Monday, July 14, 2008

When It Rains... It Pours

So for the past year I have wondered why it was that death seemed to be all around me. What I mean by that is after Whitney died... it seemed like all these people close to me began losing people they loved... It seemed like after January, things started to "settle down"... I guess I began to hope for the remainder of 2008 to be a "good year"... Then, a few weeks ago, we got news that one boy from my high school and his friend (whom I also knew) were killed in a car accident. Even though I wasn't close to these people, the thought of someone you know dying can be heartbreaking... especially when it was pretty clear that they were unbelievers.... And yet again, death... I found out today that a guy I graduated high school with was killed in a motorcycle accident... his name was Glenn Ferrell, but we all knew him as Scooter. I've found myself today asking "Why God?"... Why is everyone around me dying? After talking to my mom, I realized that it wasn't that death wasn't happening before May 28, 2007... I was just blind to it.... As draining as it is sometimes to experience the death of a loved one or watch others you love go through it... I'm thankful for it... I'm thankful that death has become so "real" to me, and my prayer is that I would begin to see others' souls in light of eternity... Oh how I yearn to have such a love and concern for the Lost, that my heart would not only break when someone I know dies... but that as I open the newspaper or hear about it on the news, that I would - out of love and concern - be motivated to share the Gospel boldly... all the days of my LIFE! This is my duty as a "steward of the mysteries of God".... Pray for Scooter's family and his friends... pray that God's glory would be revealed to those close to Scooter who do not know Christ.... pray that eyes would be opened and hearts would be changed... Pray.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ever Heard Of "Capture The Flag"?

So... obviously I have a black eye.  That goes without saying.  But how I got it... that's actually a really funny story.  I would love to be able to tell you that I got it doing something really heroic, or making the "winning" dive to win a game... but I didn't.  I got it by standing completely stationary while a guy here on project ran full speed into my face.... it hurt.

We were playing this game called "Capture The Flag" on the beach last night with glow sticks. The point of the game is simple... each team has a flag (glow stick) that they keep at a base on one side of the beach. Each team tries to "capture" the other team's flag and then bring it back to their base. The only thing is that each team has players that guard their own flag... players that guard the prison (I'll explain later)... and players that run and go for the flag. 

I said I'd explain about the prison later, because that's where my black eye comes in... when you enter into the other teams "territory"... If you get tagged by the other team, you go to "prison". The only way you can get out of prison, is if one of your teammates runs in and tags your hand without being caught by the "jailer".... Well I was in prison... standing still waiting on someone from my team to tag my hand... when all at once... out of no where I see Sean (the guy who ran into me) running full speed towards the prison to try and tag Jenna's (another girl on my team) hand... as I see him running I step up - and what I think is out of the way - only to find myself about 0.2 seconds later on the flat of my back with an enormous headache... 

To sum it all up... we collided... and when we did, his forehead hit the left side of my face and then his toe hit my shin... it dislocated and fractured his big toe... in fact, it was pointing in towards the rest of his toes at about a 45 to 50 degree angle... it was nasty.

The pictures don't really do my eye justice....  Think about it this way... try and imagine the amount of force it would take for you to dislocate and fracture your big toe on someone's shin... that amount of force is the same amount that his forehead hit my face.... I definitely don't think I'll forget this game of "Capture The Flag".... By the way, the pictures were taken on the camera built-in to my computer... so they're a mirror image... i didn't really forget my right and left... the picture looks like it's my right side... but it's my left.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm Adopted...

So each summer at Beach Project around the end of June, the staff leaves. The way project is set up is in four different "levels" - the first level is the CAMPUS OUTREACH STAFF - below them are TEAM LEADERS - below them are ROOM LEADERS (what I am) - and then finally there are DISCIPLES. Each "level" is led by the level above them. 

When the Staff leaves for the summer, Beach Project is completely run by the Team Leaders, so they call in different men to come and give the "talks" that we hear each week. This summer, on Monday nights we focus on one aspect of the Gospel (our sinful state, the person of Jesus, our response to Jesus, etc.) - on Wednesday nights we have "Growing Your Faith Training". Here we discuss practical applications to help us grow in our own walk with God (reading and studying God's word, prayer, etc.) - Thursday nights are Evangelism training nights. That speaks for itself in that we learn on this night, how to share our faith. Sunday nights we have Vision time (we try to develop a vision for our lives and for the world - basically... consider the "big picture") and then we have a time to plan our weeks. 

This past Monday, Amado Ortiz (he's a Jacksonville State graduate and a member of my church Grace Fellowship) was asked to come down and give a talk on justification and adoption... it was AMAZING. I would love to sit here and type out everything I took away from that talk, but we both know that I don't have the time to type and you probably don't have the time to sit and read it. But, I do want to share on thing that I have been thinking about since the talk... 

"... knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." 1 Peter 1:18-19

There are so many different passages in the Bible that talk about those of us who have been reconciled to God through Christ are children of God...

