January 6, 2009

Seeds of Hope

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Eternity, Family, Friends, God, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Mission, My Personal Walk, Personal, Prayer, Running, Things That Make Me Cry, Things that make me laugh, Things that make me SMILE, Thoughts, Worship tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:06 am by Dan Barnett

I’ve made it my goal to raise $5000.00 for an organization called Bethany Christian Services. I’m asking for flat donations or per-mile pledges.  Every mile I run this year will be logged on this site.  You can click here to learn more and donate.

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December 12, 2008

The Almighty Paver

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Discipleship, Eternity, Friends, God, God's Sovreignty, Jesus Christ, My Personal Walk, Personal, Prayer, Religion, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Worship tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:41 pm by Dan Barnett

I’ve had the opportunity recently to reconnect with old friends. Some are from years ago when I was young, and some are from not so long ago. In talking with some, exchanging emails with others, and just observing as well I’ve been blessed to be shown God’s hand in so many of their lives. He has shown me his control and his providence.

I’ve begun to see his plan revealed bit by bit. The masterful story he is telling undoubtedly has he, himself, at the center.

I recently sat and talked for a bit with a woman about this very topic. As we each shared our stories, through tears and laughter, God showed up in a new and fresh way in each story. I remember how hard it was as a 13-year old boy who had just started to feel acceptance in my circle of friends to be uprooted and taken away from all of them. I remember swearing that I would not stay gone. Ypsilanti, MI was my home. I was bitter towards God for forcing me to leave. Later, after graduating high school, I would be bitter again for God withholding blessings I thought I deserved. Mistake after mistake would land me a single guy with uncontrollable debt and no place to really call home. Through a roller coaster ride over several years, I would experience let down after let down in every area of my life. Things I poured my heart into just didn’t become what I’d hoped.

About 2 years ago (give or take some months) I felt a feeling I had longed for my whole life. It was the feeling of unmerited comfort. When my wife lost our third child early in her pregnancy I felt helpless. I had no idea how to comfort her or encourage her. All I could do was tell her that no matter our feelings we had to be OK with what was happening. Through a card from a woman I didn’t know God broke me. He reached out and squeezed me to his chest and wouldn’t let go. As I sat in my car weeping uncontrollably, I realized this was what I had longed for — the feeling of comfort.

My gratitude would soon fade, and my greed would take over. It wasn’t until God took my one security and smashed it that I would be forced to trust him once again. When I lost my job, I was “OK”, but that soon changed. Rejection came more than I was ready for. Well-intentioned people triggered hurt that I didn’t expect. Our marriage broke or flourished on every word spoken to each other. Then, the answer came.

I looked at the friends from long ago and realized that had I stayed, with the direction my life was headed, I would have been one of the biggest obstacles to God reaching my friends. God shows me his hand in many of their lives now. He took the obstacle out so he could draw them to him.

I then ran into an old friend from just a couple of years ago. Through a 2-minute conversation I knew he was hurting. We talked that night for over an hour. And, once again, God hit me over the head. As I addressed the issue of sin in his life I got to the point I needed to and God spoke to me. This friend was dealing with a struggle we all struggle with at times. He wanted to feel the presence of God in his life and wasn’t. I told him he was wrong. I told him that a father who loves his son disciplines him. He didn’t want God’s presence. What he wanted was God’s comfort. But the sin he was refusing to deal with was bringing God’s discipline. See, God was there. He was just there in a way my friend didn’t want. After talking to him I looked at myself and started to wonder if maybe God was showing me the same thing. I had told my friend that the pain and frustration he was dealing with would fade and be replaced by God’s comfort if he made a decision to go after God with everything. I reminded him of the prodigal. His father saw him off in the distance and ran to him. That is what God was waiting for me to do.

So, let’s get back to sharing the stories with the woman. Through the entire conversation one phrase of hers kept ringing in my ears. I had mentioned how the roads certain people in our lives have taken were long hard roads, and she said, “It’s hard to watch them go down that road. But, you have to remember that God built that road for them.” When we’re struggling to see God I the people around us who just can’t seem to get it, they just can’t seem to get over that hump to find God’s peace, we question, “Why not, God? Why don’t they get it?” We have to remember that God built the road they are on for a purpose.

