Oh Jake.....

Oh man

by on November 27, 2007

It seems a little pretentious to write entries proclaiming God’s greatness, showcasing my faith, and acting as if everything is good in the world. True, God IS great, I have a measure of faith, and many good events happen every day, but let’s be honest here; life is not like that. I’m not like that. The opposite holds true as well; blogging is not some cathartic experience where one gets out all types of negative emotions and thoughts, only to make themselves feel better. That’s just annoying to anyone who happens across such a page. I prefer the middle ground. God’s glory will shine through my imperfections, errors, and attitude, because He’s good, and hopefully I’ll find myself in pursuing Him. This is life; some choose to look past their own flaws, and tune-out the world that’s burning before their eyes, while all other people do is complain about how awful it all is. “Everything sucks.” I’ve been in both positions, and neither one felt genuine to me.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m seeing all the imperfections, but I’m doing all that I can to view them through eyes of faith. I want to see the world like God does, full of potential, with purpose that’s fighting to be loosed so that something amazing can happen. Instead I see the old person in the car in front of me who can’t get within reasonable range of the speed limit. They’re old! I can’t honk at them, tailgate them, or take even the least aggressive action without feeling like I’d be responsible for their potential heart-failure. That’s just one example. The biggest problem I see right now is that I’m currently unemployed. “And the loser’s blogging about it…” Believe me, I’m applying for jobs too, and I’m seeking God, asking Him to get me one that won’t depress the stuff out of me. A little background, just to save face. I worked at a church, an amazing one, but got laid off over money matters. I can’t be offended, because I know that it happens! It was far better to let the young single guy go than someone with a family to support, so no complaining! Since then, I’ve been a virtual whirlwind of paperwork, job applications, prayer and scripture, and all that other wonderful crap that we call life in America.

Fortunately, God knew that my string was about to get cut, and managed to give me a gift of cash to live off for a while. His provision amazes me. So, here I am with too much time, wondering what to do with my life. I’ve sought that purpose using my roommate’s X-Box 360 and Guitar Hero among other things. I’d feel like a complete loser but for the fact that I’m going to school, so I break up my music career with job applications, interviews, class and homework. Oh yeah, I’m blogging too. It isn’t amazing, as much as it sounds like it. I’m avoiding spending money on such amenities as new clothes, Christmas gifts and Carl’s Jr, which is killing me. I drove past one last night on my way home from school and I swear that the happy little star with the perpetual smile on his face called out to me, asking why I haven’t come to see him in a while. I cried the rest of the way home. Not really, but it sounds good.

Anyways, that’s where life is right now. I get to leave my house to go to Organizational Communication now, as not fun as that sounds, I’m excited simply to be around people that I don’t live with for a couple hours.

Oh Jake.....

by on November 22, 2007

I sometimes feel it there, burbling in my stomach; knots come and go, my mind speeds from one possibility to another, and a general uneasiness overwhelms me. I know what I want to do, and I know why as well, but I can’t see it anywhere, not really anyways. I look long and far, and I see where I’m meandering, but I don’t see my destination yet. Such an unsettling circumstance I’m in.

Truthfully, I’m sitting in my room, David Crowder’s singing to me from my computer, and I’m praying. Why on earth would I feel like that during prayer? The Holy Spirit speaks louder than my sound system for my mac, chilling over on my desk, and He’s telling me now, what he’s been saying for a long time now. He’s telling me His plan for my life. It’s big, scary, and difficult, but I want it more than anything else right now, actually more than I’ve ever desired anything in my life.

I see continued education, the potential to move away or to continue living right where I’m at. I feel dependent on God and people that I’m having a hard time trusting to get me there. The vision stands so much larger than I do; my 5′-7” stature stands in the shadow of things to come. Crap. I yell more than ask, “God, how do I do that? I don’t flippin’ get it! C’mon!”

His calm resolution makes me laugh. God never gets dramatic with me, even when He causes me to freak out. “Just have faith, and work toward it.” That’s all I got out of Him. Thanks.
I’m in a quandary: Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” What about a partial vision? Am I going to fall into a pit and die because I’m lacking in my vision? Am I a drama queen trapped in a twenty-three year-old body? I already knew the answer to the second question, but the first clung to my mind, much like a squatter in a vacant house; the thought didn’t want to leave.

This dilemma stands out as curiously jocular because I spend so much time considering how to help others achieve their dreams and goals. What about mine? I guess I forgot about myself. Not really, I’m way too egocentric to do that, but It comes across as so much more difficult to take care of myself in this area, and to have faith for myself. How strange is that?

