Relationship vs. Religion

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Relationship or Religion?

I think this is a huge question that has a very simple answer, yes. By definition religion is the belief and worship of a personal God or gods. Christians do believe and worship a personal God which makes this His religion.

I have come across a few people who have made statements to me that go something like this, “religion is dumb, it’s all about a relationship with Jesus”.

First, saying that you love God but hate spending time with His people is like saying you love your girlfriend or wife but hate spending time with her and every time you see her you get filled with bitterness or frustration but despite that, you still love her.

You cannot separate the Shepherd from His sheep, just like you cannot separate the King from His kingdom.

These people also don’t think going to church is important because it comes off as legalistic.

Now, there is the problem.

Religion is not bad by any means, the problem arises when we take “worship of a personal God” out of the equation which leaves us with a legalistic religion and no relationship.

Marriage is a lot like that too. I married my wife because I love her and so before marriage there was a relationship that began to grow and when we decided that we were ready to kick it up a notch we got married. Now marriage comes with its own set of rules we have to follow but those rules are usually a joy and not a burden. Usually, I want to love my wife like Christ loves the church but there are times when I don’t but I do anyways because she is my wife and we are married which means I am obligated to do that, even though most of the times I freely choose to. Some of you know people that no longer love one another and there really isn’t any chemistry there anymore. They stay together for the sake of marriage which paints a perfect picture of what religion without a relationship looks like.

Marriage without a relationship is like religion without a personal relationship with God; empty, joyless, hopeless, sad, exhausting, and dead.

Legalism is very real. Legalistic religion existed when Jesus walked the earth and it exists today. Jesus Himself rebuked the Pharisees about being just that.

Jesus said “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness of me” John 5:39

People constantly search the scriptures but never come to full understanding what it means to walk with God.

Religion says you must do to receive a blessing but Jesus says we have already received it in Him.

Religion says you must do to be loved but Jesus says that you are already loved.

Religion enslaves us to burdens we cannot carry, Jesus sets us free.

Religion sets a standard no human can obtain, Jesus has met the standard so that we can be a part of His perfection.

Religion binds us to the law, Jesus places us under grace.

There are three primary stages of genuine conversion.

  1. Understanding: knowing that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and Redeemer. He, a perfect person, is Lord and King of kings and He loves you so much that He came to die on the cross for your sins, was raised three days later, and for those that put their faith in Him receive life and receive it abundantly.
  2. Conviction: Convictions are feelings of guilt and shame that come from you being aware of your own sins, imperfection, and lost-ness.
  3. Action: Understanding that Jesus is the savior and you are imperfect and sinful which brings you to put your trust in Him as your only hope and live a life that is worthy of a gospel explanation.

I think a lot of the time we come across people who take biblical knowledge and act on what they know which creates a cold and harsh type of religion.

Without the experience of God’s grace in our own lives and over our own brokenness and sin, we tend to lack compassion and grace to the lives of others. Instead of extending grace, mercy, and forgiveness we extend rules and commands that modify their behavior while completely neglecting their heart.

If you have been hurt by a church and it really gave you a bitter taste of what a follower of Christ looks like, or if you have had a poor experience growing up in a church, I would like to encourage you not to give up. Christians are not Christ and being upset with the church would be like being upset with the sick people in a hospital. Christ is far better, far greater, than anyone describes Him to be. That is why you need to experience Him for yourself.

Here is one of my favorite videos. Jefferson Bethke shows the difference between a relationship with Jesus and legalistic religion.

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, you have to experience him that is what Christianity is all about. It is not just an abstract truth or a mystical experience, it is an experience of truth because the truth became a person and now relationship is the way in which the truth comes in.”

–Tim Keller

Engaging In Relationship

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What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus?

I received a call from someone this last week and the person asked me,

“If I do everything in the Bible, will people like me more? Will things get better?”

I said something along the lines of:

“That’s a great question but I think you’re missing the point. You can’t be more perfect than Jesus and people still hated him to the point of death. The problem isn’t just modifying behavior, the problem is a broken heart. The commands in the Bible are never meant to be an end in itself, but a means to an end that points you to a relationship with Christ.”

But what is a relationship with Jesus? How can you have a close relationship with someone you have never seen? Is it like having an imaginary friend? We always talk about having a relationship with God all the time, but do we even know what that looks like?

Where to begin.

I would start at repentance and surrender. The first step to fixing a problem is realizing that there is one. The second step is understanding that only putting your faith and hope in Jesus can fix that; surrendering the throne of your life to Him and allowing his grace to work in your life and begin the mending and healing process of old and new wounds.

