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Posts Tagged ‘church’

It happened.  I fell into the trap.  I have not updated in a while.  At first, it was because I was waiting for inspiration for a post.  Then it was because I had not updated in a bit so I could go for a little longer.  Then, I was busy.

Then nothing.  Every now and then I would feel a twinge of guilt.  A “Hey, maybe I should… watch TV.”

Here I am, a little less than two years later.  I have envisioned a blogging project with a much cooler name than my initials.  But, ever the loudest critic of my work, I stop and ask, “If I cannot maintain a practice blog, how can I keep a larger than life, ultra-cool, widely read blog?”

Thus, you are stuck with me for a little while longer until I can prove to myself that I am worthy of running a blog.

Well then, let us begin…again!

Change

I have been through some switch ups recently.

I am working for a Bachelors Degree through Liberty University Online.  I am almost finished!  Then onto my Masters!

I upgraded my position at my job!  God has blessed me with a promotion over the past year, which answered a lot of prayers.

There has also been another development which I have been praising God for in the past year.

Did you know those kids in high school who knew exactly what college they wanted to go to, for which degree, for which job, and who they were going to marry along the way?  For instance, I knew a girl.  All she wanted was to be married and be a florist.  Well, let me tell you, she is now married to a really cool guy and she is…can you guess?  Yes.  She is a florist.

I lacked that conviction, that surety in life during high school.  I assumed that I knew basically where I was heading and what I liked doing and that the rest would fill itself into my life along the way.  Fast forward nine years.  Nine whole years form graduation and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I was George Bailey, wanting to travel the world and getting nowhere fast.  I needed a job.  I needed to pay bills.  I needed a car.  And, before long, I was stuck.

Life happened (I love that euphemism) and God put some really godly men in my life.  I still did not have concrete answers.  But one of the guys, Mike, kept drilling in my head: Seek Ye First.  It’s almost a mantra now.  One foot in front of the other.  Follow God in the little things.  Show myself to be a good steward of Gondor…I Mean my talents.  The rest shall follow.

August of 2012 rolled around a couple months after my last blog post on, ironically, looking to God for guidance.  I had tried a lot in the course of the previous years.  Food services.  Computers.  Business.  Accounting (that lasted about two classes).  Teaching English as a second language (thanks to a group from my college year at Lancaster Bible College).

Nothing.  I had a long list of what I knew I did not like.  In the course of this time, I was serving in the church.  I always gravitated towards teaching.  I loved it.  I loved digging into the word.  I loved figuring out what God was saying through His people.  The elders at my church helped me with working out lessons.  They kept telling me to get at the application and to facilitate more than lecture.  I am still working on that.

I also knew I wanted to be in the mission field.  Ever since I read of Hudson Taylor as a kid, I wanted to smuggle Bibles into China.  Well, China has Bibles and there is a lot of good work over there right now (I even hear there is a rise in Calvinism!!!!).  In this vein I spent a summer with a buddy and a pastor at the boardwalk handing out tracts, witnessing, spreading the gospel, and street preaching.  From this I have determined that while I am to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, I do not have the gift of evangelism.  It does not come naturally.

Well, I was lost.  I was stuck at my job, praying for change or something to point me in the right direction.  God had started something and He had definitely forgotten about me, right?

Me and a group of guys from the church had read Radical by David Platt earlier that year and Mike told us how his son and a friend were going to Kenya for two years right out of college to preach the gospel.  Some men had stepped up from the church the two guys attended in the Carolinas and offered to pay for their tuition.

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Radical.

So I stepped out and, after prayer and talking with the elders at my church, I applied for Liberty University’s Online program.  I was working full time and could not afford to leave for college.  So, in the fall of 2012, I started taking classes.  God opened up doors so that I could finally move out and get a place with some roommates.  Full time job, full time classes, my own place.  God really blessed me and there was nothing that I could take credit for other than being faithful and trusting God.

Then it happened.  I’m not exactly sure what the date was or where I was exactly.  But I finally figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up!

There is a ministry that takes those with Masters or Doctorate Degrees and sends them to pastors who have little to no access to bible colleges.

My heart leapt for joy.  Even now as I write these words I rejoice that God would reveal this to me.  I had no idea this even existed.

Now I am close to the end of my degree.  I have 7 more classes.

In the past couple years I have not been even close to a role model.  I have raged and whined and worried at where God was leading me.  I still do.  I do not count it all joy.  I do not place my hope and anxiety in Him who feeds the sparrows and clothes the flowers.  But I am still young and God has a lot of work to do anyway so hopefully that will be taken care of down the road.

My prayers were not answered right away; my pleas were not met immediately.  Is there a time this has happened to you and later down the road you were thankful your prayers were not answered?

