Boxed

Do you remember those mandatory essays in middle school and high school when they would give you a specific prompt you had to write about? There were two kinds of people when it came to this. Those who loved the ability to be creative and those who dreaded the thought of having to make up a story.

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Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?

It has been three years since I have given my life over to Christ. In these three years I have been challenged beyond belief in every single part of life. This book has not made anything any easier. If one book has made me doubt my faith and made me question everything I believe in, this has been one of the top. Preston Jones and Greg Graffin create an atmosphere that made me engaged in both sides of the debates in all areas talked about. There were specific things that Graffin had written about during the Theism vs. Naturalism section. Graffin and Jones are discussing back and forth immensely during this section and Graffin makes this statement “The stories and ‘truths’ we we are told in the first six or seven years of life are what form our worldview…(Remember it took about 300 years for the general population to believe the stories elucidated by Copernicus that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the solar system!)” (56) Graffin is talking about evolution and the way society has been teaching children. He firmly believes that within about 100 years, Darwinism will be understood and accepted. This caught me off guard, in school we are just taught what either teachers believe or what they were taught to believe. Graffin makes a strong argument here, mostly because in the prime ages of six and seven, children are adapting to rules of school, and general society. Their eyes become fixed on what they are being shown and becoming enthralled by the information. These children can then grow up only to believe what they are taught, but without the reasoning behind it. Jones however, plays a battle with Graffin. The two have gone head to head, round after round, trying to get the other to slip or Fall. (See what I did there?) The Fall is a huge topic, and one that almost every theologian or basic white collar folk has heard of. Traditionally, Christians view the world today as being a consequence of the Fall or “man’s rebellion against God.” (79) Graffin didn’t really have too much to say about the topic though. Graffin gave the naturlaist point of “a naturalist would acknowledge that suffering exists, feel terrible about it, and search for a way to cure it!”(83) All that sounds good and wonderful, but it leaves so much questioning. Jones does a good job of truly explaining the Christian view of “God doesn’t want the world to be like this; and when the curtains fall--when he ends it--the world to follow won’t be like this.” (81) This to me trumps the naturalist view in one word...hope. Without hope, what do we have? Not everything is solved or cured and who knows how long it could take or if that is even possible. I am I firm believer in biology and the strides it has taken but I also believe in having hope for a better future because this world is broken. Instead of saying “wow, this world is rough, this world is bad” I would rather say “...yes, the world is warped--here’s why, and here’s what you can hope for.” (82)

Intentional Serving

If you look up on Google “Random Acts of Kindness” you come upon thousands of websites with ideas and testimonies about people doing great things around the world. Some are amazing stories of big acts and others are simple and wonderful from the heart. However, there is something wrong with this statement that I have learned. Why is it that in order to be kind...it has to be random? What if instead of forcing people to go and do something nice for somebody, we were actually intentional about it? To one person they may have been random, because I was a stranger, but to myself, it was being intentional, it was about being Jesus. As I was grabbing my morning coffee as I normally do before work, I noticed a woman with a large order and a small child and she was trying to juggle everything. Instead of sitting there with everyone else waiting, I jumped up and helped her walk everything out to her car and even had a good conversation with her while doing so. When we walked back inside she was astound that someone had come over to help her...it blew my mind. This is what our world has become. No my random act wasn’t some over the top, changing the world type of kindness, but to that one person, it was. She kept thanking me over and over again, she thought it was such a huge deal, when in reality it was one of the simplest things I could do for someone. It was pretty busy that morning as well and to see the looks on some peoples faces of confusion and uncertainty of what was going on was saddening. People were kind of taken back that somebody would actually start a conversation with someone and help someone out instead of looking straight at their phone and mind their own business. I keep wondering though if maybe something happened later. Did the lady that I help, go on to do something for someone else? Did the people in the shop go on to do something nice for someone? I guess it’s one of those things you will just never know. I don’t want to be random about my kindness I can show to people. I want to be intentional. Jesus was the most intentional person that has ever walked this earth. None of his kindness was random, He truly wanted to help people and love on people. Could you image if we could possess that kind of power? Well, truthfully it would probably turn into something horrible because….as humans we are selfish. I don’t want to serve because it glorifies me or others, I want to serve to glorify Him. I have always loved this idea of living intentionally and I want to start challenging myself more by created weekly challenges to go and be intentional. Whether it be writing someone a letter each day that has had a big influence on my life or simply even starting a five minute conversation with a customer at work. The world isn’t going to change by itself, we have to go out and change it and be willing to get shot down and turned away but know that somebody out there is being blessed, and that could make all the difference. We are called to serve, we are called to be the body of Christ, that isn’t random, that’s a choice. And there is the ultimatum, do we choose to live a life for Jesus or for ourselves? Two choices. One decision. Go.

Matthew 6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Flying Away

Well, as of this weekend the plane tickets have officially been purchased! Our team has unfortunately lost some members, however we still have a strong group getting physically and mentally prepared. For myself, mentally preparing has been the hardest. Between full time school and working it has been difficult to put a great deal of focus toward the trip. This is my challenge for myself this week. I'm planning on setting time aside everyday to spend time with God specifically for what He wants me to do with this trip. There is a specific verse in Isaiah that I came across recently it's 41:10 it says, "Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you –  yes, I help you –  yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!" I love it because, this trip terrifies me, simply because I have no idea what to expect, but this verse is a pleasant reminder that God is right next me...everyday, every hour, and every minute. 

"God is reachin...

"God is reaching out to me to rescue me. I am learning to trust Him, learning to live by His precepts that I might be preserved."

Donald Miller has become one of my favorite authors to read so far. I started "Blue Like Jazz" recently thanks to a friend who suggested it. One specific chapter, "Change" has taken over my mind. Miller talks about how he doesn't feel whole anymore and that he is just tired and exhausted of being something he isn't. Lately, these are my exact feelings. For many of us, we put on different masks everyplace we go, and it gets exhausting. I for one, am at a certain place in life where I am really starting to find myself and realize who it is I want to become. However, this seems to get harder and more complicated. I suppose what I am really searching for is a relationship, specifically a relationship with God. This past week has been a difficult one to say the least. It has made me put all my trust in God and believe that whatever comes out of these decisions, will work out for the best. Leaving me to realize that one of my greatest challenges was trusting God, trusting God with everything. So for the time being, all my trust is being put into Him. It absolutely terrifies me, though at the same time it's comforting. This trip to Honduras is going to be a mega stepping stone in working toward that complete trust with God. It has been amazing to see the commitment from the other team members on our endeavor and watching how God is working by helping get the funds we need and the amount of people that have been praying for us and with us to succeed. Thank you to everyone that has become a partner with myself and others, we are still a long way form where we need to be, however, our trust is in Him.