Tuesday, March 25, 2008

*Porcelain Heart*

"Isn't it funny how day-by-day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different." ~Anonymous~

Through out my life and even just through this experiment I've been through and experienced a lot. I just found the above quote and thought it was appropriate. It may not be dead on, but it pretty well describes for me at least, the way this experiment revealed things to me and the way I generally see things. At one point if you were to ask me if and how the experiment changed my life I would have had a hard time answering you with confidence, because it was hard to see the small and subtle changes that were taking place. I wasn't looking through God's eyes. But now that I look back on it I can honestly say that it has begun to change my life, even if the changes are slight.

This experiment really opened my eyes, in many ways, but especially to the truth that God is always at work even in the small seemingly insignificant things. No matter what I do, he'll be at work and I can't stop that. All I can do is hinder him from working in/through me. I don't want to get in the way. With all of my heart I wish to continue to, with His help, overcome this foolishness that I can find myself in and wish to completely set aside myself, and instead depend on God. It really is the least I can do for all that he's done for me. After all, he has set me aside as his Child...I am a child of the most high God. 'Child of God' and 'Christian' are more than just titles though. They are a way of life-who we are and who we become- and in that we have choices. Now we obviously aren't always going to make the right ones. In fact, on the contrary, quite the opposite. However, no matter the mistakes we make in life I know for a fact that so long as we continue to choose Christ, He won't let us fall.

Something else that this experience has brought to the forefront of my mind has been that the relationship I have with my Abba is not just for my benefit and it doesn't only affect me. I've been guilty of living my life in sections. I had a school section and a Church section. My spiritual life wasn't a constant normal in my life like it should be. Even now it's hard to make it so with all the pressures of the world, but I can just as easily resist those pressures with God's help and add a little of God's 'push' by the way I live. Am I living like a Christ-ian? If I am, and even if I'm not, I affect people around me in someway. I just have the choice to whether the impressions I leave are going to be positive or negative on my end and in that whether I'm going to let God govern my thoughts and my actions. I understand that It's hard and that many times I'll be called to be a fool for Christ, but so long as I'm listening to the voice of truth and living out what it calls me to do I trust that I have nothing to fear, for He knows best and knows what he's talking about no matter how crazy or difficult the request may seem at the time.

I know I'm going to miss this experiment, but its end is really the beginning. It's a challenge to see if the experiment served its purpose. Will I continue to grow in my dependence on God? Will it become apart of who I am and the way I live my every day life? And, if nothing else, It's a realization of how much I depend on God, of how much I need him. With that realization comes the beginning of an opportunity to grow closer to Christ and to continue to depend more on him rather than the temporary things-including myself apart from him.

Abba Father, I thank you so much for the opportunity that this totally dependent mindset experiment gave me and my fellow brothers and sisters. I pray that even though the experiment has drawn to a final close, that its impact will not be forgotten and that we'll let it be a reminder of how much we need you. Let this be the beginning of an opportunity to grow closer to you and to continue to learn how to totally depend on you. We need you Lord, in all we do, for apart from you we can do nothing. I love you. With all my heart, your daughter

Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The experiment is drawing to a close. It is near the end, and now is a final time of reflection and self-analyzing. What have I really gained from this experiment? What have I learned? If nothing else, I have learned that Total Dependence upon God takes an incredible amount of work. I will not say that it is hard; no, anyone in the world can do this. Literally. No matter what the situation is, it fits. The actual putting into practice is where the difficulty lies. If I have gained anything from this, if I am to take anything away, if I should encourage you at all, reader, it is the knowledge and realization that I have lived, for the majority of my life, dependent not upon God, but on myself.
I'm not looking upon this as a single event, though. This is only the beginning to something much much larger than me. This concept of being totally dependent reaches into the core of the message of Christ. It is choosing to take part in a dance. To drink from a river that flows deep under the surface of Self; the eternal spring which all men were intended to drink from. This is a catalyst to something huge. I am going, as Aslan urged, "further up and further in". It is a bold and terrifying step. It doesn't even seem rational. Robots could not take this step. Cutting away all the arguments, doctrines, and theology that sounds well on paper, the whole practice is no less frightening. It is going against all one's ever known. It is giving up relying on self and handing the reigns to God. But living by and for the Self will always hold you back, you must be saying. This is so true. At the same time, however, it is at least something I know, and familiarity does breed contempt, but it also breeds a sense of security. The type of security that comes out of thinking that even though I am miserable, at least I shall be in control. This is not permanent, however, and shall not matter at the end of all things.
Despite the fears that scream at me with every keystroke, the decision remains. I don't know where this will lead or what will happen, but I know that being totally dependent on God means acknowledging that he is bigger than my fears and smarter than my doubts. I ask for all who read this to look into the relationship you have with God and strive to know him deeper and more intimately.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The King

