Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tales From The Past - Part 1

I know what you're thinking - "Ooh. Part 1? As in there might be a part 2? Or even 3?! My excitement cannot be contained, and Dan hasn't even told me what he's writing about! Joy of joys - my life is now complete!"

Man you guys are easy to read.

Over the course of many years of writing - both for college classes/assignments, as well as for pure entertainment on my part (and for those who read it I hope) I've come to the conclusion that I am a storyteller.

Story-tell-er [stawr-ee-tel-er]

1. A person who tells or writes anecdotes.

2. A person who tells more or less trivial falsehoods; fibber.

3. A person who tells stories. Obviously. I mean, come ON man.

4. Dan Cross.

-see related nouns [Daniel Cross], [Amazing Talent], [Man Whatta Cool Guy], and [Oh Man If I Was A Woman I Would Totally Want To Meet Dan Based Solely On His Bizarre Writing Style And Almost-Schizophrenic-Sense-Of-Humor].

So, I tell stories. Stories, that in one way or another, OCCURRED in my life. ...and occur they did. Oh man did they ever.

Here is a story that occurred in my life a few years ago when I was living with my awesome roommate, Lance.

As is usual with my stories, I need a little back-story.

(Cracks knuckles)

Here we go.

Lance and I both worked at LOWE's Home Improvement (TM) at the time, and our shifts usually started at 5:00 AM, so we needed to wake up around 4:00 AM or so to be ready for work.

I am proud to say that I am a raging insomniac, so sleep doesn't like me very much. But she started it.

I like to think that sometime in my past, Sleep walked by me while I was sitting on the couch watching a movie, and she innocently asked, "Hey, Dan? Do these jeans make my incorporeal butt look big?"

-To which I (must have) replied, "...No? Not........entirely?"

She must have taken it personally. She must have sworn incorporeal vengeance on my head. She must have vowed to never let me sleep again.

Sometimes when I'm staring at my ceiling at night, I yell, "I didn't REMEMBER THAT!" just for kicks.

It has yet to work.

So, (really) long story short, sleep hates me. (She did look fat, by the way.)

Back to the story: Lance and I would deprive ourselves of sleep (me more by consequence than choice) and we would do all sorts of crazy stuff late at night - though cooking pasta and watching a random horror movie was top of the list.

There was a Blockbuster about 6 minutes away from our apartment, and we would go there almost every night and peruse the horror section for anything that looked remotely interesting.

It was one fateful night that Lance and I walked into that store, because there was one movie and one movie alone that we were to watch.

We stumbled upon the movie on the rack, and literally began to cry because we were laughing so hard.

The movie is called "The GingerDead Man."

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

Sounds terribly awesome, and/or awesomely terrible, doesn't it?

It stars Gary Busey as The GingerDead Man, and Some-Random-Teenagers who star as the teenagers who get killed.

Now I attribute my insomnia and dulled-senses to renting this movie. Lance? He has no excuse.

As I took it up to the counter, the employee scanned it in and laughed. He swiveled the monitor over to me, and explained that despite being in their store for 7 years, I was the first person - ever - to rent this movie.

That was kind of scary.

Anyway, we took it home, and made some spaghetti. We invited Liz (Lance's girlfriend) over, and we settled in to watch.

Run-On-Sentence-Synopsis Time!

The scene opens on a cafe where people are eating and all of a sudden Gary Busey bursts in and starts shooting the place up and man is he not picky about the whole thing I mean he shoots anyone including a waitress carrying a bunch of drinks which fall to the ground in slow motion.

So Gary continues to push tables over and make a huge mess when a random civilian shoots him in the stomach and he keels over and says - and I am by no means making this up - "I'll get you. I'll have my revenge. Even if it is from beyond the grave."

Who says that?

...Gary Busey, I guess.

Anyway, he dies and the poor lady at the cafe whose boyfriend/husband/brother/passing acquaintance was killed looks towards the sky with tears in her eyes. Camera pans back - Title screen.

So many years later she is working at a bakery and for some reason keeps newspaper clippings of her husband/boyfriend/valet driver's murder all over her work space.

I know that if my girlfriend was brutally murdered in front of my eyes I would do my best to remind myself of that fact as often as I could.


Anyway she looks at the paper clippings and Gary Busey's voice plays in her head - "I'll have my revenge. Even if it is from beyond the grave."

(This blog is getting long so I'll really stream this together.)

So some old lady knocks on the front door and leaves a package which turns out to be gingerbread dough and the lady is Gary Busey's mother or something and she mixed his ashes into the cookie mix which is a horrible thing for a mother to do but I guess if it was his last wish then your hands are sort of tied and then they use the dough for some reason and they guy that works there accidentally cuts his finger on something and drips blood into the cookie dough (ew) and it begins to glow red but they don't notice and continue to bake them which is gross misconduct for a bakery as well as a huge health hazard but nobody cares I guess and so then Gary Busey becomes an evil cookie and tries to murder everyone for some reason that I've yet to figure out.

This needs its own sentence because it is so ridiculous: He is terrorizing these poor people, and he is about 5 inches tall.

I'll repeat that.

He is 5 inches tall and is a cookie.

A cookie.

The whole time the movie was playing I thought that if someone had a dog then this problem would be solved in a few minutes with no murders to speak of. That dog would just eat the hell out of the cookie and problem solved.

...but I'm not as smart at dealing with murderous cookies as I thought.

The guy at the shop eats Gary Busey (I've never written anything like THAT before) and becomes evil because evil-cookie-Gary is possessed and they have to shove the poor guy into the oven and bake him into human-cookies.

Nevermind that Gary was a cookie, so it's already pretty obviously established that being baked in an oven doesn't hurt him. It must be quite pleasant for him actually.


This just gets worse and worse.

Here are some lines from the movie:

Some old lady tries to tickle Cookie-Gary even though he is cackling and holding a butcher's knife, and as he cuts her finger off he cries, "Want a ladyfinger?"

When the guy tackles cookie-Busey and eats him, he stands up with cookie blood all over him (ew) and says proudly "Got Milk?" He then turns into a cookie-Busey-zombie four seconds later.


Finally, there is a scene that Lance and I still cannot understand no matter how many times we watch it.

There is a really annoying blond woman who is a stereotypical diva and full-of-herself, so naturally she dies in a movie like this. The way in which she dies is very puzzling though.

See if you can help Lance and I figure this mystery out:

She walks into a room, complains about how much her hair is getting messed up and how much her makeup is running, and she storms out all flustered.

This is what happens:

She walks into a tripwire that a 5-inch cookie somehow set-up, and literally a second later she has a knife buried in her forehead. A really fake looking knife, for that matter.


  • How did a 5-inch cookie set up a tripwire?
  • How did the tripwire maintain the tension needed to kill someone instantly?
  • How did the knife factor in?
  • How did the knife get any higher than 5-inches from the ground?
  • How did it kill her one second after tripping the wire?
  • Why did Lance and I rent such a horrible movie?
  • Were we really bored as to rent a movie starring Gary Busey called The GingerDead Man?
  • Why, Gary Busey?
  • WHY?
If you can figure this mystery out, please e-mail me at the earliest possible convenience because I am losing sleep over this matter.

(Bad joke.)

The worst part of this whole thing is that after we all watched it, Lance and Liz fell asleep on the couch, and as I was cleaning up our spaghetti my friend Adam showed up at our doorstep, and wanted to see this horrible movie I was telling him about. So we did.

...This may be an achievement for me, or a blemish on my past that I never want to mention again.

However, I can safely say that I am the only person in Lakewood, CO who watched The GingerDead Man.


Until next time.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Luftanza Airlines: How Beverley Hills Chihuahua Wrecked Both My Cognitive And Immune Systems

Wow. What an amazing title for a blog, right?

So full of intrigue - so cloaked in mystery - and with just the right amount of "What in the world is Dan talking about?" to hold your interest.

Here we go again with the backstory:

2 months ago when I left for Europe at the beginning of my outreach, we were scheduled to depart for Madrid, with a transfer both from Los Angeles, and Munich to said destination. Needless to say, it meant a whole lotta flying.

