Categories
Observations Relationships

Sex, Marriage & Fairtytales

Marriage today is struggling. Divorces, adultery, misconceptions, etc are plaguing not only the marriage itself but products of those marriages (my generation and the next). My hope in this poem is to highlight the most frequent and problematic issues marriages face today while also pointing to Jesus as the ultimate healer, redeemer, and restorer of every marriage. Whether single or married, my intention would be that this poem would allow you to look more deeply to Jesus to either better your current marriage, or prepare for your future marriage.

Poem inspiration: http://realmarriagetour.com/

Book that inspired the poem: http://amzn.to/zdxCFv

Jeff’s INFO:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonbethkepage
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/jeffuhsonbethke
website: http://www.jeffbethke.com

Categories
Love Relationships

All I Want for Christmas Is You…

It’s the Holidays and your single. Everywhere around you there are couples in love wearing cheerful sweaters and sipping hot chocolate and peppermint mocha’s. Couples are grouping up, getting married, having babies and pretty much living a life that leaves you feeling lonely and excluded. You are standing under the mistletoe, lips puckered, but with no one to kiss…

Your friends all tell you “Don’t get into a rush, you’ll find the ‘Right One’ soon…” but you expected “soon” to have happened years ago and so you have grown impatient and maybe even a little angry. Trust me. I know. At 35 I’m still single. I’ve had a lot of great relationships (and a few not-so-great) but for some reason (God) they never worked out. I tried various dating sites and participated in various singles groups at church, but here I am, still single – just where God wants me.

I think that as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to appreciate the freedom that being single provides, but more than that, I’ve learned to understand that there can be a joy in the anticipation of waiting. Immediate gratification starts to sour after a while and always getting what we want can really take the fun out of waiting for something great…

This Holiday season is the first year that I have heard of Advent. I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and very active in church and ministry and so how has this wonderful tradition escaped me? While attending The Village Church in Denton they showed us this great video. It is a “must-watch” this Holiday season.

Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait…

I love this video and how it repeatedly says that the Israelites “Waited”. They waited on a Savior, they waited on Jesus. They waited for this Messiah that was going to set them free from the curse of the law. Abraham and Sarah waited. Over and over in the Bible we see people waiting for the Lord and when they wait patiently, there is this great blessing. But what happens when we get impatient? What happened with Abraham, Sarah and Hagar? We try to come up with alternative solutions that circumvent God’s perfect plan for us and in the end it only leaves us miserable and in pain.

So this year I rejoice in knowing that the Lord has something great in store for me whether that is a single life which allows me much more freedom and flexibility or a wife (and kids?) that will allow for more challenges and opportunity to grow. Either way I’m complete in Jesus Christ. This year I’m not looking around for a woman to fill some Holiday void. There are no voids this season. This year I’m focused on Jesus, His birth and His ultimate gift and I wait patiently, but with much anticipation and joy, for his return.

Be blessed this Holiday Season!

-Eddie Renz

Eddie is an avid fan of Lord of the Rings, Adobe Software, Dr. Pepper and Apple products. He is the graphic and web designer for The Hub.

Categories
Memoirs Observations Relationships

From the Mouth of Babes…

Every week I get to teach students on Sunday morning. I think of it as a privilege even though I often feel like nothing more than a glorified babysitter. Parents sometimes drop their children off 45 minutes before the start of service and I don’t know if it is because the students are so excited to be there, or if the parents are dropping of their children and then making a mad dash for a quiet caramel macchiato that can be sipped in silence.

I don’t mind the children being there early or late for that matter. I only have to get to see them for a couple of hours a week and it’s those last or first few minutes that can be quite enlightening. For instance, one of my only black students once said to me, “My parents are at the black church this morning, Morse St. Baptist, so they may be running late, you know how black churches are.” He said, holding up his hand and then saying, “No offense.” I wasn’t sure why I would be offended except that maybe my brown skin color is often deemed “questionable”. When I had hair that was mostly straight and black, I was rarely confused as an African American, but over the years my hair has deserted me, like so many of my friends, and the ones I have left I hold onto dearly, never realizing how much I cared until they were gone. Now that I’m larger and bald, I’m often mistaken as African American, but I can assure, offense for the misinterpretation of my race, is never taken.

This morning one of my particularly challenging students was standing next to me. This is a rarity as normally he is kicking balls as hard as he can at the ceiling or walls. I think his sole purpose there is to see if he can maim himself or another student but make it look like an accident. He loves to find a rolling chair and then push it as fast as he can toward the stairs and then jump in it. I think God has sent an angel to stop the chair right before it hurtles down the stairs with the student in it – but sometimes I secretly wish it would happen just so I could say, “I told you so.” But he never falls and I don’t get my wish.

And speaking of “I told you so’s”… I love them. It makes us feel superior and there is nothing like being right that makes me feel more superior than someone else. Then there’s that feeling that they received the punishment that they deserved because they hadn’t listened to you. So maybe you lost a hand, big deal, how you feel at that moment doesn’t matter, your pain is inconsequential what matters is, “I told you so.”

