Journey Update: The New Year & Loving More

This past year has been one of the busiest and chaotic years to date. As you might know, my monthly posting schedule has been completely thrown out during December. Working a theme park is fun, but working during the holidays and as a new ride opens, it started to become more like hell for a few weeks. Kind of a fitting way to end a chaotic year with a bit more chaos on top. I’ve learned to adapt very quick over this year. It began with me not having my main youth pastor job, and my dearest Danielle and I searching for what was next. With an open door and a need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we made the move down to Orlando for Danielle’s Disney College Program. While job searching, I found myself processing a lot of hurts, my pastoring position wasn’t just a job; I had invested in the lives of a ton of students, so when I was let go, I didn’t really know what to do.

I didn’t belong, and I felt like I was letting those students down or abandoning them.

It felt like my purpose was pulled away, I had gotten wrapped up in a place and lost sight that no matter where God had me, I had purpose.

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Kill Your Fear, You’ll Feel Better

Here we go. It’s time to light those fall scented candles and watch Beetlejuice; it’s officially autumn. One of my favorite things to do during this time, is write about horror movies and Jesus. Yes, strange combo I know, but it’s been an October tradition for me since forever. As you can see from my blog name, I am quite the fan of b-movies. The term comes from the old nickelodeons that would have an “a” movie, that was the big one people came to see, and the “b” movie, the second flick that had a little more of a low budget. Now, why am I talking about it, I think we can learn from anything, and movies teach me so much.

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“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

Psalm 23:2-3

This past week I went to Asheville with a close friend of mine. It was a small excursion for a couple of days, a much-needed time away to recharge and get away for just a moment. We walked around downtown searching for a taco shop (I mean, it was taco Tuesday), poked around some comic shops and other art stores. It was awesome, I have a hard time simply relaxing and not working on something. I am always working, if not at my jobs, it’s my writing or some other project. The idea of rest is something difficult for me because I have always had to work in order to get where I need to be. It was a blast to have no agenda, to look at books, and find some Fantastic Four back issues I’ve been searching for (issues 347-349, yo!). We then decided to take a small drive on the Blue Ridge and see some mountains.

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Let’s All Be Weird

I’ll never forget the first time I read a comic book. My dad and I were at my grandparents’ house, where he found an old box of comics that he had as a kid. The first one I read was The Amazing Spider-Man #132, “The Molten Man Strikes Again!” Pretty exciting stuff. I remember reading that and loving it, Spider-Man was a hero who stood up for people even when he faced terrifying villains (even though we’ll probably never see Molten Man in a movie). From this moment I knew I wanted to stand up for people, wanted to reach others for the kingdom of God. My parents always showed my sister and I the power of God in their lives, which in turn we were able to see the power of God in our own lives. In my life I have learned to view the world through this lens, a lens that says I can be a hero and that I can make a difference. That’s not normal, that’s weird.

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There’s really nothing better than a good hero story. Well, maybe it’s not your favorite, you may like a good thriller or romance story, but for me, hero stories are the ones that speak to me on a deeper level. In all stories with a hero, there is a person who finds themselves with a calling over their life. They have a past which has prepared their heart for what is to come, and because of that past, they feel a need for something higher. Then there is a catalyst, the moment when our individual gains new power. The radioactive spider bites the hand, the farm boy gains the lightsaber, and the slave girl volunteers to enter the death games. For whatever reason, our heroes are chosen to live for something greater, they are chosen to stand for the world they live in. The same is true in our lives. The world we live in is filled with sin, we are a fallen people. There are things that are happening each day that aren’t right, we use our words to tear each other down and we belittle others if they are not up to the same imaginary standard that we try to achieve. We become so focused on self-image rather than looking at those who are hurting around us, but we have a choice. There is always a choice. We have all been chosen. We have been called to do something higher, we have a purpose and that purpose can change the world.

