Anonymous: Some of the things on your blog are just so compelling and accurately describe the heart of the Father. It is such a blessing and encouragement! I really want to hear more about your sm trip and how your life has changed in the state's since. How did you know it was the right time to go and what are some things you would tell someone who's planning on becoming an sm in the future?
Firstly, thanks for the encouraging words! I really just write what I receive.
I hope to share with you face to face if you ask me again in person. But what a broad question you ask! I even felt in the first month of my trip that many paradigms I held before were being broken. But out of the many things I learned and change that has taken place, this is all overshadowed by a sort of ultimate lesson I learned, which is that the answers to life are really simple and that the change that takes place are in light of the person of Jesus. I used to take myself too seriously about my theological and philosophical leanings, but when it comes to actually doing good works, nothing but the power and message of Jesus actually count for producing any fruit. I think it’s made my life a whole lot simpler and there are still many problems, but my head is much clearer. By the way, I’m not sure if you know this, but I am still in Israel and not in the states. As for how my trip has been so far, I’ve had a lot of troubles and hardships: doubts, difficulty in getting the message across, issues with teammates, getting robbed, and other more emotional things. In other words it’s been straight up wilderness, but I think we all need this to see rightly, past the mundane life we’re ‘supposed’ to be living.
God told me 2 years ago that this was the right time so I kept my promise. That’s it.
I would tell someone who’s planning to do that in the future to also do that now. There’s this thing I’m doing called Daily Life Plan and admittedly I haven’t followed through all the days, but we do this because nothing is ever done by planning on doing it, but when someone does it. Everyday is an opportunity to live (some people only exist) for the Kingdom. Realize your freedom by going to the Word and learning the truth of Christ for yourself, and listen/do what the H.S. convicts you to do you. And yes there are always days where you feel like giving up, but remember that feelings are lies. The only thing that stands is the simple truth. But besides all that I’m very happy to know that you want to serve!
Have a good day.
Representatives for the first Israel VS ever. How cool is that?
My words are so deceiving. Even as I try to write down my thoughts, my mind moves on from this thought to the next. The words that show these thoughts are not the words that would express my next thoughts, soon to come. In pursuing any sort of genuine interaction (which we are called to by God), I see feelings and even my logic as inadequate building blocks by far. The powerful and solid foundation is God’s Word. It is now obvious to me that everything that tries to be a love without drawing from Him is a lust. Broken and cold hearted from every past disconnection, you wade in a pool of your own failures, letting altruism and kind words become a tool to eventually receive one back somewhere else. A life that’s build on this system is on sand and lying words. I’m learning to see the solid foundation, which is obeying His commands, but I no longer want to sell a false message before I learn to actually build on it. I really want to let you in and not speak cheap words like I did in the past. I want to be able to feel the real and heavy burdens of life so that through His power I may alleviate them. In this current contract I have with God (and I’ve already broken it, lol) I want to see my individual life be so enveloped in His message so before I give out a needy call for recognition, I may stop and consider the great purpose He has for my life to love and be loved fully.
I see the way, the truth and the life. It beckons me in from my own failures and pits of darkness: laziness, jealousy, porn, drugs, hatred, greed, pride. Like a light, the blood covers every single inch of my undeserving body, every photon containing its own joy and revelation of the Father. It’s not platonic or philosophical, it’s beautiful: His face. The way it smiles in the midst of his own pain, despair, disappointment, and abandonment in looking at me. The power in His name so strong it moves mountains and it heals every disease. The truth that is a person who is Word so rock solid and immovable.
I also see a darkness. The darkness is so real. The unseen forces slowly eating people alive every single day. The crippling feeling of hopelessness dragging people down to the pits of despair. Masked as a harmless affinity to the seen, the hooks of attachment dig deep into skin and disappointment finally pulls in. Hidden behind flashing lights, all the false hopes are more deadening than the deadliest poison, killing slowly not just the body but the soul. Our minds left entertained but not satisfied, slowly rotting like bad meat. The outside somewhat preserved but the inside missing the essential pieces: love, joy, peace, hope, a sense of wonder, righteousness.
