A loss of confidence or enthusiasm; despiritedness
An attempt to prevent something by showing disapproval or creating difficulties; deterrent
Why do we deal with discouragement so much? Why does there always have to be something in the way? Why does life have to be so hard? These are questions I hear people ask every day. There’s so many things in life that discourage us, as humans, that we can’t seem to avoid: death, failure, loss of friends, an abrupt change in plans. Why does it seem that after we just get out of a bad time, and we finally experience peace, something has to throw us out of our happiness and into another trial?
I have noticed that in college, every day has a new trial. Whether a paper is do, or you have a million things that need to get done, or you have to meet with your advisor, or work, or all of the above and a million more things. My point is that there are a million things in this world that constantly bring us down. Yet we still have to have faith as Christians that we can get through this.
In my Old Testament class we are going over the book of Job. If anyone in history had an excuse to be discouraged it was Job. In just the first few chapters of the book, Job loses everything: his family, his possessions, his health, he even loses his sense of connection with God. Yet no matter what happened, he NEVER once curses God. Even after his wife tries convincing him to curse God Job resists. In chapter 2 verse 10 Job says “shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job is accepting God, no matter what happens. That’s so amazing to thing that even through his darkest times, Job was in love with the one and only God of the universe. And in the New Testament, James says to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Not only are we to loved God in trials and discouragement, but we are to be joyful in them. Why? Because that is when we show God we love Him the most!
No matter what you’re going through, no matter how much you lose your confidence or enthusiasm, God is definitely something to be enthusiastic about. So whether you have a series assignment due, you have to organize an event, your job is keeping you on your toes and you just don’t have the time to relax, or you just have your own personal trials to face, just remember it will be ok! Jesus says that “..in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome this world!” (John 16:33). Jesus is more than this world, and He loves you with all of His heart. No it is up to you to trust Him, even when you find trusting Him to be the hardest thing to do.
For the past week I have livin it up in Frankfurt. As soon as I got off the train I knew I was going to like it there. And I was right. I absolutely loved this week! I learned many things about myself and God revealed so much to me about personal areas of my life as well as my future plans-His plans. We worked with Chris Zimmerman. Some of you might/should remember him speaking there at MNU earlier this semester. Well I am just gonna let my little notes about this whole experience speak for themselves.
Ready. Set. Go.
*Our vision is Heaven on Earth. Wanna join?
EVERYONE is made in the image of God. Not just Christians.
Jesus became part of the people and society. He gained the authority to proclaim. He didn’t start his speaking, preaching, and teaching ministry until he was thirty!
“There’s no holiness without social holiness.” -John Wesley
THE MISSIONAL CHURCH: So often we have the view that everything starts with the Church and that missions is just a little branch that some select few specialize in. Then we throw in some Christ where we feel it comfortably fits. *This view should be reversed.
Church view: Believe. Behave. Belong. — you must first believe what we believe. Then you have to change in order to behave as we do; the right way. And THEN you may belong and be accepted by us.
Missional view: Belong. Behave. Believe.– you feel a sense of love and belonging and acceptance and so then you gradually begin to see and behave in ways that glorify God. Then God works in you and continues to reveal to you in ways that you should think and believe.
Action teaches more than teaching does.
Don’t be limited to Sunday morning fellowship and service.
Don’t pray for God to be with you and ‘wait on Him’ before you enter into foreign territory. He is most likely already there waiting on you.
You pray when you are walking on water because you don’t want to sink but there is no need to pray when you’re sitting in the boat. Get out of the boat.
Stop praying abstract prayers asking for God to bring people to church. Get off your butt and go to where those people are.
The kingdom of God is for TODAY.
Action comes first. Prayer comes after. Just like Jesus says in Luke to the 72- we are to be praying as we go, as we are already on our way and in action.
GO! I AM SENDING YOU OUT LIKE LAMBS AMONG WOLVES.–He is sending us out just as he came. He says that just as he came we should go. Vulnerable as a baby. Dependent on his parents growing up. Wounded when they beat him and hung him on a cross.
The kingdom of God works and operates through people who are fully dependent on him.
Step out in faith not knowing what may happen.
Do not be distracted. You are on a mission.
Offer peace to everyone. No matter their background or religion or values. It shouldn’t be a test of whether they are worth of peace or God’s blessings.
