Well Timed Inspiration

May 30, 2007

The other day I met an elderly couple who was driving their grandson up north from Master’s.  I spoke with Anita for a while.  She’s 75 years old and had been married to her husband (I forget his name) for 50 years (WOW, I know). 

She was encouraging me to stay young and not to grow up so fast.  Sometimes I get freaked out because I am not grown up enough thinking, “I don’t have this part of my life figured out, or that part figured out yet”.  It is true, I need to mature in A LOT of areas of my thinking, conversation, what I am going to do as an RD, after being an RD, ministry, responsibilities, relationships, finances, etc.  And the list goes on and on and so does the temptation to be anxious (for nothing about everything).  

Tonight I talked with Brian Baughman for a bit about those types of things.  It was refreshing, it really was.  We talked about how we don’t have to figure everything out.  Otherwise, we start to freak out about things that we don’t need to.  I think a part of growing up is learning how not to freak out.  There will be pressures from all angles that will test your faith to endure through it, not just to get to the end of it (and we may not have any control over that).  The temptation here is to quit or find some easy or subtle way out – I like Zane’s prayer of late: “Lord please show me the narrow way”.   

Sometimes the enduring part is the most uncomfortable part, but always the best part.  And learning that can be so frustrating – and can definitely break you – and sometimes affect the people around you.  I’m horrible with that.  Anyway, the end of our conversation about that concluded with this:  leave room for the Holy Spirit to change you, He’ll provide what you need during the process (good or bad) leading you to be (fully) where you need to be; resting and enjoying God’s goodness through it.  Its not always smooth or easy, but always better than you deserve.  So, be faithful now and commit now (knowing the Lord will take you here and there, if He wills), God has already taken care of what’s to come.  These were some good lessons to be reminded of with a good friend! 

Now back to Anita.  At the end of my conversation with her, I told her that I have made so many mistakes as an RD and that I feel bad about it.  She said something that definitely inspired me so much.  So, I hope it inspires you too.  She said, “Your mistakes show you that you’ve tried.  If you don’t make mistakes then you haven’t tried.  Keep trying son, and be okay with your mistakes.  Learn from them, move on and keep trying“.  This lil’ ol lady was so inspiring; made me want to just do anything and everything!  PTL for older people!!!  

Brian, me, and for ALL 3 of you who read my blog:  

  • Keep trying
  • don’t be afraid of messing up 
  • be motivated by love 
  • leave room for the Spirit to increase your faith AND
  • don’t worry if you don’t have everything figured out
  • remember: your faithfulness + commitment builds endurance and your endurance strengthens your faith to commit (Matt. 6:25-34

Anita was inspiring the other day and Brian was refreshing today.  God’s timing is perfect and help is definitely well timed!  I do hope to learn and be changed. 

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KKJ’s Wedding pics

May 29, 2007

Check out pictures from Kyle and Kathy’s wedding!  So fun!!!

http://mattfloreen.com/view/jenison/

Happy Sam Day!

May 29, 2007

If you know Sam Neylan then contact her and wish her a happy birthday!!!

Last night I went to Bible Study (the Margrave Bible study) for the first time in 2 months.  Yeah, I know I’m a slacker.  Its cool to know that they’ve been praying for me though throughout that time.  It was really refreshing to be back and for a national holiday weekend it was surprising to see a full house:  Eric Jennene, Sam, Becca, Jan, Noel, David Wolter, Mark & Sarah Jane, Mary Joe, AP and myself (It was Noel and David’s first time).   

For the last year we have been having Bible study at Jan Gassman’s house in Canyon Country (near church).  Now there have been a few times where driving ALL THE WAY BACK seemed too much.  I didn’t feel or think that way yesterday.  

Bob asked something yesterday during his message (1st service) that really struck a chord.  He asked, “What is it costing you to follow Christ”?  I noticed that he didn’t ask, ‘What is it going to cost you’?  He asked,   “What is itcosting you…”? as in currently, right now, present tense.  I can apply this to so many areas in my life.  My pursuit of the Lord through the Word, prayer, relationships, discipleship, thoughts, actions, giving up sleep, food, pride, lust, discontent, friendship, my views and philosophies of this and that etc.  And I’m afraid to admit, that it really doesn’t cost me that much (or nothing at all) to follow Christ.  

