Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thoughts on Leaving your Family for the gospel

i just inserted a long blog with verses and book excerpts about "Leaving your family for the gospel" on my mission site www.brentdongellnz.com. I hope this is as encouraging to others as it has been for me. (Click the site to read).

Monday, August 25, 2008

NZ update 2- I bought my plane ticket!

It is happening! This last Thursday i bought my plane ticket to leave a week from Thursday (Sept 4) for New Zealand.

Here is a quick outline of the next two weeks:
August 25 Mon Thank yous and loose ends
August 26 Tues Packing & call churches for last support
August 27 Wed Youth group
August 28 Thurs Online School work
August 29 Fri Packing
August 30 Sat Spend time with Friends
August 31 Sun Church & Blueberry Festival Fireworks
September 1 Mon Run 5k with Dad and Brandon and enjoy Blueberry Festival
September 2 Tues Pack
September 3 Wed Pack
September 4 Thurs Fly from Indy to San Diego
September 5 Fri Have a Good bye Dinner with friends at the beach
September 6 Sat fly from San Diego to LA to Fiji
September 7 Sun flying
September 8 Mon Arrive in NZ at 11:55am

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Mind Boggling Verse that is Changing my LIfe!

It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. Luke 12:36
On Jesus' return, He comes in all his glory to serve and wait on us?!?

The new youth pastor tonight spoke about the idea that he came to PWC to serve the teens as Jesus came to serve the disciples(Luke 22:27) and all mankind(Phil 2:6-12).
and it hit me even deeper than earlier this year:
God's Love never stops serving others,
Not even on his return!!!
Just as God served mankind from creation through Jesus' life and death, so he will continue to serve us even when he returns to take us home.
And we will continue to serve Him and others through His Love in us.

I guess my "Sunday school answer side" always saw Jesus as receiving AND accepting ALL the glory and attention on his return and in heaven, while i was playing a harp and contantly bowing down to him...
(and please don't misunderstand this to be saying that God isn't the main focus)

but what I failed to see about God's love is that even though He deserves all the praise and attention, His love doesn't focus only on himself, but also on loving us... How COOL is that!!!

Though God deserves all of the attention and praise on Himself, He always continues to give His attention and love to us... How COOL is that!!!

that is heaven...
that is a love that i want to have for others!!!
that even in my defining and greatest moments, my focus continues to be on loving and serving those i love and God, and not on myself. WOW.

Read the verse below one more time, and think about it throughout the day if you have the chance!
"like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them."
Luke 12:36-37

t-shirt styles

Quick update... my computer is getting worked on before i go to New Zealand so my blogging and emails will be less these next two weeks.

Just recently i somehow found a new interest in design. I never really thought about it and then one day i pieced some things together, and realized i like variety and bright colored shirts, so i slowly added color to my closet.

Well today, i was complimented on my t-shirt style and it was used as an example for looking at todays styles so i was inspired to look at my new t-shirts compared to my old and decided to pass on my thoughts...

some of you will roll your eyes, some will be impressed, but hopefully you have as much fun as i did being a dork.

The Quicksilver t-shirt (pictures 1 & 2) is how most of my older tshirts looked with a centered logo on the front and enlarged centered logo on the back.

The rest of the tshirts are more recent purchases.
None of them have print on the back and they are all off centered and seem to fade or have more "weight" to one side of the pattern,

and all except for this t-shirt have patterns that continue into the collar of the tshirt
as you can tell multiple layers and sketchy abstract are in, at least for my taste of t-shirts.

and that is as far as my style critiquing will go today.. or maybe even forever depending on the responses i get from people! :)

and "Yes" if your asking. "Even i shake my head at myself sometimes!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Insights from reading Matthew.

well i was reading this morning in Matthew and just didn't stop, but
one things stood out about Jesus... he didn't follow all of the
traditions or the rules of the Pharisees. Twice when he is
misunderstood he tells the people to learn what it means that God
"desires mercy not sacrifice." Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7. you
might want to read these two stories. But what was is consistent in
Matthew is people questioning his beliefs or his and his disciples'
actions and the one thing Jesus preaches over and over through the
sermon on the mount and then with these statements is that the heart
of the law is not as much about "stopping" or giving up what you want
to do, but more about learning what it means to have a heart of mercy
and love from God and for others...

