I have this portable field recorder that I absolutely love, but have yet to have found a real use for. It seems like I am always testing it and trying stuff, but I haven’t done much productive with it other then record a few podcasts. At church the other night they introduced a new song that I thought was just awesome, so I figured I might try to record a live bootleg version the next day. I only later found out that the band had already released a free download, but I still kind of like that underground live feel, so I gave it a try. Here is how it turned out. I’m uploading two versions. The first is the raw audio from the device and the second has added compression. I may have recorded in mp3 format and then re-encoded, so I probably broke a few audiophile rules, but for a quick shot attempt, it turned out alright. I might keep doing this on occasion until I get a cease and desist letter from the church.
I grew up southern baptist. I still consider myself a southern baptist although I go to a church that isn’t really a denominational church. When you are raised up inside a comfortable institution, whether it be a church or even a school or community, you get a sense of ownership and pride about that thing. There are a lot of Oklahoman’s who believe with all their heart that OU is the best college of choice no matter what your field of study. It’s not really due to the institutions ranking or even their marketing. It’s just a natural, although sinfully prideful desire to be a part of the “good” side. We all tell stories about our lives and we all want those stories to make us out to be the hero. For a lot of Christians this extends to their view on church. My church is the good church, the right church, and thereby others are not quiet doing it right.
So why is that wrong? Well, lets be honest. We are all sinners and have fallen short of godliness. So that desire to justify ourselves to be the “good guy” is wrong. Not to be Debbie Downer, but that is the harsh reality we live in. When we fool our selves into believing that our sinful nature hasn’t impacted where we are in life, we limit our ability to change. The Church, being the body of Christ, although sacred and special in the eyes of God has historically missed the mark on numerous occasions. Flaws in the the church simply reflect the humanity of who the church is composed of. As Christians we should embrace our human flaws because it magnifies Gods grace and points to the power of Christ’s leadership in the church.
So why the rant? Because this is something we all struggle with in any and every church. I think it helps me to remember what it is the church is made of, and how it was intended to be formed by the forgiven. If every church in the USA would make an real effort to loose its individualistic identity and align itself as part of the greater body of the Church, it would drastically change how we approach domestic missions and directly influence the spiritual direction of our nation.
Christians should be more forgiving of the unbelievers then they are with each other. I don’t mean to say that Christians shouldn’t forgive each other. Just that there should be higher standards between believers. If an unbeliever slaps you in the face, you should turn the other cheek, but if your brother slaps you in the face, you should tell him how much it hurt you and ask him to stop. At least that’s how it reads here.
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 NLT)
But it seems to often we turn the cheek on our brother and do the body of the church harm by not correcting the sin issue that caused the problem. I feel guilty of this. Recently I made the choice to walk away from what had been my church home for more then 8 years simply because I didn’t want to make waves or hurt people’s feelings. But there was a sin issue that needed to be addressed, but instead it was denied. If I truly loved the church, I would have followed the scripture above and involved more people. Instead, I walked away quietly, with the best of intentions to not cause division in the group. Now I feel like I witnessed a mugging and didn’t report it. I had thought I was being righteous by not causing more problems, but the truth is, sometimes we are supposed to make a fuss. In the case of sin in the church we are to see it through to confession or to expose the unrepentant soul.
I can make all kinds of excuses about other reasons for breaking fellowship, but in the end, it was a bad call. God has provided for and protected my family bringing us to a new place of fellowship. We live, as always, under His grace and forgiveness.
I am participating in a fast along with others from LifeChurch.tv. Although I started a day early because I had planned for it before I learned what day the church was starting.
Here is the guide I am using for the fast.
Below I am going to keep a log of how it is going and what I am eating for two reasons. One, as accountability to myself, because I don’t have any friends who are doing this with me, so to help keep me on track I am going to publicly post my journey. Second reason would be to encourage anyone else who wants to attempt this fast and to give them ideas of how to adjust to the restrictions. While I am fasting I am also going to be reading through a couple different reading plans on youversion.com. One that I already started at the beginning of December which is the One Year Bible which helps you read the entire bible in a single year and a Stewardship reading plan to help with one of my new years resolutions. YouVersion has really changed my quiet time which had become nearly non-existent as far as real consideration over what I was reading. I’m not a big fan of the One Year plan because I always feel rushed to pack in so much scripture each day, but I committed to doing it, so I’m going to keep it up and also continue a more topical study on the side, perhaps at a slower pace.
