Monday, July 30, 2007

one of the hardest things I have ever done...

Today, we buried my grandmother. It was a tough week to be quite honest. I am so a first born child. I have gone all week making sure that I was strong for everyone. It hit me this morning in the shower. I sobbed. It has been a long time since I have done that sort of thing. I had been up late making sure that what I was planning to say about my grandmother was perfect. Well, it did not come out perfect, but I think people who attended her celebration were on the same page. But this morning in the shower, this last week caught up with me. I had all of those stories fresh in my mind. I become overwhelmed with love for my Grandmother. As my family slept, I wept. It was uncontrollable. I had all of this emotion bottled up inside of me and it just burst. When i recovered, I knew I was ready to read my Grandmothers eulogy. It felt good to get that off my chest. It felt good to finally mourn. In that grieving I found acceptance.

This was my Grandmother's funeral, but I struggled with the fact that I never really had any closure with the death of my Grandfather. His funeral was not well planned, to no fault of anyone. I think we were all still in shock. Today, I opened with a few words about my Grandparents as a couple. I talked about how they were different, yet complimented each other so well. I was blessed by their example of marriage. I loved them both very much. Upon saying that last statement, I had to pause to take a deep breath. Closure. Finally, I felt like I could finally move on.

I shared all about how Grandma Perky ( which is what Maddie and Caroline have always called her) was all about serving her family, her friends, and anyone else she came in contact with over the years. I shared about how she was a beautiful example of love. I talked about Francis Chan's quote, "Love is when service doesn't feel like service." I described how Grnadmother lived that exact statement. She loved us so much that when she cared for us, it wasn't like work. She lived to do such things for everyone.

I finally tied in the fact that her being a seamstress was no mistake. She spent her entire life always sewing, patching, and mending our lives together as a family. A beautiful example of love.

I felt guilty as family members thanked me for doing the eulogy. I just wanted Grandma to have her time today. To share something about her, that would make her proud. I could not afford to wait eight years for closure, and neither could the rest of my family. I love them too much to allow that to happen again. There was no need to thank me, congratulate me, or even tell me how proud they were of how I shared Grandma's life. She deserved it. I do not deserve the praise. I shared from my heart. I hope I shared from everyone else's hearts as well.

My Aunts and Uncles will never comprehend how much I love them. I try to tell them, but words just don't seem like enough to do justice. My cousins...well, I can't not put into words how much I look up to them, how much I respect what they have done with their lives, and how proud I am of who they have become as people. They all have had a huge impact on my life and the person I have grown to become throughout my lifetime. I can't thank them enough. I just hope they know that when I hugged them today and told them I loved them, it is love beyond measure...

I wanted to share this scripture today, but felt I was going long so I did I will share it now...

1 Corinthians 13

1 I may speak in different languages of people or even angels. But if I do not have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing if I do not have love.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud.5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.

8 Love never ends. There are gifts of prophecy, but they will be ended. There are gifts of speaking in different languages, but those gifts will stop. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will come to an end.9 The reason is that our knowledge and our ability to prophesy are not perfect.10 But when perfection comes, the things that are not perfect will end.11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways.12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.13 So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Virginia Pettit....

This morning around 4:15 EST my Grandmother, Virginia Pettit succumbed to her struggle with cancer. It is a sad day for my family. My hope is that they can see that her life was one to celebrate! We must mourn, it is our nature. My experience with death, though limited, has been that the end of a life is filled with sadness. Since I accepted Christ, my outlook on death has been so different. I don't really have that fear of dying anymore. The cool thing Grandma did not have that fear this week either. She accepted that she was at the end of her time on earth, she seemed prepared to go and I believe she was prepared because she knew she got to meet Jesus today. I have never been more Homesick then now....

I love you, Grandma.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sunday was fun...

We were invited to play at Fire Fest 2007. The brainchild of a few local people who have a heart for the church's in Waverly to work together! There was some anxiety about worshipping in front of people that have watched us grow up. It is so much easier to worship with people you don't know very well. Worshipping in front of people who know so much about you, your life, your family makes you question yourself. It is an attack. Plain and simple. Here are a few pictures from the event from my great friend and the official pilot of the MFE, Jon Mark Hall.

Since I brought it up, I have to apologize. I play with 2 bands. One is an amazing group of guys God has put in my life to help me grow as a musician. Jim, Dale, Roy, Jesse, and Dan are fantastic people, who use their musical gifts to Praise God in amazing ways. Awesome hearts. I love these guys. I do not get to play with them often enough. We have been trapped in a band name since the beginning...I run, i hide, but it is still there. The Marty Ford Experience. My friend Jesse played a practical joke on me and it has stuck. We just can't escape it. I am embarrassed to give the band name to people for events we are playing. I have had Pastors offer prayer for my "big ego", people laugh because they know I am not much of an experience, and people who love it because they know that I far from the egotist the name suggests.

