Saturday, December 29, 2007

Say What You Mean...

Ever have those days where you wonder if you really love God? I know that sounds odd, but sometimes I question my love for God. I guess it is because I sin against him so much. There is this one thing I keep doing, and over and over again I ask for forgiveness long after I have been forgiven, and I tell myself "I won't do it again, God lend me your help this time." In actuality, he is already helping, I just chose not to listen. Which brings me back to the first question, do I really love God?

I suppose, that is really a rhetorical question more than anything, because I know that deep down I love God and not only that I NEED Him, more than life itself. Shoot, he IS life. So that is just something I have been thinking about, I know the truth behind it, but sometimes I can't help but wonder. Because I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to earn His love, and He knows that I cannot always succeed, in fact, I'm pretty sure he expects us to fail, but I guess that is just one of those things that makes his grace amazing. Hurray for the Ragamuffins who live in this life, and even more of a huzzah for an Awesome God.

I guess I don't really have anything else to say on this topic. Haha, it took less time to get my thoughts out than I thought... (no pun intended).

On a completely different side note.

I am not bitter about my stay in Clarksville, (I've had a few people tell me that they wish I wasn't bitter) I promise. In fact, I wouldn't trade my time their for anything. It was good for me, it taught me a lot, and I still respect Jerry very much. When I left, there was no anger, or any other type of negative emotion, if anything I think I am the one who did the hurting, but I cannot change the past, nor do I want to, and thus life moves on. So, stop assuming stuff, k?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Black Roses

So after two (or is it three) weeks with nothing to post, I finally have something of interest (to me at least).

Christmas is just such an interesting time of year. It's the time when people go all out to buy gifts that someone will use maybe once or twice (usually) or at least, until the new "thing" comes out. Sadly I have been sucked into this too. I'm not sure if it's just because it's an American thing, or if it's just the people I'm with, or whatever, but I really want to get something for my family this year. Which is why some are getting scarfs, and other gift cards.

The problem with getting gifts is that, at least with me, there are so many people I want to buy gifts for that I can't, and so I always feel bad when only a few people get the gifts I intended for them, and not just some ghetto home made card that says, "Merry Christmas". I'm sure people might appreciate it, but it's not what I want to do for them. So, this year I actually get to do what I want for Christmas (in the sense of getting the gifts I want to get for others), which makes me happy.

But, Erik pointed out something today at Invert that I had never really considered before. It's not that I didn't care, it was just that I never really considered it. The Advent Conspiracy.... "what would happen if we spent less on people who have plenty, and gave more to those who have none?" was essentially the question. It was really profound for me though. Despite going out of country multiple times, I still haven't seemed to understand that there are so many people in need, and Christians can lead the way into reformation. To love others so much that we give with grateful hearts, and give generously. To think... God will count our lack of generosity as a sin... intriguing, and yet, so much like the God I have come to know and love, though I'm sure I don't show it near as much as I would love to. This Christmas = yet another paradigm shift. (they seem to be happening a lot lately).

This post isn't just about Christmas... it feels so long since I left Clarksville, but in reality it has only been two to two and a half weeks. I have been so busy lately though, that I feel like I have been gone a year. I wish things didn't have to end with so much tension, but it is in the past, there is nothing I can do to change it. I don't regret my decisions, I know in my heart they were the right ones, despite what some may say or think. Even if these decisions were wrong, it was far better than dawdling around in my fear and waiting for a sign from God that was not going to come. I know He wanted me to make a decision, and so I did. That, is that, and I move on. Black Roses.

I know I'm being cryptic about that, but you will just have to get over it... I'm not explaining my life via an expanse of internet gossip known as blogging.

There is still so much for me to learn, so many things to see, and so many dreams I want to achieve... but the one thing that takes precedence in my life is God, and He holds it all together. Altruism, Theology, Doctrine, Wisdom, Knowledge, Success, Failure, it's all for nothing without God in the middle.

And so it seems like I'll be ending this year the same way I started it. Alone, with nothing to hold onto except Christ.


p.s. Happy Birthday Jesus, whenever the actual day may be.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What is your dream?

"We each have a dream, a vision of life that corresponds to our convictions, embodies our uniqueness, and expresses what is life-giving within us. Whether altruistic or ignoble, the dream gives definition to our lives, influences the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the words we speak. Daily we make choices that are either consistent or contrary to our vision. A life of integrity is born of fidelity to the dream."
~Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Monday, December 3, 2007


So I drove all the way down to Elberta, AL today, w00t me... but that has nothing to do with this post really...

So, Sunday morning, I wake up from yet another interesting dream. Would you like to hear about it? Too bad, I am not sharing this one, however I am going to share one of the things that stuck out to me the most. If you haven't noticed by now, all my dreams have some kind of key phrase that I seem to hone in on (for the most part anyway, there are a few exceptions). Anywho, this phrase took me a while to process it all. "Christians are self-conscious for the sake of others."

Now when I look at this phrase my initial reaction is like, "I don't think we should be self-conscious at all" but I was thinking more along the lines of self-esteem. We shouldn't be so self-conscious that it prevents us from doing the ministry God set out for us, but that is neither here nor there. After thinking on this phrase a while long I have come to the conclusion on how I view this phrase.

We as Christians are called to love and be loved. To be in a community, and know that our theology is really only the beginning to understand a God who is ever greater than we; a Living Word that constantly teaches us new things as we grow closer to obtaining the "shalom" God wants for us. For those reasons we should be self-conscious. We should be conscious of our actions affecting others: How we dress, what we say, our attitudes, our opinions, our use of our talents, everything, it all points toward one thing or the other: Self or Christ. Do we present ourselves in such a way that says "I care"?

I think this could really play in to what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians (I think) when he talks about eating food served to idols. He doesn't want to be a stumbling block to his brother, so he chooses not to take advantage of that liberty he has to eat those foods. I think in the same way, out of a love for people, we should be willing to mold aspects of ourselves into the things that encourage others towards Christ, rather than inhibit them from Christ. Paul really says it best, "I became all things, to all men, in the hopes that I may reach some with the Gospel." (probably not verbatim, get over it).

There is a lot of "fluff" in this institution known as Christianity and it's buildings we call "church". Christians seem so intent on looking better than they are, but we need to accept the fact that we are only ragamuffins, and that is all we will ever be. That is what makes the Gospel so sweet, so addictive. It reflects the furious love God has for a bunch of broken down, beat up, and burnt out people; and in reaction to that love we follow the commands laid out to us. It IS a Gospel of Grace.

Though we are ragamuffins, that doesn't mean we have to look like slobs. Sure we be authentic about how we feel, but we need to present ourselves in a way that shows we are capable of love. How can you love someone else if you cannot love yourself? If our presentation of self (use of talents, way we dress, speech, etc.) doesn't reflect a love of self, how can we expect others to accept the love we offer, however trivial it may seem?

Perhaps, I am jumping all over a topic that I'm trying to hit; perhaps, I am just rambling on like a loony who just got out of Arkham; or maybe, just freakishly maybe, I am on to something here, and a paradigm shift is on it's way.

I think Kutless said it best:
"Why can't you see, that freedom is sometimes just simply another perspective away.
Who could you be? If your lens was changed for a moment could you still be the same?"

Now I'm off to bed, big day tomorrow. Laters!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Can I Please Stop Existing?

Why is it that every time I make a decision that if ends up being the wrong one? I mean, I am pretty sure that at this moment the only decision that I've made that is correct is ending my relationship with my girlfriend, and yet sometimes I wonder about that as well, but I will not waver on that.

I am beginning to wonder if God was really being quiet this past week, if He has been quiet for these past few months, or if I was never listening to begin with. I have to admit I'm pretty mad, I think this has got to be the first time I have ever felt anger towards God for His silence, but I know that more than anything I have to look at myself and wonder what it is I am doing.

