30 June 2009

The Nap I'll Never Forget

Ah, the nap I’ll never forget…the day dawned bright and sunny in northern California. I was on vacation with my family visiting some amazing friends that we’ve known since I was five years old. Most of us had already enjoyed an invigorating workout with our beloved “Drill Instructor”---my dad. The plans for that sunny day were set: movie making, swimming, eating, and fun all around…but first we had a mission.

All of us who set out to accomplish the mission, climbed into the Pilot. Three of us and four of them, seven in all, made the journey into town. We made it to our destination in no time---the Blood Source. I had never been a blood donor before, but I did my best to remain fearless. Sitting in the little waiting room off to the side, the nurses called us back one by one. My turn came. Here goes nothing…or everything!

Things went smoothly as the nurses got things going. I didn’t even feel a hint of dizziness and I wasn’t queasy at all. Less then ten minutes passed and I was all done and good to go. Sitting with two of my friends and my brother and sister, I drank some orange juice and snacked on a granola bar and some gold fish. All was well, until…

A wave of exhaustion swept over me and my body felt like it weighed a million pounds. I debated within my mind if I should tell someone I wasn’t feeling too great. After sifting through the pros and cons, I leaned over to my friend Emily and warned her I wasn’t feeling right. She tried to get me to explain myself and tell her my symptoms, but all I could do was smile before I was out. From this point on, my friends and family had to fill me in on the rest of the story because as far as I was concerned, I was in dreamland.

So here is what they tell me happened…Emily called my name and tried to get me to respond but to no avail. She wanted to get me on the floor, so she turned to her sister who was sitting to her other side and told her to get help. So just imagine, I am in a chair passed out, Emily is trying to wake me up, Sarah called for her mom, Luke is waving for help, and Bethany is sitting stone still, afraid I was going to die. Through it all, I was completely calm, enjoying one of the best naps ever.

Finally, one of the nurses came over and my great sleep was interrupted. They lowered me down on the floor and placed a cool cloth on my forehead. I think I was puzzled at first to find Emily sitting on the floor next to me, but then it all came back to me…and then the most awful thing happened. I began laughing uncontrollably and I couldn’t stop myself. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Moreover, it was the most high, silly laugh ever---but what was I to do about it? I recovered from that experience with little to show for it. I did get a whole pint of ice cream out of the whole ordeal. Nevertheless, I must say, I think I will take much more away from my first experience as a blood donor then what meets the eye.

Yes, I would sum it up by saying never be afraid to do new things that stretch you and might even scare you because a great nap might be right around the corner. And after the nap, you’ll have a great story to tell years to come.

So that is my story about the nap I will never forget---funny, silly, and perhaps pointless but still ordained by God before the foundations of the earth. God is amazing that He sends interesting experiences into our lives to make us laugh and who knows why else he does it---He knows.

A glimpse at four of the courageous ones

A Looming Adventure~49 More Days!!

The days until I head off to Coast Guard boot camp are going fast---only forty-nine to go! Soon my looming adventure shall begin; one that will definitely change my life forever and set my direction for the next four years. I am excited to take this giant step and go out on my own, beginning this new chapter in my life and at the same time I am scared and nervous. Adventures are like that though, filled with mystery and unknown factors. God definitely designed life to be that way so that we put our trust in Him. He gives us what we need when we need it, directing us step by step. God has placed an adventure in front of me---an opportunity to make much of Him and shine the light of His Gospel in a dark place---that will stretch and challenge me in ways I cannot even imagine right now. I do not want to cower back in fear, but step forth in faith as I trust God to lead me, protect me, teach me, challenge me, and ultimately make me more like Christ.

