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I'm a stay-at-home Dad suffering from Fibromyalgia. I homeschool my daughter and lead worship at my church. I'm also a gamer and a geek and proud of it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dream Big

I read a great article online today about finding God's will for your ministry in 2012 (it can be found here: http://crossleadership.com/leadership-lessons-to-live-by-gods-will-for-your-ministry-in-this-coming-year/). Anyway one of the things it mentioned was dreaming big, and that got me to thinking. It's been a long time since I've given dreaming big any thought. You see I seem to always dream big, it was lesson I learned a few years back when we bought our first home.

At the time my wife and I really thought there was no way we could ever afford a home. Our credit was shot and house prices seemed totally in the realm of fantasy. But, in 2000 we realized that most of our debt was paid off, house prices were bottoming out and 'duh' I qualify for a VA home loan. Sometimes my brilliance is overshadowed by just how stupid I can be. lol.

Long story short we not only bought our house but also managed to remodel the kitchen and bathroom and paint and carpet all but one room. The master bedroom was painted but we never got around to carpeting it before we had to sell the house. turned a great profit on the house and was able to pay off the rest of our debt including a car loan and also bought a second car with cash. All I can say is God is good, people.

I say all this not to gloat but to help you realize that sometimes we don't get anywhere in our ministries and our lives because we are too afraid to dream big. We worry about the results of our decisions to the point of paralysis. I'm not saying we don't need to plan and make wise decisions, but maybe we need to take a few chances now and then, and stop with the endless hypothetical arguments that we have in our minds.

So this year I'm going to dream big in all the areas of my life. A preliminary list:
  1. I'm going to start a drama team at church
  2. I'm going to take my family to Florida in March on vacation
  3. My wife and I are going to get licensed as foster parents in preparation for adopting a child
  4. I'm going to Soul Fest in August
  5. I'm going to Blog more and write at least one book
  6. I'm going to write that play I've always talked about
  7. I'm going to go back to school
  8. I'm going to eat healthier and exercise regularly
  9. I'm going to draw closer to God
That last one should be a priority in any Christian's life and should probably be at the top of the list. Anyway that's my list, I'm sure it will grow and change as God leads me through the year, but for now I'll let it stand. Now the question is what are your dreams for this coming year? I would love to hear them.
Link

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas morning found me waking at 7 am to my daughter waiting outside my door holding her kitten in her arms. So I dragged my wife and myself out of bed so we could exchange gifts. Christmas fell on a Sunday this year so we were blessed to go to church in the morning. Pastor kept the service short, so I only planned for three songs during the worship service. His message was centered around accepting God's gift of his Son (John 3:16) into our hearts once again. It was a great way to remember the reason we celebrate and also to prepare our hearts for the new year to come.

After service we enjoyed a Christmas dinner consisting of a Pork Crown Roast (this was the first time I had ever prepared one of these), Brussels sprouts, roasted red potatoes, Portuguese stuffing, green bean casserole (courtesy of my sister in-law), apples and cranberries, sweet potatoes, and carrots. As I looked out over the feast before me, I was overwhelmed by just how blessed I am. Sometimes I can get so caught up in the day to day stuff of life, that I forget all the little miracles that surround me everyday.

After dinner and dessert, we headed down to South Kingston to my cousin's house to visit with my family. Though I felt similar feeling of blessings it was bitter sweet as I realized this was another Christmas without my Dad. It really hit home when my aunts and uncles posed for a photo. I had to fight back the tears as I thought about how much my dad would have loved to have been there. Even now as I think about it I can feel the lose as fresh as the day he passed. but again I am reminded that God sent his Son so that I could cry out "Abba, Father". I remember that I have a heavenly Father that loves me and will be with me forever.

So as Christmas comes to a close, I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and to remind you that God can do for you what he has done for me. For as the Psalmist says "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Caroling

Had a great time caroling at the Holiday Retirement Home in Manville, RI. I'm always blessed by how something as simple as singing some carols can bring smiles to so many faces. I'm always reminded that sometimes the things with the biggest impact are the simplest and easiest.

So as we approach this Christmas and the New Year to come let us not forget that what might not be a big deal to us may mean the world to someone else.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recovered and Ready

So, We had our annual Candlelight Service at Church and I felt so blessed to work with such talented people. I can't thank them enough for all that they did and continue to do. I was also rendered speechless, not an easy task, when the members of the worship team and adult choir presented me with guitar case. I know it doesn't sound like much but in all honesty it really was the only thing I wanted for Christmas this year.