I was getting excited about returning to TFC until this morning, when Jerry discusses with me different things and the more he speaks, the more I feel afraid that I made the wrong decision. I remember telling God that I was just going to take a step in a direction, and if He wanted me to not go, then to shut that door. I am still going with that strategy, because though I want to follow God, He has been extremely silent in these decisions. Until I hear from Him, this be the path I choose. I had felt, that either way, may have been OK with Him, but now... man I'm so confused.

Have I truly learned anything these past 6 months? I mean, at this rate, I'll never reach the point I need to be at, to be the man God has planned me to be. Will I ever? There is certainly things I have to learn to take into consideration when making decisions for sure.

Altruism... it's so much of my life, it's almost like a motto, and yet I feel that I haven't followed it at all. It's not that I haven't tried, but man, I feel like a failure at life. Sometimes being human sucks. I always have believed that trials are good for the soul, but then again, maybe I never really reached the point of a true trial. I have never been so far into the dark that I couldn't find my way back out, never felt so defeated that I gave up on everything. Don't misunderstand, I have felt defeated before, but I've always pushed through, even last week. Even though last week had to be one of the hardest weeks of my life, and I'm surprised I didn't just break down and cry, I suppose there is much farther I could have still gone.

I'm too afraid of failure, too afraid of disappointing others that I want to take the safe path, and it looks like I have failed at both. Failed at not failing, and failed at not disappointing others, and I wonder, have I failed God as well? That is the scariest thought yet, for though I love my parents, my friends, my pastor, I love my God far more, and to think that I have failed Him makes me want to cease existing. How can He do anything with this useless clump of dirt? I feel useless, and yet, God shows me where He is using me, and sometimes, that is the ONLY thing keeping me going.

I hate the way life is sometimes, but I love the adventure of it's mysteries. What a conundrum.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Y0u D1d Wh4t?

So I guess it's time to finally give the official update on my life.

Thanksgiving was pretty cool, but it felt rather empty. But I guess that's just because I'm so used to having my entire family around, and this year it was just my mom, dad, jackie, a nephew and myself. Though, again I say, it was pretty cool.

After a series of days of fighting with God, myself, and asking others thousands of questions... I have come to the conclusion that ending the relationship I had with my now "ex-" girlfriend was in the best interest all around. What can you do? I was a little upset at first, but now I'm almost happy I made the decision. It's so freeing once you just take that initial step and walk out onto the nothingness of trusting God. So I guess, officially, I am single again, and that is OK. I don't mind being single, and I'll leave it that way for a little bit before I even attempt to go looking for the next girl (hmmm, that sounded a bit bad).

Next is that I am going to try to head back to college next semester. That is the path I will try to take, and see where it leads. If God takes that door away for the moment, then so be it, but I think it's time to head back, and I am ready to do so.

That is the update, yay me...

Sunday, November 18, 2007


So here is a poem dedicated to all those who stand by our side when we feel as though there is no hope. A thank you to the "hero".

by: Austin E.

What do you see in me?
How can potential possibly exist?
Where does your faith come from?

You tell me so many things,
And I absorb the words like a sponge,
Grasping onto the hope of success.

When all have said,
I could not win,
You were there to stand.

You see past the mask,
Past the filth under it,
And into my very soul.

How did you see,
All that I could ever be?
Why did you stand beside me?

So to the Hero,
Who stood by my side.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Crockpot Crochet Cancer

I really don't know how to feel lately. On the outward appearance I throw the wall up as though all is fine when I don't want to deal with answering questions. I put on the “game face” and move on, but there are times when the “game face” just isn't enough. I have been going through this inward battle lately and it's gotten to the point that I don't remember what the battle was about to begin with. It's not that I want to do something stupid, or “bad”, but the pressure of having to be “the good kid” is a bit much. There is this unseen, unspoken, expectation that seems to surround me. As if the very fact that I'm a pastoral intern automatically makes me some super Christian, or that I have to act perfect. Sorry to let you guys know, I actually can't read minds, and quite honestly I don't want to. I hate feeling like there is this giant weight looming over my head, waiting for me to mess up just so it can flatten me like a pancake. It almost makes me want to quit, to just let the stupid weigh fall so that I don't have to worry about it anymore, but I know that no matter what I did, that weight will always be there (whether from my own personal perception, or because people really are doing that is irrelevant).

Last night my mom called me and we talked for a few minutes. Apparently... my grandfather has gotten stomach cancer. This for me is awful news, because he hasn't been doing that well to begin with. It has seemed to me that he appears weaker every time I see him, and yet, somehow I am not surprised at this outcome. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I want him to die, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was his last Christmas (if he even makes it that far). It is just a feeling I have, and I would be more than happy to be wrong, but I think subconsciously I want his suffering to end, and for that to happen, perhaps the ultimate healing is necessary. Just another thing that makes being here difficult. Like I said, I don't know how to feel.

The annual soup contest was held last night, the soups were good. My landlord and I made a pie that was made of oreo crust, ice cream center, cool whip topping, and little hershey bars (the individual ones). It was tasty; I'm glad we made it.

I'm concerned for one of my friends... he seems ready to end something great. He isn't very old as a Christian, and well, he needs to be pulled out this rut he has gotten himself into. He needs to rely on God instead of what other people are thinking of him, but this only comes from time in the walk with God. Hardly ever is it an overnight thing.

I'm learning how to crochet. Is it bad for a guy to want to crochet? Or to enjoy it? If so, then I guess I don't make a very good guy, haha. *shrugs * Oh well, when has that ever stopped me from doing things I enjoy? Heh, I suppose I will leave you with a quote from the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning:

Aristotle said that I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

The quote makes me giggle, so I thought I would share. Kbye!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dreams and Houses

So it's time for another odd dream brought to you by me, Austin.... but FIRST, a word from my sponsor, "the Insanity of the Mind"

"This show has been brought to you in part by the letter 'P' and the number '3'. Also, the owner of the black Mclaren F1... you have just been hijacked by a deadly ninja who thinks he is a pirate."

Where was I? OH YEAH! So like I said this dream I had was pretty weird. There we are Jerry, a teenager, and myself. We have been captured by some dude and put on a gold ship; quite the impressive feat if you ask me, and we all are amazed at its ability to float. Well, we are held in this "living room" style of room, it even has it's own bathroom, and then we move on to speak with our "captor". Oddly he looks a lot like Pierce Brosman (007), but I digress... we talk about something for quite a while and then we are returned to the main room. At one point we check out the bathroom; naturally, it's disgusting. I'm pretty sure their was poo in the toilet and on the floor next to the toilet, but "hey, what can you do?" We weren't left with much of an option when it's the only bathroom available.

We find a newspaper which has the title "Sacrificial Sacrifices" across the top in big and bold, the rest is impossible to read from my point of view; however, Jerry goes into this long spiel about something that had to do with sacrifices, pagans, and how it was relative to the now. I didn't really catch all he said, it was directed towards the teen anyway. So I have this need to pee, naturally I don't want to go to that filthy bathroom, but I have no choice. I walk into the bathroom, look at the disgusting scene, and suddenly keel over in pain. I was suddenly screaming from... pain maybe? A burning sensation was certainly consuming my body, and I was being lifted into the air by an unseen force. My reaction was to command it to release me in the name of Jesus. It did, but then another force picked me back up again, and I just kept repeating the name of Jesus over and over again. I woke up saying His name. I have never woken up so confused on what exactly happened, but the image is still lodged in my brain. Pretty weird huh?

I moved into another house. I am now living with another woman. She is pretty cool, and she made a good dinner. It only took me about an hour and a half to pack everything and another hour to unload into my new abode. She even has kitties!!! I used to live in Tennessee but now I live in Kentucky, of course, I never left the city of Clarksville... not really anyway. So, needless to say (but I'll say it anyway ^_^) Today has been very chaotic, and well I have felt a bit frazzled lately so this was "icing on the cake". However, I think that God will use this to grow me as an individual, and provide for her as she prayed for.

