Friday, December 31, 2010

A year ago...

A year ago I was just beginning to learn to play the ukulele. I didn't know any chords by name, or how to tune the instrument but I was moving forward anyway.

A year ago I was still in working on my undergrad at East Carolina. I hadn't even yet declared to be a double major in Religious Studies (I was just pursuing a minor).

A year ago I hadn't traveled to Panama City Beach Fla, during spring break no less, to meet the needs of college students.

A year ago I hadn't traveled to Michigan and learned some things regarding the art of conversation and storytelling.

A year ago I hadn't personally witnessed the Pirates of ECU beat NC State in football.

A year ago I hadn't seen a Duke Men's Basketball game in Cameron.

I hadn't broken a 100 in bowling, been to a real concert, learned the joy of playing ultimate frisbee, seen a glorious sunrise over the waters of the Atlantic while camping out on the beach.

2010 had many ups, had its down, but in a few hours will exist only in pictures, videos, memories, etc. Here's to 2011 and all that God has in store.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December Update

Been a few weeks since I last blogged, so much has been happening! Here's a glimpse from my eyes.

Began Finals over a week ago. Spoke at my last ECU Overflow as a student. Got a little emotional as I reflected and prayed over everyone. Before the worship ended, Kellar had all the students pray over me. Later that night I pulled an all nighter in the library to finish a paper and to study for a final I also had the next day. I never slept a wink that span of 40 hours but I handled it fine and got some rest Friday.

Travelled to Chapel Hill and saw Reliant K in concert Sunday evening (first big time concert). I road tripped up there with some cool friends, and met some other friends there. Really enjoyed the trip and the music.

Took some friends out star gazing last monday night for the Geminid Meteor Shower. We went out around midnight to have a better view, although it was bitterly cold. Braving the temps was worth it though, we saw one meteor that fire-balled across the sky with blue fire for several seconds. Hands down the best meteor I've ever seen in my life.

Tuesday I took a road trip to Wilmington with my friends Jason and Chris. After lunch at Flaming Amy's I went to a ukulele store. There I found out the story on the uke I inherited last winter, and found the instrument was probably made between the 1920s-1940s and was fairly valuable. I proceeded to get Pablo restrung, picked up some picks, and purchased a Baratone Ukulele and a digital ukulele tuner as a Christmas gift from my parents.

Wednesday I completed my last undergrad final. Had a lovely dinner with two of my married friends over in Washington.

Thursday we got snow. After lunch with a friend who was kept from returning home earlier due to the weather, I started Christmas shopping. Watched Elf on campus with another friend later that evening.

And earlier today (Friday) I participated in two graduation ceremonies! I took part in the big one for all the graduates and the department graduation for Communication. Religious Studies didn't have a ceremony because I was only one of two students graduating this winter.

So as you can see, I've been driving all over NC the past two weeks! Tomorrow I'm driving home to spend the next few weeks at home with family.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Hope: A vision for a better tomorrow that causes you to live differently today.

I spent this past weekend staying with some friends at UNC-W. We spent the weekend getting shown around Wilmington, the campus, and just hanging out. On Sunday we attended Cape Fear Christian Church. I liked the service, and the message was about hope, which the first week of advent focuses on. Advent is an older tradition that the Church used to keep. Some churches still keep Advent today, others are coming back to that root. Growing up Original Free Will Baptist, we never kept Advent. I believe only the Catholics and possibly the Episcopals do so today.

Advent means the arrival of something that has been much anticipated. Roughly a month leading up to Christmas, The Church sets aside time to remember the significance of the first coming of Christ, and to refocus on his second coming.

Hope is essential to the Christian life. Hope drives us to continue to live and pursue God, and not to let our stories end once we accept Jesus as the Messiah.

What are you hopeful for? Are you taking steps now to live in preparation?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finding my joy in Christ

Some days when I'm not surrounded by people I can feel kind of blah. Today was such a day. Part of me craves interaction with others, and admittedly I'm at my best when I'm around others. But some days that's not possible. Like when you're taking a weekend to rest, recuperate, and study for classes.

I was listening to some Shane and Shane earlier, and this song came up on my ipod. Its called "The Answer." Here's the first verse and chorus:

I've tried more of me
and i've come up dry
trading You for things
things that go away
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You
my happiness is found in less
of me and more of You

i have found the answer is
to love You and be loved by You alone
alright! alright! alright!
You crucify me and the world to me
and i will only boast in You
alright! alright! alright!

Reminds me of some teaching I gave the other night in 2:42. We were in John and I took a moment to explain some deeper meaning behind John 15:9-11 where Jesus says “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

Where it says "may be complete" that comes from the greek verb "pleroo" which means "to fill up, cause to abound, to complete." Its used again in John 17:13 where the NIV translates it as "full measure of."

So often I turn to sports, pets, playing music, and friends for joy, to be fulfilled. And for a time those will carry me, but like a summertime breeze, it comes and goes. I forget so often that in Christ is my joy made complete. I crave encouragement, but I should crave it from God, and from his word. To hear from him who I am, to take joy in His promises.

Monday, November 8, 2010

This is why we pray

In 1642, 6 years after Harvard was first founded, President Henry Dunster set forth the following as the original purpose of Harvard University:

"Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 17:3 and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer, in secret, to seek it of Him."

In 1654 Henry Dunster was dismissed for disagreeing with the doctrine of Infant Baptism. His stance along with the "heretics" would lead to further church reformation.

As far back as the 1600s God has been using the college campuses of America to lead the way.

Our weeks of 24/7 prayer have accomplished several things over the past two years
1) Brought more unity to the 17 campus ministries on campus
2) Given students a deeper hunger for more intimacy with God
3) Brought about changes downtown
-Crime on Halloween and downtown has been on the decline for two years now
-When we kicked off a week of 24/7 prayer in April of 2009, God opened a door and provided the Boiler Room space to 6:22 Ministries. Since then 6:22 has carried the torch moving towards night and day prayer and worship in the city of Greenville and the region.

For the Ten Days of Prayer at East Carolina, you don't have to visit the Boiler Room, but I would highly encourage you to do so! The space is phenomenal for hearing from God, receiving direction and hearing from Him on what He would have us do to make His name famous at East Carolina and in the world.

I cannot say how God will respond to our prayers this time, but I know He will, and in ways that will make his hand clearly the author!

