Faith Debugged

Spiritual Insights from an Exterminator

You’re Fired

I sat watching one of our techs walk out of the office shocked that that day was his last day working with our company. It felt like death. The quietness fell in that building so deep, it was a trudge to walk to our truck. The relationships that were formed were crushed. The security of financial backing was washed up. Being fired from a job is devastating. A world in complete order gets tossed around into sheer chaos.

This is exactly what happened to my life just mere days ago. Without warning, I was told I wasn’t needed anymore. Six months of termite studies, two state certifications, one state license, customer service experience, and given to my craft obliterated in one simple sentence by one person with power.

Being a man of faith, I’m thankful that the one with ultimate power has no desire to sit me down and say, “Kevin, I have to let you go.” I’ve messed up more in my spiritual life than I have in my work life. I’ve done more intentional wrongs toward God than I have toward my workplace. I’ve been more devoted to my work in pest control than I have to God at times and still I have never heard God tell me He has to let me go.

Pest control can be a seasonal job. So can our work in God. There are times when we don’t feel like being a Christian. We don’t feel like praying. We don’t feel like being nice to someone. We’d rather get on the internet than read our bible. We’d rather ignore someone who’s in need. There are seasons in our walk where we feel far from God because of our own doings. II Timothy says preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Our walk with God can sometimes be seasonal too, but I don’t have a God who fires me because He thinks I’m not wanted when I’m in an off-season. I am always wanted by God. You are always wanted by God. If you’re feeling the same way, if you’ve been fired from something you love, If you feel like you’ve lost it all and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no answers, no feelings of joy, you ARE wanted… by God and you will never be let go.

 

Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

December 13, 2011 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picking and Choosing

I’m sure by the title, you are well aware with where this blog post is going. I guarantee you were probably right. But let me set it up anyway.

I crawl under houses a lot. Unlike my boss, who jokingly calls me a wimp, I like to wear knee pads. I admit, it hurts sometimes crawling under houses without them. Set your knee down on a rock, ouch! Bang it against the block crawling in or out, ouch! So I protect myself from this unnecessary crime of pain.

Recently I had to buy a new pair because my old ones were wearing out. Typically when I do this, there is something I have to do. I remove the top strap. Knee pads that come with straps come with a top strap for above the knee and one for below the knee. I don’t like the top strap for two reasons. One is because it hurts when I keep my leg bent for a long periods of time which tends to happen under a house. The other reason is because it’s rather unnecessary.

Working without the top strap will keep the knee pad in place just fine. Working without the bottom strap and the knee pad will fall down the leg constantly. I’m not sure what law of God that made this became a scientific monstrosity but it did and is a real problem. So the bottom strap only it is.

Ironically we do the same with scripture. We pick and choose which ones we want to keep and which ones we want to throw out. C’mon, you know you do it. Even Thomas Jefferson did it. What he did is called Deism; throwing out the miracles of Jesus. Maybe you don’t throw them out. Maybe you just pay them no attention.

Either case, there are those scriptures we don’t readily accept because they cause us discomfort. Or maybe they’ll cause us to be made fun of or cause us to be called weird. Hey, if you’re a Christian, you’re weird. Remember, you believe in someone being born from a virgin, seas being parted, water coming from rocks, people being healed by having someone’s shadow pass by,  people talking to themselves and calling it prayer to an invisible God. For goodness sakes, a guy being nailed to a cross and dying, being buried only to come back to life in three days. That’s all just weird.

So face it, it’s a weird book to be living by. But maybe dying to yourself isn’t fun. Maybe, serving other before yourself doesn’t seem like “winning”. Maybe, putting yourself last so by some means God will exalt you and bring you to the front doesn’t seem plausible.

Let me guarantee you suffering leads to comfort. Dying leads to living. Serving leads to being served. Giving leads to taking. I know. God is a weird God. That’s why he says he uses the weak to confuse the strong. He wants people to lean on Him and be obedient to His callings. By doing so, by giving ourselves in obedience, it always leads to bigger and better things beyond our imagination.

So I encourage you, the knee pads of life need both the top strap and the bottom strap. If God made it to come with both, don’t pick and choose which best suits you. God knows better and has provided us with what we need. It’ll work out. It may be confusing. It may be weird. I challenge you to name me one thing God has designed or purposed that doesn’t seem weird. I mean He’s three individuals in ONE! He’s a weird dude or duddette for all the sexists folks out there. But that’s for another blog post!

