Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two weeks left!

I came to the realization a couple days ago that my time down here is coming to an end. These next couple weeks are going to be crazy busy! Starting tomorrow night, a youth group from Bedford, MI is coming down for a week on a service project. They will be with us till early Saturday morning which will be the same time that we head out with Chad for "Teen Extreme" in Auburn, Pennsylvania. Needless to say, there won't be much down time until I get back into town Friday the 30th.

I knew coming down here that God was going to teach me how to be the man of God he needs me to be. More specifically, I knew that He was going to teach me what it looks like to be the godly leader of a marriage and household. I've had incredible guidance as to what that looks like from three different godly men down here. Travis and I talked a lot last year about what a good leader looks like and we got it boiled down to what I've been able to better articulate since i've been down here. A godly leader is the first one in his household to die to himself. Meaning, the leader of a household really leads through servanthood. It has been cool to see God affirm things that I've learned before but never quite fully grasped. God has revealed himself to me through the witness of my friend's lives who aren't even physically with me this summer (pretty cool if you ask me)! He has also reaffirmed things in my walk that I've walked through in the past.

The guidance I've been under this summer has been life changing for sure. It has been incredible to learn to distinguish God's speaking into my life and just how much it can change who I am. I'm very thankful that I got to walk through this part of my spiritual journey alongside a community of believers who truly care about me and demonstrate the very attitude of Christ to the best of their abilities.

I'm definitely missing my family and a very special someone waiting for me back in Bourbonnais... Pray for me for strength to finish out my last two weeks strong and for God to move in the lives of all the teens i'll come in contact with over the next two weeks. I love you all!


Saturday, July 3, 2010


I have one small edit to make from my "The Two shall Become One Post". I have indeed had a brother all along. Well... at least since the 7th grade :) I've been blessed with one of the best friends a guy could ask for! The one and only TRAVIS POWERS!!! I have always considered him a brother. I should've clarified that Josh is the only brother by law i've ever had :) But no law could make Trav and I closer together. Heck, keep em coming! I'll take all the brothers I can get :)

Trav, I'm incredibly blessed to have you in my life! I love you and am very proud of everything you're learning in Europe. I can't wait to hang out with you all the time again! Have a great time in Europe and know that you'll always be my brother! :)


Friday, July 2, 2010

Revival At Its Best

This past week from Sunday-Wednesday we were at a revival in Pelham, Tennessee. I have never been so refreshed coming out of revival services in my life! To understand this church community you have to know some of its background. This church is over a hundred years old but the congregation most certainly isn't. The story is that J.B. Chapman (yes the same guy who's name marks the greatest freshman dorm on earth at ONU) came and spoke at a revival service nearby. Well the members of this community wanted so badly to hear Mr. Chapman speak in their town. The only problem was, they didn't have a building for him to speak in. So after some checking around they found a guy (who wasn't even christian) that said they could just have the back corner of his lot to do whatever they wanted with it. I could go on and on about southern hospitality and the lack of such gestures in the North sometimes but I won't. So In less than 7 days the members of this community resurrected a "glory barn". That is extreme makeover style if i've ever seen it. J.B Chapman of course agreed to come and speak and thus is born the Chapman Chapel Nazarene church in Pelham, Tennessee (make sure you say it like pellum instead of pel-ham. The locals have never heard of pel-ham).

This church has members that drive from 50 miles around to attend on a regular basis. There are people there from every age group though the 40 and under group out-weighs the 40 and over age group. That means that the church is STILL GROWING! I didn't blog about the church we traveled to the previous week but this church was a very welcomed change respectively! The event we were at was actually for teens. Chad spoke a sermon Sunday morning and every night just like normal. However, during the day, the teens had two teaching sessions in the morning and an afternoon activity following lunch. We went canoeing one day, bowling another, and the third day was a video scavenger hunt for all the teens. there were over 30 teens there each day. It was incredible!

