Monday, May 25, 2009

Canyoning

When I was told that the tour I was going on was going to involve "Whitewater Rafting" and "Canyoning," I knew what to expect from Whitewater Rafting because I had done it before, but Canyoning?  I was a little unsure...I thought it was like riding down natural water slides, but it turned out to be a little different than that.  It involved things that were like water slides, but in some parts it was like free falling from a tremendous height down into the water!  Slightly dangerous considering all the rocks that were around me!

I usually don't post pictures of myself, but I spent so much money to purchase these pics, that I can't help but post them.  I want to get as much out of them as I can!

This was taken by the camera man before we started.  They were telling us this may be our last picture ever taken, or at least the last picture we have with our teeth.  They were very good at encouraging us...Not!  The guy in the front row without a yellow life jacket was our guide.  He was an Australian Japanese Guy.  I never thought I would meet a Japanese guy with an Australian Accent.  It was kind of cool.


I was trying to look scared.  To be honest...I kind of was...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lord I Need You

By:  Ron Hamilton

Sometimes when life seems gentle and blessings flood my way,
I turn my gaze away from You and soon forget to pray.
But when the sky grows darker and courage turns to fear,
My anxious voice cries upward with words you long to hear.

Lord, I need You when the sea of life is calm. 
O Lord, I need You when the wind is blowing strong. 
Whether trials come or cease, keep me always on my knees.
Lord, I need You. Lord I need You.

Lord, help me to remember I'm weak but You are strong.
I cannot sing apart from You, for Lord You are my song.
Although I'm prone to wander and boast in all I do;
Lord keep my eyes turned upward so I depend on You.

Lord, I need You when the sea of life is calm. 
O Lord, I need You when the wind is blowing strong. 
Whether trials come or cease, keep me always on my knees.
Lord, I need You. Lord I need You.

This is probably one of my favorite Ron Hamilton Songs of all time.  I was looking at a friends blog and she had the Lyrics to "Rejoice in the Lord" and it made me think of this song as well.

This song has a huge emotional connection for me as well as my family.  I can think of many occasions where my family, or one specific person in my family has sang this song audibly if not in their heart durring a major time of trial.  I could go into details, but some are too emotional to even mention.  Many times we have even sung it together at church.

The words to this song are so powerful to me!  My favorite is the first verse.  So often I know in  my own life, it is when I am doing well, that I turn away from God so easily.  It is my great desire to serve the Lord as much in the easy times, as I do in the hard times!

I pray that this song will be a blessing to you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

I don't know about any of you...but I love the song "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." It's such a simple song, but such a strong message. One of the main reasons why I have come to love it so much is mainly because I have heard the story behind it. It's always neat to hear the story behind songs...it gives them so much more meaning. Take "Amazing Grace" for example...the man who wrote it was a former slave ship captain who accepted Christ. He later became a minister, and wrote the song we all know today.

Anyway, when it comes to this song in particular, I didn't read it in a book, I heard it by word of mouth, from the very woman who may have known the man who wrote it. Allow me to explain...

In the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of High School, my church youth group went to work at a tiny camp in Northern Arkansas. We were working primarily as counselors, but it was such a small camp, that we did a lot more than that as well. Anyway...there was this old lady who was helping out that the camp. She was a retired Missionary to India.

One of the nights we sang "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." When we were done she stood up and told us the story behind the song. Apparently it was written by an Indian Prince, who of course was set up to become the next King of his tribe. He became a Christian, and he was forced to revoke the throne. He became just a regular man, and probably exiled by his family and tribe for becoming a Christian. What a testimony! It really explains the words to this song doesn't it?

I wanted to do some further study to see if I could find out any information about him, but I was only able to find his name. Most hymn books I have looked at either say "Unknown" or something like "Traditional Indian Hymn" in the author spot. Below I have posted the song with the authors name. I hope you can find new appreciation for this song because of this story!

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
by: S. Sundar Singh

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Funny things to do...

I know after yesterdays post, I wanted to post something to make you laugh. I was reading this on someone elses profile, and I was rolling with laughter. I hope you enjoy it!


-At lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
-Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice..
-Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
-Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "In."
-Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
-In the memo field of all your checks, write "For Smuggling Diamonds"
-Finish all your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."
-Dont use any punctuation
-As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
-Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
-Specify that your drive-through order is "To Go."
-Sing along at the opera.
-Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme?
-Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day.
-Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood..
-When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won!, I Won!"
-When leaving the Zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!!"
-Tell your children over dinner."Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Convictions this week...

I think I have told most of my blog readers about this in person, but just to verify that everyone knows, I will quickly give a background on this issue for me.

It is really not easy to be a Christian in the Navy. Especially when you are as conservative as I am. I was the kid who grew up in Fundamental Independent Baptist Church's most of his life, and to join the Navy where all anyone ever seems to want to do is go drinking every Friday night, it's probably a no brainer that it would be a hard life to live being such a committed christian in the Navy.

Don't get me wrong the Navy does make it's attempt to ensure that it's Christians are spiritually edified, but for the Conservative Baptist that I am, the Navy has a hard time providing for my needs. Let me explain...

On a ship we have Chaplains...most of you probably already know this. Navy Chaplains do the best they can at ministering to people, but they can't really be completely open in their evangelizing. They have to be relatively "open minded" when it comes to their interactions with people of other faiths. Anyways...Chaplains often make their services like modern christian services are these days. Praise and worship music with people raising their hands and swaying, I don't really want to judge, but this often makes me very uncomfortable.

