Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Arab Sailing?? Yep!

August 24, 2006

"I'm sailing away..." - Styx

They say there's a 1st time for everything, and today was my 1st day of sailing! In fact, I was on a boat on the ocean for the 1st time ever. Being on the East coast, on a boat of about 50 people, I was the only person to have never been sailing before let alone on a boat. In fact, most of the kids said their parents actually had sailboats of their own(FOCUS, the org. i was working for, is a private school ministry).

This is the thing that occured to me today. I had SO much fun - relaxing on the deck, reading a book, talking to the kids. Getting a good tan(which I like to call 'enhancing' my already dark skin). Then I started talking to the deckhands(the work crew). There were 5 of them, all between the ages of 20 and 25, which is right where I am. The captain/owner of the ship told me the story of the ship - he was 24 - and his fatehr had owned the ship and now he and his brothers were running the business. The had literally been doing this their entire lives. That blew my mind away...and if you know me you know exactly why that would get to me. I thought about it later and just couldn't grasp the idea of doing the same thing, of loving something that way, my whole life. I don't think I could do it. But the more I thought about it, it met me. This guy has it figured out. He is leaving HIS dream. He LOVES doing what he does every day of his life, and knows what he wants to do with the rest of hit. Why shouldn't he do this? Good for him! He's sailed to the carribean from MA. He's windsurfed in Maui. And he's good at it. i would LOVE to say i'm good at surfing...what little surfing I've done, it is one of my favorite things to do - but I'm not blessed at being good enough at it for a living, so God has other plans for me. I don't have the slightest clue right now how to sail. Before today, I thought "starboard" meant the little starcruch snacks(Yes I was a fat kid, still kind of am at heart).

But seriously, he KNEW he had a calling. And he's living it, and loving it. But that's's not for me. I love being able to do different things - Where as the captain of the ship didn't want to do different things. I may not be great at anything (that I know of) right now, but I'm good at a bunch of things, and I'm thankful for that. I'll take the gifts God has given me, and keep striving toward my goals and figuring out God's will in my Life.

Okay, now it's time to go listen to boys talk about masturbation and "joysticks"...Um....I wish I was kidding. It's what you get when you room with middle school boys!

Remember this my friends...

"God's will is exactly what we would chose for our lives.. ifwe knew what God knows!"

My verse I prayed today...

Isaiah 26:3 "You willkeep in PERFECT PEACE those who trust in you, whose thoughtsare fixed on you"

Doubt, doubt, and more doubt! - It CAN be good you know =)

August 23 -

I doubt. I doubt every day of my life. I doubt every time I sin. I listen to the lies that tell me there isn't a God sometimes. In my mind...

My heart keeps me in check. In my heart I know there is a God. Of course there is. So...then why do I always go through spells where I think I don't nee Him, where I am the controller of everything, that there is no influence on me, that I can change things on my own? As human beings we feel the need to be wanted and accepted all the time, if we say we don't we're lying. God gives this to me openly, yet I constantly find myself turning to others instead of Him for this acceptance. I often wonder if solitude would be good for me. I know we are intended to be with other people - Juesus was ALWAYS with other people - always. But so am I. I've lived alone, but I'm always doing something it seems. I have quiet times, but usually no more than an hour or two at a time. Would a week, a month, or more effectively, even a year or more alone help me understand the mysteries of God more? I would solely rely on Him if this were the case as relying on others would not be possible. The initial reaction to this is "of course" - so here is the question. Why don't we do this if it would make us closer to and help to understand better our God?? I don't know...

It's another beautiful day here on the island and sunny as ever. And I pray God's will is being done. This day and every day.

- The Chicago Bears will be starting their season soon - and a Super Bowl title is in my sight. The cubs may not win many games from here on out, but I still love them too...but its time for football season. Go Bears!

Tennis and the Island I'm on

August 22, 2006 - 5:14 PM

TENNIS! After morning prayer and meetings I was talked into a game of tennis - what a great time. After playing a double match we just stuck around and hit for an hour or so and I remembered why I loved Playing tennis so much back in high school and in college. I played through my sophomore year in college, but am not determined to play more!

All of the kids began arriving around 2pm, and they're all about here now...The weather today on the vineyard is amazing - 80 and not a cloud in the sky. Some sand volleyball and whiffle ball have dominated registration, and I'm tired from both!