On my way to Bible study, I actually thought:

  • I don’t mind being with church family who desire one thing, and that’s to know and love the Lord better and more and to love people as well.  
  • I don’t mind working through Sunday’s message (we use to go through Genesis but stopped and now we work through, talk through application of Sunday’s message – its so convicting, encouraging and challenging and especially helpful to apply that message and not have it as a throw away message [messages that just sit with you and you don’t do anything with it until the next Sunday when it is referenced again, I’m tired of that!]). 
  • I don’t mind seeing new people come in and joining and getting to know them.
  • I don’t mind seeing and being with people that faithfully come and continue building relationships with.    
  • I don’t mind being prayed for and praying for others.
  • And really, I don’t mind the drive back up to Canyon Country or the gas I need to pay for driving up there and really, it is worth it (especially car-pooling).      

It’s true, you find value and worth in the things you think about most, talk about most and put forth the most effort and time.  I do value my church and I want to more.  Its not what I doon Sunday’s or occasionally am a part of during the week.  Its about the people there, and helping them grow in Christ and learning from them in Christ and using all of my resources to build them up, SO THAT as a body we communicate the gospel effectively, clearly, locally, internationally, relationally, at work, at home, community (The Bridge)…EVERYWHERE!    

The Lord has already provided (abundantly) and so it really doesn’t cost me anything to follow Him.  Right now, I have it easy but I MUST always be willing (at any time) to give up everything that He’s provided (not just possessions but will/views etc), otherwise He will take it all away (believe me He will), at least with some things for a while.  And when I’m not willing, I know that the people that I meet with every week at our little ‘ol Bible study will remind me to do that; to be willing to give it ALL up!    

So, PTL for the drive back to our ‘lil ‘ol Bible Study!!! 

I Think I Think…

May 25, 2007

There’s a lot that’s been on my mind lately.  And as I move into the summer I become more and more anxious about steps further than the next one.  Typical me, I know .  But I’m pretty sure of a couple of things though and I’ll bullet point them to help me understand what I’m talking about, then I’ll be able to bullet point what’s been on my mind. 

Things I’m sure of:

  • Jesus is God
  • the Spirit of God lives in me & I’m saved because God saved me through His Son
  • the Word of God is true and restores my soul etc.
  • I want to do WHATEVER it is God wants me to do
  • I want to go WHERE-EVER it is God wants me to go
  • I am here NOW in the States – in Valencia of all places (yuck!) – get this:  I was born on an island, raised in the ghetto and I now live in the valley…doesn’t make sense but PTL anyway.
  • All my essentials are taken care of as of today – food, clothing, shelter (seriously, do I really need anymore than that?…then why the heck do I have and want more?)
  • I don’t like corporate America (that one’s for you Rick) 
  • I’m arrogant and I need so desperately to be broken and humbled
  • I’m loved so deeply by so many people its ridiculous and very humbling
  • I love children (particularly from 7th grade down)
  • I love teaching – I miss it too
  • I need to hang out and learn from older people – older as in older, not peer or whatever but older
  • I have so much to learn
  • I love my family, my church (home & local), my friends, my RAs (former & future), Hotchkiss
  • and I’m pretty sure that I’m not promised tomorrow

There’s more but I’ll stop there.  Now here’s what I am anxious about, ready? 

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That’s an arrow pointing back to the things that I’m sure of.  Yep, you got it.  The very things I am pretty sure about are the same things I keep thinking about and keep thinking about and keep thinking about.  Nope, they’re not the prayerful kind of think abouts.  They’re the, “Oh no, what am I doing?!” kind of thinking abouts.  

Today Brian B. and Scotty V. (hey, that ryhmed) reminded me that sometimes we can just over think things…well, they didn’t help me together (I don’t think they’ve ever even met).  They helped me separately and both today.  That was cool spending time with these guys (Brian’s a former RA of mine and Scott is my former RD back in the day –  hopefully now we’re just good friends, without any titles – YEY)!

So, here’s what I think.  I think I think too much.  But all I’m thinking about right now is sleep – and that the Lord will take care of it all, as He always does.  Praise the Lord!  Seriously!!!  I just don’t want an easy life even though I fight so hard to keep it that way.  Why do we do that?  Why do I do that?  Anyway, I’ll save that for another post.  Good night! 

Good Weekend!

