Saturday, November 29, 2003

Hrm ... spent some time chilling with God earlier today. I think its safe to blog now :). Attempting to think or ponder without God ... that's no good at all...

-- The CALL Texas is happening right now. I wish I was there.

-- Thanksgiving entry, in no particular order ... and if I forget you I'm sorry ... =P
Family: I praise God, because my heart towards my family has changed so much in the past year, even the past quarter. The parentals and siblings were down the past two days ... and it was good family loving. God is good. I can say that I love my family :)
Prayer Group: Sharon, Shaun, Tim and Yvonne. You guys rock. My life hasn't been the same since you guys, I am thankful that God saw it fit that I would be worthy to fight alongside such an awesome bunch. If there was such thing as spiritual kindred spirits, you guys would be it. Thanks be to God for your companionship, grace, love, and faith. May God take us deeper...
The roomie: Hey man, I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to live with you the past two years ... and probably three. I couldn't have asked for a better roomie. Thanks for putting up with my whining about people and situations. You've grown a lot since our sophomore years. Keep pursuing God, you will find him.
Accountability Group: David, Shaun, and Tim. I love you guys. I am so thankful for the opportunity to know you guys heart to heart. I have been challenged and sharpened by your words of wisdom and lives that strive to glorify our Father in heaven. Keep on fighting the good fight ... may we die to ourselves. Its going to be good. David, may you live up to your namesake :). Shaun, my favorite Italian ... you bring joy to my heart, continue to be single-minded and set apart. I admire that in you. Tim, we go waaaay back now. We've been sharpening each other since high school, I am so thankful that its stretched into college. Thanks for your friendship and grace. All our talks about faith, school, girls, family and everything. God will be faithful to complete what he has begun in our lives. There will be some serious rejoicing when that happens.
Muir Leadership Group: You guys probably will never read this ... but I am so thankful that God brought us together. It was definitely tough initially, God pulled us through yeah? Matt, I grow to respect you more and more as a leader and a brother in the faith. I count it a privilege to follow where God leads you. Melinda, likewise :). You're a woman of God whose compassion is evident to all. Keep loving those sisters with everything that you have. God loves as you are. Yvonne, ms. taco, I am convinced that God has blessed me with the opporunity to work with you. You challenge me to walk the walk that I talk, thank you. Your faith is evident to all, and Jesus shines brilliantly through you. May He draw you ever deeper in the secret place! Nick, brother, your example is one that I look up to often. Thank you for your humility and determination to fight. I have been so blessed to hear of what God has done in your life. Grace, haha you always bring a smile to my face because the simplicity of Christ is evident in your life. Keep following him like a duck :)
Harvest folk: Ed, Bo, Jamar, Kebs, Steve C, Steve L, Steve S, Steph, Stella, Janet, Lee, Sabrina, Nora, Jenny, Angela. I know I'm no longer part of Harvest per se...but I still think of you guys. You've all been an encouragement to me at some point, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to cross paths. Grace and peace be with you :)
Muirons: I have grown so much in this community. I thank God for you daily. May we continue to be drawn into the divine romance, growing and stretching each other in the process.
ol' SJCAC folk: Daniel, Gary, Melanie, Xanthy, Byron, Steve, Jaeson. Thank you. You have all shown me grace .. more than I deserve. Thanks for reaching out to me when I've been more reculsive. You encourage me in the faith and I am ever thankful for your friendship. Your kindness and love is noted, I am not worthy to be a recipient of such grace. :)
Old Friends: Michelle, Sanny, Menzies, Brandon, Gabe, Linda, Jill, Lekha, Annabelle, Jon, Mike J, Mike L, and a host of people that I have failed to mention because I simply haven't talked to y'all in awhile. For the most part our relationships have stood the test of time. We're all different, but we all can still smile and laugh together when do hang out. Brandon, off your profile, we can't love whom we cannot laugh with. This is true. I hope that our paths may cross more often some day.

-- Heading into the Fall quarter home stretch. Run the race with perseverance.

