Archive for the ‘Off The Wall’ Category

 

Early this spring I went to Niagara Falls with my soon to be wife Ashley, and our good friends Tal and Natasha. It was a much needed trip to just enjoy friends and recharge. I think I needed this trip more that I could have thought at the moment. This trip reawakened something inside me that I really needed back….. adventure!

This all sparked from really one moment in the trip. We had just got done looking at the falls and we were walking upriver to cross to the other side. I looked over at a log sticking out of the rushing water and all I could do was think about siting on that log. I wanted to sit there with my legs in the water just feeling the water rushing over and around me with such beautiful force. I wanted to feel the terrifying power of the falls. Of course Ashley told me no so I stayed on shore haha. But it really made me realize something, I Love to me in the midst of Gods rushing power! Its a terrifying yet peaceful thing. I men lets be honest the power of God is terrifying when you think about it, a God who can stop your existence at any moment if He wills! A God who has risen and destroyed nations! The God who sets mighty storms, the God who can rain fire from the heavens, the great creator! But yet there is a peace, a peace of security. Knowing that I have a inheritance from this God given to me from Jesus. This God is on my side! He is my protector and my provider. His wrath is not pointed at me but at devil and his schemes. The feeling really overwhelms me and fills me with thankfulness, wonder, and Love for my God. I wonder if this is something I may share with my biblical hero David. For constantly he was in the midst of Gods mighty power. As I read his Psalms I see Gods might and power constantly mentioned. I know not all of Davids heard but maybe he shared this feeling I have. I dont know but what I do know is it brings me closer to God.

All of this It revealed to me that adventure shows me something about God that I just love to dwell in, His mighty power. As I look back it seems that its in my time of adventure that I saw this power most. Maybe its time for more adventures

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When I came back to Off the Wall after the summer I had the task of leading a whole new house of interns. I had some time before they all got here to settle in to the new house and just figure out what standards I wanted to set and what expectations I had for the house this year. I wanted to make sure I was leading these new guys like adults and not like the kids I lead at camp. These guys were adults and I expected that from them. I expected a commitment to learn and a level of teachablity to match. They were coming here, and I was going to hold them to the standard of the commitment that is discipleship.

When they all arrived my first observation was that this was a very young group. They were just in most aspects “young”, young in their maturity, some in age, and just young in life experience. For allot of them this was the first time someone wasn’t taking care of them. Off the Wall was the first real step outside of home. Off the Wall provided the bear needs and anything extra they would have to provide themselves. They quickly discovered what were needs and what were simple luxuries that they never thought about. It was interesting seeing them slowly discover how little we actually need.

I started to get a pretty good picture of what God had set before me. I knew allot of these lessons would take time and investment before they would accept criticism and truly take what I would present to them. I was not their main discipler and they did not truly give me that authority to really push them yet. Now they said with their words that they wanted me too but as the old saying holds “actions speak louder than words.” This was fine for the beginning of the semester but as time went on I began to be disappointed in the level of improvement. Off the Wall is discipleship and community, and what I was seeing was an extreme neglect in community. Community has a tight hold on discipleship and when community is failing it seems discipleship fails as well. I began to get frustrated because I was trying so heard to improve this community but I saw an extreme lack of participation and effort from the interns to make this better. There was so much talk of “we could do this…” or “I think we need to do this…” but no action was ever taken. It was allot of expecting things to just… well happen.. This ate at me and I began to question if my expectations were to high for this group we have here… We had a very tight and unique group last year and I began to question if I was expecting it to be the same.

Well turns out having the expatiation of this group being last years group was present. So I adjusted that, but in analyzing my goals and expectations for these guys I saw Godly expectations and I refused to compromise on those. I would be failing them as a biblical leader if I lowered these goals and expectations for these guys. I wanted them to grow in Godliness and leadership. To become inspirational men of God. I expect growth and I expect relationships to deepen. I expect a commitment to discipleship because thats why they are here. What changed for me was my acceptance of the fact that it is okay for these guys to fail. To fail and learn and not expect them to always succeed. I am not responsible for their responses to teaching and growth, it’s up to them and they will take in as much as they allow themselves. All I can do is provide a push here and there and speak truth and leave them with their responsibility. I am not responsible for what they allow God to do in their lives.

