Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I love reading. I love getting into a good book and feeling like I'm part of what is happening. Because of this, I much prefer reading books that are written in first person.
My life is a story. I am not the author, but I am the protagonist. I experience the events. In the book that is my life, I am the first person narrator.
I've been thinking about the idea of an individual's "story" a lot lately. Everyone's is different. Everyone's story molds them into who they are.

I was with a group of Christian friends a few nights ago. We were in a bible study setting and we were asked to tell our "story." It just so happened that all of the people in this small group were not people I knew very much about past the surface level. I sat and listened to them each tell their own story, what made them into the person that sat in front of me. They each told the story, as written by God, from their first person narrotor point of view. I also shared my own story.

I believe that hearing or sharing personal stories is key to forming a deeper understand of a person or even yourself. I learned so much about myself through sharing my own personal journey. I realized just how deeply certain events in my life have shaped who I am. Everytime someone shares their story with me, I see the person in a much different, much deeper light.

I hear these stories as I hear the stories in books I read, but unlike in the books, I'm actually a part of this person's story.

My challenge to anyone reading is to take the time to ask someone about their story, even if it's someone you've known for years. Take the time to also share your story and BE HONEST. By taking the time to do this alone, I believe deeper bonds can be formed and the two people involved can see just how God, the author and perfecter of our faith, works in different yet equally magnificent ways.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
                                          -Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jesus Lifts Your Load

"Brokenness is the bow from which God launches the arrows of healing." -Louie Giglio

When you get a crack in your windshield, you acknowledge that a problem is present, but oftentimes let it be "tomorrow's problem." Overtime, this crack gets larger and larger until it is severe enough that it affects your driving and is a safety risk for you and others around you.

I view this as metaphorical to human struggles. When we first face some sort of struggle, we know it is there but don't really worry about it until it grows severe enough to hinder our everyday lives. When we reach this point, we have to overcome this struggle. We have to be broken to it.

Brokenness is not an easy concept for humans to grasp. When something is broken, it needs to be fixed. Not many people want to admit that they need to be fixed. I know I don't.

When Louie said this quote (top) regarding brokenness, it brought tears to my eyes. I used to try to face my problems head on and fix them as they burdened me. I didn't want to admit to myself or anyone else that I needed to be fixed. I didn't want to come to terms with the idea that I could not handle this on my own. I continued to "work alone." This didn't work. I couldn't do it. I'm just not strong enough.
When I finally came to realize that I needed help, I gave it to God. I let myself be broken before Him. In doing this, I felt a physical release as God took the burden from me. With this load off my shoulders, I was ready to heal.

I grew up with a song called "When Jesus Lifts the Load." This is basically the entire song:

"Your load will be much lighter
When Jesus lifts the load...
...When Jesus lifts your heavy load"

It's a simple song with a clear message: Jesus can handle your problems, no matter how heavy they may be to you.

I believe this with all my heart. Life isn't easy most of the time, so let God take care of things. You just have to trust Him and be broken before Him, then you will be able to heal.

Friday, January 6, 2012

God Likes to Blatantly Make a Point, Too!

Not even 3 hours earlier, we were listening to Louie Giglio urge us to do whatever we were good at and be on fire for God. He told us we didn't have to move to South Africa or start a non-profit, just do what we're good at and shine His light to the world. This ended Passion 2012.

God decided to make this point apparently clear to our small group of 10.

