Tuesday, December 25, 2007

God is good, all the time...

What a great Christmas. In some ways, it may be one of the most moving, proof-of-God Christmas seasons we've had lately. A few awesome things:
  • Missy got a job!!! If you read some old posts, you can see my occasional concern/frustration/lack-of-faith (and, at times, Missy's faith shining through) regarding my wife's unsuccessful job search over the past year-and-a-half or so. Well...search over! She has been a long-term sub at a local elementary school most of the Fall 2007 semester, and it looked like she would "at best" maybbe get hired next fall...maybe...and whammo, the principal last friday tells Missy he'd like to hire her now...WOOHOO!!!!
  • The Castle's (my in-laws) Joined us for Christmas!!! Out of respect, I won't go into too many details...but despite the fact it was the Castles' turn to do Christmas with us, due to some family issues, it looked as if we would not be spending Christmas with Jax's Oma and Opa. Well, the same day we found about about Missy's job, Oma calls and says they are kidnapping Jax for the weekend, and will bring him back later and spend Christmas Eve AND Christmas with us! WOOHOO!!!
  • Jax starting to "get it". First, and most important in the grand scheme of things, when asked, "What is Christmas about?", or, "Whose birthday is it?", Jax replies, JESUS! I know he is only 3, but I want him to always know the true meaning of Christmas. Second, on the, "not true meaning of Christmas" (but still kinda fun) aspect, "Santa" left him a very cool work bench with toy tools and a car he can work on. I was able to sneakily watch him as he woke up before all others, slowly approached the bench, examined it, and says (too himself), "Santa brought me this!" I know some don't like Santa at all, but dang that made me smile...

Well, a merry "rest of holidays" too all. We are off to Kerrville (and thus, no internet access) until Jan 1 or 2.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

in case i don't get around to it...

...I want to wish everyone a merry Christmas.

We will be spending Christmas morning here in Weatherford, then head to Kerrville in the Texas Hill Country for some fun with family and friends (complete with the annual trip to San Antone to see the Austin's...and possibly a visit from the Travis's?) until Jan 1 or so. Mmmmm....porch time...cookies...hiking...yesyesyes...

Some thoughts for us ALL to ponder:
  • Please check out these passages for a reminder of the true purpose of these times: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%201:1-5;&version=31; http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=49&chapter=2&version=31; http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%201-2%20;&version=31; please take some time to "mix" these accounts of Jesus' arrival on the earthly scene... It is too easy to just give this Truth a "polite glance" during Christmas and do all the other stuff/stressfulness, but we are greatly amiss to not spend some real time with the wonder that is God himself choosing to live among us...revolutionary!
  • In fact, now I feel like posting my Sunday lesson notes from a couple weeks ago on the birth of God's Son (just realize they are my "notes/guide", not really a manuscript):
    ***Jesus was God as “one of us”
    ***As we get closer to Christmas, let's look at some attributes of Jesus that prove he can relate to us as people, as sometimes it is easy to view Jesus simply as the deity, not also as a “someone” who walked on earth.
    ***Emmanuel (or Immanuel): “God with us”.
    · Isaiah 7:14: 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
    *****Isaiah 8:8: 8 and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. Its outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel !"
    · Matthew 1:23: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."
    ***This is huge…first off, that hundreds of years before Jesus was born as a human, Isaiah talked about it. Also, just ponder the ramifications of a God that walks among us…showing us how to live. But as the book of Hebrews talks about (too many examples to list), Jesus can relate to us (and vice versa) since he went through everything we did.
    ***So let’s start at the beginning (aka birth) and look at examples of Jesus’ humanity and try to see where it can help us strengthen our faith.
    ***Birth: The Christmas Story…angels, mangers, virgins (oh my!). But lost in that is the fact that God was BORN. From a mom. Just like us. God was born from a woman who had her water break, went through labor, the works. In a stable! Not some sanitized hospital with doctors. We’re talking hay, dirt, maybe animals nearby, no epidurals. Screams of pain. This isn’t some savior just “poof” appearing one day. This is full-on. Think about it: Jesus emerged a bloody mess. Had an umbilical cord. Went potty in his “diaper” or whatever babies wore back then. Breastfed.
    ***Amazing, huh? Other religions may have prophets or “guides” that were human, but not God himself. So in breakout time, let’s discuss how God coming into the world as a baby is simply groundbreaking faith-wise.

