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Follower of Jesus. Aspiring Nurse. YouTuber (lol). Blogger (lol). America's Best Shower singer. Ex-Religious. Ex-churchgirl. Ex-Pharisee.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Noncommittal...yet committed to the search.

So. I realize. I don't like committing. I mean, seriously, outside of my committment to Jesus everything and I mean, everything is up for grabs. It just is....(Not to mention just being faithful to the commitment of following Jesus is not a breeze.)

...but what am I getting at...
I made a major move (in my opinion) from the place I came to know as my 2nd home (Gainesville, Florida) by returning back to my hometown -- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. This shift was emotionally hard and, yet spiritually, good for me. Gainesville fed me so much: Love, affirmation, discipleship, vision, knowledge, awareness, friendships, leadership, service, growth, community, etc. I mean, I can't express how much I grew in Gainesville to come to know God, His dreams, his agenda, His heart, and His people.
I absolutely loved it up there.

In my heart, I'm still "committed" to my spiritual family up there. What's odd is that I'm down in South Florida, however, and walking out my "commitment" is ....well, weird....no, better yet, just different.

Down here, I've tried a couple of different churches. For the first year of moving back to South Florida, I lived in Palm Beach county (which is not my hometown) and tried some different churches. In some ways, "church shopping" is kind of fun. Its like attending a spiritual museum for several weeks/months and remarking at the differences/commonalities/likes/dislikes. It gets old really quickly esp, for someone like me who desires to jump in the game and not just be a pew-warmer. Next, my family moved to Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale = hometownish area) and the desire for even going back to a conventional Sunday morning "church" experience just was not in my heart. Just not. Like nowhere to be found.

But then through many unutterable groanings, prayers, prinkings, I realized that I most likely am not the 'type' to be efficacious by not attending a regular, typical church service on sunday morning. (Can I just say tho, I really don't like awkward, scripted, predictable, un-deep, "where's the Holy Spirit?" church services. Like if I'm broaching questions like "do these people even "like" Jesus?" while attending a church. I am supremely bothered.) So I and Jesus decided that, though I may not receive anything from a traditional church service, I can give and pour out and/or facilitate growth, depth, and community with what God is already doing in a particular group of people whose intentions are to serve Jesus. :)

So what about the whole commitment thing?
Yes, well that's the thing. I find that while my heart is so knitted to my spiritual family in Gainesville, its really difficult for me to committed to any other "formalized" church ministry. And even moreso, I foresee myself not being long-term committed to any church-body for a long time. Why? I'm not entirely self-aware but like I said in the beginning. I don't take to "committing" so easily anymore. (2) I really am interested (after achieving financial independence again) in traveling (not for sheer personal pleasure) but as a form of insightful touring of different noteworthy ministries and communities of God's people that are making effective headway in either youth/young adult discipleship, strengthening the poor, restoring victims of human trafficking, and evangelizing to the unwanted members of society (like porn stars, strippers, etc.) [Much respect to Craig Gross and Triple X church ministries]. Imma just be real and say I would like to straight up TOUR different expressions of God's "church" shining brightly. So serious. Like to actually make it a goal over a 1 to 3 year period to visit the people who are making serious kingdom advances in areas of darkness, in areas where the church has been a coward, or just in areas where Jesus totally said to go and do...

Well what does that have to do with commitment?
The way the thought came into my mind sort of went something like this: "Mann, I just can't be committed to a regular church attendance-type of loyalty....cuz Imma need to be traveling and visiting different ministries to see what God is up to."
Something like that. I guess you could say that I won't be basing my commitment on my presence at a "church."
I feel as though part of my calling is to help carry out somethings (not grandiose and super gargantuan amazing) that are simple, necessary, bold, and cutting edge. Now I use that phrase "cutting edge" loosely... I believe Jesus was "cutting edge" with the way he rolled. So I want to follow his leading....but the more I'm exposed to conventional church circles the more I grow tired of seeing the same ol' same ol'.... And I realize I can't commit to that construct. There's something I else I must do.

