I enjoy reading. Although I rarely find the time that I would like, to indulge in some sort of reading. My reading usually consists of one chapter every night before I go to sleep. But sometimes I will come across a section in a book or magazine that I don't want to put down. It speaks to me more so than other sections and chapters that I have read. I find myself making extra time during the day to continue on in the story or dig deeper into the subject that I was reading. My most recent occurrence of this happened earlier this week. I just finished a book called "Next Generation Leader" by Andy Stanley. He divides this book up into five sections, the last of which is on the topic of character.
This topic is one in particular that has been hammer home to me over and over again during my time and Nebraska Christian College. I learned that effective ministries will only thrive if they are operating out of an abundance of good character. This also is directly related to your personal relationship with God. The ultimate goal is to strive to become so close to God and spend so much time in prayer and in His word, that you have no choice but to operate out of your overflow or abundance of Him. (I also want to make the point that since the word "plethora" means to have "too much" of something or an "excess", that it should not be a word that is associated with God...because I don't think its a possible to have too much of Him rather we are always trying to get more)
This topic of character, has been something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. In his book, Stanley encourages his readers to live a live of constant integrity and really sit down and think through your values and beliefs. His theory is that there will be one time in your life where you will encounter something that will be a major test to your character. You will have to choose to do what is right, or choose the opposite and suffer a major blow to your ministry and also to your integrity and character. This may seem to be the case when I think back to the various stories that I have heard of people in ministry positions that have compromised their integrity and because of that, have ruined their ministry and how people view their character.
I would like to take this one step further. While I agree with the statement that each person will have to deal with one large scale happening that will be a true test of character, I also think that it is something that we have to deal with on a smaller scale and on a daily basis. While there may be that one monumental event that you look back on saying that was the true test of your character which you either passed or failed, I believe that there are smaller battles that if you don't fight, you will face the same outcome over time. You see, I believe that the choices we make on a day to day basis shape the way we will handle that one large happening. I believe that Satan is trying everything he can to attack our character. He is crafty and will try to start habits in you by attacking the small areas of your life and then desensitize you when that large happening occurs. Choosing to tell a lie, or swearing, or lust, or something else that we might deal with daily could be just as important for us to watch out for as something huge.
What I have been challenged with over the past week, is to strive to not give the devil a foothold in any area of my life. Whether it be telling a lie, or cheating, or lust...anything. I don't want to give him the opportunity to smash my integrity or character. All it takes is one event to ruin your ministry forever.
At the end of his book, Stanley tells a story of his kids. Every night before bed, Stanley would pray with his children that God would them the wisdom to know the truth and the character to always follow it, even when its tough. (This is my paraphrase because I don't have the book next to me for direct quote purposes) That has become a constant prayer in my life, that God would give me wisdom to know the truth and character to always follow it, even when its tough.
How about you?
James 1:5 and Proverbs 11:3
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Quick shout out to all my friends in Omaha...you know who you are.
When I was younger, I was considered to be a little bit of a creeper. I would like to think that I was not. There were some times, however, that due to my shy personality some people could have thought that I was a little creepy. (Because I didn't talk a whole lot and would sit in the back of the room so I didn't draw attention to myself) As the years have gone on, those people would say that I have come out of my shell a little bit and "outgrown" my creepiness...I hope. Here is a story of a recent situation that happened in my life that was very awkward and I hope that no one ever has to go through something like this...but Beth probably will.
Working with a youth group, I get the opportunity to hang out with a lot of kids. Naturally there are some kids that open up to you more than others do. There are the high school boys that are your best buds and like to come to you for advise. There are the high school girls that come to you when they are having boy problems, thinking that you will be able to help. (I mean a guy should know other guys right???) There are the junior high boys that just want attention and look up to you somewhat. And then there are the junior high girls...how can I explain them...they are all about drama and want to be best friends with everyone.
This is the story of one particular junior high girl and the misunderstanding that took place. Enjoy. On Friday nights, I hang out with around 60 junior high kids at the youth center here in town. I get to see all the junior high drama first hand. Seriously, it seems like these kids are dating someone new every week. Oh the drama. There are a few girls that always make sure to get a hug from me, and always let me know that I am their "best friend." I am completely OK with that and don't think that is anything out of the ordinary.
