Friday, October 28, 2005

Jonah's Prayer

I cried to you in my distress
I called to you from the world of the dead
And you heard me, Lord you heard me

Cast down in ocean depths
Heart sank beneath the waves
Calling for your presence
You found me, Oh you found me

Beneath the waves, close to death
A noose of seaweed around my neck

Lord hear me, Oh hear me
Come find me, Lord find me
This song of praise, life offered up to you
To fulfill my vows and do your will
Spit me up, Spit me up
To dry ground, Your beach of love
Sands of grace



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On another note, I just heard over my pager of an 18 yr old girl giving birth to a baby! The baby is breathing and fine, and the chord is still attached! Oh the miracle of life!

I tried to come up with the words to express my thankfullness to God for his goodness, but found myself lacking like never before. And there, in that moment, closing my eyes, I could feel and hear my spirit speaking in tongues the words I could not express.
That is honestly the first time in my life I've ever "heard/spoke" in tongues, and had absolutely no doubt that it was legit! Amazing! Hallelujah!

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I couldn't finish this post last night. That was crazy! Lord you are astounding!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Good Times, Community, and Beer

So, angie was wondering what I was doing up after midnight last night responding to her comment. So here it is. I confess. After youth, I was out with a couple of the other college group persons over at Marfields drinking. There you have it. Oh and I might as well bring yall down with me...Bob, EZ, Justin, Kim (she was drinking Dr. Pepper), and myself. Now you know it, we're all a bunch of alchies, and I better not be the only one at the AA meetings!

No, not really. We've been sorta making this effort to strive for community amongst ourselves. What I mean by that is become actively involved in eachothers lives, more than seeing eachother at church and College Group occasionally during the week.

So, we went over to marfields, which is an irish pub, and were hoping to get a bight to eat, have a beer or two, and just talk about what God's doing in our lives. And that's just what we did...minus the eating, cause their kitchen was closed. So anyway, we let Dave (the owner) pick the beer, and we all sat around having good times. Our conversation ranged from suicide, to living in community, to just what's going on in our lives. I was talking with Dave Griffith the other day, and he mentioned that we don't do enough together as believers just to have fun. Because no matter what we do, we will live as Christians, and be a light to those around us, so it really didn't matter what we did. He's making this push to organize a Texas Hold 'Em night down at the church...I laughed at first and told him it was a good pipe dream, but I think it might actually be a possibility. We'll see. So back to last night, we each had two beers, minus kim, and then we went over to taco bell for some comida (food in spanish, for all you unejimacated people), and continued to talk there. We had a really good time just hanging out and lovin on eachother, and I know some of us just needed to get out of the house.

Well, time to go buy rakes for our servant evangelism project today. You guys can pray that the kids will enjoy serving, and that people will be touched by God's love, and allow us to pray for them, and that God would answer those prayers.

Cya, LK

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

audioblogging!!!

this is an audio post - click to play

Renaissance Man

That's me...the Renaissance Man. I've always heard this described as a good thing, but I'm not so sure. Pretty much my entire life, I've always been pretty good at well, pretty much everything, however not really good at well, anything. I remember hearing the term "renaissance man" probably my freshman year in highschool in english class, and identifying with the phrase. This coming from a guy who's always been somewhat athletic, somewhat intelligent, and pretty much have this idea that I can do or learn anything as long as I put my mind to it. And that being true, I find myself involved and interested in everything in life. Even at this point, as silly as this will sound, I still have dreams and tell myself that I could feasibly go on to play professional baseball, or be a poker pro, or a firefighter, or a youth pastor, or full time missions, or worship leader, or own my own business, or make a lot of extra cash in the real estate market, or do anything that catches my attention for a little bit. And what I find myself doing is somewhat chasing all of these dreams at the same time. I was talking with my mom on the phone yesterday, and I was telling her how I am always overcommitted, and how I'd like to eventually get free from that. For one thing, committing to everything else leaves little time to develop and maintain relationships, which is a neccessity, and it also leaves little time to actually make any progress on any of these things. I've come to the conclusion that maybe they misnamed the phrase.Instead of renaissance man, it should be the "ADD man" or an indecissive man, or something of the sort. Don't worry, I'm not going back on the ADD kick again. Actually what happened with that is I went to our county psychologist, cause I thought that's what you had to do, and then he said he wasn't sure...I could or couldn't have it, and then he referred me to my doctor. Well, I went to her and she wanted to do all the tests and crap over again, and I said forget it, I didn't have the time or willingness to do it all over again. One of the guys at work laughed when I told him that, and he said "see, you do have ADD" I laughed, but don't really care at this point. I think it's more of an inability to focus on one goal that drives me crazy, not neccessarily ADD. So back to my conversation with my mom. I was telling her that Bob and I were talking the other day about how much we could do for this youth group and this town if we were to both work full time together for the church. The possibilities would be endless. It got me thinking about Jesus sending the disciples out in pairs, and how much more effective they would be that way, than doing it alone, and how that was their sole purpose. To spread the gospel. Well, when you put it like that, it makes life much easier. But here we are with this multi-purpose life. Or at least in our minds. We have to get nice houses, and have a nice family, and drive nice cars, and that's just the material side of our "needs." What if we actually lived with our main priority being to spread the gospel. What would that mean in terms of actions in our lives? We all say that God is our #1 priority, but when it comes down to the priority list, he's generally #3 or #4, in terms of what to get done.
I was looking at a friend of a friends blog, about how his hobby was to create and shape environments and events for students based on missions, culture and service. How focused is that! That's freakin awesome. If I could be focused primarily on one thing. If that could be my hobby, I think I would be a lot more effective. I told my mom this on the phone "Each person has a limited amount of resources to expend. Whether they focus them all on one place, or spread them out over 50 things, there is only so much they can put out. " I find myself in that boat, spreading my finite resources over 50 things, making me effectively ineffective at really anything. Does this make sense to anyone?

