24
August
2007

I never do these things, but end of summer–what the heck…

Posted in : stream of consciousness/random

Okay, as a comment on my page, or if you want to send a message instead, either way, leave one memory that you and I had together. It does not matter if you knew me a little or a lot. Anything you remember! Next re-post this bulletin and see how many people leave a memory about you.

It’s actually pretty cool (and fun) to see the responses….
(Just because I didn’t tag you doesn’t mean you can’t participate ^_^ )

Love in Christ,
Lata..

(..my bro and me--I'm glad we got to hang out some)

 

 

 

 

 

..interesting day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

 

Rachael Garmon Scott When you had to beat me and draw a better cat than I did on the Magnadoodle for Jenner!
August 24, 2007 at 9:57am · Like
Heather Michelle Hines awww my little carl…cant wait to see you!
August 24, 2007 at 11:31am · Like
Brynn McCormick haha. i think i said it all on myspace. oh. and the memory of you shaving your arms. forgot that one :]
August 24, 2007 at 12:26pm · Like
Bailey James Morgan That time you actually sat and listened to me go on and on in Chick-fil-@ one night. I remember that. Oh, and when you showed us you could blow bubbles with your spit. I was jealous. I couldn’t do it.
August 24, 2007 at 12:49pm · Like
Nick Jones So many…hmm…

Making fun of our various family members at one of those funerals. That’s right…even during a funeral, we laugh at our family.
August 24, 2007 at 4:39pm · Like
Heath ‘Red’ Redfern growing up lol
its been good memories all the way thru
stayin up all night playin tales of destiney
power rangers in the back yard
bein like brothers
August 24, 2007 at 6:09pm · Like
Tiffany Bobbitt I will never forget that suit you wore at Fall Formal. It was so funny but you pull it off. lol
August 30, 2007 at 9:10pm · Like


11
August
2007

Education…

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

In the context of life as a whole:

Education does not give you the ANSWERS.

Education gives you the means to ask the QUESTIONS.

We’re always learning.

..or should be.


11
August
2007

Unattainable Treasure

Posted in : poems

Within the grasp..

..thought it was before.

–was it ever, really?

He thought he knew,

but it didn’t pan out.

Is it the same?

Is it different?

Will it be ever different?

–Is it anything at all??

One part wishes So.

The other, Nay.

If delusion, he is a fool.

If failure, it is his fault more than her.

If from chance–nature is cruel.

He can only dream this time–that’s all he’s got.

Guide Him, Lord. Protect Him. Now more than ever, and ever more than ever before.


14
April
2007

Thoughts on 1 John, and much modern-day application..

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile since I last wrote, sorry about that. But you can always just click a button or two if you want to read stuff I’ve written in the past. I’m not really sure where to begin, and it’s not like I was planning to write a not or anything today, so I’ll just dive right in. I hope God uses my words to speak to someone in a real way, somehow.

I started reading 1 John again today, and God just sort of started hitting me with stuff as I was reading through it, this time. If I use some analogies of phrases you’ve seen in my writing before, sorry about that. But bare with me, they’re probably still valid..”probably” ~_^ .

First, 1 John 1:1 struck me (the number “1” was just used a bunch of times, btw..anyways..) because it sounds eerily similar to the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 1. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then here in 1 John 1:1, it sorta mentions the same thing: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, THE WORD OF LIFE.” One of the greatest truths that has helped me, spoken to me in my faith, and helped me in my overall life was when I finally understood what the Bible was talking about when it says “Word”, like in these verses. God is all about love–we hear that so much, it becomes clichéd, and we’re desensitized to it. But it is true–1 John 4:8 explicitly states it. However, the next step after simply understanding and knowing that God is love, is to know the effects that fall from that, and what it means to us as individuals. When we read “The Word” in verses like these, it is talking about love. It is talking about the very essence of God’s nature and character, the very essence of Christ’s character and nature. In John 14:6 Jesus the Christ says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.” When we bring to mind the truth that God is a Triad of Being–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–we know that the Son, Jesus Christ was always with God. That precious Love..that Life..that Truth…It has always existed side-by-side with God the Father forever. This Love, this Life, this Truth was sent to earth SO THAT WE COULD UNDERSTAND the depths of God’s love for us. God had to come down to our level to let us know whassup.

Think about it: say you are a missionary. You go deep into some forest of nothingness, with tribal people who have never known the true God, nor had His love and truth explained to them. Somehow, you spend enough time there, and they trust you, and eventually you have a platform in which they sort of “listen” to you. Are you going to stand up in front of them and start waxing poetic with theological jargon and be all, “And in our CURRENT DISPENSATION, we find ourselves enslaved in a myriad of HELPLESSNESS AND SIN! HOWEVER, the glorious manifestation of Christ is a PROPITIATION for our wickedness!!!” …yeah, go ahead and duck as they violently spear you to death. They don’t know what the heck you’re talking about! Is that to say God loves them any less? Is that to say they are stupid? NO! It means that are human beings that God loves that have no experience in thinking in abstract terms of “Love”, “Righteousness”, “Selfishness”, or any virtues. So how are you going to teach them? You go down to their level. It’s not that they’re stupid, or that God loves them any less, or that they are not CAPABLE of understanding, they just haven’t been taught. Every human being is capable of thinking on the higher level of metaphors and abstract concepts, with the right practice and training. But when you are dealing with what we’re calling “uneducated tribal people” )in this case), it is necessary to meet them on the level of their understanding in order to make sense to them. The best approach, rather than speaking in abstract language, would be to use physical, visible illustrations. For example, to teach the lesson of how stealing is wrong, you could give them something to hold on to (Or, find something they already own, doesn’t really matter), then go up to ’em, then take it away from them without asking, and see how they feel. See? It is still teaching a concept, but it is based on the level of understanding of the congregation.

Here’s my point: this is how God deals with us. We do NOT fully understand Him and His ways. Does this mean I’m calling us all mindless savages? No. As a related side-note, read Ecclesiastes. Solomon–the smartest guy in the world–tells us how we has sought the universe for all knowledge and wisdom, and the best he could come up with was stuff like, “God is awesome….we’re all too vain…and enjoy the blessings of life God gives you, and don’t try to KNOW everything or DO everything.” That is, we do NOT THINK OR OPERATE on the same level as God the Father. This is why He had to send us an Illustration and meet us on our terms. That is the Christ. The message of Jesus Christ, His Son. What His death IS. It means God’s perfect love. And we STILL Don’t have a *perfect* understanding of God’s love, now, do we? But thanks to His provisions and the bloody sacrifice of His perfect Son for our shortcomings, we have *some* idea–we have enough to know WE NEED HIM.

Second, and this is quite a bit shorter than my first point. I just want to take a second and point out how cool it is that God wants to know us one-on-one. You know, when you get to thinking of the world, society, kingdoms, systems, businesses, civilization, it gets overwhelming. We’re tempted to feel insignificant. But then you read verses like 1 John 1:3b which simply says, “our FELLOWSHIP is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” I don’t know, I just really like reading stuff like that, and thought you might like it if you think about it for a second. It’s like that song “End of the Beginning” by David Phelps says: “..And for the first time here on earth, we learned that God could be a Friend…

Third, lol @ John. He always be talking about “Light and Darkness” and using them as analogies. I love it though, because it’s so accurate. In fact, check out 1 John 1:7a. It says, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER…Whereas my last point was about the beauty of we as individuals having one-on-one relationships with God Almighty, the other side of the coin is having those relationships with our fellow human beings. I mean, these two verses in 1 John I just mentioned, sort of reference the concept of Matthew 22:36-40 when you think about it. That is, true life, true purpose, and true Christianity boils down to loving God and loving others. Well anyway, I like this verse 7 of 1 John 1 because it really does say a lot. When we as human beings have that common ground of the Holy Spirit, and of the truth of Jesus Christ, it makes it that much easier to relate and get along.
For instance, this past Spring Break, when I went on a mission trip/outreach to Mexico, the group I went with consisted of leaders from Canada, Nicaragua, Mexico, South Africa, United States, and Venezuela. And then, half of us didn’t even really know the leaders that well. Some of these leaders were older folks, and some of these leadesr weren’t too much older than us the teenagers, but we got along great! I mean, how many cases can you think of, with that diversity of nations represented, with that diversity of culture, language, background, social and economical differences, trying to get along with a bunch of selfish, spoiled, American (:-P) teenagers? We got so much done on that trip, we worked very well together, and we got to know each other. Jesus Christ was that common ground we had. Amazing how what you read in the Bible IS true ^_^ .

Fourth, 1 John 2:3 says “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” Many times these days, Christian institutions and pastors (and youth pastors, especially) love to emphasize stuff like, “Relationship, not a religion!”, and “Don’t worry, you don’t have to be perfect for God to love you”, and “Christianity isn’t about following rules”, and all that. We do this because we don’t want people to be “Turned off” by Christianity because they think it’s a bunch of rules, and “religion”. Charismatic and non-denom churches tend to do this more than Baptist churches. Hey, I pick on my fellow Southern Baptists all the time, I gotsta pick on the non-denoms a bit, too, sometimes ^_^ . I realize I may be stepping someone’s toes–or more importantly, their convictions– but hear me out. Knowing and following God’s commandments ARE part of having a relationship with Him. It’s perfectly fine to be like, “Yeah, RELATIONSHIP, not RELIGION.” That’s great, I’m not doubting that. However, we need to understand that part of that relationship IS keeping His commandments. BUT at the same time, when we understand WHY God DOES give us these commandments, they are not a drag, and it’s not really that hard to keep His commandments because we WANT to.