Now in this new semester I have seen an amazing transformation in this group. They came back from break with a whole new passion for discipleship and what God has for them. They are so much more teachable and it shows. There is less talk of what we should be doing and more doing! I see much better time management, more conversation is biblical, and I just see a new Love for each other. Now I am so proud of these guys, these guys now show the passion and the Love for Jesus that I had only seen in spurts. I see the boldness that is required from Godly men and all of this just excites me! It really has been a transformation and I thank God for the work He has done in these men these past few months.

I’m thankful that I was allowed to be a part of the transformation to these saints. They are becoming striving men of God and I could never be happier with what the Lord has done with these guys. I’m really proud of them and I can’t wait to see what the Lord does with their lives if the continue to fallow in obedience and be men of God

“Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” Titus 2:2

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

When you worship there are just some songs that scream not only from your mouth but from your soul. It’s not the same song for everyone and it’s not always the same song. Some songs are just what we needed to hear and pray to God. When singing these songs I feel my whole body worshiping! My chest gets tight, my voice roars, and my body feels as though it stands ready for a battle, fully ready. This week these two songs are two of many songs that I prayed while worshiping. Weather it be screaming at the top of my lungs at the house, in the car, or singing where ever.

“After All (Holy)”

I can’t comprehend your infinitely beautiful and perfect love
Oh I’ve dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars
But they’re never bright enough after all

You are Holy
Oh Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

I will sing a song for you my God with everything I have in me
But it’s never loud enough after all

You are Holy
Oh Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

Heaven and earth are full, full of your glory, glory
My soul it overflows full of your glory, your glory
Oh blessed is he who reigns, full of your glory, your glory
My cup, it can’t contain all of your glory, your glory
Hosanna we are found after all you are

Holy
Oh Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

I can’t comprehend
You’re infinitely beautiful

by:The David Crowder Band

“Oh My God”

King of glory oh my Jesus Christ
Free me from what keeps me from your life
I can feel this heart beating inside
I don’t know when I felt more alive

Oh my God, my God
Oh my God, my God

Let us pass oh Lord from death to life
Oh my God lead us into your light
Burning like a thousand suns at night
We’ll sing your name until the end of time

Oh my God, my God
Oh my God, my God

Born all over again
Bring your rain and bring your wind
I’m born all over

Born all over again
Death will lose and we will win
I’m born all over

By:The David Crowder Band

The other day I stood in front of our houses ministry calender and I saw something that I really didn’t want to see. I saw that I only had about a month n a half left before the end of my first year at Off the Wall. So much time has passed and so much growth has happened. My love for The Lord has never been this strong and yet all I desire is to have so much more LOVE and so much more PASSION. There is so much more to be revealed to me in the word and I know that it will only increase my love for Jesus. My community here at Off the Wall has been the difference maker in my growth. They push me to be more like Jesus and they love me. We love each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We fight this battle together, this physical spiritual battle, this battle called life. We push each other every day to be more like Jesus and do our best to hold each other accountable. I love every single one of my new friends here. I don’t use the word love lightly and I mean it! This is why it breaks my heart to see that I only have about a month n a half left with them. In most cases people only come for nine months and then go into life, so at the end of this semester we will split and go separate ways and most likely not see each other in person for a long time. We go from spending almost all of our time together to meeting possibly once a year. Now I’m coming back next year so I will be coming back to a few of them but three forths of the group will be all new members. It will be a completely different community not bad but different. I have such a love for community, biblical community, and it rips me up inside to know I will be away from it. It will be good to find a temporary biblical community when I go back home this summer but it just wont be as strong as the one I have here. My heart will urn for its great return next fall.

I love the people God has brought in my life and I cant wait to share eternity with all of them. Together in the eternal worship of Jesus. My heart is heavy for all of you.

2nd Corinthians 13:11-14 “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

So I’m going to be honest my biggest struggle in my life has been lust. I never really struggled with talking to girls as I grew up so this didn’t help at all… I think if I was afraid to talk to girls then it would have been easier to avoid this temptation. Sense I had no trouble talking to girls picking up chicks became my hobby. I know that sounds bad but really that’s what it was. Where ever I went the goal became to flirt with a girl. It was fun and I didn’t see any harm in it. I never crossed the line by having sex and I respected any girl I was with so I thought nothing could be wrong with what I was doing. I never did any real “relationships” so I could avoid any heartbreak (witch that plan didn’t work out so great, I broke hearts and my heart got broke as well.)

