The Long and Short of It

I sent this to a friend today, thought I’d copy it here as it’s a good reminder of … me …

Ok… got myself up at 5:30 wondering why I got myself up so early and then got up here and now I know… I’m writing you. 🙂

I have nothing to offer you but brotherhood. And camaraderie. You know those words better than I, I think, with pieces of your background. But I am learning about them. And I am loving them. I have a friend named Rob who lives in Nashville, TN. He started out the friend of a friend but is now one of the closest guys I have in my life (don’t know if he knows that or not). I can call on him anytime, anywhere… and he helps me makes sense of stuff. He is, to use the Bible’s words I guess, CLOSER than a brother.

With that said, here’s a little of my story. Maybe we’ll find some connection points. Actually I’m sure we will. I just don’t know what they are yet. 🙂 My life has dramatically changed in the past 2 years. I am not going to dwell on the past too much, but let’s just say ever since High School, I had a problem with lust as well. Visualizing things. Imagining women for who they weren’t. It grew from junk in the head to stuff on the computer, and THANK GOD that’s as far as it went, but that was way too far. I got caught. I remember that night. Erin approached me… “What is that stuff on the computer?”… and that moment was my moment of truth. Turn and face it, or blame it on popups or any other thing I could think of. I think it was God jumping in my mouth and saying something like, “let’s go talk about it. I’ve messed up.” Because I see that as my crossroads. I’d tried to “deal” so many times, in so many ways, but I’d never gotten help. I’d never admitted I was dying inside and wanted to live. Man those were some hard months. I got called some names I well deserved but that hurt me to the core. We got some real counseling that took me back YEARS into things I have never thought before, but not made sense. And when all was said and done (figuratively), the thing that I remember most was this: “The people I need the most are the people I one’s I’ve hurt the most.” I remember that phrase hitting me like a refreshing ton of bricks to the face while I was driving down State Road 42 towards Cloverdale to buy a stinking PIZZA of all things. I cried my eyes out. I yelled. I screamed. Man, that was a release I needed sooo bad.

Fast forward several months… stuff is still rocky, but I’m not headed towards divorce or being murdered anymore. 🙂 I’ve dumped some responsibilities at church that I just wasn’t ready for at this stage of my life, and had enough people in my life helping me that I knew it wasn’t time to jump back into the water just yet. Very few people know this story… Erin, Cliff, my counselor, 3-4 friends around the country… very few… but they are my closest friends anywhere, especially at that time.

Ok now REALLY fast forward… I’m finally finding my “spot” in life. It’s not service. Man that’s what I thought it was supposed to be. Man that was a good, up front, nice sounding calling. Being a deacon. Being there for people… that, to be completely honest… is not my gift. Doesn’t mean I don’t do it, but it’s not what I’m designed to do. God has given me a heart to lead. Not to lead people in the sense that I march in front of them, but to lead people in the sense that I help them find their own hearts, find what THEY excel in, and what makes them COME ALIVE, and then SET THEM FREE to do it. Oh, I have some stories to tell there… but I won’t right now, as this is already long. People like Sara and Deanna, Dewey and Rob… I’m not doing anything important in their lives other than coming along side of them and helping them focus on who God made them to be, and it is AWESOME to see them spring to life. I’m thrilled now when I lose a leader from one area because they finally discover their heart is really somewhere else, and they are going to follow it, dark narrow road or not.

God’s also put youth on my heart. Specifically, for some reason, older teenage boys. I have stories there too but won’t get into them now, but man, He’s put some dreams in me that will never happen without his doing.

So that’s where I am… even though that got long that is oh, so shallow. You know what I mean. There is so much more to our lives than these snippets, and I long to share them. But that’s me… and that’s what I have to offer… me. (and that’s about it :)) Just another broken and healed man, walking on the path, trying not to step off it but sometimes falling in the ditch, dragging myself out and also occasionally getting dragged out while I’m still unconscious. But not JUST that. I am also a child of the King, a brother of Christ, a friend of the creator of the universe, and a heart set FREE. So anyways… 🙂 don’t know where that’s going…

You asked me a few things, and I’ll give you brief answers… because they are my answers, and obviously aren’t the same for everyone.

