Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Short with huge questions to ask ourselves

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all therefore all have died; and he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. II Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV

What has the ultimate say in our lives? Does the love of Christ weigh in on our actions, or do our own motives make every move?

And are we living for Him since he died for us so that we would no longer live just for ourselves?

"Every relationship for a Christian is an opportunity to love another person as God has loved us." Joshua Harris

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I see a little bit of God...

I see a little bit of God in the friend who is willing to wait until 8:45pm to get dinner and spend time catching up and watching over each other's back.

I see a little bit of God in the friend who cares about the details of my life, who knows I have more to offer.

I see a little bit of God in the friend who asks me daily if I'm having a good day and if I'm alright, even if their day is horrible.

I see a little bit of God in the friend who considers me worthy of their entourage on that special day.

I see a little bit of God in the friend who feeds me often, with meat from His word, and sweets to satisfy my tongue for a while.

I see a little bit of God who with hugs, and warm greetings, values me as their partner in His Kingdom.

I see a little bit of God in the friend who takes a few minutes to write to me from 198 miles away.

I see a little bit of God in the friend who I find constantly seeking that next adventure He is calling them to.

I see all these little pieces of God in so many people, that I can forget what I do not have in my life, and praise Him for all the pieces I do have, and for all the people those pieces come from.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Father's love

Last night about 2:30am, me and a few friends drove out of the city limits of Greenville out to a large field in the middle of no where off of 264. There was a meteor shower last night, incase you didn't know.

I chose a spot outside of Greenville earlier Monday because I knew the light pollution would keep us from really seeing all the stars in the sky. About 20 min outside the city I found this field that belonged to a farm just off the highway.

As we pulled up a lil before 3am into the field, a shooting star/meteor came down right in front of us, leaving a trail and disappearing into the horizon. It was like God was confirming the spot as a good place to camp out.

The rest of the evening unfolded with oohs, oreos and peanut butter, hot chocolate, words of praise, and the most random/hilarious conversations.

The meteors themselves appeared all over the sky. Some leaving long trails that lasted for an eternity in our retina but probably passed in the span of half a second. Somewhere beyond all those stars God is watching over us, and yet also living in our hearts at the same time.

"Why do you think God made the stars?"

"Maybe God made the stars to get us to look up."

Slowly thick fog took over that by about 5am when we left it had surrounded us to where it was like we were on a small island.

"Oh he loves us, oh how he loves us, oh how he loves us, oh how he loves us."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Broken and Blind

I've been Awol lately. Thats right. Absent without official leave.

I've been on the tightropes, getting beat up by my work load. But worst of all, I forgot where to turn and what to put my trust in. My enemy I couldn't perceive. My eyes have been swollen, my ears ringing, my nose disjointed, in short my senses had failed me.

Thankfully the guys in my corner recognized the sad state I was in, and pulled me back.

Now I'm seeking to come back.

How did I arrive at this point?

I'd forgotten where I was. Forgotten whose I was. Been trying to fight this battle on my own, only to wind up pummeled and on the ground.

I didn't feed myself or spend time in prayer because I focused too much on the physical task at hand. I began to starve and weaken. I couldn't tell which way was up.

Thanks to wise counsel, I'm picking myself up, and calling on Him who is greater than all these problems. I'm again seeking to give Him my best, and call on Him to fight these battles with me. Together we will reclaim the ground that can be reclaimed, the rest I will concede to the enemy and continue to follow the lead of my Savior and King as we move throughout the battlefield.

No more excuses, no more lying down, no more hiding in the trenches.

I'm stepping out, and retaking the initiative.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


What a rush Friday night. I have never seen so many people in the Boiler Room on the corner of 5th and Reade praying and worshipping in there. from 6pm-3am there was praise music, and prayers lifted up for the City of Greenville, ECU Campus, The downtown, and Pitt Community College.

I joined with Matthew Lilley and 6:22 Ministries as they led worship, and I led prayers between 7pm-9pm. After finishing our shift, I stepped into another room, while most kept going to get some water, and to physically get my bearings. Within the hour I headed back inside where I continued with others to pray, sing, and listen.

As I prayed with God I began to ask him specific questions about where he wanted me, and especially where and what during halloween. All I heard him say at that time was "Be available, be unselfish, be willing."

Its funny how when we pray, we're all in, but there's times when the mission comes up, we waver.

I started to Saturday night, when a good friend called me up needing a ride. As I talked with him on the phone, I knew he was agitated and really needed a ride. So I drove across the city, traffic was crazy, picked him up and was able to bring him back to the campus house. Did I mention traffic was crazy and getting in and out of his apartment complex meant I almost got bumped into numerous times?

Thankfully we got back without incident, and just in time to start the haunted trail which was also a source of agitation for me initially. I wanted to make sure after all the hard work we'd put into it, the tunnel got started off right, and to lessen the stress of the other planners as well.

Father, I pray that you mold my heart to be more available, to be less selfish, and to be more willing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The most I can do is pray

Recently a friend asked me to pray for a friend of theirs. They explained the situation, and I responded that I would earnestly pray for the person. When they thanked me, I said "Its the least I can do." I minute later after the conversation had ended I thought to myself, prayer is not the least I can do...Its the most.

There's something about our Christian culture today. We read of in the Bible of all the amazing miracles, all the stories and we say wow, that's so cool. Then when we think of prayer, we think yeah, prayer is good, but seeing God stop the rain, or heal a friend is so much cooler.

We downplay prayer. Its become so ritualistic we pray like we're tying our shoes, only out of necessity. Only because we're expected to. Don't they teach in sunday school you should always pray before you to to bed?

There is enormous power in prayer. And I bet most major acts of God, if not all where preceded by prayers poured out of people's hearts, til there was nothing left to pour out, like wringing all the water out of a washcloth.

How bout when God led the Israelites out of Egypt? Nope we say, pretty sure God did that all by Himself.

The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned for their suffering." Exodus 3:7

Prayer moves things in the spiritual realm. BIG THINGS. I encourage you to look through the Bible, and look at big things that happened and look before and I bet you will find either prayer or an allegory that to me says they prayed. Here's three examples to look at

Exodus 17:8-16
Nehemiah 1-2:9, 4:7-9
Acts 1:14, Acts 2

Prayer is indeed the most I can do, because through prayer I'm calling on Him who does all things.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Half Full

Into my senior year of College (I graduate December of 2010) I find myself taking stock of where I am, and where I'm going. Many of my friends are graduating soon, and getting jobs, some have gotten married or are engaged. Many of my communication major friends have completed internships in preparation.

Then there's me.

I am graduating soon. I am not planning at this time to pursue a full time job with communication. Part time maybe, but even that is a slight chance. I don't have an idea of where I will be 5 years from now, or even what side of the world I will be on 10 years from now. While so many of my friends are figuring this out, I am leaving it up to Him.

Even as my plans are His to make, I still find myself looking for the pieces missing in my life. I've been focusing on what I don't have, and that has taken my eyes off Him, and those around me. But God spoke into my heart earlier in response to prayers to remind me of what I do have, and to wait.

He's told me that what I feel I am missing, is not due to myself (I have often over analyzed myself often wondering is it this?). Meantime I realized just how good I do have it right now, and the gifts God is trying to give me meanwhile.

Thank you God for speaking truth to me, not only in your whispers but also through my sisters and brothers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Watching the Rain

Sitting on campus, my mind checks out of the task before me, unable to proceed until replies to emails come in, bearing necessary information. My eyes begin taking in the view through the large windows.

Is that rain?

I train my eyes to see looking for tell tell signs. I find dark objects to focus on, and I begin to see the steady falling. Soon dots and dampness can be spotted along the sidewalk. As the rain grows heavier, it becomes easier to spot.

Oh to see the rain falling before the downpour.

Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. John 4:35-37

Father may I trust in you that underneath the soil, seeds are taking root, and spreading. That your work continues though hard to see. May I with patience continue working the soil, beyond the day the seeds sprouts into sight to the day it bears fruit, and my hands grow too weary to work anymore.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


My mind goes back to Sunday Breakfast...

Not the leftover pizza I ate 4 days ago before going to church. A homeless shelter that also provides meals in Philadelphia.

I recall after a morning of reorganizing the storage warehouse that really was the size of a garage except a higher ceiling, we headed back upstairs where we led a worship service.

I recall the excitement in the room, the joy flowing around, the expression of thanks to God. More than I sadly see in a lot of churches today. People who have little except the clothes they wear, incomparably rich in love, freely giving it out.

Father, teach me to love, and be loved. Teach me the way of being vulnerable, of opening my gates to let traffic in and out. Teach me to open windows so that your Spirit comes in, stirring things around. Teach me to open doors and let people in. Teach me to look beyond myself to others who also open their doors to invite me in. Teach me to love and be loved.

Monday, September 28, 2009

For love of the game

I haven't been in prayer much lately, been in the Word even less. Been distracted with trying to control my future. But this weekend in Va Beach at Josh Lattimore's wedding I was reminded of this. I serve a King, who singlehandedly fought and liberated me from my prison. A King who asked me to join His ranks. A King who has great plans for me. And I just need to trust His plans, and live with what is in front of me.

