Exodus 4:10‭-‬12 ESV

But Moses said to the Lord , “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord ? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
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Matthew 18:10‭, ‬12‭-‬14 ESV

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
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Mark 12:28‭-‬34 ESV

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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Forza 7, Where’s the fun?

Revisited Forza 7 on my Xbox One X to experience it in 4K… Almost done with it and I’ve got to say that it is my least favorite entry in the series. The controls are perfect, graphics are stunning, and physics are the best of any racing simulation I’ve played.

That being said, it’s entirely rubbish.

For me, the best part of the Forza games (not including Horizon, nothing but love for each entry in that one) is that I could take an average car, modify it, and race competitively against top of the line machines. That is pretty much gone here. Every race except for open class is locked down.

Every car can be customized, but nearly any change makes the car unqualified. Even so called “open classes” are restricted to homologation rules. No longer am I allowed to soundly trounce a Ferrari 599 with a Dodge Omni. I get it, for many the simple thrill of racing is enough. To that end, Forza delivers in buckets.

As far as the fun in “what if?” You’re simply out of luck. Now the Horizon series as I mentioned earlier has gotten consistently better each and every time. It’s racing with the same graphics, similar physics, but most of all it’s absolutely fun.

What is missing from Horizon are the tracks of standard Forza. What’s missing from Forza is the fun of Horizon. While I understand keeping the environments separated, I’m hoping that Forza 8 has a healthy dose of fun added to it… Especially considering the cost of entering that race on new hardware.

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Psalms 16:11 ESV

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
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James 1:5 ESV

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
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Matthew 7:7‭-‬8 ESV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
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143

13 days ago, my father underwent surgery to remove cancer from his lungs. He smoked a pack a day for over 50 years. The outcome wasn’t hard to predict, but from the moment I learned that the disease had returned I gave thanks to the Lord for my time with him, and I prayed for his healing and recovery.

A year ago, I was a different man. I was prideful. I wasn’t speaking to my parents. Every night I saw the bottom of a different bottle. I was afraid of anything I didn’t understand or could not control with my own two hands. I was playing it safe. I was staying in my comfort zone, a lonely, dark, angry, and miserable place where there was no joy or peace.

Last night as I attended Christmas Eve services at Grace Community Church, I was blessed with an evening of music and worship. I was blessed more than most though. As the band played on, I closed my eyes as I normally do. Now I don’t sing, as we want to keep people in the seats after all. I close my eyes and listen.

Growing up in the Catholic church, there was always music to be played during services… but I rarely if ever heard the congregation sing along. Normally before a reading, or prior to the response to the gospel, the musicians present would play, the choir would sing, and then silence as a deacon or priest read the Word of God.

That’s not a service at Grace. You might as well be at a rock concert where every seat is filled by a fan. I close my eyes when the band plays because what I do not see, I hear, and what I hear engulfs my heart. Men, women, children, the old and the young all living their own lives, embracing the good or enduring the bad, they sing in wondrous harmony.

But all of that isn’t why I was blessed more than any other night to be standing there. A year ago last night, while I sat at Grace with a good friend, I was lost. Last night? I was blessed because for the first time since I was a little boy… and less than 2 weeks after having parts of his lungs removed… as the band played O Come All Ye Faithful…

I could hear the deep, gravelly voice of my father singing along. I am found.

What a difference a year in Christ makes. Thank you, Jesus, for your Grace. So much has changed for me this past year, for my family. Where I previously embraced the mantra of “Bah Humbug” and winced at the slightest sound of a Christmas carol, now this joyful noise fills my heart with hope and my soul with praise for God.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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James 4:13‭-‬14 ESV

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
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When You hear,

I have a temper.

My father had a temper, so when mine comes out, I know where I got it. About 10 years ago I asked my Dad to use his angry voice to see if it still worked. That low, guttural roar sent chills up my 30 year old spine. Thankfully I haven’t heard that voice in decades outside of my curious request, but that’s the power of anger, it leaves a mark.

There’s a very specific trigger for my temper. It’s not when I don’t get my way. It’s not when someone wrongs me. It’s not when someone hurts me. It’s when someone wrongs someone I love. It’s when someone I love does something wrong. If I care, I am quick to anger. Drop of a hat, flip of a switch, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, raw, pure, anger.

There’s a time and place for anger in life, but I’ve learned over the years that when I get angry, I am usually wrong. Anger hasn’t accomplished a thing for me in life other than scaring people I care about, and driving away others who might seek my council for fear of an angry response. For me, it just does not work.

I got some news early this morning and I snapped. My already skyrocketing blood pressure was boiling over. Someone I love did something wrong. Someone I love was wronged. Where the me of only a year ago would have changed out of his Voltron pajamas, jumped into his truck and sought seething recompense…

Instead I prayed for the crystal clarity of a command from God. I prayed for guidance.

I sat and prayed in the darkness and while I wasn’t receiving an immediate response to my prayer, my anger slowly waned. My heart slowed. The cortisol levels started to drop. I was still angry, but my previous urge to jump in the truck and bring the justice only a pissed off Lithuanian can deliver at 5am faded.

There’s a bible next to my bed. I picked it up, and without looking, flipped to a page. Chronicles 6:21. I began to read. Ok… ok…. ok…. “when You hear, forgive.”

Boom. The crystal clarity of a command from God. Respond with love, respond with forgiveness, do not respond with anger. I’m still not sure what the overall outcome of this situation will be (I hope you forgive my vagueness at the moment)… but I know my place now.

forgive.

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