Monday, August 15, 2011

Humble Weakness

Over the summer, we started going back through the SuperUltra staff devotional. This week, we are on "Consistency of Spiritual Life."
It seems like the perfect "culture point" to be reading over especially as summer 2011 has officially ended, we're all home, and we're all attempting to continue to follow Christ in everything we do, away from the safety of the docks and waters of the Delta and Shasta.
The verse for today was 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, which discusses God's strength in our weakness. These verses rocked my life this summer, so it's funny that they came up on the Monday following the summer...
One of the drivers last summer reminded me that if God is strong in our weakness, then why should we ever strive to be strong? I share this insight with so many because it is so true! If God gets the glory, the honor, and the strength IN OUR WEAKNESSES, then what's the point in being strong? Let's be weak. Weak for Christ. Let's not try to find strength in order to show others how capable we are of enduring hardships and trials. Rather, let's be weak in those moments. But, be humbly weak. Something we strive to do throughout the summer, humble weakness. We don't show our tiredness, our fatigue, how routine pulling runs has become, etc. Instead, we act consistently. And that consistency is humility. And within that humility is weakness.
As we go about our day, our weeks, months, years, and lives, let's continue to be humble in our weaknesses so that God can be glorified, so that we're not bringing unnecessary attention to ourselves. It may look different away from Sonshine, but we are still called to glory, honor, love, follow, and pursue Christ. And in order to do all of that, we must be willing to be weak.

Friday, June 3, 2011

some thoughts

This weeks devotionals were really fantastic. Coming off a weekend like memorial day its difficult not to be filled with excitement and maybe even be too distracted with preparing to really dive into the importance of a consistency of spiritual life. So having this devotional on this week was just a great combination of challenging and encouraging. I’m not going to lie, this blogging process is really intimidating for me because I never have perfectly organized thoughts and writing (knowing other people may read it) is scary, but I completely understand the significance of this blog for our relationships so bear with me as I attempt to articulate thoughts I have been processing this week.

Daily communication with God- this is something I truly understand the significance of. Especially when I was younger and my Sunday school teachers would say- “how can you and your best friend be close if you never talk”- I was like duh! That really clicked for me but lately I have been examining flaws in my relationship with God and I’m wondering if maybe I treat God too much like a human. I make him less of a big deal by talking to Him about my day or whatever I feel is important rather than sitting in silence and listening for Him. I won’t deny that the silence scares me- I am intimidated by His glory- I should be. I think its all about balance- I need to acknowledge how much His everlasting love and glory overwhelms me daily but still press on to enter into relationship with Him- to let him transform me. Because lets face it, I can’t contain God. I don’t control the way he affects my life, my decisions, His power allows me to acknowledge that I am nothing without Him, literally nothing. My recognition of this need for balance is just the beginning, I need to wrestle with God over this spiritual insecurities, and acknowledge His power. Its not like He doesn’t already know. God continues to help me balance myself, and place him at the center of my life. It’s not like I have the ability to find my problems and fix them- I do not have to power to act outside of God- and I wouldn’t want to. Once again, God confronts me- and I love it! It is so humbling and inspiring to witness God’s daily plea for our love.

Another thought- this week has ignited further my desire to be an empty vessel to be filled with God. I want my life to demonstrate God’s power. I want my actions to make it clear that God does the heavy lifting- that God is in control, that I am nothing but His child. I want a life that encourages others to trust not in me but in God.

I need to cut myself off from writing.

God Bless

Nothing but the Truth

It is amazing how God always finds the perfect moment. As we have been going through this devotional, it always seems like God has placed the perfect selection on the day when I need to hear it. Something that I struggle with is admitting to myself when I need help. I think as individuals we tend to not want to say that we need help. We like to think that we are strong and that we can do it on our own. The truth is, we can't. We are weak and we need to admit it. This kind of ties into what we were talking about earlier with being strong in the Lord when we are weak. We all have this facade of being a strong individual that doesn't need help. Like the devotional said, we try to be the vine and not the branch. The vine is the support system of the plant! The vine is where the strength comes from. I could go on with some plant biology references explaining literally why the vine is the support system but I'll spare you. As branches we try to be the vine and have the vine grow from us. How weird would that be? It wouldn't make sense to see a single branch with a bunch of vines growing from it... Its the other way around. There is one true vine -- Jesus! We need to admit to ourselves and to others that we are weak and broken and that the only way to be healed is through a relationship with the father. We need to stop kidding ourselves and realize that we are nothing without him. A branch would not exist without the vine. The life of a branch would not be possible without a vine just as life for us is not full or complete without the love and a relationship with Jesus Christ. We may try but it isn't going to get us anywhere. No fruit would be produced and result in death. It makes perfect sense. But why do we struggle? We struggle because we are always taught that you can only depend on yourself. We need to break free of this myth and learn the truth. God is the only one we need to depend on. He is the vine and we are branches. Life is only complete through the Father. Surrender, admit that you are weak and broken and find life in Christ.

