Career vs. Heart

This title kind of sums up a lot of what has been on my mind lately. Questions like, What should I do after college? Is this decision the best for my future? How is God going to use this? and How can I fix this situation?, just have been running through my mind constantly. I’m coming to the point in my life where I’m going to actually have to get a “big boy” job (not the restaurant lol, that ship has already sailed haha).

Currently, I’m going to school for a degree in Sport Management…simply because I love sports and at the time of deciding on a major nothing else really seemed interesting to me. When I made this decision I just began my life as a Christian so I wasn’t sure on how that would play into my career or most of my life, I was still trying to figure it all out.

My classes honestly haven’t helped much (some have been really good though), in terms of preparing me for working in the sport industry. I don’t think I’m going to need to tell someone what type of sporting event we are putting on or anything of that nature. Volunteering with the ticket office and athletic communication departments at school have really given me an idea of what it will look like working in this industry. I have gained a lot of valuable experiences and teachable moments during my time spent at both of these departments. I can totally see myself working in the sport industry and being a light wherever I am and just loving on everyone that I work with. On the other hand, I can see myself maybe going into ministry and working for organizations like Athletes in Action or FCA, or maybe be an entrepreneur and open a surf shop, coffee shop, or bar (or a shop with all 3 in 1 ha).

The Jesus Factor is something that has changed my life a lot. Growing in my faith and learning more about it has changed my perspective of life and how it should be lived. Without Jesus in my life I was more concerned with making money, living somewhere warm (that still sounds awesome), and basically focusing on things of this world that now just don’t seem that appealing to me. Money is a big factor in this and the thing is it’s not even my money, it’s God’s money he has chosen to give it to me for me to spend wisely. We…well at least I know that I don’t need a whole bunch of money to be satisfied and be happy in life, sure you can buy more things but do those things last forever? My typical grocery bill for the month is around $35, I go out to eat maybe once a week for $10-$15, and then rent for me is around $300. Besides feeding myself and having a place to live I don’t need a lot of money for everything else. Sure I’ll get some new clothes, books, or vinyls every once in a while but I don’t need them. So yeah the more I’ve grown the more I’ve realized this, also when I went to the Dominican Republic seeing the happiness that they had even though they didn’t have much really showed me to revalue things in life.

Having been put in this confusing season of life has really made me think of what can I do to best serve God wherever he places me. Even if I don’t go into ministry I know God will place me somewhere I can best serve Him and show His love to everyone I work with and come in contact with.

Having said all that…telling my parents that I don’t have the same idea of what they envision me doing in life has really made our relationship tough. We had an intense conversation about this topic and we are complete opposites of what we feel my life should look like. It’s just a weird thing to try to explain to them because they just kept getting more frustrated with me. I just think of Acts 1:7 “He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” God has a plan for this relationship to get better and for them to know Him, I just have to not be anxious about it and let God do his thing because it’s in his time not ours.

This topic will probably continue to be prevalent in my life for awhile because it’s just the time in my life where I start seeing what I could maybe do and try things out to see if this is where God wants me. For now I’m just going to be praying about it and getting as much feedback from mentors and friends as I can.

Peace be with you

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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Listening…Glory…Pain

I’m just in a difficult situation right now…I’m struggling. Twenty four hours ago I wasn’t, I was praising The Lord with 2,000 peers at a conference in Indianapolis. The Spirit was everywhere and it was so very good and the whole conference had been awesome.

To kind of start off how this started I’ll summarize it quickly because there really isn’t a whole lot to go over. Alright…I need an internship to graduate from school early next December. I planned on trying to do that this summer so I could graduate early, then there is a job fair in Washington that could provide opportunities to get a job (this job fair is next December). So hopefully I would graduate next December then hopefully get a job right away from the job fair and wouldn’t spend too much time without being employed.

This plan start to change though about a month ago. A friend of mine came up to me after a worship night at my house and was asking about my summer plans because she felt The Lord told her to tell me to consider maybe taking a summer to focus on Him. So I listened to her but was pretty set on the plans that I had thought of about for the internship.

As December started I had a few friends pray over me and they saw me working with youth and doing things of that nature. Also that I The Lord was putting armor on me to prepare for some type of battle. So I started praying about those things to see if it was accurate or not. The more I prayed about it the more I got memories of helping kids out during my life and the great time I had last year at this camp where I spend a week being a counselor.

Like I was saying I spend the last week at a Christian conference in Indianapolis. It always is really good and this year was no exception. I signed up for it but as it got closer I realized that financially it would not be smart. But The Lord provided and I went to Indy, going in with the future on  my mind I was praying that He would clarify things a bit for me.