The second band I play with is the group of kids you see in the pictures. They help me lead worship at church once a month. These kids are incredible. They have developed into great musicians, but even better worshippers. I have seen in them a desire to draw close to God in worship. They understand it is a response and it is not for us. I can't express how proud I am of them and the young leaders they have grown to be. I love being around them, their energy and passion is infectious. I love them like they were my own kids.

Here is the reason for the apology.... These kids have no identity when they are with me. What I mean by that is for the one day of Fire Fest, they were official members of the MFE, whether they like it or not. That was painful for me. I purposefully did not give the organizers of the event a band name so the kids would not be stuck in that band name, self promotion sort of activity. My plan sort of backfired. Instead of calling us the MFE...they called us "the River Valley Worship team". I felt awful about that. Don't get me wrong, I proudly stand up and represent RVCC! But there are so many others not involved with Fire Fest that day that are just as much a part of the River Valley Worship Team. I felt so bad that I sent a text message that night to Steve to apologize. I felt I was offending people either way. Call us "MFE" and the kids fall into the same trap I am in and call us "RVCC Worship Team" and the others who did not participate but belong in that name are possibly hurt.

Sunday was fun. I so need a great band name.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

hey Mr. ... would he want my lunch?

There was boy about 10 years old out playing in the street one day. He was having a great time doing what 10 year old boys do at that age. He had not a care in the world. His world was pretty simple. He would awaken every morning to the chores his parents had planed for him to complete. Once through the list it was off to play with the other neighborhood children until it was time to eat lunch.

As the boy played in the street, he heard the sound of people talking. At first the sound of the crowd was faint, but the noise level grew with ever step closer the rambunctious crowd drew. The excitement filled the air, but what was it all about? The boy wanted to find out! His parents were not interested in all of the hype, but the boy had to follow along, he just had to see for himself. He begged his parents to allow him to follow the growing crowd. At this point there were two, maybe three thousand people walking through the town. The young boy needed to be with all of these people. He just knew it. The ever growing mob was full of energy, curiosity, and laughter. The boy thought it was like a parade!

In the house next door, the the family could not sit and watch the crowd walk by with out finding out more about the commotion. So they packed up and joined the caravan. As they were leaving the house, the young boy begged to join them in their expedition. The neighbors agreed and they were off. As they hit the trail, the boys mother, called him back. She had packed him a lunch. She kissed him on the forehead and said, " Be home by dinner", then sent him on his way. The young boy was so excited. The excited mob was like a new world for him to explore.

As they hiked toward their destination, the boy skipped from conversation to conversation, listening in to the stories that these travelers were telling. The stories were amazing! So many tales, could they all be true? He wanted to believe what people were saying, but even a young boy has his doubts. As they all started to gather at the shore line, the crowd had grown to close to five thousand. They were all waiting with anticipation. As they took their seats, the boy realized that he was no longer with his neighbor. He was lost. He had wondered off and as the mass of people started to grow, it became impossible to see anyone.

The boy worked his way to the front of the crowd. He sat intently listening, watching and learning. After hours of study, the boy started to meander around the crowd looking for his chaperones. It was apparent to others that the boy was searching for someone. A young man approached the boy and offered to help him find his neighbors and while they searched they talked about the day. As they continued their perusing, they boy remembered his lunch his mother had packed him. He was so hungry. There had been so much excitement, that he had forgotten to eat and now his stomach was growling. The boy did not want to eat in front of his new friend, but he was so hungry. He scanned the crowd and realized that everyone was without food. The young man asked him what was so troubling? As the boy answered Andrew, he realized that not only the crowd of five thousand were hungry, but that Jesus might be hungry, too. " Hey Mr, do you think that he would want my lunch?" said the boy pointing towards Jesus. " My mother packed me a lunch, it is not much, just some bread and a few pieces of fish."

Did the boy understand the part he played in Jesus' miracle that day? Do you think that the boy was inspired to give up his lunch?

I know I took a lot of license with the story. I was wanting to know more about the story, so I had to make some of it up. I am reading a book called "The Fisherman". It sheds a little light on what may have happened that day of this miracle. I think that the generosity of the boy to give up his lunch was rewarded by Jesus. He feed five thousand people....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

what was he thinking...

How can he approach someone and force his opinion on them like he did? Doesn't he know that most people are offended by others who are so opinionated that they feel as if they must tell you how to live your life? Why do some people feel as if they must point out your faults? It was like he was trying to save him from the obvious embarrassment that was soon to come His way. How could he have been so bold? How could he have been so brash? I am confused about how someone gains such confidence to tell him He was wrong? I know he thought it would be damaging to His campaign. I know he thought his actions were what was best for Him.

Can you imagine how the conversation took place?

Can you believe that he felt as if he knew better of the plans?

Can you believe the arrogance?

