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fallingmanna

Year In Review 2017

“Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.” So they build and prospered.

-2 Chronicles 14:7 – Spoken by Asa, the King of Judah

To give context to why I chose this verse to reflect my year, we need to rewind to Oct. 9th of 2016. My son Isaiah was born at a healthy 6 pounds 11 oz and arrived quicker than any father reading understands. I was caught between a world of emotions but non other than the concern to build my home correctly so that my son would become a man of God one day.

To say something is vastly different than doing something. I rapidly learned that becoming a God fearing father over night is no easy task. In fact, being a God fearing PERSON is difficult enough, how on earth would I know how to be a father on top of that!

God called Asa the King of Judah to build and lead his people during time of war. He build up a city and protected it and was rewarded by God with rest and prosperity. When I read this passage of scripture, my spirit resonated with the world rest after the period of hard labor,  building and constructing, and following God’s instruction. I could relate this to the last 12 months of 2017.

My wife and I moved to a new home, I changed jobs, my wife quit her full time job and picked up part time to spend more time with our son. If we could pick a song for 2017, it would have been “Changes” by David Bowie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8

Everything changed from 2016 to 2017 and I had to learn to rely on God and not on my own strength. I felt like Asa in Judah, needing to fortify my heart and home in order to not lose my sanity. In the busyness of life, I did not spend the amount of time I should have in prayer or reading the Word. I was often running day by day, meeting to meeting, week after week, stressed and exhausted. My wife and I argued more than ever before, and it mostly stemmed from my lack of listening. I couldn’t hear my wife clearly because I wasn’t taking the time to hear God clearly.

So what have I done? What steps have I taken as the father and husband in our home? How did I begin making the promise I made on Oct. 9th 2016 that I would raise my son to become a man of God someday? Let’s just begin by saying, it is all still coming together slowly. I have begun building my home like Asa build the city piece by piece.

The walls around my home is my local church. Where I get nourished spiritually and walk and talk to other fathers and leaders. The towers in my life would be my bible study group–where I am held accountable and where we share our struggles together. The gates in my home would be ME! As the father, I am the gateway for sin to enter our family. I need to be the first line of defense against calamity. This could be financial calamity, spiritual calamity, mental calamity, in-law issues, you name it. As fathers, we need to view ourselves as strong gates to our home with Jesus by our side. And finally, the bars–what would this be? This would be protections we put in place so our son does not grow up without boundaries. My wife and I began telling our son what is right and wrong from the very beginning. We started reading him the bible from the very beginning, and we are teaching him manners and character from the very beginning.

As 2018 approaches, I desire to listen to the Lord as Asa did. As parents, we need Rest, and that is what God provides when we build our hearts and homes correctly and seek his direction in all things.

 

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Frustrated

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.

You will eat the fruit of your labors, blessing and prosperity will be yours.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your home. Your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.

Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.” Psalm 128

 

May I share with you my frustration?

I have been married for 6 years, and have a 1 year old son. My wife is beautiful, intelligent, thought provoking, selfless and loving. My son is strong, hilarious, observant and listens intently.  However, I consistently fail as a husband.

I am so frustrated. Frustrated with the sinful life I can’t shed. The small decisions I make act like a small stone thrown into a calm lake. The ripples travel much farther than I ever expected.

Reading through Pslams, David teaches us that even he–a leader, a warrior, future King, suffered the same feelings many of us feel today. For husbands like myself dealing with the heaviness of leading a home, please spend time studying Pslams 128.

Psalms 128 brought me to my knees. The idea that a man who fears the Lord will receive blessing, prosperity, a wife who is like a fruitful vine in the home, and children who gather around the kitchen table to eat, is such a beautiful image we all desire.

So how do we as men fear the Lord? What does scripture tell us? I won’t share this with you in this write up–rather an encouragement for you men to go open the word and discover this on your own.

I am so frustrated. I am a hypocrite. I am fallen. I am also a father, a husband, a leader. I pray that God will use this broken piece of pottery to further his kingdom within my home and beyond. I am thankful for the forgiveness we receive from Jesus Christ–because without it I would feel empty and hopeless.

Lord this is my prayer, that I can learn to fear you. That I may learn from my errors and learn from my mistakes. I ask to be humbled in front of you and other Christ following men. Though I deserve nothing from you, you have offered to help me. Lord teach me to fear you! I long for a wife who is fruitful within my home. I long for my son to be raised knowing his earthly father seeks his heavenly Father. 

 

Daily Prompt: Panic

Opposites will always exist. Light and darkness, silence and sound, love and hatred, good and  evil, wisdom and folly, panic and freedom. To understand and to appreciate one, we need to accept the other.

When I married my wife, my vows included the following: “For better, for worse , for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” For my wife and I to remain in a healthy marriage, we must embrace these words. One cannot exist without the other.

When the daily prompt of “Panic” appeared on my computer screen, these truths of opposites flooded my mind. I began to think about the moments in my life when panic arose but then led to something new. For example, as a 20 year old away from home for the first time, I decided to purchase a new vehicle off of Craigslist. To make the long story short, I purchased a Acura Legend for $1800 (poor college kid here…) and after driving it home the engine was smoking and the temperature gauge was needling hot. In that moment panic struck. My brain was cursing and frustrated and even more so when I couldn’t get a hold of the seller via many phone calls and emails. However the initial panic escalated to problem solving which curtailed to self examination which ultimately taught me the lesson of never purchasing an item without thorough investigation. I am 28 now and have purchased four cars since and you guessed it… I have had no issues. Panic taught me a lesson. A good one.