This may be the hardest day, because I started a day early it was a real temptation to go ahead and wait another day. The day started with me fixing pancakes and thick cut bacon for the family and then a friend dropped off two dozen fresh crispy cream doughnuts. That combined with all the snacks sitting around from new years, it made for a very tempting morning. But I did good. Didn’t even lick my fingers when handling the bacon. I ate two oranges and a banana for breakfast, and for lunch I had rice, steamed carrots, and olives. I think I could live off olives alone if I had to. For dinner I am fixing the traditional black eyed peas and for the rest of the family, I’ll be making a chili. I also plan on making a nice rich vegetable soup that I can take to work for lunch next week. In preparation for the next few weeks I have a couple bags of apples and oranges laying around in case I need a snack. I need to pick up some peanuts too this week. But in all honesty, this is by no means a difficult fast compared to a true fast without any food. It’s really more about your thoughts about what you are going to eat and fear or worry over how it will sustain you.
The caffeine withdraw kicked in last night. Horrible headache and nausea, and I really don’t drink as much caffeine as many others do. It was pretty bad, but it’s over now and I was feeling pretty good today. I had some fruit and oats for breakfast. I stirred the oats into hot water with a little salt. It was like eating glue, but I knew it would help with the big day I was about to have. We took the kids to the zoo for Free Day Monday. It was a lot of hiking. I drank a bottle of orange juice, which I originally wasn’t going to do juice, but it was pure orange, and it was easier to take it then oranges. I also snacked on almonds all day. I just ate a fresh tomato and for dinner zucchini and rice. I’m learning that with whatever you have, there are those who have less and are happier then you are.
Had a great day. Feeling good. Snacked all day on nuts and fruit and had some veggie soup for lunch. Also had popcorn as a late night snack. I was surprised that it was on the okay list, but it is and it helps to eat something with a different texture from time to time.
I am really enjoying my bible reading plan. Praying hard for some hurting families and friends. Food isn’t as much as an issue,but it is frustrating having to fix a separate meal for myself after fixing dinner for the family. Extra dishes and all.
I notice that I’m eating less and less every day. Either I’m becoming more efficient about what I eat, or I’m just getting so board with the same veggies that I have stopped over eating for the first time. For dinner I had hand full of olives, a tomato and some humus. For lunch I had an apple and for breakfast I had a couple bananas. I have really been enjoying my reading time on YouVersion’s iPad app. The kids got bibles for Christmas and they noticed how much I was reading and have asked to read together in the evening, which has been very nice and opened a lot of discussion and questions.
Feeling great. Thinking I could stick with this for longer then 21 days. I don’t miss meats as much as I miss sugar. Milk too. I love a glass of milk with a cookie.
Starting to get hunger pains in between meals. Need to plan better form meals. We went to the park for lunch and I forgot to pack something special for me. So I picked up a cup of fruit from chick-fil-a, which was awful by the way, and just had that for lunch. So it’s been a week and I’m still going strong. There have been lots of temptation moments and I worry that I will habitually pick up something and eat it.
Still doing great. I realize now how much I crave sugar and the unnatural amount of sugar I usually allow myself to eat. I have a deep love for perfectly cooked veggies though, so I have actually enjoyed the opportunity to focus on that. It is still a lot of extra effort to fix food for the family and then think of what I can eat. This really has been a great start to the new year and I am feeling very blessed.
Its been great. Really enjoying my life right now.
I think I should be eating less, because I haven’t been really hungry yet.
Eating the strangest things just to keep from getting board with eating. Can of pickled okra. Can of olives.
I made my own granola today. Oats and flax seed in canola oil with a dash of salt. It turned out pretty good. It’s impossible to find cereal with no sugar in it, so I can poor unsweetened almond milk into this and it feels kinda like cereal. I finished my stewardship reading plan and I am 30 days into the bible in one year. So doing pretty good on that end. I’ve even been reading in the morning too, which is hard for me because I’m a night owl and a morning zombie.
