Friday, February 15
So Ive been doing some stuff in preparation for church on Sunday and it's been a bit difficult. Not to ruin it(not that I think any of the people who will read this will read it by Sunday) but my part is to do with the image of Christ we give out all the time, everyday. We cant escape telling people about Jesus, the issue just becomes what we are telling people about Jesus. Are our actions honouring to our King?
So reading through Matthew 28 and getting wisdom from an old friend, I come across something that is not seen at first glance. Jesus instructs his disciples to 'go and make disciples of all the nations'. The word 'nations' here is the Greek word 'ethnos' or ethnic as we know it. What is ethnic defined as? people who aren't like you.
This affects me because most of my time is spent with People who are already disciples, only ar work do I really associate with non-Christians. To add to it, next year I will be attending theological college where I'll be surrounded by even more Christians. Where am I telling the world?
I was invited to go out with some non-Christian friends tonight but I have been a bit low on energy the past week and to do anything other than just sit was to much for me. Or maybe I could have mustered up the energy, maybe there is something more to my resisting. But needless to say, I have not embraced this idea of being with those who aren't like me.
Its putting a few things into perspective though. I mean, if someone only surrounds themselves with one kind of people bad things can happen. This can also be uncomfortable for some if all you know becomes tainted and bitter with pain of something only slightly related. Hmm.
That is my thinking.
'Throwing stones at a mirror. Why?'
Thursday, November 8
Dad let me have his car at night because he believed it was better to drive straight away after an accidents to not become timid and scared and all that. Which is smart. So i had organized to take Elise out for dinner because she had finished her year 12 exam today. That was all cool we went and had dinner and it was excellent. Took her back home for 'Heroes' and that was also fun. When it was tie to go i was taking Meagan home. All good. On our way to her house you'll never guess what happened? A dude in a up RX7 came on to my side of the road while i was waiting to turn onto Doncaster Rd. Would have been fine... if he wasn't going like 50 over the speed limit! He tried to pull into the left lane to avoid collision but there was another car there and so, naturally, he smashed right into the front of me. (I used the word 'smashed' instead of 'hit' because it sounds more dramatic. Like you've never done it!!) As soon as it happened i was kinda laughing at the whole thing. Two crashes in one day. As if! Come on! So we swapped details and whatnot and then it was over. Also funny that his car was way more banged up then mine. Hurrah for the Toyota Camry! Stupid loser RX7. Meagan was a bit shaken up but she lived.
And thats my amusing story. Hmm... God taught me something from the first accident but this one confuses me. I'm going to put it down to His twisted sense of humour.
Wednesday, November 7
I quite often know that what I choose to do is wrong yet i continue to do it. Whats worse is that i know that if i don't get the hints soon God is going to slap me across the face real hard so that i do get it. For you see, i always learn best when something bad happens. It's just how i work.
I really don't want to tell the story but I'm going to anyway because i think the point of it is worth sharing.
Today i woke up and really wanted to go somewhere. I did have the car because dad was at school and so i took mums car. Now mums car isn't insured for people under 21. I knew it was wrong but i really wanted to go. I have taken mums car out a lot by myself, even when i didn't have my license! So this time i was waling to mums car and i had the feeling. I knew what i was doing was wrong and i had done it a lot before. I started to think that the only way I was going to stop this thievery was if something bad happened. But for some reason i still did it. I didn't think God would go through with it. I was wrong. On my way home i was hit by another car. Don't worry, i didn't die. It was only a small crash but it still ripped off mums side mirror. There i was, seconds after the accident sitting there stunned. The whole car trip before that i was still thinking about how i shouldn't be doing what i was doing but i didn't listen. So i had to get out and the person and I swapped details and i was freaking out because mums car wasn't insured for me! I came home and tried to fix it but it was beyond what i could repair.
I am sitting at home now writing this waiting from a call from the other driver and wondering what i'm going to tell my parents when they get home. Do i want to tell them? Do i Keep it quiet and hope it blows over? By that i mean try to act as though i had nothing to do with the broken mirror and suggest that someone in passing broke it in a fit of rage. I haven't decided. If i have to pay for anything on the other persons car (which i doubt, but if i do) i will try and keep it from mum and dad. Or do i tell them. Do i face them as soon as they get home and risk a lot of things. Pay for the repair, maybe they will not let me drive for a while, loss of trust... I have that sick feeling. ...The person just called me, they are getting their car checked tomorrow so whatever that means...
