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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

happy new year's

Check out the pictures! Click on any picture to get a bigger view.

Captions will come later, I just needed to post, it was a blast! Isn't Zakopane awesome? Now, come visit me, and these wonderful people!

its the end, already

Sometimes I read my stuff here, and think "boy, what a dork!", other times I think "uh oh, that's going to get me in trouble", and then I have times where I just read what I write over and over, and think "what in the world am I saying?". Then I have times like right now, where I do not really have much to say, but a lot to do, so I will just say Happy New Year! I have been praying for all my friends back in Seattle, my friends here, and for all of them to see God more clearly with every step they take, including me.

God, I just pray that each person gives you their heart and soul, with every breath they take, and every moment their awake, have your way in them. May they live for you alone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

confess & pray to/with/for each other

I just read Alexis' comment to my last entry, and it makes me so happy. I know so many people whom are either afraid or simply will not talk about their struggles, in private or public. For me, I am at a lost of words to even begin to tell you the amazing blessings I have had from confessing my struggles, sins, desires, anything. An amazing freedom is bestowed upon the person who can confess what they must change, amazing blessings come from being honest with yourself, God, and all others. I don't believe you have to tell the whole world, like I have chosen, just tell a close friend and/or your spouse.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. [James 5:16]
Notice how James says "… so that you may be healed…" and its not just in my translation, its in all translations, you will be healed. But I see something here which is lacking in my life "… AND pray for each other…" the crucial word "AND" makes a big difference, we must not only confess our sins to each other, but we must pray for each other too! "So you're telling me I have to talk to people?" yes! Yep we must actually make relationships, imagine that, and I completely believe this is not only in the church, but outside the church as well, even if they do not confess their sins, we can still pray with and for them. Therefore, have no fear in telling your sins to people, if they reject you or curse you, it is their problem not yours. Besides, the honest prayer of a person after God's heart, has great power and wonderful results, so what are we be afraid of?
Sing for joy, this song sums it all up:
If we call to Him * He will answer us * If we run to Him * He will run to us * If we lift our hands * He will lift us up * Come now praise His name * All You saints of God

O sing for joy * To God our strength * O sing for joy * To God our strength * Our strength

Draw near to Him * He is here with us * Give Him your love * He's in love with us * He will heal our hearts * He will cleanse our hands * If we rend our hearts * He will heal our land

O sing for joy to God our strength * Our strength [Words by: Lamont Hiebert of Ten Shekel Shirt]

my thorn

You know it never fails, as soon as I am feeling really good about myself, it happens, I fall flat on my face. I let my guard down for just a moment, and boom, I blow it, the enemy attacks, and I let it happen. Sometimes I wonder if there is possible to never fall to lust again. I know keeping the crap out of my mind helps, but as soon as I get a hint of it, the fight is over, and I have lost. I have already e-mailed Matt letting him know I have fallen again. Last night God poured his healing over me, once again, I do not deserve this. I am in such a mess, this is not fair to Alexis, or my future wife and family. I am addicted and I need to be alert and fill my time with serving God when I am alone, otherwise I just follow the hint. I felt absolutely gross last night, upset, sick and disturbed, I have to remember this – nothing good ever comes from it! I need to arm myself – I must move on with myself and let God heal me; stop trying to heal myself. So I will turn to God's word :

Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. [1 Cor. 6:18]
Let there be no (NIV: not even a hint of) sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God's people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. [Eph 5:3-4]
God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin. Then each of you will control your body and live in holiness and honor – not in lustful passion as the pagans do, in their ignorance of God and his ways. [1 Thes. 4:3-5]
Lord, I know I cannot promise to never fall again, I am only human, and the nature within me is to sin. However, I wish to always move forward and not dwell on my downfalls, so as much as I can, I promise I will always move forward, step by step. Destroy my life if I fail to honor this agreement, if I fail to follow through, move forward, and I give up, please destroy my life, and take away your blessings. Change me, cleanse me, I am nothing. This burden is huge - I am giving it to you, your burden is much lighter than the one I have put on myself. I only want to honor you, but instead I dishonor you in my private life, along with my future wife, family and friends. I have no more words, except that I am ashamed my actions from last night, I heard your voice, but instead I turned away from your instructions and gave into selfish desires. I am weak, this is my thorn, I cannot do anything with you. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, December 29, 2003

passion is God's goal for your life

Enemy-occupied territory - that is what this world is. – C. S. Lewis
Our lives can be a great fairy tale, a great romance novel, an amazing miracle, a fascinating adventure, and a life of integrity, all in one. Remember the "Choose your own adventure" books? You know, the books where a number of options were presented at the end of each chapter, and you flipped to the page of the option you wished to explore. I believe our lives are very similar, it is our choice, and sometimes we hit a dead end. However, if you were like me, every time you chose a dead end route, you would trace back your steps and take another option. Life is a choose-your-own-adventure, except you are the main character and reader while God is the author. The "options" are ready for you to choose, to direct your life, sometimes you know the outcomes, other times you do not, sometimes we choose on faith, other times we choose on selfishness.

God is more than we can ever picture, God is more than anything anyone has ever told us, and how else is anything explainable? As much as science, philosophers, and even politicians try to explain how the world works, we will never be content until we are in harmony again with God, the way he created it to be. God created the whole thing, and it is a beautiful mystery. Just as in a great fairy tale, we have stories of kings and people who served God with all their hearts, and we have stories of kings and people who abandoned God, we to can be a part of a great story. God has used people to tell other people about himself, we can only trust, and live by faith, because without faith we cannot trust or love from our hearts.

God wants us to live life from our hearts, not from our minds, he wants us to live a life full of passion, full of emotion, he wants our hearts and flesh to cry out to him, and for other people! This world is not our final destination, this world is not our home, we are foreigners here, we are not meant to live this life, we are meant for so much more! Do you really think God's plan is for us to live in a world of war and suffering? No, he created us to be in a relationship, and not just any relationship, a relationship with the creator of everything! What an amazing story God has already created for us, if we use all we know and experience; we will change the world. With out freewill we have no way of loving from our hearts, without freewill we are nothing we are not special. This is the time for us, soldiers of Jesus Christ, to realize we are at war, and to win this war we do not use any physical weapon, but the most important and beautiful weapon God ever created, LOVE.

Lord Jesus,

I have no words to describe the praise I want to give you. There are no words in my vocabulary to explain how I feel. I do not want my words to be cliché; I want my words to be fresh, to be a candlelight in the pitch-black void of someone's life. I want these words to be a spark of life to ignite an explosion of faith. I ask for your will to work through me, I ask the blinders to be removed from my eyes that have kept me from fulfilling your work. I ask you to place me in the dark lives of any person willing to hear. I ask you to make me more. Jesus Christ I have been selfish, seeking only things which benefit me, seeking only my own amazing story and leaving out others, I want to change my heart, accept my apologies and help me to change. I am grateful for the amazing life you have given me so far, from child-hood trauma, sexual abuse, loneliness, pour self-worth, to amazing skills, relationships, friends, family, love, and most of all freedom and passion. Lord God, take my life, use it, have it all, control my life. In your awe-inspiring name, make it so.

i love life

God has created the most wonderful life for me, and now I know why. More to come later.

