in the midst of chaos.

I have not really been writing a lot lately, so if you’re super into my blog (HA!), sorry, I’ve been gone for a while.  I guess I just haven’t had anything to write, haven’t wanted to write what I think, or haven’t had the time to write all over the interwebs.  One thing that I’m learning is that writing, much like teaching, comes from the overflow of the heart.  Writing is an outlet that I have, but I’m a thinker.  I’m pretty hypercritical of my writing, so when I do finish a draft and decide to publish it on this blog, I mean it.  I have a lot of drafts saved that I have never finished or never published because halfway through writing the posts I realized I didn’t have anything good to say, or didn’t believe my own writing.  I say all this to say that I hope to write more often.  From my experiences the past week, I think I am entering a great learning season of life.  Some of the material I get to study this semester is already starting to blow me away.  I now feel a fire for learning and growing in faith that has been less prominent of late.  I am excited as I look forward to this next portion of my education and life; the possibilities are endless.

One thing that I am excited to get into is what faith looks like in the world we live in.  In the chaos of our culture, what does a follower of Jesus look like? and how should I navigate the foolishness of this world because of what Jesus has done?  So I plan to start a series called “In the midst of…” where I look at what it means to be a Christ follower in a culture full of lust, hypocrisy, violence, etc. I am excited to dive into these issues, but also hesitant because of the volatile nature of these topics.  So anyways, I just thought I would let you all know about what’s going to be happening on the blog for a while.  I’ve got things I have to be doing, but you should here from me soon.

-Michael

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” | Job 1:21

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COMMUNITY. WE NEED IT.

So this summer, I’ve learned a lot. A lot about youth ministry, about life on the inside of a church, and a whole lot about myself. I’ve learned some of my strengths, that some things that I thought were strengths of mine are not quite to strength level, and I’ve discovered a lot about how I interact with people. I’ve also learned a lot about doing things on my own. Being away from home for a few months will do that. The more I have been on my own, the more I have realized that is not what God intended. God made us to be relational beings. From the beginning of time on this Earth, that has been evident.

 Genesis 2:18: “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

In Genesis 2, God was talking about a woman, but I think this rule applies in every case. Not just that every man needs a woman, or wife (in fact, I really feel like the church does a terrible job with singleness, but that sounds like a different thought for a different time), but that every person needs another person. AT LEAST ONE. Some people need more than that.

Luckily, I have found people here in the area with whom I have gotten to share in community with. Everyone, wherever they are, needs people who care about them, and people that they care about. I have been fortunate to find that here in California, and I am even more fortunate to have the awesome support system that I have back in Nashville. That is what I look forward to most about returning to my homeland in a week. If you ask, I would tell you that I’m excited for the fall semester to start. That doesn’t mean that I’m excited for the 8 am classes, the tests, the papers, and the absurd amount of books I’m supposed to read (which reminds me, I still need to purchase those). What I’m excited for is the opportunity to build on the relationships that have already begun and to form the relationships still to be created.

Acts chapter 4 lays the blueprint for the life of a church.

32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

36 For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. 37 He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”

What we have is not our own. Living in community with others helps us realize that. It’s one thing to hold on to your possessions when you don’t have any friends who go without. We (speaking to myself here) need to be in conversation and in life with those who are in need. It’s easy to help our friends, not as easy to help those we don’t know.

Over the weekend, I got to hang out with an awesome group of guys. On Friday we hit up Santa Cruz and San Francisco on Saturday. These guys are like me – they’re not perfect. It was great being around 4 other guys for those two days. Yes, we were seeing awesome sights and experiencing amazing places, but I would’ve still had a great time if we had just sat in the living room and hung out for two days. The constant good-natured teasing and joking, the conversations only a group of college age guys have, and the comradery among us was just what I needed.

In conclusion, we need community. We need other people to care about. We need other people to care about us. But above all, we desperately need Jesus, or none of this matters.

ALSO.

I have a great friend, Drue, who authored a beautiful piece on his blog regarding this same topic. You should check it out if you’ve got the time. “I was created to… COMMUNE

Also, I have grown quite fond of the band Rend Collective.  On their 2013 album, Campfire, they filmed a video on the making of their album and the community brought on by a campfire. It’s about six minutes long, so you should watch it if you haven’t. “The Campfire Story