Since the time that I was in the Marines, I had yet to find anyone that could cut hair properly. There was one guy in Alabama that could cut a real Marine haircut. Since then, I've been very picky about how my hair is cut. But I couldn't get anyone to do it right until today. Tina's Hair cuts at 3344 N Texas St Fairfield, (707) 422-2245. Best haircut in Solano County. If you want a real military haircut, go there. I didn't get a military haircut, but what I got was proffesional to say the least. Tina herself spent plenty of time making sure that it all came out perfectly. They do everything from men, women, kids. They do all the regular stuff you would find at any salon. The cost was only 11.99. It's 15 for women. and everything else they offer is at a reasonable price. It's a family owned and operated place and in my opinion is probably the best little haircut place in California.
Matthew 7:7 7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
This is what Jesus said. This is a promise from Him. Several years ago I heard a preacher preach about the power of prayer and this promise. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus said this also. The preacher talked about how God will provide for us and give us the things that we need if we only ask Him. That is what prayer is, it’s asking. He said that if we ask God for what we want, he will answer our prayer; he will give us exactly what we want.
I took that preacher seriously. I had a major need, in fact my son had a major need and I had no way of providing that need for him. I was powerless and I needed God more than anything. I’ve always prayed about the things that I need and I’ve always seen an answer from God. It’s always been fairly clear at first and completely clear over time what God’s answers are. It’s not always what I expect. So I’ve come to expect the unexpected from God’s answer to my prayers. But somehow I still manage to desire God to see things more my way than His.
When I prayed for my son, I was expecting something that didn’t happen. Over time, I began to see how God was working on my prayer. I still can’t see the whole answer, but I’m still having faith. So the question is, why doesn’t God see things my way and why doesn’t he give me what I want?
The answer is, He does do just that. Now, I’m not an expert on the Bible. I’ve never been to Seminary and I’m not really that intelligent. But I’ve experienced God’s mercy and grace. I’ve witnessed God work on my own heart and on those around me. I feel compelled to write this blog because of this. Hopefully you will be encouraged to pray and expect an answer.
God sees things my way and he gives me things that I ask for. Prior to about a year ago, I thought it would be impossible for me to buy a house in California. There was no way that I could afford even an adjustable rate mortgage. You might ask, does God really care about me owning a house and having a mortgage? I realized that I tend to separate God from those everyday things that I think I have to solely be responsible for. So one day, I asked. I asked for a house. Then it all made sense to me. Why wouldn’t I ask my Heavenly Father for a house? Who else would I ask?
The way I asked was important. I asked God that if it was his will, would he give me a house? I said that I desired to own a house and I didn’t know how I could better serve Him by owning a house, but I would if it was His will. Now, God is not a magic genie that grants any wish I desire. He is like a father that teaches and raises his children and gives them what they need. I’ve found that it’s important to desire what God wants for me. I’ve found that His way works better than my way.
Oh, by the way, He gave me a house. I asked and He answered with an astounding, YES, you can have a house. In remembering that God gave us this house, we’ve taken care of it and opened our home for fellowship. But I was still waiting to see what God wanted us to use our house for. How could we use it for Him? I’ve recently found out that He was using it for us, for my son. I won’t get into the details in this blog, but I might in the next one.
I see God still answering my prayer from several years ago about my son. I don’t know why he’s waited several years. And I don’t know if he will wait several more. But I’ve been praying about specific things lately and I see “doors” opening. I’ve been scared and anxious, but I know that He is already answering that first prayer with another astounding, YES. I know I have no need to be anxious, so I’ve been praying for peace for myself and my family.
My hope and prayer is that you, the reader, will pray. Pray for something, anything. It doesn’t matter what you want or what your need is, God will answer. Ask for His will, ask God to give you what he desires for you. You will see an answer to your prayer. It may be exactly what you expected, but more than likely you will see even more than what you asked for. When you see God working, let Him work more. Let Him keep going through your entire life until He has every part of your life in His hands. You will not regret it. You will see things that you never thought possible.
I had always wondered what it would be like to go back in time and see Jesus in person when he was preaching on the hillsides and living amongst the people. I get the sense that Jesus’ disciples didn’t fully realize who Jesus was until he died and rose again. Knowing Jesus as I do now, I wonder how I would react if I were face to face with him in those times. What would I say? How would I react to his mere presence? To see a man that looks like any other man and know that he is God among us, I think I would be overwhelmed. I think I would fall flat on my face right in front of him. How would you react?