So what am i going to do with this? Its kind of affirming in a way actually. I had the feeling... i was supposed to have the feeling... i didn't act on it and God showed me that i need to listen to it. I think thats is a really good thing to take out of it. Also to be more careful on the roads. And to be true to my parents.
So when i get that feeling in the future I'll know what to do. Stop. That will be the hint i will not deny or else i know what will happen.
What a day.
Wednesday, October 31
I gave this to people at small group once. I feel it is blog-worth...if you can be bothered to read it all. Its a good read, I recommend it. Enjoy.
"The Screwtape Letters" is fiction. But only fiction in the sense that the characters and the dialogue sprang from the imagination of one of the greatest modern Christian writers. Yet in our terrestrial reality the issues confronted in this book play out in our lives every day.
The book contains thirty-one letters from Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood, who is Screwtape's underling in fiendishness. Screwtape is an upper-level functionary in the complex bureaucracy of the underworld. The "Screwtape Letters" are friendly advice from this elder statesman to a front-line tempter on how to procure the soul of his "patient", a young Christian man just trying to live out his everyday life.
We get the letters only from one side of the correspondence (Screwtape's), yet the story of the meanderings of the Christian "patient's" soul is clearly read between the lines. The letters begin with Wormwood's failure to keep his subject from becoming a Christian. The urbane Screwtape informs him that, although this is an alarming development, his patient is by no means lost to the dark forces of evil.
World War II serves as the backdrop for the Letters. Yet war and strife do not play a significant roll in the work. The book is about more everyday and universal problems. Problems every individual must deal with even today.
Thus, each letter addresses various aspects of the travails of the human soul and how the devil tempts that soul away from goodness and toward evil - not evil on a grand scale, but evil on a petty scale. They show how evil can seep into a Christian's relationships with friends and family, in his views on the church, even in his practice of prayer.
As each letter unfolds, we find the Christian "patient" slipping more and more out of the hands of Wormwood and his temptations. Screwtape's advice to the tempter becomes more firm and yet more subtle. And, by degrees, we come to see the workings of evil in our own hearts. "The Screwtape Letters" is a book that entertains while it instructs. It is a book to be treasured and studied.
‘THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS’ CHAPTER 8
My dear Wormwood,
So you ‘have great hopes that the patient’s religious phase is dying away’, have you? I always though the
Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy’s determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation—the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life—his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.
To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite. Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more that on peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. The reason is this. To use a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is filled and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.
And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, to assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up in its own legs—to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is please even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon the universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
But of course the troughs afford opportunities to our side also. Next week I will give you some hints on how to exploit them,
Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPEThere is so much in this. We as humans understand things so much better when we have an image in our mind. C. S. Lewis is so good at that. So yeah, love this chapter, love the book but this chapter especially. Hope you got something out of it.
Monday, October 29
Discerning of Spirits
(If you want to know what some of these gifts actually are just ask me)
Some may disagree with a few of these gifts or all of the ones that were not pulled directly from the Bible and that is ok. I have seen many of these gifts played out in front of me and some were quite scary. It is not the point of this blog to talk about gifts I was just using it to lead into something. But first I just want to add that in some Pentecostal churches they say you do not have the Holy Spirit in you until you are able to speak in tongues. Yes every denomination has their right to tradition but I do not agree with this requirement. We are all part of the body and we all have different parts to play and things just wouldn't work if everyone in the body was a hand. Or a foot. or an eyebrow. If we are to be blessed with gifts we should not expect to all get the same. Why would God do that? To me that would seem not to serve Him best. All the different parts working together, that sounds better. But anyway, to my point. There were three areas that we were asked to choose between to put ourselves in.
