Posted on October 28th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
So typically I would tend to write more weighted posts, posts about whatever the Lord is teaching me or challenging me with.....not so today. This one is short and sweet. As I am on the road all the time my duties at home can tend to stack up. Betsy and I have learned to compensate and rearrange what my “honey do list” consists of in order to actually make the list within the grasp of human achievement. Honestly, I love to work around or on the house. It gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment and fulfillment as a husband, but that’s another post. Of all the tasks on my diminishing list of chores that I protect, my favorite is yard work! I love, capital L-O-V-E to mow the lawn, trim weeds, create landscaping, etc. Love it! I think it has something to do with tractors and power tools. Soooo my question to you is: What’s on your short list of things you love to do around the house? No answer is to weird. Without further adieu, in the words of my good friend Brody Harper, “Ready? Go.”
Posted on August 14th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
I mentioned last week that Betsy and I are housing our close friends in the wake of their own house burning down until other arrangements can be made. They have had a crazy and blessed week continuing to meet with insurance companies, contractors, investigators and the like. The Lord has been so gracious in providing for them, it has been a thrill to watch. Something else strange happened this week I didn’t expect: people started complimenting Betsy and I for being so generous and for letting them stay with us, etc. I’ve heard, at least 5 times this week, that we are such good examples of Christian love and hospitality. I’m so grateful for the support and I know what they mean, but every time I hear it a red light goes off in my head and a voice says “warning, warning”. Let me explain, I think Jesus words in the book of Matthew, chapter 5 might help us understand what I mean. It reads like this, Jesus says....
43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Did you catch that last part? If we love those that love us what reward will we get? If we greet only our brothers, what are we doing more than others? I think I get that red light warning in my head in response to the comment that “Betsy and I are such great examples of Christian love” because actually in this particular situation, we’re not. We are just doing what anyone else would do for their friends, even those who don’t believe in Jesus. This begs the question, what kind of hospitality or generosity is “Christian”? I think Jesus point is that, it is in the loving of our enemies and the kindness we show to those who persecute us, that we demonstrate His love through us. When we love those with whom we have nothing to gain or leverage, we demonstrate Christ’s love toward us (Romans 5:8), and thereby open another door for the Gospel into someone’s life. Through our loving those who don’t know Christ we can actually see them come to know Christ through our love. We provide housing to the homeless and they find a home in Jesus; water for the thirsty and they find the Living Water of Christ; adoption for the orphan and they find their true Father; defend the weak and they learn our God is a Mighty Fortress. Wow, now that’s a love worthy of the Name of Christ.
Posted on August 13th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
This has been an eventful week. I won’t recap all of it for you but the dominating headline is that one of our close friends had their home burn down just yesterday. They lost most of what they owned including their puppy Dexter. Betsy and I spent all afternoon and evening pick up the pieces of their lives that survived from among the ashes. It was very sobering. When it was all finally stacked in a friends garage the gross sum of their earthly possessions fit neatly in a 6 by 6 foot square, not more than 3 feet high. They are staying with us until other arrangements can be made. I have no eloquence for you today. Just questions for us all: What would be on our “short list” of things to save from the rubble? What does our list say about our priorities and character? Does the way we are living demonstrate to the world and to the Lord that Jesus is our priority not our stuff? I imagine I will continue to have lots of questions. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons we can learn in life and in this tragedy is to remember that if the most important things to us can be burned up in a fire than we are not living for the most important things. Like my Grandpa used to say, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” In a word.....Jesus.
Posted on August 7th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
I spent this passed weekend with my friends, who are now family, at the Louisa United Methodist Church participating in their Jesus Jam 2009 summer celebration. In addition to a concert and leading worship all weekend I was also blessed to be able to bring a message each night. The theme they chose for our time together was “I love you...ask me why.” My messages centered around the matchless love of God and how when we maintain a proper perspective on Christ’s sacrifice, encouraging each other to “evangelize” won’t be necessary. In fact, it will be hard to keep us from telling others about so great a salvation. To summarize C.S. Lewis, it is not that we over amplify the world and it’s pleasures, it is that we so drastically under glorify the matchless love of Christ and the eternal pleasures that are to be found in Him. Our theme song for Jesus Jam was the contemporary worship song “Indescribable.” However, the more I sang the new song the more I was reminded of one of my favorite hymns and works of poetry, “The Love of God.” It is a brilliant reminder of just how indescribable the love of God really is.