What was Peter thinking when he approached Jesus? When he told Jesus that he was wrong to piss off the religious leaders. I think this entire time, Peter felt as if Jesus was damaging his campaign by making the Pharisee look bad. Peter felt that Jesus needed to have a great relationship with them to further His chances of becoming the great political leader Peter thought Jesus was destined to be. Jesus first told the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven". The Pharisee were all over that...only God can forgive sins! Then Jesus, said He owned the Sabbath. If you are hungry, you must eat. Strike two! Finally, Jesus choose to do good over evil and healed the mans hand on the Sabbath. That was the beginning of the end. Peter felt that Jesus was being to over the top. Peter knew that this bold example that Jesus was God was a major setback to His ministry. Peter decided he needed to set Jesus straight.

How bold is that?

How did Jesus respond?

I think Jesus probably chuckled as he corrected Peter. He probably had a smile on his face. He loved Peter so much at that moment for being brave, but probably was humored by his inability to see the whole picture. Jesus knew that Peter was in this thing for the long haul and was probably happy that Peter stood up and spoke, because it allowed a perfect opportunity to teach. When I read the scripture, it feels as if Jesus was angry with Peter. I don't believe that for a second. I sort of feel like Jesus could have been sarcastic in that moment, but not angry with Peter. It says Jesus rebuked Peter. Jesus knew that Peter only did it because he loved Jesus so much. Peter was still worried about the flesh. How could Jesus say, "Get behind me Satan!" and not sort of be a little sarcastic and with a hint of a smile. Jesus did not intend to crush Peter, for He knew that Peter's future denial would be almost insurmountable for Peter to recover from. He needed Peter to understand that He became flesh, but was still God.

Now, I know I am probably wrong about this, but here is what I love...that I am growing to a place where I can have my own thoughts and ideas about who Jesus is. I seem to look so much deeper in to the gospels. I hate being a superficial christian, where my knowledge is only skin deep. I no longer want to just share the gospel by telling the obvious stories that everyone knows from Sunday School. I want to know the gospel intimately. As I understand Jesus in a deeper and more intimate way, then I can give up more and more to Him.

What was he thinking when he told Jesus, "I think you are doing this whole Messiah thing wrong!" I know Jesus had to laugh and that is why I love Him so much!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

so I can't sleep...

I have a million things going on in my head. I am so far behind on my blog. I am disappointed that I have not been blogging regualarly. So i am going to upload a few things just to get them out of my head....

A few weeks ago, I lead Chapel at Scioto Hills camp just outside of South Webster. We worshiped, we prayed, and we learned about 1 Peter. It was awesome! Amazing kids, amazing staff and the entire experience was centered around the love of God. I hope they ask me back at some point. A wonderful experience. Thanks Kayla!

I am on a Chrysalis Team for the upcoming weekend. These are amazing weekends where God becomes so real for high School kids. My prayer is that God will take over and keep our humaness from getting in the way. Fly with Christ!

There is a great new show on my favorite network (USA). It is called "Burn Notice". It complements my two other favorite shows on TV, "MOnk" and "Psych". I am watching "Monk" as I type this along with watching/listening to Brad Paisley/John Mayer Crossroads episode. WOW, I wish I could play guitar like those guys!

I lead worship 3 times on Sunday. Two services at church and one service for the girls Chrysalis flight. I felt like all 3 services went very well. "By His WOunds" may have been my favorite...the response was awesome, everyone really entered in on that one. It was the first time we have done that song...they caught on quickly.

I have great friends in my life. You often take them for granted, but I have been thinking alot about how important their roles in my life are in keeping me walking with Christ. thanks. You know who you are....:)

I want 4 things. I feel guilty. Materialism is something we all struggle with in our lives. I fight it too. Sometimes I cave. Sometime having no extra money wins. Sometimes I just research these things, so that I won't buy. In no particular order... a digital SLR camera, a Navagation System (Nuvi 350)for the Wrangler, an iPhone, and one thing that never leaves the list...a new acoustic guitar.

So I can't sleep. I have decided. I am going to do it. It the thing that is keeping me up. I just can't deny it. It may not mean anything. Nothing may ever come of it. But, I have to jump. I promised Jen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

so I picked up some reading material...

The family and I went shopping and I sort of went book crazy. At one point in time, i was holding 9 books. I was able to ween that down to 6 book before we checked out. What is crazy about this is that I am not a motivated readier. I might be lucky to read 5 books a year. In the past 5 years that has been about half spiritual/self help and the other half fiction. Honestly, for years i could not get into anything other than fiction. But this year, I have already surpassed my 5 books and I am working on book number 10. I do have to count Rob Bell's Sex God in that list a few times. I have listened to that audio book around 4 or 5 times. Great stuff. TOnight I picked up some books from people who I have been wanting to read, but have yet to drop the money. So I picked up some reading material and here is the list:

The Story of Christ by Scot McKnight

The Martyr's Song by Ted Dekker

Uprising by Erwin McManus

The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren

The Fisherman by Larry Huntsperger

The Bible by God
the New Century Version...I was curious and it was 4 bucks

I have been living out of 1 Peter for a while and so I have chosen to read the Fisherman first. I have so heavy reading to get finished, because I will not want to put of reading the new Harry Potter book when it comes out in a few weeks.

I will post my opinions on the reading as I progress.