Thursday, November 29, 2012

My homepage opens to...

It’s crazy how we can control where our minds first go… do we consider that?

I hadn't thought about my homepage much until I recently commented on my friend having the bible opened on her computer.  She said, "It reminds me to start with God whenever I start my day or get on the internet."


It’s crazy how we can control the first thing we allow our minds to run to… I can forget that.
My homepage opens up to a New Zealand newspaper… which keeps me up to date on world news.

I've chosen that for right now, and I am personally glad my page doesn't first open up to my email or Facebook where other people's actions or messages shouting out for me to respond could dictate my first thoughts.  I don't want others to choose where my mind goes when I first start work or my day off.

Do you let the internet world choose where your mind first goes when you get online or do you choose it?
Am I allowing space and choosing to make chances for God to be one of my first thoughts in the day like a default homepage? 

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Love The Local Spots

What is it about finding a hidden treasure of a place or restaurant that you love and can own as "your own spot" that is so special?  One of my spots in Lansing is Theios and it is nothing special outside of I feel very local there.

I get to people watch and sit in a crowd I wouldn’t normally sit in
…it’s not my normal crowd and I love it. 

There is something special about an escape from the norm.   A place that can be spectacular but not because of any grandiose thing but because you find the grandiose there in everyday living.  This is where more of your dreams incidentally come to fruition by simply doing life there.  I love these spots.

I love it even more when I've met with God in those spots.  Then its cemented as a significant spot. 
It could be a great thought or conversation or moment with friends or a project finally completed, but it’s hard if not nearly impossible to erase the place and moment where you know you have seen or met with God in a real way.  It's hard to erase the places that feel like home.

Everywhere I live I search for local spots.

There he built an altar... because it was there that God revealed himself to him

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

“How did I have so much more capacity in college than I do now?”

Invisible Responsibilities...
We can be so blind to how much invisible responsibilities weigh.

It’s different when the buck stops at you.
When you are the point person instead of living under someone else’s umbrella.

We might ask, “How did I have so much more capacity in college than I do now?”
We didn’t.
Actually, other point leaders above us held the invisible pressures of responsibility while we developed and took on partial responsibilities underneath.

This is the professor thinking through how the class flows in addition to his content preparation.  This is you leading a hundred teens or leaders but under another director or pastor who oversaw all of the conference or church bills and coordination that you would've drowned in.  This is being able to earn and spend money as a teen while not having to carry the full pressure of the whole family and mortgage. 

There can be this false sense of how great we are growing up without knowing or acknowledging how much invisible responsibilities are being held by someone else until we become the point person.  Until we become independent.  Until we become the point leader where the buck stops.

This is one reason why a youth pastor with a group of 300, might start as a lead pastor of a group of 75 people.  It’s a big jump carrying the weight of the whole church family rather than a certain group and ministry budget underneath a pastor’s lead of the entire budget and vision.
I think this invisible factor makes life extra hard after college
one of the unexpected parts of growing up that people don’t see is the invisible weight of being the point person.

If a senior pastor who did absolutely nothing but carry the weight of his title and expectations, I believe this alone holds an invisible responsibility and greater weight than most could ever imagine or experience anywhere else.

We take for granted growing up being under the umbrella of our leadership… parents, teachers, pastors, bosses, etc.  From underneath, we pridefully tell our pastors/parents/bosses/teachers what they need to do differently, but 90% of the time we would personally fail to jump the gap if we tried because we underestimate or don’t know the invisible responsibilities they carry.

We must be strong and realize as we “back track” after college into building our independent lives and careers, that we didn’t backtrack. 

It’s just now we carry the invisible responsibilities as we continue to grow and mature past where we once were before.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree (with such big branches), so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.
(Mk 4:32/ Matt 13:31-32)

God, help me to accept the growth curve from living under someone else's shade to creating shade for others.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Lie of 10% More

           The lie many people live is this: “I need 10% more to be happy.”

