Fraud

I’m such a fraud. I went through and read some of my old blog post and realized that I am just a big fraud. I write about grand ideas and notions but never follow through with a single thing. Why?

Well, I think that I have a similar problem to most people out there. I get distracted by life. My previous post was all about getting healthy and running Spartan Races. Since that post was written last year I have worked out all of 2 times. Just a few days after that post was written I lost my job. I had already signed up for 2 other spartan races for the year and was prepared to have the most healthy year of my life. A little more than a year later I can say that I was unable to run either of my other two races and did not stay on course with my health goals.

There are actually a lot of goals that I didn’t stick to last year. I was not less than 210 lbs by December 31. I did not have my level 1 CrossFit instructors license. And, the most disappointing was that I had somewhere along the way forgotten what my real responsibility in this life was: To love and steward my family in a way that honors God.

I got completely turned around. I was living selfishly and wasn’t concerned with fixing it.

But then, almost a year to the date of being laid off from my other job, I was fired. It happened out of nowhere. On Tuesday and Wednesday I was being complimented for my performance. On Friday I was fired, without reason. Talk about a wrench in my plans. I was so confused, and hurt, and lost. I had drifted so far away from where I wanted to be that I was shaken deeply by this change. I had no where to turn but to the Cross and to my family. And that’s what I did.

That was more than a month ago. I am still unemployed, but man am I happy. I began to work on me, on my interactions with my wife and kids, on my perception of what others thinks of me, on being better. When I say better, I mean that I think and react and see others out of a place of love. I want to see my relationships as opportunities to love people the way Christ loves me: without expectation, without wanting something in return, without judgement.

I have a long way to go but I will get there. It will not be easy, and it will not be quick, but Jesus says that I must change and so I will do my part in transforming my lifestyle to bring praise to the Lord.

If you are still reading I would like to recommend some books that are really stirring my spirit as of late:

Scary Close by Donald Miller

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk

Spartan Spirit

The few people that read this may not know me on a personal level, and those that do mostly know me through social media. What you may not know is that I have a new addiction. I ran my first ever Spartan Race on Feb 15, 2014. It was a 4 mile obstacle race the wound its way through Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Bucs) and right through the heart of this wanna be warrior. For years I have wanted to be more manly. I’ve want to be an “Outdoors-ie” kind of guy. But, it’s always been easier to watch someone else do it. Not anymore. I had an absolute blast training and competing in the Tampa Spartan Sprint. Well, maybe competing isn’t the right word, let’s change that to finishing. Either way, it was something that I want to do again and again. I have been more active in the first 2 months of this year than I have in the previous 31 years, and I’m ok with that. During my 6 months of training I managed to loose 20 lbs, but not a penny more. Reflecting back on the last 6 months I’ve realized that I should be down 40+ lbs. But, no matter how hard you workout or train, the weight will stick around if the diet isn’t right.

As I seriously began contemplating what I can give up for lent to help kickstart a healthier lifestyle, I realized that this Diet vs Exercise dilemma has a very interesting parallel in my life, and maybe in yours.

I’d like to think that I have a Warrior’s Spirit within me, a Spartan Spirit. I would consider myself a strong Christian. I would also consider myself a strong person, physically. But am I fit? The answer is a resounding no. My christian health, much like my workout schedule, is fairly consistent. I go to church regularly. I attend a small group. I even lead a small group. I’m also a lead volunteer for the youth group. But even though I have all of that going for me I’m still not Fit. Much like a workout routine needs a strong diet to back it up, I need the bread of life to sustain me. If I’m not digging into the Word of God on a regular basis then my diet is week at best. I have no nourishment. It’s not a “30 day cleanse” when you go an entire month without reading scripture. Scripture should be my daily Fish oils, or protein shake. And, just like supplements, if I miss a day then it’s that much harder to get back into the routine.

I eat everyday. I workout 3-5 times a week. How much more full would my life be if I read Scripture everyday? If I spent time helping someone, or doing Kingdom work of some sort at least 3-5 times a week?