i grew up in the church. always went every sunday, every wednesday, went to all the classes, had friends from church, even did did stuff on sunday nights for church. so ive never known anything else but church church church. it wasnt like i had jesus shoved down my throat, it was just somthing i always did, but didnt think about. then i got older. years passed and i started to think more about what i was really doing with my time. church basically seemed, at the time, like a big waste of my precious time. i never really dug into god and realized to true extent of who he was and what he could do for me and how important he was. but there was no way i could just stop going because i was forced to go. it was somthing everyone in my family always did. so i began to see god as a waste of my precious time. like i was too important for god. then i moved into seventh grade, and up to my church's youth group. i loved the youth group, and started learning the true god not just the bible stories. then i couldnt get enough of him. i listened and obeyed him. i wanted to learn everything i could. then my sister stopped going on wednesdays. but i kept on, progressing every step toward god. but out of nowhere i stopped going. i dont know why i just... stopped. i guess i got lazy. it wasnt that i didnt like god it was just like i was too busy for him with music and social events and... life. it got worse. i started changing forgetting god and everything i lerned. even when i didnt like church i didnt act like this. i thought i was too cool for god. too cool for all the people who still listened to him. thought they were missing out. i was lost in the world. lusting, lying, hating, gossiping. everything that i was taught against i started doing. i still would go to church on sundays, but it didnt matter i didnt listen to anything the preacher said. and if anyone asked if i was okay spiritually i would lie and say i was fine. i wasnt fine. i was dying inside to scream out and brake down but... i... i just couldnt. it was like there was a solid brick wall in between me and god. controlling my every move. i never broke down and cried. never admitted all of my sins to the youth group. and i dont really like to talk about how i came back to god. its just a thing that stays with me and him. there wasnt any miricle any super moment where i broke down and admitted everything. just a time where i decided enough was enough. i started going to church again. started listening. but i still felt nothing. it stayed like this for a long time, like nothing was in my head everthing i heard was in and out. but then i went to a camp. and it changed my life. next thing i knew i was listening again. but everything i heard was different. i saw things from a different perspective. mabe it was that i grew up more. mabe it was beacuse of what happend in my past. to this day i cant tell you why but everything i learned about god was different. all the bible stories. all the lessons. even who god was. i was finally comprehending everything. it was like i was hearing it for the first time. a new page in my life was and is still being turned. i think the interesting part about all this is still to come. im sorry i cant finish this story of my life. mabe someday ill be able to. hope you are interested. cuz i am.

Friday, March 21, 2008

~Silver Lining~

I've realized that what I want most in this world is to die. Now, you may think that this is a horribly morbid & depressing statement, but it is true. There is nothing in this world that would give me more pleasure than my death. I have a great life on Earth, mind you, but I want to go to Heaven and live in Peace & Perfection. However, it is not my job to choose when I die - it is His. It is my job to decide what to do with my life while I'm still living. In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf tells Frodo, "... but that [ways of life] is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

This is why we have to be totally dependent on God. He is the only One who knows how long I will be on this earth, therefore, there is no one better than Him to guide me in my life. For He knows what His plans are for me, what needs to be done, and how long I have to do it. I want my life to be what it was meant to be so I depend on the One who made it.

