Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Plan for Strength + Perseverance in Times of Struggle

I wrote this last spring for a friend in need of a boost, I found it again today looking through some of my old Word documents. I did a bit of editing and here it is. Ha. I believe it's still just as relevant. So enjoy. Also just want to say thank you to Patrina for commenting on my posts. They have been hugely encouraging and uplifting, thank you very much! I also want to say that if anyone would like to contact me they are free to email me at the address listed on my profile, I'd love to talk to the people who read this and get to know them more. Thanks.

  Times are tough.  Life is though. Economy is bad. Jobs are bad. Health and Flu are bad.  Family problems. Relationship problems. Personal problems. Everything is tough!  But not forever.  I could write you an entire novel on Job.  Just about all of us are going through some version of Hell, but he was broke down in the middle of Hell, in comparison.
            You can see, though he went through so much, it ended up better than before his world fell around him.  The thing that led to his suffering was Satan. God allowed Satan to have power so that he could test Job. Satan is the reason for all of your life’s problems right now.  Look at two verses Ephesians 6:12 and 1 Peter 5:8.
   For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
In Ephesians, Paul makes it clear, your problems and struggles are not with other people and events, it is with Satan and his demons.  The devil seeks out for your weak spots, whenever he can see them, he pounces on the opportunity. 
After reading 1 Peter 5:8, it can kind of make you feel like your odds aren’t good.  The truth is, so long as you have God on your side, you cannot fail.  Look at these two psalms.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
      for the Lord holds them by the hand. – Psalms 37:24

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
       Why so disturbed within me?
       Put your hope in God,
       for I will yet praise him,
       my Savior and my God. – Psalms 42:11

Is that not at least a bit comforting?  It is from here things will improve.  Once you have hope that God will make the wrongs right, it’s time to go on the offensive.  Read 1 Peter 5:9, the verse just after the last one.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:9
It calls for active resistance.  Do not give in.  Fortify and build up your faith, take insight in the fact you aren’t facing troubles alone.  You know I like to throw a lot of verses out so here’s another: Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1
The next step is to let go of the burdens of your sins.  Pray to God for forgiveness and lay them at the feet of Jesus.  Don’t beat yourself up about them because then you are just picking them up from where you left them all at.  Instead set your mind on the challenge set before you.  Realize you can’t win by being swift or strong, but by endurance in faith alone (Sola Fide).  If that seems unmanageable and scary look to Exodus 14:14
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14
I absolutely love that verse. Do you feel the quiet power in it? I see that verse and I think of 1 Kings 19:12 for some reason. Just use that endurance, keep your trust in him and he will do the rest.  Remember 1 Peter 5? Look at 1 Peter 5:10, the final verse we’ll show from Peter:
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.  – 1 Peter 5:10
The God of ALL grace!  You can’t put value on even an ounce of grace, yet he has all of it! He will use it! He will use it and he will bring you into his glory.  Once there he (note HE, not one of his angels, cherubs, or any other servant, but THE God Almighty, HIMSELF) will restore (make you whole), support (keep you from falling back into dismay), strengthen (make you better than before), and establish you (root you in him).  All of that is guaranteed if you have faith.  Comforting isn’t it?  Read Psalms 18:28 and Psalms 71:20-21.
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
       my God turns my darkness into light. – Psalms 18:28

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
       you will restore my life again;
       from the depths of the earth
       you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor
       and comfort me once again. – Psalms 71:20-21

The darkness will never penetrate because he stands over you as light.  I suggest you look up this skit called the Everything Skit on tangle (formerly Godtube), as I mention some things from it here.  At the end where Jesus holds off the sins, temptations and doubt; that’s this verse in action.  He will never break and darkness will NEVER touch you.  He will increase your honor (meaning beyond what it was) and bring you comfort!  He is speaking DIRECTLY to you here.  I’m going to leave you with one final verse.  It’s my favorite in the whole bible: Micah 7:8-9.  Replace “O my enemy” with Satan. Say this both as a rebuke to Satan and as a prayer to God.  Remember this verse.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy
   Though I fall I will rise;
   Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.
   I will bear the indignation of the LORD
   Because I have sinned against Him,
   Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me
   He will bring me out to the light,
   And I will see His righteousness.

