Monday, December 29, 2008

Keeping it real is What This World Needs

Casting Crowns Lyrics
What This World Needs Lyrics

Hey gang,

I would like to say it was a really great Christmas, but then I’d be lying, well a little. I spent Christmas Eve and Day on my back with the flu. You know the drill. Feeling like vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, couldn’t eat all the goodies, wondering how long until you pass back out. To top that off, my wife and kids got out of Dodge and left me for northern Illinois to spend the day with relatives. That’s right. Fin for yourself, fatman.

It could have been worse. They might have stayed home and expected me to build all the toys and/or wanted me to drive them up there. Instead, I got peace and quiet. It wasn’t Silent Night, but Silent Day wasn’t all that bad either. I slept for part of the day then became a couch potato and watched some TV. I did enjoy parts of the Rocky-thon on Versus. Why is it that you always feel invigorated after Rocky beats up his opponent at the end of the movie? I felt better just watching Rocky take that beating from Ivan Drago.

I also flipped through and caught VH1. When did MTV and VH1 stop showing videos? I remember you could watch music videos almost any time of day and now, never. I wasn’t sure how offended I should be after watching Kid Rock sing his Rock n’ Roll Jesus. It’s a Christmas special and you are proclaiming that you are Jesus (at least of the rock n’ roll world). What is wrong with that picture? Then they had a show called Best Week Ever which pretty much made fun of everyone that was in pop culture. I have to admit that I did laugh at this show quite a bit. It was either the dizziness or my brain went back to junior high in flashbacks. It helped me realize that most of television has gone to the dogs.

Anyhow, the gift haul wasn’t bad. I did get some comfortable clothes and our new digital camera. I hope everyone did as well as my kids did from the grandmas. I don’t ever remember seeing that much garbage after a Christmas unveiling in my life. I think I’m still taking out bags as I put stuff together. I will say that my kids are being spoiled far worse than I ever was which is either an indication of jealousy or the fact that in keeping it real, I am getting old fast.

In other thoughts of keeping it real, I actually enjoyed the notes I got from several of you after my last two writings. The last one was just sharing my story of how God finally found me. Most of you thought the story was great and want me to write more about what has happened since to see the fruit of my years and I will do that. I’ve shared and will continue to share pieces in everything I write. Some of the best stories for my writings are dumb stuff that has happened to me to help me grow in God. Sometimes it happens to others, but I think (and I’m sure most of you do) that it is funnier when it happens to me. I did get a note from one of you asking me why I’ve been so serious in my writing lately and I will honestly say that it is part of the story I am telling. I naturally like to be funny when I tell a story, whether in person or in print. Sometimes, life and what God is teaching me don’t allow for it.

Next, I do want to address what several of you called picking on someone. In the blog on gifts, I talked about how being bounced out of journalism was a gift and some of you thought I was picking on my high school teacher, Mrs. Rowe. I want you to know that was truly not the case. Mrs. Rowe and I may have disagreed on my talent at 16 and while if you had asked me then how I felt, let’s just say I wouldn’t have been nice about it. But it truly was a blessing. I entered the AV Club with Mike Davis and learned a lot of talents that I used in television in the late 90’s and the spurning of my talent did inspire me to get better. At 23, I was writing sports for a little newspaper and whether most people know this or not, Mrs. Rowe was very helpful as I needed a contact to help get me back into BHS to do some of the fun stuff I got to do. She and I also talked at length and we ironed out our own differences of opinion. We’re cool and I totally mean it when I say I grew because of Journalism I in 1985, even with John Rappold and Brian Posey singing to me every day. That part I don’t miss, even though I have heard that Brian has become an accomplished local singer back in West Virginia. I just wanted to clear that up for you guys.

