Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Practicum Post #2

This week was mostly spent at my house again.  I was able to hang out with my brother which was nice and Christmas was good as well.  I think I wore out my Xbox though, beating two games in two and a half days.  Hopefully this new disc drive I ordered will get it running again.  It enabled me to spend some time with my brother working on it though which was pretty cool.

I completed four hours of practicum this week and that was today.  I helped out with the worship this week playing bass which really added a lot.  Bass always fills in the sound, that's why I love it so much.  Something I noticed, that I already knew but it was nice to put in to practice and be reminded of, was that a good practice goes a long way but you should always be aware of the songs that you pick for a worship set.  It really does decide a lot of the way a service is going to go.  I always spend time praying about the songs I should sing when I get the opportunity to lead.

I obviously felt most beneficial in music this week but I didn't feel ineffective because that was really the only thing I was able to do with the church this week.  Chafik and Ella are back from vacation now so I'll be able to ride with them to church and get a lot more hours in.

I really enjoyed my time with my brother Daniel this week.  I hope I was able to be a positive influence and atmosphere in a negative environment.  I think he's having some spiritual struggles right now and I'm just trying to be there for him by being a brother.  Just hanging out and relating to him.  He's got a lot of talent and I can't wait to see how he uses it in the future.  However, I would like to get out of the house and I'll be able to do that next week.

I've come a long way and God's been dealing with me in that area.  As a man I've got a lot of work but I've made a decision that I'm going to be a better one than I've been in the past.  Despite people I've hurt and relationships I've broken because of my own brokenness, I'm looking forward from here and climbing my hills with new strength.  Yeah, I'll probably fall on my face a couple times but I'll get back up.

"Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up." -Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Practicum #1

I didn't do much this week other than sit at the house.  Without a vehicle I have no way to get to the church until Ella and Chafik get back.  I've spent a lot of this week in rest and reflection.  Being alone with myself gives me a lot of time to think.  While in large amounts this is harmful for me, it's been good to take a step back.  I only spent 2 hours at the church this week and that was today because my dad dropped me off on the way to his church.  Hopefully I'll be able to make up my hours in the coming weeks.

I would like to say I accomplished a lot in the area of ministry this week but I haven't really been outside of the house.  So I'm going to void questions 3 and 4 for another day because I really don't have anything for them.

The best part of this week was the time I was able to spend with my brothers and the time I spent today with my dad.  We went to see Skyfall, which was awesome, and me and him were able to talk some more about the things that are going on and about my future...all the normal father son stuff.  Being at home every single day, however, has started to get redundant and lonely.  Next week I'm shooting to be out of the house mostly...I hope anyway.

God has been telling me to be patient.  Not just in getting out of the house but in all of my life.  I'm always so quick to jump the gun and I need to calm down sometimes and not get so hasty.  It seems like He has to remind me of this quite a bit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lost In The TIde

I still haven't completely figured out how to deal with everything.  There was a point in my life where I was strong.  This strength was in every aspect; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Now I'm just lost in all of these things.  It's hard to motivate myself to do much of anything and it is hard to ever think positive.  I feel this ever present weight bearing down on me every single day and it just gets heavier and heavier.  I'm really trying to find myself, but I fear how lost I've really become.  I wake up every morning with a heavy heart and then I go to bed every night with it encumbered.

There is no reprieve in the tides of life, only the sound of shattering waves and the rocks that receive them.  Kingdoms have been dismantled by the smallest of things and I fear that the kingdom of my heart has been fractured without reform.  Where do I find my strength again?  How do I rebuild the walls and fight back the tide?  I'm tired of being weak and I'm weary of being overwhelmed.  Every step that I take now is another painful memory that I have to look back upon.  Each footprint filled with the sting of life.

My character falters as I watch and wonder
My heart breaks like cackling thunder
Where is this beauty that I've often pondered
It is lost in the tide

Weapons for war and murder and peace
Send me your love I need its release
A world of hate and sorrow decease
But my heart it lingers

Those eyes, those daggers that pierce my mind
I see them, I see them all of the time
The promise of life in you was denied
No more can I fight
No more can I fight

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

War Of My Life

Sometimes I just don't feel good enough. Actually, most of the time I don't. For most people I've never met up to par with what they think I should be. The advice I get from people is that I should be more focused on how God looks at me and all of that, which, I know how He sees me. I'm His creation and His son...but I really get tired of people just telling me the same stuff all of the time. No one ever one ever just takes the time to sit back and understand how I feel about something. They all just want to force feed information down my throat. I suppose I'm coming to learn that this is how most people are wired. People are always so quick to fix problems and sometimes it's just not that simple. Certain things take time. Having said all of this, I'm not talking about how I look or how I act...I'm talking about meeting up with who everyone else thinks I should be. Everyone has an idea of what someone else should be and they get it stuck in their head and box the person off to one linear understanding. I'm just not good enough. I'm not a good enough leader, I'm not a good enough role model. I see it every time these girls look at me. I'm not good enough and I don't know if I ever will be.

Honestly, life hurts.  Right now everything feels like a hot knife.  Every smile and laugh has become a cacophony of misery that makes it feel like everyone is against me.  This is what goes on inside of my head...I thought I'd let you in to what I see every single day.  This is my own personal hell and prison who's captor is myself.  I weep for hope, but I can never find any.  I search for happiness but it's lost on me.  As John Mayer beautifully said, "I'm in the war of my life."

"I've got a hammer and a heart of glass
I've gotta know right now which walls to smash"

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Practicum Blog #2

This past week I spent less time at the church because it was closed most of the week but also because I wanted to spend more time with my family.  For the church I was there on Tuesday and led a song for worship for the guys bible study.  Today, Eleesha and I did a skit for the Sunday morning service.  It was a little last minute for me but we pulled it off.

I believe I completed a total of 10 hours this past week for my practicum.

In ministry you're going to have to learn to adapt to different personalities.  You have to learn people and in order to do that you have to have friction and get into their lives in every aspect.  Sometimes you're going to be placed with someone who is a polar opposite from you but you have to decide to be flexible and learn to work together effectively.  Flexibility and understanding people.