I was also reminded this weekend of the love that Josh has shown me over the years. In sharing his life with me, and in encouraging me to go all out. In affirming me as a man.

And being reminded of that has given me a renewed rigor to do the same for others. To point them to the King.

It wasn't a retreat but it was all that I needed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fitting a square peg in a round hole

Basketball players can be meticulous with repetition. Tying their shoes the same way, same socks, arm band, pre game warm up, because basketball is a game of rhythm and repetition. Above all else, basketball is mental. And as complex as our minds work, players want as much assurance as possible.

But we all get into funks in life too. Past week I've been in one. I've lacked motivation, urgency, a sense of purpose. Biking back from campus today. I decided to take a detour, to break up all the monotonous.

Settled on a shady spot in Town Commons. Then I began talking to my Father. I read another chapter in Becoming the Answers to our Prayers co-written by Shane Claiborne. Spent some time reflecting on the past week. The image of the homeless guy sitting on the corner near food lion; all of my brothers and sisters each striving to take deeper root and know God better; all the unanswered questions that float inside my head, the dreams that spawn even more. And myself, trying to figure out how I fit into everything. What God placed me here to do. Struggling to see the bigger picture and what fits where.

This I do know, and was reminded of during my detour.

He is the vine and I am the branch. Apart from Him I can do nothing.

Yes my life is jumbled right now. Yes things don't add up. But I need to be breathing Him in, and exhaling problems, worries, and anxiousness out. Keeping my ear listening in to the whispers. Acting on them.

And remaining patient and letting God put the puzzle together before my very eyes.

Friday, September 4, 2009


First impressions matter quite a bit. Sometimes too much. Within the first 5 minutes we begin to make up our mind as to whether our professor is worth respect or someone we will despise under our breath.

I wonder what the first impression Jesus gave people was?

The first miracle Jesus performs in the Bible is not to raise some one from the dead, or to demonstrate that nature bends to His will. He changes water into wine at a wedding He is attending.

Water into wine we say? But Jesus didn't drink, and why would he encourage others to drink more? Jesus did drink wine. I don't believe he ever got drunk but anyway I want to talk about why Jesus would chose this miracle as His first.

Lets look at what happens. There are empty vessels. Jesus has them filled with water, which then becomes wine, which is then consumed by all those at the wedding.

In the New Testament God reveals to us His plan of having His spirit dwell in us. In John 4 and again in John 7 Jesus describes the life we receive through Him as living water.

I believe God created us to be vessels, filled with His spirit, and then for us to pour out His spirit into other empty vessels. To be poured out and consumed.

Are we willing vessels? Are we surrendering ourselves to be filled with God's presence, voice, will, heart and love? Are we surrendering ourselves to be poured out into other empty vessels?

Or do we just want to sit up on shelves, collecting dust inside of our vessels while other vessels sit nearby missing what they no not what?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Update and prayer requests

Hey everyone

Been a month since I blogged. Let me start with a personal few updates in my life.

My dad has really really high blood pressure right now so I'm concerned for him.

Started my fourth year of college. Seems like yesterday I was a freshman.

I have a beard now. Word continues to spread to the far reaches of those who remotely care. The beard is an outward representation that I feel as though after this summer I have aged and grown older.

I now have a macbook pro. Nothing fancy, just wanted something with functionality and could edit with.

I'm glad to be back in Greenville. Being away from home, I'm better able to pursue God when he calls. I don't have any thing to share just yet, but I do have a few prayer requests if you will pray those over me.

1) Pray that I would have fresh eyes to see Scripture, treasure it, and heed its message.
2) Pray for discernment to know the Lord's plan for more prayer this year, specific dates, possible worship to start the week, and a video God has laid on my heart to tell the ministries about the Lord's work in this.
3) God is also working on me to teach me to trust him, to know that bad things happen, but its all part of the plan. Expect a blog post on this within the week.

Thank you for being a partner with me for the kingdom

Monday, July 27, 2009

Breaking chains

“…because whose who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received a spirit of sonship and by Him we cry Abba Father.” Romans 8:14-15

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Battle. War. These things mark the heart of every boy and man. Back in June, as my family was harvesting potatoes, I noticed a second cousin of mine, about 7 years old now, tromping through the field like Godzilla, throwing dirt rocks into the air and watching them break apart when they hit the ground, and all the while making explosion sounds.

Sure he was just having fun, using his imagination coupled with hyperness. But he was also letting his heart come out. And no wonder considering who sits on the throne in heaven.

God is a liberator. He fights to set captives free.

“Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened or has anything like it even been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire as you have and lived? Has any other god tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs, and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm or by great and awesome deeds like all the things your Lord God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” Deuteronomy 4:32-34

Just as God stormed Egypt and led His people out, today He storms the gates of hell to bring his own out of bondage. We fight alongside Him. But the war is not for the faint of heart, nor each battle for the cowardly.

I myself have often taken the easy way out. I’m the compromiser. I seek solutions that benefit most people involved. If there’s an unpleasant dispute to be had, I would put it off as long as possible.

Not…any…longer. (Pause added to emphasize the weight carried by my voice).

I am not meant to be swayed by those around me constantly; to give in, trading my convictions to please others. I’m taking a stand. This world isn’t going to understand me anyway.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us, is that it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

Let me be clear of this distinction. There’s a time to be gentle yes. But there’s also a time to fight and not flight. And through love you can fight, and I do believe when we love others we are called to fight for them.

Running will only delay the battle. Fighting brings liberation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This past weekend I celebrated my 21st birthday with some friends down on the beach. I came back 1) without my glassses (lost them in the ocean, this would only happen to me of course) and 2) sunburnt really bad. Day 3 post baking, my skin has begun to peel and rid itself of the old skin. My face has taken the worst of it, so I'm attempting to resurrect my skin.

Got me thinking about how we die to ourselves to become alive in Christ.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we dies with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know what since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:6-11

Dying to myself which in my mind goes hand in hand with surrender is a common theme in my walk. Since I set out 3 years ago to follow God all the way, I continue to come back to these points. I hold Stephen (Acts 6-7) in high regard, because in Stephen, I see the end goal. To be Christ as though He'd taken the place of my mortal body. Stephen reached this point, because he layed down everything, putting God above all. We see no mention of whatever sins he struggled with, whatever weaknesses he had, because being totally immersed in Christ those things are no longer evident. They are swallowed up by the light of the risen Lord radiating outward.

That is the race I run. To reach this goal. But there yet remains weights I must cast off, that I must say goodbye to, to run even faster while my legs have it in them. In no particular order

-Complete honesty
-Sharing my burdens with others
-Self Importance
-Putting God above my own desires and dreams
-Doing His will and not my own
-Loving Him with all my heart

I pray that as my desire grows, that I would leave all else behind and run with every ounce within me to Christ, and then run one step behind until the race is finished.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Revival starts with us

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the city of Greenville their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a city that does what is right, and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. “Why have we searched” they say, “and you have not seen it?” “Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?”

Yet on the day of your searching you do as you please. You seek me only a little while, then you turn your attention away. You cannot search as you do today and expect to be heard on high. Am I supposed to answer after you seek me for only a day? Is praying only for bowing one’s head like a reed, and for getting down on your knees? Is that what you call a search, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this how I want you to search me out: to loose the chains of injustice, and untie those held captive by sin, to set the oppressed free and break every chain? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and He will say: here am I.

If you do away with oppression and the pointing finger, and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noon day. The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your fame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of streets with Dwellings. If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the time of worship a delight, and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 58

City of Greenville and East Carolina University, I posted this passage from Isaiah 58 which God spoke to the Israelites centuries ago. I made a few substitutions because I believe God is speaking the same to the city of Greenville.

People everywhere are seeking out God, to know Him personally, to hear His voice. We are seeking the same connection a few of our friends have who seem to love God as though they were married to Him. But as soon as we begin to search and seek Him out, we turn away to other things to bring us entertainment.

If we truly wish to know God, we have to come to Him in obedience. This means listening to God’s word, the Bible. This means setting aside ourselves to live for His Kingdom. We cannot search for God and still do as we please!

Imagine if even a tenth of the students at East Carolina and a tenth of the population in the city of Greenville lived in obedience to God?! If that tenth prayed to Him every day, His voice would be heard, His will known, and people’s lives would be changed so dramatically, we would all stand amazed at what is happening, even those who do not believe.

Seek out God, by obeying and praying. Revival starts with us as Christians from which the streams of living water flow (John 7:37-38).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

For His Glory

Recently I was listening to Big Fish FM 92.7 which is all I listen to now on the radio because it plays my kind of music. Yes it plays some songs over and over again but they also get me thinking with stuff like this.

