Dreams are some of the trickiest things for me to think of, because I hadn’t really sat down to consider it much before I started working with my newest job, but the more I think about them, the more I realize they’re essential to life. After all, if I don’t have a clear understanding of where I want to go or what I want to be like, I can’t begin to make the changes necessary to be sure I get there. So, I decided to sit down and plan it out. I’m breaking it up into sections to make it easier for me to decipher, so here goes. My top whatever-the-number-ends-up-being list for things I want to accomplish, places I want to go, etc, etc. This list will be continually updated, so it should be interesting to see how large it gets. Also, many are ongoing goals, so it’s not as if I’ll suddenly “arrive” at most of them, but hey, it’ll give me the direction I need to succeed and live a fulfilling life.
(Special shout-out to my manager, Mike, even though you may never see this. Without your guidance, I probably wouldn’t have realized the value in keeping track of these things.)
- Visit Ireland
- Dive the Great Barrier Reef
- Go on an African safari
- See the pyramids at Giza
- Walk along the Great Wall of China
- Ride a Japanese bullet train and experience the night life in Tokyo/Osaka
- Spend a weekend (or two) in each of the 50 states
- See the remnants of the Berlin Wall
- Watch a soccer game in Spain
- Return to Guatemala and see the Mayan cities in the North
- Take part in a festival in Rio de Janiero
- Spend a week in the Virgin Islands
- Go on a Caribbean cruise
- Spend a couple weeks in England, then take the chunnel to Paris
- Go surfing in Hawaii (learn from the best)
- Go snowboarding in Canada
- Backpack across Europe
- Hike the Appalachian Trail
- Visit space (Yes, that’s technically a travel goal :P)
- Take a boat through the fjords in Scandinavia
- See the Kremlin
- Take the LotR tour in New Zealand (visit Hobbiton and the like ^^)
- Canoe down the Amazon River
- Explore a rain forest
- See the sights in Washington, D.C.
- Visit Constantinople
- Join a gym and get a steady routine in place
- Improve my endurance enough to run a marathon
- Learn parkour
- 175 lbs, 8% body fat
- Bike 20 miles without stopping
- Return to the Ultimate Frisbee circuit
- Play baseball in a league
- Learn and master multiple styles of martial arts
- Bench twice my weight (~300 lbs)
- Develop healthier eating habits
- Develop a consistent sleep schedule
- Write a worship song that inspires and touches people and spreads to multiple churches across the nation and goes overseas
- Be able to play basically any song from any genre on guitar by ear
- Learn drums
- Learn piano
- Finish and publish my story (http://got88.wordpress.com)(Yes, this IS a shameless plug.)
- Create a video game based off said story
- Draw my own comic books
- Take up digital art
- Become a Photoshop whiz
- Record a CD and create change with my music
- Perfect my sketch/art style
- Design and build my own home near the beach
- Have a music room/recording studio in my home
- Get an awesome digital drawing pad
- Learn how to invest and set up a number of solid investments to ensure a better future for my family
- Create a “vision board”
- Get a reliable car that I can tweak and tune and make awesome
- Read through the entire Bible cover to cover at least once per year
- Go on a short-term missions trip every couple years
- Spend at least 1 month overseas on mission
- Overcome my biggest temptation
- Make God THE priority
- Change someone’s life each year for the better
- Write a sound commentary on the Scriptures
- Develop a voracious hunger for knowing God more
- Deepen my intimacy with God
- Become educated in the precepts of the other religions of the world so I can have good in-depth conversations based on facts and not assumptions or hearsay and accurately defend my own faith against the accusations of those from other backgrounds
- Figure out what my spiritual gifts are and how to effectively use them
- Become multilingual (Spanish, French, German, Russian, Japanese, and Gaelic)
- Get a Masters degree
- Study abroad for a semester
- Develop a love for reading
- RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!! (Always have a factual basis or at least understand why I believe what I believe)
- Learn to fix cars
- Learn to design and repair computers
- Learn to program computers
- Build a lightsaber
- Remain honest, even in times where a lie would produce a less painful outcome in the moment
- Conquer my tendency toward laziness
- Learn to embrace leadership instead of dreading it
- Be the type of person I’d want to follow
- Remain humble, even if blessed with fame or fortune
- Always be available to listen and be willing to give advice if it’s asked for
- Always put others’ needs before my own – selflessness, not selfishness
- Help others discover the best version of themselves
- CANI – Constant And Never-ending Improvement
- Conquer my stage fright completely
- Stop beating myself up/tearing myself down so much
- Always put the focus on the positives and possibilities of the future and not dwell on the regrets of the past
- Be aggressive, but not overbearing or destructive when seeking new possibilities
- Learn to be more assertive
- Learn to say “no”
Misc. goals (Ones I couldn’t think of a good category for):
- Get married
- Have 2 kids (one of each)
- Go skydiving
- Ride a jet ski
- Become a powerful public speaker
- Learn how to effectively balance work and play
It’s late. I’m tired. But not tired enough to sleep.
