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.

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.

June 1, 2008

Words escape me, even titling this post.

Posted in Christian Life, Eternity, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Prayer, Things That Make Me Cry, Worship tagged , , , , , , at 12:53 am by Dan Barnett

I happened to see this on Hollie’s blog.  As I decided to stay up and have some “me” time while everyone is in bed, my “me” time has turned into “Audrey” time.  If you are familiar with the christian group “Selah”, you know who Todd Smith is.   He and his wife have an amazing tory of faith and praise in the eye  of death.  Please, for the love of all that is good, set some time aside, and go to Angie’s site.  Read from the beginning.  You will feel hurt you have never felt for another person, as well as a respect and admiration for them beyond expectations.  Here is a link to the very first post in the story of Audrey.  After you read the post, go to the end of the page and click “newer post”.

March 30, 2008

Hope in Loss

Posted in Eternity, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Poetry, Things That Make Me Cry, Things that make me SMILE, Uncategorized at 1:01 pm by Dan Barnett

This is an encouraging post from Abraham Piper, son of John Piper.  He and his wife lost their baby 6 months ago.  The way he, his wife, and their entire family responded in faith to God’s promise of hope should encourage us to rethink how faithful we are to God in the trying times.

March 1, 2008

The Sovereignty of God

Posted in Christian Life, Eternity, God's Sovreignty, Videos, Worship at 8:19 pm by Dan Barnett

All I could say after seeing this video was, “Shame on me.”  I’ll let it speak for itself.

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.

November 5, 2007

In God’s Arms

Posted in Baby #3, Eternity, Family, Heaven, My Kids, Personal, Poetry, Prayer, Things That Make Me Cry, Things that make me SMILE at 7:48 pm by Dan Barnett

God’s Arms

In our arms we hoped to hold you, safe from all harm.

With our eyes we hoped to see you grow up and behold

The future that awaited you filled with hopes and dreams.

We wanted to kiss you and show you our love

And teach you the love of our God up above.

But God’s plans were greater than we can ever dream.

He planned your life perfectly,

Though too short it seemed.

For although I could hold you for moments at a time

His arms are greater, much greater than mine.

Now in my dreams I long to know you as the blessing you are.

As I wait for that glorious day, when your face I’ll behold.

And when the future that awaited us is finally revealed

I’ll run to you and hold you and fully understand

Of how the point of it all was hidden in His hands.

Because…

Oh how I wish I could hold you for moments at least,

But you were always God’s little one.

And, now you’re safe in His arms.

This is the song I wrote for our “glory baby”.   

Beth ha t go and write a post on her blog that teared me up.  GEez!

Our pastor preached on Psalm 121 on Sunday.  What timing of this passage.  God is great.

November 2, 2007

We haven’t forgotten you, little girl.

Posted in Baby #3, Eternity, Family, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Music, My Kids, Personal, Things That Make Me Cry, Uncategorized, Videos at 9:21 pm by Dan Barnett

Monday, November 5,  is the one-year mark of when Beth and I lost our little girl a couple weeks after conception.  We miss her today still, but we know she’s in good hands.  These are two songs that help me when I think of her.  I know Beth loved “Glory Baby” before we were married.  I remember her telling me how sad it made her to think of the loss the couple who wrote the song had.  “I hope that never happens to me.”  There’s one line in the song that gets me each time.  When I think of our loss and the pain it brought.  This line reminds me it’s ok.  “Heaven is your home, and it’s all you’l ever know…”  My daughter will never experience hurt, sadness, disappointment, and the list goes on.  All she will ever know is the perfect life intended for her at Christ’s feet. 

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

July 24, 2007

My Songs to My Kids

Posted in Baby #4, Eternity, Family, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Music, Music Kicks, My Kids, My Personal Walk, Personal, Poetry, Prayer, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts at 8:29 pm by Dan Barnett

My wife and I recently downloaded a few songs on Itunes.  She wanted some new music for the time she is labor, and I had been wanting a couple just to have.  Now, I don’t normally start off liking the songs she likes right away, but they usually grow on me.  Today, as I was driving home from work, I started asking myself the question “if I were to play one song for each of my kids, what would it be?”. 

For Kailtyn(age 3) I picked “May I have this dance?” by Scott Krippayne.  It is a song he wrote for his daughter after she insisted on dancing with him in the middle of Starbuck’s.  The memories a dad has with his daughter as his little treasure and princess are priceless.  Sometimes, when I pick Kaitlyn up, she wraps her arm around my neck and just pats me gently.  For any who think boys and girls are anything alike, forget about it.  I will raise my sons to grow and depart from me as men.  My daughter, I will raise her as a priceless treasure entrusted to me until the day I must pass her to someone much more suited to walk with her.  When she is grown and finds the man I’ve done enough background checks on and found not even a stolen cookie form his friends, the relationship I have with her will be gone.  I will no longer be her shield.  I will no longer be her source of comfort.  I will be her dad.  He will fulfill all those roles as God intended.  I will be able to watch and see how God shapes her into his princess through this man.

For Landon(age 2) I had a couple.  The first is “I Am Nothing” by Jeremy Camp. Great title to build up your son eh?  “I am nothing without your love.  I’m unworhty but your death has been enough….”  I want him to grow up with this truth in his heart, so that he always has the true perspective guiding him.

The second one for Landon is “Carry me” by Scott Krippayne.  As he reaches times in his life where he realizes it’s either sink or swim, I want him to trust God to lead him through.  My prayer before every time I speak, whether a sermon or a lesson to kids, is that God speaks his words through my mouth.  My prayer for Landon is that God displays his strength through landon’s walk.

For baby #4(hang on, number 4?  what about #3)

For baby #3, we have never met, and will some day in glory, I picked “Wish You Were Here” by Mark Stewart.  It is a song from the perspective of the one who has passed and is sitting at the feet of Jesus.  “….finally free, to run with the angels on streets made of gold, to listen to stories of saints new and old, to worship our maker that’s where I’ll be when you finally find me.”  I also have a song I wrote for her, but won’t post it here until Beth sees it too.

For #4(J.C.B.)/To be born in the next couple of weeks…  I picked, among many, three.  First, “The Best is Yet to Come” by Scott Krippayne.  The title says it all. 

Second, “Holy Moment” by Matt Redman.  I prefer the Superchic(k) version.  As I meet my son for the first time, look into his black eyes that can’t yet look back, and say, “Hey Buddy!” while he hears that familiar voice that has been muffle by mommy’s belly for 9 months, it is truly a holy moment. “Let this be a holy moment now, as something of Heaven touches Earth.  Voices of angels all resound.  We join their song!  Come. Come. Come.  Let us worship God!  With our hands held high and our hearts bowed down.”

Third is the one I didn’t hink I’d like an wouldn’t if the baby was dropping into place so fast.  “Proud Father” by Jon McLaughlin.  “A proud father, of me, you have already made.”  Nuff said.

If you were to pick a song to share with your kids what would it be and why? 

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