Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are you a Trader?

I am a trader!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kirk Cousins Big Ten Kickoff Speech

Rooting for Michigan State to win the Big Ten because of this speech:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jesus is a Friend of Mine

Any words of mine would diminish the amazingness of this video. so just enjoy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Parable of the Sower

I have recently been contemplating and wrestling with my understanding of Christ centered community. Today, I read the parable of the sower in Mark 4. It goes like this:

Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.

This time reading through the story I couldn't help but think about how much stock, time, and effort the Church and Christianity at large puts into "planting seeds" or telling people about the good news of the Gospel. This is no doubt something that should be pursued relentlessly by Christ followers. But if this story teaches us anything, isn't it that you can plant the seed (or the good news) in the hearts of people but if the soil (community) they live in is not a rich soil prepared for the seed, it will never grow or temporarily sprout up only to wither and die. 

I propose that the Church needs to be spending equal time relentlessly creating a community (rich soil) as we do the spreading and planting seeds in the hearts of people who have yet to hear or accept the good news of the Gospel. In so many ways the Church always does this. But a bible study, Church service, or a quiet time is not really the full extent of community Christ calls us to. No, a rich soil that a seed can take root in, grow, and flourish in is something much more than those things. I am not sure exactly how to describe this sort of rich soil, I am only suggesting that we need to spend equal time creating space and community for people to be invited into as we do planting seeds of the good news in people. 

A Story

Today a fellow pilgrim in the Training School told us that the skin doctor has found some conspicous spots on her back that ended up being cancerous. She is in the process of waiting to hear how seriousness this cancer will be. It could very well be nothing at all but it also could be a serious game changer in her life. 

I told her this story about when I was in a similar situation: 

Four years ago when I was a Freshmen at Butler I went to the orthopedic doctor that I had grown close to over the years of ACL injuries, broken collarbones, pinkys, toes, etc. For a about a year I had had an aching pain in my knee that I thought must have been something like a torn meniscus. I ignored it for a really long time and the pain would come and go. Eventually it hurt too bad to ignore and I went to see the Doc. He took and x-ray and saw that a pretty good size tumor was making its home on my lower femur bone in the knee the knee joint. Being a good orthopedic doctor and realizing that I was 19 and at the prime age for osteosarcoma he started to bombard me with a ton of questions and worries. I had no idea and my mom (a nurse) wasn't there to explain to me the magnitude of what could possibly be growing in my knee. I felt fine and therefore thought there couldn't be anything significantly wrong with me. I told my mom and played down the seriousness of it but the Doctor said the next step was for me to go to get an MRI. 

A few days later, my mom called me and told me that various radiologist and my doctor believed that the tumor was in fact ostersarcoma and that I needed to move fast to see a specialist, get it removes, and get a biopsy to find out for sure if it was malignant or just a random tumor. Either way, they dropped the bomb on me.... Cancer. I immediately began to realize that if this was cancer that life would be drastically different. That I would probably not be going back to school, that I would go through kemo, lose my hair, maybe lose my leg, and worse case scenario maybe even die. 

There was five days in between this news and going to see a specialist that would give me a better idea of what was going on in my knee. Needless to say it was some of the craziest most bizarre five days of my life. I was scared and didn't want to lose my the grand life I had been living. Yet, I knew that more than anything God was putting this in my life for some divine reason, even though I had no freaking idea what that may be. 

At that point, I had read the scriptures enough to know what Paul's perspective on suffering was. I began to live into this scripture and ponder that maybe instead of dreading this I should be looking forward to the opportunity to grow into a more Christ like person, to suffer like Christ, to show others how much God has done  in me, to the point that I would rejoice and be joyful in my potential sufferings. 

Five days later I went to the doctor with my girlfriend, parents, and uncle with a very bizarre perception. I had become excited and was looking forward to the opportunity to follow Christ more deeply and to become more like Christ through the suffering's that lied ahead. My parents, girlfriend, and uncle were terrified and I was stoic ready to walk down this road the Lord and laid in front of me. 

The specialist looked at the x-ray and MRI and (metahporically) lit the prior report on fire and told me that those other Doctor's were silly and that he was 98 percent sure all that was growing in me was a benign cyst. Everyone else wept tears of joy while I felt extremely disappointed. The only way I could describe the feeling would be similar to what one feels when you have to miss out on a ridiculously awesome part all your best friends will be at. The Lord seriously did so much to me those five days that I couldn't help but look forward to this time of trial and suffering that I would come to know the Lord better. And now I would be getting this experience that would ignite all of these changes. 

For many years, I had no idea why God had done this to me. Then one day, as I was telling this story, it hit me and I realized that I could never have been excited about such immense suffering if I was not connected to God through Jesus. It doesn't make and worldly sense that one would be excited for cancer. Therefore, I was given a sense that God was putting this in my life to reaffirm his connection with me, for him and I to know that I was no longer wandering lost, no longer half way in following Christ, but all the way in and fully committed to his will and narrative for me. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Journey I'm On

This year I have embarked on a somewhat crazy and ambiguous journey. I have committed the next nine months to being a part of the Kingdom Living Training School at Common Ground Christian Church (the Church I have worshipped at all four years at Butler.) The training school is impossible to describe but nevertheless here is my attempt that will fall terribly short of encompassing or grasping what the Training School is, has been so far, and will be for the next nine months:

The training school is a commitment to be apart of a community chasing after similar dreams of Christ centered community, of living deeper into our walks with Christ, and desiring to live into our call as a people of mission. Practically this looks like 3 classes every week from 9am to 12 where we sit in a classroom and are taught and lead in conversation by our fearless leader, teacher, madman of a guide Larry. We also take five or so vision trips to places like Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Tijuana. There is no curriculum only our guide and the direction the spirit leads the community in conversation with each other, with questions, with people we run into on our long walks through the city, with books, and with God.

Why? Why am have I jumped into this ambiguous madness of a journey or pilgrimage? To love people better. Not to gain any more wisdom, theological understanding concerning God or community, but to live out what I have been reading and talking about for the past eight years in a very intentional way with others who are also longing to makes dreams a reality and turn theories into praxis.

 I am super excited to see where this river flows and to hang on tight for what is sure to be a crazy ass ride through some dangerous and challenging places.