I found myself most being most beneficial around my family because right now more than ever they need me around as much as I can be.  They're being strong and pushing through but I can see in them that it's taking a toll.  At the same time I'm not sure how beneficial I was to them.  I tried to be there as much as I possibly could, so I hope my time spent was a benefit to them.

My favorite aspect about this week was Thanksgiving and my least favorite was leaving.  The only reason it was leaving was because it was hard to leave my family with what's going on now.  I knew I had to though.

God is still telling me to stay strong but He's also ready to start a big work in my life to be the man that He wants me to be; and it's time to let Him.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Practicum Blog

This week for my practicum at South Hill Church of God, I did a number of things for the church.  I helped with worship on Sunday and ran sound for the Tuesday night youth service.  I also served in other ways such as raking and bagging leaves, moving tables, and teaching the Sunday school lesson for the guys.  There were a total of 17 hours that I spent serving the church this week.

Sometimes the unexpected comes about and that is something I learned while serving this week.  Especially in today's Sunday service.  Our practice went reasonably well but we had technical difficulties at the beginning of worship which ended up throwing off most of the rest of it.  I also learned that you have to learn to prioritize what you can and have to do for the church.

I found myself most beneficial in a worship setting and teaching setting.  I don't remember a particular time this week where I felt least beneficial except for in the beginning of worship when my guitar wouldn't stay tuned.

Honestly, my favorite aspect about this week was the time I've gotten to spend with my family.  To me that is what a break is about.  My least favorite part of the week was balancing all the stress that I've felt on our practicum.

God has been telling me, plain and simple, to persevere

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Personal Ministry: Football

For this month of personal ministry I was working with Tim filming high school football games again for his son Isaac's team. I had a total of 8 hours in ministry hours for the football team this month. We record every game play by play so the coaches and teams have something to watch for the next week. They use these recordings to see what they do right or wrong in each situation and what they might need to improve on. This month Century, the team we film for, won two games and lost two games. They played their final game this past Friday against their rivals, the Liberty Lions, and lost 15-8. Being in the lead for the first half, Century gave up their lead to Liberty at the beginning of the 3rd quarter which ended up giving the game away for them. It was blistering cold that night as well and while I really wanted Century to win it got to a point where I was just ready for the game to be over. However, I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve the football team for these past two months. It is my hope that the coaches and players of the football team saw a little bit of Jesus through our willingness to volunteer and serve them.

For our recording time we had to record each play made. In order to do that you not only have to get every player in the shot but you also have to follow the ball or the ball carrier throughout the entire play. Sometimes it can get tricky but for the most part it was easy and enjoyable. During half time Tim would drop the video file for the first half in to iMovie in order to get a head start on editing for the next day. Ben and I were the two running the video and we would take turns recording at each quarter. This was really helpful for cold nights when our hands were half frozen because of the weather. This whole month of video and football was enjoyable for both me and Ben and I'm sad to see it be over, but football has to end sometime.

Alone In Hardship

This week I learned that sometimes you're just going to have to be on your own. Despite what you may want out of life or how you expect things to go, there are just sometimes when you have to go it alone. I've been feeling a little off center lately, and looking at what's going on in my life I can see why. Aside from God...sometimes it feels like no one really cares for the affairs of my life. I've been challenged to take a good look into the hourglass and see how fast I really want the sand to fall. Is my life just passing me by while I wait for it or am I living it the way I should? Am I making the right decisions? Are people around me being affected by the choices I make? By the actions I take? I believe that the root of my feelings of loneliness come from the sheer gravity of my care for others. Most people don't know that I care, but I do. I suppose that when people don't care as much as I do it discourages me, even though it shouldn't.

I've been learning to encourage myself and to put others around me that are going to encourage find people that actually care instead of assuming that everyone should; because here's the reality, not everyone cares. In fact, most people don't. It's a cruel world and most of the time people are going to do what they can to get ahead of you. The best that anyone can do is trust in that He knows what He's doing, and also, find some good friends along the way. Encourage yourself and find love in Christ and in life. It is out there I promise you the world gets darker it gets harder to find, but it is out there for you. There's a calling for the Church, for Christians, to be a light in a dark order to do this we have to find the way that we're supposed to shine our light. You can't shine a light if you have pain and hurt covering it up. Let God get rid of all of that first before you end up dumping your strife on other people. Seek counsel if you need it. I guess this is just a post of advice on my part...a lot of these thoughts are things that I need to listen to myself, but it's what I felt I needed to tell you guys about.  Don't give up when you mess up; it doesn't mean that God loves you any less.

Don't abandon yourself because you think all is lost. Hold tight and be strong...eventually things will let up and you'll get your footing again. To be honest, I haven't gotten to that point yet, but I believe I'll get there. Most of all...don't be fake. If you're feeling like the world is about to crush you under its proverbial boot, ADMIT IT. Don't act like you have it altogether if you haven't the slightest clue of what to do, because if pretend, it will destroy you. I believe that good leaders aren't fake. That's my motto anyway. Take it how you want, but it's what I believe. When you start to feel like you're alone lean on God. You might be alone for a purpose.  Remember that.  The sand is going to fall whether you're doing anything in your life or not.  Be someone who makes something of themselves despite adversity.  Be a leader.  Be a lover.  Be a fighter.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being A Band

I spent this past weekend on the road with Julian Drive. It was an awesome experience with some great people. Their ministry is a genuine one and I really appreciated seeing that as I spent time with them. Amongst all of the fun and the work I saw a great team; five people who came together to make their band greater than what it was. What they all had in common was their love for God and their passion to do what they love to do. I found myself missing the camaraderie of a band. I missed being able to play music with a group of people who love it just as much as I do. The members of Julian Drive are all great people in their own right and they have many trials that they have to face but I saw how worth it all of it was.

