Oh Jake.....

Confirmation

by on November 30, 2007

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I only feel like I’m getting closer to a goal when I take steps toward it. Can it be any simpler than that? It’s amazing how the events that seems to push us away from our perceived purpose might actually bring us closer. What’s even more amazing is how God speaks to us about what to do. Let me put this in context: I want to pastor people for a living (That’s the overly simplified version), I got hired at a church a year ago, which is a step in that direction. I loved working there, and had a lot of fond memories doing that. I got laid off from that church a couple of weeks ago, and that comes across to me as a step in the opposite direction. I don’t feel any closer to attaining that goal, and it’s mildly depressing.
Not only do I not have a paycheck coming at the end of any week, but I don’t have my amazing job anymore. That is horribly unfortunate! So these past few weeks, when my alarm goes off at seven in the morning, I’ve been asking myself, “Why do I need to get out of bed now?”
I don’t have school until later in the day, and am mostly caught up with my homework, so why do I need to get out of bed, what purpose does my life have right now? Add one part emo, two parts nihilism, shake well and top with a pinch of acrimony, and you’ve got me. Of course I know better than to sit around like that, because apathy grows exponentially under the correct circumstances, and that is not what I need right now, so I’ve been praying about what to do. I’ve got plenty of time to do more than only maintain my devotional life, I’m bulking it up with the most sincere and dramatic pleas of my life! “GOD, if you love me, You’ll get me a job that I don’t hate and that pays really well, and only make me stay in that situation for a little while….” Like I said, drama.

Well, as apathy grows, it strangles out hope like a weed in a flowerbed; it just takes too much room and annoys the stuff out of everything around it. Picture my mind as this flowerbed, where God has planted hope, peace, love and all that other warm fuzzy stuff that we strive for. Now picture a big, nasty dandelion-looking beast of a weed, something like a brier on ‘roids that just pops out of nowhere, and literally attacks all the other wonderful stuff that God and I have been cultivating. Everybody scream. Anyways, my hope needed a boost, and I was having doubts about this whole pastoring thing, I could always go teach high school or something like that. So, I asked God. I don’t like making my mind up alone, anyone who knows me would quickly agree with the fact that I’m not indecisive, but rather that I like counsel, and a lot of it too. He keeps telling me to pursue my dreams, because they’re his dreams too.

Well, bless Him, I just didn’t know what to do next, so I pretty much in my most apathetic attempt yet, asked Him to throw me a bone, anything. I need opportunity!! And it came in the form of my pastor asking me to teach his class today. Maybe I’ll elaborate on what I taught another time, but here’s what’s important: I had purpose! I needed to put together a lesson, do the research, think of some funny anecdotes, and put in all in an organized format, and then I needed to teach! I’ve taught plenty of classes in the past two years, and it isn’t anything new to me, but when I woke up this morning, and was excited to get out of bed! That’s a huge step, as ridiculous as it sounds, I need meaningful activities to fill my life, I’m not down with pointless time-filling junk! I got up today, after staying up late working on my lesson, and started praying, and was getting really excited about teaching today when God said, “Look at how happy you are about this: do you think that I’d have you do anything else? Just be patient with Me.”

I about lost it! The fact that I had so much passion, and was so excited about this wasn’t enough, but God found a way to revive my hope. He’s glorious, amazing, and all those other adjectives that we ascribe to good people and situations. I once again have been reminded that the dreams I have were placed there by God, and that even when it seems as though I won’t EVER get there, He’s doing part of the work for me, and I shouldn’t lose hope.

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.

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