The Scarlet Letter of COVID-19.

Health Update

Today, I’m feeling much better. Just a little coughing. My energy is up. I’m feeling generally normal, except for a few minor symptoms that are still hanging on. I’m thankful for the Great Physician for His healing work in my body. I’m praying for others who are still sick. I personally know about 20 of them with COVID in Northeast Indiana right now.

Today, I received a call from the State Health Department informing me that I was exposed to someone who has since tested positive for COVID-19. They told me my date of exposure and I quickly realized the truth: I wasn’t exposed to them, they were exposed to me.

I have cold hard evidence that my COVID case has passed onto other people. So I’m processing out the guilt in my life again. I wrote about how I do that here.

The Scarlet Letter

The phrase “Scarlet Letter” comes from a classic Nathaniel Hawthorn book where an unmarried young woman gives birth to a baby in a very conservative Puritan colony. She is made to wear a dress with a scarlet “A” (representing her Adultery) anytime she is in public in order to shame her.

I feel like having COVID-19 is a little bit of a Scarlet Letter.

I remember the first time I stepped out into my backyard’s patio to get a little sunshine after “coming out” as a COVID-19 patient. I live in town, and my backyard has a direct line-of-sight to 6 different backyards. I looked around, and saw nobody. Reality was I had only been inside for about 12 hours, but it felt like 12 days.

I Heard Some Lies

As I looked around at empty backyards around me I started hearing some lies.

“They’re all scared of you.”

“Your neighbors are so scared of your disease, they are all staying indoors just because you walked out your back patio. You probably should just go back inside and hide. And the next time you want to go outside, you had better yell out and announce yourself, ‘Unclean! Unclean!'”

Had I allowed that self-talk to continue, I’d probably feel like I needed to move away!

That was a lie. Total lies. I have some amazing neighbors and most all of them have had a conversation with me since then – at least from afar – showing their compassion. I love my neighbors and I believe they love me too.

But at that moment, it didn’t feel like. It felt like rejection, simply because they weren’t outside at that exact moment. It was all in my head, and I listened to a lie.

This is a Common Issue

I am not unique nor am I crazy. I have heard from two other COVID patients who echoed this feeling of going outside with a Scarlet Letter. I believe this is a common problem with COVID patients, so I wanted to write about it. One individual does not want anyone to know they have COVID-19 because they feel they’ll be feared the rest of their life; permanently labeled as “unclean.” That’s crossed my mind as well — I am not going to leave my house until I am confident I cannot spread COVID-19, but will others be concerned to come too close to me?

I can’t do anything about what other people think or feel, but I can do something about the lies of rejection that come to my mind.

Anytime you’re listening to a lie, you need to reject the lie and replace it with Truth.

Reject the Lie

I am not rejected.

I am not unclean.

I am not unwanted.

I am not worthless.

Replace it With Truth

I am accepted (Romans 10:9-13).

I am clean (1 John 1:9).

I am desired, no matter how bad I’ve been. (John 17:24, Hosea 11:1,8).

I have a great deal of value. (Psalm 139:13-16, Romans 5:8, Matthew 10:31).

Need Help Rejecting the Lie?

Some people really struggle rejecting (or even recognizing) the lies they agree with. This will tangle you up and cause significant turmoil in your life. Jesus is the deliverer, and He can help you. My church has a great program to help with that called our “Deliverance Process.” It’s all free.

If you want to be freed from the lies you keep hearing in your self-talk, you can be!

Here is a website that explains the process and a few “You might want to consider this if…” statements. You can look at it there. And then click through to this website where you can begin your own spiritual steps to work through to your spiritual freedom.

It works!

If you have any questions about that process, I’d love to help you.

New Feature

Okay this is just a super quick email to say, “Woo hoo!”

This blog has a subscribe via email feature now. If you hate blog readers like I do… this is definitely for you. Don’t freak out – it isn’t a mailing list – its actually the same company that you’d get most other rss feeds from – but instead of feeding a reading program, it feeds your email address.

Very useful. 🙂 So come on, ya’ll… subscribe away!

It’s MEEEE, Mario!

Sometimes, I need to goof off.

This is one of the many things that happens when I goof off.

Written by some Japanese dude. Played, arranged, recorded, and (poorly) mastered by yours truly. Enjoy, and I hope it makes you smile.

(The bass really kicks, and on my laptop it sounds like garbage – so if you’re on a lappy, do yourself a favor and grab headphones).

Position vs. Disposition

A lot of relational and offenses arise because people forget the difference between position and disposition.

“Position” = Your stance on a certain issue.
“Disposition” = The way you communicate yourself.