It was said that a survey was done asking pastors how much more they thought they would need for their church to run healthily or at full capacity and the common answer in one form or another was: “10% more... Ten percent more people, finances, time, etc.” 
            I think this is negative side of “10 percent more.” 
            The negative side of "10 percent more" steals the contentment and thankfulness of life.
            The positive side of "10 percent more" can spur us onto growth and conviction...
But too many of us live our lives in a constant negative mindset of "10 percent more" that will leave us chasing and unsatisfied our whole lives.  Instead of acknowledging that God has given us everything we need at this very moment to do what pleases Him… we live with an always 10% unsatisfied life.
To have 100 percent of what you need, to be fully accepted by Him in heaven and on earth at this moment... this is what it means to have God's love and forgiveness.
The difference ironically?
 It's being thankful without needing "10% more" completely convinced that what is, right now is more than enough… 
...while being humbled by the "10% more" still to come because God’s love always continues to stretch us to "10% more" to give us more than enough.  
 Praise be to the God... who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ.

I don't fully get this, but this is what God says is true for Christians.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Qualities In a Woman of God I Look For:

This has changed over the years... some things are the same, some differentThis was running through my head last night and I just put it down on paper for entertainment purposes so don't over read into these.  That said, if I were to ever get married, some of the things I could see in a woman that I would love to be with are:
(in no specific order)
I want to fall in love with the way she carries herself in beauty, modesty, and grace.

I want her to be someone who would give her life completely to God at all costs.
I want her to be able to hold her own in a crowd without me having to always be by her side.
NEW: I want to say “thank you” to her and for her to say “thank you” to me for things that   come so naturally in the way that we love others, that it almost feels absurd to be thanked for them.  That we laugh and are warmed inside when thanked by each other for doing the things we already love and naturally want to do for others. 

I want for even hers and my spiritual and life preferences to align in a way that is supernatural.
I want her to be someone who invests in others already and voluntarily.
I want to love her fully for who she is at the present, not waiting for anything to change in her character, but being astounded and awestruck by the idea that it’s possible for her to become even more loving and Christlike than she already is as she grows in God.

I want her to be someone who is naturally well-respected and stands out because of God’s love and joy in her.
Bonus Side Thought:
I have always heard of the concept of girls striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman.  Well it’s kinda cheesy, but I’m totally loving the idea I heard recently of guys also needing to strive to become a “6/11” guy from 1 Timothy 6:11 and surrounding verses.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Secret to Success as a Maturing Young Adult

A secret to doing life right is this:

Learning how to see and turn every life event into a positive opportunity to meet with God.
"What is my opportunity to get the very most out of this bad event?"

This was the separating response that a study said "made successful people successful"... It wasn't just luck and being at the right place at the right time...
Luck wasn't the determinate but rather people's approach to bad and good opportunities. 
There's an art to using tough events as a defining moment while making the most of good events.
The Greatest Danger is not failure but being successful w/out knowing why OR letting failure win.

The Bible puts it this way:
(No matter what the circumstance)
16 Rejoice always,  
17 pray continually,  
18 give thanks in all circumstances;
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let me be honest.
I forgot this approach today in a conflict with a friend. 
The conversation needs to continue but i also realized that God has something He wants to teach me through this no matter what the outcome instead of life just handing me what seems like an unfixable problem.  There's something good to come out of this if I keep pursuing God and looking for it.

And the Bible reinforces this idea in another spot! (Phil 4)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 And the God of peace will be with you.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Joyful, Praying, Giving Thanks...

One secret to finding success and peace is Learning how to see and turn every life event into a positive opportunity to meet with God.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The moments we were created for!

My sister has this theory formulating that we all have climactic or pinnacle moments in this life that we were specifically made for!

I love these moments when they happen!

A moment captured to perfection!  A moment where everything is crystalized.  You can retell the story a million times and every time you look at that moment, you admire it’s beauty and color as you shine light on it.  It rejuvenates your soul.   

