It’s About Time

It’s been a while, I️ started out writing this blog about a year ago, and unintentionally took a break about 8 months ago. The words haven’t left me, the passions God had placed inside me haven’t changed, but getting words on a piece of paper seems impossible. Almost like I️ have forgotten how to share the thing stirring inside of my heart. Even today as I️ sit in a Starbucks trying to organize my thoughts, the idea of posting again terrifies me. What if the words that I️ was supposed to write no longer apply, what if the passions inside me are perceived in the wrong way. So much doubt plagues my inner thoughts, yet I️ know that this is something I️ am supposed to do.

As I️ have shared before I️ am currently walking in the role of Community Life Coordinator at Little Country Church in Redding California. This not so “little” church in the middle of Redding (not in the country) has been my home church for almost 9 years and I️ have had the opportunity to be on staff for almost 3 years now. I️ moved from youth ministry about 18 months ago, and have had the opportunity to develop a life group ministry, oversee our First Impression team and work on many of our Church Community Events. I️ am getting to walk in so many of my gifts, and learning of gifts I️ was not aware I️ had.

I have seen a church latch on to the idea that we are not meant to just sit in a chair, but be known by the body of believers around us. I️ have seen people who have sat next to strangers for 10 years realize that God had placed them next to each other with purpose. People from the masses realizing that God had called them to more, and equipped them for more.

I️ have realized in myself that in this role I️ had not expected I️ was too equipped for more. Over and over I️ have seen goals be surpassed, not because of what I️ did, but because God has a plan for my life in ministry and has chosen to use me. I️ have realized in my life that God has huuuge (say it in a Trump voice) plans for my life. Those times that I️ don’t know how to move forward, He is using to build me and mold me in to the minister of the gospel that He plans for me to be.

This journey has been difficult, which is partially why I️ haven’t written consistently in about 8 months. I️ have had difficulty being real because I️ am scared that people will think I️ was weak, or think that I️ am not appreciative of the opportunities in ministry that I️ have been given.

Luke 9:23

And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Daily I️ get to choose to follow Him. Daily I️ have to lay down my pride and choose to pursue Him in all that I️ do.

There are days that I️ fail miserably, most actually. Days that I️ am broken down and defeated, days that I️ get home wondering if this life of ministry is really worth it.

Then there are days when I️ am reminded of the why. I️ am shown the lives that have been transformed, the families who have been restored, and the individuals who were broken and alone and now are doing life with other believers, engulfed in community.

I️ choose to do this daily because despite my short comings, God still chooses me as His “plan A”. I️ write this because despite your short coming He still chooses YOU as His “plan A”.

On a regular basis I️ have people from the church criticize every detail of who I️ am, my looks, my weight, the changes I️ am a part of at LCC. I️ have been told I️ hate old people (which I️ promise I️ do not), I️ have had people tell me I️ don’t respect the Lord because of how I️ dress, I️ have been encouraged to lose weight, been told to gain weight, I️ have been told my beard looks horrible, I️ have been told I️ look better with facial hair (right after I️ shave). But I️ will choose to walk in this every day for the rest of my life if it means one more person can experience the love and comfort of Jesus Christ.

And to be honest, it doesn’t matter what they think, it doesn’t matter what they say, I️ am learning to be confident in the man God created me to be, and I️ think the man God created me to be looks good no matter what I️ am wearing! Cop glasses and all.

I️ am his “Plan A”. Each moment of this journey is preparing me to be used by Him the following day the day after that and so many days to come. I️ will choose daily to pick up my cross, to follow him even if I️ am broke and hungry. Whether it be in Redding, or be in a 3rd world country, I️ am willing and ready. Lord use me.

I️ won’t commit to writing on a weekly basis, but I️ do commit to writing down the things God is placing on my heart.

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Drawing a blank…

A7902E2C-731B-4520-8590-27348B742860Some days writing comes natural. I know what topic that I am supposed to write about, and words just spew onto the page.

Today is not one of those days.

I knew when waking up that God was giving me a word to speak, but that word has not come to mind. I have typed over and over again, erasing sentence and paragraphs, trying to figure out exactly how to share what God was placing on my heart.

It’s been about a month since I last posted, and over the past month there have been so many moments that I knew I should share. Times where God was speaking directly to me, moments where I knew the things He was sharing was not just for me, but maybe for someone who was reading this blog.

These things are not coming to mind. God is speaking to me, but as I try to share these words my fingers draw a blank.

