Like An Avalanche

People often ask me:
“How did you feel called to be a Pastor?”
Here is how He did just that…

FullSizeRender

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us,
to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
Amen”
– Ephesians 3:20-21

It’s so crazy how the Lord can use the smallest things to lead to such powerful moments.
He uses even the smallest things to show us who He is in such unforgettable ways.

Driving just to drive, I’m surprised how many memories flood my mind…

For some?
Driving is a chore… but for me? It’s one of my favorite things to do.
Armed with my backpack and a yellow camping chair, my mind is reflecting on all that my eyes see as I drive into places that those same eyes have never seen before…
As I drive?
My heart meditates on the many roads that brought me to where I am driving now.
I find myself speaking to and thinking of the Creator as I sing to the music that is currently playing in my car that You’ve provided…

Lord… I am in awe that You’ve placed me where I am.
It seems like yesterday the year was 2011 and I was broken on the floor of my room surrendering every shattered piece of the man I am to You.
It BLOWS my mind that regardless of the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years that go by, I still feel You growing me!
Honestly Lord, even during this simple drive into the unknown after work…
even nowI feel that I am not the same person that I was 30 minutes ago.

Lord, You are in the business of changing hearts
and I am no exception to what You do.

As I drive?

One of the memories that come to my mind,

is a moment that I will never forget…

a moment where You met me broken, taught me what ministry was, and called me to do just that even unto death.

July 2011… it was July 2011.

263822_10150704160335198_6651751_n.jpeg

That little 17 year old “boy in the middle”?
Is me.
This photo is funny to me
because this was taken only a month after surrendering my life to Jesus
And before then?
I hardly ever smiled in photos.
Goodness Lord, You really do change hearts…



“Cheeeessseeee!”

I remember thinking of a witty comment to make as the photographer tried to get us to smile, but like most things in my life… I was a little late and it never happened (lol).

But seriously, I appreciate this photo so much! I appreciate this photo because it is a reminder of Isaiah 55:8 where JUST after God promised to “abundantly pardon” the wicked, He follows up His promise with the following statement:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
– Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)

This photo reminds me of this verse because it reminds me of the events that allowed the “boy in the middle” to go on the trip that this photo shows us getting ready to leave for.

The events?

  • The Pastor’s daughter started liking him a few weeks earlier and invited him to come to her church (which a few weeks before this photo he had NO idea existed).
  • That same girl introduced him to the Youth Pastor (who is kneeling in red) a few weeks prior to this trip (which to this day is one of my best friends and such an incredible mentor in my life)
  • That same Youth Pastor, a few days before this photo, thought of the “boy in the middle” when an “empty seat” became available on the bus due to another individual randomly canceling.

This photo reminds me that there is no such thing as coincidence…
This photo reminds me that the Lord knows what He’s doing
EVEN in the “last-minute changes” of our lives.

I had no idea that around 12 hours after this photo was taken,
the direction of my life would forever change…
Fast forward 12 hours later.

I remember walking back to the dormitory for the night and thinking about a prayer that I prayed earlier to God a few hours earlier, where I basically said:
“Jesus, do whatever You want to do in and through me… and make it clear.
Show me more of Who You are”
.

I was only a “month old” since surrendering my life to Jesus (click here to read more about this moment) and it blew my mind that I was at a retreat with other believers my age from across the WHOLE state of South Carolina! It also blew my mind that a Pastor’s daughter was interested in me (lol). I remember walking back that night next to her, feeling so much excitement and wonder with NO IDEA what was to happen next.

It’s so crazy how the Lord can use the smallest things to lead to such powerful moments.
He uses even the smallest things to show us who He is in such unforgettable ways.

I remember that we were almost to the dormitory when I heard the first whispers and laughs from the girls that were walking with me…
I remember that they were laughing at a girl in front of me (that I had never met until that day) who they were talking about and laughing at.
Honestly? I don’t remember exactly what was said, or how what was said was said (if that makes sense), but I clearly remember being puzzled at what was happening…

Since I never grew up “in the church”, and I never was a part of a “youth group”, my expectations of “church kids” was really high.
Like… really high.

I remember that I always envied “church kids” as I was growing up and even as a 17-year-old boy, I was watching everything “they” did like a hawk…
I was hoping to learn from the “MVP’s” in the faith.

Looking back? I had improper and unrealistic expectations of other people…
however; the Lord used those unrealistic expectations I had for others
to show me His plan and purpose for my life

As they were laughing at the other girl, I remember wondering why something that months ago that would not even in the slightest amount strike me as being “wrong”,
was somehow grieving me now!
As we approached the dormitory, I remember seeing the girl who was being laughed at run ahead clearly distraught…

Jonah…” they said to me in between laughs, “you just don’t know her”.

Something was wrong… I remember being so confused what was happening and even more confused why I was feeling so grieved at what happened. As the group ran ahead, I remember feeling led to hang back and find the girl who ran into the building crying.
As I looked for her in the halls of the dormitory, I remember finally finding her in a room sitting with her hands covering her face and the Youth Pastor who was sitting next to her. As I opened the door, I heard the sobbing.

I remember sitting across from the Youth Pastor… and next to the broken girl thinking,
“Lord forgive us!! We REALLY don’t know what we do!!”
As I listened to the Youth Pastor try to comfort her and remind her of the truth and her worth, I remember expecting one of them to ask why I was there… however, I remember that instead of asking me to leave, or questioning why I was there when they barely knew me, they encouraged me to stay! The Youth Pastor even allowed me an opportunity to comfort her as well. I had no idea that what was happening was a holy moment in my life and for the first time in my life, I laid a hand on someone who was broken and prayed over them that the Lord will heal what was broken. Not only did I feel an empathy for someone else on such a genuine & deep level, I felt a bond between not only the Youth Pastor sitting across from me, but the girl who was crying next to me…
the same people who hours ago were “new” to me?
Now felt like I’ve known them for years!!
I cried when she cried, I laughed when she laughed, and both the Youth Pastor and I was silent when we needed to listen. The Holy Spirit was present and the Holy Spirit was moving through us and in us… it truly was a moment that makes no sense outside of God Himself being present among us… healing, directing, comforting.

I remember leaving that moment almost an hour after entering that room feeling a burden on my heart to talk to the girls who unknowingly caused the girl’s pain and encourage them to make things right with her.
As I walked to the girls dorm room… I remember thinking,
“Goodness… Lord this is so weird! Why am I doing this?!”
I had no idea the Lord was using me at that moment.

 

(I breath in… and I breath out…)
“KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK”

I remember being so nervous as I knocked on their door. Inside I was wrestling with the thought of ignoring what just happened and keeping my mouth shut… but I KNEW what I needed to do.

“Hey Jonah!said the girls in the room with excitement to see me,
“What’s up?! Is everything okay???”

I remember that they said something else laughing and I think they invited me to come in and spend time with the others who were talking to each other in there;
however, I remember my nerves muffling what they were saying…
I knew what I needed to do and I had to do it…

“Ummm… can I talk to you all for a moment??” 

I remember that I proceeded to try to calmly explain what happened and ask them to make things right; however, for some reason they thought I was joking…

“HAHA Jonah, are you serious??!” 

I remember them replying to me laughing and confused why I was so bothered. I remember being confused myself why they would even wonder if I was serious…
(I honestly wish someone would have recorded that conversation. I’m pretty sure I looked like someone who took too much cold medicine as I was awkwardly sweating and stuttering over my words. Thinking about it now, it makes sense why they asked if I was serious… I probably was a nervous mess!)

At that time though, I remember being caught off guard by their response which caused me to get passionate in my request as I urged them that what happened was messed up and wrong. Long story short… the conversation ended with them laughing, upset at me, and shutting the door in my face. I was shocked.

I remember going to my room that night absolutely dumbfounded at what just happened…
I remember for hours crying alone in that room broken and crying out to God saying:
“Why does this hurt so much! God, I felt YOU leading me to do that!
Why does it hurt so bad when I TRIED to just obey You and do what was right!? God this makes NO sense!!” 

As I cried in my bed, I remember I was listening to an album that had just recently came out by a band called Hillsong United. I remember feeling SO out-of-place and for one of the first times in my life I remember understanding the reality this world could NOT be my home! I remember crying out to God for understanding and peace…

I was broken, but I knew He was there.
I was broken, but I knew there had to be something I was missing.
I was broken, but the restlessness I was feeling made me desire Him even more!

All I remember, is the third track of the cd hitting my eardrums and causing my questions start to fade as I felt a peace that truly goes beyond understanding.
(AS I type this, I remember so clearly this moment and to this day it is JUST as real now as it was then… even as I am typing this, this song came on shuffle on my iPad which is playing in the background!! Goodness Jesus, YOU ARE SO REAL!!)