We stayed with the sweetest family down there where Chad and I slept in a sweet camper and Cassidy slept inside on the littlest girls bed. They were extremely welcoming and had everything we could've asked for already out for us when we got there. God has blessed that family numerously because of their giving hearts. Needless to say, the week started out great! On top of that one of the ladies in the church decided she would have us over for supper one day (they don't do dinner in the south) and we ate some of the most incredible food I'd had in a very long time! So the hospitality down here was.... uh.... kind of..... well I guess you could say..... LIGHTS OUT!

I should've blogged every day about how the Spirit moved on this church but i'll give the highlight reel instead. Basically, the people of this church were hungry. In the youth sessions, the spirit broke everything from spirits of rebellion to those harboring grudges in their heart. The response across the whole church was very cool to be a part of. And then came the coolest sermon I've ever heard Chad speak. The root verse is out of Colossians 1:5 which says "the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel..." Chad walked us through the beginning of the verse and how the faith and love actually spring like a diving board off of this idea of hope! Which is sweet right, but what exactly is Paul talking about by "hope". So Chad walks us through the concept of shekinah glory. The Old Testament concept is that God would "shakan" a "mishkan" and out of that would spill the shekinah glory! Don't worry I'll explain. The word "shakan" has the idea of God literally making his dwelling place. The word "mishkan" literally translates into tabernacle. Lastly, the shekinah glory is simply the spilling over of his glory and presence where he has come to dwell. So when you put it all together it means that God's presence comes down to dwell in a tabernacle and his glory spills out all over the place. That is OLD TESTAMENT glory. But God doesn't dwell in buildings anymore! He did a new thing when he sent his Son to Earth and then left the Holy Spirit behind. So we say things like "Isn't it good to be in the house of the Lord this morning". Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. When two or three are gathered in his name, there he will be also. But He isn't there cause it's 6:00 Sunday night and we woke him up from his bed on the back pew so that he could be with us for service. He's there because WE BROUGHT HIM. The dwelling place of the Lord is IN US! He has no residence in our churches or in our homes. His presence can only be where we bring him. If we want to have revival we have to first surrender ourselves to the Father and bring him with us to gather for a movement of the Holy Spirit in the place where we gather (which could be the grocery store for all intensive purposes).

That just really spoke to me this week and I hope that it blesses you and challenges you to be careful to take the Spirit with you wherever you go and let his glory spill out from you. Going back to the verse in Colossians, this means that YOU and I are the hope of his glory. We are the diving board from which faith and love spring forth! Crazy stuff.

I love you all!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And The Two Become One

I know it's been awhile since my last blog but you would never believe how busy you are when you're preparing for your sister's wedding (unless of course you've experienced it). I've been looking forward to blogging again in general, but especially about my sister's and new brother's wedding :)
Her eyes are always closed haha but she still is a beautiful lookin bride if ya ask me! :)

I had the privilege this past Saturday to experience my sister's wedding. Not privilege just in the sense that I got to be there but a privilege in the fact that I witnessed the mystery of the gospel in which the two become one. I kind of got thrown into the whole wedding weekend. I flew into Columbus from Nashville (where we were at a internship conference) on wednesday night and got to meet Whitney shortly after :). The joy of seeing her after my time away from her could cover a whole separate blog but I'll spare you that. Anyway, I actually went straight from the airport to our church to start decorating. I have to admit that although there was an overwhelming amount of work to do, the atmosphere even leading up to the wedding was very peaceful. I honestly think a big part of that had to do with the fact that God was undoubtedly smiling down on Chelsea and Josh as they start their ministry as a couple together. I'm very confident in the two of them and I'm proud to call them my sister and brother-in-law.

There were two pretty cool moments for me during the wedding. The first was playing my djembe for their lighting of the unity candle and the song after they exchanged rings. I think it was just sweet to be a part of their wedding in my own unique way. It was also cool because the song for the lighting of the unity candle was congregational worship and I got to play with Whitney! I really enjoy worshiping with her and I don't get to do it that often.