If you have known a junior high girl, you know that they are the champions of Facebook. The queens of status updates. It is the fuel for the drama that they love so much. They fear confrontation, so they use their Facebook to fight their battles...calling out other girls through their status updates, etc. This time in particular, one girl decided to let everyone know that she had a new boyfriend. This boyfriend was the popular theme for her status updates for the next few days, as she never failed to mention that she "loved" him, and how sad she was that she didn't get to see him cause he was out of town or sick. Now by this point you might think that the reason this situation was so awkward was because I am a Facebook stalker and someone called me out on it. That is not the case. All the Facebook information was given to me via a very reliable source. Did I mention that this girls new boyfriend was named Cody? The plot thickens...
This is where the awkwardness begins. I went out of town to meet my new nephew, Malachi James Matteson. While I was gone, I was told that this girl updated her status saying..."I'm so mad that I don't get to see my boyfriend, Cody, cause he is out of town for the weekend"...and later..."I miss Cody, wish he was here. I "heart" you Cody!" When I came back to Norton, I had two different people confront me to ask if there was anything going on with me and this girl. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Who seriously thinks that me (22) would even consider any type of relationship with a 13 year old. THIS WAS RIDICULOUS! By far the most awkward experience of my life. I kinda told them that I was in no way in a relationship with her and that there was probably a junior high boy named Cody that she was dating. I have since talked to the girl and kindly asked her to stop the status updates and explained why.
This will hopefully be one of those situation where I can look back and say..."remember that one time when..." I hope that everyone gets a good laugh out of this. And Beth, I hope that this makes your day and that you sleep well tonight knowing that you aren't the only one that encounters awkward situations like this...just the one that it happens to more than others.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I realize that it has been a month since my last post...I just haven't really had the urge to blog. In fact, I have been very content in simply reading the blogs of my friends and family. I love it when someone post a new blog. It brightens my day. So when my sister posted on my blog that she was ready for me to make another post, I knew exactly how she felt. It is because of this, that I am going to make a compilation of posts...all together in one. This is my randomness...
I was able to take a few days off to see my family this past weekend. It was great! My oldest sister Miranda gave birth to a baby boy. They named him Malachi James (which is my middle name) Matteson. He is perfectly healthy and I am very thankful for that. I held my new nephew for about 30 seconds...just long enough for my sister to take a few pictures...for those of you who don't know, I really don't like holding small babies. I was also able to see my parents and little brother Austin. It was really good to be able to spend some time with them too. It had been a while. Since I know my family reads this...I LOVE YOU ALL!
I love my friends! This is probably an understatement. It never fails that every day I will receive a text message or message via Facebook from one of my friends telling me that they miss me or sending me a random message remembering how great "the old times" were. Not a day goes by that I don't feel the same way about them. For all of my friends reading this...I Love You All and Miss You All! Being away from friends and family has probably been the hardest thing about my whole internship experience.
My favorite animal is a Polar Bear. One reason why is because they are super smart. Polar bears like to eat seals. And when a seal hunts, they usually sit by a hole in the ice and wait for a fish to come to the surface, which makes a scratching sound on the ice. They sit and wait for that sound, then dive through the hole and catch some lunch. Now Polar Bears figured that out and found a seal hole that was somewhat close to the edge of an ice cap. They will take a deep breath, dive into the water, and swim under the ice to the seal hole. They then proceed to scratch the ice with their claw, and when the seal dives in to catch its food...the polar bear grabs it. Pretty smart huh? Another fun fact about polar bears is that they are the only animal known to hunt humans. Now there are other animals that will attack a human for being in their territory or getting too close to its cubs...but polar bears with actually hunt a human for the sole purpose of eating them.
What do you call cheese that isn't yours???
Someone else's cheese, that's what!
I am in the worst shape of my life. It is getting to the point when I make them lame joke that I am in great shape...if round counts. I have been working a job that requires a large amount of office work. Sitting at a desk. The only exercise that I get is when we play sponsors vs. kids basketball at youth group once a week. And on top of that, I get spoiled here. The church has a sign up sheet for families to feed me, and they feed me well. I need some motivation to work out...and extra time to as well.
It was my birthday today...and I came to the realization that the older you get, the less meaningful birthdays are. I miss the days of hitting those milestone birthdays where you could do cool things like drive and buy scratch tickets. About the only milestone birthdays I have left are the ones that no one looks forward to....like 30 and 40. Although I would like to take this time to thank everyone for their birthday wishes. Don't get me wrong, today was a good day...I just think that we should invent more milestone birthdays. Maybe one that celebrates turning 22 because you are one year more awesome or something like that.
A lot of things have happened in the last month, and I don't really have the time to write about any of them. And my memory sucks so I don't remember half of them. But I just want to say thanks to everyone who has stuck by me through thick and thin. You are all a blessing to me in more ways than you could ever imagine! Be thankful for the life you have been given and remember that it is just that...a gift...live it accordingly.