Saturday, December 31, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 1

A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

This pic is of my Friends Hannah, and Katie when they visited me about a week and a half ago.

  1. I have a freckle in my eye.
  2. My first stuffed animal I remember owning my family found on the side of the road.
  3. My name is Jason, and I was born in July…if you go from July to November taking the firs letter of every month, and you make it into a word, it spells Jason.  July, August, September, October, November…JASON.
  4. My grandma, on my dad's side, named me.
  5. My parents almost didn't have me.  My dad wanted to stop at three kids, but mom begged him to have one more…dad caved and, 24 years later, here I am.
  6. I've broken two bones in my life, and they were my cheek bones on my left and right cheek.
  7. My favorite toy as a child was my George Armstrong Custard action figure.
  8. Our family dog chewed the above mentioned action figure up.
  9. When I was about 5 years old I pulled my dad around in a wagon with sheer determination.
  10. By the time I was done with kindergarten, two girls had asked me to marry them, and I said yes to both.
  11. The two times I ever got in trouble in Public school was for my mouth.  One was for saying a word I didn't know was bad, and the other was for talking during study hall.
  12. I'm actually very socially awkward when placed into a new situation…once I feel comfortable…look out!
  13. Before I got saved at 8 years old, I used to ask people to pray that I would get saved.
  14. When I was younger, there were two things I would have told you I never wanted to be…a Pastor, and I never wanted to be in the Military.
  15. When I was a baby, my parents used to play classical music from a radio under my crib.

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name
Day 03- A picture of you and your friends
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10- Songs you listen to the most (if you have iTunes, list the songs on your top 25 most played list)
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one
Day 13- A letter to someone who has been an inspiration to you
Day 14- A picture of you and your family
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16- Another picture of yourself
Day 17- Someone (past or present) you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- Something you crave for a lot
Day 24- A letter to your parents
Day 25- What I would find in your bag/backpack
Day 26- What you think about your friends
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- Your favorite song.

Friday, December 30, 2011

30 Day Challenge for the New Year

I did one of these last year too, and I just really wanted to do another, but different one this year.  So below I have listed what I will do each day of January.

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name
Day 03- A picture of you and your friends
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10- Songs you listen to the most (if you have iTunes, list the songs on your top 25 most played list)
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one
Day 13- A letter to someone who has been an inspiration to you
Day 14- A picture of you and your family
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16- Another picture of yourself
Day 17- Someone (past or present) you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- Something you crave for a lot
Day 24- A letter to your parents
Day 25- What I would find in your bag/backpack
Day 26- What you think about your friends
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- Your favorite song.

I Cannot Tell

I cannot tell why He the King of Heaven,
Should leave the peace of all eternity,
Why God Himself should lay aside His splendor,
To leave the Father’s side and come to me.
But this I know: our silence filled with singing,
And all our darkness fled from heaven’s light
When Christ the Lord, so human, yet so holy,
In love was born a child for me that holy night.

I cannot tell why Christ the Father’s only Son,
In garden lonely bowed His sacred head,
The ground stained dark with blood-like
            sweat from holy brow,
The cup of sin He took there in my stead.
But this I know the solders led the Son of God
To walk the street to face the hate-filled ones,
They spit upon the holy, sinless Lamb of God,
Then led Him forth to crucify God’s Son.

I cannot tell why all the hosts of Heaven,
Watched silently this seeming sad defeat,
The mocking words, the crown of thorns
            that pierced His brow,
The tearing flesh, the nail-pierced hands and feet.
But this I know that God the Father turned away,
He could not bear the sin-clad form below,
There all alone, on Calvary’s hill Christ bore our sin,
He bowed His head and conquered our great foe.

I cannot tell why He, the Joy of Heaven,
Should give Himself to suffer for my sin,
Why Holy God should love me in my shamefulness,
Why He should die to draw my soul to Him.
But this I know: that Christ the Lord is risen,
And praise His name, He’s risen now in me!
Because He lives, I’ll rise to life eternal!
He took my guilty heart, and I’m forever free!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Calvary's Love...

I found this poem on a friends blog.  It's kind of long, but well worth the read!

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself taking lapses for granted, "Oh, that's what they always do," "Oh, of course she talks like that, he acts like that," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of another; if I can in any way slight another in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not feel far more for the grieved Savior than for my worried self when troublesome things occur, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If my attitude be one of fear, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, "Just what I expected" if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, "You do not understand," or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have "a heart at leisure from itself," then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel injured when another lays to my charge things that I know not, forgetting that my sinless Savior trod this path to the end, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, and I hardly know it, because the spirit of discernment is not in me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the praise of others elates me and their blame depresses me; if I cannot rest under misunderstanding without defending myself; if I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I crave hungrily to be used to show the way of liberty to a soul in bondage, instead of caring only that it be delivered; if I nurse my disappointment when I fail, instead of asking that to another the word of release may be given, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I do not forget about such a trifle as personal success, so that it never crosses my mind, or if it does, is never given room there; if the cup of flattery tastes sweet to me, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If in the fellowship of service I seek to attach a friend to myself, so that others are caused to feel unwanted; if my friendships do not draw others deeper in, but are ungenerous (to myself, for myself), then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I refuse to allow one who is dear to me to suffer for the sake of Christ, if I do not see such suffering as the greatest honor that can be offered to any follower of the Crucified, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, making myself the first necessity to a soul instead of leading it to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my interest in the work of others is cool; if I think in terms of my own special work; if the burdens of others are not my burdens too, and their joys mine, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I wonder why something trying is allowed, and press for prayer that it may be removed; if I cannot be trusted with any disappointment, and cannot go on in peace under any mystery, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.

