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The gift that will not fade …

10665930_10152750701973749_4060286779736131217_nGuest Post by Joe Duenich

What is the gift that will not fade?

My two daughters are grown and experiencing their very own adventure of life. While my wife and I are excited about being empty nesters and watching them blossom, it is kind of sad. We miss taking care of them and seeing them each and every day. But in the eternal scheme of things, not seeing them for days, weeks, or even months apart is really nothing. The day is coming when I who entered this world at one point will face eternity. That day is also coming for my kids…yours too. Our sons and daughters will hear from a just and holy, loving God about an eternal destiny. The thought of missing one of my kids in eternity is just unbearable for me.

So, if you’re a parent, I’m telling you, do whatever you need to do. Talk to your kids about their faith and about their futures and about God. And if it’s awkward or hard or embarrassing or you feel like you don’t have all the answers, talk to them anyway! You’re the parent. In addition to talking to them, allow them to see into your heart and your own walk with God. Teach them through your example. Be a great role model.

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It took a lot for this UW husky fan had within her to post this photo of WSU fans on her page.

Role modeling is one of the best ways to reach our kids. What is the example that we are to use to have our kids model after? Here’s an idea from Ephesians 5:1-4. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.”

This is not an exhaustive list but what a powerful place to start. Paul is encouraging us to imitate God…in other words, let your kids see you acting like Jesus by walking in love! Model purity…they need to see this from us as parents because they are hard pressed to see it from anyone else. And our mouths…the words that come out of our mouth have immense power to give life or death. We should choose words wisely around our children.

Lastly, make the commitment to pray for your kids every day. We live in a world where parents think so much about parenting and work hard to give so many gifts to their kids that are going to fade. There’s only one gift we can give to our kids that will never fade, and that will last for all eternity, so give it. Give it the best you can!

For more posts by men you can go to Dirt, Trucks, and Faith

Looking for a speaker?  view my profile at Christian Women Speakers or go to Christian Women in Media Speakers Bureau

 

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Christ-Our Life!

10514645_10153047532657119_6672864205718947858_nBy Ken McNaughton, Fire Chaplain

Colossians 3:3-4 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

These two scriptures are crucial to understanding the state of the Church today.  The gospel being widely preached today proclaims, ‘Come to Jesus and He will give you a better, more abundant life’.  Many of you right now are agreeing with that statement seeing nothing wrong in its content.  Jesus did NOT come to give us a better life!  Jesus came to BE OUR LIFE!  This may seem like semantics to some of you, but it is in fact a deadly shift that has taken place in the Church.

Being a Christian today is more about embracing a certain kind of lifestyle rather than Christ being our LIFE.  Consider a newborn baby.  It is full of life, hungry, needy and ready to start learning and growing.  However, it has no thoughts of lifestyle patterns to ‘live’ by and keep up appearances.  All it is concerned with is crying out for the nurturing that only the One Who gave it LIFE can offer.  Its dependency upon the parent is ALL it knows and understands.  Listen carefully to these plain and direct words spoken by Jesus:

Matthew 18:2-4  “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Do you see and hear what He is really saying?  He says we have to be just like that little child, completely dependent upon Him for everything!  Today people have made Jesus part of their lifestyles fitting Him in where they have time for Him.  As long as they give Him a portion of their time, talents and treasure they are perceived as godly.  Jesus didn’t die so that we might ‘fit Him into our schedule’ for one or two days a week.  He didn’t shed His precious blood for a few of our dollars to help the Church make it through this difficult time!  He didn’t endure the ridicule of becoming flesh and blood so that we might one day make Him part of our weekly routine and lifestyles!  He came to be our LIFE!  The real gospel calls every man and woman to lay down their lives, crucify their fleshly desires and lifestyles, die to self and through the power of the Holy Spirit be raised to newness of LIFE IN CHRIST!  Anything less than this kind of commitment will fall short of the glory of God.

