Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time to Trust

I'm running on about two and a half hours of sleep right now and my brain is running at about a million miles an hour, so you'll have to bear with me on this one.

As some of you may know, I am working at Pine Cove Christian Camp this summer. I am working both halves (they split it up between first and second half) of the summer as a camp counselor and I might get to do some music stuff here and there. Needless to say, I'm super excited to be working there.

But, as with everything, there is an upside and a downside.

Recently I changed my major (for the third time...) to Advertising. As you can imagine, changing your major in your third year of college sets you back a bit, especially when a lot of your core classes have two prerequisites that need to be taken one right after the other. I have all my electives satisfied and only need two more classes to finish my designated area of concentration, so most of the classes I have left to take are core classes. If I could take Advertising 230 as a summer class, that would help me get almost a semester ahead.

Also, I talked to someone at the Advertising Sales department of the Iowa State Daily today. Since I won't be back till next fall, she can't promise that there will be an open sales zone to assign me when I come back. However, if I were to be staying in Ames this summer, she said she could assign me a zone right away and I could continue working that until I graduate.

Now for round three, and this is the big one. My friends Matt and Ben started a t-shirt company called LET GOd Work a few years ago and I helped them sell shirts at LifeLight Festival last summer, and I had a BLAST. It was such a fun weekend and the guys are just awesome. Anyway, Matt called me today and offered me a job this summer. Just to be clear, this would pretty much be my dream job for the summer. He wants to send me around to 13 different music festivals, selling shirts and meeting a million people, not to mention getting paid for it. That would be the coolest summer job EVER.


So what's the point of bringing all this up right now? Trust. What God is trying to teach me right now is to trust in Him, something I'm not always the greatest at. I know that God has plans for me and I know that I have plans of my own and sometimes, ok, maybe more than sometimes, I am better at following my own plans. I'm not going to lie, if I didn't have a formal commitment to Pine Cove I would be INSANELY tempted to take off and roam around the country selling t-shirts. INSANELY tempted.

Bottom line is, I know God's plan is best and I know that sticking with God's plan is by far going to be the most rewarding decision. God is going to blow my mind with what he has planned for me and I know I'll end up feeling foolish for even considering doing something else. But fair warning, I might be a little pouty for a day or two... Pouting about all the awesome opportunities God has put in front of me, what a turd!! I'll be working on that....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Progress Report

So it has been almost exactly one week since I made the decision to lead a more disciplined and God-centered life.
The number one thing I have come to learn (or abruptly recall) is that practicing discipline is a PROCESS. And an arduous one at that...

In the course of the week I have had many successes and many failures. I have had periods of considerable productivity, and times when there was and utter lack of activity of any kind. Not that taking breaks is a bad thing by any means, but I did find myself blatantly wasting time here and there.

I think my biggest hurdle to jump, my biggest failure thus far, is that I am quite selfish with my time. I still find it difficult to budget time to spend with God. I think one factor that makes this difficult for me is that I am, for the most part, a person who responds to punishment. Unless there is a negative consequence to something that I am am doing, there is a slim chance that I will change my behavior. The negative consequences of not designating time for God is the absence of the positive consequences it has on my life when I do allot Him that time. I need to be more aware of what I am lacking by not giving God my time. If I have one prayer request for the week it is that God would help me see the weight of that reality.

Regardless of my faults and failures, God has continued to show me his mercy and love this week, and I know that I am at least taking a step in the right direction. The way I see it, if I keep taking steps forward, small as they may be, I will get closer and closer to my goal. The funny thing about the goal is that I'll never really know when I've reached it. My goal is to be a man that chases after God as fast as he can, but who's to say how fast someone can chase after God? Tricky, isn't it? I mean, unless you're Jesus Christ (which, trust me, you're not) there will always be something more you can do to quicken your pace in your pursuit of God. All I know is that when a good portion of my life on this earth is over, I want to be able to be able to sing this song and have the lyrics hold true for me.


You remember me
before I learned to run
At the kissing tree
before I learned my guns
We were 17
17 years young
I am still running
I am still running

I had no idea the pain would be this strong
I had no idea the fight would last this long
In my darkest fears the rights become the wrongs
I am still running
I am still running
I am still running
I am still running

Build me a home
inside your scars
Build me a home
inside your song
Build me a home
inside your open arms
The only place I ever will belong

(I Am Still Running, by Jon Foreman)


That will be awesome, I'm excited to be old.

My verse for the week comes from a passage in 1 Corinthians 9 which, in the NIV, is fittingly entitled:
"The Need for Self-Discipline"

1 Corinthians 9:24

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blessed Beyond Measure

Driving in my car today I was reminded of the time earlier this year when I was having car troubles.

