November 29, 2008

Hearing and obeying

I have a friend that recently handed me a check for a particular amount of money. I talked to him later and thanked him, when he told me this story.

"God told me to give you this certain amount. He told me to not check my bills, or checking account or anything, just to give. I of course went home and starting looking at bills and trying to figure out stuff when I just closed it all up and wrote the check.

When I gave it to you, I could hear God and feel Him so close. Closer than I have ever felt. It was the obedience. It was not just hearing, but doing what he said.

God has taken the small amount that I have given you and blessed me both with his voice and also with some financial gain."

It was small to him, but was perfect for where God had him, and where he had me.

Is there something that God has told you to do, that you have not done yet? Obedience is the action that follows the hearing.


November 28, 2008

Encouragement and Blessings

As I think over the years of how Tauni and I have been blessed and encouraged through certain people, parents are at the top of the list. Both my parents and Tauni's mom have been used by God to help us both in good times and bad.

They have provided over so many things over the years, not just the past 16 months of "walking on water", but I would say since we were born. But, since we have been married, had kids, and started doing ministry in different places as well as all the moving we have done, our parents were right there beside us.

They helped us get started by planning and paying for a wedding. Always being there to help with moving, packing, unpacking and making the place livable. They have provided many meals, groceries, diapers and clothes.

They have supported us with prayer and encouragement beyond anything we could ever write or talk about. Their words of wisdom, understanding, and also letting us make our own decisions have been a guide for us. We always know that we can turn to them for anything.

As I think of our last couple of years of ministry, I think that our journey has been just as hard on them, as it has been on us. They have to watch and suffer through aches and pains that we go through, and they do not have the ability to make our decisions, they have to sit back and watch. I think that no control is harder than being in the situation and having control over what happens. I think of the times that I have felt like I was waiting to see what God was going to do next, and I did not have control over what happened. That is frustrating.

They have supported us with the ever needed listening ears, and praying hands and knees. What else could a child ask for in a parent?

Thank you mom, dad, and mom for your support for us, financially and spiritually.

And that is just a small tribute to our biggest supporters.

November 18, 2008

Hospital Fun

November 17, 2008

Sacrificing wife

She is so awesome.  The sacrifice a wife makes to be with her ailing husband in hospital bed.

Youth Explosion seminars and going home lighter

So, I was at Youth Explosion in Cleveland, OH with over 1000 teens and youth leaders, and did a couple of seminars, one for Senior High and one for Junior High, both on Spiritual Disciplines.  I thought this year was the best I have done at Youth Explosion.  I almost thought about not doing it this year because I have not felt good about the seminars over the past years because I am a motivational speaker and not a teacher.  So I really worked hard to have more information to give and I think it went well.

I spent the rest of the day with good friends of mine, getting to go to The Cheesec
ake Factory and the Apple Store with one family, which they graciously paid for, and hanging with the rest of them all evening long.  Seeing all my Youth Pastor friends is always good and refreshing, getting caught up on what God is doing in their lives and just having a good laugh, feeling part of the group again for the weekend is good.  I also got to catch up on where teens are at these days from my past.  Teens that come from the churches I have been Youth Pastor of and ones that have heard me speak at camps and at their churches over the past couple of years.  It is crazy to see how big and old some of the teens are from my youth groups.  Some are now leaders and Youth Pastors, some are now Seniors in High School and are a little taller than when I was around.  

I was invited, or more like enticed to spend Saturday night with a Youth Pastor friend of mine in a hotel, and then I would drive down and preach at Brewster Friends Church on Sunday morning.  As Saturday evening went on I w
as starting to feel kinda weird.  My stomach wasn't feeling all that good, and realized I hadn't ate since 3:00 that afternoon.  I thought I was hungry, so I stopped and picked up my buddy and I some Taco Bell, which seemed to take forever.  Got back to the room and and ate and it didn't help.  I was beginning to have a little more pain.  It grew more and more and I wasn't all that talkative with my buddy, which I felt bad about, but unfortunately, that was how I was feeling.  I tried to go to sleep hoping it would go away as I slept, but it was hard to go to sleep and I was feeling a bit nauseous.  About 4:00 am I woke up and threw up all of my Taco Bell, and decided after much frustration and debating to call the nurses hotline of my insurance company.  

After answering her questions for like what felt like 4 hours, I ended up going to the hospital.  I was planning on going in to get checked out real quick and leave to go to preach, but it didn't happen that way.  It ended up after being there for 7 hours and a cat scan later that I had to have my appendix out.  So I am now laying in a hospital bed in Euclid, Oh near Cleveland, wearing a robe that is all open in the back, how embarrassing.  I asked the doctor if I was a little old to be having my appen
dix out and he said I didn't quite fit into the peak years, but never the less, it had to come out.  He didn't think that it was my appendix because I wasn't in enough pain, and I hadn't taken any pain medication at all, but little did he know my high pain tolerance.  

Needless to say, I didn't make it to preach, which I am very disappointed about, and feel bad that I let my buddy down.  He was at Youth Explosion and needed me to preach so he could stay at Youth Explosion.  My bad.

My mom and dad drove up and saw me just minutes before my surgery, and I was glad to see them.  They took off last night before I was really alert, but I remember telling them bye. 

So here I lie, with my wife trying to sleep on 3 chairs put together at the bottom of my bed with my roommate next to me with his tv blaring all night long, and he hasn't turned it down yet.  It was wonderful hearing infomercials ALL NIGHT LONG.  

