Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Like Moses. If I could be like Moses.

A good friend of mine (and by that I mean we're Facebook friends and follow each other on Twitter) wrote about a disease that I am currently recovering from: Empty Prayer Promise, or EPP.

What I used to do is tell people I'll pray for them, and then forget. I meant it when I said it, but I'm so absent-minded that unless I write it down or pray for it right then, I most likely wasn't going to pray for it.

I've recently tried this outlandish idea of praying when I hear a prayer request. The internet has made that super easy since I can read someone's prayer request and just pray by myself ('cuz that can be slightly awkward to stop a conversation to pray). I can finish up my blog readings with a prayer, and I know that those requests were taken up to God at least once.

This has been awesome, and I enjoy praying for other people's needs. However, there's a certain part of the world that isn't getting enough prayer from me: San Diego State University. It really doesn't make sense that I'm not praying for the campus that I was assigned to and want to be at. I can explain it, but it doesn't make sense.

See, I want to be like Joshua. In the latter half of Exodus 17, Amalek is fighting against God's people. Joshua was off on the front lines, in the middle of the action, leading the army to fight for the Lord. I want to be on campus, in the midst of the battle, fighting alongside my team, but I'm more than 300 miles away. Since I can't physically be a part of the battle, I want to retreat.

But Joshua and the army weren't fighting alone. Moses was at the top of the hill, crying out to God. The incredible part about it is that this was more important in their victory than the actual fighting. When Moses' arms were raised, the Israelites were winning. When they would fall, the Israelites started losing. I've pretty much wasted time wishing I could be Joshua that I missed the opportunity to be Moses, an integral part of the battle.

I can't change the past. I can look back and consider what a horrible person I am for not praying. Or I can lift my hands daily to God for SDSU, still striving to be a Joshua, but being content with being a Moses for right now.

As I am weak, I pray that you would be Aaron and Hur, helping Moses when he lost his strength. Ask me about how I'm praying. Facebook me about it. Tweet me about it. Text me about it. Pray for me about it. Now would be a good time for that.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why a ministry blog?

So, I was very hesitant to start a ministry blog because I figure whatever is happening in my ministry is happening to me, so I might as well keep it on my regular life blog.

The main reason I started this one is because I thought that my other blog was way too cluttered with stuff that I wanted to include. So, I caved and this is the result. I hope you enjoy reading about what God is doing in and through me as I continue on EDGE Corps!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Easy as 1-2-3

There it was. The moment I had been waiting for. The moment when I would step foot on the campus of San Diego State University, my mission field. The moment when I would go and impact the Aztecs for Christ.

The First 3 Weeks
It was so exciting being there my first day. I was helping students move in and trying to get acquainted with the campus and the surrounding area. After that move-in day, we had several days scheduled for recruiting, i.e. surveys and tabling, as well as a beach day and a barbecue. Week 2 came around and that meant more tabling and some follow up and our first Nav Nite! After that, we did more tabling and follow up, as well as a staff retreat. This is obviously not an exhaustive list of everything that happened in my first 3 weeks at SDSU, but a rough outline of what they looked like. I was glad to be there, as everything I had been working on was leading up to going to campus and trying to reach the students.

The Return
Week 4, however, has started, and I am no longer in SD. I had to come back to Phoenix to continue fundraising. It's slightly ironic because I was very sad to leave AZ initially, but now, three weeks later, I am bummed to be back. Not that I don't love my friends here, but it's hard to pack up and leave for a new journey only to turn around and come back while the journey continues on without me.

With all this comes a lot of questions, from me and from others. Are you sure this is what you want to do? Are you sure this is what God wants you to do? If so, why are you back? Wouldn't He have funded you? Do you really think you can get up to 100%?

All these questions lay heavy on me, and I start to think, "What if they're right? Maybe I should have just kept my job at the theater and stuck around here. I didn't want to leave and go out there in the first place. Wouldn't it be easier to just quit right now?"

Easy Doesn't Do It

The answer to that last question is most likely yes. It would be easy. But I'm not looking for easy. I was never promised easy. I never expected easy, and I won't accept easy. Easy means stagnation. Easy means, if I'm being honest with myself, that I am not following Christ. I look over to my right and I see a statuette of Jesus carrying a cross and am reminded of Luke 9:23. "And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" What Jesus said is far from easy. It means looking at the things that I want and think are good for me, but telling God that I want His will over mine.

Is Anything Too Hard?
These questions also make me examine what I believe about God. If I believe that my God created the earth and everything in it in 6 days, do I not believe that He can get me funded? If I believe that my God can raise people even from something as final as death, do I not believe that He can provide the $27,000 that I need to go back? God said in Jeremiah 32:27, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?" I have to remind myself that I serve a limitless God who has me where I am for a reason. I have to do all that I can to get funded and trust that God will get me there.

I didn't intend for this to become a sermonette, but while I was writing, God was reminding me of things that I had forgotten and I wanted to pass that on to you. I thank you for reading and ask that you pray for me during my time away from campus, that I would raise the support to get back, but also get some fellowship and encouragement out here instead of being a hermit waiting to go back.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Where was I when the world was made?

