I am_____________.

This is not a not my usual article. I’m not attempting to provide commentary on a current social or theological issue, nor expose an untruth or false teaching, nor shed light on a biblical principle.

This is a simple list of what I support.

Why? … I’ll get to that shortly.

I am Pro-God.

I am Pro – Christian Faith

I am Pro – Biblical truth

I am Pro – Traditional and Biblical Marriage

I am Pro – Life (in every way )

I am Pro – America

I am Pro – Liberty

I am Pro – Separation of church and State

I am Pro – Small Government

I am Pro – Constitution

I am Pro – Gun

I am Pro – Freedom

I am Pro – Family

I am Pro – Faith

I am Pro – Prayer

I am Pro – Truth

This is a short list of things that matter to me and things that I believe in. What one can reason from this list, is that if I am “pro” something, then I am ” anti” whatever opposes it.

The reason for this short list is for the morally ambiguous who may wonder where my allegiance lies. You see, I don’t typically broadcast my views on every issue nor do I publicly promote the propaganda of any political nature. I believe politics is dangerous and divisive, but unfortunately in some ways, necessary and fulfill a purpose.

IF you know me – you know where I stand … But if you didn’t, read this list and KNOW that I am not afraid to STAND ALONE. I would much rather stand alone and go down swinging, knowing I stood for truth and righteousness than blend  with the crowd of the unrighteous and worldly, and be a coward.

We live in a God-less era, where God has been removed fromevery possible place he can be, it’s no wonder why the events that are unfolding  around us are unfolding  –  why are we shocked?

But do not be deceived – We do not live in a God-less world. Choosing to ignore him, his teachings and laws do NOT remove him from existence. Understand that this is HIS world and we are merely living in it.He has allowed us to make a mess of it and one day he will back to clean it up – WRITE IT DOWN.

…And when that day comes, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess – and who then will want our meaningless platitudes to be shared?

Check yourself.

This list was for you, the reader, and your question-mark-man (1)information. Do with it, and me, what you will. IF you feel that you and I can no longer associate via social media – then  do what you must, but do so knowing it was your choice and not mine. I believe what I believe to be true and if what I believe to be true is, in fact, true, then with every breath in my body I will try to help you see the truth also…So if leaving is to be done, it won’t be done by me. Your soul is too valuable a thing for me to walk away from.

I am Keith Stonehart, and I am dead  – because Christ now lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

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42

It’s been a long time since I have posted  on this blog, and time is something I seemingly have borrowed when I consider my life in reflection. Realizing there is much work to do, time is something I can no longer afford to waste or take for granted.

Growing up I never pictured myself over 30. I’m not entirely sure if it was because all of my childhood heroes were dead before 30, or if I just couldn’t picture myself a mature, responsible grown man. My parents divorced when I was 14 and the model my dad left for me was not that of a mature, responsible grown man, and definitely not that of a Godly man – yet , here I am, one day past my 42nd year of  life .

I suppose in some ways, I have beaten the odds. Statistically speaking, children of divorce don’t typically grow up and stay married due to the broken model set before them, unfortunately they will often follow suit.  Five days from now, however, I will celebrate my 18th year of marriage to the same woman who has also given birth to my two beautiful children.  In addition, statistically I should not have overcome my addiction to drugs and alcohol. Oh, please don’t misunderstand – many overcome and go on with their lives but more than 70% of those go back to some form of abuse, and I can gratefully say that I have not. Finally at 42 , when many my age have given in to poor diet (not that mine is perfect, it is still my biggest struggle) I choose to make the best choices I am able and workout 5 days a week, as well as coach my son’s soccer team and I am stronger physically than I ever have been in my life. I have the best job I could ask for, doing what I love to do and I could go on and on  –  The point is my life, though it is not without conflict or struggle at times, is greater than I ever could have imagined – Especially because I had no expectation of a 42nd year of life.

