What a trip I had with my friend Preston and his cousin Chase. The Day after Christmas we hit the slopes of Beech Mountain in Banner Elk, NC for a great day of Snowboarding. I had never snowboarded before, I am typically a skier, however Preston wanted to snowboard so we ditched the skies. Snowboarding is a blast, but learning is painful! HAHA! Nobody broke any bones, but we all left sore.. We did not take any lesson, but went to the top of the mountain and figured it out as we went. I eventually figured it out how to stay upright, and overall had a great 7 hours of Skiing. We were having such a great time, we did not even stop to take a lunch.. If I had to do it again I am not sure whether I would Ski or Snowboard? Both are a blast!! I hope you enjoy the pictures.
We arrived at 8:30 ready to hit the slopes at 9:00.. We were some of the first ones on the Mountain.
First Ride to the Top of the Mountain, No time for the bunny slopes.
The best part of getting there to Ski in the Morning, hardly NO LINES.
Friday, Sept 19, I attended the Sixth Annual Festival of voices. The choirs were phenomenal. I was so very amazed at how well individuals can sing.. I didn't catch any of that talent, but I am so very glad these students did.. Most of the choirs consisted of High School Students from around the region. Performed were, Farragut High, Brentwood High, Franklin High, Mount Juliet High, and the Tennessee Tech Concert and Chorale choir. Songs included, Vere Languores Nostros, The Road Home, Sure on This Shining Night, Tango to Evora, Frozen Choral Suite, Hard Times Come Again No More, Prayer of the Children, Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal, and Fix you by Cold Play.. What a Crazy mix of Songs!!! At the End all the Choirs came together to collectively sing The Pasture, and How Can I Keep From Singing... The Collective Group was directed bu Dr. Karen Kennedy... I would describe the entire night as soothing and culturing.. It was also great to see some of the individuals who are involved in Campus Outreach perform.
8:58 is a rally put on by Campus Outreach, which hosts tons of fun and is centered around a Gospel presentation. This rally was on my second day on staff with the organization Campus Outreach, and it really gave me a good sense of what we are trying to accomplish. We want to have the most fun, with the most people, and share the most truth.. This particular Tuesday night 8:58 was centered around Greeks on Campus.. We had a pledge bench press competition, sorority step-show, and Gospel presentation.. Winner was a Sigma Chi with an impressive 17 reps of 205 lbs.. We had hoped for 550 students to attend 300 Greeks and 250 Non - Greeks. 375 Greeks attended and 225 non - Greeks with a total of around 600 in all... The gathering stretched across the the entire courtyard, and there were not enough seats for everyone to sit in!!!Very exciting...The Greek System at Tech is great, and it was great to have them at 8:58.
I have heard a few times now from professing Christians that they question the "opportunity" of going on staff with Campus Outreach. Some have even said "its degrading that they would offer you a position and not pay you..." I may be blind, but I do not see it that way.. I do see this as an opportunity.
a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.
"career opportunities in our New York headquarters"
The Opportunity to give my life to campus ministry meets both definitions for the word opportunity.
A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Raising support to do full time ministry on the college campus gives me many many many opportunities (12,000) daily to share the Gospel, to proclaim the Glorious grace of God through the cross.. It allows a set of circumstances, evangelism, that makes it possible for Gods children, whom he will call affectionately, to hear the Gospel and believe in Christ. Its a chance to accomplish what we the Church are trying to accomplish, the advancement of Gods Glory, his love, his grace, his mercy, his justice, etc.
A chance for employment or promotion. Through the worlds eyes this is no great opportunity for employment or promotion.. Its a demotion. Its a your going in the wrong direction. You have lost it, you have flipped. But with regards to Gods Kingdom it is a great opportunity for employment. Its an opportunity to give my life to a movement that is bigger than me. Its a chance to love and share the Gospel with college students who are lost and clueless in this world with regards to the greatness and power of the worlds creator. Its a job centered around the spread of the Kingdom of God. Its an opportunity to die to my own vain selfish gain of perishing treasures and seek lasting treasures stored up in heaven. I need the most opportunities to hear the words well done my good and faithful servant so I can be promoted by God.
Am I crazy, should I seek council?? From who my pastor, sure, he is on my support team.. Im not crazy, Im standing with Jim Elliot when he said, "He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot loose." This is the reality of the world in which we all live. Dont you see???
Im going to take this opportunity because it is the best opportunity I know of currently. The opportunity to gather a support team and invest together in to Kingdom of God. The opportunity to labor along side men and women who will hold me accountable. The opportunity to pray with other believers on a regular basis. The opportunity to grow as a leader and a man. The opportunity to be pushed on when my life is falling apart because my heart looses the idols it clings to. The opportunity to know the love of God more, and invest in the Kingdom of God. I think these are good things!!! I think this is currently the best for me until a better opportunity arises. Thank You so much support team for partnering with me in this great opportunity!
"The time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory." Isaiah 66:18
This weekend I went with my Father, Ethan, and buddy Jesse to a diesel truck pull in Terre Haute, IN.. There were a lot of 'Ole Farm boys' and a lot of black smoke. What an experience.. And what an amazing thing to watch.. Diesel's have come such a long way.. It is incredible what some of these engines can do!!! Most of the trucks there would have no problem out running your mothers car. and they weight probably more than double!!! Not to mention could pull your house down... absolutely incredible.. but as incredible as these trucks are they are not the most incredible. I was surrounded by men and women whos lives revolve around powerful trucks and black smoke... This was most unfortunate because there is greater...
