Saturday, January 31, 2009

random thoughts

As I typed the title I immediatly flashed back to my teen years and Saturday Night Live, and now for deep thoughts by Jack Handley... I don't know that these thoughts are as deep as some of Jack's and I am fairly certain they are not as funny... but here they are anyway.

I am officially unemployeed for about 34 hours now... still no worries all I can say about that is praise God. ...lillies of the field...(Luke 12:25-28)

we have been giving our 18 month old medicine for just over a week. The thing is she doesn't like it so it is a two person job, one holding her "still" the other getting it down her throat and not letting her move until she swallows it. SHE DOES NOT LIKE IT, the interesting thing was tonight she immediately starting shaking her head no and trying to crawl away but we managed to get the medicine down in record time without crying. This got me to thinking about a discussion we had had in men's bible study around dealing with the same issue repeatedly. The observation was made that if we could figure out what God was trying to teach us we could probably get through it a lot faster and come out stronger on the otherside... in other words sometimes the only way we can learn something is to go through it over and over, usually kicking and screaming the 1st couple of times and eventually, if we look at it rationally we figure out why we are there and realize it is not so bad. I don't think this is exactly what Jesus meant when he talked about he said unless you come to me like these children... but then again maybe it was

The last is I finished the book "The Shack" and for those of you who have not read it, I encourage you to do so, it was even more moving and somehow very personal. I sat in Schlotzsky's one day last week, eating my sandwich, crying and I didn't care who saw me, i was truly moved. You can get more information ect on the official website I will be adding a link to my site to become part of the missy project.

okay gotta get the boys out of the shower...


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Shack

I have heard from several friends how good the book, "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young is. So I finally started reading it. I was not sure what to expect and I will not give anything away with this post, so don't worry about spoilers.

I will tell you this, I am about half way through it and I have to admit Mr. Young has captured my attention with his characters. I am an avid reader, and many books I read I don't always get a true sense of the people in the stories, sometimes this is probably on purpose but most of the time I think the writer and the characters just don't connect. With the Shack, I am truly feeling very connected to "Mackenzie" or "Mack" one of the main characters.

I was completely caught off guard a few minutes ago, I was eating an early dinner, and sitting quietly reading, for those of you who have read the book I am about half way through the chapter titled "in the belly of the beast" and they are discussing what happened in the truck. (see no spoilers :-)) at one point I literally began crying, not because I had ever experienced what Mack or the other characters were experiencing but rather because I could feel the emotion that Mack would have felt.

I have to admit, this is a first. Granted I am a little soft hearted at times (clear throat, pound chest, "me man, ungh") my wife and I refer to movies that choke you up as "stupid movies" you know, sitting in a dark theater, trying to inconspicuously wipe the tear from you eyes before anyone notices and you say "(sniffle) stupid movie" That happens quite often, to tell the truth I get choked up on that "stupid show" extreme makeover home edition.... anyway all that may be true but it has never happen while reading a book, until today.

not sure if that is a good book review or not, but take it for what it is worth, Mr. Young has pulled me into the book to the point that I am feeling what his character feels. As a side note Mack did cry in the next sentence, I discovered when I was able to continue reading. "The Shack" is a book that will challenge you spiritually and I feel will change you spiritually as well, if you let it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Physical a.k.a. well-check

I had my yearly physical today, as I was sitting half naked thinking "preparing" for the poking and prodding, I began a spiritual inventory.

The naked truth...We are always naked before God, so there is nothing to hide, if we examine ourselves as God sees us there are no garment to hide behind... if we are stripped of our pretensions, vanities and other items we use to look good to others... who are we?

Weigh-In: I usually joke with the nurse "I will just use one foot today" in the physical sense this would work but with the spiritual check up I have to look at my deeds, one one side of the scale deeds of which I are proud on the other side maybe things for which I not as proud. Being conscious of my faults, and working on changing them (or in thinking about what I did and why I did it so that next time I might not do it) is a great step toward spiritual well-being.

Don't eat after midnight.... how is my fasting? not just a specific time set aside to pray but what about our other hungers... friendship, love, family, beauty, God's will?

First the nurse come in...

