Friday, June 08, 2007

I am still here

I am not lost even though I am not exactly sure to get home from where I am, except by waiting 'til the Army takes me home. As you may have guessed the websense turned back on and blocked me from blog sites again. Well given my new amount of free time I was able to find a place to write to all of you. Thanks for being patient and checking back all the time even the updates are "rare" :) I have been packing and making ready for going home. Now that the packing is over with I have time to get into trouble.
Anyway most of my time lately has been spent helping the Pagan circle on base get established. They are an interesting group to say the least and working with them for this past year has encouraged me in my own faith more than I think they know. I feel like relating with you some of my thoughts that come from working with them.
Initially I was voluntold to help them, but I would have anyway. The 'mayor' chaplain at the time did not want to help them and passed them on to me. I was glad to help them mostly because I really do believe in religious freedom no matter how wrong your religion is (bit of sarcasm there):) also because I have some Pagan friends back home that I would like to better understand, and it is always good to learn new things. In the grand scheme of things I was also thinking that it would be better to help them and remain a positive influence in their lives, rather than shun them and have no influence on them. I truly believe that God brought them across my door for our mutual edification.
They have brought me a far better understanding of the Pagan/Wiccan religion than I had when I came to this place. And from several small teachable moments I have shown them the gospel in action. I believe that it is our place as believers to be a light to the world, but what light are we when we do not let it shine. Avoiding others of a different religion only keeps the light that Christ has given you out of their lives.
As I leave this place I am somewhat alarmed that they are having difficulty finding another chaplain to sponsor them.
What I have learned:
They really really like to worship. They enjoy practicing their religion. It is heartwarming to see people who actually celebrate their religion. It also reinforces the words of Romans 1 to me. That every man knows in his/her heart that God is there. There is an inner unsupressable urge to worship the divine in every heart.
They are dedicated more so than many of my christian brotheren (and sisteren.) Despite ridicule and passive-aggressive persecution they persist in their practices. Really I have to say as far as they go, they really have more faith than I do. For me it is easy to believe in Jesus Christ. It makes so much sense to me the more I learn and understand. What they cling to is a belief that is far more mysterious. I mean for me it is hard sometimes in a hard line scientific world that presses itself against God and belief, but I know that I have facts in my corner. Facts that are bolstered by awesome coincidence. I really don't know what they have. Some of their beliefs are so fantastic I really marvel at their faith.
Plus they have always been very nice and respectful to me. Some of that may be because I am the one who makes their meetings 'legitimate' in army's eyes. But I get the feeling that it is more that that. They respect me for my religious beliefs not in spite of them as so many of my officer peers often do.
All in all I cannot stop my own belief and I hope that in some way they Holy Spirit touches their lives and they come to find Jesus as their savior. I want them to feel the comfort and forgiveness of the God of Israel. Funny thing is that I know that they know that about me and it is alright to them that I believe that they need Jesus. I hope to someday know more about who God is and why our hearts are so quick to make idols (I know my own heart is as such) So quick to put anything and everything in front of worshiping God. I guess one last thing about this group is that they are willing to recognize and name their idols, whereas many Christians who pay Christ lip service are blinded to their own idolatry. I do not know which is worse.

P.S. Scorpians ok Spiders not that great. I happen to like spiders too much to eat them. And hope to see you all face to face real soon.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Take 2

OK going to try this again. I have started other posts since the last but I have not finished any as you may have noticed. I have realized that I am trying to hard. I wanted to catch up on everything in one post but I think it would be better if I just started with what I did this week.
This week I have been involved with Warrior Transition Training all week. We are preparing the guys to come home. It is a big change we have in store for us. I am totally ready to go home but part of me will kind of miss this place as weird as that sounds. I also found out that there a bunch of things I am angry about. I knew they were there but I guess I chose to ignore them.
We had a class on anger management that I want to run past you. Their basic premise was A + B = C. Event plus belief leads to a certain reaction. One is unable to change the events in their life so that much is what it is. Your belief about that event will then shape your reaction. So for example if event: Guy cuts you off in traffic, you believe it was on purpose, your reaction will be to speed up and tailgate the jerk. She told us that the key to changing your reaction was to change your belief. Maybe the driver was taking his pregnant wife to the hospital or her sick kid. Then your reaction would not be so aggressive.
Here's my problem. As far as the things I am currently angry about; I am finding it impossible to change my belief. My belief that certain things were done intentionally and with malice. Thinking about it only makes me more angry. How do I change my belief. Guess the only way is to confront the individuals I am angry with. Some of the things are that simple. I know that I have to find a way to put my anger behind me. Hope I will find a way.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ta da