Despite not having any food in my stomach, I felt rather nauseous upon arriving at the airport, which, I've realized, seems to preclude most of my flights. I always get a bit nervous when it comes to flying, and with the idea that I would be flying for nearly an entire day made me want to crawl into a ball and wrench my eyes closed. I did exactly that, but it was when I was actually on the plane. (So it sort of defeated the purpose, I guess.)

Now it must be noted that I had absolutely nothing in my stomach at this time, because I figured that if I was going to throw up, then having SOMETHING to throw up wouldn't be the best idea. I guess I was trying to use logistical psychology on myself in thinking that if I didn't eat, I wouldn't throw up.

(Logistical psychology isn't even a word, by the way. I just thought it sounded cool.)

So there I was - sitting at 36,000 feet and staring at the back of my seat in a sort of haze - a mixture of airsickness and recycled-air overdose. I was scrolling through the movie selections, and I made a horrific discovery.

(Oh, and as a side note - Luftanza is a German airline, which travels internationally. As with most international flights, the back of the seat in front of you has a television screen on it, where you can watch tv shows, movies, and clips of various other programs. Just so you know) where was I? Oh yeah. The horrific discovery. Not sure how that could have slipped my mind.

I came to the horrific realization that my horrific discovery was even more horrific than I originally horrifically thought it to be.


I had seen every single one of the movies on selection, except one.


The name strikes fear into my heart even now.

For you at home - let me find an overview of the story via my good old buddy

"A pampered Beverly Hills chihuahua named Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) who, while on vacation in Mexico with her owner Viv's (Jamie Lee Curtis) niece, Rachel (Piper Perabo), gets lost and must rely on her friends to help her get back home before she is caught by a dognapper who wants to ransom her. In the meantime, Papi (voiced by George Lopez), a male chihuahua who is in love with her is in pursuit of her. Papi's master (Manolo Cardona), a handsome young gardener for Viv, slowly develops a romantic interest in Rachel. Chloe befriends a lonely German Shepherd (voiced by Andy Garcia) who travels with her to protect her from the evil Doberman (voiced by Edward James Olmos) who wants to return her and her diamond collar to the dognapper."

Dude. Seriously.

Madness must have compelled me, because I picked that, and settled-in (or 'settled-in' as much as I could in a cramped airplane) to watch the movie - if only to kill 2 hours off of my 11+ hour flight.

(As the movie began, I also took a Sudafed, a vitamin-C tablet, and a nasal decongestant, because I was suffering through a very bad cold and the recycled air was probably impairing my judgment. But I assure you that what happened next was by no means a chemical reaction, but something entirely more sinister.)

I began to watch.

(Ill try my best to give a point-by-point retelling of this.)

Chloe is a little white dog that has booties on that prances around a super-rich person's palace-like home while Drew Barrymore acts as the voice of the little white dog.

A typical scene: Chloe and several other dogs that are all dressed up and super-pampered looking are sitting on lounge chairs (one little dog to each huge chair, naturally) wearing little tiny doggy sunglasses and completely ignoring the tiny little umbrella drinks next to then that the props department spent such a long time making.

Poor prop guys.

Anyway, the dirty and rascally dog that pines after Chloe shows up and dives into the pool, upsetting the other dog's delicate routine of sitting in one spot for a long time. After much exasperation on the part of the pampered-lot, they storm off in a huff leaving poor lovable rascally dog alone in the pool.


Now Chloe gets lost and rascally-dog runs off to save her while Paris-Hilton-lookalike-lady and scruffy-yet-handsome-owner-of-the-rascally-dog also run off to find Chloe and they somehow get to Mexico and then Chloe meets some Hispanic dogs of whom one is voiced by that one guy who played the servant to Edmond Dantes in the movie "The Count of Monte Cristo" which is super stereotypical but sadly expected in a movie like this and then another big dog meets Chloe who wants to eat her I think because he is a huge black Pit bull who snarls a lot and then they run away while the Paris-Hilton-lookalike and Hunky-rascally-dog-owner start to crush hardcore on each other and embrace that radical and dangerous dream that despite the obstacles that face them that love may blossom even in the bleakest of circumstances and maybe also that opposites attract or something because these two people are seriously like the worst people for each other even though the Manly-gardener-guy kinda reminds me of a guy I used to work at Lowe's with and that job was hard as hell sometimes so this guy can't be all bad but this girl is totally the biggest airhead I've ever seen in a move and despite the fact that the character may have been written for her to be an airhead the girl playing her either does a great job or a terrible job depending on how you look at it................


I suddenly became aware of an incredibly acute desire to vomit.

It was as if my nausea had been waiting patiently outside the door of my consciousness, then somehow became aware of what I was watching and took it upon......itself? football-tackle my stomach. I write weird things sometimes. But stay with me.

I stood from my seat, and walked briskly down the darkened corridor of the plane (they had turned the lights off so that people could attempt to sleep) and headed for the bathroom.

Now Luftanza is such a prestigious airline that they have a stairway down from the passenger level to the bathrooms, with 8 bathrooms on the lower level. Kinda nice, actually.

I stumbled down the stairs and by the grace of God, one of the seven bathrooms was unoccupied. As I walked in and locked the door, my stomach decided that the time for mere protest was over and that action was now required.

I threw up for a few minutes (ew) and flushed the toilet. Now I don't know if you're aware of this, but if you have just thrown up, your stomach muscles are crazy sore, and you feel...actually pretty darn good considering how you felt a few minutes prior. This at least was my experience.

I felt so good in fact, that I closed the lid of the toilet, and rested my head upon it for a few seconds, relishing in the newfound comfort of not wanting to puke.

An hour later, I woke up.

Three thoughts went in my head at the same time:

1. I just slept in a cramped airplane bathroom.
2. That was a really bad movie.
3. This is going to make an awesome story.

All this happened, and I hadn't even gotten to Europe yet.

More stories to come, friends.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Car-lag + bullet train-lag + jet-lag = Severe loss of coordination

Hi everyone! Its good to be back in The Good Ole' United States of America (TM) !

Also, I am very super-tired. I have jet and it fly for 27 hours. I make talk with broken english when having jetlag. We drive much time.

(Also I felt like typing like this so that the headache you get from trying to figure out what I'm saying will make you sleepy enough to sympathize with me.)

Did it work?

Ok then.

So - I'm back in Kona! Hooray!

The trip back was very interesting to say the least, and I honestly feel a lot like James Bond or Jason Bourne because I was in 5 countries in a week. (Starting in Switzerland, we drove back through France to Spain, then hopped on a flight to Frankfurt in Germany, then connected to another flight back to the US.
So: Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, US. in less than 5 days.

Awesome. Tiringly awesome.

It was definitely a long trip in many ways - we drove from Lausanne in Switzerland to Vezenobres in France (Roughly a 7 hour trip), then we rested for the night. From there, we drove down into Barcelona and met up with the team there, and rested again. ( 5 hour drive). We then took a bullet train from Barcelona to Madrid (4 hours) then slept at the Madrid airport in order to catch our 6 am flight. We flew from Madrid to Frankfurt (3 hours), then from Frankfurt to San Francisco (11 hours - ugh). Then we flew from SFO to Kona (6 hours), and collapsed under the weight of both our exhaustion, and our folly of ignoring our exhaustion.

So to summarize:

I drove a lot and flew a lot. A whole lot.

But I have chocolate. Oh, what chocolate do I have.

The chocolate is coming, dear friends - it is coming.

Hold fast, for the day will soon come when you can totally eat some of this Swiss chocolate that I got in Switzerland.

It is written, and so it shall be.

Now to bed for making not sleepy anymore.

Love you guys


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Typing on a European Keyboard

Wooooo Boy. It has been a while since Ive updated this blog of mine - simply because Ive been bouncing around Europe at an exponential rate. While Ive been travelling, I have encountered one major problem: The keyboards.

The keyboards here are entirely different from what I have used all of my life, and make typing a letter such as this one relatively difficult.

Ok. let me try to type normally, and Ill see what the damage is. Ready?

This is ,e typing on q stqndqrd keyboqrd; one thqt hqs qll of the keys in the right plqces qnd not scqttered qround like so,eone smqshed the keyboqrd zith q hq,,er qnd then put it bqck together zith mqsking tqpe qnd glue;

Also, look at this: §

Wow. § is a cool symbol. So is this one: ç - and this one: µ

I dont even know what this one is: ø

Anyway, back to the blog.