Is it like having an Imaginary friend?

The fact that God is not sitting next to you in physical form doesn’t mean that He is some imaginary friend. Jesus was a real man who physically walked this earth. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and equal to God. He claimed that he could forgive sin, He performed miracles, and He died on a cross so that he could send us a helper who is equal with Him yet can do something that God couldn’t in the flesh which is to be with every believer always at the same time. Jesus died on the cross for our sins as the ultimate gift of love to us, then was resurrected as a symbol of a perfect sacrifice acceptable to God for our sins. Jesus said that He will return again and He has put us in charge of inviting people to join us through faith in Him and what He has done.

God is with you through the Holy Spirit and although you cannot see Him, you can see the work that He does in and through other people and your life.

God has given us His word to remind us of how much He loves us, to encourage us, and to instruct us in how we ought to live. Something that we don’t talk about much is how the more you read his word, the more you develop a growing affection for who He is. The more time you spend reading it, you will learn about His heart and desire. The more you know, the more you will grow in affection for Him and find truths and develop feelings you didn’t have before. I think we can all agree that there is much more to building a deep relationship someone than seeing them physically. In fact, we know this because in our culture we often don’t accept people into our inner circle until we really get to know them and get to know some deep things about them that others don’t know regardless of how much we see them. Jesus was either the Son of God or a psychopath for claiming the things he claimed. You can take a step out in faith based on the overwhelming evidence that he really was the Son of God or not, but in no way is he a myth or imaginary. He is still alive and active today.

Can I know God personally?

So I have been married for a little more than a year and from the day we started going out, to the day we got married, and to where we are now, our relationship has grown and is constantly growing deeper and deeper in its intimacy; and I don’t mean that in the sense that we can finally be physically intimate but in the sense that I see deeper into my wife’s heart and soul.

True intimacy is ultimate transparency and love. Intimacy is the ability to fully know someone while being fully known by them, yet unconditionally loving one another all at the same time.

A lot of the time we tend to lock things up and not be intimate because we get scared that if people saw the real us they wouldn’t accept us. We know what people like so we try to mold ourselves into something we aren’t so that people will love us. It’s hard to trust someone completely, there is always something that we keep buried deep down that we refuse to let go of because we’re scared to get hurt. We are all broken and we all have this room deep, deep down in the back right hand corner of our heart covered with caution tape and a series of complicated locks. As you walk into this dusty room there’s pictures on the walls of all the memories we hold dear to us. There are writings on the walls with all of our hopes and dreams, and all of our aspirations and accomplishments. But there are also pictures of awful memories that scarred your life, there are skeletons that you covered up and put in the closet, there are also writings on the walls of all your failures and short coming and lies that you have fooled yourself into believing. There is a list of people that you are bitter towards and can’t get yourself to forgive, or events that you keep holding onto and refuse to let go because they have emotionally or physically damaged you. There is a black box with a lock on it and inside are all your darkest secrets; consistent lying to your parents, stealing from a friend, a stack of dirty magazines, drugs you’ve done or are doing, an eating disorder you’ve had or dealing with, an affair you are having or had, immoral (sexual) things you have done, a sinful acts that have been done against you, or even murder.

Everyone has a room like that in their heart.

The crazy thing is that God already knows about that room even if no one else does. He created you and therefore fully knows you. And guess what… He fully loves you. Secrets and all.

God sees you and all that you hold dear to your heart and he doesn’t want to come in and turn you into some kind of freak, but come in and meet you where you are in life and clean out that room, wipe the dust off, open up a window, take red paint and write “loved”, “forgiven”, “worthy” and “redeemed” on all the ugly things that you are embarrassed of or afraid people will find out about. Even though God knows what’s inside your heart He isn’t going to bust the door open and start remodeling, He wants you to open the door and invite Him in. Trust Him with your insecurities and mistakes, learn to let them go and give them over to the only one that can really fix them.

If you are truly desiring to know God personally and seek a relationship with him I will give you a few things that have worked for me.