Early start tomorrow, and I’m not sleepy. Why does it ALWAYS happen when I have to get up early? It’s amazing.
Normally, I’d be visiting a few websites and watching a few videos, but tonight I don’t feel like it.
If not videos, I’d be looking up pictures. Pictures are all well and good, and some are quite beautiful. But each shot only occupies a few minutes at most.
Could be reading, but I’m not sure I’m in the reading mood.
So, in the interest of being productive, I thought I’d do something constructive and write a blog.
Not a fancy one, but just something to keep me distracted for long enough until I start dreaming.
Why do I need distractions? ‘Cuz I can’t trust my heart. It leads me into all sorts of trouble.
Besides, I need to write more on here anyway. Feel like I’m wasting all this space if I don’t put out a blog every so often. Also, it’s a pretty good outlet for my thoughts. Huzzah for an electronic journal!
I don’t really care if anyone reads these things. But for those that do, I hope I’m able to help in at least some small way.
Because I DO care about people. Sometimes, it almost feels like I care too much. I drive myself crazy trying to fix everyone’s problems and make everyone feel better, but it’s not always the best thing to obsess over. Yes, I said “obsess.”
Not that I obsess over any one particular person. No, I haven’t done that in a while, and it didn’t turn out all that well.
No, I obsess over being the salve on people’s wounds. I obsess over being people’s crying shoulder. I obsess so much over others’ needs that I sometimes neglect my own.
It’s crazy. But it’s just the type of person I am.
I’d give the shirt off my back and every cent in my wallet to someone to help them out. And what do I get for it? Nothing. Well, not usually.
But, I don’t ask for anything in return. I don’t want anything in return. I’m happier when I’m helping others than I am when I help myself or when others help me. Sometimes, they take advantage of my kindness, but I bounce back and offer to help them again. Does that make me sick? Insane?
People come and people go, but I don’t seem to be moving much.
Am I letting life pass me by? Am I just being lazy?
Am I using my talents and abilities to their fullest extent, or am I wasting my potential?
I don’t know. I don’t really know anything. I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a goal.
As a result, I find myself wasting my days away just sitting in my little bubble.
And I’m content. At least, for the first few hours.
After that, I start looking for other “distractions.” I play another video game. I listen to another song. I look up another article.
Yet, I never seem to look where all the answers lie. I never seem to approach the streams of living water.
I say I care about Him. But my actions don’t show it.
I say I love Him. Mostly to everyone else. Rarely do I ever say it to His face.
I say I want His destiny for my life. Yet, I don’t seek it. I don’t pursue Him.
I just go to the next activity.
I just play the next song in church.
I just lead the next lesson in youth group.
I just….float. Float by.
I guess I just expect things to work out without taking any sort of definitive action.