We pulled out of Atlanta around 3pm (2pm Alabama time) last night. Almost instantly, everyone fell into a semi-comatose state. We were supposed to stop for dinner, but since everyone but me, one guy, and our "adult type person" fell asleep, I figured we would drive straight home. One awake guy looked straight back and me and I voiced that I doubted we would eat since everyone was asleep. As soon as I said this, everyone opened their eyes. A few minutes later, we got off an exit and went to a random IHOP in Union, Georgia.
As soon as we walked in, this young waiter started working to pull tables together so we could all sit together. Originally, an older lady was serving us. As more customers came in, the young guy walked over and told us that he would be taking our table for then on out. From the moment we met this guy, we could tell that he was just a perpetually joyful person. He smiled constantly and engaged in conversation with us. He had an outstanding memory; he took our orders accurately without writing anything down. He brought me 3 pickles for free!
As we started getting our food, we bowed our heads to pray. I noticed him walk up and stand behind Matt, who was praying, as he carried more food to our table. He saw we were praying and bowed his head as well. All throughout the rest of the meal, he talked and joked with us and apparently listened to us reflect upon our time at Passion and what God had stirred in us.
I felt something in me urging me to ask if he needed prayer. I acted on this urge. He told us that he didn't really have anything he could think of that needed prayer, he was content. He continued in calling us "spiritual warriors" and asked if he could pray with us instead of being prayed for. He lifted us up in the most encouraging verbal ways.
After everyone paid, he walked up to us and said, "I'm ready when you guys are." We all paused and looked confused. "To pray with you. Can we go outside?" So, the 10 of us walked outside and stood in front of this random IHOP with this random guy who just happened to wait on us that afternoon. He told us that he was truly content, but had problems with one of his arms and could use prayer for healing. We asked if we could lay hands on him and pray for him. My friend Carlos led the prayer to lift this man up.
He then asked to pray for us. We all joined hands in a circle and listened as this guy lifted us up in thanks to God. I can't speak for everyone in my group, but out of all the prayers I heard that week during Passion, his was BY FAR the most powerful. He ended in thanking us for what we were doing to praise God and pursue His mission in our lives. We told him goodbye, all of us still in awe over what God had just thrown in our path.
(Carlos actually got the opportunity to share what Passion was with a non-Christian who also worked at IHOP, but I won't try to tell his experience)

How CRAZY is that? Everyone woke up right in time to get us to that IHOP, he happened to switch to wait our table...everything fell exactly into place for that experience to happen.
It's like God was thinking, "I know y'all just heard that sermon and understood what Louie was saying, but I'm going to give you a solid example in approximately 3 hours. Prepare to have your minds BLOWN." (I like to think that God says "y'all") Well played, God.

I love those times...those moments when you know God was behind something. I am so encouraged by meeting that guy. I see what the "joy in whatever you do" Louie was talking about is so clearly now.

So that's how God blatantly made a point to the AU BCM Passion attendees, 2012 edition.

We serve a powerful God.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions and God's Grace

With the new year upon us, it is a time of reflection on the past and looking forward to what is in store. I have been thinking about Resolutions for a few weeks, always deciding against actually taking these on because I know that I'll fail. I really hate failing at things, so I tend to set goals for myself that I know are attainable. Doing so, I never really challenge myself to reach beyond my known capabilities.

A friend from BCM let me borrow his copy of "Blue Like Jazz." I went home to start reading the book the day before new year's eve and saw that the same guy had posted a new blog that I immediately read.
Here's the link:
(This blog is written in by five very strong yet very different men of God, all friends of mine. I recommend reading any of the posts in this blog.)

I was very inspired by this blog entry. He speaks of how discouraging failing at New Year's Resolutions can be and encourages readers to strive for daily Resolutions instead. I love this idea. One day is a much more manageable time frame than an entire year.
With this fresh in my mind, I began reading "Blue Like Jazz." Every chapter has contained concepts that have made me think and examine my Christian walk.

I just read a chapter in which the author, Donald Miller, talks about his struggle in accepting God's grace. He talks of how he felt that grace was some sort of charity from God and how he found it hard to accept this charity in his pride.
God offers His grace to us unconditionally. When I feel that I have failed at reaching a New Year's Resolution or a goal much bigger than that, God's grace stands true.

So as I face 2012, I am striving to set daily Resolutions that stretch me and challenge me to do much greater than I feel I am capable of. When I fail, because I undoubtably will, I do not need to feel like a failure; God's grace is present for me in these failures.

"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." 
                      -Ephesians 4:7