Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Train Wreck

I can't say I understand how I've been feeling lately. There are a number of things it could be I suppose, but as far as knowing what event triggered the feeling, or what perception created the response, I have nothing to go on.

Perhaps, I am just under spiritual attack. Perhaps, I am seen as a threat to my enemy and they do not want me to do what I am supposed to do. Perhaps, my pride has snuck up on me, and as such I haven't been keeping it in check. Perhaps, my body decided to attack itself emotionally leaving me in the cross-fire. Whatever the reason be, I am thoroughly confused on why it has occured.

Did I lose my armor? Did I take it off subconsciously? Is it too small? Is it time for new armor? Or is this all in my head, and I just need to find the core of the problem within myself? Like feeling that people do not have confidence in me when it comes to "leading worship". Maybe, it is both. It is entirely possible that I am simaltaneously getting attacked and leaving myself open to that attack because of something going on inside me.

Yesterday, I played the piano, and did not feel better. For the first time in a long time I played music and it did not help, in fact, it made it worse. And what's more, and I know this is ridiculous, but I felt like some people just did not have the time for me, like I was not important enough for them. Now... I know that this was not the truth; my heart knew it, and my mind knew it, but still something within me said otherwise. It was stupid, and irrational, and I'm still confused on why I thought it. People are busy, this always happen during this time of the semester. Big projects are due, school gets the better of most, and there are all those extra curricular stuff to go with it. So like I said, stupid and irrational.

I need to stop angsting. Don't know what's gotten into me. I have class, and nothing else to say at the moment because I've lost my train of thought.

Grace and Peace

Friday, November 7, 2008

Is The World Really Doomed?

It seems to me that everyone has their opinion on the election, and even though everyone is entitled to their opinion, it seems that many of them are a little over-the-top exaggerated to an extreme. Of course, I am also speaking from the perspective of a man who lives in Toccoa Falls, GA, where most everyone is a large McCain advocate and think that the world is going to end now that Obama is president. However, the world is still here, and it's going to be here after we are gone.

So, here's my view.

I think that both candidates had/have very positive attributes, as well as negative attributes. Both politicians had stances that can be morally agreed with, and both had some that could not be tolerated. I think that the candidate that we as the nation of the U.S.A. have made a good choice. I think that Obama will attempt to do the things he said he would. Many of which are positive. But he is human, and he is not perfect, and as such we as Christians, cannot expect him to have perfect moral standards. Christians themselves do not have such a thing, but we try.

Barak Obama is not a muslim, and for the record he is a mix between black and white. I think that sometimes Christians have a tendency to panic about the negative side of things (such as movies like the Golden Compass, and Obama's position on abortion, etc.) that we lose sight of the positives that surround that negative. We panic over the trivial rather looking at the larger picture. Don't misunderstand me, Obama's positions on some things are not trivial issues, but in comparison to the bigger picture it is really small. The world will change not by our attacks against legality issues, the world will change one heart at a time.

When we love people regardless of what they believe, regardless of what lifestyle they choose, then their hearts will begin to see the difference between "us" (believers) and "them" (non-believers). And as the "us" and "them" becomes the "us" the world will begin to change in a more positive way. Although this track is not an easy one, it is one worth pursuing.

Of course, so many times have we heard this message "preached"/shared/voiced, so the real question is, will we take it to heart? Or will we ignore the truth? *shrugs* The choice is up to each individual.

Grace and Peace

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What A Bloody Mess

Life provides interesting twists. Never have I felt so close and yet so distant to a situation. I know it's good to step back and look at the bigger picture, but when did so much adversity arise. Although, much of it is self-induced, because I worry way too much.

No, I will not reascend my decision. I have full confidence in this, not only in the God I serve (who guide my every way), but also in my ability to hear Him. So I'm left with the problem of how can I share my heart in this way, to show what I see, and to see what He sees, and to show it to those around me?

The great thing about God, is that He does not affect your free will, and that He will allow you to make decisions and follow whichever path you choose, with His blessings following you (though depending on the path, the blessings may vary). The really frustrating thing about God, is that He does not affect your free will, and that He will allow you to make decisions and follow whichever path you choose.

So this path I chose... will I lose blessings? Yes. Will I gain others? Yep. Will I embark on a path that was much harder than the previous one? Absolutely. Do I trust God enough to reveal to me where I am messing up and to stop me when necessary? Yes. Is He trying to stop me in this? From what I can see, He's encouraging me further. So what then creates the haze, and the hesitation? Adversity.

I value my friends opinions, I trust them to tell me what's going on and to share it in a way that does not equal death. However, I realize that they can be wrong, and sometimes (perhaps) God reveals only part of the whole so that they can create adversity. Because it is in adversity that I become confident in my decisions. It is in adversity that my trust and faith in God gets tested, and He pulls me through. It is in adversity that I grow and become strong. And life just does not stay interesting without a little risk, and a little adversity.

Thus, I will continue on, and I will press through, and I will trust Him to teach me and correct me, and encourage, and refine me. Because He is good, and if I did not trust Him, then there really is no one I can trust.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One Bloody Rose

First day back and it has certainly been an interesting day. It's been nice to see everyone again, and on the plus side of that, most people seemed to have been relieved of some type of burden over the weekend. I guess there were many people who needed to have some days off from school, and life in general. Perhaps, it was not everyone, but many people seemed lighter to say the least.

However, there is still a darkness that seems to cover this campus. Perhaps, it is just the cycle of life. We all have those days, months, maybe even years, when nothing seems to go right. I know I have had my fair share of them, and none of those times have been pleasant, but they have all proved to benefit me in some way, and that is just the way God works I suppose.

It made me genuinely happy to see my friends happy, and having a good day, and it makes me genuinely sad when they are sad. I'm such a sponge of the atmosphere surrounding them, that they could tell me something completely opposite of what is the truth and I would know deep down that they were not being honest with me. I'm not sure why, but I've always been like that.

I've learned something recently... life has phases, oh so many phases, and interestingly enough, even though one's perspective may change because these phases, that does not mean that the situations themselves have changed. For instance, since freshman year at college my interaction with my friends has gotten more sporadic and less consistent, whether by busy class schedules, or anything else that can occur, but my caring for them, and my concern on their behalf have not changed. I would easily drop everything I'm doing to go to their side, whether as a support, or just someone to listen; whatever the need I will fulfill it if I can. That's what I do, that's who I am, and I cannot change that, nor do I want to.

I feel kinda sad. I'm not sure why... perhaps it is because I know that a friend is probably going to get hurt with the path he is taking, and I hope that I am wrong.

Well, considering I can't seem to arrange my thoughts any further in a coherent fashion I'm going to stop here. Just got to keep praying, and watching, and waiting, and helping where I can.

Grace and Peace

Monday, October 20, 2008

Life 101

Don't really know what to blog about, just felt like it was time for an update.

Life is going pretty well. I've been thrown through a refining fire and came out the other side. Got the burns to prove it too (not literally, just fyi. I'm still physically sound). God has certainly had His way with me, and that's the way it should be. I am talking with Him in ways that I had forgotten about. I don't fee like I'm yelling across a chasm anymore, which is wonderful. I missed being able to just sit in His lap and be. Not that the offer wasn't there; it has always been there, but I somehow learned to ignore it. Shame on me.

For most of the semester I have had to use a friends computer because both my MAC lappy and my PC desktop are kind of... malfunctioning, heh. However, through good parents and God's provision I now have a "new to me" laptop that will satiate my compy needs. Yay, God! Yay, Parents! Once again He proves to me just how much of a Jehaovah Jira He is.

I guess that's all I got for now. Until later.

Grace and Peace

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Looking Down From Above

"I stand above the earth. With acute hearing, I listen to the happenings below me, watching, waiting, looking for something (or someone) that I know needs to be found. Once I find it, I will leap down, and pick it up, only to bring it into the healing it has always wanted."


I cannot begin to explain how real that statement feels to me lately. I feel like I can "hear" people's deepest secrets. It's not that they are coherent, and so I know everything about them, but I know that they are being expressed in the most subtle of ways. From the smile that does not reach the eyes, to the joke that forces a laughter from one full of sorrow, to the genuine joy of knowing Christ's love. Everyone's lifesong seems to overwhelm me. I'm not used to this feeling, and I'm not sure how to handle it yet. It's like discovering you can hear people's thoughts, and not knowing how to dim the ones that are not as important as others. And though I don't think I'm actually hearing these things, there is definitely a distinct presence about people, and I am often overcome with the feeling to pray for them immediately even when I'm a good seventy feet away. My only solitude from the noise is an "oasis" that I essentially live on when I'm not on the ground.

