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Occasional ramblings and writings. Occasional being the optimal word.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I think Col. Jessep was right

On Tuesday, was I was writing my previous post, I text/instant messaged a few people to see if they were available to read the post before I put it up.
The people I contacted were either away from their email, or they didn’t respond, so I posted it anyway.

What I found was that while there were plenty of people online, I was looking only for people who I knew were going to tell me that it was good, and not anyone who would offer constructive criticism or suggestions.

I didn’t want the truth—I wanted someone to agree with me and tell me what I had written was indeed the best thing ever.

That’s not very conducive to the creative process or to life in general. Where would we be if we only had people around us who told us what we wanted to hear?

This can go for any facet of life. If everyone agreed with us and told us what we wanted to hear, we’d all be wearing clothes that make us look fat, have jacked-up hairstyles, and be with totally the wrong partners.

Now, there’s a difference between offering real, constructive opinions/advice and being a d-bag about it. Criticizing someone, cutting them down, or making them feel like they’re worth less than they are is mean-spirited and totally uncalled for.

I don’t want to advocate lying, but there are some instances where withholding the truth can be beneficial. It all depends on your relationship with the person. David Sedaris says, “Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you’re offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone’s feelings.” Although this is a comic quote, there’s a grain of truth to it. If you truly do love someone, then you know when something is going to hurt their feelings. I suppose you don’t have to outright lie to them, but maybe you can find another way to tell them what they need to hear.

In applying this to faith, I think so many of us want a God that’s going to bless us, but not at the cost of having to follow His commands or not at the cost of 10% of our paycheck. We want God to tell us what we want to hear.

We want a Bible that tells us by the stripes of Jesus we are healed and that wealth and riches shall be in our house, but not that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God or that there are so many things that can keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God [Galatians 5:19-21].

We want a church that’s got good music and good preaching, but not one that’s going to challenge us, convict us, and make us question ourselves and help us grow by way of a sometimes painful process.

I read a quote once that said pain is just weakness leaving the body. The truth can hurt, but the pain isn’t so much weakness leaving as it is wisdom, understanding, and experience being implanted—especially if it comes from a trusted and loving source.

Of course, there’s always the saying that goes if you can’t stand to hear the answer, don’t ask the questions. But, if you do that, the only person whose opinion you’ll have to rely in is your own and you’re a lot harder on yourself than anyone else.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just a Four-Letter Word

I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those things I’ve written that makes perfect sense in my head, but may not make sense to anyone else.  

There’s a small, four-letter word that gets used way too often in our everyday vocabulary. It’s pretty destructive whether you’re saying it or it’s being said to you.

 The word is JUST. For such a small word, it sure can do big things. It’s so popular that Jon Acuff, one of my favorite bloggers, mentions it as God’s favorite word. He’s of course using satire to help Christians poke fun at themselves, but I love that post, so I hard to figure out a way to share it.

My problem with the word JUST has nothing to do with the definition meaning to be upright, guided by truth, to be righteous, etc. We should all try to do that.

No, the definition I have a problem with is when JUST is used to remove the significance from something.

How many times have you heard phrases like: “I’m JUST a housewife?” “I’m JUST a student.” “I’m JUST a kid.” The list goes on and on.

JUST is both a demeaning and condescending word all at the same time—to you and also whatever it is you’re trying to distance yourself from.

I, for example, could say, “I’m JUST a secretary.” However, that implies that being a secretary is something to be ashamed of and that I feel like I’m too good to be one. There are thousands and thousands of people who are secretaries and are happy about it. By implying that I’m too good to be one, I further imply that everyone who is a secretary is beneath me. But that’sanother issue.

Besides that , we’ve all been known to use JUST as way to excuse something [again removing the significance].

We do this by saying things like, “It’s JUST one drink,” or “It’s JUST fooling around,” or “It’s JUST a little bit of booby.” [That’s a direct quote from my Pastor by the way.]

When we use the word in this context, it’s like each JUST is putting a shovel into the dirt and eventually we find that we’ve JUST-ED ourselves into a hole. I don’t know about you, but I JUST-ED myself up to almost 450lbs.

How many times have you heard someone say something like, “It’s JUST something I threw together,” or “It’s JUST something I wrote?”

Again, this is taking away the significance of something—your talent or accomplishment. It could also be perceived as false humility. [JonAcuff strikes again!]

