Monday, April 27, 2009

Religion AND a Relationship

I am seeing a disturbing trend in the attitudes and approaches that some Christians are taking in their mission work.
Most notably, "It's not Religion, it's a Relationship"

I am inclined to disagree. If it's just a "relationship," then does that not mean that you can dictate the rules, as you are part of the relationship? Relationship implies mutuality, and reciprocity. Not true by any means - God's unconditional Love for us will never be reciprocated by any human being. See, there's this thing called sin, and it holds us back.
To further the idea that this is not a 50/50 relationship as stated, I cite Romans 6:18.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
It's plan and simple. We can willingly choose to let God be our Master, or let sin be our master.
I'm not saying that a personal relationship is not possible with God, but is it NOT something that can stand alone.

Religion is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
"b (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance"
Hm. If Christianity, or whatever it is you are practicing is NOT religion, then what is it?

Now, this may seem nit-picky, but I feel very strongly against the alteration of the general Message of Christianity in an attempt to convert more people. Romans 14:21 states "It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles." I believe that by saying "It's not a religion, it's a relationship," it could very easily lead to someone misinterpreting Christianity, and in turn causing them to stumble in their walk with God.

All of this being said, I think a balance of the two is absolutely the best idea. Some of the doctrines set forth by Christianity as a religion are absolutely essential (Freewill Anyone?) to the Christian faith.

My last point is a simple question: Why all these new methods of converting Christians? "Religion dies here," and "It's not a religion, it's a relationship!" just to name two examples. Now I am by no means calling out any individual churches, however these were simply the first two that came to mind.
Now I have nothing against trying to attract new believers, but why in the world do we have to make up catchy lines to make people go "Wait, what?" When did Christianity become all about marketing.

There are 4 books in the bible. They're called the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They tell about the life of and death of the Extraordinary life lived by a man named Jesus Christ. Try reading them sometime - They're miraculous. Amazing. Tell the stories - LIVE the stories.

Catchy slogans only go so far.

Another scripture has been brought to my attention, which is James 1:27.
James 1:27 (New International Version - UK)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Note that this scripture says Religion - not relationship. It also says pure and faultless; leading us to believe that it is not religion that is the problem. Rather, it is the perversion of Religion.

NOTE: These are all simply my beliefs and interpretations on this subject, my apologies if it seemed as if I was speaking in absolutes. This is simply my take on the matter at hand.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Accidents Happen

I was at Austin's with Cameron, Tai, Reba, Hayden, Austin, Justin, Tim, Greg and Josh for the majority of my night. Great times were had, fellowship, everything I could ask for. There was a BB gun. Everyone played with it - I even shot it once, which was the first time I ever shot a gun. I think.
Anyways, I had to leave around 840 to take Cameron back to his car at my house, and as I was leaving Josh was fooling around with the BB gun and shooting it at the can set up in their yard. As I was pulling out he shot again, and the BB shot out the back glass on the hatch of my Explorer. It was an accident, I'm not mad and I don't blame Josh at all. If there was anything I could do to make him feel better about it, I'd do it without a second thought. Things could have been much much worse, and there is absolutely no point in trying to point fingers or place blame. It was simply an accident and I hope Josh understands I have 0 hard feelings towards him about all of this.

That being said, the 50+ stickers I had on my back window (Totaling upwards of $100) are no more. Obviously they can't be re-used. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little bummed. I had just put on my new Five Iron Frenzy and Katy Perry stickers today, this afternoon before I left actually, so that's disheartening.
Overall though, I'm not unhappy, or mad, or upset or anything at all. It was just an accident.


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Failure to comprehend

I honest-to-goodness don't understand constant negativity.

I'm really tired of reaching out to people in a positive manner, just to get a wise-guy response back making fun of the way I look at life. I don't understand why you need to make me feel stupid because I try to find good in everything in life.

I'm sorry? I don't even know you and you're ripping into me and mocking me like that?
I mean, really?

People confuse me sometimes.
Which isn't to say I have my negative moments, because I know as good as anyone that I do. I just work through them, don't wallow in them and move on. Yes, that's easier said than done, but I still try.

/soapbox.

When someone tries to help, mocking them is going to end up with them not coming back to help again.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Welp,

Sara has a new boyfriend.

I'm not surprised.

Part of me is positive he's just a rebound, I just don't know for sure.
Maybe they're meant to be and God finally crossed their paths? who knows.

What I do know is that all Sara had to say about him while we were dating is how last time they dated it lasted 6 days because he got on her nerves and she couldn't stand him.

