Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Dear Warrensburg,

Words cannot express the times I have had abiding here. I came to you a naive, confused, self-conscious 18-year-old kid who thought he had his adult life planned out perfectly. I came to you in chains- dragging along my religious, personal, and emotional baggage. It was here, that I gained the closest friends I’ve ever made. It was here that I learned to accept who I am, and be at peace with that.  It was here that the moral-system I upheld so zealously (and blindly) was continually challenged and transformed. It was here that I experienced some of my lowest points. It was here that I realized how utterly broken I was, so that I could accept the grace-rooted life of Jesus Christ. It was here that I laughed, cried, hugged people, ate, played music, sported like 8 different hair cuts, helped people, dated, started protest rallies, drank lots of coffee, philosophized, socialized, made a bazillion Taco Bell runs, and learned how to truly share life with people.

In the last four years there have been a number of people who’ve invested in me and spoke wisdom into my life. These people have had made a difference in my life by how they live and how they interact with others. (Disclaimer: none of these people are perfect, nor would they prefer to be put on any kind of pedestal).  Most notably Roger Brant, Sara Johnson, Mark Bliss, and Carson Conover.

Carson and Roger were one of the first few people I met here at UCM. Carson was a senior and a student leader at the BSU. Roger was the new campus minister at the BSU. (They knew each other before-hand). I always kinda looked up to Carson because he was a few years older than me. It was one of the first times I had met a young Christian who lived the Christian life with a non-judgemental, loving attitude everywhere he went. Not to mention he’s a pretty intelligent dude (though he tries to hide it with quirky humor). Carson, obviously didn’t stick around long because he graduated in 2008. I did however get the chance to hang out with him and chat a handful of times later down the line. Every one-on-one conversation we had was profoundly meaningful and surprisingly casual. This helped set a foundation for many other things to come.

Onto Roger…Roger is a very peculiar man, but one I’ve grown to love and respect. He’s got a lot of deep layers to him, that I’m not even going to begin to tackle. Roger is someone who has seen me from the day I was a freshman to the day I graduated. He saw how I changed, struggled, and grew. He was never someone who tried to spoon feed me all the right answers, but instead tried to ask the right questions. Roger helped me look at my faith seriously and honestly. He is no longer at the BSU, but instead the “leader dude” at Wayfare Church in the Warrensburg. This is another community I’ve gotten the joy of being a part of since Sophomore year (2009). I will dearly miss Roger, and his wisdom, quirky/sarcastic humor, and mandolin skills.

Sara Johnson was my Residence Hall Director/Boss in Fitzgerald Hall and Nickerson Hall, while I was a CA in those buildings. I can’t honestly say that I was always completely open with Sara (til the last month lol). But her humble, hard-working, optimistic characteristics were an inspiration for me. I admire her persevering faith. She taught me to “Choose my ‘tude” daily. She taught me to not overload myself, but to roll with my creative inspirations. She was always a great listener and always someone I viewed as a friend just as much as a boss.

And Mark Bliss…Oh Mark. Dude, I’m gonna miss you. Jam sessions. Waiting on you to show up somewhere. Sociology classes. Solving the universe’s problems inside Java Junction. Though you may not be the most organized person, you are definitely a friend I can count on to lend a helping hand (as long as I call you spontaneously and not ahead of time lol). I admire your heart and respect you like crazy man. Best of luck to you on whatever you end up doing in life.

…like I said there are a TON of other people who’ve invested in me, loved on me, and been a huge part of my life. Every year here (and almost every semester) has been different. It’s been a blast. So thank you to everyone else. It was the people at UCM that made my college experience special and memorable.

So long UCM! So long Warrensburg! I’m gonna miss you like crazy. Seriously.

Next time I return I’ll be Alum… Weird.

(WARNING!! This is a loaded post. Brace yourself, because I’m about to go all over the place.)

So much of my life gets caught up in movements, in ideas, in moral values. I think it’s safe to say that most people around me get caught up too. It’s a certain religious belief, or  a sociological theory, or the viewpoint that ‘being gay is okay’; it’s critiques on society’s increasing reliance on technology; it is  “for or against” a bureaucratic society at large and in everyday life; it’s capitalism or socialism, pro-life or pro-choice, conservative or liberal, radical or moderate, Pepsi or Coke… this list could go on for a long time.

