After the first five days or so (I’ve lost track of legitimate time with the changing time zones) it is safe to say that this summer is going to be the best of my life. However, it will only be the first of many. My discipler, life group (small group of 4 guys sharing together, growing in community), cabin-mates and others have truly shown me a community centered around Christ. I have experienced both the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the mountains that surround it as well as the beauty in Jesus’ death on the cross and his grace. Today, for two hours or so, our 80-some project group went on a “prayer journey” through our living area. Completely silent towards each other, but completely open and conversational with God. There are always struggles and bad experiences in the past that I can point to that have kept a part of me from furthering my walk with God. Today, I was shown through quiet time and heavy prayer that there have been a couple of things I have not wanted to admit I’ve done; things in my life I have struggled with but not wanted to bring to light. However, with a little help from spring quarter bible study on 1 John and the prayer journey today, I am beginning to fully grasp that if I keep certain things in the dark, even from God, they won’t be fixed. You know you have a problem when you don’t even want to journal something for to see it on paper would only bring up memories. Yet God called me today and is calling all of us to just let it go.
Just let it go? My first inclination to letting major sins go is simply to not let them go. Yet Jesus has already paid for all of those sins with his death on the cross. Yes, I’ve heard this many times and I’m sure many of y’all have. Yet it is so hard to fully wrap your mind around. Imagine a memory of one of the worst sins you have ever committed. Really. Stop and visualize it (this worked for me, so I hope it may help). It may be a certain event that you look back on and hang your head in shame. It may be a sin that you continually commit and don’t know how to break the habit. Visualize it. Good. Now imagine a knock on the door. You freak out thinking someone witnessed you committing this horrific, unforgettable sin. Panic runs through your mind. You go to the door and swing it open only to find God standing there. He stops you in awe of his awesome power and the presence he gives off. Then he speaks, “I know what you have done.” You freak out (not that he didn’t know already but he’s at the door)! Yet instead of disappointment, he hugs you. Confused? Probably. But he has more to say, “It’s all going to be okay. Come and take a walk with me.”
Now you’re not gonna deny taking a walk with God, so you go. He takes you on a long walk as you hang your head and gently turns your face to a nearby hillside where you see a young man on a cross. You suddenly realize the man on the cross is his son. And God says to you, “We picked this strategic moment: this moment of great weakness. We didn’t pick the moment in the future when you would be healthy. We chose this moment to show you how serious we are about this and how significant you are to us. My son is dying for you because you are worth a son to me. You are worth more than your guilt. We are the only ones who know who you are. We know who you are, and I love you.” Let it sink in.
That last quote was an excerpt from a handout we received on the prayer journey. It’s from a book by David Eckman titled Becoming Who God Intended. That excerpt, writing out my shameful sins, and really taking the time out of my day to listen to God and how he loves me no matter what has impacted me greatly. I can’t even really describe it except with a grateful expression and “WOW” written on my tongue. Jesus has already paid for our sins and he loves us more than we’ll ever deserve, so I pray I can live a life worthy of his gift and pray this for all of you as well.
It’s now 12:09 Tahoe time on June 14th aka the day I turn 20. And I’m starting the day out right, writing this in a Safeway grocery store as it gets ready to close, an IBC root beer at my side, and fake cactus decorations all around me. I got a job at Coldstone for the summer and will be working with quite a few other project students while ministering to my co-workers and customers. And I shared on the beach of Tahoe this past Saturday and man was it encouraging. I had great conversations and even though my friend and I got rejected a couple times, we grew immensely and I was shocked at some of the respect people gave us and how open people were to talk. I wish I could post a photo on here but I didn’t bring my cord to the grocery store. But trust me when I say this place is one of the most gorgeous settings you’ll ever see. Before I trek back to the cabin to doze off for the night, I figured I’d drop my address that I’ll be at while I’m here at Tahoe. If you feel compelled to send a letter, I’d love to hear how life wherever is going. If you feel compelled to send a package, just don’t send any live animals. The post office might not like it. So I’ll leave y’all with my address and hope everyone has a great night/morning and can take some time out of the day just to pray for a while because the two hours I had today probably set a tone for the rest of my summer and perhaps the rest of my school years. You never know what God wants to say. . .
Personal Letters only (no packages):
c/o Campus Crusade for Christ
PO Box 8346
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158
c/o Campus Crusade for Christ
2030 West Way
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150