Monday, December 7, 2009

"Nice" is not enough. Will the real men please stand up?

Many of you who have known me for years know that i truly despise the thought of being labeled as a "nice guy." (especially my mother) The thought of being told i am just a "nice guy" by someone truly scares me. Untold depths are reached when this label is assumed upon me. It's as if i'm a beautiful black stallion running free. But then someone labels me an ass. Quite, pleasant, and dependable. When i hear these words i cringe. I think. Can't there be more to an honorable man than that? What happened to the adventures side of my life? Where did the strength that i carry go?

For years (since i was in my early teens) I have struggled to find the words to describe my intense opposition to the term "nice guy." I have often spouted off frustrations that "nice guys" are "boring." Even that nice guys only exist because they lack the true conviction to live a life of incredible passion for Jesus that shifts atmospheres. Many of you who know me well have at least heard me express my frustration with "nice guys" and their lack of operational conviction, passion, and plain old "interestingness." If that's even a word.

I still struggle to find the appropriate words to describe my frustration. It is truly a journey i am on. It's an on going revelation to be sure. One thing though. I'm not alone. Many men out there. Godly men. Are living a life unsatisfied with what they see. Wanting more. More of life, more of their beautiful God. Not happy with this persona that people place on them of being "nice" christian guys.

Yesterday myself and a few of my roommates were talking. And one of my roommates Kevin was talking. And he shared with us this bit of his blog he was working on. It truly helps to put words to much of what my heart has known for years.

Below i submit to you the words of my roommate. His wisdom is profound and truly heartfelt. Beloved, i tell you the truth. The world needs more men like Kevin. Men who are willing to reach deep inside themselves to discover who God made them to be. Men who are not satisfied with the realities that this world is offering them. But seeks a deeper, truer reality. The one our father God lives in. The kingdom of our God.

Kevin Ernst- When Kind and Gentle Breaks

Our generation has found men lost in a desperate game of striving to be strong. Whether forging a body of muscle, finding a position of definition, or developing an uncanny lust for women's flesh; a man is looking for true power, real defining, and a depth of intimacy lost to him. We have husbands committed to abusing their loved ones with intimidation. We have university professors who give nothing but their knowledge. And we have ministers who create orphanages with their people's hearts. Our old men are dieing as children. No one wants to be discovered as week or out of control; but the reality is, many men are powerless in their character and have lost all vulnerability to their need for intimacy. Men are seeking for something to hide their outrageous fear.

For most of my life I have been characterized as a "nice" guy. Bull shit. I hate being thought of as powerless, insignificant, and a shell of a man. When I hear the words, "you are nice;" I hear a voice saying, "you are a weak man." And the hurtful truth is, this is what I often believe about myself. There must be a place where kindness and gentleness have power.

I think nice turned into weak when men gave away their strength for fear and passivity. I have met women who despise their nice men. Men whose pleasant facades are ripped apart in the rooms of secret, only to reveal the brutality of a caged animal or the spineless disappearance of a partner. These "nice" ones are simple pretenders who have never known real strength of character and self control. They were never taught that their raging, or their secrets, render their brides unprotected and ruined. A woman's need for empowered unity is forgotten in the waves of spiritual ignorance. The truth is; men, myself included, have great spiritual power and they are exercising it. We just don't believe it's true.

When father's don't father and mother's raise our sons alone, boys don't grow up to become men. They reach into their hearts and the world around them to be defined. But what they find in those places is the very lack they were hoping to fill. I was recently told that what was NOT given to us is much more damaging than the abuse or traumas that happen to us. When I think back on my own life, it was not so much the cancer that hurt my character, but the lack of confidence imparted to my boys heart that faulted my foundation. You can kill cancer, but how does a parent give a child courage when he or she has none?

The voice of the day would declare that security in life is finance, and good character development is knowledge of the rules. But when did rules create self governing empowered people, and money rescue anyone from something as inevitable as death? They don't. People are not made strong by what they do or what they possess. For life does not come from what. Life comes from who. And that who is the one who imparts a father's heart. His name is Jesus. He is God. He is love himself. He is our Father. You see, we who are fathered by Life are not victims to a fatherless generation.

Being fathered is something that I am powerless to do. I cannot father myself. My hands are clenched around the tools of protection: passivity, anger, position, power, distraction, pain, and lack of value. These tools have guarded my broken heart. Who wouldn't despise the obvious embrace of lies? Who wouldn't fear the destruction that comes with the truth of my need? I can see it in you, but God forbid you reveal it in me. I am terrified that you might see me as I really am. A man in need of a father.

