Filter Through Life

The thorn in my side

Over the last year or so I have noticed a disturbing trend in my life.  It seems almost every Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday I am in a bad mood.  For a good long while I never could put my finger on it.  Why was I in a bad mood?  I have a good job, a decent house and car, a loving and beautiful wife and a dog.  I live the American dream.    

I also have a relationship with Jesus Christ and about a year or so ago I began my stint as the youth pastor at Legacy Fellowship in Cedar Park.  Coincidence?  I think not.  It took a while for me to figure it out.  It wasn’t my wife I was getting perturbed at.  It wasn’t my dog I wanted to strangle.  I wasn’t bent out of shape about work and it certainly wasn’t God pestering me.  You see, Tuesday is usually the day I do my sermon prep, Wednesday is the day I preach in Filter, the youth ministry at Legacy, and Sunday is what we in youth ministry call “Big Church”.    

We have an enemy and he does not want us fulfill God’s calling in our lives.  He does everything he can to deter me from hearing God’s voice and sharing His word with others.  Sometimes he comes around waving old temptations in our faces.  Sometimes he just makes us really irritable.  We may find ourselves dealing with some sin we haven’t dealt with in months or years.  We may jump down someone’s throat for almost nothing.  

The trick to beating this is not just recognizing it.  That is the necessary first step but it certainly is not the solution.  No, the solution is getting with God and letting Him fight the fight with us.  God sees our struggles and is on His toes waiting for us to admit them to Him, admit that we can’t beat them on our own and ask Him to help.    

Paul asked God to remove a thorn from his side three times.  He referred to is as a “messenger of Satan to torment me”.  The Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).  What was the thorn in Paul’s side?  There has been a lot of speculation but no one really knows.  What I do know is I have my own thorns and I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me.  I need but ask for it. 


Wisdom vs knowledge responses
November 27, 2007, 9:18 am
Filed under: Friends, Uncategorized, wisdom | Tags: , , , , ,

Here are a few responses to the questioned I presented yesterday about wisdom and knowledge:  

Knowledge is knowing things,Wisdom is too, but is shared.  

Knowledge = input of factsWisdom = ability to use facts for your & other’s benefit  

Knowledge is acquaintance with truths while wisdom is knowledge with just judgment.   

Knowledge is simply pure fact based.  Wisdom is knowing when to apply your knowledge….  

Knowledge is the ability to learn, wisdom is applying what you learn.  

My response was: Wisdom is the knowledge of what is good and true and applying it.  Also, knowledge is learned while wisdom is earned. 

Some pretty good responses in my opinion but I would like to dig a bit deeper into this.  However, I don’t think anyone can give me a better response than the one an friend gave me:  

They have different spellings.

Not all of my friends are Rhodes Scholars.

Wisdom vs knowledge
November 26, 2007, 12:19 pm
Filed under: Daily Living, Question of the day, wisdom | Tags: , ,

In your opinion, what is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?  

I anxiously await your responses.

Books you must read

Going to school was never my favorite activity.  I didn’t hate high school, just the school part, so I skipped class a lot and yet somehow managed to graduate with honors.  I also didn’t necessarily hate college.  I usually slept in, missed the class, dropped the class, retook the class, passed by the skin of my teeth and then found out I couldn’t transfer the class.  When I decided I would go back to college to finish my degree it was quite a shock, not only to my folks, my brother and my friends, but to me as well.  What on earth was I doing?  And I was paying for it so I had to study and stuff. 

Well, so far I have loved what I am learning.  The first book I read for my first class was The Truth War by John MacArthur.  It was a great book.  I hated it at first because the author seems to be a very staunch, pious, dogmatic, old-school Christian.  It seemed he was saying everything we are doing in the church today is wrong.  Turns out, I was wrong.  Some of his views are a bit ridged but I can’t say he’s not right most of the time. 

The next book on the list is The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell us Corruption Disguised as Freedom by David Kupelian.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  I am about half-way finished and I am riveted to it.  It is a fantastic look at how we have been systematically and purposefully desensitized to so many of the things in the world we as Christians should not be desensitized to.   

If you are in ministry, especially in a pastoral role, you simply must pick up this book. 

If you have read these books, tell me what you think.  I would love some dialogue about them.  Now, if only I didn’t have to write papers on these books, then college would be GREAT!

the name game

Everybody has heard of the name game, right?  We love the Name Game.  If you haven’t heard of it before, it goes a little something like this: 

Tony, Tony, bo-bony, banana-fana fo-fony, fee-fi mo-mony, Tony. 


Chad, Chad, bo-bhad, banana-fana fo-fhad, fee-fi mo-mhad, Chad.  


Cheri, Cheri, bo-bheri, banana-fana fo-fheri, fee-fi mo-mheri, Cheri. 

“David” doesn’t work well otherwise I would do that one.  But you get the drift, right?  So, last night we are watching our new favorite show.  It is a new hour-long on NBC that we have really gotten into and probably like a little too much.  We all have our vices.  Well, apparently Cheri likes it so much that she decided she wanted to play the Name Game with the title character.  When all was said and done, I was rolling on the floor laughing and my wife was sitting bright eyed, mouth agape and a little embarrassed. 

Our new favorite show: Chuck. 

Ahh, good times.

Cereal and Arsenic, MMMM!

I heard a great quote on the radio the other day and I had to share it.  It goes a little something like this:    

“Holding a grudge against someone is like taking a spoonful of arsenic everyday and hoping the other person dies”.

 I think that is an absolutely fantastic quote.  It is one to live by.  It is also one that is difficult to master.  I am guilty of holding grudges and had struggled for years with one in particular.  I believe I have finally forgiven said person and I rarely think about what happened anymore, but it took nearly tens years to do so.  I know my heart is healthier now that I have forgiven those trespasses against me.  I also know that, had I not done so, my prayers for forgiveness would have been futile.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that “if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (vv. 14-15).  Ouch! 

By forgiving others, not only do we gain forgiveness from God, we also gain health in our heart, mind and bodies.  Studies have shown that resentment can lead to many health problems.  I am sure my grudge never helped my Acid Reflux. 

Do you want to sleep better?  Do you want to stop eating a bottle of Tums every week?  (I mean really, arsenic can’t be good for the stomach.)  Ask yourself this question; is there someone in your life you need to forgive?

Trying to encourage the encourager
November 16, 2007, 9:42 am
Filed under: Faith, Family, Friends, Leadership, Legacy Fellowship, Prayer, Relationships, Religion | Tags: , , ,

During men’s prayer this morning I really felt the need to encourage my pastor.  I don’t know why, I just did.  I also didn’t know if it was necessarily the right time because he was praying, but I did.  I wanted to let him know I was leaving anyway so I just took a second to tell him, “You are going to have a good day today.” 

I prayed for him this morning.  I prayed over his work-life, church-life and family-life.  I prayed that God would keep them separate as much as possible.  I prayed that things at work would bring him joy, not steal it from him.  I have one of those job things and I know how taxing it can be.  I have let it steal my joy and I have chosen to not let it steal my joy.  I feel much better emotionally, physically and spiritually when I make that decision.  I feel much better too, knowing that someone is there to encourage me and pray for me. 

Pastor Tony is always encouraging me and the rest of the staff.  I know he and Kandy pray for us all.  I think he needs to know and hear that we pray for him.  I think he needs to be encouraged by us. 

So pray for your pastor today and if you get the chance to encourage him, do so.