Signs point to rebound, but it's not my place to guess.

I'm nowhere near as bothered as I thought I'd be by all of this.
Gonna have to give God a big thank You for that.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter!

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the day Jesus Christ conquered death, hell and Satan, took back the keys to Hell and gave a lousy dude like myself hope.

Jesus Christ is freakin' ALIVE!
and I do such a horrible job of telling the world 100% of the time.

Grace. There is so much of it on this freakin' planet, being absolutely poured out upon us.

I cannot put into words, emotions, feelings or action the joy that I am feeling right now!

I hope every single one of you celebrate the crap out of tomorrow, because that is all we can do on such a joyous day! It's another example of how God can take something so heart-breaking and horrible, and make something so incredibly beautiful out of it.

Seriously though. Religious or not, enjoy tomorrow. Tell your family you love them, your friends, people you don't even like. Spend time with the ones you love the most. Make them feel important.

I love you.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Improvement

Where to begin, where to end.

Sara and I talked Sunday. It wasn't anything near what I expected - it was mostly me pouring my heart out, and getting a cold shoulder and generous helpings of disrespect. It's what I needed though - to finally realize I need to move on, and to realize I didn't do a daggum thing to deserve any of this.

I've been slowly getting better, but instead of the 2 steps forward, 1 step back formula I've been following since we broke up, I believe that 1 step backwards has been cut out for the most part, if not totally. That is a blessing.

God's been doing a lot in my life - He's kept me busy which is what I needed, even though I complain about not having any downtime. Totally worth it. He knows what He's doing - way better than I could ever think I do.

We're talking again - just as friends. Sara and I that is. I might not be 100% ready, but I feel God has prepared me enough.

I'm also finally learning how (or being taught?) to just be friends with a girl. To spend time with a girl and honestly just want to get to know her better as a person - without any agenda, without analyzing and picking them apart as a possible girlfriend. That is so nice. I still catch myself slipping every now and again and it disgusts me, but I'm getting better.

I spent all of Great Friday with Kevan, Reba Becca and everybody else in that circle of friends. Gosh. That was the best Great Friday I've ever had. Time literally flew by. From 3 PM until now has just...gosh where has the time gone. I'm thankful for them. A positive environment, positive people and just....goodness. God-given Blessings.

I feel like such a piece for neglecting my church family - I went out with the Spillmans after the Maundy Thursday service last night - it was great. I really need to become a bigger part of my church family and spend more time with those people.

I'm getting better by the second.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Truer words were never spoken.

"Ive learned that the way people treat me is the way they feel about themselves and isn't a product of who I am. When others treat me poorly, it isn't because I'm deserving of it. It's because they lack the self-respect to treat others kindly."

Thank you Beth.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Incomprehensibility

I do not understand how God can take me sobbing and bawling on Dad's shoulder during an altar call, and give a man hope whose lost his relationship with his son.
I do not understand.
And I honestly don't want to.
To know why and how and every little detail would take the beauty of it away.
Which is weird for me to say - because I'm so overbearing and control-crazy that for me to NOT want to know everything about something I don't understand is...crazy.

If I have to spend all my time broken, crying and sobbing on Dad's shoulder to bring people hope, then bring on the Kleenex.

I laid the biggest problem in my life right now down at His feet today. Let's see if I can leave it there, or if I just snatch it back when I think I can do things myself again.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kevan's Dare

Kevan dared me to blog without mentioning 2 things. I am going to try to do that.

I must say - rebounding is the suckiest thing in the world. I hate it so much and while it may be easy not to act on it, it is hard as crap to overcome just the simple feeling of rebounding. I have never been so frustrated with myself in my life. I really wish it wasn't so hard to hang out with a girl for no other reason than to enjoy her company as a friend. bahhh.

I really really wish I could just adopt Reba. Or switch places or lives or something with her. I don't understand why Reba, the nicest and best person I know, has one of the worst situations of anyone I know. It is really humbling for me to complain about anything at all, when I sit back and think about what she's going through. it's not my place to go into details, but oh my word. If there was ever a situation where I just wanted to snap my fingers and make all the problems go away, it's this one. Hayden...gosh. He is a TRUE big brother to her. I joke around and say that I'm the same way, but I see the way they interact and I'm so so so thankful that she has someone like Hayden to be there for her. Gosh. Hayden is such a blessing to her, and I'd do anything on this planet for either of them.

