Friday, December 14, 2012

My Story: Part 6

• If you are just joining us, it would be a good idea to read the intro through part 5 to get an idea of why and what is happening!

Sorry for the long delay, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Picking the story up from the last post, God grabbed hold of me on Huntington Beach during that spring break trip.

When we left Huntington Beach, we had a 23 hour day driving straight from HB to Phoenix then to Colorado Springs. I had about 16 hours that day to reflect, and for 16 hours I was shown just how backwards I really was.

We've all heard it - "you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" Cliche', but it can drive the point I think. Saying you're a Christian doesn't mean anything unless there is real fruit to back up that statement. How can you be a farmer if nothing is growing in your crop? If your soil remains barren, unkept, not watered or plowed? If you don't have a weird looking tan? Same thing with Christianity. How can you be a follower of Christ, but not have any growth or fruit in your life to show for it? For the entire previous year this was me.

The drive was hard and comforting at the same time. I was humbled but also relieved. There is a God, and he is so interested in my heart that he would allow me to go through a year like I had just to show me at the end how righteous and amazing he is. I knew the next decision I made would be either to follow him or to walk away; however, there wasn't any more explanation needed for me to see that what I was doing was not right. I wanted what He had to offer.

The months following I started going back to theMILL, started hanging out with better friends and better influences, having real quiet times reading the bible or listening to sermons online. I was attending church and learning what it really means to be Christian. I started seeking the real Jesus; the Jesus who was around my whole life waiting patiently and calling my heart every day, even when I didn't even know it.

Back to farming, I think there is a pre-conceved notion that if you're a Christian, things are easy going. Life is grand. There is nothing wrong because "you have Jesus." While maintaining a farm, there will be days where you till and plow, plant seeds, water, rake, pull weeds, put in work and have no green sprouts shooting from the ground to show for it. There may be times when droughts suck life directly out of your crop, and heat bears down on you in the long days on the field making you question if it isn't just easier to hit the grocery store. There could be years even when things just don't go "your way", and when balancing the books you realize you didn't make a noticeable profit from your work that year.

I'll be straight forward and honest with you: following Jesus is hard. I'd almost say it is harder than not being a Christian. When you say "yes" to Christ, there isn't a magical force field that surrounds you where bad and difficult things cannot penetrate through. When you say "yes", what you are also saying is "no" to yourself. Christianity is a constant battle of dying to yourself and your sinful nature. It's constantly returning to the plow and watering the seeds so that fruit is produced. A peach tree doesn't grow and sprout juicy peaches in a day, nor does a walk with Jesus begin and end in a few hours of bible study.

There is a reason that we are told to put on the full armor of God (Epesians 6:11-17) and to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), CHRISTIANITY IS HARD! It is a war! - more on this to come later on.

Since becoming a Christian, and deciding I was in it for real, that I would follow Jesus and His commands the best I could, I haven't looked back. I have experienced a satisfaction far superior to anything I could have received before Him. A void in my life has been filled, not just supplemented, and let me tell you friends, that feeling is indescribable.

Even though I am a Christian I still lust, I still covet, I still try to appease my sinful nature. I will continue to struggle with sin for the rest of my life, especially the sin that I am so familiar with, like that of an unfortunate friend. But the good news is that I have someone to lean on for help defeating that sin, whereas before Christ I had nobody who had that power. I have someone to turn to when difficult times arise, who can walk with me. I want to be clear that I'm not boasting in my sin, I don't use Christ as a get out of jail free card, I boast in His willingness to save me from my sin even when I don't deserve it, and His grace to teach me not to sin anymore.

•     •     •

This is my story so far; everything I have been through that has shaped my walk. I hope that reading this He was able to speak into your heart. I pray He was able to use what I have experienced to teach you about His grace.

If you aren't a Christian, if you don't believe in Jesus, this all probably seems like hocus pocus. An invisible guy who can save your life from something called sin. I get it, I was there. I didn't want to believe He was real. But truth be told, He is very real.

**Do me one favor if you are having a hard time believing, or if you feel a weird tug on your heart to dig in a bit deeper...

Read the book "The Case For Christ" by Lee Strobel. I promise you, and guarantee you, by the end of it you will have second thoughts about this whole "Jesus thing." (

If you are interested in diving deeper, but don't want to buy the book, or don't have the money to, PLEASE email me at and I will get you this book.

Also, if you don't have a bible and can't afford one and want one, email me at the same address.

God bless you guys, I hope reading "My Story" has affected you in some positive way. I will continue to post on this blog different discussions that will be geared at diving deeper with Jesus. So until the next one, thank you for reading this whole series!


Monday, December 10, 2012

My Story: Part 5

• If you are just joining us, you should probably read the introduction - Part 4 to understand why and what is happening!

Picking up from where we left off last time, I had my first real encounter with Jesus and accepted him into my heart. But, I wasn't ready to commit yet. I put on the bathing suit, climbed the ladder, but wasn't ready to jump off the hi-dive into the deep end of the pool.