Have you been in that spot, a spot where you know God is speaking to you, and you are just sitting there with elephant ears trying to hear that tiny whisper. Or maybe its the noise around you that you are trying to block out so you can hear his shout over the chaos.

It’s one thing knowing that God is talking to you, but an entirely different thing to actually hear His voice. What is He saying to you, what is He impressing on your heart. Are you listening, I mean really listening.  Not listening like a 2 year old listens, shaking their head in agreement without understanding the language, but actively trying to hear His voice.

Over this past month or so of my life, I have found  myself getting busy. I have events to plan, people to meet with, project to complete, and in the midst of it trying to complete Stranger Things Season 2 before someone spoils the ending. In the midst of the Chaos I sometimes find myself as the 2 year old as I sit with the Lord, listening, but not comprehending. I get distracted, running from one thing to another, allowing God to spend time with me, but not spending time with Him. Even ministry can become a distraction.

I am reminded that I must take that time to listen. Even as I write this I am being reminded that the reason I write these posts is not to share what I want, but to share what God is trying to get across to me.

Sometimes, I draw a blank. Sometimes, I am realizing, I come to a place of silence so that I can direct my ears toward the small whisper showing me that I am His, that He has everything in His control, and I just need to listen walking in obedience to Him.

How do we listen:

  1. We must be in conversation with Him!
  2. We need to not only pray, but spend time in the word, HIS WORD!
  3. We must set time aside where HE is the focus.
    1. Are you just allowing Him to be a small part of your life, or are you giving Him your life.

God, may we be a people who seek out your voice. May we listen to You, spending time with You in Your Word, spending time listening to Your Voice. God may we be willing to readjust our perspective when we feel like you are not there, may we direct our attention toward your small whisper. Amen

 

The King on High

“Today is the day the Lord has made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

As the sun rises in the morning, as we wake up in every season of life, we have two choices. Today can be one more day we barely survive, one that we get lost in the waves, a day that will consume us.

Or today could be a day that you choose joy, a day that you see God moving mountains, one that you see that even in the midst of the storm, if we keep our eyes on Christ, we too can walk on water.

Last week I had an opportunity to share with Country Christian School’s middle school students. The theme I was given was “The Man Behind the Curtain,” looking at Daniel 2:21 “He determines the course of world events; He removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”

During today’s current cultural climate we are surrounded by waves ready to knock us on our butt’s. We try to walk eyes focused on Christ but instead are consumed by waves that the enemy uses to drown us in the same places the Lord has prepared for us to fly.

As I began to study for this message a had a few thoughts come to mind. First, the journey that Dorothy took to find the Wizard isn’t he Emerald City, was anything but smooth. It was filled with distractions, flying monkeys, and a very wicked green witch.

Along the way there were many moments that she should have stepped aside, taken off those shoes, and just cried on the side of the yellow brick road. Never actually meeting the man behind the curtain.

The Lord began to remind me of different Bible characters who went on their own “Yellow Brick Road” experience. I was reminded of a young man who was called to defeat a Giant on a battlefield of his superiors. A young man who was just bringing lunch to his brothers, a young man that would one day become king.

David was a man after God’s own heart, but his journey was not over night. The world around him wanted him to fail. His own father-in-law set out to kill him, hunting him, chasing him for almost 15 years. There were many times that David could have quit, he could have gone back to the hills where his sheep sleep at night and he could have let the waves of distraction sink him before he even stepped forward into God’s calling. He could have left that battlefield, but instead he sought the heart of the Lord and was obedient.

We look at the story of Joseph, the story of his beautiful coat, and the story of how his brothers sold him into slavery. Joseph had every right to be bitter, he lived in shackles, was falsely accused of horrendous things, and yet at the end of the story, at the end of his “Yellow Brick Road” instead of acting out his anger or bitterness he blessed his brothers. There were many times Joseph could have quit, there were many times he could sat in his own pity. But instead he continued to focus on who God is, and he knew that God is good.

What are your waves, what are your prisons, what things are keeping your eyes off of God?

Matthew 14:28
But Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said, “Come” and when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Each of us our on our own “Yellow Brick Road” experience. We are all given opportunities to step out of the boat. We are surrounded by waves and flying monkeys, we have our own Potiphar’s wives to deal with. The world is surrounding us. When this happens are we going to walk forward, or are we going to sink in the waters, are we even going to step out of the boat?

