Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pound the Rock

So the other day my truck quit. I was out driving around town making cold calls on some businesses trying to find a job and things were going fairly well until my truck died and failed to restart. I had it towed to my house and with the help of my dad over the phone, began to diagnose the problem. My roommate was helping me out and could sense my frustration. Somewhere in the process I muttered, “at what point do you say enough is enough and quit?” He responded very pointedly, “You don’t.”

We had a saying in the Greenville College football program, “Pound the rock.” The idea is that if a man were standing in a field beating on a rock with a sledgehammer, regardless of the rocks size, sooner or later the rock is going to break. Each swing of the sledge transmits more energy into the rock and eventually, the rock will crumble.

The saying is meant to illustrate handling life’s challenges. So often in life we can feel like we’re giving our all with little to no success. We’re pounding away but just can’t seem to crack the rock. Life throws us challenges and obstacles and threatens to steer us off course at every turn. All too often, we bend and break under our circumstances and opt to go in another direction. “I’ve been doing this for so long and I’m not getting anywhere,” we reason.

I find myself doing that very thing as I reluctantly have begun looking for a job. Not by choice but life, bills and other commitments don’t stop coming just so that I can establish myself in this industry and figure out a way to make a living doing what I love. Fortunately I have a great support group of people that encourage me every time I entertain the thought of quitting. They put my pursuit back into perspective and help me realize that I have come a long ways. I might not be where I want to be yet, but I’m on track.

Fortunately, God has allowed me a situation in life that I can afford to pour myself out and live for next to nothing in hopes of achieving this goal. I certainly couldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I was married or had other people depending on me.

All I can do is keep showing up. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 7:17 “You must accept whatever situation the Lord has put you in and continue you on as you were when God first called you.” My roommate echoed Paul’s words when he told me, “You just gotta keep showing up.”

It’s easy to tuck tail and run when trouble strikes. Even more so when you fail to see any sort of fruit from all your hard work. But like our man standing in the field, you’ll never know what that next swing will bring if you don’t take it. It might not be but one that breaks the rock but one thing is for sure, the rock won’t break if you don’t swing the hammer.

I can say with confidence that I believe this is the place God has me in life. I’ve not neglected His word or his voice in those moments when He’s called me elsewhere like Greenville for instance and He has, in a very round about way, brought me back to the very place I’ve always longed to be. It’s not going quite like I had planned, but then again, when we do things Gods way how often does it work out just like we thought?

So as I’m working this out in my own life, my encouragement to you is to stay the course. The season you find yourself in my be unpleasant and may lack any sort of fruit but continue on “as you were when God first called you.” Maybe you don’t buy the whole God thing. Regardless, the quickest way to ensure you won’t reach success in your field is to quit.

We all feel some sort of purpose in life otherwise we wouldn’t keep showing up to work, class, practice or that 5am meeting. We have faith that what we are doing is in some way bringing us closer to our goal, even though at times, the end goal may seem a little hazy. Regardless of the end result, keep showing up. Keep taking steps in the direction you feel lead and watch the path continue to unfold.

“Pound the rock…Relentlessly. Pound the rock.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Man Time and Girls Night

So the other night I joined my roommate and several of his co-workers to watch UFC 121. It was a testosterone fueled evening full of good food, quality entertainment and plenty of dudes yelling at the TV. Everything about the night was a celebration of all things man from the food, to the fights on tv and even the company. I’m a freestyle motocross rider (well, use to be) and these guys spend long hard days scaling power poles in the hot sun. Manly guys getting together to fellowship with other men.

The guy who hosted us all for the evening has a wife and two kids who spent the evening at a relative’s house. They returned late that night as the fights were wrapping up and she was excited to see that we all very much enjoyed our evening. She was delighted to sacrifice her (very nice) home for the evening to let her husband and a group of his buddies have a little fun.

I don’t know this couple at all but judging by the interaction that I observed between them, this woman gets it. She understands that a little time away from the responsibilities of home to be a guy and be with other guys was good for him. It energized him. It allows him a few moments to celebrate being a man with other men and I would venture, gives him the fill-up that he needs to continue loving her and taking care of his family as a man should.

I say she “gets it” because I think all to often, men aren’t celebrated or allowed the opportunity to simply be men. (Perhaps that’s where the ball and chain jokes come in at bachelor parties?) Certainly a man has responsibilities when he gets married and his family must be at the top, but all too often rather than granting the freedom for a man to spend some time with his friends, he’s ridiculed for even suggesting it and is seldom if ever afforded the opportunity. A man needs this time and this particular wife realizes that.

Now before you ladies go hating on me or stop reading, don’t. Because just as much as I believe men need this free time away from home to be with other men, I think women need this time away from kids, cooking, cleaning, work and any of the other tasks that fill up their day.

My question to the guys reading is this, when’s the last time you offered to take the kids out just to give your wife an evening at home alone? Or better yet, when’s the last time you played babysitter so she could go have a night out with her girlfriends? The argument I would expect to hear is, “well I’ve been busy working all day providing for this family.”

Indeed, you have. And so has she though likely her contribution, while probably not monetarily, is just as great and taxing as yours. She’s quite possibly been changing diapers, giving baths, wrangling kids around grocery stores, folding laundry, cleaning house etc etc etc. (I’m just throwing things out so if I offend any feminist readers, please forgive me) She’s tired too. She wants time to herself or a weekend away with the girls just as bad as you want your man time.

I wonder how much more open the typical wife would be to giving her husband a night or weekend away with the guys if she herself had more time to be with women? We are wired for fellowship and there is something about a woman being with women and a guy being with other guys that cannot be replaced. It energizes us. After all, the world knows we handle emotions and communication along with a million other things differently.

I can think of a whole host of excuses that both men and women would give for not providing this opportunity for each other but like everything in life, we make time for the things that are important to us. What if giving her a night out with her girlfriends twice a month, shoot make it once a month, (probably more than she’s getting now) became something of importance to me as a husband? I’m willing to bet she’d be so blessed by my effort and refreshed by her time with other women that she would jump at the chance to give me an opportunity to get away with my buddies.

I’m speaking in the future tense of course because I’m not married, but to those that are, doesn’t that make sense? Sure it will take time, planning and effort when you probably are exhausted and really don’t want to spend the evening finger painting with your toddler, changing diapers etc. But if it benefits you in the long run, wasn’t your night of sacrifice a small cost to pay in order to 1) bless your wife by giving her a much needed break and 2) give you an opportunity to go be with your buddies?

So how to get there. We’re busy, she’s busy, schedules never seem to coincide so even if we are willing to make that sacrifice so she can spend some time resting and recuperating, how on earth do we make it happen? Fellas, here’s another opportunity to shine; make it happen for her.

Scour the calendar for an open weekend or figure out which night she’s most often free (you live with her for goodness sake). Make it exciting, buy her a card and put a coupon inside good for “a weekend away” or a girl’s night out, paid in full. Get CRAZY and book her a day/weekend at a spa. I hear chicks love that stuff! If you pay for it in advance, it’ll be all the more special to her.

“Well I don’t have the money to be doing that.” Good point, it’s only your marriage your sewing into…not to mention YOUR overall happiness too because I’m willing to bet she’ll come back reenergized and you’ll reap the benefits in more ways than one.

I’m not saying do this so you get something in return, but the truth of the matter is, you probably will. Marriage is kinda like a team sport, both parties work together at this game called life in hopes of scoring the goal at the end. We help each other out, support one another and sometimes that means going out of our way to make extra time for them to do what make them happy.

How much different would marriage in America be today if we actually went out of our way to give our spouse an opportunity to do those things that truly make them happy and feel refreshed?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Measure of Success

A year ago today I quite my job at Columbia River Bank and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. It was a surreal feeling as I hung up the phone knowing that in a few short days I would be packing my truck and making a move that I'd been praying for, for almost ten years.

So much has gone on in the last year it would take a book to chronicle. As is so often the case, with each year gone by we examine ourselves and our situation in hopes that we are farther along than we were the year before. "Am I closer to my goal?" To answer that question you have to first know what that goal is and how to measure success. By the worlds standards, I'm farther away from "success" than I've ever been.