If you want to sign up for a specific hour to spend at the Boiler Room, you can do by Clicking Here

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sharing my heart

The heart can be so fragile. Like a vase, a heart can hold much, pour out its contents, and be held by others. Vases even come with handles to be specifically carried. But hearts can be cracked, sometimes broken.

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:1-7

No passage of scripture is speaking to me more so right now with where I am than the above. As I've been praying about where God would have me after December (and I'm closer to making a decision) I've also needed to share this with my family.

"Well of course you need to share with your family" you probably say within yourself.

Except you don't understand just how hard that has been. Let me take you back to the fall of 2008. At the time I was praying about an opportunity I had to travel overseas to undergo a prayer journey through a country that is spiritually a desert. But as I shared with my family, I met resistance. Oh how much resistance I faced.

I never took up the opportunity. And for a year and a half since then, I've been reluctant to share my heart with my family, out of fear of receiving the same welcome. That's led to not telling then about short term opportunities I undertook stateside until just a few weeks before, sometimes days before. Those were choices I regret, the ways I handled telling my family that is.

Within the past few weeks I've been following some advice given me, and been sharing my heart with my family. A weekend or two ago, I shared with them while we were running errands in the car about all the things I'd been up to in college, and the things I'd seen God doing. That was a big step for me. At times I was just sharing, and my parents listened. I couldn't tell if that was good or bad. But then his past Sunday I was briefly home for my church's homecoming and I was once again sharing my heart. Then unexpectedly my dad asked "How have reaching out to the internationals been going?"

Within me, my heart leapt for joy! My parent's had really been listening that car ride!! I know they may never carry the same passions as I, and they may never understand my passions, but they are beginning to recognize them!

I still have more to share with them, but I've been seizing opportunities to share bits of my heart here and there. I'm seeking to finally come out of my shell.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Love is like Lasagna

Love is like lasagna, an invitation, or attention. Love is easier to receive than to give. A home made lasagna takes an hour to make, another hour to bake, etc (No rhyme intended there). Receiving the dish is a lot easier.

I myself find it hard to show people love sometimes. First I'm afraid to open my heart up. Someone wise once said that to love someone is to give them the ability to hurt you. Other times I wait to receive love before I give it. That's the world's definition of love. God's love is one that takes the first step, that doesn't act and wait to be reciprocated.

I can seem distant at times, and awkward/random I know. I don't intend to be. Its like I'm introverted on the surface but highly extroverted once you get to know me or when I become engaged in whatever situation I find myself in. God certainly made me peculiar, and I don't intend to change any of that, but I do desire to love more than I do.

Because I'm called to. Because loving is life to the full. I didn't deserve God's love, but He gave, and I received (that's still a work in progress). And there are other sheep that God desires to call is own, that I feel compelled to reveal God's love to.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Which are you?

Let me encourage you to check out my friend Ryne's blog. He recently put up a great post that came out of a discussion we had within our 2:42 group. I was going to share the same, but instead I'll refer you to his blog if you want a great read. As you read, ask yourself who are you?

Ryne's blog

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Praying for God knows what

This morning I found some quiet time at my apartment, and seized it to spend some time in the book of John, then followed that time up with prayer over the scripture I meditated on, then prayer for others. Lately I haven't spent much time praying for others as I've promised I would. Honestly sometimes I am quick so say I will pray for you in this, but slower than a snail in remembering to pray that request as the week and month moves on. Maybe I'm not alone in that. Maybe many others also promise to pray because is the christian thing to do, but never carry out the promise.

This morning I actually took some time to pray for some guys in a small group I co-lead. I started with requests they each had made known recently, then moved from there. Before I go further let me add that when I pray I like to pause. I don't do this as much when I'm praying for a group of believers in worship, but when the setting is more informal, you can expect me to pause in my prayers.

I picked this up first from a campus minister at UNC-W. I've noticed my own campus minister here at ECU doing this now (or maybe I just now noticed!) and I recall a great friend from Indiana doing the same. For me, I like to take time to pause for two reasons. One to enjoy the moment as I'm coming into the presence of God, and secondly, to listen to him speaking, as opposed to talking the whole time. My prayer times have become so much richer through that method.

Back to this morning. As I was praying and pausing, I felt God whisper, pray this over them, and I began to pray. Shortly thereafter, another friend sent me a text asking for prayer, but didn't specify any reasons. Not knowing what to pray for, I listened and prayed. God ended up taking my prayer and led me to pray over their spiritual well being. Later they confirmed that they were under spiritual attack.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26-27

I firmly believe that if we give God time in our prayers, He will speak to us and tell us what to pray for. But check this out too, and I myself just noticed this, the Spirit prays for us! The Holy Spirit of God prays for us, and guides others to pray over us too (when they listen and act on his nudging)!

Next time you're praying, throw out the time limit, DON'T talk the whole time (LISTEN), and ask God what else you can pray for.

"Be quick to listen, slow to speak..." James 1:19

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dude, where's my bike?

As i shared in a previous post, I went on a retreat last weekend. Upon getting back into town, I discovered my bike had been stolen from the campus house while we were away. I had locked it up on the porch before leaving, but I locked it through some of the posts between the rails. Those posts as it turns out, can easily be pulled out.

I was very dismayed when I discovered this, especially coming off of a great retreat. The bike has been my main mode of transportation to campus, and other destinations nearby. Once I got a lift back to my apartment, I began to wrestle in my spirit on how to respond. I found myself praying and asking "Jesus, how would you respond to this?"

As I prayed, unpacked, and did some dishes to meditate on this, I found my spirit being led to Matthew 5 where it says to turn the other cheek, love your enemies, and in Matt 6, forgive others to be forgiven. But these are all hard sayings to actually live out!

The chances of the bike being found are small, unless they try to pawn it nearby. The chances of me meeting whoever stole it are very small. Regardless my spirit was chained to theirs through unforgiveness. I thus began to pray, and say Father, I forgive them, I forgive them for whatever reason they took it. Then God shed some light on the situation. "I don't know why they were desperate enough to steal the bike, whether they needed money or a mode of transportation, but I pray that you would come into their lives and meet whatever need they have."

