Posted in : about life/the Christian faith
Among the many choices that the American Evangelical Christian Church is going to have to make in the coming seasons in how we are going to handle/respond to cultural shifts that are, even now, thrusting themselves upon us 1, an important one standing out is the realization that as church-members, sometimes going OUT into the world and OUTSIDE of the walls of our church to lead people to the Truth and to the Love of Christ is just as valid as “inviting people to come to church”. I call it the MOBILITY of our Christian faith.
It’s sort of like how we use the Internet nowadays, contrasted with how we all used the Internet in previous times. Back when, whenever you wanted to use the Internet, you had to sit at a workstation like a Desktop-computer or a Laptop-computer, and then you could run browsers and programs to visit websites. Nowadays, to use the Internet, we have mobile devices that we carry around with us to access the Internet via browsers and apps. And what we are seeing more and more is that it’s becoming more and more of a thing that we use this mobile method to access the Internet. It’s just growing. Now, we realize that and we accept that. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that we just throw out or abandon the previous way of accessing the Internet—we don’t abandon the regular desktop-computers and workstations. They’re still just as important and valid, too, even with the advent of the mobile way of accessing the Internet.
It’s the same thing with our churches and being Christians in these times. There are certain assumptions by which all of us operate. We carry them with us in how we think, how we live our lives, and how we run our organizations. Therefore, one could say that our organizations operate by certain assumptions.
One of the assumptions always has been, “Hey, bring your friends and your family and your work associates and people with whom you encounter up here to church on Sunday mornings, and we’ll plug them in, lead them to Christ, and they’ll be saved.”
This is not a bad thing. Of course it’s a good thing. And it should continue to be done. And the church is a beautiful, unique institution into which we should all plug, as Christians.
But it seems like some churches nowadays largely forget or do not give enough attention to the MOBILITY—taking the Truths and the Love of Christ out into the world in whatever spheres we live our lives on a daily basis.
As a kid, I was privileged enough to attend a church that had one particular staff-member who recognized the importance of taking the Truths and the Love of Christ outside of our church walls on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights outward into the world for the other five days of the week. By taking one seemingly small action, this staff member drove this into our minds and our spirits as church members—and they did it in love:
In the parking lot outside of our church, whenever we would get into our vehicles and leave, this staff-member posted signs that all of us could not avoid seeing, every time we drove out of the parking lot. The signs read,
“You are now entering your mission-field.”
Every time we “left church”, that’s what we observed—“You are now entering your mission-field.”
Not only must we remember that there are “Missionaries” who have taken it upon themselves to uproot from the United States and travel to other nations in order to spread the Truths and Love of Jesus Christ, we must not forget that every last one of us are missionaries, in living our quote unquote “normal lives”, day-to-day. It makes no difference whether you’re an uprooted United States Christian citizen who has taken it upon themselves to move to Uganda or Southeast Asia or wherever, and live a new life among the natives, spreading the Truth and Love of Christ; or whether we stay in the United States and are just a quote unquote “normal family”, working a 9-to-5 job, balancing the demands of fast-paced American life, and attending a local regular American Evangelical New Testament Church.
EITHER WAY, if we call ourselves followers of Christ by confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts that Christ is Lord; we believe that the Person of God came to this earth in flesh in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ and was killed on a literal cross to serve as the propitiation and payment for the sins of mankind; then believe that this same Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead; and we have approached Him with an honest and pure-intentioned heart, and repented of our sins and asked Him to forgive us and live in our hearts and make us a disciple of Christ to become ever-fashioned to becoming like Christ, then we are all Christians and we are all missionaries 2.
With that in mind, this next thing is important to keep in mind, because, whether you think it’s stupid or not, and whether you even think it’s valid or not, there are people out there―people with whom you come into contact every day, normal run-of-the-mill Americans like yourself―who have maintained within themselves that they will *NEVER* step foot into a church.
Guess what? People don’t want to come to our churches because
– they think they know everything that a church or a pastor is going to tell them before the church or pastor says it,
– they believe they will not be welcomed,
– they believe, “I don’t need church people”,
– they hate the hypocrisy (some is perceived hypocrisy and some is real hypocrisy)―
– or some combination of these factors or other related factors.
