Sunday, July 22, 2012

True Love






Kat and I are watching the finale of The Bachelorette. Yes, I just left myself open for lots of jokes but over the years we have watched various seasons. As we watched tonight, I could not help but think back to my relationship with Kat and how our relationship started off like a fairy tale.

During college, both Kat and I joined greek organizations. Upon graduating, we both took jobs working as consultants for our greek organizations. There was a leadership conference to help consultants become better and that is where Kat and I met. The ironic part was that I was not even supposed to be at the conference because I was had signed up to take a different job with my fraternity that would not have sent me to the conference. However, at the last minute I was replaced and was sent to the conference and even my room key had another guy's name on it because I was not supposed to be there.

I can still remember the moment when I first laid eyes on Kat. She was a few feet in front of me signing in and I looked at my friend and said, "I want to be with that girl." In my book, that was like me saying that I was experiencing "Love at First Sight." The conference was only a few days long but by the end of it, I wanted to be with Kat.

After the conference, we returned to Indianapolis where our greek organizations were located and we went on a date. I took Kat to a fancy Italian dinner and at the end of dinner, I asked Kat if she would be my girlfriend. Almost immediately, Kat rejected me. She explained that she was not ready because she had just gotten out of a 4 1/2 year long relationship. However, I was not going to allow this no to be a final no. We continued to date prior to me having to go on the road to travel the southwest.

During my travels, Kat came and visited me and finally agreed to be my girlfriend. I can still remember when I was in Waco, Texas and I was talking to Kat on the phone when I first told Kat that I loved her.   Just a couple of months later, I traveled to Chicago to meet Kat's parents. During that trip, I asked Kat's dad for Kat's hand in marriage and I bought an engagement ring with Kat's mom.

We met in July of 2004 and just 4 months later in the month of November, I proposed to Kat. We had been in the same city less than thirty days but I knew that Kat was the woman of my dreams. We met 8 years ago this July and we will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this December.

The most amazing part of our fairy tale is that I love Kat more today than the day that we said, "I do." We have been through our fair share of struggles but we have come through those struggles stronger and our love is deeper.

Thank You God for the amazing woman that you have gifted me for this journey of life.

Derek  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

WHY?






Yesterday, Kat and I continued a tradition that we have fulfilled many times over the last eight years-- seeing a movie around her birthday. Last night, Kat and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises.  I could not help as we sat in that dark theater but look around at the exit doors and wonder what the victims thought and felt as the gunmen opened fire upon them as they sat in their seats. What thoughts went through their minds? How would I react? And the question that we are all collectively asking, "Why?"

Why would a person kill innocent victims? Why did this have to happen? Why, if God is merciful, did this heinous act occur?

It is senseless tragedies such as this that people begin asking God, "Why?" Some of us ponder if God exists when horror is seen? Others of us, want to know how something this terrible could even occur in the first place?

The truth of the matter is that God's heart is broken for those that have died. God's heart is broken for those that are hurting and suffering. God did not create man to suffer but to have peace. God did not create man to perish but to have life everlasting. However, all things changed when Adam tasted the sweet taste of sin within the forbidden fruit. Upon his teeth breaking the skin of the fruit, the world as God created, changed. What was perfect, was now marred. What was beautiful, was now tarnished. What was without sin, was now covered in sin.

As we look at the tragedy in Colorado and begin to ask, "Why?" We can find the simple answer in the first pages of Genesis. However, my questions then become," What could we have done?" Did we as Christians reach out to this man in love? Did we show him Jesus by how we loved each other? Did we reach out to him when he was obviously struggling? What can we (and when I say we, I mean those that follow Christ) do to help prevent senseless tragedies like the Aurora shooting from happening again?

For those that look at an event like this and question if God exists, I say that it affirms my belief in the existence of God even more. I think that an event like the Aurora shooting would be more of a norm and less of an abnormality if there was no God because there would be no collective moral conscience that is inside of us.

For now, I pray for peace and healing to the families that have suffered and hurt. I pray for those that witnessed this horrendous event and will carry a scar of what they saw. I pray that we that follow Christ will have even more of a renewed passion for reaching those that Jesus misses most (those that are far from God) so that more events like this don't occur.

Hug your family a little tighter tonight,

Derek

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thankful

pic.twitter.com/spw5ws2v


Today was one of those days that I will not soon forget. I left church today to pick up some letters from the Post Office. As I began to turn left onto West 7th, out of the corner of my eye I could see a car coming at me and I knew in that instant I was going to be hit. It seemed that everything was slowing down and yet in that instant I realized how powerless I was. I could do nothing to stop the car and I could  do nothing to protect myself. 

After being hit, I just sat in the car stunned and dazed. My head began to hurt and I was very dizzy. This amazing lady jumped out of her car and told the person that hit me not to leave and then came to my car and told me that she had called the police and that I was going to be okay. I called Kat and said, "I was in a car accident but I will be okay." Soon, the EMT's showed up and told me that they were going to have to cut me out of the car. The awesome EMT joked with me and kept me calm while the Fire Department busted the windows out and cut my door off my car. After that, I was taken out of my car and placed on a stretcher and taken to Maury Regional Medical Center. 

Thankfully, the doctor checked me out and ordered x-rays but I walked away from a high speed side impact crash with not a scratch. My car is most likely totaled but to have been t-boned and not have even a cut much less a broken bone is a miracle. 

This is one of those events where we say things and we don't understand what we are saying. I kept saying I don't know how I am okay. But the truth is, I know exactly why I am okay. Jesus Christ protected me today. Jesse Shuster, our worship pastor said Satan must have been wanting you not to speak this Sunday but God does. Thankful to be on the side of God. 

It just goes to confirm in me that God has great plans for the Spring Hill Church Plant because I am sharing the vision for this plant on Sunday. I will be there no matter how sore I am. 

I also want to take time to thank those that have been extra awesome today. 

I am thankful for Jesus Christ who took care of me. I am thankful for the EMT's from Maury Regional Medical Center, the Columbia Fire Department, Columbia Police Department and the staff at Maury Regional. I am thankful for amazing friends like Lisa Whitten and Julie Webster that came to the scene of the accident to make sure I was okay. I am thankful to Fred Garrow, Jesse Shuster, Derek Whitten, Shane Hunter, Braxton Hunter, Linda Hunter, Ed Motzny, Jim Adkins, Abigail Adkins, James Robert Adkins, BJ Bolton, Sue Purvis, Larry Purvis, Sarah Hoelscher, and Keri Huffstutler for visiting me at the hospital. I am thankful for my amazing wife that came to my side and has taken great care of me. I am also thankful for my mother-in-law that cared for my precious children while Kat took care of me. 
Finally, I am thankful for my friends, family and church that prayed for me. 