Input on the lust thing… well you have some of my story now. And I know what you mean, in my version of that story. I “struggled” (and I use that word specifically) with porn, masturbation, lust, thought life… all that stuff. It wasn’t till I was confronted with it and really started getting help that I realized part of the key was to quit fighting a losing battle. Quit giving up. Quit fighting alone. Stop “struggling” and start “battling.” (I love that word now). Like you said, taking thoughts captive is HARD. It doesn’t make them go away – much to the opposite, they seem to keep charging in… but recognizing them as impure lies from the pit of hell and man… for me… just saying so out loud, or writing it down, or just… wow, I don’t even know what the “trick” is because I haven’t found it, but you’re right, we have to take them captive, immediately. One friend of mine who fights this has his own mental “God’s Holy Trashcan” that he consciously wads up thoughts and throws them in.

How I keep in God’s word daily… that’s an easy one, and a hard one. I use the Daily Audio Bible. (www.dailyaudiobible.com) It’s a combination reading plan / community project / audio book. Basically we have a reading plan (I could send you the link if you want) and go through the Bible once every year. Simple enough. Ordinary enough. I’ve tried and failed at that time and time again in my life. But what’s different here is two things… The first is a bit minor. You listen to it. A guy named Brian reads the reading for each day and you can put it on your MP3 player or listen to it right from a website. I follow along sometimes in my Bible, on the computer, or other days just go for a walk or listen to it on the drive in. But I’m up to almost 730 days of this now (that’s two years, I think), and I can honestly say I finally found something that STICKS, for me. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me. The other difference from my attempts in the past, which is much bigger, is that we do it in COMMUNITY. You’re reading the Bible along with thousands of others across the globe each day, and we not only come together to talk about it a bit, but we also KNOW we’re not alone in the endeavor. We get behind. We get off track. But we come back, realize we’re not failures and not alone, and get back on it. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a HUGE part of my life. Right now we’re in 2 Chronicles, Acts, and then also a Psalm and Proverb each day. Let me know if you’d like more info – I think the big difference between this and what you or I have tried is the community aspect – the camaraderie, the shared journey.

Ok, it’s about 45 minutes later now and I’m running out of words. I’m running on empty now, as I’ve spilled my heart out to you. I love sharing this story, and even though this is ever so long I hope you know it comes deep from in my heart and I care about sharing it with you, and walking this walk with you. I’m praying
for you – the things you mentioned, and just for you.

Stay strong. Be courageous. We are children of God….

Chet

Prayer and Spiritual Warfare – A Lesson for Teens

 

Ice breaker: Back to Back

This is the game where you start out with two people sitting back to back and they have to stand straight up without using their hands. Add one person every time they stand up successfully. Our record is ten! The students will be amazed at how it works!

Ecclesiastes 4:9 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart

The Point: This is a great game for showing students what teamwork can do. It would be nearly impossible to accomplish this by oneself.

Prayer Requests & Prayer

Divide up – teens with adults

 

Play First Portion of Prayer Request

Psalm 51:1-4 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And lameless when You judge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xm2_sYHe6o

What’s your impression of this prayer request?

What’s your first impression of David?

Have you ever felt that way?

Of the people who prayed for him?

What’s different about that and the way we pray?

What’s your expectation as to what might happen next?

Play Second Portion of Prayer Request

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xm2_sYHe6o

What did the tone of his voice say, from the very beginning?

Have you ever experienced something like this before?

Why do you think we don’t see this more often?

Is there something about writing?

Is there something about story telling?

Play Response To Prayer Request and talk about Spiritual Warfare

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b64Xz9QWb44

Why do you think he wanted the prayer request to not be played?

Did God fail him?

Did he fail himself?

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

What is the difference between what Satan has to offer and what God has to offer?

Satan takes life.

Jesus came to give it back to us.

Do you have abundant life right now? Do you have to wait for Heaven?

Abundant life does not equal Happy life. You have no idea what it is until you find it. But once you’ve found it, you will have no doubt as to what it is.

Another Response

 

A New Heart – Life, Freedom, and a New Name

These are notes & scripture from a lesson I’m leading tonight with my church youth group. I put them here for later and whoever else might get something from them

I. Sing

II. Prayer Requests

III. Ice Breaker

IV. Review

a. Father / son relationship on earth

b. Father / child relationship with God

i. John 3:16

1. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

ii. Romans 8:15-17:

1. You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,”

iii. Galatians 4:4-6:

1. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

V. Let’s start off with some introductory questions.

a. When does eternal life begin?

b. Are you living an eternal life right now? Is that silly to think about?

c. Is Christianity just something about the future? About dying and going to heaven?

d. Or is there something for us, right here, right now?

