Monday, March 29, 2010

I Never Thought My Life Would End Up Like This

I never thought that my life would end up like this is something that has been passing through my mind the last few days.

I say that in a good way... See if you know you my story, or knew me in high school, you would know that I made some very unwise choices.  You would know that I had no regard for my life.  You would know that I was crazy and I'm sure that many of you thought you would attend my funeral by my 21st birthday.  I always thought that I wouldn't make it to my 18th birthday and when it happened I was shocked.
(I debated adding this picture of Bobby, Conrad and I from when were about 17)
I had no regard for anything...

When I was 19 I received the biggest wake-up call ever.  I was driving home to Big Bear Lake and either passed out at the wheel or because I was so drunk just don't remember what happened.  I ended up totaling my truck into the mountain and running from the Cops.  Those actions landed me in jail being charged with 2 felonies and a slew on misdemeanors.  I went to church the next week while I was awaiting my court date and my moms friend looked at me and said: "I had a dream you were a pastor and leading thousands of people to the Lord."  I did not return to church because of that comment.

In the next few months of my life I lost everything; literally.  After going to jail a few more times I ended up in jail on February 14th 2000 and said something like: "Jesus I need you; if you're real please get me outta here."  God answered that prayer.  I meet a guy five days later who invited me to church; Brett Wheeler if you never reached out to me I have no clue where I would be.

Fast-forward ten years, one month, and fifteen days.  I gave my life to Jesus Christ because the path I had chose was not working and needed some help.  I have an amazing wife.  I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters and I get to share with high school students about how to follow Christ in their life.  God has healed me of my drug and alcohol addiction.  I have internal peace and don't feel the anger that used to control my life.

I look back and if you told me twelve years ago that this is where I would be in life I think I would have laughed at you, maybe spit in your face, and went on with my life.  God thank you for changing me and putting me where you have placed me...

I never imagined my life would end up like this but I wouldn't change it for anything!
My Family: Charity, Sophie, and Leah

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sophie and Daddy Being Silly

I'm sure this title doesn't shock anyone!
Sophie and I were being funny and... well... she likes to see herself on the camera so it made it to youtube.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sophie Playing with Her Knife

So it just seemed appropriate to title this post "Sophie Playing with Her Knife" to catch your attention!
Sophie got this super rad wood kitchen set and she shows off her mad cutting skills.!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leadership In Judges

So this may be a rambling but its something that has been stirring in my mind and I need to get it out (that means it may be crazy talk).

I've been reading the book of Judges and noticing two things that are consistent in the book:
1. Godly Leaders rise up at a needed time
2. People do what they want when they feel God is not present

Right away Judges starts out and I get excited! I see this dude Caleb (Judges 3) rises up and lead Israel and I think; its all going to be ok. Then when he dies the people turn their back on God but this dude Othniel rises up to lead Israel. Once Othniel is dead Israel goes back to their ways and just does what they want but then this dude Ehud rises up to lead Israel and take charge. Well you are going to guess it that after he dies Israel goes back to doing the dirty and seeking out other gods but hope comes again in this guy Shamgar. I don't think I need to say it but once Shamgar dies Israel falls away again. Did I mention all this happens in just one chapter!

The reason this has been stirring in my heart and mind is I keep wondering if God has called me to step up and lead. Then I come to reality and realize that God has already asked me to step up and that is why I lead in our High School Ministry. See the truth is that God has called all of us to step up. The end result I see is: that without Godly leaders to step up the people will just do as they please and dishonor God. That thought breaks my heart and that is why I will constantly step up to help people find God in a generation that desires Him not.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Leah Joy Benson

So this post is much overdue!

The short story goes like this:
On Wednesday March 10th 2010 we took Charity to the doc to get checked out at like 1:30pm. Everything was good and then around 4pm she started having crazy contractions! At 6:45pm we decided that I should go to explode and help teach because we were having a Q & A night for the sex series (my wife is rad!).

I left Explode at 8:30pm came home, changed my shirt and then we were off to the hospital. We got there at 9:02pm and just waited... literally. We did some laps to make the contractions increase and finally at 2:00am we were admitted into our room. We had the best nurse that night; thanks Janet!

At around 3:30am I took a nap (hahahaha) and woke up at 5:30am when Charity's mom and sister arrived. Things progressed and then Charity started pushing and on March 11th 2010 at 7:06am Leah Joy Benson was born.
She was 9 pounds 1 ounce and 22 inches long
She stole my heart from the first minute I saw her and just like when her sister was born I cried.

My life will never be the same...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I want to be healthy!

I'm currently writing a final paper for my class "Personal Health and Growth in Ministry". Here is an excerpt from it on a topic that has helped me to see myself in a new light.

During this class we were presented with the (w)holistic model of the pastor[1]. Another way that this model can be described is a “Biblical Model of Wholeness”. The desire of the (w)holistic model is to enlighten the person on their entire being; stating that we are more than just one or two dimensional beings. The five dimensions that Harbaugh writes about are the pastor as a: physical person, mental person, social person, emotional person and then wraps up the model with overlaying our choices on top because our choices describe who we are. For our study it is essential to add being a spiritual leader to this equation and with that you come up with the entire person we are describing: a pastor. Dr. Peisner used the following diagram to bring a visual aid to the entire person that we are illustrating here:

The (w)holistic model helps to bring light to the many areas of our life; when one area is neglected other areas begin to suffer. When one area is not addressed other areas can overwork in an attempt to bring balance to the pastors life. Healthy relationships help us become a whole person; the difficulty with this is that we live in a broken world and every one of us has struggles we are dealing with. When you see this model, with this illustration, it helps to clarify and understand how complex we are.

The Hebrew word Shalom brings together the personal, interpersonal, and theological significance of the whole person in an attempt to point to different areas of “peace” in ones life[2]. Jesus commanded us to love the Lord our God first and then love our neighbor as we love ourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Therefore we need to focus on loving God, figuring out areas in our life that need special attention and working on right relationships with others. When we apply the (w)holistic model to Shalom, and Matthew 22:37-39, it brings to light the Biblical view of personhood described here.

When there is no peace in the life of the pastor it would be prudent to assess ones life and figure out what has gotten out of sync in the model. A major contributing factor for the lack of health in ministry is the pastor not correcting seeing himself how God sees him; many times the pastor does not view himself as a complete person how Harbaugh describes. The body is more than just a physical shell that contains organs, blood, muscles and bones: our life is dictated by our choices and those choices have shaped who we are.

There can be multiple factors that contribute to the life of the pastor spinning out of control. The major problem occurs when the pastor forgets to view himself as a person who is susceptible to failure and begins to think of himself as someone who cannot be stopped and is invincible. Harbaugh states:

“As we become more free from those limitations, we become more free for personal and pastoral response to others.”[3]

A simple analogy is that when a pastor overlooks their physical being and allows himself/herself to become obese the obesity can, and typically will, affect the other areas in the person’s life. The choice to eat could be a result of a deeper emotional issue that has not been address and instead of facing the issue the pastor chooses to eat in a response mechanism to deal with the pain of the unaddressed life situation. The obesity could also be a cover up because the pastor has failed to take care of his/her physical body resulting in the weight gain: the areas of our life are tightly connected.

[1] Harbaugh, Gary L. Pastor as Person (Augsburg Publishing House, 1984) P. 20

[2] Ibid. P. 20

[3] Ibid. P. 29