Monday, August 9, 2010

More than Conquerors

If there is one word in the English language that I can honestly say I hate, it's the word "good-bye."

Whenever I just think of saying good-bye to someone my soul aches, my heart beats fast and I physically need to shake myself out of the feeling. Yet life itself is filled with good-byes. Last week I said good-bye to my first summer at Student Life. My question is "But where did it go?" I thought we just finished our first camp.

I was surrounded by good-byes last Thursday. That’s why I felt compelled to share this thought with you right now while I'm still caught in the after math of farewell.

A 75-day journey that changed my life. 11,000 miles, 19 states, and 25 simply amazing people. I remember my first day coming into training scared to death, surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar faces. Little did I know that Orange Team 2010 would effortlessly become family, and a strong component of my heart.

It’s the little things that bonded us together-bursting out into random song wherever we went, dance parties (I always tried to stand by Tucker because he was DEFINITLY the best dancer on the team), hours upon hours packing the missions trailer, the terrible Kansas trips, load ins, and the glorious 100 minute load out. I think I have eaten enough fast food to satisfy my now suffering body. It was all about Secret encouragers, waking up before the sun, ladies night, and “Sons and Daughters of the living God” 77 times over. More importantly, we’re family. All brothers and sisters spread out amongst this big country. Although I will never wake up and spend every breathing hour with these people, or wake up in the same bed as them, or even just get to worship with them, I know that they are no farther than a text, phone call, or facebook message away.

Seeing what was left of the team pack up their bags into trunks and back seats of the Baby Penske reminded me that every beginning has an end. But every ending invites a brand new beginning. The things we learned will never depart from us; for they are imprinted in our souls forever. Some of us will come back to serve multiple summers, some of us will step into the real world and work. Some of us will soon get married and start families, or graduate college; but one thing will always be: We are more than conquers.

Good-byes are not forever. Neither is parting such sweet sorrow. If I have connected in such a way to another person, then they are a permanent part of me. They do not leave intact, for they have shared with me a bit of themselves, which I have willfully absorbed into my heart. God's gift to us to compensate for good-byes is "memory." So with that I will always remember the family that is OT10.

And so as the roadways across this great country fill with our neighbors and friends returning home and closing this journey, I take this moment to thank God that although we may never see each other again, I know that whatever I may need, you will always be there.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lead me On, Let me Run after you

Lets see, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve last posted on this thing. Let me tell you, Student Life has revealed to me just how critical that extra 30 minutes of sleep really is…. Trust me, 30 minutes is Gold. We are currently on week 6 at Cedarville University in Ohio. Thirty days remain on my Student Life calendar, and while that may seem long, days fly by like arrows, slowly losing force as it reaches the target. Of course, I have been having an absolutely revolting time. In case you don’t already know, God is the biggest show off this universe has ever seen. I in no way was prepared for the things he has done this summer, and because of him my life has been eternally altered.

mean, don’t get me wrong, there are things that I miss about home. Aside from my wonderful family, there are three things my soul desires: sleep, Texas Rangers, and running. I started running a few months before I left for the summer and I find it to be one of the most relieving things for me. Nothing is more satisfying to me than running while my music overpowers my ear, almost as if it were pumping momentum into every vein electrifying my determination …ah, how I miss it so.

course, there are two ways you can run correctly. There’s the good old treadmill or just the good old Combine turf. Personally, I love nothing more than running down Chrestman Lane every night taking in the sweet Texas air. But God dropped a message in my mailbox and broadcasted to me a life lesson through running. Our physical walk, or run in this instance, is exactly what our spiritual walk with God is like. When we choose to run on the treadmill, we have control of so many things. Speed, time, radio, Air conditioning, incline, TV…. you get the picture. Maybe our treadmill is almost like our throne, per say. We stand up there and control exactly what WE want to control. Is that how we run our lives? Don’t want to run too fast? Its all good turn the speed down to your preferred comfortable amount. Too hot for you in the gym? Well thank Goodness for air conditioning. WE MANUVER THINGS IN OUR LIVES TO FIT OUR COMFORT ZONES AND DESIRES. God wants us to get out of our comfort zones and let him be in control of our circumstances and situations rather than let us have our way.