In my everyday life I am confronted with issues in our world, and a large part of me feels incline/encouraged to choose sides. In the midst of all this chaos, may I ask, who is right? What is truth? Who among us can reveal truth in a genuine and humble manner? Those are questions many (including myself) often wonder? I don’t know anyone who does not, deep down, want to know truth.

I often wish I could just be able to sit in the presence of God, and listen to Him audibly explain the mysteries and depths of his kingdom, and of the world. Most Christians will roughly say (and I’m not necessarily denying this) that the Bible emphatically explains the heart of God; and his heart/Word was personified through Jesus (being both God and man simultaneously). Jesus himself had quite a number of things to say about truth. Once he said “I am the way, the truth, the life; and no one comes to the father except through me.” Another time Jesus told Pontius Pilate (the Roman Governor of Judea at the time),”You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate’s response (much like many of us) was, “What is truth?”.

Many of you know where I stand, and what things I have stood up for (if not feel free to ask). However I must confess, it is very easy for me to get caught up in day-to-day discussions (which are not necessarily bad) without keeping into account what (I believe) truth is. It’s easy for me to get into arguments with people about human rights, sociological theories, and musical taste; based on my personal opinions. And it is even easier for me to try to persuade people to believe the way I do. But what do my opinions matter? Do they really hold that much weight? Do they convey any truth? In the context of pursuing truth, how I go about pursuing truth is going to look a little different from how my neighbor pursues truth. Are all these paths righteous? That is not for me to determine. But who am I to judge how someone else pursues truth, even if it is inherently wrong? Who am I to judge is someone wants to ignore truth? These are hard questions to cope with, because it is very easy for me (and others) to scrutinize the journeys of others. We all ask the same big questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What direction should I take? We just seem to react to these LARGE questions in an infinite amount of ways. In the context of this truth journey, even though I stumble a lot my focus and underlining goal is grow closer to God, and to know/love him better. Given that most journey’s are defined by the object or person being sought after, my journey is defined by God (Father-Spirit-Son). How I’ve gone about that journey, seeking after Him, isn’t necessarily a suggested way or anywhere close to the ‘universally perfect way’ of seeking after God (truth). I also don’t believe there is one cookie-cutter path we should all adhere to. If we are in the pursuit of righteousness (which is only attained through divine grace), and more so truth, then God will guide our individual journey’s so that we can each understand the depths of his love.

I don’t really have a big conclusion or theory to wrap this post up. However I will say this: if I am going to pursue Jesus (truth), I want to pursue it in a loving and humble way. If I have ever tried to convey my opinions or convictions in a contradictory way, I am sincerely apologetic. My heart aches for the injustices and self-righteous judgements I imposed on my friends and peers. The best way I know how to right my wrongs is to show love for the people I come in contact with from here on out. The grace that I’ve been given by God is far greater than anything I deserve; and for me to misrepresent that love Christ has instilled in me, is wrong. So whatever that looks like as I continue my journey with Christ, I can’t predict. I just know  I want to take every step with love in my heart.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

just a few thoughts I’ve been having lately:

– Tennessee barbeque rules. well actually, pretty much any food here rules.

– I never want to live in Montgomery, AL. Too much racism there…on both sides.

– I feel like I have an explosion of words to say, but no way to eloquently and cohesively saying them.

– Everyday for the past month seems like a new set of crossroads. All kinds of decisions being made that could potentially be life changing. That is both exciting and scary. I’m  sure most everyone around my age goes through something similar.

– I feel like I’m just continuing down one path (Student Affairs, working with college students as a career), just waiting for God to snatch me up and thow me on a new path. I mean I like college students and student life stuff. Just don’t know if I’m cut out for it long-term. I’d rather be playing music for a living and doing mission work in foreign countries and making t-shirts that raise money for kids in Africa. blah….but I continue on, with a blindfold over my eyes and a forceful hand on my back and an eager ear waiting for the whispering voice of direction.

– Life is hard. For Everyone. Why not ease the load for someone else?…that is if you can handle carrying anymore yourself.

