Friday, April 16, 2010
Nothing to offer. Nothing to show for.
But I try to prove I do.
I would love for you to believe I can make a difference in the world.
That I have the power to overcome my sin and depravity.
I wish I could.
Oh God, what gift can I bring that you haven't already given me?
I am so envious of what everyone else has, and its stopped You from getting to me.
I want what you've given them. The words, the people, the clothes, the hair, the personality. The likeability.
I want words of man. Ones that don't last.
Why does my heart want these things.
God. I'm so sorry.
I have no words to describe what my heart feels, but you know.
You know the pain within me. The wrestling. But its so much more than that.
Oh God, my spirit groans to be clothed with heaven's splendor and forget this world and its pains and blows.
I have nothing to bring You.
But a life battered and broken. Tattered and torn.
Ripped and shredded.
Oh God, when you found me, I was wallowing in my blood.
I was in imminent death. Life kept slowly bleeding out. More and more.
And when I heard your voice.
I didn't think it would've come with the power that it did.
But my life couldn't stay in this promise of destruction.
You had something else in mind.
Oh death, where is thy sting?
Jesus Christ has laid you to rest.
He has conquered the grave and forced sin to submit.
Freedom for those who have been so robbed of it.
If we all took a step back to see who we are without Christ, we would all melt with the fear of God and the anticipation of judgement.
Jesus, what did you really do for me 2000 years ago?
Because I just don't get it.
Because I know, if I really got it, I wouldn't be living like this.
I'm so jealous of the way other people have experienced You.
And I feel like I've only scratched the surface.
I'm obviously more spiritual than them. Doesn't that mean I should be encountering You more than them?
Or is that completely wrong?
And in fact, is that mentality the one that drives you further and further from me?
I mean, God, look at me.
I don't do things like the wordly.
I don't have one night stands. I don't take drugs. I don't get drunk. I don't kill. I don't rob. I don't. I don't. I don't...
Doesn't that make me worth something in your eyes?
Doesn't that give me value?
I mean, common. I'm doing a Discipleship TRAINING School. Which is only meant for the most spiritual of the spiritual.
And in a place surrounded by unholiness and needs for You, or me.
I think I'm still capable of these things.
I infact, am able.
But God, you know what?
I think I'm sick of being overwhelmed by the weight of my sin.
Its no longer my burden to carry.
Its time to repent, and move on. Having my fixed on You, Jesus, pressing on to make this faith my own.
'Cause Jesus, You made me Yours.
You are jealous for me in a way I can't understand.
If Jesus, being Your one and only real Son, couldn't do anything without You,
how can I, a product of adoption, expect to be able to put my pants on every morning without You?
I don't understand my sin.
Because it just doesn't make any freaking sense.
God, I've got so many questions.
And I know you've got the answers.
But, I want to lay these aside, because I know along the way, You'll answer these questions.
I will lack nothing I need.
I just can't really get over You right now.
I can't stop writing.
God, I don't want to be better than anyone anymore. I don't want to try for that.
I don't want to prove myself anymore.
I don't want to want what others have anymore.
I want to enjoy what I'm given.
You don't have favorites. You love your children all equal.
And I think for the first time, I'm ready to accept that.
This brings all new meaning to my life.
I'm pretty sure.
This is my last writing for a couple months
Its something I needed to write.
Pray for us while we're in Mozambique and South Africa.
We need it.
And we are nothing great at all. Nothing.
But God has plans for His people.
And we are His people.
We'll see things happen because the Lord wills it.
Not because of something we are.
Africa will kill my envy. My pride. My sin.
Time to be refined.
I bid you all a pleasant two months.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Berlin was the only thing I could think about.
And now. My time left in Berlin is almost over. Less than two weeks left.
I cannot believe its here already. Its almost like us students are begging God for more time.
We don't feel like we've grown. We know we have, but we can't see it. yet.
I left home 12 weeks ago with a message from the Lord about outreach.
"Taylor, you're going to see things on outreach that you don't want to see. That no one wants to see. But no matter what, do not fear. Even when you want to be afraid. Do not fear."
Never in my life did I think this would be in Africa.
Or that I would be a missionary in such a place. A dark, hard, beautiful mesh of land.
We all hear about the troubles that Africa has experienced.
Orphans. AIDS. Widows. War. Child soldiers. and the like...
I've always heard that the "real" missionaries go to Africa. And personally, I never had the desire. I thought so many times, "I hate how everyone just goes to Africa and ignores the other places on earth." Which I still agree with, but my heart was hard because of all the suffering in Africa that had been exposed to me.
There is great need in this place.
So many people dying.