I just spent some time reading Job, a book that I seem to have been in forever and a day. The first couple of chapters is God telling satan how awesome Job is. Then God allows satan to take everything that Job has from him, except his life. The next few chapters were Job's friends telling him that he did something wrong because God wouldn't let this happen to the righteous, and Job replying by saying that he indeed didn't do anything wrong. Job says that he'll praise God no matter what happens, but there are a lot of moments where he is just downright dramatic. I mean, seriously, "it would have been better had I not been born"?

In all this, Job is questioning God, and understandably so. But in Job 38-39, God answers back, and answers back hard. He asks Job where he was when God created the world. And if he knew when goats would give birth. There was one moment that I thought was particularly "rip-Job-a-new-one-ish" in Job 38:19-21

"Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
and the number of your days is great!"

In reading these chapters, it's easy to say, "yeah, Job, why would you question God like that? Don't you know that He's the Almighty? Don't you know that He's sovereign? Don't you know that He knows what's best for you?"

It's not too easy, though, once I examine my own life and attitude. Over the past couple of weeks, I've asked God why a lot of times. "Why am I at 25% if this is where you want me? Why are there a lot of Nav staff right now who are struggling with their funding? Why are there so many women coming to the table today and only one man? Why, God, why?" I bombard God with these questions about why things aren't going my way. And then I read Job 38 and 39, and I can't help but hear God speaking these words to me. And I feel small. Like a little child being scolded by his Father. My head is down, not daring to look up at God, because I know that He's right and I can't answer back. I can't look him in the eyes. I can't say anything to justify my attitude towards God.

I know that God is good. I know that God is sovereign. I know that God's will is better than mine. My trouble is accepting and realizing this truth in my nearsightedness.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I love my new housemates!

So, I moved to San Diego, at least for a little while, for my job with the Navigators. I'm living with 4 of my teammates/partners. We've been living together for one day, and we've already had some great conversations/moments, such as:

Tim (upon entering the house and being greeted by 3 dogs): I thought there were 2 dogs last time I was here.

Someone else (I can't remember who): That's what dogs do.

Tim: But there were 2 male dogs.

Gabe: It's California.
Ryan: There are a lot oceans... I mean seas.

Val: *Spits water out of her mouth*

Me: *Fit of laughter ending in The Laugh*
Gabe goes outside and sticks his head back in and says, "So, are you gonna come out?"
Tim and I were watching movies on our computers, but figured since Gabe was asking that something was happening outside, like dinner or a meeting. We go outside and wait for whatever it is to start. Turns out Gabe was talking to his dog, not us.

I'm really looking forward to more good times with my team.

Monday, August 10, 2009

2 More Weeks

I have 2 weeks until I move to San Diego to start off the school year at SDSU. The closer that date comes, the more real it becomes that I'm moving away. And the more I think that I don't want to do this.

This is in no way a blog of resignation. I knew that this job would be hard when I accepted it. And it's not even that I don't want to do the job. I'm actually really excited about going to San Diego and being a part of what God's doing there. The part that I'm not looking forward to--that I haven't been looking forward to--is moving away from home and leaving the people that I've come to call friends over the past 4 or so years. I feel like Abram in Genesis 12, when God calls him away from his father's house, his country, and his kindred.

In a way, I think that's been keeping me from getting busy with funding. I know that if I'm out calling people, meeting with them, getting my funds to enable me to minister to students, that would be driving the nail in the coffin. That would mean that it is actually happening.

Well, what I've been avoiding with my laziness God has been bringing back with time. And now, I've dug myself in a hole because I'm at 13% with 14 days to go. The way it's looking right now, I'll be there for a couple weeks before heading back to Phoenix to continue fundraising and possibly working part-time. In other words, I'm reaping what I've sown. I could blame circumstances or a job or inexperience in what I'm doing, but really it's nobody's fault but my own. God's been teaching me a lot through this trying time, and it has not been the most fun time of learning. But I thank God for these times because I know that going through this fire will ultimately make me refined.

And so, as I embark on my next journey and probably turn back around for a pit stop, I ask that you, my friends and family and people who randomly stumbled upon my blog, pray for me.

1. Pray for my diligence in these next 2 weeks. I need to send out a few more letters, but the hardest thing by far will be making the phone calls (which is the most awkward part of funding in my opinion). After that I need to meet up with people and explain what my ministry is going to look like.

2. Pray for a temporary home if/when I come back to Phoenix, as my apartment will be vacated by the end of this month.

3. Pray for that 13% to go up. It's easy for me to look at it and shoot for 75% so I can be on campus, but I know that my God is bigger than that and can get me to 100%.

4. Pray for your possible involvement in my ministry. There's a link (to the right if you're reading this on blogger, on my website list if you're reading this on facebook) where you can donate online. However, I'd rather we talk about my ministry before you donate.