It was the dead of winter and it was just a bitter cold every day. My car overheated on the highway on my way out to Cornerstone. I didn't know what the problem was but all signs pointed to not good. I went and got a new thermostat hoping that it would be a simple fix, but it was so cold outside that when my roommate and I went to go replace it, the wrench snapped. It SNAPPED. A harden piece of steel built to be used for a lifetime broke in half because of the cold. Needless to say, I thought it best to find a place with a more suitable climate to do the repairs.

One of the pastors of Cornerstone church that I go to here in Ames has an awesome heated garage that he graciously allows tons of people to use all the time, so I called his son to see if I could come out sometime soon and use it. It was a few days before we could figure out a time to meet up there, but after a touch of coordinating schedules and praying my car wouldn't overheat and explode on the way out there, we made it.

When I got to the garage, there just happened to be a very experienced and able mechanic and a GM salesmen there. Seeing as how I drive a car made by GM (a 1997 Buick Century, it's a very classy ride) these guys knew the ins and outs of how my car worked and were able to figure out exactly what was wrong. It wasn't exactly a quick fix, it was a very particular, not-your-everyday-fix type of problem that an average joe like me would never be able to figure out, let alone think of off the top of my head. But they got it so I could drive all the way home, with a working heater, and get it fixed there by a guy my dad works with. But you may be wondering what the point of this story is.

Well when I left the Nesbitt garage, bummed as I was to find that my car needed a difficult fix, I was just thinking about how lucky it was that those guys were there. Two knowledgeable, skilled professionals are chilling out in some dude's garage when I roll in and I chalk it up to luck.

Luck???

Sometimes we fail to recognize when God pours blessing on us. I know my eyes are blind to it all the time. Sometimes I have trouble thinking of examples when asked to count my blessing. But the truth is that I am overly blessed, I just lack the vision to see it sometimes. God is eternally good and he provides for an undeserving people, how much more blessed could we be??

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Discipline In Practice

So, it's just a shade past 1:30 in the morning and I have homework to do for tomorrow, but for some odd reason, I'm not doing it.

This is not the first time this has happened, in fact this is not the first time in the last calendar week. It pretty much seems to be the case every few days.

Strangely enough, it is these times that I find to be my most inspired. Which leads me to wonder, why??

Why is it that when I have something to do and little time to do it in, I get so distracted by how awesome God is. It is in these moments that I am often so struck simply by who God is that I can hardly consider doing the things I need to be doing.

The analysis of this anomaly has lead me to a frightening realization: I seek distraction.

Now many of you, specifically my mother, may not find this idea so shocking. I've always known that I am an individual of limited focus and a great propensity to engage in activities that are particularly unproductive. But sadly I find it to go beyond that. I do have my moments of glimmering hope when I keep my head down and power through something of importance, but more often then not I either intentionally or subconsciously seek out something to deter me from reaching my goals. Let me tell you why I find this upsetting.

As I mentioned earlier, these times are often my most inspired. I learn more about God and He reveals more about Himself to me, and it is nothing short of awesome. But, it is the timing of the matter that I find so unsettling, not so much the time on the clock, but the fact that this is happening in the time that I am seeking distraction. It bothers me that I am more focused on God in the times that I need to be doing something than in the times that I am doing absolutely nothing. It reveals to me the sobering conclusion that I often treat God not as the central focus of my life, but as a distraction.

This problem, I am convinced, is part of yet another issue of mine: discipline.

Discipline has always been a great struggle of mine. Sitting down and doing things that I need to get done has never been a forte of mine. It is that lack of discipline which brings me to moments such as this, which also highlights yet another cool thing about God: God uses my(our) imperfections to show me(us) His grace and love. He is always working so hard to show me His love and compassion through the little time I give Him that I am simply overwhelmed by his absolute awesomeness (have I used that word yet??). Yet I continually fail to designate daily time to stop, quiet down and allow God to do His work. Rather than cutting time out of my "schedule" (in quotes due to my epic lack of one), I continue to give God the scraps of my day, which He continues to work miracles out of.

So here begins a decided change: to be structured and disciplined. To have my life, and my schedule, centered around God.
This is something so against my nature that I blame no one for any disbelief or audible scoff you may just have made. I trust in myself to maintain this just as little as you do, if not less. That is why I need your help. If you see me sometime, ask me how this all is going, what I've changed or what I've been up to. More importantly if would please take a minute to lift me up in prayer and/or keep me in your prayers it would be greatly appreciated. It is by the power of prayer and the grace of God that I plan on maintaining this new lifestyle. It's not going to be a simple change, and I've had a queasy feeling in my stomach through this whole daunting paragraph.

So there it is, a goal. I've never had the greatest success at reaching them but, then again, I haven't actually set many of them either, so it's already a step in the right direction. Ironically enough, this blog entry has further distracted me from completing my homework, so I'm going to go do that now...

Keep me in your prayers! I'm going to need them!

Proverbs 15:32
Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A week in summation...

