Game of Thrones

I saw a throne and a king seated on it.  He had a look about him that emitted might and power and I knew he was the King, not just a king, but the KING.  The throne room was richly furnished, as one that belonged to a monarch of surpassing wealth.  He and it seemed to define beauty, righteousness, and holiness.

Suddenly, the double doors at the back of the room opened and one of his subjects stomped in and trooped down the red silk carpet to stand before the King.  I knew then that something was terribly wrong.  He didn’t bow or prostrate himself before his king.  He instead began to bring a list of his demands to the King, placing blame on Him for a plethora of things that were wrong in his own life.  Without a word from the King, he was ushered sternly out of the throne room.

Then without warning, a side door opened and a young boy ran into the room, making a beeline for the King.  No one sought to delay or hinder him.  He climbed up onto the King’s lap and gave Him a huge bear hug.

“Daddy!” he cried.  “Abba!”

The King returned the embrace, wrapping His gentle arms around the child and shielding his head from all eyes.  I felt my lips tremple and quiver and tears form in my eyes.  Which was I?  The demanding subject or the son running to his Father?


Moor(n)ing Lines

There once was a dinghy on a lake.  This boat was propelled by a single pair of oars in the hands of its owner.  The lake was vast and deep; its water was variably warm or cool.  The owner enjoyed giving people rides on his private lake, sharing with them why he loved the scenery.  Many times, he’d describe the views or even the depth and temperature of the lake during a prior solitary glide.  That is how he spent most of his time, rowing alone on the expansive waves of his lake. 

When he’d satisfied his need for adventure and beauty, he’d row to shore, seeking a tree or post to tie his rowboat to.  Even on the dock he built for his many pasengers, there was no securing his boat to anything.  When the tide came in, if he was not in his boat, the waves would plunge the dinghy across the water, tossing and jostling it toward the middle and deeper parts of the lake.  All he could do then was wait for his boat to land ashore again, as it always did.  But there were no mooring lines.

Creativity or Just Memoirs

I write for fun, I enjoy it that much.  I write about things I know and leave hidden in my imagination what I don’t know.  I hide many things, creatively.  I say without saying.  With metaphor, simile and fictional story.  But is that actually creativity, or imagination or just what I know?  Is all this just creativity and imagination on paper or is it just my story, feebly and vaguely committed to pages.  Twenty-seven, no twenty-eight chapters and verses.  Yet no one reads between the lines, or on the cover.  Is it creativity or just memoirs?

JA Menter 3

“I feel numb, I can’t come to life, I feel like I’m frozen in time. Living in a world so cold, wasting away…”

20 Degrees

I promised myself I would post this at some juncture this week, so here goes.

Does anyone remember what temperature it was at the beginning of the year?  I don’t know how to transition into what I need to say, but the first week of 2011, it was about 20 degrees at six o’clock one evening.  I went on a run three times that week, the 40, and the 48 South twice.  That nomenclature has to do with where I turned around.  But anyway, the second of those three times, I ran because I felt like I was a boiling pot of water and the pressure was building.  It was a Tuesday and I was in charge of the festivities of Z-360 that week.  In fact, I was going to be all by myself and preaching.  I hadn’t come up with a game yet, but that was only one of my worries. 

As I ran, I thought over a particularly crazy and ridiculous situation I had caused about a week earlier.  An instance where, as always, I proved once again to myself at least that I shouldn’t be trusted in public.  The episode that proved my handicapping madness was seared on my memory like a cattleman’s brand.  I kept thinking, ‘I’m broken; I need fixing.’  My message that I was going to preach was about stress management from a biblical perspective.  See my posts from that first year of blogging to get the jest of what I was going to say.  This run was my ‘effective stress management’ ie giving it up.

Earlier that week, I had had a conversation about predestination from the viewpoint of Calvinism, which by the way is not the same as what Paul was talking about in Romans 8, but try telling a 5 point Calvinist that.  As I struggled with how to articulate my understanding of the matter, during my run, I began to declare this epitaph, which quickly became like a chanted montra.

What is a master, like an expert? It is someone who has knowledge and skill in a particular field.  A master carpenter has skill in carpentry and has power over wood.  Power.  Authority over.  A master designer has power over the design.  God is a master designer, THE Master Designer; He has power over His design.  We are created in His image (Gen 1:28), therefore, we have choice because He has choice.  We didn’t choose Him, but He chose us, because He is the Master Designer.

