Love Dare – Day 36

Challenge: Read the Bible everyday.

Though I hate to say it, this is not something that I’m doing every single day. I read it often, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. So to help my chances, I went to Bible Gateway (an online Bible with many versions and translations), and I signed up for daily scripture readings. Ahhhhh, the power of the Internet.

Now all I have to do is check and read my email everyday, and that might be the real root of the challenge! Maybe it’s time that I invest in a new pocket Bible too.

Love Dare – Day 24

Holy Moly! It was another heavy day to do a love dare challenge. Today’s challenge was to remove every lustful object or pursuit from your life. The first thing that comes to mind for most people is anything related to pornography or adulterous relationships. However, this dare went beyond that and called for the removal of anything that generates a feeling of lust, jealousy, or covetousness.  Examples could include jealously wanting the Maserati driving down the road, or coveting the prestigious career that someone else has achieved.

Unfortunately, I live in a place where money is worshipped, power is highly sought after, and high-end  possessions abound. Furthermore, Hong Kong has plenty of partying, and one-night stands are very commonplace. This love dare could easily spiral out of control.

Fortunately, I am grounded in my relationship with Christ, and He has no problem with humbling me and keeping me content with my circumstances. Furthermore, I have a wife that is amazing and beautiful in so many ways. This love dare shouldn’t be too bad after all.

First things first. I need to address the physical and mental lust regarding women. I’m doing well in that I don’t have any adulterous relationships in my life. Also, I’ve pretty much dominated the battle with pornography. It was an ongoing struggle for a portion of my life, but has been starved and shut down for quite some time.

On the other hand, I still have difficulty with the daily mental battle. Between media, advertising, and the many beautiful women walking around each day, I have my work cut out for me! I’ve learned some techniques (like “bouncing the eyes”) over the years from books like Every Man’s Battle, but I need to keep practicing. I think it will only be with the Holy Spirit working to change my heart that I will truly overcome the mental lust that is so hard to root out. I’m praying for this at this moment.

Actually, that was all the really needed addressing. Though I have career goals and always enjoy the latest technological toy, I am very content with my lot in life. There’s always room to grow and some tending to the creeping weeds of jealousy, but I think I can say this area of lust is kept at bay.

I’ve reflected upon this love dare, but since I still need to tend to the ongoing mental battle, I’ll consider this love dare mostly accomplished.

Channeling Frustrations

Some days, weeks, or even months can be filled with challenges and frustrations. That’s why it’s important to have a good outlet or two or 14. Today, I accessed them all.

I’m very thankful for all my outlets. This post is dedicated to them:

  • Jesus – “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
  • My wife – You are amazing and a God-send. Thank you for your listening ear and encouraging words
  • My accountability partner – For agreeing to pray for me regularly
  • Good friends – That put up with my ranting and raving and also listen to me and provide good advice
  • The HK Youth workers – Thank you for praying over the Island ECC staff today. So many of you are also tons of fun (especially that intense foosball game today!)
  • The Witthoft family – You are good friends, ideal mentors, and extremely gracious

Prayer Warriors

Now if only I were healthy enough to play ultimate frisbee at this time… I would have used that outlet too!

Make haste, O God, to deliver me! 
   O LORD, make haste to help me! 
Let them be put to shame and confusion 
   who seek my life! 
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor 
   who delight in my hurt! 
Let them turn back because of their shame 
   who say, “Aha, Aha!”

  May all who seek you 
   rejoice and be glad in you! 
May those who love your salvation 
   say evermore, “God is great!”

Psalm 70:1-4

Growing Pains

It was pointed out that my current job is not regularly utilizing, stretching, or growing my natural talents or gifts. I’m doing a good job with what I’ve been given, but I could be used for so much more.

'gifts' photo (c) 2009, Rupert Ganzer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/I didn’t want to dwell on the negatives, so I starting thinking of the ways that I’ve been growing and stretching since I started this job. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I’ve been given lots of opportunities to practice patience
  • I’m learning to submit to authority way more frequently
  • My video and media skills have improved, even though there’s a long way to go in that area
  • I’m more organized than usual

Though I question God about many things all the time, I know I’m not one to contend with Him in the long run. He’s got a plan greater than what I can see. Nevertheless, I have a few questions: Am I supposed to be a youth pastor? If so, is it supposed to be at Island ECC? Are the things I’m learning worth the things I’ve sacrificed? Is my church job supposed to help put my teaching career in perspective? Hopefully I’ll learn the answers to these questions sooner than later. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to trust God as much as possible.