Monthly Archives: September 2013

He Had A Great Army, Like The Army of God.

So David had his mighty men. Then he got even more. While waiting to become king a force was gathering behind him. One great thing about being a warrior for God is that if your motives are pure and true and if your strength is found in the original warrior, others will see it and gather around you.

David now has an army.

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So Nice I’ll Say It Twice.

Might. Spears. Bloodshed. Massacres. Battles. Defenses. Attacks. Victory. Strongholds. Blood. Exploits. Valiant Fighters. Fame. Honor.

These are the lives and stories of David’s mighty men. Earlier this month we saw David’s mighty men show up in 2 Samuel 23. Now we see their stories again in 1 Chronicles 11. Some are the same, some are a little different. A different angle and some embellishments. These are such impressive men, that we’ll see their stories twice.

“10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised— 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:

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Lets Talk About Warriors.

“Next! . . . Hello sir, please have a seat. I will be your scribe for today. What is your name and whose descendant are you?”

“I am Eshek a descendant of Benjamin.”

“Eshek . . .Benjamin. Good, now who are your sons. In order of importance if you would please.”

“Ulam is my firstborn, then Jeush, and lastly and least Eliphelet.”

“Thank you. And is there any legacy you wish to be noted?”

“Yes!! Of course. All of Ulam’s sons are warriors, very brave warriors. They are all skilled with the bow!”

“Alright that should be all. Next!”

“You got the warrior part down right? Ulam’s sons. All of them!!”

“Yes, yes. You are done. Next! . . . Get a job as a scribe they said. Do work for the genealogies they said. It will be fun they said. No one said anything about everyone wanting their family to be written down as warriors. . . . I said NEXT!”

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Famous Warriors and Failing.

The warm, stale air was annoying, but somewhat satisfying as it meant my body was working, and working hard. Part of that warmth was from my contribution. I watched intently as the instructor demonstrated the next combo we were to attempt. It looked like another fun one. Everything was flowing today. My punches were landing strong and my kicks were landing even stronger. With over a year of kickboxing classes under my belt I was feeling more and more confident as my technique and my power were improving.

Everyone must train. For anything. School is training our brains on how to think through situations and how to thrive and enjoy the wide world beyond our classroom doors. Athletes train in their respective sports, enjoying both cross training and cardio workouts as well. Our military elite train and drill and drill and train. All so that their minds and their bodies will be ready when they are called into action. Dedication, technique, and consistency are all key.

This is also true in our spiritual lives. Not only does a daily walk through the Bible and constant practice in prayer keep our souls and minds on track with God, but they will help us prepare for battle as well. Oh yes. Our minds will soak in the guidance and our spirits will be uplifted by the encouragement and when the time comes when we are being attacked, we will have the mental and spiritual fortitude to parry and defend against the attacks.

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Now I lay me, Down to Sleep.

Do you ever have dreams where you can’t run away? I have heard people discuss how they have had bad dreams where they try to run away, only to find themselves unable to run, or they can only run slowly and sluggishly.

In my dreams I could never seem to fight. Running was never a problem, but there have been a few nightmare situations where I find myself trying to throw a punch, only to have my arm feel like rubber. My fist will land with soft thud as my arm refuses to cooperate. I would wake up sweating with the most awful feeling in my gut. I was helpless. I was weak. I was unable to defend myself.

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Bible School Failed Me.

My church, my Sunday School teachers, my Christian School teachers, my Youth Group leaders, and my Catechism class all failed me.

I went to church growing up, both morning and evening services. I attended Sunday School almost every morning it was offered. I went down to Children’s Church and Children’s Worship and listened to the stories and sang the songs.

In high school I attended youth group regularly and my Jr and Sr year I went to Catechism on Wednesday nights.

I have attended Christian schools from kindergarten through my undergraduate degree.

I thought I had the stories down. I thought I knew all the great Bible characters. Bible trivia was never a problem for me. I even have the Old Testament books of the Bible memorized in order, and I used to have the New Testament memorized as well.

This isn’t supposed to be a list of why I am so awesome, not at all. This is to make a connection to those who have a similar background. This is to show that organized religion can organize around certain ideas and stories and leave out others that do not fit our picture of God’s love and kindness.

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Box Drum Blessings.

What an awesome God we serve.

I hate it when I have a great idea. Don’t you? No? Not all of you? I am sure some of you think that way. Let me explain.

I shared in my last post that I do not like to share. I worked very hard in high school on my appearance. Not just my looks, but my actions. I wanted to be the typical, non-wave making, friendly teenager. I was a little more outgoing in college, but there was still that lingering love-hate relationship with attention.

We love attention, especially when that attention comes with compliments. Some people are more introverted than others, but no one likes to be overlooked all the time. No one wants to be ignore and forgotten by their peers.