Then my mind turned to my episode of madness, my time outside my element.  I remembered Colossians 3:15, which is “let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”  The question came and I voiced it:  Why does the peace of God rule in hearts and not minds?  It is a part of the image of God we bear, yet we were and are deceived.  Therefore, we are to renew our minds whereby we are transformed, cured.  2 Corithians 10:4-5 talks about the weapons of our warfare for casting down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  The obedience of Christ as in Philippians 2:8.  Humility, He humbled Himself, just as in 1 Peter 5:7, the context is humility.  Col 3:16 ‘may the word of God dwell in you richly.’  The word of Christ.  Romans 12:2 spoke of proving the will of God after being transformed.  The word of Christ transforms the mind.  The Word.  The WORD…guards your heart and your mind

At this point, my pace is quickening and my breathing is labored, but the words are still coming out of me, as if I have no regard for oxygen at all.  My thoughts voiced then and typed now had flown unbroken, fluidly, but then came this montra, this chant that I repeated over and over.  The cure is in the Word, no ‘IN the Word IS the Cure.  I am Yours, Master me.  I am Yours, Master me.  In the Word is the cure.  IN THE WORD IS THE CURE!!  I AM YOURS; MASTER ME!!

In that moment, everything else seemed so very small, infinitismal even.  I knew without thinking what the game the following night was going to be.  I knew beyond a doubt that I had rediscovered something that had been staring me in the face all along.  It was the key to so much.  Surrender and the Word, both scary in themselves, yet so very much a part of those of us ‘predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son’.  We cannot be conformed to something without being around it, remember Romans 12:2, and we can’t be around ‘His Son’ apart from the Word.  In so conforming, we must also surrender our old way of life, the pattern of this world, the pride and blasphemy of rebelling.  The war in our minds between deception and truth hinges upon surrendering and being mastered, as well as being washed again and again by the Word, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

JA Menter 3

“In the Word is the cure;  I am Yours, master me.  I AM YOURS; MASTER ME!”

A Lesson on Comedy or Errors

I haven’t posted a blog since I graduated and I suppose I had better put one up.  This is a semi-impromptu comedy routine perhaps.

I have a pet peeve of people complaining and then refusing to do anything about it.  I’m sure you know the situations I’m talking about.  I’ll give you an example and help you through my thought process as it unfolds.

Person:  I’m cold

Thoughts: Person is cold, therefore a coat or blanket would probably remedy the situation.

Me: Here, take my coat.

Person:  No, that’s okay.

Thoughts:  Here we go again, one of those people.  I thought this was a call for help, but it was just a pity party.  If they were going to merely state fact, why didn’t they use the indefinite “It is cold”?  Maybe they are doing the whole “I know what it is to be content” part of Philippians 4, but haven’t figured out the “without complaining or arguing” part yet.  Is the coat too small or something?  Wait, it is mine, so it can’t be that.  Maybe it’s….no, it’s mine.  Did they notice the time I sneezed or coughed into my sleeve and think that I’m contagious?  Ultimately, is it me or them?

Thus I stand with a complainer on one hand and a coat in the other.  The chronic complainer.  Or were they venting?!  That’s a whole different animal.  Since I’m rarely in a position to vent, I most often find myself the recipient of the venting.  The problem is, now that someone has spewed their crud on me, how am I supposed to clean it up, or even am I?  Do they really mean to ask for advice and not vent?  How should I respond?  The anticipated response is always the other one, it seems.  When I think that they want advice, they were really just venting and vice versa.  And if they were just venting, why did they pick me and what am I to do with it.  Throw it away like junk mail, or polish it like I do at work?  (I hoped you’d laugh here)  And now that I’ve vented, what are you going to do with it…  actually there was a point to this, as always.

JA Menter 3

It is cold, but “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

And to you Lincolnites, Philippians 4:14

Age is Irrelevent Part 1

A bent man limps to the sidewalk, steady determination on his sullen face.  Each step is labored like a motor with toothless gears.  A bony hand grips a wood cane in attempts to balance his weight.  Walking is more falling forward and catching himself before he hits the pavement.

The man’s eyes peer out from behind thick glasses.  Starring at the ground in front of him, he struggles over every crack and break in the cement.  He walks but a few steps before the excursion forces him to pause.

The man’s hair lies flat across his head, the hair on one side of his head combed up over the growing bald spot on his crown.  The hair, once a shiny brown now a pale white, is thin and slicked over with grease and last ditch attempts to improve its appearance. Stubble forming on his cheeks and chin is coarse and white, fraying on the edges.

The man finally reaches an intersection and stops for traffic.  The street is busy and many other pedestrians stop to wait.  When the light turns, a middle aged man tries to help the bent man cross the street but the aged man insists.  To everyone’s amazement, he lifts his cane and declares, “I can do it myself. I’m only twenty-four.”


