You are the Worst

Photo by Michael Belk
www.journeyswiththemessiah.org

You ever know someone who just loves other people well? It’s pretty incredible to watch. I suck at it, so when I see someone who does it well, it’s literally one of the most admirable and awe-striking things I could possibly witness. Seriously. It is.

I typically have a terrible poker face if I’m annoyed with someone. In fact, I just have one of those faces where it looks like I’m always annoyed even though I’m not. There’s even a term for it. The Christian version would be “b***** resting face”.

The thing is, I know I don’t show love well, and I hate that about myself. I pray about it. I am well aware I do it. And again, I pray about it. Even the Bible knows guys in general are terrible at it. In Ephesians 5:25 it tells husbands to love their wives. Who needs to be told to do that?? Guys do. So what’s the deal..

Photo by Michael Belk www.journeyswiththemessiah.org

Photo by Michael Belk
www.journeyswiththemessiah.org

I think about this daily because I’m reminded of it daily. Why? Because some people are the worst, then I’m the worst towards them.

And while driving down the road the other day, it hit me. I believe God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, revealed it to me – the most simple explanation to the most perplexing problem I have – that is, me knowing I’m the worst and hating that about myself. The answer: other people know they’re the worst and hate that about themselves, too.

So here we are. Just a bunch of people on this planet who know they suck at loving others and want to change, but are constantly screwing that up by doing the complete opposite.

Why is it so hard to love? Because other people are awful. But other people know they are awful and hate that about themselves. What do they/we need? They need people to love them anyways. They need an example of love. (also all the ‘other people’ and ‘they’s’ you could swap for ‘I’)

I’ll tell you this. Apart from the example Jesus set, I have no idea how to do this on my own. Literally. No clue. People think Jesus is this guy who hates people who sin, but He was the total opposite. He showed people so much love that they followed him and left everything. Former prostitutes, thieves, criminals – social outcasts at the time – Jesus just loved them. And it remains true to my first paragraph: “…when I see someone who does it well, it’s literally one of the most admirable and awe-striking things I could possibly witness.” It’s one of the most magnetic qualities a person can possess because it’s so counter-culture. It’s not normal, but it’s a great and beautiful thing when done well. This is why Jesus remains to have so many followers. Who doesn’t want to be loved?

And the people who do it well? Some of them are people who have every excuse to be awful. They’ve had terrible deaths in their family, experienced incredibly difficult lives, and have gone through unfathomable trials, but by clinging to and following the example Jesus set, they are some of the most joyful and greatest people I know. There is no other explanation to the type of love they show. They just do what Jesus did and live transformed lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Takeaways? If you want to know how Jesus loved, if you suck at loving, or if you’re the worst, read Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. See how Jesus loved. Know that He still loves you. And if you don’t believe that, I can certainly point you to some folks who live it out well.

URGENT UPDATE

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1. I just found out yogurt was good.

I have avoided yogurt my entire life because I was told countless times that it was alive and/or curdled milk. Seeing as to how I’ve had bad experiences with expired milk, I avoided yogurt at all cost. It wasn’t until I was left with the choice to eat yogurt or not eat at all, that I discovered how good it was. Now I buy it.

2. I saw a girl yawning while running. 

I can almost guarantee you have never seen a person yawn while running. I don’t know how that works, but I saw it.

3. Softball season has begun. 

It is easily the most glorious time of the year. I am absolutely filled with glee as I take the field with old church-going men who are just looking to play some ball. I also laugh constantly at every mistake that happens on the field because it can be pretty hilarious. Also we are undefeated, so that feels good, too.

photo4. I went to the Legwarmers concert. 

The Legwarmers are a Northern Virginia legacy. They’re an 80’s cover band that plays pretty regularly at the State Theater. Everyone dresses up in 80’s gear and goes absolutely insane. It’s awesome. TJ even danced like the Breakfast Club and dressed up like Marty McFly.

5. I’m helping out with that Splatter Run 5k. 

I really enjoy helping out with Young Life events. This year we have some big sponsors like PEPSI, Whole Foods, Contiki Travel, 9:30 Club, Pacers Running, Silver Diner, Nectar Sunglasses, Sweet Frog, Aquafina, Chick-Fil-A and more. Come out, get some free stuff. It’s fun. www.splatterrun.com

 

I Went to Nashville

I went to Nashville last week for work. On the way down I got a speeding ticket. He’s probably friends with the officer who gave me a court date on my birthday. Other than that, and the fact that I had to drive through a tornado warning, the drive was great.

I stayed at the Opryland Gaylord. Remember those old games where you would put a tiny metal ball in a maze and use those little knobs to get the ball from one end to the other? That’s what the Gaylord is like. Except the ball is me and on the other end is usually my room, food or a bathroom with a literal indoor jungle in between us. But it was really nice.

