Saturday, December 29, 2007

There's Gotta Be More...

I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior or my life back when I was around 4 or 5 i think. To this date, myself or my parents don't really know the date for certain. Even my grandma, who keeps a journal, didn't write it down. But i tell people that i 'got saved' when i was 4 or 5. Got baptized in water when i was about 8 or 9 (again, i don't think we have a certain date (at least to my knowledge) and then was baptized in the Holy Spirit around 12. All that is great... really, it is.

In 2000, i went with a group of youth and adults to Pensacola, Florida to what was known as the Brownsville Revival. As far as i'm concerned, many good things have come from that. I've had people tell me to my face that they think the revival was 'of the devil' and all that wonderful stuff. Of course, they were never there. It's just their thinking and their 3rd party hearing of what happened. And them trying to judge it from a far off perspective. And no doubt that there was a lot of things that probably happened that were people just getting out of hand (welcome to life folks). I know that many of those people who were involved w/ that revival are now not living for God. I also know that a lot of folks who WERE involved are still currently living for God. FIRE is actually a result of that revival. I think that all of FIRE's leaders to date served in some capacity of that move of God. Granted, the way FIRE was started wasn't the greatest... but what satan means for bad, God knows how to turn it around. Why do you think God would entrust His church (His bride) with beings that He knows would mess it up? I dunno... thats why i'm asking that...

People would judge it by the manifestations and be like "well, thats not a God thing..." People being 'slain in the Spirit' or laughing like crazy or weeping profusely... I say 'look at their eventual fruits of their life. I can tell you from a personal perspective that i've done all three of them. And guess what, it's not about the manifestations.

I've had people who would openly criticize the revival and yet love the many ministers who served in it! I would point that out to them and they would stop dead in their tracks. It was quite funny actually...

All this to say that in 2000, the Holy Spirit deposited something in my Spirit that cries out for more of God.

In the past 7 years, i've been involved in the following:
- a church plant team to a local town down in Charlotte, NC.
- an outreach team to a local university where we saw souls won to the Lord and people healed.
- a local youth group here where i've seen the lives of teens touched and radically changed, many of whom who are currently serving the Lord whole heartedly in their lives.
- ministered to countless folks via prayer and fellowship
- traveled and preached the gospel to various other people groups
- traveled locally and nationally to minister to youth and adults a like
- helped in various capacities here in the local church
- steered clear of sex, drugs and alcohol.

I'm sure there's a lot more... but thats what i can think of right now. To date, though, my heart still cries out for more. At times, i have a hard time going to malls because my heart breaks for a generation to be touched and changed by the power and presence of God. I have the hardest time sitting still. I would love to go do some traveling even as i speak.

My life has been dedicated to the expansion of the Kingdom of God. And it's not always going to be easy. Life happens... get used to it. People will hate you. Jesus never promised us an easy life. Matter of fact, He promised that life will get difficult. Most come to Christ because they're promised a nice car or nice life... I don't know why we think we have to preach like that. All we're doing is hurting ourselves by presenting it like that.

At the same time, i understand and realize that as a Christian, I have inheritable rights as a child of God. My Daddy is the greatest King over the World. This world is mine! But that's not for my own good, but for His good. That's for the expansion of HIS Kingdom... not my own empire.

Last night, i was talking to one of my spiritual parents and I mentioned to them that when it feels like i'm not doing much of anything, things are still happening. God is setting me up for the greatest move of His Spirit yet to come. And i'm going to be privileged to be apart of it and minister in it.

But do you realize that i'm still largely unsatisfied. Matter of fact, i'm quite bored at times. I know there's more of God to be had and if only i can discipline my self to get more of Him. And then when i get more of Him, to properly steward it.

That is one thing that has really been on my heart for sometime: to learn stewardship. Godly stewardship. Learning to handle His presence in the right manner.

Lord, teach me to be a steward of Your Presence.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What is community?

I have now been apart of at least 3 different online connection programs in the past 4 years. First it was Xanga, then MySpace then Facebook... when will the madness end? Xanga died out sometime ago... MySpace is still kinda the 'in' thing. and Facebook is kinda like a new and upcoming thing. But for all this 'stuff', how well do we really know our fellow man. I goof off a lot w/ people on things. Getting 'trout slapped' by one of my friends (which i thought was hysterical). That's not the issue. But we've become one of these society's that seems like we're trying to solve all these issues without attacking a root cause.

I can't tell you how many people i know who have told me how isolated they feel. Despite all the technology we've got, we still feel disconnected... It's soo easy to go through the motions of life (and church) and yet still have no idea who your sitting next to.

Nowadays, my preferred method of 'ministry' is around a kitchen table or on a living room floor. Don't get me wrong... there is a time and place for gatherings and big events. They're great and wonderful and have their place. If the Lord is calling you to minister in a mega church w/ thousands... awesome! go for it!

but the other nite i was at a birthday party and we were playing Outburst. And out of nowhere, we get into the whole discussion about what does it mean to be 'in community' with people? Do we really understand what this means? Do I understand what this means? To me, it means you giving of your time, energy and talents and serving one another. This morning i took someone to the airport and then we went to get someone's car from the pound (it had gotten towed). And you know what... i prefer that over going to a church meeting for the most part. why? because i felt like i was sharing life with these folks. and i loved it! but during this discussion from Outburst, we were discussing what it means to truly love one another. I'm not just talking about how someone's doing... but getting down and dirty and when its appropriate to deal w/ the emotions of life. you know... that junk deep down.

during our discussion, we discussed the different aspects of how FIRE is now compared to 5 years ago or earlier. a healthy evaluation is a good thing. realizing the things that need to be worked on and searching your own heart to see what you personally can work on.

FIRE is a reasonably large church. probably 300-400 people or so. and we're steadily taking more and more church transfers. too bad the church itself isn't really growing much physically. to me, church growth is a sinner repenting of their sins and accepting Jesus into their life and a change of heart from sin to holiness unto God. what we get a lot is church transfers... people from one church starting to come to ours. which is fine... but i would love to see some really growth instead of transfers. for the time being though, i'll try and be a good steward of the transfers we take in.

I'm helping with prayer ministry there and just being a part of the body there and loving people.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Am Legend

The other night, I went with a few of my friends here to go see the new Will Smith movie, I Am Legend. It was interesting. It's rated PG-13 and it's probably that for the suspense/horror that it has.

The movie is set in the future. What happened is that there was a doctor who discovered the cure for cancer. But from what i gather, it mutated and created zombies. Will Smith plays a doctor and military colonel who is trying to find a cure.

The reason I'm writing this is because it got me to thinking. The movie was about someone who thought that they had discovered. They were trying to find an ailment to a disease outside the realm of God. They were trying to solve a problem, without using God. And that's dangerous.

The Bible is chock full of stories that people tried to find an answer to a problem without using God. And it seemed to work for a time. But it eventually flopped.

People are constantly trying to find a way into Heaven without using Jesus. They're trying to discover a way to a better life without going through the hard trials. And trials aren't fun. But when we try to find a solution to life's little problems, and we don't use God's way, the idea will flop eventually. Moral of the story: do it God's way. It's the smartest thing to do.

Back to the movie... i am in no way trying to spiritualize this movie. I'm not trying to find a good reason and way for me to watch it. I normally don't go see movies like this because I don't like horror movies. But we were originally going to see a Charlotte Bobcats basketball game and got there too late. So we decided to go see this movie. Wasn't my first pick in movies, but I was going more for the relationships... to spend time with folks. I don't even recommend going to see this movie. I mean, for the most part, it was good and clean. Meaning that there was like no sex or not even a whole lot of swearing at all. Just a lot of freaky zombies. So i wouldn't even recommend going to see it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Intolerance of 'Tolerance'

I've just recently joined a local gym here in town. For years now i've been wanting to be able to get back into shape. I mean, granted, i'm 24 years old and can readily do a lot of things. Your average person would probably look at me and say "your in great shape... why do you need to get in shape?!?" which to a degree, they have some legitamacy in saying that. I'm currently about 145 lbs or so and can easily walk 2 miles w/o any problems. But getting older means my metabolism quickly shuts down or will really get low soon. So i figured that since my current job is 98% mental, its time i also work my physical body. Because since i moved down in 2003, its been primarily sit there in class and just think. Wal-Mart was nice in that i got to get some good heavy lifting in... but nothing really systematic.

So, i joined a gym here because i now have more time and thankfully, a bit better of a cash flow. So, i had a meeting with a pro trainer here (i'm sure by now your like 'what does joining a gym have to do w/ intolerance...?' stick w/ me here, its coming). So after my workout with the guy, they took me into the office to try and work out some sort of regular workout plan w/ them. I eventually took a plan where i'm paying around $75 dollars for 6 sessions w/ a professional trainer for 6 months. The guys like "oh, you must be really religious." i'm like 'wow, thats a broad judgement."

If you mean i care about widows and orphans... then yeah. i'd rather fly halfway around the world and minister to someone than fork out $75 for a sweatshirt. i guess i am really religious then.