Think about this: If you have this very close friend, someone you can tell anything, someone you have a vibrate friendship/relationship with, someone you care deeply about (romantically, or otherwise), and who’s welfare means a lot to you. Now, you might then possibly be able to *BEGIN* to understand the level of love God almighty has for US as human beings–Christian or otherwise–His creation, Whom He loves. Keep one thing in mind: your friend is a habitual drinker. Now, say you knew for a fact–like, the specific instance that is going to happen in the future–where the life of this dear friend of yours is going to end violently in a car crash because he is going to get drunk one time, and whilen driving home, he dies in a car crash. Now, before any of this actually happens, you know it is going to happen. Are you not going to be disgusted and feel sick to your stomach every time you see your friend take a drink, or get drunk? You have such a bond with this person and care for them so much that it tears you up to see them doing something that is eventually going to get them killed one day. That having been said, you know you cannot force them to stop, you know that it is something they have to do for themselves, but you do what you can to discourage it. PLEASE UNDERSTAND the purpose of this analogy is not to be all, “Drinkin’ is sin, don’t do it! Stop! It’s bad! YOU SINNER!” “DRINKING” IS NOT MY POINT HERE! My point is to draw a parallel of how God feels for us when He sees us go against His commandments.

the whole reason He gives us the commandments that He gives us in the Bible is because He loves us, and does not want us to destroy ourselves by acting stupid, and sinning–however that may be. The importance is not on the sin and “gettin’ saved”, “gettin’ a spot in Heaven”, and “sayin’ the sinner’s prayer”. Rather, the importance is on what the sin represents when we engage in it–death and destruction. In the same way you love that friend of yours, and you do not want to see him engage in the activity that is going to eventually get him killed, God does not want to see us acting in a way that will get us killed–physically, and spiritually.

Now I realize that isn’t exactly the strongest analogy, because none of us can see the future. And it also likely touches on the whole predestination debate–“Can God really see the future or not?” But if you can, switch your mindset from the predestination debate if it has gone there–I am not even trying to touch on that. And if you don’t like the whole “seeing-the-future-and-drinking-will-get-you-killed analogy”, then just pick anything else: Let’s say, your friend who you love so much is going to die doing something as harmless as skiing. When you see your friend practice skiing, always talking about going skiing, it sorta makes you sick ‘cuz they’re gonna die because of it one day. So you see, my emphasis is not on the action, or the moral nature of the action, because the analogy works with something we think of as “negative” (drinking), and something “neutral” (skiing). My focus is that when you see someone involved in an activity that is going to harm them and kill them, you feel for them, and you feel sick because you know it’s hurting them, and that is the way God feels whenever we do not follow his commandments. God’s awareness and ability to see the results of our choices is so much greater than ours because He IS God, so He knows what is non-truth and what is truth, what is sin and what is righteousness–what will make us kill us, and what will make us stronger.

Further, this goes back to my first point, which is that God the Father came down to our level and REVEALED truth, and righteousness to us through the ministry of his Son Jesus Christ, so that we could have some idea, and not destroy ourselves with our own wickedness. That’s why He sent Jesus Christ, in case you hadn’t heard.

Fifth, I find it interesting in 1 John 2:13, how John comes right out and tells us how important it is to speak to little children about the things of God. So often it’s so easy to get caught up reading the words of great pastors like Whitefield, Edwards, Wesley..and then get caught up in the degrees and certifications on people these days. It’s so easy to put more emphasis into what they say, and totally disregard people younger, or not as certified as them. Now obviously, yes, men with more certifications are probably going to be more apt to teach, and have more of an ability to communicate the truths of the Gospel in an effective way..but let’s not forget the children, and the less-experienced. Sometimes it seems so important to FURTHER educate the people who already know a lot, and just keep talking to them; but let’s remember that it is important to talk TO, and not DOWN TO, people younger than us age-wise, or not as experience as us in the things of God, or of other things. In this verse (2:13), John says he’s writing this holy Word of God to “the fathers, the young men, AND the little children.” Let’s not make light of, or push someone else out of the picture. Sort of goes along with what Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12a, “Let no man despise thy youth…”

Now yes, obviously, the Bible talks about giving respect to elders, and to people who have been given the unique responsibility of leading the flock, but personal testimony is a powerful thing that God uses to speak to people—the “saved” and “un-saved”–and exchanging thoughts, and ideas only makes those who partake in it that much stronger (Proverbs 27:17).

Finally, I like 1 John 2:21a. It says, “I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because ye know it…” Now, does this mean we are NOT to teach people who do not have the truth? No. I like this verse because it stresses the principle of accountability. We as Christians have a lot of truth. I mean, for those off us who have been for a while, we’ve gone to church a lot, we’ve read our Bibles some, some of us may have went to private school, etc. etc. But just because we have truth, doesn’t mean that gives us a right to slack off and just sort of go through the motions of the Christian life. As if the previous points I’ve made haven’t inspired you a bit to become closer to God and live a life that brings glory to Him, think about this: we need to communicate with each other and check up on each other, on our faith. “Hey, how is your walk with the Lord?”, “Are you going through a rough time right now I could pray with you about”, “…or if not pray WITH you, then pray FOR you about?”, “Are you still attending church somewhere?” As Christians, we are held accountable by the amount of understanding we have. Along with 1 John 2:21a, James 4:17 touches on this too. James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Once again, let’s not let our attention be drawn to labeling a certain thing as sin or not. Let’s think of what this represents. When we have a certain level of understanding, and when we know certain things to be true, why are we just keeping it to ourselves? Let’s not be afraid to live by what we know to be true, or to spread and teach others what we know to be true. Let us be bold in our convictions. And for those who may not HAVE any convictions. Get some! It’ll do ya good. For those who used to have convictions, but now it’s like, “Meh~”, hey, I’ve been there; but I’ve found that one of the greatest joys is returning to God the Father and getting out of that rut and asking for enough humility to allow Him to continue to meet your needs, teach you, and help you to live right, and to love others. THAT’s the type of stuff that leads to the “Life more abundant”, as Jesus talks about in John 10:10.

So yeah, just like most of my notes, this is extremely long. But here’s the way I see it: Maybe of us get on facebook 365 out of 365 days of the year, and some of us can spend hour upon hour per day on facebook. So why not use one of those times and read a long note? I’m preaching to myself here, too, I don’t read enough of my friends’ notes either…but I do sometimes, and hopefully some of you read this one and it spoke to you..and maybe you enjoyed it, who knows? ^_^

As always, I’m open to talking about things that I discussed here in my note, or other things that may be on your mind that you just wanna randomly bring up. So if you ever need an ear…or a screenname..or you wanna send a message or e-mail something like that to hear you out, just hit me up. I can’t always guarantee I can IMMEDIATELY respond, but I’d love to discuss anything. God bless.

–T-Rave

P.S. Thanks to Mr. Ahn (teacher from high school)–he was the one who originally taught me that analogy about the tribal people and abstact/visual concepts a few years ago. I’m not bright enough to have thought that up, heh.

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

Thomas Johnson im actually kind of eager to read this but i’m afraid i have to be one of those people who says it’s too long and i’ll read it later (you’re saying ‘yeah right’ aren’t ya?) well i’m riding in the back of semitruck from florida to texas and stopped off in mississippi for a couple hours to eat and saw this

1 John is an excellent choice and probably my favorite book second to matthew so i’m diggin it… good choice
April 14, 2007 at 9:15pm ·

Elise Barrett hot dang. this is a chunka stuff.

but i like it. although i think if you give a native something and then take it away you better duck too, because HELLO SPEAR’D.

also a big ol’ honking AMEN to the teaching of children. yet another reason i’m dang glad for homeschooling.
April 16, 2007 at 7:40pm ·

Bailey James Morgan I think it’s neat how I read this last night, and our preacher preached about this this morning. On the whole. “Relationship, not religion” thing. Oh, and a question to you: Why do you choose to use KJV? Just asking…

August 12, 2007 at 11:14pm ·


14
February
2007

Thoughts on what “church” should be…

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

What is church? The word “Church” has a lot of meanings, and brings with it many different connotations–some good, some bad, some accurate, some inaccurate. Here’s the way I see it:

There is a “World-wide church”, or a “Universal church”. It’s sometimes referred to as the “Body of Christ”. The people that fall into this category include every single person on this earth THAT

-Has become conscious/aware of the sin/wrong-doing/whatever in their life
-And as a a result, has made the conscious decision to place Jesus Christ up on high as the Lord of their life and asked forgiveness for their sin because Jesus came, died on the cross, and rose again

Sometimes we call this act “Getting saved”, or “Salvation”, or “Starting a personal relationship with Jesus Christ”, or “Becoming a child of God”, or “Accepting Jesus into one’s heart”–it’s all the same thing. People who have done that are called “Christians”. Once someone has done that, he is now automatically in the “Universal Church”, and is a part of the “Body of Christ” that I was talking about earlier. Different Christian denominations are irrelevant (And sad, if you ask me)–we’re all a part of this body of Christ.

One thing I do want to clarify is this, though:
Now obviously there are people on this earth that have NOT made Jesus Christ the Lord of their lives. Just because we consider them to be “Outside of” or “Not a part of” the Body of Christ does not make them any less valuable, it does not make them any less of a person, and it does not mean that God loves them any less than He loves someone who IS a member of the Body of Christ. 1 John 4:8 tells us that God IS love, and the reason He even made all us people in the first place is to share that love. It would be asinine to think that He created a person, but then “Didn’t love them as much as someone else”–that’s sheer stupidity, and God ain’t stupid. He just wants them to come to Him because His ways bring a life of liberty, freedom, security, truth, and perfect love (John 4:10, John 4:14).

So far, we’ve established that there is a “World-wide” church.

There is another type of church, as well, and it is our local, modern-day, New Testament church. Typically, (Not always, but I’m speaking generally, here) this is the church that you go to on Sundays, you dress somewhat nice, maybe there’re Wednesday services, a visitation during the week, a Bible Study during the week, Sunday school ministry, senior ministry, singles ministry, youth ministry, etc. etc. Some churches have some of those, some don’t, it’s all good~ For the most part, these are our modern-day, New Testament churches. I think our churches are great, because Matthew 22:37, 39-40 tells us that our purpose in each one of our individual lives is to love God and love others. What better way is there to love God and love others? I mean look at it; in church, we’re around each other and worshipping God, we’re lifting Him up alongside of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and we should also encourage one another, and thus develop relationships with one another. I mean, even just saying “hey”, or even just visiting with someone about something that may or may not be “A church thing” develops relationships. We just need to be interested in something more than only our own personal lives.

