Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So it has been a few days since returning from Getaway and there are some things on my mind and heart in the way of transitions.

Most obvious to me is my feelings of loneliness.  Whenever I return from a trip that involves being around people almost all day, whether it be a week or 7, I almost always feel lonely.  I miss people and the intimacy that I usually experience every day on trips like that.

At Getaway I had places to go every day and people to love and disciple - I had purpose.  Coming back home seems like such a stark contrast to that and I am struggling with feelings of purposelessness.  Without many interactions with people I feel like I do not have much purpose to my days.

Overall, I think I am struggling with the basic fact that I am trying to fit a changed person into a home, an environment, a world that is not changed.  While at Getaway, I had experiences that do not fit into my "normal" life back in the "real world".  I am changed, yet the world I have come back to is no different than when I left and I struggle to be the different I have become.  It is very tempting to just return to the person I was and the ways I went prior to Getaway.


As someone so recently and so clearly noticed about me, I am a doer.  I struggle with resting.  It seems a theme that has been spoken into my life by two godly women the past two days.

As I read my thoughts and struggles above I wonder if my heart is even in the right place, for if I were finding all my satisfaction and worth in my relationship with and identity in Jesus, then would I not be okay?  There are such fine lines between love and idolatry that I feel like I am walking.  I pray that I do not focus on God for his benefit in ministry, for that would make ministry an idol.  I pray that I do not focus on God and his character for the benefit of knowledge, for that would make knowledge an idol.  I pray I do not focus on actions for or with God, for that would make work an idol.  Can I be satisfied with just him?  I pray that I can come to a place when and where I seek God just for him.

I am beginning to see that maybe my challenge for now is to rest - to rest in the presence of my Lord, to rest in the truth that he supplies EVERYTHING I need - that he is my company and provides the intimacy for which I long, and that so long as I am in union with him, I will remain the changed person he is working in me to be, despite in what environment I am.

I guess I am feeling the tension between my renewed spirit and my sin-stained heart and mind.
22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Galatians 5:17 (ESV)
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
But praise God for Romans 8:1-11 and Galatians 5:18!  What a wonderful God that loves me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Getaway 2010 - Wrap Up

Days three and four we spent the afternoon doing outreach on the beach.  I was amazed and captivated by the creativity of the outreaches we did.  Some people did tug-of-war, some did slow motion football, and some just handed out free bottles of water.  The coolest part of our conference outreach was the battle.  We had two “armies” consisting of our guys painted up and armed with cardboard shields and weapons.  Buses dropped us and them off at two locations and we drew a crowd to follow us to the battlefield to watch.  The two armies came face to face and fought an epic battle.  With each of these activities the students would strike up a conversation and talk about spiritual things.  Many students had the chance to share the gospel and lead people to accept Christ as their Savior.  I also had the opportunity to share the Gospel with people and see some accept Christ as their Savior.

The last two Chat Rooms that we had did not go in any way how I wanted, but I am sure God had a purpose for it.  One relationship in particular was really challenging for me, but God used it to help me and the other person grow.  God also used it to bring me to a depth in prayer where I have not been in a while, a place that I have missed and want to get back to.  He also used it to remind me of my utter dependence upon him in everything that I do, and that I fear him and not what people think about me.  Most of the time in ministry I can get away with loving gently; but there are times when a fierce love is called for – love that will speak truth boldly in the way of conviction and correction so as to restore one to a right place with God and others.  For me it is always a scary and difficult way to love because of how highly I consider others’ thoughts about me.  But when I fear and depend upon him, I can do all things.

The last two evening sessions were filled with great teaching from James White.  I cannot even begin to describe it – it was the BEST teaching on the scriptures I have EVER heard.  Needless to say, I learned a lot from those sermons.  Along with that, the last night we had a Holy Ghost party, which I also cannot really describe, except that it must be the closest experience to what Heaven will be like that I have ever had.  It was off the hook!  Imagine 600+ people jumping, shouting, singing, rapping, dancing, etc. for an hour or so, all in praise and worship of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ – totally spontaneous worship.  No one wanted to leave or stop.  It was incredible!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Getaway 2010 - Day 2

Last night I was hoping to talk with my girls about struggles in their lives.  The evening message was about being vulnerable in community and was really good.  The first half of our Chat Room we talked about emotions (something else the speaker mentioned).  We had some great discussion and one of the girls really got the idea that it does not matter what or how many bad things a person has done, that they are declared righteous by their faith.

