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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.

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?

Teaching October 1, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, Randomness.
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Ever thought about how much what we do, what we say, and how we act affects those that watch us? In one sense we are constantly teaching those around us. We teach them about ourselves, we teach them about others, we teach them about our worldview, and sometimes we teach them how they should act. I think we often forget how much our own lives affect others. We forget that there are people who actually look to us for acceptance, or for advice, or even for a way of living.

Teaching is done everyday. It is done when we speak, when we react, and sometimes when we think. Every action we do will teach someone. So what are the implications of this? Do we really ever think about how much we affect others? How are we to go about our daily lives in a manner that reflects Biblical principles? Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tells us that, “These commandments which I am commanding you, you shall keep on your heart, you shall teach them diligently to our children. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” If we live a life of consitency, where God’s commandments are reflected in our everyday life, we can teach those whom we love what it means to love God. To me this is one of the most important aspects of Godly living, being able to see God reflected in us. But how can we teach this?

We can teach this in how we speak, for instance we can offer encouragment instead of a sarcastic comment. We can choose to have other people have the last slice of pizza instead of ourselves. We can calm ourselves down when we drive when we drift to road rage. What are ways you can teach people?

Learning September 22, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, Randomness, The Journal.
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We all learn. We all like to learn things that interest us. And sometimes we learn things that discomfort us. Personally, I love it when teachers and professors have you learn things yourselves. It’s a pretty awesome experience when you get things to click together in your head and being able to say that favorite saying, “EUREKA!” At times though we have to learn things the hard way, especially in relationships. For instance, I used to date this girl in college. One night before I dropped her off at her dorm, I had accidentally called her by her roommates name. BIG MISTAKE. Sometimes my mouth goes before my mind, I really have to learn to control that. I learned the hard way that sometimes people, women in particular, don’t really blow things over as well as I do.

Sometimes learning can be easy, especially when someone is supervising or teaching is over you. My Bible professor in my Old Testament class really challenges our thinking about evangelical presuppositions or what we take for assumed knowledge. In one class he had our heads spinning about wether or not the Davidic covenant is conditional or unconditional and wether or not it has been fulfilled. My head is still trying to wrap around the discussion.

And then there are times when we learn things about ourselves. When we start to analyze ourselves and what we have done in the past, we find out what our tendencies are, how we act in front of others, and how we act in times of distress. We all can say what we believe in, however, how many of us actually apply what we believe in with our daily lives. The past couple of weeks and the summer have been a time for me to learn some things about myself. Just yesterday I was involved in a pretty bad car accident (I’m ok so don’t comment about how I am doing). I guess you could say I recieved a crash course in handling car accidents. God is good, He definitely helped me to step up as a man or a leader and handle the situation as best as I could have. I do have to be honest, I was shaking in my shoes the whole day.

Learning is something that we really do everyday. So what are things you have learned recently? What have you learned about yourself? Do you like what you have learned?

Gestalt and Ministry September 15, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Randomness, The Journal.
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If you have ever taken Dr. Drummond’s class at PBU/PCB, this is for you. Gestalt.

At any rate, let’s talk about what ministry means. Recently I wrote a paper for a Youth class I have, the paper being, “What is the definition Ministry?” People often think about ministry as something that real spiritual people do, like preaching behind the pulpit or leading Bible studies. But ministry or having a ministry position is a much, much, much lowlier position. Ministry litteraly means service or to serve. In class we discussed how its like waiting on tables, simply serving and cleaning up after people. In Acts 6, the early church were forgetting some people and their needs because the congregation had grown to such a large size. They then specificaly assigned men to the “ministry of service” to the orphans and widows. All these men simply did was wait upon the people, loving them and caring for them in anyway possible.

You can say this changes my thought on ministry. All to often I think of myself in an awesome youth group with kids that literally eating off my palm of what I am saying and calling that ministry. Now preaching the Word of God is ministry, however it is a very small part of it. Ministry means to hold the door open for a stranger. Ministry means putting my dishes away in the dishwasher AND cleaning up the house without my mom asking me to. Ministry means to let someone else have the last cookie or offering to get people drinks.