Are you committed to seeing our nation return to the proclamation of the real gospel one heart at a time, one church at a time, one home at a time, one preacher at a time?  This is not supposed to be a lifestyle change for us, but rather a commitment for LIFE.  Lifestyle changes can change as easily as one changes their diet year after year.  We are called and created to be different!  When a baby is born it is given a name that stays with it their entire life.  We, too, are given a NAME that is written in the Lamb’s book of LIFE when we choose to receive Christ as our LIFE.  As Christians, Christ is not part of our lives, He IS OUR LIFE!

If you find that you have somehow walked away from Christ being your LIFE and have made Him just part of your lifestyle, then call out to Him right now asking Him for mercy and forgiveness.  He is ever ready to live and move and have His being in you, but you must completely surrender ALL, not AL – most.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Remember, God never intended for us to make Christ “part” of our life. He wants us to surrender our life – to Him.

Serving the REAL Chief,

Ken McNaughton, Fire Chaplain, Spokane County Chaplaincy

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I Can Do Nothing…

Welcome back to Dirt, Trucks and Faith.

By Erick Cleveland

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.17.50 AMI have always had a plan. You know, where I am going in life and how I am going to get there. I look back from where I am now and I can see the subtle and not-so-subtle signs God sent.

Let me take you back to show you what I mean. When I was in middle school I decided I was going to be a math teacher and from that day forward I had a plan to graduate high school, get my AA through running start and complete my math degree, all before turning 20. I also was very passionate about Christ and wanted to share the Gospel as often as I could. I had slipped up in my faith enough and I had made a new plan and promise that I would always walk with Him. But like I said I had a plan.

John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As we look back at that time in my life I hope you notice the common theme that I do now, “the word”. I had so many plans and was so focused on them I forgot that I can do nothing without He who gives me strength and I was about to get several reminders of this.

The week I proclaimed a promise that I would be keeping my faith in God from this moment forward, a series of events struck. The first was an uncle who had been paramount in the development of my faith was diagnosed with Leukemia. But I assured everyone my faith was not shaken. The second was a friend was run over by a garbage truck and killed and at his funeral the congregation assured those of us who were not members there that we were not saved by the grace of God. But I assured everyone my faith was not shaken. The third happened on the way home from seeing my uncle in the hospital while sitting at a traffic light. In a moment there was a pile of cars in front of me and because I have been trained in the Boy Scouts, I responded. I can tell you that no training in the world would have changed the outcome that day. I went from sitting in my car holding a large pizza in my lap to breaking a car window in order to pull out a beautiful 2-year-old girl who was already with the Lord. In that moment I could only mutter the Lords prayer. I managed to repeat it over every victim, every responder, and even the man at fault. But when I stood over the mother and asked if I could pray for her, she said she did not believe in God. I assured everyone my faith was not shaken, but it was.

I spent nearly a year telling my friends and my family I was fine and that I had faith so nothing could affect me. Over that time there were plenty of signs, both big and small, of God whispering and screaming, “You can do nothing without Me”. The sign that finally made me to look up and stop looking at ‘I’ was when I was driving and saw the lights of an ambulance in front of me and my body froze. Frozen to the point I did not know we ran a red light through one of the busiest intersections in the city, only to be miraculously untouched. In that moment where my life and my friends were almost lost did I finally reach out for help.

I spent so much time making plans and talking about my faith, I forgot to live it. I forgot that my faith is not based on walking along side Jesus or even following Him, but instead letting him carry me. My plans take a lot less time these days, as they are more of a simple prayer:

Your will done in my life so that I may glorify you.

Since my new prayer and truly God centered life, God has not stoppedScreen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.10.26 AM bringing trials and asking me to do things outside my own plans. I was called to move away from my hometown with my wife and raise my children as a stay at home dad. God has given me the opportunity to raise two young boys to glorify him and made me a more understanding husband and father.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.13.52 AMGod’s lesson in my life has always been that I can do nothing, but in Philippians 4:13 we are reminded that “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

 

To see more of the posts in “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith” go to the menu bar at the top of the page.  Blessings.

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The Importance Of Being Vertically Centered

10954215_553447656161_602363106_nGuest Post By Josh Wallace

I grew up in a strict Christian family when I was a kid, my parents were (and still are) very spiritual and strong Christians, for better or for worse it was a sheltered life. I’m not saying being sheltered was a bad thing, just giving you a little insight on how I was raised. From the eyes of a little kid being a Christian was going to church, praying before you ate your food, before your went to bed, following the rules and getting baptized.

