Sunday, August 31, 2008


I don't usually title blogs by an adjective of my condition, it is usually a summary of what is being said. But right now...I'm getting the typical down-syndrome that I commonly fall into. I don't think I'm the only one...

Life confuses me. Or maybe it's God that confuses me. I just don't get why I feel like crap half the time for no reason. I had a great morning! I was with all my friends in church! Maybe it's deeper the fact that even though I was with all my friends, I wasn't quite 'with' all of them...and though I was in church worshiping God, it was more of a routine redundancy than praise. It just sucks when I get like this though...because what starts so innocently can become so much bigger than it should be, far too quickly. I came home, and because of this state that I'm in, soon became very rude towards my mom. And I couldn't resolve it. So it keeps getting worse. This is my life. And when it's like this it sucks.

But here's where I start listening to what I'm saying and realize that I'm making a big deal out of nothing. And the music in the background slowly chips away at my old rusty coat of used epidermis so I can be new again. It's pretty simple, but it is powerful.

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.
The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.

I'm so unworthy. But still God loves me.

Reading back over the first part of what I wrote, I can really attest to both the power of God and the power of Satan. Because what I literally am getting out of as I type is definitely some oppression from the devil...and God's power is shown strong through it, in that He just pulled me out of the hole easier than I thought possible. haha this is awesome! I know it is God, and it feels amazing!!! I can worship now!

I really want God. And not the emotions attached with it. I am gonna confess something I realized this morning...I'm seeking things God gives a lot more than God himself. A heck of a lot more, really. And I don't realize most of the time that those things (awesome experiences in worship, joy or maybe more happiness, aah...I could name a lot more but my mind is going blank) are just byproducts of seeking God. It's all a matter of keeping my eyes on Jesus. Even when He's blessing me with a lot of other stuff.

Maker of the universe, broken for the sins of the earth.
All because of Your love...because of your cross my debt is paid.
Because of your blood my sins are washed away. Now all of my life I freely give. Because of your love I live.

Think about the cross...a lot of people get saved because they know Jesus died for them and they want heaven. Not hell. It's pretty basic. But when that becomes the point of the salvation (or maybe rather remains the point of the salvation) then people will turn to other things because they got what they wanted. But if they are to focus their eyes on Jesus and really learn how awesome He is, then they would have a relationship with Him and they'd get what they really wanted. That's what I want. A whole lot of Jesus.

Now, after that little detour let me say what I was gonna say before all that came to me - that now that I'm in a spirit of Joy and worship and I'm right with God again, since he pulled me out of satan's trap, everything looks way different. I just saw a simple picture here on the internet of a girl amidst children in africa and I was blown away by the beauty that lay therein. How amazing is our God that when He is with us he can make everything beautiful. We truly are blind. And when we are worshiping Him, walking in the spirit, that's the ONLY time we can see clearly. That is truth. Absolute. Don't take it as it is, understand that it's the only way. The ONLY time we can see clearly in life is when we're walking in the spirit.

The fullness of your grace is here with me. The richness of your beauty is all I see. The brightness of your glory has arrived. In your presence God, I'm completely satisfied. For you, I sing, I dance, I rejoice in this divine romance. I lift my heart and my hands to show my love...

good stuff.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hillsong United Conference Day 2

What an incredible day. It started with "Your Name High", led by Jad Gilles (who is an exceptional worship leader!), and a slightly different group of people on the worship team...including Matt Crocker and Dylan Thomas. It was an amazing morning worship service. I was pleasantly surprised at how long every worship set was. Like for the first morning, they played at least 5 or so songs, followed by some announcements and then more songs. Brian Houston then spoke about taking your talents, or simply things in this world, and using them for the Glory of God. He used the analogy of the donkey Jesus rode on into Jerusalem, saying how the owners thought they owned this young, unexperienced donkey (like music to the world) but when Jesus was placed onto the donkey, it became something with value, purpose, and significance. Brian was very pirate-ish and super energetic/jolly. FANTASTIC! When he finished we had a lot more worship before a half hour break. Then, Joel Houston spoke about social was very moving. I definitely felt the Lord tugging on my life to giving away more of my fincances...but all the specifics are tentative and I'll need to pray into it all. Then we had lunch break. I stayed in the auditorium to hear about Hillsong International Leadership College, which honestly sounds pretty promising and very appealing. It's only $4000 a year or less...

Next we ate chick-fil-a on site and moved on to the 2 workshop sessions.

