trusting when the heat is on…

Well, it hasn’t taken long for me to get stressed this semester. On only the 4th day I’ve found my mind going a hundred directions. Just a list of things I’ve been thinking today:

-I need to get my car looked at

-I need to stay caught up on homework

-I need to read for the seminar in September

-I need to mow

-I need to eat lunch

-I need to go to wal-mart

-I need to make sure I’m ready to lead worship on Sunday

-Do I need to consider taking a break from leading worship on Sunday?

-I’ve got to make sure I get plenty of sleep these next couple of days

-Do I have homework due tomorrow? What can I do to work ahead for tomorrow?

-What can I do to work ahead for September?

-Oh yeah, I’m house-sitting the first week of September.

-life group kick off is this weekend.

-I’ll be leading a life group this fall. How will I have time for that?!?!?

My thoughts have been a hundred different places today, and one thought keeps trying to surface in the middle of all of the others:

-just keep trusting. keep trusting that God is enough. keep trusting that He’ll make you strong. keep trusting that you’ll be okay. keep trusting that what you need to do, He’ll tell you. keep trusting that He’ll help you take one thing at a time!

Until recently, I would completely lose it every time stuff like this came up. None of it is bad or stressful in and of itself, but when it starts to pile up, it can drive me nuts. But this summer I began to learn that it’s possible to take one thing at a time. Be present. Be here. Don’t be thinking about what’s coming up. Be mindful of it, but not obsessed with it.

I think that a key to learning that lesson has been this: identity. Even when stuff gets crazy in life, I’m still a son of God, and He’s still working for my good (as a timely Aaron Keyes song reminded me today) and ultimately, things will be better. I know that. I can tell you that. But I think that the Lord uses times like these to teach me what it’s like for life to be tough. What it’s like to be on a thinner-than-shoestring budget because car repair demands it. To have to work extra because you need extra money. And ultimately, I’m getting a lesson in trust!

So, since I have no conclusive, wrap-up thought, I just ask you to pray for me. I think after September 11th, life will slow down a little bit. And I know that I will be okay, but this will be a tough two weeks or so.

OK Lord, I need a plan.

I had lunch today with an amazing young couple, in the incubation stage of church planting. I had talked to them and mentioned that I’d like to come up with them from time to time and lead worship or something to be a part of their church plant. We talked about it further today and they asked if I’d be willing to really commit to the point of moving and being the worship pastor for a while. To this point, I had thought church planting was a bunch of casual, fun, whenever-you-can getting together to meet. Today, these two helped me realize: things we want in life take a plan.

Lately I’ve been asked so much about my major and my post-college plans. All I tell people is this: “I want to plant a church!” And that sounds great, but what about the time in between? I’m not going to pack up the day after I graduate and move away. There’s going to be time during which I’m going to need to save money, I’d like to get married sometime before I’m 30, I’m not going to stay at Starbucks hopefully for longer than 6 months after I graduate…long story short, I need a PLAN! I can’t just coast through life without direction. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say I don’t trust God, but the thing is, I DO trust God and I trust He has something for me to do while I prepare for the church plant I’d like to be a part of. pray with me!

2011 Summer Reflection

Well, it’s that time of year again. I got a textbook in the mail before work and now I’m sipping on my pumpkin spice latte. I’ve been getting e-mails from professors telling the class what we’ll need and that the syllabus will be up on blackboard. That’s right, summer’s already over and school starts in two days.

I can’t really complain, because it’s been a good summer. At the start, I really wanted to read some books, and I got that done. I think I read 8 or 9 books, which is a TON more than I’ve ever done in a summer. And so much has happened that I’ll have to really work my memory to recall it all.

First was convention. I’m pretty sure I blogged about convention already, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but I definitely want to point out that leaving for Columbus, OH in May was the first time I had left Kentucky since November of 2009! I spent my whole 2010 shacked up here in Kentucky, and while I love Kentucky, may that never be the case again! It was really good to see and meet and hear from people in the Foursquare family around the country and even around the world. I got to hear from President Glenn Burris and a guy whose message really stuck with me–pastor A.J. Swoboda from Theophlius church in Portland. Now, I was in a distinct funk during my two days at convention, but I learned a valuable lesson: God works in us and through us even when we’re not in the best mood, even when we’re wrestling, fighting, kicking and screaming! I took a lot away from convention in the long run, which I’m sure you can read about in a previous blog.

Next was camp. God really used camp as a way of helping me get over some stuff. It helped me get over some confidence/leadership issues, as I was a 20-year-old adult leader who was responsible for some guys only several years younger than me! I suppose you can call it pastor practice–one day I’ll even be responsible for leading people who are OLDER than I am, as well as those that are barely younger! I was also corrected/instructed by God when it came to operating in the prophetic. In the past, I would absolutely refuse to try to hear a word from God for someone, because that was too “weird.” But as a leader entrusted with praying for students, I found I had to–and even enjoyed it! Without having a clue what their situations or stories were, God was able to use me to pray for some specific things in their life. In fact–in retrospect–I felt more comfortable praying for people I didn’t know than I would have felt if I had been praying for one of our students, because I didn’t have to pray around things I already knew about them. Also, I got to meet all kinds of great young leaders and made friendships that should last for a long time.

The third big thing I did this summer was to go to Linefork, KY, for a pastor’s gathering. I don’t think I’ve blogged about this yet. We were asked to lead worship, and it was quite the opportunity. Beforehand, I had sworn to myself that I wouldn’t get a big head about it. And yet on the first night, I felt important. Then I had to get a reality check. Undoubtedly it was an honor, but anyone could do it. I was nothing special! This was at a time when my head was swarmed with ideas of how to do church and I remember explicitly thinking on the first night, “I want to have a church that operates in a way that would blow these peoples’ minds.” Then God had to correct me: “Who are you kidding? These people have been in ministry for years. Besides, what church success could you possibly have without Me?” I’m glad to learn these lessons as a young potential church planter.

All in all, this summer has been a summer of a lot of growth. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve had to have some talks with myself (and with God) about some things. Probably the most prominent has been this: to what extent am I on board with the demographic that my church values reaching? At our church, we feel uniquely called and crafted for college students. Now, I’m a college student, but I don’t consider myself one. I definitely don’t feel like one. But in these last few days, as students have been making their way into the dorms at EKU, I’ve had to ask myself: am I seeking to seperate myself from the university, or is it time to engage it and take pride in it? I’m not talking school spirit, I’m talking about being an ambassador to EKU. Just because my church is located in Berea and focuses on Berea College doesn’t mean EKU shouldn’t get any attention, at least from me! I’ve felt as of late that God’s challenge to me this semester is to build relationships and get to know and love some people on campus.

Now I’ll take a look ahead at this semester. I’ve been asked this question a lot so hopefully this can save me from answering it too many more times 🙂

I’m taking:

Conversational French I

American Civilization since 1877

Sensation and Perception (Psychology)

Psy: experimental and statistical (basically, Psych Stats)

and Physics.

you see that?!?!?! NO English classes! I’m so happy! I feel like this semester might just be cake because of that!

I’m also leading a life group this semester called Gospel in Life, and I’ll be doing that on Monday nights.

Alright. That’s a summer update! Thanks for reading.