Our tools of protection are often used as weapons to drive away the truth that others bring. This is why kindness is powerful. Kindness and gentleness destroy the fear of your approach. It allows for the place of pain to be be healed. How could I think of God any different than a tyrant when nearly every example I have known is of men fighting for their own identity and value? It is kindness that has allowed me to approach the living God as father. And God is love. And rejection gets blown up in the presence of love. And love is patient...kind...not self seeking...or rude. We are fathered by The Father.

I want to know God as my Father at the very core of me. I want to see men who are powerful in their identities as beloved sons. I want the world to know Jesus as he really is: good, gentle, kind, and even nice when nice is powerful in love.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

more awesome testimonies

Just a few quick ones i gota share that some students told in class.

1) girl with 8000-9000 dollars of medical bills because she got sick without insurance. Hospital wrote and said that she didn't owe them anything. She got her debts paid off. Woohoo!! Totally God.

2) Women had a relative come to bethel two weekends ago with brain cancer. Big tumor in her head. Doctors didn't expect her to make it to christmas. She got prayer at church on friday and also in the healing rooms on saturday. In the healing rooms on saturday she had one of her ears pop while receiving prayer and a ton of drainage and fluids came out of her head thru her ear. The lady went to the doctor this week and they told her that her cancer is in full remission! Which they weren't expecting. haha.

So i say, Yay God!! and if you need one of these breakthroughs. Claim it as your own. It's in Gods heart to heal you. Always. Because he loves you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sweet manifestation of God

So the other day. Wednesday a week ago to be specific. I was sitting in class and one of the pastors was teaching on breaking down fear in our lives. It was such a good word. Spoke out of love. Part of the way thru his talk i started to hear water running. Like a brook of water flowing. I began to look around to see if someone's iPhone or computer was making the noise and if other people were noticing it. For about 5 minutes it continued to get louder and softer. After looking around like a psychotic person i realized that i was the only one in the room noticing the sound. What's more. I was hearing it with my own two ears. My physical ears! haha. It was SOO weird. And fun.

So after class. I asked around and no one heard anything like a stream of water flowing from the back left part of the room like I had heard. So i came to the conclusion that it was a manifestation of God given only to me that day. In revelations chapter 1 verse 15 it says, "His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters." This passage is a description of Jesus Christ as he gives the prophetic revelation to John. You see what it says? The Jesus' voice is like the sound of flowing water. I asked the Lord what it all meant. The sounds of water flowing. Everything. He told me that he was speaking truth into peoples spirits, into their hearts. Washing away the foundations of fear the they had built their lives upon.

I thought this was totally sweet so i decided to share it to everyone. I was totally obvious the Jesus was doing something in class that afternoon by the way people were getting rocked in class. And by how much people were talking about how amazing it was that day. But it's even more amazing when the Lord manifests himself tangibly in the natural so we can see what he is dong.

God is SOOO cool!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Welcome to the new adventures of Joel. The kid from Alaska.

I have now decided to take this blog i created for my trip to Sudan. And revamp it to be a all things God blog. But mostly a testimonies blog. Telling what God has been doing around me. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:10)
When we profess a testimony of what God has done for us. People hear it and it inspires faith in their hearts. Which then brings them to a place where that testimony can be duplicated in their lives.

I hope this blog inspires faith in your hearts. To see the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God.

First testimony i want to give is of a new friend of mine here at school. She is from Finland and when she came here she had really bad food allergies. Last week our class went on a retreat as part of our curriculum. Driving on the way to the retreat grounds she was describing to another girl in her car about her food allergies. And that she had brought her own food to the retreat just to be safe. She told her friend that she would love to just taste chicken again. Her friend in the car with her simply said, "Lord bring on the chicken." The next day my friend was in the chow line for a meal and when she got to the end of the table she noticed that there was chicken being served. She decided that she was going to just try it. Believing that Jesus had healed her. And well... she ate it! And she didn't get sick and have to go to the hospital! It's amazing, her life has been completely changed. She has spent the last week testing out all her food allergies. And all her major ones that would have sent her to the hospital are gone. Every one! God totally healed her. I know, because i ate dinner with her the other night. And she ate a chicken salad. :)

So... If you are reading this. And you have food allergies. Believe, and receive your healing. :) Call me. I'll pray for you. Food allergies don't have to plague your life anymore! Our God is bigger than that infirmity!