Any time you have a team you have to have good vision and leadership for it. A band is no're not going to go anywhere if you can't come together as a team under good leadership. However, a good team isn't made up of one leader and a bunch of followers, it's made up of a team of leaders who all contribute equally to a common goal. For a band, this isn't just applied behind the scenes but on a stage too. Everyone has to pull their weight equally for a band to be successful. Most people look past these things and don't see how much work it takes to be a part of a good band. You have to give musicians credit where credit is due...the ones that are on the road have a lot of work they have to do.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Leaving A Legacy

 Change is a powerful thing. Time changes all of us and keeps the memories we have stored away. Time gradually unleashes who we are and before we realize it, we become who we always wanted to be...or who we never wanted to be. I want my life to be a reflection of a man worthy to be remembered. Not because of my greatness, but because of God's greatness in me.

We were in South Hill, VA ministering at South Hill COG this week and I found my past rapidly smacking me in the face. I didn't see what I used to, but I saw the way that the people I knew had changed and how my life wasn't my life anymore. People that I'd known so well, I didn't know anymore. It's reflective and it's sobering when you come to a reality like that. That moment when you realize that you're becoming the person that you want to be but you're leaving so much behind. It's that same moment that begins your true legacy on the world.  In that breadth  of awakening; when all the time that has been spent in your life begins to turn like a clock, you realize that all the time wasted up to this point was precious and the rest is going to be equally as priceless. The Law of Legacy says that “Lasting value is measured by succession.” I see that my life and the legacy I leave is going to be measured by the way I live it. I hope and pray that I leave a legacy worthy of the time I invested on this earth.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Where Grace Is Given

Leadership, as I'm learning, is tough.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but when you're actually in the midst of it, it's quite a hill to climb.  I've observed much since beginning the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and my eyes are being opened to how the different laws are either in effect or not throughout my surroundings.  Living in a community of people, I'm having to learn quick how best to apply each law and in which situation to use what.  At times this thought process can be overwhelming but it gets easier through trial and error.  That's really what this year is all about for me and the rest of the leadership students.  We have to learn by doing...we can't just sit by and learn the book material, we have to apply it.  Of course, that's harder said than done in an atmosphere of transition and change.  What makes it equally as hard is that in our first year we have been learning to lead all girls.  This would be much easier if we had at least one girl leadership student on our team, but we don't.  From the beginning of time, men haven't been able to fully understand women and this situation is no exception.

The law I want to briefly talk about however is the Law of Buy-In.  This says that, "People Buy Into The Leader, Then The Vision."  You can't get people to believe in your vision unless they believe in you.  The key is getting them to believe in you.  How do you do this?  By applying all of the other laws learned in the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  You have to be a leader worth following in other eyes in order for them to buy-in to your vision.  I know, that for me, this is a law that I have applied already, not as a leader.  I bought in to the vision of our new director.  While others haven't, I believe in what he can do and where he wants to take Mission Baltimore.  Anytime you have a transition of leadership things are going to start out tough and that is something that needs to be full understood in order for grace to be given.  While I have bought into our director...I can only hope that others are buying in to me.  If not...something will have to change.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ministry and Football

For the month of September I spent a lot of time on the high school football field, but not in the way you might think.  Tim came to us as leadership students and asked if we'd like to serve the varsity football team at his son Isaac's high school.  Naturally we said yes because we all love football.  It's been a lot of fun but it's also a very good time to minister in a different way.  For the past few weeks I've been recording the games with Ben so the coaches have something to watch after each game.  If they didn't have these videos then they couldn't learn from their mistakes and improve on their triumphs.  It's an important job and I'm more than happy to do it because I love high school football.

When we record the games we have to record them play-by-play.  We have to make sure we pay attention as well so we know who has the ball and where it's going in order to follow all the action on camera.  It's definitely different watching a football game through a camera but you catch a lot of things that others wouldn't.

This month I spent 8 hours altogether doing video for the football team.  The second game we were away and instead of being on top of the box like we were before, we were inside it.  There were too many people inside so I had to take the camera off the tripod and go handheld in order to get the right shots.  It was good experience for me in the area of flexibility and making quick decisions.  Luckily the video turned out good despite not being on a tripod.

I look forward to doing this some more in future months but until then I'll keep you updated with my week to week learnings.  Thanks for reading guys.

Connection Through Intuition

The Law of Intuition says that leaders evaluate everything with leadership bias.  To be an intuitive leader is one trait that is most commonly found in natural leaders.  This law is one of the harder ones to learn if not the hardest because of this natural affinity but it can be learned.  I've seen this law in work in other leaders as well as a few rarities in myself.  Once you begin to recognize what it is you can begin to hone this skill.

If you look at a lot of leaders, whoever they might be, the really good ones will apply the Law of Connection.  This is a relational law that, if applied correctly, will win the respect of your followers.  This law states that leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.  You can't expect someone to follow you because of title, as I said last week.  A good leader cares for those they lead and delves into their lives with a caring heart.  This creates a respect on a deeper level than just that of fear or title.  I see this law overlooked in most cases and it's sad to see.  Win the heart before you ask for their hand.  What this means is that followers aren't going to do things for you unless they know that you actually care about them.  An important concept to learn inside and outside of leadership.  You could say that connection takes quite a bit of intuition.  You have to learn how to understand and read people before you can connect to them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beginnings of a Leader

It's been a busy week between packing up the office, school, and ministry work. I've been learning leadership. This is my first blog in a while so I'll give you guys an update. I'm back at Mission Baltimore for my second year as a student, also known as my leadership year. This year is dedicated to learning how to become a leader through knowledge and experience. We're going through the “21 Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell right now and it's a great study. These 21 Laws are the most important things you need to know about leadership.

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less., that's the law of influence; probably one of the most important things one needs to know about leadership. If you think that you can be a leader just because you have a title then you are sadly mistaken. The proof of your leadership is not in a title but in how many people are willing to respect you enough to follow you. In order to gain respect you have to give it...that's how you gain the loyalty of your followers.

