Accountability

10/28/2004 6:41 AM
Title: ACCOUNTABILITY
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S: “If it is true that I have gone astray, my errors remain my concern
alone.” Job 19: 4

O: I’ve always read Job with a bit of a jaded view. I always thought he was
all right and his friends were all wrong. This time as I work through the
book, I realize that his friends didn’t know the whole story, but they do
speak some good words of advice and counsel.

Right here, Job is avoiding accountability. It’s all my issue, it’s only my
concern. How many times have I heard that in ministry from people who said
I was butting into business that was not my own.

A: I need to continue to stay accountable. I need accountability about my
marriage, my addictions, my attitudes, my work, my work schedule, my use of
money, my thought life, my baggage, my health, my stuff. There is now way,
I believe, to walk the road of life as a Christian without someone helping
to hold you accountable.

P: Lord, I thank you for Milton, Gary, Jim and Gail. Each of them holds me
accountable in different areas. I pray they will continue to hold me
accountable. I pray they will continue to teach me. I pray I will be
willing to listen and never get defensive with them. I pray you will guide
me. I pray you will speak to me through them. I pray you will walk me
through the hard questions and you will help me to come out on top because
you have carried me, Lord.

I submit myself you, Lord. I submit myself to you and seek to follow you.
I love you and I love these people in my life. Please keep leading them in
their daily time with you.

Bandit

Yesterday was an interesting day. I had to put my dog to sleep.

Bandit was nearly 13 years old. I still remember the day we got him. A
friend said he had a shepherd for me – knew I wanted a dog. I was thinking
GERMAN Shepherd, not AUSTRALIAN Shepherd. I was thinking brown and black,
short hair, etc. When this dog jumped out of the truck, I thought he was
the ugliest dog I had ever seen. Then after about 15 minutes Gail says,
“Why don’t we keep him for a week and see what happens.” SEE WHAT HAPPENS!
I’ve never known a puppy that didn’t get someone’s heart to fall in love
with him. I thought she was crazy. Well that week, turned into 12.5 years.

I remember when I got him to go swimming for the first time in Lebanon. I
kept throwing sticks in the water and he would bark and want to get them.
Finally, I just grabbed his hair and picked him up and threw him in. He
went completely under. But he got so he would just jump right in and chase
us or chase the ball or whatever else we threw.

I remember the time he would drop a ball in front of me as I mowed the lawn.
I thought – stupid dog, you need a 12-step program! So I’d just mow over
the ball, thinking I was helping the situation. Instead, the next round of
the mower, he’d drop a piece of the ball in front of me, hoping I’d throw
it. Who was stupid here – He didn’t quit and I just ruined a ball.

I taught him how to fetch, not to chew stuff up, to catch a Frisbee in
midair, to catch a treat off his nose, to sit, to lie down, to come, to stay
and all kinds of other things. I had never taught a dog anything before
that. Supposedly he was Seth’s dog, but he knew I was the BIG DOG and he
wanted to be with us and go with us wherever we went. I liked to chase the
bobbers on the fishing line – thinking we were throwing them for him. We
had to stop taking him fishing with us, because he’d scare all the fish
away…. And he was a real pain to have around while we played kickball or
soccer because he kept chewing the balls up! He just was such a people dog.

This sometimes caused a problem, because he would jump into the truck, van,
car before we were ready for him to be there and he was in the way. He was
always afraid of being left behind, so he would refuse to get out of the
way. I am not proud of how I always handled that situation, but over time,
we learned to deal with each other and I got better. I’m not sure he ever
did. I guess bandit was always in the way. He would sit in front of the
stair way while we brought in the groceries from the van, he would stand in
between the cars in the garage while we would be carrying something heavy
and he would expect us to go around him! He never did learn that one….

We took him camping. One time we had 5 of us and him in a two-man tent. He
kept Seth warm, I think. But that was when he was more active and when the
kids were smaller.

I remember he used to chase birds after we first got him. He’d run the
neighborhood looking up into the sky and not paying attention to where we
was going, parking with glee and thinking at some point he’d catch one of
them – never did.

