Tag: God’s Heart for Those Jonathan David Faulkner

Brutal Honesty about being a Single Christian

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Brutal Honesty about Being a Single Christian

 

            Loneliness can be like a flood.

Here I am, just out of college, I’m living with a professor from the college I graduated from. I’m working for the college I graduated from. Trying to find a job in ministry, trying to keep 10:31 running, trying to find my own place and learn how to pay bills. And as exciting as all of this can be at times there are times when I am just lonely.

Some might say that this is wrong of me, some might say that I have no reason to be. I do have incredible friends who I get to see on almost a daily basis, but most of them are in relationships or getting married and those that are not, are not looking. But I have this desire, I have this want, I’ll even call it a need to have someone close to me, to have a young woman in my life who loves the Lord and who loves me. Again, some might say “you’re young” or “why do you want this?”

My Answer

Because God made me this way dang it, and until the day He fills the void that He left for my other half I will have this desire and am meant to have this desire. To be a husband and a father who leads his family to love and glorify God.

Now this sounds like complaining I know, and I’ve heard it all. “You should be content,” or “It’s when you stop looking that God brings the one.” I’ll be honest, there are times when I just want to give up, to resign myself to loneliness, but God did not intend it to be that way. He did not intend me to be that way. I wish I could have the peace and serenity that one of my brothers in Christ has, (he is called to be single), but I don’t anymore. I am no longer content like I once was, now it feels as though something’s missing and I believe God is allowing me it to be missing.

And to my dear friends who don’t believe God would allow that consider how long He allowed Jacob to remain single and then the years of work he had to do to finally get Leah, not Rachel who he’d originally bargained for. God Himself said “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Yes, this is in reference to Adam at creation, but it seems to be true to this day.

Yes, being single and out of college can be a struggle but there is a flip side to this that must be discovered too.

 

THIS IS A TIME OF PREPARATION.

I cannot mention my discontent without mentioning what I have learned from this time. I have learned to love God with all my heart, soul and mind. I have learned what it is like to have no significant other. I have learned how to heal, how to love others deeply. How to build up my friends and love them as part of the body of Christ. I have learned how to do minor household repairs, I have been reminded of the centrality of the word in the lives of believers, how to persevere, how to come out on the other side of heartache and how to resolve conflicts.

So for all the struggle there is a very positive side. I am in much better shape, have a better work ethic and am much closer to God then I was even a month ago. Most importantly though I have learned to walk by faith and lead others in walking by faith.

See, in becoming a man of God there is an honest truth, one must take time to evaluate himself before the light of the throne. Then, upon that evaluation we must change what scripture tells us to change By grace we do this, because of Christ’s death on the cross we get to do these things. But preparation is hard, it is difficult and it can be offensive. There were attitudes and still are attitudes that I needed or need to get rid of before I can lead a family. I have to work a minimum wage job that isn’t very glorifying to learn to glorify God with everything.

So let God deal with me as I will. Yes I struggle with loneliness but who hasn’t at some point. Yes, I struggle with my single state, but I have a body to raise me up and encourage and pray for me. I know she’s out there, I know God’s working on her and making her awesome (if I don’t know her already and don’t already think she’s awesome) I just have to get there. I have to seek and let God prepare me. Not be girl crazy, but be crazy in love with God. Then in the middle of my lonely state I can look ahead to the things that have been promised. God’s grace, love and mercy and the fulfillment of our desires for His glory.

 

Jonathan David Faulkner is the director and founder of 10:31 Life Ministries 

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

Foggy Mornings

Growing up in the foothills of the Appalachians I can recount many a mounting in the spring and the fall where we would wake up to a wall of fog. So think in fact there were mornings you could barely see the neighbor’s house across the street and up the road. There were some mornings when you could only see the school bus by the bright flashing fog lights as it moved down Ramar drive across the housing development.

It was mornings like those when creation stood out to me the most. As I stood looking out at the soupy fog I couldn’t help but imagine what might be behind it. Would the hills reappear when the sun came out? Or would they be replaced by something else, maybe mountains would fill the landscape, or maybe a dragon would be seen flying over head. Fog always brought out the adventurer nature in me, always asking “What’s back there?”

This morning was the first time in a while I’ve seen fog as thick as pea soup. But as I walked to breakfast reveling in the beauty around me I started to think of God and His creation that was inevitably hiding behind that fog. In Kansas, unlike Ohio you can see for miles without anything to block your view. This morning the fog took that away and it made me wonder if I’d ever see the plains again.

I’ve come to learn that often times this is how we view God. Sort of like the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind some mysterious thick cloud or smoke, or concealed by fog. We go through our lives trying to get all our ducks in a row, thinking that the will of God is hidden, and often times it is. Or we think, God will reveal himself when we get ourselves straightened out. When we get through everything God will come out from behind the curtain or the fog and be revealed.

The truth is both of these are lies. Now, I’m not saying that God isn’t a mystery, He most certainly is mysterious and wonderful and terrible and all the things words we use to inadequately describe Him. For us to try to understand God will take a lifetime, that’s why we constantly need to pursue Him. But the notion that we have to have it together or figured out to learn who He is, is ridiculous.

God has said to us through the psalmist “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). We are told by Paul that “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20 ESV). And Jesus promises at the end of the great commission;  “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 ESV).

