Tag: 10:31 Writing Team Jonathan Faulkner

When Studying…

 

When Studying…

 

            A few weeks ago, after a particularly hard week to be a Ministry Major here at Sterling College one of our professors asked us “What do you do when studying scripture gets dry?” This is was a great question and one that since Denver I have put a lot of thought into. In fact right now as I’m sitting into my second late night in a row working on Homework I find myself starting to get a little burned out with studying Ministry. Especially when you start working on your thesis which you are behind on, then you really may start to feel burned out.

I’ve said before that Burn-Out tends to come when we are overly stressed but that’s not always the case. Sometimes being burned out is a product of just focusing on one thing way to long. In Urban Ministry we often talk about the need to “Get away” from the Urban scene every now and then because of the heavy nature of Urban Ministry. You recall from previous posts that my get away was a coffee shop about five blocks from my apartment. That burnout was a cause rooted in the heavy stories I was hearing and the felt need to sympathize with the people I was working with. This Burn-Out wasn’t a product of an overly busy lifestyle, but of too much focus on the grief of those I was working with.

Then move onto classes, halfway through the semester your break is still two weeks away and you’ve been covering, with great intensity, some of the peripheral issues we encounter in Scripture. Add to that being almost two weeks behind on your Senior Thesis and hoping ot get back to work on the School’s Theology and Ministry Website. Keeping up with 10:31 Life Ministries and God’s Heart for Those and all the scripture prep that goes into that it’s very easy to get tired of studying scripture.

I know this sounds like a crazy and maybe even a heretical idea, after all we should follow the example of the Psalmist and “Meditate on them day and night” (Psalms 1:2). How can we get burned out on studying scripture?

I have to make the distinction here that there is a difference between academic study of scripture (Hermeneutics) and private study of scripture. When it comes to doing good Hermeneutics we are taught to go through a process that requires us to break down the passage and then to Exegete (Pull out) the meaning from the original context. It requires us to not just look at one passage but multiple contexts and passages from both the old and New Testament. To take the whole of scripture and consider that verse within that whole, along with original audience, learning context and whole slew of other situations.

Needless to say that this process can become tiring as a pastor but can become more tiring as a ministry student who is constantly being asked to write “Exegetical papers.” But what do we do when this becomes overwhelming, when we have three 4 page critical analysis, a reflection paper and a 4,000 exegetical paper due in the same week?

The best thing to do is to get away, not necessarily from scripture (though you can) but from the process. Doing something like praying through a psalm, just praying, or even doing something else altogether, these are all solid ways of dealing with burnout. It’s always good to get away and focus on other things for awhile. After our Paul class today I’ve been sitting here writing this article and occasionally joking with DT, while reading another person’s exegetical paper (Exegesis is always nice when it’s done for you). This was my escape before I dive back into the deluge of theological topics and ideas that always seem to want an opinion formed on them.

It’s good though, it keeps me sharp, keeps me humble and keeps me focused on the grace that I have in the Lord Jesus Christ. I love spending time in the gospel, Christ is the center of my life and that won’t change. But sometimes I need to get away from the Exegetical responses and 4,000 word papers and just rest in the Lord and in my dearest friendships. What is community for anyway? To build each other up and to encourage one another, even in the study of scripture.

Now take a break and get back into the study of Scripture, you’re doing great, keep going strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/ Founder

The Ministry Eb & Flow

            It’s just common sense that when you do Ministry you are going to see some changes in the people and the faces around you. Throughout the journey of Ministry we will see lives transformed, and not just the lives of those we are ministering too but those who work with us. No matter what you do in Ministry there will be change.

I was reminded of this during the week when the assistant director of Social Media & Marketing told me he felt the need to step down. Now, believe it or not this wasn’t a surprise to me, I knew it was going to happen, I expected it to happen. I had already started making plans with the leadership team to add one other person, though I was expecting them to be in place long before David stepped down. As it stands though David has stepped down and we haven’t even received an answer from our fourth leadership team prospect.

But that is how ministry goes, I suppose. You may have people who are in it for the long run and you may have some people there for  a short amount of time. David was only in leadership for five months before stepping down to join the writing team. But in that five months he practically built the 10:31 Life website. He updated and set in motion a growth in our social media presence and helped to get the organization on its feet again.

