Monday, November 29, 2004
After a successful stuffing of this turkey, I'm back in the grind. I would prefer the grind to be Starbucks Holiday blend, but work will have to do for now. So I'm sitting in the office catching up on paperwrok, trying to settle the week's schedule. I need to put a few things down. Yesterday was a day of ministry. Not just a normal Sunday, but a realization that a lot of people have a lot of problems. I think I'm a good listener. I try not to just fix things. I always want to be part of the solution though. From students and leaders, I can see God doing some great things, but as in most GREAT things God does in us, it starts off with a delimma, a time of trusting. I see several situations that have no other answer but "wait." I've been in that place so many times. Nobody can give a solution except "wait." I hated it when people told me that. What do you tell people who know all the answers? I knew them all. I never realized in the delimma wait times, there was no other answer. God was changing me, letting me see my frailties and shortfalls. Letting me see myself. I usually pull up the "I gotta wait and walk though it" perserverance card. After how everlong the waiting is, a month, a year, or more, I look back and God shows me a glimpse of who I was and who he's making me. I see a bigger peice of the puzzle. The "why?" may never get an answer, but that's ok.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Turkey. I'm thankful for turkey. Yeah, Family's great, Job, house, cars that don't suck, it's all good, but the only thing I am really thankful on Turkey day is TURKEY. I'm thankful all year long for everything else. Turkey day is a day for the turkey. It's all I think about. I'll dream about it tonight. DEEP fried turkey. I can see pulling it out of the fryer as the peanut oil glistens and slowly drips from the beautiful brown carcass. What an experience. I want to get stuffed, take a nap, then go over to the inlaws and do it all over again. By the time it's all over with I will be so sick of it. It'll take me at least 363 more days to get over it. Thanks God, Thanks Family, Thanks Work, Thanks world, but if you get between me and my Turkey, I'll gnaw your arm off!! It's all about the turkey!!!
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Who reads this? I'm just curious. I have tried to be creative, but to no avail. Every time I think I have something interesting to write, I'm nowhere near a computer. My ADD never let's me remember what I was thinking 17 1/2 seconds ago, so when I finally reach an outlet to share my treasure of newly thought of creativity, but it's gone. I am an "in the moment" kinda guy I guess. I partly want to use this to journal, but not only for myself. I also want my thought processes to be clear to the reader. My brother's the writer, I'm the talker. But I'm just curious. Take a moment and leave a comment. Tell me who you are and where you're from. Leave me a link and I'll visit your site. I'll also try to make things a little more clear and interesting. Have a nice day.
Monday, November 22, 2004
I've heard it said by numerous so called successful people, "To fail to plan is a plan to fail." To some point, I agree. But isn't it also true that if you plan to succeed, you may still fail. Let's look from God's perspective. Do you really think Job made plans for his future? He was more righteous than any other man on earth, so I'm sure he would have made plans. What about Solomon? Yeah, the richest, wisest man that ever lived, but didn't he ultimately fail? OK, Moses. Deliverer of God's chosen people. Did he plan to enter the promise land? Oops, didn't make it. What about Saul? Did he plan his kingdom? Did he fail? Here's my point. Planing is not the sure fire answer to the human condition. I can plan and still fail. Who do I blame? Myself? Sometimes. God? Sometimes. People in general? Sometimes. Planning is important but needs to have some understanding behind it. If we are planning for our plans, goals, measure of success and dreams, we can gaurentee something will most likely mess it up. Is planning important? Yes, but can I measure success by the lack of failure? I think not. Is failure always bad? When trying to choose which of the 3 backpacks have a parachute and which have sleeping bags while the plain is 5000 feet from plummiting to the earth, failure is bad. When leaving youth ministry to pastor just because God told you too (and being SURE of the call) then having to take on a second job, put your family through hell, and leave after a year and a half, is it failure? Is it bad? One more. Going to a church as YM where the kids can't stand you and don't even vote during the call, while your wife is crying, saying, "How can you take me