to run, but run ahead of problems and keep them from occurring. 

It’s funny, but I have found that I like an orderly house too.  Years ago I thought it was just Julia.  Then Sheryl started talking about wanting to get things in order.  I thought it was a woman thing.  Well, maybe I have been around women too long because I have found that I work better and feel more refreshed when the house, including my “house” is in order.  So, this is going to be an exciting and productive month because we are getting things in order, in all areas.  That is a good thing, and I believe it’s a God thing too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taking Down Christmas Decorations

We got back home yesterday afternoon.  It’s hard leaving 78 degree weather and coming back to temperatures in the low 40’s for a high.  But at least it was sunny.  I guess the wind blew all the clouds away.  Anyway, I was able to get to the gym for a quick run in the tread mill and then had to go to school.  I missed Monday night, but Sheryl and I were teaching a Sozo AMT during the last part of last night’s school.  We have three more Tuesday nights to teach and it has been fun working with a small group.

When we came home yesterday, Sheryl immediately started taking down the Christmas decorations.  When I came back from my run at the gym, I could tell she was getting serious.  The tree was in pieces on the floor and all the decorations were stacked up on the chairs around the tree.  So, the die is cast.  Today is the day to pack up all the decorations.  I guess that I will start bring up boxes after I finish this post.  We did manage to get to the gym for a workout this morning, and we have a couple of other places to go, but for the most part, it’s time to get the house back in order.

I hate taking down Christmas decorations.  I don’t mind putting them up, but there is something very depressing about taking them down.  It’s sort of like losing recess when I was in school.  Christmas decorations just mean fun.  When you take them down, it’s like saying the fun is over.  That’s why I usually am very hard to pin down when it comes to doing this.  But, they are already piled up now, so I really have no choice.  So, I guess we will get it done today.  The good news is that it will be done.  I guess it’s like taking medicine that taste bad.  You know that you have to do it, but you try to avoid it for as long as possible.  But when it’s over, you don’t have to deal with it for a while.

I have to stay positive, that is why I am working out, running and looking at my goals.  January can be a very depressing month if you are not careful.  It’s the end of Christmas and winter really sits in.  I have to look for things that are uplifting and positive.  But, then there are a few Christmas bills that have to be paid as well.  School starts a very long stretch.  No, it’s hard to stay positive, but I know that I will be able to do it.  So, I look at all the things that I have to be thankful for, and that brings me back to the reality that I am a very blessed man.  It’s a sunny day outside, and even though I have to put the decorations away, Christmas still lives in my heart.  Yes, I can carry that with me into this month of January.  Life is good, and I am glad to be involved in so much.  Now, to the boxes…

Monday, January 2, 2012

Last Day in the Sun

Well, all good things must eventually come to an end, and it looks like we will be leaving the nice sunny 70 degree weather for the frigid 20’s tonight.  We were going to leave tomorrow, but there are three bowl games in Florida this afternoon, and I think that the traffic going north tomorrow afternoon will be terrible.  So, I guess we will leave after dinner tonight and drive up as far as we feel like it, at least to Lake City, Fl before we stop to sleep.  Then, tomorrow morning we should be ahead of most of the traffic.  I’m not really looking forward to the drive back, but there is so much less stress compared with trying to get on an airplane this time of year.

It has been a great time with Jennifer, Sean and the girls.  We have really enjoyed it and I hope the girls have had a good time.  I know that they will enjoy getting their room back.  Yesterday we had our first swim of the New Year.  We got in the pool for a few minutes before sitting out in the sun for an hour or so.  I also got in a 7 mile run through some very beautiful neighborhoods.  Last night we watched “The Help”.  We had seen it before, but it was just as good the second time.

The diet starts in earnest when we get home, this has been like a vacation, no time to diet when you are visiting family.  So the workouts and training really begin.  I’ve done well on the aerobics, and I am where I should be this week.  But the weights have to pick up.  My goal is to lose two pounds per week average.  I know that some weeks will be more and some less, but I am really committed.  I have to if I expect to be able to run 26 miles.

