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Saturday, November 03, 2018

Still Speaking

I know I haven't posted in awhile. It isn't because God has been silent. It isn't because my life is uneventful. Quite the opposite. However, my walk has become more inward and hidden. I don't feel any urgent need to express everything that enlivens my soul. Instead I welcome God's movements with a gentle acceptance. He is glorious to me. He satisfies me. He renders me happily silent.
I however will speak about one spiritual groaning, which appears to be increasing. I want unity in the church. I want a safe community. I want to chase God together. I want to avoid toxic people who claim to be righteous, but with their actions and words prove to be agents of sorrow and death.  I am embracing a new community that shows unconditional love and consistent humility. I am walking away from pain and heaviness to embrace joy and acceptance.
I found a community! God gave me a place to belong. I wish I could make you all know how joyful I have become. I wish I could let you know that shame has no hold on me! I wish you could see how far God has brought me. I wish I could make you all know Him. The lover of my soul. The constant companion! Redeemer of all things lost. Church chase Him together. He is holy and worthy of praise. The One found worthy! Seek redemption and unity. He will give you the desires of your hearts!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Love on Fire

I have never visited Bethel Church in Redding, California. It doesn't matter. They are still family. That community is on my heart. For anyone who doesn't know, Redding is battling aggressive wildfires. I am thankful for social media. I can go to the church's website and discover how they are processing this event. I appreciate that their lead pastor, Bill Johnson, is approaching the event with a desire for restoration. They are calling on Christians to serve and restore those who have lost homes and property. This is encouraging. The concept of giving beauty for ashes is their dominate vision.

These wildfires are occurring as Jeremy Riddle's song, "Love on Fire" is hitting the airways. I reflect on the passion of this song and feel a slight unsettling. Considering this song is no easy task as I observe the destructive nature of fire. I have encountered the power of Christ. When I consider the power of nature, I must remind myself that God is the one who controls these events. What is God saying? Why is this event happening now? How must our nation respond?I How must the church respond? I hope Bill Johnson's desire for restoration becomes evident to our secular society. I pray Bethel Church's response to the event draws more to Christ. I hope the surrounding community discovers the beauty of Bethel Church and this ushers in a great revival.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Most Joyful Post Ever

This will probably be my most joyful blog post ever. I am truly grateful for the holy community that surrounds and undergirds me. This community’s extravagant love exceeds all my expectations. Due to this consistent love and support, I am only a month from graduation. I will humbly grasp that diploma, knowing I share this victory with others. I couldn’t have accomplished this achievement without Taylor University’s forbearance. They made concessions for my chronic health issues and relentlessly nurtured my talent.

As an example of this elaborate love, I wish to share a testimony. I have been driving the same car for too long. It was reaching its last leg. This was a concern because I knew I would need a reliable car to secure a decent job after graduation. My old car had several idiosyncrasies, which added unneeded stress to my life. The windshield wipers were bent, the windshield was cracked, and the car-locks randomly malfunctioned. I had to use my high beams at night because the low beams didn’t provide enough light. The problem list is longer, but I won’t bother you with the gory details.

I made the decision to take the car into the shop to check a problem, only to discover that the brakes were in terrible condition. Apparently, I was leaking break fluid and didn’t even know it. The cost to repair everything exceeded $1,000. I knew this day would eventually come: the car repairs exceeded the worth of the car. I would be forced to sell my car for parts. The estimation for those parts was a measly $250. Not very impressive numbers for a poor college student who needs a reliable car. I made the decision to sell the car for parts, but then I got an unexpected phone call from the car shop. A man backed his car into my driver’s side door, totaling my vehicle. The insurance paid me $977 for the damages. If that wasn’t enough, the Manning family and Daphna Tobey graciously gave me additional cash for the car as a graduation present. I didn’t even have to go through the laborious task of finding a suitable car. Since I know little to nothing about cars, the Manning family went car shopping for me! I am currently driving a beautifully crafted ride. Now I feel far more able to chauffeur my friends and drive the highways.

While my old car was depreciating, I kept reminding myself to surrender my cares to the Lord. He has proven to be a provider time and again. The Manning family and Daphna own a generous spirit that testifies to the goodness of God. I am thankful for their support and overwhelmed by their consistent love and empowerment. I am thankful to have a car, but I am even more thankful that I have spent these precious years with them. I also want to thank Bill Heth for letting me borrow his car while I transferred from one car to the other. Without that gift, I wouldn’t have completed my practicum hours. I am ready for the next journey. Keep me in your prayers as I transition to the next phase of my life. Please pray for the Bill Heth, the Manning family, and Daphna as well. I want God to heap some major blessings upon them in the coming years.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Every Knee

I was trying to do some research for a college project. I got distracted by social media. There is a growing heat in media circles. Polarization and hatred dominates the conversation. War and terror is on the rise. I found this picture, and it settled my heart. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sick Disunity

1 Corinthians 11: 27-34
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world. 33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home,so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

This scripture feels exceptionally relevant to me this week. Disunity is the plague of the masses. When the body of Christ lacks discernment, people become sick. Faith or lack of faith has implications beyond individuals. When one man sins, the entire body suffers. Taylor University is battling a strong spirit of division. It reminds me of my last few weeks at the University of Evansville. UE held a unity service, but it failed to address the strong divisions on campus. Whenever, disunity finds its way into the body of Christ, people suffer physically and emotionally. I want better things for my friends, family, and churches. I believe some of my illness is directly correlated to disunity.

As a body, let's commit to honoring others higher than ourselves. Let's love each other beyond our fleeting opinions. Let's exult Christ, trusting Him as the Head. If everyone around you is suffering, overwhelmed, or broken...perhaps there is a demonic power who seeks to divide us. Don't give it permission. After the Lord's discipline, we will not be condemned. We will be saved and glorified and unified.