Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Vision.

I had a vision about a week ago. Not an "eyes glazed over, spiritually in another place" vision, just a flash of an idea in my visual cortex. A day or two later it grew into something more. A day or so after that it was almost fully formed. Last night I had the complete vision.

I am going to share my vision with you, the reader. Not because I want you to know my circumstance or my journey (speaking frankly, I don't want you to know that right now. The timing is not right) but because my vision may help you in your growth with God.

In my vision a child is dashing through a long hallway filled with doors, all of them closed. The child is eager to explore the rooms. Any room, every room, no matter the contents. He wants to get out of the hallway and explore. Each door is locked however. He dashes to and fro, jiggling knobs, trying to force the latch, peering under the door. No matter the effort, the door reveals nothing. And so he rushes to the next and repeats the process. After each door is exhausted he moves back to the beginning and tries again. Maybe one of the locks is open now? But again, the door reveals nothing.

Then I saw a man go and unlock a door and open it. But by this time the child has exhausted himself and can barely summon the energy and willpower to cross the threshold to the new experience.

I saw the same hall, the same doors, the same child. But the child was wiser. He did not rush from door to door but waited. He knew that the man would come soon and open a door. All the boy needed to do was wait. He cleaned the hallway, he made sure his appearance was in good order, he kept himself occupied, but he did not rush the process or over exert himself.

The man came, selected a door, and opened it. Joyfully, the boy entered the room.

The meaning of my vision is this: Do not try and be what are not yet. Let God make you what you will be. I know, the vision may have been clearer then those two sentences, but stay with me here.

If you believe that God has called you to (for example) be a missionary to China, don't jump on a plane to China tomorrow. (Sheet anchor here. If God tells you to jump on a plane to China Tomorrow, and you know it is God... Obey Him. This is not what I mean though.) Trying to be at the destination of your journey with out taking the journey robs the destination of any value, and actually hurts you by the time what God planned for actually catches up to you. You got out of sync with God's plan and must now deal with the consequences of your impatience.

Rather, grow in God. Do not ignore the call you have had, but know that hearing a call and meeting the call are two different things. When I hear that I need to go up to my CEO's office to work on a printer, I do not teleport to his office to do the work. I first create the ticket, if need be, and verify my info. What is the problem? Is this a problem I can currently fix? Do I have the tools I will need? Once my assessment is done I gather my tools and check my appearance. (Nothing like a note from the CEO disparaging my workplace attire...) I make sure that I am in accordance to the Handbook. Then I meet my call. I go to his office, I work the issue, and I (hopefully) resolve this issue. If I do not prepare before hand I run the risk of wasting his time, making a mess, causing frustration on his team as he cannot move forward while the "Fixer" is not able to fix things, etc.

Are you called to be a Missionary to China? Great! That is awesome! How is your walk with God right now? What fruit are you bearing right now? What seed are you planting right now? How are you right now? Don't focus on China. Focus on God... now.

Donita K. Paul wrote a lovely series of books about two young people in service to Paladin, the servant of Wulder, creator of the world. Often when the two protagonists would ask Paladin what they should do, seeing as the Pretender's schemes were causing so much trouble, Paladin would say something to the effect of "Focus on that which is right in front of you." When they did that, just that, their steps were led from where they were to where they heart was led to from the beginning. Wulder but the call in their heart, and they would pray and call on Wulder about the issue, but they put their hands to the task that was right in front of them. Even if that was simply more training.

To our hypothetical missionary, I in no way mean to downplay your call. It is a worthy and desirable thing that you are called to. But if you are applying to mission organizations and each one turns you down, and you wonder why God has called you but no one else seems to know it then consider that no one knows it because the call is right but the time is wrong. Take this time to minister to those who are right in front of you. I guarantee that there is someone there who can benefit. That person may even be you. When you and the time is ready, God will move and doors will open.

I recently heard a sermon about how some ministers in various realms try and promote themselves outside of the will of God. I.E. trying to fill a role that they may have legitimately been called to but the timing was not yet and leadership did not yet recognize the call. When the time is right and God is ready for you to meet the call, he will promote you. He will elevate you in the eyes of man. Yes, prepare for China now. Hope for China now. Pray for China now. Go when God opens the door, whenever that may be.

I pray that wisdom and discernment comes to you for what you are do to that is right in front of you. And that your heart is tender enough now to do it, and that your call is confirmed in your heart. Continue in Hope and Faith for your call, and nurture the ministry you have now.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saving Grace

So, here is a story I am working on with help from Alex.
It is actually based on a dream she had, and we hammered out some details and decided that I should write it out.

I will put more here as I have it. It is a very rough first draft with little to now editing. Plot holes may crop up. That's fine. I will revisit and fix things later and then post a final draft at some point. My goal is to just get it out for now.

Thanks, Eric.