Get the JUST out of your mouth. Don’t devalue yourself or your talents. Don’t think that because something comes in a small dose that it’s JUST harmless. It may not be.

[I feel like I should be ending this by making some reference to you livin' in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!]

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Smorgyboard Saturday--"In Love"

We have chosen to call our Saturday posts "Smorgyboard Saturdays," which means it should be something a little different and more creative.
I have for you in my inaugural Smorgyboard post, a monologue I wrote about three years ago. It was inspired after a conversation with a friend about a girl. He said one line that stuck with me and then this came out. I kinda like it.

Anyway, wanna hear it? Here it goes:


You wanna know something? I’m in love!  Yeah, ME.  In love. I never thought it would happen.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been in love, ya know? I’ve been in like.  I’ve been in lust.  But I never thought I’d ever fall in love.  I always felt like that Monkees song.  You know the one that goes:  “I thought love was only true in fairy tales. Meant for someone else, but not for me.”  Well, I guess I was wrong.

I always wondered how people knew they were in love and they would always tell me, ‘Oh, you’ll just know.’ I thought they were crazy—‘You’ll just know.’  But, it turns out, I’m the crazy one for not believing them.  I just knew. Like right now, I feel a little light-headed. My stomach feels like it’s trying to jump out of my body. My palms are sweaty and I’m hot and cold all at the same time.  I figure I’m either in love or I have the flu. Frankly, it doesn’t matter which one it is as long as she’s there.

What can I tell you about this girl?  There are no words.  Honestly.  I don’t think words have been invented yet that describe her.  She’s…well, she’s…perfect. I mean it.  Perfect in every way.  She’s so hot.  No, she’s more than that.  She’s beautiful. You know the difference, right?  A girl who’s hot is one you want to spend the night with.  A girl who’s beautiful is one you want to spend your life with.  A girl who’s hot will rock your world.  A beautiful girl will change it.  That’s what happened to me.  From the second I saw her, my whole world changed.  From the instant she walked into the room, she made me want to be a better person.

There’s never been anyone like her.  Ever. This girl…excuse me…woman, is the beginning and end of my world.  It’s like something’s been missing from my life and I finally realized that she was it.  What’s funny is, I didn’t even know I was missing something.  It’s like she walked into my life and my soul came alive.

Why did this happen?  How did this happen?  Is it fate? Luck? Timing? Is it a part of God’s plan?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m over-analyzing it.  All I know is that that girl—woman—she’s the one.  The one and only. 

I can just picture the life we’re gonna have together.  House, kids, dog—the whole nine yards. People are going to write stories about it.  Maybe a movie. Who would play us?  Never mind, it’s not important.  I just wish you could see her and meet her and see everything that I see.  Feel everything I feel.  My heart’s beating so fast I think it’s gonna explode.  That would suck because I wouldn’t get to see her again.

Maybe it is in God’s plan.  Is it selfish to think that maybe God created the two of us specifically for each other?  That God himself wrote out this love story in some big cosmic book, like millions of years ago and it’s just now playing out?  Wow. That makes me a little humble to think that this woman lived her whole life not even knowing that it was leading her here. To me. Does that mean that all the stuff I’ve said about her, she’s saying about me?  I can’t even imagine.  It’s too much. With my stomach trying to leap out and my heart about to explode, the last thing I need is for my head to cave in.

I guess the best way to say it is that I’m her and she’s me. Does that make sense? It’s like we’re connected in such a way that we’re one person.  I think I’m getting too deep here.  I’m in love with her.  No, I love her.  No, she’s my world and I’m hers.  Beginning and end, remember?

The only problem is that she just walked in and we haven’t even met yet.

Excuse me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Perfect FIT

Besides the new Facebook layout and any sort of high-school-level math, there are two definite areas of my life that cause the biggest struggle for me: my weight and my faith.
I started Weight Watchers in February 2008. I started attempting to serve the Lord about a year later, and as I began to listen to sermons and read the Bible, I started to see some correlation between the two. I thought about compiling all of my observations and maybe put them in a book or something, but like most of my brilliant ideas, I didn’t write any of them down and now they’re lost to the ages.

Every now and then one will come to me and I won’t write it down, so I decided to try to reign in this idea to form some kind of coherent thought. Often times, I find it much easier to understand my own thoughts than to try to explain them to someone else, but I’ll give it the old college try.