Micah 7:8-9

Take Action
 I suggest if you wish to take this lesson further trying some of the following:
Write down on a piece of paper, all of your struggles and problems.  Anything big or small that comes to mind.  Pray to God for them. Rebuke Satan from coming near any of those areas of your life.

Write out separately all the comforts God is bringing you in your life, big or small or promised.  Keep this with you as a reminder.

Ask yourself what reasons might God be putting you through struggles? Pray to God to reveal the reason so that you may grow and learn from it and that it will bring you closer to him.

Remember to let go of your burden and weights, they will pull you away from him and they cast doubt in your heart.

Hold on for dear life to your faith! You’ll never be as desperate as you would be if you gave up on the real Hope.

Rejoice in small comforts and say thanks to Jesus for them. 

Remember, I’m praying for you too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

3 Things to Think Over

Hey everyone, hope you all had a great Christmas. I sure did. I've been glued to my iPhone since I got it. The thing is scary at all it does. I feel like it owns me sometimes. Ha. I got something to write about that I've been thinking about on my 3 hour drive back down to Conway yesterday. First though, I want to give a praise to God for something so huge, I got accepted into UCA! His hands are all over that. I also want to ask that you all pray for a friend of mine. She's currently on the way to Mercy Hospital with severe abdominal pains, and it may be either kidney stones or appendcitis. I'm worried sick about her. She's one of the godliest women I know...scratch that, she is the godliest woman I know, and she needs all the prayers she can get. Thanks.

As for the purpose of this post. Heh. Oh yeah. I was suppose to write something, huh? Hmm, Alrightly then. I want to talk about these 3 things that I narrowed my thoughts down to on the drive. I kept thinking about all the different aspects of my faith and while explaining my faith to someone who isn't saved is easy. Trying to describe my faith to someone who is, is really really difficult. There are so many questions you have to cover to describe, your version basicially. So I tried to narrow it down and cut out all the fat and just get down to the basics. The three things to consider in your faith.

1. Grandpa's Faith vs. Dogma, Doctrine and Details

I don't know much about my grandpa's faith. I do know it was simple though. I like that. It's very endearing. There weren't fights over, infantial baptism, salvation security, Heaven, Hell, the last days, free will, works and so on. It didn't matter. The fact is if you believe you are a sinner, that Christ, the Son of God, died for your sins, and you accept him into your heart and confess him with your lips. You. Are. Saved. People always like to throw in extras to bog it down. I guarantee people will say I'm over simplifying that, but I would like to see scripturally where I am wrong. Some believe that 'once saved, always saved' others, believe you can lose it. I believe regardless, as long as you keep the faith, you can't lose it! It doesn't matter at that point. I believe baptism is very important, but you know what, it's not a matter of salvation. You don't get saved by water, you get saved by Christ, the end times aren't something that matter too much for a believer either. For one, we don't know the time or place, so no point in worrying about it on a personal level. Secondly, if you are saved, then you shouldn't be worried about how it ends, 

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
My grandpa kept it simple, he didn't split hairs over those issues, and beat down other Christians, he kept the faith, trusted in the Lord to discern situations, and that was it. Simple. I feel like we as humans are naturally drawn to controversy, arguments and debate. God gave us reason on purpose, though sometimes I really believe we over think it. We want to figure out every little thing and we aren't satisfied otherwise. I draw back to the Child-like faith, keep it simple. I'm not saying dumb things down to smooth over the "rough edges". I'm saying don't get caught up in the little things, keep your focus on the big picture and see the greater scheme of things. I think the reason we are losing some many people is because of the factionalism. We are all out to show why our version of Christianity is the best and why the others aren't. We are competing with the other denominations. The ironic thing is, that right there isn't Christinaity. That's not Christ. Christ was never about that. We need to quit being so defensive and confrontational and realize we are all brothers in faith and we all look to the same person as our Lord and Savior. A house divided, cannot stand, as they say. It's practically a sign of vanity, we as Christians are looking so inwardly that we lose focus of the people who aren't saved, and on following Christ's teaching and instead bicker over the details to complete "The Look". So next time you get bogged down in the details. Keep my grandpa in mind, and keep it simple.