I was baptized at a young age; I didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t want to be baptized. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to be doing like any good young Christian, I wish I had waited. A little while later I got caught up in the middle of some church politics and experienced my first buffeting in my faith. I couldn’t understand why anyone who professed to follow Christ would act so un-Christ like.

For many years I allowed this to affect me, I floundered along spiritually through high school and college. I would have spiritual highs during week of prayers and times spent with my high school Chaplin Fred Riffel, but they wouldn’t last long. I would refer to my Christianity during those years as lukewarm. I still went to church, I still prayed, but the zeal for Jesus wasn’t there.

After college I wasn’t able to find a job. I applied, interviewed but never got a job, it was a hard time for me. The positive of the situation was that it gave me time to spend with my grandparents. During morning worships I saw just how close to God they were, I knew of the struggles they had earlier in their life and how they overcame them with God’s help and it pointed to their being hope for me. I talked at length to my grandpa (Poppie) one day10965167_553447651171_1704685783_n while golfing about my past; he asked me why I would let anyone affect a relationship that they weren’t involved in? “What does anyone in the church have to do with your relationship with Jesus Christ?” he asked.

It started to hit me that I was allowing outside forces that were not directly involved mold my relationship with God.

It’s been over six years since that talk, but I won’t forget it. It was a turning point for me in my relationship with God. Luckily I didn’t have to travel it alone, I was blessed to spend a lot of time with my grandparents between 2009 and 2012. Having worship every morning with them was a big help for me. I started having my own worships when I wasn’t with them, whether it was reading a chapter of Proverbs or reading devotionals.

The time with my grandparents taught me a lot of what being a Christian really was, it wasn’t just following rules and going to church. It’s about building a relationship with God and then doing what Jesus did when he was here, he went about doing good. Following Jesus and focusing on a relationship produces the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Would I go back and change my past? Absolutely not, all the up and downs led me to where I am now in my spiritual walk with God. I would advise others though to take your decisions about God seriously, don’t let others come between you and him. Make those decisions for yourself, don’t feel rushed, God will meet you where you are at, focus on building a relationship with him and everything else will fall into place.

As I have grown older my idea of what being a Christian has changed from what it was when I was little. I now see that Christianity is more than just praying before my meals, my bedtime and going to church. It is about having an undisturbed vertical relationship with God, and allowing him to use me to do good to others.

10962023_553447646181_327057833_nMy grandparents have taught me so much in my walk with Christ and I want to share the wisdom he has shared with me. Below I’ve added a list my grandpa gave me that has helped over the years; it is what my grandpa has attributed his relationship with God to. I hope they help you too!

The Gospel of Joy and Happiness according to Poppie

  • Have a thankful heart
  • Have a forgiving spirit
  • Have a child like trust in God
  • Have an optimistic attitude
  • Give more-expect less
  • Live simply
  • Love generously
  • Care deeply
  • Speak kindly
  • Free your heart from hatred and your mind from worries. Worry is pain suffered for something that hasn’t happened and most likely won’t
  • Get in the word-Bible- morning worship
  • 12 Leave the rest to God

I hope you have enjoyed this awesome post from Josh.  I love what he said about being in a vertical relationship with God. Take a moment to really think about your relationship with God.  Are you vertically lined up with God? This is the second post in this series that gives the awesome wisdom of “Poppie” and I hope to meet him some day. 

If you have not caught the other posts in the “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith series” you can read the other posts by going to the tab in the menu bar and clicking on the series name.  Blessings from the Midlife Domestic Goddess 

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Stop Trying To Prove It

5By Travis Niles

I have been asked to share with my fellow Christian men something that God has taught me. As a man speaking to other men, the most important thing I can offer is this:

God made you a man. Accept it and get over yourself.

That is, don’t spend time trying to prove it to yourself or to others. “Trying to prove it” means that you haven’t yet figured out a good enough answer to the question, “How do I know that I’m (really) a man?”

