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I love the week of Christmas.
Let's hit rewind. Bring back the presents and all the food and lets do it again. We had a great time with both sides of the family. I must have been a really good boy this year because Santa brought me everything I asked for. I have went into full blown bum mode today and plan on getting a lot of rest over the next few days.
Have you ever stopped and wondered what you were doing or thinking a year ago? five years ago? yesterday? Maybe you have thought about people that have drifted into your life and others that have made a permanent mark on your life. Or maybe you regret letting go of some relationships or something tangible that could have altered your life. These are all questions that I have been asking myself and pondering over the past couple of weeks. A year ago, I would have never guessed how different my life would be today.
My father-in-law calls these reminiscent memories "back flashes." As I am nearing my 29th birthday (February 3rd in case you were wondering), I have begun to see how God started me at point A and how he has held my hand to point B. Some days I can even see how I am going to get to point C on this journey. There are people and things in my life that were temporary and this hurts me because a part of me is void. However, there are others that have drifted into my life that will be permanent fixtures and I could not live without them.
I am learning to allow my past to challenge how I engage my present as I dream the incomprehensible for the future. As the New Year is approaching and you are beginning to ponder your past, present and future, I urge you to savor the memories, make each new day count, and DREAM BIG for your future. Don't settle with life! You have no idea how tomorrow can alter your life, so never leave room for unanswered questions, regrets, or past opportunities. What will 2009 look like for you?
Just wanted to share a couple of random Christmas thoughts with you on this frigid Christmas eve eve eve:
It has been an extremely busy seven days. The temperature has been well above normal. The mutual feeling of several that I have talked to is that it just does not "feel" like Christmas. That is statement is okay, if Christmas is only about feelings, the weather or my schedule. If Christmas was all about our surroundings, decorations, parties, or anything else, then it would be about our feelings.
Is it me or is there anybody else struggling with Christmas Spirit this year?
This Wednesday, we pulled off a HUGE service with Uth Force. It might be one the biggest ones we have ever done. I posted pictures here and here if you haven't seen them yet. God used this event to teach me and stretch me. I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you.
My favorite song of Christmas is "Little Drummer Boy." I love almost any version of this song, because the words always challenge me. I guess I identify with the Little Drummer Boy in several ways. He is a musician like me and in the grand scheme of things he had little to give the newborn King. When you think about the birth of Christ, there are so many absurdities according to our societal norms. Our society would tell you that the wise men took the best gifts, because the gold, frankincense and myrrh were expensive and valuable. I believe that the song played by the Little Drummer Boy was extraordinary and significant.
The Little Drummer Boy is extraordinary, because he gave all he had . . .himself. He did not have money or special gifts, but he was blessed with the gift of music. I am challenged each day to just give of myself more, rather than any talents, resources, words, or deeds.
The Little Drummer Boy is significant, because he connected to Jesus through his worship. He knew that his music would engage him with the Son of God. In spite of the circumstances that did not befit a king, his intense heart-felt song was adoration that could not be silenced. It was a declaration of his relationship with Jesus. I am challenged, especially in this season of my life, to make each day count. I want to connect with Jesus through my worship and I want my life to be an undeniable symbol of my adoration.
Are you searching for something other than normalcy? Are you looking for significance? I challenge you to look deep within yourself and evaluate what you bring to Jesus each day. Do you give him all of yourself and worship from a heart of deep adoration?
My Dad used to tell me, "If I would have known then, what I know now, I would have changed some things." I do not disagree with my Dad and I am not sure he really meant it. I am glad I can not go back and change anything. I am glad I did not know the outcome. I find myself glad when I face challenging times, glad to feel pain, glad to meet opposition. I might not like it at the time, but it is what makes me who I am today.
Jeremiah 12:5, "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?"
This is a scripture that I am chewing. It is a scripture that is driving me this week. As much as I have going on externally, there is twice as much going on internally. I still can not settle, I still can not stop. I will not give up, give in, or give myself away.
Over the last week I have found myself looking back a lot. Walking down memory lane and asking a lot of questions. I find myself standing in a new season and not begrudging being here but missing some of the people and times that have been apart of my life. I guess it is because we are gearing up for a big event or it might be the Holidays. It is not necessarily a bad thing to reminisce, I just do not need to stay here long. There are some issues with always looking back.
