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Friday, October 31, 2003

Things are changing�

Tonight I did something which I�ve been trying to do for at least a year: just speak out and do as the Holy Spirit asks. I have been struggling with this for quite some time� I get promptings to pray for certain individuals all the time, and promptings to pray in general, to lead in prayer, but most of the time I just say it in my head, even though I know God is asking me to speak out loud. Tonight, maybe not for the first time, but definitely in one of those moments where I would have �chickened� out, I did it!

I spoke, and I prayed about how our little �Halloween� party, wasn�t a �Halloween� party at all, but a time to focus on the harvest ahead� and not only the harvest of the souls of others we may be outreaching to, but the harvest of our own hearts, mine, and everyone else�s in the room� God wants us to be as a farmer who has a great surplus, one we can share with others. The harvest is near, we are ripe for God, and others are ripe to hear his good news.

I believe this to be my first step in becoming the man God wants me to be. I don�t know how this all plays out for the future, but I am sure, that if I remain focused; I will be a different person when I return to Seattle. I am sure I�ll have more confidence, and I am sure I will not be afraid to speak to others, about their lives, and about God. Everyday I see more and more things, which lead me to believe I will be in some kind of ministry in Seattle, I don�t know what kind, but one which is dynamic, different, and relevant to people today.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

The little things really do matter

So there I was, I just finished teaching English, and I was about a quarter way into my 30 min trek back home. I was walking through the center of Zakopane, when I was struck. Yes I was struck, by a certain gold/yellowish glow of a building. I entered the doors of said glowing building. Walked up to the counter, asked in Polish, if the she could speak English, she said �enough�, I said �Good�. I ordered a chicken sandwich, a small fry, and a small coke which I didn�t want, but it was to hard to explain that I wanted a strawberry milkshake instead of the coke, so I just took both. Yes, the golden arches tempted me, and I gave into the temptation. But it was SOOO good! I tell you, I have never had Coke that tasted so good in my life! I actually sipped on it to savor the flavor, and the McChicken was delicious, and actually had lettuce on it! The strawberry milkshake was just thick enough that I didn�t suck my lungs inside out, and the fries were done just right, and went great with the tarter sauce I discovered earlier in the month. Ah� the small things� it�s like home, sort of.

Hopless Romantic - That's what I am... so what.

About an hour ago, I hung up the phone with Alexis. I never thought I would be apart of a romance story. I have to admit I�m on cloud nine, and I know there are hard times ahead, I know we will argue, I know at times we will not feel �in love� but I don�t believe love to be just a feeling, it�s an action. Put love into action and the feelings come afterwards.

My prayer for us is this:

I will build for all time
A house of memories
Just for you and I
There you'll find
Rooms inside
Filled with laughter, joy
And your daddy's pride
Around the table
And down the hall
We'll chase each other
Till the laughter makes us fall
In the evening
We'll lay our heads down
And thank God for these memories

[Ten Shekel Shirt: Much: House of Memories]

I give all credit and praise to God for our romance; it would not be possible with out him. Only with God can a marriage be complete, completely full of love � action packed love. You see, I do not worship Alexis, and she does not worship me, we worship our creator and savior. We worship him with our lives because he unconditionally loves us, loves us with everything he has.

I have no problem being a hopeless romantic, God created romance, God wants us to be in intimate relationships with others, and he wants us to love as he does. A man is joined to his wife, to become one, this signifies how God�s character is, and he is both female and male. When we are married we are joined together in a unity which, if God is truly the center of this new life, will not break apart. Times will be rough; sometimes a couple will not feel as one, sometimes they will even not �feel� the love. But in God�s word love is always followed by action, Jesus always moved with compassion for the people. Love is hard work, which is why God came to be human, to feel our temptations, to know our struggles and to have compassion for us, because he loves us.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

A glimpse of what God feels

Just reading the news today I think I have a glimpse of the agony God goes through every moment of every day. The horrible fires in California, starving people in Africa, horrible abuse here in Poland, the sexual abuse in Asia, the hopeless people all around the world. So many people, so much devastation, my heart is aching for all of those souls. I am at a lost of words, how can I help? Our world is definitely enemy-occupied territory. What can we do? Where can we go?