Some of their criticisms on how American Evangelical Christians have behaved in coming off as “superior and self-righteous” are our fault as American Evangelical Christians―and that is wrong of us. Some of their criticisms are not our fault, and are not fair or accurate. There is no denying that as Evangelical Christians, yes, we do recognize certain absolute truths, and we will hold to them―as we should! We are right to do that! The world is too filled with wishy-washyness; and this lack of absolutes and a lack of limits kills us. So we MUST hold to certain Absolute Truths.
But within that, even though that’s true, we’ve got to realize that, as I said before, wrong-or-right, whether you think it’s stupid or not, whether you think it’s unfounded or not, there are people that will not step foot into an Evangelical Christian Church. And gee, the temptation may be to just say,
“Well gee, they had their chance to choose Christ, God doesn’t let anyone die without having a chance to accept the Truths of Christ in some way” 3 and just “shake the dust off our feet” 4 and shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh well” and throw up our hands and not care.
To that, I call into question that person’s faith in Christ. You should be so in love with Christ and convinced of His Truths that it pains your heart and breaks it for the people with whom you encounter, in your life, on a daily-basis—be it someone you only come across once, or whether it be a work-associate or colleague that you regularly encounter. The fact that you know that they are without Christ—that should bother you. And I’m suggesting a gut-check and spirit-check if it does not.
The reason I can so boldly—and some may say self-righteously—declare that one should perform a gut-check or spirit-check if they do not care about a lost person’s coming to the Love and the Truths of Christ is that I know how I feel:
Whenever I encounter people in my personal and professional life—I mean, WHEREVER—who I know are without Christ (again, be they a one-time encounter, or associates/colleagues/co-workers who I regularly encounter), my heart breaks for those who I know are living a dry life without the life-giving springs of the Truths and the Love of Christ.
It is not a shallow,
“Hey, I am bothered because another person does not believe like I believe”.
It is more than that. I can deal with people who do not believe in something I believe, someone who can contest my own beliefs with valid points, or are convinced of evidence in something that is the opposite of what I believe. I’m emotionally-solid and intellectually-honest enough to handle that.
It stays with me and it saddens me—for other peoples’ own sake—when they are not living a life empowered by the Love and True Life offered by God in the Name of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So here’s the smallest violin in the world, *starts playing with his fingers, imaginarily*
“Sad-story, Travis, this is all very fascinating, but what’s the point?”
My point is, let us recognize that our mission-field truly is everywhere—not only just around-the-world at quote unquote, third-world nations, or, nations with small Christian populations (Please, reader, do not be ignorant enough to somehow think I’m downplaying missionaries who pull up stake and move to such other nations for the cause of furthering the Truths and Love of Christ). Let us remember that our mission-field truly is everywhere, including here in our 9-to-5-jobs and fast-paced American lives, day-in-and-day-out.
And then to further drill down, let us realize that it is important to not only have church on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and with whatever other programs throughout the week that take place on-site at a church campus; but let us realize the importance of the MOBILITY of church—that we are to take church WITH US, outside of those campus-walls, outside of our church parking lots, into that place where the signs encouraged us, “You are now entering your mission-field.”
To give one example, I do part-time work as a Bartender. Now, certain denominations of the Christian faith have decided that if you’re within arms’ reach of an alcoholic beverage, well, then, you’ve got your one-way ticket-to-hell (I’m exaggerating, here, but you get the point). But as someone who believes in the MOBILITY of the Church and taking Christ with me wherever I go 5 , I actually have opportunities to share Christ, sometimes, with my co-workers and with my customers; and the point is, many of these people would never otherwise set foot in a church. How am I so bold in assuming they’ll never set foot in a church? Well, sometimes, THEY TELL ME THAT!
Yes, fellow-Christians, I am sorry to tell you something that may make you sad to hear; but yes, you have fellow-Americans out there who maintain, “I will never set foot inside a church.”
But guess what? Sometimes whenever I am able to talk about my faith in Christ, oftentimes I share an aspect of Christian faith, or a principle, that the person did not know. Sometimes they may know some things about knowing Christ or about being a Christian, but they may not know other things, and I am able to fill in the holes; like the guy in the New Testament who asked a question and had it explained to him 6 . You see, I never know how a principle I share with a co-worker or a customer may blossom and be watered by the Spirit of God; and, ultimately, spark such that, after some other circumstances or things happen in their life, it grows into that person’s accepting Christ one day; which could then lead to their sharing it within their entire life, in their mission-field—whatever mission-field that may be.
