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Friday, July 23, 2004

To The Netherlands

Listening to: shane bernard - As the Deer - Shane Barnard -

Tomorrow morning I leave for The Netherlands, we are taking 12 young Polish people to the European Foursquare "U-Turn" camp for youth. There will be about 20 nations from all over Europe and some from The States. As far as I know I will not have any Internet access from the camp, but if I do, I will try to post at least once next week. I plan on taking many pictures and will be writing in my journal with the different things I see Jesus doing and where I feel him leading me. Some people from a church in the Portland, OR area will be there and their pastor, Dan who visited us earlier in the year when Alexis was here. Him and his wife run an internship program that is similar to the idea I have had for Poland/Seattle, so I hope to talk with him.

Please pray that I can build a relationship with the one young Polish guy (who doesn't know much English) who is coming. There will be only two guys, me and him, all the rest are woman. Also pray that all the details of returning home do not block my capacity to minister to whomever God puts into my life this coming week. Of course any other prayers are welcomed as I conclude my time with Poland on a mountain top. I'll be back on August 1st, I'll post something and pictures probably by the 2nd.
Ephesians 5:15-17:
Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the evils of these days. Don't be vague but grasp firmly what you know to be the will of the Lord.
On a side note, since moving out of my apartment on Monday I have only been connected to the Internet three times. Two of those times have been on Dial-up, yikes, I forgot the pain of dial-up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

God willing

I realize that most of the time I fail to give God any real authority. I pray and say things like "Let me, make me, make it so" but I don't give Him the authority in my life. I don't say "You may do this, in your will, I give you authority". I realize while I have thought I've given up control I really haven't I've simply just started yakking at God but haven't quite given Him the green light in my life. Granted there have obviously been times where I have (or I wouldn't be in Poland) but those times have been few and far between. I've been reading Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" and the past few days have been about obedience and submitting. He highlights the point that obedience means nothing without recognizing the higher power that you are obeying too. If you do not recognize Jesus Christ as the one you are obeying and submitting to then you fail to give any adoration to your creator. The Lord never insists that we obey Him, in fact no one can claim that God made him or her obey. The moments in my life where I have submitted to obeying God it has been only when I have recognized and revered Him for all that he is and does.

I came to Poland as an act of obedience because I knew that I needed to know God more clearly. Well, I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. It's a bright, bright, sun shiny day. Only by adoring, revering, and loving Christ can I truly obey Him. Otherwise my life is simply just another religion, rules and regulations without any kind of relationship or life. I adore the Lord because he makes life beautiful, I revere the Lord because he is in full power, and I love Him because he loved (and loves) me for who I am with all my flaws. I have learned that people will only begin to obey the Lord if they know the Lord. Then through obedience they will seek to adore and revere Him and their lives will be fruitful.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Last night at Chimera

This is the last night in my flat (the building is called Chimera). I'm not quite sure what to think. My posting might be sporadic from this point until I return to Seattle and establish a regular Internet connection again. I will try and post every other day either via a dial-up connection or stopping by Carol and Denise's to hijack their DSL connection. I officially have $14 in my mission's account and I will be living out of my suitcases for the next three weeks. On Saturday Denise, Carol and I will be traveling with about 12 other young Poles to The Netherlands for a large European youth conference. This is a 22-hour trip, by bus! I am praying that my back can handle it, yes I know, I am only 22 and complaining of back issues, that is another story. It is kind of sad that I'll be leaving this place in such a short time, I can hardly think about the moment I have to approach the secure area at Krakow International Airport, I know a tear or two will fall.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The time is near

The past two days I have spent preparing to move out of our flat. I've mopped the floor in my bedroom, the kitchen, bathroom, and entryway. I've dusted (more than I ever wanted to in my life), scrubbed, and fought off an army of dust bunnies, yet I keep finding a few stragglers. Overall, it has been productive. Tomorrow Carol and Denise will be brining over their vacuum cleaner to rid the rest of the dust bunny army. We will also take four medium sized boxes and one smaller one to the post office to be shipped back to Seattle full of my winter clothes, and other things I won't need for the remainder of my time here. I am expecting to pay $150 or more to send everything, which is $150 that I do not have and will be put on my credit card (hint, hint).

