Week 16 of 52: God is doing work!

IMG_1368HBC 2017

A week has passed, and I still don’t feel like I have fully soaked in all God has done through HouseBoat Camp 2017. This weekend was one for the books. Between the rain and hail, we saw that there is always a silver lining. As we sat under tarps filled withlanterns, and soaked in the the nightly teachings, we were reminded that God is in all, and through all. Thisis the great adventure.

Last weekend I had an opportunity to see God working through 165 students lives. These students ranged from graduating 8th graders to graduating seniors. Each student with their own story, their own journey that God is taking them on. IMG_1376

Over the past 7 days I have purposed time to reflect on each of these stories. As I have sat looking back at each face, at each story, at each journey, I am reminded that we all have a story needing to be told. These students reminded me that we are here for the person, not the program. As I sat down with students sharing their heartbreak, I was overwhelmed with a desire to see their lives transformed, to see them experience God in a big way.

These students stories don’t end here, their transformation is not complete, and some are still lost, looking for something more, someone more. I continue daily praying that the seeds planted in their hearts do not come up void. These students have potential, they are strong, they are courageous and kind. These students have pain, they have been broken and hurt. Their hope is not in this world, our hope is not in this world. My prayer is that they discover this hope, a hope found only in Christ Jesus.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,  where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:19-20

I am challenged to look past the surface. As I sat with these students I was reminded that each of us has a story to tell, sometimes we just need an audience.

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When we make ourselves available to be used by God, He will use us. It isn’t because we deserve to be used, but because we realize that we have nothing to offer, and it is only in Him that what we do is used for the Kingdom. There are people around you that are hurting, people that look on the surface to have everything together. These people have a story, and their story is important. You have a story and your story is important.

I am challenged to be an avenue for the voice of those around me to be heard. Will you be a minister of the gospel, placing people over program. Will you be a place where stories can be told, where Christ can be shown.

I am finding the silver lining, I am learning daily how God is using me in ways I never planned. Sometimes all you need to do is be open and willing to the voice of God, even when it doesn’t make sense.

I am so thankful for the students brought into my life, those that were willing to share their stories with me. I am thankful for a God that uses me in ways greater than I ever dreamed. And I am thankful for Holiday Harbor Marina who rescued a generator after it plummeted to it’s demise in front of me. IMG_1366

Week 15 of 52: A Journey Not Complete

IMG_6365The story is not finished.

The the page is yet to be turned.

We often wait for the last page, realizing if we skip to the end we miss out on why the end happens the way it does.

We must embrace the storms, we must conquer the mountains, we must endure the hardships to truly appreciate the peaks.

This past weekend I was able to lead program for 165 students on Lake Shasta. We set 13 houseboats strategically on an Island where we proclaimed the gospel, sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ.

IMG_7095Every year we see countless lives transformed as we pack 4 days with friends, food, fun, and Jesus. This year was no different and I was able to be a part of seeing students experience God in a new way.

This year as I process the weekend, I look at my own process in ministry. 7 years ago on this Island a man I had barely met sat me down by a tree, it seemed as if we talked for hours, but the only thing Iremember him saying was that I was called to youth ministry.

I laughed in his face and let him know that I had no intention of stepping foot on a church staff. Over the next 5 years he reminded me of this conversation, he reminded me of the call that was on my life. A call to be an influencer in the lives of High School students, walking day by day, side by side as they experience God in a beautiful way.

This weekend, I am looking back at two years of vocational ministry. A journey that has been anything but easy. But an adventure that I would take again and again. This weekend I watched as students gave their lives to the Lord, I listened to the stories of those that have been broken, and prayed constantly for restoration.

IMG_8802I can’t believe I would ever deny that this is what God has called me to do. I don’t know where this journey is going, but I am seeing that the hardships, though not over, are all a part of me growing into the man God created me to be.

I am overwhelmed by the stories, and I cannot wait to see God move in the lives of these students as we continue growing as a body. Seeing God move in a huge way.

Thank you to each student that reminded me of the calling God has placed on my life, and thank you Chad for seeing it in me so many years ago. I will share more stories next week about how God moved in my life this past weekend, but I wanted to share how God reminded me of where He is taking me. I don’t know the time and place, but I know that God has given me a passion for high school ministry, and I needed this to remind me that this journey is not over.