In prayer last night, we prayed for things that were needed in order for us to be "present" here this week. For me, that meant letting go of what has been occupying all of my prayers and thoughts! Tough to do - I'm in the process of deciding whether to move out of Pittsburgh, a place I love, in order to pursue career moves, not to mention my decision as to whether I should pursue a career or continue in ministry. Originally I thought this little sabattical would give me the chance to ask God for guidance and figure it out, but the last day has changed my mind. It's up to God - not me. Where He sends me I will go, wholeheartedly. Las night, after some fighting, I was able to release this decision up to Him finally. Might sound crazy, but it's not up to me. I love Pittsburgh, other than Chicago it may be my favorite city. The idea of moving to Kansas City is scary, but seems great as well - there are spiritual highs and lows involved with both places, I realized this when I visited KC last week. Staying means reamining in ministry most likely and leaving means workin in business...FOR NOW. I've realized we don't have to be involved in full-time ministry to serve God's purposes for the Kingdom - He has different callings for each of us. I see myself, in fact I almost want to say I know(but I know better!) I'll be doing full-time ministry as a career at some point in my life, but I'm starting to get the feeling God is going to take me through some hard lessons, and break me, and build me up again, to mature my faith so I'll better be ready to serve in that way down the road, and not necessarily right now. Kind of scary, but I know he sees the end result for me, and knowing this gives me strength and courage to do things now.

And maybe the FREAKING cubs will win a game while I'm gone the next 2 weeks...I'll be at Wrigley IN a week and half by the way!


These are posts from the past couple months I've written...

August 22, 2006

So 2 nights ago I stayed in New York Cityin a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air type house, in the 4-bedroom poolhouse, as a matter of fact. That day began by witnessing a truck flip right in front of me and my travel companion(Peter Moore)'s eyes, which was...well...freaking weird and scary. We pulled over right away, and after realizing nobody was seriously hurt(SOMEHOW both passengers walked away without a scratch) and a police officer arrived and interviewed us, we continued east toward NYC(Turns out the guy fell asleep at 10am on the road...NEVER drive when you're tired!).

Yesterday we left NYC, went through RI and CT and arrived in New Bedford, MA, in order to catch the ferry over to Martha's vineyard, where I am preparing to work a middle school camp with an organization called FOCUS which Peter in fact founded many years ago. After taking some time to check out the old, run down fishing town, I got my first glimpse of the ocean. It's always amazing to see it for that first instant every time you go, even though I had seen it over a dozen times before(if you didn't know, I "get around" - in the non-sexual way =)). I always think about what certain things looked like thousands of years ago - whether a shopping center, or a house that now stands there was covered in endless fields, or even if the ocean itself...just standing on a beach staring at it, looked the same. Unbelievable...because the ocean probably has looked the same for hundreds of thousands of everyone.

During the 1 hour ferr ride, we passed through the Elizabeth Islands, and through Woods Hole, MA, where the Oceanographic Institute is. Peter Moore, informed me Emperor Hirohito(Emp. of Japan during WWII), when coming to the US to sign peace agreements and surrender after the war, requested only to see one thing while in the United States, and this Oceanographic institute was that one thing.

After about a 20-minute doze off session, something startled me. Our minds are so dangerous. I found myself seeing people around me dying, thinking about people in BAD ways - I feel so helpless sometimes, you know what I mean? It's the same when you're a little kid, and you're all alone in the dark. You are fine for a few minutes, but then that infamously haunting "Unsolved Mysteries" theme music gets in your head, or you start playing through the next "America's Most Wanted" episode, in which you are the main character. And it's all in your head, but now you are scared out of your mind. You know all you have to do is stop thinking about it and you'll be fine, but you can't. It's too late. We become prisoners of our own minds. I get that way - and Satan must love it. I know immediately when these thoughts enter my mind. I know they're bad - I know I shouldn't think them, but it's too late. Before we know it we're sinning over and over in ways we're not even aware of, and all we can do is pray or fall asleep until we forget it ever happened, until the next time it happens, which we know it will. Bottom line: it's terrible. What can we do about it? In the book of James as well as other places in Scripture, we are told to focus on our hearts, and be transformed from the inside-out. Or in other words, rather than changing our outward actions, by changing our heart our outward actions will reflect those changes. This is a process, bu our damn human nature screws us up, and makes us that much more likely to fall into the thought trap, yet again we must first learn to NOT ACT on those thoughts, THEN work on elimination the thoughts...

We keep on trucking...We'll find it...He'll help us find it...

It takes time.