. . . (for lack of a better transition!) I am so sick of pretending that other things are more important than my Savior. There is NOTHING in this life that I care more about, that I find more important, or that affects my life more than my relationship with Jesus. All of the things which seem so important to be right now are so not important in the long run. I think about these things and they are not going to matter come Jesus and Eternity! My relationship with Him will matter when I face Endless Love or Endless Despair. WHY would I sacrifice what will make or break me (in a spiritual sense) in Eternity for what makes me feel happy and good in the momentary, sinful world?!?

His promise is claimed - all I have to do is ask and I will receive the secret to living in life joyfully and successfully as well as having the Eternity I long for. With Jesus, I don't need these things to be happy, fulfilled, etc. He is the Reason that I live and I will live with Him forever. What I am realizing and trying to communicate is that I don't have to sacrifice my happiness on Earth to receive Eternal Riches. In fact, He tells us quite the opposite. If we are living for Him and in Him, we will be happy!

My heart hurts when I think about all the time I have spent thinking that these things really matter. They so don't! And if my mind, heart, and soul are depending totally on Him, I will realize this. No matter what I've gone through in life, no matter what others think of me, I will have to face Him one day. At that moment, it will not matter what others think, or what I wore, or what I owned, etc. So why bother with them now? My time could much better be spent getting ready for Eternal Life and helping others do the same. There is a part of a Point of Grace song that says it doesn't matter "...who you knew or what you did. It's how you lived."

"Do not sacrifice what you want most for what you want at this moment." I want God & His Kingdom most. I need to cling to Him so that I will not fall into the temptation to sacrifice Him for worldly things.

God, please guide me as I walk through this life. Provide your timing and your plans so that my life is what You meant it to be. You and Your will are the only things that really matter. I want to stop caring about these things that don't matter. You are all that will matter on Judgement Day and You should be all that matters now. Please help me as I put aside myself and my worldly thoughts. I ask your forgiveness in advance for not being able to do this faithfully. I will stumble and I ask you to catch me. Be everything to me. Be my purpose, my happiness, my drive, my sheer delight! May You be the things to me that I need as I throw away those which I don't. You are the All-Important in my life. Thank you for being dependable now and always.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" - 1 John 3:1

P.S. This is my last post. Thank you all for reading and for your encouraging comments. May God bless us all as we become totally dependent on Him.

*Porcelain Heart*

I'm sorry I didn't get to post last week. I was, regrettably, preoccupied with last minute school projects and stuff like that the first part of the week. The second half of the week I was in Durango, Colorado, for the ski trip... However, here I am now with every intention of continuing to depend on my God even as this experiment draws to a close.

The ski trip was a real eye opener for me. First of all, the majestic mountains. I'd been to Colorado before, but it had been awhile and I'd obviously forgotten just how beautifully breathtaking God's hand crafted mountains are. The way they radiated God's awesome power was incredible. It made me once again realize what a...truly indescribable God we serve. And it made me think, why wouldn't I want to be totally dependent on Him? I know why I'm not dependent 24/7, I get in the way, but I do know that even as this experiment draws to an end I want to totally depend on God and to continue to grow in my relationship with Him.