The kingdom of God is at hand. Offer peace for whoever you meet and accept all that THEY want to give you.
*Jesus passed the bread and wine, offered his body and blood, even to the man that he knew was going to betray him. He offered himself even to his enemy.
We don’t bring God to the people. We just need to help them understand and see that God is ALREADY with them.
I may not know how God can help but I do know that we/I can ask him to help.
Who are we sent to?
Who am I sent to?
Who are you sent to?
Am I living out God’s vision and call as radically as I can?
This week God spoke to me in so many ways. He opened my eyes to the plans that he has for me. Ephesians 3:20 says, “By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope for.” God wants to do amazing things in me and through me…so why was I standing in the way? Well not anymore. God’s got some insane plans for me and my future. And I’m ready to be apart of them.
Learn something new today is gonna be a little different this time..
Ponder this: The hill billy story. The hill billy went into a church that was very nice and sophisticated and everyone was dressed fancy. The church and pastor were disturbed by the hill billy’s attire and so the pastor went to him after church and asked him how he liked the service. The hill billy replied that he thought it was okay and he enjoyed it. The pastor then asked if he would be coming back. The hill billy said yes he would like to come back again. The pastor went on to say okay well for next time how about you talk to Jesus and ask him about how you should dress when you come to church here. The hill billy said that he would. – The next Sunday the hill billy showed up at church and was wearing the same clothes as the Sunday before. The pastor and church were very upset about this and so the pastor approached the hill billy and said I thought last Sunday we talked about your clothes and you said you were going to talk to Jesus and ask him what you should wear and look like when coming to church here..? The hill billy said that he did talk to Jesus and ask him how he should dress. The puzzled pastor then asked well what did he say? The hill billy responded, “Jesus said that he has never been to your church so he doesn’t know how I should dress or what I should look like when coming here.”
Connecting with God. How do you define it? Some say quiet time, talking with others, finding Him in the word. These are ALL useful and creative puzzle pieces of discerning God’s voice, but some are more effective than others for different people. If you are more extroverted then quite time, though still necessary, is a more evasive device and talking with others is more preferred. This would be likely reversed for introverts. However you spin it, these are all, I would say necessary, forms of worshiping God.
This weekend I had the opportunity to travel with my fellow improvisational teammates to a Wichita area Nazarene lock – in. Side note, You all should hire Action Pact to perform at church, school, and whatever other events you want some energy, comedy, and interaction.
Back on track, the lock-in was awesome! Improv, speakers, gym time, ice skating, and staying up until 6 in the morning made it epic! The best part was the focus that was exhibited at the beginning, before most the chaos began. My favorite type of worshiping God took place. Music! We sang amazing songs; fast, slow, energy-filled, and spirit-consumed. My reaction got me thinking and I realized that was as impactful that music had been to me in awhile. I, and most of the 500 other people, was/were jumping, shouting, clapping, and encountering God.
I believe worship, in whatever facet, can help you encounter the Lord. Whether it is shouting praise and worship or instrumental music that you use to pray to God, the possibilities are almost endless! I believe that the music gives your heart the words to say as your mind is at a loss. I see this in what came after the worship. A speaker who talked to vulnerable hearts and prepared the road for an altar call. Sitting on the front row and seeing all these young people pour their hearts out through tears and postures taken. The best part was the comfort that followed; the loving hand of a youth worker or friend was beautiful!
Some people encounter God more in writing, drawing, alone time, or day to day life and that’s beautiful! For me, music is my favorite avenue. Being on this campus makes it SO easy! So many talented musicians and opportunities to excel in that area! I am blessed to be surrounded like this.
I encourage you all to find whatever way you feel God talk to your life the most! If you already know, never let go of it and even try to grow in other ways! After all, our God is always talking we just have to learn to listen. Sometimes it won’t make sense, but just keep turning the puzzle piece until God reveals the bigger picture!
Can I just tell you how many hours of sleep I’ve gotten this week? Maybe like 3 total every night. Some wise person once said that you can choose 2 of the following: Good grades, a social life, or sleep. Don’t get me wrong, sleeping is one of my favorite activities. It seems like I have intentions every night to be in bed by midnight. Rarely does this happen, and the nights that it does, I’m up thinking about all the things I need to do until 2 or 3 am.