I've since moved on in spirit. Been commuting through the Minges system which has added an extra 20 minutes to my schedule, and more gas used during the week. I've got a friend who's going to loan me a bike, but I may still commute, because despite the inconvenience, it forces me to slow down in my day, and places me in a context where I can talk to people.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

He is Worthy

This past weekend I attended my first fall retreat with CCF. In years past, circumstances have always kept me from going. I found time Saturday to pray and meditate on where I feel God calling me after December. I'm confident in what I'm discerning, but not ready to really announce anything except to a few close friends/mentors. I'm trying to avoid unnecessary distraction/attention.

What I see before me is a road faced with some hardship, doors I'm going to need to pray for God to open.

During worship I found myself arrive at a place that has held me back in recent years from other opportunities. The praise band was leading us in Revelation song and the opening lines "Worthy is the lamb who was slain" hit me like rain falling from the sky, washing over me from head to toe.

God is worthy of whatever hardship we face. Find yourself weighed down, discouraged, or in an uphill battle? He is worthy of it all. I realized too that God is worthy of whatever I have to face. Olympic athletes will train years, through many tears for the opportunity to win gold, because they see the goal as worthy.

What will you endure? How worthy is God to you?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Empty Handed

During my time here at East Carolina University, God has given me a heart for two areas of ministry. Prayer and going downtown. I can trace the roots of both back two summers ago. It was in Michigan that God showed me the power of prayer, and the need to intercede for the lost and unreached. Driving through downtown Greenville upon arriving back, God began to constantly speak "Downtown, go downtown."

2 years have since passed. I've found myself pushed to the forefront of a movement of praying students and faculty. Where once I felt my prayers did nothing, I now saw God answering them, and I found myself inspiring others to pray. Last spring, after an eventful excursion to Panama City Beach, I began with CCF students to finally reach into the downtown party scene. I've only come across one other ministry that has dared to reach the unreached there.

This semester has been trying however. I lay awake late at nights, my heart burning with desire to continue to see more of God in these areas, to see more fruit, a bigger harvest. Three weeks ago, I contacted students in various ministries on campus to come together to pray for an hour. I contacted over 30 in over 8 different ministries. No one showed up.

The Friday nights I have been in Greenville, I've been asking different guys about joining me in going downtown, to show love, and have conversation with people about God. Of the guys I've talked to, none have been able/willing to go.

I've been disappointed by both instances. Like my voice is falling on deaf ears. With that weighing down on me, I travelled to the Boiler Room earlier tonight. The Boiler Room has been a huge blessing since God established the ministry back after a week of 24/7 Prayer on campus at East Carolina in the spring of 2009. The space is truly intimate, and I can always commune with God there.

Tonight while I was worshipping and praying during the 5 hour "Burn" I found myself needing to confess and lift up spirits of disappointment, as they weighed me down from truly worshipping. As I began to pray over this, I felt God give me this vision. I saw dry, barren, cracked soil, that nothing could penetrate. And I knew underneath lied these seeds that were unable to burst forth because of the hard soil. And then I knew in my heart what was needed was rain, to loosen the soil and allow the seeds to grow.

Immediately I felt God saying, "Pray for rain, Pray for my spirit to go forth." I've been unable to cultivate anything in either prayer or downtown because I was trying of my own power. I recognize now, that I cannot persuade men, only the Holy Spirit can.

I then began to pray and ask for the Sprit to go before me, and call hearts to pray, to call hearts to go downtown, and to open eyes to see what I see. As I prayed the Spirit began to show me a few people to personally talk to. I'm now praying for the spirit to move those people before I talk to them.

I'm going to pour less energy into emailing, tweeting, and facebook updates about prayer gatherings. I'm going to ditch the video idea I had unless God brings someone along to create one. From here out, I'm going to pray for God to call people, and follow His Spirit in where to pray for the rain to fall.

Father I'm letting you resume driving this movement, carry us where you will.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The wedding

One day there was a wedding. People came from all over to celebrate the union that was to take place. Family, friends, and a rabbi with 5 new disciples. The disciples had just begun to follow their rabbi days before. Maybe they were expecting their first weekend with their rabbi to consist of fasting, and praying. Maybe they expected to hear him teach to crowds. Whatever their expectations were, nothing could have prepared them for what happened.

The bride and groom exchanged their vows, the celebration began. The family, guests, and friends all began to eat and drink. But just as the wedding was getting really good, when nobody wanted to leave, the unthinkable happens. Only a few were aware, but their faces told the tale.

Then an older lady goes over to her son, the rabbi, as he sits with his disciples and whispers into his ear 5 simple words. "They have no more wine."

"Is that my concern dear lady?" The rabbi replies. The lady then turned to the waiters instructing them to "Do whatever he tells you." The disciples sit up in their chairs, expectation rising in their hearts. The rabbi then consented to the lady, and turning, instructed the waiters to fill 6 stone jars with water. Confused faces spread like wildfire. "Fill those jars there? But those are used for washing!" Hesitating at first, they listen to the rabbi. He then instructed them to pour some water into the pitchers and to continue serving the guests.

The first cup that needs refilling happens to be held by the master of the ceremony. A servant walks up, cringing as he begins to pour the water into the cup. The master lifted the cup to his lips and let the contents spill down into his mouth. The master carefully set the cup down, and immediately pulled the groom aside exclaiming, "Most people bring out their best wine early, then once people are drunk, the bad. But you have saved your best for last. Well done!"

The servant looks down at the cup, and astonishingly sees wine sitting inside. The wedding continues, the people celebrate, and 5 disciples place their trust in their rabbi. The rabbi would go on to raise the dead to life, give sight to the blind, and forgive people of their sins, among many other things.

The wedding was more than the start of the Rabbi's miracles. The wedding was the opening precession to a cosmic wedding between and all loving God, and a people He has pursued before they even came to be.

And all but God play the Bride.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Worship Ruined Me Tonight

This past week has been eye opening, let me start with the adventures:

I found myself Thursday driving to the little out of the way place of Pinetops to pick up a friend's bed and we proceeded to carry it to Greenville on top of my Jeep. The friend I was helping I had literally met on campus an hour before. Without going into detail, I'm certain God brought him across my path, but why I can't say yet. There are some serious things going on with him, that I hope God will provide illumination on, and answers to how I can help lead him.

Saturday I travelled to Atlantic Beach with CCF. We took some internationals to what I call my backyard, and it was a gorgeous day down there. We spent a wonderful afternoon hanging out, before eating in Morehead City and driving back. I truly had a blast carrying some students from the UK, and hearing more about the differences between here and there.

