Week 13/14 of 52: A Tribute to Graduates

This post is all about the graduates in our lives. I had an opportunity to speak this week at an 8th grade graduation. That combined with Swan Wedding 2017, I have been crazy busy this past week. So here is a post to make up for the last two missed posts.

This is the speech I was able to give to the 8th grade class at Country Christian School last night. I hope you enjoy.

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken

 

Congratulations 8th Grade Class at Country Christian School.

I am so excited to be a part of your day, sharing what God has placed on my heart.

I want to take a look at the poem I just read. In this poem, written by Robert Frost we see a man coming to a fork in the road. At this junction, the man must make a choice, this choice is between a road that many have taken, one that is easy, one that will rarely be lonely. This road is wide, this road is even, and the scenes are what we can expect. This is the road we are told by society to take.

The other path is a path that is narrow, a path that is overgrown with branches and shrubs. This path is not taken often, the end result is unknown, and there will be times that you may want to turn back dueto the tough turain. This path is a mystery, a path that the world tells us not to take. This path can often be lonely, this path may lead you wondering why you took the path in the first place. Each step forward is a step into an unknown place. But when you walk fervently forward, you will get to see what few see, you will grow, you will be stretched, and in the end you will see how God blesses those taking that path less traveled.

As you look around this room you are surrounded by those that love and support you, you see your friends and family who have all had to make that same choice. Will I choose the road with a destination I can see, or will I choose that path that is less taken, will I trudge through the wilderness, seeking the life that God has called me to.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 says

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

As students at Country Christian School you have had an amazing opportunity to build your educational foundation in the truths found in scripture. Each class showing how Christ works in all and through all. This foundation is a launching point into your future. A catalyst into this journey we call life. Each of you responsible for the decision you make and the consequences that come with those decisions. Each of you being grounded in the truth of the gospel has prepared you for this fork in the road.

Like in a race, we must prepare ourselves for this journey.IMG_1308

What happens when the path we take gets too hard, what happens, when we are left alone standing firm in our convictions when those around us seem to be drifting away. The road I challenge you to take will not be easy, are you ready. Are you ready to stand firm.

I believe you are!

As each of us have seen throughout this evening, you are prepared, you have been trained, and you are ready to take on the road not taken. You are surrounded by a support system that loves you and wants to see you succeed. Each of you are surrounded by people who believe in you, who know that you have what it takes to run in a way to win the race.

As the summer turns into fall, each of you will have an opportunity to choose a path to step forward on. Will you choose the path that of least resistance. The one that is easy, the one that will get you a participation ribbon. Or will you choose the road not taken, will you endure the hard times, knowing that in Christ you can run a race to win the prize.

We believe in you,

McKenna

Bryleemae

Demi

Kaden

Marita

Dylon

Georgia

Ryan

Abigail

Emily

Presley

Irisa

Drew

Tristan

Lily

Elijah

We Believe in you!

Take the road less traveled, and though it may be difficult at times, I promise you, it will be worth it.

Thank you.

Week 11 of 52: A Week of Humility

IMG_1259Praise the LORD all you gentiles!

Praise the LORD all you peoples!

For HIS merciful kindness is great toward us,

And the truth of the LORD endures forever.

Praise the LORD !

This week has been hectic, so much so that this post is coming out about 4 days late.

As I sit here writing this, I look back at a week full of life, a week full of anxiety, and a week full of God’s continued faithfulness.

This week started off as I had some work done on my mouth. The process was nothing too extravagant, and it brought about two months of pain in my mouth to an end. Though any time you have any work done there is a bit of angst that comes along with the the journey, more so I was overwhelmed with the financial burden of having dental work done.

I don’t know if I realized what it really meant to be an adult until I had to trust fully that God is going to take care of the finances that come with the procedure.

During this time I have also been house sitting for a family at the church who have two very energetic dogs. I didn’t realize that dogs could be nocturnal, but these dogs proved that I don’t know everything. From barking and jumping on my bed to lick my face, my sleep pattern has been an adventure.