What does it all mean? I couldn't tell you, even if I knew ^_^ It is such a personal picture I don't think that my mind can fully comprehend the depth of it all, but my spirit does, and as I commune with God I will gradually understand it. I feel as though I am a protector. My purpose is not to engulf myself in war, though it may have it's place, but rather I am to train those who are, and not just train them, but protect them, until they are ready. I have a smithy... I'm sure it will come in hand later in life. Perhaps, I'll be able to equip these people I am protecting.

Really, it's quite fascinating.

My heart is weighted down by these "secrets" though. I feel very sad for some people, and overcome with joy and happiness for others. I definitely need to learn how to handle this new "power" soon so I don't go crazy in a panicked state. heh.

Grace and Peace.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Experiential Experiences

This weekend... has been great.

I did not get a ton of rest, but when has one ever gotten sleep at youth retreats?

The main theme was this concept of having our identity in Christ. Which was wonderful, because there are so many different names that Christ gives us. For instance, instead of believing the lie of our name being "worthless" we can be confident of the true name which is "valued"; instead of weak there is "strength"... the names are endless.

I got a new name this weekend. It made me happy.

And I got to practice some of my spiritual gifts. That also made me happy.

And I had another vision today related to the last one I posted. That one made me so happy I almost cried.

hurray God.

Grace and Peace

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Something Interesting

So I've decided to read through the gospels in my personal quiet time with God. I've never really read through them on my own, so I figured why not?

So while reading in Matthew 27 I came across this passage (51-53) that immediately after Christ's death:

"At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

OK, so I've never EVER have seen the part highlighted in green before today. Seriously, it's like we feel uncomfortable, or don't know how to explain it, so we skip that detail. This is not a minor detail. People are raised from the dead and did not just go away. They stayed around for a while.

So, here is where I would love some interaction. Why is this part of the passage in here? Why did it happen? Why has no one ever spoken of this in any sermon?

And if there are any other questions you want to ask (and answer if you wish) feel free.

Begin Discussion.... NOW!

Grace and Peace

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Given Some Hope

"I walk up to the door, the rain is pouring over my head, and I look through the window in the door. Before me stands a beautiful woman dressed in white. She is smiling. In her arms there is an infant, which is also dressed in white. The child is staring at me with intense blue with green eyes, and there is recognition behind them. She is my daughter and I am her father. What a beautiful pair they make. The two most beautiful women in the world are standing in my house waiting for my return."

That is what I saw today... and I almost cried. Today has absolutely sucked. I have felt like there was a void pulling at me, begging me to fill it when I had just created it. I had to cut myself off from something that was so important to me, that it became too important. Now, that hole that was created begs to be filled, and it makes me feel empty and alone. Of course, I'm never alone. God gave me this vision to give me hope. I'm excited to see what else He has for me to see, no matter how depressing and cold the vortex may get, I will walk over it and move on.

Besides... it will be filled soon enough with something better, and something God gave me rather than me giving it to myself.

Grace and Peace

Monday, September 15, 2008

With My Head Held High

Where to even begin?

I guess a good place to start is to state how happy I am to have a friend who is willing to let me use his computer for the semester/year? However long it takes to replace my current one, that is on the brink of falling to pieces. *shrugs* Thank you Lord for provision. You're a great daddy.

But what more is there? I wish I could adequately put it into words. There is so much going on in the "shadows" that I can't even see it all. Between being told of the idols in my life, showed where I can, and, really, must adjust accordingly (like shattering those idols [some seem physically, heh]), and having spiritual gifts revealed to me. This semester is turning out to be one full of absolute awe of God, joy in His promises, pain in His teaching, and much much more.

"The battle began three years ago, and we have been at a stalemate these long years, but the tide will soon turn, and the enemy will have no where to run."

I'm incredibly excited to see where God is leading me. Although, it has already proved to be a very scary plummet into the darkness. I have had to place the things that I desire the most, the things that seem the most beautiful to me, upon the altar and walk away. One day, some of those things may be given back to me, but for now, I will only focus on one thing. My Master. He is teaching me, stretching me, striking my heart where the poison seeps in, and removing it. He and I have done some sparring and He kicked my butt, however, now I think I can be more open to what He has to say, where if I had not struggled with Him I would not have so apt to listen to His ever gentle, firm, and loving voice. He is definitely an awesome sensei.

These past couple of days have probably been some of the hardest I have experienced to date, and yet, I could not keep my eyes of Jesus. He is such a beautiful Bridegroom, and such a good lover. He knows exactly what I need to hear to keep me going, and He lets me lean on Him. He stretches me in the places I need stretching and pushes me beyond my limits to increase my skill. I would be completely unworthy of His love if it were not for the fact that He deemed me worthy with His sacrifice. I can honestly say, I'm glad it's all about Him.

I think I can now hold my head up high, knowing that no matter what happens, He will be there beside me; fighting with me, fighting for me. How could I have ever forgotten what communion with God is like? Those idols were separating us more than I thought... wow.

Thank you Abba, for being such a forgetfully forgiving God, but amazingly remembering all the good you have promised. Thank you for not forgetting me, and for fixing all the toys I broke :)

Grace and Peace

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm really not sure what to make of everything that's been going on lately. Being told things by God that I can't share with the person it's intended for. Being told I have the gift of prophecy and then putting it into practice almost immediately and being right (shocker I know). Being given a new promise by God that I can stand on, given a rebuke with His love surrounding it, and the fact that there is so much going on at the campus spiritually. I'm completely at a loss as to where to start or what to do. I feel like I'm being pulled along and I haven't caught up with the pace of things yet.

Don't know what I can share and what I can't, but change is coming, and it's going to flood the nations in the end.

Conviction came first for me. After a few days of just trying to readjust to using a "new" gift God came down on me with a rebuke. A rebuke for causing trouble where I should have brought peace, a rebuke for being overly cynical towards "conservatives" and the conservatism that follows. I see now how wrong I was, and I know God has forgiven me for it, but He is sealing my mouth from topics such as those until I learn to mind my tongue. He even told me "watch your mouth"... which is essentially the equivalent to getting your mouth washed out with soap. NOT PLEASANT!

There is more coming, much more. Hurt is going to be a returning theme this semester, along with a side of "ouch" and "will I ever make it through this?" However, God is good, and in Love He is going to raise me up as I submit to His will. I don't say this with pride, except for pride in my God whom deserves all praise, but rather in awe, to see that God cares so much is amazing.

Now for vague, yay!

Swords are being left behind, for fellow soldiers to take.
The ranks are starting to flee, but if they only had confidence in Christ, it would be so much different now.

People are running from their calling, Too deaf to hear God's comforting voice,
The idols are everywhere, including within my own heart.

God is giving him another chance, but if he fails, must I take his place?
Will I be given the task of taking his sword, strengthening it, and using it myself? Or will God give it to another?

All the things that make no sense.... Will one day become clear...

Grace and Peace

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Gods Aren't Angry

So I just finished watching a Rob Bell dvd titled, "The Gods Aren't Angry". In this video Bell (essentially) talks about God revolutionized our concept of religion. We don't have to appease our God with our blood, with sacrifices, with giving what is most important to us. We don't have to earn His friendship... He reversed it, and gave His most precious thing. God, through Christ's sacrifice, created a peace between Him and All Things in Heaven and on Earth. Phenomenal.

Not to mention, because God IS love, He infects those who follow Him, and people's lives change when they encounter the resurrected Christ. Bell told a few stories that just really touched my heart, and it reminded me of something. How often has God cradled me in his arms and just loved on me? Way too many times I could ever count for sure. In a way God was reminding me through this that He is my provider, and despite all my problems, He will come through for me because He IS love and He loves me. It was also a great reminder that I could never do anything to earn God's approval, nothing to get Him to like me, absolutely nothing I could ever say or do would ever earn God's protection. What a wonderful feeling.

All that to say I would suggest that YOU (the reader) should watch this dvd and look at it critically. I also would suggest watching "Everything Is Spiritual" which is also a very intriguing sermon. Good stuff to really just think over.

Grace and Peace

Friday, August 8, 2008

Rant, Satire, Or Perhaps Some Truth?

Maybe I'm just crazy, but is it possible that we put too much weight on prophecy? It seems that every time someone talks about having a word from God for someone, or having one spoken to themselves that they accept it freely. I think that we often forget that our prophets are human, and they can be wrong. I have yet to meet someone who can use their gift perfectly and even fewer still who will claim it.

Don't get me wrong, I think that the spiritual gift of prophecy is important, just as is healing, discernment, teaching, words of wisdom, of knowledge, and any other spiritual gift. However, in my personal experience, me getting a word of prophecy has never been a completely life changing event. It usually ends up being a subtle thing, and in general a word of encouragement. I think that sometimes we get a little out of control with the amount of emphasis we put on things. Like the Bible, our spiritual gifts are meant to further our understanding of God, both for others and for ourselves. However, the main purpose and main focus is still God.