  1. Read God’s word (Bible) -Every time you open your Bible, let that time be a time where you are vulnerable and open to what God has to say to you that day. Let your only agenda be to know God in a deeper sense and that, that knowledge would stir an affection in your heart for Him. It is His letter to you, so be still and listen.
  2. Pray – There is no ideal system or special words that need to be said, just a regular conversation that you would have with your best friend. The moment you realize that you are not just talking into thin air but having a conversation, you realize that He is not distant but very close to you and not a stranger but a friend, a loving father, that you can bear your heart to and cry out to and share exciting things with.
  3. Community – We also know that when we want to grow in a field of area, we go and watch and spend time with people that are further along in their development. It is not any different with Christians. Communities provide opportunities for mentorship and progress. Communities also provide healing and support in our growing process. Find people that are graceful and spend time with them, find people that are merciful and spend time with them, find people that are gentle and spend time with them, and see how God is working in their life as well as yours. The Bible says that no one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. God is love and when you are with people who live to be like Christ and love one another, it reveals God to us in action through other believers.

A relationship with God can be compared to a relationship with your closest friend to a certain point. Unlike people God is perfect and His motives are always pure and loving. Open up, be vulnerable and invite Him in.

“You are more wicked than ever dared to believe and yet, you are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than you ever dared to hope.” 
― 
Timothy Keller

Malibu. Hypocrisy. And Following Jesus.

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Malibu. Hypocrisy. And Following Jesus.

 

I am not a Young Life leader but I am pretty good friends with someone who is. My friend Carson called me after he took about seventy kids up to a Young Life camp in Canada called Malibu, and he was so excited about the outcome and the amount of high school kids that truly desired a real relationship with God.

 

About a week after that conversation, I am hearing from people that those same kids are getting made fun of, bullied, and openly mocked on social media and in person for confessing Jesus as Lord.

 

I guess some of the people that went to Malibu were “bad people.”

Skeptics, haters of God, and partiers, are now telling people that they don’t want to continue dating their boyfriend or girlfriend because they want to honor God and they don’t want to go to parties because they want to do the right thing. Because of this, people are calling them fake, liars, and hypocrites, because only a week ago they were doing exactly what they are fighting against.

 

About three years ago I went to the same camp as a junior in high school.

 

I think I was worse than all of them; at least they never confessed to be Christians like I did.

Partying? Yep.

Immorality? Yep.

Drinking? Yep.

Girls? You bet.

Anger? Yep.

Lying? Yep.

Impurity? Yep.

“Christian”? Yep.

Pastor’s kid? Yep.

Hypocrite? Biggest one of all.

I remember sitting on the arm rest of my couch the night before the bus left to Malibu, holding my phone in my hand and contemplating on whether or not I should go. I just remember sitting there and looking outside my window thinking: “Is this it? Am I happy? Is there something more to life than football, girls, and partying?” I wasn’t happy and there was this huge void in my heart that I couldn’t fill no matter how hard I tried. At this point I had only been to Young Life a couple of times and my friends Austin and Michael called me and told me there would be a ton of good looking girls there so of course it didn’t take much convincing. I called Brandon who was the YL leader at the time to see if there was room on the bus for one more and surely enough, there was room and he told me I could work the money off after camp.

 

My motives for going were completely wrong.

The days were long but the week flew by. I remember the speaker talking about God like he was alive and active in his life. He talked about God wanting to know me and for me to know Him. He wanted to have a relationship with me and allow me to enjoy life to the fullest and give me hope. The speaker never told me my life would get easier, but he did promise me that God would comfort me in hard times and give me strength to endure tough situations.

 

I remember thinking “Man, if this is what God is like, then I want know Him. I want to know what it feels like to be complete.” I was tired of running and constantly chasing things that could neither suppress my emotions nor make me feel alive. I had guilt from things I did and I knew that only Jesus could fix it.

 

I was walking out of the hall and Michael came up to me and asked me if I wanted to give my life to God. I looked at him and said sure (Scared to look stupid) so we went down to the dock, got on our knees, and prayed to God that if He was out there, and if He was anything like what the speaker said He was, then we wanted to follow Him and be a part of His family.

COMING HOME…

I remember coming back home on fire for God. I was so excited to share my experience with my parents and friends. My mom said there was something different about me when I came back. (In a good way)

I was happy my parents were happy, but some of my friends and people that I thought were my friends definitely didn’t have the same response. I got roasted by girls for being a womanizer and hypocrite, while some of my closest friends called me a Jesus freak. People thought I was acting better than them because I didn’t want to party anymore and when I would stumble or slip up they would be right there to convict me and say, “See! I knew it!” or “Told you he is a hypocrite.”

It was so hard.

I then got myself plugged into a bible study and began to attend church regularly, but going to school with people who have labeled you as someone you don’t want to be remembered by is hard, no matter how much comfort you get.

