Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Prodigal Trilogy Poem

I've been blogging a little more on my Tumblr page, so you can check that if you wish. Clickity clack that word there!

Going through my journal, I came across more of my poems. Been a while since I’ve penned anything in it. My last entry was…pretty depressing, but God wants our real emotions. We cannot be stoic. I’ve had a rough inner struggle the past year or so and quite honestly have almost abandoned my faith (for the record, I did not and will not).  My last entry in January talked about it, Then I looked to the verse printed (by the makers, not me) on the bottom of the page: “May The Lord of peace Himself give you peace in all times and in every way”. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 BOOM! God thing there! Wish…I noticed it then. Sure I fail along the way, but trying to continue following Jesus is all I can do! When we realize that Christianity is not rules or morals, not words or feelings (even though feelings are part of it) but just Jesus taking our place and that God is not some punisher like a kid taking a magnifying glass to us ants, the freedom lifts ALL burdens and sins off of our backs! It feels incredible! 
God has chisel and glue in hand  to repair the brokenness. Only He can, not these temporary fixes that bite me back in the arse. Not even my deepest desires. God wants to (and will) restore ALL things and make them new..*yes that includes us*! I hold onto that hope, the bravest thing of all is always hope.. 
My favourite passage in Scripture is the parable of the prodigal son. Even in the dirt and the depths of our sins, God will pursue us and run after us even when we spit in his face or run away. That love…is so much huger than we can fathom! I wrote this kind of like a 3 act play, 3 different soliloquies (man I haven’t used that word since grade 10 English..Shakespeare ftw!). I spoke about this parable when I was baptized in 2005. Forgive me if I posted this before.. written Nov-Dec 2012. 
Act 1: Son 1
I've had enough, I’m walking home.
The only place where true love is shown.
In every way I often fail.
Still God sees me as a holy grail.
More sought after than any prize
I am precious in my fathers eyes.
When I tell him of my sin
Without speaking he lets me in
A robe, a feast, a party for me
Deserving not, but praise to Thee!
Act 2: Son 2
Working hard, in the hot sun
Days a long, fruits almost none
I often hear my fathers cries
for my brother to return; HE LIES!
I work harder than anyone here
He takes off, far not near
Being foolish, perverse and just dumb
Surely he’s not my father’s son
See now, he returns and repents
He deserves it not, I must confess
I’m not going to see that fool
At least until my temper does cool
Act 3: The Father
As I watch for my son from afar
I seek a sign for his return, wishing on a star
My two sons, working hard night and day,
Until one decided to go far away.
To find himself in a dirty pit of sin
Where not even the pigs would let him in.
I see him now! He now comes near!
My other son is bitter, I fear.
My son my son! I forgive and forget
The sinfulness, the shame and regret
Be happy, be blessed in Christ on this day
In him is the truth, the life and the way!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is singleness REALLY a gift?

Well, I am posting on singleness yet again. I swear it has NOTHING to do with whatever Feb 14th is. A while back, I gave up my search and intention to find a wife. I figured it was God's will and leave it in His hands. I've also stopped praying for it, because I don't deserve one and I was sick of saying the same thing "Please Lord, bless me with a wife that blah blah blah". If it happens, it happens. Nothing to be concerned about.
The old cliche' says "singleness is a gift". That is partially true. In one way it's a gift because I can focus on bettering my life and relationship with God and chose to spend time doing anything I desire. But, the loneliness can get a little crippling. Singleness, ESPECIALLY in Christian circles seems to be a club nobody wants to belong to, or wish on their best friends. There is a certain stigma to it, like something is wrong with me if I am nearly 30 without a girlfriend. Churches use marriage as a metaphor in sermons, have couple themed retreats and kind of leave the single folk to deal with themselves. How sad! Now, one should NEVER leave a church if they can't find their mate. Internet dating is a thing (not for me...yet.).
After The Apostle Paul had his encounter with Christ, he went on several missionary trips to proclaim the gospel and often went alone. It is unknown if he had a wife in the past, but seems to know a lot about marriage and singleness as marriage was the cultural norm for everyone over 15.
1 Corinthians 7 is a good example of this. The unmarried and the widows did not know what to do in their situations. Maybe singleness back then was not customary, someone help me out there lol
The latter verses say that if we're not married, don't seek a wife. If you are married: awesome! Verse 32 is interesting stating "One who is unmarried is concerned about things of the Lord and how he may please the Lord. (NASB), 33-34 indicate that his interests are divided between the Lord and his wife. Now, married folk know how to balance this. In order of importance: God-Family-Friends-Job (even if it's ministry or "God's work). I know single pastors and their work is incredibly fruitful. Maybe their lonely too, but their focus is on God as it should be. So is singleness a gift? YES! Even though a wife would be cool, it's not a necessity. Plus: you can use corny Christian pick up lines! To close off this post, I give you the 5 WORST Christian pick-up lines ever. #foreveralone
5. Your bible would look good on my night stand.
4. I believe one of my ribs belong to you!
3. Let's go speak in tongues together! (ow ow!)
2. Is it a sin that you stole my heart?
1. You. Me. Songs of Solomon remix.