Evidences of God's Power
I felt weird being faced with these three choices. I wasn't sure where I fit. Community building I could fit into because unless you're a complete shut-in you interact with your community all the time. From my time studying counseling, 'you cannot not communicate'. So hmm, maybe. Evidence of God's power. Ok, this one I guess most people could fit into as well because everyday God works through us to do things. But wait, what is the word 'evidence' meaning? How could a gift of art be different to a gift of say being a faithful person? I've had to put aside my disagreement with the wording of the group and believe that they were meaning things like being artistic or physically freaky or good with electronics. So yeah I believe I have some talents. I can be creative, I can play sport, I can be funny on rare occasions...not really but please let me dream. Ok so this is a maybe as well. Leadership is self explanatory. You have the ability to guide others in a direction hopefully benefiting them. I really don't know about this one. Then how come the one that I feel the least confident about was the one I chose to stand up for? Why did I choose leadership? It's funny, I couldn't help feeling very conscious of what the other people in the church were feeling seeing me standing there. What do I do in the church? What character traits do I show that screams leadership? I barely know what I'm talking about most of the time. But even though I see very little leadership in me, I stood. That was what my legs chose to kick into gear for. It has left me puzzled.
So I have felt this calling to study Theology. Don't know why but during my trip away my passion for attending ACU disappeared and this new idea burned inside me. What am I wanting to do with my life? For some insane reason, even though I feel I suck at getting my point across, I'm not very good at articulating my words, it scares me witless, I think I can lead if is what God wants me to do. Now I know that sounds weird 'I want to lead', possible me trying to seek some sort of self satisfaction out of it or something, but as I just said, it scares me witless. Every time I have had to do something in front of people I get so nervous. I would really rather not be there! Those of you who have known me for a while will know that every time I get up in front of people it is guaranteed that my voice will crack. Ben C. especially knows this. Ok, so what do I do now? Do I step out in faith and try to do something? Do I even want to? People don't just want to lead, they have a passion for something and it flows out of them and people follow them for that. I could just be really confused or something.
This was a weird blog. But anyway, I am hopefully off to Theological college next year as i said. My passion is there, I love my faith. What do I do with it?
This may be why I stood.
Tuesday, October 23
I just pulled this off the internet. It has always intrigued me.
As humans we laugh and cry, but seldom do we question how, or why. There are many processes involved in both responses. Cultures around the world allow both crying and laughing as acceptable behaviors. With crying, as well as laughter, the body goes through physical or chemical changes. Crying and laughter are beneficial to us both emotionally and physically. We must have them to function in the world.
Crying is a more complicated process than one would at first imagine. First of all, there are really three different types of tears. Basal tears keep our eyes lubricated constantly. Reflex tears are produced when our eyes get irritated, like with onions or when something gets into our eyes. The third kind of tear is produced when the body reacts emotionally to something. Each type of tear contains different amounts of chemical proteins and hormones. Scientists have discovered that the emotional tears contain higher levels of manganese and the hormone prolactin, and this contributes in a reduction of both of these in the body; thus helping to keep depression away. Many people have found that crying actually calms them after being upset, and this is in part due to the chemicals and hormones that are released in the tears.
How then actually do we cry? The psychic tears (or emotional tears) require an emotional response, or trigger to be activated. This response can be caused by an outside source, either pain or loss of love, etc., or from an inside source (self-realization of one's life and others). When emotions affect us, the nervous system stimulates the cranial nerve, in the brain and this sends signals to the neurotransmitters to the tear glands. Thus, we cry .The largest tear gland, the lacrimal gland produces the tears of emotion and reflex. Many believe that the body, in times of emotional stress, depends on this gland to release excess amounts of chemicals and hormones, returning it to a stable state.
There are many culturally acceptable reasons to cry in society .The first accepted reason to cry is probably death. Grieving includes crying and often times it was believed that if someone did not cry, they would suffer physically because they did not release their pain. Experiences in life and love are other reasons society allows us to cry. Women have been allowed to cry more than men traditionally, but the benefits of crying seem to suggest that men need to cry more. Cultures around the world have crying out of obligation, for show, and for grief and pain. Each culture defines where and when it is acceptable to cry. Cultures, in some parts of the world, sometimes determine the length of crying and mourning. For example, in the Zuni culture, a chief allows the mourners of the dead to cry for four days after which the chief says that the death occurred four years ago, and now the mourning may end.