Back on to the present day, I did get two more cool gifts over the holiday weekend. On Wednesday night, before I starting having conjugal visits with my toilet bowl, I heard from a pal that I had been missing for almost eight years. It might even be closer to nine. My buddy Tom Palmer joined me on the MySpace version of the One Man Revival website and I was so glad to hear from him. Tom pulled me out of a pretty rough patch in my life as I was going through a divorce back in 2000 by getting me to a church that so helped me recover from the hurt I was feeling. I spent only eight weeks there, but being a part of that church helped get me ready for the great things that happened at Bible Baptist when I moved there in April 2000.

On Sunday, I heard from one of my oldest friends from grade school. My buddy Brenda, now married to a guy I went to high school with that loves sports as much as I do, Jody Hinkle, said hello to me over on Facebook. I’ve been having a reunion with whole Hopkins’ clan this past week. Just to think it’s been 30 years since we became friends at little Linden Grade School. The school isn’t there any longer, but there were so many good memories. Being with that group at Linden was probably the closest group of friends I’ve ever had. I remember actually crying the last day of the school year in 1980 because they all moved on to Washington Irving and I was headed to Bridgeport. It was truly the closest community that I’ve ever shared.

Which brings me to the final question that most of you have had. Frank, where are you going with the ministry of One Man Revival? I’m most glad that several of you asked. Truthfully, in the end, I hope to go many places with this ministry. I hope that it becomes a place of encouragement and growth in faith with Christ. But I do have three areas of concentration that I am thinking about most going into 2009.

First (and I should say only in speech, not particularly in order of coverage), I want to try to develop community amongst those of you that come here to read. I am grateful that I already have seen 13 people join the thread through the blog network on Facebook to read what I’m talking about. One of the major problems I have had with the church as a whole is the fact that many churches are not community for people. When I was young, even though my family wasn’t in church, many of the kids that went to Mt. Zion and some of the families were getting together to do things besides meet twice a week in a building for praising God. If all we do as a church is come and praise and never hang with each other besides then, the church will become the acquaintance capital of the universe, not a real community of believers that is in each other’s lives.

Hebrews 10:24-25 shares these thoughts; “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Church is not a weekly high school reunion of the saints. We are supposed to be involved in each other’s lives and helping each other become better people of the world for God’s kingdom.

Secondly, I want to press ideas about building good marriages and family. I do this partly in selfishness because I want a better marriage for myself and my wife, Mindy. We’ve been married for six years and we want our marriage to get better as we get older. We want our kids to see that they have two parents that love each other and them. I’ve reunited on the internet with so many friends who have come out of divorce with children. I want to learn some of the tricks of being a better dad. I do pretty good, but I can always get better. Believe me, being a writer with three kids under four flying around my head every day is a very intense and sometimes overwhelming job for me.

The third area of concentration is on becoming a better Godly man. Many of my high school mates remember a guy named David Farrell that a lot of people made fun of because of his strong belief. They called him Reverend David. If you feel that you have to call me Reverend Frank or whatever, then do as you must. All I ask is that you think about what I write and the songs you hear. I do not have a clergy degree, however I am only nine hours away from a Biblical Leadership Master’s at Greenville College. The program is now defunct, so I’ll be searching other schools to finish that degree someday. For now, I am as I’ve always been, just a little more determined with a larger desire.

Ever since I heard a sound bite of Gary Chapman saying, “I want to be God’s man,” that has been a desire I have flirted with. That soundbite was on a Time-Life record commercial over a decade ago. I have to determine to quit flirting and get serious and anyone who reads what I am writing is now on notice to hold me accountable in what I say, and sometimes in what I don’t say.

I am presently reading a book by Jim George called A Man After God’s Own Heart. I found one thing truly astounding in the first chapter. God never look for the crowd to find men after God’s heart. He didn’t look to the popular opinion or Hollywood. He looked for individuals that were seeking God with everything they had. They weren’t perfect men. If you’ve read the stories of King David, you will know that he was not even close to perfect, but God told Samuel that David would do as he said. I can only pray that I will too.

I love you guys!

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