Did I mention the woman is in her 60s? Haha!!! You thought I had moved in with a woman that was my age didn't you?! *laughs at you* I tricked you, I tricked you! *giggles*

Anyways, that's it for now. Later!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Have I Given?

As I sit here drinking my quasi-purple soda I find myself largely introspective. I have discovered that I am not nearly as brave as I would hope to be, and that I am in fact very afraid. I fear what I may lose, I fear what awaits in the 'morrow, I fear what people would think if they saw the me that is behind closed doors, I fear failure and rejection. I know that all these fears are largely ridiculous and that I shouldn't be afraid, yet here I am wondering why such fear has taken a firm grip upon my heart.

Tonights sermon was awful; I don't think I could have done any worse, and what's more, it wasn't even what I had prepared. Curse my pride. I will be truly blessed if anyone gets even ONE thing out of that mumbled mess. However, Jerry redeemed that horrid time with something that hit me. Where have I not given it my all? I see that pretty much anything that people do not see me do. I haven't given the things I watch (good or bad) over to God, I have not given my desires to Him, I have not submitted my fears, or my identity (not completely anyway), I have not submitted at all I fear.

I fear I may lose something precious to me, and I think the very fact that I am unwilling to give that away then it is proof that I should. But, what will I do once it's gone? I know I'm being cryptic, I'm sorry. I am not positive, but I feel that I may have to end my relationship with my girlfriend. Perhaps, the relationship has run it's course, however, I still do not want to let it go. I mean, most will not understand, but I was/am planning on marrying this woman, and now when I have my mind set, God comes around and goes "Do you think she is an idol in your life? What will you do if I asked you to give up that relationship?" Which goes back to my question, what will I do once it's gone? I've had her as part of my life for nearly 4 years and here I'm being asked to give it away. It is precious to me, how can I give it away. God really wants me to give Him one of my few treasures?

Haha, of course... right as I wrote that a song that is Spanish, is essentially translated as "more of you, less of me" comes on. God's humor is certainly interesting. I feel at a loss of what to do. I feel lost period. I've been begging God to bring me to the point where I only rely on Him, to be "emptied" and "broken" so that I can become whole in Him, to be filled with Him, and He is ever so slowly working me there. The battle rages, I feel like I am on the front lines, and I have nothing to offer; I am the one losing myself in this mess. Why must learning important things come at such a high price?

And yet, I feel like I cannot complain, because there are people who encounter far worse events that I am experiencing now. Still, I really can't help but feel slightly distressed. I feel that I have already given so many precious things of mine to God, but I know I must give it all; this is such a hard task. Ultimately, if I knew God was telling me to end my relationship with her, I would follow Him, for He knows what is best. We all experience everything we do to get us where we are meant to be. I know that sentence might seem confusing, but if you truly think about it, it does make sense. I am certainly going to spending a lot of time in prayer this week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

#66 - Haste The Day AMV

If you like FFVII: Advent Children, and Haste the Day, then you'll like this video.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

S3 - Obedience to God

That's right, time for another "sermonette" from me!

Ever have trouble obeying God? It seems to be the case for me these past couple of weeks. It isn't that I don't want to obey, but rather, my inability to; or more specifically, my lack of faith in God to obey Him. I suppose this sermon could very well go hand-in-hand with my previous two sermons (see "Trusting God" and "Love God, Love People), because obedience must come from two things: trust in God, and also a love for God. It probably plays a lot into what Jerry has been teaching lately as well (about "complete surrender"). Obedience is part of giving it all to Christ.

For me at least it seems that obeying God can have many different aspects. Sometimes, it simply doesn't make sense. Look at Joshua for instance, the Commander of the army of the LORD comes to him and tells him (Joshua 6:3-5):

"... March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in."

When I look at these instructions I have to wonder, what in the world was God thinking? Or, more importantly, what was Joshua thinking? To him, it must have seemed absurd. I can just see it now, "So we are supposed to just walk around a wall, and scream? Are you sure?" But Joshua believed and because of that Jericho fell, and Israel won the victory.

Why can't we be willing to believe God when He tells us to do something, despite what it looks like? I have been asking myself this a lot lately.

Sometimes, obedience means doing something you don't want to do. This has been especially true for me. These past few weeks have been very humbling in this area of my life. I'm beginning to see that if I don't swallow my pride, I would not grow in my relationship with God. Because of that I have had to write one of the hardest letters I ever wrote to my parents, and it all had to do with my obedience to God and not on anything they did. Learning to trust God with the decisions He makes for you can sometimes be some of the hardest things you do, but God blesses you for that obedience.

Take a look a Paul; In Acts you find that Paul wants to go to Asia at one point for his ministry, but God points Paul in a completely different direction than what Paul wants. So, sometimes we just need to be flexible in our plans. I know God has already done this with me, multiple times this summer concerning weddings, LIFE, college, etc. I missed three weddings that I really wanted to go to, and went to one that involved a couple that I did not know at all. That has changed since then, and it's nothing against them at all, it is merely a good example of how the need to be flexible has been true in my life lately. Another good example would be of what I said in a previous post; giving an extra $50 for missions. I hadn't planned on it, but I needed to be flexible and willing to follow God no matter what the outcome may look like. It is for that reason that I am here, interning under Jerry, trying to figure out what the Christian life looks like, and how to live it.

Yes, I do KNOW what it is supposed to look like, but how does it look in my personal life? This is a question that I seek an answer to.

Sometimes, we must obey God in the face of adversity. To follow God, knowing it will end in what may seem to be bad for us. Acts 21 talks about Paul hearing God's call to go to Jerusalem, so he decides to go. On his way there people prophecy over him, telling him he would be chained up and held captive, but Paul stood strong in his conviction and obeyed God in the midst of all the adversity. I believe it was a test to see how much resolve Paul had to obeying God, and if he would fulfill the calling despite the revelation that was given to the prophets who shared that message with him. In the same way we need to continue to obey the call, or whatever God is telling us to do in the face of trials, tribulations, and discouragement.

Above all, obedience to God means denying yourself. It means learning how to walk in the "sacrificial life"; giving our hopes, dreams, fears, and wants over to God and letting Him have complete control. And that is where I am fighting myself the most it seems. I want to be broken, I want to be emptied, so that I can understand the "abundant life"; but my reflexes and body scream against my will, they shout in protest, and, in the end, I keep dodging the brunt of the hammer and only get nicked where I should have shattered. I need to stand still, and, oddly, all this is just a way to see the glory of God in my life. Ultimately, that is my purpose as the creation, to glorify God. And the more I realize where I can improve, the more I learn, the more I give, and the more I obey, the closer I grow to God.

Will you join me in this pursuit?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

When Life Hits You Hard

You know how life can sometimes kick you in the face? Well, this morning was one of those moments, and it came from Jerry. I didn't know what was going on until the conversation started and all the sudden my size shrank from 6'2" to about 1cm I felt absolutely horrible, and like a failure at life. But, it was done in such a way that I can't blame anyone but myself for being in that position. Apparenlty, my strengths are outweighed by my weaknesses, and I need to start mentally, and spiritually, living in Clarksville and not just physically. Treat it as my home, so to speak. He was right, naturally, but it still hurts to get to the point of complete and utter dependence upon God. There are steps that I feel must be taken that I don't want to take. I'm not going home for the first time on a Thanksgiving holiday, and as if that wasn't hard enough, I have also requested to my parents to not pay for a ticket to go to Chile this December. That had to be one of the hardest requests that I had to give. I already haven't seen my girlfriend for a year, and yet, I feel like I must not go this December, at least for the time being, because God needs me to learn an important lesson. The lesson of a "sacrificial life" and to do that I have to be willing to do whatever he tells me.