We hate attention, especially when it invites criticism. Every time we allow the limelight to fall on us, we run the risk of it exposing our flaws and our short comings along with it showing our genius. No matter how extroverted you are, no matter how well established your self-esteem and confidence are, no one likes to be criticized. No one wants to look like a failure in front of their peers.

This is why I became nervous as I watch new ideas flash across my brain. James and I have recently become the Youth Group Worship Leaders. We have been given the delight of leading the youth group in two or three worship songs every Wednesday before they go into their groups. We want to show them that worshiping isn’t just singing the songs we sing in church. Worship can be crazy songs, meaningful songs, loud songs, prayerful songs. It could be just rhythm or even no song at all. It could be meditation and thankfulness.

We also wanted to get the kids involved. So I bought a cajon, a box drum. We wanted to play the song Mountaintop by The City Harmonic, and that song is not the same without a drum. However, we are without an experienced drummer. So I bought a drum that does not require an experienced drummer! I played it for this time, but we are trying to come up with a time where we can teach some of the youth to enjoy it as well. It would be best if we had two, but we didn’t have enough money for that. So we thought that one would just have to do with now.

Wednesday came, we played. I was filled with worry that this was a poor purchase. I started to worry that the idea of getting the youth involved with worship, starting with this box drum, was going down the drain. No one liked it. It won’t work to teach them. Every one there saw my failure and is now aware and talking about how I think that I am clever but really I am self centered and only a mediocre worship leader. My limelight showed my flaws and I failed. At least, that is how I felt.

“Dear God, please let me know how we should proceed. How can we help these kids become more engaged and fall more in love with worshiping you?”

So during work today I was talking to one of my supervisors, who is also one of the youth leaders, about how we had the idea of letting the kids take turns with the box drum and hopefully finding some who would like to play it. She seemed slightly interested and told me the kids really liked the song we sang on Wednesday. Confidence bolstered. She then went to help a coworker carry the community pop from her car to our break room. “Kristin!” She exclaimed, “There is a box drum in the back of her car that she has been trying to sell for six months. I will make a call and I am thinking the youth group will buy it so we can have two!”

Blessings and encouragement come in all shapes and sizes. Mine looks like a box.

Me Too.

About once a week my mom would come down stairs and find me sitting on our brown carpet basement floor, staring intently at the TV screen, N*64 controller in hand. “Did you clean your room?” was the usual question and a only half listening “mmhmm” would be the reply. I was not a very good liar, as all it took to prove my deceit would be for my mom to round the corner and stare through my open bedroom door and into my room. During the best of times it would only be slightly disheveled with some clothes on the floor. During the worst of times you could only see the carpet where I had blazed a trail to my bed and to my closet. The rest was a forest of clothes, books, and shoes.

“Kristin, clean your room now. I mean it.” She always meant it, but when she added the phrase to her verbal command I knew she was serious. I would scurry to save my Banjo-Kazooie game before my mom flicked off the light switch that controlled the outlet for the TV and N*64, a great design for a lamp, a terrible design when your a kid with a game that didn’t get saved in time.

After the game was properly saved I would trudge into my room and start cleaning. My parents were always impressed with how quickly I could actually get this done. With my clothes sorted, bed made, and shoes organized I could get back to saving Tootie from the evil witch.

After a while, I got pretty good at hiding my mess, and I got better at lying. I just did not have the energy to truly clean my room. I would take short cuts, shoving clothes into the drawers and throwing my shoes into the closet. My hiding, my lying, and my deceit went on for a while. Until one fateful day my mom came downstairs with a stack of folded clothes for me. “I was doing laundry, and I found these, like this, in your hamper.” My hiding was over. One of my most useful tricks, just throwing all of the clothes on the floor, dirty or not, into the hamper, had backfired. My mom did not appreciate me making her wash clothes that were just washed, but now smell like my dirty volleyball socks.

We try this tactic with a lot of things in our lives. We want the quick fix, the easy out. We do not want people to know how truly messy our lives get, but it is so hard to really clean them up. So we fake it, we hide it, we cram it into a corner of our lives that no one will see.

It can be hard to come clean and to share your spiritual messes. We are so worried that the neat freaks that we know will look into our closets and *tut tut* at us and our dirt.

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. . . Only A Little Sling

“Only a boy named David
Only a little sling
Only a boy named David
But he could pray and sing

Only a boy named David
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy named David
But five little stones he took.”

I am not sure how David’s timeline is truly laid out, but it seems after his job banishing the evil spirit from King Saul, it was back to tending the sheep. That is where we find him when his next big battle comes around.

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What Proof Do We Have of God?

I am not a scientist. I am not a studied theologian. I am not even good at debating. So why am I opening this can of worms with the question in the title, well, because people who do not believe it ask us, and it is hard to answer.

The only answer I have to give is that we are the answer.

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