However, all the things I just said about me, have nothing to do with me, but EVERYTHING to do with CHRIST. I am alive solely because of the grace that he has given me. My marriage is intact solely because of the truth of the gospel and the teaching about marriage in the bible. I have remained sober solely because of the strength I have gained internally from prayer and the knowledge of myself I have acquired through bible study , and the support given to me by my brothers and sisters in Christ. Every single day of life and every single breath is God’s grace for me, and I live for him because of it.  For a guy who has seemingly outlived himself by 12 years – I have absolutely been blessed!

All of this reflection is not without concern, however. I have a great deal of concern for the world my kids are growing up in. Needless to say, it is not the world I grew up in. While I may have beaten the odds getting to 42, my kids have the odds stacked highly against them in regards to living a Christian life. Entertainment is now the driving force that shapes culture, and not God. We now live in a Godless culture where he and his name are deemed offensive and are taken out of everything all in the name of “tolerance” while his people are shown none. The over-sexualization of our children is being forced through every possible outlet including those that used to be considered safe. Television networks are tireless in their efforts to push the boundaries on every level so that we are desensitized to all lasciviousness and immorality while modesty, shamefacedness, and purity are ridiculed and downplayed. Traditional marriage is mocked, and perversion is celebrated. The music industry is even worse.

Nothing is shocking anymore that should be, and everything that once was right, is now shocking and despised.

I hate to sound my age, but I suppose maybe this is what 42 sounds like? Maybe this is what a mature, responsible, grown and Godly man  sounds like? Who knows? Not me – I am surprised as anyone  just to be here – but I am, now what will I do with this time I have been given?

There is much to do, and not that 1 blog as one man’s attempt to change the world can do that, but If can just change one person’s world , and then they can change one other , and so on – revolution just might be possible.

Who knows what 43 may look like this time next year?

I am hopeful 😉 dad

Lessons From My Son – “Value and Cost – I wanna be like you Daddy!”

Kole

I think it is probably safe to say that every boy at some point in his life has wanted to do what his dad does for a living. If you think about it , it’s almost expected –  the father son dynamic is such that the son’s main influence in his life , will be his father… Or at least it should be.  I pray that will always be the case with my son … It’s a sobering thought that continues to encourage me to give strict diligence to strive to be the man who my son “thinks”I  am… One day , he will figure out that I too am human ,not invincible ,bulletproof or immune to everything scary and dangerous ,but in fact  – a fragile vulnerable and flawed man – insecure about his image and struggles with his weight , scared at times and not nearly as cool as he thinks he is… Until that day comes however , I AM THE MAN… in my son’s eyes anyway…

That being said , the most important thing I can do for my son  – either for a living or other  – is to recognize the times when he needs me , and fulfill the need . Biblically speaking , we see this time and time again between Jesus and God  , but probably the most visible is in the Garden.. I have heard it said many times that Jesus was sorrowful the most- not because of the cross -but because of the fact that he would face it alone. – In the Garden where Jesus prayed he needed his father and wanted desperately to please him   – no matter the COST …Be cause God deemed us VALUABLE.(Matthew 26:36-42)

… Which finally will bring me to the lesson about “Cost” and “Value” that my son taught me..

I had grown to hate the Holidays… 2 years ago , I wasn’t preaching fulltime yet and had been out of work for several months. We managed to get by with what money I could make doing side work and odd jobs for cash for people. The winter was about to set in and I knew the slow season would be upon us. You see , not only does the work slow down for the winter in the construction industry – the people who do have money are not going to spend it on an out of work construction guy ,but rather family and friends for the Holidays… Unexpectedly , an opportunity to paint the inside of a woman’s home  came up. I hate to paint more than just about everything else ,but I couldn’t turn down the work – Remember , the Holidays were upon us and I needed to do my best to provide some sense of normalcy for my family – if not gifts , having the power on during the Holidays would be nice , and if possible – a gift or two for my kids…

The job was torture – it was a painters nightmare.

