Wednesday, December 29, 2010

sparkles.

ok, so this one will not be long, but i just had one of the best nights in a log time.

first off, i was late getting to my dinner party (or lack there of) with my FCA kids and turned out to have a very awkward dinner. true story. but when we left they were there normal selves (or at least what i could remember). after we strolled around the Avenue (which is a shopping center and not a street--confusing i know), got yelled at by a parent (funny story actually), and awkwardly said goodbye to the guys, laura and i made it back to her house to be met none other than Katie Price Hill herself and had a great night of fun and laughter.

my favorite story of the night is when katie fell at the skating rink when she was in 5th grade and broke her arm and peed all over herself. i would have been the kid to point and laugh. i actually did on the inside. thats why we are friends. we can make fun of each other and still find great value in the other. (**sorry if this embarrasses you KPH--even though i know that it wont)

well today was the start of an amazing weekend filled with fun, laughter, and Jesus. CK1 hurry up and get here so we can get this party started!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

roots.


today i got to spend time after church with two of my best friends, wesley and andrew.

we still had a good amount of snow in the yard to play in. and let me tell you i felt like a kid again. i told andrew that if we were actually kids we would have all the neighborhood children over at the house sledding with us. i miss times like that. shows me that im still a kid at heart.

the interesting part about all of this is that we used the resources we had around us to accomplish our goals. the sled was a seat cushion covered in two garbage bags. it had to be two bags or it wouldnt work. trust me. the man power was of course us. we were sled dogs. but what had us tied down to pull was by far my favorite. we used a 10 foot extension cord. it was quite humorous, but it did the trick. all of these matched together equaled hours of fun, but andy left us early so he cut it short, but we still had fun in the process. thank you Jesus for snow and friends.


Wesley chopped our snowman's head off so we could at that snow to our ramp....

Construction. That is Sawyer, Andy's pup.

At first they tried the bike to pull. Ineffective of getting someone over a ramp.


I almost died my last run and Andy was there for me in my pain.



Below is a first hand account of the ramp in action.....

video

This is the final run of the day. I got some sick air and almost died in the process....

video

Saturday, December 25, 2010

what you got?

this is the question that i have been asked today. it never fails though. every Christmas. every birthday. dont get me wrong, i love telling people about the things that i have gotten. and i think that is where i find my problem. it is so easy to tell people about the gifts that we get on a daily basis, but its hard for us, or at least it is for me sometimes, to tell about the Gift of eternal life.

i can remember when i was a kid, and it never failed that i would get back to school after Christmas break and was so anxious to discuss with all of my friends about the things that we got. and somehow my gifts were always the best. thats just how it all worked out. i may be a little biased, but hey what can i say? "Santa" knows how to throw it down at my house. but the excitement inside of me to tell others about the things that eventually ended up under my bed, closet, attic, or in a garage sale was overwhelming.

i want that same excitement every waking moment of my life to tell of the life giving power of my Savior. i have been given the gift of eternal life, and it was not made to be kept inside of me and left alone, or kept as a secret. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." (ESV) a godly life testifies convincingly to the saving power of God; and in response, our lives also glorify Him. this is a hard reality to live up to. but this is what we are called to. and if it helps any, it is coming from the One who came to "seek and save the lost." (Luke 19:10) that is encouragement to me. simply cause there is love behind it. yes, it is a command, but its comforting to know that the One who saved me is always with me in the midst of everything that i do. that is a promise He has given us. Jesus promises us in Matthew 28:20 where He claims after the great commission that "I am with you always, to the end of the age." and if you look at the beginning in Matthew 1:23 his name is Immanuel. translation: God with us. yeah, simple, yet amazing.

i love this gift. and i want to share it with others. i cant keep it to myself. why? because it isnt just for me. it is for all. from the one who chooses to remain blinded, to those who want the saving power of life in His name.

Merry CHRISTmas! I love you all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

refelctions.

so i have decided to update real quick. just a few things i have reflected on since i have been home.

1. i love my family. watched tones of movies. relaxed by the fire. talked. danced. yelled. and cried. all good of course. no worries.

2. i got to watch my sister Sarah(blog) get married. didnt think it would happen before me, but im glad it did. she married and awesome guy. my prayers go out to them.

3. life is fragile and short. dont know why i thought of this, but it hit me hard after a family friend hugged me after the wedding. she hugged me tight and whispered in my ear, "Keep praying for me." she has breast cancer and the doctors dont think she will ever be cured. but i stand firm on my belief that God is still at work in the midst of things. praise Him forever!

4. i miss a certain individual. you know who you are.

5. my heart still rings true for discipleship. it hurts to see others in pain. it hurts to see people not care. and im not talking about a pain that can be taken care of by temporary relief. its the same pain that i feel the Father has for them as well. still praying.

6. i miss writing in this blog on a normal basis. got a lot of things to discuss. so hopefully they will come soon.

7. i finally updated the look of this thing. i like it. explanation? the title, dan in real life, came from the idea that i wanted to be real with things. just tell my life. my feelings. my faith. keeping it simple but leaving room for so much reflection. the picture is a reflection of my love for God's word. those are my hands. my good friend Laura Register(blog) took that picture this past summer. i want to fall more in love with it every single day, and this is a great reminder of that. 1 Peter 2 is one of my favorite verses of all time. it speaks true to what God has called me to. what he has/wants to call you to. finally the wood background indicates that my life is still a work in progress. like a construction. im being added to and taken away from every single day. and i know that it will be perfected on the day of Christ return. until then i pray He continues to work on me.

that is all for now. more coming real soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

why so serious....

"The calling of a New Testament worker is to uncover sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Saviour, consequently he cannot be poetical, he must be sternly surgical. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful discourses. We have to probe straight down as deeply as God has probed us, to be keen in sensing the Scriptures which bring the truth straight home and to apply them fearlessly."

i read this excerpt from My Utmost For His Highest today and thought to my self the deep and harsh truth that lies behind it. on one hand i want to ask for forgiveness from the Father for ever being "poetic" or making the Word of God less than what it is, and i know that i have, but on the other i want to passionately proclaim this life changing truth "fearlessly" like the above paragraph states.

Jesus in Acts 1:8 says, "What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit come on you, you will be able to be witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth." (The Message)

now, i am not a theologian by any means, but i do know some things about the context of words and the meaning lost in translation from the Hebrew/Greek to English. in this verse, the word "witnesses" is LITERALLY translated to the word "martyr". the dictionary describes this word as "a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause." im not being a smarty pants here or anything, but im pretty sure that Jesus wasn't speaking hypothetically here. he literally wanted us to suffer for the cause of Christ and lay down our lives so that others may know who He is. so with this truth before us, what do you think is the disconnect in your own life? for me, im not living up to the claim of the gospel in most cases. yes, there are times when i do suffer for the cause of Christ (camp, moving to MS, etc.) but i do NOT do it in every situation of my life. and in fact ill go ahead and claim that my life is a pretty feeble attempt to uphold this claim. do i think it should be done only sometimes? no. do i think that it should be every moment of every day? yes. look at Jesus' life. and you cant say "it's because He is Jesus. He is God." yeah, that may be true, but scripture says that He was in every way a man just like me. but if that one doesnt settle for you, look at the life of Paul and his radical change. or look at the life of Mother Teresa. this total sacrificial life devoted for the cause of Christ is possible and is required of us. Micah 6:8 says, "But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously—take God seriously."

did you read that? take God seriously. he has taught us and even SHOWN us how to live, and im pretty sure that's what i want to do. and when it comes down to being a witness for Christ, i full heartedly believe that it shouldnt be presented nicely. and by that, i mean not watering it down. the Gospel is the Gospel. it is the life giver. it is repentance. it is forgiveness. it is love. it is the corrector of wrongs. and the hope for all generations. preach it. proclaim it. hold nothing back. if God has penetrated your soul with his Love, then there should be no fear in life, nor fear in death. THIS is the power of Christ in YOU!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Very Merry Christmas!

Dave Barnes is a phenomenal musician, but i think he is also quite entertaining. enjoy!!




Wednesday, December 8, 2010

innocence.

tonight i had one of the coolest things happen to me.

i had a baby fall asleep in my arms.

i am playing Joseph in our Christmas program at church and we are using a "real" baby Jesus. his name is actually keaton. but it was so neat to have this child bundled up in my arms with a sense of trust in me to fall asleep.

reminded me of the love that God has for me. and how he wants me to climb up in his arms and find rest. so good.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

i'm cold and i need my cell phone.

this past weekend i had an amazing opportunity to serve at the Cobb County FCA Leader Retreat in Georgia. let me tell you that God blew me out of the water.

i actually began this adventure a week prior to arriving at beautiful Berry College (where the deer to student ratio is 8:1, yeah i know, crazy). i began praying intently for the things that were going to be taking place and it is so neat to see the Lord work in me even upon arrival. i just knew that it was going to be an amazing weekend.

my friend Laura Register is actually the one who invited me to serve with them this particular weekend. i was asking her questions about what the weekend would entail and she told me to expect for the kids to be a great example of the "Gimme" generation. these kids had it all. well not all of them, but most of them. she said that they would complain about it being cold and how much they wanted to use their cellular devices. so we coined the term for everything this weekend "Im cold and I need my cell phone." as funny as it may seem, it was actually true.

so i arrived on campus and met up with all of the other huddle leaders for a quick get to know you session and run down of how the weekend was going to go. all of these people knew each other in some way form or fashion, so i was pretty much the new guy. so, i took it upon myself to not make the situation awkward and jumped right in the group. i shared my testimony and it was humbling to say the least. i havent really done that in a long time, and was good to remind myself where the Lord has brought me. we collectively prayed over the weekend, and were dismissed. we moved to our cabins and waited for the kids to arrive.

These are some of the cabins that we stayed in. Amazing get away atmosphere!

well the first two kids in my cabin arrived around 6:00 and that was about it until we all went back to the cabin at 10:00. it was kinda awkward at first because these two kids didnt know how to respond to me and my awkwardness. but i tried to make small talk with them, and i finally figured out that for me to get to understand these middle school boys is to become...well... like a middle school boy. so we poked fun at each other and i made a fool of myself. needless to say that it kinda worked and before i knew it they were talking to me. score one point for me.

we went through worship and had our first session. we were then dismissed to go and have huddle time with our groups. this was basically a bible study, but on this particular night it was for us to get to know our guys. it was fun watching these kids interact with one another, especially since they didnt know each person from the next. we played a few games that i had up my sleeve (snort and look down, look up) they were a hit and we had some good laughs. after that we discussed what was gonna go down and we kinda settled in for the night. and by no means am i telling the truth. lights were out at 11:30 like they were supposed to be, but they didnt stop talking until around 1:30. that was wonderful, but expected. regardless we were gonna get up at 7:00 am as planned.

so i get up at around 6:15 to take a shower and pray (and i couldnt remember the last time i was up for a sunrise but it was neat), but something unexpected, yet very interesting happened. one of the kids was quick to follow me. his name is jack. now i didnt know it at this point in time, but this kid would have the rest of the weekend covered in prayer for him. i prayed for all my kids, dont get me wrong, but the Lord really grabbed my attention on this one....but anyways i get everyone up at 7:00 as planned (it was really 6:52, but who's counting) and we get moving. well our day began with our ceiling caving in on us. yeah, fun times. one of the boys decided to shut a door very gently and sure enough that caused the roof to give ever so slightly. so with insulation everywhere and the light fixture hanging from the ceiling, we got to repack and move to a different location.





You cant tell, but the whole roof is sagging in. Insulation was everywhere!








well the day progresses and we do all sorts of things. we had our morning work outs, quiet time, breakfast, worship, and competition. this is where i will stop in the day to discuss the lovely events of competition. now i will go ahead and tell you that Cobb County is a basketball/baseball hub of sports. and thats about it. but we didnt play baseball, we played soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and we had to throw in a people pleaser, so we played basketball. it was so fun watching the kids have fun at things they werent use to playing. specifically soccer. i could have easily taken all 11 of my kids down single handedly. but i enjoyed giving them pointers and being a coach again. this is when they started calling me "Coach Daniel" for the rest of the weekend. yeah, it brought me joy, what can i say.





We had such an awesome time playing. Laura dominated in bball and of course I rocked the soccer field!






well after that we went to lunch. now ill pick back up on where i left off with jack. up to this point he had been very aware of my surroundings. not that he followed me around, but i noticed he knew where i was at all times. he would listen to me, even if it didnt make sense. he was very intrigued in what i had to say. now this is when it hit me. he was like one of Jesus' disciples. they were men who hung on Jesus' every word. they followed him wherever he went and tried their best to listen and obey. it was such a simple truth to be revealed. it reminded me of the desire i should have in my own life to follow Christ with the child-like wonder the Jack was displaying. and i knew from that God had some great things in store for jack, but i wasnt quite aware yet, so i continued to listen.

we went through the rest of the afternoon sessions and free time. we all hung out for a while but i finally got a chance to catch up with jack and talk one-on-one. after some guidance from the Lord i discussed with jack the calling the Lord has placed on his life. jack is a natural born leader, and his happy, fun, loving attitude is contagious. now ironically, we were there for a leadership retreat, but like most of us know, as a leader you must learn to follow as well. jack wants to follow. i could see it in his eyes. and i could see the desire of the Lord and his wanting to consume this little 8th grade boys life. i told him that God had great plans in store for him, but he just needed to trust him. i asked him if it was worth it following Christ, and if he had counted the cost. (check here for the details of that discussion). little did i know that this exact same discussion would be held with the rest of the group later in the night.

Me and some of the boys. Jack is the one in the red jacket. Good kids!

we go to dinner, and jack served me. he got my food and saved me a seat next to him. this kid was blowing my mind. well we all eat and the go over to have some worship time. now this particular night of worship was very special. an experience that i had missed having. we sang our little hearts out in praise to our God, and the we listened to our speaker. i knew that the Lord was gonna rock out the evening and i was ready for what He was going to do. the speaker finished up his sermon and gave an invitation. let me tell you the response time was amazing. there were several kids who made a profession of faith. and then he asked the kids to hit their knees in prayer. wow. talk about a beautiful sight. 120 kids on their knees crying out to their Father. so amazing.

Worship!!

we dismiss into our huddle time and we were real with each other. we discussed what it meant to follow Christ. and how sometimes we dont show it. we talked about some of the things that hold us back from sacrificing our whole lives to Christ. and then i had them write those down. we walked down to the fire pit and threw those things in. and we joyfully talked about what Christ did for us on the cross. then we prayed. all of us. it was such a special time. a much needed time. for all of us.

after we finished praying it was snack time before our bonfire time. we all went in to the dining hall and went about our business as normal, but then it hit like wildfire. the huddle leaders began dancing to the music playing. it happened so fast, and the next thing we knew we had everyone dancing and doing the electric slide and such. two of my kids even performed the whole thriller dance for us. i was very impressed.





This was the best dance party I have had in a while!








the night closes out with some awesome confession/testimonial time at the bonfire, and then we all went back to the cabins for the night. all my kids were out by 12 except for 5 of them. those 5 sat beside my bed and we talked. good times were had with a few laughs and we called it a night.

the same pattern occurred from the previous night (aside from the roof caving in) and we dismissed at 11:00. but here is where it gets fun. before my boys left, i had a great time praying with each of them. i challenged them to step up in their faith and never settle for anything. i dismissed them, and was so refreshed from the blessing that all 11 of them were to me.

final challenge of the weekend: "When you got it, you got it. Now GO and live it."

no i dont know if i will ever run in to them again, but im fully aware of the things the Lord did in their hearts this past weekend, and i will continually pray for each of them and their journey's as they walk with the Lord.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

miss me much?

thanksgiving break was wonderful. i have so much to be thankful for. family, friends, shelter, food, job, air, hairy legs, etc. the list is endless. but i found something else that i am thankful for that i continually overlook: God's word.

God's word is special. it isnt just something that has been written down for us to follow. it isnt an instructional manual. if it were it would handle the temporary and it would only last until something else better came along that had better instructions. its so much more than that.

this whole revelation came after a good four days of not spending any time in the Word. yeah, ill admit it. it is a big struggle for me to keep on track with doing my quiet times when everything around me isnt as it should be. i like my routine and when it is thrown off in the least little bit, i get sidetracked and dont spend time with my Maker. but these days helped me come to a realization that i needed. i had come to find out that i missed reading God's word. over the course of those few days, i felt like something was off. that i was missing something. that i was missing a piece of me.

God's word IS living and active as it is stated in Hebrews 4. it consumes you to the core of who you are. and until we understand its working power in our lives and in the lives around us, we will see it as just another book. and that isnt what it was created for. understand that now. not later.

this passage helped me understand this truth, and I hope it does the same for you:

"Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.6 For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”

7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”

8 and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

1 Peter 2:1-10



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

reminder.

I wrote this post about a year ago and I was reminded of it today....

Romans 6:6-11 says…Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did. (Message)

H-O-P-E.

Pronounced hope.

Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation.

It is the longing for a girl to say yes to a date, or for the right guy to come along.

It is the anticipation of winning the championship game and it longs for the day when grading ceases: the day of graduation.

Hope is the desire for a certain good thing to happen.

Hope is not pointless nor is it founded on childish dreams.

It is the foundation for believing that something good will happen when no good has happened at all.

Hope is certain.

The dictionary says hope is the person or thing that may help or save someone.

Some people hope for things created by man.

Man does surgery.

Man prescribes medication.

Man solves the temporary.

Some people hope for things created by man.

But not me.

I hope for heaven.

Hope doesn’t see the end result,

But it knows that heaven is on its way.

Hope doesn’t worry about what could be.

It sees what will be.

Hope acknowledges the troubles of this day.

It says, “Yes, my life will fall apart right now.”

“Yes, I will get sick and yes people will even hate me.”

Hope says, “It’s okay if I’m unpopular.”

“It’s okay if I’m rejected.”

Because hope looks beyond the here-and-now.

Hope looks to the future.

Hope says, “Today is but a moment.

Tomorrow is forever.”

In fact, my hope is made stronger in these moments of pain.

Because the pain brings perseverance.

And perseverance proves my character.

And my proven character hopes.

It hopes!

Hope is not selfish.

It takes the eyes off self and it looks to something…someone… else.

Hope says, “I am united.”

It sees Christ’s embrace on our lives.

Hope doesn’t worry about letting go.

Because it knows that God is the One holding on.

I hope.

Not in today’s quick answers or in momentary gratification.

I have hope.

I don’t worry.

I hope.

I hope in Him who has promised me deliverance.

I hope in the One who is not a temporary fix.

I hope in the eternal.

My hope has moved me from death to life.

It will take me from this life to one much greater.

My hope is the Lord God Almighty.

His salvation is eternal.

My hope is my coming Savior.

He has revived me.

My hope has convicted me of this.

My hope is both sure and steadfast.

My hope is the anchor of my soul.

Friday, November 19, 2010

lost?

im sitting in Barnes&Noble, one of my favorite locations, and im watching the employees of starbucks. one in particular is making himself known, and not intentionally. he is apparently new. kinda has a grasp of things going on, but not entirely. i went through the line earlier and asked for a cinnamon scone and a glass of ice water. he proceeded to search through the biscotti for my scone and when he couldnt find it, he asked another customer where they were. after i received my scone he gave me some water in a coffee cup with no ice. not a regular plastic cup like normal. then i politely asked for some ice. he asked his boss where the ice was, which funny enough, was right in front of him. he loudly asked if he should grab it out with his hands. and inside me i yelled out "NO!" but i simply laughed it off because im sure in some point in time in my life i have or will do the exact same thing in whatever situation im placed in.

as funny as this is, after i sat down it kinda hit me that this is an example for all of us as believers. we are just like this guy. lost if we dont have any guidance.

the cool thing about God is that He doesnt hang us out to dry when we are lost. even though we are full of sin and mistakes, He still provides a way for us to be led into a righteous life defined by a relationship with Him. and He seeks us out.

In Luke 19, Jesus finds a man by the name of Zacchaeus, and decides that he wants to go to this man's house and eat. now if you know anything about this man, he was a tax collector who usually scammed people for more money then they were supposed to. he was also very disliked among the people in his town. he was lost. he didnt know how to treat people. he didnt know how to show love. it wasnt until Jesus came into his life that he knew how to respond according to how God wanted him to. and when Jesus left him he completely turned around from his evil ways, and followed Christ.

thats what Jesus wants to do with us all. save us because we are lost. we dont know how to act. we dont know how to respond to him. we must look to him for guidance. we must look to the man who lived a perfect life.

just a thought.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

worth it all.

have you ever thought about the cost of following Christ? and, after that do you think it is worth it?

these were some of the questions we discussed at Face2Face tonight at church. it is something that i havent thought about in a very long time.

but let's think about it. the cost of following Jesus was tough, and for the most part was unrealistic for most people. who would want to deny their family? (Luke 14:26) or risk not having the comforts of their basic needs? (Matthew 8:19-20) or forfeit all their possessions? (John 18:14-25) or love the people you want to hate? (Matthew 5:43-44) or carry an item of pain, suffering, and death? (Matthew 16:24)

this all seems foolish doesnt it? but this IS what Christ calls us to as believers of the Gospel. not just part of the time, or when we want to do them. and if we make that mistake Jesus tells us that we dont deserve to be his disciples. the Eleven disciples (excluding Judas Iscariot) understood this full well. Jesus didnt have to convince these people to follow Him. He simply told them to "Follow me" and they did. they dropped the things they were doing, left their families behind, forfeited the comfort of their homes, and followed Him. and to even look at this deeper, these were fishermen and tax collectors; men of low occupational standard, as well as, respectable age (some were young-possibly 17-25). and as time went on, looking in John 6, disciples from all over joined Jesus, or wanted to, but when Jesus told them the cost of following Him, they turned and went back to what the were comfortable with. then something very unique happened in scripture:

"From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him. Therefor Jesus said to the Twelve, 'You don't want to go away too, do you?' Simon Peter answered, 'Lord who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!" John 6:66-69 (HCSB)

notice what Peter said. he says that they would have nothing to go back to. and they WANTED to continue following Him. wow. thats devotion. thats dedication. thats love. they trusted that Christ was worth sacrificing everything to follow, and they didnt want to go back to their "normal" way of life. they understood the cost of following Christ. and it is really shown after Christ's ascension when most of them take a martyr's death. they gave up their lives to follow Christ. literally. and that is a beautiful picture of what it means to be His disciple. it's crazy, i know, but i believe it's worth it.

one final thought. Francis Chan in his book, Forgotten God, states:
"Nowhere in scripture do I see “balanced life with a little bit of God added in” as an ideal for us to emulate. Yet when I look at our churches this is exactly what I see: a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives. People who have in a sense asked Him to join them on their life journey and follow them wherever they feel they should go, rather than following Him as we are commanded. The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives. Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us, He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true Life."

with that said, is it worth it to you?
________________________________________

Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I'm not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You

It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it
It's gonna be worth it all
I believe this
-Worth It All (Rita Springer)

Monday, November 8, 2010

you can have it all.

so we have been discussing the Holy Spirit at church for the past few weeks. it has been a good study, but this past week was different. i was broken. and it was a good thing.

every week my Sunday School teachers ask us a very specific question before we get started. they ask, "What has God been doing in your life?" and this specific week i had a very hard time answering that question. i didnt want to try and dig into my mind for an answer because i feel like i would have answered the question out of obligation rather than sincerity. so i kept quiet. but it was neat listening to the other stories of what God was doing around me. and truthfully that blessed my soul. the entire time in Sunday School God did a number on my heart. as i listened to His truth and the response coming from the believers that were around me, i was convicted and encouraged.

we studied several scriptures Sunday, but one in particular stuck out in such a profound way that i couldnt get it off my mind. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says, "Do not quench the Spirit." (ESV) or, "Do not suppress the Spirit." (The Message) or, "Do not stifle the Holy Spirit." (NLT). each version gives a profound understanding of what we need to do as believers in allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us. in the Greek, to quench something meant that you literally put out a fire. and in this case it would refer to the burning fire of the Holy Spirit and the power manifested in and through Him. we cant put out that fire. we cant suppress the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. but after i thought about it, i had to ask myself how i did that in my own life, and even to elaborate on that, how have i been doing that lately?

i searched deep in to my heart. and the Lord brought some things out of me that i had been holding on to. things that i had forgotten. promises that i looked over. and it was good to rid myself and be reminded of those. so in short, my heart was cleansed. my soul was refreshed. and my mind made new. bringing things to the feet of God is a good thing, and it is what He wants me to do. it is what He wants you to do. and i cant express my gratitude to a Father who wants to intentionally relieve my burdens from me.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

that night after being so caught up in what the Lord was doing, He gave me the opportunity to share that Love he extended towards me with someone else. on my way home from church Sunday night i had a schedule i had planned out in my head of things that i needed to do. little did i know that a woman named Heather and her 9 year old son, Ashton, would occupy it instead. they were stuck in the middle of the highway with no gas in their car. it was on the way, but they had no way of telling other cars they were stopped and it was freezing outside, so i felt the need to offer some hazard lights and a warm car. after we put a little gas in her car, i followed her to the gas station to make sure she made it ok. while the gas was pumping she was curious about my life story, so i shared some of the information she asked. then i asked her. turns out she is from Byram, MS which is where i go to church. i mentioned that, and it turns out that her son was actually at CWBC that morning with her mother. i told her that i would love for both of them to come to church with me Sunday and i would get them plugged into a Sunday School class.

as simple as this story is, it is neat to see how the Lord worked in it. if i wouldnt have stopped, then there is a strong possibility that the two of them wouldnt have seen the Love of God that night, and to take it a step further, they may not have been invited to church this coming Sunday. but the Lord used that connection we made sitting at the gas station for His glory. and i am going to continue to pray for those two, and i pray that God does an amazing work in their lives, just as He is doing in mine.

"What I'm getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you've done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I'm separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13 (The Message)

God gave me this opportunity and i took hold of it, and He got all the glory. that's what He deserves. it was nothing of myself because if i had it my way, i would have gone on back to my room and did what i had planned. but i am glad that He trusted me with that opportunity. my soul delights in Him.

as most of you know, i am also mentoring a young boy from church. his name is Landon. today i had the opportunity to pick him up from school and we just hung out. it was a beautiful day outside, so that is where we were. we shot basketball in his backyard, making up various games that i had no say in the rules because they were made up as we played. i guess that's how it goes nowadays though. but after we played for a while we finally sat down and talked. i got real with him. we talked about some things that had been on my heart, and some things about our relationship with the Lord. i wont go into detail about what we discussed because that is between us, but we made some headway in a positive direction. he is keeping me accountable and that is what i need. we are memorizing James 1 together. this is going to be an interesting ride from here on out, and i am excited about it.

the Lord is good. to Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

I’m alive to bring glory to You, King
God of victory, You are my passion
It’s in the way You are, You don’t change at all
Great and humble God, You are my passion

My strength in life is I am Yours
My soul delights because I am Yours

Your will on earth is all I’m living for

Jesus, I glorify; Jesus, my love is Yours
You are my heart’s desire; I live to know You more

Light that breaks the darkness, showing what true love is
Always full of goodness, You are my passion
You never do me wrong, the meekest Man, but strong
The most perfect song, You are my passion

My strength in life is I am Yours
My soul delights because I am Yours

Your will on earth is all I’m living for

Jesus, I glorify; Jesus, my love is Yours
You are my heart’s desire; I live to know You more

You Are My Passion (Jesus Culture)



Thursday, November 4, 2010

the things i do.

life is running full speed right now. i dont want to get distracted from the things that matter to me. it is hard. and i have to continually rely on the Lord to get me through these difficult times.

i talked to my brother and sister-in-law today. i miss him. and her. but mostly him (no offense emma). he has grown up so much. i dont wanna say its because he is married now, but for the first time today i had a huge adult conversation. i admire him. im glad he is my big bro. he has my back in difficult times and he shoots it straight with me when i need it. i hate that it takes him being out of the country for me to miss him like i do.

on the brighter side, i am now certified to teach. ill be visiting schools really soon. hopefully i can land a job before school is out in december. we shall see.

i miss camp.

i wish that i could watch tv shows like The Office and NCIS on a regular basis. i miss not having a real structure to my schedule.

im glad that it is finally fall here in mississippi. its about time. i love being outside during the day. God is good at what he does.

i finished coaching practice with my 10 year old girls today. im really gonna miss their shenanigans. luckily ill see most of them at church.

im gonna get some coffee...


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

when it rains it floods.

so i did something yesterday that i have always wanted to do. get caught in the rain. as simple as that sounds, i have always wanted to unintentionally get caught in it. and today it happened. i was running and it poured. i wanted to start crying, but i couldnt because i was so overjoyed.

the reason for the tears would be because this simple act of getting caught in the rain is a picture of everything that i have been through lately. it seems that in life we get to caught up in the things of routine or the things of mediocrity. and for me this rain was a picture of releasing that in my own life. if you have been following my blog, i have written about some of the things that the Lord has been doing in my life. it is overwhelming. its like a flood rushing at me, and all i want to do is stand there. i dont want to run away from the working of the Lord in my life and in the lives around me.

David Platt writes in his book, Radical, "Our great need is to fall before an Almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit."

And in Psalm 135:6-7 it says,
"Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the
end if the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his
storehouses."

these two passages correlate in the fact that God is sovereign. He is the one who enables us to do great things for HIS great names sake. i desire for Him to get all the glory in my life. it is only by His name that i can do anything in the first place. i am so glad to be a part of the Lord's purpose. i want him to continue to use me, but to also use others to impact me. and just as the Psalmist said, "whatever the Lord pleases, he does". and honestly, i am ok with that. who am i to tell the God of the universe how to run His show. my prayers are not demands, they are requests. that is my role. i dont decide how it all plays out. and i just need to let Him do His thing.

so, from here, where do you stand? are you in the valley where the flood is, or on the mountainside where it's safe? i know that i have a lot to learn on this ride. but i am willing to continue to let go and not hang out on the outskirts and simply enjoy the view. i want to get my feet wet from that flood of love that wants to overtake me. are you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

new beginning.

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." -Philippians 1:6
so yeah. i believe in this truth. i think more so now than i ever have. i cant even begin to tell you about how the Lord is working in my life right now. where
He is taking me. how He is challenging me. it is incredible.

i love the fact that i am made for His own possession. and that He started something in my life a long time ago when i put my trust in Him. and now He continues to build on that promise He made. He has begun a work in me, and he continues to work in me. Just one thing that He is continuing and perfecting in my life is my heart for discipleship. and that all turns back to Jesus.
these are some of the boys from Country Woods Baptist Church. there are more that i have the privilege of hanging out with, but these are just a few. two years ago i got to serve this church at camp. and fast forward a few years to the present, i am now a member of their church. did i think that two years ago that this would be the case? nope. that's how great our God is. He knows these plans for our lives. and i cant help but be humbled in the midst of it. through my trust in Him, i now have the opportunity to invest and cultivate these lives for the Lord even more. i am so grateful for the work that he started two years ago with these kids, and now i get to continue in this work, which will one day be perfected on the day Jesus calls the righteous home.

what work is the Lord doing in your life? what is he continuing? do you trust that promise?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

He is jealous for me.

He is jealous for ME.

that is what's up. tonight at church was a sweet time with the Spirit of God. He was wrapped all up in our midst.

tonight we all prayed for a man in the church named Jay. he is battling cancer and it isn't getting any better. so as a church, we laid hands on him, anointed him with oil, and prayed hard for him. it is so good to be following with a church who lives out the scripture.

we had an amazing worship time tonight as well. God is so good, and i am so not worthy of the love that He extends towards me.


back to the jealousy issue though. have you ever stepped back and thought about that truth. that God is jealous for us? He is jealous for a sinful nation? for people who are messed up? broken? distant? yeah He is. we were made for Him. and He wants us. Colossians 1:16 says, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him." And in 1 Peter 2:9 Paul says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." we have it laid out for us in scripture and often times we fail to remember that we are here for the Lord, and He is not here for us. i was reminded of that tonight. my life is a reflection of my love for Him. that is why i live. the only reason i live.

today was so special to me. all day long i had two passages of scripture on my heart. Romans 8:38-39, which is my life verse, and James 5:16. tonight both of these scriptures were proclaimed in church. i didnt know what to say. i sent Landon the verse in Romans earlier that day, and during church he turned and grinned at me because he knew thats what God had laid on my heart. it is so funny how the Lord works sometimes. but it's always good.

Oh how He loves us!



Friday, September 24, 2010

all i need.

what does it look like to you to know Christ? i guess the more important question to ask is not that we know Christ, but does He also know you? are you known by God?

thats where im coming from as of late. well really the past 4 or 5 months. but for real i guess when i started my relationship with God. i am fully confident that i know Christ and He knows me, but i think that he is helping me understand that better. i am in a state of awe right now. it is different. all around me, in so many different situations and circumstances, God is helping me understand my role as His child. He trusts me with more. He continues to love me when i mess up. and He never stops giving me guidance.

all this is so different. i am willfully following in situations that i never thought i would. i placed a letter in a strangers box encouraging their family because the Holy Spirit told me to. i am mentoring/discipleing a kid i hardly know because the Holy Spirit impressed it upon me to help change this child's life eternally. i am joining a church that is on a remarkable journey for the Lord because the Holy Spirit led me there.

what is the linking factor in all of these? the Holy Spirit you may say? well, i will say that He does have a big impact in those things, but that isn't it. you see since i began my relationship with the Lord, i have had the Holy Spirit with me. it is biblical (some may debate with that, but that is my understanding of scripture--Acts 15:7-8; Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 John 4:13-16) but the fact of the matter is that i havent placed my trust in the Spirit's working power in my life at all times. i have before, but it was more of a half heartedness to see what He could do. i have tried to lead the Spirit instead of Him leading me. i wanted to make it what i wanted to, not what He wanted to. but now im beginning to see what it looks like to trust in that gift that Jesus promised to those who believe in Him. the Spirit is a PERSON, He is GOD, He is ETERNAL and HOLY, He PRAYS for me, and He prays for YOU. He cares enough for me to tell me where i am wrong and to convict me of the sin that holds me back. and part of that sin is thinking that i can contain the Spirit in a metaphorical human jar. i limited Him for the longest time. but He isn't here for me. He is here for God. God wants us to know that His gift of the Holy Spirit is really not here for our own pleasure and purpose. Th Spirit is meant to lead us toward holiness. The Spirit is here with us to accomplish God's purpose, not our own.

i dont know what this looks like for you, and frankly i dont know what it looks like for me either. i will never know what lies down the road except for the fact that i am going to try my hardest to "walk in the Spirit" and "live by the Spirit" daily like the relayed message from God through Paul says. it will be hard, and i will still mess up, but one thing i know for sure--Jesus is all i need.
"for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Philippians 2:13

Monday, September 20, 2010

buy yourself a cadillac.

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." 1 John 5:14-15
God has been wrecking me lately. i dont know what it is. i cant handle Him sometimes. and that is so humbling.

since i have moved to clinton, ms and have started attending Country Woods Baptist Church, God has really laid it on my heart to get involved with the youth at the church. since that has happened God continues to use me to build relationships with these kids. i do Sunday night discipleship with them, Wednesday night church, and hang out for youth stuff. we play A LOT of ultimate frisbee (so far my record is 7-1; pretty good if i do say so myself) anywho, while i have been doing all this there is this one kid that has really stuck out. his name is landon. God really burdened me for this kid. i have felt for a couple of weeks now that the Lord was wanting me to disciple/mentor him, but i wasnt sure. i prayed about it often and really wasnt sure if it was something that i should do. but last night God changed all that. He affirmed full well that he needed me to do this. how you may ask? well, landon sent me a message after church last night, how he got my number, i have no idea, but what he said hit me hard. he flat out asked me if i would mentor and disciple him. yeah, tell me about it. i told him that i would talk with the youth pastor before we made a decision. and sure enough landon had already asked him about it too. he told me that he was all for it if i had the time. and of course i have the time. so there it is. and now you know my prayer. i will ask that this time with landon will be a blessing to the Lord. that he will grow and i will grow. that both of us will find a new understanding of the Lord on this journey. i am also scared as much as i am excited. im afraid that i will fail. yes i know that im not perfect, but im afraid that it will be so bad that landon goes away from the Lord. discipleship is my heart, but it's also a hard thing.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
so the Lord is using me. thats what i have asked for. He is so good to his children. i love Him so much.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The place that we belong.

Our beloved Father please come down and meet us
We are waiting on Your touch
Open up the heavens, shower down Your presence
We respond to Your great love

We won't be satisfied with anything ordinary
We won't be satisfied at all

Open up the sky, fall down like rain
We don't want blessings, we want You
Open up the sky, fall down like fire,
We don't want anything but You

Our beloved Jesus we just want to see You
in the glory of Your light

Earthly things don't matter
They just fade and shatter
When we're touched by love divine

Open up the sky, fall down like rain
We don't want blessings, we want You
Open up the sky, fall down like fire,
We don't want anything but You

Here we go lets go to the throne
The place that we belong Right into His arms


we sang this song at church tonight, and my heart broke. not for the lyrics, by any means, because they have power behind them, but rather for the fact that sometimes i find myself just singing simply because the words are on a screen. and its funny enough that i felt that in my heart, and im pretty sure i wasnt the only one, but the Lord spoke through Gerald tonight on the fact that sometimes we stay contained in our Christian bubble that we fail to realize that it is a hinderance to us. it keeps us "safe". i dont realize that by doing this that it's actually working against me and i am letting Satan win. i am allowing him to use my "safety" that is contained by Christian mediocrity to rule me instead of letting go of myself, like Jesus asks me to, and allowing HIM to use me. did you catch that? by keeping myself safe from the world i am no longer a witness to the world. i am a cheap imitation of what a Christ follower is suppose to look like. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus says, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden;" this is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is addressing a multitude of people, but in this particular verse, if read properly, you can see that Jesus is actually charging us as believers to be in the world to shine in the world. to light up the darkness and show people who Jesus really is. to live a life worthy of the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 9:14 it says, "the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel." HOT DANG. that's a shot to the heart. God himself commands us that if we are claiming that we know Christ, that He is alive and inside of us, that we trust in Him and His working power, then we should find all that we are in that truth. and that's where i fail most often. but that is also my prayer most often. that in everything that i do i will be able to literally "practice what i preach". i dont want anything else but Christ. do you?