Monday, August 28, 2006
Christian Conversations
As I was doing some research for my next group of postings, I was trolling through some blogs that I read regularly. I discovered a link to a blog written by a Methodist Minister in North Carolina by the name of Kevin Baker. His bio can be found here.

He started his blog to discuss "theological musings about faith, politics, and everyday life. Don't be surprised if you find humor, sarcasm, and tongue in check reflections along side more straightforward thoughts. Here you will find reflections more geared toward asking the right questions than finding overly simplistic and reductionist answers. Conversation implies community, so these reflections are meant to start discussion rather than end it."

Upon skimming through his blog,
Christian Conversations, I noticed his series on "Why I am a United Methodist." I found it not only informative, but challenging. He delves into the current divisions within the Christian church, mainly in America. He gives some of his ideas about fixing the problems, but invites others to share as well. Make sure to read the comments by readers. All the ideas presented are in a logical, realistic manner that delve even deeper into some of the conversations I am having with Angela Messenger regarding my faith and my decision to leave the Catholic Church and join the United Methodist Church almost 5 years ago. After reading through his commentary and the other comments, all I can say is, "Can't we just all get along?" In other words, why do we, as Christians, focus so much on our differences and so little on our similarities?

Food for thought....

  posted at 1:26 PM

Saturday, August 26, 2006
Conversation meme
Angela Messenger has tagged me with a conversation meme.

If you could meet and have a deep conversation with any five people on earth, living or dead, from any time period, who would they be?

Name five people from each of the following categories:
Those in the Process of Being Canonized
Heroes from your native country

Then, tag five people.

1. St. Paul – the true, “It ain’t all about the rules, if there is not love, and faith, it amounts for naught” guy.
2. St. Augustine – If he can go from being the heathen that he was, to one of the most well known Christian scholars, there is hope for me yet.
3. St. Marie Rose Durocher – I figured, since she is related to me, I would ask her about her real story.
4. St. Peter - first pope, knew Jesus, knew the Blessed Mother - I have so many questions! (copied from Angela Messenger, why mess with perfection)

Those in the process of being canonized (Since I am not Catholic, I have not kept up with this, but I have to go with the 2 obvious ones)

1. Blessed Mother Teresa – To hear how difficult, or not, it was to give everything up and truly follow Christ’s call, like the first 12 apostles.
2. Pope John Paul II – A man I admire for always, no matter what society said or how things have progressed, always reminded us that God does not and the Truth does not change.

Heroes from your native country

You go me on this one. There are not a lot of Frenchmen that I know of that I would want to talk to…well, would like to see Napoleon in person and see if he was really that short.


1. CS Lewis – If someone can go from being raised in the church, become an atheist, then through logic, become a Christian, and write one of the best series of books every written (Narnia Chronicles), I think he would have a lot to say.
2. St. Thomas Aquinas
3. John Steakly – How could someone with such a unique take on Sci-Fi write only 2 books?
4. Sharon Shinn – Another Sci-Fi author that takes ancient Jewish and Christian themes, names, etc. and brings in a Sci-Fi twist (Samaria Trilogy)
5. King Solomon – Did God’s gift of wisdom truly cause his outlook on things?
6. Frank E. Peretti - This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness...nuff said.

Since I am new to this, I am not going to tag anyone.

  posted at 11:45 PM

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Conversations with Friends AKA Finding the Will AND the Way
**This posting is sort of out of order. I started it on the 14th of August, the night after I had these conversations, but just now finished it. The postings previous to this may make more sense now.**

I have always found it interesting that the Lord speaks to you at times that you least expect it. Whether it be in the conversations with friends and neighbors, or in a small, still voice calling you to say and do great things, the Lord speaks to us when we least expect it.

I did not think that my conversations and postings on another's blog would lead me down the road of discovery and conversations that I had this past Sunday (08/13/2006), but they did. They led me to entertain thoughts and ideas that I had not seen myself exploring a week ago.

It all started when I made some comments on a website about some individuals' reaction to a Christian video. The postings, like most comments from those that do not want to truly understand Christianity, were attacking and degrading. My comments stated a continued need for education. Christians really need to be able to defend their faith. I am not talking about doctrine and tradition, but a true understanding as to what the Christian faith is about. What does the Bible say and why does it say it this way? What was going on during the time this was written? How did these things completely change our understanding of the world around us, our chance for salvation, and a love from a creator beyond any other love that will ever be known?

It is this need for understanding that I feel the Lord has called me to at this time. He wants me to share some things that I am dealing with so that others may learn from those experiences, get a better understanding of their faith, and be encouraged to spread the Good News.

Sometimes, Christians are seen as passive about spreading their faith. They talk about it, but they don't really live it. Where as, other religions in the world not only seem to preach their message, but they practice it too, sometimes with dire consequences. I hope that any postings I create will encourage Christians to spread the gospel while compelling them with stories and bible based comments directed toward a complex understanding of our roles here on earth.

