Friday, May 29, 2009


I've been spending some time reading the prophets and am doing so again this morning. And as I was reading I've hit a section where it's a lot of "The Lord said unto me" type things. And I started thinking, what would happen if we had people going around saying things like that today.
My first reaction is we would think they're nuts. No one would listen. No one would pay attention. We've had thousands of years of people saying "God told me" only to find out that it wasn't true nor God. We would simply think "yeah right" and continue on with our day (it even happened to me not to long ago at a Wal-Mart. No one believed this guy).

But then I started thinking, no wait. We do believe in that kind of prophecy still. Just with one rule: It has to be good. If people are praying at church and someone tells another "God just spoke to me, He said you're going to be rich", we are all over that. Blessings upon you. Name it and claim it. We have no problem believing someone was spoken to by God if they have something good to say, but if it's bad, it can't be God.

And then I realized. That is exactly what is going on with the prophets in the Old Testament. A majority of them are saying things the people don't want to hear. And yet Jeremiah talks about how there are other prophets and they are not speaking the Word of God, they are just saying good things. And the kings and the people are eating it up and ignoring what they don't want to hear. They think something is from God if it's good. If it's bad, the "prophet" must be wrong.

Even in churches today, three thousand years later, are we different? Forget prophecy, if a pastor stands up on Sunday morning and says something the congregation doesn't want to hear, do they realize they should change or do they write it off as the pastor was wrong today? I even remember talking with a youth pastor in town about the idea of internet churches, you go online and pick the sermon you want to hear and he started to laugh. "We'd never hear about sin again. Give me grace every time!"

So really, how far have we come with God in three thousand years? And if we want to go further, what do we need to do?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Circle Of Life

Sorry it's been a few days, Lorie and I were in Chicago for the weekend visiting the in-laws (or as Todd calls them, the out-laws).

But while we were there we received a gift from Lorie's sister and husband, a bag of squirrel food. (They didn't want it anymore, and they were trying to give us something we didn't want inside the bag, but that's a different story). This was good because we have some thieving squirrels. They take the feed from our bird feeder and empty it out all over the ground.

So we put out a little squirrel feed for them today (we were trying to coax the baby chipmunk from our flowers) and wouldn't you know it, they never got any. Why? Because the birds started stealing their food. That's right, the birds got back at them by taking their food.

Wouldn't life be so much simpler if animals (and people) took what they needed from where they are supposed to? Novel idea...


Saturday, May 23, 2009

"God Bless"

Tonight I was flipping around watching TV (I know, surprising), but I happened to come upon a concert that was playing. I stopped for a second. It was a little crazy, singing about anarchy with people spewing fire (did I give it away?). Lots of lights, at least in the 30 seconds I saw.

I was about to change it when they did a huge finale, fun to watch, then the singer says this. "God bless you."

Now I'm not trying to judge here, but I know about the band, they don't believe in God, they're singing a song about anarchy and definitely not promoting "Godly" values in the few seconds I saw, but they still said "God bless you" to the fans at the end of the concert.

How does that work? Do they believe in God? Do they believe but not follow, because that doesn't make sense to me? Do they understand it is a prayer they're offering? Does God see it as that? Is He happy He's mentioned or saddened He's associated with this?

So many questions...


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Impulse Christianity

Earlier this week Pastor Mike and I went to a one-day conference in which the speaker said something that stuck with me.

Many people give, serve, do whatever it is to feel good. They want to have a sense of fulfillment. The problem is that the everyday steps of discipleship don't feel "spiritual" some days. Instead, the out of the ordinary things seem more spiritual or impactful. What this means (according to the speaker) is people typically wait and do things spur of the moment or impulsively because that feels better, it feels more spiritual in a sense.

But that's not the way it is. Discipleship is an everyday devotion, it is continually doing what you need to do for Christ, giving, serving, worshipping, whatever it may be.

Luke 9:23 ~ Then He said to all, "Anyone who wants to follow Me must put aside his own desires and conveniences and carry his cross with him every day and keep close to Me!

