Family Photo 2015

Family Photo 2015

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's not about falling off the wagon...or is it?

Early this year, there was a small group of people at our church that felt like God was us to go through a year long bible study dealing with health and weight loss. This study deals with the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual side of healthy living. And of course it was designed to help us lose weight as a lifestyle change...not as a quick fix! All of us came to the group for different reasons, but we all knew and know that we have reached a point in our weight loss journey that would need more then what we could possibly do on our own.

Like most programs dealing with weight loss, we had our ups and our downs. During one of our weekly meetings, all of us were having a bad week! We are talking serious weight gains across the board! To lighten up the mood, I came up with this clever little statement..."It's not about falling off the wagon, it's what you land in!" But what exactly does that mean? At first sight, it got a few laughs and even carried for a while as a sign to other members that we were being tempted to eat something that we probably should not be eating. Clearly, the wagon is the healthy living wagon. When we fall - or at least when I fall - I would tend to land in a pit of chocolate mousse, or a bucket of french fries! The list could go on, but the point I wanted to make was that we could pull ourselves up and dust the powdered sugar off our lips and press on and move forward.

So did we press on? Did I shake off the mousse and jump on the tread mill? It pains me to say it but the answer is no! I let the sugar and the fast food get the best of me. I am only speaking for myself at this point; but I let a laundry list of things in my life get in my way and block me from the path I was headed down! The sad thing is, I was making really good progress. To sum it all up, I have gained weight again...and basically have given up on the journey. For the past 4 or so months, I have not been keeping up my end of the bargain, when it came to this lifestyle journey. And even as I am typing this entry, I am replaying the things I should have eaten and trying to forget the things I did eat today!

But I am rejoicing because I know that God has not given up on me! Even when we started this journey, I never realized how much my eating habits and physical stamina, really can effect my ministry! Now let me stop right here and clarify! In no way am I saying that God only wants to use pretty people! What I am saying is that He calls us to give of our best. And if I am stuffing twinkies, pop tarts and who knows whatever else in my face, clearly I am not giving my best to Him. THAT HURTS! It hurts because I want everything that I say and that I do be a reflection of His love and His grace in my life. So when I am going through the drive-thru or I am having a second piece of whatever, there is a part of me that has to twinge because I know there is more...and not just in the food sense.

So today, I am saying all of this because I need to be honest! I need for my group members to know how sorry I am for letting them down! I need my wife to know that this is not her fault that I turned preggo sympathy pains into sympathy eating! Above all, I am approaching His throne with the most humble of hearts. I am coming to Him, because I know that I cannot to this alone. And not just weight loss, its life in general! So maybe I needed to fall off the wagon!

I ask for your prayer because I know the road is not going to be easy! Especially because the holidays are coming upon us! I would ask that you hold me accountable as I head down this road. I know that I am never alone, but I know I need to keep my eyes set forward to the reward he has for me!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Prayers by Keller

Just wanted to share Keller's closing to his prayer! "Thank u 4 living in my heart. We pray this all in MY name, Amen!" the my is of course referring to himself

