Monday, December 17, 2007

welcome to the amoa

so i came to realize something today. it all started at the grocery store...

(at this point you need to hear that dreamy music and things need to get a little fuzzy. slowly, your vision clears to reveal me, whistling while pushing a shopping cart through the local market.)

so, now you see me, behind my cart, collecting my num nums. i stop by the dollar section to get some cookies. first i pick up some circus animal cookies that my roommate likes because he just graduated officially and they were to be his gift. then i get a few bags of the ones i like. they are these cute little bite size chocolate chip cookies that taste like the old mcdonalds cookies you used to buy in the box. and, believe you me, they are to die for. boy, don't get me going on those cookies or i will be a-jabberin away all day. anyway, so at this point i head to the checkout lane. as i make eye contact with the cashier and greet her, i suddenly panic. the reason for my panic is twofold. 1. i dislike forced social interaction. 2. i realize how much of a fatty i am going to look like as i go through the list if items i am about to lay before her. the items are as follows...

1 gallon of milk
2 bags of salad mix
1 package of cooked ham
2 gallons of water
(and here is where it gets embarrassing)
2 bags of betty crocker oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix
2 bags of the aforementioned bite size chocolate chip cookies
3 bags of the aforementioned circus animal cookies
2 pounds of butter

realizing the obese nature of the latter half of my purchases, i make an attempt to lighten the mood by making the following joke to the cashier and her accompanying bagger...

"i promise i don't just eat cookies all day..."

then i enjoyed the sounds of crickets chirping as they both just stared at me. i felt like a complete idiot. so, i awkwardly swiped my card, grabbed my receipt and headed out, wanting to hit myself in the head and scream "idiot," ala tommy boy.

but wait, there's more. for this scene, set later that evening, we zoom in on the entrance to the local meijer superstore, where steve enters with a smile on his face.

(ok, do that fuzzy dream sequence thing again)

i entered the store on a mission- i needed to find an ergonomic snow shovel at a reasonable price. there was the typical little old lady greeter at the door. after receiving her hearty welcome i said, "you aren't all sold out of snow shovels are you?" (we just had a huge snowstorm) you may think this is where my interaction goes awry, but you are wrong. she smiled and said "no they are back in hardware but there may also be some along the middle of the aisle." heeding her helpful advice, i headed to hardware, grabbed my shovel and went to the checkout. the mental wound of my most recent checkout experience was still oozing, so i opted for the u-scan lane. i scanned my shovel, swiped my card and was on my way, very pleased with my ability to greet a lady and check out with no dorky incident to speak of. but, as fate would have it, i saw little old lady greeter on the way out. she, displaying a sherlock holmes-esque eye for detail, shouted, "i see you found your snow shovel!" i responded with a yes, and things would have been wonderful, had i not whacked myself in the head with my shovel as i turned to address her. again, i left the store humbled and feeling like a bit of a dork.

then, to top it off, i got home to use my new shovel and as i walked to the end of my driveway, i totally wiped out... for the second time that day.

i had the thought today that maybe i should make shirts that say "adorkable," and people like me could wear them around with pride. we could start a club called the adorkable men of america, and have meetings and social events. dorkiness would reign free, and we would have a wonderful time together spouting off puns and trying not to drop food on our clothing. but until that club takes off, i will live as a dork among men, and amuse myself with my random goofball acts.

you may be thinking that i had a rough day. you may be thinking, "steve is pretty cool. this must be very atypical for him." Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are wrong. this is a pretty accurate snapshot of the dorkiness i display on a daily basis. i wrote earlier that i had a bit of an awakening today. my epiphany was not that i am a dork, but rather that i am ok with it. in fact, as i get older, i suppose i think more and more that life is too short to be embarrassed all the time or to try to be someone you are not. i realized as i lay flat on my back in the driveway that being a dork really makes life fun and it gives me something to laugh at. so, if you are a dork, take heart. life can be entertaining because of it. just look at me, the poster child for the amoa.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


everyone is looking for connection, right? it comes through in the smallest ways sometimes- having the same favorite movie as someone else, seeing someone else using burt's bees, cheering on the same sports team, ordering the same meal from a fast food place- we love the feeling of relating or connecting to someone. in fact, some people even misrepresent their preferences in order to feel that common bond. people can all of a sudden become whatever you want them to become in order to feel like they have something to talk about (think of michael scott from the office). the smallest point of connection can even bring the least likely of people together, or at least make their glaring differences become momentarily peripheral. i think connection to another person is something that all humans long for.

