God & Chocolate

I love chocolate.

This is no mystery if you know me. I have a major sweet tooth, and it is always set to Dark Chocolate. Hersey’s, Dove, that one Aldi’s brand that is way to good to be sold at Aldi for that price; what ever it is, if its chocolate, I want it.

I must admit, when I pack my lunch I sometimes find myself wondering how I can score some chocolate for a after lunch desert. We usually don’t buy any for the apartment, mostly because I’ll tear through it; so I’m lucky that there are many candy dishes at my coworkers cubes.

But sometimes, random coworker will just drop off chocolate at my desk. To be kind, to say thank you, to bribe me into looking into a issue they have. What ever the reason, sometimes chocolate just finds its way to me.

The other morning was another example of chocolate just coming to me. A coworker of mine gave me some chocolate for helping her with a problem. As she left me this little prize, it dawned on me, that even though this is a small gift, God was blessing me with it. He knows my heart and he knows that I love and look forward to chocolate, and here he is taking care of that. It wasn’t a need, it wasn’t something super spiritual,  just a desire to have some chocolate. And here he is, a good good father, giving me some.

This isn’t one of those huge testimony type blessings, but for me, this is something that makes me happy. It was something that made my Monday more enjoyable, and if we think about, we all need something to make Mondays as enjoyable as possible.

God doesn’t just go after the big stuff, but the little things in life as well. Those small gestures, that probably don’t mean a lot to others, but puts a big smile on your face, like a piece of chocolate for lunch. God cares about our whole life, a 360 view of it. There is no area off limit to God, there is no area in our life that he doesn’t want to transform and bless.

I am so thankful for a God that cares of all me needs, even if it is as small as wanting a piece of chocolate.

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Life to Scale

I was reading Star Wars: Aftermath when my mind began to wonder off the page and started to think about what is going on in the universe at that very moment. Not like a fantasy imagination, but I thought about scenes that no one is seeing. Asteroids flowing through space, colliding with one another. A sun rise on a plant unknown. A sun going cold, or exploding. Solar Systems that we do not know of. Vast gaps where there is nothing but space.

It was cool to see the Super-moon lunar eclipse, and even then I was thinking about space and how massive its is. And even though it is massive, here is this cool little event happening, which is cool to us but not important to the universe.

Thinking about what could be going on in this huge universe made me ponder (once again) on how statistically insignificant we are. The unknown universe is about 13.8 billion light years; that is roughly 81,124,680,000,000,000,000,000 miles!!!! We fill a planet that is 7,195 miles in diameter. That means our existence takes up 0.0000000000000000008869% of the universe. We aren’t even a thousandth of a percent!

We do not matter to the universe. If we exploded the universe wouldn’t bat an eye.

But the ironic this is we do matter. We are massively important. We are important because God values us. He created us, and he loves us. Even if we seek war instead of love, even if we hate our brothers and sisters. God loves us and as revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ so we can know him.

This will never stop amazing me, the fact how we are so small but yet hold so much value.

But in reflection that is God’s MO, to take some one or something that seems small and insignificant and use it for his glory, to show who powerful and how loving he is.

What a great God we have!

Soulmate vs Chosen

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.”

I think the idea of a soulmate is very romantic but also very idealistic. Soulmate is a plot point for dramas and teenage TV shows. It makes me think of Dawson’s Creek when Joey tells Dawson “You’ll always be my Soulmate…” but I’m totally not going to date you right now, more like save you for later in case this other thing works out. I always thought Joey was leading both of them on and never really being true with either of them.

End of Dawson’s Creek Series End Rant. Side note: this is the only part of Dawson’s Creek I remember, everything else from that show is a totally blur.

Back to regular scheduled blog….

When I think of a soulmate, I think it is the end all be all person. The person that is just right for you; the person that your heart has been longing to be with, and you are not complete without. The person to whom your soul needs to be complete.

Taking that definition, I think the idea of a soulmate being applied to an earthly person misses the mark. It is a very romantic notion, but the idea of one person completing YOUR VERY SOUL is a very high mark. Its a lofty task with a lot of expectations and assumptions. So much so that no one can truly fit that mold; mostly because everyone fails at some point. No one is perfect, and we as human beings have a hard enough time managing our own lives let-alone being a significant other to some one else. The only being our soul really longs for, and the only being who can successfully take that mantle is Jesus.