A year ago I owned two vehicles, had a secure semi-well paying job, a house all to myself, money in the bank and some level of freedom. Today my 30 year old truck needs new tires, I'm renting a room in someone else's house, I write articles for a living ranging from $100-$300 and whatever money I have in the bank is committed to paying next months bills.

Depending on your perspective, you might scratch you head and ask "Seth, what are you doing?" To many, my present situation is less than appealing and certainly isn't much to brag about. Most of my friends are married and many are starting to have kids. That season of my life is so far out of the question it seems almost comical to even consider.
Some mornings I wake up asking myself if I made the right choice. I have no guarantee of success, just a passion for what I'm doing and a vision for the future that seems to keep evolving. By this point, certainly after my trip to Texas last July, I'd hoped to be well on my way to some level of stardome. The "plan" was to become a superstar in the action sports world and become one of the sports elite. Didn't quite work out that way.

So now what? Do I limp back to the corporate world since I'm "educated" in a particular field? Do I move on to other avenues since I couldn't quite measure up as I had hoped to? Again, based on your definition of success, most wouldn't use that to describe the last year of my life. As I sit here planning my next move, scrambling around the pacific northwest for a week in hopes of finding the next peice, I'm reflecting on the last year and wondering just what exactly have I accomplished?

If accomplishment is the definition of success, than I've failed miserable. If experience fits the definition then I feel as though I can die a happy man. In the last year I have seen and done things that I only considered in my dreams. Example. I visited some friends in Corvalis recently and they had a poster of a guy upside down on a quad hanging on the wall (Caleb Moore). It's comical to me to know that the guy in the poster took me to the hospital after I crashed and nearly killed myself. I never thought I'd actually meet the guy, let alone hang out at his house for two weeks with he and the entire team of riders.

I had always hoped that one day before I die I could attend the Baja 1000 and witness the Matlock racing team continue to dominate the sport. In the last year I've served on their pit crew twice and each time the night before the race got to sit down and enjoy a pre-race BBQ with the whole family. DEFINITELY never saw that coming!

Those are just two of the countless experiences I've been blessed with in the last year and it's those experiences that I measure my success by. In terms of achieving my end goal (not even sure what that is any more) I wouldn't say I'm particularly successful, but if success is measured by satisfaction, fulfillment and joy, I'd say I'm living in the overflow.

I look at the last year as purely a gift. I cannot begin to describe the excitement I feel with regards to the experiences I've had and the people I've met in the last year. No, I don't know what tommorrow will bring. I don't know what the future holds, but I trust that this gift is from God and it is the clearest example I have that the Lord truly does "delight in giving us the desires of our heart." (Psalm 37:4)

Many might not understand my measure of success. Most people think I'm crazy for getting excited at the sound of an engine or the smell of race gas and exhaust fumes, but I do. Thats what makes me tick and it's the experiences revolving around this industry that make me come alive. It will be interesting to see how "successful" the next year is but if its anything like the last one, I'm in for a wild ride and I can't even begin to guess what it will entail!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best Pickup line in the church "God told me your were the one."

If a member of the opposite sex offers you that statement, I encourage you to thank them and promptly run in the opposite direction.

Somewhere, someone who was very in tune to with the Lords voice and the prompting of the Holy Spirit did in fact hear the voice of God say, “she is the one” but in our over zealous, over spiritualized church today, horny youth are running around declaring to the most attractive person they can find, “God told me you are the one.”

Do I disagree that God works this way? No. One of my most respected college professors has a story similar to this. He was speaking at a worship/prayer service in his younger days and his now wife was the young woman playing piano during the prayer portion of the service. He was running around the room ministering in prayer to people and his wife sensed the Lord tell her “I have brought him to you.” She opened her eyes and good old professor Filby was standing in front of her. He asked if he could pray for her and she said yes. They ended up spending time chatting after the service and they are happily married today. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt she told him what she had heard that day. My guess is it came a while down the road after she KNEW it was indeed the Lord.

What’s different about their story? Well I would venture that she really heard from God and 90% of the young people running around in church, bible college and even out in the world haven’t. They think they have and they want to hear from God on the subject, but their own eagerness for a relationship has gotten in the way of their ability to truly hear the voice of God.

I’m guilty of it. I can convince myself of a lot. In college I found myself sharing my desire to pursue a couple young ladies because I thought God was opening the door. In reality my own lust, selfishness and lack of intimacy in my own relationship with the Lord is what was driving those conversations. By Gods infinite grace, none of the girls were interested and I thank him for that daily.

Through my experience and what I observe in the church today I’ve come to discover a few things. First, most people in the church today are lacking true intimacy in their relationship with the Lord. Not that I have it figured out by any means, but that certainly was my problem in college and has continued to be in the area of relationships to this day. Until we understand what a true relationship with the Lord is we will continue to mistake our own longings and our own desires as the voice of God.

Our priorities are all out of whack. I spoke with some of the local Bible College students the other day about where our focus lies in the church. We might say we’re joining the college group or attending the bible college to “sit at the Lords feet” but I’d venture to say that is not priority number one for most people. Merely sitting in the campus coffee shop supports this. Many have good intentions and indeed desire that relationship with their heavenly Father but it seems so few understand the meaning true intimacy. Myself included.

Secondly, we are too concerned with having a fanciful, fairytale love story that we again over think and over spiritualize, acting on impulse rather than Gods divine providence. We hear the story of the young pastor who on graduation day declared to his now wife, “God told me you are the one,” and we want that so we try to make it happen. I heard recently that one young lady from the local bible College had three young men offer her that in a weeks time. Props to her because she didn’t buy any of it. In fact she shared with these young men, “surely God must be confused then because I keep hearing that.” I can only imagine the defeat and anguish these young men felt but if they didn’t learn their lesson I’m sure they can find another unsuspecting young women to prey on with better results.

A friend of mine recently shared from the female world that many of her friends are much more concerned with the love story than the relationship. “Oh wouldn’t it just be SO amazing if it worked out?” She offered that at this point in her life, she just wants to meet a godly man and is less concerned with how that happens.

I share her sentiment; at 24 I’m just looking for a relationship. I could care less if the story is fanciful and exciting. I certainly haven’t always been there and my own eagerness for a God written love story has allowed me to convince myself that I’m hearing from the Lord when clearly I have not. The lack of fruit from any of those attempts at relationships is evidence of this.

Read the bible. Every word of it is God inspired and there are plenty of not so exciting stories in there. Just because it’s a love story doesn’t mean its going to be a fairytale. In fact that opens up another can of worms regarding our idea of a fairytale love story. Books, TV and Hollywood have painted a picture of what ever after really means and we compare Gods design of a love story to that. Seldom do they look the same. Ruth and Boaz ring a bell? A very romantic story but a threshing floor and a pile of grain somehow doesn’t measure up to a weekend trip to Tahiti as seen on The Bachelor.

I offer, and I’m as guilty as the next, that our own eagerness and desire for a relationship, coupled with our lack of true intimacy with the Lord, has allowed the devil to find his way into places he shouldn’t and never was meant to be. The church tells us “You’ll just know.” And we, enamored by lust and emotion, mistake our own longing as the voice of God. How incredibly sad that we can take sin and convince ourselves that it is the voice of God.

That proves that we are lacking in our own personal relationships with the Lord. So start there. Dive into the word. Ask God to open your eyes and heart in new and truthful ways. You might offer that you study the bible day in and day out and are not seeing any fruit. Are you doing homework when you open the Bible or are you taking time to spend one on one with your savior learning to hear His voice. Either way, it takes time.

Then when that voice comes along, test it. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says “Test everything and hold on to what is good.” If it truly is the voice of the Lord, He’s not going to let her get away. God will lovingly lead you as you submit to His will and His voice, and help you as you learn to lovingly lead the woman He has for you.

Women Have Power, Real Power

Athletic competition is a magnificent thing. The court or field is a battleground where physical strength, mental preparation and weeks, months or years of practice is tested. The Olympic games are the stage for the best of the best, both men and women, to display their strength for the world to see.

Funny thing. Men still compete with men. Women still compete with woman. Our society, even the church, is obsessed with the idea of equality and egalitarianism and yet we segregate our athletic competition. Do we really want equality?