Anyways, I know what I've written is pretty vague. Perhaps even nonsensical at points. But it makes perfect sense to me.
I'm just not big on commitments. I.e. memberships. promises. etc.
I wonder if this translates into hesitancy in a future relationship. God is wise and will guide for sure though.

I think the foreshadowing of all this rambling is this: When I commit, one would know that I've found something worth more than precious jewels. That I'm in it for the long haul. And that my commitment isn't at all flippant.

In flames...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

25 Goofy things Christians Do...


Preface: I am the self-proclaimed chief goofiest Christian there is.... I've fallen into any one of the below tendencies of people who proclaim to know Christ. Some of the things described are exactly that - goofy. Some of things are straight up just sin patterns. And some things are just observations about my own immaturity (+ a few others). In any event, I just figured I'd blog about this... I was supposed to make a video about it. But I've been procrastinating like crazy on that. Some of the items have brief explanations some don't. Some have biblical references and alot do not; I'm still not done with that part. Some of them might just be a random thought I've had. Please correct, comment, add on.

1. Tell someone’s business in the midst of corporate prayer. Like do I really need to know who's on crack and sleeping with who?
2. They can’t receive anything from a preacher who doesn’t embody their preferred "style" of preaching. [God is not confined to a personality type…see Moses….JohntheBaptist vs. Jesus]
3. Call people judgmental, super-saved, and aggressive if they plainly point out sthg in scripture so as to guide/correct you.
[overusage of Matt 7:1-5. Rom 14:13. 1 Cor. 5:4-5.. 5:12-13.. 6:1-5 !!!]
4. Instead of talking to the person their angry/upset with, they talk to everybody else but the person….. venting.
[ Matthew 5:22-24]
5. Sarcastic for no reason. Like is their a reason for your sarcasm? is someone being edified or encouraged? Do you realize your sarcasm can be hurtful and just unloving?
6. Christians who give up their pre-med/pre-vet/pre-law track because they want to be missionaries, God’s calling them "deeper." Are you sure or are you just lazy?
7. Christians who give their testimony w/o including any expression of their sin issue, repentance, forgiveness (personal interaction with Jesus)….instead they highlight (1) born saved, (2) joined a church, (3) or how they attained more material things or achieved a level of educational success since being at "church"
+ Testimony of the Lord makes wise the simple…. Overcome by the word of our testimony and blood of the Lamb.
+ Are you even really saved ? Did you even meet Jesus for real?
8. Christians who say they’re called to be single (eunuch); but they catch the eye of someone and now they're called to be married. smh
9. Who have fear issues …. but stay going to see Horror films…. Lust issues, but stay watching bad chick flicks about men.
10. Christians who embellish their quiet time experience… or trivialize words like stating "amazing," "great," "awesome."
11. Christians who don’t read their bible; ask them what love is they draw a blank…
12. Christians who are in love with secular artists…and defend them, more than their faith in Christ....Mann, did Beyonce die on a cross for you? LOL...
13. Love the idea of community but w/o responsibility or accountability….barometer of how well a church event/fellowship went is based on how much they “took” from it…(so if they didn’t get enuff, they sulk)…
14. Long prayers saying God’s names 20 different ways….3 legit sentences of petition
15. Pay more attention to the devil than Jesus. LOL
16. Make a decision and then pray about it…or they made a precarious decision, and then ask you for wisdom. LOL
17. Never can say they’re having a bad day…only use scripts of "good" to "great" to "Blessed."
18. Deflect correction, paying attention to someone's delivery (i.e. they something was "said") at the expense of growing from what was actually said.
19. Who don’t read the Word, and wonder why they don’t hear God’s voice….or use the Bible as an encyclopedia..
They use it as a reference rebuttal instead of understanding God’s heart behind His word.
20. Christians who think that sororities/fraternities can’t change them for the negative….
21. Christians who are pessimistic.
22. Christians who wear their “virginity” like it’s a badge. LOL.
23. Christians who are always wondering if they’re called to be a pastor/missionary, etc…..but don’t see that they’re called
NOW to be Jesus’ disciple and make disciples.
24. Christians who are surprised at other people’s sin…c’mon now.
25. Christians who date non-christians.
26. Christians who think because you pray loudly, shout loudly, or are really emotional in corporate worship settings that you're super close to Jesus.
27. Christians who say "That's just the way I am" as their life mantra for why they do not change...