I don’t think that any one of these items would bring me to my knees, but the combination of life, lack of sleep, finances, and dogs constantly testing my stability and patience, I am brought to a place where I realize that I have nothing, and the LORD has everything. I am brought to a place of humility where I am reminded how blessed I am to be able to walk step by step, knowing that I have a good Father who desires to know me in a deeper way. IMG_1290

Through trusting HIM, I am able to see how God is continually drawing me closer to HIM, how each step that I take, He has built me a firm foundation to move forward in.

I wish I could say I have have it all under control, but that would be prideful and not true. What I can say is that HE has it under control, HE has my finances, HE has my hope, HE has my future.

Psalms 117 is very simple, praise the LORD, HE is kind, HIS love endures forever.

I am so blessed to know that even through this week filled with anxiety I am not alone, and I can, in peace, give that anxiety to the God who cares not just about me on a surface level, but cares about my finances, my mental well being, my dreams and passions. I get to serve a God who is bigger than my fears, He lives outside my understandings, and truly desires the best for HIS children.

So my prayer is this…

Lord, may I sing praise in the good and the bad, may I see your faithfulness when I don’t know what is next. Lord may I bring you glory in how I walk, each step moving toward you, even when I don’t know what that looks like. Lord may you be my foundation, may my life reflect your will. May I be a light in darkness, may I be truth where truth is not the accepted dialect. Amen

Week 10 of 52: My Dirt Road Anthem

IMG_1258Some days are meant for country songs and back road drives. These days aren’t planned in advance, they have no agendas, and have no schedule. Sometimes these days last a quick minute, sometimes these days last a weekend. On these drives a person is transported to a simpler time, a time where there are no deadlines, and tiredness is wiped away, you are reminded where you came from, and the dreams of the future flow like a river.

I am realizing the importance of these days in my own life. Days to rest, reflect, and to see how blessed I am to be doing the work of God daily. So often in my pursuit of having a relationship with Jesus I forget to observe to process. Seeing how each moment has lead up to now, how every failure has led to moments of triumph, how every unanswered question has led me into a deeper understanding of His unconditional love for me.IMG_1233

The purpose of these drives is not to dwell in the past, but to remember how God is continually doing work in our lives. Allowing us to move forward, seeing that through the highs and lows He is ultimately in the drivers seat. Sometimes the road doesn’t make sense, sometimes the road seems like it’s going in the wrong direction from what makes sense in our minds, but in the end the destination is just around the corner.

A year ago I knew that I would be working in youth ministry, I knew I would be planning camps, and that I would be stressing out over speakers and if the lake was going to be high enough. A year ago I figured I would be making a little more money and be able to start making a dent in my student loans. A year ago I thought that I knew the path that God had placed in front of me. Today, I am seeing how God has used this year of switchbacks and unknowns to draw me closer to Him. Today, I am seeing that by not working with high school students I am able to make a larger impact on the body of Christ, creating community, bringing people together, hearing stories, and getting a glimpse of how the body is meant to work.

IMG_0829It’s these back country roads that reveal to me that where I am today is not the destination, but where I need to be to continue on the journey that God has placed me on.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit interceded for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. “

Romans 8: 26-30

These unknowns, these times of doubt and questioning if I had heard God correctly, have purpose in my life, they have purpose in the Kingdom of God. For all things work together for good.

IMG_0951I know that I used this verse a couple weeks ago, but it’s a verse that God has put on my heart these past couple months and one that not only hits me where I am at, but one that speaks truth. The storm you are walking through has purpose, and I pray that when we look back we see that the drive was worth it.

Today i don’t need to write pages, instead I am going to take advantage of the beautiful weather, my Whiskey Town parking pass, and the abundance of back roads in Redding, CA.

Week 7 of 52: Climbing Mountains

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If you were to ask me 10 years ago when I walked out the doors of Hidden Valley High School, where I would be in 10 years. The words Redding, California, would probably be the last words expected to come out of my mouth.