So anyways, i'm sitting there in the office and the guy is making small talk and asking me what i do in my spare time... well, right now.. a part of my 'spare time' will be spent at the gym. but this guy figured me for a gamer. meaning someone who would play video games on his computer or tv. Like XBox 360 or a station like that. I am not. Probably in the past 3 years, i've played no more than 3 hours on any kind of gaming system. That is no lie. I like to play racing games. but i just don't have the time nor desire to do stuff like that. I told him i like to travel. He asked wheres the farthest i've been. I said probably the Philippines. His next statement to me what "so, what are the girls like over there...". i just kept my composure but secretly thinking "wow, we've got quite some generalizations going on here. Girls aren't the only 'thing' (i hate to use that b/c it sounds really cheap.. forgive me ladies) out in the world. Yes, i pray often for my future wife, whomever she may be, but i didn't go to the Philippines for the girls. yeah, there were girls there. but whats with the generalization.

Now i want to be careful b/c i don't want people who are reading this to feel akward in asking me about girls. but to me, the statement is a judgement. and i'm under the impression that we 'shouldn't judge' people. or are we?

it just seems to be that others can say anything they want to about bashing someone that is well known, but as soon as i say anything about the Bible, i will offend someone. That's probably because i will. Because i'll get their conscience going and suddenly, i'm super religious or super spiritual. no, i just like to see God do His thing through me and around me. but i also love a good practical joke. But i try to be careful nowadays in how i present stuff to people. perhaps i shouldn't be. perhaps i should just speak whats on my mind. i mean, if we're a 'tolerant' society, i should be able to say what i wanna say if someone is dropping all sorts of 'f' bombs and whatnot around me. I mean, where's the tolerance folks...? It just seems to me that we can say anything about someone well known (persay President Bush) and its free speech. but if i were to say that a tv personality is going to go to hell because they don't know Jesus, then i'm suddenly intolerant and judgemental.

by the way, the term 'separation of church and state' is nowhere in the constitution. take that ACLU.

well, i feel better.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Money cometh

Ok, so i had to come up with some sort of interesting title for this one. That's because one of the reasons i love having this blog site is is that i get to brag on God and how He teaches me continually to trust in Him and not in what my physical eyes see, but rather to trust in Him when He speaks.

As i've stated before, i love to travel. I love to do international travel, get out into the world and see the sights. Well, about 2 years ago (a little over actually), right before i started my 3rd year at FIRE, an opportunity came up for a trip to the Philippines. And i felt in my heart that i was to go on that trip. I hadn't been able to do any sort of traveling in the recent years because if i wasn't in school at FIRE, i was working. so that pretty much meant no traveling.

But for this trip, I just felt i was to go. Let's just note one fact: the trip was going to cost $2,100. already struggling to get by, i knew i wasn't going to be able to just rip off a check and hand it to the missions department. My way of raising funds was to simply let people know about the need and allow God to speak to hearts. So that's what i would do. I would pray and just mention it in casual conversation about the need.

Well, it just so happened that i was planning on going back up to PA for a time. I informed my pastor there about it and he mentioned that he would give me a few minutes to just briefly share about what was going on w/ me down here. I want to mention that just sharing for 5-10 minutes from me is a miracle. I have a tendency to be able to go on and on and on and on and on... you get the picture..

So that morning, i get up to share just a brief 5 minute testimony of my life. And just mentioning about going to the Philippines and the cost issue. I refuse to this day to do any sort of major emotional ploy at all to raise the funds. I simply share the need and allow God to work on hearts. Well, that morning after sharing, a lady who that was her first and last morning with us, hands me a check. When she gave me the check, i immediately folded it up w/o even looking at it and simply thanked her. Later on, i looked at it and it was for $200! I was like "ok God, you want me on this trip!" over the course of time from then until the trip, money just kept coming in! I was getting money from people who i didn't even tell about the trip! And the amounts weren't $20 here and $10 there... we're talking a minimum of $50! i remember getting a check in the mail from a family who i know it was a stretch of faith for them. Man, stuff like that just breaks your heart. I can't tell you the humility factor that comes with that.

It was on this trip that i prayed for countless folks. My life was dramatically touched and changed probably more than anyone whom i prayed for. But i was not going to let these people down nor let God down. i was able to pray w/ youth and just see the Holy Ghost touch their lives. it was such a blessing to be able to pray for them and just step back and watch them go after God like crazy!

I'd have to say that if your looking to get a blessing from God, be a blessing and be a help. Just the other weekend, about 30 of us went out to eat after church. We were celebrating two birthdays that day. Both of them were students at school, and i just made mention that if no one else takes care of it, i will be sure to take their bill for them. I know that when you go out to eat for your birthday, its nice to be treated. And i love that aspect of life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Moving right along...

I moved down to Concord, NC in 2003 to attend FIRE School of Ministry. The school has a, what i might call, very specific apostolic and prophetic mandate from God. They're not just a school to fill your head with all sorts of theology and have you go out and start a nice little church somewhere. But their mandate is specific and training people up and sending them out to start a revolution of some sort. More specifically, a Jesus Revolution.

When i first started FIRE in September of 2003, it was very upbeat. The music was very upbeat and to jump around during the music was most certainly encouraged. Over the past few years, i've noticed that it has taken a bit of a twist.... a very good kind of twist.

FIRE is still all about sending people out into the world and making a change. Over the past few years, we as FIRE have been focusing more on maintaining the intimacy with God the Father and understanding what it means to be a son of the Most High God. At first, i was a little hesitant to go with this. I was all about taking charge and just going for it. By life or by death... charge...! You know, the school is all about revolution. come on now!

But over time, i've come to understand to maintaining intimacy is a revolutionary idea. There is a balance between being more demonstrative and settling back and soaking in the presence of God.

My life was dramatically touched and changed by very direct and in your face preaching. A "no holds bar" approach to preaching the gospel. So naturally i followed through with that. And there is a time to simply lay down the law on people and just present the gospel as it is. And then there's the time to gently love and encourage someone and realize that we all go through hard times. I used to have very little tolerance for weak faith. My idea was was just to get over the offense and get on with life. Quit being such a baby that so and so said something about you. And to a degree, at times, i'm still like that. But over time i've learned to apply tact to that. To simmer down a little bit and be more sensitive to peoples feelings.

I'm still very direct at times, but i've learned to not always be soo serious and uptight. Learn to chill a bit. Learn to sit and listen to someone and perhaps just say something like "i'm sorry.. i hurt when you hurt.." And simply just putting an arm around someone or sending an email or something. Let someone know that you care about their feelings. I'm still very bold and direct if and when need be. I've been cussed out before for various things. Most of which really didn't have much effect on me. But when you learn to care about the feelings of others, you have an amazing inroad into their life and your really able to minister and encourage them and lead them in a certain way.

I've most certainly done my fair share of saying stupid things in the past and looking back, deeply regretting it. Later on thinking "man, i was a jerk!" Especially being someone who is in a position of leadership and/or someone who is looked up to, its essential for me to learn to be sensitive to others feelings.

All in all, developing and maintaining intimacy with God is most certainly the most important thing. How can i expect to walk in the power of God if i can't first walk in the love of God? And that love comes from an intimacy in prayer and reading the Word and getting to know the Father's Heart for His children. Through prayer and relationship with God, you become to understand your sonship (daughtership for girls) in God. And you begin to understand who you are exactly in the sight of God.

He doesn't like that you sin and do stupid things, but there is forgiveness of that sin through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Church vs. tupper ware party

So what is it about most church services nowadays that i find soo lame? granted, its mostly my fault. not enough prayer and digging into the Word.

But honestly, i find most church services that i'm in today about as exciting as a tubber ware party. i got that from a compilation from Fire On The Altar of the late Leonard Ravenhill. its funny because he asked a couple young people why they don't attend church anywhere. they said its because its about as exciting as a tubber ware party. that i find hysterical.

and i listen to most messages nowadays and it seems that most of the church has an identity crisis. i guess thats what happens when you quit preaching the Cross. You don't know who the world you are. you try to find your identity in this world. big mistake. when you don't find your identity in Christ Himself, your doomed from the get go. most don't want to have to find their identity in Jesus. Because that means they need to change their lifestyle and turn from their sin. Its called 'repentance'... not a word commonly heard in most churches nowadays. That's basically because we don't want to offend people.

And all this stuff is intertwined. i don't know about you, but nowadays i'm like "lets go out for breakfast" instead of church. the song and dance routine is soo stinkin' old.

On the upside, the Lord is doing some awesome things. He is drawing a people into His heart. He's raising up a generation of people to seek His heart and mind. i know i talk about this a lot, but that's because it's really on my heart. It's time for a revolution. We need the presence of God in our lives. Just lip service really isn't going to cut it. Because luckily, people can usually see right through it. They can see right through the garbage that people put out. i find it hysterical whenever people ask how others are doing in passing... i'm like "you got to give them time to respond."

I've now been working at my current job for a little over a month. I've determined at least one thing: old people shouldn't buy brand new computers. It's not a good combination. Especially Windows Vista. I haven't heard too much good stuff about Vista. the best thing i've heard about it is that its ok. This is coming from someone who's grown up using Microsoft. I'm just not afraid to state the obvious and the truth.