there" all because of the call. It gets worse. Not selling your house in the previous town, your wife going through the most severe depressive state of her mental illness in years, living in a 10 by 10 bedroom at your parents house... Is this failure? Did we plan for this? I'm a sorry planner. I do listen to God's leading and prompting. I do things that may seem illogical to most and I may even do things without the full consent of my wife (even though she has awesome character by following me even when she didn't want to). They may seem bad, but God works it out. I planned all this stuff, and I believe in some instances, I was set up to fail. Why? So God could teach me. To some, this is heresy. I can assure you I know A LOT about pastoral authority. I learned it by being a pastor and having a staff member stab me in the back. I also learned it through scripture and God's leading in my life. I later learned the lesson of Jonah. I could NOT deny his call to my current church without repercussions. I came no matter what I wanted. Was it bad? You better believe it. Is it still bad? Sometimes. Is it getting better? I think so. I see kids learning and living Godliness. I see them accepting people different than themselves. I see them getting sickened by their own sin and repenting before God. I see them holding each other accoutable. I see them learning how to live worship instead of just raising their hands during songs. I see them asking questions about relationships and setting standards for dating, drinking and partying. I see my wife struggle but become more beautiful with God's love everyday. Bottom line. I planned and I failed. Failure was needed for me. I never knew how good "good" could be until I saw "BAD." Thanks, God, for letting me fail and forgive me for not being willing to let you change the plan.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Gotta clean up the house today. We're getting ready for a girls only night on dating and relationships. I'll be at the church with the guys discussing the deeper meaning of life over halo 2. My wife and I are the loving parents of 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a rabbit. We have a 3 bedroom home in a suburb of Columbia, SC. Since all the kids either sleep outside or in the same bed with us, we have 2 bedrooms that are not used. My wife and I have COMPLETELY different ideas on how these rooms should be occupied. She wants them to be ready for guests. I want them to be ready for the clothes i don't want to hang up and the shoes I take off at the end of the day. junk boxes i dont want to take to the storage room, boxes of winter clothes i dont want to throw away, christmas decorations left from last year, suitcases that wont fit in the closet, so on and so forth. My reasoning is I have a lot more clothes that we do visitors, and I hate hanging them up. All my shirts have to be ironed after I hang them up b/c they get those little horned hanger marks on the shoulders. I hate to iron too. I told her the best thing to do is leave the broom and vac by the door so when a guest does come by, you can say, "Oh, you caught me cleaning. Sorry the house is a mess." Well, with 20 girls coming over, I have to clean it up. One room is almost clean. the other at least has a walkway between the 5 foot pile of clothes and junk to the closet. When I clean it up, it's like a treasure hunt. I have serious ADD and get easily distracted by an old school cell phone stuck in a junk box from 1994. So' I'll take the rest of the day off, day dream of Halo 2, hunt through boxes of junk and hang up clothes i'll never wear again. OR I may just shove it all in a closet so I can pull it back out when they leave. Yeah, that's the ticket. If you come over to my house in the next few days, WAHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T OPEN THE CLOSET. l8r Congrats to Blake and Bev on the birth of a daughter outside the hospital in the car. You'll get 100's of good illustrations outta that. www.statedog.com
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Posted from my Xanga site this morning. www.xanga.com/jayuff Sometimes, writing from the heart behind the mask can be dangerous. I see a lot of blog entries that are screaming out for understanding, but when veiled through poetry, or random thoughts that just explains the emotions to the person writing it, a lot is left for interpretation from the reader. Many things can come from it that may or may not be good. A personal journal is just that. PERSONAL. When it goes on the world wide web, it's no longer private. It can be tracked down by friends, parents, relatives, complete strangers, child molesters, rapists, politicians, and enemies. That's not to scare anyone, it's just a fact. I want to leave a thought