Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve Thoughts

It was 40 years ago this last October that I became a Christian. I remember that Christmas Eve and how it was different than any of the others I had experienced. It was now a personal thing; I understood in  a completely new way. Jesus  was real and I had a growing relationship with him.

I am so thankful for the change in direction my life took that year. I had been on a fast slide into things that were messing up my short life and had the promise to make things much worse. Heroin was just around the corner.

 Life has still been hard but in my powerlessness I am discovering help. This verse is true: And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What is the Unpardonable Sin?

I have never been a fan of John MacArthur because he is such a crackpot disguised as a theologian. Of course there are some things he has right but his latest book and conference Strange Fire reminds me what a nut he can be. So now that I am done with a little name calling (yes, I feel better) let me get to my point.

MacArthur throws out the baby with the bath water. Sure there are many excesses in the Charismatic stuff but his type of people (Calvinist) have many problems of their own too.
Click on picture for larger view
But here is my point: in looking down his nose at a huge crowd and movement, MacArthur may be putting himself in danger of committing the Unpardonable Sin.

Many people wonder what the Unpardonable Sin is and many answer incorrectly. The usual wrong answer is unbelief. The right answer is attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. So if the Holy Spirit is behind some of the things MacArthur attributes to an unholy or false spirit, well you get my point.

Here is the Scripture; Jesus explains the Unpardonable Sin:

Then a demon- oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, "Can this be the Son of David?" But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Mat 12:22-32

Well that's it. Fire away.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Managing Circus Animals and Addiction

I was thinking of addiction in relation to circus animals. There can be the illusion of them being tamed and under control but they will always be wild and unpredictable. If you let down your guard, destruction is inevitable.

Addiction: Does that make you think of someone else or yourself? Does it make you think of a drug addict? Are you honest enough or broken enough to admit that you are addicted to something or maybe many things? Does that question cause you to bristle?

Think of these examples: The arrest of former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan is one. He was busted for trading Meth for sex.  And what about Pastor Ted Haggard and his involvement with Meth and a gay prostitute. Both guys were successful professionals in important positions. The fall of both is a shock to the public and those close to them.

You may feel sorry for these guys or you may feel they are low-life scumbags. What we need to do is see ourselves in them. Most likely what we see will be different but probably no less dangerous.

I have been around long enough to see that every one of us has a cage somewhere with some animals in it. At times we put on grandiose glasses and imagine we run the greatest show on earth. There we are with our hat and tails, whip and chair in hand. We imagine we are in control.

What is it? Sex, gambling, porn, drugs and alcohol are some we recognize. One of mine is food. I'm also addicted to complaining and tearing other people down. That addiction does incredible damage in my family.

We don't want to think of ourselves as addicts. Maybe we call it by another name like compulsion or bad habits. As Christians we want to think we are free from these things, that in Christ we can master and not be mastered.

We can be free when we remember that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Him we have no life or power. And just because we are Christians doesn't mean all is rosy.

We can be free when we let Jesus run the show. We have to admit we can't tame the animals and learn what surrender really means. The surrender we normally practice is one full of conditions and usually keeps our hands on the whip and chair. We don't really want to admit the seriousness of the mess we are in. What we think is with a little help from God we can get this thing under control. Another illusion is that the thing we keep having a problem with isn't such a big deal. At least it's not like... The truth is that if we keep having a problem with something then it's obvious we are not the master we thought we were.

There are times in addiction where we get caught or are confronted in some way. If we reject those opportunities for freedom we get ensnared a little more. I would bet that both Pat Sullivan and Ted Haggard had many "close calls" before their spectacular falls.

Let me give an example: a guy gets caught looking at porn by his wife. Big commotion ensues, assurances are given, etc. Usually the last thing he wants is for anyone else to know. But that might be the only hope for long-term change. In community we find strength; isolation keeps us in the cage with the animals. The initial exposure gives him the merciful opportunity for real help. The fantasy of managing it on your own just sets you up for further trouble.

Exposure is the best hope for becoming free from your addiction. That can be voluntary or not. When we hide things they usually build to a point where something spectacular happens and at that point the snare might be so tight that the chance of freedom fades.

So here is the point: don’t hide when the little exposure happens. See it as a chance to lay your life bare with some people who can really help. For guys, a safe place to be real is the Samson Society. It’s an environment that is rare in Christian circles and is an amazing tool for a life of freedom.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Tribute To My Dad

This was written for my Dad's funeral.