Women would argue, “You can’t expect women to compete at the same level as men. It just wouldn’t be fair. Our genetic make up is different.”

You are right. God made us different right down to our genetic make up. I think we can see this in athletic competition better than any other place in all of creation. To expect a woman to power clean the same 580 lbs (current men’s world record) is absurd. She got close with 412 lbs (current women’s world record). The men’s high jump world record stands at 8 feet 0.46 inches while the women’s is at 6ft 10.28 inches and I could give stats all day. Somewhere out there yes, I’m sure a woman has “beaten” men in some display of physical or athletic strength but by and large, men excel in these displays over women because we are different by design.

Our genetic make up, the way our bodies are made, suggests that we are different. We can accept it in athletic competition, in fact we even expect it, but in relationships, the business world and every other area, we demand equality.

Before you quit reading or start writing your own rebuttal, hear me out. God made us different, and that is ok. Do I believe women are capable of leading bible studies, churches and fortune 500 companies? Absolutely, and probably better than I ever could! Can they “wear the pants,” be the leader and primary breadwinner etc etc in a marriage? Yep, and many are. But do I believe that is how God designed it? No. Does that mean you have to stop doing those things? No. Especially because the guy you’re with probably won’t start doing those things.

God made us differently. That is all I’m trying to say. We are wired differently, we give and receive love differently and when we (men and women) can figure this out AND ACCEPT IT, only then will we begin to love and serve as Christ has called us.

It’s sad because that is really where it should start. Out of our love for Christ, we will sacrificially love and serve in relationships but we don’t. Until we get what we want and are treated fairly, we won’t bend or break. Somewhere, someone has got to give in. It SHOULD be men. We are called to lead, sacrificially, even to the point of laying down our life for women (Ephesians 5:25). Nowhere in scripture does it place such a high calling on women, that they give up their life for a man. We are called to lead even to the point of death.

We are ALL called to love sacrificially even when we are not receiving it, “as to the lord.” (Eph 5:22 for women, 5:25 for men).

Ok, lets take God out of the very picture He created. We are caught in a vicious cycle that until someone steps out and breaks it, will continue to go round and round. I love sharing about a trip to Chicago I made my freshman year of college that fits this to a tee.

It was a disaster from the word go. Plans fell through and it ended up being me and four women (your saying “and your complaining?!”). We made it to Chicago, crammed 6 people into a studio apartment down town and several of us spent the night on the hard wood floor. It snowed nearly two feet overnight and the next morning I went into survival mode. I borrowed a shovel from a neighbor and proceeded to unearth the wrong vehicle. I finally found the right one two blocks away and dug it out. The rest of the day was a clash of personalities, frustrated meals, bad directions and getting lost. You couldn’t have paid me to drive around Chicago in broad daylight, much less in two feet of snow.

I was not happy. The girls were having fun but thought I was a pill and I probably was, but that didn’t change how I felt. Somewhere by the end of the day as we were driving out of town trying to make our way to one of the girls homes, no one really knew where we were or where we were going. You could have cut the tension in the car with a knife. As I drove down the freeway barely able to stay on the road due to the setting sun and the snow still blowing horizontally across the road, a small, loving voice with the most sincerity I have ever heard chimed from the back seat, “Seth, thank you for taking such good care of us today.”

At that moment every feeling of dread, anger, frustration and anything else that was weighing on my mind disappeared. I would have driven all night, changed a flat tire in the sub zero temps or done ANYTHING for ANYONE of those girls (even the ones I was still upset with) because that one girl showed me respect and appreciation. She had power. She new it and how to use it.

Ladies if you can learn to speak and love as my friend did, you will hold the power of the atom bomb in your hand. A man will swim oceans, scale buildings and climb mountains when he has the sincere love of a woman behind him.

As guys, we should recognize this. We should lead sacrificially, “as Christ laid down his life for the church” and we will ultimately find that we’ll receive this kind of love and respect from women. We’ve got to start doing that.

To the egalitarianists and people that want equality, we are different. Physically and emotionally and nothing you or I say is going to change that. Our world doesn’t want to accept God or the bible but really, it lays it out for us. 1 Peter 3:7 cautions husbands to love their wives as they may be weaker (physically/emotionally) than you, BUT they are your EQUAL heir in Gods gracious gift of life.

When we, the church, the bride of Christ, actually open up the bible and begin to understand not only WHAT it says but WHY it says it, only then will we come to a true understanding of our heavenly father and how He has designed us to love and be loved.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Just Friends" Part 2 No room for doubt

“Loyalty in relationships does not start when you say ‘I do’ or even commit to dating". -Shelly Lynch

There is much wisdom in that statement. I’ve had several girls tell me over the years, “I don’t have to submit until we’re married.” Ok if you want to get technical about that verse, yeah it says “Wives submit to your husbands.” But if you’re not practicing submission while your dating or courting someone, how are they suppose to know how you’ll act in a marriage? Would you date a guy that says “I’ll start loving you after we get married?”


The same goes for practicing loyalty. I hear women say all the time, “I’m very loyal when I’m in a relationship” but what does that really mean? To some that means they don’t cheat on the person. To others that means they’re committed but they still have their own group of friends which can include any number of guy/girls and even ex boyfriend/girlfriends. To others, and the idea I’m encouraging, it means you go out of your way to let the other person know that they are your one and only.

I think that is loyalty at its core but the problem then becomes, when does it start? In my original note entitle “We’re just friends, you should trust me” I talked about practicing loyalty now by limiting the time you spend alone with members of the opposite sex if there is no romantic interest. I talked about the value of having relationships of the opposite sex but also the difficulty that comes in reevaluating those friendships once one or both of the parties enter a relationship or get married. Naturally, if you are in fact loyal, those relationships with guy or girl “friends” need to change. They don’t have to end necessarily, but your primary concern should become your significant other. If they aren’t ok with that prior friendship, it’s got to go.

Some of you think that thought is absurd. “He can’t demand I not have a particular friend” or “She’s just jealous.” My opinion? Yeah, she is jealous. And if she is, it’s probably because your doing something that is not helping her feel secure in your love. People react so quickly and assume the worst, particularly regarding this topic. I wish people would take the time to 1) communicate, that would eliminate most of the problems and 2) be willing to lay aside their own selfishness for the betterment of the relationship.

I think if we could learn to do that, you’d find that you ultimately do yourself a favor by laying the friendship in question down. You’re going huh? I’m losing a friend and he/she is getting their way? How is that doing me a favor?

I’ll explain with an example I came up with a while ago. Suppose I have a girlfriend. She’s eager, attractive and outgoing. Naturally that’s a great combination and certainly I’m not the only guy vying for her attention but somehow I’ve managed to win her affection and am the lucky one called “boyfriend.” Because she’s eager and outgoing, chances are she’s got lots of friends and more than likely several guy friends in there too. Suppose she’s of the belief that I should trust her even enough to go have coffee or spend time hanging out with these other guys without becoming jealous or worrying because she’s assured me they’re “just friends.” As in so many relationships today, it’s not a trust issue it’s a preference. I just rather she didn’t spend time alone with guys. I know how guys work so I mention it to her.

“Sweetheart, you are outgoing, attractive, you love people and I love that about you. That’s part of why I was attracted to you to begin with. But because of that, its difficult for me to see you maintain relationships with guys, even though you are just friends. Part of it is because I know how guys work, but mostly, its just another way that I can feel secure in your love. It would mean the world to me if you would choose not to spend time alone with other guys, having coffee and speaking on the phone for great lengths of time. It would help me know without a doubt that I’m your one and only.”

To that she responds as most people would, “well you should just trust me Seth. If I say we’re just friends, we’re just friends.” “I do trust you. It’s not that I don’t, but I would appreciate you not spending your time with other guys. You might not understand why, you might not think it makes any sense, but it would mean the world to me if you would make that sacrifice.”

She has a choice. She may, as is the case with many relationships, truly not understand why this is so difficult for me. After all, she trusts me. Why is this so difficult for Seth to understand? But what she doesn’t realize is at this very moment she has power. She has real power to do something that will in turn motivate me to love her better. She can show me love and bless me so much by respecting my wish. Her sacrifice is amplified all the more because she doesn’t understand why she should do it.

