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Posts Tagged ‘New Years’

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For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 

Romans 8:5

The Daniel Fast is a biblically-based partial fast – meaning that some foods are eaten and others are restricted. The fast is typically 21 consecutive days after the New Year and is similar to a vegan eating plan with more restrictions and only water as a beverage. This is based out of Daniel 10 in which Daniel the Prophet ate no meat, bread or wine for 21 days. The purpose is to have a quiet time with the Lord during this period so your faith and intimacy with him will grow. I was first introduced to the Daniel Fast when I briefly attended New City Church. My current church Hillsong Phoenix is doing a corporate fast as a church to start off 2018. I haven’t decided to what extent I’m going to fast but I feel this will be a good thing for me to do with my church.

On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.

Nehemiah 9:1-3 (NIV)

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Happy New Year! Well, I felt the call from God to return to Passion this year to start off 2013. As always, Satan tries to throw hurdles my way to make sure I don’t make it. But Jesus always makes a way for amazing things to happen. Out of all the conferences I attend, this one has always been the most impactful on my life. It’s not something Passion does that is more special than other conferences. I just truly feel this age group is the Jesus generation and I year after year see people’s (as well as my own) lives changed when I come here. I love the young adult culture. I have been spending most of 2012 engaging and mentoring young adults. I honestly feel the 20-30’s age group can make the biggest difference in our world. And I feel God has used Passion to spearhead this movement.

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Wet. That is the only way I can describe how getting off my plane in Atlanta was like. It is pouring like crazy here. But isn’t that how Jesus works? He always seems to show up when life is chaotic and things look bleak. He comes when life isn’t working for us and we are out of answers. Rain isn’t going to stop Jesus from being at the Georgia Dome and speaking into 50,000+ young adults. I wait in anticipation to see what God has in store for us these next four days.

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Headed to the Dome!

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In the rain, crowds of people stood outside waiting to get into Passion 2013. It was quite the sight to see! All these people from all the different universities and all over the world ready to make Jesus famous.

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I was chatting with my friends Mat and Lisa Weddle from my Missional Community and we were reminiscing on how exactly six years ago today (New Years Eve) we were boarding a plane with thirty other young adults to be a part of Passion in Atlanta. For them, it was where they first met and they are now married today. My friends Brian Wurzell and Promise and Steve Adame and Liz met on that trip and they too are married and doing amazing stuff for the Lord. For people like myself, Shauna and Amaris, it was the trip that God called us into cross-cultural missions. They both ended up serving on the field for some time. It was a pivotal trip for many of us from that amazing community that were led by Pastor Ron Merrell. I heard God speak through Francis Chan for the first time that year. Chris Tomlin’s version of “Fire Fall Down” reminded me of my broken life and how God was putting me back to together to do years of ministry following that trip. Ben Stuart’s message on singleness was the best message I have ever heard on how God can use us as single people. I used that message to start a group for newly divorced people and how God can use them at this time to do amazing things for Him. But the impactful part of that trip was Louie Giglio’s message on how heaven will be a party for the nations. That message blew me away and opened the door for me to engage with God’s heartbeat for the world.

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I had an amazing conversation today with my friend Amber at 8th Day Coffee and Culture. We were talking about our creative gifts and how God uses them for His purposes. She has been getting a lot of pressure to sign with a major record label. Her heart is just to share her music with the world and how God healed her from a difficult time. For me, I hope never to have to make money off of anything creative I do. I am blessed to have a job that provides more than enough for me to do life. I personally want to use my creative talents for the Kingdom and to share with others. We were talking about how easy it is to make our gifts about ourselves and not about the Lord.

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It’s New Years Eve and I am so thankful for where I am at in life. It’s been an incredible year for me and I feel focused for the first time in a few years. My friend and mentor described my year like this: He said I’m like a plant and God put me into a pot to grow and heal me for a little while because there were some things He needed to work on. The soil represents the healing power of God working in my life. But now he sees God taking me out of that pot and putting me back into world to allow me to continue to serve Him. I do feel that. I feel God is ready for me to begin to go back to work and be a light for Him. And honestly, I don’t know what that is and I love that. This is where my faith and trust in God comes in and allows me to stay on His path.