The conference went on and the speakers where so good and a theme started to emerge out of it. Faithful and available. Words from Beth  Guckenberger, really got me thinking. Like this is the perfect time to do works for God. I’m in school am not tied down to anyone or anything so why not trust His word and go for it. The speaker that  really got me was Leann Willis. She was telling us about how so many people will say oh let me figure out this thing I have going on in my life then I’ll work on the spiritual. We should put God 1st then the rest. I began to think instantly about my career and the summer plans I had been thinking about. I talked with some friends afterword about my thoughts and the pickle about the internship and stuff. I got some really good feedback and ideas and such. So I decided that I was going to go to camp for the summer instead of trying for an internship.

This begins the pain. I came home last night planning to talk to my parents about this. So I approached them and started telling them about that I felt like I was being called toward this camp for summer. Right away my parents had a big problem with it. One I was not making money, Two it is not going to be helping my career (which I don’t even know what I want to exactly do), Three it would delay my graduation another semester, and Four they felt that my friends I have been talking with, they felt where making this decision for me and steering me into that direction. A bunch of other stuff was said that really got me frustrated and hurt.

They do not understand The Holy Spirit, I try explaining it to them but they just can’t grip it. I tried explaining things out but since they truly do not understand where I’m coming from and  that I’m not the same 18 year old that left for college and now am 21 with whole other view points and have grown tremendously. Honestly this was the 1st deep conversation I’ve had with them my whole life. So they kept like bashing my friends/mentors and saying that they where telling me these things and that I’m being gullible. Saying things like your career is more important and just going against all I heard during the week. Also not to let God control to much of my life. There was some more but I think I’m getting my point across, it was rough.

After my family went to bed I just laid downstairs in my family room just praying and crying for a while. My sister came down and she knows just how tough our parents can be and how rough it can be communicating things with them. I’m stilling trying to just figure out what’s next and like how to solve the hurt that my parents have put on me. I’m just praying for them and yeah just for guidance.

Psalm 91: 1,2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 

What Just Happened

Last night was one of the craziest nights I’ve ever experienced. Yeah that epic ha. I went to Ember last night and yeah it was solid the whole night, the guest speaking was giving a solid talk on getting rid of addictions and things that are keeping us from God, well things we feel like are, and that we need to let them go and just go to God. So that was really good, but it got so much better. The speaker called everyone to come in front of the stage. He started praying and saying a bunch of stuff and told the band to come up and play Break Every Chain, he joined in and started singing too it was awesome. The Spirit was so prevalent in that moment like everyone was praying and just feeling it.

Then the speaker tells everyone to hold everyone’s hand. He started to do something that I’ve never seen done before…he told one guy to stand behind this one guy and he like said accept the power of God and this guy just fell backwards! Was absolutely KO’d by God’s power! He started doing this for a bit, some people fell down others didn’t. He got back on stage and said that he wasn’t going to be able to bless everyone so hold hands and the power of God was going to flow through our hands. After that he said this which is trippy and awesome. He said someone who had never spoken in tongues before is going to. A back story is that I’ve been praying to be able to do this for about a week now, so yeah ha. Like a minute later I just start to feel a massive tingling sensation go through my body and it started slight but grew and grew. I then like just couldn’t stand anymore and my legs like gave out and I fell down, luckily someone helped me down. Hahaha it was insane! Like a minute later I started saying random stuff and had no idea what I was saying! Was nuts yo! Was crazy that I started speaking in tongues. I layed down for a while, mostly because I couldn’t move haha, but yeah the power of God just hit me so hard! I stood up after a little while and like still was tingly and felt like I was drunk I was stumbling and all. I probably should have waited longer to drive home but I didn’t and I was pretty sketched out driving home ha luckily God was watching out and I made it back. It was an incredible night, I just never felt his presence like that before. God is so real ya’ll like ahhh he is so great and his power is incredible.

Draw near to him and he’ll draw nearer

 

Growing Pains

I’ve had an interesting school year to say the least so far. With that I mean spiritually, rest of my life has been solid. Schools School you know so like I’m always grinding with that ha. Yeah I think I’ve stated this a few times in previous posts but this past summer for me was incredible. I grew so much this summer just being able to get into the word all the time and be around people that could pour into me and I into them. Having that community was so big for me, since I did not grow up in an  environment where people were open with their feelings, thoughts, struggles, and ext. being around people that were open to hear me out and give me feed back was huge.