All of that being said...a leader must have one thing for sure or their leadership will fall apart; integrity. The Law of Solid Ground says: “Trust Is the Foundation of Leadership.” Your followers have to trust you, and in order to do that one has to have integrity. The final thing I'll say for this week is that good leaders raise up and seek out other good leaders. They don't just sit on what they have, they increase their Lid or their effectiveness. The Law of the Lid says: “Leadership Determines the Level of Effectiveness.” You can only raise up those under you to a level that you've been to yourself. If your lid is never raised...your effectiveness never increases.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Personal Ministry

For my personal ministry this month I did four hours of service to the Mission Baltimore community.  It all started with me and Ben going to look for cookies that we had to bake for the employees at the Dollar General next to the training center.   Not finding any we then decided to just go to the guy’s house and clean the driveway.  We took Sasha’s car over there because we had to clean that as well. 

The first thing we cleaned was the driveway.  We started off just sweeping it but when we realized that was taking too long, I took the hose down and started spraying all of the stuff off.  That took about an hour and then we moved on to Sasha’s car.  Ben was cleaning the inside of the car, vacuuming and organizing etc, while I was still spraying the driveway.  After we both finished, we then worked together to wash her car.  Ben used the sponge to wash the car while I rinsed it off.  Afterwards we put everything back in the car and drove over.  For a second we thought we had run out of gas but luckily we hadn’t.  Getting back to the office we got the van and went to Wal-Mart to get some cookie dough to bake the cookies. 
The next thing we had to do was…a little nasty… cleaning the lipstick out of Whitney’s rug.  Ew.  That’s the only word I have for it.  I thought guys were nasty but this rug was intense.  It had lipstick all in it.  There was dirt and hair and lint.  I honestly thought lipstick was supposed to go on your mouth not your feet.  I mean…how do you get it all over a rug?  On the FLOOR?  But oh well, we cleaned it.  We cleaned it the best we could anyway. 

After we got done with the rug Ben and I went back to the guy’s house to bake the cookies.  While we were baking cookies we wrote affirmations for all of the Mission Baltimore students.  Ben drew a picture of a Manatee for Stacey and I wrote a Mother’s Day card for Mrs. Rhonda; one of the employee’s at Dollar General.  She’s been like a mother to all of us and she’s a wonderful woman so we thought it would be nice to give something back to her.  When we give it to her tonight we’re going to invite her to church.  She 
 works the night shift today so we have to wait a little while.  

All of these services were done in the four hour span between 9 and 1.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cleansing Stream....

Well, what can I say about the cleansing stream retreat?  Better yet...what can I say good about the retreat? lol The one thing good I got out of it was the session on purity.  That is always a good subject to address for Christians because most of the time we feel like we can't talk about those kinds of things.  We feel dirty because we deal with these things and that is how the enemy takes hold.  He makes us think we are alone in our fight and so we never address the real issues.  Addressing that issue was a good thing.

Now, to move on to what was a little off about the retreat.  Well, the one thing that really turned me off to the whole thing was when one of the speakers said that there is a generational curse on all illegitimate children that are conceived.  This curse supposedly lasts for 400 years and creates a rift when it comes to intimacy with God.  The fact that he said that made me feel a little off in the first place but he backed it with a verse in Deuteronomy.  Now anyone with biblical knowledge should know that those laws are, first of all, old testament laws that were wiped away when Jesus died and rose again.  Second, those laws were for the Jews...last time I checked...I'm not a Jew.  Honestly, if you go and look at Acts 15 it will explain all you really need to know about that.  Paul and Barnabas are basically having a debate about the  Old Testament law that the Pharisees were trying to make the gentiles follow.  The Pharisees were saying that unless you were circumcised under the law of Moses then you couldn't be saved.  Obviously that wasn't true so Paul and Barnabas explained this to them.  In verse 10 of Chapter 15 they said to the Pharisees "Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear."

I just really feel like people need to study their would prevent a lot of confusion on the obvious matters.

Body Shop

It's the last week of body shop and I did some completely off the wall stuff to be completely honest.  This week I swam at the beach for about two hours and then later this week I played basketball for about two hours.  Swimming consisted of being hit by waves while trying to perform different things such as hand stands and push ups.  We just wanted to see if we could stay up against the didn't really work.  As far as basketball goes..well if you know how to play the game then you know what I did.  As this is the last body shop post of the year I feel like I should say something profound...but nothing really comes to mind so if any of you find these posts interesting then I'll keep you updated on my workouts over the summer.  Other than that it's been a good year.  See ya later!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Under The Rock

I learned quite a bit this past week being in Abaco.  I saw everything from poverty to political unrest.  Kids that never quit, to ones receiving Christ.  The kids were incredible and a lot of fun to be around.  What was funny was how respectful they are despite their living conditions.  That amazed me.  They have so little but they are still so respectful but here in America kids are so rude and they have so much.  But one of the biggest things I learned was about the music in the Bahamas.  Particularly the worship music.  Not even the Bahamians themselves, but from the Haitians in the village of peas and mud.

Josh, Stacey, and Sasha with the Peas and Mud kids
The first night of our trip I was fortunate enough to be able to go and experience a service in Peas and Mud which is a Haitian refugee camp.  The church we were at was called Feed My Sheep and when I first got there I really didn't know what to expect.  Something I learned quickly was that the Haitians don't start the service or come to church at a designated time...they started coming in at different parts during the service and it all started when the band members got there.  Now this entire service was in three different languages.  It was in French, Creole, and English.  The English they spoke was very little so I couldn't understand most of the service but the worship songs were very interesting to hear in different languages.  Most of the songs they did were in French but there was one song they did, the last song before the speaker came up, that was in Creole.  During this song they really got in to it.  I was told after that it was because the song was in their heart language of Creole instead of English or French.  I have never heard anything more beautiful than all of those people coming together in that room and worshiping God.  It was incredible and it was completely different than the way we worshiped.  If you had taken all the sound out of the room it would look like a normal pentecostal worship setting...but once you put all those voices in, you get something truly incredible.  They worship with such a heart despite their poverty and hardship.  That is what amazed me so much.  I was humbled more than I'd ever been in my life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Drum 101

Well, we took a drum class this week and while I did know most of what we learned, I did get quite a bit out of it.  Pastor David Hare has been coming in for the past two weeks to teach us about music.  Last week we took a piano class and a music theory class.  So, as you can tell we have been given all kinds of lessons in music.  It's a lot of information to take in especially for people who aren't musicians but for those who are it just adds to or reinforces the knowledge that we already have.