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finding Your Sabbath

Well it is the end of October...and that means that things are getting crazy in the Gage house. Things are starting to take off with the Christmas production, which involves several nights of rehearsals, bad eating, and little rest! However, I need to confess that I have felt some extra stress over the past month. With Ashley working as much as she can before the baby comes, my works schedule has been adjusted. There are days that I feel like I don't get anything done; and then there are days where it is smooth sailing. But I am sure all people feel that way about their jobs. I am blessed to have a job that allows me the freedom of flexibility...but there are times that the O.C.D. side of me wants to kick in and work overtime.
I have always been a person that has never rested well. What I mean is that, though there is this desire in me to rest and take vacation...I am not very good at it. Just as my wife! Even at night, it takes me a while to wind down, because there are so many thoughts going through my mind!
But God is faithful and was quick to reveal himself to me this week! In my quiet time the other day, I landed on a simple statement in the book of Mark. It says "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." In my tired state, I remember thinking, "Okay Lord, that is what I am trying to do...but I am in the wrong book of the bible." And I did not think twice about the quote.
Later that night, I was reading a book and there was a section titled "Rediscovering Rest." Are you picking up on the pattern here? In the short essay, the author, Lea Collins, is pointing to the importance-physically, emotionally, and spiritually-of taking a Sabbath. In our culture, people here the word Sabbath and immediately think of Sunday. Sunday is the preferred day of rest for thousands of people in this country. As I was reading, two thoughts came to my mind. 1st) What about those people involved in ministry...when is their Sabbath? 2nd) what does it mean to me to take Sabbath?
As I pondered these thoughts, I knew there was some restructuring that needed to happen in my life. For me, a Sabbath means to take a complete departure from the other days of the week. It is requiring me to find a day, that I can shut out the things from the office and take a moment and focus on my family and focus on me. When I first thought about it, I started to feel guilty about finding time for myself...especially when there was so much to be done. But I thought about a statement made by Lea Collins:

"Do we really think we can worship, serve, and live in the fullness and excellence God desires if we don't learn the discipline of rest? "

How many of us get over committed with family responsibilities, work, and even ministry commitments? It is no wonder people get burnout and change jobs so frequently. For me, I realized how much I love doing what I do. If I can't imagine myself doing anything else, then maybe I should spend a little more time stopping and listening to what He has to say!
So I have made Fridays my Sabbath! Since Sundays are spent in preparation for the Lord's day, and Friday's are my day off, it only made sense that Friday is my day of rest.I know it may sound redundant and elementary in thought, but I guess I need to say it out loud, so that I don't try to find ways to let the things of work creep in and stop me from finding my place of reflection and my source of renewal!

"We are called to worship God with the very best we have. When we run out of out best and do not have that to give, our call is to worship God with our rest."

Ask yourself, "When was the last time you had a Sabbath day?"


Monday, October 19, 2009

Look what we are in for...a Pink Extravaganza!

As many of you know, we did find out that our second child is going to be a girl! It has been a funny adventure at this point. People around here were so excited when we found out we were expecting. Of course everyone kept saying, "We really hope its a girl!" As if we could do something about it! LOL! Of course everyone, like us, wants the child to be healthy and to come at the correct time... unlike her older brother! So the expectations for this little one were already high! Then we got the news...she is in fact a she!!! Keller was right the entire time when he said that it was a "baby sister!"
The next day, I was on the phone with one of my choir members. She told me not to buy anything for the baby! I thought it was strange, so I asked why. She replied, "people really like shopping for baby girls! It is really fun!" In my mind, I could see how that is true, because there are some really wonderful and adorable outfits! The funny thing is that I did not realize how quick her statement would become a reality!
This weekend we had choir rehearsal for our Christmas show. Just as we were getting started, one of our choir members came in with a bag...a really big bag. So as we were getting started, she just kept looking at me! And then she stepped up and began talking about how exciting it is that we are having a little girl. Then she hands Ashley this bag and inside were at least a dozen outfits in different sizes and colors! It was an amazing and beautiful gift! At this same time I was thinking back and smiling about the phone conversation I had earlier in the week!
Of course the shopping did not stop there! We as the parents had to make our contribution to the closet of pink! We spent a some time at a consignment and of course Ashley found herself looking through the little outfits... and we did walk out with quite a bit!
So the kid has had two pretty good shopping sprees...and she is not even here! What does this say about the future? I confess, I am extremely excited that she is coming...and she will probably be a daddy's girl!!! But I promise you will NOT see me on one of those "Toddlers & Tiaras" episodes...Those people are a hot mess!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Gage is...

So we went 2 the dr. & they said we are having a girl! i can see visions of pink ribbons & afro puffs in my wife's eyes! This is going to be interesting!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nazarene Star Struck!

