Saturday, April 03, 2004


I ache! My back is killing me, and my left shoulder is in shambles, and my face has a sort of low-intensity burning sensation. But I've had a great time getting this way.

The pain is from sitting stone still for about an hour during our church play "The Lord's Supper". Wednesday night was dress rehearsal, Thursday was opening night, with a performance Friday, and two performances today. We have one more to go tomorrow, Sunday, night. The low-intensity burning on my face is from the latex beard being held on with spirit gum. For those of you that have done any theater, you know that spirit gum is an acetone-based skin adhesive, but, well, it's acetone so it kinda burns, especially after a fresh shave. Think model glue for the skin. I take the beard off after each performance and have a bit of hardened spirit gum on my face that I need nail-polish remover to get off. But, it works great and holds the beard in place.

These last 7 days, from Sunday to now, I have spent a couple of hours each night in the company of friendly Christian men, either at church working on the play, or at the Union Gospel Mission, and and it been a major blessing. Talking to men with similar interests who also share my spiritual beliefs is quite refreshing. They are some good men, and I am priviledged to count them as friends.

LMJ packed her things and headed back to her mom's house for a several month stay. It's part of LMJ's desire not to be a weekly vagabond schlupping back and forth each week from house to house, but to have her stuff at one house for an extended period of time, then move back to the other parent's house with all her stuff. I happen to think it's a great idea, but I do miss her being here. She was here for almost two whole months, every day. It was really wonderful to have her here, but I'm glad she feels good about going back to her mom's. There was a time not to long ago that I was a bit worried she wouldn't feel like going back when the time came. I'll still see her just about every day, after school, and we'll have some father/daughter nights (like Stargate Mondays, baby!), so I don't feel like it's a loss for me. Rather, it's a gain for her, to have some time to connect with her mom.

It's not about ME anyway. It's about them, all three of my kids, and getting them raised the best I know how. I keep telling them, when they are raised, up, and out of the house, dad's only gonna be about 45 years old, and he's gonna PAR-TAY, and they chuckle. And it's not just me raising them, but thier mom, too, and I'm so glad that LMJ and CLJ both feel good about going to their mom's. But it IS all about raising them, and making them my priority as best I can, and the way the respond to me tells me that I'm on the right track, and they appreciate it.

I thank God daily for His guidance. With that, I'd be lost.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

God Moves Me

Wow. I just got back from ministering at the Union Gospel Mission. I was a bit nervous before going, because I didn't feel nearly as prepared as I should have been. I didn't practice the songs near enough, or at least as much as I usually do when I do music ministry. I felt really out of touch with God, and wasn't looking forward to doing this thing tonight.

Well, as God is known to do, He says to me, really loud and clear, "It's not ABOUT you, Mike. It's about ME (God) and the people who NEED Me."

Troy, Joe, Dan, John and I led the service, with John playing the piano for the hymns, I did the special music, and Troy brought the message. Mind you, this is a service for about 150 mainly homeless, drug addicted, and alcoholic people, who are mostly in the place to get a meal and a bed. But they know the routine, and usually sit quietly through the service. Many of them know the songs and sing quite well. But we went down to minister, and bring a message of hope to these folks, and did Troy ever bring it. He preached with the conviction of the Holy Spirit and experience, and laid the Good News out for everyone who was there to understand.

And you know what?

6 souls decided that Jesus had the answers to their questions, and accepted Him into their lives. 6 people have a better chance of having peace and joy in their lives, because of God's amazing grace, than they did before. 6 people have more hope than they had before. 6 people are saved and will one day spend eternity with God. What higher calling, what better purpose for life, is there, than spreading that hope?

I am very guilty of not always living my life as I know I should. Paul writes in Romans 7:21-24,

"It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am!"

I stumble and fall and fail to live "christianly" all the time. Paul, the Saint, observes this at work in his own life. But I'm delighted to know that God doesn't hold that against me. When I fall and fail, I cry out for forgiveness, and God picks me up, dusts me off, and tells me "I love you; keep trying; I'll help you". See, the message isn't just that I am a miserable person. No, God also gives each and every one of us the answer. In the very next verse, Romans 7:24 & 25, Paul writes:

"Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."

So, that's why I do things like the Union Gospel Mission. I know my spirit has been set free from the law of sin, and I am no longer under judgement because Jesus died for me and I have accepted his gift, and I want others to have that gift, too. To have that freedom from judgement and condemnatoin.

Oh, I still struggle to master the old self and the old habits, but, thank God, the answer is in Jesus Christ MY Lord.

Oh, and, yes I weighed in. I'm headed in the wrong direction. Sigh. Gotta keep working....

Monday, March 29, 2004

Long Weekend

Took the girls to Red Robin for dinner Saturday night. EFJ had her guide dog puppy with her, so the waiter offered if we wanted to sit on the patio, because of the dog. I don't think they had any issue with the dog being in the restaurant, I think they were honestly giving us an option if we wanted one, because it was VERY busy in the restaurant. So, we went out to the patio, because it was a lot quieter out there. Turns out it was a lot COLDER too. But they turned on one of the gas heaters, and things were ok.

At one point a couple of loud drunk white guys with shaved heads and muscle shirts walked out to their truck in the parkinglot. They were trying to be cool, and backed up their Toyota 4x4 over a dirt berm next to the parkinglot. They high-centered and got stuck! We laughed and laughed. They rocked the truck back and forth for about 10 minutes and finally got loose, but it was funny. I love it when idiots try to be cool, and it backfires. They took off in a cloud of dust and spinning tires.

Sunday after work I had play practice at church. I'm gonna be awful busy this week, with play practice Monday and Wednesday nights, and the perfomances the rest of the week. Tuesday night I'm going with Troy and some other men from church down to the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Sacramento to put on a church service for them. I'm singing "Defining Moment" by Newsong. Good group and powerful song. I hope God grants that I do well to glorify Him.

Busy busy day ahead. I'll post up some more later. Take care all!