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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Growth’

In Bonhoeffer, a four-session video-based small group Bible study, New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas will help you discover the major themes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writing and speaking and how he not only helped transform an entire faith community in Germany during World War II, but how his beliefs continue to impact the Christian faith of people throughout the world today. Pulling themes from all Bonhoeffer’s major books, Metaxas helps you understand why these spiritual truths meant so much to Bonhoeffer and how they can be an inspiration and challenge to your faith. – The Hub

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Road trips are always a great way to process things. It gives you the opportunity to reflect and ponder life. This road trip in particular has been good for me because I’ve experienced so much recently and God has been working in my life as a result of these experiences. I’ve experienced the death of both my Grandmother and my uncle in the past two weeks. I had a wonderful Holy Week in which I was able to proclaim my faith in baptism. I’m doing life with some pretty amazing people and my family has bonded together in ways I haven’t seen in a long time. God is good and my Grandmother’s death has drawn me closer to Him. I’m headed out to Catalyst West Coast in Irvine, California. I first went to Catalyst in 2009 with a team of leaders from my previous church. I attended the year after as well and haven’t been back since. Now I find myself being called to these conferences to soak in some teaching and to learn from those that are leading the church today. God has been preparing my heart for some big plans recently and has been opening many doors for me already. I attended a conference for my counseling college in the Fall and started to pray to God about what He wanted me to do with the courses that I have been taking. Not too long later, God started to bring young men into my life in search of mentorship and now I am finding myself pouring into the lives of several men as of late. My spiritual life grew closer to God through worship and He has further shaped my heart to be a part of being a voice for this generation by seeking change in this world. This grew out of attending Passion in Atlanta. God further aligned my heart to His heart for justice in Philadelphia by the example of those that spearheaded the movement for justice before me. Now God is calling me back into leadership. I just completely eight weeks of leadership training, joined my church counseling team and started a missional community. Catalyst is a wonderful conference of teaching and equipping leaders in ministry and I’m excited He has called me to come back. I saw Brad Lomenick speak a couple of months back at PhoenixONE and it was confirmation that God wanted me to be back here in Irvine. I also have many friends from the many years I was in ministry that are going to be here and I’m excited to spend time with them. After arriving, I spent my first night in worship praising the Lord for how great He is on the beaches of Newport Beach watching the sun go down.

Newport

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Tonight I had to have that tough talk with my son about death. As a father you always look for opportunities to connect with your child about real life situations. But death is a hard one because you don’t know what goes on in a child’s head when it happens. I know the experience will be beneficial in the long run, but it’s still never fun.

A family from my former church was in a car accident and their 13-year-old was killed on Monday. He was a friend of my son’s and in his discipleship group. The church called me to let me know that night. Tonight his group leader took all the kids out to talk about it and to celebrate his life. I was in student ministries for many years and have led boys in this age group and it is not easy to try to chat with them about this subject. I know for me I try to do less talking and let them ask as many questions as they want.

When I told my son, he sat in silence for a bit. I asked him how he was doing and he said ok. I’ve grown really close to both my kids over the past couple years because of family tragedies. So I’m very thankful to the Lord for these moments to bond. My kids are growing up and will soon be on their own. I didn’t have a father who was there for me during the tough trials of life (I do now..), so it’s important for me to make sure I’m there for them. I pray for this family and I feel for their loss. Being a parent is a wonderful thing and I am so blessed that God gave me two great boys to raise. But this tragedy has made me realize I could lose anyone one of mine at anytime. So I’m going to cherish this moment I had with him to connect over this.

Please pray for the Galaska family who lost their youngest child in that accident. Their oldest child needs your prayers! Visit their CaringBridge page. Blessings!

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I feel old. Not old as in feeling like an old man, but older and wiser. I feel I’m entering a new phase of life. I feel calm and at peace. I feel more clear-headed with the decisions I make sure I bathed them in prayer before I make them. I have lived a life full of quick and rash decisions. I’ve made a lot of blunders as a result of it. But I’m pretty careful with who I surround myself with and who I let influence me. I guess they say you get better with age – like wine. Haha. But I am taking all the experiences I have encountered and learning how to life a full life from them. I don’t need praise or attention anymore. I have great mentors and people I can mentor. I have good community and I have a Lord and Savior who I look to for my worth.