IMG_1462I do know that God is about to reveal some of His plan for me. Through teaching from amazing influential people and reading His word, God is syncing my heart to His heart for injustice and mercy. I’ve gone about this all wrong for some time. I saw trafficking firsthand in Cambodia for the first time in 2008 and God opened the door for me to learn more about it. Failed opportunities to go to Fiji and other chances to engage were due to me following my own wants and desires and making life about me. I’m done needing approval from other people for my sense of self-worth and being a one-man show trying to save the world so I can feel better about myself. Now God has put me back into a position to be a part of His plan for justice and I want to be attentive to just following His will. It’s about the gospel and the message of God redeeming a fallen world. God is aligning me to Him and I look forward to learning more about topics like slavery so I can be an effective tool for Him.

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Cambodia ’08 – my first exposure to human trafficking

I also was convicted by a passage in Luke 5 this week in which Simon Peter falls to knees in worship when Christ invites him to drop what he is doing and follow Him. When was the last time I dropped to my knees in worship to the Lord? I honestly don’t have an answer to that. I want to be in worship everyday with my Lord and Savior. I want Him to be my first priority in all I do. God has done so much for and hasn’t given up on me. I want my life to reflect on His grace and for others to see Jesus when they meet me.

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Well.. I’m not much of a New Years Resolution guy. I don’t need a particular day to start or try something new. But a particular challenge was brought my way at our single adult program at church and January 1st seems like a fitting day to start this. Our pastor, James Patterson challenge some of us to buy a ‘Bible in one year’ Bible and read it for this year. I probably have read about 50% of the Bible on my own. This challenge intrigued me. So not only I bought one, I bought a chronological Bible in one year. I am so looking forward into diving into this. Today I start my first reading. My hope and prayer is to strengthen my faith and draw closer to God in 2009. I am also following the Operation World study that educates you on every country in the world and what to pray for. Everyday has a different country you can learn about and what people groups exist there. My hope in this is make sure I am always in prayer for other countries out there and to also step up my own prayer life. I feel so blessed to live in a country that has resources available to us like this to learn and draw closer to God.

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I’ve never been much a new year’s resolution person. But I believe goals are important. I’ve had a chance to reflect on the past couple of years while driving on the road to San Diego this past week. I spent a lot of time of prayer. I was overdue for some time with God.

2006 was a year of healing for me. 2007 had many ups and downs.. but it was a year of learning for me. I want 2008 to be a year that I grow more spiritually mature in my faith and draw closer to God. I have so much I can take from this past year that I can apply for this upcoming year.

I feel recently that I truly haven’t desired God lately. Sure I call on him when I need him. I worship him at worship events. I learn about him when I read the Word. But have I desired the joy there is in having a relationship with God? I love this quote from John Piper “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” I have found that the latter part of this year I tried to find joy in the desires of this world and not from the Father. Christianity is more that a lifestyle with rules and regulations. God calls us to rejoice and have joy in living this life for him. Especially during trials and hard times. It is my hope that I find this joy once again as I grow more closer to him this year.

I see God opening several doors right now in my life. He has presented some new opportunities for me. I struggled in my spiritual life last summer because I felt I wasn’t being used by God. My heart was saying “I’m here.. I’m ready”, yet I wasn’t listening to God’s response “Not yet..” I’m learning a lot about God’s timing. I see now why I had to go through what I went through last summer. God know me better than myself and I need to trust that he knows what is he doing.

I truly believe God has some great things in store for this upcoming year. I want to think that there is only so much I can experience in my walk… yet the joy in living for God is limitless.  I now need to trust in what he knows best what he has in store for me and be content and find joy in that.

Here’s to an amazing 2008..

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I spent the beginning of my New Year’s in Atlanta for Passion ’07. This is a Christian conference for young adults lined up with speakers, music artist and seesions to help you grow in your Christianity. We spent New Year’s Eve on the plane. 40+ of us from Chandler went. It was an awesome event as over 22,000 young adults attended the event. We made new friends learned and grew in our walk. The music was very moving. For me, I originally looked to Passion as a springboard to get back on my walk after a crazy busy month of December. I experienced so much more. I learned alot about the gift of being single. Being single again is something I’ve had to wrestle with God alot because I thought my marriage was going to last forever. But I was able to reflect on my journey since then and just see all the amazing things God has done in my life. I’m a totally different person and I’m living my life for the Lord like I never had. God broke me down this week and I was able to get focused back on what he wants to do with my life. It was an awesome experience that I won’t forget.

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