Kat and I feel loved and blessed by an amazing God and amazing people all around us. 

Derek 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sticks and Stones



We have all heard the adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. " Whoever made that statement was a liar. Glad that me calling them a liar will not hurt them because it's only a word.

The damage inflicted by words lasts longer than broken bones. I know this from personal experience. Over the course of my life, I have suffered the blow of several words my way. From elementary school and being bullied to high school and not being the cool kid, I have had many words leveled at me that caused deep wounds that still surface from time to time.

Those hurting words did not stop when I became an adult. You read the love passage from 1 Corinthians and you assume that we put away childish things but it seems that many people continue to behave in childish ways by using words as weapons. My skin has toughened even more working for the church. It seems that everyone is passionate about their opinions about how church should look, act and feel. With my new venture into the world of church planting, I think that my life of hard knocks within the church will help me be able to handle future criticism. I have found that I do not mind criticism as much when someone speaks directly to me about it but it seems much harder to swallow when it is whispered in halls and behind backs and without the courage to share face-to-face.

Learning lessons of how to remain humble in the face of negativity,

Derek

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Adoption on my Heart



As I returned home tonight, I put on a shirt to wear to bed. I happened to pick the adoption shirt that we had made to help us raise money for our adoption. The act of putting the shirt on caused me ponder on some of my thoughts. From time to time, I wonder if we will enlarge our family in the future. I sometimes wonder if Bennett and Celia's biological mother will have more children? I wonder if we will adopt other children from a different country or if we will return to Russia? 

God did something to my heart when he called for us to adopt. He took the desire to have biological children from me. I feel bad making this next statement because I have friends that are praying very hard to get pregnant, but I pray that Kat and I do not get pregnant. I pray that God's will for our life is to continue to adopt.  There are orphans all around this world that need parents and I hope that we get to bring more of them home. 

Praying for my friends Derek and Kristy Whitten. They are adopting two older girls from Africa and they are in the home stretch of bringing them home. I can't wait to see the Whitten family expand through the miracle of adoption. I can't wait to meet Bethany and Katie for the first time. 

Derek 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Morning Ritual




Since Kat and I had been out of our routine for the past several weeks, we had not been able to complete our normal Saturday morning ritual, Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse. It was so nice to walk through the doors this morning and be instantly filled with the smells of fresh biscuits and bacon. However, it is more than the food at Marcy Jo’s, its the people.  
At Marcy Jo’s, one of the owners Marcy always makes my family feel special. My daughter loves her and always yells Marcy Jo when she sees her. 
Many people go to Marcy Jo's because the other owner of Marcy Jo's is Joey from the famous country duet group Rory and Joey. We love them too but we go because the food is amazing and the staff makes people feel at home. If you have not had a chance to try Marcy Jo’s, make sure and check it out especially on a Saturday. Tell them the Hunters sent you. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Worth Fighting For




Recently, Kat and I watched the movie Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman. I am pretty sure that Kat agreed to watch the movie because he was in it. Either way, we both loved the movie and by the end of the movie we were both sitting on the edge of our seats cheering on this fighting robot as tears streamed down our cheeks. I know, I know. Big surprise that I was crying but truly this movie gripped your heart and it caused me to reflect about the type of father I want to be. 
In the movie, Charlie (Hugh Jackman) was a dead beat dad that tries to make some money off of his kid because the kid’s mother has died and the aunt wants custody. Needless to say, there was a tumultuous relationship between Charlie and his son. During a scene late in the movie after Charlie and his son have started to bond, Charlie asks his son what do you want from me? The son, Max responds by saying, “I just want you to fight for me.” 
As I look at broken families all over our country, I see kids just wanting their fathers to fight for them. We see sons without fathers growing up carrying around a deep wound and not understanding what it means to be a man. We see young ladies without the father in her life trying to replace dad with each new guy that comes into her life. When will we as fathers begin to fight for our children. When we will as husbands begin to fight for our marriages? When we will as men of God begin to fight for God? 
Our children are crying out, fight for me. Our wives are crying out, fight for me. Our God is crying out, fight for me. Even in the homes where the man is present, we live in a society where it is cooler to work long hours and slave at the office than it is to invest in the relationships that are around us. The ministry field is not exempt to this. I know that many people joke that pastors just work on Sunday but many of us fill long hours with meeting people, counseling, praying, studying and trying everything that we can to reach the lost. We are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If someone is in the hospital, we drop what we are doing and rush to their side. If someone is having a crisis at 2 in the morning, we leave our beds and counsel the hurting. However, pastors try and use the excuse that they are working for God so being a workacholic and non-existent husband and father is acceptable. I have wondered lately if the reason why so many pastor’s kids are far from God is because the person on the stage talking about God was not the same person that the kids never saw at home. 
Last week at the church planting conference that Kat and I attended, we saw Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church and his family speak. Bill, his wife and kids were speaking because both of Bill’s adult children still love Jesus and serve the local church. Bill became choked up when speaking about how proud he was of his children. 
I am choosing to be a present father and a present husband. I am choosing to fight for my wife, for my children and for my God. The question becomes, “Will you?” 
Derek 
P.S. I am writing this blog at the Apple Store at Green Hills because for some reason the IPhone is not water resistant when you go swimming. Not sure why!!! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Creating Community




