Sometimes, I am amazed at how life has its "ups" and "downs", but through it all, God never changes. To be honest, I could choose to mope around and be depressed about the negative events that happen in my life, but I find that's not even worth my time and energy (especially compared to the many people in this world who are experiencing worse by far!). All to often, Christians focus on getting their life right and comfortable and rarely spend time thinking about the Great Commission. The Great Commission to them is tithing, praying, going to church, listening to Joy FM, changing their "religious views" to "Christian" on Facebook, and praying before eating (in no particular order). Now I know that this descriptive list kind of seems comical (which it sort of is), but it is also serious because I see many Christians who, sadly, fit this description. I'm not saying that doing all these things are bad (because they sure aren't), but if that is how our lives are determined as Christians, then there is a problem. I, for one, do not want my life to be based on how comfortable it is, but mostly by what I am doing for the Gospel. My main concern is, "how can I spread and/or aid the spread of the Gospel?" I find no other reason for my life than that.
Last week, my dad and I (after looking over my finances) discovered that I won't be needing a second job in order to afford Bible college for the next 5 years! God is good! He not only provides my needs in general, but most importantly, He provides my needs in order to share the Gospel with the world! These aren't provisions to make my life more comfortable, but to make my life uncomfortable with a much greater vision than the American Dream. I'm looking forward to see where God takes me from here!
Two days ago, I had the awesome opportunity to go to a homeless-shelter-kind-of-thing, called Pinellas Hope. The homeless people there live in a community of tents, shacks, and (for some) in apartments. It is a pretty sweet ministry and I was blessed to be a part of it! But I have a confession to make: I never wanted to go. That's right, I was selfish and I never went because I didn't want to. I never really knew what to expect, but I thought I wasn't gonna like it. The thing is, even if I didn't like it, does that define whether I should go again or not? No! When being a follower of Jesus, that means you are going to have to do things that you don't necessarily want to do. And you know? I loved it there! All we did is play Bingo and just hang out with the people (and of course we gave them provisions that they needed). Even though that's "all we did", that was huge for the people there! It was such a blessing and I can't wait until next month's trip!
Recently, I've been learning how to evangelize (effectively share the Gospel and doing it in love). Part of me still has fear and another part of me doesn't quite feel ready, but everyday I pray for an opportunity. Co-workers of mine know of my relationship with Christ and my pursuit of being a youth pastor and many of them have a Christian background of some sort, so there is definitely a "breeding ground" for the Gospel to be shared in my own work place! I just don't want to be afraid of sharing.
In light of the above paragraph, I do have one more awesome story to share! On Facebook, there is a Christian page I'm a fan of on their called "Teen Jesus Freaks". There's a guy on there that joined only to bash and challenge Christianity. He's an atheist and he demands for the Christians on the page to "prove" the validity of the Bible and the words of Jesus. He is definitely hard-hearted and at enmity with God. I started talking to him on there and gave him some cool facts (scientifically and historically supported) that support the validity of the Bible. The thing is, no matter how many or how good the facts were, this guy tried wiggling around them and finding articles online that "refute" these claims I was making. Long story short, I ended up telling him that no matter what I tell him, he won't believe because his heart is hard and at enmity towards the things of God; that it (Christianity) requires faith, just like atheism does; and I proceeded to present the Gospel to him. I challenged him to read the Gospel of John and read it for himself and left it at that. It was a super long post, so I hope the words penetrated him and I still pray for him today. Oh, and he lives in Germany, which is pretty awesome! People might criticize me for what I did. But you know what? He's a real person just like you and me and is in need of God's saving grace just like anyone else! And I feel I did my part and now it's up to God to go from there :)
This post doesn't even begin cover everything that has happened between the last post 'til now, but I sure hope this gives you all an idea of what is happening in my life. :)