-- Its going to be an interested Winter break. God, may your will be done. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other. You're the Sovereign One.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

*cracks open journal to see what God's put on my heart lately*

"The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being." Proverbs 20:27

"5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him." Psalm 126:5-6

"1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain." Psalm 127:1

"I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession." Ezekiel 44:28

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." I Peter 1:8

"5 I wait for the LORD , my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130:5-6

----------------

I'm tempted to put up the notes from the Encounter Retreat ... but I'm kind of tired ... and I'm not sure y'all would be interested in reading notes anyway. As for the current status of God's excavation of my heart, its still going. Some days I'm not really sure where he's digging, but something always comes up.

EDIT: yeah, I really got to stop blogging past my bedtime ... I end up sounding whiny. :) God is definitely good, remembering to trust in His promise.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Man is a being born to believe, and if no church comes forward with all the title deeds of truth, he will find altars and idols in his own heart and his own imagination. -- Benjamin Disraeli
"One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name." -- Sir Walter Scott

"Go big, or go home."

"I dare you to move, I dare you to lift yourself off of the floor."

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Mediocre Christianity

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
--Romans 6:12-13

It is disheartening to those who care, and surely a great grief to the Spirit, to see how many Christians are content to settle for less than the best. Personally I have for years carried a burden of sorrow as I have moved among evangelical Christians who somewhere in their past have managed to strike a base compromise with their heart's holier longings and have settled down to a lukewarm, mediocre kind of Christianity utterly unworthy of themselves and of the Lord they claim to serve. And such are found everywhere....

Every man is as close to God as he wants to be; he is as holy and as full of the Spirit as he wills to be....

Yet we must distinguish wanting from wishing. By "want" I mean wholehearted desire. Certainly there are many who wish they were holy or victorious or joyful but are not willing to meet God's conditions to obtain. That Incredible Christian, 64.

"Oh Lord, give me that 'wholehearted desire' that keeps me from being satisfied with mediocre Christianity. I long to be as holy and as full of the Spirit as You want me to be. I commit myself this morning to a willingness to meet Your 'conditions to obtain.' Amen."
-- A.W. Tozer


What sets Christianity apart is that is focused on relationship ... pursuit of that relationship will set your life on fire.

Is your Christianity a "have-to" or a "want-to"?

Friday, November 21, 2003

desperate for changing
starving for truth
closer than where I started
chasing after You

i'm falling even more in love with You
letting go of all i've held on to
i'm standing here until You make me move
hanging by a moment here with You


yup. that pretty much sums up my day. heading to an "encounter retreat" tonight and tomorrow. pray that God breaks me down ... continue to fashion in me, humility ... that He would more magnified in my life, that I would know Him in His death and resurrection ... for the fire and power of God to fill my life.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

On a random note, I think its really tight how a lot of people seem to be going through stuff with God. God's fashioning his glorious church ... it's gonna look guuuuuuud. :-D
hey guys,

long time no blog. even after i promised to blog more. *sniff* so sad ... *tear* ... SUCK IT UP!! *sniff*

God's been working at me ... like seriously getting the chisel and just banging away at stuff that's in my heart. I guess it's really been going on all quarter. Much of it culminated at the Interpraise Concert of Prayer, where I had the opportunity to share about the importance of the motives of the heart. It seems like God's been holding me to accountable to that ever since.

Not that this is a bad thing.

Lately, its about my affections. Maybe a week or two ago, I had the opportunity to get a bunch of guitar tabs (hence the fatty update last week) ... one of the songs was Delirious?' "Intimate Stranger." In the chorus, there's a line that goes Jesus you still have my affection. I remember singing it a couple times and really being blessed by those lyrics, well the chorus really. Its really simple, Jesus I love you / Jesus I adore you / Jesus you still have my affection / And my song will be "I love you". But I guess I felt myself asking the question, "Do I really love Him?" and Jesus asking me, "Do you love me?"

It's a strange question ... and my response was kind of like Peter's (John 21:15-25). "Well of course God, I love you. That's why I'm here. I love you, God." And just throughout the week, it seemed like God was sifting my actions, sifting my thoughts, my desires.

If...
I become entangled in any "inordinate affection";
if things or places or people hold me
back from obedience to my Lord,
then I know nothing of Calvary's love.