So a couple of entries ago, I talked about Dr. Stan Toler coming to our Minister & Mates Retreat! I remember Dr. Toler from my time at Southern Nazarene University, so I was excited to meet with him again. Plus he is now a General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene. This was big time stuff!
Andy, our youth pastor, was helping me out at the retreat with some tech items for the worship portions of the service(i.e. PowerPoint). At some point during the first night, Dr. Toler was giving his message and the next thing I know, Dr. Toler is giving Andy a fist bump. Now if you are not familiar with a fist bump, please consult your local teenager! LOL! I looked at Andy's face and you would have thought he was 5 years old and it was Christmas morning! I am not sure if he was surprised that Dr. Toler gave him the bump or the fact that Dr. Toler knew about the fist bump.
So here we are two weeks later, still talking about it! Andy keeps talking about how cool it is that he got a fist bump from a General Superintendent!!!
But Andy is not the only one what was Nazarene Star Struck! I myself fell under this spell! Last week I was deciding what to blog about and as I was reading through some of the older post, I noticed that there was a new comment under the "With Mighty Voices..." entry! The comment came from Marvin Jones, Worship Pastor for Trevecca Community Church of the Nazarene. My mouth hit the floor when I read the message from him! I had the privilege of meeting Marvin and working with him this summer at General Assembly. I had heard really great things about him and I was so excited to me if I was star struck!
Marvin and his wife Paula are remarkable people! I know the congregation at TCC loves them and I am honored to know them and count them not only as valued colleagues, but as friends!
So this could be the first of many installments of this blog! Tell me, how are you star struck?

Thou O Lord

I have to confess that after writing last week's blog, the week went down hill pretty fast! I found myself becoming very overwhelmed with some of the responsibilities of my life. My mood was not the best, and I am sure I was not very easy to live with...just ask my wife!
In the midst of all of this, my wife decided that we should take a step back and get away from it all. So naturally we did what we Gage's do best...we went shopping! BTW, there are some good sales going on right if you can, don't miss out! And of course I did purchase some items to add to our fall home collection. But I will explain that in another blog.
As we were driving back home, I was listening to some of the music that our worship choir is working on this year! One of my favorite songs that we are singing is "Thou O Lord." It is based off of Psalm 3. When I first heard this song several years ago, I heard it as a great sounding song and not applying much thought into what is was really saying. But as I was driving down this highway, I could feel His word speaking to me. In that moment I realized that one of the hardest things we do as Christians, as people, is trying to rely fully on God. In speaking of myself, I know that I tend to trust my creativity, my talent, my socialization, and my professional abilities, when I know I should be trusting in Him.
Later that night during my quiet time, I decided to go back and read this Psalm. In my bible, the subtitle of the psalm states "A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom." The psalm was written during horrible time in David's life. If you get a chance, read 2 Samuel 15-17, and note all the "drama" that was surrounding his life. After reading these chapters and this psalm, my heart was humbled for several reasons. For starters, the issues that I am facing cannot be compared to anything that David walked through. Treachery, betrayal, mutiny, a wayward son; these are very ugly circumstances. Surely, if God could handle all this, then my issues of weariness, discontent, disappointment are a speck of dust. Mostly, I was humbled as I read how David handled himself during this period of his life. He claims God as his shield, his source of protection (psalm 3:3).
I know I have not received a threat on my life...yet; but I cannot ignore the feeling that sometimes there is a battle raging around me. I have to ask, if you have ever felt the same way? My heart's desire and challenge is that I want handle attacks, insults, and criticism the way David did. I believe that David considered the words against him for what they were worth, analyzed them for any truth and discarded the rest. To do something like that, in the midst of all these challenges, takes an extra measure of wisdom, grace, and peace; which can only come from Him.
The bottom line is that, throughout all that was surrounding David, he fully relied on the God who made him lie down, sleep, and wake again due to His sustaining love for him.
What is the battle surrounding you? What is the circumstance that is so great in your life? Are your relying on your abilities or are you relying on Him?