These moments connect you with God... Especially when God is connected to those moments.

Often it is a moment you have yearned for.  It could be a huge adventure or a quiet moment with a newborn.  It’s your moment.  I pray and hope for more of these in life.  I am praying that this next Sunday is one of those moments as I meet with the young adults of Lansing! I'm praying that this year holds some of those moments.  Now that’s a bold prayer! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us
-Early Church Prayer- 

(I prayed/journaled this last week and experienced this Sunday in an amazing way as a miraculous size group (100+) of college/young adults crossed over to worship God at our first once a month gathering called SHAKEN.  A dream that has been years in the making saw new light this last Sunday)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Built up and Beat down the same day... What's that all about?

A friend felt impressed to tell me that some of my dreams and heart longings were going to come about sooner rather than later this past Sunday.  That got me all excited and jacked up!  Later that same day, I had another friend call one of my passions, “Kinda weird.”  After that, I had another guy say, “Nah” when I tried to exchange numbers to catch up with him later this week.  Haha... face to face rejection!  Awesome.  I appreciated their bluntness, but it definitely takes some fighting to not let my enthusiasm be deflated in those moments.  I feel like this build up and beat down is a regular part of life but it's also a ridiculous part of life.
Isn’t it funny?  The moment I have momentum and enthusiasm, all it takes is one timely negative comment to lose the edge or steam and be derailed.  Not this time.  Not this time for me.  Not this time for you.  God’s plans seem to have too much momentum at the moment.  We must stand firm.  We must stand firm in God’s leading.  It’s worth it.  We’ve got to ride the train that God’s already at work, and that His plans won’t and can’t be thwarted.

Jesus said, "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working."
I know that You, God, can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A fantastic conversation starter: Roadtrip Stories

Here's a great conversation starter: Tell me your favorite road trip story or story that involves you in a car.

I asked this question around a circle of young adults and realized that this was a great question because everyone had a long interesting story to tell!  Even if they couldn’t drive, they had ridden in a vehicle when something crazy had happened.   
So I'm filing this question away for future conversations. :)

What's one of my crazy road trip stories?
I remember pushing an overheating car til I blew the head gasket and completely killed the car.  I knew the car had something wrong but I thought the car might make it and I had to go surfing!!!
The moment I remember most is my friend Evy laughing as smoke came pouring from the hood and I was puttering down the road well below the speed limit.  

To add to the the craziness, another car passed us honking and upset because they got stuck behind us for a little bit.  SO upset that they actually threw something at the side of our car!  

All we could do was laugh and shrug our heads thinking, "What did they want us to do?!"  
You would've thought that the big smoke cloud coming out of our car's engine would deserve a little more patience and grace... 

But i guess not. :)

Good times to laugh and look back on. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"No, I can't hang out tonight..."

This is when you start feeling older.

It's the moment I hate because I want to say, "Yes" to every possible hangout.
And I don't want to feel like I've lost it... whatever it is.
But there is a huge lesson of limitation and maturity to be learned here:

I Have to Take Care of Myself More to Be Able to Take Care of Others More.

In college I could go off caffeine, less than 5 hours of sleep, and no alone time for days, 
if not weeks, before I crashed.  And I still managed to get good grades!

But as I take on more responsibility, I see that how I care for myself affects others. 
How we care for ourselves affects our work and those we love.
 I’m having to come to grips with reality.  That for me to take care of others I have to take care of myself… 
(ie. sleep, restful time with God, exercise, and saying no at times)   

…somehow I survived college and my early twenties without doing a good job at this, but I'm having to change as I take on more natural responsibility to love God and others well.