2.  Going Rambo

Yep we all know about those people who go Rambo, they do it all by themselves, don't rely on anyone for anything and just see others as getting in the way. They are in every aspect of life. Noticed they are in religion too? Those people who act like it's just them and Christ. They don't need anyone or anything. They act offended if you offer to help them, or ask them for help. Why are you asking me for help? Where's your faith in Christ?! Those people. I am strongly against Rambos. I understand where they are coming from, Christ is the essential piece to your life, without a doubt. They fail to see the rest though. God gave us the gift of fellowship though, and it's a tool. I feel a lot of people see fellowship merely as socialization. It's a greater thing than that though, it's a bond and a protection. You aren't alone. While in fellowship you may be let down and hurt, God gave it to you still to help you. Case point #1:
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” Matthew 18:20
When we are together, God is right there with you. How can that possibly not be a good thing? You and Christ = Cool. How about You, Christ, and many other followers as well? We are here to hold each other up, and to provide for one another as brothers. How is being a Rambo biblical? It looks to me to be prideful. Here's another view of it. 1 Peter 5:8 says: 
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 
Now I don't know about you, but I like to watch Animal Planet. It's got all the drama of life, in a natural, engaging form. Now sometimes they'll show lions hunting. I've noticed something very particular. The lions always catch the one who splits from the group, the one who goes his own way, the one who goes Rambo. Now look at that verse. The devil is a prowling lion, looking to devour us Christians, why would you want to shy away from the safety of the group, the fellowship? Not to mention, sometimes our hearts fail us, sometimes we can do things and truly be thinking we are doing them for the Lord, but we've become so misguided we fail to see its not at all what He wants. It's nice to have that fellowship to keep you accountable and keep you in check. We thrive on companionship and that's been proven scientifically and it's sound biblically, you don't have to look beyond Genesis 2 to see that. Friends are so important to growing in faith. I would be so far in the wrong direction without them! So again, don't Rambo it, keep up the fellowship.

3.Forgive, At All Costs, Forgive

You hear all the time, yeah but I just can't forgive this person, it's different. No, no it's not. We are called to forgive one another, over and over again, with full genuineness.  I hear, that's not fair though! Why should I forgive them again, I've forgiven them once or twice, why should I keep on forgiving them! They don't deserve it. First, I think it's pretty safe to say, life isn't fair. Duh. Secondly, we are called to do extradionary and what to the world seems to be irrational and unbelievable things. This to me is one of the most important ones. If you want to get really nitty gritty about it and want to discuss fairness. How is your promise of heaven fair? You don't deserve it. You, you sinner, the one who God gave everything, gave in fairness and love. You defile his gifts, curse his name, and spit in his face every hour of the day (Don't forget that includes allll the Christians). If you want to talk fair, you deserve Hell. Eternal, fiery, gnashing of teeth, capital H, Hell.  Like one of my favorite songs by Relient K, Hope for Every Fallen Man says:
"Because the judge of you is someone I could never be, is why you should thank the Lord that it is Him, and it's not me." 
God still, through all that, offers you something so unfair to him, salvation, reconciliation and everlasting life. So don't discuss fair with me. That's ridiculous. Romans 12:2 says:

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." 
We are expected to be different. We are called to be. We want people to go why on earth would they continue to forgive them? That's how lives and hearts are changed. That's evangelism in it's rawest, purest form, and you thought you had to talk in public! We are to be imitators of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Should we not then forgive? After all it is the hallmark of what he's known for. Should we not also do it out of love and not out of sheer obligation? We should forgive because we ourselves were forgiven. (Matthew 6:14-15) If we truly have Christ in our hearts, we should forgive others merely to share the beautiful gift that forgiveness is. If you can instill that in your heart, and follow through with it, eventually it will no longer be a burden. Forgive, Forgive, and you guessed it, Forgive some more.

I got one or two more of these idea in the works. I need to mull over them a bit longer. I suggest you think these over and look into it in your own life, I also suggest you don't take a single word I say as Truth and instead go look for yourself in the Word. Test what I write against it, if it holds up keep it, otherwise, throw it out.

