Monday, November 1, 2010
First, let me apologize for "falling off the map."
Second, let me assure you that I have not been thrown into a volcano or eaten by a shark. Unfortunately, I haven't even had the opportunity to see either. I have however, been bitten by an angry fish on my maiden snorkeling adventure in the Pacific Ocean!
I can't believe that we are already in week 4! It seems like I just got here yesterday, but each day I get out of bed I'm reminded that this is still just the beginning. During week one, we heard from a big Hawaiian named Ben. I walked into class on Monday morning with the mindset of "Step on my toes if it brings me closer to God, because I'm into God and I can survive without toes." Ben's message was on "The Father Heart of God." He told us that we are in a battle between two fathers; the father of lies and the father of light. We also learned that the capacity to receive all that God wants for us will require vulnerability and boldness, and the ability to give that away come from the ability to receive. At this point in the week, my toes were still intact and all was well with my soul.
As i began to process all of what Ben the Hawaiian I started to ask myself what it meant to be vulnerable and how it looked to be bold in that vulnerability. Naturally I began to wonder "Is this place safe? Are these people really safe?" I found myself in a beautiful place... Exposed and vulnerable before a mighty and sovereign God... Terrified because every shred of personal protection was down, but calm because the Father's hand is gentle. The shelter I had been working so hard to build for myself was being broken piece by piece, opening me up to the elements. In a place like this your first instinct is to keep just a shred of shelter... something to hide behind in moments of weakness... but then I am not going to receive the extent of what God has for me because I am not truly vulnerable.
I Cor 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can
stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can
Ben taught us to "be legit in where you are, and God will meet you there." This meant that it is ok to say "Hey God... This is tough and I don't quite understand or agree with all of it, but if I have to have my toes broken in order to get closer to you...please stomp with all your might!" If I never walk again, at least I'll be closer to God.
So yah... That's week one... I know I told you that we're already in week 4 and so much more has happened but, with the intensity of what we're learning, it has taken me this long to process stuff from the first week. So please keep praying and checking back for more updates!
I miss you all and would love to hear from you! I also love getting mail! "Hint Hint ;)"
University of the Nations
75-5851 Kuakini Highway
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740-2199
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Every once in awhile we all do something good. From time to time, we all catch just a glimpse of who we were meant to be. Maybe you say something inspirational. . . or you have the opportunity to help someone that had no idea how they were going to accomplish a certain goal. . . Maybe it is the time you simply find patience in a situation where you would normally explode. It could be when you find yourself lost in a moment and didn't realize you had tears in your eyes. . . or that time you found the compassion you’ve been in search of for years, or you find yourself grateful to God for no reason at all. . . For just a moment. . . and in that moment, you get a just a glimpse of why God made you.
It is in these moments that an overwhelming feeling comes over us. It is in these moments that we cannot shake the feeling that there is so much more to life than we realize. The feeling that we can, in fact, be better. In these moments, I have to acknowledge that there is a God. . .and it is NOT ME. You see, I am not my handy work, and it is not up to me to make myself into who I am supposed to be. God is all the while guiding the process of bringing me to my fullest potential as a follower of Christ. He has many tools and is in no hurry.
From time to time I get caught up in the thoughts of “If I were a better person...” or “If I only read the Bible more…” or “If (insert situation here) had worked out differently, then I would be closer to what God intended for my life.” All the while missing countless opportunities to enjoy my creator and his endless grace. I find myself trying so hard to live up to expectations and qualifications, and fail to realize that the expectations I’m trying so hard to live up to…are none other than my own. My life is not my project… It’s God’s… And today is the day that He is beginning a new work in me. Today is the day that I’m embarking on a journey of change. . . of discovery. . . of transformation.
Today is the day that I take a step closer to being who God intended me to be!
Yes. . . Today is the day! I wish I could say that I got to bed early so I would be rested for today, but that would be a lie! As I laid in bed last night, I just couldn’t get to sleep… Thoughts of what may face me on the journey ahead raced through my mind. I tried my hardest to come up with every scenario I could think of, but found it impossible to shake the feeling that nothing in my imagination will compare to what is actually around the corner. It’s so bizarre when I look back on life. If someone told me even 3 years ago that I’d be sitting on a plane on September 28th 2010…. On my way to a place called YWAM to spend 12 weeks learning more about God before spending another 12 weeks traveling foreign countries sharing the love that I am just now learning to receive, I would have called you crazy! But… here I am… on a plane over the ocean. . . on my way to the beginning of the journey of a lifetime!