Wally was talking Sat night on my way home from work about God's protection, and his personal beliefs on that. He started this train of thought by responding to an email in which a guy said, "Well I don't know about your faith, but I believe God will always protect me." Wally stated that at times God removes His protection for a greater purpose and so He doesn't always protect us as most Christians like to think. Case in point, look at the Israelites. God let them get attacked by neighboring nations when they turned to idols and sin.

I also agree. God doesn't always protect us. And here's why.

We were created to give him Glory. Check out Isaiah 43:7. And Paul also wrote in Philippians 1:20 "...Christ will be exalted in my body."

The early apostles Peter, Paul, James, John were thrown in prison, martyred, exiled, beaten, etc. Why did God not protect them of all people? Because their suffering made God more famous! It brought Him glory!!

So I urge you when bad things happen not to say "Why God did you let this happen." Instead look to how the situation brings God glory.

And I encourage you to live to bring Him glory. Its all about Him folks.

"Not to us, but to your name, be the glory"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Somethings odd with the lawnmower

I take great pride in mowing grass. Comin up on my 10th year, I've learned a few tricks and the proper methods of trimming yard as opposed to cutting and butchering a yard. But today as I was mowing my aunts yard, I noticed the deck is not cutting just right. A few too many streaks and uneven places tell me the deck may have become off level. Or else the blades need tuning. I'll have to take a look at it on saturday.

Thats all for now.

Nah, I'm joking. That part is true, but I wouldnt blog about just that. While I'm looking at the deck on saturday, physically fixing things I'll probably continue to think through spiritual matters. Something about working with my hands and fixing things brings me into a state of mind where spiritual matters also become clearer.

Relationships are so darn complicated. And it can be easy to get the wrong idea by misinterpretting signals. This isn't a recent revelation but its something that has been a theme in my life for a year now. I find myself second and third guessing how best to encourage someone, knowing when honesty up front is the best course, and I'm over analyzing things or under analyzing them.

In short my head is spinning, and I keep feeling like I'm missing opportunities to say the right thing. I'm seeking signs, but then I also fail to full proof interpret them without leaving doubts wondering if it instead meant something else.

I need clarity.

So I'm going to continue to ask Him who knows all hearts which I may never begin to grasp.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Last week, high school students came from different youth groups across eastern NC to Roanoke Christian Camp for senior week. The theme-Humility. For those who have been on a CCF retreat, camp looked something like that. Morning worship, workshop, lunch, rec time, free time, dinner, quality time, worship, and small group time essentially with some other stuff along the way.

Our aim for the week was to teach students about humility, and also to bring them closer to God.

Monday morning during quality time, a bunch of students gathered over in a far corner of the field to just chill until worship came around. We had asked students to get about 10 feet away from each other and to make an effort to talk to God during this time. Now we knew this was hard and unusual to ask of students who have never done this before. Seeing the students over by their selves, I set off.

When I got over there, I chalked up a conversation. Some of the students initially thought they were in trouble. I just sat down and started talking with them, and explained why I liked quiet time. How I felt God spoke to me through different things. Then one student asked if it might just be all a coincidence.

So then I shared my testimony. I won’t share it here because it would take up more space, but clearly how I came to know Christ was no mere coincidence.

Then we talked about whether Christ was the only way. I could have shared John 14:6 but with skeptical minds of the Bible anyway, I went a different route.

‘Heaven sounds great and all, but I can’t really wrap my mind around that. And most people believe in a religion to explain the world around them. They prefer to believe what they believe. Myself, the more I’ve learned of God, and how Jesus lived, the more I see that He is the way to live. I’ve lived a happier life since choosing Him.’

And for the rest of the week, I set out to be as real, and honest as possible with the students. They were seeking answers they could believe in and understand.

From Deep Within

I led a workshop on prayer each day, to show student how prayer brings us into intimacy with God by talking and listening, and how we need a prayer centered life. We set up a prayer room in one of the upstairs room at the gym, using the prayer wall from a week of prayer at East Carolina in April as inspiration.

The first day I had 2 guys. Then Tue, I had 7 guys. Then Wed, 3 girls. Then Thur, one girl. Small numbers that at first disappointed me. But as we got into what God’s word says about prayer and men like David who found intimacy with God through prayer, having small numbers became a huge blessing! I was able to speak with each in where they were at with their relationship with God.

I shared from my own life about prayer walking, and praying with firefighters in Detroit (funny, and amazing story here). Then about how sometimes I ramble on trying to find the right magic set of words to get a prayer answered before finally pouring out my heart to God who knows it better than I do. Small numbers in each workshop indeed created a close setting which gave my words more truth and credibility. And to start it all off, I explained the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Eternal life after all is knowing God here (John 17:3), personally, in a real and intimate way.

Tuesday morning. Two guys came, seeking advice because of some drama that was affecting friendships. I listened, we talked, then we prayed over the matter. And later that day by early afternoon, God had answered prayer! Another student almost left camp Monday morning homesick. He also had been making himself throw up to head home. I prayed with him when we couldn’t give him any more pepto. And by Tuesday afternoon, he was looking forward to staying the rest of the week!

Unless you be born of water...

Monday night I think it was, why chillin with the guys in the room back in the dorm, we were up talking usually guy stuff, and Paco was up to his tricks (see next post). In the middle of that, I got a prompting in my mind to ask the guys if they had been baptized. Jeff Jones (from Beargrass) it turns out hadn’t. He’d been thinking about it lately however and wanted to. So I asked him. We could baptize you this week if you want. We’ve got a pool and a river.

So on Tuesday I sat down with him, and went over scripture, showing him what it means to be baptized and hearing his testimony about coming to know Christ. Glen Crocker then met with him on Thursday to also gauge where Jeff was on this, and if he was genuine. Jeff was ready, and so Thursday evening after calling his parents, I baptized him in the pool about 10:30 at night.

Oh for that inexpressible joy! All throughout the week, I spent praying for God to work on hearts and to transform lives. And in a flood, he answered Thursday night when Jeff got baptized and others came forward for prayer that broke my heart and brought me to tears.

Lessons in Humility

Ok. So the theme for the week was humility. Over in my room, I bunked with 4 guys, one nicknamed Paco. Paco (who looks like the friend in Ferris Bueller’s day off only shorter and still undergoing puberty) continued to push the boundary every night with his sleep attire, or lack there of. He also made a game of this, threatening to sleep in other people’s beds. So Thursday afternoon during second rec time me and Jeff moved his mattress and sleeping arrangements outside and put them on the roof of a small utility building nearby. People started coming outside and gathering to see why at which point I explained what I just shared with you.

Then came Paco a short time later. When he realized it was me, he came charging and tried to wrestle and regain his dignity. He locked on to my left wrist. Then I moved. I spun, reach down, and grabbed his ankles with my right hand, flipped him, then pinned him on the ground. Honestly, I think the Holy Spirit came over me, because the move was the perfect way to effectively disarm him without causing injury.

To Paco’s credit, he was a good sport. He crawled on the roof and wrapped up, and let others take pictures for a little while, before taking his stuff back inside. The girls rather loved this.
Then I made a bet with another guy over a game of 1-1 basketball. If I won, Tony (we’ll call him) would have to go and say 3 kind things to Glen Crocker. (‘Tony’ had been terrorizing him all week with playful banter). After 5 min, we stood tied at 1-1.Then we played 1 min of OT which I came out on top 2-1. 'Tony' headed off to speak kindly of Glen. After all we are to build up those around us.

Cat and Mouse

Ok, here in as much detail as I can remember is what went down Thursday night. Got a lot of requests for this so here we go. Thursday night is prank night during senior week. Now being on staff, we knew full well that the guys would attempt to prank Kellar. And so we joined Kellar’s side in exposing them.

We knew they intended to hit the dean house where Kellar stayed. After conferring, we sent him into the house, then he crawled out the window rather stealthily then snuck over to the shadows of the bank and hid.

First we patrolled around and caught two guys trying to sneak out of the cafeteria with ice and eggs. They quickly retreated when they saw us on the golf cart. We found two more guys hiding in the rafters of a shelter next to the dining hall. They hung upside down for 15 minutes until we met up with them. Then me, Jeremy Jones, and Joe Cartwright along with Josh Morgan allied ourselves with the guys, to aid them in getting Kellar.

Complicated I know, but essentially we were playing both sides of the field, staying one step ahead, and intending to see that both got pranked. Best entertainment I’ve had in a while.

So we got the guys outside and they started working. Then kellar came out of the shadows. “What are you guys up to?” They split, 5 guys taking off, the rest heading inside the dorm. We then played jail cell and locked the doors and rounded up all but the 5 guys inside. Oh, and while Kellar buffalowed them, Chris Woolard and Glen Crocker stole all their stuff and hid it in an unused room.

The girls staff sat outside by the vball court for most of the evening, and witnessed play by play everything going down. They provided valuable intel that helped us stay one step ahead of everyone. And ladies, the reason I was shirtless, was because I had just come from the pool before all this craziness started.