You’ve probably never confronted the question head-on, but much of what you say and do might be (subconsciously) directed at answering it. At some point, someone gave you the idea that “real men do X” or “real men have/own Y,” and it can’t be otherwise. And that has real consequences. In order to prove that he belongs to the club, a guy becomes obsessed with doing X, and he just needs to have Y, even if he’s not interested in those things.

But what if he didn’t need to prove it? What if the question of his manhood had already been settled? Could that bring more freedom into his life?

What I want to tell you, is this: Nothing other than the simple fact of your creation as a man will give you assurance that you are, indeed, a man.

Looking to the triune God who made us is the only appropriate starting point to form a Christian viewpoint of what it means to be a man. A creature can’t be known apart from its Creator, so we can’t start by looking at ourselves, our inclinations, and our desires. Whatever a culture defines as truly masculine (whether that culture is reactionary, conservative, progressive, or liberal) cannot be a sure foundation for knowing oneself to be a man. A social scientist might tell us that each culture has generally accepted standards of male/female activity and behavior, but for our purposes here, those judgments are irrelevant.

God created you as a man, so you’re a man. Period. The only thing that has the right to decide your manhood is something your Creator has already done. “Proving it” is not a right that you’ve been granted. God’s sovereign choice nixed that from the get-go.

This means that being a man is something categorical, not a matter of degrees. You are either a man, or you’re not. There is no “more” or “less.”

Let’s take a look at this from the first angle: Being a man is not decided by your “extracurricular activities.” As I mentioned earlier, some men think that in order to be a man, one must do X, or must have Y. But is that true?

On our culture’s terms, I’ve done enough to “earn my man card.” For a long time, I had a nice 2beard. I had a big truck. I have multiple tattoos. I played football in high school and college. In both settings, I was voted in as co-captain, voted as Most Inspirational, and also earned All-Academic Team honors. I was a valedictorian at my high school and a top student at my university. During the summers of my college years, I ran a stump and tree removal company and also worked as a strength coach for a local high school football team. After college, I moved overseas, alone, to a place where I didn’t know the language, fought to learn it, and then had a great year and a half of preaching and teaching in multiple congregations in the region. Then I came home to spend a summer working on a commercial fishing boat in1 Alaska, which I’ll do again this year. (And yes, commercial fishing is America’s deadliest occupation, second only to the logging industry!) Now, I’m in graduate school, back in the academic game.

Does all of that truly prove that I belong in the club?

Is there something else I ought to do to convince someone of my manliness? Should I grow my beard back? Should I go get another big truck and give up the tiny ’89 Cadillac that I inherited from my grandma? (Really, my current car is an old-lady car!) Should I only wear Wrangler jeans and dink around on cars in my free time? Start building up my gun collection? Build my own house? Go hunting and fishing?

I could definitely do all those things, if I wanted. But the truth is that those things don’t excite me. I enjoy good literature, German poetry, artistic films, and going to art museums. Sure, I enjoyed my time living in a little village in the German countryside, but I also enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city and the cultural opportunities it has to offer. I’d much rather watch a good political satire than watch Bear Grylls. And I love hearing my friends play concerts with their indie-rock bands or read slam poetry. I feel comfortable doing those things because none of them change the fact that I’m a man. In the same way, none of the things I mentioned three paragraphs ago made me more of a man at the end than I was at the start. They have no meaning when it comes to answering the question, “How do I know that I’m a man?”

Let’s see it from a second angle: What you have and your proficiency at what you do (e.g., how legit your beard is, or how athletic you are) doesn’t decide whether you are more or less of a man. Let’s be honest, guys. If someone gives us activities that “define us” as men, it doesn’t take long for us to start sizing each other up. Whoever is better at an activity, or whoever possesses a “manly trait” in stronger fashion becomes “more” of a man, and the others become “less” than truly masculine. What you end up with is a never-ending competition and men who constantly despair of their manhood if they’re not “winning.” This mentality is a house of cards.