And why does she have power? Because she can make a sacrifice that will bless me so much, removing any foothold or stumbling block that’s between us and out of gratefulness, I will lavish upon her so much more love because I’m so thankful that she made that sacrifice. She has the power to help herself. Maybe she already feels loved. That’s fine, is anyone going to turn down an extra expression of love from their significant other? Heck no!

It takes action on both parts. My girlfriend needs to actually stop spending the time with other guys and I need to go out of my way to express how thankful I am that she has made and is acting on that sacrifice. I don’t think that will be too tough though. Our natural response when we feel loved, is to love. When your cup is filled, you overflow!

I received some interesting responses from that first article and I want to share my findings. By and large the people that agree 100% fit a couple of demographics: they are either happily married or divorced. The first response I received came from a young woman who is divorced after a painful marriage and even now struggles with this topic in her relationship with her boyfriend. Several other divorced women responded in agreement as well as several people that I would put in the happily married category. In either case, they have lived this out and have seen how it either positively or negatively affects the relationship.

I didn’t receive any negative feedback per say, but more so “I agree and disagree.” My assumptions are that these people agree with the aspect of commitment in marriage, but disagree with the notion of reigning back on those relationships now. You know what I find fascinating? Each and every person that I received this type of feedback from falls between the ages of 18 and 30 and is a single, “independent,” Christian woman.

Am I knocking these women? Not in the slightest. It think they are the ones poised for the greatest success in marriage. They often times have the desire, the heart, and the ability to be the best wives. They also have the greatest opportunity for hardship because their “independence” can get the better of them. “I want him to know I don’t need him to take care of me. I’m fine on my own.”

Yes you are. But what if the guy wants to take care of you? That’s part of our ingrained nature as men. Women say all the time, “I want someone to lead me, to protect me, to love me.” Ok...let us! Yes I’ll be the first to admit that many guys today don’t get this and won’t take the initiative to step out and lead. I think part of that is because they are intimidated.

Many women today spend so much time telling the world of their independence that many guys aren’t going to waste their time because they know its going to be a struggle. I’m in that boat. There is nothing more attractive to me than an able, capable woman who has done a great job of setting up a home for herself, is hospitable and able to provide. And I’m still hesitant to express an interest because I’ve seen far too many times these very women, while they claim they want to be lead, cannot let go of that independence once they’ve tasted it. It becomes a control issue. “He’s trying to control me.” No, he’s trying to love you the way you said you wanted to be loved and lead.

The same goes for our relationships. We ask our boyfriend or girlfriend to stop spending time alone with the opposite sex and they think we’re trying to control them. It’s not a control thing it’s a commitment thing. It is being committed to the relationship over the friendship, even enough to saying “Ok, I don’t totally understand why, but I’ll make this sacrifice because you are more important to me.” Whoever figures that out and can bring themselves to act on it is practicing true love, true submission and has power. Real power.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baby Food Allergies and Sex?

Suppose you’re an infant. Your parents are feeding you all the delectable kinds of baby food on the market to figure out which ones you seem to like the best. They begin to notice you especially like the mashed peas flavor (if one exists). Funny thing however, while you squeal with delight at mealtimes, you break out in a rash and hives not long after.

They take you to the doctor and sure enough, you’re allergic to peas! It’s a common pediatric allergy that you’ll likely grow out of but for now, no more peas. Cool, quick fix. Someday you can once again enjoy the peas after you’ve outgrown the allergy and are able to start eating them again.

But wait, you’re an infant. They can’t communicate with you that mashed peas are bad for you right now and that someday you can enjoy them again. All you know is that all of a sudden, you have to go without your favorite baby food. You fuss and complain because you want something now that will hurt you, when if you just wait a little while longer, you can have all that you like.

Sex is kinda that way. God created it. He made it enjoyable, he wants us to experience it. He made some parameters for us to enjoy it in. It’s called marriage. He knows he made it SO good that once we go there, we are going to want it again and again. Marriage is a place to enjoy lots of sex. There is commitment, (well, there should be) there is security (well, there should be) and in a “Christian” marriage, both parties are loving each other out of a desire to love and serve God (well, they should be). All the (should be's) are geared toward marriages where there is an absence of sex, but thats a different article.

Instead we test the waters. We taste the fruit and man its good! But at 13, 18, or however old you are when you go there, if you’re having sex outside of marriage the commitment is not there. You always have an out and you took part of that person with you. Sadly, marriage today doesn’t even offer that commitment. We get divorced when we’ve lost interest so we move on and its culturally acceptable and even encouraged if your not happy. The idea of investing time and energy in a marriage is a foreign concept.

What if we waited on sex? What if this God that came up with the idea originally was on to something? What if He new that by waiting until we had that commitment, we would save ourselves TONS of heartbreak, confusion and pain along the way? Not to mention drama, disease etc etc etc.

Perhaps you don’t buy this whole God thing. That’s fine. I won’t push it on you but I’ll explain how the bible refers to God. It says we are His children and he is our heavenly father. One verse in particular says “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask?” (Matt. 7:11)

God love us like your dad loves you (or should have loved you). He wants you to be joyful. That feeling you get when your skipping barefoot through a meadow under a cloudless sky, when you lounging by the pool catching some rays or wherever you are when you’re most happy. That feeling you get when you are completely at peace and most content.

THAT is what a father wants for his child ALL THE TIME. The thing is, dear old dad has lived some life. He knows that the lures of the world and what TV says is cool, could very easily derail us from getting to that point of complete contentment. So he sets up a curfew to protect you girls from boys with bad intentions. He tells you to stay away from drinking and drugs because SO many people fall prey to those lures.

To us, it seems like he’s taking away our mashed pea baby food. He’s taking away the things that we think bring us joy and we think he’s doing it just to be mean. On the contrary, he knows those things could hinder us from getting where WE ultimately want to be, content and joy filled.

God works the same way. The bible is a list of parameters, or a map, He’s set up for us to follow so that we can enjoy things the way he designed them to work, which ultimately will bring us the most satisfaction and joy, it just takes time. We might not think that, but put it to the test ☺

To the young people in the church signing up for online dating services and singles groups like it’s the opening day of a Walmart super center: perhaps you’re in your allergy stage. God knows that right now a relationship (mashed peas) won’t be good for you. You think you can handle it so you fuss and complain, kick and scream and he remains silent. Lord knows I have! But if we wait on his timing and grow out of our allergy stage we can receive the completeness of what He has for us and experience true joy.

You don’t buy the God thing. Ok. I’m sorry. The church today certainly hasn’t made it look like the whole Bible thing is any fun. Instead of telling you why the Bible says what it does, the church just condemns you for your actions and behavior. For that I am sorry.

I’m pretty sure if Jesus were around right now, he’d apologize to and ask if He can straighten out any misconceptions you have. If you said no thanks, I think he’d probably smile and say, “Ok. I love you and I’m hear when your ready.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaving No Room For Doubt

God continues to reveal new and unique things to me almost daily. At 4:30 in the morning, here is what’s on my mind today:

I continue to meet young men and women who express that they get along far better with the opposite sex. “I’ve just always gotten along better with guys” says a young woman. Likewise many young men say they’ve just always had better relationships with young ladies. I understand where they’re coming from because I would put myself in that category as well. I’ve found it easier to have deeper, personal, meaningful conversations with woman than with guys. I find it encouraging, enlightening and in the back of my mind somewhere, I know that I’m giving God the option to make something happen with on of them if he so chooses (as if he needs my help anyway.)

And I think that’s what many of us do. We maintain countless open “friendships” with people of the opposite sex, reasoning that we just happen to get along better with them and there is no interest beyond being friends. In my own life I can attest to that fact and yet while I am just friends with many of these young women, I’m certainly maintaining some of the relationships in the event that God wants to do something through one of them.

My question now is this: why do we maintain so many relationships with members of the opposite sex when, if we seek to honor God and someone in a future relationship, those friendships are going to have to be drastically changed if not severed completely when the time comes?