I struggle big time with going to the services on my ship, because of how uncomfortable I get. I go mainly because I think about the other christian on board the ship, and what they'll think if I don't go to the services. Anyways...let me get to the point at hand. During the service I often look forward to the preaching because the worship time makes me so uncomfortable. So when Chaplain Benefield gets up their and starts preaching, that is the time during the service that I most look forward to.

So yesterday, as you know was Sunday, at least it was in Japan. Ha Ha! Anyway...I of course went to the service. Well, for this underway we have been on some really crazy hours, and I hadn't been able to get any sleep the night before...so to say that I was tired during the service... would be an understatement.

Even when it came time for the sermon, I was having a hard time staying awake. Chaplain Benefield was speaking on "Reaching People for Christ." During most of the message, I was dosing, and I was beginning to feel really badly about it. Anyway...toward the end when Chaplain was bringing the sermon to a close, and he started quoting a pastor from a church he used to go to. The Pastor had told the people that "Millions of people were dying and going to hell everyday" and he apologized in advance before he said it...but he followed with "and most of you could care less about them."

After this Chaplain paused for a long period of time, as he often does to allow the truth's he's putting out to sink in. One thing I realized is, that he's right. I can say all I want that I'm trying to reach people for Christ...but I often make no attempt whatsoever. I just kind of skate along, going to church every Sunday, and reading my bible, but not really telling others about the Christ that saved me!

After the service I was feeling pretty convicted, but as often happens, I left and allowed myself to forget what I'd heard...but God wasn't going to let me off that easy.

Later on in the day...God got my attention about it, from someone I would least expect to hear it from. There's a new guy in my shop, who's actually gotten himself into quite a bit of trouble since he got here, so I wouldn't think that anything he would say would I listen to. But as I've said before "God has a sense of humor!"

He was talking to me about some things he's been struggling with, and he was basically asking for advice. This is one area that I have dropped the ball with since I joined the Navy. I often, in order to not offend, will water down my faith when I talk to people. I don't want to upset people, so I intentionally don't speak out as much as I should about my faith. So he's asking me for advice, and I'm not really giving it to him. I'm just kind of telling him some things that anyone could tell him. Like, saying "just stop." He's telling me..."I need more than that...ya gotta give me more than that." So he starts talking about what he thinks is wrong...and I'm agreeing with him all along the way, he's basically figured it out for himself.

So then he looks at me and he says something like "if you knew that, why didn't you tell me." He keeps going and telling me that I know all this stuff about God, and how to help people, and I'm just sitting their..."skating by." He's like...what good is God's word doing in your life...if you are not telling people about it. He's like...your just holding it in their...for yourself. While he's saying this I'm thinking "Wow, God... you really know how to get my attention don't you!"

God was definitely speaking to me, and he was using a guy that I would least expect to hear it from. This is an area where I have seriously dropped the ball. I've been soaking up God's word, and allowing it to work in my life, but not telling anyone about it. I shouldn't say I haven't told anyone about it, because I know how I have once in while, but I haven't done it nearly as much as I should have been. This is one area of my life that I know God has been working on trying to get me to fix, but I've not really gone into action about it.

This is something that I know we could all use a little encouragement about. It makes me think of a quote from a Movie. The quote is "Money is like manure, it's not really worth anything...unless it's spread around." I think you can sort of apply this to the current situation. Money being "God's word." We can accumulate God's word into our lives and soak it in, but if we let it just pile up in our hearts, and in our lives, we can allow it to become stagnant, and we become unfruitful. The way we can bear fruit in this area is if, we spread God's word around tell others about it, that is where God's word really starts working!

I know this is one area that I have been praying about quite a bit, and I pray that it will be an encouragement to you. I'm not going to begin to tell you how to go about doing this, because I just learning this too. But I hope that by sharing this with you, I was able to encourage you to start taking action!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Okinawa - Island Paradise with a Dark History

You Might find the Island of Okinawa to be one ironic place. You see the beautiful white sandy beaches with the crystal clear water rushing up on the shore...and you would expect it to have a pretty peaceful history. The exact opposite would be true. The Island of Okinawa was the sight of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. I could go into detail but many of the stories I heard were a little too disturbing for some of my younger readers. Just take my word for it.

I figured I would just share with you some of the pictures I took. It is truly an astoundingly beautiful Island!




I hope you enjoyed these pictures. Here's the last one. The Sunset over Okinawa.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

God Must Have a Sense of Humor

I think once in a while I am going to write articles like this. Pointing out things in Creation or, just in life itself that indicates that God must have a sense of humor.

I think also about the Platypus. I think God had a great time while creating this Creature.

The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus).
The bizarre appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals; the male Platypus has a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.
For further Reading go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus
Another reason why I particularly find the Platypus to be so fascinating is that evolutionist's have had a terrible time trying to figure out what it descended from. I think God knew when he made the Platypus. He knew in the future that these foolish humans he created would come to deny their origin, and make up their own theory for how the world began. So God figured..."Why not throw a monkey wrench into their theory." And Thus was the creation of the Platypus thought up.
I hope you enjoyed this little rant about Platypi, and I hope you learned something!