So now we had 5 guys left. We started patrolling around. Kellar made use of Bonners tricycle to cover the terrain. Me, Joe, and Jeremy headed off on the golf cart. We found them in the woods over by archery. They had jumped fence, and made home in the trees and bushes, hiding in the shadows. They also relieved themselves, using leaves to clean theirselves. We got them to stay hunkered down, while we kept Kellar on a goose chase. Finally he started growing suspicious of me, Joe and Jeremy, and headed to his house, locking himself inside. He then turned his light on and off randomly for the next hour to scare people away from coming.

By this point, Josh Morgan had let the guys out of the dorm, those who were still awake. They took off down the river and rendezvoused with the 5 man vs wild group who took the long route through the shadows to come up on the other side of camp. After a few more fake searches to throw off Kellar, me and the staff turned in, and let the guys do what they may. It was 4:30am by this point, and Kellar finally went to bed.

By next morning, they tied both of kellar’s doors together with rope and teepeed his house with toilet paper. But they never figure out that he crawled out of the window the night before. So he escaped again my morning.
That essentially is what went down. I heard one unconfirmed report that while the guys were locked inside, one dude went naked cowboy from the streets of NY with just a hat and a guitar. Glad I wasn’t around for that one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My uncle passing

Thank you to those who prayed recently for my family as our uncle passed away. Let me share some of the things your prayers have brought me through

Breaking the news to my grandpa that my uncle, his son was dying, knowing how fragil my grandpas life still exists here.

Driving my grandparents, brother, and aunt all up to greenville in the middle of one of the worst storms I have ever driven through, knowing we're headed up there to see my uncle one last time.

Giving strength to my dad and grandpa, both heartbroken, and barely able to contain the tears that continue to flow.

Seeing my grandpa offering through tears to give every drop of his blood if it would keep my uncle here on earth. Knowing Jesus did offer every drop will bring me to tears later when I drop my guard, but those will be tears of praise.

Keeping my mourning in check to be able to think cleary to help everyone make better decisions with clarity.

Resisting sleep, to help around the house, and gives others who need the rest more than I the chance to catch theirselves. 2 hours got me through today, and I'll get more tonight.

My uncle's passing came as a suprise and wasn't considered a looming reality until a few days ago. I had intended to go camping with him this summer if possible, and learn to fish. But I know God has plans, and they far better than my own.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer Update

As my home church continues to look for a pastor, I've been filling on for our 3 weekly services. I'm still reluctant to say that I am preaching, partly out of humbleness. My grandpas health (see related post) kept me distracted and busy this past week so that going in, several of the messages I brought had barely begun to cook. God took over this past sunday night though, and provided insights, I had yet to come to.

Reminds me I need more of Him and less of me.

The past few days, I've also been helping dad on the farm, and suprisingly I havn't forgotten how to drive several of the tractors, as far as shifting them, etc. Its been good hard work, and a chance to test myself.

But this past week, I havn't had much time for God. Nor to study His word, nor for prayer. Distractions continue to pull me away, and joy from coming to Him, has started slipping away.

I'm going to see if I can start claiming some hours here and there for that purpose. I need a get away rendevouz


This past week, I've been spending time checking up on my grandpa. Long story short, he's had heart problems since having a heart attack 30 years ago. Now at the age of 83 (soon to be 84, 1 week shy of my birthday) he has one artery that remains open, and that having been added 22 years ago. At this point, there's nothing left doctors can do, except medicine, and to know that time has now grown precious.

Doctors say 6 months to a year but no gurantees.

The prognosis didn't stop my grandpa from killing 3 snakes in a row Sunday on his backporch, nor walking out often to check on the barns and the potatoes growing. Grandma keeps a close eye on him.

I'm now taking time to ask him about stories, and other things to receive what I can from him, before he's called home to our Father.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Last night as I lay in bed, reflecting on the day behind me, and the day ahead, I got blindsided. Out of the darkness and the quietness of the night, the Accuser started his charge.

He brought up previous actions, pain I'd caused others. Shame began to set in. "Hypocrite." "Unworthy to be called a follower of Him." These rang in my mind.

So I slid out of bed, got down on my knees and began to pray to my Father. I confessed these shortcomings. I prayed that the day would come quickly when I would finish surrendering my life to Him, and be used by Him completely.

As I prayed on, peace began to settle. Then recognition hit. This can only be the work of the Accuser. Sometime later I drifted off to sleep.

At some point during the night, whether in a dream, or a brief moment of consciousness before falling back asleep, this verse came into mind.

" transformed by the renewing of your mind..."

When I woke up the next morning, the words still stuck at the forefront of my mind. Feeling compelled to read the passage, I turned to Romans 12, there I found God's answer.

"Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patter of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will."

In view of God's mercy, offer your transformed...

Father, I know that my own life has accomplished little good. Like Paul, I feel compelled to say I am the worst of sinners. But Lord, you did not create me to be this way. You created me for greater purposes. And by laying aside my life, I take a firmer hold of the life you are living in me.

To you be the glory.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


The other day, I fasted for some friends overseas right now, and spent the day in prayer. Fasting for the day provided no problems, now that I have some experience under by belt. This was however the first time I've fasted at home.

It was interesting to explain to my parents and brothers who still stand skeptical of the practice. My oldest brother didn't even know Christians still fasted.

I've been striving since being home, to continue do live out my faith to the fullest. That has left my mom wondering how I havn't gotten tired of God, and God's work. In years past I would burn out. But that stands as one of the furthest thoughts from my mind since God has taken up most of my heart's desire.

My actions have spoken volumes about my faith, and I pray that this would become contagious for the rest of the household...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Something sweet

Still reading Way of the Wild Heart.

Thinking strongly about learning to ride horses.

Saw God's strength on display down on the beach last night. Hearing the waves crash on the shore and to remember the verse where God said He made the beach to contain the ocean was awe inspiring. Felt the wind, and watched dark clouds off shore pass by.

This past year I've come to a realization about prayer. I've found some recent prayer times to be sweet. The kinda sweet where you're up around midnight talking with someone special and knowing there is no other place you would rather be. Where the last thing you want to do is say good bye, even for only a little while.

God gave us prayer as a means of being close to Him. To come into His presence. He meant for prayer to be intimate. Now I understand why Jesus said in Matthew 6 to go into a closet to pray. If thats the only way we'll open up our hearts to Him, to get away from formal prayers, to stop thinking about putting our prayers into pleasing words, then may we all have a hide away where we can pray to God, without pretense.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I've started off my summer by getting discipl(in)ed spritually. I'm working on waking up about 8am so I can have quiet time before everyone else is up and around at home. Day 1 Fail. By about 2 hours. This time I didn't nap about 4pm so I should be able to fall asleep sooner tonight...

I'm reading through "The Way of the Wild Heart" right now. Doing a lot of thinking regarding what it means to be a son of God. What having God as my Father really means.

I'm studying through the book of Matthew with that mindset. My initial thoughts come from looking at the geneaology, which I almost always skip over. When you look at a man, you see a lot of his father in him. This generally holds true. Now think about every man listed in the geneaology. Abraham, Jacob, David, Soloman, down to Joseph. God specifically chose each to become a part of the lineage. Each one possessed traits and qualities we see in Jesus, because each received them from the Father.

So I'm going to begin my summer by setting out to know my Father better...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Summer Plans

As I type this, I've just completed my last exam, wrapped up my junior year. In two days, I'll be heading home for the summer. Looking back, here's how I've changed.

I tore my ACL almost a year ago in Dearborn. God has since gotten my heart, and the chance to show me the power of prayer. "His strength is made perfect in weakness."

Many prayers finally came answered this year. Adam made the decision to be baptized! The campus ministries came togegether for two weeks of prayer. And now we have a permanent prayer room! "In the last days I will pour out my spirit..."

Philadelphia, people in Greenville, those considered the "least of these" I consider the greatest. Because despite their hardships, they see more of God's love every day, and somehow they praise Him. Makes my praise seem almost worthless.

I've matured a lot over this past year as well. Granted I became more random, such as the squirreling. And I seem to come out of no where from time to time with revelations of burdens, and struggles. I still have a hard time opening up, and letting others in, with being transparent. But I also seem to care more about whats going on with others than with myself, and so I've taken more time to listen than to speak.

To you, my readers I say this. Don't stop at my shell. I invite you to crack me open. To ask questions you may not know anwers to. To dig in deep, because I do keep some stuff under the surface. A couple of close friends have been able to do this. I say this, because I'm not likely to take you there otherwise. Shame, and pride will hold me back.

I still have a few things I'm working through, but I know that I am loved. And I'm placing God more as #1 in my life. Now I don't crave attention as much as I used to. Now I don't become as depressed as before. I still disengage from time to time to think and reflect, but ultimately I'm seeking not to be such a loner, and to include others, and draw from others.

And at this point, I'm more at peace than I have been in a while. "Inexpressible peace."

I've arrived to the point, of needing summer vacation. Academically my brain is fried right now. Spiritually, I'm holding steady, but my use of the sword has grown somewhat dull. I see before me, some of what God has called me to do, but my heart needs to re-examine the why. I need to take time to be refilled with His compassion for all that He is doing.

