Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pain

I am crushed. my heart is broken. I had to surrender one of the most dear things in my life to me, actually, probably the most, for His name.. My beautiful girlfriend Michelle. Why? i dont know. What I do know is that it was God who took over me (just like i, unsuspectingly, asked him to when i pray for him to use me and take my life) and filled me with this notion and I fought it and fought it but I could fight no more. God will bring you to your knees if you love him.

So this is what we get for following a Good God. Doesn't make much sense.. at all.. but just as I read the book of Job and I see God's response to his crying out in his pain, I realize that I am stuck in one single part of God's infinite plan that he can see all of.. How can I question him?
He is good. He is not nice, like my friend Matt told me, but he is good. And I see that there will be a light at the end of this horrendously painful tunnel. Because he will make good out of the deepest pain. I can't even write any more. Pray for both of us anyone who reads this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Loving people

I'm going to be honest. From here on out. Yes, I've studied the Bible, and I know all this stuff and I know how amazing the Scriptures are and the Good News of the Gospel, but sometimes I feel like I'm talking about it so passionately that I forget about what It really is. I feel like sometimes I'm talking about it so much that it hasn't even sunk into my own mind. Sometimes I too feel empty. And if we were perfect, if we were able to give God all the attention all the time, maybe we wouldn't have to worry about that, but, being humans, and living in a world that is very real, tangible, and distracting, God understands. What truly gives me hope about this is that I know God is in control. When I'm faltering in my faith, when i fall down, when i lose confidence in what I'm throwing my life into, or just stop throwing my life into it, i know, based on many stories from the bible, that God will reach down and stand me back up.

The situation where Peter is walking on water because of his Faith in Jesus speaks to my heart. I'm a person who is an all or nothing kind of guy. In my life I've done many things, activities, and hobbies and what not, and Its always been like this- If I'm not the best at the within a certain short amount of time, I get frustrated. It's like I'm a perfection brat. I play soccer for 3 years, put my life into it and all of my passion, my skills get pretty good, but my body is simply not built for soccer, and I'm not the best, so I no longer enjoy it, then I decide to use some of my God-given talents as a hobby and start playing music, I quickly become one of the best, and I shamefully stand before you to confess that I took a lot of pride in it. I'm still in music and I can't get away from it, but I feel Jesus has been working in my heart to let go of first place, and just run the race with everyone else. I am a new Christian to be honest, I just truly became serious about my faith about 6 months ago, and immediately, I tried to be the best, its just in my nature. I tried to be the best, and, unfortunately for this point, I have been given of the grace of God skills in writing in sermon style-ish... so i just wrote and wrote and wrote, wanted to be the best, never took any serious consideration to the love side of Christianity, which is the face, its like I was looking at everything that Christianity was against, and not what we are for.

I've been realizing recently that I just need to let go. I believe in God. I trust in him with my life. But i can't become a Paul overnight, or even over a month for that matter. Your dead seed of a soul does not become a beautiful oak tree over a short ammount of time.
And I get a lot of my teachings from God in what nature speaks to me. It's really been speaking to me in the glorious absense of beautiful flowers jumping out of the ground and blooming right before my eyes. But rather it is filled with the glorious presence of flowers that unnoticeably bloom without my conscious realization over the days, until I take a while to examine them. They bloom with such a humility. They don't boast their beauty, they simply gracefully bloom the way God designed them too. It is such a slow, yet sure growth that you barely notice it.

I feel like I am trying to be the flower/ oak tree that jumps out of the ground overnight.
When Peter was walking on the water, he faltered, he lost faith, but did Jesus stand and watch him, condemning his non belief? No! he lovingly and understandingly reached a hand down and caught him before the waves pulled him under.

In this, I am confident that If I let go a little bit and let God call the shots, my life will be more usable for His name. I can be sure that I will sink in my doubt, but He will reach down and catch me.

I also want to get real about sharing with people who I really am. People can never know that I love them unless I let go of running away from the truth, and I tear down the walls of tension between what people think of me and who I really am, and just take enjoyment in people knowing who I really am. knowing and being known intimately. I don't pretend to be any better than the people my life is about saving. I was once a slave to lust, dishonesty, stealing, cheating, worshiping other things, the whole works. And i'm not going to lie and say that it hasn't left me some emotional baggage to deal with. Thats what sin does. Its a popular lie that simply hurts you and is bad for your soul. I am a very insecure person, I get jealous of other people a lot, I have humongous pride problems, I am an unhumble person, I don't realize the truth. I often put a hazy cloud between myself in the truth, because its just.. so.. true. This is the kind of stuff that you've just got to lay out to people and deal with. If you don't confess to yourself that you're hurting and certain reasons are why, maybe your family was broken, maybe another person has pierced your heart, but if you don't be true to yourself and the people around you and just realize that you haven't got it all together, you'll end up like the older people you see today, mad at the world, cursing everything they can, with bitter, bitter emotions. But you can't get over this unless you realize and confess to yourself that you. are. a. broken. person. everyone is. everyone's got their problems to deal with.
Lay them out and cry out to Jesus.
Tell the truth to your self for once. I need to do this. You can't continue building on a wall that has been built with useless materials, excuses, and anything possible for running away from dealing with pain. You've got to tear it all away and start with the rock. Jesus Christ. He is the only thing that you build your life on successfully.