Or what about the time my wife handed me a letter on Valentines day with a card that read, “There is enough love when it’s just you and me, but there is an abundance of it when there are three!”. At first it took me a minute to understand the riddle due to shock, but as soon as reality sunk in, pure joy and happiness exploded in my heart. Fast forward 8 months and 3 weeks with only a few weeks left until my son is due, and pure panic set in for the first time. In my mind, when you begin to purchase car seats, diapers, blankets, newborn clothes, closing out registries, sending thank you cards for baby showers, etc and all of a sudden the reality of taking care of this tiny human sinks in. Love provided an avenue to panic, but it led right back to love. I am now even more excited for my son since finalizing all what was needed for his arrival.

To end this daily prompt, I was to conclude by saying that all positive events and negative events in our lives must co-exist. It gives us a chance to live life.

-Fallingmanna file_000-2

Decided to leave my church

My wife and I recently decided to leave our local church after being members for 5 years. It was a difficult yet easy decision. The difficult part was leaving the close friends and the deep relationships we have built over the years. The pastor of the church is the father of my best friend from High school so I have known him for well over 12 years. I have watched young children mature into teenagers, and watched the teenagers in our church become adults. My dedication to growing into Christ began at this church but yet something didn’t sit right in my heart and of the heart of my wife.

The easy decision was following Jesus. Jesus was not the center stone of the teaching at our church and it took us 4 years to discover this. The last and final year we were members, my wife and I dug into scripture to expand upon teachings from our pastor and when we discovered contradictions, we raised these questions to our pastor and other leaders in the church to get answers. The answers we received were convoluted and confusing. Often coming to us after weeks of waiting for an answer. It seemed like we were a burden and felt as though we were not listened to.

Our fellow members of the church are close friends like I said prior, and the pastor and his wife are honestly some of the closest people in our lives. It is a strange experience leaving a church.

It began exactly a year ago when my wife began listening to preaching on the grace of God and the freedom we have in Christ that led us down this journey. At our current (now our former church) we were taught to “work” for Christ. And how we must “die to ourselves daily” to be more like Christ. Our Salvation must be “worked out”. My wife asked our pastor during a Sunday morning this question; “If we are born again believers and accept Christ as our Savior, but we then commit sin and don’t repent, will we lose our Salvation?” and our Pastor’s answer was “Yes”.

This was the moment I said in my heart that this church was no longer for us. I know in my heart that Christ died for my SINS–not sin. His blood HAS washed me clean and I AM seated at the right had of God with Christ because of his sacrifice. It took us 4 years to find out that our pastor believed that Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t once and for all…

I would go into more detail on why we left, but I don’t believe it is necessary. What I discovered is that as long as you keep your eyes on Christ and read his word daily, he will guide your path. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit for leading me into greater knowledge of HIS finished works. I am thankful for God’s provision of forgiveness and abundance of grace on my family. I am thankful for the friends and relationships I built over the years at my former church, but I know my spirit thirsts for truth and revelation in Jesus Christ and I cannot deny my Spirit.

Is there anyone reading this with a similar experience? If so, what was your journey to leave your church?

Why We Pray

Have you ever thought to yourself, “why do people pray?”. I believe its a valid question. If God is all knowing, all powerful, then whats the point? Doesn’t God already know what we would pray about? Doesn’t the bible say that God’s intentions for us are for good?

Growing up, prayer for me was something I had to participate in before I was able to eat my dinner. I was required to sit patiently at the dinner table until everyone took theirs seats (mom, dad, and my two sisters) then we would all bow our heads and my dad would pray over our food. I was always amused that God was this ever powerful, super natural being, but he was concerned over our food…seemed a bit odd to me.

What are your early memories of prayer? What emotion did it spark for you?

Continue reading “Why We Pray”

3 Foundational Truths on God

1. God Seeks Partnership

God created Man in his own image, he placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, and told him that he has complete dominion over the earth. Did you ever notice that God gave Adam the responsibility to name the animals? Why would God create the animals without naming them? Well for some reason, he decided Man would get a chance at also creating… Think about that for a few minutes…

2. When God Speaks, Keep Seeking

When God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, God told Moses to go to Egypt and free his People–the Israelite slaves. Read Exodus Chapter 3 & 4. Moses is so focused on traveling to Egypt after accepting Gods request, that he takes his wife and son and immediately heads to Egypt. On the way there, they rest at a lodge.

Exodus Chapter 4: 24-26 is so important yet so often overlooked. It reads, “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah (his wife) took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses feet with it. “What a blood-smeared husband you are to me!” said Zipporah. So the Lord let Moses live.”

Continue reading “3 Foundational Truths on God”

Perspective

Imagine walking into a board room with 25 executives awaiting to hear a new proposal from the intern who suggests an alternate solution to a problem. Picture a child who walks on stage who is barley old enough to tie his own shoes gently take his place in front of a grand piano with an audience who has paid handsomely to hear the next Beethoven. Or consider a situation where one young man prepared for battle steps in front of a nine foot giant who is prepared to slaughter you.

This is exactly what happened to David in the story of David and Goliath in 1st Samuel Chapter 17. It is a story of an unlikely hero, an individual so full of faith to perform in the moment, someone who had the tenacity to overcome all natural fear. An individual who knew where his strength came from.

In this post, I would like to share with you a fresh new perspective on the story of David and Goliath.

Continue reading “Perspective”

In The Beginning

Genesis 1:1-“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

Each and every one of us have read/heard/said these words in our lifetime. At its root, it is the starting context of our world–a world that was created by God. As I sit and write this, the snow is gently falling from the sky above and I am reminded of His perfection and beauty all around us.

The book of Genesis is often overlooked as fable stories or only taught to children during Sunday School. Yes the story of God creating the earth in six days and resting on the seventh seems like a mythological story rather than historical truth BUT for this piece I am writing, lets take a look at the creation of Man and how God intended for us all to live. As Proverbs 25:2 states, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

So lets search it out.

Continue reading “In The Beginning”

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