Despite my extremely limited internet access here in Spain and France, I am having a great time. I have learned so much about myself and God its crazy. In fact, I plan to sit in my room and zone out for a month or two when I return to let everything sink in.

And oh boy, is there a lot that has happened. Lots to sink in.

I cant possibly write all that has happened, and it just so happens that I am low on time, so this blog will be relatively short. I just wanted to update you all on my situation, and to tell you that I cant wait to see all of you again. I could talk your ears off about Europe, God, and tiny dogs. Actually, I will talk your ears off when I get back, if you will let me.

I know all about Crepes and Chocolat and nummy yum-yums like that.

I will try my best to bring some of those yum-yums back with me, though they must survive being in the presence of two little boys, 21 starving YWAMmers, and several flights before they reach you.

Have faith - I believe that French Chocolat should be spread amongst the masses - or more specifically, my friends.

Also, be prepared to look at several thousand pictures when I return. Literally.

(Im at 2000 and counting)

I love you all, and I will see you in the earliest days of June!

Au Revoir!

§ ç à µ ù £ ø!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Seeing The Truth

As a nice change from my previous blog posting regarding lies of the church, I thought it might be more optimistic (let alone more positive in general) to highlight the things that I've learned here.

These are ideas/concepts that, while in no particular order, have been extremely impactful during my time here. These have changed the way that I view both God and myself.

Feel free to disagree, and also feel free to test it - we are told here that whenever we recieve a word or a prophecy or anything of that nature, to test it against The Word. The Bible is the only infallible accordance of God - so if the word rings true in your own heart as well as the hearts of those around you, and the teachings are Biblical, then it is truth.

How that truth impacts your life, I leave to you.

(I figured that I would use bullet points for this blog entry whynot. Hooray for having page-formatting skills! Thanks, college!)
  • When it comes to spiritual warfare, God and the devil are not equal in power. In fact, they are not even close in power.

-This was an atom bomb in my head when I first heard this - I had always figured that the enemy's army was mighty, but The Lord's army was also mighty. Mightier, actually. Not by much, but mighty all the same. What a horrible lie. (Oops - I'm back into lies again. All well - I'm just sort of going with the flow here). I realized that the enemy has only as much power as we give him - and far too often people (myself included) will gasp and tremble at the possibilities of what he could do to us. We focus on the 'power' of the enemy, and not the power of Jesus Christ. Worried about the economy? God does not have financial problems. Keep your eyes on Him and not on CNN, and your heart will be at rest. He guards the lives of His faithful.

  • Condemnation vs. Conviction

The enemy condemns - Our Father convicts.

Conviction: "What you did was wrong" - Specific - desire for change

Condemnation: "YOU are wrong" - Generalized - directed at self, not action

Here is a second (and perhaps even more mind-blowing definition):

Conviction: "You are a son/daughter of The King. You are too awesome to be acting this way. Why deny yourself your inheritance?"

Condemnation: Action = Identity - "I lied. I am a liar." "I stole. I am a thief." "I sinned - I am a sinner."

In regards to this last definition of condemnation, one of my speakers here told us that the saying "I am a sinner saved by grace" is the biggest LIE in Christianity.

He believes that we WERE sinners - we are now saints. We drowned our old selves (those that were slaves to sin) when we were baptised. We were given a new spirit, and new flesh. Now, sin is no longer in our nature. We can sin, sure. But we must choose it. We cannot sin accidentally.

He said "If we believe ourselves to be sinners, we will sin by faith."

...does your brain hurt yet?

  • We should not be comfort vampires to Makka Buns using a vacuum cleaner

OK Wow. This one takes some explanation.

One of our speakers (and my personal favorite actually) is named Steve Ahern, and he is from Australia. He told us that in Australia, they have an absolutely amazing dessert called a Makka Bun. He described it as 'the person who eats it ascends out of their mortal body, and their soul travels to the greater realms of Heaven'. Sounds pretty delicious.

Anyway, he told us that everyone encounters a Makka Bun every once in a while. These, he says, are the absolutely beautiful men and women that everyone just wants to be around. (Here in YWAM, there are Makka Buns everywhere, by the way. Just FYI for those who wanted to know.) He then spoke about how people sometimes gravitate towards hanging out with these Makka Buns to feel better about themselves. In fact, many people talk and flirt with these Makka Buns with absolutely no intention of actually starting a relationship with them. They draw comfort from hanging out with beautiful people.

He told us how he used to (metaphorically) take his vacuum cleaner, and stick it in the bellybutton of a Makka Bun (stay with me) when his comfort level was very low. He would look at her and smile and act very slightly flirtatious, when all he wanted from her was comfort. It was all take and no give.

(This one made me wince because I thought of how I would do that exact thing every once in a while - feel free to wince. It's OK - no one can see you. Well, no one who would judge you anyway.)

...if your brain doesn't hurt by this point, you have a very strong constitution.

  • You can talk to God. Not in a vague, metaphysical sense - Not in a lucid, New Age sense - You can have a conversation with God. In real time. As in talking, and listening for His answer.

Mindblowing, huh? Before I went to this DTS, I would always ask God for help, in a very generalized sense. "God, please let me do well on this test." "God, please let my brother be alright." "God, please let me win the lottery."

I was talking AT Him, not TO Him.

And all I did was ask. Try praying to God for more than 5 minutes without asking Him for something. It is insanely hard for me to do. He loves to bless us with things, but it is pretty rediculous when you stop and think about it.

Ok. Onto 'How To Hear The Voice of God"

How to begin, then?

First, find a background noise of some kind - maybe its birds chirping outside, maybe its the sound of your furnace as you sit inside, maybe its a fan you have on - anything.

Now, close your eyes. Listen for this noise.

...take 2 minutes and do it. Really. It's fun, I promise. Relax, and take 2 minutes to do it.

... can blame me if your boss walks by and sees you with your eyes closed. But please, try it.


...really. Do it.



How did you know it was the fan/furnace/birds/etc?

Because you could recognize it. It is the same thing with hearing God's voice. It is as easy as listening to the birds.

Now the most difficult thing about hearing God's voice is distinguishing it from your own voice in your head.

I learned that God largely speaks to us through our personalities, so if you are very visual, He may give you a picture instead of words.

For me personally, I have heard God's voice here, but it is not an audible voice. God, I've realized, doesn't like to boast or show-off.

Now I am fairly closeminded to things like this (I'm getting better) but to be honest, I would LOVE it if The Archangel Gabriel would appear in a swirling tempest of clouds and flame above my head, and descend in a pillar of light that is so bright that it burns a symbol of The Cross into the ground. If Gabriel could then appear out of the blinding light and walk towards me, each footstep cracking the ground and shaking the very foundations of the earth until finally he lays a gauntleted hand on my shoulder, and with a voice that speaks volumes to my tortured and thirsty soul, say in a booming cadence "Daniel - Our Mighty Father In Heaven Wishes You To Depart For Northern California At The Conclusion Of This DTS Wherein You Will Begin The Next Step Of Your Spiritual Journey" and then suddenly disappear in an eruption of rumbling and holy fire, leaving only the image of the holy Cross seared into the pavement under my feet, that would be great.

I would probably get the message if that happened.

Unfortunately, God doesn't work that way. (I, by the way, have a very active imagination. Obviously.)

Back to what I was saying - for me, God speaks in thoughts and ideas, that quite honestly, would be super easy to confuse for my own. I keep waiting to hear an actualy voice speak in my head, but God doesn't speak to me that way. He may for you - He speaks differently to everyone.

An awesome example of God speaking to me through thoughts/ideas was during the first few weeks of school. One morning, we all wrote everything that we felt was keeping us from God on a piece of paper - everything that we wanted to repent for, basically. With my filled page (and I do mean FILLED) we were to take it and burn it before The Cross so that our sins would die.

I walked up front, laid my paper in the flames, and watched intently as the pages crumpled and burned away. I turned to go back to my seat, and on the way back, I saw Debbie, an older woman who was standing alone with her head down. I had a flicker - an instantaneous idea to give her a hug, so I did. I thought of something, and decided to do it, spur of the moment. Basic, right?

