Monday, February 9, 2009

Gift from God

I am almost at the end of my journey. I feel as though God once again has brought me to the desert, put me in strange and complex circumstances, and taught me a few things thus helping me grow.

I want to tell you about an experience I had yesterday. Some of you may not understand it but I wanted to document it anyway and figured I would tell everyone reading about it.

I held a Bible study yesterday, it was Sunday here. I started this Bible study when I got here. There was absolutely no "religious" activities here when I came because it was frowned upon. The reason it was frowned upon is because there were one or two pushy Christian types who came out and were cramming their version of how things should be down peoples throats. One of them actually had a pamphlet stating that all Muslims were going to hell and such and it got caught by the wind and blew away in a country that is nothing but Muslim, so I can kind of understand.

I took it upon myself to start a common sense, down to earth, logical, scripture based Bible study that would help Christians get together and fellowship. The philosophy I imparted was that of my Pastor who I believe relates the Bible in the most common sense manner I have ever heard and has proven this by growing a great church.

Anyway, the Bible study started with me and one other guy about 3 months ago and yesterday we had 7 there. This is pretty good because people are coming and going all the time. I would say we have had a total of 20 come and go which is awesome to go from 0 to 20 especially considering I really don't know what I'm doing.

We rotate people giving the subject of study every week. Yesterday was my day. We looked at parts of Beatitudes and I spoke about rising above worldly restraints, figuring out what is of the flesh and what is of the spirit. I wasn't preaching, I was asking opinions. It has been an open forum kind of thing. It went well, lasted an hour, and I definitely took something from it.

About 4 hours later I went to work. It was dark but the moon was full. In the desert when the moon is full its like daytime at night. I was in a place alone with no one around me just staring out at the desert and looking at the night sky, it was beautiful. Then I had a feeling hit me I have never REALLY experienced before. I could definitely tell it was the Holy Spirit but much stronger than I have ever felt before. WHAM! It hit me and I knew it! It's hard to explain how I felt but I will try. I felt drunk with a spirit flowing in and through me like a cool running spring, I felt like running at full speed, yelling the good news that it's real. It being that I really felt as though I was being targeted, in a good way, by God. It was really cool. I even want to say I wanted to speak in tongues and I'm not even like that. People who have spoken in tongues always scared me like they were crazy, possessed but know I can understand where they are coming from even though it's not my style.

I had to control this feeling, channel it. All at once I felt as though time stood still, I was one with the world and past spirits, it was crazy. I was completely aware of my surroundings, as a matter of fact I was hoping no one would come and ruin it. It was really cool. God didn't speak to me, I didn't get hit by a lightning bolt, I didn't flop around on the floor, I didn't want to heal anybody, I didn't prophesize about the future, I just existed on a different plane for awhile. Meaning that I felt what this Christianity is all about. Its about love, feeling good, positivity, something bigger than yourself, meekness, respect, being a part of something, all the good things.

It showed me that no matter what happens, your taken care of as long as you believe and show the love to God. You don't have to hand out pamphlets I don't think. I'm not planning on it. You don't have to speak in tongues and flop around on the floor. I'm not planning on doing that either. But something I could do? Maybe not be afraid to raise my hands at Church because other people might see me, maybe not be afraid to praise the Lord in tough circumstances, maybe not be afraid to pray for my enemies, maybe just flat out freakin believe the Bible and live it.

The bottom line is that God is real, salvation is real, the Holy Spirit is real, this unconditional love is real.

People who are new in their faith or not faithful at all are probably saying one of two things after reading this. One, he's crazy and delusional. Or, two, I want to experience that too.

To the first, I don't really care what you think, if you had all the answers you probably wouldn't be reading this anyway.

To the second, I prayed for it, I beleived, I opened my heart and WAITED for it to happen, I believe that if you do that, God will bless you. He blessed me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Think I May Have Earned a Stripe

My trip here is almost over. Im totally STOKED to get back home with my new found, God inspired outlook on somethings. I'll get right to the new outlooks.

