An attorney's reflections on life, law, theology, sports, and other random topics. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This move "back" in one sense has been hurried and overwhelming in many ways. It feels that we are still trying to get our bearings with what has occurred, all the while not really feeling settled because we have not found a physical home; 75% of our stuff is still in storage and we are crammed into a 1 bedroom condo. However, given the economy and current state of things, we are obviously thankful to have a roof over our heads and have our needs provided for.

It still doesn't change the fact that we feel a little displaced, since we don't have the rest of our stuff and we don't have our dog, not to mention that this is the first year since we've been married that we have NOT had a real tree. Instead, we have "ernie" the three foot fake pine tree. It is currently sitting right by the computer monitor on our desk, but its the only semblance of Christmas that we have in the place. Half to three quarters of our state got blanketed with snow, and it would appear that we live in the only place that got enough snow that the clouds must have sneezed by accident and gave some to us.

But enough of "woe is me" on lesser matters...there is a feeling of a prolonged winter in my heart, because simply enough, I have not been faithful to prayer and reading of the Word. Life got shoved into high gear when we moved and I have been scrambling to keep up. As each day passes, I become more and more convinced that if discipleship habits are not established early, they are harder to establish much less keep. This feels like my ultimate failing with my little boy; we did catechize him prior to bed most nights when at our old house but as things got busier up until and now after the move, it has stopped completely. My personal devotional life has all but dried up, with the exception of a few mornings when I go to the ESV site and have the Bible read to me audibly (Max McLean, specifically). When tired and needing to "relax," I find myself craving "entertainment" when what I often need is the "enrichment" from the nourishing and satisfying Word of God. (not that entertainment is bad, but it often can distract from what you really NEED)

The wandering is much like the people of Israel, wandering in the desert, persisting in their ways; I know that I must come back to the Bible and to faithfulness to the Word and prayer, but life and my own desires more than often get in the way of that. The move back has been tough because as we picked up our mat to go East, to come back here in one sense, it's not coming back to anything we know, because while the area is the same, the people we know are gone. Starting over again is tougher, because I am so busy at work and now with us trying to get our little boy to sleep by himself, it is difficult to find time with each other, much less get to know anyone else.

We have been in the condo much longer than we anticipated (I actually had to go to the mall to buy sweaters because we didn't want to go to the storage place to search through and get our winter clothes out!). Added to that is the church search, which has somewhat been up in the air since we did not know where we would live; we've tried a couple churches, but neither of them are obvious as the previous two we attended (first when we were living here at Beach the first time and then the one back where we just moved from). We attended those churches, and we just knew that it was the right fit. It has not been that way this time. So we are discouraged to come to Christmas and not have either question (home or church) answered. All this added to the fact that I have not been taking the daily bread that is right in front of me in the form of the Word.

I pray that we find a church that we can support and they support us in life-giving community; the road will be difficult enough ahead but I cannot see us doing well without such support. (I have prayed often for an older man to be a spiritual mentor, but this has not yet been granted) But the Lord is faithful and He has brought us here for His glory, and He will be glorified, whatever that will entail. Merry Christmas to everyone and may He bless you all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How the Tiger Woods Saga Is An Opportunity to Share Your Faith

There has been much focus in the media since Thanksgiving with Tiger Woods and the stories that continue to come out concerning his affairs with other women. Many have had their opinions about him being a terrible person, that he needs help, that he needs to focus on his family, that he needs to get back out on the golf course, etc.

One thing it is very easy for us to do, even as Christians, is to sit in judgment over Tiger Woods. Especially when there is a pattern of behavior, even we wonder how one could act that way and treat his family in such a manner; or that all the people around him would allow him to "go down that road."

The thing that we forget, however, is that we are no different than Tiger Woods. Yes, I said it. Read it again. We are no different, in that we are sinners that fall short of a God that is infinitely good, just and glorious. Apart from the grace we have in Christ, we too would do such things. The restraining power of the Holy Spirit (if obeyed, of course), is an amazing thing--but it is a function of the new creation that we are in Christ. But even then temptation will continue to beckon us to sin, and we often give into these desires.

