30 Before 30 List

Events
1. Visit a Historic U.S. city
2. Vacate in a country outside of the U.S.
3. Attend either a recognized conference (Catalyst, Resurgence, etc.)
4. Attend an AG General Council

Physical
5. Get my weight under 200 pounds
6. Run a 5k
7. Hike a Mountain (preferably after goal #5)
8. Complete a 40 day Daniel Fast
9. Complete either the P90x or Insanity challenge

Ministerial
10. Support a Missionary monthly
11. Oversee a Youth Ministry (Part-time or Full-time)
12. Work at AG National Office

13. Become ordained with the AG (Projected Age: 26)
14. Perform a Wedding Ceremony
15. Become a Small Group Leader

Intellectual
16. Read 250 Books (Currently at 66; Tracked by Goodreads)
17. Memorize an entire book from the Old Testament (Proverbs)
18. Memorize an entire book from the New Testament (Colossians)
19. Create a consistent weekly blog
20. Write a rough draft for a book idea
21. Work towards a Master’s degree
22. Memorize every country’s flag and spot on the map
23. Become fluent in another language (Italian or French)

Miscellaneous
24. Record a song on acoustic
25. Create a piece of furniture
26. Complete a full month of blessing one person each day
27. Create an original recipe

Financial
28. Reach $5,000 in savings
29. Create an additional stream of income (Real Estate, stocks, CD, etc.)
30. Move to Step Three in Dave Ramsey’s MoneyMakeover (Projected Age: 33)

 

 

 

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1000³: My Vision

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As I have read several books over the last few months, one significant detail stuck out to me.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted my life to stand for. Sure, I knew I wanted to leave the world better because I was here and sure, I wanted to make a difference, but WHAT IS IT that will become the driving force or the propelling vision that will guide my life.

Over the past week or two, I have given much thought and prayer to this, and this is what I believe is a sample of my mission statement.

1000³: Reaching in to Reach Out.

My goal is to reach 1000 in 3 different areas:

REACHING IN

1. 1000 Books Read

This is significant because not many people have a passion to read and thus they are limited to their ability based upon those they surround themselves with.

Their leadership is thus greatly reduced and almost wasted.

I have heard it said that if you read one book a month over the next ten years, then you will be within the top 1% of those in your profession.

Think about that. By placing an hour a week into reading, you can become one of the best in your area of expertise.

And this is where the REACHING IN takes place. If I can become a person of character, discipline, and wisdom, then I have greatly increased my leadership capacity and am made a leader worth following.

REACHING OUT

2.  1000 others experiencing God’s presence

Now, let me explain this real quick.

I am not the one who saves others. I am merely a vessel that God can use to reach out to someone.

During the course of Jesus’ ministry, he had twelve disciples and before he died, one went off and betrayed him. Jesus reached 11/12 men that he had set to impact.

If Jesus didn’t have a 100% success rate at leading others to become satisfied in Him then we should not hold ourselves to a standard that not even our standard had met.

I have heard it said that we can’t cause others to fall in love with God, but we can help set the date for them to experience Him

3.  1000 students discipled

Hold the phone, Jeremy. You just said 1000 people experiencing Jesus. Why is there a discrepancy toward meeting Christ and being discipled in Christ?

I want to see students and adults make an impact in their occupations and endeavors. I want to raise such an emergency behind the love of God that students and adults not only find God’s love, but to train them to lead others to Christ as well.

————————————————————————————————————–

Lastly, my vision is: 1000³. One may ask why not just 1000 x 3…

We shouldn’t measure the effectiveness of a leader by what happens while he/she is alive, but what happens after they have passed.

The likes of Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, John Calvin, Augustine and David Wilkerson are still making a profound impact even though they have passed.

I want to create a vision that will survive longer than I do.

My hope and dream is to create a passion and urgency in others to share the heart and love of Christ all around them.

Together, we can become exponential. We can make a bigger impact in others and

Together, we can make eternity look different for others!