Much Love,

“Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once.”

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Merry Christmas Eve haha. I look back at Christmas last year and I see I've come a long way. That was most likely the worst day of that year. My dog had died, I had no presents, and nothing to do. I was miserable. This year I have a feeling will be a lot better. I look though and see all of the people who got me here, and I just want to give a little thanks to each of them.

You sir, rule. You and I have been through everything, we've waved at Rescue Helicopters on the roof (you still owe me a hoodie), we've burned down trees that knocked out the neighborhood's power, you survived the ATV accident, we both survived my insufferable father while we dug footings, and then later.....demolished them. I've yelled at you and told you to lay off and quit being such a jerk, and you've yelled at me and told me to grow up and quit being a pansy. I think neither has listened, ha. We've conquered just about everything we've set our minds to (minus Thermite...). You've been there for me during my breakup and I've been there for you during yours. We've shared many a box of Cheez-its. Now you head off to college and well, I'm going to miss you terribly. You will still be around I know though. I can't wait to see where God takes you. You have so many things in front of you. It could be leading this nation, saving this nation, or just making the whole world safer.... not that I'm putting any unreasonable expectations on you or anything... (You end up pulling an I am Legend though and we will have issues...) We have to go to Buffalo Wild Wings one more time before you head off to Russellville.

You freaking dancer, you. Here I was thinking you were this snobby, stuck up goody two-shoes. Then one day, I saw your status about transferring to fact it said:  Jessica Schneider feels sad and relieved simultaneously. Yes, I did transfer to Shiloh. (Yes, I went all the way back to September 4th to find it.) I knew that feeling, I had felt it a year earlier after transferring to Fayetteville. So, even though I didn't know you or anything. I told you I knew how that was. Somehow, we became buddies. Something I'm so thankful for. You became such a friend so quickly. I tell you all the time, what would I do without you? Because, you are one of the few people I can count on to come and pick me up at my lowest moment. I guess you aren't so snobby...or stuck up. You got some cool shoes though...

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
 You are such an example of this. You are always beaming even at your tiredest, lowest, saddest moment. I will always see you when I hear those verses. Never hide your light, kid. You are going to go places, God has a hand on you. Oh... and one day you're going to give me dance lessons. Period. You owe me (don't ask me why).

Pilot\Swimmer\Jack-of-all-trades. You do it all. You and me became buds last year, wasn't it during 16 Hours? Either way, thanks to you, coming back to FBCS was way less awkward and intimidating. You followed me to 10:55. You've joined Motion, you've also gave me and the rest of us a place to hang out after church before Motion. You are awesome. The fact is you've always been a friend to me and you've always been more than ready to help. Thank you. We are going to have some crazy times at Beach Camp and OKC Mission Trip.

We were friends last year, but you've grown so much this school year. You found Christ, and you've become a much more mature person. You  constantly try to cheer me up even when I insist that you don't. You help me keep up with everything in Sports Med. You are my awesome lunch buddy. We got one more semester left but I have a feeling we'll find a way to make it count.

And to all those I didn't name who've helped me or inspired me in one way or another, I thank you. God has blessed me with some amazing people in my life. You are what makes life so very interesting. Thank you, and Merry Christmas.

Much Love,
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. -WC Jones

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My December Music Review

I've been wanting to make one of these, just some amazing songs that have caught my fancy as of late, both new and old. Anyway here ya go:

This is War - 30 Seconds to Mars
This song is pretty cool. I really dig the optimistic and spirit rallying lyrics mixed in with the crowd melodies. Nice.

A warning to the prophet, the liar, the honest
This is War
To the leader, the pariah, the victim, the messiah
This is war
Its the moment of truth and the moment to lie
Its the moment to live and the moment to die
The moment to fight, the moment to fight, to fight, to fight, to fight

Listen Here

Tik Tok - Ke$ha
This song is a guilty pleasure. It's unbelievably catchy and her voice is hypnotic. My best friend and I only have one small question... Honestly why Mick Jagger? He's ugly as sin!

