Monday, May 11, 2015

Morning Prayer for Job Seekers

Morning Prayer for Job Seekers

God, you are great and I am thankful for you being here to help me on my journey.

Keep me from the temptation of distraction, for there are many, and let me not fall into the pit of self-pity or depression. Instead, let me be excited about this adventure that is before me, and to make the most of this opportunity.

Father, I desire to know your truth for me, help me to know where I need to be looking. Who in this grand world of yours do you want me to reach out to today letting them know that I am available for work? Who can I encourage along this grand journey of life?

Grant me patience, peace, and the wisdom I need to seek a path that honors you. Help me to be diligent and organized this day. Assist me in creating and following a plan which will assist me as I put forth the effort that is required of me today.

Banish all pride from me, so that I can be a humble and willing servant this day. Let me find myself smiling more... knowing the love that you have for me is bountiful.

All so that your name will be praised and honored by my actions today.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It is Friday...Sunday is Coming


It is Friday.
Jesus is waiting for me at the cross.
His words calling in my mind, but I do not go. I am afraid.
I was expecting something else. Last I knew we were planning a celebration.  What just happened? A sudden, unexpected ominous storm came from nowhere. Life has suddenly become dark. The once blue skies have suddenly turned black.

The Jesus I clung to.
The Jesus who taught with hope and promise, now hangs in obedience and humility.

He hangs there. His followers...we have all left.
He said, take up your cross and follow me. What does that mean?
He is hanging on the cross, letting the life go out of him.
Follow where?
He was to be the Way, the Truth, and the Light.
Now...There is no path. What is truth? I see no light.

Dreams so bright and promising... now empty, worthless, gone.
Hope once was so real... now gone without a trace.
Accusations, lies, betrayal, confusion... Denial.
Dark uncertainty fills my bewildered mind.
Pain like no other pain.
Fear overwhelming.

How can this be a Good Friday? What can possibly be good about it?

This this was Peter before Sunday. Many of us have been here.
The question is: “Are we stuck in the dark, or do we know about Sunday?
To see the real Jesus, we need to first look at the cross.

It is FridaySunday’s coming

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"I Can't Carry It For You... But I Can Carry You"

"I Can't Carry It For You... But I Can Carry You"

This quote is from The Return of the King the final episode in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I recently treated myself to watching the extended version. It is the climactic part of a long and difficult journey, and shows one person willing to give their all to help their companion. It is an intense moment when it seems all is lost, beyond hope, and they just can't go on.

At times, life can be extremely hard. Most of the time we can't take away another's heavy load ... for it is not ours to take. We also don't need to provide answers to their struggle ... for it is not ours to solve. Does that mean we just walk away? Do we try to solve it for them anyway? No. As much as we would like to remove them from their struggle, it is their burden to carry. But we can "carry them." We can support them by coming alongside and walking the troubled and weary road with them. We don't need to run ahead, trying to solve the problem for them, nor should we walk behind and wait for them to fall. We can walk alongside with an arm around their shoulder, offering words of encouragement, spending time quietly listening, allowing our hearts to hurt with them,  and even weeping with them. We can carry them by bringing simple gifts, meals, helping with chores, and reducing other loads; so that they have more strength to go on. They will still have to travel their road, but with a true friend walking alongside, the overwhelming impossible journey becomes a bit more possible.

If we don't know of other's struggles, how can we help? Too many times our prideful, self-sufficient, selves won't share our struggles. My father had responsibility placed on him at an early age, and did not believe you should share your problems with others. As a result he unknowingly distanced himself from others. Even in the hardest of times, all responses to "How's it going?" were met with an overly positive and sometimes humorous response like: "If I were any better, there'd have to be two of me." While I love being a positive and encouraging person, it is not true all the time. The question is so prevalent that I found a website titled 100 RESPONSES TO "HOW ARE YOU?" Personally, I have never liked that question. A more real question is, "What's bothering you?"  The truth is, we all have struggles, even handicaps. Sometimes our challenges are big and insurmountable, other times smaller. Some handicaps are easier to hide than others, but we all have them. If we all have problems, why do we try to hide them? Do we really believe that hiding them will make them go away? What we need to do is to share and grow through them.