Sunday was ECU's first game of the season, and what a crazy game at that. I'm glad we got a win, and it was crazy to see 50,000 fans in the stadium, 7,000 more than last year with the new endzone seating. Me and my friend Gilley were even on ESPN! Definitely glad I was sporting the Pirate outfit.

Now let me share what I've been wrestling with.

The worship tonight at CCF really did a number on me. As we were singing, this single thought struck me like lightning.

God loves me.

Maybe its because I'm a guy, but I don't dwell on that much. I hear that and I think within myself, of course he does, and I move on. Well tonight that thought brought me to my knees in prayer. I realized that this past week God has been competing for my affection, my time, and I've been barely responding, too caught up in classes and friends.

God also reminded me tonight of his heart to be a father to others, and of my desire to be a spiritual brother and mentor to the guys God has brought into my life. Tomorrow I'm going to focus on both with one step. I'm going to begin a new 1-1.

1-1's have shaped who I've become, and were the original way CCF impacted my life. I can name several mentors who I regard dearly for the time they spent with me, sharing how they follow Christ. I've initiated several since being mentored myself, and I look forward to being plugged into one or two this fall again, and life on life following Christ.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back in session

School is back in session, and I couldn't be more excited. My class time looks something like this, a second attempt at grasping ancient greek, reading through the Iliad, debating the omnipotence of God in Philosophy, discussing the mindset of Paul in the first century, and learning about resumes. I'm so thankful for the religious studies program here at ECU coupled with the opportunities!

But this is also my last semester at East Carolina. In a few weeks I'm passing on the torch on several of my responsibilities within CCF. I'm seeking to make the most of the friendships I have, and to pass on what I can to those God has placed in my life. I'm letting God use me in several contexts still, but seeking to act when he says to act, and leave the rest to him. For example, I'm coordinating some prayer gatherings among students from the different ministries still, and seeking to delegate what I can of that to others.

I also believe I know where I need to go after December! I'll share more on this in the coming weeks. Right now I want to seek confirmation. The rest is essentially free fall and how much I trust God. I'm scared, excited, nervous, anxious, and many other things.

Thankfully i have guys that stop me, and remind me to breathe.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A song that has struck a chord with me

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

Listen to the song here

Monday, August 16, 2010

What do you ask?

I recently finished a devotional book by John Eldredge titled "Walking with God." Eldredge is one of my favorite authors. Walking is a collection of his quiet times throughout the course of a year.

For most of the summer I've been meditating on what it means to ask in prayer. What am I really asking here? Do I really want to know the answer, or am I just asking because every good christian should?

This morning I was reading through Luke 7, part of my endeavor to read through the whole New Testament. I came across the story of the woman who wiped Jesus' feet with her tears and her hair. Toward the end of the story, Jesus points out that "He who has been forgiven little, loves little."

This prompted me to ask in prayer "Father are there areas of my life I am not letting you into? Areas that need forgiveness, redemption, and restoration?" The first time I asked, I felt I heard an "Ask again", after the second time, I heard stillness, then the third time He began to reply. One of the replies consisted of "Your work ethic."

At home this summer, there's been times where I haven't wanted to do anything at all, except chill. Realizing this, I began to ask God to come into my work ethic, and change my attitude. To be joyful when a task presents itself, to be eager to meet the task.

I'm going to continue to ask that question throughout my day, and look and see what else God replies with.

P.S. Somehow I got in an awesome hour of quiet time without interruption from the cat. Praise God!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Plate Full

As I’ve been preparing for the fall semester, I’ve begun to return to what God’s been showing me about the work he’s been doing at East Carolina. But as I’m returning to that mindset, I’m finding myself overwhelmed with carrying out everything I feel God laying on my heart, while finishing my academic career at ECU.

Specifically I’m looking forward to continue to be a leading part of CCF as we reach out downtown and begin to proclaim the Gospel in an area we have never breached before, an area that is at the center of the culture at ECU.

At the same time, I still feel the need for continued prayer on campus within CCF to precipitate our efforts to reach out to students, but also to unify the campus ministries as we did in 2008 and 2009. I could tell you story after story of the ways God moved in big ways by pouring out his spirit in response to prayer on college campuses. For instance, most of the major missions movements in the US came out of unified prayer on college campuses like Harvard, Cambridge, Northfield, etc.

Thinking about both of these equally important endeavors sometimes leaves my head spinning, especially with my desire to continue discipling students in 2:42 and 1-1. I realized earlier tonight during worship that I simply need to seek out God every day, to guide my steps, in managing my time, and in how to serve on each front I find myself while brining glory to God in my schoolwork.

One discerned step at a time.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Traveling to Indiana today I got the chance to talk with two close Campus Minister friend's about the questions I've been wrestling with the past summer.

As I voiced the questions, I came to realize that I have been focusing too much on my plans after December, and not enough on living in the present. I've been focusing on a plan so much that I haven't been focusing on living the way.

Thats what this whole week is all about for me, a chance to refocus on what I need to be doing. Expect some posts.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pieces of the Puzzle

I've been talking with lots of different people over the past year about how they got into ministry, what that path looked like, all in an attempt to see where I myself might be headed.

One thing I've learned from a lot of people is that they never set out from day one to enter ministry. As it happened, God opened the opportunity for them, and in some cases even changed their hearts on where they stood with regard to ministry. I've learned from others of different denominations that becoming ordained with some churches/denominations is a matter of being "set apart" by a church or several ministers who deem you ready for full time ministry.

All this only raises more questions.

So now one thing I'm thinking about is how qualified do I want to be, what amount is enough. Would a Religious Studies degree and a Certificate in Bible (Carolina Bible Institute) be enough or would I be better served to attend Seminary? That I suppose hinges on whether I enter church ministry or something more along the lines of Campus ministry.

One truth I do recognize now that God will open ministry opportunities when the time is right for me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Doing better

In the past week I've been doing much better since my previous post. Here's a few highlights

Justin and Abbie's Wedding
I was privileged to serve as a groomsmen for Justin's wedding this past Saturday. It was beautiful with the Hawaiian traditions, the leis, etc. Friday night we had the rehearsal dinner, and it was a joyful occasion to spend time with Justin and Abbie along with some CCF friends who served as bridesmaids and groomsmen.

My Birthday
Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, I hung out with two friends I met at camp last year. Both are like sisters to me. It was great to see what God is doing in their lives, and how He is giving them both a heart to serve others and to share His Gospel abroad.