I had a great meeting today with a very knowledgable person. As I sit here trying to reflect upon the details of our conversation, I feel challenged to look at church from a different perspective. Too often, we have this approach of Come and See. In the church world, we call this model the attraction model. It basically comes to the understanding of  we have something within the four walls of our church that people need to see. Another approach that is gaining momentum is what my wife termed the Go and Be. This approach would be called the missional model. Somewhere in the middle is where I believe that God is calling me to plant a church. 
I believe that without a doubt that God wants devoted followers to be in their communities making a difference for Christ. I believe that as I speak with people about Spring Hill, I hear and see a community of unconnected people searching for deeper connection. What can a church do? Nothing. What can a group of devoted Christ lovers do? Everything. If people in the Spring Hill and North Columbia area would begin to invest in the lives of their neighbors, not only would people come to know Christ, an entire community would be changed. Our approach to ministry in Spring Hill will not be more programs of come and see but will be based upon the belief that everyone is a minister and God has called each of us to love our neighbors. We will equip, encourage and empower our people to love those that they are surrounded by daily in the name of Jesus Christ. We will do this not because our neighbors that do not know God yet are a project but because Christ loves us, loves them and calls us to love them. We also hope that the time of gathering of worship and teaching will be such that one would want to invite their friends and family but in order to have the right to invite, one must put in the time to know. 
We will also approach our plant in such a way that to intentionally build a community or family feel. Knowing that many people in Spring Hill have moved to this community and lack extended family means that many people do not have those people around them when times are tough or to celebrate when times are good. As a father, I want people to know and invest in my children and I want people to love and support my wife. I want to walk with men and women in the journey of life. God did not create humans to live in isolation but in community. 
I say all of these things to say that I have a lot of grandiose ideas. I have dreams and vision of something bigger than I can even wrap my head around and I believe that is a good thing. I hope and pray that as I take this vision and put it into a plan with goals, time lines and details that I do not lose the passion that I have for God and for the community of Spring Hill. I can’t wait to see the lives restored through the amazing grace of Jesus Christ through the devoted people of the future church plant. 
Pray that God will continue to reveal his vision for this new church, His church, 
Derek 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Starting Over



When I started this blog in January, I had great hope and wonderful intentions to write every day and not go a day without doing so. All great intentions do not turn into perfect results. As those that have followed know, I started out posting every day often times late at night. However, I missed a couple of days and then those days turned into weeks and those weeks turned into a couple of months. So many times I wanted to blog but I felt like I had failed so I refused to write until I was able to deal with letting myself down and letting some of you down as well. 

As some of you know, I have the opportunity to plant a church in the wonderful city of Spring Hill, TN. And I know that it is very important to get your name out there and have people be able to know my heart in order to determine if they want to know more about Jesus. Therefore, I am going to begin writing again. The format may be different but I hope that each of you find the material as real and authentic as ever. 

I hope that each of you will share my vision and hope that what God is doing through my wife @Katmhunter and me will be bigger than a church plant but will transform the community of Spring Hill, North Columbia, Santa Fe and Thompson Station for Christ. In the end, I want to be obedient to Christ no matter the outcome. 

Here is to more conversations in the future, 

Derek 

Follow me on twitter @Derekshunter 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Date Night

God,

Last night in the relationship class that Kat and I are taking, we talked about the Five Love Languages. Our awesome teacher encouraged each of the couples to take an online quiz. Kat took her quiz and her language that made her feel loved the most was quality time. My language was physical touch with a very close second of words of affirmation. After realizing that Kat's language is spending quality time together, I arranged for my parents to watch the kids so that Kat and I could go on a date.

We went to River Terrace and had an amazing night. It's sad to admit but it was only our second date out without the kids since we brought them home 14 months ago. Need less to say, Kat felt loved and appreciatd.

However, it got me to thinking what is Your language? I think that quality time is important but that You also appreciate service and I think that in days gone by You really liked gifts. I think that the words that we say about You matter as well. I need to be more aware of the way that I show You that I love You God.

Thanks for loving me,

Derek

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Loss of Words

God,



I have not blogged in 7 days after only missing one day in 5 weeks. I am sitting here trying to figure out what to say and can't seem to think of the right words or I am not really inspired to write tonight. After taking off for seven days, I have gotten out of the positive habit of writing that I started in January.

What can I learn when I don't have words to say? I think it provides me more time to listen.

“Speak Lord; your servant is listening” 1 Sam 3:10
This scripture implies that we are willing to serve you. Therefore, I need to have a , "Here I am availability." In order to be a servant, I must be available. Here I am Lord, I want to be available for whatever you have in store. Second, I need to be quiet and listen. God, give me the strength to quiet myself so that I can hear Your voice.

Your hopeful servant,

Derek

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Future Questions

God,



Kat and I missed watching one of our favorite television shows on Tuesday night, Parenthood. We have always loved watching the show because each of the couples seem to be going through real life issues that many people I know are dealing with. However, this season the subject of adoption occurred. Over the different episodes, I have personally felt many different emotions concerning how the show dealt with adoption. On one of the early shows, I was pretty frustrated that they used the term "buying a baby" several times throughout the show but the show really examined some of the emotions and situations that couples face when adopting.

However, the episode that Kat and I watched this evening brought me to tears. As the baby was born, the mom that wanted to adopt asked the biological mother if she wanted to hold her son and the biological mother turned her head. My heart breaks thinking of my two amazing gifts from God and the questions they will have about their biological mother. Thank You for providing me with such an amazing wife. Kat was able to talk through all of the pain that I was feeling for Bennett and Celia. We were able to discuss that no matter how much we would want to tell them things that would take their pain away about about their situation, we can't. All that we can do is to reassure them that we love them, that You love them and that so many other people love them. As a parent, I want to guard their hearts and I want to protect them but I also know that I am unable to do that. As I type these words, I hurt for them.

I pray tonight that You will let their biological mother know that Alim and Nargiza are very loved. I pray for future discussions with our children. I ask for your wisdom and I pray that our kid's hearts will be healed.

Leaning on You,

Derek

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turning 30

God,

 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.

It was amazing to think that David became king when he was just thirty years old. Turning thirty is a scary time for many people but I am looking forward to it because I hope that You will use me in new and unique ways just like You used David.

Looking forward to what the future holds,

Derek

P.S. Today has been a long day and that is why this blog is so short.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spiritual Steps

God,

I want to thank you and give you all praise and glory for the spiritual steps that my friends are making.

~ Going to pray with someone at a hospital.
~ Teaching a class for You
~ Going back to school
~ Starting an organization

I am so excited to see those around Grace taking steps toward You everyday.

Cheering You and those around me on,

Derek

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Walls

God,



Tonight, Kat and I read our daily bible verse of the 40 Days of Engage the Word, Joshua 5:13-6:27. As I read through this story, I am taken back by the specifics of the instructions that Joshua and the Israelites must follow in order for the walls of Jericho to fall down. For a military leader, how difficult was it to wait and play trumpets while not talking and walking in circles?

