Posts Tagged ‘shaun’

Lately I have strayed away from studying the Gospels. I’ve purposely avoided them making the excuse to myself that I’ll get more out of these books from Paul rather than trying to “understand Jesus”. You see when I read the Gospels I seem to over think a lot. I will read Matthew and try to find the “deepest meaning” or “what Jesus is really trying to say”. And it becomes exhausting and really not enjoyable to be honest because I just get confused or read too much into something making my own interpretation. Now let me be clear, I’m not saying that there is something wrong with studying the Gospels. There is nothing wrong with looking at what Jesus says on a deeper level, and there is nothing wrong with interpreting Scripture (As long as its rightfully dividing scripture, 2 Timothy 2:15), but what I am talking about is all this pressure I feel to right now understand everything in front of me in the Gospels. I feel like since this is Jesus, the Son of God, the greatest teacher/Discipler, the master of the universe, if He is speaking then I must hear and I must get right everything he is telling or trying to tell me. To be honest its overwhelming and so I have been backing off and avoiding it. So I, a Christian, am intimated by the Gospels, not because of its message but because of all the lessons that can possibly be learned and I want to know them all at once! The Gospels are where we find our standard of living as a Christian! We are to reflect Jesus and to walk as He walked (1st John 2:6)! But you see, instead of letting the Holy Spirit work through me, I have entertained this thought that I am capable of doing this for Him. I can follow this order and be good! But no, NO I can not! It is the work of the Spirit in me! The Gift I have received that works in me, with me! making me capable but not on my own, I must walk with Him, in Him, I must ABIDE! Or all of this fret is but a feeble attempt of pride and self righteousness. If I abide I will learn the lessons the Gospels have for me, in His timing, and His will, as He is preparing me for His ministry. All of scripture pushes you to the Gospels and are all centered around the Great I Am(Jesus Christ).

Now that I have seen my fault I pray for this, I pray that my heart be thirsty for the Gospels. I pray that the Spirit continuously shows me more and more truth and Love of the Gospels. I pray that I abide in Jesus so that I may be fruitful, John 15:4. I pray that I run from my pride and remember His Grace, I pray that I seek no self righteousness, Galatians 2:17-21. I pray that I just Enjoy Jesus in the Gospels and sit at his feet as a child listening to the tales of a wise man. I pray for patience, for Lord your will be done. And Lord help me in my times of unbelief, and restore my Joy as I let it so easily slip away. And I pray that it will bring me to a better confidence in sharing the Gospel. Thank you Lord for the abundant blessings you give me that sometimes I fail to see.

 Galatians 2:17-21-

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

 

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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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

Sorry I haven’t wrote in a while… we don’t have internet at my house quite yet so its been difficult remembering to get this out when I have internet.

Any way moving on! It is so great to be back in Ohio, never thought I would say that coming from Michigan and all… But truly it is great to be back with my Off the Wall family. To be back in this community that constantly pushes me and asks hard questions. Questions that make me reflect on my actions and how to be a better man of God. I believe I’m where I’m most effective for the kingdom.

Being eternally effective, working for the eternal kingdom. What I mean by these words is doing things with eternal value, having conversation that go’s deeper than the here and now. For example lets say I go to Africa and put in a well for a village without water. Now you would say wow thats a really good thing and a great help to the people. I would respond with “yes it is good but its worthless! Its worthless because this world is but temporary, all these things will come to pass and return to dust “ All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?.”(Ecclesiastes 3:20-22) What I need to do is put in this well and tell them about something that could save their eternal souls! I need to give them the gospel! Because if I leave it at just a service of putting in a well what have I done? I have only served their physical flesh that will pass away. I didn’t feed the need of their souls! I didn’t tell them about Jesus our savior! I would have left without fulfilling the greatest command given to us as believers! “..Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”(Mark 16) If I were to just leave I would leave them condemned until God sent someone else or revealed himself to them another way. (Although He is always revealing Himself through creation but without instruction we suck at seeing it) If I Loved the people enough to sacrifice time and money then why would I not tell them about the greatest gift revealed to man! JESUS CHRIST! We need to do more than simply do things for people we need to tell them why we do these good things! We do these Good things to be more Christ like, to Love people, Jesus Loves YOU!”

I believe we as Christians have moved to doing many good things but we seem to hesitate to give the the meat of our service. In all that we do we need to proclaim Jesus, thats part of the Great Commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This “go” is an as you go type of phrase, so as we go and do these great acts of service lets make it eternally effective and tell them about Jesus!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”–2Timothy 4:7-8

Sorry I have not had time to gather everything from my weeks at camp yet, now I am on week 3 and the Lord is being shown to many. I will try and get more out but here is a taste of the start of my journey.

Life Guard training, a experience that I truthfully have feared for the past 4 years sense I started working at camp. You see I have always herd all the stories about how hard and intense it was this made me want to take it and prove I could do it! This was a fear that I wanted to conquer, this is the story of my Life Guard Training.