We are all inspired by those with physical handicaps who push forward and do not let their handicap keep them from doing what they have been called to do. Do you think they would have accomplished much if they had they tried to hide their handicap? No, they accepted what they had letting others share in their life: Pain, struggles, loss, etc. ... If you have not looked into the life of Nick Vujicic you need to ( He has made his handicap his strength. Something I believe God enjoys.

We were made for community. Real authentic community. Community is not the casual "how's it going, how's the weather, did you watch my team, did you hear about ,.." surface level conversations with our neighbors as we pass them by. What we need is real Christian community. I say Christian community because the model for perfect community was laid out in the book of Acts: "There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need" (4:34-37 ESV).  The early Church lived in such community where no one was in need. I like that idea. We all need to be living in intentional community with people willing to sacrifice for each other. When one falls down we can help lift them up. When we fall down they will be able to do the same.

I have had some challenges, and I'll admit to having handicaps. One of the reasons I write, is to share some of my story with others so that they will be encouraged. My writing is proof that God can take one's weakness and turn it into good. All through my younger years in school I passionately detested English class and any sort of writing assignment. My handwriting is something even I can't read, and my spelling is creative, to say the least. I was extremely shy, and far too inwardly focused to be of any good to anyone. Then, as an adult, I went back to school to get my degree ... Needless to say, I had a load of writing to do. Thanks to the computer, and some encouraging teachers, I found I enjoyed writing, and even more amazing, had people saying they liked my writing. I'm still amazed.

Ever wonder what God wants for you? Believe it or not, the answer is simple. He wants you to help someone. "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

(This image is a favorite of mine, and originally appeared in the Good News Bible and is one of many by Annie Vallotton, who has spent a lifetime lightening the load for many through her art(short bio and interview).

If you are not part of such a caring and supportive community, please let me know as I want to help get you connected. Regardless of where you live, there is a community waiting for you, to help you grow in spirit, mind, and body.

- Kirk
For other posts, see

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Coming Clean- A Dirty Joke

I admit to being a geek and enjoying machines. I also appreciate German engineering, and I have an old '95 Audi convertible. We don't get that much snow around here, so a couple weeks ago I took my daughter to the mountains to play in the snow. We had a great time, but when we got back, the car look liked it had come down with leprosy.

I normally wash the car the old fashioned way: by hand at home. But it is below freezing and all the hoses are put up, so I head over to our neighborhood car wash. This is the kind you put the quarters in the machine and grab the wand and do it yourself. Not cutting edge technology by any stretch of the imagination, but hey, It will get the job done. I look forward to applying the magic wand and curing my car of the dreaded salt disease.

I go to the bill changer and I find it is having a 2 for 1 sale. It takes my $2 and gives me only $1 worth of quarters back. Of course, this is a fully self reliant mechanical marvel of technology, and no human attendant is needed. There is a suggestion box where you can leave a message for the attendant, but the box is a rusting old mail box that is empty except for one old and yellowing piece of paper. I fill it out, but I really don't expect much. I dig in the car and find 2 quarters and think that would be enough for a quick rinse. I place the quarters in the slot without much thought and then read that it requires 6 quarters to even think about starting (insert joke about guys not reading directions). I push the return button, and I discover it is only for decoration, as it has no intention of giving me any of my money back. I'm now wondering if this control box and the bill changer up front are talking together and working the same scam stealing money from unsuspecting humans.  

I really want to get my car clean, and our home is only five minutes away, so I get in the car and go home to get the quarters that are sitting on my dresser. Since I mostly use plastic, I never know what to do with coins anyways.

I get back to the carwash, to the same bay where I'm wondering if some other person received my 50 cent discount, but the box still says that it is still waiting for 4 more quarters. (I'm not sure but I think I detect a slight demonic grin from the box.) I then insert my 4 quarters, and prepare to wash the car, thinking I have finally won the battle with the machines. The timer starts, I grab the wand, and start turning the dial to rinse.....Nothing but a few drops comes out of the wand. I turn the dial a couple of rounds, but to no avail. Drip, drip, drip. The timer keeps going happily oblivious to my need and growing frustration.

I head home, somewhat defeated. At home, my wife suggests I go to the drive-through car wash at the gas station. I put a new top on the car a few years ago and I generally avoid harsh car washes, but she says it is "touchless." How can you wash a car without touching it? Besides they cost more. I concede and head to the gas station feeling a little defeated.

