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In all my years of hearing the Christmas story, every message I heard focussed on Mary’s faithfulness. This year, I noticed something different.

Mary didn’t have a choice. <gasp>

Mary was told what was going to happen. She wasn’t asked. She did agree with the plan, but it really wasn’t up to her.

Joseph was the one with the choice.

He had already made up his mind to divorce Mary (It wasn’t his kid she was carrying), but he chose to obey God and stand by her.

He changed his mind. He went against his gut. He went against tradition. He chose to stay. He chose to obey.

I wonder what would happen if more fathers would choose to stay and obey?

Merry Christmas

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This one may get me in trouble.

Before you throw rocks, hear me out. I’m not bashing a candidate or espousing my political views. Just calm down, it’s only a title.

I’ve gotten a few e-mails over the past few months basically stating what the title of this post is saying. Extensive research has been done in the books of Daniel and Revelation to “justify” the above statement. The people doing said research obviously believe in the Bible, or at least in the books of Daniel and Revelation. They believe it enough to draw the parallel between Barak Obama and the Antichrist. <Stay with me.>

These researchers then put this list in the form of an e-mail in order to convince others that their supposition is correct, that Obama is truly the Antichrist. <This is where it gets really interesting.> Then they encourage you to vote for McCain, or at least not vote for Obama. LIKE IF OBAMA WAS THE ANTICHRIST WE COULD DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!

LIKE NOT VOTING FOR HIM WOULD CHANGE ANYTHING.

THESE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THE BIBLE ENOUGH TO NAME THE ANTICHRIST FORGET THAT THAT SAME BIBLE SAYS THE ANTICHRIST WILL COME.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 breathe, breathe.

Let me see if I get this. The Bible, God’s word, says the Antichrist will come, but if I don’t vote for him, God will change his mind? He’ll send out a revision to the Bible due to popular vote? Or maybe God wasn’t telling the truth. Wow!

I think these people who believe the Bible so much forget that God is still in control, and he reigns on His throne! Their “intelligence” has led them to minimize God’s power and fooled them into thinking they are greater than God.

Vote for whoever you want. God will use them. If that person turns out to be the Antichrist, so be it. That is part of God’s will. He says so in the Bible.

Now you may throw your rocks.

Friday again! And it’s payday for me! Here’s five for Friday.

  1. T-ball is going great! I would never have thought it would be this much fun. And I’m encouraged by the numbers of fathers supporting their children.
  2. My shower is tiled. Luke did a great job. Now I have to get to work. My goal is to be finished before Thanksgiving.
  3. I’ve started listening to God (that’s a weird sentence). He’s been telling me for years to get involved with the Anchor House. Well, I finally did. I start Tuesday as a mentor and a tutor.
  4. I hate being in debt! With Dave Ramsey’s help the Mathews household will be debt-free (including the house) in 7 years or less! I’m hoping for five years.
  5. I’m starting to feel more focus and clarity in my life. I think #3 and #4 are related to this bullet. Listening to God and doing His will definitely play a factor in this. Look out!

That’s it for me. Happy Friday!

It’s been a long two weeks. One week spent fighting a storm, the next week trying to recover. Here’s five for Friday.

  • My wife’s sick. Sinuses. I think she’s allergic to the baby.
  • Boo Boo Cat won’t be having any Boo Boo Babies. He’s getting fixed today. (from the description of the procedure, it sounds like he’s getting broken today)
  • We had a meeting at work yesterday. 151 people are getting laid off. Not cool. I don’t think I’m one of the 151, but no one knows.
  • I may have been promoted to head t-ball coach. Not sure yet. More to come….
  • I’m preaching at RPC on Sunday. A fun time is guaranteed to be had by all.

That’s it for me, what are you up to today?

This Positive Post Tuesday is a very special one. Today I will highlight my favorite guy in the whole wide world. It is also special because today happens to be his birthday. This PPT is dedicated to my son, Joshua Raymond Mathews. He turns five today. He signs up for t-ball today. He starts kindergarten next week. He’s growing up rather quickly.

I remember the day he was born. The doctors had to take Ginny in for an emergency C-Section due to Preclampsia.(blood pressure, white blood count) Since she would be completely out for surgery, I had to wait in the hall. This was not cool. The woman I loved the most and my son I had never met were going behind closed doors, and I didn’t know if either would return. I spent a lonely forever in that hallway. Then, like a shot ringing out in the silence, I heard a baby crying. And even though I had never met him, much less heard his voice, I knew that was my son. My Joshua. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. My life was never the same from that day.