I guess this is the question. What's your purpose? And do your actions agree with your words?

Casino!

Ok, it really wasn't all that great. We got there around 4:00, ate at the buffet (yes, that was an incredible place...so much good food all in one place, and when you take one, another one appears...it's amazing. I was drooling going through the line...there's 5 different ethnic food areas and then 3 different salad bars and one huge dessert bar, and each one of these places is like 1/2 the size of my house!) So anyway, we ate at the buffet, and I ate so much that I got slightly physically ill. Really, I thought at one point I was going to throw up. So, I figured I won't be doing that anytime soon. However, once all of our stomach's settled down, we slowly drudged our drooping eyelids over to the gaming area. It really wasn't all that cool. They had a couple of tables, but mostly everything else was slots and video poker. I'm not really a slot or video poker person, so I went wandering off to find the Hold Em tables. What I found was lots and lots of old people sitting mesmorized in front of thousands of slot machines pressing buttons or pulling levers over and over totally oblivious to the world around them. When I was in the bathroom washing my hands, one man came over and started complaining about how he wasn't making any money. I told him he was in the wrong place to be doing that, and he sorta sneered at me and walked off. I thought everyone knew that all you do in casinos is donate your money to some sort of fund. Oh, I also found out that since this was a riverboat, it wasn't even the native american relief fund I'd be dontating to. It would be the rich white guy getting richer fund. That wasn't nearly as appealing to me. I found all the old people to be really sad though. I mean, how many life savings are thrown away in there every day? Seriously, they could be gambling away their grandkids college tuition or something. Oh well, I guess there wasn't much I could do about it. I also found out that I'm probably not the most fun person to go to a casino with. Mostly because I'm a tightwad, and I just wanted to watch everybody else throw their money away and hold onto my own. I finally found the hold em area and put my name on a list to play in a tournament or something at 7:00. They didn't explain anything about it very well at all. All I knew was that my name was on a list and I should be back there at 7. So I sat next one of my buddies from work, and threw a couple of bucks into a video poker machine. He sat next to me looking like one of the old people pushing buttons as fast as he could like the machine was going to run away if he didn't push them fast enough. I sat next to him deliberately talking to him more than playing the game to try and make my money last longer. When it was all said and done, I had won some money and lost some money, and wasn't sure where I was at. But then it was time to play hold em. The moment I'd been waiting for. I walked up to the hold em area counter and the man told me to go sit at table 9. I had seen $2-$5 no limit up above the tournament title, but wasn't sure what exactly that meant. I figured it was the blinds, but thought I guess that could've been the buy in also. Well, turns out that was the blinds, and the buy in was $100-$300 and it was a rebuy tournament! I sheepishly walked away knowing I only had like $80 or something, and didn't want any piece of that...at least not right now. And besides that, I would've been there for like 4 hours taking everyones money, and then all my coworkers would've had to wait on me, so you know, it was for them that I didn't play. yeah, yeah, yeah, sorta anti-climatic, I know...anyway, we eventually found everyone. One guy lost $40 another $10, my buddy mike actually came out $20 ahead, and I had lost $5. So we all piled back in the van and wandered all the way home. I think sometime I'll have to go on my own, so I can be my tightwad self and take my time, and play some cards or something without letting all my friends know I'm cheap. I really didn't even play much of anything there, and that's alright. I've got other things to throw my money away into. So that's that. Not a very spiritual post today, but you'll live.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Can someone tell my why that was funny?