In any case, those of you who read these (probably all 2 or 3 of you) thanks. lol. i have some very random thoughts, don't I? lol. and i probably sound really mean. But once you get to know me, hopefully you see that i'm not that big of a jerk.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Election Year '08

We're quickly approaching the 2008 election year. And the candidates are coming out in full force. Right now, my decision is between Thompson or Huckabee. I don't know how Guliani is running on the conservative ticket. I mean, i respect him for how he handled 9/11, but ones personal life is a good indicator for a lot of things. I won't even go onto the Democratic side.... I'm not even venturing over there because talking about them will just be a waste of my time.

To be honest with everyone, i would rather have someone who stumbles over their words and yet can stand their ground over someone who knows how to win a crowd, but just caves in at the slightest faint warning of opposition. Smooth talkers scare me. I want someone in their who stands for conservative values.

I recently heard that a Christian conservative leader endorsed Guliani. I was... befuddled. Perhaps his thinking was to get behind a person who is running on the conservative ticket and we won't be throwing our vote away. Maybe it was... i don't really know what it was. It was stupidity as far as i'm concerned. I pray that this whole election ordeal will awaken a sleeping church. Someone told me recently that we need to pray for the church to have discernment. There just seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes to this stuff. We need to start to pray for this election specifically.

Your not understanding of all this stuff is no excuse. There's a lot of stuff i don't understand. That doesn't mean i give up on it. That means i take the time and research it. Find out whats going on. You say you care about your kids but you take take two minutes of your day to find out whats going on in society. "Shawn, what are you talking about?"

Look, your childrens future is shaped by what happens today. We sit around and talk about whats going on in the war, but we don't take to pray for our leaders. We sit around a gossip and slander one another, but we're too lazy to figure out the truth of whats going on in the world.

I was amazed and shocked with myself sometime ago. I realized i knew more about a particular movie star than i did about the Bible. My laziness showed up. My idolatry and spiritual adultery showed its ugly face. I knew i had to do business with God and right away.

I'm not expecting everyone to be a genius when it comes to politics. But what would happen if we would simply stop buying mazagines up? What would happen if we would really take a stand and just let people know that we're not going to put up with the filth around us?

All i know is that this world is crying out for a reality of God. And as a member of the Body of Christ, I think its time that i started show people a reality of God. It has to start in my life and heart first. If i can't stand under the pressure, i can't expect someone else to. I walk down through the malls and i see people hurting all over the place. It's amazing what happens when you understand and walk in your identity in who Jesus is inside of you. You walk with an authority that is unique because you have the DNA of God the Holy Ghost in you. Your able to serve and work in such a way that is just phenomenal. Your able to move with a certain meekness and strength and power. Your meekness doesn't mean weakness. It means a security in who you are in Jesus that you know that Jesus loves you and you have nothing to prove to others.

Anywho... this whole election stuff is just on my heart. It scares me to see an apathy towards it. Like people are thinking 'so what?' Oh nothing, just the lives of your children and grandkids and great grandkids will have to deal with. That's all. nothing major. so go ahead.. kick back and catch the next episode of All My Children or whatever you'd like to do. its not like your kids lives are hanging in the balance...

And by the way... the whole time i'm sitting here writing this, the Holy Ghost is convicting me of apathy in my own life. Talk about eating your own words.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Reality Check

Just recently, i was talking w/ a precious brother and friend. We were both in agreement of how we get bored in a church service like there is no tomorrow. i have a hard time sitting still. I can't tell you the amount of times i wanted to skip church and go get a bite to eat. Aside from the fact that at times going to church is about as exciting as a tubber ware party.... aside from the fact that i'm sick of the social club aspect of... there is a depth of reality that we have yet to tap into. Is it just me or does life seem extremely shallow? I mean, its annoying to me when i go up to someone and i know they're going thru hell and yet they give me the canned response of that things are fine. Whatever happened to the power of God? The Christian life has got to be more than just nice little services where the sound is perfect and the settings are just right... when was the last time someone actually got saved in church? when was the last time someone got healed?

There is a desperate cry right now from the young adult generation for something real. Something has got to change. I have a hard time going thru the mall and just seeing the youth. Seeing their lives are just about shopping and living the nice life. Forget that. If that's all that life is, i'm done. I can't stand the idea of the American Dream. Aside from the fact that i can prove it wrong in a heart beat.

In a twist of irony, i was in correspondence with a lady from the New England area. She mentioned to me that she thinks it would be a good idea for people to have good morals. you know, be a good person. Do the right thing... but yet, don't mention God (or Jesus for that matter) in the public life. Where do we suppose that we should get those good morals? Maybe keep watching CNN or other news outlets. It's not like they don't have an agenda against truth... But where should we be getting these good morals?

"But Shawn, you don't understand... i've been hurt by people in the church. I've been hurt by Christians." so have i. i'm right there with you. Think of Jesus on the Cross. He was betrayed by some of His best friends. By grace, forgive. i know thats easy for me to say. And by no means am i condoning any hurt that people have done to others. That's not right. We need to be careful in our relationships and be sensitive to others.

But what i'm getting at is that i'm soo tired of 'church' as church. i'm soo tired of doing the nice little meetings and just going to the meetings and yet there is no relationships. Christianity is all about relationships. God desires for your reconciliation to Him by a relationship with His Son, Jesus. Isn't it great that we can't earn our salvation? We can't do enough of good works to get it. It's by grace through faith. If we had to earn it, i would've been out of the game a long time ago.

I've grown up in the church... i've been in this sorted mess all my life. After you've been in something for a long time, you begin to see the corruption. And you really have to guard your heart against bitterness and all that wonderful stuff that creeps in. I'm committed to making it better. I'm committed to sticking with it until the end. Sure there are a lot of problems and issues. So why do you think God entrusted us, His creation, with His bride? I'm sure He knew we'd mess things up good. When greed and envy get in their with immature folks leading...

But perhaps that part of God's heart... to still love us through that and desire that our hearts join with His in helping Him. It's a thought at least...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Praise Report

I wanted to give thanks to God for the recent healing of one of my cousins. She was just recently healed of her allergies to peanuts. i'm not sure how bad it was, other than the fact that if she even just held peanuts, she'd break out and have medication. And i know that she even had to go to the hospital a time or two.

but recently, the Lord laid it on her heart to write letters to all those who hurt her in the past. Immediately, afterward, she felt a heaviness in her chest and she just felt that this was satan's way of trying to scare her. from what i understand, she was even contemplating suicide, but thankfully she didn't go through with it. Nothing happened as far as healing goes right away. But the next morning she woke up and she was full of joy and happiness! She and my aunt were planning on going to a conference on inner healing down in Georgia before hand. They still went but, from what i understand, didn't stay for the whole thing. But during the time of the trip, she ate some peanuts (without her moms knowledge) and nothing happened. Then she told her mom she wanted to get some peanuts to eat. My aunt (her mom) immediately told her no and wanted to wait for further blood tests. Well, my cousin went out and bought some peanut M&M's anyways. She put them in her hand and nothing happened (normally, she would've had an allergic reaction). She proceeded to put them in her mouth and eat them.. right in front of her mom! lol. And nothing happened! No reaction! Praise God for His healing power!

Jesus, i thank you for the Cross upon which you died for our sins and diseases. I thank you for taking what you did upon yourself. You crushed sin, death and disease and tore the veil. You created a bridge between us and God. And for that, i am eternally grateful.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jesus, the Great Intercessor...

Comes through once again for me... as if i'm suprised.. in any case, i just moved into my new place here in Concord. Spent my first night last night here... all alone.. sometimes, solitude is nice, but sometimes i'm like "i just wanna be around people." right now i'm forced to be in solitude, which reconfirms the fact that i do NOT have the gift of life long celibate.

Anyways, i have one of those posters that says "And He Shall Be Called" and then has a list of variety of the names of Jesus on it and then at the bottom has "Jesus Christ" written on it. I put that up last night on the wall with some putty. I don't have a whole lot of stuff on my walls. They're largely bare. In any case, something woke me up real briefly last night around 3:14 i think it was. With me being the only one here, things are extremely quite other than right now i have music playing out of my ipod from the charger/speakers. you know how you sometimes just wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason...? well, that happened for me about 3:14 and my "Jesus Christ" poster was like half way off the wall.

I don't know if i should jump to conclusions here and be like "oh my word.. satan tried attacking me somehow and Jesus took the fall for me... again.." or i should be like "i gotta work hard at putting things on the wall with putty... i didn't push hard enough and it just came down." Thats the dilemna i have going on. Sometimes, we try to super-spiritualize it and some of the times its just our stupid fault. some of you may be getting a real kick out of this one b/c probably some of you do the exact same thing.

In the past i've been in situations where satan was really trying to harm me physically. And those times i know beyond the shadow of a doubt that people were praying for me. I can actually remember two separate instances where that happened to me. i was attacked physically by satan and one of the times, luckily a brother was there to pray for me. another time i just prayed it through while trying to get on with life. the second was a panic attack (and i never get those) and i was woke up abruptly at 6:10 am and my mind was all ascatter. in talking w/ a friend, he said that Eph. 6:10 states "finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" and it goes on to say about putting on the armor of God. that passage.