It won’t soon be forgotten all that David has done to help this ministry get restarted after it was nearly dead at the beginning of the last ministry year. But that’s the way Ministry goes it seems, as I said, some people are there for the long run and some are just short term. While it’s true that David will still be involved at 10:31, he will not be a leader that is a change, now Angel and I have to adapt, find someone to take the place.

So what do we in times like this? I’m finding the best thing to do is to pray. God’s in control of your ministry, doesn’t he know what’s best for all involved. I know that I’ve felt led to step out of ministry positions because of the amount of strain it has put on me in the past. Someone is always there to fill the role, and if they aren’t then maybe there’s a reason. At 10:31 we found someone within the organization to temporarily fill the Social Media and Marketing position. The person actually said if they like it they would take on the full responsibilities of the position.

I think a lot of the time when we do ministry and something goes wrong we give up. At least the perception is that something’s going wrong. Some might gasp at the fact that DT stepped down (in fact some have) but I know there’s a bigger purpose there. This ministry, as much as it has my name on it, isn’t mine, it belongs to the Lord. If this type of surrender is what’s needed for it to be effective then so be it.

The goal is to learn how to do ministry anyway right? So why wouldn’t God teach us how to handle personnel decisions beyond hiring new writers? Which by the way we have added two new ones. God’s got a plan for every ministry, He has a purpose for every good work. As I learn this it becomes clearer that He is also going to see that plan through to the end.

Because I can’t tell you how true it is that God qualifies the called, this is just part of the qualification process.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder 

Sleep: And Why it was so Hard

What you’re about to read isn’t an extension of “The Good Disciplines” series but a journal reflecting on the idea of Sleep in modern Christianity done for my spiritual formations class.

 

It was probably the strangest weekend of my entire collegiate career, coupled with the strangest homework assignment of my collegiate career. But yet as I returned to my room for a short practice session for my upcoming concert at Broadway Market I couldn’t help but think about that homework assignment. The assignment was to sleep, something I’m normally very good at, in fact I generally get around 8 hours a night, going to bed at 10 and waking up at 6, I’ve never really had a problem with getting sleep. That was until it became the first spiritual discipline we would be practicing for Spiritual Formations.

As I said, I returned that night intending to be in bed by ten, but ten came and passed and me and the young lady who was helping me with the music and I decided to head over to another friends room. There I wasn’t going to stay long but instead stayed for a movie and staying there until close to 1AM. I know that this was a choice, but it actually became a struggle between should I hang out and should I work hard to get this assignment done. Sleep became a battle, do I stay up and fellowship with the ones that I love or do I take the healthier route and go to sleep. In the end I decided to fellowship and actually had two of the more spiritually invigorating late nights I’ve had at Sterling. Obviously I’ve recounted the first night, watching a movie with 8 of my closest friends after worshiping and songwriting with a close friend and sister in Christ.

The second night continued that same pattern as an old friend of mine came down to visit for the long weekend, which led to another late night worship session including another new friend, two guitars and amazing conversation. That all ended by about 12:30 and I finally climbed into bed around 12:45, with church the next morning it would be impossible to wake up after laying in bed until I wasn’t tired anymore. Like the morning before I got up at 7 and started going about my day as I normally would. At this point I could tell the toll this schedule was taking on my body as I woke up Sunday with a nasty headache and a stuffy nose. Now this was part of dealing with allergies but by the time I left the cafeteria I could barely keep my eyes open, I needed a nap.

Now I know the assignment wasn’t meant to be done in a nap setting but I ended up taking a four hour nap, after which I felt slightly refreshed. My allergies were still a factor, I still felt like my head was going to explode, but I was able to hold a decent conversation with people again and that was what mattered to me since I had people coming over to work on Homework before Chapel. I took some Benadryl to help with the congestion and told myself I was going to bed at 10…

One would think at this point, even with the four hour nap I would have just passed out there on my couch with a bottle of water in one hand and a math book in the other. Instead when 10:00 came I was still wide awake and losing focus on my homework. This night though was different from the others, I had no commitments in the morning, it didn’t matter when I went to sleep. When 10:30 rolled around I got my chance to sleep, it wasn’t as late as the previous two nights but it felt just as late. I crawled into bed and resolved to not wake up until I absolutely had too or I couldn’t sleep anymore, whichever came first.  At 7:00 the next morning I found myself unable to get back to sleep, I had slipped back into my regular sleep schedule for the first time in a long time, it was the first night of that long weekend that I’d actually slept my usual amount of time and I felt strangely refreshed. I went to the café and did my devotions, said goodbye to my visiting friend and thought about how long it was going to take to recover from my crazy sleep schedule.