Even though I was still crying, I remember lifting my hands and getting on my knees in the small one bedroom dorm at Coastal Carolina as the song “Like An Avalanche” started playing on my iPod. I remember sobbing as my tears were un-relentlessly falling on the sheets underneath me as I was on my knees. I remember crying HARDER and HARDER as these lyrics penetrated my heart:

“… And I find myself here on my knees again
Caught up in grace like an avalanche
Nothing compares to this love love love
Burning in my heart..”

EVEN as I type this, tears come to my eyes!! I remember SO clearly as I was on the knees on my bed knowing with all of my heart that it was by no coincidence that I was here… on my knees on my bed… crying out for His love and grace…. and BEGGING for Him to meet me where I was broken. It was by NO coincidence the lyrics just happened to perfectly describe where I was at precisely when it did, and it was by NO coincidence that the next lyrics that came did the same thing… Lord, You will use ANYTHING to meet us where we are… I remember not caring about anything else as I cried out:

“JESUS!! I’M YOURS!!”

and as I said this in my heart, these lyrics came to my ears:

“… Take my life
Take all that I am
With all that I am I will love You
Take my heart
Take all that I have
Jesus how I adore You!
TAKE MY LIFE
TAKE ALL THAT I AM
WITH ALL THAT I AM I WILL LOVE YOU!
TAKE MY LIFE
TAKE ALL THAT I HAVE
Jesus how I adore You”

Jesus, I can never forget how you spoke to me at that moment through this song…
Lord, You know what You said and I know that NO words can fully capture what You reminded me in that moment… I have no idea how to articulate what You told me in that moment but I BEG for Grace as I attempt to put into words what You put on my heart that night. I remember feeling you say to me in the pit of my soul the following Truth:

“Jonah I KNOW THIS HURTING YOU FEEL!
I’M HERE JONAH, I KNOW!!

You are not alone, Jonah they are doing to you the same thing that they did to me!
For the rest of your life this is what you are to do:
Go to the broken.
Stand with the broken.
Tell the broken that I HAVE OVERCOME!
I will use you.
I will lead through you.

I will move through you.
I will never leave you.
MY CHILD, I LOVE YOU.
JONAH, I LOVE YOU!”

Goodness God,
FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE US for ever doubting You.
YOU ARE SO, SO, SO REAL AND YOU LOVE US SO, SO, SO MUCH!
YOU KNOW US AND NOTHING SURPRISES YOU!!
Every tear… Every hurt… Every broken heart is so sacred to You!!

At the end of the retreat…
It never worked out with the Pastor’s daughter,
but as I drive through the unknown around me God?
You are the same yesterday at Coastal Carolina University, You are the same now as I sit here and type out these letters, and YOU ARE THE SAME IN OUR TOMORROWS! (Hebrews 13:8)

This post is not about me…
It’s about You Jesus.
and I beg for You to meet the reader where they are right now Father..

Meet them in their brokenness.
Meet them in their shame.
Meet them in their questions.
Meet them in their doubts.
Meet them in their peace.
Meet them in their fear.
Meet them in their tears.
Meet them in their depression.
Meet them in their addictions.
Meet them in their suicidal thoughts.
Meet them in their anxiety.
Meet them…
O GOD MEET US!!

May the person who You’ve brought to this post believe with all their hearts: 
Lord, You are in the business of changing hearts
and I am no exception to what You do…

… Change me.

Lord, You call us all to know you tell others…
You want us to know You and to be known by You.
There truly is no such things as coincidences,
Draw us closer to You Jesus!!
We are Yours!!

May we see the bigger picture in every moment.
Our purpose… our identity is found in You alone.
May each reader see You for who You are…
May we each fall into such real relationship with You that changes us,
just like an avalanche forever changes a mountain.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
– Isaiah 55:8

-J

“And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
– Colossians 1:17

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us,
to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.
Amen”
– Ephesians 3:20-21

 

 

 

… In Restless Longing.

There’s a pain in this chest that’s oh so real,
real to me now.
In this brokenness there’s a Grace that’s real as well,
oh may that Grace truly surround and abound.
Inside us all there’s a loneliness and need for approval;
We’re all just restless kids with hearts that are fragile,
as every falling tear symphonically cries out loud:
“Give us rest”.

IMG_0261

All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.”

– Ecclesiastes 6:7 

As I sit here, a familiar feeling of restless longing surrounds me as a haunting reminder that this world is not my home.

You know us even when we don’t know ourselves…

God I’m puzzled at Your love and Grace for us… I can, we can NEVER can repay You! Surrender is literally ALL You ask of us… and it’s embarrassing that this restless heart can hardly do that… but through it all You don’t push us away! You meet us where we are, and You see us for who we are, even in between the arrogant pomp on the outside and the chaotic distress signals that are raging inside! You relentlessly pursue us like a black bear and You Love us too much to leave us in our death!

Only You know us… only You Jesus.

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
– Clive Staples Lewis

I remember sitting in my room, at my desk as a kid, looking out my window oblivious to the fact that the beauty that would draw my eyes off my homework and into the great wonder of the outdoors was from You! Lord, You were with me and working on me when I could care less… goodness God You are so real!! You were there when I was clueless of who You really were, You were there when I would cry myself to sleep then… and You are here when I cry to You through the night now!

We are fully known by You…

fully.

(Psalm 139)

Sitting here observing what passes me by and reading Ecclesiastes 6:7…
This heart, this mind is overwhelmed!
O how there HAS to be MORE than all this temporariness around us that we settle for! There HAS to be MORE then our comfort, our security, our safety, our pleasure, our desires, ourselves!! There HAS to be MORE then a pretty picture or our petty emotions! If we look at this world long enough… it is SO easy to see clearly that there truly is a crack in everything and we are stuck in an endless loop of nothingness apart from You! ALL of this is meaningless apart from You Lord!

God why do we settle for this!?

We are so, so, so scared of Your quite voice that calls our name with every single breath… O God YOU CALL TO US SO MUCH! Even in the mundane, and even in the vanity of daily life we numb ourselves from the reality that there is so many glimpses of utter hell all around us that DEMAND our immediate death to the slavery of self! God break my heart for what breaks Yours! Help me be broken from my lack… from our lack of urgency toward surrendering to You alone!

We numb ourselves with so, so, so many things to prevent us from seeing this world for what it is, ALL BECAUSE we are scared of what we will find if we open ourselves up to the possibility that You are the One that our whole being CRIES and CRAVES FOR! JESUS! May our heavy hearts surrender and fall in surrender to ALL You are!

Starting with me, I’m so tired…
I’m so SICK of forgetting so easily, that one day ALL of this life will be no more…
NO more!
All the anxiety, confusion, doubt, hurt, terror, tears, questions, loneliness, hunger, pain, abandonment, regrets, shame, guilt, sin, death, rebellion, apathy, selfishness, arrogance, laziness, grief, pride, pomp, envy, jealousy, lies, it ALL… all of it… will be no more!!
I’m so tired… I’m so tired of the endless wandering around self!

Why do we, why do I waste SO much on SO little?!
And despite being reminded of the hope of knowing that one day all of this will be no more…?
We STILL are MASTERS at focusing on that which really doesn’t matter in light of eternity! Starting with me, and it breaks my heart!

I waste SO much time loosing my eyes and heart on the temporary casually forgetting that one day ALL of this will be no more! We ALL have been given such short time to rise and surrender ALL we have, to ALL that He is, to be used for ALL that we can be, ALL FOR HIS GLORY and HIS PURPOSE not our own!
Jesus, YOU ALONE are our Deliverer!

And at the end of it all?
How can we so often forget that EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess the Name of Jesus and that ALL my often reckless tongue, all that OUR often reckless tongues will be able to say at that moment will be “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord God almighty” as we sing a NEW SONG around the throne of our Creator and Savior! (Revelation 4:8, 14:1, 19:1-10, Philippians 2:10-11)

When we have nothing, you give us EVERYTHING!
We were made for SO much more than what we settle for…
Jesus, please use us…

WE ARE YOURS and apart from YOU we can do NOTHING! (John 15:5)

Forgive us, may we live new through Your blood that You shed for us.

Goodness… we are such sheep.
So helpless without You, Shepherd.
Forgive us Lord.

Help us choose You and serve You with everything.
I’m so done with this endless chase that this world throws in my face every day!
May we truly wake up and realize that we will spend eternity right where our hearts spent our time here and now:

surrendered to ourselves and in proud rebellion toward the One who alone gives us life,

or

surrendered to You Jesus… in awe of the Grace freely given on the cross which You endured for us to KNOW and BE KNOWN by You:

our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.