For the next couple of months I was on fire. I really was. A new sensation was over taking me, I felt a change inside that I couldn't explain at the time, but I didn't care! I was becoming a believer. But, being a believer is the first little step. True faith isn't just BELIEVING in Jesus, it is relying completely and utterly on Him alone for EVERYTHING and making a commitment to follow. I can believe that food will satisfy my hunger all day long, but until I sink my teeth into the sandwich, chew and swallow, I will continue to be hungry and unsatisfied. Same with Christianity and Jesus; I can believe that there is a God and there is Jesus, but without following and truly seeking His will I'll continue living life MY way and not experiencing true saving grace.

So, I continued to stumble. It was slow at first after spring break, but soon enough I found myself hanging out at parties with friends, drinking, and chasing after girls. Praise God, I didn't and haven't had sex again, but motives were still selfish through the end of my freshman year and beginning semester of sophomore year in college.

A year later, almost to the day of when I accepted Jesus into my heart the first time, He came roaring into my life again. He never left, but he waited patiently for another year while I was like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6) selfishly trying to figure out MY way instead of submitting to His.

Spring Break of sophomore year I took a road trip with my good buddy out to Huntington Beach, California. We stayed a night in Las Vegas on the way out of Colorado before hitting the west coast. It was here when I would start to feel the weight of my actions for the past year. We had a lot to drink that night. -I might take a second out to say that I've never been a binge drinker. I drank and/or partied maybe 2 or 3 times a month, so I don't want you to get the wrong impression. However, I do hope I make the point that drinking to get drunk is sinning, and that is what I was doing.-  We walked around the strip all night until 4 in the morning completely drunk. It was all good fun; that is what I chalked it up to be. In my mind, I wasn't doing anything really THAT bad...

I think we can get sucked into rating sin. Stuff like speeding is a small sin, being drunk is a smaller sin, sex before marriage is a medium sin, and then murder and the obvious ones are huge sins. As long as we stay in the 1s and 2s of sin, we will be alright. But, let me propose something, or really let me relay what Jesus says about sin: the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

There isn't a distinction of sin in this verse. He doesn't say the wages of sin on the scale factor 5 and above is death, and 1- 4 is a slap on the wrist. If I sin, what I deserve as my wage is separation from God, the only one capable of saving. So, my "good fun" in Vegas, as harmless as it was by worldly standards, was really me walking directly opposite of true lasting life.

I couldn't put words to the weight I felt that night, and the few nights afterward in Huntington Beach, but I know now.

We went to bed that morning (or late that night), and woke up 6 hours later to finish our drive out to the beach. The next couple days, God started to show up more and more. I didn't know why, but I was feeling responsible. Responsible for my actions the past year, responsible for allowing myself to sin so frequently; responsible for saying "yes" to God, and then turning around and acting like I never said anything.

The beach has a weird way of speaking. It beckons you to be free, to enjoy what is before you to the full extent; to soak in everything and not miss a minute. God was doing the same thing to me.

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Story: Part 4

• If you are just joining us, it would be a good idea to read through the introduction - Part 3 to get an understanding of why and what is happening!

I had no idea what to do. I just broke up with someone I spent over a year of my life with. I relied on this someone for saving me, and in the blink of an eye I no longer had my "rock" to hold on to. I was completely lost.

You see, because of my past of not having a womanly presence in my life (dad got custody in the divorce) and my social insecurities of needing to feel included or wanted, I looked to women for that security. I fed off of having a girl in my life who could be the one I turned to when things started getting rocky. This is what I knew, this is what was comfortable for me, this was my "saving grace." But God showed up in an incredible way after the break up; I definitely didn't think so at the time, but He began to show me that saving grace comes from nobody but him.

Spring break was incredibly hard, but luckily I had a good friend who stepped in to fill the gap. The Friday before break actually started he coaxed me into going to TheMILL with him. TheMILL is a college gathering here in Colorado Springs. I didn't want to go; I was heartbroken and just wanted to figure things out on my own. But, my friend wasn't going to let me off that easily. He assured me that I would enjoy it. So I went.

That night was the first night I met Christ.

I wasn't a Christian. I believed there was a "higher power," but I definitely didn't subscribe to this Jesus stuff and I wasn't really looking to. But Jesus had a different plan for me. It was like the sermon that night was written directly for me. I remember feeling shocked, maybe even a little bit scared because everything that was coming out of the college pastors mouth spoke directly to what I was going through; he was speaking to me. There wasn't anything he said that night I could brush off like it didn't matter. Every single word hit me in the center of my chest, sank deep into my soul, and started brewing.

I could feel it. I could literally feel my heart burning, like it was the only thing living inside of me. What the heck was going on? I felt like the world was opening back up; like I was locked in a room without windows in pitch black, and suddenly the door was cracking open spilling a sliver of light inside. I remember starting to cry.

I never felt something so intense, something so captivating. It was filling me up, but I couldn't get enough of it! This was God's love being poured out on me in an incredibly tangible way. He was saying, "I'm available, and if you come to me I will never let you go."

After TheMILL had ended, my buddy and I hung out that Friday night until about 4 in the morning drinking mate' at our hang out spot in Manitou Springs. I was asking him questions, he was telling me about God, and the whole night was steeped in a weird peace I couldn't quite put my finger on but I wasn't looking to get away from it. I accepted Jesus into my heart that night.

But, unfortunately, I don't think I really meant it.