There are some effects of "growing older" that we can avoid, but this is not one of them.  Unless you decide to avoid maturing at all costs, life will require a growth curve of you learning: 

 I Have to Take Care of Myself More to Be Able to Take Care of Others More.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Everyone wants to be wanted

Everyone wants to be wanted.  I thought about this last week as I saw an attractive girl leave the room.  The thing that really stood out about this girl was that she was one of those girls who was definitely trying to be attractive and noticed.  I can’t explain how I knew, but you know the girl I'm talking about.  
I began to think about how deep our desire is to be wanted.  Someone who may have no direct person they know loves them, especially celebrities, could still settle for living off of the buzz of knowing that they will always be wanted to some degree because of their acquired popularity.  A logic that would say: “well even if I can’t find true love and acceptance, being wanted physically by someone as I walk out of the room will still suffice... because inwardly, I really just desire to be wanted."
            My thought quickly changed from "the noticed girl" who had now disappeared, to you and me.  I think absolutely every human being, including you and me, wants to be attractive and wanted by somebody.  Only someone who might’ve had a bad experience with people or pressures would say otherwise, and I believe that even that person still desires to be wanted.  It would just be in a different way than they know or could imagine. 
            Could you imagine not being wanted?  Being attractive to absolutely no one?  Feeling absolutely uninvited and unwanted every single place you set foot?  Not being wanted by any relative, friend, or person?  We have all felt unwanted at times, but to be unwanted by everyone with no hope would be absolute hell.  Literally.
            Seeing that everyone wants to be wanted made me see God in such a beautiful new light today.  His pursuit of us just isn’t a creative idea, it’s essential to the world feeling loved.  Noone can be unwanted because God is in a pursuit of everyone human.  Hell will be a place where you will be completely unwanted because the desire to be wanted and cherished is a direct reflection of God.

If I have… but do not have love, I am nothing.
-God's Words-

Thursday, September 06, 2012

How To Stay on Course in the Twenty Somethings

I have two things I want consistent on my flow days and my not so flow days of life.
Today, I was reflecting on two ideas as I went for a run:

The verse that I was mulling over mid-jog was:
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?    By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9

One of my main goals this year is to be a pillar young adult who holds onto God's word because i know that those who cling to what God says, "Cannot be shaken."  Plus, men and women of purity in the twenty somethings are a direct reflection of God's glorious light in my opinion.

Recently at the annual Leadership Summit, Patrick Lencioni  (who is one of today's top leadership experts) blew my mind by defining an organization's core values as the top 3 values "your willing to be punished for".  In this case, I want to love the Word and let it exude so much in my every day life that people might actually feel like I talk about it too much or that I get too excited about conversations where I see the Bible's wisdom jump out of the pages.  To be punished for loving the message of the Bible at my core.

One interesting habit that I found in a recent book called Sticky Faith, was that those who went to their parents and the Bible first when a problem arose were more likely to stay firm in their faith through their twenties.  Love this!

I grew up reading the wisdom of Proverbs and it has shaped me tremendously.
As i was skimming over Proverbs, I was so surprised at how unimpressed Solomon was with riches in comparison to living a wise and righteous life for God.

Better a little with the fear of the Lord
    than great wealth with turmoil. 
Better a small serving of vegetables with love
    than a fattened calf with hatred. 
Better a little with righteousness
    than much gain with injustice.

How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!

The generous will themselves be blessed,
    for they share their food with the poor.

I pray that as I continue to mature and take on more responsibilities in time management, relationships, and money...

...that I continue to become a solid man of God; a pillar of purity, that keeps in perspective the value of God speaking into my life through the Bible to be a man of purity, and how to keep in perspective the value I put on riches in relation to it chipping away at my integrity and heart focus on God's provision.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hard Times Make Us God-Inseparable

Oh, to be intertwined with God...