I am ashamed that we have mega-churches in the states, I believe that when a church gets too large we lose the real fellowship, plus it can also mean people are going just to "look good", get a �happy� feeling; a church should be a place to get real authentic fellowship, training, and a place to prepare us to go out to the rest of the world. A church should not be a place to feel happy or to make us look good; those things should only be the result of us doing work for God; besides if you do work for God you will be truly filled, and not need the baby�s milk. Church is not the place to make our own little Christian cliques, or be separated from the world. We should not be as the world, but we should be salt to the world, that means we should be in the world, affecting it. Don�t get me wrong, I don�t think everyone is called to do a mission in a foreign nation, but I do believe we all should actively make a conscience effort to intercede on the injustices of our world, in a Godly manner. That means we need to actually be in deep relationships with people, we actually need to open up to people tell them our deepest fears, open up and be passionate!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

A view from Switzerland

This is just one of the many clock towers in Bern, the capitol city of Switzerland, it snowed the day we came in. Did you know that Switzerland has no president or prime minister; they have a group of seven people which act as the executive branch of their government.

Here we are in front another of the clock towers. From left to right � Annia (our children�s pastor), Denise (one of the missionaries from Seattle), Paulina (a Polish girl from our church, doing an internship in one of the Swiss foursquare churches), and me.

Just an upwards view at a typical Swiss (and most of western Europe) courtyard and style.

A view from one of the bridges crossing the river which goes through the city (I forget the name of the river), I loved the feel and look of the Swiss cities.

A church clock tower and residences in the �old town� of Bern.

More of the �old town�, the house we stayed in was about 230 years old, it was huge, and very beautiful, sorry I didn�t get any pictures of it.

One of the �Bern� Bears, the city was named after the first animal the founder killed in the area, which was a Bear; �Bern� is bear in Swiss-German.

A typical street view in the city of Bern, I can�t tell you enough how much I enjoyed Switzerland, I definitely want to visit again.

A statue in the city hall of �Basel� the second largest city in Switzerland, of about 480k people. Another very nice city, we were here just to visit some of the youth pastors in a Foursquare church there.

The �Poland� team standing in front of the Basel city hall. From left to right � Carol (the other Seattle missionary), Annia, Me, and Denise.

I guess the speed setting on my camera was wrong, and so this picture came out kinda funky, but I like it. The lady in black is Sylvia, she is one of the Swiss youth pastors in the Basel Foursquare church.

There was a city-wide carnival happening in Basel the day we visited (which was the same day we left Switzerland, the Ferris Wheel you see is one of the largest in the world, it is 160 feet high at its highest point. It is placed at the highest point in the city, so we took a ride, and the views were great�

Here is one of the pictures from the top of the city.

A church which was in the same square as the Ferris wheel.

Another picture from the Ferris wheel.

A view across the �old town� of Basel from the Ferris wheel.

A view looking down.

A picture overlooking the city and the �Rhine� river.

Another view down.

This is kind of a cool picture, in our workshop for Youth leaders back in Bern, for the conference, Denise talked about taming the wild horse in youth, and focusing that energy into a positive life changing energy, just as a horse trainer uses a choral to train the horse, the church should be an area for learning, teaching, and training for teenagers. Plus the trainer makes a relationship with the horse, just as we should invest the time and care as a horse trainer does for the youth. So, the picture is of a �wild horse� balloon which escaped the hands of some child, to meet heaven.

A picture on one of the ferries across the Rhine river. Left to right � Carol, Sylvia, and Prisca from the Basel foursquare church.

A picture from the ferry, I tweaked it because it didn�t turn out very good, so I made it look artistic.

A better picture of the same view.

From the ferry looking up at the Ferris wheel.

Sylvia and Prisca with the Ferris wheel in the background from the ferry.

A very cool water fountain in down-town Basel, I antiqued it, since it was too dark otherwise.