-Amy Carmichael

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home... God's grace, finals went extremely well!  I passed all my classes too!

I'm home now...we had a Christmas concert at church tonight, and it wen't really well!

I also talked to my pastor today, and he said he wants me to preach while I'm home, so please pray that my preparation goes well, and that God is glorified in my preaching, and my preparation for it!

If I don't do a blog post before Christmas...Merry Christmas to you all!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Almost home...

Well, finals are this coming week.  It's hard to believe I'm already almost done with my first semester of college.  It has definitely been an exciting semester.  I have learned so much, and have made so many good friends!

My last final in on Thursday, but I'm taking some friends to the Airport Friday morning, so I have to stay until then, but I'm leaving very early in the morning.  I should be getting home sometime late in the evening. 

In morning devotions on Friday, Doc "O" asked us what the major lesson was that God taught us this semester. I didn't have to think's definitely an increased desire to know God in my heart. To have a deeper understanding of His attributes, and what they indicate about His character. Steadfast love, abounding grace, his Faithfulness, he's the cornerstone, the foundation...the list could go on. The whole bible is filled with descriptive words of Him...and I can't get enough of them...before I had a head knowledge of his attributes, but I hadn't really allowed them to sink in. But I've certainly not "arrived" at a complete understanding of my God, I never will...the Christians life should never cease to seek to understand God better...this is an ongoing process.

Your view of God is the most important thing about you...
-A. W. Tozer

Friday, December 9, 2011

Joy Has Dawned

by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend

Joy has dawned upon the world
Promised from creation
God's salvation now unfurled
Hope for ev'ry nation

Not with fanfares from above
Not with scenes of glory
But a humble gift of love
Jesus born of Mary

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels
As the mighty Prince of life
Shelters in a stable

Hands that set each star in place
Shaped the earth in darkness
Cling now to a mother's breast
Vuln'rable and helpless

Shepherds bow before the lamb
Gazing at the glory
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story

Gold, a King is born today
Incense, God is with us
Myrrh, His death will make a way
And by His blood He'll win us

Son of Adam, Son of heaven
Given as a ransom
Reconciling God and man
Christ, our mighty champion

What a Savior, what a Friend
What a glorious myst'ry
Once a babe in Bethlehem
Now the Lord of hist'ry
When the prosecutor makes you doubt your salvation...get on the phone with your Defense Attorney and never get off...that way, the next time the prosecutor calls, he gets a busy signal...

-Doc "O"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stick with your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst; but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you. He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has never bidden you to defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation. If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, 'I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.'


I know I've posted this quote before...but I need this reminder right now...there are some things going on here at Northland that reminded me of this quote I read on a blog post Dr. Olson wrote about a year ago. Once again people are criticizing Northland and members of its administration...we, the Students of Northland International University, love you Dr. Olson, and we stand behind you...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Political Blog...

So, a while back I created a political blog, but since I was in the Navy at the time, and this blog proclaimed the fact that I was in the military, I couldn't really advertise my open oppositions to policies of our current president.  So I created a political blog under an alias.  Seeing as how I am no longer on active duty, I can now be more open in my opposition.  But I still like my Alias there, so I don't want to get rid of the blog to start a new one with this name.  So, I'm just going to post a link on here for it...follow it if you want!

I just did a post on welfare's actually my argumentative paper for English class, so if you want to check it out, and give me feedback, especially grammatically, I would appreciate it!  Click here to check it out!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:12-17

Sunday, November 20, 2011

School winding down...

Well, classes are winding down.  People are getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, I will not be going home for Thanksgiving.  I was thinking about it, but I called Mom, and she said that there was no use making the 13 drive home only to be home for what would amount to only 2 days home.

So my dorm supervisor and his wife actually invited me to have Thanksgiving with them, so I'm pretty stoked about that.  They actually live in a small appartment inside the dorm buidling, so I don't even have to leave my dorm building.

Final projects are beginning to come up, and most of them I've already gotten a head start on.

Finals will be here before I know it!  Most classes I'm not too worried about, except English.  That is by far my worst class.  You can probably tell based on reading my blog posts!

