Monday, March 30, 2009

The Kingdom Of God is Real...I've seen it!

Two weeks ago where was I? I was distraught, frustrated, and sad, among many other things. The loss of a friend and brother in Christ was hard. Knowing the family and knowing they would have to live life much differently from this point forward. But that was two weeks ago, and I still am hurting, but something has changed.
This past Saturday we had the opportunity to be apart of Bryan’s memorial service, but how can 2 weeks ago we are all crying, but today we are celebrating a life well lived? We are celebrating a new start! We smile, laugh, and are filled with Joy. How can that be? I will tell you how, because we know the story isn’t over. We know death has no power over us. We know it doesn’t end here. You guys know what I am talking about…Heaven, the kingdom of God!! That’s how we can smile and feel joy after the passing of a friend or family member, because we know it doesn’t end here.
I never really thought about heaven. As a Christian I knew I wasn’t going to hell so I really didn’t think about heaven.
We just finished a 3 week series of the kingdom of heaven in main service and the first week I had the mind set like I always had. Oh heaven I glad I’m going there, but when Bryan passed heaven became more real to me then ever before.
Pastor Mark and Lee over the heaven series really said some good things that helped me paint a picture like I had never before see before.
So stay with me and see if heaven becomes real to you…

Matthew 13:44-46 the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

1st point The Kingdom involves a pursuit
a. When a man found it,
b. Is like a merchant looking for fine pearls
Look and you shall find! It really is that simple. It takes sooo much to not feel the presences of God!

2nd point is The Kingdom requires and exchange
A. transaction of significant cost. Sold all he had, and bought the field. Sold everything he had and bought it.
B. what is everything to you?
Sometimes asking the question what is everything to you is hard, but when this 3rd point comes into play what are you really giving up?

3rd point is the kingdom of heaven brings joy! A sense of happiness
Knowing there is something better then this life waiting for us. Knowing God died on the cross for our sins, and with that you should want to give up everything. What God has given us is far more valuable. In his JOY he went and sold all he had and bought it.

Funny way of the Hidden Treasure
I mean couldn’t you just see that man digging in his field…Then he says, “Wow, look what I have found!!!!” He brings all he has to the local bank the very shovel he used to dig up the treasure. “This is everything I have.” The banker says, “Uhhhh sir it doesn’t cost that much.” Can’t you see I am joyful, can’t you see I live differently?

Funny way of the Pearl
I mean couldn’t you just see the merchant coming into his bank and giving the very scuba gear and even the boat he used to find the pearl. “This is everything I have!”

The banker says, “Uhhh sir you just found that pearl you don’t need to sell all you have.”

The merchant says, “Can’t you see I am joyful, can’t you see I live differently?”

It’s a joy many people might not understand. He sells everything and goes back to the sea and lies on the beach enjoying the rays from the all mighty God, enjoying the nice breeze from Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit is pouring warm sand on his belly… In this new life he says, “Ahhh man my life is great, it’s changed but in the best way ahhhh.

A visitor comes, “Uhhh excuse me sir what are you doing? Where’s your boat? I thought you were a merchant?

“I am!” says the merchant, “Wanna see what I found!”

“Wow that’s awesome, that’s really really awesome!!!” says the visitor excitedly. He takes off running!

The merchant says, “Bro where are you going?”

“I am selling all I have, because I have seen the light! As he runs off in the distance you go back to living a life completely immersed in God’s will and then you feel a tap on your shoulder. “Uhh excuse me sir…”

Are you guys starting see it…I think soo. Watch this video, and listen to the words that Jason Upton wrote to this song My Beloved. Let heaven be real to you. Show people why you live a different life. Let them know God's loves is for all of us. I am reminded of this in 1st Timothy 2:4 That God’s desire is for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I cried so hard God; I begged my tears to wash me away. I tired so hard God; I hid away, in a dark dark place.