What is it that moves and motivates you? What does your mission statement look like? Feel free to share any thoughts or ideas!

Whoever does these things will never be shaken…

Character paves the way to Intimacy with God

In Psalm 15, the writer answers the question for those who feel that God is dead, distant or dormant

He starts off by asking: “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?”

And then God brings the writer to answer the question of what it takes to maintain nearness to God…

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

If you’re looking for closeness to God, consider this: In every relationship there must be respect, trust and communication in order for that relationship to grow.

I love how the writer concludes this chapter of thought:  Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

God is looking for people of character to lead this generation. He is looking for men and women who will do the right thing, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost.

In this chapter, there are five checkpoints that we must ask ourselves:

1. In my current state, am I standing firm or do I feel shaken up?

2. Am I living a life for God?

3.  Am I being truthful in speech, without slandering others?

4. Am I worthy of trust from others?

5. Am I being generous with my time or money?

God makes it clear, that character will breed intimacy with Him. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

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Stuck In The Moment.

You ever feel in a rut? That feeling you get when you feel like your life is going nowhere? You can’t see where you’re going and it almost seems like everything is going in slow motion?

Recently, through this year, I have had that feeling. Everything seems gray and I have no idea what’s even going on. 

At 22 years old, you would think that everything would be awesome, but lately it’s as though I have been stuck in the moment.

Stuck in the moment where I do not know where I will be in a matter of a few months. 

Stuck in the moment where I don’t know how I will be able to pay off my college debt.

Does this sound familiar to you? Does this relate to you?

After chapel at CBC, I waited to hear on God and I came to one conclusion.

One reason why it’s so hard for some to hear God’s voice is because they don’t wait on it.

God spoke many things into my life and I believe that some who may come across this blog will agree that it will touch their hearts as well.

(1) Happiness apart from God will only come in spurts of temporary fulfillment.

(2) Hell is full of well-meaning, well-intentioned people. What will you do about that?

(3) I will supply for all of your needs.

(4) You see in the short-term, but I (God) am preparing you for the long-term.

(5) Rely upon my (God’s) Spirit.

Be Encouraged This Day. Follow His plan for your life. The lamp unto your feet only moves when you take that Step!!

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Camping Out

This week I had went with the church that I am interning at to kids camp. God had done incredible things throughout each service, but the final service struck something with me. 

The speaker had each child that felt the call to full-time ministry stand up to be prayed for. I remember when I felt the call, but I also remember those who were standing there with me ten years ago. Many of them do not serve Jesus Christ anymore and most don’t even believe He exists.

Brokenhearted, I began to pray for these kids as if their future depended on the words I spoke. 

But whatever happened to those who felt the call but ran from it?

I believe that they had spent a lot of their life “camping out” in their christian walk.

What I mean is this… we often think that God can only touch us at the realm of camp. Once we go home, we begin to camp out. We live in the moments of what God had done rather than what God is doing.

Instead of dwelling on what God can do NOW, we dwell on what he did BACK THEN. 

We seldom progress toward a deeper relationship with God. and that’s where I believe many fall away. 

They get bored with what God has done, because they had never sought for what else God can do post camp.

It’s easy to camp-out. It’s easy to become complacent. 

However, when we are faced with the consequences of camping out, we soon realize that complacency leads to spiritual death.

Move on from camp and crack open your bible. Move from worshipping God through singing to worshipping him through your actions.

Thoughts to think about: (1) Camping Out is Consequential, (2) Don’t live in the past with what God had done, look forward to what God is doing.

Take off Your Sandals

Read: Exodus 3

Exodus 3 shows us of God’s great plan for the Israelites through one man: Moses. God reveals his purpose for Moses, but gives one request before he releases the plan. 

He asks him to take off his sandals.

Before God speaks to you of his plans for your future, He will ask you to humble yourself. To realize that when He asks something of you, it is to be taken serious. God uses us obedient, ordinary people to do extraordinary things (see Acts 4:13).

