Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Friday, March 31, 2006

Belief in Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6, one of the best known as well as one of my personal favorites:

"Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

I want to refer back to what I discussed in my last post about Stuart's Hall's Theory of:

Beliefs ----> Choices ----> Outcomes

There is a huge chasm or void between the choices we make and the outcome where we as humans don't, and for that matter maybe can't, know the outcome. Think about that. When we make decisions in our lives, how many times for certain can we know for sure what is going to happen? I think back to the biggest decision I can remember making in recent memory, which was my decision to move to Pennsylvania. At the time, my heart was in a different place, so I can't say I trusted the Lord in that decision, but I made the decision anyways, and for whatever reason I know God wanted me here, and I can see that now looking back - if you're a regular reader you'll remember me writing about being able to look back after the fact and seeing God's will. Anyways, from the moment I made that decision until even right this second, I don't know the full outcome of making that choice - Will I stay here, will I leave, who's kind of scary when you think about it. If all outcomes were in the hand of me, I would have been dead MANY years ago! I was CRAZY when I was younger...okay, I still am, but you know what I mean.

This demonstrated a lack of trust in God. I should have just trusted him like I do now. So what can I do about it now? Nothing really...except trust more. I have to trust God that me moving to Pennsylvania, and everything in my past for that matter, was part of God's idea of what I needed to get through to where he is going to take me tomorrow. Think about that. We have to trust God for our past.

God made our past, we have to believe that he knows what he was doing! Society teaches us we know best...for instance, that Kelly Kapowski was made for Zack Morris. But do I really know what's best for me? Again, I might be dead.

I'll leave with this final thought: God knows how things are supposed to be. Trust Him! He made everything. Trust that when you suffer and when you have suffered in the past that God knows you are suffering...I mean come on, just trust the things that happen...after all, who created the things that happened?

So let's all stop crying and whining about all the bad stuff that happens to us...because its always worse than everybody else. TRUST!

something to ponder about....Like me hear, pretending I had any clue what was going on at the Andy Warhol Museum - look at those know you love it

Monday, March 27, 2006


Well well well - here I am again, on a Monday evening, and it is absolutely GORGEOUS outside. Pennsylvania may have the longest most miserable winter on the planet...But nothing beats the fall and springs here...That's the truth. There may not be the beautiful thunderstorms I love so much about Kansas, but nothing beats a WINDLESS 50 or 60 degree day. I got to run today with shorts on! Something I always look forward to. OH, and I haven't picked a half-marathon to run yet, BUT, I am going to be running in a 5k through Downtown Chicago Easter weekend with my sister and future Brother-in-law, so I'm looking forward to that!

Anyways, this past weekend we went to Jumonville with our Youth Group, and the guest speaker was Stuart Hall, a great speaker. He did a great job of speaking to the proper audience, and speaking in a way that was understandable to the kids(high school, and Jr. High). AND, I was able to get a lot out of what he was saying as well. His first talk was over Romans 12:2-3.(Oh yea, it SNOWED up there too...And there was a dead guy found up in the mountain a couple weeks before, but that's another story).

"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. For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

His main theme seemed to be the idea of conformity. The world today has become obsessed with non-conformity. Our culture teaches us to be different. What does this mean? Rebellion...And I as well as everybody my age witnessed and experienced this. We all want to be "different," so what do we do? We wear trench coats, we get tattoos, we get 20 piercings, we shop at salvation army, we skateboard, wear lose pants, we have sex, we wear preppy clothes, we steal thing, etc. It's true. The fact is, we try so hard to be different, that essentially we become the same. We all become "different" from societal standards, and are the same as everybody else. AND let me make clear that I don't see anything wrong with any of this...I did ALOT of these things, this is Stuart's topic of speech - and I don't think he saw anything wrong with it either, just saw a difference in the reasons for doing some of them - we aren't differnet by doing them.

We all get sick and tired of being the same, but we don't do anything about it. Our society teaches us to rebel if we want to be different...So, we do. We do what society tells us to do, because we're young and stupid. Me? I did lots of these things to. I snuck out at night, I broke into places, I damaged property, I did what I thought would make me "different." The truth is, if we want to be different, what we need to do is what society tells us NOT to do - because it's always the harder thing to do. NOT rebel. And the truth is, this is most evident IN Christians. Christianity has become the PRIME example of conformity. I think of the way I looked at Christians before I became one - they were ALL the same, and for the most part, we still are. We become predictable. We go to Church on Sunday - we don't cuss, we go to our Bible Study...We "try really hard." I mean, look at this great quote on this poster below. It's the truth...IN america, we are free - when we're young, what do we know how to do? We don't, so we have to imitate somebody else, whether it's Marilyn Manson,Tony Hawk, Jessica Simpson, or Zack Morris(MAN I miss saved by the Bell...WHAT A SHOW!), or one of our friends, we're imitating somebody.

