4.29.2010

Destiny

I'm not talking about the destiny that we spend our lives searching for, but the little girl that myself and my Jr. Leaders were blessed to pray for a week ago. Destiny is a beautiful young girl who is in love with Jesus and believes He can do miracles. A week ago she started getting warts on her little fingers, she started with one then popped up with a few more. The Dr. proceeded with trying to burn them off, but the pain was too much for her to take, not to mention the pain that mom and dad felt while watching her go through it. Mom asked me if I could pray for her to stop feeling the pain and for the warts to stop spreading. I am always incredibly honored when someone asks me to pray for them. God can use anyone to deliver a healing, but to know that I get to be apart of it is something I find incredibly special.

Last week Destiny and her family came to the church and right there in the lobby we prayed over her, her fingers, and her family. I pulled my Jr. Leaders in to pray as well because I want to continue building their faith through the beautiful things that God does. Yesterday (exactly a week later) I was sitting in my office and Destiny came to mind. I instantly emailed her mom and asked her how she was feeling. Mom emailed me back with this:

"Girl was just gonna text u-her warts all are off-the skin just needs to heal so that i can tell if the treatment killed the entire wart! the large blister wart on her finger just fell off like 5 min ago-no joke! man god is so wonderful-thanks again for the prayers-des was so excited it came off cause this means its one step closer back to normal..."

God is GOOD! Amen?! She's healing beautifully and all of the warts have fallen off. Best part of it all is that it continues to build our faith. She'll never forget that people took the time to stop their busy routine and just pray for God to heal her.

4.27.2010

Swing Swing












Today I had my lunch at Santa Park under the shade at the picnic tables. The breeze was a bit chilly but the sunshine was glorious. Today's lunch was a little bit different than most days, there was about 10 mentally handicapped people of different ages enjoying their lunch as well. I'm not really sure if that's even the politically correct way to say it so forgive me if I offend you. I sat back and just took it all in, pondering why some are born with disabilities and some aren't. I sat there and watched as they ate, and stared off with this sad look in their eyes. All I could think was "That's no way to live" it breaks my heart to know that this will forever be their lives.

I watched as one of the men from that group got on the swing and just went for it. The entire time he was swinging he was just laughing, and laughing, and laughing. Laughing as if it were the most amazing thing he has ever done in his life. And then I thought "Hmm, if only us as adults would take joy in something so simple". Shortly after watching him, a grandmother and her granddaughter who I believe was about a year old, got on the swing next to him and began swinging. The little girl was laughing just about the same as the young man. It was almost surreal, watching her at such a young age, she has her whole life ahead of her. So pure and innocent, hasn't been tainted by society, no one has told her that she won't make it, no one has told her that she's not good enough. All she knows is that grandma is the best for taking her to the park.

It all just really made me think that if we can walk and talk that we are already incredibly blessed. If you woke up today and you're breathing then consider yourself blessed. We go through life looking at all the things we don't have and all the things that we want. But what about all the things you have but take for granted? The breath in your lungs, your ability to speak, walk, read, listen, contribute. The right to live in a free country where you're told you can be whatever you want to be. I just think that sometimes we need to stop and really take in our scenery and be thankful for it. I want to be like that young man and take joy in swinging on a swingset and like that little girl I want to believe that the world can someday be as perfect as she sees it.

Secrets Don't Make Friends


















Well, this time they do!

I have a HUGE secret that I can.not.wait. to share! In due time my friends, in due time. Just know this, God is amazing and His timing is perfect. Yesterday I was reminded once again that everything happens for a reason, and if we are lucky enough, we are blessed with seeing the fruit that comes from our decisions.

Stay tuned...

4.24.2010

Connection

Last night was the first Friday night in months that I didn't have a single thing planned. I loved every bit of it. I purposely said to myself that I didn't want to plan anything because I wanted to just stay home and relax. I suppose our definitions of relax are all different. My night consisted of three loads of laundry, cleaning my apartment, hot shower, Chinese take out, Bill Johnson book, You Tube videos of Kim Walker, listening to worship music, reading my bible, and an early bed time.

It felt so good to just go at my own pace and do whatever I wanted. I told myself that I just wanted to have a date night with Jesus. My old friend Tarah used to tell me all the time how she would take date nights with Him, or go on drives and just talk to Him. I want that kind of relationship where I can just take a night off and just be in His presence. No one else. Just me and Him.

