Friday, March 21, 2008

Moving to Portland (Part 3)

The pressures and stresses have become blatantly obvious. My wife and I have been biting back and forth with each other the last few nights. And we have been doing it out of minute we are cuddling, and the next we don't even want to touch each other. Especially me last night, I lost my patience with one stupid little thing that Jen didn't do, and instead of being loving, patient, and gentle, I blew up and started yelling. Before we went to bed, I asked for forgiveness and we made up.

I have discovered what has been happening the past few nights. We haven't been praying. And as it is my role as the husband to lead my wife and to wash her with God's word, I am realizing that my lack of quality leadership is sinful. I have been carelessly expecting her to be perfect when I haven't been responsible with the role that God has placed me in. I have been distracted by worrying about my job instead of just praying to God and giving it to Him every minute of every day. I have been distracted by our stupid Wii and our stupid new video game, Super Smash Bros Brawl (awesome game, but a horrible distraction). Actually, I shouldn't call these things stupid, because they are just things. It is my fault for focusing on them more than God and my wife.

A relationship with God is NOT when you get up in the morning, drive to work, work, drive home, watch a little tv, and go to bed. A relationship with God is a life of conversation with Jesus. It's acknowledging every day the role that He was placed in to sacrificially die so that we don't have to die. And thanking Him for that. With our lives. I'm starting to think more and more that the "little luxuries" in our lives are just more crap that get in our way of our relationship with God.

I don't feel like I have a good relationship with God. I have a good relationship with Jen because I actually talk with her and spend time with her. I can't say that about my relationship with God. Over the years I have let myself believe that I talk with God by "thinking in my mind" all throughout the day with Him. I'm starting to believe that is ridiculous. A real life sold out for Jesus is a constant thankful conversation with Him. Prayer is essential because it is how we communicate. There is no relationship apart from communication.

We are going through tough times now. We are moving to a different state without enough income yet to apply for an apartment. These are the kind of stresses that test a marriage. If we can't have a good relationship with God in these tough times, then what is it going to be like when we have kids? What is it going to be like 10 or 20 years down the road? When we are more tired and more exhausted from the many more stresses of life?

Jen and I keep saying how we can't wait for all the stress of moving to be over. But that's silly because once this problem is gone, another one will pop up. That's what life is: dealing with stress. We just need to know how we are going to deal with it. Will it be with or without a good relationship with Jesus? We know that we want to build our marriage and our future on a rock that won't collapse in times of pain and stress. We need to do things differently.

Moving to Portland (Part 1)
Moving to Portland (Part 2)
Moving to Portland (Part 3)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Moving to Portland (Part 2)

Jen and I both dislike relocating. In the past 5.5 years that she has moved away from her family in Arizona, she has moved 5 times. In the past 6.5 years that I have moved away from my family in Oregon, I have only moved once. However, I am a creature of routine and any change is hard on me.

There are some things that I enjoy about the moving process. For example, last night I was packing up our books into boxes. I have fun packing boxes because it is similar to working on a jigsaw puzzle. I kept moving around the books inside the boxes until finally they all fit in! Success! Thankfully that's one way that I keep from going crazy in this transition period.

We both like to compare this time with the stresses of finals week when we were still in school. The date slowly builds up and we realize how much work we actually have to do before we move, and we can't wait until it's over.

Since we are both still in the "interviewing" stages of getting a job, we aren't financially stable enough to apply for an apartment. So we are planning on staying with some gracious friends who are willing to take us in until our financial situation stabilizes.

I was reading Acts 9 this morning, and at the end of the chapter it mentions that Peter stayed with some guy that likely was another believer who opened his home to him. It's verses like these that we usually overlook. It's not a big deal, he just stayed with that guy. So what? But it's tough times like these that I am in with my wife, that we appreciate seeing God's work through our friends who can open their home to us in our time of need. These little verses mean a lot more to us now, being in the same position as Peter...without a place to live two weeks from now.

