Monday, February 28, 2011

Being purposeful

I posted this last night, but I really want feed back on it, so this is todays post too!

So I've been thinking about everything, and it's time to very purposefully structure my life. I hate feeling like I'm just stuck at school, so I want to do things that allow me to focus on bettering myself. So here are some things i've got-

1.Have planned time with people I look up to:
I already have a scheduled time with Jon every other week, but let's face it, I need at least weekly guidance, and getting advice from different kinds of people sounds great. So i'm asking people to meet with me.

2. Schedule more time with God: I've read my Bible every day for the past like two years, but its not always enough. I want to spend time alone worshipping and praising God deeply every day.

3.Read more: FACT- good leaders read a lot. enough said.

4. Nap less: simply because this way i'll have more time to do stuff.

5. Go to sleep at eleven every night: This probably isn't realistic.

6. Less t.v.!!!!: I write this as I watch the Bachelor... but still..... more time for other things

That's all I have for now, i'm working on my list. I need help! Anyone else have ideas to better organize my life?

I'm straight up confuzzled

I had a really stinkin bad panic attack last night. I can't even really understand why, but it was terrible. I mean, it's definitely because I feel like something needs to change. I feel like I need to become more of a leader, but at the same time I need to be lead. It's a tricky thing. And God wants me to do something new, but I don't know what, because I have always been offered opportunities by God through people, and even though I feel like something needs to change, none of those opportunities are coming.

And it's not like i'm sad or anything. Heck, like i've already said, I loved this weekend. I'm just lost and a little directionless right now, because I don't know what to DO.

Also, i've been worrying a lot lately that I will never we able to be who I need to be to be able to be successful. It's a funny fear, I know, but I always feel like i'm destined to mess something up. And I would love for someone to teach me how to be successful, how to get a good job and balance all the pieces of my life, but no one can do that. So I get frustrated, because i'm trying really hard to do this right, but it feels like i'm always screwing up.

Anyway, I texted my top 5 last night and asked for affirmation. Some of them gave me pretty good stuff, one called, and I talked to one for a while on facebook. Thanks guys, I was frustrated. I still am, but ya just gotta push through.

Jeff reminded me how God uses the messed up people all the time in the Bible. Last night he told me to read Phillipians 4:13-
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I keep repeating that to myself today. I just need to get through this week, and then its spring break. Then I can think things through. Ha.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Camp Blues

I just had a super random panic attack. I couldn't breathe or think, and I had to go into a dark room and lay down hahaha. It's because at the Men's Retreat, the bottom of my computer got melted. I know, crazy right? And now it makes this really loud whirring sound, and i'm afraid i'm going to have to buy a new one.... (I can't afford a new one).

But really, I think i'm kinda just panicky and worried now that this weekend is done. It was amazing, and pretty perfect, but i've been looking forward to it for a long time and now that it's done it's like... now what.

Now I have to go back to school, do homework, sit in boring classes, and go to boring work. I'm really bad at the mundane stuff. And God started doing all these crazy things in me this weekend, and it sucks that I have to go back to regular life and figure out what He's trying to say while dealing with all this other stuff. It's like post- camp blues hahahaha.

But I think about this weekend, and everything that happened, and I feel this weird disconnect between me and people I usually talk to about this stuff- Roy, Jeramy, I don't know....
I think i'm still feeling it and figuring it out. It's good though, i'm just not ready for life yet.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.....
please pray for me. Something's gotta change. I'm not even sad or whatever, I just feel this tension, like somethings about to snap, but in a good way hahahaha. YUP. SLATER.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What a weekend

Man, this weekend is great. I got to spend a day and a half with Jeff, just soaking up some guidance and wisdom and (spiritual) rest, and now i'm in Duluth, where I got to see God move in my student's lives.... really, REALLY move.

This morning I talked to Jeff honestly about how him leaving made me feel. I was praying and God's just like- you gotta let him know. So I did, and even in just telling him how it hurt it's like a big weight came off my shoulders. I'm getting closer and closer to being healed in this area of my life. It's awesome. So yeah, at the Men's retreat God really broke me open and helped me notice His active presence again.

Then I drove to Duluth, and went to a really nasty water park hahaha. It was awesome hanging out with my guys, I love them so much. We had a night service then, and Roy talked about how we had to give our all to God. All of the kids got down on their knees and prayed and worshiped God. It was amazing to feel God's spirit moving and see these kids responding so readily. It was beautiful.

And it touched me deeply. I don't know what God has planned for me yet, but I know i'm open to it. I would love to talk to someone about it right now, but maybe it's not the time. It's like I feel that mixture of joy and sacred sorrow. Maybe it's peace, maybe i'm just tired.

But I know God is moving.

Thank you God, thank you Jeff, and thank you Roy for making this awesome event happen.

I am so stinkin calm.
For now.

Friday, February 25, 2011


So, today I went to a Men's Retreat with Jeff Wendt- it was freakin awesome. I'm so glad I went with him. I really, really appreciate being able to spend time with this guy, especially since he left Oakhills. It was a great day. We met this Special Force officer. He killed a guy, so that's cool hahaha.

But at the service tonight, me and God had a really sweet conversation. He told me that it was time for me to go. I have no clue what that means or what that looks like, but I got that kind of fresh, Spirity feeling about it. He also told me that He still had a little bit of healing for me to go through before something happened. I don't know what that means either....

But what i'm basically getting at is that I have realized, through conversations and stuff, that it's pretty much time fro me to stop thinking and worrying about stuff, and just let God DO. Haha- I have spent an incredibly long time working on myself pretty diligently- sometimes feeling good about it, sometimes feeling bad about it- but i've started losing the joy and excitement of God.


I think it's time for me to reclaim my summer spirit- to reclaim my passion and hunger for serving and just letting God do what He wants with me. This whole thing is super vague, but I feel like things are moving again, and i'm super excited about it.