The concept that hasn’t yet left me is what I call the FIT moments.

A phrase I like to use for these moments is “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Basically, FIT stands for F-it, as in, “F it. I’ve already blown it. Or, F-it, I’ve gone this far, what’s one more step?”

I’ve had so many of these moments, that’s it’s hard to keep track. As a matter of fact, I had several over the last few days.

“Birthday cake? FIT! I’ll get back on track tomorrow.”

“Share a giant tub of popcorn? FIT! Go home after eating the popcorn and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? FIT! I already had the popcorn.”

“Well, my alarm is going off so I can get up and read my Bible. FIT! I didn’t do it yesterday, may as well go back to sleep.”

These moments make me feel worse than just about anything else—which is good. If I didn’t feel bad about these, it would mean I’ve lost all sense of direction. However, the more FIT moments there are, the easier they are to take, until eventually you realize that you’re numb to them.

I don’t think it’s the FIT moments that need to stop. It’s the one moment just before it that needs to addressed. There would be no FIT moment had there not been some sort of action that preceded it. If I could just go back and identify that moment, and stop it before it happens, I’d be fine. However, there’s no way to determine when that occurs. When you do realize what it was, it’s after the fact. And, unless you’re Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia, it’s impossible to back and change it.

“Hmm…perhaps if I hadn’t that ice cream sundae before lunch, I wouldn’t be ok with the french fries at lunch.”

It’s kind of like getting into a car accident. You realize had you or whoever was really at fault (though the odds are that it was me) not run the stop sign or whatever, there would’ve been no accident—a preceding action lead to disaster.

Or, maybe there’s a snowball effect in play here. One bad decision leads to another which leads to another and so on and on until you just say, “FIT! I’m done with this. I quit,” and you abandon what you were trying to do to begin with.

When it comes to our spiritual health, we may make one mistake and then assume that since we did, we’ve failed, so why stop there! We may feel like we’ve disappointed God, that we’ve let Him down and that there’s no way He can let this one go.

That kind of thinking not only limits ourselves by saying we’re slaves to our flesh and that there’s no room for improvement, but –even more erroneous (yep, I used erroneous)—it limits God. It sends the message that we believe that our issue, whatever it is, is bigger than God. It sends the message that the drink we had, the stuff we looked at, the things we’ve said have more power than the redeeming blood of Christ.

We think that whatever we’ve just done has completely negated all the progress we’ve made in our journey. When I shovel ice cream into my mouth, or when I gain one little pound, I feel like it’s totally negated the 200+ I’ve already lost. But, it hasn’t. It may have caused a bump in the road, but you don’t turn your car around when you come to a speed bump, do you? No, you drive over it and keep going.

Do you even remember that speed bump once you get further down the road? Probably not, so why do we remember pre-FIT moment? If God doesn’t keep track, why should we?

“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”—Isaiah 43:25 (NLT)

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”—Psalm 103:12 (AMP)

It’s over.

Leave the FIT and pre-FIT moments in the past and move on.

Better yet, try to stop the FIT moments before they start. Accept the pre-FIT moment for what it was and redirect your focus. 

Every FIT moment has potential to be a new starting point as does every moment after that.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”—Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)

Every moment is the opportunity to hit reset on your losing game.

Every moment is the chance to go back three spaces.

Every moment is a new beginning. Don’t waste it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What have I gotten myself into?

Yesterday, I made a "pact" with Brina Harwood.

We are both going to be updating our blogs on a regular basis. I think we both felt that if someone else was doing it, it would keep us both accountable--like we were joining Weight Watchers or something.

We agreed to make a certain number of posts each week. Tuesday is a posting day. Now, here I am...not knowing what the heck to write! My great-grandmother would've likened this situation to being broken-hearted, having paid a nickel for something and only doing something else...hopefully you know that old saying.

Anywho, I have plenty of things I've written in the past that could go up here and some of them may make it one day, but nothing seemed "right."

I can tell you that future posts will be much more exciting and maybe even have some substance. There may be some humor, but I'm actually not very funny in writing. I'm funny in person and people have suggested I should do stand-up, but I'm not a good joke writer. I think I came up with one stand-up-style joke, but not much else.

I'm also much more eloquent in writing than I am in person. It's probably because I have time to think about what to say.

I may share some scenes or monologues that I've written here. Perhaps some poetry,  but, it's not my specialty. If you want good poetry, you need to hear some by Juana Echeveste-Davis--maybe she should get a blog.