In these conversations with friends, I have found a glaring irony with evangelization:

As a new Christian, I am spirit filled and strive to spread the gospel and the joy I have recently received by allowing Christ to come into my heart and change me. I have started that personal relationship with Him that calls me to go out and spread the Good News, but there is a drawback. If I was not raised in the church or I have not really studied God's word, I am not always prepared to fend off the extreme criticism that comes toward Christians in today's world. I have the will, but not necessarily way to share my faith with others.

As an older Christian, I may not be as spirit filled as I was when I first converted to Christianity, but I have studied the Bible and I understand my faith. I can defend it and attempt to evangelize through the Good News. I have the way, but maybe not the will.

The struggle for all Christians is to so completely walk in the presence of God that you not only have the will, but you have the way. It has been a long while, but Christ has again given me the will to share the wondrous works of the Lord Jesus Christ. I also have been involved in church or a church school and done external studies, so I have more of a way than I used to.

I will say this, I am not the end all, be all when it comes to answers about Christianity. There are individuals that have studied Christianity and lived it their entire lives and they still have questions. I will quote Christian books I have read from various authors. I will definitely quote the bible (and use multiple translations). I will share from friends. My main hope, and I believe what God has called me to do, is to start discussions about Christianity, challenge people to look into themselves for something greater than themselves, and share all I can of the Good News about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Heavenly Father, you have blessed us all with the knowledge of Your Son and the creation here on earth. You call each of us to you and grant us gifts and talents to be used for the raising up of Your kingdom. Lord, as You call me to share Your word and Your love, guide my heart and my mind that Your will be done and not mine. Lord You are the potter and I am the clay..Pleasee do with me as You will. In Your most holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  posted at 3:03 PM

Sunday, August 20, 2006
Celebrities are Christians Too
I know that the title of this post seems, well, a little rude, but with all the crazy liberalness coming out of Hollywood, and the utterly insane comments and reporting coming from the media, I figured that I would share this little gem.

While looking through the Religion section of the Houston Chronicle on Saturday, I noticed this article on the front page. It made me smile, to see and read about 2 things I love to talk about...God and baseball! I found Lance Berkman's comments inspiring during an age when most Christian celebrities are a little "shy" about sharing their faith. I also found what he had to say somewhat reserved (he has been known in Houston and in baseball for making some pretty Yogi Berra-ish comments).

Aug. 18, 2006, 8:56PM
A heart for the game and a heart for God

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

The Astros, aka the God Squad, have their own chaplain, a folksy gentleman as generous with wisdoms and Bible verses as a school nurse with Band-Aids.

During spring training, the 'Stros meet regularly for Bible study led by team funny man and slugger Lance Berkman.

On Sundays, the turnout at well-attended team worship services includes regulars Berkman, Andy Pettitte, Chris Burke, Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett.

The other day The Chronicle's Claudia Feldman recently sat down with Berkman in the dugout at Minute Maid Park to talk religion, baseball and the connection between the two. He sandwiched the interview few minutes between a family birthday party, batting practice and a pre-game autograph fest with 50 children from Wesley Community Center and the Baytown YMCA.

Did the kids swarm you at the birthday party?

Nah. They were 5-year-olds. And little girls.

Is faith in God pervasive on the team?

I would say probably 15 of 25 guys - over half the team - are Christian. And we're the only major-league team with a chaplain, Gene Pemberton, (on the payroll). All the teams have baseball chapel. We have that, too, and I'm the chapel representative. The chapel leader is Kevin Edelbrock. He comes in on Sundays and leads chapel for us and also the visiting team.

What happens at the services?

Mainly, Kevin tries to relate to baseball. And he'll lead us in a lesson from the Bible - we go through a book a month. Right now we're on 1 Thessalonians. And we pray. If someone's parents or kids are sick, or someone's wife is pregnant, we pray for them. It's a time of fellowship. We belong to a church here, but during the season, we never get to go.

You were the leader of Bible study during the spring. How did it go?

We had five weeks of spring training so we studied 1 John, which has five chapters. We took a chapter a week. We didn't have homework - most guys would rebel against that - but they read on their own. We would try to figure out, ``What do you think this passage is saying? What is God trying to teach through his word?''

Growing up in the Austin area, was your family religious?

I like to say I overcame a drug problem. My parents ``drug'' me to church. For a long time, it was a religious ritual, but it had no depth, no meaning for me. There's a difference between knowing a lot of facts about God and knowing God. ... I guess you could say I was born again, or transformed from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive, when I was at Rice (University).

That's when I felt a true connection with God. There was no lightning bolt, but I felt that connection over a course of time. And people helped, my roommate and his sister, who became my wife. They were instrumental. They taught me the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.