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Airplane Reflections

I love flying in planes. Something about it is so therapeutic, giving me a chance to simply sit back and reflect. Right now it is Christmas day and I am flying with my family up to Wisconsin to visit my grandparents. Wisconsin is fun because it’s cold and filled with cheese (I mean, what’s better than that?!). The past month I wrote about self-image and knowing the worth we all have in Christ. Last week my post was called, So Worth Loving, which was the climax of the series (check it out if you haven’t yet). This week I want to conclude this idea, giving the reasons why I wrote about this topic and share some of my heart with you. Reflecting is a word which here means looking back on where I’ve come from to see how God has moved in all things. That’s the truth in it, in all things that happen in our lives, God has orchestrated that to cultivate us into stronger people. We are all strong people. We have all been through some of the toughest times in life, and we have made it through these chaotic storms. Each of our lives is a story. Our story is a picture of what we have been through and where we are headed. The thing we need to remember is that the creator of the universe is in every piece of our story. We have been made in his image and he has given us the ability to write our stories because of that.

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The Power of Words

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27

The past few weeks I’ve been writing to you about your self-worth. I’ve been writing because I feel like you needed to hear life giving words. You see, there is power in words. Words can build us up or tear us down, they possess so much potential but are rarely used to their full power. We are created by a God who spoke the universe into existence, one who sent his son to die on the cross for each of us, and while he was on the cross defeated death when he said, “It is finished.” Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Our words are a powerful tool that we all wield. I think we need to reclaim this weapon. We have all felt the sting of what happens when others use this to hurt us, to tear our hearts open and cause so much pain. The past two weeks I have been writing about the fact that we are all made in the image of God, and we are so worth loving. We must believe this fact, we must believe that God created us for so much more. We are greater than what the world tries to say we are, we are made for a purpose. We are made to build up the kingdom, so we must use the power of our words to accomplish the mission.

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A Guide for What Happens Now

“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”

-1 Peter 2:21

A lot of crazy stuff happens in life. That should be its’ definition, a bunch of crazy stuff that comes up and you have to face. It can be difficult, like really difficult. We have heartache, pain, loss, and countless other factors that can change our lives. The first step in all of it is to trust God, but often we are left with one question. Now what? What happens when we make that choice to follow God, what am I supposed to do? This is a question that I think we all must come to terms with at some point in our walks. Whether you have just made a decision to follow God or have been following him for what seems like ages, we all must come face to face with this question. Because here’s the truth, when you make the decision to follow Christ, he wants all of you. He doesn’t just want you on Sunday mornings or in some Instagram post of your quiet time, he wants you. Last week I wrote a piece about the love note that God has written to each of us, and this week I want to share the guide map that he has laid out for us to follow.

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Faith for the Real World

One of my favorite things to do is watch campy b-movies (in case you couldn’t already tell with the title of this blog already!). It always makes me laugh, especially while watching with friends. While having dinner with a few of my old roommates we were joking around about this movie that we had kept seeing clips from, some direct to video stuff. The movie’s premise was showing the dangers of playing dungeons and dragons, and in it you see a comical caricature of Christians. The movie looks ridiculous, but that got me thinking (not about the danger of D&D, because it’s just a game, silly), but it got me thinking about what a real world faith truly looks like. You see, there are so many misconceptions of what having a relationship with God is truly like, and many people are turned off by some of the types of people that claim to have a relationship. A relationship with Christ is one of the most incredible and real things. What that means is that you have acknowledged that you’re a sinner, which creates a disconnect from God, but God sent his son to bridge that gap. His death and resurrection allows us to enter into a relationship with him, it is a relationship that is real and raw. A relationship with Christ isn’t some legalistic or holier-than-thou type of thing, it is an authentic walk with Christ.

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Surrendering for Something Greater

We are made for something greater. It’s an inherent aspect of our very being, we want to do and be more than someone who simply exists. One of the biggest questions we ask is, why am I here? My Pastor yesterday spoke about this idea stating, the reason we feel this way is because we were not made for this world. He’s right, we were made for a different world. The concept sounds like I’m writing a comic book, but stick with me. We were made to live in paradise with Christ, but because of a choice that was made, we became separated from God. Isn’t that so crazy? We were made to be perfect living in the world God gave us, but because of a choice we lost it. So that leaves us in the predicament, we were made for something more, but how do we do that? What does that mean? What’s the point? I’ve had these questions so many times in my life, so many moments where I have no idea what to do or how to run after a purpose. When I have these moments in my life, I think of the idea of surrender. To surrender one’s life is to abandon oneself entirely to a powerful emotion or influence. When I think of this definition, it reminds me that when I surrender to Christ, he makes me greater.

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