Saving Grace


In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
2 Samuel 11:1-5

Franklin Higgins stormed into his office and slammed the door shut with a resounding bang.

It can't be. It can't... His mind raced trying to put all of the puzzle pieces together. She had an abortion, she swore it. She left me because of it! How can this be? He paced the large office lined with bookshelves and portraits of the men he tried to model in his life.

What does she want? Can I make her go away? 

When he had first seen Mary in the crowd that morning he thought that she was someone from a conference he had vaguely recalled, and ravaged his brain for her name so that he didn't appear to be a dolt. Then he saw the boy. Some twelve years old and he had the distinctive Higgins chin and nose. That was when he made the connection to the 17 year old girl a horny and careless 19 year old him had passionately expressed undying love, only to turn away the child they had conceived. And when he rejected the child and demanded an abortion, she had left him. And, it seemed, lied about terminating the pregnancy.

Franklin stopped pacing and looked at the large framed photo of him and Dorothy from their wedding day.

No one can know. His resolve hardened in his heart. It will kill Dorothy, and we would never be able to show our faces here.

With a determined mind now he opened the beautiful stained oak door to the Crossroads Fellowship Senior Pastor's Office and went on his mission.

No one can know.

Chapter one

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
James 1:22-25

Michael inspected the work closely. He had taken a personal interest in training The New Guy and he would make sure that each job was done right before letting Jimmy move on to the next task. Michael ran a finger along the tape that covered the seam between two 4x8 sheets of half inch drywall. Smooth across the whole surface with no variation, it was one of the better jobs he had seen in his career. The kid was a natural.

"Good work," he said, clapping Jimmy on the shoulder. "Now finish the rest of the room. Mark where the electrical outlets will be and then call me. I'll take a look and give notes. We should be able to move on to tile work next week."

"Awesome!" Jimmy's smile stretched from ear to ear. "I mean, yes sir! I'll get right on it!"

"You won't be so excited next week," Michael warned. "You are gonna learn to hate laying tile. Biggest pain in the back ever. I'll take you to go get some good knee-pads, but that isn't going to save your back from complaining."

"No worries, Mr. Davenport! Mami got me a heat pad after the last roofing job." Humor sparkled in Jimmy's eyes. "She is determined to make sure I can still go out at nights and find a girl to have little Jimmy's with." Jimmy's voice took a higher pitch as he mimic'd his mother "'Tu no tiene una novia! You need to go dancing, mijo! All the ladies quiere bailar! I want babies to hold, mijo!'" He laughed. "Nothing will keep Mami from her babies, Mr. Davenport. Not even tiling."

Michael chuckled. "Good to know. Now I can work you harder and longer!"

"Oh, no sir!" Jimmy laid his hands over his heart. "I cannot work longer! I must go out dancing with the damas! Mami has decreed it!"

"Well," Michael sighed dramatically. "If Mami has decreed it, then I suppose I have to let you go on time." He shook his head. "I'll have to go find some other poor sucker... er, employee to exploit."

"Oh, gracias, senor! My future children thank you."

"Get back to work, or I may change my mind!" Michael glared mockingly as Jimmy cowered before dashing to the stack of drywall and began to tug at a sheet without moving it.

"I cannot, senor! Eet eez too much!" Jimmy's antics provoked one last laugh from Michael before the older man waved goodbye and walked out of the apartment that was under construction.

"Call me when the room is done, Jimmy!" He hollered back as he left.

"Yes sir!"

As Michael reached the south stairwell his cell vibrated in his breast pocket. He ducked a crew carrying base moulding and quickly took the stairs down to the ground floor until he could step outside and not risk one of his crew running him over accidentally. Once he was in a low traffic area he fished his cell from its pocket and looked for the notification. It was a text message from Sophia.

Got a job offer from the church. Call me when you can? 

Michael took a deep breath and offered up a quick prayer. Lord... I don't like this, but if it's what you want, let me know? Thanks. He tapped Sophia's name and then "call".

She picked up on the first ring. "Hey, sexy beast."

"Well hey there, cute thing. What's up?"

"Oh, you know... nothing much. Just a job offer. Little stuff."

"And? Is it what you were wanting?"
"It's more... by half! And I can bring James with me, so no need for a babysitter!"

"That's awesome! Did you answer yet?" He tried his best to keep dismay from his voice.

"No. I wanted to talk to you first. But... it's exciting! I've been wanting this for ages."  Sophia paused. Michael winced...she had caught on. "Are you ok with it?"

He couldn't lie to her, unfortunately. "You know me, Love. I don't like change. I like our church. I like small churches. I feel like I know more people in small churches. And... leaders of big churches just seem to get... weird. I dunno. I know it's silly. It's"

"I'm sorry, Lovey." A sigh. "Do you want me to sit on it? I have a week. We can talk about it, pray about it more. Maybe something else will come up."