So worship on Sunday went really well. I'm really not sure of how it all sounded out there, but I know practice went really well, and I think it went well during the service. I know it went well for me, cause like I said earlier, I really just wanted to share my heart in worship with the Lord, and did I ever have a great time. God is so good and kind...and those words are so inadequate...I really can't express how thankful I am to Him for all He's done. I didn't get a chance to talk to our worship leader, but I will this week. I'm really not worried about it. Like most of you commented, I know God will allow me to use my heart in this matter in His time, and it may not even be as I see it, but that's ok.

Dave was telling me the other day about the VLI Worship leaders school thingy they're going to be doing in Colorado next year. I'm not sure if you have to complete VLI first or not, but I got all excited just listening about it...then I thought "I can't do that and firefighting..." So I agreed that God would just have to open and close doors where He would, and lead me to the place He has for me. I know sometimes it's tough waiting around for God's timing when all you want to do is His will, just ask my bro David about that. He's waited on God's timing for so long to fulfill His desires to do missions, and I know it's been hard on him, but when God's timing comes, it will all be perfect. So, I can trust in that, and trust that He will lead me where I will fit perfectly into His plan and His calling.

So back to sunday. If I haven't told you before, for some reason Dave (our pastor here) gets the biggest kick out of embarrasing me the best he can in front of the whole congregation. It's really not that uncommon for him to crack jokes at me in the middle of his sermons, or to use me as an example in front of everyone, or to make fun of me rolling my car, or whatever, the list goes on and on. Well, sunday somebody from the crowd yelled out "Hey, wasn't it Luke's birthday yesterday?" And I'm thinking "Why me?" (BTW, thank you to the Gilberts for having me over and feeding me, which you do all the time, and the cake and nice gifts. You guys are way too kind...and Thanks Doug for staying up and finishing that game even though I know you just wanted to crash out.) I had done such a good job of not letting anybody know, and keeping things on the down low. The Gilberts invited me over for some cake and food, and we just had a good time playing some cards and all (and yeah "We are the champions..."), and it was nice and small and quiet. Then this. So Dave says yes, and goes on for a little bit, and I'm shaking my head, and shrinking down in my chair, and he asks everyone if they want to see me get dunked in the baptism tank. I laughed thinking he was joking, and then everyone raised their hands and cheered, and I'm thinking "You're all crazy!" Then Dave kept saying come on, take off your shoes, and I'm shaking my head no, and still thinking he's joking, and he kept persisting! I was in shock! I really didn't want to "challenge" his authority in front of everyone, but I was still confused by his madness. Well, he kept on, so I finally agreed in totall confusion, and took off my shoes and started walking towards him. Then Big Ryan came running up like he was going to tackle me, and I had to hurry to get my cell phone and pager and wallet out before taking the plunge, and then they sorta pushed me in. I emerged from the water to hear everyone cheering, and I thought to myself "What's wrong with you people? Don't you know it's 35 degrees outside, and here I am in soaking wet jeans and a polo shirt?" (which is really dressing up for me) It was odd, and I wondered why I went along with Dave's goofy game, and then while I'm still standing there, He decided to say some nice things about us guys coming out here and blah blah blah...I think it was his attempt at redemption...but Dave...I know where you sleep...and someday, it'll come back to get you...Bob was nice enough to run out to my car where I fortunately had some extra clothes (because I'm messy and unorganized), and I got to change and dry off. I guess he does it cause I play along so nice, and really don't have any pride (cause I have no reason to), but this was just wierd. I think what I'll do is the next time Dave lets me preach on sunday, I'll make an example of him in how you reap what you sow, and also a lesson in humility. It'll be great. Anyway, I'm off to gamble away my 94 dollars later today...It's my way of giving back to the native american tribes for the horrible things "Americans" did to them back in the day...or something like that. God Bless "yall"