Now, hearing about the Malibu returners getting called out and made fun of doesn’t surprise me, but it does make my heart pour out with compassion for them because I know exactly how they feel.

It’s hard enough fighting temptation alone, but when you add suffering for Christ’s sake on top of that, it makes it almost unbearable at times.

People say that hindsight vision is always 20/20 and looking back, the things that carried me through were:

 

One, getting plugged in! Community, community, community. I love the analogy of a tree in the middle of a storm and It’s just getting beat up but then if you add a hundred trees next to it huddled tight they can all use each other for support and endure the storm together. There is strength in numbers, you can’t do it alone. You need to find a Bible study you can attend weekly and if you are not already attending a church, find one. If you have been half trying to attend a church, then start going consistently. You need to be fed spiritually by someone who has more knowledge, wisdom, and years of walking with Christ than you do.

Two, seek accountability and mentorship. One of the biggest things that has helped me over the three years in my walk is mentorship and accountability. Find someone who will be able to pour into your life and someone who will take the time to meet with you weekly. Usually a mentor is someone older than you and has been through what you’re going through and/or is wiser. Find someone that you can open up to and feel safe with, someone that you can share your struggles with, and someone that will hold you accountable to live a life that will bring glory to God.

Three, serve. Serve anywhere; homeless shelters, your church, camps, bible study, youth group, or your school.

Four, If you have friends that are hard to handout with because they do bad things, find new friends. Bad company corrupts good morals. This one was hard for me because I still live in my home town and I love the guys I grew up with but their interests and mine are completely different. I still love them to death and love seeing them but I can’t be around them 24/7. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. If you take a look at your five closest friends, you have ultimately a reflection of who you are. It’s going to be hard to live for God with friends who don’t believe, understand, or encourage you to be a better man or woman of God.

Five, read your Bible. You are now walking in newness of life and are born again, which means you are a baby in Christ and babies need spiritual food and the word of God is often referred to as the bread of life. As an example: Wouldn’t it be weird if someone came up to you and asked you to marry them? Yes, yes it would. You would want to go on a couple of dates and really get to know them first. You can’t date someone you don’t know and you can’t follow someone you have no idea about. God has written His own autobiography and He wants you to read it to get to know Him. Reading it is the only way you will ever know who he is and what he wants for your life.

 

Six, apply what you read in your Bible. You can read it till you know every story and every verse, but unless you apply it to your life, it is pointless.

Seven, meditate on what you read. Revisit what you read throughout the day and keep them in your head as you work, go to school, or workout.

Eight, don’t be discouraged. Some of you don’t know very much about the Bible yet and that’s okay. As you begin to read your Bible, meet with a mentor, attend Church, attend a Bible study, and apply what you learn. You will naturally grow in knowledge, maturity, and in your walk.

Nine, pray. God prayed in all situations including to give thanks, but especially when he was faced with a hard situation or was going through hard situations. He would always slip away to be alone and pray. God hears you!

Ten, remember that you are a new creation. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently! You are washed, clean, forgiven, redeemed, loved, wanted, and a part of a family. Remember that you didn’t do anything to earn God’s love which means you can’t do anything to lose it. The Bible says that anyone who desires to live a Godly life will be persecuted but it also says that the persecution that he will face does not compare to the Glory that will be revealed to us when Christ returns. God is with you always, He is here with you and He is for you.

 

Don’t be discouraged by persecution but be encouraged by it. You are no longer of the world, you are only passing through.

No one knows the power of the current until he decides to stand against it. Stand firm.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” –Galatians 2:20

A work in progress.

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|BACKGROUND|

 

I would like to give you background information about a place called The Mission House. If I was to say that The Mission House is another AA rehab clinic, I would be lying. The Mission House is a bible based, six month, in house program, which deals with life dominating sins; anything from video game addiction, to adultery, to meth, and heroin. Most of these guys would be considered a lost cause to regular rehab clinics. I guess this is what they would call “a hard case”. The man that started the Mission House about five years ago is a man by the name of Lyle Skillman who used to be a hardcore drug addict for twenty years himself. After he went through a program similar to this one down in Georgia, he felt God laying it heavy on his heart to start one in Port Orchard, Washington. They started with a small house and then moved into a bigger one, and as of right now, they have two houses that are full and they have people from all kinds of places around the world going there. Lyle took on an intern who is an ex-graduate by the name of Kevin, who is now the director while Lyle oversees the ministry. Lyle Skillman mentored me for two years so I spent a lot of time at The Mission House attending morning devotions, teaching devotions, hanging out with the guys, being someone’s accountability or just dropping by to see what they are up too. On occasion a guy from the house will ask me if I could be his accountability and so we start meeting once a week and talk life, scripture, struggles, triumphs, and the Grace of God.