The point of this story is not to tell you about how horrible life is as an academic social butterfly. I’m here to tell you friends, there is a solution.
At this point in the semester, I have officially replaced water with coffee. I’ve never been a coffee person until college. One of the nice changes made in Campus Center this year is unlimited scans. Scanning in for coffee no longer needs to be justified! A good friend of mine, Rachel Boan, taught me a couple months ago how to create the perfect iced coffee in campus center. I know it might sound like I’m exaggerating, but I crave it more than I crave Starbucks iced coffees (which is everyday of my life.) It creates the perfect refreshing drink for meal times. Coffee is no longer a hot dessert after a meal, it’s to be enjoyed at all times! This little things in life, I suppose.
Be watching for a How-To by Rachel this week, and happy November!
HEY GUYS!!! This has been another week to remember for me. Lets start off with Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t know if you are familiar with them, and if you’re not then you should look them up, but I’m not a huge fan of their theology or their actions. They picket a lot of different places for a lot of different reasons with some pretty hateful signs that I would rather not write and it just upsets me, you know? So a couple of friends and I decided to go to where they were picketing, the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the Spring Center, and do a little picketing ourselves. Now we didn’t picket WBC, or really picket at all. We just made signs that said things like “God Loves You” and “There’s No Room for Hate in God’s Love,” went to where WBC was, and decided to tell people that God loves them. I’m sure people are sick of being told they are hated for sinning. No one can feel God’s love or is going to be reached if all they are being told is that He hates them. We just wanted to tell them that He DOES love them! God loves EVERY sinner and EVERY saint. We just wanted to actually reach people and actually show them that God not only loves them, but he DIED for them. We did not want to make WBC mad or to tell them they were wrong, just to get in the hate that was being spread and show love.
We are all just 18 years old or so and we were doing the best we could to show people God’s love. Just cause we are teens and college students doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference. This is just a small example of how we, as Christians, can really spread love through this world. In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus tells us to “go make disciples of all nations.” And not only that but that He “[is] with [us] always, to the very end of the age.” Now why would a God that hates us be with us to the end of the age? He calls us to go make disciple but in that we have to follow the two greatest commandments stated in Matthew 22:37-40: To love God and to love others. Thats what our goal in life should be: to love! This just really hit me this weak. We are Christ’s disciples, and it is up to us to show the world His love.
And on a lighter matter, yesterday was Halloween! I may not have dressed up but some people did. Some people went ALL out here at MNU. Two PERFECT examples are Nathan Traxler and Ethan Grimes, both of which are Sophomores (Ethan is on the left and Nathan is on the right in the pictures below). Nathan set out to be an elderly woman and thats exactly what he did. He dressed up and acted like an elderly woman: with the dress, and the hair, and all of the other elderly parts an old woman would have (if you know what I mean). Now a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the year, during one of MNU’s famous events, Ethan managed to split his forehead open all the way to the skull on a HUGE water slide outside of the Lanbarger Dorms when another student accidentally kneed him in the face. Ethan used that to his advantage this year on Halloween and went as Harry Potter with the scar and all. I laughed soooooo hard when I saw these two guys walking together in Campus Center. This is definitely a solid image of what MNU students really stand for. Ok maybe not EXACTLY but it does represent a good portion of us students.
So those are the main highlights of my week. There’s so many other things going on here on Campus that make life really exciting here. And I’ve also been hearing of a lot of things going on over there at MNU Europe that are super exciting (Check out Cherith’s blog page here on MNU Blogs to hear more about that). It’s just weeks like this, even though I’m stressed and tired all the time because I have an insane amount of homework, that really make me proud to be a Pioneer. This is a place to be serious for God and to go out and to spread His love, but it’s also a place to just have fun, be goofy, make friends, and fellowship together. MNU in both America and in Europe are schools full of joy and love. This isn’t something you see everyday and I know I’m not the only one who sees that. This school is something to be proud of.
Imagine you are driving. It’s been quite a drive and you’re a little antsy to get where you’re going. The conditions aren’t the best. Sorta foggy, it’s beginning to drizzle. It’s near nightfall and you think you’re getting lost. O and you’re blindfolded. There are so many options on which way to go, what road to venture down. What do you choose?
