16 December 2008

Going Beyond Z


"So on beyond Z, it's high time you were shown that you really don't know all there is to be known." [Dr. Seuss]

Great line. Great lesson. This recognition in my own life has truly opened me up so much spiritually. Actually, just opened me up to life -- and in that, opened me up spiritually. I've found it's a natural flow.

The virgin birth is a great example of this. What do the implications of that mean to us today in the sense of whether God is still creating/putting events into action that go beyond Z? Have we as Christians lost a zeal for life because we believe God stopped going beyond Z at the end of Revelation? Do we think we've seen it all? Do we think we know it all? Are we missing spritual blessings today because we've stopped looking beyond Z? Are we letting true life pass us by?

I don't know the answers.

Maybe they're individual.

I'm just asking the questions.

Just continuing the dialogue...

27 November 2008

Kiera Lynn...

Photo by Rick Mouer

My beautiful niece...just one of the many things for which I am thankful. In fact, the blessings in my life surpass the ability of my brain the remember them all. My prayer today is that I would be a better steward of every good thing the Lord has given, including all the intangibles -- my buying power and the choices I make concerning the origin of goods that I purchase, my ability to create change, my ability to positively influence others and the choices I make concerning the use of my time.

Will you join me?

18 November 2008


Help Maria Ruiz become a CNN Hero

Update: Voting has now closed. Tune into CNN at 9 ET/PT Thanksgiving night to see who America chose as CNN Hero of the Year.

04 November 2008

Suffrage

I live in America
In strange ideas
In stranger times
I've no idea
What's right sometimes


-Sufjan Stevens, The Upper Peninsula [mp3]



I've come to believe in my short 33 years on this earth that the fate of our world lies less in the decision we make on a day such as this, and more in the decisions we make on a daily basis about how we choose to live our lives. And I'm not a model of a person making these daily decisions, but at least my eyes have been opened and I'm striving to make some necessary changes. So, "choose today whom you will serve...but as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."

Related: How Shall We Then Vote?

23 October 2008

"It's nothing. It's not even art."




The very first piece of original artwork that I ever purchased was a mixed media piece from Aaron Kraten titled Basic Facts. It's still one of my favorites -- it's just like the perfect mix of everything. Anyway...in this video he discusses, in the most humble way, his art and relays a great story about the first piece he ever sold.

14 October 2008

Much Gratitude

Photo by Trey Ratcliff

When I moved into the Hershey area some 6 years ago to take my first job out of law school, I arrived with no local ties, save a suggestion that I try out the Hershey Free church. The church had a lot going for it at the time, but it was the sincere, Christ-centered sermons of its Senior Pastor, Dave Martin, that kept me there. To this day it is my home church.

Over the years I have been blessed to interact with Pastor Dave in a number of different situations, enough so that I was able to see his heart for the Lord in action and make an informed decision to trust his leading of the church. Even when I was called to serve in a Sunday evening service of the church's under the teaching of a different pastor, I was occassionally known to "sneak" into one of the morning services to hear the words given by the Lord to Pastor Dave that particular week.

This past Sunday, Pastor Dave stood before his sheep and delivered God's word to us for the last time as our Senior Pastor, after ministring for nearly 37 years in that role. Following the Lord's leading, he is moving on to explore various non-pastoral teaching and related work. Below are the final four sermons from a man after God's own heart; each of which presents the good news of our Saviour and lends further insight into the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. "He who has ears, let him hear."

September 21, 2008 . Live In The Truth
September 28, 2008 . In Christ, With The Spirit
October 5, 2008 . Love Says It All
October 12, 2008 . In Everything, Gratitude


You can also download the sermons here. And by all means, if you are unable to download the sermons or access MP3 files, drop me an email or a comment with your name and address and I'll mail them out to you on CD at no cost. And I truly mean that.

08 October 2008

For a friend

I was blessed by a friend yesterday as that person simply shared with me about their current life situation -- the hardships, struggles, glimpses of hope and a desire to honor God in the process. This person has no idea that I was so blessed. And how could they, for it was really the work of the Spirit in my own heart responding to their sharing. Nor does this person realize that they are actually "in chains for Christ" (as Paul described it in his letter to the followers of Jesus in Philippi).

My prayer today is that this child of God would hear the Father's call.
That they would know the Spirit's voice.