Example:
A mentor of mine in college shared that he had a best friend all through college who was a girl. They were just friends and never dated but had a significant friendship. When this guy began dating his now wife, this relationship became a problem. His wife trusted him, but it put strain on the relationship that he had this “friendship” with another woman. When they got married some years later, my friend had to painfully tell his friend that his wife is the most important and they need to stop maintaining that friendship, to which she was livid. He reasoned, “She is my wife. She is the most important, and I need to go out of my way to ensure she knows that she is the only one for me.”
I call that leaving no room for doubt.

The woman was crushed, angry and said she never cared to see or hear from him again.

I empathize with her in that she lost a good friend because he got married, but my friend was right. His wife is and needs to be his primary concern. What I’m realizing now is that what if we took steps now, before we are in relationships or married, to change our relationships with members of the opposite sex so that when that time does come, it is less drastic of a change for all of us involved.

God is working on me in this way. I recently spent two weeks back in Oregon during which time I met several girl friends for coffee or lunch. It was great. We enjoyed fellowshipping and catching up on life but the truth is, if I had a girlfriend I wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, be spending this one on one time with other girls.

Some of you agree with me and some of you disagree reasoning, they’re just a friend. Your girlfriend should trust you. I agree, but I don’t think it’s an issue of trust. I think it’s a commitment thing and that I should bend over backwards to ensure that my girlfriend/wife knows that she is the only person for me. Especially in this context, if my friend and I feel like we really want to catch up, it’s just as easy for me or her to bring anther friend so it’s not a one on one deal.

Many of you probably think, well that’s fine when you’re married, but if your just dating you shouldn’t have to do that. “I had this friend before I got into a relationship so my boyfriend/girlfriend should understand.”

I recall a conversation in college with a young woman who said verbatim, “_____ has been my best friend all my life and he always will be. My husband is just going to have to deal with it.”

I do not believe for one minute that that is the attitude God intends for us to take into marriage or a dating relationship period. I see no level of respect or submission in that statement. Should your husband empathize with your situation? To some extent. But, like my friend I mentioned above, had he not invested in that relationship with the young woman, he would have spared himself and her, a great deal of pain when he had to sever the relationship for the betterment of his marriage.

So where does this place us? Do we start cutting ties with all our friends of the opposite sex reasoning, “well, it’s got to happen now or when I get in a relationship.” That’s not what I’m encouraging however I do encourage people to rethink how much time and energy they are putting into their relationships with members of the opposite sex.

If you’re a woman, do you find yourself spending significant time hanging out with guys one on one, even if you both say there is no level of interest? Guys are you constantly calling to chat and encourage your sister in Christ, with good intentions, but instead are creating a situation that ultimately will be harder to walk away from when you get into a relationship down the road?

You might argue that, “Well I hope that he/she would understand and want to be a part of those friendships.” That’s not a bad thought and it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But that needs to happen over time and only IF the other person is ok with it. Chances are ladies, if you’ve got some “best guy friend” that your boyfriend says he’s ok with, more than likely it’s weighing heavily on him whether he says it or not. Guys, you think you can go out to coffee with that busty blond or chat with her online and your girlfriend will be ok with it? Think again. She probably says she is and she probably trusts you, but deep inside, she would much rather you didn’t because she wants to feel COMPLETELY secure in your love.

Another sticky one is people remaining close friends with people they’ve dated in the past. Sure it’s a cool thing that they were able to date and then decide, you know what, this isn’t for us, and step out without completely ruining the friendship but folks, that relationship is ALWAYS going to be a struggle down the road for your significant other. Especially if you became physically involved (sexually) which unfortunately is the case in so many relationship today, both in and outside of the church.

You can argue however much you like about trust and “Well they need to allow me to have my friends” but the truth of the matter is, when you’re married, that person is your priority and leaving no room for them to doubt even ever so slightly, that they are number one and that they are secure in your love, is your number one priority.

Might I offer that you begin taking steps now to change those relationships with members of the opposite sex so that there is a less drastic change down the road when that boy or girlfriend comes along. Don’t spend quite so much time talking on the phone to that particular friend, deepening a friendship that is not going to be maintained at that level after you meet someone and fall in love. Opt not to spend time one on one with your friends of the opposite sex because you develop a pattern that is going to need to be broken when you get into a relationship.

I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t have friends of the opposite sex. I think building relationships with both men and women is part of fellowship and the community that God calls us to. I simply encourage all of us to shy away from spending time one on one with our friends of the opposite sex as this builds ties and deepens the bond between friends that will cause problems in a relationship down the road if we try to maintain that bond or fail to set that friendship aside for the good of our own relationship.

Start now on positioning yourself for that relationship with the person that God has for you someday. Then you won’t have to do what my friend did and all of a sudden painfully break off a friendship with someone that has meant a great deal to you. Ladies, do you feel that you get along better with guys than girls? Strive to find godly women within your church or community that can enlighten and encourage you as only women can do. Regardless of what you think, a guy can never meet your needs for friendship and fellowship like a woman can…we just don’t understand you that well.

Guys, build relationships with other men. That’s a huge part of why our society, even in the church, is where it’s at today because boys today go looking for affirmation and acceptance from women. While it makes you feel warm and fuzzy, there is a lack of true biblical manhood in today’s Christian culture because we guys aren’t seeking out godly men and learning from them.

Build relationships with members of the same sex because no matter what we think, guys and girls have needs that we can’t meet for each other because God made us different. Spend less time focusing on relationships of the opposite sex and more time cultivate deep meaningful relationships with members of the same sex who can instruct you on being a godly young man or young woman. If you want to spend time with your friends, always enlist a third party so it gives no indication of being a date. Even if you guys are just friends, everyone can attest to the fact that people talk and someone is going to make mention that they saw the two of you out.
But that’s a whole different topic for another time. ☺

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On the Train again....

Less than a month ago I took a train ride from Dallas Texas to Anaheim California. After 48 hours of choo chooing along I vowed, never again. This morning I went to my follow up Dr appointment from my recent head trauma and was informed that I should not be flying anytime soon. This typically wouldn’t be bad news except for the fact that it was 10:30 a.m. and I had a 5 o'clock plane to catch out of San Diego. My friend Jake French had inquired if I would help him shoot and produce a promotional video for his website a week prior and I purchased a ticket on faith that I would be “good to go.”

As it turns out my head injuries are a little more severe than I had thought. The Dr said no flying so I my backup plan, thanks solely to Michelle Moore, was a train. I had already completed a plan of attack in the event that this would be the case and informed my shuttle service (thanks Ellie) we would be going to San Bernardino instead of San Diego. Problem is the train, or I should say the bus to the train station, left 3 ½ hours earlier than my flight so we had to make haste.

I pity whatever woman that I'm someday able to dupe into marrying me. She’s in for a ride! I raced from the Dr’s office to finish packing and make final preparations to leave for a week. I arrived with time to spare, sat on my suitcase and sipped an Arizona peach tea, thanking God for his many blessings, and all the while wondering why I do this craziness that I do. About 2/3 of the way through my tea, the buss pulled up so I pounded the rest of the tea and ran for the bus stop. 5 hours later I’m sitting on a train and 20 hours from now I’ll be in Portland. Not quite the evening I had planned but then again, I never thought I’d be leaving “home” in southern California to go visit Oregon. Funny how things work!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Video!

If you told me a year ago that I'd get to do half the things I've done in the last 9 months I would have laughed at you. I wouldn't even be upset because your remark would have been so outrageously out there that I couldn't help but laugh. God has a sense of humor too because He just keeps pouring it out. I continue to stand amazed at the opportunities I'm blessed with and God continues to shape and change my situation in new ways all the time.

Most recently I've been working on a video project with a guy named Ronnie Faisst. Ron's been in the industry since day one and is one of the biggest names in the sport. It's funny to me because I remember being 12 years old and watching dirt bike videos with my friend Jake and seeing Ronnie and his outrageous antics on screen. Two days ago I went to his house to shoot him ride his own private facility as we are producing a video about his experience at this years X Games.
I finished the video last night and I'm SO excited with how it turned out. I'm still learning how to shoot and edit video and with the help of my friend J Ray, I'm starting to get things dialed. The video is only about 3 minutes so I'd love for you to check it out and if you'd like to see the complete story and interview you can follow the links below or find it on my website.