Anyway, i'm super happy that I came with Jeff. He's my hero for sure, and he's just stinkin awesome at what he does.
Tomorrow i'm going to Duluth for the youth retreat.. it's gonna be great.


Thursday, February 24, 2011


I like early weekends. This one is going to be super because, through a weird series of events, I get to see Jeff speak at a men's retreat THEN go to my youth groups winter retreat. I'm pretty freakin' excited. Like, really really REALLY excited.

Today I had a meeting with Roy about moneys and stuff. It was pretty cool. He helped me decide whether or not I should go with Jeff.
It was during this meeting that I realized how much I respect Roy. I know i've talked about how I believe in him and stuff, but it was only today that I realized how much I respect him. It turns out he's super smart about some stuff, and has really great insight into how stuff works. We talked about how he thought it was a good idea that I go take other internships at other churches. It's funny because i've know this guy for six months tops, but I already really value his input.

It's weird, because he will probably read this, but I really value the kind of relationship Roy and I have. I was talking to a lady who works at the church today, and I told her that I love that Roy can be a friend whereas Jeff was like a father figure.

I don't know where i'm going with this, but I do know that Roy is one more reason I want to stay at Fusion. He's going to do amazing things there, and I would love to see it. I love this guy, I love every tonic water-drinking, nerd-talking part of him.

The End.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What i've learned: I'm not THAT important

Tonight was youth group night. It was super super great. Roy did a great job with the message (which was right up my alley), worship was awesome, everything worked perfectly.
And during small group, my co-leader Ben led, and he did super. I didn't even have to tell him to lead, he just did it, and the guys responded really well.

That's when I realized I was not needed there.

Now, I won't say that i'm not useful at my church, or that i'm not wanted. I am both useful and wanted. But I am definitely not needed. Tonight was a very good reminder that there are tons of passionate people out there who can do what I do, maybe even better. It reminds me that my participation in Fusion is a gift, that i'm not indespensible at all.

I talked to Roy afterwards about not having enough money for the retreat this weekend, and that if it was too much money to get me there, I didn't have to go. He just said "ok".

What was I expecting? For him to say,"no Jon, you have to go, we need you!" That is ridiculous, and I was being very selfish in assuming that I was that important.

I don't know what i'm trying to say.... just that I know that i'm not integral to Fusion's ministry. I'm just a piece of the machine- and a small one at that. I guess I should be grateful for what God has given me- grateful and not stupid. It is an honor to serve with the other leaders at Fusion, and under a guy like Roy. It is an honor and nothing more.

Also, looking at Ben lead tonight- it made me realize that Fusion would go on just fine without me. Kind of crazy to think about. Crazy, but true.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What i've learned: Resolution is rare

Do you ever think about what makes your favorite t.v. show so great? Is it the insane plot lines, the incredible characters, the fact that it's so much more interesting than our own lives?

Personally, I think it's the fact that in every episode, at the end of every season, and at the end of the series, you can always count on resolution. You can count on the fact that the bad guy will get what they deserve, that the "big fight" will come to an end, that the son will have a heart-to -heart with his dad, that there will be one last "hoorah", and that that one ever changing relationship will finally be able to be clearly defined.

We thrive on resolution. Something about Locke finally dying, about Michael getting back together with Holly, and Rachel opening the door and saying "I got off the plane". We love it.

We love the idea that in our own lives, there will inevitably be a time where we will have an opportunity to put it all on the table, to spell out how much we love someone, how much we care, how much someone has impacted us, or how much someone has hurt us. We like to believe that it is never too late to show our feelings, that it is never too late to make it right, that resolution is inevitable in our lives.

We want to believe that there will be an end to the "season" where everything will fall into place.

But that's not how life works. All too often that girl you've been falling for chooses a different guy, that person you've been mad at forgets who you even are, the dream that you've been waiting to turn into reality never does, the hero that you thought you needed in your life leaves without a second thought- and there is no resolution. You are left to sit there and wonder why things like this happen, why did it all turn out like this, why did that relationship start in "episode 15" only for it to end in "episode 17"? What's the point of it all?

I'm not really sure yet. I don't understand why resolution is so rare, yet so vital. All I know is that there are a lot of places in my life where I wish there was more resolution. And I can say that God knows the purpose of everything, which is true, but does that always help us who are floundering through life, waiting for something extraordinary to happen?
Maybe what really counts in life is what we do when there is no resolution- how we forgive, and how we move on. I don't know.

All I know is that in real life, Rachel would have flown straight to Paris and left Ross behind.

Because people leave each other all the time. Only on t.v. does any kind of relationship last forever.
I think that part of growing up is accepting that. But it's a hard part.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jon Sanchez: The Tale of Two Fools

This is a guest post. Crazy right? My good friend Jon Sanchez decided to weigh in on what's been going on in his life. And it's an awesome post! Very honest, and very true. I love this guy, and i'm super proud of him, for what it's worth. Listen to his wisdom!

(Also, of you want to guest post, just let me know!)

I’m not a great conversationalist. Especially when I feel like I have to perform, have an answer, or achieve some standard—when I’m feeling evaluated. In those situations I start to get a bit nervous, and the nerves make me stammer a bit or stumble over my words as I nervously try to loose them from my lips. I mean, I’ve always been that way, so it doesn’t really bother me, but sometimes it can certainly make me come across more nervous than I really am, or even lacking confidence in myself or what I am saying. I think in most situations I’m about as anxious as any other fella’, it’s just far more detectable.

Why am I telling you this? Because people have been evaluating me lately, and as I begin feeling evaluated and assessed my anxiety begins to show (even if I requested the evaluation); I am perceived as nervous, unconfident, and lacking; then I feel even more inadequate, especially when I misconstrue “constructive criticism” as just plain ‘ol criticism; that leads to more nerves, more outside scrutiny, more assessment, more misperception, and finally more nerves.