I've been playing drums for years, but mostly on a kit.  I never really had anyone to teach me the fundamentals of what percussion was.  Things like low position, medium position, and high position.  I always did those things but never knew what they were called.  I was lucky enough however to have had someone teach me percussion rudiments up to paradiddle's.  I learned those from a friend of mine in High School Marching band so I was still able to stay a little ahead of the game in the basics.  For those who don't know what a paradiddle's a drum pattern of RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL.  R standing for right meaning you hit with the right stick and L standing for left meaning you hit with the left stick.  All of this I had learned before but it was great to be able to reinforce the knowledge and get some practice with it that I hadn't gotten in a while.  One thing I do need to work on though is the fluidity of my left hand in comparison to my right.  I'm right handed so naturally hitting with my right stick is going to be a lot better than my left.  It'll be like when I had to learn how to kick with both feet in soccer.  It took me a while but I practiced it all the time and eventually was able to be good with both.

Anyway...I enjoy all of the music classes that we've been able to take because I love music and it's great to be able to learn and become more skilled at the things I do know.  You can never learn too much of something and you have to know it to get better.

Body Shop

This week we spent two hours with Tim on the LHS track and I spent one hour doing weight training.  With Tim we did a lot of endurance running and I clocked my mile in under 10 this time which shows a 20% increase from the beginning of the year.  The weight training I did was the normal stuff.  Bench presses, close bench presses, tricep extensions and dippers.  I also did bicep work and some core.  All of this works my endurance and my strength.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Body Shop

This week's body shop was spent out on the LHS track again. Lots of running and other exercises. Tim resurrected the medicine ball push ups and we did some things with the other equipment. We ran a mile one of the days and after each lap we'd stop to do 10 push ups on the medicine ball and then run stairs before starting the next lap. A mile was 4 laps of that. It all continues to work on the same things. Push ups work on chest and triceps and even core while the running helps cardio and heart rate.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Funny.  But so true

This is something we've been learning all year but it seems that we haven't quite gotten it yet. We haven't applied it but I think we're finally getting it now. If only we had learned better towards the beginning of the year it could have saved us a lot of trouble. Better late than never though and we're learning better than ever. It took an extreme intervention to teach us but we're getting it. We've been building teamwork and looking for leaders through Tim's body shops every morning at 6. We do numerous team building exercises teaching us that in order to succeed we have to work as a a team. Law of the Big Picture: One is too small a number to achieve greatness. This is something that as a community and a team we have been failing to understand. In order for us to succeed in ministry, in body shop, or just in everyday life we have to work as a team. No one can act alone or it ruins the whole machine. Once the machine stops working it gets rusty and falls apart. We can't have that and we're all coming to that realization. Even small things like getting to the office on time or helping each other out with schoolwork or anything we're struggling with. We have to notice the needs of the members in the team and help them so we can keep the team working the way it should be. We have to work together. I think moving forward from here we're going to be a lot stronger and more focused on the team rather than on ourselves.

Body Shop

This weeks body shop was intense...there really aren't words for it. Lol It was good though. I actually got 4 hours in this week instead of three and they were all done with Tim. Tuesday-Friday was spent waking up at six o' clock and running laps around a track. We ran with 10lb medicine balls, did relays, and we did stations once as well. At one point we had to run a mile as a team and between each lap we had to stop and do 35 push ups on the medicine ball. This all made me pretty tired but it is definitely building teamwork in the community and I'm thankful for that. All of these exercises will increase endurance, strength, and cardio. It's great preparation for the Appalachian trail. All of this starts back up tomorrow and we'll be seeing that track for the rest of the week. Lol

Personal Ministry

My personal ministry for the month of March was spent doing a lot of yard work. Haha  And this was over spring break. I still got a break but my family loves to utilize me for this. An hour and a half was spent raking my front and back yard. This may not seem like a lot but my parents love to just let all the leaves accumulate until the whole yard is nothing but brown. After I did this I cut our grass which took me about 2 hours. I was using our old push mower which loves to resist the grass it's cutting. If that makes any sense. It is the weirdest machine. Later that week I went to my grandparents house and mowed their lawn and there's is quite bigger than ours so it took more like 2 1/2 hours for that one. Their back yard goes mostly uphill so that was fun...haha. They love for me to do work though, so they were nice as always and brought me water and other things so I didn't get too tired. All in all these weren't bad at all. It was actually a really nice time to take a step back and reflect on a lot of things. I always try to take opportunities like those to think about everything. The last thing that I did for personal ministry was mow my Nana's lawn. My Nana is my grandmother on my mom's side and she lives by herself. Now...her yard is a few acres, one of which is downhill. Lol I enjoyed doing this though, along with all the other ones. This one took me around 3 hours with all the weed eating and everything too. (which I did with the other ones as well) These were good personal ministries and I was glad to be able to help out my family for nothing. Made me really feel like I was back home.

Monday, March 26, 2012


The past three weeks we've been learning how to use iMovie.  Kendall Conner has been teaching the class and doing a great job explaining the program in an understandable way.  I will admit, it was a lot to take in for three weeks but we got it and were able to make our own videos.  We started with clips of Baltimore that he took and we pieced them together how we wanted and learned to edit and cut different clips to shorten or lengthen the time of a iMovie project.  

We learned that there is A LOT to video editing and there is so much that goes on behind the scenes after the videos are shot.  In iMovie you can put music in the background of clips, do voice overs, and even separate the audio file from the video that you're using and sooo much more.  This is useful if you don't want to see the person on a video talking and only want to hear their voice in the background of the movie.  We used a video of Ben for our videos and separated the audio track in order to do what I just explained.  There is so much that you can do with iMovie that it would take me too long to explain it all but I will say that I will be using this a lot more in the future.  