As I put my arms around her and gave her a little hug, she let out a big sob and wrapped her arms around me tightly, burying her face in my chest. She was crying so hard that she was shaking. After a few minutes time, she pulled her head back and began to whisper to me through her tears. She told me how her son who was roughly my age had abandoned her, and she felt so alone in her life. She told me about how she had hurt her boy by not supporting him, and she was desperate to see him again.

She also told me that she had been praying with all her heart that she might hold her son again - that she was crying out to God for compassion and affection. When I hugged her, she told me I felt like her son, and she just broke down. She began thanking God through whispered tears, and she said "God really does love me."

...All this happened because I got an 'idea".

Needless to say, I have begun to follow these 'ideas' as best I can (and within reason, obviously). Especially in the area of tithing, I have begun to pay close attention. Even last night, actually, I had a small sort of idea to give all the money in my wallet to help students who are struggling to pay for their DTS, and I did. Sure it was only $4.00, but I thought that God can do better things with $4.00 than I can.

See, I could have sat in my chair when I had the idea, and I could have argued. I could have ..."stated the fact that I needed cash in order to do my laundry and without cash I would need to withdraw money from the ATM and the ATM has a fee that I would have to pay and having cash on hand is always useful and $4.00 isn't all that much and I really need this cash in order to have an easier time here"...I could have doubted - "Was that really God? Or was that the enemy? What if it was just my own idea? If it is my own idea, then does that mean I should follow through with it? Or would that be just self-serving? Is it still self-serving if I am donating something? Does God want me to be broke? Why would God want me to have to take money out of the ATM and pay the fee so that I can do laundry? Why would He ask me to give if He knows that I need this cash to do my laundry?"

...the opportunity would be lost by that point.

I am beginning to trust. Trust that it was God and just do it.

(Besides, would the enemy really want me donating money to a church?)

Wow I think too much.


Here is a way to talk to God. Ash Him these questions, and don't worry if you don't hear anything. Don't become frustrated - did you ride your bike perfectly the very first time you tried? Talking to God is a skill, and like everything else, it takes practice.

Try asking Him these questions:

"Jesus, what do You think about me?"

"What do You and I have in common?"

"What game would You like to play with me, and why?"

...bringing a pad of paper always helps, I've found. God speaks to me in massive amounts of words. As I said, He knows my personality.

Most importantly, if you do hear something, TEST IT.

Donna Jordan, our teacher, told us that many people have come to her saying that God told them that cheating on their spouse was permissable. Some have even said that God told them that they could divorce.

Here's how to test the word/picture/whatever it may be that you recieve:

1.Does it go according to God's Word? - Check The Bible - research it and see if it rings true from The Word.

2.Does it glorify Jesus and bring you closer to God? - If the message was condemning, how does that bring you closer to God?

3.Does it witness to your spirit? - Does it resonate with you? Does it speak to something in your heart?

4.Does it witness to the spirit of others? - Same as #3 but with outside imput - does it speak to othes as truth?

Here are some last tips: Most likely, God will speak in first person - "I adore you, I love you" etc. For me, God also stops talking quite suddenly when I argue in my head. I just write it down, then look at it later.

Finally and perhaps most importantly? Relax.

God wants to talk to you multitudes more than you want to listen to Him.

God desires you multitudes more than you desire Him.

Also, have fun.

You are talking to your Abba - He who delights in everything you are, and can't wait to speak of His love for you.

Crawl up into His lap, and listen.

...If your brain doesn't hurt are a stronger person than I.

Until next time - there's more to come!

I Love you guys


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Unknown

I apologize for the long delay between these blog postings - I have been quite busy finding myself in God, and I've realized that in comparison my life has sort of fell to the wayside. In a strange sort of sense, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Also, I feel that I should add that every single person and their mother should attend a DTS. (I'm looking at you, Mom and Dad).

Moreso than anything else, it has felt as if my spiritual walk before YWAM was a languid sort of pace, with the destination a vague ending with very unsubstantial outcomes. Here in YWAM however, my walk with God seems entirely accelerated - to an extend that I am still attempting to grasp.

In essence, YWAM has been the shock to my heart that I've always wanted. God has gone from a neat idea and pursuit to my reason for living.

The things I've learned here are absolutely amazing - so much so that I think I will need a month or so of sitting on a chair staring at nothing, just processing all of it - letting it sink in.

Walking into the unknown is always a dangerous proposition, but it is only through such hardship that we are shaped into who God wants us to be.

Before I came to YWAM, I knew things.

I knew that I was a particular sort of Christian - one that never raised his hands while worshiping, Never spoke in tongues, and NEVER experienced being 'slain in The Spirit'.

I knew that those people were very strange and almost psychotic - and that a certain level of insanity was required to participate in such activities.

I knew that my particular flavor of Faith was a quiter sort - one that was not loud and in-your-face, but a quiet sort of dignity that - quite honestly - afforded me isolation.

It fit my needs perfectly.

God, in His wonderful Glory, showed me that I didn't know who I was.

"If you aint who you is, than you is who you aint." - Quoted from Brennan Manning

Now I feel as if I have to prepare some of you for what you are about to read - I warn you that a emotion and/or feeling will emerge that will shroud you - immerse you in itself. I know what that feeling is - it is your skepticism, rearing its ugly head.

I was the most skeptical person imaginable. Not only did I scoff at the ideas of spiritual warfare and/or dwellings in The Spirit, but I laughed at the idea that God loved me. I knew that He didn't love me - but then again, I didn't know much.

So I challenge you to keep an open mind. Walking into the unknown is never easy. Stare fear in the face until it blinks first.

(I've decided to put my thoughts in italics so that you might get a sense of how my mind operated.)


I was slain in The Spirit. Not once, but twice. Two seperate occasions with different results, but the same realization - that The Holy Spirit is real and He is strong indeed.

Now, I am the kind of person that has to take information and roll it around in my head - deconstructing it piece by piece, examining each facet to the minutest of detail, and then deciding to confirm to act upon my understanding. That's just the way God made me.

I'm just explaining this because I desperately tried to recall what happened and what I felt when The Spirit overcame me. Also, being a man who is largely lead by my mind, I feel the need to explain things in a very rational way, despite the fact that what happened wasn't rational at all.

God is not rational, because He doesn't operate within the confines of our human understanding.

Ok. Here we go.

Roughly two weeks ago, I was attending a lecture with a guest speaker who - we were told - specialized in The Holy Spirit and having people being swept up in Him. He told us that in a normal week, he sees roughly thirty people on the floor, either sobbing, laughing uncontrollably, or in a state of absolutely serenity and peace. But everyone is on the floor. All the time.

(At the time, I felt that for some reason, I was a part of some grand scheme - some great false lie, that it was almost cultish and animal-like to experience such things. I figured that there was no rationality to any of this - and that small voice of doubt and fear surfaced and began to whisper to me. What if none of this was true? What if the entire world was living a lie?)

He asked us to close our eyes and pray for The Holy Spirit to enter in and move through us. I did so, and clasped my hands together at my waist, my palms turned upwards. I began to pray for The Holy Spirit to come, despite the fact that I honestly didn't believe that it would do anything.

(I thought that the whole 'being knocked out by God' happened to insane people and people who liked to show off in front of others. 'Look at me - look at how awesomely spiritual I am - I'm on the floor!' ...Showoff.)

After a few minutes of keeping my eyes closed and repeating a mantra-sort of prayer, I began to feel something - like my heart was swelling with warmth. More so than anything else, my heart felt - full. Like it had been empty before and was now filled for the first time ever. It felt wonderful. My breathing became somewhat restricted, honestly because I felt that my heart was too full for me to take in a full breath.

('This doesn't make any sense' I thought. 'I'm just giving in to a hive-mind method of thinking - everyone here believes that something is happening and I too have become swept up in the emotion of these people and so altered my emotions to align with theirs - this isn't happening, my mind is causing this to happen. I'm doing this to myself - this is false!')

The feelings continued, and my heart was beginning to beat faster and faster. I had been standing for so long that my knees and my calves hurt, so I knelt down and kept my eyes closed. I was praying harder now, ignoring my mind's cries for rationality. My heart felt so full that rationality was suddenly quite unimportant. Through my intense praying, I was dimly aware that my hands were shaking - quivering slightly while I held them out. It was not from fatigue or a physical thing or anything of the sort - I just shook, and I can't explain why.