Starting to feel hunger more often. I’m eating less now, and that may be why. I eat one real meal a day and just snack a when I am really hungry. It’s getting old having to fix a second meal just for myself, so I am more likely to just snack on some fruit and nuts and have less mess to clean up.
I feel like today was a milestone. Two thirds the way through and now I am really missing meat. I find myself fantasizing about steaks. Got behind on my reading this weekend. I wish you version had reading plans that were more forgiving about skipping days, especially because I tend to do two or three plans at the same time, so I am not worried about missing a day on one plan.
I think I am crossing a line, in that my hunger is not as easily subsided by the same foods I ate earlier in the fast. Either that or I am eating less and just don’t realize it. With a change in habits like this for 21 days, I wonder how it may effect my eating habits beyond the 21 days.
Day 16 – 19
Haven’t been on my website keeping up much. Still keeping with the fast. Took my weight the other day out of curiosity. I have not lost much, maybe 8 to 10 pounds at most. I didn’t weigh myself before I started. But not much considering the drastic change in diet, but it’s probably because I over compensated by eating a lot of veggies. After the fast is over I plan on eating a steak, donating some blood and then starting an exerciser routine. Thinking about buying the fitness game for xbox connect. I played the demo and it was pretty addicting.
There isn’t really any one thing that I miss from before I started this Daniel Fast. It really wasn’t that challenging and I highly recommend that others give this a try. It was a great way to start the year and has helped tremendously to set a habit of studying scripture.
I kept thinking all day, what time does this end? Can I go ahead and eat a pizza at midnight? But I just waited until Sunday morning to start back on normal foods. Like BACON!!!!!
Beyond 21 days…
I think it’s a mistake to try to pig out after a fact like this. I had waffles and bacon for breakfast with fresh hot evaporated milk syrup all over. Totally hurt my stomach. I guess my stomach shrunk quite a bit through this fast. So I should step back into normal foods slowly. Also, it might be best if I kept my portions low for as long as I can keep that up. It’s amazing, living in America with such an abundance and surplus of food, that we sometimes forget what we really need to sustain our physical selves. Just as easily as we forget and neglect what is needed to sustain or spiritual selves.
It occurred to me the other day that we sing a lot of songs around Christmas about the anticipated birth of Jesus, but we ourselves have grown up in a society that has complete under appreciation for that moment in history. I think that is why Christmas is so easily watered down or distracted by traditions and festive elements. We don’t know the feeling of not knowing. We live in a post Christ area, where the only thing we are waiting on is inevitable. We await to see Christ face to face. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, you will get a chance to see his face. You won’t like the outcome of that meeting, but it is inevitable. Even if you are waiting eagerly as I do for the second coming of Christ. About once a day I look into the clouds and pray like, “now would be fine with me, I’m ready to see Jesus.” This isn’t to say that we don’t wait on God for other things in our lives. We wait on God’s timing and guidance, and we wait on him to inter-vein in situations and relationships. But to really wait on something so crucial as for God to lay out a path for your salvation. To see your faith under the foot of an oppressive government and to have this promise of a leader who will establish a kingdom that will never die. To have that promise and be waiting on it. I think you have to picture that to really appreciate what we celebrate at Christmas time.
I hope everyone get’s a chance to get away from the noise and sit alone with God and just quietly ponder on the long awaited Savior. Generation to generation passing down a promise, putting complete faith in a man who hasn’t been born and a God who’s timing is not always understood by us, but was so perfect that it split the history humanity into two parts and grew a kingdom that has yet to be put down and grows constantly with every surrender of burden and shame and acceptance of grace and freedom. To Mary and Joseph it was baby Jesus, but to the wise men, the shepherds, the angels and to you and I today, it was King Jesus. He didn’t grow to become special, he was special from the beginning of time. Christmas isn’t a rags to riches story of a man born in a barn who makes it big the big city. It’s the story of the King of Kings, foundation for the existence of all matter and life, time and space, stepping down to the lowest of positions to fulfill a promise and to make the ultimate sacrifice. To teach us what love is and to show us ultimate love to start a never-ending relationship with you and me.