What stretches me....

It really stretches me when....

It REALLY stretches me when someone asks me to do something I dream of doing, but I don't feel prepared to do yet...
..... when I have to read a book that is advantageous for my life, and the book requires contemplation and journaling.
..... when I have to keep records for the sake of personal accountability.
..... when I think about my faith from the vantage point of another religion or atheist's perspective.
..... when I pre-meditate what I would do about contraceptives in my (future) marriage; when oral contraceptives are so convenient.
..... when I take up the responsibility to take care of a child, but they're not my child per se.
..... when someone offends me or says sthg offensive and I confront them on it even in gentleness and as a way of not perpetuating the problem.
..... when I think about whether or not I am following Jesus like he said to do.
..... when I think about living without the "boxes" i.e. the conventions that society and religion has constructed.
..... when I think about going back to school to actually pursue my dream of becoming a nurse practitioner.
..... when I think about not being a married....like ever.
..... when I think about pursuing dance again, to honor Jesus, and spread his fame.
.... when I think about Islam religion and how I could study Scriptures and apologetics and entertain theological hard questions so as to have the knowledge to discuss things with a muslim perosn.
.... when I think the food I have the propensity to eat and where it comes from, how tainted it is. Its cloning. Its engineering...
.... when I think about eating 3 servings of green vegetables a day; and 3 servings of orange vegetables weekly. Aww man.
.... when I think about how I want to be financially sound, wise, savvy and generous and be stable enough to adopt children one day.
.... when I think about how much I desire to be different, to go hard after God, to be excellent, yet I also will have to endure hardship, pain, HARD WORK, and their faces (faces of confusion, misinterpretation, scoffing, and unsupportiveness.)
.... when I think about actually loving members of my family, not because they are family, but because they're individuals of whom God is very mindful.
.... when I think about how Jesus said my love for Him must be as hatred towards my parents; and even as hatred towards my life.

I'm trying to reconcile the tension of living and pursuing the dreams in my heart..... and the abandon to Jesus that scripture portrays of Jesus' disciples.

It really stretches me to know that I am called to love God like crazy, love people as myself, and FULFILL the same commission as any staff member at a church would have to fulfill.
Lord, you are with(in) me.
Your yoke is easy and burden light.
You've given me a couple of talents.... may I be presented to you as someone faithful and fruitful...
returning to you 100% profit on the talents you invested in me.

I notice you are actively trying to keep me humble.
I will cooperate.

Humble pie is sweet and organic,
Let it be so.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Productivity....sometimes elusive, sometimes not.

Today went pretty well. Didn't rise as early as I wanted yet, I made a point to make sure I get time with Jesus -- prayer and His word -- and to get tasks done at an appropriate time..... I hate feeling like I wasted a day. Or that I didn't manage time well.
Moving on, I really enjoy the feeling of taking small steps towards dreams/goals. So today, I set out to do a little bit of that.
(1) Spending some extra time in the word...actually studying it...greek, etc. Journaling on my interaction with Scripture.
(2) Studying for my GRE-like test for nursing schools. Only 2 pages of review, but hey its something.
(3) Picked up my old french book and actually reviewed it. The life goal of being fluent will not be washed away because of my sloth or because of not choosing the formal education way of learning it.
(4) and tonight, Imma head to another dance class to get back in that swing of things...