VI. The offer is…

a. FREEDOM

b. LIFE

c. A NEW HEART

d. A NEW NAME

VII. Freedom

a. What does freedom mean to you?

b. Think about how life was designed to be. Were Adam and Eve “free?”

c. Were they designed to be free?

d. What did that mean?

e. Are you designed to be free?

i. Yes, you are.

ii. Are you?

iii. Why or why not?

f. We live in bondage.

i. To ourselves.

ii. To others.

1. Expectations

2. Disappointments

iii. To sin

1. Habits

2. Desires

3. Flesh / World / Satan

g. Galatians 5:1,13

i. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. … For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

h. 1 Peter 2:16

i. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

VIII. LIFE

a. John 10:7-11

i. “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them 9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

b. Why did Christ come?

i. That they might have life.

c. How did he accomplish this?

i. By laying down his life for us.

d. Why was this necessary?

e. How bad does God want you back?

IX. A NEW HEART

a. Do you feel like you have a naturally clean heart? Are you pure?

i. No, we are not

ii. Jeremiah 17:9

1. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Je 17:9). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

iii. Jeremiah 32:37-40

1. 37 “Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. 38 “They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 “I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Je 32:37-40). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

b. CAN your heart be clean?

i. Psalm 51:10

1. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ps 51:10). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

ii. Matthew 5:8

1. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Mt 5:8). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

c. HOW can we get a clean heart?

i. Ezek 11:19

1. “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

ii. Ezek 36:26-28

1. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 “You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

iii. Hebrews 8:8-10

1. 8 But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 9 This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt.They did not remain faithful to my covenant,so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.10 But this is the new covenant I will makewith the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:I will put my laws in their minds,and I will write them on their hearts.I will be their God,and they will be my people. Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. “Text edition”–Spine. (2nd ed.) (Heb 8:8-10). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.

iv. Hebrews 10:15-18

1. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them,” He then says, 17 “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Heb 10:15-18). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

v. Hebrews 10:22

1. let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Heb 10:22). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

X. A NEW NAME

a. Isaiah 62:2-4

i. 2 The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the Lord will designate. 3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” And your land, “Married”; For the Lord delights in you, And to Him your land will be married.

b. Gen 35:10

i. God said to him,

ii. “Your name is Jacob;

iii. You shall no longer be called Jacob,

iv. But Israel shall be your name.”

v. Thus He called him Israel.

vi. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ge 35:10). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

c. Rev 2:17

i. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

ii. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Re 2:17). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

d. Rev 3:12

i. ‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

ii. New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Re 3:12). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

XI. Watch Video

a. Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King

i. Elrond (Elf)

ii. Arwen (Love)

iii. Aragorn (Ranger / King)

b. Chapter 22 (1:14:40 – )

c. Pause after “I take my leave”

d. Background on this guy…

e. Continue

f. Quote:

i. “It is time to put down the ranger and become who you were born to be”

ii. Who have you been told that you should be?

1. A good boy?

2. A young woman?

3. A nice Christian?

4. Someone who avoids this and does that.

iii. What were you born to be?

1. Me? I have a story. It’s a story that only makes sense to me. I’ll share it if you want, though.

2. All of us have been told who we should be and a lot of us have accepted lesser roles than God intended. Aragorn was the KING, but other things kept him from accepting.

iv. What is your role in the Kingdom? You may not know yet. That is fine. That is normal. But let me tell you, the lives you live RIGHT NOW are affecting that. I can speak from my life. I’m not who I thought I would be 10-15 years ago when I was your age, but the things on my heart back then, the things I really, deeply, cared about… they still affect me.

g. Now… what brought Aragorn to recognize who he was?

i. Recognition?

ii. The swoard?

1. They will answer to the king of Gondor.

h. 1:18:55 – put aside the ranger, become who you were born to be.

i. Stop at 1:19:21

j. John 10:10-11

i. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Tonight I Wake Up

I didn’t camp tonight… and I am good with that. I spent the last 3 hours out in my barn and walking along a dark road, though.

I walked with God. I really think I did.

First there was the fire. I didn’t have the right stuff to get it started, and my firewood was wet. So I decided to get out one of my books inside the barn and read. As I thought about which one, as I had brought two, I kept coming back to this word: STOP. One of my books is about maximizing energy, getting focus, that kind of stuff… there are some things I am working on in it and need some time, but I just sensed that I needed to stop tonight – read the other book: Waking the Dead. This is a much easier read – not so much inspirational and inspiring, but maybe eye opening?

