Texas August 2011-2012

Hey friends.. family..

It has been an amazing few months. Filled with ups and downs. Trials and joys and for that I am thankful! God has been continually chiseling, growing and stretching me. I came out here with a lot on my plate, and well I still have a lot on my plate. God is teaching me a lot about responsibility and faith. Through taking more double the class load I had from my first semester in the Spring of 2011. And I love it. I don’t know much of where to start. But i’ll try to be concise.

Arrival

I left Word of Life Florida Youth camp, went to my house, then to NC, then to TN, then to Texas! It was an awesome journey and once I got back to Texas, I didn’t know if I was gonna get my job back, but I walked in and its like God warmed the heart of my former boss. And he offered me my job back the 2nd day I was in TX. Then a week later, my girlfriend at the time, Lydia Goodson, she got a job at Panera and God was continually providing for our needs. It was one of the coolest things, feeling safe and secure in the hands of our mighty God. Great memories.

CMCC (Christ Memorial Community Church)

I came back to a church that was experiencing a lot of pain, because of sin that took place from the summer. So I came back with a lot in my lap. And It was difficult with the class load and work load to pour my heart and life into these students that I care so much about. I didn’t see them as a burden but as a people, that needed to be loved and that was the very thing I aimed to do was to love them, of course I didn’t do it perfectly, who could, but I wanted too! In my prayers I at times feel like the Apostle Paul when he said in 1st Thessalonians 2:8, “So we, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” I love the students at CMCC and want whats best for them. God was able to use me the best He could, I doesn’t depend on me, but on God, though He used me as an instrument there to carry out his work. Awesome stuff! He is continuing to do so. And it is so much fun being there!

El Fenix

I came back to a restaurant with new faces and old faces. Of the old faces, I was able to pick back up where I left off with some of them and continue to be a source of light in their life, to be a friend and an encouragement. I love the people I work with and I wouldn’t have it any other way. One particular friendship I was able to pick back up was with that of my friend, Ruben Morales. Him and I had many talks about God and life, and whatever else came up. He went through a series of trials himself near the end of the year and I wasn’t able to talk to him. But what I didn’t know is that God was using all of this to bring Ruben to Himself. And actually last night, at 1:16am February 17th, 2012. My friend Ruben placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrendering his life to Him and invited the Spirit of God to make His home within him!!! It was incredible hearing a broken man come to the God who fixes and cures and heals. Ruben has grown and changed so much and it has been awesome to be an instrument of God in his life. Thank you Lord, for your goodness and loving kindness toward Ruben and toward me. Don’t deserve it yal!

Relationships

As many of you know, (if you didn’t you must not check up on me often, and thats fine) I was in a relationship with a girl named Lydia. She is a great girl, and the past semester was really hard for our relationship as I was working 30-35 hours a week and a full-time student. Constantly working and constantly writing papers, and trying my best to sustain a relationship. I learned so much through it, and from her and from the Lord through it. I would never take it back. Lydia and I are on greater terms now and I consider her still to be one of my good friends. She means a lot to me, and it truly was a thing of God to split us up. I never saw it coming, but God saw it fit to happen. No matter how much control I wanted over it. God was reminding me that He is in control. It was something I wrestled with for a while losing that relationship. But God, the great Physician was at work on my stubborn heart. And has shown me what it means to trust and rely on Him. To be content regardless of the situation. I have learned to love when it wasn’t convenient. I have learned to pray, when I didn’t feel like it at all. I have learned a lot about women and the importance of being a strong and available friend. I wasn’t that, as much as I wanted to be because of busyness and our communication. But I thank God and I thank her for giving me a shot at being an encouragement and friend to her. The good times, I will remember, and I look forward to see what God has for me up ahead as I am living life, by faith and by His grace.

In the month of December, I got in my first car wreck and for one month it was like a curse over my head. The other person didn’t have insurance and it was gonna take a couple thousand to repair it. But God knew what He was doing, and a new friend on campus, he offered to repair my car for free, and because of that, I got to keep the money from the insurance company. So legit, a curse became a blessing! But in the month of Decemeber, I also went through a season of doubt. I struggled with my faith and if God was real. Everyone has seasons of doubt at times. And for the first time in my life, I think it was something I kept to myself, at least at first. I kept wanting to put a mask on so my friends would know I am okay. And the doubt started with a friend who was struggling with doubts as well. I didn’t know how to answer them. And I started wrestling with them, I couldn’t sleep at night. Thoughts of eternity and life were ever-present in my mind. One night in particular I went to bed at midnight and I couldnt sleep for 4 hours as these doubts were permeating my mind. I felt trapped & afraid. I knew God was real deep down, but LIES had crept up and I didn’t go to anyone about them. That was the problem. And upon not knowing who to turn too. I felt inclined to text my dad. It was 4 am, so I hardly expected him to respond. But he did!! and almost right away. I was startled and thankful. And I just started finally pouring my heart out. And at first my dad was honestly giving me answers I didn’t want to hear and I didn’t feel were compelling enough to listen too, but I realized that I did wake him up real late and that he probably thought he was dreaming.. haha. But then its like in a moment God just spoke through my dad and talked about Elijah at mount Carmel and how after defeating the prophets of Baal, he fled for his life in complete fear. And for some reason that story stuck out to me and I kept listening to my dad and he started reminding me in Whom I have believed, and how mighty and powerful He was, is, and always will be. That my God is faithful. I will never forget that night, when God used my dad, to speak the truth into my life and speak peace itself into my life. And I am ever thankful unto God for him. Soon after those doubts, my relationship with Lydia ended. And I won’t lie, it was very hard, loosing someone I cared deeply about. I had plans with her, life long ones, and it tore me up inside because it was like it was all gone. But through that time, God was reminding me of who He was.