What I have seen and experienced these past few weeks with all the kids is the love and sense of belonging that family gives.  I received that in Alaska, in Atlanta and here in Ft Lauderdale.  Family gives you a sense of belonging, a place where you know that you are loved and accepted.  At least it should.  As we move into this new year, I can see why Bethel Atlanta is seeking to have a supernatural family.  In your family you should feel safe.  Safe to share even when you disagree because you know that you love each other.  Safe to know that your dreams are encouraged and you get positive feedback.  Yes, God’s plan is for us to thrive in families filled with love, joy and hope. 

The enemy’s main tactic is to break up families and isolate individuals; once isolated we make easy targets.  It’s like in the wild where the buffalo who strays from the herd is the one that gets picked off by the mountain lion.  We have families for protection and it’s our job to nurture and love them.  It’s too easy today to allow them to drift apart.  I never thought that my family would be so scattered, but it is.  We have to find ways to stay connected.  That is why I think that “Facetime” is so important.  We have to use all the technical advantages that we have to keep connected. 

Well, it’s been a good time of connection here, but it must end.  I’ll be sad to leave, at the same time life calls.  Families are important, but we all have lives too.  The key is still to live life in balance and harmony.  Only through God can we achieve these both.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

I'm sitting here at Starbucks in Ft Lauderdale. It is a beautiful day, and the coffee is very good as always. Yesterday was filled with fun and excitement. We spent most of the day discovering Ft Lauderdale by boat. We bought day passes on the water taxi system and spent most of the day looking at the houses of the rich and famous. It is so beautiful to see this city from the intercostal waterway. You get a whole new perspective on it. Then we watched Tech lose again. That was the worst part of the day. While we were out and about, we ate a delicious meal at Coconuts. It's a waterside diner. The food was excellent and the view was breathtaking. At night, we grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, facetimed with Lisa and the girls and then watched a movie. We watched the ball drop from New York and went outside to see some fireworks.

Last night I read my post from New Years 2011. I was amazed at how accurate it was and how much has happened to me this past year. 2011 really was a year of change. There were more changes than I could ever imagine. Everything from falling in love with a wonderful woman and getting married to changing churches. It continued with moving out of the Marietta area down to Peachtree City. There were changes in my ministry as I took on helping to lead first year at BASSM. Then, Sheryl and I were asked to lead the Sozo team at Bethel Atlanta. Lisa and Hernan moved to Juneau with the girls. I added new family when I married Sheryl and that is another blessing in my life, but also another change. Yes, 2011 was a year of change and a year of entering in.

So, here we are, Jan 1 2012. What does this year hold in store for us? I sense that I have not entered into everything in the fullness that God wants me too. It's like the door to the house has been opened, but the house still has to be occupied. So, there will be more of an occupying and settling in as this year progresses. In some ways, it might not be as exciting, but it is maybe the most important time. It is a year of seeing promises fulfilled, and deferred hope made complete. I declare this over myself and my family.

2012 will also be a year of fresh revelation as to how our destiny is fulfilled. There are so many open doors. None of them will be closed, but our path will narrow and certain doors will become more obvious as the ones we should choose. It is about choice, you know. I believe that our Papa gives us endless possibilities, but He also puts within us certain desires. When we follow His heart within our heart. Those endless possibilities narrow to those that will propel us into the destiny that He has for us. It is about running our own race, not someone else's.

So, this year I want to focus on my race. It's not a coincidence that I feel compelled to train for another marathon. I believe the pace is picking up. There is much I want to do but the time is short. All of life is spiritual, you can't separate it out into parts. Whether it is running, travel or ministering in the school. If I stay connected to Him, He will give me balance. Balance for the race that I am called to run. My race looks different than your race. I can't judge another's race, because I don't know what God has in store for them. I just bless everyone who is in the race. May 2012 be a year of hopes fulfilled and destiny realized. Happy New Year.