Anyway…this years has given me a lot to think about and a lot to question. I came into this year stoked to see what God had planned for our ministry on campus and me personally. As the year began I began to start seeing things differently and think about the things I did previously in school and realize that something did not seem right. Is it me? Is it the community? Why does it feel different? I really was struggling to figure out what it was and it finally started to come to mean after talking to some people about it. It’s just growing pains, I’m wanting to see radical change and for people to be as stoked as I am to do God’s work and people just aren’t and I have to realize that. Things just feel weird, part of it is that I am growing and am trying to figure out things exactly. Being in community with most of the  friends I’ve made is hard currently for me. I enjoy going out and being in the presence of non-believers, they need love and I love being around them. Something that bothers me (I know I’m a broken record but its so good and true) is we are too much in our Christian bubble and we are too sheltered (I could probably go on and on). I’m just seeing things in a new light and God’s putting a lot on my plate. I’m just in a different season of life I guess, whatever it may be cause I’m still trying to figure it out.

Being apart of this campus organization just isn’t satisfying to me I guess, I’m looking toward things that are after college you know like how am I going to use my ministry after I graduate. Am I just going to join a church and do that? I hope not cause that just doesn’t seem all that wonderful…church is great and all but I want to do life with people I’m around and if they aren’t believers I would love to share God’s love with them. I’ve been reading Saturate by Jeff Vanderstelt literally one of the best books I’ve read. Has opened my eyes a lot with how to live in a community and how to do ministry outside of the church setting and how to reach a community or neighbors. I know I should be going after the lost on my campus and such. I just don’t feel called to be here if you know what I mean I feel like I’m supposed to be somewhere else doing ministry. Another part of it is that I need to realize that for the time being I am here so I need to do works here and stop thinking about whats ahead of me.

Hearing that is kind of tough for me because I’ve been wrestling with this for most of the year. I learned that I could graduate early next year and since then I have been thinking a lot of the future and where I could be headed. So much uncertainty just is stressing me out a bit to be honest. I know that I just need to pray and give it to God. For some reason it just is hard for me to do so, I like to have an idea of what is ahead so I can prepare but in this case I don’t. Relying on God is the one thing that I know I can truly rely on. I’d love to move out of Ohio but realistically I’m not sure I can, in terms of personally cause it’d be hard for me to do so solo dolo. In my current situation I’m not sure I could do that without having friends or a spouse to make that move with me. I was prayed over a few weeks ago and someone told me that all battles are won in the prayer room. I absolutely love that, it’s so true and ahhh I need to bunker down and pray ha.

I needed to get this off my chest because it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’m just trying to figure out what God’s telling me and what I’m supposed to do next in this season. Pray on yo!

Eyes Opened

So like I’m a Christian, just to throw that out there ha. So I’ve talked to people about my trip to the Dominican Republic this summer but haven’t been able to completely tell everything that happened so this is my story from the summer.

Like I was saying I went to the Dominican Republic this past summer for the whole month of June, I went with the group Athletes in Action. By the way I also played baseball while we were down there, we played ball and got to share the gospel. We were a team of Christian athletes from all different universities and areas of the USA. We had players from big division 1 schools, division 2, division 3, NAIA schools, and then me the only one who did not play in college. But that story is for another day on why I’m not.  God gave me this wonderful opportunity to go to the DR and share 2 things that are very important to me, God and baseball. Lets start ha so our team met up in Miami, Florida to get to know each other and to get stuff organized for the voyage to the DR the next day. BB, DR Team 2014So like there we are haha, the plane ride from the MIA to the DR was around 2 hours so it was not to bad, except on my knees cause I’m a big dude. So we arrived and dang it was hot I am a person who loves the summer and heat but this was a lot warmer than I thought. I also had been in Ohio so it was like 60s-low 70s for a few weeks and now its like 90s with high humidity. Anyway we left the airport near Santo Domingo for the San Francisco Giants Dominican training center. It was at some Rawlings sponsored place in Boca Chica called The Highlands. It was VERY nice, I mean it was radical from the ball fields to some of the other stuff they had. We stayed there for a week of “training camp” were we would have two-a-days of discipleship sessions and baseball practice. We were pretty secluded from the actual town so that was nice to get started and not be thrown right in. I was a little worried about the food going in but surprisingly here it was pretty good. We did a lot of hanging out , playing cards, vitillia (defiently Google that ha), swimming, watermelon and playing basketball. With our discipleship time we went through this booklet that AIA gave us, this week we mostly went over stuff about how to share the gospel and ext.. AIA has there 5 principles that eventually we would get to all of them during our time. Near the end of our time at The Highlands we had a scrimmage at a field in the middle of the town of Boca Chica. You would not believe how many people gathered just to watch a practice, it was really cool. I was a PO (pitcher only) for this trip even though I’m usually a 1st baseman, so I only got 2 at bats during the scrimmage. I raked one and the other was just a solid ground out. The practice just was really cool cause all the people that showed up to watch and it showed how into the game the Dominicans are. A day later we left to start our games in Santiago which was I think about 3 hours north from where we were, away from the beach too, bummer right ha.10471486_10152332931452886_8388439276064467104_n

