Before the Foundation of the World

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will – Ephesians 1:4–5 ESV

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of ChristEphesians 2:12–13

I’ve been thinking about these four verses a lot recently. And through them, the Lord has been revealing a little bit more of His heart for us to me. If they’re both true, they tell us something incredible about God’s love and plan for us.

God was thinking of each one of us personally before the foundation of the world (necessarily before the fall) and only the blood of Jesus was sufficient to provide for the adoption planned since eternity past.

From before the foundation of the world, He was planning on adopting us. From before the foundation of the world, He was planning on dying for us.

Here in these two statements lies an incredible truth about the heart of God.

He made us worth dying for.

Even as He was dreaming up creation, He was dreaming of children worth dying for. Fully aware that I would fall short of His glory in my lifetime and long before I could do anything to even try to please Him, He had already decided that I was worth dying for.

Not because of anything I’ve ever done or will do, but only because of Him and His love I can say that even when I make mistakes I am not an accident. Even when I fail I am not a failure. Even when I sin blatantly I am not scorned and turned away. I am a child of God worth dying for.

How deep the Father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure.

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The Beginning of School

The Elevate School of Worship 2012 has started and it’s off to an amazing start!

So far it’s been amazing. The students arrived just two weeks ago and already the school as a whole has grown incredibly close and learned some really deep things.

We just finished up the second week of the school this week, so I’ll try to recap the last two.

Last week was the first official week of the school which served really as an orientation and preparation week. We spent a few of the days in class hearing from Daniel Lehmann (our school leader) about the history of the school and the heart for this year and then two days doing skill assessments with the students.

This week we had David McDaniel with us. He’s the YWAM base leader in Tokyo, Japan and he came to talk to us about our relationship with God and how it applies to worship. It was a great week where he taught about how to deal with relational issues between us and God.

One of the biggest things he talked about is what to do when we get angry or offended with God. Most everyone has been angry with Him at some point and it’s a hard thing to deal with. But there are two main things we have to do: hold fast to the basic understanding that God is good (even if His version of good doesn’t match up with our human perspective) and be honest with Him about it. It has never been a part of God’s plan to drive us away from Him, so even in the hard things that happen, He still wants us to come close to Him in honesty and allow Him to transform our perspective to the perspective of Heaven and get our hearts back in line with His.

Personally, I’m having a very good and very stretching time. I’m growing rapidly in leadership and time management skills (because I have no choice not to!). And I’m learning things about God through the whole process. Please keep praying for our school: that the students would grow in huge ways and that we would truly become those who worship “in spirit and in truth” [John 4:23] and that I would keep Jesus first in everything I do and say.

Here’s some pictures from the last few weeks!

Playing Quelf with the students!

Me with some of the students (on stilts practicing for the Ironman event this weekend)

The first Monday morning worship of the quarter. I had the honor of playing keys (open this one in full screen!)

Preparing for School

Here I am, alive.

I’m here in Kona again and it’s pretty great really. Even though I’m not a huge beach person, I do love this city. And I love this base. There’s a real sense of family here.

I’m on staff with the Elevate School of Worship starting next week (so soon!). We have 9 staff (4 couples with one spouse full time) and 5 singles. We’re expecting 30 students.

The past two weeks have been our staff training time. We’ve spent every morning gathered together at one of our staff’s condo praying together, worshipping, hanging out, and talking about how to run a school and what our values are for this school. Then we’ve spent the afternoons and evenings taking care of practical stuff. I’ve done inventory of our stuff from the last school, made some awesome spreadsheets, and updated the student welcome information binder. It’s been a really good two weeks. I feel like the Lord has been giving me fresh confidence and vision for what He’s called me here for.

Here’s some pictures from the last two weeks.

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Joe and Noah (two of the staff guys) jamming out!

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Sunset in paradise

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The Little Red Church (the church I attend while I’m here)

I’m really excited for the students coming next week. Arrival day is Thursday the 27th. Please pray that we would be able to get everything finished in time for their arrival. There’s still a lot to do physically and a lot more praying we can do for them 🙂

News News News

I haven’t written anything on here in a long time, but I have a few cool updates to share!

First, I just released my brand new “Glorified” EP today on bandcamp! Two years in the making, each of these songs is a landmark declaration in my relationship with God. I hope you enjoy!

In addition, I’m going to China for the month of July and then back to Kona for a while (something like 6-9 months) to staff the upcoming School of Worship that starts in September! Please pray for me as I go to serve in China and Kona!