Now, the really scary thing is that we’re talking about perceptions here. I mean, rarely are perceptions absolutely true, but they literally define you! That’s what really bugged me, the incongruence of it all. Perceive as incapable if I’m truly incapable and I’m okay with it, but don’t perceive me as incapable simply because of my lack of experience, confidence, or ability! See, ability and capability are two different things; capability accounts for potential, ability does not. And then what about confidence; what is confidence anyways? After all, the word “con”—to swindle—is literally rooted in the word “confidence.”

So what do these perceptions indicate about me, and about the very things for which I have these feelings of inadequacy? I mean, if I feel inadequate based on a legitimate omission of some required ability to accomplish this stuff, can I do it? And, isn’t self-confidence necessary for me to lead others; who’s going to follow a fool that mumbles and really doesn’t even have the ability to do…whatever?

No one.

At least that’s what I had thought I was hearing in the comments, good-intentioned as they were, I had received from different people about my timidity, about my lack of confidence, about my nervousness and anxiety, and ultimately about my leadership. To be honest I was sick of hearing it, really sick!

And of course, there was one more person, or should I say three, that still had to weigh in on the topic, but it was done in a different manner—one that was subtle and gentle, and probably would have gone completely unnoticed if I hadn’t been made so vulnerable thanks to all the recent and sometimes unwelcome commentary.

Anyway, it went something like this:

"...'His letters are brawny and potent, but in person he’s a weakling and mumbles when he talks.'" a Corinthian, speaking of the Apostle Paul (2 Cor 10:9-11 MSG).

"…It’s true that I don’t have their voice, haven’t mastered the smooth eloquence that impresses you so much. But when I do open my mouth, I at least know what I’m talking about." Paul, speaking about himself (2 Cor 11:4-6 MSG).

"If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I'd still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I'll spare you. I don't want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you'd encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.

… I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

'My grace is enough; it's all you need.'
'My strength comes into its own in your weakness.'"

Paul, again, speaking about himself (2 Cor 12:6-10 MSG).

You can probably see why I read the passages above and was instantly struck. I completely identified with Paul. I mean, it almost made me smile as I read it because I had never imagined him…well, being a lot like me. He had always seemed larger-than-life, but then there it was, right in the bible. Paul was called to preach to thousands about the saving grace of God through Jesus. Let me reiterate, preach…and the man was obviously a bad speaker! Some might say that he was ill-equipped, lacking, and inadequate, and I’d bet there were plenty of times where he had zero confidence in himself. But it didn’t matter because he still had plenty of confidence; just none of it was in himself.

Here's what I’m getting at: don’t get caught up in this ability, self-confidence business. If God leads you to do something, do it! Don’t worry about your ability, God obviously wasn't. And self-confidence is nonsense. What do you have in yourself to be confident in; what have you achieved that was done solely by the work of your own hands? Nothing of eternal value, I can assure you of that. So, be confident in God. Always remember, God, and only God, has the ability…but you are blessed with capability; through Him you have infinite potential! .

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I hate snow

Not feeling it tonight, not for any bad reason, it's just i'm sleepy and I didn't do anything today.
The only thing that is really on my mind is how much I hate snow, and how much I hate when people don't text me back. Both annoying for different reasons. But seriously Minnesota- what's up with all the snow? I feel like i'm trapped with nothing to do because of ALL THE FREAKIN snow. Oh well, it's cool.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What i've learned: My deep dark ugly secrets

Here's the thing. I didn't want to do this post tonight, but I don't have the drive to do anything else, so here goes....

This is by far the most real and honest i've been in a long time. I'm really not comfortable with this post to be honest, it's like staring at myself in a mirror and focusing on the BIGGEST ZIT ON MY FACE, and then making everyone else focus on it too. Well, here goes-

So I reread the book Father Fiction by Donald Miller this week- it's by far my favorite, for many reasons. I love the way Don Miller writes, it's conversational and blaringly honest- which kind of makes me want to be just as honest. Anyway, there is a chapter in the book about authority- a very very challenging chapter on authority. in it, Don talks about how growing up he always had trouble with authority. He said because he didn't have a relationship with his father, he always operated out of a sense of inferiority and hurt. And when another man would try to put authority over him, he would not realize that that man was doing it out of love, but that he simply wanted authority because he desired power. Don always looked for his dad in these men, and because they were not his dad, he resented them for it. He said that whenever a man would give him a command, he would get incredibly angry at him on the inside, and dream about yelling at him and storming off.

He said that this was one of his biggest regrets- that he wished he would have realized that he shouldn't have expected these men to be his dad, but that he should have taken any guidance and love they gave as a gift.

Ooooooooh that's hard to hear.
You see, when I was an intern at good 'ole Oakhills, I was dealing with family issues. So, at the time, I was looking for family. Me being the big dummy I am started looking at Jeff to be my replacement dad- more or less haha, I didn't actually say that. But the thing is, Jeff isn't my dad. And me trying to see him that way only hurt me. I remember I would get so angry at him for no reason- when he wouldn't communicate with me, when he just expected me to do stuff without any input or recognization, when he wouldn't be there on wednesdays during the day because he was busy. I constantly felt like he didn't care about me, like he was just using me. Man, sometimes I just hated the guy, and I hated that I hated him, and I hated that I didn't get along with my family, and I hated that no one cared, and I hated that I just wanted someone to care, but no one would. I hated that I depended on Jeff, but he didn't care.
But here's the thing- I was a freakin idiot! Hahaha. It was never Jeff's responsibility to do anything for me. It wasn't his responsibility to take care of me. And as much as I hate to say it, all of my anger at him was misplaced and pointless. He's just a guy- nothing more. And I was an idiot for trying to depend on him. I think about all he did give me- an internship that I wasted, for example- and I realize what a D-bag I was. I was so selfish and bitter. I just wanted attention. And I hate that I did that. I was operating out of these huge misplaced emotions, and I ruined everything. I know this is messed up, and angry- trust me. But i'm being honest. More honest than I have been with myself like, ever.

