Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Little History

My wife has joined the blogging community EVERYDAY AT THE HOPKINS HOUSE. She is a pretty good writer and has some good viewpoints on life. I love to hear her comments on what I write.

But that is not what I am writing about today.

People who know me know my back story. I was voted most likely to drop out of school as a sophomore at Douglas County High School. I tell people that I was such a stand-up student the staff decided to ask me back for a fifth year. I was so flattered by their offer I accepted their proposal and graduated with a 1.3 GPA.

I am also the only one in my immediate family of 6 to accomplish a high school diploma.

My family also had financial struggles growing up. My sister and I worked jobs to try and help support the family (really she has to take most of the credit because she helped my mom pay rent) and that often meant that work was more important than school. My last semester in high school I missed 20 plus days. Hard to do well at something you don't show up for.

After observing my mom and dad getting a divorce and the financial struggles they endured, I decided I wanted more from my life. I decided that the Air Force was the right way to go. I mean, it was that or construction and I watched my dad tear his rota-tor cuff in his shoulder, get better, then a few weeks after his recovery he fell off a roof and broke his back. Yeah something was telling me that career didn't end so well for most people.

I wanted to be in bomb disposal, EOD or Explosive Ordinance Disposal. Apparently if you bounced a check in High School and have no depth perception they really don't think you are cut out for this career field. I disagreed at the time, but hey I just didn't want to fall off a roof and break my back so whatever they gave me was a better option than what I had.

I ended up a Special Purpose Vehicle Mechanic. It really was my last choice and the mechanical aptitude was my lowest scoring area on my asvap test. In basic I really wanted to try out for Para-Rescue, but I didn't think I could do the minimum amount of pull-ups. I had everything else smoked. I ran a 10 minute 2 mile, had 50 plus push-ups in 2 minutes, and 50 plus sit-ups in a minute and a half. I can't believe I didn't think I could do 12 pull-ups.Oh well, hind sight is 20-20.

There are a handful of events between now and then which would take more time then we have now, but getting to the point..........

I was never supposed to be where I am at today.

I was never supposed to own my own home.

I was NEVER supposed to have a Bachelor's Degree.

I was never supposed to be married for ten years.

I was never supposed to be successful in my career.

I have recently been accepted in to Drexel University to begin a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development. I finished my bachelors degree with a 3.1 GPA. Maybe I wasn't Suma Cum Laude like my wife, but it is a far cry from a 1.3. My wife and I have a wonderful marriage. It's had it's ups and downs, but she is still the apple of my eye, and I think I am still hers as well. We have owned our own home for a few years now and thanks to help from family, we have been in remodel mode for a year or so now.

I recently was offered a contract worth 3 times what I currently make.

I turned that one down.................. some decisions take more time than we have now to explain. Maybe tomorrow or next week.

I know what I have is a blessing from God and He has created me with a purpose in life. It's in this belief that I stand on any accomplishments. God's provision has been great in our lives and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He has delivered me through what was supposed to be to what IS now. The big money gig is only a shadow of what He has in store for my family and I.

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Making That Decision

You have to appreciate life.

Everyday there is something new- or the potential of something new. Each sun rise is slightly different than the last although it rises at the same place everyday. With each new day there is a decision to make a direction that could change the course of the rest of your life and potentially the course of your family's life as well. This was a concept I realized at a pretty young age. I remember being so consumed with not kissing anyone until I found the woman I was going to marry. It was a big deal to me. I didn't want any one else to have my affections but her. I did manage to keep that value, but I MAY have kissed my wife before we were married.

It's the little decisions that impact the future.

It's like working out really. All it takes is the decision to go to the gym, or take that walk, or go for that bike ride. Doing a little everyday is way more healthy than blowing up a work out and doing that once a week (which right now would still be better than my current participation).

The same goes for my spiritual health. Spending time focused and talking to God 15 minutes a day is going to keep me in better shape than waiting until Sunday's 3 hour service or until there is some emergency needing prayer.

Focused prayer keeps us in tune with God and with ourselves.

The problem with most of us is, that we allow ourselves to be consumed with business or entertainment. It's simply our western way of life. We are never still (sitting in front of a screen does not count- I am talking about letting our minds sit still). Subsequently when we never let our minds sit still we become disconnected, disjointed, and less effective in life. Oh you may become a millionaire or get lots of things accomplished, but life itself becomes a task another work project one more "thing" to take care of.

So what's the main point of what I am writing? It's to encourage the slow drifting of the mind. To allow our brains to take a break and spend time with God and with ourselves listening to what our bodies and our hearts are telling us.

If I have a decision to make I need wise counsel from God, other people, and myself.

