Wow, what an awesome weekend! The Jesus Culture Conference was a great experience and a much needed “wake up call” of sorts for myself. It was as if God fanned the small flame in my heart into a massive fire for Him Friday night. I’ve never been so moved by the Holy Spirit before and you could just tell that His presence was there with us. Our worship band does an excellent job and we are very blessed to have such a talented and Spirit lead band to worship with on a weekly basis, but hearing Kim Walker lead in that setting took my own personal worship to a whole new level. When you’re surrounded by 1,000+ other people who are on fire for the Lord, all worshiping together, it’s just a really neat experience.
It also made me realize that it doesn’t matter how I look when I worship. I sometimes raise my hands but not always, and that’s partially because, for whatever reason, I don’t want other people to think that I’m weird for doing so. Which is completely bogus!! It doesn’t matter what the person next to me thinks when I raise my hands. If I feel led to then I should because that’s one way that we can respond to His presence showing up. Something that Jake Hamilton said in his workshop is that people sometimes get confused as to what worship is or should be. They (and I found myself in this position a few times before) get caught up in the technicalities of music or the specific songs that we sing when we really should just be responding to the Spirit showing up. “The response to God showing up IS worship”. My worship experience has been changed forever and now I’m stoked to see how God will show up from now on every time I worship.
Finally, the people that I got to hang out with were awesome. It’s so cool to go to a church where you can hang out with the band and worship leader as often as I do. I seriously haven’t laughed this much since, well, the last time I hung out with this same crew. My cheeks were sore Saturday night from the night before and the drive home. I’m very blessed to have these people in my life. They’re kind of awesome.
And yes, the title of this post is an inside joke from this weekend.
”18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has notbeen perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
It’s sometimes tough to really think about the love that God has for us. I mean think about it from His perspective. He creates the world and everything in it, creates each one of us individually (all 6 billion of us) and He sent His only Son to die for our sins. He gave up His only Son so that we would be able to know Him to the fullest. Wow. These verses are great in showing how we have been made out of His love and should show that to others, always. And I love how verse 18 says “but perfect love casts out fear”. We can try to find love in many different ways but until we finally rely on God’s love and trust that His love for us is all we need, we will always have fears and will never grow closer to Him. Now, this isn’t to say that you will never have any fear again, it just means that in times when you are afraid that you won’t be consumed by fear. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” meaning that while God loves us, He is all powerful and we should not question His word. I am so thankful that God has shown His love to me and that I can go out into the world knowing that His love conquers all.
God I pray that you will continue to show my Your love and that I can show love to others even in the tough times. When things may not be going my way, I need to remember that they are always going Your way and that by loving others I will be showing obedience to You.
"6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Youradversary the devil prowls aroundlike a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
These verses are a good reminder that we are all going through the same thing. We all have troubles and stresses that can beat us down on a daily basis. We need to rely on God during these tough times and know that through faith and perseverance God will bless us. Sometimes, well most of the time actually, I let all the stresses get me down. I allow all my anxieties to ruin my day when I really need to give them to God. It’s tough to do because I don’t always feel like God will care about something as small as my stress but He does care. He cares more than I ever know and I need to keep that in mind, always. I’ve been having a tough time these past couples of weeks with the same thing, over and over again. I find it tough to get up in the morning because I just don’t feel like I have any motivation to do what I’m suppose to be doing this quarter but I’ve had motivation all along in God’s faith in me. I don’t always think about it but I need to do the best work right now because He calls us to do all things for Him. If I’m not putting my full attention and abilities into my task at hand and doing it well to glorify Him then I’m wasting my time.
Friday- Leadership Community and getting to hang out with the coolest and best church staff ever
Saturday- working on a service project in the morning then working in the afternoon.
Sunday- church, probably a little ultimate frisbee and then the last HS group for the year :/ I’m going to try and stay in contact with all the guys in my group, because they’re kind of awesome and hopefully I can get a weekly or bi-weekly bible study started with them soon.
“8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. “
James is talking here about preparing our hearts and that we should not complain about our worldly troubles. We all go through tough times but it is during these tough times that we should be relying on God the most. We should turn to each other for prayer and comfort instead of just complaining about the position we’re in. (note to self: HELLO!!!) God is always here for us and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that when we’re stuck in a not-so-good situation. Like mine for instance. Yeah, it sucks that this quarter ended up the way it did, but complaining about it won’t change anything. I’ve been complaining for weeks and because of that I’ve lost out on a lot of opportunities to make it better. Sure, they wouldn’t have given me a job or anything like that, but I’m sure I’ve missed out on opportunities to serve Him more. I’ve also wasted too much time complaining when I could have been working on my projects and making them the absolute best since I have the time to do that. Now I’m stuck right where I’ve been in the past and it’s crunch time. But it’s okay, because now I realize what I was missing out on. If I do any work, any project, any small task, I need to do it for God. If I do it for Him I know that I will produce amazing things. If I fully apply myself, He will bless me. It may not happen right away, but He calls us to be patient. So I will be.