Before going to Denver two summers ago it was always a mystery to me why it was so hard to stick to developing good spiritual habits. Bible study and prayer were about the only two I practiced, that coupled with sleep but I was still extremely unhealthy in more ways than one. I think now more than ever I am convinced of the fact that the enemy doesn’t want us to be healthy, even to do some of the basic spiritual formations like sleep. Even though the activities that kept me from sleeping Friday and Saturday were actually healthy when I finally went to bed at a decent time it was difficult for me to fall asleep. Brad Stine once said “If the devil did anything for you he probably just woke you up in the morning[i]” I disagree, though Brad was talking about the things we blame the devil for, I defiantly think he has a hand in trying to throw off our spiritual lives. I know I can name countless times where because of depression or fatigue or some kind of personal, inward distraction I haven’t wanted to practice any of the spiritual disciplines that I have become acquainted with.

In C.S Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters the main character Screwtape tells his nephew, a tempting Demon “The best thing is to keep the patient from the serious intention of prayer altogether[ii]” (pg 15). Now here Screwtape is talking about prayer, but I think the same thing can be applied to sleep when sleep is viewed as something that will help us to be healthy, formed Christians. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13 when he says’ “When I was a child I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, when I became a man I gave up childish ways” (v.11 ESV).  If we must start doing what is healthy for us then it stands to reason that the enemy would like to see us fail in every effort to keep us from giving up “Childish ways.”

Of course I cannot discount the human aspect of failing to really practice this discipline multiple nights in a row. I could have sent people away from my room at 10, told them I needed to sleep, but yet I chose to spend my time in fellowship with others, which as I said is healthy, but when you recount our busy lives it seems that choosing to sleep more than one night would have been a wiser choice. Especially As Smith pointed out in his section on sleep, Americans do get less and less sleep every night. We certainly haven’t thought about the consequences  of not sleeping enough, I certainly don’t think about them until I am suffering greatly from lack of sleep. I know I would rather be with people then sleeping, but I’ve also come to realize, and this weekend reaffirmed, that I need my sleep to function, I can’t become so busy or so wrapped up in church or in hanging out with friends that I don’t allow myself to get the right amount of sleep.

I also think that now that I’m conscience of this disparity in sleep it will be more difficult for awhile to actually get the right amount of sleep. For example last night I left my friends on the porch at 10 and went inside to get some sleep, that didn’t happen, I didn’t go to sleep till an hour later, this wasn’t intended but because I knew I needed sleep for some reason it was hard for me to go to sleep. If that makes any sense at all, that act of getting ready for bed and then climbing into bed became extremely difficult and now today, without an adequate amount of rest I’m feeling the effects of even missing that extra hour.

It seems difficult to think about how important sleep is, In fact we don’t put enough emphasis on the idea of sleeping. Instead we complain when we don’t get enough, pump ourselves full of coffee and slowly get more and more unhealthy until we become the poster child for burned out Christians and slip head first into apathy.

In conclusion once I get over the idea of sleep as a discipline and actually practice it from night to night it will be less of a struggle. This really is a sort of mind blowing idea for someone like me who is so focused on getting things done in a timely manner.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder


[i] Brad Stine, Put a Helmet On, 2002

[ii] C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, 1942, Harper, San Francisco, San Francisco

Programmed

If you’re not familiar with me or my ministry then you don’t know that I once worked at a church with an abusive pastor. In fact I spent my last two years of high school slowly becoming more and more legalistic, more and more hateful and more and more like the man who was spiritually abusing me. With that abuse it also became ingrained in my head that no one cared about me, that no one wanted to spend any time with me and that I was exactly what I’d been told my entire life that I was a loser.

Growing up with a disability I was also fairly empathetic. I saw people who were down and wanted to help them, to bear all their burdens with them and to love them. The whole while hoping that I could feel love back, to believe for only a little while that I’m worth something to someone. Back then I didn’t believe that God loved me or that anyone else did for that matter.