Okay so in case you’re not following me yet, here’s an example. Imagine that I’m your boss, and I need to make a change in your performance.

Scenario A: “Hey I love the quality of your widgets, but I really need you to step it up a notch in this area. Keep up the good quality!”

Scenario B: “What is your problem, Nerd?! You’re slowing down the whole line because you’re such an idiot. Hurry up and focus more – this part needs to be better!!” (Accompanied by negative nonverbal communication as well).

In both scenarios, the position was the same; you needed to perform better in a particular area. But the dispositions were drastically different.

Now here’s the catch – nobody ever sees past our dispositions. That’s so important that I’ll say it again: NOBODY EVER SEES PAST OUR DISPOSITION.

I wager to say that most misunderstandings are (for lack of a better word) *misunderstood*, and are actually a result of a bad disposition. This is a major portion of interpersonal conflicts, guys. This is actually kind of a big deal, at least as big of a deal as interpersonal communication is.

Your disposition needs to remain a positive one as much as possible, but its essential that it remains positive if you ever need to confront another on a sinful issue or concern. Christian screw this up all the time. Bad disposition is what turns a Christ following disciple into a bigot.

Bigots would say:
“Oh my gosh you did what?! You do know what you did was wrong, right? You’re such a sinner. I can’t believe I’m even talking to you. You ought to repent and READ YOUR BIBLE right now. Maybe you’ll stand a chance to not wind up in hell!”

Such a bad disposition! Nobody ever sees past that! Because of so many confrontations like that, it has caused the spirituality of so many Christians to dry up. We fear confessing our sins to one another because of it. Perhaps worse, we fear confronting another person on their sin because we fear sounding like it.

But we need to remember its not our position that’s the problem, its our disposition.

With a good disposition, we can lovingly and caringly challenge another Christian to live holy: “Hey, recently I seem to have noticed a lot of bitterness in you. You doing okay? Is there anything I can do to help?”

Christianity aside, far too many leaders in the workforce don’t ever make adjustments to their staff because they’re scared of being the meanie. I think this is a major reason leadership suffers so much in our nation – nobody wants to be the mean guy; everyone is scared of their disposition. But folks, its not the position (good employees WANT feedback), its the DISposition.

Wouldn’t our relationships be so much better if everyone read this blog?

Let’s get real, though – they won’t.

But you did.

Remember how I said that “NOBODY SEES PAST YOUR DISPOSITION”? Well, that’s not entirely true. You can. If you think about it. Sometimes people can be 100% wrong in their disposition but can be 100% right in their position. That position is what we need to listen for. It’s hard sometimes, but we need to get past HOW someone says something and actually hear what they’re saying. When they say something about you, it can be incredibly hurtful. When “corrections” are thrown at you in an insulting way, they may actually be only 1% right and 99% wrong in their position.

But that 1% of truth may make 100% of the difference in your life, if you’re smart enough to listen for it.

Pancakes or Prayer

Okay so IHOPancakes is suing IHOPrayer-Kansas City for Trademark infringement of using the same acronym. I have a lot of thoughts on this . . .

1) Whopper the Burger and Whopper the candy. It’s the same type of product and there’s no lawsuit there. But Pancakes vs. Prayer is too great of competition?

2) The lawsuit states that many of the Prayer centers are beginning to serve food (i.e. competition with the restaurant). I’ve been there. They have a little cafe at the IHOP-KC. You can get coffee there, bagels there, and they have a few sandwich options. They also have a gigantic selection of juices (probably for those who are fasting – which in their setting is quite numerous and frequent). Few people in the cafe are actually eating though – its more of a community building location. Very very very very little competition with anything that actually resembles a restaurant.

3) There are hundreds of IHOPrayers all over the world. They’re not associated legally by any means. They just like each other. If I wanted to start a Waterloo International House of Prayer, I could. And IHOP-KC would give me their logo and say, “Here you go. Good luck. Let us know how we can help.” There’d be no association. Pancakes needs to sue more people than they’d imagine.

4) Jesus said that his house is to be called a “House of Prayer.” The Leaders of this ministry wanted to reach the nations (which they are doing). Therefore, “International House of Prayer” seems to be a logical (and scripturally based name). Should they keep it or give it up? I’m not sure – but one things for sure… the ministry did not maliciously name their ministry hoping to make the restaurant look bad (yet the lawsuit claims they did). Heck, there’s a IHOPancakes down the street from the prayer room, and i’m told the manager used to give the prayers discounts if they said they were with the IHOPrayer center.

