I hate it.

One thing I have grown to loath is fund raising.  While it’s a pretty needed step in everything God has asked us to do, it isn’t easy.  The feeling I get with each request is that I feel like a beggar.  I hate it.  I know that most people don’t see it as begging, but the feeling doesn’t get better when the responses are either negative or nill.  We have had our share of negative responses from people who apparently do not know exactly what we are doing, and haven’t read the things we have done over the years.   Thankfully these kinds of responses have slowed down, and in fact the past couple of months we haven’t received a single one. 

However the lack of giving, and responses is the most de-motivating, and causes us to rethink our strategy, and especially in the hardest moments our calling. We have only had a handful of very large donations from very few people to support us the past five years, this is incredible and God has shown us amazing provision through this.  Yet I still want to believe in Acts, where all the believers shared in everything.  Not to toot our own horn and yet gracefully show a point – Alexis and I tithe to our home church and give offerings to four different missions projects, and soon a fifth.  We hope to always do this and be consistent, in both financial giving, prayers, and talking/encouraging with our friends abroad.
I’m not really sure what this entry is about, I guess it’s venting, I guess I have a small hope that it will motivate more people to give just a little.  It’s difficult to not be a bit discouraged, and believe me, Alexis and I know the truth, and plenty of people love to remind us (the pat statements, you know what I mean)… we know God will provide – it’s just the human factor we’re a bit unsure of right now, both in us, and others.

That’s not what I meant!

Have you ever had a meeting with someone, someone important in your life, like a boss, mentor, maybe a parent, or pastor, that after you left the meeting you said to yourself “dang I should have said this or that” or “why did I say that!” and you just can’t stop thinking about it? 

Well that’s me these past few weeks.. I was asked the question “what other kinds of things do you see yourself doing in the future”?  I replied with the strangest answers… only one was something I have a small passion for (writing), the rest was just filler, it wasn’t anything that I really would have liked to do, except just “vocational” things.  The truth is, my heart, my passion, and dare I say “calling” is in pastoral ministry.

After listening to the message tonight at church I’ve realized that I’ve let some of my fears prevent me from confidently walking in this calling.  Yes, I’m leading in a number of areas, and yes we plan on going to Poland in about two years for full time vocational ministry – yet, why didn’t I say that?  I think it’s because to say it to someone that is important in my life is like getting your driving license, or stepping foot on a university campus for the first time as a student – it “makes it real”.

Of course I can’t just self-declare this kind of thing, but I can align my life to it by having faith in what God has called me to, and not shying away for fear that “man” won’t accept it.  Man will because God has called it, but nothing will happen unless I walk it out first.

PS.  We’re looking for 467 people to donate $15, what’s a few Starbucks drinks?

Questions and things that bother me

I’m hoping to motivate some thoughts in my mind for future blog posts…   So the following is a list of questions and things that bother me in some way or another.

  • Disunity in the Church
  • Misinformation in the Church
  • Is that Christian or just religion?
  • The above caused by poor communication
  • The above caused by assumptions
  • Relationship or religion?
  • People not willing to reconcile relationships
  • People stuck in poor relationships
  • Self-focused churches
  • Grace forgotten
  • Truth forgotten
  • When fear drives decisions
  • When God is not saught in decisions
  • Would Jesus really do that?
  • When people seem to think they are entitled to something
  • When Jesus’ follwers forgot to operate in the Kingdom
  • When Jesus’ people operate as the world does

The Bible Answer Man…

I was listening to the Bible Answer Man today and unfortunately I don’t have enough time to fully write what I want to communicate.  However, the topic was on “false revivals”, and while the underlying issue certainly has some warrant, I did not agree with all of the arguments.  I for one am a believer in a lot of things deemed “Charismatic and/or Pentecostal, however, I do agree with the Bible Man’s viewpoint that there are a lot of false prophets and revivals out there and that a true revival is a revival of the truth of the Bible.  But I did not agree with the sounds bytes used, the slandering of people, and the “throw the baby out with the bath water” approach.

While he stated he was not being sensational, it certainly came across that way as a 20’s something, it turned me off completely, even though he had good, legit points… I continued to listen though, and I have much more to say on the topic.

Measuring “fruit”

Measuring fruit can be quite a chore, with so many different kinds of fruit.  What I mean is – you can’t measure the size of an apple and say it’s good just because it’s bigger than its neighbor… So the same is true when measuring ministry, and our peers in our Church families.

The New Testament makes it clear that we each have different gifts and abilities, multiple times.  We should do our best to encourage these abilities, as Paul says in Romans 12, if you are an encourager, encourage, if you are gifted in generosity, than give, and etc, etc…

So, why do we tend to measure success by mere numbers?  Numbers are easily understood, they reflect a certain about of truth.  Yet we also must keep in mind we are dealing with God, who provides when the numbers don’t show up.   If he orders it, he will pay for it.  So when we are dealing with the fruit of a ministry, and trying to determine if a ministry is “growing” the mere numbers matter, but we must also look at the character of the fruit, does it taste good?  We can have 1000s of apples, but if they are all sour, have no character, than it’s a bad crop.  A bad crop won’t reproduce and will ultimately die.  A small crop of good fruit will die without proper nurishment.

So as I move forward into what I know God has called my bride and I, I strive to taste the fruit, making sure it is good.  If the numbers are small but the fruit is good, it is good, but if the numbers of good tasting fruit reproduce themselves, it is best.

Qualifying thoughts…

I may not be going to a university, I may not be a bible scholar, or even a bible student and I may not be certified, approved, or seen as someone who can interpret the bible; but I know what I feel in my spirit is real, I know when things feel wrong I need to investigate those feelings, I know when things feel right I need to investigate them too. There has been much going on in my life, both personally and in the world. I know I have biases, everyone does. But is there something which nullifies those biases? Is there some reason to think that just because I have a bias everything I say is nullified? I sure hope not, look past those biases, whatever you may think they are. Do my biases hurt others? I hope not, I would never want that. Do my biases hurt my self, maybe, but I would never want that either. You see, I too am striving to become a better person. Now just because my guide to that is a “just a book” which was written thousands of years ago, over a thousand to two-thousand year period doesn’t invalidate what I think.

The majority of the western world uses the guides of Aristotle, Homer, and other ancient philosophers. They too believed in God(s), what makes them more valid? So, you say truth is relative? If truth is relative then what is right and wrong? Are they relative too? My point I’m trying to make is, unless your value system is based on something absolute, never changing, always the same, you will never have complete satisfaction in life. Now how can I say this? I can say this because I was once with out an absolute value system, I once thought truth was relative, even sometimes right and wrong.

E.G. I use to think abortion was okay if a woman was raped, and become pregnant because of the rape, now I don’t think any abortion is right, because even though a horrible thing happened to this women, there is still a living human inside of you, it’s not “part of your body”, the baby may be in your body, the child may depend on your body, but how can you call it “part” of your body, as if it had no soul, as if it was not living? Instead of abortion centers, we should have pregnancy centers, and instead of making pregnancy a burden in society we should emphasize the beauty of life! Of course coming from a man, you might be thinking, what the heck does this kid think he’s talking about, as if he would ever know? Well, you know what, your right I wouldn’t, but I know I’ve seen the hurt which women who have had abortions go through, they are constantly reminded of what they did. There is nothing we can do to bring back that child, but we can bring back her hope, and she can be forgiven. So, what’s relative to the child who will be killed if this woman gets no other option? We should provide all the help we can to women who become pregnant in bad circumstances (and of course good ones), we should support them, we should care for them and their child, but most of all we should provide the spiritual support every person on this planet needs.

Update 4/10/03 3:50pm As I was discussing this topic with a friend last night, we discussed only one situation in which, if I come to it, would require huge amounts of prayer and wise counsel. The situation? If my wife (or the mother) was in danger of losing her life, and the child would also. But if the child had a better chance of living, as horrible as this may sound, I would rather have the child be born, at the risk of losing my wife… of course, this would depend on prayer and what God spoke to us at the moment. Add one more thought, I don’t expect pre-Christians to be as convicted as myself, in this, or in anything else, I don’t even expect any Christian to be, but I do believe that God does not give us any thing we can not handle. He only gives us what we can handle. Just some food for thought.

You see, I believe that humans are made of a body, soul and spirit. We must keep care of all three; we must provide and support other’s bodies, souls and spirits. You know what motivates me to write all of this? Love. Love is the hope which compels me to do everything I do. But I am only human; I fail miserably every day to show the love I have from the one God I worship. But I know I am loved, because I have chosen to seek God, because I have accepted (in faith and w/o direct evidence) that Jesus Christ is the son of God and came to show us the way, and if we follow him, we will forever be with God.

Maybe this sounds all touch-feely to you, maybe it’s a pat “Christian” or “religious” answer. I’m not a scientist; I can’t give you scientific reasons to believe, but I can tell you I live my life for a purpose. Look at it this way; if God doesn’t exist, but you live for him as written in the bible, then you live your life with a purpose. If he does exist and you don’t live for him, then you lose everything. If God doesn’t exist, and you don’t live for him, you don’t lose anything. If God exist and you live for him, you gain everything.

A week in review.

I’m alive and well!

Here is an overview of what’s been going on in my life.

Wednesday 3/26/03 – CRU day trip/Call in sick because I?m lame and forgot to plan ahead.

The CRU crew met in the Woodinville Top Foods at about 8:00am, we gathered our stuff to make lunch. I made a quick call to Mission Girl, and then we headed off to Gasp Girl?s house. We then proceeded to make our lunches, which was of the most fun I?ve ever had in making a PBJ sandwich. Mission Girl called to say she was ready, so we were off to pick her up!

We leave Woodinville around 9:00am, life is happy, and we head to Mukilteo for the ferry to Whidbey Island, we then proceed to cross the 22 miles across the island to get on another ferry which will take us to our ?final? destination, or so we thought. While waiting for this ferry, we took the opportunity to worship and praise the Lord, on the quiet beaches, and in the bathroom building, it was awesome, the sun was out and the wind a little crisp. Poor mission girl hits poor tulip in the head with a rock, we pray for her, and everything is okay. The ferry boat docks and we drive up onto it. We enjoy our little ride to Port Townsend, at the departure of our vehicle we all agree we are now starving, the day has flown by and it?s a little past noon now. We drive through town, and ask directions to Hurricane ridge, which was going to be our place to eat lunch, we soon discover we are in the wrong town and need to go another 45 miles to Port Angeles, woops, so we eat lunch instead in a quaint little state park of Fort Townsend, it was great, and my car should have been videotaped for a Subaru commercial.

Lunch is over, and now we make the 45+ mile trek to Port Angeles, the drive was beautiful. God is so awesome in his creation. We start the decent to Hurricane ridge, and wow what magnificent views! Amen! Then we discover the road is closed before we can get there? well God had other plans in store for us, physical training! We find a trial head to Angels lake, 3.7 miles says the sign, okay no sweat. 13 miles later, and we read the sign again, woops, didn?t see the trail brake off earlier, and we ended up going 13 miles round trip to no where, but the snow was fun! My back was absolutely killing me for about 1/4 the trip, but all was good, God is good, and the pain went away as soon as I forgot about it!

We head back into Port Townsend for dinner and stop by a family dinner, it was cute, exactly the kind of family diner you would expect in a small town. The $7.95 8oz, baked potato, and salad special was a delight to Mission Girl and Tulip? my burger was excellent. We then trek, many miles, back to Bremerton to catch the ferry straight into downtown Seattle. The views were magnificent! The talks great! And have I ever mentioned that I LOVE SEATTLE!

We arrive at Tulip’s house, we attempt to watch a movie, but I?m exhausted, so I drop dead there on the floor. 🙂

Thursday 3/27/03 – *cough cough* I think I have the flu.

So, since I?m so exhausted from this little day trip, I call in sick to work. I went to bed at 2:00am, and I awake at 2:00pm? yikes. Didn?t do much else, Firefighter boy came over after work, and we grabbed some Starbuck?s then went to young adults, then Red Robin. God blessed my socks off with great worship, and good fellowship.

Friday 3/28/03 – *sniffle* I?m going to rest.

Well? since I?m still absolutely exhausted, I think by this time just from too much stimulation and not enough physical/mental rest, I decided to call in once more. So, this time I make my self productive, I washed all my clothes, cleaned my room, but didn?t get to the rest of the apartment, oh well? it?ll happen some day. Kind of just relaxed, and read the Word a little. When the time rolled around I went to Marysville to see Jordan Munoz in concert at a Starbucks, no cover charge! It was great, talked to Luggie rock, who I hadn?t talked to in a long while, it was good stuff. Talked to the band a little, bought there new EP, life is good! Jordan Munoz rocks this world.

Went to Snohomish after the show to pick up my roommate, then met Firefighter boy for a drink of coffee, which was good, talked a lot. Then my roommate and I headed up to a little cabin just pass Steven?s Pass to meet up with the girls, life was great, watched some stuff, of course we didn?t talk about anything profound, but that?s okay. We stayed there, Boys downstairs and Girls upstairs please pray for a couple of these friends though, I don?t know what to do, I need to talk to certain guy, but I haven?t had the opportunity.

Saturday 3/29/03 ? Leavenworth, and let?s talk about?. Relationships baby.

So we wake up and the girls, ever so gratefully serve me half a hash brown. So, now that I?ve been starved (which is completely my fault since I forgot to get food for my self) we head into Leavenworth (a barbarian town in the Cascades of Washington), which is great, it?s about seventy degrees out, I have to take my jacket off, and we have lunch in a little diner, where I have one of the best French dips I?ve ever had in a long time. We also get Ice Cream and here from our friend in Australia, it?s awesome. We then head home promptly afterwords.

When I return home I have coffee with a very special women of God, and we talk about her relationship with a certain great man of God, it?s great. I love Christian relationships because of the communication, I just pray that some of my friends understand the awesome things which come out of Godly advice, and seeking it!

Sunday 3/30/03 ? Church, fellowship

Pretty much a standard Sunday for me, get up (and actually be on time, unlike the other 6 days of the week). Go to church were our pastor continues his series on Judgment and Discernment, which is great, ask me about it! Then of course a large chunk of us from the young adults group goes out to lunch. Then we go and see a movie, Tears of the Sun GO SEE IT! It?s absolutely amazing! Made me want to be a missionary even more.

After the movie we get this random idea to go to the Kirkland waterfront to worship, it was great, very great! We end up meeting this group of Russian immigrants from an Everett area church. They sing for us some Russian worship music, they sing with us in stuff we both know, it was great. This is what the unity of the Body of Christ should look like! The Holy Spirit was so there, AMEN.

Monday 3/31/03 ? Work, and the Holy Spirit.

I go to work, late of course. Good day at work though productive, and get my back log all cleared up. I then go straight home to grab my bible, then I go to Firefighter boy?s house, and we head up to Camano Island, yeah that?s a long way to go for a Men?s group. This group was great; the Holy Spirit was there in a way I hadn?t really experienced before. Although I can?t find scripture to back up everything which happened there, instead of freaking out about it, I listened to the Holy Spirit. I was being told to just listen and be still, to be my self, and to be moved by God. It was an amazing experience. Praise the lord Jesus. Because I listened I was able to be blessed instead of distracted and upset.

Tuesday 4/1/03 ? Work, School, Worship.

Well, I had breakfast with the CRU crew (at least some of them), and it was great, a great way to start off what?s going to be an awesome quarter. Thanks guys, you are awesome! I?m so excited for this public speaking class, it was great! I?m a little scared too. Our first assignment is to ?perform? a poem, after clearance from the professor, I?m going to ?perform? Switchfoot?s ?Meant to live? and ?This is your life?, I am stocked! The concert is tomorrow! When I got home from a good day of work, I needed to print out advertisements for CRU and for a roommate (please pray for this, we still need one). After returning from campus to do that stuff, I talked to my roommate who is moving out, it was a little on the rocky side, I was just trying to figure out why he?s moving out when he said he wouldn?t until we found a roommate, but I guess I should just let it go, I know the Lord will make good of this and all will be fine.

So, I went to Badger?s house, it was fun, had great worship, and got to hang with a good friend of mine, she needs prayer, physical healing and a convicted sense of where to go. Amen, God is good. Thank God for the body of Christ, Brothers, and Sisters, Amen.

The heart of why…

*** Amendment 01/02/03 ****

This post is not about anyone who actualy reads my blog, it is about a friend who does not attend a school anywhere in the Seattle Metro area. I was actually offended and hurt that people would jump to the conclusion that I would write so blatently about someone as if I had no back ground information, no thought as to how someone would feel, and no wisdom from God. I have never used names in my Blog, and I never will, but this particular post was made very vauge because the details are not for me to announce, and I do have to say (now) that it did resemble a very different situation, but it was a coincidence.

Well here I sit in my bed. Today we take off for the CRU winter conference, I am so excited but in a mess of frustration, a really awesome friend of mine is being waylaid (in my opinion and experience) by Satan, and may not be able to go. This conference last year changed my life, and I know everyone always hears of things like this, but this truly did happen, all the seminars in the world couldn’t add up to the importance of this conference last year. This isn’t just a “retreat” in fact I am trying to steer away from calling it that; it is a conference of God. 1000 College students from the Pacific Northwest gathering to worship and learn and discuss God! How awesome could that be? If I knew a better word for awesome I would use it! Well I?m almost ready to get ready for the day, have a great time; I?ll be back on the 1st! Great times will be! Thank you Lord!

So I’ve learned

So I’ve learned

I’ve learned that you can’t have everything your way…

I’ve learned that people are really cool once you get to know them…

I’ve learned that I get obsessed about things when their cool and new…

I’ve learned that blogging is an awesome way for me to express my self, my thoughts, and to talk to God and read his word!

Amen to that brothers and sister!

This morning I fell.

This morning I fell. I feel like I’m in a trap which is impossible to get out of. The temptation is just too great. For I know my father has given me the power to remove myself, but I myself, keep falling. I know it is wrong when making the choice. I justify it in my mind, but my heart refuses to justify it. For on my heart is written right and wrong.

Then I fell again. I know I should just get up and go, but I’m too lazy, and the bed is much to warm. The clock says it is 58, in my room! So I sit there, letting all kinds of thoughts enter my head. Finally after I fall, I remove myself and get ready for the day, I was suppose to be at work by 7:00am, but I left for work at 9:40am. Why do I do this, because I’m lazy and have no one to question where I am.

On my way to work, I beat myself up for these fallings. Soon after, the CD I’m listening to runs out, and the next one comes on. It is worship, and it reminds me that I am forgiven; I need to forgive myself. Although I continue to repeat this pattern of “morning” sickness, I also know that my Father will forgive me. When I get to work, I take up my list of things to do, and I do them, and I actually try to not shortcut like I’ve been doing recently. I’ve been wanting to do my tasks as if I’m doing them for the Lord, but I find myself in a zone when I arrive at work.

I need to be accountable, that is why I have started this Blog. I have created a “virtual” accountability. For anyone who wants to read this, hold me accountable. If you read this, and see other patterns which do not fit into Christ’s character, please feel free to tell me, for we are in this journey only to become closer to Christ, and more like him. We are also in this journey to share the love of Christ to others, and to do that, we need to be challenged.

.: prayers, prayer requests :.

Lord you are the most high, nothing can be put higher than you! Even your name is the most awesome thing known to man. I ask all that follows in your name…

I have been writing drafts of my support letter for my mission trip to Poland. I am having anxiety over the response of my co-workers and some of my family. I pray for people to understand the joy I hope to show the young adults of Poland.

I pray for my “fellowship” of friends, I pray that they continue to seek and to know God as he is.

I pray for one particular friend, I ask for this friend to be overwhelmed by God’s presence. I pray for direction, and for this friend to see the love of friendship, although it may hurt right now.

I pray for another specific friend, I ask for direction in relationships and in self esteem.

I pray for my family, to ask and to know that HE IS GOD. To find his love, hope, and joy.

I pray for me and all of my brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus, that the Holy Spirit take control, fan the flames within our souls, take control, strong fire burn, burn deep within our souls.

Lord, I ask for change… change our bad habits. I repent of the sins I’ve done, you know my heart Lord, it is steadfast for you oh Lord, but I keep on falling into the same sin, I am stuck, help.

Lord, I give thanks to you. For only you truly know where I am, I thank you for this blogger deal, it forces me to think about you. Lord, I have had an awesome life, thus far, and I share with you everything I do, what I do is yours.

Freedom from Rules and New life in Christ? [Colossians 2:6-23]

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let you lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.

Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil power of this world, and not from Christ. For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.

When you came to Christ, you were circumcised, but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure, the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ.

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch. Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.