Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In this world you will have trouble....

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." 
John 6:33b

Life brings many things. Some are good, but we can be sure that there will be troubles. Jesus promises it, but then He gives us hope. He has overcome the world. Jesus is an over-comer and we can be an over-comers through Him. Unfortunately for us, though, it is not going to just happen. We have to do something!

One of the first things that we must understand is that hard times do not dictate our future. It is what we do with those things that determines what direction our life is going to take. We are not the result of our circumstances, but rather the result of the decisions we make in those circumstances. You can take two people, put them through the exact same things and have their lives take two entirely different paths. One person takes their hard times and uses them to better themselves and produce a positive outcome, while the other focuses on the problem and lets it consume them. Same problem; two entirely different outcomes.

I have heard it said "Attitude determines altitude", meaning that with a good attitude we can actually rise above our troubles and turn them for good. This is such an important concept and if you take hold of it I guarantee it will change your life. You ever notice how certain people always seem to have drama? It seems like no matter what they do something bad always happens? And then there are those who seem to always have 'good luck'? I challenge you to take a look at these two different lives and compare them. More often than not you will see many similarities. Both have problems and issues that come up, but the difference comes with the attitude each person has through their troubles. One person focuses on the problem and it brings them down, while the other looks past it and keeps going.

I say this as an encouragement to those who are facing impossible odds. Even though sometimes it seems that there is no hope, there is always hope. We must make a decision to look up from our problem and look past it. When you do not focus on your problem it will not seem to be as big.

Another way to think of this is that whatever you focus on is the direction your life will head. If you focus on the problem you will run right into it, but if you focus beyond the problem you will move past it. This is not saying it will not affect you, but it will not stop you.

I also want you to take a look at God's promises. If you are living your life for Him you can rest assured that He is is wanting the best for you. God Loves you and His Word tells us "that in all things He works for the good of those who Love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."(Romans 8:28)

In order for God's promises to help us through our problems we must have faith in them. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."(Hebrews 11:1) We all hope for a better future or a way out of our current crisis. Faith is knowing that hope will become a reality. It is
being able to look at all that is going on around you and seeing how you can use it to better yourself.

See, we have the promise that God will bring good out of every circumstance, but until we believe in that promise we will never see it.

To give an example I will use a situation out of my own life. My mother died when I was 13. At that time my younger brother and I lived with her in a small town in Washington. It was a tragic situation that turned my life upside down. At the time I was going through it, and for that matter many years after, it was hard for me to see the good that was coming out of it. Now, as I look back on the situation I can see how God orchestrated every detail as He was working to bring good out of it. I can see how God's hand has directed me since then, beginning with moving to Oregon with my Grandma all the way to meeting and marrying my wife.

I am not saying that moving to Oregon and meeting my wife wouldn't have happened if my mom hadn't died, but it would have been different. And everything that I went through has made me who I am today because I allowed God to work good through my negative circumstance.

Now I'll stop my rambling and give you the bottom line. It really just comes down to God. If you keep your focus on Him even when you are facing hardship you will come out of it victorious. Remember, through Christ we are more than conquerors because He has overcome the world. All these other things, such as attitude and faith, play important parts, but are nothing without your focus being God.


Friday, June 19, 2015

You're not my enemy.......You're my brother!!!

As a parent there are many times that my children say things that stand out from their normal banter. Some times it provides conviction and other times it just provides a laugh. This is a story that provides both. Also, please note that the pictures have nothing in particular to do with the story. They are just included because they make me laugh.

Before I begin my story I want to mention the dangers of teaching your children the difference between right and wrong. The danger is this: If you ever mess up (not that you ever would) they will be the first to remind you about it.

Now, this story takes place (as most of the interesting ones seem to) on a day when it is just me and the kids. My wife was out with her mom and sisters. I decided to take the kids and go to Costco for lunch and groceries. To brag on them a little, they actually did great at Costco. And to brag on my accomplishment for a minute I fed all 5 of us lunch with dessert for under 12 bucks. That's the beauty of a Costco dogs and frozen yogurt. Leaving Costco is where the the title of this blog comes from.

I got the car loaded with all the kids and groceries and start to back out. As I am about half way out of my spot another car comes rushing up behind me like they are not going to stop. I hesitate my backing because I am not looking for a wreck or anything. At that point the car stops...just close enough to make it really awkward to turn any further as I continue to back out. Well, I managed to finagle my way the rest of the way out and as I do so I comment to nobody in particular, 'That guy is being an idiot."

Just then my daughter speaks up, "Dad, you said we are supposed to Love our enemies. That means we shouldn't call them names."

OUCH!! Correction from my seven year old. As I am thinking of what to say my boys come quickly to my defense.

"If you're not supposed to call them names, then why are you always calling us names," they said.

Without missing a beat my daughter responds, "You're not my're my brothers!"

That response made me laugh a little. Then I made my apology and acknowledged that my daughter was right and we are supposed to Love our enemies and do good to them, even when you don't feel like it.

So there are a few things that I learned from this conversation. 

1. If I teach my kids something I better make sure that I practice it or I am going to find myself asking them for forgiveness (which is bound to happen sometimes anyway).

2. My boys will come to my defense (at least if it means verbally attacking their sister)

3. Apparently siblings are in a different category from enemies, so it is OK to call them names
They were supposed to smile

They were supposed to be serious

They were suppose to be funny

If you have anything kind of funny that you have learned from your children please comment below. I would love to hear it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fiji - Things are coming together!

Oasis-FarmBula friends & family! It has been awhile since my last update on our Fiji mission trip. All is going well and things are coming together nicely. Nicole and I have purchased our plane tickets, we have a schedule for who is watching the kids while we are away, and we have been trying to catch a few sun rays to avoid getting totally burned when we get there. And most importantly, money is already rolling in to pay off the van for Island Encounters (for more info see my last update). We are already over a tenth of the way there!! At last count there has been $590 donated.

There are also a couple of new things that I have to share with you. First, I need to graciously thank Katrin Duckworth and her mother who have been hard at work setting up a website filled with information about our upcoming adventure. Please check it out at and let me know what you think.

Nicole has also been hard at work putting on garage sales to try and raise some spending cash for us on our trip. Thank you to all who have donated stuff to these. She will be having a couple more before the summer is up. If you are interested in donating anything top help us out or coming to one of them out please email me and I will get you more information.

If you haven't had a chance to give to the Fiji van fund, or even if you have, we now have a way you can give and you will get a pie in return! A couple of the ladies from our church have organized a pie fundraiser (Thanks Zena & Kristen). These pies will come from Shari's restaurant and are $25 apiece (keep in mind you are giving to a good cause). For each pie that you purchase you will be entered into a drawing to win a second pie. All profits will go directly to the van fund. So to sum it up, you get a pie and help the people of Fiji at the same time!! It doesn't get much better than that!

If you are interested in purchasing a pie to help out Island Encounters please email me or just write a comment to this blog and I will get you an order form. This fundraiser will go through June 27th - or June 28th if you drop it off at Connection Church during the service. See order form on the right (or I can send you one) for more information and pick-up details.

Nicole and I would like to thank all of our friends and family that have been helping to make all this come together. You are amazing and we couldn't do this with out you!!

If you want to keep up to date with all that is going on with our Fiji trip just add your email in the 'Follow by email' box that is in the right hand column of my blog page and you will get an email every time I post on here.