Another thing, and this is something that bugs me, why would you tell someone that you need to tell them something, but not tell them because God told you to wait? I mean why would you do that? That's like saying, "I have some cake, but you can't have any." Not only is it inconsiderate, but it drives the one you say it to crazy. If you can't tell me yet, don't even tell me there is something to say, because I'm going to start worrying about it, and I'm pretty sure that's how most will react.

Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but aren't we putting too much stock into our spiritual gifts? Especially those of prophecy and tongues? It's like the others are forgotten which already gives me a red flag. But isn't life about stepping out in the dark hoping it's the right direction and trust that God will stop you when it isn't the right direction? When has any of us really knew what God intends for us more than a few steps ahead? Sometimes, those steps are years in advance, but that doesn't mean you know all the things that will happen in between each step. Life is a mystery, and I think God intended it to be. With a mystery, there are questions to ask, and who better to ask than the Creator? Doesn't having a mystery to solve edge us closer to the one with the answers? Could it really be all about getting closer to God? *gasp* who knew?

And, for me personally all this boils down to a struggle of letting other people's opinions interfere with my walk with Christ, with what I think is the right direction. And so I'm resolving to not let that happen anymore. I'm not going to let the opinions of a few get me down, I'm not going to let those opinions rule the way I run my life. I'm tired of being the social puppet. If they can't handle that I will do things on my own then they will cease to be my friends, but I'm tired of fighting for friendships that may not be worth fighting for in the end (no, this has nothing to do with who you might think it does. Generalizing statements here).

So, unless God confirms the words of prophecy spoken to me, I won't give them much stock. I won't take it as more than a grain of sand, I'll "put it in my back pocket" so to speak and be done with it. If people tell me they don't like something I am doing without giving me solid reasons for doing it, I will consider but probably ignore their opinions, because in the end that's all they are. Opinions are like pennies, everyone has one. So, why should I let it run my life? The answer is, I shouldn't. I'm not going to be a people pleaser anymore. I try to live at peace with those I'm around, but I'm not going to be anyone else but myself, and if I offend them, they can talk to me about it. I'm not going to go by feeling anymore. My discernment may start as a feeling, but I'll explore it, and God will tell me. The feeling grabs my attention, nothing more. Why has it taken me so long to realize that? I'm still learning I guess.

I guess that's all I really have to say. It isn't very organized I know, but I'm just expressing thoughts that seem to be on my mind lately.

Grace and Peace.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ensanada: The Missions Trip.

The missions trip to Ensanada, Mexico, what can I say about it? Positive? Negative? The In-between?

The Positive: We had people stay safe. We were constructing a church building for the locals, and although a lot of things could have happened the worst thing that happened was that a few got sunburned, some beat fingers from hammers, and a few scratches. The testimonies that the pastors we were working with were incredible, God has certainly been working in their lives in a very cool way. Also, we built a church in four days, now if that isn't God working through us I don't know what is, because that wasn't a tiny building. I also had a lot of fun getting to know some people, and learned a new card game. Not to mention coming back across the border was a little adventurous.

The Negative: It was a week of constantly being in a rush only to wait around for 10-15 minutes (which was a little annoying). I felt like our focus was so much on getting the tasks done we had set for ourselves that we forgot the real reason we were there. To share Christ with those around us. To share Christ with each other in fellowship and even some small devotions, which we only kept semi-regularly. There just seemed to be something missing from all of this. I still can't pinpoint what it is, but I know it wasn't there. Also, people in general seemed to have an attitude of not wanting to be there, or at least, the people I interacted with the most, but I can't assume that was the case. Finally, we had a 8 hour layover in Atlanta on the way back which wasn't that fun for all the delaying and what not.

The In-between: I suppose that in general there isn't much for the in between stuff. Just minute details. Sitting in a van for about 4 hours in the line to the border wasn't awful, but it wasn't the most pleasant either. Somebody in our group got lice, so we all had to do some double checking. I didn't have my phone on me for when we were in the airport and stuff so that was a kinda bummer. I got to play some brain age. That was fun.

In conclusion: Missions trips can be good, though there are a few rules that should be followed. Most importantly communication. Team members who have no idea what's going on tend to be grumpy. Another one is to keep your focus on the right thing. Not the tasks, though that is why one goes down, and not the people, though that is a huge part to loving God, but rather on Christ himself. But overall, if I had to rate it, I would rate it a 10 for the ones who benefit, but for myself this trip was a 5. It wasn't bad... it just could have been better. Though, I do appreciate American plumbing now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quando Quando Quando

So I've learned that writing out my thoughts is very helpful in me understanding myself. Also, once I have my thoughts semi-composed I blog them out if I find them worthy enough, or am not too lazy to type it out. Tonight is a combination of catharsis and organized thoughts.

As strongly as ever, my desire for companionship seems to seep into my very core. As I've come to say so often, "God has given some the gift of celibacy, but I am not one of them." And it's true, I cannot even begin to describe adequately how I feel about having an intimate relationship with the woman who will be my wife. This desire is far beyond the physical realm, way beyond the desire to be married for sex. No, it is a desire to protect and to love, to serve and to sacrifice, to be God's arms, and words, and an expression of His love, as well as my own. I want to be married, and I truly believe I have found the person that God wants me to marry; but still I am restless, ever so tired of playing this game of waiting. I know I have to wait, because He is preparing me, but this time of preparation is also a time of trying to be agonizingly patient, and knowing that the only way I'm making it this far is by God and not by me.

"Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit, says the LORD" And that has become exceptionally true for me this summer. I have always tried to let God move through me, mend me, stretch me, teach me, and to do everything by His power, but this summer has been the most I have ever felt that tension within myself to do it myself, or let God do it. He has had to remind me time and time again that He is Jehovah/Yahweh, the Self-Sustaining One, and that because He sustains Himself, and the entirety of the Universe, that He knows better than I on matters of the Heart. He knows me far better than I could even know myself.

So I'm left with a dilemma. Do I sit and wait for God to do it all, or does He want me to take the steps necessary to get me to that point that I need to be, helping me along the way? I'm sure it may be a combination of the two. I can't just sit around and wait, because that isn't being a steward of what God has given me, of the talents He provides to me. Not to mention the fact that if I wait too long my desire may consume me, and lead me down a path I do not wish to pursue. However, I also know that there is some waiting, and sitting in silence before God just waiting for His Word that will tell which direction I need to go. To, essentially, stand still and look at the spiritual compass and let it point north, and adjust accordingly.

Is it so odd that I look forward to the times of trouble as well as good? It's not that I want to go though the hard times, but rather this knowledge of knowing that as long as I have God, and can stand with this woman it will be a wonderful learning experience once it has passed and knowing that it's those times that we grow closest together, and closest to God.

Is it really so strange that I have such a passion? Surely not, hasn't humanity since the creation of Adam want to do the very things I desire? To have someone that you can face the challenges of life with, and to have at least one person who you can say you know as best as humanly possible? Haven't we... Don't we all have a desire to find someone that we can call our companion, our comrade, our (truly) best friend, our help mate, our "insert significant title"?

*sighs* All that to say, I'm glad God is in control, and I'm not, because He knows better than I could ever understand.

Grace and Peace

Monday, July 21, 2008

Salt of the Earth

I wanted to get some thoughts out before I went to bed.

Christians are known as the Salt of the Earth right? Well what does that really mean? When looked at salt in the context, salt had a couple of major traits about it (Thanks Erik :]) It was a preservative, a type of seasoning, and a healing agent. We all know, that as Salt of the Earth Christians should help each other preserve the faith, and our trust in God who has constantly reminded us that He is in control even when we are not. We should also be able to "spice" up our walk with Christ by actually having a relationship with God. We should help each other in "seasoning" our lives with diversity, searching deep within the scripture, hearing His voice, and constantly becoming more intimate with our Creator.

But what about the healing? Sure, we can speak truth into people's lives, and with the words that Truth (Christ) gives us, there can be healing, but I think that so often we forget that salt is not the most pleasant thing to have on a wound, in fact I would say that the only thing worse might be lemon juice. So even though, it's good for closing over the wounds, it is painful, and that is often how our spirits heal, I believe.

Being brought to a point where we must face God with all of who we are, scars and all, through whatever medium God chooses (preaching, a movie, music, anything) is a very painful place to be. Learning to let go of the things that we are so afraid to lose, not realizing that it is the very fact that we are holding onto it so tightly that we are causing the loss, being stretched and molded in ways we did not think possible, and being broken to become whole, are all such unpleasant feelings. They hurt, and we hate those times in our lives. Sometimes you feel so low that nothing seems to be going right, even then, we have to keep our eyes upon our Father's face. Healing is taking place, and when we come out of it, we will be better off for it in the end.

As Salt of the Earth, we are to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and help them as they go through these times of suffering, but more importantly we need to express our love for the lost during these times, because it is these times that they hurt the most, and we can be a healing touch from God just by telling them that we are praying for them, or giving them a friendly smile, and treating them as the special people God has created them to be.