And so I have to apologize- to so many people, because of my authority problems. But i'm learning, I swear. I'm facing up to my problems, and I promise that I will win against them. Jeff is not my dad, Jon Sanchez is not my dad, Nick Gray? Nope. Jeramy Wheeler? Roy? Not even old enough. I don't look at most of these people like my dad anyway, but for some reason I do feel like i'm entitled to something with them.
The truth is i'm not. They owe me nothing- no attention, no affection, no favors. Anything they give me is a gift, and I need to be grateful for that.
I'm learning this, but sometimes it's still hard. All I can ask for is these people have patience with me. I'm learning to grow up and man up, but it might take a while.
I wish I would have realized this before I messed my internship up, but..... better late than never. I feel like this post is incomplete, but I don't know what else to write.

If you are one of the people I mentioned by name, i'm sorry. Please give me another chance.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What I've Learned: God wants to wrestle

In Genesis, when Jacob is walking all over the place with his family and sheep and stuff, there comes a point where he randomly goes off by himself and literally wrestles with God.


Yeah, that would've been a sight to see. And what's even crazier, is that until God cheats, Jacob is totally holding his own! (Just kidding God, I know you didn't cheat....)
Anyway, it's after this that God gives Jacob a new name- Israel.

I want to talk about two things:
1. Wrestling
2. Getting a new name

I'm a big fan of wrestling. Sometimes you just have to take out your pent up aggression on someone else. I've wrestled a lot of people- usually I lose, because i'm so small, but still.
I have this weird thing where I equate wrestling as a great father-son thing. I think it's because the son challenges the dad to see if he is "man" enough to take him, and the dad gives his kid a good chance- until he dominates him and puts him in his place hahaha. It's such a masculine way of affirming a kid's manhood. I love it.
So isn't it cool that God wrestled with Jacob? I think about how close God was to him, how Jacob could smell God's sweat and hear his breath. God was literally wrestling with him. And then- He let Jacob have a chance. He affirmed him, showed him that he was a man after God's heart, before pinning him down and reminding him that God is in control and will always win. It didn't strike me until now what a great image of a father God played then.

And then, after the wrestling match, God gave Jacob a new name. Israel- one who contends with God. The giving of a new name is something God does a lot in the Bible, and is used when He is blessing someone. This is also a great picture of a father. By giving someone a name, God is claiming them as His- He is saying, "you belong to me, and I love you."

So now i'm thinking about this wrestling match with Jacob in a whole new way. Now I see that God is being a Father, wrestling with His son and claiming Him as His own. I love this idea, that God wants to get up close and personal with us, He wants to wrestle with us, show us that we have what it takes to do what He has asked us- and then put us in our place. I love the idea that He is waiting to name us, to say, "You are mine, and I love you." I love the idea that He is far from distant- that He is actively involved in shaping who we are, the He is wrestling with us all the time, and that He wants us to wrestle with Him.

I love the idea that I can see my God as a Father.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What i've learned:Be YOU

I think that sometimes we have a tendency to apologize for who we are. I think that sometimes people ask us to try to be perfect, to fit the mold, and when we don't do that, well,

we apologize.

I'm sorry i'm not perfect, i'm sorry my life wasn't tidy enough for you. Let me put my mask on quick, rehearse my lines, and try again. Let me be happy for you, even if i'm really not.

That's so dumb.

I believe that God made us who we are.

And while I don't believe that he created all of the hurt and insecurities in our lives,
I believe that He uses them, makes beautiful things out of them.

In fact, I think it's only when we are not honest and open about who we are that we become ugly and frustrated. If we refuse to let the light of Christ- the light of truth- into who we are, well, we stay dark.

We create walls with words to try to hold back who we are- all of our craziness and insecurities, all of our hurt and joy.
I'm sorry
I'm sorry
I'm sorry.
Making walls, and shutting ourselves in the dark.

Don't be sorry.
Be angry
Be sad
Be happy
Be passionate
Be you.
Because you are beautiful
fearfully and wonderfully made.
And you have nothing to be sorry about.

And personally, I would take your anger and sadness and realness
over fake smiles and lines any day.

There's a song by Sleeping At Last called "Say"
the lyrics are

Say what you really want to say
and the truest of forms will show, finally you'll find your soul.

I think that to find ourselves in Christ, we need to be brutally honest with ourselves, and not be afraid to show others the truth.

I love you guys, no matter how messed up you are. Join the club.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is me tired

Hey guys! I totally did this legit video blog on here last night, but then I got rid of it because it was super personal! Hahahaha you missed it! SUCKAS

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What i've learned: Back to the beginning

I love this weather more than anything right now. I love how the snow is melting, and you can actually go outside without losing a finger or two to frostbite. It's incredibly refreshing. I especially love the nights. Walking around outside at night this time of the year is almost spiritual for me. It's something about the briskness and freshness of the air, the newness of the smells, the cold little bite of air. Its like waking up again, from the cold sleep of winter. Its like God is giving us a symbol of our redemption.
I was saved at this time of year, which probably is the real reason I love it. It was at my first camp- Lake Geneva Snow Camp. I was pretty young, probably like eleven, and I had never been to a place like this. I had never been so surrounded by Christians, or even by adults who were trying to be my friend hahaha. That weekend at camp was incredible, and i'll always remember it. Partly because a kid in my room named Jesse peed in the trash can, and Jeff had to come and clean it up, and it was super ridiculous. But mostly because I experienced God for the first time.
It was at the night service. I don't even remember who the speaker was or even what he was talking about, but I do remember the worship. They played the song at the top of this post- Majesty by Delirious. This song floored me. The lyrics flooded into me, and I remember being so taken aback by this God who loves me, who is so majestic and powerful and yet loves me. The lyrics "Here I am knowing i'm a sinful man, covered by the blood of the lamb" moved me so deeply. To think that it was because of me that Jesus died, that I am covered with his blood, it blew my mind. Something inside me started moving, something I hadn't felt before.

And that's when I let Jesus in.