Sunday, December 28, 2003


I want to show you a new world; I want to show you a place where you know HE is present. I want to show you a new heart; I want you to feel HIS heart. In my soul, I hunger for you to see; my soul is hungry for you to see HIM. The cry of my heart is for you to be healed; for you to see HIM heal you. I want HIS light to shine on you; I want you to shine HIS light. I lift my head to HIM; and pray for you to experience HIM. I came to change you; but you have changed me. One day you will see your land rise up to HIM; one day your voice will praise HIM. I ask for you to seek HIM with all your heart; I cry to HIM for you to know him. I pray for the LORD of my life to guide you; I ask you to listen for the quiet voice of the LORD. May the LORD cry his tears of mercy upon your land; may the good LORD prepare your soil. It has been said a bright light will shine upon a dark world; you are that light. Do not put your light under a basket; instead, put it on a lamp stand for all to see. Have freedom to laugh and play; HE gives you that freedom. Remember HIS freedom, shows the right from the wrong. From the sea, to the mountains, let HIS glory shine upon you and your people; may your people reflect his glory and honor and praise you. You are the people of the plains; you will provide the nutrients to a hungry and thirsty world. Your people are his people; my heart is with you, and the LORD is with you. We are the human race, created by one GOD, for one purpose, to be LOVED by HIM.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

relationship ministry...

I just searched for "Christian Relationships" and "Christian Relationship Pastoring" and all I got was a bunch of Christian singles websites and other unrelated material. I am going to need to do a lot of research if I want to have some good stuff for our relationships series. You see, healthy relationships are far and few between around here, the majority of married couples are married only because they became pregnant, so they got married, this is what their entire relationship is based on, obligation. My heart for strong healthy relationships is becoming stronger and stronger, so I am excited that in February we will be doing a series on how to build strong relationships centered in Christ.

We have many good relationship books, even some secular ones. While Alexis is here she will be helping me out with some of the activities, and we will be doing a few of the talks together. Both Alexis and I have our hearts set on clear communication, being good role models, and keeping God at the center of our individual lives, and of our lives together. I am very excited to do these things, good strong relationships are some of the strongest testimonies to God's awesome news, but so many people lack the desire to seek God when becoming involved with another human. Alexis and I both know arguments will come our way, life will throw things at us, at times we will feel like we do not love each other, and we will make mistakes. However, if we always seek God, keep him at the center our lives and "us", and always remember that love is not just a feeling, it is also action, put love into action and the feelings will follow, only then will our relationship honor and glorify God for others to see.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. [1 Corinthians 13:4-7]

Friday, December 26, 2003

a snowboarding i have gone

Today we put on the gear, packed the friends in the car, and took off to a village to go skiing and snowboarding! It was not a huge resort as I am use to, it had only a few lifts, but it was much fun. My snowboarding skills are getting much better, I was able to go up and down the runs easily, and I only biffed it once but not that bad. I am sure tomorrow I will be feeling it, but without pain, there is no gain.

Even with rent and lift cards the total cost was $9 for four hours of snowboarding! Not bad… the rent was only $5! So, it was a great day, afterwards we all went back to Sabina, Carol and Denise's for tea and junk, and had a great time talking. Maybe I can talk some of my friends into coming just for the snowboarding/skiing? Love you all, and I can not wait to go again.

so this is Christmas...

The Christmas holiday has been great here. We had Christmas Eve dinner at Sabina's (she lives with Carol and Denise) mom's house in Nowy Targ. It was a traditional Polish Christmas dinner consisting of giving wishes to each person (cool idea when done w/ your heart and not just out of tradition), a couple of soups, bread, pierogi and fish, it was all delicious. Then we went back to Zakopane where we had a ten o'clock church service where one of the girls read the Christmas story from Luke 2, then Denise read "How God Decorates for Christmas" by Ron Melh, then we sung some Christmas carols. At the end of the night we ended the night with a candle light vigil while singing Silent Night in Polish and English, everyone seemed very pleased, since this was our first Christmas as a "church". God is doing a lot in the hearts the people here and I am very excited for what is in store for the New Year. After the service Denise and I went to Slovakia to renew my "tourist" visa, it was fun seeing all the churches beautifully decorated for Christmas and with the lights on for Mid-night mass. I am staying with Denise and Sabina until Sunday, since Carol is currently in Seattle visiting with family, it would not be much fun staying in Zakopane by myself.

Overall Christmas in Poland has been a great experience and a very nice time to relax and talk. I sincerely hope that everyone has a wonderful time this Holiday season, and just remember YOU make the best of it, when you allow HIM to guide your every step. Family's can be very frustrating, and people will be people, everything is better when you allow God to work through you at every moment instead of controlling your own life.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

our King comes to serve and be with us

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancé, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God:

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors."

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.

Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
Then it was time for the purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, "If a woman's first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord." So they offered a sacrifice according to what was required in the law of the Lord--"either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."

Now there was a man named Simeon who lived in Jerusalem. He was a righteous man and very devout. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he eagerly expected the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, "Lord, now I can die in peace! As you promised me, I have seen the Savior you have given to all people.

He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!"

Joseph and Mary were amazed at what was being said about Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, "This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing. But he will be the greatest joy to many others. Thus, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul."

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, and was very old. She was a widow, for her husband had died when they had been married only seven years. She was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King to come and deliver Jerusalem.

When Jesus' parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom beyond his years, and God placed his special favor upon him.

Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn't miss him at first, because they assumed he was with friends among the other travelers. But when he didn't show up that evening, they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn't find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him. He was in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, discussing deep questions with them. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
His parents didn't know what to think. "Son!" his mother said to him. "Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere."

"But why did you need to search?" he asked. "You should have known that I would be in my Father's house." But they didn't understand what he meant.
Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them; and his mother stored all these things in her heart. So Jesus grew both in height and in wisdom, and he was loved by God and by all who knew him. [Luke 2]

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

'twas the night before Christmas

Merry Christmas To ALL!
Read aloud, with emotion and excitement, its fun, and it'll brighten your day, I promise.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

posts of fame

I replaced the "posts with the mosts" section with a new section for posts I find encouraging, uplifting, or good for stretching. Right now the majority of them are my own, but there are quite a few from other people, you might want to see if I have included any of yours. Eventually I will convert it to a blogroll to make it simpler to update. It is a work in progress and I know there are a lot more great posts to include. If you know of any other great posts, PLEASE let me know. I want to honor other blogger's by recognizing posts which have fed me in some way. Have a great day. If you do not get another chance to visit until after the Savior's day; Merry Christmas!

keep it simply about food

That is my new motto, life is meant to be taken only one-step at a time. If there is anything, I have learned while being here it is to be simple. So with this new attitude will come some changes here on Food for Fish. The first change will be to live up to the name of the place "Food for Fish", my original idea for this blog was for it to be a place for people to come and receive some food. Food is something that keeps the body alive, food gives the body nutrients, and with out food we die. The fish are people, as Christians we live a part of our lives as a fish in a fishbowl. We are fed by our master to stay alive, and our master has only good food to offer. I will share with the world the food I am fed, and the effects of that food. I will offer up any encouragement I can think of, I will offer lessons I have learned, I may occasionally offer the struggles I am going through, but only if I have an idea of a solution. There will be some minor changes on the sidebar to make the site more about feeding others and less about me. I will keep it simple, a place to be fed, and to share whatever food we may have. Go fourth and be blessed.

