They Who Built Me

This is a list of people whom God has used to build me into who I am today. This list includes family and friends from highschool, college, church, training programs, and drama programs. I attribute one quote (which mostly defines how they influenced or encouraged me) to each person, but each person, no matter what was said, has mostly influenced me with his or her life. I give the first and last initials of their names so that if they happen to read down the list, they might see themselves listed. Probably four-fifths of these people won’t ever read this post; nonetheless, it is worth writing, if not to remind myself, then to edify anyone who reads.

“I’m proud of you. You’re a man now.” W. G.

“God has some big plans for you, sirio.” K. G.

“I don’t believe that love is something you fall into. Love is something you grow into.” S. S.

“It’s time you man up about Truth! God has given you the ability to grasp It, so make a decision in your soul and believe!” E. L.

“I have high aspirations for you. You’re humble, willing, and seeking the Lord.” J. H.

“Don’t mess around. Seek the Lord and stay focused.” P. H.

“You’re afraid to be transparent with friends because they’ll hurt you, but that’s Christianity: being hurt by friends and loving them regardless.” N. S.

“When you go to college, two things: stay in the Word and stay in prayer. Without those two things, you’re done for.” N. J.

“Sometimes God leads us down a path, not for the destination, but for the gem found at the end, even if its a dead end.” R. P.

“There is no coincidence in the Christian life.” J. M.

“Your piano piece, Toccata, inspires me to keep on keeping on.” B. M.

“’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” K. W.

“In life, the world is going to try and destroy you with questions. I ask you questions to prepare you. If you can’t handle me, you won’t be able to handle the world.” J. M.

“Did you wrestle with God in prayer this morning? Do not leave the presence of God without being in the proper relationship with Him.” B. M.

“How much we are used of God does not compare with how much of us He can use.” E. H.

“Just remember, no matter where you go in life, you will always have music!” J. M.

“You will make mistakes. That’s life, but God will uphold you through your mistakes.” B. M.

“Reading about Uncle Tom dieing whets my thirst for heaven, when I will see Jesus, and sin will be done away with!” K. M.

“You and your older brother are very different. Don’t fill his shoes. Wear out your own.” B. W.

“When you go to college, don’t fall off your friends’ map. They need you, and you need them.” J. W.

“Remember that no matter how high you go up the business latter, you are not there to serve man. You are there to serve God. Stay humble no matter where you are.” A. O.

“I don’t care about your music. In a sense, I do, but there are more important things in life! There are kids out there whose mother’s are on crack, and they need the Gospel!” J. M.

“Even the way that you eat will determine how much energy you will have to serve your future wife.” D. A.

“No matter where you are or what you are doing, you are in the ministry!” C. G.

“There’s no question whether or not you’ll be in the music ministry. God has already used your musical gifts in the ministry.” M. R.

“You can never tell how spiritually strong someone is by looking at the surface. Just because some guy did something spiritual that you have never done, doesn’t mean that he has gone through what you’ve gone through, and because you have gone through what he hasn’t, you could be ten times stronger. Vice versa.” J. R.

“Be a man of prayer.” D. M.

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Gavin and Evangelism

So I was sitting in front of Starbucks praying about what God wanted me to write when a middle-aged man stopped in front of me and stared. According to gut reaction and social etiquette, I closed my laptop and said hello. His name was Gavin, and it didn’t take long to realize that he had a mental disorder. His mother had dropped him off at the mall with the intention of picking him up at a later time, and I suppose he just wanted someone to talk to.

Leading up to this moment, God has been working on my heart for quite some time. He’s been giving me a burden about something I’m not proud of: not having a burden for souls. Call me unspiritual, but I’m calling a spade of spades and being honest. There are souls going to hell, and my heart barely skips a beat. I walk through the public and have a remnant of sadness because few know Christ, but is there a burden to break down in tears and weep because the God of the universe has made Himself known in the flesh and many don’t even realize the fact?

No.

The college I’m at runs ministry opportunities called “Christian Services” which are largely evangelistic. This semester is the first time that I have actually done Christian Service and gone out to evangelize, but the real question is this: when I’m not on Christian Service, not on the clock, not receiving collegian points, am I still reaching for souls? It all comes down to this question: do I truly know the heart of God?

No.

Because if I did know the heart of God, I would be moved to action. Why? Jesus was moved to action and He died. But here is where I want you, the reader, to connect. I want to know the heart of God. The heart of God comes down to one thing: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And if the heart of God revolves around Jesus Christ and Him crucified, what’s the one way to know the heart of God? Simple. Revolve everything in life around Jesus Christ and Him crucified. How does that happen? Day in and day out, it is meditating on who Jesus is and what He has done. It is praying without ceasing and striving to know Jesus Christ more than ever before. It is nothing less than picking up the cross and following Him in moment by moment situations.

