Someone Else & Somewhere New

Day dreaming is pretty fascinating. We often think of a future that could be amazing or a past that could have been better. We relive moments that inspired us or bring us back to a memory that we would love to preserve forever. I am sure you are thinking of one now! It is much more difficult to live in the moment we are in now and then be present enough make the most of it. We all have break throughs of brilliance where we achieve, but for many of us we do not stay there long.

I recently heard a radio article about a performance artist who spent years taking on the persona of an upper class business woman. She would go to the right restaurants, meet the right people and dress in the appropriate clothing. She could fool her pretend world by just assuming the role in front of her and mimicking her unsuspecting mentors. She would later take on the role of a tattoo artist. She would even go as far as tattooing people herself, one person interviewed claimed to have gotten a tattoo in childish script that read “rock and roll”.

Of course for the artist she was living her art. She was conquering her moment and taking on the day. For myself I can get caught in between a day dream of what life could be and trying to be someone else. We are told what a healthy Christian life looks like, one who contributes to society and fits a perfect mould. We take most advice as gospel, assuming that we need to be coached on how to be ourselves. I was told about a preacher who claimed that skateboards and tattoos would hold you back from God. I hope no one with tattoos or a skateboard realize that they need Jesus in their lives, because they will be out of luck.

The point is this, day dreaming is cool if it pushes you further in life than you have ever gone before. But make sure that you are being yourself going forward. Be who God created you to be. Your interests, obsessions, likes, dislikes and ideas are part of who you are. They make you unique and awesome. Consider your past, it has formed you into who you are so that you can be a better person tomorrow. I have spent many years trying to write my past off as a useless ball of teenage angst. The problem is, years after leaving my punk rock world… I still love the stuff. I still like wearing doc Martens, black t shirts, drumming as loud and fast as possible and now teaching my kids the classics of my world. Embrace the past, future and present and when they meet you will find that you have more great conversations with people that all need to find hope in Jesus and friendship in you. People that you would not meet if you did not have a past.



Don’t Jump Ship – Be Obedient

Just reflecting this morning on some questions I had been asked recently in regards to listening to God, balancing emotion and being obedient.

The best thing you can ever do if you are trying to figure out what you should be doing in life is nothing! Yes nothing, go back to the last thing God told you to do. Have you accomplished that? Have you succeeded at that? Well then do that!

It is easy to let emotion and feelings guide what we do and what we want to do in life, unfortunately our emotions are largely deceitful (Jer 17:9) and we have to rely on God and not ourselves. It would be way easier if I could just go with what I feel and do what makes me the happiest all the time. That is not the reality that we live in.

So all this to encourage you to be faithful in what God is calling you to do. Haters come and go, the fan fare comes and goes, the next greatest thing usually isn’t that great, the greener grass gets cut too, the parades come and go even the season your in will come and go. Be obedient in what God is asking now!

Happy Thursday, Keep Going!

Hearing God’s Voice: Discourse

The last while Amberley and I have been discussing the book “Can you hear me” by Brad Jersak. This book talks about hearing God’s voice and how it is not as strange as we Pentecostals have made it out to be. You can hear God’s voice without some sort of a heightened spiritual experience. We can hear God in everyday life no matter what is happening. Sometimes we get so caught up in the legalism of perceived Christianity and actually dampen our ability to hear from God.

This last weekend we had the conclusion to our Student Alpha course. Stereotypically during this type of weekend a leader would want to create the exact circumstances where (s)he experienced God for the first time. Even when you are trying to break the mould, you still revert to what you know from the past. This is the type of experience I was looking for and expecting. A good old fashioned, line them up at the alter, push em down and hope for the best.

Keep in mind the whole working on hearing God’s voice thing, got it? Good. Here is how it unfolded. Everything was in place and perfect for my interpretation of a spiritual experience. Stage lights, great sounding spiritually rich worship band, experienced preacher and a ton of prayer leading in. As we were transitioning into worship and I began to pray, I had a word of knowledge about praying for ourselves before we started. The prayer was simple and echoed the words of the pastor of a church we attended and loved. The prayer went like this, with a hand held on our hearts, “welcome Holy Spirit”. Fairly simple right? Maybe simple, but not without results. For those who have had experiences with God like this they know what I mean by saying, I felt like I was twitching… like I had a nervous disorder and had trouble holding my head straight. As I finished prayer we went into a powerful time of worship which seemed to continue in what God was already doing. The worship came to an end and the preacher taught on tongues and the differences the Bible gives on tongues and why praying in the spirit is important to us. The teaching was great! Easily one of the best I have heard. Then he felt to conclude. This is where the Pentecostal in me kicks in and I thought hmmmm… when do we pray for the students and see them flop on the ground like fish? I was looking forward to some good ole’ fashioned alter time. Then the whole listening to God thing kicked in. God spoke to me and said “I already did the alter call while you prayed at the beginning, I did it backwards to what you wanted”. That messed with me! So I went to close in prayer and asked the simple question “did anyone feel something significant happen during opening prayer?” Multiple hands went up. And God said to my spirit “see”. The conversations with students and leaders went until 4 am, students who wanted to talk about what they felt and were feeling. One student even came late and missed all the spiritual stuff… she still asked a leader for ministry time that night! (thank you Jesus for this crop of prophetic leaders who don’t shut you off after the service!) Even crazier students starting to speak in tongues without a Pastor laying hands on them and praying for them!

Right when I think I have everything under control God changes everything. This leads me to think that maybe more things in our Christian experience needs to change. Maybe when we think we know everything… we know nothing. Maybe when we think we know what the students need we are hindering them. Remember when we used to make the students burn their “secular” cds? What would we do now, an mp3 deleting party? Remember when we would use end times talk to a salvation call moving? Have you ever said “if you leave tonight and get hit by a bus where would you go?”… maybe just like those things have dated student ministries we should be asking God how he wants this new generation to experience Him? Maybe it will be the same as for us… and maybe it will be completely different!

All this to say, keep listening to God, even when you think you know everything you need to know… keep listening. Maybe there are things in your Christian walk that you think are based on your morals… but have really just become road blocks and religion.