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.

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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.

It wasn’t me

So one of my favorite movies when I was younger(does saying that make me old?) was Disney’s RocketMan. I thought that was the funniest movie. One scene in particular. Fred Randall(main character, aka: Idiot) is supposed to go into hyper-sleep for the trip to Mars(I love it when Disney puts out scientifically accurate films). But, before he can enter his sleep chamber Ulysses jumps in. I forgot to mention the chimp named Ulysses. Anyway, Fred has to remain awake for the 6-7 month voyage due to this mishap. When everyone else wakes from hyper-sleep, they find a mural painted with astronaut food and the spacecraft is a mess. The first thing out of Fred’s mouth, “It wasn’t me, Ulysses did it.”

Fred is a Blame-Shifter.

I am a Blame-Shifter

A blame shifter(term I learned while working under the tutelage of Jason Albright, thank 7 Habits) is someone who tries to pawn their mistakes or shortcomings on someone else. “Johnson, why isn’t that report on my desk” “Well, Alice was supposed to let me know what font you wanted it in, but never got back to me, so I couldn’t type it up yet.”

I blame shift with God all of the time. Like with my bible challenge. “I haven’t had time Papa, I’ve been busy with work, and family.” B.S. I have had time, or I could have at least made time. I want to blame something or someone for not doing what I know needs to be done.

I think we all blame-shift. In fact, I know we do. It’s a heck of a lot easier than taking responsibility for our actions and choices. But, I don’t want to anymore. I want to back up what I say with what I do. If I say that I am going to read through the Bible then that’s what I am going to do. Now if I say that I am going to try out for the Steelers, make the team, and take Troy Polamulo’s job then I have obviously lost all touch with reality. But I want to be someone of integrity, even if it’s only between me and Papa. For some reason that no one seems to understand, we try to blame-shift Papa more than anyone else. I guess our feeble minds can’t repeatedly grasp the fact that He knows everything. If I’m not loving my neighbor it doesn’t matter to Papa that he sneezed on my driveway 3 years ago while I was cutting grass and throwing the mulch in his yard.

If we take the ability to blame-shift out of the equation then life get’s “too hard”. Well, that’s life. Life was never promised to be peachy-kine(broccoli, Veggie-Tales). Will you accept the “Hard Life” with me?

My name is Jason, and I’m a sinner saved by grace and covered by the blood of the lamb.

Karate Adolescence and Mutant Amphibians

I loved the Ninja Turtles as a kid. I had the action figures, the van, and even begged my mom to buy me the cereal(I didn’t even eat one bowl, sorry mom).

I was also quite fond of the Karate Kid movies, I wanted to be skilled in the art of Martial Arts(that seems redundant to me). I wanted to be a level seven black belt and be able to defend myself with honor.

Well today I do have a black belt with seven notches, but they are used for holding up my pants at different “stages”(which really means the fat times of my life). But why do I no longer dream of being a karate hero, or a mutant sewer dweller? Because I have grown out of that.

If I can grow out of a dream then why can’t I grow out of gossiping, and judging others? Why can’t I grow out of being lazy, or putting myself before my family?

I can. All I need is: 1. A swift kick in the pants(my wife tries this from time to time but my cat-like reflexes keep me out of trouble) and 2. God

So… really it’s just God(He will graciously do all the pants kicking I can stand). He laid it all out in scripture easy enough. As we get to know Papa we see the things in our lives that we want to change. But, we can’t change those things on our own. We need Him to change us, to push us, to challenge us. And it all starts with surrendering it to Papa.

The Ninja Turtles wouldn’t be skilled in the art of turtlejitzu if it weren’t for Splinter. Ralph Macheio wouldn’t be doing the Crane kick if it weren’t for Mr. Meogi. So how is it that I think that I can become some great person without guidance?

The best part of all is that the guidance you seek is probably all around you. First, through the love of our Savior. Second, through His words in the form of scripture. And third, through the community around you. If you don’t have a community around you that can encourage you AND challenge you, then it’s time to find new community.

I no longer want to dine on the milk of Christianity, I want the fillet mignon and loaded potatoes.

My name is Jason and I’m a sinner saved by grace, covered by the blood of the lamb.