lyef & thymes

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A fine evening, and a busy week!

So, this has been the busiest weekend of my life. On Thursday I drove an hour up the highway to the city of Saint John. There was a youth conference called Deeper2005 going on, and I had to be there to do a few different things. I was playing bass for the friday night worship band, and there were lots of preparations. Thursday night was a good night, a God night you might say. I have never seen Vineyard kids worship like this before. Then Friday morning I drove to the airport at 5:00am, and flew to Toronto. I had a great breakfast with some of my good friends,and then went to work. I set up a booth for SSU in the foyer at the FreshWind Youth conference at TACF. Unfortunately the MC had forgotten to play our promotional video, so nobody at the conference knew that I was there. C'est la vie.
That afternoon I flew back to Saint John, and played Bass, and it was really awesome. Then that night I slept like no man has ever slept before. Saturday was another long day. I went to the conference for 9:15 am, and spent the better part of the day praying for kiddos going through tough stuff. The conference ended at 11:00pm that night and I was convinced to go to a pub to see a band play. Five lovely ladies were going and they wanted male companionship. Gee, twist my arm will ya? But the band was in fact very very good, and the night was a lot of fun. I drove home that night, and my head hit the pillow at 4:00am. Sunday morning I was expected to play bass in church. I slept until 1:00pm, so boo to that one I guess. Sunday was a bit of a surprise. I had Sunday dinner with a family I know in town, and they hid a bunch of chocolate eggs and we had a great time finding them. Monday I had to visit a friend from brazil who had formerly been living illegally in Canada, and now lived illegally in the USA. It was fairly tiring. Tuesday I travelled to Fredericton to promote SSU at some high schools, and got home just in time to make supper for a friend, which ended up lasting until 11:00pm. So all in all I have had an extremely busy week, but last night was so relaxing and enjoyable that I actually feel pretty good now. But it shows me that working through the weekend makes for a fairly bizarre week.
Thanks to my friends who have been praying for me of late. The decision making process continues. Please keep me in your prayers, and feel free to tell me anything that comes up during those times.
Blessings til next time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What good is all the knowledge in the world, if I have not Love?

Welcome coming Spring, turning of the seasons.
As the planet spins, and the calendar gets slowly slimmer
so life returns to me in the form of a dream
For as a people without a vision perish,
So a person who has been far from attaining the vision
feels something like the pains of death.

So dear friends, I have begun the exquisitely painful process of discerning the way ahead. I believe that I have written that no lifetime decisions should be made in February, and I maintain that view, however this is March, and the process can begin. In early March, 2003, I spoke with a trusted friend and my situation at that time was a stressful one. I had begun something in my education at SSU that I had not finished. I found myself in a job I did not enjoy. I think that everyone is created as a unique and gifted person. We all have certain strengths and gifts. At the time that I went to see my friend I felt as though my life was ordered in such a way that I was not using many of my gifts, and was not moving in my strengths. I believe that when a man does something he is good at, when he can see progress in his acheivements, he feels more like a man. He can see himself more clearly in the light of what type of person God made him to be. In March 2003, my friend said the same thing. "Jake," he said. "You're not doing what you were made for. That's the problem." We talked for a while about what it could possibly be that I was in fact made to do. Whether there was a job I could do, a career I could pursue that, when attained, would be fulfilling for me. I dreamed of the day that I could go home from work with a smile on my face for having done a good job at something I loved. Teaching people to appreciate and analyze English Literature seemed like a good way forward. With the blessing of my emloyer and co-workers I went back to school to finish my Bachelor's degree, and have since done so. On the way were some serious hitches. I quit my job to take a position as a Sailing Instructor and no sooner did my present job finish, than my new job crapped out. The sailing company was run by an old man who promptly died of a stomach disorder, and I couldn't find another job all summer. I spent all of my savings on rent, and had to get a loan to pay for school. But eventually I got back in school, and finished my first degree.
Today I work in a job that is not visibly bringing me any closer to my former ideal. The desire I had to become a teacher empowered me in my school work, and I was able to do much better work than I had been before. But now I find myself looking at my former vision and wondering how it came to pass that I stopped going for it.
I think that God has had a hand in this, and I will explain why.
I finished my BA by travelling across Europe with my school. The whole time I wondered what to do next. I discovered that the Student Recruiter for my University had resigned, and I knew that this was an opportunity that God was placing before me. Do you know how that feels? To be praying for something that doesn't really have a shape, like "what do I do now?" and then something comes along and you recognize it as the exact thing you were praying for, only you didn't know it before? Well if you do, that's what it was like for me. So I applied for the job, and got it, and have worked at it ever since.
I have come to think that this job is only for a season. I think this for a few reasons: 1) It is not my dream, and doesn't resemble any of the dreams God has given for me. 2)It does not make very much use of my strengths and gifts. 3)My heart is very excited about the prospect of pursuing a Master's Degree and moving on to teaching English.
So I can confidently speculate that this place, this job, this season is not going to last forever, but I must also recognize that when I sought God for a way ahead, this is what he showed me to do. I don't want to cut his plans short simply because they don't make sense to me. To this end, I am entering a time of discerning. I am going to spend the next three months going about my job with as much enthusiasm as I can. I will also apply to school, and get all the finances in place, so that when the time comes to make up my mind I will have two genuine choices in front of me.
This is a uniquely terrifying time when it would be very easy to let go of one idea and embrace another, but I am praying that I will have what it takes to make a Godly, Spirit-led decision about this. I know what my desire is, and I want to take that into account, but my own opinion about where I should be only makes up one piece of the puzzle. If you, my dear friends will pray for me in this time I am confident that it will make a signifigant difference. Above all I want to become the man God made me to be, and it's scary making decisions that will influence my path to that destination without knowing exactly what to do. So please pray for me. Cheques are also welcome.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