At the conference were thousands of people. There was a massive exhibit hall with hundreds of vendors. At one of them, I met a famous fashion photographer and his business partner, who happened to be the guy that sold Seinfeld into syndication. They do awesome stuff. Pretty rad. Also I met and or saw, Eric Metaxas, Ben Carson, Charles Stanley, Patricia Heaton, Michael W. Smith and more. I saw and spoke to Mark Burnett (creator of Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, etc) and his wife Roma Downey (aka the angel from Touched By An Angel). He said, “Excuse me” and she said “Hi.” So I’ll be waiting for my beach house/joint vacation invitation in the mail.

I also met Victoria Jackson who used to be on SNL with Farley, Sandler, and those guys.–>

Of all these people, I was most excited to see the Duggars. The family from 19 or 20 or 21 and Counting. I don’t know how many there are or how many children are produced weekly. Not that I have ever even seen the show before, because I haven’t, but because one of the daughters was very attractive. If anyone has her digits, holler. Judging by the way she looked and smiled at me, I assume she’s single, about to be, or that I had peed a little.

I thought that I would be able to get out and see Nashville in my free time, except that I didn’t have free time. I worked 12-15 hour days and never stepped foot outside of the hotel for 5 days. This was a bummer as I was unable to visit any Man vs. Food locations.

When I left, I stopped in Knoxville to eat at a sketchy, but locally-famous restaurant called Chandler’s. Soul food. You know it’s sketchy because as soon as I parked, a man knocked on my car window asking for $2 to get on the bus. I think he materialized from thin air. Then I stopped and took a 15 minute power nap. Then I went and got gas and saw a drug deal go down on an exit ramp. Then I drove away.

Nashville, I hardly knew you.

Splatter Run · 5k Fun Run

If you guys are into those fun run 5k things, then go check out SplatterRun.com. Young Life is doing a big 5k run for the third year in a row and it’s gotten bigger each year. I did it last year for the first time and it was awesome.

It’s basically a fundraiser for kids who want to go to Young Life camp in the summer and gives them a great opportunity to raise money on their own from friends and family, etc.

If you’re not into running, no big deal. Walk the whole time. Lots of families come out (even with strollers) and just come to have a good time and support a good cause and organization. It’s only $35 if you sign up now and will increase over time as the race gets closer in May.

We hope to get a ton of awesome sponsors on board, so if you have a company that would like to support it, all donations are tax deductible and I can provide you with some stats if you’re interested.

Fun Run | Splatter Run

FUN RUN · 5k Run

I’mma Let You Finish, But Treehouse Masters Is The Greatest Show of All Time

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I am flabbergasted. How did I not know that such a show existed?? A show about treehouses?

This show is on Animal Planet which doesn’t make sense. And Animal Planet’s new tagline is “Surprisingly Human” which is a good tagline for someone who is completely abandoning shows about animals that no one watches.

This show of shows has consumed hours and possibly days of my life. I first discovered this show about a week ago and literally sat in front of the TV for at least 3 hours. What’s so great about a treehouse show?

1. It’s a treehouse show.

2. These people are spending $200k on a treehouse. Don’t you want to know what a $200,000 treehouse looks like? I’ll tell you. It’s magic.

3. The guy who builds them is awesome and builds treehouses for a living and he runs a treehouse hotel. What have you done with your life lately? Probably not run a treehouse hotel.

4. When I was a kid I built a treehouse. It was torn down by some jerk kids only weeks after we built it and I have been filled with fury ever since. This show quenches the fire. (I’m looking at you, Wesley and Jordan).

5. My friend and I built a treehouse out of logs we found on the ground. Needless to say it broke while we were sitting on it and the floor gave out. I fell ever-so-softly without a scratch, but my friend somehow got his foot caught between 2 branches and was dangling there while I laugh-cried…and then eventually got him down.

6. I have never been a master of anything (though all of you reading this are shocked and would vehemently disagree)  but I would like to be a Treehouse Master. What better way to learn than from the Treehouse Master  himself.

7. I am learning what not to do while building a treehouse so that when I have kids, God willing, I will keep them from dangling from branches as well.

8. If I don’t have kids, I will have my own treehouse, which will probably take just as much TLC, time and hard work as a real child. Am I right parents or am I right?

 

I Have Learned SO Many Things Lately

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This isn’t even an exaggeration. This is real life information that really hasn’t impacted my life in any real tangible way…but it’s good to know.

I learned what…

1. …a Duvet is

Danny Tanner - Full HouseA duvet? Sheets for your sheets? Are you joking me right now? Why would I care at all that my sheets were warm? They are there for me – not each other. Having a duvet is like having a toothbrush for your toothbrush. Did you know Danny Tanner (of Full House fame) vacuumed his vacuum cleaned his cleaning products? You know what happened? People laughed at him. It was the audience, but they laughed.