All of the furniture had to be moved around , covered  , protected etc.. To add insult to injury , the paint the homeowner selected was the worst quality ever and went on the walls with the consistency of water.To get done in a timely manner and to make sure that the job was profitable – I decided I would work long hours to shorten the amount of days…So ,long,long hours were worked. I was up and gone before either of my kids were awake and not home until well after they had gone to bed…But I kept focused ,telling myself that this was “for them”.. After 2 weeks of this , the inevitable happened – I being completely exhausted – overslept…

In my frantic hurry to get out the door , I nearly tripped over Kole as he excitedly came to greet me from his bedroom door ..”DADDY!” he exclaimed… “Hey bud“I sleepily responded as I was quickly headed to the living room to put on my shoes. Kole followed close behind and in usual form hitting me  with barrage of questions. As I tried to answer them the best I could  , it was clear that I was distracted  and only half way paying attention when he  then stop right in front of me and asked  of  me  this – “daddy, don’t go to work today“… Still tying my shoes I responded ” I have to bud..” .. “Why” he replied… becoming more frustrated with the situation I responded sharply with “ because I HAVE to  – we need money”... He then turned ,  and ran back to his room. I sat there wondering if I had responded rashly and hoped I hadn’t hurt his feelings … I hadn’t seen him at all in the better part of 2 weeks so I knew I needed to apologize.

As I got up from the couch and began to head down the hall ,he greeted me in the hallway , holding his piggy bank in his little hands and looking directly at me with his big brown eyes and smiling so proud. “Here daddy – you can have my money…Stay with me ?”

My knees buckled , and I hit the floor… I wrapped my arms around him and  held him , then began to cry.

My son taught me a most valuable lesson that late fall morning. He taught me that the most important things in this life are not what most of us think they are.  As I was working my self to death , I was neglecting my family for a job that only required that much of my time because  I deemed it necessary  …My son offered to buy  MY time with him because that’s what  he thought it “Cost”..In those two weeks and probably more preceding it , I taught him that – and I was wrong. My son needed me and sought to pay the price to have me , because to him – I was “Valuable” and in doing so exposed a part of myself that once I recognized ,needed to change.

Once again he was the teacher ,and I was the student. His Lions Heart ,in true form ,exposed me and ripped me to shreds… And I am thankful for that  , and him. He taught me the true meaning of “Value” and “Cost”…

Needless to say , I took that day off and gave myself fully to him.. We played  , we watched movies and of course – we took a much-needed nap  ,but we took it together 😉

Since then , Kole and I have had many conversations about my job and the differences between what I used to do , and what I am privileged to do now.. “SO you don’t , fix people’s houses anymore” ..”No Bud , I don’t” … “Do you still help people though?”…”I hope so , I certainly try! “… 

“Daddy , I want to do what you do when I grow up… I wanna be like you!”

… “Yea Bud ? , Well – I wanna be more like you KOLE …  😉 “

The value of the time with my son (and daughter) is most precious and God appointed by scripture – NO MATTER THE COST.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5, ESV)

His name was James…

Last night , another chapter of my life came to a close as my father   passed away…

He never let us call him “Dad” or “Daddy”.. It was “Stoney” – a childhood nickname that  he acquired  that he insisted everyone call him by , even us… All of my friends thought it was awesome that we didn’t have to call our dad “dad” ,but not me.. I hated it.  As a dad myself  , I can’t imagine EVER being called anything else but “Daddy” by my kids – but I don’t hold that against him anymore. I know that he had many demons to contend with from his own past and the way he was brought up and this was simply a defense mechanism to keep up at a distance , to keep from getting too close to us…but he was my dad  , and I loved him anyway.

There aren’t very many lessons that he taught me…not alot of those “father /son” moments where he bestowed some wise life lesson or some good bit of fatherly advice..I think in part  , he was still trying to figure it out himself. My dad didn’t have the benefit of an incredible big brother and grandfather to help shape the heart of a young boy like I did..My dad had a more than turbulent relationship with both his parents and an older brother who was in “The Hell’s Angels” back in their heyday..No – my dad was still very much an afraid little boy for the majority of his life… but he was my dad , and I loved him anyway.