We got to Santiago and stayed with G.O. Ministries, they had a cool place for us to stay in the city which had hella bunk beds and a place to eat on top which was open, like outside, that had nice view of everything around us. We had our 1st few games all against the same team (DPL, Dominican Prospect League). These kids ranged from 14-18. All are pretty much trying to get signed by a team. We faced several kids that indeed sign with teams like the Mariners, Indians, and few others. We won all 4 or 5 games we played against them. We got to play in one of the coolest stadiums I’ve played at Estadio Cibao, which is home to the Águilas Cibaeñas. Which is one of the most famous Dominican teams in the nation. After each game we would share the gospel, it was pretty much always done by our 2 Dominican teammates Ariel and Miguel (since they spoke Spanish the best). Then we would share our testimonies to them. We still continued with our 5 principles and knocked those out, I might talk about them later if I still have energy to write ha. Since we were staying with G.O. we helped them start their new complex. Which is amazing it’s something like $10 million dollars, and it just is legit as can be. Oh yeah they are an organization that takes kids to develop them into baseball players and other sports too. But they actually give the player they sign all of the money they sign for and not a smaller chunk like other academies do.  Then besides new fields and such they will have dorms, class rooms, and other amenities that will not only help with athletically but overall in life too so if they do not make it they have skills that can get them a job.  We just cleaned out some pavilion that was already there which had rats and some gnarly spiders that we did not want to get involved with. But lucky some of the DPL dudes were there to help and they helped get rid of them ha. We also put some dirt down for some of the new ball fields that they are going to build. One of my favorite parts of the trip was when we went to these churches in the city and got to hand out food to a bunch of kids and play with them for a bit. It was fun even though I could not communicate with them they loved seeing us and showing us games they play. Yeah then before we left to go to Santo Domingo we went to this Christian rap (Cristo Urbano) concert in this church it was really interesting ha. Yeah the power went off mid-way through the concert to so that was interesting ha. We left for the capital which was 3ish hours south near were we started our adventure.

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We pulled up to this hotel and it was pretty sweet, a smaller place but nice anyway. The time spent here was probably my favorite time during the whole trip. Santo Domingo is the capital so there is a lot of taller buildings and just a lot more stuff overall. Everything has been going well health wise until we went to this McD’s after one of our games. The next day myself and several others had a stomach full and just had to sit around the hotel all day…it sucked I was in that bathroom probably for like a good majority of the day. After that though we did not have any issues until chikungunya hit the team later. Then this hotel had a roof that was pretty easy to access and that was one of the coolest places that we all hung out at. Most nights we would go up there and just chill and it was dope, we had some fun and deep conversations up there. Our team always had a lot of fun whatever we where doing something funny would happen or just it was entertaining. One of our days off we had some great alone time with God down near the Ocean and that was one of the things I was so stoked for. Cause I love the Ocean and it’s an awesome place to think. I’m just trying to recall everything that happened so there is no like specific order of what I’m saying it’s just coming out when I think of it ha. The World Cup was going on while we were down there and there was this HUGE mall we went to one night for pizza and they had a big projector with the USA vs Ghana game on it and when John Brooks scored the winner the whole Mall like went nuts it was pretty sick. One of our morning discipleship times our coach who is apart of FCA in the Dominican brought these 4 guys who either played in the NFL or coached a college team. They talked to us about some stories they had about being an athlete and a Christian and stuff they went through during their careers, that was such a cool experience to hear what they said. Back to the food ha, so the last place we stayed at in Santiago had some real good food like another shocker to me but I ain’t gonna complain. This place in Santo Domingo had some questionable breakfast choices but all and all not bad. Lunch and dinner were usually not at the hotel. Like one of my favorite meals now is fried chicken, rice, beans, it was so good like some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had was down there. So like one of our games they had like 6 games including ours going on at the same time! Nuts right it was interesting to say the least, haha I remember I threw this kid a meatball and he roped it into left field where another game was going on and our left field took out a kid on the other field, we were dying it was so funny.  We played universities that were in the city so the competition was better than what we 1st played against. Up to that point we only lost one game, in the most ridiculous umpired game I’ve even, cough cough homers. Personally I was struggling big time on the mound after having 2 average outings, just couldn’t find the strike zone and it suck I’m not gonna lie. Even though that was discouraging me it really did not matter because baseball was not the most important part of the trip it was learning more about God and sharing that with the people of the Dominican. I did not see this but our coach said he saw something that just tore him up inside and I really do not want to share what it was but he told us this and it put everything in perspective to me and it hit a lot of us hard and we had a really good conversation that night on the roof about it and things we could do. After a long time in Santo Domingo we headed to our last stop which was in La Ramana, about 45 minutes east. But 1st was we headed to the BEACH!!! VAMOS A LA PLAYA!!! We were all super stoked to finally be able to go to the beach.I wanted some waves to shred but this just like the other beach we went to did not have waves it was in a coral reef so it was chill and the water was like a beautiful light blue color. It was a great time at the beach needless to say.