We smile at ourselves because we had foreseen the danger like a prophet or a psychic with a crystal ball. We pat ourselves on the back with pride and we gloat as we share the story with our friends, “Did you see Sally? Yeah, I kept telling her to stay away from the poison ivy, but she just wouldn’t listen. Now she’s practically disfigured by it, but I told her so.” We say, tisking our tongue and shaking our head with false sympathy.

So back to the student, we’ll call him Billy, was just standing next to me when another student said, “Hey, you guys are twins!” It was an obvious joke since Billy has the physical make up of slightly cooked spaghetti. He’s all arms and legs and when he moves he appears to be about to fall over at any moment – like Gumby, but thinner.

Billy looked up at me, his face contorting with terror as he stared at my head. “I am not that… FAT!” The word jutted out of his mouth less like an insult and more a statement of fact – however, it still stung like an insult as I was expecting the word: tall, bald, brown, big – I was not expecting FAT in all caps with an exclamation attached.

I’ve become accustomed to being called names. I don’t even mind the occasional insult to keep me humble, but the three students nearby made audible gasps of shock and dismay. “WHAT! Oh my word.” It was clear that even at 11 years old they knew it was impolite if not down-right rude to call someone fat. I would say that in America, despite that fact that the majority of us are over-weight, fat is quite possibly one of the most cruel insults, more hurtful than say being called retarded or ugly, neither of which is not a consequence of gluttony and ugly is really a matter personal opinion.

Billy’s parents pulled up and waved, I stuck my hand up and waved back as if I were on a parade float. Their was no real emotion in my hand because for a moment I was still on “pause”. That’s what happens sometimes when you are insulted. Your brain doesn’t know how to react, especially when you are at church, surrounded by others and in reality, the statement was true – I am indeed fat. Not rotund or obese. There will not be a need for a crane to lift me into my casket when I die, but yes, I am indeed FAT. I guess the only insulting part of his statement was the exclamation mark on the end of FAT! and since he is only 11 and being home-schooled, I’ll assume that his parents haven’t yet taught him manners or grammar yet and let it slide.

Categories
God Relationships

My Statement of Faith

I became a Christian at the age of 5 at Vacation Bible School but I remember little of that conversion. Shortly thereafter my parents became Christians and we attended a small Baptist church in the colony and began attending Word of Faith Christian Academy.

I honestly believe my conversion was real, but for most of my youth I believed that Salvation was something that could be lost and so I repeatedly prayed to receive Christ and “recommitted” my life to Christ at several church camps.

It wasn’t until I started attending Denton Bible Church in the 8th grade that I learned that salvation is a free gift that is not earned or deserved. Ephesians 2:8,9 It is not something that is given and then taken away. If salvation could be lost then it would mean that my righteousness was what was keeping me saved – and clearly that is not the case.

Salvation comes when we confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. Romans 10:9, John 3:16

Encountering God is something that is life-changing and having received Christ at such a young age I often took his grace and security for granted. It has taken me years to truly begin to appreciate who he is in my life and my desire to attend seminary is to better understand him and his word.

Categories
Relationships

God Wants to Encounter You

I often find myself crying when I watch a movie where people are hurting or happy. I used to wonder why I could feel so much, but I don’t worry about that much anymore. When I see a story where a mother has lost a child on tv, I know that it’s just a movie, but I cry for those mother’s who have actually lost a child, or a daughter that was raped, or a for a boy who’s parents divorced. My heart swells up inside my chest like a balloon and I’m transported to a moment of clarity, or reality so intense that I cannot hold back the boiling flood of emotions that is always simmering just below the surface.

I get emotional when I see some great act of kindness or integrity or honor. I find myself weeping with joy when I see a soldier reunited with his family or a father reunited with his son.

I’m no longer ashamed of my emotion or my capacity to feel or love or understand. It may appear a weakness to some, but I believe it is my greatest strength. We love Christ because he first loved us and so when we emulate Christ we love others and then in return we are loved.

Lately I’ve been shown love in such great capacity that I cannot help but see that people love me because of Christ and hopefully because I showed them how much I love and care about them. To me, each person in my life is special and I hope to somehow touch their lives by just loving them for who they are and letting them know that they are special to me.

There was a time in my life when I found myself chasing despair and I literally cried out to God asking him to send me some friends. I was desperate and God heard my cry and now my cup runneth over with friends – and not just shallow friends, but true friends who I can count on in a pinch and who don’t just tell me that they love me, but show me.

I’m humbled every day by how great my life is and how good God has been to me. For so long I found myself whining on this very website feeling sorry for myself or being upset about something in my life, but what I’ve learned over the past 34 years is that God truly is in control and he knows what is best for me.

I don’t know who all reads Posted Note anymore. I don’t write here as much because when I’m happy it seems I have so much less to say. But if you are lonely, or tired, or if life has got you down… asking Jesus into your heart won’t immediately make all your problems go away. You may have heard that, but it is a lie. What is true though, what is a sweet reality is that with Jesus on your side you always win. There is a sweet peace that comes from knowing that God works all things out for good for those that love him and although it might not seem like it at the time when times are tough – he really is working behind the scenes making awesome things happen.

So if you don’t know Jesus. If you don’t have a personal relationship with him. If you have not encountered the love of God, then what are you waiting for? God wants to be part of your life. He created you to glorify him and Christ came that we might have life and have it to the full.

I love you and hope you are blessed.

Eddie