I'm going to become a little bit of a monk this summer. Be spending heavy time in the word, in prayer, and letting God come inside to the caves I rarely dare to admit exist inside of me. Going to do some spiritual wandering, be in a "desert" of sorts. May he sharpen my mind, break down my heart, give me fresh eyes, and ears. Teach me to lay down, the things of this world.

My inclination at this point is to say all this in order to say that when I return I'll be ready to serve as a Campus Catalyst for prayer next year. To serve on Core, lead 2:42, meet 1-1, be active in Greenville and reaching out to my family. But God did not intend for me to bear these burdens alone.

And that alone now that I think about it, may be the biggest revelation I need to meditate on all summer...

Monday, May 4, 2009

All or Nothing

Let me open this post with a hypothetical situation:

Suppose you go over to Best Buy and shell out $14.99 for Finding Nemo (I tried to think of something everyone would like and by impulse buy). But when you got home and began to watch the movie, it cut off 20 minutes into the movie. You try the disk several times only to realize that while you payed for the whole movie, you in fact only got the first 20 minutes. How would that make you feel?

Dissapointed? Upset? Angry?

I wonder how God feels when He bought us, and we have only given Him part of our heart?

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price..." 1 Corinthians 6:19

God gave up His only Son for us. He did this, to win all of our heart. But have we given that to Him? Do we only give Him our heart when its conveniant, when we're expected to, until there's something "fun" we can do?

"Love the Lord your God with ALL YOUR HEART..." Deuteronomy 6: 5

May God become the centermost desire of our hearts. Because when He does, we will be filled with so much joy, inexpressable peace, and we won't have to worry about if we're doing enough for God, because we will take joy in obeying Him. Sin won't even be an issue, because sin is anything that takes our hearts away from God.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beside quiet waters

Because I grew up in the church and at a christian school, there are some passages, I've heard so many times, I take for granted what they mean, and miss the amazing message God placed inside.

Psalm 23 was one of those passages.

As I sat down on what I suspect was once a chimney that now sits like a relic next to Tar River, God reminded me of how "he leads me beside still waters." And so I turned to Psalm 23 and began to read...

And He took my breath away.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. To borrow from JoMo, how stinking awsome is it, that God is my shepherd and not anyone else? Mr. Feeny, Wilson, and Morrie can all impart some great life lessons, but ain't none of them the good shepherd.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters, God always knows when I need rest, and when I need nourishment/encouragement, and thankfully He nudges me to that place, when I can be a rather numb sheep and keep trying to graze on a cliff.

He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. I'm not just living for my name, reputation or ministry. Far from it, I am living for His name. His reputation is what needs to be remembered.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff, they comfort me. HE IS WITH ME! And His Word, the people He uses along with other instruments, comfort me as they guide me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for prisoners. Isaiah 61:1

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I will dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER! Thats blows my mind.

Then 2 o'clock crept up, and I needed to head to campus for class. I lamented that my time with Him must be cut shorter than I'd like, but then I remembered...

He is with me. He goes where my feet go because I am a living tabernacle.

And so I sang all the way back on my bike to class.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Praying with all Boldness

Currently Campus America has represenatives in town for two days. In between classes and assignments, I've been spending time with them, showing them around, and introducing them to people. And learning more and more lessons about prayer.

Oh how important those are...

Like being reminded of being bold to ask to pray to/for even complete strangers.

I did this once, for two firemen in Detroit, despite probably being the strangest site they probably saw that whole month. Long story short, I was using a fold up chair as a crutch to prayer walk because I tore my ACL the day before, and was wearing a cowboy hat I picked up in Virginia (I think) on the road trip up. Josh Morgan has told me I should burn the hat, but I refuse. So I come hobbling up, shoot the breeze joining in their conversation about the Detroit Red Wings, then I asked if I could pray for them. They said yes.

Or how our bodies are living temples for the presence of God?

When we pray for people, God's presence is practically breathing on people's hearts, exhaling life, if they will inhale. We should continue to be welcoming to people, and hear their story, because in each one, God is pursuing them.

Or when we pray, we call down God's Spirit?

Sunday as our 2:42 leaders sat around a table having shared a meal we reflected on Elijah and Elisha. Elizabeth Helms pointed out that God answered with fire several times. Just as He answers with a still small voice, He also answers with fire. With passion, conviction, an invitation. A fire that consumes anything that will steal our hearts away from Him.

Oh how I needed to be reminded of those little lessons...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To go or not to go...

Imagine this scene with me for a moment

While Jesus was out walking through the streets, this large crowd was following, clamoring to see what miracle He might perform next, what teaching he might pronounce. Maybe the crowds starting constantly bumping elbows with Him, or just became so noisy that He could barely hear Himself breathe. Regardless of why, Jesus turned to them as they walked and essentially said this

"Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple."

"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.'

Jesus is beginning to bring down some harsh conditions for those following if they continue to desire to follow Him. First He says that you have to let go of everything, and be loyal to me first. Secondly He says something to the effect of, 'You know those guys who sit down and consider the cost of something before they undergo the task? I don't want you to be like them. I want you to follow me no matter what the cost, not to even worry about it, or begin to look back.'

I was thinking about that last night, when I undertook what stands as my craziest adventure yet on campus at East Carolina. I'm sorely tempted to give details now, but I don't want to attract too much attention to me and my friend just yet. All you need to know for this post is that we did something spur of the moment. What we did was crazy, and slightly costly. Thankfully I didn't dwell much on all the costs of doing this, and simply lived the adventure.

I came to a huge realization about myself in the process. As much as I talk about adventures, I rarely get around to actually living them, often because I take time to consider the costs first, and unless I'm prepared enough, they don't happen. Last night unlocked a door in my heart, a door that gave my soul permission to freely pursue adeventures, to throw aside caution.

We need Christians to do the same with their faith. Jesus Himself even called for us follow Him. Not to go back, draw some out of savings, pack a suitcase with rain boots, and a winter coat, etc but to follow Him and trust that He will provide the rest. He said in Matthew that if the birds are taken care of, and they don't even gather or store into barns, how much more would we be provided for, and we being of far more value that birds?

What if He calls us to live in Alaska during the winter there? Or to take medical supplies to the congo? What if He calls us to give hope to patients who only have 2 months to live with cancer? Will we say yes, or will we sit down and say "I don't know, thats asking an awful lot. Can't I give money instead for people to do that, and stay here?"

Will you jump in water or stay standing on dry ground?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Got my Hands Tied

"This is the word that came to Jeremiah form the Lord: "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shapping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Like clay in th hand of the potter,so are youi in my hand...Jeremiah 18:1-6

For the past two years of my Christian walk, as I've really begun to pursue Jesus in my life, following Him in everything. The race before me to do this, has been that of the course of letting go, surrendering my life to Him, letting Him have His complete way in my life. School has kept my hands tied though as I run this race.

Two years ago, after my freshman year, I nearly quit East Carolina, desiring to plunge straight into ministry, to be able to serve God as my vocation. After talking with my parents, I chose to still pursue a degree at ECU before serving in a ministry capacity. I don't regret the decision, because I've learned so much since then, being a part of Campus Christian Fellowship. CCF in fact has equipped me with a stable walk, so that I now pursue God on a regular basis and not in serious lapses as before. CCF has in fact been my only motivation to stay in school at times.

Even now, I'm sitting in the library. Its 11:30pm. Came over at 9:00pm to do some research for a 10 page paper due next week that has yet to be started. Also planned to work on a portfolio project also due next week. In 2 hours time I have nothing to show for it. Most of the time, I sat starring at the wall, completely unmotivated or looking up random things on the internet like youtube videos of sun drop. I'm just tired of assignments keeping me from His presence, from connecting others to Him, to spending time waiting and wrestling in prayer, meditating on His word.

My friend Daniel Mejia is stuck in the same rut. He wants school to be over so he can put God back at #1 in His life, and return to the joy of following Him every day. Daniel unlike me, has stayed committed to his school work, often for hours on end at the library.

I know that school has equipped me with good things, even now with the classes that I'm taking and the classes I have next semester I am gaining valuable knowledge. But when my heart is all out running one way, while my mind is forced another way, I can't help but be frustrated.

Still, I know God's will is for me to be here. And I need to learn to be content with the ways God is working in me, preparing me to be able to one day live all for Him. And just as Paul had a thorn, so I have mine.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Raise the Banner

Night continues to envelope East Carolina. But the Son is on the rise.

This friday, Christians on campus here at ECU from every ministry, varying denominations, different walks, cultures, will be turning to God in prayer.

As a friend of mine said earlier this evening, its a clear sign, that God is working on campus. Unity of this magnitude doesn't happen by chance or by the will of a few good men and women. This is the Body of Christ coming together, the bride of Christ, and not a group of bridesmaids. ONE BRIDE.

What do we hope to gain from spending ourselves in prayer at all hours of the day or night?