03 October 2008

01 October 2008

Deck of Jack

I had to post this...I just had to! A day in the life of a band so indie that no one even cares to blog about them." -Jim Shearer, Lead Singer/Guitarist of Deck of Jack

23 September 2008

18 September 2008

Aftermath

Floodwaters from Hurricane Ike in Orange, TX (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Pool)


Words just escape me at the moment.

My heart is pulled in so many directions.

I sit here in my office on a beautiful Fall day reading an email about a sale at an online store I frequent and thinking about renovations to my own house, while other folks are just beginning the long process of rebuilding their lives some 1,400 miles away in hurricane-stricken parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast.

I've never really gotten involved in the politics that are a church denomination, but I must say that I see the work of God being done in the ministry of the EFCA's Crisis Response. The members of this ministry are sharing on-the-ground updates on their blog.

We must read these stories of basic survival in the aftermath of a storm like this.

We must come alongside and share the burden of these people.

We must be moved to action.

22 August 2008

Inspiration...

Currently Reading:
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit . By Jack Deere
I shall in no way pretend that having read three-quarters of this book I have drawn solid conclusions about any present day healing ministries, but Deere has provided great scriptural insight into the healings and miracles performed in the Bible -- both old and new testaments. And Deere's status as a former cessationist lends a unique perspective to the book as he recounts his personal journey into the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I've said it before, but this is yet another brick in the path that is my own faith journey. If you're looking for more info related to the largely ignored and misunderstood role/power of the Holy Spirit, I would offer that this is a good place to begin your own search. BTW: If you ever undertake such a search, let me know what you're finding along the way -- this is an open forum for discussion.





Currently Listening To:
Beck . Odelay
One of my favorite albums of all-time that I just pulled off the shelf for my end-of-summer listening.





Current Life Quote:
"If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God."

-Apostle Paul

09 July 2008

In The Garden

My wife has the latest update on the garden and the pics to prove it over at her blog!

07 July 2008

Maker Moment

Photo by Rick Mouer


I've been sitting on this photo (captured by my dad) for a while and didn't know when or how I would use it until Tim came up with this idea about seeing God in the ordinary. I'm not sure if this qualifies as ordinary, but it's certainly a maker moment.

06 June 2008

Inspiration...


Currently Reading:
The Shack . By William P. Young
Understanding religion, faith, truth and a relationship with our Creator is a lifelong journey. This book is another brick in the road that leads to our freedom. I encourage you to read it, sift it and grow.






Currently Listening To:
The Ting Tings . We Started Nothing
There's nothing deep or meaningful about this album, it's just a whole lotta fun! Essential indie-pop listening for the summer (and thereafter)!





Current Life Quote:
"Faith never knows where it is being led. But it knows and loves the One who is leading."

-Oswald Chambers

30 May 2008

Be The One

Finger + Light . Kiaya Mouer

Tim over at Fantastic Distraction recently challenged his readers to write about the power of music. He recalled the first time he truly listened to U2's With Or Without You and the power of that song when he hears it today to take him back some 21 years as if it were just yesterday.

One of my new favorite bands is the British indie-pop outfit The Ting Tings. I actually just heard their song Be The One earlier this morning. The power of this 2 minute 58 second gem lies in it's ability to take you somewhere else -- someplace that you're not necessarily "allowed" to go. Like for me it takes me out of my desk chair for a walk across the Walnut Street Bridge on this absolutely beautiful and amazing Spring day. Hope it takes you for a ride, too!

The Ting Tings . Be The One (follow link to MP3)

19 May 2008

In The Garden

I had a busy day on Saturday. After digging up the grass from a large section of our backyard and erecting a fence....

Just kidding! In all seriousness, we were blessed to "inherit" a nice-sized garden when we purchased our first home earlier this year. It came complete with a pre-planted bed of asparagus, a fence (stainless steel no less), plant "cages" and 3 compost/mulching bins. Oddly enough, the garden didn't really figure into our decision to buy. I mean, it was the dead of winter and I saw it as an oversized eyesore that I would probably cut in half when I had the chance. But then my wife got all excited about planting veggies and some wildflowers. Somehow, in the mysterious inter-workings of a marriage (albeit with only 1.5 months under our belts), the excitement spread to me! Now don't get me wrong, it is (and will be) Angie's garden, but she lets me work in it!

The next thing I know, we're buying seeds, a pot of herbs at the HCS Auction, tomato and pepper plants, a few gardening tools to supplement the used ones we brought from the previous owners of our house, talking to friends, family and scoping the Internet for ideas and techniques. Even memories of my childhood sprung to life as I recalled the nearly 1/2 acre garden my dad and grandfather used to manage every year -- not so much the sowing and harvesting part, but rather the rotten tomato wars with my brother, cousin and neighborhood kids part!