And it's that simple. This awareness, this knowledge that there was something more sold me into this idea of God so incredibly fast. He had plans for me, He had a purpose for me. And that night, as I walked out of the worship center into the cool, brisk, new night air, everything felt so simple, so easy. I knew that God had me, and would always have me. I knew it with everything in me.
And then I went home, and life got tough. It became a struggle to follow God, a struggle to listen to His voice. Nothing was easy, and I doubted God and His plans for my life many times. heck, it's still not always easy. Following God in the real world is ridiculously tough sometimes. When the money isn't coming, when the work is too much, when the people you rely on leave you- doubt creeps in, doubt so thick you can't breathe.
But then there are nights like tonight, where I can walk outside in that brisk coolness and sing Majesty, where I can wonder at the simplicity of it all. Where I can breathe in God's newness and live. Nights where I am brought back to the very beginning, when this giant, huge, infinite God consumed an eleven year old boy's heart with His hope and peace. And it's like that feeling never left.

Because God still is in control, and always will be.

Monday, February 14, 2011

What i've learned: Being single :)

It's Valentine's day! I hope all you lucky guys and gals who have a significant other make the most of this day to do all the cheesy romantic junk that couples do. Buy her flowers and chocolates, call her "sweety sugar pie hunny buns", y'know, junk like that. I think it's great. I love the idea that this day is set aside for couples to focus solely on each other. It's something special when people's whole worlds consist of one person, when they only need that one person to be happy.

But i'm single. And, thus, Valentine's day is pointless. I'm not bitter at all. In fact, i'm single for a reason. Yeah, I know it sounds like i'm just saying that because I can't get a girl. That might be true. i don't know. Part of it is is the fact that i'm too naive or dumb when it comes to girls to notice if they're into me. And if I think a girl's attractive I get all shy and embarrassed. It's pretty ridiculous.
So, possibly because of my incredible inaptitude at the whole "dating" thing, and partly because I really do have strong beliefs on the subject, I am purposefully single. Now there are people in my life who seem to be very concerned about me being single. In fact, despite the fact that I am only nineteen, I sometimes feel incredibly pressured to get married, like, tomorrow. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS!
I'm pretty sure that when God thinks i'm ready for a wife, a girl will come along and I will know without a doubt that she is the one. Maybe that's me being lazy, but that's what I think. And right now- I am TOTALLY not ready to give myself in a relationship! I am still figuring out who I am, and if I entered a relationship now, I would end up basing who I am off of who my girlfriend says I am. Being single, I have the unique opportunity to let God work on me without worrying about a complicated relationship. And I have the unique opportunity to focus on school, friends, and especially ministry. I can completely pour myself into students without worrying about leaving time for my lady.
And maybe these are all cop out answers to avoid the fact that I am simply too immature for a real relationship. Maybe. But I like to think that I am simply saving myself, improving myself, getting closer and closer to God and His heart, so that by the time the right girl comes along, I will be able to take care of her, and lead her in a Christ- centered relationship. College is a training ground for a lot of things. A serious relationship is one of them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Today was my youth pastors last day at church. He did an amazing job with his message, it was all about stepping out in faith. I feel like now that this whole "transition" thing is really officially done, I can finally breathe. Today was definitely sad, and I cried a little, but I feel almost relieved, now that there is a resolution to this whole deal.

I'm going to talk about Jeff today. Now, I realize that I have no right to pretend like I really know him, or even that i'm a big deal to him. I do believe, however, that he is the one man who has had the most influence in my life. A lot of that is just because he holds the most spiritual authority in my life, and also that he has just been there for me through a lot. A big part of it is that I think he actually believes in me. I mean, I can't imagine that I have always been the incredibly mature, inspiring leader that I am today (sarcasm guys, sarcasm) but Jeff always gave me opportunities to become more, to try things that I hadn't before. Looking back on everything, I know its because of him that I am where I am.

Jeff is the best leader I have ever met. I definitely took it for granted growing up, but now that I am being exposed to all of these leadership ideas and styles, I can honestly say that he has this amazing ability to lead others. It's not even just charisma- he actually knows how to lead. He has this great ability to see the potential in others, and he knows how to cultivate it. I think that that's one of the best things about him- his ability to cultivate potential. That's going to help him a buttload when he's planting his new church ;)
Another thing I learned about Jeff is that he is a fanfreakintastic speaker. I took that for granted too. But then I went to North Central and heard speaker after speaker after speaker... Jeff outspoke them all. in fact, the one time he spoke at North Central is one of the most memorable chapels I have ever been to.
Man, there have been times where he answered my phone calls at midnight because I was freaking out, times that he let me sleep at his house, times where he made tough decisions because he knew what was best for me... times that he did things not because he had to, but because he really cared. That's leadership. That changed me.
Here's the truth- this sounds like i'm writing one of those "hero" essays, and kinda cheesy, but Jeff is my hero. I honestly look up to him so freakin much. He is an incredible Christ follower, a great husband, a great father, and an incredible leader. I love the guy, and I want to be just like him someday. I don't know how someone gets like that, but i'm trying to figure it out.
And i'm only one of a thousand lives he's touched. That's amazing, the fact that he's left such an incredible legacy and he's still young. I want that, I aspire to that. He has been such a great example of what following Christ with all of your heart looks like. Man, i'm tearing up thinking about him leaving, but I know there is no other way. Jeff wouldn't be Jeff if he stayed.
I would love to talk about the fact that i'm afraid I won't still talk to him, or that our relationship will die, but i'm going to just let it be. I don't think he's just gonna disappear. I hope not.
I don't know... I think it's hard to blog about people. Especially someone you've known for eight years. It's weird to think about the Wendt's not being at Oakhills anymore, about not seeing them every week. I don't want to think about it.
But I do know that they are following God's call, and that they will do amazing things in Northfield. They wrote in a book they gave to me once,

follow God's will and you will never be disappointed.

