Luke 6:41 NIV

Luke 6:41 NIV
"Why do [I] look at the speck of sawdust in [my] brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in [my] own eye?"

8.12.2009

Psalm 27

1 A psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The LORD protects me from danger – so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to destroy me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the LORD – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6
Then I will hold my head high, above my enemies who surround me. At his Tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music.

7 Listen to my pleading, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."
9 Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don't leave me now; don't abandon me, O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the path of honesty, for my enemies are waiting for me to fall.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I've never done and breathe out violence against me.
13 Yet I am confident that I will see the LORD's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD
.

I was going to write about this, but it pretty much speaks for itself.

3.23.2009

"New Creation"

Dex Alexander from All Together Separate at Fellowship Church's CD release party for the CD "Closer To The Start".


New Creation from Pace Hartfield on Vimeo.

3.13.2009

Ahhhh....

This was not my intention when starting this blog...to go weeks without posting.

But, alas, my best laid plans have failed me again and life has struck it's time consuming blows. But I will revolt! I will rise up...I will be strong and I will rise against physics and space-time and thus add an extra hour to each day...maybe two. TAKE THAT TIME! You have been foiled, nay, destroyed, if not forever cast into the bowels of hell from whence you came.

Yeah. So anyway. A month ago I was hit from the rear by a drunken driver. I had to leave for a week for some extensive oppression by "The Man" (a.k.a. Air Force Reserve duty). The day before I left for duty the Traffic Fairy struck against and thrust an unsuspecting victim through a red light only to hit my wife, causing more chaos and deductibles. Of course this can only happen weeks after, in a failed attempt to save some money, I raised our deductibles. And it can only happen AFTER I dropped 1400 bucks on a new set of braces for Princess Teanna. And it can only happen AFTER my pay gets cut by $1/hour. I know...you're all probably thinking, "Hey, great job Chris. Let us know when you start playing the stock market." I'm so saavy.

But hey...at least I'm not the President...

2.26.2009

Conversations With Ethan

My 6 year old is an amazing kid. He's an encourager and I think he gets it from his big sister and his mom. Here's a transcript of a conversation we had last night in the car.

ETHAN: Dad? What's 3 + 4?
DAD: Seven.
ETHAN: Good job! You got the answer!
*******
ETHAN: Dad? What's 100 + 100?
DAD (testing Ethan): One-Hundred and One.
ETHAN: Dad. That's not right, it's Two-Hundred.
*******
ETHAN: Dad? What's Car + Monster Truck?
DAD: Monster Car?
ETHAN: No. Guess Again.
DAD: Squished car?
ETHAN: Good job! You got the answer!


Ahhh...to be a kid again...

2.17.2009

MATH: It's Just Your Opinion

Hi everyone. I've been gone for a while; I was involved in a car accident (I was hit by a drunk driver) and sickness and life. I'm o.k. You're o.k. But there's nothing like some simple opinionated math to spark the "blogging" juices. So here you go. I'm back. I'll get to everyones comments soon. Both of 'em!

1.26.2009

"Whatever Comes Through That Door..."


Is it necessary to go to a place of total brokeness?
Do the layers have to be stripped away before my self is revealed?
Are the scars marks of failure...or success?
Can the hope within outshine a world without?

God is doing a new thing in me. I can't say I'm surprised. The old thing was pretty stinky and wrinkled and dead. Plus, He did warn me. (Isaiah 43:19-See I am doing a new thing!) Anti-climactic, I know. Kind of takes away any suspense...but still...I sometimes get surprised when God does the things He says He's going to do. I can't help but to get amazed that the Creator of the Universe chooses to bend down and whisper in my ear, "I haven't forgotten about you".

The good news? I, like the economy, am in a place where at least I have nowhere to go but up. But I'm fed up. I'm tired. I'm weak. But that happens when you put your faith in man. Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots...I put my trust in the name of the Lord. My spirit is rising. I'm standing up. I'm pulling the arrows out of my chest, wiping the blood off my face, picking up my helmet and putting it back on my head. I'm taking my sword, I'm taking my shield and I'm coming out to fight.

And, ironically, in the midst of all this I'm asking God to break my heart.

I've been brought to a place where everything has been stripped away. I'm left with nothing but layers of garbage at my feet. Thorns, weeds, Dixie cups full of tears, malcontent, roots, several years, disease, loose change, flesh, trash, a couple of people, bitterness, bones, songs, blame, rage, confusion, hurt, banana peels...it's all laying in a nice neat pile here for me to come back to whenever I want. Some of it's even organized and alphabetized, pressed, ironed and filed. (yeah...like you don't do it...)