Blood Pressure: This is a physical one I do battle with, meds keep me normal but what about spiritual, is my pressure too high, not just inside me but outside of me, do I apply undo pressure to those around me. Is my pressure too low? (okay not mine LOL) is our pressure too low, are we uninvolved, or lacking stimulation. Is what I am doing important and am I doing it for the right reason (Glory to God).

Drawing Blood... am I spiritually anemic, am I less loving and compassionate than I should be, am I overly anger, hateful or hostile?

So then the doctor comes in... How are you feeling? Anything you are concerned about? In the same way as physical pain, emotional or spiritual pain/discomfort, can be a sign that something is wrong or about to be wrong.... get it looked at, don't wait, talk with your physician (spiritual advisor) before it festers and takes longer to heal

Ears, Nose and Mouth... what have I done, spiritually, with these organs? have there been times I have chose not to listen, to hear, to speak or to see. Have there been times I have chosen to listen, speak about or look at things I should have turned away from?

small rubber mallet... I always have to look away when the doctor using this... I know control issue :-) how are my spiritual reflexes, are my responses appropriate in time, emotion, etc. in other words do I respond in anger when walking away would be more appropriate, do I use cutting/biting humor when what is needed is loving words of encouragement. do I speak or choose not to speak without considering the impact?

EKG... The doctor worries about hardening arteries but I worry about a hardening heart and mind. Am I open to new ideas, experiences, learning, possibilities, God's call?

Other physical checks... the "not as pleasant" checks... probing and poking in places another person shouldn't go... what am I trying to hide from God and from others?

And lastly, as my doc calls them... doorknob issues, everything is done the doctor is about to head out, just as he grabs the doorknob the patient say, "did I tell you I was having memory loss?" what else do I need to bring before God, what other concerns might be affecting my spiritual health?

it was interesting to run through this in my mind as the doctor and nurse were running through it with my physical being. hopefully I don't wait a year to do this again... spiritually anyway, the physical can wait at least a year.... enough with the poking and prodding.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Sometime reflecting or spending time in reflection can be a good thing, other times it is torture... for example talking to my 4 year old who will occasionally say... "hey dad, you remember when..." and we launch into a great discussion about something that happened, and how we felt about it.

on the other hand, there is reflecting on past work experience and attempting to capture the last 10 to 15 years of your life in short snippets of buzzwords that will cause an HR or hiring manager to say, "now THIS is a guy I want to interview" I would rather have the 1st type any day over the later. capturing ones life in snippets is no fun.

As I have been thinking about this, I couldn't help but wonder what my Christian resume would look like. I think it would have a completely different format and the buzz words would be very different, for example I would hope there would be more words like Love, Loved, Loving, Caring, Altruistic, Selfless, servant leader, good listener, you know now that I write that maybe they are not that different, I would like my professional resume to contain such sentiment as Caring, Selfless, servant leader, good listener, and hey why not loving! Maybe they use different buzz words but perhaps they should convey the same message.

Randall is a Caring, selfless, servant leader who is a good listener and has a loving disposition.

Now all I have to do is make that show forth using words like managed, resulting in, saving, designed, developed and deployed... well like Jesus said in Mathew and Mark "For man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" so I will... With God's help.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It seems I am in the midst of two or more transitions. The first is transitioning from prayerfully considering going on the mission to Honduras again this year to having committed to go. I don't know that I didn't plan to go at any time, but I feel god has confirmed I need to attend. The second transition is from my current employer to the unknown. The end of January will bring with it the end of my employment.

Both are interesting and scary transitions, both in many ways bring to mind finances, trust in God, the future and other things. Both require my putting my trust in God to show me the way.

I am currently praying for the faith of David, Nathan told him that God said his designs for the temple were great, however the temple would not be built in his lifetime, rather that his son Solomon would build the temple. David response was not, "wait a minute God, here is MY plan!" rather his response was to praise and worship God. I don't know where the money or the energy for that mater, for the Mission trip will come from and I don't know where my next job is coming from, I do know that God has a plan, which in all likelihood is not the same as mine :-), and I praise Him for that, and walk with Him as I attempt to live into that plan.