2. …Passive Aggressive means

It’s shocking. I’m 28 and write for a living and have somehow made it through life not knowing the true meaning of passive aggressive. It’s hilarious. I can’t wait to see it happen in real life (which I probably have millions of times) and tell someone they are being passive aggressive. Should be a good time.

3. …corned beef tastes like. 

I have never had it before. We had a Christmas party for my church and my friend Kelsey made some. My brain couldn’t handle how good it was. I don’t know if it’s all like that, but this was delicious. I don’t even know what corned beef is, but I don’t really care either. There are more important things to learn like that sheets have sheets.

4. …what Shawarma is

Shawarma, which I forget how to spell every time I type it, is fantastic. It’s like a pillar of meat that rotates and cooks slowly. Apparently it’s rubbed down with spices, then the fat runs down and mixes them and cooks at the same time. It’s insane. Then you throw all the stuff I’ve never heard of along with it, and somehow it’s incredible. I don’t know what Tahini sauce is, but who does? No one does and no one cares as long as you keep slinging me that shawarma. Go to Shawerma [sic] Express in Fairfax. You’ll know you’re in the right place because the owners are terrifying.

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The Mission

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I have always had a problem understanding how God loved us. I’m a man. Those two things are related. It’s just not something “I got”. Alright, Jesus died for us. But that’s hard for me to understand and hard to relate to. But after a culmination of various events, I think I’m starting get it, and it’s much more epic than I ever thought.

About 3 months ago my cousin shipped off to Marine Corp boot camp in Parris Island. I just went down to watch him graduate the day before Thanksgiving. The discipline, unity and purpose that these guys have is one of the most admirable things I can ever imagine.

I’ve been “around” members of the military my whole life and it’s one of the only things that can invoke some kind of teary-eyedness out of me. I think the same goes for most men. Whether that’s Braveheart, Gladiator, or seeing a true account of a battlefield mission, there’s something deep inside the heart of a man that is in total admiration and maybe a little jealousy. “Wild at Heart” is a great read all about that.

After seeing my cousin graduate and how pumped he is, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that he, and the other new marines, are ready to lay their lives down for me. The other guys don’t know me. But they have this incredible call on their lives where they felt lead to do so, and it’s not something I take for granted. I have always known this about members of the armed forces, but now with my cousin going in, it’s a little more personal.

Ever since I got back from Parris Island, I have been obsessively watching documentaries on special forces training and watching the grueling torment these guys go through to be in an elite task force. It’s unreal. These guys are throwing up, passing out, breaking bones and bleeding so they can protect me and my freedom. It certainly takes a special kind of person to do so, but it is a phenomenal calling and these guys are rushing head-in.

Last night I prayed that I would continue to get some understanding on Jesus’ love for me and to make it real. Today, by chance, I read John 15:12 which says:

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

It clicked that in the say way these Marines are ready to lay their lives down for me, the same is true of Jesus. In the same way that these men storm the front lines and take the full blow of enemy fire, Jesus has done the same for me. Suddenly my view of Jesus has changed. He had the same calling as these soldiers (kind of). He knew he was headed to his death. The mission was more important than his life. The same is true of our military.

I want that kind of love that I would lay down my life for others. To have the same mindset and fearlessness that Jesus has. The same as every man ever looks up to William Wallace or Maximus in Gladiator. Jesus kicked so much butt and endured more than any of these guys, real or fictional.

What an incredible call that we do not deserve. It’s the most noble thing I can think of, not to mention it’s the greatest love that anyone could ever show.

Are you ready to lay your life down for one another as Christ did? If not, what is your mission?1441323_10152065964012220_1640200815_n

You Can Go Your Own Way

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…is a killer song from Fleetwood Mac. I love it. I’ve lived it. But it’s not always as cracked up as it sounds. As a Christian, attempting to go my own way doesn’t work. I’ve chosen to submit my life to a God whom I believe has a bigger and better plan for me. The pieces of that plan, my daily life, change constantly. Sometimes I feel led to speak to a youth group – sometimes I feel led to go talk to a homeless person – sometimes I just go help set up an event. It looks different. Sometimes it seems like it doesn’t make a difference, but truly, I know it does.

I don’t do these things because I’m a good person. I know aside from my being a Christian, I would probably ignore a lot of opportunities to serve, help or contribute in ways that would glorify God and show love to others. Even as a Christian, I sometimes (and sometimes often) ignore all these opportunities. I go my own way. And I can start to feel it. The fact that I am no longer submitting my life to God’s plan. A plan that simply requires me to love God and to love others. It builds up and becomes a tremendous weight.

Mark 12:30-31, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Doing all these things as a Christian doesn’t earn me some gold stars or extra credit. My actions towards others should be a reflection of my relationship with God. I should find joy in serving others because Jesus served others, and in doing so, He laid His life down for me. Out of my appreciation and love of Christ, I should be doing the same. And when I don’t, it’s because I’ve lost focus somewhere along the way.

