August 31, 2004

the mothman prophecies

It all started when I mentioned a movie to my laborers, Paul and Jared.

I work for a moving company in the summertime, and when I found out that I was going to be traveling through the midwest, I decided to choose my own labor. After I left Cincinnati, OH, I made my way across Indiana and picked up my new employees.


At some point during the travels, I had mentioned a movie called "The Mothman Prophecies" that had freaked-me-out just a little. Well Paul decided to purchase this movie so that we could watch it in the hotel room, on his laptop.

Now, because I had been driving all day, while they were napping, I could not make it through the whole movie. But at one point I woke up to see both Paul and Jared crouching on the other bed saying, "Oooh man! that is freaking me out!" Then they would rewind the scene and watch it in slow motion, and start to freak out again. I laughed at them and then went back to sleep. I thought that I had heard the last of the mothman... but I was wrong.

I decided to ask Paul to come back with me. I had found that it was a whole-lot easier to bring my labor with me, than it was to try to find an agent in each new town that I went to, and hire some guy that I didn't know. Paul was also a better worker than most of the guys that I had hired over the course of the summer. So it just made sense to bring him with me. (I would have asked Jared to come too, but he was scheduled to go on a missions trip. He was almost kicked off of the smite trip... but that is a-whole-nother story in itself.)

As the summer rolled on, we traveled all over the place. We visited places like Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and so on... We had a lot of fun, and met a lot of interesting people. ...very "interesting" people, people that are so "interesting" that they deserve a post devoted entirely to them. And right at the end of the summer, on the next-to-last trip, the mothman made a personal appearance into our lives.

We were traveling through Virginia, on our way back from the Baltimore-Washington DC area, when Paul, who was "napping" again, flinched. His window had been down, and some large bug had hit the mirror and splattered its innards all over Paul.

While we were discussing the disgustingness of bug innards being splattered all over anything, the moth showed up. It hovered momentarily between the two of us, and then it began to swoop at Paul.

Paul, with his "catman" reflexes, instantly jumped up onto his haunches, began to scream, and swing a pillow in the general direction of the moth. Unfortunately the general direction of the moth was also in the general direction of me. (It is never good to have someone swinging anything in your general direction when you are driving a large vehicle.) In defense of my life, I began yelling at Paul, and the moth, to stop before we were all dead on the side of the road.

Once things calmed down I took the next exit so I could asses the damages. There weren't any. Unless you consider the bug guts on Paul's shirt. We searched for the mystery moth but couldn't find it. We hoped that it was dead and began our trip again. This time with a couple of energy drinks in us.

When we were on the road again, I decided to call my wife and let her know that I was running a little late. Since it was already late when I called her, I figured that she knew that, but thought it best to call anyway. I got my cell phone out and chatted with her for awhile, when I suddenly felt something on my neck. something soft... (At some point I will need to get my wife to type out her version of this part of the story on her blog, because the next few minutes in the truck she was able to listen in on.)

I have to admit, I dropped the phone. And I'm not ashamed of it! I had a soft-ball size moth perched on my neck, and according to Paul it was getting ready to draw blood!

Paul immediately went into cat-man mode again. And above the screams, I started yelling, "Get the phone!" There is just absolutely no way that I would ever be able to describe the next few moments. There was insanity in the cab of that truck.

We pulled over again, found the phone (I just listened for the laughter coming from the phone). And once again began to asses the damages. I was still unable to find the moth, even though it had almost killed us twice. (Not that a moth could actually cause any physical damage, but because I almost wrecked from Paul trying to swat the moth and hitting me instead... multiple times.)

Paul spent the rest of the trip completely wrapped from head to toe in a blanket, even though it was the middle of the summer. The only thing showing was an opening for his mouth, so that he could breathe and/or bite the moth. The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful, even though we still had to make it the rest of the way across Virginia and North Carolina.

It is truly an event that I will never forget. Even though I try really, really hard.

The Kingdom

"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
which will never be destroyed,
and that kingdom will not be left for another people;
it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms,
but it will itself endure forever."
-- Daniel 2:44


I feel kinda weird talking about kingdoms. I mean the whole concept is foreign to the American mind. The last time we had a king, we decided to start our own country and handle things ourselves.

And I think that this sentiment is quite widespread. Most people on this earth don't want to be part of a kingdom, and they definitely don't want a king. (At least not a real one.) Who wants to give control to someone else? ...to allow someone else to have sovereignty over our lives? We want freedom, and we will fight for it. We want to live our own lives, and make our own rules. And we each chant to our own rhythm, "I will be my own king!"

So I guess that we are part of a kingdom, one in a million little kingdoms, all with a population of one. ... or is it really just one kingdom? The kingdom of this world? And to be part of this kingdom is to function like its king.*

There is another kingdom though. A kingdom not of this world. It is the kingdom of heaven, and it is now! You don't have to wait and stroll through the pearly gates to become a citizen, Jesus said, over 2,000 years ago,

"... repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

Or you could say, "Turn around! The heavenly kingdom starts today!"

God's kingdom is better. It is the way things should be. It is the way we were made to exist and co-exist. If you have been your own king for one day, it has been one day too long. I hope that when you consider the kingdoms and the kings, that you will turn away from the earthly kingdom, to one that is better.

*Some descriptions of this kingdom can be found in the Bible. (Romans 1:28-32, Ephesians 2:1-3, Colossians 3:5-10)

August 27, 2004

balloons

Right when I was in the middle of typing that last post, I received a bunch of balloons.

They were from my wife. She always works to make the special days, well you know, special. I love that about her.

thank you

life's been good to me so far

I have officially survived 32 years on this earth. There have been spells when I wondered whether or not I would make it this far. But it seems that I have.

Thanks Mom for having me.

Sometimes in my mind a song will just pop-in. Usually it is things that I have listened to recently, but sometimes it is something that I haven't heard in a long time. There will be a certain set of circumstances or there will be a phrase that somebody says, but *pop* some random song will just erupt in full stereo in my brain.

Now I haven't told anybody this before, but for the last 6 months or so this song keeps popping into my head. The problem is that I only know one phrase from the song. It goes like this

"...life's been good to me so far!"

And with today being my birthday, it has been making frequent stops into my subconscious.

But you know what, it wasn't life that was good. In fact, in some ways life hasn't been good at all.

Life is hard.

From the moment you exit the womb, life is full of harshness and pain.

Oh, now don't get me wrong. I know that there are alot of good things in life. I am not one of those depressed poets or song writers that only displays the bad in life. In fact, those who know me would say that for the most part, at least with the big stuff, I'm pretty optimistic.

But my point is that it isn't life that makes things good. It is God.

Read this Psalm, and consider how David builds and builds on the hardness of life, but then in the last verse he remembers...

O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?

How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!

Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die.
Don't let my enemies
gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!"
Don't let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD
because he has been so good to me.

I hope that when you read this psalm, you will be reminded of the goodness of God. I hope that whatever trial or difficulty that God has allowed to enter your path, that you will still be able to see his goodness.

August 26, 2004

righteousness of God

"For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." II Cor. 5:21in context

When you express a true dependence and a faith in God, not only is the guilt of your sin removed, you will become the "righteousness of God" as was displayed in the obedience of Jesus.

How awesome is that?!?

I mean, I am about the farthest thing from righteousness... yet in the courtroom of the most Holy One, I am righteous.

How could we not throw ourselves at his feet over and over because of his grace? Yet how do we end up living?

I hope that today, the living and powerful word of God will manifest itself in you when you think of what has been done for you through the death of Christ.

August 21, 2004

a blogger convert

Dan Meyers was just converted to blogging.

He had heard of blogging, but had never actually met a blogger. When he met me, and heard that I was a blogger, he immediately wanted to hear more about it.

I talked to him about my own blogging experience, and many of the students that I had converted to blogging. He was very excited about it, and when he was ready, I walked him through it a step at a time.

The first step was to come up with a good name. We brainstormed for awhile, and after several transitions, he came up with azimuth. A very good name, with a good story behind the name.

Check out his blog, his website, and his ministry.

August 17, 2004

teacher's log #5

The last two days I have been starting my classes with some basic guidelines about how I want my class to look. I usually do this by teaching some key Biblical truths in association with each guideline.

