Not Ashamed ><>

Thursday, November 30, 2006


You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now


Saturday, November 18, 2006

But even if He does not...

16Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Faced with death, these three young Hebrew men had faith that their God would save them. That in and of itself is not what impresses me the most about their story. What impresses me the most is the fact that their faith was so strong that even if their prayers went unanswered, their faith could not and would not be shaken. I have to confess to being envious of that kind of faith.

I've been struggling through the emotions associated with watching a good friend battle cancer at a very young age. With a young wife and a six-month old son, human eyes only see the hurt that would come from Keith passing on. Without knowledge of tomorrow, it's hard to see how the good that could come from all of this could possibly outweigh a child growing up without his father and a young wife losing the love of her life after just a few short years together. And so, even as the doctors say that they are out of treatment options, I find myself pleading with God. Man may be powerless to heal my friend, but I know that God is not. I feel a little like Abraham, full of boldness, humbly asking God how many lives could be touched, how many souls won by Keith's amazing story... to His glory! ... if He would just let Keith touch His clothes.

In the midst of thinking about all of this, I launched iTunes to listen to "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns, an inspirational song about having faith to take God at His word, even in the face of great odds... a song that just as easily could have been about Nebuchadnezzar's furnace as it is about Peter stepping out of the boat and David standing up to Goliath. Listening as I typed this entry, I was struck by the sequence as iTunes randomly selected each new song. (Click the title of the song to view the lyrics.)
  1. Voice of Truth, Casting Crowns
  2. You Never Let Go, Matt Redman
  3. Praise You In This Storm, Casting Crowns
  4. It is Well With My Soul, Audio Adrenaline
I want to believe the Voice of Truth. I want to know in my heart that He is near... that He'll never let go. I want His perfect love to drive out my doubts and my fears... to have the faith to praise Him, even as rain pours forth from raging storm clouds that I was SURE He would have already calmed. I desperately want, whatever my lot, to be able to say that it is well with my soul... to believe that God IS, even in the face of unanswered prayer.

I have faith to believe that God can heal Keith. I'm just not sure how strong my faith will be if He does not.

Lord, help me overcome my unbelief.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

Hallelujah, the car is rollin' again. Well, I guess technically she never lost her ability to roll. She just couldn't do it under her own power. Now she can. Muchos gracias, Mr. Watson! When I told him I owed him one, he reminded me that I gave him a hard drive to fix his computer and stated that we were, in fact, even. Works for me!

Discovered some very unusual wear on one of my current tires. It appears as though the inner corner of the tire has been rubbing against the fenderwell somewhere, but we could find no evidence of this on the car itself... it's worn pretty much all the way down to the steel belts in the middle of the tire. Don't know WHAT caused it. I do know that the tires need to be replaced ASAP.

While working on the car, I found a rusted old Craftsman 3/8" ratchet in my toolbox. I don't have any recollection of where it came from... in fact, I don't recall ever having seen it before in my life. It was rusted to the point that the inner mechanism had seized up completely. Knowing that Sears covers all of their hand tools under a lifetime warranty, I took the rusted old thing in this evening and asked for a replacement. Was a little curious what would happen, because it clearly wasn't a defect in manufacture... obviously the thing had been neglected badly. Walked out with a refurbished, good-as-new ratchet. Exact same model number. Perfect! "Guaranteed forever" indeed.

Lastly, it is absolutely insane what David Ortiz has done the last week. According to Rotoworld, he has 9 home runs in his last 9 starts, boosting his season total to 31 with 1 game to go before the All-Star break. Let me put that in perspective... the Red Sox, who have had multiple members of baseball's 500 career HRs club grace their roster over the years (including hall of famers like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx), as well as one likely to join the club next year, have NEVER had a hitter reach 30 home runs by the All-Star break. Mark McGwire had 30 when he went on to break Roger Maris' record of 61 with 70 of his own in 1998. Barry Bonds had 39 when he broke McGwire's record with 73 in 2001. No, I don't think he's going to break the record... but I think his last year's career best of 47 is in serious jeopardy. Can't wait for the Home Run Derby next week.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Poor Car

Well, my poor car has been out of commission for 2 months... one of those things I just haven't felt the urge to blog about. To make a long story short, due to an injured left ankle, I accidentally let the clutch out faster than I intended... causing massive wheelspin thanks to wet pavement... causing a broken CV axle. Could have been worse... we were worried the clutch had gone out. For those of you who know nothing about cars, it's a LOT less work to replace an axle than it is to replace the clutch.