I look at all the moments in the Wizard of Oz that Dorothy and her little dog too could have quit on the trail. Moments where life was too difficult, she didn’t like what she saw, and was over whelmed with all life threw at her. David had many moments that he could have quit, just given up on life, allowing the enemy to have early victory in the land of Israel. Joseph could have died in that well, or given into temptation, and peter could have stayed on the boat.

“Today is the day the Lord has made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

We don’t know the end results. We often walk up to mountains and wonder how we are going to get over them, only to realize God not only can get us over them, but He will move the mountain as if it were never in front of us.

We must keep our eyes on Him and know that even when the journey seems without hope, He has a plan so much bigger than we can imagine, and He is using these things in our lives to show us who He made us to be.

We can walk on water, we just need to keep our eyes on him.

Daniel 2:21 is a reminder to us that even when things don’t make sense we are not the ones in control. God has a plan, and even when it doesn’t make sense, or you are frustrated with someone in leadership. God is the one that placed them there, and He will be the one who makes sense of it all.

The Small Whisper 

Victorious. 
It’s no secret that stepping into ministry has been one of the most difficult seasons of my life. I haven’t hidden the fact that there have been moments where I felt without hope, wondering if I had made the right decision to step out of the secular work force and move into full time vocational ministry. 
These past two and a half years have been highlighted with countless opportunities to walk away, to let go, and pretend my call to ministry was never heard. What would my life look like if I had taken one of those moments, would I be married with kids, would I have a house, a job that paid enough to start making a dent in my student loans, would I be enjoying the little things, would I be happy? 
These questions bring thoughts of an unknown, a world where I can walk confidently knowing that I was enough, walking in a world where I was responsible for the outcome. This thought is so tempting, but I know that a world where I am responsible for the outcome is not a world that I want to live in. 
God has been reminding me of HIS simple whisper. HE is reminding me of those moments in these past couple years where HE reminded me that I am HIS. HE has a plan, HE has a life for me. He is reminding me that in the moments where I feel like I am doing this on my own, HE is not only walking with me, but HE is walking steps ahead of me, making a way for me. 
Two weeks ago I was realizing that I was in need of a new bed. The idea for me to spend money on anything big at this moment is over whelming, but it was something that was needed. I spent time trying to figure it out, I looked at my budget, figured out how I could get by on only ramen for a few months, and nothing seemed to work out. I thought about every thing that I could do to make this happen. 
A few days into this I woke up with a reminder that one of my usher’s owns a mattress and bed store. I felt a whisper tell me that I am supposed to drive myself to the mattress store the following morning and talk to the owner and see what options he had available. He shared an amazing opportunity for me to buy one of the floor models, it would be reasonable and I would even be able to make payments without any interest. I felt like this was the golden option, the one that I was praying for. 
I took some time to pray and ask the Lord if this is what I was supposed to move forward on. The next part was frustrating. As I sat with the Lord I remembered that He asked me to go to the mattress store, but HE never told me to buy anything. I know what you are thinking. 
Adam you are crazy, God provided that for you, but seriously, God is so much bigger, so much better than we could ever imagine. God asked me to once again wait. I have waited so much this year so you would think that waiting is easy for me, it’s not. So I sat on that bed, the one that was such a good deal and I fought the Lord, thinking that what HE was saying to me was a mistake, and then I left. 
The following day I went to church and was sharing with one of our campus pastors what had happened. The journey God was taking me on, and how HE was teaching me to wait on HIM. That pastor then let me know that someone in the Church was giving away a bed and bed frame. The bed had been in their spare room and needed a new home. Not only that, but they would give me the bed frame which was hand crafted by their father over 40 years ago, and it included sheets, blankets, anything that I would ever need at no cost to me. 
I thought that I had seen God provide in an amazing way at the mattress store, and then He asked me to wait just a little bit longer and He was going to show me that once again, HE is so much greater than I had imagined. 
I can look at the opportunities that the world would tell me it’s time to move on, but as I look back at each of these moments I know that God was telling me to wait on HIM. HE was reminding me that HE is in control and that HE has my back, my front, and is always leading the charge. 
Sometimes victories come in tangible things such as a bed, but often the victories are never seen. The battles taking place in front of our path, the ones that are making way for God to do amazing things in our lives. 
Ministry is hard, and the enemy does not want victories to be had. He doesn’t even want us to know there is a battle, but when we listen to the small whisper, we realize that victory is ours through Jesus Christ. 
God providing a bed may not seem like a huge victory, but what an incredible reminder that we get to serve a God that meets even our most basic needs. 

