Nothing profound

As my joggled brain finds its way to my blog, in the realization that I haven’t posted anything on here in a really long time, it occurs to me I have nothing profound to write this evening (not that I claim to ever have anything profound to write…maybe it’s because it’s too early…something will strike me about 1 tomorrow morning, since I’ll still be up…see below)

I do however, feel the unexplainable need to emphatically state the following:

Term papers suck!!!!

(now that that’s out of my system)

I hope all of you have had a terrific Monday. The weather has been horrible here, and I swear I haven’t seen sunlight in 3 days, which contributes to my less than favorable outlook on my current assignment (that and the fact that I happen to be juggling a major deadline for an article tomorrow)

Oh well, I should say that I’m thankful to be in school and have the work…and as soon as I see some sunshine, I’ll probably be thinking just that.

Hopefully, I’ll write again soon…assuming I survive this project without permanent brain damage. Until then, God Bless!

Here’s my Top 10

Okay the title’s cheesy, but I hope this isn’t. I just thought that it might by “appropo” to do this (I really don’t think I spelled that right, but the spellcheck’s not working…a writer without his best friend…)

I promised God I would spend time talking to Him about the things I am thankful for today, and I since I know He’s reading this, here are 10 things that have occured to me today, in no particular order, that I am thankful for ( in front of God and everybody)

1. Salvation!!!!!!!! (most of all)
2. A terrific family who loves and supports me!
3. Amazing friends who truly care about me and are there for me
4. This really great person I recently met!!!
5. Living in a country where I am free to worship God without the fear of being drug away by secret police
6. The gifts He has given me, and the chance to use them for His kingdom
7. Feelings
8. Beauty
9. A job that pays my bills
10. An opportunity to touch the lives of others in the name of Christ
11. Apple computers (sorry, I couldn’t resist…)

Whoever you are, if you are reading this, it is my prayer now that you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, that God will touch you in an unexpectedly wonderful way, and open your eyes to see it. Because, whether or not I know you, He does!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thieves in the temple?

I just finished taking some quizzes for my Old Testament class. One of the quizzes was the inter-testamental period. It was interesting to read about the hellenization of the Jewish culture, and the inflitration of pagan worship that had taken place prior to the Maccabean revolt. The hellenistic Jews were so wrapped up in the new culture that they actually allowed a statue of Zeus to be placed in the temple. No wonder God was ticked off!

The thing that really occurred to me while I was reading this was that, I bet the people who were into this “new and experimental lifestyle” were the cutting edge of their day, the progressive thinkers, the celebrities who set the standard for trends in day to day life. And look what they did. They were so deluded, they openly insulted God, and turned to worshipping (if at least indirectly) Satan.

How often, in our postmodernism-contaminated thinking, do we allow the same thing into our lives? I’m so guilty of jumping onto every new and controversial theory that comes down the pike that I sometimes get a royal smack down by the Holy Spirit telling me to wake up. Fortunately, we have Him around now, which is an advantage that those guys didn’t have. But still, what are we capable of? What have we let in under the premise of being accepting and open-minded?

I’m not trying to retract ealier comments here, because I mean what I’ve said about today’s Christians being too closed minded. But there’s just as much of a danger in going to the other extreme, and letting anything in that feels good or looks good to us. Paul encouraged us to “test all things” (I Thessalonians 5:21a, HCSB). I don’t think we do that nearly enough. The Bible gives us a lot of liberty in a lot of things, but there’s also some definite black and white in there.

So I guess what I’m saying is, use moderation. We’re certainly too closed minded as Christians today, but we can’t welcome everything new with open arms, either.

Moving past the past

You know, it occasionally takes a while for something to sink in with me.

I just finished this devotional article about a week ago that is going to run in a new magazine in January (I think it’s going to be an awesome magazine for anyone involved in youth ministry…when it debuts, I’ll post a link). The article was on Philippians 3:13. I spoke about that passage last night. And I guess that was the first time God really drove home how incredible a passage that really is.