Lord, in this restless longing… help us, help me keep it clear
You are all that matters
You are our Hope
You are our Leader
You are our Wisdom
You are our Truth
You are our Savior
You are our Love
You are our Strength
You are our Life
You are our Joy
You are our Forgiveness
You are our Confidence
YOU…
It’s all about You.
Jesus please use me, I’m Yours.
WE are Yours. ☝️

May our hearts stop this tug-of-war with trying to make this world our home…

Make us SO dependent on You Lord, take everything that we have until You are all we have! Make us SO dependent on You that in EVERY moment, even now, we thirst and hunger for You and You alone!

May our restless, and longing, hearts cry out:

Take away all the things I hold so near.

God, these shattered dreams are hard to bear,

when they are falling at Your feet right here.”

If this restless longing keeps me dependent on You alone Lord?

May I never find rest here.

Pore me out like an offering for the Glory of Your Name until we are together face to face.

May we never call this world home.

Come hell or high waters,

take our restless hearts to the ends of the earth declaring Your Name, that alone saves.

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling…”
-Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:2-3 

“What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short…”
-Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:29

-J

Lyrics: Here

Imagine…

… Are you willing to stop, and consider?

IMG_8710

Can we imagine together for a moment…?

Let’s imagine that regardless of where we stand with our beliefs concerning the existence of a Creator (or the absence of a Creator), that we happened to believe that there was one.

Let’s imagine that we happened to place a faith in the existance of a Creator, instead of placing a faith in there not being one… and choose to see faith as a complete trust or confidence in someone or something

Let’s imagine that we know that a personal belief that does not have someone’s full personal trust, is a faulty belief that demands attention… even if it is our own.

Let’s imagine that we choose to believe that there is a real, active, Creator, Who created all that we know of through the mere power of the Creator speaking everything into existence.

Let’s imagine that since there is now a Creator, this Creator is now the Source of all that we know of as “Life”. And just like a human creator, there is a purpose for that which the Creator creates. Likewise, this Creator created Life with a purpose. Since there is a purpose, the purpose for life would be of utmost importance for all of creation, including you, me, and us all.

Let’s imagine that just like an able & passionate human creator… the Creator of all that we know of as “Life” reveals this Purpose for the gift of Life in a direct way. This direct revelation of Purpose demands attention and comes in contact with us all.

Let’s imagine that this Creator of all that we know of as Life, created us with the capability to “choose” our Creator and embrace fully our Creator. Creation can either embrace their title and position of being “creation”… or… creation could choose to rebel against the purpose of their Creator and embrace a false title and position of “the creator”.

Let’s imagine that we as creation chose the latter option. We choose to rebel even from the beginning of our existence. This choice is one that we still choose daily. We choose to rebel from the Creator and Author of Life and in Whom alone we can find our purpose and identity.

Lets’s imagine that instead of the Creator completely destroying us and starting over, the Creator decides to use the rebellion… and reveal Himself through our failure. As the Creator pursues us relentlessly, we as creation continue to rebel and ignore the need to see the Creator for who the Creator is.

Let’s imagine that instead of just allowing and abandoning the creation in their downward spiral of choosing a false sense of “life” & “purpose”… this Creator (who also created what creation knows of as “Love”), chose to relay the Truth that creation has neglected and rebelled against… in words. These words from the Creator would come both directly from the Creator and through people who embrace the Creator. Even nature would reflect the Creator and declare who the Creator is and give honor to the Creator in its beauty… only if creation chooses to stop… look… and think.

Let’s imagine that this Creator also decides that instead of relaying Truth through the word of creation alone (which despite creation being used to write this Truth from the Creator… creation continues to ignore Him), the Creator will go through any length to bring creation back to Himself.

Let’s imagine that through passionate love for creation, the Creator desires to reveal themself in such a personal way to creation, that creation would have every opportunity to recognize their ignorance and rebellion and return to our Creator.

Let’s imagine that this Creator was also the Creator of Justice, not justice that is corrupt, but justice that is pure and without any hint of perversion. Since perversion of Justice does not reflect the Creator, but instead reflects creation’s choice of choosing to reject Truth, creation has no possibility of being pardoned for their rebellion on their own merit or talent since pure Justice is unbiased and fair. It would not be fair to pardon someone for the choice that they freely, that we freely, have made and make still; therefore, any pardon for creation’s choice to rebel, would come not from ourselves… but would have to come from the Creator alone. Even the smallest rebellion is still rebellion and deserves the full penalty from the law… death.

Let’s imagine that as we already stated, in order for Judgement to be pure, that unless an equal representative of the guilty party, which is creation, stepped up then there can be no pardon for the crime of rebellion. This Representative must take full responsibility for the punishment even though this Representative is not guilty; Only then could justice still be served and creation have an opportunity to be pardoned. This Representative must take our place and this Representative would have to be without our rebellion.

Let’s imagine that the Creator, in passionate pursuit for creation, embraces this challenge on our behalf. Since mankind could not represent themselves blamelessly, the Creator would have to somehow 100% be as we are… to be born, breathe, suffer and die like we do; however, instead of choosing rebellion, the Creator must choose Life and Truth completely without ANY hint of rebellion. Since death comes from the rejection of life, the Creator MUST NOT reject life, even in the slightest,despite being 100% as creation is.

Let’s imagine that the way that the Creator chooses to reflect 100% of creation, would be accomplished by the Creator’s same Word that was used to create everything in the beginning… this same Word must bring flesh to the Creator and becomes one of us.

Let’s imagine that the Creator does this.
Dwelling with us fully.
Jesus is His Name.

Let’s imagine that this act would reflect a crucial aspect of the Creator often overlooked and misunderstood due to none of us being without rebellion…

… in steps into the narrative, Grace.

Let’s imagine that you believe Truth is absolute… which declares that Truth is not defined by our individual opinion. For example, lets look at gravity. We agree that there is something that is refered to as gravity… well, most of us agree. Does the “truth” of what causes gravity to you, and the “truth” of what causes gravity to me, make what truly causes gravity change? Our differing beliefs concerning the “truth” of gravity doesn’t change the truth.

Gravity is caused by what it is caused by… this is absoluteregardless of what we say or what we argue. Gravity operates on a Truth that goes beyond our understanding or explanations of it. Absolute Truth states that Truth is not relative to my personal views, or to your personal views, but that Truth exists independently and on its own. Therefore, since the Bible claims to be the written Truth of our Creator, and claims to have authority (2 Timothy 16-17), it either is… or isn’t. If it is? Then it can stand on its own if we are willing to come to it without preconceived conclusions. We must be willing to give it a chance.

Let’s imaginethat we allow the Bible to be the source of absolute truth concerning our Creator… and we see the Bible as the Creator’s revealed Truth that is absolute. Therefore, any purpose for our lives that is found outside of the Bible holds no authority over us. This is due to us choosing to be surrendered to the Truth that is found in our Creator’s Word alone, instead of being found in what we as creation says about our Creator.

Let’s imagine that we truly are made in the image of this Creator, as stated in the Bible found in Genesis 1:27, and our Creator is who the Creator is (as it is written).
ThisTruth is absolute.

Let’s imaginethat the Truth can stand on its own… and we fully embrace John 14:6, where Jesus claimed to be the Truth…

Let’s imagine we believe John 1:1-5, 14 where John claims that Jesus is Life and the Word of God in flesh… 100% God and 100% man.

Let’s imagine that we understand that Jesus walked this earth… and He is not a “fairy-tale”.

Let’s imaginethat our hearts are broken from our rebellion to our Creator which we all are guilty of (Romans 3:23).

Let’s imagine that we surrender to the Truth of our need for a Savior…. and that Jesus… becomes not just a man who once lived… but becomes our Savior, and whom our lives find meaning.

Let’s imaginethat we believed Jesus when He said “apart from Me, you can do nothing”, and we stop living life with us on the throne (John 15:5).

Let’s imagine that we admit our rebellion, and surrender our lives… our talents… our breath… our hearts… to the Living Creator, Savior, and Sustainer who is passionate for us. Who alone defeated death. Who alone can represent us sinless. Who is our Creator and even though we rejected Him, He will never reject us when we surrender to Jesus… Who, as Isaiah 53:5 prophesied,  “through His wounds we are healed”.
(Hebrews 7:19, 24-25, Acts 3:14-21)

Let’s imagine that our identities is not found in the things of this world, but on Jesus alone (Colossians 3:2-3).

Let’s imagine that we commit our lives to knowing Him greater and loving others as He loved us and embracing the “life abundantly” that Jesus offers us (John 10:10).

Let’s imagine that we commit our lives to knowing Him through His Word and refusing to settle for less (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 22:37-40).