Monday, February 10, 2014

More poetry

I've been going through my old poems lately and re-wrote some of them.

What is Good:

Perfection cannot be a requirement
If only one man obtained it
Asking Questions do not make me cynical
Yet, in my searching I only seek what is vital
Only Christ is put at the center of my soul
Not a dogma some call a lump of coal
Who's to say who is right? Division only causes us to fight
Some blindly adhere without an open ear (or mind)
What is good? Only the one true God we fear
What is truth? Scripture that enables us to persevere.

somewhat inspired by Five Iron Frenzy's "All That is Good:" Written January 28th, 2013

1-1-13 Untitled
What can take me from your love?
NOTHING! For it is a gift from above
Because of Christ, we conquer sin
Not letting evil enter in
Yet, we still fail ever day
God still loves is in every way
No powers remove my name from the book of life
Even where struggles cause nothing but strife.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.- - Romans 8:37-39 New King James Version. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lord's Name in Vain: More than OMG?

Thou shall not take the Lord's name in vain. A simple command given from God to Moses. It is the only command that God will not hold us guiltless. (gulp!)
So next time you utter Oh my... watch yourself! Now, because of Jesus we are not bound to the Old Testament Law, but have you thought that taking God's name in vain is more than omg/jc/gd etc. Now, I do my best to never utter those words and warn those who chose to. Why would you curse the only one who can save you? Or curse who created you?
Now back to the "more than" part. Saying those swears obviously takes His name in vain. But what about false preaching, lying, intentionally misinterpreting scripture seem to be things that take God's name in vain. Example: a false teacher/preacher is one who claims to speak for God yet is false in their doctrine, would that qualify? I think so. Example: Westbro and their "God hates fags" slogan. Or attempting to speak for God when you really aren't. (again, Westbro. Or any false teacher, cult etc)
Misinterpretation of Scripture, sure if it's accidental and you straighten out your theology (repent) yeah! But if you go throwing random verses and completely miss the point on them. God's name is disrespected is it not?
Any way that we misuse God's name is sinful and should be stopped. Let God be God. Not only is this sinful, it is extremely disrespectful. Sure we say the "substitute" phrases like oh my goodness and oh my. God's name is not uttered wrongly but is that our intention? I sure hope not. (I say goodness.. but never mean to utter God's name unless I read His word or witness, talk about Him etc). Rant over.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Act Like Men

Last weekend I attended the Act Like Men Conference in Hamilton. The main speakers were James MacDonald, Greg Laurie, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Eric Mason and a bonus concert with Lecrae. It was an amazing time to be challenged, encouraged and convicted in my faith. On the first night, over 300 people made decisions for Jesus, either for the first time or re-dedications. Praise the Lord! The Holy Spirit was present the whole weekend. Two friends were among the ones going forward. Below, I wish to share some highlights.
The theme verse was 1 Corinthians 16:13-14: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men. Be strong, let all that you do be done in love. 
Matt Chandler covered the "stand firm" part of the verse. The gist of the message was around the prodigal son. We are all adopted sons and daughters of God. He talked a lot about God chiseling at us, as a form of chastisement I think. We need to let God chisel out the evil in our lives.
One quote that stood out was "Stop pretending like we're already there and quit feeling sorry for yourself".
And one more thing is that DOCTRINE MATTERS! Simple as that. I did not take notes in a couple of the others but Mark Driscoll's was incredible.
He talked about "Be strong". He actually talked about a genealogy at a conference. It was the genealogy leading up to Abraham. It was significant because 10 generations before him were godless, heathen pagans.
Abraham is mentioned over 300x in the Bible, including Hebrews 11 the "Faith Hall of Fame". He went on to say that Abraham is the father of our faith, since Jesus came from his lineage. Our example is in Christ but Abe is the physical father of Christianity.