There  aren’t many great memories to cling to either .. Most of the time I was scared when he was home or when he had his friends over.. They were always loud dizzy acting and I didn’t understand why then – but there are a few memories that will always be standouts.. There were 2 camping trips that will always mean the  most to me. Both trips it was just he ,my brother and I. One was at a country pond owned by a family friend , the other was on the Flint River.. I have many ,vivid  details from both trips that will always stay with me. The country pond trip we cooked over the open fire . This may not seem to be a big deal , but it was my first time – and all we ate was JUNK!.. The Flint River trip I was a little older , and we put in at one point – floated down the river to a sand bar and camped , then finished the trip to exit point the next day. Along the way we swung from a rope tied to an extended tree branch over the river  – This topped open fire junk food eating by leaps and bounds and was monumental in my life .. I have even blogged about that event here… This trip was truly an ADVENTURE!…But what really made them so awesome was the fact that it was just him and us – no drunk or stoned buddies – just him and us. He actually gave us his time ..he talked to us about stuff… about life ,girls etc…

The memory that really sticks out , was when I was in the 6th grade.  The one thing my father truly impressed on me was a deep love and appreciation for music. From the earliest memories I have  , music was always on in the house , and my dad was always talking about the artist.. I amazed at how much he knew about these people. My dad was a guitar player and played often.. I can’t hear The Doors  or The Beach Boys and not think of him  as these were a few of the staples in his “arsenal”. At any rate , it was in me… BIG TIME and I  seen Motley Crue’s “Looks that Kill video and knew  then what I wanted to do… I had to have DRUMS…I had been trying to convince him for months to buy me a drum set. His answer was always “NO” – You don’t know how to play… But I did.. Not because I had ever sat behind a drum set in my life , but  because I had seen enough music videos and watched the drummers play , that I knew EXACTLY what to do..I had mimicked their movements  , emulated their patterns and played enough air drums to KNOW that I KNEW..and finally the day had come. We were at Music Mart in Smyrna. Music Mart might as well have been Disneyland for me…it was HUGE (long before your cookie cutter Guitar Centers)..and while my dad was looking at guitars , I bee -lined for the drum section where they had an incredible monster of a drum set  on display that from its looks ,had been tried more than a couple of times. This was my ONE SHOT to prove to my dad I had skills and was deserving of a set… “In the air tonight “by Phil Collins was blasting over the stores P.A system and when the time came in the song for the all famous Drum intro – I played right along as hard and as LOUD as I could… and I was good. So good that without realizing it, my eyes closed and I just fell into the groove of that song and played my heart out for the remaining minute and 30 seconds of that song… And when I opened my eyes  , I was surrounded. It seemed like the entire store was gathered around me , and right in the middle  , was my dad.  Fear came over me  .. I didn’t dawn on me that maybe I wasn’t supposed to play these drums and my desire to show my dad I could ,had maybe replaced common sense at that moment… Until he smiled at me.  He smiled the biggest smile I had ever seen him smile.. and I had done it. I had ,even for just a moment -gained his approval and he was proud of me… The whole store cheered for me and  so did he… It was a great day and needless to say for Christmas – I got my drums.

These …these are what I will remember. …Because he was my dad and I didn’t have to “love him anyway “during these times – I just loved him… and he loved us back.

His name was James “Stoney” Stonehart and he was my dad. He died  way too young… and I will miss him.

Breaking the Cycle in 2013…

If you know me , then you know by nature I am an optimist. I give strong diligence to always trying to find the best in every situation , and everyone. Admittedly – this has become extremely difficult in our current time and despite very good things that happened in my own life , 2012 was a hard year to see through positive eyes.  With a culture that has adopted a completely debased mindset and shoved God out of everything , its difficult for even me to fight the Monster within…but I do…and I press on – with much hope for the oncoming year.

