Saturday, August 27, 2011

A daily affirmation - Serving out of Gratitude

I am calm and confident because I am a saved child of God. I serve out of gratitude for my Lord's gift of forgiveness for me and serve in the confidence that I have eternal life through him.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Being a Public Future Pastor

This post is about my current educational goals, my feelings about how people react to those goals, my analysis of these reactions, and how I plan to react.
My current educational goals are to complete my BA in theology in order to move on to seminary. I have made this choice based on the results of prayer and the fact that I feel most in touch with God when I am talking about his word. One of the challenges I have run into are the conflicted feelings I experience about being public about this choice. I have found that telling people what my goals are causes them to look upon me differently and this can be hard to deal with.
When I am at the college and exchanging ideas about educational choices, very often someone will ask me what my major is. When I tell them it is in theology they ask me what I plan to do with that major, when I tell them, things get interesting as I immediately notice them change their behavior, they might even avert eye contact. Sometimes they might get a little hostile as they feel this is an appropriate time to tell me exactly how they feel about the church. Emotionally it can be hard to deal with because I have always been sensitive about what others think.
I believe that reactions like this have to do with people's perspective of the clergy, people's own self judgement when they discover my goal involves the church which is thought of my many as a "noble" or "higher" goal, and a general surprise and uncertainty of what to say when their outlook of me changes.
I believe that my reaction to these people should be with understanding and patience and to be considered prayerfully. The road to becoming a pastor is a long hard one and being a pastor is not going to be easy. Approaching these kinds of tests critically, prayerfully, and with love and compassion will give me opportunities to witness, and help me to grow stronger in my path.
In conclusion, I am proud of my chosen path. I feel confident that I am choosing the path God wants me to get on. He has made it clear to me that even though the end of the path is still unknown, the path is the most important thing for me to be on. I look forward to learning how to understand other people's opinions and reactions with compassion.

My Prayer:
Father God,
Thank you for the gifts you have given me in life. thank you for the ability to analyse situations like this and approach them with understanding. Please continue to guide me in spirit and help me to be strong on this long road ahead.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grief and Change

I posted about my friend Matt's suicide a while back. I was reading my good friend Tara's post about continuing through grief and it made me realize that since Matt died I have been trying hard to continue with the motions thinking that will make things better. Acting as if nothing happened doesn't work. I wrote about how wonderful Matt was but I never wrote about what happened.

After Matt's death in October I was absolutely devastated, it hit me hard but I bottled it up quick because so much was going on. I started to post the same old stuff I always posted but the real truth was I didn't want to post about all my insecurities and problems because I didn't want to admit weakness because to me I was mad at Matt for being weak and taking the cowards way out; that thought only brought me shame because I love Matt and miss him and don't want to have any bad thoughts about him.

Right now all of my bad feelings  need to be expressed and I don't mean a bunch of ranting on my blog about how mad at Matt I am but an honest confession about how I feel.  A lot happened all at once: Matt's suicide, I lost my job, and I made a commitment to becoming a pastor. Every single one of these things is terrifying. I love Matt for who he was and a lot of that had to do with what we had in common. Matt's suicide brings out fears that I will give in the same as him and cause so much pain to those around me. It also brings out a lot of emotions, losing my job left me without a predicable security in my life, and my commitment to becoming a pastor started a new path and with it all the doubt and insecurity associated with a new path.

Thanks Tara for helping me to be honest with myself, I hadn't realized that I have been wrestling with grief since October and I will be a whole let better off expressing it.

My Prayer:
Father God,

Thank you Lord for putting the desire to follow your will in my life and thank you for giving me the gift of a known path. Please Lord continue to help me to have the strength to follow your will.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reflection through old blog posts

I was reading my posts since 2008 and I came to some conclusions.

1. I used to have a lot more fun on this blog
2. I frequently lose purpose while writing (which is ok because I can always read this)
3. I love to pray
4. I log about tons of stuff: photography, prayer, purpose, resistance, GTD, frustration, depression, anxiety, annoyance, devotions, gratitude, meaning, and more.

My goal here is to continue to write but I have myself backsliding at times (when standing at the front lines in the war against resistance, resistance tends to fight back HARD.

Goals for the rest of the year:
1. Write and blog and for myself first and my audience second (I  started the blog for myself which made it special and in order to keep it that way I have to continue to write it for myself).
2. Remember that the fact that it is hard to write because of resistance proves that it is important
3. Start mobile blogging again

My Prayer:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gift of being able to write and the technology to put this out there. Please help me to maintain this blog and continue writing.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reminder to be Open with my Christianity

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”- Romans 1:16

I have posted this verse before and it still applies. At times I feel like it is hard to admit that I am a Christian, like it is easier to to sit back on the sidelines and not take a side. It feels good to read Paul's words affirming that these kinds of feelings existed for early Christians as well. I read his words and am reminded that God's power works in my life and that God saves us through our belief. 

My prayer:

Dear Lord in Heaven,

I praise your name and thank you for everything I have. Thank you Lord for your creation and thank you for dying for my sins. I am a sinner; I have been guilty of denying you, and hiding my Christianity. Dear Lord, please fill me with your Spirit and help me to openly proclaim my faith. Please help me to witness and share my faith with those I meet and never hide the gifts I have received. Please give me the strength I can't get without you and allow me to shout from the rooftops that I believe.

In your holy name,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Went to a funeral today for an old friend which gave me some time to reflect. The sermon was about salvation, trusting in the Lord, and God's promises.

