control? can we let go?

This weekend some friends and I went out on the boat with my family to hang and “live” our summer up by swimming and kicking back with some soda and chips. We talked a lot about what Jesus was doing in our lives and what this summer had beheld for us as we were away from the community of our private Christian school and each submerged in a different atmosphere for the summer.

Josh Olson got completely rocked this spring when I was at ywam and I heard a lot of him talking the talk but was really starting to see Jesus ooze out of him as he continues to walk the walk in front of me. This weekend was really encouraging for me to see someone so passionately in love with Jesus Christ that it pushed me to dive back into seeking Him. Josh was telling us this analogy about our sinful nature and how he saw our constant selfish behavior played out in a classroom. I changed and added a few things to this analogy, but thank you Josh for the initial idea! Snaps for josh! :]

You walk into class for the first day expecting to get the syllabus and to go over basic class things but instead the professor hands everyone a three page packet. He says, “This is a pop quiz on the entire classes material.” Everyone starts to murmer and some look around to see if anyone knows if the prof is kidding or not, as others start flipping through the packet realizing they know just about nothing on the test, especially not the essay question on the last page. Most kids voiced they weren’t even sure what the question was asking.

The prof next gave a proposition, “You can either take the quiz now and be done with it, attempting to choose the answers you don’t know based on your own knowledge or you can stay after class and wait for me to complete all of them myself in which you will get 100% and extra credit. It’s your choice.”

“Naturally we choose to take the pop quiz ourselves.” Jason explained, “although we know we don’t have a clue about what is on the test.“ And surely not much about the material or have zero power to decide the grade given at the end of the test which is largely based on our individual performance in professionalism and eloquence on the essay question.

Sadly we don’t want to wait after class for the prof, who made the test the night before, and who knows all the questions. This sounds absolutely proposterous to anyone thinking logical, don’t you think? Some may argue that we may have another class or appointment to get to, you didn’t.. it was a free night with no immediate plans. We choose to make plans, to busy our schedule, and to SAY we don’t have time to wait. We just want to do everything ourselves, we WANT control, we want to earn our grades, we want to earn the value we think we are labeled with. Jesus already made us his children, he created us and HE loves us far beyond our ability to comprehend. HE gave up is majestic throne, He GAVE up his omniscience, his all-knowing, timeless mind, His POWER and HIS control so that he could be at our level.. so that HE would understand our pain, and sorrow. So HE could die for something he created. For us whom He LOVES so extravagantly, so passionately, so deliberately and intentional that he SWEAT BLOOD praying for you. He endured pain so beyond physical pain that we don’t even understand the emotional ties that were severed when the father turned his face away that day. Jesus was abandoned by the very being his entirety was surrendered to; his CLOSEST, most intimate guidance, friendship, leader, wisdom, and father abandoned him on the cross to uphold his holy character. Father God turned his face away because the sin was oozing out of Jesus.

YOU DID THAT TO HIM. YOU are the reason GOD THE FATHER, TURNED HIS FACE AWAY.

How dare you think you have control over anything.. HOW DARE YOU think God doesn’t know better. HE created you, HE designed you, HE formed you in your mothers womb. Why do we think we have control? Why do we think we have the power in ourselves to do anything bigger and smarter than a God who created the heavens??

Surrender your life, surrender your plans, your decisions, your gifts, your talents, surrender your ideas, your goals and dreams. Jesus knows better than you, let HIM guide you. STOP trying to lead yourself. YOU can only lead yourself to destruction, you are sinful to the core, you are a disgrace on your own. JESUS is the only reason you can be anything, so let him wash you in the blood he shed, let him cleanse you from ALL your unrighteousness and give you new life. Surrender all you are to Jesus so that HE can work out HIS most perfect plans for your life.

the real problem with americans

Yesterday I was scheduled to speak at church about my experience in Palestine this past spring. You see my mind was completely absorbed by the ideas of speaking from the heart, eloquently and efficiently within my time frame of 4 minutes but I was also thinking and praying for the respondents. The people that choose to engage in what I have to say is my audience. Yes, I am speaking to all of those in the sanctuary, because they are all respondents but I am more importantly speaking to the hearts of those engaged. I only had four minutes to captivate, interest and motivate. Some would say this isn’t fair, or ignorant that I wasn’t trying to engage with all of the people in the room. The problem with that is I believe God is in control, and only He has the power to change hearts, to open the eyes of the blind. So although I pray earnestly before speaking for God move on the hearts of the audience for eyes to be opened, It is still God the Holy Spirit who moves in the hearts of those He wants to effect there in that room. God moves on certain hearts and it was those hearts I was speaking to that morning. This is only the beginning, that’s just where I was you see. While sitting in the second row listening to Pastor Chris, an interim pastor, my mind, heart and soul were not prepared to or expecting to engage in the message shortly after speaking. My mind was still running over what I had just said, hardly prepared and about what I would say in the next service. All of the sudden I caught myself deep in thought in midst of conviction. Chris was speaking on the four pillars of faith. The third pillar being “an attitude of gratitude” was not really what hit me, it was how even though we, by nature, have a sinful heart; we still have the ability to choose. With the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ we can choose life over death in all circumstances. I believe the point was an attitude of thanksgiving, but what actually convicted me was my lack of confidence in the Spirit or just apathetic attitude to take advantage of the opportunity to be helped choosing life. So often we, as sinful, selfish humans want to do things not only our own way but alone. We don’t want help, we don’t want to accept free things, because we don’t want to BE somebody‘s charity. We want to earn everything because we want to BUILD our dignity, we want to be able to boast about the work we have accomplished. I’m fully convinced that American’s don’t struggle with greed, but that we struggle with the desire to be important, to be known as something of value. When we work hard we get paid, we are able to buy stuff that somehow shows some sort of value. Somehow this big amount of stuff seems to represent value, and the more stuff you have the more money you must have and the more money you have, the harder you must have worked. THAT is what American’s really want. They want people to think they are hard workers, or smart or brilliant, or creative or innovative. They want to be known as something far above the rest. THAT is our problem, how then are we as a nation called a Christian nation when last time I checked, most people I know are not Christ followers, a lot of them don’t even know what that means. American’s have lost sight of what value really is, they have been deceived to think that value comes from being different. I believe that our true value makes us all the same. We all struggle with the same things, we all experience the same emotions and we call can be set free by the blood Jesus spilled on calvary.

so I’ve been coming to the conclusion that not only are we innately sinful in areas often that others dont struggle with, we have addictions in all sorts of ways in our flesh. We struggle with all sorts of things that are continually trying to kill us. It’s a terrible disease, especially when we feed it by choosing death instead of life on a daily basis.

Life is only through Jesus Christ and that is a VERY hard thing i think. Naturally I want to choose the selfish option when asked to do something but with the spirit of Jesus Christ I have the ability to choose the unselfish option, the loving option, the option best for someone else, its humilty. It’s dying to self. It’s giving up the right to feel entitled, the right of what we think we deserve. Its submitting to something greater than ourselves for a greater purpose. Its not earning anything, its losing our dignity everyday for something greater. THIS is why the Christian life isn’t appealing to some, ISNT enticing to many and Certainly INST easy to any.

Choosing life is something that will ALWAYS be satisfying, even if not in the moment. The Christian life has never been about the moment. Its been about the timelessness of eternity