The speaker said "It is easy to speak in tongues - just speak what you want to speak until you run out of things to say, then just let your mouth move and speak out whatever you say. It doesn't have to make sense - in fact, it won't."

I was praying "Come Lord Jesus, enter in Holy Spirit, Come Lord Jesus, enter Holy Spirit...Jesus....yes Lord....

And then?

Something came out of my mouth. It didn't make any sense but my lips were moving and I was speaking something and it was gibberish. It didn't make any sense. (Sensing a theme here?)

I thought in my mind (This is rediculous. I'm not making any sense. What is that? Arabic? It sounds like a mix between ten or twelve languages. I'm just taking a breath and expelling sound from my mouth while moving my tongue and lips. Is that speaking in tongues, or just stupidity? THIS DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!)

Yes it did not make any sense. But for some strange reason, I didn't care. My mind did, but my heart didn't.

It was then that I heard raucous laughter - like someone had heard the funniest joke that has ever been told - gut-wrenching, shaking, tears in the eyes, rolling on the floor laughter. The kind that makes you sore after it happens.

Our speaker said "If anyone would like to join these two women, come up front and I will help you to experience the Joy of The Lord."

I opened my eyes to see two girls from my class crying laughing on the floor, hugging each other and holding their stomachs from the laughter. I stood, and walked right in front of our speaker. He fixed his eyes on me.

(This isn't going to work.)

I closed my eyes, and he talked of anointing me with The Spirit, and he touched my forehead gently, then he touched my closed eyelids. All the while he was gently saying a prayer of anointing and grace, asking The Holy Spirit to enter me. I began to sway slightly, and I felt myself lean back into someone who caught me. I felt several hands grab me and lay me gently onto the ground, with hands guiding my head softly to the floor. There I lay.

(I knew it. Nothing. It didn't work. Nothing happened. My vaunted intellect won out again. I....)

....It was then that I lost it.

It hit me and I began to laugh. And laugh hard.

I wasn't laughing at anything in particular, but I was laughing because every part of myself wanted to - I was experiencing such joy that every sense or emotion turned to laughter - joyous laughter.

All the while, my mind was desperately grasping at air, struggling to rationalize. I became vaguely aware of the fact that I probably looked like an idiot, laughing and crying on the floor in front of 70 people that I hardly knew, but I didn't care.

For the first time in my life, my heart's cry was louder than that of my head.

My stomach began to hurt because of how much I was laughing, and I grasped my sides in an attempt to slow the pangs. But I kept laughing.

I realize that my experience was entirely irrational - that no such experiences coincide with logic or reason, but it happened to me. I can testify to that.

I, Daniel Cross, highest amongst the skeptics and doubters, master of unbelief and deconstruction, prince of vaunted intellect and logical thinking - was smacked in the face with an entirely unexplainable experience. In fact, this description is just about the best way I can figure to translate what happened to me.

Illogical? Absolutely.

Awesome? Extremely.

I laughed extremely hard for roughly 15 minutes straight, and then I stopped. The feeling left me, but my mood had shifted dramatically. I stood, and began to sway.

(Side note - I have never been drunk in my life, but this feeling was incredibly similar to what I had heard of it.)

I felt lightheaded, and rather hard to focus on specific things. I was still wracked with the occasional fit of laughing, and I had to steady myself as I walked.

"He is drunk in The Spirit!" someone said with laughter in their voice. I grinned and slowly sat myself in a chair to recollect my thoughts.

(Bizarre, I thought. That made no sense! What just happened to me? Did I physically manifest what my physical body longed for? Did I just transcend the physical plane and achieve a sort of nirvana within myself to cause this to happen? Or....?

A shiver went up my spine.

(...what if this is actually true? What if God loves me so much that He couldn't wait to give me such a gift? What if these are not lies?)

My mind boggled, and reeled, and did all sorts of other verbs that I can't remember right now. Needless to say, my mind was officially and in every capacity - blown.

I finally found a way to turn my brain off - it was God.

Go God.

The second instance of being 'Slain in The Spirit' occured just two nights ago in the pavillion of this campus. roughly a dozen people had gathered around Lucas, one of our classmates who was haunted by manifestations of anger - sudden outbursts of anger that he couldn't describe or explain. We gathered around him, and laid our hands on him. We began to pray, some speaking out, some praying silently, some speaking in tongues. (Which by that time was no longer a strange thing to witness for me.)

After about ten minutes of praying for Lucas, he convulsed, and fell backwards into another classmate's arms. We gathered him up and laid him on the ground, where he lay silently and peacefully. When he regained himself, he told us that he felt a spirit or something being torn from his chest, and his anger was gone. He felt wonderful, and the spirit had been removed. (Even now when I talk to him, he tells me that he does not have outbursts anymore. He has been healed.)

After he sat up from the floor, he pointed to me. "Now, it's your turn, Dan," he said.

The group gathered around me, and laid their hands on me. I bowed my head and closed my eyes, holding my hands upward in front of me. They began to pray.

In the deep places of the darkness behind my eyes, I prayed and asked God to enter, for Him to shake me. I asked Him to break me and my thoughts of Him.

After a few minutes of praying, I began to feel a strange thing - my arms began to tingle ever so slightly. A warm prickly sort of feeling was spreading through my arms - moving from my shoulders and down to my wrists. It was then that my arms began to get numb - like it was difficult to move them. The same feeling spread to my head, where my cheeks were touched by the same warm tingling, as was the top of my head.

I was aware that my legs hurt from standing for so long, but I was so immersed in The Spirit that my mind didn't hold as much sway as it usually did. (Thank God.)

As the tingling began to spread down to my torso, I felt my legs give out. I leaned forward into Ben's chest, where he and others helped me to the floor, as I did a few weeks before.

The reaction this time was entirely different - my entire body was tingling and warm, and strangely enough - my hands curled up and I could not move them to save my life. I lay there on the floor with these waves of warm tingling sensations washing over me, and I just experienced it.

I realize now that my mind was blank. Absolutely blank. That never happens to me. NEVER.
I always have a hundred thousand thoughts richocheting around in my skull at all times - even when I try to sleep. My mind never relaxes. Never.

Here, God proved me wrong again. I had been seeking serenity within myself, by myself. No wonder it never worked.

After a while, my hands relaxed and the tingling sensation left me. I lay on the floor, infinitely more relaxed than I have ever been in my entire life. Concrete had never felt so comfortable.

As I lay on the floor, Ben came and sat next to me. He began to softly sing to me, singing of God's love for me, and thanking Jesus for His gift. He laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed for it, and then laid his hand on my forehead and profoundly thanked God for me.

When I arose several minutes later, I embodied languidity. (If that isn't a word, I just invented it.) I felt wholeheartedly relaxed, and evn my speech was slow and deliberate. All of my actions were drawn out, and I could not keep a smile off of my face.

Basically, I felt stoned - stoned with The Spirit, if such a thing exists.

So - I've never been drunk or stoned, but I have been in The Holy Spirit. No side effects, just life-changing revelation.

I walked very slowly back to my room (lazily flopping my arms at my sides and laughing at how rediculous I must have looked. Again though, I didn't care.) I took my contacts out and sat on my bed. I thanked God for His wonderful nature, and I fell back and slept.

I still can't describe exactly what happened, but I know that it was The Holy Spirit moving through me in a strong way.

Feel free to comment and/or ask questions regarding my experiences. Again, I was the biggest skeptic with things of this nature before I actually experienced them. Throw your questions at me and I'll do my best to answer them.

Thanks for reading my longest blog yet. I love all you guys like crazy and I can't wait to share all that I've learned here.

Until next time.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Quick question: When I say the words 'Spiritual Warfare', what comes to mind?

Is it perhaps the stereotypical 'angel on one shoulder and devil on the other' scenario?
Is that angel perhaps dressed in a flowing 'pure-as-driven-snow' white robe?
Is he/she/it holding a small golden harp, strumming heavenly melodies at random?
Is there a halo around said angel's head?
Does he/she/it have wings that arc gracefully from the shoulders, and stretch out towards the mortal plane below?

