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The Power of Prayer February 26, 2009

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, The Journal.
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So there is this woman in my class who was previously diagnosed with cancer. The story as far as I know it is that she had had some kind of lung cancer and that it was removed. Well the other week she was supposed to go in for another scan to investigate what they may be another sign of cancer. So in my class she recieved a phone call (keep in mind I was not present during this class, I skipped and I was very upset that I did so) that she has to go to the doctors office, and that she should bring someone with her. So in class my professor got everybody to prayer over her and they did so, very emotional, tears everywhere. When I had heard the news I prayed for her as well. But I don’t think my faith was that strong, because really all I did was remember her in my prayers, that there would be healing and God would be glorified through what would happen. And boy was he glorified. Turns out, the doctor had the wrong scans, and Jessie, the woman, didn’t have any trace of cancer! She was completely fine! ISN’T THAT AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! God totally took all of us in a 180 turn and took our misery into sounds of great JOY!!!!!!!!!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!!!!!! HOW CAN YOU NOT PRAISE HIS NAME FOR SOMETHING SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Learning to Teach February 16, 2009

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, The Journal.
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So today I gave my first official lesson at the Senior High youth group I help with, otherwise known as the Refinery. Well, technically it was my second time teaching, but this was the first “official” time where I knew¬† weeks ahead of time and had the ability to prepare. I felt like prepared well, and God certainly inspired me of ways to get my point. But, like everyone who teaches their first time in front of a crowd of people, I got jittery and started to sound like I was speaking in tongues because I was going so fast. The first half went by rather quickly, then I had a ten second pause trying to collect my thoughts (which was rather embarassing), but then as I continued on my second half, it went by rather well. I made the points God intended and I do think we’ll be implementing them in our youth group. (I spoke on Luke 10:25-37 by the way, good passage on who is it that we are to serve). As I’m reflecting on what I had taught this night, I’m beginning to realize that I really didn’t implement my own message. I mean, who is Jesse’s neighbor right now that he needs to serve? Who needs the loving? Maybe if I actually implemented my own message I’d be a better teacher. Makes sense right? Hmmm….

Romans 5 February 10, 2009

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts.
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Heyo all, it’s been a while, but I think I’m just going to jump right in on what I’ve been thinking. Earlier today I was reading through the book of Romans, specifically chapter 5. I’ve been reading it mostly as a time of devotional to God and study as well, I have been going through different books of the Bible and mostly reading a chapter or a passage as I plug my way through. In chapter 5 of Romans, the bulk of it discusses the differences between Adam’s sin and Christ salvation, two acts done by two different people. Paul attempts to prove the fact that one man’s actions can have repercussions for everyone in verses 12 and following. He explains that through one man’s sin, Adam, all were caused to sin and that everyone inherited an unrighteousness within themselves. Sounds kind of unfair doesn’t it? I mean for one persons actions to cause all this harm and despair in our being, and that we have to accept the fact that one person caused us to have the choice of sin rather than righteousness. But how much more unfair is it that one person paid for all those sins? And that one person suffered and died so that we no longer have to be sinful or be condemned? NO ITS NOT FAIR! BUT JESUS DID IT ANYWAY!

“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through the righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5:19-21

As I read that passage, it blew my mind at how much more I realized that God would be glorified through His Son Jesus. Because when the Law came into the picture, sin increased because we now knew what was disobedient to God, and that sin caused so much unrighteousness. Yet when the grace of God came and took all that away, Christ and God were exponentially magnified and glorified! Even though one person potentially plunged our existence into death and despair, the One person took the responsibility of that action and made it possible for many to become righteous in Him.