So let's not be impulse Christians. Let's be disciples.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Art Is Too Easy

I was online looking for a piece of art that I can't remember the name of (that makes it hard). It depicts Jesus talking with His disciples.

And here's what I found. So many different pictures of Jesus. The classic looks, Him teaching, even Him holding a gun and showing a child how to shoot. And I was thinking who would bother to take the time and do that?

But that's when it hit me, it doesn't take anytime at all. Thanks to Photoshop and other computer programs, it takes a few minutes. Thanks to the internet in seconds millions have access to it. Five hundred years ago a work of art would take hours and years of someone's life, then there would be just the one. No one would make such mocking pictures as we do because quite simply it would be beyond their time.

Isn't it great how technology has made our lives better? And look at how we use it...


Happy Birthday Lorie

Sorry I wasn't on lately. Yesterday was Lorie's birthday so we were out having fun :)

New posts soon.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why Can't We Just Give?

Sorry, a short one, but it was on my mind.

Yesterday I was at a Christian Bookstore (getting Grad gifts, what are they? Find out at the Senior Brunch...) and at the counter they have the ever popular impulse buying things. And to the side was something you could buy, a bell or whatever, and for each one bought the company would send a Bible overseas.

What I don't understand is when did we hit the point that we only give if we get something in return? If you want someone to get a Bible overseas, just give to an organization that gives Bible overseas. How much of that giving do you think is used for the stuff you get to keep, promotion, packaging, etc. Even the 30 Hour Famine, this week we give out the "prizes" for those who gave certain amounts to the cause. Wouldn't the cause have gotten more if everyone just gave not expecting something in return?

But the sad part is, that's where we're at. Ask any fundraiser, if you want to raise money you have to be willing to give money, to spend money, to have something to give away as prizes (why auctions do so well).

Why don't we just give to give?


Friday, May 15, 2009


Last night Danny won the "Hell's Kitchen" competition. I was really happy, since I told Lorie around the second week in that he would win. Good job Danny.

This morning he was on "Live with Regis and Kelly" doing a cooking segment and Lorie turned it on for me (she knew about it and I didn't, isn't she the best?!). During their time cooking, Regis asked Danny what he learned from Chef Gordon Ramsey (the host / judge of Hell's Kitchen). Without pausing Danny said "Standards". He then went on to explain how the most important lesson he could learn from Chef Ramsey was to make sure your standards are high, to make sure that every dish that comes out of the kitchen is perfect, not even one grain of salt too much or you redo it and do it right.

It amazes me how people will do this for food, or for someone else's approval, but when it comes to God or Sunday morning service or a Bible Study or whatever, I feel like the average Christian's expectation isn't to do their best, it's to aim just get it done, sometimes even mediocre is good as long as it's done.

Where did that come from?! What's sad is I don't think this is a new development. Back in Exodus God tells Moses that the sin sacrifice must be a one year-old lamb without defect. Now why would God have to be that specific? My guess is because if He wasn't, people would give God the cruddiest, crippled lamb that was one year old, barely fulfilling what they felt was the bare minimum of the Law.

We need to aim higher.

II Timothy 2:15a ~ Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of. (MSG)

I think we need to start doing our best at church, giving our best to God. Now before you all get mad at me, I didn't say it needed to be perfect. We should get as close as we can to perfect, but none of us are there (not even me believe it or not). BUT, from personal experience I've found that people are all too willing to give God the least amount of effort and call it their best just to get out of more work (yet, when someone special is in the pew, they somehow manage to find more effort, it's really strange...)

So let's do it, let's give God what really is our best, in all we do. Let's represent our Holy God right!

Colossians 3:17 ~ And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (NLT)


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Good Deeds Are Rare

Every once in a while people turn into the church parking lot or the road in front of my house with car problems (you need to get off 116th, trust me). Well, same thing yesterday. This guy was out of gas in front of my house.

