About four months ago my life was turned upside-down. I’ve written about it pretty extensively on this blog, but some things have occurred that I wanted to discuss, and I figured it was time for a dedicated post.

So lets jump in and see what it’s like for a hermit who has been alone for 13 years to use a dating app….

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I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of sacrifice. What does it really mean? Does God really require it from Christians? The same kind of sacrifice from everyone, or are we each, in turn, asked to surrender parts of ourselves that are unique to us? This, of course, stems from the conviction I received about four months ago from (I believe) God that I should prepare for a future wife. It’s only been four months and it feels like it’s been a hundred years already. I can’t imagine what it will be like if I’m asked to spend another four months with this unsettled feeling inside of me, having given up several things in the process of trying to obey and surrender to his will.

So, let’s dig into the sacrificial nature of obedience to Christ….

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A few days ago, my email alert popped up on screen to let me know an email had just come in. It was from CredoCourses, an online ministry that provides theological teaching to lay people in the church. So I stopped what I was doing and checked it out. Oddly enough, it was a course on doubt (serendipitous I think) and it was free. So I threw it in my cart, checked out, and within a few minutes had the four sessions downloaded.

So, let’s jump in and see what Michael and others at CredoCourses have to say about the doubt I’ve been going through lately…..

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This morning I checked in on the homeless shepherd out of Oregon. If you’re not familiar with him, this is Aaron Fletcher, a man who has spent a decade or more as a homeless man wandering around Oregon with several milk producing sheep that pull his miniature wagon where he lives. He gets much of his food from the milk the sheep produce and I would imagine he also does barter with people and also gathers edibles along the roadway. They were hostile to him in Ashland, passing ordinances to keep him and his sheep out of the city. From his videos it looks like he spent some time on walkabout, making it north and then to the coast, only to return down south again, I would imagine because the terrain in the northern region of the state is probably not as conducive to guerrilla grazing as down south.

But, Aaron is really not the focus of this post. Instead, I wanted to tackle a video he put out that I took as a kind of personal challenge (not to me individually since I’ve never met this man). As a Christian I am very interested in cultic behavior. I’m also VERY interested in the claim Aaron levels in this video, that all of Christianity is a cult. Because, after all, I do agree with him: much of modern evangelicalism is not biblical, it is truly a cult. Many if not most churches today are cult organizations run by prideful, arrogant men who enjoy power and authority and desire to rule over a people. They are the Nicolaitans that Jesus warned about in Revelation. But, Aaron takes it a step further and is basically dismissing the Bible itself because of the contradiction he states is in Genesis 1-2.

I thought to myself. “If it’s all an error, if it’s just a cult and I’m not bound by Christianity or the Bible, this has several significant implications for my life. I would like to test his conclusion against what the Bible actually says and also against what I’ve experienced in my life in my own interactions with God.”

So, let’s jump in and see if Aaron is correct. Is Christianity a cult?

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Another season has just finished of one of the few good shows left on television. Young Sheldon is not only a full seasons (22 episodes) but it was renewed a few years ago for 3-4 episodes in advance. Despite this great billing, there are some issues with this season as well as with the show overall. But, it’s still the best show on tv anymore. Especially given the new nature of putting out only half seasons and spreading those out with several years between each installment.

So, let’s jump into all things young about Sheldon Cooper and find out what it’s all about….

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About three months ago I received (what I believe) was a conviction from God to prepare for a future wife. At the time (and still today), I live as a celibate hermit between a small house in a coastal town and a more reclusive hermitage property where I’ve been testing a solitary vocation for several years. I have actually been on this contemplative path for 13+ years now, since my first marriage fell apart on account of childhood trauma my wife experienced and was unwilling to confront or address. She chose to end the marriage instead of working through our issues.

Needless to say, I was rather surprised by God’s direction for me now to begin preparing for a future wife. How is that even possible? To be honest, I can’t imagine a woman who would want to marry me. I’m non poor health. I have a rather disagreeable personality. While I am semi-retire, I make very little in my job, and though I do have assets, my net worth is certainly nothing to write home about. But beyond all this, why would God impress upon me something that for the last 13 years I’ve happily lived without?

Let’s jump in and talk about it, and more so let me provide an update on what’s occurred in the last few months and what my plans are going forward….

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One thing I know from personal experience is God has a very peculiar way of reaching each of us. Sometimes its through other people. Sometimes it’s through being in and around the natural world and all that he created for us to enjoy and learn from and discover. Still, other times, God will literally – supernaturally – reach out and touch us. Individually. Personally. Even if I can say, intimately. And that touch of God can have rippling affects throughout the rest of our life.

This last approach is often how God reveals himself to me. Maybe it’s out of my own stubbornness (in that there is no other way he can get through to me), or maybe it’s because he created me in such a way that he knows what I will respond to and anticipates what I need before I even know I need it.

God’s funny that way.

As I’m approaching a 2nd video on my newly “launched” Youtube channel (an experiment more than anything else), the topic has come up about prayer and about the promises of God. What we’re supposed to do with these statements God has made in his Word. Are we supposed to ignore them (that’s what most people do, even most Christians)? Are we supposed to capitalize on them and use them as a strong arm to force God into submission (this is what the word-faith movement claims as their right)? I would argue it’s neither of these, but so much more.

