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.

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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. 

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.

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 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

Week 5 of 52: Perspective

Perspective:

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He Called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

In the wake of recent events, this verse has been bombarding my thoughts. The idea that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” What does this mean.

I want to make this short and to the point, so here it is.

“All things” work together! The hard, incomprehensible things work together for the good! I wish this was easy, I wish it meant it’s all going to be fine and dandy along the journey.

As a believer things are going to get difficult, there are days that you will wonder if it is all worth it, and there will be a lot of tears.

But I promise you one thing! God is good, His word is truth, and it will all work out in the end. You may not even see how it works out, but it will be worth it.

When we accept this, when we see that God is good, when we change our perspective, we will be so blessed to see God working in and through our lives! IMG_1155.JPG