I wrote one of the hardest letters I have ever had to write to my mom, and it wasn't because of anything they did, but rather, something I need to do because I need to learn to be dependent on God first and foremost. I find it ironic, that I have been preaching on these kinds of topics in the past two sermons, and yet, obviously I have not come to grips with it in my own life. I haven't fully given "me" to God. I know I have improved in areas of my life, and I have given some parts to God, but I haven't just thrown up my hands and said "I quit, God you do it!" Someone told me recently that being whole was biblical, and it is. We find a wholeness in God, but to become whole, we must first become broken, and that is where I am at. I have been pleading with God to break me, but I think before He does, He wants me to get the obstacles out of the way, and then I have to stop dodging the blows. It is so hard to learn these things. It is so hard to completely submit to God in everything. I want to do it all myself, but the more I do it myself, the more I screw things up, and the more I feel like a failure at life.

On the plus, I finally have the next topic that God would have me preach I think. So I need to start working on that soon, so that I can be prepared for next Sunday.

*sigh* It's days like this that make me want to quit. Being human is so complicated.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dreams, Prophecies, and 20/20 Vision

So this weekend has been by far a much better weekend, than the last. It has a stark contrast of Dark and Light, Death and Life, which I find fascinating. Prayer this morning has been good, and God had to practically push me out of bed, but I'm glad I got up for it. So, the title states this post is about three things, but not in that order.

20/20 Vision:
I'm ever thankful for my parents paying for my eye surgery. I had to go home this weekend to get my eyes rechecked; the doctor told me I still had 20/20... w00t! This was also a great time to spend a lunch time with my family (and get BBQ sauce in my eye), as well as, Titina and Cristina Requena, who had both told me they wanted to talk to be about something. So what better way than face to face?

The Sunday night when I was home I had a very odd dream. I don't know if it means anything, but I'm going to post it anyway because I still remember it two days later. Naturally, the details will be fuzzy like vaseline on a camera lens, but you'll get the basics. So essentially the majority of the dream consists of running, or fleeing in this case, from... something. I want to say that we called them zombies, haha, but they weren't your every day, can't think zombies, they were real people who could be anywhere at any moment, so you couldn't trust anyone. I'm pretty sure that zombies was just the name of choice we gave them. And the entire dream was peculiar. There was one point where I had to go to Wal-mart with one other person (Tessa, of all people, oddly enough), and the premise of us going was to get supplies for our "group" that we were going to meet up with later. Now here is the fun part. Time stopped completely while I was in Wal-mart. People were there, but not moving. I didn't have to sneak in like I had planned; I went to the places I needed, retrieved the items, and headed back to the car.

As I was heading out I saw something that caught my attention, and so I started to go retrieve that as well (fuzzy area) but as I reached down to obtain the item, time resumed, and I had to run. I sprinted to the car, got in, Tessa wondering where I had been all this time, and I looked at her confused. For whatever reason, I had been gone for 5 hours, and I guess the natural assumption to go along with that is the "group" that I was supposed to meet up with had moved on. So, I text messaged Erik (yes, you Pasco!) asking where he was going, and how to get home (or something like that). His reply was really weird. It was something along the lines of "Home is .... (can't remember), and you can't come." I am not entirely sure what that meant, but for whatever reason I knew where to go, I think. I am almost positive that it was a code for the location, and I had to wait for someone to escort me.

Moving along... I arrived in a very rocky area. The scenes kinda spanned to it, I don't know how I got there from where I was. It reminds me of the verse that speaks about fleeing to the mountains in Revelation, now that I think about it. But that is where the dream pretty much ends. There are some conversations, and some hiking, and that's about it. And my knowledge of the time was that I was in "The End Times", but I don't know if that really means anything. When I woke up I was thoroughly confused.

The next morning, I go to talk to Titina before I go to the eye doctor. We begin to talk about this and that, and then she tells me about a prophecy that was told to one of our friends, Glenda. Which basically states that if the church doesn't wake up and start interceding for the people of America, and start to reach out, then 9/11 was going to look like a paper cut compared to what is to come. I realize I probably risk looking like I know something I shouldn't but I have to state it. If you don't believe prophecy really exists, then ignore me, but I do believe it exists, and is very real and active even today. God's wrath is going to hit America if we don't wake up, and He is going to start with the church. The country has been under our watch, and we are going to be held accountable for what we did, and didn't do.

I guess this post has been a bit bizarre, but oh well, get over it. It's my blog, not yours. *sticks out tongue* :p

OH! before I forget, although God told me not to talk about the details. I had a really AWESOME prayer experience driving home last night. That is all. Kbye!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

*Insert Title Here*

Man these past few days have felt very surreal, and yet simultaneously, I feel as though I've been hit with a very tangible, and palpable, metaphysical brick wall. I guess to a degree I could blame it on Satan and say he's just trying to get to me, and I could blame God and say He's trying to teach me, but really, these things are both true, and are unnecessary to state. These facts are always true no matter what day of the week it is.

The funeral went well. I think the pastor captured my uncle very well, and I think that most of my family is taking it well. I was practically thrown into being a pallbearer; it was an honor, but a very odd feeling that went with it (I've never carried a dead body before). I felt like I was being so insensitive this weekend though for a number of reasons: I could only smurk during the service; I was not really sad (sure I didn't want him to die, but at the same time, I was uber happy for him); I guess that's not a lot, but I really did feel like I was being disrespectful... I wasn't trying to be, and maybe I wasn't... *shrugs* Anywho, like I said everything went well. The 7.5 hours driving their and back were largely uneventful except for a couple of crash/construction sites that were just long enough to get on my nerves. All in all, it was a good time to see family and catch up with a lot of people.

Have you ever felt like all your friends are avoiding you because they know something that they don't want you to know? And it's not some surprise party or something? That's how I kinda feel right now. I've tried to get a hold of multiple people these past few days to check up on them and the only people I got were Dan, Rachel, and Amanda. I don't even talk to Amanda that much, so it was cool to talk to her for a few minutes. But other people wouldn't answer their phones or any IM I sent them, I don't think I'm being paranoid here, but maybe I am. I understand we get busy, but that doesn't mean you can't call someone when you have a few extra minutes right? If I had seen someone called me, especially if they had left a message, I would be sure to call back, but that does not seem to be the case with everyone else apparently. Heh, maybe I'm just being silly about this, but I guess you really start to see who your real friends are when you try to contact them. The ones that contact you back, or initiate the contact... they are likely the one's that care. *sigh* That number is far smaller than I would like it to be.

Well now that I've written this huge depressing post, I think I'll go find something happy to do.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh My God

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God"

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children - this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers - this is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

Friday, October 12, 2007

What I Learned Today

So there are a couple of things I learned about myself today while pulling weeds in the front of the church and doing other miscellaneous tasks.

1) I am really insecure about my singing, haha. I wonder if that is true with everyone, on anything they are good at. I mean, singing is one of the few things that I consider myself good at, and the things I am most confident in my skill in, I am also very insecure about them. I don't understand this, maybe it's God's way of keeping me humble, or maybe it's some demon just trying to distract me from praising God, maybe a little bit of both. Anyway, that was just a random thought that came to mind.

2) I am always the most at peace just before I hear bad news. Some of the worst news I have ever heard has always been preceded by indescribable peace. Today is a great example. I was just really content and at peace emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and then around 9:30 I get a call from my brother that my uncle had died early in the morning. I am still at peace, but I find it odd sometimes that God would love me enough to basically but a "bumper" to lessen the blow of bad news. God is good.

and finally

3) I should not eat more than 4 donuts on any day because right about half way through the fourth one my teeth will start shouting at me for eating too much sweets, heh.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fire and Stars

So today I worked from 7:30 to about 5:00 at a construction site, and basically is spent that entire time burning wood, so now I'm really sore, tired, and my throat is driving me nuts. But that is not why I'm posting. I am just posting because God did the subtle thing he likes to do by reminding me of some things by the way of two things fire and stars.