And this 'devil' character.
Does it (I'm not going to justify gender in this case) have a pale and sickly red skin pigment?
Does this devil have a pointy tail that for some reason is shaped like an arrowhead?
Is this devil swinging its tail around in circles, languid and easy-going?
Does this particular devil have a pitchfork with which to poke sensitive areas of an unknowing human victim?
Does this devil have a particularly wicked grin plastered on his smug little face?

The Argument

So these two emissaries of the mighty forces of Heaven and Hell wage war on your shoulders, shouting good and bad messages at each other that ricochet around in your consciousness.

"Smoke and do drugs! Sleep around!"
says the little devil.

"No! Tithe and pray! Give blood and go to church!" says the little angel.

What a cute little illustration of warfare.

...If only it were that harmless.

The Lord has dramatically changed my views of this particular subject -I once saw cute little cartoon versions of angels and devils pulling at a dumbfounded human's ears in a contest to see who could scream the loudest.

Now I see that we are quite literally under attack from an enemy that wants us to die to the inheritance that God has made for us. The enemy will try anything and everything to keep us from God.

Past sins are not beyond the enemy's capacity of use, and it is only the things that hurt us the most that he will try to leverage against us.

My past struggle with pornography is a fine example. (Well, perhaps the word 'fine' doesn't apply here, but hear me out).

I've already told of how my arrival here marked a spiritual downfall for me - a major crisis of faith that crumbled the ground beneath me. I was left with nothing but God - which was the safest place that I could have been.

When I was swept up in my sorrow however, I took subconscious notes that I am only now coming to recognize as important. As I walked off into the darkness behind the Ohana Court that first night to hide myself, I felt broken. Through my tears, I crouched behind a rock and shook from the sobs that were wracking my body.

...Here is where it happened. When I was in my greatest moment of weakness and sorrow, the enemy sought to sink its blade even deeper into my wound.

I remember it clear as day - I looked up at the night sky through my tears, and I glanced around for fear of others seeing me. It was then that my eye caught a window that had it shades open in the building behind me.

Behind the window, I saw a woman slowly undressing, unaware that anyone lay in the darkness of the building beneath her room. She had her shirt off, and I saw her hands reaching around to unfasten her bra.

Oh how the enemy must have laughed at my screams. It hurt so badly to see such a thing when my defenses lay in pieces before me.

I wrenched my head away and cursed my fate, and pounded the pavement with my fist until my knuckles bled.

The orchestration of this event however, was not from God. It was the enemy striking at me, tempting me even when I was at my worst.

How like him. Vile to the very end.

I had resisted. Barely. But that event served to bring The War to my attention.

I had received a communicae from The Heavenly Host in a most unusual way.

And I enlisted.


Do you know that you have an angel following you around? Right now?

Depending on how badly your life my be going, you may have more than one.

Do you know that God sends out legions of angels to protect those who come under attack from the enemy?

One of the greatest truths that I've learned here is that no matter how badly we are tempted, God always gives us a way out. Always.

The enemy cannot force us to do anything. He can only tempt us into actions.

I have this beautiful picture in my head of angels following me around. I see myself in a scenario such as the one I described above - one in which I am tempted.

I see them hovering above me, fiery eyes intently watching me, studying my face.

I see myself being tempted, and they collectively hold their breaths.

I see myself resist. And they burst into cheering. Raucous cheering.

Donna Jordan, one of the leaders of our DTS, tells us that she has a friend who is gifted with visions, and she tells Donna that she can see angels. Visually see manifestations of them.

She has told Donna many times that she sees four angels guarding her wherever she goes. Three flanking her from behind, and one in front of her, protecting her path.
Securing the way before she walks it.

In my mind, I see my angel as a tall sentinel - hooded head bowed, and great mighty wings folded in reverence. I see him carrying a great sword, tall and wide. His fiery eyes are always fixed on me. He is ever-vigilant, gazing at my face with compassion and unsurpassed loyalty to his King.

...Sorta makes the whole 'angel and devil' scenario more real, doesn't it?

It humbles me to think that God loves me so much as to protect me with His personal guard - especially when I am so unworthy of His love. Especially when my very nature is to sin.

What a great and mighty Father we serve.



Monday, January 26, 2009

Just Who Do I Think I Am?

Oh, man - the nerve of me.

Such pompous rigidity is absolutely uncalled for in any circumstance - let alone those of a spiritual nature. Listen, me: I have absolutely no right to demand such things of God.

Just who do I think I am, me... - God?

Look me: I ask entirely too much of God and I do very little in response to what He has already given me.

The very nerve of me is astounding.


This is the thought process that I have been graced with recently, and despite playing up the drama and the absurdity of the whole thing (I don't actually talk to myself that way, unfortunately) - it is a gift from God.

God in all His majesty and grace has lovingly showed me that I'm not as cool as I thought I was.

Let me explain.

During this DTS, I was presented with the concept that God speaks to individuals according to their personalities - such as presenting an artist with a vivid mental picture, or making a word of scripture jump out at a astute librarian.

I have found that God speaks to me through quiet revelation and insight - usually in the form of thoughts and ideas that I can easily mistake as my own.

Through His grace, I have been given divine insight regarding immensely important realities, and I like to believe that His method of delivering them quietly and subtly was to prevent my head from exploding.

He cares for me that way.

Before my time here, I fell easily into negative self-talk, and even more easily mistook it for either my own thoughts, or thoughts from God. It was just a fact of life - I would think negative things, but try to shrug them off - assuming them to be unimportant.

Little did I know that I was being attacked. The enemy had me in his sights, and I was being mauled.

I don't know when or how I began to believe, but I know now that it is the enemy - all of it.

Such an incredible milestone of spirituality - the belief and realization of actual soul-rending spiritual warfare - was given to me as a passing thought, and somehow incorporated into my mentality.

Go God.

I have also been confronted with a situation that nearly every Christian who has ever lived has dealt with (a broad generalization to be sure, but stay with me) - but one that is very plain and simple when brought into light.

I want God to shower me with His blessings and grace, I want to bask in the knowledge of Him, I want to truly know Him in my heart and mind and to ignite His fire within me.......

....and I want it right now.


"Okay God I'm fasting and praying extra hard today - I've written out all my sins and confessed them - so where is the blinding light that obliterates me into a thousand pieces? Where is the revelation that would cause my heart to beat so fast that it would tear out of my chest and the glory of Heaven would pour out of me?

....Come ON God - I'm getting impatient."

Woof. That's rough.

I'm impatient. I want it all, and I want it right now.

Patience is a virtue, but not really because I'm more important than some stupid old law and I want God to be a circus dog - barking and spinning when I snap my fingers.

God really slapped me in the face with that one. (A kind, gentle, ever-loving father slap, but a slap nonetheless).

He has shown me that I need to relax.

I had forgotten what that word meant.

I was here to be super-Christian - to live an accelerated life that would bring knowledge and grace and Love unbound - and to make up for lost time, basically.

This is the mantra that I tell myself in the morning - it helps to keep me level:

"God is God. I'm not.
Believe. Have faith.
Trust. Rest.
I am safe under His wings.
I have no reason to fear.
I am loved by my Abba."

...simple as that.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Unravelling The Lies

Over the past few weeks, our study of both Christianity and God has lead us to the topic of hearing His voice - a relatively complicated topic with a strangely simple answer.

