Oh, the places you'll go!

Today began as a depressing Saturday filled with homework that I must get done today in order to focus whole-heartedly tomorrow on studying for a Biblical Literature test that I will be taking on Monday.  That thing is gunna kick my butt and stand over me and insult me in English, Hebrew, and Greek.  Studying with this very-real outcome imminent is not going to be fun tomorrow, but I’ll make due!

This is going to be a very long post I imagine, as I am sitting in the Student Union here at Taylor University with nothing in particular to write about, but simply the purpose of writing for writing’s sake.  There will most likely be nothing profound, but simply thoughts or ideas that come to my head as I write. Feel free to stop reading whenever you’d like!

This “writing fever” began today when I was doing the assigned reading for my Intro. to Creative Writing class.  I was assigned to read about the impact image and voice have on the art of creative writing.  I think this creative writing class is the only class in which I have ever enjoyed the textbook reading.  I am most definitely keeping that textbook.  I almost enjoy reading about writing as I enjoy writing itself.  But anyway, reading all of that about image and voice really inspired me to write today, not to incorporate those two things necessarily, but just to write in general.  (It didn’t help that I was listening to Michael Bublé while I was reading about writing.  And Michael Bublé’s relationship with my writing goes alllllllll the way back to my first ever blog post on any site, seen here.  Apparently I was listening to his cover of “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

While I was reading about writing, I was thinking (how about all of those -INGs there?), “Maybe I should back up all of my blog posts in case either of the web sites they are hosted on get shut down one day…”  So, this afternoon, I decided to start all the way back at that first blog post back in my sophomore year of high school on LiveJournal, and copy and paste every blog post I have ever written into many, many Microsoft Word documents and keep them all in a nifty little folder called, “Writings.”  So now, after browsing through all of my old blog posts, starting over three years ago, I now I have all of them on file, should anything happen to the sites they are hosted on.

This venture through time was incredible.  I loved going back through and reading all of my blog posts starting on December 29, 2006.  As much as I love writing here for Fall Write in Love (thanks again Ross and Scotty), and as much as it has done for me, nothing I write will ever top my old posts from my ChefSnackyCakes days.  I love reading those posts and the comments attached to them more than anything I have ever written.  I was spiritually young, and physically young, but I love the random thoughts, and the analogies in particular, I used to post for a max of three readers and now seeing that, at last check, the FWIL Facebook group is up to 1,044 members is crazy.  Reading all of those old posts, up to the present, made me remember, wonder, and chuckle about the things I have experienced the past three years.  It allowed me to see how much I have learned and how much I have changed both in knowledge and writing style.  It was really cool.  The days when I wrote of comparing Jesus to a meningitis shot and choosing him in kickball were good ones, and I miss them dearly.

When I sat down here, about 10 minutes ago, to write about this fun time I had today, one phrase came to mind as the title, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”  I wasn’t sure why that thought first came to mind, but it actually works quite well with my thoughts on this journey through time I have had today.  Reading those old posts allowed me to see the places I’ve went, and what I’ve done with my time here spent!   (Sorry, getting in that Dr. Seuss mode… I think I’m going to start writing some Seuss-esque stuff, it’s a real joy).  I noticed something very extraordinary (meaning odd, not awesome) in looking through my blogs.  The last post I posted to LiveJournal was October 20, 2007, and my first post on FWIL was on June 5, 2008.  That means, that after October 20th, I didn’t blog at all my junior year of high school.  I found that very interesting, and I’m not quite sure why I never did.  I was probably so busy with work and school.  But it was surprising to say the least.

I think I’m going to start writing my first lengthy work.  I love all of this blog posting and will most certainly continue, but I want to start writing a story.  A really long, drawn out story in which I can use vivid images, unique voice, and of course, my favorite, a lot of analogies.  This story will be told from the first person point of view of the main character.  I already have the content of the story in my head, in my memories.  I will take these experiences and memories and retell them in a creative way with characters and a lot of creativity.  I’m really excited to begin thinking of the ways I can present this narrative.  I’m not sure when I will start writing it, but it will be my summer project.  I will probably start it before then, and I am already beginning to assign characters and think of writing styles.

I won’t let you-who-has-courageously-read-this-post-all-the-way-down-to-here walk away empty-handed after reading all of this!  I am willing to share an interesting thing I learned in my Biblical Literature class on Friday!