This week I am going to be totally engrossed with our first big theme night service at Uth Force. Usually most ministries coast through the Holidays, but we decided to challenge the normal (no pun intended) this year. Why not push to have one of the biggest months yet? The "Unbelievable" series has been one of the coolest series to date and we will end in with The Blizzard of 2008.
Is it me, or does it seem like it was just Monday?
Today I am declaring a mental health day. What is that? Glad you asked! A mental health day is simply a day where I refuse to do anything ministry related. Anything that would take a lot of thought. I am going to try to disconnect a little bit. Twitter less, stay off of Facebook, and keep my phone on silent.
Driving home tonight I kind of found myself fighting a funk. I could not explain it. Service was good. Crowd was decent (cause that is how we really judge success), feel like the students were engaged, and by all of our standards God moved. What was wrong with me? Then it hit me. My insecurities were getting the best of me, they were winning. I was scared....
A rubber band has immense elasticity to endure being stretched, holding things together/serving a purpose, and can always return to its original shape. I am undergoing a process in my life much like that of a rubber band. Upon moving to Atlanta, I was not able to find a job in the education field. Thus I returned to my old life of contract work and the stretching began. It has not been an easy process at times and I have really missed teaching school. However, I understand that I have been in a holding pattern---the contracts served the purpose and God helped me to hold it all together. Then this last Friday God blessed me with an amazing teaching position and things have completely fallen into place. My faith is stronger than I thought possible and I am beginning to return to my original shape.
Over the process, I have feared that I would break under the pressure or not learn what my purpose has been in this season. I have often wondered if my authenticity has been altered or if I should alter myself to meet an employer's expectations. Through it all, God has reaffirmed in me that I am evolving into the Paige Gordon he has intended. I am stronger and more seasoned now than I was two months ago.
I anticipate there will be situations and people in my life who will again test my elasticity. It is my prayer that God will continue to challenge me to rise to the occasion and never lose sight of my authenticity. I want to serve my purpose to the best of my ability, but I am learning that being me is the key to life. What is God using to stretch you? Are you resisting him? Do you feel like you are losing your authenticity?
The last couple of weeks I keep asking myself the purpose of this blog. Somewhere I think I lost perspective of why I started blogging over a year ago. At some point I guess I was trying to impress someone or get someone's attention. I thought blogging would put me at some special level of ministry. It became more about how many hits a day my blog got instead of just being who I was and doing what I do.
We assume things everyday of our lives. We make assumptions about people, about situations, about circumstances, decisions, so forth and so on. Assumptions are never a good thing. My dad says that when you assume something you look pretty stupid. Well, he says something else, but I can not write about it on my blog. Assumptions are a dangerous way to do ministry and to live. Why?
I was able to fit 5 days of work into 3 days.
This is the time of year when life gets so busy and we barely have time to sleep or do anything "normal." I want to challenge you to take a minute and allow yourself to evaluate how you are spending your time during this holiday season. Are you giving all of your time to play practice or parties, or shopping for the perfect gifts? Or are you allowing yourself to embrace this season to bless others, spend time with friends and family, or even rest and enjoy the excitement of the season?
God is challenging me to do for others this Christmas in ways that I had not thought of. Share what you have with those who don't have anything. Give to the needy with your resources, your time, and your support. Reconnect with friends and family that you have been too busy to communicate with. Find at least one way to influence the lives of others during the coming weeks. Make this Christmas different from all the other Christmases.
I am going to make this year about Him and others and less about myself. After all, once the tree comes down, the presents are opened, and the big day has passed, what will remain? . . . . the lives that you and I have touched.
December 22nd we will be heading to Centennial Park to ice skate and then to Underground Atlanta to hang out. Cost is $10 for ice skating, so bring spending money for Underground Atlanta.
Are there anymore new ideas. Are we just recycling old ones and trying to improve on them?
Do you ever have questions that you keep asking yourself that you do not have clear answers on? That is the season that I am in right now. I want to share with you one of those questions that I keep asking myself.
Complacency is a word that gets thrown around a lot in religious circles. It seems to be a buzz word when talking about change and when people are trying to push their own agenda. I have been personally giving thought to what complacency is and how I define it in my own life.
So Thanksgiving was good. It was good to be with family, eat tons of awesome food, and take a break from reality.
Had a great Thanksgiving week.
I want to introduce you to some of my close friends. They not only encourage me and love me, but they also inspire and challenge me. Let me introduce you to some awesome blogs.