Today, or rather yesterday, was the last day for one of my co-workers.  No, his name is not John.  We have worked together on the same paint crew for the past three summers and often during the school year as well.  This co-worker recently graduated and accepted an engineering job in the Kansas City area.  He drives down to Overland Park today.  As I think through all the work we did together, I am reminded of the day two summers ago when we were touching up Burr East, just the two of us.  That day, we talked about Southpark and The Office, cults and religion, and the weird sock we found in one of the rooms.  Or the hundreds of lunch conversations about our co-workers and the lastest rat race that is life at BFL.  Or most recently, the time I caught him sleeping just after second break and Gerry and I woke him up with a funny video that another co-worker had sent us.  But mostly, I remember how much I looked up to him, both figuratively and physically.  He stands 6’9″ tall on a short day and when he had to take a physical this summer, the nurse couldn’t read the measure stick.  It reminded me of the “too-tall Jones” Geico commercial.  I looked up to him because he was so good at what we did day in and day out.  I always tried to out-work him in both quantity and quality, but failed on both counts.  Now, for the last few months of 2010, I am the top dog, actually the only student painter still employed at BFL. Today an era ended and next summer, a new era for BFL paint crew begins.  An era after Ben Nelson.   Good-bye and Good luck Ben!!  I will miss you.

JA  Menter 3

An Update

Because I think I need to.

It was fun at Martha’s this past weekend watching the Husker game.  Thanks to all the folks who brought wonderful food items.  It seems we’re never at a shortage of good food and laughs.  I want to update you, my reader, on what has been going on with me.  To do so, I have to lay a foundation of background for you. So here goes. 

Since I was fifteen, I’ve been involved in leading a church program called Royal Rangers.  It is a program much like Boy Scouts or Awanas that teaches boys from kindergarten to 5th grade about the Bible and handy skills such as how to build a campfire, tool safety, and tying a secure knot for just about every possible use.  When I went to college three years later, I was connected to the Navigators on campus where I attended and later led Bible studies.  From my junior year until the end of my fifth year in college, I led a group of younger college age men in the study of the Bible.  This type of thing is something that has been the most enjoyable experience of my life and the chance to disciple a younger believer was a responsibility I took very seriously.   I was, of course, still involved in Royal Rangers leading the 3rd-5th grade group.   As one who is very active at LCF, I was also a backup singer for Sunday worship and one of the lead ushers.

 At the beginning of 2009, with the intent to obtain a teaching degree and coach high school sports, I took some coaching courses that met at the same time that Royal Rangers met  and the worship team practiced. (Wednesday and Thursday nights)  So, I had to take a break from both.  Having been a Royal Ranger leader for 7 years, it was hard to step aside, if even for a semester.  Many of the kids I had taught from the beginning of their elementary school experience six years earlier.  By God’s grace, I was able to focus wholly on my studies at the university and when summer rolled around, there was an opening in the youth ministry at LCF (Z-360), sponsoring the junior and senior high youth.  Since this was dealing with the same age group that I anticipated my career being with (high school teacher), I volunteered. 

 The past year has been amazing in my new role.  I have bonded with the youth of Z-360 in ways similar to the bonds formed when I was leading a Navigator Bible study those three years.  In the process of time, our youth pastor felt the leading of the Lord to resign from youth pastoring at the end of this past summer.  As the sole remaining youth sponsor, I was thrust into a more prominent role within the ministry.  Our lead pastor is taking up as an interim youth pastor until a hire can be made, but a lot of the other things have been delegated to me.  We had a blog site running before that the former youth pastor posted on and I of course was a logical choice to continue that.  I envision it becoming a good resource for students to receive encouragement and discipleship tools as well as sermon notes and evangelism challenges for their school week.  Another thing that I’ve taken head on is the youth worship team.  My experiences as a backup singer on Sunday mornings have given me valuable insights for this role.   We have our first meeting on Saturday to discuss what we are doing. 

 Since school started three Wednesdays ago, we have had 9 first time visitors come and 3 accept Christ as their Savior.  I truly believe God is doing something mighty in the lives of the youth at LCF and am excited about what will happen next.  I see God’s hand in a lot of what has brought me to this position.  The coaching classes that caused me to take a break from Royal Rangers, the opportunity to be on the Sunday morning worship team, this past year making friendships with the youth, the experience leading Navigator Bible studies, the way in which I have always used my blog, which frankly is very similar to the direction the youth blog is set up.  

In the past year, I have failed to be accepted into the Teacher’s college twice.  It seems that open-mindedness is encouraged there only if your open mind doesn’t challenge the official position of the college.  I am now a history major with a geography minor, planning on that December 2010 graduation.  I have been working as a student painter at Burr/Fedde, the residence halls on East Campus, for three years and I enjoy that type of thing a lot.  I am starting a construction type business, doing things like roofing (thank you Martha and Kenny for that experience), drywalling, painting, and staining.  I have two jobs already lined up, so it’s coming along.  I guess it’s a third if you include the bookshelf I promised Rebekah I’d build for her.

 Another thing I get a lot of questions about is Joe and I’s book.  Though Joe is too busy now to work on it with me, I still find time to continue writing it.  It has over 380 pages so far and there is about 2 and a half chapters left before the first draft will be finished.  I see some places where I need to revise in a major way and some parts that were really skimmed over to go on to other parts of the book that I have to go back and finish.  My Spanish professor has offered to help me publish it when it is done, but that might be sometime in the distant future as revising, of course, takes a lot of time.  

JA Menter 3