Through this class I found an interest in editing video and will continue to do it.  It is so relevant to our culture today and crucial that we keep up with the latest technologies.  Being tech savvy and good at a multitude of things is going to really help me with the ministry in the future.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Needless to say...I'm a little sore from body shop this week.  I did a lot of shoulder and chest work, triceps and biceps.  Yeah...I gave in and used the 20 lb dumbbells at the house. lol  I was able to make the bench incline and decline so I got three different workouts out of that.  It's light weight but I did high reps to make it burn more and make it more effective for me.  Gotta work with whatcha got right? haha  Well anyway, I did quite a bit of core work this week along with running two miles and I decided to change it up a bit in the realm of cardio.  I set up stations in the basement with a mattress that I used as a punching bag and a sleeping bag used for ground pummeling.  The third station was used for sprawling where I would fall on the ground (sprawl) and then jump back up and punch 8 times.  I spent a minute in each one of these stations and rotated through them a few times.  I learned all of this a while back when I took fight classes but haven't done it kicked my butt a little bit. lol  All in all though I got a really great workout this week and it was much less boring than running for all 3 of my hours.

Altogether I got more like 5 hours this week instead of 3 but that's definitely not a bad thing.  All of this is helping me get back in shape and increasing my strength and endurance.  Gotta be ready for the Appalachian Trail!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Tempo's Off Bro...

This week we took a class on Garage Band!  Yes yes, it's awesome I know. haha  Needless to say the first time we recorded...the tempo was a little off.  On a serious note though, the class was taught by the one and only Daniel Rogers this week and I think we learned quite a bit from it.  We have an assignment due in a couple weeks in which we have to record a garage band file, 2 minutes in length with 4 or more different tracks.  Personally...I'm pretty excited about getting in to this because if you know anything about me it's that I LOVE music.  Not only do I love music but I love to write music and I'm pretty anxious to get started on it.

An example of using multiple tracks
In the Garage Band 101 class we learned how to record first of all.  We learned how to start and save new files and also how to record more than one track.  We learned about using real instruments and software instruments. We also used the looping system in which you take pre-recorded   tracks on garage band and loop them through in order to create a song.  This works well for people who don't really know how to play an instrument but sing or rap and need music for their songs.  Garage Band has a multitude of uses...anywhere from recording for a personal album or just a small song to use for an event of some type.  We mainly focused on how it could be used for ministry and there are many ways that it can be utilized for that as well.  You could use it for youth events, background tracks for video, songs for altar.  I even joked with Daniel and said that we could use it for lip syncing.  Lip syncing for the hoarse worship leader. haha Of course we would never do that but it was a funny idea....I think so anyway.  Garage Band is a program that I've played around with before along with other recording software but I've never really gotten a chance to actually use it when I want; which is exciting. I'm sure we'll be learning a lot more about Garage Band in the future and I'm looking forward to it.

Body Shop

I want our weights back!! lol  I'm so tired of running and doing push ups.  But nonetheless...I run and do push ups.  I mean I do other things as well for cardio and stuff but nothing new I haven't shared in previous posts.  My upper body just feels weak from the lack of weight training I've been getting.

HOWEVER...this week I did run, run, and run some more. lol  For 3 hours I ran, not in a row mind you, but three hours I did run.  This continues to work heart rate and cardio; effecting major portions of your health.  I did do some core work such as crunches and things but I never do that for too long.  I always throw it in during the running workout.  Anyway, I hope you haven't been too bored with my redundant body shop posts but there they are.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Body Shop

Well this week we went to Knoxville, TN for Smoky MT. Winterfest so I was able to keep up with my body shop at the hotel.  It was all cardio but one of the hours was spent swimming.  It was nice to be able to do something a little different than I usually do.  The other two hours were spent running like I normally do except it was on treadmills this time.  As always things like running and swimming really work on your cardiovascular system and help your heart rate and it burns fat.

Bringing Us Together

This week I learned that I have a BIG family.  It was so incredible to spend a week with other Missions and kinda see that we aren't the only ones out there. haha  It feels like that sometimes so it was nice to get away.  I met a lot of incredible people, all of which who love God with all of their hearts.  I think my favorite part of all this was that we didn't know each other but when everyone got together it was like we were all one big family.  That's exactly what we are...a family. 
All of The Mission's at Lee University

Anthony Braswell
God was really speaking to me through The Mission Gathering about letting go.  There are a lot of things in my life that I needed to let go of in order for God to be able to bring out my full potential and use me for His purpose.  It was a huge point that Anthony Braswell hit on the first night and kept driving it home until we got it.  "You can not be used by God until you allow him to do something to you."  It's such a powerful statement and it spoke to me on so many levels.  Right before this Rhonda Parris was talking about the SAME subject and it seemed like that night was targeted at all of us broken people that were in the crowd.  We were following God but there was something holding us back and it was released on that night.  She said two things that were really good points.

  1. 80% of those in the "people industry" (anything dealing with people) have been abused
  2. Bodies were designed to respond to touch and it doesn't mean that you're gay because of it
The statistic that she pulled for those in the "people industry" blew my mind.  She said that 80% had been abused in some way...that includes physical, mental, verbal...whatever, they have been abused.  When she said the second thing it was one of those Ah-Hah! moments for me.  There are so many people that think they are homosexuals because of the circumstances they've been dealt.  Maybe they were influenced that way as a kid or they hate men/women because of how they were touched or treated.  When she talked about this she used an example with one of the girls in the room and I'm paraphrasing..."If we took this girl and blindfolded here and stuck her at the front of the room and let everyone touch her she wouldn't know whether it was man, women, 6 year old, or 60 year old."  Her point was that human bodies are designed to respond to touch, wherever it comes from, and just because you respond a certain way to it doesn't mean that you're a homosexual.