5) Most of all, I’m disgusted by the incredibly one-sided News Reports. IHOP was called a cult in some articles. Mike Bickle was called a money hungry leader. Now I’m not saying Bickle is perfect – but money hungry he is not. I’ve been to their conferences. They have to cost about $500k to put together (I’m speaking of the OneThing conference). They charge nothing – donations cover it all. Year round they supply a FREE webstream of their prayer room. They’ve got to be losing SO MUCH MONEY doing that for free – but God keeps providing. They used to charge $10 for the webstream, but they opened it up to be free. Does that sound like someone that’s money hungry.

IHOP-KC isn’t perfect – not at all.
But their contribution to the body of Christ is to great to ignore.

Is Mark Souder a Bad Christian Example?
An Evangelical Christian Response to Mark Souder’s Affair and Resignation.

This morning, Mark Souder resigned his congressional office due to an affair with a part-time staff member. You can read the full report here.

Mark Souder has been known for his evangelical Christian values. His faith has undoubtedly played an important role in his campaigns. So what now? Mark Souder totally “blew it” – what’s that say about his faith?

I tend to feel that at this point, we get to see what Mark Souder’s faith is really made of. Christianity isn’t about a perfect, cookie-cutter, “Beaver Cleaver” lifestyle. Christianity is more about living towards perfect — living holy — and finding forgiveness and restoration through Jesus when we fail.

Is Mark Souder a bad Christian example? Probably not! Don’t get me wrong — what he did (his affair) certainly was a horrible Christian example. But how he’s handling it — THAT is Christianity at its finest. He easily could have kept his job — no problem (other politicians do it all the time). But rather, in his words, “I am resigning rather than put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.” That’s a great example.

Christianity isn’t about being all nice and neat – we all know that life is messy. Christianity is about working through the messes. And so here is Mark Souder, who totally screwed up massively with his personal life, taking his messy life to Jesus who is “a gracious and forgiving God to those who sincerely seek his forgiveness.”

Other political figures stretched the truth to the highest degree to try to maintain their dignity for the longest time possible, but Mark Souder has set a great Christian example by following the teaching found in James 5:16, “…confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (NIV).

Mr. Souder, I also wish you could have been a better example. But I thank you for the example of Christianity’s power that you’re setting now.

The Pen is Mighter.

Okay obviously I’ve been lacking in the blog department recently. I’m actually starting another blog with a friend in Pennsylvania specifically in the area of worship. I’ll link there when its ready to go public. But that got me thinking about blogging again.

Originally I had stopped blogging for an extended period intentionally to give myself a little “Sabbath” from it. But then I just lost all interest in it. I stopped liking it.

In that process, I discovered something interesting: the pen is mightier than the computer.

It’s true — at least for me.

Typing reduces the mind to rational thoughts, buttons, and a series of one’s and zero’s.

But the pen…. when the smell of ink rolling out of a Soft Grip Bic pen reaches my nose, it’s similar to the reaction a man has from sawdust from cutting wood or smoke from firing a gun…. it’s like, “Yea. I did that.” When I write with a pen, its like creativity sparks from my imagination. The pen gives a great sense of creation to the author. Or at least to me. It’s like I can look at what I wrote and can think, “Yea, I’m did that.” There’s more power in the simple things.

Life is richer because of the simple life. Maybe that’s something we can apply to other areas.

Does Prayer Matter?

I’m stealing this from Corey Russel’s book, “Pursuit of the Holy”:

I believe one of the most common reasons many people do not embrace personal or corporate prayer is because it doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical. It seems to us that we are much more productive, that our time is much better spent and that those around us are much better served when we are busy — when we’re not praying, in other words. That’s totally wrong. We actually do more to affect the earth when we pray than when we do anything else. … If we really knew how powerful prayer is, we would prioritize our lives and operate our ministries and businesses very differently.

One of my friends tells a story about an old Chinese evangelist who spent decades in China winning thousands of souls for the Lord. He was crippled because of his age, unable to walk. Someone asked him “How do you feel now that you are not able to go and evangelize China and win souls for Christ?” The man smiled and said, “You don’t understand. When i pray on my bed in this little room, all of China shakes.”


Tonight I’m challenging the Prayer Furnace at New Hope to join in a corporate 40 Day Fast in preparation for the DeKalb County “24/1 Prayer Furnace.” The TYPE of fast is totally up to each individual, but I do not recommend ANYTHING less than a juice fast for that long. The “Daniel Fast” is also common (fruits, vegetables, and water). I know there are also some of us who will be fasting something smaller, such as “Carbonated Beverages” or “Video Games.” In some ways that becomes a little more like Lent, but whatever its still cool. We’re fasting to humble ourselves before God and ask God to move in DeKalb County.  I welcome anyone to join us in this corporate fasting.

Here is a great website about fasting.