I am so proud of them for doing that.
And I love them for doing that.
Even though that's probably not worth much.
This whole thing scares me, because I still feel like I need Jeff in my life. I need his guidance, and his (this sounds lame) wisdom. I need his affirmation. Or at least I think I do.
But i'm going to trust God. He seems to know what's going on, even when I don't.
I'm praying that Jeff leaving makes sense to me. I know it doesn't matter if i'm for it or against it, because I know I am only one of a thousand that Jeff's life has changed. But to me, Jeff matters. And I hope that he will remember me. That he'll remember all of the lives that he has changed. And I hope it gives him and tiffany strength, that they can think about the lives they have changed, and know God has so much more in store for them.
I don't know- I can't explain how much they have done for me. But it's so much. I wish I could pay them back, but there's no way. I just love them a lot.
Aaaaaaaand now i'm rambling. Oh well.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

What i'm thinking about: Being a world changer

Tomorrow is my youth pastor's last day at church. Gosh that stinks. i'm not gonna talk about it right now though, it doesn't feel right.

Here's whats on my mind- my mom sitting at the top of the stairs crying because her ex husband destroyed her life. One of my students crying into my arms because their mom doesn't give a crap about them. Me punching the bathroom stall at church because I feel like i'm not important to anyone. A little boy grabbing my legs and begging me to not make him go home because no one loves him there. Friends cutting themselves, students cutting themselves. Friends trying to kill themselves, and then telling me with a straight face. People drinking to keep the demons at bay, people working to keep the demons at bay. People running, running, running from their hurt.
I hate this. I hate that the things I just talked about aren't unique to me, that everyone reading this have experienced the same thing. How is this ok? How are we so messed up? Why can't we fix this? It's so easy to say that we need to love people, that we need to trust God. But those are just words. Because every day we wake up and face this broken world, and more often than not I feel like we wake up, and give up to the fact that this world is broken, and that it will always be this way. We say "bad things happen", and "lifes tough". But why? Why are these excuses? Christ came to change things. Christ came to restore this world, to repair it and make it whole. He didn't say, "Life sucks and then we die." He said, "Hold on a little longer, I promise change is coming."
Here's whats on my mind- A young boy cuts himself at camp. That night he gives his life to Christ, and the cuts are healed before his eyes. A divorced woman finds herself unable to be loved, God opens her eyes to His amazing love. A father and son haven't talked for years, God brings reconciliation. A boy who is too shy and quiet to make any real difference is called into ministry, and gains a huge family made up of all kinds of believers. Tears are dried, dead men walk, the blind see, the mute sing, broken family's are made whole.
God is moving. Even now, when everything is messed up, He is doing His redemptive work all around us. And as Christians, we are supposed to be a part of that! Guys, we can't just sit back and let things stay how they are. We are literally the hands and feet of Christ. We are his representatives. If we are letting things fall apart, what does that say to people who are looking at Christians for guidance? Wow, i'm guilty of this. I complain and complain, but I never do anything.
I think it starts with honesty, and love. I think if I were honest, sometimes I don't want to care about others, because i'm too busy worrying about myself. And I think that if I purposefully act out of Christ's love, I can't worry about myself. Christ's love compels me to sacrifice all I have for the sake of others...
And I thought I was just writing a random post. But now I find that I just put up a challenge for myself. I need to love others much more than myself. How can I do that? What steps can I take? i'm gonna think about it. You guys should too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What I've Learned: Leadership

I was going to talk about trying to be a "man" tonight, but then I remembered what Donald Miller, one of my favorite authors said- Look in your shorts. If you have the proper equipment, God has already decided you are a man. No one can take that away from you.
So for all you guys, that's inspiring. Don't doubt your manhood.

Anyway, I decided to revise. I don't want to be a better man. I want to be a better leader. Leadership has become incredibly central to my life, and will only become more important as I get older. I used to think that people were born leaders, that you either had the necessary charisma or you didn't. I know thats not true now. There are certaintly people who are born with more natural leadership skills than others, but that will only get you so far. Here's the thing- I used to be the most quiet, awkward kid ever. I Couldn't hold a conversation to save my life. It was crazy. And then God did his whole "change everything" thing, and called me into ministry. Ministry means people. People I had to lead. WHAT THE JUNK GOD?
Man, I had to learn alot. I had to learn how to at least act confident in myself. I had to learn how to keep everyone in the groups attention (still working on that). I had to learn how to plan and organize- which does NOT come natural for me!
What i've been learning lately is how to keep my personal life separate from my ministry life, while still being honest. I have learned the hard way that its sometimes not prudent to put all of my problems on twitter and facebook- its actually terrible leadership lol. That's the idea behind this blog- I am going to say what I want here, and be as honest as possible. But i'm keeping it on this blog. I know that some youth group students read this- which is great! And I know that some of what I talk about is super personal. But the point is, I keep my problems here.
Y'know, I don't think about it much, but I really had a ton of good leadership teachers growing up. I don't think I have ever had a bad leader growing up. They've all taught me so much, and I appreciate it now more than ever. I have become very intentional about being a better leader lately, and I always think back to those who have lead me, and how they would have reacted in certain situations.
I'm still learning. There is no way to be a perfect leader, but it's the humility and ability to admit your weaknesses that counts. And I definitely am not dumb enough to deny my weaknesses.

I don't know- I could talk about leadership forever. This is just a taste of a taste. I'm sure I will talk about it again, and better- but thats enough for now. Also, someone recently asked if they could do a post on my blog. THATS SUCH A GREAT IDEA!! So if anyone else wants to do a post, just let me know! I would love to hear about what your learning! Especially if your a Fusion student! I would love for you guys to post! Yeah, i'm pretty excited.