i also have a theory that i do not believe to be original. i am sure some person in history has said this, but it was a new thought to me. so i apologize to any who believe i am adapting maslow's work or ripping off the musings of someone else i haven't heard of, but i promise there is no intentional plagiarism here, just something i have been thinking about for a while.

imagine a pyramid (ok, so maybe i am ripping off maslow, or at least the food groups). at the peak of the pyramid is an intimate relationship with God (not self-actualization or fats, oils and sweets...). this is truly the pinnacle of connection. there is nothing more fulfilling than an encounter with the Divine. this can be experienced through a number of different venues- corporate worship, service, prayer, the presence of the Spirit, etc. knowing God and being known by Him is irreplaceable and impossible to recreate.

now just below this level on the pyramid is intimate relationship with another human. there is nothing wrong with this, but it is obviously inferior to Divine connection. it is also more readily available or at least more easily accessible, thus the broader section on the pyramid. this level could include such things as a great friendship, family bonds, marriage, dating relationships, and sexual relations (within the right context). again, all wonderful things that we can experience, but still a level away from connection to God.

the third level is what i described in the opening of the entry- human connection. this can include having the same favorite sports team as someone else, sharing a laugh or humorous experience, making eye contact with a stranger and many other things. again, all good things, but nothing special compared to the levels above.

the next level is physical distractions. for instance, if someone cannot find that human connection, they may eat ice cream to avoid feeling sad (and get thicker hips in the process). there are tons of items that fit into this category- money, cars, houses, video games, computers (including online chatting)- anything that can be used in attempt to fill a void. again, not terrible things in and of themselves, but not as desirable as the upper levels.

the last and least desirable level is sinful pleasures. this includes anything that can become addictive, such as drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters, pornography and on and on and on. this is by far the most broad category, and thus occupies the base of the pyramid. sinful pleasures are all at the tip of every american's fingers, from the maxim magazines at the 7/11 cash register to the wobbly bar stools of the local sports bar to the sanitized waiting room of the plastic surgeon's office.

i think we dwell in the lower region of the pyramid so often because americans have been brought up to believe that the easiest road is the best. why work all our lives when we could just buy that winning lottery ticket and sit on our butts for all of eternity? why try so hard to have a good, solid marriage when we can just get divorced if it doesn't work out? why deal with my problems in a mature, logical way when i can just have jack daniels make the problems go away for a while? why wait for the reward in the end when i can get instant gratification? in the end we trade true, healthy intimacy for a feeling of pleasure, whether it be an orgasm, getting high, feeling popular or well-liked, status or whatever helps at the moment.

the scary part of all of this is that the church has not done much better than "the world" in this category, and when we settle, we move further and further away from the top of this pyramid. we cannot settle for a surface relationship with God anymore. we need to throw off what hinders us and truly believe that there is nothing better than an intimate relationship with God. i know it is difficult for me. i am too often lured in by the here and now, instantly gratifying, earthly endorphins and only afterwards can i see that satan is on the other end of the rope that dangles in front of me. i know that reading my Bible will benefit me and draw me closer to God, but a movie is so much more entertaining. i know that a Godly relationship with a Godly woman is what i want, but checking out that website is so much easier and accessible. in my heart i know that connection to God is what i desire, yet i find myself surfing through my phone book trying to find someone else to spend time with. i want to stop settling for cheap replacements and seek after the heart of God. i wonder if the writer of ecclesiastes would agree…

Monday, June 18, 2007


i haven't written for a bit, so i thought i would. normally i reserve posts for moments of inspiration, but this time i just want to type and see what happens.