Paul, of all people, talked about “forgetting what is behind, and moving forward to what is ahead.” Now, the immediate response I got from a teen group to that is, “you mean we’re supposed to just forget the mistakes we’ve made? That’s ok?” I laughed, and felt like saying, you wish! But I think the point of what Paul is trying to say to us here is that we need to learn the lesson from our mistakes, and move on. Know that we are forgiven!! And focus on making today just a little bit better than yesterday, and tomorrow a little bit better than today, and the day after, and the day after. Satan wants to bog us down feeling guilty about the past, God wants us to move past it.

I guess that’s such a huge concept to me because I ran from God for years. I really screwed my life up for several years before I listened to Him. To know that I’m forgiven is amazing to me. I don’t understand why He would want to save me, much less use me for anything. But He’s given me dreams and aspirations that I know are from Him. So I can’t wait to see where it goes. All because He moved me beyond a screwed up past.

So, whatever it is that you’ve done, guys, it’s not too big for Him to forgive. I know we know that cognitively, but I don’t think we really wrap our brains around it emotionally much of the time. Don’t focus on the past. It’s over. Concentrate on the future that He has for you. It’s gonna be a bright one!

Happy Monday everyone!

A sense of belonging

Okay, so let me just say that today was one of “those” days. Don’t know why. Entirely not sure. Just one of those days. I think it was because of some music I listened to. There’s this really cool local band called Iver (they’re on iTunes…check them out!) and their music is absolutely enchanting. It’s kind of about the perfect love story.

That kind of made me bitter. Actually, my friend tells me I’m bitter about this whole thing anyway, and should probably confess it, but the music made me think more about fitting in than being in love I guess. I mean, they kind of go together, but the larger issue I think is fitting in.

Fitting in is an issue with me, because I really just don’t lately. In “Blue Like Jazz,” Donald Miller makes a comment about how he had become the person he should have been instead of the person he really was. The way God made me, with the passions and gifts that He gave me, tends to be perceived by many people as odd. Let’s face it, any creative personality, whether it is a writer, painter, musician, whatever, tends to be misunderstood. I guess the crisis that I’m having is twofold, but it all comes down to my church. Because I don’t fit in there. I’m perceived as being some kind of liberal freak by some, misled by others, and overall just confused and unfortunate. A great deal of it is because I’m single, which is totally unheard of and almost illegal when you’re past 25 or so in the modern evangelical church. People look at me like there’s something wrong with me because I’m single, and think that I’m suffering from some kind of psychosocial dysfunction. The bottom line is I haven’t found a girl who thinks like me and shares the same passions as me yet, and so I won’t settle. (Well, I’m happy to report that I may be getting closer…) But that also means that I’m ostracized from most church social programming, I don’t get invited out to dinner with groups of “friends” because everyone else is married or at least engaged, my phone doesn’t ring a lot on weekends with the exception of a few of my fellow single friends. We’re the wierd people who should be praying more or something because we’re not with someone. We’re the people who are the recipients of unwanted sympathy in the eyes of our fellow congregants because we’re different. We’re the ones involved in the joke that most churches call a singles ministry.

No one there sees things like me. They don’t think like me. Their perception is completely different.

Now, there has been good come from this, because I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps pastoral ministry really isn’t my thing, and that I should probably concentrate on other avenues of ministry. Which is totally cool with me. But it’s a little frustrating to be looked down upon because I’m in a different place in life than they are, and because they don’t understand the creative impulse, mostly because they’re too closed-minded to believe that God works in different methods than they’re used to.

I acutally had someone tell me that we aren’t supposed to factor experience into anything at all, because experience is affected by sin-tainted emotions, and therefore is totally unreliable. This person inferred that they only thing we can rely on is logic. Talk about circular arguments…

So this is the source of my frustration, and the cause for my seriously considering leaving my church in the new year. That may sound somewhat trite or unimportant to most, but it’s a serious thing for me, because I take my church family seriously. To move into a new family is a huge deal for me.

Anyway, I guess my point is to be open-minded, because Believers tend not to be. I don’t mean allow a post-modern digression in your theology, I mean be accepting, and be willing to believe that God will use different things, and be active in different people.

I don’t know how I got there from where I started, but oh well. It’s been a long day, so I guess I’ve had time. But, hey…at least it’s the weekend!