Monday, August 28, 2006

I Must Confess

The thought of sitting in a booth as I spill all of my weekly sins makes me feel like vomiting. I mean, c'mon, isn't that a little legalistic in some sense. Well, that is what I used to think up until recently. Not that I would ever sit in a booth and spill my guts to a priest, but I have come to find that confession is a practice all Believers need to make a point of doing.

Confession. A practice I have managed to sidestep, either advertently or inadvertently, for much of my life. I would ask for forgiveness from the Lord and others I have wronged, but rarely would I ever "confess" of anything, and there is a difference between asking forgiveness and I have come to find.

The Lord put it on my heart to start confessing instead of just dealing with forgiveness. The process has been priceless. The Word is so clear about the need for this and for so long I have wondered why I have felt like I am carrying weights around with me (even when I'm not in the gym!). I aired some stuff this week. To God....To friends....and it has been truly refreshing. I even had a confessional with a couple of people I barely even know at Fellowship.

Sometimes I wonder why God doesn't just give us it all at once, but I'm not Him, and I probably couldn't handle every aspect of His will at once. It took Seminary for me to realize the importance of the Old Testament, it took the book Red Moon Rising for me to realize the epic importance of prayer, Urbana '03 to realize the importance of the Great Commission, and the summer of '06 to realize the importance of confession...which is in fact, itself, a confession.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Too Much Information

I am an introvert (contrary to what some of you might think!). Therefore, I don't offer much deep, personal stuff to many people. It's not my problem! (as my language teacher says...I told him to learn a new English word....Fault.."its not your fault".) And its not my fault either, God made me this way. However, I thought I would give it a shot...a safe shot, yes, but a shot nonetheless.

My August 21st journal entry:
Dreams. For the past three nights in a row I have had dreams I wish I hadn't. The first, terrorists got a hold of about 50 people, including me, and took us hostage. I woke up as they were clearing the city out that I lived in. Bad dream. The second, the plane that I was on crashed into he middle of some European grassland. No one died, but as I sat in the back of the plane my whole life flashed before my eyes. Another bad one. The third, I had a dream about an ex-girlfriend of mine. In it, she asked for us to get back together. I hesitated, well, up until she said and did this..."Can anyone touch you like this?" and she put her arms around me and hugged me. The feeling is one I'll never forget even though I was asleep. It zapped me, reached to the core of me. It gave me a feeling I have never had felt like, love. Thus, I responded, "No, I haven't been touched like that before."

The subconscious. Hard to explain why I would dream such things. Well, until I really gave it some thought. Maybe its not so hard to understand. Is it fear? Could I possibly fear all of these things? Or, could it be held down concscious thought?....things I push deep into me. Could I just be denying these aspects of my life, not dealing with them? Both ideas/conclusions could make sense. I don't like flying, have a healthy (and I stress, healthy) fear of terrorists, and one or maybe 80, of my friends say I am afraid of love. Things I am afraid of in my subconscious. Or, I don't like flying and I will be doing a lot for the rest of my life, am living in the age of terrorism, and also desiring to find that someone. All real life stuff, in your face stuff...not subconscious, but conscious thought. Whatever it is, I have a hard time believing it is just dreams of chance. I'll seek Him....

There you go. An aspect of me that is usually hidden. Maybe next time I'll wait until you ask.....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Women and Gyms

Women and Gyms. Broadly, that was my call. I didn't ask for it, much like I didn't request to be living where I currently dwell. But, HE gave it to me. It started 3 years ago in Seminary. Daydreaming in my class (oops, did I say during class, I meant inbetween classes..yeah, that's it) of how I can take a Western concept to the world. He kept pestering me. He kept giving me passion and drive to do bring the Message to these groups: women and gyms. A subculture. A "subculture" you ask? Yes, here, a subculture.

Fastforward to now. Still women and gyms. Lord, you know where I am, right?!?! Confirmation. Obedience. Focus. Two days ago I met with a woman. This isn't supposed to happen, just ask all the "experts". She poured out her heart to me. All of it. Deep stuff. She gave me the garbage. She was worn out, totally wiped. I paused.....

"You need to know something, and never forget this....God loves you more than you could ever imagine."

We sat in silence.

He gave it to me. He did this.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Manifestation of the Spirit

Going over Acts again. Thought it might be an appropriate time, ya know, the start of the Church and all. I love getting little gems, nuggets of Truth that hit me like a splash of cold water on the face. I got that feeling in Acts 4.

To set context, Peter and John had just been arrested for preaching "resurrection from the dead." They had to face the Sanhedrin and explain what the heck they were doing. Verse 8 gets the ball rolling. "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.....". I love it. Right away Luke shares with us that this whole episode would be led and governed by the Spirit. Well, Peter goes on to tell everyone present how wondrous deeds have been done in Christ's name and then jumps right to the Gospel message. How's that for a defense? The onlookers were astonished. Verse 13 goes on to say that they "saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, and marveled." Peter and John were released as the Sanhedrin couldn't find fault.

I couldn't help but notice this key point: The Holy Spirit and Boldness are interrelated. Boldness, I believe, is a manifestation of the Spirit.

Peter and John went on to share what had happened with their companions. Everyone was excited, so excited that they professed that no man could withstand the anointing. They thus prayed, "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all BOLDNESS they may speak Your word." (verse 29). As soon as they were done praying these things, the place they were standing was shaken and "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with BOLDNESS." (verse 31).

Once again, the intimate connection of the Holy Spirit with Boldness. I can't help but think that a key ingredient to establishing faith communities is boldness, much like the initial faith community in Acts 4.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My New Transportation

Riding a bike on a rock riddled, dirt road - sore butt

Weaving in and out of chaotic, lawless traffic - scrapes and bruises

Trading in the Dodge Durango for a Chinese bicycle - PRICELESS!