Just like when my diet gets out of control and the pounds come back and the energy fades, the same happens when my spiritual diet goes awry. I don’t model God’s grace like I should. I don’t love my wife like I should. I don’t treat others with the respect they deserve. I get lazy and complacent in every aspect when I stop caring about what I put in. If this is you, please take heart that you are not alone. And please don’t give up. I want to challenge myself and anyone who reads this to a 30 day challenge (those seem to be popular in the fitness world, 30 day juice fast, whole 30, etc…). I will be setting alarms, creating reminders, whatever I need to do to make sure that I get into scripture at least once a day for the next 30 days. Please join me. Let me know through a post where you are going to camp out for the next 30 days. I am going to start in Proverbs. It is my favorite, and I can really dig into what is being taught. Let’s do this!

Here We Go

Here we go folks…A lot has happened over the past year. None of which have I blogged about. It’s time to catch everyone up. December (2011) I lost my job two weeks before Christmas. A few days after Christmas I was asked to join the staff at my church as the High School pastor. After 9 months, and countless bouts of side spliting laughter, I was asked to stepdown from the position. I’ve never been given a clear answer, and it was completely unforseen, but I honestly believe that it was for the best. I could not have said that back in Aug/Sept when we were going through the emotional destress and cofussion that accompanied the churches decision. I will be completely honest and say that I still feel pain from the situation and the way it was handled, but I know that everything has a purpose.

Shay and I are now on the road again. As some of you know, I used to work construction. I used to travel all over working on natural gas and oil pipeline jobs. Well…I’m back at it. Shay and I began the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class soon after leaving the church. After reading and studying the program for a couple of weeks we decided that what we were called to was not a life of debt. We wanted to be free from the financial burdens of car notes and student loans. We wanted the opportunity to control our money and not let our debt control our money. Shortly after beginning the class and wondering how in the world we would be debt free before we were 65, I received a phone call from my Dad offering me a position back on the pipeline. It was a great offer. We decided to take it and now we are back on the road.

One aspect of living on the road that has changed drastically for us is the addition of our beautiful little girl. It has made things slightly more difficult, but not impossible. The hardest adjustment for all of us has been leaving behind the friends and teens that we spent so much time getting to know. We both agree that Sarasota would be a great place to return to once the debt is dead, but for now it is difficult living so far from our community and friends. Small Texas towns don’t offer the same varity.

Hopefully I will be able to update this along our journey for financial peace. And hopefully we survive the quest. This task is not easy. It is incredibly difficult, but it will be worth it if we make it to the other side. Please pray for my family during the months to come. Pray that we draw closer to one another. That we learn to love more deeply the company and community of strangers, and the warmth of family.

Chocolate Milk

I love me some chocolate milk. Actually, I drink a glass of homemade chocolate milk almost every morning for breakfast. No, I didn’t make the milk. And no, I didn’t make the chocolate syrup. But I do put them together each morning in my favorite FrogHead Grill cup(courtesy of Clinton, MS) and stir until there is a beautiful brownish-gray liquid for my enjoyment. And that is all done at my home, so home-made.

I am a chocolate milk snob to be honest, so it has to be just right. I can’t have too much chocolate. But at the same time, I can’t have too little either. I want chocolate milk not diluted chocolate syrup, or slightly discolored milk.

What’s strange to me is that chocolate milk is amazingly similar to our hearts. I know that sounds incredibly odd, but let me explain. You see, to make chocolate milk you have to add the black syrup to the white milk. Once the syrup is added and the milk is stirred there is no going back. You can never get the chocolate out 100%. The same thing goes for what we “take in.” Our minds have the ability to store images and phrase for an indefinite amount of time. I can recall images I looked at when I was ten years old. And there is a good chance you can too.

So, I guess the question to ask is: “What is your syrup?” I mean “What are you putting in?”

I actually spoke on this topic just last night. If we are called to remain pure of heart, then how can we expect to be pure if our mind is polluted with Pornography, Gossip, Slander, Violence, Covetedness (I couldn’t come up with a better word there)? What we influences our everyday influences our hearts just as much as it does our minds.

Thankfully for us there is Grace. Even though the milk of my mind will never be chocolate free again, I still have the ability to overcome the muddled mind that I have created by relying on the Papa’s amazing grace.

I want to leave you with this. Your milk may already have syrup in it, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep adding more. Be careful what you put in.

My name is Jason White, and I am sinner, saved by grace, and loved beyond what I deserve.