Monday, December 22, 2003

dear God,

I remember that magnificent moment; that magnificent moment where I touched you. "And step by step you lead me", those were the first words to come from my heart to your's. I had no idea what those words truly meant; I had no idea where you would lead me. On that day I fell in love with you, no, on that day I began to love you. I am not ashamed to say that I love you. I hurt you so badly, I have told many lies, I have wounded people using your name, I have hid my light, I have ran from you. By day or night I see you and I feel you, that is how I know you remain near with me.

Even when I blamed you for my problems, even when I used you for my own selfish reasons, even when I fall, you opened the door and said, "Come home my child." There must be something wrong because I do not deserve this. How does your heart go on? How can you always give? I know I am not the only one, I know how it feels to be hurt, how do you survive? How can it be possible? I do not know why you put up with me. Oh God why? Why me? I know why, and everyday it becomes more unreal, that you would keep that door open for me.

I want to know you more. I promise I'll start talking to you more, you talk to me much more than I ever talk to you. When you touched my life you made me a different person, please help me change forever. Everything in my life I dedicate to you now, I will try and claim those things, do not allow me to. My life, in the past, now, and in the future is yours. This is my proclamation of living for you. I do not want to ask for anymore, I want to give more, take all that I have, lead me to that special place.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Who are we in Zakopane?

Our church is a mix of "traditional" and "something else", we start out with a meet and greet time, since we meet in our apartment it is very casual, and at the same time not comfortable for Polish people here. For most of our people meeting and greeting a person they do not know is out of the box, and "not necessary", "Jesus is the center not people" is something we have heard. That to me is a very huge issue that is exactly why we still do the meet and greet, people need to know people. Then we have a time of musical-worship (I hyphenate it because worship is more than music, so hopefully this specifies just one type of worship), afterwards we have coffee, tea and announcements. Then a time of sharing a message, everyone is involved in tear down, setup, children's church, and eventually worship. I have even though of introducing the idea to Carol and Denise of sharing the "sermon" responsibility, but not quite sure how to do that without having it became a show-box, pride is an issue with our older-in-faith people.

So there you have it, this is "our christian fellowship" in Zakopane, Poland. Its different, it is a work in process, and it needs prayer, just as any piece of the body of Christ needs prayer. The vision we have is a fellowship that after experiencing the wholeness of Jesus, will reach out to its community through service-evangelism, not street evangelize.

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit. [Jer. 17:7-8]
PS. Does anyone know what happened to BlogMatrix? My RSS isn't working because they have been down for about 2 days now... sad day.

alexis is lavender, i'm ghostwhite, what are you?

So I took it yesterday and I am "ghostwhite", which I found over at Kristen's blog... Alexis is lavender this is her:

you are lavender

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You're good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

It is quite accurate, which makes us very similar except the last line... Mike and his wife Janet also took it.

all i want for christmas

i love christmas lots and lots of instant oatmeal, apple cinnamon is my favorite.
to be renewed and more able to meet the needs of people.
to have full confidence and wisdom from the holy spirit.
to hear from the people who have touched my life.
be someone people here can ask about God.
drop my pride and become more humble.
to be all i can be through Jesus Christ.
is to talk with all my friends and family.
to have money for new clothes.
to love and be loved.
touch other's lives.
that's all i want for christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

i miss ya man

matt suhayda is my bestest bro i remember finally meeting a guy who was with God back in those bremerton days.
i remember not knowing what to do while you were in antarctica.
i remember being encouraged just by your presence.
i remember the long conversations at starbucks.
i remember the amazing enthusiastic prayer.
i remember switchfoot @ the roxy.
i remember "you're the man".
i remember "i love you man".
i love you man.

i miss this guy

jon johnson is my friend
remember creation 2002?
remember the kirkland waterfront?
remember switchfoot @ graceland?
remember the tuesday night worship?
remember just chillin out at "the lodge"?
remember the lifehouse @ bumbershoot concert?
remember jamming with carly (who I got the picture from)?
remember being marrooned in the U-district with really annoying people after the inn?

ghost white?!

It's accurate though, I think.

you are ghostwhite

Your dominant hue is blue, making you a good friend who people love and trust. You're good in social situations and want to fit in. Just be careful not to compromise who you are to make them happy.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
the html color quiz

Thanks to Kristen.

Friday, December 19, 2003

exactly how i feel

I couldn't get to sleep, and this song was playing, read every word, and know how I always feel, every day of my life! I never want to lose this passion, NEVER!
Desperate for changing
Starving for truth
Closer where I Started
Chasing after you

I'm falling even more in love with you
Letting go of all I've held onto
I'm standing here until you make me move
I'm hanging by a moment here with you

Forgetting all I'm lacking
Completely incomplete
I'll take your invitation
You take all of me

I'm living for the only thing I know
I'm running and not quite sure where to go
I don't know what I'm diving into
Just hanging by a moment here with you

There's nothing else to lose
Nothing left to find
There's nothing in the world
That could change my mind
There is nothing else
There is nothing else...

Just hanging by a moment
Hanging by a moment..
Hanging by a moment...
Hanging by a moment here with you..
[Lifehouse: Hanging by a moment]

that's it, just be real, don't be defensive

Mr. Harris says fighting lust requires rules. He has made rules for himself in regard to entertainment, because he believes that God says "you can't love me if you are gorging yourself in pop culture and media." And he rejects the suggestion that it is "legalistic" to make such rules.
"We're not legalistic about not starting a fire in the living room — hello! We don't want to burn the house down. It's about our lives," Mr. Harris says. "You've got to have some rules to avoid consequences of lust, and I would not have written the book if I did not believe change is possible." [Joshua Harris - author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", "Boy Meets Girl" (my personal favorite), and his newest "Not even a hint". quote from an interview with The Washington Times.]

fifty-five days and more

Driving down the mountain highway, he wears a big grin. Melodies of God's love are filling the car. The highway twists and turns, the weather outside is crisp, a thick layer of freshly fallen snow covers the landscape. Around one bend, and another, the city bobs in and out of view as the car goes up and over the hills. With the onramp to the free way just past this traffic light, he impatiently creeps into the intersection. Red, yellow, green, go. Pulling onto the freeway the car accelerates as fast as it can, and he merges onto the Autostrada, the sign reads "Krakow international airport – 13km".