"Thou O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the lifter of my head."


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Take a Moment Tuesday

So in keeping with my new found gratitude, I decided to create a new campaign. I am calling it "Take a moment" Tuesdays. I was inspired by the twitter topic #ThankfulThurs. The challenge is to encourage people to do someone out of the ordinary every Tuesday! So today I threw it out there on my facebook page...and I was amazed by the response! Here are a couple of responses!

"Bought lunch for the entire office" - Jeff A.
"I gave $5.00 to a homeless man on the street today."- Melissa R.
"I gave someone a ride today who was walking on base in the rain." - Michael M.

It is so exciting to know that people still care about people! What about me you asked? Today I assisted a mother of 3 load her children in car while the fourth child was sick, and I cleaned the coffee pots for the evening AA group meeting.

I love when people give for no reason. Imagine the impression and the seed you are planting in the minds of the people you are taking a moment to help! I look forward to this journey with you!


From Grumble to Gratitude

I wonder if you will agree with me when I make this statement? "There is a lot of complaining in the world?" Some of you may say no while others jokingly may reply " I agree Ryan, and you do a lot of it!" least I hope you are joking!!! (Ha Ha)Anyway, I think a large portion of people would agree that yes there is a lot of complaining, and dare I say, whining, in the world.
This past weekend, Ashley and I attended our district Minister and Mates retreat! We were asked to lead worship, which was a big honor and humbling experience...but I will save that for another blog entry. To be honest, I was excited about this getaway because it was a moment in time that I could stop and rest. For the past few months, I have felt like I had been doing a little to much complaining and whining about life in general. There are several times in my life when I get this feeling, and when I do it is because of two things. The first is that my schedule is becoming really busy, and when I don't get a handle on it from the beginning, I feel like the schedule is controlling me instead of me controlling the schedule. The second thing is that because of the crazy schedule, I feel like I can not spend as much time in the word. I know what you are thinking..."Ryan your schedule should not be an excuse for not reading & doing devotional!" I know this and that is what makes me frustrated; which leads to complaining;which leads to the whining. Do you get where I am headed? Bottom line, I was ready to stop from the normal pace...for only a second.
Dr. Stan Toler was the guest speaker for the retreat! I enjoyed working with him and hearing what he had to say. On the first night, He was talking about Holiness and Attitude! Of course being in the foul spiritual state I was in, I felt like this was what God needed me to hear! Essentially the message based from the scripture found in Romans 12:1-2 which speaks of being "transformed by the renewing of your minds..." In that moment, I realized that I needed to shift my mental focus. I needed to change this attitude of grumbling and judgment and maybe a little fear; and be reminded of the days of God's faithfulness. I needed to have a Thanksgiving mind set...and no I am not talking about turkey! Dr. Toler went through a list of mental changes such as "replacing anger with love, replacing fear with faith, replace bitterness with forgiveness, replace sadness with happiness," and "replace grumble with gratitude."
That same evening as I was finishing some evening reading, I flipped my bible over to Psalm 64. It caught my attention at the opening verse "Hear my voice, O God in my complaint; " Even as I am typing this, I am getting a little grin on my face, for I am reminded of God's Humor and even more important, His timing.
As you continue to read the psalm (and I hope you take a moment and read it), the mood shifts at verse with these words, "But God..." God is big enough to handle our problems, hear our worries, complaints, and even our doubts. However, I think He would really like us to move past all of that and remember to trust in Him. I know this weekend, I was challenged to move past my grumbling and complaining and retune my mind so that I could continue to walk in His will for my life.
We all know that there are bumps in the road and life is never perfect! We all know that we will encounter situations that will test and we may even find ourselves at the losest points of our lives. But I encourage you to hold on! When the pressure of life is on us, we have to continue to praise Him...for we know he is working a plan for our good! The next time you feel tempted to complain- and there will be a next time- remember that God can handle it! Remember that he knows all about your situation and the he want to help. Even more important, He can help you!
He is able!