My Foundation

Here’s a new song I just wanted to share. I hope you enjoy it. Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂

Verse 1:
My Stronghold
My Fortress
Firm Foundation

My Safety
Protection
Rock of Ages

Pre-Chorus:
Holy One
Holy One

Chorus:
You’re the only rock on which I stand
My foundation is the risen lamb
I will lean on God almighty
I will lean on God almighty

Verse 2:
My Father
Provider
One I trust in

My Tower
Strong Tower
One I hide in

Bridge:
You are all my hope
You are all my hope
You are all my hope
My God

Snorkel Day

Our Internship group has been talking in the last week a lot about how sometimes we can get so focused on worship as our main ministry that we forget all other ministry and leave it behind. Practical stuff, like getting out of our little Christian circles and spreading the love of Jesus outside. Because, although worship and spending time with God is important, sometimes we just need to get out and do something to help people.

Yesterday, we volunteered with an organization called Deep & Beyond. It’s a group out of this base that aims to provide freedom and discovery to disadvantaged people in our community. Yesterday was snorkel day so we went to a local beach and met up a group of about 20 people with disabilities to help them enjoy a day at the beach.

It was really quite a good day. God takes care of everything. I didn’t even need to go in the water to help anyone and I spent the bulk of my time with a guy named Damien and we just hung around and chatted for a while. He’s a nice guy and we had plenty of stuff in common. It was a really cool opportunity. Nice to get out and really do something hands on and practical.

When all the participants left, I went snorkeling for the first time with Matt. It wasn’t the best day for snorkeling, but it was cool. Definitely something worth doing while I could.

Some general announcement things:

– I’ll be coming back to California after this quarter (around the beginning of April)
– I have my last finance deadline coming up the first Friday of March. I need about $480 to pay for the rest of my fees for the quarter and for my plane ticket to Honolulu (I already have one from Honolulu to California)

As always, I hugely appreciate your prayers. Prayer always does more than we can see. And if you would consider supporting me financially to finish out this quarter, that would be greatly appreciated!

Callings and Journeys

God doesn’t just give us gifts and callings so that we can do things. He holds our hand as we walk through our life journey so that He can watch us grow into the children He’s always dreamed of.

It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.

I am not yet who I will be. I’m the dependent child I must be.

The Internship

I’m part of the School of Worship Internship here at YWAM Kona. It’s a group of worshippers living in community and partnering with each other in our personal pursuits of knowing God and our corporate ministry. For the most part my life looks like spending time with Jesus, leading worship, and practicing leading worship.

During an average week I will participate in leading 6-8 worship sets and be the main leader for 3-4 of them. Here’s a rundown of my schedule.

Sunday 

  • Lead worship at my local church

Monday

  • Corporate worship
  • Group time for our “family” to get together and hear from one the older (wiser) guys here pour some wisdom into us about worship
  • Run sound for a 2 hour prayer and worship set in the afternoon
  • Work on guitar and songwriting
  • Play keys for ministry night (2-3 hour worship set)

Tuesday

  • An hour of singing scriptures with our “family” in the morning
  • Teaching time for someone to help us grow in practical skills
  • Practice for the set we lead on Wednesday afternoon
  • Work on piano and songwriting

Wednesday

  • Work on guitar and songwriting
  • Co-Lead (on a rotating schedule) a 2 hour prayer and worship set with a prayer leader
  • “Family” time to share with and encourage each other

Thursday

  • Lead 1 hour of worship for one of the schools running here
  • Work on guitar and songwriting
  • Play keyboard for a 2 hour prayer and worship set
  • Attend a base-wide corporate meeting (and possibly play for worship)

Friday

  • Family” worship time
  • Work on songwriting/skill development
  • Play for one hour in the prayer room

This is a really exciting season of my life. I’ve never been able to be a part of this much ministry and see God do so much in different people. I’m growing very quickly in maturity, my relationship with God, and practical skills as a worship leader/musician.

All this good news, and in addition, it’s almost completely paid for! I only need about $300-400 more by March for everything. If you’d like to support me, you can check out my “Support Me” page on this site.

Hopefully that’s a decent rundown. I can explain anything further if you would like. Feel free to get in contact with me on Facebook or by e-mail.

Thank you so much for the support and prayers.

Plans Change, Life Goes On (And Gets Better Too)

My trip to Cambodia and Japan is cancelled. As the time to leave for outreach was coming closer and my leaders still hadn’t seen the funds come in for the trip, we prayed about it and ended up deciding to not go. There are still two guys (Anthony and Frank) who will be going to Cambodia on a ministry trip though, so keep them in your prayers.

So now instead of going to Cambodia/Japan I’ll be staying here in Kona and taking part in our local outreach / internship program. I’ll be here on base for the next quarter ministering to the other schools on the base, in the prayer room, and around the island. In addition, this quarter will also be devoted to more practical development than the last. Guitar, piano, voice lessons and music theory along with training on sound, recording, how to work well in a band, how to be a good leader, and all sorts of good stuff.

I think it’s going to be a really great quarter and I really do believe this is where God wants me for this season.

If you have any questions about it, feel free to contact me and chat about it. I’d love to hear from you 🙂