Taking off your sandals means that you recognize God’s presence and that you respect it. Taking off your sandals also means that you are acknowledging that you are unable to accomplish great things by yourself.

As we read through the plans God has for Moses, you begin to notice that Moses begins to question who Moses is to gain such responsibility. God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. When Moses speaks God’s name to Pharoah, then God uses his faith to work wonders. 

Are you ready to take off your sandals?

Are you ready to leave your pride behind to follow God’s good, pleasing and perfect will?

If so, it will be one of the most humbling yet rewarding experiences in your life.

Points to ponder: (1) God reveals his plan when we are willing, (2) God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, (3) By ourselves, we are powerless.

Suspenseful Salvation

Growing up, between my middle school and high school era my favorite films to watch were suspense. Now we all know that suspense films often begin with maybe 5 to 6 good people and 1 bad person who will be hunting down the 5 to 6 good people. We would often be brought into the movie by introducing the cast of 5 to 6 good people. Normally, you would have a geek, a high school drama queen, a high school quarterback, a depressed woman, and a preppy guy. How these people are friends we have no clue. But they tend to go on a voyage or a trip to an unknown destination with a revealed purpose.

However, the bad guy is coming for them. And as I am sitting on the edge of my seat watching this film I cannot help but to rouse with emotion. Pretty soon, my lap is filled with spilled coke and the living room floor is covered with popcorn that was left uneaten from the disappointment I am facing. You see the good people being placed in different areas where they are alone by themself and you know that the intruder will be coming for them. It seems that while I am watching that no matter how loud I scream for the good person to watch out, they never hear me and they soon are goners. 

Complete and utter disappointment as it becomes so obvious to me that they are in danger. There is an enemy (for whatever reason) after them and they remain unaware of the situation. As I sit back and watch as person after person is hunted down, I soon realize that the hope is dwindling for any to make it out alive. They need to stick together or else they will all have suffered the same fate as the ones before them. Whatever their reasoning for being separated from each other is still a puzzle in my head. The answers I had for living were of no use to them because they did not see it my way. 

It’s easy to point out why someone is headed toward destruction. It is a different matter however to assist them. We were at the beginning introduced to 6 seemingly good and fair people. But toward the end it seems that survival is of no option to them. They all had cell phones and it seemed perfectly clear that all they had to do was dial a number for help, but often when they did it was already too late.

Why is it that we become so entangled in movies like this? 

It becomes so evident that we know exactly what to do in these situations but yet no one follows them.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 tells us “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

The 5 to 6 seemingly fair people seemed to not have anything in common socially, they all had one idea that they hung onto. They had all been unaware of the situation they were facing. They had no answer as to how to remain alive. They all separated and thus became vulnerable toward the enemy’s attack.

Paul in this letter is addressing the church in Corinth regarding the god of this age blinding minds of unbelievers. The god of this age is Satan. As I watched this suspense unfold, I realized I knew what it took to remain alive, However this was not the case for the unbelievers. I could become as emotional as I wanted regarding how the characters would all fall into the enemy’s trap, but it seemed of no use. 

God designed us believers to be carriers of the light of the gospel so that the darkness could be shown. If there was any hope for the people in the suspense movie, it would be found in remaining together, calling for help, or remaining in the light. 

However, these all seemed to be factors that the characters did not turn to. Most of the time, it was too late to turn to one of those factors. We become so entangled in these movies because we see that there is a problem, and we can shout as loud as we want to, but nothing will change the effect of the television screen.

But how about right now? Right now, there are millions living in darkness not knowing how to flip the light on or even to call on the Lord for help. How can they turn to someone whom they have not heard?

We are living lights of the gospel to a dying generation. What we do now will have a lasting impact on the world around us. While we are comfortable within the confines of spilled coke and popcorn on the floor there are those who are searching for truth. 

It’s decision time.

In the bible, it tells us to let our lights shine before men that they may see the good works and glorify our God which is in Heaven. How can we be silent? How can we not be moved by those who are looking for what we have found?

