The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

School Event – Why bother?

Tonight I went to an event at my daughter’s school. I can’t say it was the highlight of my week, but it was pretty funny. They had a local guy named Mr. Richard there. Mr. Richard is pretty popular around Orlando. He reads to kids, plays guitar, sings. He is pretty amusing. It was really amazing to see the kids and parents responding to him. My wife refers to them as “Mr. Richard groupies.” He has several videos on YouTube. That will give you an idea of what he is like. Honestly…the kids love him.

Well…sitting a few rows in front of us was the dad of one of the other kids. He was sitting next to his wife and had brought his portable DVD player to watch what appeared to be a stand up comic. Why did he even bother coming?

November 8, 2007 Posted by | comedy, kids, life, relationships | , | 2 Comments

Daylight Saving Time – missed

Despite Daylight Saving Time being on the calendar in our kitchen. Despite the half dozen reminders we got from our church. Despite the fact that I had a conversation with a friend about DST earlier in the week. Despite all that…we forgot about it. When I put my phone on just before leaving for church this morning, I turned it on to ensure it was on vibrate…and there was the message on the screen about the time being automatically changed for DST. We are ready for church in plenty of time! So…what do I do with an extra hour? Well…you just read part of it.

November 4, 2007 Posted by | life | 1 Comment

Bible Study

I lead a LIFE Group at my church. That’s my church’s equivalent to a Sunday School class. My class is made up of married couples ranging from mid-20s up to mid-50s. It’s a good group of people.

In the last six months or so, I started thinking about what I wanted to teach next. What went through my mind at the time was if I only had one more thing to pass on to the class, what would I teach? It occurred to me that as a result of being in full time vocational ministry, I have had access to a lot of training in how to study the Bible that most people simply don’t have access to. I’ve had a Seminary level class on Bible Study Methods that was really really good.

I’m currently taking my class through a workshop style class studying the little book of Philemon. I’ve added a page for my class (and others if they are interested) to access the files that we are creating as a class through our study of Philemon.

October 28, 2007 Posted by | Jesus, life | Leave a comment

Love Letters

For my wife and I, there are a couple of months where the 26th day of the month is special…her birthday and our anniversary both fall on the 26th day of different months. I decided to start doing something special on the 26th of every month…writing a love letter to Julie. Not digital…on paper.

I bought a Moleskine notebook specifically for this purpose. Starting on Julie’s birthday, I wrote her a love letter…front and back of one page. I set a recurring task in Outlook to remind me on the 22nd of each month to start thinking about the letter. Each month I write another letter in the book, and on the 26th, I put it somewhere where she will find it as she goes about her day. There are 240 pages in the book. 12 months per year. 1 page per letter. That’s 20 years worth of letters. We will be celebrating 32 years of marriage that year. I’ll buy another book at that point.

One of the cool things about this process has been that it forces me to slow down, sit down, and think about how to express the love I have for Julie. Let’s face it…as guys, we tend to default to grunts as communication tools. Surprisingly, women don’t tend to respond positively to grunts. The letter gives me the opportunity to think not only of what I love about Julie…but also how to express it. I know that Julie has enjoyed the letters, but honestly I think I have benefited more from them than she has…it has caused me to be a better husband. 

I forget exactly where I first got this idea, but it has been a great experience. Today being the 24th of the month, I sat down this morning and wrote the letter that I get to deliver on Friday. It may have been my best work yet. I’m looking forward to blessing her with it!

October 24, 2007 Posted by | life, relationships | , | Leave a comment

Suicide Prevention Resources

In a recent letter I referenced some suicide and depression resources that I would post. Here they are. Basic gist of the letter is that a former co-worker and one of my uncles committed suicide within a month of each other. It definitely got me thinking a bit about what would drive someone to that point…as well as wanting to be able to be to point to some resources that could help someone overcome that temptation.

As always, Julie and I are available to talk if you are struggling. If you need to reach us, you can use the contact page to send me a message.

There are a ton of suicide prevention resources on the internet. I’ve just linked a few that I found that seemed likely to be helpful.

Links to resources on Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s website for:

Resources from FamilyLife

Two websites from Focus on the Family

Sermon resources that John Piper has preached on suicide in the past:

A site titled “If you are thinking about suicide…read this first.” [Disclaimer: Much of this site is really good. However there is one aspect I noticed on this site that I disagree with. It states that suicide is neither right nor wrong…that it is morally neutral. That’s just not so.]

Here is what seems to be the motherlode of links aimed at survivors of suicide.

Rich Mullins wrote a song titled “Verge of a Miracle“. It was written for a boy who attempted suicide. The link is to an intro that Rich gave at a live performance of the song along with the words to the song. The YouTube link below is to the song itself.