I've already registered for classes next semester.  I'm taking:  Historical Books (BIB 112), Acts and Pauline Epistles (BIB 122), Introduction to Cross-Cultural Ministry (CCS 101), Outreach and Discipleship Ministries (CHU 231), Composition and Research (ENG 102), Composition and Research (ENG 112), World History II (HIS 102), and Fundamentals of Speech (SPC 102).  Outreach and Discipleship Ministries seems to be my first major specific I'm pretty excited about that class.  I'm also pretty excited about Acts and Pauline Epistles because the Professor who teaches it, I have for a class this semester, and he's an awesome teacher!

Christmas break will be here before too long.  It starts December 16th and ends January 22nd.  I'm pretty excited to be going home.  I'm actually singing for our annual church Christmas Concert at our church on the 18th, so I'm also pretty excited about that as well.

I was also officially approved by Northland Camp to work here this summer.  I'm going to be working as a Junior counselor.  I can't wait!  It's pretty much going to keep me here all summer.  It begins May 20th, and ends about a week or two before classes start up again next fall.

Right now I'm actually at work.  I work ever Saturday night from 11-2.  It's a shift I work in our security booth, so it just means answering the phone and loging the reports that the rounds workers relay to me.  So, don't worry, I'm allowed to be on the computer right now.

We got about a half inch of snow tonight, and it's pretty funny because it's my extension teams turn to shovel at the church tomorrow morning.  I remember about a month ago when our pastor sent us the list I was really hoping we wouldn't get snow, but sure enough we did.  Not like I don't like snow, I do, it's just I wish it would have hit on any Saturday night but this one.  Oh well, it shouldn't be too bad considering there's not a whole lot of snow.

Well, I think that's about all I wanted to share.  I trust all is well with my followers!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh the Deep, Deep Love

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

Oh the deep, deep love
All I need and trust
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Understanding other Religions...

I never thought I would be learning so much about the worlds religions from World History class.  My World History teacher here at Northland takes a tremendous amount of time, when we talk about a civilization, to tell us about that civilizations religious beliefs.  The goal being, to instill in us a respect for them.  In many situations, with the formations of these religions, you can't help but respect them for their dedication.  People like the Jainists who didn't believe in killing anything, and went to far as to carry a broom around with them so that they could sweep away bugs in order to not step on them, and would even wear face masks in order to not breath in a bug and kill it.  We as Christians can often be very ignorant, and say things like: "That's stupid!"  But, our History teacher here, tells us about these religions in order to instill in us a respect for them.  When we have respect for their dedication to their beliefs, it helps us to minister to them, and evangelize to them in the future.

One religion that I have gained a respect for is Islam, and I was completely surprised that I would have respect.  Misguided as they were, and are, you can't help but understand how this religion would appeal to people in the situation that the Arabs were when they heard the message Mohammad brought to them.  Our teacher presented a theory to us about what gave Mohammad his ideas, and I found very interesting, and frankly, it just made sense.  I'd like to share it with you.

The Arab peninsula before the establishment of Islam was sparsely populated.  The people were not unified at all.  Most of the population were bedouins (nomadic shepherds).  The Persians were continually invading and pushing them farther, and farther south into the desert.  Most major powers of the known world were unified under monotheistic belief systems...the Persians had Zoroastrianism, the Byzantines had Orthodox Christianity, and the Romans had Catholicism.  This was the world that Mohammad was brought up in.  Now this idea can't be proven in any way...but it seems like a very posible reality...perhaps Mohammad saw how monotheism unified the people.  He saw how countries that were Polytheistic in their beliefs faded away and were conquered.  Perhaps he thought he could create a new monotheistic belief system to unify the people of the Arab peninsula, and therein unify his people...and that's exactly what happens.  Jihad is the means by which they could conquer...Jihad is their version of a "Great Commission."  For us Americans, we have a strong hatred for Islam...I admit, I struggled with the idea that I could muster any amount of respect for Islamic people...seeing as how it is this religion that caused so many deaths of American people...but still, I can understand the appeal for them.  But they are like any non-Christian...they are blind to the truth, and misguided by this religion that gives them a sense of community.

Recently we've been learning about Catholicism, and I have even gained a respect for them as well, and have a better understanding about how they became what they are today.  Specifically I can understand how the Pope came to be regarded as so highly as he is today.

As the Roman Empire began to crumble, and it's leaders grew more, and more weak the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) began to lead the people.  He provided stability when everything else was falling apart.  The early Bishops of Rome durring this time, were merely trying to help.  There's no evidence that at the beginning they were trying to take their power with greed.  They were trying to help their people...they were even fulfilling Bible principles by helping those in need...they actively fought heresy which is again something that we as Christians are supposed to do.  Overtime they gradually were given even greater and greater power, again as a means by which to provide stability.  Can you blame them for wanting to help their people?

As time went on in the Middle Ages, illiteracy became common place.  Life was very monotonous...people worked farms, did chores, and they desperately wanted to have a sense of community, and the church provided that.  Religious leaders were educated, and the people looked up to them greatly.  As usually happens when people gain a tremendous amount of goes to their head, and all kinds of corruption seeps in.

