Sunday, November 8, 2009

College Realizations

Wow! Long time no see, eh? Well I guess I will just get started by saying that my Senior year has been…interesting. I’ve come to understand a whole lot of things in a much deeper way than ever before, and could not be more thankful for the truth that God has laid on my heart. I guess one of the biggest things I have learned about college is that it serves better as a means for learning about yourself, your relationships, and your passions than it does for discovering your “calling” to a specific career. Without those three attributes in-line it’s kind of like flying through the Bermuda Triangle; hopelessly difficult.

I’ve come to these realizations “the hard way” as some may say. One day in class, I found myself becoming super frustrated with where my life was at. I was actually sitting there, very cynically saying to myself, “Goodness this is a waste of my time, I could be doing this, this and this with my time. I can’t believe I’m sitting here when I could be making money (with one of my four jobs) or getting something worthwhile done.” And then I became even more frustrated when I realized just how twisted that thought was, and how much I terribly longed not to be such a doer of a list of things. Basically God gave me a heart check right then and there and made me take a hard look at all the clutter in my life.

For me, really wrestling with who I am and what I am passionate about has been the most difficult, yet most rewarding learning process of my college tenure. Without understanding either, your life and its purposes are entirely devoid of direction. In hindsight, I can say that this is the largest contributing factor in allowing myself to get so involved in things that I only found myself loathing months later.

So who am I? Well that question requires a complex answer, but for starters I would say I am an overcomer; a conqueror. One day as I was praying about this God just put a super strong image on my heart – that of the white and red-polka dotted rider in the tour de France. Who is he? He is the “King of the Mountains,” the best climber of the bunch. He is the rider that looks at the hill, thinks “hmmm that looks challenging” and then accelerates full steam ahead to tackle the challenge like a madman, laughing as he goes.

I hadn’t thought about it much prior to that day, but man does that image ever speak to my heart. It really does encompass so much of me, Shawn Michael Gerber. I live for the challenge. I want people to tell me it’s impossible. That’s why I am so entrepreneurially focused and always have been. I live for the challenge. I fully embrace it.

On the flipside of such a personality, however, is the battle that comes with it. A key question in the hearts of most, if not all men, is “do I have what it takes? Am I good enough?” Now let me just tell you that that right there is the primary battleground for many men, especially ones like me. Without knowing who you are, and how that plays into your passions, you will be easily struck down because Satan will continually barrage you in your weak spot. Even more important, however, are your supporting relationships with warrior brothers. We were not created to live alone, let alone battle alone. Don’t be mistaken, it is a war, one of attrition through doubts, discouragement, temptation, lust and so much more.

Allow me to digress for a moment. The other day I was confronted with a very interesting question. Why is worship so much different between people in third world countries and Americans? After thinking about it for some time I came up with a potential answer. The veil has been pulled over our eyes here in America. We are so comfortable. We have shelter, food, clean water, relationships, and so much more whereas our third world counterparts are just struggling to survive. They are fighting with witchdoctors, and many things unseen. The battle in both the physical and spiritual realms is just so real to them. They see the war waged upon them each and every day and are so deeply thankful for God’s provision. They understand true joy and the battle that it requires. I don’t think most of us see it here in America. The battle is subtle, dangerously so. Too often do we brush things off as random thoughts, or unfortunate coincidences. It’s a stinking war and you need all of your heart, soul, and mind to be in check. You have to be awake and aware. The veil needs to be ripped down, with the support of you warrior brothers and sisters. There is a battle for our joy that rages each and every day, and we must stick together and fight for it.

In discovering who I am, I also found my deep love for my savior. It is my driving passion. I almost hate saying this to people because it sounds so radical in my head at times, but if I am going to do something with my life, I just know I will not be satisfied unless I am valiantly serving my Lord. In Matthew Jesus speaks of all the things that the disciples did unto others as if they were done unto Him. I have always been struck so hard by this verse. When confronted with the question of how to return your love to God, my simplest solution boils down to that verse. My passion is to love people; to serve them as if I am serving Christ in person. It is no more complicated than that.

