"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Leaving Prayer

To try to summarize my life in Indiana would be ridiculous because that would be an attempt to summarize my whole life to this point. But tomorrow afternoon will mark my final time as a resident of Indiana (for a long time anyway). So here is a parting prayer.

Thank you God...

For the lessons I learned in Indiana - for life, for godliness.
Thank you for saving me through the ministry of YDM and Faith Bible Church and for drawing me to Yourself through the word of truth.

For the people I have known. I have a sincere love and longing for all of the believers who call on your name, majestic saints who seek You wholeheartedly and have pushed me to long for You more.

For the seasons You carried me through - the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, the laughter, the tears, the sun, the darkest night, the deepest depression, the highest glory. Thank You for them all and for using them all to cause me to know and love You more.

For the time and the purpose for which I was here.

For the promise that this world is not my home and that I have a lasting city to come.

Thank You, Father, for all these things. Let me never forget them.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Only God Knows

The texts, emails, pictures, phone calls - they still aren't enough. Sometimes telling people over and over again the same words does not suffice; the words can't capture what they are trying to communicate. "I love you" said a thousand times doesn't accomplish its purpose. "I will miss you" certainly hasn't for me this week. Perhaps that's why we have music.

Tonight is a somber evening. There are so many CEF missionaries across Indiana teaching 5-Day Clubs this week; I pray for them. But I am not one of them, not right now. My job involves not teaching children but giving them pizza and game cards. So the meditations and prayers and musings on six years with best friends begin, and more words, this time through music (insufficient also), evokes more and more:

I sit and hear the guitars play
Wonder if they could, what would stars say or Venus and Mars say
Or say that we want it our way
Stars so desperate to shine that they go on living the hard way
The intellect to travel to Mars but so blind
We worship Venus but she don't even know who we are
And she never cared why, cause she wasn't there
When I was trying to drown my sorrows in a pool of despair
I ain't perfect, sometimes I feel worthless
Worth less than that is the image that I'da purchased
Man, from the shades to the shirt to the shoes
Just another fool tryin' to cover he's confused - that ain't cool
Sometimes I hate the man in the mirror
Cause I know he's a liar and a cheater and a killer
People say they love him but they love what he can give 'em
But deep inside he knows that there's a reason for him living

I can't even find the words for the way I feel
So I paint a picture, I paint a picture
I've been goin' down this road, seen some crazy things
So I paint a picture, you gotta see it
You just gotta know
You just gotta know
You just gotta know
You just gotta know

You know I need You like aqua
Day without You got me so nauseous
If I ain't cautious, I'm gonna self-inflict my sickness
You know it's true, You as my witness
At how You witness my inconsistence
Yes, the ovation when I need Your assistance
And I just gotta know that even though I'm a misfit
I'm still worth more than calamity's French kiss
Yes I'm loved, and I'm pursued
And though I can't feel it, still I know that it's true
Somebody woke me up, and yeah, I know it was You
And yet I keep tryin' to steer clear of Your view
Cause if you get me, I know that You got me
But I'm so insecure I can't believe that You want me
But then I heard You went on Your way to adopt me
Well You can have my all if you swear You won't drop me
Cause I gotta know1

Sometimes the doubts are there without notice: Am I really loved? Am I pursued? Does God still want me after my last life, last year, last month... last week? Today? Will He put up with one more stupid sin? Will any of this go away? Will I forget everything I had? Am I going to fall into despair? Will I forget the place I've come from? Will I lose sight of where I'm going? Will I keep seeking the lasting city? Is it always going to be this hard?

Will He go with me to Arizona?

And yet throughout the day I have this song - sung by 60 voices a couple Sundays ago - running through my head:

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side2

And this one:

Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won't be shaken
No, we won't be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we'll rise and sing
That we won't be shaken
We won't be shaken3

Flood of truth. God is for me (Rom. 8:31). He is with me (Heb. 13:5-6). God is in me (Gal. 2:19-20). God is over me (Eph. 4:6). He is around me (Ps. 139:7-12). Everywhere I can be, God is. Every step I take, He is one step ahead. Every state I move toward, He is one further. No matter how deep I dive, He is deeper. When I rise, He is already higher. And God, the God who is my dwelling place and fortress and my defense (Ps. 62), will ride the heavens to my help and put His everlasting arms underneath me (Deut. 33:26-27).

1. "Gotta Know," Lecrae
2. "Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)," Chris Tomlin
3. "We Won't Be Shaken," Building 429

Monday, June 24, 2013

"If You're Here, Be Here"

It is a new week. Those feeling the post-CYIA lag will be teaching their first official set of 5-Day Clubs. For me, this was the routine every summer from 2008-2012. But not now. Now it is my job to return to a spiritually dark workplace and finish out my time as an employee, and this is to be my focus this week. Yes, I move Saturday, but I work Monday-Friday.

At CYIA, I was asked quite a bit of questions in pertinence to moving. It was no bother to answer the same questions, and it was certainly a joy to talk about my niece and nephew and the great things that are awaiting me in Arizona. But at one point, I had to refer to the one and only saying I truly appreciated from my karate sensei (I took martial arts for a short time about three or four years ago). He would always talk about maintaining focus, and when he did he would say, "If you're here, be here."

Well, I'm here still. So I'm going to be here. Some thoughts may be in Arizona right now, but my mind won't because I have a task set before me waiting to be done. And I will do it. It is not merely my job this week to be the best uncle, the best son, or the best friend I can be; first and foremost, I have a calling to be holy before God because He Himself is holy. And in that name, as a Christian, I am to "work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men" (Col. 3:23).

Saturday, June 22, 2013

This World is Not My Home

Hebrews 13:14
For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

I was born in Evansville, Indiana. I have grown up in Evansville, Indiana. All of my jobs have been based in Evansville, Indiana. First tooth lost, years of basketball, all schooling to this point, both churches I attended, all the youth groups I was a part of and the one I helped lead, many social circles, priceless friends, driver's ed, high school graduation - all in Evansville, Indiana.

Risk is a hard thing. Change is a hard thing. And that is why moving is a hard thing. In but one week, my state of residence will change. And so will almost everything I know. Behind I leave brothers I have bonded with and sisters I would die for. There are children I wanted to see grow up. But now I will watch all these things from a distance. I will see them in photos and read about them in text messages and emails, but I will not see these with my eyes. Eighteen-hundred miles is a long distance.

But this is not the end, nor is this world my home. There is more to life than where you are; there is also where you're going. And I am going one day to a lasting city that will not fade away. In all of my experiences and happenings in the city of Phoenix, the lasting city called Heaven is the one I will not forget. It is the one I will always be moving to, no matter where I am or what I am doing.

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