    Some Questions to Ponder:
    ***Any initial thoughts come about when you think of our savior being born from a woman?
    ***Does God “putting skin on” and emerging on the scene this way strengthen your faith, or just confuse you?
    ***What are some ways you may be able to focus better on Jesus’ birth (and what it means for all of us) this Christmas season?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

my personality inventory/multiple intelligences test results

Click to view my Personality Profile page

(check out http://www.mypersonality.info/ for your own stuff!)--free login required

Here is what it says about my "ENFP"-type:

ENFP - The "Advocate"
Myers-Briggs Personality Types (Free Test)
ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

My take? I generally agree, although depending on the day and depth of a test like this, my "percentages" (and even in one thorough case, which I sometimes agree with, a "letter") can change some. One time I actually scored INFP-barely being an "I" (51%). There are times I would agree with that. Unlike many "E"s, I truly enjoy getting "lost" in my thoughts, sitting alone, reading, etc. In that case, I tend to say, "I'm an introvert who does like being around folks". Yet, this test says "E". I guess I am feeling social more thses days, who knows (although 74% still seems a bit high).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Funky Weather

So, while it may not be snowy/freezing precip. like the weatherman predicted, I must admit that the weather today has still been interesting. It was COLD and wet (but not rainy) yesterday, but then the cold front became "warm" overnight and backed up. So it was in the 50s this morning. Weather man said highs near 70 as a result, but rainy at times. Well, it did get to the lower 60s, but I went outside about 30 min. ago and thought, "Dang, it got cold again!" So I checked my Weather Bug and sure enough, the front got bored and changed its' mind again...so it has moved back through as a cold front and it is in the 40s and dropping.


40s where we are, 60s and 70s in D/FW (30-60 min east).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Welcome to any New Readers from Yesterday's Unintentional Plug in our Sunday Service

So our children's director, while using a post from this blog (the one about me being bummed it isn't snowing...um, today: http://haphazardangus.blogspot.com/2007/12/such-dork.html) in the children's sermon, gave this blog some "pub", and now, several are curious about it. So, if you are a reader that has shown up due to Cyndi's comments, welcome! I hope that my random (aka, "haphazard") musings bless, entertain, and maybe even challenge you!

Ramblings and Rants About Myself (not a pity party...just some stuff I need to get off my chest)

(forgive the stream-of-conscienceness style of what follows...)

Man, I don't do well with "growing up" sometimes. Honestly, and I have told a few people this humbling theory I have about me, I truly think I am 5-8 years behind where I should be developmentally. Not sure what exactly is to blame, either. Is it because I stayed (essentially) a full-time student until I was 26, and thus wasn't truly "on my own" until after I graduated from seminary? That's a strong possibilty. I see many of my friends who were forced into the "real world" right after college at age 22-23, with houses, wives, etc., and thus seemed to grow up faster. I mean, I certainly have grown up. I can look back even 4 or 5 years and list all kinds of growth, increased maturity, etc., and much of that is due to sharing life with someone (and all the ups-and-downs), being a father, owning a home, and things like that. But there are still plenty of areas where I just can't seem to get it. Areas where irresponsibility, ineptitude, etc., are still running rampant. And it is really starting to bug me. Is it upbringing? (Mom and Dad, I love you!) I'm sure, and my folks would probably admit some of this, that upbringing has something to do with it. And as a parent, I can see how one's best intentions and efforts to simply guide, love, and teach your children can come back to bite at times. For example, I STINK when dealing with money. When I try to balance a checkbook, I just get confused. I may even think I am "doing well", but I'll put off accounting for a few receipts in my wallet, etc., and before you know it, they are forgotten, and as a result, never accounted for. I'm not that great at doing the "not fun stuff" a husband and house-leader need to do. Calling people to set them straight (like builders, etc.). Dealing with banks and credit cards. Getting things done without having to be asked, oh, like five times to do them. Actually, just doing some things without being asked at all! Even plain common sense just doesn't always come easy to me. And it's really starting to bug me!!! But what might upbringing have to do with it? I mean, my dad, while having a similar personality and interests to me, seems to have generally had stuff together. But he was forced to really grow up quicker when his own dad died while my father was in college. He was in charge at an early age. My mom, while always having such great faith and positive outlook on things, did have to learn to "survive" a bit as a child do to some interesting family dynamics. So as a result, they seem to be able to do all the hard stuff. But why did I never seem to learn? Were they too nice to me? Was I protected too much? Where is the line of "letting/forcing your kid learn hard lessons for future growth" and "protecting them, doing things for them, so they can 'be kids'"? I worry often about discovering that line myself in parenting Jax. Will I be too nice, and he ends up not learning lessons he needs to? Will I be too harsh, and he resents me, thought I was too hard on him? I realize there is a middle ground, but I am increasingly discovering that I struggle in finding that place. I tend to be either-or (I either want to just let everything slide, or let nothing slide in an almost tyrant-rule), and I think it boils down to selfishness and laziness on my part. I just don't know if I've been willing to really put the amount of energy needed to seek that middle-ground place where I can still be "me" and be things like a strong, trustworthy leader of our home, or a parent that has kids knowing a) that they are loved beyond belief, b) are able to be kids and have fun but c) know I'm boss and d) grow (spiritually and "life-skills"-ish).