Let’s imaginethat we did not keep the good news of Jesus to ourselves, but in love, went into the darkness… into the dying word… sharing the good news… the Truth… of our Creator…. EVEN unto death. (Matthew 28:16-20)

Let’s imagine that we no longer have to imagine…

… what are we waiting for?

May we wake up brothers and sisters…

there is so much more than what we are settling for…

… May we not settle.

May we repent, renew, and stand.
:”)
-J

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said:
“People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god.
So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship-and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the LORD of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.
And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything.

Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

As some of your own poets have said,
‘We are his offspring.’
“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-an image made by human design and skill.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.
So Paul went out from their midst.
But some men joined him and believed…

Acts 17:22-34

Lyrics: Here

The Diary of A Missionary

It is important to say that the purpose of this post or this blog truly is not found in myself, but the purpose of this post and blog is to draw attention to someone so, so, so much greater than all that I am…

My hope is that the following words speaks
and finds You

FullSizeRender-6.jpg
May we not fear vulnerability …
Wherever we are,

Near or far,
May dark eyes look to You
May heavy hearts rest easy.

… This world cannot be our home
… This world cannot be our home.


A couple of nights ago I found myself doing what I often find myself doing since moving from South Carolina to Michigan a year ago…
I find myself walking miles alongside sidewalks with no knowledge of where I am walking or for how long I will walk.

I know that it might sound kinda weird, but hear me out!
I truly don’t think I’m the only one who sometimes walks aimlessly down sidewalks…
Well, then again stranger things have happened  😉

But anyways,
when I do walk..?
… I find myself listening to music, praying, and meditating on different things that has occurred or is occurring in my life so far.
I find that this world can truly be as big or as small as we make it…

It’s truly crazy thinking back to this month last year.
This month last year the blog that you are now reading was reopened after four years of inactivity!
Goodness Lord, no imagination could have imagined where I would be 12 months later.

I have been thinking a lot about recently:

  • How much things can change in a year
  • How many memories that is made in a year
  • How many people one will meet in a year…

And I am truly overwhelmed and in awe!
If I had to sum up the greatest thing that You’ve been teaching me in a year..?
I would hands down say, I am learning:

Our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior
truly knows us better
than we will ever
or can ever
know ourselves.

Whether I am aimlessly driving through Canada and staying at a random bed and breakfast for the night, or walking over interstates and through random neighborhoods, You truly do know me regardless if I know me!

I truly find my heart being overwhelmed throughout this year and I am discovering so much about the worry, fears, dreams, hurts, longings, and anxieties of not only myself, but countless others as well!

We all sometimes feel as if we are aimlessly walking through life…
From strangers, to friends,
And from family, to my reflection in the mirror,
I am discovering that we ALL have worries and longings and questions. We all at one time or another feel heavy longings for something… more.
Lord, I feel as if You made our hearts and minds disproportional to what You show us on a daily basis!

Only You truly know my heart, and You are daily reminding me more and more how You truly are “sufficient in our weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), how Your “steadfast love never ceases”, Your “mercies never come to an end”, Your mercies “are new every morning”, and just howgreat is Your faithfulness”
(Lamentations 3:22-23).

I don’t have everything figured out,
nor do I have all the answers to every question,
but Father You do!
And You have given me hope when I’ve had none, given joy when there was nothing but sorrow, and lavished laughter even when I feel out-of-place walking down the random sidewalks near the passing cars of souls under the blanket of dim street lamps …
You are all that matters.
Jesus, You really are all that matters.

Goodness, it’s so easy to get so wrapped in the unknown sidewalks, haunting questions, heavy longings, and real fears around us that we forget that all is known to You!
ALL is known!
You know it all!!
All of our worries, fears, scars, hurts, longings, confessions, questions, desires, growing pains, insecurities, broken dreams, inefficiencies, quirks,
You know it all!!
.. and You know us (Psalm 139).

O Lord, You have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
 too lofty for me to attain!
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?”

– Psalm 139: 5-7


Why does my soul hurt when I walk by dark houses Father?
Why does it hurt when I see myself or others miss the point of all this life?

What are we searching for here?
What am I searching for when I walk or drive aimlessly?

I feel like an alien trapped in the shell of a normal 23-year-old man …

… And this world cannot be my home…. This world cannot be my home!

 

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

– Colossians 3:2

Goodness Lord, You are so right…

 

Forgive us when we care about everything else on this earth and forget that this is not our home, In You alone we find rest!
Our wandering souls find our home in YOU

Jesus, I’m truly nothing without You!
You see us all so differently than how this world sees things,
Earthly status or titles truly don’t mean a thing to You!
You don’t see a missionary, a sinner, a young man, or a brokenhearted wanderer walking aimlessly down random sidewalks when You see me …
You see an adopted son surrendered to You!
Jesus, You see Your Spirit when You see me.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.”

-Galatians 2:20 

We are all missionaries…

… Every single one of us.

We either proclaim freedom that You bring Jesus,

Or we declare that freedom is found in self…

and I’m truly in awe of what depths we are capable of when we rely on ourselves.

 

… Father, help us not miss it.

 

Help us not miss the fact that we exist to know You and be known by You.

Help us not miss the fact that we exist to show others just how much You desire to know us and desire for us to be known by You!

 

Standing in awe, may we hear what You say

For we are at peace, we are Your people, we are Your saints

Help our hearts not turn back to lesser loves

Your Salvation thrives when to Your cross we run

Come Lord Jesus

Come.

May we not be afraid to give up our timings, expectations, fears, questions, and hurts to the only One that our souls find rest in.
Through known or unknown?
May we learn to embrace all that we are while leaning into Who makes us whole.

May we not fear vulnerability…
Wherever we are,
Near or far,
May dark eyes look to You
May heavy hearts rest easy in You,
Jesus.

– J 

“Hello maker of the moon
Your creation has inspired my every move…”

Lyrics: Here

This Little Park, This Side of Heaven 

No matter what Lord,

You are worthy to be praised…

When You first started calling me up here years ago, I had no idea this little park existed… but You did.

Sitting here just putting these thoughts into words Lord, what do you see in me…? It’s hard to try and not think back to the events that not only led me to being able to sit here now, feeling the gentle breeze & overlooking the calming water in front of me, but daily it never fails… I am always reminded of the events that led me to You…

Even then, you knew me… even when I was just another 17 year old boy sobbing in defeat and surrender to You in his room… You not only saw me then, but You saw THEN what I see NOW as write to You and feel Your gentle breeze while overlooking the calming water in front of me.

Lord, even now, you truly are SO much more then these gentle breezes and calming waters. You are SO much more than a beautiful night sky or the peaceful lights that are reflective on the water. You truly are wild and BEYOND passionate for me… for us… SO much more then any pursuit this world has or will ever see. You are Jesus on the cross gasping for just a sliver of breath (Matthew 27:46). You are Your powerful Spirit hovering over the waters and bringing life from none (Genesis 1:2). You are the great and powerful I AM that spoke to Moses through that which You created (Exodus 3:14). You are so much more then anything we can imagine or any bit of knowledge that we have of You in Your Word.

And still… you are crazy about us and You invite us to know you intimately.

You are crazy about me.
Sitting here tonight Father, I truly am so thankful for this little park… honestly it’s one of the smallest parks I’ve ever seen; however, You know how special this park is to me and how there is no other place on this planet that I rather be right now then here. It blows my mind that I’ve seen the same water in front of me during winter carry thick amounts of ice blocks down the it and that same river is peacefully hitting the bank with cycles of waves where I sit now. Thinking of You as I sit here now, it’s so easy to get lost in the peace and calmness; however, the patrolling border patrol boats and biting mosquitoes remind me that You truly are so much more then ALL the beauty that this world can offer.

That’s IT, I give up!!! Back to my car I go… at least here I can reduce the number of mosquitoes that decide to remind me that this world is not my home. Honestly, I can’t help but laugh as I type this. Yet it truly does amaze me that even before my fingers go to write these words that are on my heart and mind, You know them completely (Psalm 139:4). We truly can not run from You… we can not escape You.
What blows my mind as well Lord? Is the sobering reality that You see through the fluff. You know why I came to this “little park” tonight… You know the chaos in my heart as I sit here… You know the flaws in my person… You know what I lack… You know my worries, fears, hurts, and scars Lord… You know my needs Father… You know my dreams and desires… You know… Oh how You truly know.
I can’t say it any other way…

I need You Jesus.

I need You so much more then I could ever express.

I truly am nothing without You.

I was such a fool for the years I refused Your open arms of forgiveness….

And I am such a fool now to choose myself and my will over Your will when YOU open my eyes in the morning and YOU remind me even now to breathe!

I am such a fool when I choose this… this world… this “little park”… this “side of heaven” over You.

YOU are what my soul longs for!