Seeing God working through the tough times of life is refreshing. I'm not saying that we are really going through that tough of a time. I know that we are relatively wealthy. I know that we are in a situation that isn't as bad as many others less fortunate out there in the world. But what is tough on us right now is the fact that we can't control our future. We don't know if I'm going to get the job I interviewed for. We don't know where our next apartment will be. We don't know how long it will take us to find solidarity in the future. Life is fragile and there are so many unknowns. The only thing left to do is to trust in God's sovereignty, look from an eternal point-of-view, and realize that this is only a little speed bump in the grand scheme of things.

Moving to Portland (Part 1)
Moving to Portland (Part 2)
Moving to Portland (Part 3)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Conference Video/Audio

If you're interested in watching any of the video or listening to audio from the Resurgence Conference I attended a few weeks ago, they just posted all of the media on their website. You can view it here.

Related posts:
Day 0: Sunday
Day 1: Monday
Day 2: Tuesday
Day 3: Wednesday

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Moving to Portland (Part 1)

Another big thing that happened to me at the conference was that I received a call for a job interview down in Portland!

I drove down last Friday morning, had lunch with my mom, and then ventured onto the OHSU West Campus for my first job interview since graduating from SPU. The position is very similar to what I am doing right now. Instead of social science office work, which is what I do right now at SDRG, the position would be life science office work. I have been much more interested in administrative work recently, after discovering that biology research isn't for me. I love interacting with people. I love working on the computer. I love detail-oriented work.

Anyway, I feel like the interview went well. I was comfortable talking with all of the 9 people I would be working with. They seemed like great people who all love working together. And did I mention the interview was 3.5 hours long!? Needless to say, I was exhausted afterwards, but excited and thankful that I didn't say anything stupid.

I did my best in the interview. Now it's up to the Lord whether or not I get it. I can rest in His sovereignty. It would be an especially sweet commute to work every day if I did get it... MAX Light Rail five days a week! That'd be the best thing ever!

We are doing things a bit backward in our move to Portland. Most people usually get a job before they move. It makes the process a whole lot easier. But no, not us... we knew that we would be moving in March whether or not we were employed. My current position ends at the end of the month, so Jen and I decided that it was the best time to pick up and settle down closer to family and friends. We have been looking for jobs over the past couple months, but with the date getting closer and closer, the stress builds more and more.

Moving to Portland (Part 1)
Moving to Portland (Part 2)
Moving to Portland (Part 3)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Post-Conference Thoughts

Well, one of the big impacts the conference had on me was the fact that I know that God isn't calling me to be a pastor right now. After wrestling and praying over what I should do with my life in the future, God confirmed it for me.

I could argue that it was just time that passed which solidified my direction, or maybe just the anticipation of the event. But I think that it was the fact that I was seeking God's path for me.

There were many wonderful pastors at the conference who shared their hearts to us. Since the conference was generally directed towards pastors and prospective pastors, they talked a lot about what it takes to be a pastor. They talked about needing the power of God through the Holy Spirit to stand up for the Bible in the face of obstacles and critics. It is God who should be calling the pastors to this position. A pastor is a shepherd leading a flock of sheep. They are held responsible for how they lead. It is a big deal.

Even coming back to work after the conference, I had a chat with a co-worker of mine. He seemed deeply hurt by the wrongful behaviors done by pastors such as Ted Haggard and priests like the ones who have abused children in the church. It is so sad to see men who represent the name of Jesus only to see them hurt others around them and misuse the authority that Christ gives them as leaders.

The Bible is clear on the qualifications of leaders in the church. And I don't believe that I am qualified yet. A pastor "must be above reproach," which means being such a good example that they don't have a reason to be criticized. This doesn't mean that they have to be perfect. The key is repenting, being involved in community, and striving to be like Jesus.

I still need to work on some things in my life. I still need to grow deeper with my wife. I still need to read the Bible more (I haven't even read the entire thing, for goodness sakes!). I still need to deepen my relationship with Jesus. Maybe later on in my life God will call me to that honor. I'll wait and see. I plan on going where He wants me to go.