So continue to invite your friends, your family, your co-workers/acquaintances/colleagues, and sometimes even random strangers with whom you’ve had discussion to church. Bring them to church. Do it. But don’t forget that it’s just as valid—and perhaps in our times even more important—to have that MOBILITY with your Christian faith, too. Recognize it. Realize it. Do it. Are you taking the Truths and the Love of Christ with you, wherever you go, outside of your church walls? Whether you pull-up-stake and go to Uganda, Southeast Asia, or wherever else; or you faithfully work at your 9-to-5-job and just do your best to raise your family day-in-and-day-out, always remember that
YOU ARE NOW ENTERING YOUR MISSION-FIELD.
Travis J, MBA
Travis J Consulting, LLC
#mobile #mobility #mobilechurch #mobilefaith #church #God #faith #life #Jesus #JesusChrist #Christ #Americanchurch #Americanchurches #christian #christians #Americanchristian #Americanchristians #evangelical #evangelicals #evangelicalchristian #evangelicalchristians #evangelicalchurch #evangelicalchurches #missions #mission #ministry #ministries #missionary #missionaries #longtermmissions #shorttermmissions #longtermmission #shorttermmission #longtermmissionary #shorttermissionary #longtermmissionaries #shorttermmissionseries #blog #perfectlyincomplete #travisj
1 Side-note―I tend to think smaller churches are better, I really don’t get off on these super-churches or any single organization getting too big for its britches. When stuff gets too big, it gets out of hand. You can have all of the rules, laws, committees, people-of-character holding the reigns all you want. But the fact is, in whatever realm about which we’re speaking, when an entity gets too big, it becomes out-of-hand. It’s true, even for the Evangelical Christian Church, even though it may, on paper, be about John 14.6, which states, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” But locally-governed, small, American Evangelical New Testament churches should remain sovereign, and they (we) are going to have to make up its mind/our minds on cultural questions that are coming up, within our society. I’m talking about things that previous generations of American Evangelical Christians blink their eyes, rub their eyes, and express that, “I can’t believe I’d ever see the day where we’d actually have to discuss whether or not _____fill-in-the-blank______ is all right or not.”
Before I enrage any fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, please keep in mind that following Paul’s exhorting us in the New Testament in Romans, Thessalonians, and other spots; my words are meant always to *edify* the Body of Christ, including the words of this very piece of writing—both this primary blog post and these footnotes. That is, I’m hoping you see, my point is not to advocate for our, as Evangelical Christians, somehow trying to bend to fit “cultural changes” or “progressivism”―heaven forbid. The truth remains that Christ and God and His Ways exist in a way that is counter-culture to the ways of this world, and yes, as Christians, we have certain values and principles that are self-evident and that are absolute and unchanging.
But my point remains—as it always has been in my pieces of writing—let us not shrink from taking a position on things one way or another. Let us have discussion, let us have discourse. Let us have clarity. We cannot leave things, as the Toby Mac song says, “purposefully vague“. Let us address things, take ownership of our positions, and DO.
2 Romans 10.9; Romans 3.23; Romans 6.23; Matthew 28.19-20a
3 Romans 1.19-20, 2 Peter 3.9b
4 Matthew 10.14
5 Make Christ in everything on our list-of-things in our lives, not just “number one on our list of important things in life”; Colossians 1.16-17 doesn’t directly say this, but the principle expressed in Colossians 1.16-17 encourages me to live my life in this way.
6 Acts 8.30-31
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith,poems,stream of consciousness/random
A time of transition,
A time of respite―
When all’s going well,
Seems it’s not going right.
Lost and confused―
Yet ready to go―
It’s all just because
I don’t know that I know.
One day it’s up and
It’s all going well.
Some days it feels like
Being quite dragged through hell.
First things are up,
Next thing I know, they’re down―
Sick to death of being
Mentally tossed around.
At the end of the day
When I’ve battled and fought,
“Is it all a big waste,” My mind haunts,
“Just for naught?”
Will it be this?
Will it be that?
Demanding my way―
Like a common spoiled brat.
The only repose―
Only rest for my soul―
The remedy for where
In my chest there’s a hole,
Is to sleep and remember,
To stop and to rest,
Things I cannot control
Default to Jesus.