As I said I was burning lumber today at the construction site, and as I was watching the flame I was reminded how much God's love is like a consuming fire. A fire that rages against any and every thing. It burns us, breaks us, and refines us with its destructive heat and flame. That's right, I said destructive. And it is, it destroys our pride, selfishness, our sinfulness, and replaces it with kindness, goodness, faith, and love (among other things). And the flame was so hot that yous could feel the heat from a good 10 ft. away, minimum. And just like that heat, God's heat from the fire hurts too when you get too close, but we have to walk through the flame, to get burned, and to come out new.

As I was coming from small groups tonight, I got to do a little star gazing, and I had almost forgotten the night sky is. It has been a crisp, cool night as well which made this kiss from heaven all the better. The magnitude, and seemingly limitless expanse of the galaxies and stars are great reminders of God's own magnitude. The very fact that the universe is so huge that we could come up with no better title for it than "space" just proves the awesomeness of it in my opinion. The stars are a light in the darkness, and just as they reflect the sun's light and light the night sky, we as Christians should reflect the Son and light up the dark world, but we so often are so inward focus, we forget about loving others. I am so sick and tired of seeing this trend in "Christians". They certainly don't live up to their name, if they are true Christians, "Slave of Christ" indeed, HA! Get real! Stop faking it! *sigh*

Anyway, I'm done, kbye

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

World's Apart

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

[Additional lyrics:]

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can't deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Loving God, Loving People

Here is another "sermonette" for your enjoyment. I'm sure there will probably be edits as the week goes on, but this is what the next sermon will be about, or close to it.

Today is probably going to be something you've heard before, but I really feel God is leading me to share this message with you as He is showing me how to improve on this area of my life. "Loving God, Loving People."

There are verses all over the Bible that talk about loving God, about living in a community with Him as the center. The Israelites were His chosen instrument to show us that, I believe. He gave them all these instructions about clean and unclean, sacrifices, war, and I believe it wasn't them following the rules that He wanted. Yes, they should obey, but not out of obligation, but out of love. The same applies to us, we should obey out of a love for God, a desire to obey because we love Him. Jesus Himself says:

If you love me, you will obey my commands."
John 14:15

And again in Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus says:

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

We are to love God with our very being, with all of who we are, our heart, our soul, our mind, and even our strength. But there is another part of that command, "Love your neighbor as yourself." You see, God loves people, He loves us, and He wants us to love others. So many people remember the first command, but not the second, which is JUST LIKE THE FIRST!

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

He considers it to be just as important as the first. In reality this command is practically a 2-in-1 kind of deal. Yes, they are two commands, but at the same time, you can't have one without the other. Now look at the last verse.

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Everything that God commands of us in based on this law. God wants us to love Him and love people, and I believe you cannot do one without the other. Not truly anyway. Loving God IS loving people, and you can't love people without having a love for God.

[At church we have talked about the sex trade and slavery that has been going on in southeast Asia, and the AIDS problem in Africa. If you did a little research on them you would realize that there is a lot of hurt in these areas (edited for relevance to reading group)] Does it concern you that real people are dying daily? Real people are getting raped, abused, molested, and murdered on a daily basis. Does it concern you that a world that was created to be good and growing is dying because of our sin? Ever wonder why people are able to do the things they do? Are you also capable of rape, murder, or any other heinous crime?

If you think "no" then let me ask you this. What makes you better than them? You might be thinking, "Because I am a Christian." Sadly, Christians are not impervious to these crimes and are just as guilty of adultery, murder, molestation, and even theft. And just because you don't act on it doesn't mean you are not capable of it.

I've been reading a book [recently] called, Blue Like Jazz, written by Donald Miller, and while I was reading it he said something that really hit me. To give you some context, he is talking about how he grew up in church and knew all the answers, but he wasn't sure if he really followed what he said. He came to the conclusion he didn't love people.

"I sat there above the city wondering if I was like the parrot in Lewis' poem, swinging in my cage, reciting Homer, all the while having no idea what I was saying. I talk about love, forgiveness, social justice; I rage against American materialism in the name of altruism, but have I even controlled my own heart? The overwhelming majority of time I spend thinking about myself, pleasing myself, reassuring myself, and when I am done there is nothing to spare for the needy. Six billion people live in this world, and I can only muster thoughts for one. Me."

Have we controlled our hearts? Have we willingly, passionately sought after God and persistently asked Him to give us a concern for people? You may say, "But Austin, I am concerned. I don't want people in Africa to die of aids, or want others to be sold into the sex trade." Then what are you doing about it? You may not be able to physically save them from their sickness or their situation, but there are ways to support those who are, and prayer is the easiest.

It is so easy and yet so hard to be concerned about people when they are across the world, because you don't feel the need to be active in it. It is a reality that is only a facade. Sure you might pray about it every now and then, but you aren't being fully, passionately, involved in it. It doesn't count as concern if you put money in the offering plate or pray for them when you hear about it, and only do it a couple of times. That is a reaction of guilt and not authentic concern. But let me bring our love for people back to the U.S. Do you love your neighbor? Who is your neighbor?

Do you love God enough to deny yourself to do what He asks? Then why do you not deny your wants, fears, and time for people? God not only asks us to love people, it is His command. Are you willing to share your faith with them? That is one of the best ways you can show them love, by taking the gospel to them. And don't show love by your words only, show it by living your love for them as well. "Actions speak louder than words." Right?

And it is not always easy, in fact, oftentimes it will hurt, but when you choose, commit, and take action of loving them because you love God, then God can and will eventually give you His compassion for them.

So love people. I don't think I need to give specifics on how to love; everyone knows what it is. Treat them as you would want to be treated, love them as you love yourself.

Love God, Love People.


Free Time

This is what I do in my free time....

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Today was Wee

So I'm pretty sure that I can't get any sleep until I proclaim how awesome God is.

For those who don't know, I preached my very first sermon. Bona-fide, authentic, preaching, and God definitely worked through me in a way I didn't expect. I was shocked, amazed, at what God had been saying through me. I had so many people tell me that I did a good job, but all I could say is that it belonged to God. Jerry himself was like, "I was amazed at what came out of your mouth." Well he isn't alone. I was grateful that God was speaking to me, I was preaching to myself more than anything, because it was on things I was going through, and it led to people coming up for prayer, I was SHOCKED!! God blew me out of the water with His blessing and I cannot take any credit for any word I spoke. I only hope I can continually give Him full reign over my words in the sermons to come.

I was glad my parents were there to hear my first sermon. That meant a lot to me.

So basically, everyone was amazed at what I said, and I said what God told me, so everyone was amazed at the message God had for them. I am glad that He used me, and I hope he continues. At it seems a little direction has been given to me. In fact it was rather point blank, weee. I hope I can get a recording so I can see how to improve, and also, it might sound weird, so I won't forget the first experience of God using me in a way that was visible to me.

K I'm going to bed. As the proverb says "do not praise yourself with words, allow others to do so." I'm paraphrasing, but eh, you get the point. Nighty Night.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What If This Was Someone You Knew?

Today was interesting.

This last week, this week, and next week are all part of the missions rally here at Crossroads Fellowship, and we did something completely new for a missions rally. It was definitely an unusual, and non-traditional setting. The group titled it Coffee and Conversations. We basically set up our sanctuary like a coffee house. I really liked it a lot. And of course there would be nothing to do with the missions rally if they didn't share what is going on around the world and stuff right? Well I didn't know what they were going to talk about, but what they did share made me cry.