Ain't got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
Ain't got no money in my pocket, but I'm already here
And now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger

Listen Here

Come to Your Senses - Coffey Anderson
This is a really great song. The lyrics are almost like a rap, but yet still managed to be sung. They are also too true. I think all of us have a come to our senses moment at some point. Also nice job including OneRepublic's Apologize in there. Nice. I love Coffey's guitar picking. He's going to go places.

No lyrics. Sorry! 

Listen Here

Savior - Rise Against
I've always liked these guys, they always have quality lyrics that either make you think, or tell a story. This is one of those stories. Not to mention the chorus is just so darn catchy.

if this ain't love then how do we get out?
because I don't know
that's when she said I don't hate you boy
I just want to save you while there's still something left to save
that's when I told her I love you girl
but I'm not the answer to the questions that you still have

Listen Here

The Sound - Switchfoot
If you haven't already heard the song, then you probably heard the instrumentals during College Football. It's been on a lot of highlights and ESPN commericals these last few weeks. The lyrics really remind us of our neurotic culture we are stuck in. Take a listen.

Let it rise above
Rise above
There is no song
Louder than love
This is the sound of a heartbeat
this is the sound of the discontented mouths
of a haunted nation
we are the voice of breaking down

Listen Here

Keys to the Kingdom - Group 1 Crew
I first saw the name of the group and lowered my expectations. This is excellent though. Great rock\hip hop mix, lyrics are so true. We do have the keys, it's up to us when to advance it.

it all started when Adam gave up his own palace
now the earth waits for it's rightful owner
2,000 years ago the second Adam told us
the kingdom is at hand, died for the sins of man
just so he could bring us back to his original plan
where we rule over the land, meet every demand
while nature awaits for us kings to take a stand
so we need to understand we can change our circumstances
the kingdom is in us so we choose when to advance

Listen Here

The Words I Would Say - Sidewalk Prophets
This is such a great pick-me-up song. It's lyrics just soothe the soul, and it's relevant no matter what kind of issue you are going through.

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Listen Here

Fire It Up - Thousand Foot Krutch
This is the ultimate get up and go anthem. It's got some licks as well as a catchy sing out loud chorus.

I'm in love with the feeling
Of pressure to the ceiling
We come with intention
To face my opposition
Get raw when it's time
To lay it on the line
To the walls where we're taking it
Let your light shine, like
Let your light shine, like
Let your light shine

 Listen Here

I'm Moving On - Rascal Flatts
This showed up in my shuffle the other day, I really needed this song. It's basically described where I've been at these last 2-3 weeks.

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on

Listen Here

Praise and Adore - Wavorly
This is the worship song I've been running to lately. You can tell these guys mean this from the depths of their heart. It's a calming song. Also towards the end when it does get energetic, I'm a sucker for cymbal crashing.

So I praise and adore you
Lay it all down before you
In every way you're beautiful
From my heart
I praise and adore you
Made the world beautiful
And I cannot stand and deny you created life
And some live without it

Listen Here

There ya go!

Much Love,

“Where words fail, music speaks.” - Hans Christian Andersen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Forget and....wait... Slow down!!!

Woah. Okay. Slow down. Geez. Time has been flying the last couple of days. So Sunday morning I got up around 8:00 a.m. Got a whole 30 minutes to myself, then my Dad, step-mom, and step-sister get up. From that point on, it's been full speed ahead. We got our bags packed, my sister somehow managed to fit every little thing imaginable in her car. We are all seriously impressed. We chased the dog around the yard a billion times because he knew something was up and didn't want to be a part of it. We grabbed everything else. Did a final check, and out the door we went. It was me, my dad, and my step-mom in my dad's new 2010 Ford F-150 XLT, which I got to say is a sweet ride and I don't like Fords. My sister followed behind us with her dog. We had a million screw ups before even leaving NWA. Dad's box that would let me charge my laptop in the truck broke, so I had to entertain myself in other ways, I forgot my pillow, which while it seems mild, apparently apartment pillows are horrible. Now that I've slept a night on one, I agree. We decided to stop at Susan's in Springdale, grab some brunch and then hurry off to the interstate. We almost made it on until  the lovely person in the black car, cut off Meaghan, made her slam her breaks and miss the light. So we pulled over waited for her and then finally were on the road to Conway.

