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.

Advertisements

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!

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.

IMG_1375

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 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