Hopefully this short description of Catholicism and Islam helps you understand both of them a little better.  I actually have a test over all this in class tomorrow, so writing this is almost like studying as well.  I trust all in well with my followers!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christian Unity

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
II Timothy 2:22-26

Tonight something happened that reminded me of this passage.  We've been studying this portion of scripture at my church for the past few weeks.  We actually just finished up with it this last Sunday.

Anyways...growing up in fundamental baptist churches as a kid I was always taugt that we should stay away from those who preach false doctrines, which of course I whole heartedly agreed with, and still believe to this day.  But I also believe that we kept ourselves divided from other churches over too many petty things.  We spend far too much time arguing over things that we feel are so important, that we neglect so many more important things.  Like a right relationship with God, and cultivating a deep knowledge of Him.

I don't want to go into detail about what I believe are petty reasons to argue, because I don't want to offend my readers.  Why don't we as Christians, ignore these petty differences we have, and share our common beliefs, and unify?  I'm not saying this means we should all join one church, and just tolerate one another's difference in music choice, or the like, but I certainly think we should be more open to fellowshipping together.  I understand why we won't want to worship together because of music differences, I'm definitely on board with that.  I myself am more conservative in my church music choices, and I know I wouldn't want to be forced to be in a church that has a drum set, and similar things.

But, why can't we come together at times and work together for the cause of Christ?  I think more unbelievers are turned away from our quarreling than we ever reach with our evangelistic messages.

I think, as a younger person, when I was the one judging other churches, I didn't see this as much of a problem, because no one was judging me, because I was right.  But the older I get, the more I realize how wrong I am about most things.  Also, I've been on the receiving end of judgements as of late, so I see how much it hurts to be so ostracized from other Christians.

Can I just encourage my Christian friends...don't just assume your elders are right about what's right and wrong.  I am by no means encouraging my readers to disobey, or to go against your parents...but study the scriptures, find out what it says is important, and what it says is true.  Don't just take their word for it.  They're faulted humans...they can get it wrong.  Study God's word like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11) did.  Don't let petty unimportant things that aren't found in the Bible keep you from fellowshipping with other Christians!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

Today we recognize those who have gone and are going to war for us.  Today is unlike memorial day, in that we aren't so much focussing on those who have passed on...but those who are still alive.  It is a day to walk up to a veteran and shake their hand, and thank them.

Today in Chapel they asked all the veterans to stand up, but I honestly couldn't bring myself to stand.  The reason why, is depending on who you talk to, there are different definitions for a veteran.  The U. S. Government, when it comes to giving out veterans benefits, defines a veteran as anyone who has served in the military, for any length of time, and in any branch.  With that definition, I am a veteran.  Some would say that anyone who serves in the military, whether removed from the actual fighting or actively in combat, during a time of war is a veteran.  Again, using that definition, I am a veteran.  But having served in the military, I find that service members define being a veteran differently.

We would consider it only the person who has been in active combat.  The one who had heard the sound of misiles being launched...who's ducked for cover while being shot at...who's trudged through the deserts in scorching heat with packs on their backs...the men who know what it truly means to fear for your life, but to go on fighting anyways.  They are the true veterans, the true heroes we recognize today.

freedom isnt free flag 31000 pictures, backgrounds and images

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Surrender All

Take all I am, Lord, and all that I cling to
You are my Savior I owe everything to
Take all the treasures that lie in my storehouse
They cannot follow when I enter Your house

So I surrender all to You
I surrender all

Take all my cravings for vain recognition
Fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed

Take all my hunger for all that’s forbidden
Every desire and sin I keep hidden
Search me and know me I want to bring to You
A life that is holy and sanctified through You
© 2004 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dining Hall Project

Hello again from Jason at Northland! It’s getting colder, our girls soccer team won regionals, and both the men’s and women’s soccer teams headed to the NCCAA national tournament this Saturday looking to bring back the National Championship next week. Basketball seasons are starting up and the Fine Arts play is just around the corner. Things are getting incredibly busy around campus and as always we’ve reached an exciting point of the semester as we are more than halfway done!

Most likely, you have already on my blog about the Campus Cause fundraiser we're having at Northland and I just wanted to update you on our progress so far. We have about two weeks remaining to raise the remainder of our $150,000 to get the full match. The Lord has blessed us with over $45,000 so far which gives us a total of over $90,000 with the dollar for dollar match! We are excited about this, but we want to reach our goal of  getting the full match and raising $300,000. Checks are arriving daily and have been greatly encouraged by the response of so many! We are praying that the support behind this cause will continue to grow!

Would you prayerfully consider how you could impact our student body by supporting this cause? Donations can be made online at or by mailing checks in. If you are unable to pay now but would like to pledge an amount to be paid next month please send an e-mail to

Thank you for your time and consideration!