So in any case, i am soo eternally grateful for Jesus and His sacrifice. Sometimes when people ask me how i'm doing and i'm not doing the greatest, i just say "well, it could be worse.. i could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere.." i have some great and wonderful thoughts, don't I?

I'm grateful that we no longer have to make animal sacrifices for our sins. Aside from PETA having a field day with us on that one, i'm glad no more little lambs or goats take my sins, but Jesus takes my sins for me. not that i can keep sinning (Heb. 10:26), but that if and when i mess up, Jesus is right there. speaking of which, someone pointed out a really funny video on YouTube about Jesus and the Terminator meeting.

Hope you have enjoyed another somewhat random blog from me. Please, hold autographs til later.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Calling all pack rats...

This blog goes out to all those who have ever moved and you've come to realize how much junk you accrue over time. today, i moved out of the Mitchell's house and moved into a house with two young guys. this is going to be another transition. just when you get accustomed to having 3 girls in the house again, you gotta readjust to just three guys. for those who don't know, the dynamics of living with girls is adversely different to that of living with guys.

for one thing, with guys, you actually run the risk of having to call in the haz mat team in from time to time. for guys, a little bit of mold on food usually isn't that big of deal. depending on how big that mold is.

i opened up the door of the fridge in the Pearson's home (where i'm currently living now) and realized that a trip to the store is probably just around the corner. you learn how much you take for granted when you go from living with a married couple with kids to living with just young guys. its like night and day.

in any case, on with the adjusting of life again. i will most certainly miss the Mitchell's and the food and the family like type atmosphere. but this new situation is going to be a good challenge for me and the other guys as well. i've learned over time to deal with these things and learn from mistakes, should they happen (and more than likely, things will come up.) and thats a part of life... yippee..

in other news, my parents are in London, England with my sister and brother in law. i'm jealous... i would love to do some more international travel. but everything has its time and season. and that time and season will come. so until later, everyone out there in blog world, have a great one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Send the rain...

The South Eastern states have been suffering from a major drought for the last couple months. And I was talking with a gentleman from Canada the other day at work, while i was troubleshooting his computer, and we got to talking about the drought. I mentioned to him that i personally feel it represents the spiritual state of how we are right now. We need rain and we need it yesterday. The grass is crunchy and brown for the most part... there is an amount of green grass, but we are suffering from a drought right now. it looks somewhat ok, but we need the rain.

I think its a reflection of how the church is. (note here, i'm including myself in on this). the church is dried up and we lack the presence of God (the rain). I think right now we are at a stage 3 or 4 of drought watch measures. Meaning that we can't wash our own cars at home because it uses up too much water... the local creeks and ponds and lakes are at a severe low. We are in a drought.

I just heard today that the governor of Georgia actually prayed on tv today, at a press conference, he took time and prayed to God for rain. i have a link for you to go to and watch him praying. Sonny Perdue, the governor of Georgia, took time to pray and ask God for rain. wow, i'm waiting for the ACLU to jump all over this one... i'm sure someone in California or Europe or somewhere else was offended at this.

Thank God for that. at least someone is willing to stick their neck out and stand up for family values and for what this country was built on...

Friday, November 9, 2007

World Peace

Everyone wants world peace. I can't think of anyone in their right mind who doesn't want for world peace. Safety and security. End the whole idea of strife. However, in case you haven't noticed, in our society, its intolerant to be intolerant of those who don't think with an 'open mind'. I remember in high school, my class mates would write, "If your a closed minded individual, don't talk to me" on their binders. I thought it was hysterical.

This past week at work, i had a pocket sized Bible on my desk in my cubical. The design cover is supposed to resemble a crown of thorns. One of my supervisors noticed and made reference to it. He's like "what, are you Jewish or something?" kinda almost in like a mocking tone i thought.. i said "no, but what if i was?" he realized that he might have been taken the wrong way. so he quickly tried to back track.

In our society, its ok to make fun of Christians and Jews. That's ok. However, its not ok to make fun of anything else, such as things that go against scripture. Make fun of a Muslim on tv and you'll probably receive numerous death threats. Make fun of someone who is black, and you'll get called a racist. I would never anyone to get made fun of. Just because your insecure about something, doesn't mean you have to put someone else down to make yourself look better. That's not cool. I'm not for putting anyone down.

I want everyone to know God via a personal relationship with Jesus. He's the way, the truth and the life. That ONLY WAY, TRUTH and LIFE. I want people to willingly come to Jesus and accept His sacrifice for their sins. I don't like that the Crusades happened in the past and Jews and Muslims were killed if they didn't convert to Christianity. That's not the desire of God. To this day, its taboo to say that your a Christian in parts of the world because people have a bad and/or wrong connotation of it. They associate Christianity with the Crusades and killing people. That's just wrong.

Someone once said to me, well, if its good for you.. If its what makes YOU feel good, then its ok. How far off that statement is. It felt good for me to hit that person, so then it's ok, right? WRONG! We have a set of standards.

I don't get the whole idea of anti-semitism. It's a demonic spirit. Why don't people pick on Chinese like they do Jews? Or Australians like they do the Jews? (i'm just picking random nationalities here). No, we pick on God's people b/c they're God's people. Satan is trying to get back at his arch nemesis. I mean, governmental bodies continuously pick on this tiny nation of people relentlessly. Why don't they pick on someone else? But no, they hold whole conferences about it.

Listen, we will never have true world peace. The Cross will always be a stumbling block and cause offense. I was having a conversation with a coworker sometime ago about religion/Christianity. One of my supervisors came over and politely asked us to change topics. he said that people get all upset about it and we should just talk 'shop' there at work. I understood where he was coming from. However, we are grown adults could gently talk about it in a manner as to not cause trouble. I never once raised my voice and he simply voiced his opinions. And i patiently listened.

But i find it hysterical whenever these ideas come up. Jesus and the cross will always be one of the most controversial topics ever. Because whenever they're discussed, people start getting convicted of sin. And that's good. Because the Holy Ghost is working. he's touching hearts and changing lives.

I know this post is kind of all over the place and random... work with me here.

I whole heartedly believe in praying for the peace of Jerusalem. I also believe that we are headed for some major hard times in the future, as far as the end of the world comes into play. It will be the best of times and the worst of times. I don't know when Jesus is coming back. You may think that the church will not be in the tribulation times and your just looking for and escape hatch and for Jesus to come back. Or you may be settling in and getting ready for some bad times in that your thinking that the church will be here for what is known as the Tribulation Times, when the AntiChrist will rise in power. As for me, all i know is that i'm on the 'first boat' out. meaning that whenever Jesus comes back, i'm outta here. Until then, i'm going to live my life for Jesus and expand His Kingdom where ever i go.

Again, i know this has gotten really random. But i just wanted to share some of my thoughts on 'world peace'. The media likes to portray things in a certain light. And i like to present the truth. LOL. In anycase, thanks for reading this. It means a lot.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Divine Healing

I want to preface this blog in saying that i totally believe that healing is for today. I find no scripture that insinuates otherwise. As a matter of fact, i've prayed for countless people in the past who have been healed. So I know that it is God's heart to heal people.

With that said, i often wrestle with the fact of that when i pray for some people, they don't get healed. I've prayed for probably at least 100 hundred people and nothing. I can even recall those who have contracted illnesses, like cancer, and died.

There have been at least 2 people in the past who have died from cancer. And we're talking a man and woman of God who would pray and seek God's face. So why didn't they get healed? I mean, didn't Jesus die for them as well? This is stuff i wrestle with.

I once heard a minister say that stuff happens because we live in a fallen sinful world and the devil hates our guts. Which i can agree with, but still. Doesn't the Bible say that these signs will accompany those who come in my name? They'll lay their hands on the sick and they'll recover..?

So then what's the deal? I mean, Jesus took my infirmities on the Cross, and that's in the Old Testament. And then in the New Testament, Jesus tells His disciples that these signs will accompany those who believe. So you can imagine why i wrestle with this stuff.

So the times that i pray for people and they don't get immediate healing, you might think that that would discourage me from praying for people. But it doesn't. it just spurs me on all the more. Healing is for today. If you have issues with that, well, the Lord bless you. And may He speak to your heart. Because i'm not going to try and convince you. I'll talk to you about it, but i don't debate. If you can be convinced into the Kingdom, you can probably be convinced out of it.

So why do some people get healed and others don't? I don't know. I'll tell you straight up. I don't. I could say from a certain stand point maybe... acting like i know it all. But I don't. I mean, the Bible says it and i therefore believe it. Don't get me wrong. I rest on faith and not feelings. I've prayed for people in the past and i literally felt nothing... other than tired (because i was exhausted from a long day.) but later on, this person got healed in their body. And i don't know this person's standing with God. So why does God heal some and not others?

Healing is in the Bible. I have a word document where healing is in every book of the Bible. Isaiah speaks about that by the stripes of Jesus, we are healed (Isaiah 53). So why some and not others?

The Bible is good and it's true! It's the sure Word of God. It's infallible and good. This something that i just take to God and be like "Ok God, what's the deal here?"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Just a few things...