Gail wanted him to be in the house when we first got him, even wanted him to
sleep on our bed with us. Then one day she found a flea on him and away he
went! He never quite got the hang of staying off our bed…. But never
really got the chance in our home again, but in the van, when we’d go to a
store, he’d climb up on a seat and refuse to get off the soft seat when we
returned.

Bandit loved to go on walks with us. HE used to go every day with Gail and
I. Dusty, our other dog (another Australian Shepherd) wouldn’t wait to be
asked, he was bounding ou direction. But lately, Bandit wouldn’t come
unless asked. I think it was arthritis. Last year, Gail and I were jogging
and sometimes Bandit would follow and sometimes he’d see us take of to go
jogging and he’d turn around and go back and lay down. Sometimes he’d get
half way up the hill with us (walking or jogging) and turn around and go
back on his own. He just didn’t have the heart or the strength to do that
anymore. The last two months he rarely did go for a walk with us anymore.
But this last week he went once and seemed to enjoy himself so much.

Probably my biggest irritation the last year was his aging body and not
being able to make it through the night without losing control of his
bowels….in my garage. Much of the time, he’d bark and let me know that he
needed out, and at 2am, 1am, 4am, I’d get up and let him out. That was
irritating, but when I would complain about it, saying I wasn’t going to
bother letting him out anymore, the kids would attack me and say that’s what
they were going to do to me when I got old – lock me in the bedroom not able
to get to the bathroom – and I’d relent the next night and get up to let him
out. In actuality that was better anyway – but your mind does strange
things in the middle of the night.

The last few days he’d go down by the horse to get a drink and stop to rest
half-way back. We didn’t realize it at the time, but yesterday we put
two-and-two together. Yesterday he went to the creek for a drink and
stopped half way back to the yard and lay down. He couldn’t hold his head
up. I couldn’t tell if he was dead or breathing or what. So, I put on my
shoes and went out to investigate. I didn’t want to startle him, so I began
to talk really loud as I approached him, because he was so hard of hearing.
I bent over and began to pet him and talk to him, and he opened his eye but
didn’t lift his head. I realized then that he was dying. We tried to give
him some water and he took some, but more often he would raise his head and
didn’t have the energy to drink and it would fall back over on the ground.

We also lost 4 of our 5 chickens the night before and our last duck that
night too. So, I was doing some investigating and went to see if there were
any signs of Bandit eating them and getting really blocked up. But it was
then that I began to choke up. I realized my friend was dying.

I called my friend/church member the vet and he said bring him in. We took
him in, I had to carry him into the van and carry him into the vets. He
weighed about 65lbs and was like dead weight. DeWayne told me after his
thorough examination that whatever it was, it was serious. It could be a
blockage, tumor, heart issues, etc. And he could spend $500 investigating
it and then find out we had to put him to sleep or do it now. Gail and I
are pragmatists. I knew when I saw him lying in the field behind our house
that we would have to put him down that day. We said our goodbyes, all the
kids and Gail came in to say goodbye – except Summer – she was sleeping in
the van. Seth and I stayed with him and I petted him until and even after
he was gone.

I nearly lost it there a few times, but I guess I learned my man-lessons
well and held back. It’s a shame, actually. But I did choke up a few
times.

I think this was good. It was good for my kids to see something other than
tragic death of a pet. It was good that he died now, rather than out in
some snow-drift in the next few months. It was good that we got to say good
bye and end his life in peace. Bandit was a good dog. He went through a
lot with me being his master, but we were friends and he loved my approval
and really tried everything he could to be man’s best friend. We’re going
to miss him, and I think Dusty will miss him too. But Dusty knew what was
going on yesterday. He left him alone, didn’t come too close, but never got
very far away either – he just stayed back and watched.

God gives us friends so that we will open our hearts to others – it is in
doing that sort of thing that we grow. I pity the man who is afraid to open
his heart and expose it to pain. For if we never expose ourselves, we never
really love.

Faithful – Always Prepared

10/26/2004 6:41 AM
Title: JUST LIKE PAUL, EXCEPT FOR THE CHAINS
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S: “Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all
who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these
chains.'” Acts 26:29

O: Paul has just made a dramatic defense of the gospel. He’s been in and
out of prison for two years – basically in. But each time he’s brought
before the governors or the kings, he comes to give a defense of
Christianity, not himself. Sure he defends himself, but he doesn’t do it as
clearly as he does with Christianity.