What’s ironic is that the thing which unsettles men in their masculinity and seems to “rob them” of it is not something like the radical feminist movement (as some might suppose), but the very mindset I’ve described. It’s when men try to establish themselves as men in the sight of other men that things go south. Those who lose at this game either get depressed and give up or they become neurotic in their drive to win. And those who win enjoy their success and devote their passions and energies to staying on top. Or, some men just change the terms of the argument. Perhaps a man doesn’t have an athletic bone in his body, so he takes refuge in the fact that he’s a “Field & Stream” kind of guy, and “everyone knows” that those guys are the “real men.” So, instead of death by outside forces, this system eats itself alive, from the inside.

Here’s a concrete example: I knew some football players in college who had been studs in high school. At the college level, though, they were second and third-stringers. Somehow, some of them began to doubt their manhood. I watched confident men deteriorate as their self-image crumbled. To these few players, only the first-stringers were real men. The reason why this way of thinking is neither realistic nor practical is that your vantage point continually changes your conclusion as to who the “real men” are. Among the first-stringers, the “true studs” were the all-conference players. We were a D-3 school, by the way. How would D-1 players look at our “studs”? They would probably dismiss them, and in this way of thinking, rightfully so. But now tell me, how many D-1 players make it into the NFL? Who are the “true men” at the end of the day? This whole way of analyzing manhood is simply nonsense. It broke my heart to see these otherwise fine gentlemen subject themselves to low self-esteem and to be denigrated by the higher-ups on our squad.

To take it a step further: A significant number of the best men I knew in college were not athletes, yet were looked down upon by some of the athletes as being something other than “real men.” It didn’t take me long to figure out that something didn’t add up.

Manhood can’t be defined by our activities, hobbies, and material traits or possessions.

How many grown men worry incessantly and waste their time in their pursuit to prove that they are truly manly men? Pursuing the purchase of a bigger truck? A faster motorcycle? Showing off your beer, wine, and cocktail acumen at parties? Chasing better proficiency in hunting or gaining more athletic prowess? Bagging a trophy wife? Getting a bigger house?

When does it stop?

My hope for Christian men is that they set aside their silly games which reveal them to be boys rather than sensible adults. What if you could just accept the fact that you’re a man and stop trying to prove it to yourself and others?

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Building site in Romania. Travis is in the blue shirt

The more time you invest in your personal advancement, the less time you have for what’s truly important. My hope is that Christian men set their sights on their task as Christians to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and to do what they can to bring the Gospel to a world who is desperately in need of it, instead of focusing on themselves. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Don’t be a Martha!

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Romania…Be the kind of man who is more concerned with serving God than what the world thinks of you.

The practical payoff is that this truth sets you free. Because you know God created you as a man, you can freely, confidently, and joyfully pursue the things you want to pursue without having to worry about what other men might think. Perhaps it’s just that kind of free, joyous person that God can use for his purposes.

Come on, man. Accept the fact that you were created as a man, and be yourself

 

I hope you liked the latest post in my “Dirt, Trucks and Faith” series.  I am looking forward to more posts from some awesome men of God. If you missed the first two posts, here are the links. Issac and Steve

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We Are Made For More

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.01.52 PMWelcome back to Dirt, Trucks and Faith…Seeing Jesus through the eyes of young men.

My next guest writer is Steve Wallace.

Sometimes I think about how it’s hard for us to let God have control.  We fail to see that when he’s in control all things work together for our good.  We seem to always get stuck on the little details that discourage us from what’s really important. Doubt is created and when we question ourselves on things that are so small, they pull us away from the center of Gods influence.  I put off getting baptized until this year. All together it was a series of events that led to my hold out. Josh my brother was baptized at a young age and I was ready to follow in his foot steps but the pastor that I wanted to baptize me fell ill with cancer and didn’t make it.  More opportunities came. My younger brother Noah was baptized and I would see my friends in school getting baptized. I saw that some, not all, were only doing so merely to please their parents. So time went on…1002450_10151456945756567_1684370869_n

Many things in life can lead you different ways. I wanted to have an “ah ha” moment. I wanted God to show me the way through a miraculous adventure where my faith would be solidified and I would come to my wit’s end so that the truth would be made crystal clear.

This is my story…..

