Posts Tagged ‘god’

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I’m really having trouble putting all this to words so please stick with me as a ramble through this. “I am a international missionary.” This title has a expectation that sometimes to be honest seems hard to live up to. I know I have had quite the high idea of international missionaries growing up and it just seemed these people just had a crazy awesome life of ministry. These missionaries just seemed like “better Christians,” whatever that means. Now the problem is I am an international missionary. Let me explain a little bit why this is a problem.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like one! I know surprising right?!? You would think that being surrounded by people that sometimes I can’t understand a singe word coming out of their mouths would make that hard. Or you would think walking around on cobble stoned streets with people carrying baskets on their heads would give me a clue. Or maybe its the crazy number of people who offer me drugs in the street, or maybe the fact that any corner in the city seems to be a bathroom, maybe that would point me in the direction that I am outside of my culture with the mission of proclaiming Jesus. NOPE! Sometimes all I feel like I’m doing is sitting behind a desk with a teacher on the other side teaching me Spanish grammar.. Yup sometimes I feel more like a language student than a missionary.

That’s because at this point in my journey my wife and I are in the preparation stage. Yeah that stage that no one likes to talk about because to be honest… most days it’s not that exciting. Some days look like this; wake up, eat breakfast, read the Bible a little, got to four hours of language school, eat lunch, maybe have a little Bible time with the wife, attempt to do homework, then figure out what to do because you still have a few hours left in the day but your too brain dead to really accomplish anything. Yup that is a day, I mean once in a while a walk down to the market, and coffee with other missionaries happen but most of the time it’s that schedule. It’s crazy how much learning another language can take out of you! It’s exhausting! I tell ya you really don’t feel like a missionary when your brain feels like a vegetable! At moments you feel like nothing is being accomplished an all your doing is wasting time.. But deep down inside I know its vital for my future ministry in this country.

Then something amazing happens! The Lord reminds me why I’m here and how crazy awesome it is that I’m here in Guatemala talking about Jesus! The Lord brings to my mind all the kids at the Children’s Home that I get to live with and teach them about Jesus. He reveals to me the awesome opportunity I have with my language teacher every day as we read a passage of scripture together and talk about what we think it means. I am so blessed with a awesome mission and it blows me away that Jesus literally puts people right in front of me with scripture to use to impact everyday life. I am used by God, I have a purpose, and I get to participate in a life glorifying to God!  People will never be the same because of how God works through me. I say that not to boast about myself but to boast in the awesome work of the Holy Spirit! I get discouraged when I start comparing myself to my thoughts what a missionary is, but when the Lord opens my eyes to what He is doing I’m always blown away and thankful that I get to be a part of it.

God is Good

Love God

Love People

Make Disciples

 

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

The fall

The Result of the fall

The effects of the fall

The looking of God at this world and having to say “It’s Broken”

That simple childish phrase “It’s Broken” bears weight, it touches our hearts, it breaks our hearts

“It’s Broken” — it’s powerful, it speaks so much, it’s sad

It’s not tarnished, It’s not dirty

“It’s Broken”

When “It’s Broken” it’s either thrown away or you have to go to great lengths to fix it

When “It’s Broken” it’s out of order, it’s not functioning

When “It’s Broken” it’s not accomplishing its intended purpose

When “It’s Broken” it has been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece, it’s rejected, defeated, or despairing.

“IT’S BROKEN”

Now there is pain, now there is impatience

Now there is killing, death, and work is hard

There is sickness, shame, crying, and starving

There is deformity, agony, and abomination

There is hate, jealousy, screaming, and yelling, shouting and war.

“IT’S BROKEN”

Children without parents, children beaten, children starving, children on the streets without home or care

Children without Love

Children stolen, twisted, killing, and crying

“IT’S BROKEN”

It’s broken

Well as you can see I have gotten two new quite large tattoos. I have a bear paw on the left and a lion paw on the right. These two tattoos basically take up my entire rib cage space and they took over 4 hours to complete. It was a long day on the table and it was quite a challenge for my body to lie there that long under the needles pressing the ink into my body. I knew these tattoos were going to be big, and I knew they were going to be a challenge to receive, so I needed to be sure of the reasons behind these tattoos. Which by now I’m sure you want to hear the story.

Well it all begins with the story of David and Goliath in 1st Samuel 17. The story is probably my favorite mere man in the Bible, the story of a young man anointed by the servant of the Lord (Samuel) to take the thrown and lead Gods Holy people. A man who with his faith was able to take the head of a giant and lay it at the feet of king Saul, the very man who he would take the throne from. An inspiring story that is taught in Sunday school at churches but they tend to leave little parts out… Like the removing of Goliath’s head haha. Or the shouting match between the two warriors where Goliath spits in the face of God and says he will rip David apart and leave him for the birds and the beasts to eat… or Davids response of “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”-1 Samuel 17:45-47 I encourage you to read the story yourself if you haven’t.