I started watching You Tube videos from Jesus Culture and then I started looking up videos of Kim Walker. I was curious to hear her heart and really see what she was about. The biggest thing she touched on was that worship isn't just music, it's a connection to God. That worship isn't just the painting, or the dancing, it's us being in His prescense giving all we are to Him. Granted, she acknowledged that music, painting, poetry etc are forms of worship, but not the all end all of worship.

One of the biggest things that hit me was when she said that a lot times people go through their busy weeks of, school, work, kids, volunteering, etc. and we show up on Sundays expecting the band to get us to "that place" with God. "Make me feel something band!" when it's not about that. It made so much sense! How often are we waiting for the worship band to create that "feeling" during worship and praise. What would Sunday mornings look like if throughout the entire week we were already in "that place" with God. Dang. Chew on that for a bit...

Moving on, she talked about how her everyday struggle is battling with all of the bad things that have happened in her life. Wondering where God was in all of it. "Where were you when that happened, God?" "If you're the creator of all the universe and you hold the Earth in your hands, why didn't you stop it?". At the end of the day she wants God more than she wants her answers. Our hearts become offended when we start to wonder where He was, when we know He was there all along. When our hearts are offended we hold back from Him. We think "My heart is offended, therefor you don't get ALL of me today". It's not until we let go of that offense and just give ALL of ourselves to Him that we can fully feel our connection to Him.

4.22.2010

Seattle!
















I have made a personal goal to make at least ONE trip outside of California a year. So far, I've been able to stick to my goal by visiting places like Florida, New York, New Jersey, Philladelphia, and Iowa. Those were all in a matter of a year or so.

My next planned trip is to Seattle! I can not be more excited about this trip. I love going to new places and experiencing new things. I am doing my best to live my life to the fullest potential. And traveling is one of those things that I want to do for as long as I can. Especially since someday I'll have a ball and chain and some kiddos running around, haha. Jk.

So this trip will be myself, Nicole and Aaron, and hopefully with a special guest visit from Andrew. We will be visiting the Ramos family while we are out there and also getting in a few hours of quality time with the Glasbys, SO EXCITED! Can't wait!

P.S. Part of me hopes I'll fall in love with the city and want to move. Just a small part, don't get crazy.

4.17.2010

Jesus Culture












It's been about a week since me and some of my amazing friends have been back from Jesus Culture Vegas 2010. This week has been crazy for all of us. We've seen and heard things that I don't think we were all 100% prepared for. I suppose you can't be 100% prepared for anything.

When I heard Jesus Culture was coming to a city near me I automatically jumped on the planning train and started getting my details in order. I've heard nothing but good things from the conference so I wanted to experience it for myself. I want to make clear that I honestly believe that God can rock your world from wherever you are, but I also believe there is power in being surrounded by hundreds of people that share your same passion.

The conference was designed to awaken the young people of this nation, to become revolutionary's and revivalists of our time. Given that I work with the youth I want to learn as much as I possibly can so I can further the lives of the students I Shepherd. I went there expecting a mini "Youth Convention" and what I got was more than I ever bargained for.

I can honestly say that I experienced God in a way that I didn't think was even possible. Before I left town one of my mentor pastors said to me "Keep your mind on sowing this weekend" which made a lot of sense to me because I was taking five students with me. These aren't just any students, these students are earth shakers! One of the biggest joys I got from this weekend was being able to watch these students fully give themselves to God. To just be in His presence without limitations or restrictions.

I would say that 95% of the trip I was in tears because being able to build them up in who they are in Christ, was more rewarding than anything. And God, being the amazing Father that He is, still continued to bless me through my own yearning for Him. It was a feeling of freedom, joy, beauty, and love.

There's always that sad feeling when you come back from trips such as Youth Convention, missions trips, conferences etc. For however long of time, whether it be three days, five days, or two weeks your mind was on God 24/7. It's sad because when you get home it's back to the routine, back to the schedule of life. Which then got me thinking, why do I need to go back to the grind?