#1 that I went to was songwriting, with Brooke Ligertwood (formerly Fraser :)) and Joel Timothy Houston - very helpful. And then I stayed for "building a healthy worship" team, during the second session, and it was awesome. I have a ton of respect for the United crew after that. Then, we waited FOREVER for the night service to start. They opened the doors about a half an hour late. When the service finally commenced, they began with The Time Has Come, as well as a lot of other songs before the message started. Awesome awesome worship. Crishan (new youth pastor of Hillsong) delivered an amazing message, which was composed of video and almost was crazy. But I didn't experience it. I freaking fell asleep towards the beginning and Josh didn't wake me up until the very end. The bright side was that I woke up to the first song of the night's worship - How He Loves. It was phenomenal. Annie, the girl singer with United, has an amazing voice, and that song just was SO powerful! From that song on, the night was a blur of dancing, joy, flailing, and WORSHIP. And it was FANTASTIC. My highlights were, 1. when Brooke Ligertwood was singing You'll Come, and on the bridge where it says "Chains be broken, lives be healed, eyes be opened, Christ is revealed" she just went off about how this was intercession and it was us releasing things in heaven, and we sang it for a LONG time, and Brooke just started jumping around and yelling at the top of her lungs...then everyone cut out but the drummer, Brandon, who just did a sort of drum solo as we sung that part over and over again, 2. immediately following that when Joel led Shout Unto God, and they completely ROCKED...and everyone was going nuts, jumping and spinning around and screaming like crazy. The presence of God. Eventually they sang "With Everything". It was awesome. But I was sad that the conference was over...until they started You Deserve again, and had many more fast paced worship songs to go crazy in worship in until Joel finally ended the conference by singing Solution. It was all amazing. And I'm excited to play on wednesday now. That whole conference, particularly that last night of worship where I just felt a connection with the band and everyone else in the room as the spirit of God fell on us, is going to be a night that I won't ever forget. It was some of the most intense and some of the most intimate worship I've ever experienced. Praise God!!! We got all 10 sessions of the conference on I'll be sharing those a lot I reckon. Especially with Rick and the other youth pastors..and then the songwriting and worship team ones with Brenton and JK. It was all really rich teaching. Hopefully I'll get a few pictures soon. And hopefully Josh will add his freaking videos to facebook...though he probably won't because he's lazy sometimes. But I'm believing God that he will! haha

Hillsong United Conference Night 1

I write this from our Hilton hotel in Houston. It's across the street from NASA and our 8th story window looks out over a big lake/ it's pretty sweet. There is just no wi-fi here, which is why I'm using a pen and not a keyboard to write this (until now!). We drove to Waco and Houston, picked up tickets at the will call...and heard Joel Houston and the band practicing "With Everything". It was one of those moments where we all just stood there for a while and really kind of realized that the guys are right there...and we're hearing them live. It got us all pretty excited too. We then checked into our hotel, then went back to Grace Community Church and waited inside for a while. The halls were packed full of people as we waited for the doors to open. When they did, we entered into the HUGE 10,000 seat auditorium and sat down. When I got up to walk around, I found myself sort of starstruck left and right. Dylan Thomas passed me as I walked by Leeland's reserved section where Leeland's brother sat, talking to a couple fans. In the lobby, Matt Crocker was selling merch. I was half surprised no one recognized him and tried to talk to him. But, expectations rose the longer we waited in the auditorium. I couldn't wait any longer. Finally the lights dimmed as a video began playing on the three screens...the lights completely blew everyone away. The whole backdrop was completely made up of individual LED lights (a program called soft LED) that made the most amazing looking patterns. The video spoke of the lost and the lonely and how we are all one in christ, ending with the huge i-heart heart onstage turning red, red lights at the base of the projector screens "pulsing" like a heartbeat, and the entire backdrop lighting up as veins pumping blood to the heart. It was an incredible display. This is when United came onstage and began playing You Deserve, which rocked my toms off, and would have rocked socks off too had I been wearing some. Jonathan Dougless went crazy, and words can't fully describe how amazing United was live. The lights only complemented the intense, powerful worship being exuded from the stage. More amazing was the fact that as soon as they started playing, the spirit immediately and totally convicted me of areas in my life where I've been running from God, or just been too tangled in sin to escape. Places I haven't seen before as well as areas I've been well aware of. And along with this came a perfect peace that replaced shame and guilt and allowed me to truly worship and experience God for the first time in at least a week. From then on the experience was purely God...getting to glorify Him with my favorite musicians through my favorite songs. When Phil Dooley, former youth pastor of United, spoke, he further confirmed God's freedom in my life. The message was about how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead despite preconceptions, or inconveniences, or discomforts that other people had (he stinketh much!). We finished with more worship that was both free and joyful. I can't wait to see what happens from a whole day of this if only a single service has already raised me from the dead in more than one area of my life. I am a new person, and I want change. Big change, and big stages. That's my calling.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hillsong's eve

I'm up too late right now, considering that I'm having to get up at 7ish in the morning to get in the car and drive to houston. But I'm perfectly fine with that.