Believers, and non believers will begin, and or continue to experience God presence in a real, inviting way. Some may be brought to tears as they realize how much love, and grace Jesus has shown them. Some may fall down in amazement, that the creator of the universe is actually speaking to them, in a gentle whisper, sharing his plans. Others may start a war cry, determined to take back the campus from the evil one.

We want to take time away from our lives to sit down with God and say that we also desire this campus to lift up your name, O Lord. Yes we still want to pray for those sick, but our dreams are bigger than any one person or small group of people. Our dreams are those, begotten to us by the Holy Spirit, from the Father and Son.

We want to see the walls of darkness come down, the person contemplating suicide out of loneliness to find a friend who will truly miss them. For the person who continues to give pieces of themselves away in sexual activity, to taste of the pure living water offered by the Son. For the drug addict to find that true life, the ultimate high is knowing God as the one true God, and Jesus as His Son, and passionately following Him in every little way that He nudges.

East Carolina can become an institution where it is said "God is there." We can also become a training ground from which radically simple disciples head out, travelling to those in need, carried by the Spirit and prayer. East Carolina can become many things, but we must sit down and wait as God begins to unveil the blueprints for His plans. Who knows, even the things I just listed might even be a drop in the bucket compared to what He wants to do.

The question is, do we care? And if we care, are we patient to wait, and to seek out the Lord. With God all things are possible, but if the army He is raising up, chooses to continue to sleep on, the battle will never be won, not even contested.

And darkness may just yet continue to hold tight its grip over this campus.

But because of the salt of a few, more are turning up their lights. We're going to war with the evil one, but first we're going to wake up the rest of this army as it slumbers.

The bugle sounds: 24/7 Prayer.

All that and a can of chips

Got a couple of quick thoughts I'm pondering I want to share

1) I was sitting on my couch eating some Pringles chips about 20 minutes ago, and as I was eating, I was reflecting on the packaging. "Why do pringles come in a can and not a bag?" Then I realized that they do so, because the chips stacked together drastically decreases the chance of the chips breaking. In essence, Pringles are for those who care about all of the chips in the package, and not the few who land on top.

Within the Kingdom of God, if we were potato chips, and our Father needed to store us safely, He would use a pringles can, because He cares about each one, and no one is more important than anyone else!

One day that will make a great Sunday School lesson, or I can illustrate it to my kids If I should be blessed in that way one day.

2) I was reading recently in "Iressistable Revolution" about how there are bulemic Christians. They study the word of God, then as soon as they have it down, they vommit it back up to their friends. As I read this, I thought to myself, well I don't see how thats a bad thing. But then as I was reading through Red Moon Rising to get ready for 24/7 Prayer starting Friday, I read about different practices of prayer and meditation, and I found this-

"Saint Cyprian told those in his care to "be constant as well in prayer as in reading; now speak with God, now let God speak with you." Guigo II, a Crthusian, wrote that reading the Scripture is like putting food into our mouth, meditation chews it, and prayer extracts its flavor. Further reflection enriches us. Through this type of prayer, God's very self 'breaks in upon the middle of our prayer, runs to meet us in all haste...and restores our weary soul."

Then i realized the need to take Bible study slow. To take a passage and read it, reread it, read it slow, let words stick out to you. Spend time reflecting, praying, read again. Then visit later in the day or the next day. And so I've been doing this with a passage in 2 Corinthians that has been really speaking to me about ministry, and God continues to bring verses to mind throughout the day and speak to me further.

So take time to let the Word digest, and actually strengthen you inside, and out before you really begin to pass it along.

3) Tonight after dropping off a friend at the library, I got pulled by the campus police. Now I knew for certain I wasn't speeding, hadn't ran any lights or stop signs, failed to yield or anything. As I sat there wondering why, the officer came and told me he pulled me because my headlights were off. (I had turned them off while I dropped my friend off, leaving my running lights on as we finished talking). He then asked for my license and registeration. I began praying.

"God please show some grace. You know in my heart I was unaware of this. I don't need another ticket to have to pay. Not having on headlights is a totally arbritary reason to be given a ticket, when I totally was unware."

Thankfully God let a little grace fall from heaven, and wash over me, the minute I simply prayed for peace over the whole situation. I received a warning ticket but no more.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Philly in Review

If asked to sum up my Christain walk into two sentences, this is what I would say:

Jesus found me when I was hopelessly lost. Since then, I've sought to shake off mediocrity, and to reclaim what being a Christian means, harkening back to the first century, and to Jesus Himself.

The trip to Philadelphia was another step in that journey. Over the past year, I've begun to learn more and more about social justice, poverty, and people in need. I travelled to Philadelphia to meet the poor, to be the one standing outside looking in, and to let God break another piece of my heart, and to remake it as He pleases.

The stories I have shared, only began to capture the scene, the lessons, the memories, etc. As we closed our time in Philly with one last devotion, God led me to share the words of 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. I highly encourage you to read all of it, but I want to home in on verse 14.

"At the present time, your plenty will suply what they need, so that in turn, their plenty will supply what you need."

What plenty has God given you, my dear reader, that you can share or give to those in need?

For me I know that I have extra resources that I can give away, finances that can be spent wiser and better invested. But God has also called me to gather people to pray, to make disciples. Through those ministries, I can raise awareness of the situation, and call others to also one day end poverty.

These series of posts have in essence begun to fulfill that, by sharing the stories of Tim, Will, RaRa, Paul, Sunday Breakfast, that their love shown, their stories would never be forgotten, but instead change the perceptions we have of those on the streets.

I met Jesus on the streets in Philly, sat at his feet, walked with him blocks away, and waited with him in line for food. And he accepted me as his own. He began to teach me to love unconditionally.

Will you do the same?

From here, I can't say where I'm headed. I see many paths before me, different ministries, needs, etc. But this I am resolved of doing. I intend to continue to surrender my life to Him, to let go, and let Him take me where He wishes. Maybe I'll even be a Philip, carried here and there by the Spirit.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Philly Part 6-What comes around

Friday Day 6

When we woke up this morning, many of us found ourselves beset with groggy throats. The cold steven just began to feel last night was beginning to spread throughout the group.

We headed over into the city and cleaned up a lot with a fellow named Raymond, a former convict. The lot itself, sitting between two houses, sat piled with trash all over, layer after layer, especially car parts strewn everwhere. Raymond exlained that some people used to pull up their cars on the parking lot, and service them there, leaving the old parts just lying around.

After we got in there, we placed about the length of a school bus in filled trash bags, rugs, bricks, etc along the street for the city to haul off. The lot itself remains spacious enough, that it could be used for several things, a small park, a garden, etc.

Later that evening, the Temple group invited us over to their house to hang out, eat ice cream, play board games, etc. Before heading over, we went out to ethiopian, a treat especially for Kellar, as him and Suzzane are looking to adopt from Ethiopia. At the restaurant, they served us platters they set on top of a woven basket resembling an upside down sombrero. We ate of the different meats/salads with our hands and with provided bread.

As dinner was winding down, Brooke and Morgan came over to me and Enrique and presented some stuffing, all they claimed was left of "Jr" (who'd last been seen on Monday after Jaime was squirreled.) All three recounted how the previous evening, they sacrificed him, "Slashing him open with a ball point pen," and "Destroying the squeeker."

Then we stopped back by the CSM house to get the ice cream toppings. Kellar to our suprise volunteered to run inside and get them, litterally running. He then came running out with the bag, ran to the back of the van, and handed the bag to me, asking me to check to make sure it was all there.

When I looked inside, I found "Papa" frozen solid, with a huge chunk of ice sticking out of his butt. Later upon arriving at the Temple house, I found "Jr" sitting in the freezer, his death had been faked.

And so I was squirreled, and to their credit, far more legendary than any of the previous events. Papa took two days to thaw out, three to dry.

However, thanks to operation chestnut, Jaime, Brooke, and also Morgan were all squirreled over night this past wednesday in a joint strike operation. At the crib of each was hung a squirrel, with a note, awaiting their rise from morning slumber. Even Morgan, tucked away inside Cotton Dorm, thanks to an inside job.

At this point, I've recounted the Philly Trip. There remains one final post which should appear sunday evening, with post thoughts, and where we head from here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Philly Part 5-Divine Appointments

Thursday we worked with Manna, an organization that prepares meals for people with disabilites. The meals are prepackaged, then delivered each week. Many of us worked in an assembly line, adding various components to each plate.

Monday through Thursday we worked at an after school program in camdem, NJ, just across the river from Philly. For the most part, several of us did house work/cleaning, others tutored. I used my pocket knife to
1) Cut down some thick bushes out back
2) Take down vines
3) Unclog the vacuum cleaner
4) Give the carpet a hair cut (cut the loose strands that were just haning around and or cloggin in the vacuum, etc

One of the head tutors, Sean, recognized I was from the south, by my handiness with a knife, he being from Georgia. Also some of the kids we worked with, when told we were from East Carolina, recongnized us for our football team proclaiming "yeah we see them on sportscenter all the time, ya'll are good."