PS— We are running a campus-wide contest to see which team of students, faculty, and staff can raise the most support. If you are able to help financially, I would greatly appreciate your noting my name on the check or my name along with your online donation. Thanks!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Active Duty Career Video

I made a video of a compilation of pictures from my time in the navy, and made a video with it.  If you want to check it out, click here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Balance in the Christian Life

A few weeks ago we had pastor from a local church visit and preach in our chapel service here on campus.  He preached on balance in the Christian life, and it's something that I think really needs to be heard.

He told us to envision the Christian life as a wheel with three spokes.  One spoke is labeled "Holiness", another "Service for Christ", and the last was labeled "Position in Christ".  I'm going to break each one down in the way that he did.

…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
I Peter 1:15-16
Striving to live a holy life is very important in our Christian life.  We should always be aiming for removing those things that are displeasing to the Lord from our life, but talking an emphasis on Holiness can lead to legalism, and a lack of grace.

Service for Christ:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Romans 12:1
We should always be striving to serve the Lord in our church, and in whatever way we can.  However when we take this one too far it can lead to a strict regimented "duty" oriented Christianity that lacks love and can even lack Holiness.

Position in Christ:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1
It is very important that we as Christians remember God's grace in our lives.  He gave us unmerited favor that we didn't deserve, and we should always be rejoicing in that!  However, an over emphasis of this can lead to a lack of Holiness.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:1-4

I really like the analogy of a wheel when it comes to the Christian life.  Because when we overemphasize any one of these we can think of it like an unbalanced wheel.  If you tried to ride a bike where one side of the spokes on your wheels were shorter than the other ones, it would be really uncomfortable to ride.  You would be bouncing up and down and struggling to get from one place to the next.  Much like that, when we overemphasize one of these it will really make our Christian life difficult.

I know for me as a Conservative Christian, and as a Baptist in particular, I at times grew up with an overemphasis on the Holiness part.  It honestly wasn't really till I got to college that I really started thinking deeply about my position in Christ.  It's so awesome to think about God's love to us, and His grace.  I'm overwhelmed by it, and so thankful!  But I've even noticed how it can be overemphasized to the point where I forget that I'm supposed to strive to live a Holy life as well!

It can be very hard to find a good balance between these three!  We as imperfect humans have a tendency to try to do things on our own, and we seem to be able to focus on only one of these at a time.  But with God's help He can enable us to find a good balance between these three.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Northland Dining Hall...

At Northland we are currently working on raising funds to build a new dining hall.  The one we have was build back in the 60s, so we are definitely in need of a new one!

So, if you feel led, and have the money to donate, we, the students of Northland would greatly appreciate your support!

Here's a link for where you can donate:  Northland Capital Projects

Even if you can't donate, your prayers are appreciated!

The Poochie Lip Disease

King Ahab went a-walking in royal garments grand and saw a lovely vinyard while gazing o’er his land. He said, “I’ve got to have it, I always get my way!” But when he could not get it he pouted all the day.

The poochie lip will get you if you don’t watch out. The poochie lip will get you if you start to pout. So take this little tip, please control that lower lip, and chase away the poochie lip disease.

The king went to his bedroom; he looked so sad and blue. He slammed the door behind him and loudly cried, “Boo-hoo!” He said, “Nobody loves me” and fell down on his bed, “If I can’t have the vineyard I won’t eat any bread.”

The poochie lip will get you if you don’t watch out. The poochie lip will get you if you start to pout. So take this little tip, please control that lower lip, and chase away the poochie lip disease.

Now if you are a begger or if you are a king, I’m sure you will discover No man has everything. Whenever you’re unhappy, recall this little tip- remember silly Ahab, and don’t stick out that lip.

The poochie lip will get you if you don’t watch out. The poochie lip will get you if you start to pout. So take this little tip, please control that lower lip, and chase away the poochie lip disease.
(Words and music by Ron Hamilton)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When I, as an earthly minister of God, view the goodness of God I think how hypocritical I am when I urge those around me to live righteously.  Because in view of God, there is no righteousness in me.  I am a filthy vessel.  All I can do as an earthly minister is admit my inadequacy and sin, and direct people's attention to the holy, loving God who saved me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Prodigal

by:  Ryan and Meghan Baird
You held out Your arms, I walked away
Insolent I spurned Your face
Squandering the gifts You gave to me
Holding close forbidden things
Destitute a rebel still, a fool in all my pride
The world I once enjoyed is death to me
No joy, no hope, no life

Where now are the friends, that I had bought
Gone with every penny lost
What hope could there be for such as I
Sold out to a world of lies
Oh, to see Your face again, it seems so distant now
Could it be that You would take me back
A servant in Your house

You held out Your arms, I see them still
You never left, You never will
Running to embrace me, now I know
Your cords of love will always hold
Mercy's robe, a ring of grace
Such favor undeserved
You sing over me and celebrate
The rebel now Your child

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Could Not Do Without Thee

I could not do without Thee
O Savior of the lost,
Whose precious blood redeemed me
At such tremendous cost.
Thy righteousness, thy pardon
Thy precious blood, must be
My only hope and comfort,
My glory and my plea.

