God and Country

Woah! Struck a nerve, didn't I? Well so did the podcast that I have been listening to lately by Andy Stanley. He's the pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia - the church Ashley and I attended when we lived in Alpharetta. And to say it is an amazing church is an understatement! Anyway, let me share with you what I've been learning and convicted of.

God and Country. God and Politics. God and schools? God and...God and...that is the essence of what Andy has been talking about. God is being left out of so many areas of our lives, but not just our own lives. You see, America has what he calls a "national conscience". Not only do we have a conscience, but our country does too. The question is: What informs our conscience? You and I (and the USA)- we know it's wrong for a man to marry a 14 year old girl. In other countries? Might not be wrong. THAT is a "national" conscience. Agree?

Ok, so what informs that? Where do we get that "ought to" and "ought not to" feeling in our gut? Andy's argument is that as a Christian it comes from the Holy Spirit. It's God nudging us in a certain direction. But what about the country? We might have to look a little further back to figure this out.

How about 1776 and the Declaration of Independence? Phrases like "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" support the fact that we founded this country reliance on God - as creator, protector and 'influencer'.

Do you know when the last printed prayer was by a sitting US President? 1944. "D-Day". Our President literally stopped the nation. Cars, businesses, everything paused for 5 minutes and was asked by the President to pray for our troops. And every newspaper printed the prayer from the President in the afternoon press. I thought that was interesting. So long ago!

How about a little more current? Do you know what our National Motto is? "In God We Trust". That is the USA's National Motto! Could you imagine if every school started the day by declaring their own country's national motto? Why is it that that makes people squirm? It shouldn't! The Congress is who came up with it! In 1956. Our elected officials were the ones who thought that we need to put our trust in God.

How about even a little more current? Like at the end of every State of the Union Address, when the sitting President asks that "God Bless America". And yet there are law suits and fusses about taking the phrase "One Nation, Under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance.

It is interesting how far we have strayed, as a nation, from God. Our nation started with God, founded on principles laid out by Him. What if we were a nation that was dependent on God? What if we gave Him credit and were accountable to Him? I think we have gotten a little too reliant on "self" and that our country and ourselves are taking credit for all the blessings that we do have. In reality, lack of humility leads to less dependence on God.

I know I' rambling...and I'm really not trying to be political or anything! I just thought it was interesting what Andy was saying about the state of our country and how we have strayed from a basic foundation. I agree with him that we need leaders in this country that look to Jesus and who are influenced by Him. We need leaders in our own communities that do the same. After all, He created this place. We need to be accountable to Him and look to Him for guidance and leadership.

I don't often blog about Jesus or politics, or the two together. So forgive me if this strikes a nerve. I just felt the urge to write something! Until next time, look to God whenever you can. He's in control anyway!

Have a great weekend!


Maui, Masters, and more!

Well hello again friends! I left you last time wondering where we would go on our 1st anniversary. Well we ended up in wonderful, beautiful Maui, Hawaii! This was Ashley's first trip and boy was it a good one. Our main objectives were to a) relax, b) see some sights and c) relax some more. We accomplished all three!

Some highlights included:
- Twin Falls hike. We wandered around a rain forest near the small ocean town of Paia and managed to find 3 great waterfalls (one of which I jumped off of!), get really muddy, and find an incredible lunch spot (Cafe Mambo). A great day!
- Finding (reconnecting?) friends by a pool at the Ritz Carlton hotel. Got to catch up with Seth and Julie and realize that we need to be friends again!
- Dinner at David Paul's Island Grill. One of the best on the Island!
- Whale watching!!! Never done this before and it was AWESOME. Got to see 50 foot humpback whales in action...and by action I mean...you know...action.
- We relaxed. A lot. On the beach, by the pool, on our porch, it was GREAT!

If you want to go to Maui on the cheap, let me know...because we managed to keep it in the budget and also have a great time!

Other things going on in our lives is extreme jealousy. Well just me, really. Let me explain. You see I am a golf nut. The 2nd weekend in April every year means is Masters time. I'm not there. My dad is. That means I'm really jealous. Upset, really. Not at him, just that I'm not there!! I was blessed have been once, and it was incredible. I took Ashley's dad and we had the best day. Hopefully one day I'll go back!!

In other news, there are rumors that Ashley's sister Jamie will be living in Portland, OR for one month this summer. More on that later.

Well I guess I should stop hiding in my office where no one can find me and get out to the Sales desk. The live online feed of the Masters is just too good to pass up! Until next time, relax this weekend. Trust me, it's nice!