shameless self-promotion

If you want to read up on a sweet new band, check out this link

There you will find what will have to pass as this week's blog, at least for now.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

You can't miss it!

David Wilcox makes an interesting obseravtion about life

"I sometimes write songs that are metaphors.
It's not that I'm trying to, it's more like
...well I'm minding my own business and the
metaphors just jump me you know? And I think
it's because things bug me for metaphorical
reasons. Like bad directions. I hate bad directions.
I'm heading to a concert and I'm supposed to go on
at Seven. And the directions are "go down the road
till you reach (I don't know, something ridiculous)
the really big blue Poodle and turn right. You can't
miss it. And they always say that you can't miss it,
which is the kiss of death. Because then I will be
driving and driving, and I'll think "i must have missed
it. I'll turn back." But they said I can't miss it.
It's just like love. I asked my parents "How will I know
when it's true love?" and what do they say "oh, you'll
know, you'll know." Well that's even worse than "You can't
miss it". Just imagine your 85 years old: No thanks,
not interested. They said that I would know when it was
true love. Besides, I'm still looking for the big blue

I think that there is a fine line between walking God's path and walking our own. We are always making choices, every minute, and we seldom stop and inquire as to what God is saying. And even when He does speak extraordinarily clearly, it is a choice on our behalf to choose the path He directs us onto. I am beginning to think that it is not in our choices alone that we are responsible to God. It is clear throughout human existence in the bible that there is something bigger going on here than just our lives, and our decisions. There is something more important than just our obedience to God. Really I am talking about the attitude of our hearts toward God. Jesus says that the most important qualities a person can have is that they "love God, and love their neighbour." The common thread among most of my friends isn't that they are exceptionally good at this, but that they are trying to become good at it. I often get so bogged down in trying to discern what is the exact will of God in my big decisions, and I assume that he is greatly concerned with my walking the razor's edge that is His will. But where the heck do I get the idea that it's supposed to be this one golden road I am meant to walk every step of the way? It would seem through a closer examination of scripture, the history of Israel, and what I have seen of God in my own life, that He is much more concerned with me becoming a person of Gold. Where ever I go, whatever path I walk, whether it lead me to one place or another, I am called to be light to the world. So I am not entirely concerned that every piece of my living life falls perfectly withing what I temporarily find to be "the will of God for that moment" but instead submit myself to whatever challenges he brings my way, do my best to love God as totally as I can, and similarly to love my neighbour as myself.
This all having been said, I have at different times in my life had such clear and obvious direction from God that it would have been foolish not to have recognized it as such. When He has given me direct guidance I have done my best to obey him. He really is like a Father. Imagine going on a hike with your dad, only your like 9 years old. You walk along with him, and for the most part nothing is said except for the occassional "oh look at that robin, or watch how the squirrel stuffs his face!" But then you reach a cliff with a spectacular view. You're 9 years old, so you march confidently to the edge and start looking down to see how high up you are when your father's voice says "step back from that ledge a bit there will ya?" The whole time he knows that if you started to lose your footing he could grab hold of you and steady you, but the first line of defense is a gentle suggestion. Of course the whole way through this scenario you could make a stupid choice and ignore the obvious danger, and throw yourself off the cliff at great speed, which your earthly father would have no power to remedy most likely. But luckily for us we are the children of a much more powerful Father.
So I leave you with this meditation, and I will continue to wonder where the choices I make meet up with the plans God has. I know he has a plan for each of us, I am just not convinced that he is limitted in his means of acheiving those plans. In the meantime I will do my best to be the type of person he plans for me to be.
God Bless you all.