However arrogant or unaware we want to act, there is a battle taking place that is even greater than the suspense movie. As I am spilling my coke, I should really be spilling my heart. As I am screaming at the top of my lungs for the character to just realize the outcome of their action or lack of action, I begin to think why am I only moved here?

This scene has little consequence toward our bodies. However, the scene in eternity is much more vast and so much more real. The ideas I see in front of me on the television screen ends a life, but how much more should I desire to see a spiritual life survive.

Three keys that I want to bring out:

1. Call for Help- This sometimes seems like the last response for the good people involved, but is the most life changing. However, this needs to be done immediately, or it may be too late

2. Turn the Light on- When we have limited capacity to see, we often become entangled and lost in the dark

3. Stick with your good friends- Seek people that love God and want to be more like Him. By doing this, you become accountable toward others and will have fellowship that will keep you on the right track

 

 

Just Passing By

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As I was pondering about today’s responsibilities I came across this photo. Notice that everyone seems to be in a rush or even in a panic to reach the next checkpoint. What started off as a joyous adventure to the airport ends up becoming a hassle to reach the next stage. Now, we know in airports there are several stages. You first weigh your bags and receive your boarding pass. After you have ridden yourself of luggage, you are still left with carry-ons. Which leads us to the airport security scanning of carry-ons which then would take us to where we await the flight.

It seems as though we are just passing by until we get to where we want.

Airport Security is one of the biggest hassles in today’s flights, but it helps keep everything safe and smooth. While we are in the most annoying stage in traveling by air, we are also preventing any disasters from harming us. Through this stage, we receive the reassurance that everything will be alright when we board the flight. All the safety precautions that at one time burdened us, now brings us peace. When once we were just passing by, we now realize that we are passing through to the end.

How come it often seems that the most stressing of times brings us the most peace in the end? Where once we had been scrambling to find what was left in our pockets (such as coins, watches, metal) we now look back and realize that it was a part of the plan. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has designed us for a plan and that plan is not to harm  us, but rather to prosper us. God may put us through a season of trial or hardship to bring us through to where He wants us.

And that’s where I refer to Phillippians 4:6-7, which reads “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Apostle Paul, whom wrote this letter to the church in Phillippi, was urging the Philippians to present their requests to God when they’re going through situations. God then will guard their hearts and minds through each and every trial that they experience. He wrote to a people who knew what it meant to not just pass by, but he wanted to encourage them to continue in that.

Now before I dig too deep into this passage, allow for me to break down the letter of Philippians. Philippians was written around 60 AD while Paul was in prison.

Paul was writing to the church in Phillippi to not be anxious about anything but to continue in prayer and thanksgiving. Again, Paul was in prison during this time for the cause of Jesus Christ. Much of what Paul writes to other churches has a lot to do with what Paul was going through. Paul was making it clear that God brings peace often through trial and tribulation.

Often, I find myself sitting in a stage of Bible College wondering when will it be my turn to be a pastor. Many times, it is for selfish and prideful reasons that I am being anxious about it. Through this time, I need to remember not to be anxious about it. It’s in the trials that God builds perseverance and strength.

I believe during the time Paul is in prison, he is reminding himself that the peace of God is worth waiting for. It transcends everything else because it brings reassurance. Paul reminds us that when we just pass by, we are not fully embracing all that God wants us to.

Just like after you step out of the airport security, the trials that you face bring reassurance that everything will work out.

Romans 8:28 reminds us that “ in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Are you just passing by?

Are there situations in your life where you have not fully given to God because you cannot see the other end of it?

Are there unpaid bills, college debt, relational matters that are keeping you from entering into God’s presence?

This is the part that always gets me. Whenever I allow other matters such as not finding a wife, or not being able to afford college next semester to enter my view, I begin to pull myself away from God’s presence. I slowly fade away from Him because how can a loving God allow me to endure any hardship? Whenever I rely on myself to do the impossible, I end up nowhere and with no one. We are told to enter God’s courtroom (sanctuary) with worship and thanksgiving, but how can that be when I don’t know where he’s leading?