As well as with crying, laughter is also acceptable culturally for a variety of reasons. Often, just because of where a person lives, something may be funny and make them laugh. It may not be funny anywhere else in the world. Also, their culture and community may dictate what is appropriate to laugh at and what is not. People have often said, "Laughter is the best medicine," and they may not be too far from the truth. When we laugh, the body makes facial gestures and sounds. The body relaxes during laughter. The diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles all get a workout. Scientists have found that
laughing one hundred times is equal to a ten-minute workout on a rowing machine, or fifteen minutes on an exercise bike. Laughter helps promote healing in the body by lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow. When we laugh, the production of T -cells that destroy tumors and viruses increase, and more Gamma interferon (which is a disease fighting protein) is released. Laughter has been found to reduce the amount of stress hormones and help us cope with our lives better. When others laugh, sometimes the laughter can be contagious. Everyone around them starts to laugh. Some people, when stressed or upset, go to a funny movie or a comedy club hoping to laugh all of their negative emotions away.
There is a special name for the physiological study of laughter. It is called Gelotology. Scientists have discovered that within four- tenths of a second of seeing something humorous, an electrical wave moved through the cerebral cortex of the brain. If the wave took a negative charge, there was laughter. Many areas of the brain are involved in making us laugh. The emotional, the intellectual, and the sensory processing parts of our brain all playa role in stimulating the motor sections of our brain to physically make us laugh.
Researchers have found that laughter is used in making and strengthening our connections with each other. People that are more dominant, like a boss or head of a family, for example, use more humor than others around them. Laughter becomes away to show power over the emotional climate of the group. When someone is embarrassed or threatened, laughter can defuse the situation by deflecting the anger and accepting humiliation.
I think back over times in my life when i have been in pain and wonder what has happened since then to make it not kill me as much as it did then. How can something that meant so much to me at a time mean so little now?
Because it is a mental pain, healing may only come with the death of memories, for it is memories that keep the pain alive. Wow, that sucks! these pains are usually things that we're never going to forget though...
I know in reading this everyone is going to think of something painful for them to try and think of there own reason why...sorry for encouraging the dragging up of old junk.
In everything i hear from people...well mostly movies is that things need to be faced. Who the hell knows what to do when they face the thing that makes them crumble? Are we just supposed to have faith that if we put ourselves out there that by faith some magic kind of healing will take place? Hmm.
Imagine you are the most unlucky person on earth and every week something new goes wrong physically with you. one week you break a bone, another week an organ fails and so on. Now all these thinks get better(granted its not something that will kill you straight away if it fails...stay with me here) but you will be left eventually with all these things not working at their best, some ok might be better by fluke but the majority will not be as good as they once were. All these things will add up, and to be expected with all this injury, you die. Even though things have been given time to 'heal'. Not to sound depressing but is that what we are like? will one day all of our past injuries just lead us to give up?
If you have realized by this blog i have given no answers. Because i have no clue myself. And even if i did, i don't think any readers would feel the same way. We all have very different ways of dealing with pain and i say 'dealing' not 'healing'.
One thing rings true though:
Pain shared is pain halved
Joy shared is joy doubled...
...until you're alone again. Why does contact with people help?
Monday, September 10
One other thing i think i should add here is that male American teens are HUGE! The boys here are all so big and buff...i feel so little. Ha! Not. Just a bit of a shock.
So i leave here tomorrow for Michigan where i will be visiting Mars Hill Bible Church throughout the week. I believe this is where God has been calling me to go. The pastor at this church is a man named Rob Bell. I have known of him for a few years because he speaks in a DVD series called 'NOOMA'. He has also written a few books which i recommend. I have wanted very much to see him preach and this church he is at is one of the fastest growing churches in American history! So i'm pretty exited about going. I have been trying to find out if there is anything for me to attend during the week before Sunday. There should be but if there's not i will be spending a lot of time wandering around Michigan until Sunday. It'll be good though. I met a man named David through the parents of another friend that i met while on the camp who lives in Michigan. Before i met him i was not going to be going to Michigan because i didn't have the money to stay anywhere. So God introduced me to David and David offered me a place to stay if i ever did choose to go to Michigan. ( by the way, this guy lives about 15 kilometres away from the church. How cool is that!) So i am going. God is good. I will be there for about 5 days then i will be returning back to Seattle by bus(which is really not a cool way to travel!) and hopefully i will get to climb this dormant volcano with a friend and then leave to come home!
So that is what my life has been like. College is insane, trip is coming to an end and God is good.
Monday, September 3
here's one of them.
Wednesday, August 29
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wildernessd to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, "if you are the some of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." But he answered. "It is written,
'One does not live by bread
but by every word that comes
from the mouth of God.'"