I had my journal beside me, and one thing I wrote that I remember vividly was this:

Tonight, I wake up. I open my eyes to my true identity, and accept my destiny.

As I wrote that I wasn’t really sure what it meant, but I needed to write it down. Maybe for later? I was having a hard time focusing. As I continued on, I got more and more drawn into the reading, into this whole concept of walking with God, truly knowing him (not just about him), and living life day by day like that.

Another question from my journal…

OK, who am I? What is my true identity? What is my new name?

That question has been on my mind for a while. A lot of things I’ve read talk about a new name, who we are in Christ, the unique thing he will use us for as we step into his will.

I wasn’t tired, but after about 30 – 40 pages I sensed it was time to stop. And go for a walk. Don’t know why, really, that was just the next thing to do. So I did it, set out west on the state road in front of my house.

And that’s when I ran into it. Or at least that’s how I feel right now. And that’s why I’m writing this down. I don’t know where this will go, what about it will change, if it’s accurate, or if it’s just daydreaming. But I believe it is real. As I turned onto that road, my eyes opened up to the sky, and it was simply full of stars. And there, right in front of me, right above the horizon, was Orion. Good old Orion and his belt. And his sword. The “Hunter.”

Is that me? Is that my name?

Strange stuff. I don’t normally think this way. But so much stuff came together. I have been catching glimpses of Orion lately – I like looking for the seven sisters at night – and they’re off to the north of him, so I see this other constellation a lot, too.

But now thoughts are bubbling in my heart, and it’s asking, Is this it?

Am I hunting hearts?
Am I battling the bull?
What in the world?

I don’t know. And I don’t care if I don’t know. But I’m not just going to call all this mindplay, either. I can’t. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a year now, and tonight, a night originally planned to be sitting in the woods, in a tent, or around a campfire, where the stars wouldn’t be so visible, was changed to a night where I was walking down a dark, dark road, right into my new identity. Not just the constellation, but that idea of accepting who I am, a child of God, a demonstration of His glory, the masterpiece of His creation.

That’s me!

That is each of us.

This changes some things. I don’t know how yet, but it’s like a moment in time I won’t have again. I don’t know. And that’s why I write this down, here and now…

…more to come, I am sure!

A Blossoming Idea

This is an idea that is blossoming in my heart. It has been developing for quite a while, but is beginning to turn into concrete concepts. I wonder where this will go.

The idea is simply to get some kids – youth – boys, probably – and get away. Not just to talk about God but to learn about trust, to learn about confidence, to learn about adventure. That’s been the idea for a while, but now it’s getting a little more clear where it might fit in my life.

3-4 teen boys
2-3 adult men
1 pickup truck
1 horse trailer
2-3 horses
1 primitive campground

start by prepping, cleaning, and loading up everything. Do some hard work. Then hit the road as a group, a pickup full of guys, pulling a 10,000 # trailer with live animals. Stop somewhere for dinner, stretch and feed the horses, get back on the road. Get to the campground just before dusk. Lock up the cell phones and ipods. Make a fire. Unload the horses. Get them fed and tied up and secured. And then…. relax. Sit around the fire and relax. Watch the stars. Listen to the fire crackle. Tell jokes. Talk about God. Talk about heart. Talk about whatever. Stay up late. Go do bed eventually… under the stars, or in a tent if necessary. Get up in the morning, cook breakfast on the fire. Get kids used to horses, do some ground work, do some saddle work, then go on some 20-30 minute rides with each kid. Get them to do something that takes confidence, requires them to let go, to try hard. Do some trust games with those back at the camp. Play a practical joke. Do something fun. Fish. At the end of the day, load everything up. Head back, grab dinner on the way back again. Unload at the farm, take kids home.

Ok, wow, if that’s not concrete, well then… wow, this is starting to become less of a concept and more of a real idea… even a plan….

wow.

Well, what’s next? Today’s word was persistence, and I am seeing my persistent request for God to develop this idea start to really come together. This is real.

A talk with my dad

I have been making myself too busy lately to stop and write, to stop and think. I think I’ve almost been avoiding coming here because I know there are some things I need to jot down, a story I need to tell, and a real-life issue I need to walk through.

So here I am.

