Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye to 2010, may we never see or hear from you again…

In all respects, one should be happy that a year is coming to an end, and no one can vocalize that more loudly than I can. I have never been more excited to see a year go away than I have 2010. When 2011 gets here, I can say, wow, this is a new chance at life, and I can be happy no matter what happens.

Let’s see, how did 2010 go down? Well to start things off with, right around this time in 2009, like the 30th/31st of December, I was angry that I had to go back to Boyce. I wanted more than anything to be finished so I didn’t have to listen to people tell me that I was going to a school that was different theologically, and I spent all of my time worrying what people thought of me, and what I did with my life.

I was working for the North American Mission Board as a church-planting intern in Louisville. The LifeSong Church in Valley Station, where I served for an amazing year doing ministry alongside some amazing people, some of whom I regard now as family (you know who you are). After the first of the year, I saw the same movie 3 times within a month (AVATAR), I had settled into a dorm room by myself, and the entire semester, I spent my time doing schoolwork, hanging out with friends, and above all, not caring about my life (physically).

The turning point of my year, as well as my entire life happened on April 17th. Everyone knows what happened, so I don’t need to mention, but basically, I got a second chance. I got another chance to say to myself, I can live. I can have a life the way that God intended for me to have it. You do not appreciate life until you come within an inch of losing it. When I had the episode with my heart, the doctor in the ER told me that if I had waited to receive treatment by about an hour, I could have died. It was when I took the time to understand that God is the God who heals, and that he holds you in his hand when you don’t know what to do. My relationship with God got just a little bit deeper. I also was able to understand how deep friendships really get. VJ, this goes out to you. You are my brother from another mother and I love you. I understand completely what a true friend is because it was you who slept at the foot of my bed when I was sick in the hospital and scared out of my mind to be there.

I graduated from Boyce College, class of 2010 with a 3.5 GPA, and started my long road to recovering my life, health wise. It was a great summer. I ended up working for Chosen People Ministries, and I did some traveling. Mostly to Orlando on vacation, but also in June I was able to go to New York and indulge my passion for the performing arts and got to see the Lion King on stage. I got ready to move out to Texas, and in essence start my life all over again. I had to swallow a huge dose of humility and learn to accept that I couldn't have the things I wanted, even though God was giving me everything I was needing. I made some awesome friends this semester in seminary, you know who you all are ;) and learned how to accept the challenges that come with growing up. I am wanting to go onto the mission field, and this summer, I will have the chance to do that as I will be going to Thailand. The year ended with a great amount of understanding that when you commit your way to the Lord, he will give you the desires of your heart.

I am blessed to say I have a journey that I am in my life right now, and I am experiencing that journey with another person. I started dating a wonderful, Godly woman named Donna in December, and since then my life has been filled with joy as she has been encouraging me and telling me to pursue the things of God in my life.

That is where I stand for the year 2010, so I pray that as we all look to the future, that God would bless our decisions, our actions, and tell us how we are to live.

Grace and Peace.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inspiration from C.S. Lewis

Here's the start of something new for you all who care to read my blog. I am alled to the mission field, and I spent 4 years at a really good college, learning all I could about ministry, the word of God, and now there's this profound, deep longing in me to take everything I've ever known and go even deeper. I am at a higher level of education and I am striving to do better at what I am doing because it is expected of me.

As the year comes to a close, I have to think seriously about what my commitments for the month will be. I have that read-the-bible in a year plan lying around my dorm room somewhere. I will be making a huge list of commitments to myself, especially in my spiritual life. I have to want these desires to be in my life, especially being a minister.

Here is what I wanted you to see...this is from the Chronicles of Narnia

"But you shall meet me there, dear one," said Aslan. "Are - you there too, Sir?" said Edmund. "I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

When you see "know me" obviously Lewis was referring to Christ in the most profound way.The readers are being shown that Christ has revealed himself in another form. Hearing from my own father (a preacher and teacher of God's word) mention about God in the Chronicles of Narnia was a big deal to me. He was explaining to me about the inclusion of the spirit world in THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. The lion obviously represents Christ, and the witch is you see a great amount of allegory in the book.

Narnia is full of this. Look for the Lord in the books and you are sure to find Him there. The imagery of God's presence is everywhere in those books, and i totally plan to read them again, when i depart for the mission field in July to return to Thailand.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Now there is a great amount of triumph in my life. The Lord has been good to me, he has blessed me with a great family, a job, and I have an education finally. Well, I am pursuing one. I have a college degree, so I can sort of say that I'm smart but i'm....oh nevermind. I'm still in school, either way you look at it. Christmas has come and went. Believe me when I say that I am ready for this year to be over with. 2011 holds infinite possibilities for me as a minister, a missionary, and as a believer. I am already planning to return to the field to serve in Thailand with Southwestern in July. I had planned to go to Thailand in 2008, but then God had other plans, so I wasn't able to go.

