Finding a Church

Finding a good church to get plugged in to and a place that encourages growth on your spiritual journey is so key. In my experiences it can be pretty difficult to find a place. Personally for me since I’m a little more charismatic and expect things which makes it a little tougher. Thinking about this recently came to my mind because I’m soon unfortunately going to have to go through this process again.  I’ll be headed back to Cleveland and I know a few places back there but not sure really where I’m going to go for church.

It took me awhile in Kalamazoo to finally find a place that I honestly can say has been so awesome for me and I feel right at home there. Toward the end of my college days I began to a place that was very similar but left before I got really involved since I graduated and moved away.

Continuing on this journey and finding people along the way who can help you and you can help to grow closer to God is vital. It talks in the Bible about the importance of community and it’s affect on development and growth (James 5:16, Proverbs 27:17, Hebrews 10:24-25). I was at a house church in Cincy last week and we had a really great discussion about community and how having people around you to encourage and equip each other only helps our faith and our relationship with God.

Finding a place that fits what your looking for can be difficult, me personally I value prayer, community, anointed worship, solid teacher and freedom for movement of Holy Spirit. I have been to some really great places and don’t want to bash them but at some places there was like no prayer and I’d pray over people and it surprised people that I’d do that ha. I’ve found it hard since I want to see revival breakout, see people get healed and truly experience Him. Not everyone wants that you know, lot of environments are cool with the way things are and it challenges me and its hard for me to be in those places.

We each have our own things we are looking for in a church and we shouldn’t settle you know. Just like finding a spouse lol ha we can settle and be okay with it but why do that when we can find the right one.

We shouldn’t feel stuck at a church that isn’t meeting what we are looking for in a church. For a short season I felt stuck somewhere and it was a time where I needed solid community and encouragement and I was struggling with things and had to face them on my own. It was tough but you know the Lord provides and moved in other ways during that season.

A friend of mine from Toledo told me once that if you find a place that has the glory and passionate community to cherish it and if it takes you an hour to drive there it’s worth it. In my case not sure I will want to drive 5 hours to Kzoo and back every Sunday lol ha would love to but until we get the technology to teleport not sure I’ll be able to do that haha.

Yeah that’s really all I had just the importance of finding a solid church home where you can continue to grow, be equipped, be encouraged and be sent out to expand the Kingdom. It may look different to each one of us you know but having that place where you can be loved, be poured into, pour out and grow just is so important. It’s hard to go on this journey alone. Love you all.

 

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Rooted

 

 

I have noticed a trend recently, not sure why I did not figure it out sooner during the year I’ve been here in Kzoo. Well, I kept recognizing it but now am realizing that it has purposely stuck out more than anything else. That thing is intimacy with God. Books I’ve been reading, sermons I’ve heard, words that have been given to me and some other things just have all been pointing to intimacy.

I finished up my internship at WMU the other day (s/o #WeWillReign) and realizing early that this gig wasn’t for me forced me to look inside and figure out my passions and go from there. Over and over the Lord kept revealing those to me and not till few months ago did I pick up on it ha. This year probably has been the most time I have spent in my prayer room with Him. During these times of intimacy, these passions and dreams have been shown to me and I have started to think of what it would look like to go after them and pursue them more than I have had before. Sitting at a desk, typing a whole lot and not having much of an impact besides on my co-workers (which is awesome) really wasn’t what I was looking for in my career. I’m more of a relational person and want to have a bigger impact on the youth and what not.

Anyway back to intimacy, I’m always trying to grow my gift of words and knowledge and hearing from the Lord and I’ve read books by Shawn Bolz (highly recommend) and Michael Koulianos that have been super helpful, knowledgeable and practical. Like the theme of those books really have been being more intimate with God. Koulianos’ book is more about Holy Spirit than words of knowledge but anyway here is a quote I liked from it, “I would give Him my attention. I would talk to Him, speak to Him and worship, and He would distract me with His beauty. His presence became so overwhelming that I forgot about my struggles. As we tend to the presence of the Lord, our struggles die on their own.”  He then references Ezekiel 36: 26-27. The more time we spend in His presence the more He is going to reveal Himself to you and even reveal more of your true self to you. I don’t have my Shawn Bolz book with my right meow but he had a bunch of quotes about being intimate with the Father. This verse is HUGE in my opinion…pretty much sums it all up!