being perfect but your righteousness surpassing that of the phariseesMatt 5:20...
hanging out
with those who disobey the standards of GodMatt 9:9-13...
"breaking" the sabbath to do good on SundayMatt 12:7-8...
having compassion andkeeping the needy crowd around when he seems to be looking for a place
to mourn the death of his friend John the Baptist Matt14:12-14...
celebrating more over the one lost sheep saved then those 99 still safe matt 18:10-14.

I guess the lesson that i began to see for the first time was
what it meant when Jesus said "i desire mercy not sacrifice." I saw
Jesus live it out as he put loving those who needed help and love over
expecting them to live perfectly in front of them by the worlds standards. i watched a video just recently called "Finger of God"
where a woman was praying and healing a Muslim woman of blindness but the
pastor translating was trying to convert the woman before praying because for her to really
receive Jesus' love and power, he believed the Muslim lady needed to
be saved, but the woman praying said that God more wanted to show his
love and that conversion wasn't the prerequisite...

i didn't know how i felt about that until i read matthew 11:20. there are times
where Jesus doesn't perform miracles when they are demanded by hard
hearted people, but i saw here that God was healing and performing
miracles even among the people who didn't accept him. Love and
mercy didn't have the prerequisite of obedience.

one other thing i read that was interesting was that Jesus didn't tell
people the truth every time he had a chance. In Matt 21:23-27 Jesus
had the chance to tell them by what authority he was doing these
things, but because their hearts weren't right and it wouldn't benefit
them or him... he didn't share the truth but opted out...

So often we think we need to tell people where they are wrong whenever we have truth or know something they do not, but that is just not right.
There is always truth, but sharing at the appropriate times is important. My
other big lesson in this idea was going from the Sunday School answer of
hearing Job's friends give "bad advice" to realizing, all of Job's friends
were using biblical truth for their answers, they just misunderstood and
didn't apply this truth in the right context because their view of God couldn't
understand Job being righteous or why this would happen otherwise.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Crucial Time... Praise the Lord

Today i was able to share at Plymouth Wesleyan and through the giving on Sunday from different people i raised about $1500 of the $3000 i need before i can buy my ticket!  I am on the final leg and am trusting in faith for God to bring the last $1500 in cash or faith promise so that i can meet my immediate goal and buy my ticket by Tuesday afternoon and be on my way by the first week of September.  I will keep you updated!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Time for Prayers

I am basically set to go to New Zealand on September 3, but i need $2,900 before i can buy my ticket and go. I speak to Plymouth Wesleyan this Sunday and will be calling a few churches on Monday. This is an exciting time and i am really trusting God to pull things together in these last couple of weeks.

I trust God's timing but it is an urgent time as well, so if you are interested in giving or know someone who might, let me know so i can connect with them.
Prayers for God's guidance, peace, and support in this time of transition are huge!
If you are wanting to contribute in this time of need the easiest way is to give by
credit card
Go to https://www2.wesleyan.org/gp/donate/
Page 1: (fill in basic info)
Page 2: Fund#: WM29-0052 Description: “Donation for Brent” Amount:$30 or whatever
Page 3:Confirm

or Check
Make out to Global Partners and send to:
Global Partners
PO Box 50434
Indianapolis, IN 46250

CA Trip

I had a great time out in San Diego with Jamie and her family.
The first morning i was able to wake up extra early and spend some time surfing with Trace and his cousin Ben down at Imperial Beach.

On Jamie's birthday we went downtown to see Phantom of the Opera at the Civic Center. That was my first opera/broadway experience. Really good.

On Monday Jamie and i were able to catch up with our mutual friend Katie to take the ferry across the harbor and hangout in Coronado and Seaport Village.
Jamie took me out to dinner down in Little Italy to an italian restaurant that made you feel like you were in Italy. We ate with her friend's Cori and Mike who just got back from their honeymoon in Fiji and i had my first experience with trying gnocchi.
On Tuesday night i was able to visit my old high school and play a little basketball with Trace and jesse Lebeau. Jamie lived practically her whole life of school from preschool through college here!
On the last day, Jamie and i spent the day with her parents Tom and Jan. We went and saw Wall-E and out to PF Changs for a great dinner afterwards
loving the dessert!

Jamie and i both got our fair share of sun. I love how active the culture is in San Diego. Never a dull moment in San Diego or with Jamie's family!

Now i am back and finishing up school work before midnight!

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Zealand Update #1

Summary of the past year
I got my visa, and now I am just waiting on the ticket!
A lot has gone on in my life over the past year. I interned at Springlake Wesleyan in MI in the fall, I moved back with my parents to Plymouth, IN for the spring where I started my master’s through Liberty online, I worked part-time at the climbing wall at the LIfeplex, I interned under my dad at Plymouth Wesleyan, and I made trips to California, North Carolina, and Michigan to talk about New Zealand and grow my support team!
sharing about New Zealand at PWC's VBS where they took up the offering to support.

I am ready to go
A lot has also changed just recently. My work visa just arrived back from the embassy and all the paperwork done, so I am good to go. I am waiting for the final clear from Global Partners to buy my ticket and head out to New Zealand the first week of September. We had to thin down the budget and I still have $3,200 total to raise in the next month, but then I am good to go for the start. At this point, I will still be $4,400/yr short for my two years and I will continue to try and raise this, find work my second year, or comeback a little early if my money runs out.
(http://www2.wesleyan.org/gp) Go here if you’re interested in giving. My Fund# is WM29-0052

A girl?
In that process I also met a girl. Her name is Jamie Thompson and she is quality.
A long distance relationship was not on my life plan, but through different faith lessons and a very comfortable, fun, and conversational relationship with Jamie, I think it is worth the pursuit. Over the past several months we have spent some time together and plenty of time on the phone, considering she lives in San Diego and I am in Indiana. At the same time, she is starting a new two-year job commitment working in Lynchburg Virginia with a mission’s agency called World Help, so hopefully we can be a good support for each other. We have heard every reason why this is crazy, but we know that God is a part of this and if trying to make a long distance relationship for this period of time doesn’t help determine your compatibility and commitment level, then I don’t know what will! I will be out in San Diego spending some time with Jamie and her family this weekend for her birthday and this will be our last time together before we split ways. More to come on this story in the future on my personal blog.

How to keep updated.
My blog will be the most reliable way.
www.brentdongellnz.com will be NZ ministry and church stories
www.brentdongell.com will be personal thoughts and fun
obrent@gmail.com is my email but I make no guarantees of next day replies
cell: 574-780-5383 through this August.

Thanks for caring and your support and prayers.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Yearning for more

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. God does nothing but in answer to prayer.
-John Wesley-

lately i have felt an especially deep yearning to be more committed to Christ.

I am seeing the need for a more developed prayer life, I want to be more intentional effort to share God with the people around me, & I am desiring a have a higher commitment level in my lifestyle and words more than i have before.

i love this song "Yearn" by Shane and Shane... it is so pure and simple and
just so true at times!

Praise God that i am experiencing a more intentional effort to discuss Him in my friendships.

Also i am grateful for this yearning and time of hopeful expectation that my life may become more disciplined in prayer, less selfish in my actions, and more dedicated to following through on all my words.

This is not out of guilt which very easily could've been the motivation before.

It is out of the conviction
  • that true empowerment and change in the people's lives around me will only come by someone being dedicated to prayer
  • that my schedule needs to be more flexible and available if my desire is to truly help others
  • that this world is desperate and needy for people of strong conviction whose fervency for righteousness in action will match their words

“If we pray little, it is probably because we do not really believe that prayer accomplishes much at all.”
-Wayne A. Grudem-

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
-John 14:13-14-