i wonder what it is inside of us that we truly, truly long for. i mean, we say there are so many things we label as concerns or priorities, but what is at the core of everything? God? family? career? security? self? the needs of others? status? avoiding loneliness?

i love to be around people most of the time. people make me laugh and think. when i get home from work, sometimes i want to be alone and participate in something mindless and relaxing. but most times, i just long for conversation. i long to connect to someone. so i guess one could say that having valuable relationships is something i place a good deal of stock in. but it makes me wonder in my times of loneliness... you know, when you sign on IM to see who is around and all your friends are away or you try to have people over to watch a movie or play cards and they all have other plans, or you are the 3rd, 5th or 7th wheel yet those times i wonder if i am seeking for a human to try to silence a cry within me that only the Divine can truly mute- a cry for connection and intimacy. i want to be married so i can have someone to be with, to share life with. someone to tell all the stupid little things like that my chair broke at work or that someone said "duties" in an important meeting and i laughed or that i saw that little squirrel at the bottom of my steps again. i want to feel comfortable enough with someone that i let them into my world. i don't want to have to guard myself or keep someone at arm's length. i want to know them and to be known by them. the puzzling thing is that i have someOne waiting to be exactly that for me, yet i choose to not reciprocate the call. God has and always will be there, longing for intimate relationship with His created. His cry is heard through the voices of the prophets, through the incarnation of His Son and through His constant Presence and working in our lives. it reminds me of the following song lyrics-

what a friend we have in Jesus
all our sins and griefs to bear
what a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer
oh, what peace we often forfeit,
oh, what needless pain we bear
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer

i know this is true. i know there are times i gripe to my friends about stressful things or try to come up with solutions to problems without consulting God. i know God will lead me if i ask, but still i resist. i suspect that part of my resistance comes from the idea that it is easier to connect with a kindred spirit wearing earthly clothes than a Divine Spirit i cannot see. how can i seek to know the wind? how can i connect to a Being as unfathomable as God? even as inept as i am at figuring out women, i at least know for the most part what they think of me. and with friends, you can sit and do nothing or talk about nothing and it is fine. so how does this intimacy and friendship translate when it comes to my relationship with God? can i truly know God? can i go to God with nothing in particular to say? does God want to know all the little things? after all, it seems a bit odd to talk to Him about loving chocolate pudding or tripping on the sidewalk in front of a bunch of people. and i know God asks us to cast our cares on Him, but i often avoid it. i tell my friends about my problems, and it is therapeutic, so why do i resist telling God about my problems?

i often pray that God will give me that person to connect to. sometimes i think i have found the person. sometimes i think i never will. what i do know is that if i ever find that person who is my soul mate, perfect match or whatever you want to call it, my connection with them will be meaningless if i neglect to keep and improve my connection with God. i must seek Him first and His righteousness, and continue to do so even if these things are not added to me in my time.

please don't comment and say stuff like "you'll find the one some day, steve." i know it would be heartfelt and you would truly mean it, and i appreciate that. however, my purpose in talking openly about relationships or the lack thereof is not to gain pity or reassurance, but rather just to reiterate how much i believe our earthly relationships can and do parallel our relationship with God.
-end footnote-

Thursday, May 10, 2007


i am sitting here looking out the window. the world outside has so much to be intrigued by, yet so many things that are dangerous. the same world that offers green grass to lie down in and chirping birds and new discoveries also offers dark allies and danger and people looking to hurt us and cause us grief. in the same way, relationships and making ourselves vulnerable to others is a mixed bag. it can bring us so much joy or so much pain to let someone into our lives. so as i sit here and think about the way i view the world outside, i am compelled to write about fear and the way it completely paralyzes us at times.

