Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Branded...

I wrote what I like to call my, "Come Back Post" the other day for the whole world to see.  Today, I re-read it and realized that all of it is true!  But, it was more or less a big pity party for myself.  So, I'm trying to break out of that state of mind, and write about something a little more uplifting. 


I first thought I'd write about my experiences in the Emergency Room yesterday after my son ran his head into a steel pole at school.  But after deciding that is about as uplifting as feline leukemia, I thought I might talk about my life as a runner.  BUT, who wants to hear about that?  I already talk about it so much that I should probably just let that one lie.  But just then, I was reminded of the lifestyles that we take on, when we get into something new and let it consume us like running has with me.

When I first started running, I had an old pair of shoes, some shorts from the 90's, and an old Army t-shirt.  But as time went on, I started changing my wardrobe to reflect the character of an athletic person.  First, I bought some $120 high tech shoes, then some sweat-wicking clothes, and then I had to have the Oakley running shades.  But it didn't stop there... I even bought a bike (for off days from running), a hydration belt, and the piece d' resistance, a $350 GPS watch.

But was all of this stuff necessary?

Sure, it helped with the comfort level of running.  Also, the watch helps me with training.  But necessary or not, it was just the stuff that I needed to brand myself as a runner to the world.  When I wear my running attire, I feel as though I stand out as a runner, and thus other runners can identify me and we can be friends and meet up for runs around town!

How stupid...

Can you think of any other ways people brand themselves?  Did you ever see a big guy that was wearing Under Armor and think, "Wow!  He must be a professional football player".  Or maybe you saw a person wearing a Callaway Golf Hat and you almost went up and asked them if they knew Tiger.

But what about in the Christian-branded merchandise?

I've seen it time and again, how certain people will come to know Christ and immediately go out and buy the shirts, necklaces, and the ultimate form of Jesus Merchandise, the JESUS FISH on the back of the car.  But does this make one more spiritual?  Does it make one closer to God? Does it advertise in a positive light, the God of the Universe?  I answer no, no, and maybe to all of these questions.

So, what are you branded as?  Or better yet, are you POSING as an athlete? A fashionista? A Jesus Freak?  Is it a positive vibe you're shining on humanity?  Or, are you blinding them with a fad?

"Lord, Help me be a simple person that keeps his eyes on you and not the world."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Drifting...


I've been drifting along in a vast ocean... 


At least that's the way I've felt spiritually for the past year, and it's taken me until now to really see it.  

In January 2008, I started to drift off, away from the comfortable shoreline that I was so accustomed to and into the rougher, colder waters.  The worst part about it is the fact that the waves keep getting higher and the raft I'm riding (which was once a mighty vessel), is starting to come apart and take on water.  I don't like it... And something has to give or I'll be eaten by the sharks that are circling.

In January of last year, I lost my spiritual leader when God called him to another Church.  Then, a few months later, I lost another one when he too was called away.   The first was my Pastor, the second was one of my best friends that was our Youth Pastor, but I considered him my rock.  Sure, you may say that Preachers come and Preachers go, and that's just the way "Church" is.  But I beg to differ.

When I lost my Pastor in January, I lost the first person that showed me there was more to this "Jesus Thing" than simply going to church.  He showed me that it's a lifestyle, not just a Sunday/Wednesday tradition.  And in his tenure, I came to understand what it means to love God, and let Him love you.  But most of all, what I learned from him was the fact that there is a HUGE difference in being "Spiritual" and "Religious" and sadly, the majority of the people I know don't have this figured out yet.

But you might be saying to yourself something to the effect of, "A man cannot save you," or "Don't place people (even Pastors) on pedestals," but I have to say that

  I miss the guy that taught me more about having a RELATIONSHIP with God and not simply a religious fear of the Almighty. 

I miss the person that taught the Word and not a feel good gospel like so many are spewing today.  

And, I miss my friend and that hurts, really bad.

When I look back on the past few years, I smile by the enormous amount of spiritual growth that  took place in my life.  I learned more, wrote more, and studied more than any other time in my life.  If you don't believe me, just read some of my posts from 2006.  Or better yet, I even wrote a book and became a published Christian Author!  I was on top of the world and felt God's presence in my life as though I was being used in a mighty way by Him for Him.  And we were close man, real close.

That was then...

As I think about my spiritual life today, I am sad.  And it's a deep sadness that I've never felt before.  Don't get me wrong, I love God and I'm not saying I'm "Lost" or anything like that.  And I'm also not saying that I'm gonna' drop Christianity and go chasing after the world.  No, not all.  What I'm saying is that I HATE the fact that I've allowed myself to place distance between my Saviour and I.  

It's uncomfortable... Heck, it's becoming unbearable and I don't like it one bit.

I want my spiritual life back...

I'm tired of all the Churchy Crap that I've been through...

I want my Pastor...

I want more of God.