It's a bittersweet ending to my time here. I feel that I am just now making connections with some of the people here, I certainly have friendships here and I desperately want them to understand that I am not leaving for good. I plan to return, in some capacity, so I know I will see them all at another time. I got a great compliment over at Carly's blog today. If there is one thing that I want more than anything else in the world, is to be a blessing to other people. I want my words, my actions, and even my thoughts to reflect the glory and honor of God. Reading her words made me realize that God has used me in amazing ways, ways I would have never imagined just a short five years ago.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Lifelong friends

Some people are quite cynical when it comes to lifelong friends. But I already know I have some, and they are awesome. I know that no matter where I go, or where they go, or whatever number of oceans separate us, we will be friends. These friends have been the number one factor keeping me from going completely insane while being in this place. I now believe I am making some life-long friends on this side of the world too. Friendships take work, and they take understanding, love, and patience. Some people have a hard time making deep friendships, maybe it's just because of how I grew up, I didn't move much, spent most of my time in our small town, and literally I went to school with the same kids from preschool until high-school graduation, and even some of them I went to college with (and still am).

I know people inside and out, I know where they have been and how they have changed. I am also a people watcher, I observe and watch all kinds of details. I believe God has directed my life in this way for a purpose, and that purpose is to connect with people at a real human level that is from my heart and is authentic. I do not like most sales people because of their all-talk no substance attitude, and in today's society a lot of people are like sales people. So many people want to make a good impression on others that they forget who they truly are and that does not help to develop friendships which are truly supporting. Just be real people, someone will like you for who you truly are.

Thank you Alexis, John, Jen, Matt, Josh, Erin, Nicole, Cindi, Leanne, Ross.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Newsletter number 9, now online

I've just sent off newsletter number nine. I don't think it's anything like love potion number nine, but maybe it'll have a similar effect. I hope so!

Random musings

I go home much too soon, there is just too many people to see and talk with and not enough time. Yet I am so excited to be going home at the same time, yet the same problem, there won't be enough time and still too many people.

God's grace certainly seems like way to much to handle right now. I just have to keep on going and being responsible to my part of my relationship with Christ. Like the Caedmon's Call song "faith my eyes" I will walk with faith my eyes and grace my feet.

I have so many blessings that I take for granted every day. My prayer life hardly includes thanking God for the people and other blessings that he has put in my life. I need to focus more on thanking God for all these wonderful things.

The two things I want more than anything else is wisdom and peace. I want to have a peace that when I am asked a question I don't feel the pressure to answer it on the spot. I want to have the wisdom to sit back, listen, and let God's wisdom speak through me instead of jumping in with whatever is on my mind at the moment. I want to be the old man that everyone wishes they could have a peace of His mind, but I want to be like that today, why should I have to wait? I know in time wisdom comes, but I believe I can seek that wisdom now, and put it to use now. I know that through being slow to answer and having few words of my own, life will only be more peaceful for me and bring wisdom to others.

I am still looking for a job. It would be a wonderful thing to have some of you wonderful people put it up in prayer. There are two possibilities now, both with Christian organizations, even though I was hoping for a secular sector position, but hey, wherever God leads me is where I will go. I will be calling one of the organizations in a few minutes, this is a big deal for me and I am a little nervous. Thanks for the prayers!

To be great in God's light is all that I want.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Cultural poop

Yeah, that stuff, yuck. I just noticed something quite peculiar that I did a few moments ago. I was on the phone with my auto insurance agent (well an assistant) because my car insurance needed to be paid (I let Denise, a missionary here, drive my car while she was in Seattle). After a bunch stress of tracking down a check that Alexis apparently sent for $550, we found out that, first the check has disappeared into thin air, and 2 because I changed the insurance to the "suspend" mode just last Friday I know don't have to pay that $550. Nope, now I only have to pay $471.77 and it isn't due until August 8th! This is a BIG AMEN thank you God kinda of thing. Because neither Alexis or I had the $550, I have about $480 of credit on my credit card, and she had about $300, but we didn't want to pay with our credit cards. And now we won't have to! AMEN.