i am afraid. i am afraid no one will like me. i am afraid my joke won't be laughed at. i am afraid you will reject me. i am afraid that if you accept me, then i will have some sort of responsibility to you. i am afraid to be alone. i am afraid to be with someone. i am afraid God doesn't like the things i do. i am afraid i will have to keep doing the things God does like me to do. i am afraid of commitment. i am afraid to let go. i am afraid i haven't done enough. i am afraid i can't do any more. i am afraid to disagree. i am afraid to step out. i am afraid to stand still. i am afraid to dance. i am afraid of darkness. i am afraid to fit into your box. i am afraid to think outside the box. i am afraid i'll miss the punch line. i am afraid to swim. i am afraid fear will cripple me. yet i am still afraid to move. because i am afraid you will think i am worthless, but i am afraid you are wrong.

we spend so much of our lives being afraid of what people think. it is crippling. i even saw it in myself with the way i performed my music. when i sang, i was so scared to mess up that i looked like i was going to soil myself on stage. i wasn't afraid of being in front of people. i was afraid of making myself a target for their critique. i used to not have that much fun before concerts because i would work myself into a frenzy, worrying about how i would perform. i would throw up before almost every show. now i let go of it, and i love to perform for people. i love to be on that stage and show people how God has blessed me with a good voice, with a sense of humor and with a gift to write and perform music. in the same way, i have gifts to offer to people around me through my relationship with them, but sometimes my fear of what they will say about me makes me so scared. i used to be this outgoing, bubbly, funny guy, but something changed that made me so hypersensitive to being rejected that i would rather just sit and think alone. well, maybe it's time for me to change the way i interact in this venue, too. maybe it is time i let go of that fear and put myself out there. maybe it's time being afraid becomes a thing of the past.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

freedom- it's more than a george michael song

sorry it's been so long since i have posted. i have been thinking about this blog for a long time and wondering exactly how i was going to phrase everything, but i am sick of waiting, so you get the unpolished version of my thoughts.

i feel like i need to say this before i launch. there are really two things that very much disturb me about some church people.

#1. i dislike it beyond words when people choose to take the body that Christ intended to be unified, and divide it over pretty insignificant arguments and issues. (i won't go into it too much, i just don't understand how people cannot get over the fact that churches worship differently and think about women's roles differently and maybe have buildings that don't look the same. we are serving the same God. isn't that enough? or are we serving the idol that bears our church's name in the front lawn? is it going to "compromise our doctrine" to go help someone of another denomination serve the poor? yeah, i bet God would really be ticked about people joining forces to serve Him. sorry, i will stop now.)

#2. i do not like it when people think that they have studied the bible so much and are so tight with God that they are exempted from a life of faithful service. (you may have met these people before. you may have pieces of this in you. it seems their knowledge is their reflection of God, not their lives. this bugs me to no end. if one has read the bible and studied and can perfectly spout out an exegesis of a text and write scholarly papers on it, but not live it (or even worse, thinks he or she is entitled to not have to live it), what does that say to non-believers? that would be like me studying a cookbook, knowing all the recipes and ingredients, burning everything i cook, but then opening a restaurant and being surprised that nobody comes to eat my food. that would be like a guy with no arms and legs trying to teach a rock climbing course. that would be as ridiculous as a man walking up to mirror, seeing his reflection, and then forgetting what it looks like as soon as he walks away. i don't get it. there is a great deal of arrogance in doing certain things (drinking in public, saying inappropriate things, making sacrilegious jokes) because you "know" it's ok with God (cause there is nothing in scripture condemning it, right?) and people should just deal with it. that is the opposite of maturity. that is the opposite of what paul calls us to in his discussion on meat offered to idols....ok i am going to quit before i go into a sermon and have to start singing "i am mine no more.")

all of this is coming out because i am trying to figure out what it means to be a spiritually mature person. all my life i have been told i am a leader. i've been told i have such an influence over people and i am such an encouragement. i have gotten compliments on my prayers and the sincerity i bring when i lead worship. all of this is great. i am humbled that God can use me to encourage and help other people. i am glad to be a listening ear to people and to minister to the people that surround me. such accolades would lead me to believe that i am a spiritually mature person, but it still feels like there is something missing. it feels as though there is more i can do. now, i know there is ALWAYS more we can do to serve God. i am not getting down myself or my work, just saying what i feel. i must confess that if i had offered the aforementioned sermon and invitation, i would come forward. i am starting to think that what i despise the most in others is what i see glimpses of in myself and what i don't want to become. does that make sense? you know how "person a" will say they can't stand "person b," and then "person c" says "that's because you are just alike." that is what i think is going on here. i have judgment in my heart and i don't want to let it fester. i have these crazy thoughts sometimes that maybe because i am on a church payroll i don't have to try as hard to get rid of the things that i struggle with, as if God owes me a few vices to help me cope. illogical i know, but welcome to my brain. so, that entire rant could easily be flipped to me, because i know those things i see in myself and others are not things i see reflected in the person of Jesus Christ.

