Archive for June, 2009

El Bucket List

June 28, 2009

So lately I have awkwardly been thinking a lot about death, but more about HOW I live life before that happens, which hopefully won’t be for a long, long time.  So I made a “bucket list” to put my life in order, so make sure I’m “living like I was dying”.  You know the song, it’s sick.  In John 10:10 it talks about how Jesus has come so they can “have life, and have it to the full.”  Basically I just wanted to make sure my short time on earth was not being wasted.  So I just wanted to share my bucket list with you, and if you have any way to help me complete it or want to add to it, please let me know.

1) Run a marathon

2) Own a 4runner and/or motorcycle

3) Get another tattoo

4) Run/Complete a triathlon

5) Travel to every continent

6) Make a cross country road trip

7) Run a 5:30 mile

8 ) Get married to the most beautiful girl in the world

9) Go skydiving

10) Be a best man at a wedding

11) See a best friend come to know Jesus

12) Qualify and play in a U.S. Open

13) Play a “professional” golf course

14) Own my own business or company

15) Get a college diploma

16) Record a song

17) Complete a 7-day fast

18) Help in starting a church

19) See an EPL game live

20) Go to a world cup final

21) Have dinner with a celebrity

22) Perform on stage with a big band

23) Hike a 17,000 foot mountain

24) Get a hole-in-one

let me know your thoughts! please feel free to add

Cheers,

Brandon

Lives Are Our Worship

June 22, 2009

The other day I had the privledge of going to see a good friend of mine get married.  To be in the experience of everything going on that night, I definitely felt overwhelmed and very excited.  It’s almost weird to watch someone your age get married, because it finally hits you that you’re growing up and becoming a big kid.  On the way home, I had a real sick talk with one of my buddies about how we as Christians share the love of God with others.  Immidately the thought of “evangelizing” came up in conversation.  Of course, to us, we automatically assumed evangelizing meant going around, going up to people, and asking them if they wanted to hear about God.  This has been coined “initiative evangelism.”  Honestly, in my opinion, that just scares people, turns them away from God even more.  Who goes out to lunch by themselves and wants someone (usually a group of two or three) coming up to them and asking them if they’d like to know God personally?  I’ve seen this on the beach as well.  However, before I get hated on, I would like to acknowledge that this is no way is a bad thing, because I’ve seen lives changed by this, but I’m not all for it and it just my opinion.  This is getting off topic however.  The main point of this story was that when we think evangelism, we associate it with one thing such as street preaching or talking to people about God.  Afetr talking with my buddy, we were able to come up with what we felt true evangelism was.  To us, it was anything that involves showing the love of God on others, so that they may come to know Him.  Period.  This can take on many, many, many forms.  The real point of this post was to emphasize that how we live our lives is our worship.  Our everyday lives are viewed by many, and all the people who are around us.  We have so much influence by how we live our lives, because that is where people can see us for who we really are.  I honestly think that is where God shows up the most because He is reflected in everything we do.  People see God is us.  It is very easy to tell people that you are a Christian.  It is very easy to even tell people that you love Jesus, or go to church, or even read your bible.  That all means nothing if those poeple don’t see the love and character of Jesus inside of us. I’ve sadly seen it all too many times where people acknowledge God with their lips and deny Him with their lives.  Even more sadly, I’ve seen it in myself.

I went for a run today and I always do the iPod music on shuffle thing because that way I don’t have the same music playing every time I run.  Today for some reason I wasn’t in a very good mood, so I just needed to get out of the house and clear my head.  The first song that came up was a worship song, which ordinarily I would not listen to while running, but today was different.  It made everything feel right.  It made me realize, as I was running, that God wants to be part of every aspect of our lives.  So I asked God for the rest of the songs that were played during my run to be worship ones, because I feel that He was using that for me today.  Lately in church during the music worship, I have just felt stagnant, not really getting into it.  I have just gotten into the habit of the weekly church service and making it a chore rather than an experience with God.  My run today was like no worship service I’ve ever had.  That 40 minutes was the most uplifting time with God I have had in a long time.  God was really putting on my heart that He wants my life, every aspect of it, to be centered around worshiping Him.  Then all the other things, like “evangelism” would fall into place after that.  I will have no choice but to show others who God is through the way my life is lived and the love that fills me up from Him. And coming back to end with the story that I started with, the marriage of my two friends yesterday exemplifies what I just wrote about.  It is a testament to God’s love and grace and it is being shown through those two being together to everyone who knows them, and I’ve seen personally lives changed by them.

OUR LIVES ARE OUR WORSHIP

That’s all I really have, and as usual it is in it’s random thought format.