The sense of renewal that comes with the passing of the old year and the anticipation of the new one to come is nothing short of exhilarating!  As humans we love the idea of beginning again ,fresh .. another opportunity to somehow ,this time – get it right… To truly change something about our lives for the better … to make a difference. All to often however  , this fades. It fades because the mistakes of last year and it’s consequences follow us , or because while change sounds good – it often requires too much work from us and so we fall back to our old comfortable habits … The truth is –  We allow history to repeat itself and then look to God as somewhere to place  blame .. There should be no need to remind anyone of this – but it was man and his CHOICE that brought sin into the world , not God .The consequence of sin is DEATH ,both physical and spiritual so everything around us now is in a state of decay . This makes renewal almost seem pointless , and yet every year – we vainly look with hopeful eyes to the promise of a new year and what it MAY bring…. but you see , that’s the point –  “The Year” in and of itself doesn’t bring anything… WE DO.

This perspective changes things , doesn’t it? The truth is – “the universe” doesn’t bring anything to you or me ,but rather we bring the universe to us. Bad things happen to good people because of choices made before our time . Our morality in America didn’t just begin to decline , its been going on for decades and every passing generation feels the effects a little stronger from the choices made by the previous  – This very principle goes back to The Garden with Adam and Eve and the CHOICE of sin that THEY made and that we STILL suffer the consequence for. In the 50’s ,morality in America was at an all time high and now just some 60 years later it is truly at rock bottom. We have exchanged EVERY truth with a LIE – just as Eve did with thee fruit from the forbidden tree. The enemy added one word to Gods command  ,and changed mankind forever. In Genesis 2 :16-17  God said ” If you eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge  of Good and Evil , Surely  -you will die”… Satan simply added the word”Not” and changed it to “Surely you will NOT die”…. But DIE we did… and we still do.

With violence and sexual immorality glorified in today’s culture , I can only imagine what truths we are exchanging for lies that our children will have to face and ultimately suffer for . Drug use continues to become more and more prevalent as people look to escape the reality of this world we have created and in doing so creating more and more of consequences they are trying to numb themselves to. Evil men make evil choices and pure and innocent minds are corrupted , thus making even more soldiers of the enemy for future generations. Economies crash because of greed , fear and paranoia prevail and  inevitably – somewhere  the innocent are slain down for NO APPARENT REASON ….. and we , who have welcomed these evils from previous times , who have exchanged truth for lies , who have pushed God out of EVERYTHING scream out with arms outstretched begging to know “WHERE IS GOD”???

He is exactly where he was when we first betrayed him , and where he was while we still betray him.

More importantly – He is exactly where he was when we nailed HIS son to the cross…. and he still waits there for us to CHOOSE HIM.

The REAL question is – “Where are YOU???”

In the midst of the consequences of our sin , God had a plan.. and through this plan – regardless of what condition the world is in , we can have peace – TRUE PEACE .. we can have renewal – TRUE RENEWAL ..and we can have change – TRUE CHANGE..

There are only 2 agents for change that can be served , and we all serve one  o r the other…2013  can be different from 2012… or not…. The CHOICE is truly ours.

15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

If you are serious about change , as always – The invitation to Study the bible is ALWAYS open…   😉

Read  Romans 12:1-8

 

This Little Box…

This little box contains 2 things essentially -Thoughts and Time ,both mine and yours. For me , time is spent typing my stream of consciousness in an attempt to share something relevant with you that may be useful to you. For you , time is spent reading and considering what has been put before you for your  consideration and to hopefully provoke thoughts of your own..Therefore , given  the fact that I took time to write these things down and you have given YOUR time to read them  , then we are connected in this little box …. Here –  we share a moment in time and what I share with you MUST be worthy of your time or I have wasted both of ours…

