Tag Archives: relationship

Foreign Impressions On My Domestic Life

In the previous post, you read an abridged version of what generally went down on my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This blog is specifically about how I was affected personally. I’ll discuss what I was hoping for going into the trip, what happened while there and where I am now. I’ll try to go in order with each of the three sections so it’s easier to follow the progression. We’ll see how it pans out.

What I Was Hoping For Going Into the Trip

* Greater clarity for my future
* Build better relationships with the other Frontline young adults
* Grow in compassion for missions and evangelism
* Reduce my dependence on convenient, comfortable living (i.e. sleeping and food conditions)
* Become a more proficient Spanish speaker
* Grow in greater intimacy with the Lord

What Happened While There

* Greater clarity – I received clear evidence that I speak prophetically in the Spirit and that I hear accurately from the Lord. It was confirmed time and time again that the Lord speaks to me and what I share from Him resonates with other people.
* Better relationships with fellow Frontliners – That definitely happened! I was with the same group of people consistently for 12 days. We shared everything, much like the church of Acts. I had several wonderful conversations with numerous different people. While in the DR, the group of us became a family. I love seeing everyone now. Every time we meet up, it’s like a little reunion. We’ve moved beyond surface friends and entered into endearing family.
* Compassion for missions and evangelism – Walking actively in missions and evangelism for several days in a row makes a person grow in that area. I did grow in compassion naturally. It wasn’t forced and it wasn’t arduous. Because of the Holy Spirit, it was easy to serve together with the rest of the team in these areas. Yes, I got tired sometimes, but I enjoyed all of the evangelistic things we did.
* Convenient, comfortable living – After showering in cold, contaminated water, I slept in my own sweat on a thin, foam mat in a non-air conditioned room. I ate a bunch of strange food. I couldn’t flush my toilet paper. It wasn’t convenient and it wasn’t comfortable. But I did not complain. Rather, I just accepted it for what it was and continued on.
* Spanish speaking – I didn’t know a lot of Spanish before I left. I still don’t know that much. However, it was great to use all the stuff I’d learned in my Spanish classes in a real-time. I am continuing to study Spanish as often as possible. We have lots of Spanish channels on TV. Sometimes I watch the programming. Not the sappy soap operas, though.
* Intimacy with the Lord – Check, check and triple check! My personal time with Jesus was amazing. Our group devos were wonderful. I journaled, worshiped, and…simply…grew. It was great to walk in personal and corporate intimacy with Jesus. Truly awe-inducing.

Where I Am Now

Different. I’m different. I realize how spoiled Americans are. I realize how much money I have even when I feel like I have nothing. I appreciate my pillow top bed immensely. Continuous, hot showers are a celebration. I would go on another mission trip. I don’t feel called to be a full-time foreign missionary. But I do know that I’m constantly on mission with the Spirit wherever I am. I now have better relationship with my Christian brothers. I need a healthy balance of men and women in my community and now I’ve got it.

My perspective has permanently shifted. Thank You, God, for that!

The Audience Responds

Did I mention that I’m back from the Dominican Republic? Ha! Well, I am.

I do need to blog about that. I realize this. I will work on it eventually. It will be a lengthy, process and I do not have enough energy to devote to that particular activity at this time. In short, the trip was amazing! We moved in wonderful unity. God is great!

Forging ahead…

I don’t know if you are avid comment readers, but I received a few rousing comments on my post ‘Captive Audience.’ I do not know if the people who commented on that post will read any of my future posts–or even the comment I left them after their comments. Whether they do or don’t return to my blog again, I still want to respond. Plus, for any future readers, this may apply as well.

In the blog ‘Captive Audience,’ I talked about testifying to the truth. Some people find that offensive, binding, and annoyingly religious. I tell you honestly that it is not. I am not in a religion about God. I am in a relationship with Jesus. I realize that phrase may be considered over-used to some, but it’s true. I’m not in a hollow, repetitive activity that involves worshiping an unknown Being known as “The Man upstairs.” No, I’m in a dynamic, epic, deeply transforming relationship with a real, very much alive, redeeming man. His name is Jesus.

My relationship with God is not a set of strict rules and wrath. It’s a grace-filled, love-driven, tender, powerfully refining relationship. It’s not a freeloading, do-whatever-I-want-and-still-go-to-heaven sort of thing. God does instruct very specific things in the Bible. And I obey them. I follow Christ and obey God because I want to. Not because someone is forcing me into a relationless religion.

When I go to the Murfreesboro Writers’ Group, I testify to the truth in my life. That truth is Jesus. That truth is that I’m single and want to get married. That truth is that I am a song writer and am learning to play the piano.

When other people speak and read their work, they are also testifying to the truth in their lives. Their brother died. They are writing a novel. They are working on a short story. Everyone who ever says any opinion is just testifying to what they believe as truth.

I’m not a narrow-minded religious zealot. I am, however, a person who reads the Bible, conforms my mind to what it teaches and grows in my relationship with Jesus. I don’t see Christianity as a list of things that I cannot do. I am free in Christ. I walk in liberty and victory. I like it that I love Jesus.

I know that not every person in the world is going to agree with me, what I believe, or how I live my life. I also know that the name of Jesus offends people. I expect that. The Bible even says it will happen so I’m totally ok with it.

I don’t want to be irrelevant to this world. I don’t want my faith in God to cause people to instantly shut themselves off to me. But I will not compromise what I believe just to appease someone else.

I will write that DR blog sometime. I will. I will.

In Dependence Day

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

As the 4th of July draws near and thousands of Americans venture out to buy fireworks to shoot into the sky, independence is on my mind.