The second moment that really caught me by surprise was after the party had finished walking out and gave Josh a hug and said "It's official brotha!" Again the mystery of the unity of marriage was made evident to me when I realized that I had somehow come to find a new brother in my life. Well... actually, I've never had a brother before! Gosh, now that I think about it, I have so much to catch up on in life! I hope that Josh will be down with me spending some quality time with him. I'd love to go fishing with him or hit the batting cages or whatever it is you can do with a brother.

After the wedding we sent them off and started the monstrous task of clean-up. Which actually isn't as bad as it sounds. Thanks to an incredible family on both sides of the tree, clean up went swimmingly. I am so thankful for family after this weekend! They are the only reason all of that work got done before a wedding. It is a beautiful thing to see the product of family put together a beautiful wedding only to perpetuate the cycle of family loving on each other. I believe that there are no perfect families, but through this wedding, mine has shown me an incredible example of what it looks like to live in a godly community with each other :)

Sunday, Whitney and I got to hang out with two of my favorite people on this earth... Chris and Amy Davis! They are a great example of a newly married couple who are seeking Christ in every aspect of their lives. Plus, I love the relationship that I have with both Chris and Amy. It's not every day you get to enjoy the company of two people as cool as them. So Chris and I had a little jam session while the girls chatted about wedding stuff and then we went home to prepare for a long drive to meet Chad in Illinois before Whitney drove up to school. Two things are sad about this trip... saying goodbye and long-distance relationships.

Love you all,


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sourced by God

This week we are at a convention called cross style conference. My mind is incredibly overwhelmed with how much I don't know about my Savior. The main speakers this week are Chad Seabright (the guy i'm interning under), Steven Manley, and Jeremiah Bolluck. These men not only have an amazing insight into theology, they also live it out in an intimate relationship with God. A.W Tozer calls people like this spiritual dynamite! I have come to find a very central focus to all of the lessons and sermons that have been spoken this far. If we want to live a holy lifestyle pleasing to God, we have to be completely sourced by him. The perfect example of this of course, being Jesus. What is astounding to me is that Jesus, being God, with all of the attributes of the Deity (which consequently are being self-existent and self-sourced) came to earth, laying those attributes aside to provide an example to us of what it looks like to be completely God-sourced humans.

How amazing would it be to love like we don't know how to love, to minister like we don't know how to minister, to teach like we don't know how to teach, and to live like we don't know how to live. Then when people come up to you and ask you how you do it you answer "I have no idea". And why not? Because your life is so guided by the Spirit that you honestly can only say I'm not really sure how I got to where I'm at or how I did that but it had to have been the Lord through me! an interesting example is in Matthew 4:1 the scriptures say that Jesus was "led up" by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. The Greek word for "led up" emphasizes the 'up' part. This is intended to have the idea of conveying forward or being carried. In fact, some biblical scholars hold the thought that the place where Jesus was led to was so high up and impossible to get to that he had to have been literally physically moved by the spirit to that place. What if my life looked like that? I think my first example of that was this trip down to South Carolina. Jordan, how'd you end up down here in South Carolina? "Um... well... I don't really know. But I know that God led me here and has better plans for me here than I could ever have made on my own!

What's even MORE impressive is that this temptation that God UNDOUBTEDLY LED Jesus to happened right after his baptism by John. John's baptism's, interestingly enough, are inseparable from the thought of repentance. That's all he ever preached was repentance! So Jesus who lived a perfect life got a baptism of repentance! HOW!? the definition of repentance, as quoted from Steven Manley, is "Giving up a former thought, to embrace a new thought". Jesus gave up his former thought of living the carpenters live, providing for his mom, and being a business man to embrace the thought of beginning his ministry. He just up and left Mama Mary one day and said "Ok, it's time to start my ministy now. My Father is ready for me." CRAZY! This is what is meant by living a life of repentance! Continually laying down your former thoughts to embrace new truths that God reveals to you throughout your life. Repentance has absolutely nothing to do with sin at all! Anyway, after Jesus get's John's baptism of repentance God is so proud His voice booms from heaven in chapter 3 verse 17 saying "This is my Son, whom I love! With him I am well pleased." God is so in love with his son and immediately after this moment he leads his son into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days and nights!