All that having been said, we ARE human beings. Sometimes we “Lose the focus” and forget why it is we do a certain thing. Sometimes things we do–like going to church–start to feel like duty, sometimes we just get tired and complacent about it, or we feel like we’re “In a rut”. I’m not gonna sit here and say all that’s some terrible thing. I see us as fallen, sinful, imperfect, disgusting P-E-O-P-L-E–that’s all. That’s why Jesus had to die, and we worship Him in the first place. Now just bceause we might “feel like” this sometimes, doesn’t excuse us from not-doing “church stuff”. Sometimes–and I know I’ve done this–we forget what meeting together at our local church actually MEANS:

Church isn’t meant to be some show that we go sit through and watch once or twice a week, and we think, “If we like what was done, we’ll applaud, keep comin’, and keep tithin’.” (Thought tithing IS always welcomed 😛 ) We need to stop operating from the mindset, “Okay, I’m here at church, now let’s see ‘What I get out of it’ today. Church doesn’t exist for people to RECEIVE. Church exists for people to GIVE. Now obviously, when everyone is giving, everyone DOES receive (Proverbs 27:17), and that’s great–but it isn’t ABOUT receving. It is about giving.

There are many ways in which people give. People GIVE monetarily, with tithing and offering. People GIVE of their time by showin’ up to stuff Sundays, Wednesdays, and whatever-days. People GIVE of their talents, by teaching, counseling, singing, visiting, helping with childrens’ activities, playing a certain sport. People GIVE of administration by getting things in order. People GIVE of teaching by being a Sunday-school teacher, missionary, preacher, counselor, or simply wise person that talks with people. Why do people do all these things? 1 Corinthians 10:31 says to glorify Christ in EVERY activity we are apart of–everything we do. That’s it. Colossians 1:16-17 says all things were made BY Christ, all things were made FOR Christ, and everything HOLDS TOGETHER by Christ. John 14:6 says Christ IS truth–He IS goodness. He is what is good in our lifetimes. He is why we exist. The whole reason we come together in our local churches is all FOR Him. “Jeez, for HIM? What’d HE do that was so special?” As if I even have to say. He was crucified so that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). And out of the ways we are able to, we do everything we do to glorify Him. Which brings me to my next point.

I’ve grown up in church all my life. I’ve heard guest speakers, and missionaries who come and speak at whatever church I’ve been to. I’ve seen the videos of different ministries people do in parts of the world far, far away where I am/ I’ve been somewhat associated with YWAM for the past two-three years–and yeah, you meet one or two missionarries from other countries when you’re around YWAM . So often I’d hear missionaries who’d come back and say, “Oh man, the country I went to was so poor and down-trodden, and we are SO lucky to have all this nice stuff here in America.” and I’m like “Yeah, yeah, we have a lot, and should be grateful, and I feel sorry for those people who have a lot.” And then right after they say that, they proclaim “We all need to get out of our COMFORT ZONES.”@#$%@$#%(&$@!!$#@*#$@#!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man I hate that phrase. I mean, I get the point of what they’re saying…like, it’s good to change, and it’s good to get away from normal life and sacrifice what “Feels good” in order to receive better things ahead, sometimes…but I felt like they were trying to put me and the congregation on a guilt trip because here in America, we have so much. So I was always like, “What the heck…so you’re saying, serving God means you can’t feel good?” What’s up with that?

Now obviously, what these speakers mean by that is it’s good to get out of the humdrum same-old-same-old in order to step back and make an honest evaluation of priorities, values, and what we care about, what we think about, what we love, and what we spend our time doing. And then if they’re not good things, then change them. And it’s good to visit another country and another culture. And, like, doing that, doesn’t mean you’ve now signed up to be a missionary your whole life. It’s just good to go on a mission trip/outreach to another country in order to get a better perspective on life in general, and to really see how God is at work, and to see people with much less material things than we have here in America with great faith in God to provide for them. It really challenges you. And the cool thing about God is, whenever you get a…”Spiritual Challenge” (I guess you’d say)…He always honors that and teaches you so much when you overcome them–ALWAYS. I’ve come to the conclusion that an individual person that God calls to be a missionary and go to some place that is “Less physically comfortable” than what they’ve lived in or known all their lives in America, whoever God calls to do that is going to be so passionate and have such a drive to spread the Gospel and God’s love that being physically comfortable isn’t even going to be an obstacle because they are so passionate about what they do. Someone that WOULD lose their focus and WOULD lose their passion and WOULD NOT be an effective witness for spreading the Gospel if they went to a place less physically comfortable than what they’ve known all their lives doesn’t much have much business serving in that way, really. That having been said, I still maintain my previous point that it is good even for a person like this to go on an outreach/mission trip to another country/ or culture to receive a better perspective and contribute to the Kingdom of God in this way. But back to what I was saying: Why do we limit God? He can use them to further His Kingdom in a different way that is just as valuable as being a foreign missionary, or something. Now that’s not to say that God can’t also CURE someone of that in order to be a full-time missionary, too. “…for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27b), so it CAN happen.

Anyway, the truth is, there is NOTHING wrong with having a lot of resources available, there is nothing wrong with having nice facilities, and there is nothing wrong with being comfortable. Somehow we think feeling bad about how much we have, or “Not-having so much” is going to somehow make things better for the people that DON’T have much. That’s such BS! Now that having been said, what are we doing with what God has given us? You see, if God, out of His perfect love and care, simply wants us as people; and if we believe that everything good we have comes fom Him and He provides us with everything we need (Matthew 6:33, James 1:17), why do we not remember that we should use what we have to bless others? Remember what we said earlier, from Matthew 22:37, 39-40? Loving God and loving others is our whole basis for existence. There’s something special about giving what you have. Think about something great that’s happened to you. I don’t know, anything. Something you’ve received, something you’ve eaten, and experience you’ve had, something you’ve eaten, a place you like to go, something you like to eat, something you watch on TV, something you like to eat–it just seems better when we share things like these with another human being–in whatever capacity.

My whole message essentially boils down to this point: Let’s not be ashamed of our churches. Let’s not be ashamed of our lives if we have a lot of things. Rather, let’s identify the different areas in which we think we have a lot, and let us put forth the effort to USE these things to bless other people by sharing the love of God. And there are MAAAAAANY ways in which this can be done, too. Some people are blessed with a lot of money (Which is NOT some evil thing, by the way) a.k.a. are rich or wealthy. Some people have the gift of being able to teach concepts and communicate well. Some people are gifted in sports/are athletic. Some people are good at keeping things organized and in order and ready-to-go. Some people love the excitement and spontanaiety of kids. Some people are gifted in the area of music–whether it be singing or playing an instrument. Some people receive an ultimate inner-high when they share the Gospel with someone. Some people are gifted at dancing, and yes, we can glorfiy God with that too, despite the Southern Baptists’ illogical hang-up. So then, maybe we should get together and use these talents for the glory of God. Luke 12:48b says, (PARAPHRASE) “…to whom is given, much is expected”. The Bible isn’t some piece of Socialism-literature that says “To whom is given, much is to be government-mandate redistributed to those to whom much IS NOT given.”

Jesus had a talent too, by the way. A talent that glorified God. John 13:31-32 tells us that Jesus glorified God with the talent of, oh I don’t know, BEING GOD, being sinless, dying an excruciating and fatal death on the cross for the sin if mankind, and being resurrected. That’s how Jesus glorified God. What can we do?

When someone says, “Everyone is different”, they’re right. But from this, don’t go down the liberal path and just proclaim, “We must all come together~ And ccccccelebrate our differencessssssss~” and feel-good puke like that, and just leave it only like that. There is an intelligent REASON we are all different. Know this also: “Every Christian is different from every other Christian”. Just think of what interests you. What you like to spend your time doing. I guarantee that whatever it is, there’s a way to go about these skills, gifts, and talents in a way that can be considered “Ministry”, or making Christ known through it, or being used as a service in your church, or something like that.

Some people come to know this, and think, “Ok, I’m not sure how I’m gifted yet, so I’ll wait for some special revelation of God to tell me how, and then I’ll start my ‘God-service’.” That’s how I used to look at it, but it’s not a good way to go about it, in my opinion. I think we all need to try different areas of service within the Body of Christ. I remember when I was first getting serious about my faith, I didn’t know how in the world I could “Contribute to the Body of Christ”. I mean, what the heck is that. I didn’t feel like I was strong enough in my faith, I didn’t feel like I was well-versed with a solid Scriptural foundation, and I wasn’t the best at being around people, so I couldn’t much teach. I didn’t want to leave, so I didn’t want to do any mission trips. I was talking with someone at “Disciple Now” one year, and they asked me what I liked to do. “Um, I play basketball, and I mow yards during the summer.” So he suggested that I help with a Basketball league. “Ok”, I thought, I’ll do it–might as well give it a try. Turns out, I got to play basketballl, work with kids, and share Christ–I loved it. I had some money stored away from working, so I decided to take part in that “Samaraitan’s Purse”-Christmas-gift-shoe-box thing, so I did that; and I started to faithfully tithe 10 per-cent of whatever income I get (Apparently, it’s good to start doing that at a young age so we’re good at it once we’re older). Those were some things I did whenever I was still a “Baby Christian”, so to speak. Now, since then, as I ‘ve read the Bible and learned a lot, gained a lot of new perspective, discussed life and Christianity with people, I’ve gone on a mission trip/outreach to Mexico, and helped talk with other people about the faith, prayed with people, etc.