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We arrived at Jurassic Park lol, the dude Marco that owned this camp that we stayed at next looked exactly like the old guy from the movie so it was pretty awesome. This place was really sick I really can’t describe it but it was sweet, had a big pool, pavilion, house that we all stayed in which was cool, basketball court that was run down, and geese. Yeah geese, the main one Tito seemed like he owned the place and would attack. They had 3 college students from the US that were helping Marco out so it was nice being able to speak english with other people and knowing they could understand us. Now the food here was by far my favorite, everything was fresh and my oh my was it good. The 2nd day we were there we went to this town where we played catch and did some drills with a whole pack of kids that this one guy was trying to teach. That was cool, then we went to a few houses and told them who we were and what we where doing and if we could pray for them and such. After playing a few games we went to help paint this building that they (oh yeah they I mean Hope Missions, who we were staying with) needed to get done. This was such a cool experience, Marco took us around this “barrio” which was run down and we went to a bunch of houses of people that he knew and we talked to them. This one woman just had a new house built for her family by some group that just came by, so we got to pray for the house. Then we went to this one woman’s house who was just a cool lady she was cracking jokes and had such a joy for God. She went around the whole street getting us chairs to sit in and she told us her story and it was quite amazing. She is getting out of prostitution and is apart of a program that Marco is trying to set up with getting women out of prostitution. Anyway this woman had cancer and then like she was prayed over by a whole church congregation and her next check up….the cancer was gone! Insane ha lastly we went to this other woman’s house who like accepted Christ as her Lord a few weeks prior by one of the college students that was at the camp, she was just so excited to tell us about Jesus and that was awesome to see. The rest of the time we painted the building and played with the kids that would run up to us. At this time during the trip  chikungunya was striking the team. All 3 coaches had it and I think it ended up with 6 or 7 players had it the last week in the DR.They had a rough time with that did not seem like it was fun to have that.  I almost forgot that we also had a day were we put on a clinic for a whole bunch of kids at a field we were going to be playing at later that day. It was funn messing with the kids and showing them stuff at the camp. Yeah during that game later was probably one of the most ummm weirdest things I’ve seen on a ball field. In between innings I saw in the outfield a kid (that jumped fence) get bitten by a dog in the middle of center field and then the outfielder threw his glove at the dog to leave. Later we found out that the kid was messing with the dog and then the dog attacked. Our final games wrapped up, we won them and I finally finished with a good closing outing, cause I went into my chill zone ha. This one team we played shared with us that some of them were going to a tryout to be able to go to college in the US and play baseball there as well so that was awesome that they were doing that. As a team we still played cards all the time, vitilla, dominoes , and chill in the pool. One night our coach set up a basketball game in town against a bunch of townies, which included 2 former professionals. That game was fun even though our coach did not like Team Fun, haha hard to explain. I schooled some Dominicanos with that euro step and some nice handles haha. We also got to share the gospel and a testimony with them as well.We had some pranks that went on at this house, none of which I was a part of lol, and it got a little out of hand when Miguel brought some huge beadles into the house and later we brought the geese and we just went nuts. We had some great times there and it was hard to leave when that time came. But it was an eye opening experience for me and I learned a lot from the culture, spiritually, and just overall ha. It was defiently something I hope to never forget and I just pray that all the testimonies and everything we shared reached the people and that they now know Jesus. That is really all I got to say about the Dominican right now, other stuff would take a lot more time and I’m running on low right now to right more. Dios te bendiga!

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