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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Sermon time

Although I have known of the possibility that I would be giving tomorrow's sermon (well today's now) for a couple of weeks, and last Sunday it was confirmed, for some reason I thought I'd keep the news quiet. But now that it is finished, ready to be printed, I will let the world know. After I "deliver" it tomorrow, I will post a link to the contents, and a recording of it, if you wish to hear it. In fact, we will have recordings of all our sermons available shortly. I ask for prayer, this is my first "real" sermon to a church, but I have done similar things with Campus Crusade, and the youth group I worked with a few years ago. I have complete peace, and I am quite excited, I have no expectations for reactions though, because expectations just lead to disappointment. The only expectation I have is that God will speak his wisdom through me, and that my wisdom is not heard. The topic is "we are glorious" it is 100% inspired by John Eldredge's book "Waking the Dead", I thought it very appropriate since I myself have been having some issues with realizing that I am made good, glorious, and above all, a magnificent creation of our creator, and nothing less.

Father God,

I ask for the Enemy to be kept away from the people of our fellowship. I ask for your protection, for your light to remove all darkness, for your voice to be spoken. Be near oh God, your nearness is to us our good. I cry out, and I ask for your heart to break through tomorrow evening when I speak these words. I ask for your fullness to be known. I ask for your tender love to be heard but also for your burning fire and power to be felt too. I ask for the Enemy to be fought out of the lives of each person who is in that room tomorrow evening. I ask all these things in your son Jesus' name. Make it so.

Listening to: Shane Barnard & Shane Everett - Be Near (Piano Mix) - Inpop Records - Cry Holy

Friday, January 30, 2004

Purposeful friendship building

One of my main purposes for coming here to Poland was to build relationships. Friendship ministry is something that I think (at least in my experience) is not emphasized enough. It was through friends that I came to know who God truly was, and it has been through friends that I have seen the hands of God work the most. Large gatherings of people have their place, but I think people want real-life connections, people they can call on to hear their woes. People want other people to just listen, give advice, and sympathize. People are meant to be in relationship, we are meant to have close connections. Why do we have this deep need for connection? Because God has the same need, he created us to be in relationship with him. Since we are made in his image, we have the same need.

Creating relationships like those that I had back in Seattle has proven to be quite the challenge, here people create their friendships in primary school, and most live in the same city for their entire lives. Since the United States has a much more mobile, and liquid culture, I think it is easier to create strong life-long relationships in a shorter period, especially when in a healthy fellowship. I have come to realize that the connections I make here will need lots of work. I have already committed myself to coming at least every summer, as long as the Lord wills it to be done. I believe I can be a great ministry resource (being resourceful seems to be one of my gifts) to the people here.

Right now, I have $30 in my account, and about $100 in my pocket, and it needs to last for a month. The bills have been paid and the fridge and cupboards have food. I am rich in Jesus, and I have never run out of money since following God's will. Although snowboarding may seem like a luxury it is through this snowboarding and skiing season that I have made quite a few connections with other young adults, both men and women, our young adults group should be seeing some new faces this coming Wednesday. I want people to know I came to be their friend, not to tell them about God, but to experience God with them.

Listening to: Adoration - Newsboys - Adoration: The Worship Album

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Went to Krakow today, had lots of fun, we have a car for a week while Carol and Denise are in Switzerland... so we are going to use it as much as possible. Went snowboarding yesterday, mass fun, I "taught" Chris as much as I know... tomorrow we have an appointment with a local snowboarding instructor, should be real good. Chris really enjoyed it, so that makes me happy, should mean, more snowboarding for me. Alexis will be here in less than two weeks, I'm getting quite excited! For now... Real Life Trumps Blogging. I will post more in the morning, good night.

Quick note to my blogger friends (those who use blogger) please turn on your ATOM feeds, so I can "subscribe" to your site, so I know when you make an update, and so others can do the same. It will bring more traffic to your site too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Dating creed - part three - defining

Go to Part One, Two, Four
One thing I have observed over the years has been the fear for two people to "define" their relationship. The excuse I hear is "once it has a label then there are expectations", I am thinking, shouldn't their be? Isn't this person suppose to be your "significant other", does not "significant" mean anything today? Is this person your boyfriend or girlfriend, or not? If you are "just friends" are you acting any different around this person than your other "friends"? These are serious questions, not just so others know and see something clear, but also for yourselves. Communicating a clear definition of a relationship will prevent many other questions in the future. If you are in any kind of leadership (and I believe we all are, Christians should at least lead by example of their lives) then defining your relationship will also stop any rumors, or questions, we should not be having relationships that raise questions. You may be thinking, "but it's none of their business", you can think that way if you wish, but I would rather tell people exactly what my relationship is than have rumors spread, because they will if people don't know.

So… you have decided to start dating or courting, the term doesn't really matter to me, but Alexis and I use courting, so people will hopefully ask what that means to us, what does that mean for you and her/him? Define your relationship with one another, in all areas of your courtship, such as boundaries, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yes we are all adults, but that doesn't mean we know how to treat each other in those areas, and if we want to glorify God with our relationship, we better agree on how that will happen. We all come from different backgrounds, therefore, we all have different areas of need and different expectations. This is just the beginning of defining the relationship, trust me, Alexis and I are still fine tuning just what we want, and I believe that is completely healthy. We discover things all the time, and give those thing to God, otherwise trying to do it on our own, without communicating, we would have been done with each other a long time ago. For many couples the only thing keeping them together is one area of connection, be it physically, emotionally, spiritually, or any other number of reasons. Love is not just a feeling, it is a feeling followed by action, and then repeated again, and again. God points out that Love is the highest priority of all things, therefore when it comes to our romantic Love, we must treat it as God's crowning jewel.

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 Cor. 13:4-7]

Listening to: Something Beautiful - Jars of Clay - The Eleventh Hour

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

dating creed - part two - don't just settle

Go to Part One, Three, Four
So two years ago I made the decision to be content with life, the way it was. Then a year after that decision, I made another one to go to Poland. As a part of that second decision, I realized starting any relationship would probably be a distraction, so I focused my energy on preparing to leave. However, God had some other plans, more on that later. During that first year I made a point not to become romantically involved with anyone who was not a friend first, romantics came second to anything. Knowing a girl (or guy) as a friend first is not only safer, but also a lot less stressful. I had some standards, some ideas before this time in my life, but not anything written down. So I wrote a list, it wasn't anything like, must have blue eyes, blond hair, etc… physical features do not mean a thing, but I do admit I had one "must be shorter than I". I also decided that the next relationship was not going to be "just dating", or "just checking out", it was going to be "is this someone I want to marry?". Over time that list morphed and changed (even the height requirement disappeared), and God was molding my heart, and I even became confident that I could live the rest of my life without a spouse, and with out dating, I became truly content.

