Confessions and Places of Spiritual Growth

Today I got to sit and talk with a pastor for a good hour and a half. In this talk there were several themes that consistently came up that have been consistent with what I have learned over field work.

  1. Do not put God in a box.
  2. Listen for God’s voice
  3. Take Him seriously.
  4. Be in constant communication with Him
  5. Look for Him in daily life

Looking at these themes, I have to say that I have been doing a fairly poor job at these. I have put God in a box by saying that God does not do the things that He has done in the past because I have not experienced it. I have not been listening for my shepherds voice. I have only taken God seriously at certain times and other times I have blown Him off. I have not spent enough time with Him in prayer. And I have hardly ever looked for His work in my life and in the lives of others daily. These have all been areas of constant themes that I have found throughout my experiences at field work, and these are all areas where I feel as though I have grown some, but more growth I feel is coming.

Since last fall I have asked for God’s forgiveness and guidance to grow in Him. Surely enough He has answered my prayers. Before I was comfortable working in my power, on my own reason and strength to make the Gospel known. This is so easy for me to do in academia where we try to make God’s power into a science and try to comprehend Him. What I have noticed as change in my life is that I have gotten a little more relaxed in not worrying how to share the Gospel and teach it.

Very recently I have been more intentional in trying to quiet myself and listen for God’s voice. To pay attention to what He desires. To let him lead me to do His work. Along with this comes the practice of obedience. And from all of this comes the practice of taking God seriously. It is something that I have been working on and have since improved, but it is something will always require intentional focus due to my sinful nature.

Since last fall I have found myself more intentional about prayer and the power of it. Luke 11 is now one of my favorite chapters in the entire New Testament. Prayer is something that is truly a gift from God and if you have not taken full advantage of it I encourage you to pray to God because He does answer your prayers. Just as a small example of God answering prayer, I experienced something last summer while I was working at Camp Omega. I used my cell phone as my alarm clock everyday at camp. However, there were a couple of times where my cell phone was going to die and I did not have a charger or a place to charge my phone so that the alarm could be used. Instead, I prayed for God to wake me up at the appropriate time. The first time I prayed this prayer, I instantly woke up precisely at the time that I would normally set my alarm. Then something even more miraculous happened in the second to last week of camp when I was a counselor in the tepees. For two straight days my phone was dead and I was terribly concerned about oversleeping. On both of those days and nights I prayed. On both mornings, there was the most annoying crow that crowed at precisely the time I was supposed and meaning to wake up. Needless to say, the crow woke me up on both days and on those days I was more energetic on those days than ever before. It is truly something only God could do!

The last thing that I have grown in is looking for God in my daily life. Needless to say I still go days where I do not look for His work in my life and others around me, but that does not mean that He is not working. However, today more than ever, I am more intentional to look for God in daily life. I am looking forward to what great things He is planning to do in others around me and in my life as well. All glory and honor are His, now and forever!

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

“Where is your faith?”

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.

The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”

The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

When the disciples woke Jesus up they were certain that they were going to drown. In fact it was not until the boat started filling with water did they even think about waking Jesus up. When they woke Him up they were afraid and certain of the fact that they were going to die. Today, I look at this text and I think why? Why were they certain that they were going to drown? Afterall they are with Jesus. There is nothing better then being with Jesus. I think that and I ask myself why were the disciples so stupid? It is funny to think that I ask the same question that Jesus asks His disciples, but he phrased it differently. Where is your faith? Why do you not think that I am not in control of this world? Why do you not put your trust, your confidence, in me to get you through the storm?

The thing is that the disciples did not rreally know who Jesus was.

“Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

They did not know that they were with the Messiah! They did not know that they were with God himself. Even after all the miracles that they had witnessed, they still did not know who Jesus truly was. Therefore Jesus asked them, “Where is your faith?

It almost seems as if Jesus is asking that question to us today. “Where is your faith?” So often we are faced with storms in this life. Just like the disciples I tend to try to handle my sinking ship on my own power and strength. It is not until I come to the point of realizing that I am going to drown that I turn to Jesus and ask Him to protect me from the rough time in my life. The awesome thing is that he always comes through, even in ways I do not quite expect. It is at that point that I get to experience His peace. Then I am humbled and come to Him begging for forgiveness for not trusting Him and putting Him fist in my life. And as He promises, He forgives me.

“Where is your faith?” My trust rest in Jesus. The one who controls the winds and the seas and all of creation. The one who died for my sin. The One who rose for my sin. The One who has claimed me as His and the One who guides me throughout my life every step of the way.

Recent Adventures II

Well I have not posted anything in a while and I thought it is time to get back to it. Recently, it feels like a lot is happening, but in reality there isn’t much that is new. As time passes as I am anticipating my month-long adventure to WA I have been slowly preparing myself for leaving St. Paul. Last weekend I took one last trip down to Camp Omega where God has blessed me with many friends and memories. The camp was having an open house for people to enjoy the outdoors and some of the camp activities in general such as archery, canoeing, the pool, a slip n slide, wagon rides, and pontoon rides. It was definitely a pleasant way to enjoy a Saturday.

Once all those activities were done, the camp director allowed me to use some tools in their shop to fix my car. Over Spring break, I had accidentally knocked by right side rear view mirror off while trying to avoid knocking off my left side rear view mirror. Ever since then, my mirror has been held up by duck tape and it prevented the door from opening otherwise the mirror would fall out-of-place and hang by the wires again. Needless to say it was nice to put the new mirror on so that I do not have to worry about it over the summer.

Finally to conclude my time at Omega a few friends who were visiting and I stayed for campfire. It was sad to know that it was going to be my last campfire for the summer, but awesome to be in God’s creation with friends worshiping our Creator. At the conclusion of the campfire it was time to say good-byes. I HATE GOOD-BYES! Most of those people who I said good-bye to I will not see for a good year. Others I will see in a couple of months and still others I will not see until after the first of the new year! definitely will miss them all! Good thing there is always letters, text messaging, and social media to be in touch.

This last Tuesday I picked up a new book and a new interest. I decided that I will teach myself some Biblical Greek! We will see how long this motivation to learn Greek will last, but right now I am currently rolling along absorbing the information faster than a Sham-Wow picks up water. Hopefully, I do not overload my brain with too much information and forget it all over the month that I am in WA. However, learning Greek will be one of my hobbies as I go to internship in August.

Speaking of internship, this summer just got even more exciting! After spending a month back home in California in July, I will be taking a trip down to Disneyland, stopping at a family members house to visit, and making a stop in Vegas! I am really looking forward to this! I have not been to Disneyland in YEARS! Truly is one of the happiest places on earth! The family that I will be visiting are my moms cousins. I believe I met them once before, but it was quite some time ago. It will truly be a blessing to see them again! As for Vegas, I am slightly excited about because I am old enough now to actually enjoy the area. Last time I was there, I was around 10 years old and there is normally nothing for 10 year olds to do in Vegas. However, it is always cool to see the lights.

I think this catches everyone up on things in my life. 6 Days!

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 NLT