– There are many days when I doubt whether people truly love me. I can see it in their eyes. Hear it in their voice. It’s not hard to tell if someone authentically loves you for who you are. Whether out of pride or shyness, I’m not one to beg for friendship. But, community and friendship so valuable. It provides a sense of home and belonging. I don’t really have a “home”. I’ve moved around from place to place all my life. They say home is where the heart is. Well, I’m not really sure where my heart is.

– I don’t plan on dating this year. Not enough time. I’m leaving town for who-knows-where in a year. Not to mention I’m broke. Ladies, I’m off-limits. Sorry.

– I want to start writing songs again. Unfortunatley, I have writers block (refer back to bullet point 3).

– I want to learn more Blues chords

-I need to read my Bible more. seriously.

-I also need to excercise more. Me and Sam are going to do P90X this semester. Sixpack? naah.

– Sometimes I get frustrated when no one reads this blog. I see the stats. But then, I think “Well, I really hate promoting this blog. Promoting is so vain, and overrated. Plus, I’m more vulnerable on this blog than I am in real life. What to do..”

-Thank God for music, and how it can communicate volumes to me every day. And thank God for skilled lyricists.

This summer has been good for a lot of reasons. I’ve gotten to work with some really awesome and dedicated individuals. I’ve learned so much personally and professionally.

But, all good things come to an end. And to be honest, I really miss my friends. My Real Friends. I miss having people to hang out with. I spend a lot of time alone in my apt or walking around Emporia. I miss the constant possibility of social interaction. I miss having deep 1-1 conversations over a cup of Java. I miss the Burg.

…August 4th I look forward to you, and a final lap around this college track.

So I just got back from Tennessee. I went there to see my family, and meet their new church- New Prospect Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg, TN. Awesome people. I had a blast getting to know them. I also came back with a bit of a southern twang, that will take me about a week to get rid of. Here are some things I learned, saw, and experienced this week…

1. God still loves me.

2. I saw some awesome examples of how I can be a Saintly man…and how to be a good father. Now, I have no intentions of knockin’ up any girl any time soon (much less getting married); but it was valuable to observe.

3. I am now physically stronger than my dad. He doesn’t seem to thrilled about accepting that fact.

4. I like to play little pranks on people….especially my dad. All in good fun of course.(ex: I egged him on the head, and dunked him in the pool a few times)

5. I saw my old Florida buddy, Caleb Gindl. He is playing AA Baseball in Huntsville, AL right now. Look out for him, because he may get traded to the Royals soon. And if he does, he’ll likely be playing in the Majors by the Fall.

6. It is a LOOOOOONG drive from Huntsville, AL to Emporia, KS. 13 hours to be exact….plus how many ever times we stopped for food, gas, or sleep.

7. It’s time to let go of my past and move forward. Starting now.

8. I love playing music, but I’m not sure if I’m cut out to be a live performing artist. I may just stick to praise music and private writings on the side. Which means the EP Bridge of New that was scheduled for release this Fall may be pushed back again indefinitely.

9. I’ve discovered that I’ve got a lot of scatterbrained dreams and ambitions, with no real plans to carry them out. So, if I try to follow my own plans and dreams, I’ll likely fall on my face. I also discovered that God has a daily-plan for my life, and I need to ask him DAILY to fill me with his Spirit. Therefore, I don’t need to worrying about where I’ll be a year from now, because He’s got it under control.

10. I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing post-graduation….grad school in ResLife, foreign missions, music, domestic missions, or something not on this list. I sure hope God reveals it to me. And I sure hope I’m listening.

11. If I’m truly honest with myself I’ll have to admit that I’m not that reliable and I’m not very disciplined. I know I’ve frustrated, aggravated, and offended the heart of God countless time. All the while, I have acted as if I got it all together….which is a load of bull. All the while God still loves me. And he WANTS to get through to me….Me a stubborn foolish preacher’s kid with bad grammar and a wayfaring heart. I can’t quite figure Him out. But the thought of a holy, uncontested, merciful God is intoxicating. And I want to get to know him. I need change. A change only possible through surrender.