Before my time here, I believed certain 'untruths' that permeated the Christian church - Here are some of the lies I believed before attending this DTS:
  1. Christianity is very serious business - and by extension, laughter and joy (while tolerable) remains solely that - tolerable.
  2. In addition to fun and games being only tolerable, God is only honored and content with us when we are praying/fasting/worshiping/attending church, etc.
  3. God's love - while all-encompassing - is strangely conditional in different ways. If I pray more, or believe more, or have more faith, or fast, or worship harder - then I would please God and He would bless me - either through knowledge of Him, or other blessings.
  4. It is only through extreme moments of emotion (such as weeping or sensing a swelling in your heart or intense joy) that God speaks. If I don't weep or fall to my knees or feel absolutely immersed in His spirit, it must be unimportant, or not from God.
  5. Akin to #4, God moves only through how I feel. If I feel wonderful and alive, then God has blessed me. If I feel weak and in pain, then God has withheld His blessings.
  6. I need to feel an emotional connection to a spiritual activity in order to do it. If I don't receive any positive emotions from worship, then I don't need to do it. My faith is based on my emotions.
  7. God can be spoken to, but only in a vague metaphysical sense, not a direct one-on-one sense.
  8. There is a proper and correct way to pray.
  9. When we pray, we must address God with terms such as 'Heavenly Father', 'Lord', 'Jesus', or 'Christ'.
  10. We must pray to God as a servant speaks to his master.
  11. God only listens to us when we pray to Him.
  12. It is important to look like a Christian, especially in church.
  13. The only kind of jewelry we can wear has to be adorned with a cross or scripture or spiritual symbol.
  14. We have to achieve certain conditions or be at a certain level of maturity in our faith for God to want to speak to us.
  15. God stops loving us when we sin.
  16. God is too grandiose and mighty to want to listen to you.
  17. You must have a cross hanging from your rear-view mirror in your car if you are a Believer.
  18. To pray, you must close your eyes and fold your hands. Also, kneeling helps.
  19. You are unimportant in God's eyes.
  20. Those who worship with their hands in the air and who sing at the top of their lungs are better Christians than those who sit and listen.
  21. People who speak in tongues and lift their hands and weep when they talk to God are blessed and anointed - a chosen few who experience God in ways that 'normal' people can never achieve or understand.
  22. The Bible is just a book.
  23. Making others know that you are a Christian is more important than actually being one.
  24. Jesus does not like to dance or enjoy Himself. Again, Christianity is very serious stuff.
  25. God does not like what you like - He only likes holy and biblical things. He does not like heavy metal, comedians, or skateboarding. If it isn't holy, it is defiling God when you do it.
  26. As Christians, we have to listen only to worship music. We have to read only Christian authors, and we can only see Christian movies. Anything not readily Christian-based is a sin and defiles God.
  27. You can only worship God by attending church and singing worship songs in a congregation. He does not approve of any other type of worship.
  28. God does not like tattoos.
  29. God is very prudish - He thinks sex is disgusting.
  30. You must fast if you want to hear God's voice.
  31. Only ministers and priests and pastors and clergy can talk to God directly.
  32. Christians are not allowed to swear - to do so defiles God.
  33. God does not want you to be physically attracted to the opposite gender - physical attraction is a sin.
  34. Every Christian must have read the bible. You are a sub-Christian if you have not read it.
  35. God loves those who have read His Word more than those who haven't.
  36. Becoming a Christian sucks the fun out of life.
  37. Jesus does not pray for you.
  38. God does not want you to deal with non-believers.
  39. God does not love those who choose to deny Him.
  40. Speaking the name of Jesus Christ against the enemy doesn't work.
  41. The name of Jesus carries no power.
  42. God and Satan are equal in power - they are on the same level.
  43. Satan can tempt us so much so that we cannot resist.
  44. The Bible is not relevant to 2009.
  45. To be a Christian is to live a life of guilt and repentance.
  46. Life becomes much easier when you are Saved.
  47. The Bible is not an important part of Christianity.
  48. God created shame and guilt, and He uses it against us when we sin.
  49. God created sin to keep us in line.
  50. God forces us to worship Him by threatening us with Hell.
And the greatest lies of them all:

"God does not love you."
"God can choose to stop loving you."
"God does not weep when you weep."
"God does not laugh when you laugh."
"God does not want you to be happy."
"God does not want you to win."
"God is not stronger than temptation."
"God is not stronger than the enemy."
"God would not die for you - again."

...its time we break out of our religious boxes. God is amazing - and we truly have nothing to fear.

Feel free to add your own lies to this list - naming the lies for what they are helps us to see His Truth.


Monday, January 12, 2009

New Beginnings

Many things have changed - even in the short span of time seperating my life in Colorado and my life here in Kona. God has been at work in me in a strong way - and I don't think my life will ever be the same again.

In the course of eleven days here in Kona, I have wept tears of joy, as well as tears of bitter hopelessness. I have been confronted by God in ways that I couldn't possibly imagine, and to be perfectly honest, my first few days here were the most painful in recent memory.

Upon arriving, I was fully confronted with Christians who had true knowledge of Jesus - not book knowledge, not information - but a true intimacy that is intoxicating. I looked then at my knowledge of God, and everything fell apart.

I hit a wall - emotionally and spiritually. After the worship service, I walked to the back of the UofN campus, found a dark area behind a boulder, and wept before God. I cried "Why? Why does it hurt so much to worship You? Why?" On and on I wept, my sorrow driving my emotions to the breaking point. I felt entirely empty inside - as if I could offer God nothing. In essence, I felt as if I was nothing.

It is in our darkest hour that God reaches out to us - I had suffered through the night, but at last - I saw the sunrise.

The sermon the following day was given my Darlene Cunningham, wife of Loren Cunningham, and co-founder of Youth With A Mission. The topic? "What's in your hands?"

She spoke of how God desires us to use what we have in our hands for His purposes, and if we are being drawn backwards, to give any misgivings and fears up to Him. Nothing that we had could prevent Him from loving us.

As I looked down at my hands, I realized that my brokenness, my shame, the lies I believed about God for many years - all of these were lies. Lies used by the enemy to distort and warp our views of God. Where once the enemy had succeeded, Jesus entered in.

For many years before this DTS, I have always had a caustic relationship with worship (especially corporate worship) and reading The Bible - yet I could never find a logical explanation as to why. Being an English Literature Major, wouldn't you assume that I would read the one book that is the foundation of my faith? Of the thousands of books that I have read, why was The Bible the one book that I shied away from?

After discussing these circumstances amongst my friends and leaders, The Lord showed me the truth: the enemy doesn't want me to read The bible or worship. Suddenly the explanation sounded to clear - why was worship physically painful? Why did the thought of reading The Bible always instill fear in me?

Because they are holy practices and the enemy withers before such magnificence.

I decided then and there that whatever the enemy didn't want me to do, I would try with all of my heart to accomplish. Spiritually, if it scared me, I would do it. Regardless of circumstance or upbringing.

Reading The Bible is no longer a fearful exercise for me - I want to read it. I want to learn about He that loved so that we may love others.

But there was definitely more to come.

-----Brief Intermission-----

(And/or snack break for those who don't like reading volumes and volumes of text)

In another amazing example of God working in mysterious (and miraculous) ways, a few days after I arrived to the campus I asked a staff person if there was anyone here who spoke prophetically. He told me that there was, and I thought to myself 'I would like to have that done.'

Two days later, the entire school met for corporate worship, but there was something stalling the music. A woman came up to the front and told the crowd that she was given a prophesy over several people in the school. She named a few names, and upon standing, several people were told prophecies that she believed were from God.

She then said, "Is there a Dan or Daniel in the crowd?"

I stood, and she told me that God had spoken to her.

He had said that I would be visited in my dreams with visions, ideas, inventions, and thoughts from Heaven. She said that Heaven's gates would be opened to me in my dreams.

I sat back down when she had finished speaking, and thought to myself 'I can't wait to go to sleep!'

...but that is the least of what has happened as of late. This very morning, I was shaken to my core.

Donna Jordan, one of the elders of YWAM spoke about hearing the voice of God, and it was a moving sermon regarding God's immense love for us, as well as how sacrifice is needed.

In many ways, the sermon challenged me radically. Donna spoke that 'In order to follow God, you need to lay your life down for Him. You need to give up everything.'

She said 'Are you willing to be single your whole life?'

'Are you willing to sell your house and your car?'

'Are you willing to move away from your friends and family?'

And, perhaps most painfully of all (which she herself had to do while on a missions trip) :

'Are you willing to miss attending a funeral?'

...'Are you willing to miss attending your father's funeral?'

...It scared me to death. To give up so much in faith seemed so incredibly impossible for me.

It came then to the conclusion of the sermon. Donna played a song ("All for You...Lord....") and she asked that if anyone wanted to give their lives to God - to lay everything down to follow Him, to stand after the song concluded and speak out "Christ is my Lord!"

...she did warn us that this was not child's play - that there was no more 'playing church' - we should not take this decision lightly.

