Monthly Archives: January 2007

The “Middle Ground”

How many of us think we’re on the “middle ground?” We say, “I just want to be in the middle of the Bible–not too far to the left or right.”

I am coming to believe more and more that the “middle ground” is a myth. How can we get past all of the teachings that are hammered into our brains over our lives from parents, friends, Bible class teachers, and professors?

I recently came across what I consider to be a great illustration of exactly what I’m blogging about. I read an introduction to a “new conference” aimed at college aged kids that claims to be the “middle road” we’ve all been looking for.

I am including a quote from their website that explains their idea of “unity” and non-controversial worship. You be the judge. Is this the middle road? Is this the non-controversial worship we’ve all been looking for?

I put blanks in the place of the name of the conference because I consider one of it’s founders a good friend and one who serves God in his own way where he is. I do not write this to poke fun, but to learn more about our messed up denomination and try and truly find out what it is that God is wanting us to do with it.

Here’s the exerpt, let me know what you think: “This is the Middle Ground you have been searching for. We want to serve and worship God without all the controversy. _____ is focused on what is right instead of what is wrong. Our goal is unity. It is our desire to provide an atmosphere comfortable and free from controversy. As such we ask everyone attending _____ to “consider others more than themselves” and focus on unity.  We humbly request just worship–– no instruments, no clapping, no controversy. Look forward to seeing you at _____.”


Baseball Tryouts/Prayer Request

The first night of tryouts is over.  It was a cold night for baseball.  The temperatures dropped to nearly freezing before it was over. 

The great news is that Brandon had an awesome first day.  He hit well in the cage with the coach of the varsity team throwing BP.  That was great.  His fielding was nearly flawless.  He made great throws from every position in the infield.  I just hope the coaches saw it that way.  They are the only opinion that matters as far as making the team is concerned.

If it sounds as if I am bragging on my boy–that’s true.  He is a great kid who deserves, based upon his ability, not my bragging, to play on this team. 

Thanks for all of your prayers for him.


On a more serious note, Danielle is doing OK right now with her seizures, but is struggling with her ability to test at school.  Although the school is not pressuring her about it, she is putting a lot of stress on herself.  She had a headache today that we believe was triggered by the stress.  Keep praying for her as I know you all will and that means so much to Ellen and me.

Baseball Underway In North Alabama

There are few places in this world that take my mind off of “life.”  Being on a date with Ellen, playing drums, spending time with friends are all great ones.  One special place for me is the baseball field.  When we are there, my mind is on nothing but that.  There are no bills to pay, there are no worries.  We just play ball and watch others do the same. 

Yesterday and today we were able to be on the diamond with a bunch of other guys taking BP (batting practice for all who don’t know that), hitting some infield, and just having a good time.  The weather was pretty good yesterday.  Today was blistering cold.  It was still a good time.  As they say, a bad day at the ball field is better than having your fingernails ripped off.  (That’s not how that actually goes, but it’s what came out.)

Everyone is proparing for Monday.  That is, Lord willing, the beginning of try-outs.  They are slated to begin at 3:45.  We are all a little nervous.  Brandon says he is not and I’m glad for that.  He needs confidence going in after getting cut last year.

So give us some “prayer props” and lift Brandon up this weekend. 

Divine Retribution

“Divine Retribution”  These words are the concept with which Job and his friends wrestled.  His friends claimed that Job had sinned and therefore deserved punishment.  They claimed that his sin put him in the awful place in which he found himself. 

Job, on the other hand, was convinced that he had not sinned so as to deserve the depth of punishment that her was receiving.  He was so convinced of this that he demanded an audience with God in order to “prove his innocence.”  Imagine that–taking God to court!

They were all wrong.  Divine retribution whether it is punishment for sin or reward for righteousness is not how this world works and it’s not the kind of relationship we would want with God.

First, I am too great a sinner to  ever have a righteous leg to stand on.  My proving anything to God as far as my innocence would be a futile attempt.  Second, God is too loving a God to play games with us like this.  Our covenant relationship is not a “God-gives-because-I-didn’t-sin-today” relationship.  It is all dependent upon Him.  The good things He gives us are not rewards like I give my puppy when he performs for me.  I say “sit” and if he does he gets a treat and a pat on the head if not there’s no treat.

Do you ever play those games with God?  I have.  Last week was one of those weeks.  Danielle hurts and I lash out at the one who can heal her.  My thinking process went like this.  “I am your servant.  I am a good husband, an OK preacher (my thoughts not necessarily the thoughts of my church family), I am a pretty good father who takes up time with his kids and tries, feeble as it is, to teach them about You.  DANIELLE DESERVES A BREAK HERE!”  Then I begin to defend her to God.  She’s just an innocent child who wants to feel better.  Give her a break.  And so on and so on.

I’m sure that none of you have ever struggled like this, but here are some things that I am learning. 

1. If God could be manipulated by the good that I do, He would then become like me.  The same would be true for you.  God would be a puppet on each of our strings.  We could make Him do whatever we wanted.  God doesn’t owe me anything.

2. I am learning that God does care even when we are in the struggle.  I know it doesn’t feel like it, but I have to stop lashing out at Him and start reaching out to Him.  It is not right for me to think that God has turned against us or is ignoring us.  He is right here with us in the struggle working to our good something for our future.