―Travis J, MBA
June 20, 2015
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith
Just wanted to briefly admonish all of the parents out there to fearlessly talk with your children about any and all topics of life. Because, here’s the deal: while you may be afraid to bring up certain topics, you can rest assured that your child(ren) will come across people who are all too happy to “educate” your child about certain things. That bank and credit card company and lender will be all too happy to get your child wrapped up in debt. That TV show series on NetFlix will be all too happy to fill your child’s head with opinions and attitudes about sex. That person with whom they go to school or go to work will be all too happy to “set them straight” on any number of things in life. Make sure you beat them to the punch.
We’ll limit the topic of this blog post to talking about sex; but the truth is, this can be applied to any other important areas of life about which your children *desperately* need your counsel―whether or not they ask for your counsel or even are aware, themselves, that they need your counsel! You can use these same principles to talk with your children about money, the realities and effects of drugs, health and medical things like staying in shape, relationships―any number of things. But like I say, we’ll limit it to how you talk to your child about sex, here, just because, let’s face it―sometimes it’s difficult to address sexual topics with your children.
If you are afraid to talk about sex with your child, there are people who *WILL* talk (and probably already are talking) about sex with your child. It doesn’t MATTER if your parents were afraid to talk to you about it, and therefore, you’re afraid to bring it up with your child―that’s not good enough. You cannot afford to sweep it under the rug and ignore it and just “hope they make good decisions”.
And if it’s the CONTENT of what you have to say that hinders you from having conversation―well, yes, honestly, you *should* be worried about saying the right things. You might think: “Well, what do I say? I don’t know if I know everything myself? I’m scared I might say the wrong thing or not say the right thing.” Do not let the FEAR of “saying the wrong things” cause you to NOT have the conversation at all. Because here’s the deal, two things: First, even if you don’t “say all the right things” or even if you’re not 100%-educated YOURSELF, the very fact that you were *willing* to talk about it with your child lets them know that it is OK for them to talk with you about such things. “Well of COURSE my child can talk to me about anything! They know that!?” Do they really know that? How will they know that it is OK for them to talk to you about anything if you have not started a discussion for real, and also told them straight-up that it is OK for them to talk to you about “any of this stuff”? Second, honestly, the sexual innuendos your child hears on a daily―DAILY basis―in school, at work, while they’re on social media, when they listen to songs and watch movies, yeah, some of these innuendos are hard to catch. Maybe sometimes you have “kind of” an understanding about a certain trend or phrase these kids throw around nowadays, but you need to fully know what it means; well, you see, the Internet is a powerful thing. Remember when you thought, “I wonder what ‘yolo’ means? These kids say it all the time or they post it all the time on facebook.” Maybe you still don’t know what “yolo” means. Maybe you’re still trying to figure out what “hashtag” means, and trying to make heads or tails out of what putting a pound-sign ” # ” in front of words means. Maybe. By the way, don’t worry―”yolo” isn’t specifically sexual in nature. I mean, it could be used a basis by which to make sexual decisions, but I digress. The point is, a simple Google search of “What does ‘this-and-this’ mean?” Where you plug in whatever you see as a trend or innuendo of some sort in place of that “this-and-this” I said, or you type in some sort of phrase or topic about which you see kids talking or posting online that is suspicious about which you see your kids doing or saying will give you all you need to know. Go to Google and type in “What does ‘yolo’ mean’?” Google will spit out results, and you can click those various links and get educated in about 5.7 seconds about what a certain thing means. Another good reference is a place called “Urban Dictionary” www.urbandictionary.com . So when you don’t know what a certain thing or phrase or mindset that “These kids nowadays” are talking about is, use these two resources―Google and Urban Dictionary, or any others you deem necessary―and get informed. Then, upon your understanding what something means, if you think it’s worth educating your child or having a conversation with your child, then do it. When you understand, yourself, what a certain innuendo or phrase or mindset is, you can then compare that with your own knowledge and experience in life, and then be in the best position possible to integrate this with your child in a way that educates them in a REAL way. If you don’t, someone else WILL (or is already). Don’t be fooled―some of these sexual things are pretty grotesque or just, really DETAILED; and it’s going to be up to you to be open-minded to handle even the DEFINITION of what some sexual things are, about which kids are talking. But if you can keep a cool head, and bring it up in a way that resonates with your child specifically in how they talk about things, they’ll be better for it.