YOU alone are all that can truly satisfy!

YOU are my Hope!

YOU are my Savior!

YOU are my Sustainer!

Why do I settle for lesser loves…?
Jesus, please use me, I’m Yours.

Thank You for these “little parks”… You know how much this park means to me, but Father, help me see this life as YOU see it…

One day this little park will be no more.

One day this world will be no more.

One day my worries, fears, flaws, and scars will be no more.

One day there will be no more mosquito bites.

One day there will be no more fear, no more tears.

One day there will be no more distance between me and You Jesus… no more distance between those who are reading this now and You Jesus.
You truly are more then we could EVER fathom,

But You still care about the “little parks” in our lives and make Yourself accessible for us to truly know You now…

Jesus, thank You that there really is a bigger picture beyond what our tiny eyes can see.
Thank You for the little parks this side of heaven.

Forgive us when we settle for this…

May we point one another, and our wandering heart, to You and You alone as we thank You for the little parks in our lives.
No matter what Lord,

You are worthy to be praised…

“Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in Your Way everlasting.”

– Psalm 139: 23-24

Appropriate Utensils

IMG_0125 2.JPG
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
– Psalm 34:8

I know what I’m doing Dad…“,

… the young child says as she slides a chair across the kitchen floor.
She has plotted that the chair would get herself closer to the mysterious pot that has been simmering for what seems like an eternity to her young… but hungry… belly.
Though young, she feels capable of much more than what others give her credit for, and because of this, she can’t help but feel proud as she climbs up the chair that she slid over in order for her to be able to see at eye level that which she so desperately desires.
          She tells herself that this
          this will stop the strange growling in her stomach.
She has been smelling the aroma of the tasty soup that her Father has been making for SO LONG, and time has only made her hunger grow… but NOW… now she has had enough;
she WILL have partake in this forbidden nectar even if she has to do it herself!

“Oh honey…”, said her Father laughing to Himself as He leans down to be eye level with His beautiful daughter,
“… I can tell that you are hungry.
Actually, we are ready to eat now if you would like to join us!
Do you not remember Me calling your name for dinner?”,

asks her Father curiously, yet even though He is now eye to eye with her, His unwavering eye contact and a soothing, gentle voice still feels as if they could calm even the most chaotic water park wave pool that His little daughter has ever seen.

“Here darling, let me give you the utensil you’ll need to get some of this soup into your plate!”, her father exclaims lovingly yet concerned as she reaches impatiently into the utensil cabinet that is near to her. He is concerned because He is holding the ladle in His hand as she begins to dig in the drawer.

I know what I’m doing Dad!“,
she says to Him yet again refusing His helping hand while insisting that she knows what she needs. She can’t help but feel slightly annoyed at her Father, as He seems to be looming over her as she is working hard to get the utensil that will solve the hunger that she feels… a spoon. Searching, and searching, and searching, she looks and digs in the cabinet confused why there doesn’t seem to be a utensil that will solve her problem… until AT LAST!! SHE HAS FOUND THE SPOON SHE NEEDED!

“I told you!! I told you that I KNEW what I was doing!”, she proudly exclaims to Him. She can’t help but feel proud of her hard work to get the spoon that she is now is holding up proudly to make sure that Daddy can see what her hard work has accomplished!

“Honey…”, her dad begins to say concerned, still looking at her with love;
however, before He could finish speaking, she cuts Him off. She begins to think to herself that He isn’t impressed at her ability to do things herself and instead of being proud of her, she concludes instead that He is simply jealous that she didn’t need Him!
Sure of this conclusion, she boldly she says up to Him,
I KNEW WHAT I’M DOING DAD, AND I STILL DO!
CANT YOU SEE?! I GOT A SPOON, AND I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF!” 

IMG_7659

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
– Psalm 34:8

Honestly? That line, “I know what I’m doing…“, I truly can’t look at that line and not chuckle. Seriously! I guess I chuckle not only because it truly is the “famous last words” of every child (or adult) before they realize that they truly did not know what they are doing …

But I chuckle because even though I know Jesus..?
I say this to Him a lot…
…Much more than I like admitting.

What about you??
Do you say this to Him more times than you would like to admit?
Well… welcome to the club. You are safe here.

And while we are on this topic,
I honestly find looking at children’s behavior almost… haunting…
Well… Let me explain:
Even in the story above (which I know that I’ve seen more than once in my life),
the child had many different responses that she could have made to her Dad who clearly knew what she needed…

She could have looked at her situation and said:
“…That’s it… I give up… can You help me Dad…?”
… but instead, she looked at her Father who offered to help her and said:
“NO! I know what I’m doing, leave me alone!”

As a follower of Christ?
Even I find myself saying this to Him in different ways.

For me?
I can go through my days with one or two different approaches to the Lord:

I strive to go through every day submissive to that Voice which says to me,
“Seek Me, Jonah.”
That Voice, could sometimes come to me at the BEST times
(like when I get back home from the office and have the rest of the evening to relax),
Or that Voice could come at the worst times
(such as that moment when I finally kick back and am excited to FINALLY be able to relax after a long day but that small Voice calls me to seek Him instead and surrender for that moment whatever it is that I desire to do)…
That Voice that says to me,
“Seek Me.”
“Seek Me, Jonah.”

It’s truly a crazy feeling, maybe you can relate to this!
It never fails…
Every. single. time. that I refuse to yield to the Voice of the Spirit prompting me to seek Him… every. single. time. that I truly hear Him, but I don’t submit and obey what I hear
Every single time that I refuse Him, I find myself feeling a strange emptiness…
a feeling almost like the one when you are hungry but you just ate!
You know… like after eating chinese food…
and it isn’t long before I find myself yielding to the same things that I did not desire the moments before I heard that Voice calling me to Trust Him and Seek Him…

… but for some of you?
Maybe you don’t hear, “Seek Me”
maybe you hear “Stop running.”

Maybe? You only hear this “Voice” rarely,
or Maybe? You hear this “Voice” SO often that you fight it and you fight it  and you FIGHT IT while insisting that you know how to be satisfied on your own…
You insist that you know how to be loved,
You insist that you know what is best for your life,
but just like a child who lets pride prevent them from tasting the soup that they KNOW they crave… the soup that is available and freely offered to them
you know what you need to do;
but you run and you run and you run
or you try and you try and you try to just get even a tiny drip of not just the soup you crave… but ANY soup!
Just something to satisfy the hunger that you feel!

And just like the child, maybe you try with all that you have to get that soup that will truly satisfy the hunger. You try to somehow get THAT soup out of the pot, and INTO the bowl of your life and soul.
And just like the child, you might be trying with the wrong utensil causing you to start running out of patience when it comes to your hunger to seek for that which you once hungered and thirst so much for!

… Both you and me?
Honestly, we are in the same boat.
We both need to just stop…surrender… and simply cry out:
“That’s it… I give up… Daddy can You help me?”

… The even crazier part of all this??
All we have to do is simple cry out with all that we are for the food that we so desperately search, and search, and search, so long and hard for in everyone and everything..

A heart that says, “That’s it… I give up… Daddy can You help me?” FAR outweighs the actions that says, “I know what I’m doing Dad…”

All that we search for…
Pure faithfulness
Pure Truth
Pure joy
Pure satisfaction
Pure rest
Pure love
Pure correction
Pure direction
Pure guidance
Pure wisdom
Is found in our Creator and in our Creator alone…

Oh heavy hearts, may we truly hear the Father who leans down to say  with unwavering eye contact:

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.

Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.
 

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my Word be that goes out from my mouth;

    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

– Isaiah 55

 

May we simply learn how to come to You, Jesus, empty
Come with our brokenness
Come with our questions
Come with our praises
Come with our hurts
Come with our doubt
Come with our joy
Come with our regrets
Come with our fears
Come with our hunger
Come with our need
Come.
Just come… 
May we come as we are.
May we lay down our inappropriate utensils
and taste
and see
That His Word, That our Father, That Jesus can be trusted
Only He alone uses appropriate utensils in every moments of our life.

–  Jonah Fair

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Jesus,
(Matthew 11:18-3)

Lyrics: Here

 

 

Errors

IMG_6317

There’s a pain in my chest here that’s real,
real to me now.
In my brokenness may Your Grace be real too,
may Your Grace truly surround and abound.

“Lord, what are You doing??”
“Lord, what do You want me to see?!”
Walking to the front deck of the ship that I stand on,
I can’t help but simply be overwhelmed.

As I look ahead in front of me I find myself truly captivated by the absolutely breathtaking sunset…
This dance of beautiful colors in the sky lingers in contrast to the heavy wind that is blowing in my face, the rocking of the ship, and the questions and chaos in my heavy heart.