Not all stories are the same. I have had some crazy adventures, near death experiences, I partied with rock stars, journeyed far and wide but the moment that I was chasing never came.

My faith would go in and out, I fell back and forth between chasing the life of pleasure and avoidance of all the pain. Luckily, I never strayed too far but I also never truly committed

I had a ski injury a few years back, I would like to say I was doing a big trick or dropping a cliff but that wasn’t the case. I was on the most dangerous place on the ski mountain, a cat track…Some how I thought it was a good idea to plant my ski pole in the snow and that lead to me I impaling myself on it. I didn’t do it intentionally; I just didn’t think things through. I went to a few doctors and finally I made it to a 4Physical Therapist in Walla Walla who helped get me back to full health. His name was Manford and he was a strong man.

To this day he had one of the strongest handshakes I can remember. Manford was fighting cancer during my rehabilitation and we had countless talks of life and God. After I left Walla Walla I heard that his cancer had come back harder than ever and he was on his deathbed.  I went to see him but when I got to this house there was a sign that said no visitors. I called his phone and his wife picked up, I asked if I could see Manford and she told me, “no”. I started to lose hope and then I heard a week voice with a strong purpose say, “Let him in!” Manford’s wife sighed and said, “You can come in for a few minutes”.  When I was inside I saw my friend’s body had withered but the strength had not left his hands. The fight was still in his eyes. We talked for a few moments but it was hard for him to speak. I will never forget the last thing he said to me. He said,

“Whatever you do. Make God numero uno. Number one! And everything will be fine”.

I thought about that a lot and I could feel a change coming. The change came when I was on a trip to Arizona to surprise my grandfather for his 79th birthday.  We had a few good talks about life and what the important things are. My Grandfather shared what thinks are the most important thing:

  1. A vertical relationship with god.
  2. Find a good wife
  3. Find something where you’ll never work a day in your life.

One of the days we were talking, baptism came up. He asked me a simple question that made all the 3sense in the world. He said, “Are you planning on getting baptized?” I said, “yeah I’m planning on it, just some things have come up and stuff”. He then replied, “Do you think I’d still be married to your grandma if I put her off the way you put Jesus off?”

To me it was as clear as a bell. My priority was way out of line.

I hadn’t been baptized and I really didn’t have a good reason why not. Sometimes you can know something to be true but never commit to it and it can pass you by.  For example, you can plan an entire vacation to Hawaii, know exactly what you’re going to do with a full and detailed itinerary but if you never buy the tickets to go you will never get there.

Same with God, he’s offered you a gift. A gift is something that isn’t deserved. It’s not a something you can buy it can only be received.  It’s yours if you want it.

I don’t think I ever thought I would go the other way and not believe in God. I’ve always believed very strongly and probably prayed more than a lot of people because I try some crazy stuff from time to time. But I never made it a priority and that was the biggest factor. Once I made it a priority things started to happen. I started having meetings with my pastor 2-3 times a week and soon I was being baptized.

41359_425075766566_5109188_nI have learned It’s easy for us think about all the problems in front of us. We should rest assured that God has our backs. Put your best foot forward and know that you are special. I like to spend time thinking about what Jesus went through to give us chance at salvation. That helps me see the bigger picture and appreciate what’s the most important choice we can ever make. Giving it all to God and accepting the gift he wants to give us.

WE WERE MADE FOR MORE!

-Steve Wallace.

Be sure to check out Steve’s site at Huroic Clothing Co.

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The change of a young man’s heart

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 8.13.31 AM

By Isaac Crandall

A simple story for the men out there; Kim had asked me if I could write a small MAN segment. I am honored to be a part of “Dirt, Trucks, and Faith”-seeing God through the eyes of young men.

My Background:

Growing up in a stricter Christian home I had always gone to church in my little suit and tie. When I got older I got more freedom from my parents to make the decision to go to church or not go. As a young boy I chose not to go to church.  I would rather have fun riding my dirt bike, watching movies, playing games and, etc. Sounds pretty normal so far right?

I kept my personal relationship with God although it was distant and I only kept him there when I needed something or if something bad was happening. I had never experienced God before. I had never really felt Him or seen Him.  Lastly, I had a small obsession with cars which leads into this story.