I had a steadfast plan, which did not include any significant other. I was going to prepare myself as much as possible for the upcoming adventure. Apparently God had more to that plan. About five months after my decision to come to Poland, I met a girl. I thought she hated me the first time we really had a chance to talk, and I didn't even give her a second thought; until we became friends through simply hanging out. Over the course of those first six months Alexis and I talked about all kinds of things, family values, thoughts on relationships, love of life, love of God, and best of all life experiences. Slowly but surely, things lined up, many things I had never thought about, but we agreed, we were "equally yoked" as some would say. This was the beginning of a new kind of feeling, but I had decided, nope no way, I am leaving for a year. I was not going to experiment with my heart, while on the other side of the planet. I prayed, and prayed, and for two weeks I thought hard, talked to some close friends… Not a single person thought I was crazy, but I did.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!" [Prov 31:10,28,29]

"Yes, Grandfather?"
"You ask these questions because you yourself long to meet your soul's match. Don't pretend I don't know you, child. You have your First Mother's eyes. They looked just like yours do now when she was longing for the Garden. But you miss someone you've never met. You want to run through time and glimpse that first meeting. You want to know how you'll know him. But you need not fret."
"But it doesn't seem fair to me," Elanna said, the words born of frustration tumbling out. "It was so easy for you. The Maker brought Grandmother to you. She was the only woman for you. She was the only woman!"
"But here, now, it's so different-so, so confusing."
"It's not more confusing," he said gently. "It only seems that way. Our meeting was 'easy' as you put it, not because we were the only humankind, but because in those sweet days before we disobeyed we implicitly trusted The Maker to bring what was good." He reached out and with both hands lifted her head so her eyes looked into his. "My dear child what you must try to see is that nothing has changed. When the Maker brings you your husband, you'll be aware that it was the Maker who made you for each other and He who planned your meeting. And in that moment, just as we did, you'll want to sing a song of praise to Him." [Passage from the preface of Boy Meets Girl]

Listening to: Your Love Is Deep - Various Artists - Creation Worships

newsletter four, month five, and six quickly approaching

I have (finally) finished my fourth newsletter, its short and to the point. You can find it on the sidebar under "Zakopane, Poland Church Plant Info" along with the other newsletters and more information.

Listening to: It Is You [UK Mix] - Newsboys - Newsboys Remixed

Monday, January 26, 2004

dating creed - part one - be content

Go to Part Two, Three, Four
I have had some people here (Poland) ask me what I think makes a good relationship. I said it is not very easy to explain, and that I am better at explaining things in writing rather than in speaking. So I told them I would post it on my blog, and they would have to read it here (for those that know English). And since relationship building is close to my heart, I wanted to portray it clearly. I am in no way the "relationship expert", but I do believe I would not have the relationship I have with Alexis without practicing the following principles. They are simply my suggestions, based on what I see as Godly truths, I am sure that after years of marriage, I may say, "that was a little silly", but for now, it has not hurt, so I am going with it.

The first thing I had to be sure of was that I was completely content with being single, and that my number one love in my heart was/is God. Being completely happy, and able to serve God without thinking I needed a spouse, even if that was for the rest of my life, God knows our needs, and if those needs are to have a spouse, than it will happen. About two years ago, I realized the great joy of simply being content with myself, and loving God without any earthly conditions. Learning, accepting, and living this principle is not easy, and at times the desire to be with someone will creep up, especially when it seems everyone around you is "falling" in love, and "all" your friends are getting married.

I remember being in the middle of that feeling, it seemed everyone had a girlfriend or a boyfriend, except pour Travis. Of course, that was not reality; two of my closest friends did not have girlfriends either, but at the time all is saw were the ones with a significant other. I ended up trying to date some girls just because, I thought maybe I was being prudish, and I went against all that I knew was right. And with that, I got hurt, badly. But it was the only way I was going to learn, because I was determined not to be "lonely" and I ended up even lonelier. I had opened my heart up, for the wrong reason, and had not let God be the foundation. I learned to let God do the hard work, and I wouldn't be hurt. I let that situation be a turning point to put God in control of who I was, and not my situation.

Jesus, I plead
Please purify me
Make my heart clean
Drench me with your mercy
Jesus, I pray
I love you, I need you
For the rest of my days
I swear I will seek you
To the best of my ability
I'm practicing humility
And I lay myself before
'Cause less is more.
[Less Is More - Relient K -
The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek]

Listening to: Wait - Everyday Sunday - Stand Up

Sunday, January 25, 2004

can I just go home

I just want to go home. That is how I feel right now; I guess I am longing for the familiar, the "feel good" stuff. I have an open-ended ticket, with the return reservation currently set to March 24th, the temptation to just leave that the return date is enormous right now. I have not even been here for five months, not even half a year. I feel as if I have learned enough already, I'm feeling beat up, taken out, strangled. But I have made a commitment, and I do not brake commitments, ever. Right now Alexis is sitting in church, with the church family I miss more than anything else right now in this world. Right now just typing about it brings strong emotions, tears are swelling up in my eyes, and a lump has formed at the back of my throat.

I guess in a way I feel stuck between two worlds, I think it would be better if I knew I was staying here, and was building a long-term life here. However, the fact is, I am returning to Seattle, to what I had. I have a genuine love for everyone I have met here, and for this country and its people. But I do not have any strong relationships I can fall and depend on. I have God, and God alone, and over the past five months I have had to depend on him more than any other time in my life. I have this gut feeling I will have another seven months of this, it scares me to death, but I know in the end it will be worth it.

Chris has some friends over from his hometown, great people, and their love of God is stronger than any of the people here, and the best part, three are guys, with two speaking English. I think I may be jealous, he's having a great time with them, they will be here for a week, I wish I could have over four of my best friends. Thank God in the highest, Alexis will be here in a short three weeks, some familiarity, a refreshing wind, someone to share everything with, and for sure, cry with.

Lord I need your strength
'Cause I am weak and falling to my knees.
Who is on my side?
'Cause I can't tell my friends from enemies.
Filling up with pain.
Bitterness controls the air I breathe.
What am I fighting for?
Do you have a plan for me?

Must be some mistake
'Cause I'm not worth the price you paid.
With every passing hour,
I convince myself that you saw something in me.
But I can hear them still,
As the whispers laced with hatred fill the room.
Guess I'm wasting my time
How could you love a man like me?
[My Struggle - Seventh Day Slumber - Picking Up the Pieces]

Update: Now that I've talked to Alexis, and played a good game of Outburst! with Chris and his friends (cross cultural, and in Polish and English) I feel much better, and I need to remember to take life just one day at a time, otherwise I'll be dead, in my heart and physically before I know it.
Listening to: My Struggle - Seventh Day Slumber - Picking Up the Pieces

Saturday, January 24, 2004

off to a wedding

Today I am going to a traditional Polish wedding, I am a little apprehensive because the girl I am accompanying does not speak much English. I am afraid I might do something embarrassing, or wrong, since it is going to be held in a Catholic church there are many traditional prayers, and other things, which I do not know about. The reception afterwards can last all the way into tomorrow morning, but thankfully, we can leave since we are not part of the family or close friends. Anna is the name of the girl I am going with, and she is only going because the bride is her boss, and if she does not go, it may not reflect too well, plus in Poland it is very embarrassing to go to a wedding with out a "date". Anna has a boyfriend, but he is in Switzerland as part of an internship at another church we are connected with. So, I'll be taking pictures, and I am sure the dancing afterwards will be fun. Thankfully it has warmed up a bit, it was -22 Centigrade last night, now it is a tropical -6. This will very much be a cultural experience.