They talked about the Sex Trade that so many women and girls get sold into. Thousands of women are sold into the sex trade on a daily basis. The majority of this is located in southeast Asia, but it is a very real issue in most every part of the world. I think the average day involved a woman being with around 25 men a day. They are raped, molested, abused, the list goes on and on. I cannot see how people can be so cruel to each other. There are girls, some as young as 10 years old being sold into this slave/trade enterprise, and even more heinous is that they are just as involved into the sexual acts as the women who are in their late teens and early twenties. I am horrified, and deeply saddened at the state our world is in.

Yet again, a portion of my paradigm on life has completely shifted. This is a good thing, but sometimes it has to come in painful ways. This was a semi-painful experience, because my heart bleeds for these people. No woman should have to be forced to have sexual relations with another person. Harems, brothels, street prostitution, it's all disgusting, and deeply scarring to the people who have to do it for a living. Some people say that maybe that is their only way of making ends meet. I say, there is always a better solution, and if they haven't found it, then maybe we should be that better solution.

So many men treat women like they are sex goddesses, or as a trophy to claim that they've caught. It's no wonder so many women hate men, I want to hate us too. They become an idol in the life of the men who chase after them, and women too can be found to be in idolatry when they are relying on their significant other to be their fulfillment. Why can't we run to God for fulfillment?

I don't really know where I was going with that. I need sleep, I'm tired, and need to get up semi-early tomorrow. Night folks.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why are we stupid?

So I sit here, just chillaxin and about to watch a movie shown on the Disney Channel when I start to remember of all the things I've learned about my friends lives in the past weekend and it makes my heart ache. I love each and every one of my friends dearly, and I wish I could have gone to AWA with them, but still, I was glad to not have been there to a small degree this year. I have had multiple friends tell me how horrible their experience was because of two of my friends specifically being rude and completely inconsiderate of others. I am not going into detail, because it's not my place. But I am giving a small bit of information as a form of catharsis. I was so shocked to hear about them doing this, that I couldn't believe it the first time I heard it from someone. They have never acted that way before, as far as I can see, this was a new aspect of them I had never seen. Maybe we never really saw that in them because they didn't act that way towards us. Then what presented the opening of our blindness? It hurt even worse to hear of how they didn't give the people they called friends the time of day. One friend's birthday was completely forgotten about. *sigh*

I just don't understand why we as humans can be so fickle and vain. Thank God I am not God, haha I think I would have given them a spiritual backhand a while ago. But then again, I would have done the same to me. In fact, I think He already has a couple of times in the past.

Love... I don't have it, but God gives it to me. That's why I find it hard to hate people, and know that loving is hard to follow up on. I don't know if I'm making any sense. I guess I'm just rambling. k night.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Are You A Good Person?

I realize that my concerns for my family and friends on this issue may be unnecessary, but still I feel that I must post this for fear of my own conscience exploding.

Whether you believe a Christian, or not, the problem still remains. Are you really?

Let me just ask a few questions. I ask them because we will all be judged by God on Judgment Day according to the Ten Commandments, and it will be those very things that will condemn us to Hell.

Do you think you have kept the Ten Commandments?

Have you ever told a lie? That would make you a liar.

have you ever stolen anything, regardless of size or value (pen from work, answers off another persons test, cookies when mom wasn't looking, etc.)? That would make you a thief..

How about adultery? Jesus himself said, "You've heard it said in days of old 'you shall not commit adultery', but I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust is guilty of adultery with her in his heart." Are you guilty of lust? Then you are an adulterer.

Have you ever used God's name in vain? That is called blasphemy. We are using the name of the very God who created us and gave us life and substituting it for some 4 letter word to describe disgust or filth.

So if you admit to these things, then you would be a lying thieving blasphemous adulterer at heart, and God is going to judge you according to that on Judgment Day. If you were judged today do you think you would be innocent or guilty? Would you go to heaven or hell?

If you think you would go to heaven, let me ask you something. If something was stolen from your house, would you want that person to come under justice and be punished for his crimes? If the judge is a good judge he will do just that, how much more so will God judge us for every little thought, action, even every word? God is furious with us and our sin.

If you are going to Hell then are you concerned about it? Do you not fear your very life and the eternal consequences of your heinous crimes against God? Do you want to change that?

God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to die on the Cross for the crimes, the sins, of the world. He died to save you from the destiny of eternal punishment, and torment in Hell. All He asks you to do is to repent and have faith in Him. Have faith in the one who saved you and confess Him as your Lord and Savior.

If you are truly repentant then God will hear your prayer and enter into your life, saving you from most certain death.

Again, maybe my concerns are unneeded, but I would hate to see you burn eternally in Hell when I knew I could do something to change it. I would hate to see you in eternal punishment period.

Thanks for reading through this all the way. I hope that it has helped you, and if you already are a born-again believer, share this with those who aren't.

Much Love to you all.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I have a lot on my mind lately, and yet, I can't even bring it into a comprehensible conglomeration of anything. Not even a pile of mess, just one big chaotic vortex. Today was the first day of the missions conference we are having at our church. We had a missionary talk to us for a few minutes over the internet... one of those video teleconference things. It was really cool, and good to see how God is working over there in Mongolia. And then this evening Larry talked about being there for each other. He used a passage in Ecclesiastes that was talking about how two are better than one. He did a good job, and it played right into the missions theme we had, which was completely unintentional, and I find that even more amazing. God used his message and gave him that message before he even knew how it was coming to come out... fascinating.

I actually had a peculiar thought this morning. It could be nothing, or it could be a huge change in my life. When watching one of videos, I had a sudden urge to learn counseling and go to Chile to become a marriage counselor, because Chileans have a 50% divorce rate. 1/2 of all the people who get married will get divorced, that's so sad! Again, random thought.

The AC isn't working in the house right now >_< and boy is it HOOOTT!! I think the last time I saw the thermometer it said the house was at 90 degrees! But even in all this heat, I am content.

I probably did something completely dangerous spiritually today. I told God to break me. I asked Him, begged Him to do it. I feel like I need it. I'm tired of getting the glancing blows, and just gotten to the point where I'm like "God, just hit me." I know I need it, and I guess getting to the point of brokenness is also getting to the point of understanding the abundant life that God has promised us. I don't think I ever reached that stage of "going into the deeper life" and I think that is where a lot of my problems come from. Then again, who knows. Maybe I experienced it before, but I just need to get back into it.

I have to preach next Sunday evening. I am completely unprepared, and at the same time, my message is already complete. I don't really understand how that works, but God has it, and I know that if it is in His hands then it will be what He wants it to be; regardless of length or word play.

I guess I got my thoughts out now... huzzah!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Epic Weddings

So today was pretty good. I got up around 8am for practice at church which started at 9am and we went over this and that. I thought it went really well, and I think I'm beginning to mesh in with the group and able to follow the way it's headed very well.

Then I spent most of the afternoon playing Kingdom Hearts II.... I forgot how much I HATE Atlantica... "worst world evar!!!"

Then, the best part about today, is that I got to go to a wedding at the church. I don't the couple very well, but from what I do know of them, they are some pretty cool people. The wedding was unlike any I had been to. They even had communion served, which was pretty awesome! The reception afterwards was an actual dinner, I was shocked. It was tasty. I even got to drink some sparkly grape juice ^_^

I also caught the garner... although that really wasn't that hard to do since I was the only single man there. >_< I don't know if that constitutes a good thing or not haha.

I thought I was going to Epic this year... I was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately Jerry said no, because he wasn't going to have many people left on his worship team if I left. Most of the worship team people are leaders that are going. Which kicks me out.... and Tsunami is up in that air as well. That makes me a little upset, but I guess I will just have to get used to it. Sorry guys. Erik, will you tell Cristina for me? Appreciate it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trusting God

I find it hard to trust God sometimes, don't you? I mean, so often we say, "God is in control," or "The Lord will provide. He's our Jehova Jira." And we say it to other people meaning full-heartedly, and it IS true, but I think that many times we don't believe it in our hearts. It is only a head knowledge. When push comes to shove we find ourselves hesitant to trust God with anything. We just have to have control of our own lives. We want our lives to go right, and we oftentimes forget that it is us who are the problem.