Also, for those of you that don't know, my picture here is currently a little deceiving. I don't quite look like this, although I'm getting there, but during the ski trip I had an accident. All I can say is that the Lord was watching over me. I was going pretty fast on my skis, maybe too fast, on a rather steep hill and I came to an area that said "no jumping". Well, by the time I had read the sign, which wasn't very (for lack of a better word) jump-out-at-you-ish in the first place, I found that I had no time to try and stop myself, or so I thought. So, on I sped until I came to small drop off right past the "no jumping" sign. Into the air I flew, and with no where else to go but down and with no idea how to land a jump...you can guess what happened. My face pretty quickly and very forcefully became acquainted with the ice. I began to rise from the ground when I looked around me and saw blood all over the ground. "Is that mine?" I thought. From that point on I was in a daze, and several parts of this I don't even remember. But I've been told that almost immediately a doctor who happened to be skiing by stopped and looked me over and a ski instructor came by and helped out too. Also, I was blessed to have a good majority of our group near enough to see it happen and to quickly get help. My injuries could have been a lot worse. I scraped by with a bruised and bloody nose, a few scratches on my face, a punctured lip, and a black eye. I could have easily broken something and even worse...
I can't help but think that with the height of the fall that I took...well, let's just say that that's the closest to death I've ever come and it really gets you thinking. It makes me realize just how much we depend on God sometimes whether we even mean to or not. We are so small and relatively insignificant yet He loves us and wants us to choose to depend on Him. He doesn't give us anything we can't bear and in reality depending on Him, even though it's hard, is a blessed opportunity that He gives us. Sometimes, especially when it gets really hard and when we fall, He gives us people to stabilize us and pull us back to our feet ( just like he did with the people in my skiing situation). Just so long as we don't start depending on the helpers in place of God, which is easy to do.
As this experiment draws to a close I pray that it will have served its purpose. That I won't have been dependent on it, but my God through it and that I'll continue to depend on God in everything and grow in my relationship with Him.

Abba, I cry out with all of my heart. I pray that you'll be with me and with my fellow brothers and sisters that have been through this experiment as it draws to a close. I thank you for the opportunity it presented and for the impact it can potentially have on our lives as a whole. I pray that we will continue to pursue a relationship with you and that as we do so we will remember to totally depend on you, our Rock and Redeemer.

Luke 10:41-42 "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


In Romans 1:25 it says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen." This verse hit me several years ago and has continued to be a strong reminder to guard my heart against depending on anything else other than the Creator Himself. The challenge in this is that there are a lot of great things God has created that are so good and I can become dependent on. For example, I have the best family ever. I love being at home. My wife and my kids bring me tremendous joy. I feel safe, understood and encouraged there. No matter how my day is going, I have the thought that I am probably the richest man in any room because I have a home that is peaceful-no eggshells to walk on, no strain in the relationships, no fear of anyone going crazy. It is an amazing blessing that I have. I love my family!
But here is the truth: It is all created. My wife, my son, my daughter, my house, my possessions, the relationships that we share, the words we use to express our love for each other, my own body and mind and heart - all of it was "created". So I ask myself, "Am I dependent on God or am I dependent on these things?". The answer can be seen by asking myself this. "If God took it all away, would I experience a break in my relationship with God?" I'm not asking if I would mourn and hurt or if I would ask God a lot of questions(that is a God-given response). I'm asking if my relationship with God would be damaged. If it would, it shows that I am presently depending more on something else than I am on Him. So, to be specific, lets say that God decides to allow my beautiful 6-year old daughter to die. When it happens, if my relationship with God is strained and there's a doubt of whether I can continue to worship Him, what I am demonstrating is that I am more dependent on me having my daughter than on God.
With this in mind, our Experiment falls in the same category(though not as dramatic, of course). It is a created thing. As it draws to an end, I realize I will miss it. It was comforting to have a plan of how to approach God. It was encouraging to have daily reminders and to meet weekly with everybody to hear of their progress. But the same God will be with me in the future that has been with me these last 7 weeks. Losing the "structure" of the Experiment will be felt, but how my relationship with God continues after that will show what the impact was. Did I develop a stronger dependence on God or did I develop a dependence on the Experiment and the other people involved?
So, what are you depending on?