I pay my money, and head to the entrance, enter my code, and drive into the bay until the stop light turns red. Squirt, squirt, foaming suds, squirt squirt. Kind of fun actually as I sit in the car. Now the rinse. Suddenly, high speed water is spraying in at me and I'm under attack. A direct hit to the face! The window is up, but my convertible was not designed for 100 mph rain coming in horizontally! I grab for a towel that happens to be in the rear seat. The attack came and went swiftly, but it is now attacking the other window! I do what I can to protect myself and the interior of the car but it is clear I'm out gunned.

The assault is over and the light turns green. I drive out and head home. My jacket is still dripping wet on my left side. Machines 2, Kirk 0. On the way home, I envision a horror film of a future world with machines and robots everywhere. Sounds like fun, we should be well entertained. After all I am a geek.

Easter is coming. Jesus came to wash our sins away. Sin that threatens to corrupt us, devour us, like salt on the car. I'm glad he uses the personal hand washing (or should I say foot washing) method instead of some crazed mechanical marvel.

Jesus Washing Feet

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Up from the Ashes, Grow the Roses of Success

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. From the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success!
I've had many failed dreams. Sometimes I get afraid to dream again for fear of another failure. I'm convinced it is my faith that helps me get up and dream again. Perhaps with a bit more wisdom and experience to apply to the next dream, or even better... to share with another dreamer.

Loss of dreams. It happens. The question is, "Is it really a loss, or just another hill to climb?" We need to take some time to positively reflect on this, and avoid the temptation to wallow in self pity (one of my specialties, I may add). Instead we need to ask what do I need to learn from this? What have I learned about myself? What can I do with what I've learned? If we can learn from our experiences, then we are successful. However hard the disappointment and crashing feelings tend to be. We are all made to grow, and to learn. We only truly fail; when we fail to learn.

Sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves, to to find out who we are. That is a big part of growing. We are not what we accomplish, although it may seem like it on a superficial level...accomplishments tend to fade, while character grows. Yes, I want to accomplish great things, to be recognized for doing good. I crave the accolades of a job well done. I think we all do. Yet if that becomes the focus and purpose of our life, we get clouded with pride and think too much of ourselves. We end up missing the greater truth of who we are becoming.

To make a positive difference in the world requires love. The greater the love for others, the greater and more positive impact you will have. Love is an action, it is desiring the good of another, even at the cost of ourselves. Jesus is the author of love, and demonstrates what love can do. The more I find out about God's love, the more I am able to love myself, and love others. After all, who better to teach us who we are, and what we are to be, than the one who created us?

Watch the following movie clip. Up from the ashes, grow the roses of success. It is from one of my favorite movies, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is fun, playful, has a crazy inventor, and puts a smile to my face every time I see it.

Up from the ashes
- Up from what what used to be seemingly strong, and is now soft and serves as fertilizer to help something else grow. Our strong experiences can become soft fertilizer, a foundation on which new things can grow from.

Grow the roses
- The growing of a beautiful rose is a process. It starts with a seed that dies to itself, and with the help of good soil, light, and water, produces something so much more then the original.

Of Success
- Success is in what you give to others. Our gifts, like a rose's beauty, is not for ourselves, but for others to enjoy.

Jesus talked in the parable of the sower about the value of good soil. Are we allowing God to transform our experiences so they become good soil in which great dreams can flourish? Good soil is not hard, rocky, or filled with weeds. Good soil is soft, rich in nutrients...yes fertilizer.

Here is what I'm doing as I seek out my next dream.
  • Writing a time-line of past experiences
  • Looking at the time-line see where I have put forth energy that has brought about the greatest joy, the greatest good.
  • Looking for where I have found purpose and joy, and where that seems to point.
  • Trusting that my Father will guide my steps.
One of my joys is being able to take the experiences I have had, and using them to help others. That is one of my purposes.

I found this in a quick search about how a rose grows. It seems to apply.
There will be disappointments along the way, when many rose seeds fail to germinate, or perhaps they do germinate, only to die several weeks later from damp-off disease. Sometimes a rose seedling will turn out to be as ugly as sin, or very sickly, and you will reluctantly have to throw it away. Other times they will be just ho-hum, or look too much like its parent, and therefore have no value. But, just when you don't expect it, you might discover that one of your rose seedlings turns out to be very special.