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I forgot to add this...
Last night at work, I was on the BLS truck. Which means that it's an ambulance with two EMT's rather than one EMT and one Medic. Well, when we have the proper staffing to have a BLS truck, that means that the BLS crew is always the last crew out unless it's transfer that meets basic BLS criteria. So anyway, we took two transfers earlier in the day, and that night I was supposed to have extrication training out our fire dept., but I wasn't going to be able to go cause I was at work. Well, my partner asked our supervisor if we could go, since it's in the county, and we were going to be last out anyway, and suprisingly, he said yes! So, we went out there and I got to use the jaws and cutters and spreaders and chizzles and air bags and cribbage and all that awesome stuff, and play for like two hours while getting paid. It was freakin awesome! ... there now I'm done...you can now return to your regular programming.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lots and lots O pennies

Alright, since I will be leagal soon, I started counting out my change bucket (also known as Lukes Hold'em bucket) so I can go to the casino and play some cards. I first had to go to the bank and get some coin rolls, cause I refuse to pay those stupid little machines 11 cents or so on to every dollar. Anyway, I got home, popped on my ipod, and listened to my praise and worship list while I counted quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies until my fingers would seemingly fall off. First let me tell you of the wonders of technology...it is a wonderful thing. As much as I say I would like to go back to the days of hunting and gathering, where there's no such thing as bills and fuel for your ride wasn't $2.89 gallon cause it grew outside your little hut door...as much as that would be nice, I would have to have my ipod with me. Wonderful little gadgets they are. My ipod has 20 gigs, and currently has about 1500 songs (about 500 of which are rap...and that's cool and all, but when I put it on random that's about all that comes up), and could probably hold another 1000 or more. So anyway, I started off with Chris Tomlin (yeah, he rocks), and eventually it got through a couple ATS worship songs, and then to Delirious' live in the can cd. So I'm sitting here,...yes, still counting coins...worshiping as I go along, and I start to get this ancy feeling. And as delirious continued to play, and eventually (cause it's a live concert recording) one of the guys starts to sorta pray over the crowd and that generation, and the further and further he gets, the crowd gets with him more and more, and then slowly he starts to really enunciate the endings of his words. So I'm still listening and counting, and he goes on about how we are the lighT of the worlD, and a city on a hill cannoT be hiddeN, and how we should leT our lighT shiNe before meN, and jusT as someone would noT lighT a LamP and cover it with a bowl..., and about this time I have to pull my headphones out and clean the spit out of my ears, and I was slightly annoyed by the sort show he seemed to be putting on, cause I know there's no way this guy prays like this. However, I eventually got over it and continued to listen to Delirious live in England somewhere from the middle of my bedroom floor, and I could hear the crowd praying in the background, and I started to remember some of the awesome conferences I've been to, where God poured out his spirit, and everyone in the room couldn't help but fall to their knees, and I really began to get tired of regular old life. This urge to do more with my life grew inside of me...this desire to be used by God, and give praise and glory to his name just wouldn't subside. Those of you who know me well, know the passion I have for worship. I would honestly rather be a worship pastor than a youth pastor. I love them both, but my heart is really in worship. And my heart began to cry out to God to be used like that. I've always dreamed big, so this wasn't the first time I've closed my eyes and envisioned myself leading worship at some big concert or conference with thousands of people, and I know it sounds vein, but if I could do it and be invisible or have a mask that would be great. I really don't care. It's worship! It's all for Him! Whether it sounds like a selfish thing or not, God knows my heart, whether or not I can describe it in words. But anyway, so I sat there, still counting and worshiping, and I prayed that God would take my love of music and specifically worship, and use it for him. I really don't have to do it at some conference, or anything like that. Wherever he would have me is fine, but as long as I get to use the gifts he's given me.
I get kinda frustrated here sometimes cause I really don't get the opportunity to lead all that much. I've given up at youth so we can develop an actuall youth band (which is coming along nicely), and I hardly ever get to lead on Sundays because of some reason or another...and yes, I've talked to our worship pastor a little about it, and haven't gotten very far...I'll probably talk to him again, and tell him how much I really want to do this, and hopefully he'll understand. I really haven't made much of a fuss about it cause it's worship, and I can do that whether I lead or not, but it's been almost 2 years now, and I've probably gotten to lead maybe 4 or 5 times, and I feel like I might be letting that gift sorta get rough around the edges. If you don't use it, you lose it. But, I get to lead this sunday which is cool. I sometimes get worried about how it will come through (I never used to worry about that, but it seems the less I do it, the less confident I become), but all I want to do this sunday is to let my heart of worship be expressed to the Father, and I really think everything else will fall in place. And if not, it doesn't matter, it won't change my heart in the matter.