Job used to know God from a distance (“by the hearing of the ear”), but now, after having ben through the grind and clinging to God when nothing else made sense, Job knew God in a much more intimate way (“Now my eye sees you”).  And with that, Job arrived at the most important point: It’s not about figuring out all the of the mysteries of God, but embracing Him and cherishing Him- even when He doesn’t make perfect sense to us.
Francis Chan  Erasing Hell 138

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

The hard times bind us closer to God and He closer to us.
The word "wait" or "hope" used in Isaiah 40:31 comes from a word picture of twisting, binding, or intertwining something like a rope (qavah Strongs 6960).
It's as if clinging to God in the hard times threads His DNA even deeper into our inner core and being.  We must cling to God in the unknown as Job did to arrive at a place beyond having to convince ourselves that God is in everything including the Hard to experiencing and seeing God in everything including the Hard.

The catch?  If we push Him away in the hard times or falter, we are missing some of the most intense bonding times which can only take place under extreme heat or pressure.  I will cling to God when i don't understand Him instead of push Him away.  It's the only way that I will know Him deeper and closer.

Oh, to be intertwined with God.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Livin the Dream- Blessed are those... whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

Livin the Dream.
It is so good to be reminded of the truth that the journey is worth it.
That the journey we're on is not only good enough but BLESSED (happy, fortunate, to be envied) as the Amplified Bible says.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage -Psalm 84:5-
"Livin the dream"is what we say these days.
As we are strengthened by God to persevere, we aren't just surviving, we are BLESSED.  We are being strengthened and storing up treasure in heaven.

We are livin the dream.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Can Get It All?!

I Love How The Gospel Makes Everyone's Life Circumstance An Even Playing Field.  Check Out This Verse in Is 56:4-5 NIV

For this is what the Lord says:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
    who choose what pleases me
    and hold fast to my covenant —
to them I will give within my temple and its walls
    a memorial and a name
    better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
    that will endure forever. 

Although eunuchs in the bible couldn't typically have kids, the Bible states that even without children, eunuchs as God's beloved can experience, "a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever." 

God makes promises all over the Bible for those whose families don't consist of mother/father/brother/sister/children/etc.
Although the Bible is clear that marriage and family is one of the greatest physical and spiritual blessings we can experience here on earth, it also seems to state very clearly that since Jesus came a spiritual family can be just as if not more important (Gal 3:28/Matt 12:49-50/1 Cor 12:22-25).

We Can Experience God's GREATEST BLESSINGS BY FAR single, married, or with kids.  All are a gift.  Live in your current life circumstance and relationships as a GIFT from God because that is exactly what you are living in.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Trying Harder Is Not Enough

Stop Enough to Change Your Life.  Trying harder is not enough.  Many people lie to themselves by hearing the word of God and telling themselves they're going to try harder, but they never stop their lives enough to truly make sure that they are putting into practice what they’ve heard.  They hear the words of God in their head, but never make it a high enough priority to stop the rest of their lives if its left unchanged.  The world keeps going and they keep going with it.  Their character is less important than their goal.  Own it.  Either you are choosing to stop enough to change what matters the most, or what really matters the most for you doesn’t matter the most to you.  Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Either stop to give enough time to what matters the most or own that your living as the world does in certain areas.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 
James 1:22.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

God is a God of the Alone

Laughably Frustrating
Have you ever had one of those days where you stepped outside and wondered what the weather was thinking?  It’s somewhere between sunny and raining and you’re not sure whether it’s misting or spitting.  Or it’s between raining and snowing and you’re not sure whether to call it hailing, sleeting, or slushing?  Sometimes I’m not sure there is even a word to describe the weather outside of “temperamental”!? That’s exactly where the single twenties stage of life is outside of education. 
Right there. 
Right where you don’t know quite what to call it and what it wants to be.  It’s no man’s land.  Right where you react by smirking and shaking your head or by getting just plain upset at the weather for not making up its mind.
Stuck Alone in the Unknown
School gives you direction and a social life but what do you do once you’re out?  Culture says family and a good job answer this question.  They will fix those feelings of alone and the unknown.  They are security. 
But what if I don’t want to move back home or get married? And what if I can’t get a job or my current job definitely doesn’t make me feel more secure about enjoying life and my future success?   Does that make me stubborn and selfish?  Does that make me completely alone and lost?  No.
But these questions do leave a lot of people feeling lost and confused.  It leaves a group feeling alone like the invisible minority displaced in the confusing unknown shadows of mainstream…
God is a God of the Alone
            Sometimes you need to get alone to realize that you’re not alone.  It sounds funny but humanity can be lonely without God.  We can have people all around us and still feel like we have nowhere to turn.  Elijah is being chased after an epic stand for the Lord and complains, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:10).  God’s reply is just as epic, ““Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD… I reserve seven thousand in Israel” (1 Kings 19:11,18).  Seven Thousand Others!  And Elijah thought he was the only one.  Elijah had to go to the mountain so that his lonely soul could hear the Lord whisper what he couldn’t feel or see, “You are not alone.”
You are not alone in the unknown. 
-none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone- 
Rom 14:7