So now I finally have all the parts needed to fix it (had to order various little bits from Honda)... and I'm going to do a couple of other things while I'm at it. That's what I'll be doing for the next couple of days. I had been borrowing Tanya's car while she was out of the country (thanks!), but she has reclaimed it now so I really need to get my car roadworthy again. I also need to say thanks to Michael Watson ... due to his expertise (and hands), this has been a lot easier than it would have been if I had to try to figure it all out on my own.

The above picture shows off our cluttered garage ... you can check out more photos here: Project Annabelle. Yes, I named my car Annabelle. Apparently it means grace and beauty. Since I think my car is both graceful AND beautiful, I thought it fit well. (Yes, Marti... I know I'm a dork.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Boy it's quiet around here ...

I started to say that I've been so busy that I haven't had time to post... but that's just a blatant lie, so I won't bother. I just really haven't felt the urge. My wife posts all the fun kid-related happenings on our family blog... the rest of my life is pretty boring in comparison.

Our softball team is sitting at .500 ... 6 wins to go with 6 losses ... 4 games left to play. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with that. I mean, it's not spectacular, but after getting moved to the upper division this year, we really expected to take more of a beating than we have. If we win out, we've even got a shot at 2nd or 3rd place (out of 8 teams). Personally, I've been playing better of late, which is all I can really control, so I'm pleased with that. We even had a few fans at our last game (no offense to Cole's girlfriend Amber, who has been to all but one of our games I believe).

We're in the process of selling our house. Kinda disappointed with the lack of response so far (we've had 4 showings)... but not enough to lower our asking price yet. Our realtor suggested we start thinking about it, but it's only been on the market for a week. He's been doing this longer than I have though, so I don't know. We want it to sell quickly so we can snatch up the house we really like before it sells... but we're not desperate enough to drop it too far below the point where everything else in our neighborhood seems to be selling. Even if the house we like sells, there are other houses out there.

I think that about wraps it up... I've been sitting here staring at a blinking cursor for several minutes just to make sure there's nothing else I feel the urge to type. It may very well be September before I get around to updating again, so I'd hate to leave anything out!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And Another Season is Underway...

Levy's first game of the 2006 Temple Spring/Summer Church Softball season is in the books. We came out victorious over Pleasant Valley church of Christ by a final score of 16-9. We're 1-0 ... undefeated! (Enjoy it while it lasts... which likely won't be long!) Maybe I'll post some pictures from our next game ... sorry, I forgot the camera this time.

The Player of the Game would have to be John Rachels, who not only had something like 8 RBIs but he also threw out a runner trying to tag and advance to 3rd on a fly ball to left field, and WOULD have had a runner out at the plate who was trying to score from second if the catcher hadn't let the ball slip out of his glove as he went to apply the tag. *cough* CHAD *cough* ;)

No harm, no foul ... a win is a win... good job guys!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Approval of Men

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Humans crave acceptance. We look for groups where we fit in... places that we feel like we belong. I believe that God made us this way, that we might find acceptance and unity in Christ, and through it, encourage and build each other up in the faith. Regardless of whether you believe there is any benefit to be gained from attending church services regularly, Satan knows that there is... and he does everything he can to divide us and prevent us from building real community.

Satan tells us that our sins are far too great... that if these people around us knew our deepest darkest secrets, that they wouldn't accept us. We parade around with painted smiles, in the hopes that no one will notice that we don't belong. Could this be any farther from the truth?! God tells us, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV) What a relief!

We must resist the temptation to hide our faults, lest we become like whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27, NIV). Instead, we should boast in our weakness, and praise the One whose mercy and grace gives us life, that those around us might be encouraged that their sins don't separate them from us... rather, they bond us together...

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

The people around you struggle with sin just as much as you do. Resist Satan, and be an encouragement to those around you by sharing your weaknesses. Many of you have heard an inspiring story or sermon that demonstrated the power of God's grace to change lives... your story is no less inspiring! Often, we are like Moses, and we fear that we won't know what to say.

11The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

Set your selfish fears aside... for God is faithful. His power is made perfect in our weakness. Think of those around you... are they feeling like they don't belong, that they are the only ones who don't seem to have it all together? Don't be afraid to share your struggles and remove their doubts ... not that you DON'T belong, but that they DO.

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay


Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
Casting Crowns
"Stained Glass Masquerade"