September 29, 2011 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwing Team Members Under The Bus

Nothing is more important than knowing you can trust your team members. They’re not on the opposite team. They’re not the enemy. They’re not out to destroy you. They’re the ones who you’re supposed to count on, trust in, confide in, and rely on. Your team members are the ones you’re yoked with, partnered with, unified with. There should be no hostility between you.

That is why the other day when one of my team members done something wrong, I didn’t verbally attack them in front of the customer or the other team members. I didn’t openly correct them in front of others. We have a saying around here. We call that “throwing someone under the bus.” That I didn’t do. That’s not how you correctly and appropriately manage a team or handle an issue with a team member. That would be total disrespect toward those you work with. That is unacceptable.

So how do you diffuse a situation when it comes to relieving tension between you and a team member? One on won. Did you catch how I wrote that. When you speak one on one alone from others, you both win. No one is treated like an insubordinate. No one is being thrown under the bus. Two people talking about a situation that only involves the two talking is a win-win situation.

Understand that one may not understand the other. That’s when situations need to be brought before management. But a simple issue does not need to be discussed with customers nor team members uninvolved. One to won. It’s the best way to handle situations and both team members learn to work with one another and become better communicators with each other.

So when you feel the need to complain to your customer about a team member, DON’T! When you feel the need to complain to a team member about another team member, DON’T! It’s called gossip, tearing down, discouraging, and flat-out throws your team member, your team and ultimately the whole business under the bus. That’s bad for you, me, us and business all together.

I know using Matthew 18:15-19 might be a stretch but it’s principles still ring true. If you have an issue with a brother, go to him and discuss it with him. I like what verse nineteen says. “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” How awesome is that.

May you speech be encouraging and may it build others up and not tear down. Ephesians 4:29 says  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

July 1, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Leadership | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defeating Anger

The surest means of disarming anger is to turn your attention from the insult and examine the passion itself. The surest way of spoiling a pleasure is to start examining your satisfaction. -C.S. Lewis

I have found I can be a very angry person if I let it overtake me. Little things really get me upset. Getting damp but not wet, running low on gas, getting a kink in my hose at work, dirt on my hands, shoes coming untied are just a few of the small things I sweat. Abraham Lincoln once said it’s ridiculous to get upset at inanimate objects. He’s so right.

C.S. Lewis put it wisely when he said it’s best to examine our passion instead of the object. When we get mad, try not focusing on what made you mad but really examine why you are mad in the first place. Is it really worth the anger you pent-up? Is the passion you fuel worth the time you invest?

I believe that when we examine the passion of anger, we realize it’s not just a waste of time and energy, it’s also ridiculous to allow something to control us so easily. The next time you feel something bothering you to the point of steaming, try analyzing the passion instead of the object that pushed you to it. Because you realize that what angered you controlled you. That’s something to be bothered about.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | devotion | Leave a comment

Lead By Serving

Today I had the opportunity to see servant leadership in practice. I was drilling holes at a Kingdom Hall and the maintenance guy there was sitting and watching. He decided to get up and help. He displayed such servant-hood by sweeping up the concrete dust I was creating by drilling holes in the slab.

I know this might seem minor but to me it was a major detail. Firstly, I hate sweeping that dust up. It gets everywhere and it’s difficult to get it all up. Secondly, he didn’t have to. He was paying me to do the work. But he chose to help out. This is what it means to serve and by serving you become a leader. You demonstrate leadership by taking care of the necessities without being told and doing the work that’s not yours to do but you understand the “see a need fill a need” statement.

This is the epitome of Jesus’ point in his parable on humility. In Luke 14:7-11, it he says don’t sit at the head of the table. If someone more distinguished than you comes, the host will move you to the furthest seat. Yet sit at the back of the table so the host might honor you by moving you to a better seat.

11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Isn’t it true that you are led by those who tend to get their hands dirty rather than those who tend to look down on you as the grunt. I have a pastor who’s not afraid to clean the toilets at church. I’ll follow. I have a boss who’s not afraid to climb under a house. I’ll follow. I have friends who’s not afraid to pray in public. I’ll follow. I have a wife who’s not afraid to put her family’s needs before hers. I’ll follow.

If you’re a leader, I’m more apt to follow if your more likely to get dirty!

June 10, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Leadership, Serving | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work It

Today I had to do a termite treatment. Actually I had two. It was dreadfully hot outside. By the time I reached the second treatment I was tired, sweaty, wore out and not happy about having to crawl under yet another house, stand in the hot burning sun while I rodded around a house and deal with questions from the customer. I plainly didn’t want to be there.