- We should worship Christ not comfort, Are we waiting for some kind of sign from God? Or a blessing? We should obey Him to see it, trust God before we realize, faith before seeing.

- God the Father chooses us, speaks to us, gives us commands and loves to bless us! Amen!

One quote that stood out in this was "Each man is a link in a chain towards life and death". And yes, he used a real chain.

Next up was James MacDonald, a man I often listen to and have seen preach a few times before.
He finished off the verse with "let all be done in love".  When we are all truth and no love: we are passive, we are bad listeners, we are cynical and we suck at disagreeing. James went on to say that "Absolute truth in the hands of absolute sinners can be absolutely brutal". All truth and no love is brutal. However, all love and no truth is weak.
To close off the conference, Eric Mason talked about breaking free from our strong holds, things that weigh us down. As men, they can be anything from rage, sexual issues (porn, promiscuity), apathy, drunkenness, an un-believing mind set and believing we are sub-standard.
These mind sets hinder growth and demand us to have an encounter with God to break from them. He used Gideon as an example.
This is a short (long) version of notes I took during the services, if they throw you off then please order the DVD of this year's conference. It's worth your while

Monday, September 30, 2013

5-Great Video Game Endings *CONTAINS some SPOILERS*

This list is not based on the quality of the endings, but also the overall game itself and the feeling after beating it. As well as things I may have went through while playing it.
Video games have been a big part of my life for over 23 years and is still a favourite pass time. Some say that they are a waste, but I could say in return that your s (let's say reading) is a waste. But I'm not  a jerk like that. Beating one brings about a great sense of accomplishment because games envelop us into a new environment full of characters, enemies and surroundings that we get emotionally attached to in a way. They can be an escape for those who struggle in society (eg bullying).

Honorable mentions: Halo 4
: I was new in Sauble playing a new game with a new friend. When Halo 4 came out, Frito Lay and Pepsi teamed together to give you double XP for your online character when you purchased mountain dew or Doritos. We went through many bags and beat the main campaign on co-op, while building up a character in online matches. Certain scenes were rather hard, especially with Cortana.

5- Super Mario World- 1995
- I had a friend in public school who was a couple years younger than me. This did not impress friends in my grade but I didn't care. Stu is a cool dude. He also had a Super Nintendo, one summer we played through the entire game and after many hard tries, defeated Bowser. After which we ran around the apartment like the sugar high kids we were. Yes, we did all 96 levels!

4- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
- The year was 2009, the place: Lower Wideman Room 1, Emmanuel Bible College. During a look-in for prospective students, Michael, Caleb and I stayed up into the wee hours of Thursday-Friday and played the entire game in one sitting. 3 friends, one game and we had class at 8:30. Meaning we all had a LOT of coffee for breakfast. We played the anti-reg campaign because.... anti-reg! No way we're signing that stupid Superhuman Registration Act! Plus, I think we all fought over who would be Deadpool! Good times!

3- Clash at Demonhead- 2003
- A rare NES game and a rather obscure one. Originally discovered by longtime friend Andrew. One night at my trailer (cottage), we marathoned this classic, while likely under the influence (before I was Christian). And fondly remember screaming at the insane puzzles, the oddly numeric interconnected road system. The final boss fight against Tom Guycott (weird name, skull guy boss) was not memorable but the way to finish the game was to defuse a doomsday bomb by putting the coins you find when defeating bosses. If you screw up, you die. It was a true nerd-rage-game.

