Brad Ruggles

The Art Of Living

There’s A Monster At The End of This Post

I-am-so-scared-of-monsters-082757

monster-at-the-end-of-this-book-074256One of my favorite Little Golden Books as a kid was The Monster at the End of this Book. It was a great moment when we received this book as a gift and I was able to read it to my kids.

I got hours of enjoyment sitting down with Emily and pleading with her in my best Grover voice,

PLEASE DON’T TURN THE PAGE!!

She would of course. With each new page turned poor Grover would beg and plead to stop turning pages for fear of finding the monster at the end of the book.

Until we turned the last page and found that the monster at the end of the book? Yup, turns out it was lovable, furry old Grover the whole time.

Anger & Disappointment

This past week the church world was rocked with another disappointment. I don’t need to add any additional commentary to what has already been said by other bloggers I respect. I want to talk instead about how we as Christians are supposed to react to this kind of news. Because if the scandals of the last 24 months serve as an indication of future failures, we have many more of these stories yet to be uncovered.

I’ll be honest with you. My first reaction to these kind of stories is a mix of disappointment and anger. Disappointment, because yet another person I admired let me down. And anger, because I know that once again, the name of Christ will get drug through the mud because of another person who thought they could live a double-life and get away with it.

Looking For Monsters

Why do we find it so easy to point our fingers at the “monsters” we see in the church today? Sure we’re upset about it but can we so arrogantly cast blame when it could have just as easily been you or me?

Far too often I’m so busy trying to remove the splinter from my neighbor’s eye that I’m tripping over the plank in my own.

Don’t get me wrong – I am in no way excusing deceit and hypocrisy in the church. What Michael did was wrong. Nor am I condoning sweeping stories like this under the rug. However, let’s remember that we’re really not that different.

The moment that we begin to think of ourselves as immune to these kind of shortcomings it the moment we’re most in danger of falling. As Paul warned, If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Like Grover, we may find that if we keep turning the pages, WE are in fact the monster at the end of the story. We’re all capable of lust, greed, hypocrisy and deception in the worst way.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.…

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3 Stories That Have Touched My Heart

Since I’ve been blogging there have been several people whose story Lisa and I have really connected with.

CJ & Andrea Mills

The first was CJ and Andrea Mills. CJ is a special blog buddy because he happened to be my 100th blog subscriber. Back in May while on vacation in South Carolina Andrea went into labor two months early and had little baby Asher who only weighed 4 pounds 9.7 ounces.

Our family checked their blog daily and prayed for Asher who struggled with health problems associated with being born so soon. My daughters knew CJ, Andrea, Jadyn and Asher all on a first-name basis as they were all in our prayers so often

I’m excited to say that God did an amazing miracle in Asher and he is now healthy, strong and growing. Our family still looks forward to the first time we get to meet this little guy we spent so much time praying for.

Adam & Karen Owens

The second family Lisa and I have spent a lot of time praying for is Adam & Karen Owens. Their little boy Gavin was born with a host of health problems including Mitochondrial disease and is TPN dependent which means he receives all his nutrition intravenously via a feeding tube.

Adam and Karen live a life that I can’t even begin to imagine. It’s not unusual for Lisa and I to wake up in the morning and read Adam or Karen’s post and find that Gavin spiked a fever overnight and had to be taken to the hospital which means living in the Ronald McDonald house for several days or longer.

Just yesterday Karen took Gavin at 12:30 am and didn’t get checked into their room until 4 am. Karen wrote on her blog, “I didn’t even bother going to sleep, instead I’ve been sitting here just wondering how much longer we can do this. I try to stay positive but on a day like today I just have to question…What in the heck is He trying to do to us?”

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say to someone who is going through something like that. The most I can do is continue to pray for them and encourage you to do the same. Add them to your blog reader, leave a comment and let them know you’re praying for them.

Matt, Liz & Madeline

Matt’s blog is one that Lisa really connected with. He shares the story of Madeline’s birth in March of this year. Shortly after her birth his wife Liz was getting up from her bed to hold their daughter for the first time when she passed out. A pulmonary embolism took her life leaving Matt to raise their first and only daughter on his own.

It’s a girtty, honest, painful look at the struggles of day-to-day life raising a child on your own while trying to make sense of the tragedy of losing the love of your life. I’ve seen Lisa read his blog many times with tears running down her cheek.

I try to put myself in his shoes but I can’t even imagine going through what he’s been through. To experience the happiest and most hearbreaking moments in your life, all within 24 hours?

These are just a few of the stories that have touched my heart and driven me to my knees in prayer.…

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