“Jeff Winger: I’m saying you’re a football player. It’s in your blood.
Troy: That’s racist.
Jeff Winger: Your soul.
Troy: That’s racist.
Jeff Winger: Your eyes.
Troy: That’s gay?
Jeff Winger: That’s homophobic.
Troy: That’s black.
Jeff Winger: [shocked] That’s racist.
"2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
This is something that I am often guilty of, not the whole murdering part, but th coveting things I cannot have or asking for the wrong things. Too often I find myself thinking about the future and what I could have. Whether it be a house, a car, a wife, anything. While it’s not wrong to think about these things, I get myself worked up over them because I don’t have them yet. I’m trying to make things happen in my own power and not in God’s. Something Travis told me the other day is that often he finds himself working too much in his own power and not relying on God’s. He sees good things happening an automatically starts working towards that next goal, but sometimes God isn’t ready for that yet, so he has to take a step back and wait for God’s timing. I do this a lot, especially right now when I have a lot of free time on my hands. I’ll sit and dream about the future that I want, but not really take into account what God has in store for me. I should be using this free time that I have to work on things that He wants me to work on, instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself about things that I can’t really control.
“8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
I always say that I’m going to pray more, or read the bible more but never do. Then I get frustrated when I don’t hear God clearly or get mad when things don’t go my way. But the times that I do read or pray more, I have more clarity about things. Coincidence? I think not. I think that is God’s way of hinting to me that I can’t do everything on my own. I can’t work within my own powers. While I should use my own powers to the best of my ability, if they aren’t aligned with God’s then I’m just wasting my time. So I need to draw near to Him and humble myself before Him because He loves me more than I can even image. I pray that over these next 4-5 weeks that I can do just this. That I can start working under His power and not just my own. Because I’m tired of feeling tired all the time. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t do it. the truth is I can, just not on my own. While I may not be excited or motivated to do the work that is set before me at this moment, I know that if I do it for Him that He will bless me for it. And if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will!
So I think I’m going to join two of my friends in blogging my daily RC3 journal entries. Hopefully this will keep me on track and give me more motivation to actually do one each day. So, here goes….
“4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.”
This is a great example of James telling us how important our words are, in many different ways. Not only can we speak great things but something as small as one word can have a great impact, both good and bad. The ship’s rudder is very small but it can change the course of the ship with just one slight bump or turn. With that in mind, we must choose our words carefully because we don’t always know which direction they might steer us in. This is something that I often struggle with. I usually do a good job of filtering myself and thinking before I speak, but sometimes thoughts or words slip out that may be steering my ship in the wrong direction. If I don’t correct myself or repent from what I did or said then I will continue to stay on the wrong course. It’s hard sometimes to be conscientious of this since I’m not always focused on God or God’s plan for my life but by keeping my words in line with His (or at least attempting to) I will keep my ship on course.
In last night’s small group we talked a lot about how every sin is equal to the next in God’s eyes, which is not always easy to believe or think about. How can murder be the same as telling a lie? Even though it may sound a little extreme, it’s true. If we don’t confess our sins, no matter how big or small, then it’s just the same as murder. Something that Travis (my church’s HS youth leader) has said before is that we should make the time between when we sin and when we ask for forgiveness shorter and shorter each time. The longer we let that gap advance, the longer those thoughts will stay with us and haunt us. It will also mean that we are spending more time away from God, even though we may not feel it at the time. It’s something that I’ve been trying to do more of recently and so far it’s been working.
Why can’t music be this cool still? The chorus blows me away every time (musically). Something that today’s music is missing is layers. No one adds harmonies anymore and I for one think it’s a simple way to make your music stand out.
It’s another gorgeous day here in Cincy. The weather has been perfect, mid 70s all day. Even though I’m ready for the summer to get here, I wish this Spring weather would stay.
I also got an encouraging email from one of my kids’ parents today. We’ve been doing a series on regret recently. She said that the other night her son came to her and apologized for some things and then asked for her forgiveness! Wow! Sometimes I feel like my guys aren’t really paying attention but I guess something is sticking with them. Her email just made my week!