The last thing I want to leave you guys with is for all of my men out there.  Especially if you are in the ministry because that is where Satan attacks the hardest.  He attacks in our minds and our desires...I know we all struggle with it even though most won't admit it, so I'm just going to put these points down here that Anthony Braswell taught us.  This is all from his session with us on purity.  Really read these and take them to heart.  Apply them to your life.  Don't fail at the calling God has placed on your life!

Safeguards Against Failure (Purity):
  1. Stay Humble!
  2. Realize: God's blessing does not keep you from temptation!
  3. Count the Cost! (The cost is minimized in "the moment")
  4. Keep Resisting!
  5. Avoid temptation zones! (We all know what those are)
  6. Flee!!!
1 Corinthians 6:18 - "Flee sexual immorality"
2 Timothy 2:22 - "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart."

Stay strong in all that you do and always remember that you can only do it because of GOD!

Monday, March 5, 2012


God is Indescribable.  Everything He does, everything He's created...I can't even begin to explain it.  For my final discussion post in Earth Science this week I had to watch 5 parts to a message by Louie Giglio called Indescribable.  He went through all the things that God had created in the Universe.  He talked about the galaxies and the planets, how intense the sun was etc.  It really put a lot of things in perspective for me.  The God of the universe that created all of these things chose to make himself low for me and die so that I could live.  It's an incredible concept that's hard for me to completely wrap my mind around but I accept it and know it to be truth.  It's just a testament to how much He really does love us. 

Giglio talked about how light moves at 700 million miles an hour and that when God spoke light into moved at that speed.  Can you imagine?  God speaking this awesome thing into existence.  Light takes 8 min and 20 seconds to reach the earth from the sun.  That's 500 seconds.  500 seconds!  Light was coming out of God's mouth at 700 MILLION MILES AND HOUR.  That's incredible!

Giglio blew my mind with one quote that made me realize how narrow minded I had been when it came to looking at the universe...

"Scientists are stomped. One of their dilemmas is that they think there must be more inhabited planets in the universe. And one of the arguments, I think its a great argument, is; if the universe is just simply a habitation for you and me, than it's way over sized. To which I go right on to that; I think it might be a little too big if its just a home for you and for me. But what if the primary purpose of the universe is not to be a home for you and me, but what if it's primary purpose is to show off the splendor and the majesty and the greatness and the glory of the God who created it all, and the universe is not too big at all. The universe is just the right size after all." - Louie Giglio -

Doesn't that blow your mind?  I know that my whole mindset was completely changed.  How dare I think that I'm bigger than God?  That he created this universe just for me and you.  God created the universe to show off his majesty and his greatness.  He is an awesome God and it's seen through his creation.  I just think that it's something Christians need to hear in order to have a bit of humility instilled in them.  God is big and we are small.  It's not the other way around.  We didn't create God...God created us.  Lets start to act like it.

This is the video in full (English with Spanish subtitles)

Body Shop

This week I had 3 hours of running but throughout the running I did things like pushups, and jump ups; things to make it a little more intense.  I used to do it back when I was training for the marines but I was definitely in better shape then. haha  Unfortunately I wasn't able to do any weights this week but I did try and make up for it with the push ups and some ab work too.  I did all the things that I would normally do along with my weight workout except...without the weights.  These things continue to benefit my cardio and help my heart rate, along with burning fat.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Silent Witness

Silent Witness...I'll explain.  This was another piece of my personal ministry for the month.  It was a total of two hours.  Silent Witness is where you go to a public place and hold up a sign signifying your love for Jesus.  It could be something simple that says "Jesus Loves You" or "Jesus Knows Your Pain."  Any of these kinds of things will work.  The purpose of this is not to use word of mouth to minister to others but to let a simple phrase shout out a thousand words in the hearts of everyone who sees it.  There are many times when you face rejection and I was yelled at a few times from car windows but it's all to the glory of God.  The point isn't so much to radically change people's lives by standing on the side of the road with a sign but to plant a seed.  You never know what someone could be going through and you could be that wonderful blessing that they needed to lift themselves out of the rut they're in.  You could even possibly be preventing potential suicide with it.  It's an extremely powerful form of ministry and I love to do it.

Jesus sign...get it? haha

A big reason I love it so much is because I'm a reader of faces.  I love to see people's reactions and I love to try and figure out what people are thinking by what their face or body language is saying.  It's an awesome feeling when you can look at someone and just know that you've ministered to them.  Sometimes words get in the way of what the heart wants to get across.  I believe that if we are bold in our actions all the time then people would see the sincerity of our hearts and we wouldn't even have to use words.  I was extremely blessed, as I am every time I do this, in knowing that someone that passed me or saw me received something from what I was holding up.  

Personal Ministry

This month I went over to Nancy Carter's house again for the Senior adult lunch and fellowship time.  Just as last time they were excited to see us and welcomed us with love and eager hearts.  We were actually able to eat this time and the food was GREAT.  If you know me then you know I love pulled pork and this pulled pork was on point.  On top of the awesome food, there were two missionaries from Haiti there that I had actually met earlier that same day, Jim and Gina Hudson.  They spoke and had so much to tell us about Haiti.  Everything from how crazy the roads got to voodoo temples.  The church that they had just finished building stood where a voodoo temple once was.  He said that in that one area alone there were around 3-4 different voodoo temples.  I can't even imagine how many there are in the whole country.  They went on to talk about how they needed funds to continue their effort in ministering and rebuilding Haiti.  They're going to be there until 2014.

After Jim had told us about their missionary work in Haiti I was asked to lead the worship for the devotion.  It was an incredible time of worship.  You could feel God' presence in the room with all of the seasoned followers of Christ.  There is so much experience in that one room that it is almost overwhelming when you enter into worship.  I was lucky to be asked to bridge the gap between multiple generations with the songs that I sang to our Savior.  I kept the songs older and familiar to them so everyone would know them and we could all worship together.  Though, with that aside...there is a beauty in the old hymns and songs that just can't be replaced when it comes time for worship.  Such honesty and sincerity in those songs.  It was a great time of ministry, fellowship, and worship.