I had a vision tonight while praying. A vision for our church, in particular, but in light of the body of Christ as a whole. The worship team was singing. The church was worshiping, hands up in the air and it was packed. All of a sudden, waves of water were pouring off the platform, into the seating area and the congregation. The church was getting filled with water, people were standing there with their nice, neat little piles of trash, similar to mine, at their feet. Which hardly seems unreasonable or strange. I mean, that's what we're supposed to do...lay it down during worship...right? So these waves began to carry this stuff, this trash, out and the people began to panic. They started chasing, wading through the water trying to stop their precious cargo from going overboard, never to be seen from again.

My heart broke. People were running out of the church, chasing these piles of trash being carried away by the water, trying to catch them. They were so neatly bundled, folded, some were even pressed and on hangers. Meanwhile the church is filling up with water and no one is there to just swim and float and surf and do the things you do with water in a church. I believe these people were the "unchurched", coming in to examine and give their inspection of the church. Why do I believe that?

God is taking away our toys. Everyone. He is stripping us down and it's not comfortable. It's not supposed to be. It's supposed to hurt. Pain is a tool. It's a learning tool. But God is, if nothing else, a God of process. He is not a 2am infomercial on how you can work from home and make $17,000 a month. He does not have a "POPCORN" button or a come in a "COMBO MEAL" and He doesn't have a battery back-up or require anti virus updates. The unchurched are going to be filling churches all across the country. The thing is, they don't know where to go. Baptists? Methodists? Muslim? Do I go to synagogue, mass, prayer or nirvana? Well...how will they know? By our fruits?

Please...bear with me. God spoke to me at the end of last year. As the number "8" represents new beginnings, my family and I certainly had a new beginning. (I won't go into detail here.) I was praying in Dec. of 2008 about the new year. He brought several things to my attention. 1) Nine is the number of harvest (Matthew 27:46-50) 2) There are nine spiritual gifts (Galatians 5:22-23) and 3) There are nine fruits of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11) While I thought it was specific to my life and me and myself and me and only me and what's mine and my stuff and how it affects me, cause that's the caring, unselfish person I am...I don't think it is for me. Not really, no. The nine spiritual gifts are in three categories: Power, Miracles, and Revelation. We need those to bring in the unsaved. The nine fruits are issues of character. We need to exemplify those. These times are going to bring a harvest of lost, wandering, bleary eyed people, I truly believe. Every knee will bow. If we think things are hard now...well, let's just say we should count our blessings while they still are.

So in the meantime, I'm going to get my sword and my shield, lace up my shoes, gird up, strap up, get up and go out, and fight, and get some unchurched people inside the doors where it's safe and there's plenty of shoulders for crying, supporting, carrying, leaning, working, etc. There's a scene in "Gladiator" when the "good guys" are waiting for some terrifying animal or 12 foot tall enemy gladiators to come running out and eat them. The good guys formed together with their shields and their swords and General Maximus says, "Whatever it is that comes through that door, we stand a better chance if we stick together."

COME TO ME



Come to Me, you weary one
And I will give you rest...I will give you rest
Come to Me, you weary one
And I will give you rest...I will give you rest

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light
Take Me upon you, and I will give you rest

Come to Me, you troubled one
And I will give you peace...I will give you peace
Come to Me, you troubled one
And I will give you peace...I will give you peace

I will calm the waters, I will whisper, "Peace. Be still"
Take Me upon you...I will give you peace

Come to Me...I have been waiting for you here.

So come to Me, you weakened one
And I will give you joy...I will give you joy
Come to Me, you weakened one
And I will give you joy...I will give you joy

You will rise like eagles, and My joy will be your strength!
Take me upon you and I will give you joy.

Come to Me...I have been waiting for you here.
Come to Me.

--Jessie Rogers

1.21.2009

QUID EST VERITAS?




What is truth?

1.16.2009

Blown Away

So no sooner do I post the thread below then I stumble upon such an encouraging article. Read my thread below first, then follow this link. Lemme know what you think.

What Who?


Some Christian friends and I have been involved in some very interesting discussions with some atheist/agnostics here and here. (Consider yourself warned) I'd like to clarify some things: Not all atheists are 'ignorant' and not all 'atheists' are 'atheists'. Now that I've made that clear as mud, I'll move on.

It's never good when you have to open a blog with a disclaimer: I will probably come under fire for even saying this. Thank you.

I think God can be found in everything. Attributes of God. He can teach us in whatever ways we are willing to learn. He's like a diamond, which has different facets. You look at it one way, you see a collection of sides; you turn it a different way, you see yet other sides. He uses the "foolish things to confound the wise." That's not an excuse to say you need to go to the bar, get drunk and witness to the other drunks. They aren't wise and you aren't confounding. Sorry. Bottom line is, He shows up in different ways. I like to try to find Christian themes in movies and the overall message being delivered by them. The Star Wars series is a good place to reflect on the fallen nature of man and the struggle of his dual nature, a Christ-type figure, salvation and free will, etc.; though you have to sort through the Buddhist and New Age undertones.

