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.