John Maxwell's book really is helping me assess my dreams and make them a reality by taking small steps towards them.
Today was just a snapshot of doing that. I'm realizing there was a flow throughout my day that I need to pay attention to... It wasn't at all boring tho despite I'm in a lonelier season and community (like fellowship with other like-minded believers rarely happens) is not a regular thing anymore. I'm hoping the Lord will help sharpen my self-discipline this season like never before.
I'm trusting He will. I just want to cooperate with Him, His steps and His heart.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Restarting Blogging. LOL

So I'm going to Re-start this whole blogging thing.... I find it interesting that some conference speakers that I looked up (i.e. Catalyst conference workshop speakers) are actually identified as (professionally, I guess) "bloggers." Interesting, right?
That you would be known as a "blogger" - someone who regularly posts their thoughts, feelings, reflections, insights, day-to-day epiphanies on a virtual catalogue for others to see and peruse. Ha.

....Moving on, I just got the book "Life after Church" by Brian Sanders (Mike Patz's spiritual twin lol) and I'm riveted already in reading the first 15 pages. Mannn, this dude is explaining how I'm feeling right now, like nobody's business (so to speak).
In some ways, I'm thinking about asking this brother to pay me some royalty money for using my journal entries (wink wink) to publish within in his book. Naw, just joking. In short, I find his explanation of his testimony --- the birthingplace of why the book was written, to be similar to the attitude of my heart regarding the conventional "Sunday morning experience."
I've come to dread Sundays between the hours of 11 and 1:00pm. I almost can't hide it anymore; I feel super awkward; super critical; and restless during these hours. I almost feel like grabbing the mic during church service and asking everybody in the room why are we torturing ourselves every sunday... I really do. Mann, there's a couple of more thoughts about how I'm feeling about church these days, but I gotta go. ... I just want the church to not be boring....predictable...unfruitful....limp....foolish-looking... It's been a sad couple of weeks with "church" for me... I almost sometimes laugh at the current state...just out of my own awkward-nervous reaction to how it plays out. Like sometimes I wonder what angels are thinking about what's going on; do they laugh or does the devil laugh?

In short, I'm longing for more in my biological family to experience from God...and ofcourse, in my spiritual family to experience from God. Certainly, I feel that despite a weak sunday experience... I am challenged to BE the church at home with my family - dad, mom, younger brothers.... More than ever, Holy Spirit has me convicted to LOVE my parents as I love myself....
Oh man, its been hitting home like never before: My family are all candidates of God's love and affection too!!! They're objects of God's joy just as I am... Recently, I'm learning to listen more keenly to the desires of my family members' hearts. So for example, I'm realizing how much they ask for help, but without asking directly. Sometimes they're wanting someone to step in and willingly help as opposed to asking directly. I'm wanting to not be "messiah" to them; but to be a prophetic expression of God's love and joy to "be with" them, individually. I can be so selfish when I'm at home, because I became an expert at selfish living at age 5. By Age 10 I was teaching classes in "Living Selfishly" at the local community center; And at age 16 I got my PhD in it so as to continue propagating a lifestyle regimen that is proven to work for millions of people. Mann, since God got a hold of my heart, its just been a journey of repenting of my expertise in selfish living.... thinking of myself before others has got to go.... and so, this is what I'm trying to walk out more and more..... I'm choosing to.

Next post: How I'm also learning to dream again and take steps to pursue those dreams.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday & Tuesday Morning Prayer Walk

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fasting to Rebuild my Prayerlife

Daniel Fast

Starts: January 5, 2010
Ends: January 26, 2010

Goals: Abstaining from meats, breads, dairy, and processed foods.
Eating only fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

1 - Increased hunger (consumption of) for the BREAD OF LIFE
2 - Increased passion in INTERCESSION and the spirit of PROPHECY
3 - Prophetic Reflection on the past 2 years.
4 - Renew convictions and passion for God's Will on earth.

Father let your spirit burn within me throughout this fast.
Your glory is what I want. Speak to me. Make your will plain to me.