Monday, August 12, 2013

Road to Today, End of the Summer Semester



Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Ps. 103:1-5


Hello,

Glad to have finished my first semester at Liberty University, after transferring from the University of Wisconsin Extension.  It's been an intriguing journey so far.  And I'm glad to have all of you with me on it.  The depth of knowledge to be gained from the Bible is incredible, and I have no doubt this will be a lifelong affair.

I'm a very lucky individual, but I don't believe in luck.  So I am a very blessed individual, and not blessed because of anything I did, but blessed because the living God is so full of love and mercy.  

You know, all the times I was afraid of God, mad at God, worried that God condemned me, worried that he didn't like me, feeling guilty about how I was failing him, God was just loving on me, day and night, just loving me, and waiting for the day I'd realize that.

This is a message, a gift, a blessing, that once someone truly receives it.. We just can't keep it to ourselves.  It flows out of us.  And I just want to be able to guide as many people as is humanly possible before the day my physical body ceases functioning.  

Of course that course is open to change at any moment.  The things of this world, and there are many "things" can lead me right out of that mindset faster than I can blink.  The world, whether intentionally or misguidedly, has a powerful ability to pull me from God's arms.  That's the hardest thing about this.  The variable in my communion with God is me, not God.  I have to fight everyday, very hard, to stay close to him.  

I can literally bury myself in the things of God, but still struggle with this, especially in the United States.  As we go throughout the day we encounter a literal assault on our senses, from all directions.

Just to list a few: car radio, brands on our foods, secular small talk, secular bars, billboards, messages on t-shirts, social pressure, compromises made for money, compromises made for work place efficiency, television, fear-inspiring news, self-doubt, self-depracating thoughts, influence of friends, influence of family, influence of significant other, not to mention our own sinful desires triggered by these advertisements and allurements, assaulting our moral code and willpower constantly.  

I remember I was at Crescent Lake Bible camp in Rhinelander and it was so freeing, but I couldn't quite figure out why.  I thought maybe because I knew I could leave my car unlocked, and I could leave my belongings about and not worry about them being stolen.  Also knowing everyone there was a Christian also played into it.  But really the biggest thing about it was there was no constant assault on my senses.  No internet, no televisions, no radio.  Add to that, there were no billboards, candy bar racks, ads posted to the walls, and nothing to buy, buy, buy.  It was just so... peaceful.

Anyway, I've been up to a lot of interesting stuff lately.  Helping to start a church called The Edge, a different kind of church for a different kind of person.  It's geared toward heavy metal rockers and lost people.  I loved the idea when Pastor Mandigo made a presentation at my home church New Day, so I decided to get involved and help out.  I joined the launch team, had an interview, and asked Pastor Mandigo if he'd be open to me intern pastoring there once I achieved my bachelors degree.  He said yes!  So that's very exciting.  I'm pretty sure I got straight As in my classes for the summer semester.  The term just ended, and I found it very informative.  

I thought I'd write up this entry to share some thoughts I've been having lately.  No one in person let's me go on and on, and I'm usually too nervous to anyway, so I kind of do that here. 

If I could write a letter to myself in 2008 I'd say, Yep, I'm a Christian now.  I know what you're thinking, you don't understand.  Your ego switch just flipped. Well, do what you were going to do, and I'll see you soon.  

Good day and God bless!

Justin

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