Month: August 2012

The "D" Word

What’s the “D” word, you ask?

I’ve always considered it a nasty, vulgar word that implies a lower form of being and existing. It was only to be used by those who lacked the creativity and imagination to use and live better words. There were a whole host of things I would rather have been described by before someone used the “D” word to talk about me.

Oh yeah,the word?

Discipline.

I know, I know. Shriek in horror. But I wrote it down. Just look at it, even if you can only glance for a moment before recoiling in horror. Here it is again:

Discipline.

But as 2012 progresses, I feel God laying this one word on my heart and life over and over. He is calling me to be a person of discipline. I think I’m starting to understand the reason.

I love to dream. And I feel called to BIG things. But I never quite know how to get there. Most of the time, I hope it will just magically happen. But it doesn’t.

For example, I like to write. I think I may even have a book in me someday. But blogging 5 times a year was not making me a better writer. I am hoping that writing 5 times a week and reading about/practicing will make me a better writer.

Being disciplined to stay the course and write, even on days when I feel uninspired or too tired or…, is somewhat of a new adventure to me. Here’s why:

The trick with discipline is to do it routinely, not in spurts. And this is hard for me. I like immediate gratification. If you give me the choice of traveling 1200 miles in a car in a day and arriving somewhere miserably tired and worn out vs. taking 2 or 3 days and feeling well rested, I will ALWAYS choose 1 day. Why would I want it to take longer?

But God is showing me the beauty of discipline. The beauty of the long, slow march in a single direction. He is showing me that my true creativity comes out of me when I am disciplined to be consistent.

Next thing you know I will be shaving regularly or something…

What benefits do you find in discipline? Where do you need discipline?

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United Airlines is not my Friend

People,

I need some help.

As many of you know, I recently had an awesome travel experience with United Airlines. (Read about it here.) It included being sent to an airport (Lima, Peru) that had no chance of getting us to our final destination. 13 of us hung out in that airport for 32 hours before being given seats back to the US, not Bolivia. Although our trip turned out pretty awesome, United’s service was terrible. And now they will not refund our money. In fact, they will not even talk to me. And that is not right or just.

So here is what I need:
Email (refunds@united.com)(This email isn’t working, it seems to bounce back to people, 
it doesn’t do that for me. I guess fax or snail mail or the options. Frustrating) or fax (713-324-1431) or snail mail (Customer Care United Airlines 900 Grand Plaza Drive NHCCR Houston, TX 77067-4323United with the following words:

Re: REQUEST ID:14128358
Dear Customer Refund Services,
I am writing to ask you about the refund request submitted by Jesse Blasdel on behalf of 13 ticket holders. I would appreciate your prompt response to his request and ask that you refund him the cost of their tickets($20311.42), the cost of 10 yellow fever shots ($113/each=$1130) that were obtained just for this trip and compensation for their baggage that has not yet been returned. I would also ask for future travel vouchers for each traveler. 

If you are unfamiliar with this case, here is a link (http://jesseblasdel.blogspot.com/p/refund-letter-to-united-airlines.htmlto the letter Jesse wrote to initially request the refund. Please do not contact me about this problem. Please contact Jesse to resolve this problem and make right your companies errors.

Sincerely, 

Your name here


Pride

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Oh pride. We have a love-hate relationship. I love you because I love to be reminded how awesome I am. Or how awesome I think I am. I hate you because you help me believe the lie that it is all about me instead of Jesus.
Every time that I start to listen to you, the line between people worshiping God and worshiping me gets a little blurred. The difference between the work of the Holy Spirit in a students life and my own wisdom and great pastoring skills get a little fuzzy in my own mind. 
You give me a wonderful warm fuzzy. Thanks. Now stop it.
Because I know. 
It’s. All. A. Lie.
You don’t love me. Not like Jesus does. You are not my hope and my future. Jesus is. I know you will stick around and keep whispering lies about how amazing I am. But I know the truth. Beauty and awe in a created thing brings glory to the creator, not the creation. And so I will do my best to not listen to your lies. 
If it’s about me, then it’s not about Jesus. And if it’s not about Jesus, it’s about nothing. 
“Give me Christ, or else I die.”

Wisdom

As a note, I am typing this one-handed while my week-old daughter. So even though it won’t take you any longer to read, please know it took a while to type!

Proverbs 1:20-33

Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke,
I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you —
when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
“Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord.
Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,
they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

I think this passage is interesting because Wisdom states that it is waiting to be found by us. That she calls aloud and makes herself known to humanity, but many will choose not to listen. But when the hard times of life come, wisdom will mock us for not choosing to get to know her when times were easy.

Wisdom must be found before disaster strikes. It is meant to keep you out of trouble, not get you out of it! We have a tendency as humans to seek the “right way” or wisdom only when our way quits working. Listening to and gaining Godly wisdom means you have the ability to approach situations well and with Godly insight rather than human insight.

