Tuesday, March 4, 2014

God Behind Bars?

          I recently had the opportunity to go minister in a prison and lead worship in front of a few hundred prisoners. Before going I was a little skeptical, I mean we are talking about prisoners, the rough-scuff tattooed men, who at some point have broken the law. Thoughts like “is this really going to be beneficial to any of these men” or “I bet they are just going to give us a blank stare the entire time” ran through my mind. Of course everyone has their own perception of what a “standard” prisoner looks and acts like, and my perception was hindering my thoughts of why I was really there. Of course after arriving my same perception of the standard prisoner were the same as they were before I had showed up, but what happened after the service started only an experience could describe.

I began to see and fill God move in the same way that I had seen him move in previous services I had attended. I seen grown men who were there for numerous accounts of charges still lift their hands and praise the same God that I pray to everyday. I heard their prison worship team sing about being free, while being behind 9 feet of fencing all at the same time. You could feel it in the atmosphere that God was indeed there and he was the same God that shows in our everyday lives. In Romans 8:38-39 it says “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You see I have felt called to be a youth pastor and so many times I have questioned the full commitment to bringing Gods word to the next generational age. I have always doubted if I would ever be strong enough, and most importantly what if I were positioned in a church that seemed lifeless and Godless? I’m just glad to know these questions no longer haunt me because the same God who saved me in a room full of God fearing adults will be the same God who is with me to the ends of the earth just like he promised Moses in Exodus. Just remember if you are ever in a time of trouble,  the same graceful God who delivered his people from slavery in exodus is the same God on the throne that is over your situation.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dull Moments

Life will NOT be all fun and games, smiles and laughter, or kicks and giggles ... if anyone tells you it will be that's where my personal mission kicks in to inform you that it won't be that way. Now don't get discouraged, life will always have ups, laughs, and fun times but there will always, always, always, be that "dull moment" somewhere in life. You know what I'm talking about, that pause between music tracks or waiting to be seated at your favorite restaurant, so on and so forth we all know what qualifies as a "dull moment" for us as individuals. Getting to my point, What if we took all of life's "dull moments" and made them "Prayer Moments" instead? Think about it, we all know there's power in prayer, like world changing power. So why don't we harness that power and use every minute to its fullest potential?
*Nothing extensive, just food for thought*

Monday, February 3, 2014

For I Know The Plans I Have For You

I decided to join Master's Commission because I knew that I had a calling on my life to go into ministry, but I had no idea what it was. I imagined it would be along the lines of working with youth ministry, but I didn't know any of the details.

Throughout this year, little pieces of the puzzle have started to become clearer to me. For almost 3 months now I've been having the same dream, and it made me wonder if it was just a really good dream or if God was trying to show me something. I didn't tell anyone about it, simply because I wasn't sure what it meant. It bothered me that I didn't know, so I began praying about it every day, for God to reveal to me the meaning of the dream.

Then, I got a call from a friend back in Chicago that I haven't talked to in almost 2 years. She told me that she had a dream about me the night before, and then described the exact dream that I had been having every night.


The dream was that I was working with the youth of Australia, ministering and counseling them as they walk through life. At one point in the dream I'm even running a huge worship event there (again... WOW).

Once I got the call from my friend, I decided to go back into prayer, asking God to confirm a calling that I have had on my heart for a while now. 

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
-Matthew 7:7

This past weekend, we participated at a youth conference called Surge the City. During the weekend, I was feeling really drained, and during the last service I found myself crying out to God and asking Him if His anointing was still on my life.

And then we all got called out.

Pastor Pat (the speaker) called the Master’s Commission students that were there to come to the stage. Long story short, I got called out and that whole room full of people suddenly knew that I had doubted the anointing on my life. But then Pat said something to me that put me at ease (and made me burst into tears). He said that he had doubted the anointing on his life for over 10 years, and that I wasn’t alone.
As I sat on the stage, both praying and crying, I heard God telling me that He was using the events of my life to train me for the anointing that I have on my life. That I was going to help bring the prodigals back to Him in a land that is far from where I am now. The whole time, I was seeing the images and scenes from my dream.

And for the first time since it all started, I felt completely at peace about it. Not only that, but I am EXCITED about the plans that God has for my life! I felt the chains of fear, insecurities, and self-worth begin to fall off, and a sense of confidence and joy began to fill my body.

I did a little bit of research this morning about Australia, and here is some of what I’ve found:

Only 9% of Australia’s entire population actively attends church and matches their actions with their faith.
In addition to that, out of the youth (ages 13-18) that is counted in that 9%, 1 in 4 will leave the church by the time that they graduate high school.

And now I know that I am going to change that.

Monday, January 27, 2014

You Are Chosen

            9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

            Lets break this verse down.  In the beginning of this chapter, Peter is describing evil behavior and saying that you are not like that.  He is saying that you are chosen.  You are not only set apart, but you are also royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.  YOU ARE GOD’S!!!  That should make you feel like you are on top of the world.  You are chosen to be a royal priest, a holy nation, and God’s very own child.  You are special.  But with great title come great responsibility.  You have to show others that you are chosen by showing God’s goodness throughout the world.  You must show others the way out of the darkness because God has taken you out of the darkness and you know the way out!  This verse shows me that I am not just an ordinary person, but I have a calling on my life.  I am set apart from everyone else because I have purpose in my life to fulfill and I’m not going to let anyone get in my way.  I AM CHOSEN!!!!!!!