If...
I hold on to choices of any kind,
just because they are my choice;
if I give any room to my private likes and dislikes,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
-- Amy Carmichael

And honestly, this is where I found myself. My heart filled with inordinate affection. Towards certain people, in holding and having my own choices, school work, just things that I'm interested. Nothing to heretical or sinful per se, but all these affections were competing with my affections for God. I wasn't exactly giving God much to work with in terms of having him as Lord of my life.

Bleh. Emotionally, I'll be honest here ... I've been a wreck. Up and down and up and down. I'm seriously the most fickle person ever. Spiritually, in some ways its been the same. I'm definitely different than I was at the beginning of the quarter. That's an answer to prayer in itself ... but gosh, it can be so hard some times. I'm sorry I'm being so vague ... I can't quite really remember or comprehend everything that has happened. I just know that I'm in a different place. I've taken the path less traveled, but its the path to glory. I want this to be an honest prayer:
"7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.-- Phillipians 3:7-11

I'm not there yet, I know that ... but I want to be there. I'm willing to go through the fire for it. I want to be radical for Jesus. Even as I type this out, I'm afraid. I'm afraid because once you decide to stand on the truth, God will always, ALWAYS test to see if you truly are standing on it. And I know I need to die to self. I know a lot of the reason why I'm not radical for Jesus is because I'm self-conscious, I'm worried about what other people might think, I'm afraid of messing up, I don't want to fail ... my pride. But I guess able to say with a little more confidence and faith that if being radical for Jesus means being a fool for Christ and being a bit "messy," then that's what I want.

A couple days ago I got an email from a brother back in the Bay Area ... a friend of his had passed away and they had been praying for God to raise her up from the dead. The girl was absolutely sold out for Christ, and they didn't believe it was her time. It appears now at this point, that it wasn't in God's will for her to be raised up ... about 50 people received Christ at her funeral, including her brothers whom she had been praying for. This following vision for her life was found in her room after her passing:

HANH�S VISION:

YOUTH THAT WILL STAND FOR GOD IN WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCE
YOUTH THAT WILL SEEK GOD THROUGH HIS WORD, THROUGH PRAYER AND THROUGH QUITE TIME
YOUTH THAT WILL BE BOLD AND WILL REACH OUT TO THEIR LOST FRIENDS AND SPREAD THEIR FIRE FOR GOD TO EVERYONE THEY COME IN CONTACT WITH
YOUTH THAT WILL LOVE GOD BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE & STAND UP FOR THEIR BELIEFS IN SITUATIONS OF PERSECUTION

WAYS I CAN HELP TO BRING THE VISION OF THE YOUTH INTO EXISTENCE

1. DRIVE THE YOUTH TO WHEREVER THEY NEED TO GO: CHURCH, SCHOOL, STORE, MALL,
RESTAURANT,
2. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST GET TO KNOW THEM AND THEIR PARENTS BETTER IN ORDER
TO EARN THE RIGHT TO MINISTER THE WORD OF GOD IN THEIR LIFE
3. GET MORE FIRE FROM GOD FOR MYSELF SO THAT MY FIRE WILL SPARK FIRES AND ENABLES ME
TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN MY LIFE
4. LIVE BY EXAMPLE
5. SPEND SOME TIME JUST HANGING OUT WITH THE YOUTH
6. NOT ALWAYS BE SERIOUS JUST HAVE FUN

VISION FOR MY LIFE:
1. BE A LIGHT AND AN EXAMPLE TO MY BROTHER, DAD AND FAMILY
2. INVITE ALL THE NEIGHBORS TO A POTLUCK BBQ THIS SUMMER TO INTRODUCE MYSELF AND
BEGIN TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND EVANGELIZE TO ALL THE NEIGHBORS AND YOUTH IN THE
NEIGHBORHOOD AND INVITE THOSE YOUTH TO YOUTH EVENTS
4. EVANGELIZE AND INVITE MY FRIENDS TO CHURCH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
5. TRY TO MEET SOMEONE NEW AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
6. FINISH READING THE ENTIRE BIBLE AND STUDY AND MEDITATE ON IT DAILY
7 HAVE QUITE TIME AND PRAYER WITH GOD DAILY
8. GRADUATE FROM BETHANY
9. GO ON MISSION TRIPS

I WON�T BE DENIED MY RIGHTS TO TESTIFY UNTIL ALL ARE NOTIFIED THAT JESUS CHRIST IS REAL.