This is a sort of classical conditioning, when we are taught to believe something. It happens all the time, we’re conditioned to believe the government’s going to run day to day even if it doesn’t. We’re conditioned to wear a shirt and shoes at McDonalds. These are okay conditionings, I personally am thankful that people wear shirts at McDonalds or in public in general.

Before the church I worked at turned abusive I had sat through several months’ worth of bible studies based on Cult Education. It was extremely informative and it defiantly has become an interest in my studies. To see how groups condition people fascinates me, the type of things they believe do too. Yes I know you’re thinking “oh no he’s going to try to control us.” Don’t worry, it also terrifies me, beyond all measure. After being in a controlling group you very rarely want to control others, unless you take over that group or find the control you gain to be exhilarating. Then destroying others might become a hobby for you and destructive to your friends.

The worst part about being conditioned to believe something is the difficulty in trying to forget what you’ve believed and believe what is true. The idea that I’m worthless and no one cares is so engrained in my memory that it becomes an extremely stressful activity trying to reach out to other people for help. So much so that most of the time I just shut down and don’t come out of my room for several days (except to go to class) this is destructive and it’s also hurtful to your friends.

But how do we get over this type of conditioning? How do we believe the opposite of what we’ve been taught?

One of my professors, a former cult deprogrammer gave this advice. Find a scripture to meditate on and remember Philippians 4:8 which says; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).

This is where community comes in handy because as you come out of the programming you won’t be able to do things on your own. You’ll need God and you’ll need the people that God has put in your life. Find someone who cares, they are out there, even if you’re conditioned to believe that no one does.

So go this week and focus on what is good and right and seek God to see if you’ve been programmed to believe this. Then go and be with your community of friends.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

Summer Reflections: Going Home

Reflection #10 – Going Home

 

                As Angel wrote in her first Summer Journal back in June I too hadn’t been home for several years, nearly four, for more than a 2 or 2 ½ week visit since I graduated from High School. I spent my first summer out in Michigan working and State Choir, my second summer I devoted completely to working and my third summer was spent in Denver where this blog originated. So I had no idea what to expect when I got here on May 12th. I knew I was going to miss terribly the friends that God had brought me so close too over the last nine months. I thought I was going to get a job and I had planned on taking a class. All of that got shot down and I ended up working specifically on our new 10:31 website and securing writers for next fall.

With coming home though came something else, a reminder of everything that I was before I my intervention by God on the side of that mountain last summer. The pain of the spiritual abuse that I had suffered at the hands of a pastor that had been released from that particular church and a sister who spent most of her time putting me down.

I was fine at the beginning of the summer, a great deal of prayer and time in scripture helped me to cope with everything that was going on around me. The constant insults from my sister continued but for the most part I was able to bite my tongue. That is until halfway through the summer when I started to slowly fall apart. I lapsed back into the depression and anger that had plagued me for so long before Denver. Instead of biting my tongue I would find back, thankfully I would catch myself before I did or said anything I regretted.

God used this to show me the strength of the friendships He had put into my life. Used it to constantly remind me through prayer and through loved ones that He was with me and I wasn’t the things that she was telling me I was.

As far as the church was considered, I met with the Youth Pastor twice and have visited on three different occasions. Through that God has allowed healing, reconciliation and restoration to come between me and the church leadership team and staff. As well as with several members of the congregation who had stopped talking to me probably at the request of the former senior pastor.

God also allowed a lot of good things to come from this, like getting to reconnect with an old High School friend, get my learners permit (Which is a long awaited answer to prayer), got to go on the radio to talk about the state choir and am now packing up for a trip to Boston. Through all of this though the setbacks continued God showed to me His faithfulness, promising that He would bring me through.

I think, dear friends that so often we forget, that when we are going through trials that God is right there with us. Read any of Angel’s articles for the summer and you’ll hear an amazing story of God’s ability to bring healing and restoration into our lives. When we are confronted by our past we want to run from it, but if God has brought us to it, then why would He not bring us through it.

In final reflection I think this summer God has reaffirmed and tested me in this fire to see if I believe what He told me in the Labyrinth. “I am here, I will be there.” The words repeating in my heart and in my head as I continue to walk this journey and reflect on the amazing God that I have the honor of serving, the same God who loves us enough to send His only son to die for us. The Same God who brought us to the trial, is the same God who walks with us on the journey, is the same God who abides in us and the same God who transforms our hearts along the way.

