Monday, January 30, 2012


      Throughout this past week, one of the things that God has been teaching me is about control. We all would like to believe that we are in control of our lives, however, I have been learning just how little control I actually have. I have been looking for a job lately, and while I hope to find a job working as a pastor or director at a local church, I have also applied at Starbucks, Panera, Home Depot, Dish Network, Tattered cover, and many other companies.  Out of all of those applications I received one interview, which is not that abnormal from my experience of trying to find a job this past summer/fall. Lately I have been left questioning if perhaps the reason none of these jobs applications are producing anything is because God has a job in store for me but it has not been the right timing yet.
      With our son arriving in April (and our income ceasing) I have tried to remain patient, trusting that God is in control. I believe that God will provide, and I have seen Him provide for Amy and I many times throughout our marriage. Despite this knowledge there are times when I get nervous and realize that April will be here before I know it, I need a job quickly. After thinking about this a lot last week, I have realized how little control I actually have. I can pretend that I can take matters into my own hands and find a job, but when I apply to countless companies, only to never hear from them again, I realize that God is the only one who is in control. I was talking with one of my mentors last week about my lack of control in life and how much Amy's pregnancy has made me realize this. Amy can do everything in her power to protect and nourish our son throughout pregnancy, but ultimately our babies health is out of our control. I have read many stories of miscarriage and know that these mothers were doing everything in their power to keep their babies healthy.
      The reality of our life is that we are not in control. Of course there are certain elements of our life that are within our power to control, but as a whole God is the only one who is control of our lives, what jobs we will get, and if our children will be healthy and safe. I am thankful that I have a my faith in God to help comfort me during these times when I realize how little control I have in my life. Praise be to God that He is the one in control for He truly knows what I need more than I do. May we all recognize that despite our desires we are not in control of our life, and in recognizing this may we turn to God even more, recognizing our deep need for Him every hour of every day.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap not gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do your worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' FOr it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 
Matthew 6:25-33 (NRSV)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do you have silence in your life?

       Throughout my adult life, I have asked myself this question on numerous occasions, do I have enough silence throughout my daily life? Far too often, my first instinct in the morning is to retrieve my coffee, sit-down with my iPad to read my e-mail, read the paper, and check Facebook. I find that my natural response to times of silence is to fill it with noise, for example turning on Pandora while I am home studying. When I am not at home, I am usually either interacting with people or listening to the radio in the car. Case in point, while I type this I currently am listening to the Mumford & Sons radio on Pandora. The question of if I have enough silence in my life is an important question, one that is worth taking the time to ponder.
       In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster states, "If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, including our religious culture, we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation." As I read Foster's classic work I am left wrestling with the lack of silence in my own life, and asking how I can "move beyond the superficialities of our culture" and mold my life to reflect Christ. I believe that we all need to consciously create spaces of silence within our daily lives, in order to allow ourselves the opportunity to hear the voice of the Lord. Many have questioned whether or not God still speaks in the twenty-first century, but I want to challenge this idea with the notion that we are asking the wrong question. The question is not if God still speaks, but do we as Christians still listen? I for one know that I am guilty of not listening and then becoming frustrated that I do not hear the voice of God in my life clearly. If we began creating spaces of silence I believe that we will find God speaking just as clearly as he always has.
       I want to encourage you to join me in creating more silence in your life throughout the next week. Make the effort to turn off your music, shut down your computer, and embrace the silence. I guarantee that it will be awkward at first and you will feel pressure to return to the noise, but I urge you to recognize the awkwardness as a sign of your need for silence in your life. As Christians, it is important that we work at deepening our faith and fight the societal pressures to fill our lives with noise. We must seek whole heartedly after Christ, but in order to do this it is imperative that we stop what we are doing and listen, perhaps then you may hear the soft voice of God speaking in your own life.



Saturday, January 21, 2012

A New Semester

     Here I am again at the beginning of a new semester. I cannot believe how quickly my Christmas/J-term break flew by. This year I decided to spend my break being productive instead of just sitting around the entire three weeks(don't get me wrong I still relaxed a lot). Once Amy and I returned from our Christmas in Seattle I made a to-do-list to ensure that I would remember to actually do something productive. It has been a great break and has included a lot of walks with Amy, hanging some new pictures in our home, painting furniture for the nursery, translating the book of James from Greek to English, cleaning our carpets, rearranging furniture, journaling, quiet times with God, running, and beginning our childbirth preparation class. Overall I would say that it has been a really good break, and I feel ready for the semester to begin on Monday.
     This semester is going to be a little bit crazy with my son being born sometime around the beginning of April, my last semester of Greek, my first preaching class, and finding a job to help support our growing family. I am excited for all that I believe God has in store for me this semester and hopefully I will find time to update this blog to keep you all in the loop. Part of my requirement for this semester is the mentoring program, which includes writing a skill contract and a character contract to work on throughout the semester. I have chosen to focus my character contract on the topic of discipline. As I thought about my life and my relationship with God, I came to the conclusion that I want to lead a more disciplined life. This desire applies not only to carving out time to pray but also committing to exercising and eating healthy. My skill contract will be focused around figuring out what is the skill set that a pastor needs in order to effectively minister to his community and congregation. I will be reading a few books on pastoral leadership, as well as interviewing both pastors and church goers in order to gain their perspective on this question. It is my hope that by the end of the semester I will have a clear list of the skills that I want to pursue working on in order to become an effective pastor.
     I am looking forward to what a crazy ride this semester will be and would appreciate your prayers as I seek to do well in my classes, prepare to be a father, and possibly start a new job. I am so thankful for the season that I am in, and I look forward to seeing the many ways I believe God will stretch me and help me grow throughout this semester.

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