And so my ministry (if you could call it that) is now aimed at the hearts of the broken people around me. The only thing in existence that can fix brokenness is the love of Jesus Christ. That is what's so mysterious about it. People try to simplify it ito these stupid catch phrases, but it makes everything Jesus is about seem all pointless and trivial. Jesus Christ is about healing the brokenness of people who've been living in sin and who are carrying the emotional baggage of their own sin and the people around them's sin towards them. Love will prevail.

We need to look into people's lives and tell them something that they need to hear. We need to be heart healers- not "I love you because jesus tells me to" There is a genuine passion in loving people that comes with accepting Christ's love. This passion does not come at once, but it comes.

Hearts are our mission field. People are our treasures. And God will take the lead. i don't know about you, but I praise his name. whole heartedly.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Corny Thoughts

Today has been pretty restful, got to stay home, ALL day. Doesn't happen a lot haha. Anyways, I, right in this very moment, am in a bit of an emotional fog, because I've been shutting the very truth of my life out of my head for a few hours. Paul said in Romans that we are to be armed with hope of salvation in everything we do, yet I am still working at improving my endurance in this. And I notice that I get better every day, only because of the grace of God. I think people really underestimate the power of prayer. There's a point when you get past the fact that God isn't speaking to you in dialect, and you feel him speaking to your heart, while you are praying. And i'm constantly craving chances to get completely alone and pray to Him. Alot of people think that its crazy to believe in God, but I think its crazy not to believe in him, based on how ridiculously reliable the Bible is in the way it was written by a tons of different people over thousands of years, yet everything is perfectly matching up, how this thing called Love Exists, that could not, would not, and should not exist, unless there was an external motivation. Without an intelligent creator, without a loving creator, we as humans we be creatures of instinct, and self serving motives is an instinct of every person, but God has worked love into our society. Creating us in his image (a shattered image) we are born with the ability to love, whether we believe in him or not, but it is those who believe in him and live in him that are totally immersed in it. Love solves all problems. I've been thinking about a few analogies. Much to my dismay, I was going through my garden the other day and I found caterpillars inside my worm plants eating away at my otherwise beautiful corn. (I killed them) It made me feel like God (not realy, but you know) whenever he walked through his garden of Eden and found sin in Adam and Eve.
But it made me think. I believe that these corn plants are a perfect depiction of us as humans. They are beautiful and were made for being healthy and productive and to be spotless. But these corn plants have got worms inside them, eating away at them, taking away from their beauty, making them less productive, and eventually killing them. We as humans were created to be good, healthy, living in Love, and without sin, but we allow these worms to crawl inside us and eat away at what we were truly meant to be. Why can't we stay beautiful for the one who created us? Why can't we present ourselves, clean, to him? Becuase of the first sin. When Adam said no to God. It filled his and Eve's bodies with rebellion against God, and this has been passed on from generation to generation. When one man introduced sin to the world, one perfect man will bring sin out of those who choose him. Jesus Christ is our "seven dust". He douses us with his love, which fills in the holes that sin had eaten away, and kills sin gradually, the more we trust in him, pray to him, and live in him. And this is why I love Him. He has brought me out of nothingness, sin, guilt, hoplessness, and plain nothing. He's called me up to the table I don't deserve to sit at and he's using me every day to bring His love to other people. I don't even deserve this Job that he's cut me out for.
I have decided that I want to be a pastor. Every single skill I have is leaning toward putting me in this position. I can't imagine any other career any more. If this is God's calling, then by all means, I'll go.

I ask anyone who reads this to pray for me and my decisions that I make. And I pray myself that I can live more and more in love for other people, and God, and less for myself. Praise God.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm going to start writing stuff in here. I constantly have a lot to say, so instead of mulling over it all in my head, I'm going to write it down. I feel like the more I learn about Jesus and who he was, the more he speaks in my words, the same with everyone. So I'm hoping that from what I write here, God will glorify himself in everything I say, and in what I do in life. This is my prayer.

I'm going to go ahead and claim right now that I am a complete mess. I'm imperfect to the max, I haven't got everything in m life together, I am SO selfish, and the thought of presenting myself before God without the Love of his Son holding me up is terrifying, because he is just, and I deserve all the suffering and being cut off from his love that Jesus experienced. I am a child born of death, but I am now alive in Jesus Christ! In his death, he brought my sins to the grave, and in his resurrection he brought my live alive to God and into Christ. This is why I live for him every day of my life, not just at church and not just on mission trips, and not just around Christians. No, people are not always going to agree with me and people are not always going to think I'm sane, the way hate and selfishness has become so commonplace in society, but I am living on a promise, and from this promise springs all hope and swells love in my heart which overflows into my actions. This promise is an eternity with Christ no matter what I do on earth. How could I possibly worry when I'm trusting and living in him? He is in control. Its like Paul said, he counts anxiety pointless upon entering a town in which he was about to proclaim the gospel, where they might kill him. he said "I chose life, or even more life. I can't lose" In this way, I can't lose. Public embarrassment for Christ brings me closer to him, persecution brings me closer to him, and death brings me even closer to him. "To live is Christ, to die is gain" I will actively pursue this goal of living for Christ in everything I do because I know that NOTHING can separate me from his love. The only way I could fall away from him and become absorbed in the world again would be a temporary failing, or for a long stretch, a fit of insanity. I can never in my right mind go back on the way I'm living now because of the difference it has made in my life and the lives of people around me. Love has a ripple effect, and it cannot be contained. Praise the lord.