so, when i think even more about what may be keeping me from feeling like everything is kosher, i start to think (again) about how discipline plays into this whole matter of maturity. when i was going without meat, i felt great. it felt like i was accomplishing something. i had sacrificed something on my own for God, and kept to it without anyone having to keep me in check. i say this not to be a braggart, but just to point out how satisfying it feels to discipline ourselves. during that time, i could have cheated. no one would have known. i could have hidden turkeys in my desk at work and pretended to be meditating while i ate them. (a few candles make anything look spiritual, and depending on the scent could add a nice flavor if used for rotisserie cooking....i'd imagine....) i could have hollowed out the hard boiled eggs and filled them with various delicatessen meats, but i didn't (although now that i think about it....nevermind). i had discipline and decided not to abuse the freedom i had.

freedom and discipline are interesting things to think about. honestly, we can choose to do whatever we want. God has made us "free moral agents," right? want to rob a bank? the cash is yours for the taking. want to swear all the time? why the cuss word not? have a desire to speak to your friends in a demeaning way? go for it, idiot. we can ultimately do whatever we choose to do. but i am starting to see more and more that spiritual maturity comes by choosing to exercise discipline instead of our freedoms. instead of choosing to be divisive and hurtful in our church, we can choose to be understanding and loving. instead of hurting people with our words, we can choose to build up and edify each other. instead of playing games with people, we can choose honesty and respect. instead of expecting people to "get over it" if they don't like what we are doing, we can choose to alter our actions for the sake of not offending people.

so, this is what i am challenging myself with. i am going to pledge to God and myself to choose discipline over freedom. i will choose to study scripture even though i know the story. i will choose to pray even though God already knows what i am thinking. I will choose to tithe even though God doesn’t need my money. i will choose to speak words filled with love and purity even if what i want to say will get a laugh. i will choose to turn to God for strength despite having the ability to rely on myself. i will choose to turn from private sins even though they may not directly affect anyone but me. i will choose to follow God's voice and not my own. i will choose to allow Him to increase even though it means i must decrease. i will choose service over self-service. i will choose the Cross over the crowd. i will choose to let God sit on the throne instead of me. i will choose to dance with God instead of being a wallflower. i will choose to die, and as a result, i will choose to live.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


so, when i was just a young whippersnapper, radical was, like, totally a valley girl/ surfer term. you would hear it thrown in every once in a great while on shows like saved by the bell, the california dreams (do you remember that show? it was like saved by the bell meets the partridge family meets.....a really crappy group of writers and actors) and then, of course, tmnt.

what is with this new turtles movie coming out? i have very mixed emotions about it. i mean, the first ones were good. if you can pull in a social icon like vanilla ice into your movie sequel, you must be doing something right. but now, they are animated. no modern parallel to vanilla ice (if one exists) is going to want to be animated. they are shooting themselves in the foot in my opinion, but i may need to go see it at the dollar theatre after a while. i know one thing- it's not going to be up to par with the brave little toaster, the best animated film EVER!
-end sidenote-

so, back to radical. i have always thought of it as something that you say, not something you live. then this book that is all the rage on our campus came along and gave this word new meaning. the book is the irresistible revolution by shane claiborne. the author just came and spoke in our chapel program and was great. he has so many challenging things to say in the book. not only does he say challenging things, but his life is a challenge in and of itself. he has basically decided to live out the call of Jesus and try his best to model the sacrificial attitude and lifestyle we read of in the early church. but don't take my word for it, buy the book and read it (all the profit goes to charity).