Pulling into the airport parking lot the young man finds the first parking stall and quickly grabs his things, locks the car, and goes to the terminal. Just inside the doors are the exit gates for "Arrivals". He is of course early, and with nothing else to do, he just reads the flight information, waiting for Austrian Airlines flight 5597 to arrive. Who is on Austrian Airlines flight 5597? A young woman who has come to experience the young man's call and to help in the calling. The reason for coming is love, love created by our savior and creator, because we read his book. God has written this romance story, and they intend on making it work. Memories will be made, and the main goal is to reflect a healthy relationship centered in Jesus, and to bring hope to the young lives of Zakopane.

In fifty-five days, I will be traveling that highway. In fifty-five days, Alexis will be coming to Zakopane.

I did not grow up in a "Christian" household, we tried, but church was never an event. Communication in my family was never clear, although we tried our hardest, God was missing. My brother and I were full of pride, which alienated our mother, who does love God, maybe had we been more open in the beginning things could have been different. I was sexually abused by a "friend", making my sexuality a huge problem through out my high-school years. At the beginning of my walk with Christ I was involved with a girl who broke my heart in many ways, and I was still confused over my sexuality.

About a year and a half ago, I finally told my entire story to my old youth pastor, I was freed from all the guilt and shame of my past. After that I became who God created me to be. I became content being single, I also became confident in myself, and took the courage to serve God in a foreign place.

I believe with all my heart, and on my life, because of those decisions, and because of my past, I have the life I have now. This is only the beginning of something huge. Every blessing you pour out, I'll turn back to praise! [me]
While your at it, go check this out.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

one peddler, two drunkards, and me

Yesterday was the third visit from a very special person, this special person has not once, not twice, but three times attempted to communicate with me. He has twice walked into our apartment uninvited, and as of yesterday scared the hell out of me (I don't like it in me anyway). Chris is never here when this guy decides to visit, so I never know what he wants or why he is coming into our place. The first time he visited, I was just about to leave when I opened the door and there he was right at the entrance, I was in a hurry and had no idea what he wanted. The second time, he actually rang the doorbell, and I opened the door and he stepped in, I tried to ask (in Polish, and English) what he wanted, I had to gently push him out the door (I was on my way out again). The third time (yesterday) the doorbell rang while I was reading a book, I finished my sentence, got up, didn't turn any lights on when I went down the stairs. Then I opened the door to the entrance hall, and there he was in the dark, this time I yelped, and just asked him in English what he wanted, and that I could not help him, and he needed to leave and to never do this again (I doubt he understood). Each time I have ran into him his breath smells of alcohol and cigarettes, one time he motioned for cigarettes, sorry bud I can't help you with that.

Tonight on my way home from the English school, I was stopped by two drunkards, both got a little upset that I did not speak Polish. Then a peddler who walked with me for about a block trying to speak English stopped me and showed me some kind of flyer with Mary on it, then asked for five Złoty (that's about a dollar and a quarter) of which I did not have. Then God really convicted me as I walked through the center of town, and up the hill to our place. My attitude towards them is not necessarily mean, but it is not kind either. I started to think about this, then God put on my heart to not just "pray for them", it was pray with them. I do not know how this is going to work; it isn't as if they will understand me anyway. Therefore, I am now praying I will have the courage to do it next time.

"But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on the right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' "Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, `Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his demons! For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.' "Then they will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?' And he will answer, `I assure you, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life." [Matthew 25:31-46]
I do not want to be a goat.

a polish christmas

'twas the week before christmas...

more on purity

Go read this post from Scott. I admit I am in the same boat, my body may be "virgin" but my mind is not. Thank God for Jesus, I am a new creation, even if it does have to be done, over, and over, and over.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. God's terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. [Colossians 3:5-11]
This is what comes right after what I have declared my "life motto" (under "about me" on the sidebar), it is the way to live, and if you read further Paul insists that it is all a matter of our heart, and in the previous chapter rules and regulations will not produce the life God wants for us. God sets us free! I do not feel bound by the fact I have friends who monitor all my internet activity, I feel even more free because all I want is to honor and glorify God in my private and public life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

body and spirit

Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don't you know that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one." But the person who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. [1 Corinthians 6:15-20]
Scott referred to this passage and I have been thinking about it (I added verses 15-18). My answer to his question " But is that all He wants of us in treating our bodies as a temple unto Him?" is nope. I believe sexual sin is the most damaging, and the hardest to come out of, but it is not the only sin you can do against your body. Drinking, smoking, taking drugs, gluttony, tattoos, piercings, etc, all can be things to keep God from being glorified and honored with your body.

Are they sins in and of themselves? No, the motivation is the sin and the thought behind the action(s) is the sin. A drink to celebrate someone's wedding is a completely honorable thing to do, going out and having a drink with a friend to hang out can ultimately be used to glorify God. Smoking, I do not see any real good use, but usually it is a replacement for something, or was, and now the person is simply addicted. God will fix the addiction or fill the emptiness when the person gives God the control. All of the things that cause us to dishonor and deglorify our bodies stem from other issues in our life.

Sexual lust is the sin, not the masturbation, but masturbation is the result of the sin. In all my years of living, talking with other guys (I have not talked to a girl who has struggled with this problem, but now know they are out there), the masturbation was triggered by lustful images, thoughts, etc. Once you give into the lust, you have lost, and you fall into the trap, sometimes you can jump the trap, but the sin and damage are done. I do not know anyone (including myself) who fell into this trap, without triggering it with lustful images and thoughts. Yes sometimes in the morning (and other strange times) it can be a temptation, thoughts and images always fuel more, and then it becomes sin once I/we give into the temptation.

All I know is that I am feeling a hundred times better since some very trustworthy friends are now watching the source to most of my motivation. In addition, I am keeping care of my body much better since I came here; as a result, I have more energy and am quicker at changing my thoughts before they go too far. I also believe since my body (or temple) is in better shape I can see and hear God more clearly now, a well-maintained temple has much more to offer than one which has been destroyed. I choose to honor God with all my body, mind, soul, and spirit. Thank you Scott! All honor and praise ultimately to God.


I have been reading "The Next Generation Leader" in chapter three Andy Stanley challenges the reader to create a "dream job" description. I happily took up the challenge, sat down, and started thinking. This is what I came up with :

Public high school IT specialist and teacher.
Oversees the IT throughout school (or district) * Teaches students to troubleshoot and implement the newest in information technologies and network technology * Trains student groups to administer and troubleshoot technology and communicate with school staff * Is head administrator for school IT systems * Creates curriculum to fulfill a number of different IT certifications * Uses real-life "live" situations to train and teach students troubleshooting, problem solving, and communication skills for the future * Is responsible for maintaining all network needs of staff and students * Works with teams of students and other staff to provide help desk for staff and students
I like it! I want that job.

