Monthly Archives: August 2011
Good morning baby!
My child, there is part of a country song that I love that says something like, “I’ve had my moments days in the sun… moments I was second to none… moments when I did the best I could do… looking at me now you may not know it… but I’ve had my moments”. Now that song is about a homeless man looking for life to be over, but I see it as a reflection of great moments in our life. With that being said, I wanted to tell you about the first great moment in my life.
10 years ago today (yesterday now) was the first best day of my life. It was 2001 and I was Grandma Julie’s house for the summer in Glendale, Arizona. I had a huge group of friends that I hung out with every night, I had my first real girlfriend, and I had a future as hot as the Arizona sun! For as wonderful as all of those things were, nothing could compare to August 22, 2001 for a much bigger reason. It was the day I was baptized.
My child, the moment was set up perfectly. You will never lay your eyes on a more beautiful sky at night than the portrait sunsets of Arizona. I told my mom that there would be a dozen or so people coming over to witness… and as we stood on the porch waiting for people… more than 50 showed up! It was the first moment that I knew God liked to party!
As pastor Kevin baptized me, affirming my commitment to follow the Lord, my heart raced with excitement because for the first time I fully understood what a relationship with Jesus was all about. I can still remember the dunk and the rise and I truly felt like a brand new person when the water washed over me. Shortly after that moment my friend Leslie told me about a Kenny Chesney song called “The Baptism”. I listened to that song, fell in love with it, and it has been firmly rooted in my head ever since. It goes something like this: “It was down with the old man and up with the new… with faith to walk in the way of light and truth…. I didn’t see no angel… just a few footprints on the shore… but I felt like a newborn baby craddled up in the arms of the Lord”.
My child, the only days that has compared to that day was the day I married your mommy and the day I found out about you for the first time. Those days were also days that made me feel new… that I was on top of the world… that God was celebrating beside me as his family grew! My child, you will have many wonderful days like these that I call “moments”.
They are moments because they are wonderful building blocks to a solid life in Christ, but they soon become part of your legacy and history. Baptism was an eternal commitment to follow the Lord, our marriage vows was an eternal commitment to your mom, and a positive pregnancy test was an eternal commitment to love you always and give my life for you if need be.
For as wonderful as Arizona was in that moment, and as devastating as it was when it all went away, the foundation was laid and the purpose for that summer was clear… Arizona was a tool God used to change my heart. I believe in destiny and paths, and I believe had my path not gone through Arizona that summer… had I not found Christ Church of the Valley that summer… and had I not been accepted by a group of young Christians… my life would not be where it is today.
My child, when your “Arizona moments” happen… and there will be MANY for you… enjoy them and cherish them… let them become part of your legacy, but DO NOT let them define you. Look for what God is doing in your life at that moment and build on that! Do not fear these moments or yearn for them when they are gone, celebrate the knowledge you learn and the story you can tell. You will learn so much from these moments and I am excited to share them with you!
178 more days!
I know that your eyes have barely formed… you have a thin layer of skin… and we aren’t even sure of your gender yet… but take your dad’s advice… start working on your resume because you are in debt!! The second you are born you will be $43,000 in debt thanks to our country’s “ooooh it’s shiney, I need to buy it” approach to spending.
In July… when you were the size of my thumb… our politicians were arguing over raising our debt to $15 trillion! To give you an idea of what that means exactly… I would have to work 277 million years to pay off our country’s debt! Unfortunately for you, you inherit the debt from your mommy and daddy’s generation, your grandparents generation, and their parents generation! Fear not child, for this debt has all been “necessary” spending… just ask your Senator, whomever he/she may be! Let’s take a look at some of the things the government spent our tax dollars on and you will understand:
– $1.8 million grant issued to a neon sign museum in Las Vegas… yes child, a neon sign! Those 1960s Budweiser signs are really important to our national security!
– The National Institute of Health was given $800k in stimulus money to study a STD affecting African males “no no’s”
– $1 million was given to several zoos to create poetry about animals
– And my personal favorite, The Institute of Health spent $440k to study behaviors of male prostitutes in Vietnam.
My child, this is where you have a SERIOUS opportunity to make a difference not only in your life but also in the world. Ignore those that tell you the problem is “too big” and “not your concern”. People looked at Mother Theresa and wondered “why would she choose a life of poverty when she could be a millionaire”? People told Michael Jordan that he wasn’t cut out for basketball. Child, you become a winner in life by doing the opposite of what these politicians are doing.
Our country is being run by millionaires that are making decisions for us. They treat us like we are little helpless children… and they “know what is best for us”. They don’t listen to the groundswell… they push their own political agendas and treat our money like it is Monopoly money. Our President is spending millions of tax payer dollars to travel the country in a luxury bus to campaign. Don’t get me wrong, Republicans also spend recklessly… I just don’t have any examples right now!
The point is my child, this is not the way to live life. My promise to you is to teach you about a different world…. a world of hope but also a realistic world. In this age of social media, we can get our hands on any type of news… good or bad. Sadly because of it… we will never have a president that is respected by the majority…. faith in our stock market… optimism in our job market… etc. We are a people well informed with opinions… many of which are wrong.