Basically, just do what you know you can do, do it “For God”, do it with your whole heart, and commit a portion each day to reading the Bible and letting God TEACH you things. You do that, and you’ll grow, and be capable of more than you’ve ever dreamed, because it’s God working through you–I can promise you this. HOWEVER it may be–it’s just we have to do what we love to do FOR Him, with other people in mind. So go on a mission trip to a foreign country, volunteer to work with kids for a while, try speaking to a crowd (And yeah, this one takes a few tries, heh), discuss Biblical concepts and ask about Biblical questions with people you know are well-versed/studied, write Christian music/poetry, look into joining the choir or whatever type of music your particular church may have–just do ANYTHING.

If we would all just take one more step past “showin’ up to church every week”, we are much stronger individually. Then in turn, our churches are stronger and more knit together, as well. Why? HE makes it happen. We don’t. It is for us to simply live lives in service to Him, subjecting our talents, thoughts, words, actions, and emotions to Him, and He makes everything happen THROUGH us. And, that is how our lives reach our maximum level of fulfillment and happiness. It helps you to discover where your passion lies, and how you can live a life devoted to God by knowing Him more deeply, sharing His love, and working for His Kingdom here on earth in all you do–and especially through whatever your personal passion is. I’ve found that reading the Bible every day, and really studying it–NOT JUST “Looking at the letters in order”–is THE greatest way God reveals His plan and purpose for us. We just have to act on what we read, and get involved.

I think some people are scared away from quote unquote “Organized religion” because they think that “The people that go to a building and ‘have church’, and dress nice, and keep up appearances don’t want me there because deep down they think they’re better than me.” Truth is, it’s just the opposite, in most cases. Going back to what I said earlier, that people are all the same, and every individual person is loved by God equally, Church members want to see other, new church members–no matter what ya look like. People just dress nice at church because, well, this is the South–we have tradition. And in the North, I don’t know the reason–yankees confuse me (Just kidding). And there’s nothing dang wrong with tradition as long as the tradition doesn’t become God. No one thinks you gotta put on a suit and tie to get to Heaven. Some people do think like that, but hey, if you know someone’s opinion like that is wrong and you’re right, don’t make a big deal about it, just go on doing what’s right, no matter what they think or say.

I hope what I said makes sense, and I’m open to talking about something if you have a question, or comment, or want me to clear something up that I said if I didn’t say it well, or whatever. Just contact me via AIM, MSN IM, MySpace comment, facebook note/message/comment, xanga comment, phone, real-life, e-mail, write it in the sky, or however else you want, and I’ll gladly talk with you about it. I pray and hope the Holy Spirit speaks to you through these words and teaches you something–big or small–through it. While it is true I am always open to discussion, and love discussion, I cannot promise that I can drop everything and come runnin’ every time someone wants to, but let me know anyway, because as I said, I love to discuss. Just ask some of my friends lately–they’ve been up in my grill lately ‘cuz I’ve seemed too overloaded to care, IT SEEMS LIKE, but the truth is I’m just busy. A lot of people use the phrase “I’m busy”, when they really mean, “I couldn’t care less, and I don’t want to do what you’re saying.” In my case, I am literally TOO busy..and CONSTANTLY busy.

Thanks to YWAM (https://www.ywamtyler.org/) for teaching so many people so much, and for their collective service in the Kingdom of God.

Thanks to the Southern Baptist Convention (https://www.sbc.net/) for teaching so many people so much, and for their collective service in the Kingdom of God.

Thanks to David Limbaugh for his book, “Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity”.

https://www.xanga.com/conservativeballa
https://blog.myspace.com/conservativeballa

Lata..

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

Heath ‘Red’ Redfern I didnt read this whole thing tj.. only becuase my ADD kicked in about two words into it.. lol.. but you know my belief in the church.. as a fellowship between believers, a safe haven for the brothers and the sisters. I do not believe the church was meant for a political force.

February 14, 2007 at 3:15pm ·

Logan Nichols

I agree Heath, I do not think it was, but then our beliefs spiritually influce our politcal beliefs. Therefore, those who fellowship together commonly share the same views on hot political issues, hence, the church does become a political force. I do believe that we as Christians should stand for what is right morally and religiouly according to the Word of God. Therefore the church has the opportunity to, and should become a political force influencing the world for Christ.
February 14, 2007 at 4:50pm ·

Marcy Williford

now i’ll be honest and tell you that i didnt read alll of this…but…
In MY opinion i kinda disagree when you say “Church doesn’t exist for people to RECEIVE. Church exists for people to GIVE”….
A lot of people (including me) go to church to RECEIVE knowledge from the Lord so that we might live our lives and GIVE back to Him.
church isnt just about giving…

you said it yourself too…that reading a committing a portion of your time to God every day is letting him TEACH you. teaching=receiving
February 14, 2007 at 8:59pm ·

Austin Guidry

This came at a really good time for me. I went to church tonight and really realized how dead our church is. It really is depressing when everyone shows up to church expecting to be wowed or whatever. No one in my church has passion any more and no one seems to care about anything that is being taught or learned. It seems that church has just become another social event instead of a place where followers of Christ can really learn about who God is. I guess in my case, everyone knows each other outside of church and they don’t want to step up and be the God Freak or whatever it’s called. It really makes me angry. I hate every minute I spend inside that church and I think I am going to just sit down and study the Word on my own instead of going to church, because the church seems dead and insignificant to life today.
February 14, 2007 at 9:00pm ·

Travis J

Marcy: Thanks for the input. I’m glad you commented. I kind of contradict myself up there, because soon after I say church isn’t primarily about receiving, I say that people end up receving ANYWAY when everyone is giving. I should qualify it more by saying like it’s more complementary. That is, although I still believe it is primarily about everyone giving, when everyone DOES give–time, money, effort, prayer, exhortation, etc. etc.–the following effect naturally BECOMES everyone receiving, in those different ways. Thanks for the comment.
February 14, 2007 at 10:17pm ·

Travis J

Austin: I appreciate your commenting, but I am not totally sure that deciding not to go to your church is the best answer. Maybe you can be the one that’s different and gives more than others, and they see it in you, and then they start to do the same thing. Maybe your actions can help bring a jumpstart to church activities, Bible-studes, small groups, etc. etc. with effort you put forth, as God teaches you more and more, in your own one-on-one times with Him/in His Word, etc. That is between you and God though, I’m not gonna try to tell you what to do and not to do.

Keep ’em coming, y’all: Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
February 14, 2007 at 10:17pm ·

Travis J

I appreciate the comment, and the chance to elborate on what I mean. I hope this addresses what it is that I needed to clarify. If not, just post again and let me know what exactly it is, and I’ll address it.

James 4:17 basically says, “To him who knows good and does evil, to him it is sin.” That is, based on the level of understanding someone has of what sin IS, God judges them based on that (the Bible also DOES talk about sins of ignorance though, so we are all judged some for those, too).

Romans 3:23 basically says, “Everybody sins, but God has given us the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ”.

The Holy Spirit takes the initiative for the internal invitation to becomes saved and begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
February 18, 2007 at 9:00am ·

Travis J

First, a person must logically understand the princinple of Jesus Christ dying for our sins–what that really means. Then, a variety of factors (or maybe just one factor) may be the reason they have become saved and begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.

One factor could be that which Romans 1 talks about–how simply looking at nature speaks to humans that God is real. Another factor may be that perhaps this person hears a sermon, or PART of a sermon and becomes stirred on the inside. Maybe a friend of theirs talks to ’em a little bit, and maybe just mentions God, or Jesus, or just something that makes ’em wanna know more or turn their life over to God–something just stirring around inside of ’em. Maybe they hear some song on the radio. Maybe some tragedy occurs, and they turn to God.
February 18, 2007 at 9:02am ·

Travis J

It could be any number of these, or something else I didn’t mention. God can speak to us, and work through any event(s).Further, when a lost person understands what the crucifixion means, and when they have a level of conviction in their life, and when they turn to God and decide to live for Him, and ask forgiveness of their sins out of faith (Hebrews 11:1) that Jesus came, died, and rose again, they are saved.

As I said, I hope this addresses what you were asking about. If not, let me know, and pinpoint exactly what you want me to clarify, and I’ll be happy too.
February 18, 2007 at 9:03am ·

Chad Thorpe Good Stuff… I think the most real problem is that people worship the “religous rules” and are not worshiping God. I wish people would break down the barriors between other Christians. Funny thing is, we are supposed to love everyone, yet denominations wiithin the Christian body can not even get along. It is pretty crazy!

April 14, 2007 at 3:18am ·


29
January
2007

Proverbs 2:11, and Isaiah 1:18…

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

 

Proverbs 2:11b, “…UNDERSTANDING shall keep thee.”

Isaiah 1:18a, “Come now, and let us REASON together, saith the Lord…”

Lata..

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

Tiffany Hinson good oneJanuary 29, 2007 at 7:54pm ·


25
January
2007

Responsibility and maturity in friendships and relationships…

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

FIRST LET ME SAY:

SORRY THIS THING IS SO HUGE!

Now then, I’ve posted this online a few times before, and now I’m posting it again, here. Some people have told me that it’s helped them out when they read it, so I hope y’all check it out. But let me warn you, don’t just skim through it quickly, but actually take time to read it all–even though it IS dang long..sorry about that…I don’t claim to be an expert on romance, or an expert on writing, but I think it could be helpful. And if you’ve read it before, it’s got new stuff, so check it out again 😛 .