X Games video-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNLxaVseO2s

Link to my website-http://www.localheroesnw.com/ronnie-faisst

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh what fun it is to....Date?

Some of my most cherished memories from my college years took place in Young house sitting around the kitchen table with friends. Between our “man time” conversations to debates with the opposite sex about dating and relationships, it would seem we covered nearly every topic under the sun. In one particular conversation, and one I reference often when talking with people about dating, a not so subtle, to the point friend of mine leaned over the table and very pointedly ask, “When are guys going to grow a pair and start asking girls out?”

Always willing to lend my two cents, I leaned forward and offered, “I’ll ask a girl out when I find one that doesn’t start planning a wedding after one cup of coffee.”

Some of you are laughing, a few of you are angry and many of you agree with me. When I tell that story I frequently get all of those responses. Now that I’ve spent some time outside of the college dating scene as well as tried dating within the “church,” I’ve discovered there really is no difference and I would argue that both my friend and I are correct to some extent. I’ll begin with the guys.

There is truth in my friend’s statement. No doubt, many young men today, particularly in the church, are less than forward when it comes to communicating with women. We have broken homes, Hollywood and in my opinion the lure of video games to thank for that. Many young men just don’t know how to communicate with women. In our defense ladies, even to a clinically diagnosed “good communicator” (Communication was in my Strengths Quest top five ☺ shout out to my GC peeps), there is nothing more intimidating to me than a beautiful woman. I will stair and stutter and rack my brain for the most eloquent of pick up lines and it never comes. Somewhere around the age of 17 I had the “Fargher charm” as one friend called it, which unfortunately disappeared by the time I left high school.

Yes fellas, we need to work on boldness. We are after all, called to be the leaders Eph. 5:25. The secular world won’t hesitate to ask a girl to jump into bed; the least we could do is openly communicate with women about how we feel. Rather than keeping silent and letting the girl pry it out of us, tell her where you’re at. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have all the answers. That’s the whole purpose of dating, it helps you find those answers you’re looking for. Unfortunately, the ladies are so often forced to take the forward approach because we men just aren’t stepping up to the plate.

Now before you ladies start declaring “amen” and passing out high-fives, I have some thoughts for you as well. Without a doubt I agree that the world is lacking real men. Most men, even within the church, are easily swayed by the lures of the world and, all to often, are drawn away from God. The world looks like too much fun and in all honesty, it’s teaching us guys that we can get what we want without giving much in return. I believe that it’s wrong and is sadly causing women to abandon their God given role as lovers and nurturers.

Let me first share ladies that I understand your frustration but, if you hope to find the right kind of man in today’s world, you are not going to get it by applying pressure. I spent four years in the Christian college scene and now two years in the post college “Christian” dating world and there is no difference. I do not fault you for having an exceedingly strong desire to marry. In fact I applaud it, for it is God given. Gen 3:16 “You will long for your husband…”

In truth, I like that idea. I want a girl that’s crazy about me. Nothing will strengthen a man’s ego or enable him to scale buildings in a single bound like the love of a woman. I caught my brother in an unusually good mood once before he was married and inquired about his giddiness. He responded with, “because I’m in love with a woman that is crazy about me!” I want that.

At the same time, I don’t want someone that’s so eager to get married that she’s taking on my role as a leader. “Well I want to be pursued,” you say. Understood. You have every right to. But perhaps the guy is trying to decide in his own mind if he wants to pursue you. THIS is where the trouble begins.

I’ve found that many young ladies, consciously or subconsciously, are working on a timetable. Casual dating as our parents new it is out of the question. Taking a different girl out to a movie every weekend until you find one you want to settle down with is a no no as you’ll be crucified a “player.” I never dated in college. I asked a few girls out for coffee and on one occasion, at the urging of a friend, had a young lady over and we chatted for a couple hours. A week after that conversation I had five people come up to me within a ten minutes span and make comments ranging from “Seth and ______ sitting in a tree….” to “if you hurt her I will kill you.” Really? Are we adults or in middle school?

This brings me to my next point. Ladies, be careful what and with whom you share. I find all too often that people, both men and women, stick their nose where it does not belong. Rightly so, we care about others opinions. We want to know what our friends think. The problem becomes that our friends offer too much information and begin painting a picture that does not exist or is at least merely in the very beginning stages. “Oh he’s totally into you!” “Really? Well I guess he did say….” And chaos ensues.

The one thing I will say Hollywood got right was the movie He’s Just Not That Into You. It is a perfect example of the games, miscommunication and lack of overall honesty that our society lacks, both in and outside of the church.

Dating as our parents new it is pretty much out of the question. The term I would associate with getting to know someone in our generation to decide if we want to take things to the next level would be “hanging out.” It means nothing more than spending time together, whatever the setting, and GETTING TO KNOW THE PERSON. We have no other context to intentionally get to know someone than that.

My experience, and countless guys I know, has been if I express an interest in hanging out in order to get to know someone and after a while decide that I’m really not interested in dating the person, I’m labeled a jerk, a player and my favorite, I lead her on. Ladies please hear me on this; most of the men in this world would rather sleep with you and move on. They have no intention of settling down and sadly, really don’t care about your feelings. I’ve had girls, or friends of girls, tell me that I crushed them. That I lead them to believe I was interested in a relationship only to dash their hopes and leave them aching. Let me share with you this; I not so much as held a hand, tried to kiss nor offered commitment to any one of those girls. Ladies if you have any hope of finding a meaningful, lasting relationship with a true God fearing man, you must learn to let go. Let us fulfill our God given role as the leader.

You argue, “Well some guys just need a little jump start.” Ok, let me refute that by asking you this; do you want to be married to a man that you constantly have to jumpstart to get him to love you and lead in your relationship?

I will leave you with this. Ladies, in my opinion you are God’s most incredible and precious creation. Any imperfections you have are far surpassed by your ability to love, nurture and care. I believe whole heartedly that those who grasp God’s original design for us as men and women and how He designed relationship between us to work, will be the select few who experience true joy and satisfaction in marriage.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It Just Keeps Coming

I continue to be amazed at the opportunities that are before me. I'm so thankful for where I'm and what I (typically) spend my days doing. As I sought to move out from where I had previously been living, God opened up a door through a bible study I was attending and it's been the most radical living situation I could have asked for. My roommates are awesome Christian guys, two of which attended the local Bible college so they're sharpening me as I continue to ask questions and seek to deepen my own faith.

This past weekend I got to attend the X Games in Los Angeles and what an experience that was! I've only ever seen it on TV and I usually miss most of it because living in good old Dufur, basic cable doesn't include ESPN!!! I attended the freestyle event and watched as Travis Pastrana took a "fun run" after already securing the Gold medal. That guy is an outstanding human being for many reasons, one of which because he pulled a double backflip, solely for the delight of the crowd. He'd already wrapped up the medal before he took to the dirt. On the podium after when they were asking how he felt about another Gold medal, he wished his mom happy 50th birthday twice, praised Robbie Madison for his exceptional freestyle run as well as Ashley Fiolek for winning the women's supercross race and gave mad props to Cameron Sinclair for coming back to X Games to attempt the same trick that almost took his life a year before. He didn't really say anything about himself or his run.

I was able to secure an industry guest pass for the weekend so the following day I was pretty excited to cruise right into the athlete section at the Staples Center and find a seat 5 rows up from the dirt. An added bonus was my friend, bandmate and X Games competitor Ronnie Faisst was sitting a few seats to my left. (It took me I while to figure out who was shouting my name because I still can't really hear out my left ear haha) To those that are unfamiliar with the industry, Ronnie is without a doubt one of the pioneers of the sport of freestyle motocross and is recognized worldwide for his skill on a dirtbike. Whats more, several years ago he came to know the Lord and is now on fire for Christ.

So here I sit, nearly ground level at X Games, next to a guy that up until recently I'd only ever seen on television and in magazine's. The event was awesome and I came away with a few ideas for articles so be on the lookout for those.

Another funny story, Ronnie called me a few days after I'd returned home and I congratulated him on winning a Bronze medal in his speed and style event. He asked if I knew the whole story on how he was even able to compete and I said I had no clue. He told me the story and I was completely in awe as it was a God thing from the word go. I'm working with him and film maker Joseph Ray on putting together a video of the whole story. It's a crazy story about God moving in Ronnie, taking an obedient step of faith and God rewarding him in an awesome way. When we finish it up I'll post the video on here.

