discouragement bites the dust.

so i’ve been discouraged for quite some time now (just read some previous posts!). to add to the discouragement, i don’t really have anyone i can talk to about it, well, what i mean is, i don’t have anyone to mentor and challenge me. my father isn’t serving Jesus, so that means i’ve never really had a solid Jesus-style-male-leadership in my life. being a young man, this is obviously a challenge. however, i feel the tides beginning to change. but, enough of that tangent (i think i’ll save the mentorship discussion for another post), back to my discouragement…

it’s been a couple of months since i’ve been struggling with discouragement. now, i don’t mean to say that every day for the past couple of months has been discouraging. rather, what i’m saying is that in general i have had a discouraging couple of months. i came into a church that was in shambles. and the kicker: i didn’t even really know this. but nonetheless, i came into an unhealthy church. and in the first couple of months i was there even more crap went down. to put this in numbers for you, in nov/dec we had an average sunday morning attendance of about 250 people (some say 280 but i think that’s being generous). in contrast, for the month of may we had an average sunday morning attendance of about 120 people. and if you’re not mathimatically inclined, that would mean that over half the church has left. and i don’t mean that they’ve left over some great theological divide, no, i mean they’ve left over stupid, petty, shit (sorry but that’s what it is, and frankly, that’s what it smells like to God).

anyways, all of that aside, and issues with different people aside, i know the main reason why i’ve been discouraged. i was so thirsty and yet i was trying to draw water from a well that is empty and desolate. in other words, i set aside my time with the Lord. you know that time, where you just draw away by yourself to pray and read the Scriptures and LISTEN to God. ya, well i didn’t really have that for a long time. and so i was discouraged. obviously. this happens to many of us. we know the problem and yet we don’t do what it takes to fix it. well i’ve had enough. and now i’m on that humbling road back to the foot of the cross. thankfully, Christ refuses to hold my foolishness against me and has come to greet me with a ring and a robe, and the party has just begun.

the reason why i have said all of this is not to highlight how discouraged i’ve been (because that would be rather depressing) but to say how ENCOURAGED i’ve been as of late. this past weekend was one of the most encouraging weekends that i’ve had in a very long time and here’s why:

thursday/friday: thursday evening jon gordon and i got in the jetta and drove out to brampton to see big mike play some baseball. he was cranking out those hits, switch even! anyways, after the game we hung out at the park for a while with some people from his church (BBC!!!) and then the madness began. we went and got some pie and then rented ‘fearless’ with jet li and went back to mikes place where jon and i spent the night (we were able to do this because ashlee-heather was out of town!). it was pure jokes. but what i found encouraging was talking to mike about ministry. we went to his church at like 10PM and sat inside the sanctuary and just talked for a bit. mike’s church sounds awesome. he’s well supported and everything is going great for him. this was encouraging to hear due to the state of the church that i’m attending. anyways, we ended up laughing the night away although mike was constantly telling me how he was going to make me tap-out. oh boy! the next morning we rose early and went to play some golf with luke. it was great just being out with the boys playing some golf and having fun. the highlights i’d say would have to be the two japanese fellows golfing in front of us and mike telling me that i take too many practice swings. thanks guys, i had a blast!

saturday: saturday was encouraging because i spent most of the day doing NOTHING. i woke up at lunch and relaxed and finished preparing for saturday evening. a while back jason from cedarview asked me to come and speak at the community young adults meeting they have at the church once a month called ’emerge’. so i prepared a message and went to share. i used to go to cedarview so it was nice to see some old friendly faces and just to be able to spend time in a warm environment. i preached about ‘stupid generosity’ and as part of this i tied in the ‘upside down reading of the parable of the talents’ that nathan had posted on his blog a while ago. wow. it was just such a great evening and the response i got from people after the “service” had ended was incredible. i just pray that those young adults would loosen their grip on materialism and follow Jesus wholely. anyways, the highlight was talking to a great old friend for about an hour after the service. joel was one of my first Christian friends after i started coming to church (i’ve known him since i was in the 7th grade!). anyways, he is rad and is always such an encouragement and i look up to him and respect him quite a bit. it was great talking to him (seeing as we hadn’t talked in a while) and we’re going out for coffee tomorrow to talk about the Church and God and such things so it should be great.

sunday: sunday was amazing. we had a baptism service in the morning and i helped baptise 10 people (including some younger kids and youth from the church!). plus, mario got baptised and he only just submitted to Christ last week! AWESOME! then after that i hung out with the kids outside which was really cool. anyways, after service some of the youth came over for a BBQ and then we all went up to the beach for the afternoon and more of the youth came up and met us at the beach. it was such a blast! we just swam and played frisbee and (american) football and then once we were water logged we got out of the water and went to the park to play football (what north americans call “soccer”). what a great day.

plus i spent some great time with christina and she prayed for me on a number of occasions and i just feel so encouraged by this wonderful young woman!

all in all it was a wonderful weekend and i wouldn’t have had it any other way.

peace.

JT.

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