Embarrassing Moments

A few days ago we brought my 3 month old son Ethan to JCPenny to get some pictures taken. After his rock star photo shoot (pictures to come in a week or so) we were waiting to see the proofs and Abby was playing with some blocks in the waiting area.

After a few minutes Abby moved onto something else so I (trying to be the good dad) asked her to go and pick up the blocks that she literally dumped all over the floor. Of course, Abby didn’t want to do that so she said no. I told her she had to and we went back and forth a couple of times before I picked her up and made her put them all away. This only happened after a rather loud and attention getting temper tantrum. I felt like a horrible parent.

Not only did I feel terrible that my daughter was having a meltdown, but I felt horrible that I couldn’t get her to do what I asked her to do and I couldn’t take control of the situation. Needless to say, I was totally embarrassed.

It got me thinking about my relationship with God. What does God feel like when I totally and completely disobey Him? Not just when I say no God, I’m not going to read my Bible today, or I don’t feel like praying. I mean when I really disobey him, like when I disregard the feelings of my wife for what’s easier for me, or when I keep my mouth shut instead of speaking up when I see a student or another person alone in the corner not being talked to.

Do I embarrass God?

Genesis 6:5-6
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

When God first created the earth, He created such a beautiful world with such potential for living a life of perfection with Him. Then sin entered the picture. Sin corrupted this perfect world that God had created. As humans continued to sin, sin took over mankind and this is what saddened and possibly embarrassed God. When we sin, we make God sad, essentially embarrassing Him.

So what can we do?

As a parent all I can do is talk to Abby, discipline her and help teach her how to strive to do what is right, because I love her and want to see her live the best life she can. It’s the same way between us and God. All God can do is teach us what is right and love us with his unconditional love and grace. All we can do is strive to follow Christ to the best of our ability, relying on His grace, mercy and love to forgive us when we make Him sad and learn from what He is teaching us.

Who knew that his whole parenting thing would teach me about my relationship with God.

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Dinner For The Family = Stress. . . or does it?

One of the more stressful times in of my marriage. . .

isn’t necessarily financial planning, or how to raise our kids. It’s not where to go on vacation or who gets to hold the remote control. One of the more stressful times is when we ask the question, “What’s for dinner?” Yep, that’s what bring stress into our lives, trying to plan out what we’re going to eat for the week and then making a grocery list to go shopping for. It makes us both annoyed and we spend too much time stressing about it each week.

Enter E-Mealz.

IT. IS. AWESOME! You sign up for an account for $5 a month and you pick a meal plan. Each week you get a plan for what to eat for dinner. It includes a shopping list and how to make each dish. They are simple and easy and geared for families. My 2 year old Abby can even help make dinner.

The company was founded by Jane Delaney and Jenny Cochran with heart of instilling the value of families spending time with each other. The best time for families to connect with each other is dinnertime. It’s an opportunity for everyone to talk about their day and connect with each other. Here’s a quote I found regarding the importance of dinnertime.

“Our dinnertime at home today parallels to the city gates of the Old Testament where the events of the day were discussed and where the old taught the young. Families as a whole join together to bond, interact and relate to each other. Reality is that the #1 way families come together is at dinnertime. It goes without saying that if your family is not having dinner together, your family is not connecting on a regular basis.” – Fran Sciacca

What I love about E-Meals is that it take the stress out of meal planning and helps me focus on spending time with my family. So if you’re like me and asking the question “What’s for dinner?” just completely stresses you out, I encourage you to sign up for E-Mealz and take more time to be present with your family.

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The Importance of Being Present

I’m on my way to Phoenix, AZ today. Why you ask? I would love to tell you that I am going down to watch the San Francisco Giants or some other baseball team during spring training, man that would be awesome. Unfortunately, I am on my way to funeral. The funeral is for my cousin, Sgt. Mark Wells. He was killed on Sunday, March 6 while on deployment in Afghanistan. I don’t know all of the details of went on, but I do know that Mark was part of the bomb squad. He we diffussing a bomb and somehow set off another hidden bomb. He leaves behind His wife Danielle, son and his unborn daughter. It’s a sad story to say the least, but I am honored to have known and been related to Mark.

When I first heard about Mark there was a sense of shock and sadness. That’s still how I feel now, but now I have regret. In the last week I’ve thought about the times that Mark and I have had. You see, when we growing up, we were pretty close. Some of my best memories are spending the night at each others’ houses and watching The Goonies every time. I also remember playing video games on the Apple IIe, (yep, green monochrome screen and all). I remember spending holidays together and playing in the backyard (Mark always wanted to play G.I.J.O.E. go figure). Anyways, we had a good time hanging out together. As we got into junior high we spent less and less time together, until we didn’t talk at all. It’s actually been years since I’ve seen or talked to him and that’s where the regret comes in.