Some insights that I take from this wonderful story:
  • We must not get ahead of You. You wanted Joshua and the Israelites to wait seven days and carry out specific instructions before the walls would come down. We live in a "now" society where we believe that we should have everything and have it now. We must learn that things happen in Your time, not our own.
  • Blessings are poured out when we follow Your commands. Joshua was handed the city of Jericho because he followed Your commands. How many times do we miss out on receiving your blessing because we are unable to follow You?
  • The story ends with, "The Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land." I love that we have the ability to have your spirit with us all of the time. May we practice living in your presence constantly.
Thanks for Your Word speaking into our lives,

Derek

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Step is a Doozy

God,



"So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing" (Joshua 3:14-16)

How many times have we missed Your miracles because we failed to take the first step? Why is the first step so difficult to take? What fear is keeping us from accomplishing amazing things for You?

I love the story of the priests carrying the ark of the covenant because they had to take a step of faith before You  parted the water. So many times, we want to wait and in our inability to act, we miss the opportunity to see You complete miracles. I can see these priests looking down at the water at it rushes by because the water is at flood level. Fear could have easily kept the priests from making the step. Fear wants to keep us from taking the next step toward Christ. May our faith increase so that we all will take that next step.

Thankful for flooding our lives with your blessings,

Derek

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bless Your Heart

God,

On this Friday night, Kat and I are having an exciting date of watching Tribune Broadcasting Network, TBN. Kat had seen that a pastor that we really like, Steven Furtick had organized a 12-day revival. TBN is showing some of the highlights from the revival. As I write this, Craig Groeshal is finishing his sermon. His sermon really spoke to me and I want to say Thanks Be to You.

He started by telling everyone that when someone says "Bless Your Heart" that they actually mean that you are an idiot. He spoke about how God calls idiots to do amazing things. He references a scripture in Acts where the translators of the Bible speak about the ordinary men known as the apostles. However, the word ordinary actually is a Greek word for ignorant or idiots. You call idiots to do amazing things. My wife looked at me and said that You must want to do something amazing through me. I am not sure if that was a compliment but I will take it as one because I want to be an idiot for You.

Craig said that Idiots for Christ

1) Obey irrationally
2) Give extravagantly
3) Do what others believe cannot be done

Thank You for speaking to me on this Friday night. May You continue to bless Steven and Craig for being servants for You. May You help this idiot do amazing things for You.

Thankful for once in my life that I am an idiot,

Derek

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Setting the Bar Much Too Low

God,



"But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). How can I read this and not think that our relationship with Christ is more than just a get out of hell pass? How can I read this and not think that the bar has been set so low when it comes to being a "Christian"? I think for some time I read this verse and just believed that this was just a verse that did not make much sense. Logically, one can not wrap their head around trying to be perfect. We celebrate perfection such as a perfect game pitched in baseball, someone bowling a 300 or getting a perfect score on some standardized test. But perfection for most people is some abstract idea that is unachievable. On our own that would be correct but with Your strength and Your grace, we can come to the point of giving our whole lives to You so that we can love You and others completely.

However, the church and most pastors (not the one where I currently serve) have set the bar far too low. Most "Christians" are not asked to sacrifice for fear of someone going to the church down the street. Most members are not asked to get their hands dirty serving the poor and broken for fear that a tithe check will not be in the offering plate this week. The Big Church, the church as the whole has to stop being consumed by numbers and money and become focused on growth and transformation that only occurs when we lives wholly devoted to God. Just this week, I wanted our small group to start meeting every other week because I was concerned about our group attendence not being 100%. I brought this up at the end of group after having a discussion about being willing to sacrifice everything and giving our all to You. One of my good friends brought the irony to my discussion the following day. How can I have a discussion about giving You less of our time right after we discuss giving You our everything?

At the moment that we decide to live our lives completely for you and not for ourselves is the exact moment that our desires change. So often, we are focused on our lives and just try and fit You into our priorities that we miss the blessings You want to pour into our lives when You have control of our priority list. When our desire becomes You, our lives will reflect it by how we spend our time, the conversations that we have, the way that we love, the way that we give and by the need to have Your approval and not that of man. "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

Take it all,

Derek

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Music to My Soul

God,



Today, I experienced one of the most heart breaking things that I have seen in my life, the visitation of a three month old little girl. Some of the little girl's family had recently visited Grace and we were notified today about the visitation. As we entered the funeral home, there laid the beautiful little girl. Instantly, my heart ached. What words can bring comfort in a time like that? What can be said that would help and not seem insensitive?

As Jesse and I sat in the pews watching a video that one of the aunts had made for the family, I watched the tears steam down the faces of the family and heard the pain in each sob. I watched as the photos and videos of this three month old little angel were displayed on the projection screen. Shots from the pregnancy test to the ultrasound photos to pictures of the father being stationed oversees serving in the military to beautiful photos of the pregnant mom. I know that as my heart sank and broke that Your heart was even more broken for that family. Just as Jesus cried for those mourning the death of Lazarus, You wept for the family and those heart broken on this day. Your plan was for us to have no death, to have no pain, to have no sorrow but that all changed when sin entered the world. We are left with a world where three month precious angels take their final breath much too soon.

As I sat there, I could not help but think of my children and the "what ifs" began to play in my mind. I could not imagine the pain of losing a child. However, I know that my mom had to suffer the pain of losing a child the same day that she gave birth to my oldest brother, Christopher. I can't remember how old I was when I found out about him but over the years, I have often wondered what he would have been like. I also know that my in-laws had to say goodbye to their son much too soon as well. I have walked with Kat and her parents through that tragedy and have seen the wounds that still exist from saying goodbye to someone before we thought that it was time. I am not sure that the hole created by the loss of a child can ever be filled. I think that time can ease the wound but I believe that only You can help comfort the pain.

Tonight, Kat and I listened to this song by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars that made me think about the those that have lost a child and the heartache that they have felt and continue to feel.  I think that the words of some songs just spark an emotional response and when I hear the words to this song, I am taken to a sad scene in the book, Hunger Games, but I believe that I am taken to a deeper place of empathy for those hurting the loss of a loved one. "You'll be all right, no one can hurt you now."  "Just close your eyes, you'll be all right." As I think about the pain that this world gives to those that walk it's surface, I think about that little girl and all those that have gone before us and they will not have to hurt any longer. Sometimes, I believe that listening to music is a way to express one's emotions without having to say a word. May You comfort those tonight in pain and suffering from the loss of a child.