Pruning (verb): Trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, esp. to increase fruitfulness and growth.

This past weekend at training I have come to realize that I am like one of the apple trees from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy gets hungry and is excited to find apple trees. As she picks an apple, the tree slaps her hand and grouchily says, "What do you think you're doing?!...How would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?!".
I have been that tree who refuses pruning. Lately I have been frustrated with myself and get myself stuck feeling terrible, but can't figure out why. It finally occurred to me this past Sunday evening while listening to Reid and Steve talk about the devotions that all of the things that I feel bad about are the things in me that God wants to prune and change. I need to stop refusing and let him take things off of the tree (me) without pushing his hand away. He is pruning me and I have been refusing even though pruning is a good thing so that I may grow in Him.
What I'm supposed to do now has to do with dying to myself and living in Christ. I am a new creation! I It's hard for me to let go and it is something that I have been working on, but I am excited to continue in this daily journey of surrendering and yielding to the Father. No more fighting it or slapping his hand away.
Thank you Lord for grace and your never ending Love.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In Need of Prayer

Hey you guys,

So some of you know that I have been battling being sick for the past 5 weeks. Since I got home from the training weekend, my cold and sinus infection came for round two. My doctor gave me medication and my body is not handling it too well and I am only really able to move from my bed to the couch.

I was hoping I could get some prayer over me, since my session starts in like 8 days, I want to be ready for the campers. I have been praying for God to heal me so I will be able to do His works in the summer without being distracted by being sick.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their time either finishing up school or soaking up the start of summer. God bless you and and I'll continue to pray over all of you and our future campers.
You guys are amazing!

On the subject of fear...

The barneys have been two weeks ahead of the drivers/trainees in this devotional, and so I actually had the chance to sit in this topic two weeks ago. As I've wrestled with my own mental paralysis, hesitation in decisionmaking, and fearful inactivity in the last few weeks, here's where I've landed:

1. Fear is NOT from the Lord. Ever. It's not of his character (reverent fear is different...) and it therefore is not something that we, as image-bearers, are to reflect. Question its source any and every time it plagues you. Call it out for what it is, and then claim victory over it (I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony - Rev 12:11)!
2. Read and re-read and re-read again 1 John 4. Let the love of the Father envelop all that you are and let the truth of his love redirect your focus as you take on great risks and dwell on the threshold of the incredible call God has put on your life: to love Yahweh your God with all your heart, mind, and strength!

R-J-W lap totals!!!

Hey Drivers and Trainees! Here is the final count for laps run at the Run-Walk-Jog-a-Thon! You guys were amazing! Each lap run has provided the ablility for campers to come to camp! Thanks for all your effort and support for campers! Remember to keep asking people you know and others you come in contact with about the camp and what you are doing this summer! We are almost at our goal! You never know the impact you will have on campers, simply by asking for others to support them.

Aaron Cardinio35
Allie Sherrod21
Alyssa Barlow25
Alyssa Holloway18
Amanda Potts20
Anneliese Dion-Kindem16
Cody Schulze29
Connor Drake23
Elizabeth Sherwood15
Emily Ferree22
James Hansen21
Jamie Sickler21
Jenna Gailey32
Jennifer Harnet19
Jordan Costa22
Joseph Lee18
Josh Vance30
Josiah Auer26
Kaitlyn Bonne13
Karly Nelson15
Kate Stipa21
Katie Jameson16
Katy Conlin15
Kevin Straw17
Kira Thornley16
Kristen Anema16
Lauren Stack16
Lauren Whitney14
Lexi Prior20
Michael Obrien23
Sarah Josephson16
Tony Dunn22
Tyler Moore29

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

i have really enjoyed the devos this week so far, especially mondays. 2 corinthians 12:7-10 is definitely one of my favorite passages in scripture, and god used it to teach me so much last summer. he showed he that during my parents divorce, i tried to be strong - for myself, for my brother, and to try and convince my parents and myself that what they were doing was not affecting or hurting me. i don't like to show weakness. but nothing that i can do will make me good enough or worthy of what god has to give me. i am only good enough because the lord loves me and he gives grace. i can do nothing without him, and my strength needs to come from HIM alone, not me. we need god. i need god. i need daily time with him, because he is the giver of life. i cant even effectively serve him on my own. even though this is still a struggle for me at times, i thank god that by his grace alone i can see and admit to it. dying to self gives us life as well as meaning and peace from the lord.

man, last wednesdays was so good. jesus asks us if we want to get well. we are spiritually crippled and cant be healed without him. we can seriously do nothing without him. its by his grace and mercy that we can even recognize that we need healing and accept it.
discipline is about freedom in him, and living our lives for him and him alone. this is so hard for me to put into practice sometimes, especially when dealing with school, like allie was saying. i am not going to school for me/its not about me, its for god. to prepare for what god has called me to do and further the kingdom throughout the journey. god has placed us all in different and specific mission fields. i need to remember that every day i need to live for jesus and take advantage of that. to totally sell out to him and be a servant ready for battle.
in luke 2, jesus shows how in love with the father he is. how his eyes are totally fixed on him. i pray that we may follow this example.

this past weekend was awesome and i am stoked for summer!