Yes Redding has some beautiful lakes and streams, but there is nothing alluring about 110 degree temperature throughout most of the summer. Redding is hot, and besides it’s terrain, all it has to offer is In-N-Out. I didn’t see myself making Redding my home, I didn’t see myself finding a community of like minded Christian people, and I didn’t see myself making myself at home at a not so little church, barely in the country. I didn’t understand the appeal 10 years ago, I didn’t know that this adventure called life would lead me to a place I just didn’t understand.

Ten years later I have come to a place where I am starting to understand the appeal. I admit the beauty does not compare to Grants Pass, but again Oregon is God’s gift to America. I am starting to see why people move to Redding, despite it’s horrific summers. The trails and waterfalls, lakes and streams declare a creator, the town has a charm filled with history, and the body of Christ is alive and well.
What a difference a span of 10 years can make. The journey has brought me all over the world, living in 3 different states, at least 10 different residences, at least 10 different jobs, and many unanswered questions about where the journey is taking me. Over the past 10 years I have made countless connections, building relationships that have changed me for the better, seeing how we were all created differently but with one common purpose, to see that God is given the glory.

Saturday  I had an opportunity to spend the evening sitting around a camp fire near Whiskeytown Reservoir sharing testimony, IMG_1212spending time worshiping through music, and seeing how we can come along side one another in encouragement. This night was planned, but unexpected. Each of us came from a different place, a different back ground. Each person brought their own experiences, their own journey, and had an opportunity to lay it out in front of the creator.

As we went around the circle giving praise to Jesus Christ, for what He is doing in our lives, a friend of mine shared a statement that I want to share with you. “If you are climbing a mountain and only focus on the top, you miss out on the way up. What happens if you get turned around because of weather, are you going to focus on what you missed out on, or focus on what you got to see, what you get to see?” The quote isn’t exact, but the heart behind it is hopefully there.

Ten years ago I didn’t know what my life was going to look like today. I don’t know what my life will look like in 10 years. I don’t know what my life will look like tomorrow, but I would like to say if things don’t work out as I plan, or how I expect I will still be able to see how God is working in my life. I look back on these past 10 years and I see how each moment, each change, each unexpected twist, has helped me to be where I am today.

I look at the friendships that have formed me, encouraged me, driven me deeper into my walk with the Lord. I look at the houses full of roommates that have shown me how to live life with people, and how each co-worker has given me a glimpse into human nature.

This journey isn’t always pretty, it isn’t always clean. Like climbing a mountain, there are always snags along the journey, but with each snag comes a moment of beauty, a vista point that allows you to see a glimpse of the artwork of the Father formed with us in mind.

When the storm comes in and we are turned away from the peak, are we going to focus on that missed opportunity, or are we going to focus on what we got to experience. I am realizing that we aren’t always meant to get to the top, we aren’t always meant to stand at the peak, sometimes, it is the journey that God is using to reach us, it is the journey that God speaks to us, and when we are so focused on the top, we miss what He has planned for us.

I didn’t end up the man 18 year old Adam expected, instead I am becoming the Man God created me to be. It wasn’t the mountain tops that got me here, it was the switchbacks, it was the unexpected waterfalls, it was the caverns and walls placed in front of me. Sometimes we just need to pause and take a look at what God has for us here and now.

Take a moment and see what God is doing in your life. Are you the man or woman God designed you to be, or are you focused on the mountain top you didn’t get to stand on. Are you so focused on the missed opportunities, that you are missing the countless things God has placed in front of you? Take a moment, look around, and know that you are not on this journey alone!

Week 4 of 52: American Dream

In he spring of 2002 a new show swept the nation, leaving names like Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson as house hold names. Year after year lives were changed. Ordinary people, getting extraordinary opportunities to live the life of their dreams. All it took was one audition, 3 judges, and a dream to make a reality.

I was in the 7th grade when Kelly Clarkson one that first season of American Idol. It was the story that swept the nation, a Texas girl winning over America, showing us all that the American Dream was not dead.