Michael hung his head. She had left the education field as a revered Principal, her name tossed about on the state level as a leader in education and child development. For four months they had lived on savings and his (not inconsiderable) income while she sought out her next venture. All of it done on faith that God had called her to quit the formal education field and turn to ministry. And every church or organization she had applied to had turned her down. Too qualified, no ministry experience, not what we are looking for (aka, no women wanted).  The reasons as varied as the opportunities. Michael knew how important this was to Sophia, but he loved the small Haven Fellowship Church they had been at for four years. It was where they had met. Married. Dedicated their son. It was home. And now, it was time to move. Michael may not like it, but he believed that God called His children to move sometimes, the same as the military had called his brother to move every few years. He could accept it or he could try a path away from God's calling and more to his own liking. Only one would really bring happiness for Sophia, however.

"Call the church back. Tell them you'll do it." He took a stabilizing breath. "I'll adjust. I'm not going to stop you from answering your call."

"... thank you. I love you so much."

"I love you too, Soph."

"Do you want to go out to dinner tonight and look over the details?"

"That sounds good." Michael's eye was caught by a team leader waving at him. "I gotta go, hun. Work calls."

"Ok. Thanks again, sweetie. It means a lot to me that you're supporting me in this."

"Love, this is your ministry. Literally, now. How could I not support you?" Michael had heard so many times of teachers not being supported or helped by their spouses, but it never made sense to him. Teachers help form the minds of the next generation. It should be an honor to help prepare school supplies, lesson tools, cut outs, demonstrations and all the other things a teacher does at home that isn't "on the clock."

"I know... but still. It means the world to me. I love you. Go work, honey, and bring that sexy builder's body back to me. I have nefarious plans for you tonight." 

Michael laughed at the teasing voice. "I gotta go, hun. I love you. I'll see you when I get home."

"Bye love. Be ready for dessert before going out for dinner..." The line went dead, which was probably a good thing for Michael's presence of mind. He smiled and tucked the phone away before jogging over to the waving workman.
He would have to make sure to leave on time. He wouldn't want to miss dessert, now would he!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

There is no other way...

I enjoy writing. I really do. But I don't write that often except for work. Let's face it... writing trouble tickets for a technical support help desk is not exactly high art or fulfilling. But it does often drain me of words. I have found it to be true that when I use a certain amount of words in a day it becomes hard to use more. My brain says "Okay, I quit. I'm going to go take a nap now."

Ever since I got married in August I have been using what is left of my words with my wife. I even have stopped logging in to Gtalk after work because as much as I love my Mom and Sister (Dad is not a huge IMer.) I need those words... I need to save them for my wife. I just cannot afford to spend those words with Mom and Sister because I need to spend them on my wife.

But I also love writing. And I wonder if God is calling me to write. I was recently on a honeymoon road trip and something about the road made me think of a book I read a number of years ago and I started telling my Lovely Wife about some of the concepts and ideas... and then I started telling her about some of *my* story ideas. One of which I would like to develop. How it has many possible stories that can be told. And how God can be shown in them.

Is God calling me to write? I dunno. I am not a great writer. I look at the writers I respect (David Weber, John Ringo, David Drake, Eric Flint, and others) and I see that I am not in their league. But I also know that the only way to improve is to do. I may never reach the skill they have. But that doesn't matter.

Wifey and I (and some family friends) were talking about some stuff in Hebrews, about how Christ learned Obedience through Suffering. From their we talked about how Obedience brought Joy and Strength from God. How it did not matter the circumstance, the results, your talent, or the pain. The *only* thing that matters when God calls us to do something is *Obedience.*

Trust, and obey. There is no other way than to just trust and obey.

I heard that how many times in my life, and now I understand it.
And it sucks.

But it is true. I either trust God, and will obey Him, having faith and hope that He will support me and my wife, or I don't.

Is God calling me to write?

I don't know. I just don't. But as an exercise of faith, I am going to try. Because if He is, I am being obedient. And He will support me in that. He will grow that desire. He will give me supernatural aid in character development, in structure, in plot. He will have scenes almost write themselves (I have experienced this before...). He will be my co-author.

If I am not called to write... then it will pass.

It is really just that simple.

So moving forward, I will work on the blog as I can. But I think most of my writing efforts will be going into a series of stories about Men (and Women) of Valor. How many, how long, how often... I really don't know. I need to do some world building (and destroying... mwahahahaha) first. Some character sketches. I thing I may need to work up some Character Sheets to pin up around my PC/writing desk. Maybe a map... I dunno.

This blog will be here. I may talk about my writing, the process, the struggles, etc. I may talk about my wonderful wife. I will almost certainly talk about being a 29 year old newlywed husband.
But above all... I will write. I will trust, and obey.

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