So yeah, I posted this thing about dating and friendships back in May of ’05, but I want to post it again because people said it made sense and helped them. And some of you “old people” I know could use it again, too. Plus, I myself learn from it whenever I read from it and add to it, too–like it reminds me of stuff. I added some more insights and thoughts since last time I posted it, so if you’ve read it before, you should check it out again because there’s some new stuff. Oh and if you don’t actually WANT to read it at all, I don’t care, I’m posting this so that other people can possibly be helped–you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. In fact, DON’T read it unless you’re going to take it seriously–just leave right now if you don’t intend to take it seriously. I honestly think it IS helpful, even though I’m not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. I don’t claim to be providing some complete, exhaustive “Follow this and you’ll have “100 percent perfect relationships” thing, here either. But read it anyway, so here we go:

Tonight I want to talk about CLOSE friendships, and romantic relationships. Whatever age we are, these are two touchy subjects in our lives, don’t you think? When we’re little kids, our “Friends” are just those kids we’re around all the time that we like to do the same stuff with. But as we get older, the way we handle our close friendships, and then this whole new “romantic relationship” thing changes. New aspects, thoughts, and feelings are here as we grow older, such as EGOES, SELFISHNESS, IMMATURITY, just to name a few. Also, as we get older, become more analytical. That is, we analyze everything people do. We ask, or we think stuff like, “Just what did that person REALLY mean when they said/did that?” And we begin to act and think certain things just because of things we think they’re thinking but they maybe didn’t say–yeah it’s just a MESS sometimes, what with all this thinking and analyzing we do about what other people do and say..

We, as human beings, and Christians especially, cannot simply be close friends with or date JUST ANYONE for bad reasons. “Bad reasons” can be things like,

– “just because I want to”
– “just because THEY want to”
– “it seems right”, or
– “they make me so happy”

Why not? Because certain people and the way they live their life may bring out the worst in us and be dangerous to us. Also, the maturity level may not be high in one or both of the people’s lives. And, it just may not be God’s timing yet. There’s an old saying, “If you run with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas”, which is actually true, when you think about it. The company you keep will eventually influence how you live your life. You may say, “Oh no, that could never happen to me. I’ll be friends with so-and-so, but no I’d NEVER do those things they do.” Guess what? You’re lying. You’re lying to yourself and to God. What is this a violation of? Honesty. The KEY to successful, happy friendships and relationships, in my opinion, is honesty. Blah, it’s such a cliched line though, don’t you think? We’ve heard it a million times in church and everything:

“Just tell the truth, and everything’ll be ok~~”

Yeah well, easier said than done. Ever try to be 100 percent honest? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible. I’m talking about a deeper honesty here. An honesty with yourself, an honesty with the future friend/romantic companion, and most importantly–an honesty with God. I would say that the other key virtue that two people are to hold in close friendships and romantic relationships is Communication. If you ever get to thinking, “Well, I REALLY want to say this certain thing to the other person, but I won’t because it may not be best or they may not want to hear it.” There’s a mistake right there. You *have* to be honest with the person, or things are just going to go sour, one way or another, for both of you. Even though sometimes it may seem good to keep your mouth shut, or it may be too HARD to keep your mouth shut–be honest. This applies if you are ABOUT TO BE friends or dating, or if you ARE friends or dating. Do or say your piece in a loving manner, but for Pete’s sake JUST DO IT! (Like Nike~)

If you have made a new acquaintance that you see yourself entering into a close friendship with or romantic relationship with sometime in the future, don’t just automatically be a close friend with them or agree to date them just for the heck of it. Rather, be honest with yourself by thinking about

– whether you really enjoy the company of the person or not
– is their character good or not
– and whether you want their best interest or not

If you’re in a friendship or relationship strictly for the purpose of what YOU can get out of it–whether it be material things, emotional “good feelings”, or anything else–I submit to you that it is not a real friendship or relationship you are in or want to be in. Rather, it is some twisted form of one, intended simply to selfishly make yourself happy. I ain’t trying to hate on anybody or make anybody mad, I’m just sayin’–and I don’t consider myself blameless in this area, either. Ask yourself, “Am I really interested in what is best for the OTHER person?” If you ARE interested in what is best for them, then you DO care about them as a friend/ or romantically, and you DO have a genuine interest in what they are dealing with in their life; and then it is okay to consider and put forth effort to seriously pursue them as a friend or romantic companion–whatever the situation is. If you do not care about their interest, their welfare and their well-being, it’s likely that you’re more interested in what you can get out of the friendship or relationship.

Also, know if the other person’s character is good or not. People that do wrong things will eventually get you doing wrong things if you are around them. It’s simply a fact, and I’ll continue to state it as one, lol *dodges tomatoes*

Be honest with the person you’re becoming a good close friend of, or becoming romantically involved with. Don’t hide who you really are. Building yourself up with lies just shows that you’re insecure about who you really are because you have to be something you’re not in order to force someone to like you (in the FRIEND sense or in ROMANTIC sense, either one). NEWS FLASH: YOU CANNOT FORCE ANYONE TO LIKE YOU! And if you do somehow manage to throw up enough smokescreens and mirrors, and make yourself something you’re not, and the person likes you for it, the friendship or relationship is going to explode one day; very violently. The reason for this is that all the deceit just builds up, and then what happens if something becomes huge when there was no solid foundation to begin with? It breaks. The longer you go on telling lies and living lies, the uglier the end of the friendship or relationship is going to be when it finally cracks, which it inevitably will. Think of it this way: The bigger a building is, the bigger the mess is that happens if the FOUNDATION breaks and the building falls. Now in the same way, the longer a false friendship/relationship has gone on, the more devastating the end is going to be when it fails if there was nothing but deceit and lies as the foundation. You need to be who you are, and if someone likes you, cool; if they don’t, forget them and move on–just put ’em out of your mind. Don’t waste your time bothering with them if they don’t like you. Now obviously, we need to still be nice and courteous to everyone, but what I’m saying is, don’t allow yourself to become enthralled with them and become OBSESSED with making them like you or be romantically interested in you. Just move on, and don’t depress yourself about it if it ain’t happenin’.

Another thing: Do not develop a “co-dependent identity”. What I mean by that unnecessarily big term is, do not allow yourself to find YOUR identity in someone ELSE’s. Don’t change who you really are to become like them so they’ll hang out with you, or trust you, or confide in you, or whatever. Humans are imperfect, so we should NOT try to define who we are by other human beings. The only One Who we should actually work to be defined as is the Lord God; He is really the only One we should truly strive to become exactly like. So if you are friends with someone by acting like them and not who you really are, eventually something’s gonna give, liked I talked about, above ^. This rings true both in the regular friendship stuff, and in the romantic relationship stuff.

And I’ve noticed that something else happens in girls’ lives, I dunno if it happens with guys–I don’t think so, but hey, I don’t know it all…(Girls: please don’t get mad and throw things at me if I say something wrong, this is just something that I’ve noticed, and I’m NOT saying that ALL girls feel or think this way, or that it is in EVERY case) Girls sometimes want to be in a relationship to feel beautiful, because for some reason, someone in their lives, or something in their own minds, or Satan, or whatever else, has convinced them that they are not beautiful–and it’s a lie. So sometimes, girls either change things about themselves, or they lower their standards for choosing a guy, or they do both, and it’s sad to see. Ladies, God made you beautiful–doesn’t matter who you are, He made you the way you are for a legitimate reason–don’t look to JUST ANY GUY to make you feel that way. Also, don’t feel like you get your identity by other people saying that you’re beautiful. People aren’t perfect–none of us are–so no one is the perfect complimenter. Wait for a good, Christian guy to come along and honestly want to be with you, and you with him. Wait for a guy who has, over time, throughout many diverse situations and circumstances, has proven with his words AND HIS ACTIONS that he loves you and will treat you right always, and that he will treat you with the same TRUE love, care, attention, and affection that Jesus Christ has for the institution of church (Ephesians 5). Then you will feel more beautiful then you could ever imagine. And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with holding a deep love for a man of God. Just because a girl loves a man of God DOES NOT HAVE TO mean that she has love God any less, or that she can’t grow spiritually if she’s with a guy. The only thing is, girls shouldn’t feel like they HAVE to have a guy.

It seems like there’s a line with two extremes on each end:
First, one of the extreme sides of this line is something like this:
“OmFg, tHiS gUY is a CHriStiaAn aND A GreAT gUy!! hE ToTalLy LYkEs mE~ I waNna B w/hIm~” and she gets together with this guy without any serious thinking.

Second, the other extreme is on the opposite side of the line, and it goes something like this:
“Yeah, datin’-is-Satan, unless you’re 25, out of college, and you ‘Have everything all planned out.’ Boys are stupid. All young people are stupid. If I love a guy, it is impossible to grow close to God or discover what He has for me in my life, so, yeah…dating is Satan.”

Those are the two extremes, as I see them, and I don’t think either are healthy. I think the first one is the one that is more serious, more common, and therefore should be watched out for more. I think it is *extremely* important for girls (and guys too, really) to be very, VERY cautious, and “Go slow” in the whole romance subject–we really need to give these things more time, I think. Since guys can be snakes-in-the-grass sometimes–let’s be honest :-P–I think that girls especially have to be very cautious they don’t end up with some jerk. *dodges tomatoes*
But the second extreme that I mentioned above is also present in many Christian girls, as well. And see, while I think it’s very, VERY mature to be as cautious, careful, and patient as possible with romantic crap, it seems to me like there’s a certain point that girls (And I guess guys can do this, too) reach sometimes that isn’t good. This point is being completely closed-off, thinking all members of the opposite sex are clueless, and “It’s best if I figure it all out first.” Um…How about letting God “figure it out” for you? And maybe you and this guy have Godly things about life that you’ve learned that you can grow and teach each other in…? Just a thought. All that having been said, I do still want to stress the importance of being PATIENT AND CAUTIOUS with romantic relationships–so please don’t get me wrong or accuse me of dangerously over-emphasizing something.