In high school, i took 2 years of Spanish. And i didn't take them because i had to, but because i wanted to. I figure if i'm going to be traveling to other countries, i had best learn their language. If i go to Spain, i want to be able to speak the language there. I wished they would have offered French, because then i would've taken that. (the summer before high school, i took my first missions trip to Haiti, where i learned some French ((actually, its Creole, which is a combo of a bunch of different languages)) and after coming back from Haiti, i had to quickly switch languages.) But learning new languages is fun and often a good challenge.) I didn't continue in those classes because i wasn't learning much. I was having some issues with certain things in that atmosphere.

but i wanted to preface this blog with the above because of what i'm going to put in here. I received an email from a friend the other day. It might be considered controversial, depending on your personal views in politics.

Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

-Theodore Roosevelt 1907

In other things... Halloween has come and gone. I stayed away from many stores for just a couple days on that one. I went into Wal-Mart last night they already have a Christmas tree up! lol.

You gotta love the way we materialize everything.... sometimes becoming Amish doesn't sound soo bad. At times i have a lot of respect for those guys. Sometime ago at school, we had a girl there that was from about the same area as i was. i jokingly told her we should don some Amish gear and come to church in a horse and buggy just for the kicks. That never happened, but we joked about it a bit.

Also last night at Wal-Mart, i was talking with a girl there that i had just met before i left. She mentioned about going down to a church somewhere down in South Carolina. I told her i'd go if she wants to (she has a boyfriend already). So i came home and checked the church out on the web. It will be an interesting trip. But if she wants to go and have me check it out, i'm up for it.

At work, we go live on the phones on Monday. We had some mock calls yesterday. I think they went decently well. I was a bit nervous, but given time, we'll get those kinks worked out.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Taboo Topic

It seems to me like politics is a taboo topic amongst Christians. I try to have some good conversations with people about politics and they just clam up. Its funny. We'll sit around and gossip and whatever about people we know, but when we try and discuss politics and/or world affairs, they suddenly don't wanna have an opinion. I enjoy talking about politics and world affairs with people. My Bible says to go into all the world and the last time i checked, politics was apart of the world. I understand that not everyone is going to be gung ho about certain topics. And i understand that not many people care about really getting deep about it. but when you don't know the simplest things about a your own government, thats just scary. The American part of me thinks that this is one of the greatest if not the greatest nation, ever. I know that our government has made some policies in the past that weren't good. And those things definitely need to be fixed.

Here, i'll give everyone a quick very brief overview of our government.
3 main branches: Executive (The President), Judicial (Supreme Court, judges) and Legislative (House of Reps and Senate).
congress is House of Reps and Senate.
Whenever they say its a joint session, they mean the House of Reps and Senate are coming together. 2 senators per state and house of reps determined by the population of a state.
There are currently 16 cabinet members in the President's Cabinet. Homeland Security was created after 9/11.

Thus concludes our brief lesson on the U.S. government. I know there are issues and problems within that government. I won't turn a blind eye to that and act like we haven't botched things up in the past. but unless if you don't at least pray for our nation and our leaders, and if your able to and vote, i don't really know that i care to hear what you have to say.

at least pray. and if you can vote and you don't, thats your loss. voting doesn't solve everything. prayer does. but at least w/ voting your voicing your opinion to some degree. and even if it is the electoral college that actually votes in the president... still, voice your say.

i've dealt with people in the past who say that they don't vote b/c Earth isn't their real home, Heaven is. while i agree w/ that, i still say get out and make your voice heard. i've told those people directly to their face that since they could've voted and they simply didn't want to that i didn't wanna hear any complaints about our nation or our president and Washington b/c they didn't voice their opinion. they were a bit shocked, but they agreed.

in any case, have a great day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Expression of Outreach

Well, Halloween is just around the corner. I'm looking towards the time when churches all across the country will hopefully come up with some sort of way to reach out to the local community. I'm not against handing out tracts and doing some sort of ministry outreach. I've found it funny in the past to hear that various youth groups go to these haunted trails. Kinda defeats the purpose...

In any case.... one thing i'm looking towards is the time when your talking to someone and you start to tell them their life story. When you start to dig in deep and instead of just ministering the superficial need, you get deep. You find out why they have the issues and problems that they have. You find out they have an addiction to porn or a smoking addiction or gossip like crazy (yep, gossip is a sin just like being addicted to porn... ((thats bound to stir up a hornets nest))).

I think that having some sort of outreach to the community is great. It pulls people in and gets conversation going. But when that person comes in in a wheelchair or crutches, what happens? I am personally all for eradicating the handicap spots. Get the person healed! That is the job of a 'Christian', being one who is a disciple of Christ. This bogus theology that those gifts have ceased is just that... bogus. I have found NO WHERE in scripture is says that.

I think that hopefully one day, when the church comes into maturity, that you casting a demon out of someone will be like giving them a glass of water. You won't have to sit there for hours on end figuring out what the world is happening. You'll simply be talking to them and you'll be like "oh, and by the way, that spirit of greed that is one you... out now in Jesus name. I was at the mall the other day..."

Am i out of my mind? I don't think so... i may be out of YOUR, but i think i'm thinking pretty clearly. The only reason why that idea might scare you is is because we're soo used to the idea of the church not operating in power. We're soo used to just having our nice little services w/o making much of an actual impact.

I'm personally really tired of it in my own life. It's something that the Lord has been challenging me on for some time now. I believe that the church is slowly coming into a maturity in the Spirit that healings and deliverances and other workings of the Spirit will be common place. We won't be shocked when our 5 year old is laying hands on someone in the supermarket and this person is actually healed!

I often tell people to get their little children involved in this stuff. I mean, who in their right mind is going to turn down a 5 year old when this little child asks to pray for them. Ok, so there might be a few people.... but just think of this...

Your in the store and a little child comes up to you and says "I see you have a cast on. Would u mind if i prayed for you?" and not only that but they begin to tell you your life story.

I love the fact that its about faith and not feelings. I prayed for a guy once and the only thing i felt was really tired. It was a Friday afternoon and i just got home from bible school. i wanted to go in and lay down. but no, God had a child he wanted me to minister to. and i'm personally really glad i felt nothing. because that means it wasn't me doing it... it was God reaching down and touching this person. I've prayed for countless others and absolutely nothing happened. Which bothers me at times b/c then i start to question my faith.

The bible says that these signs accompany those who come in the name of Jesus. They lay their hands on the sick and they recover. Doesn't anyone else wonder or question this stuff?

I really hope that this has gotten your thinking cap going. I mean, at times you gotta wrestle with this stuff and just get a holy frustrated with it and just really have it out with God. God likes that i think. Or He at least likes us coming to Him.

You know like the 5 fold ministry gifts aren't for us to get all puffed up with and walk around like we're someone. They're for us to train others up and see the kingdom of God come down! For me, pastor is a position, not a title. Apostle is a position, not a title. True ministry giftings are not for people to get puffed up over. They're for us to lay down our lives and see Jesus exalted. I fully believe in honoring men and women of God. but i don't like pedestals. thats why i like serving at church soo much. the job gets done and i move on. i'm not doing it for a pat on the back... i'm doing it to see others ministered to. i pray for others for them to be released into their calling and get their lives straightened out.

This past week was a beginning of training for my new job. Our trainer told us that we as the worker bees are the real workers. without us, the CEO and the people up top are out of a job.

wow, you get the ball rolling and you never know what will come out. (and for you FIRE grads/students.. i know i sound like Gladstone or Dr. Brown a lot. hehe. i try not to but you know....)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dance the Night Away

The video is really self explanatory. It shows a lot of good aspects of real life w/ youth. I know i deal with this stuff all the time. I mean, this is life for some kids... unfortunately.

Last month i was able to minister at a youth retreat in PA. Now, i wanted to share a good revolution message... rally the troops, go get 'em sort of deal. But God knew better. As i shared before, i ministered the Father's Heart. These kids need a revelation of who God is as their Father. They're sick and tired of propped up religion and nice services and people getting up their and acting like they got it all together with expensive clothes. They want the presence of God. They're crying out for people to live right.

So thanks to Lakewood church for putting this human video on. Rock on guys.

Lord, teach me to be a good steward of what you've entrusted me with.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I love to travel. I love to get in a car and go somewhere and spend time with people. Or jump on a plane and fly for hours and hours and hours.... i just have a high tolerance i guess for that stuff. i'm sure its different for different people, given their circumstances. Probably if and when you get small children, its a different story.

It's kind of funny now that i love to travel because when i was younger, probably around 5 or so, my family was going to Disney World. From where we lived in Pennsylvania, its a good probably 20+ hour drive. From what my parents tell me, we get to Lancaster City, about 20 minutes out and my mom tells me that i started saying "Go home now... go home now.."

Yeah, its one of those cute little kiddie things your parents will lovingly remind you of time and time again... like the time i kissed the flower girl at a wedding where i was the ring bearer...

In other news... This week is our missions festival and alumni gathering. This is an awesome time of year where a good number of the missionaries come back to the base and meet and greet and raise money... Its a dangerous time for bank accounts. I'm the type of person where i hear a need and i'm just like i wanna give...

