Christmas is that special time of year where we can forget a lot of the world's problems for a few days, focus on our family, go to church, give and receive presents and just have a fantastic time.
I was thinking today, that even though I am blessed to have a great family and to have had such a wonderful Christmas and get some really cool gifts, today almost seemed upside down!
This picture shows an upside down Christmas tree (if you couldn't tell). The person who designed it said it was to fit MORE presents under the tree. What a clever, yet kind of awkward, idea! However, my Christmas has kind of been upside down.
I preparing for a huge step in my life and faith. Things are about to get a little crazy for me, and yet I find myself not focusing as much on Christ as I should be. I just finished Wild Goose Chase and it really opened my mind about how I have been conditioned all these years to think inside the box of God. That is not possible. God is way bigger than any box I can try to put Him in; and the Holy Spirit will just get right back out.
We focus on Jesus being born around this time of year. Though some historians and theologians debate when He was actually born (between June and September), we need to focus on the resurrection. Christ came to this earth to die. I may sound kind of morbid right now, but I don't want to only focus on the birth of Christ. I want to focus on the rebirth into the light. We must pray non-passive prayers from now on. We must find where we are in our spiritual walk and if we are in a cage, we need to wake up.
Christ has redeemed us from our sins and He is risen! He came to this earth to walk among us, to talk to us in the flesh and most important, He came to this earth to die for us!
Romans 5:19 (New International Version)
19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Live for Christ and remember not only His birth, but His life and His death on the cross! Christmas doesn't seem so upside down anymore...

Conditional Reflexes

Ivan Pavlov. If you don't know who he is, he won the Nobel Prize for his research on making dogs salivate without seeing food. A dog naturally salivates when it sees food. Every time he fed a dog, he rang a bell. Soon he would ring the bell, and cause the dog to salivate. Thus, winning him a Nobel Peace Prize...for some odd reason. Makes me wonder why I can't win one for something. But I digress.

He called this a conditional reflex. This is something you are taught and can be changed. Reading the book Wild Goose Chase says that we have been conditioned all our lives. Whether they are subconscious or conscious, our way of thinking and our personalities have been conditioned our whole lives.

It makes me wonder what in my life have I been conditioned about? Am I just acting a certain way because that's what I subconsciously know that is what I am supposed to do? Regardless, Christ came to this earth to break the conditional reflexes that I and everyone else have. He came to show us true grace and forgiveness through His teachings, life, and death on the cross.

I also got to thinking about how Satan can use these "reflexes" we have against us. When Christ died, He died for our sins so that we can come to Him, confess our sins and repent. Satan can use these "reflexes" that we have in our subconscious and conscious, and turn them away from God.

Our memory is a funny thing. The slightest sound, sight, taste, touch, or smell can trigger small memories of the past or huge, vivid memories. Every time I see a "Green Eggs and Ham" book, I am brought back to the time when I was 5 or 6 and every time I would go visit my grandaddy, I would ask him to read it to me. And when he finished it, he would read it to me again! He used fun voices that made that book come alive to me! There are also memories that can trigger times that I failed. I know I have failed at a lot of things in my life, yet through God's grace, I have learned from them and moved passed them. Satan, however, can use these triggers against us.

When we sin or fail we feel guilt. Guilt causes us to pray for forgiveness and repent. Sometimes though we have false guilt. This means that when we ask for forgiveness, we feel OK yet we still dwell on the sin or failure. This happens to me a lot to; I am very critical of myself. Satan can use these false guilts to make us dwell on these past events that have been separated as far as the east is from the west and we use up all our enegery. We have no more energy to focus on God.

Having God change these conditional reflexes to be reflections of Him makes my life worth living. I know I will sometimes have false guilt's caused by Satan, but I can still refuel and reenerginze myself in Christ.

What in the world?

I have been home for about 5 days now and I am really enjoying it. Being home is never better. And to make this moment even cheesier, I heard on the radio "I'll be Home for Christmas". Some of these Christmas songs just get annoying after a while, but then I remember the season and the songs aren't that bad.

