Friday, July 6, 2012

Kansas Update

A lot has changed since I've posted last.  Here in Kansas, God has done so much to make my life complete and engaging.  Being married to Amanda has been such a blessing :)  She is a sweetheart and more than I would ever have asked for in a wife.  Living way out in the country, hearing the trains in the distance- all this makes life sweet.  Working with two of my best friends, Nick and Derek at Health Alliance Labor is what takes up most of my time, but it's the best work I've ever had.  We started out in the Wichita area doing landscaping, but now we mainly install fences.  We also plan to do tree service in the fall.  I have found that marketing and talking with clients is really the hard part of running a service-based business that involves large dollar investments on the part of clients.  And, since fences usually last 15-25 years, we rarely have repeat customers.  You can check out our main Labor Team website at:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Resource List:
[These are some cool links, names, and titles to resources that might save you time and money!]

Spiritual:   Looking for sermons, audio books, Christian music, links, and health information?  This is the one-stop Adventist shop.   AudioVerse has awesome sermons from most of the GYC-type Adventist events.

Getting Ready Ministries-  Want the conflict series in audio?  Want almost 500 scripture songs?  I haven't found their contact info, but I have the DVDs they passed out at GYC 2008 and I would be willing to make copies for anyone.

[  1-800-GOOG-411  ]  Always wanted a free 411 number?  Yep, Google has the best.   Talk almost anywhere in the world for just pennies a minute!  Too bad you guys aren't located in Germany...they have a skype-type connection that's free to over 20 countries!   Don't want to use the Internet to make your calls?  This site has some of the best rates for calling cards out there.

Media:   Want to learn everything about shooting film, editing, and everything in between?  Don't pay to go back to school!   Always wanted to share you pictures with a better way than facebook?  Welcome to the best photo sharing website in the world :)   This site has the best free music to go with your movies or for special occasions.

News:   Want to keep up with the important news, but don't have the time?  This site has a solid Adventist stance and will do some of the research for you!   Think the US media is biased?  This biggest UK paper blows the US competition out of the water with it's straight truth.

[Of course there are millions of good books, I'm just giving a couple that are really good.]

Facts of Faith by Christian Edwardson  The best non-inspired book I've ever read.  Gives the best logical and historical defense of the Sabbath.

Hindsight: Seventh-day Adventist History in Essays and Extracts   Very good concise source book on SDA history.

Selling Sickness by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels.  Haven't read it yet, but it sounds like a good documentary-type book on the pharmaceutical and medical world.

Miscellaneous:  Don't like harsh cleaning chemicals?  Clorox has just come out with a new line of natural cleaners, some of which are touted as 99% natural.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

An Enoch Experience

As usual, vespers was interesting and motivational at the Wildwood Health Retreat.  Akia shared some thoughts, then he gave us the long-awaited showing of a movie he had made.  It's poetic rhyming matched the scintillating pictures as he endeavored to show noble character qualities of a godly woman.

After he was finished, we shared with the group the blessings that we had received during the week.  I spoke of how I was glad that I was able to learn more about cooking this week than I probably would have in the next 10 months if I hadn't been in the kitchen with Akia.  Others shared their blessings, from the ordinary down to a lady who had just quit her job to be able to serve Christ better and live a more fulfilled life.  I was impressed.

As I walked out of the crowded parlor, I stepped outside to take a short walk.  I continued to walk however, an found myself walking through the chest high golden grass in the field.  I inhaled the almost living air, and looked up at the almost supernaturally bright moon.  I didn't even need a light with these kind of conditions.  I walked all the way to the river and tried to absorb the rippling, rushing sounds.  It reminded me of how Darlene had shared at Vespers that she had walked to a nearby bridge, shouted, "Here, Beaver, Beaver, Beaver!," and two huge beavers had swum out towards her!