What if the Messiah didn’t come 2000 years ago? What if he was born in the 70’s? That would mean he is in his 30’s right now. That would be about the time he started telling his disciples to follow him. And what if you didn’t really realize what Jesus’ plan was? Then one day a man that looked like any other man, walked up to you and said, “Follow me.” What would you do? Maybe because it was Jesus, you would be able to see something special about him. Maybe the Holy Spirit would come upon you and direct you to follow him. If Jesus said to you today, “Follow me.” What would you do?
Last week we talked about how John the Baptist introduced Jesus. The day after that happened; John was still telling people that Jesus was the Lamb of God. John had been talking with 2 of his disciples when Jesus passed by and he said again, “Look, the Lamb of God.” Then the two disciples followed Jesus and spent some time with him. One of the two was named Andrew. He had a brother named Simon. Andrew found his brother and brought him to Jesus. Jesus then said to Simon, that he will be called Peter. Andrew and now Peter believed that Jesus was the, “Lamb of God.” They recognized that he was the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for.
John 1:43-51 (New International Version)
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."
44Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.
47When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."
48"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."
49Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." 50Jesus said, "You believe[a] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51He then added, "I tell you[b] the truth, you[c] shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
Now we see a pattern emerging. Andrew was excited that he met Jesus and finds his brother and brings him to meet Jesus. Philip meets Jesus and sees that he is the Messiah. Philip too finds someone and brings him to Jesus. What does that tell us about what we should do? Do you believe that Jesus is the, “Lamb of God?” Have you been saved? Both Andrew and Philip believe and they each brought someone with them to meet Jesus. This is a good illustration for us to also bring someone to meet Jesus. How do we do that? This is what we do on Wednesday nights.
Remember though that Jesus had already seen Nathanael under the fig tree before Philip found him. Jesus was already waiting for Nathanael. In the same way, Jesus is already waiting for those that we bring. Jesus already has a plan for them too. It’s not for us to try and save anyone, that’s Jesus’ job. But we can bring people so they can see for themselves that Jesus is the, “Lamb of God.”
Or maybe you’ve been brought. Think about what Nathanael realized. When he heard Jesus say, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you." He had a realization that Jesus was this Savior. Picture Jesus showing up, staring you in the eyes, and saying, “I know you, and I want you to get to know me.” How would you react? Jesus does know you, and he does have a plan for you.
There’s nothing better than a caring parent, pastor, or friend who prods you toward God. But you only experience a relationship with God when you see and follow Jesus for yourself. Jesus won’t grab you by the scruff and shout in your face. The choice to enjoy his friendship, or not, is up to you.
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says,
20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Just like now, eating together back in Bible times was a sign of acceptance, shared values, and friendship. Jesus wants you to get to know him as if you could sit down at a meal together. You can’t exactly chow down with Jesus over at the In-n-Out, but you can tell him you want to know him better. That’s a desire he’ll always fulfill.
John the Baptist was a wild preacher that lived in the desert. He lived off bugs and honey. He wore run down clothes and lived off very little. He preached about repentance and turning away from evil. He would baptize people with water, as a symbol of their coming clean of their sins.
John the Baptist wasn’t the same John that wrote the book of John. John the Baptist was actually Jesus’ cousin. He lived his life preparing a way for Jesus to come to the world to accomplish what he had set out to do. This was ultimately to die for our sins. John was sent by God to be a witness for Jesus.
One day, the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to question John. He had been in a place called Bethany where he was baptizing people. They asked him who he was. They asked if he was Christ or a prophet or Elijah. He said, “No” He said he was the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' He was there to introduce Jesus.
Whenever we see a celebrity being introduced on stage, there is a big introduction. There’s always music, flashing lights and a big hoorah. When the Jonas brothers come out on stage, they have fireworks go off and it’s a big deal. Whenever the president or some important person enters a room someone announces his presence. Julian is at Marine Corps boot camp right now. One of the things he is learning is that when an officer enters a room. He has to jump up and announce, “Attention on deck!” Everyone else in the room has to jump on there feet and give recognition to the higher raking officer. Then a, “good afternoon,” or, “good evening” is announced to the officer. That way, the higher ranking official is given respect as the leader.