12. If I want to truly surrender to God (i.e. Make him the “President of my life”), then I need help. I can’t do it on my own yet. I need a friend that will hold me accountable, and I the same to him (no girls). I need to be in a community of believers that is encouraging and passionate about living the gospel. I wouldn’t mind moving to Tennessee to be honest.

13. Oh, and I may be going to Africa next summer. (!!!!!!!!!)

“Complexity of God” (originally written June 24, 2009)

I’ve been thinking about the complexity of God….which is basically a guaranteed mind explosion. Being human, I try to analyze him, study his ways, and box him into my dumbed-downed understanding. But I just can’t wrap my mind around him. First off, He’s always been and always will be. He never had a beginning and he won’t ever have an end. Nothing that I’ve ever known in my 20 years of life has NOT had a beginning. Then he made the universe, the earth, the wind, lightness, darkness, the animals, the fish, water, and humankind just by speaking….WHOA! Then after creation rejected the creator by sin and pride (painfully idiotic), God was faithful still- ransoming his ONLY SON so that we can again be called blameless and his beloved children. I can’t wrap my mind around that kind of love. To some, it almost seems dumb, foolish, and pointless for the God of the universe to give a hoot if we mere humans live or die. But in his eyes we are special, we are his own, we are unconditionally loved. That free gift of salvation that he offers through his son, Jesus Christ, saves us from our faults and failures. This is more than just a gift- it is a breathtaking grace-filled love that I and so many others search their entire life for. I can’t help but joyfully and eagerly accept it and intentionally share with others. But with that free gift comes responsibility. Responsibility to grow in love with christ instead of sin and trust god more every day. Now that I’ve tried to summarize a glimpse of the good news my mind is still on one thing…
Complexity of god. What is it? How can i describe?….well i honestly can’t. Because the God i serve and love is too unfathomable to be explained or comprehended by mere words. That is why I will forever worship and serve him.
As you can tell I have a lot of trouble trying to explain God. Really, who can? But I know this. The God of the Universe loves me more than anyone else ever can, knows everything about me, and wants me to worship and honor his glory with my life. Who am I to reject to that?

(these videos are a little addition. They are pretty stinkin’ awesome.)

Well I am now living in Emporia, Kansas for the summer. As I previously mentioned I’m doing an internship with Emporia State Residence Life through ACUHO-I. I’m going to be working on ‘Hornet Orientation’ (week of welcome type thing) and an implementation of programming and assessment called FYRE (pronounced like ‘fire’…it stands for First Year Resident Experience). FYRE is a project of some sort to try to get students to have more positive experiences in their first few years so they stay and feel part of the university. So far I’ve met: my advisers Carol, Josh, and Cass; and the summer staffers (RAs)- Shawn, Liz, Kelly, Jessica, Lisa, Kris, Amanda, and Russell. They all seem really cool, and I look forward to getting to know them all throughout the summer.

Yesterday I started P90X!! woohoo! My chest and shoulders now hurt. My advisor, Josh wants to work out with me. I told him, “Show up at my apartment tomorrow at 8 am.” I think I’m gonna just do the ab workout tonight after LOST (Season 6 Episode 16- “Why they Died”).

Anyways, continuing with yesterday…After going out to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, Carol and Josh gave me the rest of the day to do whatever. I took the opportunity to go search for a summer job around town. So I set off on foot (yes on foot. I have no car) with my backpack, moccasins, and Cannon EOS 20D (with lenses the 55mm 75mm lenses of course). I ended up applying at different 8 locations and plan on maybe applying for 2 more. Included in my favorites were Java Cat, Wheat State Pizza, and Bobby D’s BBQ. I figured I should apply at mostly food places because I could get good night & weekend hours and I am fairly limited on money and food supply for the summer ;-). I’m also thinking about looking around town for possible venues to play small shows with Natalie and the Jingle Shoe…maybe at the Java Cat. After about 6 hours of walking around town (I probably walked about 4 or 5 miles), applying for jobs, and meeting people, I decided to pack it in for the night.

The town of Emporia shows promise. My apartment is the biggest I’ve ever had to myself (which is not saying much). The people are really down-to-earth and friendly. Here are a few pictures I took around campus:

The bottom right picture is where I am staying; they call them the “Twin Towers”. eek!