Matthew 11:27 (The Passion Translation) 

 “You have entrusted me with all that you are and all that you have. No one fully and intimately knows the Son except the Father. And no one fully and intimately knows the Father except the Son. But the Son is able to unveil the Father to anyone he chooses.”

I feel like at times that people have made the Christian life a lot more complicated than it is…it’s about Christ ha. It’s about getting to know Him and to live like Him! Growing in our intimacy with Him is going to make us know and live like Him. Anyone knows that the more time you spend with someone the more you will know them lol. If we are truly in this relationship with Him that should be the goal right? The Gospel is about knowing God (insert KGP booklet haha #CruLife) and His wonderful plan for your life. Since we have fallen short of the glory of the Lord, the only way that we can know God is through His son Jesus and receive Him.

Yeah mon, there just is something you can’t explain when your in His presence, receive a word for someone, see healing, or what have you. Even more so when there is a small group of people just going after it, whether its in a prayer room setting, in a church or in a sketchy college house that could break at any moment (s/o Arubbah House).

I have been in Song of Soloman and I’m a little biased toward The Passion Translation but it paints a beautiful picture of how God feels about his Bride.

Song of Soloman 4:7-8 (TPT)

“Every part of you is so beautiful, my darling. Perfect is your beauty, without flaw within. Now you are ready, my bride, to come with me as we climb the highest peaks together. Come with me through the archway of trust. We will look down from the crest of the glistening mounts and from the summit of our sublime sanctuary. Together we will wage war in the lion’s den and the leopard’s lair as they watch nightly for their prey.”

So yeah intimacy is so important if we truly want to follow Christ, I was listening to one of UPPERROOM’s prayer sets and one of people said, “I want to be so close to Him that I can smell His breath” haha come on, I love that, nothing but good comes from God so His breath has to smell amazing lol, I’m thinking like a combo of meat cooking and lavender haha.

There are always songs that you can just FEEL something when you listen to it. Whether that is a worship song or whatever music your into. I love that music has such a cool impact on people and moves in our souls. This song has been one of those, I just long for more when I hear it.

Breakthrough

Well, ironically the church I’m going to right now is doing a series called breakthrough…but things are kind of starting to unravel and are starting to make sense more to me just about what my passions are and where my heart is at.

Like I have shared before this season I have spent a lot of time in the prayer room laying things down before the Lord and seeking His presence more and more. In typical God fashion the more I have been doing this the more I have felt Him reveal things to me that just totally make sense and refresh my soul.

Some of the highlighted things that He has shown me have been sonship, surrender, fear of the Lord, joy and trusting Him. Some good stuff right there lol. I will usually (unless I forget) ask God for a word for the month to kind of rally around or something to continue to remind myself to walk in. Last month He gave me the word surrender. Being reminded of surrendering my worries and my “things” to God is so good I mean releasing those things off my back onto His has been so awesome. I had some things bringing me down but releasing those to a Father who can carry it and loves us in those rough times is such a blessing. Throughout the past few weeks the song Nothing I Hold Onto has been playing in my head. There is this awesome verse that goes, “I lean not on my own understanding my life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven, I give it all to you God, trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me.” I began to soak in that truth and stop trying to do it all by myself because like a lot of people, I think I can do it all on my own and during the rough times its hard but when you truly surrender these things to God…man does it get easier ha. Such freedom when we release it and truly surrender because then He can use us in miraculous ways.

The words of joy and trusting in God just have been good reminders to myself to continue to live in that joy and welcome it. We all know that it can be super hard to trust the Lord in things and then we’ll trust in Him and boom it all works out. I have been going through Exodus and it was awesome to see God provide in telling Moses that if he listened and told Pharaoh what he said that the Israelite’s would be released…sure it took a while and a whole lot of other things went down that made it a little more challenging but they were released and then God revealed the Ten Commandments and the land that was promised to them (unfortunately they botched that by worshiping the golden calf) . When the Israelite’s saw God’s power they feared him (get into that in a sec) and began to trust Him even more. Seeing the Lord’s power in that book had me thinking like how could I not trust that He will help me out or how could I not trust in Him providing.