If you're reading this I hope you can hear the excitement in my voice. I was excited about all this before I had this traumatic injury, now I'm just beside myself as I continue to get opportunity after opportunity to do things I never dreamed I would. Again I can't thank you enough for all the prayers, calls, texts, emails, facebook messages and well wishes. It's so humbling to see that so many people care. Side note, one of my buddies shared with me that he got a voice mail from some dude ranting and raving and not making a great deal of sense and at the end of the message I identified myself and told him I'd see him soon. SO if you happened to get a response from me via text, phone call or facebook any time during that ten day stint and it didn't make sense, please forgive me....I wasn't firing on all cylinders :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So Thankful

“Seth Fargher 11/29/85”
That’s the secret pass code in the intensive care unit at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth Texas if you want your dinner or your pain medicine. At least it was for me. Nearly a month ago I left California for what I thought might be the beginning of something huge. I was to drive to Texas, ride a freestyle show and spend the next two weeks working with the best freestyle motocross rider in the world. My goal was to learn the backflip, then come back to California and perform it at a large event in Tijuana Mexico. As I wrote in my last post “Man charts his course and the Lord determines his steps.” What I didn’t realize was that God might perhaps be making some significant changes to that path in the very near future.

July 14th I had the worst wreck of my life. I’d gotten up early to beat the heat, made several jumps and on my fourth attempt put too much weight forward and landed on the nose of my quad. Literally. The dirt on the landing might as well be asphalt it’s so compact and my bumper left a three-inch deep, foot long trench in it. My friend Caleb saw that I landed with the nose of the quad down but no one really saw how my body hit. I still can’t figure it out because the inside of my helmet is cracked to pieces in the front, suggesting I landed on my face but all my fractures are to the base and rear of my skull. Needless to say God had his hand on me. I’ve shed some tears in recent days and I’m struggling even now as I write because I’m realizing I could VERY easily not be alive. My best friend is a quadriplegic because he fell THREE feet out of a truck and landed on his head. I fell from THIRTY, landed on my head and walked out of ICU. Looking at my blood covered and smashed helmet tells me God had his hand on me that day.

The whole experience is eye opening to say the least. I continue to be overwhelmed by Gods goodness through all of this. Eight months ago I hated my life. I lived alone in a town of 500 people with few friends working a job I’d been unhappy with since I began. All of my life I’d wanted a chance to do ATV stuff. I watched other people live my dream in movies and magazines while I seemingly could never catch a break and God always seemed to have other things in store.

October 12th He changed all that and gave me the biggest opportunity of my life. If you’re reading this you probably already know my story and know how I got here. I’m just rehashing because I’m doing a lot of thinking about the last eight months and what is to come in the future.

In the last eight months I’ve met childhood heroes, countless celebrities (at least they are to me) and played in a worship band with guys I use to idolize and never dreamed of meeting. I use to read about this dominant team that always wins down in Baja Mexico and had hoped to maybe one day witness a race. Now I’ve got magazines asking me to write stories about them. God has poured out such favor on me I can’t begin to express how thankful I am.

I’ve always been a thinker and this latest episode has given me not only time but a reason to think about my future and what that might look like. I know I love everything about where I’m at and what I’m doing. I love to ride. I’ve never experienced satisfaction or felt such joy as when I can fly through the air barely attached to a quad. I cherish every jump because I never dreamed in a million years I would get to ride ramps or do what I do. I also love to write. I love telling people’s stories and seeing their excitement when it gets them exposure or sheds light on their accomplishments.

While I hope to do more of both, I’m less concerned with making money from my jumping. I’d love to get back on the ramps simply because it’s what I love to do. That leaves a lot of questions like “Ok, what now?” I don’t have those answers but I’m expecting big things from God in the coming months. I’m certainly in with the right crowd and two of my friends are poised for greatness in the coming months for their own accomplishments in the X Games. I hope to remain involved as they continue to experience success and work along side them. We joked in the ICU because apparently I told them repeatedly that I was going to settle for being their publicist from now on.

I can’t begin to express my thanks for all the calls, texts, facebook messages and support I’ve received in the last two weeks. I’m so incredibly blessed and thankful to have so many people that support me for what I do and care about me in times like these. Not that you have a choice in such matters, but if you’re ever going to spend time in ICU I’d recommend Fort Worth Harris Methodist Hospital. The nurses and doctors made my time there enjoyable and I’m eternally grateful for their care during what would have otherwise been the most terrifying time of my life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Charting A Course

Well I’m midway through a three week road trip taking me from southern California to Dallas Texas. I hit the road on the 29th with our team manager BC and his son. From Cali we traveled to Williams Arizona and camped out at a KOA. I managed to have a little jam session with one of the locals and blared some Lynyrd Skynyrd through the campground. From there we made a stop at the Grand Canyon and took a 45 minute plane ride over the canyon. It was truly amazing to see one of the most incredible landscapes in all of creation, especially from an airplane.

From Arizona we drove to Canadian Texas where we met up with the Moore family for a show at the 120th annual Canadian Rodeo which doubled as somewhat of a family reunion. It was such a fun time and the entire family welcomed me with open arms. Yet again a surreal experience. Here less than a year ago I was watching these guys on videos and reading about them in magazines and now I’m hanging out with their extended family for the 4th of July. (Texans know how to celebrate the 4th of July!) We were treated like royalty all weekend. The owners of the local steak house had us over for a Texas sized BBQ in their backyard paradise. The menu included the largest steak I've ever seen, chicken, quail, Texas fire crackers (jalapeƱos stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon) and for desert the worlds best homemade bread pudding. If you ever find yourself in Canadian Texas, be sure to stop in The Cattle Exchange steak house. THANKS MILTON AND JULIE!!!
We rode our first show Friday night and I managed to wheelie over on myself during the barrel racing contest. After the horses were done they let me and Colten try our hand at the barrels. As if the embarrassment wasn’t bad enough, I was informed I road around the barrels in the wrong direction. Saturday night I managed to ride around the barrels correctly but we didn’t jump due to wet conditions. Instead we road around the arena and threw mud on each other while Caleb took people for rides in the Razr.

Right now I’m sitting in Krum Texas at our guys facility where the plan was to spend two weeks working in the foam pit and hopefully learn how to backflip. So far I’ve been here six days and have ridden a total of about two hours as it has been raining almost non stop. I’m partly frustrated as I’d really like to be practicing but I’m continuing to remind myself that God has a plan in all of this. My last show in Canadian didn’t go quite as well as I would have liked so I was really looking forward to getting in some serious practice these two weeks. It's been raining almost non stop since I got here. Leisure time is sometimes my greatest enemy. I’ve spent a lot of time questioning how long I’m going to be able to keep doing this. I’ve made a go of it the last eight months but am barely scraping by. There is certainly a lot of opportunity for me to advance in this industry and I’m with the right people to do it. It’s just a matter of time and keeping myself healthy. The rain frustrates me because I want to be out riding and improving and instead I’m stuck waiting and thinking. I’m too much of a planner. I want to map out my course, stick to the plan and be on my way.Despite my lack of control of my situation I'm somewhat excited to see what God has in store in the coming months. My last trip to Texas started somewhat the same as I crashed on my first jump and then left for a three week trip that turned out to be the trip of a lifetime. One never knows whats around the corner and this entire adventure I've been on for the last eight months has given me a greater appreciation for Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another adventure awaits...


I'm really excited. Next week I leave for Texas to do a couple shows over the 4th of July weekend and then spend two weeks working in the foam pit followed by two more shows at Texas Motor Speedway. Our team manager called me yesterday and said he's pleased to see me working hard and ready to get me to the next level. I'm super excited for this next adventure that is before me depending on how things go in Texas, this could open a whole new realm of opportunity. Right now there are probably less than 10 people in the world that are flipping quads. There certainly are more that have done it in the past, but probably fewer than ten that could show up right now and do it at a show. Soooo, we shall see what comes of it.