It has now been a full week since last I made a blog post, so I suppose I should fill you in as to what I've been up to.

Last week was a week of birthdays.
Some of the highlights were:
Celebrated a handful of people's birthday's on Sunday night (and technically Monday morning I suppose).
Went karaoke-ing on Tuesday with a bunch on people and had a blast. Zach, Register, and Brian sang Kryptonite by 3 Doors down and it ruled. You could cover a country road with the gravel in those voices.
Thursday was my friend Cole's birthday and we went bowling at Perfect Games. I didn't do great but it was quite a good time, Courtney Grotenhuis cleaned house, it was crazy.
Spaid and Laugerman were in town from Iowa City on Friday and we all went out to eat and then hung out at Nesbitt's house. I got to hang out with a bunch of people and had some really awesome conversation.

Saturday I got to go home and see my family. My brother Sam's band, Sky Like Fire, played a show at one of the local churches back home. I love watching those guys play. They're a really talented group and they're all super awesome people, it was good to see them. If you have a few free minutes you should really check out their music here on their myspace and if you like it you can buy their music here on itunes. A couple of my favorite tracks are Love Will Reach The Sky and Have You Lost Me. Check them out!

Sunday I came back to Ames and went to a super rad Oscar party. I was able to correctly guess the winners of 10 categories. James Pusey, in all his telekinetic glory, correctly guessed 16 of them. Simply ridiculous.

All in all an eventful and exciting week!

My goal for this week is to figure out what I'm doing for spring break, which is in two weeks, which blows my mind.
If anyone has any suggestions let me know!!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

GLOK-EN-SHPEEEEEEEEL!!!

In case you are, perchance, curious as to the origin of the title of this blog post, let me give you the skinny.

Today, my mom and older brother Sam came to visit me here in Ames to go out for lunch to celebrate my birthday, which is tomorrow. My "little" (he's a solid 4 inches taller than me) brother Adam stayed with me here in Ames last night and hung out, which was super rad, so he was also around for the festivities.

As is customary on birthdays, my mother came bearing gifts. First off, she brought a plate of fun-fetti cookies and a tub of frosting, which is totally awesome because fun-fetti just so happens to be the best kind of fetti.

But that's not all she was packing...



This, my friends, is a glockenspiel, which I put in a chair, took a picture of, and edited in iPhoto like a high school girl. Regardless, this thing totally rules.

The title of this blog is the technical pronunciation of glockenspiel, more or less... If you follow this link, you can listen to a pretty awesome recording of a well-spoken German man saying it. A recording which I now plan on putting on repeat and falling asleep to tonight. It just kind of makes me happy.

Anyway, I'm super excited to add it to the arsenal. I really want to write songs just so I can write bell parts to them now. Perhaps I shall do that soon... But if you will please excuse me, I have to go sit around a wait to turn 21.
Have a delightful evening !!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MMA Anthony

It has been yet another fantastic day in the life!
I may or may not have started my day by skipping class... But I had a good reason! Alex Register and I went on a pretty rad man date. We hit up the lunch sushi specials at Shogun, it was quite delectable if I do say so. Had myself a crazy roll and enjoyed it thoroughly.

After that I headed of to work. Today I was a greeter, or checker if you prefer, which basically means I swiped peoples cards as they came to the dining center. I think this is quickly going to become my favorite job. I did that until 2:30 and then I was supposed to help clean one of the food prep areas, which I was not at all excited about.

A lot of the time when I have preconceived notions about how something is going to go, my attitude, whether it be good or bad, usually stays more or less the same. But every once in a while, someone or something enters the situation and completely alters my perception. Today, that person was Anthony.

Anthony is one of the full-time cooks that works at Seasons dining center, and he is easily one of the coolest people I have met, possibly ever. If you ever met him, the first thing you will notice is that he is simply one of the most genuine and humble people you've ever met. It's just fun to be around a person like Anthony. He makes you feel really valued and appreciated and he treats everyone like that. It's just really really cool to get to be around a person like that and watch them interact with others.

While I was back there scrubbing a countertop, another one of the cooks came up and asked Anthony about a rumor he had heard. As it turns out, Anthony used to fight in the Octagon back in the day. How stinking cool is that?!!? For those of you who aren't quite sure what that is, it is mixed martial arts fighting, or ultimate fighting. Whatever you want to call it, it makes for a cool story and I'm super excited to get to know Anthony better and hear about his life, because he seems like one of the most interesting people to ever live. Also, he has a really awesome neck tattoo, which kind of rules.

Tonight I got to hang out with my little brother Adam and some of the speech kids from my high school. A few of them made it to all-state speech and they perform tomorrow. After that Adam is going to stay with me here in Ames for the night. I'm pretty excited to get to hang out with him tomorrow, it should be sweet!

But I have to work tomorrow, so it's off to bed for me. Thanks for reading!!