Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thumbprint of God

About two and a half years ago, about three months into my whole “walk with Christ”, I began keeping a spiritual journal. I wrote in the journal on Saturday, April 2, 2005 that “I never want to forget God’s impact on my life. My hope is that through the words and thoughts that follow I will be able to track God’s hand on my life for the rest of my life…”

I kept it up for about a year and a half but man my hand started to hurt so now I just type instead of write…anyway, I am so glad that I did write for awhile because every now and then I open the old journal up and read about what I was thinking about two years ago.

Well, I am moving out of the condo in the next few weeks and in the process of going through everything in my room I came across the journal.

I found a few entries that I think apply directly to the next step of my life and I just share them with you as a confirmation that I think God was moving me down this path to Bolivia long before I even knew where Bolivia was.

Sunday, June 26, 2005 (A little over two years ago)
Heavenly Father, I want to get in the game. I am so thankful that you have invited me to play a part in YOUR story. Thank you for helping me realize that it is not about me getting you involved in my story, it’s about me deciding to get involved in YOUR story. I want to participate. I want to use my life to glorify and honor you and help spread your redemptive message to everyone I can. I want to use the talents and abilities that you have given me to help make investments in lives here on earth that will last an eternity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 (Almost two years ago)
I have been thinking a lot about a message that Jeff Henderson gave a few weeks back where he said we should all strive to align our frustrations w/ God’s frustrations. He urged us to find our “Holy Discontentment.” He believes that when we find “that”, we can truly begin to impact this world with God’s love. I think mine might be kids. Abused children have really begun to break my heart over the last few weeks, specifically sexually abused children, and I feel God leading me to get involved somewhere and volunteer my time to help out. I am becoming less and less interested in promoting the arts and I want to spend more time working with issues that I know frustrate God. I want to feel like my life counts. I want to have an eternal perspective in everything I do and I want to use the gifts God blessed me with the share His love with those around me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 (about one year ago)
Now...for the really BIG thing. I feel God calling me back to Bolivia and I am currently gathering info on a few opportunities to return to Cochabamba next summer and stay for an extended period of time, possibly a year. As I look back on the last year I can really see God preparing me for this mission. I feel Him telling me to pursue this. The more I stare at the picture from Bolivia on my desk at work the faster I want to get back there and the less interested I become in my job at the Alliance. This can only be explained as a God thing. Who else could take a career path that consumed me for six years and say, “Just drop it.” I just pray daily that God’s will is done and I know that if He needs me in Bolivia He will get me there. Father, lead me to a ministry in Bolivia where I can make a major impact for your kingdom. Show me that there is more to life than what my culture has conditioned me to think. Enlarge my border and ministry. Send me where you need me most. Whatever the question is Father…I say “Yes”!

Friday, August 24, 2007

What fisticuffs?

So a brawl broke out in the Bolivian Congress in La Paz this past Wednesday. (Don't tell my mom)

Check out the article and video HERE.

I am definitely not moving to the most politically stable country ever. They are also in the middle of rewriting their constitution which is set to go up for a national referendum pretty much right when I move there.

That should be fun.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One on One

Over the past two years I have benefited so much from the time that I have spent with my men’s small group from church. I have been in two separate groups over the past two years and we have met pretty much on a weekly basis.

We go through different studies and/or books and discuss them. Sometimes the material that we read is no where near as strong as the discussion that we have. And sometimes getting off topic is the best thing possible. Having a group of single guys that I can hang with on a weekly basis is a very cool thing. It is just a great bonus that these are all guys who are pursuing the same thing that I am…a deeper relationship with God.

All that to say that I am a big believer in this kind of community. I have been impacted more than I can accurately convey. I have no doubt that God created each and every one of us for this kind of authentic community. I hope that I can find a group to hang with once I get to Bolivia.

But there is another kind of community in my future. Starting this week I will be meeting on a weekly basis with my pastor at Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville. He will be meeting with me prior to my move to Bolivia. This will be a one on one kind of community. I am excited about the opportunity to meet with him to discuss foundational things about the Christian faith and also I am excited about the opportunity to pray with him during our meetings.

This discipleship program stems from Jesus’ call for us to go into the world and “make disciples” which basically means that it is not just about making a decision to follow Christ. It is about helping someone continually grow in their relationship with Christ.

This is a 10 session program that I am sure will be full of some amazing revelations. I will keep you posted as to how everything goes.