One of the songs I sang for the worship time.  Beautiful song

Still Learning

It's an amazing thing to step back and see how far you've come.  Even in a matter of a few months.  I look back and see where I was at the beginning of this school year and it's incredible how far I've come.  Everyday I'm learning something new and even since this semester started I've had a tremendous growth spiritually and emotionally.  Something that really struck home with me over the past couple weeks is God's love.  We say that so often.  We talk about it in Church and Sunday School, and we sing about it in almost all of our worship songs; but do we get it?  I can say for myself that it took me 18 years of my life to really understand God's love for and even now I don't fully understand it.  I don't think any of us ever could, because most of us love with a selfish kind of love.  It's a love that is only strong if it's reciprocated.  A love of ultimatums and absolutes.  That is human love.  God's love is endless.
This is Love in it's purest form

His love was the cross.  It's something we often forget.  Not necessarily forget in the way that the information is lost but we dismiss the emotion to numbness.  We consign ourselves to the desensitization of our culture and lift our hands to a God that we've created to be ordinary.  Why?  I think sometimes it's easier to live our lives without contrition towards our sin.  If we dumb down the message of the cross so that we don't see the suffering that occurred then we don't have to see the depravity in ourselves.  God is love and He called us to love others. He demands a certain standard be upheld in our Christian walk and with this standard comes a responsibility that sets us apart.  I would challenge anyone who doesn't truly know God's amazing love to seek that encounter for yourself and to grab hold of it as truth.  An immeasurable truth that will never fade.

Making It Up

Well this week I did 5 hours of body shop instead of the regular 3 to make up for last week.  Before our weights were taken I was able to do 2 hours of weights and then the other three hours were spent on cardio (running and jogging) and things like abs, lunges, and push ups; different little focus exercises.  I hope to still be able to find some way to keep up with my weight training now that our weights are gone though.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rack Out

This past weekend I was in Rochester, NY for Winterfest.  The weekend's headliner was Eddie James with other bands such as Canton Jones, New World Son, and 4 Trinity.  This weekend was a lot different than Ocean City but I was excited to be able to run the handheld camera on stage for all of the bands.  It is probably one of the most fun things I've ever done.  I stood on stage left with a $2,000 camera (hoping that's an accurate figure) and had to capture as much as I could of everything going on.  I was the action cam.  I learned a little bit of everything and it was especially fun because I'd never really done anything like it or picked up many cameras before in my life.
This was close to what the camera looked like.  Ours didn't have a mic on it and ours also had a screen that popped out of the side for low shots.

Basically I moved around the stage a lot trying to capture the more artistic shots of the piano or bass.  Whenever the crowd would start participating I would get shots of them; sometimes with the singer in the corner of my shot.  It was all a pretty amazing experience.  It allowed me to be creative and artistic in something outside of music and I thoroughly enjoyed doing that.

Something particularly interesting was a little thing they called racking out.  When they asked me to do this I would zoom in on something, most of the time the hands of the keyboard, bassist, guitar, or someone's hand worshiping in the crowd, and I would take it out of focus.  When they put my shot up on the screen I would slowly bring it back in to focus for a more artsy kind of shot.  It took me a few tries to really get it but I finally did and we used it a little more often.

All in all I found that this job required me to be constantly aware and looking for action shots at every turn.  It's definitely my favorite job of winterfest.  Nothing compares. haha

Body Shop Failure

I was only able to do one hour of body shop this week and for it I went on a run for an hour.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up with my 3 hours but I definitely will be in the future.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Step Further (Prayer)

You may wonder why I post so many blogs on prayer.  Well, there are two reasons; one, because I'm learning something new about it every week and two, because it is crucial to my walk with God.  I would challenge you to take as much from these as you can and look at your prayer life to see if there is anything you need to fix, because face it.  We ALL fall short of the glory of God and none of us are perfect, therefore our prayer life isn't always going to be perfect.  And that's OK as long as we learn from our shortcomings.

The Things That Matter To God When We Pray

  1. Your RELATIONSHIPS matter
  2. Your MOTIVES matter
  3. The way you LIVE matters to God
  4. Your FAITH matters
  5. God's WILL matters

When dealing with your prayer life your relationships matter to God.  You cannot come to commune with God when you have tension between you and one of your brothers or sisters in Christ.  This could be friends, family, spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend.  Any of these are included in this list.  The relationship with God is hindered and that line is weak when you do not have good relationships with others.  This is clearly stated by God in 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot see God, whom he has not seen.

Your motives matter to God.  The motives you have when you pray drive your prayer life and your prayer life is what drives your life in general, so check your motives.  Pray with good and sincere motives.  Something that advocates your motives are the things that you put into your life.  What you intake determines production.

This one is a little more obvious than the rest of the five.  The way you live matters to God.  To live for God is to be a "Dead Man Walking."  This is a phrase coined for people on death row.  But it is so true...we are to die to ourselves daily and take up the cross. (Luke 9:23) When you decided to follow Jesus you gave up your rights to be right.  Jesus is truth.  I mean, think about it.  Dead men don't have rights.  The difference between those on death row and us is that we have smiles on our face as we walk.  We are the real dead men (and women) walking.

Your faith in God and HIS will for your life matters.  Hebrews 11:1 states Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.  Your faith in Him gives you the power to pray.  In retrospect, faith is what drives all of these things.  Without faith we wouldn't be Christians and all the promises given to us would be extraneous.  In this same light...we must have faith in God's will.  I struggle with this one; letting go.  People say "let go and let God."  For me that's so easily said but its so difficult to carry out.  We must give our future to God and trust that his will is perfect and true.  Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  On top of that we have a promise in Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."   We must trust in His will for our lives.  

I challenge you to review all of these things and see where you might be lacking.  Then fix it.  Fix it so that your prayer life can go further then it has before.  Remember, ALL of these things matter to God when you pray to Him.  Let your relationship grow through prayer because it's a powerful thing.

Some of the things said in this blog were quoted from Tim Houston's Prayer 102 class