An Untamed Summer

In an attempt to be more reflective and transparent, I’m resurrecting this blog. Plus, it’s just a great way to share fun stuff that I stumble upon while surfing the web. To kick things off I thought it would be appropriate to give a quick update in regards to what’s been going on in my life.  I’m not about to go all the way back to 2008 so I’ll just give y’all a recap of this summer. And just to preface:  Read this particular post as  a series of scratches on the proverbial surface that makes up my summer. These bullet points will serve as sneak peaks at my next few posts. In other words, the details are coming soon!

  • One of my Bible study groups has been going through Alan and Debra Hirsch’s book titled “Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship“. To summarize I’ll say this: WOW. What a great read this book has been. I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on anything and everything that has to do with the church (i.e. What is the church? What models of church are the most successful? How should we even define “success” within the church? Etc…) and a great deal of these reflections have been stimulated by Alan and Debra’s reflections. I’ll most definitely take another post to share more of my thoughts in detail concerning the church and everything related.
  • While I’m on the topic of church I’ll say this: thank God for community. This summer has been a breath of fresh air in this respect. To update briefly, I’m still attending Mountain View on Sunday mornings when I’m around. On top of that I’m attending house churches on Sunday nights and Thursday nights. I’m new to the whole house church thing but so far I’m loving it. Pardon the cliché but less really is more. The small group atmosphere that the house church fosters seems to breed honesty, openness, and transparency. Both of the house churches that I’ve been involved in this summer have been committed to living out 1 John 1:5-10.
  • On that note, I’m making 1 John 1:5-10 my theme verse for this upcoming school year. I leave in just under two weeks to head back up to Columbia Bible College for another year of studies. I’m going to be a Resident Leader again which essentially consists of building relationships with the 11 guys in dorms that God places under my care, facilitating spiritual growth to the best of my ability, and just keeping things under control in the dorms. I was an RL last year and I learned quite a bit and I look forward to taking another crack at it this year.
  • Politically, I’ve been on quite the journey this summer. When the 4th of July rolled around the American flags went up and patriotism was bubbling forth everywhere I looked. I confess that I felt a little uneasy about it all. Some of you know what my political journey has looked like over the course of most of my adult life (for those of you who don’t I will be taking you through it all in another post) but to summarize, due to where I’ve come from I am what you might call hypersensitive to hyper-patriotism. Anywho, my uneasiness led to yet another paradigm shift concerning my political views. To sum up where I’ve landed I’ll say this: Jesus is King. Of course, I’ll be teasing that out in another post.
  • Nothing has changed this summer concerning my man crush on N.T. Wright. I finished “The Resurrection of the Son of God” at the beginning of the summer which I can honestly say has changed my life. His work on the resurrection has changed the way I view the world. On top of that I am almost finished with his book entitled “What Saint Paul Really Said” which is essentially a summary of what many are calling “The New Perspective on Paul“. Without going too in depth I’ll say that despite the recent criticisms of Wright from those who belong to the Reformed circle, his work must be taken seriously due to his commitment to being faithful to the Scriptures. I love that Wright’s aim is not to view Scripture through the lens of Luther and Calvin (which is, in my opinion, the aim of Reformed theology) but instead, to “think Paul’s thoughts after him.” I’ll leave it at that for now.

Anywho,  every one of these bullets are begging to be teased out but, like I said earlier, the deets are coming! Until then I’ll conclude by saying that this summer has been great in regards to learning what it means to be more in love with Jesus. It’s my prayer that every season of my life leads to growth in that respect.

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The Low Down

Chaotic, frustrating, and exhausting. If I had to choose three words to describe my life right now then those would be my choices. Here’s why:

My life is chaotic mainly because of what is happening at work. I’m approaching the end of my internship and VBS is going down this week. I feel like I’ve been left with quite a bit on my plate as far as what needs to be done in order to prepare for youth group on Thursday so I am pretty spent by the time VBS rolls around each night at 6:00. Then I am expected to have an abundance of energy to keep up with the kids. I don’t think I’m a very fun person when I’m tired either. In fact, probably quite the opposite. I feel like I get grumpy and quite frankly, I don’t know if I would want to hang around me when I’m grumpy.

I’m frustrated with people who preach one thing and then practice another. I’m learning that every detail of every decision, especially in ministry, creates a certain culture or way of thinking for those who are affected by those decisions. Even if our way of thinking is affected subconsciously it is affected none the less and in the past I don’t think I realized this. We are easily influenced and that is just the reality of the matter. If we are being told one thing and then being shown another, then odds are, we will end up following what is being done because, well, we all know that actions speak louder than words. Straight up. Because of this reality it is extremely important that we embody our teachings (assuming that our teachings are scripturally sound) and I don’t feel like this is really happening. The problem is I am one of these people. I’m a hypocrite. I preach one thing and then practice another. I preach love and then get angry. I preach purity and then lust. I preach about the importance of prayer and then I don’t pray. On top of it all, I get frustrated when other people are hypocritical as if I have this right. Wow…

The sum of all this is exhaustion. Physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion…

Through it all I feel like God is working through me. Somehow people are still responding at youth group after I speak, kids are still smiling at my undignified foolishness at VBS, and encouraging words are still finding their way out of my mouth. I don’t know how God is pulling this off. Maybe all of this talk about His graciousness is true…