On Friday, in Bib Lit, we were learning about various geographical and archeological themes in the Old Testament that all deal with the idea of literary competency.  Literary competency is basically knowing the context (time, geography, culture, language, etc) in which the literature you are studying was written.  So, Dr. Smith got on the topic of YHWH (Yahweh).  Dr. Smith taught us that יהוה (YHWH) was written in the OT as God’s name, as my name is Chris.  However, the Hebrew scribes didn’t use vowels, so that Hebrew is YHWH.  Well, the folks reading this OT in Hebrew were taught to not say YHWH or יהוה at all because they were not to say it in vain, so they figure they may as well just cut it out completely.  So they started using the word “Adonai” (אֲדֹנָי) which means “lord” or “master.”  This word did not exclusively mean God, but any lord or master.  So, because YHWH (יהוה) was too sacred, and because Adonai (אֲדֹנָי) was too vague, they took consonants from the word YHWH and the vowels from the word Adonai, and combined them to make the word “Jehovah” (יְהֹוָה).  This word was to be meant for reading purposes only, so that the readers of the OT knew what was being written.  It was never meant to be vocalized as Jehovah.  So really, the word Jehovah, is a non-sensical term.  Now, obviously, we aren’t going to rip our clothes and pray for forgiveness anytime we sing some old hymn with the word Jehovah in it — it’s not heretical or anything.  It just wasn’t meant to be used in the vocalized form.  I found that rather interesting!

Oh, the places you’ll go!  :)  It’s amazing where God takes us, how he gets us there, and what we do about it.  I really hate ending this post, but I leave you with one of my favorite excerpts of the great Dr. Seuss in his poem/story, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

Have a good day.  Be well.  Pursue Christ.

-Chris

Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.

Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

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Truly giving EVERYTHING over to Christ

Hey guys.  Since I realized what it meant to truly be a Christian, I have been in the process of giving EVERYTHING over to Christ.

I started by giving over my future pursuits.

I used to want to be a businessperson, working in technology because it interested me and paid really well.  I wanted to be a national sports journalist, I wanted to be a lawyer, senator, maybe even President of the United States.  I wanted to be so many things that I found enjoyment in, paid well, and helped me make a name for myself.  I gave up some of those pursuits willingly, and about the others, well, Christ arranged circumstances that prevented me from pursuing the others that I still wanted.

I wanted everything I wanted, oh, and Jesus too.

I decided to pursue a degree in English Education with a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) licensure because not only would I be incorporating passions of mine (writing and teaching) but I can use this degree in many ways to further Christ’s kingdom that were not possible in other professions I formerly wished to pursue.  I can be a part of an ESL (English as a Second Language) program in my hometown, I can teach English in high school and still have plenty of time to devote to my church, I can even do an ESL mission’s program if God chose to use me in that way.  All of these profession-possibilities present many opportunities for ministry, possibilities that I did not have as the foundation of my pursuit of other professions.

It was difficult to give up my dreams,  but I knew that Christ would bless my mindset change.

That was all during my senior year of high school while trying to decide what major to choose.

Now, I am trying to give of other wants of mine to Christ:  the lifestyle I want to live, where I want to live, and other parts of my future plans that I would like to see come to fruition.  I have all these details of my future that I see as important, and that the world sees important, that I need to let go of if I want to truly, completely surrender my life to Christ.

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”  —Luke 14:33

I do not take the approach to verses such as these that some do, thinking we must sell every possession and be homeless in order to serve Christ most effectively.  However, I do believe that we must know that we are not our own.  We were bought for a price, we are slaves to Christ Jesus.  However, slaves are not paid.  I see my payment as eternal life with Christ, the best payment anyone could have ever asked for.

“You mean all I have to do is serve Christ and give him everything in order to live eternally with the most sovereign, holy Being in the entire universe?!”

Well, yes, but it’s not that easy.  I encourage you to examine the motives behind every action you take and goal you pursue.  Are what you say and do founded on the idea that Christ is what is most important?  I know that many of the things I want for my future and actions I take are not for Christ’s glory.  They are too often to fulfill desires of my heart, not His heart.

I have written about this topic before, but, how do we make our desires and the desires of Christ line up?

“Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will
give you the desires of your heart.”  —Psalm 37:3-4

Martin Luther said, “Love God and do whatever you want.”  This is a simple, true statement about how to pursue our life’s desires.  If you truly love God, your desires will not only be fulfilling your heart’s wants, but also, they will be best for the glorification of Christ and his kingdom.

I know I have rabbit-trailed a bit here, but again, I encourage you to continually find things you can give over to Christ.  Things that may be hindering you from pursuing Him most effectively.  These can be actual physical possessions, thoughts, agendas, or goals.  Anything that you think about so often that Christ loses authority and priority in your life NEEDS TO BE THROWN OUT!

He will bless this.  Because if you truly begin to love Christ above all else, and want what is best for him, some of those things you loved may be returned to you.  Maybe what you wanted so much isn’t bad in itself, it just wasn’t right for the time for you to be pursuing it, or pursuing it so passionately.

Pursue Christ passionately above all else.

Following are the lyrics to one of my favorite worship songs.  Give everything over to Christ, know that He is what is most important.

-Chris

None But Jesus, Hillsong United

In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that you are God
In the secret of your presence
I know there I am restored
When you call I won’t refuse
Each new day, again I’ll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know you’re sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do your will
When you call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord
Forevermore