But to narrow the focus I want to take you to a particular part of the story, I want to take you to 1st Samuel 17:32-37 “And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”  And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”’  This is the part of the story where David is standing before Saul telling him he will fight the Philistine. For days the armies of Israel cowered at the thought of fighting this giant, even Saul the King was afraid and would not fight even though he was most likely the biggest man and most equipped man of his army. But when David arrived to deliver a package from his father to his brothers on the battle field he saw the tremendous lack of faith in the men of Israel and took it upon himself to silence the giant who insulted and shook his fist at the Lord our God. David knew that he was capable of defeating the giant for the Lord had delivered him the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear and this Philistine was no different he too would be defeated for the Glory of God. For this giant stood before the people of the Great and Holy God and spoke against God Himself and nothing stands against the Lord and remains for long, especially in the old testament. So David told Saul the story of how the Lord has prepared him in his faith with the lion and the bear and with the blessing of the king went to face the giant with the confidence given to him from the Lord.

What my tattoos represent is the “Lions” and “Bears” that God puts in our lives to build our faith for the battles ahead like a “Goliath Battle”. My tattoos are a symbol of the Power of the Lord to defeat anything before us in our path of a life Glorifying to God. A symbol of the preparation He gives us in our lives for challenging things ahead. And just a symbol of the Greatness and the Holiness that is our God and that nothing can stand in His way. Its a reminder that I need to work through the Lord and not myself. This tattoo represents allot of things I need to be reminded of, things that keep me confident in the Lord. When I can talk about my tattoos I get to share some of the “lions”, some of the “bears”, and some of the “Goliaths” of my life and bring God the Glory and point to Him. To point to my Savior, Provider, Defender, Lord, and King! And encourage others in the Faith

At the end of this middle school Wilderness week at camp one of my campers wrote me this thank you letter,

“Dear Shaun,

Thank you!! Thank you for all of the sacrifice of your time to keep me in check by telling me to shut up when I’m running my big mouth, to stop having attitude, and for not slapping us like you could have many times. Thanks for talking to me about my life and my problems , and also for praying for me. This week you taught me so much about God and His message. You inspired me to put aside my differences and my “False Idols” and read my bible and pray. That Thursday night when you took your night to stay outside and pray and talk to God. That made me feel so good. Because that inspired me so much! I definitely think that you have done what is carved on your bracelet that you got from your girl. (Ashley… Wait you already knew that’s her name shes your girl. so yeah!) I am so glad that you could be here with all of us this summer. You are awesome. And even though we stress you out sometimes you still pull through for us and you are still awesome. I hope that you have a great time touring the country with Off the Wall and have a great time in life just in case I never see you again. Thank you again for the bracelet it means allot to me! And one last thing keep being awesome, kind, cool, thoughtful, cheerful, thrifty, brave, and many many MANY more things, keep being the christian you are!”

My camper handed this to me on Saturday morning after I woke everyone up to start our last morning together. It really toughed my heart and I was amazed my the words of this twelve year old child. I Love all the kids I get during the summer and the little things like this, the moments where they see more of Christ and change their lives, make it worth it. My ministry this summer at the camp has been an amazing summer where the Spirit worked mighty things in the hearts of many every week. My bracelet says “Inspire” and I have told many that that is my job, my job is to inspire others to Jesus. It feels so great to get this thank you letter and be reassured of my work this summer.  Praise the Lord and to Him be all the Glory.

SORRY!

Posted: May 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Sorry I haven’t posted for a while.. It has been a crazy past month or so. I have had many trials and troubling situations that Jesus and I walked through. i think that’s what I want to talk about in this blog, walking through these trials and troubled times with Jesus.

All the time you hear about the analogy of the “yoke” You know sharing your burden with Jesus, letting Him guide you through your walk. Like how an elder bull trains a young bull to walk the right path. Yeah that analogy, well I think theres a part that we often don’t think about. The part that the yoke is still a tool that is used to pull a load. We forget that “sharing this burden” means that sharing! It dosent mean that Jesus takes all the weight, there is still a load we must carry the bible says “he makes our burden light” not remove it all together. Its still hard its still a struggle! the important part is that we go through this struggle with Jesus. Its easier to carry the load with Jesus than to fight both the load and the yoke. Jesus works hard with us to tend the field that is our soul. Our souls are hard and need to be tilled and softened so that we may plant and bear fruit. Our souls are not just all ready to go, it takes work and its work is hard and sometimes painful. But we must have Joy because it is all for our good, and for our relationship with the Father. And with that work will come fruit, but like i said the fruit will not simply appear. I dont mean for this to sound discouraging, what I want is to explain that this is a process. thats why we are “being sanctified” we are not fully sanctified until we have been placed in glory.

If you have any questions feel free to comment or just go talk to a leader in your church or even just a friend I encourage you to search and dig through the bible to see these things for yourself and explore what you just read.

 

So a side note I will be posting on here every week this summer! I will be writing about my weeks at Lincoln Lake Camp in MI and I cant wait to get started. God does allot of work at this camp and I’m simply blessed to be part of His plan here.

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

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