I've spent the last couple of weeks since returning from Mexico catching up on stories, videos and website stuff. I recently received a few issues of ATV Insider, a magazine that I did a story on the Matlock Racing team for. I'm still at the stage where I get super excited any time I see some of my work in a magazine or on a website. I love going out to a track or to a show and hanging out with a bunch of the top FMX guys that up until 8 months ago, I only saw on TV and in movies. Some people I've met since coming down here say that the excitement wears off eventually but I really hope it never does. I don't ever want to take for granted all the opportunities I have to do things and meet people in this industry. I got to ride with a couple of dirtbike FMXers last week and it was one of the coolest experiences I've had since coming down here. A young guy from Oklahoma was out here filming for a video he is producing and came out and filmed me and these bike guys. I'm excited to see how that comes out.

Right now I'm spending my days updating websites, riding here and there and spending time with my friends from the bible college. I'm truly blessed by the relationships I've made through the Bible college. I went to Starbucks last night with a couple guys and we just chatted about everything from the sovereignty of God, to where His will and our desires intersect and Gods plan for us in terms of marriage. Ha Ha the marriage one is a big topic of discussion among young Christians...especially in the church but that's another discussion for another time.

Thank you again for joining me on this journey. I continue to be blessed by hearing of the number of people that follow this blog. Please feel free to leave comments or feedback, shoot or even ask questions. It'll give me topics for more blogs!

Friday, June 11, 2010

From Oregon to Mexico and Back again...

Forgive my lack of consistency with my writing. I’ve been on a whirlwind adventure the last couple of weeks. I went home to Oregon to work in my dads store for a few days and then attend our annual memorial weekend camping trip to China Hat. An added bonus was being able to spend a great deal of time with my best friend from high school Jake who was injured about a year and a half ago with a spinal chord injury. We made the trip up to China Hat to visit friends and mostly get away from it all. It was an awesome time.
I spent a few days in Portland visiting friends (thanks for your hospitality!) and returned on Wednesday only to rush off to Mexico to attend the Baja 500. I covered the race for ATVriders.com, a site that I've contributed to over the last couple of years, and our team won! All kinds of excitement. I continue to be amazed at how blessed I am. It was not even a year ago that I was reading about Matlock Racing and their dominance in the Baja Racing series, dreaming about one day attending a race. Now I’m helping run their pit, changing tires in the middle of the race and writing articles about them for magazines and websites. Its such a blessing to be where I am and doing what I’m doing!From Mexico it was back to California and Sunday morning I decided to make the trek out to a local MX park and shoot some photos of a WORCS race. I got to see some great friends, made a few new connections and shot a lot of pictures and video. I’ll have a story and photos up on that event soon as well as a complete race report on the Baja 500!

Stories and video's from some of the excitement...
Story about China Hat trip HERE
Video from the Race HERE



Saturday, May 22, 2010

Psalm 37:23

Evidently I've refferenced this verse before because when I typed Psalm 37:23 into the title bar it automaticaly came up. No matter, the verse has and continues to hold special meaning to me. It says "The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every DETAIL of their lives." God is in the details and I continue to see that unfolding more an more almost daily.

I was given an amazing opportunity to speak at a motoross ministry called Panic Rev this past Thursday. I've been blessed with making some amazing friends there and what's more it has provided fellowship not only with believers, but with believers who are so passionate about the same industry. I didn't present a message specifically but was asked to share my testimony and what God has been doing in my life. Part of what I shared was how I have seen Psalm 37:23 unfold in my life.

I recall about two years ago telling someone my perfect position in life would be to somehow blend the worlds of Freestyle motocross and being a worship leader. God has given me a passion for leading others in worship and through college I was involved in several different worship bands. Since graduating however I really found myself not playing guitar as much and never really had much of an outlet to continue playing.

As of lately God has been resurrecting that desire within me and giving me opportunities to continue leading worship. I've been playing off and on with the Jr High at church, joining the team in BIG church on occasion as well as leading at various small groups. I've been so blessed by the opportunity, and yet again amazed at Gods willingness to grant us the desires of our heart. Here I continue to pursue my passion in freestyle motocross and God is providing opportunities to continue to serve through music, another one of my passions.

Just a cool thought here this morning as I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Daily Bread

I've had some great conversations with my new roommate's in this first week that I've been here. I learned more about baseball and politics the day I moved in than I have in my entire life. Additionally, both guys graduated from a Bible college so I'm being sharpened in my faith as well.

Yesterday I was talking with Rob about the necessity of being in the Bible daily. He said it's every bit as necessary as food and water and we would never consider going two or three days without eating or drinking anything. I liked that and I agree but a struggle I feel is that so often my own daily quiet times don't yield much fruit. I feel like I spend time in the bible and in prayer and very rarely walk away with any sort of divine revelation. However, I continue to be in the word daily because, like Rob, I agree its a necessary part of cultivating a relationship with Christ.

I asked him if he felt like he comes away with something new, a new thought, a new insite or a deeper understanding everyday after being in the world. He said absolutely not. But he said if you plant a tree you don't get fruit off of it the next day. If you plant a tree it's not likely to produce fruit even within the first year. But you still have to cultivate it, prune it, trim it and in time it will blossom and bear fruit. That was the best explanation for having a daily devotional that I have ever heard.

This morning God brought John 15:4 to my mind. "Remain in me and I will remain in you, for a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine and you cannot be fruitful apart from me." The first word is remain. It means to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified; to stay behind or in the same place. Not to visit. Not to come. Not to check in. But to remain. To continue. Without remaining in God we cannot produce fruit. A tree cannot produce fruit if it does not continually have exposure to sun and moisture. Even in the most perfect growing conditions, a tree takes time to bear fruit. The beautiful blossom that turns into the nourishing, life giving fruit would never come if it weren't for consistent watering and sunlight.

While I don't walk away from my time in the word everyday feeling as though I just met God on top of mount Carmel, I know that by remaining in Christ He is constantly cultivating, pruning and shaping me so that I may ultimately bear fruit that shows Christ in me.

Pretty cool deal.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Long Winded


I know that I'm capable of talking to a wall but I realized this morning just how wordy I am. I have an ongoing microsoft word document that I started about a year ago. A journal of sorts, I found writing to be an outlet for where I am in life. I could vent frustrations, pray and just chronicle all the things going on in my life. The document is very long and this morning I realized that most of it has taken place since my move to California. I began talking about the move on page 13, which at the time I thought was pretty impressive. In four years of college I think I only wrote two papers that length.
Today the document is 46 pages long. That's a lot of venting, praying, and who knows what else! I thought for a moment perhaps I should publish it someday as a memoir or something. On second thought, probably not a very good idea. Maybe with a LOT of editing I could do something with the majority of it. But who knows.

Anyway. Things are going extremely well. I moved this passed week from the house I was living at in Rainbow, to Murrieta. I've been praying for an opportunity to move into town so I could be closer to friends, have internet in my home and save money on gas. God provided a nearly brand new house with a couple of awesome Christian guys for dirt cheap. I was getting free rent where I was at before but I'm saving a lot on gas by living in town. Amazingly, pretty much everywhere I go in town is within a mile or two of where I live. I actually have two rooms, kind of like a home office. Its a huge blessing as I can now walk out of my room, sit down at my desk and begin working on stories, photos or any number of other things I have going on.


I've still been looking for work but with no success. I'm very blessed by a company that has begun paying me for blogs that I write. It's fun to chronicle my experiences and share them with others, and a bonus to get paid for it. Right now thats my only income but God has been faithfully providing small writing jobs here and there to keep me affloat. One example, I did a story for a guy back in December and he had a difficult time paying me up until this past week. For my trouble he sent me an extra $150! That check is taking care of rent for next month so I'm continuing to trust that God will continue to provide.

I attached a few pics of the new pad. You can join me in praying for new opportunities with riding. Shows are super slow right now and I have nothing in the forseeable future. I did have an encourageing conversation the other day with a friend and fellow rider that I've looked up to for most of my life, Mike Metzger. We are going to work on putting some shows together in the coming months and both hoping for opportunities to ride. You can keep him in your prayers also as he sufferd a bad crash this past week and broke his femur. Its his fourth time so at this point its somewhat of a minor injury, but pray for a speedy recovery.