So anyway, all the time I put into the service finally caught up with me and I had to spend pretty much all of Monday in bed to recover, but it was so worth it. Going to enjoy the holidays and then I have a Vocal workshop to prepare for and planning for Easter. Yes, I said Easter, it will be here before you know it, and choir rehearsals start in 4 weeks.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Not so random thoughts

I am always amazed at how God uses everyday things to remind me of His truth. Like for instance I was using a lint roller, you know the sticky paper on a roll that you have to peel back when they get to covered with lint. and I realized that as Christians we are a lot like those lint rollers.

You see when you use a lint roller it starts out nice and clean and really sticky, but as it comes in contact with lint it starts to lose it's stickiness. So we then have to peel away the lint filled layer so it will work properly again. Like the lint roller we need God to constantly peel away the layers of stuffed left by the world if we want to continue to be effective.

So next time you feel like your ministry isn't as effective as it could be, ask yourself when was the last time you let God peel away your layers. We all need God's grace daily, even more so when we work in ministry. Thankfully His mercies are new every morning.

Sometimes random everyday activities lead me to random thoughts of God's grace and truth. Just thought I would share, because if God can bless me through my random thoughts maybe He can bless you too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Joy to the World

Joy is such a difficult thing to explain to people who have never experienced it. I'm not talking about the joy of the world but rather the joy that God sent to the world. To the world joy is just a synonym for happy and even the unbeliever will tell you that you can't always be happy. Happiness is fleeting and conditional. It is based on what is happening at the moment. Joy, the true joy given by God, transcends our circumstances and brings us peace even during times of great sorrow and trials.

But, how do we as Christians maintain that joy, after all we are still only human, broken and imperfect and prone to doubts and depression just like anyone else. Well as I have been sharing with my Worship Team over the past couple of weeks, it has a lot to do with how much we trust and rely on God to be our provider and our refuge. Joy springs from knowing that God is who He said He is and He will do what He has said He will do. When we truly see God as "He Is" as the all providing and sufficient One then we will start to experience true Joy.

Yes, Joy to the World, for the Lord has come. He came to provide us with everything we need, even those things we didn't know we needed. Even today most people don't know that they need a savior, and not just a one time savior to pull them out of a bad situation but a continuous Savior who is there even when things look like they are going well. Christmas is about more than a baby, more than the angels, and more than the gifts the wise men brought. It is about the man the baby would become and what that man did on a cross for you and me.

So yes, I've seen my share of sorrows and disappointments, but even while I shed tears or worried over the future I was never overcome by those things. The joy of the Lord has been, and is, and will always be my strength. So even though my FMS is flaring up and I have to be in two places at once on most days during the holidays I won't lose my joy because it doesn't come from me.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
- Psalm 121:1-2

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O Christmas Tree...

This year we did not get our tree up until last weekend and only finished decorating it yesterday. We usually get this done on the weekend after Thanksgiving but due to a very hectic schedule this season did not get around to it until this week. what that all means is that the tree will probably be the extent of our decorating this year so I will not be creating a Lego Christmas Village under the tree. (I usually start designing the houses and layout in late September.) Kind of bummed about that but what can you do? Just have to try harder next year.

Decorating the tree did provide us with some much needed reflection and reminiscing. We like to get a new ornament each year for each member of the family and this year was no different. My wonderful wife got me a baby grand piano ornament this year and it reminded me that God's call on my life is very plain to see. I love to sing and play music for my Lord, but more importantly I try to make every moment an opportunity to worship (i.e. serve) God.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Long hiatus

I'm back, hopefully going to try to update this thing a little more often. Why is it that when you really want to try and get yourself organized life seems to start moving in overdrive. Seriously, I haven't been slacking off here, been really busy with church and homeschooling, hopefully I can catch everyone up to speed. If not, well hey it just isn't meant to be. Anyway on to other news...

Our church's annual Christmas Candlelight Service is this weekend and the choir and I have been working hard on a program I arranged. Also my wonderful daughter was in the Junior Choir's production this past weekend and had a speaking part, only a few lines really, but hey she didn't forget them and even delivered then with some feeling. Maybe she did learn a few things in the public speaking class we did at coop a few semesters ago. :)