Archive for March, 2009

When your plan doesnt work with what God has planned for you…

Its been rough.  Sometimes we search for God’s plan in our lives, only to wander farther and farther away from what he wants us to do with our life and gifts.  He calls us onto a narrow road that we so often wander off of and dive headlong into a path covered in thorns. 

I use visuals because thats the easiest way for me to discribe a feeling or an event. 

For a while i’ve been searching for something.  Something that will please God.  I’ve been lost in the woods looking for this narrow path and i’ve stumbled around in the dark, criss crossing over it as i’ve wandered aimlessly.  I made my own path in hopes that it was the one that i was supposed to follow, but instead of running into the narrow path of Gods will, i hit a cliff edge and realized that one more step could send me over the edge into nothingness.

I made plans for next year on the assumption that God would do certain things in my life.  instead it feels like God has slapped me in the face and opened my eyes showing me a path back to the narrow road. 

God doesnt reveal all of his plan at once, but a little bit at a time.  For if he did, we would turn and run the other way. 

Am i frustrated.  Yes. 

Am i angry?  Only with my self. 

I had made plans for God.  I expected to be on BCM leadership, and thought i was fine with it when i got the news that i didnt recieve a position.  I told people one thing, but in my heart i was questioning God.  Then tonight, at FCA something amazing and, well, harsh happened.  As we worshiped i realized about half way through that my heart wasnt in the right place to begin worshiping a God that has forgiven all my sins and failures. 

God broke me.  He revealed to me how selfsishly i have been acting in my life.  I realized that, sometimes, our grand plans for life dont go along with the plan that God has for each of us. 

I dont know what God has planned for next year, yet alone for the rest of my life, but he is slowly begining to unveil his plan to my understanding and life. 

God Bless and PEACE

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Luke 10 Trip

“The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them on ahead in pairs to all the towns and villages he planned to visit.  These were his instructions to them: “the harvest is so great, but the workers are so few.  Pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest, and ask him to send out more workers for his fields.  Go now, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.  Don’t take along any money, or a traveler’s bag, or even an extra pair of sandals.  And don’t stop to greet anyone an the road.

“Whenever you enter a home, give it your blessing.  If those who live there are worthy, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.  When you enter a town, don’t move around from home to home.  Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide you.  Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.

“If a town welcomes you, eat wherever is set before you and heal the sick.  As you heal them, say, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’ But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We wipe the dust of your town from our feet as a public announcement of you doom.  And don’t forget the Kingdom of God is near!’  The truth is, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on the judgement day.”

 – Luke 10:1-12

I have the priveledge of knowing some amazing guys on campus, some guys that know God, not only his Word and Works, but they have a relationship with their father in heaven.  This week, as most of us take a break from classes, three groups of four of the most amazing men i know set out to various cities on the East Coast in what is being called the “Luke 10 Trip.” 

These groups, in Philidelphia, Baltimore, and Washinton D.C., are witnesses to God’s Love and Kingdom here on earth.  I know they will be hubled and broken before God, because God is showing them how mighty and powerful he is. 

It is my prayer that they find safety, not of this world but safety under the outstretched wings of God.  That they are moved to do His will wherever and whenever they find themselves.  I pray that they find a hunger that this world cannot satisfy and a thurst that this world will not quinch.  I pray that God uses them in ways that they could not begin to understand.

For more info, check out my good friend Micah Taylor‘s Blog.

God Bless and PEACE

Define Love…

Have you ever noticed how carelessly we (a society as a whole) throw words around.  We use words that are watered down, and sometimes we dont always realize how words become until when one stops and realizes what has just been said. 

One word has always bothered me.  I watch and listen to people as they use is in a well known phrase.  Love.  What are we really saying when we say “I love you”?

First, i think we need to find the simplist meaning to the word Love.

Love (according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary) is a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; or affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interest.

Sometimes I wonder if we really know what half the words we use to define others.

Take affection for example; a moderate feeling or emotion.  Or admiration; wonder.  Or benevolence; disposition to do good. 

So when you break it down, the definition of Love (according to Webster’s) is a strong feeling or emotion for another arising out of family relationship or personal ties; or a moderate feeling or emotion based on wonder, disposition to do good, or common interest. 

Is this really what you are saying when you tell someone you LOVE them? 

In the back of my Bible (New Living Translation Catholic Reference Ed.) LOVE is defined as “the ultimate expression of God’s loyalty, purity, and mercy extended toward his people – to be reflected in human relationships of brotherly concern, marital fidelity, and adoration of God.”

So, what does it really mean when we read Leviticus 19:18, when it states “Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but LOVE your neighbor as youself.  I am the Lord.”  or when we look at Deuteronomy 6:5 “And you must LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” or in Mark 13:30, where Jesus states “And you must LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.”  or in Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.  But I say, LOVE your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”  Or in the example of John 3:16 “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his onl Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” 

So, what example of Love do we choose to follow?  The simple explination in words, given to us by the scholars and encased in Webster’s Dictionary?  Or one far greater and deeper given to us by God, recorded in the Bible? 

What does it mean to truely LOVE someone?  God loved us so much that he came down, in the form of Man, and DIED for us.  That is our example of LOVE. 

Before you tell someone you Love them, ask a simple question in your heart.  Am I willing to lay down my life for this person, thing, item, whatever. 

If you dont have the answer to that question, then you don’t know what Love really is. 

God Bless and PEACE

What’s Left on the Field

Have you ever noticed people watching you as you go through your day?  Or maybe you dont see them, but they come up latur and tell you what you did right, or wrong?  Does it feel like people are watching your every move, your every breath, you every step along the road of life?

Have you ever gotten mad at someone, shouted out a curse, then realize who all heard you?  Or struck out in anger, physically or verbally, and then wish you could take it back because of someone you saw watching your every move?

As Christians the biggest way we share the Gospel of Christ is through our actions of every day life. 

If people notice something is different about us by the way we act towards one another, then why do we act like everyone else in the world?  Why does nobody notice something different about us when we are not on a stage preaching, or sitting with others teaching, or alone reading the Bible?

At times I am ashamed of some of the things people, who call themselves Christians, say and do to fellow brothers and sisters. 

On campus, like many campuses across the nation, there has been a huge movement that so many call Ultimate Frisbee.  Yes, it is a fun recreation sport that everyone loves to enjoy by partaking in or by watching on the sidelines.  I play for fun, but others are extremely competative and vicious about winning. 

As the group of us were playing (we probably had 30+ on the field) I noticed something.  Some of the people who were watching were watching more than just a game.  They were watching how we acted as we stepped away from the pulpit and stage and onto the field.  I wish I could say that we all acted out what we preach week after week at FCA, Chapel, BCM, Bible Studies, One-on-Ones, and in our Praise and Worship Sessions on the lawns of campus.

Inside, my heart ached because something inside of each and every one of us changed as we stepped foot onto the field.  It was like the game wasnt part of our lives dedicated to Christ.  And those that watched saw the change. 

As Christians, we shouldnt change how we act and who we are when we step onto a field, into our car, onto a stage.  We have to preach the Gospel through our every action in life, be it in a foreign land, here on the soils of our forefathers, in the fields of sports, onto the stage,  pulpit, soapbox… it doesnt matter.  If we dont live what we talk about, then people will see that we are failing. 

When we lash out in anger, we preach something different in our actions than with our words.  When we talk about someone behind their back, we prove to others that Christians are no different than anyone else.  When we go out to parties and drink, we show people that to be a Christian, you dont really have to change, you can still live in a life of sin. 

I dont want to look back at my life and realize that how I was acting distroyed everything I had built while preaching with words.  I dont want to see the message of God change to fit the world.  I want to see people change from the world to who God wants them to be. 

We preach the Gospel every day through the way we act towards on another, by how we talk in everyday life, by how we share our hearts with others, because that is how God calls us to live. 

As the saying goes, “Preach and Share the Gospel every moment of the day, and when necessary, use words.”

God Bless and PEACE

Doc’s Story

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.  “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “Why was this man born blind?  Was it a result of his own sin or those of his parents?”

“”It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered.  “He was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him.  All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.  But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world.””

 – John 9:1-5

If you have never met Doc before, you should sit down with him and spend some time talking about life.  Doc is the wrestling coach at Anderson University, a great wrestler and an even more amazing man of God. 

He is an unique man like no other.  You see, the amazing thing about Doc is the fact that he gives all the glory and praise to God. 

The first time I met Doc, i was a Freshman on the Cross Country team and he kinda took me off guard.  I knew that he had a prosthetic leg, but as i went to shake his hand, he stuck out whats left of his hand. 

He came to FCA and shared his testimony with us.  Before he was born, the doctors knew something was wrong with him, but due to the technology, nothing could be for certain.  In the months leading up to his birth, his mother got ill, and clots began to form in her legs.  Due to the medicine that she took, Doc never fully developed physically.

Doc’s right hand never fully developed and his pointer and middle fingers on his left hand were joind, but after two surgeries, they were seperated, leaving a black scar between the two.  In addition, at 23 months old, his right leg stopped growing and had to be amputated.  As he grew up, the doctors began to notice that his left foot began to turn and he was basically walking on bone. 

He went through high school and started wrestling and continued into college.  It was then that he came to know Christ in college, but in reality he was just a ‘cool’ Christian.  Soon after, he bagan noticing pain in his remaining foot and remembered that the doctors had told him that eventually that it would have to be amputated also. 

It was then that he fell to his knees and asked God that if He kept him healed, then he would give God all the honor and all the glory in life.  From that day forth, there is no explination about how the pain in his foot has been releaved.  But Doc know that it has been God who has healed his wounds. 

He shared John 9:1-5  with us, telling us that no matter how much the world has destroyed us and brought us down, when we give all the Glory back to God, he will lift us higher than ever before.  It may not be through what we want, but it will be what God wants and needs to be lifted high through our life. 

I just needed to share that because it was a blessing to hear from Doc at how much God has helped him in life…

God Bless and PEACE

Expectations of the World

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the expectations of the world? People expect so much out of you, but sometimes it seems that what they expect is not who you really are.

Some of the biggest expectations come from parents or family, who often expect their children to stay safe, to be good, to be financially secure, to know what their future holds. While not all of these are negative, sometimes it goes against what our plans are, and more importantly, what Gods plans are.

Some of the most influential expectations do not come from people we share blood with, but those that we spend most of our time with. Our friends. Teachers. Coworkers. Classmates.

It’s not always what people say, but how they act while they are around you. The small gestures or facial expressions can be far more powerful that what is said to your face. How people react to things you do or don’t do can be more hurtful and influential than what they say about you when you are not around.

I have a problem with how people act around me. Some people expect me to be something that I am not. They expect me to be a person who will take their side, without knowing the full story. They expect me to be tied down by money and how financially insecure my future seems to be. They expect me to be a significant other to someone, when my significant other is God and God alone.

People seem to be afraid to say this to my face, but I can see it in the way they act around me and how they act when they don’t think I am in the same room. I can hear it in the way they talk to one another, or through the words that spill out in frustration. I can feel it in the way they look at me, with eyes that expect something that isn’t there.

Maybe I don’t want to be this person they expect me to be. Maybe I don’t want to be tied down by the lack of money, but to live day by day on the love of God. Maybe I don’t like it when people expect me to do things to please them, because they are sending the wrong signal to all those that watch my every move. Maybe I don’t want to care about what they say about me, because I don’t want to be somebody that they want me to be. Maybe I don’t want to be the perfect artist, because if I were perfect, I wouldn’t have anything to strive for.

For so long, I’ve let the expectations of others rule how I act.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve forgotten how to live for God because I’ve lived for others for so long.

Well, some expect me to be somebody I’m not.  Now I’m being who God calls me to be.  I hope and pray that you will do the same. 

God Bless and PEACE

Purgatory pt.1

According to the Catholic Church, Purgatory is “a place or conditionof temporal punishment for those who, departing from this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.”

For a long time, this has bothered me.  Nowhere in the New Testament, Old Testament, or Apacrapha was I able to find anything that proved the idea of this place, this waiting room to Heaven, this clensing fire before the pearly gates.   To me, there is no reason to have purgatory after Jesus shed his blood on the cross for ALL our sins. 

According to Catholic Doctrine, “temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardened by God, [and it] is clearly [in] the teaching of Scriptures.” 

In 2 Maccabees (yes, the Apacrapha) Judas, the commander of the Isralite forces, “And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice  to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again , it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead), And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.  It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (verses 43-46)

This practice of praying for the dead, which was strictly observed by the Jews, is used as evidence of purgatory in the Catholic Tradition. 

St. Agustine, a theologian in the Catholic Church, commented on Matthew 12:32, which states “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come”, saying that the only way this can be said is if some sinners cannot be forgiven in this world but can be forgiven in another world.  According to St. Isidor of Sevilla, this verse proves that in the next life “some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire.”

A further arguement is given in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, where it is regarded by many as evidence for the “existence of an intermediate state in which the dross of lighter transgressions will be burnt away, and the soul thus purified will be saved” as according to Ballarmine, another theologian of the Church. 

All this does have some merrit, but with the only ‘solid’ evidence in the Old Testimant, it is my belief that before Jesus’ life and death here on the earth, the Jews prayed for the dead because they had no solid proof of where the faithful were going after death.  Once Jesus died for all our sins on the Cross, the gates of heaven were opened so that each and every believer would be saved from eternal damnation. 

The blood Jesus poured out on the cross has already washed away the sins of the world, there is no reason to have another purification of Holy Fire after death. 

God Bless and PEACE