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Personal Blog of Preston Howell

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Well, I did it. It’s done and over! I presented at this conference today. It has been a fun experience doing something I’ve never done before. I’m really thankful for the guys who invited me along. I’ve learned quite a bit and have some new ideas to take back to the office on Friday.

It’s gotten me thinking about experiences. God has given me these experiences to help me and my family to grow. Yes, it is possible that I will fail, but what if I succeed? If I don’t grab ahold of these opportunities, how can I complain about being stuck? Opportunities are what God offers us to help us shine and become better. I’m excited to see the man I will be at the end of this year.  I don’t mean to brag, but that man is going to be AWESOME!

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
–Jeremiah 29:11, NASB

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Getting a Home While Travelling

I am not what you would call a “world traveler”. The most traveling I do is maybe once a year my family drives to Louisville KY to visit some family. But today, I probably was the closest to a traveling business man I will ever become. Last night, I was putting together final paperwork in so my wife and I could purchase a house. So naturally, I had calls and emails all day today from our realtor and lender, trying to straighten this all out. I even got to use one of the coolest features of my phone for the first time, the personal hotspot!

This whole situation has got me pretty freaked out. This is the first time I’ve been away from my family in years and this is the first house we are trying to purchase. I know that God is watching out for us. I have been praying that His will be done in regards to this house. I have been praying that everything will be alright at home and that I will make it back safely. So far, everything is working out great. I don’t know what tomorrow has for me, but I know it will be good!

PS I thought I would try to blog during the couple days I’m gone. Tomorrow will probably be about the first day of my conference!

“The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.”
–Proverbs 16:9, NASB

Dang!

Wow! It has been a long time since I have posted anything at all here! Why hasn’t anyone called me out yet???????

News update: 2017 has officially been labeled the year of change at the Howell House! First of all, our family is growing this year. My wife and I are expecting #3 and couldn’t be more excited. However, that means that we have to move out of our little two bedroom apartment. So the house hunt has begun! We found a house over this past weekend and have put in an offer, so we’ll see.

I’ve also made the decision to go back to school. So in the fall (right at baby-time) I will be returning to life as a student.

So life is crazy, but I still have God and my wife with me. That means I can get through anything!

“Therfore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.”
–Psalm 46: 2-3, NASB

Being Brave

Have you ever thought about what it means to be brave? One definition of the word is “to face or deal with something dangerous or unpleasant.” It takes a lot from someone to be brave. There is no way you wake up in the morning and think to yourself, “I think I’m gonna be brave today.” Instead, when we are faced with opportunities to be brave, most of us decided to lower our heads and simply walk on by. I’ve written about the Godly perspective on bravery before, but today I’ve been thinking about it differently.

When we choose not to be brave, our life and our world become stale. We no longer take risks. We no longer seek to better ourselves. We no longer innovate and impact the world around us. Bravery should be our driving force. It’s the thing that makes us face challenges and overcome them. So when everything else seems to fail, it’s time to trust in God and be brave.

I can no longer stand by as opportunities pass me by. God has called me to be brave, to stand up and make a difference in the world. Who will join me?

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7, NASB

When God Opens a Door, He Shouts!

Ever feel like something is missing? Like this can’t be all that you’re supposed to be doing? I had been thinking these questions a lot late, but not in the same sense most people think about these questions. I’ve been frustrated with Church, I’ve been frustrated with God, and I’ve been frustrated with doing ministry the way I had been. This has been true for a LONG time (probably since I stopped being a worship leader in July of 2014). I had fallen out of so many practices that I know can rejuvenate you, but I kept making excuses. With the beginning of the year, I decided to go a different route.

Admitted my prayer life had become lackluster to say the least. So I started actually setting time aside to be with God, but the true turn around did not come until later. At the beginning of the year, thanks to an invite from my good friend Nick, I started attending a weekly Bible study. I came across a verse that has been stuck in my head and I can’t get away from it. I had left my true ministry behind and gave up trying. God has been calling me back into service, giving me new thoughts, and new directions. I can no longer sit by and let things happen. I was getting frustrated, because I wasn’t participating in this life I have been given. Yes, I was responsible, but I was essentially a wake up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, and start all over kind of guy. NO MORE!

I can’t wait to share with you everything that is coming this way. When God opens a door, He shouts!

“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” –Colossians 4:17, NASB

Good Golly Miss Molly!

Whoa! I haven’t blogged in a long time! Not that this is unexpected by any means. This blog was always going to be whenever I felt like it. So today, you get me 🙂

This year has already started off great! Here are just a couple highlights:

https://www.strava.com/activities/468008339/embed/15bcd367e94ef9335190f86fd1d752510c15ceb2
2016 is going to be a great year and I hope everyone is doing just as well (hopefully better). Even though it’s cold and snowy here, we’re having a great year (all 13 days of it)!! I’ll be back again soon, hopefully with a more thought out post. I just realized that I hadn’t been on in a while and thought I should update!