We can't blame anything that happens in our lives on anything but ourselves. Why? BECAUSE THERE WE ARE. Wherever I go, there I am. Everything that happens to me, whether spiritually, or physically, has one common denominator: me. I'm always there. We need to be different right? Then we must not listen to society and start listening to God, and start listening to ourselves. What do we want to do? What should we do? THEN DO IT!! Be where you want to be. Be where God wants you to be, because there you are.

Stuart said all things start with believe. What is a belief?

Belief - What your heart and your mind agree on.

Our beliefs influence and cause our choices.

Choices - Making the decision to do something.

Our choices lead to outcomes.

Outcomes - The results of our choices

It all starts with belief. To use a WAY overused saying..."You have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." If you want the outcomes of your choices to change...If you are unhappy with where you are in life, or decisions you've made, or a relationship you're in, you have to look back as to why you made certain decisions. Is it attachment? Necessity? Convenience? Because you're content with where you are in life, and would rather live a mediocre life, or be in a mediocre relationship then take the risk of being unhappy? Remember - You can live a happy life, and have great things - nothing great came without risk...

TAKE A LEAP - mix it up...If there is one thing I LOVE about people, it's their ability to take risks. Do something rash - get out of something you know deep down in your heart is not working out, quit that job, cut off that relationship that is bringing you down, Take that trip you've been wanting to. It's hard...and I haven't done it every chance I've had, so it's easier to say than do obviously, but its's the right thing to do sometimes, especially if you're young. Make sure what you BELIEVE influences your choices, and the outcomes will be what you want, and what God wants.

As for me, I have no excuses not to...because I am loved in God.

More to come...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Alright...Here I am...1021 on a Friday night...and my Jayhawks are playing. And I'm LISTENING to the game because Texas and U Penn are on bear with me because I'm a little salty, plus as of now we are down by one point....

Taint got by the skin of his teeth with BC winning a double OT game - a loss there would have been good afternoon, good evening and good night for him. The pick of the day was a loss by Iowa...What a shot!

Anyways, Kansas is my focus...and i am in my KU sweats right now just hanging around the house, and I love it...the question is whether or not I will pull out my hair...Not being able to see the game is driving me crazy!!!

March madness is awesome, and I love it. That's about all I have to say so I'll stop rambling...back to the game...


Wednesday, March 15, 2006 many of you know, i made my triumphant return to Kansas this past weekend. Let's just say It was absolutely wonderful...with an exception. 70 degrees, sun and no wind made a GREAT saturday, and i got to see some of my best friends and favorite people. It really was quite the trip. After a long day of sun and fun on saturday, Sunday was a little bit different. So I wake up, and hear booming things all around at 8 am...not really knowing what was going on. I look through the blinds, and see what I think to be a storm...turns out there is a swirling cloud of brown dust moving down the street. now when I say I looked out the window and saw a tornado...I mean I looked outside and saw a freaking Tornado! Now being from Kansas, I had seen many, but this was pretty ridiculous being 30 feet from one. A few minutes later, the storm calmed, and we all went outside to view the wreckage...trees everywhere, fallen through houses, cars smashed in, it was incredible. BUT, I survived, and made it back to PA safely. Let's just thank God nobody, at least that I know of, was hurt!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Welcome to MOE'S!!!!

Alright...this is a callout to my main man Mike Love. He works with me at Trilliant, which is a GREAT place, and I work with some of the most amazing people, and I truly mean that.

A few months ago, Moe's, A mexican grill(like chipotle or Qdoba, but with an added twist of everybody yelling "Welcome to Moe's! when you walk in the door) opened up and we tried it out...and of course, we loved it. Let me give you the background...

As we sat there, Mike was ambitious, and worked up the nerve to say to me....

"Cavuto(he called me this, in reference to Neil Cavuto, from Fox News), mark my words. I will eat 3 burritos in one sitting before you leave trilliant."

We made a contract, and yesterday Mike determined he would make a run at the title.