Only he can completely satisfy and complete our very soul. When we die and go to heaven we won’t be trying to find a date or figure out a relationship, we will be the bride of Christ. We will be his! We will only be focusing on him. In Jesus our soul will find rest and completeness. Jesus is the end all be all.

That isn’t to say an earthy relationship is important or impactful to the heart. I love my wife. I LOVE my wife. I am so happy with her, and I can’t picture my life without her or with anyone else. She is amazing and I love her very much, and with her my life is better. She is my bride, for whom I will love for the rest of my life, and for whom I have chosen to be my only romantic love the rest of my life.

She is my Chosen, only her and no one else. So while no one on this earth can fulfill the mantle of a Soulmate, one person can take the mantle of being our life long chosen companion. And in that area I know I’ve found the best one, but I’m completely biased 🙂 🙂 🙂

God. Is.

Holy,

Strong,

Mighty,

Love,

Pure,

Kind.

God Is:

like a strong tower against a raging storm,

like gentle reassuring touch on your shoulder,

like a roaring lion protecting his cubs,

like a monsoon in the desert,

like a taste of sweet honey on the lips.

God is

the ancient of days,

the one who was,

the one who is,

the one who is yet to come.

God. Is.

What Christians Should Learn from the LGBT Win

With the ruling from the Supreme Court many LGBT people and friends began to celebrate through the weekend due to the historic ruling and win for their community. They took to the street in parades, music, dancing, it was a celebration. For them they were celebrating not only a victory but a liberation. A liberation from a heavy noose.

So I’m going to get right to the point, why is it that in church when we worship, when we celebrate Christ, it looks more like a concert for a band that we aren’t to end to, but we are just making the most of the opportunity.

Why don’t we celebrate more? Why don’t we celebrate like the LGBT community?

We have the Holy Spirit inside of us! We are born again! We follow the risen Savior and King!!! We were DEAD IN OUR SIN but now we are alive!! We should be doing back flips during worship we are so excited!!

God as been convicting me lately in the way I worship. Do I worship in celebration, in joy? And if I am joyous do I really worship in a way that shows it? Is my worship vibrant or do I only stay in the realm of reflection and being mellow?

So what should we learn from the outcome of the decision on Friday? We should learn how to celebrate. These are people who feel liberated and set free, shouldn’t Christians feel that every day? Shouldn’t we praise God daily for our sins being taken away and him restoring us? We were once GOING TO HELL, but now because of Jesus we will be going to heaven! Shouldn’t this give us cause to celebrate more than anyone else?

Stop worshiping as a dead man staying dead, but a man that was dead and now alive.

This is my own personal goal: vibrant worship, worship that embraces all emotion and one that fully gives and glorifies Christ.

Why in America?

“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. “

-President Obama

So why America? In a land of abundant freedom, why do we find abundant chaos? Is it the lack of laws? Is it the rednecks with all their guns? (Okay that might have some legitimacy to it, but that’s for another time)

If it stemmed from the lack of laws then did our forefathers encounter this much violence, this much senseless killings?

Or is there another problem plaguing America?  A deeper yearning that aches in violent ways?

A law can only make a man’s actions illegal, but it will never change the heart.

“Desperate men do desperate things”

-For Today Call to Arms

What happened in Charleston was tragic, and can be hard to grapple in terms of why would something like this happen. Its even harder to swallow when we hold it up to the other senseless violence that have occurred in this country in the past year alone, much less five or ten years.

It is clear America has a sickness, and it is not from a lack of laws. We need unity, we need a leader, we need love. And the only person who can offer all this is Jesus Christ. Only in him could you find a rigid religious man, a patriotic zealot, a thieving tax collector and a bunch of blue collar workers together in united community.

How Would Jesus Respond to Caityln Jenner

In the wake of the reveal of Caityln Jenner, I found myself asking how would Jesus react? And as a Christian should I have some type of reaction (or no reaction at all) to this?