I'm baaack. The internet trolls finally let me go across the bridge. I haven't posted much lately cause well our websense had filtered out blogs. Now I'm back mwhahahaha.
I am busy preparing for Easter Sunday in a couple of days.
It has really only occurred to me in the last couple of years how hopeless the world was on Good Friday. I went to service yesterday and they did this thing called 'stripping the chapel' After the service we took everything out and put it away. The chapel was left an empty building everything that made it look like a church was taken out.
Without Christ church means nothing. Our calling as pastors and preachers means nothing. So we emptied the church in anticipation of life. Life that comes on Sunday.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

News from here

I sit down to write again and again and nothing seems important enough to write about. so if you don't mind me rambling I will just do that.
One thing I am curious about. So far several people have written to me asking that I do either some writing on their blog, or that I grant them some kind of interview or that in some form or fashion I write something for them about the war here in Iraq. I am never sure if these things are some new brand of scam; and I being suspicious of everything have yet to write them back.
I have never considered myself a scholor or a writer or even good at smashing words together to make a sentence. So for these folks to ask for my input is flattering but at the same time it puts me off a little. I am not fishing for a compliment here, rather just letting you in on the questions that storm through my head. Do they really think I write all that well? Do they really think I have great insights on this war? Do they really want to hear about the gospel applied to a crawl through the mud profession. Actually I would like to hear about that last one.
I started writing on this blog just to keep my family and friends informed and maybe share with them a little of what goes on here. I am glad to hear that others of you are blessed by my comments. I would prefer to just keep this whole thing simple. If you like it great, if you don't, fine. Anything more than that is just not in my plans.
One of my soldiers commented on chapel this week, it was fun to read

he had some interesting insights on chapel this week.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How's Indy?

Just an update on 'the finger'. I have been hearing reports that many are concerned that I can now only count to nine with my shoes on. Let me squash those rumors right now. I realize that hearing someone has cut their finger on a table saw invokes certain imagry but let me set the record straight. I got a cut about an inch long and a quarter inch deep along the tip of my left index finger. There was no damage to either the bone or the nail bed or the nail for that matter. Tramatic to be sure but nothing missing except my pride and confidence around power tools.
'The finger' who likes to go by Indy thinks the whole situation is quite amusing. He is actually enjoying the attention and all the sympathy cards. I have put him in his place and have sent him right back to work. He got his week of sick leave and now he is back on duty doing all things fingery. In fact he has taken his position next to the crew to help type this update. Though he still a little shy about getting back to the guitar, and he is still holding a grudge against the table saw.
The two had to work together again yesterday, but they got along fine and without incident. The table saw suprisingly had no comment on the incident. I think his exact words were, "shouldn't have been standing so close." Well now that Mr. Sensitive has chimed we will see what this week brings.
Well Indy sends you his thanks for all your concern but don't worry too much about him his stiches come out tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Its cold out today

Woke up shivering today. It seems weird being in this place and being so cold but it reminds me of home. Might have something to do with the roommates setting the AC so low, but it is cold outside as well.

We have entered the rainy season in earnest. It rained a lot last night and that makes the place smell different. A body gets used to a certain amount of dust and bad smell in their lungs and when that is gone; well it is just different. It brings out another smell not unlike when you get a dog wet and they smell entirely different. Or maybe it is because I do not have the dust clogging up my nose every second of the day that my sniffer still works.

Cut my finger on the table saw day before yesterday. Let me tell you it is not all the fun and games people tell you it is. All I can say is that it could have been much worse. I pretty much made hamburger out of the tip of my index finger but nothing more. I was so mad and embarrassed. The medics did a fine job patching me up. I got four stiches and a lot of guff. My pride suffered as much as my finger did. I plan on getting the last laugh and using it for a sermon illustration somehow but nothing yet.