So, I've sorta dragged this out...it was supposed to be about how I want God to allow me to use my heart for worship, and how I have a lot of pennies...1173 to be exact...that's a lot of pennies...took quite a while to count it all, but I have 94 dollars and some add cents in that bucket...Adios.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Memories and Inspiration

I was reading Ben's blog recently of his memories from a first year teacher and some of the very interesting things that occured in the time (and yes Ben, it's purely miraculous you didn't get fired), and it got me thinking of some of my own. Somehow, Ben has this amazing way of taking words and giving them life so the reader gets lost in mystery and amazement and all things receive new meaning. I guess that's part of the power of being an english major. Anyway, if you haven't checked out his blog, you simply must. What you'll find there is mystical and magical, words float around like clouds and stars in the back of my dad's pickup on a cool Arizona night...and let me tell you, there isn't much that beats that. Some of my favorite memories are sitting back there on the way home from a road trip, just letting the wind whip through my hair as the pale moonlight creates a slight glow on the back of my eyelids. I can recall those moments...often my dad would be flying down a dirt road on the side of a mountain, and at first I would be a little frightened by the several hundred foot drop that sat a mere foot or two away from our tires edge, eventually though it would all fade and I would come to trust that dad knew what he was doing and wouldn't let anything happen to his kids. So I would lie back there and watch the sky and for that hour or two, nothing in the world could be more peaceful, nothing could be more magical. Even jotting down memories from the past takes me back, and I can feel my body relax as all my cares fade away. That's a feeling I miss. It reminds me of home, the family, trusting that all will be fine. There isn't much that can take me back to that magical feeling, but somehow Ben has a way of doing it. I can read his blog and get lost in the magic of words, and suddenly life is no longer busy all the time full of schedules and hardships. Somehow life changes amidst that page, while words dance around and capture you in a spell...I eventually wake up and come back to reality, but there's always a part of me that agrees that life should be mystical, that there's beauty in the mystery, and the only way to experience all the many wonderful hidden things is to let go and let God take the wheel. And much like my dad, trust that He won't let anything bad happen to his kids. So Ben, thanks for being inspirational and putting some of the magic back into life, thanks Dad for being such a great father and friend, and thank you Lord for always being there for me.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Deep theology and deep confusion

Bob got back tonight, good onya mate, it was good to hang with you for a bit, and once again we were up in his room late just hangin and chattin. We always seem to get to the somewhat less definite areas of the Bible, and how we should live according to God's word, but what wonder what that means in some regards...Anyway, we always ask a question, and that leads to another question, and that to another, and in the end, more questions than we started with, and even less answers...not that it gets me to questioning my faith, or even what I might tend to believe myself in the lesser defined area's (I generally just can't manage to explain why), it only leaves me with this comprehension of how little I actually comprehend, and how that leaves me even more and more dependent upon God's daily revelation of His word in my life, and a sense of desparation whenever I get this faint notion that I can do something on my own and thus without God. He's amazing. That's all there is too it. I don't understand Him, not even in the slightest bit. I know portions of His word and can somewhat experience His love, but that doesn't mean I understand...there might be times when I think I do, but seriously, can we even begin to think on the same level as the Father? Really...there's no way, even as we revel in our proudest moments of human high fallutin wisdom, God must just chuckle and think they're so simple, yet I love them still.
So, it's late, and this was probably more confusing, but it is all out of a yearning in my heart to know the Father more.

Reveal Yourself to me Lord. I need You so very much. I understand nothing, and You have abundant stores of wisdom. Pour that out on me, not so I can gloat in it, but that I can know You more. Come and consume every part of my life. Let my mind dwell and be controlled by the spirit, as Your heart conquers mine. Holy fire burn away. You're the only thing that satisfies, everything else is trivial and meaningless. My heart literally burns for you (unless that's the chili I ate). I have to have more, I want You to take controll, You have to, for the sake of Your kingdom, and the sake of Your people who You have chosen me to lead. Who am I to lead? What have I done to make me deserving of such a task? Only made a mockery of Your name and shown my innadequacy even more. But You are faithful and good. You turn winter into spring, and make this cold heart grow. You take this weak body, this feable mind, and bring glory to Your name, and healing to Your people. It is true. Your power is shown magnificantly through my weakness. Your grace covers my downfalls. It is You, only You. I live for nothing else. There's nothing else that can fill the void, nothing to quench the fire. So have Your way. Let Your desires become my own, Your love overflow through me. Break down any pride and stubborness, any feeling of honor, and let me live to glorify You forevermore.