2- Paper Mario: Series 2002, 2005
- Yeah, although I am giving the nod to Thousand Year Door I have played every Paper Mario game and beaten 3 of them. I'll give a brief overview of the first 3,
*Paper Mario 1: A must have for the N64 that started the obscurely gimmicked RPG. Origially slated to be a direct sequel to the underrated SNES hit Mario RPG, this game had said elements in it while having a cartoony, paper-based feel to it. It was a 2D game in a 3D world as a 2D sprite that ca fold like paper. Teh first game was not as memorable but very fun. I loved going to the moon to face Bowser while Peach's castle was suspended in the air. Downside: I had to beat both Bowser's AND Peach's castle. However, during Peach's sidequests, you can make enemies look dumb by setting "traps" that have useful items (badges, mushrooms). The final bowser fight was meh but it felt good to beat.
*Thousand Year Door*- A perfect game and remains my favourite of the 4. One of the best games on Gamecube basically takes the first Paper Mario game, expands it  over 9000!! The premise of this game revolves around Princess Peach getting captured by someone other than Bowser. 7 Crystal Stars are spread throughout the world and this magic map to the Thousand Year Door, with both Bowser (whom you can play as during side quests in between crystal stars.) The final boss is a strange demon called The Shadow Queen who possesses Peach for part of the battle. It is by far the longest and hardest boss I have beaten in an RPG game. The feeling of satisfaction after beating it in 2006 was unmatched! The ending was beautiful too. After watching the credits, you save and KEEP PLAYING? Return to Rogueport and do the other side quests!

1- Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
- 2002. It took me a long time to even get past the Water Temple. One night after watching my friends play hockey I wiped out hardcore on my way home leaving my knee a bloody bruised mess. After limping up my driveway to my house, I put on some tea and elevated my knee (rhyme!). After cruising through the Spirit Temple, I got to Ganon's Tower. Which I admit using Gamefaqs for the first time around. In the wee hours of an icy winter night, I witnessed the end of my favourite game ever. The end is typical to happy endings in games. All characters unite and party in Hyrule Field and wouldn't you know it? Zora's Domain unfreezes. I wish it would have after the Ice Cavern or the Water Temple. Ganon's Battle reminded me of the one in Link to the Past. I remember being a bit of a "spiritual seeker" at this time. God was using people in my life to speak some truth into my life.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ashton Kutcher's Speech

Although I have never, and will never watch the Teen Choice Awards, a video of Ashton Kutcher's acceptance speech has been making the rounds on social media. I watched it a few times and listened intently. It was hard to drown out the constantly screaming girls which in my mind is very disrespectful when someone is talking. Ashton or should I say "Chris" made very valid points about the world and delivered probably the greatest message outside of the gospels youth need to hear today. It blew my mind because I am seeing this come from the same guy who played lovable idiots like Michael Kelso in That 70's Show and his prank show Punk'd. Let's forget Dude Where's My Car because the movie is just so.....bad but yet funny if your immature like me. I recently heard he was going to play Steve Jobs in a movie about his life. I laughed at first. but then I watched this speech. I don't know what award he got, but he won a lot of respect from a lot of people, including me.
Steve Jobs: I joked around about him, in good fun because of the whole Apple-Hipster thing but he's another man I have high regard for because of the way he changed technology and how he did it. I will watch Ashton attempt to take on the heavy task of being Steve. Making this movie affected him and it is evident in the speech.
I will share a couple highlights and leave a link below

-  Opportunity looks a lot like hard work. I never had a job I was better than, I was just lucky to have a job. I did not quit it until my next one was lined up.
- Being sexy: the sexiest thing you can do is be generous, smart, thoughtful. Everything else is crap! It is crap that people try to sell you, don't fall for it. 

Those statements are so true and can speak to us all. Sometimes we don't think flipping burgers, delivering papers, stocking shelves or pouring coffee is ideal but you are not better than your job. Be thankful and give grace to your bosses by working your butts off and trying your best. If you "hate your job" don't quit, stick it out but keep your options open if you want to move on. We all need money so it would be wise to keep what you have until something else career wise comes up.
Yes ladies and gents the sexiest thing you can be is generous, smart and thoughtful. Nothing turns a man off like an angry, bossy, snarly woman. Ditto for you, men! And I just loved LOVED when he, a celebrity said everything else is crap. So true! Commercials throw a lot of crap like "if you use this soap, women will throw themselves at you" and "this will complete you"... I know you are all smarter than that. Enjoy the video here: