Sunday, August 26, 2012


life. it has been crazy over the past few months with camp, traveling, getting back to work, etc. but honestly i cant complain. yes, blogging has been tossed around in the air while all these adventures have been occurring, but i just never really had the time; and if i did, i spent it doing something that seemed more productive. so, please accept my dearest apologizes for those of you who actually read and missed reading...

well i would like to start off and say that i will NOT be blogging about camp. yes, that has been the whole highlight of my summer and i do want to share what the Lord has taught me, but right now i only have time for a short-er post which is in light of revival this past week...

revival at church was phenomenal. the theme was "Come Near." God was speaking and moving hearts. it was so incredible to see. our revival speaker was truly one amazing man of God and i was so blessed with him sharing his and the Lord's heart with me and my church family. and i would like to share with you the main thing the Lord laid on my heart pre/during/post revival.

since the summer has come to a close, i have processed a lot of things from the summer. one being the things that i am passionate about. and i cant believe that i am about to say this, but speaking in front of others has become one of my passions. never in a million years would i find myself saying that. this is only due to the fact that i hate being in front of people. i may look comfortable, but on the inside i am not. my heart is for discipleship and for small group. this is because i love pouring into people on a small scale basis. but since camp, or rather since i have become a camp pastor, God has really been laying on my heart the desire of preaching the gospel from the stage. now here is your disclaimer: I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS RIGHT NOW SO YOU WILL HAVE TO STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFO AS TIME GOES ON.

fast forwarding to this past week. i got some time to sit down and discuss this in short with the revival speaker. his first reaction was, "Go to New Orleans Seminary". my first reaction in my head was, "Why does it have to be New Orleans?" clearly that is where he went, and thats where he is going to encourage people to go, but that wasnt really an issue. the next thing that he said really got me thinking and i agreed with him 100%. he told me that things like seminary school allow you to do something that we call "sharpening your sword. When we sharpen our swords, God will provide the battle." that is a beautiful statement. it goes right into being obedient to the Lord's calling in our lives. in Matthew 28 we see this call to "GO" in what bible readers call the Great Commission. it says,  "Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." [Matthew 28:18-20] now this passage of scripture has so many implications that we could dive into, but the one i want to point out, which is the most obvious one because we have been talking about it, is the word "GO". notice that it is a command. not a suggestion. and its implications are weighty. the word in the Greek actually means to continue on in the journey. which journey is that? the one that the Lord has laid out for you. how can we know that? only if we have a relationship with him and seek after His will for our lives. part of that "good, pleasing, and perfect will of God" [Romans 12:1-2] is GOing as this passage suggests. but what this word ALSO means is "to imitate one, or to follow his ways". now that has some pretty big implications in itself as well. John 8:29 says, "The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."  as a believer my whole goal is to be like Christ, and if everything Christ did was to please God then i must respond in that same way. i MUST do all things to please Him--and if that is GOing then i must do so.

now on to the thought that came after revival service on wednesday. this situation that i was placed in was not one that i enjoyed at all, but it really got my heart thinking. during invitation on wednesday night the revival pastor looked at me and motioned for me to come down to the alter. not once, but twice. and i was not ok with that. the implications were that i needed to make a decision. now for me and anyone else who knows about invitation time, one--you never want to manipulate the invitation time, and two--any decision that i make for the Lord i would have discerned for myself. im not saying that the pastor knew better than i did, im just saying that i would have been able to discern that for myself, and i was not being led to make a decision in the way that the pastor wanted me to. but it got me thinking. specifically about where i am at and what im doing with my life. that night before i laid my pretty little head down to sleep i really opened up to the Lord and asked Him desperately to speak to me. needless to say, He did. that very next morning i read a beautiful passage in 1 Samuel 18. it is as follows:

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well. When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands.”
Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?  And from that time on Saul kept a closeeye on David. The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns. Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?  So when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah. Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.” Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’” They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.” When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines. When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed, David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage." 1 Samuel 18:1-27

...ok, i know that was long, but there is a purpose behind it. now after i read this passage i didnt know what to think. but then it came to me. Saul wanted something for David that David didnt want. Saul tried to manipulate David's situation. he tried to make it what he wanted it to be. David didnt like that. it came down to the fact that David discerned marrying Saul's eldest daughter was not what was needed. instead he waited patiently for the thing that he did desire, Saul's other daughter. and when it was time, David sought after her.  now for me the Lord revealed to me that what God has for me is best. what others want for us may be good, but it may not be what God wants for us. my sunday school teacher put it this way, "sometimes the hardest decision isnt between a good one and a bad one. it's usually between a good one and God's best." and to know God's best i must pursue Him. and thats what i am doing and will continue to do. God overrules all. His plan trumps all. and thats where i find my comfort.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


currently, i am in louisville, kentucky at a youth minister's conference. never in my life have i seen so many old, balding men with go-t's (spelling?) run and jump around excited about ministry. it is so neat to see these men, women, and youth workers getting refreshed as they reflect on the ministry that the Lord has provided for them, but also for them to prepare to return with the wonderful things that the Lord has taught them. so encouraged.
the theme here this weekend is BREATHE. as i began to reflect on the meaning of this theme for myself, several things came to my mind: 1. breathing is a natural process that is done involuntarily 2. in life, sometimes we have to remind ourselves to breathe when difficult, frustrating, or uncertain circumstances come about 3. what happens when i fail to breathe?

now, let's break these apart.

1. breathing is a natural process.
as i look into scripture, the process of breathing has had a dramatic impact on the world. it has made a dramatic impact on us. Genesis 2:7 says, "then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." right here we see the creation of man. yes, a creature was made, but it had not been brought to life. it took the life giving power of God to jolt man to life. for man to breathe. God Himself took the life that was in Him and gave it to man. He was the only one who could provide that for mankind. but what impact does that breath have on us? as scripture continues on, we see the dramatic turn in man's life as he takes this breath, this life giving force, and complete abuses it. the life that was given to man is used to turn away from the very Source that gave it to him. so one may question, did God make the wrong decision in giving man life? why would God do something so beautiful to only bring about something so deadly? in my opinion and in my understanding of scripture, these two questions are answered in scripture. C.S. Lewis wrote it beautifully in his book Mere Christianity, "And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having." man had the choice to disobey God. yes, man abused the gift of life. Romans 5 even emphasizes that due to man's disobedience all of us have become sinners. but if you read further, we see that in this very same passage it also says that by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. it is by this breath of life that we can freely choose to find the "love and goodness and joy worth having" that Lewis describes. if we want to find a deeper understanding of the breath Giver, we must pursue Him with every breath we take. it must become a natural process.

2. in life, sometimes we have to remind ourselves to breathe when difficult, frustrating, or uncertain circumstances come about
in the past few years since i've been in jackson, i have had to remind myself to do this on several occasions. when i catch my students cheating on class work, i have to breathe. when my bill payments are behind and i can't afford the simple things, i have to breathe. when someone so dear to me is diagnosed with lung, liver, and brain cancer, i have to breathe. life is full of circumstances. we know that. but i feel the way that we respond to these life circumstances is what really matters. our response should be how james puts it in his letter to his brothers and sisters in christ, and we should "count it all JOY my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds" (1:2). if you notice, this verse says trials. now our first inclination is to give this word a negative connotation. i believe, however, that all of life's trials are made to challenge us and to persevere through. thats why james wants us to consider it our JOY to struggle in life. when things are going well--have JOY. when things aren't going so well--have JOY. why? because when we pursue the Lord and make it through these trials we become more like Jesus. and Jesus is making us "perfect and complete," so we can be "lacking in nothing (v4)." when we take that time to breathe, we remember what Jesus is doing. we see how he is changing us. and if we don't immediately see it, we continue to take those deep breathes to pursue Him.

but what happens when we don't.....?

3. what happens when i fail to breathe?
i struggled with this when i first moved to mississippi. i wanted to pursue God; thats the reason why i moved there in the first place, but i was being so wrapped up in my trials that i forgot to remind myself to breathe. i didn't consider it my joy to face these trials, and it hurt me. i too fell into the same trap that adam and eve did all those years ago (Genesis 3). when we fail to take the time to breathe and seek God, then we will fail. and i failed. i found myself trapped in unhealthy relationships. i found myself on the brink of depression. i found myself trying to relieve my pain on my own terms. and that is not what we were made for. that is not how we were made to respond. but now i am so encouraged by the words of james in chapter 4 of his letter. in James 4:8 he encourages us to "draw near to God" and when we do so, He will draw near to us. i learned the difficult way in our necessity to breathe. life is one of the most brutal of teachers, but boy do we learn from it. in this stage of my life i learned what it looks like to forget how to breathe, to forget to draw near to God. but the beauty of that is i also learned how to breathe again. and i haven't stopped since.

last night was one of the most refreshing nights i have had in a while. shane and shane led worship and francis chan shared his heart. i found myself remembering how faithful the Lord is and has been to me. how His promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 ("it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you.") has been played out in my life. He is constantly with me. He has been with me every step of the way. and even now, i'm tearing up just thinking about how His hand has always been with me. i am so unworthy of the love that has been bestowed on me by the Father, but i desire to want to be more like Him. such a beautiful reminder.

lastly, i would like to share something that francis chan said last night. he gave us a brief overview of his life when he was in high school. he shared that its was his youth minister who decided to pour out and invest into his life during the few years of his high school career. but it wasn't just him, rather several guys in his youth group. but as time went on, it slowly but surely turned into one boy pursuing a deeper relationship with the Father with his mentor: that kid being francis. but why did his youth minister do that? because he saw the potential that he had to make a different win someones life. he said that he was being prepared for something greater, something he didn't understand at first, but he knew that God was preparing him. but for what? i thought it was going to be some elaborate portrayal of how he needed to be a pastor and change the world through elaborate and unique messages. but it wasn't. he described that this greater thing was a heart for discipleship. now you would think that francis chan, a world renown speaker would have a heart for preaching, which I'm sure he does, but i feel that this has stemmed off of this heart for discipleship. and then i got to thinking. this is a lot like my story. i grew up in the church too and found myself being invested in by youth pastor. i was given the opportunities to serve and lead small groups. i didn't understand it at the time, but i too was being set up with a heart for discipleship. i found myself craving time to spend with God and then pour that back out onto others. and over and over again i found kids wanting that too; but then something very disheartening would happen, just as it did with francis, the kids i was pouring into slowly but surely started to step away from this pursuit of the Lord. they stopped meeting with me, they didn't "have the time", or they didn't want to commit themselves. and for me this hurt. but as this kept happening, even through college, i felt that God was wanting me to keep in desperate pursuit of this. and now i have come to present day. i am so glad that i continued to pursue this form of ministry because God has given me three wonderful opportunities to strengthen this heart of mine. these three are named Landon, John, and Addison.

these three boys challenge me on a daily basis, and in turn i get to challenge them. they get to verify the calling the Lord has placed on me, and in turn i get to verify the calling the Lord has placed on them. it is a reciprocal process that i am so blessed to have stayed with and trust the Lord with. i now understand how important it is for us to mentor/disciple young people as they walk through this life. i had it, and it prepared me for today. i have seen the fruit of the Lord in their lives as well as in mine. i wouldn't ask for anything different. i'm not going anywhere, and i don't see them going anywhere wither. they are committed, just as i am. my prayer now is that one day they too will be strengthened by a heart of discipleship and pursue relationships like francis chan has, like i have, and so many others have.

"You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." 2 Timothy 2:1-2

thats all for now. until next time....