God and Pancakes

PancakesMaking breakfast for my family is one of my most favorite things to do.

There’s nothing like a Saturday morning, fresh cup of coffee in hand, cooking breakfast while the family peacefully lounges in the living room.  Perfection.

I usually will put some worship music on and pray during these windows of opportunity.  I guess you could say that it’s a time that God and I have set aside to hang out.

One morning, not too long ago, I was making pancakes.  The music was playing and I was talking to God as usual when suddenly, BAM!  I got totally overwhelmed by His presence.  Tears were flowing and I just felt still and complete.  Have you ever experienced that?  It’s one of those times that’s really hard to explain….the only words that I can think of are “peace” and “clarity” and “confidence” and “humbleness” and “joy.”  Even those words fall short of what His presence feels like.

Anywho, God showed up that day in a way that I didn’t really expect.  He likes to do that.  He likes to keep us on our toes.  He likes to remind us that we can’t control Him or put Him in a nice little box.  I’m grateful for these reminders.

I’m learning to always keep myself available for His little surprise visits.  To seek Him out the best that I can.

The funny thing is that He’s always around.  Maybe He just knows when we’re prepared to handle His presence….when His touch will make the most difference in our lives.  He knows us pretty well.

Life can be exciting and powerful when we look for God….better yet, great stuff happens when we EXPECT Him to show up in new and fresh ways every day….knowing that we serve a God who promises to show up…maybe in ways that we don’t expect, but He shows up nonetheless.

Do me a favor and join me in turning over rocks, breathing the crisp air, observing the sunrise or sunset, enjoying good fellowship….doing all these things in hopes of catching a glimpse of God’s presence….of His strength….of His beauty….of His peace.

You may be pleasantly surprised and powerfully impacted when you find out He’s been around you this whole time!

 

God Bless,

Paul

 

 

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Where I’m Going This Year

broken shoesMany of you know that I absolutely love kids.  Their simplicity, truthfulness and joy encourage me to dig deeper.  I’m a kid at heart, so I can relate to the little boogers I guess!

I am always praying and remaining open for opportunities to minister, lead and just hang out with kids.  I truly think it’s a calling and I don’t want to miss that call when it comes.

Well, in a way, a call did come in the form of my wife’s sweet voice encouraging me to do something…..TO GO TO ECUADOR!  Our church is teamed up with Compassion International and we have sponsored and built a church in Santa Elena, Ecuador.  Many children have been rescued from the grips of poverty because of this church.  We have the opportunity of teaching and playing with these awesome kiddos for 1 whole week!  Plus our family currently sponsors 2 kids through Compassion and I may get to meet them if I go on this trip!

At first, I didn’t want to take her nudging seriously because, well, Ecuador is a long ways away and I’ve never been apart from my family that long.  Also, the flight, money and inconvenience of it all just made things seem out of reach.  So I let it rest and I prayed about it.

Over the next couple of months, I couldn’t kick the thought of embracing small, poverty-stricken kiddos.  I couldn’t kick the thought of playing soccer with them, goofing around with them and loving on them.  I couldn’t kick the thought that maybe God was calling me out of my routine for once…..answering my prayers in a way that would stretch me and challenge me.

SO I’VE MADE THE DECISION TO GO!

There’s something exciting about responding to the call of spreading the Gospel to all the nations.  Whether I’m teaching or loving, or just being present, I’m excited to have hands and feet for God to use.

All this is out of my comfort zone and risk is certainly a possibility.  The “what if” list could grow and grow if I let it….but I won’t…because God’s in this.  I’m just along for the ride.

Strangely, I’m not fearful at all, just anxious…in a good way.  That’s how I know that this is the right thing to do.

I’m grateful for a supportive family.  I’m also grateful for a God who knows me better than I could ever know myself.  He knows how I grow and I’m sure that I will leave Ecuador a broken soul, only to be filled up with a beautifully renewed perspective.

Please pray for this journey, for the team, for our safety and for the advancement of Jesus’s love to even the most afflicted.  I appreciate it very much friends!  More to come.

God Bless,

Paul

 

Why Our Stories Matter

magic open book of fantasy stories

I’m 35 years old and I’ve often wondered, “how in the world have I survived this long?”  Really, it’s a small miracle.

From my clumsy years as a child, to multiple crashes in cars and on bikes, to numerous jumps off bridges and cliffs, to many nights of partying and being stupid, to many crappy decisions…..God has held me in His hands for some reason.  Don’t ask me why….but He has.

Maybe God’s up to something in my life….maybe He has a plan for me…..maybe my story matters!

Over the years, I have made a horrible habit of minimizing myself…..I have placed the label of “normal” and “insignificant” and “ordinary” smack dab on my forehead.  I have assumed that my journey is as insignificant as a small feather, drifting in the ocean.

THIS MINDSET IS SELF-DEFEATING, TOXIC AND SOOOOOO WRONG!

The truth is, our stories hold power.  Every single experience has crafted you and me into the beautiful creations that we are!  These experiences, whether good or bad, can add encouragement and wisdom and flavor to the lives around us…..they might even alter somebody’s path completely!

In a big, big world, it can be tempting to forget that we were created by a big, big God who has big, big plans for each of us.

Slowly and deliberately, I’m discovering that I AM significant.  That even MY story matters.  The process has been pretty messy though and that’s ok!  I wouldn’t be Paul without gathering a few cool scars along the way.

Truly, I’ve had to adjust my perspective a lot.  I’m learning to look at the past, present and future through eternal eyes, trusting that God knows what He’s doing…..it’s really the only thing that makes sense to me…but man, it’s really hard to do sometimes.

Here’s the thing…Jesus loves you and He loves me.  He wants to fill each and every one of us with His joy and peace and perspective.  He wants to mold us, bend us and break us so that he can USE us for His awesome purposes.  That’s why we’re here!

You and I grow so differently which is why we each hold such beautiful, unique stories.

Maybe, just maybe, your story has a purpose.  The rough experiences and decisions from your past have no hold on your future……they only add to the depth of who you are…..if you are open.

Please, please, please, don’t hide who you are or mask where you’ve been.  Let your light shine!  Right now, this very second, you are breathing because of the grace of God.  He’s not finished with you yet.

God Bless,

Paul