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Don't Hide Yourself

Unexpressed or unexplained fear is causing more depression and loneliness than I can predict.  Young adults are hiding and not feeling known because they fear this will be taken the wrong way.
Stop it. 
Find someone who is loving and trusting and tell them everything.  Or at least try.  If they don’t get it, regroup and tell somebody else who does.  Don’t let the ashamed unknown eat away at you like a cancer. 
Did you know that the Bible describes a moment where all hell breaks loose on Jesus and all his closest friends desert Him and leave Jesus all alone. [i]  Jesus alone is not a something you hear preached very often.  God himself has felt your predicament to its fullest.  Yet Jesus' strong statement of faith in the alone was this, “Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”
We are not all alone.  We are not that special.  God never gave us the prideful right to think that we are above or below anyone helping us.  Others can help if you will let them in.  God can help.  Choose someone who really cares and if you don’t have any friends like that, go to a church or find a stranger who will listen because you deserve that.  Pray out loud because God wants to hear.  God will understand our crazy.  One of his qualities to the max is patience.  When we are at our wits end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer.  But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own. [ii]

Perspective Changer
Let it marinate and soak in. Reflect and read this statement below three times:
I called on your name, LORD,
from the depths of the pit.
You came near and said,
“Do not fear.”[iii]

[i] John 16:32
[ii] Karl Barth
[iii] Lamentations 3:55,57

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I LOVE that God is okay with me learning along the way

God is a God of Works in Progress

God desires Growth. Otherwise God would’ve had us all coming out of the womb at forty years old! You have hopefully been taught by now to be a lifelong learner. Well I propose that you should be a lifelong grower and preparer. Each day, each situation is preparation for something bigger God wants to do through your life (Ephesians 2:10). Whether it’s training for the next time a bigger challenge presents itself or the day you worship God in heaven, life is definitely preparation.

One of the best parts of a relationship is living the journey together. It is not enjoyable traveling with somebody who’s always telling you what you’re doing wrong, but it is fun being around the people who stretch you to go places you would’ve never gone by yourself. This is God. He knows we are works in progress on a journey of preparation. Jesus was once a five, fifteen, and twenty-five years old Himself. He understands growth and knows how to walk the journey with us. He is the one that makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:7). He is the one that will carry us to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6; 3:12-14).

Don’t let embarrassment keep you from trying. Ask God to help or send you a helping hand. Be open to how God asks you to stretch yourself. Allow God to help you grow. Prepare. He actually enjoys me learning along the way. Enjoy the hard moment you are learning of fighting through right now as an opportunity.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Love The Fact That God Is A God Of Those Who Want To Give Up

I definitely have my days or moments where life seems too much. I love the fact that the Bible portrays this as a rather common experience. Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy for the hard moments. But then I remember I'm following in the footsteps of saints who have experienced similar struggles and it keeps me going. God's plan is to pull me through those times:

God, Just Make it all Stop!!! You were not the first to pray this prayer. Did you know that there were at least five Bible characters who told God it would be better for Him to just end their lives now if their current situations weren’t changing anytime soon!