All throughout history kings, queens, political figures, and other leaders have always had big introductions everywhere they go. Even not so important people, like the Jonas brothers get big introductions. So what about the most important person in the world? What about Jesus? Jesus needs a big introduction. This is where John the Baptist comes in. He was there to clear a path for Jesus. Before there was Ryan Seacrest, there was John the Baptist, the guy that got to announce the most important person.
John 1:29-34 says,
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." 32Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."
When it says, “the next day,” in verse 29, this is the day after the priests and Levites came to ask John who he was. Calling Jesus the “Lamb of God” goes back to the Old Testament, where lambs and other animals were killed to pay the penalty for people’s sins. “Son of God” means Jesus is infinitely more than a nice teacher. He’s God himself come to earth as a human being. John is shouting that everyone should listen to Jesus because he’s the one and only Savior and Lord of the world. In Exodus 12:1-13 you can catch the background for that distinctive name, “Lamb of God.” That passage tells how God’s Old Testament people, the Israelites, splashed the blood of a lamb on the doorjambs of their homes to protect them from God’s deadly wrath while they were still living as slaves in Egypt. Jews still remember that event through an annual feast called “Passover.” Jesus gives the Passover meal another meaning: He will make the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross. This time it’s the blood of Jesus that will spare people from experiencing God’s anger over sin-and in Luke 22:19 Jesus instructs his followers to celebrate a meal to remember him, the event Christians call “Communion” or “the Lord’s Supper.”
In verse 30, John the Baptist repeats something he said in verse 15, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me” John had said this to show that even though he was sent to introduce Jesus, the Lord was there before John was. Jesus is in fact God come to earth as a human being.
In verse 31, John the Baptist explains his purpose. It was to come baptizing with water so that Jesus would be revealed to Israel.
Verse’s 32-34 is John’s testimony. He talks about how he did not know the man he would introduce to the world. God had sent him and when he see’s the Holy Spirit come down and stay on this man, then he would know that this is the one that would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the one he would introduce.
This was the big moment that everyone had been waiting for. The stage was set. The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah. They had been waiting for the one to come and save them. John saw what God said he would see. John the Baptist said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” It was the most important introduction in History. John spent his days telling people to turn away from evil or repent. He invited people to be dunked in water, or baptized, as a symbol of their coming clean from their sins. John commanded everyone from religious leaders to everyday people to get ready for the arrival of a Savior-chosen and sent by God. Even though Jesus had no wrongdoing to get rid of, he was also baptized by John. In Matthew 3:16-17 it says:
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
During that time, many people were waiting for the Messiah to come and save them. But many did not know what they needed saving from. It’s the same today as it was then. Jesus came to sacrifice himself for our sins. We need to be saved from our sins. Even though Jesus was without sin, he was baptized by John. Even though Jesus is without sin, he would later pay a debt for our sins.
It takes a village. I finally realized what that phrase means. I went to the movies at Edwards Fairfield Stadium 16 and saw, "Wanted." It's rated "R" by the MPAA for "strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality." I thought it was too violent even for me. The theme throughout the movie was to kill just for the sake of killing. I was a little disturbed by this. I wondered what this says about our society. Have we really become that apathetic? While watching the movie I couldn't help but be interrupted by the little voice of a 3 year old girl. She was sitting behind me and asking her mother what was going on. Her mom was filling her in on all the bloody details of the movie. I couldn't help but wonder what kind of effect this would have on this little girl.
I had given this mother a dirty look during the movie. I shouldn't have done that. It's not my place to judge anyone else. She had some words to say at one point, but I still couldn't let it go. I was upset and had to do something. While I was waiting for this ridiculous movie to end, I had a chance to process what I could do. I couldn't go tell this mom what she should or shouldn't do. Then I realized that someone had to have let that little girl in the theatre. It's not illegal to allow a child in to see a rated R movie. In fact the MPAA says that parents should be strongly cautioned, and that a child should be accompanied by an adult if they are to see the movie. So according to the rules, this mom didn't do anything wrong. The theatre didn't do anything wrong. So where does that leave us? Did they really have to let her in?
After I got home I started looking up studies on movie violence and children. I found one article from the UCLA School of Public Health. According to "Theresa Webb, a researcher with the department of epidemiology and the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA's School of Public Health: Youth violence is a commonplace occurrence in American society. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. And media depictions of violence help teach such acts to children, leading to three effects — increased aggression, fear for their own safety, and a desensitization to the pain and suffering of others." "While the explanations and causes of youth violence are very complex, the evidence is clear that media depictions of violence contribute to the teaching of violence." There are countless articles and studies about this subject. It should be obvious to anyone that Young children are more easily impressionable. They have a harder time distinguishing between fantasy and reality and cannot easily discern motives for violence.