The Christmas Service December 25, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, Randomness.
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I guess it’s been a while since my last post, but I figured today of all days was as good as any to post something that hit me today. Today I attended one of the Christmas Eve services my church held for the night. Everybody can relate to the setting, the choir singing on key, the people selected to light the candles, and the elders reading the nativity story. I do enjoy our reflection on the birth of Christ Jesus. The songs we sing such as O Holy Night, Silent Night, and O Come all Ye Faithful have excellent imagery that let’s us reflect on the birth. There’s nothing like hearing the congregation sing and worship God together as one. Yet there was one thing that bothered me…

As I looked around the room, I began thinking about the time and effort put into the service. I’m not ungrateful about the people that came together to create a service that reflects on Christ, not at all. But I’m concerned about the time they put into it. I know that the month of December is the busiest month of the year for our church. And isn’t that a problem? I mean, it should be the opposite shouldn’t it? The music director for my church is just overwhelmed with concert after concert and requests for several sound equipment. This is what we’re warned not to do, to add fluff to Christmas. I mean with all these concerts and events, are the leaders of our church really getting the time with their family that they need? All these things that happen, it doesn’t really helps us focus on Christ. A lot of times I feel like we do them just to feel nice.

I think it would be wild for a church to just not do anything with the exception of a service. I think the members themselves would take the duty of organizing these kind of events. In addition, on Christmas, we need to include the miracle of Zachariah and Elizabeth and the birth of John. We never put the two together, and they are a part of the nativity. We don’t need the concerts or the teas, we only need the reminder of the miracle of Christ. John 1:1 tells of the Word became and verse 14 of that Word came and “tabernacled” amongst us. God, Christ, in all His glory, majesty, and power, came and became a baby! The God of the universe, was a wailing and screaming baby… and that’s the miracle of Christmas.

John is my Hero, Part 1 November 18, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, The Journal.
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I adore the story of John the Baptist. He is my hero. If there was one key figure in Scripture who fervently followed God and His calling as well as had the same harboring doubts as any Christian, it be John the Baptist. If we were to categorize his life in literature, we would call his tale a tragedy. Nothing really good happens to him, and in all his preaching and teaching and walking of the faith, he ends up with his head chopped off by the order of the king. Sounds like some life we should aspire to right? I mean who wouldn’t want a steady diet of wild honey and locusts? Or not take a bath for… an entire lifetime?

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John was a guy from even before day one, when he was still in his mother’s womb, started to joyfully serve God. Elizabeth, John’s mother, told Mary that when the “sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy!” (Luke 1:44 ESV). Even before he could speak John was enthusiastic about his ministry! If you sit down and think, when was the last time we leaped for joy because we were serving God?

I can tell you of plenty of times when youth group was the last thing on my mind or that the service project I was about to do was a tremendous inconvenience to me. (I really thank the grace of God to still work through me in these stages and that Christ was still preached even when my heart was coarse). Yet there are other times, the times when everything is wrong or broken, when life is crushing, taunting you, and mocking you, and the times where people just seem to have a morbid atmosphere about them. It is these times when all I want to do is seek God, love God, know God, and work for God!

I think John is the perfect model. His life is never complacent and it never takes a breather. He is constantly paving the way for God, for the Messiah to come! I’m not saying that he went and looked for a way to make his life a gauntlet of pressure, but at the same time I don’t think he ever complained about it. John is my hero because he didn’t complain about the pressure or about the struggle. Complacency didn’t exist in him. So to make it practical, why do we seek to be complacent? Why do we seek to have everything go smoothly? What are the things that we will accept as a constant struggle so that it will bring us closer to God with every battle?

Ugh… November 10, 2008

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I apologize for not being consistent in my blog. Most of you know that it has been a tiring couple of weeks for me and it will continue to be so. Yet I am not disciplining myself in ways to keep a healthy body, mind, and spiritual walk and I am sorry for that. Hopefully I’ll make that effort to change now (with the help of the grace of God) and then I’ll be able to keep up with this blog.

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Well, I ask that you guys who read to pray for me, that I will begin a set of spiritual disciplines that I felt I have lost in the past few weeks. It’s been a rough couple of weeks and probably unnecessarily rough because I made it worse than it had to be. I hope to get back to writing my thoughts and ideas and hopefully you guys will continue to read.

Oh Man, Four Days October 27, 2008

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So this might be the most stressful four days of my life. I have several projects to complete, the entire books of Job and Proverbs to read, as well as a 300 page book to read. All this due by at least Thursday night. This is going to be sweet… I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining (even though I am whimpering as I write this). I guess I more or less want the viewing public to know that the reason this blog has not been updated is because of this incredible stress I have been having. But hey, if God sees fit to pull me through then it’ll be awesome, and if not it’ll be awesome regardless.