I pray you will continue in this journey with me as I continue to learn and grow and discover God’s Heart for Those.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

Standing With My Brothers

Some might see this as trying to take advantage of a situation, and they would be right. My life, as a Christian is to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ, so if I have a chance to stand with my brothers in Christ I will. If I have a chance to spread the gospel well I’m doing that then I will take the time.

So to start I want to say that I believe in the traditional definition of marriage. Volatile words I know, and some of you will probably never read this blog again. But I stand with with the owners of Chick Fill-A. I know that everyone’s said it, I know that thousands of people have agreed with him and posted it on facebook, but I too want to come out and say it.

But before you boycott me consider this, while I do believe in the traditional view of marriage between a man and a woman. I do not believe in the gospel of hate that is preached by groups like Westboro Baptist Church and the Fred Phelps camp. In fact some of my closest friends have chosen alternative lifestyles. I may not agree with them but I do still love them and will continue to be friends with them.

As for those who think I’m simply blowing smoke I want you to consider the true gospel of Christ. This isn’t a gospel of hate as Phelps thinks it is, instead it’s a gospel of Love. Yes it’s true that the bible states that God calls Homosexuality an abomination that is in reference to the specific sin. You’ve all heard the expression love the sinner hate the sin. While I do believe that homosexuality is a sin I will not openly attack my friends who practice alternative lifestyles

Honestly, I don’t think the owner of Chick Fill-A does either, heck I bet his stores have employees of alternative lifestyles. Like Mike Huckabee and others have pointed out the hiring process doesn’t ask you for your orientation, I’ve never seen one who does.

The bottom line is that I’m standing with my brother in Christ. As the rest of the Fast Food Chains have decided to do, as the rest of the Christian body should do. Not in hate, not to demonize or tear down a group of people. We stand with Him in Christ and in love.

So today let’s go and support Chick Fill-A tomorrow because they aren’t discriminating, they aren’t being vicious like Westboro, the owner is simply stating his beliefs. If you can’t tolerate those beliefs just ignore them, if you don’t agree with my beliefs then ignore them, if you can’t ignore me boycott me.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner

Summer Reflections: Bearing Burdens

Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens

 

It’s hard to think with all the positive reflection that I’ve been doing there could have been a negative effect from Denver. Now, I know this wasn’t the intent of living the quiet life, nor the intended message, but it somehow came across that if people didn’t want to see me then they didn’t want to see my problems. This caused me to internalize everything, to bear them on my own, taking them only to God and God alone.

Now this is a good thing to do, God wants us to take our burdens to Him, the problem was I forgot one of the many important features of a Christian Community, the fact that we can share our burdens. This wasn’t a problem as I went through the first months back from Denver. But as the second semester rolled around and God brought more and more people back into or into my life I started to feel guilty if I talked about what I was going through.

This wasn’t good because it meant I was second guessing myself and my friendships. It also caused me to be more reclusive with my problems. It became an issue one night when I got upset about something that was happening in the room I was in. Instead of confronting the person directly I walked out of the room (it was my own room) and into the sleeping area. When the person I was upset with realized what was going on they came in and confronted me.

I realized that night, and through another night of fierce spiritual attack after which I was sick for a few weeks that I needed to share my burdens. I sat in David’s room and started explaining the situation, I talked with my mentor about it. I let other help me bear my burdens.

Sometimes in this life we feel as though we don’t have anyone, but that’s a lie we tell ourselves if we are Christians. I can tell you that if you are part of the body of Christ you should have someone you can go too. If you don’t then I’d encourage you to encourage your fellow Christians to read through the book of Acts.

See to the early church it didn’t matter what you looked like or acted like, or ever the size of your checkbook. If you were a Christian they would do their best to help you out. They lifted one another up in prayer and they sought the will of God together. Bearing Burdens was something the body of Christ did together.

I finally understand why we need each other so much, because without one another we’d all go crazy. I can’t think of any biblical examples other than the book of Acts but we really do need one another to help. So the next time you are struggling with something, or you are wondering if someone cares go to your Christian Friends and let them know what’s going on. You won’t find this kind of community most of the time unless you create it.