I called my dad on Thanksgiving day morning. It’s the first time I’ve out of the blue called him since November 1, 2006, the day I left a message on his voice mail telling him I have decided to forgive him. The call went good; mainly just some chit chat, but maybe that’s what I’m needing from a parent figure instead of something deep right now. I suppose we can deal with the broken relationship later, or maybe talking has a way of doing that naturally. I don’t really know, I guess. More on that in a bit, with the other thing I want to write about.

I had asked for prayer for this conversation, and went into it and through it knowing some good friends had my back. Oh that is good to know. Friends here locally, and friends across the USA.

As we were talking, and getting near the end, I suppose, my Father stopped me dead in my tracks with a word from my dad. We were talking about church and what I’m doing there, he asked me if I was still a deacon, like I was when he left. I told him no, I’m helping lead our Sunday School ministry now, and it’s a much better fit. “Do you do a lot of teaching, then?” he asked. No not really. Well yes, but not consistently with the same group of people.

“Oh, ok,” he says, “because I think you would do a great job teaching teens.”

What the hell!???!?!?!??!?

Hope that language is not too offensive, but it was my gut reaction at that moment. Where did THAT come from? How does he know that’s such a big thing on my heart right now? And not only that, this is affirmation coming from a man of whom I remember most belittling comments, guilt-driving speach, and a hard, obstinate heart.

I don’t think he had any idea how what he’s just said pricked my heart, my very soul. The conversation ended shortly after that, and I talked to my wife a little bit about it. Where did he come up with that? Is he reading my blog? Is he talking with someone about me (who that would be a certainly haven’t a clue)?

Or was that my big F Father talking at that moment? I think it had to be. The Bible tells me time and time again that God uses people (even animals) unknowningly to communicate His message. But what would God be trying to tell me through this?

Perhaps it was a word of strength, an affirmation that I was walking the right path by making the decision to make that call. Perhaps it was a sign that my dad does have some sense left in him, and that forgiveness means admitting that, even when you still don’t have an explanation as to the big “why?” question your heart has been asking for years. Perhaps it was just… just… just me?

God, thank you for that moment. Your name is wonderful counselor, prince of peace, almighty God. You teach me things through the strangest circumstances, you awaken my soul in the darkest of nights, you restore me in the wildest of ways. Take this dialog I had with my earthly father, the man you put here to raise me, and use it somehow. Use it me to learn more about forgiveness, patience, and love. Use it in him to learn more about being forgiven, accepting reality, and being used by you.

So that’s that. I needed to recap that call, to take a few minutes to regroup, to think it through, and to really let it sink in. I found myself denying the message because of the messenger, but getting past that is so freeing.

Father, I love you. I need you. Take me, lead me, let me chase you.

Heading back to school

Going back to my high school’s FCA meeting this morning. The last time I went I think the message I got was, “You can do this.” I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t say anything in front of everybody. I didn’t lead anything. I didn’t get introduced. I just said “hi” to some people I knew (a teacher and a couple kids from church) and sat there and watched.

But I was there. Conquering that nervous feeling of going somewhere new, where you don’t know what to expect, has been a big barrier for me. When I did this a couple weeks ago I found myself sitting in the parking lot for 10 minutes, not really trying to think of a way out, but just… I don’t know… delaying? I don’t know if that’s the right word or not.

So today I’m going in with eyes wide open. I don’t know what’s going on this week, if it’ll be the same type of crowd or something a little different. And I guess…. now I can say that I don’t care.

For my own retrospecting, I’m gonna list a few fears I dealt with last time that, as I think about them today, are being wiped out of my head, both for this event and who knows, things to come.

    I will see some people I know and not know what to say when they ask my why I’m here…. who cares? There was one girl from my church there, I think she’s a senior, and she spotted me from across the room and mouthed to me what I think was “what are you doing here?” with that big question look on her face… I don’t remember what I mouthed back, probably something dumb, because the answer is still, “I really don’t know.”

    I will be the only non-teacher or non-student in the building… who cares?

    I will not find where I’m supposed to go and will have to ask for help… who cares?

    I will see a teacher from 12 years ago and not know what to say… (this happened, and I really stumbled through it)… but now, I don’t care…

That is very weird. There are some things not on that list of fears that I am thinking of right now that I can’t figure out why I’m not afraid of. Well, maybe I can, but it’s not natural, I know that.

OH well… I must be off because it’s cold out and I’ll have to warm the car up before I get going.