Just some thoughts. Time for bed now. Good night.

Grace and Peace.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Internet In Panera

Hmmm, so much to say, and yet I feel as though I really don't have the words to say them. I will say this though, it's nice to have wireless internet though it sucks that I have to drive 40 minutes to get to it. Oh well, Panera is tasty.

This summer, has felt insanely long, and surprisingly short all at the same time. Every day has been something different, yet redundant. It it's been painful, but good. What a paradoxical summer, eh?

God has been stretching me past my limits, He's been putting me through His refining fire, and shaping me more into the man I need to be. I'm in a constant state of being taught, which is good, because life without learning is boring. He has been providing for me, by taking things away. I know that doesn't make sense, but I suppose at the same time it does. He has provided for my spiritual life, by taking away luxuries that I am so used to in my physical life. Suffice to say that this summer has been extremely good for me, and changing. Not that the core of who I am has changed, I don't think that ever will, and that's OK, that's who God made me to be. However, there are definitely some things that are different about me, I can feel it. I may not see where those changes are at until a situation arises that involves that change but, they are there, I know it.

And here I sit, in a deli restaurant, wondering what more there is to say. Of how I feel so incompetent at times, and how I have had days this summer where I didn't see any way out. I felt trapped by my sin, by the hopeless wreck that I am, a complete mess. Days where I have felt a repulsive smell, and the trash that follows it, is more appealing than me. Do I say these things because I want empathy, sympathy, or even a little bit of attention by way of pity? Hardly, I am just expressing things that seem to have lodged themselves deep within me these past few weeks.

In reality, I am a hopeless mess, but that's what makes the gift of salvation and grace that much more awe inspiring. How could a God of such high standards come to love someone like me, a man who can't even keep his thoughts from himself for more than a few minutes? I have become ashamed of who I have been, of what I have done in the past that was anything but glorifying to God, but with His forgiveness and unconditional love, I have lived in improvement. He is constantly refining me from the dirt that I was into the treasure that I will one day be because of His love.

So, I keep pursuing this invisible mystery, this presence that is often incognito. I do not always see Him where I am looking, but that is often because I'm looking in the wrong place or in the wrong way. Sometimes, He is silent, and in those days I just have to wait until He is ready to speak. Some nights will be restless because of this, and others will be wonderfully peaceful. That is how my relationship with God has always been, and until He sees fit to change it, that is how it will be.

He is so real to me, even when I doubt, and ask questions, even when I feel that there is no hope, I remember Him, and He takes me in His arms and tells me, "I love you". How awesome.

Grace and Peace.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Long Weeks

What can I say? It's hard to be patient with dial-up speeds when one is so used to higher speeds. So, sorry for the late update.

Been working my butt off at Lake Swan, but it's been good. This week has been excrutiatingly long because I didn't stop working for this week until this morning (which is Sunday >_<) AND I get to start over tomorrow at 8 am. Wonderful. But really I shouldn't be complaining. Despite my aches, pains, groans, and moans, it isn't about me, it's about Him, whom I serve. It's about the hearts of the people, and hoping that even if the encounter if passing, they will see His love for them. After all, He IS Love.

I think, this is the most homesick I have felt in a long time. I am ready to be home, doing something else. I think that if something begins to seem repetitive to me then there is no hope in me having motivation to do it. I hate redundant tasks. I'm thankful they'll have me on Lifeguard duty for the final two weeks of my time here. It's not that I didn't enjoy being in the kitchen, it's just I need something new to do.

Kinda worried about this constant need for new though. Could prove to be problematic when it comes to finding a career. Gotta be able to support my family when I get one, and constantly changing jobs isn't going to help. Maybe I just need to find a job that has a new aspect every now and then. I like trying to think of new ways to present old things. I guess that's why God has called me into full time ministry, though I STILL don't fully know what that looks like, I'm willing to go until the door slams in my face. Then I'll pick a different direction.

This summer has been stretching me, though sometimes I'm not entirely sure where the core of me is being stretched. I see outward signs of an inward change, but am unaware of what that change is. Is that unusual?

I guess, I'll update later. Hope I don't get too burned out there.

Grace and Peace.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lake Swan Camp... Wow.

This past few days has been absolutely chaotic, and yet I am totally ready to do it again next week. God has been teaching me a lot lately. He is progressively bringing me to a place where I can be content with the way things are now, knowing that with His timing better things will come. I have full faith in what God has told me so far, and I can't wait to hear what else He has to show me before this summer is up.

I know that there is so much left to learn, and a lifetime to learn a little bit of it. I think that these weeks at Camp are going to be good. Brutal to my body but good for my mind. Every day this week when it came time to sleep I pretty much collapsed and was gone instantly. Sleep is good.

I have really enjoyed working with the people I have, and can't wait to get to know them better.

That's all I can think of right now, my ability to focus is kinda shot right now.

Happy Father's Day Dad! and God!

Grace and Peace

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Marriage: The Underscore of God's Glory

So, I have a lot of excited energy and it's time to get it out, even if it's just a little here on the blog. There is so much going on that I feel like I'm going to burst. This past week has been brutal on my body, but great for my psyche, and emotional stability. Yay, work and money!

My girlfriend visited for a week here at my house, which was awesome, and now she's back at home, and safe, which is also awesome. What can I say? I love her, I know I do. With every inch of my being, I love her. It's not for her looks, though she is an attractive woman. It isn't for her personality, though it compliments mine in a way that no one else has ever been able to do as far back as my memory will allow, and it isn't because she's a Christian, though it is definitely a part of the standards that I have when searching for my wife. It is her heart, her beautiful, precious heart. It is so sensitive to her friends, she can empathize with little effort; It reflects the strength of her character; it protects; it cares; it loves; it searches; it supports; it serves; it is strong, and most importantly, it is constantly seeking Truth. And that is where I am at... and the more I see myself, the more I see that my wife needs to have a heart like that. I would be stoked if God made her my wife, and as much as I would love to move to that stage there are still somethings that I need to improve on in my personal disciplines, and I need God's "OK".

This wouldn't be a decision that will only affect my thought process, nor is it temporary, this would change my life completely. I think it's important for the one who owns my life to have a say in the matter.

There are many things that I think are great about marriage (besides the obvious physical intimacy):
  • There is the requirement, and necessity to be altruistic to one's spouse. If you know me, you know that I'm all about altruism. To love others unconditionally without want of return. Love is such a part of my life I have the kanji for the word on my right leg near my ankle.
  • There is a connection that can only be had through marriage. An intimacy that goes way beyond the physical. It's emotional, it's mental, and superbly spiritual in nature. I love being connected to my creator, but there is this desire within me that says I long for a intimate connection with another human being. Marriage is a venue for this.
  • There is this profound desire I have to protect, nourish, support, defend, and lead a family. To create a legacy of my own that shouts the work of God in my life. To have my grandchildren reflect on my life and be encouraged to further their relationship with God because of the life I lead. Like my grandfather did.
  • I'm on an adventure, and I need a companion to explore this adventure with me.
In reality there is much more in my head that I can't get out right now, so I'll stop there. Safe to say, marriage by next summer would be awesome, but that's me being me. That's me saying I'm tired of waiting, after the years I have waited, to find out I had to wait even longer because she was not the one. That's me feeling a driving, passionate, and maybe even obsessive, need to quench a flame that has begun to burn within me; a flame that gets hotter every day, and I feel that if I don't satisfy it soon that it will consume me.

Reality is, God knows what He is doing, and that's all I can hope for. My life is not my own, and I have to stop trying to take it back. Everything comes with His timing, and all is for the good of the Kingdom and for His heirs.

Well it's summer now, and I have this entire summer to really reflect on what God is saying to me. I had gotten away from speaking with Him on a regular basis, and well... it was time to get back in contact with an old friend... and not just a friend, a best friend... no, a father, but even more than that, a spouse. He is my husband after all, or if you want to get technical, we are in the engagement "era" so I guess that would make Jesus my fiance.

Funny how that works out, isn't it? Everything in the Bible points to a marriage relationship with God. From the commandments given to the Israelites ("Will you obey all that I command of you?" "We [i] do") to the "x rated book" Song of Solomon to the New Covenant between man and God in Christ's sacrifice, to the New Heavens and New Earth. It ALL reflects a marriage relationship. So how honoring is it to have the privilege of being a living, breathing, tangible, and for some palpable representation of what our relationship should look like?

Everyone knows that they should have an intimate relationship with Christ, but so many people don't know what that looks like. And even though I know what that looks like for me, I could never say "here's how to do it" because it's a relationship not a religion. There is no formula, and each person is different.