Sometimes, it’s enough. Most of the time, I miss the whole point of a certain event.
I can’t keep living this way. I have to do something.
Maybe not something earth-shatteringly (Is that even a word?) huge, but at least a small something to get me moving in the right direction.
What will it look like? God knows.
I’ve just gotta move on.
Ah, but I think I’ve ranted long enough. Maybe I’ll be able to get some rest now.
If You’ll have me, You can use me however you want.
It’s been far too long since I posted one of these. Not that anyone reads blogs anymore in general. Maybe I should just type everything in facebook notes…meh, writing out my thoughts here saves paper, at least.
It’s amazing how quickly one can lose sight of their goals if no action is taken toward making them a reality. It’s so easy to get sidetracked, distrac-“SQUIRREL!!”-ted, and otherwise apathetic (Couldn’t think of another “track” word. Whatever.). These are common, natural dangers, but they are the worst progress-killers ever, and if we hope to honor the Lord and better ourselves and those around us, they have no place in our lives.
This past weekend at Acquire the Fire was AWESOME! Aside from a few…interesting situations which branched off from me driving one of the vans and not knowing the area around the center AT ALL, that is. God really rocked the house (as He always does), and His presence was so tangible, I could almost physically feel His embrace. It was such an enriching, freeing experience to just be able to sit back and worship without having to worry about hitting the right notes on a guitar or the right harmonies in the mic. Many experienced love, refreshment, deliverance, and healing. Some met Dad for the first time. In my case, it re-centered my focus and carried over into the church service on Sunday. I even picked up some great new songs to use in my own personal worship and in my leadership at church. I made a few commitments. I abandoned a few skeletons. I finally turned away from my vomit for one brief and shining moment.
Come Monday, however, I was already back into a few of the things I swore to leave behind. Call it addiction, call it unfaithfulness, call it what you will, but the reality is I need to just lay them down once and for all. They’re just not worth pursuing, but they are “comfortable” (until the guilt sets in). They are “familiar.” And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of crumbling at the first hint of temptation; I’m sick of allowing my life to be ruled by these petty gods. I’m wholly disgusted with the unholy desires of my heart. I’m totally dissatisfied with my poor self-image, paltry commitments, and pitiable disposition toward sin.
I need more. I CRAVE more. More of the Word. More ministry. More time spent worshiping. More of GOD. So many people are content to allow Him to clean up their mess like a butler, then to ignore Him like He doesn’t exist when things are going well. So many treat the Author and Sustainer of the UNIVERSE like some kind of cosmic Genie who is bound to granting us every selfish impulse of our hearts. I’m tired of being one of those people. I’m tired of grieving the Spirit. I’m tired of living for temporary things. I need an eternal mindset.
God, far be it from me that I should push You to the back burner!! I BEG You, don’t allow me to live another day consumed by such meaningless things! Don’t allow me to fall back into the normal “routine.” Take what’s left of my life. Use me how You see fit. I’m tired of living for my own pursuits. I’m tired of rehashing old and worn out posts like this one. You are SO much better than ANY of this. I pray the passion I have now would continue to flood my soul and banish my internal darkness. You removed all the filth from me once and for all on the cross, yet I treat Your sacrifice as a trifling thing. It’s despicable. Yet, You forgive. You love. You hold me close when I’m broken. You lift me up above my curse. Even when I spit in Your face, You just wipe it off and extend Your hand once again. Please forgive me. Please strengthen this feeble heart. Please refresh my life, remove me from the exalted place that belongs to You, and empower me to exhaust my life for Your cause.
To You, and You alone, be every OUNCE of glory.
Why is it always late at night when I get into “worship mode?” I just wanna cry out at the top of my lungs and proclaim His greatness, but I’ll wake everyone up who lives around me. Then again, maybe that’s just what they need more than anything: A blast of truth to wipe away their darkness, a shout of victory in the midst of their chaos.