“Lord, what are You doing??”
“Lord, what do You want me to see?!”
It doesn’t take long for me to realize that there is almost a constant loop playing in my mind as I stand alone in a sea in the middle of nowhere.

“Jesus, what are You doing?!”
“Jesus, what do You want me to see?!”
I continue to cry out as an even greater presence of the beauty around me makes me ever more confident that my questions are not in vain…
…In this moment?
The questions that I have are real… very real to me right now.

I can’t help but think of the life that exists outside of this ship that is currently in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean, and I can’t help but think of the crazy turn of events that led me to where I am standing now.
Two years ago this trip was planned and paid for;
However, that planning two years ago fell by the wayside and never happened.

Two years ago?
This trip was planned as a wedding celebration …
Two months ago?
This trip was a response to an email stating that my credit would expire within the coming months if not redeemed.
At this moment?
I’m somehow on that trip and staring at the most beautiful sunset that I have ever seen.

“…There must be a mistake Lord,
This MUST be an error or something!!
Lord, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
What am I missing!!?” 

Leaning against the rails in front of me, I can’t help but remember that moment where I spoke those words two years ago as I felt as if my world had just fallen apart.
As I look out unto the sea, I feel myself begin to be dragged back to that moment….
where I was… what I was thinking…. what I was doing;
However,
at the same time
I can’t help but become overwhelmed by the beautiful sunset in front of me more than my recollections of the moments that brought me here.

“No eye has seen, and no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things which God has prepared for those who love him.”
– 1 Corinthians 2:9

I softly begin to sing aloud a refrain of a song that was somehow awoken in my mind here as I stand alone on the front deck
where the wind blows even harder against my skin:
“Jesus, Jesus,
All I want is to be like You…”

I begin to allow this lyric to become a prayer
as I repeat and sing it over and over and over:
“Jesus Jesus
All I want is to be like You…”

beginning to sing louder now, I start to tremble as I think again of the blessed life that I left behind,
and every moment, every step, that brought me to where I am now:
“Jesus, Jesus!
All I want is to be like You!”

Overwhelmed I begin to cry, not from a hurt or a pain,
but from a deep appreciation and awe deep within
of the Pursuer that I feel pursuing me with everything in this holy moment:
“Jesus! Jesus!
All I want is to be like You!”

As tears hit the front deck where I currently am standing,
I close my eyes in surrender and acknowledgement that despite my many mistakes,
despite my many errors,
The Pursuer that my heart cries out and longs for..
The Pursuer who is pursuing me even here in my breaking…
The Pursuer who was with me two years ago…
The Pursuer who helped place one foot after another in recovery…
The Pursuer who painted the skies in front of me is bringing me to my knees now!
THIS PURSUER MAKES NO MISTAKES!! THERE IS NO ERRORS IN HIS WAYS!!

“JESUS!! JESUS!!
ALL I WANT IS TO BE LIKE YOU!!”

EVERY TEAR
EVERY HURT
EVERY QUESTION
EVERY ANXIOUS PRAYER
EVERY FALLING TEAR
EVERY CONFUSION
EVERY STEP!
EVERY SINGLE STEP HAS LED ME TO THIS MOMENT!
And here in this moment?
I would have it no other way…

Jesus,
My heart breaks for the one reading this right now,
who like me,
is crying out to You with an ENDLESS loop of questions that flow from a breaking heart
that is SO real to them right now.
Meet them in their breaking and overwhelm their heart as You so often do to me!
Show them where You were and where you are in their falling tears and heavy hearts,
Jesus give them a peace in their breaking!
I pray that they feel Your presence overwhelmingly right now that they no longer let their questions overwhelm Your peace that comes in our surrender…
Help us be vulnerable with You.

There’s a pain in my chest here that’s real,
real to me now.
In my brokenness may Your Grace be real too,
may Your Grace truly surround and abound.

Lord,
Like a boxer,

You put me into spurring matches
these matches are to prepare me for the matches to come.
Jesus, 
I am in training
I am in training
WE are in training.

Lord, may we rest in the fact,
That You make no mistakes,
There are no errors in Your ways.
May we rest in a heart of surrender and say with every piece of our breaking heart:
“Jesus,
Jesus,
All I want is to be like You…”

May all we want, is to be like You.

-J

Lyrics: Here

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

– Isaiah 55:8 8

“No eye has seen, and no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things which God has prepared for those who love him.”

Paul1 Corinthians 2:9

“Three times I PLEADED with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

– Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

חֶסֶד

Oh God how often…
Oh how often we neglect the strength of Your love
חֶסֶד
No single English word can fully communicate what these three Hebrew Characters boldy proclaim regardless the chaos that surrounds us.
These three characters are life changing when you realize who they are talking about and Who they are coming from…img_5422

Jesus,
take the heart of this writer and the reader that You have led here in this moment,
and reveal, rid, and replenish what was not of You
with a genuine sense of Your presence and love for them.
Renew the presence of innocence, purity, and boldness
& hold us close to You.
May Your words alone speak in our silence as we recognize You have something to say…
Thank You that You grow us
even now.



Who are you…?

No,

… Who are you, really??

As I walk along the shoreline that separates the country of the United States, 
from the neighboring country of Canada, 
the loss of cell phone service highlights a vulnerability that so often is hidden between me and my Creator.

With every step,
With every heart beat,
With every breath that expands…. and then collapses in my chest…
My eyes can’t help but stare at the skyline of Detroit that explicitly stands tall to my left.

“Jesus, I need you!”
“Jesus, speak to me!!”
“Jesus, what are you doing?”
It seems that these three statements replay on what seems to be an endless loop in my mind,
and with every breath in… and out…
I feel my thoughts, questions, regrets, and fears rise to the surface of my heavy heart and currently overclocked mind…
“Jesus, You know me. I can’t hide my heart from You”,
I find myself telling Him in surrender with every step.

 

As I continue to find my head turning to my left to see the skyline,
I can’t help but notice,  all is still on the waters.
I start to find myself captivated no longer by the looming towers in the distance,
But instead,
I am captivated by the present… and calm waters that greet me as I walk farther and farther down the path that is in front of me.
I take a photo with my phone as I see the road begin to curve slightly in front of me.

As I look at the still waters
As I look at the firm yellow line that divides the road into two lanes
As I listen and watch the people in my proximity also
taking in…
… and letting out
breaths of air,
I can’t help but realize, that even though there is a stillness in the water around me..?
The shores of my soul,
in this moment,
are not stilled…
“Jonah, I’m building you day by day.”
“Jonah, I’m building you day by day.”
“Trust Me.”
I can’t help but realize, that even though there is a stillness in the water around me..?
The shores of my soul,
in this moment,
are not stilled…
“I’m building you day by day.
I’m building you day by day.
Trust Me.”

חֶסֶד

The Hebraic phrase above, is the biblical concept known as Hesed.
This concept intrigues me so much because every time it is used..?
It packages an unwavering love, faithfulness, pursuit, care, concern, favor, lavishly unrestrained love, vulnerable, truthful, overwhelming, and passionate pursuit & kindness.

This phrase was not just used from one person to another such as Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 3:10),
but was used in passages such as Proverbs 19:22 to state the following:,
“what a person desires is חֶסֶד…”
And it blows my mind the great number of times in Scripture that חֶסֶד is used toward mankind from God Himself!

This love,
this love that we ALL are so passionately search for 

both consciously, and unconsciously…
This חֶסֶד is HERE
RIGHT NOW
REGARDLESS of the condition of the waters of our souls!

Recently the Lord has been reminding me of the importance that honesty plays in any intimate relationship, especially in our relationship with Him.
I’ve been renewed through these moments of vulnerability with Him…
in intimate honesty with my failures, fears, worries, and questions,
… I’ve been reminded how GREAT His Love, provision, and promise is for us!

חֶסֶד
Jesus!
How often do I refuse Your healing hand simply from a  failure to recognize Your חֶסֶד for me?
How often does my soul stay in anxious and overwhelming chaos from simply refusing to trust and rest in You and You alone?
Jesus! YOUR חֶסֶד IS GREAT AND PRESENT HERE AND NOW TOWARD ME!!

“Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
– John 20:26-28

Fathers forgive me for refusing to be healed in so many areas of my life,
Forgive me for my sin (Hebrews 12)
From the fear, anxiety, lust, hurt, doubt, insecurity,
Jesus forgive me for locking doors
even for a moment
and forgetting that no lock, no door, nothing can stop Your passionate חֶסֶד toward us!
Come into my life as I surrender my all to You (John 15).