Living a God-sourced life will undoubtedly lead to times of struggle and temptation even immediately following times of renewal but it will always be worth it in the end! I'm excited to learn more and more each day how to die to myself and let God take complete control and move through me! It will certainly be painful at times but I can only pray that his spirit will move into the deepest part's of who I am, the parts that no word has ever entered, and bring life from them! I'm enamored by the love of God and by the opportunity that I have to learn about his perfect, pure love.

As I mentioned, my mind is flooded by all of these thoughts and concept of God so I hope that I conveyed the messages I heard in a logical way. I have so much more that I can hopefully blog about later. Thanks for all your support!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies...

I've come to the point in what i knew would be a spiritual journey this summer where i'm faced with my first "growing pain". I prayed before I left that he would wreck me and break me down to become what he wanted. I know, I know... that's a dangerous prayer to pray but I know his plans are much more spectacular than anything I could dream up. Oddly enough, I already knew what needed to be worked on. Funny how that happens sometimes. But as I said in my last post, this summer is going to be full of releasing things to the Lord. I suppose everyone has their achilles heel but only our God has the power to deliver us from the tempter. So i'm faced with the choice that every Christian faces when faced with adversity. Let your foes destroy you, or put on the Armor of God and fight! Personally, I don't much like the idea of being destroyed. So in the realization that spiritual warfare is very much a reality, I must drive my sword into the ground and claim the territory that is God's! It's not always rainbows and butterflies but what's waiting on the other side will be well worth it!

On a lighter note I've been kept busy around the house this week. We've put in four new window panes, tore out a shower door and re-caulked it, cleaned up an incredibly sized trash pile (still a work in progress), tore down all the lights in the little church and cut in new ones, texturized the ceiling, painted the ceiling (3 times!), and cleaned up the church for the dedication service this Sunday. And for what it's worth, the yard work is intensified by the possibility of running into a brown recluse spider or a cotton mouth snake! yikes! but no worries Mom it's only 30 minutes to the closest hospital...

After all of the work was done around the house (for now anyway) Chad and Dave took me golfing today :) I don't even care that i'm a terrible golfer. It's just great to be out there playing in general. Not to mention with guys who are men of Christ and make him a regular topic of conversation. I have been very enlightened in what it looks like to truly be who God has made you to be and be comfortable in that.

Tomorrow we wake up at 5:30 to go to the church for 'Free Coffee Friday'. The pastor of the church roasts his own coffee beans and they are going to use this opportunity to reach out to the community and hopefully expand the kingdom. I actually went through a roasting lesson and roasted my own batch of coffee beans. It was such a cool experience! There is such an art to roasting coffee beans. And seeing as how I'm up this late, I will be partaking in the artwork ;)


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ebenezer Church of the Nazarene

Today was my first church service with Ebenezer Church of the Nazarene. I can hardly describe to you the church that has come about from the group of people I'm staying with this summer, but I'm going to try my best. Ebenezers is a brand new church. The ten or so people who founded it are the ones who are surrounding me this summer as I walk this journey. This church probably has about 15 members so far. Actually, the official dedication ceremony of the new church building is this next sunday. The other intern and I are helping put together the celebratory picnic for those in the community that come.

The service this morning was incredible! I think mainly because the place was just exploding with love! Last night, this group of people (three married couples and a couple of past interns) surrounded the other Intern and I and just soaked us in prayer for the summer. They also went around and gave us words of wisdom on how to approach this summer and what to expect. These people really get church! The worship this morning was so genuine and freeing. I felt the presence of God in a way that i haven' t in a while and I know that he's preparing to change my life this summer. One song in particular spoke to me. It was called 'I Release'. I'm going to post the lyrics at the end of this blog. My favorite line in the song reads "I release faithless religion, I release godless tradition..." I want to know that I'm living my life with a purpose and for a darn good reason!