I also love seeing my old friends. I got to go to Athens on Wednesday and hang out with Whitney! We had such a good time hanging out and catching up! I cleaned her office desk, which needed it bad!

So it wasn't that bad, but it needed it! I also got to play trivia with my friends, hang out with my brother, and play with Bear!

I have also had a lot of time to think about my life and where I am going and the direction I feel God wants me to go in. There is a wind of change coming in the sails in my life. I am really excited about the next phase of my life.

Being with friends and family is such a recharge! Does anyone else agree? What is it that being home has this feeling of relaxation? When I think about the Lord in my life, I really go on and wonder what He thinks of me. How does Christ view me? Am I doing my best to glorify Him?

I have also had a chance to have some great conversations with a neighbor of mine. We have had talk after talk that has been great! She is very wise and has a great outlook on life and on the world. She told me a really sad story yesterday and it brought her to tears. She told me about someone had hurt her and I felt so sorry for her and I felt a little rage towards the person. It really made me think that no matter how a person is to us, we must show the love of Christ to everyone. If they slap you, turn the other cheek. Christ took a brutal beautiful death for me, and I must show that same love to everyone else, no matter how they treat me.

a day can't be ruined..

Today me and my brother and some friends went to the Atlanta Falcons football game today.
The previous few days have not been good emotionally for me. However, today changed all of that.
In the reality of everything that has come to light in the past few days, life goes on. There is nothing that can change how I feel about God.

I was talking to a friend tonight about Heaven and about the enormity of God. Thinking outside the box of God and thinking that there was no beginning to God, and there is no end. Nothing new to anyone who knows God, but it shows the shear enormity of Him and how someone that huge can manifest themselves into human flesh and die for me.

My sins have been paid for. I can only live my life for Christ in pure worship.

Romans 6:5-7 (New International Version)

5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Paul said it best! I am no longer a slave to sin. I have been united with Christ through His death for me and for all. Whatever happens to me, whoever crosses my path, it is the will of God.

I do not regret anyone crossing my path. I even paid some guy $5 tonight for a CD I will never listen to. I ran into him at the gas station in Atlanta. He offered me some CD and would not leave me alone, and well I had $5 to spare. I don't know what the money will go towards and I really don't care. I hope it brings that man a closeness to Christ, somehow. God can make the most callous heart turn soft.

I go on a lot of tangents when I speak or write in this case. I am joyous in Christ. As I said, I do not regret anyone that crosses my path and those that have been as of recent I wish nothing but the best for them. I am sad as of recent events, but I know that everything that has happened has been great. They know who they are, and I hope through everything they learn that God is in full control. It has taken me 23 years to learn that God is in control. I want to control God, yet I am the one who has to chase the Holy Spirit. I can't make God chase me. My life is a full worship devoted to the God who died for me.

I am no longer in bondage to the old self. For that self has died and withered away. Living in my new life, my new self, with me being united in the death of Christ, I will be united with Him in the resurrection as well.

Colossians 3:15-17 (New International Version)

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Whoever, if anyone, reads this blog, I pray that you are renewed in Christ and encouraged to keep seeking Him. I am new to the whole blogging world, but through this I have a chance to reach the world. Keep seeking Christ in all that you do and be blessed through His grace that He offers you.

World Wide Evangelism

I have decided I want to do some mission work. I have prayed hard about it and I feel I need to do some missions somewhere. My God is huge. I read somewhere once, that we need to stop trying to change the world. Jesus already did that. We must be part of the change.

Is that change in Dadeville where I am currently serving as a youth pastor? Or is it in Peru? Or Africa? Or even China? I have no idea. I have this sense of urgency in my heart to be a man of action. To confirm my feelings, this morning I read the great commission! How awesome is that?!

I have had several conversations with friends that tell me they want to do missions as well. There is so much feelings for action. I may even do some inner city missions also. After 2 REALLY LONG DAYS, I have had a lot of time to seek God and the direction in my life He wants me to go.

I am excited to see where the Holy Spirit will lead me.

Who are we?