The great thing about wisdom is that it is available to you. Ask God for it. Listen to older men and women who have it. Ask questions, listen to answers, assume you always still have a lot to learn from everyone.

Where in life do you need wisdom right now?

“Give me Christ or else I die!”

Monday Wonderings (or Wanderings)

I wonder if Langley will sleep 5 hours in a row every night. That was awesome last night. Sleep is glorious.
I wonder if God is as proud of the youth band as I am for the great job they did leading worship. Seriously, we made changes to songs between services and they went right along and nailed every change. 
I wonder if my siblings and I will all celebrate 35 years of marriage like my parents are doing this next weekend. I hope so. I pray for it. And we obviously have a great example to follow. God be with us.
I wonder if the newspaper will pay for our mailbox. I really hope so. My faith in companies is at an all time low with no refunds for plane tickets in sight and being told nothing can be done about my bag by American, even though it is in Bolivia and has been found. Frustrating. Or maybe it would be good for me to just completely lose trust in all of corporate America… I don’t know. But I do need a mailbox. And the Hutch News will either pay for it out of their own pocket or by losing our subscription fee so we can pay for it.
I wonder if it makes me an “old man” that we subscribe to the paper. It’s the easiest way to follow high school sports and see when students get mentioned. 
What do you wonder today? Leave a comment below!

Brownie Love

Last night my Aunt Cindy and my cousin Shanae brought us dinner. It was wonderful. But it did bring up an issue in my mind about an important topic that I think tends to get swept under the rug in the name of “unity”. But true unity means leaning into our differences and loving each other anyways.

The issue is, how can anyone think the center part of a pan of brownies is better than the edges? Shanae (my cousin) made wonderfully good brownies, but there was still a center. It’s just all soft. No texture or definition. Just kinda mush. The edge, however, has a delightful chewiness to it that compliments the deep chocolate flavor perfectly.

In most places in my life I can handle opposing viewpoints, but with brownies, there is a definite right and a definite wrong. Middle lovers, you should be ashamed that you are so easily dissuaded from my obviously correct viewpoint. To better understand how many of you have turned the wrong way in your brownie eating, I have created a poll. Please vote below.

Also, if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, I would imagine this is how ridiculous most of the theological debates look to the rest of the world. We debate Jesus without showing him in all his beauty to the rest of the world. This may upset some, but people need Jesus, any little glimpse of him, more than they need right doctrine. Check out John 17:20-23. It calls us to unity. I think we can find that with our differences intact. I KNOW we can. /end serious note about ridiculous blogpost.

What is the best part of a brownie?

Potential vs. Reality

As a person who works with students, I spend a LOT of my time looking for potential in people. I ask questions like, “What is this student gifted at?”, “What has God made inside them that they haven’t found yet?”, “How do help students discover the gifts God has/is put in them?” And I ask these questions knowing that I will often not see the answers come while the students are in junior and senior high. 
I work on potential. What could be. 
But in some parts of my life, potential turns into reality. Beautiful. The waiting ends and I see the goodness and love of God poured out. Potential can turn into reality like this:

God is good!
“Give me Christ or else I die!”

Monday Wonderings (or Wanderings)

I wonder if this baby girl is ever going to come out!
I wonder what would happen if every Christian in Hutch spent $10 to provide food for someone who is hungry and doesn’t have enough money this week.
I wonder what God is getting ready to do in downtown Hutch.
I wonder if I will ever really get rid of things like pride and being super judgmental. I hope so. 
I wonder if our pond is going to dry up. We’re getting closer and closer. That would make me very sad.
I wonder if my neighbors are annoyed that my front yard hasn’t been mowed in over 6 weeks. To be honest, I don’t really care at all.
I wonder if that makes me a bad neighbor.

I wonder why my least viewed post from last week was the one giving a prayer. C’mon people. That’s what we need the most.

I wonder if students miss having me at an event as much as I miss being at events when I’m off. This is probably about that sneaky pride again. It’s hard to be proud of something you didn’t really plan and you for sure didn’t lead. That it was “awesome” on facebook doesn’t give my ego the normal boost. I hate that boost. And I crave it. Dang.
What do you wonder today?

Prayer for the Day

“Abba, 
into your hands I entrust my body, 
mind, 
and spirit 
and this entire day 
– morning, 
afternoon, 
evening, 
and night. 
Whatever you want of me, 
I want of me, 
falling into you 
and trusting in you 
in the midst of my life. 
Into your heart I trust my heart, 
feeble, 
distracted, 
insecure, 
uncertain. 
Abba, 
unto you I abandon myself 
in Jesus our Lord. Amen.” 
– Brennan Manning from Ruthless Trust