So of course i'm giving. ever notice how throwing out $10 bucks to go see a movie is no big deal but giving that same money to a missionary is like a stretch to us? It's because one situation is where we are spending that money on ourselves and not someone else. People can tend to be a bit selfish... myself included. Another joy that i have is when i go out to eat with people and they're not able to cover their meal, i take it for them. That's why i love to help out around here because i'm simply spending my energy and time and not necessarily getting anything in return for it. Which sometimes, i have to really check my heart because i'll do something and i'm secretly hoping to get noticed for it.

But sometimes we have to ask ourselves why we are doing something. Is it to get recognised? I have to ask myself that a lot! Are you serving in certain aspects to get something in return? Or are you truly doing it to get noticed? Would you continue to do it if you wouldn't get recognised?

Giving unannounced. Giving in such a way that only God sees you doing it. That's fun to me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

People are interesting

It hasn't been til just recently that i've started looking for other peoples blog sites and their myspaces and whatnot. I just find it soo funny in that the differences between the male sites and the female sites. Despite what some people wanna believe, guys and girls are different. Our physical bodies are different (if you haven't realized this yet, you need help), our emotional lives are different and the list goes on and on.

Sometime ago in one of my classes at school, the teacher, Dr. Peters, put up a slide to summarize the difference between guys and girls. For the guys, it was an on/off switch. for the girls, there were all sorts of dials and buttons and knobs and whatever else. That sums it up. Guys and girls are different. If you want to argue this, i'm all ears.

As i was pondering this today, i was just like "God, why do you have it that two 'species' that at times can't stand one another, fall in love and come together and do all we do?" Still haven't gotten an answer for it. It's just funny.

Apostolic Strategy

Sometime ago, the Lord laid it on my heart to understand what Apostolic Strategy is. So i've been praying and praying and praying for Apostolic Strategy. To give a definition for it, i'd say its an idea or strategy on how to take a territory and claim it for God and pray into it.

I believe i shared this before, but sometime ago, i was helping a friend of mine rebuilding his uncles cabin. The job they gave me was to knock out a portion roughly 4'x5' of a cinder block wall. Now for a guy like me, it sounded great! i get to take a sledge hammer and just go to town on this thing! All the aggression i get to take out on it...

Well, you can imagine that after a very short time, i got very winded. so i just started to chip away little by little. It was during that time that the Lord started to really speak to me about strategy. And lately, he's been bringing it up again and again. Just today, while home during lunch, i quickly jotted down some notes about "how to take a public high school for Jesus." now notice that i said for Jesus. that means non violence.

I can remember a youth pastor once telling me that he always got calls from the nearby high schools because soo many of his kids went to these schools. And whenever God would break out in the high schools, they would call him to come in and minister at the schools. What an open door!

So in light of that, i've also been working on my vision for the future. What i wanna see myself getting involved in in the coming years.

Part of that is is to be involved in working with computers. And with my new job, i'm learning a lot of that stuff. The company that i work for is Logitech. so at work, i'm on the Logitech account. In the coming weeks i'll be working the phones and troubleshooting problems for people over the phone. I'm excited.

I miss the relationships that i have with people from Wal-Mart, but it was time to move on. I'll see them in the days and weeks to follow i'm sure. I still plan on shopping there.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Beginnings... The Connextion

Well, today i started my new job! It was great! It's Mon.-Fri. 9am-6pm. The next two weeks is just basically classroom training. Probably by the end of next week, we'll be taking calls and dealing with customers. But i look forward to being in a different environment and learning a specific trade more. I'm more geared toward the technological field anyways.

But in any case, i'm really excited about it all AND i'm looking towards getting more people involved w/ it. i can think of a lot of people to refer there for jobs.

Also this week is our missions festival here at FIRE. Missionaries from all over the globe are coming in and i get too see tons of old friends and make new ones! Its great to hear all the stories of all the healings and salvations and deliverances and the other assortment of stories you get from these guys. It makes me wanna just go out and get my own stories... anyone for some traveling w/ me? I only have about 50 nations i can think of right now to travel from, so it won't take that long to wittle down the list...

We're taking Jesus to the nations... come on.. lets go!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Prophetic Words

I've grown up in the charismatic church for the most part. I've seen a quite a bit of flakiness and/or weirdness in the church. I've also experienced quite a good bit of fruit and stability in their as well. Some say the gifts have ceased with the last of the original apostles. I would obviously largely disagree w/ that train of thought.

But just recently, i was thinking about prophetic words. To prophesy is to speak the word of the Lord. Some think this means you have to say "Thus saith the Lord.." in a King James kinda way. I would disagree w/ that. It's pretty simply to prophesy actually. I simply seek the heart of the Father and pray and worship and the Holy Ghost moves.

Some are turned off by it because of things in the past and people abusing it and saying things and things not happening. Sometimes thats because it wasn't really the Word of the Lord for you and the person was simply saying something because they wanted to look important. Or other times its simply one of those that will happen in the future.

People make mistakes at times when saying things. They shouldn't've said something perhaps. The Lord will deal with those people. They're not necessarily a false prophet just because 10 years ago they said one wrong things. Unfortunately, we are human and we do make mistakes.

Paul told us all to prophesy. 1 Cor. 14:31. Paul also told us to do things in a fitting and proper manner. So don't despise prophesy and the gifts of the spirit, just use them wisely.

One thing i can't really stand are the weak prophetic words that are floating around in the 'charismatic/non denominational' circles. Sometimes it just gets to be too much. You look at a good measure of the prophetic words in the Bible and mostly all carried a message of repentance.

Nowadays, things just seem weak and superficial. It just seems to me that its all just "Jesus loves you..." type of stuff. Which is very true. Jesus loves you and me and He wants us to be in right relationship with God through the Cross. And when you accept Him, He calls you to lay your life down. You could very well be blessed to live with lots of money and live a very nice life... perhaps you may know it as the American Dream. And that could very well happen. However, if your whole reason for 'getting saved' is so that He will give you a nice life and a pool and a nice car to drive, i'd implore you to get truly saved. Not the American gospel saved, but a Biblical Salvation.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The End of an Era

Well, for everyone, there are times and seasons. One of those seasons for me what working at Wal-Mart. I'm happy to let you all know that that season has come to an end. (Somewhere, on a far away village... there are villagers on a hill... and they're rejoicing right now..) Today, 10/19/07, was my last day there. I'll miss the people, but certainly not the policies.

How did it all happen? Kind of an interesting story really...

Just like the other week, an online article caught my attention. It was talking about The End Of The Wal*Mart Era. So anyways, as you can imagine, i was very interested right away. So i book marked this particular article. It is long so as of right now, i haven't read the whole thing. But i felt almost now like MSN was 'prophesying' over me. interesting huh?

But Thursday i had an interview scheduled for internet sales. I was going to be selling cars on the Internet i guess. That just didn't work out. So i just came home and tried to apply for another job w/ Samaritan's Purse. right during the time i'm on the phone with the people from Samaritan's Purse, another local business called me. a business the i had applied for sometime ago, Connextions. I have a lot of respect for Samaritan's Purse. I read at least one of Franklin Graham's books, "The Name" and it was really good (i highly recommend it).

In any case, i was talking with Connextions and mentioned that i wanted to be able to give Wal-Mart a 2 week notice, as that is the customary thing to do. But then Brian came and gave some of his perspective. He's worked in personell and has experience in these things. He recommended i just go talk to the management at work and see if they can't let me go. So i went and talked with them and they said that would be fine! So i called Connextions back and we worked it all out.

So yesterday, 10/19/07 was the end of the Wal-Mart era. I'll certainly miss the relationships i've had their. I certainly made a number of good quality friends. But its time for me to move on. And i'm sure i'll be back to go shopping. it'll just feel weird to not have a discount anymore. oh well, they were getting stingy with that anyways.

On 10/22 i start at Connextions. From what i gather of this business, it's a 3rd party technical support group. I'll be working with the Logitech Account. I guess all that means i'll be on the phone troubleshooting with customers. But i have a full 2 weeks of training first. So needless to say i'm excited.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wal-Mart Activity

This evening at work was quite interesting. About 7pm we had to evacuate the building. Customers and all. To this moment, I don't know what happened exactly. From the looks of things, I might say it was a bomb threat. That's judging from the looks of it.

"Now why would someone want to bomb a Wal-Mart?" Why do people bomb places period? Perhaps they're mad at the people and/or society. I can imagine we might have a few customers mad at us for various reasons. I've dealt in the past w/ customers who were irrate for whatever reason. We have people come in their and try to take advantage of the system for whatever reason. That reason being that they need Jesus.

What would you do if we didn't have a place like Wal-Mart? I'm amazed at the amount of people who don't know that we close down every Christmas day. Of course, i'm amazed at a lot of things that people do. They are some interesting people out there... and i'm one of them at times.

At this point, there are a lot of questions and i don't have the answers. I don't know why someone would bomb the place or make threats or act weirdly or walk right through a water puddle when i'm clearly trying to clean it up.... people do weird things when they think the world revolves around them.

