Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

GEEZ it's been so long since I've updated the good 'ol blog! I've moved to Kansas City to take the job I interviewd for with WESCO international. It's going great, I just moved into a great house and am learning as quickly as I can. I start an intensive learning program today, even though I've pretty much been doing my job the past couple weeks(THROWN into the fire, quite literally. You really learn quick when you learn through your own screw ups!)

One of my big challenges in moving here, as I knew it would be, would be to find a church as comfortable as St. Stephens was for me in Sewickley, PA. I loved it there, and more importantly loved the people there, which is the most important thing to me. I've been attending "Heartland Community Church" since I've arrived, going on Sunday mornings and Tuesday nights. It's been decent - All of the services are contemporarty, some were actually all prayer services(Tuesday nights), which was nice. But the church has adopted a "Go" mission statement as they are in the process of moving buildings, and seem to be pushing this new transitional phase greatly. It seems great if I were a part of the church already and involved, but I'm not, so at times I feel uncomfortable.


I went to a new church - recommended by a Mentor I've met with per recommendation of Peter Moore, my good friend and Mentor from back in Pittsburgh. The church is the Church of the Resurrection, a Methodist church, and my great friend Paul and I went there to attend service on Sunday to hear the pastor, Adam Hamilton Speak. I had already heard good things about him from Sherree Funk, another friend from Pittsburgh who had encountered him. We sang 2 hymns, and the sermon was on the Parable of Buried Treasure. The talk was great. He was quick, efficient, and effective. I loved how he focused on one topic - Buried Treasure - related it to Christian Faith - it was very effective.

Why did I like it?? Here's why - I am a Christian. I believe things and have done things the Bible says are necessary for Salvation. I have a personal relationship with God, and I understand Mature Christian faith doesn't happen ovenight - it's a lifelong process and is difficult. But...(there's always a but isn't there?) I often feel there's something out there I just don't get. In the same respect there are times when I feel like I do 'get it.' I feel that I did that day on the vineyard, God put a feeling of peace all about me that day, as if I DO get it. But Sin and human nature bring so many other bad things to me and bring me back down. Anybody who has ever had more than a 5 minute conversation with me about my faith knows this and how much I stuggle with this and have struggled with this for years. The only 2 things more difficult for me to understand are accepting God's grace, and understanding that Jesus was in fact God Himself. And again, it's okay to not 'get' it all the time.

Adam Hamilton, the pastor, understood this, and made a couple observations. But he convinced me for the first time in my life, by admitting that he too didn't "get it" yet, that there is still hop. He then referenced a song by U2 which, after reading the lyrics over and over, now LOVE. Most people have heard it:

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
Only to be with you
But I still haven't foundWhat I'm looking for
But I still haven't foundWhat I'm looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found What I'm looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
But yes I'm still running.
You broke the bonds
You loosened the chains
You carried the cross
And my shameAnd my shame
You know I believed it
But I still haven't foundWhat I'm looking for
But I still haven't foundWhat I'm looking for

How good is this last verse. It struck me right in the gut.


While I may now what it is I'm looking for, and understand how desperately I need and want to find it...

I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Wendsday, October 30th

Alright so right now I'm sitting on a plane in Providence, RI, and I was talking to the flight attendent for a few minutes about the camp I worked, and why I was going to Chicago(my Sister's wedding) - because that's what I do. I talk to people. Everybody I know knows this about me. The conversation struck up because I had to explain to her why the hell I was in Rhode Island! I asked for a pen to write with, and she came back with a coca cola pen - and it literally took me about 15 minutes to figure out how the hell to make it work! I was so MAD! I'm an idiot. Anyways, turned out all I had to do is twist it instead of pulling. Yea, that's how I roll.