A few seasons later I remember sitting in my Aunt and Uncle’s living room in Port Orchard, Washington as Carrie Underwood was predicted to not only win, but to do better than any other American Idol winner after she belted out a captivating version of Heart’s Alone.

These memories became dreams for me, not to win American Idol, but to find a job that I love, to find a life that I wouldn’t trade for the world. So many people in my generation went from being stuck in their small to being able to live out their dreams. All because of a simple show 15 years ago.

Some trade their small town for a dream of adventure, some seek financial stability or a family at a young age, and some just want to make the world a better place. Over the last 10 years since graduating high school I have been on a journey to find out what my dream is, what my passion is, what my calling is. I graduated college, worked a couple different jobs, and two years ago walked away from it all and stepped into vocational ministry realizing that my dream was inside me the whole time, my calling was there, I just had to pick up the phone.

My American dream is being stuck in student debt knowing that God will always provide. My American dream is knowing that every Sunday I get to see live changed with a simple hello. My American dream is knowing that I get to walk each day trusting that I serve a God who is greater than I.

When stepping out of higher education I didn’t know how it was going to work. I kept a part time job at Kohl’s to make sure all my bills could be paid. Then I heard God ask my if I trusted Him. When I stepped into full time ministry, I realized that in keeping my Job at Kohl’s I was only half walking in what God had called me to do. I realized that in keeping my job, I was not actually trusting Him, but trusting that I could take care of my self. A year or so later as I didn’t know what was next I began to look at jobs across the US. Seeing if ministry was in my future. I remember sitting at the computer and again feeling that nudge on my heart, “Do you trust Me?” I realized that in my calling to ministry, I still had doubts and still wanted to make my world make sense to me, instead of allowing God to work as He had said He would.

Every time I submit to Him, He provides in amazing ways. Every time I submit to Him, I am able to see my dreams come alive.

Last week in my post I talked about the importance of prayer. How we must seek God daily, praying to Him. This week I want to encourage you to listen. What is God trying to show you, how is He trying to work in your life? Are you allowing Him to move in you, or are you trying to be the one that keeps your world making sense?

My life isn’t always comfortable, my financial situation may not be exactly what I expected, but I know that I am always provided for. I just have to step in faith, step in front of the 1 judge, and He will make my dreams a reality.

Take some time, dream, see what God has put on your heart, and know that He is good.IMG_1130

 

Why Now?

Why now? This is the question that has been tormenting me the past few days as I look forward to writing this blog.

I am writing this blog for a few reasons. First I feel that God has given me a message to share, one that until recently I have kept to myself. A message of hope, a message that can only be found in the words, and in the truth of Jesus Christ. Second I have a dream to write, a dream to share my experiences in life and in ministry. I have ideas for a couple books, but have had difficulties taking time to sit, stay, and write. This is a step toward that. Thirdly, it takes time for me to process, I am what you could call a verbal processor. I need to write down what is going through my head, so that it makes sense to myself. This blog is hopefully going to keep me accountable to write what God is doing in my life. Lastly, I am horrible at keeping in contact with those that I hold dear to me. My hope is that this will help show a glimpse of my life to those who I call friends and family.

There are a couple area’s that I want to focus on in this blog.

  1. Life through the eyes of an extrovert.
  2. Creating Community.
  3. Hope in Jesus Christ.

Each category is so important to who I am as a person. I strive to bring people into community centered on Jesus Christ. I strive to see people loved well, and I pray to see restoration come through Jesus in the lives I get to do life with.

This will be a process, my writing won’t be perfect, but I pray you will be encouraged.

Why now? I am realizing more and more how short this thing called life really is. Over the past year I have seen countless lives lost, family, friends, acquaintances. Some of these people knew the hope found in Jesus, some did not. The reason for the now, is that we don’t know what our future hold’s, all I know is that I feel like God is wanting me to write, and who am I to tell Him no.

My commitment is to 1 year. 1 post a week (We will see how that goes in Camp season.) You can read, you can share, you can ignore, you can critique, but I will walk in obedience.

You will be seeing post 1 of 52 next Monday.

Peace and blessings to you,

Adam Elledge

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