So what does this situation have to do with our witness? Well, people are very quick to take a loftier position over someone else when they falter, regardless if they harbor the same types of desires or sins in their own hearts (or even if they are practicing it in their own lives). This is why Jesus in the Gospels extended the law to include thoughts that were sinful. The law only addressed actions; the Gospel addressed actions PLUS our desires and thoughts. So when someone says to you, "Tiger should know better" or "Tiger is an awful person" turn to them and say, "you know, I've struggled with some things in my life." Sure, we're not all adulterers; but men, can you say you've never looked longer than just a simple glance at a woman passing by and taken those thoughts where they lead? When we look down on a murderer, have we ever hated someone so much that we, in passing, would wish to see them harmed or even dead? Have we not all lied to someone at some point or played fast and loose with the truth? Human nature is to ignore that we are at our base a sinful creature but instead to think we are basically good; the populace is therefore shocked at others who act sinfully. However, we are sinful and our souls are black if we were to look at them as God could see them.

Tiger Woods ultimately needs Christ, as we all do. He can surely go into rehab for any addictions that he may have to address behaviors, but at the root of addictions is a need that is not fulfilled. This can ultimately be a blessing for Tiger and his family if it ultimately leads him to Christ. We must pray for him that the grace of Christ would take hold in his heart and the Gospel would take root in his life. He is one of the most powerful and influential people in the world, but he is human and fallen just as the rest of us. But the hope is Christ. Praise be to God!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Serving the Least of These-A Meeting with Rodney

Today was just one of those days..our little boy did not sleep well last night and I was up late signing various documents for my job so the little sleep I did get was more than what my wife got. So we were both very tired, and our little boy did not nap at all today! yikes! All this was a recipe for me suggesting that we get out of the condo and go get something to eat, since it was 6:30 by the time I got home.

We went to Moe's Southwest Grill, which is VERY tasty and quickly becoming a favorite of mine simply because of how fresh the food is and how fast they make it. We ate our dinner and went outside when a homeless man, who we later found out was named Rodney, approached us and asked us for money for a meal. We paused and then asked him what he would like from the restaurant we were just in, he told us, so we got him a meal and a drink; while my wife was inside ordering it, he said he needed money to get to a shelter he knew of close by and I gave him a few bucks for the bus ride.

He stated he had no family and could not hold a job because he had been sick; he stated just yesterday he found out he had Parkinsons. I did notice a slight shake in one of his hands. A cynical person might have said that while he may have been poor, even homeless, the rest of the story was contrived or something to that effect.

However, these are the lost we are called to reach out to, these are the "least of these" that Jesus wants us to show his grace and love to. I am glad that my son was there to meet Rodney and to see that such folks are NOT outcasts or untouchables, or worst, people to ignore. To be sure, most people do not wish to be MEAN to the homeless, they are simply an inconvenience or a "strain" on their routine or finances. We must remember that before Christ, we were all lost in the sea of our own sin. It rather amazes me that the same people who would state that we need to preach the Gospel to everyone because we don't know who God has chosen or not chosen to be the "elect" (which is the truth, of course, no matter whether you are Calvinist/Reformed or Arminian), are the same people that have a predisposition to think that all people (homeless or otherwise) asking for help as Rodney did above are devious and are not to be trusted. Many say, never give them money, offer to buy the thing they request; while in some cases this might be prudent, is there never a time to simply give the money and leave the rest in the hands of God? Will He not deal with them at the proper time?

Showing Rodney a small amount of grace through the purchase of a meal and a ride as well as praying with him, I hope and pray that the Lord continues to guide Rodney to a knowledge of Him and Jesus whom He sent. May we all continue to be inspired to serve those that come across our path for the glory of the One who saved us from the depths of our sin!

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Monday, October 05, 2009

On Friendship

So moving back to the area has been a whirlwind and things are starting (somewhat) to get into a pattern of things. My wife and I both have come to a realization that while we are "back" in one sense, it's not really true for the most part. We're living in a city adjoining where we used to live and we don't really know anyone. True, she's got some online contacts in the area and I'm getting to know people at work (sort of) but no real connections as of yet. There is some promise in the church we've been attending for two weeks now, but that all hangs in the balance as we consider our house search.

Having moved back and forth across the state, I've come to some realizations about friendships. Like many other things, you only get out of them what you put in; however, it would seem to me that not all friendships are created equal, or to put it differently, some friendships are valued more than others. Recently I have put out some contacts to folks (from various times in my life) but have not received much response. And looking back, I realized that in some cases I initiated most of the contact, yet with others, I did not probably do the work to maintain contact; could be they were too busy..who knows. But I wonder if, being human as we are, one side might value the friendship more than the other; subconsciously, if we are the side that does not value it as highly, we might be courteous and giving but then let it go or allow geography or life to excuse us out of it.