6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.  Joshua 1:6



Monday, January 20, 2014

Living Love

Earlier this week I was asked a question. That question was "what is your favorite Bible verse?" Immediately I knew the answer to that question. I have a verse that I call my life verse (a life verse is a verse of scripture that you live your life by... Obviously). That verse of scripture is John 15:12 "This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." If you ask me that is a pretty amazing way to live you life. But, then the question began to boil in me. I call this verse my LIFE verse, but do how much of my life do I really live by it? Instantly, I became hurt by that question. It was almost as if Jesus had slapped me in my face. How much of your life are you living by this verse? So, I thought about it and my thinking hurt me. The answer is, i'm not really living a whole lot of my life by that verse.
So, in order for my self to understand that you have to look at what the love of Jesus looked like. Let's talk about one of the most talked about story's in the Bible. The woman caught in adultery in John 8. In the beginning of this story we know that Jesus has come to the temple to teach people. While he was in the middle of teaching, the people who taught law and some Pharisees drug a woman to him and threw her in front of the crowd. Then they began to proclaim that she was not just being accused of adultery, she had in fact been caught in the very act. They yelled to Jesus and called him "teacher" if you don't know about the Pharisees, they were mocking him. They said to him, the law of Moses says they should all stone her to death. Then they asked Him what He would have them do. Now, we know in this situation, they were trying to get Jesus to say something that could incriminate him so that they could have him put to death. Yet, Jesus did not care what happened to him. He kneeled down to the ground in front of her and he began to write in the dust. It is not recorded what Jesus wrote. But, it does not matter, what matters is he wrote life in her situation. That is not the only significant thing in this situation. The accusers continued to antagonize and poke and prod at Jesus. He stood up and looked at them and simply said, "let the first person who has no sin throw the first stone". Then he immediately kneeled back down with her. What is so important about that? Jesus is kneeling down in front of this woman after he essentially just told them to stone her if they wanted to. He has put his own body in front of hers. If someone were to have thrown and stone in this situation, the first person to be hit would have been Jesus. He looked at the woman after no one threw a stone and he said, where has everyone that accused you gone, did they stone you? She replied no to him. Then he looked at her and he said, neither do I. 

This is an amazing image of the love Jesus has for all of us. He absolutely loves every single person on this planet without flaw. He doesn't even think twice about this women. He instantly portrayed the love that he has for her even though she had been caught in the very act of sinning. But, instead of condemning her, he just loved her and helped her remove the barrier of sin from her life. Think about the death of Jesus. As he was hanging there on that cross, beaten, tortured, flesh hanging off of him, barley living. Even when the people who were killing him were stabbing him in the ribs. He shouted out to God and asked for their forgiveness. Not because it was his job, not because someone told him to do it, not because he thought they would let him go. But, because he loved them. Just as he loves each and everyone of us. 
Lord, I pray that I can take your word and apply it to every corner of my life. Consume me with your fire Father until none of me is left, until you are the only thing that remains. Let me love like you love. Let the people I come in contact with not know who I am. But, let them know who you are. I love you Jesus. 


Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Truly Knowing How to Love"

1 John 4:20:  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
I’ve realized Christian believers have to know how to love well because it is essential for true spirituality. 

I hope to always have the ability to recognize that I have to love, respect, and value people; also taking into consideration that I am not perfect and I’m not always right. Peter Sazzero references a Jewish theologian by the name of Martin Buber who wrote a great book called “1 and thou”. This book talks about two kinds of relationships, one of them being the best kind of relationship to have. Buber described the most mature healthy relationship being an “I-Thou” relationship. “ In such relationships I recognize that I am made in the image of God and so is every other person on the face of the earth. This makes them “Thou” to me. Because of that reality every person deserves respect that is; I treat them with dignity and worth. I do not Dehumanize or objectify them. I affirm them as having a unique and separate existence apart from me.

God, You have created each and everyone of us fearfully and wonderfully. I'm so grateful that you looked at us and said "it is good." We are created in your image


Monday, January 13, 2014

Im Not Going Back

1 Peter 5:6-11 "So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does."

I've been thinking lately, and God is so good to us. Though we don't deserve it! It doesn't matter how many times we mess up, He's still there to pick us back up and brush the dirt off;  Even if we think he should just turn his back on us.

In my own walk with Christ, I can't tell you the countless times that I have messed up. All I can think about is his GRACE and MERCY, that follows me, even into the darkest places of my life.  My life use to be about getting my next fix or when I was going to be able to get the next 'solo cup' in my hands.

I thank God that I am no longer bound to those bondages and can say with an honest heart that I have NO intentions on ever going back to my life before God! He has brought me too far to look back. With my testimony it's my desire to help people know that there is more to life than the fix they need. I want to be able to look back and say that I helped numerous people with their addictions and through Christ bring them out of those addiction. With God's help all things are possible.