Monday, February 27, 2006

Longer than Gigantor's Entries

- This past President’s day weekend, I was up in Belgium being a counselor to for a middle school retreat. I was sick prior, and was even sicker leaving the place (stupid wet willies. . .). It’s been about more than a week since I was originally sick, and am now getting to cleaning out my system with a nice hefty wad of phlegm and that thick nasty gooey snot. There’s just something really satisfying to getting rid of that nasty goo from your system. Praise Jesus for that satisfaction.

For the most part, I was in the back during the services, working the sound board, and it was amazing to see how God works. You know, I don’t know if I can say with such certainty that I “felt the spirit” or something like that as sometimes I sense him (being all sleepy from sleep deprivation, exhaustion, sickness, etc.). But I believe that wherever a large group of people come together with a mindset of meeting God, and you have an atmosphere of love and acceptance, of worship, that God digs deep into people. He goes in there like a surgeon and delves deep into the soul doing whatever work that needs to be done.

And that’s what happened the last night at the Retreat. It wasn’t one of those things where the lights were all dimmed or there was a powerful speaker or anything like that. In fact, it was such that the main speaker got really sick the last night, and someone had to fill in knowing like 1 hour before he had to speak! But the atmosphere, and expectancy from the students, to meet with God, was almost like an explosion. . . something that could not be stopped no matter how many “thing go wrong.” Many of the 7th and 8th graders, including 6th graders, met God that night. They met God not in the kind of “brain” way, but met God in an intimate and close manner. Some for the first time, and some for the whatever number time. Some students accepted God into their heart for the first time, making commitments that will last for the rest of their life. . . some will get discouraged as time goes by. . . but what can’t be taken away from their memories, is knowing that for one momen, during a time of awkward middle school years (oh SO AWKward. . . ) they knew without a doubt that God existed, that God loved them, and that God would never stop loving them. Unconditional love. Unconditional, intimate love. . .

And then the bus ride home. . . 12 hours of rowdy middle school students back to their antics. . . screaming, singing, harassing. Like this one student named Austin, who screamed pick up lines to random females behind him. I gave him this one to scream, “Are your parents terrorists? ‘Cause you the bomb!” We got back Monday night at like 11:00 PM, and here I am one week later.

- Then that Tuesday, I led worship for the high school, Ramstein youth group, and it wasn’t clicking for most of the students. . . . but maybe because they couldn’t hear our voices, or whatever. But I’ve gotten to the point, after leading for so many years in various venues. . . knowing about the confidence that God works in every situation. That God works above my crappy music or what not. Even the best that I can give, even is still crappy compared to the work that God does.

Yeah, things go wrong, but God doesn’t, and the fact that they come every week, even though probably 50% of them aren’t saved, confounds me. God moves in that place, even when their voices don’t necessarily. . . like they’re on the verge of accepting Christ. . . or they just know that the love of God is in that place. In an often hostile environment on a military installation, these students come to the Tuesday youth group for refuge . . .

- Then last Friday we had a “worship night.” With my mistake, I thought it was starting at 7:00 PM, but it actually started at 6:00 PM. So rehersal was cut short, and I felt sort of like an idiot that I didn’t realize it. Then there were maybe like 20 people there. But probably less, but it was awesome anyway. Despite the fact that all those things didn’t go well. . . those that came that Friday night wanted to worship God, and God met us there. And God changed us. . . it was awesome, and it came to my realization that those days that I feel crappy about worship, are those days when the congregation doesn’t want to worship, and those days when it’s awesome are those days when those in the congregation want to worship.

When the congregation is not dead but alive. . .

I guess that brings to the reflection that I realize. . . the most fulfilling thing I get to do is use the gifts of music and leadership that God has given me to lead others into leadership. The days of Jubilee and the House of Prayer, one-hour small groups where we just prayed hardcore and worshipped hardcore Monday through Friday, have been great grounds for where I can pick up from and transfer to this venue. . . or probably not. But it’s something that I’ve learned a lot, but that’s just off topic.

But I can always worship alone and have my amazing times meeting with God, and those are fulfilling. But it just feels lame when I go and sing with a congregation, and they’re not feeling like meeting with God, but we still have to go with those songs. I feel sort of lame and disappointed, but then, I just have to realize God works in people always. God works in people always, and is around people always, and in them, and close by, but it’s always us, that blocks God from getting too close. It’s us as humans that put up that brick wall, from allowing God to be awesome in our lives. He’s there, he’s all around us, but He’s waiting for us to open that door for him to enter. And not just enter partially. Not have the door just partially open for God to partially enter. . . but for the door to be completely open, totally surrendered, that God enters, overwhelms, awes, and transforms.

- Then comes MySpace.com. I noticed and have heard about it for a while. . . not realizing just how big it’s become. I read it on the cover of this “family Life” magazine, called like Tech Life or something, and on it said the MySpace revolution or something and how it brings new challenges to families. . . which I can completely understand. But of the 300 people that graduated my class in high school, 95 have profiles! That for me sort of makes me go, “whoa” because this has never been before! Never before have people been able to simply check out other people’s lives from wherever, whenever, with such anonymity. And if you lived in the same area, could easily continue a relationship!

Myself for the most part, can’t create a new substantial long-distance relationship. Or at least of one that I’d like. But in any case. . . when it comes to the 10 year reunion (which I plan on going to), it’ll be weird, cause it’s like, when I see people, I’ll know what they’ve been up to if they’ve been keeping their MySpace site up to date with their blogs! An example dialogue, “Hey George!” “Hey Jefferson!” “I’ve been reading about your life on MySpace! How’re your kids, Jenna and George?” “oh they’re awesome. I’ve been checking out your site. You’re now in Los Angeles?” “Yeah that’s true. . . blah blah blah”

Ok, that’s interesting. You don’t have to go when you meet people being like having nothing to talk about, but immediately you know exactly what to talk about when you see them again. You know their marital status, their kids, their geography. . . etc. Shallow things, but enough to get small talk going. And that’s for anyone! As long as people keep their blogs updated, people, in essence would never lose contacts! You could have like thousands by the end of your life.

For the love of craziness. . . I’m able to keep updated on the lives of those back in the states, while here in Germany, because I read and comment on their blogs. If I were to go back, it wouldn’t be so weird, because I’ve been “hearing” from them virtually. What a strange, brave new world! Way better than email. . . email takes too much effort. .. too much brain power than to comment, “LOL. HAHAHAHAHA”

- Hmmm. . . I think I’m in a contemplative mode. . . that’s why there’s so much typing. Maybe this is more for me, because I doubt many people read this long ass novel. This is sooo long. But if you have congratulations and I hope that perhaps some words in here have encouraged you to keep pressing on in life.

Shalom.