I heard a song this morning that was my favorite when I was a teenager. As I listening to the words and reflected on my early teen years, I realized the song was not that great and neither were the words. My mind began to reflect on my teen years and how different life was then. Back then, my goals and aspirations were so different. I was a different person, unashamed of being me, but never really grasping who I was and what I was capable of.
God has begun to use my experience this morning to challenge me with some things. My past is not another world away from my present and my future. Rather, God has started a deep process in me to blend my worlds together and show me the evolution of Paige Gordon. There are dreams and goals that God has planted in me and I am in a growing process. Sure there are days when I feel like God is plucking dead leaves from me, while other days I feel like I have grown 2 feet in one day. No matter what the season looks like, the process continues.
Without even realizing it, I am beginning to live out my first "Remix." There are things from my past that have acted as a catalyst to my present. My prayer is that each day God adds new people, things, and experiences to my life. This "Remix" is going to be better than the original.
As you count your blessings this week, make sure and thank God for all those things in your past that you have forgotten or are ashamed of or you treasure. What does your "Remix" look like? Who are you becoming?
I am thankful for the call that God has placed on my life. I get to work with the generation that is going to change the world and I get paid to do it. There is a passion in my heart like never before for students. Uth Force are hands down the best students around, I can not wait to see how they are going to impact the South Atlanta area.
1. Best Youth Convention in several years.
3. I learned that one of the qualifications to be a Papa John's delivery driver is to live in the basement of your mother's house and know klingon .
We are in Macon this weekend for Youth Convention
That not all people express their love and care the same way. I need to give them the space to be different than me.
Passion should never over ride the plan. When you hear God speak and lay out a plan, STICK WITH THE PLAN! Do not get ahead of yourself or God.
That by being a big people pleaser that I am making people bigger than God. That at times I worship what people want instead of worship God.
Everything that happens in this season is preparation for my next season I am about to walk in to.
This weekend is going to rock. I am excited about hanging with the Uth Force students who are going with us to Youth Convention. It is going to be a blast! We have a great group of students and leaders going with us to Macon for two blow out services.
Here are some things we talked about tonight:
This was the last week of the Mixed Signals series as we talked about narrowing the gap between what we say we believe and how we live. We looked at Peter's life in John 21, when he was frustrated and went back to fishing. We fall into the traps of mixed signals . . .
When we go back to past pursuits and re-establish old reputations-Peter found frustration in his old profession and lifestyle when he went back to fishing.
When we recognize Christ's miracles, but miss Christ the man-the disciples spent 3 1/2 years with Jesus but could not recognize him from 100 yards away. We should love Jesus for who he is not what he can do.
When we separate love for God and love for people-you show your love for God by the way we love people. The reason God does something in you is so he can do something through you for others.
I want to come from a very personal place this week and be transparent with some of my own issues. Currently, I teach foster parent classes for the Department of Family and Children's Services. As part of our curriculum we teach on separation, grief and loss. As my co-trainer taught, my mind wandered to my own situation in life. Through the moving process and transition in my family, I realized that I have encountered a deep separation and as a result grief. It hit me like a ton of bricks! I am in the grieving process and it is a natural part of life. God began challenging me to stop denying myself the opportunity to grieve what I have lost and those I have been separated from.
The stages of grief are very different and are not concrete. You can move forwards and backwards through the stages and even become stuck in one stage. The stages are:
- Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
- Anger (why is this happening to me?)
- Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
- Depression (I don't care anymore)
- Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
Are there things in your life that you are grieving? Are there issues in your life that you have not dealt with that might be causing you conflict? Read More......
I am tired of people telling me how good they are and how much they can do. I feel like when God measures a person He doesn't put the tape measure around their head to see how smart they are and He doesn't put it around their arm to see how strong they are. He places the tape measure around their heart. Man looks at the outward ability but God always looks at the heart.
So I wanted to share some blogs that I have read this week....
It was a busy week and next week does not look to let up.
I had the privilege of playing and singing at a funeral today and my mind has been ruminating ever since. Life is so short and I take so many things for granted. As I sat and listened to people talk about the deceased, I began to wonder what would people say about me when I am gone one day? What legacy am I leaving? Am I really enjoying each day or are the days just a blur in space and time?
The encourager - someone who always has kind things to say. Someone who will always lift your spirits no matter what. It might be with a phone call, text message, email, notes, or a smile. They have this natural instinct of knowing when you need encouragement the most.