God is good, all the time.IMG_9023

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 9 of 52: A Dream

This morning while I sat drinking my coffee in a local cafe, I had an opportunity to share my story. I entered the door carrying “Peace Child” a book written by Don Richardson, a missionary about a tribal community that went from “Cannibals to Christ Followers.” To be honest I am still working on the first page, but it opened up an opportunity for the young man sitting behind the cash register to ask the questions whirling through his head.

As I drank my coffee and ate my bagel, we started talking about the importance of international missions, how one person can step out of their comfort zone and transform a nation by simply being obedient to the call. He shared his experience doing short term work and how he desires to one day step back into the mission field spreading the word of God across the nations to unreached people groups. He is just waiting for that door to open.

IMG_1255.JPGAs we discussed life the conversation turned to me, what do I do, what is my passion, what is my dream?

These questions made me think, vocational ministry is still a new avenue I am on. As I sit here just two years into my journey at Little Country Church, I often forget to look back on why I took that first step. As we talked I was able to share my role of Community Life Coordinator to him, how God has allowed me to walk in my gifting, creating community, building a culture of hospitality, and being a part of stories. I was able to share my heart for KOINONIA, the idea of coming together for one purpose, having community and fellowship that point towards Jesus Christ.

It was in sharing these things that I was reminded of the answer to the second question. What is my passion?

My heart and passion is to see lives transformed. We live in a place where the average person has been broken down and beat up before they even leave the house. I want to see hope found for the hopeless. Not just a sense of hope, but truly realizing that through Jesus Christ there is hope! I want to see those that have been told they are worthless to realize that through Jesus they are made worthy! And I want to see those without a home to see that they are home in the Body of Christ!

We have an opportunity as believers to show our broken world that it is not too late. We can love greatly, speak life, share the truth, and trust that God is good. This leads me to the final question…what is my dream?

My dream is to not get lost in the walls of the church bubble, but to live as Christ. How we live speaks much louder than how we say we live. Will we talk about loving the least of these, or will we love the least of these. My dream is to see the Church be a place where restoration can take place, and through Jesus it does take place. My dream is to see people coming together in KOINONIA, coming together for the soul purpose of giving praise to the one true God!

As we talked about these things I was reminded why I stepped into vocational ministry two years ago. I took that leap of faith because God has given me a dream, and through that dream He has given me a passion. I love that I am able to walk in these passions, that God is using me to bring HOPE to a generation that lives without hope. I am able to LOVE deeply, not just believers, not just the desirable, but all people. Lastly I get an opportunity to show people that Jesus is alive and is moving!

Sometimes we lose sight of the journey we are on, but when we take a step back, we are reminded that God has us exactly where we are supposed to be! We just need to take that step, and see that our God is doing work!

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 6 of 52: Reflection

Today is a day of reflection, over the past two years my life has transformed. It was this week two years ago that I put my notice in at Simpson University. At the time I though I knew where life was taking me. At the time I was content with the life I had dreamed up.

If I knew then what I know now, I don’t know if I would have taken the leap into vocational ministry. If I would have seen the tears and confusion, the loss and the hurt I have walked through the past 24 months, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to take the leap.

What started with a decision to walk in faith has led to countless opportunities to continue walking forward. Many of these moments didn’t make sense, some mountains seemed impossible to get over, only to get past and realize they were mere mole hills.

As I sit and reflect on this day I see how God has given me opportunities to be used in ways I never expected. This week I was able to host a prayer walk and daily morning of prayer and worship at LCC. Sunday I shared the gospel message with a man outside the doors of Little Country. Friday was filled with worship and praise at 4 different services.

I would not be able to experience this love being poured out over me, if I didn’t take that single step two years ago.

Over the past two years I was able to help bring Stephanie Fast, and amazing author and speaker to HBC 2016, where I was then able to see many young people give their life to the Lord. over the past two years I was able to see acquaintances become family, and see as God fulfilled promise after promise.

It would be a lie to tell you there are never doubts, that all times are good times. But it would also be a lie to say it isn’t worth it. God has been showing me each step of the way more about who He created me to be. Each step is difficult, by the reward is amazing. I am thankful I didn’t know how hard this journey would be, and at times still is. Each step of faith is drawing me closer to the Father, each step is showing me that He is good, and He is faithful. Each step reveals to me that even when we think hope is lost, Hope is always found in Jesus Christ.
He is risen indeed!

If you are on the brink of a step and don’t know how to move forward, move forward in Christ! He will direct your path!IMG_0963