This is about 12 hours into our trip home, a view of the Tatr mountains in Slovakia.

There it is a glimpse of Switzerland! It was truly an amazing time, I truly thank God for the believers in Switzerland, they are so supporting� and I hate to say, but even more so than our connections in the States� (as for Carol and Denise that is, my connections still have time to prove themselves� j/k) The Swiss believers are incredibly dedicated to helping us plant our church, and providing us the ability to make relationships for our young people. I truly feel like there is a family here amongst the believers, even though they are separated by 15 hours (by car)� if that can happen here, it can happen anywhere, even around the world. Thank you for your prayers, support, and simply maintaining the communication with me.

Monday, October 27, 2003


Sorry not to mention to everyone that I was going to be in Switzerland the past couple of days. It�s been really busy around here. Anyway, GOD is so good. Switzerland was an amazing time, lots of fellowship, good things to hear, great worship (even though it was in German), and simply a great time of being spiritually fed. The reason we went to Switzerland was to join in on the Foursquare Switzerland National Conference, which was in Bern, the capitol city of Switzerland. I�ll post pictures as soon as I recover from the �driving lag�, it took us about 15 hours to drive.. First from Zakopane to Bern and back�. We drove straight through, first we went south from Zakopane Poland, to Bratislava Slovakia, then we headed west in Vienna Austria, then we cut through the southeast corner of Germany in Innsbruck, went through the southern portion of Austria and the Austrian Alps, which at one point we drove through a 14 KM tunnel, then we crossed into Switzerland and down southwest to Bern. Switzerland is a beautiful country, I felt very at home, especially since I was able to go to Starbucks, TWICE, while I was there, and I have a free drink waiting for me the next time (they forget about my drink, and so they gave me a free drink, but only in Switzerland, oh darn�). Well, like I said I�m recovering, so I�ll write more, and post pictures when I�m up to it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

God said �Let the stretching begin�, and it did.

Today it down poured on my way to the English school. When I left it was okay, it looked like the rain had just stopped, but nope, it was just beginning. By the time I was 5 min into my walk, it was pouring, and I didn�t have an umbrella, because I couldn�t find it, and I wasn�t wearing my rain jacket because I was running late and had already put on to other jackets to stay warm. By the time I made it to the school I was drenched, water was dripping down my face into my eyes, my hair was completely soaked, but thankfully the Banana Republic jacket I bought just before I left worked very well at keeping me dry. The teaching time was okay, I had a little bit of trouble motivating the students to talk, or read, they don�t volunteer for anything, and I hate choosing someone to read. But I think things are getting better and they are realizing that I don�t think of them any less, just because they are students (which is something pretty normal in Poland and a lot of Europe, not just Eastern Europe either).

Then on my way back home (which is about a 30 min walk) the rain had thankfully stopped, but I was bothered by two drunk beggars, one of which seemed to get quite upset that I didn�t speak Polish, and tried to follow me, but I just walked faster. When I got home I was freezing, but at least the heat has been on, at who knows what cost to us, because we still don�t have coal so we are still using the electric furnace, which everyone says is going to cost us an arm and leg, but its not up to me to get the coal thing going, since I sorta don�t speak the language. So, I wasn�t in the best of moods, and I decided I wanted to eat something, like a meal. But I don�t want to upset Chris by eating something which is designated �dinner�, he�s been a little stressed lately and doesn�t like things to be out of �wack�, such as food that he thought was there, being gone. So, I decided I�ll just have some toast and whatever else I can find. Well I tried to cut myself a few slices, and it is the most frustrating thing when your hungry and you just can�t cut bread into slices with out them breaking apart into pieces which won�t go into a toaster. So I just took the pieces and put jam on them, I was very frustrated. So, now I�m making French fries, but because we don�t have a microwave, I�m using the oven, which is okay, but it takes a lot longer.