But you know, not having everything as a minister doesn't matter to me anymore. I was so concerned about being licensed, being able to preach, but you don't need any of that to preach, and God is feeding me huge helpings of humility as I realize that only what he gives to me is what I will be doing in ministry. My life is perfect the way it is because I have Christ.

Be blessed on Christmas and in the last days of this year.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Arrival in Paradise

Here I am. South Florida. I have spent 12 years of my life living here on and off. Of those years, 4 1/2 of them have been spent living elsewhere. I was in college, and now I just finished a semester of seminary. I don't feel at home here anymore. Everyone I was close with, friends I have kept up with over the years, a lot of them have moved on. In fact, I was at the home of a family I know from back home, they moved to Alabama about 4 years ago, and I was hearing everything they have been doing, and keeping up with them, they have moved on too. Paradise isn't so much a paradise anymore. No matter how much wishing you do, nothing will ever move backwards, it always has to move forward. I look around, and I am starting to feel refreshed because this is home and your family is here, that's truly paradise all in itself.

Merry Merry Christmas.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Return to Paradise - Part 1

I would like to give Florida a lot more honor than it needs. It's just a state, and to be honest, I really live in a colonial territory. New York owns everything in Florida south of Orlando anyway, so reality is, I live in Southern New York. The always powerful empire of New York City extends down to Floridian culture, giving New York hope to survive. That is where I am going. Today was one of those really lazy starting days. I slept in, and didn't get out of Fort Worth until about 12:30, so now I am waiting for the next leg of the long trip back home to begin. Even looking at it from the perspective of "going home", it just doesn't seem right to me. Home is where I have been settled down, and that has become Fort Worth, not Florida.

So my visit home will be great, and will be enjoyable, but I am looking forward to getting back to Texas for the spring semester. Lots going on, and plus with the job, and with the ministry position opening for me at Southcliff, I can be looking to the Lord for greatness in my life. The Lord is showing HIS greatness. NOT MY GREATNESS, his!!!!!

I am glad for the amazing things that God is allowing to happen in my life.

Until I reach paradise...

The work of Jigsaws

Okay, first off. Don't panic, I am not talking about that psycho serial killer mess-with-your-mind guy from the creepy movies, I am talking about God's plan. The master jigsaw puzzle is your own life. God is the person behind the chaos, the joy, the sorrow, everything good or bad, he creates the pieces to fit together so nicely that you cannot question what he is doing. That is just how my life could be described right about now. No sense of my own working happening, it is all God's decisions, his actions, and there is nothing I can do to question that.

I am now working for a great company that has been around for more than 100 years. I could not be more blessed where I am right now. I have a great job. I have to confess to you all, who are reading this, DO NOT EVER doubt the goodness of God, because you will never realize that God is doing something until you are ready to be without everything. God will take you away from yourself, he will give you everything you ever wanted if you are just willing to trust that he has it under control.

It took me forever to get that in my life.
Trust God no matter what, that is the bottom line.

I am glad that tomorrow is the official day for departure, heading back to Florida, because believe me when I say that you can expect to see a post every day. Especially as Christmas gets closer and closer. More and more great stories will be told, and new things will happen, especially during the "crossing" from Texas to Florida. Yeah, I will be driving back to West Palm Beach, arriving on Tuesday night at some point.

Pray for my sanity as I endure the 20+ hour trek all the way back. Lucky for me I get to fly back to Texas.

grace and peace.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Learning to take the Lead

In all my years, I have never been in such a position. God is moving in my life in such a mighty way, I just cannot keep up anymore. I must say, it is the best possible place you can find yourself in, when you know that what you are doing is the right thing, and what God has directed and ordained cannot be stopped or changed, that is an amazing feeling. I have been thinking that everything I have wanted to do in my life was moving in a certain direction because I felt it was good. But there's that word again "I". When you take the "I" out of an equation, you will see so much more to your life, because you will see it from God's point of view, in a bigger sense; your perspective, the "I" is like looking at a corner of VAN GOGH'S STARRY NIGHT, without realizing that the bigger picture is what you really need to be seeing, I can say that whole heartedly now, that I am trusting God to move forward in my life, never backwards.