After a while I grew tired of the “different party different girl” thing and I longed for something more. I wanted someone who would love me back. I have had a few girls from my past that I really did choose to love but there was no commitment between us and so no love was returned. I got sick of being the one that girls went to to be healed, the one to go to to cry on. I was a stable man who wouldn’t abandon them so I took a role that I never should have taken. I became a rescuer, I pored myself into these girls and did what i could do to help them. I was being their comforter, a job that I should have left for God. I tried to heal what really I could not. I gave them the emotional comfort they needed and well then they left me or I left them because I knew that the relationship would only be based on the attachment of what I rescued them from, not me. This led to allot of emotional heart ach fome becoming attached to the ones I “helped”.

So now for the past five years I have been single and have only had a few dates. I went from constantly surrounding myself with girls to just waiting to pursue the right one. I no longer wanted to “have fun and date” I wanted a real relationship and I wanted a Biblical relationship. I had no clue what this even meant! Heck I’m still learning what it is but the thing that led me to write this is the book “Emotional Purity” by Heather Arnel Paulsen. Yeah I know, those of you who know what the book is know its more directed toward women but the book is for both men and women. This book enlightened me to allot of things I was doing in my past and helped me realize why I got hurt even though I never “crossed the line of physical purity” and didn’t have a “relationship” or broke my rules. I learned more about guarding my heart and saving my emotions for my future wife. It cleared up allot of things that I remember hearing growing up in the church but never really understood. It showed me what It really meant to pray for my future wife and what I was really saving. This book showed me how I can have a a friendship with the opposite sex by defining the relationship that way there is no confusion on the intentions of the relationship. And most of all it has helped me in my struggle for contentment. I discovered that the root of my struggle with lust was my discontentment with Jesus. This was a harsh reality to realize but I saw it to be true. It explained why I felt such a need for a woman, I wasn’t content with having God alone. I thought that to be truly satisfied in that way by my wife not God, I realized that that was a lie that somehow entered my mind. But now I see I had unrealistic expectations of my wife and this would have destroyed any relationship I could have possibly had. Now I know and understand that God is the only source of true and eternal satisfaction. Looking into it I feel like this is such an elementary truth that I didn’t understand that ONLY GOD SATISFIES!

This book has been such a great tool for the holy Spirit to show me how to better love Jesus. My Love for Jesus is now at a whole new level and I cant wait to love Him more and more! Being content with just Jesus! It sounds crazy to those that don’t understand but it is truly a great love! I love Jesus and he will give me a wife someday but now I’m happy with Jesus. And I pray that my wife will show me how to love Jesus even more! I’m content with Gods timing for that gift, for now I know he has a plan for my single years. God is good!

“Father, my life is in Your hands. You provide for me moment by moment. I ask that you open my eyes to see your unfailing love for me and help my stubborn heart to trust you fully. I know that I will not be single a day longer than you want me to be, and in that I find rest from this mind game of wondering and waiting. Open doors of ministry for me so that I may serve where you want me to serve. Help me protect my emotions from the pitfall of having intimacy before commitment. All I could want or all that could satisfy me is wrapped up in my relationship with You. Allow me to rest in You and to fall more in love with You each day. In your Son’s Holy and precious name, Jesus, Amen.”-prayer at the end of the book

I encourage everyone to read this book, it has helped my relationship with not only friends, but prepared me for my future wife, and it helped my relationship with Jesus Christ. Witch is the most important! I love my King.

In the past two weeks I have realized that there were allot of things that I knew about God but I didn’t believe. An example of what I’m trying to say would be trusting God for provision. I know that God will provide all I need for what he wants me to do because he promises it and shows His provision many times throughout the bible. He provided a offering for Abraham so he wouldn’t have to use his son(Genesis 22), He provided for Joseph Egypt and his family through five years of famine(Genesis 45), I could go on this is just in the first book of the bible! But if you require more I urge you to read for yourself. Any way this was something I knew but I didn’t believe. How did I know I didn’t believe? I was worried about it! If I believed that God was who He says He is then I would not be worried! Now after some stretching and some illumination from the Holy Spirit I have been shown that I need to believe more! I need to remember that God is who He says He is! He is soooooo big! He is so Powerful, He is all knowing, and in the full definition of the word He is AWESOME! I need to stop this worry and Believe! I Love the Lord my God and I need to be better and showing it to Him, and as a result the world will see this Love and I prey it points to the heavenly Father and When I reach those heavenly gates that he will look at me and say “Well done my good and faithful servant!” I am going to do more than simply be saved. We are called by Jesus to be more than that! We are called to be more like Him! 1st John 2:4-6  “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” Now I know and believe this! I pray The Spirit has a continual work in my life and shows me more and more about My father not only to know but Believe! Believe and Believe that He is powerful enough to provide all I need to do His will

God is just bigger! whether it be my lack of money, my lack of time, my lack of commitment, my lack of knowledge, my lack of friendship, my lack of food, my lack of sight, my lack of understanding, my lack of sleep, my lack of family, my lack of possessions, my lack of leadership, my lack of kindness, my lack of happiness, my lack of contentfulness. He is bigger!