Listening to: Joy [Let's Be Frank Mix] - Newsboys - Newsboys Remixed

Friday, January 23, 2004

finally a tour

Well I saw Carly's apartment tour, and she fulfilled my request, here is my end of the deal now.

Travis and Chris' Zakopane, Poland Flat
Since it was a bit cold out, all of these pictures are from inside. When you enter through our front door you will be greeted by the "entry hall", "mud room", or whatever else you want to call it.the entry hall Then you will go through yet another set of double doors, and up the small flight of stairs to the "foyer". the foyer

Next you may see "the stairs with no rails", these lead to Chris' room. His room is small and cold, he decided to take it, thinking that "being American" I would expect a larger room, his room isn't much smaller than the room I grew up in.

If you go back down and make a left, you'll find yourself in the living room. It's the biggest room, and it triples as the guest room, dinning room, and general purpose room. On sundays it is transformed into our church sanctuary. The baloons are left over from New Year's, we will keep them up until we get some posters and poster board and put up encouraging verses, quotes, and pictures.

If you go back across the foyer (which is where are closets are too), you'll enter the "kitchenette" as we call it. The kitchenette is huge! All of those dishes are from our upper room night the other night.

Right next door is the bathroom. the washer machine and toiletThe washer machine we didn't have for almost two months! Thankfully our landlord paid for it in the end. Notice the shower does not have a shower curtain, and you can't see it, but the door has a window (none of the others do, but of course the bathroom does), it's sorta frosted, but makes me nervous.

If you go through the kitchen and go through the other door, you'll be in my bedroom. It is huge, the biggest room I have ever lived in, and could easily be split in half for others to use. In the corner is our "dryer", it means I have to actually plan my laundry.bedroom entry This is where all the blogger magic happens... I am such a hopless romantic... Each time I blow out a candle at night, I pray for someone, so one of those candles could be the answer to your prayers...

Now take a look at these temps... The first one is in Centigrade, the second one is Farenheit.

It's COLD.

Look outside my window, at our steps and the chaple across the steet!

Well I hope this was a fun tour, please visit again. My next topic... something on the whole dating relationship scene, it seems many are just going crazy over it. Good night.

Listening to: I See You - Michael W. Smith - Worship Again

now using w.bloggar

I know quite a few people out there use w.bloggar to post to their web logs. I have only just now started exploring the possibilities. It is very cool, it even tells you what song I was listening to at the time of the post. "Real Stuff" to come later today, I promise.

Listening to: Wonderful Maker - Matt Redman - Where Angels Fear to Tread

to all my blogger friends

Please do the following... enable your site feed on blogger! It will make it so that I have a "news feed" to your blog, and will know when it is updated, along with anyone else who wants to "subscribe" to your blog. No more screwing around trying to make an RSS feed work! It's very neat, and if you don't I will bug you, especially if I know you in the flesh and blood!

Listening to: You Are God - Various Artists - WOW Worship: Orange Disc 1

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

on the fly "cooking"

I have no roasting pan. I have no recipe. I have no experience. But I am going to "cook" some pork, add some vegetables, spices, and pray that something tasty comes out. I had a recipe but I could not find the ingredients, then when I went to ask our neighbor if she had a oven roasting pan, she didn't have one. So, maybe I'll create a new dish tonight! Oh my… since the only thing I have ever successfully cooked was some chicken, and it was the recipe on the back of a Reynolds Wrap box! Prayer would be good. The meal is for our "upper room" night, where all of the young adults gather and eat a dinner together, and we discuss the latest topic, which for the past month has been The Holy Spirit, who, what, where, how. Prayer for the conversation would be good, the format is questions and answers, let's hope they have some questions, and even better some answers!

Update:It came out great! A little spicy, due to a misunderstanding in language... but it was fantastic, and I got many good comments... but I don't think cooking is my thing, I don't have the patience, but I guess I have the skill, if it comes down to it. The conversation was even better, and I am very encouraged, I knew the New Year would be a time for growth, change, and who knows what else. Prayer is amazing; I have never had a prayer life, as I do now. I know the prayer is the reason things are changing, and why I feel so good. I am hearing God's voice much clearer now, I guess he is just like a friend, the more you talk, and the better you get to know him... Wow imagine that.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

our hearts are good, so fight for them

First things first: Darren at LivingRoom is doing a 24 hour "blog-a-thon", he will be posting every fifteen minutes. Why? To raise money to buy a Pedicab for a Philippino family. Click here to learn how a pedicab will help a family.

Enough of the happy feel-good stuff, life is meant to be an adventure, a tale of epic proportions, the glory of God is man fully alive. Moreover, in every adventure, epic tale, there are hard times, magical times, war times, but in the end, an amazing life is revealed. That life cannot come with out a fight, this life is enemy-occupied territory, and that is the entire truth. I know it sounds like I am ready to take on Satan himself, it sounds like that because I now know I can, because Christ has given us power through his Holy Spirit. I would much rather have to battle Satan himself than wonder weather or not I am "in God's will" for the rest of my life, and just be a "sinner, through and through". Our hearts are good, we are the glory of God.

And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. [2 Cor 3:18]
When I fall to sin, any kind of sin, it isn't because my heart is bad, its because the enemy has attacked my heart, and taken something from me, which was never his to begin with. Our bodies are of this world, and the prince of this world is the Enemy. Our heart-souls and spirit are of God, we are God's amazing creation, and nothing less.

The mega churches of today will never be able to reach the hearts of people, unless they begin to understand what biblical fellowship is, it is community, knowing each person intimately. Fighting for each other, loving each other, and praying for each other is what true fellowship is about. The early church shared everything together, and the early missionaries of the Bible fought evil spirits at almost every location they traveled. Looking up the Greek for "foothold" its more than just an opportunity, it conveys a meaning of "strong influence".
And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. [Ephesians 4:26-27]
The prize of the Enemy is our heart, that is why our fellowships must fight for our hearts.

Monday, January 19, 2004

our God is remarkable

So, last week I got the impression that I was suppose to pray for one of the girls in our group, not just once, but every day, for her heart to open. Well, God is doing some amazing things, I heard from the people which live with her today, she has been "like a new girl", and she has been "much easier to live with these past few days". And to top it all off, their was a small quarrel with one of her roommates, and instead of just letting it go nowhere, this girl, apologized, which has been unheard of the three years they have lived together! Amen!