This brings me to my ultimate topic. Horton Hears A Who. Though not totally engaged, I was in the room as this movie played in my home last night. There was a striking resemblance between this movie and many of the discussions I've been having with my new atheist/agnostic friends that kept repeating itself. It's basically summed up in a phrase from the movie made by Kangaroo. "If you can't see it, hear it, or feel it, it doesn't exist." It breaks my heart that people feel this way, but they do. This is not a slight or indictment on non-believers. But the one thing I realize, and I keep realizing, is that no matter what anyone else tells me, no amount of supposed 'proof' is going to take away from the things God has done in my life. Nothing. NOTHING.

All proof I'm shown against God is things of the world. This fallen earth. Our fallen nature. Well, if I constantly look at things of the world, then it should be expected my view of God would be dim, at best.

The movie revolves around Horton, who is an elephant, and the Mayor of Who-ville, who is a...Who. Horton hears screaming on a floating speck and saves the speck because he believes there is life on the speck. As he talks to the speck, only the Mayor hears Horton. He tries to convice others that Horton is real, but none believe him and attribute it to other things. Naysayers.

The struggle is how the Mayor deals with his newfound "friend." He knew what he knew. As he attempted to explain it to others, he knew it sounded crazy, but he still tried. I sometimes feel that way when attempting to explain God to atheists. I know it sounds crazy. In my conversations I've even left out some of the details just for how bizarre it sounds. But God does bizarre things. Things I can't figure out on a calculator or petri dish. And that's just the way things are.

The tough part for me came last night. I consider myself fairly well educated in the Word and confident in my relationship with Christ. I was at a food bank and I saw some people in there that I had never seen before. In fact I saw a LOT of people I had never seen before. Things are not what they used to be and people are becoming more dependent upon things "outside themselves." They're looking for a hope elsewhere because the government and the banks are no longer providing the services we've become accustomed to. The food bank director asked if anyone had any prayer requests. As I listened to the requests that were offered up they were varied: plain sickness to pregnancy to broken bones and gunshot wounds. It was then that I realized the emptiness that some people seemed to carry. They have little hope in their circumstances and are looking to the church, to Jesus, to ANYTHING that offers promise. I begin to think about these conversations with my new friends and the potential of one of these empty, hurting people coming in contact with someone like them. These 'hopefuls' are searching and the atheists attempt to destroy any hope that may exist.

I'd like to add here, I honestly do not think any of the atheists I've met recently would intentionally force their opinions on someone who didn't want to hear it. In fact I believe the opposite. They are typically responding to people they KNOW are already Christians. They are not going out (that I know of) seeking to further smash the dreams of the hopeless. However not everyone is as "considerate".

Then the conviction hit me. How much help have I offered to the lost and broken? What have I done to ease someone's pain and spread the news of Jesus? In a sense, all and none. But it made me do something. As I came to the foodbank to receive, I looked around the room and began to serve. I helped some frail people carry their food to the car, helped another guy find a Bible, etc. etc. So many times I look for God in the massive things that are far from my reach but don't find Him until I look down right in front of my nose. I see the thanks that these broken people have in receiving what little or great amount of food they get. I see the hope, the smiles, hear the thanks they give to the workers, but mostly to God. At that brief moment in time God is as real to them as the ground they walk on. When they are handed a box of food, no questions asked, the love of Jesus is acted out. Is that reason to believe in God? No. But it gives them a sense of hope and, if only for a few moments, the affirmation that there is something outside ourselves that we can put our hope in. How dare anyone try to take that away.

I think that's a lesson to be learned for all of us. God is looking for humility, not knowledge. He's looking for heart and character, obedience and integrity. If God is going to bring in a few atheists into my life to help me realize that, then bring 'em. They'll never take my heart.

Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, but not the soul..."
-- Matthew 10:28a

1.11.2009

no W-A-A-Y?



You mean I can blow total strangers into tiny bits and pieces and help the American economy? Where do I sign up?

By the way. Last Monday Barack Obama said, "Government must act now to save this economy." I think I heard some crickets chirping in the background. And the sounds of Congress ignoring Obama.

Last Tuesday Barack Obama said, "Government must act NOW to save this economy." More crickets.

Last Wednesday Barack Obama said, "Government must act now to save this economy." (cue: crickets)

Last Thursday Barack Obama said, "Government must act now to save this economy. I'm hungry." Crickets beginning to complain.

