What updates teach me about doubt

 Doubt is a constant struggle for some people and I recently came across a quote that got me thinking more about it. Here is the quote:  

“How can I be so sure of my beliefs when the next book on the shelf could completely change my perspective?” – Brian Regan (yes the standup)    

People are sometimes afraid to dive in because they don’t know what may occur to them later on that could change their mind about what they’ve thought. But think of all the things we’d not have done or accomplished if we didn’t just take the plunge and dive in now. What would life be like if all of us just waited till our stuff was perfect before releasing it out in the world?     

Take a second and look at some of the discoveries of the past 10 years. Facebook. Twitter. iPhones. Quesalupas. Continuous variable transmissions. Pluto not being a planet. That new pixie hairdo women love. The Internet. Angry Birds. Halo.   

What if these things weren’t released until they were perfect? What if they made sure to answer every single question before releasing? If that were the case, we wouldn’t have an iPhone 6 or any social media site. It would still be in the lab being tweaked or they would have moved on from them and found something else to not complete.  

Perfection will never be attained and neither will perfect knowledge. But the ideas that are presented are infinitely better than the ideas still being studied. Or said another way, ideas on the market are better than the ideas in the lab. Or simply, faith lived out with a little bit of knowledge is better than faith thought all alone in an ivory tower.   

Yes, some things will come out that will change your whole perspective and may make you question your product or your execution of your idea or even your faith. But that’s okay. That’s why computer apps and programs have updates.  

Take doubt for instance. Yes, sometimes, you have faulty beliefs that just aren’t mature enough to handle all the things thrown its way but don’t throw it out completely. Update your faith based on what you’ve learned. Car companies tend to release products before all the tweaks have been worked out as well. They call them safety recalls. And they are excepted by almost everyone.  

Your faith is best lived out at whatever stage it is at. Don’t hold it back because you can’t answer every doubt or question that comes your way.  

And please, please don’t stop questioning when an idea strikes you that is outside your normal experience. I know many people have left the faith of Christianity they were brought up with because of a professor or book that shattered their previous experiences with faith. This new thing definitely made them question everything about God. But the problem was they stopped questioning the new things they were learning. They just assumed all the new things they were learning were truth. They simply presupposed all the new ideas and let it define them and ignored their previous faith and all that they had known. If your parent taught you one thing and then a professor taught you something else differently on that subject, you would be a fool to stop listening to your parents entirely based on the one truth that professor taught you. But you’d also be a fool to not take the truth that was presented to you.  

I’m all for truth. I’m not saying hold onto Christianity because I grew up with it and don’t want it to be changed. I didn’t really grow up in the church. I came upon its truth later on and honestly it has evolved and deepened over the years. Jason 10 years ago was an idiot. Jason 10 years from now will be a genius compared to Jason in the present.  

I’m just saying that because you learned something from a secular teacher who hates Christianity, or whatever faith you hold to, doesn’t mean you have to accept all his views. Take what is good and honorable and true and let it update your faith. Consider it a faith recall. Not a doubt overhaul.  

If your doubts cannot stand up to your faith, then you have a still-developing faith. And that’s okay. Get surrounded by people stronger than you and smarter than you. Find people who will take you under their wing and show you the way. If you’re not being challenged, you are not growing. I don’t think God is as honored by those who think the same as they did 10 years as those whose faith has deepened and understanding has blossomed to new heights.  

And know this: Doubt is okay. God never told us to not doubt. But at a certain point, you have to just take truth wherever you find it. But use it to update your faith.    

One in a million

This phrase has been uttered all over. You are one in a million. I used to think it was special to say that but then I realized how wrong that thinking was. It truly limits who we are to just be one in a million because you are so much more than this.  

I don’t know if it stems from a lack of understanding as to how big the universe really is and how many people really exist because if you truly are one in a million that would mean that there are 6,000 other you’s living right now. And that’s just not true. 

We take things and we say them. But we don’t truly mean them.  

Sounds a lot like our lives doesn’t it?  