If you’re reading this, you probably know a little bit about what is going on in my life. It has been so amazing to sit back and watch the Lord work in me as I began to prepare for the chance to abandon my comfort zone and dive into the unknown. I’ll admit that I’ve had my days where I wondered if I was listening correctly when I felt the Lord calling me to YWAM, but I’ll also rejoice in the fact that over the past month, as my fears and concerns grew, God has continued to show up in the most surprising ways. I had my idea of how it would all play out until now, but I was pleasantly wrong. I thought that if God wanted this for me he would make it easy. . . that the support would POUR in… and I wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. But what I’m realizing is that God is not only showing up and hanging out, but he is also speaking to me and assuring me that the journey may not be painless… but that He’ll be hanging out with me along the way.
Friday, August 6, 2010
This week was my very last week in my apartment. I finally got everything moved out and stored most of my stuff in a 5’x5’ storage unit. Who knew that Jon Hatton, the king of collecting junk, could fit all of his stuff in a 5’x5’ room? I bet I threw away 20 trash bags of stuff. In fact, I know it was at least 20, because I used an entire box. Moving makes you realize just how much junk you have that you don’t really need or use.
With the move, I disconnected my internet and packed up my computer. When I got home last night I checked my email and found my official acceptance letter to YWAM! So yes… It’s official… I have been accepted to the Justice DTS Lecture Phase of YWAM. Starting in September, I’ll have the opportunity to be taught by the mothers and fathers of world missions, who God has been using to build His kingdom all over the earth. This portion of the YWAM Journey will cover 12 weeks. When this part is over, we’ll spend the next 12 weeks targeting areas of poverty and injustice in both Asia and Africa. We may be working in an orphanage in Cambodia, digging wells in Mozambique, working with the trafficked and sexually abused women in Thailand, or caring for street children in India. The possibilities are endless!
So, why have I decided to take such an extreme leap? Over the past year or so, I’ve realized that I am my own biggest fan. It’s a humbling experience when you confide in your friends about your concerns with your own ego, and they agree that you have become one of the most self-absorbed people they know. I’ve gotten really good at putting myself first and that’s not ok. YWAM had been on my radar for awhile and the more I looked into it, the more I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to be part of something much bigger than myself. When Jesus spent time with his disciples, he told them that in order to find life they first had to lose it.
I understand that losing your life isn’t the “American Dream,” but right now, I want nothing more than to know what it means to die to myself in order to find true life. I want to experience life in Christ in a way that I’ve never imagined! The Justice DTS is designed for those who refuse to stand on the sidelines and observe the atrocities of the world. It is for the adventurous in spirit, the compassionate at heart, and those who desire for their lives to really make a difference!
If you feel like God is speaking to you through this post and would like to consider partnering with me in ministry and joining me on this mission, there is a “donate” button on the right side of this page. YWAM is a support-based ministry, therefore its participants are required to raise their own support. First and foremost, I only want to strive for what the Lord has for me. If you are considering making a donation, please take some time to pray and hear from the Lord what amount to give.
Thank you in advance to anyone who is called to join me financially or through prayer!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I think it may rain soon, but I’m not quite sure. The windows here are tented and I can’t tell if the sun is shining or if the clouds are holding him hostage. Either way, I’m comfy because I have my coffee, music and a soft couch to keep me safe. There isn’t anyone else in the coffee shop right now but that’s ok because I’m not really hear to talk. I’m just here…and as the fans softly encourage the surrounding air to move across the room, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like to move without reservation at the slightest nudge from the Holy Spirit. To possess that sort of freedom… that sort of fearlessness… would erase the limits we force upon ourselves with the need for security or stability. Is there not security in flowing with ease; caught in the rhythm and melody of Christ? Is there no stability in feeling the movement and allowing yourself to let go of the things in this world, only to cling to Him as He draws you closer?
As of today, YWAM is almost exactly 2 months away. I’m supposed to be out of my apartment by August 5th and I’m trying really hard to get everything packed up. This morning I had the chance to worship with the staff of Love89.1FM through painting. They invited me in to be part of their meeting and it was such a blessing being there. I was able to share my story and tell them where I am in my journey.If you’re finding this blog from the Love89.1FM Facebook page…Welcome!
As far as support goes, each day a little more comes in and I am slowly creeping forward. Of the almost $15,000 needed, we are around 1/5th of the way there with little time left. I am currently trying to land a job painting a 40’X13’ mural in Arkansas before I leave. Please pray that the clients like the art I have sent them and give the green light to move forward with the project.
Also, I’d like to thank everyone who has already committed to pray for me throughout the duration of my YWAM journey and thank you in advance for those of you that are praying into how you may be able to help.