Anyway at the end of these four days I’ll be heading for the National Youth Workers Convention out in Pittsburgh. I. Am. Stoked. It’ll be a weekend of relaxation and getting fed as a youth worker. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends in the ministry and even just getting alone time with God. I’ll be explaining more later, but for now I got work to do. LET”S DO THIS!!!

What you see is what you get October 17, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Randomness.
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Do you know somebody that has this characteristic of “what you see is what you get?” A person that literally has no strings attached to their personality. Somebody with no falsehood, that they are who are they are simply because they can and chose to be. It’s like whatever happened in their past never really shaped them or hurt them, it’s like there’s nothing that could possibly bring them down, like an invisible cloak shields them from the wrong and pain of the world, simply making them the only true optimistic. It’s that person with so much humility that can talk about what’s wrong with themself, talk to you about what’s going on in your life, and never talk about anybody else for they know it is wrong to do so. A humbleness that never boasts, or mocks, or says anything coarse, its just always the right thing to say because it is the right thing to say. I do have the privilege of knowing someone like that.

One of my friends is coming home this weekend and I hope he’ll take a stop by at PBU to sit and chat for a while. This guys is truly a man after God’s own heart. It’s weird to be with someone like that, it’s not that I am jealous or angry of this persona of his, it’s more comforting. Comforting to know that a Christain can grow so vastly and so confident in such a short period of time. I hope and pray that God will spark some wild conversations and I hope that others can meet him as well.

Do you know someone that is such an encouragment to you? Someone who God established to be a wise and prudent man or woman that you can always look up to?

The results of Fall Break October 15, 2008

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Well, Fall Break has ended. I’m here starting up my classes again thinking, “Where has the time gone?” Already I’m falling into the trap of skipping out on work, taking those extra naps, and chowing down on cookies. Some turn around right? I thought I was going to get some work, but that didn’t happen. And I thought I could focus more on my prayer time, but that didn’t happen. Instead I fell into a deep, deep, deep pit of sin.

I thought earlier last week that I could implement some things to kind of do a pick me up or rather, focus on the upward. Didn’t do that. I guess one thing I did was I did begin exercising, I’m thinking this will help me with my energy and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, I ate like a pig. In all honesty, I am dramatizing these effects, but there is still some truth to them.There are simply things that I could have done to change, but I didn’t do them. What’s going on here?

How come I didn’t do things to change? I knew what they were and how to do it, but why didn’t I allow it? Since when did I become so pessimistic?

It’s a paradox really. I mean, I believe and am convinced with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is within me, that God has saved me because of His grace and for His glory. But there’s no change now, what happened to growth? And I’m not blaming God at all, I blame myself. I hear the Word but I do not listen. I read the Word but I do not understand it. I know what it says, but I just don’t apply it. I’ve put God in chains within my heart. A little poetic if you will, but still, you get the idea.

So what have I done wrong? Am I lazy? Are we lazy if you suffer from the same problem? What can I do?

One week away October 6, 2008

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Well I’m one week away from my fall break. That’s two days without my brain fuzzing out, two days without the unnecessary electric work that has me drawing blanks everytime I take a quiz. It’s been a wild ride thus far. God has provided me with new info, some reiterated information, and some things I already knew but it’s always good to see where you are at. A part of me almost feels disappointed though. I can’t really tell if I am actually learning as much information as I had in my previous year. Maybe I’m just used to the motions of college but at the same time maybe I am not appyling myself as diligently as I used to. I mean my grades are pretty good, yet I feel like I’m not taking extra steps to teach myself, i.e. books I read myself and keeping up on God’s Word in my life. Perhaps its my prayer life. I know that every time I finish my school work all I really want to do is go to bed. I feel like I’m not using my time for the things above, instead I’m focusing down here. I think I’m going to need to take some to process this, and it be great if you could help me out. What are specific things we can do to change out attitude? Our energy? And what can we do to focus on the heavenly?