Romans 7:23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

Because the Spirit of God lives within me I have access to that Spirit at all times. So often times when I listen to that voice inside my heart I know the right decision to make.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just a Moment

Life is full of moments. Fleeting like wisps of smoke on a dying fire. They come faster than you can realize and are over before you can react to them.

This journey started a long time ago. Through all the adversity and the turmoil I have to believe that God's hand has been all of it. A couple months ago I had an allergic reaction to something I ate. It literally was one of the scariest moments in my life. My entire body had swollen up, my skin was covered with blister like hives, and I was the color of Bob the tomato.

My heart rate dropped below 40- I started having seizures, and I blacked out. In that moment I was walking with two other people. We were walking in a field. It was the most peaceful place I had ever been.

I was probably just in a dream, you know one of those dreams that find you in between being awake and sleeping. One of those dreams you have right as you are waking up, you know the ones that feel like they are real and you just can't shake them as you come to the full realization it's just a dream?

Regardless of the "vision" I had to face my mortality. I had to think about what life for my family would be like if I wasn't here.

These thoughts are not happy, but they help me to realize that they have to live life without me often when I choose not to be home. There isn't a paycheck big enough and there isn't enough prestige to miss those wisps of smoke that is my kids lives or the beauty that God has given me in my wife.

I have dreams of ministry, and changing the world. My first dream, and subsequently my first calling and purpose, is to be a great dad and an amazing father.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11th 2011

So we got a lot of snow last night and I happen to be the lucky recipient of a snow day.... at least for the morning. We are listening to worship of the Friday 2 P.M. session of the One Thing conference at IHOP. I can't help but be teary eyed as God breathes life in to my heart. I watch as my wife and children dance around the living room singing with the worship leader "I got the Joy". I know that every fiber of my being is blessed and that God has his hands on us. I feel like I have spent the last two years wandering through the desert waiting to find the promise land. Waiting knowing that God is there somewhere yet feeling so far off I can't imagine that He still exist. Yet in the darkness stumbling around with the occasional stubbing of the toe I hear His voice. It's not a loud scream or booming Thunder Voice, but rather a soft whisper like the whisper I imagine Elijah heard in the cave. It is not a moment that strikes fear into one's being , but rather a calming invasion of peace on my heart that has felt so much turmoil and strife. Looking back I know that I have been bitter and lashing out at the church. Not a specific church as much as the church in general. I blamed the church for what I was experiencing and for the desert that I was in, but God was refining me and gently leading me away from my dependence on an organization to fulfill what He has designed in me to do. In my stumbling through this fog, this haze of sorts, I lead my family from one church to another. Each church one after another had it's purpose in our lives, but ultimately none of these became home. It was in a moment when we were ready to leave this house and put the city of Bellevue in our rear view mirror that God opened His hands of grace and kept us from making a wrong turn. Now Deirdre and I had prayed about this move and clear as day I know I heard God say MOVE NOW. This was not the gentle soothing voice that brings healing and wholeness, but rather an authoritative boom that commands obedience. We put our house on the market and told God o.k. we are moving. I did not understand why God had said this so loud and clearly. I feared that a tornado would hit or some awful plague was coming. What I realize now is that God was saying I am moving on this city and I want you to move with me. I was so sold in to the idea that God was in Bellevue, but I did not need to be. That somehow when we stepped down from our employed position at Bellevue Christian Center that we had passed the calling and vision God gave us for this city, to someone else for them to accomplish. Yet here was God commanding us to move.

His command was for us to pursue the vision He laid on our hearts.

I have been half way sold on this leadership center thing. Only halfway believing that God was going to do something here. Enough to say look Lord I talked about it, but not enough to say I sold everything I had to purchase the field with a treasure in it.

I look back on what God has spoken to me.

In this one moment I will confess I believe that He has been speaking this to me over the last few years. It was HIS voice I heard not some day dream or indigestion from some cheese cake (that sounds good right now doesn't it) that I had eaten the night before.

We are back at BCC. Even over all of this time and frustration it is still home. We don't always enjoy the service (in fact Life Church has had my favorite services), but it is home. God spoke to me at this church and God has a plan for this church, THIS body of Christ. At moments it doesn't feel like it- in fact it feels like things will always be the same, but God told me that BCC will be a central part for what He is doing in Bellevue.

I don't understand any of what God is doing really. I still feel like I am walking in the dark stumbling around trying to find my way through this cluttered mess we call life. What I do understand is that God is our provider, our redeemer, our deliverer, and His Holy Spirit our Guide. I only see because He sees, I only feel because He feels, I only breathe because He breathes. In all of this I am completely dead and He is completely alive and it is through this understanding that I can operate and not fear the darkness that seems to be life at times.

