Monday, January 28, 2008

The space is modern, nothing special. Grey carpeting, white walls. If it wasn’t for the grey padded chairs that are lined up in a liner fashion and the oversized black stage, you would swear cubicles would be suitable for this environment.

But in the midst of the corporate-like environment -- God is here. After spending only a few minutes in the worship space at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, the words “angels playground” came to mind. I could almost see the the spirit of God dancing -- to the music that He directs through the 20-something worship leaders.

It just amazes me so much, that I can drive 8-hours and pull into this parking lot, buy a mocha and enter this space and be amongst fellow believers who share the same passion as I do.

Sure I don’t know their names, in fact I don’t know anyone here. But I don’t think that matters to much. We are all united under one spirit, we are all worshiping the same God that called each of us by name, that paid for the sins that we are now free from.

And in this moment, this day, he draws us all together, to worship in perfect unity. We are now closer than any blood relatives could ever be. Our spirits are connected as we are connected to The Spirit.

I feel like this is is the first of a few oasis's of my trip. That God has led me here, to let me drink from the cup, rest in the presence and consume the word.
My narrative, my story that God has so uniquely shaped for my life is becoming more and more interesting all the time. I feel as though I am in the midst of pivoting the course of my life.

I feel like the past year God has let me taste the life that I desired in the beginning -- only to revel the life that He has for me.

I have no idea what this next week, month, year will look like -- however I know that what ever happends -- the life I live will not be ordinary.

May my God’s will become evident in my life. May the love of Christ be evident in my actions and words. May the Spirit that empowered great men like Peter, John, Paul empower me today. May my life be extraordinary, not for the elevation of my name -- but to Glorify the one I strive to follow.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm gonna miss this place...

Ok, not really.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Driving back to Dubuque yesterday morning something interesting happened. I think God answered a prayer as I was praying.

Not that I am some super spiritual person. I’m a bit crap at prayer – I forget, I am not focused, or to be honest I just don’t care sometimes. But on this brisk, snowy January morning I found myself praying as I was cruising down the road at a steady 40-mph to avoid going in the ditch.

My prayer was going as followed…

“God thank you for your faithfulness, thank you that you have provided for me so much as I transition to San Diego. I just ask that you would give me wisdom and guide me as I step into this new life, new job and new relationships.”

(I continued.)

“God you are so good to me even though I am not good at following you…give me the….”

As I said this I quieted and paused my spirit-filled words and turned down Sufjan Stevens playing through my car’s stereo.

“Oh shit…”

(I missed the day in church when they said that you shouldn’t swear in your prayers)

In this seemingly dieing spiritual moment between God, and myself I began to feel a violent shaking in my poor Jetta.

My prayer shifted in focus.

“God I just ask that you would fix whatever is wrong. You gave man the ability to make a car, I pray that you fix my Jetta.”

Then this question popped into my head – “Can God even fix my car, it’s German…I mean it’s a Volkswagen?”

Then I wrapped up this prayer, “God, help me to make it back to Dubuque so I an get it looked at.”

God did answer my prayer; I arrived in Dubuque safely to pull into the auto mechanics parking lot and Five hours, 2 new tires, 2 new tie-rods, an oil change, an alignment and $650 dollars later I drove my repaired Jetta home.

I don’t understand God sometimes; I mean he blesses me with this money, or at least with the ability to earn the money. He knows that I need that money to get out to California and to pay rent for my new apartment.

Then in one violent, vibrating moment, he takes it away.

God does things like this – all the time in fact. And not just to me, I mean read the book of Jonah. Jonah, after preaching to the heathen Ninevites, goes away from the pagan-city in witch he just condemned, rests under a large vine.

Jonah is pist about God not keeping up His end of the deal. Jonah preaches wrath, God wipes out the city with fiery boulders from heaven.

In the morning, after he wakes up, the vine is gone -- probably just a partially worm eaten stump, most likely not even enough to lean against.