Sunday morning we were singing "Crown Him With Many Crowns." Its an older hymn with some interesting history to it. As we sung it, my heart began to agree with the praises over and over again, and I simply began to stand in awe of the sovereignty of God. Tonight I was tempted to return to some things I've been struggling with, but I turned instead to God, and my heart couldn't help but to sing the hymn again. I've since found chords for it, and have chosen to make it the first praise song I learn on the ukulele.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who do we agree with?

I was reading in "Walking with God" by John Eldredge when I stumbled across something I could say without a doubt described me. (The book is a devotional with writings reflecting his own walk with God everyday). The selection I came across this evening really opened up something in me. I'll tell it from my point of view.

I've found the past few weeks that getting up is hard for me to do most mornings. I've been setting my alarm for 7 or 8 because I want to get up, go for a run, do some reading before the rest of the house is up and about. Then when morning comes, I turn off my alarm, and I roll over. Some mornings I just lay there, not willing to even get up.

Because as I lay there, I'm thinking about what likely is ahead for the day. More housework/outside yard work. "Maybe I'll have work this evening, which would be wonderful." You see, my past few weeks have been far from ideal. I haven't had much interaction with people outside of my family (and what I can steal through facebook), and I haven't truly found something I can take joy in and look forward to during the days here.

And so as I'm laying there unwilling to face the day, I've already made an agreement with the enemy. "My life isn't very enjoyable right now." That agreement is even reflected in the statement I've made countless times to friends this summer when asked how I'm doing. "Oh I'm just working some and biding my time until school starts back in August."

Tonight I realize that agreement was a sham.

WIth a month left of summer vacation, I've realized I've been squandering a gift from God himself. I could be spending precious time with my dad, who normally during school, I only see and talk to when I'm home. The same applies to my grandfather who is on borrowed time as it is. I can be encouraging and planting seeds among some of the church members who I have found are eager to dive deeper into God than during church. I can be better equipping myself for the fall.

But most of all, I could be walking with my Father, and allowing myself to be loved by Him.

Here's to waking up tomorrow, and making only one agreement to start my day.

"I've a Father who loves me, who cares about me, who wants to spend every second with me, and to walk through life with me."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mark of Distinction

Recently I was listening to Jentezen Franklin on television. He's the only TV pastor I listen to. I got to meet him once at a youth revival service he did at a local church. He was recounting a story from the Old Testament times and as he was relating the story, he shared how the mark of distinction between a slave and a freed person was by a beard. A slave was kept clean shaven according to Franklin.

So in Old Testament times I would have been considered a free man. Interesting.

What distinguishes us as free from sin?

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9-10

Through Christ we are free from sin, free of hopelessness, free of being unloved.

I don't know about you dear reader but I myself often cling to these, forgetting I can leave the shackles off.

I've struggled this summer and past year with some personal stuff, with attitudes and mindsets. I'm asking God for open eyes to see through these shackles, to see that Christ did indeed unlock them, that I can leave them behind.

Because I am free to love and be loved.

Below is a link to a song that has been a huge encouragement to me. First heard it down in PCB. Props to Lauren for tracking it down for me.

"Hold Nothing Back"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Out and About

Last Thursday was a busy day but very enjoyable. I went to the dentist for a checkup, then spent some time at the beach reading and walking along the shore with God. The weather was cooler, still warm and sunny, but more than anything it was great to be in no particular rush and to just spend time meditating. Later I participated in the Beach Run Series, then promptly left for work.

Saturday we had a family get together. My mom and aunt probably shared ever diaper story they had of me, my oldest brother and my cousin. As an Uncle put it, we are eagerly waiting the day when they no longer remember those stories.

Last night I went out star gazing with a telescope I received for Christmas. I also spotted several shooting stars as the sky was very clear. Tonight I may go out and try the higher magnification lenses. I'm hoping to find Saturn and I've read else where that there is a double star that can be spotted within the Big Dipper.

I'm about to finish Forgotten God, then I'm starting The Cost of Discipleship. God has also laid on my heart the desire to teach a 2-3 part Evangelism course at my church, but I need to sit down and pray and seek God on that.

More than anything I'm desiring to talk to God more and more, than I have been for most of the summer to date. That desire is growing as I press into His presence when I feel Him calling.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

So many questions

Today on July 1st marks the first day in a month I have long been planning as a Sabbatical of sorts. I've never done a Sabbatical, and I'm also not the legalistic type (except when necessary).

My purpose for this Sabbatical has evolved over the past few months. When I first began to plan, I did so with the intention of finding out what God has in store for me after graduation. I feel in my heart He has called me to be specifically set aside to make disciples for His kingdom. Sorry if that's vague, that calling still is to me too!

What I've realized since May however is that I may very well wrap up this time having not received the answer to the questions of who/what/where/when/and why after December when I graduate. Knowing this, I'm seeking a month now to reflect on my journey the past 4 years since I began to pursue God. I want to gain a heightened sensitivity to the Spirit and be ready and clear minded for the next season in my life.

I've come to understand that there may be many doors as there are now, each great options, and that there won't be one right choice.

How I'm setting about all this.

For the month, I'm giving up video games and sleeping in late. I want to get in about an hour-2 hours of time in the Word, in prayer, and meditating. That is subject to change depending on the day, but I plan to steal a solid hour where ever, whenever. I'm also going to be asking questions, by the hundreds, not only to God and myself, but to others who have gone before me. I plan on making a couple of day trips here and there to spend time asking these questions, but I'm planning to stay within the NC borders for the month.

Expect blog updates, and some posts with what I'm being challenged by. Side note, I'm working to write shorter blog posts to be more accessible to people with time constraints. Sorry this one wasn't the case lol.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Power of Stories

Stories come in many ways, and out of anything we encounter in our lives, stories remain with us the longest. I doubt I will ever forget the story in the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, or Shakespeare.

Stories are especially prevalent in Arab Culture. The more details, the more visuals the better. And in Arab Culture, stories are the highest form of truth.

So when I found myself sitting in an open garage/patio with two friends talking to a family of Muslims, I told a story.

"Yes you're right, we do have similar commandments. Let me tell you a story from the Injil (New Testament)"

I then led in to telling the story of the Rich Young Ruler who came to Jesus and asked "What must I do to gain eternal life?" Jesus asked him if he kept the commandments, then told the prince that he must go and sell all his possessions and come and follow Jesus. The prince left. I then switched gears and told the family of the story of Nicodemus and how he came to Jesus and asked what must I do to inherit eternal life. Jesus' reply "You must be born again."

