Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yard Sale Thoughts

So some of my friends and I just did a yard sale to raise money for World Vision, an organization that does a lot to fight poverty overseas. We raised close to $600, which is great, but I honestly was somewhat humiliated and frustrated while I was there. I HAD SO MUCH STUFF. I filled my entire car, a friend's truck bed, and another friend's back seat with bags of clothes, furniture, dishwear, and other miscelaneous items that I simply do not need in order to live.

I couldn't help but wonder how much more than $600 I could have given to the poor if I wasn't so darn materialistic. A kid is dying every three seconds around the world, often from preventable reasons, and there was expensive clothing that I was selling that I have never even worn before. One dollar will supply one person with clean water for a whole year, and there were movies I purchased so casually that I have never even taken out of the wrapping.

I watched as the expensive presents of Christmas and birthday past were taken of by strangers for 50 cents. A dress jacket that I had bought for probably about $100 was marked down to $5 to be sold, and I pondered what kind of difference $100 would make for a child in Sudan, India, Nicaragua, etc. It didn't make much of a difference in my life.

I write this out of a heart of repentance for my blatant arrogance and self-absorption that is not just a thing of my past, but is still very present with my heart. I will fight to remember the poor around the world, because everything within me desires to pretend that it isn't real... as if I could live my life without being responsible. But I am most definitly responsible. How can I not be when I know kids are starving and I buy a shirt for $20 when I already have 30 shirts, and that $20 could have given clean water to 20 people for a year. They are dying of thirst and I am adding another shirt to my closet to feed my vanity. What does it mean to love my neighbor AS myself?? That wasn't just Jesus' suggestion, but a firm command.

Please pray for me as I fight the wickedness within me. I am currently trying to let the Lord purge me of materialism by selling almost everything that I don't need in my life, and fighting the urge to buy anything new that isn't necessary for my survival so that I can give more away and depend more upon Christ. I hope to widdle my possessions down to what I can fit into my trunk on my trip to California. Why would I need more than that?

I believe there is a reason Jesus spoke about money more than anything else, including heaven. He knew how dangerous it was. He knew how wicked our hearts can be with it. He often puts the love of money and the love of God in opposition. He says you can fit a big camel into a sewing needle easier than a rich person can get into heaven. That is scary. I am going to try to take Him serious.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Leaving Marietta

My Position in Marietta Ending:

After serving as the Youth and College Minister out of First Baptist and on the campus of Marietta College for the past three years, I was informed that the church would not be continuing my position for a fourth year. It was communicated to me that it was for financial reasons. I apologize that I haven't been able to inform many of you of this until recently, but I was not allowed to share this news until July 1.

God has done so much in and around me these three years. I have seen the Lord develop an entire ministry and community on campus through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where many college students have either come to saving faith in Christ or been growing in their process of discipleship with Him. This community is in a great place and will continue to be doing powerful Kingdom work well beyond me.

I have seen the Lord impact high school and middle school students through the youth ministry here. Over 100 high schoolers have come through the large metal door of our youth center on Sunday nights, and of those, many have been here just for a time and then disappeared, but there is a solid group of youth who are really pursuing and being persued by Christ.

It will be exciting for me to watch from a distance as these students of all different ages continue to grow and develop their own ministries and purpose in life. It has truly been an honor to be a part of their lives, and I thank them and the Lord for that.

Moving to California:

The next scene of my life is going to be played out in Simi Valley, California. I am going to be taking classes at Eternity Bible College, which is a ministry out of Francis Chan's church Cornerstone. The main reason I am going is to enter into an accelerated time of learning and growth in my own personal walk with Christ, as well as my own call as a minister and preacher of the Gospel. A lot of things have been stirring in me over the last year or two, and I sense the Lord's leading to California to continue to have those passions developed and allow them to really take shape.

I am going to be trying to find some part-time work (possibly refereeing and substitute teaching), and I will be living with five other guys in an apartment. I am going to be getting involved with the ministries of the church in order to serve and learn alongside the believers there. Cornerstone is trying to search out and discover what the Church is called to live like Biblically. They are doing a lot to push towards community, loving one another, and being intimiately involved in each others lives as they serve their neighborhoods and do ministry together. I am pretty excited to get out there! :)

I will be leaving Marietta on July 31st, and will head up to Cleveland for a few days. After some vacation time with my family, I will be leaving on August 11th to go to California.