Elijah has just called down fire from heaven and made one of those legendary stands for the Lord. Afterwards, in the loneliness of being overwhelmed and attacked he says, “I have had enough, LORD… Take my life”(1 Kings 19:4). Jonah gets so frustrated in the aftereffects of saving a whole nation that he says not once but twice, “O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah 4:3,8). Moses is carrying the burden of the Israelites grumbling and says to God, “If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now” (Numbers 11:15). Job. Good ol’ Job. Talk about being alone. Everything is going wrong and even his best friends and wife are giving him bad advice. You know he’s not happy when he says, “…I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life” (Job 7:15-16). Last but not least, Jeremiah preaches God’s message for twenty-three years, twenty-three years, with no visible results (Jeremiah 25:3)!!! In the midst of this trial he said, “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! …Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14,18). If you have ever felt this way, then you are in good company.

Elijah, Jonah, Moses, Job, Jeremiah… these are not obscure characters! These are God’s faithful men feeling alone and ready to quit. Yet God answered and was faithful to each one of them until the end, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again…” (Proverbs 24:16a). “…we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). You are not alone and God will answer and pull you through. God won’t give up. That is why we are thankful that He is the God of us those who want to give up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why didn’t someone tell me this sooner?

I started to form this list of things I wish someone would’ve drilled into my head sooner. I have been consistently surprised at how true and often I face the situations below:
  • There are going to be multiple moments that I’m scared witless and severely questioning myself and everything that I am doing, even while I’m on the right path.
  • There will be multiple moments, even on the right path, that it’s so hard I will feel like quitting it all. Just be done.
  • When I pursue my dreams, I’m going to continually hear hurtful jokes and comments, even from people who love and support me but just don’t understand.
  • To achieve dream success, there will be temporary heart shattering setbacks that I’ll have to overcome in the middle of an otherwise great life.

The craziest part is that these things can happen whether you are living life the right way or not. These happenings are not the best way for you to determine whether you are choosing the right or wrong path. They can be typical of both. Don’t get caught up in letting these typical situations cause extra discouragement or fear in your life. Instead we must look to God for guidance in whatever situation no matter how good, bad, or why it is happening.

In ALL your ways acknowledge Him

and He will direct your paths

Proverbs 3:6

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is there something to the ages 21 and 30?

Joseph was instated and started saving lives after years of preparation at the age of thirty!

Genesis 41:46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt.

This is so interesting to me as I started to ask the question of whether the Bible almost infers that age 21 is the start of adult accountability and 30 years old being a significant and symbolic instating year of now pouring out of that preparation as Jesus started his ministry at that point.

Joseph was another reaffirming cool random connection. Maybe there is something to preparing our choices wisely in our young adults preparation years before the age of 30.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Not Getting Through But Who You're Becoming Through the Hard

I just sent in a manuscript into my publisher after five years of collecting and writing on the twenty somethings stage of life after college. Not Alone in the Unknown. The gist of the book is focusing on our perspective in this season so that we do not give up when we feel alone in the unknown in typical hard and confusing times.

One of the life lessons I solidified and learned in this process of turning the book was that:
I will never have enough money, time, or life experience to do things as perfectly as I could. All i can do is give my best for now.

God calls us to do things beyond our capabilities in faith and there is never full completion but only deadlines until heaven is finally set in place.
It is a very vulnerable thing to own a book as ready while admitting in the back of my head that this book and answers feels very incomplete and isn't my best, but my best for now. I so long for me and everything I do to be complete, but God very clearly states that i am still a work in progress in Philippians 1:6 and the He also infers that if i am born again as a Christian, that means i still have a lot of learning and growing to mature into he desires for me.

I must be willing to own my incomplete attempts at love and help as necessary to risk in order to love others well in this season. You must do the same. It's about becoming someone who accepts God's redeeming power as the perfect completer of our less than perfect sacrifices for Him.