I could not do without Thee,
I cannot stand alone,
I have no strength or goodness,
No wisdom of my own;
But Thou, beloved Savior,
Art all in all to me,
And weakness will be power
If leaning hard on Thee.

I could not do without Thee,
For, oh, the way is long,
And I am often weary,
And sigh replaces song:
How could I do without Thee?
I do not know the way;
Thou knowest, and Thou leadest,
And wilt not let me stray.

I could not do without Thee,
O Jesus, Savior dear;
E’en when my eyes are holden,
I know that Thou art near.
How dreary and how lonely
This changeful life would be,
Without the sweet communion,
The secret rest with Thee!

I could not do without Thee;
No other friend can read
The spirit’s strange deep longings,
Interpreting its need;
No human heart could enter
Each dim recess of mine,
And soothe, and hush, and calm it,
O bless├Ęd Lord, but Thine.

I could not do without Thee,
For years are fleeting fast,
And soon in solemn oneness
The river must be passed;
But Thou wilt never leave me,
And though the waves roll high,
I know Thou wilt be near me,
And whisper, “It is I.” 

Reflection Lake...

So, on campus here at Northland we have a lake back in the woods that you can walk to.  I took a walk there last week and the fall foliage was beautiful!  Unfortunately, at the time, I did not have my camera, so I went back on Friday, and took a bunch of pics.  It wasn't as nice as it was the week before, but it was still pretty nice.  I hope you enjoy the pics!

So far classes are going very well!  So far I've passed all my tests that I've taken.  I have a few more this week...

On Saturday we had Artist Series here at Northland, and I went on my 2nd date I've had in my was really good!

God has been doing so much in my life here at Northland...I can't even begin to describe to you how much I love it here...especially after being in the Navy for four years prior to coming here.

Hopefully later this week I'll be doing a post about balance in the Christian life.  This past week we had a special speaker in chapel who spoke about this, and it really hit home with me.

I trust all is well with my followers!

Monday, October 3, 2011

College life so far...

I was just reading my book I have to read for Gospels class, and I realized that I haven't posted on here in a while...

So what have I been up to?

Well, I'll share it in pictures...

This is my room leader's flag...I laughed so hard when I saw this...

These are the Chinese characters for "Old Man."  This is hanging on my dorm room door, because my room consists of Walter (35), James (28), Ramsey (25) and of course me (24).  So we are the "Old Man" room...also known as the "Geriatric Society."

 Photo taken by:  Ashleigh Laureen Swayne

Alright, so last weekend we had an event at Northland Camp called "Rodeofest."  All of the guys in this group were the "bad guys."  We were attacked by 3rd-6th graders all day.  It was quite intense, but a lot of fun!

Photo taken by:  Ashleigh Laureen Swayne 

I started getting tired toward the end of the day...

 Photo taken by:  Ashleigh Laureen Swayne

Talking to the little kids while I was "behind bars."

Well, so far college life has been really fun, and stressful all at once.  The area up here in N. Wisconsin is really beautiful this time of year!  This area is known as the Northwoods, so lots of trees in fall...beautiful...

This Friday we're having what we call Artist Series.  Everyone is supposed to try to get a date, so I asked one of my fellow Freshmen who I've become pretty good friends with.  Ooo, and interesting fact...I'm the oldest Freshman in my class, and I'm also the only Pastoral Studies major in my class...

But besides all that...God has been doing so much in my life.  When I have more time I'l be sure to come on here and share what He's been doing...I trust all is well with my followers!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
Psalm 3:3

Not only is it a comfort to know that God is a shield about us, but I especially like the part of this verse that says the Lord is "the lifter up of my head."

It doesn't say what the situation is that God lifts up our head when it is bowed...perhaps it is when we bow our head in shame for sins committed, or perhaps when we bow our heads when our eyes are filled with tears. In either situation we can find solace in the fact that God will lift up our head...

In the situation where we are bowing our head in shame for sins committed, if we are believers, we have no reason for shame, because the Lord has saved us! So He will lift our heads to behold Him face to face...and see the Love in His eyes.

In situations where we are bowing our head because our eyes are filled with tears, He is our comforter. He will lift our heads to behold Him, and He will put His arms around us, and comfort us in our pain.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Still My Soul Be Still

Still my soul be still
And do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread
The fires of unexpected sorrow

God You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Still my soul be still
Do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways
With shield of faith
Against temptations flaming arrows

God You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Still my soul be still
Do not forsake
The Truth you learned in the beginning
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise
As stars appear when day is dimming

God You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Sunday, September 11, 2011

George W. Bush: "Remarks at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance," September 14, 2001

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves.  This is true of a nation as well.  In this trial, we have been reminded and the world has seen that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave.  We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion, in long lines of blood donors, in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.  And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice:  Inside the World Trade Center, one many who could have saved himself stayed until the end and at the side of his quadriplegic friend.  A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter.  Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down 68 floors to safety.  A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burned victims.  In these acts and many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another and and abiding love for our country.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wrestling with my flesh...

