riding the struggle bus…

strugglebus1A little over a week ago I turned the big 37 and I have to admit since that time I am really riding the struggle bus.  Don’t get me wrong, nothing bad has happened and I have truly had some enjoyable times with my family during this busy Christmas season.  That being said, it’s in those times when we should be joyful and thankful for all that God is doing around us, that Satan so often wants to get us down.  Everything from loneliness, to fears about finances and our ministry support, to worrying about my kids, just keep coming out of nowhere to leave me just sort of down.

This morning as I took my daughter to school we were listening to “Don’t Bring Me Down” by ELO and she asked me what Don’t Bring Me Down means.  I explained to her that often when we are feeling really good people try to make us feel bad or hurt our feelings and take away that joy.  So the song is saying, don’t do that.  She understood and then went back to singing at the top of her lungs.  Sadly I couldn’t explain to her who “Bruce” was in the song.  The song though sorta hits where I am at currently, there are lots of things to be thankful for like the Christmas Season, my family, some great ministry opportunities, doors that I constantly see God opening.  Yet I really feel like there is this cloud that is hanging over me trying to bring me down and leave me in a funk.

It’s in this time that I am really trying to pray more and just ask God that I not be robbed of joy and that I will give fears and worries to Him.  I hate the struggle bus…

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Changing my Christmas ways…

For the longest time I have been a pre-Thanksgiving Christmas Scrooge. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and love all the things that go with Christmas. From remembering and celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, to the food and parties, to getting to see old family and friends, the music, and everything else. However, I have always been strict about not starting any of my decorating and celebrating until after Thanksgiving. Black Friday has always been a joyous day for me as I crank up the Christmas tunes and start to get excited. Anything before that seemed to rushed and forced, and even more to the materialistic side of the season.

All that being said, I am now almost 37 years old and realizing it’s time to change my ways. And I have two very good reasons for this change of heart. My sweet little girl and crazy little boy. They love Christmas and their excitement is contagious. I love that they love the Christmas for the right reasons too. Don’t get me wrong, they love presents and all the fun stuff they get to do, but they know we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and love hearing about his arrival as we set up the Nativity and go to church. We even broke down and put up the Christmas tree early this year as they couldn’t wait any longer and tonight I sat down and watched the live action “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” with them. My son especially loves Christmas and would decorate the whole house without our help if we would let him. His favorite thing for me to do is take him to Lowes so that he can look at all the decorations, especially all the inflatables!

I love my kids excitement and joy for the Christmas season. It is truly infectious and has rubbed off and turned an old Scrooge like me into a Santa hat wearing Christmas dad……….in November!

daddy Christmas present construction…

Dedicated-Dad-with-toys-on-Christmas-DayAnother year and another set of gifts to put together. Last night I finished up two nights of putting together Christmas gifts for my son.  I battled stripped screws, missing pieces, and confusing instructions to finally put together a toy firehouse for over 5 hours total.  Once that was finished I realized not only would this year include figuring out something like a play set, but also putting together technology by loading apps onto a learning toy.  When I finally got in bed my head was numb from looking at all the small print instructions.   But I closed my eyes and settled down for a peaceful night of sweet dreams.  However, a very short time into my slumber it dawned on me that I have a huge project left that is the Christmas gift my parents bought my children for Christmas!!!  I love my children and I am happy to put these things together for them, but I am seriously considering a rule for anyone buying them gifts next year.  That rule is, “If you buy it, you put it together!”

Update on our Pre-Teen Lock-In

Last week I asked you to be praying for our Pre-Teen Lock-In outreach that was held this past Saturday night.  We had a lower turn out with only 29 students in the 3rd-6th grades who attended.  While the numbers were low, the students had a great time bowling, playing games, and watching a movie.  As always our main point of this outreach is to share Jesus.  My mom Dawn Owens did a great job sharing the devotion with the students and they were excellent listeners.  Below is the video of her devotion if you would like to check it out.  Thank you so much for praying and please continue to pray for the students, that the message of Christmas they heard will penetrate their hearts and they would give their lives to Christ!