So rather than going any deeper on this, since I have already written a ton, I will just conclude with this. I am an overcomer, a vencedor as we say in Spanish. I am passionate about loving my savior with everything in me. I value my relationships much more than my formal education, and realize that without these three truths in my life I am directionless, without a purpose or a motivation. I am incredibly thankful for the Spirit of Truth that has lead me this far, and can only hope to fully step into my passions in the near future even though at the moment I don’t know what that will look like.

So who are you? What are your deepest passions? What does your heart say? Ask God for help. He will always follow through. Listen intently and be ready for the truth to dramatically change your life. Find a close friend and walk through it with them. It will be great.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cambios son necesarios

If you've been following along, I want to pull out one more piece of Pastor Hagee's analogy of the mountains and valleys. If you haven't please go back a few posts before continuing...Inherent in the barren peaks and lush valleys is something I can't quite believe I forgot to write about last night. I think something that we often avoid as "comfortable Americans" is change. Change is uncomfortable, challenging and scary. So much so that we often fight it with everything in us. However, I think it is quite obvious in this analogy that change is a NECESSITY. The movement from the lush, dark valleys of growth to the mountain tops and back again is exactly how we better ourselves in Christ. It is exactly how we fully support the glory of God's grace in us and begin to change the world. I think, no no, I know that it is very ingrained in us to fight change, but I yet again want to challenge the status quo of just accepting that attitude, and urge you to embrace change, or as the B2B director likes to say, embrace the friction. May the eyes of your heart be open to God's great and glorious plan for your life.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't look at the rock...

So…in light of the epic MAN TRIP ’09 I just took, I just had a couple thoughts I wanted to write on in this little bit of internet space I get to enjoy. I spend a lot of my time going up things, and coming back down, to put it simply. I bike up hills (which are somehow, pretty much my favorite and strongest aspect of cycling) and bike back down them. I ride ski lifts way up mountains, only to snowboard back down them. I hike to the heights of God’s creation, only to yet again venture back down. Suffice it to say, all of this brings to the front of my mind a nice analogy that I heard one time from Pastor Hagee I believe. He simply talked about how God created nature and he continues to point out that on mountain peaks we find no life- no vegetation (assuming the mountain is tall enough), but rather that we find lush abundance that we desire in the valleys by the riverbeds. His simple point? Life is found in the valleys. Growth is born there. While mountain top experiences carry a great significance to each and every one of us, you must readily admit that we are not meant to stay there and that without the growth found in the valleys leading up to it, it would not even be slightly the same. It is for this very reason that Paul advises us to rejoice in our sufferings and to remain joyful. God has great things in store for us, but often times we miss out on what is happening now, in our valleys, and sometimes miss out on our mountain top altogether.

Speaking of missing out on our mountain tops, I have another analogy I want to throw out there. In the world of snowboarding I learned a beautiful thing. “If you look at what you are trying to miss, you’ll surely hit it. Rather you need to look at where you’re going.” It may sound like complete poppycock, but in all seriousness it is so very true. If you look at that rock you are trying to miss, you’re probably going to nail it, seriously. Same holds true for lots of other things like driving and cycling. So how does this even slightly relate? I think so often we get ourselves so sidetracked because we focus so very much on the things that could go wrong; the things that could endanger our mountain top experience, that we end up running right into them or just bail out early due to fear when all we really needed to do was focus on where we were headed. It’s kind of like my “man trip” this past weekend. I climbed up something that admittedly was not very safe, but unlike my comrades, I did not limit my thoughts to the things that could go wrong, all the various ways I could fall, but rather I focused on the things I could do right, and the ultimate goal. In the end, it was almost as if it wasn’t dangerous at all, and let me just tell you that the reward was priceless. Keeping your eyes on Christ and on His will for your life, even in the valleys, is of utmost importance. If you don’t stand in His will for you, you won’t stand at all. So to tie it all together, there is life giving growth in the valley, and rather than bowing to fear, or being swayed from the Lord’s perfect path, we need to push ourselves to further focus on Him and on His will for our lives during those times. If we don’t we will surely be led astray, and perhaps even get stuck on the barren part of that mountain that is not yet the peak, but rather a dismal middle ground – in a lukewarm existence desiring more without finding it. Don’t look at the rocks, people. Just don’t do it.

Luke 10:38-42

Monday, August 31, 2009

What's stopping you?