I have a David-Seadris-esque animal story that may see the light of day. Would you like to read a poem about a unicorn who farts rainbows? You're in luck! But, that's for a future post.

I'm really good at coming up with bits and pieces. A couple months ago, I came up with a great opening line for a short story. I've got it about half-way done. I promise to put it up if I ever finish it.

So, in closing, I apologize for wasting your time. I spent a whole post writing about having nothing to write, what I can't write, and what I may or may not write.


Monday, September 12, 2011

I've done a lot of livin'

One week ago, I turned 32 years old. Upon learning this fact, my cousin’s friend Devin’s response was my favorite.

Dev: How old are you today?
Me: Thirty two
Dev: Daaang.
Me: Thanks?

After I laughed, he said it wasn’t because he thought 32 is old (it’s surprisingly young, by the way), but rather the fact that I don’t really look that “old.” I guess he’s right. Other than the racing stripes of gray hair on my head, I don’t “look” 32. I’m not really sure what 32 looks like anyway.

Besides not looking 32, I can tell you I surely don’t act 32, but again, what does 32 act like? I digress. That’s another topic for another day.

 The whole point of this post is to offer some unsolicited advice I’ve picked up along my 32-year journey.

Feel free to add to the list either here or on my Facebook.

  1. Wear sunscreen. Oh, wait. That one's taken. Nevermind.
  2. Learn from mistakes--not just yours, but other people's too.
  3. Don't be ashamed of your taste in music, movies, or TV shows, and don't judge anyone else's.
  4. Don't spend more money on clothes than on other basic needs.
  5. Watch your favorite movie(s) at least once a year.
  6. Watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at least once. If it doesn't make you laugh, you're not human.
  7. Share gum if you have it (I hear the same goes for weed, but I can't verify that).
  8. Take gum when it's offered because it probably means you have bad breath.
  9. Do your homework.
  10. Remember people's birthdays.
  11. Reach for the check once in a while (and maybe even pay for it).
  12. Usually, the line with the fewest people in it is not the fastest.
  13. Don't get into someone else's car and mess with the radio.
  14. Be on time.
  15. Take pictures.
  16. Don't take friends for granted. They don't have to hang out with you.
  17. Give generously of your time, it's the most valuable thing you can give. and don't waste other people's time.
  18. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in.
  19. Watch cartoons once in a while.
  20. There's almost always room for ice cream.
  21. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  22. Patience is indeed a virtue.
  23. Read more (I'm just giving the advice. I didn't say I was following it)
  24. Listen more than you speak.
  25. Take road trips with good friends.
  26. Spend time with people who make you laugh till you cry.
  27. Do something creative.
  28. Tip like a Rockefeller when you get good service. (Tomas coined this phrase)
  29. When someone asks how you are, sometimes a simple "Fine" will suffice.
  30. Don't wear a red shirt and khaki pants to Target.
  31. Ask for help with something if you need it.
  32. Don't take any shi* from anybody.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Five years later...

I got baptized tonight after putting it off for a while. It was an awesome experience. I thought it would be interesting to show you how my thinking has changed in the last few years.

If any of you have known me for a while, you know that I was pretty anti-religion, anti-God, anti-church, anti-faith, etc. for pretty much my whole adult life. However, a little over two years ago, that began to change.

What I'd like to share are two things I've written.

The first, "Confessional" is a monologue that was written while I was taking a theater class at Fresno City College in 2006. It was chosen to be performed during a show called "Teasers" which is all student-written, student-acted, and student-directed pieces. It basically sums up how I felt back then. Remember when you've read it that this was performed in front of a lot of people, and my name was attached to it. It got pretty good comments if I recall. [WARNING: Contains adult language!!]

The second is something that was written a few weeks ago called "The Hurricane of Sin." I'm not quite sure what to call it. An article? A message? Whatever it is, it's way different from what I wrote five years ago.

By Ernie Garcia

Place: A Confessional. 

Time: Present.  Time of day is not crucial.

ACTOR: Can be male or female.  Originally written for a male, but lines can be tweaked so that they apply for a female.

Stage Setup: Two chairs next to each other.  There can be a divider between the two chairs, but not necessary.