Some of these people need to go visit a third world country and see how good they've got it. Friend, at times, life isn't going to make sense to you. Doesn't mean you have to come up w/ some stupid remark about it. yes, i know that rule is stupid. thanks for pointing out the obvious to me. yes, i know you don't like that policy... what would you like me to do about it (b/c i know you aren't going to do anything about it except for go home and talk about how much you don't like it). i just know things about people and their behavior....

kinda like mob mentality... i dont know if you've ever experienced a mob mentality situation before, but this is when the "never-underestimate-the-power-of-stupid-people-in-large-groups" saying comes into place. like 5 people out of like 2,000 actually know whats going on. the rest of them are just getting onto the wagon b/c it seems like the fun thing to do.

so, thus ends my discourse on the events of this evening. I just thought i would fill you in on some various aspects of my life.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Arm chair critics

Today while at work, i began to meditate some on 1 Cor 2:1-5. To summarize, the Apostle Paul is talking to the church of Corinth and he tells them that when He came there, he didn't want to come with wise and persuasive words. But with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power!

to give a little cultural background... the people of Corinth in that time were a very intellectual people. They would pay famous speakers to come in and just teach/talk to them about whatever various topics. Now, i'm not saying that its not a God thing to be wise and intellectual. I know many awesome powerful men and women of God who are brilliant and are using that effectively to the glory of God.

But what i am saying is is that i know of countless people who go to church week after week and probably have never had an encounter with the manifest presence of God! They go to church, thinking they're doing God a favor and doing the right thing by doing the church thing, but its really nothing. It's just ritual. Put their two hours in sunday morning to do the nice song and dance routine and walk out. I personally am annoyed at that. I can remember growing up that we would have family get togethers sunday afternoon. and in order to provide lunch for people at their homes, my relatives would just go to early service at church so as to get home and have the food ready by lunch time.

Isn't that cute... they think they're doing God a favor and doing the nice little church thing.... exscuse me while i run to the bathroom and puke....

Ok, i feel better now.... somewhat. honestly, if thats your idea, just stay home and forget about it. your not doing anyone a favor, least of all God. He doesn't want your lips, He wants your heart.

what would happen today if God were to come down in your church? i mean, how prepared would our hearts be for him? how many lies do we sing in church on sunday morning... "oh, i surrender all..." whatever...

You don't have to tell someone who's had an encounter with the Living God to go out and evangelize. through their lives it happens for the most part. i mean, just their stories get people doing. Take someone who's never had an encounter with Jesus and they might know good theology. And they might be able to take someone through the 4 Spiritual Laws or something. And thats fine. But take someone who's been a witness of God's love, and their witnessing takes on a whole new dimension. People they're talking with can feel a difference. It's not just a nice discussion, but the people they're talking with can probably tell they're doing it out of more love and a heart that says "I want you to experience what i've experienced."

When you've experienced God's love and in a certain manner, your life will change. I'm living proof of it. yeah, people can challenge things about your past, but give them your testimony. Watch them challenge that. God doesn't really need defended. I don't really do a whole lot of debating with people b/c i'm not a good debater. I'll share my point and they can share their's. But God can't really be defined to a point. He's not in our little box.

whats my point here? my point is is that we need the manifest presence of God again! i'm soo tired of boring services where we lack healings and salvations... give someone the presence and they're changed forever more. I was sitting talking w/ a group of people once and they were basically slamming a move of God on a few small points. Some of the points may have been a bit legit. But overall, they were talking out of ignorance. I sat and listened for a while. It was just funny to me to see how we think we know everything about everything.

Lately, God's been dealing with me about stewarding His presence. People were killed in the Old Testament for not stewarding God's Presense (The Ark of the Covenant) properly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where's the Depth?

Jesus, teach me how to be a person of depth.

Isolation is a tool that is used a lot by satan. Looking past all the fake smiles and the superficiality of life, you realize a lot of things. This world is full of hurting people. People who lack vision and direction. People who are just living from one day to the next. They've been hurt by someone and therefore have a wall built up. I know from personal experience that when you've been hurt, your immediate response is to put a wall up. That way, you won't be hurt again. You won't be vulnerable again so as to not get injured again. The hardest thing to do is to say "Jesus, I love this person as You and I know that they're heart was not to harm me. I forgive them for the wrong thats been done and I give that hurt to you. Bless them beyond all measure."

Because our immediate thing is is to maybe start rumors and gossip about it. Start to drag that person down. We've been hurt, and we wanna see others hurt. (Misery loves company.) All the while, those demons are egging you on.

I was just recently talking w/ a friend and we were both like "yeah, i feel really isolated..." So how do you go about and fix that? Well, i don't know. It sounds mean, but when someone asks me how i'm doing, i'm honest w/ them. I get asked constantly "you doing alright today?" and sometimes i say no. if i'm not doing ok, i tell them. hey, they asked. if the situation merits it and if i'm not betraying someone, i'll be like "nope, today really stinks." if you don't wanna know... don't ask.

I'm trying to think of the right words to say here. I've just taken notice the superficiality runs rampant nowadays alot. And i thought i'd blog about it. Maybe get discussion going or at least expose it. We all seem very busy. I know a lot of times i'm busy w/ nothingness. which is really annoying. i'm like "come on over, we'll eat something and fellowship... grab a guitar and love on Jesus and each other.."

so anyways...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Saving the World...

One fake travelers check at a time. Today i had a bit of an experience at work. Near the end of the day, a lady came through my line with a fake travelers check. How do i know it was a fake check? Well, it was a $500 traveler check and they don't make them.

So anyways, this lady was trying to make small talk and told me she was a district supervisor or something and that she was a secret shopper. Too bad Wal-Mart doesn't actually do that... but i rang her through and she spent about $100.85. Then she gave me the travelers check. But remembering that they don't make them, i tried to stall and call the proper people (who by the way, never came). But she eventually walked out and nothing really happened. My managers were really grateful.

As i was driving home, i was like should i be mad or what? I mean, i feel bad for these people who wanna steal from the store. I mean, they must be really struggling to make ends meet and/or just need a touch of God that their hearts would want to do this. I wish i could help people like this. they need Jesus just like anyone else.

so i'm not angry, but i wanna pray for these people that Jesus would meet their needs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Love of God

I realized and i keep realizing how much people need to simply know they're loved. When it comes to my preaching style, i like it best when the preacher is direct, presents the true gospel and gets to the point. Thats MY preferred method. I don't like it when speakers take 30 minutes to say something i can say in 2 minutes. I know i'm loved by God and i'm His son and so i don't need to hear that. Well, that's great... for me.

But there are a lot of hurting people out there. Many who have been hurt by neglect and/or careless words said to them. And while sometimes a simple direct word is needed (which is where i come in to play at), sometimes an arm around a shoulder does the trick as well. Sometimes, someone just needs you to listen to them and actually give them the time of day.

I also want to bring up another case in point: the idea of what's known as 'greasy grace'. Where you can basically do whatever your little heart desires and still be a Christian. I don't like the idea of people in general getting tattooes, or excessive piercings. I think it makes you look hideous. Can you get in to heaven w/ a tattoo and piercings... sure. Salvation is a free gift of grace by faith. It's not done by works. But soo many people have the idea of that you can go get hammered in a bar and still get into heaven.

Ultimately, God is our judge. And soo often people wanna say "well, you can't judge them.." oh yeah? Then why did the Apostle Paul tell us to expel the immoral brother? And why do we have people called 'judges' in the land? I can remember one time doing an outreach at a Charlotte Pride (a homosexual gathering) and these ladies came up to our group, handed us a pamphlet of some kind and point at our group leader and point their finger at him and yell "Don't judge me!" i found it highly ironic b/c she was judging us in the process of telling us not to judge... anywho...

We are to judge. We all do it anyways. We are to make wise decisions as far as whats going on and how we are to handle it. I can't think of how to explain it at the minute.

One instance where i can think of in the Bible where we can't judge is with the lady caught in adultery and Jesus said "let him who has never sinned throw the first stone... everyone eventually left without stoning here... and Jesus eventually told the lady to go and SIN NO MORE."

Perhaps your wondering how i went from the love of God to judging. Well, perhaps its because people have this distorted view of the love of God. Some think that how could an all loving God send someone to Hell? Perhaps its because He loves you enough to maintain a standard. Hell wasn't created for you. It was created for satan and his minions (demons... fallen angels). But you ever hear the phrase "misery loves company"? Well, satan basically wants company there. Too bad there won't be any partying going on in hell. Just a whole lot of weaping and torture. How many times do you hear THAT from the pulpit? (I'm not going there right now... although i'm really tempted to). But God loves you enough as a Father to maintain discipline. He wants you to want Him. He wants you to choose Him. Which is one reason why we are all not just saved right now. He's not going to force you to choose Him. He wants you to want to choose Him. He's a relational God.

I've found that one of my favorite ways to evangelize people is to simply spend time with them. Go out to eat or go and do something with the person. Perhaps thats because i'm one of those people who can't sit still in church. And people would most likely get bored there or it just feels very nonrelational. (I'm not AGAINST taking an unsaved person to church, i'm just saying its not one of my favorite ways of going about the process) Sometimes, i'm running around doing stuff behind the scenes. Or at times i just find church extremely boring.

The other day i was working here on my computer, and my little 'sister' Alyssa comes and sits down next to me. She goes "can i type something on this really quickly?" i said sure and gave her the computer for a minute. she does "don't look!" so i looked away and she types "can you play with me tomorrow after school?" My heart broke. i was like here i am w/ a chance to invest in someones life and i'm too busy. i hate that. i love to get chances to play here w/ the girls. they teach me soo much about the Father's heart. It's soo precious.

