…one thing for the rest of your life…

When I was a child people would ask me the iconic question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I never said that I wanted to be a pastor.  I never did.  My dad was a pastor and it honestly seemed boring to me.

What kind of job was reading the Bible, preaching the Bible, singing songs, and teaching people about the Bible?  That is what he did and I didn’t want to do that.  I wanted to be a professional wrestler, or a GI Joe guy, or a ninja, or an artist for comic books, or something interesting like that.  Not a pastor.

And here I am…a pastor.  I’ve been youth pastoring for 7 years now come June.

I’m not being asked that iconic question anymore at my current age of 29 years.  Instead I’m being asked a different question.  Essentially I’m being asked, “If you could do one thing for the rest of your life and get paid for it, what would it be?” I like that kind of question way better.  But my answer isn’t as exciting as my answers to the other question asked when I was a child.

If I could do one thing for the rest of my life and get paid for it I would say: Talk to people.  If I could talk with people for the rest of my life I would love it.  I mean LOVE it!

Falling under that category of talking to people would be a few things in particular like teaching others the Bible, talking through the writing process, and having one on one conversations with people over a meal or coffee.  These are the things that I love and didn’t even know it until the fall of 2010.

I did some ministry coaching with a guy named Dave, who is now my friend.  He took me through a great process that has let me know what drives me in life, and what I need to do that will keep me moving and doing ministry.

So what about you?  I need to talk to people.  What would you do if you could do one thing for the rest of your life and get paid for it?

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…jake’s painful journey…

So I don’t know who your childhood heroes were when you were growing up, but as far as mine go, a lot of them were all grown men, who wore tights, sweat a lot, and flung metal chairs at each other.  That’s right.  My childhood heroes were professional wrestlers.  Now I enjoyed GI Joes, Rambo, and Ninja Turtles as well, but for a few years I was solely committed to wrestling.

My favorite by far was Ultimate Warrior, but one of the kind of unsung wrestlers that I admired was Jake the Snake Roberts.  He had snake skin boots and carried a big boa constrictor around with him in a bag, was over 6 1/2 feet tall and had a cool demeanor.  In my mind he seemed like he was very loyal; the type of guy who you would want to be your friend for a long time.  You know the one who would pick you up on the side of the highway at 3 in the morning.  I don’t know if that is a true assessment of not, but it is what he seemed like to me.

Well, the other day I went on YouTube and found a documentary that was done on him and watched the whole thing.  I was amazed at the journey that his career took him on.  He went through all kinds of ups and downs.  He had some success, and then had some set back.  He had some great deals and offers, and then they were withdrawn from him.  He had every reason to be happy and upset at the same time.

Eventually in his career, after a few years of being in the WWF he became addicted to painkillers, which led to a drug addiction that lasted a few years.  Couple that with years of drinking and dealing with alcoholism and you have a recipe for a very tough life without too many bright spots to comfort yourself with.  It was at this point in the documentary that Jake said in a grizzly and gruff voice that life consisted of “work, pills, alcohol, sleep. Next day – same thing.”

When I heard him say that it just left me feeling sadness and a certain level of pity for this guy who I didn’t even know in real life.  This guy who wore a hat with the name “Jake the Snake” on it in which he performed his amazing DDT was now declaring how pointless and useless he viewed his life as back then.  Just made me sad.

But the documentary didn’t end there.  Although he severed relationships, lost money, got divorced, and has many regrets he is now clean and living a life with a smile on his face again in small town Texas.  It made me really think about a few things in my life.

Why can’t I lick and get rid of some of the struggles in my life?  I mean, come on Jay, you have the power of the Holy Spirit living and active in you!  Why aren’t you having the same results as Jake had?  At one point Jake claimed that he was born again, but didn’t seem to say that this change was what helped him get better finally.  I don’t want to make a judgment call on his conversion or anything, but it seemed like he overcame a lot of what he did by sheer will power and grit!

It is an exciting thing to see what the human spirit can do and overcome.  But it is also sobering to see someone cut more junk out of their life with their own will power than I choose to with the help of God.

I now have something to work on.  How about you?  What are you thoughts?

…wwf, not wwe…

In 1990, 1991 and 1992 my life was consumed with one thing.  And although I would like to say it was Jesus, the truth is that is was Professional Wrestling.  I loved Professional Wrestling.  Hulk Hogan.  The Ultimate Warrior.  Brutus the Barber Beefcake.  Hacksaw Jim Duggan.  Rowdy Roddy Piper.  The Big Boss Man.  Mr. Perfect.  Macho King Randy Savage.  The Hart Foundation. Dusty Rhoads.  The Legion of Doom.  The Rockers.  The Bushwackers.  Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase.  Ravishing Rick Rude.  Jake the Snake Roberts.  Andre the Giant.  The British Bulldog.  Rick the Model Martel.  I could go on and on with the names of guys who I followed and loved to watch.  But I don’t want to have a blog post of just names of wrestling superstars.

If I were to pick a favorite it would be difficult because I went back and forth constantly between two guys about who my favorite was.  It would be a tie between Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan.  I mean it is hard to top Hogan.  He is, or should I say was, the All-American good guy for a long time.  I actually found a documentary about him on YouTube that tells his story from start to finish about how he was a villain, then a good guy, then a villain, and finished off a good guy.  But Hulkamania was hard to stop and it ran rampant in the early 90s – especially in the bedroom of one little Jay Sauser.  Hogan was definitely a favorite.

But on the flipside it was hard to not like Ultimate Warrior either.  He was a crazy, off-the-wall, unstoppable force that went berserk in the ring quite often.  It was fun to watch his matches because he was the guy who seemed like he could never be stopped or defeated (unless of course someone cheated with a metal chair or the help of their manager).  Not only that but the dude was buff.  And I mean buff; he was huge.  His interviews were crazy and full of non-sense but that was exactly what drew me in and made his character so much fun for a 3rd grader in Iowa like me.

Recently I found a WWE Classics Channel on Hulu and watched every match that I could from the early to mid 90s.  It was an extremely nostalgic walk through memory lane for me.  I loved it.  So much fun.

I would encourage you to spend some time going through your own memory lane remembering times that were easier and simpler for yourself.  It was therapeutic for me – I think it might do the same for you.