I usually discuss the parable of the stewards, to illustrate Biblical stewardship. I also like to share the parable of the sheep and the goats, because of the relationship that Christ points to between Loving God and Loving you neighbor.

The sad thing was that 95% of my students had not heard of either one of these parables.

I couldn't believe it.

I mean, how could somebody not even know about the parable of the sheep and the goats?

I am excited to see
Your Word in action, O Lord!
I am excited to see
You change hearts and lives.
But mostly, Lord,
I am excited to see
if you might change me,
so that you might use me.

August 16, 2004

teacher's log #4

Well, I just taught my last class of the day. The kids just left the room, so I thought that I would jot down a couple of thoughts.

First of all, kids are kids. That might seem like a simple thought, but it is very true! It doesn't matter where you go, they are all still kids.

During lunch I sat down with another teacher, who has been teaching for several years, and he said the same thing. In fact, he said that even over the passing of time, kids are still kids; the only thing that has really changed is the parents.

The next thing that I noticed is that my mind keeps wandering to my "Faith" kids. I know that they are at the highschool retreat right now, and I am really wishing that I was with them. Wishing that I was working on the next funny skit for tonight, wishing that I was setting up for the next set of "gross games," wishing I was finding out if they enjoyed their summer.

Even though I am not there, I have learned that there is nothing sweeter than to be where God wants you to be. Even though sometimes it doesn't "feel" that way, His way is always better.

Teacher's log #3

first day of school.

Today is the first day of school. The students will be here in a little over an hour.

I have found that I am not nervous at all. I can remember the first day of school 4 years ago. I was a nervous wreck. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and I think that I spent a considerable amount of time thinking of ways to get out of this situation that I had somehow gotten myself into.

This isn't like that. Maybe it is because I have a few years under my belt now. Maybe it is a little bit because I have seen that things always seem to work out, there is no point stressing out. (Although I should be a little stressed because I am not quite ready for the students!)

This is also the first day of school for Sam! I wish that I could be there to see him. My wife is awesome, she has all of the little supplies ready for him, and the little backpack packed, and his little lunch ready, how fun!

Maybe I will post at the end of the day to let you know whether or not I survived!

August 12, 2004

Tie-Died

This might sound trivial to most, but one thing that I am really going to enjoy about this new school that I am at is... NO TIES!

I know it sounds silly, but I hate wearing a tie. It constricts my breathing. It always gets in the way. It limits my wardrobe possibilities. (And as my faith students know, my tie always ends up twisted.)

I haven't had to wear a tie since the end of May, but today it all came crashing down. It was the open-house, and they asked us to dress nice. (Which is administrator lingo for "wear a tie!")

So I scrounged through my closet and found a tie. It was a little dusty, but I put it on never-the-less. And just for the record, all of my faith students, yes, it was blue!

I can't wait to get to heaven when all ties will be thrown back into the pit, from whence they came.

August 10, 2004

new faces

The most prominent faces in view of the re-located Harmless family are affectionately known as "the Smiths on Smythe."

Matt ,Lori, and their three children live a block away from us and persuaded us to visit their church (North Hills Community Church). We have now "visited" there several times, adding several more faces, and are really considering joining.

Also thanks to the Smiths we met another pretty cool guy last week. His name is Dan Meyers.

He throws a good party. He sings some good music. And I believe that he is a true brother in Christ!

Sometimes it can be so good to meet new people.

Many of the faces that have entered my world recently, I hope will stay for a long time. And I hope that they will become familiar faces.

teacher's log #2

First thing this morning the admin. told us that all of the afternoon meetings had been cancelled so that we could spend the rest of the day working on getting things ready for open house on Thursday.

... talk about a relief.

Then I found the old syllabi for three of the classes that I am teaching. That just saved me a ton of work!

I think that I might actually survive this transition!

August 9, 2004

teacher's log #1

Well, here I am at my new school.

It is the second day of teacher in-service and I am missing my old school already.

I think that I am really missing the people. I am thinking first of all the teachers that I have worked with for the last 4 years. I don't think that there is a better collection of teachers anywhere on this earth.

I am also missing the students. It saddens me greatly to think that I will not be seeing all of them in another week.

But I think that what I am experiencing right now is the loss of familiarity. A loss of all of those things that make you feel at home.