I'm in Boone right now. It's nice. It's tough as well, the drive up was tough because it gave ample time to just sit and think. Not the best thing for me right now. I've felt like knocking down a wall or two that I had built up since the beginning of March. I'm not sure if it's that I'm feeling led by God, or if it's just my emotions taking over.

I'm really worried because the gap that appeared in my life at the beginning of March was instantly filled with friends, Kevan, Shea, Reba, Becca and Katie. It's tough because...I only have a month before Shea moves to Alabama for good to pastor a church there. Kevan is going on an internship to Arkansas all summer...and if he gets the job he may not be moving back home. Becca will be gone all summer on an internship as well. We're not as close but it still sucks. Reba said she's not going anywhere specific this summer, so that's a comfort. It's just...I'm so torn. Do I spend as much time as I can with them and then hurt when they leave? Or guard myself?
I'll enjoy what I can. I'd rather be extremely happy and enjoy my friends' company while I can. To do anything else would be foolish.

Whew. Boone.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

This Assault Will Bring Me Strength

I would be a liar to say that the whole Arthur and Sara thing didn't bother me.

I had a great night tonight. I had a great long talk with Justin Hayden and Reba, and then also with Kevan and Shea, and discussed a lot of things that had been going on in my life. I felt so much better afterwards, I'm talking on top of the world, not lettin' anything drag me down.

I get home. Wake of Redemption (Arthur's prog-metal band) has been posting a lot of bulletins.

Well....there was a comment on their page from Sara. A very flirty comment. The very same kind of comments she was sending me this time last year. Going against my better instincts, I went to his MySpace and found yet another comment from Sara on his personal profile.

I feel sick to my stomach at the same intensity as I did the night she ended it with me. And the night I found out they were out on a date.
I still feel sick when i hear her name, when I hear people talk about her. I still feel sick whenever I see a picture of her, or see she's online, or see a comment she left anyone else on their profile.

I just really really really don't understand why this is happening. I have done almost everything right - I have not gone out of my way to make Sara jealous, I have turned down all requests from any of her friends to talk or hang out so that she will not have to go through what I am not having to go through as a result of her actions. I turned down going to prom with Carla because I knew it had the potential to bother Sara.

WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS

Gosh. I honestly try my hardest to be a nice guy, and apparently I do a decent job of it, basing this assumption off of responses I have gotten back from others. I mean I seriously have kept Sara in mind in a lot of my post-break-up decisions, sometimes compromising what might be best for me so that it won't cause her any unnecessary problems.

GOSH DANGIT
I am so frustrated. Cripes.
I KNOW THAT I DO NOT DESERVE THIS.
AND I KNOW THAT THEY ARE ACTING REALLY CRAPPY BY DOING THIS
AND I KNOW I CAN'T JUST NOT LOVING HER but I sure would like to.

This is...ridiculous.
Lately though, I've really been looking back at Sara and I's relationship and truly analyzing it without my "love glasses" on, and ya know, this isn't as much of a blindsiding as a thought. You could say it is in the fact that I was blinded by love. But like...I don't know. I always felt like Sara and I's relationship was somewhat one-sided (leaning towards me), but I always dismissed these thoughts as me just being arrogant and self-righteous.

I just. I mean, I remember some kind-of saying that went along the lines of basically saying that "You can tell a lot about a person by how they act when times get rough"
I hope people can look at me and think good things about me, because I have really wanted to do and say not-so-nice things through all of this, but I've been determined to do things the right way.

"Pain does not prevail,
Dear Lord, Your Love will never fail" - Reese Roper

Just remember that Andrew. Never forget that.

I'm proud of myself for not using vulgarity in this blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rebounding

Rebounding is SO for the lose.
Gosh. I really wish I didn't have to deal with it.
Granted, I think I've done well so far in recognizing it and addressing it before any actions are taken, that doesn't make it go away.
Bah.
I don't think I've ever gone out of my way to hang out with a girl without having my own agenda of eventually trying to date her.
That needs to change.
It is.
One day soon.

until then I'll just enjoy the crap out of my times with Kevan, Preston, Shea, Reba, Katie, Becca and whoever else decides to join our circle of friends I have been so blessed to become a part of.

I can't decide what's better - hanging out at Kevan's 'til all hours of the morning, or not complaining the next morning because the time spent with Kevan and the rest of our friends is totally worth the lack of sleep.

Life is good, and constantly getting better.

Get behind me satan. Your bitterness, and anger and any other negative emotion you are trying to instill in me through everything will not take hold. I am stronger than you.