I finished my conversation with God asking for special faith and vision for what He wants me to do, knowing that I’d have to rely on Him to open doors, inspire, protect, enable, and essentially perform nothing short of a miracle on my behalf. He’s God though, I pretty sure that He has no problem with that.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews jumps out to the reader and believer as a “hall of fame” lauding heroes of the Old Testament for the faith they possessed in pursuing God’s purpose for their lives. This section begins with the phrase, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” a hugely profound statement.

Implicit in Hebrews 11:1 is that if one owns faith, notice no amount receives mention here, they have not only evidence, but substance pertaining with what they hope for. Again, an amazingly profound phrase! This applies to us in so many ways. I have hopes and dreams, and would like to suggest that I also contain a lot of faith as well. Not that the amount matters, Jesus said, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed…” (Luke17:6 NKJV) Oh SNAP! That means that I have a chance!

Knowing all this, what does one do? He or she gets up, steps up and goes after what God has told them to, or the desires of their heart, delighting in God along the way (Ps 37:4). So I can get rid of this feeling of utter dread that hides out in my stomach, this nagging feeling that occasionally pries its way into my thoughts, and I can have faith in God, that He’s going to open doors, inspire me, and get me to where He wants me to be. It isn’t always easy, taking a slightly passive approach to your future (Going for it, but relying on God…not overly passive, but contained within that one word, relying, so much is implied). So I can smile and move on.

Oh Jake.....

by on November 22, 2007

Just how much value does a person contain? What enables one to become famous, impact millions, and to gain both our trust and admiration rather than make minimum wage, and hide beneath our societal radar? Education? Appearance? Ability? Normalcy? All of these elements in a person’s life probably play some role in how we become who we are and what we do, but do they carry any ultimate value when it comes to our own personal worth? Capitalists have a strong tendency to look at monetary worth when it comes to ascribing value to anything, even people. That’s how CEOs , some authors, and others get these massive salaries.

The significance of any article, person, whatever it might be carries with it an implication of how much we’re willing to pay for it. Value dictates indemnification. For example, look at the computer market. There is a wide range of products for a wide range prices. Some people will pay more for an Apple computer because they feel that such an item is worth their extra money. Some people don’t share that opinion though, and go for something more inexpensive, and manage to be content with that. Do we ever consider that the inverse is true as well? Implicit in buying, selling and ascribing value is that the more we pay for something, the more we will value it. Think about your firs car: did you buy it by yourself? Did your parents help? Did they just give you a vehicle? The cliche that accompanies this example is that if we work hard to get something for ourselves rather than just receiving it, we’re more likely to appreciate it take care of it.

How much did someone pay for you? How much money do you make annually? How does it make you feel when your salary determines your worth? Ok, so we understand that such an element only partially describes you, and you AREN’T your job, right? You’re also someone’s friend, father, mother, sister or brother. You have a multitude of relationships that carry significance, and you volunteer too. THAT’S where you feel like you mean something, isnt it?
I want you to consider what you mean to people, and I want you to consider what you’re worth. Such a capitalist idea, isn’t it? Perhaps you’d rather become a comrade somewhere rather than think like that, but don’t yet. I have great news for you. Someone paid a huge price just for you. In His eyes, you contain beauty, value, significance, and you’re loved, too. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)
Yaweh, God, Jesus, not only created you, but bought you. Imagine Him walking down the aisle at Target, He sees you on a shelf, a “your name here” doll, that comes with career accessories, your ride, and whatever else you scamper around with. Spouse and children each sold separately, but He picks them up too. Do you see the point yet? YOU mean so much to GOD that He PAID a great price for you!

From a Christian perspective, I have a hard time with people having low self-esteem. We know that God loves us and that He created us for a purpose; It’s our job to pursue that purpose, and to know that we’ve been created in such a way as to attain that purpose. It might or might not include wealth, fame, and influence, but when we work toward it, a certain level of joy, peace, and other such good emotions accompany that pursuit.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ personally, check Him out. He won’t be forceful; He’s a complete gentleman. It’s amazing. But if you allow Him, He’ll change you life; heal you, make you happy, and provide for you as well. In subsequent blogs, I’ll give my own testimony, expound on Christianity, and hopefully provide insight into what answering to the title, “Christian” means. If you’re reading this and you belong to another faith, or are agnostic or atheist, please continue to read because chances are that you’ve had a hard time with organized religion, Christians, or spirituality. I’d love to hear your story. BLESSINGS!!

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