The Lord is so amazing. What’s almost more amazing, however, is my frequent forgetfulness of that fact. I get so caught up in everything except the one thing I should be caught up in. Then, at the most inconvenient times, I get broadsided by a glimpse of the splendor of God Almighty and just lose it. My emotions swirl out of control. I can’t keep the tears from flowing. My heart comes alive and I lose all concept of the passage of time. I can’t sit still. I lose track of the other people around me. In the depths of my soul, I feel His awesome weight of glory; His commanding presence. Then, the moment passes, and I’m left reeling in the wake.
The worst part? I don’t want it to end. But it MUST end eventually. There is still work to be done here. There are still souls crying out in their darkness and despair, seeking a Savior. I’m no great speaker, that I should command the respect of my audience. Nor am I an expert scholar, that I should know all there is to know about a particular field. Heck, I’m not even the greatest musician to ever walk the earth. I haven’t sold millions of records, I haven’t gone platinum, nor have I become known the world over. But, my testimony is true. My hope is sure. My message MUST be heard.
God, I don’t ask to become famous. I don’t seek money or power. I just seek You. I just need You. I love You. Even if I lose everything. Even if the floor falls out from under me and the very earth itself threatens to swallow me whole, I want to live the rest of my life in such a way that it screams to the world that there IS something more than what this life can offer, and it’s more beautiful than even the greatest painting, the most striking landscape, or the grandest new contraption that money can buy.
“Peace, My son. Calm your troubled heart. There is nothing that happens which is out of My hands or out of My sight. It may seem of little consolation to hear those words in the midst of what you’re going through, but I assure you, not even a sparrow falls without My knowledge. I hold the universe in balance, I hung the earth on its axis, I spread the stars across the heavens, and I sit enthroned above it all. I knit even the building blocks of the cells together by the power of My hand, and I keep them functioning healthily. I see everything in this universe, yet still do not gloss over even the smallest details. I see every broken heart, every twisted truth, every dashed hope, every disaster and disease, and it mourns Me.”
“You may see Me as uncaring or harsh for allowing such evils to exist, but please understand, such evils exist outside of My original designs. Through sin, My entire creation became cursed, unbalanced, and broken. I hear it crying out for redemption. I see it waiting in anticipation for its revival. Fear not, its revival WILL come, I assure you (‘…Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away…’).”
“I have a plan in place; one that has existed since before I created any of this. That’s right. From before there was time, I saw this corruption, this pain, this death. Yet, I created. I knew mankind would betray Me and resist My will. Yet, I breathed My life into your nostrils. I knew the cost from before the beginning, yet I began it. My Son stood with me through the whole process, and even HE knew what He would have to give before I created humanity. Yet, He joyously assisted in the creation, He willingly took on the form of a human, and He followed My plan to the point of death, even the harsh death of a cross. What was the purpose? Why should the Almighty submit to such torture? ‘Behold, I am making all things new…these words are faithful and true. It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. ‘”
Why do we allow ourselves to squander hours watching television when the LORD is such a grander sight? Why do we find it easy to spend hours browsing the Internet, but find it to be of the utmost difficulty to spend hours with our Creator? What drives us to update our Facebook status every minute of every day when we barely speak our minds to our FATHER? Did He not give us the eyes with which we watch that computer screen? Why do we settle for prophets who “tickle our ears” when those same ears were given to us to allow us to hear the very voice of GOD? Why do we settle for “crumbs from the Master’s table” when He desires to let us feast until we burst upon the Bread of Life? Why do we consider