(THis doesn't count)

Hey guys,

so here's the thing. This last week i've been really afraid that I was about to be all depressed all the time again. Especially after wednesday- I know it sounds crazy that I got that worked up about not going to lunch with Jeff, but it was more than that. It was all of the stuff behind it. And yesterday I was pretty bad...
But I was still not that bad. I can honestly say i'm STILL not in that depressed phase. Thank God! I'm working through stuff before it gets to me. And it's working.
You see, i'm feeling like this because A.i'm stressed because of school, and B. I have dad issues and need to be around men a lot. When i'm not, along with the stress, I fall apart.
Last time, I got out of my slump because it was break and I wasn't stressed about school, and because I lived with Jeramy Wheeler and hung out with Roy like three times a week. Bam. Both needs met.
This time, I am no where close to a break at school, and I can't hang out with guys all the time. I mean, I do on my floor, but those are friends, not mentors.
So what i'm trying to do is figure out a way to fix this problem. I haven't worked it out yet lol. But i'm going to be ok. So that's good. This doesn't count as todays post, i'm just typing away my thoughts....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One of those days... :)

Tonight's one of those nights where I don't want to blog. To be honest, i'm still dealing with yesterday.. I know that's super dumb, but y'know how I said I had this "scar" that I always carry around? Well, sometimes things make it bleed again, and yesterday made it bleed. I'm just really discouraged now.... I want time, a retreat, to unwind, to figure stuff out. I want to really talk to someone. I spent time with Roy today, and it was awesome, but I didn't really talk about what was on my mind. I'm not sure I thought I could. And I know he might read this, and I just want to say thank you. Because I really DID appreciate it.

I hope I can handle this stuff and be a man about it. I'm trying.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Something that SUCKS

my left ear looks more pointy than my right...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What i've learned: Authority

I heard a really super quote today in class-
"authority is directly proportional to relationship".

Now I know i've already talked about how it helps to know someone when trying to give them advice, but I want to talk specifically about authority right now.
If authority is proportional to relationship, then does someone in a position of authority over you really have any authority if they don't know you personally?
And what makes you owe someone authority over you- is it simply a title, or is it a relationship?
I mean, I don't know the president, but he is in a position of authority over me- or is he? By himself, he has no authority over me. Even the president of my school by himself has no authority over me outside of the rules and regulations of the institution.
Who, then, has authority over me? God? Yes- He knew me since birth, and because I desire relationship with Him, I cede authority to Him.
My parents? Yes, in a sense. God tells me to respect them, and I do my best.
My Youth Pastor, Jeff? Yes, I respect and love him, and his opinion matters deeply to me.
Jon Sanchez? Yes, I believe that the input he has in my life is of the utmost value.
Jeramy and Nick? Of course, I love these guys, they've seen me through so much.
Roy? Yeah, he's a great guy. But also-
well, Roy is the one case of authority in my life where I need to give him authority because of his title more than anything else. I work under him in a ministry. I have no choice but to obey him, unless I want to quit Fusion. Now, Roy is fantastic- but if he wasn't, would I still be expected to honor him and listen to him? What if he totally screwed up the youth group?
In Romans 13:1, it says, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established."
When I read that I realize I have no choice BUT to listen to Roy, even if he makes me super angry. Actually, I realize that about all of the authority in my life. God has put it there to help me grow and develop into a better person and leader.
So, think about it guys, are you respecting your authority? Because they are all there for a purpose- even the bad ones.

And for all of you Obama bashers out there.... way to be unbiblical ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

What i've learned: Fight loneliness!

Sometimes I think that we are like mirrors, reflecting God to each other.
In the way we love, the way we forgive,
when we give selflessly, when we bring joy to each other.
And that's why I think, that when we are alone,
and we can only reflect ourselves to... well, us-
I think that is the worst, because so often the darkness in us
is so much easier to see than the light.

This post is about loneliness. Not the good, purposeful kind, where a man goes out by himself to spend time with God. I mean the bad kind, the soul- sucking kind. The kind that the devil uses to trick us into thinking that we are worth nothing.
It sucks, doesn't it, when we feel like we have no where to go, no one to be with, and we just sit and think about how no one cares, how only we understand our pain. It's so pathetic, and it's such a lie.
Humanity was made for community, was made to build each other up, to magnify God's purpose in each other's lives. I think the devil's greatest threat is to make us believe that we are not a part of that community, and that we don't belong.
In C.S. Lewis's Great Divorce- my favorite book by the way- he describes Hell as a place where everyone keeps pushing away from each other. It is an ever increasing expanse where people keep moving farther and farther apart, until they forget that anyone else is around.
Indeed, being alone in body and soul is Hell. I've been there- I mean, we've all had those moments when we feel incredibly lonely. The key is is to not believe the lie. There are people all around us who love us and want us to be a part of their lives. There is a God who is ALWAYS with us. And when we are feeling lonely, it is our job to reach out to them, because we can't always count on them to reach in.
Guys, loneliness SUCKS, its incredibly painful. Just know you don't have to be alone. When you feel lonely, call someone, pray, do something. Don't let it overcome you. You can call me, if you want. Ha, i'm not that wise, but I can at least listen.

I think that's what matters....


Sunday, February 6, 2011

What i'm learning: Be upfront, communicate

Oh the Superbowl.... how I dislike you lol. I think because the whole idea behind it is so great- hang out with your friends, get really excited, eat great food- but then there's the whole football thing. And that's lame. Ha, I was going to hang out with people today, but they had to either go to a super bowl party, or they were having people over to watch the super bowl.... and I was much too tired to do ANY of that. Sundays WEAR ME OUT! This weekend I helped my mom move, it was pretty intense. So i'm just super sleepy now. And when i'm sleepy I have really random thoughts. Sometimes dumb ones. Like, irrational worries. And that's why I don't like to be around people when i'm this tired. Because I act stupid.