"... just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intentions of His will." Ephesians 1:4-5

Can you believe it? I can't... the Creator of the Universe... is big enough and holy enough to have an intimate relationship with me like a Father. He could have stopped at justification and that would have been more than we deserved.... we deserve hell. But He didn't... He adopted us into His family... we are heirs with Christ! I love the passage in 1 Peter, because it shows a glimpse of God's love for us. He didn't purchase us with silver, gold.... perishable things.... but He purchased us with the blood of HIS SON! 

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God..." 1 John 3:1

I'll close with this... my sister Sarah had an amazing opportunity to go to China for two weeks on a mission trip where she worked in orphanages. I've posed a picture of one of the orphans she was able to give her life away to for two weeks... as you look at the picture, think of what it would mean to that child to be adopted. For the first time to be loved, held, sang to, rocked, etc.... and then imagine the love our Father in Heaven lavishes on us as we enter into His family as sons and daughters through His perfect Son... Jesus.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Half Way There

Let me start out by saying I'M SO SORRY! I have failed miserably at the whole blogging thing and I  promise to start making a better effort for the rest of project.

Well, where do I start? I'll first start out by telling you how amazing the Lord is. He has really brought me full circle this summer and I'm so thankful for how much He's already grown me. When I first got down here, I'll admit, I was a little confused. My life seemed to be going in one direction and then I felt as if God just plucked me out of it and stuck me right in the middle of a life I wasn't really sure about. 

I'll explain further. Basically, I just lost focus. I was trying to find joy in my circumstances and not in Jesus. It has been hard here. I've learned that pouring your life into other's lives is not always a pretty neat little package. It's messy... it's hard... it takes sacrifice. There have been many nights I laid awake in bed wondering... "How am I going to make it tomorrow? Work is stressful, my girls are hard.. etc", and each morning I woke up being reminded that His mercies are new each day and that Jesus has to be my treasure. You see... for the first half of the summer, He was not my treasure... I was looking to other things. I believe whole-heartedly that God is sovereign over ALL... so I knew that I couldn't "escape" His will for my life, I could just choose to stop fighting it and submit to His lordship. It took my sweet friend Bethany showing me the sin she saw in my life for me to understand that God has great purpose in me being here for the summer and away from the life I knew before Beach Project. 

Now for the good part... ONE OF MY DISCIPLES BECAME A CHRISTIAN! Oh how wonderful is our God. Her name is Lindsay Walker. She is from West Georgia, and she came here with a very skewed view of Christianity. She's highly intelligent and an accounting major, so everything in her head was a process... trying to "figure out" Christianity to see if it fit in her life. After many hours of prayer and tough conversations... one night... it clicked. God unveiled her eyes to His truth and she prayed that Jesus would be Lord of her life and that she might be saved. I was ecstatic. She was ecstatic. I have been so encouraged by her life and the change that has been made. When the Bible talks of us being "new creations in Christ".. it is so apparent in her life! 

So I know I was going to try to post pictures... unfortunately I haven't been able to get a picture of my d-group all together. I'm going to try to find some pictures others have taken that might have pictures of us in them... that way you all can put names with faces. I want to remind you again of the names of the girls in my group. Remember them in your prayers if you think about it. The Lord is doing so much in their lives this summer. I'm so glad and thankful that I've gotten to experience it first hand. Their names are Lauren Ramsey (Berry College), Grace Brannon (Berry College), and Lindsay Walker (West GA).

Okay... Lindsay Walker is in the first picture (she's on the right... dressed up like someone from the 80's for a social we had)... Grace Brannon is in the second picture (she's dressed like a pirate for a pirate social we had)... and Lauren Ramsey is in the third picture! 

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm Here!

Okay... believe it or not, this is the third time I've tried to post this blog. We have a very weak internet connection here at the Sandman and I haven't had a chance to go to Whataburger where the wireless is free and fast! Yes, I have to go to Whataburger if I want to get on the internet. I promise at some point this weekend I will post a blog explaining everything... but... the good news is I'm here, I'm safe, and I know my disciples! YAY! Their names are Lauren Ramsey (from Berry), Grace Brannon (from Berry), and Lindsey Walker (from West Georgia)! I haven't met Lindsey yet. She isn't getting here until Tuesday! Everything is amazing here! God is so good! 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How Great Is Our God?

I haven't written in a while, but life's been crazy for the past couple of weeks. I'll share more later, but right now I wanted to share with you a video that was posted on another couple's blog that goes to my church. Mr. Acker was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (cancer in his throat) and just finished up a series of chemo and radiation treatments. This video is an amazing testament to the GREATNESS of our GOD! For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, this video is a reminder of the hope that we have in HIM! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Make sure you pause or turn down the volume on the music player at the bottom of the page.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I Can Only Imagine...

On May 28, 2007, someone very special to me passed away.  Her name was Whitney Laine Gallahar.  Whitney was my best friend since....  for as long as I can remember.  I'm not writing to dwell on her death, but I do want to share a video with you that a friend of mine put together.  This video was made in Gatlinburg in 2001.