What does ministry mean to you?

19 and still kicking September 8, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Randomness, The Journal.
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So today is my 19th birthday. It’s pretty impressive that I have lived this long and am still standing on two feet… and others around me are still standing… Anyway, I’m pretty “happy” with what God has lead me through these past few months, and past few years even. Looking back, it’s weird to think about the guy I used to be, or the man I used to be (pretty lofty of me to declare myself a man). I like the fact that God has changed me, changed my thinking and where my heart should be. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I’m Peter’s age and thinking about the past… or my father’s age… gllllllll. It’s comforting to know though that God doesn’t love a future part of me, or a past part, He loves me no matter what kind of situation I’m in. I’m sure next year I’ll look back on say, “Man that guy was an idiot!”, but God still had use for me and still used me for something. I look back even recently and am evaluating how I can better serve those around me, and love those around me. God is truly Good.

What about you? Is it comforting to know that God will love you in your highs and lows, not for what you’ve done or what you’ve yet to do?

Where am I? September 5, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Psalms/Hymns/Poems, Randomness.
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Where am I? From where have I come? Have I changed? Am I different? Have I allowed Him to change me? Or have I shut Him down in my heart? I’m still here. I’ve changed. God has molded me even with my best efforts not to allow Him. I pray that I can meditate. I pray that I can sit and be still. I yearn to know Him deeply, intimitaley, passionately… Why do I ask if He has forsaken me? He has not. My emotions cloud me, my judgment, my eyes and ears. At times they blind me and at times they awaken me. My heart is deceptive. I wish to say that I am all right, that I’m getting better. But I know this is not the case. I pray for a release of myself, that I no longer hold myself back, that God unleashes His servant and that God breaks His servant. I’m ok with brokeness, ok with a loss. Because I love my God, I need nothing but my Savior to comfort me. Set your heart upon God.

The Tenth/Done my first week August 31, 2008

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Here I am sitting in my comfortable dorm room, having just waken up on a Saturday afternoon after my first week of classes. It has been an intriguing week to say the least. Some of my professors are just flat out awesome. And others… well, not so much. I plan on being involved in my classes, open with discussions, and prepared for anything that the profs throw my way. But not because I wish to be a good steward or student. In all honesty I just like to talk in class and have an atmosphere where I can make people laugh. Perhaps I am a bit quirky and a bit of a problem child, but hey, I have other issues to begin with.

Well with all this week has been, I better get started on my reading. I pretty much have to read several chapters of about five different books and read at least two books of the Bible every week. So it’s a lot. I look forward to it though, the geek in me likes the challenge.

Yet the thing I’m most looking forward to is being with my friends. God rox my sox and my shoes with all the blessings of relationships He has given me this past week. You all are probably pretty sick of hearing about how excited I am about my relationships. Oh well. I’ve probably said this in a past blog but being a friend is going to be my primary goal this year. I don’t want to pour out my menial problems on those who are actually suffering. But what about you? What are things that you want to with your friends? Or what goals do you have in mind with your relationships this year?

The Seventh/School in two weeks… August 13, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Randomness, The Journal.
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Well, here I am at Ocean City New Jersey, and all that is on my mind is school. I have to admit my thoughts have been raptured in the thought of going back to school. Seeing old friends, getting acquainted with new friends, and dare I say it? Thoroughly enjoying school work. I feel pretty much like a loser missing school because I miss classes, but what can I say? Maybe I’m wired to be a little bit of a Bible geek. Okay maybe A LOT of bit of a Bible geek. I miss G Money Shnitjdaddy’s class and I am looking forward to studying in OT with him. I miss the Legend, AKA Matt McAlack, pretty much awesomeness wrapped in human form. I look forward to wooing a few new professors I’ll be having and causing as much discomfort and provocative remarks/discussions in class as possible. All in all I think I will be a good time. Not only that I think God is going to crash everything in my face, setting before me new trials and undertakings that I probably never thought I’d come across. You know, the kind that make you wish you were dead, dying, or simply somewhere else at any given moment. I’m looking forward to that as well. Basically I pray and hope that my wisdom in God exponentially increases and my wisdom of the world exponentially decreases. Broken and contrite, that’s where I’m hoping to be.