Tonight, I got a new impression, to have some kind of "men's conference" in early summer, here in Zakopane. I don't know how it is going to look, I am thinking like a one day Saturday deal, based off of the information in "Wild at Heart" and some other resources. I know it will be a hit, amazing, and life changing. I'm feeling a little like David, I'm the youngest person involved in any of the ministries here, I am not married, and I am not Polish, not to mention, I am nearly one of the shortest and smallest guys around. However, this is what God has put on my heart, and I know with him at the center, it cannot fail, it is honoring and glorifying to him. Lord Jesus will reign in the lives of the men here, and they will know what it means, and what it takes to be a man of God, and what it means to live a life for him.

The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. [Prov 20:5 NIV]

The burning in the heart
Of our deepest desire
Rising like a flame
Burning higher and higher
Burning in the heart
Of our deepest desire
Is to know You (Jesus)

Jesus make us the men you want us to be
[Phil Joel: Bring it on: The man you want me to be]

Sunday, January 18, 2004

the leader "image"

Something hit me today, something I have unconsciously avoided. Usually I am open to criticism, and 99.9% of the time, I will have no problem with it. Tonight was different. Tonight I was told "You need to be more energetic and excited when you're giving announcements", I said, "Yes, I know, I just couldn't remember what the announcements were" and "I hate announcements, it's never been 'my thing'". It has never been "my thing" because I am afraid of failing to be the "image", and that image includes someone with "energy and excitement". I have always wanted to be the leader (see goal 6) who can spontaneously get and energize the group, who people just naturally want to follow. The words, "you need to be more…" shot straight through my heart, and nearly put me in tears. As I said earlier, I usually do not have any problems with criticism, I do not get defensive, and I usually completely agree. In this case, I agreed, but that is because I have never felt like I could be "that person".

I guess hearing those words just confirmed to me (if true or not) that I can not be that guy, and after thinking about it for a while, I think I am okay with this (I'll need a few more days of processing), its never been a strong point for me, so why try and hold onto it? I should just stop focusing on improving in an area I am obviously not gifted in, and focus on improving the areas I am passionate and gifted in. Now I just need to make this clear to Carol and Denise, I believe they will understand, and I really think Chris is more of the person to do these kinds of things anyway. Apparently my heart has been ransomed in this area. I believe with all my hear that leadership is more than just being upfront and "energetic", its about knowing when and where you can be effective and making the most of it, this is just one small step in making that idea true.

But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. Those who spoke Greek complained against those who spoke Hebrew, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. "We apostles should spend our time preaching and teaching the word of God, not administering a food program," they said. [Acts 6:1-2]
Even the apostles knew that they had to do what they were gifted in, not in extra tasks outside of their calling. By recognizing this, they were able to be more effective – because of this "God's message was preached in ever-widening circles. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too." [Acts 6:7] From "The Next Generation Leader".

Saturday, January 17, 2004

to be submitted to God

So, I have this plan which does not seem to be fleeing me, like most of my plans. This plan is open to changes, new circumstances, and whatever life may have in store for me. It is a plan I am submitting to the Lord, for him to do as he wills, if that means changing it or taking it away, so be it. God is God, and my life is his.

I have a few passions which I believe are all related somehow. I have a strong desire to guide people in making good relationship decisions, mostly relationships of the romantic type; however, I also enjoy resolving issues in other relationships. I also have zeal for sexual purity, what it is, why it is important, and how wonderful it is. And recently I have a new passion brewing; it is a heart for men, simply speaking to the hearts of men, inspired by John Eldredge's book "Wild at Heart". I believe all of these are interrelated, and I am ready to see where God is leading me.

This time here in Poland has certainly been what I have expected, which was just a "time to depend on God" everything else has/will been/be a super bonus. I now consider myself permanently attached to the people here; I hope to make a commitment of visiting them once a year. I also want to finish my associates degree when I return to Seattle, then transfer to a school where I can dig deeper into relational/family/men's ministry. I will see what God has in store, I know much of it is up to me, and as long as these fires burn in my heart, nothing is going to stop me.

There is nothing quite as potent as a focused life, one lived on purpose. The men and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused. For instance, the apostle Paul almost single-handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. His secret was a focused life. He said, "I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. [Phil 3:13]" [Rick Warren: The Purpose Driven Life: Day 3 – What drives your life?]

a good Friday

Generally, Friday's are good, for me Friday's are my Saturdays, seeing as Sundays have turned into a workday now. Yesterday was great Carol, Denise, and I all went to Kraków and had a great time with some of Denise's old friends, Anjay (Andrew) and Renata and their young daughter Kailee, all of them speak fluent English. Kailee goes to an American school in Kraków so her accent is very American rather than British (which is what most Europeans learns). All we did was talk, talk, and talked some more. Anjay is very educated, and very funny, he works for a couple of missions for Eastern Europe and speaks Russian, Ukrainian and English, along with Polish of course. Their family is probably one of only two families I know who are generally happy, and Christ centered, it was very hopeful to see, since in the area I am actually working (Zakopane) I never see families truly centered on Christ. In the Evening we saw Matrix III, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I liked many of the lines, especially "Agent Smith: Why do you go on? Neo: Because I choose to". We saw it on an IMAX screen, I forgot how big those screen were, and how clear they are! Just ten years ago, doing things like this in Poland would have been impossible. Overall, it was a great day, it helped recharge my batteries, and I am not sure what to expect tonight, we are having a young adults meeting, we will be talking about gifts, what are God's gifts to us. What are we suppose to do with these gifts, mostly it will be a questions night.

I am truly feeling change is going to happen it is our choice to except the change and move on. I feel God leading me somewhere else, in terms of ideas and just how to connect with the young adults here, and the rest of the fellowship. Lives are going to change, and I am so excited! Very practical things are going to happen, and this community will at least see us serving them, if anything.

Then Jesus told them, "I assure you, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, `May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,' and it will happen. [Matthew 21:21]

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Well… this is a little early to assume, but I will be thrilled if it works out. I have a friend from Seattle, going to school in Canada (Sussex?) who was going to go to Romania for a missions trip, but its been canceled… so logically he's asked me if their might be a possibility of them coming here! Of course, I jumped on the chance; they really want to work with children, so I am hoping I can hook them up with the local handicapped center for children, one of the young women in our church works there. It would be during their spring break, and Alexis would be here too, I think it will be rad, and maybe we can get some of our young adults to help out, and open up a new world for them. I have been thinking that we need to get a little more active in tangible things like this. Before the Christmas holidays came about, I had the impression some big things would start to form after the New Year, and I still believe it. Free Discos, Working with the handicapped children, working in the orphanages, cleaning up the city, these types of things I think will speak to people, yes they are works, but they are serving the needs of people, and through that Christ will be spoken.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


As you can see, I have tweaked my design, again. I added new information for contacting (which answers Mike's question). I am attempting to make it simpler, what do you think? I want to add a background pattern or image, but cannot quite find one I like. Got any advice? Criticism? Let me know…

In other news: Life is good, sorry for the lack of content today, I just needed to chill, I am enjoying "Waking the Dead" very much, check it out if you get the chance.

good 'ol abe lincoln

It seems accurate to me, I would say I am occasionally in the middle of a civil war, and it can be bloody. However, remember who won? What the effect was? That is my heart too.