A: I see a pattern here that I could follow. Yesterday I was listening to
“Casting Crowns” as we drove along. The one song that caught my ear was the
one about “I’m going to tell him one more time about Jesus love – pray for
me, it may be the last time I get to tell him, but I’m going just one more
time.” That’s obviously not a direct quote. But it’s the idea that I’m
driven by the idea to tell someone about the love of God. It’s driven by
the desire that people get to go to heaven or hell. It’s driven by the idea
of salvation for all who accept.

In many ways, that is what has been the driving force in my life. But
that’s happened on a large scale kind of thing. In other words, it’s more
about group events than it is about my personally. What I mean by this is
that it is GREAT that finding salvation for others has been the driving
force in my life. That’s awesome. But what about one-on-one? I need to
remember that every conversation I have with Greg and Kim, Jon, Mike and
Brenda, Kevin and Darla, etc. These are all opportunities to share the Love
of God with them. I need to be able to share it in a non-confronting way.

That’s what Paul did. He presented it in one way when he met with Festus or
Felix. He presented it in another way when he met with Agrippa. He
understood people and how much they could discern at any given moment. That
is the way I need to discern things. That is the way that I need to teach
things to my neighbors and my friends and my extended family.

I guess I hear God saying to me, that I need to spend the time thinking
through my conversations when I am in them, or before I am in them. I can’t
just float in and out of conversations and friendships without ever having
thought through the process first. John wants to go play golf with me –
what will I do if it really happens? What will I say? We go on walks every
day, and I wonder what I should say as I meet our neighbors.

The idea is, that I should go and prepare here with God each day, and get a
word to share, and get an idea about how to share with the people I am to
meet. It’s having the boy scout motto – “Always Prepared.”

P: Lord, I ask you into my heart. I ask you to fill my heart with your
power and your love. I ask you to guide me and change me and fill me and
make me like you. Paul is an inspiration to me, Lord. Paul is an
inspiration to be a faithful witness. He’s someone I could look to for
ideas. Lord, you are ultimately the one I need to look to and be changed
by. But I have a better idea of what kind of a friend I need to be when I
look at Paul. I need to be the kind of individual that people naturally
want to hear about you or that they know they are going to hear about you.

Lord, I’m leading my church down the evangelistic frontier, but I need to
make sure I am leading my family down that path as well as myself down that
path. Please guide me.

I ask you into my heart today and I ask you to fill my life with your
presence. Please come, Lord, and make me like you. I love you and I desire
to walk with you. I will follow you, Lord. Please fill me with the Holy
Spirit.

The future is sure – in God’s hands

10/25/2004 6:38 AM
Title: GOD STANDS BEFORE US – MAKING OUR CALLING SURE
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S: “The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage!
As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in
Rome.'” Acts 23:11

O: What an awesome feeling. God stands near and actually talks to Paul and
assures him of what he is trying to do. That is so cool. There should be
no doubts in Paul’s mind now.

A: Why is there any doubt in my mind as to the future of The Adventure?
There should be none. God spoke nearly as clearly to me when the Union
office voted to put Jim on Salary with me. What an amazing thing! I’m
still in awe.

Ellen White says we have no fear of the future unless we forget how God has
led in the past. I need to quit talking about the financial stress of the
future. Instead, I need to spend the time talking about the financial
opportunities that God is going to give to us. It’s an amazing thing!

P: Lord, I commit this next year’s budget to you. I commit this next year’s
struggles to you. I commit to walking by faith, to listening to your word,
and to following you in faith at all times. I commit to listening to you.
I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me and cleanse me. I pray for the Holy
Spirit to guide me and help me speak with courage and not with fear. I
commit this to you.

Interesting Week….

5:10 PM
Title: GLACIER VIEW RE-LOOK
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It’s been an interesting week. On Sunday, after 6 weeks of an
evangelistic-reaping crusade with Russell Burrill, we were required to be at
Glacier View Ranch for Sun-Weds pastor’s meetings. It was good, inspiring,
and insightful. In some ways I needed the emotional break from the normal
routine of the follow-up of the meetings, but we also had a lot to do to
follow-up the meetings.