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.”
– 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus Your heart breaks for those who are reading this

that know that they are under attack…
Yet refuse to be honest before You in complete vulnerability and abandon!
Fear
Worry
Anxiety
Doubt
Insecurity
Right now there are those reading this who know that You offer
“life to the full” (John 10:10),
yet they fail to arise and trust You and obey Your promptings that daily visit them.
There is someone reading this that know that you’ve called them to abandon comfort and home and trust you in the great unknown…
Yet fear is holding them back.

JESUS MAY YOUR חֶסֶד FAR OUTWEIGH OUR FAILURE TO TRUST AND ABIDE IN YOUR STILL, PEACEFUL, AND HEALING PRESENCE
THAT YOU PROMISE WILL ONLY COME THROUGH YOU 

Jesus, break through our hearts and overwhelm us with Your חֶסֶד
We are nothing without You and we pray that we draw a line in the sand in this moment and choose You over all of our fear, worry, sin, doubt, or questions that haunts our hearts.
You asked the sick man in John 5
“Do you want to be healed…? (John 5:6)
Jesus, thank you that healing comes through trust and surrender to your חֶסֶד
and is only a breath away!!

May this moment
be a holy moment
where Your חֶסֶד far outweighs our refusal to arise, trust, and obey You Lord.

“Jesus said to them again,
Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me,
even so 
I am sending you.”
– John 21:21
… You are building Your kingdom in us
Brick By Brick
Moment By Moment
Day By Day.
No matter where we roam…
Regardless of where we are,
or what we do
“Beloved, I am building you day by day…
My חֶסֶד has no end toward you.”

“As You come to Him,
a Living Stone…
You yourselves, like
living stones,
are being built up 
as a spiritual house.”
– 1 Peter 2:4-5

-J

Lyrics: Here

To Miss The Forest For The Trees …

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the big picture…

img_4333

“Okay guys, it’s time to go to sleep…”

I remember saying this to a cabin of five middle schoolers
that hours ago I met for the first time.
Even to this day,
it never ceases to amaze me how funnier things are when it’s time to go to bed
…and you are in middle school.

It was the night of September 7th, 2012 and I was twenty-three days into life away from home and a freshman in college.
I was eighteen years old and I remember days before feeling slightly in over my head when I was asked to help lead one of my professor’s overnight youth retreat for their church; yet, despite my anxiety,
I was extremely honored to have been asked to be a leader at the retreat!
I didn’t want to disappoint…

“… Guys, come on… time to go to sleep! Got a big day tomorrow.”

I had no choice but to become a little more assertive after another half an hour came and went and still the five rowdy middle schoolers continued to laugh and whisper among themselves….
However;
I had no idea that the Lord would teach me so much in the hours to come.

As I laid in my bunk, I remember being upset with myself for forgetting bed sheets and a pillow (which surprisingly, still happens to this day);
nevertheless, despite my self annoyance at my lack of preparation and the kid’s chatter that was now growing even louder
One, quiet, question kept coming to my mind.
Regardless of the growing noise, this quiet, yet probing, question somehow crept between my current desire for sleep & peace and traveled to the forefront of my focus:

“What is it that you are looking to accomplish during this retreat Jonah? 

A good question, I thought.
“Well…”
I remember taking some time to think it over to myself,
“… Goodness, Lord…
I just want them to feel safe, have fun,
but ultimately draw closer to You!”

“Well…
What will do that more?

Forcing sleep,
Or surrendering this moment to Me?
Listen
The opportunity to accomplish what you desire is all around you …
The big picture will make sense of the present canvas”

At that moment, I sprung out of bed and flipped on the lights…

“Guys… that’s it!
I’ve told you SO many times to quiet down, you’ve given me no other choice!!

“…”

I can never forget that silence,
even now as I write this I can’t help but have a smile on my face!

Those closest to me?
Have probably heard this story at least once before;
However, stay with me…

I’m not a scary youth leader,

But, may I add…
To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen kids that looked like they just got sentenced to years of hard labor like what I saw after flipping on the lights!
I’m pretty sure at least one of them stopped breathing.

“Alright guys… seriously, I have NO idea what to do!
I have no other option…
everyone out of their bunk!”
In what seemed like only a couple of seconds…
the kids rushed down swiftly,
probably thinking to theirselves:

“Well, I guess that’s it! We are for SURE going home…!”

Secretly?
I was laughing on the inside despite my attempt to appear frustrated
“Well…
What should I do about this?!”

I said to them still trying to keep a straight face.

After some period of silence…
One brave soul declared,
“We are sorry Mr. Jonah…

We will go to sleep, I PROMISE!”

Long story short?
No one went home that night…
Far from it.
We actually stayed up all night
Wrestling, laughing, telling stories,
and talked A LOT about Jesus.
In one short night, It truly was incredible to see the growth we had as a group.
Growth that can still be seen to this day!
To this day each of the kids in my cabin,
(who are much, much, older now)
hold a very special place in my heart
and visa versa.

This was a picture of us all after that night.

IMG_1215.jpg

This picture is special to me,
because it reminds me of the importance of focusing on the big picture REGARDLESS of the present circumstances.
That night I learned,

The big picture will always make sense of the present canvas….

… Oh how easy it is to miss the forest for the trees.


“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,”
says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
– Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:21-24)

Even though that story is slightly funny,
can I be honest…?
Daily I miss the big picture.
It’s easy to relate with Jeremiah when it seems that daily you are under attack after attack
and hope seems like a foreign lullaby…
It’s so easy to get so wrapped up in what each day brings
that anxiety, worry, fear, or doubt is a part in someway of our daily operations.
There is a very popular saying that maybe you’ve heard before that states:
“Hindsight is always 20/20”
Goodness…
It’s crazy how true that is!
“Focus on the BIG picture.
Focus on the BIG Picture!”
I know for me?
I remember hearing this a lot growing up
It always is easier to make 
sense of what “was” when it no longer what “is”

I look back on pictures like the one that was taken after that night and I think how different everything would have been the next morning if I didn’t see the bigger picture RIGHT in front of me the whole time!
And it wasn’t a need for sleep …

But it would be wrong to not be upfront concerning what the picture DOESN’T show…
What that picture doesn’t show… ?
Is me going back to my dorm

and sleeping through my whole Saturday…
What that picture doesn’t show is being crunched for time getting my work done,
because I missed a whole day to get things done…
What that picture doesn’t show is the surrender and sacrifices that had to be made…

but the biggest thing that the picture doesn’t show?
Almost 5 years later the ripple effect for one simple surrender and sacrifice that was almost lost because of my desire for sleep…

Maybe your surrender?
Maybe your sacrifice?
… is much, much bigger.
Maybe your surrender?
Maybe your sacrifice?
… is much, much more complex…

Maybe it’s a struggle to forgive someone that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a struggle to forgive yourself that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s the struggles of others that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a grief that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s an unmet desire or need that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a financial strain that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a worry of being 
inadequate that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s the loneliness of solitude that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s the loneliness of a new land that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a dependence on something that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s something that you are refusing to surrender that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a fear of not having a safety that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a haunting lack of integrity that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s an overwhelming sense that you don’t have it all together that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a hurt that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s a refusal to reach out for help that clouds your focus
Maybe it’s the endless constant reminders of a pain that clouds your focus
Regardless of whatever clouds your focus,
what can we focus on to re-calibrate?!

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
– Paul, Romans 12:2

In all of the daily demands for my focus WHAT is the big picture though God!!
I’m so tired of daily waking up feeling all of this is MEANINGLESS! I’m so tired of it all… my heart is restless!
What do I get for all my hard work day in and day out?!
NOTHING!!
NOTHING CHANGES!!
I feel like the wind that just blows in circles,
and I can’t describe how meaningless everything feels God!
No matter WHAT I see,
No matter what pleasure I pursue
I’M NEVER SATISFIED!
(Ecclesiastes 1:1-12)

LORD!!
Where is contentment!?
Jesus, I know that your Scripture calls us to
have joy “in ALL troubles” (James 1:2)
and to “be content in ALL things” (Philippians 4:11)
and You PROMISE that Your “strength and grace is made PERFECT in our weakness”
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
But WHAT is the big picture!?

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 4:7

I KNOW what Paul says in Romans 12:2
But what does the big picture have to do with what He says in Romans 12:1?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters,
I PLEAD with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.
Let them be a living and holy sacrifice— that is acceptable to Him.
This is truly the way to worship him.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
– Paul, Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

That’s how it feels sometimes right…?!
Kinda like you are crying out…?
Lord, help us not miss the forest for the trees…
HELP US SEE that every day is literally a war zone for our focus,
HELP US FOCUS ON YOU JESUS… the Big Picture in everything!!
Help us make changes happen in our lives that needs to happen,
Help the forgiveness that needs to occur to occur,
Help us surrender our needs to and trust You to use us for Your purpose,
Like Solomon in Ecclesiastes that cried out and declared
“EVERYTHING is meaningless!” (1:1-12)
May we come to His same conclusion until we surrender to the same big picture that He eventually did at the end of his writing found in Ecclesiastes 12:13…

To be in awe of You God and obey You through surrender to Jesus and submission in relationship with You through learning who You are and Your terms for our relationship. 