And by the way―when I am saying “having the conversation” or “talking about sex”, I’m not necessarily talking about simply the “birds and the bees” speech. Certainly that conversation must happen, but it should not be the only time you discuss such matters; nor should you think, “Well, we talked about the ‘birds and the bees’, that about covers it” and blissfully-and-ignorantly think “Checkmark―done, I did it! My kids are fine now, we had ‘the talk’.” No. That’s not good enough. That “birds and the bees” speech should, quite honestly, be the first of many times that you discuss sexual matters with your children. Now I don’t mean just talk about sex all the time *just because*. That *would* get a little weird, both for parent and child. But what I am saying is that when you hear your child say something; when you see them post something on facebook or Instagram, or tweet something; or when you see them do something related to all of this and you see a chance to educate them or point their minds in the right direction, you think, “Maybe this is an opportunity to educate them in the right way” about something. Whenever you come across a new trend in the media, or just some new phrase, or whatever, that you are suspicious is sexual in nature or you KNOW is sexual in nature―there’s another chance for education. Whenever you see a facebook post, or hear your child and their friends talking, or see a tweet, or you see a TV commercial with something you think may be a sexual innuendo―take the time to research what this thing is, what it means, what it is from, and if it is a sexual thing about which you want to make sure your child is talking or thinking about in the right way, then talk with them! Please know, this doesn’t mean that every time you want to talk with them, you have to create this super-formal time where you both sit down, and you preface some super-parent speech with, “Now little Timmy, I think we need to have a talk about something.” Because if you haven’t figured it out by now, your child responds best when you are REAL with them and when you talk with them in a way that is best for THEM SPECIFICALLY. So you may even just mention in passing the corrective behavior, or the piece of education or correct mindset you want to speak into your child’s life about the sexual topic in question. Could be you mention it and have a talk with them while you’re both riding in a vehicle and you just want to speak on it; could be you mention it and have a talk with them when you’re already texting and having a conversation over text with your child and you just want to go ahead and take a moment to type out a well thought-out text to educate them. However the opportunity presents itself and however you think your child will receive it, understand it, and respond to it―do THAT. Yeah, that means you gotta know your kid. The over-sexualization of our culture will never leave you wanting for many opportunities to educate your child in the “right way” to think about things. And again, if you’re worried that maybe YOU don’t even understand everything, so much that you’re afraid that you won’t “say the right thing” or educate your child properly because maybe even YOU don’t understand the sexual innuendo or whatever completely is, check out the paragraph above where I talk about the “content” of what to say (paragraph four of this piece of writing).
Now certainly, you want the best for your child, in life, don’t you? While you want to make sure you control the education about a certain topic simply because you want to inform your child, protect your child, and give them a sense about how to correctly think about things, you must also find a way to face the truth that, ultimately, your child *will* have to make certain decisions on their own. Your child is developing into, and is, an individual. As individuals with the ability to reason on their own in a cause-and-effect way, they have their own mindsets, their own opinions, their own philosophies, their own psychology and way of making sense of things in this life. And it is from such workings of the mind that they will base their actions. So I write this last paragraph to simply offer a perspective that, at the end of the day, your child *WILL* make their own decisions. They simply will. You cannot control them forever. What will grant you the most peace in the long-run is that you took the time and the effort to instruct them, and you did so with a loving heart. Not only will you be at peace, but your child will be better-equipped to choose a better life for themselves. You equip them, and it is up to them to use it or not.
―Travis J, MBA
May 26th, 2014
P.S. This piece of writing is largely (but not completely) inspired by how my father raised me. He always made it known to us, as his children, that we have the freedom to come talk to him about anything. He wasn’t afraid to have conversations when topics presented themselves. He fell short in some ways, and the thoughts in this blog post are ways I think would have helped me a little more. My dad did a GREAT job―particularly because HE received little instruction from his own parents―but he could have done even better. This piece of writing is largely influenced by my own observations of society and relationships nowadays, and in my own relation with my father about how he discussed with and educated me.