Last Friday Barack Obama said, "Governments must act NOW to save this economy. Oh. And the $350 mil remaining in The Bucket? Screw the companies...let's give it back to the people so they can pay bills and buy useless crap, like GPS and bigscreen TV's." Crickets leaving the scene en masse.

Um...am I missing something? (I mean other than my savings?)

1.08.2009

Poison


No...not the band...but I couldn't resist.

There's no such thing as poison. A bold statement, I know. And not true...but I'm exaggerating for effect. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING consumed in massive amounts is deadly. (See picture) Pizza, soda, tacos, alfalfa sprouts, hummus, shaving cream. The list goes on.

Ricin kills. It's derived from the castor beans, which are used to create castor oil. (Anyone see the 80's classic Stand By Me...? The eating contest at the fair? I digress...) 8 castor beans are considered fatal. 2 beans are o.k. 6 beans are o.k. Anymore than 8, you better check to see your insurance premiums are paid. Fret not...a saline/glucose solution can possibly save the fatal effects of ricin! But HARK! Too much saline? You die. Too much glucose? You die. Too much carbon monoxide? Bad, bad, bad. A little carbon monoxide? Just a little stinky.

I breathe in oxygen, I breathe out carbon dioxide. Anymore than 7-10% carbon dioxide retention? I'll be pushing up daisies. Totally not fair since they breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen...and don't have to worry about premiums.

Cyanide. Cyanide is found in apple seeds. It's also the preferred method of "treating" cheating husbands.

Strychnine. Small doses: medicinal uses; laxative. Large doses? Rats and people beware.

Again, anything is large doses is dangerous. (Refer to above picture.) So is there such thing as "poison". Not anymore. Brett, C.C., Rikki and Susan broke up in the ... sorry ... wrong Poison.

Again...is there any such thing as poison?

The Bible uses words to communicate it's message, yet describes words as being poison; it says the tongue is full of it.(James 3:8) 1 Corinthians 10:23 and 6:12 say that EVERYTHING is permissable (that is, allowed) but not everything is beneficial.

Are we as Christians living this way? Are we taking things in moderation...good and bad...or are we allowing ourselves to becomed poisoned by the world and life and stuff?

Everything in moderation. So what's your poison?

Ahh, The World Around Us


Cops search mobile home of boy missing 10 years
...fear they may have just missed him

Wild protests in Oakland over shooting turn violent
...police claim they "never saw it coming"

Boeing delivers 50 commercial Jets during fourth quarter
...and still didn't make playoffs; threw 7 INT's to Lockheed; plan to retire...maybe

Navy creates 'force' to battle pirates
...local Jedi, "been there, done that"

Strahan likes the Giants' path to the Superbowl
...adds "The breezeway that leads to stadium seats very 'classy'; seats are warm. Popcorn anyone?"

Astronauts threatened by cosmic rays as sun becomes less active
...astronauts suspicious; sun always seems to 'have a headache'

Mystery 'roar' heard from outer space
...lawsuit arises: "Milky Way stepped on my foot" claims Andromeda; Dems blame Bush

Seattle gay bars receive ricin threats
...because there's nothing that Seattle gays hate more than ricin...and bars...

LA may restrict outdoor smoking
...Mayor says "all outdoor smoking hereby limited only to fires"

Rising violence at Chuck E. Cheese's described as 'madness'
...Mr. Cheese's is upset the defunct Showbiz Pizza gang constantly razzing that big purple thing; smashing instruments and calling me "Charley"

Dry southwest US is growing drier
...research indicates previous detections of dryness not as dry as orginally thought; drier dryness expected to become drier and more dry

Former "Cosby Show" actress has baby: named Nakoa Wolf-Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa
..."We'll call him 'Sue'"

How to ask for a promotion in a recession
...see related article: HOW TO GUARANTEE YOURSELF A SEAT IN THE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE.

2009 will be very, very bleak
...Gov't says to consumers, "Be encouraged. Not to worry, it only gets worse!"

Top 5 reasons India can't do a "Gaza" on Pakistan
1) Gaza not located in Pakistan
2) India has very tiny army
3) Pakistan slightly larger than Gaza
4) India would prefer to have a "dance-off"
5) One word: BOLLYWOOD!


Wal-Mart stocks not happy
...redefines the term "Roll Back"; wipes stupid grin off smiley face

The Polaroid camera re-emerges...IN DIGITAL!
...technology turns around, says "Dude...where the heck have you been?"
...see related article: ROGER CLEMENS TESTIFIES; 'I have never used Polaroids. Someone is setting me...er...up...uhm...(what?) *lawyer whispers*...SORRY. NEVERMIND'