Jersey kids are among the best in the world.

Later that evening during debrief, we convened at a coffee shop. While there we noticed a bible study going on with college kids. After meeting we walked over and introduced ourselves. Our new brothers and sisters attended a nearby church of Christ.

As we walked back to the van, one of the guys accompanied us. Along the way, he would ask every person he met, what they knew about Jesus. If the opportunity presented itself, he would proceed to share the Gospel with him. I must say this was a first to witness for me. I don't necessarily agree with his methods, but I can't dispute his boldness. Just before departing, me and Enrique prayed with him, and he for us.

Steven got pretty sick this evening. Came down with a cold. When we got back to the CSM, he went straight to bed. The rest of us, listened to a visiting Missioneer. A missioneer is someone who works like a missionary, only is planted within communities, and works to establish a better communal life. He shared so many great points, and jokes. Of them I will say that he pointed out that in Luke 16:19-31, the rich man died without a name, only Lazarus the poor man was remembered!

One last thing that cannot go untold. Remember how Wed, we talked with a guy named Roger who presented us with a verse where God called people 'gods', and we couldn't find it. Well lo and behold, Josh Morgan sent me a text to check out Psalm 82 "and to know that God answers prayers." When I turned there, in verse 6 there the verse sat. UNBELIEVABLE!! I immediately ran downstairs and shared it with Kyle, Kellar, and Jaime who were talking in the kitchen. They couldn't believe it either.

Granted Josh was making the point that we needed to keep praying for the helpless mentioned in Psalm 82, but little would he know when he first contacted us that God meant for a different prayer to be answered.

Wes upon hearing this, and reading the text messages, became "creeped out." I know God answers prayers, sometimes right in front of our eyes, but it blows my mind every time He does.
If that doesn't show you the value in prayer partners for a trip, then nothing will.

Philly Pranks

Couple of fun memories I must make mention of before continuing with the series.

After Brooke got squirreled Sunday, Jaime got squirreled monday morning just before heading out. As of last thursday, (which can be found in next post) "Jr" remained missing, Jaime being the last to have seen him among the living.

Tuesday night, SpiderPake again did some webbing. He added more to Kyle's bed, making it more difficult. SpiderPake also layed out webbing between the two beds, one shin high, the other about chest level.

With so many guys staying at the CSM house, we were left one bed short. Chris Kulp (temple) opted to sleep on the floor on a mattress between bunks. Since he enjoyed our late night conversations monday night, from a few beds away, we moved his mattress between our bunks. Our late night conversations became known as "the tea party."

Remember how I shared a bunk with kellar? Well he was on the bottom and this particular evening, he passed out quick, sprawled out across both his and Enrique's bed next to his. Throughout the night, in between loud snoring, and moaning, our tea party continued. At one point, we started messing with Kellar's feet to see if he would roll over completely onto Enrique's bed, so that when Enriq came up, he wouldn't know that to do.

When Dan "Diesel" Domanski came in (from the temple group) he saw the top line of webbing, but as he was ducking undereneath to join our tea party, got closelined on the second one, hidden in the darkness. A short time later, Kyle got socked in the face by a pair of socks Wes rigged up on a swing from his bottom bunk, although Chris manned the weapon during the two consecutive strikes. Whack-Kyle-"You guys are out of" -whack-.

Chris got squirreled by John monday evening, and subsequentlty squirreled Kellar's pillow. While Kellar was dreaming of shrimp we all deduced, well I should say me, because I know that kellar is a shrimp enthusiast, he would shift on his pillow and we would hear the squirrel squeek inside.

Between the sock rigging, the webbbing, and kellar, it was a long time before any of us other than kellar and steven fell asleep.

Editor's note. We later discovered that kellar played us the whole time. He discovered the squirrel Chris planted earlier in the day, and manipulated it throughout the evening to mess with us. We also discovered this, by his recounting of the stories we shared.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Philly Part 4-Illegal Love

Day 4

Wednesday night, we headed out to the parkway about 6:30-7ish, and gave out bag lunches we had prepared earlier in the day. Many of the homeless people gathered, expecting a group to be there with food. And so we sat with them, and listened as they shared their stories.
Its actually illegal to give out free food in Philadelphia. I don't know about the rest of the group, but every time a cop car came wizzing by with lights on, I kept an eye on it, until it it continued on its way down the street. Illegal love in the park.

I talked to a guy named Paul, who I found easy to converse with, because he resembled a cool professor I have here at East Carolina. Paul I found out, had graduated high school, had held several jobs, but in his mid 30’s had been homeless for about 8 years. He’d once been a trucker, but “felt that a monkey could drive a truck” and so tried seeking a job that would use more intellect.

When he hit hard times he returned home, to his parent’s house in Philly. But his father is an alcoholic, and unbearable to live with. Finding no help there, Paul took to the streets. He dislikes staying in the shelter, because of how depressing it is. He used to stay fit, running a lot, but then lost motivation to keep it up.

From talking with him, the biggest hurdle he faced was the loneliness that gripped him. He has a hard time finding company, even a friend to talk to on a regular basis. With no one in his life, no one around, he found little reason to try to get his life back. He simply lost all motivation to go out and find a job, even though he has several qualifications that would benefit him.

I listened to him for a while, able to relate somewhat to his story. I encouraged him, telling him that I have faith, and still do, that he could work construction again, land a job that can pay well enough to begin getting his own place for the very first time in his life.
Even now I am praying that this comes to pass.

After prayer and he departed, I walked over and joined some of the other members in our group as they talked to Roger, a guy who could be Samuel L. Jackson’s double. They were talking about faith. Roger doesn’t believe in Paul, or Peter’s testimonies. He also quoted a verse where according to Roger, God called people gods. We were unable to find the verse to read it in context.

Eventually we did find some common ground, we then prayed the Lord’s Prayer together. Never have I prayed the following verse so appropriately

“Give us this day our daily bread”

Returned to the CSM house overwhelmed. After mustering up the energy to get cleaned up, some letters were delivered to us. Students in CCF had written encouraging letters to us, reminding us of the power of God, and personally reminding us of the work of God through us. After reading the letters, I became ready to finish the rest of the week. To those who wrote, you brought me back from the brink of hopelessness.

Philly Part 3-Sunday Breakfast

Day 3-
Before telling you the about day 3, I must share some things that happened last night.
First off, SpiderPake made his debut, webbing Kyle’s bed at the foot, where he climbs up on top. SpiderPake also laid out some webbing knee high between both beds. When Kyle came in, he had some trouble getting up onto the bed, but still managed.

We also squirreled John, one of the temple guys.

Me, Kyle, Wes, and Kellar continued talking for a while, at times rather boisterous. Little did we know we were disturbing our new brothers on the other end of the room, until one of them called out asking for things to get quiet. Sorry Waynesburg!

Tuesday we headed to Sunday Breakfast, a shelter/soup kitchen that’s been around the biz since 1878. After a tour, we started by organizing stock, a task that called for some of us to climb high atop shelves. Around eleven, we headed upstairs, and led a chapel service with all the homeless.

Never have I felt such genuine worship. People, with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, their only shelter, being Sunday breakfast and the meals they provide all praising Jesus like He had just walked in and given each a winning lottery ticket.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

We led some songs without music, just lifting our voices, and clapping our hands. I then led a short devo/message after Kyle Johnson shared his testimony. I had just found out the night before, so being short on preparation, I turned to the creator of all words, and hope.

Then the Holy Spirit took over. He began speaking through me from John 17:3 which says “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” When we pray we begin to come into God’s presence, thus as we encounter His presence we begin to KNOW Him. That is how we have eternal life here on earth. And how knowing Him is so much richer than anything else in all the earth.

We then led another song, after numerous requests. Then Russ, who we worked with down in packaging, came up, and following the Spirit’s guidance, also shared about prayer from Exodus 17, and how Moses had to continue holding up his hands even when they grew weary. Sometimes through prayer, we must wrestle, and continue, even wearily. The Holy Spirit used us as a tag team.

We then headed to the kitchen, and brought out plates, serving our brothers. Once everyone was served, we came out and ate with them.

However, everything didn't go completely perfect. To quote Morgan Pruit from her blog, who is far better with words, and prose than I am:
Unfortunately, a fight over lunch broke out [between the men, not the team]. It's totally disheartening to see Jesus punching somebody out. It shouldn't be that way. I have never had to fight for food. No one else should have to either.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Philly Part 2-Weary feet

Day 2:

Monday morning we did Philly Explore. We drove over to the parkway between the art museum and town hall. About 10am we split up into groups of 3. Our task was a scavenger hunt of sorts. For the next four hours we would need to visit several destinations, answer a list of questions, talk to locals, and homeless alike

and we were each individually given a dollar to figure out lunch. Nothing more did we carry except the coats we wore, and a dollar in our pocket. Well I also had a pocket knife, and my Bible in a cargo pocket on my camos.