[Lights up on chair ACTOR is in, but dim as if audience is in the confessional with the ACTOR.  If it’s not possible, a spotlight will do.  The other chair should be in the dark and not even visible to the audience.  ACTOR sits in chair on SR holding a rosary.  He is unsure of what to do or how to begin.  It’s clear this is new for him.  He is nervous and deliberates over his words carefully before he begins.]


[Slowly makes the sign of the cross as if he’s just learned it.  He talks towards the direction of the other chair.] 

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.  It’s been forever since my last confession.  Literally.  This is my first.  I don’t know why.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to confess…because believe you me…..there’s been a lot to confess. [laughs nervously…sighs] Sorry, I’m nervous.  I try to joke to lighten the mood.  Where was I?  This is my first confession.  I’m not even Catholic.  I’m not sure what I am.   I tell people I’m [makes quote signs] “Christian.”  But I don’t even know what it means to be Christian.  I was big into church for awhile, but it wasn’t really for the right reason….if there is such a thing.  I did it because my friends were going.  It was fun, you know.  Gave me something to do.  Got to meet people.  I didn’t like a lot of them, but they were nice enough.  They were pretty fake, but nice.

[Thinks for a minute]  Anyways, I’m here to confess.  Sooo…what do you want to know?  Should I work my way up?  I did some research online about this stuff.  I wanted to be prepared and didn’t want to look like an ass in here.  Sorry about that.  I’m trying to curb that, but it sometime slips out.  Is ass really a bad word?  What’s the church’s stand? Ass.  I guess it could be bad.  I guess I meant I didn’t want to feel like a donkey and not a [rises a little from chair and pats rear] literal ass ya know?  I guess it doesn’t matter.  I read that cursing is just a venal sin anyways.  The way I understood it was that venal sins don’t really get us in trouble.  I guess that’s good.  They’re like getting a parking ticket, right?  On it’s own it’s no big deal, but if you let them accumulate they can turn into something bigger.  A mortal sin.  Those are the biggies.  I now you know this shit already… [realizes what he said] sorry.  I’m just trying to keep it all straight.  Let’s see [pulls a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and reads] “A sin is only a mortal sin if three criteria are met.  Number one:   Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter.”  That’s pretty bad.  Number two: “Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner and Number three: “Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner.”  [Thinks.  Crumbles paper.  Tosses it on ground] Whatever.  Let’s assume that all sin is bad.  Mortal, venal.  Hell awaits either way.  That’s why I’m here.  I’ve gotta get it out of my system.  So, where should I start?  [Thinks.  Swings rosary around]  What am I doing with this thing?  I don’t even think I know the Rosary.  I just always see people with it, so I got one.  [Contemplates rosary]  Anyways.  I’m stalling.  Here we go.  What you’ve been waiting for.  The reason for the season so to speak.  There’s, of course, the swearing which we talked about.  Venal.  [Can’t think of where to go from here, almost can’t gather his thoughts.  Gets an idea]  How about this?  [Pulls folded sheet of paper from other pocket]  Let’s go over the seven deadlies and see where that gets us.  Okay.  Here we go.  Ready?  Sure you are.  I am.

Envy.  Are these supposed to be in any kind of order?  I put’em in alphabetical order.  Will that work?  Sure it will.   Okay.  For reals.  Here we go.  Envy.  Envy, envy.  I don’t really envy anyone.  I admire the things they might have, but I wouldn’t call it envy.  Would you?  So, we’ll cross that one off.

Gluttony.  I guess we’re all guilty of this.  I’ve super sized.  So has everyone else.  Is it that bad if everyone does it?  Everyone’s doing it.  God, I sound like an after school special.  [Mockingly]  Everyone’s doing it.  [Exhales sharply]  Ya know, this is getting us nowhere.  [Crumples paper and tosses it]  Let me just lay it out for you.  Some shit’s going down…sorry.  And I need some help.  At least I think I do.  I don’t know what’s what anymore.  I just feel like the world is caving in around me and I don’t know why. 

There’s, you know, work stuff.  My job is mind-numbing at best, but tolerable to an extent.  The money’s crap.  They pay me less than I’m worth, but just enough to keep me crawling back for more. 

There’s relationship, love kind of stuff….or lack thereof.  They say God has a plan for everyone and that he might plan for me to be alone.  Which is fine, believe me, I’m used to it.  I don’t think I’ve gone out on an honest to God date in years.  I guess I gave up after a while. 