Yesterday at church Baxter, my boss and pastor, was talking about John the Baptist. It was interesting to hear it, especially during the advent season. He talked about who we are as individuals in Christ. Who are we?
I have been awake since 6:30 Sunday morning. I don't know why I couldn't/can't sleep; but I just can't. Even taking Nyquil has not worked! I just have this feeling that there is something on my mind, but I am not sure what. However, over the past 24 hours I have had a lot of time to do some thinking. I think I have come to the conclusion that I am not sure who I am?
This may be confusing, but I have this lingering thought that sometimes I am not even sure who I am. I find myself changing my thoughts about God, life, lots of things like that. I believe that I have not lived to my fullest potential either. Someone at church called me a unique person, she said I was very average.
That kind of hit me hard. I have tried hard to be average?! My whole life I try at things I am interested in, and then I sort of give up. I feel like I have lost sight of where I am going and most importantly who I am. I have realized I don't want to be this cookie cutter, bland, average person. I feel and have always dreamed that God has had huge plans for me. Why have I not lived up to this dream I had?
I am relying on Christ more and more. Through this, my creative influence has gone up, my life has just been better. But to be called average, that really hurt! I am making a conscience effort now to do better at everything. To always give that 100%!
I am Christ's creation. God does not bless mediocrity, He will bless my best. Even if I fail, I know I can do anything with Christ and through Christ.

War Gators!

So, I am sure by now everyone who watches SEC football knows that Florida beat Alabama! It was a tremendous victory for UF and kind of a redemption for Auburn fans as well. It was so much fun watching it and just watching Nick Saban and company lose!

After the game me and some friends went to Toomer's Corner and rolled the corner! We had a few bad apples pass by (Alabama Fans) and one guy yell and lecture us as to why we were rolling Toomer's for the wrong reason! Regardless, it was a fun night! After about 45 mins of yelling, flashing(men only and parts that can be seen by the sun) , and acting a fool we went to Cambridge. What is funny about that? Well we decided to be really cool and hang outside the coffee house. We made a bridge for people to walk under when they came by. We had several partakers! What a great night!

8 Foot Ceilings

I am new to this whole blogging world. I have been reading other blogs and finally decided to jump on the band wagon! I am a little excited because this can be a great thing. I am no writer by any means, but I will be sharing what I feel God is telling me at the time, what I am feeling, or just sharing something really cool! OK so here we go, my first attempt at a blog!

Ephesians 4:9-10 says "9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)"

I read this verse on Wednesday night at a Bible study at Parkway. I'll be honest, all I remember was talking about the direction for the college group and what we feel we could do. When I came across this verse, it was all I thought about. That and who Auburn might hire for their next coach!

When I read it, I was reminded of this book I am currently reading by Mark Batterson called "Wild Goose Chase". This book tells and explains how we cage up God. It tells us how we have been caged our whole lives and instead of taking that wild goose chase towards the Holy Spirit, we are making God into what we want. We try to make God pursue us.
Don't get me wrong, I feel that God does pursue us, for the sake of salvation and grace. We must also be pursuing the Holy Spirit in the same aspect. The reason Mark Batterson refers to the chase of the Holy Spirit as a wild goose chase is because we do not know where it will take us.

This book has opened my eyes as to how I have put these cages on God. I try to confine Him and put Him in an 8 foot ceiling. I have been putting a cage around God for a long time. Being in online school, I spend a lot of time at home. I miss the stimulus of the classroom.

Someone once told me their friend said that the Gospel is a go and tell gospel, not a wait and see. I have been spending way too much time in the confines of my house. I say I will read the Bible, grow in my relationship with Him, but I avoid it. I am putting away the bill of responsibility. I feel lackadaisical in my work and in life. Then I figured it out. I was constantly trying to pursue the feeling I had when I got saved. This God high I was on. A mountain top experience. I have to come down to mountain top. I have to pursue the Holy Spirit wherever it will lead me. Why should I question where God is taking me? I must make sure it is God and question it in that way, but if I make a mistake, well I learned from it and it causes me to seek God more and more.

Let's try to take God out of the cage and follow where the Holy Spirit needs us to go. It will be a wild goose chase sometimes. We don't know where it will take us or when, but we do know that we will be doing the will of Christ wherever that is. That is a go and tell gospel.
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