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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January 5, 2009

I’m in!

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:25 am by Dan Barnett

Bottom line: I’ve been a wuss. I’ve worried too much about what reaction I will get. I was challenged today by God, and shown so clearly what he wants for me and my family. We have been down a tough road these past several months, and some hard decisions have been made that I didn’t want to make. God showed up today and showed me a direction and a calling. When the preacher shared his burden for building a youth center in downtown Woodstock, IL ( or as he referred to as “within a yard of Hell”) my heart sank, and God told me, “This is what you’re gonna do.” That was it. “This is what you’re gonna do.” After the message I made my way to the front. I waited through 3 people thanking the preacher for the message. I then gave him a long-awaited hug, and I simply whimpered the words, “I’m in.” He knew exactly what I meant. He had shared a few callings God had placed on his heart from missions, to other things. But, when I said, “I’m in”, he knew. He looked at me and said, “I know this has been a passion of yours and I need you next to me.” I simply replied back, “Like I said, I’m in.” I also told him of another thing that God told me I needed to do. This one is harder because it involves emotions and reactions of others that I can’t control. Man, that sucks. But, God has been laying a decision I needed to make on my heart, and I’ve been avoiding it. I finally have made that decision. I couldn’t have without God being perfectly clear an saying, “This is what you’re gonna do.”
“Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop WITHIN A YARD OF HELL.”
– C.T. Studd

December 12, 2008

What is the biggest threat to the Christian Church?

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:54 pm by Dan Barnett

I wrote this post on July 1, 2007, and found it unpublished tonight.  I thought I’d publish it.

While I sit home from work today, wondering when I’m going to start my throw-up spat as both of my kids have all night, I wanted to write about a speech from Chuck Colson that has a lot of people upset.  Here is an article about the speech.  He pointed to three enemies of the evangelical faith.  Included in them were Islamic terrorists, Atheists, and the Emergent Church.

Many are upset that Colson would list emergents with terroists.  Here’s the thing.  Atheists are not the enemy of Christianity.  They are part of our mission as Christians.   Islamic terrorists make themselves our enemy, but they are also ones we are called to love.  I do think, however, that the true threat does come from within the church.  Paul says in 2 Timothy that the church would get rid of truth-teaching leaders and surround themselves with teachers who’s message is pleasing to their ears.  This is very clearly happening in the church, and not just by these “emergents”.  I don’t think the target of this should be emergents broadly.  Here’s what I’ve seen in many of them that is admirable, including MC, who everyone seems to think I hate.  They are very concerned about the way we live in culture, being socially active, and caring for the oppressed.  I think that most conservative Christians have failed in this arena, and could learn a lot from watching the example of these.  Colson attacks those who go to coffee shops and hang out with Atheists and lost people.  Hello, what’s wrong with that?  Here’s the only problem I have with it.  If it isn’t intentional and leading toward a goal of reaching them for Christ and learning more of how to reach their types, then it’s vain.  In Matthew 5, Christ taught about salt and light.  This topic has been a great discussion piece for myself this week. Many try to bring light into the world and shine it in people’s eyes.  All this does is push people away.  However, others bring salt with no light.  We rub ourselves into society, but we bring nothing that reveals truth, and the sin in others’ lives.  We need both to reach others and display God’s glory.

I think the biggest threat to Christianity comes from within.  Many times, the deceit is not intentional.  You also cannot just target one group and call them the enemy.  I realize some will read this and say I’m flip-flopping from my “Don’t Be Fooled” post.  I’m not.  My intention was never to make someone an enemy but to raise awareness, and  encourage others to filter what they bring in.

In many ways I think the biggest threat to the church is the church itself.  I think guys like Mike Clawson and others are doing a lot of things right.  They are engaging with the culture and with the ones most of us shy away from.  This is exactly what we are instructed to do(Matthew 5).  Here’s the thing: The late Dave Thomas is starting his new restaurant, “Wendy’s”.  He tells his people he wants the best burgers and food for his cusomers.  They in turn go and buy a huge quantity of SPAM and sell it instead.  This is what the Christian church, whether Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Bible, Commmunity, Fellowship, has done to God’s Word.  The instructions given to us in His word are the best Black Angus beef you can find.  He gives it to us and tells us to go and give this Black Angus beef to the whole world.  We eat the Black Angus beef  and then give the world SPAM.  We want them to live righteous and come to Christ, but we tell them how horrible they are, sit on our butts, and wonder why they don’t darken the doors of our churches.

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 24, 2008

Peppah!

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:45 am by Dan Barnett

Loved this sketch from SNL

September 23, 2008

Looking back—Finding hope for what’s ahead.

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:37 pm by Dan Barnett

A quick update first—-I didn’t get the job in Cary.  My abs literally gave out during the sit-up test, something that’s never happened to me before.  I’m looking forward to testing on October 4 for the Richmond PD and October 25 for McHenry CO. Sheriff.

I’ve been revisiting a few old posts today trying to find something to share with my wife.  We’ve been through a very rough last couple of days, and we’re looking for strength once again. 