That is all I have to say about that.

November 14, 2008

Playdate and food

Tauni had a friend of ours call her a few weeks ago and ask if Tauni and the kids wanted to join her for the day of getting together with her and her son. Tauni was very excited to spend some time with them. They went to a place to play on swing sets and outdoor equipment for the morning and had a blast. Then they went to a place called Whole Foods where she bought them lunch, and then went on to buy groceries and send home with us.

It was such a blessing just for the time together, and the blessing of food was just piled on.

God is amazing as he continues to provide.


Starbucks and Church

So, this is a video I saw someone else posted on a blog, and I wanted to show more people. The sad part is, it seems to be true.

How do we advertise the church?
Should we advertise the church?

I believe that it is not about the church, the size, the amount of new people, or new followers of Christ that we should be talking about. The difference comes in UNDERSTANDING and ACTION to what it means to be the church. There is no advertising for that.

And that is all I have to say about that.

November 9, 2008

dinner and gas, what a combo

A few weeks back, we had some friends come into town and we got to get together to hang out a little. Me and my friend went and played a little football and caught up with the ladies and kids later. On the way to meet with his wife and kids, he asked me to pull over into a gas station and he filled my tank with gas. We got to the restaurant and they paid for dinner, and we got to have dessert. What a treat. God is good.

November 8, 2008

sacrifice and support

I went to preach at a church in Northeast Ohio a little over a month ago. The pastor was going off to spend time in another country doing missions work and wanted me to come and preach at his church for him. I told him that I would and he told me that his church didn't pay much for preachers coming in, but would make sure that I got a particular amount. That was all fine with me.

I went that morning and preached, and after the service I was handed a check from someone in the church, and then again from someone else in the church. When I got out to my car, I opened the checks to find that the pastor had reached into his own pocket and gave the amount that was needed to span the difference between what the church pays and what he said. That was absolutely amazing to me.

I then went to spend time with some friends of mine, which had invited me over for Tacos, man do I love food, and for the afternoon to talk and watch football. Oh, and play a little Lego Batman with the kids. I went to hang out with my buddy at his church during Youth Group. As I was leaving, the wife filled a couple of bags with meat from some slaughtered pigs, chickens and cow. I was overwhelmed. Then, they gave me some gift certificates to use.

This was a particularly rough time financially for me. I had prayed and pleaded with God the night before about his promises and my needs. I had talked to another buddy of mine on the way up for the weekend and he had encouraged me beyond imagination.

God used these pastors, and my friend, to show His provision. The funny thing was, with the amount from the church and my friends, it added up to the exact amount that I needed. God is good, and he continues to show it.

November 7, 2008

a series of untold God Stories

I want to for the next week give some updates on what God has been doing with provision in my life. I have been struggling lately as I have previously written, and yet God has continued to show me His way of providing. I have not been online as much lately, and want to make sure that I catch you up on what GOD is doing.

I am not telling these stories to brag on me, but to brag on my provider, God. I hope these stories are both encouraging and inspiring to following a God that both speaks to us and can back up the promises that He makes to us.

November 5, 2008

Death and LIFE

Death has been something that has been all around me for the last week. It all started with the passing of Julie Biddle's (my brother Sean's wife) grandfather 2 Sundays ago. Mom, Dad and I drove to Erie, PA for his funeral last Wednesday. It was a long day of traveling from Columbus in the morning and coming right back after the service, but it was worth it to support Julie and Sean in their loss. God has given me the time and energy that I can do those kinds of things.

On our way back, we were going to stop and see my brother Dusty at Malone University when my mom got a call from Aunt Pam that Grandpa Deming was not doing so well. We skipped the drop-in at Malone, and drove straight home. We got there and spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Wednesday evening, and he went to be with Jesus on Thursday morning. He had been in and out of the hospital for the last few months and been in hospice care for the past month at home.

Death is a funny thing. As a Christ follower, I know that Grandpa has run the race and captured the prize. He is able to breathe now, better than he has for a while, and yet there is a hurt and a grieving that takes place here for those of us that have to go on without him.

There are things that my grandma is going to have to learn to do for the first time after 58 years of marriage, because they are things that grandpa had always taken care of.

There is a sense of relief, because there is no more suffering, but a sense of loss, for the whole that is left in our lives that he filled.

There are things that I do now, that were in direct relation to Grandpa, and one of them is definitely using a toothpick. He always had a toothpick in his mouth, or was looking for the next one. That is something that has already been passed on to my 2 kids, they both love toothpicks.

Thank you for giving us a chance to be loved and taught by a Grandpa for 82 years.
The memories are endless.

And that is all I have to say about that... for now.

November 4, 2008

Falling behind

I have been falling behind on what God has been doing in my life and how he has been providing for me as of late.

I came home a couple of Mondays ago to find 3 boxes on our doorstep. 2 brown boxes a Nintendo Wii box. The first question that hit my mind was, "Who sent these to us?"

I looked for a return address so we would know who to thank, and it was from like Amazon or someplace like that. I then turned my eyes to the address. The numbers were right, but the street name was not. It was left on our doorstep by mistake by UPS.

As I look back on this event, there is something that just shows that God has been doing things in my life on such a consistent basis that I didn't even question the fact that they might be on the wrong doorstep.

God has been good to my family and me. We are not rich, but blessed. We have great friends and family around that continue to show God's love to us.