God has been really "hammering" it into me about trusting Him lately. I mean, my car was working off and on for about a month (thankfully though it is finally fixed, thanks to God's provision through parents ^_^), starting next month I will be giving more than I feel that I can financially afford in my tithe because God has asked me to, and then there is the feeling that God is being silent on certain questions that I have been asking Him. What does my ministry look like (just a hint... please?)? Is the girl I'm dating now the girl I'm going to marry? What should I even focus my attention on in college, what major? And, of course, this is all future focused, but who doesn't want at least a little direction? Besides, what I plan on doing in the future affects how I act now. Knowing what my ministry may look like will affect how I study, and who I marry affects how I treat other women (should I continue to seek that "perfect girl" or should I fence myself off?). Do you see what I mean? These are valid and logical things to be concerned about, but I have no answers to them. Ever feel like that?

And then there are comments people make, whether they said it off-handedly, were serious, or just goofing off, it can seriously affect our thought patterns. We may want to trust ourselves in doing something more than trusting God. We ask God to help us with the big things, but so often not the small things; and it's easy to trust Him with the small things sometimes, but hard to trust with the big things. Why can't we trust Him with all things?

For instance, tithing. Say you get payed $1,000 a month. You pay room and board for $700, and you give $100 for tithe, which leaves you with a mere $200 for whatever you may need (gas, car repairs, clothes, etc.) You feel like you have hardly any money for yourself right? Now let's throw God into the mix by him asking you to give an additional $50 to the Great Commission Fund in order to help out a missionary. What is your reaction? My initial reaction would probably be along the lines of, "God I can't do that, I wouldn't have enough money for a month's worth of gas. I barely have enough now!" But God gives us a promise concerning tithes in Malachi 3:10:

Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

So He tells us that He will bless us until there is no more need. Obviously, He is going to cover your costs. God is not a poor God, and how many times do we forget that? He has an infinite supply of riches that He can give to provide for our lack.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17

I don't want this to be just about money. We should trust Him with Everything.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

He isn't going to let us down. Both Philippians 3:3-4 and 1 Corinthians 1:9 talk about not relying on ourselves, on our flesh, to do things right, to make things work, but to fully rely on God.

So whether it is getting up early every morning and spending an hour in prayer and reading the Bible, or if it is giving/buying a car for someone who needs it, or even paying for their repairs, God has your back. Whether it is ending friendships because they are leading you down a path that can't be good morally, physically, or spiritualy; or staying in the army for 4 more years, whatever God has you doing, you should do with faith and hope that God is going to protect you, and use you, and bless you for your obedience. Wherever we are, we are there for a reason.

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."
Isaiah 12:2

He is our strength, we have no need to fear. We have to ourselves out of the way and allow Him to do what He wants in our lives.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5

He will never leave nor forsake us. So why should we be worried about money? I'm not saying we should spend the money recklessly, that is poor stewardship of what we have been given, but I am saying that if God asks us to do something we should do it without worry, fear, and without argument. I know that is not easy. I constantly find myself arguing with God about what He is asking me to do (very much like Moses), but what matters the most is if I obey Him. Either He is my Master and I serve Him, or He is no one and I serve myself. We cannot server ourselves if He is our Master, if we are His slaves we don't need to worry about us. He is going to take care of us and bless us for serving Him.

And God's provision will oftentimes come in ways we do not expect, and certainly doesn't look like anything we may hope for; but the provision is still there and god is not going to let His sons and daughters be forgotten.

This is kind of a "sermonette" of what I'm working on for my first "sermon" that I will be preaching in two weeks. It may be 10 minutes long, it may be 2 hours... I doubt it though. Hopefully it will fall in at least 20 haha. So this is my experience mixed with my need to prepare a sermone mixed with my thoughts on life, etc. Tis all, kbye!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Committees are Commitless

Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late – and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in Scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.
~A.W. Tozer

So I am sitting here in a hotel room at a “Pastor's retreat” where they do this and that. It is quite the interesting set up actually, and I find it neat to see how the inner workings of the church are proceeding, at the very least, in the denomination of the C&MA. It is amazing to hear what people have to say about the ministry that is happening presently at the church, and I am glad to see that the American church is not completely off the mark when we aim. However, I also get to see committee meetings and board meetings and I find that I am oftentimes very very frustrated with the church. I find myself asking questions about the topics that are brought up. People are so concerned about the risk, but does anyone ever think that perhaps, oh I don't know, GOD IS IN CONTROL?!

Honestly, I am tired of hearing of how they want to do “x” but when it comes down to doing it, they back out and make excuses. “The insurance will increase by $$” or, whatever the excuse they have currently, but you know, I think we should not judge by whether it will be successful, or failure, but rather, I think we should take risks knowing that God has our back in the things that don't make sense and He is going to protect, and guide the ministry in the direction He wants it to go, when He wants it to go, if only we would be willing to listen and obey.

I thought the quote I started this post with, is really quite fitting for my generation. I remember last year at TFC everyone and their great granny would say, “We want a revival,” and “something is coming.” And they were right in the fact something was coming, I myself felt it from time to time, but you know, I don't think it was what we expected it to look like, and so many people want to see revival, but they are not willing to look at themselves and get right with God, and THAT is where it all starts in my opinion. You can pray until the cows come home for revival, but if your heart, and your attitude are not in the right place. If you are not willing to examine yourself and confess where there needs to be confessing, etc. Then certainly you cannot expect a revival to happen.

Then again, maybe we have come to the point in time, where revivals are no longer going to happen. Maybe we have come so close to return of Christ, that we don't even realize that it might be right next to us. So many people say that “We are closer than we have ever been before.” Yeah, that's true, but so were the people who lived in the 20s. When they were living, they were closer than ever before at that point. So really that statement is really vague, and I don't think I like it.

I've discovered that I might be a little too literal with stuff, which is probably why I'm terrible at reading between the lines, unless I know the people really well (aka Dark Boys, and a few other people). I am very literal, and I think some people might find offensive when I tell them the literal truth. So many sugar coat the truth that I got fed up with it, and I think when all is said and done, the people I unintentionally offended are actually thankful that I told them the truth without making it sound tasty. I don't know, maybe this is all in my head, and I'm just some nut case. then again, what if I'm right? What if this institution we call evangelism, or the church, really needs some major improvements in the American Harem? I'm tired of seeing people stuck in that Christian Ghetto, and I am willing to do what I must to help them out of the sludge of the slums, even if it means I need to be literal, or perhaps slightly offensive. And that, really, is just what is ingrained in my personality. I know I could be more sensitive to people, but at the same time, some people need to be a little less sensitive, or maybe I'm too callous to care, but I really do not believe this is the case.

So in a nutshell of what this entire post is saying, I guess, is that I don't want to see the American Church get deep fried by God's wrath because we didn't obey his word, and decided to talk about improvements instead of making them.

k done for now.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Ghostly Double

Bloodied katana in hand and wounds all across his body, Ryan fell to his knees. In all of the kingdom there was no one who could defeat him. Not a single enemy he has ever faced beaten him in combat, and somehow he managed to stay unknown except for the special few who he could call, friends. He did not have different alias', nor did he hide the fact that he was a warrior. There were just no survivors. Every time he was challenged, he ultimately ended up killing them, except, of course, for the times he would go training with his friends, and another trainee would come up to challenge the “weakling” that stood before them. Ryan was not small, but he certainly did not look the strongest either. He was clumsy, air headed at times, and all together seemingly oblivious, but with all these things that should make a horrid warrior, Ryan, was one of the best, and had never been defeated except by the one who trained him, the one who had the patience to teach the unteachable creature, humanity. Today however was different, because today he battled himself. His wants, desires, and emotions formed itself into a perfect copy of himself, and it hit him hard.

