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

Keeping the Ball Rolling

This week included two hours of cardio instead of 1 and only one hour of weights.  All of this continues to build my strength and all around health.  Staying healthy and taking care of your body is definitely something that is vital if you want to live longer.   I'm currently at 229 which is roughly 11 or so pounds I've lost since starting this blog.  Gotta keep it up and work even harder than I have been.

Here are some really good basic chest exercises

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Personal Ministry

My personal ministry for the month of January was 3 hours spent with the senior adults of Freedom Church.  Let me tell you something about can learn an unlimited wealth of things from them.  Anywhere from life lessons to old funny jokes.  If there's one thing a lot of them have in common it's that they like to joke. lol  We had a time of fellowship and then an awesome time of worship and devotion.  You can learn so much about the Lord from the older generation.  They've been through so much that you have no clue about until you ask them.  There was one woman there who was Jewish.  She grew up in America during WWII.  She definitely had some stories to tell.  About how her and her family were scared for their lives that what was happening in Europe was going to happen here in America.  I don't blame her for thinking that either.  She told us that there were signs on places that didn't allow Jews or Blacks and it was just a tough time period from what she told us.  You read in history books about how awful Hitler was to the Jews but they never talk about how we treated them back home.

Don't they look so innocent and carefree?? haha

Lee (one of the senior adults at our church) lead the worship time with one of my favorite contemporary hymns.  "In Christ Alone" I could listen to that song all's so powerful.  We ended the time with some more good fellowship and left gaining new knowledge on a lot of things.  It was awesome to hear all the experiences and opinions of people who came from a different generation of church and Christianity.  It was nice to be able to go and serve and fellowship with the Seniors of our church and I can't wait to go back and do it again.

Church Arise!

Ocean City Winterfest was incredible.  I learned about so many things in the span of three days it would take up too much space to talk about it all here.  So I'm going to talk about my experience with Leeland.   Leeland was incredible.  Never in my life have I been a part of a more powerful worship experience.  Their songs challenge you, worship God, and tug at your heart.  I literally felt like I was being taken into the Holy of  Holy's.  I was brought to my knees in tears and worship to God.

See, that's the thing about the worship portion of the service that people don't understand.  The music sets the atmosphere for the message and it is meant to do exactly what Leeland did Saturday night.  Bring you into the presence of God and make you eager to hear the message.  I was completely floored that night and blasted by the spirit.  After it was over I was able to talk to Leeland about his music.  Though it was brief, he told me something that I'll never forget.  "Stay in prayer man, lyrics come from your prayer life with God."  He's an inspiration to me as a worship leader and someday I'll be doing what he's doing now.

This was my favorite song of the night.  It's so powerful and true.  The lyrics are posted underneath

"While We Sing"
I've sat by far too long
And I've watched the hurting suffer on their own
I have chances everyday to live like you 
Die to myself and give my love away.
And I wonder why I feel so empty inside

While I sing,
La la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
I keep singing

We are frozen we are still
But we're called to be a city on a hill
And as our melodies resound
We cannot hear the silent cry this world is screaming out
And we wonder why we feel so empty inside

While we sing
La la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees, we keep singing

Remember Salvation's day
When Jesus washed our sins away
The lost are crying out to be saved

While we sing
La la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing

But just a song won't heal the bleeding wounds
Church wake up we're sleeping in an empty tomb!
Church arise! Arise and shine
Shake yourself from the dust
God is calling us to go

Swimming Pools...Dodgeball...Winterfest

Well I didn't get a chance to do my traditional body shop of the last two weeks because of Winterfest.  But who cares??  It was awesome!  I'll get to that in another post though.  This one is about my body shop time and this week it was a little bit unique.  My first hour of the week was spent swimming in a pool at the hotel we stayed at, and YES that IS exercise.  The next two hours were spent playing dodge ball.  This wasn't just regular dodge ball either; this was dodge ball in a giant inflatable with kids ranging from the age of 5-18.  CRAZY!  It was so much fun though...despite the sweat that was running down my face.  I spent a good portion of it reffing but in a unique way.  There was a little pit in the middle separated by a divider that I was rolling around in because the balls kept getting stuck in there.  All the while I was dodging anything that came my way.  haha Crazy.

This is what the middle divider looked like except ours didn't have the net overtop of it

This is what the whole thing looked imagine 8 people plus refs in there