So many people sick.
So many people hurt.
So many people.
People who know brokenness.
People who know death.
People who know evil.
People who know injustice.
The least of these.
The scum of the earth.
The place that everyone all over the world looks upon, and expresses pity.
This is unreal. And I'm not only going to see this. I'm going to experience it. 12 weeks among a people who have the most incredible stories ever told, and many of them are only 1/3 of my age. They've lost it all. And its not like that had much to begin with. But they have nothing.
And what can I, a westerner with a simple desire to know God, do to help these people?
Just as Jesus could do nothing by Himself (John 5:30).
You see, when I found out we were going to Mozambique and South Africa, something in my heart changed.
An anticipation filled my heart. Excitement. Eagerness.
In 10 days, I fly out of Frankfurt, to Qatar, to Johannesburg. Then by bus to Maputo.
This is crazy, I am only an 18 year old punk who got of high school almost a year ago (its almost already been a year?!).
Why am I doing this? HOW am I doing this?
I can't describe the incredible awe of God's grace in this situation.
But I know I have purpose and mission there.
And by the grace of God, I am what I am.
I'm going to see things I don't want to see.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I just read my own blog. Movement.
And. I don't know to say it in any other way, than those words were a seed choked in my own heart.
God, in all His tenderness and affection, again, is telling me to slow down.
Praise God for His steadfast love. It endures forever. It overcomes our mistakes, and reaches us.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
And this includes self-condemnation.
It must end here.
"Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your' hearts, as you did in the rebellion."
This is written three times in these two passages.
I hear that, in Hebrew (even though this was written in Greek), when something is written three times, it implies extreme emphasis.
Its time to hold fast to the word of the Lord.
We had a speaker this week, who was incredible. She talked about prayer, the Trinity, salvation and quite a few other things.
For me, specifically. She said, "Taylor. You need to stop looking down. You need to stop focussing on you. Look up. Look at Jesus."
During one of our sessions, she began to talk about how the move of God, is movement.
God moves at just the right time. But, the movement of the Spirit, is one that comes to us and returns back inside the Trinity. God. Meaning God is making us one with Him.
We talked about holiness a lot this week. Letting the fullness of God dwell in us, like Paul prays in Ephesians 3:19.
Christ had the fullness of God. Colossians 1:19 says it was pleased to be within Him.
Looks like that same fullness of God, is able to dwell in us.
Yeah, I just said that.
God, in His FULLNESS, can dwell in us. We can be holy here and now.
But this blog isn't about holiness.
Its about slowing down.
Its about resting. Its about enjoying God. Enjoying your life with Him.
I'm guilty of making God a task, like cleaning a toilet.
I'm guilty of making relationship obligation.
I'm guilty of believing lies about the character of God.
God moves. He breathes. He brings rest. He does stuff.
But He also rests.
I see how people get burned out. And if I didn't have people in my life (even showing me more so, the importance of community), I would be headed there again.
But because I know people who care for me, and know me and know God. God is able to speak through them, when I don't pay attention to Him.
I'm also guilty of grieving the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 3:7-4:13 is a passage that talks about the Israelites, and how they, in the place of testing, ignored God.
Do not harden your hearts.
As you once did.
This is another chance. Another test.
Do not harden your hearts, if you hear Him.
Don't believe you don't hear Him.
Don't ignore the smallest whisper which, in your mind, can barely be hard.
If you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.
Its in hearing His voice, not listening to it through one's own hardness, and acting in disobedience that the writter of Hebrews describes. They couldn't enter the rest of God because of unbelief.
And if man could've given them rest, aka Joshua, God wouldn't have said to them "Today,..." implying another time.
He brings rest.
I'm not talking about being a work-a-holic.
I'm talking about life with God.
How many of us are guilty of saying,
"I'll read three chapters of this book of the Bible, pray for this long, and 'God-time' is over."
Many. But we all know, that isn't relationship.
"I'll go hang out with this person at this time. And we'll hang out till we're done."
Sure, there are time limits. But that freedom we give our time with people, we need to give to God.
And God lives outside of those God-times.
He is living, breathing. We can't compartmentalize Him.
And you know what.
I'm done saying what we can do, and can't do. Those are destined to parish with use.
Its time to explore relationship with God in freedom. Free for freedom's sake.
It is time to fix our eyes on the founder and PERFECTER of our faith.
I'm done looking at what I'm doing wrong, because when I fix my eyes on Jesus, what I'm doing wrong has no power or authority. I'm attracted to that, which makes me who I really am.
Slowing down enough to hear the voice of God.
To recognize it. To grow familiar with it.
Today, if you hear His voice. Do not harden your hearts.
