“Can’t live without them” or “My blessed life”

It’s times like these I don’t feel like I’m wading through life, but rather surfing. Just really feeling the love right now–both from friends and the Lord. I’ve dumped all sorts of dilemmas on both of them over the past few days and they’ve pulled me through not only unscathed, but shiny. Truly amazing and a gift from above.

And by all appearances, my life is only picking up steam. This whole concept of surrender is nutty. I feel like I’m in less control of my life more than ever, yet I’m confident and believe in the direction it’s heading more than ever. What a relieving and peaceful feeling.

I’ll repeat a quote from the previous post simply because I think it’s worth repeating and hit me so hard.

“Your life can be unlimited only to the degree that it’s also surrendered…As long as we attempt to live our lives, we’ll be limited to our human strength and willpower to get things done.”

“silent message” or “I love my church”

Westwinds continues to amaze me. Despite all my church has gone through this summer–the resignation of the founding and lead pastor of 18 years, the leaving-to-church-plant situation with our worship leader/associate pastor couple and now the stepping-down of another staff person–core lay-leaders have remained resilient and committed to the cause. And God keeps bearing fruit through us.

Today’s service was a little different: there was no spoken message. It was media delivered. And being a member of Westwinds’ IMAGE team–and it being my weekend to work–I got to be heavily involved in designing the delivery. It was fun and rewarding.

But even more rewarding was having the opportunity to experience the message (which was delivered creatively via our computers/projectors) multiple times and have the Lord reveal more to me each time.

The core of the message? “Life isn’t about ‘us.'” It’s about being part of God’s greater purpose. It’s about engaging in surrender to His will and purpose.

Some key reflections/revelations:

“God isn’t necessarily looking for the ones who look the part and say all the right things. His eyes aren’t focused on people with shining resumes and killer endorsements…”

That’s been my life up to this point: pursuing glitz and glamour with my portfolio and resume, all the time believing that God will use it to expand his kingdom. It’s noble goal and desire; I think my heart is pure in it and that God will honor my desire. But at the same time, I fee he asking me to surrender that in return for something more. His overwhelming stamp of approval on my life rather than man’s.

You see, behind all those noble desires is a cry for acceptance and approval from man. Strong resumes and degrees and knowledge impress men pretty quickly. But they are just mean’s to an end for God. He can use them–but he doesn’t need them. He doesn’t rely on them.

“Your life can be unlimited only to the degree that it’s also surrendered…As long as we attempt to live our lives, we’ll be limited to our human strength and willpower to get things done.”

H U G E. How often do I rely on my own strength to accomplish stuff? From day-to-day things like fulfilling work duties to initating spiritual conversations with friends or whatever… I always judge a situation on whether I can handle it. I rarely dip into the Lord’s resources, which just so happen to be abundantly more plentiful than mine. I’M LIMITING MY OWN POTENTIAL.

“Every day, thousands of people accomplish thousands of self-imposed goals and still feel empty inside at the end of it all. Why? Because life isn’t about us. Before we were ever born, God designed us exactly as we are with His purpose in mind for us. Only when we recognize this at our spiritual core, and get our hearts in line with His heart, can we accomplish anything of genuine significance.”

I think I’ve lived quite intentionally these past years. I’ve been pretty clear in my goals and dreams. But I feel my focus has been off just a few degrees. To use the cliché, I’ve put God in a box. I’ve held the reigns. It’s scary to yield to God’s potential because getting there often requires messiness and discomfort. But it has to happen because people’s eternal destinies hinge upon it.

“And this is intentional living…”

“It all comes crashing down” or “Undertoe”

Amazing how life nosedives so suddenly. It’s not that something in particular has gone “wrong” or that I’m in a worse situation now that I was a week ago; I understand it’s a perception issue and that my mindset has shifted.

But really, perception is a pretty big thing–maybe the main thing. It controls attitudes and persuades beliefs; it drives motivation and synchronizes communication and develops mission. And right now at work I have a different perception than I did a week ago and I’m not on the same page with my boss concerning the stuff I just mentioned.

Frustrating. I want to be. I don’t want to have this distorted perception of my workplace. But this feeling is recurring on a more regular basis and I don’t see a near end. Of course, I didn’t see these coming in the first place. Last week was great. But this week seems to be a different story.