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith
Yeah, I don’t really know and don’t really care what “the rules” are for posting New Year’s Resolutions, but some of these Resolutions are last year’s Resolutions too. The Resolutions that I am re-posting are ones that I somewhat *did* accomplish, but at which I still need to work. Some of these Resolutions are brand-new for 2014, though.
Like I said last year (you can click here to see last year’s: http://ktravisj.com/blog/perfectlyincomplete/?p=1791 ) , it’s better for all of us, as people, to make it a daily goal to meet goals–both long-term goals and short-term goals. While I still believe it is best to better yourself *all* throughout the year rather than just CLAIM to do it one day of the year, I *do* wanna post some things on which I want to work, this next year, for 2014.
Here are this year’s Resolutions in no particular order:
1 ) Stop looking at myself in terms of *anything* external; just be at peace with existing
2) Allow myself to be loved
3 ) Revert back to a more eternal and Kingdom-of-God-through-Jesus-Christ way of thinking, living, and decision-making
4 ) Continue to get better at resting and “doing nothing” sometimes
5 ) Continue to live more “in the moment” by not always keep looking ahead to incessantly see, handle, meet, prepare for “the next thing”, the “next”, the “next”, the “next”…
6 ) Clean up my language
7 ) Continue to remain true to myself personally and professionally, do not not take as much BS from people personally and professionally, and don’t sell out personally or professionally
8 ) Call, text, or message a random friend/family member/acquaintance more often, just to honestly see how they are doing
9 ) Purchase and start living in my own house
10 ) Get 100% caught up in reading all of my design books
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith,stream of consciousness/random
“Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.”
There’s something to be said for the Lord’s revealing things to you, yes. But there is ALSO something to be said for being a person who takes it upon himself to take a PROACTIVE approach at FINDING OUT God and His ways.
See, the moment your mind “gets it” and you at least BEGIN to understand God’s ways–much like a BABY’s learning about growing up–you begin to think, you begin to feel, you begin to operate, you begin to love on a higher level. And when I say “higher”, I don’t mean in the sense of being “ABOVE” anyone else. The fact remains–literally every one of us on this earth are in the same boat. But you begin to simply operate on a whole ‘nother level.
So don’t just “try to do good”, don’t just “try to be a good person”, don’t just memorize commandments or rules–God’s OR Man-made ones–don’t just simply “try to live by them”. Learn Who Christ IS, and your acting like Him will happen NATURALLY. It will be an outgrowth and just be who you ARE, you won’t HAVE to “try to be better person” because it begins to happen naturally more and more as you continually learn and understand HOW He is.
But it takes your learning about Him–it takes your own efforts of trying to find out Who He is. “Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5.10). It *will* change your life. It *WILL*. “Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.”
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith,stream of consciousness/random
Don’t lock yourself into this pessimism in which the media–left-wing OR right-wing–tries to tell you the country is being stifled and, by extension, *you* are being stifled from ever having a chance at the “American dream”. Rise above it. Make your own rules.
And it was funny to hear Rush, in the following, today, because I’ve been thinking about this myself, lately. You know, you can use the bad economy and tough times as an EXCUSE and just drop your head and complain and whine and moan how “times is hard, times is hard”; *OR* you can figure out a creative way to follow your dreams, make money off of it, thereby choosing NOT to be part of the sluggish economy. YOU have that freedom. YOU have that right.
(This is all a paraphrase)
“[Rush Limbaugh, to a young 18-year-old caller today]: And what do you tell your young friends/peers who are these people that have given up on believing that they can attain the American dream nowadays because the economy is so bad?”
“[18-year-old caller]: I try to articulate the message clearly and plainly that they actually CAN go out and work hard and great things can happen…America was once a great country and it still can be..that’s how things got to be as good as they WERE, it was people’s being creative, following their dreams..”
“[Rush]: Have you told them that they do not have to PARTICIPATE in this economic recession, etc.?”
I am living this out in my own life NOW. I run and operate my own company. I make money with it. My company is an extension of my own talents, my passions, what I enjoy doing, etc. Because I am growing it on my own, I have a second job in which I “moonlight” in order to make extra money while I grow my primary company. This means I have to work a couple of jobs, but you know what? The payoff is tremendous. I am in the process of positioning myself such that while I certainly am not 100% exempt from economic conditions, I have the sovereignty to do whatever it is I want, no matter what slack-jawed journalists, politicians, and crony-capitalist types TELL me I have to do or tell me how bad-off my nation and my life are now, or how bad-off my nation and my life will be in the future. That option is empowering.
