Big Break Blog!

I had the oppertunity to go down to Panama City Beach with Campus Crusade for Christ on what they called Big Break for my spring break. It was awesome. A week where there was some sun and a lot of living out my faith in Christ, God reveals himself to those who obey what he commands (see John 14:21) and being in something close to full time ministry again just got me super excited to go overseas on STINT this fall! (read more..) These are a few things I wrote when I was down there. I’ll be putting some pictures online later, there are a lot of them par usual.

Tuesday March 15, 2005 | 16:50:03
Panama City Beach, Florida
Day on the Beach

Yesterday was rather uneventful, partially because I was with someone who isn?t filled with the spirit and trying to share with others. It felt off, he wasn?t approaching things right and I felt him really struggling with it. We ended up just sitting down on the beach with him going through the gospel with me and it showed me where he was. Not even understanding the basic concept of grace. It was a bit frustrating but I really valued the time to spend sharing with him. Today however was very different.

I went out with Mckeen today sharing and had a blast. The first group we stopped at we both got to talk to someone different and were able to share with them. It was stinking sweet, I felt bad for Brandon though, he just has surgery on his meniscus last Wednesday and was down here for spring break now. He was really mobile and able to walk/run just fine. No more snowboarding for the year though. Thank the Lord that I was able to meet up with him, super chill guy. Looking forward to keeping in touch with him.

Talked to a bunch of other people as well, some girls from Bloomington, IL. and they were pretty cool, had another really awesome conversation with Jay, he?s one of the guys who works at the jet ski rental place. He?s been everywhere it?s crazy, grew up in new york, went to a private Christian high school, then went into the coast guard for four years up in Alaska, and now works on the beach down here in Florida. I was surprised by his honesty and how open he was about what he believed and his past.

Though what struck me the most was in his honesty with how other people from our group treated him. Asking him to fill out survey after survey he joked with us about how he would mess with people who used the surveys. How he really was looking for someone to talk to but no one in two years (how long he?s lived here) has actually ever seemed interested in talking to him. I was taken back by it. We were the 5th week of big break that he?s lived through and he?s yet to have anyone really stop by and talk to him about life, about where he is coming from and going to. To even find out that he has a friend in Seattle who is living for the Lord and thus praying for him to know Christ.

As we walked back to the hotel Ryan and I talked about that experience and I was able to relate it to our society and culture of to do lists and fast pace. Maybe it has something to do with me going and living in France where the life is so much slower paced, either way to be able to sit down with the intent of spending a couple hours with someone. Yes I desire to share the Gospel of Christ with them, but if the spirit doesn?t lead me to I won?t push it, and certainly won?t get up and leave when I find out that today isn?t their day. People here are so close to desiring that personal relationship with God, for me to just get up and leave would only hinder that and could even push them further from knowing Him who sent me!

Back to the Big Break, it?s going really well. I?m getting to know a bunch of the guys here a lot better, really have been able to open up to a couple of them and it?s been a blessing. The speakers are awesome, especially Lori from Central Texas. She?s really refreshing, we have mens time tonight after dinner and I?m looking forward to that.
Until I write again?

Let Christ bless your life,
~paul

Wednesday March 16th, 2005 | 12:50:48
Panama City Beach, Florida

Redefining Relationships

It?s striking how one out of line relationship can affect us so much and in so many different ways. This isn?t some new epiphany that I had here in Florida but I am seeing it in a very new light. As a matter of fact it?s seeing for the first time my subtle interactions with those around me, having what I might refer to as a ?real world? moment. The lack of those moments in my life used to be a point of pride for me, and I?m seeing that my pride in that lacking has caused me to loose out on the opportunity to really get to know others. To be really open about myself with them and for them to be open with me, that includes having conversations with one another. Those conversations sometimes will cause me to be more real with everyone around me than I wish to be. More real than my faith in Christ would lead me to believe I am at times. Being too real in the sense of being unchanged (or un-conformed to the likeness of Christ), and though those moments I realize what I have to surrender to God in faith.

Last night we had our mens time, it was awesome. I know some people get the attitude that every mens time is the same but I?ve been to my fair share of them now and I can tell you I?ve gotten something different out of each one of them. This time was no different, it was awesome to hear about interaction within a community, and how important it is to stand out in faith. Nothing really new but reassuring. Also to talk about relationships and to hear how so often we push them to how close can we get before we are in sin, instead of how close can we get to being in righteousness. It?s so simple and has helped me put a couple more pieces into a puzzle that I?ve been working on for a long time. A puzzle whose image is like nothing I ever could have imagined before. I?ve been swimming so hard lately against a current that I felt I wasn?t going to be able to overcome, and now to be in a place where Christ has been refocused the work seems almost effortless. Not effortless in the sense that I?m not going to try, only that I am able to try in a different way. For you women who might be reading this, no this doesn?t give away any bit of the craziness of mens time and now amazingly awesome and secretive it is. Only one application of something that was mentioned over the course of about two some hours.

Another thought it taking that idea of desiring righteousness and applying it to other situations, will downloading music lead me closer to righteousness, will studying for this test lead me closer to righteousness if not studying means sharing the gospel, will stepping out in faith with my summer/year guide me closer to righteousness? It?s a way to look at things that I had missed, or even forgotten about. To be able to refocus on that will really help me out (similar to the biblically sound lay of the triangle of discernment).

This morning we hear from Joel Rossiner about the process the Lord has taken him on and it?s been really inspiring to hear so far. I?m looking forward to hearing the rest of it as the week progresses. He sounds like a really awesome guy.

Allow Christ to bless you in a new way today,
~paul

Saturday, March 19, 2005 | 20:04:37
Somewhere in Tennessee

Woohoo, trip home to snow

The week is all done now and we?re on the way back to Wisconsin now. It?s a titch crazy to believe that we left the beach in beautiful blue sky to end up back in Menomonie where we got something around twenty inches of snow. The whole trip has already reached surreal status, it?s been worth it. There was something different about being able to go out and do ministry with people who we are doing ministry with at Stout. Last summer I was the only one from Stout, there were about eight of us with the vision trip to east asia, and now twenty nine of us with big break.

As fast as it went by a lot was able to happen, a lot of time with the guys and getting to open up to them, time with Jordan, and some really great messages/quite times. There really isn?t much left to write, I hit most of the high points already. We just left dinner and have been on the road for about ten or eleven hours. Already watched three movies, onto the fourth, and going to catch some sleep.

Seek Christs Heart and let Him Bless you,
~paul