New Ideas, Friends, and Potatos

As the weekend begins I reflect back on this week. It’s been a roller coaster for me. From wrestling with sin, to enjoying God, it’s been very up and down. On top of that I told my boss I’m planning on starting my own landscaping business (more of that in later posts).

So a lot has been resolved in my heart, a lot is being worked on in my heart as well.

This week has consisted of a sweet time of worship on Thursday night with friends from our church. Singing and sharing how God’s working. We discussed missions, God’s work in our own church, and heartbreaking loss for one of the families. But this is what the church is for!

Then Friday was work as usual, until i told my boss about the business idea, to which he was surprisingly supportive. It was nerve-wracking, but it took a weight off my shoulders telling him. I’m really glad that I’m finally going out on my own. I think God’s built my heart for entrepreneurship, so it feels like I’m finally moving in the right direction.fire-227291_1920.jpg

My wife, Rachel left Friday for her women’s retreat, so I’m all alone for a couple of days, though she’ll be back late tonight (Saturday).

Later that yesterday (friday) evening i finally forced myself to go biking, something i really want to start doing on a regular basis. During that ride I received a text from some friends (one of whom’s wife was on the retreat as well) inviting me for dinner. I drove over and we had a great time playing three guitars on the porch, trying to figure out what sounded good. After dinner and ice cream, we spent about 40 minutes attempting to get a fire going in the backyard pit, which we eventually succeeded at.

I’m not particularly looking forward to tonight. I close on saturday nights, so I’m always tired Sunday morning and it’s just a hard shift to lead anyhow. But i’m looking forward to sunday morning! After church we’re doing a potato bar raising funds for our teens for student life camp this summer. It should be a good time!

Monday will be a day of working on my business idea. Brainstorming with other small business owners, and starting to get a tangible idea of how and when to start.

Until then, I’m a bit lonely without my wife. But God is with me and He’s reminding me today of His Grace and love for me despite me! So I’m trying to rest in that and not be anxious with the idea of new, scary things.

I know this post has been much more random than usual, but it’s what I’m thinking about this morning.

 

A Man Without Community

As each day went by this week I’ve been continuing my trek through the Bible chronologically each morning. I wake up, eat breakfast, sip on some coffee, and do my best to dig into God’s word. The typical distractions of a smartphone and news feeds attempt to divert my attention, and they do succeed some of the time. It’s helped me immensely to just leave the phone in another room. But that’s just me.

Anyhow after getting through a portion of Genesis the plan then skips over to a book called Job wherein we find a man (named Job) who had life by the horns, quite literally. He had 500 yoke of oxen after all.

Reading a chapter of Job every morning has led me to some conclusions:

  1. Job had a great life
  2. He then lost every earthly thing
  3. His community of “friends” didn’t make it any better
  4. God was still glorified in it

Job had a great life by any standard. He had a thriving farm, a wife, and some kids. tree-648788.jpgBut it didn’t stay that way. Men stole his oxen and murdered his servants and a storm felled the place where his children were. His life quickly unraveled before his eyes. His wealth, his children, and soon his health were all taken as a test to show Jobs unwavering devotion to God.

Right where I am in my reading is where his “friends” chime in to say their peace in this situation. In chapter eight, Bildad pleads with Job to repent and ask God for mercy, to which Job replies in chapter nine that he is in the right, he hasn’t sinned in this situation.

His other jovial companions, Eliphaz and Zophar mock Job’s words. And still Job clings to the truth that he is in that situation not because of his sin, but because of God’s sovereign plan.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Imagine being personally blamed for the death of your children and the loss of all your earthly possessions! I can’t imagine the deep sadness and temptation to despair. His solace was knowing that God was in control and God had a plan he was working for good. Job didn’t have Romans 8:28 as we do, but he lived it out far better than many of us ever will.

In these first chapters it’s amazing that we don’t see an account of genuine friends encouraging Job and helping him. It seems his pool of friends were a bit shallow.

This makes me immensely thankful for the community of believers called the Church. As Gods people we are called to help those in need, clothe the naked and feed the hungry. Job didn’t have that. He was scraping his skin with clay pots for relief.