I really never heard a word about the fear of the Lord until like two years ago and like since then it has been highlighted to me to be sure I understand this. Past few months I think I have forgotten to remember this and will let earthly fear seep in and forget that the fear of the Lord will bring me way more than fearing anything on earth. Like this generation has molded God into our imagine and if we don’t think God judges then what’s the need for salvation. We don’t have a proper fear of the Lord so we live like we wanna live and we start to begin to look like the world. You can’t change the world is you look like the world…come on! I could go on about the fear of the Lord but I’ll leave it at that.

The biggest thing that has kept coming up is understanding my sonship. I was at Azusa Now Cleveland in July and Todd White (S/O to Callie haha) and he went off about sonship and dang it was so good he said, “How can we live like our Father if we are living like an orphan … we need to know who we are and whose we are.” Man that was so good. I have been thinking about that lately and during my small group at church we where in Ephesians and somehow sonship got brought up. Anyway just have been thinking more about how to live that out more and what it means to be a child of God you know. Just was good.

With all of that, I also work. It has it’s highs and lows like any job but you always hear do what you love and it won’t be work and things of that nature. Since I’m newer to the area (I need to stop saying this haha its been 3 months) when I meet people I tell them I’m gonna be here in Kzoo for a year then who knows. I’ll share my dream of opening either a crepe shop or opening a baseball academy for kids. The more I say it the more I want to pursue it more and more. I know these ideas may be 10 years or so away which stinks cause I mean if I could do it right now I would but I need money and develop a plan to start them up. At work like its not a bad gig I enjoy it sometimes but it really doesn’t satisfy me, I really don’t see myself doing this long term…I am constantly thinking about those dreams. I want to be my own boss…no further explanation lol. One of the biggest things that troubles me with working in athletics is the hours. It stinks when people I know are chillin and I can’t cause work or my boss will call me while I’m at a party or friends house telling me to fix or do something. Like once I leave the office my mind is on anything but work. Like down the road when I start a family like I’m sorry but my family is going to come first over my job…so having my own hours will be clutch ha. I know I’m going to have to spend a few years doing something maybe more sport information stuff or who knows to start making moves toward my dreams.

Prayer room sets are the best…am I right?!?! Whether its IHOP or Upper Room or Toledo House of Prayer resting in His presence and purposely setting time for prayer and for revelation is so good. Stepping into the tabernacle and into the holy of holies… man…gaining that intimacy with God is….something I can’t put words to haha. When we let Him move in us it is so powerful and encouraging. I declare freedom over whoever reads this, may your lamp always remain burning!

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Hidden-ness

I remember this message I heard in Toledo a year or so ago about knowing the season you are living in. It was something I never really thought about until then and I reflect on it sometimes when I feel change to understand how to flow in those times.

Says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven …  10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live

A lot in there haha, I’ll start with this though, I visited BG and Toledo a few weeks ago and man that trip was so refreshing for me. Since then things have been going really solid (besides someone busting my car window…while I was at KHOP lol) for me, like I’ve been getting some solid revelation about my time here in Kalamazoo and its been so awesome.

I’ve received some words from some trusted people and have felt them too about my time in Kalamazoo. I knew that my time here was going to be spent more on my own and isolated. I received words from people I know in Toledo and here in Kalamazoo that totally confirmed this and it gave me encouragement.

The words about a challenging time through a “hidden season” that are going to take my roots deeper and deeper. I wanted to receive some birthday glory lol the other day and went to this guest speaker who was from IHOP. Dude (Josh MacDonald) was talking about John 15 and gave insight on it which I never really thought of before.

1I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Pruning is defined as cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. As Christians we are told that we need to cut away the things in our lives that aren’t fruitful and grow the ones that are. When I think of pruning I get this negative tone in my mind for some reason and this sense that I’ve done something wrong and need to change and things of that nature.