However, it’s not the kind of independence that the July holiday celebrates. Instead, I’ve been meditating on our days of dependence in Christ.

Recently, I’ve come to notice that many Christians are ashamed to be totally dependent on Christ. It’s interesting how ridiculously hard it is for people to come to the end of themselves. To get to that point of the utter famine of self-reliant resources. When they can no longer pretend they are ok in their own strength.

Why is it so hard for Christians to get to rock bottom?

I think it’s because people are born independent of God. Until the point of conversion to Christianity, a person has spent their entire life learning how to live for themselves.

When Jesus comes along He offers salvation through Himself, counsel through the Holy Spirit and a dependable, capable, loving Father.

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t make it past the point of believing in God. They stumble at even really trusting God. And if they don’t trust God, then can’t don’t depend on Him for everything.

I was just reading in 2 Kings today about the Israelites. They knew God and worshiped God. However, they also worshiped idols and served other gods at the same time. They were the poster children (of God) for a lack of dependence. Instead of proceeding swiftly to their Promised Land, they paused and tarried for 40 years in the wilderness in defiant independence.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend 40 years of my life wandering. Nah, I’d rather get this dependence in Christ thing down now and be productive and fruitful.

In an attempt to tersify the point I’m making, too many Christians still live independent of God even though they are in a relationship with Him. It’s kind of like they turn to God and say, “I love You, kinda.”

Let me assure that it’s not a shame to be dependent on Christ. In truth, it is totally ok and biblical to rest and depend in Christ. I challenge you to the title of this blog: be dependent in Christ every day.

If Christians get to the point of depending on God, many do not make it past a few moments of dependence. And maybe minutes, hours or a few days of dependence. Sadly, however, after they make it through their current struggle/trouble/problem, they stop totally depending on God and go back to a life of self-dependence. Then, after the next problem causes their life to go into a downward spiral, they return back to God for more moments of dependence. It’s a cycle. And a non-biblical cycle, by the way.

“Wait,” you say to yourself, wondering. “You mean depending on God for a little while and then trying to do things on my own when I feel better isn’t ok?” Correct, thinking reader. Correct.

Jesus said in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing.” It doesn’t say, “Sometimes when you’re feeling extra super strong, you can do things.” It doesn’t say, “After you’ve depended on Me and rested with Me awhile you will have enough knowledge to be a success on your own.” No. It says we can do nothing apart from Him. So that means that we have to do all things with Him and in dependence on Him. And it also shows me that we can be desperate for God every day.

I think of it like this: It’s either nothingness without dependence in Christ or it’s fullness and abundance with dependence in Christ. I don’t want to have nothingness any day so I am desperate for God everyday. I am in dependence of God every day and I challenge you to do the same thing.

Make every day an in dependence day.

Seeds and Leads

I met Brooke Fraser last Thursday.  She is a wonderful woman of God.  She has a great voice too.  Brooke played a concert in Nashville and I was blessed enough to make her acquaintance.  I took tons of pictures but have not taken the time to put them on my computer yet.  Perhaps later…

The reason I got to meet her is because I wrote an article about her for CCMmagazine.com.   Because of that mass of words, I received free tickets to the show and an opportunity to meet her.  So, of course, I took it.

In case you aren’t familiar with her, please, read the article.  It’s got the basic gist of who she is and what she’s up to.  In short, Brooke Fraser is a solo artist with a massive career overseas who is trying to break into the U.S.  Additionally, she’s a member of Hillsong United, a music ministry movement of Hillsong Church in Australia.  She’s an amazing songwriter with an awesome voice and is definitely worth looking into!

Brooke has a song called “Seeds.”  It’s on her new CD “Albertine.”  That’s where the first half of this blog title came from.

The second half pertains to me and my ever-popular job search story.  I’ve got a few leads now through friends who work at particular companies.  I must say that it is way more encouraging to apply for jobs when I know that somebody already working there can help me out than it is to apply “cold” to jobs.

One of my leads is at my roommate’s aunt’s workplace.  She is supposed to talk to her friend in the HR department today.  At this point, I’m most excited about working there because of the earnings potential.  I’m not a money-monger, but I do have a godly desire to support my friends who are missionaries.  A few of them have contacted me recently asking me to support them and I’ve had to deny my assistance.  I didn’t enjoy doing that.  I also would love to try and bless my roommate financially.  She has helped me out so much since I moved here a year and a half ago.  From buying me lunch sometimes to paying a little extra on the grocery bill, she’s truly been a shining example of service to me.  I want to repay her for that…literally.   I am not sure if she’ll see this blog, but if she does, my thanks go to you, Shay.

I’ve started prayer walking on the local college campus.  I was sulking in my bed one day trying to sleep off my feelings when God spoke to me and said that I should go prayer walk on campus.  He’d planted that idea in me months ago but I had not yet done it.  However, last Saturday, I armed myself with scripture and went to pray.  Now, nearly a week later, I’ve gone there nearly every day praying scripture over the students, the faculty and the campus.

Let it be known that I didn’t receive any job leads until after I started prayer walking.  When God calls you to do something, it’s in your best interest to obey.  Because obedience brings rewards.

Listen, obey, receive.  It kind of reminds me of lather, rinse, repeat.  🙂

Random Analogy

I thought of this analogy a few days ago.  It may not make sense or be fresh anymore, but I’m gonna type it out anyway.

The similarities of eggs, a relationship with God and life…

Sometimes life is hard
And our thoughts get a little scrambled
When we are deviled, we fall for things that are over easy
We occasionally get trapped in the poached snare of sin
Fortunately, God wraps us in an omelet of love
His yolk it is light on us
And we are never cracked beyond repair