The more I progress in life, the more I am understanding that life is about two things. Relationships and choices. Think about it. I believe that the key to being successful and the key to finding happiness is wrapped up in those two things.
What a great weekend, it went by way to fast.
Really enjoyed my bike ride to the mountains. Got some rest, did a lot of thinking and brainstorming. Heard God keep reminding me to "stick with the plan."
Posted a few pics from the ride on my last post. Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in the mountains.
Week went by really fast because of my trip.
Have our fist Leader's Meeting tonight. I am so excited to share ideas and vision. Got a lot to do between now and then.
Wednesday night was really cool. Had a different feel to it, but was good.
The election feels like a lifetime ago. A lot of people have been rocked by the results. Do they thing God is that small or has never been in control. He is not caught by surprise.
I am really shocked at how fast it all happened Tuesday night. I was thinking that it was going to take a couple of days.
Met with a friend on Tuesday to plan our annual Broomball night in January. Should be a blast.
Hope everyone had a good weekend.
This weekend I am in the mountains with my Dad, my brother-in-law, and some really good friends on our motorcycles. It will be a couple of days of riding, relaxing, and clearing my mind. The company is going to be good, the scenery awesome, and I am expecting God is speak so awesome stuff to me. I will post some pictures when we get back. See you then.Read More......
I had the pleasure of meeting some new people this week and our discussions have spawned some thoughts in me that I would like to share. Our discussions about life in general, getting married, finding a job, having children, establishing in a community, have led me to question the status quo. Have you ever felt like there was a certain thing you were supposed to do by a certain age? For example, you have to graduate from college by age 22 and get married by age 25? Or maybe even you have to start your family by age 30 or you might be too old for children and career?
Who makes up these rules and why do we keep badgering ourselves and others with these figures? I came to the startling realization this morning that life does progress in stages, but our uniqueness and our path for life is not easily compartmentalized. God created us to be beings created for worshipping Him, loving on others, and to serve the world. How did we come to create this formula for life that strays so far from God's intended purpose with us?
Well, I have decided that I am going to continue challenging the status quo and I am not going to live up to these societal trends of compartmentalizing my life. I want to enjoy my life, my marriage, my ministry, my (future) career, and my (future) children. No longer do I want to be enslaved by someone else's idea of what my life should look like and how I should progress on this journey. God has given me big dreams and promises that I want to see come to pass. So just because it doesn't fit the mold, doesn't mean it isn't right or beautiful.
Are there things in your life that challenge the status quo? Are there society imposed goals that you have been holding on to rather than the dreams God has for you? Please be encouraged today that God's dreams and plans for you are far greater than a societal formula for life. So dream big, love deep, and believe God for an awesome journey.
The older I get the more that I realize that life is tight rope. The problem I believe is not walking it, the problem comes when we stand still on it. There are a lot of issues that seem to be rolling around in my soul right now that I wrestle with.
Let me start off by saying that insecurity is something that I wrestle with on a daily basis. I worry about what I look like, I worry about what people are thinking about me or saying about me. I worry if I am doing a good enough job or not. Insecurity has been an issue in my life just about all of my life. God is speaking to me lately about this issue. The problem with me is where I find my security. If I only find my security in myself, then I have every right to be insecure, but if my security is found in Him then insecurity is not an issue.
It will keep you from doing what God has called you to do. You will have yourself convinced that you are not able to fulfill the call that is on your life. You will talk yourself out of every situation that God has called you to because you feel you are not worthy. Listen, the old saying is still true, "God does not called the equipped, He equips the called." If we could do it on our own, He would not get any of the glory.
It will keep you from having meaningful relationships. If you are constantly worried about what everyone around you thinks, you will not be able to build any authentic relationships in your life. If you are only worried about pleasing other people, then you will keep putting on different masks and acting different according to who you are hanging out with. The issue with trying to please people all the time is they become bigger than God in your life and sometimes even become God.
You loose the sense of uniqueness that God created in you. God wired each one of us as individuals. That is the neat thing about your life. When we start living as a crowd and like the crowd to please the crowd, we get away from God's plan and purpose for our lives.
You will not help facilitate other's dreams around you. You will constantly be worried about if they are going to be more popular than you, make a bigger impact than you, be more liked than you. You will never help other people reach their full potential.
I am looking for some good Youth Ministry Blogs. Anyone know of any? I keep up with about 30 blogs on a daily basis and only about 4 of the are Youth Pastors, so if you got the hook up - SHARE!Read More......