You may be wondering; how does that have anything to with ministry? I want to work in a place with influence and a public high school has plenty of people to influence that is my main ministry. Then as for a more "traditional" ministry I see myself being some kind of pastor for the non-traditional kind of people (maybe speaking at an "alternative" service or something), for a local church where our group could disciple the students I create a relationship with, and where my ministry team can provide an environment for discipleship.

Where does Zakopane, Poland fit into all of this? I want to create a relationship with the church(s) here so in the future I could help establish a mission program for young adults and youth. Maybe even some kind of internship exchange program, where we can send young adults from Seattle to Zakopane, and visa-versa so we can create a true kingdom culture which spreads across cultures, and national borders -- God's kingdom culture does not know of such things.
God's purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. [Ephesians 1:12]

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

sexual lust and temptation

Anyone who has been visiting here for any amount of time knows that I have had a long battle with sexual purity. I know many other Christian guys younger and older but mostly my age who struggle with this all the time. Some of them would never admit it in public as I choose too, but they have admitted to me they are enslaved to it. I know I felt like a slave to sexual lusts, desires, and sin for years and years. Before I was Christian, I did not feel as guilty about it, but I had a small thought in the back of my mind which made me uncomfortable. There are actually many good resources to help us, but the best piece of advice I ever received was "turn your thoughts to someone else, some other person's needs", but even with that advice, I was not strong enough. So in order to strengthen myself I had to make myself accountable.

I signed up for Covenant Eyes, it is a small piece of software you install on your computer, which creates a log of all your internet activity. Then it sends the logs in a scored format, to any accountability partner(s) of your choice via email at whatever interval they choose. It does cost $75/year, but I believe this to be a fair price, it is not a simple program and if you do not have someone you can trust they will provide (an) accountability partner(s) for you . For just $75/year, you have another weapon against the evil that tempts us. As far as I can tell, it is a very hard-core piece of software, very well written, and can not be fooled (I have tried, and I am a certified IT technician, but when you disable it, or prevent it from loading, your internet connection is broken, it replaces crucial files) and in order to uninstall it you must get an uninstallation code from them, which is only good for that day. There is no slow-down in your internet access, and it works with any kind of connection. You only pay per username, so you may install it on multiple computers, but it will be under your username and sent to your accountability partners, so if you do not trust someone in your house-hold, do not let them use the internet under your name (you can also set it up so you must logon, therefore no one can use it under your name). In my opinion, it is far better than an internet filter, because those can be fooled, plus covenant eyes is written by Christians for Christians, and you can not fool a good friend.

Even with this I have fallen to sexual temptation (temptation is not the sin, giving into the temptation is the sin) a few times, but from what use to be at least once, if not two, three, or four times, has now turned into maybe once a month. It is getting better all the time, I hope to go a year, but I will only go one day at a time, and continue to always think of others when the temptation comes knocking at my door.

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman. [Job 31:1]

as long as there's a heaven, there'll be a failure to excommunicate.

What can I do to keep my spirituality, ministry, household and friendships growing and in balance? I need to create a schedule for myself, a realistic one. I want to make a difference (who doesn't?), and I think to do that I am going to need to create a schedule with a purpose to seek out people. I only work at the English school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from five to nine in the evening, so the rest of the time I have basically devoted to reading books, and doing whatever needs to be done. This has been okay, but it enables me to procrastinate, I always work best when I have people I need to meet or do something with, so I am going to meet with people regularly.

My plan is to visit some of the people in our church at the shops and stores they work in, plan some time to hang out with some of our young adults regularly. I also want to go on some prayer walks around the city, maybe while I drop by some of the shops, you know, let them know I actually care. Things like this have always been on my heart, but other things have kept me from fulfilling them, mostly because I just have not planned it out, so it is shoved out of the way.

I will also be blocking out time to work on ministry things, such as our young adult meetings, and other times like that. There have been a few occasions where "not enough" people came to our meetings, so we shelved the topic and did something on the fly, I think I'll pull out some of those things, and then hopefully with the contact I'll be making we can work on those things.

I think after the New Year things are going to take off, but I do not want to put a high expectation on it, otherwise I know I will set myself up for disappointment. I know God is here, and I know I am more than ready than ever before, so let all the glory, honor, and praise be to Jesus.

It's the principle * It's the issue that your principal would dismiss you. * Because you don't fit into that all - American Box. * That coffin created for creative thought. * It's disgusting his priorities * And how we're entrusting him with authority. * His gavel's gone down before he looked in your * Heart. He finished this race(ism) before he reached the start. * Jesus loved the outcasts. * He loves the ones the world just loves to hate. * And as long as there's a heaven, there'll be a failure to excommunicate. * The world just keeps you at an arm's length. * Every week you work up the strength to fight the flames that are hurled. * Let your faith shine right through. * You know it's the world * Versus Jesus and you. It's disgusting, their priorities. * And how we're entrusting them with authority. * Their gavel's gone down before they looked in your heart. * They finished this race(ism).
[Relient K: The Anatomy of the tongue in cheek: Failure to excommunicate]

Monday, December 15, 2003

out of my mouth

Denise: So, Chris, what do you think about being pastor of the dream place sometime in the future?

Chris: Well, I don't really see it on the horizon at all.

Me (not even a half second later): That's because it's on the other side of the world.

Where on Earth did that come from? I am amazed at what comes out of my mouth sometimes. Oh, that's right, I am a child of the amazing King of the universe, it didn't come from Earth, it came from that Kingdom.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

thank you for letting me ramble (as if you had a choice)

Thank God, he is so amazing and awesome; nothing right now would be possible with out him. I have had so many things in the last 48 hours go wrong, I do not see how people could claim God does not exist. Yes, I know that sounds backwards, but all of these things to go wrong are human wrongs, where it is clear someone along the way made a mistake (including myself), and the consequences are all coming out this weekend. It is okay though, I know God has the means planned, and I take refuge in that.

Right now as I type this, I bet Alexis is having lunch with Carol, I wonder how things are going. Unfortunately Carol won't be barrowing my car because the Car Tabs I ordered through Washington State's website, either did not reach my old apartment, or my old roommates have misplaced them, either way it bums me out. However, I know Carol will understand, I just want to know where they are, because I am sure it won't be that easy to get replacements. I pray that Alexis is not overwhelmed as she was last night when I talked to her, both of us were very overwhelmed with everything. We said some things to each other which did not help anything (I was trying to "fix" the problem, and she was trying to "make" me listen) we had a very intense discussion, but those kinds of discussions are the building blocks of a strong relationship; in the end we were happy.