I guess I will just have to start at the beginning, that would be life guard training! Life guard training is the first time us counselors as a staff meet and bond together before the rest of the staff get here. We all go through life guard training together get pushed physically and really get to know each other. Meeting everyone went great we all seemed to get along well right from the start. It was a strange network of friendship, almost everyone had a friend working here with them, and somehow all of us friends were friends with each other in some way or another, very hard to explain haha. Life guard training was going to be fun and great phyical challenge and I wanted to conquer the small fear I had of failing..(I’m like 2% body fat.. AKA I dont float!)After little instruction the first thing we did after we got there was swim 300 meters! Not going to lie this made me realize that all that running I did a few months back had defiantly did nothing to prepare me! I was dead tired and the next test was right after.. So as we moved to the brick test with my chest pounding and lungs gasping for air I knew this was going to be hard. For the brick test there is a blue brick at the bottom of a twelve foot deep pool, first you have to swim to the other side of the pool then back to where the brick is, dive down get the brick, swim back to the other side then back to the side you started on! Everyone who went before me either failed or barely lifted themselves out of the pool.. I really wanted this and seeing that its challenging really gets me going, makes me want to conquer it! So when my turn came around my blood was pumping and I was ready! I jumped into the pool and started swimming, I swam down to the other side and was soon treading water over the brick. I took as deep of a breath as I could and went down……… I only got down about nine feet before I ran out of air. After rushing to the surface I tried to catch my breath. I tried and tried but couldn’t get more than a small gulp of air. My chest was wrenching and was pounding with pain. My heart was racing and i slowly realized that there was no way I could finish the test.. I was angry that my body was quitting on me, I was angry but I wasn’t about to let this test take me from this pool so I got enough air to say I’m getting out and started to try and swim to the ladder. When I got out of the pool I began explaining my heart condition. You see a few years back I had a similar problem in football, My chest gets tight I have trouble breathing and there is more pain than I have ever experienced. From what I have been told My heart starts beating so fast that I should be having a heart attack and a pouch around my heart inflates creating pressure in my heart and lungs. They asked me if I wanted emergency care and i said no, you see I don’t have health insurance and I don’t make enough money to really pay any medical bill. They gave me oxygen and soon told me they called emergency care any way.. Soon both me and the instructors agreed that I should be in another room so I don’t worry the others and scare them away fro the test. on my way I became very nauseous and grabbed a trash can and yup you guessed it puked up breakfast… At this time the paramedics have arrived and I’m sitting next to the trash can on a bench. As I was being asked questions my new friend Lincoln came over i asked “how you doing man?” he responded with and “all good” then proceeded to puke into the trash can as well lol it was quite a funny moment I thought. Now as I’m strapped to the gurney it really begins to sink in that I’m not going to be able to concur this fear of failing… I began to try my hardest to hold back tears and I felt the feeling of failure sinking in. After my short ride in the ambulance I sit in a room in the ER alone wires and stickers suck on all over my body. I just sat still disappointed, angry, and sad. Tears began to roll down my face as I sat wet still in my swim suit in this hospitable reminding me of this terrible restriction called my body. I began to long for my glorified body and Became disgusted with the sin filled limited body I had now. Soon a doctor came in and asked me some questions, I told him the same thing I told the others earlier. he said we were going to take some x-rays and after he finds my records we will see from there. I soon again sat alone watching doctors and nurses running back and forth past my room.

After a small while my good friend and boss Jim came in, one of the nurses earlier told me that he was on his way, that comforted me a little. Jim began to make funny statements like “they going to give you a monkey heart?” witch made me laugh and calm down a bit. The he asked me how I was feeling and I kind of broke down. “I hate it that it’s not me quitting! It’s my body I literally cant do this and I hate that!” “I hate that I can’t just go back and try again!” I’m so thankful for Jim in my life for he at this moment began to speak truth to me. He began to tell me to stop getting mad over this and figure out what to do next. After our little talk he went out and called my mother and my sister for me to let them know I was in the hospitable and then came back in to be with me. After a bit a financial adviser came in to talk with me. You see I don have health insurance and soon Jim and I were informed that workmens comp was not going to cover any of this sense this seems to be a pre-existing condition. So now to add to the mix I have been reminded of the medical bill that will be soon on its way. God provides and I’ll let Him take care of how I will pay for this so this was out of my mind soon.

My mother and my sister arrived and Jim said he was going to check on the rest of the staff sense they were now having lunch, so he left me in the care of my family and the hospital. My mom said that she was sorry that I have to go through this pain again. She knows how much it hurt me mentally and spiritually last time. But by now I was back rejecting reality. I was cracking jokes and my mother proclaimed that only would I almost die then be joking around smiling and simply wanting to get out of the hospital soon after I arrived. The doctor came in and did exactly as I expected and told me nothing new, advised me to check up with a doctor and see specialist just like the other doctors said the last times. I already decided that I wasn’t going to the doctor because I didn’t want to wast any more time just to be told they found nothing new. I wanted to continue with life and not sit idle run up a bill and possibly be told there is nothing they can do for me. So I checked out and Walked out of the ER still shirtless in my swim suit, medical stickers sill stuck all over my body, still slightly wet from the pool.

I got dropped off back at Life Guard Training and met back up with the staff. They were still having lunch when I arrived, I hugged my mom goodbye and joined my staff. Everyone was like “He’s alive!!” haha I told everyone I would live. I still had the stickers stuck on because they stick on very hard and they feel like pealing off duck tape, so soon began the game of “Lets see if we can make Shaun feel pain!” all the male staff grabbed a sticker and counted down to pull fast and quick. A great roar from me fallowed my laughter by everyone and myself. It was a great way to be welcomed back. Lunch was over and we began our walk back to the pool and back to training. This walk through these halls was a interesting feeling of slight shame for I knew that when I walked back into class I was walking in as someone finishing the course and only becoming certified in CPR and First AID, not being able to pass the whole class.

The rest of my days went I passed CPR and First  AID with flying colors and the rest of the class passed as well. Allot happened in this one day and I’m still dissecting and processing it fully. but what I do know is the truth, the truth that God uses everything for His good, my good times and the times where I fail. He will use it and He has His reasons for limiting me here and now. I still struggle with finding peace in this specific spot of my life but I just remind myself that this life is not mine. I have given it to the Lord and His will and sometimes I will not understand it but thats okay I have faith that my Father is good.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”