My prayer:

Father God,

In times of sadness thank you for the Joy of salvation that you give us. Thank you for your Spirit that makes this life worth living and the promise of eternal life with you.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Overwhelm After the Epic Trip, GTD, & Where God Fits In

For those of you that don't know; I just returned from a fantastic trip across 2 weeks, 8 states, 4 national parks, countless cities, and much more. We clocked 4,125.2 awesome miles and we are home!

I had an amazing time as my Mom and I traveled by car; camping, and moteling (thank God for the new. Amazing, and reimagined Motel 6) to the Hoover Dam, beautiful St. George Utah, Bryce National Park, Salt Lake City Utah, Pocatello Idaho, Jackson Hole Wyoming, the Grand Tetons National Park, Yellow Stone (amazing, amazing Yellowstone), West Yellowstone Montana, Pendleton Oregon, Portland Oregon (to visit my wonderful friend Heather), Coos Bay Oregon, Redwood National and State Parks, Eureka and Arcata California (the home of Humboldt Fog cheese! (I ate 6oz)), the beautiful Redwoods in Boulder Creek California (the home of my wonderful cousin Theresa and her husband Rich), and the fabulous journey home, down the coast through Big Sur, Pismo Beach, and Solvang (which was beautiful and interesting yet completely closed at that time of night).

And now I am home.

Where my life hits me like a freight train of bills (kept up with most on the trip but still need to do a lot of reconciling and planning for future stuff), responsibilities , roles (photographer, writer, student, future pastor, gamer, son, friend, etc), correspondence (with friends new and old), books to read (fun , gaming, and educational), shows to watch (evil, evil DVR), movies to see (Cowboys and Aliens, and Captain America (saw Harry Potter and Friends with Benefits on trip), friends to catch up with, hobbies ( gaming, photography, reading, personal studies, etc), hiking (like I didn't get enough on my trip but I could never get enough), exercise (2 mud runs to train for), blogs to keep up with (like this one and my Weight Watchers Blog), Online Communities (Facebook and the groups on there, GTDVSG (yes I am coming back), school (it only starts in two weeks), events and trips coming up (yes, I am planning on doing more stuff), household chores (the joy of moving back home), keeping up with people met on the trip and sending all the photos I took of people back to them (I collect photos of people taking photos, another hobby), and a slew of projects and ideas I am working on and/or plan on working on.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you became overwhelmed by reading the above paragraph, you can imagine what it is like for me, but fortunately I am not overwhelmed, overloaded or panicking because I have the tool of GTD. To save the time of explaining what that is to people who don't know, read about GTD here.

To sum it up simply, the joy of GTD is that it lets me collect all of my open loops into one place to get them off my mind; I spend some time gathering them into a bin, then spend more time processing through that bin to do, defer, or delete each thing one at a time. I keep my processed outcomes in a system (I use rmilk) that I trust that will be there to let me do everything at the best time for me to do it.

Is my life perfect because of GTD? No, not at all, it is just a tool I use to relieve the burden of overwhelm. I do let things build up and overwhelm me at times because I can't be perfectly in control all the time, I need flexibility to breathe within my system. A friend of mine asked me about it while I was on vacation and when I explained it she said, "It is like an obsession then?" A lot of people have brought this up to people who practice GTD and the answer is ultimately no. It may appear as an obsession to some but it is not that, but then what is it?

It is a discipline and it is a practice. GTD is a collection of methods aimed at helping people remove the junk from their heads to eliminate the stress of productivity and accentuate the product of that activity. David Allen (the creator of GTD, if you skipped the link I posted earlier) coined the phrase that it lets us win at the game of work and the business of life.

If you read my blog you may be wondering where prayer comes into the equation in all this. For me, nothing starts without God and GTD isn't any different. While overwhelm is starting to build, I am getting ready to collect open loops, I am processing through my inbox, I am planning projects, or I am doing the things on my various lists, God's embrace is right around me and I wouldn't be able to do complete my next actions without him.

My prayer this morning when the overwhelm became evident:

Father God, I really want to sink my teeth into this mess of stuff but I don't know where to start. I am completely helpless, unmotivated, overloaded, overwhelmed, and everything seems huge and unmovable. What do I do?

His answer for me was the immediate realization that I had to empty my brain onto paper and start collecting open loops and then to write and post this article. This post is part of my process. God brought the practice of GTD to me, I don't doubt it and when I need it he reminds me that I have the tools to be the captain and commander of my life

My prayer now:

Dear Lord,

I am a pitiful sinner and am completely unworthy of all the gifts you have given me. Due to the power of your love and your death on the cross I am worthy and able to be your child. Father, I pray to you to thank you for your love, for your creation, and for the ability to have a relationship with you. Thank you for my life, good and bad. As I collect my open loops, process through my lists, plan my projects, and complete next actions; please fill me with your holy spirit and give me the guidance to follow your will and the strength and courage to follow through with it. I love you Lord and I thank you again from the bottom of my heart.


Monday, August 1, 2011

What I am Grateful For

After a fantastic vacation through the western states of this amazing country and 4 National Parks I am reminded of my love for God and the ability to be in prayer with him.

My Prayer:

Father God,

Please help me not to forget that I have you in life and am able to pray without ceasing, please help to remind me to embrace gratitude and use it as my motivation to do your will. I love you Lord and am eternally grateful, thank you for your gifts, your beauty, and your word.

In your name,