But, now to relate to the actual title of this post. As Barb (the assistant) told me the great news, I yelped with a "Amen!" inside, but I withheld it from my mouth because I didn't know what she should think. How stupid is this? I'm sure she wouldn't have had a second thought about it, yet I am so programmed (mostly by schooling), to be extra sensitive to people. I believe people need to see us Christian's actually saying Amen, and thanking God, otherwise what are we saying? Nothing. Of course, I thanked her for the great work she did, but God was certainly the one to work out the kinks he knew we didn't have the resources at this moment. Amen! I'm saying it here, AMEN! No more cultural poop for me.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


This is something I'll be expanding on later, however for now I'm going to rant. Fair warning, this is a rant, meaning it isn't all that well thought out and it's very blunt, maybe for some Christian's it is a bit offensive, but I believe in a God that is just and to be just sometimes you just have to say it as it is. I'm going to rant about my sex. Why does it seem that quite a few men have Sex as their main drive to finding a woman? Our physical relationships with the opposite sex should only be a reflection of our emotional intimacy with one another. Sexual intercourse is the ultimate expression of our love towards each other, and it should not be taken as some kind of need that must be fulfilled to live. Many people survive without sex, and they live perfectly happy lives. As a man, I understand the huge desire that can build up, the feeling of "needing" sexual satisfaction, however, I have chosen not to satisfy this desire until I have made the commitment to one woman. I am saving this desire, as a sacrifice (because I could have had sex by now if I wanted), for the one person who deserves to have all of me, not what is left over, and she certainly does not deserve to be "serviced" by me as just one of many.

I am sick and tired of seeing guys go after woman just because they want to have sex. I am sick and tired of hearing guys talk about woman behind their backs as if they were some kind of mission objective. I am sick and tired of seeing guys stair up and down woman's bodies for their own selfish joy. All humans are worthy of respect, raping a girl with your eyes is the same as doing it physically, it may not effect that person, but it will effect all your future relationships. Whatever way we treat woman and sex in our minds is the way we will treat them in our relationships.

I am only speaking from a male perspective so I cannot speak for woman. I know for a fact that men can change, I use to be very similar to these guys that I am talking about. I would constantly feed my lust with images of desire, then go home, and essentially have sex in my mind with all the images I stored. I still struggle with this but not in such a blatant and unashamed way. My desire is to love from my heart, be vulnerable, to serve, and be the man that Jesus is. I have much more to say on this topic, I know change is possible, and I believe that much of the crisis in today's marriages could change if men looked at life with something other than their penis.

Friday, July 09, 2004


In your life there is peace and joy. Although hard times come and the world fades away, you are serene, still, and calm. In your life there is tranquility, of love, of life, and of people. Through thick and thin you shroud your children in peace. In your life we surrender to you, to be unbound from this world's laws. In your life we are full of joy through obedience to you. Only in you are the world's scars used to build character.

Each little battle, argument, and hurt is used by you for your overall goodness that we can only imagine. So many of us have tried to understand your ways, we cannot, we must trust you. We, who have trusted, know, and those who have not, are scared and upset at us. You never said that following you would be easy, simply you said in the end you would reward. Everything that happens here in this life is to build our character.

As lone trumpeters in the wilderness, we call your name for all to hear. We stand up and fight the enemy. We truly are in the enemy's territory. Even in the battles, your peace transcends those who trust in you. We will trumpet until the last day, we will fight until all have heard your love, we will not stop until that glorious day when all have seen the choice you have given them.