I now praise God for everything he has done for the world and for me when I have an issue with something that has happened. For example, if someone is being a jerk to me, as opposed to letting my emotions take control of my mouth and brain, I let God take control by praising the beauty of where I live, for my church, or the fact Im still in one peice, or for surfing, or my loved ones, etc. This keeps me from lowering myself to that persons level therefore glorifying God that much more keeping me on my level. Ive tried it, it works, but it can be hard. Im not saying Im good at it yet but Im working on it.

I now pray before I make a decision that isnt clear right off the bat and wait for answer. Im learning that God's voice isnt necesarily a vocal thing. I was sitting here in the desert one night looking at the stars when I saw a cloud moving in front of the star I was looking at. God's voice kindof made sense to me then. It can be a gradual thing, a gut feeling, a conviction as well as a lightning bolt kind of thing. For me, I praise God, I pray about it and wait. It takes alot of stress off of some decisions and also re-affirms your faith. Dont get me wrong, you cant do this for everything but I dont think there is any harms in consulting your heavenly father on issues you have, just dont become a bum and say, "well, God hasn't given me the answer yet so I will just sit around and do nothing". Thats definately the wrong answer.

I have also realized that being a Christian isnt all about me. "Lord, please help me", or "Lord, I cant stop smoking". I 'm gathering that God wants our love, period. We have free will but the bottom line is that he wants to be loved and appreciated like everybody else. STOP WHINING!
The closer you draw to God the more negative things he will replace with his love. Wanna stop drinking, draw closer to God. Wanna stop looking at porn draw closer to God. Conviction ios not a dirty word. With Gods love, the most powerful love you can have, he will make you not want to do these things. If all you ever say is,"Help me, its all about me", which I have done, he wont move. He wants to know you love him, respect him, then he will bless you. Next time you fell down and out, try praising the Lord for the good things, what do you have to lose.

These are just a few things I have found that work.

I say I gained a stripe because these things are making my life with God that much sweeter!

This ones for Blankenbooty

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gifts from Home

I received a package to day from my girlfriend Cheryl. I have been expecting it for a month now. It's funny how the little things in life are so important and sweet when you are without the creature comforts and security of home.

There were various things in the package. Surfer magazine with an elder form my church on the cover, some Hurley stuff from a man I admire for his faith and family life, Noah S., some stuff from Puerto Rico where Cheryl went on a surf trip in December, some other miscellaneous items and last there were the sermons from my church on homemade cd.

I had resigned to the fact that the package was probably lost and was very happy when guys told me I had a package waiting on me when we got resupplied. I took it back to my room and tore into it. After putting on the Hurley hat, reading a card or two, eating some of the treats in there, I got to the messages on cd.

We take for granted the ability to go to church and worship with fellow Christians. I started a Bible study out here and that has kept me going in the right direction but there is nothing like your home Church. As I listened to the music at the beginning of one of the cd's my heart started to beat again in a way it hasnt in 3 months. I could feel my church. I could feel Jesus. I could feel the message my pastor was giving, I could feel the appreciation for my church, I could feel the appreciation I got a package and I could feel it all in my heart. It was as if my heart had been a stone for the last couple months and the messages reignited it. I am extremely grateful to have people who care about me by sending me their heart for lack of a better way to put it.

I spend a lot of nights staring up at the night sky. Here you can see every star, some galaxies, a shooting star every couple seconds. It really lets you see how the world is alive, God is always working even though we may not be paying attention. Part of his works is letting us know we aren't alone through the Bible studies here, to the packages received, to the messages in those packages and through the heart felt love received form others.

I have learned alot here. Most of what I have learned I cant put into words. I have spent countless hours staring up into the night sky thinking about God, praying, envisioning the future, being thankful for what I have back at home.

Thank all of you for the gifts, prayers, and love felt from home.

Don't feel bad if you didn't send anything your thoughts and fellowship are enough for me.