When I read it, it totally cut to the core of my heart. Benson, what are you living for? And I really didn't know what to say, I felt so convicted. I went for a run and started praying. As I prayed, I asked God for faith to see his kingdom come, and to be changed so that I could start living the life he's called me to. As I'm in the season of "dying to self," man ... sometimes I wish it'd just be over faster and then I'd be okay. I realized last night listening to a sister share about some her trials ... that I find that I have secret hope that I would never get out of this season, that there just be more death, every day. Less of me and more of Him. That if I were to ever "emerge," it would be like when Jesus went into the wilderness .. guided by the Spirit .. but came out in the power of the spirit. That I would be nothing, and Jesus would be everything. I guess that you would think that the most radical heart change occurs when you receive Christ ... after that its just a gradual process of sanctification. I'm asking for more, I'm asking for a complete personality transformation, complete heart change ... something that can only happen if I encounter the living God.

I want to be ready when there is a call to arms. Revival is coming to this generation. Are you girded with the armor of God, and with your weapons of warfare? Do you have the mind of Christ, a heart after God's, and a spirit that is set apart from this world? There is going to be a spiritual battle coming that is going to be unpredecented in scale, believers will win .. and there will be a great harvest .. but ONLY. ONLY if we become hot. God cannot use a lukewarm church. Brothers and sisters we must shed our apathy, shed our complacency. Its hard to maintain that kind of tenacity 24/7 ... but as iron sharpens iron ... we must not give up meeting up together, encouraging and sharpening each other.

And I'm babblng now. I leave you with lyrics from one of the greatest bands ever.

Here I am in that old place again
Down on my face again
Crying out I want you to hear my plea
Come down and rescue me

How long will it take
How long will I have to wait?

And all I want is all you have
Come to me, rescue me,
Fall on me with your love
And all you want is all I have
Come to me, rescue me,
fall on me with your love

Sanctify I want to be set apart
Right to the very heart
Prophesy to the four winds
And breathe life to this very place

How long will it take?
How long will I have to wait?

And all I want is all you have
Come to me rescue me,
Fall on me with your love
And all you want is all I have
Come to me rescue me,
Fall on me with your love

Lifted up I've climbed with the strength I have
Right to this mountain top
Looking out the cloud's getting bigger now
It's time to get ready now

-- "Sanctify," Delirious?

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Seriously, this week is a perfect storm.

"God break me!"

heh .. did I deserve this one :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Tab site updated: here.
Update coming ... meanwhile ... Tozer excerpt:

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: 'You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.'"
--Leviticus 19:1-2

No one whose senses have been exercised to know good and evil but must grieve over the sight of zealous souls seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit while they are yet living in a state of moral carelessness or borderline sin. Such a thing is a moral contradiction. Whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.

At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self deception and the judgment of God. "Be ye holy" is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth. The Pursuit of Man, 102.


And some more!


Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Fight or Die

For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. --1 John 2:16-17

Someday the church can relax her guard, call her watchmen down from the wall and live in safety and peace; but not yet, not yet....

The healthiest man has enough lethal bacteria in him to kill him within twenty-four hours except for one thing-the amazing power of the human organism to resist bacterial attack. Every mortal body must fight its internal enemies day and night. Once it surrenders its hours are numbered. Quite literally it must fight or die....

The church lives in a hostile world. Within and around her are enemies that not only could destroy her, but are meant to and will unless she resists force with yet greater force. The Christian would collapse from sheer external pressure were there not within him a counterpressure sufficiently great to prevent it. The power of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, not optional but necessary. Without it the children of God simply cannot live the life of heaven on earth. The hindrances are too many and too effective. That Incredible Christian, 86-87.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=569&ncid=738&e=1&u=/nm/20031104/tc_nm/tech_videogames_addiction_dc