Here's a clip from my trip to Texas with my sister! There is more text under the video.
Ten years ago, I attended a youth conference, called Dare to Share. It was a large Christian conference, designed to help high school kids follow Jesus. We sang worship songs together, listened to speakers together, and hosted a food drive across the city of Denver together. Abouve all that, we had a chance to encounter God, and to hear about his heart for the world. In many ways, I think of that conference as a, "tell," on the trail of my life.
A, "tell" is a stack of rocks. People build them when they pass along a trail, and in days gone by people would use a, "tell," to indicate that something significant had happened there. It is essentially a signpost, indicating that other people have passed by this place before.
I call Dare to Share a,"tell," because I liken my life to a hike. There are moments when I have no clue where I am going, there are moments when I want to give up, and there are moments when I am ecstatically running for the summit. In each of these instances, there are times when I stop and notice that other people have walked a similar path to me.
Eight years after attending Dare to Share, I had a stable, albeit low paying job that allowed me to live a comfortable life. It was not a thrilling job, but it occupied enough of my life that I began to loos interest in God's vision for the world. After all, I lived in Los Angeles County, "the city of stars," I had a good group of friends, and I believe that there was nowhere to go but up. For a while it seemed like i was right.
Less than a month after my birthday, I was let go from my, "stable," job. Needless to say, I was worried about my stability and I was intent on finding another, "stable," job. I looked for something that would let me be comfortable again. Months went by and I explored many different job opportunities. I tried contracting work, freelance work, and interviewing for various positions. After a few months, I was frustrated with my available choices, and I began seeking advice from my friends. Older friends told me that I should apply for jobs on the other side of the city, or on the other side of the country, while younger friends told me I should work a minimum wage job for a while, until i was back on my feet and able to find another opportunity. Everyone gave the best advice they could, and I appreciate all of the advice given. The problem was, I wanted to hear God's thoughts on the matter, but I could not hear Him because I was not spending time with Him. As a result, I took a minimum wage jobs close to my home. It wound up being one of the hardest jobs of my life, and in the end it broke me.
I drove a wedge between my friends and me, my wages were too low to pay for my life, and I lived further away from, "the city of stars," that I had when I moved to California. I made a mess out of everything I had. At the end of the day, I chose a, "stable," life over a faith driven life with Jesus.
Despite all of the tough moments, the year had some good moments. I volunteered at church every week, I hosted a small group in my home, and I heard story after story of how God loved me. Unfortunately, I did not spend time loving God back. I became a religious person, in the sense that I continued to do Christian things, while I neglected my relationship with God.
If my family had left me alone, I would have stayed where I was and continued on a difficult journey. Instead, my family asked me to reset. I left work the following month and headed home to begin the most humbling season of my life.
As that season winds to a close, I am grateful for everything that I have experienced. Both the good and the bad experiences have shaped me.
While we may not be able to chose how life will turn out, we are able to make choices that shape the trajectory of life. We can choose to listen to God, or to ignore Him; we can choose to be wise or to be foolish; we can choose to dream, or to settle; we can choose to blame, or to forgive; we can choose to break, or to mend; and we can choose to dwell, or to move on.
A couple weeks ago, I had a chance to visit Texas, for a mission conference called World Mandate. The theme of the conference was, "those who dream," talking about God's dreams for the world. It was an apropos theme for starting over, and for learning from the beautiful, hard, encouraging, and frustrating moments of life. In a way, I would also mark this conference as a, "tell," of my life.
From a global perspective it might seem like all of the mountains have been climbed and all of the forests have been explored. However, from a local and Christian perspective, there are still mountains to be climbed and forests to be explored. People struggle with the same sins today, that they struggled with thousands of years ago. Moreover, as long as we live on this earth, we have an opportunity to love our neighbors, our enemies, the poor, the broken, the widows, the orphans, and the lost. There is an opportunity in every part of the world, to reach people with the love of Jesus, and to spread the good news of his love to people in need.
"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest." - John 4:35, NASB
Welcome to the blog! I've republished some of my favorite entries from previous blogs (found in the archives) and I am constantly creating new content for this section. As with the rest of this website, I hope you enjoy reading and exploring the many ventures I am undertaking. Thanks for stopping by! - Chris