So far it is business as usual. Got my new assistant last week. He is from the Bronx, his name is SFC John Duffy. I just call him Duffy. My last assistant SGT Cowell came down with bad knees and needed a job that was easier on his knees. So far Duffy and I are getting along nicely. I wasn't too excited about the change at first; guess that happens when you get older (not excited about change) but things are turning out better than I expected.

Said goodbye to a couple of good friends this week. SSG Rosenfeld and SPC Gonzales were regular attendees at my chapel services and seriously hardcore prayer warriors. I will miss them both dearly they were an encouragement to me when I really needed it. Several nights we tarried in prayer together praying against the spiritual darkness that blankets this side of the world. They really taught me something about prayer.

We often use prayer as a last resort or as an after thought to our day but not these guys. Prayer is their first option. They are quick to pull the chord on the prayer line if they are having a bad day or just feel like something is up we would get together and pray. I could use more of that kind of belief in my life. I have thanked God every day for them since they first showed up in my service and I am sure that wherever they end up God will use them to do great things.

Monday, September 11, 2006


It's been a rough couple of weeks. We had to bury a couple of our own. There is nothing I can say to describe the sorrow.

I searched for something that could begin to express what it feels like to lose someone you love. I found part of a poem written from the perspective of a woman who believes she has lost her husband. Her cries are haunting, and her expression unforgettable.

Song of Solomon tells a story of two people very much in love, a husband and a wife. The wife falls asleep and dreams that her beloved had gone. Her dream had become a nightmare as she realizes he is gone from her and feels her loss.

SS 5:6 I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.

Her heart had been ripped apart at the prospect of being without the one she loves. And, nothing on this earth could console her while she was apart from him.

All we can think about is summed up in those words of Solomon… I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. We opened our eyes on Tuesday and a man we laughed with, a man we fought beside, a man we loved, a man who seemed to bring so much joy and happiness to the table was gone. There are no words that can express the panic, the sense of emptiness and an overall sense that something important was lost forever. And, nothing on this earth could console us now that he was gone.

In the poem I read the wife did not really lose her husband, his absence was only a nightmare. The loss she felt was as real to her as anything in her life. Her heart recognizes the absence of her God. If you look back to the previous verses you see that she had turned him away, and the hurt she felt was because God was no longer to be a comfort to her.

Her peace that came from knowing his presence left with him. Her only hope for quieting her heart and regaining that peace that comes with his presence was to invite his return. The pain she felt served to remind her of the impact His presence made upon her life. Because she hurt she knew that He was important to her.

In the words of Charles Spurgeon, "The happiest condition of a Christian out of heaven is to live in the conscious enjoyment of the presence of the Lord Jesus. When the love of Christ is in the heart by the Holy Spirit, the believer is the most fortunate of all creation. It does not matter what sorrow you endure; the Holy Spirit is able to make the heart live above all surrounding circumstances, so that we can have summer in the midst of winter, and pluck our ripest fruits when there are neither leaves nor fruits upon the tree.

But the Christian is unhappy whenever he loses the sense of the presence of his Lord. Then the pillars of his house are made to tremble; his fresh springs are dried up; the sun is hid from his eyes; and the sky is so dark overhead that he walks, rather wanders, about and nothing can bring him comfort. If he was of the world he could live in the world, but having been taught by grace to look for something better, the loss of that is especially difficult.

I question whether the most of Christians do not sometimes lose the enjoyment of the Lord's company. I question yet further, whether there are not very many professors who live contentedly under that loss; nor can I account for this, except on the supposition that they can have known but little of that presence their best estate. Otherwise, they must be in a most sickly and slumbering condition of soul, gradually becoming worse and worse; or else they never could bear to have things as they are with them.
It seems to me that a real believer in a sound state of health no sooner loses the presence of his Lord than he begins to cry for him. Where has Christ gone? Why have I lost sight of him? The sounds of his footsteps still linger in the ear. The believer wakens and starts, and asks himself, "How is this? Where has my Beloved gone? What is it that has chased him from me? I cannot live if he leave me; therefore, let me speedily seek him, and never rest until once more I am restored to full communion with him." Let me, then, talk a little with such believers as have lost for awhile the comfortable presence of their Lord."

Would you notice if the presence of God departed from your life? How important isthata to you?