So me Brooke, and Kellar set out on the streets of Philly. First we stopped at a Basilica, the largest church I've ever walked into. The catholic church had some king of big meeting there years ago. After talking with a volunteer inside, and spending a few minutes praying we departed. The church was beautiful, laden with gold, murals everywhere.

We then headed toward the hotels because we needed to find out what the most expensive hotel room in Philadelphia is. At the Four Seasons hotel, you can stay in the presidential suite for over $5,000 a night, furnished with a baby grand piano, and a pool table. We asked to see the room, but it was occupied. Staying 3 nights at that price, you could buy someone a brand new car.

Later on we doubled back, and arrived at Logan's circle. We talked to one lady from Toronto about the homeless situation in Philly. Toronto stated that "The problem is that many of the homeless don't want to be helped. Some of them also have psychological problems." After leaving her to go on her way, we walk to the other side of the empty fountain, and found two guys sitting on one of the benches. Spotting a Bible we walked up.

Will as it turned out was from out west, his friend Tim, he'd known since being a kid. Both were homeless. For an hour we talked to Will and Tim, eventually sitting down on the gravel at their feet to continue listening as they shared their stories, and their daily life. Through our humbleness, we became brothers with them.

Will and Tim go from day to day, taking care of theirselves, by getting clean clothes and a shower at a nearby shelter, and eating when they need to. During a "Code Blue" when the temperature drops below freezing, officials come by and move all of the homeless people indoors regardless until the temperature rises back up.

Will and Tim fare well by making many friends, and by passing and receiving information by word of mouth. By doing that, they learn of the shelters, and when and where help can be received.

We shared with them of how we were seeking to learn more about the homeless situation. We also shared how we only carried a dollar and needed to find a way to eat off of that.

"They only gave you a dollar? The homeless people have more money than that to eat with!"

They then walked us 6 blocks away to St. Johns, a hospice shelter that serves meals. We couldn't eat as a group however, because St. John's only feeds men, which meant Brooke couldn't eat with us. Along the way we met, RaRa, a former homeless bully, who would take from the other homeless people. Will informed us that in the past year RaRa had drastically changed; still homeless but no longer bullying people. We then parted with Tim and Will, and following their advice, headed two blocks south, to a popular square and proceeded to ask for money to eat with.

I tried walking up to a guy, and began the conversation by asking if he was from Philly.

"No, I'm eating. GO AWAY!!" He then hurried off, food in hands.

The city of brotherly love.

Kellar found better luck gaining a dollar from another fellow. We gained 3 more from a couple, after sharing our stories as a group. We approached them after noticing them putting a few ones in their pockets, something Will and Tim taught us to look for. With $7 we then went to McDonald's and each got a double cheese burger and an apple pie off the dollar menu. With the rest, we bought a burger and a pie we gave out to a homeless person sitting on a bench who had no lunch.

And so we walked a mile in the shoes of the homeless.

Will and Tim, thank you for accepting us as your own. Thank you also for being willing to give us a few dollars. We look forward to being rejoined with you in the coming kingdom, when we all will be rich beyond compare.

Philly Part 1 addition

Something I forgot to mention in "Philly Part 1-Day 1"

The night before, me, Wes, and Enrique went out to walmart at like midnight, and bought two stuffed squirrels with squeekers in them, and some fishing wire. The idea for the squirrels was for a new prank we launched-squirreling.

When we stopped to a town somewhere in northern VA, I planted "Papa" (the big squirrel) in Brooke Davis's bag. When we got to Philly, she unloaded and when she would move her bag, she kept wondering why it squeeked. She opened it upstairs to find "Papa" stashed inside.

When she came down she first accused Kyle Johnson of the prank. Sorry about that best friend (catch a later post for the story on that shameless plug). Then she figured it out it was me. And so the squirreling epidemic started.

The fishing wire would find uses throughout the week.

Philly Part 1-Day 1

We arrived in Philadelphia around 4pm ish. Navigated our way through the city and over to the west side to what would be our base of operations for the week, a renovated row house on 42nd. When we arrived, we learned that two other groups were also staying at the CSM (Center for Student Missions) house. One group was from Temple University, just across town in Philly, the other from Waynesburg University which is about an hour south of Pittsburgh.

We had a lot of trouble getting Waynesburg right, calling them wingate, wingsburg, wingsboro, waynesboro, etc. We didn't get to hang with them as much because of the scheduling of when groups were out on work sites. We did however make some long lasting friends with the Temple group. I always enjoy meeting, and making new brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world.

Marie Johnson served as our host and tour guide for the week, intent on winning our hearts. We spent some time unpacking, and taking control of some bunk beds. Our group got a row of 3 together at one end of the room, I somehow chose what would be the top bunk over top of Kellar. Those of you who know him, know this week is allready going to be interesting.

All in all about 35ish people were all staying in one house. Somehow the shower rotation never became a problem, nor preparing meals. After settling in, we headed out and ate Indian food, and got to know our hew hosts, and the Temple group. Of all the ethnic restaurants, Indian would be my favorite because of the all you can eat buffet, and the "Milk balls" (I can't remember what they were called) that tasted just like milk and pan cakes. YUM!

Afterwards we loaded up and took a prayer tour around the city. We started at love park right in the heart of the city. Many of the homeless people hang out around the park, and along the parkway running to the art museum where Rocky once ran up the steps. We headed nearby and sat under an overpass, as Marie shared with us statistics about the city.

Did you know that Pennsalvania is one of the richest states in the US? Yet Philadelphia is among one of the poorest cities? While millions of dollars are spent on high rises and grandiose architecture in the attempt of outdoing one another, thousands walk the streets, with few places to go, fewer jobs with which to take, and get out of the circle of poverty.

1 in 4 people never graduated high school for that matter. We visited another section where the city built and EL right over top of some neighborehoods, essentially burrying them, blocking the sunlight, and the rain from ever reaching the ground again. A valley where life was decaying, all because of a city who only cares for those with money.

Through the prayer journey, we began to see and to feel the hopelessness the poverty stricken feel living within the city. Imagine being a little flee on a football field. Loneliness sadly runs rampant throughout the city of brotherly love.

When we returned, we debriefed, then headed up stairs to head to bed.

Never in my life, have a simple mattress and taking a short shower made me feel like i was richer than even Soloman in the Bible.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What to expect on Philly

I've now returned from the city of Philadelphia, which has been life changing. Each day was an adventure in and of itself, every encounter unique.

Over the next week, I'm going to post a series broken up into 8 parts to chronicle the sights, smells, and the amazing stories. Questions you can look forward to receiving answers to:

What's the most expensive hotel room in Philly?

What does a squirrel and an ice box have in common?

How many ways can a pocket knife be useful in cleaning?

Which food spicier, jamaican, or ethiopian?

How clutch can prayer partners be for mission trips?

How has God regrabbed my heart and attention to following Him?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Headin to Philly

Hey Everyone

I am less than 6 hours away from leaving for Philadelphia with the crew from ECU for a spring break mission trip. There we will be allowing God to break our hearts for the homeless and people in need, whatever form they come in.

I'll do a couple of blog posts to highlight the trip upon my return

For His Kingdom

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Round 5 goes to the Devil

"When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my Lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.

"Dont be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "Oh Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses, and chariots of fire all around Elisha. II Kings 6:15-17

Spiritual warfare is all around us all the time. Usually we're oblivious to its presence and proximity to us. When we are, we can get completely broadsided and never know what hit us.

This week, I found myself in the midst of some spiritual warfare. As I fought I made two mistakes.

1) I forgot early on to pray. The thing that God urges us to do more than anything is to pray. To fight with prayer, to call on His assistance.

2) I found myself mishandling the word of God

How did I manage #2? I didn't even realize it until God used a dream to open my eyes to see what was happening in the spiritual realm. In the dream, I was arguing with the devil himself in the flesh. As I argued, I pulled out pages of the Bible to prove my point, literally. I was tearing out pages to use the words written there on. Then there was this odd cutting off point where it hit me that I was being deceived, then I woke up.

In Matthew 4, Satan came to Jesus and tempted Him by twisting the scriptures around to catch Jesus in a trap. Satan is the father of all lies, and if he can twist the truth you better believe he will in every instance. Satan is also a master deceiver.

"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquarades as an angel of light." II Corinthians 11:14

Thats how I began to mishandle the word of God. In getting frustrated, I began to pull verses out of context, symbolized by ripping the pages out in the dream.

Jaime reminded me earlier that knowing truth is hugely important. Knowing that God's word, when handled properly and in context is truth, and that we as humans don't define truth within ourselves, as philosophy likes to teach us.

"For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

My mistake is best summed up by 2 Timothy 2:15
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

When we do not spend time in God's word, and properly study it as a whole, we can begin to misuse the Word of God. Not only do we then begin to spread false truth, but we can also lead others astray, while causing harm to others, potentially shattering the faith of some.

Round 5 indeed went to the devil. Just thinking of him as I saw/felt him in my dream sends shivers all over my body. So sinister.