Since I came to Northland things have been going much better between me and God. As you can see from a post of mine a few days ago, God has been doing a lot in my life since I got here. As I've said in previous posts, I'm so glad I'm here!

There is a downside to doing as well as I am in my walk with the Lord...and I often get this way when I'm doing well...I start to get kind of a big head. I start finding myself, in my head, judging other people. Looking at them and thinking things like: "I'm more spiritual than them!" Of course, this is really bad!

It's like the verse says: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

If I let my pride rule in my life, I'm sure to fall. Lord please help me with this! Humble me before you...break me, and keep me in subjection to your purpose for my life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How Deep

by: Stephen Altrogge

You were broken that I might be healed
You were cast off that I might draw near
You were thirsty that I might come drink
Cried out in anguish that I might sing

How deep is Your love
How high and how wide is Your mercy
How deep is Your grace
Our hearts overflow with praise
To You

You knew darkness that I might know light
Wept great tears that mine might be dried
Stripped of glory that I might be clothed
Crushed by Your Father to call me Your own

How deep is Your love
How high and how wide is Your mercy
How deep is Your grace
Our hearts overflow with praise
To You

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Learning to be "Complete in Thee..."

Since I came to Northland, God has already been teaching me a lot of things.  But one thing He's been teaching me, just within the last, probably 16 hours, is the need for me to feel Complete in Christ.  I often struggle with a feeling of loneliness...often even when I'm surrounded by people, and people are being nice, and introducing themselves, I find myself feeling lonely.  This often leads to me walking up to girls and talking to them, hoping, that if it goes well, there could end up being something there between us.  I'm sure my readers know what I mean when I say that...

When I do this, then if it does go well, I start to get excited, and begin to have that feeling of "completeness."  After realizing that I do this, I realized something...why can I not feel this same "completeness" in Christ?  After all, He does love me more than anyone in this world.  He died for me, and all of us on the cross.  Why can I not rest in His love, and find that "completeness"?  I've often been told by people who are married, or in a happy dating relationship, that God brought along the right person for them, when they learned to rest in Christ love, and find that completeness in Christ.  This of course is harder than it sounds when the believer tries to apply it to their lives.

Sure, we are literally completed in Christ when we become a believer, and a follower of Christ, but overtime, we forget that.  We slip back into our flesh, and begin to lose sight of that completeness we once had in Christ.  The reason I say "we" is I'm sure I'm not the only one who is struggling with this.  I think this feeling of needing to feel complete, often leads to people rushing into relationships that God doesn't want them to be in, because that person who they love makes them feel complete.  We must be careful about this...I believe that God did ordain marriage to be a "completing" for us human beings.  After all the Bible says that when we marry we become "one flesh..."  I've often heard from Christians who are married, that they don't feel complete without their husband, or wife.

But, I think we as Christians can rely too heavily on that feeling of completeness we get from a relationship, and we lose sight of the One who can make us feel even more completed.  After all, the Christian is supposed to put Christ first, above all else.  "In Christ alone, my hope is found..."

So, the Lord just impressed upon my heart, to work on this.  Pray, read my bible, and seek the Him for that feeling of "completeness" that He can give me.  I, in turn felt the need to share it with my followers.  Have I arrived at a feeling of completeness in Christ?  No, but it's a work in progress, and I don't think it will ever be a "once, done" thing.  It will be a continual life process...

So, I would just encourage my followers, to seek to find completeness in Christ.  He is all we need...won't you join me in working on this?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

College life...

Well, the day has finally come...I'm at Northland.  I arrived yesterday morning, bright and early.  The drive up here was long, and exhausting.  I think the worst part was driving through Chicago.  It wasn't even rush hour, but I'm really not used to having people around me driving sooo fast, and cutting me off left and right.  Trying to get over in the turning lane and there's someone there, and I can't get over, and my exit is coming up!  My dad even called while I was just entering the Chicago area, and I just picked up the phone and said "Sorry, I can't talk right now, trafic is crazy.  I'll call you back later!"  I'm used to country driving, and small city driving...but I do not like driving in a big city!  I talked to my room leader last night, and he said if I drive up through Michigan, the drive is much more relaxed.  So I think next semester I'll be taking that way.

Anyways...once I got through that, trafic got much better as I went North.

So, yesterday when I got here, the first thing I did was get my Northland ID, then I went to my dorm room and got unpacked.  No one was in the room, but thankfully I was able to get some help carrying my stuff into my dorm room.  Then durring the day, I mostly just walked around campus and worked on my registration.  I signed up for my Concert Choir interview.  The only thing I'm worried about, is I'll be graded on how well I sight read...which I'm not good at, at all!  We'll see's in God's hands!