Find a way. Be creative. Make it happen. Ask questions. Monetize your talent. You wanna wake up one day when you’re old and wonder what would’ve happen if you DID..? Or wouldn’t you rather try for sure?
Posted in : poems
Morning’s security always made sense;
Start out at the school, a normal day—
Have some work, learn some things—
But now a change is underway:
The chill on my bones
From the morning’s breeze,
Stands for my new life—
A shift taken not with much ease.
Now not at the school,
But hospital room instead;
The mem’ries and laughter,
They streak through my head.
A new dawn has arrived,
The old’s no longer there—
A time exists, now, where he can’t
Be seen anywhere.
I’ve no time to ask,
I’ve no time to think,
The ball in my throat
Has no time to sink.
What is this new way?
He’s not anywhere;
Unknown, and perhaps,
Too much for to bear?
They beckon and call;
While family relentlessly
Fills up the hall.
Outside tells a story—
The new one to begin—
Where the coldness and mystery
Sit eternally within.
Posted in : poems
I feel like the mem’ries are back in my head,
They’re pushed way back and I thought they were dead:
Breathless nights after days where all I did was push,
I scurried around—existence was mush.
So much to do and to keep lookin into—
“This happens to other people, but, no, really, us too..?”
You go and you do, read as much as you can,
You ask, wait, and hope—and all this you can’t stand.
When the day’s over you breathe once and it’s the end;
Then soon you wake up, just to do it again.
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith
(it ended up that we discussed some of these points, and not others, and that is by design; it’s because I don’t necessarily follow outlines that I make; if the conversation or Lord leads us in another way, and it is in a way that diverts from the lesson outline, then so be it ^_^ )
January 20th, 2013
Sunday School Class
Watermark Class Lesson 1-20-2013
1) FROM WHENCE comes this strength, confidence, assurance of knowing Christ
and His ways
– The nature of this strength, confidence, assurance
i) Esther 6.1-14
ii) (summarize a context of book of Esther up to chapter 6)
iii) (read )
iv) Discuss particularly verse Esther 6.13b .
v) It is not just the fact that they say, “It’s cuz he’s a Jew and you’re in TROUBLE HAMAN~” Now is true that at this point in historical time, God would do supernatural things, and then other races and other people groups around the Jews would every so often hear that is was the Jews, and it was these HEBREWS’ God that was taking care of them and doing supernatural thing.
– But it goes beyond that. It’s the fact that Mordecai was acting out of a faith in God. He could take confidence in that. And even people that were dead-set against him recognized that Mordecai was set apart.
i) People realize us as set apart—which, that’s another lesson for another time. The fact that as Christians, we truly are (or should be) a light to the world—a salt to this world as Romans 13.1-5 says.
ii) We can take strength in this confidence—that is the essence of today’s thoughts in this Sunday School class.
– Quite simply—it comes from God, and it is available to us
2) THAT we should have strength, confidence, assurance in taking on the
ways of God. We do NOT have to be doormats to the people of the world. While it is true Jesus Christ taught us different virtues like “turning the other cheek” when someone does you wrong (Matthew 5.39), or “loving and praying for your enemy as yourself” (Matthew 5.44). There *ARE* certain verses in the Bible to tell us to take heart, and to be strong. One about which we’ll talk below, is the one that says “quit ye like men—be STRONG!” Another one is Matthew 10.16, which tells us to be “Shrewd as serpents, yet innocent as doves”. Many of us have gone through things in our lives where we are, how you say “educated” in some of the uglier, terrible, and perverted things of this world. It is not a sin to be aware of these things. Certainly, as (in the world not OF the world), it is a sin to take part in such things; but I would hesitate to say that it would be a sin to DENY that there ARE certain evils in the world. There’s nothing wrong with being aware of these evils. And then guess what—CONQUERING them. Rising above them. Warning other people about them; not being naive about them. Not by us—not by our own power. But by the power of the Holy Spirit. And it is a power and a strength in which we should take GREAT confidence.