Time is an extraordinarily complicated  facet of our lives. It was created by God to put forth life into motion , and to help us keep track of that life and its events and ultimately  , To give order and purpose… It was set in motion by Him and will only be stopped BY HIM when the TIME of HIS choosing has come.. Our great God in his wisdom didn’t give man the authority to rule over time ( imagine the mess we’d have if he did!) but rather gave him the ability to think ,reason and act on each moment as it’s presented to us. You see, we can never get a moment back once it has come , you only have 1 shot at it while its new … As soon as it comes –  because as quickly as it comes , it also goes and becomes the past . Even as I type this , and you read it – these small fragments of time are gone.. So let me get to my point and not waste the most precious commodity we have since we don’t really know how much of it we have been afforded…

We all have people that we care for and love in our lives. Our family…our friends…. I dare say that we have many people who we fight for or even die for if necessary . With that thought in mind , given only 1 hour of time left with them – how would you spend it?  I can t speak for you , but for me , it would certainly not be spent bickering over the trivial things  …nor would it be filled with “fluff ” or words that sound pretty and just take up “time”.. That last hour would be spent with them sharing with them, especially if I had not shared with them ,  the Gospel of Christ – This would be the PRIORITY. There is nothing more important than THIS…. NOTHING. You may be reading this and if you also believe that to be true or not , either way I urge you to consider one or both of these questions –

If you are a Christian already , you know that there is no other way to God  than naming the name of Jesus Christ proclaiming your faith in him, repenting of your sins and then dying to your old self in Baptism ,rising again  from the water a new creature in HIM  and living faithfully and obediently as possible for the rest of your life ( John 14:6 , Mark 16:16 ,Acts 2:36-42 , James 2:14-26 , 1 Peter 1 :13-25 and I could go on..) And so being a Christian you also know besides the importance of this message ,  the urgency of it because of TIME.. It says in Proverbs 27:1 that we are not promised tomorrow …

So why then? Why do we not tell our loved ones TODAY of this message? Why do we avoid  telling those closest to us that haven’t obeyed the Gospel of Christ about it? Are we afraid that it will end the friendship or make things “weird”?  Are we embarrassed or ashamed of it?…

A better question might be , do you REALLY love them at ALL? If you believe the Gospel is the most important thing to share with someone and yet you don’t share it – what does that REALLY say about your LOVE for them… A better question yet might be, How much do you have to HATE someone NOT to share the Gospel with them?…

It’s a harsh thought and my intention is not to offend or accuse ,  but  only to make us think while we are inside this little box together , so that we can ACT outside of it….

People are going to die without the Gospel of Christ. People are dying right now with out it. Don’t let it be people you LOVE , much less anyone you come in contact with… ” Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV) …. This doesn’t say “Preacher Go” … it simply says “GO” and the implication is “NOW” because time is limited as I have already stressed…. If you are a believer ,  then you have work to do…

IF you are NOT a believer , then now comes my second question that I spoke of earlier –  Why Not?

I have just briefly just shared the  Gospel of Christ with you in a very small and simple sense…Much more can be expounded on , but would need to take place outside of this box. IF the evidence I presented is enough, please consider what has been shared between us and please , I beg you act upon it… IF you require further study then please  ,please contact me either by message here or email or phone and allow me the pure privilege of sharing more with you the Good news about Christ and how much he loved and still loves  us all ..  I promise not to waste ANY of your , or my time…..All of my contact info is available  –

I have used the space inside this little box for quite a while to engage in a moment in time with anyone who may read my ramblings , in hopes of  encouraging  some , provoking others just to think but always to offer an invitation to study the bible with me. While a few have accepted that invitation ,by the worlds standards I have been a failure…but its not about numbers.. It’s about LOVE.

God loved us enough to die for us , so we can spend eternity with him…  Because I love HIM I also have an unfeigned love for all people  –  so I will continue to offer the same invitation to study today , tomorrow  and so on…as long as time allows … From this little box

The invitation to study the bible is STILL open  😉

Read  Ephesians 5  , giving strong attention to verses 15,16 and 17.