What Are You Doing?

Have you ever thought “What are these Christians talking about! I have tried everything to grow closer to God and my life doesn’t seem to get better.” You aren’t alone, I think if you ask anyone who has had any growth in their faith they will have been there at some point or another. Sometimes, doubt creates an opportunity for God to show Himself.

God has really used the times in my life when I have had doubt to challenge me and create opportunities for growth. There was a time in my life when I looked up to someone as a leader in my life, and when he began to talk to me about faith and life I took his words as gospel. That is until those people in my life who I admired for their faith and wisdom started to speak the real truth into my life. This caused me to have doubts, I wasn’t sure who or what to believe. However, through this doubting, God opened a door. He made a way for me to discover the truth, squash my doubt and grow closer to Him. I began to earnestly read the Bible in search of specific answers, I turned to those people that I knew had spoken wisdom into my life in the past, and searched tried and true resources on the internet, books and of course in the Bible for answers. When I actively searched for the answers to my doubt, God took that opportunity to grow my faith, reassure me, and give me the truth.

So my question to you is: What is it about your faith or God that you doubt? Once you can clearly identify the “issue” it becomes easier to address it. If you just say I don’t understand Christianity, or I don’t believe in God, that isn’t clear. What don’t you understand, what don’t you believe about God? These are the questions we need clarity on so we can address them. If you know what the doubt is, then you can begin to search out answers. There are so many resources available to us, and the biggest one is the Bible.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Seek out the truth that is the Word of God and put a stop to the doubt in your heart so you can begin to grow!

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15

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Falling Down… Time to Get Back Up

I have shared this part of my story with a number of people, but not a large majority of people.

Over the past 4 years, I have been on a journey; this journey has not been easy and still isn’t always easy. A lot of the story has only been revealed to me over the last year.

Let’s start in 2014. This is when my life started to change, I think a good place to start is my education. In 2014 the CGA, CMA and CA designations decided to unite under the new designation CPA. Well, I was a student in the CGA program, and when we (me and other students) tried to get information regarding the transition, we were met with answers of we aren’t sure what will all happen, just keep taking courses so that they can transfer. For some reason that I’m not even sure of this really affected me and I began to feel extremely discouraged. I kept taking courses as suggested, but the motivation was gone, and discouragement had taken over. I failed 3 courses in a row. When you are already discouraged, this does nothing but make your self-esteem drop. Let it be known, that I am not trying to blame CGA or CPA for anything, it was just a trigger.

That summer I stopped taking courses, and began to seclude myself, and start up bad old habits like a porn addiction I thought was dealt with. Satan knew my weaknesses and exploited every single one of them. Over the next 2 years, I would find myself sinking lower and lower into this pit.

The next attack came in late 2015/early 2016 when I began to obsess about my body image. I knew I was overweight, and with the added pressure of society constantly showing what the ideal male body should look like I decided I needed to change, not for God, but for me. So my new year’s resolution for 2016 was that I would stop eating sweets for 6 months. It worked! I lost 30lbs by the time my Brothers wedding came around. However, even though I looked healthy on the outside, I was not healthy mentally or spiritually. Looking back, I can remember that on a regular basis (maybe once a week) I would think about driving my car full speed into a hydro pole. I never thought of myself as suicidal and wasn’t even aware I was doing it on a regular basis, until afterward. Living life to be healthy for the sake of being healthy is not ok. Living life to follow God is the only way.

This would be the lesson I would re-learn over the course of 2017. Through all of this, I was still involved in youth ministry and Sunday school, but I had begun to distance myself from the Sunday morning service. I would use excuses like “I was too tired” or “I would watch a sermon at home”. These were lies I was telling myself and others. What was really going on was subconsciously I was too afraid to face those around me that would probably be the ones who could help me. One day though I got caught. As I was leaving Church one Sunday, I got a text from Autumn Dueck, the youth pastor at the time. It read something like “Which Church are you going to?” I replied, “I’m actually going home, I had a long weekend.”. A LIE! But man was this a wake-up call. Later that afternoon I sent an honest response, explaining things as I saw them at that time (my eyes have since been opened to seeing so much more of my story). Starting that week I made a commitment to myself. Be more intentional! I started attending church weekly, with the intention of learning. I started greeting people and actually having conversations and opening up. It has made a tremendous change in my life.

I know now that this was a valley I had to go through to re-ignite my passion for Jesus, Church, people and youth ministry. I’m not perfect and I still make mistakes (secluding myself on occasion) but things are still going up!

Two verses that have really been my internal anthem over 2017 are Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 103 (the whole chapter). I am so thankful for the people that have challenged me and encouraged me through this time, and for an amazing church family. Can I end with a few prayer requests? Please pray that I stay strong in my faith and continue to seek Jesus every day, pray for wisdom as I mentor youth over the next 4 years, and finally for endurance to continue to be intentional every chance I get.

Thanks for reading, this has been a very hard story to write (I had planned to post this months ago)

 

Jordan

Worship

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Worship is an integral part of the Christian faith. There are a large number of verses in the Bible that in some way tell us to worship/praise God. My favourite verse is actually one of these. “Praise the LORD, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name” Psalm 103:1 (KJV). For the longest time I had a very shallow vision of what worship was, I had always assumed that worship was when we sang praise and worship songs at youth, Sunday school, church, etc. It wasn’t until probably grade 10 or 11 that I realized that there was so much more to it than that.

Our Father wants us to worship Him because he provides, is watching over us, created us, and an endless amount of other reasons. Just like there is an endless amount of things to praise God for, there are almost as many ways to worship him. To name just a few prayer (1 Chronicles 29:10), Singing (James 5:13), and reading the Bible. I have always “struggled” with prayer, I struggle to say what I need to, but what I have come to realize these last 2 years is that the times I struggled to come up with the right words were the times that I was farthest away from Jesus. God knows exactly what is going on in our lives, and he has no need to hear our prayers, but he chooses to listen to our pleas and praise, because he wants to comfort us and wants us to know that he is always there.

God knows that we as humans will not always want to worship Him, because we don’t see the bigger picture and when trials and tribulations come our way we get angry, sad, depressed, etc. So what has He told us to do? He says Lament. Lament is defined in the dictionary as “to express sorrow, mourning, or regret”. God wants to here our sorrows, our pain, our anger, our frustration, etc. As I said above, He knows what is going on, He wants us to cry out to Him so that we can become closer to Him.

I want to encourage you to try a new form of worship or one that maybe you haven’t done in a while. For example if you haven’t served someone in a while try that, or if you don’t take time out of your day to read the Bible read a chapter a day for the next week. Jesus wants a relationship with us and relationships are not one sided, we can not expect Jesus to do everything for us if we are not willing to get into the thick of it and make a commitment to spend time with Him. Hopefully by serving you will learn something new about yourself, about Jesus and about your relationship with Him.

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