What did this 3 year old walk away with? How will this affect her in the long term? How will this affect her behavior in school? How will she interact with her peers? One might ask, "What does it matter to me that someone else's kid is screwed up?" Well, it will matter if your kid interacts with that little girl, later on in life. What about all the other 3 year olds that saw that movie? What did they get out of it? What are they going to bring to the village when they become adults? This is why it takes a village. But who is this village? I say it’s me. Maybe it's you also. What are you going to do about it? Maybe it should be Edwards Fairfield Stadium 16. At least that's what occurred to me as I walked out of the theater.
I asked the kid that was taking the tickets if I could speak with the manager. The general manager had already left for the day but one of the other managers was happy to listen to what I had to say. I asked him if the theater had a policy regarding young children and violent movies like, "Wanted." He explained that if a minor is accompanied by an adult, then they will let the minor in, even if it is a 3 year old. I tried to explain to him how impressionable a 3 year old is, but he was barely old enough to see the movie himself much less have a 3 year old. Another manager quickly jumped into the discussion. And yes, it was a discussion. He explained that they wouldn't refuse to sell tickets to anyone following the rules. After all, selling tickets is how they make money. But is it really worth 7 bucks to screw up that 3 year old? That's right, I said it! That 3 year old is now a little more messed up because she saw that movie. We don't need a study to tell us that. Do we really need proof? Just look around, open your eyes. I'm only 34 and my generation wasn't even this messed up.
The theater had to have charged for a "child" ticket when mom was at the ticket booth. Why are they selling tickets for children to see such violence? At the very least, Edwards could stop selling "child" tickets to "R" rated movies. Maybe someone can stand at the door and stop little kids from becoming screwed up. I'm not saying Edwards is responsible for that 3 year old. But maybe a real person that works there can join the village. This didn't just affect this one little girl. This one incident will effect an entire generation, the whole village. We are all responsible for this little girl. None of us can blame someone else.
This is my blog. I thought I might try to write down some of my thoughts. I usually think about things from very different perspectives then other people. I don’t always let other people know what I’m thinking, because it’s often too hard to explain. Usually people don’t get it. So hopefully I can put it all into writing and post it here.
I chose the name, “I’m not feeling very creative right now” because when I was trying to figure out a name for my blog, that’s the first thing I said. My wife suggested that I use that as a title. And I’m trying to listen more to my wife. So there it is.
This is who I am. My name is Adam. I’m a Christian who follows Christ and is lead by Christ. When I was 5 years old, my mom told me who Jesus was and that he died on the cross for my sins. She told me that sin is what keeps me from knowing God. And if I believe in Jesus and allow the Lord to lead my life, and repent of my sins, I will be forgiven and be accepted into the kingdom of heaven. I understood what she was talking about and believed what she had told me. My older brother prayed with me and I accepted Jesus Christ into my life.
Throughout my childhood, I learned more about what Christ had really done. I learned what Sin really was. I had often questioned whether I was actually saved or if I should pray that “prayer” again. Every time I sinned, I would pray to be saved again. It never seemed to be enough. I just couldn’t stop sinning. I couldn’t be perfect. The prayer never seemed big enough to cover everything. One day when I was 15, my church youth group was at a conference lead by Dawson McAllister. At the end of the 3 day event, there was an altar call. I figured, “this was it, if a prayer here doesn’t cover it then nothing will.” I then got up walked to the front with all the other 100 or so other kids. I prayed with my youth pastor and re-committed my life to Christ. I left there that night not feeling very different then I had felt the day before. Soon after that, I understood what John 3:16 really meant. I realized that I wasn’t saved because I said a prayer. I was saved because Jesus died on the cross. When I prayed I had already understood that my sin is what separated me from God and that Jesus is God in human form because God loves me so much that he sent Jesus to die on the cross to forgive that sin so I can know God. Since that realization, I have learned more and more about what God does and what he wants to do with my life.
That is primarily who I am. But it is because of God that I am also a husband and a father of 3. My wife is Sarah. She is a beautiful wife and a loving mother. My daughter is the oldest. Her name is Angela. Then there is Jason and Matthew, the two boys.
I don’t have anything else for this first post, but I have plenty in mind for some upcoming posts. Check back in a couple of days and let me know what you think