Al Faustin

Born: May 8, 1913

Gone with Jesus: September 26, 2004

Psalm 116:15 says: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Two weeks ago, I asked Dad if it was exciting to be getting ready to be with Jesus. His response was that he was looking forward to “adoring Him forever.” That’s how Dad lived his life too.

For many years, I saw in Dad what I wanted to be. Several things stood out: his selflessness, self-sacrifice and willingness to give. Dad had found the secret joy of living his life for others.

Dad’s theology had become biography; it wasn’t just words to him. I learned from Dad that you can’t out give God. Sometimes I thought that he had a hard time accepting things or help from others but what I found out was that he was always looking for a way to give. You would give him something or do something for him and he would look for a way to bless you in return. Many times that took the form of money. I had to learn to gracefully accept it so that his joy could be full.

Dad could receive with gracefulness too. Many times I would get something for him and when presenting it tell him it was a present; then he knew he just had to quietly receive it. Awhile back during the summer he was telling me how when he was going to bed he would get the house nice and cool with the swamp cooler. Then he would wake up and it was too cool so he would have to get up and shut it off. Then he was wide-awake. The next day I got him a remote control so he wouldn’t have to get up. He was so amazed with such a device and thankful for it.

Proverbs 11:24-25 says: One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. As the end drew near, I thought it was going to be a hard time for us to provide the care Dad needed in order for him to die at home, as he wanted to. In the end, I for one received far more from him than I ever could have given. It’s kind of hard to explain but it’s as if Biblical truth that I had formerly acknowledged has now become much closer. I truly see that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The cry from my heart is that the truths that I learned from my Dad’s life will forever become a part of me.

Selflessness was a hallmark of Dad’s life. He was always thinking of others and how he could help them. In his last two weeks he needed help to and from the bathroom. At first, he would use his walker and then we ended up having to get him in the wheel chair and take him to the bathroom door. From there it was about six steps to the toilet. We had a portable toilet but he didn’t want to use it. The day before he died, I was helping him back to the wheelchair and the pain in his chest and legs was so intense that he was crying. Once we were back to his chair and the pain subsided all he could say was that he thought he had hurt me. He said, “I almost killed you.” That was Dad; in intense agony and worried about someone else. We then decided that like it or not, we were going to make him use the portable. Later that night my son reported that Dad really thought it was a help. He said that he had resisted because he thought it would be harder for us. So what we thought was stubbornness was really selflessness.

St Francis said: Preach the gospel wherever you go; when necessary use words. Dad’s life was his message. Several weeks ago, when it was clear that we were nearing the end of Dad’s life I prayed that he would go quickly and without suffering. Then I was reminded that his whole life had been full of suffering and adversity. What made me think it was going to change at this point? He constantly reminded us that we must take up our cross daily. I realized that the things he went through helped make him the wonderful man that he was. Then I realized that I was probably praying that prayer more for my sake than his.

When Jesus was beaten and died on the cross, what He suffered was not for Him or because of Him but for us. In the morning of Dad’s last two days, he said that he didn’t know someone could have so much pain and live. If you knew him, you know that for him to say that, the pain had to be incredible. Yet, he didn’t complain or whine. He accepted it and went on with his day. On Sunday when he died, the pain never let up until he drifted into the sleep where he died a couple of hours later. An interesting thing was that the sermon Dad heard on TV the morning of his death was on Job. How fitting.

Dad’s suffering had a purpose too. It let us see that his character was the same no matter what. He didn’t change when the fire was turned up. His pain was for our gain. I realized this week that because Dad needed help the last two years I was able to see him almost every day. What a gift that was. The blessing I received had a price for him though; he was no longer mobile like he had been. He was now the recipient of care rather than the one who was able to care for so many others.

So as I sum it up in my mind I realize that the reason Dad was such a great guy was not because he was born that way but because he was a humble and devoted follower of Jesus. As he followed, he was molded and changed into the man we love and will now miss so much.

Second Corinthians 5:15 says: Christ died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. There is Dad’s message to us.

Psalms 90:12 says: Teach us to number our days so that we may present to you a heart of wisdom. Dad lived 33379 days and especially in the later part of his life received each one as a gift. His wisdom I will treasure always.

It is a privilege to have known him, to be his son and to know that I get to spend eternity with him.

Well done good and faithful servant!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tribute to my Mom

My experience with motherhood was different from many people. I was given up for adoption as a baby. I was adopted at three months old by Al and Ida Faustin. I have always been thankful that abortion was not common in my birth year like it is today. If it had been, I probably would not have survived.