And since I didn’t get to go home for Christmas, my mom and dad flew me home in early January, so I could get out of my environment and just be with family. It was an awesome move on their part. I got to see my precious nephew, Everett. And be with family. My dad and I grew so close together during that time. He really was used of God to minister to my soul. And I seriously love my dad. And if I had to would die for him. He means the world to me. Thank you my Heavenly Father, for granting me an earthly father who imitates You!! We drove over to Word of Life Florida together and listened to sermons and just talked about how great God is. And when I got there I got to have a meeting with Rich Andrews and Robby Fischer. The purpose of my meeting you ask?? to plan for camp!! (If I haven’t told all of you yet, God has graciously given me the PRIVILEGE to serve at WORD OF LIFE FLORIDA YOUTH CAMP as the SIC COORDINATOR!!) (Job Description: I get the privilege to pick out God’s team of servant leaders for the summer and lead them as they lead the counselors as they minister to the campers. I goes like this, two coordinators, 12 Unit leaders, 150 counselors, and 3000 campers) a lot on our plate, but its been done before, but only because of the Grace of Our GREAT GOD!! I am so incredibly excited to be apart of camp again this summer! God is going to do great things and I am amazed that He would use me again and again and again. Seriously it is a privilege, a grace that will ever be thankful for! Thank you Jesus!

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Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

This semester…

I have 4 classes:

  1. Greek 2
  2. Renaissance and Reformation, History class
  3. Church and Empires Seminar, (my 2nd favorite, I have the coolest professor!)
  4. Revive This Nation, Evangelism practicum.

In Church and Empires, I am reading some great books, which I think everyone should read, one by Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation, and another by Saint Augustine, Confessions. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading those books. And yeah pick them up!!

Revive This Nation

It is a class where over 100 male students, get together and we pray that God would bring revival to this nation, and where we get the privilege to prepare 5 sermons and Southwestern sends us ALL OVER THE COUNTRY FOR FREE. A free flight to go preach, turning that down would be stupid! Haha, I am overjoyed and excited to let yal know I am going to Pawnee, Illinois, to preach revival at New Horizons Baptist Church, led by Pastor Dennis Norton, a man that is very passionate about the things of God, and has a deep love for Him and His plan for that community. I am so thankful that Pastor Dennis would invite a young seminary student to stand in his pulpit, given to him by God, and preach the gospel, which is needed for both the lost and the saved. I go March 10th and come back March 15th. So if you could pray for that, I plead with you to do so! Thank you!!!

What I am learning about:

ñ The centrality of the Gospel in everyday life. How I NEED God. The book, Gospel Primer for Christians: learning to see the glories of God’s love, has been a devotional that has really helped me to see that. 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him, who called us to his own glory and excellence.” Father, has helped me to see how I can’t live without His power if I want to live with purpose and significance. I am learning to find my identity, right there, IN THE POWER OF GOD! Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the POWER OF GOD, unto salvation unto everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

ñ I am learning a lot about the time period of the Reformation and how God used amazing men during that time to change the course of history. Studying the Anabaptists and Martin Luther and the influences of Saint Augustine upon their thinking. We even had an Anabaptist conference which was really legit! Rick Warren came to speak, and I honestly used to look very negatively upon that man, and through his own message, I was heavily convicted for how I misjudged that man of God. He is imperfect like us all. And needs God’s grace like we all do. And I even met him and he signed my book, “The Purpose Driven Church”. It was pretty cool! He talked about discipleship.

I have already written so much and God is doing and has done a lot more than what I can describe right here. So Praise Him! But I will leave some prayer requests. And information at the bottom. Thanks for reading!

Prayer requests:

ñ That I would continually seek the face of God. (Psalm 105:4)

ñ For faith, wisdom, and balance as I am doing school, work, and serving in my church.

ñ As I prepare to go preach 5 sermons in Pawnee, Illinois, that God would prepare my heart and the hearts of those who hear. My personal prayer for it, if you want to join in. is this, “God my prayer is that as I exegete Your Scriptures, exegete my heart, through these texts of Scripture, that your allowing me to prepare, speak to me and change me first. Lord I pray, for I know revival can’t take place in the hearts of others if the one they are hearing it from isn’t himself revived and willing to hear from God!”

ñ As we prepare for Summer, as a staff at Word of Life Florida. That God would guide our decisions and we would be pure and right before Him constantly so that God can use us and clean and pure vessels(2 Timothy 2:20,21)

ñ For a few more Unit Leaders, we are still in need of a few, and praying for God to bring who He wants to the team. For diversity and devotion to God to be a mark of our team.

ñ For God to prepare the hearts of the students who will be serving this summer, whether SIC or STC and for God to do the impossible this summer in the lives of many, that Unity and guidance by the Spirit of God will be the mark of the summer of 2012 as we seek to serve God, each other and the lost.

For Ruben Morales, to grow in his NEW WALK WITH CHRIST! Thank you Lord for your faithfulness!!! I prayed 10months for this guy and the Father drew Him in! Are you praying for the lost you interact with? God loves to answer prayer by the way 🙂

An answer to prayer, God is reviving my heart and renewing my love for Him daily. Its absolutely amazing to know God! The Bible is not BORING! watch this awesome video below!

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