God has shown  himself plenty these last few weeks.  Logic would say not to worry, but we’re human as well.  We’ve had a few deep talks and cried a bit, and one thing is clear—–We’re exhausted.  The strain this has brought on our minds and our relationship has just wiped us out.  I believe we are closer than ever through this, but seeing the joy in that is hard looking through clouds of fear, anxiety, and weariness.  Headaches just come without hesitation and seem all too common.  I know that this is where God has needed us to be able to work on us, and now I am just begging God for clear answers of what we need to do.  What do I need to change?  How can I help her see what she needs to change?  In the words of Austin Powers, “Oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed!”

I went back through some old posts and found three songs–all by the same artist—that minister to me in  this situation.  I’d like to share them with you. 

The first is what I need to be convicted of.  I may be exhausted, my job may be gone, and I may not have answers that I can see right now, but He is still God and always will be.  The song is

“You are Still God” by Scott Krippayne”

 

Number 2 shows a recognition of how I have allowed myself to hide the hurt and hide the fear.

Video Here

NO MORE PReTenDing–Scott Krippayne

I can look good when I want to
I know the right things to say
I cover up what I don’t want you to see
But you see it anyway
Maybe I think I can fool you
Maybe I’m fooling myself
I want to change but I don’t know how
And I need your help

Chorus
No more pretending
No more pretending
Lord, I know I need to tell you the truth tonight
But everything is not alright in my life
And I need you like never before
I don’t want to pretend anymore

I’m tired of hiding my weakness
I’m tired of trying to look strong
I don’t want to say that everything’s fine
When there’s so much that’s wrong

Tell me again that you love me
Though it’s more than my heart understands
And I will lay down my disguises
And show You who I am

And Number 3 is my prayer as I have reached a point now where I have no more strength to do this that God will carry us through and leave no question that it was him.  The song is “Carry Me” By Scott K.

Ok number 4 is what I know to be true about my stubbornness in any trial.

So the life-verse of many is what I claim, only now understanding the context of God telling his children they will be handed over into exile but through it all—-“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Through the “betrayal” as we see it, God has a plan and we will see it completed if we’re faithful to him.

September 16, 2008

Praying that God will lend me strength

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:06 pm by Dan Barnett

Please pray for me.  I test Saturday morning for the Cary PD.  I humbly share that I am unable to lift the minimum bench press amount at the moment.  Please pray that this wuss is given some strength for one push on Saturday.  I’ve just started reading a summary of Og Mandino’s “A Better Way to Live: 17 Rules to Live By.”  Rules 5 and 10 are my favorite.

Rule #5(my claim this week):

Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at any imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts. You can fly when you decide that you can. Never consider yourself defeat again. Let the vision in your heart be in your life’s blueprint. Smile!

 

Rule #10:

Beginning today treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

 

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.

September 7, 2008

When you won’t be a man, God will make you into one.

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:47 pm by Dan Barnett

All talk—-That’s been me.  “You should fast, but I’m sick.”  Beth looked at me today and said, “We really needed this.”  What is this?  Well, I decided not to fast a few months ago when our church was fasting to focus on God.  Well, God decided not to let me off too easy.  Fasting from food for a day or internet for a week, that’s child’s play.  God decided to let us fast from money.  I lost my job the day after Labor Day.  Immediately panic set in.  The next two days were hell for Beth and I.  Then, when we turned to God, he was already standing right there.  Through his hand of providence we have received enough gifts and money from friends and family to cover a week’s pay.  Beth’s reminder to me–“Now we just have to pray that He does it next week.”  Nothing like knowing that your faith is about to be stretched again. 

Beth and I sat and discussed employment options a couple of nights later.  For months I have been dropping jestful ideas of finding a new career.  That’s me–all talk.  God doesn’t talk, he moves then speaks—no talk needed.  I have lacked the fortitude to say, “I wanna take a risk.”  God has now decided to make a man himself.  He’s telling me, “You wanna be a man?  Then do it.  You’re too scared to do it?  I’m not.  Watch.”  I have never felt a peace like I feel right now.  God has given me an opportunity to see him move, and I’m not missing a second of it. 

You wanna go on a fast?  Go “broke” for a week.  My mind is not only clear like fasting will make it.  But it is focused on God’s invisible hand of providence.  “you worship me with your lips, but your heart is far from me.”  Not the heart of emotion, but the heart of will.  Your will is far from me.  I want nothing more now than for the will of my heart do worship him.

June 3, 2008

DAng IT!

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:02 pm by Dan Barnett

Ok, so now I’m kinda mad that Hollie put the link to Bring the Rain on her site.  I just happened to go back and see  Angie was saying.  I found that the family had suffered another loss, 7 weeks after losing Audrey.  Todd’s sister, Nicole(Sponberg), lost her infant son, Luke, to what appears to be SIDS.  The testimony this family has displayed makes me want to go crawl in a hole until I can live like that.  It’s just amazing to see how God is touching their lives in his own unique way. 

So, now I go back and see an older post about breaking pottery.  Dang it, if I didn’t feel like breaking this big flowery pitcher Beth has.  I’m guessing she may beat me to it.  Just go check it out, and wish you could have faith like this woman as I wish I did.

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