Second blog post I'll have written tonight - it is a good night! But, with all that being said, today is Thanksgiving and I want to sit back and reflect and give thanks. I want to look back on the past year and my life and be able to give thanks to God and establish some "Missional Monuments" (cheap plug coming. see my other blog to know what I mean. haha :p ) to point people to Jesus. So, I'm just gonna start and see how I do...
Before I go into my process I need to start off with this. I'm not going to be "thankful" for Jesus. Why? Because, I'm not called to be "thankful" for Jesus. I'm called to give my life to Jesus. I'm called to pick up my cross and follow the way of Jesus. I'm called to live my life in the same way that Jesus lived his incarnational life. Honestly, me being thankful for Jesus is mere peanuts compared to what He has called me to do for Him. With that being said though, I'm humbled, encouraged, motivated, and exceedingly grateful that my God chose to humble Himself, live as a man and incarnate Himself all because He loves me despite the fact that I'm not worthy of being loved. Despite the fact that I have no business serving Him, or being a part of His kingdom, because I'm a sinner the size of Texas, the size of the great wall of China. I could never do anything to earn my ticket to heaven or earn my right to carry my cross - but Jesus, despite knowing all of what I just mentioned, ushered way too much grace on me. In fact, not only did he "punch" my "ticket" to heaven. He also, gave me the Holy Spirit - which is all about allowing me to carry my cross and help other encounter Jesus by bringing the kingdom to earth one little bit at a time. So, for that I'm thankful and all things that I'm thankful fall under this overarching theme. Hope that helps.
1) Family: I have no idea where I'd be without them right now. We are a tight group and have learned what it means to say that blood is thicker then water. This year, along with the past 4 have been some increasingly hard ones - but yet, Jesus keeps showing up and I don't know if we have ever been as close or as fulfilled as we are now. Jesus is good.
A) Mom and Dad: Thanks for allowing me to live under your roof, save some money, and not be even more in debt while I go to college and devote my life and time to ministry on campus and in the local church. You rule. Dad, also, thank you for being the biggest mentor and teacher in my life. There's something Biblical about that and it just feels good! Mom, thanks for always being there to share stories and facts with me, helping me keep my brain sharp. Thank you for always having the ability to be willing to explore whatever journey God is taking me down, even though you may be a few steps behind me I know you always support me!
B) Brother: We've seen quite a bit together. And here, 5 years later we are both alive. Jesus is good. Even, if we both might not be at 100% right now. He saved our lives so what is a little physical pain gonna do to us?
C) Sister: I can't believe we used to hate each other. What a sad time that must have been. Now all I know is that you are one of my best friends and closest confidants. I know things might not always go according to plan or how we hope for it to go, but yet, somehow, we are there to keep each other calm and sane and will always fearlessly support and push each other to the limits know by man. We make a good team.
2) My brotherhood: It would take far too long to name you all and why I'm so grateful for each and everyone of you. But, just know, that I get to live life with some great men who love Jesus and are constantly reaching for a little bit more of the Kingdom. I'm glad we get to refine each other as "Iron sharpens Iron"... We've been through a lot, and sure that there is even more to come.
3) My community: Living life in community is the only way possible. I'm so excited for how God is placing community in my life. After the horrid ending, where I thought I was done with the local church, God stepped up in big ways and placed me inside the community that is known as RockHarbor. It feels like I've been here all my life. And, I love that the deeper I go, the more it feels like home. Thus, by doing that it has placed in my life and community some pretty great people to do life with and have at my side. Thanks.
4) My Mentors: There are several men that God has placed in my life who have a prominent role in my life to shape and mold my life and character. I'm so thankful for these, wise older men who are farther along on the journey then myself. Some of them I've known for longer then others, but everyone is extremely valued. I'm excited to see how God uses you in the coming year to shape my life and character and to get the chance to use all that you've taught me to pass down to someone else.
5) Middle School Ministry: I know I'm there to teach them and help them encounter Jesus, but these students are constantly teaching me and reminding me that my relationship with God is not some formulas or theology or list of facts - but a living, breathing relationships that is not predicated by age. It has been amazing to get the chance to be able to speak into their lives and I look forward to seeing them continue to Encounter Jesus. On top of that, I'm thankful for the other leaders inside this ministry who battle for these students with the same passion and zeal that I do. It is so encouraging to know that it is not my sole responsibility for thse students. You guys and gals rule!
6) CSUF: The past 2 years here have taught me so much about myself and my unique calling. Without these two years and the friendships I've made here, I don't know where I would be. Its also funny, because these two years have taught me the importance of living life open handed and how to hold your life loosely.
7) Orange County: Yeah, I'm thankful for the epitome of consumerism and the American Dream. Not because I like it, but because it is a constant reminder of how much work there still is to be completed here. This county needs Jesus and I'm so grateful to have been born here and spend my time here doing ministry to people who do not think they need Jesus. Sure, its tough soil, but I wouldn't choose anything else.
8) Fullerton: I love you. I want to move inside your city walls. I want to live missionally in your city 24/7/365. Can you help make that possible?
9) RockHarbor: Thanks for giving me hope again in the local church. You have no idea how much I needed you.
10) Relative Good Health: Sure, I might be a 22 year old with arthritis in every joint on my body - but I'm alive and my left ACL is healed. Jesus is good and if he has saved my life once, then a little arthritis is a minor flesh wound compared to where I have been.
11) Singleness: The past 9 months have allowed me to sell myself out and devote myself to the Gospel and ministry. What a blessing that has been. Thank you for showing me that a relationship is about finding a gospel partner, and yes, I'm willing to wait as long as that takes to find one. I'm so thankful for how I've been able to encounter Jesus and learn more about my calling these past 9 months. It's just what a man needed.
12) Friends: While, I think brotherhood and community sums this up, I wanted to make sure no one was hurt. My friends rule. Sorry I'm so busy to be able to see you/talk to you more often. :(
13) Job: I have a job. Its a relatively good job. Good co-workers. Thanks so much!
That's it guys and gals! I might have more, but that's all i can think of - so I ask, what are you Thankful for? Let me know, I look forward to hearing it!