Never stop creating. Never stop making, building, serving, changing, bringing light into the darkness, and giving life in the midst of death. Never lose the spark inside of you that whispers, “Do something.” Never stop creating. Let your life be an outpouring of the Image of God within you. It’s too easy to believe that God already said, “Let there be,” once and for all. The person with that belief has it all wrong. The same God who created the universe is waiting for the chance to create in you and through you. God wants your life and mine to be a continuation of his creative grace that brings something from nothing. God wants your actions to be chance where he can say, “Let there be,” every moment of every day.

My thoughts on creativity.

Make time to have days that are 24 hours, but you feel like you’ve lived 48 because they’re just that good.

Part of a recent conversation.

The Four Years We Overlook.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Esther lately.

I read the book twice this week because I really like the story, the characters, and the entwinement of God into the events even though his name is never mentioned.  It’s a story you can’t help liking.  It has all of the qualities we want from an underdog story and the purposeful action of God we desperately want in our present lives.

I like Esther.  The story reminds me that God leads us into situations and brings people into our lives so that we might serve him in each moment… but there’s a detail I’ve overlooked every time I’ve read the book until this week.

When Esther was made queen of Persia, it was in the tenth month of the seventh year of King Xerxes reign.

The events we remember in the Book of Esther (the threat of genocide by Haman, the courage of Esther, the triumph of the Jews over their enemies, and Purim) did not happen until the first month of the twelfth year of Xerxes reign.

There’s four years I forget about in the story.

There’s four years of Esther’s life the Bible does not speak about in detail.  All we know is that Esther was queen of an empire and that she hid her Jewish heritage.

I always overlooked this small detail in the story, but I now think God put that detail in the story on purpose.  In the four years between Esther’s coronation and her courage to face injustice, she must have wondered why God had led her to the palace.  

She was not from Persian royalty.  Esther was a descendant of exiles and a woman of a religious minority.  The choice of Xerxes to make her queen probably seemed more like random chance than anything else.

I’m convinced that in those four years, Esther probably stopped more than once to ask God, “How did I get here and why I am here?”  These questions are ones we all ask we encounter change and especially when we have to wait months (or even years) for God to reveal answers to these questions.

Esther had to wait four years to find out why she was placed in the palace.

This fact gives me hope.  Knowing that God slowly revealed his purposes in the life of one of the Bible’s greatest heroines encourages me to trust that God is slowly revealing his purposes in my life.

We overlook four years in the story of Esther, but perhaps those four years were the most powerful in preparing Esther to fulfill the promises of God when Mordecai asked her to stand up for her people.

A New Chapter.

This post is more of an update rather than my usual jumble of thoughts about the colliding of the infinite God in my finite life.  Long story short, I might need to change the name of this tumblr.

As some of you might have known, I graduated college back in May and interviewed for various teaching positions throughout the summer.  After much prayer and dealing with the unique implications of ends and beginnings, I accepted a teaching position.  With this position, I decided it was best to leave my work at the church.

It’s been different.  I’ve been adapting to new people, places, pressures, and joys as I dive into teaching full time.  It’s been great to recognize that although there have been ends, there’s also a lot of beginnings at this point in my life.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I have the feeling that I’m where I need to be at the moment.  I could change the name of this tumblr, shift the direction of my posts, or just flat out cease writing down the beautiful mess that is my faith; however, this blog was never about a job.  This blog was never about writing a quotable quote or attempting to wrestle with theological questions.  I started this tumblr to write down the myriad of thoughts I develop as I experience life in Jesus.  

I can assure you that I’ll continue to write down my thoughts because, let’s face it, I’ll never be able to stop marveling in how God continues to reveal himself in my life.

I want to thank every person who has followed, messaged, asked a question, or somehow made sense of my spiritual searchings over the past few years.

I can’t wait to see what all the beginnings of this season of life have in store and I hope you join me in the journey.

Thank you and God bless.

I thank you for being the God of ends and beginnings. I thank you for being the One who teaches me ends are not to be feared, but beginnings to be embraced. I thank you for reminding me in the midst of ends and beginnings that you are the end and the beginning.

Part of a recent prayer.

A curious fact of the heart is that it can believe in the Way, yet remain convinced it must know every step upon it.

Thought about doubt.

Ecclesiastes Prayer.

Lord,

I give my days to you.

I give you all the times I say yes and no.

I give you all the strengths you develop in me along with all the weaknesses and insecurities that lurk within my heart.

I give you all my worries and doubts.

I give you all my work.

I give you reign in all of the relationships in my life.

I give you the rightful place as the third cord in the weaving of my friendships.

I give you the ability to draw people near and let them fall away.

I give you the moments when all seems meaningless.

I give you the moments when all seems hopeless.

I give everything because it is all yours anyway.

I give everything because it is all temporary.  

I give everything because only you provide meaning.

I give everything because you are my God, which is the only thing that matters.

Amen.

I recently turned my life back over to Christ and it has been constant struggles and I just know the enemy is attacking my life. I don't have the passion I did when I got back from a really powerful youth conference. It's been really hard to not go back to how I was living. Do you have any advice? I've been writing alot and so many people are talking about how what I write speaks to them.. But I don't really know how much it's speaking to me. If that makes sense.
Asked by hisgracioustempest

I think you’re experiencing what a lot of younger Christians (myself included) tend to feel as we mature in faith.  I like to call the experience “peak and valley” spirituality.  

A lot of times, you’ll attend a conference or have an experience that absolutely shakes your understanding of God and causes you to “feel” God more clearly.  These experiences are the peak moments where you feel closer to God and ready to take action for his kingdom.  