Thanks to Silent Messenger for the link.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

waking the dead

Although I have not finished "Waking the Dead" by John Eldredge I am highly recommending it to everyone. The chunk I read last night really has me thinking, titled "The glory hidden in your heart", and it is absolutely inspiring.

You probably can't imagine there being a glory to your life, let alone one that the Enemy fears. But remember—things are not what they seem. We are not what we seem. You probably believed that your heart was bad too. I pray that fog of poison gas from the pit of hell is fading away in the wind of God's truth. And there is more. Not only does Christ say to you that your heart is good, he invites you now out of the shadows to unveil your glory. You have a role you never dreamed of having.
How true! God has made us new creations, when we accept Christ our ugliness is cut-away, glorious we are! Every creation of God's is glorious! Including you and I, we have been created to be beautiful, we are created to be much more than the Enemy wants us to be.

For my entire life, I cannot recall ever feeling "glorious", I have never felt truly great. I was always shorter than all the other boys in school. I have never been very good at any game which includes a ball (I am getting better!). From sixth grade through high school, I battled a face full of acne. My school grades have never been stellar. Moreover, since knowing God personally, I have struggled with being more than "just a sinner". Many Christians will say "I am a sinner, through and through, saved by grace alone", this is true, but it is not the full truth! We are sinners, but that saving grace transforms us into the glorious people we were meant to be!
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more. [2 Cor. 3:16-18]
However the glory does not come from us, it comes from our magnificent obsession, Jesus Christ. So be who you were meant to be, a glorious child, soldier, prince/princess of God! The Enemy is always fighting for us, this is the battlefield, and your heart is the trophy
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world… We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the power and control of the evil one. [1 John 4:4, 5:19]
Jesus make me the Man you want me to be, The burning in the heart Of my deepest desire is Rising like a flame, Burning higher and higher, Burning in the heart.

In other news: Clinton administration created "regime change" plan.

Monday, January 12, 2004

enemy-occupied territory - that is what this world is.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV) Have you ever wondered why Jesus married those to statements? Did you even know he spoke them at the same time? I mean, he says them in one breath. And he has his reasons. By all means, God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed. It doesn't just roll in on a try. There is a thief. He comes to steal and kill and destroy. In other words, yes, the offer is life, but you're going to have to fight for it because there's an Enemy in your life with a different agenda.
There is something set against us.
We are at war.
How I've missed this for so long is a mystery to me. Maybe I've overlooked it; maybe I've chosen not to see. We are at war. I don't like that fact any more than you do, but the sooner we come to terms with it, the better hope we have of making it through to the life we do want. This is not Eden. You probably figured that out. This is not Mayberry; this is not Seinfeld's world; this is not Survivor. The world in which we live is a combat zone, a violent clash of kingdoms, a bitter struggle unto the death. I'm sorry if I'm the one to break this news to you: you were born into a world at war, and you will live all your days in the midst of a great battle, involving all the forces of heaven and hell and played out here on Earth. [John Eldredge: Waking the Dead]
This is just a small excerpt from John Eldredge's latest book, Waking the Dead – The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive. I believe we are meant to live for so much more than this world has to offer. I believe we were created for so much more than we can ever imagine. And I believe we are all glorious creations who have unimaginable beauty and love within us. Even Satan was created with glory and beauty, but as with all other creation, God gave Satan free will, the power to choose.
Consider the tale told in the book of Daniel, chapter 10.
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (Dan. 10:1-3 NIV)
Something has happened that Daniel doesn't understand. I think we can all relate to that. We don't understand about 90 percent of what happens to us, either. Daniel is troubled. He sets out to get an answer. But three weeks of prayer and fasting produce no results. What is he to conclude? If Daniel were like most people, by this point he'd probably be headed toward one of two conclusions: I'm blowing it, or God is holding out on me. He might try confessing every sin and petty offense in hopes of opening up the lines of communication with God. Or he might withdraw into a sort of disappointed resignation, drop the fast, and turn on the television. In an effort to hang onto his faith, he might embrace the difficulty as par of "God's will for his life." He might read a book on "the silence of god." That's the way people I know handle this sort of thing.
And he would be dead wrong.
On the twenty-first day of the fast an angel shows up, out of breath. In a sort of apology, the angel explains to Daniel that God had actually dispatched him in answer to Daniel's prayer the very first day he prayed—three weeks ago. (There goes the whole unanswered prayer thesis, right out the window.) Three week ago? What is Daniel to do with that? "The very first day? But… I've … I mean, thank you so very much, and I don't want to seem ungrateful, but… where have you been?" You haven't blown it, Daniel, and god isn't holding out on you. The angel goes on to explain that he was locked in hand-to-hand combat with a mighty fallen angel, a demonic power of dreadful strength, who kept him out of the Persian kingdom for three weeks, and he finally had to get Michael (the great archangel, the captain of the Lord's hosts) to come and help him break through the enemy lines. "Now I am here, in answer to your prayer. Sorry it's taken so long." [Waking the Dead]
I believe with all my heart, which is the dwelling place of God's glorious spirit, this is the very thing happening here in Poland, Seattle, and around the world.

Sunday, January 11, 2004


For the past five weeks, our sermons have been on creating, maintaining, and our boundaries. I have personally learned quite a bit from this series, such as knowing where my boundaries are, when to let someone know they are pushing my boundaries, and how to make my boundaries clear. All of the principles come from the "Boundaries" book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I cannot begin to cover all of the material, but I highly recommend anyone, especially anyone who is easily hurt, to read this book.

Some of the things I have learned about myself deal with my failure to say NO to things I know I can do, but really dislike. Such as failing to say NO to someone who wants me do computer work for a "dinner", some kind of trade, or a ridiculously low hourly wage, and I say yes because I do not want to sound greedy. I do not know why I ever did work for people like this; it made me cranky, and less valuable to them, and others they would recommend me to. It also took up time, and brought in hardly any extra cash, maybe enough for an extra tank of gas. After a while I started saying no to everyone, and I would only volunteer myself on tasks and projects I knew I could enjoy, and I was in control. I am now able, after this series, to feel when something is approaching my boundary and I need to say no, instead of saying yes, then breaking down.

Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. [Matt 5:37 NIV]

Saturday, January 10, 2004

always small and new

I have never belonged to anything well established or "big", I grew up in a small rural suburb of Seattle, which until the last 5 years I lived there, hardly had a population over 2000. It was a big deal to cross one of the floating bridges over Lake Washington and go into Seattle. I went to one elementary school for kindergarten and first grade, then a new school was built, starting the life long journey of "being one of the firsts". In fifth grade, our school district built a new high school and changed from a Jr. High system to a Middle-school system, which made my class the first 6th grade in a multi period schedule with seventh and eighth graders alongside us.