“Surely there is a future,
And your hope will not be cut off”
–Proverbs 23:18, NASB

Great New Music

Just because I can, and I really love live music albums anyway, I’m posting this here. My favorite artist just added his new live album to Spotify. Check it out if you’d like!

(You probably need to have a Spotify account by the way)

“I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,”
–Psalm 144:9, NASB

This Couldn’t Have Been a Tweet

So this isn’t going to be like my normal posts. I have to write more than I normally do. The other day I received a tweet that warrants a response, but I can’t honestly fit my answer into 140 characters.

The tweet that started this is here:

At first the question was whether I was confident that God exists along with this photo, that I assume was to get me to start questioning my Bible.

As the good Biblical scholar that I am, I had to find an answer to this question. After doing a little bit of research, both the term Sinai and Horeb are names for the same place. Some translations of the Bible even change Horeb to Mount Sinai (not saying this is great practice, but it’s true). One resource I found suggested that since Horeb is not used with “Mount”, and the term “horeb” means “waste or wilderness area”, it is probably better to think of Horeb as a region while Sinai is a specific location.

So that’s why I do not believe there are contradictions in the Bible. If you actually study it, any apparent contradictions fade away.

Back to the question. “What led you to be so confident [that God exists]?” I have admittedly had to take a moment to think about this. It’s like  asking me “How can I be so confident that the next time I take a breath, I will take in the appropriate amount of oxygen to sustain my life?” Since I assume this answer doesn’t satisfy the question, I had to give it some serious thought. The tweet version of my answer is “#experience”.

One theologian I subscribe to is John Wesley. He taught that the Christian understanding of God can be divided into four major groups: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. Scripture is the primary revelation of who God is and where to find Christian doctrine. Tradition is all of the centuries of Church history we have behind us, that helps inform our doctrine. Reason is the important philosophical part of being a Christian. Our faith is not something we can just say we have. We must also be able to think it through. If something doesn’t make sense, go find the answer. Finally, experience is how our own lives teach us about God.

Growing up, I was not a Christian. I was pretty regularly a person that picked on Christians, and didn’t understand why someone would go through the trouble of believing in a god, when I saw no evidence of Him. As I went on to college, my faith in nothing was challenged, and I began to search for answers. The thing that I found that really got me is that, faith isn’t about knowing all the answers.

So I looked up the definition of faith. The second definition is “belief that is not based on proof”. I realize this is a hard sell to anyone, especially in a time when we have so much evidence to back up our claims. But not knowing all the answers is faith. God didn’t ask us to have faith in Him because we knew all about Him. He asks us to have faith in Him because through our doubts we know that we can still trust Him.

Once I learned this truth about faith, I began to look at any understanding of God with an open mind. I ultimately accepted Christ, because the Christian faith sat best in my heart.

I’m not saying that faith is blind. Your faith should be questioned. If you can’t think through it, you don’t believe as well as you thought. If you reach a point of trouble and doubt, don’t give up. There are plenty of people and resources that can help you find the true answer. My experience tells me there’s a god, and I know Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I see Him in Creation, my wife, my children, my friends and co-workers. I see Him at work in people’s lives, even if they don’t see it themselves.

If you don’t believe, I ask why not? Have you really given faith a chance? Have you taken a look at it with a truly open mind? One video that gets me every time is Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator. Admittedly this video did not bring me to Christ (I was already there when I watched it). It is based on his book of the same name, and gives scientific evidence for the existence of a Creator. While he wasn’t searching out the God of the Bible, it is the one He found through other paths in his life. If you are, or someone you know is, having a hard time with God because “science”. I think this is a very good video to watch. Especially if you are open minded.

Open-mindedness is definitely hard. We all have ideas and opinions already made up. Just give God a try, and don’t let your preconceived notions cloud your judgment. It could save your soul.

“But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
because He is good to me.”
–Psalm 13:5-6, NLT

Get Your Support

I set myself a goal this past summer; I was going to run 100 miles. I am absolutely pleased to report that I did accomplish this feat! I am still by no means “fit” or “in shape”, but I am extremely excited that I was able to meet this goal. It was a lot of hard work, especially at the end. I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support. My wife became like a personal trainer. She would say things like, “When you get home from work, you will go out an run before dinner!” It was hard, but I love her for things like that.

It made me realize that real goals (not the easy ones, but the ones that take work) are impossible to finish without some sort of support. For me, it was my God and my family. For you it could be someone different. But we all need that person, that keeps pushing us to accomplish our goals. Goals are meant to make us better. Something that makes us reach up, and bring yourself up another rung of the ladder. I don’t know how I could have dreamed of finishing my 100 miles if it had not been for my support team. Let people know what your goals are. No one will be able to give you the support you need, if you don’t share it.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another,”
–1 Thessalonians 5:11, NASB

PS Just because I’m awesome for finishing my goal!

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