You’re not alone

God Bless you
Jonathan David Faulkner
Director/Founder 10:31 Life Ministries

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

A Bigger Purpose

As my summer series continues I thought I might take a short break, release the next blog in the series tomorrow and take some time to reflect on something I didn’t talk about in the series.

Whether you believe it or not, God certainly frustrates the proud, in fact Proverbs says “God Opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” In my life pride has certainly been a struggle and my pride has certainly brought me too many places of frustration. I was in one of those places last summer in Denver as I sought to continue learning about Youth Ministry, making that the soul focus of my life. Even though at the time I was working at a Homeless shelter, acting as an intern, teaching occasionally and preaching on one Sunday night.

During this time I was also working at another location as one of the assistant Youth Leaders. I didn’t do much in the way of ministry, I mostly acted as crowd control and hung out, but for someone who wanted so badly to be a youth pastor I couldn’t seem to connect with the kids. It was odd for me because I was so used to connecting to the young people I worked with. I thought maybe it was Urban kids, but then as I reflected back on my two years teaching high school youth group I realized I really didn’t connect with rural kids either, nor had I actually connected in Dallas all those years ago.

Now I know that the sole purpose of a Youth Pastor isn’t to connect with the kids he or she is working with, but connecting is important. If we don’t connect with those we are serving on some level it will be very hard to serve them effectively. That doesn’t mean we will find ways to connect to everyone either, let’s face it, there are some people that we may have nothing in common with or connect on in any way except for the fact that we are Christians.

But for me I didn’t connect because I wasn’t doing what God wanted me to do. Youth Ministry was something that I wanted, it wasn’t actually what God was calling me to do. I limited myself because I didn’t want the responsibility of full time pastoral ministry. I didn’t want to stand up on Sunday morning and preach, I didn’t want to build 10:31 beyond Youth Ministry, all of these were what I didn’t want.

But we know that God works in mysterious ways, and we know that when we don’t think we can do something God can use us to do great things. We also know that God works with broken and messed up people who are focused only on themselves. He can change them, but he can also use them and through their brokenness do great things through them.

But when we are prideful it seems that we have a harder time being used by God, going where He wants us to go, when God’s plans don’t seem to agree with our plans we get angry and aggressive towards Him. We go about our own way and then God has no choice but to frustrate our own plans so that we will start acknowledging Him. That is one of the lessons I had to learn as I grew in ministry, if I wanted to do ministry it couldn’t be about me or what I wanted, it had to be about God.

When I began to live out this new mentality the doors of ministry opened with a vengeance. In fact it seems that everywhere I go I have a chance to reach out to talk to someone and we connect, at least most of the time. This isn’t a product of anything I’m doing, but of a choice to conform to the will of God.

Now Youth Ministry is only part of what I do, this week I’ve been blessed by the chance to hang out with the youth group my younger sister works with here in Boston. Each interaction, whether it was riding roller coasters or having a conversation has been a chance for ministry, a chance to bring glory to God.

I still struggle with pride, but the Lord is keeping me humble, reminding me constantly that He is in control and that His plan is perfect. If we rely on pride and in our own achievements then we will be opposed, but if we approach him with humility God will bless us. If we acknowledge that we can’t do ministry on our own, and surrender what we want to do to God, then God is going to take us to places we never would have expected.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
Director/Founder
10:31 Life Ministries

Summer Reflections: Book & Books

Reflection #8: Book & Books

  

                Like most of my spring semester it wasn’t planned. I was in the cafeteria with my laptop in front of me, a blank word document begging me to write something. It was mid-term week and I was more than ready for spring break. A lot of my friends were completely burned out and several of them had already left. As I said last week I was planning on staying on campus, but by that time I had already agreed to go to Texas the next Thursday.

I started to type, before I knew it I couldn’t stop. Words flowed from my fingers, the keyboard “tap, tap, tapping” out to the rhythm of whatever song might be playing through my headphones at the time. They words kept coming, all the frustration I felt towards the fact that everyone around me was burned out started to form into a book. Everything from Denver started coming back to me as I sat in the cafeteria and later in my room.

50 pages, then 100 pages, then 150, then 200 pages, I worked on this book all day Friday, Saturday and part of Sunday. Into Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and even a little bit before we left on Thursday, I continued to write on the trip, then off into the next week after we returned. All the way up till the Thursday after. I sat back in my chair at about 3:30 in the afternoon, clasped my hands behind my head and sighed, 224 pages on the problem of burnout. Now I was burned out.