It’s been an emotional weekend. After leadership training, I broke down in front of a large cross and just gave the moment to God. My friend Ansley walked by and hung out with me. It was good because I needed to get out what I was feeling. God is working in my life. He has been putting back the pieces for some time and has laid out a path for me. It’s good to be in His will and actually know it is the right thing to do. Life makes more sense and is way less stressful as a result of it. My grandmother is dying and I am very close to her. But I’m celebrating her not grieving because I know she loves Jesus and will soon be with Him. God has put wonderful people in my life to do life with. I didn’t seek them out, He gave them to me. I feel very blessed. My tears are of tears of joy because I am a child of God.

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I’ve been hanging around a lot of leaders and wise men lately – just trying to learn and grow from them. I sat at Redemption church tonight with Bob Dunn, a Pastor who trains up youth leaders. He has years in the ministry and has been a family friend since I was little. I appreciate his friendship and the time he takes to invest in me. “Amazing Grace” has been this song that really resonates through me and we sang it tonight at church. The lyrics are powerful and I tear up every time I sing it at church. The message of forgiveness and restoration are just so meaningful to me at this point of my life. I wish the church sang it more.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.

Everytime I hear this verse of the song, I notice the worship leaders always seem to kick things up a notch. I did a little research and found out it’s a verse that has been passed down through the African-American community and not originally written by John Newton. It’s a verse also featured in the anti-slavery book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tom sings this out during his hour of deepest crisis. I personally felt the Spirit move as I sang out this portion of the song.

During communion, I prayed about something that has been weighing on my heart – baptism. I have procrastinated enough about it and I know it’s the next step for me in my walk. I guess I kept envisioning the perfect place and time for it and I need to just step out and be obedient. In fact, my Pastor has been encouraging us to discuss it with our MC’s. All I know is I want to be surrounded my those that have invested their time in me and have been a huge part of my sanctification process. I talked with a friend who has become near and dear to my heart about it tonight. She really encouraged me a lot about this topic and asked to be a part of praying with me about it. I want my life to be an example to others and I know this is a crucial next step for me.

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God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

This is a verse that has been standing out to me in my studies and the focal point of my life right now. It’s all about grace and how God makes the impossible possible. The key part is that God gives us his righteousness, which means we are in right-standing with him. We get this righteousness through our faith – when we actually believe this. We no longer have to carry our shame and guilt when we know that we are washed by his blood and in right-standing with him. This is just blowing my mind..

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I took my youngest son to Jr High orientation tonight and I realized that I have 6 more years till he is 18. The clock is dwindling down to when I will be an empty nester (even though I know my kids will probably live with me well into their 20’s – haha. Then I charge rent!). This didn’t make me sad, but it made me think how amazing God is and how powerful prayer is. The past 2 years have been such a difficult time for both my kids and I have praying that God would provide the help I need with my trials as a single dad. I have been listening to this podcast by Louie Giglio called “Unusual” and how God works in unusual ways. When he says unusual, he means out of the ordinary. He says that our lives should be about revelation and not information. Paul spent his whole life studying the Word of God, but it wasn’t till Christ’s revelation to him that his life was radically changed. Louie says we need to go through our trials even though they may be unusual (not the way we envisioned them) and not side-step them because it is through trusting God that his glory gets revealed and true growth and change happen in our lives.

I had dinner with my oldest son tonight. We had a fun night of talking about our Experiencing God study, girls, sports and his future. He has been doing so well. I love walking by his room and seeing him with his school books out and studying. He has really been working hard at school now that he has ditched the video games. He told me tonight he now wants to look into photography. I guess I am either rubbing off on him or he knows that all the girls take photo class. I know I’m one of few guys in my class at Chandler-Gilbert. But overall, I’m just enjoying the blessing of having peace in my home and seeing so much growth in all of us. The Experiencing God study has been huge in all this and I have been living my life day-by-day for Christ. I broke down and prayed that difficult night in the summer of ’10 for God to provide help for me as a single dad because my back was against the wall and things felt hopeless.  Now I am seeing that prayer being answered and I’m trusting God’s unusual ways of doing things for his glory.

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