I suppose its interesting that I see the darkness, because it’s just not the way that I used to want to see things. I used to always want to believe that things are at a happy ending. Things are fine as they are and we don’t really need to be concerned about anything. But the more and more I look at what’s going on in and around me, the less I can ignore that the darkness is real. I try to ignore again, but all I see is suffering, and suddenly all the BS religiosity I spew on Sunday school is of no use to me, because it doesn’t deal with the deep fear.
I used to think I hated the parable of building your house on rock and sand, and I thought it was just because I was lazy. This is still true, but the deeper reason behind this is because I think my heart was ignorant of the inevitable storms that Jesus warns about behind the sparkling lights of a lavish American lifestyle. So I like one who hears the Word and the promise of a rock solid foundation in God turn the other way to build on sand because it’s more malleable. In my comfort, I find this setting ‘nicer’ until the inevitable storm washes my house away. But the one that hears the Word and does it is one that is built on the rock. The rock is really not all that comfortable. It’s not about a feeling that you have or a passing social circumstance, and the life that leads from rock solid truth is one that is built and lived in truth no matter what.
But with every passing moment that is lived in FAITH working itself through love which comes from Jesus, the joy we are doing it for (for You!) seems to become weightier than the cost. He died for the joy set before Him and not for His will to be done but God’s will to be done. In today’s relativistic society, where everyone has their own truth and your wants are all that matter, it’s hard to imagine that anything might be done for anything deeper than a feeling, a title, a paycheck, or an education. Don’t get me wrong these are all God given and important but to live for it is to live for something that will pass away. What’s so captivating about the person of Jesus is that though all these things were part of His life, he took the craving that came as a man and threw it away for the will of God.
I by any stretch of the imagination have not come anywhere close to living like Jesus, but man does the life of Jesus look so appealing to me. A life that’s not shaken by situation. A life that can look right into death and darkness and say without fear that He’s going to win. A life that can stand on the rock of Truth and so drop it like a seed so in love there may be more seeds. A life that is void of pharisaical BS but lived with a purpose unto death. A life that was by nature God but made a servant so that it may be crushed for iniquities of all. Oh my God, this Life.
Holy Spirit lead me so I won’t waste my own. Help me keep my word. Penetrate my very life so that if I have any money, influence, knowledge, or energy that it might be used to a cause greater than me and my petty desires. I want this to mean something, and if I know anything, it is that you mean everything. I trip all the time. Pick me up when I do, so that you may be glorified. You are the one who helps me be satisfied in you so please keep doing that. Also, as a part of the body, I pray this same thing for every other member, because I really can’t do it by myself.
I hope everyone back in the states is doing well. Life in Israel is much different than what I expected. But God has been so graceful with me. I’ve had so many moments here when I just wanted to give up on everything, but God has been good and every single hard moment and sin has merely led to character building and more grace. I feel like so much has changed in me. Also, it’s the sabbath here (meaning almost every store closes and everyone rests) and I thought I might blog for the first time in awhile to share some of my thoughts. As far as blogging about spiritual things, I found it’s no big deal. I have only been here for 7 and a half months left and this feels like my second home already. I kind of don’t want to go back to America, lol. But I really do miss everyone back in the states and when I do go back I wish to see how much everyone has grown and learned too. Please pray for Israel and our Arabic neighbors.
Adventure, with all its requisite danger and wildness, is adeeply spiritual longing written into the soul of man. The masculine heart needs a place where nothing is prefabricated, modular, nonfat, zip lock, franchised, on-line, microwavable. Wherethere are no deadlines, cell phones, or committee meetings.Where there is room for the soul. Where, finally, the geographyaround us corresponds to the geography of our heart. Look at the heroes of the biblical text: Moses does not encounter the living God at the mall. He finds him (or is found by him) somewhere out in the deserts of Sinai, a long way from the comfortsof Egypt. The same is true of Jacob, who has his wrestling match with God not on the living room sofa but in a wadi somewhere east of the Jabbok, in Mesopotamia. Where did the great prophet Elijah go to recover his strength? To the wild. As did John the Baptist, and his cousin, Jesus, who is
led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Whatever else those explorers were after, they were alsosearching for themselves. Deep in a man’s heart are some fundamental questions that simply cannot be answered at the kitchen table. Who am I? What am I made of? What am I destined for?It is fear that keeps a man at home where things are neat and orderly and under his control. But the answers to his deepest questions are not to be found on television or in the refrigerator. Out there on the burning desert sands, lost in a trackless waste,Moses received his life’s mission and purpose. He is called out, called up into something much bigger than he ever imagined, much more serious than CEO or “prince of Egypt.” Under for-eign stars, in the dead of night, Jacob received a new name, his real name. No longer is he a shrewd business negotiator, but now he is one who wrestles with God. The wilderness trial of Christ is, at its core, a test of his identity. “If you are who you think you are …” If a man is ever to find out who he is and what he’s here for, he has got to take that journey for himself.