If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (C.S. Lewis The weight of Glory)
Dont get me wrong, those trucks were cool, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the pulls but affections seemed too weak for greater things. Many are settling for trucks when they could have the King.. We were made for enjoying greater things than mere Trucks..Namely the Glory of God...
While I was there, I did not like what I discovered in my own heart..I saw how my affections are out of place and so very weak.. how little I value great things or how many insignificant things compete with God's infinite worth (fast trucks). Its insanity...But praise him that at least I know he is the most valuable, even when I am having a hard time seeing it. He is most valuable, the greatest. The creator of the mind that made these extraordinary trucks.. He is the one that can do more that pull down a house, He can move the tectonic plates!!!.He can shake the world at its very foundations!!! . I have such a great tendency to overvalue material things..This weekend being at the pulls, I have only seen I have such a long way to go in this process of seeing and valuing God...
However, it was a Joy to take my buddy Jesse with me and let him experience what some diesel motors can do.. Taking him along was, for sure, one of the best parts of the trip, along with hanging out with Dad and Ethan.. We did not get to see the pulls (rained them out), but we did get to see the drags. Half of the fun was just walking around the pits, and checking out all the trucks that were there...Jesse was so very excited the whole time and gave me a lot of Joy seeing him enjoying himself... and I am also thankful for a father who took care of us and treated us to what ever we wanted to do.... Thanks Dad for taking us!!!
The track where they do the pulls.
I think one of the coolest trucks at the show. This boy completely refinished this Chevy and powers it with a 12 valve Cummins.
Here it is on the dino... 425 Hp and 824 ft-lb of torque.
One of the recent loves in my life is for Coffee.. I have a good friend who buys green coffee beans and introduced me to the idea of roasting my own coffee in a popcorn popper. After returning home from School where I finally have access to time, popcorn popper and coffee grinder, I purchased some un-roasted beans and roasted them myself. I bought the green beans from Mr. Green Beans. They arrived at my door in only a few days.. I roasted them for 5 min 30 seconds, but upon drinking it I realized that is too long for the amount of beans I roasted. (Probably the darkest coffee I have yet to drink... haha) Anyways, I have enjoyed roasting my own coffee, and I hope to get this coffee roasting business down pat!!!
Did I save any money??? probably not, I bought the beans for about 5 dollars a pound, and it cost around 5 dollars to ship them. I may be able to pick up some Folgers coffee cheaper, but I have a unique fresh coffee that can be custom roasted to fit my desires..I think that's a win.....
In reality I been redeemed and loved. I have been bought with the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. He died for me. He saved me and I was not even born yet...I didn't do an dang thing!!! Then he opened my eyes by the Power of the Holy Spirit to see (often dimly) he saved me. I didn't do a dang thing!!! The great glorious God who made the heavens and the earth, became a man and died on a tree to take away my sin, and after this he came back to life, conquering death and promises me he will raise me from the dead and give me eternal life. I am Hoping in this... He now rules and reigns and has been given dominion over all things. He is the Boss. He is the rules... So what has he commanded me to do? ..One command, and what I want to be the Redeeming theme of my life, is to Love... If I am to Obey him I must submit myself to his will and love others. Now I work... I labor...
Love is emotional heartfelt action for the redemptive good of another. It requires great Sacrifice and a constant death (dying to myself for another). I am seeking to start and continue this Joyous Journey based on a few Key Scriptures.
1.) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:16-17 ESV) ------It is Gods plan and Idea for me to bear fruit, this is why he brought me into his service. And he has even prepared the Good works I will do. So that I can have the Joy of serving him. He choose me for the labor of bearing fruit. And it greatly pleases him that I would bear fruit by faith for his Glory.
2.) And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. (John 12:23-30 ESV) ----There is a life that I live on this earth that I must Die to. I must die to my own sinful desires and temptations just as Jesus did. I must look to see what he did.... He was about to go to the Cross to love and redeem, and knew he must die to the desire/will that does not want the suffering that is required to accomplish salvation. Jesus had to look at the Joy of the End Goal, and in that Joy he died to his sinful desires, and eventually died on the Cross. So he tells his followers for their greatest Joy, that they too must be like him, and die to themselves, and bear fruit. It takes a constant struggle and dying and results in a indescribable Joy. "what shall I say, father spare me from the hard work of dying to myself, giving my life to love and good deeds, because I want to be selfish and comfortable, no for this reason you called me into your world, glorify your name!!!" I want to genuinely be able to say that day in and day out.
3.) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV) ----I must be rooted in the Love of God. God must open my eyes to see his love. and I must seek to know his Love, and pray for the eyes of faith to grasp his love. Its a fight and its grueling but If I am not dwelling on his love and his grace, then I am being fooled and cheated out of my Joy and fullness of life by the world, flesh and the devil.
I have friends who love trees or plants as excellent metaphors for describing the Christian Life and Spiritual Growth. I prefer the Grape vine, because Jesus does..ha ha. Plus I love vineyards, and wine. I want God to walk through his vineyard over to the Randy branch of my life and find good fruit and him be glorified because it is and will be all his love and grace. What Kind of Fruit will I bear???