My story:

It started when I was kind of a careless, absentminded, 16 /17-year-old boy. I had just gotten my license and I was on my way back from Schweitzer 6630_490588280991527_77155941_nMountain Ski Resort. It had been an awesome day of skiing. I was amped up! I had landed a few 540’s and that was a big deal to me.  Being so amped up I figured what better thing to do than see how fast I could get home in my Honda Prelude that I had just finished rebuilding. I was on my way through Coeur d’Alene Idaho passing a few cars, driving a bit aggressive at 85 mph or so.  When I got to the straighter part of the freeway I decided to crack open the throttle a bit more. I passed under an overpass and all the sudden lights flipped on in the distance behind me. My mind was contemplating between running to the exit or pulling over and being responsible. The Lord led me to pull the car over.

As the officer came up to the window, I was shaking and almost crying. He said,  “Son do you know how fast you were going?”  “Umm, no I don’t?” I said.   He told me,  “I clocked you at around 106 mph”.  I was thinking I was lucky he didn’t catch me doing the actual speed I was doing. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in?” he said.  In a quivering voice I answered “no”.

I gave him my license and registration and he said, “I will be back”.  Meanwhile, tears are coming down my face as I am thinking of how mad my parents were going to be.  Two more police cars show up so I have a three state troopers on my case.  At that point, I thought for sure I was going to jail for reckless driving.  I started praying and praying hard. I asked God to get me out of this predicament. The officer finally came back and said, “Do you know how many families and people’s lives you took in your hands tonight driving like a fool?  These roads are slick, it is dark out and, you are not an experienced driver.”

I had never thought of it in that prospective before……

The officer then said, “I get a vibe from you that your Dad is going to kick your butt when you get home because you are an honest kid and you will tell them what happened tonight.”  I said “yes sir you are correct”.  “It’s lucky you are still in Idaho” he told me. “Here is your speeding ticket now DRIVE UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT ALL THE WAY HOME TONIGHT”.  I said “yes sir” as I slowly started my way home.  I knew I was going to get a not so nice talk from my parents, be disciplined and, have my car taken away.

After the talk it was late. I snuck out to our field by our house, knelt down and starting praying to God as if He was a great friend I had let down. Before that night I had been driving a dangerous road very aggressively. I now see that night as God’s way of communicating to me that I needed to slow down and take a step back. I needed to look at my life and ask myself, “Am I driving too aggressive? 553483_4069941953155_1067940942_nWas I driving as the world would want me to drive?”  In my personal life I found the answer to those questions a few months later. I found that I need to be driving strong and steady for Him and for the benefit of others.  By this I mean do not  just sit at an idle……God wants us to put on some low profile “Y” rated tires and really grip His highway.

I asked for forgiveness that night and asked if He would start guiding my life in the direction He intends me to go.  I prayed for myself to take more time and initiative to consider other people’s lives instead of my own.  I had been being selfish. I prayed that He would help me grow into a man of God. A man He would be proud to call His son. I asked Him to help me understand that He is real and that He is all-powerful.

Keep in mind it was a cold night and I was freezing. After I sat in silence for a few minutes a warm comforting wind seemed to come around me and almost hug me. It was like a warm blanket filled with mercy and grace, letting me know that He is was there and He forgave me.  I can’t explain the feeling even to this day.  I broke down and started crying.  From my perspective, it was as if God was showing me that He still loved me after years of turning my back to Him.  I had chosen my highway rather than His and yet He still loved me.  The same is true for you. God1613857_10203743427092415_6056444948780037742_n loves you even if you have chosen your own highway for a time.  He loved me when I fell away and He loves you too. That experience has never left me till this day; God reaches us all at different times and in different ways. I think it is amazing the way he can take an experience that pertains to you as a specific person and make you realize certain things. He can help you on your specific path.

I love the way He loves me. I have to say, “Lord I am amazed by you”.

 

You can follow me on Facebook at Heartfelt ramblings of a midlife domestic goddess and on Twitter at @Mom4Godalways.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.01.52 PMI have some other great guys lined up to be guest writers in this series so I hope you check back.

 

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