We’ve had numerous adventures since then. We’ve been fishing, four-wheeling, to baseball games, swimming, and countless other fun activities. We’ve also learned together, me teaching him about God and about life and about sports and about animals – and him teaching me about unconditional love and patience and forgiveness and faith.

Last year, his cat ran away. We prayed for him every night, but after a week I tried to prepare him for the fact that his cat probably wouldn’t return. Josh refused to give up, and after 3 months of Josh praying, his cat returned.

Josh has the softest heart of anyone I know. He gets that from his mom, but I had a soft heart as a kid.(It hardened over time) A few weeks ago, Ginny wanted Josh to watch a movie with her, but he didn’t want to. That night, as he lay in bed, he began to cry. We went in to check on him, and he was crying because he felt bad that he had disappointed his mom by not watching the movie with her.

I may be biased, but he may quite possibly be the best son ever. Happy birthday, Josh. Daddy loves you.

Why so serious?

positive-post-tuesday.jpg

Brody Harper does a recurring themed post every Tuesday called Positive Post Tuesday, where he writes something positive about someone ore something. Kristen wrote a great post about her grandfather that made me cry. More on that in a subsequent post.

My positive post is about a good friend of mine. He was one of my first youth kids when I became a youth pastor. He is a great kid, with a great heart. I’ve said this numerous times, but if I were to ask him to walk through the wall, he would do it. I remember once I did a message on sin, and he came to me as serious as a heart attack and said, “Mr. Mike, sometimes at football practice, I cuss. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” It’s funny, but when you’re faced with half of your youth group wrapped up in sex and drugs, it’s refreshing to have a potty mouthed football player. Then there was our first camping trip when I was telling ghost stories and he came to me and said, “Mr. Mike, I don’t know if those stories are true, but I’m really scared. Can you not try anything to scare me any more tonight?”

So my Positive Post Tuesday is dedicated to my good friend Teddy. I love this kid. He is by far my favorite youth kid ever. I probably shouldn’t say that, but it’s the truth. If any of my other kids are reading this, you are #2, right behind Teddy.

I picked Teddy because he is such a great kid, with such a huge heart, but I picked him for another reason. Teddy is having a rough time right now. I won’t go into detail, but understand that his world has been turned on its ear recently. For a teenager, that’s devastating. Through it all, though, Teddy hasn’t given up. He hasn’t whined or complained. Matter of fact, if you saw him you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. Most of all, he hasn’t lost his faith in God. If I could make everything better for him I would. But I can’t. So I pray for him, and I love on him.

Quick story and I’m done – The first time I ever met Teddy, he had a fork in his pocket. I asked what the fork was for, and he said, “I thought we might be eating sometime soon.” Classic. Keep your head up, Teddy. I love you.

I can’t believe I just wrote that title.

Anyways, Boo Boo Cat is doing OK, aside from the fact that only 3 of his legs work right now. I don’t know if his back leg is broken or what, but it doesn’t move. And, it seems that I am the only one that he likes. And by likes I mean tolerates without trying to eat my face off.

Riley has claimed the cat as Riley’s Boo Boo Cat. That’s not good. She tried to hug and kiss the cat, much to Ginny’s chagrin. Anyways, here’s a picture of Boo Boo Cat.

BTW – Josh is praying for Boo Boo Cat. Big things happen when Josh prays. Seriously.

It took four days and seven messages, but they finally got it. Tonight was one heck of a night. I don’t know if it was the “Last Night of Camp Syndrome” or what, but a lightbulb came on for some of the kids. For others, they decided to quit acting like their problems didn’t matter and face them head on. I don’t think I’ve cried so much in forever. Seeing teenagers broken and raw, aching for God. This is why I do what I do.

I witnessed one of my best kids, my rock, my go-to guy lose it tonight because he can no longer go on pretending that life is great and he can handle what life throws at him. It kills me to see what he is going through.

I saw another kid finally understand and come to terms with his faith. The switch came on, and he sobbed for an hour with this realization. He got it. It makes sense.

Others found their voice. Their purpose. Their passion.

It is safe to say that the kids I left with won’t be the kids I return with. They’ll look the same. Slightly redder. But they will be considerably different on the inside. My prayers have been answered. And yours, too.

My new prayer is that it not fade in the weeks after camp, but continue to burn inside of them. That they take the burden that God has placed in their hearts and put hands and feet and a voice to it. That they not be ordinary any longer.