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

Dirty Jobs. Dirty Deeds.

What’s the dirtiest place you’ve ever found yourself in. The public trash dump? Cleaning out barn stalls? Changing a dirty diaper or a mess of vomit? Walking through a yard where the dog uses the bathroom? Maybe you work in oil and grease. Maybe you’re a vet and deal with sick animals. Maybe you’re a fellow exterminator. Whatever the case, we’ve all been in some moments that we didn’t want to be there because the stench or the place was the nastiest thing you’ve ever seen.

One of the worst accounts I’ve ever found myself in had roaches, fleas, ants, and mice. The kitchen was so riddled with roaches, they came out and greeted me when I walked in. they didn’t run away. There were literally thousands of roaches in every crevice of the bar, beside the stove, behind the fridge, in the drawers, in the kitchen closet, around the doors, throughout the cabinets. You didn’t have to look for them. They were everywhere in the kitchen and living room. Playstation, VCR, TV, and even the ferrets cage was riddled with roaches. No place was off-limits for these roaches.

The fleas were unbearable climbing all over me and no matter what I used to keep them off, it didn’t work. They were ruthless. They covered my pants and hid in my socks. They covered the carpets, the couch and chairs and made the dogs and ferret so uncomfortable.

The ants weren’t near as bad but they were present and making their way into the bathroom. I feared if they headed towards the kitchen they may find some resistance from the roaches. So they pretty much stayed towards the bathroom.

The mice were horrid. In the bathroom as well as under the sink in the kitchen, it was near impossible to see the floor. There was so much mice droppings it literally covered like a carpet. This was a serious health hazard.

The back door was missing a foot of the door at the bottom allowing her dogs to come and go as they please as well as any other animal that might find it well to come inside. As soon as it was time to move to the back yard to spray she realized she had a dead dog on her porch. This dog wasn’t dead earlier in the day.

I only wished I could explain how repulsed I was after leaving this place. It was the nastiest job I had ever encountered. When I left, I found the most remote place I could and literally stripped down to make sure I had nothing on me. As soon as I returned home, I showered and washed my clothes. When I laid in bed that night, the only thing I could think of was that homeowner was laying down to sleep as well… in that place. I cried!

When it comes to nastiness versus cleanliness, my sin is in no comparison to this home. This home is probably cleaner than my sin. My sin is revolting to God.

Isaiah  64:6

 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

Paul even speaks of those things that he had gained in life to the likeness of dung in comparison to Jesus’ righteousness. (Philippians 3:8) Everything he had done to accomplish his goals and be one of the greatest pharisees had become no less than a bowel movement in his eyes, something to flush down the toilet. Because in light of Christ, our righteousness is nonexistent.

When I walk into a house with so putrid of circumstances, the moment I walk in my stomach turns from the stench I can’t help but be reminded that my sin is just as sickening to God if not worse. Thankfully, God has the power to clean me up. He loves me enough to take me as I am but not leave me like He found me.

Thank God that by the power in the blood I can be washed clean though the amazing grace of God by faith! (Excuse my Christianise.)

September 9, 2011 Posted by | fleas, roaches | , , , | 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

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

A Selfish Blesser

The other day I had an opportunity to bless a friend. He had been looking for a tool to use with his guitar to make great music and I had one. At first I didn’t want to let it go but thinking how a friend of mine had blessed me with an amazing gift for my guitar, I decided to pay forward the favor.

Many times I find it more of a blessing to give. I love to watch people’s face light up when you do something out of the ordinary. It’s like your not supposed to do that. Your not supposed to give so generously.

Throughout 2 Corinthians 9, scripture tells us that giving what you have is more important than keeping it. Verse 5 – “finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given” Verse 6 – “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly reaps sparingly , and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Verse 8 – “And God is able to bless you abundantly…” Verse 12 – “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”

I remember I was treating a customers house for ants and when I was finishing an elderly lady across the street asked me to visit her house when I was finished. Upon visiting the neighbor, she asked me to look at the ants she was having. Unfortunately she had no money and was not able to pay for a service, so I gave.

I spent much time assessing the situation and treating her house for ants. She was very thankful and asked if she could return the favor. I told her no and said Jesus loves her and so do I. I am so amazed at the spirit to give and the need that is so often put in front of me when I’m impressed to give.

Many times it blesses me to no limit when I choose to be a blessing to others. They say it’s better to give than to receive. I’m sure there is a fine margin between the two but it still rings true. If it is not more of a blessing to give than to receive, then you definitely need a heart check.

I’m a selfish blesser. I love to give because I love to be blessed. It’s a win/win situation.

February 15, 2011 Posted by | devotion, giving | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Gonna Work Here Anymore, Anyway

I was at a customer’s house doing a treatment for termites. They had a cellar/basement so the only way to get my hose to the treating area was to run it through the house. I hate doing that but sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.

While I was walking through I started talking to the fellow but he cut me off and started talking about something random; something about insurance. I told him I had no clue what he was talking about and then he shushed me off. After I walked past him I realized he wasn’t talking to me at all. He had one of those ear bud things in his ear and he was working from home.

Later I began to ask him a question and apologized to him because I realized he was working. He  apologized to me as well because he saw that I had a question and that I was working too.

Stop the train. He caught me off guard by telling me I was working too. Yeah he was right but something clicked inside and threw me for a loop. Something I didn’t realize.

I was working.

I mean I know I was at work, but I have convinced myself to the point that I am a servant serving. He caught me off guard by calling my service work. I was taken back for a moment because in this world a lot of times things look like work when they are really just serving.

I know sometimes I feel like I am in a thankless job and customers couldn’t care less that I am crawling in the mess under their house. “That’s my job, that’s what I do!” But I have altered my way of thinking I am a servant to my customers. I am there to serve them. They think it’s work. I think is serving.

I think the world would be a better place if folks would learn to serve one another. Work became service. Meaning we actually care about the outcome of our doing. The end result is full of consideration and effort, thought and attention. It is no longer an 8 hour day. It becomes a ministry not really in the religious aspect. But more in the aspect of administering to someone’s need.

Mark 9:35

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

February 8, 2011 Posted by | devotion, Serving, Termites | , , , , , | Leave a comment