Got God?

There is something that really amazes me. I mean something that absolutely blows my mind.

First, I must tell you that God got a hold of me almost twelve years ago, and He got a firm hold of me (which means I finally stopped wiggling around enough to pay attention to Him holding me) four and a half years ago. From all of this I have dedicated my life to transforming others’ lives by opening myself to God using me for His glory. I do a lot with my church and different ministries. My college major is Christian Leadership. I love reading my Bible and sharing what I learn with those around me. I help younger Christians grow in their faith.

But this post is not about me.

I am amazed by the people who are not in “full-time ministry” and impact people’s lives for Christ. These are Christians who are (in no particular order):

  1. Teachers
  2. Doctors
  3. Bus drivers
  4. Taxi drivers
  5. Garbage removal technicians (cool title, eh?)
  6. Retail workers (like my mom!)
  7. Carpenters (like my pop!)
  8. Computer technicians
  9. Web-designers
  10. Farmers
  11. City workers
  12. Office workers
  13. Your mom
  14. Salesmen
  15. Wait staff (you know, the people who serve food)
  16. Kitchen staff (the people who make the food)
  17. Bussers (the people who clean up after you have eaten the food)
  18. Business people
  19. Executives
  20. Business owners
  21. Single parents
  22. Multi-jobbers (providing for their families by working many jobs)
  23. Street cleaners
  24. Security guards
  25. Police officers
  26. Firefighters
  27. Paramedics
  28. And way more people than I could ever hope to include in this list (at least right now)

To do this requires completely selling out to God.

To do this means letting God’s love pour through you toward others.

To do this takes loving God and others way more than your family, your friends, yourself.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14: 26

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Matthew 22:37-39

Have you let yourself see just how tightly God is holding on to you? Do you let Him move freely through your life? Is He everything?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/25/2011

Some people may have thought it very odd that I call people jerks when they help me, therefore, I hae a fittingly named poem:

Be weird

The masses of the world
Tell us to conform;
We should not shift away
From the accepted norm.
But if most of those people
Live their lives depressed,
Why should we give in
And blend in with the rest?
If most of the world tells us
This is the only way to live,
Does that make us weird
And impossible to forgive?
I do not think this is so,
And I would argue for
The fact that the so-called norm
Leaves most searching for more.
So, if you yearn for more
And will not settle for less,
Then I say to you be weird!
Find out how to be blessed!
The only way to find the Truth
And learn to be happier
Is to turn to God through Jesus,
The best at “being weird.”
Through this very Son of God
All mankind can know and hear
That forgiveness is for all
And not meant to be weird.
So, if you truly desire
To have a life that is blessed,
Turn to the Weirdest One of all,
God’s only Son, Jesus!

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, pages 56-7.

The Lovable Jerk

I know. A corvette and mention of a jerk. It must be that I have a corvette and you love me for it!

No, actually this is a dear friend and his first corvette. Trust me. It applies. You probably have a good question, though.

What is a lovable jerk?

To help you understand this, I have a couple of stories.

This past weekend was the monthly mens breakfast for my church. We had a great time at Denny’s with stories, life updates, and a great challenge about finishing strong. The pastor ducked out a little early. I jokingly thought to myself “He did not really finish! He left early!” When the rest of us walked to the front to pay our bills, there was some confusion at the register. It took a minute to figure out that “That one man with the glasses” (the pastor) “paid for it all.” I sent him a text message (do not get too mad at me, because I will explain myself):

“You are a jerk, but a lovable jerk who is greatly loved! May the Lord bless you and keep you, brother!”

(He loves me, too. And if you know about whom I am speaking, just praise God for his love.)

Another person is a lovable jerk. I put the same disclaimer here as for the pastor: praise God.

This man is that dear friend who, quite honestly, deserves a corvette. If you know this man, you agree. The story about him takes place when I was first allowed to see this man in action. Our car was having some issues, and (as has happened many times since) he offered to fix it. He fixed the car and paid for the parts he needed. I was at work when he did this, and I remember thinking “He better not have topped off the gas tank.” He did. He is still floored to this day that when I saw the gas gauge jump to “F” I looked at him and said “You jerk!” He asked his son later, “Was he mad at me?”
“No, dad,” he said. “He was saying thank you!”
Again, he still is amazed by this.

He has learned, though, what I really mean when I say it.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “You are jerking on my heart-strings, right now.”

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “You have done quite well!”

When I call you a jerk, it usually means “God, I praise You for this blessing through this person.”

You lovable jerks make me praise God.

Go be a lovable jerk for God. (See the related Philippians 2:12-13)

Go on! Do it!

(On a side note, today I was hired to work with 1st and 2nd grade autistic children in the same school district as my wonderful wife! Praise God! No, seriously … PRAISE HIM!)