We often forget that where God guides, He provides.

When I allow God to be the good shepherd of that which I cannot do, I believe God works in the supernatural. God does things that I simply cannot. Often times, I simply pass by, but God wants me to pass through with confidence that He will be Jehovah Jireh, my provider.

God never meant for this life to just be lived. He meant for it to be enjoyed. Every situation we go through is a test.

When I was in middle school, I enjoyed screaming out in the middle of a test. Don’t ask why, just realize that I enjoyed attention especially when we had a substitute teacher. The substitute would often not know of my friends and I but that would shortly change. I would often ask him/her (the teacher; usually a her) a question or two that simply did not have to do with the test. I simply wanted the attention of the class. Sooner than later, she caught on and understood that the only way around the situation was to not reply. The instructor remained silent through the time of testing.

Often this is how I view my time of testing and trials. I often ask the wrong questions. God may put us through situations to see how much we can handle. In handling these situations, we gain strength and more understanding.

When I left that class that day, I realized that it was not all about me. I understood that by asking the wrong questions, I not only delayed my test results, but I also delayed others results as well.

I was simply passing by.

This life was designed to be a journey not so much to a destination, but toward a transformation. When I allow for myself to experience God’s fullness of peace in trials then I often gain so much more than when I just pass by.

Maybe today you read this and are going through similar situations. You do not understand how God will work things out in your life and you are simply scared of the end result.

Join me in this journey of transformation and know that the instructor is normally silent during testing

– Jeremy Winafeld, the Intern

Points to Ponder: (1) Whenever God guides, he provides, and (2) The instructor can be quiet during times of testing.

Candycoating the Holiday’s

Just some thoughts that I have as we approach Easter today…

It seems so relevant now-adays for us to candy coat what God has done for us.

Let me explain:
On Christmas, the day which we celebrate Jesus’ birth we give to each other gifts. Although this can show us how sacrifice feels, it’s nowhere near, the gift we receive from God should feel. Each year, families rack up thousands in debt over Christmas. Often times, we lose focus about what we’re truly celebrating. Jesus’ life should bring us life, not for us to only regret our decisions a few days later with spending. Now, this can be put on us, individually. But many times, we want to find reasons to candy coat what God has done for us. When Christmas rolls around, it’s easy for me to become distracted by the gifts rather on the gift giver. My focus, my thoughts go toward what they got me, rather than what they sacrificed. And that’s a total misconception toward how God wants me to think.

On Easter, we hide eggs, indulge in sweets and candies that fundamentally have nothing to do with a bunny hopping around. We tend to sugar coat events that some others may not accept. Rather than dwelling on the life changing, we dwell on the life draining.  1 Corinthians 15:13-14 reveals that if it weren’t for the resurrection of Jesus Christ that my faith and preaching would be useless. What sets my God apart from other gods is that mine was not only crucified for my sins, but yet he rose again (defeating death) which exemplified his sovereignty over humanity. Just as he experienced newness of life, I also can through crucifying my selfish desires and turning away from my sin. Sure, I enjoy my sweets and candies, but I know a purpose that is so much sweeter than this life.

This becomes sticky at this point because I have just complained about tradition, and with a change in perspective comes a trampling on people’s feet:

God means more to me than any other gift. Whether it be an ipad or even a new car. But meanwhile, I forget that the sole purpose for celebrating the holiday is not for what I receive from others, but what I receive from God.

What would it look like if instead of unwrapping gifts or searching for easter eggs, if instead we searched for God (Jeremiah 29:13) and unwrapped his grace. Instead of sugar coating God’s sacrifice, I accept and receive it for what it is. Nothing humans can do can ever measure up to what God has done.

Set your eyes on Him on Christmas and Easter, for He is truly the reason for the season!

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