I am excited to have the opportunity to go through this program prior to my move to Bolivia. And the hope is that I can continue this program once I move to Bolivia.

I am not going to turn down any opportunity to spend time talking about what I see God up to in this world….whether with a small group or just one on one.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where to start?

Recently I have just been bombarded with different things to pray for. And to be honest, sometimes I just don’t know where to start. Sometimes I feel like I have so many things to pray for that I end up not really praying for anything at all. Do you ever feel overwhelmed like this?

I have told so many people that I will pray for them recently that it is too much to remember. I want to pray for others. I really want to make that part of my daily prayer life. But I am just struggling lately trying to figure out the best way to go about it.

I feel bad just praying once for someone. It’s like I want to pick a few requests and pray fervently and consistently for those requests for like six months and then move on to other requests.

And through the whole missionary thing I am making more and more connections to other ministries around the world and I want to pray for them also. I am just flooded with things to pray for and I know that they are all important. But figuring out how to organize my prayers is just difficult right now.

Good thing God knows what we are going to pray for before we say it, because I sure miss some things. I know He hears all of our requests…but still there is something powerful about someone interceding for another person in prayer. I really think that it puts a smile on God’s face. I just wish I could do it better than I currently do.

So I am struggling with all that and then two days ago God placed another request on my heart…I felt God nudging me to pray for my future wife. What??? Where did that come from?

God knows that I have a desire to be married but I know that if it is His will for me to be married it will happen on His timeline. And with my upcoming move, dating and marriage have not really been on my mind at all. My main focus has been moving to Bolivia. Believe me, I want to date and I want to get married but it has just not been a priority lately given the fact that I am planning to move to Bolivia in four months.

But still, it is interesting that God has placed this prayer on my heart. I think it is pretty cool to pray for my future wife. Praying that she is seeking a deeper relationship with Christ wherever she is. Praying that she is protected. Praying that she is loving God with all her heart, mind, soul and strength. And to know that possibly there is some girl praying for me out there is a very encouraging thing.

But I guess it all goes back to God having a plan. He has called me to La Paz, Bolivia. I realized recently that if I had met someone in the last year or so it is very unlikely that I would even be going to Bolivia. Again, it is just evidence that God is in control.

I’m just lost in a sea of prayer requests right now and I am struggling to find guidance and direction.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Double Blessing

It amazes me sometimes just how much God honors and blesses our sacrifices.

A friend of mine has two cars. One he bought recently and one that was given to him as a gift. Recently God has been calling him and his wife to give one of the cars to someone that they know who has no car and really needs one. They feel that since the car was given to them that they should share that blessing and give the car to someone else who has none.

Amazing testimony.

I was talking to this friend recently and he was saying that his wife will be starting school this fall and it is going to continue to be more difficult logistically for them since they will only have one car. They have a need for two cars but what is amazing to me is that they are willing to sacrifice that need to meet a greater need. I think that is the essence of what God is calling all of us to. And I am so encouraged by the strength of their faith.

Well…a few weeks ago God just laid on my heart that I needed to give my car to them before I leave for Bolivia.

I can’t take my car to Bolivia and my plan has been all along to sell it. But God spoke so clearly to me that I know in my heart that what I need to do is give my car to them. The real “God moment” of the whole thing is that I had no idea that they were going to give THEIR car away when God placed this idea on my heart. But God knew. I didn’t even know that they had two cars. I always thought that they only had one.

It was only after I shared with this friend the idea that God had placed on my heart that he told me the amazing story about them giving their car away. So basically what has happened here is that God has called them to sacrifice and give their second car away while at the same time calling me to give my car to THEM.

God KNEW that He had another car waiting for them. They didn’t know. But He did. And I believe that He is honoring their sacrifice by providing them with another car.

We can’t see sometimes the blessing that waits just around the corner.

I gladly give my car to them. It’s not about the money that I would have gotten for selling it. If it was all about money I doubt I would even be heading to Bolivia anyway. It’s about sharing a blessing with someone else. It’s about seeing a need and then meeting that need. And I can’t describe to you the joy that I feel giving my car away. God has blessed me so much. I truly believe that He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.

And besides…why should Oprah be the only one who gets to give cars to people?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

So it hit me today...

I am about to quit my current career path and in about four months I will be leaving all of my friends and family and moving 3,700 miles away to a country where English is not the primary language and I will be moving to a city where I am acquainted with about five people total and where I will be living by myself for the first time ever.

And I am actually looking forward to it.

What am I thinking????