In the evening we had a opening service with Dr. Ollila.  He let people stand up and talk about things God has been doing in their life.  I really wanted to get up and talk about what God had done in my life to lead me to Northland, but I was worried I would talk too long, because I know my story is a long one!  So, I chose to just sit and listen to everyone else.  The things I heard about what God did to get people to Northland, or how God provided money that was needed to come back to serve a great God!  He can do anything He wants...

After that Dr. Ollila gave a brief devotional from Joshua, and after that, we broke up into small groups to pray.  Then I went back to the dorm, and went to Walmart in Iron Mountain to get some extra stuff I needed.

The when I got back, we had a hall meeting where we sang, ate cookies, and they gave out some announcements.  Then we broke up into groups again to pray.  After that I went to bed.

Today we've got some orientation classes, and I'm taking, basically what is the equivalent of a "CLEP" exam for Basic Computers.  Hopefully I pass, and can take some extra classes this semester!

So, overall my assessment at this point about Northland, is I really like it.  The students are really nice, and really friendly.  I've met so many people, and honestly forgot most of their names.  But it's been good, yesterday I was really struggling with nervousness, but today I'm much more relaxed.  I like the focus of prayer that there is here...Dr. Olsen said that night "the greatest work we do as a Christian, is on our knees."  I like that, and I know if I keep prayer at the center of everything I do, then God will be at the center of everything I do.

Classes don't start until Monday, and both nervous and excited.

I trust everything is going well with all my followers!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

James A. Garfield and some quality time with my parents...

Well, as many of you, who are my followers know, it's getting close to when I'm going to be going off to college.  In fact I'll be leaving in three days.  Going to probably start getting packed tomorrow, and finish up on Monday.

A few weeks ago we began to discuss what we were going to do before I left for college as a family.  There's just me, my mom, and my dad at the house since everyone else has moved out.  And of course I was out of the house for four years, but came back for the summer before I started college.  So, we tossed around many different ideas.  But we decide we were going to simply go to the lake and spend the day there, and come back home in the evening for dinner, and a movie.  But we woke up this morning and we figured out the day was going to be colder than we expected, and a trip to the beach would probably not be much fun.

So after some debate, we decided we would go to James A. Garfield's house in Mentor, and then go into Willoughby Hills to see a movie.

So below I'm going to post the pictures I took at his house.

Garfield's house from the back as we approached on our tour.

James and Lucretia Garfield's summer bedroom.  They slept on the first floor durring the summer because it was cooler of course.

Another part of their summer bedroom.

A painting of Eliza Ballou, President Garfield's mother.  She lived in the house till her death, and in fact outlived her son, living for 7 years after his assassination.

The parlor in the Garfield house...also known, of course, as the living room.  The Piano was the Garfield's oldest daughter Mary's...they bought it for her on her 13th birthday.

Eliza Ballou's room.  She was naturally very fond of her son.  She had the stained glass window type thing in the corner made in memory of her son when he was assassinated.

Fireplace in the family dining room.  The tiles around the fireplace were hand painted by Mrs. Garfield, and the Garfield children.

The dining room.

A picture of President Garfield in full military uniform.  This was at the top of the stairs, and was exactly how Lucretia had it set up after he died.

Piano in the Garfield library inside the house.  This is actually known as the first presidential memorial library.  It was added onto the house after President Garfield's death, and housed most of his extensive book collection.

All the previous un-captioned pictures are various pictures taken in his presidential memorial library.

The door to the vault in the presidential library.

A small safe inside the vault.

Notice the spider web, and the bug?  During this time spider webs were considered to bring good luck.  

The previous three pictures are of Zeb Rudolphs room in the house.  He was Lucretia's father, and of course James' father-in-law.  He ran the farm durring the presidency, and I believe continued to run it after his assassination.

The Garfield boys room.

Chandelier in the hallway.

The previous two pictures are of James and Lucretia's winter bedroom.

Mary Garfield's room.  Of course, you can see that Mary was definitely spoiled.  She had her own piano, and big bedroom to herself.

Fireplace in Garfield's office.  You may notice it says "In Memoriam" above the fireplace?  This was added after Garfield's death.

Another picture of his office.  The chair was specially designed for Garfield, so that he could sit in it sideways with his back resting against once side, and his legs hanging over the other.

Dad and I standing behind the house after the tour.

Mom and I standing behind the house after the tour.

The front of the house.  Durring his presidential campaign...Garfield often gave speeches while standing on his front porch.

A windmill on the property.

If any of you ever get a chance to see this historical site, I highly recommend it!  It is very educational, and cheep!  The tour only cost $5 per person.  The house is pretty much kept exactly the way it was when the Garfield's lived there, and if you're a history buff, you will definitely enjoy it!

Oh, and I might want to know where this is right?  It's in Mentor, OH...on the north side of Rt. 20...about a mile east of the Great Lakes Mall.