because I've seen a lot of what appears to be dirty laundry aired on xanga over the last month. It scares me. I want to understand the delimma from the minds and hearts of the parties involved with the issues. I don't want to "figure" it out through interpretation, gossip and inuendo. If we're going to be a community, let's act like it and tell it like it is. Encourage where engouragement is needed, confront where confrontaion is needed, rebuke where rebuke is needed and forgive where forgiveness is needed. Above all, let's do it in LOVE. I am not naive to the issues, but I am misinformed. I am available as a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. I understand first and second hand dispair, lonliness, sorrow, anxiety, and hurt. I'll be glad to help anyone crying out or find someone who can. But please, make sure your writing is according to Eph 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth (or keyboard), but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear (or read on xanga or another blog site). all ( )'s added by me. What are your words portraying? Is it grace to ALL who hear or read? I think you can share deepest thoughts, emotions, and hurts and still hold to the standard of God's word. I love you all, I MEAN IT! I see the great need for clarification and I will seek it. I ask that you all do the same, but go to the individual who posted it, not a second hand source. God bless you all and HAPPY blogging!!! OK, why did I post this? A lot has gone on with students and college leaders sharing themselves through blogs and comments. I have always had a delimma with email and writing because of the like of emotional input. You can't see my smile or scowl, or how hard I'm tapping out frustration on my keyboard. I know the whole "got to get my feelings out" thing is real and valid, and have even contemplated going to anonymous route, but in my desire to be transparent and authentic, I also long to be graceful in my words. Eph. 4:29. I'm sure I'll get comments about fredom of speech and feeling stuff, and I'm all for it. But if your going to say it, say it clear. Say it real and loud, not hidden behind vague thoughts that can't be clearly understood. OK, I hope I haven't broken any unwritten rules of blogging. I work with student followers of Christ and I have encouraged them to use their sites for fun, encouragement, and real issues they face. All who read them leave with something. The question is WHAT? We've all done it, stabbed in the dark to try and strike at an individual through our posts, only to make ourselves feel better because we got them. Did we? Not really. Talk it out, go to the person, be Godly and confront. Oh well, soapbox dismounted. Have a great day.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Top headlines of 2003. Thanks Debbie Smith Crack Found on Governor's Daughter Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges (better than duct tape?) New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group Kids Make Nutritious Snacks (taste just like chicken) Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half (ouch) the best: Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
Monday, November 15, 2004
I got this via email from a friend this morning. With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, itis worth reflecting on the death of a very important person which almostwent unnoticed last week. Larry La Prise, the man who wrote "The HokeyPoky", died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his familywas getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then thetrouble started.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
This morning a parent of an 8th grade student came to find out how long someone would be at the church after Sunday School. I told him and it obviously wasn't late enough. The whole family had to go pick up the younger sibling at an event and that meant that Jonathon wouldn't get to stay. He had to leave early and miss Sunday School. BREAK Several years ago, I was ready to throw in the towel with Sunday Shool. We actually have 2. 8:30 AM on Sunday (I knew this was a joke) and 11:00 AM. Crunched in between was an hour and a half of "blended" worship music and a sermon altogether called a service. When I got to this church, I knew 8:30 SS would die within a few years. 11 AM had some serious work to do. The kids were so bored from the service, the only way to wake them up was to feed them KK donuts and mountain dew. 2.5 years later and I am amazed. 