Now, back to Gavin.

For whatever reason, it was a divine appointment. He knew who Jesus was and could agree with everything that I was saying about Him, but as I explained who Jesus was to me and what He has done in my life, I could see something turning in His soul, as though he had seen something that he had never seen before.

What’s this turning? Read through the history of those dead guys who carried the heart of God. They didn’t just speak about God. God spoke through them. Wherever they went, people saw God! Charles Spurgeon would walk into a town, and the very sight of him would convict people. John Hyde would come out of prayer with a state of soul that would bring people to tears within minutes. To tell the Gospel is only half the battle; the world is in desperate need of people who are living the Gospel.

I’m a Christian, and yet I’m not where I ought to be, but God answers prayer, and because God’s burdened me to pray about not having a burden, I can count on the fact that He is on His way to weighing down my soul with His heart!

Even then, to tell people the Gospel is sheer obedience, whether I feel like it or not. He commanded it.

It was just as much a conviction to type this as it probably was to read.

We need You, Jesus.

Jesus Moves Most Under Attack

This past week has been an adventure.
Every day has been an uphill battle.
Every hour has been a challenge.
Every moment has held high stakes.

I’m under attack.

The enemy has one strategy: distract at all cost!
When sight of Jesus Christ and Him crucified is lost,
Even if it is for one week, day, hour, or moment,
The enemy has free reign to wreak havoc galore!

I’m under attack.

The enemy attacks the awakened.
The enemy attacks the visionary.
The enemy attacks the moving.
The enemy attacks the offensive.

I’m under attack.

This week I was distracted many times.
This week I stumbled many times.
This week I failed many times.
This week I lost many battles.

I’m under attack.

This week Jesus was more faithful than my unfaithfulness!
This week Jesus picked me up every single time I fell!
This week Jesus succeeded more than my failure!
This week Jesus won more battles than my losses!

Jesus is moving.

This week was stock full of Jesus being Jesus!
This week was stock full of complete one-eighties!
This week was stock full of prayers being answered!
This week was stock full of epic victories!

Jesus is moving.

This week Jesus proved omniscient!
This week Jesus proved omnipresent!
This week Jesus proved omnipotent!
This week Jesus proved victorious!

Jesus is moving.

This week God taught me how to look to Him when I’m down.
No matter how much the enemy may attempt to destroy me,
Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the solid rock higher than I.
And though ten thousand encamp against me, I will not fear, because..

Jesus is moving.

When The Beautiful Tank Goes Really Fast

This past week was the first week of my second semester of college. Seventeen credits, papers due, scripts to memorize, notes to study – it’s been a quick start on a rough road.

None-the-less, I have but one priority: time with Jesus Christ in the Word and prayer, and thus far, this is what I have discovered: the Word is like a blueprint for a car (history manual included), and prayer is like the fuel for the car. I read the Word to saturate in knowing who my God is, who I am in Him, what He’s done, what He’s going to do, and what He commands me to do. Good stuff right?! Yeah! But the Lord’s prayer was, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This means that, without prayer, God’s will has no channel to come to earth. The car will never start. I can look at the car all I want and say, “Whoa! That car is like a tank, space shuttle, and Porsche, all combined into one beautiful monster!” but without fuel (and space shuttles require a lot), it’s completely worthless!

All of that being said, I suppose the question is, “Okay, that’s a great analogy and all, but what’s happened with you the past week?!” Well, all I can say is.. the car has gone really fast!

Actually, instead of calling it a car, I’ll call it the Beautiful Tank! I say “tank” because it’s unstoppable! Nothing can hinder it, deter it, veer it, change it, or break it! “How would you know?” is the question. As I stated previously, I have spent the last week inside the Beautiful Tank (aka Jesus Christ), and It has proven undefeatable.

My burdens pile up, my stress levels rise, my diligence wanes, my energy levels fall, my thoughts go haywire, and then I look to Jesus. He looks back at me with a smile and says, “Step on the accelerator.” “I can’t!” I shout back. “You’re right, you can’t, but I can! Just ask Me and I will!” and as the prayer closet takes a forefront priority in my life, suddenly, the car’s mechanics are lubricated, and it’s full of unlimited fuel! Me sprinting ten miles per hour is suddenly me reclining in a Beautiful Tank going two-hundred miles per hour.

There is nothing that I have between God and I that is not a result of simply asking in prayer.