so all of this talk about wealth and possessions and knowing (not just knowing of) the poor has got me reeling. my head is hurting and spinning, working overtime trying to figure out how my life should look when it is exposed to this truth. this truth, by the way, is not that studying scripture doesn't have value. this truth is not that experience trumps or negates the Bible. this truth is not that being a part of a traditional, americanized church is bad. what i identify as the truth of this book is that often times we as followers of Christ are more like admirers of Christ. sure we know Jesus, but do we follow Him? have we become fans of Jesus who wear our Jesus fan gear as if He were payton manning and we were cheering Him on in the super bowl? are we willing to follow Christ with our lives, not just our thoughts or our words or even with our hearts? the Christian life is hard. it is unnatural. it is countercultural. but if we truly want to follow Christ, that is what we are signing up for. we are agreeing to take the chance of being uncomfortable and penniless. we are agreeing to make ourselves vulnerable by choosing to love people without expecting to get anything back. if we follow Him with all we have, we are likely to get hurt and maybe even taken advantage of.

now, this is not a guarantee either. i am not saying that if your life doesn't have difficult situations, you must be doing something wrong. but i think we need to be aware of the possibilities of what it means to follow Christ. this health and wealth Gospel we hear from some is not only inaccurate, it is unscriptural. you can throw the prayer of jabez at me all you want to say i am wrong, because i have this little book of job in my corner, as well as the model of the life of Jesus himself. following Christ does not exempt us from all bad things. life is going to be hard at times, but we are not to let our circumstances dictate our level of faith. we are not to let our perception of ourselves as "struggling financially" exempt us from helping those around us. we can't get so wrapped up in ourselves that we neglect the people around us.

i am realizing as i type just how hard it is for me to land on a coherent thought about this topic. my mind is jumping all around because there is so much to it. so i just want to pose a bunch of questions to ask ourselves, both practical questions and those which cut right to the heart of our walk with God. i challenge you to ask these questions of yourself and view them through the lense of Jesus- His life, His teaching, and His call to the people who are bold enough to wear His Name.

who is my neighbor? how far are we to go with social justice and social action? does He REALLY mean we are to sell everything and give it to the poor and follow Him? wasn't that just the rich young ruler? should i have a retirement plan? should i own a tv? do i have too many clothes? are there people suffering right under my nose that i don't pause to notice? am i serving God with my time, money and abilities? Should I rent an apartment or own a house? What kind of car should I drive? does the church need professional ministry staff? what about foreign missions? isn't there so much to do here? is america making it harder for me to be a Christian? does God care about what companies we buy our jeans and shoes from? do we support inhumane actions when we buy products from companies who use sweat shops? how could i use my free time to serve? are there children in my life that i could help raise in a Godly way?

i hope this post wasn't too disjointed. there are a lot of people rethinking what it means to be followers. i am truly thankful for this book and all the people who have stepped back to think about its contents. this process of examining myself and my ministry has been and will continue to be very healthy for me, and i hope we can all constantly be searching ourselves to make sure we are always striving to serve the Kingdom in more profound ways.

Friday, March 9, 2007

my car (update)

(fyi- my car is being 100% covered by saturn. yeah! thanks for the prayers.)

sorry to finally post and then have it be this self-serving, but i want to ask anyone who reads this to pray that saturn will pay for my car to be fixed. long story short, i don't keep records of my oil changes (big mistake apparently) and now that my engine is blown on a year old car, they are trying to use my lack of proof to say i didn't take proper care of my car and want me to pay for the engine and labor. well, the guy at the dealer is going to try to fight for me to have to only pay labor costs or nothing at all. since this car is a year old, i think it's ridiculous that i should have to pay anything, and I really don’t need the headache of fighting with customer service and all that jazz, so I hope he just comes back and says it is all covered. i hope you will join me in praying for that result. thanks in advance for your prayers.