Serenity will dawn in those who know you, seek you, obey you, choose you, come to you, serve you, love you, and praise you.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

No, not one person at a time

Maybe I'm losing it, maybe I'm over zealous. But is not our God the most powerful one in all the universe? Is God not the commander of angels? Is God not the one who gives us strength? I want to be his arms and feet, and I want to change the world. More than just one person at a time, I want to make a difference, I want to see God's kingdom on Earth. I want to bring His culture, his ways, and his love to all people. I know He does, but how many of his children truly try and believe? How many of his Children pray, lay down their life, and live their life in such a way that people cannot help but be drawn to the light Jesus has given them? We are his hands and feet, we have no choice but to touch and move. He called us to come, he didn't give us the option. He paid much to high a price for us to not go.

I take responsibility to serve Jesus Christ, our God in heaven, and I lay my life down so that by the Holy Spirit of God that I may show the life that he has given me. I will use all that I have to help others, to serve others, and most of all to love others. I am rededicating myself, this is not my first nor will it be my last. I refuse to stop, the people will know us by our love for each other, and people will see that love and they will know it is from God. Unconditionally I shall love, willingly I shall serve, and with all my life I will revere the one who has given me life, both in flesh and spirit.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

In two realities

This time next month I'll be preparing to leave and reenter into a life I've been absent from for almost a year. I am slightly anxious, a little excited, and very excited to see some of my buds again. Truthfully, I am not sure what to expect, the culture shock, the onslaught of questions, and my own expectations are sure to cause me show symptoms of post-traumatic syndrome. I'm not quite sure where I am, if I am here, or if I am there. A part of me feels as if I am just now getting roots here and another part of me is ready to take roots in Seattle. These two realities are fighting inside, but neither one wants the other to lose. The reality is that I am going home, and I will be facing many challenges.

I have some concerns that I know God will help me through, as long as I focus on what he is teaching me. Not by any measure am I some kind "super Christian" and I do not want anyone thinking that I am. A number of times I have mentioned how much I admire, in awe and amazement, the life of missionaries that have dedicated their lives to living outside their homeland. I still do not think I could be a career missionary, however, if God opened the door I at least wouldn't be afraid of it. The strength, the patience, the learning curve, the sacrifices, of being in the field is more than anyone could ever imagine unless they experience it, even if for as short as a year.

Life is going to be incredibly different in just over a month. For the last two years I have been planning, doing, and focusing on Poland. In just over a month I wont' have a specific focus. Sure, I'll be continuing school, developing my relationship with Alexis, building my friendships, but my focus won't be as clear and precise. I feel that being focused is the main motivator for life, you'll notice that most people who are known for something, are focused on something. The most influential people, that I know, are focused. I want to be focused, in my life, my relationships, and on God with all my heart.

Monday, July 05, 2004

My prayer for Poland

Because I love your people, because my heart yearns for your lives, I will not be silent. I will not stop praying for you until your people shine of the Lord's righteousness. I pray for the Lord's light to shine from you as a lighthouse to the nations.

I pray for your people to delight in the Lord Jesus, for your people to revere Him, and for His glory to be known across your majestic scenery. The Lord created you, your people, and the enemy has taken away your dignity. Cry out to God and return to Him and you will experience a life of joy and peace.

Therefore, no one will ever be able to destroy your people and your heritage again. If you live your lives pure and holy for the King of Kings you will enjoy and know what life there is to live.

Never again will foreign soldiers take your people, your land, and control them for their own games. If you raise the Lord as your ruler He will bless you and never forsake you. Your work will be enjoyed by your people and your labor will be wanted by foreign lands.

Oh Poland, your reputation will bring you much joy and abundance when you turn to the God of God's and seek Him as your provider. Let the beauty of your lands be reflected in your people.

Inspired by Isaiah 62

Friday, July 02, 2004

Yet God still uses me…

I just had one of the most fantastic conversations since coming to Poland. If this ends up being the only conversation of its kind this entire time I'm here, than it is all worth it. Just to see someone smile and understand who God really is, and why we are here, and to know that He is the reason; makes me giddy like a little school girl. And even though just last night I was down in the dumps, he has decided to use me anyway. He's cleaned me once again, lifted me out of the dirt, then said "come" and I went. I'm not expecting for the person I talked with tonight to change overnight, but I know that in some way this person felt a little closer to God. For me that is the most joyous thing to see. I want others to see His joy, to feel his peace, and to know that He loves them.