While at the conference I was told by a complete stranger that I have the gift of healing, I had been told this before but something about it was different. Maybe it's because it came from a complete stranger who knew nothing about me. I was told that I really need to start using it and that if people aren't getting healed it's not because I don't believe. What really hit me about this is that I (through God) have the ability to heal the emotionally hurt people around me. I always just assumed healing meant physical. It was like this huge light bulb went off!

I vented to Jason Ramos (former Catalyst Director but still friend and mentor) about how I get frustrated at work sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day. That I feel like I can be doing so much more with my time. He told me that when I go back to work after the weekend that I'm going to have a different feeling towards being there. My first reaction was "I hope so!". I also complained that a lot of times I see these people who are emotionally broken and all I want to do is pray for them but I can't because I could get in trouble for it. To which Jason then said "Do it! See what happeneds". To which leads me to this crazy story...

I was in my office minding my business when this older man came in and sat down. He needed to schedule a follow up appointment with his therapist. From the moment he walked into my office it was this "I need to pray for this guy" then I immediately went to "Uhhhh whaaat?". So he starts going on about how he is on dialysis three times a week, his arm is badly deformed from all the poking and prodding he goes through. He talked about how he was always a happy person but that this disease is bringing him down. So then I said "can I ask you a personal question?" then I said "Do you believe in prayer?" He answered with "I never really used to but I've been praying a lot more lately" so then I asked if I could pray for him, he said yes, I called his wife into my office and right then and there I held his hand (the arm that was badly beat up) and prayed. As soon as I said amen, he said "WOW! My arm don't hurt anymore!" Frrrrrrick. His eyes lit up like he saw a ghost by the shock he was in that his arm didn't hurt anymore. God is GOOD!

Here's my point to all that, I don't say it to say that I'm this amazing person who prays for people and they get healed, I say it to say that I was nervous like crazy but I was obedient and God came through! Do something thats dangerous enough to where you need God in order for it to work. Move in FAITH!

4.08.2010

Embracing April

I've been having this itch lately to blog, but I feel like I have zero time to actually sit down and process my feelings on screen. So much has happened since my last entry that I don't even really know where to start, so I'll start with the fact that I'm in love...with what I do. I'm in love with how much I've been able to work with students. Everytime a Tuesday or a Wednesday night rolls around I am reminded of how much I LOVE working with the youth.

Monday night I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to the Jr. High students of Remnant. It was the first time I had ever preached from the main stage at the church. So needless to say I was a little nervous about it. I showed a NOOMA video from Rob Bell entitled "Name" It talked about Jacob trying to pass himself off as his brother so he could receive his fathers blessings. I went on to talk about how we still do that till this day, we try to be something we're not.

As the message went on I talked a lot about how I used to be in High School, and also how I used to be just months ago. One of the biggest things I wanted to communicate was that we gain nothing from comparing ourselves to other people. So and so and is prettier than I am, so and so is smarter than I am. Who cares? God made you the way you are for a reason, embrace the skin you're in.

I took it a step further and asked "How many of you compare yourselves spiritually to other people?" I know I personally still struggle with it from time to time. so and so prays better than I do, so and so lifts their hands higher during worship. Really? I'm pretty sure God isn't looking down on me saying "Ummm, that prayer sucked!" But how often do we believe the lies of the enemy and say "I'm not good enough". I wanted them to know that it's ok if their in a different stage of their relationship with God, that it's ok if their prayer doesn't last five minutes. God knows our hearts better than we do, and He knows what we mean.

Most of the message was talking about what their name represents, when they think of their name do they think good things? Do they think "smart, pretty, funny etc" or do they think "not good enough, stupid, ugly". I told them to take a minute to think about their name and what it means to them. That whenever they hear negative words to replace them with what God really thinks of them. I had Bryan Corona come out towards the end with a stack of carboard cut outs with words on them. Words like Envy, jealousy, anger, depression... I asked them "Are these words that come to mind when you think of your name?" the final two cardboards said "I am..." "A child of GOD!" I told them that's the first thing they should think of and that when they look in the mirror they should see the beauty that God sees in them.

It felt so good to be able to get up there and talk about how I used to be to where God has taken me. To be an example that when life seems like it's not going to get any better...it does. And it was also a reminder to me that God really has transformed me, not even just from when I was in High School, but even from just months ago. I have sincerely prayed for Him to break me and mold me to what He wants me to be. I'll never get "there" but the journey of getting there is what I'm embracing.