What about you? Ever felt so excited about something that at times you hope it goes horrifically wrong for the better?

The Fifth/My curse July 29, 2008

Posted by Jesse in Biblical/Theological Thoughts, Randomness, The Journal.
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Today was a rough day. Nothing spectacular happened, however I felt my soul hit hard by thoughts of my brother. For those of you who don’t know, I have a 17 year old brother, he’s 16 months younger than me, so we’re pretty tight. About a month ago I had learned something about my brother’s past that has dramatically shaped how I look at my brother now. He went through an incredible traumatizing experience that certainly could have permanently haunted his life. Really praise God that Satan wasn’t given that chance, my brother has stronger convictions than most believers and I bet my life on it that he has greater convictions than some of the greatest speakers and pastors that have served God. It’s really more of a testament to God in how he has blessed my brother and how he’ll continue to bless him as he enters the ministry.

Now, when I had heard this history of my brother, it took me a while to fully process the gravity of what had happened to him. I was crushed as any brother would be, I love my brother and would lay down my life for him in a heart beat, that’s just who I am. But then I began to reflect on the life I lived with my brother. The person who had hurt my brother was in no way as a great a criminal as I was. For years I tortured my brother, calling him names, beating on him, pulling pranks, simple brother things really nothing to extravagant. But the entire time, for the better part of ten years, I had no idea the kind of hurt he suffered, I was never the bigger brother I should have been.

Not to toot my own horn, but I always felt like God did give me this personality that would willingly be there for the hurt of others, and I have actively pursued that since high school. Yet in ignorance I could not see the hurt that was right in front of me. Ten years my brother never told me this, and during that time my parents were getting a divorce and I had pretty much shut him out of my life. I was jealous and angry at him during that time. How come he was the more spiritual? How come he got the better grades? Was thinner and more athletic than I? All these questions buzzed around my mind creating a misguided and inappropriate disdain for my brother. What kind of brother am I?

I’ll tell you what I wasn’t, I wasn’t the brother who pulled my brother aside and told him I loved him. I wasn’t the bigger brother who protected him from those who picked on him during elementary school. I wasn’t the brother who gave an ear to him when he went through times of struggle. My pride had really blinded me from this pain. Thank God Johnny came out the way he did. If you were to talk to him, you would be astonished at the knowledge of his God and others. How quickly he forgives those who have trespassed against him. The hurt that had happened to him then, he now sees as a way to further advance the Kingdom with his Testimony, PRAISE GOD!

Yet I can not bring myself to forgive myself. My struggle, my lament is that I had allowed this to happen to him, I was the greater sinner. I know God sees all sin as equal, a lawbreaker is a lawbreaker (ref. James). However, I knew the Word, it was in my heart, in my mouth, I knew of the warnings and this other person did not. My brother has forgiven me and the other, God has forgiven me and I pray that this other will seek His forgiveness. But I still can’t forgive myself. It is this pain that is tearing me up. What if something as traumatic like this hits close to home again? And I continue to blindly go on without seeing it? I pray that this won’t happen. I pray that someday I can forgive myself, I’m sure I can be used by God in a much easier way.

I pray that I am not being blind to other hurts in front of me now. One thing I appreciate is honesty and a person that can be real, so if I notice a hurt I can be there. My warning and I guess word of advice is to not go seeking out for the hurt of others before solving the hurt of your family. Your family is yours forever, whether we respect and love them or not. If we don’t help our home and family, what kind of followers of Christ are we? Or simply what kind of people are we? Certainly not ones that are qualified to help others. Please don’t be like me, and have years of regret for not loving my brother the way I should have. I told him that will no longer be the case. I am going to love my brother and be content with the fact that he will do greater things than I in God’s name. Please, seek for the healing and love of your family.