When I read the Word, God shows me how the Beautiful Tank works, what It can do, how fast It can go, Its track record, and how to use It. That is why it is so important to be meditating on God’s Word all day along, but more specifically, Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Why? Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the Beautiful Tank. His crucifixion is what brought Him into me and me into Him, and when I am in constant communion with Him and constantly being filled with the Spirit, it is just as Paul says, “It is no longer I who live but Christ in me!”

That being said, I look around to many students who are struggling already or maybe even running very fast, but I can’t help but cringe. They are running in their own strength! They will get tired soon enough! And even if they make it to the end, I doubt God will receive much glory. Why? Because they were maybe in the Word each morning, and maybe spent some time in prayer. Is that bad? No. Is that sufficient? No! “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy soul, all thy mind, and all thy strength!” Being in the Word and prayer is a 24/7 lifestyle. Even if a little time is spent in the Word, we must meditate on it all day long and chew over everything with much prayer and communion throughout all we do.

Has God taught me to spend a lot of time in the Word and prayer? Yes. Have people called me crazy? Yes. “Leave time to study and stuff..” However, I am beginning to think they’re the ones who are crazy. God has been giving me more wisdom on how to use my time in school work and study than I have ever had in my entire life. The more time I spend seeking the Lord, the more I learn to use my time throughout the day. I think of Martin Luther who said, “I have so much to do today, I will spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Granted, it’s only been a week, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found the secret! It has been my prayer that what God has shown me will be guarded and applied the entirety of the semester, and I have no doubt that He will! I am so excited to see what’s down the road, and I intend to take it on full force side by side with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It’s a Beautiful Tank. Every Christian is inside. Seek Him,
And He’ll show you just how beautiful it is,
Just like He’s shown me!

Starbucks Saturday

Towards the latter part of winter break, it really occurred to me that I want to keep up this website. Naturally then, I need to keep on posting. The problem is that hardly anyone reads anything I put up because my posts are very few and far between.

Part of what contributed to that issue last semester was the fact that WordPress is blocked by my college wi-fi. However! On Saturdays, college shuttle buses drive students to Walgreens, Walmart, and the mall. And at the mall is a Starbucks with free wi-fi; henceforth, I am able to post.

So here is my commitment, every Saturday I am going to go the mall and post something. Sometimes, I might even schedule multiple posts to be posted throughout the week. Nonetheless, count on this: a post by Saturday evening, every Saturday for the next four months.

Sounds good? Good. *high five*

Every Day is Beautiful

This next semester begins what I would consider one of the most fresh starts of my entire life.

Why? Because during this Christmas break, a plethora of things fell through in my life. Plans collapsed. Expectations were demolished. Dreams were lost, and what I thought was chapter nine and ten has suddenly placed me back at chapter one.

However, God has taught me something marvelous through all the pain and confusion. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to not know what’s down the road? Because if we knew, we would make decisions based on what we thought would lead us there, but that would be called taking matters into our own hands, which, last time I checked, never ends well.

The fact that today is a day to be spent with Jesus Christ is enough for me. What I know I need to do today is all that I need to know I need to do. The future is in the hands of God, and who am I to guess or think through what He’s holding when He hasn’t opened up His hands yet? When God leaves us clueless about tomorrow, it’s simply another revelation of His infinite love and knowledge. He gives us the grace to take life each day at a time, while He handles life infinity at a time.

I have no clue what will happen next, and by the gracious hand of God, I have no expectations of possibilities from here on out,

But this I know: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

He alone is the only thing that I’ll ever need to know!

This semester, I ask for more of Jesus than ever before,

And every day will be more beautiful than the last.

19 Resolutions

Resolved, no down time.

Resolved, turn first to prayer, then God’s Word, then man.

Resolved, reason from the heavenlies.

Resolved, hold God higher than sleep.

Resolved, seek out the good in others, let God deal with the bad.

Resolved, rejoice in good and bad situations alike.

Resolved, serve all as I would Jesus.

Resolved, in trials, thank God always for the gift of trials.

Resolved, whenever I sit down, thank Jesus for Him living in me.

Resolved, whenever I stand up, thank Jesus for me living in Him.

Resolved, live each moment as if my life was judged by that moment alone.

Resolved, pray as though all of heaven and hell hangs in the balance.

Resolved, read God’s Word as though all of heaven and hell hangs in the balance.

Resolved, live as though all of heaven and hell hangs in the balance.

Resolved, recognize that all of heaven and hell actually hangs in the balance.

Resolved, if I should fall into a sin, move forward as though experience is irrelevant.

Resolved, never trust what I would normally say, only trust what Jesus is saying.

Resolved, look to Jesus the moment I wake up.

Resolved, look to Jesus till the moment I fall asleep.