Grace and Peace,
Austin

Monday, April 28, 2008

#100 - Dominated Thoughts

Despite my best efforts, it seems that I cannot get my grandfather's recent death out of my mind. It's not that I'm depressed, but I can't help but reflect on the man I knew as my grandfather. His life, his legacy, and his passions have always seemed to influence me when I was not paying attention. I can't get his face out of my head, it makes it hard to concentrate at times. I have quite a few small papers to write, and a couple of larger ones, but the thing that dominates my mind are thoughts of my grandfather. Maybe I feel hurt, maybe there is a twinge of sadness in me... I know that he is in a better place, and that he is having a blast with his family there, but I miss him. I often wonder what kind of regrets he had, if any; I wonder if he knew exactly how much he was affecting lives, or if he felt like "the average joe". I bet he didn't realize the full extent of his impact, and I think that is true for many a man, and maybe God decides to allow that to be the case so that it can keep us humble. I mean, we struggle with pride a lot as it is, we don't need help in boosting our egos.

I'm ready to be done with school for a while. It's not that this semester has been all that strenuous, on the contrary, it has been mostly peaceful and relaxing minus a few twists and turns along the way, but I could never expect to have a perfect semester, because I'm human and make mistakes and that's enough to prevent perfection, but everyone else is human too (though I'm sure some don't act like it) and that is more of a reason. I'm just ready to stop feeling warn out. I need some rest; good, authentic, like a few days off, wholesome rest. I think that once I obtain it, that I will feel better.

I'm looking forward to the job I have at Lake Swan. I need to finish sending in paperwork, but I need to e-mail them about something first. I guess I'll do that tomorrow. I'm a little sad that I won't be able to hang out with the Poplar Point kids, but God has me going in a different direction and I cannot argue with Him.

This is my 100th post on blogger. I guess it's safe to say that the "trial" stage of blogger has been outdated, and it has become a major extension to my public communication (though my skills of communication seem to get smaller and smaller, or at least my perception of them). So, I wanted to do some big thing for it being my 100th post, but I couldn't think of anything, so it will have to remain as a passing notice.

Tomorrow is breakfast with Sammi and Jimmy, and then some homework. I go to bed now, good night.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Silence Is So Loud

You know, until yesterday morning, I never really realized how much Paw Paw smiled. I mean, subconsciously I knew that he smiled all the time, but to really see it yesterday was very overwhelming. It made it hard to stand in front of friends and family to simply read a poem, when the man that is Ralph Woerner was presented in such a way that tears hit me like a load of bricks falling off the empire state building. I don't think it was sadness, I wouldn't say I was sad, though I wasn't crying tears of joy either. I think Richard said it best, I was just overwhelmed with the love he had for us while here on earth.

I don't have tons of stories that I can share about our Paw Paw, but I do know that after hearing all the memories that have been shared these past few days that I can clearly see, and say with certainty, that much of the man I am today is thanks to Paw Paw. I am much more like him than I originally thought. He's the kind of man I wish to be as I continue to grow older in Christ and in this physical shell. The things that Paw Paw is notorious for, are the things I long to do. I want to be passionate about everything I do, I want people to feel unconditionally loved regardless of their past, I want to be able to give money without a second thought, to be hospitable to all who come my way. I even have his walk!! It's probably more of a Woerner thing than anything else, but I honestly think I inherited that shuffle he always had when he walked from place to place. I'm so proud to be in his family.

Paw Paw was a far better man than I could have ever really imagined. The more stories I hear about him, the more I think, "I wish I could have seen that Paw Paw." Then again, I think my interaction with him has always been a bit different than most. I never saw the fired up Paw Paw, unless he was being stern with me. The Paw Paw I have always known is the silent one. A man of few words, and wisdom that seemed to just leap out at you from his eyes. It was like he could read you like a book. I remember in these past six months, that the time I felt connected with Paw Paw the most, is when we would just sit in silence, in the lawn chairs in his car port, just watching, observing really, the movements of the family around us. I would look over at him and smile, and he would just nod his head. Words were not needed, we both knew that we loved each other. I guess that was just the way we reacted with each other.

There were so many more memories I wanted to make with him. Memories of my wedding, and even my first kid. I wanted him to be there to share those joys with me, but I suppose God decided that there was a better plan, and who am I to argue with the creator of the universe?
Paw Paw was just one of those people who fed to me a passion for people through his life. Through his actions, he changed my life, and we barely even spoke upon the theological issues. We were just two practical men, watching our family, and loving them all the same.

So on a day that I would normally reflect on how my life has been, I spend it instead reflecting on how my Paw Paw has infectiously changed my life for eternity, with one step at a time. I already miss you.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Wake-Up Call

So today, at about 10am, my father called to let me know that my grandfather had passed away. And though this is very sad news, I can feel nothing but peace hitting me wave after wave, and I can't help but thank God for the mercy He has shown on my grandfather for taking Him home. He had been going through some pretty rough stuff with his sickness and everyone was ready for it to be over with. God decided to bring upon him the ultimate healing, and I couldn't ask for a better answer to prayer. Paw Paw gets to miss out on all the sorrow this world has to offer, because he is too preoccupied with his savior.

I do feel a bit sad though. I wanted him to be around for my wedding, I wanted him to be there when I had my first kid, I wanted to be able to spend a few more years enjoying the company as we would go fishing for no other reason than to spend time together (he's really the only reason I enjoy fishing at all), I wanted to see him for just one more Christmas, as the Paw Paw I've always known him as, but none of these things seem to be in God's plan for me or my grandfather. Besides, if I wished it now, I would have wished it later, so regardless of my desires, no mortal life can last forever.

So, here is to you Ralph Woerner. May your legacy echo in the lives you touched for generations. Much love from all of us to you, tell Jesus I said hello, and give Him one of your infamous back slaps for me.

Don't know when the funeral is going to be, or even if I will have a way to get there. It will work itself out though. If I need to be there, then I will be there. If God needs me to stay in TFC, then I will stay in TFC. Such is life, one begins, another ends, and everyone else is somewhere in the middle. And thus, another life ends, but the effects he had on us will ripple through the waters of eternity.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

You Call That Prayer?

What does prayer really look like? I mean, the good, authentic, "this is my heart, and I'm bearing it all to you God" kind of prayer. Does it really look like the many times I've seen it presented as? This "Dear God, please help us with this, and that, and Father God, I would like this..." It just seems so boring. When I hear people say things like that what I really hear is "I want to feel comfortable again, so give me the things I want." and that's not how God works at all. Has our prayer turned into something superficial?

We talked about prayer today at church, and it got me thinking. Does prayer really have to be this drawn out thing? Do we really have to use the word "God" like the word "um" in our prayers? Can't we just talk to Him like normal human beings? Why can't our prayer be more like talking to a best friend? Is it really disrespectful to talk to God and call Him "dude"? Because if it is, then I've been disrespectful for a very long time.

When I think of prayer I think of having a regular conversation. There are days where I've gone "Hey God, how you doing?" There are days where He is very sarcastic with me, we joke around with each other. Is that not prayer? Does it always have to be the "God this is going on, and it concerns me"? I do talk to God about my problems, but sometimes my problems aren't really anything to worry about, and I just want to spend some time with Him. Have I lost my mind, or is this the kind of praying that Jesus did when He spoke to the Father? He'd have to have some kind of relationship with the Father that was similar to that, because I can't see praying for hours on end that sounds like "Father God, we just would like to, God, thank you for, Father, everything, Jesus... etc." I know I'm exaggerating a little, and I'm sorry if I sound cynical, but I really want to know why is prayer like that? What good does it do?

Maybe I'm just different, and I can't pray like that. Maybe I'm just too practical to think that being so formal about prayer to be effective. Honestly, sometimes my prayer is thinking on something with this sub-thought that says, "Hey God, I'm kinda concerned about this," but there aren't really any words to it, just this... sense... for lack of a better term. *shrugs* I just don't know.

Maybe it's just me... maybe it's what I'm coming out of, but I feel like Christianity is becoming so superficial. Maybe that's what people mean by the "Christian Ghetto"... What has happened to us? I feel like Christianity, as the institution it has become, has fallen quite a bit from the way the early church was. What happened to being authentic? What happened to love? What happened to accepting people for who they are, not for what they've done, or for the things they do?

Maybe I'm just tired of seeing people get stuck in this endless cycle of hurt, get bitter, hurt others, get hurt by others, hurt. Christians!!! Not the "world", no I expect them to act that way, because that is what they know, but Christians should be above that, yet they aren't... what has happened to Christianity? Am I going crazy here, or have I caught on to something and it has pulled me out of this superficiality I used to call my religion? Am I finally starting to see what Jesus meant when He said, "follow me"?

Just some thoughts, you are more than welcome to give me your opinion, but keep it clean, k?

Grace and Peace.

P.S. My birthday is in 24 days... weeee!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Emotional Communities Have Cold Showers?