This is what God says after Jonah justifiably gets frustrated:

Jonah 4:9
But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"
“I do," Jonah said. "I am angry enough to die."

Even though I am not sure what “angry enough to die” looks like, I an on some level, relate with the Prophet. The Lord continues…

"You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

This is where I would say, “Yeah, but…”.

Lately I have been trying to ask the question God does things like this, is “God, what are you teaching me in this.”

I guess one of the most frustrating things about learning to Follow God, is that God teaches his disciples in narrative.

Either through a parable or a situation, or object – it is clear that God doesn’t use the ‘lecture’ method to prove his point.

I mean He knows us better than we know ourselves, He knows that we forget lectures, we forget ‘bullet points’. We need stories.

In those “Oh shit…” moments, I am learning to pay attention. It’s almost as if the “Oh shit…” moments are equally as spiritual as the times of worship or desperate prayer. And it is in these moments where God is teaching us the most – that God wants to prove his faithfulness and sovereignty so much to us he puts us in these seemingly hopeless situations, where all is lost, where the vine is gone, where the bank account is depleted.

Last night my dad called me as I was heading out to go into the office to make up for the time I missed yesterday. He told me that he was going to replace all the money that I spent on my car, and then some. He told me that he supports me moving to California and that he is proud of me.

I sat in my Jetta, turned the ignition, leaned back in my seat and thanked God for the amazing life I have, and how good he is.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My First Ever Professional Design.

Two years ago for Crossroads Community Church in Freeport, Illinois. What do you think?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

While wasting time on YouTube (my favorite thing to do), I came across this video that mocks and spoofs Rob Bell's Nooma Video "Bullhorn". As many of you know I am a Rob Bell fan, so I new I had to respond.

Here is the video that he made.

And here is my video response.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The last month of school was always the toughest -- days seem to drag on and on. Like the sands of time seemed to turn into thick molasses seeping through an hourglass one slow drip at a time.

Sitting eight hours in an unair-conditioned room, listening to a teacher talk about fun of long division and being forced to sit next to the sweaty fat kid who, moments previous played dodge ball and ate a bag of Doritos.

Waiting sucks.

I recently went to the dentist where I had two minor cavities filled. Waiting rooms (we can all agree) suck. They’re all the same; soft, poppy music playing overhead. The stiffly padded maroon furniture with old cheerio’s stiffed in the cracks and four year old copies of Time and People magazine on a table with a gaudy pink lamp and a box of tissue.

I feel as though my life, for the next month will be day after day of the soothing sounds of Kenny G, Highlight’s Magazine and a little boy named Christopher that runs around spitting up cheerios and crying at an ear damaging decibel. For the next month, I am going through the motions. I am putting in my time. And I am growing ever more restless in this stationary, idol state.

My only relief is the short amount of time that I spend with friends and family, zoning out while watching Heroes and 24, and oh yes, how could I forget sleep.

Sleep can either be fantastic or ruthless because when your brain finally does shut off, time just leaves. One moment it’s 8pm, the next moment it’s 8 am. Twelve hours goes by seemingly in a matter of deep, rest saturated moments. For the death row inmate who has his execution at 8am, this could work against you. But for the 10 year old who anxiously awaits the brand new, 12 speed with the dual shocks on both wheels, sleep and the absence of time could be a beautiful thing.

On the 28th of January I will be packing as much of what I own into my lovely silver Jetta, driving 28 hours west and arriving in San Diego, California to start a new job and a new life.

Excitement can’t begin to describe the feeling. The only feeling that comes close is the feeling you have while you are standing inline for the world’s fastest rollercoaster, your stomach feels like you’ve just ingested a small tire, and you sweat in places you never knew you could.

But once you step onto the ride, sling the harness over your chest and pull the bar down to your lap, you know that this is going to be the ride of your life. And all the waiting, was totally worth it.

Monday, December 24, 2007