– Romans 2.7 – “continuance in well-doing”
This is somewhat where it gets tough. Many of us who have made the decision to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior did it in within the midst of a certain struggle through which we were going. Now that’s not *ALWAYS* the case, but it is sometimes. When your first get to know God through Jesus Christ, you take on a certain DIFFERENT outlook on life, on the people around you. You develop a bit more of a patience, a level of understanding, and sensitivity to people around you. Now, obviously, I’m a big believer in the fact that we are all wired DIFFERENTLY—some of us are more sensitive than others, that’s understandable. But the point is, when you first start to know Christ, you are sort of on a bit of a HIGH. It’s right. It is good. Your senses feel better, you begin to take on the outlook of Christ as we see Him and His actions and His honest and unconditional care for others, in the Bible. But over time, we lose this. We must remain steady. We must remember that there is great STRENGTH in living with this higher sense of love for your fellow man—this UNCONDITIONAL love for your fellow man. And here is something not a lot of teachers will tell you: it’s something that gets EASIER over time. As you practice this over time, you being develop a second NATURE to love other people and put their needs ahead of your own.
– Romans 8.28 – “God causes all things to work together for GOOD for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purposes.”
Those of us in here can think of examples in our lives where we can think of things that seemed terrible, some things that seemed neutral—yet when we came through them on the other side, we can see how they brought us to God, or they taught us something about God or ourselves. And we know that God is involved in an everlasting effort of drawing us to Himself, from the moment that we seriously, consciously, and purposely make the decision. That is how it seems so asinine and people think so oddly of Christians whenever we can come through terrible tragedies, but yet thank God THROUGH those things. We SEE how they instructed us and brought us closer to God through those things, in different ways. To me, this is a STRENGTH that we carry with us in this world, AGAINST the world. That is something that often encourages me.
– 1 Corinthians 16.13 – “Quit you like men, be strong!”
This is pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes, in the end, we know that we know that we know what is the RIGHT thing to do is. Yet we doubt ourselves. Or, God forbid, we become a little bit lazy. Some of us were born and raised in more sheltered worlds than others. Maybe some of us came from INCREDIBLY difficult circumstances, compared to others; maybe some of us simply went THROUGH some difficult circumstances, compared to other people. Maybe we put it off. Maybe we’re not so convinced that spiritual things aren’t all that important right now, and we’ll “handle it later”. Really? I submit that in some cases, Spiritual things are of the UTMOST importance, in life. I submit to you that this can be true of the initial act of Salvation with Jesus Christ, but then also as He continues to shape and mold us to become more like Him in the process of discipleship, in our lives, from here on out—which BECOMES our calling as His children, once we accept Him as our Savior, individually. Let us cast down the hindrances that entangle us, like Hebrews 12.1 says. Let us seize the moment and be strong. Again, not to boast in our own strength—not to “solve our own problems and call ourselves self-made men and self-made women”—but for the glory of God.
Posted in : about life/the Christian faith
Yeah, I don’t know and don’t care what “the rules” are for this type of thing, but some of these resolutions are last year’s too. Looks like I failed some, eh? Some of them I actually *did* accomplish, and some of them are ones at which I *did* fail–and some of them are sorta in-between.
Like I said last year (you can click here to see last year’s: http://ktravisj.com/blog/perfectlyincomplete/?p=1537), it’s better to make it a daily goal to meet goals–both long and short-term goals. While I still believe it is best to better yourself *all* throughout the year rather than just CLAIM to do it one day of the year, I *do* wanna post some things on which I want to work, this next year.
Here are this year’s:
1 ) Get better at resting and “doing nothing” sometimes
2 ) Live more “in the moment” by not always keep looking ahead to incessantly see, handle, meet, prepare for “the next thing”, the “next”, the “next”, the “next”…
3 ) Be more open about my shortcomings (like my inability to do very much home-repair type of things, or mechanical-related things; among other things at which I fail)
4 ) Love, and ALLOW myself to be loved, both
5 ) Don’t take as much BS from people–personally or professionally
6 ) Don’t second-guess myself
7 ) Clean up my language
8 ) Remain true to myself and don’t sell out–personally or professionally
9 ) Remain humble and remember that the Lord God has played a huge part in causing my circumstances and my environment to give me the opportunities to use my free will to get where I am and attain the things I have; it’s been a combination of both Him and His influence, and then also my utilizing my resources well. It is both. It is not only me.
10 ) Call, text, or message a random friend/family member/acquaintance more often, just to honestly see how they are doing