So, let’s jump into and explore prayer, especially when I find myself in a season in my life where all I’m doing is praying and talking with God about everything….

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This afternoon I had some outside chores I needed to do, chores which I despise doing for no other reason than I hate the feeling of being outside of my home in town because I constantly have the feeling that someone is watching me, that I’m somehow on display. I recognize intellectually, objectively, that this is simply not the case. In fact, most people are not even home when I’m out doing chores in the middle of the week. They are at work, they are out shopping, they are living their own lives. But, emotionally, psychologically, the feeling is always present every time I go outside.

One way I’ve found to counteract this or at least lessen it is to have my headphones on and to be listening to something else – a lecture, a podcast – anything that will distract me from those imaginary eyes. And that’s what I did today while I was outside working, and the podcast I turned on was one I found on Youtube, Jordan Peterson interviewing Greg Ellis. Now I have no idea who this fella is. But his story was quite reminiscent (at least to a certain degree) to what I went through during my divorce, and some of the outcomes are very similar as well.

So, I thought it might be good to discuss some of the issues covered in the podcast and discuss a little bit about what I went through….

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A few posts ago I broke down the approximate costs that would be required if I decided to remodel my house in town before I put it up for sale and if the ROI was worth it to me to do it. In the end (at least at this point) I’ve concluded that it really is not worth the extra year and many, many hours of work during that year and the additional $20,000 to invest in the materials (I would have to do the work myself which is also a problem to be factored in), to only realize an $18,000 profit at best (if everything goes perfectly along the way and I can actually find a buyer who will pay $100k for a house with no foundation and will pay cash – I doubt any lender will give someone a mortgage on a house in this dead beat town). In the end, I’ve decided it would be better to just clean the place up, run a broom through it, take down some of the cobwebs, maybe even plant some grass in the front yard (right now I spray the entire property since I’m not here much anyway to do maintenance), and then throw it up on Craigslist in hopes I can hook a young couple who are smart enough to realize they can buy a small starter house in a sleepy coastal town with just a 30 minute commute, put $20,000 in over the course of just a few years, and either live in it for the rest of their lives or wait 2-5 and catch the market at a peak and sell it for cash and then roll that over into a bigger house down the road.

But, say I’m able to do this and I can sell the house in the next year to a cash buyer and I then can move to the Eden property full time (dependent of course on how this summer and this fall go on getting the property prepared for winter living), there is then the question of what improvements do I want to put into the Eden property.

I figure it would be a good idea to lay these options out as well and that’s what I plan to do with this blog post. So, let’s jump in and see what options are available and what exactly I might want to do with this paradise property in the future….

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A few weeks ago I stumbled onto one of those BookTube girls online and I started watching her videos as she went through her bookshelves, talking about the myriad of books she owned and which ones she liked and which ones she hated and why and why not. All the while she complained about dating and college and the rest of her seemingly perfect life.

Despite this, I did manage to take some of her book recommendations, titles that I simply would never have heard of before. One of those that rose to the top (not exactly sure why) was the book You’ve Reached Sam, which is about a high school girl who’s boyfriend suddenly dies and, in her grief, she calls his number to hear his voice on his voicemail, but instead of getting a recording her dead boyfriend actually picks up.

I know.

I immediately got the book (along with around 200+ other titles that formed my new reading list and loaded them up on my new ebook reader (a Likebook P6). I set out to finish this book as soon as I possibly could with the intension of forming a new profusive reading habit that would move reading to the top of my list of daily activities (other than watching Youtube videos or television shows since there doesn’t seem to be enough of those to fill the day with – but there are more than enough books to do so). Just as a note, there will be spoilers in this post so be forewarned.

So, now that I just finished this book, let’s jump in and see what I thought of it…

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It’s now been nearly 9 years since I started looking for a house on the coast. At the time I was running a family business and, given my minimalist (live like a college student) lifestyle, I had socked away a nice amount in a 401K I had set up for the business a few years before.

Unfortunately, the idea of trusting the government with that money scared me to death. I could not sleep well knowing that every time Obama didn’t get his way he started threatening to tap retirement savings. It was like his mantra (or maybe I was just overly sensitive).

This, and my conclusion that I wanted to live on the coast, retire on the coast, and ultimately breathe my last breath on the coast, prompted daily searches online, first for bare land and then, as a compromise, cheap land with a small, run down house on it.

Just a few months later, and a lot of looking at potential property, I hit upon the vin diagram where the price was under $50k and the owner would carry (two requirements).

Fast forward to today, and now I have to decide whether or not to just sell it or remodel first and then try to sell. So, with this post, lets look at what it would actually cost (rough estimate) to remodel and what the probability would be for me to get my money back on that secondary investment….

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Today I was watching this video on YouTube and was surprised by the very first statement, “I know that the pain of rejection stings.” I immediately responded (yeah, I talk back to YouTube videos all the time), “what if being single is not a rejection but a blessing? What if being married is actually the curse?”

Let’s jump into this and discuss what many in our society and especially in the Christian culture often misunderstand about the states we are called to in this life….

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