So like I said at the very beginning of this blog, we often limit ourselves and limit God because we rationalize our potential away and try to remain comfortable. In light of what I just wrote, and in the great promise that we are "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37) I just want to ask the question (again if you checked my facebook) of 'what is stopping you from changing the world?' Don't for a second think you can't. It might be hard, but Christ conquered everything, including death...Stand strong. Let His glory shine through you.

Oaks of Righteousness

So taking that topic of faith and running with it a little further, I just want to discuss a big theme in my life for the past several months. My theme has been based around a verse and a common parable. The verse is short and simple. Isaiah 61:3 says "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." The parable is the parable of the sower, which I have already talked about a couple times.

So I've often hiked through the forest and passed by big tall oak trees. They really are a sight to be seen, but what is even more amazing is not their aesthetics, but rather it is their incredible sturdiness. Oaks are very strong trees that withstand the fiercest of occasions. I think this is part of the reason that Isaiah used such language. When Christ raises us up for HIS glory, we are to be very strong, and not blown over by the inevitable storms of life.

Kind of running off of that, I ran across an analogy used by Beth, a director of B2B. She talks about the same imagery of a tree, but brings into the very picture the very important aspect of the fruit in which we bear. She likes to say that we start at the roots, and that that is where we are drawing our sustenance which directly affects our trunks, or our what she refers to as self image. In turn that self image directly affects the top of the tree, the part which bears the fruit.

Where am I going with this? Those trunks, while very hidden under the ground, are the most important aspect of the whole tree for without them the rest of the purpose of the existence of the tree begins to crumble. It is so important to watch what you are letting "in your water" for it can very easily jump right up into that self image weaken you to the point of falling at the slightest breeze. We need to be firmly rooted in Christ and in his Word; In Truth so that when tests and trials do come we are healthy, and firmly rooted. We can stand and display the splendo of God. Even more importantly we want to be producing the best fruit we can for we exist for the benefit of others. We want to multiply God's splendor, not a poisoned counterfeit...

So back to faith...the other day I stumbled over another verse that kind of tied together my thoughts on the issue. That verse is Hebrews 11:7 which speaks this of Noah, "By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith." So the question of how do we become an oak of righteousness is pretty simply answered. Faith is the stepping stone to righteousness...It starts with belief...belief in the Truth, them leads to action (as is seen in the examples of faith in Hebrews 11).

So just take a second to evaluate yourself. Do you feel like an oak of righteousness? Also ask yourself what kind of story your fruit tells? Be honest with yourself.

If you'd like to talk more about this or anything please just contact me. Love ya'll!

Doubt and Faith's been awhile since I last wrote, but rest assured I have a whole list of things I want to blog on. I will just start with probably one of the simplest yet ground breaking statements that one of my mentors said to me. We were just having a discussion about various things one night at Applebees, one of which was the subject of faith and doubt. All he said was this, "Doubt is necessary, for without doubt there would not be faith, but rather there would be certainty." I don't know. Maybe I'm retarded but that little seed of a thought exploded in me as I dwelled upon it for the following weeks. For starters it eliminated a ton of guilty feelings that rolled around in my head as I had just struggled with the fact that I doubted things and that I felt like such a sinner because of it. Not only that, it brought to my attention the way in which God so very often acts. Often He will give us an urging, or whatever you want to call it, via the Spirit, but yet often there is deep doubt. So very often we can let ourselves be overcome simply by these thoughts when what is required of us is a single step out over that barrier of doubt to see God start working in the plans He already has in store for us. Faith is about that step, in fact I would venture as far as to say it IS that step and the ones following. It's not just thinking against doubt, which is more of a thing of belief. It is action. Sure belief is good, in fact is is the foundation of faith but what good does it do without action? How can God use you if you sit there and believe something but never act upon it? Faith is action. Christ is about action. How are you going to act?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Weapon

Ever had one of those days when pretty much everything that could go wrong does? Today was one of those days. I would write about it all, but looking back a line from a psalm comes to mind that persuades me in a different direction.

May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands -Psalm 149:6

Did you catch that? Our praise can be a weapon in the never ending spiritual battles we encounter. So even amidst the chaos I will choose to praise my King and use it as my double edged sword against my ever prowling enemy rather than complain about all that went wrong...Praise be to God for a blessed day and for everything that went right! =)