Repost: “A Profound Moment – Reflecting On The Exodus Closing Announcement”

exodus logoThis post from my old blog has been brought to my attention several times within the past couple of weeks so I thought I would repost it for the record. I have only slightly edited it for information (ongoing) that is no longer relevant. For those that don’t know, or didn’t read this on my old blog, the particular night referenced below is one of the most powerful experiences I have had. This post was originally written July 8th, 2013.


On June 19th 2013, during the opening night of the Exodus Freedom Conference, I sat on the front row. Leslie was to my right and  Kathy and the Exodus board to my left. All of us were providing each other, and Alan, support as we knew that Alan was making one of the most important keynote speeches of his life. He announced that Exodus is closing.

It was excruciating. The tension, the excitement, the knowledge of what was about to be said … my heart was racing and the tears came and went … to come back again. I had known that night was coming for a while, but there is a difference between knowing and experiencing.

It was quite the profound experience.

A Big Reluctant Adjustment Turned Into Even Bigger Blessing

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A few weeks ago I decided to start working out in the morning before my workday begins. This has literally been one of the best personal decisions I have made in a long time.

Not only am I getting a good workout first thing in the AM, and not having to worry with it the rest of the day, I am sleeping so much better! For the first time in my adult life (not kidding), most nights I am actually in bed and ready to sleep by 10:30-11pm. Sometimes earlier! That is major for a dude who has never willfully gone to sleep before midnight/1am his entire adult life.

I have also found I am in a consistently better mood too because my day or evening isn’t being interrupted. Working out has gone from being a distracting chore to being a great way to wake up and set a positive tone for the day.

This, is shocking to me.

What I thought would be a huge life adjustment that would be a pain in the you know what to get used to has turned into a much bigger blessing than expected. I know this wouldn’t work for everyone. It didn’t for me before I was self-employed and had the flexibility to give it a whirl. But if you feel something tugging at you to give it a try yourself, I highly encourage it.

Of Heart & Mind

heart fixed

I can confidently say that God wired me to be an intuitive “feelings-first” type of person. I trust my feelings and intuition because that is, no question, how God made me. The problem is that in my efforts to test and find the meaning behind the intuition, I can be lazy and simply “assume” something to be true. Based on my gut feeling, I can explain away a situation or judge a relationship without actually paying attention to discovering the broader context of known facts. I do that much less now that I have gotten a bit older, but it can still be a struggle. I have learned to not act on my feelings before prayer, investigation, and reflection.

All that said, God also wired me with a brain and the ability to analyze and apply logic. I might be a feelings-first type of person, but I am not properly engaging the broad range of gifts God has given me if I only make decisions based on how I feel.

What Is a Healthy Response To Harshly Judgmental People?

angry

The other day I saw a former friend ranting online. I judged him :) to be being super-duper mean-spirited and judgmental! At one point in our past friendship, he was all smiles and flattery. Now, I have been told he is telling people I am a false witness leading people to hell. I’ve never responded to him publicly and don’t plan to.

My initial response to him, in my heart and with a trusted friend, was FAR from a mature response. Eventually, I calmed down and asked God to give me wisdom for the situation. He reminded me of various things He has taught me over the years as well as a few new insights. I have discovered that I can apply the following to any situation regarding people I perceive to be harshly judgmental.

Health & Fitness Update: Burn, Burn, … BURN!

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My weight is exactly the same this week as it was last week. Not surprising because I ate like a #HeftaRanda Wednesday. I should know better. Actually I do know better, and did it anyway. I needed carb therapy so I bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. Within the day … completely gone.

*poof* goes the Ben & Jerry’s.

Ok… I lied about the “within a day” part. It was within an hour 30 minutes. Honestly, it barely made it home. It wouldn’t have made it home if I had a spoon in the car. It definitely didn’t make it into a bowl once I got home. It was a direct from the carton shoveling action. I am spending a lot of time on this aren’t I? ::: raising my plump righteous fist of anger ::: Ben & Jerry’s!!! Why can’t I quit you!?

Litmus Test Christianity

litmus testJesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

I was involved in the “ex-gay” movement for almost 21 years. While rare, there is an argument I have encountered saying that a person’s response to homosexuality is the litmus test of whether someone is truly applying The Gospel or even saved.

Every time I hear this it gives me chills. The truth is that if there actually is a litmus test, that test is Jesus Himself. To put anything else in place of Him as being the singular evidence of salvation, The Good News (Gospel), is simply idolatry by a different route.

It’s Raining Giant Trees (Dream)

dark wood texture

First I am going to share the dream by itself. Then after that I will share what it means to me. The reason I am separating them is that sometimes dreams are like artwork, people can extract a wide variety, and all kinds of personal meaning from them. I think that is totally cool. So, please read the dream, ponder it if you want and gather your own thoughts on it. Then read my thoughts after the second section divider. :)

In my dream I am sitting on my Great Granny’s porch. The porch was built by her father, my Great Great Grandfather, by hand. However, in the dream it had been carefully preserved, modified, expanded and updated. However, I knew that it had always been lovingly maintained/remodeled by The Owner. The house was simply beautiful, warm, welcoming. It actually looked like it had been decorated by one of my best friends. It was again, beautiful.

Friends, Gathering By The Fire

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“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus

Several times today I have caught myself thinking about friends and the blessings each of them are as individuals and as a group. Last night, in the spur of the moment, one of them decided to have at least one more fire this season (pictured above.) We had a bit of a cool snap yesterday (dry air, high in the 70’s). So last night as the temps fell through the 60’s toward the 50’s, a fire + friends = perfect.

This same friend said, “You know what we have here is truly unique. We have a great mix of people, giftings, and personalities.” I agree.

I can’t remember exactly, but I think I have been a part of this particular group for about 7 or 8 years … has it been 9? There are many reasons I love this group. One reason that comes to mind is that it isn’t a typical programmatic “church” group with the constant pressure to multiple/expand/divide/multiply/expand/divide, work through a structured bible study, and so on. We all come to it as peers. There is no pressure to create or contrive activity; no pressure to increase our numbers. It isn’t about anything other than just being friends sharing a good meal twice a month, and hanging out when the mood hits.

Over time a closeness has developed. However, that closeness hasn’t been contrived or manipulated. It’s not needy or about someone trying to get “their needs” met. It has developed naturally as we simply share life together.  To be sure, there are times when we ‘need’ each other more. We all have seasons we need more support or feedback through difficult times. However with this group, it isn’t a “support group” dynamic like many church groups feel they have to be.

I hope that makes sense.

Of course we talk about spiritual concerns, current affairs, our families, dreams, hopes, projects, … all of it …but we talk about it as it happens, naturally.

I told a couple of the guys who were around pretty late last night, as the fire was dying down, that over the past few years I have had some serious pressures (by other people, groups) to abandon one camp and join another to prove this or that. There was also incredible pressure to abandon the various aspects of God that I have fallen deeply in love with (i.e. grace, personal identity.) Being able to be with these friends, who truly are a spiritual family now, has been a very grounding and life-affirming anchor. Probably more than they know. I deeply appreciate it.

Gratitude for these friends has found its way into much of my day today.

A Bride’s Song, A Bridegroom’s Love

marriageforever12She is a petite blond with an incredible singing voice. I’ve known her for about eight years and have been in a life-group at church with her and her husband almost that whole time.

They are a wonderful, and oftentimes hilarious, couple.

Yesterday at church she led out on one of the songs in the worship set. As a friend, I was blessed to see her step up to the plate and knock it out of the park! She doesn’t lead out on songs often so it was fun to see her “soar” with the music.