I’m Done Wasting My Life; Time to Lose It

Yesterday I finished reading John Piper’s Risk is Right. It’s not a huge book, but I took my time with it, as due to the circumstances in which I received it, I felt it worth savoring slowly. I received it about a week prior, the afternoon after I quit my job. It was sent in the mail to me as a gift from two very close friends back in Omaha. For the three weeks leading up to leaving my job I battled constantly the idea of risk vs. wisdom. I have been feeling the call of God to start inching my way towards ministry again (He may or may not want me to be inching along, but currently that is my pace).

I left full time ministry 10 years ago and until last January never looked back. Based on prodding from my mentor in Seattle, the thought and opportunity to come back into church service has begun to bud. Even though I came very close to a job offer at our church in Seattle, it was not to be, and God led Nita and I down to south Florida. It was there he brought me to Cape Alliance. On our first day of visiting, they announced that was the last day of their Associate Pastor whom would not be replaced by paid staff. One of his main duties was the youth group. God spoke and here we are leading an entire youth group.

Upon our arrival to Fort Myers, both Nita and I graciously landed jobs quickly so that we could get our feet set. It is now seven months later and I am back in the job hunting mode again. At least this time we have no intention of moving. This is not a story about what happened at the job, and though it had a lot to do with circumstances surrounding working there, my battles over the last month have been about taking the next step in my faith. Maybe that meant moving a few inches at once, maybe just one, but it has certainly been a battle.

Conventional wisdom taught me to never quit a job without another one lined up. That has only been magnified under the current economic stress. But I felt a continuing nod to end my career in sales and open myself back to the world of giving, whether in church or at least non-profit service. With building pressure on every side, I became forced to make a decision: either stay where I am and close my heart to God’s pull or step out in faith. I have always desired control, even more so over myself. God kept tugging on me to let Him supply our needs and live on faith. One easy way to try that would be to give up an income…

Thus, last week I either did the stupidest thing ever or made one of my biggest leaps of faith. That said, I am being responsible and job hunting with fervor, but I have noticed that my faith and desire to trust in God’s leading for the next step is growing. There is where the book comes in. Arriving at the perfect time from friends that I trust with my life and who know on infinite levels more than me what it means to live on faith, I opened the pages and was impacted with the nature and power of risk immediately. The story of Joab and Abishai in 2 Samuel 10 was particularly convicting.

“Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites. Joab said, ‘If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.'” (2 Samuel 10:9-12)

We are called to do our absolute best with the talents, knowledge and strength given to us, but the lesson here is that God controls the outcome. The LORD will do what is good in His sight. I do not know what will happen, but I know that Nita and I have placed our lives in the center of His hands and am confident He has a good plan for us…granted, that plan may not be on this side of heaven. We’ll just have to travel on this journey and see where it goes.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

In case anyone is curious, though I am fully confident in God, do not be misled. The only times my knees are not shaking is when I am on them praying. Which, at this point, is often. Lastly, let me send a shout out to my friends Lee and Chelsea, the ones who sent me this book. They live on risk daily as they are paid by faith support through their college ministry, Cru. Follow the link to learn more about them and consider supporting them. Their first child is only a few months old and they are adopting 3 more children this summer. I’m afraid Nita and I still have a lot to learn…

riskisright

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Economy Booming for Make-up Artists

It’s no secret that the Dow Jones and NASDAQ have been hitting new highs lately. There are numerous reasons for this, such as the willingness for every American to continually pay higher prices so that they can fill their gas-guzzling, value depreciating, lemon-ed automobiles with combustible fuel. Of course, there are those who oppose the use of these fossil fuels because of the negative effect on the environment, i.e. global warming. Their viewpoint is that basically everything technological is causing invisible gases to rise up into the atmosphere and create a big hole in the ozone layer which basically means that the sunscreen manufacturers will enjoy profits not even the heads of Enron could have dreamt. Thankfully, the threat of global warming is now official; the committee for the Nobel Prize decided to award Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring this potential tragedy into international spotlight. I think Vice President Gore won because he also invented the internet, causing a drop in international conflict due to readily available free porn all around the world.

Okay, maybe the free porn hasn’t yet put an end to all wars, but it has given countless wives good reasons not trust their husbands even when they are thousands of miles away in a desert where any woman that crosses their path is wearing more clothing than an average Eskimo. Yet this has not answered the big question of Gore’s future: will he decide to run for President? Common sense would say, “Didn’t he already lose once?” which is technically kind of the right answer. But, with the Nobel Prize behind him, his chances to win the popular vote might actually lead this time to the Presidency. Thus, I would like to offer a few helpful hints to anyone seeking a run at the Presidency (my nephew might even get a few votes this time around). The first trick it to make sure that you hold strong to the positions that you carry. Conservative author Ann Coulter does a very good job at staying true to her beliefs. In a recent New York Times article she was repeatedly questioned about her belief that Jews are inferior to Christians. Despite countless people calling her bigoted and a Neo-Nazi, she held strong and kept her opinions clear. “‘We just want Jews to be perfected,’ Ms. Coulter said, explaining why she thinks a Christian America would be ideal.” This comes from an article written in yesterday’s paper by Sarah Wheaton. Later she was asked if she meant for her comments to be offensive. “No. I’m sorry. It is not intended to be. I don’t think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews. We believe the Old Testament. As you know from the Old Testament, God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to, you know, live up to all the laws. What Christians believe — this is just a statement of what the New Testament is.” Shouldn’t the next President be as unabashed and willing to say their mind no matter who they hurt as Ms. Coulter? I would consider that to be a truly refreshing trend in the Oval Office, and it would certainly make for interesting party discussions, especially the debates on where the U.S. is going to build their next prison camp. I vote for northern Indiana – then Notre Dame could throw their football coaches in their as well – we could kill two birds with one stone.

Maybe blatant offensive comments are not the best way to win a crowd; but I definitely know what will make anyone a Presidential front-runner: a proper make-up job. The current trend today is that you must always look your best, no matter if you are running for President, picking up your children from soccer practice, or smuggling cocaine into the United States. Believe it or not, looking your best is important to everyone, just consider the article from today’s Times, discussing the recent arrest of Sandra Ávila Beltrán, better known as the Queen of the Pacific. She has been a high level drug dealer all across Central America and is wanted for extradition to the U.S. for smuggling drugs into Florida, where cocaine has become the new flavor of menthol. “On Sept. 28, more than 30 Mexican federal agents swarmed into a diner where she was having coffee and arrested her. She coolly asked the agents to let her freshen her makeup before the police filmed her transfer to jail. On the videotape, she tosses her hair and smiles for the camera, strutting in tight jeans and spiked heels, on the arm of an agent.” Even notorious criminals can positively impact their reputation with the right look. Mrs. Clinton herself has even given credit to the beauty industry by publicly thanking her hair stylist for her new look and keeping her from making similar bad hair decisions like the ones she made in the past. I don’t think Mr. Gore’s hair has moved since 1990.

What can we learn from today’s headlines? How you look in public is much more important than what you say, and that still holds true if you host a radio show or write articles, because appearance is everything. That is why it is a completely tax-deductible expense for me to go to the ritziest hair salon in town; I have to look my best so my readers can fully enjoy my columns. Also, go out and support your local beautician; they may be overpriced and haven’t attended school since the second grade, but they know what’s best for you and your campaign. After all, we want to continue this economic spiral upward, so at least when the rest of the nation crashes, everyone will be looking their best; let’s just hope that it isn’t the sunscreen manufacturers that are going to push the free market past its breaking point. I’m not sure Mrs. Clinton would look so good as a piece of bacon.