What if I were to tell you that “you” have never existed before?  

No one has ever had your exact interests. Or your exact upbringing. Or grew up in the place you did or with the family you grew up with. No one has married your spouse at the exact same time as you did. No one ever had your kids or your job at the time that you did. No one who has ever lived is exactly like you. And this may sound dumb but it can be revolutionary for your soul.  

Yes this can be scary but ultimately, it should be refreshing. Because you are you and no one else can be you. They can try but ultimately they will fall short. You are the original and everyone else is a copy. And for anyone who has ever used a copy machine, the copies do not line up to the original. They get the picture at a glance but they don’t get the down and dirty. They miss some key details.  

This should also be freeing because it lets you determine your success or failure. You don’t have to have a 9-5 job to appease the Man. You can work every day or every other week. Or whenever inspiration strikes you. This day and age is also the best time for these types of people because these people are the ones who are willing to embrace who they are and live and change the world from that standpoint.  

We don’t have to go through hoops anymore to be who we are.  

So today, don’t settle to be one in a million. Strive to be the original. Or the one and only. You. 

Success series

The past few months I’ve been thinking about success and I have finally come to the conclusion that success is simply having our lives parallel Christ’s.  That’s all that we can ask for.  And I want to just state clearly for you all that I can’t picture this in reality.

I don’t think I have a good enough example to point to for this.  So I am going to start a series of posts on what success in this manner looks like.

  1. Success starts with seeing God.
  2. Success continues with realizing who we are.
  3. Success ends with Christ’s life being paralleled.

2012

Always at the beginning of a year, I do some re-evaluating of my life and it is hard to look back.  It is also hard for me to look forward.  Do you feel any of that in your life?

I’m not sure why I can’t just embrace each day as the abundant potential contained therein.  I just live a life of ease and then regret after many wandering times.  But this year, I wish to take it on fully.  Being fully present in each moment and holding onto the life that God has called me to live. One that is not meant to be viewed day-to-day but is to be embraced by each experience.

I am excited about 2012 (even though it might be the world’s last).  Are you?

Set list 10.30.11

God has truly been realigning me in areas of ministry and I’m truly excited about what God is doing.

This week we had a smaller group leading but it was a great service.

Beautiful the Blood – Fee (Tommy led)
Nothing but the Blood – Matt Redman (Jason)
You are on our side – Elevation worship (Joanna)
Abba – Jonathan David Helser (Tommy)

From the inside out – Hillsong United (Jason)

It has been great leading with our team because they are all worshipping themselves and leading others into His presence faithfully.

What songs did you sing at your church?

the precipice of a revolution

There are so many things to discuss on this here blog and I can only begin to tell you how excited I am for those things to take place.  God is about to do some amazing things in the lives of the people of 24/7 Church.  We are on the precipice of a revolution and revival.

I am not sure why I see this so clearly right now but God is aligning the stars for something big and let me just say that He is starting with me.  He is starting in me and its going to work through me.  But I want you to realize that its not just through me, or else I would boast in myself.

He’s about to do something through our pastor, through our small groups, prayer group, bible studies, and through so many more people who are beginning to be involved in the life of our church.

I’ve realized that God always does something in us before He does something through us and I am very excited to see this happen.

We, as a leadership team, are working through what it means to disciple.  Because without discipleship, we simply have people who make a one-time decision and have nowhere to go.  This should not be the case and I pray that we won’t commit the Great Omission (as Dallas Willard so eloquently wrote about in his book of that name).  In a new role that I feel God is calling me to, I am working through what it means to truly disciple in 21st century Greensboro, NC.

What does a true Christian look like?  What kind of knowledge do they have?  How would one pray like that?  How would one serve like that?  How would one spread the gospel and evangelize in our town?

In essence, this is simply a new way of phrasing what would Jesus do in this place and in this time.

I chose the word precipice because I love the definition of it (“A very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one”).  We have a cliff before us and I simply want to ask you, are you willing to take that leap?

Are you willing to jump off the mountain that you have built for yourself and enter the freedom that can only come from jumping?