Has anyone else noticed anything strange with the U.S. postal service? My car tabs are apparently missing (my roommates say that they do not have them, so I am assuming they never go to the apartment, but there is a possibility they got there but someone thought it was junk mail, because it comes in something that looks like junk mail), the phone I ordered for Alexis has apparently not arrived at the apartment either (my roommates back home do not know anything about that either… hmmm) and the package which Alexis sent is still not here, its been almost three weeks, usually I get packages in just over one week. So… is the USPS working right for everyone else? I hate it when things, which normally work with out a problem, all of a sudden tweak out, I know we are humans but when something that was reliable all of a sudden is not, I get frustrated.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

pride and stress

I hate pride, and I hate stress, the combination of the two is an explosion waiting to happen. The conditions were just right tonight to start world war three and pride and stress were the two active ingredients. I am the most productive when under or in a stressful situation. So, for me I personally was not stressed, and I did my best to not be prideful and allow the ideas of others to be tried out first, then I took my turn, but it seems that my ideas do not mean much under these circumstances. Everything is okay though, my pride was not hurt, it was under attack, but I did not fight back, fighting back would have done nothing to help the situation. I know three things that would have made the entire night much better: First, we should have prayed before the meeting for ourselves, and for the people who would come, second, we should have prayed with the group when the meeting started, and third, a time of worship in the beginning I believe would have defused some of the stresses of the day. I must remember to bring this up at our next leaders meeting, or else we will be doomed.

I hate it when I offer to do something (when I can see that the person is stressed and does not want to do it), such as clean the dishes, or some other chore, and then that person does it anyway. This really makes me feel worthless as if my offer meant nothing. It is one of the biggest pet peeves I have, and I really need to let everyone know this.

Please pray for the stress in everyone's lives here to be defused. I have loved the last week, for most people it would have been a stressful week, for me it was great. I got many things done, except everyone else seems to have been burned out by it, and that makes me sad (for them) because no one wants to simply relax and hang out. I enjoy running errands, doing things on the computer for others, and simple other things, to make life less stressful, for others this is stressful, for me it is serving and gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

Friday, December 12, 2003

randomly rambling

I do not do random ramblings very much, in fact I do not remember the last time I did just ramble on. So many things have happened here in Zakopane since I arrived in September, not just things here, but things in my heart and my spirit too. The battles and triumphs are too many to count, but each one of them has changed me a little. Thank God that I can keep contact back home, not because I am home sick (although that does, has, and I know will happen more), but because I can stay aware of prayer needs back home. I have been able to use a few situations from home now, as a way of witnessing and showing how God's culture works, and that it does not matter where you are, bad things happen to good people, bad things happen to God's people, but only God can change those things, if we allow him.

I have seen so much, yet I have not acted on much of it. I am beginning to realize that one year here does no justice, for me or for the people here. However, I still have a strong calling to Seattle, but now that calling I believe will have a connection to Poland, not sure how, but I strongly believe in maintaining relationships, that I will do. I am so excited for things to come; I am no longer discouraged by the lack of "fruit" showing, like one of my commenters pointed out, some will sow, and others may nurture. Therefore, I will accomplish my roll, as long as I am honoring and praising God as I do it.

Although I have had almost zero communication with Alexis this week, I am even more in Love with her. I know that time alone, and silence between us does not lead to doubts or fears, instead it leads to confidence and reassurance we are living for the Lord. She sent a wonderful Christmas card to Carol and Denise, in fact, it was the first Christmas card that they have received this Christmas season, and yep that is my Alexis! I cannot wait to spend some time with her here, and make memories here in Poland; only the life of a Christ-follower, one that I do not deserve.

I am still struggling with some things… I would like to know why some people seem to put me in a funk where I do not want to talk to anyone. Other times I realize I have a very pathetic prayer life, much like the little mystic test said, I enjoy hearing from God more than I speak to him, I would like that to change, because relationships do not work with one-way communication. Another issue right now is getting my thoughts in line "on the fly", if I sit down and right down things, I can communicate clearly, but on the thought nothing comes out the way I want. It is not possible (most of the time) to sit down and right my thoughts out on some things. I just do not work that way, and I realize I may never be "good" at it, but I think it is possible for me to answer questions quickly and clearly. I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through me, and that I do not feel rushed to answer a question.

I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ--for this will bring much glory and praise to God. [Philippians 1:9-11]

Thursday, December 11, 2003

what is discipleship?

"Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye. Don't give what is holy to unholy people. Don't give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you." [Matthew 7:1-6]
This passage is incredibly misused, especially with Christians my age. I have heard on a number of occasions "don't judge me" it is a great defense for those who do not want to take responsibility for their actions. I will admit I have at times deserved those words being used against me, because of the way I said it, not what I said. I believe many people do not understand how to give proper criticism, suggestion, sound Godly advice, they just know how to say, "Dancing leads to sex, and therefore you can not dance".

I believe the failure of Christians to disciple new believers is the cause of this "do not judge me attitude". Without discipleship, all we get is a body of believers who do not need to take personal responsibility for their own wellbeing or of others. It is a lot easier to set yourself apart from the "world" and be "holy" than it is to go into the world and reach out to the sinners (did they forget they are sinners too?). There is a great discussion on discipleship happening over at LivingRoom, go take a look. I believe when a person is properly discipled they will easily show the fruits of the spirit, and will not provoke the "do not judge me" card from others. Of course discipleship is a long process, reading a book, going through a discipleship class etc, will not immediately produce a disciple of Christ or a Christ-follower, it may produce a Christ-listener, but not a follower. Even the disciples of the Bible went through a process, a three-year process! In fact, in retrospect it also took me about three years to go from a simple "believer", then "listener" to "follower". We cannot force someone to change from their sins; we can only show the way.

My passion is to form a small group of young adults who are willing to learn and be dicipled here in Zakopane, so after I leave they can then disciple more. This of course will take a lot of personal time, as I do not have three years here; I pray they will see the path. Carol, Denise, and Chris are here for the long haul so I know the discipleship process will continue.
Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." [Matthew 28:18-20]
We have all read, or heard these words before, it wasn't just "go and tell people about me", it was "go teach all with love, what I have taught you".

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

busy and tired, but excited!

I am exhausted, I got up at 6:50am with out a problem, and ready to venture off to Krakow again! This time I had to take the bus from Zakopane to Nowy Targ to Carol and Denise's place, it is a half hour walk to the bus station, and about a half hour on the bus, by car it only takes 20 min from door to door. However, I was fully awake (thank God, I was able to get to bed before midnight last night) and ready for the day ahead. We left Nowy Targ at about eight and were in Krakow just after half past nine. Our first stop, coffee, you just cannot get Seattleites away from coffee it was great! The main reason for going to Krakow was to pick up our friend Howard from England, but his plane would not arrive until 1:45pm, so we had some time to kill. Therefore, we went Christmas shopping, I got a few things for people back home, and we got some Christmas decorations for our apartment, on Saturday we get the tree!

I am slowly preparing for our young adults group on Saturday, Denise and I will be tag-team teaching about what the Holy Spirit does (not the fruits, but what does the Holy Spirit do for us) in our lives. I am hoping for some kind of object lesson and hopefully I can pull something from my past to demonstrate it even further. I have lots of information; I am just not sure how we are going to dispense it. I know the Holy Spirit will lead them into all truth; it is just a matter of loving on them, so they can feel safe and comfortable to ask us questions. This is unquestionably a point of prayer, thanks!