The world you will learn about is a world in which Jesus came and conquered and will come again. This world is nothing more than a platform to share love and kindness… not to make a quick buck or have a few minutes of fame. When you go to school with $10 of lunch money in your right pocket, mommy and daddy will give you an extra $5 in your right pocket to buy lunch for someone that cannot afford. Each year at Christmas as you open your new toys, you will choose some of your old things to give to children that had no presents to open.
Remember my child, your money doesn’t go with you into the Kingdom, but debt can shackle you on your journey there. I used our government as one example of irresponsibility, but my child, there are MANY other examples of how greed and possessions can shackle you. My child, work your butt off in everything that you do. Your dad never bought into this concept until just recently. I shackled myself by giving my work life a 65% effort 99% of the time. That just doesn’t cut it. I failed to remember that I ultimately worked for the Lord and that he was not pleased with my efforts. Shortcuts are for quitters… and I have been the biggest shortcut taker out there.
It took me to age 32 to realize this lesson… and my child I want to leave you with this wisdom… it IS possible to give 100%. You praise God each and every day that he is in control of your school, work, and dreams. Every dream is achievable… but you can’t accomplish dreams giving a 65% effort 99% of the time. Whatever it is that God leads you to, you SMASH it! Worry less about your paycheck and more about your passion for your work. Don’t fall in love with shiney things like our government… fall in love with using your earnings to make this world a better place. Generosity will always supercede selfishness and the harder you work the more generous you can be!
But do this for me child… make sure you take a vacation and visit that neon sign museum 🙂
Yesterday mommy and I went to the doctor to get an update on how you are doing. You are growing bigger each day… and we can see evidence of you in mommy’s belly! Dr. Bazan found your heartbeat and you were not happy about being woken up. You started kicking mommy’s belly when the doctor applied pressure. Is that a sign of temper or are you just ready to get out of that womb?!
As mommy and I drove to Springfield this morning I saw a sign along I-70 that said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”. Child, there is nothing more important in life than this statement. Mommy and I love you like crazy and would give our life for you, but our love is only capable of a fraction of the love that God has for you.
Child, there are many things in life that will bring you both joy and sorrow. The only unconditional, unshakeable, and consistent source of strength is Jesus. Whatever you go through in life, Jesus will always be there. When you mess up… Jesus is there to help you through it. When you suffer a loss or heartbreak, Jesus’ heart breaks with you. When you celebrate a victory, Jesus celebrates with you. Jesus is much more than just a Christmas morning filled with presents or an Easter Sunday filled with Easter eggs. Jesus is an every second of every day.
Daddy hasn’t always understood this amazing love of Jesus. Great-Grandma Frantz raised me to believe in Jesus, and I knew who he was, but there is a difference between knowing OF Jesus, and KNOWING Jesus. Through our relationship with Jesus, we are defined. I became a follower of Jesus in the Spring of 2000 and was baptized in the Summer of 2001. Those two moments were the most defining moments in my young life.
Prior to knowing Jesus I was a quitter. A few people picked on me in Middle School and because of it I gave up. I gave up on making friendships, basketball, baseball, and everything that I loved. I sat around feeling sorry for myself and felt like I had no value in this life. I went to Ohio State and was so busy making sure that I stayed unhappy, that I missed Jesus knocking on the door of my cold little heart every day. Looking back on it I see just how much I missed the people that God put into my life early on.
Thankfully I had a couple of persistent friends that encouraged me to go to Panama City for a Spring Break Christian retreat. I was more about chasing girls at that time… but I thought, “why not”. My child, it was the greatest decision of my life to that point! One night I was out walking on a pier, overlooking the Atlantic, when the scales fell off my ears and eyes and I heard Jesus call me. It was clear, “Jason, this is not the life I planned for you. Come with me, be my child, and you will be set free in ways you cannot fathom”. I was overwhelmed and broke down in tears. The next day at a conference I confessed that I was a sinner and I accepted Jesus in front of about 5,000 college kids.
My child I am not saying that life was instantly a breeze from that point on…. it was quite the opposite. I had jobs that made me miserable, friends that were bad, and girls that were not nice. I continued to sin against God in ways that I sometimes didn’t even realize. The difference my child was the feeling of conviction, repentance, and the desire to be better. All along the way God was healing me in ways that I never realized I was hurt in. I began to trust and God delivered me a network of friends (look at all your “uncles”… Uncles Bruce, Brent, Renner, Paul, and so on). I stopped being afraid of life and God used me in Costa Rica and other ministries. God healed me of decades long depression, and I began to find joy in the life he provided me. God taught me how to love Him, which enabled me to love others and ultimately led me to your mommy and now to you.
My child, faith is a journey and not a destination. The day you enter a relationship with Jesus, expectations for your life change. You become for the poor, for the helpless, for the kingdom and not the world. You roll out of bed and help someone move because that is what Jesus would do. You tutor a classmate to help him pass because that is what Jesus would do. You buy lunch for your roommate because he/she lost his/her job. I often fall short of this my child, but God has used YOU to show me my own short-comings.
I pray that I can be an example of what a follower of Jesus should be like. When I fail, I hope you hold me accountable. I can’t wait to serve with you by my side… feeding the homeless, serving the community, and traveling the world sharing the Gospel. In my dreams I see you as a great humanitarian, but more importantly, I can feel that God is going to use you in amazing ways!