If you still don’t have many close christian friends, hope in Christ. Seek community in the local Church. You’ll find it’s an indispensable privilege we take for granted so much.

We don’t have to go through life’s hardships alone as Job did. Job didn’t have the Church, but we do. Take advantage and get plugged in.

 

 

 

Some Resources For You!

I decided, because I had to go and update my auto insurance (which took a decent chunk out of my normal writing time) to give you all a list of awesome resources I have found invaluable in my walk with Christ, below are links and pictures, enjoy!

(click on the pictures for the link)

Desiring God
-For everything related to The Bible and life, plumb the depths of their many articles and sermons!
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Bible Gateway
-A great resource for looking up and reading scripture!

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Plugged In
-When it comes to new movies, it’s hard to tell how crude it’s going to be. Plugged In gives you every instance of Sexuality, Cussing, and anything else before you even watch it!

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Downcast (APP)
-The BEST podcasting app i’ve ever found, though it’s only on iOS, the interface is clean and easy to use. I found ALL of the sermons I listen to and easily download them daily. I great tool for sermon and teaching consumption.

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The Amazing Gift Of Community

Night_Maze     So this past Saturday, I went to the “River of Life Night Maze”. It’s basically a Christian event from 5pm-Midnight where they have big inflatable obstacle courses, games, etc, an amazing speaker, and a corn maze! On top of that, a bunch of my friends who were off to college a few months ago were on a ministry trip to help out so the Night Maze would run smoothly and effectively.

It was a great time. Quality time with close friends I hadn’t seen in a while, a great message from an amazing man of God i’ve known for a while, and just plain corn maze awesomeness! Seriously, corn mazes at night are fantastic. Loved it.So at this little outing, I was very encouraged, I had laughed so hard it hurt, and beat my good friend at an obstacle course game. (My favorite type of inflatable game.)

So all in all it was great. Great time, great friends, great God.

It was encouraging because there are times in my week where I just need to get out. Get out of the house, see new sights, or just the occasional brief change of scenery.
My life is pretty simple, nothing too amazing, nothing too terrible about it, it has its highs and lows just like anyone else. I wake up, I eat, I have school, I have work, I have plenty of things that keep me busy throughout the week.

But I’m sure there’s plenty of us who just need something more every now and then. What with the daily grind of life, and the times it seems just too monotonous and hopeless and you feel just plain down. (I don’t know about some of you, but that’s me a lot.)
So I tried to medicate the problem, asking myself:
“Do I need more time in my bible?”
“Do I need to sleep more?”
“Should I pray more?”

All those are good options, and we always need to make sure we’re getting a proper amount of each, but those didn’t seem to be the problem.
So usually at this point I begin to pray and ask Jesus for some wisdom in my predicament of (we’ll call it) loneliness.
Why do we feel lonely? Why as Christians do we say Jesus is enough and then turn around and feel lonely? Is it unbiblical to be lonely? Is it ok to feel even a little bit down?

These questions always run through my head. And, for me, the answer usually isn’t any I listed. (Although sleep is a legitimate problem at times I admit.)

The Answer? (For me at his point.)
It’s people.

Godly people Jesus has placed in my life to encourage and lift me up and show me Jesus through how we talk, laugh, and interact.

Community, The Body of Christ.

I’ve heard of many Christians who live lives thinking if they “need” people, or if people encourage them, it’s somehow an idol in their hearts and interactions should be strictly platonic, because, after all, shouldn’t Jesus be enough?
Well, yes, He should.
But, we’re really missing something. Jesus commanded us:

“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
~Hebrews 10:25

We see clearly in this verse to “all the more” seek the community of godly people, not neglecting it! How encouraging is that? We’re to have friends and love and serve people, and God does it for His glory and our good! (Romans 8:28)

Pretty encouraging! I was so encouraged seeing my friends this weekend and seeing how God’s been working in their hearts and minds, and I hope and pray anyone reading this would remember to seek out godly people for help and wisdom, and to find a good, bible-teaching Church to grow in community and service with other believers!

Seriously, when Jesus commands something of us, He knows best. So believe that and be encouraged!