Neil + ANYTHING = Neil is a moron =)

Yesterday was my birthday. Yes, i know, hold in your excitement. I'm 24 now. After about 7 days on the vineyard, I took the ferry at 12:15 back to reality. No more sweatervests, no more sailboats. Another counselor named Matt, whom I met there, and I then drove to his place in Connecticut to stay the night. Seeing as it was my birthday, we wanted to make a little detour, and hit up the Fox Woods or something like that casino! It's always a good time. I proceeded to lose about $75, but it was tons of fun. We got a 9 in on the country club his parents were members to this morning, which was awesome(I love Golf - you know, they say Golf and sex are the only 2 things you don't have to be good at to enjoy). I then headed up toward Providence, stopped through New Haven to see another friend I made at the Vineyard from Yale. So now Im leaving RI on a plane of about 26, so I have about 4 rows to myself, AND its the exit row, so I just popped in a perkaset and am about to pass out!

Anyways, some amazing things happened the last couple of days at the vineyard. Have you ever been meditating, or praying, and you seen to get little glimpses of things you haven't experienced(I guess you could call it the PRE-dejavu phase)? 2 days ago, I was in our cabin praying, looking out the window and watching rain fall, and I swear I got this overwhelming sense of the Spirit - I saw light, I felt God's presence, and I really felt I was looking at God's glory. It was only for a split second, but it happened 3 times that day. It was amazing. I have found myself more and more becoming delighted in my faith...and I truly feel eager to seek, and of course I have felt more and more peace. One of my onstant prayers is to know the desires of my heart - because I don't know what they are! But He does...

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

I love this psalm(37)

This has helped me in making my decision for a move. God is going to work in my life no matter where I end up, and I am now convinced that he has left it up to me to decide where I want to be, and He'll take it from there. Makes the decision SO much easier with that kind of confidence on my side doesn't it??

Alright - the medicine is kicking in now, so I'm gonna doze off(it's about 9pm). I'm meeting my brother at the Airport, than my grandma is going to pick us up. Time to get the usual Italian Beef sandwich, Gyros, stufffed pizza, vienna beef hot dogs, and all of the other brown bag heart attacks that come with the food I love so much in Chicago, the city I love.

Biking and TOUGH questions

August 26, 2006

What an exciting day! Yesterday I took a 24-mile bike ride - and I rezlized something...I need to invest in a bike! They are so easy to get around on and I feel more tired after running 3 miles than riding 24 - Maybe it was because I was able to ride across the entire island in about 45 minutes, but it was quite amazing.

Anyways, after buying a $20 "Black Dog" shirt, and checking out the other half of Martha's Vineyard, I came back to the North shore, where I attended a "tough questions" seminar - it was supposed to be for the kids but I was SO intrigued by it. Some of the most amazing things I heard involved creation, the flood, and the sacrifices. Let me explain.

We all know the story of Adam and Eve. Eve tempted Adam to eat from the Tree(Well, Satan did, but that's another subject...Women are NOT the root of all evil, even though this is what I tell everybody!) of Good and Evil, and in taking a bite from the Apple Sin was introduced into the world. We all know this story. But through this seminar I learned something very interesting. The Greek and Aramaic translations of the word "Adam" we see in the Bible today directly translated simply means "man." Therefore, while it is a popular belief Adam was ONE man, it is not outside the realm of possibility that "Adam" is used to represent many men. How nuts is that...Just a theory of course, but interesting nonetheless. If this were true, it would of course mean God created more than one man in the beginning, which would also create a good objection to the whole "Incestual" past that would have had to occur for procreation.

Another question was raised about sacrifices. Why were many people told by God (before Christ) to sacrifice lambs, calves(even sons, although never actually done), etc. to God? First, let's look at why Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice of God in the form of man, for all of mankind, to wipe away sin. Before this, lambs, calves, etc. were sacrficed as a cost for sin, and were therefore not needed after Christ. It is also said those were so we would get a fraction of the understanding of what the sacrifice of the Christ, the Son of God, meant to God. Now let's look at the crucifiction.

The temple (which was where most of these sacrifices took place) in Jerusalem is said to have been destroyed after the death of Jesus on the cross. Put simply, this very well could have been a symbolic destroying to show there was no longer a need for the sacrifices, for the ultimate and only necessary sacrifice now had been made.

Psalm 37:4
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

Wednesday, August 30th