Praying

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeling Loved

God,



Today is Valentine's Day. I have always been very forunate because Kat does not really care about this day. She is very frugal and does not want me to waste money on the inflated cost of flowers or candy that she will not eat. Over the years, we have always done some small things for each other. This year, I was given a card that Kat and the kids had made and it was amazing. The card was heart-shaped and had handprints cut out to say "I love you" in sign language from each of the kids. It was the perfect card for this day.

However, Kat posted something on her facebook page today that spoke to me. She quoted this verse:
My friends, let us continue to love each other since ALL love comes from God. (1 John 4). Today is a day that should be about love. So today, I want to change my perspective about this day. I want to be thankful for the Love that You have put in my life. The love that You have for me, the love that my wife has for me and the love that my beautiful kids share with me each day.

However, I hope that each day is a day to celebrate love and to share love and to love and be loved.

Let me Love others the way that You love me, unconditionally.

Derek

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Past

God,



Tonight, I read the story of the humble beginnings of Moses. As I read through his story, I was once again amazed at Moses. He was placed in a basket by his mother to protect him. The basket floats down the river and the pharoah's daughter rescues the little baby and then needed a woman to nurse the baby and Moses' mother is brought to nurse little Moses.

However, Moses grows up and happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. How many times have I been at the wrong place at the wrong time in my life? How many times could I have just walked away from the "wrong place, wrong time situation" and did not? Moses came across an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and steps in to defend the Hebrew and kills the Egyptian.

Moses is a murderer. After being a murderer, Moses becomes a shepherd. Out in the field one normal day God calls him to do something amazing. You want to take our mundane, daily tasks and use us for greatness. You are still using burning bushes to call Your people into action for You but we miss the signals. What I love about Moses is that he has a past. He was a man that had fallen, was a coward and had run away from his problems yet You still chose him to do great things. Our background, our pedigree, our ancestors do not make us great in Your eyes. We are great because You called us. It is not something that we can do or earn, it is a response to Your grace.

Moses doubts that You can use him because of his past. Moses doubts that You can use him because he stutters. You want to use him because he has a past and because he stutters because when amazing things happen, You are glorified. You do not chose based upon outside qualities, You pick based upon who You need to fulfull Your purpose.

Help me to hear Your voice loud and clear and put my past behind me and become the man that You are calling me to be.

Learning to look forward and not back,

Derek

Sunday, February 12, 2012

But the Lord is with Me

God,

Tonight, I read the story of Joesph. As I read through part of his story, I noticed that the phrase," The Lord was with him" was used several times. I think that many of us have misconceptions about our relationship with Christ. So many of us feel that by believing in God, nothing bad will happen to me. However, the story of Joseph illustrates the truth of how God works so elequently.

God is with Joseph but is the life of Joseph easy? No. Joseph's own family wants to kill him. Joesph becomes a slave. Joseph is lied about and thrown in prison and finally Joseph is forgotten. But how can these bad things happen because God is with Joseph. I think that we all need to understand that God can be with us and we will still suffer. God does not make us suffer but in our freedom, we are allowed to suffer. In our suffering, we can learn more about obedience, Your grace and Your strength.

At the end of the section that we read, Joseph has married and has two sons. This is the story:

Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

I love that Joseph is able to thank You for his many blessings. He thanks You for helping him forget his trouble and he is thankful for Your blessings even in his suffering by the names that Joseph gives his sons. I think that Joseph teaches us that we need to still be thankful and aware of Your blessings despite our circumstances. If we all can learn this difficult task, our walk with You will be so rich and fulfulling.

Thanks for being with me,

Derek

Saturday, February 11, 2012

F in my Class

God,



This week in the class that Kat and I are taking, Sex begins in the Kitchen we learned about sharing feelings. It was a wonderful class and it highlighted several issues that we need to work on. One of those issues is that I need to be a better listener when Kat shares her feelings. Last night, I had the opportunity to get an A+ for this week's lessons. Kat and I started a conversation that turned into a disagreement. At the end of the disagreement, Kat shared her feelings and I was my typical self, selfish. Instead of listening to my wife's feelings, I chose to be a poor listener.

In my selfish decision, I let You down. In my selfish decision, I let my wife down. In my selfish decision, I let my friends down. In my typcial "a disagreement self", I fell asleep. Upon falling asleep, I failed to complete my blog. I felt bad for fighting with Kat, for not being obedient to You but I felt even worse when I walked into Upward today and someone asked me if I had completed my blog last night because he had stayed up until 11:30 waiting to read it.

So, I realized that I need to retake the class from this week. I realized that I need to remember to "Think about Kat" when we are having a disagreement. I realized that I am still in need of Your grace and forgiveness.

Help me to stay close to You,

Derek

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Goldfish Memory

God,



Why is it that we quickly forget Your promises? How is it that You can bless us and then hours, days or weeks later we forget what You have done?

Abram was the same. In the beginning of Genesis chapter 12, Abram receives a blessing and promise from God. However, just a short time later Abram feels that he has to lie about Sarai being his wife when they travel to Egypt. You had just promised to bless Abram beyond measure, beyond understanding and beyond human possibility.

How many of us when our situation seems tough, tries to take matters into our own hands? I know that there have been plenty of times in my life that I have forgotten so quickly what You have done.

I think that the key is to have some sort of visual reminder to remember Your blessings, Your call or Your Whispers. Times are tough, life is difficult and we all need to remember that You have spoke to us. I need Your help to remember, I need Your help not to forget and I need Your help to not try and take matters into my own hands.

Remembering Your Blessings,

Derek

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Obedience Raining Down

God,



Today, I read the account of Noah and The Great Flood. How many times have You asked us to do something crazy? How many times have You asked us to do something that we thought was impossible? How many times have you waited for us to listen in order to bless us?

I love the story of Noah because Noah was obedient. However, his obedience takes on a whole new meaning when some scholars point out that more than likely water had not fallen from the sky before the flood began. Noah was obedient even though what he believed God was going to do had never occurred. He was obedient even though he was asked to build something that had never been built before. Noah was obedient even though he was asked to care for animals he had never before seen.

Thank You for Noah who can open my eyes to being obedient even when it seems crazy.

Learning obedience one day at a time,

Derek

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Offer You Can't Refuse

God,



What is our fruit today that makes us think that we will be like God? The temptation of the fruit has not gone away it has just switched names. God, I think that we are still tempted to get fruit to be like You or at least we think that we can be like You. In psychological terms, we call it the God-complex. However, I think it way more simple than thinking that we are like God, I think it ultimately comes down to people being full of pride.