I was suddenly overwhelmed at how good God had been to me.  To be in such a wonderful place...that I now call home.  I sang, "There is a Quite Place," and knelt down on the moist grass to pour out my thanks to God.  My heart burned within me and I felt as if this must maybe come close to what Enoch felt.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Lesson in Carefulness in the Land of the Ladybugs

Something you might not know about Wildwood Health Retreat:  it's crawling with ladybugs.  About every week you can dust them out of your room by the dozen...but it's been worse...there have been times when they covered the ceilings.  Or, far worse, they could be cockroaches, termites, or rats like we had in Africa :)

So Akia and I were on the hunt.  Not that it was called as such, but we were definitely on the lookout for the little beasts as we cleaned the Lifestyle Center.  I spotted some in some light fixtures, and the Trouble began.  As I pried the glass fixture out of the never-patented holding pieces, "snap!", the holding pieces broke the glass!  Although a minor chip, I was amazed.  "Man, I should be more careful," I thought.

After struggling for several minutes to put a dresser drawer back into place, Akia called for my help.  "What do you want me to do?." I asked skeptically.  Before I could really do anything, the drawer kind of collapsed in his hands, as the joints just fell apart.  "Oops," Akia said, "I guess I'd better take it to Mike to have him glue it back together."  After resuming his work on the dresser, it was déjà vu all over again.  After examining the crooked frame of what was once a large drawer, I said, "Don't you just want to take the whole dresser to Mike?"  Akia, laughed and resumed another project.

Unfortunately, our cycle of mishaps seemed to destined for the Omega.  Cleaning one of the nicest rooms that we hoped would soon house a wealthy guest, I spotted some lady-beasts.  "I sure wish we could just open the window and clean those bugs out of that unreachable crack," I asked Akia.  Smooth as could be, Akia reached over the window mounted air conditioner and pulled a couple little tabs.  Presto, the vinyl window opened inward.  I was about to reach out and swipe the lady-beast-bugs into oblivion, when "whoosh, slash, bang!"  Akia, whose face makes the funniest and most exaggerated contortions at the smallest of thoughts, stared blankly at where once was the window mounted air conditioner.  The air conditioner had just fallen out of the two story window, snapped apart it's cord, and lay in a dented heap on the ground far below.  I struggled to hold in my laughter, but Akia was already laughing the kind of sorry-funny laugh when something so quickly goes wrong and you had no power to stop it until it was too late.

I think God was trying to teach us to be careful.  In self-supporting work there isn't time or money enough to be careless.  While we can laugh at our mistakes, we must take seriously how we handle life and the talents intrusted to us.  I hope that this will make you, the reader, more careful as you fight your "ladybugs" of life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A sign in an elementary school classroom read: ‘Character Counts’. The sign seemed to speak on the premise that the public did not value Character but, in reality, there was actually some worth to it. I would like to use logic and the Word of God to examine the message of this sign.

The premise that no one seems to value Character stands as an undisputed fact. Of course, in the real world there are those who value character, but in the common American view, it is not only overlooked but stomped upon. You only need to watch some popular television shows or movies that are being watched by the mass majority of America, and you will find my statement to be true. We do not value character. We do value pride, excess, good liars, those who get away without getting caught, violent justice, dangerous lifestyles, and putting people down. In the days of Benjamin Franklin, people went around saying things like: ‘A penny saved is a penny earned’ and ‘A stitch in time, saves nine.’ Now, the opposite is true. Children are taught to spend – usually on things they don’t need – and they don’t even know what a “stitch” is.

What is Character? “The thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character {Reflecting Christ, 301.2}. In addition to “Moral Character,” there is also what I call the “Life Character.” This would basically be the “common sense” and life training that one possesses. It would also include the ability of the person to handle stress and new situations, recover from losses, and endure rough times.

What is so important about Character? You can look at this from two perspectives that are both valid. The first would be more devoted to the “Life Character,” and the second would be more devoted to the “Moral Character.” [You see that I make a distinction in the difference between Life and Moral character. However, as we go on I would like to bring together into a more perfect harmony.] The first perspective of why Character is so important is that it is essential to life on this earth. That is why that I link it more closely to “Life Character.” People who have succeeded in this earth are those who have overcome problems and struggles. Almost no one is born with an easy life. There are those who have inherited riches, but there are few who could truthfully claim that there life been void of challenges, stress, and heartache. We see then that Life Character is made up of several attributes. Flexibility to adapt to changing and situations is necessary for the world of business and anything else. Logic is principle to a continued success in any field. Being easy to get along with is valued as one of the most essential aspects of leadership.