Going my own way sucks. There’s nothing at the end of that road. I’ve tried it. Stopped reading my Bible, praying, being a part of a Christian community – when you know and have experienced the fullness of a relationship with God, living without it is losing your purpose. There’s no fulfillment in anything I do apart from God. There’s not. I don’t get some reward for saying that or writing this: that’s just the truth. It’s an emptiness and search for satisfaction in other things that never ends.

I wrote this because I read James 1:2-4, 12 –

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Steadfastness: a life of faithful endurance amid troubles and afflictions. 

How easily am I thrown off my pursuit of a deeper relationship with God? Does a busy schedule keep me from that? Sometimes. That’s sad, right?

As Christians we need to strive for a deep relationship with God so that in the face of difficult times, we can lean and trust Him to be our support. That’s one of the marks of a Christian. Christians in DC hardly experience the persecution found in other countries, yet we have an incredibly hard time “enduring” a relationship with God with a crappy commute, desk job, and social schedule.

Get back on track.

 

ps. it really is a great song.

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The Week’s Top Stories

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A lot of very important and life changing things happened this week – not just for me but for everyone at Panera in Fairfax. I thought I would recap the week with my life’s top stories. It’s likely that the whole world is waiting on this entry, so I will not keep it waiting any longer.

  • Jesse Spano Dances

I was sent a video by Hannah of Never Have I Ever. It is Jesse Spano, or the actress who plays her, on Dancing With the Stars and she is dancing to I’m So Excited. It’s pretty great stuff.

  • Panera Breakup

In case you missed it, I witnessed a fantastic Panera breakup the other day and reported via Twitter. Click here to read it. I even put it in chronological order for you. There are twists, turns, unexpected guests and muffins.

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  • Sold House

I live in an awesome, big house…until November 11. My landlord told us he was selling our house and actually sold it all within 2 weeks. How exciting for him. Austin and I are frantically looking for a place with 2 bedrooms. Holler at me. hashtag help.

  • Going to See a Roach House

Upon receiving news of the selling house, Austin and I have been looking at potential places to live. I found a house on craigslist. We went to see it. It smelled like curie. The owner took us to the kitchen and as he turned on the lights, a baby roach ran across the counter. He took us to the master bedroom and several baby roaches were on the floor. I said, “Looks like you got some bugs here.” And then we left.

  • Phil’s Chicken

Phil made us some awesome chicken on the grill. He calls it beer butt chicken. I won’t go into detail on how it’s made, but lets say it’s very fortunate for the chicken that it’s already dead.

  • Sarah Makes Chili

Having people make me food is one of my favorite things to do. Sarah made some chili for a few of us last night and it was fantastic. We also watched Poltergeist.

  • Isabel visits

Isabel, my awesome photographer friend, visited from California this past weekend. It became a reunion or sorts as we took over a corner of Silver Diner. It’s always good catching up and being at Silver Diner, the most magical diner in all the land. It’s where traditions continue.

  • Pumpkin Carving and Ghost Children

Cedar Run’s College and Career group did a little pumpkin carving action this past weekend. When we all put our pumpkins outside to take a picture, I accidentally got a pic of 2 demon ghost twins wearing dark skirts and white shirts. I’m not sure what that means, but it can’t be good.

  • Finch

I went and saw Finch this week. Finch was one of those screaming bands from the early 2000’s that my friends and I listened to in high school. They made one of those cd’s I could listen to all the way through and are doing a 10 year anniversary tour just for that CD. At the show, I was reminded of how old I am. I felt like I was at Jesse Pinkman’s house from Breaking Bad.

  • Lindy Married

Last, but certainly not least, my friend Lindy got married! Such an awesome wedding at a killer venue on Georgetown’s waterfront. Plus the food was crazy good. Awesome job by the photographer, too. Check it out.

Will Smith: Making Songs w/Movie Titles

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I went and saw Gravity with a friend the other day and it blew my mind. It looked so crazy that my brain couldn’t understand that it wasn’t actually filmed in space….or was it…  Anyways, that’s pretty cool. Later we started joking that a perfect way to ruin one of the most visually epic movies of all time would be to play “Gravity” by John Mayer in the closing scenes. I love that song, but paring a song and movie or show with the same name is unbelievably corny and embarrassing…unless your Will Smith.

We started thinking about it and Will Smith is the only person in the world who can make a great movie/show and an accompanying song. I’m not saying they aren’t cheesy because they are, but you love them and you know it.

Nobody does this anymore. It’s kind of a 90s thing I guess, however, it was great and will probably never be a thing again.

1. Men in Black

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2. Wild Wild West

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3. Fresh Prince 

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Honorable Mention:

Kenny Loggins – Footloose

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By Kyle Patrick