Anyway, let's talk about communication. I am a terrible communicator. I have this thing where I get so afraid that people will shut me down, that I never really directly ask a question to people. At least people who I respect a lot. I kinda of bait and hook them. Like, "Man, I wish I had something to do this afternoon..... nothing to do...." and then they'll be like, "Oh, you can come over!" And in my mind i'll be like Yes, it worked!
Yeah, I know that's incredibly annoying and a little messed up. But i'm working on it! I really am. I'm trying to be a lot more direct, and just ask people what I want to. The trick is learning to be ok with rejection, which is a really scary thing.
I kinda of do the bait and hook with what people think of me, too. i'm always looking for approval, for someone to tell me I did a good job. It's kind of ridiculous. Here's the thing- if you are reading this, you're probably one of the people i'm trying to impress, and I probably worry about impressing you a lot. So, honestly, it would really be nice if you just told me up front what you though of me, what I was doing well, and what I need to work on. I don't think I can just ask people to do that...... maybe I can. But I feel like it might be weird.
Welp, that is that. I promise these entries will be better, i'm just super tired right now. Like, dead tired. But there's always tomorrow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A very messy statement on fathers...

My dad used to work late into the night.
Sometimes, when I was younger, and I woke up in the middle of the night scared, I would just lay there and wait until I heard my dad open the door of the house, stomp the snow off his boots, clear his throat, and shut the front door. As soon as he was home, I knew I was safe, and I went straight back to sleep.

I don't know why my dad and I stopped being close as I grew up. Maybe it was that he always seemed either to be working or sleeping, maybe it was that we just didn't have any similar interests. Maybe it was the whole "God thing" that I was into. To be honest, it didn't really bother me for a long time.

But then it did. Then hard things started coming at me- college planning, stuff with my mom, questions about life. And I couldn't go to my dad to help me out. Because he was busy with work, or something else. Maybe I just didn't think he knew me enough to have a valid opinion.
And now- man, I need a dad. And it sucks that I honestly don't feel close enough to mine to consider him someone I can really talk to, or be affectionate with. That sounded weird. woops.
And don't get me wrong, I have guys in my life who tell me what I need to hear-
I love you,
I'm proud of you,
- But I wish my own dad would say those things, and know me enough where they meant something. This is a terrible post, because I can't articulate all of my thoughts, but what I want- what I really want, after I've had a stressful week, and I feel like I have a whole bunch of weight on my shoulders, is to know that I belong to a man, and that that man believes in me and loves me no matter what. I want a hug.
Someday i'll make it right with my own dad- but really, right now I just want to be taken care of by a guy. And I don't mean that in a gay way! lol. I just mean I need time, and commitment. Things I probably can't get. And maybe I need to mourn this whole relationship and move on. But it's hard. Because I should feel confident in my dad. I should know he's proud me. He should spend time with me. But he doesn't. And there's this ache in my stomache, like I so badly need to belong, but I can't, no matter what, because I don't belong to my dad.....
But I know he loves me. And I know that other guys love me. And I know that when I go to church tomorrow i'm at least going to get a hug. It's dumb how much those help me lol.

And there is Abimael.
Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I did it!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My wish for you

Hey guys! today is a challenge. I keep listening to this song lately, it's incredibly moving. It makes me think about all the people in my life and how much they mean to me. So here's my challenge for you today.
1. Think of people who mean a lot to you, who you love, or who might be going through a hard time.
2. Send them a Facebook message called "My wish for you"
3. Write out your wishes for them, tell them what they mean to you, how great they are. Make sure it's real.
4. MAYBE post a link to this blog in the message, so they can spread the love forward.

This is a really random idea, but i think it's really cool. I'm gonna be doing it. you should too.


Someone once told me life works in cycles.

Seasons come and go, hours waste away a day, before a new one begins.
People are born, give birth, die.
That sin you thought you got rid of comes back.
That problem you thought you got rid of takes over.

You open up to people
you close up
you open up
you close up
you open up
you close up.

And you see it every time, but you can't stop it. I saw myself close up tonight. I hate it. I hate that lonely feeling it leaves me with. I hate the pit in my stomache, the fact that I want to talk about it but I can't. The fact that I know i'm pulling away from people, but I don't know how not to. And now i'm drained, tired- maybe a little depressed.

God, i'm sorry for this. I want to be normal. I want to not desire people's time and energy. I want to just want to give. I know this is all stupid- heck this blog is a cry for attention. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

God, i'm not alright....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

what I love: Fusion! Part 1 of....?

I think tonight's the night. Hahaha I think that i'm gonna talk about Fusion.

but first, let me tell you, I downloaded the pokemon black Rom- in Japanese- and I can't stop playing. I love pokemon so gosh darn much!

Fusion Inc. is the youth group I am a leader of. I grew up there, and its one of the places I feel most at home. it's changed a lot lately, and its been really cool to see.
I really want to focus on the students of Fusion though. I have known a lot of these people for years- some since I was in Jr. high, a lot since i've been a leader. These are the most amazing group of people ever. I wish I could start listing names and how each person has affected me and moved me, but i'm pretty sure I shouldn't put a bunch of students names on the internet.

I have gotten to know some young men and women who have gone through incredibly difficult things. Divorce, abuse- you name it. It is incredible to me that they keep going on, keep growing, keep trying. It is incredible to me that they are so darn amazing. That they have so much to offer! Sometimes it makes me sad when they don't realize how great they are, heck, sometimes I get angry. I wish that some of these students could see how I see them, how their leaders see them, how God sees them. Because when I say they are amazing, I mean it. I've been to camp with these kids, i've been to Wildwood with these kids.I've seen how big their hearts are, how much they can care and give to others. Man, it's incredible!
There's one student, and I hope she reads this, but her family is such a mess. I don't even know half of it, but what I do is enough to make anyone want to stop trying to get close or open up to people. But this student is so incredibly loving and caring to those around her. She really understands that God loves her, and that He will take care of her. I remember after the first time we went to Wildwood, she cried the whole way home because she felt so strongly for those kids. That's an amazing, big heart.
And there are so many kids that I know like that. I love how much I learn from them, how much I get from them. It is really a blessing to be a part of Fusion. This is only the first of many posts about this place, but this'll start it off. Ha, Fusion is tomorrow, i'm so excited! Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week.