October 8, 2007 Posted by | Jesus, life | , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking about choices

Recently Julie was in Wal Mart going through the self-checkout lane. In front of her was a teenage couple purchasing a box of condoms…trying to sneak through without being seen. Well…Julie saw them…here’s how the conversation went.  

Julie (to the guy): Does her dad know?

Guy [stammering in disbelief that someone would actually say something]: Uh, uh, uh…

Julie (to the girl): Does your dad know?

Girl [also stammering]: Uh, uh, uh….I’m 18!

Julie:  Is your Dad okay with this?

Girl: Uh…he wouldn’t care.

Julie: Really? Can I have his phone number so I can call and ask him?

Girl: Uh, uh, uh…

Julie [turning to the guy]: I’m a Mom, and if she were my daughter…I’d hurt you. 

Keep in mind, my wife is not an intimidating person…she’s 4’11” and sub-100 pounds. This little couple knew they were doing something they shouldn’t…as evidenced by their trying to hide what they were doing. Julie simply cared enough about them to try to get them to think about the choices they were making.

October 3, 2007 Posted by | comedy, life | | 1 Comment

Life Lessons from Hiking

Julie and I went hiking yesterday. We climbed Horsetooth Rock just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. As we were going along the hike we kept thinking of parallels to life as we went along. Here are some of the thoughts we had…

As you go through life, realize that there is a path that God has laid out for you. Stay on the path. You can still travel if you aren’t on the path, but the traveling is much more difficult.

As you go on the path, take time to stop and enjoy the scenery. If you do, you will get some needed rest. You will sometimes be able to see where your path fits in with the world around you. As you see the world around you, you will be able to appreciate both the particular path that you are on as well as the beauty of the world where you are traveling. When you start down the path again, your legs will have a bit more spring in their step.

Sometimes the path you are on can look really rough ahead. If God has called you to that path, don’t be afraid of the path, stay on it. He will pull you through.

As you go along the path, take along a friend. Don’t leave them behind. The path is much more enjoyable when traveled together.

If you slip off the trail, you could have a pretty bad fall ahead of you. If you have your friend with you, they can help to pull you back up.

Try to keep your friends from doing something stupid, or at least if they do, take a picture of it!

As you go down the path, take time to notice the small things…sometimes they are the most beautiful.

Many times as you are traveling along the path, you will not be able to see the end of the path.

You need to keep your eyes on the path and the signposts that God has put in place. They will guide you to your destination.

As you tackle obstacles along the path, take time to celebrate those victories.

There are times on the path to be extra careful and serious.

There are times on the path to have fun and be silly.

As you go along the path, be sure to always lean into the Rock.

When you get to the end of the path (and eventually you will), the view from the top is more amazing than you could have imagined.

Lastly, at all times along the path, be sure to give praise to God who created you and designed your path.

July 20, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, life, relationships | , | Leave a comment

A Tale of Two Graves

Yesterday I took part in a “Day of Prayer” that our ministry takes part in twice a year. During the day we sang a song.

Lord I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I’m so glad you’re in my life
I’m so glad you came to save us
You came from heaven to earth, to show the way
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high.

Over the years as I have heard that song, different aspects of it have affected me. It takes the whole spectrum of what Christ did and puts it to song. He was in heaven, and he came and lived on earth…during which time He showed us how to live. He was crucified to pay for our sin debt. He was taken down from the cross and laid in a grave. Three days later He rose from the grave and eventually ascended into heaven.

Today the word “grave” struck me. The most vivid memory I have of a grave was at my dad’s funeral. I was twelve when he died of cancer. After the graveside service, I retreated back to the front steps of the church next to the graveyard. I saw them lower the casket into the ground and saw my uncles start shoveling dirt into the hole. That was and still is a vivid memory. It was a “finalizing” moment. My dad was not coming back. He was in a pretty box underneath 6 feet of dirt. It was over…my best friend was gone.

That is how Jesus’s friends and family felt as well. They saw him die on the cross…after being nearly beaten to death by Roman guards. They saw him taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. They saw the gruesome results of the crucifixion. They knew that it was over. He wasn’t coming back. Some of his friends went home and prepared the spices and ointments that were used at that time on the body as it was put in the tomb…so that they could come back later to finish preparing Jesus’s body.

But when they returned on the first day of the week, Jesus’s body wasn’t there. He had come back to life. Yes he had been dead…very much so. But death had not conquered him. He was no longer there. The stone had been rolled away. In our time, I don’t know what it would look like. Would all the dirt over the coffin just move…seemingly on its own? Would Jesus have dug his way out and come out through a hole in the ground? What would it have looked like?