Anyways, that's it for now. I'm sure i'll think of stuff later on. g'nite.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Three R's

At FIRE Church, a large percentage of our body is out 'on the field' expanding the Kingdom of God to the farthest points of the world. It's always a joy whenever these folks come to the area b/c i get to hear all sorts of awesome stories of what God is doing.

About 2 years or so ago, one of the missionaries, Clint Garsee, who is currently serving in Thailand, spoke at our schools chapel service. Much of what he spoke about was what He sees as far as FIRE's future and their goal. He said he felt the Holy Spirit spoke '3 R's' as far as FIRE goes. He said "FIRE was birthed out of a REVIVAL, our job is RESTORATION and our destiny is REVOLUTION." I know for myself as a minister, you just sometimes never know how your effecting someone's life. You sometimes never know how your speaking things and/or doing things to influence someone.

FIRE was in fact birthed out of a revival. This revival took place in Pensacola, Florida from 1995 until about 2000. Some may dispute the actual ending date, and my goal in this is not to stir up controversy, it's simply to put this out there. But on Father's Day of 1995, Evangelist Steve Hill was invited to preach at Brownsville Assembly of God. In short, the presence of God came down upon that church in such a way that millions were touched and changed.

In any case, in January of 2000, the Lord birthed FIRE out of an existing school there. They stayed in Pensacola for a few more years until they felt led of God to move to Charlotte, NC. FIRE truly was birthed out of a FIRE for God and to see His Holy Kingdom be expanded to every corner of the Earth.

Our goal most certainly is for restoration. We, as an extension of the Body of Christ, have a desire to see peoples relationship with the Lord restored. There are countless lives out there that have been hurt from life. I know its my goal to see people come into right relationship with Jesus and be released into their destiny that the Lord has purposed for them. As a minister of the gospel, i love to pray with people for the things that are on their heart and see them step out and take initiative and set forth to bring the kingdom of God to where they are. i love to minister to people and later on down the road hear that they're serving the Lord to date and loving Jesus and people.

But perhaps you've come from a rough situation. Perhaps abuse of some kind... I want to encourage you to give your heart to Jesus and allow Him to love on you and see you set free from the bondage that satan may have you in. You may say "Well Shawn, i just don't think I can forgive them for what they did to me. You don't know what they did to me!" Your right, i don't know. I don't know the pain that you may have been caused. But God does! Let Him deal with it. Give it up to Him. He already knows it. let Him heal you.

FIRE School has a very specific purpose. It says its a "training center for the Jesus Revolution." Mind informing me what the Jesus Revolution is exactly? A definition I personally use is is we as the Body of Christ coming into maturity in the Spirit and living as we should. I believe healings, salvations and the like be common place in society. Not to belittle them in any way! But one of my favorite quick references for scripture is where the shadows of the disciples were healing people! I mean, come on! We won't even have to lay our hands on them. But just the life of Christ will be coming off of us. Demons will flee just because we walk into a room! The atheist will get on their knees acknowledging the presence of God! I can remember looking as a picture of one of the fathers of the faith, and just his eyes were piercing! I was like "ok, thats kinda creepy.."

I keep telling people that one of the things i love about where i live, a number of the churches here in the community always get together to do things together! I love it! I'll hear of a big event happening at a particular church, i'll go to it and see people from all sorts of different churchs. In the book of Acts, the church was called 'The Way'. (Side note: the first time the term 'Christians' was used was in a derogatory fashion. It wasn't a good thing.) I don't mind new churches springing up. Sometimes i wonder how necessary it is... (i intend on planting a church in the future. Don't know what it will look like, but oh well.) but is the church started out of some stupid split that was caused by pride or some stupid doctrinal difference. I don't agree necessarily w/ every little doctrinal issue of my church. but who cares. no reason to cause all sorts of division over something.

In any case, i really appreciate FIRE for the mandate it carries. I appreciate the fact that they tackle the tough issues and aren't afraid to reprimand you if need be. I appreciate the fact that they're not preaching some seeker sensitive stuff that just ends up hurting instead of helping. But we get into the presence of God and dig deep.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oasis Youth Retreat

This past weekend, 9/21/07, I was priviledged to be able to head up to Pennsylvania to minister at a youth retreat w/ my home church, Oasis Fellowship. I had been asked sometime ago if i'd be able to, and after working my schedule around and getting a few guys to go w/, we headed North.

Now, this whole time i was praying and asking God and putting things down on paper of things that i would like to think about. And going up, i did have something, and i used some of it. But for anyone who's ever done any preaching, can anyone tell me how many times they actually use 100% of their notes? I mean, for me, it was 8:30 am on the morning i'm to minister, and the Lord puts something somewhat different together for me. I'm wanting to preach a good strong message about the Jesus Revolution. A good "come on, lets jump on the wagon here and really go for it.." type of message. Well, that morning, after talking w/ a few people, the Lord puts John 15 on my heart. So i did a quick reading of the chapter. I majored on sonship, having your identity in God and intimacy. Which its in the intimacy w/ the Lord that you realize who you are as a son of His. So i preached on John 15 for the most part. And i think it went decent. We prayed for people that morning. And then we also prayed for people that evening as well. That night we baptized a number of youth in the Holy Spirit and they were starting to pray in tongues! I mean, come on! Praise God. I encouraged them to keep praying and building themselves up in their faith and relationship w/ Jesus. I'm anxious to see the fruit of it now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Christianity and Homosexuality

This evening at church was interesting. Dr. Brown had an open forum to discuss "Can You Be Gay and Be a Christian?" they invited pro-gay ministers in the area to come and be apart of it, of which none came. They also had Stephen Bennett, who was a former practicing homosexual, and Frank Turek, who is a gifted apologetist. Dr. Brown and Mr. Bennett and Mr. Turek did a fine job i thought.

They gave a time for questions and answers and one young gentleman stood up and gave his brief testimony. He is a currently practicing homosexual. he came out of a certain mainline denomination and, in short, has been hurt a lot by the church.

Let me say this: I do not approve of homosexuality or any sin for that matter. Jesus died on the cross for everything! he bore our sins. I consider homosexuality to be a sin. Right there with lying and stealing and getting drunk... there is no lesser or greater sin to God. Sin is sin. When you are truly converted, meaning when you truly turn your life over to Jesus, your a new person. Your old self is done for. Because when you truly give your heart to Jesus, He bears the sin for you. He gave you a way out.

So when you truly get converted, your past life is just that, the past. yes, you'll face temptations, but God provides a way out. So if your wanting to continue to live in that sin but profess to be a Christian, i'd have to say that you really need to get saved. A Christian (devoted follower of Jesus) bears fruit. But you can't go walking into a church and say i'm going to be a gay Christian. isn't possible.

Other than all of this, its an interesting topic. Some would say that you should gather all the fags and queers into the same area and starve them out. I say you show them the love of Jesus and love them out of it. I want to give these sinners a way out like Jesus gave me a way out. All the church is is forgiven sinners who are now sons and daughters of God. God hates the sin of a person, but He loves the person enough to give Jesus as the ransom for many. Thats where you have to be careful. So often we combine those two. he loves you, just hates your sin... your wicked lifestyle.

Well, this has been fun. I'll talk to you all later.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Our country tis of thee...

I just received this in an email, and coming from the source it came from... i'm honestly surprised and grateful. It's amazing that someone can mention the name of God or Jesus in the public square, and all sorts of people bash them using the false pretense of 'separation of church and state'. But someone sits there and bashes the name of Jesus and everyone laughs and says "hey, we have freedom of speech here.." I say its time to quit listening to those who hate the country and start praying for our leaders. I've heard enough presidential bashing from people, i'm frankly tired of it. Everyone wants to arm chair criticize, but no one wants to pray for our leaders. Well grow up! If you don't like this nation, then get out. If we could put Bush in for another term, i'd vote for him again if God told me to. I don't agree w/ him 100%, but oh well. The world doesn't revolve around me.. or you. This is one great nation Under God. I listen to differing view points and welcome a healthy discussion. But to those who sit there and criticize everything our leaders do, let me ask you this: Do you pray for them or do you just verbally trash them? Especially if your Christian... also, could you do a better job given the circumstances? hmm...? but who knows, maybe i'm just young and naiive. I've only been out of the country 5 or 6 times in my life, on short term trips. What do i know?

I really enjoyed the following email about Jay Leno.

If you're not a Jay Leno fan read what he wrote anyway. My respect and esteem for him has really increased.

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have , and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

We are among the most blessed peoples on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative."

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno

Lord Jesus, right now, i invoke Your presence Holy Spirit upon our nation and our leaders. I may not like everything they do 100%, but Jesus, you died for our leaders. Jesus, i plead your blood over my sins and the sins of our nation. God, end abortion and send revival. Jesus, may your name be proclaimed from every roof top and in every hall in Congress and every governmental office in our nation. As our forefathers cut covenant w/ you in the past, may be not renig on that, but may what they payed such a great price for, may we honor that and honor you in the process. As new people come to this great nation every day, may they be given the chance to choose you and choose life. In Your precious name, AMEN!