Prisoner?

So, I am realizing more and more that I am just not that smart. I know this will baffle those of you who read this, but it is true.  The more I learn about scripture the less I actually know. That seems kinda of backwards to me.

The particular scripture that has slapped me in the noggin this morning is 2 Corinthians 10:5 “…, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Every? Did he say every? I believe he did. This may not seem like much to some of you, but this is what i got out of it:

I used to think that this verse applied to the bad thoughts. The “I hate that guy” thoughts. And it does, but what struck me today is that it applies to the “I love Jesus so much I’m going to become a monk” thoughts too.

Paul urges us to take “every” thought captive.  That even means the thoughts that are of good intent. Too many times today people will just start a ministry because they feel like they have been called to it. But, have they takien that thought captive and poured over it with prayer and wisdom? I have many times jumped far to quickly to do something that I thought was “from God” because it felt right. But, it didn’t turn out for His glory. And most of the time, made me look foolish.

I’m not saying that Papa doesn’t call us to be Radical, or Outrageous. But, He does call us to be wise. I want to be grounded and wise, but the only way that I can do that is by not acting on impulse, even if I think it is what Papa wants. Take your thoughts captive, whether they be good or bad, and see how Papa will bless you.

My name is Jason. I’m a sinner saved by grace, and washed by the blood of the lamb. Desperately dependent on my Savior.

Sin is your nature

I feel as though I have missed the mark on the sin debate. I feel like most of us have. I was raised in the camp that says you have to adhere to a strict standard of rules and regulations to be sin free. I later joined the camp that states all of my sins are covered by Grace: past, present, and future.

But…

I used that as an excuse for my sin. As a way out. As a way to give up responsibility for my actions. “I’m a sinner, that’s my nature. I still love God, but I still sin.” Which is true. We all sin. But, what if we quit using Grace as a crutch? Let me open that up for you.

I try to fight my sin, and since I can’t defeat sin I will always be fighting sin. So, I give in and just say that Grace will cover my sin(and it does), but I feel like a prostitute. I do what I want and then let God cover my butt.

I will never be able to defeat sin. But Papa defeated my sin at salvation. I only have to fight against myself. Against my bad habits. Against my learned thought processes. And guess what, It isn’t easy. It’s a down right battle. Oswald Chambers puts it like this:

“The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily. It is done only by a series of moral choices.”

It is tough, and unfortunately I don’t always make the best choices, which in turn makes it that much harder. But, I’m trying. I don’t want to cheapen my salvation by doing whatever I want because I know Grace will be there to pick me up. I want to live a life that is pleasing to Papa. I want to be sanctified to Christ. And, I am the only one who can do that. I have to make the moral decisions everyday that will draw me closer to Him.

So what habits or prejudices do you have that need to be diligently and deliberately stricken from your life?

My name is Jason. I’m a sinner covered by grace, washed in the blood, and tying to live a life that is pleasing to my savior.

Self-Realization

I don’t know if it’s just me, or maybe there are other almost 30 year olds out there trying to figure themselves out. I feel like I have lost touch with what makes me tick. With what brings me true joy. I keep getting things wrong. It seems like I keep screwing up.

I feel like I need to “fix” myself. I have been trying to come to a point of Self-Realization. To a place where I have everything figured out and I know what is wrong with me. A place where I not only know what is wrong with me, but why, and how to fix it.

But, what if that’s not the point?

Papa doesn’t want a self-realized man. He simply wants me. He wants the broken me. He wants the hurting me. He wants the me that gets mad at his wife sometimes. And the me that sucks at managing his finances.

He wants all of my Crap just the way it is. He wants everything that I have to offer Him. Good or bad. He wants me and all the baggage so that He can use it. He wants to pour me out, all of me. He wants to use my bad for His good. He wants to use my weakness for His strength. He wants to use my ugliness for His beauty. And He wants to use all of me for His Glory.

Devotion to Papa is not about realizing all of your faults and failures and trying to fix them. It’s about laying all of that down and allowing Grace to wash over you. Let Papa change you, you aren’t strong enough to do it on your own.

My name is Jason. I am a sinner, a failure, and a bastard son. A ragamuffin covered by grace and washed by the Blood of the Lamb.