Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"It's the Heart that really matters in the end..."

I was reading in my bible the other day in Matthew 23. Some of you may know what this passage talks about. In my bible it says the topic is..."Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders." As you read it talks about how they do everything for show. They wear extra wide prayer boxes with scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. All of this is done with the intention being to appear more spiritual. This was a huge problem back in the day, but I believe it is just as much of a problem today, as it was back then.

I would like to quote a passage of scripture from Matthew 23:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear to be righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Just like the Pharisees in their day, we make the same mistake today! We go to church, because we know the people at church will wonder where we were, and they might question our spirituality...we pray overly wordy and long prayers, because it makes us appear to be spiritual...and the list goes on. I think you get the point I'm trying to make. The question we must ask ourselves, is..."what is my motivation for what I am doing?" or "do I have the right heart attitude about doing it." So often we allow our Christianity to become so much of a rote "religion" that we forget about the relationship that we are to have in our hearts with the Lord.

I would urge everyone to examine their lives. Look at what you do carefully, and make sure that you have the right God honoring motivation for your actions. Make sure you are doing what you are doing because you know it pleases the Lord, and you want to serve the Lord who died on the cross for your sins! What greater motivation can we have for our actions than that?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Haze Grey and Underway...

Some of you might know this already...but currently my ship on deployment. I cannot tell you exactly where I am...but I can say that so far I've been to Guam, and I have many other ports that I will be visiting while my ship is away from Japan.

The main reason why I wanted to post is because I wanted to make sure to let you know why it's been so long since I blogged. I plan on blogging soon...at least as soon as I can think of something to blog about.

Please pray for the safety of my ship, and also continue to pray for my leave request which has yet to come back. I think my patience and Hannah's patience...are beginning to run a little thin. So please pray that I get the request back soon, and that it approved of course!

Take care everyone!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Never Forget...

Like the generations that have gone before us we have a tragedy that stands out in our mind. Generations before us told us where they were and what they were doing, when events such as the Challenger disaster, the assassination of JFK, the assassination of MLK...the list goes on. What stands out as an event I will never forget? That would definitely be September 11th 2001.

Some days it seemed like it just happened yesterday. I remember that day pretty vividly...I was in the 7th grade. I remember when they made the announcement at my school...they came on the school PA during my Art class, and said that an attack had been made on the United States...I had no idea what they were talking about to be honest. I went through out the day hearing bits and pieces of what had gone on. They were saying that attacks had been made on the World Trade Centers, and the Pentagon. They said that planes had flown into them. I remember thinking..."Don't they have air traffic controllers to make sure things like this don't happen?"

I didn't fully understand the gravity of what had happened until I went home. I turned on the TV so that I could see what happened. I saw footage of planes flying into the World Trade Centers...I was completely horrified. If I remember correctly, originally I thought I was home alone, but it turns out Sara was home, but she was in her room taking a nap...I guess she had been watching so much of it, she couldn't take watching it anymore. I remember just sitting there in shock!

Unlike attacks like Pearl Harbor which we often compare it to...this event was much different. In regards to Pearl Harbor, almost everyone who was killed was in the Military...these were people who joined the military, understanding that they ultimately could end up giving their lives to save the country they loved. Sure it was still a horrible tragedy that we will not forget...but it was almost expected for a military base like it to be a target. The World Trade Centers on the other hand were civilian installations. They were your regular "Average Joes" going to work...not having any idea that they were risking their lives by going into work...they were just going to work like every other civilian was doing that day. Little did they know what would happen that day...

I myself can thank the Lord that he preserved my friends and family that day. I have a great uncle who works at the Pentagon, and he was going to be working in the area of the building where it was attacked, but he ended up having a doctors appointment that morning, and wasn't scheduled to come in until late...so he was spared. I also have a friend that I met while here in Japan named Ann Jackson...she was working in the Pentagon that day...but was in a different section of the building at the time of the attack. If the Lord hadn't seen fit to spare her...I would have missed out on the blessing of meeting her, and making a very good friend!

In closing I would just like to say that we should never forget the events of that day! To forget would be to allow it to possibly happen again. We must never forget so that we can ensure an event such as this never happens again...that we never look the other way when terrorism runs rampant. We must be careful to assure that countries that harbor terrorist's have a proper fear of our country, and that we ensure that no organization ever thinks that we have let our guard down enough that they can attack us again. We must never forget...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Garbage in...Garbage out...

So, I just got off the phone with Hannah, and were talking about something...and I decided...it would be a good thing to blog about...so here it is:

Many people have heard the expression above before, probably. Never has this expression become more real to me, than since I joined the Navy. You've probably all heard the expression..."to swear like a sailor"...well let me tell you...it is very true! People in the Navy, are some of the most dirty mouthed people I have ever met in my life. They talk about very inappropriate things almost all the time!

Well, one thing that has bothered me since I joined the Navy, is that you meet these "Christians" in the Navy...who swear just as bad as the other sailors. I've always been very critical toward them, and wondering how they can claim to be committed Christians, and say the things they do? But I came to a realization, that I want to present to you...

So, this is very hard for me to admit...but on two occasions, since I joined the Navy...I have slipped out with swear words. They came out so fast, that I didn't have time to pull them back. Of course each time I felt terrible, and apologized to the Lord profusely after each time...but it make me realize something...it's easier than I thought to slip into this "dirty mouthed sailor mentality." You hear it so much on the job in the Navy...that if you are not extremely careful, and relying on the Lord at all times...garbage can get in very easily.

So this made me reevaluate my Christian Shipmates...if I have slipped up these two times...how can I be so judgemental toward these other Christians? God created me as a very stubborn individual...I don't give into peer pressure very easily! I think I got the stubbornness from my mom...but anyways...if I'm so stubborn, and willfully trying my best to live my life right for God...and I slipped up those two times...what's to say that other Christians might slip up even more? I mean, I was raised in a Christian home...where many words that would not be considered that bad in today's society were considered swear words...so what's to say these new Believers, aren't going to struggle more than me?

Am I trying to justify my slip ups, or trying to excuse the actions of my Christian Shipmates? No! If anything this realization has made me more determined to live everyday, moment by moment with the Lord...so I can guard myself from slipping up like this. But this has helped me to understand them a little better. One thing I've realized is that the Navy is preparing me sooo well for the Ministry...because of my time in the Navy. The Navy has helped me understand sooo much more of the world, and so many new different kinds of people! He is broadening my horizons, so that I can better minister to a wider variety of people.

If I had gone right from High School, to College, and then on to be a Pastor...I would have had such a small range of people that I would understand, and be able to interact with. But now since the Navy...I honestly believe that the Lord could send me to almost anywhere in the world...and I would be comfortable with it!

I just want to close by saying that God knows what He's doing in your life. You may see the times you slip up, and see the mistakes you make, and allow that sin to eat you alive, but I believe that is the wrong approach. God has forgiven us of every sin we have committed, and He can use those trials, and tests to shape us into the Christians He wants us to be!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Prayer Request...

I have blogged on here already telling you all about my current "relationship" with the infamous "bug." Well as you know...we have yet to meet in person. This is when I hope, if all goes as we both hope, things will become official.

In the Navy we get 30 days leave each year. The last time I went on leave was last year for Christmas. This year the plan is for me to come home on the 2nd of December through the 26th. "Bug" and I have made so many plans for when I'm home, and we are praying so hard that it all works out!

I put in my request to take leave, and hopefully should know by the end of this month if it is approved! So if you think of me, or "bug" please pray! She has been such a huge blessing to me, and I want so badly to meet her in person!

The prayers are greatly appreciated!