[Chuckles to self.  Frustrated] What am I doing here?  Why did I show up here in this church today of all days?  A church I’ve never been to in all my life.  I guess I thought this is the place where people go for answers.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot…not like I had anywhere else to be.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I don’t know what I want out of life.  I don’t know where to go from here.  Should I look upward or inward?  The question is: Am I alone?  Yes or no.  I need to know.  I just need some assurance.

Look.  I’m kind of a balls out person.  If I know I’m not alone, then I will be in church every fuckin’ Sunday….sorry.  Damn it….sorry.  I’ll be there on Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays whenever.  I’ll be in the choir and I’ll work the carnival.  I just need to know that, well, that there is indeed a God.  But, if there’s not, then I’ll be on my way and I’ll know that I need to step up and take care of myself…which I can do.  That’s not the issue.

I know I’m asking like the question here.  So, here it is.  Flat out.  I want a yes or no answer.  Is there a God up there?  Am I alone?  Am I supposed to be devoting my life to someone or something that I’m not even sure exists?  [Waits for answer]  Well?  You’ve been pretty quiet.  I mean I know I haven’t given you a chance to say much, but here’s your chance padre.  Yes or no.  Confirm or deny.  [Waits]  Hello?

[He gets up and walks forward from chair.  Full lights come up as if he has just stepped out.  He sees empty chair.  Looks at it.  Takes it in. Kicks empty chair] 



Most of us have seen countless new reports about the devastating effects hurricanes have had on certain areas of our nation. Flooding, epic winds, total destruction, and even death are all things associated with hurricanes.
As I began to think about the principle of comparing sin to a hurricane, I first had to learn more about hurricanes (because, like you I’m sure, I know enough about sin).
Depending on where they develop, hurricanes can also be called cyclones or typhoons.
In a nutshell, hurricanes begin as weather disturbances and thunderstorms. When these disturbances come into contact with warm ocean waters (at least 80° and a depth of 150 feet), they begin to build up and strengthen. If the conditions remain “favorable” the wind speeds start to pick up, the storm grows, and it begins to take on the familiar spiral shape we see on The Weather Channel’s satellites. Feel free to consult a more authoritative source for specific details. I try to explain things as simply as possible mainly for my own benefit.
As I read these facts, began to see a correlation between a hurricane—one of the most destructive forces in the natural world—and sin—the most destructive force in the spiritual world.
Because I like things explained as simply as possible, I’ve tried to organize my thoughts into the following points:
1.     No matter what you call it, it’s the same thing.
Just like a hurricane can be called a cyclone or a typhoon, sin can also be called many different things.
At its core, sin is a violation of God’s Law.
In Exodus, 20:1-17, the Ten Commandments are given which are the basic building blocks of God’s Law. If you want to sin, just do the opposite of what it says.
In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul gives a brief list:
"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (NIV)
These are by no means exhaustive lists (note how Paul included the phrase “and the like.”) Basically, sin is sin. Lust, gluttony, pride, “and the like” are all sin and we each have our own struggles.
There are varied opinions on whether or not all sin is equal. Lwt me use an example:
In our court system, if I were to steal a loaf of bread, and someone else were to muder 20 peiple, who would get the wose punishment? The murderer. The punishments are different because the crimes are different.

However, Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death…” It doesn't say the wages of really bad sin death and the not-so-bad stuff is just a slap on the wrost.

If the punishment is the same, then the crimes are the same.
Jesus paid the ultimate price for all of it, not just the bad stuff.
“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2 (NIV)

2.     Every hurricane started as a small disturbance.
Hurricanes begin with small a disturbance which then combine with other disturbances and begin to gather heat and energy until they grow into a full-blown storm.

Before our issue became what it is (or was), it began as something smaller that began to build up.

Phrases commonly associated with this are:

“It’s just…” as in “It’s just one R-rated movie.” “It’s just one extra helping.”

"It’s only…” as in “It’s only flirting.” “It’s only text messaging.” “It’s only gossip.”

Any other form of justification like, “We’re going to get married anyway, so it’s ok.”

Righteousness never has to be justified.

James 1:15 says, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Sin has the ability to grow, and again, the consequence is the same.
3.     The environment is what feeds the storm.
Just as the hurricane grows because the conditions around it, so will our issue.

If you have a problem with viewing pornography, maybe the computer needs monitoring software. If you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, you shouldn’t be hanging around with people who fuel that behavior in you.