Another thing about honesty: after you decide to end a good friendship, or break up with someone, don’t feed them a bunch of lame excuses for why you wanted to. I don’t care how much you think it’s going to hurt them, tell them why you want to end the friendship or relationship, or discuss with them the reasons you think you need to before you do it. Do it in a loving manner, and pray a lot about it before you do it. And actually, sometimes, these friendships or relationships DON’T need to be ended. Sometimes people just need to say what is on their minds and clear things up. We often think the worst of things, and in our minds, make things out to be worse than they actually are. The thing to remember is that we simply need to be honest with each other. Sometimes they do need to be ended, sometimes they need to be delayed, sometimes they don’t need to be ended at all. In any case, take the initiative to rationally discuss what you think is wrong. It’s true that in romantic relationships, the man *IS* supposed to be the Spiritual leader, but guess what ladies? We’re not perfect, and we don’t *always* without fail do what we’re “supposed to do”! You know this–you girls love to say how stupid men are, so remember it! *dodges tomatoes* Seriously though, is it THAT unreasonable to say that a woman can make a mistake, every once in a while, too? We *all* make mistakes–male and female–that’s why Christians need other Christians in this sinful, fallen world. Now of course, if the person you are a friends with, or the person you are dating is a person that NEVER exhibits Christian character–or it is very rare that they do–then yeah, I would suggest doing some heavy thinking about ending it. But don’t be HASTY and EMOTIONAL when making a decision to start a friendship/relationship or stop a friendship/relationship–think intelligently, not just emotionally. God *did* give us minds/spirits to think with, and despite what some bad theology out there is saying, our minds are good things. You know, God kind of gave them to us ON PURPOSE, we just have to use them right. The mind *is* the Spirit, in case you didn’t know.

Another thing to keep in mind: talk to the Lord about the person. Pray to Him about it whenever it’s on your mind, however often or not-often (is that a word?) it is.
If it’s a friendship, tell God, “Lord, thank you for bringing this person into my life, and if it is Your Will, I pray we will become close friends and that we may be able to confide in each other and trust each other.” As I said before, “If you run with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas.”, so make sure their character is that which is noble and admirable, and will not tear each of you down, but rather build each of you up.

If it is someone you have developed a romantic attraction for, it becomes *much* harder to take to God because you have strong feelings for them, and even though you know or think it may not be best to date them or whatever, you still want to be involved with them. But, I think–scratch that, I KNOW it is important for us to take thing like this to God. And keep in mind that when you do, this is God you are talking to; He KNOWS you have developed an attraction for someone even if NO ONE ELSE on this earth does. So be straight up with Him, don’t beat around the bush–that’s pretty much lying, and lying don’t get you much with the Lord. If you have developed feelings for someone, then you are going to want what’s best for them. Make sure you’re not seeking a relationship with them strictly for what you can get out of it such as good feelings or a good reputation, or anything PETTY like that. Pray this: “Lord, I AM attracted to this person, but more than that, I want what is best for them and for myself, and I want Your plan for their life and mine. Therefore, if it is wrong and would be harmful for both of us, help me to move on and forget about becoming involved with them, and help them to know what is right, and help them have the strength to make the right decisions, as well.” That’s some pretty tough crap there, eh? We risk giving someone up if it would eventually be bad for us, or if it is not God’s plan, even though WE may want to be involved with them. It is hard I know, but I believe we must keep God’s will centered if we want our relationships to be healthy AS THEY ARE INTENDED TO BE. When God commissions us in Matthew 22:36-40 to “Love God and love people”, it’s obvious that with the last part of that command, God wants us to have GOOD friendships, and GOOD relationships! And please note, I’m not saying that two people have to be perfect, exactly alike, 100 per-cent exactly-like-each-other matches, (because I don’t believe that, actually). I’m just basically saying don’t let what you WANT have precedence over what you truly NEED, or what is best for you. Also, I am not saying that ANY TIME a relationship feels good, it MUST BE WRONG! If you go through life thinking, “Ok, this thing makes me feel good, so it MUST be wrong!” You are adopting an extremist, radical mindset called “ascetism”, and it is sin to believe and live this way–it’s just flat WRONG! It is OKAY for a romantic relationship to feel good–God kind of INTENDED IT TO BE THAT WAY. Also, just because we may WANT a relationship, does not mean it must be bad, simply by virtue of the fact that we want it! Sometimes it IS God’s plan! We shouldn’t go off thinking, “Well, if I want it, it must be inherently wrong, evil, against God’s plan, and He wouldn’t ever bless it.” or any such asinine nonsense! Sometimes, God DOES let us have what we want, He blesses what we want, and it CAN turn out good. It’s just that, the MAIN THING to keep in mind is, don’t let your feelings and emotions get out of hand, and I think this post may help us all to keep that from happening if we really think about these things, and employ these things I’ve talked about. Most of all, we all need to seek after the Heart and Will of our all-knowing, all-loving God.

Here’s the last point, and be sure to read it. If you are dating, or about to date someone who is a faithful Christian, is someone who puts a lot of stock in your words, is someone who really thinks about what you say, and is someone who holds your words near their heart–and whether it is a guy or a girl–don’t say things like “I fell head over heels in love with you” unless you really mean it. (*begin sarcasm*) People tend to BELIEVE the person saying it, for some crazy reason ( */end sarcasm*). So if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. Basically, all that’s gonna do is–well how can I put this–basically REALLY HURT the person later when they find out that you never really felt that way.

Oh boy, it seems some of this sounds kinda extreme, and I won’t be surprised if some of you get mad at me for, or disagree with some of the things I said, heh. I’m just being honest here, and if you don’t like some of the stuff–or ALL of the stuff– I said, you have two choices:

One, you can keep it bottled up inside of you
Two, you can confront me about it.

I’ll let you decide the better choice. Me personally? I’d actually like to get feedback and discuss this stuff with anyone who wants to. Doesn’t much matter to me if you want to talk about something I talked about or mentioned here, whether you want to bring up some of your own point(s), whether you want to disagree with me, or whether you want to share anything personal or private in this area you need help with, or whether you want to call me a certain derogatory name for writing this. I’m up for hearing anything like that 😛 . So if anyone has any comments, disagreements, misunderstandings, or whatever else, I’d be glad to discuss them. Either in a facebook comment, facebook message, real-life, IM, phone, MySpace, e-mail, xanga or whatever, just let me know. And although this is sort of a serious post, all the relationship stuff I said is NOT meant to put a damper on a dating relationship. I think that people in dating relationships should have fun and enjoy each other’s company and have a great time together–there’s NOTHING wrong with that at ALL! And, it is perfectly all right to be attracted to each other in many ways, including physically. I’m just concerned with all our friendships and relationships remaining responsible ones, and for us to keep our emotions in check.

Thanks to Mr. Ahn for his teaching in this area.

Thanks to my old youth pastor RJ for his teaching in this area.

Thanks to God for guiding me in this area.

Love in Christ, y’all,
–Travis

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

Heather Gregory

I thought this to be very helpful and insightful. I was a person who thought I would never let anything happen with an unbeliever. Yet begin of last year I started hanging out with a nonchristian a lot. I let physical things happen and we where at the point of being exclusive. My friends warned me about getting to attached to him, but I thought, hey I’m strong I can leave anytime. God of course wouldn’t let my conscience rest, til i did something. I told him that there could never be anything. Anywho I got really upset and he told me later he hated me and never wanted to talk to me. What I’m trying to say is that it’s easy not to get involved, then to have to bail out later. We both ended up hurt and it tooks months for us to even talk again. Now we are friends and hang out occasionly, but I stay on my guard. I dont’ want to hurt him again and I sure dont want to get hurt again. Well sorry for the long story, just trying to share. Figured you could read it since I read yours.
November 11, 2006 at 4:44pm ·

Trevor Middleton Hey Travis,
That was a good word that i needed to hear. I know sometimes my emotions get the best of me when i need to use my brain. Thank you for caring enought to write this very long note, it was a blessing to me and im sure to all those who read it. I’ll c ya around campus my friend.
Your bro in Christ,
Trevor

November 13, 2006 at 12:30am ·

Elise Barrett travis j, you rock my dang face.

hope i see you monday– it’s time for a hug!
November 25, 2006 at 12:50pm ·

Lesley Williams Travis my dear this is great stuff! I really don’t have any amzing story to add to this but I’m sure that I could make one up sometime! Anyways this was great and I totally agree with you!

November 30, 2006 at 10:36am ·

Justin Groff

hey this is probably the best reading i have had, well in my life on relationships. it’s not like i’ve read a lot of relationships. but anyway back to what i was going to say. true honesty is exactly what relationships need oh yeah and the patient and cautious thing, i think you were insinuating on this, these feelings were a gift from god for marriage, and for marriage only. god talks about consequences and that we should know them. intamate relationships before marriage have serious consequences if you don’t believe me look at all the marriages now days. i bet if there were a servey out on how many divorced individuals ruined there verginity it would be a very big degree.intamacy creates, no intamacy is what bounds the book of relationship up. it is the ending of the story so to speak. if you know the ending of a book where the rising conficts starts it ruins the story completely. plus you build lust upon that certain person you did it with. and that is no way to build a relationship
January 23, 2007 at 9:00pm ·

Justin Groff

lust creates a false love. and not only that your relationship with that person from that point on becomes physical from there on and the relationship has lost what relationships are truely based on happiness and god.this kind of relationship goes on in marriage and like i said its based on the physical intimate side, you have no base for your relationship, and like most physical things you probably won’t do it for as long as you’re alive so when that intamacy ends so will your relationship. because your base was that and THAT WILL BE GONE .
January 23, 2007 at 9:13pm ·

Justin Groff

so don’t do it no matter what. even if it feels good or you think it will help the relationship or the other person has done it so they want it or even i’ve done it before so it doesn’t matter or the other person seem like they want it so badly, stay with what god says and what i know you know is right.
second is to be trueful. tell each other their morals and STICK WITH THEM i’m telling from experience of being a vergin you have so many more pleasures that have a happy endings.
third is have a relationship based on god. he truely is our rock. if not we would be dead. solar flares they’re deadly.jk but really
January 23, 2007 at 9:15pm ·

Justin Groff

sorry i wrote a lot too. i hope you don’t mind. hey sometime i would love to talk to you travis and whoever else. this is truely great. anyway sorry again. oh if you read all of this from what he wrote and myself you might want to get off the computer for a while and get a glass of water or a hot cup of joe and look outside and get a break. it really would help. alrighty then have fun and be safe. oh yeah if you make up little fun and dumb things your relationship will be better than it is now. cause serious ones are not fun. oh yeah and always the cute relationships are the ones where they are having fun. just a little fyi.
January 23, 2007 at 9:19pm ·


24
January
2007

Hebrews 3:6b…

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

Hebrew 3:6b, “…hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

Lata..


