Friday, April 29, 2011

End of my 1st senior year...


I just returned to my room from chapel.  I am at a loss for words.  This year has gone by so fast.  I've been through a lot.  I have really changed a lot since August 2010.  For the first time ever I'm actually working at being a "good" student.  I'm getting grades that I probably should have been getting all the time.  I'm working through issues in my faith and relationship with Christ.  I'm really engaging in this world and digging in to my soul - to figure out what God has for me in this life.  I'm completely, and utterly blown away at how amazing of a relationship I have with Kaitlyn.  She's truly a beautiful person, and my best friend.  No other person in the world knows me like she does and yet she loves me the same.  It feels great to be loved like that.  What it has made me realize is how much more God love us.  If we experience genuine love from another person, and they are just a person, imagine, just try, to grasp how much God, our creator, loves us.  It boggles my mind.  Granted, I'm not your typical Christian, but who is.  I sin with the best of them.  I screw up all the time, but I'm doing my best with what God gave me. 

One of the things I want to emphasize is how much I am growing a passion for the broken and downtrodden in this world.  Why?  Because I once was one of them, even since being a Christian, I would say that at times I could totally have been considered desolate.  There have been days, even sometimes lately, where I feel totally and utterly depraved.  I find comfort in the fact that I have an amazing woman to love, who happens to love me.  Then, I also find peace in the fact that I have a God whose love I really cannot even comprehend.  Mind-altering, life-shaping, love.  God = Love, and according to Rob Bell (Love Wins) :).  But for real, I agree with him.  Love does win.  At the end of the day it's the only thing that can overcome all obstacles, because it's a choice, a painful choice where we have to sacrifice our needs and wants.  Love is uncomfortable, hard, not appealing to the faint of heart, and no one should mistaken true love with the feelings of infatuation.  Interestingly enough I feel like we can relate our relationships with God like a marriage - or at least a committed marriage, not one with a prenup.

God does say we are Christ's bride in the Bible.  To me, that sounds like a marriage.  In a marriage, one make s life-long commitment.  Life-long!!!! Like till death do us part life-long?  Yes.  I believe the commitments to Christ and a spouse are the same, granted with Christ, once you give your life to him, you are given everlasting life, so your commitment is eternal.  Is that why Christianity and following Christ is hard?  Of course.  Christ is our spouse.  The troubles in marriage should also appear in a committed relationship with our Lord, right?  I believe it's the truth.  How else would one explain some of the difficulties, the doubt, the not always wanting to serve Christ every morning.  It sounds the same as a marriage to me.  This has been something on my mind lately, and I just figured I'd share.  The benefit of this, is that Christ, unlike modern American culture, will not ever, ever divorce us.  He will stick with us no matter how awful we are.  That's great news!  The crazy thing is: that's how we are supposed to commit to our spouses (or in my case future spouse).  It's not impossible to work through a commitment like that.  But, without God, I would say it approaches the limits of human capabilities.  Billy Graham's wife Ruth was quoted saying once, after being asked if she'd ever considered divorce "Divorce? No... Murder? Yes..."  Now she never murdered Mr. Graham, but it goes to show the nature of a commitment like marriage.  Till death do us part, means TILL DEATH!

So, be encouraged that when we face difficult times in our walks with Christ, it's normal, just like difficulties are normal with a marriage.  God Bless all, thanks


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crazy times... one more year before reality...

Today, I turned in the second of my three big papers for the semester.  Boy did it feel good.  I feel progress happening to me, and that is a new feeling - well I guess it's sort of new.  This semester has seen its ups and downs.  I've lost friends, gained friends, hurt people, made up with others, worked hard, slacked off... the usual semester right?  Well, what I've come to realize is: this life is really short.  I'm so bad at worrying about what tomorrow brings or what next week looks like, that I miss out on today.  I need to get my life straight, and by that I mean just organized.  I've started to really align my priorities, but I haven't managed to line up my time management with those priorities.  I see what I want to accomplish, but I can't reach it because I keep blurring my path with unnecessary worry and disorganization.  This summer, I am going to get organized, simplify my life, and work toward saving some more money so I can buy a ring for a certain special girl. ;)

That's right, I asked Kait's dad this past weekend if I could ask her to marry me.  :) I'm so so so so excited.  I have really really found what I've been praying for in her.  She is the most amazing woman I've ever come in contact with.  Most days I wake up and can't believe that she's dating me.  Our relationship truly is awesome, because we are best friends at heart. I love her so so so much and can't wait to begin our life together.  It was definitely the best Easter ever, in my lifetime that is, because I'd say the best one was the first one. :)  So I just wanted to update.  I'm tired of typing today, so I'm gonna end this entry early.  God Bless everyone