 |We are a work in progress |

 

I meet with a young man who is a couple years older than me every Wednesday from the Mission House and I will usually take him out to eat and get out of the house so that we can go do something fun. I really enjoy meeting with him because he is different from most of the guys that come through the program. Usually after meeting with someone for a couple of weeks I will give them some homework or think of a study we can do together because most of them do not know anything about Jesus coming into the program. So we were at Starbucks this last week and I usually start the conversation by saying something like, “How’s your week going?” and we’ll start talking… But this week was a little different.

He told me that he struggles with doubt, a lot.

I asked, “What exactly do you struggle with?”

He said, “My salvation, I don’t know if it’s genuine,”

I asked, “Have you prayed about it?” And his response answered his own question. He said: “I pray about it all the time. I want to do what’s right before God in my life, in my marriage, and at work. I want Him glorified in all aspects of my life”

So I asked him, “Why do you doubt your salvation then?”

He responded, “My brother is a heroin addict and he’s living with my parents at the moment. I’m graduating from the house in a month and to be honest with you, if I went over there to visit, there would be a huge chance of me doing heroin again. I am so weak, I cannot say no. If I was saved I wouldn’t have such a strong pull towards heroin. When I see myself in the future, I see myself as a heroin addict.”

I am going to stop the quotes because I cannot exactly remember what I said but it went something like this….

You have spent your entire life up until about six months ago walking the course of this world and feeding your flesh but now you are born again as a new creation in Christ and you are just now starting to crawl and already concerned about running….take a step back and just focus on learning how to stand and then it is one step at a time from there.

The Bible is full of facts; facts about Jesus and when your emotions get in the way, focus on the facts…

The moment someone is saved, the awkward dance of sanctification begins. Two steps forward…one step back…two steps forward…one step back, and so we dance….

This is were picking up your own cross DAILY and denying your fleshly impulses starts to kick in…

This is what I like to call the grind….

Let’s start with the fact that you are now struggling with wanting to honor God and not do heroin. That is a response and a conviction from the Holy Spirit. No man realizes how enslaved they are to their sin until they are rescued from it and actually start saying no to it.

The very fact that you are aware of your weakness is something to rejoice over. God has opened your eyes to your struggles, now give it over to Him in prayer and remember that where the ideal is lacking, grace will abound.

His power is perfected in your weakness.

My brother lives with my parents… Great! Now that you see your struggle, you have to put up guard rails in your life. The fear that you will fall back into heroin if you go over there is a healthy fear and most likely will happen if you do. Remember the young man who lacked sense in Proverbs 7 and was walked by the prostitutes house at twilight? He was looking for trouble, he knew she was there. Sometimes you will need to take the long way and walk around the block to get to where you need to go, but you will get there.

The whole point is not to get as close as possible to sin without sinning, but to avoid it altogether.

Tell your family that it is a red area in your life as long as your brother lives there and if they want to see you, all of you will have to meet on mutual grounds.

GET ACCOUNTABILITY in your life. Find someone your age AND someone older that has been walking with the Lord for sometime and get to know them well enough to where you can be vulnerable and open with them to which they can hold you accountable and honest with your struggle, as well as encourage and lift you up.

I’m so weak… me too. I struggle with things just like you do. So often we make everything about ourselves, I’m weak, I’m nothing, I’m a weakling. There is some humility in that, but most of the time it is just pride clothed in false humility. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU, so stop magnifying how weak you are and start magnifying how strong and great our redeemer is. God paid for your sin on the cross, your past, present, and future sin. The Holy Spirit will convict you of sin and it will not feel good, but the whole point is to repent and praise God. Thank Him for the gift he has given to us in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Magnify God; He is so much bigger than anything going on in your life.

If I was saved I wouldn’t feel such a strong pull to do drugs… who told you that? I have bad news for you; you will struggle with the desire for things from your past to some degree or another for the rest of your life. You will have seasons where you will be doing great and seasons where you are not doing great, but that does not mean you are not saved, it means that you’re not perfect.