8:30 is our biggest group. These kids come awake and long to hear the word. I have a lot of core kids in that class. It also keeps growing every year. Some even stay for BOTH classes. Now back to the story, you know about Jonathon. He was very upset. I could see it in his face. He REALLY wanted to stay. We took out the XBOX a week ago, so it wasn't just for that. I also no his teacher really well. Brandon is a student at Columbia International University and is preparing for full time ministry. He has a heart for middle schoolers and teaches them more meat than I ever thought possible. Most of his kids are hungry for it. Now, he's got some help from Josh, also a CIU student, and things seem to really be bringing God glory. I can't remeber last time I saw a student visually upset because he couldn't go to Sunday School. God Rocks. Tonight, it's leadership calss with the highschoolers and accountability group. I'm looking forward to it.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I offended a coworker. Not by something I did, but something I didn't do. Ignorance I guess but that's no excuse. Made me feel like poo on a shoe. We got it straight. All is forgiven but it's still tough. There's no question, I am the guilty party. It's disturbing, my first response. I actually wanted to defend myself or maybe pass the buck. Just shows me God's still workin on me. Kids were out of school today so I got to go to breakfast at the awful waffle and play a little halo 2. Yeah, I love my job. I liked spending time more than the games. That's what it's all about. To see I can still hang out is good since I'm old, fat, and bald. They were talking about an 80's theme for their prom and it made me remeber the 4 went to from 86-90. Good days spending too much $ on food she didnt eat, goin long enough for pictures and getting crazy afterwards. My first all night parties. Big hair, frills on the shirt and mom's mazda. Oh yeah. Oh well, Time to go home so I'll call it a blog. l8r.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
I got Halo 2 yesterday and was amazed at the number of 13-16 year old guys at ebgames with their parents at 10 am. playin hookie just for a game. I know, it's halo 2, but I don't know how I feel. Maybe I'm jealous b/c I couldn't take the day off and my parents never would have thought of letting me do that. But kids seem to run the show in most households, but that's another post. I like the game, but I haven't had enough time to get tired of the first Halo. I've had it about 3 months and I was just starting to get good. I did play for several hours last night with a break to watch nypdb. come on guys, is that the way you're going to make andy normal? give him the ghost of jimmy (former partner) to tell him about God. I don't think this will go down in the annuls of great last seasons. read a real funny blog this morning. check it out. http://lylemorgan.blogspot.com/2004/11/its-hard-to-be-humble-when-youre.html. This guy is great. Well, getting ready for student stuff tonight. more later.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
6:45 AM - 6 hrs and 44 minutes after halo 2 was released and I still don't have it. This is not a complaint, but a personal victory. I have proven, I'm not an addict. I will wait at least til lunch to get my pre-ordered gift set, and it'll be late tonite before I actually play. I'm NOT addicted! I saw some groups from back-in-da-day on vh1 yesterday morning. First, I saw Duran-Duran. I remember the craze of big hair, "hungry Like the Wolf" and "Wild Boys." It was middle school days. Those were really tough times but the music gave me a way to lose myself. I remember all the popular people going to the concert. I didn't go because my dad called them sissies. I saw the tshirts for weeks. I was a teen age closet Duran-Duran fan. But seeing them now, I'm like (do you like how I just said "i'm like") dude, they're old and they sound the same. same electronic percussion 80's sounds, same chords and notes. Jus old people who're trying to look like they use too. Not impressed. I want the mullet to return as much as the next child of the 80's, but not duran duran. get a clue!!! You're OLD and IT's OVER. Then I thougth of bands that have weathered the time. Oh, then It happened. U2! Bono on a beach with a black jetlike trail of black smoke traveling from his back while he stands there, arms spread out, singing his heart out with well written lyrics and incredible guitar played by none ther than Edge. Now that's music. I didn't like the whole rattle and hum thing "I want to buy the world a condom" thing. The music was great but the jesture was not. either way, these guys have stood the test of time and have kept their integrity as musicians. OK, for those reading who have no clue what I'm talking about, i was just getting a little sentimental. Just remember the 80's had cheese just like the 00's have today. It'll all be laughed at later, but some things last. Good music, good mullets and good memories. oh yeah.