My mother Ida could not have children. She always had various medical problems and as a result lost the ability to give birth herself. Yet, she desperately wanted to be a mother. My dad and she adopted three children. I was in the middle. An interesting thing is that the earliest memory I have is being at the orphanage when we got my sister. I would have been about three years old. I have several snapshots in my mind from that time. One was going through the orphanage looking at different kids; one was sitting in a courtroom and another of my new sister in the front seat between my mom and dad looking back at my brother and me when we took her home. She had a huge smile on her face.

My mother was sick a lot. She had rheumatic fever as a child and many other health problems. From what I heard, there were many surgeries and hospitalizations. As a child, I remember many of those. It seemed that even when she was home, much of the time she wasn’t very well. I’m sure that made it very hard to be the mother she always wanted to be.

My mom died when I was 15. That changed things dramatically around our house. It made the job harder for my dad but I know he did everything he could to provide structure and care for us. I am absolutely thankful for the parents God provided for me. They were devoted to God and to their family.

Here is a line from a poem that many of us have heard: The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Here is the rest of it:

They say that man is mighty,
He governs land and sea,
He wields a mighty scepter
O'er lesser powers than he.
But a mighty power and stronger
Man from his throne has hurled:
For the hand that rocks the cradle
is the hand that rules the world.
-William Wallace
What truth! Be thankful for a good mother. And something so important for today is for us to recognize and support motherhood. It’s value has been diminished both in and out of the church. We need to bring it back.

Even Mother’s Day has been diluted in the church. Something that bugs me is that it is not the big deal it used to be. There may be a mention but then we get on to other things. Or, it is broadened to cover all woman because we don’t want to exclude the infertile, the childless-by-choice, the single, etc. Sorry, it’s Mother’s Day and there is a reason for that.

So I give tribute to my mother and to the mother of my children. The world is a different and better place because of the job they have done.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Help Someone Live

Recently Barry Fey said to a reporter friend: "I really don't have anything to live for." A week later suicide came. Yet there were four sons and grandchildren. What about that?

Darkness comes and our vision is severely decreased. Life closes in and we see little good.

I see why encouragement is so powerful and needed. Most of us who have an honest view of our life feel pretty crappy about it especially in the dark times.

We can help other people have a reason to live and live better by giving them a little encouragement. We can bring some light to the dark place. Our words can help them see that they are better than they think.

But here is what I know for sure. I want to make sure people know they are crappy. I fear my good words may empower them to keep on going in their bad ways so I may withhold the encouragement that would help.

The truth is that most of us are our own worst critic. We know what we are doing wrong and feel helpless to do anything about it because our best efforts fall short. That is where encouragement can make a big difference. Someone from the outside can show us where we have changed and those sweet words will help us move beyond the dark place when we feel stuck and wonder why we should even try – again.

Think about this: If you treat a man as he is, he will stay as he is.  But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become the bigger and better man.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Raise a Brat

I took Matt and Andy to the opening of the new Light Rail line yesterday. There were larger crowds than we encountered several years ago when the other section opened. At most of the stops there was music, businesses represented, and some games for the kids to play and a few giveaways. Oh, did I mention massive crowds?

I was reminded of how to raise a brat at one of the giveaways. You would spin a wheel and depending on where it landed you won various prizes. Of course many of the kids were disappointed that they didn’t get something other than what they won.

As we were getting ready to spin a dad brought his boy up and said that the child wanted to trade his cheesy prize for the coveted ball. The people at the booth obliged and then the dad tried to get the boy to give back the first prize of which bratty boy was unwilling to part with. He soon walked away with both, having learned that the threatened meltdown in public does get you what you want.

It was sad that the parent was unwilling to teach this little tyrant that you don’t always get what you want and that is how life is. Instead this reinforced behavior will lead to increased demands in the future and someday little boy will get slapped in the face by life and find out that he can’t bully everyone.

Many of us are screwed up later in life because we and others were unwilling to confront our lusts when they were budding. In the same way we have to take the small, good steps back to a healthy life.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bible Reading is a Waste of Time

Many Christians believe that; at least it's what we practically live out.

I eat food every day. For a good part of my life I ate too much. I can't think of a time in my life where I had to force myself to eat or had a day go by where I forgot to eat or couldn't find the time to do so.

