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.

September 12, 2008

Please Pray Now.

Posted in God's Sovreignty, My Personal Walk, Personal, Uncategorized at 7:18 pm by Dan Barnett

I have a prayer request to ask.  As I said to some of you before, I was pursuing many options.  As of now, I have really felt a pulling toward law enforcement.  Please pray that God continues to provide, and that he continues to make the direction clear. 
 
My big request is this:
 
God take this job position in Cary, IL and open it.  God direct their eyes to my application.  work in their minds and lead them to me.  I am trusting you to do this.  Whatever your choice I accept the outcome and will move forward in whatever direction you choose.  But, God,  my request is that you provide this job.
 
Please pray this for/with me.  Please lift my application to God and petition on my behalf.  I don’t ask this as a gesture or on an emotional whim.  God has shown his hand today like no other.  I have seen God heal a man’s wounded hand.  I have seen God speak to an Indian chief in his language with no need for a translator resulting in him coming to Christ.  I have never seen God work the way he has this week.  Please pray on my behalf for this position.  Thank You.

April 12, 2008

Wayne Grudem on The Names of God

Posted in Christian Life, My Personal Walk tagged , , , , , at 3:09 pm by Dan Barnett

In the Bible a person’s name is a description of his or her character. Likewise, the names of God in Scripture are various descriptions of God’s character.  In a broad sense, then, God’s “name” is equal to all that the Bible and creation tell us about God  When we pray, “Hallowed be your name” as part of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9), we are praying that people would speak about God in a way that is honoring to him and that accurately reflects his character.  This honoring of God’s name can be done with actions as well as words, for our actions reflect the character of the Creator whom we serve (Matt. 5:16).  To honor God’s name is therefore to honor him.  The command, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in wain” (Ex. 20:7) is a command that we not dishonor God’s reputaion either by words that speak of him in a foolish or misleading way, or by actions that do not reflect his true character.

from “Systematic Theology” by Wayne Grudem, Page 157

August 1, 2007

My Songs to my Kids one by one(In Jesus’ arms)

Posted in Baby #3, Family, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Mission, Music, Music Kicks, My Kids, My Personal Walk, Personal, Poetry, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts, Videos at 12:12 pm by Dan Barnett

This one is very difficult for me.  This is the one that Jesus just had to keep for himself.  Baby #3 stretched Beth and I and really caused some breakthroughs in our lives.  I realized through some circumstances and events that I have searched my whole life for someone to comfort me.  I always relied on the people in my life when it was God I needed.    Beth had a hard time a few weeks ago as her orignal due date passed.  A lot of emotions flared.  It is so different to lose an unborn baby.  I can’t describe the feelings we had.  Two songs come to mind for this girl we lost.  The first is by Mark Harris.  It’s called  “Wish you were here.”  The video is below, although he doesn’t have one released.  This is the best one I could find.  She is growing in Christ’s arms wishing we were there to see everything she is. 

The second song is very personal.  I wrote it a couple weeks after finding out Beth was pregnant with #4.  I shared it with her and am posting it here now.  Please be respectful of it.  I don’t know why I said that, but this is very personal.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 31, 2007

My Songs to my Kids one by one(Landon)

Posted in Family, Landon, Mission, Music, Music Kicks, My Kids, My Personal Walk, Personal, Poetry, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts at 4:44 pm by Dan Barnett

in-the-dryer-002.jpgI’m going through the songs I would share with my kids as I see them growing up.  This is Landon’s turn.  Landon is a very energetic boy.  He likes to press the boundaries a lot.  He knows when he has done wrong, and he knows what’s coming.  As he grows, I will try to enstill in him the values that make God’ heart tick.  I will raise him to have a “wild heart” for God.  I want him to have a passion to be all that he can be in Christ.  I want him to surpass me. I want him to be the bold man I should be in leading a family.  I want him to see the woman he will seek to be his wife as God’s precious jewel that he should treat accordingly.  I want to be in awe of him when he is grown.  This starts with him knowing one truth about himself—-“I am nothing….”  I am nothing without God’s love.  I am nothing apart from God.  Left to myself, I am completely and utterly hopeless.  That is how I want Landon to see himself apart from Christ’s love and forgiveness.  Appropriately I chose “I am Nothing” by Jeremy Camp for Landon’s first song.  You can listen to a sample of this song here.  Also, here are the lyrics:

I’m always in this place,
Where the things I seem to take,
Are the things I wish would fade
I always purpose in my heart,
To do things the right way,
Then I realize I’m still clay
And this piece that’s being shaped,
Will be a beauty you create

[CHORUS]
I am nothing without your love
I’m unworthy but your death has been enough
I’m completed by your touch,
But I feel like I’ve been given so much and I thank you,
I thank you

I wouldn’t even face,
All the troubles of the day,
If it wasn’t for your grace
Sometimes I even wait,
To see if I’m awake,
Seems so good I can’t relate
Tour every word I crave,
And I’m grateful for every breath I take