Yesterday had a new feeling for me... as we were traveling to the campus I came to the realization that I felt like I was coming home. Usually, I feel like I'm leaving home and going a trip (an extensive trip, albeit, but a trip nonetheless), but not so yesterday. I have come to realize that TFC has become my home. I actually walked around for a while contemplating it, and I think the main reason that I feel like I'm home is not because wherever I am I try to be there 100%, but rather the idea of community that is beginning to permeate the campus. I feel comfortable here; I am surrounded by people who are all trying to become the men and women they feel they need to be. Granted there are those few who do not do well in community, or at the very least, the one presented here at TFC, and they cause trouble for others, but that is just another part of living in a community. It's been really good for me to be in a place where there are people I can talk to that aren't the average Christian. It has been good to feel accepted for who I am, and not for what I do, or what people have expected of me. I know that those elements are still there, but I feel like the pressure is weakening. Maybe it's just me not caring what other's think as much, or maybe people are beginning to be more accepting of others, or maybe I'm just out of my mind, and none of it's true, and I've become blind to what the reality has set.

Despite all the things about TFC I find annoying, I have to admit I enjoy being here. I like being able to walk around, enjoying the night air or the sun shine, and sitting on benches, or swings to just relax a little. It is very peaceful to just sit on a swing overlooking the river and just exist in the silence. To no think, or to process information, but just to be... so peaceful.

I've also come to see that my relationship with God is becoming less emotionally based. Which is nice, because it means I'm getting past this unhealthy neediness that seems to dominate most of my life. I am coming to the point where I know that Christ died for me, that He rose on the third day, and saved me from my sin, but I don't have to get emotional about every little detail. Don't get me wrong, I still have moments where things hit me hard and I can become emotional. But daily operations are becoming more "Do what you think is right." I think, that is part of what God has been teaching me lately, to use my brain and the intelligence He has given me to make decisions about anything ranging from what I am going to wear to the woman I am to marry. It's all about doing what I think is right, and then God will correct me when I am wrong, which is part of the learning process of what is right. It's really a fascinating concept, and very practical... yet another way God is talking to me directly.

I used to feel God all the time, but then I realized that these "feelings" are really just my emotional "highs". It is OK to get emotional sometimes, but to keep a balance is so much essential. We can't let our lives be ruled by our emotions, but rather by our God. "The heart can be deceptive."

Just some thoughts....

My mom is coming in today, which makes me happy because she rocks.
Also, our dorm seems to not have warm water currently, so I had to take a cold shower. *shivers*

That's all for now. I had to cut my thoughts short because I have class in ten minutes.

Grace and Peace

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Easter, is it?

The thing I find the most ironic about the easter holiday is that the we celebrate both the pagan and the "Christian" parts of it. We unknowingly, or in denial, celebrate the goddess of a fruitful womb and harvest, with our painted eggs and chocolate rabbits, but at the same time we will go to the buildings we call church and call upon the name of the Lord and worship Him, all the while standing in "awe" of the resurrection that occurred so long ago.

I guess I'm sounding cynical, but I'm not trying to be, just stating a fact that I found to be ironic and bit contradicting to our culture I'm sure. Though, I'm sure that I would not stop getting chocolate bunnies, and what not, denying to myself that I am celebrating the pagan side as well, but I think there is something much deeper here then any Christian really takes notice to. I'm not saying that we can't have chocolate bunnies, and paint eggs, and laugh at the commercials that have clucking rabbits, but just to keep in mind that there was a reason behind these things and it should be important to let our children know what that reason was, and explain to them why it isn't the correct viewpoint. I don't even have kids though, so what do I know?

I guess this is really just a few of my thoughts on the whole think... have a good Easter Sunday everyone.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ramblings of 20 year old.

Despite the fact that I'm tired of getting told how I'm worthless on a regular basis, I wouldn't change my time with my friends for anything in the world. Despite all the crap they give me, and 90% it is just pure joking around, I wouldn't exchange that friendship, because it pushes me to laugh at life, it forces me to rely on God, and they are great friends when it really counts. I guess I just get frustrated from time to time, but in the end, I am ok, life could be worse, and I have to thank God for the blessings he has given me.

This spring break has been slow, which is nice in one aspect, and pretty frustrating in another, but I have enjoyed my time off from campus. I am ready to get back to be honest, I don't know why really, because being away from it is much more relaxing than being on campus but I am ready to be done with the semester at the same time, so I guess it is understandable that I would want to get back to TFC and get this semester taken care of.

Classes have been alright but I feel like I am not doing as well as I had hoped. I mean, I'm doing what I can to get good grades, but when all my grades are coming from mostly tests, I feel like I can't make more than the average C, which is frustrating because I want "A"s and "B"s, and I want to feel accomplished in something I do besides music, though I suppose I should be content that I am good with it, or at least I feel like I'm good with music, and that's more than I can ask for considering that in reality I am nothing compared to the God who made me.

I'm still taking my beliefs and working them through as the issues arise, and I'm still discovering who I am in a way that makes sense to me... and these are things that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, because I always want to know more about who I am and my relationship with God, and there is no way that I will learn everything there is to know about me, when I was created far more complicated than I probably realize.

But all in all, life is good, even when it is filled with sorrows, and I wouldn't exchange the things I've learned from both the good and bad experiences for anything. I am glad to have met the people I have, I am content with the fact that sometimes things won't be OK, but I will be, and I'm thankful for the way God has blessed me in it all.

And so life continues, with no one any wiser than the day before on the happenings of another.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tired

Today made me realize just how much I hate the way I'm treated. There are so many times when I feel like I am being walked over, run over, shot, and thrown down... and I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of being told how much I fail at life each day...

I'm tired of being accused of lying when I'm not...

I'm tired of people telling me that I need to stop being someone else, when all I am really trying to do is be myself...

I'm tired of the fact that I rarely if ever get any encouragement. Despite popular opinion, I do need to be encouraged from time to time...

I'm tired of people looking at me with this look of disgust...

I'm tired of trying to live up to everyone's expectations...

I'm tired of having to fight myself daily because I don't want to lose friendships...

I'm tired of being the "good kid", can't I just be Austin?

I'm tired of being angry over stupid stuff...

I'm tired of feeling like I'm fighting for nothing...

I'm tired of being told indirectly that I am worth nothing, that I have no purpose...

I'm tired of caring...

I'm just... tired...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Update

Since it's been a while since I updated, I figured now would be just as good a time as any, especially since the internet at home is much better than the one at TFC. So, that being said, yay spring break!!

These past few weeks have been pretty crazy. I had two tests in the same day Thursday, feel kinda like my brain exploded. Classes have been going good though, despite the lack of motivation to get things done half the time. In my Church Truth and Destiny class we have been talking about eschatology (and I actually know what it means! *pats self on the back*) The more I look at the stuff the more shivers I get. I'm not sure why though, maybe I'm afraid? I asked my professor in that class if people were worth dying for, because it is something I think is true, but only after looking into it some more. He thinks so as well, which makes me happy. I mean just look at John 15:13. And for the very fact that Christ died for us. I'm not saying we deserve the gift God has given us through Christ, no no, but, if for no other reason than the fact that Christ deemed us worthy of His blood, I think people are worth dying for. Even if that worth is just the furthering of the message.

I forget how dark the campus of TFC can be until I leave campus and retreat to the peace of my home, or the homes of my friends. It's not that this semester hasn't been peaceful, on the contrary, this has been the most peaceful semester I have had at TFC to date, which is quite a feat, but much needed, since this has been a good time to rediscover myself, and really think through the things I believe. I need to stop being so impressionable. :)

Now it's Guitar Hero III time, woohoo! I guess I'll updates later when I think something pertinent is happening in my life. Later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just Wanted To Say Thanks

-I never thanked you for that one time in choir where you encouraged me with a simple comment, and you will never know how much it meant to me.

-I never thanked you for sticking up for me all those years

-I never thanked you for praying for me endlessly

-I never thanked you for listening to me during the hard times, and laughing with me through the good times.

-I never thanked you for supporting me regardless of the lack of wisdom the decision may have had.

-I never thanked you for acknowledging my existence, even if it is just to torment me :D

-I never thanked you for loving me unconditionally, even though our relationship is over now, I will never forget you.

-I never thanked you for pushing me beyond what I thought my limits were, and stretching me in a way that made me who I am today.

-I never thanked you for all those talks, even though I hated them then, I appreciate them now.

-I never thanked you for accepting me just the way I am... a complete mess trying to find some truth in life.

-I don't thank you enough for being my friend.

-I don't thank You enough for pulling me through the hard times.

-I don't thank You enough for the good things, the beautiful things, the crazy, silly, hilarious, sad, joyful, lovely things.
*In fact... I don't thank You enough for anything. Thanks.