Basically I�m complaining, some things are beginning to get on my nerves. The way people think around here is so confusing to me. For instance, we are trying to reserve a hotel for this pastor�s retreat we are hosting� well the hotel receptionist on the first day didn�t seem to have any problem� then on the second day, the day we are suppose to make our deposit, another receptionist says, well I don�t know if this is going to work because we are painting some of the rooms. Then the receptionist looks at us, as if we are suppose to solve the problem. We tell them, well, if it isn�t going to work then just tell us� we are thinking �Do they want our business or not?�� The receptionist looks at us baffled, and says �I�ll need to call them and see if they can move your rooms around�� why? We don�t know. So we took the papers, didn�t make the deposit, and decided we�ll talk to the management ourselves. This is pretty typical business thinking� basically not being able to make a business decision, or accommodate the customer. Anyway, all of this is stretching me, my patience for one, I haven�t lost it, but surely it's being used.

So now, i'm enjoying my french fries and tarter sauce.

Monday, October 20, 2003

I don�t know how they do it.

I don�t know how Carol and Denise do it, what do I mean by �do it�? Well, get enough fellowship, worship, and good Christian �food�. I�m feeling pretty low these days, some days are better than others, some moments are better than others, but overall, its just not what I�m use to. Which, that is exactly why I�m here, what I get here, is 100 times more than what other Christians in other parts of the world get, and what I got in Seattle was 1000 times more than what I get here� And you know what�s crazy? Seattle is one of the most �unchurched� cities in the USA, and by unchurched all that means is people who don�t attend any kind of �worship� or �religious� service, it�s doesn�t mean just �Christian�. But how to make it enough? How do I keep myself from going crazy with starvation? I�m not quite sure, but I have a good feeling God is going to show me. The hardest things for me are two of the most important things to me. One is worship, around here it is very hard for me to worship, one because it isn�t in English, and two, it just isn�t full of the same emotion I am use to, I want to express my love and adoration to God in ways which the environment just isn�t allowing. Some of it is me, being conservative around people I can�t communicate with, and the other part of it is, the language barrier, and songs I�m not use to. Worship just isn�t music though, thankfully. It is so much more, it�s my entire lifestyle, and musical worship is only 25% of the entire �worship� deal, and the other 75% I�m doing pretty well. The second thing I�m dealing with is a good message which speaks to my heart, the messages we share with others, have been helpful in reassuring me of who I am in Christ, but they are not helping me to grow in Christ. I�m very excited for me to receive some tapes from Mill Creek, that will be a huge blessing, hopefully they come before I go to Switzerland on Wednesday. Anyway, those are my current struggles.

But I do have some triumphs, they are not as clean cut as the struggles, but I�m sure in a few weeks, I�ll be able to clearly see them. I am beginning to clearly see the direction God is giving us, which is to personally make meaningful relationships with the people here. With these relationships, we can open their hearts to God, and to letting Jesus not only be there Savior, but also their Lord, and let him take their hardships. The young adults group is in a desperate need of understanding that Jesus will make them a new person, if they let him. They must let go of the things in their lives which keep them bound to sin, or to unhealthy feelings about themselves.

Please pray for the young men in our group, currently there are only three on a regular occasion, me, Chris (my awesome roommate), and Piotrek (not the one I asked for prayer earlier), and each of us are in a healthy growing relationship with God. Men play an important role in the Polish society, and if we can disciple some good strong Godly men, we can certainly help make a difference, especially when it comes to this strongly male dominated culture. Please pray that each of us (everyone here) are fed appropriately, can worship God freely in their own personal way, and is able to truly disciple others into a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. Thanks!

Friday, October 17, 2003

The war within, and the desire of the heart.

Imagine this: A kind of time lapse video, with dramatic music, sometimes fast, other times slow, it�s in color, but its not �real� coloring, it�s like someone did a water color, then oil painted, its colored by humans in some way.

The video starts out overlooking a huge prairie, with mountains on all sides of it, the grass is about knee high, and is lightly blowing in the breeze. There is a guy just walking through the grass, enjoying nature. From a distance comes the sound of drums, many of them, all drumming in sync. The drumming is getting closer, soon the sound of many people marching in sync is heard. He sees them aproaching, they are all dressed in black uniforms, their faces are covered, and not an inch of skin is showing. They move at a steady pace, not slowing, and not quickening.