However, I climbed under, sprayed the foundation, climbed out sprayed the perimeter, took care of the garage, and shook off silly questions from the customer while I worked. I rested since it was hot, checked my Facebook, checked my twitter, drank some water before rolling up my hose and calling it a day.

I got the paperwork prepared and began talking to the customer under a shade tree and ran through the guarantee and contract. I got his signature and he began talking to me about all the remodeling he’s doing, how he really wants to get out to the country and so I just listened and every once and again nodding yeah.

I had mentioned church a couple of times so he decided to pry and asked me about church and come to find out he is a retired Army chaplain. We got to talking about all things church and I mentioned this book I’m writing. Talking about church opened my heart up and I was willing to engage more into our conversation. He mentioned he wasn’t attending a church at the moment so I invited him to ours and we shook hands and off I went.

I began to think about how my attitude suddenly changed after I found out the man was a Christian. Have you ever done that? Have you ever talked to some one with very little if any interest and after you found out you had something in common it was like you were talking to a different person altogether?

I began to think about how I would have engaged him more friendlier, if I would have done my job a little better since he was a pastor, if I would have been a little quicker and just been an all around more pleasant person to work on his house. How would have I done things different if I would have just known up front he was a Christian? Would I gave him the gold star treatment with a smile?

Have you ever done the same thing. Have you ever realized you could have been a better person around someone. Why do we do things better for those we have a common bond with than those we don’t? Especially Christians.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In context what Paul is telling the Corinthians is whatever you are doing in life, work as if your working for God and not man. Treat what you’re doing like your work is for the Lord. Jesus says in Matthew whatever you do for the least of these it’s as if you’re doing it for me. I believe this was also what he meant when Jesus said the second greatest commandment is like the first, love you neighbor as yourself.

So let us remember, than whatever we do in life, let us work it to the glory of God.

 

 

June 7, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Termites | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deeper than the Holler

I am frequently asked how deep do termites get in the ground. Being that I treat mostly for Eastern Subterranean Termites, reticulitermes flavipes, typically the answer is around twelve feet. There’s documented cases of termites reaching these levels of depth.  As they branch off in separate colonies, each colony can be at differing depths as well as spanning out in many feet away from each other. Other species of termites actually build upwards, mounds on the ground and even nests in trees.

Upon studying the depths and span of a termite colony one would be in awe at the thousands and thousands of termites that are living just under your feet, moving, and eating, reproducing, and working.

But there is another depth that is far more extravagant. Another span that is far more boastful. God, in His riches, has a love that far surpasses the knowledge of man.

Ephesians 3:14-19, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Upon further study of this scripture we can sure learn the width, the length, the depth, and the height of God’s love by taking a look at John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

Width – “For God so loved the world” this is the width of God’s love. Contrary to popular belief, God didn’t love just a handful of us; God didn’t love just a certain nationality, a certain skin color, or a certain denomination, but the world as a whole.

Length – The length of God’s love is that He did give His only begotten Son. God didn’t just go to great lengths to show us His love, to prove His love for mankind, he went to the ultimate length, and from that point He could go no further. He gave the best and most precious thing He had, He gave His only Son, that we might receive Him, know Him, love Him, and worship Him.

Depth – In order to perceive the depth of God’s love we need only understand the purpose and reason for which God, in His limitless love, gave His only begotten Son, and that is so whoever believes in Him should not perish. The depth of God’s love is such, that no matter who we are, no matter what we might have once done, no matter how hateful we were of the things of God, or how often we rejected Him, if we come to believe in Jesus, if the love of God takes root in our hearts, and we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have everlasting life.

Height – The height of God’s love can be readily perceived and understood by God’s desire that all who believe in Jesus would have eternal life. God’s desire is not for us to perish, but rather for us to have eternal life. It is the height of God’s love that we are gifted with eternal life with God through Jesus.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Termites | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Kink In The Hose

One the things I despise most is when I’m spraying a house and I get a kink in the hose. It cuts off my chemical and I have to go looking for the cause. Sometimes when I’m pulling the hose and it kinks, it will hang on just about anything. I’m convinced it will hang on a molecule of air if it could. It’s so bothersome.

Lately I’ve had the opportunity of training some guys for termite work and it’s always the same outcome. They come to me saying that the pressure just went down. I laugh and trace the hose down till I find the kink. It’s always there but they never stop to think that they may be just getting cut off and it’s not the pressure coming from the pump.