When the end of the road comes to them, and God is not at the end of that road, and there is no more hope, we have to remember. When they become as our enemy, and we experience more hurt at their hand than we can bear, we have to remember. We have to bring ourselves to rest in the comfort of God’s sovereign plan. We must rest in the comfort that God built that road, and where that road ends up is up to him.

February 14, 2008

rob bell

Posted in Christianity, God, Jesus Christ, Religion, The Church, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Videos at 4:54 pm by Dan Barnett

What do you think of Rob Bell’s message in his NOOMA video, and the response the speaker has to it?

February 8, 2008

We wonder, some times, why the world hates us.

Posted in Christianity, God, Mission, Prayer, Thoughts at 5:01 am by Dan Barnett

Jesus was very clear that the world would reject us(at times, solely for our faith).  Sometimes, however, we wonder why they won’t even listen to a word we say.  It’s like they see through us, or atleast see through other “Christians” who have abused the grace God has given them.  Want to know why the world rejects us sometimes?  Most unbelievers don’t reject Christianity, rather they reject their view of it.  Many times that view comes from people like this.  If the task of reaching the lost wasn’t hard enough at times, this can’t help.  Be in prayer for guys like this to see the result of their “bash-em-up” evangelism and change.

February 4, 2008

What could have saved Heath Ledger?

Posted in Christianity, Eternity, God, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Mission, Thoughts at 11:08 pm by Dan Barnett

An email  newsletter I sibscribe to had this as their latest article. 

What I Wish Heath Ledger Would have Known
No, this isn’t a ‘let’s exploit any and all things Heath Ledger’ article. I really liked Mr. Ledger, and I’m incredibly saddened for his loved ones – and especially his two year old daughter. He was a very talented individual with an extremely promising future.
Yet despite all these facts, there is a cultural fascination and frenzy to find out what reeeeeallly happened – even if it means complete and absolute disrespect for his family and friends. There are leaked videos and speculative allegations about substance abuse and addictions. It seems as though everyone wants to get to the bottom of this apparent mystery.
Is it really such a mystery? It is truly headline and blogosphere news that despite apparently having it ‘all’, that ‘all’ is really quite nothing? And even further, are we shocked and awed that people in pain often turn to the way wrong places to temporarily soothe the seething ache and oftentimes agony of this thing called life?
Well, not to me. Not because I’m some super-genius-I-know-everything-about–life person, but because I believe the Person who wrote these facts down in black and white in the world’s #1 best seller of all time. These aren’t theories or debatable concepts, because what you are about to read are the simple truths from the Author of truth. They are the warning lights on the dashboard of existence…they are the warning labels on the bottle of reality. Read carefully, and you might find the real secret to a meaningful life:
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9)
“Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.” (Luke 12:15)
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,8)
Don’t be misled-you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8)
The Bible paints a not-so-subtle picture of life in real and raw terms. The true portrait of existence reveals the wickedness of human nature, the meaninglessness and emptiness of our day to day struggles, and the inevitable consequences when we choose the wrong path. This is what oftentimes drives even the best and the brightest to depression, drugs, and even death. The wicked heart tells the hopeless soul that life will always be meaningless, so why not just live to satisfy our sinful nature?
But there is another way. A way that I wish for Britney and Lindsay and Barry and Owen and Heath and millions of others who feel trapped in a speeding train headed down a dark tunnel.
This way is not a way, it is the only way. Jesus said it Himself:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
(Jesus asked) – Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Only Jesus can reveal our wicked and deceptive hearts, give true meaning to life, and keep us off a destructive path. He died to set us free, but to get out of the prison of life we have to look out of our dark pit to see His face, then lift our hands of faith to Him so he can rescue us.
Regrettably, it is too late for many people to find these truths, but if you’re reading this it is obviously not too late for you. Take your pain to Christ, put your trust in Him alone for salvation – and you’ll find the life you were meant to live!
Head: What you need to know about this truth
God’s word promises that the human heart is wicked and deceitful, that life is meaningless without Christ, and that we will reap the consequences of our evil actions. However, through a relationship with Jesus, we can be set free from all these conditions.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
Feel incredible joy that the prison door of life has been opened and you can be set free to live the life God intended.
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
People do not end up in a depressive state overnight. They are deceived and discouraged time and time again until they turn the wrong direction. Take some time this week to look where you might be allowing deceit in your life, and take some radical steps to run the other way. Examples of deadly deception might be:
Pornography is harmless.
I can quit anytime.
Pre-marital sex is OK if you’re in love.
I just have an addictive personality.
Hatred towards people is OK sometimes.
I don’t listen to the words.

January 5, 2008

Disciplines

Posted in Books, Christian Life, Christianity at 8:09 pm by Dan Barnett

I’m reading through a great book right now.  It’s called “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”.    It’s a great book outlining 12 disciplines each Christian should pursue.  Every Christian should have this book.

October 9, 2007

Listen more than just on Sunday.

Posted in Christianity, Running, sermons, The Church at 5:42 pm by Dan Barnett

I read that for longer distances runners should listen to podcasts of talk shows or seminars to focus on something other than how far they are running.  It does seem to help.

I’ve recommended listening to Steve McCoy’s sermons before. 

I’d also like to recommend Joe Thorn’s Sermons.  I listened to Joe on my run today and loved it.

August 31, 2007

Motivation

Posted in Christianity, Personal, Running, Thoughts at 10:46 pm by Dan Barnett

The other day, as I set out to run, I wasn’t positive I would complete my course.  It had already beat me once as my planned course of 3.7 miles turned to 1.9.  The first time I tried this course I turned the corner onto rte 173 and was majorly overwhelmed by how far I still had to go.  This mental wall beat me up bad.  The next time I switched directions.  I went the opposite way to get the long and boring stretch out of the way first.  It paid off big.  About 1 1/2 miles in I started cramping.  I thought to myself I wasn’t going to make it.  As I continued I started picturing myself finishing the course I set out on.  Just the thought of the accomplishment motivated me.  As I kept thinking about the exhilaration of finishing I forgot about the pain, and I even forgot how far I had left.  I was just filled with chills of anticipation.

This description sounds pretty familiar.  One day we’ll cross that finish line into the arms of Christ.  We need to continually remind ourselves of what we have in store.  The anticipation needs to drive us on further.  As we picture Christ’s open arms at Heaen’s gate the pain and stress of this life will go away—-at least for now.

August 19, 2007

Unashamed

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Eternity, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Music, Music Kicks, Personal, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Videos, Worship at 1:13 pm by Dan Barnett

As I said in a recent post, Starfield is one of my new favorite Christian artists.  Their song, “Unashamed”, pounds me when I hear it.  The song pierces me the whole way through. 

I have not much
To offer You
Not near what You deserve
But still I come
Because Your cross
Has placed in me my worth
Oh, Christ my King
Of sympathy
Whose wounds secure my peace
Your grace extends
To call me friend
Your mercy sets me free
And I know I’m weak
I know I’m unworthy
To call upon Your name
But because of grace
Because of Your mercy
I stand here unashamed
I can’t explain
This kind of love
I’m humbled and amazed
That You’d come down
From heavens heights
And greet me face to face

Here I am at Your feet
In my brokeness complete

Podcasts Galore!

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Mission, Thoughts at 10:16 am by Dan Barnett

Lately I’ve had plenty of time to listen to the CD player in my car on the way to and from work.  I’ve been able to take advantage of this and listen to a bunch of podcasts during my commute.  It’s really helped me focus on a lot of things and understand some books and their authors better.  My next few posts will be about those podcasts and what I’ve learned from them. 

 One series I’ve been working through for the past few days is the audio from the 2004 Desiring God conference at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.  John Piper is the teaching and writing pastor at the church.  Some of his books include Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, Life As a Vapor, What Jesus Demands of the World, and others.  His books are hard to read, as he puts a lot of bigger words and illustrations in them. 

The theme of the ’04 conference was “Sex and the Supremacy of Christ”.  You  may recognize the title.  He has a book out by the same title.  The book is actually a summary of the messages preached at the conference.  Speakers included Ben Patterson, Cj Mahaney, Piper, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler.  At one point Piper used the illustration comparing God to the Sun.  The sun is the center of the universe.  It holds the planets in orbit. Every planet is placed perfectly in the universe in relstion to the sun.  This is a picture of how we should view God in our lives.  We need to make him the center of us.  He has placed us with a perfect plan perfectly where we are.   He orders all, and nothing is out his plan.   What I learne i that I need to make him the center o my life, which I haven’t done. 

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