But I'm losing focus here...back to Saturday. Angie's brother had come earlier in the week and hand-tilled the two major beds we would be planting. This was a huge help! The forecast for Saturday was calling for rain, but the good Lord had other ideas and we were able to get out there just before Noon. Our first task was to dig up the weeds that had welcomed the spring sun and rain. We got em at the root to dissuade their future growth. After refueling at lunch, we came back in full force and tilled some good looking compost into the soil of our beds (see pic below).


Then we placed the black plastic back over the beds and sowed the plants (tomato and pepper) and seeds (cucumbers, zucchini, romaine and iceberg). We also sowed a patch of wildflowers to add a bit of color to the garden. And that pretty much ended our day, the visual proof of which appears below.


Not only did I discover muscles that had previously been unknown to me, I have this great sense of appreciation for the legacy left behind by the previous owners -- the amount of time, work and money they invested to get the garden to its current state just blows my mind. I also learned, again, about a phenomenon that a friend describes as "she's always right" -- so thanks Ang for getting excited about the garden. And then there's the whole "eating what you grow" thing -- I can't wait to eat a slice of that first tomato! I'm sure there will be many "lessons" to follow.

And like our harvest, I hope to share them with you.

25 April 2008

This Sidewalk

As I exited my office building yesterday after work, I found myself walking beside a guy named Gary. After about a step and a half, he looked at me and, I guess after sensing that I was willing to listen, told me that he was a little scared because he was having throat surgery on Monday. We stopped at the next corner and he briefly explained his condition and further fear about the possibility of cancer.

He then asked if I was a Christian, to which I replied that I was.

He was also a Christian.

“When I was a child, I did childish things,” he told me. “But now that I’m an adult, I do adult things,” he added, loosely quoting scripture.

He asked what denomination I belonged to. I expressed that I don’t belong to any denomination, but consider myself a Bible-believing follower of Christ.

He was the same.

He shared that he preaches the gospel on the streets of Harrisburg, and then showed me the two scratches on the lens of his bent up, wire-framed glasses – his “battle scars” from an encounter with a non-believer who pushed him down and spit on him. After which, he thanked the man and relayed that “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” Only to have the man do a complete 180, offer him money (Gary rejected because he didn’t want to “sell” the Lord’s blessing to him) and then sit and pray with him for some time.

I didn’t say a whole lot during any of this – it was strictly Gary’s show. So after he was done, and it seemed we were about to part ways, I asked if I could pray for him. He said I could. So I put my hand on his shoulder (I was thinking about putting it on his throat, but that just didn’t feel right) and prayed.

When I had finished, he thanked me and we started to walk down the street together (he was heading in the same direction as me). Before we even took our second step, he asked if I could give him some money for milk and some other food item that I can’t remember.

AND EVERYTHING CAME TO A SCREECHING HALT.

The request totally threw me off. Actually, that’s an understatement. I was completely stunned. I had just taken part in an encounter I believed to be God-ordained. Gary had blessed me with his story and I was able to bless him with prayer.

But with this request, the entire encounter replayed in my mind at light speed and I questioned whether anything he shared with me was true. I wondered if he “belonged” to whatever denomination the person who he was talking to belonged to. I wondered whether he was really having surgery on Monday. Or even if he had been pushed and spat upon.

Because my brain was processing the seemingly God-ordained encounter, it simply didn’t have time to come up with a logical reply. So I quickly blurted out a lie, “Oh…I don’t have any cash on me. Sorry.” In retrospect, I’m not sure that was best thing to do, but it’s what happened in the moment. I guess I should have probably just told him that his request kinda shocked me -- straight up told him the truth and then talked through that with him. Maybe next time I will.

Gary, having no idea any of this was running through my head, quickly retorted: “If you have a card, there’s a MAC machine at the bank on the corner.”

“Oh…I don’t do that kinda stuff,” I replied.

He understood and thanked me again for praying for him and I relayed that I wanted to know how his surgery went and told him I walk down this sidewalk everyday at 4:30.

And that was it.


As I walked away I began to think about the moment after his request for money. It occurred to me that that was all about me – not wanting to be taken advantage of and not wanting to look na├»ve in front of Gary or others passing by on the streets.