The picture above is right before the third burrito began...

John Mackie(left) and Devin Reilly(right) joined in with me on the spectating, both work at Trilliant. In fact, John cancelled a few appointments at risk of jailtime to witness the historic event. The guy in the picture below here, we'll call him Jeremy, who nobody knew well, was also interested, and joined us at the table

This is him, here on the left.

Long story short...Mike completed the task....a little pain here, you can see it in his facial expression

And here...a little heartburn!

And after it was all said and done, we got Dave and some new guy to come in and take a pose with us while Mike took the last bite. Dave is on the right...we love dave. He always makes fun of me for making such a mess after I eat. Anybody who has ever eaten with me knows what kind of mess I am capable of.

Mike Love:

"I'm not gonna lie. I don't feel that great right now. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and say I feel worse than that time I threw up on an airplane"

God bless ya Mike. You're a role model to us all.

Now, considering my flight to Kansas leaves in an hour and a half, i have a 20 minute drive to the airport and I haven't packed, I better get to it!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Kansas and Grace

Now obviously I could write about 200 pages on's a VERY important subject...BUT my devotional today was 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, so I'll focus on that!

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

There are many different dissections that can be done with this popular verse. Grace - how awesome is it that we can boast about our weaknesses! THIS is where God wants us to our weaknesses. Why? Because this is where we will rely on him the most...where it is easy to rely on him. It is when this grace lifts that we must be aware. This is God's way of getting us to recognize that things are changing. I'm not talking about having a bad day where we're impatient...we all have those days. This means when we reach a point where our attitudes and actions begin to actually hurt others - we become "ungracious" towards a habitual way. It becomes a patter. We can't let this happen. We must turn to God and consult him for our next move - change is a scary thing, and we can't succesfully transition on our own. This is what I get from the verse.


"Lord, what do You have in mind for me now?"

As I've said a hundred times, I ask this all the time. I always ask to do His will...for God to place me where He wants me to be, to prepare me for what he has in store for me. I am going to keep asking, even if I don't get an answer. Why? Because God is teaching me patience. He doesnt answer all prayer right away, because he wants us to rely on wait on His timing. Otherwise, why would we ever rely on him for everything if he gave us everything we wanted? THIS is Grace as well. He is a teacher...and gives us wisdom beyond our understanding. We don't deserve it, but He gives it. How amazing. AMAZING BUT TRUE(okay, bad joke).

OKAY! Now to what's been going on in my life. YES! I am going to Kansas tomorrow. I can't wait. I fly into KC, a tall monkey-looking man who is 6'7" will pick me up from the airport in Kansas City...and we will have some fun and go to Lawrence where University of Kansas is. Actually, my roommate Aaron emailed this to me yesterday...check it out if you have lists the most desirable and undesirable cities to live in for dating.

IF you happen to check out the WORST places to live for 18-24 year old singles, you will see KANSAS CITY and WICHITA(my home town) as numbers 1 and 2! how hilarious is that. You'll also notice Pittsburgh as #7. THAT'S why I'm single...GEEZ!! hahaha. I love it. And I still love these towns, especially Wichita. This is the skyline of Wichita...which is about the size of Heinz Field. parents lived about 4 houses from the river bend in the picture above actually...

We went to Charlottesville, VA this past was a blast. We met some people, worshipped together, and I even met a guy who was in wichita on business LAST WEEK! Dr. Amy Sherman was our speaker, and she did a great job. In 2 weeks we go to Jumonville with our youth at St. Stephens.

I'd like to thank Becca Chapman for all of the hard work she did for last weekend's conference, and actually right now she is in DC doing more work for the Fellows initiative, the program im affiliated with, and she is a blessing to everything as she works her tail off for this program...because she believes in it. We really all do appreciate her... Thanks Becca!

AND lastly...Timmy Mac (Tim McGraw) and Faith Hill will be coming to Pittsburgh on May 13th! Am I going? Uh, Am I an arab Terrorist?? OF COURSE! In fact I bought lots of tickets with money I don't have...It's free, don't worry(credit card - if its not cash, its free) if you want to go let me know! I can't wait. I'll be on the floor a less than 10 rows from the stage, should be a great show. The real fun is in Tailgating - cooking out and chilling in the Parking lot all day. Should be a great time. I love faith Hill - I'm going to propose to her when I see her.

Anyways - GOD bless you all, and have a blessed day.