But with the Word of God, the spiritual food, we see something else. Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Here is the food we really need but when we forget, neglect or can't find time, we show we really believe that Bible reading is a waste of time.

If we treated our daily food like many do the Scripture, we would be very unhealthy. So too, the church is very unhealthy in a spiritual way.

I see a lot of the problems many of us face as a result of being spiritually malnourished. People are being led astray by the world because they have little input from God and what He tells us is true.

Someone can be a theologian and a heretic. They may study doctrine and various systems but neglect eating the food. Many seminary graduates have knowledge but lack wisdom because they have been taught about Scripture but don't eat it daily.

Make time every day to renew your mind and spirit with nutritious and life changing words from the giver of life.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hot Tamales

Have you ever had Hot Tamales? No, not the ones made with spiced meat and wrapped in corn masa but the chewy, cinnamon flavored candy.

When I was in second grade I went to St. Joseph’s Catholic school. It was in a big, old building in a poor, Hispanic part of Denver; 6th and Galapago if you know the area.

For a second grader there were only two reasons to venture up to the second floor. One was the vending machines that had pens, pencils and something called a Composition Notebook. I didn’t even know what that was but I always wanted one. The second reason was a counter at the end of the hall that sold candy.

One day I traveled up to the second floor with the candy counter as my destination. It was a big day; I had some money and had never been to this place before. As I walked down to the end of the hall I saw one of the Catholic nuns and her young female assistant behind the counter. As I got closer I looked at the vast selection, looking for the box I wanted. I asked, “Do you have Hot Tamales?” The nun and the girl looked at each other and laughed.

Their reaction to the misunderstanding of my desire planted a message deep in me. I turned and got out of there as quick as I could. I never went back to the second floor.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's The Same Thing

Three minutes.Think differently about abortion.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

I am not a Calvinist and I don't believe in eternal security. That means I believe I cooperated with God on my salvation and I know I could walk away.

I didn't do anything to earn my salvation. I said yes. I followed. Yes it's very mysterious and miraculous. I don't understand exactly how it happened but I do understand the theology completely; so much so that my family was once thrown out of a church and I was publicly branded as a heretic because I disagreed with Calvinism.

On eternal security, I don't believe salvation comes and goes and I don't live in fear of losing it. But I do believe that if you willingly mess with sin enough, you just might end up walking to a point of no return. Again I don't know the fine points of how it would happen but I know the theology.

The point here is not to bring debate. People disagree and on these two, sometimes violently. I will not debate it here but I want to celebrate.

Thank you Jesus for what you did for me. I know I barely realize what you - God - went through to be born into this earth and what it was like for you to suffer one of the most horrific tortures and deaths possible.

For the joy set before you, you endured the cross. You looked forward to me. You rejoiced that we could and would be reconciled.

I know I have a long way to go but I can't imagine what my life would have been like without you. Thank you that you are changing me and minimizing the trail of damage that follows me.

Despite the lingering effects of sin I am a restored son of the Sovereign Lord. Thank you that you loved me before I came to you and that you love me now, even in times of active rebellion.

Thank you for making Easter more than ham, eggs and bunnies. Thank you for making my life something that at times seems impossible.

I love you,


Here is my conversion story.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So what is my story?

To my kids: I want you to understand the journey I am on and how it came about. I have found huge areas of my life and emotions have been shut away because for whatever reason, I was afraid to admit them, let alone explore them.

A big realization is that if I am curious about the circumstances of my birth and the family I came from, that in no way diminishes my adopted family, how I feel about them, and the gratitude I feel for being adopted into the family I was.

I hope you can understand this so that you can allow me to travel this path. I don't know where it will lead and am on the roller coaster of emotion as I travel it.

I hope as I let myself live this experience and the emotions involved I may become a better husband and father. I suspect that the shut off areas of my emotions prevented me from relating to all of you as I should have.

I love you,


If you haven't seen the movie October Baby, some of this may be hard to follow. Solution: see it!
Here is a link to buy on Amazon: October Baby Movie
You can rent it here: October Baby Movie


So what is my story?

I watched the movie October Baby tonight and I am overwhelmed with emotion as I have been every time I have seen it.

Where did I come from?

I was adopted into a wonderful, imperfect family with a mom and dad who loved me and wanted me.

Why am I afraid to feel?

I have been afraid to admit that I wonder who my birth mom is. Could I even wonder if there was a guy who was my dad?

I think if I have these feelings it somehow diminishes the family I was raised in.

Was I wanted?