May 21, 2007

Here’s why this weekend was good:

Friday – I hung out with Brad Brock and talked about Kids Choir, I hung out with Sam, Chris Travis (one of my RAs next year) and Trent Jackson (one of the guys in my dorm).  Its always cool for my worlds to collide.  We ate at Chipotle and talked.  Later, I met up with Brian Baughman, a former RA of mine for two years – and probably someone I’ll know for a long time.  Its always good to be with a seasoned friend – especially one’s that know how crappy you are and still love you – thanks man! 

Saturday – I woke up, read, moved to Oak Manor, stopped by Leslie’s (co-RD) garage sale, ran errands with Brian (Baughman) and then hung out with Sam and David WolterDavid’s a new guy I met at church whose fellowship I’ve enjoyed in the last month or so.  It’s cool – I love my church.  Speaking of church…     

Sunday – I went to church (I am so excited about this summer’s series on Christian World View – awesome!), talked to Dr. Behle and Pastor Bob, had lunch with Becca Boone (she gets me so excited about missions everytime I talk to her…she’s cool, if you don’t know her you need to…she can probably get you excited about anything).  Later on, Brian came by Hotchkiss to help me move my bed – that sealed off the final item for my summer move to Oak Manor (long story short, my apartment is being remodeled; hence, the summer move).  We actually didn’t move the bed to Oak Manor, we just got it out of the apartment and moved it into one of the rooms on the HUB.  Later that night, I met up with a couple of folks to hang out with Jan Gassman.  We have bible study at Jan’s house.  It was cool to see Jan walk through this last year since Clark’s passing. 

All in all, the reason why this weekend was good was because throughout all of those interactions with every one of those particular individuals mentioned, God reminded me that He is good.  He reminded me also about the sanctifying work in the heart of each of those individuals.  I get to learn from all of them – some of them I have to work harder at, others I can just listen and watch, and then I find a few of them diving into me and asking me about this and that.  Again, I have so much to learn and I need all the help I can get! 

Anyway, Gunner reminded the RDs today that we just need to put everything in the Lord’s hands, thank Him for all that He has done and worship Him for what we get to be a part of.  This weekend and the people involved were (good) things I was very much thankful for to be a part of.  PTL!    

THANKS GUYS!

May 16, 2007

I wanted to give a very deep rooted thanks to this last year’s RA team. 

  1. They NEVER complained
  2. They were always ready to jump into whatever service 
  3. They inspired guys to be involved
  4. They discipled to the end
  5. They got the job done efficiently and timely
  6. They laughed a lot and let me laugh a lot
  7. They never challenged my authority (they encouraged it but never challenged it)
  8. They handled a very difficult time with another RA very lovingly and graciously
  9. They followed me very closely and very trustingly
  10. They were always available and dependable  
  11. They probably will be good friends of mine for a very long time – its nice to know that’s what they want too – yeah, I have another year with Foy and the other three?  Yeah, they’re worth the effort!                                                              
  12. Here’s a picture of our last dinner together (not a very good picture… they didn’t mind hanging out 3 more times after that).  I’m really gonna miss them – they were by far my best team, especially with the difficulties in the dorm…especially this semester.  I’ve had some really good teams before but this team by far exceeded my expections.  Here they are from left to right:  Jared Foy, Rick Dennis (Head RA), me, Jake Dennis and Josh Ward. 

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Summer Plans

May 14, 2007

So, a lot of people have been asking about what I am going to do this summer.  Most of them care but not all of them.  At this point, it doesn’t matter to me who really cares and who is accustomed to just asking because that’s what everyone else does, that’s just the way it is.  Anyway, for those of you really care, here’s the plan: 

1.  I really want to thank the Lord for this last year (it probably has been the most difficult EVER but the most liberating.  My liberty wasn’t the goal, but as I look back I know that it has definitely been a blessing).  So, yeah, I am very thankful for such difficult, difficult things. 

2.  I really want to cultivate and renew my relationship with the Lord.  Not that I can have any power to do so, but I really desire to cry out to God to awaken my apathy.  I really feel like I’ve been run over by a semi truck this last year.  Recovering from this year is going to take a lot of time, I think…I don’t know really that’s why I really want to love God again and hopefully learn to love people again. 

3.  I’m doing a lot of school this summer (2 independent classes and one summer class in July). 

4.  I’m working as the “Summer Facilities Manager” here at The Master’s College which basically means that I am the summer RD – for all kinds of students that I don’t normally have.  I usually have athletes and a couple of some punks (which I love, they’re just more challenging) but this summer I get to know international students, students from other dorms, mission team students and graduate students.  Its fun, or it can be, its a lot less stressful than the school year, its more kick back. 