He soon realizes it is an army. He starts to quickly walk the other direction, then out of the edge of the forest; more appear, this time on horse back. The army is surrounding him, but they are only moving at a walking pace. The guy starts to walk faster to an opening; the army begins to move faster, he moves faster, they move faster. Soon he is at a full run, he�s trying to get away, but he has no help. The army soon surrounds him, they are silent except for the sounds of their breathing, which is heavy and deep. The leader approaches the young man. He motions to him to step closer, with seemingly no way out, he does as instructed. He feels helpless, the leader tempts the man into going with them, where he can experience all kinds of great pleasures. The man knows these pleasures will never fully satisfy him. He remembers something his father once told him �ask in my name what you need, and you will receive�. So, the young man calls out his fathers name, and asks for him to rescue him. Soon a bright light comes from the heavens, trumpets are heard, and thousands of men on white horses wearing unimaginably white uniforms race out of the heavens, in full armor, prepared for war. The black army prepares for battle.

The leader drags the man off towards the mountains. The leader of the white army, the man�s father, suddenly appears in front of their path. The young man is full of joy, but his father gives tells him to make the choice, who to go with. His body tells him to go for the pleasures, his heart wants to be with his father. The father tells the man to be strong. The man fails, he is weak, he gives in to the temptations of his body, and evil desires to have pleasure now. His father sadly, lets the leader take him away to the mountains.

From the mountains, the man falls down in despair, screams out to his father �Come rescue me, for I have forsaken you�. The white army, comes gloriously into the mountain depths. The father approaches his son and says �are you going to fight for me now?� the son says �Yes Father, honor and glory to you forever�, �Then join my army and fight�. The son becomes a solider for his own father, he fights the black army side by side of all the others of the kingdom of his father. He cries out to his father �The cry of my heart is for all the nations to be with you, for you are good, you are compassionate, you are glorious�. From that day forward, the young man fought for the kingdom of his father, distant shores and the islands saw the light as it rose on his father�s kingdom.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Take a look at the sidebar -->>

Take a little tour of my site, please. I have all kinds of useful information on my sidebar... Visit some of the blogs I read under "departures", or jot down my contact information, maybe make a donation if you feel lead to. Anything, I�m just letting ya'll know its there.

In other news, Alexis called me today! If you want to, you can too, take note of the phone number on the sidebar, and the times.

Prayer requests:

Pray for our ministry here to always keep in mind the effect and love we must make on others, sometimes we can get caught up in the culture issues, and forget why we are here.

Also, pray for a guy named "Piotrek" or "Peter" he isn't a Jesus freak, yet, but he's asking all kinds of questions, and coming to our meetings, he said to us "I'm looking for God", and he's talked to the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, etc., and he really feels welcomed and encouraged in our group, and he loves that we allow him to ask questions, and really see who God's character is. He's a intellectual, he has had a hard family life, and is having a hard time with understanding that Money and Success is not what Christianity is all about, he sees America as "Christian" and therefore our "riches" are because we are "Christian" and God is blessing is... which in some cases is true, but he also knows that the USA is dishonest in a lot of its actions, and that people are very greedy sometimes, and why don't Americans take care of the rest of the world... we are Christian, so this is what we should do... He doesn't quite understand that Americans are not all Christian... and the majority are not.

We truly want to see God's kingdom expanded, and his blessing on the people of Poland. We want these people to be free of the hurts of their pasts, and the bitterness which comes from being a "second world nation", they are proud people, but only by their own will, which is makes them stubborn. This is very general though, and many of them are also, open, and really looking outside of their culture. So thanks, and i'll have more to come later this week.

God Bless!

It's Snowing!