5. Pray that I would still be able to minister effectively when I do go to campus.

I thank you for your prayers and for your love as I answer God's call to bring the gospel to the lost.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here am I! Send me.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

The above passage is taken from Isaiah 6:1-8. It's my favorite section of Scripture. I love it because I think that the seraphim flying around is a strange but beautiful picture of God's creation. I also think it's an awesome picture of God's grace and the way He enables us to do His work.

However, whenever I hear people mention this in regards to missions, they seem to camp on verse 8, where God asks who will go out for Him and Isaiah responds, "Here am I! Send me." I mean, it's completely Biblical (seeing how it's from the Bible), but I think you can easily miss what God's done for Isaiah in order to use him to accomplish His purpose.

Isaiah was a man who was unclean. He was imperfect. He was a creature that God had created from dirt. He saw the face of God and thought that he should be struck down dead for it, because he was unworthy to glance upon the glory of his Maker. God's response was not, "It's OK. Just look. I'm not gonna hurt you." The seraph flew to Isaiah, touching his "unclean lips" with the live coal to purge away any filth. Why? Because he'd done great things for God in the past? Not at all. Isaiah 64:6 says that our righteousness and good deeds are polluted garments or filthy rags. No, God sent the seraph to make Isaiah righteous because God is gracious. I think Paul said it great in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 when he wrote, "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." It was only when God had atoned for Isaiah's sins was he able to answer God's question with an enthusiastic, "Here am I! Send me."

I think there's a reason that God put that on my heart just a few months before I decided to do EDGE Corps. I know I have sin. I'd be a fool to deny it. When I look at that, it's easy for me to say, "I'm useless. How could God use a wretch like me. I'm so far from His standard of perfection, there's no way He could use me." But when I read about Isaiah, I remember, "Yes, I am useless by my own power. I am far from perfection by my own power. But God has given me His Holy Spirit. I'm not operating under my power anymore. God doesn't see imperfection and sin when He sees me. He sees the blood of Jesus. He sees purity. He sees perfection." I get so wrapped up in what I can do for God or against God that I forget that none of that matters to God. My efforts to correct myself mean nothing. Jesus paid for my sin. Now He wants me for His work. My duty is not to do good to please Him, but trust in Him to lead me in His will. His grace is truly sufficient.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Change is coming

Well, it's been a while, since I've blogged, so I figure I'll update people on what's been going on.

Last week I finished my second senior year at ASU, and I have officially graduated. I have a BA in History with a minor in Religious Studies. It's weird saying that I'm an alum rather than a student. But it's a good thing. I don't want to become Van Wilder or that guy from my choir class who had about 12 years of undergrad. Being a professional student is too costly and doesn't allow room for maturity.

As you may know, I was really struggling with what to do after I graduate. As you also may know, I decided a couple months ago that I was going to work full-time with the Navigators in a program called EDGE Corps. So since I applied and got accepted, the question that everyone, myself included, has been asking is where in the world I'm going with EDGE. It was pretty much accepted that I wasn't going back to ASU but was going to some school in the Southwest, most likely in SoCal. All of my staff at ASU knew but wouldn't tell me. I was told that when I came up to the Glen Eyrie, I would have to wait a couple days before we did some ridiculous physical activity to find out. Turns out, a lot of people knew what campus they were going to, and they didn't want the ridiculous physical activity for about 7 of the 60 people, so we checked in, and got our name tags and folders. Said name tags and folders had our campus name on them. So, I got my room key, looked at my name tag, and thought, "huh. Interesting."

Anyway, I tell you all this to build up the suspense, getting you to wonder where my destination this fall will be. I hope that my plan has succeeded. I hope it's killing you that I know and you don't yet. Well, I mean figuratively. If it literally is killing you, then... well, I'd apologize, but you wouldn't be able to read the apologize, seeing as you'd be dead.

Well, now is the moment of truth. Now is where you find out what will be replacing Sparky, seen below.

Blogosphere, Sparky the Sun Devil. Sparky, blogosphere.

Well, I will tell you that I was correct in assuming that I would not be going to ASU. I will also tell you that I was correct in assuming that I'd be going to SoCal. Anyway, I can't think of anything else to stall with, so I will tell you that I will be joining the staff at San Diego State University. I can't say that I will become an Aztec, but I can see myself forsaking Sparky easily. Sadly enough, there is no mascot, at least that I could find by skimming the Wikipedia page. Gladly enough, I have an awesome hoodie that has ASU in big letters on it. I figure I can cover the A with SD, and it'll be acceptable, though ASU's colors are maroon and gold and SDSU's colors are scarlet and black.

But, anyway. That's what's been going on in my life. I'll spend the summer FUNdraising and working at the theater. Once I'm 75% funded, I'll be able to go on campus. Funding is every EDGEr's favorite part of the job, so this summer will be fun (I hate how sarcasm is lost in written word). If you want to donate to my cause, let me know. This isn't a funding blog, but seriously, if you would like to be involved, I will not say no.