God Bless You All!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
As I'm sitting still, I'm humbled by the thought that God is getting ready to use me for something much larger than myself. Every moment marks another step closer to the edge of the mountain. With every step, anxiety builds and my heart begins race... Will I have what it takes to jump? It seems that this question has been dominant in my thoughts lately and the verse that has brought tears to my eyes is "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight." The very first word in that passage, Proverbs 3:5-6, stops me in my tracks right now!
TRUST...Why, as a Christian, do I find that word so hard to grasp at times? Right now, I think it's because I am running out of time and have barely made a dent in what it's going to take to make YWAM a reality. In my limited human knowledge, I don't have enough time and I don't know enough people that are willing to help. And while I know that God is in control of everything, it is very hard for me to let go of it and trust Him do His thing. What happens if September comes and I've raised enough money to go, but have not sold my car to eliminate that payment? Will I be willing to drive it to Honda and walk away? That would put a voluntary REPO on my credit, but isn't that about TRUST? Am I willing to trust that God will still provide 6 months later when I'm finished with YWAM and need a car and a place to live? We are called to "lean not on our own understanding" and "in all our ways acknowledge him."
Please pray that I will learn to trust in God more each day, and that he will continually reveal himself to me in ways I hadn't expected.
So, a couple weeks ago I had the privilege of traveling to Arkadelphia, Arkansas to be a part of Super Summer Arkansas 2010. SS started back in the 80's and has been going strong for years! I have had the honor of staffing there almost every summer since 2001, and this year I was able to use the creative gifts God has given me to help emphasize the corporate worship setting. This form of worship is not new by any means, but it has allowed me to express my love for God in a way I had never dreamed. Check out this video from the camp!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
When I was little, we had this old sprinkler. You know, the kind that goes back and forth sending about 100 little streams of water in a perfect arch across the lawn? Yes, that's the one! I can remember running back and forth through that cheap sprinkler all day! We would pretend we were invincible and whatever was coming out of that sprinkler (dihydrogen monoxide - H2O), could somehow take that super power away leaving us helpless against the attacks from "The Enemy," also known as "mom". . .and "dad."
Time passed and I eventually forgot about the excitement hidden within water coming out of the aluminum and plastic contraption that eventually got stepped on and became useless. As I grew older I began to immerse myself in much more expensive and more complex forms of entertainment. Movie Theaters, The Latest Game Systems, Nice Cars and Computers. These are the things that, over time, have come to hold my attention. These are the things that only months ago, I would have scribbled onto a list if someone had asked what I couldn't live without. And, unfortunately, these are the things that today. . .right this moment. . .are holding me where I am, possibly keeping me from moving forward.
In July of 2009, I started selling windows for Andersen Windows in Knoxville, TN. About 3 months into it, the timing chain in my car BROKE and beat everything in the engine to a pit. When I finally found a way to get it to the shop, the mechanic called me hours later with crippling news. It was going to cost almost $2,000 to fix my car. After telling him that I just couldn't afford to fix it, I hung up the phone... defeated... Luckily he was willing to let it sit in his lot until I could figure out what to do with my 2003 Honda "Paperweight."
I began calling around and quickly found a loner vehicle to use so i could begin working extra hours to earn the money to fix the car. However, there wasn't as much luck finding someone to come move it. A week went by... The end of the second week was quickly approaching... I knew i had to figure something out quickly. I decided to call the shop and find out just how long they would let my car sit until they had to dispose of it. To my surprise the man on the other end of the line informed me that my car had been fixed, and that someone had dropped off a check to cover the expenses! I didn't know what to do or say...so I graciously accepted the generosity and drove my car home the next day. This is just one of the many times in my life that God has provided above and beyond what I could ever expect! A few months later, the newly repaired car develops an appetite for burning oil very quickly and I decide to sell and get a newer vehicle to get me to my window selling appointments. With the purchase I acquired a newer set of shiny wheels along with a pretty hefty monthly payment. But I've got a good paying job right?
Well, in January I was offered job with a non-profit called "Z-Foundation." They are an organization that produces media for missionaries and other non-profits around the world. This wasn't just any job to put on the list of the many positions I've held over the years. You see, Z-Foundation doesn't really have many employees because they cannot afford to pay full time staff. The interesting thing about this opportunity was that someone actually called Shawn, the president, and offered to pay my salary if they would hire me. After praying about it, I really felt like this decision would be the beginning of the next chapter in my life. This was an opportunity i couldn't pass up so I said goodbye to the window business, and hello to the new adventure called "Z-Foundation."
