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.