Today our fruit comes in various forms that includes:
  • Thinking that we have control of a particular situation
  • Not trusting You with an area of our lives such as money, future, children or work
  • Believing that we are smarter than we really are
  • Looking at our life and feeling that we have no need for God
  • Feeling that we are better than other people
Give us your strength so that we do not have to eat from the fruit. Help us to remain humble, to remain in Your will and where You want us to be at all times. Let us not take one step outside Your will.

Learning not to eat from the fruit,

Derek

Monday, February 6, 2012

Breath of Life

God,



"God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing." (Genesis 1:7) To me, this illustrates the beauty of the care and love that You have for us. In this creation story, You give us life from Your lips to ours. In my mind, I can see the limp body of Adam become alive as Your breath of life leaves Your mouth and enters the lungs of Adam.

The intimacy between You and Adam is so clearly presented by this image. The care of You bending down and taking Adam's head in Your hands and breathing the very life that we currently have into existence just goes to show the relationship that was originally created.

Even though I know that the concept of being in a relationship with You is a fairly recent idea, I can not help but read this line over and over and just Praise Your Name for life.

Thank You for my life. I have written about it earlier but I should have been mentally retarded according to medical doctors but I am not. You breathed life into me and for that I am thankful. Even during difficult times, I need to praise You and be thankful for the life I have been given.

Thanks for breathing life into us,

Derek

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Engage the Word

God,



Tomorrow begins a 40-day spiritual journey for myself and those that attend Grace Church of the Nazarene. I am excited to begin this journey with You.

Today, Pastor Mark spoke about consuming Your word. I hope that I do not just go through the motions when reading Your word. I hope that I will not only read but that I will consume Your word in such a way that life transformation occurs. I want to read Your word, pray through Your words and reflect upon Your words.

My hope is that I develop a Samuel ear for hearing Your voice. I want to hear You speak to me throughout each of these days. I want to begin my days asking, "God, who will you put in my path to whom I can minister?"

My hopes for this series:
  • Read Your word each and every day
  • Memorize scripture
  • Hear Your voice loud and clear
  • Grow closer to You
  • Life Group grows closer to You and each other
Excited for tomorrow,

Derek

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sin

God,

We have all heard the word, sin. In our heads, I think that it brings up many images from murder to hate, from adultery to lust and from gossip to violence. I also think that many of us know that sin is doing what is wrong but how often do I forget that not doing what is right is also sin.

It is a sin when someone knows the right thing to do and doesn’t do it. (James 4:17)

  • How many times have I known the right thing and walked away?
  • How many times have I not given someone money that needed it?
  • How many times have I not spoken a kind word just because I didn't like the person?
  • How many times have I not shared Your love for someone just because I was scared?
What happens when the right thing to do becomes blurry? Are there varying levels of what is right? I know that murder is wrong but if someone breaks in my house and tries to harm my family, is murder then not wrong? Is there good and then greater good?

I want to do right by You and by others. God, grant me the wisdom to know what is right and the strength to follow that path wherever it might lead me.

Wanting to do right,

Derek

Friday, February 3, 2012

Courageous

God,



After having a great afternoon with the family at the zoo and enjoying a scrumptious dinner at Titos, Kat and I rented Courageous to watch after putting Bennett and Celia down for the night. I had heard many great things about this movie prior to tonight. The movie did not disappoint. In the past, I have often wondered why the acting was sub-par but I did not notice poor acting tonight.

After watching the movie, I feel that I am a pretty good papa. However, I know there is so much more that I can give my kids to ensure they know You. I know that there are areas that I need to improve. I can see how some dads watch this movie and feel discouraged. However, I watch this movie and I feel challenged to be the best papa to my children. With Your help and by Your grace, I want to be the Spiritual Leader in my house and I want to love my wife like Christ loves the Church, unconditionally and with a self-sacrificing love.

I want to answer the call to be Courageous. As a papa that could not have biological children, my heart aches thinking of all of the fatherless boys and girls in our country and around the world. I think of the single moms trying to be both moms and dads and I have such admiration and respect for each one. But not only do men need to become real fathers, but we need men to step up and father the fatherless.

Help me to be Courageous,

Derek

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Resolution Update

God,



On January 6th, I blogged about my resolutions for 2012. My resolutions are:
  1. Blog Everyday- I have successfully blogged each and every day. I hope that I can continue blogging. I think that some of my blogs have been real and honest while others have been just so-so.
  2. Read Bible everyday- I have read some scripture every day but I really need to improve. It has to be more than just reading scripture, it has to be about consuming God's word- Can't wait to hear Pastor Mark's sermon this weekend about this very thought.
  3. Work-out- Each week during the month of January, I was able to work out at least 3 times a week. My strength is increasing but I know that I can push myself more.
  4. Not eat at fast-food restaurants- I have only eaten at a typical non-sub fast food restaurant once in the month of January and that was because Pastor Mark wanted to go to Captain D's for our staff lunch. Other than that, I have only eaten at Subway, Jersey Mikes and Quiznos.
God, help me to be a better person. I think my resolutions are cool but the most important thing is that I am continually transformed more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Help me empty myself, die to myself so that I can have all of You.

Thankful and challenged,

Derek

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How He Loves Us

God,



Tonight, the Youth Worship Team led us in worship. One of the songs that they played was How He Loves. The chorus of the song repeats the words How He Loves Us, How He Loves Us So. As I sang these words, I looked around the room and saw that some of the youth were worshipping, some kids just mouthed the words and many just stood in silence. My heart was breaking because I knew in that moment that many of these youth do not realize the depths of your love. Now, this is a wonderful opportunity to truly reach many for You but I also ache because I know what it feels like to be without Your love.

It caused me to wonder if any of us really understand the depth of Your love. You love us so much that You gave Your son so that our relationship to You could be restored. May each of us learn and grow to understand Your love to the fullest extent that we can.

Thankful for Your Love,

Derek

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hiding from God

God,



"But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? (Genesis 3:9-11)"

Thank you for this scripture God. I have the privilege of speaking to our Youth Group tomorrow night and this is the scripture that I will be speaking from. We are still so much like Adam. So many of us feel that we can hide from You. This scripture hits on so many levels.

  • Do we hide because we are scared of what you will see?
  • Do we hide because we think that we can fool you?
  • Do we hide because of our sin, our secrets, or our thoughts?
Even today, we think that You can't see us. Do we not realize that we are still just as naked before You as Adam was so many years ago?