This thought is present in almost every day I live.

I remember how sick my adopted mom was. I remember my dad asking my mom if something should be done with us kids, as my mom was not coping well. Can I admit that the overheard conversation took root deep in me and has, like a vine, intertwined itself through my everything?

Could other people want me?

I have a hard time believing that other people care about me. I feel so wrong to feel that way. It seems so wrong to even have an expectation that people should care or want to be my friend.

So I don't know what to do with all of this but I see that it is part of my story. Right or wrong, it is I and how I feel. I will admit that I feel.


So I realize there is a hole.

Not realize but admit.

I don't know if it is big or small, deep or shallow. It may not even be a hole -  just a black spot in the distance.

Throughout my life, I have wondered.

I know my birth name: William Paul Bibelhausen; Born on July 20, 1955 at Porter Sanitarium and Hospital.

I have searched the Internet a little and looked in the phone book. Never found anything that seemed worthwhile.

But do I even want to go there. Are things better left as they are? Could I find more pain? Would I be happy or sad if I found out more?

I have thoughts but I will wait, think, and move slow.


Why the tears?

Why am I moved so deeply by October Baby?

It has opened something so deep. I feel pulled to watch it over and over until I find what it is.


A trail to the past?

My adoption papers are the only ones that survived. I have what my siblings David and Lucille don't - my birth name. I can't remember when I first discovered that. It almost seems like I have always known but I know that is not true.

So I have printed out the papers to request my birth records. One of these days I will look them over and maybe fill them out. It is not a request to find who my birth mother was directly although a name may come from the records. It would be interesting to see what information is contained in them.


I watched October Baby again this afternoon. Here are my thoughts.


A journal is a safe place to "think out loud" - to put feelings and thoughts into words. Sometimes I need a private place and sometimes I want to blog and reveal my inmost place to anyone who would care.


Hanna felt unwanted and as if she had no right to exist.

I have felt unwanted a lot. Another feeling is that many things I become involved with stagnate. It's like there is something inherently wrong with me. As if things would have been better without me.

Who am I?

Hanna wanted to see her birth certificate - "To know who I am." "I want to know who my birth mother is."

 I know who I am - I think. Yet there is mystery. What kind of person was my mother or father? What kind of family did they come from? Were they good or bad people?

Did my mother hate me or did she give me up with pain, regret and hope of something better. Did she wonder about me through the years? Did she try to forget me?


Hanna said, "I want answers; I want to get on with my life; Right now I feel stuck."

I don't know if feel stuck but sometimes I wonder why I feel so insecure and afraid of being abandoned. Does that emotion come from this black hole in my life?

I don't even know me...

Sometimes I think I am a good person. Most of the time I feel like a huge failure who probably should never have been married or had children so less people would have been hurt by me. Am I really a bad person?

I do my job well and get many good comments. Why not in the rest of my life - at least by the people who matter most?


The policeman asks, "What will you say if you find your mother?

I think I would be so scared of that meeting unless I had an indication before of something good to come from it.

Hanna later said, "I'm starting to think that I shouldn't have found out about all this."

The search may reveal things that could not have been imagined or expected - good or bad.

Hanna: "I found my mom."

How loaded that was. Yes she found her and fresh rejection.

20 weeks

Hannah's mother tells her that she was pregnant and lost twins at 20 weeks.

I know that place. Wendy and I had twin boys who died at 20 weeks. If only we had known how we should have dealt with it. There should have been a funeral - a proper good bye. Instead there were and probably still are wounds.

Will things be different?

In the church, Hanna says, "Somehow I thought I would get all these answers and when I got back would feel different."

Is that the risk? Should I avoid the risk - play it safe so I avoid something that is possible?

Hanna: "Why didn't she want me? What is so wrong with me?"

That is the feeling we have. It is us. We are somehow defective. But maybe it isn't. Maybe it is the other person who is. This could be true in many other areas too.


The priest to Hanna: "Live your life - live it to the full!"

Yes - hope of something better.


Hanna to her dad: "Thank you...for wanting me."

Wanting to be wanted. I know it well.


Valentine's Day

I filled out the papers to request my birth records. Also the papers to put my name on the Colorado Volunteer Adoption Registry. I sent them in the mail. I won't know anything for at least a month. I wonder what there will be? Dare I hope for something?

March 6, 2013
My original birth certificate came in the mail today. I now know the names of my birth mother and father. They were unmarried and 23 when I was born. No previous children.

To be continued in My New Story