Saturday, April 16, 2011

#Love #Wins

Today, April 16, 2011

I literally just finished Rob Bell's new book Love Wins.  My thoughts?  Well... I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This work offers light to a perspective that I feel all Christians can at least open an ear to.  I know it's done one thing, and that is make me want to go through the New Testament again - specifically the Gospel.  I just can't get over how refreshing it is to read something like that.  I mean, granted, I was on my guard a bit because of all I've heard.  "Rob Bell is a Universalist," "Rob Bell is way off," "Rob Bell took one step too far over the edge this time."  All those things sound exactly like America's religious culture not even 200 years ago.  People in Christianity, well... not even just people but prominent leaders, the Billy Graham's, Martin Luther's, John Wesley's, etc, were radically passionate about pursuing God.  This set them apart.  This made them - as DC Talk likes to say - "Jesus Freaks."  On that same note, a lot of men and women like those mentioned were rejected by many, or at least what they were preaching.  Random fact related to this topic ( I guess it's not random), but did you know that the idea of premillennialism (the idea that man is currently living in the time before Christ's second coming and that all Christians will be taken to heaven in the rapture before the tribulation - if you aren't sure what I'm talking about just look up premillennialism on wikipedia) didn't become widely recognized as orthodox until at least the 1800's?  I know that I had no clue until the other day in my American Religious History class - which by the way is my favorite class in college EVER!  Also I forget the name of the belief that premillennialism stemmed from and I will post it as soon as I talk to Dr. Webb on Monday. 

The only reason I bring that up is to show that such a strong belief - at least held in evangelical circles - was concreted within the last 100-150 years.  That is not that long in the context of Christianity.  Christ died almost 2000 years ago.  That means that this belief has been considered orthodox by some Christian groups for not even 10% of the time since Christ's death.  I don't know about you but that is quite peculiar.  Anyways back to Rob Bell.  The reason I brought all this up is that there have been people like him, with views conflicting orthodox belief, for centuries.  It's what has made theology more refined.  I believe that a lot can be applied to any Christians life from Love Wins. For instance the idea that the kingdom of heaven is here... NOW!!! What do I mean by that? Well, we as Christians have an opportunity to serve others around us, make the world a better place, think about others and this world more than ourselves.  If we live like the Kingdom of Heaven is here now, we will work to improve this world and treat suffering with love and care.  Give food to the starving.  Shelter the homeless, etc.  I'm not saying to sell everything you own and go be Shane Claiborne (again if you don't know him, look him up, he's huge on this stuff), but if we just make the effort to look around, observe what around us needs our love, and see to serving that need, this world will start to really look more like the Kingdom.  On the other hand, what Bell says in his book, if we live like we are just waiting for the next world or just working towards ensuring our ticket to heaven is valid, we will miss out on what Christ wants us to accomplish while we still have breath.

At the end of the day I would rate Bell's book an 8/10.  It could have had more substance, but it was a good quick read.  Very insightful and extremely relevant to contemporary Christian culture.  I would recommend it to any Christian.  My only advice would be to not just take everything he says for truth.  Because, the only truth, comes from God.

Hope this post was helpful, God Bless


Friday, April 8, 2011

April = Great Weather? Right? Eh? Not Really?

April has brought a lot along with it.  I am now to the point where I really cannot waste one hour on being unproductive, or at least it feels that way.  Finding the motivation to do work is hard at times but it helps to have my pictures of Kait and I on my desk to remind me what part of the objective is.  I know that school can really suck.  I have to get STRAIGHT A's this semester.  I've never shot for straight A's.  I think I've achieved them once throughout school, it was my sophomore year and high school and I thought it was a fluke.  What I'm saying here is that this is new.  I've never been a GREAT student.  I've gotten by. I've put in my time to get to the next level and seem like I knew what I was doing, but I've never reached my full potential.  I always let things get in the way.  I do so much, or at least I've done so much.  I constantly think what else could I be doing, instead of looking at the task in front of me.  Or at least that's how I've been most of my life.

This year, specifically these last few weeks have really challenged that part of me.  I am looking forward at a life full of joy, family, God-filled life, and work; lots of work.  But that is only for the next four years.  I am going to Law School.  Ideally, I'd like to go to the University of Cincinnati, but I will settle for where I get the most money - probably at least.  In the moments like now, where I'm in my room cranking away at a paper, I find that I still have a lot of growing.  I will sit here, type, think, retype what I just typed because I didn't like it, check facebook, check twitter, look at what I typed, sit, think, etc.  It's a vicious cycle of procrastinative tendencies (yea I don't think that's a word but whatever).  I'm breaking them, slowly but surely.  It's painful to rework and rewire your brain.  Right now I have four songs from movie/TV show soundtracks, playing on shuffle repeat until I can't take it anymore.  All four songs are inspirational and moving.  They bring feelings of "Yea, I can do this!" - which by the way are the exact feelings I need to have right now.

Things with Kaitlyn are fantastic.  Again I could not have asked for a better woman in my life.  Granted I know that there are posts in here about other women.  I recognize that.  But, God has brought the perfect piece of life's puzzle to me.  Katie is the epitome of what I've been looking for in a future wife.  She cares for me, earnestly, and fervently with love that I can feel.  She puts up with me being a complete @$$hole sometimes.  She loves the Lord, and desires to serve him with her life.  The list could go on, but above all she makes me want to be a better man.  I have no doubt that her coming into my life almost three years ago was divine intervention.  Yes, we both had to make choices and follow through with various things to get us to the here and now, but God had a part to play.  He crafted her with some of the best parts of his divine character.  I just look forward to a great, great future with her in which we'll be pursuing a life and a family firmly set upon God's love.

All in all, I'm in the midst of a battle for motivation.  I have about 80-82 pages left to write.  I better get crackin.  God Bless, and I hope you enjoyed this post.