I still think saturn is a great car company and makes great vehicles. I just think they are like any business and the bottom line is turning a profit.
-end sidenote-

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


i was having a chatty chat with a friend today and an issue came up that i thought was quite interesting. i guess i will just let you dive into my world a bit and give the exact context of the conversation.
we were talking about Valentine's Day and how it kinda stinks to be single on a holiday that is such an in-your-face, designed-for-couples, let's-kiss-in-public-and-giggle, make-you-want-to-vomit, type of day. out of that, i mentioned that it is getting a little old at this point to not have someone to share these wonderful days with. with each passing holiday, my singleness becomes a little more painful.

now, we can go into the whole spiel about how i should be content with anything, blah, blah, blah. (i think i just "blah, blah, blahed the Bible. whoops.) well, i think i am content, but i think you can be content while still desiring something different than your current state (i.e. Paul's thorn in the flesh.)
-end sidenote-

well, on this day of roses, i found the thorn in my flesh, and i want to remove it. i want to have a girlfriend. call me shallow, call me whatever, but it is true. but this lead my brain to stumble over something else.
i have lacked discipline for a while. i addressed this in my last post. (honestly, i think my loss of desire to be disciplined was a sort of rebellion against God for the life circumstances that I didn’t exactly care for. i realize that this was wrong on many levels and have repented for it.) so, i am now on this personal journey to be a more disciplined person in all areas of my life. during this time of lacking discipline, i have been single and have been praying quite consistently for a relationship to come my way, yet with no results. so i began to wonder what the correlation between my lack of discipline and my lack of relationship was.
i do not view God as One to hold a carrot in front of my face to motivate me to change. (He knows well enough to not use vegetables to lure me, anyway.) i don't know how i feel about the notion of God "punishing" me because i am imperfect or have not reached my goal of being disciplined. but it does make me wonder if sometimes God withholds blessings from us until we are in a place that will allow us to take full advantage of them. the Psalms often use the language of "waiting on the Lord." so, i wonder if God has been withholding the blessing of a relationship from me not to punish or torture me, but because in my undisciplined state, i would have not given my all to my mate or would have approached the relationship in an ungodly way.
that being said, i had another thought immediately follow. i felt compelled to check my motives in changing. after realizing this potential correlation between undisciplined steve and single steve, i want to make sure that i am becoming a more Godly person because i need to be, not so that God will give me a love connection. i do believe that any good change is ultimately good, no matter what the reason. if a guy quits using drugs to impress someone else, even with misguided motivations, quitting the use of drugs in itself is still a good thing. however, in the spiritual realm, i think we are called to more than just making changes for surface reasons. i don't want to become a more Godly person so i will be blessed or have more clout with my prayers, via James 5. i want to become a more Godly person because i know it is what i need and what i am called to be. i want to please God. and the harsh reality is that even pleasing God does not lock me into any better status of having blessings granted or prayers answered (i think Job would agree). so, i have no flashy closing or great wrap-up statement here. i really just wanted to let you inside my brain and hopefully challenge you to the same examination of your motivations for change and obedience to God.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


i love meat. it makes me happy. the smell of meat over a flame just tickles my fancy and actually cooking meat over a flame...well, it makes me feel manly. i feel like a caveman, standing over a fire i created while cooking the game i caught with my spear just after inventing the wheel...argh argh argh (that was a manly grunt, ala Tim Allen).

ok, so i don't kill anything. i go to the grocery store and buy a steak, likely from a corn-fed cow raised specifically to be killed. and i didn't invent the wheel. i can barely change a tire when it blows. actually, i didn't even start the fire (insert Billy Joel reference here), i just lit up a gas grill. also, i am slightly less hairy than a caveman. in fact, i have no leg hair at all. despite all this, just let me have my moment.
-end sidenote-

as i was saying, i just really like meat. i can't think of a time when i purposely excluded meat from my meal. chicken, steak, famous dave's beef brisket, ham, etc, etc. it is a staple for my diet and has been for as long as I can remember.