Today we had a prayer service for Bryan Barrow one of the students from our youth group. I didn’t know Bryan that well but his brother Eric was a good friend of mine back in high school at Shawnee Mission East. When I first heard the news of Bryan it didn’t really affect me, but when all of his friends came to the prayer service I just broke down. Eric Bryan’s older brother was a friend of mine and my heart goes out for him and his family today. I was trying to put myself in Eric’s shoes. What would it feel like to lose my younger brother? When I imagined it I just started crying, and I couldn’t stop.
We prayed for him and people came and people left. Tim asked me to lock the student center up so I waited around until all the kids left. Ty Walters was the last student out and he was a good friend of Bryan’s. I told him,” If there is anything I can do just give me a call.” But what really could I do. These situations seem so helpless. It hurts so bad losing someone you love.
Last week I was hanging with a student at chipotle he pulled out his learners permit. He just turned 14 and had started to drive. Another part that really got me crying about this whole thing is just how many kids as youth pastors we pour into, and we pour into them the most important way. We encourage them with their walk with God. I just started thinking of all the kids that have gotten their license recently and what could happen at a moment notice. I have seen so many kids grow up over the past 4 years at Hillcrest. So young, and their lives so fragile. I started going through names in my head. John, Brady, Jeff, Molly, Emma, Anna, Caroline, the list goes on forever. If any of those kids passed away the pain would be so unbearable I wouldn’t know what to do. I just couldn’t stop crying. We have such a hard calling, being apart of these kids lives day in and day out. Everything I do in a week is to show them that I will be there for them. I go to games, concerts, fundraisers, bible studies. I watch them grow up and everyday become more invested in there lives. What would I do if one passed away? I couldn’t stop crying.
I was watching the news tonight with my roommate. He looked over at me and said,” You know tonight it’s just a normal Saturday night for most, but for Bryan’s family there life has drastically changed.” So true isn’t, one day living life without a care in the world, and the next moment it’s gone.
I know this is a really sad post and rightfully so, but there is some good news. God has saved some of us, and though it is hard when one of our friends pass on there is some comfort in knowing they are in heaven. I will blog about that in a few days. Heaven and how we can have some peace knowing that there is a place for us beyond this life.
This video I took about 30 minutes after the prayer service. I was in a lot of pain. This was a little song I had written a while back, and seemed fitting to the situation and how so many of us feel from time to time. It was really hard, so bare with me.

He are all the words I say in the video. I was crying off and on, so it was hard to understand at parts:
Umm…Bryan Barrow passed away today. We just had a prayer service here at the student center. I knew Eric (Bryan’s Brother) pretty well when he was younger. It’s just a really difficult thing…death. But what helps is crying sometimes.

I cried so hard God, I begged my tears to wash me away.
I tried so hard God, I hid away in a dark dark place.
I cried so hard God, I begged my tears to wash me away.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One day I’ll fly…and that day I’ll say I told you so.

I recently visited Tim Ciccone’s blog and saw a video on wingsuit base jumping!! Check it out

After watching this video I had this unbelievable desire to do this. Ya I know what you are thinking. If you have been around me over the years I have turned down many different activities that are about a fraction of intense as this is. This sport is very dangerous and dangerous!! I even went to youtube typed in wingsuit base jumping crashes in hopes of deterring this weird desire to do this activity. I watched about 10 videos and afterwards I still wanted to do it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t like roller coasters, I have been skiing once, and never have been off a diving board, but I still want to do this.

I was so excited about this I started telling some people around me about it. Not one person thought I would. I got combinations of eyes rolling, and people saying, “You will never!” I will never! Who tells me how to live my life! Not you. God does. One of my favorite verses ever is that of John 10:10 “I come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.” When I showed my mom this video she said, “Why are people like that? Why can’t they just enjoy walking in a park and enjoy life through the nature God has given us?” I was a little frustrated that no one understood, but then I realized something. For some people that’s what works for them. God will bless their life through the simple things of life. They will have fulfillment in walking in the park, or a rollercoaster, or jumping off a diving board. They will have adventure and excitement, but it will be of the most basic kind. At least through my eyes and through these eyes I look at wingsuit base jumping and I feel freedom. A true sense of living life, and living it with abundance.

Again if you know me, which I am finding out that many people don’t :) I have a very logical mind. I think through most things in hopes understanding the situation, and this is no different. I have started doing research and have found out that it’s going to take a lot of work, so here is a bit of information for the people that might share this same desire to push life to the extreme:

Start off by becoming highly experienced and proficient at skydiving by acquiring AT LEAST several hundred jumps. You can then start learning how to fly wingsuits on normal skydives. You can also start doing regular BASE jumps (without wingsuits). Once you have about 50-100 wingsuit skydives and 50-100 regular BASE jumps, you can then start flying a wingsuit on BASE jumps. After you become HIGHLY proficient at wingsuit BASE (several hundred wingsuit BASE jumps), you can then maybe start trying to proximity fly like these guys. It's not a "just for the experience" or a "bucket-list" thing. It requires an investment of many thousands of dollars and a strong dedication for many years. You also have to keep in mind that it's one of the most dangerous activities, and that many of the greatest wingsuit BASE jumpers are already dead or will be dead within a matter of years. If you truly desire to do it, then go for it, but it's not something that you can just rush into.
I thought this person had a great perspective on the sport. Some of the best things in life take time and a dedication that few people have. I hope that this info has been helpful for you.

My first New Year resolution has been made, and will be my New Year resolution every year until I save the money to go to Norway or any where to start the process of wingsuit base jumping!! I have put a plastic container next to my bed and taped to the outside wingsuit base jumping. I have started putting money away in hopes of one day flying! Being closer to God then I have ever been! Seeing the world like I have never seen it! Living life to an abundance I have never know. One day I’ll fly…and that day I’ll say I told you so.