18
January
2007

Entitlement mentality…

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

Why is it that here in America we are so convinced we are entitled certain things? This “Entitlement mentality”? Now first off let me make clear that I don’t wanna spend the majority of this word hatin’ on America, and tryin’ to make us all feel guilty because we’re these big over-stuffed, rich, fortunate, lazy American pigs. I don’t believe in putting guilt trips on myself like that. Yeah, poverty and disease-stricken people in many of the other nations of the world are in crappy shape compared to this one, and yeah I care about them and their situation, and YEAH, as a matter of fact, part of my life’s goals is to help them out (Maybe I’ll write about that someday–I’ll talk to you about it if you want). BUT NO, I’m not gonna sit here and feel guilty just because I live in a blessed, free nation–that would be sheer IDIOCY. My purpose here is to get us thinking outside the box a little bit. And when we get down to the basics of HOW we view everything we have available to us, maybe we’ll appreciate it all a bit more. Maybe we’ll use what we have to better humanity as a whole. Maybe we’ll use it all more wisely. And THROUGH all this, we’ll be that much better stewards of what God has blessed us with, and we’ll be loving Him and loving others, which is our lives’ calling (Matthew 22:36-40).

Genesis 3:19 says, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…”

What does this mean? In this passage we see that God has a new way of governing mankind, and He gave us as humans a new way to operate. It tells us that in order to live, we have to work. And look, most of us eat, or have available to us, three squares a day.

– Wake up–breakfast.
– 11:30-1:00-ish, well, that means “I’m owed lunch.”
– Then later in the evening it’s, “I’m hungry, I’m owed dinner.”

Then, what do all the commercials on TV say, in order to sell stuff? “You DESERVE this”, “You DESERVE that”, and “You’ve earned it”.

We don’t deserve crap~ What else does the Good Book say? Romans 5:8 says, “…God commendeth His love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, Christ died for us”.

What do we think: We live in America, so we’re OWED three meals a day? We think we’re OWED a hot shower and clothes? We think we’re OWED an education and a degree? We think we’re OWED a car?? Someone don’t got a home or something, so they say, “The government owes me money so I can live a respectable life.” That’s BS, right there. It ain’t the government’s job to give people money and provide a place to stay, healthcare, provide education and all that. Government exists for the sole purposes of PROTECTING the people that are innocent, and PUNISHING the people that are wicked. Government by its very nature sets up boundaries–it does NOT create opportunities–at least, it’s not supposed to. If we’ve learned anything from socialism and communism, it’s that “THE GOVERNMENT” (Which no one *really* knows what that phrase means these days) is not CAPABLE of providing for our needs. It is a perversion of civilized living to let the government provide living conditions and subsistance. Those that are physically able to work are to provide for themselves and their family. Those that are not able to provide for themselves are to be taken in and taken care of by family, close friends, or the church (1 Timothy 5:3-16).

Most of us have opportunities offered to us–some of them WE think are basic, and we think we are owed them. Things like hot shower, food, money, clothes, EDUCATION, cell phones, among other things. Sometimes that makes some people feel guilty. They think, “Gosh, I had so much more opportunity than this person–that makes me feel guilty. How can I go and be off and be successful when I know I had it so easy and other have had it so hard??” It’s a lie from the pits of hell from Satan, who’s trying to stifle success, creativity, and results. Instead of falling into that trap of guilt, here’s what we are to do:

We are to take advantages of opportunities we have given to us. If WE didn’t earn some of the things given to us, it means someone worked and earned it and made a way–but SOMEONE worked for it. That verse in Genesis up there tells us that hard work is required in order to live. Rather than feel GUILTY about opportunities we have, let’s accept them, use them to earn EVEN MORE THAN WE HAVE, and then give back to God and give back to humankind what we earn. Whether it be by being a full-time missionary; whether it be supporting a church or an individual missionary financially; or whether it is being a strong Christian leader in the workplace, in our families, and in our group of friends–whatever. Let’s be GOOD stewards of things GOD’S BLESSED US WITH, and let’s be good stewards with things WE HAVE EARNED by using the ABILITIES, INTELLIGENCE, SPIRITUAL GIFTS, TIME, and CREATIVITY that God blessed us with. After all, He expects us to use everything we have for His glory (Colossians 1:16). And when we are personally and individually living our lives in such a way that we have a close relationship with God Almighty, it becomes easier to WANT to use all of our resources possible to glorify Him–with all we have. We don’t have to force ourselves to want to do it when we’re close to Him–we WANT TO. And how do we use these things for His glory? What did I say earlier? Check out Matthew 22:36-40; loving God, and loving others IS THE commandment. If you are a child of God and you have the witness of the Holy Spirit living in you, when you know you’re doing it, you’re doing it. When you know you’re not doing it, you’re not doing it.

How do you have a close relationship with God Almighty? How do you have a strong desire to love Him and love others? There’s no one solution and one formula to get to that point that’s the same for everybody–EVERYBODY’S DIFFERENT! Sure, there’s lots of theologicial, religious, and Christian self-help books that might help you get there, yeah. But what’s going to take is being real with God. If you are angry with God about some things–talk to Him, tell Him about it. for Pete’s sake, what, we think God can’t HANDLE IT if we’re angry with Him? It’s…GOD. He’s after our hearts–that means ALL of our heart–ALL of our emotions. The Old Testament is full of stories of people like Job and David who all but yelled and whined and blamed God for crap in their lives–and what did God do? He loved them, He heard them, and He blessed them. But what did that take, FIRST? They had to be HONEST with Him. In some cases, He has to break our hearts. Sometimes He has to empty us out in order to fill us up with His ways. It takes constant prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It takes constant prayer that is honest, thoughtful, intelligent, sincere, real, and is one-on-one with God. It takes faithful, every day, little-by-little reading of His Living Word (The Bible). It takes submitting our every thought, every deed, every attitude to the obedience of Christ and keeping them pure (2 Corinthians 10:5b) Start doing those things, and He’ll make the rest clear to you–I can PROMISE you that. But you have to desire it, which becomes easier to do as you get to know Him and His character.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this word made sense, and as always, my purpose here is to get people thinking about things, and hopefully encourage people to change–my purpose is not to condemn. Also as always, if you wanna talk with me about something I mentioned here, if you wanna disagree with me, agree with me, talk about something NOT RELATED TO ANY OF THIS, tell me I’m stupid, or whatever–just tell me! I’m open to hearing you out! Let me know with a Facebook comment, AIM, phone call, MySpace comment, real-life face-to-face, xanga comment or anything else–doesn’t matter to me, just let me know. I’m ready willing and able–I might not always be able to drop everything and come runnin’, but I do wanna hear you out if you need someone to.

Lata..

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

Tyler Moore haha, these are all long… but always good. You’re right on. Very good thoughts.

December 13, 2006 at 6:39pm ·

Austin Guidry good stuff, man.

i like your quote, “And look, most of us eat, or have available to us, three squares a day.”

yes, I definitely have 3 squares every day. I hope you meant meals, because if not, then I’m totally lost.
January 18, 2007 at 4:32pm ·

Elise Barrett first off i just gotta say…

IS THAT BITTY WEE KINDERGARTEN TRAVIS I SEE? OMG

ok, that said.. this is straight-up good stuff, and i give you mad props. i love your essays, man.
January 19, 2007 at 12:07pm ·


04
January
2007

Thoughts on how we see things..and some personal stuff..

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

Man, my keyboard and brain have been calling out to me to release some thoughts for a WHILE now, but I just haven’t…hopefully the old habit’s comin’ back, and I’ll get back to posting more regularly. But hey, I had to throw myself into college first semester in order to get a feel for it, and that ate up a lot of time~

I ain’t trying to toot my own horn in these next statements, here–so just keep that in mind. As I’ve read through the Bible, and allowed God to speak to my mind and teach me, and as I continue in His Word daily, there are some verses that stick out to me. They’ve adhered themselves into my mind, and I tend to live by them:

Isaiah 1:18a, “Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord…”

John 8:32b, “…the truth shall make you free.”

Colossians 1:16, “For by Him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him…”

Matthew 22:36-40, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

2 Corinthians 10:5b, “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…”

Betchu thought I was gonna say things like John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, or some such, didn’t ya? Well you’re wrong. Although I believe 2 Timothy 3:16, which says those verses are just as God-inspired and relevant as those four up there, some verses have become too overused, mainstream, clichéd, and have sadly, lost some of their potency due to mindless repetition. I like those above verses because they challenge each and every one of us to take priority, take stock, think intelligently, and examine where we are in life, with God, and how we reason, and operate.

The verse in John and the verse in Isaiah remind us that we have brains, and we, as true Christians, need to use them! That is, these verses challenge us to identify what we think of as truth. Being Christian doesn’t have to mean opposing Science, opposing math, or opposing quote unqouote “secular subjects” just because they don’t have a “Christian” label on them. John 14:16 goes on to say that, “I [Jesus Christ] am the Way, the Truth, an the Life…”, and John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So, all that pretty much means
Jesus = Truth = The Bible
So, we say we believe those verses, but do we mean it? The truth “sets you free”. Well, the obvious thing most of us think about when we see those verses is, “Oh yeah, Jesus is truth, and His ways set us free from sin, and we get into Heaven when we die~” However, I believe it goes deeper than that. Ever notice how, in a system, whenever there’s truth, the system runs better? Think about it with friendships and relationships, and circles of friends. The ones where there’s a lot of gray area, and people are unsure what may or may not have happened at a particular event or time, people don’t know what their friends believe in, etc. etc., those are not really lasting relationships/friendships. And then, when you’ve got a system going, for, like a business or something, when you’ve got a bunch of good clean information, some nice numbers that add up, people doing their jobs, and everything operating the way its intended to, it just works better? There’s less errors, less mistakes, less mess, etc. etc.? Well, existence as we know it is governed by physical laws—which we learn about in our science books, and were set in place by God—and existence as we know it is also made up of moral laws (Spiritual laws, laws of the internal, etc., whatever you wanna call it), which were also set into place by God. The more truth we have in each of these divisions of existence, the better life goes! The better we put these truths into action, the smoother things go! Life, relationships, etc. etc., everything that’s governed by certain laws—when we go by truth, things WORK. Where do we find the physical laws? God hints at ’em in His Word, sometimes; but we, as mankind, have used the creativity and reasoning skills God gave us to identify them, and we put them in books. So where do we find the internal, Spiritual truths? We find those in the Bible. We all must read God’s Word daily. We all must talk with friends, teachers, pastors, and read theoogical books about it in order to refine and sharpen our notions of what truth is. I’ve heard it said that “Knowledge is the vehicle for change.” Could be. Change is the Christian’s lot. “Christian’ means “Christ-like”. As Christians, we are to be constantly “being transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2), and constantly putting on the mind of Christ.