As time passes, you become distanced from the peaks and the reality of living your faith becomes more complicated.  You begin to lose the sensitivity you felt on the peak and eventually slip into a spiritual valley.  In the valley, God feels distant.  It’s hard to keep yourself dedicated and inspired because you wish you had some other big event like the last peak to nourish your soul.  Naturally, it’s easy to bow to living in your old ways when you’re in the valley.

I don’t know what’s more dangerous in “peak and valley” spirituality.  On the one hand, you legitimately grow during a peak and it’s nice to have experiences that embolden your faith and shake your presuppositions.  On the other hand, peaks can create false expectations for the Christian life.  In some instances, the valleys are dangerous because you can end up falling from faith or resigning yourself to a form of spiritual life support (doing all the “Christian” things without any heart).  Curiously, the valleys can also be more beneficial than peaks because you learn about yourself and analyze your beliefs in detail.

Here’s my advice about your situation: Keep searching for a way to climb out of the valley, but don’t look for the quick fix of a peak.  Ask yourself what your biggest doubt about God is at the moment, what’s the real conflict in your heart that manifests as external behavior you wish leave behind for good, dig into Scripture and resources to help yourself answer your questions, and talk to other believers in your life for insight into the matter (which you’re already doing by messaging me).  In all of these activities, pray consistently and share your thoughts with God.  The goal of faith is to know God for who he is every day, not waiting for the epiphanies that provide glimpses of his nature.  If you keep searching, you’ll know God more, the peaks will just become accents in the journey of faith rather than dizzying exceptions to the norm, and valleys will become tests to be endured rather than struggles to be survived.

Thanks and I hope this helps!

Have you ever gotten the feeling where you can’t wait to have a genuine conversation where you explore another person’s mind as he/she explores yours? I wish I felt like that about prayer.

Recent thought about relationships and God.

Preaching to myself.

elliekatelawler:

Don’t be afraid to love too much. Don’t be bothered if/when people think you’re being too dramatic by walking around and falling in love with everything you see. Just don’t be bothered, because isn’t life a little bit too short to hold back? Don’t be boring. Be extravagant with your love. Talk about it, let others know how much you love them. Don’t hold back. Let the way you love define you.

There’s no better way to be.

Until we get to the point where God is the only need in our lives, we will continue to search and struggle to fulfill the realities of a life lived for Christ.

Reminder to self.

How do you confirm a calling to the ministry? What if you are just talented and have those skills, is it enough to lead others because you're capable?
Asked by babycharlie323

Hi! Sorry to be so delayed in response, but you questions required quite a bit of thought.

Here’s my thoughts on the subject of calling to ministry: everyone is called to ministry, but a person’s specific ministry may not be located within a church organization.  Any job that a believer works can be a means of bringing grace to this world, so labeling some jobs as a “calling to the ministry” and others as “just regular jobs” really obscures what God intends for everyone (which is to live as Christ in every area of life).

As far as figuring out if you are supposed to seek positions within a church organization or elsewhere, I’d say the process definitely involves the steps most people use in discovering any sort of interest or passion. 

Obviously, pray about your calling.  You might be “capable” for leadership, but you also have to have your heart in the right place.  Is your desire for leadership to serve God and others?  Is there any component of selfishness to your desire?  Are you overestimating yourself?  Prayer often functions as a barometer of your character, so bringing your desires to God will reveal where your need his grace.

I also suggest evaluating your skills/talents in relation to the position.  Surprisingly, you might not have all the skills, but it does not mean you should discourage yourself.  Some skills are developed with experience, which leads me to my next recommendation. 

If you’re trying to confirm a calling, get involved in activities related to the calling to see if you will be comfortable in that position.  Volunteer, talk with people in those positions, seek leadership opportunities that use skills/talents related to the positions, and just gain experience in the area you are considering as a calling.  When I was in college, the only way I really figured out that teaching was the right fit for me was through the field experiences I had at local schools and the teaching related activities I pursued outside of my studies (tutoring, being a T. A., and being on club councils).  Basically, look for experiences that will reveal if your desires are actually the best fit for your Kingdom work.

Finally, I suggest looking into available resources about leadership (both for church organizations and for business in general).  Off the top of my head, I know there are a number of books on leadership from pastors and businessmen that you can basically find at most bookstores (or Amazon).  In addition, I know Relevant Magazine has a section of their site dedicated to leadership.  Essentially, my last suggestion is to become educated about leadership.  Regardless of what you end up pursuing, leadership qualities are valuable in any position and allow you to maximize your impact.

If anyone else has suggestions, feel free to leave a reply! Sorry to be so long winded in my response, but it’s a hard question and I have not had a Q&A post in a while.

Sometimes we hear the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert as wandering or waiting, but I think it’s better thought of as preparation. God wanted the hearts of his people to be in the right place before he led them to where they were meant to be, which is exactly what God does in your life when you’re wandering or waiting.

From the ongoing reflection I’m having about the Old Testament

The story of Abraham begins with God calling the man to follow, then proceeds to involve a myriad of events comprised of wandering, missteps, awaiting the promises of God, and striving to take God at his word. Basically, it’s your story and mine.

Thought about my reading today.

Joy is hiding everywhere- not just in big moments, but in little ones, too. It’s all around you… You don’t need something huge to happen to feel huge levels of joy- inappropriate, illogical levels of it are everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes out.

Pete Holmes

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The Complex Life of a Church Janitor. Purpose: Philosophical, theological, creative, and retrospective thoughts from a twenty something guy. I used to work as a church janitor (hence the name), but now I'm exploring other work opportunities.

A note about originality: With the exception of reblogs and external quotes cited, all posts are the creative work of the author of this blog. Please cite or link any post (in whole or in part) that is shared through any means. Thanks!

Contact: My ask box or twitter. Let me know if you want a private response.

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