I say this only as an observation because I do not think we set out to do this to others, but we simply prioritize our social obligations; geography plus the pressures of life often make it very difficult to maintain a friendship with a former neighbor or co-worker (though having lived with my college roommate for four years, we manage to talk at least once a month).

Friendship is something slowly grown, maintained and kept like flowers in a garden; often we are casual with our "friendship," maintaining our real friendships as we would on Facebook. I have close to 400 "friends" many of whom are contacts I made throughout my life, but not really friends. Real friendship takes work and time that, I confess, I don't often have. Many might blame technology or the fast-paced nature of society and the world around us, but we shouldn't get off that easy. That excuse just covers up the heart of the matter--our selfishness. "It's my time and I can do with it what I want!" Or we take on friendships not for their own sakes but what it can do to advance us either socially or professionally. And yet we are surprised when an actor or famous person dies of an overdose or dies penniless; everyone "liked" that person, but no one truly knew him or her, not like a true friend would.

Value your friendships and be faithful to those who are put across your path; they might really need it, and you may find you need it too.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Child-Like Faith

We were in church this morning when my son was trying to climb up my body as he always does to point out and/or reach the things he sees above him. You see, when we were still in Roanoke, there was a Sunday where he was a little tired and not really wanting to be there and so I thought we would have a fun game where I lifted him up and he touched the "EXIT" sign above the doors leaving the auditorium/sanctuary. From that point on, he has been convinced that no matter how high the object, if he is on Daddy, Daddy can help him reach it.

I was thinking on this today and drawing a parallel in how our faith should be with our heavenly Father. What we SHOULD do is look back on all the glorious blessings that He has bestowed upon us, how faithful He has been, and say: "God can get me through it, He can do anything!" But often we get bogged down in our lives and we get overwhelmed by the circumstances to remember that this is the God who parted the Red Sea, caused the walls of Jericho to come down and controls the very universe we live in. But children have a unique perspective in that in looking to their earthly parents, they are in wonder of what their parents can do and think they can do anything with their parents help. It might do us good to think of our God that way. Lord, give us child-like faith!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trying to Keep My Head Above the Water...

The new job is certainly challenging, and I'm just trying to keep up. I've been in several courts over the last week, learning the idiosyncrasies of each court and meeting so many folks it's hard to keep it all straight.

The whole "takes 25 minutes to get to work" (though it's only about 8 miles there) is an adjustment too, but it's all for the long haul and the end result.

Good news is the house in the Valley closes tomorrow, got those docs signed and Fedexed out today; God has certainly been faithful in getting that closed soon. After reviewing the settlement documents today and figuring in the real estate fees (that we would have paid even in a better market), we really didn't lose all that much in the end.

We did attend a pretty interesting church this past weekend, an Anglican church (Anglican Mission in America) where they had actual wine with communion and had some formal readings but also had two Chris Tomlin songs and Days of Elijah (Robin Mark song?). We were presently surprised; as usual, a smaller church, but this will likely do okay for the time being while we are where we are--especially since it's only 4 miles from where we live and not 20 or 25 miles!

So here's to another Saturday and hoping that sleep will come in abundance then...had too much to accomplish last weekend, so hoping that rest arrives then.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New City, New Blog Design

I decided that since moving back to Hampton Roads, it was time for a fresh start with the template, so that's why it looks different! It's been interesting to adjust to the new area, since it's not the Beach but rather a city near it, and so it's not really like we're "back" in that sense. Hopefully we can get the house closed back in the Valley and move forward with looking for something more permanent here.

I really can't believe I slept until nearly 9:30 today, but it felt pretty good. I strapped Josiah on my back and we mopped the ENTIRE condo floor (the only place that has carpet-like flooring is in the kitchen...we'll be getting a rug for that area for sure!). It took eight or nine of those swiffer pads and let's just say I'm glad it's clean now so we can let our little one crawl around without thinking about how dirty it is.

Hopefully we can finally get around to getting some substantial groceries today so that we can stop eating out. We ate at Moe's Southwest Grill last night, was quite a tasty meal--I'd never eaten there before. It was fast and quite good.

Monday will get here soon enough and hopefully Saturday the move of the rest of the stuff (at least what we need for now) won't take that long and with the help will be easy.

The place we're in has a doorman. A doorman! Our little guy has taken a liking to the morning doorman, though it's no surprise since he's an older gentleman, graying hair, etc (he's a softy for these types).

We may try out the zoo tomorrow, depending on how little J is feeling...should be fun!

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