Psalm 23 is a continual encouragement to my heart as I look forward to the days ahead. Knowing that God is the shepherd of my soul causes me to rejoice. He holds me secure in His loving arms as I go down this path, which He has set me upon. The assurance that He is with me and will never leave me gives me courage and strength to continue down this road. I know that I am going to have amazing experiences in the Coast Guard, but I also know that life will never be the same as I know it now. I will be out on my own, paying bills, finding a church, making my own decisions, and taking on a slew of other responsibilities I have not had to handle before. Moving away from home is not easy---I am glad God gave me a little taste of what it is like last year when I was away at college for about four months---and I know I will struggle with homesickness and loneliness, but I also know it is time for me to take this step and leave my fears and concerns in the Lord's hands. An adventure is just not an adventure if it is not hard and difficult, pushing and pressing us to God.

I think it is good to remind ourselves that God never intended life to be easy and comfortable for His children. No, He has called us to be lights in the darkness and going into the darkness is not an easy thing to do. I am excited that I am going to be surrounded by unbelievers, having the opportunity to share my faith by living it out in front of them; and yet, I am also scared too death. I know I will face persecution of varies kinds, be confronted with temptation, see the ugliness of sin in myself and others; yet God pushes me on and reminds me to trust in Him. I could try to protect myself from being tainted by the world, but what would the point be? I was already as tainted by sin as a person can be and Christ cleansed me by His own blood---not so that I can now hide from what I once was, but so that I can confront it with the power of the Gospel. The battle of faith is fierce, raging constantly with intensity that I think none of us is truly aware of, and I cannot passively sit back watching others proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and not join in the greatest cause that we can spend our lives being a part of. Living to make much of Christ, requires that we make much of the Gospel, and we cannot make much of the Gospel if we are not proclaiming it first to ourselves and then to the world around us.

God gives everyone different adventures, but I am truly thankful and excited about the one He has placed in front of me. What great hurdles, challenges, and difficulties lay ahead; but on the other hand, who would trade the opportunity to live amongst lost sinners, sharing the message of the cross, all the while being paid and receiving training for future service? To put it simply, I have forty-nine more days to prepare for an amazing, four-year mission trip around the United States---all expenses paid! How amazing is that!

So now as I go about preparing to be sent off as God's witness in forty-nine short days, I would ask and beg for your prayers. I am completely weak and incapable of reflecting the beauty of Christ in the Gospel apart from the grace of God and the prayers of His children. Pray with all diligence on my behalf especially in these areas:

< That I would be depending and trusting in the Lord and not my own strength
< That I would reflect God's beauty to the unbelievers I will have contact with
< That I would have boldness and wisdom in proclaiming the Gospel
< That I would be rejoicing in the Lord daily no matter what my circumstances may be < That I would not give in to fear, but remain rooted in my faith

Facing adventures is not easy, but they are truly amazing experiences when we realize that we are held by grace. Nothing can touch us apart from God's sovereign will, and His plan cannot be thwarted. Here I stand, confident that the Lord is the one who leads me forth---the shepherd of my soul and the sustainer of my faith---I will not be afraid because He is with me.

Destroying Our Idols

God's Will or Your Own?



Written for my family as they move to Cameroon, Africa to share Jesus love with the people there.

Rejoicing in all God has done.
In your lives, I see Him displayed
As your greatest treasure of all;
Your mission: to proclaim His name.

Fix Your eyes on Christ…Run hard to the goal.
Consider the work He has done, He has saved your souls!

Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD BY GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.

Cheering you on as you go
As you make much of Jesus today,
Considering all else as loss
Compared to the Savior’s name.

Fight the battle of faith…stand firm in Christ.
Trust Him with all of your heart, give Him your life.

Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
you are HELD BY GRACE.
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.

Praying for you in my heart.
May God’s sustaining grace push you on
To follow Christ outside of the camp,
Calling the nations to join the song!

Jesus is mighty to save
For while yet sinners He died in our place.
Shout---shout His praise For He has given us grace!

Press on, HOPE IN GOD…IN HIS HANDS you are safe. UNDER HIS WINGS…you are held---
Take up your cross, follow Christ, let His praises resound.
as you journey HOMEWARD BOUND.

Take the Adventure

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