The family listened intently to every detail I related from the two passages, and also to the explanations I gave. Later after more homemade cookies and lemonade we left.

We then had a story to tell others about the way the Spirit led us and set us up that night.

Monday, June 14, 2010

With courage and boldness

This week I’m in Michigan with a team from NC and Indiana. We all came here from various backgrounds to engage Jesus through intensive training. Each morning we’ll be absorbing teaching and in the afternoons we’ll be heading out to parks to use what we learn to share Jesus with people of other faiths.

Many of us have never attended a seminary, Bible college (Bridal college, great nickname Lauren) served as missionaries or taken courses in persuasion and evangelism. Neither did the disciples.

Imagine this scene. For three years the disciples followed Jesus, eating, sleeping and moving from one town/village to another. Then in a whirlwind, Jesus is suddenly arrested and days later crucified. The followers scatter like leaves in the wind. Then just as suddenly news is spread by witnesses that Jesus is alive, risen from the dead! Soon after he appears before the very men who he spent three years of his life with. After an all too short time, Jesus then ascends into heaven, leaving them with the great commission to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

The greatest task entrusted to humans was first entrusted to fishermen, and a tax collector, among a few other vocations. No charismatic political leaders, or men of brute strength and size here. Just ordinary every day folk.

The church then exploded, three thousand joining their number in a single day, another two thousand join days later after the healing of a lame man. The disciples quickly gained the attention of everyone in Jerusalem, even the very people who crucified Jesus.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

Peter and John were certainly not of the same caliber as say Abraham Lincoln, but became the instruments the Holy Spirit used to spearhead the greatest revolution on the face of the earth.

How in the world did this happen?

“…they took note that these men had been with Jesus”

The disciples lived and breathed Jesus for three years of their lives, then beyond that as well.

Brothers and Sisters, for us to also share the Good News, we don’t need to be a minister, to have studied public speaking at a college, or any skill for that matter. We simply need an intimate walk with Jesus himself. Not once a week, but every day. Jesus isn’t some wise old timer sitting on top of a mountain waiting for those who climb up to impart bits of wisdom. Jesus is mobile, only by following him closely daily can you remain by his side.

Spend time with Jesus today. Now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I planted watermelons about the beginning of April. Since then, the seeds I planted have come up, and so have the weeds. I used the same seed as last year, but didn't plant quite as many. Half of the seeds were probably past their time, as they failed to sprout, but the rest did, and currently the best of them have vines spreading out, and probably within another 3 weeks I'll begin to see some melons starting the size of a thumb growing. I expect to have a few ripe around the end of July and the rest in August.

Two weeks ago I started carrying water out to them in a cooler with a spout that I can then pour the water out with, my makeshift watering can. Carrying water became necessary because we've been dry here in Carteret. Most of the rain always passes us to the north.

I've also started trying to keep the weeds at bay, which is quite a task even with a garden hoe. Working to oust the weeds has kept me thinking about the parable of the weeds. You can find the Parable here.

It is quite true that had the workers pulled up the weeds they would have pulled up the wheat too. I myself found this out first hand. Some weeds had come up encircling one of the watermelon plants and were threatening to choke it out. In puling them up to save the plant, I unearthed the watermelon root a little. The damage wasn't bad I believe, but I replaced soil around the plant as best I could. When last I checked the plant was thriving.

I've also learned that taking care of small weeds prevents bigger weeds from cropping up. This bears a lot of truth for the Christian. We cannot allow even little amounts of sin to take root in our lives, and remain. In time each will grow and take deeper root, until they are hard to purge, requiring force.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:14-16

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wrestling with Surrender

That would be the title if my life was a book. I struggle with letting go of my desires, my dreams, my heart. Deep down I know God's way is so much better and is life "to the full" (John 10:10) But I still try to bring it about my way.

What gets me the most is that I know I have so much more I can offer God. There's more I should be giving him that he's asking for. I burn like a candle when I could be a burning inferno. Its not that I have placed great expectations on myself. When I read the Bible, I know clearly what God is asking of me.


Part of me wants to be the rich young ruler and leave, claiming the cost to be too great. Part of me wants to with reckless abandon live in obedience to Christ like Stephen.

I realized today a war will be waged for my heart until the holy city descends from heaven. But in the meantime there is so much glory to be claimed for Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father.

That starts with every decision I make now. With whether I offer God crowns or filthy rags.

And as I see through the lies, and as light is piercing the darkness, I choose to offer my heart.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Semester Ending

I haven't blogged much over the past few weeks because the semester has been coming to a close. I can happily say I am still on track to graduate in December! The past week has been splendid. Without classes, I've been able to read, study for finals, and take care of errands I've wanted to do for a few months now. One thing I finally got to do was going through my closet and taking clothes I no longer wear to a collection site ECU set up.

My lower back is healing. A doctor back home believes I tore a back muscle. I still can't think of how I did that, but I've slowed down the past week, and taken more time to rest. I'm hoping by the end of next week to begin some light stretches and get back into being physically active.

I'm excited too with classes ending to be able to get back into spending time with God. I still plan to use July as a Sabbatical. I want to reflect on the past few years and all that God has done through me and in me, then see where He is calling me to go. I very well may not receive an answer by August, but I can be saturated spiritually and ready for a new season of my life.

Expect me to post updates over the summer of how I'm doing and nuggets of what God shows me back home.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where I am going

Lately I've been distracted and anxious by looking ahead to where my life is headed beyond college. I often get the question of "What are you doing after you graduate?"

Truthfully I haven't the faintest of clues. It truly is up to God. I pray that at this point in my life I'm willing to go where ever He may send.

But over the past week, I've come to realize two things I believe God is calling me to in my life:

1) Making Disciples. I've come to realize that my most important ministry at East Carolina is that of making disciples of other men here. I've found myself possessing the confidence to teach, and the wisdom to rely on God in sharing my life and His gospel with others. Within this past year alone, I've seen so much fruit come from following God as He goes before me in this area.

2) I am called to intercede on behalf of others in prayer. This is again another gift and direction 3 years ago I never would have imagined for my life. I would have said you are out of your mind had you told me God would use me in that way. But everywhere I turn in scripture I see other examples of intercession from Abraham to the guards Nehemiah posted who kept watch day and night.