"The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them (Genesis 3: 21)." Even when Adam and us sin and fall, You are there with your grace, love and forgiveness to clothe us and to make us whole again.

Thanks for the garments,

Derek

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wrong Side of the Bed

God,



I am just having one of those days when I am just in a bad mood. I do not want to be like this but I have been very short tempered with my children, my wife and my co-workers.

Paul put it this way, "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate (Romans 7:15)." I hate when I am being like this because I am normally a very encouraging and positive person but when I have one of these days, it seems like I can't put it behind me. I do not want to be short tempered but it seems like this is a day when everything sets me off.

God, please help me have a better day tomorrow. Please help me remain focused on You even on days like this. Please give me the words to seek forgiveness of those that I have wronged this day.

Just being honest,

Derek

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Son, Bennett

God,



I wanted to take the time tonight to thank You for my son, Bennett. Kat and I feel so blessed and honored to have the privilege to be his mama and papa. We have had him for a little over a year and in that time, he has already grown up so much. He went from being a young boy that hardly spoke to a "Papa's big boy" that speaks and laughs and is full of life. He is such a caring boy that takes care of his sister and makes sure that we take care of her as well.

One of the most amazing things about Bennett is that he seems to have a very strong connection with You already. From saying "God made it" every time he sees the sun set to making comments about getting ready for "Jesus" to come back to his special prayers.

Over the course of the last 6 months, Bennett has loved to pray at night. His prayers began very simply with being thankful for family. However, over the course of time Bennett has seemed to be in tune with You unlike most people. First, Bennett always wanted to pray for his Grumpy, my father that I have talked about in previous blogs that has not accepted Your love and forgiveness. Bennett still seems to always want to pray for his Grumpy. The second special prayer came after Bennett has done something that he should not have (I can't remember what Bennett did). During Bennett's prayer that night, he prayed that You would forgive him and that he was sorry. I am pretty sure that we had not told him that (He could have learned it from his amazing Sunday School teachers at Grace) but either way it was very special.

The third special prayer happened this evening. On Wednesday night, a friend of mine shared a prayer request about her husband. She simply asked me to pray for him. I had not spoken of this prayer request to anyone. This evening as Bennett began his prayers, he called this man by name and said "(the man's name) not feel good." God, I was blown away. I had to call the wife and share what happened. It shows that You care about this man and that You are speaking through my son. I pray that You continue to speak through him and that he accepts your love, grace and forgiveness at a young age and does not go down  the same path that I choose.

Thankful for my son,

Derek Hunter

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Running Out of Gas

God,



This morning on the way back from eating breakfast with the family at Marcy Jo's, Kat realized that the van was almost out of gas. Therefore, we finished going home and everyone got out so that I could go and fill up the gas tank. Kat said that she had not even noticed that she was almost on empty.

Later this evening, I was returning home on my way back from Upward and my gas light came on. I decided that instead of going to the nearest gas station that I would try and make it a gas station farther down the road. Fortunately, I made it to the gas station without running out.

But these two situations made me wonder God, why do we allow ourselves to run on empty? Why do we push ourselves and run on fumes? Many a time, I have turned off the radio and air conditioner just to try and save a little gas to get me to a gas station. What do we turn off in our lives to just make it one more day or even one more hour? Love, patience, or maybe even faith? I mean we know that you promise to fill us up.

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)" The term be filled in this scripture means to be continuously filled. God, I know what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and yet sometimes I am like the van situation this morning and I just do not pay enough attention to determine if I am close to running on empty. Other times, I like to push myself to the limit of almost being on empty because honestly I am an idiot.

How many times must I run out of gas before I will stay filled up? The peace, security and joy that comes from living a life full of You is like nothing else. God, grant me the wisdom, the self-analysis, the selflessness to remain connected to You and running on full.

Thanks for Your continuous filling,

Derek

Friday, January 27, 2012

Soul Mate

God,




I believe that we cross paths with people each and every day that can impact our lives. I also believe that we have people enter our lives that we can impact. 8 years ago this summer Kat and I crossed paths at a leadership conference learning how to be better consultants for our respective Greek Organizations. The interesting thing about our paths crossing that week was that I was not supposed to be at the conference.

We met at this conference and my life began to change. At this time, I was very far from You. Not only would I fall in love with Kat but she would introduce me to You.

I do not think that we have a soul mate but I do believe that You can use people to reach other people. I believe that You used Kat to reach me.

Too often, people put so much pressure on themselves to meet that "One" person. What happens if you miss that divine meeting? What happens when you get into your relationship and you fight, do you start to doubt that the person you are married to is your soul mate? Does it give you the right to divorce because your soul mate is out there?

Kat deserves a lot of jewels in her crown for putting up with me for the last 7 years. Has our marriage been smooth the whole time? No. However, we knew that we entered into a covenant with each other but more importantly with You. Thank You for keeping our marriage together and thank You for helping us to love one another.

Loving my wife more each day because of You,

Derek

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Are you a Circle Maker?

God,



I just finished the short book, Be a Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. It was a great book on learning to pray bigger prayers to You. I do not feel that this is part of the theology, "Name and Claim it." However, I do feel that it challenged me to pray differently. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • His prayer was was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming.
  • If your prayers aren't impossible to you, they are insulting to God (I had heard Steven Furtick say this before reading this but I really love this thought)
  • The greatest moments in life are the miraculous moments when human impotence and divine omnipotence intersect- and they intersect when we draw a circle around the impossible situations in our lives and invite God to intervene.
  • Who you become is determined by how you pray.
  • Miracles are the by product of prayers that were prayed by you and for you.
  • The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.
  • Yet many of pray as if our problems are bigger than God.
  • I don't always know if He will, but I always know that He can.
  • But God doesn't call the qualified, God qualifies the called.
  • Sometimes the power of prayer is the power to carry on.
God, thank you for Mark Batterson and the words that You gave him. I know that I am called, may you qualify me. Help me to draw prayer circles around the big dreams that You have given me. Help me and those who read these words believe that You can answer our prayers.

Learning to Pray Bigger, more Audacious Prayers

Derek


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Becoming Content

God,

Twice today, I had conversations about contentment. God, I am trying to be more aware of what you are saying to me. I think that overall I am very content with my life but I struggle because I know that there are things that I am not content with.
  •  How do I fix being discontent?
  •  Can discontentment be used for change?
  •  Is being discontent always a bad thing?
  •  Can contentment become a crutch to keep us from being the men/women that You have called us to be?
I think there exists a tight rope between being content and becoming stagnant. If we stay content, I wonder if that means that we are not being challenged. I think that we can be content with our life despite our circumstances which is an amazing thing. I think that the idea of contentment allows for much discussion.