3. I am learning that God’s blessing are not always packaged in ways that I can recognize.  We are, in a sense on, a new road.  Our problem is that we have using old road signs to travel on this road.  The teaching of divine retribution is one of those old road signs I’m having to replace with trust.  We must just continue to trust and see where it is that God is taking us through this journey.

4. The fact that Danielle is suffering is not a sign that He has forsaken us.  He is with us and our focus must still be on Him. He knows what we need much better than we know ourselves.

I hasten to say that I am still learning these things.  Our life is like a story and we are in the middle of it not at the end.  I hope that we can enjoy the ride in a way that even in the midst of hard times we can find that peace the surpasses all understanding and live in the genuine joy of God’s love.  All the while we trust Him to work in us all that is His will for our lives.

Incredible Experience!

Today at Creekside’s family gathering for worship, I and my family experienced an incredible event.  You know the Sunday drill at your church.  It’s probably much like our “normal” Sundays.  There is an expected amount of songs, maybe a video or two, likely there are prayers, Bible readings, communion, and an occasional testimony–all followed by a sermon where the minister or pastor stands and delivers a twenty to thirty minute speech about God.  The day is then over and you race to the lunch table somewhere.

Today was different at Creekside.  All week long our family has had one tough thing to deal with after another.  You’ve read about some of those things in mine and Ellen’s blogs before this one.  When I got the church building today, my mind was racing about what I would say.  I didn’t want to “fake it” and just present a sermon that was cold and without the “realness” of a true word from God.

All week long I had tried to write something down to say to the church family, only to have my mind go blank.  I had struggled with what to say and so I made a decision.  I decided to be honest with the family and let them into our pain.  I talked about the grace of God and how He is he only hope, but that this week I really felt hopeless.

I am amazed at our church family.  I learned that we were not the only ones who had a rough week, but many had.  I listened as others shared about struggles.  Allowing them into our pain was something that ministered to them.  We learned a valuable thing today.  We can lean on one another.  We had many visitors and I was somewhat concerned about how they would feel.  One man told me that he learned that we were not just a church, but we were a family.

More than anything I learned how God can work through us for one another.  I went to the meeting today with an empty cup.  A cup that I tried all week to fill with doubt.  I was reassured in my faith walk today.  My cup, as well as my family’s, was filled with the strength of my church family.  Through the Holy Spirit, they gave us the measure of encouragement that we needed to get through this week.

I just wanted to share that with my blog family who also has given us so much encouragement this past week.  Thanks for letting us share with you.

A Note From Ellen

Tonight I write instead of Keith.  I have been reading all of the comments left for Keith and our family concerning Danielle.  I just wanted to say thanks.  It is such a terrible and helpless feeling to watch you child go through something like a seizure and know there is nothing you can do to help. 

I don’t understand and I have cried out to God so many times.  I know in my heart that God has a plan for Danielle and that hope is what gets me through.  I have often wondered how people who don’t know Jesus can deal with all the troubles of this world.  I have a wonderful family and awesome friends who listen to me and cry with me, but without God to lean on I don’t think I could deal with it. 

Danielle is such an encouragement to me.  I believe that having to endure the stress with not only being a teenager but also the seizures has caused her to grow.   She is one of the strongest people I know.  Even though she questions why, she has never let her seizures interfere with anything she wants to do.  Knowing there are people in so many places praying for her, I know without a doubt that God will take care of her. 

My prayer is that someday God will take the seizures away, but if He doesn’t I know He has a great plan for her life.  Thanks again to all of you.  May God bless you all.                        —Ellen

Tough Yesterday!

Yesterday was a really tough day in our household.  Danielle had probably one of the worst seizures that she has ever had.  She woke up not feeling well and complained about “feeling different” than she had ever felt before.  It wasn’t really dizziness, but yet she said it was kind of like that. 

 She got ready for school, but her “weird feeling” continued.  As we gathered to pray she stood up abruptly and headed toward our bathroom.  Then out of nowhere her hands flew into the air and she began to seize.  It lasted for about four minutes total.  It seemed like a lifetime.  Her breathing stopped for some seconds and we called 911.  Their response was awesome.  They were here in a flash, but by the time they arrived she began to come out of it.

She is at home from school again today.  We really didn’t want to start the semester like this, but I guess it’s not our call to make.  The school has been very understanding.  The principle told me yesterday to tell Danielle not to worry about school, but to get well.  The drumline instructor just listened to me cry and said that he was there for our whole family.  I am so glad for their understanding and concern.

Ellen and I covet your prayers for Danielle and for our whole family.  As is always after one of these episodes, Danielle struggles with trying to understand why.  She asks, “Why is God doing this to me?”  She asks, “I know He can take these away, why won’t He?”  She said last night, “I know He has a plan, but I still wonder why.”

Can I be brutally honest with you?  I wonder these same things.  I don’t think it’s doubt, but it’s like the Psalmist prayed, (Psalms 22:1-2 NCV)  “My God, my God, why have you rejected me? You seem far from saving me, far from the words of my groaning. {2} My God, I call to you during the day, but you do not answer. I call at night; I am not silent.” 

Yet, when we get right down to it, we can only go to Him.  The very next Psalm begins, (Psalms 23:1 NCV)  “The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.”  He is the source.  That’s why we continue to pray.  I told Danielle that we could not give up on the only one with the power to remove her seizures.   

I will continue to pray!  I will continue to trust!  I will continue to lean on my family, friends, blog family, and church family!  All the while looking forward to a time when there will be no more tears, temptation, pain and suffering.