The world can make life so confusing, the enemy make it so unloving, and our minds make us doubt. But the Holy Spirit is strong, if we just have faith, if we just believe it will happen without needing to see the results, then it will happen and in time we can see the blessings. Take my word for it. God is here, and he'll use you, yes you. He used me even though less than 24 hours ago I disobeyed and knowingly gave in to temptation that I know is wrong and harmful. Tonight I raise my holy hands up, and I touch Him. I lift my voice up to him, higher and higher. Lord Jesus you came and lifted me up, thank you. Why do I ever doubt!?


Drastic measures needed? I don't know. Just like clockwork every time I tell someone I'm feeling freedom from impurity, it strikes me down. No matter how cautious I am, no matter how much I emphasize that I know I could fall at any second. While I no longer beet myself up into the largest guilt fest of the 21st century, I still get frustrated, especially when I've tried so hard to not try myself but let God do it. But it always comes down to me taking a little peak, or thinking a little thought, when I am by myself bored. I desire to be pure, to hold all my thoughts for what is honoring and glorifying for God alone. Yet my flesh screams and wins out, and sometimes it is conscience, I simply want that quick little satisfaction, even though I know that it will be followed by hours of torturous guilt and frustration. I know the Holy Spirit is working in me, and every little step it is a little bit easier.

I spend a lot of time doing nothing that helps my own personal walk with Christ and this is a major factor in my ability to resist temptation. This is definitely the thorn in my side. While my recovery time is getting shorter and shorter, I wonder if I am taking His grace for granite? How many more times will I have to go through this before it dies? How much longer can I endure before I simply go nuts? I think it's back to the drawing board, back to reading my Bible everyday, back to praying from my heart, and back to seeking even when I am not motivated. How do I end up in these places? I know how amazing life is on the other side, why can't I just stay there!

Matthew 26:39-41
He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine." Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour? Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!"
This is a bit out of context, I'm certainly not filled with Grief for others nor am I about to be betrayed and left to die on a cross. However, the words are my desire, and I do not want to keep on sleeping and be tempted because I know my body is weak.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

That Love thing

Listening to: Be Near [Radio Version] - Shane Barnard - Carry Away

Mags at Duo is talking about Love. I completely agree that Love is a "doing" word. It isn't just a feeling, nor is it just a mystery. Love is really what makes the world go around. Jesus told us to do something which even to this day seems backwards, Love your enemies. I don't know much about the old testament it certainly appeared that those people didn't love their enemies. But I think in a way it was probably something like this, we love our enemies by telling them the truth. However, there are consequences to not following the truth. Faith isn't as clean cut as we would like it to be, but the best analogy I can think of is this: If you were fishing in a river and then all of a sudden a bridge gave out, would you go up to the road and warn the drivers that the bridge ahead is out? I would hope so, and I would hope that people listened to you. However with faith many people say, well what I've done has always worked before so I'm going to go with what I think is true.

I don't believe it would be loving someone if you didn't warn them about that bridge. Just like it isn't loving someone when we don't tell them, in a loving and graceful way, that the sins they live with have consequences. However, we have to realize that people make choices, and if they make the choice to believe their truth, then we have to leave them alone. Jesus even told us that some people wouldn't believe if after he performed miracles… how true this is. Love is much more than a feeling it is doing what is right even when it won't bring you any love in return. Although as Christians we are not loved by everyone, we are commanded to love even our enemies. We can't love the sin, but we can love the person. Right now, it is sad, but generally people do not know Christians for their love of each other, they know us for our political ties, our hate of "sinners", and the inability for people to distinguish the person from the sin. Next time the kind of Love I have for Alexis.

Reentry - Newsletter 8

I've posted Newsletter 8 you can find it by clicking here.