This summer is going to be about a lot of releasing for me. I am absolutely 100 percent sure that I could not feel comfortable letting go and REALLY finding out who I am in the presence of any other people. I'm safe to let loose and get confused and be angry and ask questions about what God will be teaching me down here. I was very encouraged when I left church this morning and I feel as though I'm in a good place for God to start dealing with me. Thank you all for your prayers and support!
I Release
I release my inhibitions, I release my preconditions
I release myself for what You want to do
I lay down my cares and burdens, all that's fearful and uncertain
I release, I release it to you

I release my gloom and sadness, I release my hate and madness
I release myself for what You want to do
I lay down my pride and passions, all the pain and life's infractions
I release, I release it to you

Oh sing glory, glory, hallelujah to You, Jesus
For all of the freedom You bring
La la la la la la la la, La la la la la la la la
I release, I release it to you

I release faithless religion, I release godless tradition
I release myself for what you want to do
I lay down my life for you, Lord all I am and all I live for
I release, I release it to you

I release, I release, I release myself for what you want to do
I lay down, I lay down, I release, I release it to you


Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Baby Whisperer

I've officially been on my 'summer trip' for approximately 4 hours now and I already have something to blog about! I'm currently sitting in the airport in Charlotte waiting for my layover flight to Augusta, GA where Chad will pick me up and take me out to Wagener. This airport is incredible! First of all, I'm a huge fan of these moving sidewalks, and this place is lined with them. Luckily my next flights terminal was at the complete opposite end of the building so i got to utilize them to their fullest. In fact, I almost missed one but I turned around and picked it up right after I passed it. I know it probably didn't save me anytime, but lets be real, I don't have a lot of moving sidewalks in my house!

So anyway, believe it or not this was my first time flying. I know, I know everyone is so surprised... our family just likes their road trips ya know? Needless to say, I was a little nervous about making a fool out of myself. I wasn't nervous about the flying, just navigating my way there. Mom and Dad walked me as far as they could and then I went through security and was on my way.

I was curious to see who I would get sat by in the plane. And by the way, I definitely wasn't expecting the cramped seats. I felt like I was on a really fast school bus! So anyway just as I sit down and get my laptop stowed away (and the lady ten seats ahead of me decides to try her luck cramming her luggage where my laptop bag was) this herd of 5 kids, their mom, and their grandma. They were, for obvious reasons, the last ones to board the plane. Grandma Patty sat next to me and strapped 9 month old scarlet mae onto her lap. Two of the other kids, Aiden and Isabella were behind me (mind you, Aiden wasn't feeling all that well... something about the flu and feeling nauseous... no big deal. And then mom was sitting beside Mia with 22 month old Ireland on her lap. I introduced myself, made casual conversation, and just kinda stared out the window (mesmerized by the view)

So Aiden takes some medicine before we take off to hopefully calm his stomach and Gradma Patty gets baby scarlet all settled in. The flight was only an hour and 7 minutes, So I figured The kid would make it. Boy was I wrong! All of the sudden I hear Isabella say 'Mommy, he's barfing, he's barfing!' So Grandma springs into action, asking if I would mind holding scarlet ( i didn't mind, so I took her). Before I know it, Isabella pops up to come chill with me. She starts this way... "My name is Isabella. You can call me Isabella or just Bella for short. What's your name?" I answer... she continues "Did you know we're going to MYRTLE BEACH?! my cousins are going to be there too, we didn't know they were coming but they surprised us... well we knew tiffany and brant were coming but not......." yeah the girl could TALK! She was sweet though and after she got out all she had to say she asked "Do you have like a girlfriend?" I said yep, I sure do! She says "I have a boyfriend too". I don't really know how to answer a first grader when they say that so i just said with a chuckle "Cool. How long ya been together". I felt kinda silly asking the question but she said "Oh we just go out at school" hahaha! I love kids!

But anyway the madness died down eventually and when I looked down, baby scarlet mae was fast asleep. The mom and grandma were ready to pay me! haha I guess when ya got it, you got it. It was quite the flight to say the least...