Cheers,

Brandon

Shackin’ Up

June 19, 2009

Recently I just finished reading “The Shack” by WB Young.  It really got me thinking about a lot of things, but most importantly my relationship with God.  I think way too often, we as “Christians” put our reationship with God in a box in a way that always comes down to rules, guilt, and spiritual rituals.  I found myself in that boat.  Everything I did wasn’t centered aroud God but based on Him.  I think thats the problem.  That we try to equivilate everything to God, which is impossible.  I don’t think He wants us to make everything conformed to Him, but He wants us to be so tight with Him that everything we do coinsides with Him.  I got to thinking about how we live our lives.  I am starting to learn to hate the “what would Jesus do?” bracelets.  God does not call us TO BE Jesus but TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP with Him.  Does that make sense?  He wants us to be in such a relationship with JC that we have a heart like His, that we see like Him, so that we are not doing things out of forced rules but out of pure love.  I don’t think I can fully understand God’s love if I am willing to separate Himself from me, if I’m willing to put Him in His own little corner of my world.  I like to “put God first” when it’s convienent for my life or my time.  The main thing I was getting from this book is that we need to get back to the place where we first come to know God, and forget all the preconceived notions we have about Him and how being a Christian works.  I am now convinced that the word “Christian” is a verb.  It is the literal meaning of Christ in us, love flowing in and through.  Claiming to be Christians is a big name we put on ourselves.  People don’t see what that is unless we are intentional about letting Jesus take control of our lives and therefore letting our words and action be an overflow of that.  For me, “The Shack” was a wake up call.  It took me back to realizing that I was making my relationship with God a burden or an obligation.  It reaffirmed the love of God in my life, even when I didn’t trust God to be God.  It also made me see the importance of forgiveness, and not just forgiveness of sin by God, but forgiveness to others in our lives, to help tear down walls we have put up.  One of my favorite parts of the book is when the main character Mack is with God at the shack, and gets a chance to meet his father for the first time since he had died.  There were many issues between Mack and his Dad but when he was able to see through the eyes of Jesus, he ran and embraced his father, as tears were exchanged and forgiveness overtook their relationship right there.  When Mack is asked to forgive one more person in his life (the killer of his daughter) he is very stand-offish.  He in no way thought he would be able to forgive the man that kidnapped and murdered his daughter.  Jesus explained the concept of forgiveness to him again, in a way that he had never heard it.  Forgiving does not mean ever forgetting, but taking your hands from someone’s neck because you have been trying to choke them the whole time and not letting go.  Jesus explains the forgivness of God and how important that is so a relationship can take place between us and holy God, and how this was all possible because of Jesus and the love that He exemplifed on the cross.

Bottom line:  Being in a relationship with God is not about rituals and rules, but about love and letting God be the center of every part of our lives.  This has really changed the way my relationship with JC has worked these past couple weeks, which carries over into everyday life.

I know this is a lot, and a bunch of random thoughts, but sorry thats how I roll.

Cheers,

Brandon

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished, he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”-Romans 3:23-26

A Prayer for God’s Grace

June 2, 2009

The other day I was at church and the pastor gave a talk about “a prayer for Grace” and what it meant to pray for God’s Grace daily and find it in our lives.  That really got me thinking about my short 21 years and how God’s Grace has transformed areas of my life that I have so often overlooked.  I’ve realized that I have either taken grace for granted or just been too prideful to accept it.  There have been times in my life where I see other people who accept the grace of God no matter how big they screwed up, and then they allow it to reshape their lives.  It’s weird though because I still find things in my life or in my past that I feel that God could never forgive me for, almost like I think there is a sin too big for God to handle, one that was just a bit taller and wider than the cross that He hung on.  This weekend was a wake up call for me, that God’s grace CANNOT be put into a box.  It can’t be narrowed down or specified to a certain area of sin.  God’s love doesn’t see us as who we are, but what God has made us through Jesus’ death.  I still can’t wrap my head around that.

The church did a pretty cool little thing where there was a series of people who came out on their stage and shared a story on a peice of cardboard.  On the front it would say something like “found my identiy in parties and sex” and then on the back it would have a statment such as “Loved by God who calls me His own” proclaiming the way God not only pursued their lives to change them but to change their hearts and extend a gift of grace that could be found no where else.

There is nothing we can hide from God, but at the same time there is nothing that we can do to not be loved by God.  I think that we need to be constantly praying for God’s grace to come into our lives and transform our mess, into a message, a message of hope and love, of new beginnings, of restoration and purification.

I think we just need to humble ourselves enough to be at the point where we realize we NEED grace, because there is nothing else we can do to solve that disconnect from God that sin causes.

“And God is able to make all grace aboud to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”-II Corinthians 9:8

“Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”-James 4:5-7

Cheers, thanks for reading

Brandon