I don’t know…but as vivid as it is to me that my dad is still in the grave…that the dirt that my uncles threw into the hole…that dirt is still there…unmoved in twenty three years. Just as real as that is…it is just as real…even more so that Jesus is NOT in the tomb He was laid in. He is alive; He is in this world; He lives; He touches hearts and souls; He changes lives. He can change your life. This is not some trite statement. He has changed my life in very dramatic ways. Maybe I’ll have to create a blog entry about that. I guess the key question is…since he can change your life…Will you let Him?

April 25, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, life, music | | 1 Comment

Holding Hands

When Julie and I are in a public area or parking lot with our daughters, we make sure we hold their hands. We keep them from getting lost in a crowd or from getting hit by a car. We know where the dangers are and keep them safe.

Today I was walking out of church with my four year old. We were approaching the parking lot, so we were holding hands. As we were walking along, her shoe caught on something and she tripped. Because I was holding her hand, I was able to pull her up and keep her from falling. Had we not been holding hands, she would have at least fallen, and probably would have gotten hurt on the sidewalk.

It struck me at the time that this is a lot like life. There are lots of things out there that want to trip us up. Some are physical dangers like I am protecting my daughters from. Others are spiritual in nature…temptations that if acted upon could destroy our reputations, our families, our lives. Some of these dangers we can see, some we can’t. What can protect us from them?

How about if we hold onto Jesus’s hand? He wants to walk through life with us. He desires to protect us and keep us safe from the garbage that gets thrown at us. If we are holding his hand when the trial hits, He can pull us up and keep us from getting hurt. As long as we don’t rip our hand out of his, He will keep us safe from the temptations that could destroy us.

April 15, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, kids, life | | Leave a comment

Hearing Through the Noise of Life

Yesterday I took my daughter Laurel to a couple of easter egg hunts. The second hunt was at a very large church here in Orlando. Part of the free “festivities” at this church was a climbing wall. As soon as Laurel saw it, she wanted to do it…so… off to the climbing wall.As I am watching some of the other kids climbing, I’m noticing that as they get higher up the wall, several of them were shifting to the left of the straight up path. As they kept going on that route, when they got closer to the top, the cable they were attached to would actually pull them off the wall…because they were three-four feet off center of where the cable mechanism is attached at the top. So, I told Laurel to just go straight up and not slide to the side.

So as she is climbing up, I’m noticing her moving to the left. I gave her a bit of time to see if she would self correct. When she didn’t I called out her name. She immediately started looking around until we made eye contact. I told her to move to the right, and she saw what was going on and got back on track.

So…what difference does this make? Why am I writing about it? Because a spiritual truth struck me as soon as she started looking for me.

There was a large crowd around the climbing wall. Very large crowd. There was a lot of noise. There was a Christian band playing in the background. Lots of distracting things…not to mention the focus of a seven year old who is hanging on for dear life fifteen feet off the ground. But when she heard my voice…her father’s voice…she immediately started looking for me to find out what I had to say. And when she heard me, she remembered what I told her before she started, corrected and got back on track.

We live in a noisy society that is full of distractions. There are so many things that want to pull us away from the path that God has mapped out for us. He has uniquely created each of us with certain gifts and strengths. He has given us a path to follow…if we will only follow it. There are even things that look good…like the other handholds that the kids were following off track…but they aren’t the best things. For that matter, sometimes the best thing for us is more difficult than what we would like…and we reach for a handhold that is off track…never realizing that we just settled for second (or third or tenth) best.

The key for us is to be able to decipher our Father’s voice in the midst of life. We need to be listening to God as we read the Bible. Then when we get in the midst of our day, we need to listen for His voice guiding us back where we need to be.

April 8, 2007 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, kids, life | | Leave a comment

The Great Disconnect

Today has been frustrating. I have so many things in my mind. So much that I need to think about and take action on. So many things swirling through my mind. And I can’t seem to concentrate on any of them long enough to really do anything about them. I have projects around the house to work on. I need to fix Julie’s van. I need to take the van to get body work done. Investment decisions. Need to work on raising support. SMS…good grief SMS. There is so much to do with SMS…and I can’t THINK long enough to map out the plan. Exercise. Purchases that I want to make.

I need God’s help to concentrate. Like I was telling Philip recently…it’s entirely possible that God designed this weakness into my life to cause me to depend on him. Kind of like the quote that I have taped to my computer…Matthew 20:32 “What do you want me to do for you?” That is the story of the two blind men asking for help. It’s very obvious what they want…come on…it’s two blind beggars asking for help…what do you think they might want? Yet…Jesus asks them “What do you want me to do for you?” It’s not like he didn’t know what they wanted. Still…he wanted them to ask…to acknowledge their desire and dependance on him. Jesus still wants us to ask.

Where that has me…it’s entirely possible that Jesus has built a weakness into my life…an inability to handle lots of details without depending on him. He wants me to ask for help…to acknowledge my need for Him. To invite him into the details and ongoing aspects of my life.

July 13, 2006 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, life | | Leave a comment