General, The Walk

Love this guy, relentless pursuit of authenticity. This particular post really resonated with me as I have been really thinking about my speech, and the weight it carries.

Whether it is a dude who makes fat “jokes” or freely using the comeback “Your mom!” around someone who’s mother has died, we need to be less ignorant, more aware, and probably ten-times more sensitive to those around us than we typically are.

Read the whole post here… Think Before You Speak….

General, Seminary

Checking In

It has been a crazy few months. I am 2/3 of the way through my first semester at Phoenix Seminary. I have already had to process more information than I thought I would take in over my entire time in seminary. I am already examining my theology in some very very significant ways. In this process Tara and I after much prayer and struggling decided God was moving us away from our church and to find a new church home. So about 6 weeks ago I said goodbye to our junior high students, who made me cry as they prayed for me and Tara. So combined with visiting churches, reading, studying, writing, and wrestling with changes in my theology, my blog has been quite lonely. So I thought I would check in.

What have you been up to dear reader?

The Walk

Keep on grinding

Luke 10:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”

One of the great misconceptions of people who come to Christ is the idea that all of a sudden life’s wrinkles and bumps just go away. Jesus right here says that living a life following Him requires effort. Following Jesus requires a daily decision to put others before yourself, and to put God’s direction and laws ahead of your depraved, sinful desires.

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The Walk

Building Perserverence – My Prayer Project

James 1:2-5 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

It’s hard to consider it joy when I face trials. I tend to think when I face trials, or God telling me to wait, that it is due to something I need to learn, or a sin in my life that God is not willing to let me move forward with. Like I am being punished for something. In my head I know that is not the case, that if it was God would reveal to me what he wants to see change in my life, but nonetheless, I feel like the reason I am not moving forward is because of me.

I am sure that is not the case, because it seems I keep ending up at this part of scripture. I am supposed to consider it joy, because I know I am developing perseverance to continue in what God has planned for me.

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Seminary, The Walk

So that just happened.

Change was in the air indeed. Holy crap has my life changed since October 29, when I wrote my last post. I wrote that post half feeling like God was getting ready to change things, and half hoping things would change, because I was drowning in life at that point. Well…here’s what I got.

When I wrote that post, I had sent off a resume to a church in the Valley applying for an open youth pastor position. I had talked with the pastor and it seemed like a perfect fit, except for the fact that there was another couple coming in town to meet with the pastor and staff, and the pastor wanted to follow through with that before talking to me further. So as I wrote, I was praying that that guy was not the fit. I knew God was saying change was coming, this had to be it right?

No. November 11 I found out they had decided to bring the other couple on as their youth pastors. Bummer.

November 13 I found out my pay was being reduced at church. Bummer.

Now I faced a problem, I could not keep working the same hours, getting paid less, and make the bills. I prayed to God to either give me wisdom or change my situation, and that I was giving our financial situation to Him, then proceeded to melt down for 3/4 of a church service, crying and praying out all my frustrations and confusion. I told God I didn’t think I could do a good job at church doing something that I did not love.

The next day I was told November 30th would be my last day on staff at church.

My response surprised both my pastor and me, at the end of being told why (which was nothing negative, it was just clear I was not the right fit for the position) I just said, “Ok, Sweet”

And I meant it, completely. I was free to work one job, serve the youth ministry fully, and spend more time with my wife. I just was concerned about which direction to go as far as pursuing ministry, and was a little concerned about if I really was hearing God about being in ministry.

Then last Friday the admissions director from Phoenix Seminary called me and requested a meeting with the dean of students and myself. Cue the stomach turning and stress.

Today I had my meeting. Where I found out that I have been accepted to pursue an M.Div with an emphasis on Biblical Communication. They said their only concern was how busy I was working two jobs. I explained how that was not an issue anymore.

HIS timing is perfect. HIS will is perfect. HIS plan is perfect. Me and my plans are not.

So no, I am not a youth pastor right now, instead God has placed me in a community of wise counsel and like-minded people where I can grow, learn, and prepare for what God has for me.

Change has happened, and I am diving right in.

The Walk

In the weeds

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For anyone who has worked in a restaurant, the term “In the weeds” is familiar, it is a phrase describing someone who is struggling and overwhelmed by their tables or guest requests. Tonight I was reading in Luke 8:14-15

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

I realize I get in the weeds a lot.

I overcommit myself. I see the problems, not the opportunities. I get choked out.

I know how to get out of the weeds at work. There are two options: 1. dig in, and work as fast as you can, knowing you are losing out on money as your tip average free falls 2. Ask for help and get caught up quickly without suffering much loss. The first option is prideful and foolish, the second requires humility to admit you can’t do it all.

I am no good at getting out of the weeds of life though. When life/work/responsibility overwhelms me, I pridefully try to fix it myself rather than ask for help. I persevere, but I do it alone. I think asking for help shows weakness and foolishness. Asking for help does show weakness, and a humility that you acknowledge your shortcomings.

Jesus explains that the seed that produces is a seed that heeds advice, gets help in life, and perseveres with the help of Jesus, and good council.

God help me to seek Your council, and the council of the wise people in my life so that my life is a life that produces a lasting effect, not a flash in the pan, only to be choked out by the worries of this short life.