It is time to sell all we have and purchase the field with the treasure in it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fractured and Disconnected

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the woman at the well. It has some of the most prolific applications to my faith and what it means to be a christian. As I was pondering life this morning I was thinking about a book I was TRYING to read last night about the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Than I kind of flashed to this scripture with the woman at the well. It is the very beginning of the scripture that catches me this morning. Jesus was just chilling out by the well. He wasn't too busy to notice the woman coming to the well. He was connected to the world and what was happening around him. He wasn't rushing from one event to the next responding to all of HIS tasks the needs that His ministry required. This happens in another place in the Bible when Jesus is heading to Lazarus. At the news of his friends illness He begins to head to his house to bring healing. On His way the people that are around Him have a need. Instead of blowing them off to get to one of His closest friends He pauses to help them. He is aware of His surroundings enough to respond to the people. He was connected to His surroundings and the people in them. It was out of this connection, connection to people, connection to His Father, that Jesus operated on a daily basis. We see Jesus make these comments about such things ...."Let no man say to another tomorrow we will go to this village and make money" .... "Don't worry about tomorrow"..... "doesn't the Father dress the flowers of the field and feed the Sparrows".... All of these teachings seem to have one thing in common. They address our obsession with what is coming next. We worry, we plan, we are preoccupied. All of these things keep us from being present right now. The point to the Mary and Martha story in the Bible is not that we need to slow down and be ministered too, it's that we need to be fully present in the moment. If Martha was aware of what was happening she very well may have stopped and been awed by God (who by the way was teaching in her house). There are so many implications to just that one verse and it's meaning (are we aware that God is present where ever we are at right now? and that He is wanting to speak to us, to have our attention right now?). We focus on ourselves way too much. That may be the core issue. We focus on what WE are doing and maybe not enough on what God is doing, on who is around us.

When I connect to the moment right now, I connect with the pain. I connect with the turmoil. I connect with all the voices saying you aren't doing enough or the voices that say you aren't good enough, I connect with my own un-forgiveness. I connect with my failures.

These are perhaps the reasons we all look for ways to get and stayed disconnected. Isn't this the beauty of the internet and all our social online networking? I can stay involved with you without ever having to connect with you. It is a tool to make me feel better about being disconnected. Hey I don't have time to talk to you right now, facebook me......

The good news is this-

That when I connect I also connect to my family. I connect to my kids. I connect to my wife. I connect with my job. I connect with God.

When I connect with God He trumps all that other crap.

When I connect I am alive.

Yes when I connect I feel things, but isn't it better to feel and be alive? or would we rather stay disconnected and live in a self-made prison keeping everything else out and ignoring all the negative crap that is in there with us?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Deirdre and I were up late (that's 10 P.M. in our house) the other night watching Dr. Oz (and yes I feel a little on the less then masculine side with the beginning of this post-) and he was discussing adult ADHD. He had some expert on the topic talking about ways to tell if you have it. I scored a 17 out of 20 on the test and that was being lenient with a few topics because I have gotten better with them over the past few years. The description was pretty accurate when they were explaining what your brain does with ADHD. He said it moves faster than you can organize the information. I notice it most when I am talking. It is the reason why I always have so many rabbit trails. My wife notices it all the time. It is the constant distractions during a conversation or the half done chores around the house. I know that it influences my work because I have a lot of half done projects there also. I will get half-way done with something and notice a mess somewhere else and I have to go clean-up the mess.

I have never been someone who believes in letting impulses control you. No such thing as can or can't in my world - only will and won't. I believe that you can do whatever you stick your head too you just have to work hard in order to do it. Do it with conviction - do it with the passion of someone who believes in the direction of their life.

The issue- I think- is figuring out how to focus. It made me laugh when they suggested make a list. On the top of my list is - look at the list. I make list all the time. Most of them are half done list cause I get distracted half-way through and forget what I was going to put on there. Then I stick it in my pocket or it is on my phone and I never see them again. I do try though. It's not as if I haven't realized I have a few issues here. I think the sad thing is I just kind of accept them. I have this uncanny ability to look right over look certain things that would drive most people crazy. That's why I always thought I made a good room mate. I realize that just makes me the unorganized messy room mate. My poor wife. I do bring excitement though. Never a dull moment. I come home with something new everyday. Yesterday we should sell insurance, today we should be real estate tycoons, tomorrow we should run a internet business. Imagine hearing that from your spouse everyday. Deirdre has been blessed with patience and a profound understanding.

ADHD is not an excuse.

I am responsible for my life. If I do I have an issue with ADHD it is just another thing that needs to be overcome.

We can't live our lives making excuses. Losers make excuses. I don't want to be a loser. I understand issues and needing to reboot, reorganize, or regroup, but never quit. I have made plenty of excuses in my life. I just don't want to make any more.