Friday, March 14, 2008

~Silver Lining~

Totally Dependent

What is total dependence on God How might it be described
It is a care-free child Who worries not But lets life have it’s way
It is the lilies of the field Who neither labor nor spin Yet are clothed in splendor great
It is a loving mother Who wants God’s will for her child So she lets God take him away
It is the unity of family Through good times and bad Who pray ‘til bad turns to good
It is a tear in his eye As the doctor shows him the x-rays And he says, “Lord, let your will be done.”
It is the leader Who knows that the best way to lead Is to follow the One who knows the Way
It is the young woman Who breaks up with her boyfriend Because the relationship is not based on God
It is the minister Who walks into McDonald’s And wonders what difference he could make
It is the lost and helpless Who knows there must be more to life And resolves to search until it is found
It is the single mother Who weeps over her children And begs her Savior to provide
It is those with mustard-seed-faith Who ask God to do extraordinary things Through his own ordinary self
It is the homeless man Who knows that God’s definition of “prosper” Is different from his own
It is a teen Who decides to not follow the crowd But stand firm in what she believes
It is the performer Who looks past the glimmer and cameras And performs for an Audience of One
It is a man Who ignores others remarks And finds self worth in His acceptance
It is the oppressed Who gets back up and perseveres Though the world does nothing but push him down
It is the high school graduate Who won’t get off her knees Until the All-knowing has revealed His answers
It is the competitor Who knows his own limitations And asks the Lord for strength
It is the lawyer Who knows the truth of the case And asks the Spirit to guide his words
It is the young girl Who decides to wait And let God show her Mr. Right
It is the broken heart Which is poured out before his friends In honesty and humility
It is the child Who is kind to the outcast And in him finds a great friend
It is the love Which is shown by one Who does not demand love in return
It is the working father Who knows that things are hopeless And asks God to pay the bills
It is those Who endure suffering and disappointment And count it all pure joy
It is the old man Who rejoices for another day That the Father has allowed him to live
It is the ceaseless prayer Which pours out its heart For it knows that He will hear
It is the young couple Who decide to save their marriage By asking Him to join them
It is the woman Who lets go of the past And finally lets herself forgive
It is the hurt and confused Who doesn’t know which way to turn So she runs into the arms of her Father
It is the young man Who turns off his music For he knows it does not honor God
It is the little old lady Who waters her plants And takes delights in what the Lord has made

Total Dependence is the child of God
Who wakes each morning saying
“Lord, help me live this day for You.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008


What is the goal of a Christian's life?

As I thought about the many possible answers to this question, I realized that they all seemed to be wrapped up in one: BE LIKE CHRIST. (2 Cor. 3:18, 3 John :11, Phil. 2:5, Eph. 5:1, and many more) Everything else that a Christian should be and do in his/her life is included in being like Christ. So how do we do that? I think that is the question that most Christians spend their entire lives trying to answer: How do we be like Christ? Not just in the love-your-enemies, be-kind-to-others, forgive-each-other kind of way (though those things are good and right), but in the way described in 1 Peter 2:22, "He committed NO SIN, and no deceit was found in His mouth." How do we truly imitate Christ in having absolutely no sin? Jesus was a man, just like us. He faced every temptation we face, yet He did not sin. (Heb. 4:15) How did He do it? I think a very wise friend of mine hit the nail on the head when he said,

"The amazing thing about Jesus wasn't that He never sinned. The amazing thing about Jesus was that He was TOTALLY DEPENDENT on the Father...therefore He never sinned."

I think too often we believe Jesus was able to be sinless simply because He was God's Son, as if it was His default or something. Sinlessness wasn't something Jesus came by naturally, even though He was God's Son. (Heb. 5:8) Look at how often Jesus spent time with His Father, seeking Him and praying to Him:

"After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside to pray." (Matt. 14:23)
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed." (Mark 1:35)
"After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray." (Mark 6:46)
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)
"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." (Luke 6:12)
"He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up onto a mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28)

Jesus knew that without His Father, it was impossible for Him to complete the task for which He had come. "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does." (John 5:19) Jesus, the Son of God, had to be totally dependent on God for everything, and so do we. There was only one way Jesus could be sinless, and there is only one way that we can be like Him: TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON GOD. When we reach a place of true, total dependence on God, we have reached a place of being like Christ.

Father, thank You for Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the example You gave me through Him of how to be totally dependent on You. Help me to imitate Him in that more every day. Show me my own incompetence, and teach me of my need to depend on You. Draw me closer to You daily; I want to know You more. You are a good God!