This was taken only five min. ago! And now we have big flakes, and lots of them. But the batteries in my camera have died... and the charger unit is fried... so i'll have to go buy new batteries.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Here I am sitting at my desk, in my little abode, in Zakopane, Poland. I finally have a phone line, so I now have dial-up internet access, hopefully with DSL coming soon. I wish my friends were online, but that�s okay� I don�t really expect them to be up in the middle of the night. So here I am, writing away, because frankly I just don�t know what else to do� well� I could go read a couple of the books I have, I could talk to my roommate but he�s correcting papers or something (he�s a prof at a local college), I could sit at my desk and write on my blog� yeah that�s what I�ll do. Oh I guess I�m already doing that� sorry I forgot.

So for real now. My roommate joked how �it was nice to meet you�, because since we�ve gotten our phone line, I�ve been at the computer, but I needed to do some important things� like get Alexis cell phone working again, post my newsletter, and read all my friend�s blogs� of which I didn�t quite finish because there is too much to read on some of them, so I decided to just start from today, and I�ll keep track from now on.

Some thoughts: One � Seattle is absolutely the nicest city I know� even still after traveling all around Poland and Slovakia� there have been some cool cities, of which I�ve taken some cool pictures, of which I�ll post some today, and the rest later when we have DSL. Two � It is hard to be fed (as in being fed the word of God), when you are one of the leaders in a church, in a foreign land, where you don�t speak the language, and compared to home this place is like a planet with no atmosphere in terms of spirituality. Three � I think I�ve grown a lot since I got here, so I know I have a lot more to do. I don�t thin I�m necessarily growing more than I would have at home, but I have more time too grow here, so that�s what�s happening. Seattle is a great city, believe me.

This is our "backyard"... and that's my housemate, Chris.

Another picture of our "backyard"... it's really about a half mile away... but its close enough.

This is Wrotzlaw, a city of about 300,000, and about 5 hours away from us, to the west, nearly to Germany. That is Denise in the left-hand corner, one of the missionaries here to plant the church.

More of Wrotzlaw. We were hear to talk to some other Foursquare missionaries from Holland.

More of Wrotzlaw, I think its a cool city, but not as cool as Seattle.

And more buildings in Wortzlaw in the city square or "Rynek". I don't know if you can see it, but there is a McDonalds in the lower right-hand corner.

This is the building we hope to be our church building, it is right off the main street or center street in Zakopane. We feel pretty strongly that we will be in it, we don't knwo when, but we sure hope soon. It is a little expensive for us right now... at 40 Euros (which is slightly better than a dollar) a sq meter, and being it's 2,700 sq meters, that's a little expensive. The prices here are comparable to something in Seattle, because its a tourist city... but we hope the owner will lower the price, and possibly sell the buidling. There have been many confirmations about this building, and so we pray, and I ask you to pray... for this building.

The idea is to have the church in the middle floor, the childrens church, and other rooms in the top, and the bottom could be Christian counseling (which is unheard of here) and an internet cafe/coffee cafe. Its a vision, and a will... we know what that can do. It's a perfect location. Right now we are meeting in our place, and soon should be in another building, but it's really too small for any growth.

Newsletter number one.

Hello all,

Just incase you didn't recieve the email, which I hope you did, but if you didn't please let me know, and i'll add you to the list. Click here for my first newsletter (it includes pictures!). Thanks to everyone for your prayers, and other support.

Telecomunika Polska

So, we finally have a phone. The number is: 011-48-18-20-14-538. Best times to call: Between 1am and 3pm pacific time. There are some good phone cards out there, like Costco's. I would love to hear your voice... please. Thanks.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Calling all warriors, we were planned for God�s pleasure. 10.10.2003

Yes that�s right you are a warrior, and you, and you, and all of us who call Jesus our Lord and Savior. But you know what else Jesus is to us? Our commander, he directs us to fight the fight, yes that�s right we are at war. The enemy is here, the Earth is his territory. We are in the enemy�s territory. No I�m not just talking about Poland; I�m talking about this life. But there is good news, we are only here temporarily. Our seemingly unanswered prayers, unfulfilled promises and unfair circumstances will all be answered, fulfilled, and made fair in the next life, in heaven!

