My God is so Good.

God is good. I've heard that about a katrillion times! I've thought about it and thought I understood what it meant... God is for me, he's on my side, he has good plans for me... I've heard it all many times over. I can honestly say now that I know and believe it in my heart! These past two weeks have been more incredibly faith challenging than anything I have ever been through. Spiritually and naturally. Like I said in my last blog, this summer has felt long and distant and dry. God seemed so far away. In the natural, I was running out of time to come up with the rest of my CLC money. It seemed that from every angle, everything was going wrong... oy. But God is good, and he DOES have a plan, even when I cant see it!
At encounter this year, God showed me so much about himself and about me. I went in not really knowing what to expect, except that it was going to be way different then 1st year... thats about it. I was really excited though! I soon gave into the frustration that I had been feeling all summer as we started our first session at wildhorse. During worship, I felt nothing. During the lesson, nothing. I found myself trying to force myself to something, anything. I was angry at myself and disappointed that I couldnt find God. I prayed and searched and felt like I was going no where, fast. I cant really explain what was going on or what I was feeling, it was just this desperation that if I didnt find God, I would literally die, my spirit would die. On the last night, as I went in for prayer, I still felt like I hadnt really connected with God at all. I hated it, thats for sure. As Bo, Lindsay, and Katie prayed for me though, this hope welled up inside my heart and as they delivered their words for me, something just clicked inside... the light had been switched on. It was like going from light to dark, all over again. Like I've mentioned before, this summer has for sure been a wilderness one... dry, gross, tiring. As they spoke with me, I came to the realization that it really was God who had drawn me there, with him. I had said it so many times, "God has brought me here for a reason", but I think deep down I didnt really believe that God was with me in the desert... I felt so alone. I had forgotten dreams, and hopes, and vision, and goals, and callings... I had forgotten them all. God started something that night as I sat there. Since that night, God has been restoring the things he had spoken to me and the things he had promised me. I hate it that I forget so easily what He's done for me when times get tough! I have this incredible hope and faith now. Hope that there's more to find and faith to go look for it. God's grace astounds me!
So I came out of encounter with this renewed vision and passion and then found myself back in the problems that I had left at home... mainly the issue that I had barely half of the first payment for CLC. But I had such faith that God would provide... and He did, but there was a big area of uncertainty for me. He gave me supernatural faith to believe for the rest, but in the natural I saw no possible way it was going to come through. To make the story short, God provided $700 dollars for me the day before the last day I could turn in money or not do CLC. Lots of prayer and tears, I tell ya... It scared the crap out of me to think that I might not be able to do CLC! It grew my faith so much to see God come through. I knew he would!
Then coming right out of this miracle, I ran hard right into I Heart Bend. It was awesome. All the past I heart events, I've felt that God moved, but I dont think I've ever experienced the love of God for a city before this event. My day started at 5:30 and ended at about 10:30. I got to the church, blew up baloons, ran stuff over to the Nazarene church, prayed with a homeless couple, ran over to Healey Hights, gave away stuff, prayed with a lady there, went door to door with two very cool people (Lily Smith and Alexa McBride!), went to lunch with Lily, went home, left 10 minutes later to go get on the dream kids bus, got to Drake, face painted for 3 hours, sat down for 30 minutes during highstreet, then loaded red chairs and cleaned up the park, then walked to my car which was literally 8 blocks away, drove home, and then passed out for many hours, glorious glorious hours! Whew! I say all this not for any other reason than this: I was tired. I served and loved Bend for one day... and I was tired. As I drove home I just started crying because I was tired. God spoke to me and just downloaded his heart for me and for my city in that very moment. I was tired after one day. God is relentless. He does this day and night, never stopping to take a break. Jesus is constantly at the right hand of the Father interceding for me and for everyone. He never stops. I realized just how weak and feeble and human I am. I was tired after one day! Oh the depths of the love of Christ... I cannot fathom or understand it. I saw how we loved our city and heard the stories of so many people being touched by the love of Christ, and it was only one day. God showed me that if the church would just be the church, and love like this everyday, our city would be so so much different. I thought about all the people I crossed paths with that day. God goes after them every single day, wanting them to know him and his love. He tries to get their attention. He tries to use you and me... how many times do we ignore the voice of the Lord and choose not to talk with someone we see. I know I do it all the time. God birthed in me a heart for the lost that I've never had before. He left me with this question: Are you going to let I Heart Bend be the only day that you pray for your city, the only day you serve strangers, the only day that you actually care? Its for sure something I've thought about, and something that has consumed me, heart and mind. My prayer to God right now is to not let me forget about those he cares about.
Switching gears a little bit, here are some pictures from Encounter till I Heart Bend and everything in between!