He’s bigger than my extreme want to meet the woman of my dreams and get married! Hes bigger than my emotions. He’s bigger than the tragedy of my past. He’s bigger than my worry of the future. He’s bigger than my doubt. Hes bigger than the power I have here (the power I think I have). He’s bigger than my fear of becoming like my father. He’s bigger than the curse that seems to be on the men in my family (more like boys because by their actions they are by no definition men.) Hes bigger than anything i can (cant) do on my own. He’s so big I can give Him everyone important to me and let His will be done even if that means I have to stare injustice in the face and sit bear and suffer because He alone has that power to protect NOT ME! I CANT SAVE OR PROTECT EVERYONE I LOVE! I CANT! I CANT BE EVERYWHERE I CANT JUST JUMP IN AND SAVE EVERY SITUATION! I CANT! I CANT! BUT HE CAN! and He will! In His timing! With His plan! Because God is as big as He said and says He is. I can trust my God with not only all that I think I have.. but all that I am.

“Put your foot on it and stand!” a quote from a favorite of mine called 13th warrior. In the scene where these epic words are loudly spoken Antonio Banderas is defending a stronghold with a bunch of vikings. Antonio is not an experienced warrior and this is his first battle. He runs around confused as the enemy is overrunning the village. It wasn’t long into the battle when the leader is calling everyone to fall back and as  Antonio is running one of the vikings he came with threw him a sharpened wood pole.  Antonio looked at him confused and said “what do i do with this?” the viking responded with “Put your foot on it and stand!” As the enemies charged at them on their horses he did exactly as he was told “Put your foot on it and stand!” the horses ran right into the pole, impaling themselves and the enemy’s push forward was halted.

That quote still echo’s on my mind “Put your foot on it and stand!” AHHHH LOVE IT! Put your foot on it and stand!- stand firm, hold fast, stay strong! I have taken this quote for times in my life where I feel confused, afraid, or when I lack confidence. I put my foot down and hold firm on what I know will defeat whatever is before me! I Hold tightly the promises of the Lord and to stand firm on his Word. This quote gives me a image to the spiritual battle around me, and to be honest it creates a powerful feeling inside me that gives me the confidence to face whats before me. I stand looking at the charging horsemen, demons charging forth, hungry for the blood of whomever they may devour. I stand ready holding what the Lord has given me and as I look around I can look at my brothers and sisters and say “Put your foot on it and stand!” and as the daemons fall impaled with what our Father our King has given us, we hold our ground! Manly image I know…. but hay nothin wrong with that!

I might get this quote tattooed someday, i think it would be a fun one to explain don’t you think?

Biblical

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Off The Wall

“Is that biblical?” probably the newest and biggest question for me since my time started here at Off the Wall. “Is it biblical?” Is your view on whats going on right now biblical? Is that attitude toward this person or thing biblical? Is that thought biblical? I’m slowly learning that everything we do must be tested by the bible, everything even our feelings.

In 1st Thessalonians 5:21 it says this “but test everything; hold on to what is good” those two words “test everything” mean literally that you test everything! Test your feelings, thoughts, actions, words you hear, test everything. Now what do we test with? we test all these things with the divine word he has given to us, the bible. Now you may be asking “If we are to test everything dose that not include the bible?” and to that I say yes even test the bible. okay some of you are freaking out right now let me explain. Now as the years have passed the bible has been analyzed and translated. I believe the bible was divinely written but not divinely translated. this is why we have a bazillion translations of the bible all almost all have things left out or replaced from the original text. this is why studying the bible is so important! You have to investigate each verse and look back to the original Greek and Hebrew words and discover the true context and meaning of the verse. Look back to sermons you have listened to in the past. What normally happens when a pastor or speaker is showing you the text? He explains his analysis of the text he picks out words and tells you the original Hebrew/Greek words dose he not? Then he explains the meaning of those words and how this effects the meaning of the text. Test everything even the word.