Since I’ve been on Weight Watchers I know there are foods I shouldn’t have in the house like cookies or ice cream, yet I occasionally have them anyway—and it show when I weigh in.

You may have to cut “the crew” loose. “Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.”—1 Corinthians 15:33 (AMP)

4.     The bigger it gets, the wider the path of destruction.
Hurricanes can typically grow to 300 miles wide or more (about the same width as the state of Nevada). Hurricane Katrina’s diameter was 415 miles and proved to be one of the deadliest and costliest in US history.
As we allow our sin strengthen and grow, the more of what’s around us will be affected. We spiral out of control leaving devastation in our wake. After we’ve destroyed ourselves, our friends and relationships get pulled in. Our work life can suffer. Our family suffers. How selfish do we have to be to let that happen?
5.     No one has ever been surprised by a hurricane.
I doubt anyone has ever woken up, noticed the roof of their house was gone and said, “What the heck happened here? Honey? Is the roof in the shop or something?” A hurricane is fairly trackable and predictable. In fact, forecasters can often determine the exact moment (assuming the storm stays at a constant speed) that it will make landfall. There are all kinds of notices, alerts, and warnings. I highly doubt you or I would ignore Al Roker if he told us there was a deadly storm headed straight for our house, but that’s exactly what we do with sin.

I like to imagine the Holy Spirit as kind of like an Al Roker (blasphemy?). He’s inside saying, “There’s a storm coming. You’d better get out of town.” The more I try to ignore it, the louder it gets. Pretty soon there are those alarms that you hear in movies—kind of like air raid sirens. Before you know it, the storm’s hit and it’s too late. The levees are about to break.

No one’s ever found themselves at their lowest point and wondered how they got there. “No, I have no idea why my wife left me.” “I have absolutely no clue where all my money went.” “How’d I end up in this pig pen?” (Prodigal Son reference—Luke 15:11-32 if you want to check it out)
The thing about hurricanes is this: they always come to an end. Some take longer than others, but eventually they all dissipate. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “Landfall typically shuts off the hurricane's main moisture source, and the surface circulation can be reduced by friction when it passes over land.”

In order for our hurricane to come to an end, the environment has to change. Something has to create friction with it. What creates friction with sin? Pretty much everything we’re not doing when we’re spinning out of control:
§  Prayer
§  Fasting        
§  The Word of God
§  Going to church (on time…sorry, had to toss that in)
§  Surrounding ourselves with Godly people.
Mark 4:35-41 gives probably the most famous depiction of a storm in the Bible.

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”
36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (NKJV)
What can we take away from this passage to relate to our hurricane?

1.     Jesus will silence your storm.
Plain and simple, but…

2.     You have to admit that you’re perishing.
His disciples didn’t go to Jesus and say, “Can’t you see it’s raining? Save us from this storm.” They admitted they were drowning. They acknowledged that the storm was too big for them.

3.     The storm didn’t move Jesus, the fact that His disciples were in trouble did.
Jesus was asleep on a pillow and this huge storm started blowing. The Amplified Bible says the storm was “of hurricane proportions,” yet Jesus was able to sleep through it. However, His disciples came to Him and sought his help and that’s what woke Him up.
Jesus doesn’t care about your problems, He cares about YOU. He will silence the storm if you call on Him and admit that you need Him.
In my translation of this account, verse 40 reads: “But He said to them, “Why you cryin’? You don’t get it yet that I got this?” In the preceding chapter (Mark 3), His disciples have seen Him heal a man’s hand (Mark 3:1-5), heal so many people that everyone with ailments clamored to try to reach Him (Mark 3:10), and drive out unclean spirits (Mark 3:11).
I like to imagine Jesus a little exasperated at this point after all that these men has seen Him do, yet they’re still scared of a little rain. I can say in all honesty, it would only take seeing one of these miracles for me to shut my mouth and recognize that He does in fact “got this.”
Again, back to my translation for verse 41: “The Disciples then were freaked out and asked themselves, ‘Who is this guy? Did He really just stop the storm?’”
After a hurricane strikes, there’s always some story that comes out of someone’s amazing survival. I think this is where our part comes in. Once our storm has been silenced, it’s our job to tell people who this guy is and how he rebuked the winds and finally ended our hurricane. We are that survivor, and by sharing our story, maybe we can save someone from their own storm.

What a difference five years makes.