Personally, I am doing a lot better than this time last week! Thank you for your prayers. I can't believe I'll actually be going to bed before ten tonight, I can't remember the last time I did that! I have many things rattling around in my brain lately just not sure how to word them right now. All I know for sure is this: God is good all the time, Jesus is much more than I can ever imagine, and I have so much to learn. However, one-step at a time will make life much better, I do not need to see all the steps, and I do not need an instruction booklet because I have a personal guide.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me. [John 16:13-14]

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

i'm a mystic

So I took a "spiritual types" test over at MethodX and it is fairly accurate, except that I like being with people, but at times I enjoy my solitude, I would say being with people is more important than my solitude. Take a look at what it said about me…

You are a Mystic, known for your imaginative, intuitive spirituality. You value peace, harmony, and inner silence. Mystics are nurtured by walking alone in the woods or sitting quietly with a trusted friend. You may also enjoy poetry, meditation, wordless prayer, candles, art, books, and anything else that helps you connect with God.
Mystics experience God best through rich images and symbols. You are contemplative, introspective, intuitive, and focused on an inner world as real to you as the exterior one. Hearing from God is more important to you than speaking to God. Others may attribute human characteristics to God, but you see God as ineffable, unnamable, and more vast than any known category. You are intrigued by God's mystery.

Mystics want to inspire and persuade others, and need to live lives of significance. At times you push the envelope of spirituality, helping the rest of us imagine who we might become if we followed your lead.

Sometimes you may feel a bit guilty about your need for solitude and silence. If so, you probably have bought into the American myth that says being alone and doing nothing is lazy, antisocial, and unproductive. Stop it -- now. Give yourself permission to retreat and be alone. It's essential for your well-being.

On the other hand, don't get so carried away retreating that you become a recluse. That only deprives the world of your gifts and deprives you of the lessons that come from being with others. Some Mystics may have a true vocation for solitary prayer, but the rest of you need to alternate retreat time with involvement and interaction. [via: MethodX: The Test]

newsletter 3

Well my attitude is changing, and I am getting up earlier! I don't remember if I mentioned the snow which finally has come, well with snow comes cold temperatures, and cold temperatures means using heat, the heat is electric (for now, we have the option of coal but it may be a while) so we are spending nearly $150/month for electricity! In fact, right now, the heat is off, and I am freezing even though I am wearing a sweatshirt, hoodie sweater and I am moving my legs up and down as fast as possible trying to keep my blood moving! My support last month was $150 at this rate we have some problems. However, as always I know God will provide I have never had an issue before which kept me from fulfilling the desires God puts on my heart, nothing is going to stop me now. I finally have my third newsletter done you can find it here.

For the past three days I have actually woke up and gotten out of bed before nine in the morning! This is great, not only do I have time; I have motivation now to get done the things I want. I still have not picked up the guitar, but I think that on Thursday I will have the opportunity.

I am not going to write anymore, read my newsletter, then get away from the computer and do something for someone.

Monday, December 08, 2003

gotta have something nice to say

Yes, I could write about more troubles, struggles, and pitfalls, but I am going to choose to say something nice. I am attempting to adjust my attitude, although when I am tired it does not come naturally. One prayer item; an attitude adjustment, finding a solution to the unknown reason for the attitude problem, its not being thrown in anyone's face, but, its keeping me silent and ineffective. I do not want to be this way, but I find I am not as stable as I use to be. God is teaching me many awesome things, and I am looking forward to enjoying them, but I have a feeling it will be in retrospect – you can always see things clearly after-the-fact.

And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share his glory and his honor when he returns. As a fellow elder, this is my appeal to you: Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly--not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example. And when the head Shepherd comes, your reward will be a never-ending share in his glory and honor. You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for "God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble." So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. [1 Peter 5:1-9]
Today I spent the day with Carol and Denise, as I do every Monday; it is always a good time. There is something comforting being with other people from the same cultural background. I have realized I am much more of a deep-friendship kind of person though; people gain my trust by opening up, sharing troubles, and then asking me for the same thing, and exchanging. This is not going to happen here – at least not naturally. I want to share my entire life, all the good and the bad with everyone here; I want to tell them my life story. This is how I initiate friendships, it may be strange, but it is how I work. In the States, this is not a normal thing either, but people are a lot more open to hear about it. My goal over the next few weeks is to go out and share my heart with my Polish friends; I want them to know the real Travis.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

a wonderful bumpy road

At 1:15am this morning I received an email from Carol (one of the missionaries I am here working with) and fortunately I was online. Because Denise had fallen sick with some kind of nasty stomach bug, they needed someone to take Peter to the bus station in Krakow (he is going to Basel, Switzerland for an internship). I was a little hesitant because I knew I would not get to sleep for another few hours (sleeping until 3pm does not make it easy to get to bed and wake up the next morning, early), but I said yes. After responding yes I was sure I would regret it, I didn't really want to drive the two hours to Krakow, just to turn around and drive another two hours back by myself. I called Alexis and wined to her, but she is great and reminded me why I am in Poland, to serve, duh! That means I need to do things I do not like sometimes, or things that are not convenient for me. However, as I hung up I was still fearing it, and not happy about getting up in the morning, two hours later I finally fell asleep. I woke up to the phone ringing at a quarter to seven; it was Carol just confirming when she would be at our place with Peter. I slept until my alarm went off at ten to eight, took a shower, had a nice hot bowl of Apple and Cinnamon oat meal (thanks to my wonderful aunt Maggie!) and actually I was feeling very good.

The drive to Krakow was awesome, it started snowing (finally!) on Saturday around here, and it is beautiful! I had fun talking with Peter, and sending him off at the bus station. The drive home though was the best, and last night it was the most dreaded part. I praised God the whole way home, blasted worship music and other great music, and had a great intimate time with the Lord. My attitude is completely different; I really needed that time, to be truly by myself, now I know why I love driving! I cannot wait for the next opportunity to do it again, thank you Jesus!

During the drive, I really felt God put some things on my heart, and tell me a few things. One of those things was prayer; he convicted me of my pathetic (not prophetic) prayer life. I always get urges and images in my mind of people to pray for, and sometimes during worship, I feel the impression to pray for someone on the spot, but I have never taken the step to do it. Sometimes I will pray in my head, maybe utter it under my breath, but never directly to the person or aloud for others to hear. Only once have I stepped up and obeyed the Holy Spirit in this area, it is an area I have many reservations in, not sure why, just do. I will try from this point forward to step out of my comfort zone, and into this new world, which I think will open up new doors for relationship building. I Praise you Lord Jesus, unto you be glory, unto you be honor, unto you be praises, forever and ever!

Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you! I will honor you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy. [Psalm 63:3-5]

Saturday, December 06, 2003

food for fish attitude change.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. [Romans 14:17-19]
Seeing as how things have been outright depressing around here, I think an attitude change is in need… again. I have been playing with the idea of weather or not I might be a little depressed, would I even be able to think that if I was? I don't know, I know nothing about depression, but I don't think I really am, I think I'm just frustrated and discouraged. So here are some ideas to get my mind off these things.

