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.