...The song played.....

.......and it ended.

We sat in silence...eyes wrenched closed, praying profusely...when voices began to arise.

..."Christ is the Lord of my life!"

..."I want to follow You God!"

..."All for You, God!"

...and through blinding tears I opened my eyes. I saw a wonderful man that I met here at the DTS named Ho-Chun, and days before I had been at the beach with him and his family. I had seen how he played with his daughter, Joy.

I had never seen such wonderful love for a daughter in all my life. He was splashing with her, letting her climb onto his arms and back, and would shriek with delight at her giggling. He absolutely radiated love - like I had never seen before.

Ho-chun stood up in his chair this morning, and I heard him say "Lord, I would give up my daughter to follow You."

...Something inside me broke. The well of emotions that I had held at bay suddenly burst, and I was completely overcome with a radiant pulse of life and love. This man knew what Love was. He gave his life to God. He would sacrifice everything.

...I stood from my seat, and with upturned eyes and upturned hands, I cried, "Christ is my Lord... I give my life to You!"

...I was shaking. Trembling perhaps. So much of what I thought about God lay smashed at my feet.

I sat, and wept. I wept and shook. Something incredibly important had just occured, and I knew that my life would nevr be the same.

...The trembling would not stop. My fears of abandoning my family and my friends was too much for my heart to bear.

...Donna then quoted scripture. It was John 1:4-6.

"What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."

She said that we had no reason to fear.

...My trembling subsided. After I stopped trembling, I felt an immense peace flowing through me - and I was strangely serene. My fears had melted, and hope - intense hope - had replaced them.
I can feel the ripples of God's work in me even now. I feel strangely lighter, and my heart feels full. I find that it is (strangely) slightly more difficult to breathe - as if my heart is quite literally filled to bursting.

Everything has changed.

God once spoke to me ten years ago in this place.

Today, I gave my life to Him.

My life will never be the same.

Thanks for your prayers everyone.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sam and Yumi

I felt compelled to tell of a few wonderful people I've met during my short time here in Kona - namely Sam and Yumi.

Sam and Yumi are the parents of my roommate Min, and are all South Korean. When I first met them, I had just come from a long day by the ocean and - intending to sleep for a few hours before lunch started - came back to my dorm.

I was greeted by Sam and Yumi in the room, and they invited both myself, and another of my roommates Papa to lunch with them and Min.

Continuing to utilize the saying 'When in Rome....', I agreed. As we walked out to their rental car, we talked of cultural norms between different nations, and shared quite a few laughs during the drive to Coconut Grove - the local marketplace.

We all decided to go to Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company (lovingly named after Forrest Gump) to eat.

They shared their faith with me, and I with them. I have never met a more open and supportive couple in all my life, and I had known them for about fourty minutes. I shared about my misgivings and fears surrounding my walk with God, and they were nothing but supportive.

Yumi - who by the way says that 'You and Me pray together' - that's why her name is Yumi (You+Me) told me that she believes in God's healing and strength - she told me that she believes that God will move strongly in my life while I'm here.

At the grand Ceremony of The Nations where every flag from every country was flown and honored, the entire student body (all 276 of us) prayed and sang worship songs en masse.

With my uneasiness increasing exponentially (regarding my trouble with corporate worship and singing to God), I sat in my chair and began praying and asking God for strength. Suddenly, I felt a pair of hands resting on my shoulders, and I heard a soft voice behind me whispering blessings of God's peace and light onto me.

As the tears streamed down my face, I could almost sense a strange sort of lightness entering my body - as if a great weight was being lifted from me. It felt like some of my shackles - shackles that bind me to my old beliefs of God, memories of Him associated with malice and darkness - had been broken.

When the service concluded, I stood and saw that it was Yumi who laid hands on me and prayed with all of her heart for me.

That night, Yumi and Sam departed from the YWAM base back to Korea. I hugged them both, and they beamed at me - They believe that wonderful things will happen. They told me that one day, they hope to see me dancing and singing the praises of The Lord with all the fervor of my heart amidst the crowds.

They prophesized that wonderful things will happen to me during my time here - though something already had - our meeting was one of the most wonderful things I could imagine.

They had known me for less than a day, and they had wept at my side. They had prayed over me and blessed me, and gave of themselves to lead me back home.

I'll never forget them.

Thank you, Yumi and Sam. God bless you both.


Monday, January 5, 2009

'Lifehouse Skit'

Do me a favor.

Go to

In the search box, type in "Lifehouse Skit"

Click the first link at the top.

Watch the video.

Be prepared.



On my first day of arrival here in Kona, we were welcomed at the Ohana Court in the center of the University of The Nations plaza by the staff of YWAM. After a light snack of pineapple slices and guava juice (Hawaii rocks by the way - as if you didn't know that already), we were informed of a protocol that is commonplace in Hawaii - The Hua-ni - a Hawaiian greeting.

Knowing full well how uncomfortable foreigners are with strangers, the staff informed us how to 'Hua-ni'.

The method is touching foreheads and noses together in a welcoming gesture (so no headbutts - sorry fellas).

It is a 'sharing of breath' that Hawaiians celebrate because they see it as honoring another's breath as we honor our own - and through this act, we recognize and respect each other as a child of God. God created our breath, and other's as well. It is a supreme sign of respect and equality amongst the nations. you would think that we - having never done such a preposterous thing in our lives - would possibly find a 'Hua-ni' buddy perhaps? A one-shot deal?

Oh no.

We shared our breath with the entire staff - all fifty-eight of them.

...initially it was rather uncomfortable getting your face so close to another - especially one that you don't know, but after the fourth or fifth instance I began to think - 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do'. We were in Kona Hawaii for goodness sake, and celebrating the start of something beautiful.

Once that idea popped into my head, I vigorously 'Hua-ni'd my way down the line, appreciating the wonderful smiles I recieved from the staff as we laid hands on shoulders and touched noses.

There is something to this 'Hua-ni' ceremony - It has a way of breaking down comfort barriers and creating an intimacy that would be a long-time coming in any other light.

I loved it. It was a fitting way to start my adventure in Kona.

(Plus now I can freak my friends out when I get back to the states by giving them a Hawaiian greeting. Bonus.)


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Initial Reception

So it begins.

So many things have changed so rapidly in my life lately - even as my DTS in Kona has only just begun.

Upon arriving at the campus late afternoon on Friday, I was greeted by an amazingly large amount of people, all roughly twenty-somethings who all arrived for the same reason I did - largely to experience God firsthand over these three months.

As it stands right now (4:47 PM Hawaii time), I have met more friends from different countries than I ever have in my entire life.

Let's start with the basics:

Papa - a native of Ghana, Papa is one of my roommates - a large dark-skinned man who is incredibly soft-spoken despite the fact that he could probably crush me with a flick of his wrist. He is a wonderfully gentle and polite person, and he hopes someday to become a reverend like his father in Ghana. At 23 years old, he is well on his way from what I know of him.

Ben - Ben is a radically intense person whose hair cannot be held back by the bandana on his head, just as his love for people cannot be contained within himself. He is absolutely in love with God, and it is his intensity that strikes me more than anything else. He sleeps on the bunk above me, and is thankfully a fairly lightweight guy.

Jacques (pronounced 'Schak') - Jacques is from Belgium, despite having a very french-sounding name. He is also a very soft-spoken guy, who carries a dog stuffed animal in his pocket for photography purposes. His dog's name is 'Muellon' - and he is an absolute superstar across the world. Muellon has been photographed everywhere from Denmark to The Great Wall of China - Jacques also has a photograph of Muellon being held by a famous rugby player in Europe. (If anyone is interested, Muellon has a facebook page - but you can only be his fan, not his friend. Celebrity does that to a person. Or dog. Or whatever.)

There are so many others that it would take me hours to write about them all - I've met people from South Korea, Japan, China, Brazil, Australia, and all over the United States.

I've met Samoans, Pacific Islanders, Europeans, Koreans, British and French people, and several Australians (who I could honestly listen to for hours). Women with Australian accents? Nothing more attractive. I mean wow man.

As the night deepens, I hope to update all of you on the past few days that I've experienced so far. All I can say is that I can feel myself changing - or being changed rather - and I have nothing but hope for the future.