“Oh what a beautiful Morning”

IMG_1531I hear that accidents happen in 3’s. I don’t know if this is a proven fact, but I have found myself very fortunate to only be rear ended 2 times in the past couple of months.

Today started like any other day. I woke up, ate a waffle (it was an eggo, sorry, I am not fancy) and drank some coffee all before jumping in the shower and getting ready for work.

The day was beautiful, the sky was blue, the grass was and still is green. I saw today as a day of production, a day where I would dream, a day where I would see God move in amazing ways. I still see that this is something that God is going to do today. He is still going to use me, the day is still beautiful, my dreams are still alive, and HE always works and moves in amazing ways.

Back to my morning. as I walked out the door with a skip in my step, I walked toward my old but energetic car named “Carole” she is a white Toyota Corolla, and even through the slew of accidents I have been in these past couple of months (again, both accidents I was stopped at a red-light and were not my fault and were unpreventable) she has stayed pure and without blemish.

This was a  great day, a beautiful day. As I opened the door, I realized that things seemed to be out of place, a note pad and pair of shoes on my drivers seat, a bag that was once filled with items that would be donated to Goodwill emptied on my passenger floor. As I continued to look around I noticed change drawers pulled from their holsters, and a pile of gift cards missing from their usual location in the middle consul.

Today my cluster of 3 was completed, Carole lost her innocence, and I realized that no matter how much control I think I have in my life, we are all in this journey together.

It could be easy for me to be angry about this, or want to chase whoever did this down the streets of Redding. I would be justified in holding a grudge, or keeping this from allowing me to move forward.

This life is not my own, and when dealing with frustrating moments, I must again remember that I am not in control. I don’t know what this person was going through, or what struggles they have faced. Likely there was a need that was not being met, and even though it is frustrating to have things taken from me, I know that God can and will use all things for good.

I can sit here worrying and wondering how God will come through, or I can look back and see that God is good and HE always comes through. I can sit and dwell in the negative, or I can look in anticipation of what God is going to do through this situation.

When Jesus walked on water, and Peter ran out to Him, it wasn’t until Peter took his eyes off of Jesus that He began to sink. When life happens, are we going to keep our eyes on the KING, or are we going to be distracted by what happens in our life, pulling us away from Jesus, pulling us into the depths of the sea.

I am not writing this post to look for pity, but instead writing this post because I know that God is good, and that in moving forward I want to keep my eyes on the creator.

As the great Peter Panning (From Hook, not The Bible) once said. “To live will be an awfully great adventure.”

God bless you all!

Blame the muscle relaxer :) 

Updates on my life: 
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, and to be completely honest, I don’t really have a great excuse for that. 
God has been showing me so much these past few weeks, and I haven’t really known where to start writing. I am going to focus on two things in this post. 1st I want to update those not living day to day life with me on what is going on. 2nd I want to share what God is teaching me right now, and how he is working on me in the little things. 