reading the Word a necessary evil when it truly is the highest of privileges? What is it that causes us to innately be able to distract ourselves with petty pleasures when the Richest of Fare longs to speak into our lives? The LORD sits enthroned above the sphere of the heavens, yet we act as though our own sphere of influence is the only thing which exists in this universe. WHY DO WE WASTE OUR LIVES ON THINGS THAT DO NOT MATTER IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF ETERNITY? Many claim to “live for Jesus,” but few actually allow Him to lead their lives and have total dominion. All too often in churches today, the message of the gospel and the very pursuit of God are lost in fancy light shows, state-of-the-art “Worship Centers,” shallow worship, and the pursuit of the “almighty dollar.” When we follow this pattern, we’re merely building castles of sand. The pride I see in the hearts of those around me, whether it be the redeemed or the ones who claim to be, absolutely breaks me. The pride I see in my own heart all to often overshadows my boasting in the LORD, and for this I am ashamed. Where is the fierce longing after YHWH that the fathers of our faith possessed? Where has the fire that filled the bellies of the great evangelists gone today? Where is the deep, sincere WORSHIP, and where are the broken worshipers who bring it? This nation, though founded upon the Rock, has given up its first love in the name of “tolerance,” a desire not to offend, and the task of stockpiling wealth. We need to fall on our faces and beg for mercy from the throne. We are ripe for judgment, not only for the hearty approval we give to godlessness, but even more than that, for the complacency that has settled within our pews. If you claim to be a child of GOD, start acting like it!! Stop making excuses, stop pursuing worldly gain and impure lusts, stop wasting your life, and turn to GOD!! Call on His Name, fall on your face, give Him control, and worship in spirit and truth. Then, get out there and preach the gospel to everything that moves!! That is our mandate. Seek God with every fiber of your being, then share His love with everyone around you. ONLY GOD is worthy to be praised, ONLY GOD is worthy of our worship, ONLY GOD is ALPHA AND OMEGA, ONLY GOD IS GOD!! Seek HIS face, seek HIS face, seek HIS face!! Cry out to HIM!! Fall on your faces and worship!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, I LOVE YOU!! CHRIST, CHRIST, CHRIST I NEED YOU!! ABBA, ABBA, ABBA FATHER, HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL, FOR I AM UNCLEAN!! I AM UNWORTHY!! I AM A SINNER!! HAVE MERCY, HAVE MERCY, HAVE MERCY!! I AM UNWORTHY, YET YOU HAVE REDEEMED ME, YOU HAVE CHOSEN ME, YOU LOVE ME!! PRAISE YOU, PRAISE YOU, PRAISE YOU!!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! Oh how I love that name!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! Oh, my LORD, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! May I decrease, so that YOU may increase. I am YOURS, I am YOURS, I am YOURS!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, ARE YOU, OH LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!! The whole earth is FILLED with YOUR GLORY!!! My heart cries HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, ARE YOU AND YOU ALONE!!! LORD, HAVE MERCY! LORD, HAVE MERCY! LORD, HAVE MERCY!! CONSUME ME, MY GOD!! KEEP ME FROM HALF-HEARTED WORSHIP!! KEEP MY FEET FROM WALKING IN THE PATHS OF THE WICKED!! KEEP MY HEART FROM BECOMING CONSUMED WITH THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD, OH LORD, MY GOD!!! CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! I AM YOURS!! ABBA, ABBA, ABBA FATHER, LEAD ME INTO YOUR THRONE ROOM!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, COVER ME WITH YOUR BLOOD!! HOLY SPIRIT, HOLY SPIRIT, HOLY SPIRIT, GUIDE ME INTO ALL TRUTH!! OH GOD, MY GOD, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!!! YOU ARE MOST HIGH OVER ALL THE EARTH!! YOUR VOICE SHAKES THE HEAVENS!! YOUR FACE OUTSHINES THE SUN!! YOU ESTABLISHED THE EARTH, AND ONLY BY YOUR GRACE DOES IT STAND!! YOU ARE THE GIVER OF LIFE, AND YOU KNOW THE NUMBER OF OUR DAYS!! YOU WILL NEVER DIMINISH, YOU WILL NEVER BE FAR FROM YOUR PEOPLE, OH GOD!! YOU ALONE ARE HOLY!! YOU ALONE ARE WORTHY!! I SURRENDER TO YOU!! TAKE ME, BREAK ME, USE ME FOR YOUR GLORY!! CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME, CONSUME ME!! MESS ME UP FOR YOUR GLORY!! MESS ME UP FOR YOUR GLORY!!! JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! ABBA FATHER, JEHOVAH JIREH, MY ROCK AND MY SALVATION, I SURRENDER TO YOUR WILL!! USE ME, LORD!! USE ME, LORD!! USE ME, LORD!!! I cannot praise YOU enough!!! I love YOU, I love YOU, I love YOU!!! Ever shall YOUR NAME be on my lips!! FATHER, HAVE MERCY!! DO NOT ALLOW ME TO WASTE ANY MORE OF MY LIFE!! DO NOT LET ME SETTLE FOR THE CRUMBS FROM YOUR TABLE!! MAY MY HUNGER FOR YOU NEVER BE SATISFIED, MAY MY THIRST FOR YOU NEVER BE QUENCHED!! CONSUME ME, MY LORD!