He has got to get his heart back."
Greetings from Haifa, Israel. I’m just settled in and God has already proven to be so faithful and powerful during this trip. Because of security issues I can’t post anything on any social media sites, but I am also sending out update emails at the beginning of every month for my supporters. Contact Jason Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be put on the list and he will forward them to you. Toda!
It’s almost time for me to leave, and it’s been a crazy last week before leaving for Israel and Palestine. Mostly busy with meeting people, getting prepared, being in the Word, but I finally have time to sit down and write a post before I head off to Sacramento. To tell the truth, it’s not only been a busy week, but it’s also been a week that has been an absolute shit to get through. Satan knows my weakest points and he has been hitting every single point. All throughout this week, things have happened here and there in all areas of my life that have been a little disappointing and ultimately left unresolved. This attack was like nothing I had ever gotten, and for the longest time I had a feeling of uneasiness which came from not knowing the symptoms.
Yesterday, I had the chance of speaking in front of my congregation to talk about my trip overseas, where I gave my testimony. Before I went up my pastor had introduced me, but when he did I absolutely snapped. He was talking about some random thing when he mentioned my name and said that I was going to Palestine, but that I was only a kid and not yet a full on missionary. In my own seat, I sat there fuming, when I considered that the call I received initially had nothing to do with my own merit but that I had received this under grace. I went up shaking half nervous and half angry as I nearly rebutted his statement, with my testimony, stating firmly that I was in fact a missionary and I wasn’t going to be denied this title. I had never heard a more deafening silence. My pastor stopped translating for me. I was forced to finish the rest of my presentation awkwardly with facts that after that outburst seemed terribly irrelevant.
At first, it seemed only right. After all, that was in fact my testimony. In my mission trip, God had confirmed with me in my place of weakness and naivete that it was only by His grace that I had received this position. Because you know what, I was not to be denied my title as a missionary. But you know what I realized? THIS IS ALL SO STUPID. The underlying fear behind all of this was in not being taken seriously. And that’s exactly what Satan wants me to think, is to make me believe that I have no power and that I am not a threat to his kingdom, which is soon to fall. It’s like I’m holding a gun to Satan’s head and he begins making fun of a wart on my face. It’s like wtf? BOOM. You’re dead. And then I’ll stand over his dead body with his brains all over the floor like, “See insecurities are not for me. They’re you’re stupid invention. I’m done with your games”. But why was I struggling so much? As much as I could attribute it to the magnitude of my worries and sorrow, it was my fault that these things had taken place inside of me. I was the one taking the wart on my face so seriously. Here I was with the opportunity to deliver a strike, I was the one sitting there with the safety on. All that baggage and sentimentality. God I’ve grown to hate it this week, because you really can’t control it and it only makes you a sitting duck. A missionary that’s staying at my house this week told me at my goodbye party yesterday that in order for you to deliver the best punch, you had to not get so tensed up and sentimental about the mission trip. Otherwise, you would not be able to deliver the strongest blow. On the other hand if you go with no baggage and a loose heart, you will be able to deliver the strongest blow. And that’s important because you only have one shot at this. With all those people that I loved and had supported me sitting in a circle around me beaming at me in pride, it was not hard to let go.
So with that goodbye. Hopefully I come back in a year to find you all in a better condition than your current one. And to those in the body of Christ, I find strength in knowing that I am fighting for not just my sake but for the sake of all of you, my brothers and sisters that I love. Pray for me and I will in turn carry the same will you have for the nations. I will be back with many TESTIMONIES.