Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Forget the wrapping paper on this one

First off, for those who have been praying for me since my last post, thank you. Your prayers gave me the strength to seek out brothers in Christ and to confess some of the problems that were going on. Some of it did have to do with the previous post about sin.

Back in January, I did comitt some sin, that was far out of character for me. Looking back, I can't say what I was thinking, but convictions I had held for years went out the window. I knew afterwards that what I had done, went against God's word, and against the "new man" He is transforming me to become.

As a Christian, I don't have this life figured out. I don't have everything together in a nice neat package. One day, God may be answering my prayers right before my eyes. The next, i wonder if I even have the faith to pray. On a thursday, the Holy Spirit might be speaking through me with words of fire, and by friday morning I'm seeking forgiveness for yet again wondering from the fold.

The part that brings tears to my eyes is that I don't have to be perfect now. Christ didn't come to die for those who were holy. He came for the lonely, the depressed, the lunatics, the thieves, for the 16 year old father, and the 15 year old mother. Christ is working in me yes, and only by Him can I begin to even be His ambassador. But for now, while I am being sanctified, I know that only by His grace am I here.

Without Him, I am a branch cut off from the tree, withering, dying. But grafted into Him, drawing from the root, I give forth fruit.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Don't know what to say...

For those following my blog

Thanks for your faithful following. I havn't post frequently lately, because I've had a lot going on, a lot I havnt revealed to other people in my life who care.

Some of it I don't know where to begin, some of it I don't know how to explain. All I know is I'm caught in a cycle of being afraid of dissapointing people and ending up doing so.

I don't open up well about what really bothers me, what keeps me distracted. But those who know me best have noticed the false front I've been putting up lately. If you didn't, I still count you a very close friend, but like I said, i bury some stuff down deep, and its hard to bring it out.

Be in prayer for me. I'm far from having myself, and this stuff figured out. I don't have things together like I would like. I guess I use jokes as a means of keeping a cheery spirit, of putting up the front that things are allright. I guess too, thats why I keep myself busy, so I can keep moving, and hopefully leave it behind to sort itself out. But I can't run from problems.

Know that I'm not going to open up easy at all about this stuff, especially around other people. I know I have demons I'm wrestling with, and if nothing else, pray earnestly for me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sin is a monster

Two weekends ago, during the winter retreat, we got things started by Joe Blanchard talking about sin, and how sin is like a big pile of horse crap that stinks up our living room. He actually brought in a bag of the stuff to make his point.

Sin is so many things, and it makes me angry the way it messes everything up. Then again, we're the ones who usually dip into sin.

1) Sin destroys relationships
Look back in the garden. When Adam and Eve sinned, they destroyed their relationship with God, their maker. Before, they could walk with him side by side, talk with Him face to face, etc. Sin came in and completely destroyed all of that, because God is holy and cannot come into contact with sin. Adam and Eve also destroyed their relationship to creation and to the animals, because now a sacrifice must be made, and blood must be shed. Brings me to my next point.

2) There's always a price to pay with sin
The biggest price is death, eternal separation from God. Besides that which many are familiar with, sin also means a price in this lifetime. For Adam and Eve it meant they had to leave the garden, and work for their provisions. When David sinned with Bathsheba, the newborn child, born of that sin, died. The price of sin here on earth is usually paid in the amount of causing pain to others.

Everything God set in His Word, He set for a reason. He didn't throw in arbitrary commandments just to see if you would follow Him or not. They all have a purpose. Most of His commands are just that to allow us to live life to the fullest, while causing the least amount of pain and suffering. Why then do we as Christians (and I speak of myself here too) decided to tip toe the line of sin, thinking there'll be no harm if we get so close or even put a few toes on it? If we love God and recognize that sin is a monster that wrecks havoc, why do we still pull away from Him? We cannot be ignorant of the price and consequences of sin.

I'm as much frustrated/disappointed in myself in saying all of this as I am in all of human nature.

I encourage you to clean out sin in your life if you have any. I also encourage you to beware giving in to temptation, because when you do, you won't just be harming yourself, you will also harm someone else, even someone close to you...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Broken and Scared

Within the past 4 days, I've had two experiences with people in need. One broke my heart, the other actually scared me.

Thursday evening as me and Steven Riggs finished eating at McDonald's we closed in prayer before leaving. A nearby fellow after over hearing our prayer asked for prayer. His name is Charles Alexander Williams, and he is homeless in greenville. He had come in with a small pizza and a drink someone had bought for him at Dominoes. His real worry though was where he was going to stay that night with temperatures dropping down to about 30. He asked for a place to stay, but I couldn't offer him one, which broke my heart because that was the only thing he needed. I promised him I'd remember him in prayer every day for the next few weeks.

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed", but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16

Since then in prayer, I've not only lifted up Alexander's name, but I've also sought out how to help those who are homeless.

Then last night after returning from the winter retreat, I went to cookout for some food after getting groceries. There was another fellow there who had just gotten a lil food. After getting mine, he asked for some money, which I sadly had abosolutely none I could give him save a few dimes i had left from getting mine. He then followed me to my vehicle asking for a ride. There was something about him I couldn't trust, and the fact that he kept reaching into his pockets and his coat wasn't helping.

He then said he needed my vehicle, which really set off some alarms in the back of my mind. I told him i was sorry and that I couldn't help him. He then asked to see my hat which he then intentionally dropped on the ground. I guess he was trying to get me riled up and angry. I just picked up my hat and proceeded to get in my vehicle and leave. Thankfully after that he walked off.

Reflecting a short time later, it really scared me. My fear didn't show while i was talking to him, but later I realized that I could have been mugged or worse. Thats not what leaves me worried though, because I trust in Jesus. I spent the retreat weekend praying, and beginning to let God prepare my heart to help the homeless as over spring break. I will be heading to Philladelphia then to work with other people in need within the city.

Problem now is after those two encouters I have no idea how to help people in need. How far is it wise to go? How far should i open myself up and be vunerable to who knows what and still be able to help others?

All in all, I'm recognizing a whole lot more that Christ needs to work in me on. If you have any thoughts on this, any wisdom at all please share it with me.