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/18/2011

Speaking of remembering things, here you are:

remember
daniel m  klem

when running from your fear
remember that bad day
when fleeing from danger
remember stay away
when leaving a bad place
remember to save life
when escaping a city
remember lot s wife

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 79.

Passed Experiences

This past Sunday was the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The wife and I (the husband in this scenario) spent our Sunday morning teaching the K-2nd students. I realized that none of the students we had were even a glimmer in their parents eyes when the attacks happened. I felt a little older realizing this (and that they have no idea that most of their favorite cartoons are remakes of originals from when I was their age). Later in the day I read some articles that kind of ruffled my feathers.

Apparently many public schools do not teach about the attacks so much as having respect and tolerance for Muslims and other cultures. The most some schools say is something about the attacks bringing an awareness to the plight of Muslims in our world, not that Muslims were responsible.

I am not flustered that they are teaching that we need to get along with others. We do. Even the Bible teaches that (“Love your neighbor as yourself” ring any bells?). We must also realize that most Muslims will not try to kill all unbelieving infidels. Some are merely “cultural Muslims” (believing because they are required by law), and many just want to live their lives like any other sensible person.

My issue is that truth is glossed over or even removed altogether. If we cannot properly teach history we cannot learn from it nor grow past it.

And this has happened before.

God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8 “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. . . . If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.” (vv. 2 and 19)

Over the first few hundred years living in the borders of Israel, they constantly forgot and had to have judges sent to lead them, restore them, and save them from their enemies. (See the book of Judges) Then they were given kings who were supposed to write the Law in their own hand to help them remember God’s commands. Within a few generations (Solomon’s children) this was largely forgotten, and soon prophets were sent to remind them (most of them killed, see 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles).

In just a few short centuries, Israel went from a bastion of freedom and a nation of God to being destroyed and carried off to another country. This is God’s chosen people! They were destroyed … TWICE!

Today, a nation built on the principles of the Bible, is beginning to look a lot like ancient Israel. Even our President seems to be able to rightly say “Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation.” Sadly, this administration has done much to attempt to rewrite parts of history. This is not a political jab, just a statement on the state of our nation.

Are we going to remember our past, both on the national and individual levels? Are going to check ourselves on a regular basis or allow mistruths and outright lies guide our lives? Are we going to be people of redemption and grace or use the name of the Lord our God in vain by claiming to be His while walking away from Him?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 09/11/2011

In remembrance of the attacks 10 years ago, here is a poem I wrote after a bomb-scare at my high school (before 09/11/2001). Let us remember to pray for all of the families and friends of those lost 10 years ago today or as a result of the attacks.

still watching
daniel m  klem

the bombs exploded
the bullets fired
the damage wrought
cannot be measured
those who walk away
are angry with God
most of them wonder
how He could
let their loved ones go
and leave them there
all of those people
are completely unaware
remember God is watching
all of His children
and He cares for each
no matter where or when
it all fits into
His great Plan
because He loves
this thing called man

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 82.

Misunderstanding Love, Muslims, and Americans in recent history

I have recently read some interesting things. In keeping with this week’s theme of whether or not you may be in love with someone, I refer to an article from USA Today last month. Hay El Nasser and Paul Overberg wrote and article titled “1990-2010: How America Changed” published on August 11, 2011.

There were some interesting facts such as the top five states with largest latino populations (1) California, 2) Texas, 3) New York, 4) Florida, 5) Illinois), we have the lowest ever proportion of those 18-years-old and younger in our population (24%), and 40 million more people living in suburbs.

The one that relates to this week: in 1990, 26% of births were by single women, as opposed to 41% in 2010. Almost half of the births in this nation last year happened outside of marriage. This tells us something of the state of our culture today.

  1. Marriage is being seen as an outdated institution.
  2. Women find less need for a father to help raise their children.
  3. Men are not as involved in child-rearing.
  4. Abortion is not quite as acceptable anymore.

The article continued by stating that single mothers are higher among Hispanics (53%) and blacks (73%), and in Europe between half and two-thirds of births are to single mothers. It reminds me of the recent fad of teenage girls wanting to have children or “Octo-mom” and others like her having multiple children “because they can.”

We have gained a misunderstanding of love.

Moving on, while some Americans think all Muslims are violent and want to kill all non-Muslims, and some think Islam is merely a religion of peace and tolerance, both of which are misunderstandings, but I read an article today about the people in Afghanistan. Apparently, the vast majority of Afghans have no idea why Americans and others are in their country, and that includes not understanding what happened on September 11, 2oo1. It not only shows that most Afghans had nothing to do with the attacks (very rural living, after all), but “we” have done a horrible job explaining ourselves to the locals.

This reminds me that the Western culture has massive misunderstanding of the rest of the world, and really of itself.

Overall lesson I am seeing: impatience, selfishness, and arrogance is a common theme among people in the West. As we see the Church continue to slide in influence in our culture, is it any wonder?