And so I find myself awake at 1:30AM unable to sleep because I sense God calling me to intercede for those men and others i know on campus in whom He is moving. This late at night I often feel God nudging me the most. Maybe because I lay aside worries and thoughts of everything else and my heart is free until my body drifts into sleep.

"Yes Father I will keep watch with you a while longer before I sleep"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Who you trying to impress?

Since Christmas break begun, I've been learning the ukulele. I've always wanted to play an instrument. I've taken piano on and off since I was 12, but I'm still not very good. Since being in college, I haven't had access to a piano, nor the time to keep practicing and improving.

Then I inherited a ukulele from my uncle. The instrument is nimble for me. By nimble I mean small, compact, maneuverable. Ukulele's only have 4 strings, so for me its also been easier to pick up. I've been teaching myself through youtube tutorial videos, and chord charts I found online.

I guess I've surprised a lot of people who didn't think I had any musical talent. Lately I've especially gotten the question "Who you tryin to impress?"

Honestly its a creative outlet for me. Something of my very own that i can do. Where others have impressive blogs, great athletic ability, etc, I now have the ukulele. But beyond that we can waste our lives trying to impress people.

"On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts." 1 Thessalonians 2:4

Throughout my college career, I've been growing especially in the area of not setting out to please people, but to please God, who alone I ultimately answer to. I've gained confidence in myself, and I don't compare myself to others as much as I used to.

Its a work in progress, but all along the way I'm finding who I am and who I'm meant to be.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Beach Reach Review Part 2

On Wednesday night we began our street shift prayer walking, not coming across many people out because of the light rain and the windy conditions. Directly we felt God leading us to go into the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut Express and meet people staying out of the weather. The we refers to Lauren Ward and myself

There we met a guy from Indiana. As we got to talking about schools and football he asked us why we were down in PCB sober. That led us to explain what we were there to share the love of Christ and be obedient to the Gospel. As we talked with him we found he wanted to join the military to change his life. As we talked about his plans we shared that Jesus can change his life in so many better ways.

We shared the story of the lost son from Luke 15 and how the son led a life of repentance in returning to his father. We also shared how we would be different people without Christ in our lives. We asked if we could pray for him, then prayed as the Holy Spirit led for his life. He said afterwards that was exactly what he needed prayed for in his life. We exchanged contact info and promised to keep praying for him.

Ultimately I've got to give God props for what He did through Lauren that night. She picked up the cues to head into Taco Bell, and to keep talking with him when we sat down at some tables. When we first sat down, i was coming off a confused conversation with him, and felt he was too intoxicated to talk to. Boy was I wrong! Lauren also did great in quoting timely scriptures, and in lifting up prayer for the conversation. Lauren's listening opened the door for that encounter.

I myself would get to do the same the following evening, and be the listener as I set up two girls on our team from Indiana with significant conversations throughout the evening.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beach Reach Review Part 1

Ok, as concise as possible (because I know I can get really talkative) I'm going to share 3 concise posts about Beach Reach.

Going into the week, I knew there would be opportunities to share God with people. I didn't expect God to work on me so much more. It is arrogance to think that I am where I need to be, and incapable of learning from others, and from those I would share God with.

In fact i needed a serious attitude change. It is God at work, not myself. It is God's word that changes lives, not my own. I should be seeking the good of others and not the good of myself. Once God removed my own ego, that was when things got really exciting to be there.

Our strength as teams led to the most exciting encounters. Together all relying on God, all listening to His spirit, we found where we needed to be for Divine Appointments. As a short term mission trip, this trip has changed me the most. I cannot say I am the same before the trip. I simply pray that all that God did in me down in PCB would be a lasting change, and in his hands, and not my own, that can be true.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Leaving for Beach Reach

I'm leaving at 3pm today for Florida. I've shared in a recent post what the trip will entail. When I return expect a few blog posts on the happenings and what I was challenged by/encouraged by etc.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Angry Right Now

How is it that within the same day one can go from unspeakable joy to just plain mad?

At the moment, that is where I am within my spirit. I can't even sit down to focus on the assignments coming due tomorrow at the moment, because all I can do is shake my head. I was sorely tempted to call back, to yell in response, and to respond to the accusations. But I withheld. Not because I'm going to keep it bottled up, but because right now, I know my spirit is not in tune with God's and I would only end up speaking out of spite.

As I seethed, I felt the need to pray. I'm praying off and on now as I write this. I just want to put this out there, to voice the frustration, the hurt. I'm calming down, but I don't know when I'll actually call back. Or if I even want to return home after Beach Reach.

The problem lies solely with my mom. For 2-3 years now, steps I've taken in the spirit has led me and my mom to hold very different view points, different priorities. We no longer walk the same trail, nor do we really see eye to eye. I hate to even type this sentence but I have to question the spirit in my mom. Its not one I recognize.

Family Problem aside, its an attack perfectly timed by the Devil. Days away from leaving for Beach Reach, he's slinging as many fiery darts at me as he can.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the Devil's schemes (Adapted from Ephesians 6 as the prayer formed in my heart)

Beach Reach

In a few days I leave with a CCF team to travel down to Panama City Beach in Florida. There we will be taking part in Operation Beach Reach. We will spend the week in shifts offering rides to spring breakers, meeting people and sharing stories of Jesus, and sharing free pancakes every morning to create further opportunities to share our lives with them.

We’ve spent the last few weeks preparing through scripture, memorization, prayer, team building, looking at our own personal story, and raising financial and spiritual support.

I worried about finances, stressed to be honest. I sent out support letters, but my mailbox remained empty. I prayed.

“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 And as of Monday, my finances were payed for!! I don’t know how God provided, or through who, when, where, why, but God’s grace was sufficient once again!

Now I can finish preparing to leave on Friday with the CCF team. Meanwhile I will lift up further prayers that my feet would be prepared to go, and the rest of the armor or God would cover me (Ephesians 6). To the Father who provides life, and sustains it through his power and sacrifice, to Him may the glory be given, and may His glory be seen in me!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lies and Darkness

It all started with a lie.

Most of us know how the story goes. Adam and Eve are in the garden. God has blessed them with permission to do anything on earth except to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He promises death if they eat of it.

Then the Devil comes in. And he feeds them a lie. “You will surely not die” (Genesis 3:4) And Adam and Eve bought it.