He started saying that just like how Jesus went into the wilderness to be tested and stuff that being in a season of pruning is a good thing and that the Lord has put us in this season (unless you did something dumb to get yourself in a wilderness season) because we are doing well and He wants us to grow stronger because He knows we are going to walk strongly through it. That this time is only going to be preparing us for the future.

I’ve been doing my thing but things just haven’t seemed the same with God. It has been a bit challenging so thinking about the pruning season, it kind of makes sense the more I thought about it. Like things are going pretty solid for me and in my prayer life asking the Lord to help me down the road with relationships, marriage, children, jobs, revival, and all of the future things ha has been some of the things on my mind. So having the Lord help me take care of those issues right now and not struggle (as much) down the road is awesome ha, well sure there will be some problems but preparing for that now will only help me grow stronger in my faith and as a true Godly man.

Dude told cool story about how he ran through the ministry ladder quick fast and the Lord pretty much showed him failure and had him in this type of season so that he wouldn’t burn out and that his family life and pretty much everything wasn’t affected by the way things were going for him.

I know that this time may be rough cause I mean being isolated can take a toll and the enemy can speak through that and try to hinder the power/authority I have. The secret place is special and that is where the work has to be put in. I can’t just expect for this growth to happen without chasing it, studying it, or working at it. You can’t expect to step up to the mound and throw strikes with all your pitches without working at it. Takes work. Same is true.

Yeah so that’s kind of what I’ve had in my head past few days. This season of kind of battling through things I have in my life that I need to take care of or grow upon. It’s gonna be hard at times but its worth it you know. Going back to the start of this, like knowing that I’m in this season and not getting frustrated with it but knowing it is for the better. Then at the same time doing this internship which takes a good amount of time ha.

I was at KHOP the other day and we did this cool thing where we sang the chorus of Worthy of it All to each side of the room declaring it to each direction of the city ha was powerful man … I also love sharing Upper Room’s spontaneous sets haha.

Peace & Love

Seeking

IMG_8854-editLike I’ve stated before in some of my last few posts ever since graduating things haven’t really been what I wanted or thought it was going to be like. The roller coaster of emotions from planning on going to Australia with YWAM (still struggle with pondering what if I would have gone) then that changing, coaching freshman baseball (which was awesome), trying to find a job for past few months (which just changed ha), and just not having the same consistent community I had back in college has taken a toll. I’ve had some revelation the past week or so on my whole time in that season and it’s been super refreshing. Quickly to update, I got a paid internship at Western Michigan University in Athletic Communication so legit just moved to Kalamazoo a week ago.

Back to my other points though, during my time where I kind of was at home every day waiting for baseball practice or once that was over just applying for jobs I had a TON of free time. During this challenging time I was seeking the Lord out on my family room couch reading the Word, praying, and worshiping in whatever way I could. I knew that I did not want to let my mind wonder or slip up (which it did a few times) and let the enemy plant negative thoughts or just give into my flesh so I just kept seeking Him. That time really helped me just quiet my mind and focus on what matters in my life. In that time it seemed like God was far to me even though I was in the Word and praying daily. I know He was though, I watched Todd White’s testimony (look it up!) and he said, “Just because you aren’t feeling, doesn’t mean He isn’t there.” How good is that come on! Felt like I was isolated and knew I needed to lean on Him no matter what because I knew He’d provide for me and show up. I was praying for a job and was like Lord by the end of June I want to know what I’m doing for the next year so send me wherever! On the last day of June I received the offer from WMU haha.

Since I’ve moved here I do the same thing, I don’t have to be at work till 10 am so I got plenty of time to do my thing in the morning and church I’ve been going to has a prayer room so I’ve been there several times already and man the Lord is just revealing some things to me that have been so refreshing to my soul. I still haven’t meet anyone besides my co-workers (trying to get connected with church been goin to) so I have a lot of time for myself and just find myself always seeking Him and trying to find cool spots here.