On Wednesday, we had a new meeting to attend – all the church planters from
the North Pacific Union and all the church planters from the Mid-America
Union were there to discuss the issues of Mission Catalyst, Ron Gladden, and
our involvement with the denomination. Don Schneider was there – the
current president of the North American Division. I won’t bore you with the
details, you can read all about it on this web site:
http://blogthefuture.blogspot.com.

I will say that after the first day, I was pretty discouraged by the whole
discussion. But in the end, my brother (www.mycommonground.org) and I
stayed up and talked with Don and Marti Schneider from about 11pm until 1am.
Now, besides being rude of us (they needed to drive down the mountain to
Denver that evening and catch a plane the next early morning), we learned a
lot about what it means to be an administrator of this denomination. My
respect was already pretty high for Don and Marti, it went even higher after
spending that open and candid discussion with them. I appreciated the give
and take, and the naturalness of the discussion. It was a very healthy
discussion – one where I wish everyone could have joined in the discussion.

My own desires to stay in the denomination stem from a journey I took in
1995 where I determined to NOT leave. I decided then and there that I could
accomplish much more while IN the denomination than I could OUTSIDE of it.
I am still there, and probably more so today. I do seem some cracks in the
armor of the denomination and I don’t know how to fix or repair them. I
know that many do not even see the cracks and refuse to look their
direction. But there are hopeful signs out there.

I know that my own financial issues facing The Adventure are very huge right
now. We’re facing a possible 460% increase in our budget this year, not
including the use of our reserves. If we are to continue to grow, continue
to learn, and continue to move forward, I am unsure how it will all happen.
To be blunt, here’s what we’re facing:
1. Our current monthly income is averaging $3500/month
2. We’ve been living off of our reserves for a couple of years and
haven’t really noticed it because that doesn’t show up as well in our
monthly report
3. Our portion of Jim Moon’s salary goes up this year and the combined
amount we are paying towards Jim and Shane’s salary is about $7000/month.
That’s double what we’re bringing in.
4. Then add what we are currently spending (neither salary was part of
the budget this year) we go to $10,500/month.
5. Then add the 2 evangelistic series we’re striving to do this next
year, and we go up to almost $17,000/month.
6. Finally add some of the growth engines the Area Leaders or Directors
would like to put into place and we end up with a monthly budget of about
$22,000!

I’m facing a huge increase in this budget issue. I’m trying to maintain
control of it, but not really finding any way of doing so. It appears as if
we have all the budget requests in place right now. And it appears as if we
have everything going that needs to go. I’m struggling with the idea that I
simply cannot continue to express this and must pray about it more.

Lord, I put this issue in you hands. I’ve just created an email that will
go out to the people who will sit on the committee to help determine this
issue. I pray you will go with this email and help it to focus on the real
issues, and not on an issue that needs to get it shut down. I pray you will
guide us and keep us and lead us and help us to follow you. I want to walk
with you, Lord. I pray for your help. I pray for your guidance.

Integrity & Worship

10/17/2004 7:36 AM
Title: INTEGRITY AND WORSHIP
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S: “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell
to the ground in worship.” “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still holding on
to your integrity? Curse God and die!'” Job 1:20, 2:9

O: These two verses likely show Job’s character as much as anything. His
first response to the first calamity was to go to worship God. His wife’s
response to the 2 calamities was “Would you quit worshipping?!” His
character appears fairly flawless – or at least his motives seem pure.

A: I wish my character was pointed in that clear of a direction. In the
midst of calamity, I appears as if I can easily go the opposite direction of
worship. I can easily go to whining, complaining, and criticism. Job went
to worship. How did he learn to do that? How can I learn to do that?

I know Ellen White says that the spirit of criticism is from the spirit of
Satan. I would likely guess that she would say the same thing about whining
and complaining too. How did Job learn to do that? How can I learn to go
to worship first?