Monday, February 25, 2008

In Loving Memory

"Rest In Peace"

As soon as it begins,
Life can take a tragic end.
In the blink of an eye
The beautiful smile vanishes.

We will miss your humor,
And the story that is your life.
You taught us all to laugh,
And how to be ourselves.
Through times of pleasure and strife.

Rest in peace my dear old friend,
I know I will see you once again.
On the other side of our dark death,
There is the Light of Life
Shining down on you and I
Tell us all is right.

Your memory will live on
In the hearts of those you knew.
You left a legacy,
And we will carry it through.



In case you didn't figure it out... I had a friend pass away early this morning. Fell asleep at the wheel and drove off a ledge. Sad day. Rest in peace friend, see you on the flip side.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Real Fine Wire

You know, I did have this vague post in my head, but then decided it really isn't worth posting, and then I thought about posting a bunch of random stuff, but decided that... that too would not really be worth posting so now I'm stuck with questions and random thoughts.

So I've decided that every time I see the words "Word of God" in scripture that it is referring to teaching what Jesus taught. Ironically, I bet a lot of conservative scholars would agree, the difference is that I'm looking at Scripture from a whole different angle than most people I know do. I've also decided that I really enjoy reading the Psalms, and anything else that is considered to be in the "poetry" section of the Bible. I love poetry in general, but to see that art form presented in the Bible makes me happy, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I too am poetic, even if the poetry isn't that great, and so I enjoy looking for and finding the different poetic styles all throughout that section of the Bible.

I've also decided that having friends who live off campus makes getting laundry a lot cheaper, as in free. Also, being able to hang out with the friend for a night is also a plus, especially when that friend's mom makes brownies for us. Yummm... Speaking of brownies... I have finally found a form of exercising that I really enjoy. I like to walk for about an hour after doing some sit-ups and push-ups. This makes me happy, because I'm pretty sure I run on a deficit of the happy hormone.

Life still presents itself with the thousands of questions I seem to be asking myself, and most of it is consistent with just trying to get back in touch with who God is and how I connect with him. Such is life.

That's all I can really think about that might be remotely interesting, see ya.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cold Hands and Warm Hearts

So Valentine's approaches, as does spring, birds, bees, and the thousands of couples that apparently find each other's faces delicious. I really don't mind people kissing, just don't have heavy make-out sessions in public. I understand the pleasure of being with someone you care about, but please... keep the face eating to a minimum.

Speaking of relationships, what exactly holds me back from initiating one? Why DO I need to wait? These really are a kind of rhetorical questions, so don't panic, I'm not jumping into anything without thinking it through, but still that desire to connect with someone is so great. It's not that I am not content with being single... at least I think I am, but these desires can really be bothersome. Am I to wait because I need to discover myself? To firm my beliefs? Do I merely use that as an excuse? An excuse for what though, is it fear? If it is fear, then why am I afraid? What am I afraid of? My friend's opinions? Why? Because I respect their opinions, and know that some of them have had experiences and wisdom in areas of life that I have yet to reach. Is that the only thing stopping me from moving on? Is there other fears? The fear of it not working out in the end, or causing hurt or being hurt myself? My head is swarming with questions, and I can't seem to make many of them coherent.

Perhaps it is merely things that I need to get out of my life before I can bring someone else into it. Perhaps, I really did feel hurt at the end of my internship, but decided to hide it behind apathy. Maybe, I was a little bitter, and I am just now at the point where I can approach that area of my life, and work through it, sifting out the good and the bad, and then taking the good while leaving the bad behind. Perhaps, it is because I still don't know what I am going to do in my life. What is my calling? I can see myself doing, and enjoying, many types of ministry because I do know I am called into full-time ministry, and that it involves remaining here in the U.S. but beyond that, I can't see what it is. Is it as a traveling speaker, book writer? A song writer/performer? A church planter *shivers*? A fictional writer? Youth Pastor? Program director for events such as LIFE or camps? I can put myself in most of these options and can totally see myself doing them, so what does that look like if I had to put it under one title?

I need a job, but it seems that all the jobs on campus have been taken, so I guess I don't NEED a job, I would just like one a lot. I might stay here over the summer and just work, maybe take some summer classes... I'm sure Josiah will be happy to hear that, but we'll see.

My beliefs are starting to come together. All the issues that I viewed as major are beginning to become my own, but I am not prepared to defend them yet.

Thus life moves on, I grow a little more, I learn a little more, and I am freed a little more.

The chains are beginning to break, soon I'll be able to soar with freedom.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Darkened Days

So, I've decided that I probably won't be posting my thoughts on my beliefs until I am ready to defend them, because someone pointed out that this is probably being a bit too public and I agree, so I will put my final thoughts on scripture and what I have been working through as this. First, these are THOUGHTS and not beliefs about Scripture... these are things I'm working through and deciding for myself. Second, just because I may be thinking that Scripture is not the Word of God but rather words from God, doesn't mean I think it is any less important, I just see the importance differently that is all. I still believe it essential, just not in the way that I was taught all my life. That is the final piece I'm putting up about this until I'm sure I know what I believe and why.

Moving on...

Today has seemed so dark, and I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the way the day has presented itself with it being rainy and eerily quiet, but I think there is something more. Today at lunch there was something that passed by me that almost had me jittery. I could feel it, as if a demon was just lurking around me, staring at me, and pondering what it wanted to do to me. Nothing happened, thanks to God I can only assume, but it definitely was a bit disconcerting to feel it so strongly. *shivers* There is something about this campus that always feels off, but I don't know what it is. Is it the elitist mindset that so many have? Is it this atmosphere that says, "be this or you aren't a Christian" (which is appalling by the way)? Or is there something more, or something I haven't seen? Whatever it is, it sometimes presents a bizarre feeling when I'm walking around.

Yesterday was really sunny and the temperature was probably pretty close to 71F which is awesome. It was good day, but there was also some foolish things that I did that I had to own up to. Those things are obviously not going to be disclosed on such a public setting, so get over it. This week has been slow, and very tiresome as well... I guess part of that comes from the World Missions Conference atmosphere, but there isn't much I can do about that.

I have loved having it raining these past couple of days. Rain is so peaceful, usually.

In Church Truth and Destiny class today we discussed why revelation from God is not considered be authoritative why the Church is. Obviously there were verses to back it up, in 1 Corinthians and 2 Thessalonians I believe. We discussed that sometimes there are two contradicting revelations, and I have to wonder, why would God contradict Himself? If God is a God of order and not chaos, which I believe He is because of what I have learned from being in a relationship with Him, then why would he send mixed messages? To cause confusion? Why would He want to cause confusion? To make us rely on Him? But weren't we already looking to Him and relying on Him in order to get that revelation? If so, then why? Why confusion? Food for thought I guess.

Only one more class today, and then an evening chapel *sigh* I am so sick of chapels... I feel like I'm going to church every day, which in itself wouldn't be so bad if the speakers weren't being so shallow with their messages. I know that someone must be getting something out of it, or at least I HOPE that is true, but for me it feels so boring. Where is the deeper concepts in it? Tomorrow, Men's Choir is going to do some singing, which should be fun, but I need some brown shoes that aren't sneakers >_< I forgot mine back home, haha. I sense a wal-mart run soon, if I'm lucky. If not I'll just wear some black pants and black shoes. Also, I think I figured out the problem with my speakers... I think there is a short in some of the cables, I will test this theory later today, and probably do some chapter summaries, although the ones due this week are already done, w00t.

So I leave you with something I aspire for,
Shalom.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No Modernity

Wows, I am up by 7:00am today, but then again, I did decide to go to breakfast.

It seems to me that my mindset is changing ever so slowly from what it used to be. Things I use to consider firmly set in stone, no longer seem to make sense. Well no, they do make sense, but only if you look onto the surface of the issue and not how it pertains to me personally. For the concept I am trying to communicate I would even go as far as to say that my mindset is becoming less fundamentally rooted in modernity, and the beliefs that follow it. Not to say that if someone is a "modernist" that they are wrong, but merely that I am beginning to see something that is beyond these theological presuppositions. At the same time, I don't think that "postmodernism" would fit this mindset either, not because I don't like postmodernism, in fact, I encourage it to those who would wish to have that mindset, but because I do not think I have reached that point. Of course, using titles is, in actuality, silly and pointless, because titles merely helps our ability to judge one for their "beliefs" before we even get to know that person and learn what it is they really believe.

So again I present the biggest question that I keep coming back to. Is the Bible really the "Word of God" and the sole authority on everything, or is it a stepping stone into the deeper knowledge of the true Word of God which is Jesus? Isn't the Bible really just here to help us in our understanding of who God is, and how He loves us? I'm beginning to think so, and with that comes the understanding that though the Bible is good, and is beneficial for understanding God, that it is not, as it is too often coined, "the Word of God." I've even heard people refer to it as the living Word of God, and if that was true, that would make our Bible, Jesus, and in turn, God. So if Bible = God, doesn't that equal idolatry? Do we worship a "Magic Book" instead of the God who spoke the words in it?