I really want to learn Guitar, I actually have membership to a guitar learning website, and when I self teach myself something I think I do pretty well. After all I self taught myself the computer and networking skills I have, which kept me employed at the same place for five years, let me live on my own, and go to school, until I came here. I think that once I put myself to it, I will do pretty well. For ten years, I played trombone, so I am not completely clueless to music.

I like reading books, but I do not like to start them. I have at least two books I would like to read, but I just have not picked them up yet: The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti and Revival's Golden Key by Ray Comfort. I need to get on them. Has anyone read either one? I do not really know much about 'em, I just received them from some friends.

I also have many topics I would like to post here; I just have not taken the energy to put my thoughts together. I also want to give thanks to all of the other bloggers whose blogs I read they are awesome.

I think I should create a weekly schedule, I have thought about this before, but the rebellious side of me is not going for it. I have had a schedule for as long as I can remember (except summer breaks), and I have enjoyed it, but now I want it again, at least to a point. With a schedule, maybe I will accomplish some things.

Thanks for reading and praying through this mess. I think I will be using "food for fish" as more of a place to talk about my ideas on ministry, and the struggles I face, and the triumphs I receive… that has always been the goal, but sometimes it takes me to repeat it to go back on track. Thanks and be blessed.

Three months down

Tomorrow will be the end of my third month here in Zakopane; one third of my year here is over. To tell you the truth, I am not quite sure what I have accomplished, I know things have moved forward, but I do not really have a sense of anything being "done". Sure, we have started a few things, and those things are going great, but seeing fruit is another story. I know it will take time and I need to be patient but if I am not seeing any fruit than are we doing things right?

Lately I have been getting more and more ideas for ministry, but not for here, for Seattle. I think I may be attached to Seattle a little bit more than I am willing to admit, I already had one little session with God where I gave up my heart for Seattle, but apparently I need to do more. "That won't work here", is what I am told about many of the ideas I come up with , It is very frustrating for me and quite discouraging and it is beginning to take its toll on me. I almost just want to say, "Why don't I just try it and see for myself" I know they may have experience but let me try maybe it will be different.

My energy level has been zero the past couple of weeks. I have been regularly sleeping in past noon, I am sure staying up until three or four in the morning does not help, but the energy level is still low even when I am awake. I have many goals I have set for myself, but "they can wait" is all I tell my self. In the mornings when my alarm does go off (at 9:00am) my brain is not working and I just turn it off, then sleep another four or five hours.

Thanks for reading all this craziness; I guess I have some expectations, which are not being met, so my motivation level is down. It also does not help that my friendship/fellowship network is nothing compared to what I had in Seattle. I have a great group of friends who I can bounce ideas off, get suggestions, etc; here I have none of that. Carol and Denise are awesome but quite busy, Chris is great too, but he works so much I hardly see him. I am so use to having a regular schedule too, that now that I do not have one I am not sure what to do with myself. I have been slowly (but rather unsuccessfully) going out to drink or have coffee with the other young adults, but so far two out of three have canceled.

I am trying to see what God has in all of this, I know I need to be looking towards him and not towards this "network of friends" I had back home. I know I am here not only to serve, but also to grow.

Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. [Matthew 7:7-8]
Lord, Jesus
I ask for you to show me how to reach the young adults of Zakopane. I ask for words which will stick with them and guide them to you. I ask for the trust to be built to create meaningful relationships with them. Lord, I ask for you to change me to be someone who is part of them, and not "just an American". Lord I will not give up, but I also am asking for a motivation booster. Amen.

Friday, December 05, 2003

I celebrate the day

I want this album for Christmas! This song is absolutely amazing!

"And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You’ve touched my life
Because here is where You’re finding me, in the exact same place as New Year’s eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We’re less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life"
[I celebrate the day: Relient K: Deck The Halls, Bruise Your Hand]
I think I love these guys!

From the mouth speaks the heart

Doesn't that sum up the condition of some people's hearts? I think it goes much further than cursing; it includes lustful words, comments about others, and desires of the person. Scott inspired me, because he is "speaking" about the issue of lust in his life, this is not only an encouragement but also an inspiration. I do not see many Christian guys, especially young men who are open about lust, looking for a mate, and other life issues and questions. In the past I felt like I was the only one and at one point I thought I was crazy for even speaking of such things, because some of my friends just did not want to talk about it. I truly believe the more we talk about things in our lives, the more we ask questions, the closer and closer we can get to God.

The Christian guys I see who are saying things like "isn't she hot" and "I could go for a piece of her" really sadden me, because even though they say they are "just joking" it tells me something about the condition of their heart. I know most of them won't act on it in that manner (although some will), and I know they are generally good people, but we are all sinners, and our body's want things which are not good for our sprit's.

A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say. [Luke 6:45]
As a Christian I will be open to criticism, I will encourage people, and I will admit my faults. I believe these things help us grow and climb life with Jesus. If we refuse to listen, especially if two or more people suggest the same thing, we are being fools. I have learned that even if I disagree with something two or more people suggest, it never hurts to try, and usually it is a huge blessing, even if there is hurt and pain in the process.

The Gospel told?

How many of us actually share the Gospel? I mean, really I do not think I have ever had anyone tell me the story of the Gospel? Yes, I have read it now but I have never told anyone. I am not suggesting we go around and stand on platforms yelling the Gospel at people, but I am suggesting maybe if people are truly interested and want to know about Jesus' ministry, we actually sit down and go over it with them. We do not have to preach it, we do not have to force it down them, Jesus himself said he" came for those who knew they were sick, not for those who thought they already knew it all" [Matthew 9:13b]. I completely believe in living the Gospel out with our lives but I also believe there is a time to tell the Gospel too.

It took me three years to realize what the Gospel was really about, and now to this day, Matthew is my favorite book of the Bible, if I had known sooner, how different my life might have been! I think many people are simply too afraid to get out their Bible and tell someone; I know I am! I think the reason Jesus said he was "not here for those who thought they already knew it all" was that he knew those people would not listen, but the others would. I know when I was doing Campus Crusade ministry there were people who would never want me to talk to them directly from the Bible, and for those people I simply worked on a relationship; however their were others who I knew wanted to know more, and for them the Bible was a real life changing book.

I am realizing that for some strange reason I have not even given my friends here in Poland the opportunity to talk about the Bible. Of course, I have read out of it, but I have been too afraid to sit down and answer questions and read the wonderful life changing texts. I think a few of them would be more than open to really open it and talk about it, but first I want them to know the Gospel of just who is Jesus, and his Character. I do not mean going from the beginning of Matthew to the end of John, but I do mean starting with the birth and ending with the resurrection, and definitely including his ministry, it includes so much about life, every time I read it I get more out of it.

God is able to make you strong, just as the Good News says. It is the message about Jesus Christ and his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they might believe and obey Christ. [Romans 16:24-25]