In the future, I see myself as a heroin addict… Your future ends in everlasting communion with God for all eternity in His everlasting glory, not heroin. You are a new creation in Christ and Satan is just trying to plant seeds in your mind. In times of darkness, loneliness, depression, fear and anxiety, remember the Lord. This is where the rubber meets the road and everything you read NEEDS to be applied. It does not matter how much scripture you know, if you do not apply any of it, than all of that knowledge is useless. As a believer, you have to forget what lies behind and aggressively pursue what God has planned for you right now and the future. Focus on whatever is good, pure, holy, and above reproach. Always keep your mind on things above and let yourself be consumed with the things of eternity.

As for doubting, whether or not you are saved, if you are concerned with bringing glory to God in your life, you feel conviction in your life, you are consumed about doing what is right in the Lord’s eyes, and you are prayerfully seeking His will, I think it is safe to say you are saved…

Last but not least, stay in the word daily. Fill your head with the truths spoken to you so that there will not be any room for doubt, and meditate on those things throughout the day.

When your emotions rev up, trust in the facts.

 

“Be confident in this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” –Philippians 1:6

Embracing change & trusting God.

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This last year has been absolutely crazy. If I was to put it into one word, it would be change. I had my five year plan all figured out; graduate from college and then get married to Taylor around the age of twenty-three, maybe twenty-four, while pursuing youth and college age ministry. Instead, it went like this:

I got accepted into The Masters College

I got engaged

I moved out

I got married

I planned on heading down to California for Bible school

I started an internship here in Port Orchard at Christ The Rock Community Church

Now, I will start going to Liberty University in the fall.

It all started about a year ago when I got accepted into The Masters College which has always been a huge dream of mine to attend. The only issue with Masters is that it is all the way down in California and for a small town guy like me who does not know anyone beyond the borders of Oregon, (my brother lives there) that is a big move.

I proposed to my wife Taylor in March of 2014, and we initially wanted to wait until we were both close to being done with school before getting married, but obviously that was not the case. Once we got engaged, we started to talk about the reasons for why we wanted to wait and we really only came up with one reason; money. After asking and meeting with older couples, we decided that since we both had the same goal and vision for ministry, we both had and still do have a love for God, and with both our incomes, we could afford to get married that same year. I moved out of my house and into my mentor’s downstairs for three months before we got married so I could focus on preparing for marriage. It is definitely not easy going to college while working full time and being involved in the church, but we both love it and we make it work. In many ways it has brought us closer together and has required us to really be dependent on God.

Once we were married in August of 2014, we both spent a lot of time seeking counsel and spending time in prayer, as well as talking about what we would do and what life in California would look like. We were not on the same track at first. I did not know if it was my desire to go or God’s desire for me. So, I prayed that if it was from God, my wife would be on board and the final say would be hers on when we should go. About four months ago, she came up to me and told me that if I thought we should go to California, then she was 100% behind me; and so we started making plans on leaving to start school in the fall.

At the same time of all of this, I had been meeting with the children’s pastor from our church to do a study every Tuesday morning. About four months ago, he asked me how I felt about interning for the children’s ministry at Christ the Rock Community Church and I told him no at first, but he told me to pray about it. I thought he was crazy! Here I am planning on going to California, my wife is on board, and here is this curve ball out of nowhere. I spent the next two months praying with my wife for wisdom and closed doors. Sometimes things are not as clear as we want them to be, and even after seeking counsel, praying, and reading the Bible, we are still left with a decision to make and you have to man up and make it. You have to do your best and trust God with the rest. You have to ask yourself what your motives are. Who am I trying to please, me or God? Can I bring glory to God while doing this? Will it hinder me from running the race?

In the end, we decided to stay. We have such a big community here and to have the ability to intern at my home church while getting my undergrad in biblical studies and theology will be an amazing experience. The staff that is here at the Rock is amazing. These men and women have been walking with the Lord for so many years and although I feel like a pion among the men at this church, it is also very encouraging and such a humbling experience. None the less, I am very excited to come alongside the staff here and the volunteers to help, serve, encourage, and build up the body in any way that I can.

If you were to tell me I would be where I am right now a year ago, I would have thought you were crazy. As far as where, when, and how, I have no idea, but I am going to continue making prayerful decisions and plans towards the future. I have no idea what a year, month, week, day, or even an hour looks like from now, but what I do know is that God is in control. Walking by faith does not mean walking around in life with a blindfold over your eyes, but it means walking confidently towards the future having faith in the works of Christ, trusting the word that he has given us, and holding fast to the hope that we have in Him.

Do your best and trust God with the rest.

 

         “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9