God, help me to be content when I need to be content and understand what I need to learn when I am discontent.

Waiting for answers,

Derek

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thank You

God,



This weekend, Pastor Mark shared a saying that went something like, "What if tomorrow, you only had the blessings you thanked God for today?" I believe that the saying went something like that but I am sure that You get what I am trying to say. So often, I forget to STOP and be thankful for the great multitude of blessings that You have blessed me with. I think most days that I thank You for my wife and my kids but what about everything else? I am not sure that I take enough time each day to just be thankful.

My really good friend and workout partner hurt his back a week ago today. Last Wednesday, he woke up and was unable to make it to his car without help from his wife. A week later and his back is still not any better. So this evening, I called to check on him and he said that he could not even put his socks on today after getting treatment for his back. As we were talking, I told him that I bet you will be thankful for the ability to put your socks on when your back is better. His injury helped me to be more thankful for being able to bend down and put my socks and shoes on.

 God, why does it take something bad happening to make us thankful for what we have? I can't tell you how many times I heard a story of a broken relationship and I came home and kissed my wife. Why does it take something bad to make me appreciate something good? Why can't I be thankful all of the time?

As Kat and I are teaching our kids to say thank you for all of the small things that we give them or that someone else gives them, I think that we all could learn from children and be more thankful to You for all the blessings that we have.

Learning to be thankful,
Derek

Monday, January 23, 2012

Accountability

God,

James says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (5:16)."



Twice today, I had conversations about accountability. Your word tells us to confess our sins to other people. Most of us can't share the best part of our day, much less our sins with other people. Through these two conversations, I was challenged to think about whether I had someone that had permission to hold me accountable and the answer is no. I feel like I can tell Kat just about everything but your spouse can't be your accountability partner. I also have a really close friend but I am not sure that I have allowed him permission to speak truth into my life.  I, we need to open ourselves up to others and share our struggles, our temptations and our failures.

God, help me open up completely with others. Help me let go of the past when Kat and I were hurt so deeply when we opened our hearts up. God, help me be real and  not just put a smile on and say everything is fine. Help me to be honest with you, others and myself.

Heal me from the Inside Out,

Derek

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pain

God,



As I think back to the years that I have lived, many days have been scarred with pain. Not every day and not in every way but there are many days that I have felt intense pain. Tonight, Kat and I watched one of our guilty pleasures on television, Once Upon a Time. Near the end of the show, Grumpy the dwarf told Snow White, pain makes me who I am.

I think that this speaks of the old debate, "Would you change your past if you could?" If you could go back and change an experience from your past, would you?

During the time that I was experiencing the painful moments, I think that I would have gladly given them up (or drank the magical potion like in the show) and not cared if they affected my future me.

  • Having my dad work out of town for all of those years
  • Brother almost dying (Stabbed several times in Wal-mart bathroom and ran off the road)
  • Grandmother dying in 7th grade
  • High School (enough said)
  • Broken hearts
  • Feeling Alone
  • Parent's relationship struggles
  • Not getting high enough score on LSAT to go to the law school that I wanted
  • Mistakes made
  • Infertility
However, as I ponder on just a few of the painful moments from my past, I can see how each of these moments shaped me, changed me and led me down the road to become the man that I am today. Therefore, I would have to agree with Grumpy that the moments of our past whether painful or filled with joy have shaped my life.

No matter our pain, no matter our wounds, no matter our struggles, You can heal our pain, You can turn our wounds into scars and You can use our struggles to bring us closer to You.

Please give us strength to see past our current pain to our future story.

Derek

Saturday, January 21, 2012

To Be or Not to Be

God,



As You know, I turn 30 this year. 30 years ago this Spring, a doctor told my mom that it was in her best interest to abort the unborn child in her womb. Thankfully, my mom did not listen to the doctor's advice.

I think that I need to keep this in perspective each day because for me, it reveals that each day is truly a blessing, a gift from You. My mom was told that at best, I would be born with severe mental disorders and would never live a full life. I sit here, 29 years later thinking about the gift of life. We are only here on this earth for so long. Am I doing all that I can for You? Am I going to do something great for You?

All of us are given 24 hours in order to do something for You, what are we going to do with our time?

Thanks for my life,

Derek

Friday, January 20, 2012

Politics

God,


Tonight, Kat and I had a date night. I hate to admit it but these have been far and few between. Most nights when we had child care, it was for a church event or for working our second job of catering. Well, tonight we decided to have a night where we put the kids to bed and rented a movie and just spent time on the couch cuddling together.

We decided on the movie, Ides of March. It is a political drama that Kat and I both enjoyed. However, the movie made me think rather you really care about politics. Most Republicans claim to be Your party which means what that Democrats are Satan's party? If You voted in the next election, would You vote Republican, Democrat or other? I think You would have a difficult time voting Democrat because they endorse the position of Pro-Choice. Also, I think that You would have a difficult time voting Republican because most Republicans do not care about those in need or anything about the environment. At the end of the day, I do not think You really care because I think that You will take what happens and work it out for Your good. In addition, I think that most politicians are dishonest and unethical and would try and win an election at all costs.

Let's not mix our religious beliefs with our politics because I do not think that You would vote for either party.

Still learning,

Derek

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Self-Check

God,



Just a couple of days ago, I was at the gym working out with my good friend. As we were talking, he stated that I do not say much about my life to him. Those words affected me because I never want to be a friend that doesn't share and I never want to be fake. As I came home that night, I asked Kat if she felt that I communicated with her. She said that she did as much as I could. She felt that I do not take the time to reflect upon my own feelings. She suggested that I take the time each day to ask You how I am doing.

God, how many days do I know that I am going down the path of being negative and chose to do nothing about it? How many times do I make things worse for those around me because I am being negative? I heard recently that people can be the spiritual thermometer for those around them and I think that I am one of those people. I can either make everyone feel better with encouraging words or I know exactly what to say to make people look at things through a negative lens.

God, help me to have encouraging words and not negative ones, help me to build up and not tear down and help me to bring the light to others and not to snuff out the light of others.

Needing your help,

Derek Hunter