The two had parried, sliced, jumped, ducked, and hit all at the same time, there was no way to avoid the attacks that left him open, and those attacks created the scars he would soon wear. For every slash that hit his ghostly double took, he received one as well. It was as if his body and his soul were fighting each other, here in the very depths of the dark forest that was oftentimes his favorite place to sit and think in reclusion from society. At one point, Ryan shot what could be called shards of ice at his clone from the palm of his hand, to which his misty image replied by sending a ball of fire, the very fire that fueled his passions, into the shards causing an explosive amount of energy to push both of them back in opposite directions. If anyone had been watching, they would have thought that it became a battle of good and evil, but if dreams, desires, and emotions, are good, then was the clone the good guy?

Ryan fell onto the dirtied earth and dropped his sword, blood now flowing over his eyes making it hard see. The fight had been long. So often the warrior is told to harness their anger, to allow no emotion in battle because it affects judgment, but these very same disciplines seem to have limited him from defeating himself. He could see it in the ghostly eyes of his clone. The double raised his sword, turned it upside down, and stabbed downwards. Ryan closed his eyes preparing for the strike, but none came. When he ventured to open his eyes again he was surprised by what he saw. The very sword he had dropped when he fell in defeat, was sticking strait out of the ground, and the double was nowhere to be seen. The only true evidence of his battle were the stripes of red painted all across his body, which were now soaking the soft floor where he lay. And there he laid for what seemed like an eternity, unwilling to move, unable to think, just weeping incessantly, unable to stop, sobbing wretchedly; and he let the tears come. For too long had he held them in, too long had he hidden his sadness and his pain; and then, he screamed. He screamed so loud and long that his voice became scratchy, and his energy was completely wasted, and it was there, drained as he was, that the only woman he had ever loved so deeply and passionately as he did, found him.

Without saying a word she came alongside him, helped him stand, and took him to a natural made bench where they sat in silence. Her care for him was so moving to the observer that it would bring anyone to tears. She never said a word to him, but merely put her arms around him, kissing him gently, and humming quietly. Ryan had never told her, but the very song she always hummed was the one he loved the most since his childhood, and it always soothed the giant he felt resided inside him. Today the giant had reared his head, and Ryan had lost.

The return journey would seem like an eternity, and many more battles would await Ryan as he walked the path known as life. The double would reappear from time to time, and each time Ryan's love, his passion, his “Angel” would come alongside him, and help him up. The life of Ryan has many more stories that could be told, but this particular tale is at an end, the rest must be saved for another chapter, another day, another moment in life, when things sometimes make the least sense. That is when tales of Ryan come around again, and that is when courage is instilled in the hearts of men.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The picture above is of a "rock band" named L70ETC go to youtube and look up L70ETC murloc song. Hehe.

Who would have thought that I was featured on WoW? I think this is going to be my new profile pic...


See How Much I Love You...

It's hard to see how God loves us sometimes. I know He does, but right now I don't feel it at all. I mean let me put it this way. Today, and yes it really is about 5:45am, I am getting ready to go to the prayer meeting which starts at 6:00am and I get in my car, turn the key, the engine starts to crank, and then everything dies. I am almost positive it's an electrical problem... anyway, normally I would think "Um...k... not a HUGE deal, I have time and I can get it fixed." However, right now I actually want to freak out because:
a) Honestly, I might not have the finances for this, and
b) I am supposed to go home today, how am I going to get there without a car?

And I know that "God is in control," but still when stuff like this happens, and you know God has the power to fix it, sometimes... I just don't feel the love. *sigh*

I was really sick Sunday with some kind of 24 hour stomach virus, yuck! Ironically though, I got a good life lesson out of puking, aside from the fact that puking, though horrible in feeling, actually is a lot quicker than siting on the toilet for three hours every hour (I know that's a bit of a paradox, but oh well). I learned, or maybe was reminded, that surrendering to God isn't always pleasant, you know? People are always saying, myself included, "Oh, if you just surrender that to God, He'll take care of it." This is true, however, I don't think people really take into account how painful that can be sometimes when we say it. Just a thought.

So since I missed the prayer meeting and all, I guess I am going to go back to bed for a few more hours before all my stress hits me in the face. I hope I don't have to ask one of my parents to come and get me... that would insanely inconvenient.

I have recently just returned to my home, sadly missing the funeral of my landlord's mother-in-law, but still happy to the fact that I only paid $30.11 to have my car fixed. Which is much better than the original $230 that was projected if I had gotten my starter replaced. Thank you Lord for it only being loose wiring.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Why is it so hard to give up on the things that I enjoy the most? Now I am not talking about sin, despite the fact that I enjoy sin, it is only for a moment and then I feel terrible. No, I am talking about doing things I enjoy doing, such as, posting on this blog, watching anime, etc. Why is it so hard to give up on things like that? Most of you are probably wondering what I'm babbling about so I guess I can give a bit of info to reveal why I ask a question such as this.

I have this program on my computer called covenant eyes, and it works a lot like does, except it is probably a little better and you have to pay for it. Jerry has put this on my computer using the church account... I digress. Covenant Eyes basically watches every website you go to and sends the links to your accountability partner letting them know if you have looked at porn and what not. So everyone knows I enjoy going to Deviant Art to post my poetry, stories, and pictures, as well as reading from friends and such. However, DeviantArt comes up as an "might as well be porn" kind of site. Which makes me sad, because I DON'T look at those kinds of photos, but they are all over the website I guess. And so because I want to keep my honor, I need to stop using DeviantArt. If only for a time, but maybe for the rest of my life. See it's things like that, that makes me go, "DO I HAVE TO?" and I find myself fighting everything in my body to say, "I will do it, so that I do not harm the ministry God has for me." Everything in me wants to say, "screw this program, I'm not looking at porn, therefore no big." But if I look at it carefully I see that I could get fired from any job by looking at DeviantArt because the amount of sexual content that can so easily be found on it. *sigh* It sucks having to deny myself, but I know it's good for me.

So, all that led me to say. Why is it so hard to quit the things I enjoy? I know the answer, but I constantly ask myself that from time to time. Just like when I put my class ring in the offering plate because I felt like God was telling me to do so, again I find myself having the same feeling. It is a fight between my flesh and my spirit. My flesh tells me to keep the ring, keep looking at DeviantArt, keep doing "x" and logically it would make sense to do those things because they aren't sinful things (of course, there are those few exceptions, but I think you get the point). However, my spirit wants to obey God, it wants to do what is right in His sight, it wants to be consumed by the burning fire of God's love, and in turn, light the lives of those around it.

"I do the things I do not want to do, and do not do the things I want to do."

How fitting...

And on a completely different note. Why are the things you want to do so hard at times?
For instance, if you didn't know, I have a financial problem... I can't control myself in spending it a lot of times. This internship is going to be good for me because it will force me to be frugal with my money, but still I find it hard. It's not that I don't WANT to be a good steward, it's just that I don't have any discipline in doing so, and now I am paying the price. My grades, and money are the most prominent example of my lack of discipline. I guess subconsciously I am always looking for an easy way out, though I know those don't exist. At least not if you want everyone to be happy. There are some easy ways out, but they end up hurting someone, so really they aren't the best options. I keep telling myself that I need to "just buckle down and do it." But when push comes to shove I almost always don't do it. I hate that about myself. I want to change it, but many times it feels like a goal that is so far out of reach that I just want to give up on it. I want to get married, but the more I think about my responsibilities I would have, the more I see that there is no way I am prepared to make such a commitment.

I'm such a slob. I have to get better, but I know I can't do it by myself. Sometimes I need people to come beside me and drag me out of my drunken stupor (spiritually, of course) and maybe even give me a nice kick in the face to get me moving again. I have people in my life who are good at it, but still... *shrugs* I don't know. I think I'm just rambling now.

I'm done.