Three guys are in an elevator and one of them farts. There are two truths about this situation. One is that someone literally passed gas and knows it, the other is the communally agreed truth, which is that the guilty party will be the first off the elevator. Even if the first guy off the elevator didn’t do it, once he has left the elevator the other two will at least in their mind if not in oral agreement decide that the rest of the journey will be easier on them if they just agree that the guilty party has departed. This is an extremely trivial example of a common place mislead truth or lie that in all honesty probably doesn’t hurt anyone. We, as a society, tell little white lies to avoid uncomfortable situations. The problem is, that even the most harmless of little lies is a gamble in what could lead to a trail of embarrassment and shame.
Although the recent incident involving congressmen Anthony Wiener comes to mind, that really isn’t what started me thinking about this issue. But it does make for a good example of the kind of lie I’m talking about. When we lie to cover up or save ourselves from embarrassment we are really just building up that embarrassment. Just go back to the analogy of the gastronomic anomaly in the elevator. What if, in that awkward moments after the odorous crime was committed, the guilty party just declared the truth. “Sorry, that was me.” Or even, “That was me… Deal with it!”. Who says there was really anything to be sorry for. It’s a natural thing, or at least that could be argued. But if you hide the truth, there is no argument for innocents because the avoidance of the truth is evidence of personal guilt.
However you do it, telling the truth early puts the matter to a close. The more you cover it up, the more it makes you look a fool. That said, even if you could get away with a lie, would you? Would it really matter?
Most people say they wouldn’t. But when faced with a situation, there are many who from an early childhood practice default to lie in the face of unwanted attention or embarrassment. I knew some children growing up that lied with every statement. I often wonder how that worked out for them as they developed into adulthood. As a co-worker or employee, how important is complete honesty. Everyone should be allowed a level of privacy about them selves, their thoughts and feelings. But when does a little lie show you how dependable that person really is. In my job, I work with important servers in ways that it is important that I demonstrate a level of integrity when it comes to “fessing up” to mistakes I make. Because in technology, when someone lies, it really messes up the trouble shooting data we use to find a solution. I’ve been lied to many times by clients who have messed up their own website but don’t want to admit that they were messing with things they shouldn’t have. I also have clients, one today in fact, that simply declare the truth, “I was playing around where I shouldn’t have and I altered this line of code.” Maybe an embarrassing thing to admit at first, but it also means I can find the solution in seconds.
Perhaps there are some jobs where truth is more important then others. Maybe it’s more important that a nurse working in a surgery room tells the truth then a janitor lying about how often the toilets are scrubbed. I bet if you asked a military person, they would say that integrity at any level is crucial to the success of the team. What about in the Church? Is there room for lies that cover our socially awkward moments? I’m honestly not sure. I guess every person needs to seek out their own conviction on the matter of how honest they need to be with the brotherhood of Church family. I do know this. When we tell lies, we only cheat ourselves. Sounds like something I would say to my kids, but it’s true for all of us. When we lie, we take on an unnecessary burden, we miss out on a disarmed moment of bonding with our family, and most of all, we deceive ourselves about our own identities. I have been dishonest. I spent a great deal of my youth worried more about convincing those around me of my high level of integrity then I was actually concerned about my true integrity. Later in life I read a verse that struck me about this.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. -Philippians 2:12-13
Fear and trembling. To me, at that age, my faith was a mostly logical choice. I read, understood and decided to put my faith in Christ. But “fear and trembling”… not so much. It was only after college that I became more committed to a more honest relationship and faith in Christ. I would stop putting on a show and start really living faith. Faith means that I really trust Christ enough to forgive my mistakes. It means I don’t hide from my mistakes, but face them head on and push forward doing good. I struggle, but the difference now is I am proud of my struggle. I would gladly share with any brother in Christ who honestly wants to know. The bible does teach that we shouldn’t just “cast our pearls to swine”, meaning don’t share your heart with those who will mistreat it. But when you are in the safety of the family of God, you should be comfortable with and enjoy the benefits of honesty.