I think that I have an addiction to hillsong. I think that I am biased to certain bands and types of music due to my insane appreciation (i.e. love) of the music behind the songwriting of Joel Houston and Marty Sampson and Matt Crocker...and all the others. I mean, if you were to listen to the backing track (instrumentals, no singing) version of All of the Above, you would be blown away by the complexity and depth and creativity that goes into every part of every song. But thinking back to when I was just beginning to play guitar in a band and sort of shape my sound, I was heavily influenced by hillsong, much more than any other band, artist, group, whatever you want to call them. Michael Guy Chislett, a former guitarist of Hillsong, now guitarist of "The Academy Is..." is my biggest role model as far as tone and style of play goes. But even Joel Houston, though he doesn't play electric primarily, is a huge influence, and I admire his character; most of all his songwriting. So this weekend is gonna be a lot of Jesus...but also a lot of me being kinda starstruck. which I'm totally fine with :)

Anyhoo, since I know that this weekend is gonna be ridiculously amazing and life changing, I want to remember it all, and not forget a thing - which is why I'm planning on writing a bunch during it and after and before. I want to remember the whole experience and be able to kind of track God's movement in me. So expect a lot of new stuff here...not that there already hasn't been.

I am excited, but I know I'm not as excited as I should be. I don't think it's quite hit me yet...the whole thing. But I can't wait, and I'm expecting heaps from God...we'll just have to see what exactly happens!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why I'm tired of people

Many people that I've talked to recently may be wondering why I have been telling them about how I'm sick of people...I think I just realized a piece of it, and it's so simple.

The first thing I wanna say though is what I have told people in the first place. Basically, I've been feelin kinda down for a while...and it's mainly because I'm a bit sick of people. I don't know exactly why, but the thing is, I'm sick of it. The problem is that everyone has really really selfish intentions for everything they do. I'm not immune, just to put a disclaimer out there. But I guess as soon as I started seeing more and more the intentions behind actions, I realize the depth of our fall. A large portion of my frustration is that I'm growing tired of my friends basing their actions (where they go, who they hang out with, what they do during an evening, who they talk to) on a certain person of the opposite sex. Again, I'm not innocent of this, but to see it for what it is is very eye opening. And one thing I saw in that tonight is that behaving in this manner subsequently, even subconciously sometimes, affects how one acts towards other friends. And it's all really fake.

Anyhow, the simple thing I realized tonight is that simply we are all insanely selfish. And it's a problem. But no one wants to confront others about their issues because of the fear that we're gonna be seen as intrusive or socially awkward. And so from this comes a nasty routine of bending one's wants and needs to a certain person, and even blurring the lines of friendship in order to get what one wants. And everyone has this problem, even the strongest of us.

What if we all became more transparent - what if we answered questions straight, without hiding anything, any intentions, any uncomfortable facts. And what if we were willing to ask really hard or awkward questions, and not water things down or shy away from what needs to be done?

God has really been teaching and showing me lately the benefits that lie with being single, or I guess He's rather been proving to me that what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 is true. Paul is right. There are a LOT of advantages to being unmarried (single) and not that many disadvantages (if you're not being tempted sexually). I think that having my attentions fully towards pleasing God, if they remain so, can be a HUGE advantage for this school year, particularly the first semester.

But man, are we selfish. So selfish. Think if we could change. What if we could be more like Christ?

Surely we can change.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last days of summer

Well, today is Wednesday, August 20th, and I have only today and tomorrow until my summer days are over. Friday morning I leave to go to the hillsong conference (which I can't wait for!!!) and we'll get back sunday afternoon/evening. I have several things to get done by then, too, so I'm feeling semi stressed. I want to go to the business meeting tonight at beltway, get my hair cut, do student council stuff tomorrow morning, meet with Nathan Langlitz, work on a SLAM video Jacob Moore wants to do today, and finish working on the house; that's just some of the stuff I'm thinking of right now...

But there's more than that, also. I want to, in a way, let my life and my heart be purified before school starts. If my heart was a piece of pottery, I've been undergoing serious work for several months, but I've also taken time during those months to take matters into my own hands and basically shatter it on the ground....and then God has to pick it back up, and fix it, and work on it even more. That's where I feel I'm at right now. And change needs to happen. So I'm praying for God to simply place me on his potter's wheel and to keep molding me...I can't really ask for much else.

The main thing for me right now is making the most of these last days of freedom. I want to have some amazing JESUS memories before I start the next season...let's make that happen.

Hopefully I can have some time while we're in houston to sum up the two days of the hillsong conference, but that all depends on the amount of time I'll have to access a computer. But that's my plan anyways.

By the way, I just got Needtobreathe's debut album Daylight, and what can I say...I like it.

A clean slate...

Hello friends. Welcome to my blog.

I have 'blogged' extensively through facebook before now, and I thought about maybe posting my old stuff, but then I thought that this can be a sort of clean slate for me. I'll just start today on here. So this is real, this is me, this is new, and it's gonna be good. real good.