With those promises why do we think that we cannot know God, true we can’t fully know Him in this life, but to say that He is hidden from us is like saying that we couldn’t tell the NFL replacement refs blew the call on Monday night. We can know God, we can come to Him and say “God I need you, God I want to know you” and He says “I will be with you always” or “I have been with you” and even still “You are my son or my daughter.”

If we want to become like Christ or in Christ (Phl 2, Gal. 2:20) then there has to be a way to know God. That is through the revealed or special revelation of God, aka the Bible. The “God Breathed” 2  Tim 3:16) inspired word of God. Meaning that word that God gave to men to write down so that we, 2000 years later could know who God is and how He works.

As for the idea that we need to get things together before we can go to Him, remember that we are His children. That God is about building people, Check out Romans 8:30 “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified”( ESV). Meaning God prepares us for what He has called us to do, He does a work in us. Titus 3:5 says “Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by the washing and regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit” (ESV).

This is amazing, that we can go to God as we are and He will begin to do the work as we get to know Him. As God draws us closer we will find healing, we will find restoration, we will find that God is not hidden behind a wall of Fog. That He is living and present and active in our lives and it doesn’t matter if we have it together, He has said “Come as you are.”

I find that when the fog lifts, things look a lot more beautiful. Back home the fog would lift and the sun would hit the wheat fields behind the development and nothing in nature has since captured my eyes as part of God’s revelation of Himself. When the fog lifts, and we start to seek after and pursue God, man how our perspective changes

God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner

On Athletes and Olympians & Faith

“All the glory for this goes to God” Gabriel “Gabby” Douglas, or The FlIying Squirrel said as she awaited to head over to claim her gold medal in the All Around. Then as her countries national anthem was played a huge grin spread across her face, at 17 years old she had won Gold, something her friend and training partner Shaun Johnson had done four years earlier. The following morning on Facebook the attacks started, The Liberal media went after Douglas for sharing her faith on an international stage.

It got so bad at one point that I turned off my computer and put it away, forgetting that twitter even existed almost deleting my facebook account. While that’s an exaggeration it’s not an exaggeration to say in big bold letters “LEAVE THE ATHLETES AND OLYMPIANS ALONE.” There I said, just let them be, and while you’re at it leave the Christian CEO’s and the bible based corporations, leave them all alone. Conservatives, Liberals and Liberation Theologians alike, leave them alone.

Why do I say this? I heard an analyst once say that Tim Tebow was only drawing negative attention to himself because of his outspokenness. Ask anyone in the Denver Locker room and they’ll tell you otherwise, Tebow was loved by his teammates in Devner, and will hopefully have an impact on a failing Jets team. You ask the hundreds or thousands of young Christian men who weren’t sure they could couple their faith with their favorite sport how negative Tebow’s been on them, they may laugh at you, and they should.

What about Trevor Bayne (At right)? Jamie MacMurry? Dale Jarret? Nascar drivers who have all proclaimed their faith on national television.  In fact I seem to recall Jamie Mac saying this after winning at Charolette two years ago; “People ask me why I cried at Daytona, when you’re struggling it really makes you think and pray and you learn a lot about faith and I couldn’t have done this without God.” How about Trevor Bayne after his surprise win at Daytona, the first words out of his mouth were “I want to thank God, I couldn’t do this without him.” Never heard anyone in the Liberal Media complain about that, or Darrell and Michael Waltrip’s multiple biblical references during the Daytona 500 rainout in February, no one ever complains about NASCAR. Is it because they think we’re crazy, or is it because Christianity is so rooted in the fan base we have the audacity to pray before ever race, for the race.

These Christians are showing their faith, they haven’t told you what to think or how to act, they have said publically that they are Christians. They never asked you to join them, they are clever though, now those who thinking are probably thinking “Maybe there’s something to this Christian thing?” It’s a gentle and quiet form of Evangelism that we seem to have forgotten.

In 1 Thes. 4:11-12 Paul encourages the church at Thesolonica to; “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (ESV). These Olympians and Athletes are doing what they are good at, working with their hands and they just so happen to do it for the glory of God. Who’s business is it of yours who they do it for the glory of, should we work for the glory of ourselves? No We should do it all for the glory of God (see 1 Cor. 10:31).

Truth is I love watching these Athletes perform, you can see it in their eyes that they are there for something more, they are there for a bigger purpose just to win Gold. They have acknowledged what Jonathan Edwards calls “The Chief End of Man” that being “To being glory to God and find our happiness in Him.” They enjoy what they are doing, even when they are not doing well.

So if you’re a Christian and you join my the quarterback of my favorite NFL team and say “You should tone down your faith” then in the immortal words of Brad Stine “Put a Helmet on” because it is the outspoken ones who are not afraid to share their faith that will stand out, not the camouflaged Christians being blown with the preverbal societal tides

So leave the Athletes and CEO’s alone, go out and live your faith out, don’t worry about what your brothers or sisters in Christ are doing with their faith. Unless they are falling into Heresy and causing division you have no right to criticize them. Remember it’s not about what we do with our money, our time or the faith we are given, it’s about how we represent Christ. So to the Liberal media I say “Leave us alone” to those that might agree with them I say the same thing, to the Christians who agree and refuse to talk about your faith I refer you to the Ministry Blimey Cow and Jordan Taylor who would undoubtedly tell you “You’re doing it wrong.”

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