So I helped. It didn't seem like I did that much. I gave him a ride to BP and back to his car. That's it. Then, he tried to pay me. And I remember thinking, "Why?" All I did was drive him to the gas station and back, woo.

But it's occurred to me since then, we pay for things that are rare. It is so rare that someone would just help another human being, it's in our mind here that they need to be paid for their services. It's just kind of sad. Are good deeds becoming extinct?

Galatians 6:10a ~ Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone. (NLT)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do The Right Thing

For those that don't know, our church staff has a blog.

But anyway, on Sunday Kim wrote about how we need to be living with integrity. How that integrity adds to our message of who Christ is.

Now, the hard part about integrity is not what others see. Integrity is started when you can do the right things when no one is looking. I admit, I'm not perfect in this, but even yesterday I had a chance to get stuff for free. The person helping me at Wal-Mart misread my receipt and almost gave me $50 worth of free stuff. No one would have known, even Lorie wasn't around (although she probably would have figured it out when she looked in the back of the car...) but I did what I was supposed to do.

I'm not saying that to say I'm perfect or better. I screw up enough, trust me. But Kim just reminded me that we have to work that much harder on making sure we live out what we say we believe when no one is looking. It's almost like training. When I played baseball, no one saw the work we did in the outfield on Tuesday night, but when the game came on Saturday night, the training was evident. I think it's the same way here. No one will see the right decisions you make in secret, but they will see what you do in public, and it will be easier to live for Christ then if you've done your training before.

Just something to think about. Oh, and thanks to whoever left the note in my mailbox this weekend :)


Monday, May 11, 2009

Let Your Yes Be Yes

It's a verse from the Bible (James 5:12, and Jesus said it in Matt. 5:37).

It was in my head because of something I read. This is one of my personal pet peeves. People who say they will do something but then don't do it. When I was in college our music professor had a friend who was moving his music studio, so he asked the choir for help. Everybody raised their hands and said they would. After, I went and talked to the professor, I felt bad that I couldn't make it (since I was the only one), but he didn't worry about it and was appreciative that I told him.

Wouldn't you know the night of the move, out of the 40 who volunteered, 2 showed up. That's right, two! Now I felt really bad because they could have used my help, but that's when he said he would rather have five people, but know all five are going to show up than have forty but only two show up.

And it makes sense. I bug the students about it all the time. Everyone wants to volunteer and feel good. But sometimes we volunteer to feel good and then can't make it. As someone that's now in charge of things like that, I would much rather have people I know I can count on than people who are simply going to say they will do something then not.

Here's how this all got in my head.

(Jesus speaking) “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.
“Which of the two obeyed his father?”
They replied, “The first.” ~ Matthew 21:28-31

To me it just makes sense...


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Fuel To The Fire

Today Lorie and I watched waaaay too much TV (it was one of those days where your brain realizes you don't have to keep up so it just shuts down) and we ended up watching a show where the people in it were in the Bahamas eating barbecue chicken. And of course only one thing went through my mind. Caribbean Jerk Chicken. Mmmm...

We went shopping and since Lorie didn't want any (she doesn't quite like the spicy) I was all excited to cook this for myself. So I fired up the grill and started the potatoes (they take way longer but taste so good out there) and waited to do the chicken. I got it all spiced perfectly, ready to go. Took it out when it was ready and... no fire. Of all the times, the propane on the grill had run out.

And it got me thinking. How often do we have (or say we have) the fire, the excitement, the whatever it is at our churches but we've forgotten the fuel, prayer, Jesus. You can't have fire without gas. You can't have a place where people can come to meet with God if God isn't there and you haven't invited Him. This was a verse I memorized a long time ago (because it's so short):

I Thessalonians 5:17 ~ Never stop praying. (NLT)


Thursday, May 07, 2009

It's All Okay If You Do What's Right

Now, don't be fooled by the title. It is not always easy to do the right thing, but it will always be okay (in a sense).