Whom Then Shall I Fear

"You hesitate to form your decision because you fear making a mistake."

Wednesdays devotional brought my mind back to a tough place that I was at with God last year. I struggled, and still struggle, with the fear of making a mistakes. I dont want to say something "wrong" or do something "wrong".

To put a picture on it, ill relate this to my soccer playing days, which I love to do. In my first game ever playing on the varsity squad, I was called up mid-season from JV. I was nervous. Like I couldnt walk straight kind of nervous. Overall it went well though, we tied the eventual CIF champions. But after the game, when my dad came over to me and asked me how it felt, the first thing I said was, "I didnt get much action on the ball, but at least I didnt make any mistakes." Confused, he replied, "well then you didnt really play did you?". He was half joking, but I remembered the moment. I didnt put 100% of myself into that game, because of the fear that I would look silly, and they would know that I was too young and too inexperienced to be on the field.

Gotta be honest, I played one of the worst games of my life the very next game. I was demoted back to JV, and had to wait a long time to get another chance. But I largely credit that failure of a game for building me up to being a starting player down the road.

So ya, I still do sometimes fear failure. But it's not about me. It in no way has ever been about me. God has the summer written out. God isn't saying, "oh if Tyler has a rough week then campers wont come to know me." Christ has won, it's over. The description of imagining myself as a lifeless body cuts me out of the picture, and strongly glorifies God. I want to make myself less, so that God can be everything. Everything to me, and everything to the churches that come.

Man, I am so excited to meet and love on campers. Just saying.


Man this week's devo is good. Today's devo, which talked about fear, is exactly what I was trying to talk about in my post yesterday and what I was trying to explain to Andy in the ski boat on Sunday.

"You hesitate to form your decision because you fear making a mistake."

This is me. I hesitate to make decisions because I fear making mistakes. The last two weeks have been an incredible practice in trusting the Lord with my decisions and "celebrating a vibrant dance of spiritual freedom with Christ" as I prepare for the summer. There is nothing I can not do if I trust and love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and strength.

God is good.

A series of Short Snippets

I haven't felt like I had enough to write one long blog post this week, so here is a snippet of the various things I've learned through our study so far this week!

(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
[9] But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This verse sustained me through last summer. If God gave us a task that we could accomplish without him, we would be far more likely to take credit ourselves. But when we know that we are to weak, our strength, our knowledge, and our wisdom are too meager to accomplish what we set out to do, God takes the glory. Through constant prayer and doing all things through Christ's strength rather than our own we consistently glorify God! We are a part of the vine, and it is only through the vine (Christ) that we the branches can produce fruit.

Jacob's encounter with God changed him permanently. Likewise, when we meet Jesus, and ask him to be a part of our lives, our lives should be utterly unrecognizable from our former selves, because When we allow Christ to change us, and work in us, when we allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, our life is different, down to the core of who we are. We are no longer required to define ourselves by our possessions, or our abilities, but are instead defined in Him who died on the cross for us; we are defined as the vassel's of God's love, and the messengers of his glory. We are refined daily by the fire of his justice and mercy, and healed through the waters of his love. I have no desire to live the life of the Kira who once walked a wide and easy path alone. I have no desire for the things she desired because I have been changed by the Spirit of God until I was unrecognizable. I celebrate that that Kira has died, and in her stead is me, the daughter of God, creator of the universe who loved so wholly and sacrificially that his own Son died for my sake. Pray daily that God would continue to empty me of everything that isn't Him for it isn't by my own power that I am changed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Consistency = Humility

One thing that has become clear to me over the course of my life is that "consistency of spiritual life" requires humility. In order to consent to God's leadership, I must admit that I am weak but He is strong. If I refuse to deny my own strength, I refuse to rely on God for everything. When pride takes over, I praise myself instead of God. In these instances where God's power is mightily displayed, humility will come whether I like it or not. Sometimes I forget that displaying humility up front is a lot less painful than having God humble me later. When I understand verse 9 (My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness), I begin to crave intimacy with God more and more.
Today I began reading through my journal. It's something I do frequently with large gaps in-between. (AKA- I journal every day for two weeks and then take a few months off). In an attempt to reach some sort of humble catharsis, I started going through and crossing out everything I wrote about other people. My pride allowed me to, in my time spent with Jesus, point out and "pray for" faults in others rather than focusing on what God was trying to do in my own life. The ironic (though not at all ironic) fact is that every time I focused a significant amount of space on other people, it was almost always preceded by a significant lapse in disciplined quiet time. Spending time with the Lord, consistently, allows me to engage in conversation rather than attribute sporadic bits of wisdom to other people.