I hope this does not fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes I guess in this medium). I hope this is not clich� or stale. I pray that everyone who reads these words will be enlightened, and empowered, because Jesus Christ has all authority. We are planned for God�s pleasure, God wants us to be in an intimate relationship with him, he has entrusted us with everything here on earth, and have it be little or a lot in the world�s eyes. We must take care of what God has trusted us with. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says: Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. God has put us in charge, of our lives, and everything in it is his, we must be faithful in taking care of those things. Worship is not music, worship is what we give glory and honor to. Music is just a part of worship, but if that is the only time you worship, then something is missing, and you probably can feel that. We must give glory and honor to God in our WHOLE lives.

It feels good to be wanted right? It feels good to be praised? Why? Because God made us that way, we are made in the image of God, God wants to be praised and wanted. He wants us to worship him in everything. Musical worship is awesome, I find myself the closest to God when I�m singing to God, but ever since I heard about having a �lifestyle of worship�, my life has been much fuller, more enjoyable and I am closer to God than ever before.

Where is this fire coming from? Well three books, �The Purpose Driven Life� by Rick Warren, �Wild at Heart� by John Eldredge, and God�s word � The Bible. In the last week I�ve read the gospels of Mark and John, and the book of Acts. And of course the Holy fire of God is burning like a blow-torch. A lot of this I already knew, but I didn�t have a way to put it into words, and I realized that I had let the enemy take my doubts, and my confidence away, Satan didn�t take my salvation but he took my ability to extend the kingdom. No longer will that happen; I am joining the front lines, I am a warrior, and Jesus Christ is my commander. I love God, and I love people, and I will do my best to be God�s servant, and to serve the needs of other people.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Set your eyes on the top, and once you get there, keep looking up. Part I

This is my message for the young adults on Saturday. Sorry for the strange formatting, I copy and pasted it from word.

1. How do you picture life?
a. Is life like a game of cards, you have to play what is dealt to you�?
b. Is life like a carousel going up and down, and sometimes just around and around�?
c. Or is life like a ten-speed bicycle, with gears we never use.

2. During worship think of your life metaphor, picture, be prepared to share it with the group.

3. Each one of you; tell me what picture or metaphor comes into your mind when asked; how do you picture your life?

4. When I was asked this question, I really couldn�t think of a picture or metaphor�
a. Then I got a picture of a mountain
i. You can stand at the bottom, and look up at it in all its glory, or in its intimidating might.
ii. You can choose to climb up it
1. You can attack it from different sides
2. You can stop and decide to camp out only part way
3. You can push your self to the top and see what view it has to offer
4. You can explore all parts of the mountain, and see what it has to offer
iii. You can choose to come down
1. Either slowly or quickly.
2. Sometimes you will fall, and someone will catch you, sometimes you�ll catch yourself, and sometimes you fall and hit rock bottom
iv. Or you can choose to stay at the bottom and wonder what the mountain has to offer, and be stuck always wondering. But if you decide to climb, you need the right equipment to get their safely.

5. What do you think God�s picture or metaphor is of our lives?
a. God�s word says our life on Earth is
i. a test,
ii. a trust,
iii. and a temporary assignment

6. Life is a test: What kind of test do you think God is talking about?
i. My faith has been tested through problems, problems with needs like; money, car, job, school, and questions like: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?
ii. My hope has been tested through how I handle my wants like: a dream job, a nice car, clothes, a nice house, good friends, good family life, and good things.
iii. My love has been tested through people, how I treat them, how I create relationships, and how I maintain those relationships

b. Sometimes God will draw away, you won�t feel close to him, although most of the time it is because we have drawn ourselves away from God. But when God draws away from us is testing to see where our hearts are, is our heart with God or with other things of this world. For instance in 2 Chronicles 32:31 God with drew himself from King Hezekiah, a very wealthy, respected king, who became deathly ill, he prayed to God for healing, and was healed, but became over-proud and self centered, he repented and changed. When the Babylonian�s came to ask of all the wonders happening in Hezekiah�s kingdom, God withdrew himself to test Hezekiah�s heart, unfortunately Hezekiah claimed all the wonder for himself, and not for God.