And encourage each other, holding one another accountable, as long as it is called "Today."
So that none of us may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
We know Christ, if we hold fast to this, till the end.
Finish the race with me friends.
We can't do this alone.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
For awhile now, I've felt slightly distant from God. And when I say slightly, I mean slightly in the sense to sound like I'm still doing ok, when I'm not. I feel like my prayers are hindered. My worship is invalid. The scriptures I read are bland. Everythings becoming less enjoyable in my walk.
And yes, we could down the road that says, "Taylor, keep pushing regardless of how you feel. We don't pursue God because how it makes us feel."
I wish I could say thats true. But I'm kind of sick of living a lie.
Because lets face it folks. If God's presence did make us feel complete, why would we seek Him?
If something about God didn't satisfy every desire in us, why would we even try to find Him out?
I've heard the question, "If you never encountered God again for the rest of your life, and had to rely on your knowledge of the Bible and your previous encounters with Him in order to seek Him, would you still seek Him?"
Everyone jumps to that questions, shouting "Yes! Of course!"
However friends, I cannot say that.
If I never experienced God after today, and had to rely on myself, that isn't much of a relationship with God. My hope that I put in God cannot transfer to my knowledge. I would no longer pursue the Lord. Because in fact, if the presence of God isn't something that validates everything we believe, than what is it?
God knows every desire in us. He put them in us Himself.
I'm convinced many of us, including me, have fallen into the lie that God cannot satisfy those desires. Whether they be physical or relational or whatever.
I believed for so long that God could not meet my needs in that sense. Sure, God can provide the physical, but as far as emotional and relational needs? Nope. Because, I mean, if I really believed that, I think I would be seeking my satisfaction in Him more and more and harder and harder. But if He can't meet them, then that's ok. I still love God. I still worship Him. I just make idols to fill my needs in those aspects, but God can have the rest.
I'm starting to sound like Cain: giving whats left to God.
But dudes. Look. God is relationship. Trinity. HE is the definition of companionship. Friendship with Him is glorious. Its what we're made for.
God made us to glorify Him. That is our single purpose. And guess what.
We get satisfaction in it.
We have idols. Friends. Food. Future spouses. Churches. Jobs. Governments. HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS. Cars. Houses.
We're living blind, friends. God is calling us to through them down, and seek Him fully.
We've heard the idol talk so many times. But I'm convinced, that if we aren't searching for God like we would for silver and gold, if we are always feeling unsettled and look for satisfaction in other sources when we know we should be seeking God, and we feel guilt accordingly, we still have idols.
The faithless bride we are. I can't imagine how I break God's heart.
We must remember to thank God for what He has given us, or we forget Him and make ourselves idols.
We will find ourselves never satisfied with addictions and idols, because death and destruction are never quenched. The grave has a mighty appetite.
"And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul."
Its time to give God all He deserves.
Time to stop robbing Him of us.
Because Jesus paid the price for us.
Stop consuming. Start being thankful regardless of what you have.
And if nothing material, you still have God. And He, my friends, is more than enough.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
A lot of things.
But I feel there is something I need to confess. And to say.
To the women. Not girls.
I know nothing has ceased me, accept what is common to everyone else. But in that, repentance must still be made. No excuses this time. I have to own up to my responsibility. And, to return to you the honor and dignity that has been stolen, I for one will decide to no longer keep in this rut. I’m under grace now, and the bar has been raised. Therefore I shall take hold off the self-control necessary, that Christ gave me, to keep my eyes on your eyes, and not on your body.
To my sisters in the Body. And those whom I may not be united with in Christ, but are still loved by the same Father. I have something very sincere I must say.
I am sorry. From the bottom, of my heart.
I have failed you. I have treated you like you are all object. Mere tools of pleasure. My heart has lusted after you. The God-given desire in me, for physical intimacy, I allowed to take over. My heart hasn’t waited.
Forgive me. I desire to clear this so I may worship the Lord. In purity.
I need your forgiveness.
I have not defended you like you deserve. Like royalty, willing to die to protect against all attacks physical, mental, emotional, verbal and spiritual. I have not acting in such love, of laying my life down. But the Lord says you are worthy of such honors. And I say, I shall no longer be on the opposite side, waiting for another opportunity to please the nature.
Rather, treating you, my sisters, with absolute purity. Encouraging you. Recognizing your potential in the Kingdom. You are beautiful. And not just physically. The Lord has opened my eyes to see the beauty on the inside that we say we all really want, but its lies. The Lord is the only one who can open the eyes of your heart to see such wonder.
For now on, madams, you are respected, dignified and honored in my eyes.