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" Matthew 19:26


I read once that 100 years ago in American history, if a person were troubled or stressed they would go to a church and find peace. Now when a person is troubled or stressed they will go to a mall and find something new. I am not a big mall shopper myself, but the love of "new" is certainly a part of my make up. This experiment was far more interesting to me when it was just beginning. Now at day 34, it has become familiar, not nearly as intriguing, and I have to work harder to think about it. This raises a question for me: How do I keep this, and any other, experience with God fresh and renewed? I can certainly try new ways of doing things, but they quickly become the old ways.
So I'm thinking about this the other day and I took some time and read the book of 1 Peter. I read the whole thing, replacing all third person pronouns with "I", 'you", "me" and "my", as if Peter had written the letter directly to me. I took time to consider every thing he was telling me, rereading sections when I hadn't "listened" well enough to repeat what was said. At the end of the 5 chapters, I was refreshed, intrigued and challenged. Then the obvious occurred to me. New doesn't come from technique. New comes from something that has life of it's own. God's word is "living and active". Though my prayers draw from God's Word, in truth it is God's Word interpreted and internalized by me. Without His Word fresh in me, it will go stale. That's why David writes, "Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night." Intellectually I get this, but it has not been a practiced truth, just a vaguely believed truth. I probably read scripture every day, being a minister, but I have to give extra effort to really "chew on Scripture". I encounter people who say that their relationship with God is stagnant, that they don't feel close to Him. They will then blame it on their church, the preacher, teachers, etc. Though every church and preacher and teacher can improve, no one is responsible for my relationship with God besides me. With that in mind, I wonder if these people have really given themselves to God's Word. I wonder if I have.
God is clear through James, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you." He gives us a choice. He will not overpower us and force us to have a deeper relationship with Him. Certainly we will feel the affects of not having a relationship with Him(the loneliness, lack of satisfaction, sin problems growing, relationships becoming increasingly strained.), but He will not force us. We must choose to do so and the purest way to connect with Him is through His Word.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This week end has been quite a test for my dependence on God. I found out late last week that the plans we had for our travel to Leon, Mexico had fallen through. This left our group with only one option. Flying...

You may know that airline tickets don't come cheap, in fact when I first looked at tickets in Nov. they were around $500 a piece. I work really hard to keep our mission trips as affordable as possible, so I was concerned about tickets that were too expensive. So I began to search for cheap tickets that could get our whole group down there and back at a fair rate.
I was excited to find some really cheap tickets through an online company. "Triumph" I thought. I started calling all of the people who had signed up for the trip to make sure they were on board for the price of the tickets. Everyone was in! It seemed as though things would work out just great. Then I made some phone calls and found out that I had to wait until today, Monday. Would the tickets still be there? Would the tickets still be a good price? Here is where I started to stress. Where was the prayer? That's a good question. For some reason I forgot.

Monday came and I was really becoming agitated about waiting (where was my peace in knowing God would handle it). I made a couple of phone calls and finally I was ready to buy the tickets. But wait, my credit card didn't seem to be working! I became more agitated. So I began the process to make sure I can buy the tickets with the card. The card is fine but now the website won't allow me to make the purchase. My anger began to flourish.

Where was my breath prayer to remind me that my life is to be pleasing in the site of my Rock and Redeemer? Forgotten, lost in the stress of the moment.

So, I had to call costumer service. It was me talking with a person on the other end whom I didn't know. Trying to explain my situation, giving and re giving my information, spelling out the names of the people in my group 2 or 3 times, and haggling over price. 45 minutes later we finally had our plane tickets, and I became aware of my fowl mood. What had happened to me? why on earth didn't I depend on God to take care of it? Why was I so stressed about making sure everything went as I had planned?

It's so much more, so much more than praying every day or writing in a journal. It's so much more than asking yourself many times a day how you can depend on Him. It's more than praying a prayer during every transition. It's even more than actually making choices to depend on Him. It's surrendering self to be made and shaped into something he can use. I forgot my prayers and my dependence on Him in this situation because I had forgotten that it's about more than just doing these things. It's about becoming these things. It's not about doing, it's about being.

May we make the choice not to do Christian things but to be Christ-ian.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation and grant a willing spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Psalm 51:11-13