you can control a lot on a treadmill, one important thing you cant control is running down hill. We seem to avoid these areas at all cost because they are just too much work; they beat us up and bring us down. If we never run down our hills and obstacles in life, then how in the world can God run along side us? He DESIRES to run along us. He DELIGHTS in us. A race isn’t run in a day, its run in every moment leading up to the goal. Run the races, don’t give up. With that being said friends, I challenge you to get off the treadmill and hit the hard pavement enabling us to run down hill with our Father who is CRAZY about us.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Somewhere A Compass Can't Point

As I am writing this, I am sitting on a balcony of a lodge in the Rocky Mountains. I can see mountains covered in snow, and the sun beaming down perfectly. It makes me wonder how in the world can people see things like this and NOT believe in God? But more about that later.

Week 1 of camp is done and now evaporated in time. It went by way faster than I had expected it to. It was a smaller camp, only about 400 students but perfect to start out with. The speaker Ed Newton was absolutely phenomenal and students and adults alike could relate to his teaching. David Walker was our worship leader, and he lead worship in a way that was completely natural. You could tell that he wasn't just putting on a show, he was letting God run the show through him. I can honestly say that I have never experienced worship in such a prodigious way.

My team is unquestionably the best. I am so blessed to have each and everyone of them in my life. I am developing relationships now that will last a lifetime.

This weekend as we were traveling from Louisiana to Colorado, we went through Good Ol' Texas. I began to see familiar places and signs, assuring me I was merely a few short minutes from Combine. As we began to pass through, I said Good bye to my hometown once again. It truly was a bittersweet moment, but God dropped a message in my mail box and let me know that I was indeed home in that very van. While my home in Combine is where I sleep and live everyday life, it means nothing. Home is God's will, wherever it may take me. A place a map will never be able to find, and a compass never to point to, because the end result is eternity.

I've realized that being in the center of God's will isn't always a fun place to be. It is lonely, challenging and even dangerous at times; but he has all of me. I am fully devoted and willing. Here I am lord, Send me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Break my Heart for what Breaks yours.

Only 18 more hours to go. 18 more hours until I step on that plane and leave the beautiful state of Texas for 70 some odd days. Here we go…

For those of you who are not familiar with Student Life, let me give you a brief background so that you may understand how I will be serving this summer. Student Life is an organization that hosts youth camps (grades 6
th-12th) at College campuses around the United States. Last summer, 64,000 youth and adults attended student life around the country. My job is to be a “Mission Site Coordinator.” Everyday I have the amazing opportunity to serve by doing local missions all around the United States. I will be leading a group of teenagers in local missions such as spending time with the elderly, children in need, and building repairs needed around the area. I was placed on the Orange Team, which means I will be traveling over 11,000 miles this summer…Wow. I didn’t realize how big of a number that was until I said it out loud.

Everything is packed, ready and sectioned accordingly. I have looked over everything time and time again, and made sure the essentials were present. Bible, check. Favorite Hoodie, check. Clothes, check…you get the picture. But the most important thing that I am bringing on my journey has been packed and ready to go for almost 19 years now, and that is my WHOLE heart.

Did you know that the NIV bible mentions the word “heart” 1,273 times? I think its obvious that God was trying to stress the importance of how important our hearts are in our lives and the lives of others.
I will confess that the past few weeks, my heart has been in different things. School, personal ambition, church, and even to one individual person. I was beginning to notice a lot of things were falling apart and fading away. I began to question God about it. These things weren’t wrong, and as a matter of fact some glorified his name…why would he take them away from me? Today he revealed to me why. Luke 20:27 says “Love the lord your God with ALL your HEART and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Its not that those things were bad, but if my heart were to be divided amongst all of them even just a little bit, what does that leave for God this summer? He surely doesn’t deserve the “leftovers” of my heart, and neither do the individuals I have the privilege of serving. I am happy to say that tomorrow I will be starting my journey with 100% of my heart, with nothing left to leave behind. My heart is already consumed completely by my Savior, and I can’t wait to make him proud this summer.