The other day this very thing happened to my trainee and I laughed. He got kinda upset because he thought it was a serious issue. I told him to follow me as we walked the path of the hose. The kink was hung up under some bushes so I pulled it out to show him. He just dropped his head and giggled. Undone the kink and crawled back under the house. Happens all the time.

Because I’m writing this book, I’ve been looking at everything that happens in the pest control world through spiritual eyes. The kink in the hose reminds me of things in our life that hinders us from being all God has created us to be. Just as the kink cuts off chemical supply, sin does the same for us. It cuts off the supply of the Holy spirit being proactive in our life.

I look at the story of Saul and how he became a great leader for Israel. Unfortunately he became a terrible king. He was anointed by God but because of his jealously for David, he couldn’t be the king the people needed him to be. Peter had an attitude problem. He let loose in fits of rage and couldn’t be the “petro” God wanted him to be to build his church on until he had an awakening of truth.

Although we can have the anointing, we can still hinder the spirit from completing His work in us because we are trying to serve two masters; God and sin. There are things in my life as well as I’m sure are in yours that hinder the good works of God because your choice in worship is not Him at times. It’s your selfish desires for things you want.

Paul said it best in a race analogy; Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Find the kink. Undo the kink. Keep on treating. Don’t let your life get kinked up with sin.

March 22, 2011 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stop Inviting, Start Asking

Today I was talking with one of our pest techs about collections. I had told him one time that I no longer ask the customer IF they would be paying at time of service. I now ask them HOW they would be paying. I’ve stopped inviting the customer to pay and now I ask the customer to pay. My collections have went up fifty percent by doing this.

Upon our last talk he said he also has gone from inviting the customer to pay to asking and his collections have gone up as well. By merely rephrasing the question to the customer, between two people collections have risen for our office one hundred percent.

The customer now has pressure to pay at the moment rather than having the option of sending in a payment later. I know it sounds mean to put pressure on the customer but most services that are performed by companies usually suggest payment upon completion of service. Even during a sensitive moment when I had to put a pet down, the vet demanded payment and would not bill me. Why not ask for payment rather than give the option of payment later.

Actually the option is still there. It’s just unspoken. Unlike the vet, if the customer asked me  for a payment plan I’m not going to turn them down. But I’m not going to vocalize the option because as a business man we prefer to have payment made when the service is finished. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m thinking maybe it’s better to stop inviting people to church and start asking them to come. I know on the surface that sounds a little demanding but it’s not. If you invite someone to church, you’re giving them the option of not coming with no pressure. That may sound like a good thing. But how many people actually do anything if given an option with no pressure? When’s the last time someone invited you and you decided not to go and their was no guilt involved?

I’m not talking negative pressure. I’m talking the kind of pressure that they have to say yes or no. There’s no repercussions for answering no. But I’ve learned that options rarely garner the wanted outcome. If made to give a direct answer they normally give an answer. You just can’t get upset when they say no. Shake their hand and say ok.

So what if instead of inviting people to church, we asked the question, “Would you come to church with me?” Have them answer a question instead of an open-ended request. You may make more in collections!

March 8, 2011 Posted by | devotion, sales | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mediator

Today I made a mistake. I punched a hole in the wall trying to remove baseboards in a garage. My boss came over and called the homeowner to take a look at my carelessness. As they talked I sat on the tail gate of my truck and did not say a word. After a few moments they started laughing and I overheard her say that’s okay.

I’m not sure what they said to each other but what I do know is that the homeowner was not mad after their conversation. She walked by me smiling and said have a great day. I smiled back and he told me to complete the job but leave the baseboards alone. I jumped off my truck and finished my work.

In this case I never said one word to the homeowner. She seemed to have been in a good mood when she left. Who knows if it was ever a big deal but a hole in sheet rock seems to me to be a big deal. All I did was confess my mistake to my boss, tell him I was sorry, and he went to the homeowner and worked it out. I was redeemed from my screw up.

Remind you of anybody?

There is someone who speaks on our behalf, works things out so we can have eternal life. His name is Jesus and He’s our mediator. He stands in the gap that was caused by our sin. We take our petitions to Him and He in returns takes them to God.

1 Timothy 2:5 (New International Version, ©2010)

5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,


I would hate to see how far I could get if left on my own to speak for myself. I would hate to be my own lawyer in the eternal courtroom. I don’t think I’d be able to stand before the judge much less speak in defense of my soul. Besides what defense do I have?

Thank God I have a mediator that can plead the blood in my case. I’ll just sit back, keep my mouth shut and allow my lawyer Jesus Christ to speak in my defense!

March 1, 2011 Posted by | devotion | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments