Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I really believe that it comes from experiencing who he is and trusting him with everything in my life. Then it becomes something that I cant help but do and be rather than what I am required to do because I am a Christian.
Tonight I am looking forward to Bradford sharing his testimony tonight about his experiences of moving from a place of uncertainty to being in the center of God's will. Gonna be great see you tonight.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I was a perpetually petrified little kid. When I learned how to write, I constructed a “What Terrifies Me Top Ten,” just so I could keep all my phobias straight.
The dark and clowns were both mainstays (watching Stephen King’s It without my parent’s knowledge, cemented clowns forever.) Roller coasters, spiders, demons, and my basement all made the list.
Then there were some unusual, miscellaneous fears that rounded off the Top Ten. Ordering at fast food restaurants. Siamese cats. The church sanctuary. (I wasn’t exactly a normal child.)
But my number one on the “What Terrifies Me” list was car washes - the kind where you stay in the car and drive through. Traveling through a car wash was like taking a little jaunt through Hell itself, or so I thought. The water pounded the roof and windows, trying to break through so the menacing rollers and brushes could assassinate me! I’d cry hysterically and make frenzied attempts of escape, like a cat desperately trying to avoid a bath.
Needless to say, my mom was in a real pickle. I was with her every minute of the day and she still needed car washes. So for years, my memories of car washes were laying on the floor of the car with a down comforter over my head. Then I was fine.
My mom didn’t get rid of car washes, and she didn’t get rid of me. She just brought blankets. Smart woman, my mom.
At twenty-five years old, a quarter of life set in stone; I’ve still got a Top Ten, but constructed with slightly different fears. Carwashes still freak me out a little, but I don’t drive through one with blankets on my head. (For some reason, that freaks other people out.)
No, I’m scared because life’s up to me now.
I’m anxious I’ll fail. I’m terrified that I may not have what it takes.
I’m scared because I can’t see a thing in front of me. I feel like I’m driving a car sixty miles per hour with two flashlights for headlights, I’m blind without a seeing-eye dog. I’m searching for the next step, but I can’t even find the staircase. I trusted my parents when they covered my head in blankets, but now who?
Well I know it’s supposed to be God. I know I should lay my burning fear before Him, so He can put it out with His extinguisher filled with Grade-A Heaven-Air. But as I float in this deep murky water called our twenties and fear latches on me like a giant squid, do I really trust that He’s going to save me before I drown?
Well no, if I’m honest. I tell my Christian friends I do - for appearance sake. I clap and sing, raising my hands with everyone else. But I know my open palms are two liars.
Oh theologically I’d say I still believe in all the “musts.” All the things I learned in Sunday school, I still believe to be true. Cloth-cutout Jesus still has the power to multiply all the graham crackers he wants to in my book. The problem is, I believe in Him, but I don’t necessarily believe Him, if that makes sense? I believe he is God the Father, just not necessarily to me.
Put Away Upstairs
Honestly, I see God more as my crazy uncle, than as my dad. I see him only at major holidays, and don’t trust him to carve the turkey, let alone put blankets over my head. I’m not letting him have that kind of control. Instead I have the kind of trust that locks him upstairs when company comes over.
“All right Uncle God, up those stairs you go. Yep, keep on going. I’ll be up in a little while to check on you.”
“Hey Paul, what was crazy Uncle God saying tonight?”
“You know, the usual gibberish.”
Where do I even start?
How about when he says that all things are possible with him? Or when the Apostle Paul says that God is able to do immeasurably more than we could even ask or imagine? My wildest, most hare-brained ideas about a life lived well are not even a drop in the bucket for him. Well if I really believed Him, I’d have to read these words with such a different intensity, wouldn’t I? If I really believed, Faith and Works would be doing a beautiful waltz throughout the details of every day. Instead, Faith is taking a nap and Works is playing on Facebook.
If I really believed my Father, I’d be comforted as he covered me in blankets. Even if it meant I couldn’t see a thing.
So I know some see Him as their Father and they act accordingly. They stand at the edge of the pool and jump to his open arms without reservation. But not me. I’m petrified, shivering at the edge. I want to jump, but I just don’t believe he’s really going to catch me.
“No thanks Uncle God. I think I’ll go swim in the kiddie-pool instead.” Give me numerous flotation devices to strap to my arms, as I try to survive in three feet of water. At least there, I’ll be safe.
A Couple Questions…
But if I can’t accept his role as my Father, then should I really be calling myself his child? Huh, that question is a tad frightening.
And am I really questioning the legitimacy of His fatherhood because he’s failed to catch me? Or because I’ve failed to jump?
Floating in the yellowish-water of this kiddie-pool, I’m pretty sure I know the answer.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Tonight we continue our series "Life in Motion" and have the privilege of having Kyle Bleeker teaching about what God's word has to say about Relationships in Motion.
Jesus had a lot to say about relationships, in fact most of his teachings were based on two things, how we relate to God and others. Those are truly the two key factors in the Christian life; loving God and loving others. If we are getting those two things right, it is amazing how the rest of usually begins to fall in place. And even when it doesn't, we have all we need in place to get through those tough times.
Looking forward to seeing you tonight at 7pm.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
So Jerrod, John and I each wend out separate ways by the rushing river and just spent some time alone with God.
I cannot say that I had any amazing revelations and earth shattering experiences to report, but I was able for about 3 hours just to listen to God, through his word through music, and just listening to reconnect and to get my life realigned to listening to him.
I need to do that more often. It was a breath of fresh air (literally and spiritually)
I was reinvigorated and am ready to continue the opportunity that God has placed in front of me and invited me to become a part of. God is actively pursuing all people, and he want me to be involved in what he is doing. Not help him, but join into what he is doing and to let him use my hands and feet to carry out what he is going to do. I am very humbled and thankful for what he is going to do.
Here is a pic from where I spent most of my time Friday
Monday, March 16, 2009
If you are one who reads Elevate Blog regularly, first my apologies for not having more content, I have allowed myself to get over-busy (which usually means more running around and less accomplished.) I appreciate Glen sending in a Blog Article. If you ever have one to share send it to me. Here is Glen's submission:
It’s been a while since I wrote anything but something happened the other day that I just needed to share. You see, I had just had a pretty physically busy work week plus after work I had been on a mission to do my spring cleaning from 2007 (maybe 2006 or 2005) if you know what I mean. I was also going through a trial of a personal nature that had me mentally worn and just plain bummed out.
I had been singing with the worship team at my church on Saturday nights but had told the Pastor I wouldn’t be there because I had plans. Well, my plans fell through and I had spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon trying to recover physically and mentally from the week I had. As I was sitting in my chair I realized that I still might have time to go to church and help with the music but my heart was just not in it. The more I thought about it though, the more I thought that maybe sitting at home all tired and bummed out might not be the best choice, so I kind of made a deal with God that if I could still get up and get ready in time that I would go…knowing that I probably wouldn’t make it.
I slowly went through my routine of getting up and ready, even dragging my feet a little. I didn’t look at the clock even once because in my mind it was a moot point anyway…I didn’t feel like going and I wouldn’t be ready in time anyway. Well, worship team practice started at 3:30pm and when I was dressed and finished getting ready, I was shocked to look at the clock and see that it read 3:15pm. I had to look at another clock to be sure…no way! I said to myself. I had to laugh a little knowing what a tricky guy God is. Ok…I’m going, I told him.
I walked down to my car and started it up to head to church and I immediately began to feel a change in the way I felt. My spirits were lifting! I was listening to the radio and singing along (don’t laugh) with the music. I actually got to church at straight up 3:30pm! As I got out of my car and walked inside I was feeling better and better. Then practice started and a smile began to reappear on my face as everything around me began to disappear and I felt as if it were just me and God there. I could feel God’s presence as I stood alone worshipping to him…the audience of one. For the moment I felt fully restored…the tiredness gone…the heartache gone…all the pain was just gone, and I felt content, joyful, and happy again.
But I haven’t got to the best part yet because something happened afterward that just blew me away. You see, after the service I was hanging out talking to some of the youth and this guy walks up that looked kind of familiar. Turns out he was an older version of a young man from the youth group at our church that I used to talk to and sometimes give a ride home. He lived about 10 miles away so it gave us a little time to talk, but to be honest I don’t think I could have told you one thing we talked about on those drives. It had been 3-4 years and I don’t remember all conversations…plus I’m a guy, and us guys know when the conversations over…it’s usually forgotten. Which gets us in trouble sometimes…but that’s another story.
Anyway…I asked him how things had been going and he said things were fine and that he had just been trying to follow some of my advice. Now I was really curious what I might have said to this young man that he actually thought worthy of following, so I asked, “what advice are you talking about?” And this is what he said…
”You said that sometimes when you really don’t feel like going to church…is when you really need to go the most.”
When he said that I new God had brought his word back to me, like a boomerang, at a time when I needed to hear it the most and I confessed to my young friend that that was exactly what had happened to me that evening and that I was so glad that I had not avoided time with God that night.
I’m glad I had taken my own advice…with a little help from God…and a slow clock!
By Glen Bryant
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I am getting close to 40 and I still don't know. That's probably why I really enjoy hanging out with Primarily college students and young adults. I really enjoy seeing people begin to transform from high school restlessness to realizing what they are passionate and where they are wanting to throw their focus.
When I was in college I made the transition from wanting to be a teacher/coach to wanting to become a youth pastor. I threw everything I had into it and spent 15 years hanging out with junior high and high school students. I am now at a place where I have a passion to see college students use their amazing gifts and energies to invest in God's Kingdom.
I am looking forward to a new series we are starting on Transformation, and challenging ourselves to not look at what God has for us in the future. But how we can can connect our dreams and abilities into his plan for eternal life change in people.
Ecclesiastes is a great Book, Here is what Solomon had to say about living life:
7-10 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don't skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed.
Friday, March 6, 2009
One of my Favorite Psalms, I read it in the Message this morning. and had a very needed freeing effect on me.
Psalm 401-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn't slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.
4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world's "sure thing,"
ignore what the world worships;
The world's a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
comes close to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words
account for you.
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that's not what you're after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that's not what you're asking for.
You've opened my ears
so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, "I'm coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I'm coming to the party
you're throwing for me."
That's when God's Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)
16-18So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.Video below is a good reminder of what we need to focus on.