Here's where I'm getting it from. Reading the prophets has reminded me of all the stories of things they went through. Jeremiah was thrown in a well basically because a jail would be too nice for him. Ezekiel had to do all sorts of crazy things like lie on his side for over a year. Daniel was a prisoner who was thrown in with lions while his friends were almost burned to death. All this crazy stuff. But there are two verses in Ezekiel that helped it make sense. One comes after God tells Ezekiel he has to tell the people about funerals and death and things of that nature. The other is after God says the people won't like what Ezekiel has to say.

Ezekiel 3:1-3 ~ Then the Lord said to me, “Human, eat what you find; eat this scroll. Then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He gave me the scroll to eat. He said to me, “Human, eat this scroll which I am giving you, and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. (NCV)

Ezekiel 3:7-9 ~ "But the people of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, because they are not willing to listen to Me. Yes, all the people of Israel are stubborn and will not obey. See, I now make you as stubborn and as hard as they are. I am making you as hard as a diamond, harder than stone. Don’t be afraid of them or be frightened by them, though they are a people who turn against Me." (NCV)

Both times God is saying this will be rough, but both times He reassures Ezekiel that he can do it. The words that need be told to someone else, they taste like honey to the one following God. The thing you have to do that you know will hurt, God makes you hard as diamond to do it.

It's funny how God gives you the right thing at the right time. I've been thinking about someone I should talk to, but how it's not my place or what not. And then I read this. And now I'm nervous because I think it's a hint, and who would I rather tick off, this other person, or God for not doing what I should..? (I hope the words are sweet and I'm hard as diamond...)


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Magically Know

This seemed to be my theme for the day. That people think others around them magically know what's going on. I won't get into details because I might offend someone (I know, I must be in a nice mood) but I think there's a lot of people in the world that need to understand that just because something is in their head does not mean it's in the heads of those around them.

And even if you think the other person knows what you do, so what? Sometimes you need to ask even if you are sure they already know the question. I mean, really, that's kind of what prayer is. God still wants us to ask. There's a commitment in the asking, an acknowledgement that you are asking for something, not just expecting it.

So here's my challenge. Ask. Talk. Communicate. If you want something from somebody, don't take them or their situation (or your friendship, or their job, or their time, etc.) for granted. Don't treat them like you are entitled to them. Be nice.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fastest Border Crossing Ever

Yes, believe it or not. Lorie and I took longer to get into Canada than to get into the United States. True story. When we got to the American border yesterday we were the second car in line, they looked at our paperwork and said "have a nice day". It was awesome!

But, of course, the reason for the visit was my nephew Travis' baptism, so here he is :)


Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Only Troy"

Apparently this is a common theme that people talk about when mentioning me in Canada. These sorts of things only happen to Troy. And last night was no exception.

Lorie and I drove to London, Ontario. Nothing. The border took about 5 minutes (including waiting in line). Getting to Emily and Brian's, no problem. But then the excitement. The chipmunk.

Apparently on Thursday Brian brought a rug out of the garage and put it in the basement. When he dropped it he saw a chipmunk come shooting out and hide under furniture. After trying to catch him, Brian decided to close him in and try later.

So I showed up later. Last night we went downstairs and could not find him at all (which fostered Emily's fear that he had escaped the basement and was in the house somewhere). Then, after a few minutes, we found him sitting in a pot for a fake tree. Just sitting there, eyes almost closed. So tired, so hungry, so thirsty. I reached down and pet him and he didn't move at all (chipmunks are soft). I gently picked him up and started toward the door... when after a few steps he freaked out and either bit or scratched me (or both) and went flying. Well, a few minutes later we had him caught, but Emily and Lorie are now freaking out that I have rabies (thank you Internet once again).

After talking to a nurse on the phone they were convinced I probably did not have rabies, but I would need a tetanus shot. So this morning, guess what I had to go do? (We don't remember my last one, and you can get that shot over and over).

So yeah, I've been in Canada less than a day and already enjoyed the wildlife :)