When I entered high school it was only four years old and was very much still attempting to establish itself, in my four years of high school we went from a three period day, to a four period day, then to four periods and advisory (homeroom) everyday to just having advisory three days out of the week. During those four years, we also switched sport leagues, and our music league changed twice, hence we never had much competition because we kept changing leagues! This is also when I started following Christ, of course it was at a small church, hardly 70 people at the time, the youth group was small, but the leaders had big hearts, sometimes great things come in small packages.

Then comes college, I of course chose to go the brand new community college that opened the same year I graduated from high school. Once again, I was part of liquid programs that kept changing, and systems that were hardly in place. I went to this "two-year" (assuming you go to school full-time) for three years and I still have at least three full quarters before I get my "two-year" associates degree.

When I did network engineering for the school district, we were the smallest school district (in numbers) in the entire Seattle metro area. This sometimes made it hard to get ballot measures to pass, and other times it was just plain impossible to be competitive with our surrounding school districts.

Now, I am helping church plant here in Poland, and on at a good meeting we see maybe thirty people, which is fairly good for Poland when it comes to non-catholic works. But sometimes without sheer body numbers it can be hard to get people motivated. Our young adults group has maybe ten, and that is only on special occasions, usually only five (including four of the leaders) are at any one meeting.

I am not sure why, but always being a part of small and new things has taken its toll on me. I know when I return I will be very happy to get back to Mill Creek Foursquare church. It is well established and has a good amount of people, so that anyone in ministry is not doing "everything", many people are involved in all the ministries, way less stressful if you ask me. I was so blessed to call Mill Creek my home church for the short year I was there before coming here. I think when I get back I will be looking to work for a larger employer, where I am not the only one in my position, especially if it is over 700 computers again!

I am reminded that wherever I am, wherever work, wherever I study, I must work for the Lord:

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. [Matt 5:9]

Friday, January 09, 2004

snowboarding part II

More snowboarding today, yay! The conditions were not as nice as last time, but they were doable, though my right knee is killing me, it doesn't help that I fell full speed onto it, onto a sheet of ice. I am trying to get the hang of switching from "heel side" to "toe side" but it just isn't working out, and it’s a real bummer. Either way, it was another day of pure snow fun for only $9 again, and this time we got many more runs in.

Later in the day, we went to the monthly worship concert in the neighboring town, and it was another night of great interdenominational fellowship. Unfortunately, my ride was leaving right after, I would have loved to stay and chat, but my ride wanted to go. Tomorrow we "Americans" and Chris are celebrating our Christmas; it should be a fun night, of just relaxing, talking, and watching a movie.

I am having a hard time with some things right now; I could use some prayer specifically for my motivation to be jump-started. The passion is here, but no motivation, sounds like an oxymoron, but its true. I think the motivation is lacking because I really do not have the support system I was use to in Seattle, however, the number one reason I told people I was coming here was to "depend on God", boy is that ever coming true! For instance, one of the girls is turning 24 this weekend, and everyone else in our group is going to her birthday party, except me, I know I do not have a real friendship, and I should not expect to be invited, but for some reason it bothers me. Another thing bothering me is the complete lack of group bonding, no one, except us in the ministry, is committed, and that makes me very sad and frustrated… So just some simple prayer needs thanks!

We [I am] are now going to Bethel [Poland], where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has stayed with me wherever I have gone." [Gen 35:3]
In other news: former president Clinton, says he too was convinced Iraq had weapsons of mass destruction.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

interacting via IM, healthy for a relationship? hmmm... why not

TMielonen: Heeey.
alexiskoho: Hi
TMielonen: How's your day going?
alexiskoho: Um...Ok so far
alexiskoho: You?
TMielonen: its's been good, just got back from teaching... which went well... we finished Sleepless in Seattle :-)
alexiskoho: You watched the movie?
TMielonen: yeah we started it before Christmas, then finished it today, now they have to do a movie review.
alexiskoho: Do they like chick flicks?
alexiskoho: Only nerds do
TMielonen: Well all of them are chicks, except one, and i think he enjoyed it.
TMielonen: uh huh.
TMielonen: ;-)
alexiskoho: I meant for a guy
alexiskoho: You?
alexiskoho: He he
TMielonen: oh I see...
TMielonen: did you click on the link in my blog entry?
TMielonen: it will tell you the difference between a Nerd and Geek.
alexiskoho: No
alexiskoho: You are such a NERD!!!!!
alexiskoho: For knowing that sight
alexiskoho: Boy.....:-P
TMielonen: I searched for it, w/ google... its called "using my resources" its not like I just knew it out of my head.
TMielonen: Then I copy and pasted it into this...
alexiskoho: Thank you for explaining the process.....
alexiskoho: Im smarter now
TMielonen: lol... your welcomed... see, geeks always win =-O
alexiskoho: Who said you won?! >:o
TMielonen: I did :-!
alexiskoho: Of course
alexiskoho: Ego problems suck
TMielonen: yeah don't they... O:-)
TMielonen: who said they had pride issues?
TMielonen: I hope i'm not ruining your day...
alexiskoho: No of course not
TMielonen: good
alexiskoho: ;-)
alexiskoho: I love butter
alexiskoho: In fact i love fat
TMielonen: yeah you've told me that before... I do to... but is it Butter or Margerine?
TMielonen: the taste? not the look? :-)
alexiskoho: In eating it right now
TMielonen: are you like licking it?
TMielonen: I've heard of people that do that...
alexiskoho: Ha ha butter is better
TMielonen: yes it is!
TMielonen: yay
alexiskoho: Your sick!!!
alexiskoho: And i love garlic!!!!
TMielonen: okay good, because I don't.
TMielonen: Garlic rocks too... so you like Garlic bread eh? Butter and Garlic.... yummy
alexiskoho: you dont?!!!!!!
alexiskoho: Oh
TMielonen: No I don't like licking butter like some people... they actually bite chunks out and eat it... GROSS.
alexiskoho: family? O:-)
TMielonen: no... just some friends.
alexiskoho: Wierd friends sweetie
alexiskoho: But i still love you :-*
alexiskoho: I need to go
TMielonen: bye
TMielonen: love ya
alexiskoho: :-)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

God of the heavens and earth

Alexis knows I am a geek (well she says nerd, but I object), I love just getting information. Right now I am very intrigued by the whole Mars rover thing; did you know they have a plaque dedicated to the crew of Columbia? I wish I had 3D red/blue glasses so I could view the 3D Mars images that were released a couple of days ago, doesn't that sound cool? Also, as of early Tuesday 15 Terabytes of data has been downloaded from the NASA/Mars websites, as they say that is enough data to stack more than 20,000 CD-ROMs without cases, that's over 100 feet high! Heck if you wanted to you can also see the time on Mars, and see which parts of the planet are in sunlight. You can get a great overview of the rover and mission from NASA's website. So there you have it, all the geekese on the Mars rovers.