Those two weeks were probably the most interesting two weeks I’ve had since July 4th of last year. I could only write at certain times, when I had homework to do I couldn’t work on the book, a block went up that stayed there until I finished assignments. Then I could go back to counting pages and reading sections of books pertaining to the problem.

When I think back on those two weeks I can tell you that the only way I could have written a whole book and done all the research on it was through the power of the Holy Spirit. God showed up and wrote through me, not that this book is anything special, but as I prayed they be His words and not mine that is the only explanation I can give.

Bring back to the front life in the spirit. Since surrendering everything to God’s will, these types of things have been happening. Could it be that God is giving me a unique view of life in the spirit? My goal here is to give you my experiences; I know that God works with all differently, so your experiences will be different from mine. But to really get to know God, to see what He does when we lay down our desires and surrender them to Him.

The book is in the first editing phase, but I hope and pray that God will allow this to become a published work in the next year or so. When my friend Emily heard about this she told me “Jon, please tell me you’re going to grad school, because I feel as though someone who can write a book in two weeks is a genius.” She’s right, I do plan on going to grad school, but I’ll leave it up to the spirit to be the genius and rely on what God has taught me.

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home

Summer Reflections: Texas Sweet Tea

Summer Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea

I couldn’t believe I was doing this, I had committed to spending an entire week in solitude but here I was the Thursday morning of spring break running around campus trying to get everything ready to head to Texas for a leadership conference. I loaded my stuff in my brother in Christ’s car and we set off for McCreery where we’d be meeting up with Angel and heading for Texas and Teen Mania’s Honor Academy for the True North Seminar.

Now this wasn’t a trip that I was planning on going on, as I’ve already stated, I was staying on campus, enjoying a week of solitude, prayer and writing, a retreat of its own. But a week earlier (we’ll call him) Matthew had approached me about joining the two of them on the trip as a third party if their first choice couldn’t come. I hesitated, told Matthew “No” twice but he was persistent and on the third time gave me an ultimatum and I had no choice but to accept his offer.  The reason I’d been chosen was because of my association with Global Expeditions and I suppose it didn’t hurt that Matthew is my brother in Christ and Angel had just entering her fourth month at 10:31.

It turns out that going was one of the best things that God allowed me to be a part of. The conference was amazing; even though the Truth North Seminars are designed to train Global Expeditions Leaders they I would also recommend them for any church or Christian Ministry Organization because the principles they are applying to leading young missionaries can be applied to any leadership position. If you don’t believe me go and see for yourself.

On that trip I learned a lot about communication, something I’ve never been good at outside of paper. I also learned about confrontation. Something about learning as you go, about trusting God with everything in your life is that you never know where God is going to take you. The previous week I had started praying hard about a member of our leadership team. I knew I needed to confront the person on something but I had been avoiding it. As God took me through that weekend I was inspired and given the wisdom to make the confrontation effective.

Also I have to admit that I tend to be a very scheduled person, meaning; I like to know what I’m doing long before I actually go and do it. So a random, unplanned trip to Texas was the last thing in my comfort zone. Throw in the fact that I was slightly nervous (okay that’s an understatement) to be taking a weekend trip with someone I worked with. Last time I’d done something like this it hadn’t ended well for the friendship or the working relationship.

Wouldn’t you know it, after a few revelations and several cups of Texas Raspberry Sweet Tea we were on our way home and God was still revealing things to me. It was an amazing trip, even more amazing to think back on it. It was from that trip that God affirmed one of the most amazing friendships I’ve ever had. Through that trip that God taught me how to better lead and through that trip that I got to teach Tea Quon Dou again.

God’s grace is surprising, this trip was an example of that, and the Texas Sweet Tea, well that was a bonus…a huge bonus!

Jonathan David Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries
Director/Founder

 

Summer Reflections Series
Reflection #1: Re-Entry
Reflection #2: Pulled Out
Reflection #3: Set Apart
Reflection #4: Focus Change
Reflection #5: Spirit Thing
Reflection #6: Science and Christianity
Reflection #7: Texas Sweet Tea
Reflection #8: Books & Books
Reflection #9: Bearing Burdens
Reflection #10: Heading Home