Let me now reveal what is controversial. Everyone knows to some degree that character counts. But does it just count? Or does it trump? Character trumps all knowledge, skill, eloquence, and riches because with Character you can gain all the things it trumps, but without it you can lose all the things your skill or riches brought you. Great men in the past have proved this fact to the world. If you are a skilled educator with sound principles of logic and hard work, you can take a young person, instill in them your wisdom, train them correctly in the practical aspects of life, and turn them loose. This young person, although destitute of money, knowledge, and connections will be able to push their way through life and not only become a useful person in society, but will most probably rise to the top of the business world and become a sought after person.

We now turn our attention to Moral Character. Although the saying says, “Those who are heavenly minded are no earthly good,” I would like to prove that this is past just obviously untrue, but is an outright falsehood. All throughout the inspired history of the Bible, we find that God gave work for man. In the Garden of Eden he gave work as a blessing to man, although it was soon made wearisome by the addition of the ground being cursed after the Fall. Down through time, the true followers of God were taught a practical trade with their hands, as well as the knowledge of books and the theology of God. During the early days in the Old Testament, it was considered a sin for children to be raised without a practical skill that they could fall back on or rely on if their “desk job” failed. Even the priests knew a trade. During times of apostasy, this “true education” died off, but people like Elisha started ‘schools of the prophets’ that purposed to guide youth in the principles of Character development and a true knowledge of God. Continuing on down through the ages, Christian men and women have forsook the easy path to riches and “get rich quick schemes” (Proverbs 28:20), knowing that their treasure is in heaven, and have been productive members of society- offering hard work and intelligence for the betterment of society.

Now I would like to connect the two types of Character. Moral character is summed up by the law of Ten Commandments as found in Exodus chapter 20. Those Christians who believe in moral character find in this brief ten “words” a description of what constitutes a moral character. However, on close examination, six out of the Ten Commandments directly relate to a person’s Life character! To honor your father and mother, preserve life, be faithful to your marriage, respect the property of others, tell the truth, and be content with what you have provides a comprehensive, albeit brief, summation of what constitutes Life Character. Even the fourth commandment dealing with the true worship of God on the Seventh day of the week involves the balance of rest on one day and hard work on the other six. So, in actuality, if you possess a Moral Character, you have a Life Character already perfected!
In conclusion, I would like to show prophetically that Character Trumps. The book of Revelation describes a people who “stand on the sea of glass” and have gained the final and ultimate victory over Satan and over the challenges of this life. They are described as clothed in “white raiment” (3:5) which represents the “righteousness of the saints” (19:8). They have come out of a “great tribulation” (7:13-14) on this earth that included a decree that none of them could buy or sell and finally a death decree (Revelation 13:11-17). They are free from guile or deceit and if this list doesn’t convince you, the Bible says that they are “without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:5).

Do you see that Character Trumps? It is the only thing that you can take to heaven. You won’t take gold (a.k.a. pavement in heaven) and you won’t need your ridiculously small knowledge of earthly things. There is nothing you can actually take with you except the Character that you have allowed God to perfect in you during the short hours of probation that you were given!
What is the answer to the American dilemma I proposed in the beginning of this paper? The key is education. Not the education that we are used to, No, it must be a higher form of education then is given to PhDs in our current state. It must be so much higher that only One person can truly teach it. It must be the education that can only be received in the School of Christ. It must not only consist of book learning, for that is not how any of the “schools of the prophets” operated. It must realize that the mind is actually physically connected to the body. It must realize that to have a perfect mind, you must perfectly treat the body. This education must actually use logic in its reasoning. The fact that life is mostly composed of true principles and persistence in work must be espoused. It must keep in focus that although it is important to have Life Character, Moral Character is the only thing that will count for eternity.

I challenge you as the reader to take a step back. Consider the character crisis that is all around us. Consider your own character. Do you see the glaring flaws? I see many of my own. May we educate ourselves and the precious, moldable characters of our young people to have a character that trumps.

“The only security for any soul is right thinking. As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). The power of self-restraint strengthens by exercise. That which at first seems difficult, by constant repetition grows easy, until right thoughts and actions become habitual. If we will, we may turn away from all that is cheap and inferior and rise to a high standard; we may be respected by men and beloved of God.--MH 491” (1905). {2MCP 666.3}