No better way to start something than with Spongebob... thats my motto!

Tim :D
My Best Friend !
The whole fam.
Brittany and me at the fire pit!
Tim and Brittany <3
Lola... our new dog!
The foot says it all :)

oh, you know, just some water bottles.

Randomly, Bend Burger was welcoming us :)
Me and Lily had a fun morning/afternoon :)

Thats really all I got for now! So excited for fall in bend! Whoo Hooo!!!!!!!!!

Joy, joy, joy!




Middle of nowhere
Finally you can breathe
Nobody knows your name
It's easier
Shut your eyes tightly
Clench your fists 'til they almost bleed
Cautiously, lightly
Gently expose what's underneath
And all you feel now
Is the scarlet in the day
Even it's real
You can't stay...
So there you go
You're gone for good
There you go
You're gone for good
Your mind is swollen
From months of thought without release
They've taken their toll on you
This very moment
Of timid and fragile honesty
Is precious and rare and fleeting
And all you feel now
Is the scarlet in the day
Even it's real
You can't stay...

This summer has been really interesting, least to say. I have been in a constant battle with my flesh as it has tried to crawl off of the altar. It can only be described as one would describe a tiring, never ending battle, where you're exhausted but there is just no way you can quit, even if you wanted to. I have walked in a season where I've done my best to hold it all in and all together. I've done my best to convince God, with all my clever prayers and lofty thoughts, that I'm doing fine. With this impossible struggle, I have found that I've been driven into the wilderness, feeling alone, all alone. When I fake it, it turns out that the joke is on me. I haven't escaped the attention of Jesus, He still knows me. I first listened to this song Scarlet the other day, and it seemed to strike a chord in my heart that I didn't even know was there. Months of thought without release... This is my life. I think that God has tried desperately for way to long to teach me something, and I've been reluctant to learn it. Every time I'm lead into the wilderness, I think something's wrong, that I've sinned or am somehow unforgiven by God and I need to earn him back. I try to get back to him on my own, not even realizing that He never even left...I'm the one walking out on him. He has tried to show me that in those desert seasons, He's wanting me to draw closer to him not go look for him somewhere else. God is the God of every season. Instead of abandoning God when I can't feel him, I should be abandoning myself... gone for good. He waits for me to expose what's underneath. He wants my timid and fragile honesty. I've let the feeling of God's presence define whether or not he was there. God's presence is so much more vast than my simple perceptions of him. He goes way beyond all of it. This summer has been dry, and hard, and I don't think I have ever felt farther from God, ever. But this one thing I have come to realize... It's not about whether I can feel him or not. I know in the very depths of my heart that He hasn't moved, he's still right next to me, holding my hand the whole way. It's been a summer that has greatly challenged my faith... I know there have been moments where I failed that test, but God is teaching me to trust. I have got to learn to trust him deeply, and I don't think there is any other way. He wants my flesh gone for good. And so do I. I don't really know what I could say right now to convey just how much I love Jesus, and his grace over my life. Sometimes I guess it just takes a personal meeting, in the middle of nowhere, with God.
Still waiting,