My first thought when Gary loosely quoted Paul in the beginning of our encounter was that I’m an adult but I still do childish things from time to time. That’s where the whole grace thing comes in. Maybe not giving Gary the $5 bill that was in my wallet was my childish act yesterday. I’m not exactly sure what Jesus would have done upon being asked for money by Gary, but I do believe that scripture teaches that he wouldn’t have been thinking about himself or looking foolish to others. That’s probably the most important thing for me to take away from this encounter.

I mean, just a few years ago I most likely wouldn’t have given Gary my ear, or ever have been brave enough to actually pray with him on a public sidewalk in a busy metro area. And that’s not anything on me -- that’s Christ working in this hard heart of mine. That’s His glory shining through me.

Father God, I pray that your peace would cover Gary in this moment and on Monday, whatever that day may hold for him. Provide for his physical, mental and spiritual needs as only You can. And I pray that you would continue to mix the colors of my heart so that they would more closely resemble those that shine from Your own heart. Amen.

24 April 2008

Photo by Trey Ratcliff [Stuck in Customs, Flickr]

I'm usually not a big fan of excessive ornamentation or hanging chandeliers when it comes to design, but this shot of a cathedral in Kiev just literally blows me away! I urge you to click the picture to enlarge -- and then just admire this sacred space.

17 April 2008

From the desk of Troy B. Mouer, Esq.

I noticed this earlier this afternoon upon entering my office. It was a much needed reminder to me that the Lord still speaks in small (and seemingly insiginificant) ways.

Sorry about the quality of the pic, it's from my camera phone.

08 April 2008

Still getting used to...

Wearing this chunk of metal on my hand

Saying and writing "we" instead of "I"

Having another Mrs. Mouer around who isn't my mum or grandmother

And saying goodbye to her in the morning

29 March 2008

Two Become One

Angel . Peter Saunders

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

[Select Verses from Proverbs 31]



Today I pledge my life to you.
I love you Angela Sara Hertlein.

20 March 2008

14 March 2008

The Paradox of Freedom

Photo by John Bonner

"So here is the paradox of freedom—the more freedom you’re given, the more crippled you become. I know it sounds strange, but there is nothing as liberating as limitations.So, the first step to writing, actually to making any decision, is to limit yourself. That will free up your creativity and your ability to make decisions."
-Steven James

29 February 2008

Overwhelmed

Angie and I bought this house today!
We are so blessed.

And we will be getting married in exactly one month!
I am so blessed.


Father God, thank you for your goodness in my life. For I know that every good thing comes from You. I often ponder why I am so blessed, but such is not my place. Please give me the desire and courage to effect change in this world for your glory alone. That I may see the beauty of others as You do. That I may be a fountain of your living water. In your gracious name I pray, amen.

16 February 2008

one.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. [Ephesians 4:4-6]

05 February 2008

Visualized

Astonishingly beautiful and complex visualization of Biblical cross-references by Chris Harrison. And you must view the full-size version to do this piece of work justice -- simply click on the picture above.

And be sure to check out his other work, which uses all of the people and places found in the Bible to create stunning pieces of graphic art.


So...how does this move you?

21 January 2008

What Joy?

Photo by Angie Hertlein

Jesus You're more than a friend
Jesus You're more than my heart could ever express
Your love and Your grace never fail me
Your merciful touch always heals me
You bring joy to my soul

The band introduced a new song last night -- Jeremy's Riddle's More Than A Friend [Follow link to MP3]

I needed to hear this song last night.

Especially the line about joy.

For its been absent from my heart for quite some time.

Spiritual joy, that is.

And then last night, right before we sang this song, as I was contemplating what the bread and the wine mean to me at this point in my life, I was thinking about the lack of spiritual joy in my heart. A feeling that I couldn't possibly describe to you; but yet a feeling whose loss is more real than life itself.

And I just asked Jesus: "Where is this joy that I once knew?"

And then said: "Please heal the parts of my heart that currently prevent me knowing it, or opening myself to this joy."

And just about then, Ben (our worship leader) asked us to join the band and this line about joy soon followed.

The tears began to cloud my vision as I saw the hand of Jesus reaching down to me.

And I remembered that His voice is usually not audible, at least for me. But that it speaks just as clearly regardless. For that I am thankful.

Today I begin the journey of recapturing that joy.

In fact, I'm gonna work on a painting I started as a gift to Ben and his wife almost a year ago, right after I ask the Lord what he would have me paint for them.



So know that whatever your soul craves today is within your reach.

You just need to stretch your hand out to Him.

And begin the healing process.

15 January 2008




Church Dio Padre Misericordioso (Jubilee Church) . Rome