As a friend recently pointed out, John 1 talks about the Living Word of God. It talks about the Word being with God, the Word was God, and that this Word was there in the beginning. Afterwards it states that the Word became flesh, etc. You guys have all heard these verses too many times for me to need to quote it to you verbatim. The point is, the Word is Christ, and if the Word is Christ, wouldn't that make him the Living Word of God? And if the Word of God is truth, that would make Jesus "Truth", and that the Bible is only a recording of what Truth has said to us throughout history. Which if it was pulled together in a nutshell would be, "I love you."

And what does that love look like? The cross? Yes, I think it is represented very well in the Christ, but God's love is spoken about long before the cross comes into play in the Bible. He had a chosen people, and He made a covenant with them. A covenant, that if you looked at it the way the Hebrews do, or at least they should, then you would see that this covenant was very much like our "vows" in a wedding. All throughout Scripture we see that God relates our relationship with Him as a marriage, and it is one of intimacy, passion, love, and desire. God's love is so much more than the cross, and yet it is all wrapped up in it too because people are worth dying for, and Christ makes that abundantly clear to us through His own sacrifice. So then, why are we worth dying for? I do not think this answer can be answered satisfactory. In my experience, humans are not perfect, and in fact we are quite a mess. We rarely do things right, we keep screwing up our lives, but God still brings us out of the darkness we set ourselves in and continuously guides us to this greater thing. So, the only answer I can really come up with to this question is that, we are worthy of love only because God decides that it is so. Not by our own means, but because He deems it to be so. And who can dispute with that? I mean, it's God, He does whatever he stinkin' wants to do!

I am still learning, and growing, and coming to my conclusions about a lot of things. I know I will never know something to the absolute because Truth is infinite because Truth is God. And this is also where I am really having to stretch myself. I need to change my world of bricks to a world of springs (for all of you who don't get this reference, read Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis it's a good read in my opinion, though apparently he seems to be among the many things that are widely disputed among denominations and the Christians therein).

One day the wall won't be there, and the springboard to the higher understanding will. I know I will never stop growing, and I probably will have to go through this whole mindset mess at least 30 times every decade (I'm being positive, it will probably be more) but that is OK because my opinion on aspects of Christianity does not affect what I have learned about God, and my perception of who He is through that learning.

Love

Grace

Peace

Shalom.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

In Your Eyes

I sit here with nothing left to give. I don't feel drained, or stretched out, I don't feel like things are going everywhere but the right way, in fact I don't feel anything at all except peace. I am merely existing right now.

I've had a lot on my mind lately. I'm trying to discover myself in a new way. To really truly learn who the real me is. Where he exists, what he thinks, how he responds to actions, and where his heart really lies. It is a dark road, full of twists, turns, cobwebs, scary trees, headless horsemen, ghouls and the like, but there is also a light. That light seems so faint but I can still see it, and I stumble my way towards it, knowing that if I could just reach the light the hidden things would be revealed, and thus the trek to the innermost part of my soul begins. Of course, it all begins and ends with God, because He is my creator and knows me better than anyone ever will, but there is still the effort on my part to not simply give up when the harder parts of the discovery come around. It is so easy to quit a good thing when it seems to get too hard, but this one thing I don't have the luxury of quitting, nor do I want to. Too much is at stake.

To go along with the discover of the self-concept, there is also the emotional end of me that needs to be addressed. What arouses anger, sadness, joy, excitement, despair, etc? What causes me to get defensive when someone makes a simple comment? Is it merely my personality or is there something hidden behind the mask I seem to have constructed without my own knowledge? And then there is my attraction to an amazing girl, and though I don't feel my motives are wrong, I also don't think that sharing that information with this girl is appropriate at this time. Not just for my own benefit, but for hers as well. There is a lot of growing that I know I need to do, and I can see the need in her life as well, thus it goes unnoticed to all except God (and probably a few friends).

What drives me? What is my passion? What do I like to do? Do I do these things because I actually like them and enjoy them, or because I was told that is what a Christian should do?
Is my innocence really just ignorance? Have I really been just doing what I feel God is telling me, or have I actually been conforming with all the non-conformists? Why must my relationship to God be based on what I feel, rather than what I know about God, however limited my understanding of that knowing may be?

Was the Bible meant to be the sole source of our answers, and to be "The Living Word of God", or did God intend it merely to be a stepping stone into something higher, better, deeper, and lead us to the true Living Word of God which is Christ? What does doctrine have anything to do with the way we treat people? Why do Christians become so dogmatic that we forget the beauty of simplicity? The simplicity of relationships, of taking things at face value, of love. Existential existence... we are all connected aren't we? Why else would our drive for connection exist? Why would we have this need to be in communion with one another and with God if we weren't? Isn't that why that "girl" won't leave her "jerk boyfriend"? Isn't it because at least he acknowledges her existence, even if it is only for a moment? Isn't that why people do so many things that seem unwise, just so that they can, if only for a moment, feel like they matter, to feel the excitement that is life? Isn't that why most people fear death more than anything, because they've been dead all along?

There are so many questions bouncing around in my head, and there are no answers at this point. I know that there is only one place that I will find the answers (not that ones I want, or the ones I am hoping for, but just the truth as it is... bare), and that is to meet with God, and see Him "Iris to Iris". Though the truth may never be absolute in my mind, at the very least I will begin to see the truth in our "truth".

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Deadly Dreams

So this morning I woke up, spent some time getting ready, etc. You know, the daily routine, and then I come up to my computer and there is a chat box open from one of my friends with a story of a dream she had. I did not have this dream, therefore I do not feel the need to explain it... then again I think I will. But before I do, I just want to point out that she is NOT the first person to tell me about a dream where I die... there was another, last week, who told me the same thing, but with a different dream.

Dream 1:
OK, so apparently my friend was sick, and there were a bunch of guys around and her husband decided to take them out to play some football or something, but I decided to stay with her (for whatever reason). So we talk, and I end up telling her that I'm in love with a mermaid, and how there is this cliff and if I jump off this cliff I will become a merman (odd right, it's going to get weirder) So then, we are at the cliff, the mermaid, myself, and an anonymous 3rd person (maybe my friend, but she isn't sure who it is). I jump off the cliff and into the rocks at the bottom, it pans over to the hospital, and then I'm dead. Apparently the mermaid died too, but the third person survived. (talk about weird dreams hu?)

Dream 2:
I don't remember as much about this one. It isn't as fresh on my mind. But essentially, In this dream, I decided that it would in everyone's best interest to just kill myself (*shrugs*) and so my friends actually decide to help me, except one who protests it, but no one seems to listen. And then I guess I committed suicide or something after that.

I have to admit these dreams are a bit discomforting, but at the same time I know that God could be trying to tell me something. I've had too many dreams with elements like this to really take dreaming lightly, especially if it's from the people who told me these dreams.

What on earth could it be?
Is it spiritual, physical, emotional, the destruction of the self-concept, or self-image?
*shrugs*
I'm sure I'll know soon enough if it's important.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

CAPTAIN PLANET!!!1

I have to say that I'm rather confused on some things lately. I'm going to try to not be vague, but no doubt it will end up being so.

You see... no I guess I should start with my focus for this year. I want to learn more about myself this year. Not only so I can learn how to love myself, and others better, but also so I can be more aware of what "makes me tick" and be more conscious of what is really at the core of my personality. I guess that was a bit redundant *shrugs* (sometimes I'm not best at communicating).

That being said, in just the past week alone I have discovered a few things about myself. One being, that while here I am much more obnoxious than anywhere else. I am so mellow at home people probably wouldn't recognize me except through appearance. So I've begun to see if the real me is merely somewhere in between. I want to point out that this isn't really a matter of identity to me, as much as it is to further that understanding of the identity I have already gained. And that is just one of areas, there is the area in which my word inhibitors don't always work. Meaning I walk around with one foot in my mouth a lot, but that isn't so uncommon. It is still something I want to improve on. I also need to keep improving my sense of humor, and stop being so uber sensitive about everything.

One of the things about me that has got me really confused lately, however, is this feeling of attraction I have a for someone. I am being very cautious with myself concerning this, because I haven't figured out if this is me trying to rebound from the end of a nearing 4 year relationship, or if it's because it is time for me to move on, and I am truly interested in this girl. This is something I have to work out in my head and in my heart. Not only for my sake, but for hers as well. I guess it goes along with the idea that "Any decision you make will effect another." I find this to be true the more I learn about myself, and I hope to continue to learn more about myself as the year goes on. I think that is something God wants to show me this year, and I look forward to learning. A time to be more passive and less aggressive, a time of peace and education.

Perhaps, this year will be the best one thus far.