Back to this topic of being a geek, I have no problem with that label (Alexis and I have inverse definitions of geek and nerd). I very much still have a life, and I do not get absorbed in the geekdom, but when I am bored and there is no one to go out and play with, I will scour the internet for information, all kinds, doesn't matter. I do not really know if any of this information has ever been useful, but its fun and I am sure, someday (if it hasn't already) it will be useful, maybe even I'll save a life!

However all this Mars stuff does have me thinking, do we not have the most awesome God ever? I mean when you look at pictures of Earth, and of Mars, or any of the other planets, it is amazing. I know many people can explain away the mystery, but in my opinion, without the mystery (and I am glad there is always some) the amazingness is less. I have always wondered what are the other planets all about? Why has God stuck these apparently barren worlds with in our scope of discovery (which I also find amazing)? What I find even more interesting is that we still have not explored the depths of our own planet, we have been here for thousands and thousands of years, and still we are discovering strange new life forms on our own planet!

The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world. [PS 19:1-4]
All honor, glory, and power, to our Lord, Jesus

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


I remember one day back in sixth grade my teacher accused me of lying, and gave me an "infraction slip", it was the first time I ever was in "big" trouble, in front of the class; one other time in elementary school I got a "white" slip for not doing homework. The thing is, I did not lie, I had accidentally written the wrong date in my "book log", it appeared I had read a book in one day, instead of the week it actually took, but the teacher insisted I was lying. It upset me so much I actually was visibly shaking and tearing up, but he did not care. A half hour later, when I was able to cool down and explain myself, he said this remark "your family must never trust you for you to act this way" thankfully he never sent the slip to "the office". I am still not sure what he meant by the remark, but I was an emotional wreck the rest of the day. That day I did discover something though, I hated confrontation, I was wrongly accused and I wouldn't even stand up for myself when I knew it was wrong.

Today I am not the same, I have this strange thrill with confrontations, not the "screaming and yelling" kind, which thankfully do not arise much in my life, but the "this is not right, so I am going to do something about it" kind. This clicked a few years ago when I was still figuring out who God was and who he wanted me to be, so my reaction was not God honoring. On a rather strange day, back in band class the music instructor and some of the upperclassman (which included myself, it was my junior year) were having a disagreement about how a piece should sound. Our instructor wanted to play it one way, while we felt it sounded better the way it was written to be played. He basically said to our senior trumpet player "Tim, do you think their's a problem?" and he replied "no, not really, but…" and was cut off, then he turned to my friend (who started the argument) "Cindi, see, now lets move on" I was furious! I called him a donkey's butt hole (but in a much stronger way), and he asked me "what did you say?!" (even before I was Christian, I hardly swore to an adult, except my parents) and I said "you’re an @#$@%@$%" and he was, of course, floored, and I was assigned detention for the first time in my life. The detention was a joke, it never happened, because I finagled my way out of it by doing some extra work for the band director… worst of all, I was the band president that year, wasn't I a great remodel.

I am more balanced in my approach of "fairness". However, I have noticed many people are walked over by the "powers that be" here in Poland. It is very sad to see my friends being controlled, and upset that things are not fair, but they are terrified to stand up, this is one direct problem coming from communism. I am noticing my passionate responses of "that's unjust, why do you allow it to happen?" just gets the response of "because it's always been that way", this upsets me, but I am not sure how to show them God's freedom from crud like this. God only knows how to play the game of life and living.

Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal power is expressed in justice. [PS 45:6]
Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge. [PS 50:6]
Justice--do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? [PS 58:1]
The wicked accept secret bribes to pervert justice. [Prov 17:23]
Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, and I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. [Matt 12:18]

Monday, January 05, 2004

so much for technology

Not much of an entry today, Carol came back from Seattle with all kinds of goodies. She got new DSL modems for their condo, and our apartment, along with wireless hubs and wireless cards for their laptops (mine already has one). Everything was going along all nice and neat, until I tried to get the new DSL modem to work at my place, and it simply will not work, I do not know about theirs yet, although I fear it will not either. For anyone who might want to help out, I am attempting to setup a Zoom X3 ADSL Modem/Router, and I have done everything I can think of, I used the old DSL settings from my USB modem, with the correct encapsulation and VPI/VCI numbers, but still nothing! Now I hate little blinking "link" lights.

It is driving me nuts, and as with most technology, when it just does not want to work, I get very frustrated, and not so nice words come out of my mouth (no one is around of course, except GOD). So that's been my day, other things that were planned were canceled because Chris is sick with the flu, so please pray for him and maybe me too, that I do not lose my head.

Don't ya think I should have something nice to say? eh? Well, right now, I don't, yep it happens. However, now that I've written it all down, I'm actually in a good mood! Off to bed. [Me]

Sunday, January 04, 2004

on that day, alexis

Darling did you know that I
I dream about you
Waiting for the look in your eyes
When we meet for the first time
Darling did you know that I
I pray about you
Praying that you will hold on
Keep your loving eyes only for me

I am waiting for
Praying for you, darling
Wait for me, too
Wait for me as I wait for you
I am waiting for
Praying for you, darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me, as I wait for you
Darling, wait

Darling did you know I dream about life together
Knowing it will be forever
I'll be yours and you'll be mine
And darling when I say
'Til death do us part
I'll mean it with all of my heart
Now and always, faithful to you

I am waiting for
Praying for you, darling
Wait for me, too
Wait for me as I wait for you
I am waiting for
Praying for you, darling
Wait for me too
Wait for me, as I wait for you
Darling, wait

Now I know you may have made mistakes
But there's forgiveness and a second chance
So wait for me darling
Wait for me
Wait for me
[Rebecca St. James: Transform: Wait for me]

And in other very heart breaking news, Seattle lost :(

fairly close

Although I don't avoid confrontations , I only avoid yelling and screaming matches.

"It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is."

You are Desiderius Erasmus!

You have great love for others and will do just about anything to show it to them. You are tolerant
and avoid confrontations, so people generally are drawn to you. You are more quiet and reserved in
front of strangers, but around some people you open up. When things get tough, you like to meditate
alone. Unfortunately you often get things like "what a pansy," or "you're such a liberal."

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Saturday, January 03, 2004

will someone come out to play, please

Grrr. No one wants to play today. Okay, no one can go out to play today. Times like this are when I really long for home, back home I had no problem finding someone to do something with, even if it was just sitting around and talking, here that's like a waste of time or something. I have always struggled being alone, but I really think I am doing better now, I have been alone since Monday, except for New Year's Eve, and until today, I have been very happy. However, now I am ready to do something, go somewhere, I've haven't left our apartment since Sunday, except for New Year's Eve and we only went about a block… I am so bored, not exactly lonely yet, I just want out of the house, I think I will go put something in the mail (the box is about half a block from here), and maybe someone will call me to kill this boredom.