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, ARE YOU, OH LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!! ONLY YOU ARE HOLY, OH LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
Always leads us in TRIUMPH!! In VICTORY!!! In POWER!!
Who will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
No matter what we come up against, we shall have the victory through Christ.
Even death is victory when Jesus is our Lord and Savior, for He conquered sin and death when He paid the ultimate price upon that cross and rose three days afterward. EVEN NOW He is ruling at the right hand of His Father. Never shall He be defeated, nor shall we as long as He is the One holding us.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
A sweet aroma…a head-turning fragrance.
The aroma of victory…the aroma of grace.
When we walk with Him every day, people notice the difference immediately just by being around us.
When we are cursed, we bless them.
When we are hurt, we still reach healing hands out to them.
When we are beaten, we still offer them a loving embrace.
As we are being killed, we ask the Father’s forgiveness on their behalf.
The degree to which we follow after God, seek His face, and hunger and thirst for His Word and His life is the degree to which the fragrance is made known to those around us.
For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other, an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
Among those who are lost, among those whose hearts are hard toward the things of God, our sweet fragrance is a burning cancer, a weakling’s crutch, or a fool’s obsession.
It is practically a death warrant to those who are opposed to the God of all. Whether or not they voice it or are even aware, those who have not put their faith and trust in Christ as their one and only Lord and Savior are His enemies, just as we were before our own salvation.
Enemies of God they are, but more than that, the Lord is gracious to them. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He reaches His hand out time and again to give them the chance to accept Him, but, while He is merciful indeed, He is also just.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sin separates us from our Creator, and the payment it earns is death. We are sentenced to be forever separated from God, but He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” To this end, He offers many chances to those dead in their sins to be brought to life forever. Many times, He uses us to be the instruments of His redemption.
While He chooses to use us, it is not our gift, nor our duty, to bring conviction. Rather, it is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction of sin, it is the victorious fragrance of God that pours out through our lives that sparks a desire for the knowledge of the Lord Most High, and it is the Lord alone that saves us and gives us eternal life. It all begins and ends with Him.
To those who are alive in Christ, however, this fragrance is a source of encouragement, an impetus to fuel the fires of devotion, a holy calling, a priceless gift, and a powerful ally. It is a constant reminder of the beauty of the Creator; a deeply touching, powerfully moving passion that one cannot help but feel humbled by. We can do nothing without Him and His divine guidance and mercy. Not even the life we live is our own, but every day is a gift from God above; we need not waste it on trivial pursuits. It is a glorious honor to be the bearer of such a lofty thing: the very fragrance of GOD!! We must never take it lightly. We must carry the torch with honor and dignity, power and mercy, love and sacrifice, and purity and gratitude until the day the Lord returns or the day calls us home.
2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:35, 37; 2 Cor. 2:15-16; Rom. 5:8; 3:23; 6:23; 1 Tim. 2:4