After the tragic loss of their son Zach Weimer, Shawn and Sally Weimer started the Z-Foundation in his name. It's aim was to provide opportunities for families to serve together, because Zach loved serving the Lord...especially with his family. With Shawn's background in media, a new avenue of ministry opened up and they began creating digital and print media for different ministries and non-profits around Knoxville and surrounding areas. This is where I enter the scene. I was hired to help Shawn develop the media portion of Z-Foundation. In my first few months I created and reworked several videos and graphics they had not been able to get to because of the busyness of planning service opportunities for the number of families looking for the chance to serve the Lord. In the midst of planning, serving and creating, the Weimers were also in the process of helping their daughter, Kelly, get ready for YWAM (Youth With a Mission).
YWAM is the largest missionary training ministry in the world, with an international base in Kona, Hawaii. Participants of YWAM spend three months in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with emphasis in different areas, and are immediately sent into the mission field for another 3 months to use the skills they gained during their the DTS. When Kelly had been there only a few weeks she called us with exciting stories of the things she had learned and what God had been showing her in the time she was spending in His word and around His people. After 3 months, Kelly found herself in a remote jungle in Brazil. When she finally finds civilization and a way to contact us, her face was glowing like she had been spending time at the feet of Christ. It was amazing and I began to long for the chance to meet God in such an intense way. After much wise council, prayer and research I began to realize just how selfish and comfortable I had become. When even my closest friends agreed that I had a really bad case of "But I'm Jon Hatton" syndrome, I knew something had to be done. I made the decision to begin preparing for my own YWAM journey because I knew it would force me to put things other than myself on the top of the list. I began to grow tired of sitting on the sidelines watching others do radical things for Christ and decided I wanted to be part of His movement.
On September 29, I will be getting onto a plane directed at the International YWAM base in Kona, Hawaii. While there I will be part of the "JUSTICE DTS," a DTS focused on heartbreaking injustices in both Asia and Africa. After the 3 month training, we will travel overseas to reach people involved in and affected by Human trafficking, child soldiers, genocide, poverty, living on the street and AIDS. In order to make this trip a reality I have to raise almost $15,000 to cover the expenses involved in travel, training, room and board. Along with the 15k, I also need to sell my nice shiny car that I owe more than $18,000 on, because I won't be able to make payments on it while I'm involved in YWAM. When I get back from YWAM I won't have a job waiting on me, so there is no way I can pay for it when that part of my journey is finished.
At the moment, I am in the process of listing most of my belongings, including my car, on "Craigslist" with hopes of doing nothing more than breaking even on the Honda. Blue book retail value is $17,500, so I'm hoping God will send someone to either write a check for what I owe or take over payments. If nothing happens by the middle of September, I'm pretty sure I'm prepared to drop it off at Honda with the keys and accept a "Voluntary Repo" on my credit. Right now, I'm praying that I don't have to do that, but I know that I have to do what it takes to follow God's call on my life, even if it isn't how I would write the story.
What I'm beginning to realize is that the things I once found glorious and desirable aren't bringing the joy they once did. The pretty car and nice belongings I wanted so much are now the very things holding me where I stand. I used to walk down the sidewalk in my neighborhood watching the cars fly by wishing I had something better. I used to be jealous of my friends because of the toys and gadgets they had. Now... I would give anything to tear that sidewalk out of the picture, leaving no place to stand.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Today... I sit here terrified... But I've never felt so alive! From what I've heard, this moment could be compared to skydiving. Thirteen thousand feet up and plunging toward the ground at 120 miles per hour. What a rush! A feeling of exileration bordering panic. Adrenaline pumping through your body. The incredible sense of floating on nothing. Meanwhile, you see the earth as never before, amazingly cool and soft-edged and peaceful for something that's pulling you closer with enough speed to break every bone in your body on impact. However, before getting this far, before this experience could even begin. . . there was something else that had to be done. You had to to jump out of the plane. Everything I've heard about the experience of Skydiving. . .I'm feeling right now. Feeling paralyzed at the open door as the wind ripples your jumpsuit. The butterflies throwing a party in your stomach. Everything inside you screaming, Are you crazy? Don't do this! You're an idiot! The icy surge of fear. After all, it's totally unnatural to step out of an airplane door and fall into nothing. It's totally unnatural to move hours away from your family with no idea how you are going to survive. But without it, without stepping down and out, there'd be no exhilaration of the skydive, no rush of aliveness in the freedom of the beautiful blue sky. . . This is reality whether I accept it or not: To Get Real Life, You First Have to Loose It!