After a few stops, filling a 30 gallon gas tank (the price would make you cringe), slushies, Clarksville Walmart (Horror movie caliber) and a great text conversation with Jessica. We all got to Conway. We did the typical unpacking, trying not to break stuff and shuffling around. We then we went to eat. Now I'm not saying that it is a fact that Conwayians (is that what you call them?) can't drive, but well they can't drive. They honk when you simply go across the road, even when it's clearly okay to do so, they stop everywhere. They go everywhere. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Also they have round-a-bouts. Which it turns out are a lot of fun, like a car merry-go-round.

So we find our way to Cracker Barrel and we eat. First I want to give a shout out to Jennifer our nice and really cute waitress. You were great with the refills, however, I am sorry I didn't want a to-go box. It was a mistake to order a double order of mashed potatoes with Chicken Dumplings, Mac & Cheese and biscuits. I was burned out. Anyway you were great Jennifer. I also want to thank my sister for her dinnertime entertainment with watching her eat a mug of ice cream and caramel. Some people aren't smarter than the caramel. We then took off to go to the movies. We saw Did You Hear About the Morgans? Pretty funny, we all laughed. I went home, had an unfortunate run-in, and then hit the hay, oh and then had a interesting moment where a friend couldn't stay awake, but when awake couldn't see...not sure what's going on there, more when I find out.. Today has been without a doubt the most interesting though. My sister and I went to see some of the key "attractions" around Conway here they are, in order of apperance:

University of Central Arkansas: We went here to drop off the last stuff I needed for my admissions application. This place is beautiful. Flat out gorgeous. The weather made it that much better.

The Post Office: It's in downtown Conway if you are wondering, a lot like the old downtown Springdale. It's hard to find, even though it's the biggest freaking building in a mile area. Oh and apparently it has a flag. That's what the dude in the pawn shop said. Thanks. We are stupid.

Central Baptist College: I wanted to show her where I was getting a degree, so here we were. It's small, really small. 6 buildings. It's pretty though. Yep. That's about it.

Hendrix College: Beautiful, I mean woah, I was really surprised as we past it. This place is huge. Who would've known it was this nice?

Conway High School - West: I liked it. Nice auditorium, pretty place. My sister though hated it. She is tired of outside high schools. She wants one like Har-ber or Fayetteville.

Conway High School - East: Freakin sweet! They have a building on each side of the road with a glass bridge about a story up running between the two. Really nice touch. Too bad it's only for 9\10th graders

Very interesting. I have yet to explore the fitness center or indoor pool, I will soon enough though! I'll leave the indoor tanning to my sister. It'll be interesting living here in 5-6-7 months. Not sure what to think. That's all I got to say for now.

Much Love,

Quote of the day (quite appropriate as well):

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Child-Like Heart

If it seems like I'm posting a ton, I do that. Ha. I tend to prefer a lot of small posts rather than a few long ones. It also makes it easier for you to pick up or leave at anytime. =)

Can I truly be a child at heart? I see people, that some how, have made it through life without becoming jaded by the world, without being cold.  They laugh and smile through life, and it's honest, it's not to hide something or run from something. They trust everyone and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. They love and grieve everything close to them. They have faith merely by trusting. All those things are attributed to children. Christ said that only by becoming like a child can we ever enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3) I'm pretty certain this what he was talking about. It's incredibly tough to follow. The world demands the opposite of us and it pounds it into our heads continously, until eventually you wake up one day and wonder "What happened?" It didn't happen all in one day though, it's a process that bit by bit you surrender your child-like nature, or worse have it slowly stolen from you by horrible circumstances. I compare my behavior to that of the child Christ asks us to be, and many times, I'm found wanting. I believe it will be an on-going life long process. I have faith one day, I'll be one of those people though. One day, I'll leave this place with a child's heart, like my Grandpa, my Uncle Carl, and like many others.