So I’m in the market for a better attitude and renewed perception/perspective. I’m not very effective–as a worker, as a friend, as a Christian–when I get this way. I really need to do a better job of separating work from life.

“Forunately unlucky” or “Dates R’ Us”

Ever get hooked up through your parents? Hooked up for a date that is? Kinda weird. I find myself unexplainably resistant to the idea. But like they say, sometimes “Momma knows best.” I guess that remains to be seen.

The weird thing is that my Mom has never even met–or seen this girl. So it’s like a blind, blind date. My parents met her parents, from what I understand, just this past weekend. Like 4 days ago. And all of a sudden, I’m probably going to be traveling nearly 2 hours to a concert with her and some friends to see a mutual friend of ours perform. Very strange development.

It was this friend of ours who got the ball rolling some more. After I solicited his advice on her at the prompting of–you guessed it–my mom, he gave her a call to see if she was going to the show I was planning to attend. In there he threw out the idea that he had some friend he wanted her to meet. Apparently she had heard about this “friend” (me) via her parents, just as I had heard about her via mine.

You see, our parents (our mothers at least) seem to be planning our futures and we haven’t even met yet. Nor have our mothers even met each other’s child! Their both going off what the other says, which is certainly an idealistic projection.

But with the doors opening so quickly, and my current dating life being abysmal as it is, and Darin going the extra mile to not only give me a grand thumbs up but also facilitate what may be a first “date,” I can all but fall in line and follow the leader, who appears to be my mother but hopefully is Jesus.

“Going crazy” or “Gotta shut that door”

The external door in our office can remain open no longer… Fresh air or not, I can’t handle that annoying background buzz, or hum, or noise, or whatever it is any longer. It’s some kind of insect, but I haven’t been able to track it down and exterminate it yet. All I know is it’s REALLY loud and really annoying.

Seems I’m the only one who’s bothered by it. Maybe the upper-frequency detection of my ears more closely resembles dogs than humans…

Oh…in a related story. A few nights ago I did track down the cricket that found its way into my home and would bust out its noise-makers at night. Uncompassionate as it may have been, I ended its life with a 2-foot square.

He provided a good chase, though.

“Kinda rich” or “Yep…kinda rich”

So my camera went for just over $974. I guess that isn’t bad. Didn’t get to $1000, which is kinda good because now I can still use PayPal without having to set up a business account.

I think it’s worth more, but it’s used and older and doesn’t come with the boxes and manuals and all that stuff. So I can understand.

Anyway I look at it, I got a pretty good deal. A friend sold the set to me for $1000 about two years ago on a no-interest, four-month payment plan. So I basically got to use a Nikon F100 with some great accessories for two years for $25.

Not bad :)

“Rich” or “Not so rich”

So, this guy supposedly from Indonesia e-mail’s me about my F100. Says he loves the offer and wants to pay $1400 for it. I was hoping to get $1000, so naturally I was pumped. The catch is that he can only use credit card, but not through PayPal because they don’t service Indonesia.

He then encourages me to seek alternate means of accepting a credit card order. Odd request, I admit, but I humored him and surfed around, looking for how to accept personal credit card transactions. I find a few means of doing so, but they all take a 3 to 5 percent cut from the sale and require sign-up processes and all that garbage. Stuff I can’t do the night of the sale.

So then I start getting suspicious. Couldn’t the guy just send me a money order if he wants it that bad? So I search Google for “ebay Indonesia fraud” and vola! I get some results!

Turns out, Indonesia and a couple other countries are havens for credit card fraud and that it is in fact fairly common for a person to get an outlandish offer for an item from a person in Indonesia. I guess they usually end up buying stuff with a bad credit card and don’t want to go through mainstream credit card systems because they know they’ll get caught.

“Brilliance” or “IG-NOR-AMUS”

(Actual post time) August 25, 2004, 2:14 AM

Brilliant…I just got the e-mail from typepad. Apparently I set up my username as jm427 rather than the usual jm4727. T Y P O

Praise God for password and username recovery…I would have NEVER thought of jm427. I tried joelmaust, jmaust, j_maust, jdmaust, jdm4727…but certainly not jm427…