Test all these things and hold on to what is good. “…hold on to what is good” After we have tested with fire(the study of the word) what do we have left? What we have left is what is true and good! We are to hold on to these things and keep them close because we have tested them! Use what you have discovered and tested, apply it to your life. Change that outlook, put aside that unrighteous anger. What ever you tested you have two options, either change it because it failed the test or you hold it tight and know you are in biblical standing.

I have been called out by my brothers and sisters here at Off the Wall on many matters, feelings and thoughts. Now I pray they never stop asking me that question. I pray they keep me accountable and help me grow to be a stronger Biblical Man.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the prophecies but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every evil.” 1st Thessalonians 5:16-22 ESV

The Retreat

Posted: November 30, 2011 in Off The Wall

Recently Off the Wall did our last “I Am” retreat for a while. Now I debated for a while on what i was going to talk about in this blog because I didn’t know if I it was okay or not if I said what i wanted to say. But after much thought I decided that this blog is for me to put my thoughts and experiences down in words. I don’t want this blog to be a “happy all the time good news about everything” blog, because that would be a lie!

Now this last retreat was in Ohio and thats all I’m going to say about its location because simply put….. I was not happy with the staff of this camp that we held this retreat at. This retreat made me appreciate and miss Lincoln Lake soooo much because they showed me how a camp is run with respect, compassion, and selflessness. I guess I can start at the beginning when we got there and started setting up i wasn’t even aware that there was even going to be camp staff there. I mean they were nowhere to be seen except one or two people who were observing. Now once meal time came i met a man who I dislike with a deep passion. Now if you have been to a camp before there is a person who kind of leads the events, tells you where things are/what events are available, and dismisses tables for food. They are there for basically leadership and fun. Now this guy was not good at this job….. to say the least….. When it came to mealtimes and dismissing tables he was so slow that I’m pretty sure that it took over a forty five minutes one time just to get a little over 100 kids through the food line…. are you kidding me!! the kids at my table were either one of two things, ZOMBIES, or ANGRY! Not to mention our table was last or second to last every time so i had that compliant to hear about. And to add to the already ornery hungry kids he tried to do the game compactions between tables to be dismissed. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that it took him ten minutes to come up with a game, then the game would take five minutes to explain. After then after the game he would make a big speech on “ohhh this person lost” and “this person fought in vane” and “this person won over all odds”. By the end of the first meal I wanted to take the mic and hide it as to never be found by this man again. Now on the last meal (witch took the longest) after we all finally got our food he started bombarding us with “Come to our camp store!!” “we got this cool….. what do you call this?… ohh um it looks really cool” and many other dumb quotes. He was haggling us and repeating over and over that they were selling stuff and it was at the point for me that it was making me sick with how much he was pushing his products at us. It sounded greedy and and it made me angry, this retreat was not about the camp or them it was about these kids they were simply a location for this retreat!

Secondly they continued to be rude with this next statement that “the annoying man” (we will call him that) said to Josh, a off the wall member and house leader. “The annoying man “said” So when do you think you and your guys could move out.” “I know some of the staff would like to get in there and clean.” This ticked me off!! We where the guests and not to mention he was asking like ten minutes before the last session!! RIGHT BEFORE OUR SESSION! THAT WE WERE RUNNING! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh (yeah you could say I was frustrated at this point) Now he is breaking a few hospitality and unspoken camp rules here. It is incredibly rude to ask a guest to move out before their stay is over let alone right before a session that they are about to do!

Now don’t get me wrong God was bigger than this! We still preached the word, shared the gospel and i believe it was received by many that attended. In reality it is worth it if the message was received by one! God’s glory shines through any darkness and he will shine not only through our failures but others as well. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. I will never get over the sight of young people putting their pride aside and expressing their love for the God King Jesus Christ! To see the advancement in the Lords army here on earth is a sight I pray I never lose.

I thank God for my time at Lincoln Lake. The time people there have invested in me and are a major part in who I am now. A big thanks is here for Jim Lockwood(Jimbo-slice) and Tommy Shaw, these men of God have shown me not only how a camp and ministry should treat their guests but also were there to be my counsel. They held me accountable in my wrong doings and were willing to help me through them. They taught me new levels of respect that I was not aware of. Through them I have seen and been taught what camp ministry should strive for. I’m not saying we got it down pat but Lincoln Lake is being lead by Godly men who allow the hand of God to work through them and their ministry. Click here!>>>Lincoln Lake  check them out!