Much Love,

Be free,... simple, a child. But be a sturdy child, who fears nothing, who speaks out frankly, who lets himself be led, who is carried in the arms; in a word, one who knows nothing, can do nothing, can anticipate and change nothing, but who has a freedom and a strength forbidden to the great. This childhood baffles the wise, and God Himself speaks by the mouth of such children.  - Francois Fenelon

The End of the Beginning

Well finals are over and my last first semester of high school is at an end. Something tells me things will start to accelerate now. Which is kind of funny because in some ways, I just want to take in the moment. It's like a sunset. You just have to enjoy what you can before it's gone, much like what's left of high school. It's not high school that I'm going to miss, not by a long shot, Fayetteville isn't that great of a school to me. It's my friends from FBCS and Northwest Arkansas. I've never lived anywhere else and I'm terrified to leave it. I know the roads, the people, the places. NWA isn't where I live, it is me. It's who I am. It's going to be challenging to let that go. Secondly, I'm going to miss FBCS and all my friends there. I have met so many amazing people there, the Lord has blessed me in abundance here. It's going to be so tough to find a new church. I know it'll work out though. I'll be ready and willing. It will be the next step in something that is greater than myself. Besides I do still have this semester, time to enjoy it while it lasts.

Much Love,


They say if you haven't found something to die for, you aren't fit to live. I believe that. What I find interesting is the opposite side of it. Those who have something they will truly die for, they've made that cause invincible. As long as there are martyrs, there will always be the cause. How can you stop a  group of people who isn't afraid to lose everything? A martyr's death brings to life something new. Conviction. Their actions combined with their motives and assurance, breeds a conviction to all those who witness it and a sinking uncertainty into those who bring forth the martyrdom.  This is why the holy wars continue on and on. Martyrs are the fuel to a cause. The only way to end such things is to break the spirits of those who believe the cause, but frankly you might as well tell fire not to burn. Martyrs are truly a marvel of the human essence.

Random Free-Write Entry...

So I've figured out my teaching style is through examples. Lately, I've been told that I make excellent analogies for explaining things. In truth, I can see that. In all I do, I try to see how it relates to everything else in life. It's funny Jesus tough in parables, much like I do analogies, which are nothing more than brief parables. Of course, Jesus taught in parables to make it tougher, I teach in analogies to make it easier. Mostly, i believe that's what the core of it is. I like to make things as easy to understand as I can. Laymen's terms are a way of life. I've been blessed with a gift for comprehension. I'm wanting to share the knowledge that comes along from that gift with others though. Many other people are far smarter and more talented than me, but I still feel like I can help others with this skill.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Better Grab a Chair....

Well, I said I would tell about my spiritual life, and while it's going to be long winded. We will dive in.

Baby Jesus = Safe Jesus

My friend Thomas brought  up a good point last Wednesday. We were having our small group Christmas party and we were going to read about the birth of Christ. He decided instead to read the the crucifixion. The reason being we get too caught up in Baby Jesus. We forget why he was born and what he would say and what would happen to him. I see a lot of truth in this. We Christians and even the secular world love Baby Jesus. It's a sweet story, there is a baby, it's all warm and fuzzy. It's also true, that it's before he shook things up.  He hasn't made demands and commands. He hasn't exposed sins, he hasn't died a horrific, bloody, excruciating (which literally means: from the cross) death, because of you, me, and everyone else. We were personally responsible for it. Instead Baby Jesus is a cute kid, who is here to save humanity, but hasn't learned to talk and be such a buzz kill. Baby Jesus to most is Safe Jesus. I suggest this Christmas you take some time to think about why we celebrate His birth, read the birth, but then go read the crucifixion. Keep things in focus this holiday season.

Much Love,

"Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide-open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart". - George Mathhew Adams

Monday, December 14, 2009

Little Shout Out...

I want to also tell anyone who sees this to check out an awesome blog of a friend of mine. She's way better at it than me. Her blog is what got me to break my procrastination on getting mine built. Thanks Brooke!