I guess I will be reading more books, maybe I will even get to play SimCity 4000 again, that game is so addicting. I think I will also call some friends back home, but right now in Seattle it is just past 8am on a Saturday and most of them would not like to be woken up, except one, Matt, so maybe I will call him after I take the mail out. I wish all of my friends from back home could come here, then I would have people to hang out with, and I think for the young adults here, seeing all of us together would be a blinding light. Nevertheless, God has called me here, to depend on him, lean on him when I am alone, and to build me up with just him. So, I will ponder the words of Paul :

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [Phil 4:6-7]

Friday, January 02, 2004

the freaky side is coming out

It is nearly half past three in the morning here, but there I was in my bed reading Elisabeth Elliot's "Passion and Purity" and this passage completely jumped out at me.

We went to Oregon's magnificent coast for a day. We walked down through the thick fir forest to an isolated cove where we explored sea caves and swam in the frigid Pacific. We built a driftwood fire. Sitting close together, watching the sun sink into the gleaming sea, the temptation to express ourselves, to do what we felt like doing, was nearly overwhelming. Because the final choice had been made long before, by the grace of God we were not overwhelmed.
I write this for one reason. To show that it is possible for two young people, full of all the juices that youth is endowed with by the Creator, to resist temptation.
They can't do it unless they have a motive that makes it worthwhile.
They can't do it alone.
"If you feel sure that you are standing firm, beware! You may fall. So far you have faced no trail beyond what man can bear. God keeps faith, and he will not allow you to be tested above your powers, but when the test comes he will at the same time provide a way out, by enabling you to sustain it."
He enabled us.
A word of warning here. It is not a good idea to go into caves or to sit by driftwood fires in lonely places if you are not yet sure of your God. Paul advised the young Timothy to "turn from the wayward impulses of youth…" Don't walk straight into them and then blame God if the temptation is too great for you.
My thought's exactly, if you are not sure who God is to you, don't go into some place to "test" him. You must have full faith and trust in God, otherwise you will not allow him to enable you to overcome the temptation, and it is your fault, not his. I have been there, I understand, it is the truth. Now, I'll finish this chapter, and go to sleep. Be blessed and go fourth.

excitment and passion

What do you do with excess passion and excitement? I have an incredible amount of passion for Jesus I want to share with others; I am so excited, I am afraid I am setting myself up for disappointment. In some ways I feel like I am underutilized, but I am sure it all apart of something big that is about to happen here in Zakopane. Since I arrived last September, I have had a thought at the back of my mind that things would really start to burn, brightly, after the New Year. Already I see the opportunities arising, people are asking questions, and there is a hint of optimism and excitement throughout our friends here. I am very excited to see what God has in store for all of us here. The enemy is quickly losing ground, and soon a fortress for Jesus will be in Zakopane Poland.

When Alexis arrives (on February 12th) I know all the girls here will be clamoring to talk to her, and I know God is going to use her, and she knows it to, to speak straight to the heart-needs of these young women! I am very excited to talk about what our relationship is founded on, the passion, and the purity involved in our happiness, and of course, how it would be impossible if we didn't both have God at the center of our lives. This web log stuff is increasing my vocabulary, but at the same time it is very frustrating when I can't think of any words to describe how excited and passionate I am right now. Either way I want people to see how much I (at the very least attempt to) adore Jesus, and that is the bottom line.

You must worship no other gods, but only the LORD, for he is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you. [Exodus 34:14]

Thursday, January 01, 2004

i must be a romantic freak

Do you ever feel like a freak? The last few days I have had some great opportunities to talk to people, here and back home, about Alexis and I and why I am halfway around the world from home. Most people's reactions, including other Christians, are "oh, that's nice, I couldn't do that", and "good for you, won't work for me". Excuse me? As if I am some kind of foreigner… oh wait, I am, literally, and are not most Christians? Over the last five years, my life has gone in a 540-degree circle. The first 180 was when I finally found God and decided to follow him, the second is when I decided to honor God with my entire life, the third 180 is when I started to listen and obey Christ and let him work through me, since that point the blessing have exponentially increased.

I think my views on life shock many people because they are so contrasting to the "norm". Alexis and I have not kissed because we want our physical relationship to be sacred, we want it to have meaning when it happens, not powered by our lustful desires, but by our hearts. This may seem absurd to some people, you may even ask, "how do they know if they are attracted to each other then?", we are truly attracted by each other's drive to adore God with our lives. When we say we want our relationship to point to God, we are saying we want God to be the main factor in everything we do. Physical affection is an amazing thing, and I am sure Sex is even better; however, without God those wonderful things can create so much hurt and angst. Do I believe a healthy romance can exist with out God, yes. Do I believe a healthy and fulfilled romance can exist with out God, no. Why? Because any couple who communicates their feelings, expectations, hardships, and desires, will have a healthy relationship. However, a fulfilled romance can only exist if the deepest desires of our heart are filled, and those are only filled by God's unconditional love, he is the only one who can give that love.

My desire is for everyone to be content and fulfilled by God, before pursuing any romantic relationship. Being Single is an amazing GIFT, it allows us to discover who we are with Christ. When single it is much easier to get closer to God, and to know what it means to lovingly adore him. At all times remember you might be called to live a single life as Paul, but if you are longing for a relationship, probably not, but as long as you are longing, you will never know, and you will not experience God's astounding blessings in this season of your life.

goals not resolutions

I hate the term "New Years resolution", as if they are going to "resolve" anything. So, I have new year's goals, which I think is a much better term, but each person can suit themselves, I don't care. Anyway, for this year I have only a few goals.

    1. Pray without ceasing, I want to have a dynamic prayer life, where I am always talking to God, not just at specific times.

    2. Live a life of purity that will honor my future wife and family.

    3. Explore ministry opportunities, be involved in the lives of others, to meet their needs and learn how to use my gifted areas to point people to God's kingdom.

    4. Work my very best to guide the relationship I have with Alexis towards God's will.

    5. Get more active, stop being so lazy, definitely ride my bike everyday when I return to Seattle.

    6. Figure out this battle of the kind of person God wants me to be, am I a "silent strong leader" or the "upfront, message delivering leader, and strong, but more vulnerable to criticism" (I have no problem with criticism, in fact I love it, it helps me)?

    7. The most important goal (to me) for 2004 is that every person who ever interacts with me sees my passion for Jesus! I want everyone to know I am not who I am today, with out Jesus Christ, I want people to say "wow, now that's someone who is different, why?", I want to be bold, proud, and effective for Jesus- to do this I need to focus.
So their you have it, Travis' 2004 life goals, I have last year's in my old journal (the kind you use a pen and paper with) but Alexis has it, so maybe she'll comment with what those were… hint… hint.