all that being said, i decided to try something that i realize is not original, nor do i believe it to elevate me to the upper echelon (don’t be impressed, i had to spell check that word) of spirituality. i have decided to only eat meat on tuesdays and thursdays. now, call me a wimp if you will, but without the use of some sort of meat patch or gum (both great ideas in my book) i don't think i could quit cold turkey (mmm...turkey). thus, a compromise. now, i may find it easier than expected and carve out (get it? carve out....) the tuesday/ thursday deal, but i want to make it a challenge i can face for now.
the catalyst behind this is that i have realized i lack discipline. there are a lot of things (learning to play guitar, writing poetry and music, honing my photography skills, reading books, exercising, loosing weight, getting my hair cut) that i want to do, and just don't. maybe i'm too tired from work. maybe i am lazy. whatever the reason, i have avoided some of these things and i want to quit neglecting them. part of the problem is that i have never had to be disciplined. i was the last child, so my parents were soft on me a bit as far as chores and such. (ask my siblings...they will go on for hours about it:) i never cared what girls thought about my appearance, and i wasn't involved in sports, so i had no external motivations to keep me in shape. spiritually, i have always been viewed as a leader, so i have bought into the lie that i am doing enough (that was painful to type, but true). so, this whole meat thing is one step towards learning the art of self-discipline.

if you would be so kind, i ask you to help me with this endeavor in a few ways.
1.) keep me accountable on this. slap the bologna out of my hand if you see it on a day that doesn't start with T.
2.) join with me in this. find something to sacrifice and fast from. be reminded during your time of sacrifice that what you are doing will be a glory to God if you allow it to be. don't just let the sacrifice stand alone, but make a concentrated effort to think about God during this time and to draw closer to Him throughout this experience.
3.) pray for me, because, as i mentioned, i really, really like meat.

Friday, January 26, 2007


I stopped by Seven-Eleven tonight to get some Dr. Pepper. There was a sign on the cash register that read "Please do not use cell phones while checking out," or something like that. The guy who rang me up was talking on his cell phone as he did so. And that, my friends, is irony.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


church signs, bumper stickers and t-shirts. what do they have in common? they are often the sanctuary in which those really cheesy sayings that make one half of you say "oh, that was clever" and the other half say "that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard" dwell. (also, a lot of people have that same reaction to my jokes.) well, i am writing because of one of those very sayings.


wow. that's groundbreaking stuff right there. and being my sarcastic, cynical self, my first inclination was to make fun of that saying. (first of all, using "U" to mean "you?!" nevermind, i won't go there.) however, on this occasion i gave some credibility to this saying, despite it obviously being cleverly crafted by the residents of cheeseville.

now, i realize that there are so many reasons people can and often do construct as to why church isn't important. here are a few i've heard...

the church is corrupt and institutionalized. i want no part of it until it becomes more like the first century church.

i can't find a church where i feel comfortable.

God doesn't need me to be in a church. i can worship Him alone in the privacy of my home.

i need to get my act together before i set foot in a church building.

i don't want to be judged again.

ok so there is a shred of truth and validity in some of those sayings, but for the most part i think they are crap. one can find any "logical" reason to do (or not do) anything he or she wants. it's the twisted web of justification we all find ourselves in at some time in our lives. i do think church is valuable, if we participate in it, not just show up and get our membership card punched as if we are part of the country club of Christendom. it is way, way more than just showing up to a building, isn't it? or shall i say it SHOULD BE way more than just showing up to a building. but i must confess that is often what it has boiled down to for me. i am a part of the church for about 5 hours a week. outside of that, i live in a bubble. i am an island. i take myself away from not only the vast world of accountability available to me through the church, but also from a whole new universe of relationships and opportunities to serve. if we would totally sell ourselves out to the church, what a difference it would make in the Kingdom. and that's what it is all about, isn't it; expanding the Kingdom through the work of the church. so, enough with the excuses. quit seeking out a perfect group of people with perfect traditions and activities- it doesn't exist. quit seeking out a church dedicated to service. instead, be the catalyst for your church beginning to serve their community. stop thinking you have to get your life all lined up and polished- the rest of us are crooked and blemished without Christ, too. just come to the table and join us in learning what it means to be the church. we need U more than U know.