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Location: Liverpool, NY

"In my house, I'm a big deal. That's all that matters."


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Friday, April 16, 2010

A LIttle Funeral Humor ....

VirtueOnline ....:
"Finally, the No. 1 song played at British funerals is the immortal words of the late Frank Sinatra, 'I did it my way'. No kidding, writes a VOL reader. 'At funeral after funeral, they turn up the loudspeakers for good old Frank Sinatra. A good epitaph for TEC and Jefferts Schori,' he observed. While most of these funerals do not take place in churches, some of them do and Sinatra can be heard."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Spiritual Lessons From Unemployment - Part 5: I'm Not My Provider

A very important lesson: He doesn't need me to work.  God provides for me.  I do not.  I'm not saying that God doesn't want me to work, or doesn't care if I work and I can just sit around and be lazy.  I don't agree with that at all.  But for God to provide for me, He doesn't need me to work.

A couple of years ago God showed me this so clearly and now he is emphasizing this point again.  Nearing Christmas of 2005 I was having to make some job/future related decisions and was fretting about the potential of a lowered or loss of income and how I was going to provide for my family.  Early one day in the car on my way to work, God said to me, "Steven, I don't need you to work to provide for you."  He wasn't saying that I didn't have to work or that He didn't want me to work.  He was just simply stating that He is sufficient for me.  He provides for me.  I do not.

I pondered that all day.  At home that evening some friends dropped in unexpectedly and gave us a Christmas card.  We chatted at the door for several minutes and they left.  We opened the card and there was a check for $500 in the card.  I wept nearly instantly as I knew this was God confirming our conversation from earlier in the day.  It was his way of reminding me that even if I was unemployed He can still provide for me and has money in places that I don't have a clue about.

Again during this time of unemployment, I am reminded of God's provision.  This season has been a series of experiences of living off a severance, then off savings, then receiving unemployment and other benefits, even a couple months of absolutely no income.  Each step in this progression I foresaw a financial disaster that would lead us to becoming destitute.  Each step appeared as a crisis or disaster.  Yet God has provided.  Stuff that was huge several months ago is small today because He's led us through it.

God is my provider. I am not. It is so hard to get that through my brain that is wired to be the provider and protector of my family. But it's truth. Thanks be to God.


A series of lessons and observations I have learned from my experience of being underemployed.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Spiritual Lessons From Unemployment - Part 3: Nothing Is Impossible With God

After God vanquished the Christmas present issue within 24 hours — literally, a couple of thousand dollars later — I was worried about the mortgage.  He then spoke very clearly to me:  "I can vanquish the whole mortgage too." [Gasp!] I had lost sight of God's power and magnificence. Surely He is able. In words of the angel speaking to the mother of our Lord, "For nothing is impossible with God."
A mortgage is this huge insurmountable thing in my life.  Up until recently it's total has been more than twice my annual salary and now on public assistance it looms ever larger. Moment of truth:  It's miniscule to God — maybe even smaller. He can vanquish a mortgage in an instant and do it with joy, not begrudgingly.  We must never believe the lie that the financial mountain in front of us is a mountain in front of God.  "For nothing is impossible with God."


A series of lessons and observations I have learned from my experience of being underemployed.
1. I'm Not Poor

Axiom Church :: Syracuse, NY

A new church is coming to life in Syracuse: Axiom Church. Interesting fact found at their web site:
"Believe it or not Syracuse is one of the least church populated cities in America, 19th according to the North American Mission Board."
I really don't know how to verify that quote, but if you are a Christian and live here in CNY, you know the need for new healthy, orthodox believing churches.

Axiom is in the initial phases and many details are not available at the web site. It is very exciting to see another church forming in CNY. May God anoint them with great health, wisdom, love and evangelistic influence.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Spiritual Lessons From Unemployment - Part 2: Miracle to Whine

I've always wondered how the Israelites could go from seeing God miraculously deliver them from Pharoah's army in the Red Sea and then so quickly panic, whine and complain when they had a need.  I've now done it myself.  It's really not that hard.

Two days before Christmas we had virtually no presents for the children, our parents or anyone else we would normally have gifts for.  On top of that, through an unemployment snafu we also had absolutely no money with significant bills on the horizon.  Out of the blue a local non-profit organization had heard of our situation, called us and said, "Santa stopped here to deliver gifts for your family."  We went there that morning and were stunned with their generosity.  They had wrapped a bunch of presents for the kids and let us choose from a huge pile of other gifts.  We had everything we needed for Christmas and my daughter's birthday which was on December 31.

They also gave us a Christmas card with gift cards in it.  We went from zero to surplus within 24 hours, right when we needed it most.  Stunned and grateful we got ourselves ready for Christmas day. The whole experience was truly a miracle in my world.

And at the same time it became apparent that getting my unemployment snafu worked out wouldn't be an overnight thing of just getting them the right papers and information.  It became apparent that we were not going to be able to pay the mortgage and I was crushed in spirit, despondent and wondering where God was.  I went from zero to surplus to whine within 48 hours.  Ugh.

I was immediately reminded of the story of God's people being led out of slavery in Egypt.  The Scriptures give this vision of them being in bondage, miracles performed to release them, and miracles for them to escape Pharoah's army and cross the sea on dry ground.  And within a short time they're whining about their food and comfort, wishing they were back in Egypt -- miracles to whine in a flash.

Even back in August I had preached on Exodus 32 and the Golden Calf and couldn't imagine how they would want an idol after what God had provided for them.  I remember being dumbfounded.

Today I am reminded of the disciples who had been with Jesus, heard his teachings and should have had a clue that he would rise from the dead but were found in an upper room despondent and grieving their loss.  They too went miracle to despair.

I always wondered how they did that. How could they be so faithless? For the record: it's not that hard. I've now done it too -- lost sight of my hope in an instance.  Lord have mercy on me.  Be strong in my weakness O God.


A series of lessons and observations I have learned from my experience of being underemployed.
1. I'm Not Poor