The verses in Matthew challenge us to remember the loving God and loving other people are what everything comes down to. Well, what does that mean? That means seeking, desiring, and praying for the highest good for all of the people around us (1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:16). That means actually being concerned with the needs of other people, outside our own little selfish boxes. That’s what being a “Christian” is all about. I mean, we throw that term around a lot, a bunch of us. Particularly those of us that have attended private school, public school and church, and a private university. We say, “Oh yeah, I’m ‘a Christian’.” But, how many of us really know what that means? Well, the word “Christian” simply means “Christ-like”—and that’s what Mathew 22:36-40 is talking about. And on that note, you wanna know something? Whenever we are in a close, meaningful, heart-to-heart, eager, expectant, “keepin’-it-real” relationship with God Almighty, it becomes easier to live out of pure love. The prayers, “God, help me to be a better Christian”, and, “God, help me to be more Christ-like” aren’t necessary, because it becomes second nature to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit and the characteristics of love (Galatians 5:22-26, 1 Corinthians 13) when we know Christ on a personal, REAL level. We begin taking on His characteristics, and looking at people the same way God the Father and Jesus look at people—out of a sincere, pure love and care (1 John 4:8b). What is it that one verse says, “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2)? Our minds become transformed and become more Christ-like all the time if we are getting to know Christ, more. Further, that manifests itself as we love and get to know Christ and His character/nature more.

The Colossians verse reminds us that everything of this world was created by and for Christ Jesus. The 2 Corinthians verse reminds us that our internal goings-on are to be subjected to Christ, as well. That having been said, we gotta ask ourselves, “Am I living, saying, thinking, relating, working in ways that bring glory to God Almighty, since everything just goes back to Him, anyway?” Are we aware that all of the things we’re working for now, all of the results we hope to achieve, all of the goals we accomplish in the short run, all of the goals we accomplish in the long run, are all able to be—and SHOULD BE—done in ways that bring glory to the name of God Almighty?

Attending “Christian Heritage School” the past couple of years has gotten me used to the phrase, “Oh yes, the things you’re learning here, and the things you learn in DTS and SST are applicable to life, and can bring just as much glory to God, even if you’re not going to be a missionary.” I wanna prove it. And growing up in a Christian home, going to church, and attending a private school has afforded me the phrase, “God wants people to be in the workforce that love Him and make his name known, just as much as He wants people to be in the mission field to love Him and make His Name known.” I wanna live it. I love ministry. I love ministering. God has placed a desire in me to introduce people to the Gospel and make His name known among every sphere of influence I will ever have, while on this earth, based on what He has taught me to be true, and the love He has shown me in my life—AND I WANNA DO IT! I love Christian Heritage School. The school has some problems, but they are fixable. I truly believe the people that started the school, that almost all—if not all—of the teachers and faculty truly believe what they are teaching, and proclaiming, and the methods they are using to do it are good, and righteous. I love the school, and I believe the things I learned there are truth that helped me a lot, and I want more people to learn them so that our community, and our nation can be stronger. Sometimes people who’ve gone to CHS for a long time have heard the same seemingly tiring mantra over and over, and it just doesn’t seem all that real. That’s understandable. Others are simply looking at their letter grades, and just hopin’ to pass, or just hopin’ to get that “A”. Nothing wrong with that, but the concepts and principles being taught are what’re most important. The reason why I continually say I believe in that school is because I know that, personally, the many diverse facts, perspectives, and ways of reasoning I learned at that school are good, right, and effective. I learned a LOT while I was there, and it has improved my relationship with God, how I relate to other people, how I look at the world, how I process data, and how I use my understanding. If you’re focused on the school’s problems, or if you’ve grown apathetic and complacent with learning there, or if you care more about the letter grade than the principles—CHANGE, like I alluded to, above. Commit to do things a little differently, day by day. Pay attention to the teachers. Before school starts each day, stop and ask God to teach you and help you stay focused all throughout the day. Actively read the assignment(s) and do the homework, rather than mindlessly just to “get it done and over with”. Am I going to say I always did those things perfectly? Heck no. But I strove for it, and God blessed me tremendously. That’s all I wanna see happen with everyone else. Now, the school’s got some problems, but what’s easier to do, sit around sulk about them and make fun of it, or actually put forth effort to do something? Obviously, human nature’s laziness compels us to just disregard that whole “effort” thing, and sit back and do nothing. Pray for the school. Ask that God continue to bring staff, wonderful teachers, financial assistance, and for students who are interested in learning God’s ways and acting on them, TO the school. And what’s more—be one of those students, yourself! The school’s not perfect, no. The teachers and rules are not perfect, no. But there are right and wrong ways of dealing with them. What’d I say, above, about submitting your thoughts to Christ, and living/relating/doing all things in a way that brings honor to God? Yeah, ‘member that. Don’t give up on CHS, “Folks”, I haven’t. I want to continue to see it teach people and inspire people the way it did me, and I believe it can. But first, people’ve gotta stand up, pray for it, and act on it.

Now, regarding certain areas of my life, as a reflection of the things I’ve talked about, above: These days I’m at ETBU, and, yes, I want to be involved in either part-time or full-time ministry, someday. However, I also don’t wanna be an empty-pocketed, Bible-reciting robot who ends up being financially supported by a church, and ends up being a hassle to my kids or something someday, sitting in a $50,000-a-year nursing home drooling on myself while my kids try to dream up ways to scrimp up money to keep me alive longer—for God knows why. I want to minister. Part-time, full-time, I don’t know yet, but I want to do it! “It’s fun tellin’ people about Jesus!”, as I’ve heard one lady put it. But I want to make a bunch of money first, so I can do it without any debt or other worldly burdens loading down my spirit. This is why I am choosing not to spend my time seeking a Theology degree, DTS graduation, or seminary degree, or whatever. Am I saying that if you do those things, you’re going to transform into the indebted invalid I described, above? No, not necessarily—but with my luck, I prolly would~ 😛 Also, I haven’t even joined the “Baptist Student Ministries” or “Journey” stuff, and that’s where all the quote unquote “REAL” Christians go, and the Christians who are “REALLY” serious about their faith go, right? All my life I’ve done the whole, “Have a fun Christian group, have a Bible study and pray together and keep each other out of trouble” for years now—I wanna move on to the next level. Do I think the BSM is silly, or a waste of time? No! Do I think I am somehow ABOVE everything there and would never learn anything, nor have anything to contribute? Certainly NOT!—I’m not THAT arrogant. I know the BSM and Journey ain’t all about me, but that it’s about Christian fellowship and outreach, like are our modern-day churches. But I simply don’t subscribe to the school of thought that says, “You’ve gotta be in the BSM in order to be a Christian who’s ‘serious about their faith’.” I just happen to think that’s a load of BS. Now, I don’t doubt that BSM Journey groups help foster one’s faith and aid in Spiritual growth, but as I’ve said, I’ve done that type of thing for years now, and I want to move on and work towards new things, and new plateaus to reach in my faith. My goals are to bless others either directly with mission trips/outreaches, or having enough wealth to financially support ministries that I truly believe God is in that I believe make a strong impact on people—such as the “Christian Heritage School” ministry I spoke of in the preceding paragraph. Or maybe I’ll have my own ministry someday, or maybe it’ll be a combination of all of these, who knows!

Recently, I’ve been doing some reading O_____o and a resounding concept in a couple of these economics/money/career books is that we need to identify our character strengths and weaknesses. So I’ve been doing some evaluating, and truly, my language and attitudes have gone a bit downhill over the past summer and fall. Over the past fall, summer, and spring, I’ve kept my long-term goals in mind, and even refined them a bit. But if you could, please pray for me that day by day I will continue to show love to all of the people I come into contact with. I pray I can clean up my words, my thoughts, my bad attitudes. How can I logically say I believe God answers the prayer of a righteous man (James 5:16), then try to pray, when I know I haven’t been as righteous as I could’ve been? Pray that I won’t fall into the tempting trap of, “Ok, I’m gonna minister and love people one day, but RIGHT NOW, I need to…yada yada yada…” that statement is invalid, and unforunately enough, used all too often. I don’t wanna be a part of it.

Well peoples, I realize I’m prolly stepping on some toes with this message, so feel free to comment either positively, or negatively, either way. Let me know via MySpace comment, AIM, phone call, facebook comment, e-mail, real life, MSN Messenger, text, however–just let me know, I’m willing to talk about this or anything else. Thanks for reading.

Lata..

Comments left by other people on this post, from original facebook Note on my “Travis J” facebook:

Cassie Ballard Lawson Wow what a grrrreat note! The Bible is full of little treasures like those verses above. Some we could say in our sleep unconscious and others we may have to just stumble on one day, but i think God will continue to allow us to find new things in every verse no matter how new it is to us, or how old.

Are you going to help with D-Now!?January 8, 2007 at 3:07pm ·



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I'm very big into education, and my energies are devoted to inspiring this desire for education into other people--at home and abroad.

Travis J's web-design company: Travis J Consulting http://www.ktravisj.com