I remember the first time I had a low time and I was able to hang on to
doing my devotions THROUGH the low time. I remember that time very clearly
– although I don’t remember what the low time was about, I can still
remember thinking, “Wow! I’m in a spiritually low time, and an emotionally
low time and I’m still having my devotions.”

Two things helped me to accomplish that: 1) regularity of devotions, and 2)
spiritual growth. I don’t mean to make it sound like I had made some major
breakthrough in my spiritual life, but I had found some regularity in my
devotional life in the months and years before and yet had not made it
through the low times. So it can’t be just about regularity. Perhaps it’s
about discipline. Perhaps it’s about emotional maturity. Perhaps it’s
about something else.

But Job didn’t just go through a low time, he went through a time of GREAT
calamity. He went through some pretty horrible things. The first time, he
basically lost all his money and all his family – and he turns to worship.
The 2nd time he was still poor and familyless and then lost his health – and
he must have turned to worship again, because his wife’s response was that
she had had enough.

She asks him to lose his integrity. How does a person lose integrity? I’m
not sure integrity is a simply choice one makes and can lose with a simply
choice. Integrity is a direction in life. It’s a direction and not a line
in the sand. In other words, I don’t think Job could have done away with
his integrity at that moment even if he had tried. It was so firmly
entrenched in his mind. It was so firmly entrenched in his actions. It was
so firmly entrenched in who he was, he COULDN’T change.

I want to be a man of integrity. I want to be a man of integrity in times
of heartache and in times of good. I want to pass on to my kids a message
and a life of integrity.

P: Lord, I think the meetings showed me the true shallowness of my
integrity. I think they showed how I am ready to cave when times are hard.
Of all my talk about taking care of ourselves physically – the stewardship
of the body – and I caved. Of all the talk about discipline, I caved. Of
all the talk about routine, I caved. Of all the talk about devotions – I
didn’t cave, but I didn’t always do them first. Of all the talk about no
sugar, or I’ve had enough sugar, I caved again and again.

Please forgive me, Lord. I can learn something from Job. I can learn again
that the “pursuit of discipline will get me where I want to go in life.”
That’s one of my core values. I let it go a bit during these last few
weeks. I am sorry for that, Lord. I am sorry for the way I’ve struggled
with some of the basic things of life.

I read this in Outlook this morning, Lord – in the Frankly Covey thought for
the day.. I think it describes me pretty well – Your timing is always
incredible, Lord.
“I can tell that I’ve hit the wall at work, and that I need to recalibrate
my life, when I can no longer empathize with others, when I’m focused only
on results, when I ignore other people’s goals, and when I become frustrated
with life’s interruptions. Or when my daughter has to tell me, “It’ll be all
right, Kirby.”
-Kirby Dyess, Intel
Lord, I want to recalibrate my life today. I want to recalibrate my life
this week. I come to you because you alone are worthy and you alone can
accomplish that in me. Please come, Lord, and change my heart and change my
life. Please come and make me like you. Please come and fill me with the
Holy Spirit. Please come and forgive me for being a sinner – a man still in
need of a savior.

Lord, I ask you to take control of my life. We’re headed up to GVR today.
It’s absolutely the wrong time to do just that. But here we go. I pray for
the Holy Spirit. I pray for the Holy Spirit to just give us some refreshing
and some huge times of renewal. It’s not going to be an easy week, Lord.
It’s not going to be a restful week with the hours they expect us to keep up
there. But it is going to be a change of pace. I pray that during this
week, I will spend some time to recalibrate my life.

Thank you, Lord, for the all the people who’ve come into our surroundings
for this time. Thank you for the people who’ve made decisions to join the
church and for decisions to follow Christ. Thank you for the way you’ve led
and the way you’ve opened doors. Thank you for the success. Please guide
us, Lord. Please lead us. Please continue to bring people our direction.

Thank you, Lord, that it’s over and we can get back to normal – I guess that
phrase shows me that evangelism isn’t yet a process, but it’s still an
interruption.. Hmmmm.. I wonder..

I love you Jesus. I love you Father. I love you Holy Spirit. Please come
into my heart and be in charge. I submit myself to you – to grow in
integrity, discipline and honesty. Please allow me to fall on the side of
worship in the midst of the good times and the bad. Thank you, Lord. I
love you.