Peace,

Bill

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How Big is God?

Today (Sunday), in church, my pastor talked about turning away from God and turning to God.  This won’t be a long post but I want to tell you what my take away was.

If you would ask me, I would say I was in the valley section of the ups and downs of life.  Have been for a while and probably will be for a bit more.  Not sure why.  All I can think about at times is the old comic strip “Calvin and Hobbs” where Calvin asks his Dad why he must shovel the drive way of snow.  His dad’s response is “Because kid, it builds character.”

I sat through the sermon today, listening to Pastor talking about Israel and following God and not following God.  And one thing he said that really stuck was a quote from A.W. Tozer.  I forget the exact wording but it was something to the effect of when our god is small, the temporal things of this world will overwhelm us.  But when we have the right perspective of God, His Power, Wisdom, etc, then the things of this world will suddenly lose their weight.  It was so needed for me to hear this as I had found myself in the middle of seemingly immense problems and situations.  I had forgotten who my God really was and made Him to be this small postage stamp sized being in my mind.

Then, in reviewing the sermon, two friends pointed out two verses.  One was Romans 5:3-5  “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. [NASB]” and the other was James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. [NASB]”

So, not only was my anxiety with my problems taken care of, so was my anxiety with going through the valley I’m in right now.  The downside is, I’m finding more and more how much of a sinner I really am so I might be here for a while.  Good times.

 

Peace,

Bill

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Time.  Its interesting how something said to be arbitrarily calculated can be such a critical burden…or release.  As I have alluded in the past post, I have recently been doing a study on today’s culture/generation (unofficial, un-statistical, and unaudited).  This is not for a grade or for a promotion or anything.  Just mere  curiosity (something that drives me more than it should).

I have come upon this train of thought with the purchase ($50 refurb may I add!) of my new smartphone: iPhone 3GS.  In my head, I have an approval rating determined by several versions of myself roaming uninhibited within my head.  With the addition of this new piece of tech, my internal rating has gone through the roof.  Before, where receiving and responding to emails had been a chore, it is now simple.  Where connecting to facebook and keeping up with people was once a hassle (if I don’t normally talk with you to your face, its really not worth it), it is now simple.  And where flipping the switch and investing an hour or more into Desmond from Assassin’s Creed or one of the many variations of Prince from Prince of Persia (yeah, no, not Purple Rain) was a complete almost waste of time in my recent lifestyle, gaming has become simple, and I still can hold onto title of Gamer (slipping slowly and increasingly apathetically away from me).

Yet, with the increasingly simplicity of life (that I was ardently against vocally yet silently jealous of within), I am able to see whole new pitfalls.  As it is not Money itself but the love of money that is the root of all evil, I know that it is merely the poor use of time spent with this new tech and not the tech itself that can lead to all new problems.  The ease at which I can now pull myself from much needed time on my knees with my God is seriously increased.  The ease at which I can take a few seconds to look at a verse is now competing with the want to see whats going on in the world through Twitter (@wpeacejr -my professional avatar or @elterminado -my gamer avatar).

This being said, I believe that the culture is turning more and more to this tech.  Not in a bad way (yet to be seen anyway) but in a way that the way we connect as a community based people is changing.  Community is essential.  This is something I have been learning recently.  We need to pull away from Scot McKnight’s “self in a castle” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/communitylife/evangelism/thegospelforigens.html) and turn to the fiefdom of the community (a poor attempt to stay with McKnight’s analogy I understand).  This is where my study has taken me.  Unfortunately, I am now joining the mass of people who have illustrated the problem and have annoyingly not provided the solution.  Have fun with that.

This, then, leads me to another point- The Change.  More importantly, the change being brought about by God in my life.  If you recall, the second post I ever wrote was one on Love and such.  I had also commented on the fact that I was going through some things in life.  That was a year ago or so.  A long time yet none at all.  I can attest to the changing power of God’s love in my life.  And no the easy love where we overlook everything and speak softly to loved ones.  I am speaking of the dangerous Love, Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love” (http://crazylovebook.com/), a love from the heart of the Holy One.  This is not to say I have arrived.  No, I am far from there and probably will not have arrived until I see my Savior’s face framed in Glory.  I am seeing character changes, awareness of my wicked heart before God, my awareness of my Justification in Christ alone, and my understanding of how God brought me not only to Himself but into His body, a body of believers.

This is a lot.  It is still largely unprocessed.  It is still fleshing itself out in my mind and heart and soul.  But in the tradition of early philosophers, thinkers, and academics alike, I shall attempt to name this, to call it something, to refer to it by a name or title.  The Change.  Simple, unassuming, non arrogant.  Millions have probably experienced the same thing.  Thus I am not going to take emotional or physical credit.

Ight, Peace.

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