Oh Jake.....

It doesn’t matter…

by on December 15, 2007


Please forgive me if I come across as nihilistic when I claim that it is not important what I do, where I live, or even who I marry. It feels almost meaningless! Not that I don’t care about any of these little life elements, but I’m just worrying about them less lately. Here’s why; I’ve discovered something about God’s will that I didn’t know before. He might have a perfect vocation for me, or there may be a few. After all, God does have his good, pleasing and perfect will according to Romans 12:2, so doesn’t that mean that there are options? Where I’m headed with this is that perhaps we worry too much about what we do with our lives… or MAYBE we overspiritualize everything. Please, understand that I feel that prayer and seeking God’s voice is significant in many aspects of our life, and I feel that the Holy Spirit wants to be a part of everything that we do, and so we should include Him in everything, but really…should I pray about what shirt to wear in the morning? OK. That IS dramatic I know, but what happens when I have two options that seem to be great, we’ll say two different schools, one which would allow me to stay where I live now, and one that would require me to move to Seattle or something. I pray and pray and pray about what to do, and I don’t hear God speak. What do I do? I’m not sure, but I feel like inaction might be as much of a sin as something like murder or adultery, so I need to make a choice. This is where life gets interesting.

Have we ever stopped to consider that perhaps God’s perfect will for our lives has little or maybe even nothing to do with our vocation, wife, house, car, kids, family, and the list goes on? That perhaps God’s perfect will for our lives has something do to with our relationship with Him? Here’s the funny thing about this, many people look at the whole “God’s purpose for my life” thing to justify their desires for big careers or for certain lifestyles. When we look at this whole concept of divine purpose having its foundation in the midst of interrelation contrary to profession or occupation, that opens the door for suffering, at least to a larger degree. What’s more, is that even if we do associate providence with a career or a certain goal, perhaps it is only so to get us to a certain point in our relationship with our Father in Heaven. Once again, that opens the door do failure! We don’t like to hear that at all!

If we open the Word to Hebrews chapter 11 we see what some refer to as the Bible’s “hall of fame”, where Paul speaks of many of the Old Testament patriarchs. In verse eight, Paul begins speaking of Abraham and the promise made to him about having descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. The promise made to his son and grandson were the same, they were living as part of the promise made to Abraham, and being of his inheritance, had the potential for that same promise that God made to Abraham apply to them! Verse thirteen says, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth
Oh snap! They did not receive the promise! How does that even work with God? He can’t lie, right? The quick and simple answer is No, that God can’t lie, and when we pay attention to the word, we see that God did exactly what He said He would, but the people didn’t live to experience all of it. What we see here might be prototypical to our own lives; that God tells us things or even gives us dreams that are bigger than we are, that we might not ever get close to, but in the pursuit of both those dreams and relationship with God, we’ll enter into that perfect will with Him, which happens to be the right relationship with him.

I love this in my spirit, but my soul cringes at the thought because there is so much potential to pain and failure within this idea that it makes me wonder if I’ll just see my dreams at a distance, never attaining them. I feel like that would be incredibly unfulfilling and I’d probably be a contentious expletive in the process, but the element that makes this whole business of pursuing God’s will valuable is that He, our Creator, the One who loves us, who won’t leave us nor forsake us either, goes with us along the way. It’s all about relationship and so we get to know Him through this whole life thing that can be so much fun and such an ordeal within the same five minutes. He reveals himself to us and provides our joy, strength, and gives aid and comfort the entire time.

Oh Jake.....


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.

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