I believe the most destructive thing the Devil ever did was to create a lie. With it, he separated all of mankind from God. And lies today still have a lot of destructive power. Breeding mistrust, anger, injecting pain, etc. We can drown in a sea of lies never knowing our true identity that the Father waits for us. And that how we live now, where the world is headed is not what his master plan is about.

In speaking to the Pharisees Jesus said:
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44

Christ compels us instead to be truthful, and I believe that starts with our lives first and foremost. We cannot live lives of sin and claim Him as our Father. To lie in any way shape or form is disobedience, which doesn’t come from love for God.

"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." I John 2:3-6

Walk in truth. Don't let any part of you remain in the shadows hiding. Everything will be brought to the light at the end of days.

Its better living everything in the light.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Starting another blog, keeping this one going too.

Just wanted to give a heads up, I've started a new blog titled "Whimsical Thoughts on the Fridge." My purpose in creating the blog is to share writings that aren't spiritual. Sometimes I like to write to write, or to rant, or to write for the delight of others.

I'm keeping this blog going. I need to sort through some things before I post again. But expect it soon.

Covered in His Dust.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Different Shoes

As I was laying in bed, my thoughts turned to the story of the Lost Son in Luke 15. Click here if you haven't read the account before. My thoughts turned into a message, and so here I am at 12:30AM posting a blog with something God has laid on my heart so share with people, even if its just you dear reader.

There was this father who had 2 sons. One day the younger came to him, and asked for his share of the families wealth. Upon receiving it, he moved away and began to live every hour engaging in every kind of pleasurable activity. Eventually the son's wealth ran out, and he was forced to stoop to eating with pigs.

He came to his senses one day, and deciding that working for his father as a servant is better than his current life, he returned home. His father saw him coming off in the distance and recognized him instantly. His father had waited for him! When he returned he took in his son as his son and not as a servant and planned a celebration.

The older son meanwhile was out working, and when he came in, he was puzzled as to the reason for the party. When a servant told him his brother had returned, and they were celebrating he became angry and would not go inside. His father came out to him, trying to get him to come in and welcome his brother back, but the older refused. The story ends by the father reminding the older son of his love for both of them.

I’ve been the lost son before. I’ve left my Father because I was not satisfied. I look back on the pleasures I sought and I shake my head and ask "Why did I waste what I had on that?”

But at the same time that I’ve been the lost son, I’ve also been the older son. Working for the Father, I take little joy in doing what He asks of me. And even though I am receiving an inheritance from Him, that isn’t enough to make me happy. I become jealous and claim that the Father is withholding good things from me.

It is the younger son who we know of as the lost son who is humble enough to return to his Father, to admit his foolishness. And like the Shepherd who rejoiced more over the 1 lost sheep that was found compared to the 99 that didn’t go astray, the father in the story rejoices more over his younger son returning. But to both the father shows love. Equal love, not by our standards but by God’s who I believe is in fact the Father in this story.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Update, and needing feeback

I heard this week from a student I baptized at camp last summer. Its been great to finally be able to encourage him in his faith, and to continue to invest into his life.

I have an unusual schedule right now, that sees me eating lunch at 3pm now. Times with God also come and go, sometimes early in the morning. Sometimes late at night. I just finished doing laundry (12:30am) and turned the laundromat into a sanctuary where I began to sing and praise God while reading Psalm 97, slowly and purposefully.

I'm still mulling over thoughts from a recent retreat. Expect those up over the weekend.

But I need some feedback. While I feel like I'm investing well into the lives of people on campus, I'm out of the loop with my friends. I'm completely missing big updates on people's lives, and its not a one time occurrence. I'm wondering if I have tried to make too many close friends only to know many marginally. I can't just spend more time hanging with people, because what free time I have is devoted to studies, God, and personal items like keeping a clean bedroom (which I am marginally succeeding at).

I'm not sure what to do about this, but if anyone has some thoughts feel free to share.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who am I?

This past week, I've given a lot of thought to my beliefs about God, and how they've changed over the past 4 years. I grew up in an Original Free Will Baptist Church. We're the smaller of the two Free Will Baptist Denominational groups in the U.S. (If you care about such things). My church at home is steeped in doing things traditionally, from the message, to the style of the service. Now we mix it up form time to time, but I say all that to give an insight into my background.

I consider myself above all else a Christian. There are times where I want to classify myself differently because of the bad image, Christians have given the world over recent history, but I stick with the name, to hopefully restore who God meant for us to be. A transformed living being in who the fullness of Christ is dwelling. I haven't attained that yet, but I know that is the ultimate goal, the end result, what a mature Christian looks like. Check out Stephen in Acts 6-8 sometime and see for yourself. It gives me chills.

I used to focus on keeping rules, and my faith was largely what others had told me to believe. That was a me who focused so much on staying within the boundary of Christianity like one might try to stay in bounds on the football field. I focused so much on being in bounds that there was no passion, no enjoyment.

Then I discovered a God who cares more about giving life, and about a relationship, than someone who rewards heaven to those who follow all his rules. I believe God speaks to me in subtle ways, and that He has a real power at work.

Now I am passionate, now I have inexpressible joy, now I have purpose to get up in the mornings, and leave my cuddly cocoon.

And now, I can begin love God, and his creation, because now, I am experiencing His love.

P.S. I'm getting to know the creative persona of God. That creator who has stopped me countless times in my tracks to observe a bit of nature, or a piece of art in its various forms.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Living and Dying

As I survey the landscape, my eyes behold

A tree of life, with various fruits. Many grafted into the branches, their forefathers previously having grown from the tree, but their children having been separated. Many of those fruits still bear the scars of the malnourishment they received prior to being grafted in. Many more now bear fruit.

I see other fruit all around the tree still, lying on the ground, having attempted to take root in the rocky soil, but finding no water because only the tree of life's roots tap into the stream of rushing water. The sun scorches them, they wither and bruise from the separation, the attempt to live separately. But they fail to realize they are only dying, ever so slowly.

I see a husbandman attempting to restore the fruit to the tree, taking what fruits will willingly surrender to new life, and give up striking it out alone. I see him revisit some time and time again that will not break root. He frowns, and moves on to others, not willing that any should perish, but knowing ultimately its up to each fruit to decide.

"Will I let my roots be broken, risk all I have known, to take up a new life? Will I set aside my pride of living by my own means?"