5.  I want to visit my family more in Carson (my home church family as well, I miss all of them)!

6.  I plan on hanging out with friends that I haven’t seen or don’t have time for during the year (that’ll be easy to do because there are only a few that I think I would really make time for, you know who you are). 

7.  I really want to debrief this last year (journal, write, pray through, talk to others and get counsel about this and that that has happened). 

8.  Plan and pray through who I will invest my time and energy into this next year.  There are definitely some who I want to pursue, others I want to maintain and fight for and others that I have to let go of, that’s always hard. 

9.  Plan for the children’s choir I will leading this coming year (I am so excited about this).  Don’t worry for those of you who think I already take too much on, there are tons of people helping and it won’t take anymore time than I already waste, so it’ll be an opportunity to plan accordingly…”give my life away”, that’s what we’re called to right?

10.  I want to meet some unbelievers this summer and get ready to help Hotchkiss be a dorm that is sold out for the hungry, the poor, the orphans and widows.  Basically I want to be ready to help Hotchkiss be doers of Isaiah 58 and James 1.  Read it.  If it doesn’t move you to action, then ask yourself, “What am I doing?” 

11.  I’m also in a couple of weddings:  Norman & Tracy’s, Jake & Amber’s and Tyler & Stephanie’s. 

12.  Oh and I have options to go visit people.  I have several guys in my dorm who have invited me to come up and visit them – I can’t choose so we’ll see. 

13.  I have the Savini Family Reunion this August in Carson.  That’ll be tight!  Can’t wait!

So, yeah, a lot going on…but a lot different from last year’s Summer (PTL)! 

Here are a couple of highlights from this year’s graduation:

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Aj Woodsum – definitely someone I would go on the mission field with (short term & long term).  He’s very bold in God, loves children, loves Muslims and can live without the American culture and its deceptive comfort!  I will miss having this radical Christian (and friend) around.

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Tyler Flower – Tyler was one of my RAs last year (not this most recent) and is now such a dear friend of mine.  Tyler is such a kind, gentle and warm hearted man of God.  Definitely one of the most sincere and genuine guys I know. 

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Susi Zimmer – she is probably one of the most thoughtful, hillarious, piano/accompinist I know.  Susi, you don’t have to worship or be enamored by me…just be yourself!  You’re great!  Thanks for all your hard work in Chaple Band, especially this year!

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Matt Telle – This guy seriously has been the most genuine and real about his growth, that I’ve seen.  I am so excited about Matt still being in the area.  I think he gets the badge for being the most dependable; way to fight through all the junk to be where you are in your pursuit of ministry – get after those kids in the ghetto! – the orphans baby!!!

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Billy Blakey – Bill was my FIRST Head RA (a darn good one at that)!  Bill follows up well.  He cares.  When he tells me, “Ona, I’ll be praying…” or “Ona, I’ll call you…” or “Ona, I want to hear about…”, I know he means it because he follows through.  I’m excited to hanging out this summer and catching up because I know he’s excited as well, if not, more so than I am.  Miss you Bill!

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Finally and definitely not least, Rick Dennis – What can I say about a man who is evidently after God’s own heart?  Rick is amazing and has been an amazing help to me, the RA team and the dorm.  Man!  Rick is a discipler because he knows what it means to be discipled (not just with me, but with others in his life – he’s so stinkin’ humble).  I’m going to miss having this guy around.  Rick:  “Ona, I still want to be friends for a long time” Me:  “Me too”  Rick:  “We will”.  I know Rick’s friendship will be one I’ll fight for even though I know its one of the easiest in my life.  Its not worth it because its easy, its worth it because Rick fights just as hard or harder than I do for our friendship.  Maybe me, you, Kyle (Kathy as well) and Tim should check out Africa?  Thanks for making this year worth it all!

It keeps coming and coming, here’s Lafferty and Brian Grijalva:

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Matt Davis and Trent Jackson:

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Aj Woodsum and Rick Dennis:   

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And the guys love it:    lower-wrestling-020.jpg                   

Trent and Stephen Folden:   

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                                 Joe Chavarria and Mike Andrews:          lower-wrestling-029.jpg

These guys are so funny!  Its late now and I am exhausted, but the entertainment was so worth it! 

Thanks Hotchkiss!