This is life. Whatever “car” we’ve been given or decided to try and use to get going. Some of us have a Lexus or a 2012 Ford Fusion. While others may drive something along the lines of an 88 Ford Crown Victoria. The car we take may decide the level of difficulty at times, but our life situations do not decide our outcome.
We come to a point in life where there are decisions to be made. Whether it be concerning relationships, schools, and other possible paths of life. It is never an easy decision, but what worth effort comes cheap? Our salvation came at a high cost, school often comes at a very high price, success in which ever facet you want it in comes with work. What we often neglect is that we don’t have to fight alone. School has teachers/tutors and success is often accompanied by people who care. The same is applicable in our drives as Christians. We can get people to be our back seat navigators or when life gets that hard and it’s necessary, be our tow truck.
Don’t forget that failure is okay. It only reveals correction and answers for next time. As Paul sort of asks, “Does that mean we should continue to fail?” Of course not! A set back is a set up for a comeback! Throughout the Bible we see failure, but reasoning, guidance, and purpose behind it! Does this mean getting back up after you’ve fallen the 18th time is gonna be cake? NOPE. BUT, as the movie Soul Surfer cares to share, “I don’t need easy, just possible.”
So, back to our car ride. The road is life. It’s long and dreary sometimes. We are all wanting to get somewhere we are not. The conditions are the failures we get to face, the ones we can choose to address and adjust our skills to or let them throw us off. It’s foggy because we don’t know what’s next. A hill, mountain, sharp turn, or curve may be lurking beyond our 5 foot eye-sight range. The rain that starts is often when it gets the hardest. We begin to lose sight and try all that we can to get it off ASAP. Life is getting dark, due to all that’s already come at you, you lose hope and don’t know where to turn. You may wonder how you are driving successfully at all with a blindfold on, right? Well, that’s because you have made the decision to put it on! Follow me here You do have friends that can be in the backseat, but only One can have control of the wheel, if you let Him. Jesus is your guide, He knows the twists and turns coming. So, you gave Him the wheel and trusted Him by putting on the blindfold. So does it really matter if you can’t see? After all, faith is hope in the unseen.
A lot has happened in Switzerland this week. So here’s a recap!
ICF: A group of us went to Neuhausen to a youth/adult worship event and it was amazing. There were people from around ages 15 to about 30. Everyone got there and socialized while others bought coffee and snacks. Then at eight the craziness began. We filed into a big room with a stage. A video introducing all of the worship team played and then they all appeared. The whole night was multilingual and that was definitely my favorite aspect of the entire evening. We rocked out to songs in English then they would go right into singing in Swiss German and then there were High German lyrics below everything. Being amongst all those people was such a great experience. In the middle of worship I looked around and realized what an awesome thing I was witnessing. So many of the people in that room were from completely different backgrounds, cultures, and even languages. Yet, we were all worshipping the same God and He was speaking and working in all of us despite our differences. God was touching Swiss, German, Dutch, and us Americans all at the same time. In each of our languages, in each of our circumstances, and in each of our individual lives. That was insanely cool to be apart of!
Adopted family: Hayley and I got invited to go over to a couples’ house from the international church this past Sunday. We spend the afternoon at their house with their family and had a blast! They have three little girls that are absolutely adorable. Lilly is 3, Maddy is 5, and Katie is 8. They are actually from the states and are living here for about five years on business. We had dinner and played with the girls; they showed us around and told us jokes. They started working on art pictures to give Hayley and I when we had to leave so we will be getting those at church next time. It was really great to be in a home and family atmosphere because we haven’t had that in awhile. We got to know them and we shared our stories as well. It was good to have that hospitality and openness with them and their girls.
Halloween: We had a Halloween costume party and it was wonderful. We had Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood and a Christmas present and Rosie the Riveter and a wolf and a grandma and pirates and a peacock and a Mexican selling bananas. Yes- quite the range of characters. Linda and I went as Pharaoh and Cleopatra. We looked pretty dang good if i do say so myself. It.was.great.
I’m leaving for Frankfurt, Germany and will be there for a week so I’ll have to catch up on everything when I get back.
Learn something new today: When you look at your reflection in the outside of a spoon you will look normal but turn the spoon and look into the indented inside of the spoon and you will be upside down. Blew my mind.