Oh heavy heart, may we rest easy tonight
bowing down not to our present circumstances,
but surrendering to the one who can USE the present circumstances to grow us and grow others closer to a deeper walk and understanding of our Sustainer, Savior, and Creator.

Whatever we focus on will only grow and grow and grow…
MAY WE FOCUS ON YOU ALONE!

Like You taught me that night in 2012 Lord,

The big picture will always make sense of the present canvas….

Help us not miss the forest for the trees.

“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,”
says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in Him.”
– Jeremiah (Lamentations 3:21-24)

J

Lyrics: Click Here

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
– Paul, Philippians 4:8

img_4333

Broken Heart

Brushing my teeth,
I gaze into the mirror in front of me
as what seems like thousands
upon thousands
of thoughts bounce back to me…
… some of these thoughts are welcomed,
and some are not…
However,
regardless of how welcomed they are,
I can’t help but think…
I am thinking alone again

As I continue looking in front of me as I brush my teeth,
I am confronted with a reality that comes to me in waves…
I am confronted with a reality that I try my hardest to ignore
a reality with the persistence of a telemarketer…
I am confronted with the fact…

I am broken…

broken-heartWhen you see me, I’m still breathing
Though a million things have died inside of me
But there’s no healing without grieving
No wonder why it’s hard to rest in peace
– Jason Gray, “Death Without a Funeral”

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:14

Before I explain this brokenness,
It is really important for me to clarify that there is a very fine line between sharing one’s brokenness, and reaching out for pity;
therefore, please understand that I truly am not seeking pity…
I am simply reaching out of a deep conviction to bring into the Light,
the varying pains & darkness
that I feel so many,
including myself,
hide or brush aside.

My identity is not found in my current emotional status,

My identity is not even found in my ability to articulate it,

My identity is found in who my Creator says I am.

I also feel that it is really important to add that brokenness comes in many different ways and forms, and I would be ignorant to ignore that there are many reading right now that feels absolutely broken in the core of their being.
Many reading right now feels absolutely no hope.
Many reading right now feels lost.
Many reading right now has or is contemplating suicide.
Many reading right now can not even feel anything at all

I feel it is important to be transparent about our brokenness while also inviting one another to be transparent…
Our brokenness may vary,
but there is a common thread in it all…
We all are broken in some way
And many hide this brokenness out of fear of addressing it.
A hope truly does exist;
However, brokenness still exists.

From the bottom of my being,
I ask those who are broken…
in any way… shape, or form…
to grant me just a little your heart and your time while you are here reading this

For me though?
My brokenness doesn’t take away my ability to run…
My brokenness doesn’t take away my ability to laugh…
My brokenness doesn’t take away my ability to smile…
My brokenness doesn’t take away my ability to love…
My brokenness doesn’t define me…
Your brokenness doesn’t have to define you…
But we must be open and honest:
Our brokenness is real.


Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
– Psalm 139:23-24

Father,
I’m so tired of this brokenness…
I feel so shattered in so many ways!!
Can I be unapologetically honest with You?
I know that You care for our anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23-24)…
I know that You call us to come to You like children (Matthew 18:1-5),
and I can’t help but be that child, especially in this moment…
Lord, I truly feel that my heart has been shattered throughout the years
and what is left is pieces…
If what is left is pieces of a broken heart?
I BEG YOU to cradle the pieces of that heart as I am honest with You!

He says,
“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

Father,
My heart still breaks over my parents divorce.
I still see so clearly those hard nights at 16 and I still relive the brokenness it brought…
The same brokenness which You used to lead me to You.
I break over seeing the rubble of “what was” every time I go home,
I break knowing that I can NEVER get back the time that was squandered over petty stuff!
I break over seeing pictures of my father and my mother when they were my age …
And only You know the times I break when I look into the mirror and see them in me.
This is not because I am embarrassed of them, or upset at them,
I am beyond blessed with the incredible parents You have given me!
But I break wondering if they ever thought at my age all that they would go through…
Seeing them age breaks my heart.

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

Father,
You know how I am terrified to be honest about this…
But I beg for Grace right now and mercy for the others who have or is walking through the pain of a broken off engagement.
My heart still breaks every time I relive that evening by the river where I got on one knee, shaking in fear, and asked her to marry me…
You know the countless times that I’ve been haunted by the thought that after everything we went through, it wasn’t enough…
I break over every compromise and failed promise I made to her,
I break over every compromise and failed promise I made to You!
Only You know that to this day I still am absolutely confused and broken from the whole thing Father…
I am still broken over the fact that I lost one of my closest friends and even now I have to fight the urge to call her even though I know Your Way is perfect…
My heart breaks at the distance and confusion.

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

Even though I can say with ABSOLUTE conviction Your mercies truly are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23),
and I know that in my weakness Your Grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9),
my heart still feels broken!!
I truly am thankful in this confusion and brokenness,
and to this day You are & have been restoring me piece by piece,
yet I still need You to stay close to me!
Sustainer, sustain and come close to me in the way that only You can!

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

Father,
I also can’t hide the fact that my heart breaks over my mentor and dear friend that has been battling clinical depression since birth, and I am blown away that regardless of his depression… I see so much of You in him!
My heart breaks over those around me that question their beauty & identity in You Creator,
and I’m so tired of seeing the blind leading the blind and because of the blind they push away those who truly seek after You.
It BREAKS my heart seeking so many around me that You LOVE reject the abundant life that only You offer (John 10:10).
My heart breaks over the countless divorces right now and I’m so SICK of it Father!!
I’m so tired of seeing the weeping of those around me, speechless and bleeding out!
My heart is broken over those who faithfully seek you walk through hell and back through false accusations that threaten their image and character.
My heart is broken over my friend whose mental health is failing her,
and the families struggling to stay together!
My heart is broken over the mothers and fathers who RIGHT NOW are grieving over their children,
Jesus hold us close to You!!

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

Father,
My heart breaks for the families of the martyrs that day by day give their life. My heart breaks over the countless deaths that for so many come like a thief in the night! My heart breaks over the grieving hearts that feel as if the pain is relentlessly stalking them no matter when or where they go!
I break over my sin that put You on the cross that You so willingly embraced!
I break over our sin that makes us RUN away from You EVEN though You are the epitome of the Love we long and look far and wide for!!
I break over the endless times I desire to follow You in obedience,
yet I surrender to the altar of self!
Jesus, You forgave us when we had NO idea what we were doing (Luke 23:24)
and my heart breaks over Your Grace that You give us, and give me each second!
May we be broken for Your Grace that we can NEVER deserve or earn!
Come close to us Father!! COME CLOSE TO US!!!

Jesus then said,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30

You blow my mind…

You absolutely blow my mind Jesus.

You were broken…
For me.
For us.
Yet, You still call us to come to You.
May we not hide behind our brokenness anymore…
Though we break,
May we break knowing who we are,
May we break knowing WHO’S we are.

You don’t ask us to hide our broken hearts,
But instead You ask us to be broken, real, and raw at Your feet alone.
… Not at the feet of pity,
… Not at the feet of others,
… Not at the feet of fear,
But at the feet of the Savior… of our Sustainer.
Forgive me for breaking down everywhere else but in Your presence.
Take my broken heart…
Take our broken heart…
… and give the broken hearts rest tonight

Brushing my teeth,
I gaze into the mirror in front of me
as what seems like thousands
upon thousands
of thoughts bounce back…
… some of these thoughts are welcomed,
and some are not…
However,
regardless of how welcomed they are,
I can’t hide the fact that my thoughts try to tell me that I am alone…

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
– Psalm 46:10

As I continue looking in front of me as I brush my teeth,
I am confronted with a reality that comes to me in waves…
I am confronted with a reality that I try my hardest to ignore
a reality with the persistence of a telemarketer…
… I realize,

I am broken…
… But that’s okay.

Regardless of my brokenness Jesus,
I vow to take this broken heart and offer it on the altar of an identity found in You.
Use my brokenness to point others toward You.
You alone give us hope that never changes.
You alone will make me whole.

J

 

*If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts,

You are beautiful
You are loved
You are safe
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
THERE IS HOPE
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and are standing by to talk and listen:
The Lifeline is available for everyone, is free, and confidential 24/7: 
1-800-273-8255
Click Here To Visit the Website Now

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.”
– Romans 8:26-28

But Jesus said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

– Exodus 14:14

Lyrics: Click Here