My Life in Simple Words

Safe Jesus ≠ Real Jesus

I'm in search of the real Christ, the real faith, and the the life of salvation. I'm trying to get past all the Jesus on a stage, Jesus in the movie, Jesus on the canvas, or Jesus on the cross. I'm looking for the Jesus who lived, loved, taught, saved, freed, healed, captivated, cared, listened, spoke, died and rose again. I'm looking for what He said, HIS way. I don't want another person's interpretation of this or that, I want to know what He said, and what He meant. This requires the Spirit working in me to discern this to me through scripture and prayer. I'm looking for the the real faith. I don't want a Sundays and Wednesdays faith, I'm in the hunt for the biblical faith, the mountain moving, life changing, healing, saving holy faith. Christ showed us that faith, then we saw it passed on to his disciples. This means I know it exists, and that it's obtainable, luckily for me it's got a map to reach it: Scripture. I'm also in search of the life of salvation. Up until the moment you tell Christ your love for him, in a strange way it's easy. Surprisingly, it's after you are saved that's harder, but in a different way. I'm looking for my new potential you could say. I'm trying to see where God is asking me to go, where to follow, where to lead. I'm in essence trying trying to get down to the basics of what Christ is after. Burn away stereotypes, traditions, assumptions, fears. I want to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven, not church. I need to let go of the things that hold me back from doing so, and I also need to help others be liberated from those things. I have to end myself as well, my issues with lust, envy, and pride. I have to find a way to cut the baggage loose or I will tear myself apart before I ever get anywhere.

Much Love,

Here's a quote to live by:

While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight-I'll fight to the very end! --William Booth

And so it begins....

Well, never expected to finally get around to this! I've procrastinated so much it's ridiculous, however now that the semester is ending and I'm incredibly busy, I figure that's the best time to finally start....wait.
Figure I'll fill you in on some details. First the title of this blog, Forget and Not Slow Down, is taken from a recent song by Relient K.... with that title.
I feel that the chorus fits where I'm at in life and my outlook on where I'm going.

I'd rather forget and not slow down
Than gather regret for the things I can't change now
If I become what I can't accept
Resurrect the saint from within the wretch
Pour over me and wash my hands of it

Pretty sweet lyrics right? I thought so. Anyway, as for my woodrowyourboat. That's what you get when every. single. name. is. TAKEN. Honestly? You can't even be witty! So I took a very old nickname from my freshmen year. My middle name being Woodrow, I was given a long winded name by some friends. Luke Woodrowyourboatgentlydownthestream Liddell. Yeah. Got it?
This blog itself was serious shouting match in my head. I couldn't decide between a vlog or a simple blog, or whether I should even do one at all, plus a couple other doubts. While I argued with myself, I took to it to myself to write down plenty of posts in the mean time and now I feel they deserve a place here on this blog. Which means you get to be confused when, after this post, I suddenly jump BACKWARDS. Go figure.
I figure before I do so I'll give you a little background into me though. As you saw earlier, I'm Luke Liddell. An 18 year old kid from Fayetteville, AR. I've lived here my entire life, in fact, my father built the house I live in now shortly before I was born. I'm in such a hectic and crazy time right now. Since August, I've been dealing with a messy breakup, as well as coming to terms with some serious mistakes I've made along the way in my relationships, behavior, and just life in general. I was an only child up until this last May when my father remarried, and now I live with a younger step-sister and step-brother, a step-mom and my best friend, Anthony. That was up until this week actually. Just before Thanksgiving I got news that my father had accepted a job offer from a company in Conway, AR a city 3 hours away. So as of this very moment, I'm spending my last week in my childhood home. My sister and brother will down during Christmas break, it's my senior year though and I'm staying. I'll move in with my Grandma further in town after the break. Crazy huh? Like I said it's a hectic time, besides the break ups and family shifts, I'm dealing with the whole college thing. A total waste of time right? Apparently not. I'm looking to going into going to the University of Central Arkansas for two years and then transferring to Central Baptist College, both in Conway. I've surrendered to full-time ministry, so that's where my life is heading. What that exactly means I'm not sure yet, and truthfully I like it that way, I got enough to worry about for today. I'll get more into my spiritual journey, life issues and blessings, and other things before long. However now seems a good time to go back and add some of those old posts I wrote.

Much Love,

P.S. This is an awesome quote! I love quotes, you'll see lots of them. Deal with it.
"God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus." - Jim Elliot