Monday, November 8, 2004
With a weekend full of yardwork and hauling off/selling junk from a house you own but don't live in, I'm glad it's behind me. We left Thursday after the rain while I was recovering from a migrane. Up early Friday to clean our storage building and get ready for an early saturday good ol' fashion yard sale. We set up by 2 AM Saturday and had our first customer by 6:30. A steady stream of junk treasure hunters got us a littl $ but after the gas, food and supplies, I think it would have been easier to light a match. If my house burns down tomorrow, I PROMISE I DID NOT DO IT!!! Change of Subject. My wife, Kim, suffers from Bipolar disorder. We have been in a battle for the last 12 years and have recently come to a place where medication and a great doctor has helped to control the swings. Within the last 6 months, we have been coping well with the disease and within the last month have been trying to wean off some of the meds. This has not been the best of ideas so far, but we are in close contact with her doctor. Please pray for us as we continue to pray for God's healing and coping. I have learned alot about myself, a lot about Christ ans His love for the church and can honestly say I wouldn't give up 1 minute with me incredible wife. She's my hero. Imagine your brain not being able to process "happy" or "content. No matter what the circumstance, your brain chemicals cause "lonely, "Anxious," or "extremely sad." I can't begin to fathom the turmoil. In working through TONS of prayer and TONS of meds, we have by no means found "NORMAL." We have found God's grace, mercy, and strength. That's all better than "normal" any day. So, as I put my thoughts out there for the world to see, I'm preparing for STAFF MEETING. We get to listen to a 70 something yr old man tell us about job discriptions and leadership. I'm not excited. But, I get to mentor this afternoon and share my vast array of knowlege and experience with a kid who's got a lot more to offer me, it seems, that I have to offer him. Whatever your day holds, I hope it's a memorable one. l8r
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
No surprises on the elections, and really no comments beyond only waiting in line for 45 minutes and being a part of the silent majority that did not have his civil rights violated by poll challengers and broken voting machine. My experience was quite nice, spending quality time with my wife shooshing me in line while talking on cell phone about crooked democrat union scare tactics. My biggest struggle today is with myself. I am my own worst enemy. Lead me not into temptation because I can find it just fine on my own. Over the last several days of fatigue and thinking, "that stupid extra hour sleep didn't work," I am finding myself relying MORE on God to sustain and keep me from myself. I have had times of the ungodly attitude, part of the old nature that use to never care if it was right. I'd just argue until somebody gave up. I guess God's allowing the tests to peel back the onion layer so I can see me. I stink. Thank God He's not through with me. My prayer has been, "Transform and Renew Me." I complain, but I've been at this long enough to know this is a good time. Testing and learning to not trust the selfness of me is a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing all that HE is doing in me. In the mean time, I'll try not to rip heads off, show people they are #1 with the wrong finger (what, I use my pinky, but it still has the understood meaning of the real wrong finger in my head), nor sigh my world famous Jeff Stilwell sigh when asked to inconvenience myself. I'll stick it out, enjoy relying on God, kicking myself for the sin of my stupidity, and waiting for the sight of God's transformation. l8r
Monday, November 1, 2004
I've been married 10 1/2 years and here are 10 things I would do different if I had the chance. 1. Spend less $ trying to buy happiness 2. Spend more time learning contentment 3. Less talking 4. More listening 5. Less asking "why me?" 6. More asking, "How do You want us to deal with this, Lord?" 7. Fewer cars 8. More friends 9. Less time worrying. 10 More time Praying and Meditating. There are at least a hundred more things I'd do different, and it seems that SO much of our struggles are of our own making. Debt, broken relationships, lack of contentment and more. I would love to go back and fix these things. It may be easier to deal with the things you have NO control over if you have not piled on more burdens of your own making. Maybe one day, I'll find out.
I am having a hard time dealing with life in general over the past several days. First the road rage, then frustration and fatigue, now having problems just dealing with everyday things that plague us all like finances, schedules, plans made for us by others, so on and so forth. I feel like I need a day away to refocus. These are not the things I normally have trouble with. I live with distractions. I am calm and level headed most of the time, but for some reason, my reactions have changed. I don't like it. I would appreciate your prayer and accountability (lovingly, please or I might rip your head off and hock a loogee down your bloody carcass). I may have to break some plans to allow time. Eh, we'll see. It's one thing to know all the answers and another to do them. More l8r.
I am boycotting the major netwoks today. I am tired of bad politics. I agree with the John Boy from the John Boy and Billy Show. He said last week, "If you haven't decided who you're voting for yet, you're just stupid." I tend to agree. Take a look at Ricks blog. http://ramblingadventures.blogspot.com/2004/10/why-christians-should-vote-their.html I share in his opinion even though it leads me to a different action. That's all I'm saying about politics today.