It always gets dangerous when we Christians make declarations about what Jesus would do or what he would say. In reality Jesus did a lot of things and said a lot of things that would surprise us and even make us think that he is a jerk. Take Matthew 12 when a person is just telling Jesus “Yo, your mom and bros are here, and they want to speak to you” (I am paraphrasing here). To this Jesus responds “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”

Come on Jesus, the man was just saying your mother and brothers were here.

Jesus loved God, obeyed his will and spoke his truth even when it cost him his life. I know Jesus would speak truth and love in this scenario, but what is the truth in this scenario?

Let me offer this: We want to know our identity. We want to know who we really are. Some people find identity in sports, in the arts, in their jobs. We can find our identity in our spouse or our kids. Others tragically find their identity in more harmful vices like drugs, porn, and gambling. Some of these things might be innocent enough but none of them give us the full breadth of our true identity.

Our true identity is this: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV). If we believe in Jesus Christ we are a new creation and a child of God. Our identity is wrapped up in God, not ourselves. No matter who or what we think we are, God’s opinion is what matters. This was, and continues to be, thee source of strength in battling depression and low self-esteem, definitely through my college years.

So what do I think about how Jesus would respond to Caityln Jenner? First thing is I see Jesus only speaking about people that were with him, not far off (excluding some healings). Second he would do what he always does: 1) forgive sin/confront sin 2) remove guilt and shame 3) restore.

What would he say? I don’t know but I know he would be led by the Holy Spirit and turn her to God. Jesus’ ministry was redemptive, even though it did involve speaking against sin and wickedness.

So how should Christians respond? Let’s not mock her and trash talk her online (and offline). Pray for her, yes do that (out of care), but don’t drag her name through the mud. Don’t villainous her. This can be an opportunity interject Jesus into a cultural discussion.

The point is to bring people closer to Jesus, not closer to “doing the right thing.”

Praise You Lord

Praise you Lord, for you conquered death.

Praise you Lord, for you rose from the dead.

Praise you Lord, for your abundant forgiveness.

Praise you Lord, for your abundant grace.

Praise you Lord, for nothing can overtake you.

Praise you Lord, for nothing can take you from your throne

 

Praise you Lord, for nothing can satisfy like you.

Praise you Lord, for you are like a river of living water.

Praise you Lord, for you feed the hungry.

Praise you Lord, for the hungry will not want.

 

Praise you Lord, for you have the power to heal

Praise you Lord, for you have healed many

Praise you Lord, for you have healed the blind

Praise you Lord, for you have healed the deaf

Praise you Lord, for you have taken away cancer

Praise you Lord, for you grow limbs back

 

Praise you Lord, for you are a mighty warrior

Praise you Lord, for you are always strong

Praise you Lord, for you never weaken

Praise you Lord, for you are eternal!


Amen

15 Reasons Why I love to Hangout and Disciple Teens

This is not an exhaustive list but really the first 15 that came to mind. Youth ministry can be fun and very rewarding so I just wanted to voice my opinion. So without further ado, here is the list of 15 reasons why I love to Hangout and Disciple Teens.

  1. They are just fun
  2. They are full of soooooo much energy
  3. They think of things and view things in a way you would have never thought of
  4. They do things you would have never thought of
    1. This could also be very frustrating…
  5. They will tell you what they are thinking
    1. Sometimes. So if they do take that as a privilege and honor.
  6. They will tell you if they are bored or don’t like something
    1. This, I believe you need no special privilege for
  7. They give you a new insight on life and growing up, not necessarily by the wisdom they share but by their life, their struggles and triumphs.
  8. They will blow your mind in how much they do actually know and pay attention
    1. It might look like they aren’t, but they are listening
  9. I love to see teens grow personally, spiritually, in maturity, and in every area of their lives
  10. I love to see those “aha” moments
  11. I love to see when teens start grasping their calling God has on their Life
  12. They will push you to define what really matters in a ministry
  13. When they find their identity in Jesus and start living a life on fire for him.
  14. Its all about the feels bro!!!
  15. They keep me young….. because apparently I’m really old (I’m only 23….)

I love the teens that the Lord has blessed me with in the youth group (I refrain from saying MY youth group, because it isn’t mine it’s theirs), and I’m excited to have even more teens and even more awesome encounters with God and with this community.