First things first. Life update. 
This past month has been insane. Insane in that I feel like God is doing more in me and through me than I could have expected. This past month has also been crazy that I have been rear ended twice in a 5 day period, both in different cars, and am just trying to make it through this thing called life. 
I am going to blame any inconsistencies in my writing on the muscle relaxers that are helping me get through the pain that is currently residing in my lower back, even though I am trying my hardest to take them as little as possible. 
Following up a week of being rear ended twice, both while stopped at red lights, I was also brought to a place of humility as my two remaining pairs of jeans ripped one day after another. 
I realize that ripped jeans aren’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but when you are on a ministry budget, trying to pay off student loans, all while trying to eat healthier than top ramen for most meals, it is not going to go down as a highlight of this past month. 
I always remember looking at adults as having it all together, and now as an almost 29 year old, I am wondering when that happens. Praise the Lord for Old Navy and their amazing clearance sales they were having as I ran to the mall 15 minutes before my ministry team showed up last Wednesday night. (Hallelujah) 
As life has tossed me lemons, and more lemons, I have wondered when I was going to get some lemonade. 
Second: What God is showing me. 
God is showing me that HE is faithful. Sure my back is in pain, and I had to buy some clothes that were not in my budget at all, I am seeing how God is showing me to be more dependent on HIM. 
It’s a crazy thought, because God has been showing me that for 2 years now, and I keep thinking there is nothing else I can give up, but He is showing me there is so much more that I am trying to hold on to. 
God is showing me that even the little things I am trying to hold on to are not my own. He is showing me that my finances are not my own, which includes my debt. 
Student loans have overwhelmed me for the past 4 years, always wondering how I will ever get them paid off. I spent a day last month with God talking to Him about my finances and giving Him all that I make, that my finances will be used for His kingdom, and that I will seek Him in what I do with it. As I spent this day with Him, i began that these past 4 years of worry, which to be honest, is still there a bit, working on giving the worry up, is honestly done in waste. 
God used Simpson to bring me to Redding, which means, He used those loans to get me to Redding. I am in no way advocating large amounts of debt, and I am in no way encouraging anyone to take out large amounts of debt, but I know that God used this to get me to a place of dependence on HIM and He is in control of these loans. 
It stresses me out knowing that I have to pay half of what I make each month to loan companies, but I also know that in my 29ish years of living, He has taken care of me each and every day. 
God is showing me that I need to ask HIM for my wants and needs, that I need to converse with Him daily about my struggles, that this pain I am walking through, it’s nothing to HIM and that even this He has control over. He is showing me that He is my GOD, and that HE is so much greater that I can ever Imagine. 
I am a work in progress, and this post, is messy with bad grammar and punctuation, but I feel like that represents my life right now, not a lot of punctuation, some interesting grammar, and a dependence on GOD to get me through the day. 

I realize this post is not supper happy or encouraging, but I want to be real, God has given me a passion to share my heart, and I am realizing that includes the mess. I am just so thankful that I have HIM walking in front of me, with HIS hand holding my hand letting me know its all going to be okay. 

Week ? Of 52: The Good Old Days

img_0004-1“I Wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.”

-Andy (The Office)

Over the past two weeks God has shown me so much about who I am, the community He has placed me in, and how each moment over the past 28 years of my life have built up to where I am today. I have spent time with family, I have seen friends I haven’t seen in years, and I have been surrounded by amazing people I get to do life with every day. In these weeks I have begun teaching a class focused on community, and have spent time dreaming up the possibilities of writing a book focused on community in the church.Through it all, I have realized more than ever that I am exactly where God wants me, and His plan is very much alive in my life.

I began this post with a quote that so many of us can relate to. We look back at the times when “life was good” often realizing that years from this moment we may look back and think, “dang, life was good.”

There are many moments that stand out to me in my life. I can look back at moments with my family up in Oregon, Christmas’ with Grandma and Grandpa as we decorated the house and made sugar cookies. Fast forward a couple years, and I can remember making it to state in swimming as a freshman in High School, or getting the lead in the school musical as a Sophomore.

These moments were great, amazing, and they lead me to opportunities to find out more about who God create me to be. Later I was introduced to a group of people in college that became family, these could easily be referred to as the “good ole’ days”. Trips to the bay with Matt and Garrett, or late night mischief with Guz, and Jordan, Carl’s Jr. Runs with Ian and Kyle, or just long talks with my RA team about what God is doing in our lives. How could this not be the best it’s ever going to be.

But as I spent this weekend with family, and some of those friends that became family, I was brought to a moment with the Lord where He reminded me of the promises that He has for me. I began to look around, and though each moment is met with fondness, I am thankful that it only gets better from here.

Though many of us can relate to Andy, I would like to take a moment and remind us that when we are walking with God we can know that His promises reign true. We can walk in confidence that even in times of struggle, even in times of tribulation, we will look back with fondness of how God has worked in each of our lives.

Reflecting on those memories is not wrong, but when we dwell in those moments as “the good ole days” we miss out on the moments God has for us today.

I am so thankful for weeks where I am surrounded by people who I truly love and know love me, but if we were still in those moments of long ago, I wouldn’t be blessed with 5 Nieces and 2 Nephews. I wouldn’t get to see friends live out life long dreams and pursue vocational ministry. If we were still in the “Good Ole Days” I wouldn’t get to pursue creating community at Little Country Church, and God wouldn’t be placing writing a book on my heart. If we were still in the “Good ole days,” Jud and Scoot would still be running around as dinosaurs not realizing their amazing wives were just a building away.
So no matter what you are walking through, what ever struggles are knocking at your door. Remember, there will be a day when this was “the good old days,” and God will use this moment too to draw you closer to Him, and this moment will be a moment you can look back on knowing that He is preparing you for something great.