When I’m feeling all my shame,
You won’t let it stay,
I sail away into your love
I’m taking every day,
To give my life away,
It’s the only way I know

The second song I chose is “Carry Me” by Scott Krippayne.  This is the response I want him to have in every challenge, trial, tragedy that he faces in his life.  You can hear a sample of the audio here.  And, once again, here are the lyrics:

Reaching the waters edge
Finding there’s nowhere to go but through
Searching the depths within
Seeing there’s no place to hold onto
But your feet have walked
Through every wave that I’ll ever face

CHORUS:
Carry me
Over the water
Carry me
Through the darkest night
Carry me
Over the water
Safe to the other side

Facing an endless tide
Constantly pulled out away from shore
Feels like it’s sink or swim
And I just can’t fight anymore
But you take my hand
Here is my heart, You understand

CHORUS

You are the one I need
Holding me close
Safe in your arms

CHORUS

July 29, 2007

My Songs to my Kids one by one(Kaitlyn)

Posted in Family, Kaitlyn, Mission, Music, Music Kicks, My Kids, My Personal Walk, Personal, Poetry, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts, Videos at 8:42 pm by Dan Barnett

4th-of-july-004.jpgIn a recent post, I shared what songs I would most want to share with each of my kids as a picture of how I see them.  The next four posts, including this one, will each be for one kid. 

Like I said, Kaitlyn is my princess.  She is unlike any son I can ever raise.  I will raise her as a priceless treasure to be passed on later in life.  I am her source of wisdom, protection, and comfort.  No one in her life will be able to have the relationship I have with her.  That is until that day when “Mr. Approved by Daddy” comes along. I say that jokingly, but it’s true.  We joke about the gauntlet of questions that dads throw at potential boyfriends.  Girls seem to think that Daddy has no say, but if I raise my daughter correctly to understand that I am responsible for her, and that I am passing my responsibility onto this man she’s “in love with,” then she will want my approval of any man she desires that with.  But, for now, she is mine.  Yes, I know.  She is God’s.  I gave her back to God January 19, 2004.  She is my entrustment to hold until it i time for her to go to the man of her dreams, of God’s design. 

Right now, the song I choose for her is “May I have this dance?”  by Scott Krippayne.  He wrote this song for his daughter when she was about three.  He was in Starbuck’s with her when a song she liked came on.  She asked him to dance, so in the middle of Starbuck’s they danced.  It’s a beautiful song.  Check out the video below.

As she grows and will meet “Mr. Takeover” there is a special song by Mark Harris.  It’s called “Find Your Wings.”  As she goes with this man, my prayer is that she finds her wings as a Godly woman, wife, and mother.  Check this video out below as well.  It isn’t the official video, but the person who put this one together did an awesome job.  You can see Mark’s official video here.  These are Kaitlyn’s songs.  Someday she will understand the message of each as I live them out with her.

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? 

June 24, 2007

Takin’ it to the Streets.

Posted in Christian Life, Friends, Mission, My Personal Walk, Personal, Religion, The Church, Thoughts at 4:54 pm by Dan Barnett

brassmonk.jpgI had a good conversation with an old friend today.  On the way to the Dick Tracy Days parade, in Woodstock, IL, we were talking about church and mission.  He posed the question to me, “Which is more important: perfecting your doctrine or being involved in the lives of those around us?”  I quickly answered that they go hand in hand.  I said that in order to fully have either to be effective you have to have both.  He agreed somewhat and said, “I will never darken the door of another church, as long as I live, that won’t hit the streets.”  As we talked I explained myself and finished my answer.  I think aside from having a correct understanding of my own salvation, my biggest calling is to do works.  The greatest commandment is to love God with every part of your being.  The second greatest is to love others as yourself.  To be frank, if you come to me and try to tell me everything I’m doing is wrong and that I need to repent, I’m going to filter these words through my perspective of the person that you are.  On the flip side, if I see you serving me for no reason but to serve and love, I will start to wonder what it is that drives you to do such. 

The danger is my first answer to the question.  I can have all the correct theology I want and not serve.  I can know my Bible in and out(which is what I’m striving to learn) and never set foot in culture.  How does a monk fulfill his calling to tell others about Christ?  If he is locked up in a compound 95% of his life, who is he reaching? 

Now look at the other side of it.  If I am devoting everything I am to being in the culture and serving all I see, I’m doing what Christ has commanded me to do.  However, what am I leading them to?  We have a church in our town that has every religion I can think of each practicing its own beliefs and ceremonies under their roof.  So where a monk is not doing an effective job of reaching out with his beliefs, the other danger is reaching out and sharing false beliefs. 

So, I’m curious.  How would you answer the question?  What is the biggest part of our mission as the church: our doctrine or being in the culture serving others?

 monkwithguitar.jpg

June 12, 2007

The Gospel of Prosperity

Posted in Christian Life, God's Sovreignty, Mission, My Personal Walk, Religion, The Church, Thoughts, Videos at 8:26 pm by Dan Barnett

I found this John Piper video on another blog.  It’s a very powerful message.

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