Galatians 2:17-21

Part of today's devo came from Galatians 2:20. I love the passage it's set in.

17 "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 10 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (NIV)

On Sunday in the ski boat, Andy asked me what would hold me back from giving 110% of myself this summer. My response was this sense of not being good enough, which I now relate to what Paul calls "observing the law" in Galatians. Observing the law is not what brings righteousness, it is the grace of God. The grace of God has made me good enough, and Andy and the rest of Sonshine have reassured me of this time and again. To re-word my response to Andy in the ski boat, I don't give myself the grace that God gives me, and that holds me back. Then Andy turned to me and said, "I wouldn't be sending you out if I didn't think you were ready. It's not about skills and abilities, it's about character and behavior." That is so true. Like Reid said on Monday morning, this is where we have been called to this summer. God has prepared us for this and continues to do so through His grace. So hold on to that grace, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

In discipline there is freedom.......

A great motto that I learned in my years at Sonshine and now pass on to countless students in my classroom. Although I know in my head that this is a true statement there are times in my life when I want to skip the discipline and get to the freedom, we all know how that ends up....not well. The juxtaposition of that statement throws people but it logically makes so much sense. Like so many things in our faith, "when we lose our life we gain life", "in death their is life". It is interesting that there is this need to flee discipline and turn to run away when in actuality it is what we need and what will sustain us. I then turn to the idea of fight or flight and how in the midst of discipline we can choose to go one of two ways, fight or flight and I hope each time I decide to fight through the discipline and work through it as I grow closer to Christ and closer to freedom in Christ.

Having to Explain

Now that I am on summer break, many of my days have been getting together with friends and catching up on life. A lot of my friends want to hear about my time serving on Shasta and what looks like for me. I was telling my best friend the other day about the devotionals and how great they have been. She asked me if I take solo times every day. I told her yes and she then proceeded to ask why. She asked if I took solo times with God because it was something that was required of me. Her questions caught me off guard. This is a friend who has grown up in a Christian home. She and I have grown up in our church together. To be completely honest, she was the last person I thought I would have to explain this to. But that brings me to my other thought, why should I have to explain myself? I thought it would be obvious. I make sure to have my daily time with God because I know what it means. It means freedom, it means love, it means to be challenged. I know what impact having time with God has on my day. If you could have such a profound time with God, then why wouldn't you take that time? It felt odd explaining this to my friend but I know that it was probably something she needed to hear. By encouraging her to take that time, there are doors opened to her.

There isn't someone official regulating our daily time with God, it is up to us to be disciplined and make sure that we get that time. When my friend asked if it was required, I said no in the traditional meaning of the word. But I should have said meaning it is what is required of me in my walk with God.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do you truly believe His grace is sufficient for you?

Over the past couple months I've been feeling a frustration with my walk with Christ. When I sat down and spent time with him, I got this momentary feeling of true life and security, and then I was back in the world again, feeling lost and insecure. I was praying about it, but the feeling stayed there. I knew God was using it for his glory, showing me my anger and need for Him. In the midst of it I didn't get it, but about a week ago I felt the Spirit calling me just to rest in His love and grace. It was such a small but important thing that I had lost focus from. Jesus calls us to full dependance and full surrender, and guarantees us he will provide what we need. I felt Him asking me, why are you looking to other things for what can be only found in me?" It hurt to hear it, but the truth is, He really does discipline those he loves.

And also during worship last night God totally gave me another Spirit moment, telling me the same thing. He said "Do you believe my grace is sufficient for you? Do you really, truly believe it?" I thought about it for a while, and then read the verse that we were studying that night: ephesians 2:8-9. "By grace you have been saved, through faith, not of works so that no man may boast...." And man, I gotta say, I was humbled. It hit me like a train wreck. Sometimes we try so hard to play God in our lives. We make following Jesus a checklist and think that by doing everything on it, we are good with God. Well, God totally showed me that I was doing just that, and He gave me a big ol' slap in the face. When I was at the point of doubting God, he was there and in control, and he was trying to get me to look to Him. Satan was fooling me into thinking that what I was doing was right. While it looked right, God was there all along saying, "you're never going to be satisfied anywhere else but me." Its about Him working through us and changing us, and the Spirit living in us. We have a good God. Amen?

See you all tomorrow!