To the one whom the Lord has given me, if she, being the grace and that she is, exists.
Forgive me for not keeping completely pure. For not giving you all of myself. For letting my heart wander for other men’s wives. I am an adulterer in nature. I am unfaithful to you. I plead your forgiveness. Because, you mean everything to me, and I don’t even know you yet. But to know that the Lord has given you to me, reminds me of how good He is. You already reflect His defining characteristics. You are whom I desire to give the rest of me too. Only you. No one else. No other woman can become you. I desire you. Because He made us for each other. But. I’ve been unfaithful and don’t deserve you. And if you didn’t even forgive me, I would understand. But this is my apology.
Lord, thank you for your great grace. Bless these women, for undergoing so much misconduct. Restore them. Take them out of those avenues, and bring them home. Home to your loving arms. To where love is not earned, but freely given. Just like royalty.
To the guys.
Dudes. Brothers. We need to step things up.
We've let our views of woman be polluted by culture.
So many things in our culture telling us and showing us that women are merely here to please us.
Pornography says so. Masturbation says so. Cheap relationships say so. Media says so.
And we all struggle with these. We all do.
But men. We need to come to our senses. These girls, yes, even the ones that sell themselves on the streets or to a camera, are daughters of the King. They have enough men treating them like a sex object.
Now is our time.
A time to respect our sisters.
To love them with an unconditional love.
To serve them, like the princesses they are.
And maybe, by being Jesus in purity to them, we can change what the culture says they are, what the culture says we are.
We are men of dignity.
And we cannot be united with the adulteress any longer.
She has been on her corner waiting for us, and we've been naively going along with lust for far too long.
No longer. To throw off these things that hinder us. To have self-control.
I, myself have succumb to these things, and am all to familiar with them.
But because God is showing me who I am, and who He is, I will not tolerate my nature anymore.
No longer will I offer the parts of my body as slaves to sin. I am, a slave a righteousness. A slave of purity.
We were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
Now is the time.
We are the body. Together. Its time to love like brothers and sisters. Coheirs, together.
We are made for each other. For God.
We cannot keep the pollution any longer.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I know that no one can fill that desire.
and its unfair for me to expect anyone too.
But I desire to be known.
Not in a famous sort of way.
In an intimate friendship where nothing is hidden sort of way.
No one, not even a spouse, can fill that desire.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
Before anything. Before Adam, the garden, the fall, and even light, God knew what your favorite color would be. He knew what your favorite song would be. He knew how many showers you would take over the span of your life. The places you'd go. The car accidents you'd have. The friends who would influence you the most. The color of your first car (and for some odd cases, what you would spray pant on that car...). The moments in your life when you felt the most alive. The times where you felt completely alone and abandoned. Your favorite weather setting. Your style of clothes. The way you would come to Him. How the color of your eyes would change from blue to hazel. How you would break your arm when you were 8. What mentor would influence you the most. Your first job. Your first speeding ticket. How many pairs of socks you had at age 16. That your greatest fear is being forgotten. That you only wear Chucks. That you would play the guitar. That you hate wearing watches. That you would move to Germany in January of 2010.
He knew it all.
Through Him knowing us, He must always be with us. Experience things with us.
David says in verse 7 of Ps 139, "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?" and in verse 9-10, "If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."
Even in the depths of the storm. God is with us.
He knows our reaction to trial.
And He is with us, to calm us. To carry us.
Er ist immer mit uns. Für immer bleibt Er mit uns.
Nie zu weggehen.
Wir sind ganz bekannt.
Und das ist meine Gedanke für heute. Ich hoffe du hast es genossen.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
32 And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said,
among the survivors
whom the LORD calls.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
But I had this dream about you last night.
You had cuts and bruises all over your body and it seemed as though your limbs were broken and everyone around you was telling you that you needed to get to a doctor and be taken care of but you kept refusing saying, "I need to be broken, I need to be broken all is well" over and over. And there was so much chaos around you. Everyone was running around and yelling and telling you that you could not remain in the state you were in but you were so calm and so at peace. It was all over your face... You knew...
And that's all you said over and over and over... "I need to be broken, I need to be broken all is well"
I woke up and sort of pushed the dream out of my head... But then I got a Twitter update from Josh Cuchiara about you leaving... And I was like... Huh?
So I uh, facebook stalked you and read your blog and was just amazed.
I really don't have anything else to say except... Godspeed to you.
God's blessings and provisions to you for your obedience...
Isaiah 66:14-16 (Message)
You'll see all this and burst with joy... you'll feel ten feet tall...
As it becomes apparent that God is on your side...
All is well..."