Were you ever a hell-raiser?

I had that typical experience, a time of debauchery. I was doing things I shouldn't have been doing, and I'm not proud of it. But there was nothing to it; it wasn't lasting.

What role does faith play in your life?

It's most important. Most people want to compartmentalize their job, family and religion. But when you're a Christian, it permeates every aspect of your life. It's who I am, and it comes out in every arena.

Faith also helps me not get caught up in the hype of being a local celebrity. Some get a feeling of elevated importance. In 200 years, no one will know I played. I try to keep an eternal perspective.

How are faith and baseball intertwined? And do you ever pray for hits?

I'm not here to say I'm an authority on how God operates, but as for praying for hits, I'm not into that.

I think God cares about me - he cares about our struggles - but I don't believe that if I pray for a hit, he'll get me a hit.

If I'm in a slump, I'll bring that burden to him. You grow through trials. You learn from difficult times.

God didn't spare his own son, and he doesn't spare us.

Two teams pray for a win. God doesn't care about a baseball game or the World Series. He cares about individuals.

Every once and a while I run across things like this and I smile. It is good to know that there are celebrities, sports heroes, and other not-so-regular Joes out there that just happen to be Christians as well. If only the media would share more often, there would be a little more for us all to smile about.

  posted at 9:48 PM

Saturday, August 19, 2006
I Need You To Love Me
I have found myself struggling this week to really put out there what I want to say. I was driving home from Church on Sunday, and it all clicked. The conversations that I had participated in the night before with Angela Messenger, and the conversations that continued with a friend at Church before Sunday School. The actual Sunday School class as well. But when all was said and done, I could not sit down and put my thoughts together in one, coherent message. I mean, I have the Sunday Conversations to finish, and the Lonely, Impatient Christian series to complete. All I can say is that Satan is coming at me full force.

For the past 3 weeks, I have had the strong call from Christ to continue to post. I can hear the small, still voice telling me to share with others, both on the blog and anywhere I meet them, the glorious wonders of Christ's love. Needless to say, I have had a little trouble with that. I started an in depth conversation with Angela Messenger, only to slack off of it by Tuesday. I know that I have been busy, but as my previous post, I'm Back....I Think...No, Really, I Am, stated, I continue to have trouble with just taking that time to reflect on God's word and let it speak to me, so that I can speak to others. I have read a few more chapters in Hebrews, followed by a little bit of Acts, but I have not really applied what I have learned and shared it with others.

Listening to the radio today, KSBJ here in Spring, TX, I heard Barlow Girl's "I Need You to Love Me." That song always touches me, every single time that I hear it, and reminds me of just how much God loves me, even when I am being stupid, or I am failing in my daily battle with Satan.

Below are the lyrics. Please really read through them and think about the truth they portray of God's love for all of us, who are so unworthy of the love He gives and the blood He shed. As Adoro te Devote said in a response to a comment about a posting: "I don't deserve God's love. And that's why I love him so much." Thanks Angela Messenger for pointing out this post. :)

I Need You to Love Me by Barlow Girl

Why, why are You still here with me

Didn't You see what I've done?
In my shame I want to run and hide myself
But it's here I see the truth
I don't deserve You

But I need You to love me, and I
I won't keep my heart from You this time
And I'll stop this pretending that I can
Somehow deserve what I already have
I need You to love me

I, I have wasted so much time
Pushing You away from me
I just never saw how You could cherish me
'Cause You're a God who has all things
And still You want me

Your love makes me forget what I have been
Your love makes me see who I really am
Your love makes me forget what I have been

PS: I may mention some more of their stuff later. It is all good stuff! (from both a spiritual and a musical stand point)

Lord, I am so thankful that You love me as You do. Help me to always be grateful and gracious when it comes to the sacrifices that you have made just so I can be free to love and worship You. Even if I was the only person on earth, I know that You still would have died so that I may live. You love me that much.

Help me to continue to remain focused on what is truly important in this world and not so on the lies Satan lays at my feet in what seem to be minute by minute every day. Please continue to speak to me in a way that I can understand, and let Your still, small voice resonate like a clanging gong in my heart, calling me to Your will. I am Your vessel, You are the with me as You will. I ask this in your most Holy Name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  posted at 9:58 PM

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Too bad I did not have a backup hard drive...
As I look for my notes and attempt to find the scripture I will ultimately use to complete The Lonely, Impatient Christian series, I wanted to share a beautiful picture I recently took while in Wyoming on business.

This is a picture of the river that ran behind our cabin.

This is the driveway that lead to the cabins.

A beautiful, non-smog induced, Wyoming sunset.

It was a wonderful trip and the short time that I was there not only allowed me to discuss business with customers, but it allowed me to truly appreciate the beauty of God's wonderful creation.

  posted at 4:45 PM

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