Let’s take a leap and see what God does.

remembering 9/11

Recently, I have been fascinated by the events of 9/11.  Fascination is not the best word to use for an event with sadness at that magnitude but I have been reading articles on the events of that day and have been watching documentaries about it.

It all started with a documentary that I watched one afternoon on Netflix a couple months ago.  The documentary placed the idea in my head that the events of 9/11 were not as they seemed.  Although it came to the conclusion that the Bush administration had caused the events of 9/11, I was still pretty skeptical.  And I just couldn’t get it out of my mind and wanted to read more about it.  Especially with the implications that the documentary was posing.

So I checked out a book from my local library.  Its called The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.  It is a fascinating read.  Very thoroughly researched and amazing in its scope.  They paint a picture of terrorists obsessed with wanting to kill Americans and preserve their “pure religion”.  We all know them as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and this book did a great job of presenting the events as they happen and showing that there differently was more than we were told.  There was definite deception and corruption but more importantly, there was incompetence.

These events could have been prevented, I sincerely believe.  I have just been aching over the events of 9/11 for a couple weeks now and I just simply can’t express the gratitude I have for those people who helped to save lives and it just blows my mind that this happened in our country and to so many people.

This started out as a review of a book but what follows ends with a deep regret for what happened and joy that God is about redeeming and restoring all of creation.

I just wish to point out one paragraph that I read in this book that truly hit me.  It actually came from the Acknowledgments section which most tend to ignore but I have always read this closing section because I want to write a book one day and I believe that I should study how people write in all ways.  In fact, my friend Aaron, who was a film major in college had to see about 500 films throughout his time in college, remarked to me that when the filmmaking students had to go to the theater to see the movies, you were basically ridiculed if you left before all the credits were done.  These were people who wished to pursue filmmaking as a career and they stayed to watch these films.  So I likewise honor those in the craft I would love to be a part of by reading the liner notes for musicians (if I buy the full album), and reading the acknowledgments in books.  (Sorry for the long thoughts about explaining my quirkiness).

Here’s the quote that caught me:  “We were reminded at every step of the way that the story on which we were embarked was freighted with human suffering: that of those who died on September 11 itself, of those killed in earlier and subsequent attacks, and of the more than 100,000 people who have died and continue to die in the ensuing conflicts – and those left grieving across the world.

In this Acknowledgments section of our book, then, we honor first and foremost those who will never be able to read it.”

That just breaks my heart to read.  I literally shed a tear when I read that.  This blog post, no matter how trivial it is, is for those who died in the 9/11 attacks.  And I know that I am writing this after the 10th anniversary (I can’t believe it has been 10 years!), but I just wish to say that you have always been in my prayers since that fateful Tuesday.

I still remember being in my first semester at UNCG and being taught German that early morning and then hearing about the World Trade Centers being attacked and I had no idea what they were except for that they were two tall towers in NYC.  I then walked back to my dorm, after picking up some breakfast (I know you probably think how heartless I was but no one knew it was an attack at that point and I didn’t really feel connected to anyone there in NYC) but on my way to my room, I saw this girl crying her eyes out on the phone.  I was close enough to her to overhear that she was trying to locate her brother who worked at the WTC.  I was instantly caught up in the devastation that was 9/11 at that moment.  I quickly went back to my dorm to see what was going on (because there was no other TV that I could watch that early) and was caught by the image and then saw the 2nd plane hit the other building live.  I couldn’t believe that this was happening.  I couldn’t believe that this was real.  That this had been done to our country in our country.  Still to this day, it makes no sense to me how someone can be so willing to kill 1,000s of people.  But it did happen and so many lives have been taken and laid down since then.

So I just want to honor those who were lost on that day and those who have been lost since.  I could talk about how Jesus said that we are to love our enemies but I don’t wish to say that.  I truly want people to pay for what they did.  And I know that I still need to be redeemed.  But I serve a great God who will redeem and restore all things.  And he’s creating in me a new way to live.  But today, I wish to honor those who were lost.