7. Life is a trust: What has God entrusted to us in our lives?
a. Our time on Earth
b. Our relationships
c. All of our resources and provisions
d. Everything we enjoy, or have is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands.

e. How are we suppose to treat the things we�ve been entrusted?
i. God�s word in 1 Corinthians 4:2 says: Those who are trusted with something valuable must show they are worthy of that trust.
ii. Someone read Mathew 25:14-30
iii. Someone else read Mathew 25:21
1. What else besides the money did the master entrust to each servant and what did he expect on his return? What were his instructions to the servants?
a. He trusted each servant to invest their hard work into what he had given them.
2. How does this story apply to our lives?
a. God entrusts sometimes a lot, sometimes a little to each of us, but we must work hard at taking care and improving those things he has trusted us to take care of, it is all his to begin with.

8. Life is a temporary assignment�
a. Why do you think we are here on Earth?
b. What is the purpose of life?
c. Why does it seem like God�s promises are unfulfilled, he leaves prayers unanswered, and we end up in unfair circumstances?
i. Because we are not meant to be here, forever.
ii. We are only part way through our climb, or through our story.
iii. This life, Earth, and everything in it is not the end of the story � It is all temporary, the story of your climb, of your life, does not end here.
iv. Our lives are meant to continue on to heaven for eternity, forever.
1. Where the unfulfilled promises are fulfilled
2. Where the unanswered prayers are answered
3. Where the unfair circumstances, are made fair

d. We, you, and I will never be completely satisfied here on Earth and in this life. A fish is not satisfied on land, it was meant to swim in the water. An eagle can not be satisfied if it not allowed to fly. We, you, and I will never be satisfied on Earth, because were meant to live for so much more.

9. For our present troubles are quite small and won�t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don�t look at the trouble we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. [2nd Corinthians 4:17-18]

10. God is testing and trusting us with this temporary assignment to see our hearts. Not if we are only good to others, or the number of good deeds we can/will do. He wants us to be genuinely real in our love with him.

This life is the tip of the ice burg; of something MUCH better and greater then we can even imagine; let�s give and show God our trust and love for him.

A Life with purpose, is a life with a focus 10/4/03

So, I finished day three of �The Purpose Driven Life� today. I finished it at about 4:30pm, and now its 9:20pm. You know what I�ve been doing since? Finding my focus, the focus of my life�

I called my parents and talked to my mom for the first time since I arrived, it was good, but we got cut off because my phone card ran out. I then checked my email, which included a couple of emails to Alexis, my parents, and Joel who is taking over CRU at Cascadia this year.

Then I sat down in our living room, with my bible and journal, and started to read, first the last few chapters of Mathew, and then I read the entire gospel of Mark, which I�ve never read all the way through before. God gave me my focus, it may seem obvious to some, or even clich�, but I need to focus on being with sinners, the sick people. This all roots from this passage I read:

The Pharisees ask Jesus� disciples � Why does he eat with such scum? Jesus hears them and replies: �Healthy people don�t need a doctor � sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.� [Mark 2:17]

I see three points here: first, I need to go to the sick people and dine with them, simply make relationships with people who do not know Christ. Second, spending time only with healthy people won�t do anything to further God�s kingdom, they already know Christ. Thirdly, if a person or people do not think they need God, or �religion� I can�t do anything, and I shouldn�t get frustrated over it. Jesus called sinners, the people who knew they needed help and were not �good enough�, that is my focus.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Internet coming soon...

Helllo all. I should be getting a DSL line sometime next week, so that is great news... but as I have learned the key word is "should". I will post a lot more regularly once I get online at home. Last Monday was Alexis and I's 3 month... its hard to believe... we both forgot... but that's okay. I'm going to call her tomorrow... I've been able to call her about once a week, but next week w/ the DSL line i'm also getting a phone, so that's more good news. We are finally getting into a regular schedule around here, and I start next week "teaching" conversational English at a local language school, hopefully this will be a time to get to know some of the young locals, and possibly make some relationships and invite some of them to our church meetings. Anyway, I hope everything is going great for everyone back home, and I promise to have more details in the coming weeks. Lova ya all.