The Love of God Frederick M. Lehman ~ 1917 The Love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell, It goes beyond the highest star And reaches to the lowest hell. The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave his Son to win, His erring Child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin. O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, The saints and angels song. When years of time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men, who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call, God’s love so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong; Redeeming grace to Adam’s race- The saints and angels song. O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, The saints and angels song. Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky. O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, The saints and angels song.
Posted on July 28th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
I try to exercise almost everyday. Lately I have been using a workout routine called P90X. The “X” is for Xtreme and believe me it’s painfully extreme. For 90 minutes the trainer, Tony Horton, takes you through the ringer. It’s intense, but so are the results. I’ve only been doing it a couple of weeks and I can already see physical changes. There are 12 workout routines and every session starts with a warm-up. During that warm-up Tony always says something that has really been catching me spiritually. He says, “Look, this is gonna hurt, your gonna get tired, you will want to quit. That’s why you’ve got to get your mind right. Clear your head of all the distractions pressing in on you and make up your mind to do what you have to do. Do your best and forget the rest.” He’s right, I do wanna quit....everyday. It’s a wonder I even continue to put the DVD in! He’s also right spiritually. Our mind, or “heart” is where the battle is won or lost. We’re in a battle everyday spiritually. We have to take the time to “get our mind right” before we start fighting. If not we are on a losing path before we begin. In Romans 12:2 the apostle Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” We need to renew our mind everyday with God’s word. It’s only by His power that we will find the strength we need to be faithful in the face of adversity, when we want most to quite. When we remain faithful we will see changes in our spiritual life, just like we see changes in our physical bodies when we commit them to exercise. Instead of showing off a “perfect physique” which is only temporary, we will show the world and each other the “good, acceptable and perfect will of God” which is of eternal consequence.
Posted on July 24th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
For the last 13 days I have been all over the Great Plains. I love “the Heartland”. The band and I have developed some dear friendship there. This last weekend we got to spend four days with a group of our friends, leading worship, at the Salvation Army Youth Councils. Last years event was held in a hotel in Kansas City. While the hotel was incredibly comfortable, this years event was held at a campground conference center in Salina, KS and provided a lot more opportunities for community and interaction. One of my favorite events was the Low-Ropes Course. If you ever have the chance to participate in one you have to give it a try! It was so much fun! It’s essentially a collection of obstacles or puzzles that have to be solved in some physical way by the group as a whole. For instance, in one puzzle, my group of 10-12 was asked to step up on a big log lying on the ground. The log was about 20-30 feet long. After we were all standing on the log the instructor then told us that our challenge was to order ourselves from tallest to shortest in sequential order without stepping off the log. If even one person fell off the log we all had to start over. I don’t know if you can imagine what that would look like or not. It was absolutely hysterical!! We were leap-frogging, crawling, jumping, and spinning all trying to get it worked out. We had girls that were 5 feet tall and guys that were 6’6”. I haven’t laughed so hard in a while. When it was all done we talked things through and discussed what we had learned in the experience. Some of the observations were really great. I couldn’t help but thinking how desperately we, as the bride of Christ, are in need of some of these simple object lessons. Here are just a few of the things we learned.
1. Somebody has to be the leader. When everyone is directing traffic it’s anarchy. 2. Everyone approaches the situation with a different perspective. What seems natural to one person can make someone else very uncomfortable. 3. We must all play a part. If even one person refuses to contribute it doesn’t work. 4. We have to be willing to try new things, there is not one “right way” to do things. What worked for two smaller people to pass each other proved to be a train wreck when it came to the bigger guys. 5. We’re gonna have to get personal to make this happen. HA! 6. Once you were in place and the action moved away from you it almost became easier to fall off the beam because you weren’t as focused. Keep your head in the game. 7. Communication is key. Not only speaking properly but also making sure that everyone heard what you meant to say. 8. Trust one another. If we have all of the above in place and still lack trust, we will fail.
Posted on May 4th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe
I’m still brewing over this quote I heard several months ago now:
“Doing things for God is not the same thing as spending time with God”What an incredible reminder. I think we all get so caught up going from function to function, event to event, service to service that we forget to actually spend time WITH God. I am guilty of that this week for sure. I have had so much on my plate with this tour (as you’ll notice it’s Thursday and this is my first post this week). It seems like the first thing to go is my quiet time. How ridiculous is that! The first thing to go is the most important! Ugh. When we become so busy doing for God, or doing the “stuff” of life, that we forget to spend time with God we have become too busy. What has taken your attention away from what’s most important? Let’s re-establish our priorities, slow down and get back to what matters. Love you all.
Posted on April 30th, 2009 by Erik Bledsoe