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.