When I think about how Mark and mine relationship went in our lives, it makes me think about the importance of being present with the people around us. I don’t like the feeling of regret that I have, i know that God doesn’t like it either. So here’s what I’m doing about. I refuse to feel regret about anyone else in my life. I don’t want to live my life in regret, but live a life that is present with those that God has put into my life. I challenge you to do the same. Find those in your life that are close to you. Talk to them, share life with them, know them, be present with them.

So, I’m on my way to Phoenix to pay respect to a great man who gave his life for my freedom. A man that I had the privilege of growing up with even though I have the regret of not knowing him better. I look forward and continue in hope that I will see him again for eternity in heaven. My prayers now, are not for me, but for his wife, children and parents who will need to find the new normal in their life without Mark and I pray that God will help show you what that is.

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We are God’s joy

3 John 1:4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Naming a child is a weird thing. Before a child is born you spend so much time thinking of a what their name is going to be for the rest of their life. You haven’t met the child yet, you haven’t gotten to interact with them in any way, yet as a parent you are entrusted with the job of labeling what people will call your child for a lifetime. Different pressures come into play too. Do you name them a family name? What’s their middle name going to be? Does the first, middle and last name sound good together? Is the name spelled too crazy that your child won’t be able write their own name in Kindergarten? Is it too long, is it too short? Is is going to be hard to yell their name down the hall? It’s ridiculous how much time and energy goes into naming your child.

Names in the Bible were important. They labeled who you were and how you acted in your life. The meaning of your name sets you up to the personality you will have. When Abby was born, we had a list of about 5 or so names that we liked. They met all of the criteria, they had a good meaning, they flowed well with our last name, they were easily yelled down the hall, etc. Several hours after Abby was born, it was time to make the final decision. We looked at her and finally landed on Abigail Elyse Gold. Elyse was a family name and Abigail means Father’s joy.It’s crazy how she has become just that.

It brings me such joy to just watch my daughter. I love to just see her interact with the world around her. Everything from toys, to animals, to people, it’s even a joy to watch her eat. It amazing to watch her bring joy into a room of people as she walks in. In the past 2 years, I think I’ve really come to realize what God must feel like when He looks down on us.

As followers of Christ, when we walk into the room, God smiles. When we interact with the world around us and portray the joy and love of Christ to them, it gives God so much joy. When we walk in the truth of knowing that God loves us, God is filled with joy. The joy and happiness that fills me when I see Abby bring joy to the people around her, is the same joy that God has when we bring the joy and truth of Christ to the world around us.

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Sharing the Works of God

1 John 1:1-3

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life–2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us–3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

When we see the works of God, what He’s done in our lives, what He’s done in other people’s lives, we have to share it! God does wonderful things in the lives of His children, when we see it and experience we need to share it. This isn’t a place to boast about how close we are to God or how special we are, it’s an opportunity to share with other believers what God is doing, to be an encouragement to others. As the church, we need this to encouragement and connection with other believers, it’s what being the church is all about.!

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Knowing God = Knowing Justice

Jeremiah 22:15-16

Your father, Josiah also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.

We live in a culture that is about getting what we want at any cost. In corporate America it’s all about build our own little empire full of big homes, cars, money, status and wealth. In the process of achieving “The American Dream” we are willing do whatever it takes even if it means ruining relationships, hurting others or turning a blind eye to the background workings of companies. When we fall into this trap, I think we miss out on knowing God like He would like us to know Him.

Throughout the story of the Bible we see a God that is about seeing justice fulfilled and the poor and needy cared for, yet many times as followers of Christ, we get so caught up in the American Dream that we forget that knowing God is about knowing about the things that are important to Him. Seeing justice fulfilled and the poor and needy cared for.

God, open my eyes to knowing what is close to your heart. Show me how I can pursue justice and seek your dream for the life myself and my family.

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God Always Comes Through

Joshua 23:14

14 And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

Some of Joshua’s final words to Israel were to remember that God’s promises always came true. None of God’s promises failed them.

I can imagine that the people of Israel were sitting there listening to Joshua and at first disagreed because God’s promises probably didn’t look like they came true. It’s like when we ask God to give us patience and God puts us in situations that we need to be patient. We get upset that God put us in those situations, but the reality was that God was fulfilling his promise to us.

In the same way the people of Israel at first probably looked back at how God and worked in their lives and then at a second look realized that Joshua was right. God did always follow through on his promises, even though it may have not looked like they had thought. In the same way it’s important to look back in our lives and remember where God has fulfilled his promises to us. It may not have turned out like we had originally imagined it would, but when we stop to look back, we’ll realize that God always keep His promises.

God, thank you for keeping your promises. Even though it may not look like it, you always come through. Thank you for loving me and faithful to me, even though I don’t deserve your love.

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