Now, I know some of this struggle is due to my natural temperament/personality, but it doesn't change my God-ordained responsibilities. To blame it all on personality (and thus do nothing about it) is a cop-out and excuse. I may never be a "10" in certain areas, but with God's help I can still improve. And for others, specifically my wife and son, seeing effort will certainly go a long way, even if not "perfect".

I also know that at the core of all this is selfishness. I just don't want to have to worry about so much of this. I want to be able to do what I want. I want... That's the problem. That's the real lesson here, for myself and others reading this. I would rather read Sports Illustrated than really listen to my wife's request, and as a result, I only "sort-of" hear her, and thus do a request wrong, or not in a timely manner, or even worse, not at all. Or sometimes Jax is trying to get my attention, and I may not answer fast. "But, I want to focus on my SI!" I want...

Maybe I just need a season (a good personal focus for Advent/Christmas?) where I drop everything (maybe even writing this!) and serve. To truly look at what goals need to be accomplished for the family on a given day.

I have seen improvement in areas (notably ministry-related stuff), so I know it can happen in my most important job: husband and father. And I know that while my personality can lend to struggles in many areas, it also has many positives. I truly give a rip about people, and I've been told that others really see and appreciate it. I am one who tends to be positive, fun, etc., and that is sorely lacking in many. Maybe most important of all (and I can see it in this post even), I am willing to look inside and ask the hard questions, and thus, I tend to lovingly challenge others to do the same. It is hard (as this post has been at times for me), but if we are to truly release ourselves to the Lord and surrender all, it must be done. It MUST be done...

Finally, I know that there is a place for those like me, just as there is an equal place for those who are more "together" in certain areas. See 1 Corinthians 12 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians%2012;&version=31;). The challenge will be for me to find my place, work on my weaknesses, seek help in those areas where needed, and maybe toughest of all, to truly accept as valid others with polar-opposite gifts, personality types, etc. We all have a part. But, we all need to be willing to not use our "type" as an excuse to not make efforts to improve in areas that may be difficult for us...

Father God, please help me to yield to you. REALLY yield, not just lip-service. Help me see where improvement is needed, and help me to completely rely on YOUR STRENGTH in areas where I don't think I can do it! Amen...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Such a Dork...

Let's just say I'm bummed now that it may not be as cold Monday and Tuesday as they said last night on the weather...and thus the chances of precipitation being the "freezing" variety are slipping...

I know, I know, "Freezing rain/sleet/snow can be hazardous!".

Yeah, but fun for guys like me that didn't grow up with hardly ANY of it!


Saturday, December 1, 2007

One Year Ago This Month...

...I started this blog. I am so glad I did. I have never been a great "private journaler", and I bet some of that is because, well, it's just hard for me to be closed off about my life. I would be lying if there was nothing I keep close to the vest...but 99% of "me" is basically out there for all to see, warts and all. What can I say, I don't like playing games. Example: if you ask me, "how are you", and I'm really not fine, get ready for me to say, "Well...kinda bummed", for example. I may not unpack on you all my demons...but I really want to challenge our culture's obsession for just saying "fine" or "good" when in fact, you are hurting inside...

But sharing my thoughts for (potentially) all to see? It has been good for me. My version of a "journal". I has been a blessing for me to post thoughts, rants, joys, and some stuff out of left-field. I also think it's great that some of you have expressed that of my posts have made you think. Thanks to all of you (and I know of Mom, Dad, Missy, Aufu, Granny, Marja, Aaron, Jamie, Wede, Mark, Charley from IBC, Cyndi, Marty, Sherry, some folks reading a post I made on http://www.relevantmagazine.com/, etc.) for wading through all of this with me. I'm excited to see where God will lead in 2008!

<>< Ben Angus Davis