Somehow there was a natural break halfway through, and I felt like I lost them.  They got rowdy and could not get back on track.  We laughed a lot but eventually I sent them to bed.

I do not mind them having fun, but at the same time there is so much growth and depth that I feel like they will miss if we do not get the chance to talk about deeper things.  Pray that we will get there when the time is right, and that I will have the discernment to know when to lead the discussion that way.  I certainly do not want to rush things, but also do not want to miss the window of opportunity.

This morning during our staff meeting, one of the other Orlando leaders shared a story of how God is working in the guys' hearts.  One guy in particular, one of the student leaders, was struggling with something pretty big and it was weighing heavily upon his heart.  The leader could see on his countenance that somethings was going on inside so he asked.  When the boy finally opened up, he just started crying - hardcore crying.  The Orlando leader did not say much more before his buddies started rallying around him, hugging on him and supporting him.  Eventually, other Orlando guys heard about this guy struggling and they ran to the room to support him.  So picture all these young men, all of them crying for their brother, hugging him, supporting him, and encouraging him.

I love to hear stories like that, to hear how God is working in the hearts of guys, raising them up to be men of God.

I also want to share a story about another guy with whom God has blown me away.  I met him through our seminar times (he is actually from Chattanooga).  The topic of our seminar has been teaching students to reach out to groups on their campuses and to disciple others.  The one guy really cares about the lost at his campus.  He prayed for our table in regards to reaching out to others and his heart really shone through.  He had scripture hidden in his heart that came out in his prayer along with his compassion for his fellow classmates.  He asked questions about strategies and such.  It was really refreshing to me to hear these teenagers filled with such compassion like Jesus and wondering how and planning even to reach his campus.  He and another guy at the table want to go to Venezuela this summer on a mission trip.  I think this trip would be great for them - great experience and especially great training and equipping for returning to their schools in the fall with the intent to reach their campus.  The only thing that stands in their way is $3000 that they (collectively) need to raise in order to go on the trip.  So pray for God to provide financial partners for Jack and Trent to be able to go on this mission trip.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Getaway 2010 - Day 1

It has been a busy almost 24 hours since we have arrived here in SC.  There are over 600 teenagers and interns/volunteers/staff here this week to grow in their relationship with God (or to begin that relationship).  Last night, the speaker gave a very clear presentation of the best news of all time and we have already had some students respond by placing their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Woohoo, praise God!!!!!!  This week we have the privilege of having the band Tenth Avenue North lead us in worship through music.  They have already been a blessing to myself and to students.  One of my girls was explaining last night that one of the songs really helped her connect with and experience God.  It was so cool to hear!

I have a few more girls in my Chat Room than I thought I would, but I am so glad to have them all.  You can be praying for Lindsey, Susan, Kayla, Alison, Rachel, Maggie, and Kara.  I was so glad that during our first Chat Room they were really honest about where they feel like they are at spiritually coming into this conference.  On a scale of 0 (being "I don't care about God") to 5 ("could be better, could be worse") to 10 ("Godisthebestthingever, Ilovehim,Ilovehim,Ilovehim!"), the lowest was 2.5 and the highest was a 7 or 8, and everyone else was in between.  That may seem like a wide range to handle, but what I really like is that they all came to grow spiritually.  Their passion for change overflowed in their answers to my questions - they are all SO hungry for more of God.  IT JUST EXCITES ME!  Pray for me as I challenge these girls to grow in their faith and lead them to know what steps to take next.  I sometimes find myself surprised that they do not know, to me, what seems so elementary as far as a relationship with God goes; but it brings me back to the reality that they are still young spiritually, which is great!  (We were all babies at one point, right?)  I am excited that I get to reveal more of Jesus' love and redemption with these girls.