I was introduced to soooo many people my first few days of work and a lot of them kept asking me so man like what do you want to do with this and where do you see yourself in 5 years. Hate that question man ha, this one guy who is supposedly a “big” deal (don’t remember what “important” thing he does) was on my case about it and kept prying and it just gave me some bad vibes like why don’t I know, I just told him I have so many thoughts and ideas of what I want to do/get involved with. I know that this is a 1 year gig so feel like I’m gonna really know if I really want to do athletic communication stuff or chase after the other dreams that I have once this year is over. Am constantly praying into it.

Being kind of isolated in my own apartment is wonderful (s/o Arubbah House). Feel the Lord continue to test me in this season and I feel like my apartment is going to be a war room (well apartment) for me to press into things and refine things that may come up and what have you. I’m looking forward to what God has for me here in Kzoo with working and what comes up with that, volunteering with Cru whenever I can, attending Radiant, and who knows what else is going to be headed my way, who I’m going to cross paths with, who’s lives I will impact, how I’m going to impact this city/campus, and what may lead from here. Stoked to see what God has here for me. Bless you all in Jesus name!

 

And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”  And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

Just found this Upper Room Music group ahhh fire! This song though has hit home big time. This dope dude Vince from church I used to go to in Toledo told me something I’ll never forget “The battle begins in the prayer room”. The power we have when we pray is INCREDIBLE and I feel like a lot of people may not realize that. In the prayer room is where I go to fight my battles and that’s what this song is called ha its so good ha.

Now is the Time

These songs just have speaking to me a lot lately, if you didn’t know about this awesome event that happened back in early April. It was called Azusa Now, it took place in the Los Angeles Memorial  Coliseum, was a whole day spent fasting, praying, and worshiping. I was planning to drive across country with some homies to go but didn’t work out. Anyway they posted some of the worship sets and this one by the Circuit Riders really has been on my mind a lot lately. I literally watch/listen to these songs 3 or 4 times a day ha. The second song played is dope but the first song Take Courage and the last Another Wave have really been speaking to me.

Take Courage lyrically is so awesome and just thinking about some of the things she is singing just gets me super amped up. Some of the lines that really get me are, “Take courage, the harvest is ripe”, “Simple obedience, it changes history”, “We’ll lead this generation to the glory of The Lord”. Then the little spontaneous part in the beginning about now is the time for visitation and salvation. Ahh such an amazing song! So yeah like I was thinking about the song and the lyrics and was like it is our time to take courage and go out into the world and share Jesus’ love and the good news with everyone. The harvest is ripe, like it says in Luke 10:2 “He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Along with that the next lyric about obedience, we just need to listen and obey God and it can change history.If we are bold and courageous about loving people and sharing God with them it can change their whole life! Last part about our generation is dope in my mind, I’ve been hearing a lot about the end times being sooner than we think. So like we are living in the last days, we are running out of time, and if we truly want to see people to know Jesus we need to take action and have courage! Up in Toledo there is action being taken to see a revival in this city, the prayer for 500k in the city has been going on more a few months and I totally believe God is moving there and there is a shift occurring. Even at school in BG for me, this past year was insane! Healings, people knowing Jesus, and things that I haven’t seen while my time here. It’s been awesome to be apart of and I know this is just the beginning!

The second song kind of relates to the last things I was talking about it has this one awesome lyric that sticks with me which is, “Here comes another wave of revival, can you feel the Earth shaking” and then another lyric which is really sweet is, “tsunami’s of revival are crashing on the shore, a movement of the Spirit we’ve never seen before”. Yeah this year I’ve been praying a lot for revival on our campus and just for the United States. I think to myself like we need to pray for these tsunami’s you know, big prayers for our big God. God hears and answers them so why not pray big! Personally, I’ve been praying for all the undergraduates at BG to have heard the Gospel, so that’s 20k nuts but hey God’s done crazier things so like this ain’t nothing. Might not be in my time here but in the years to come this prayer will be answered. Along with what I was saying earlier about how things have changed this year, you can tell a difference and a shift on the campus that is ready to just open the flood gates for Jesus to totally make his way into everyone’s heart. Can’t wait to see God continue to move and reveal things to me which I haven’t known before. So lastly I wanted to say pray big because we have a big God.

Peace and Love

 

 

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.”