Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Burstin' The Bubble

Sorry, well... I kinda had to. I haven't written since March! 

"Little" life update for those who don't keep tabs with me much: Well, I graduated! Yay? The whole graduation ceremony just seemed a little nostalgic. It really didn't feel like it was happening until we got out of the building where I thought I was going to roast alive. The moment after graduation I instantly started going to grad parties to what I would unknowingly would probably be seeing some of my classmates for the last time. That's so messed up right? There are some people that I spend 7+ years with that I will most likely never see again. However, that started a string of several days where I can count the days I have gone to bed BEFORE midnight on one hand. These nights were filled with friends and family who loved me. Laughs, tears, wisdom teeth pain, and memories that I want to hold on to for the rest of my life. Shortly after my wonderful wisdom teeth venture, it was our grad party time! For those who have never helped plan/set up for a grad party; y'all should give some serious creds to the people who do! I am very surprised that my mother didn't have a nervous breakdown doing some of that stuff. There was a lot that went into our party. Thank you to all who came and spent some time with me! I wouldn't be the same without you and I am oh so grateful. I was also surprised be some of the people who came to visit me: My old youth minister who I hadn’t seen in quite a while, some friends from camp that I haven’t seen in 3 YEARS, my favorite Cadiz crew, and a slew of people who I just love so much. Last event, but CERTAINLY not least; I had the amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip with my wonderful family away from home! I was so nervous to go on this trip because I’m a little shy around new people but I had some friends already going! I prayed for the trip work out how it would best benefit God’s kingdom; and the result was truly beautiful (besides that wonderful Tuesday night of sickness). I made new friends who feel like they have been in my life for years, we did an amount of work that no one saw coming from a group like us, and we had joy and humility the whole time. I couldn’t have asked for a better week with people I love. I broke through the barrier of comfortable that kept me from truly making a difference.

I burst my bubble.
For the biblical reference I would like to relate to my story I went to Daniel 6. For those that don’t recognize this passage. It is the story of Daniel and the Lions’ Den! This is personally one of my favorite passages because 1. I love lions almost as much as armadillos. And 2. This is truly a story of Daniel bursting society’s bubble and changing it monumentally. I’ll paste the passage real quick:

Daniel in the Lions’ Den
[a]Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” So King Darius signed the law.
10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”
“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”
13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.”
14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.
15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”
16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.
19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.
24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.
25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
    and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
    and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people;
    he performs miraculous signs and wonders
    in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.[b]
Just let that sink in a bit. If you were thrown into a lions’ den, what would you do? I know I would pee my pants and pass out. one before the other, you can pick which came first. Moreover, imagine the courage Daniel must’ve had to go against king Darius; Daniel was practically his right-hand man. However, Daniel served a God who had a greater gift. He served a God who was worth getting uncomfortable, or even life threatening! He served a God who bursts bubbles. Daniel was willing to sacrifice it all for the one who did (or would do in Daniels case) for him!  

That is my hope for you guys. Get uncomfortable! Burst your own bubbles and break down walls. We live in an age where there are barriers after barriers to be broken! The things worth doing are never going to be easy. You never know the grace, gifts, and glory that God could place behind that challenge!

Weekly Devotion Pick for “15 Minutes Alone with God for Men” by Bob Barnes.

“The Guy Who Drew the Line” -Ephesians 1: 3-14 (Feel free to read the passage)

God’s promise was predestined in us before we were even a thought. The MOMENT we accepted, heard, and believed; we were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was the down payment for our inheritance.

Jesus is the foundation, he is our example, he is our rock.

As humans, we are imperfect. We are constantly trying to become pure so we can be like Him! But it is a process. Our world and its issues are becoming more gray so that this process can be slowed. Let us live black and white in a gray world! Know when to draw the line.

First you have to develop a plan:

“1. Make a decision. (Daniel 1:8)
2. Choose to put first things first. (Mark 7:15, 20-23)
3. Determine where the line is and stay a safe distance behind it. (James 1:14-15)
4. Guard your heart. (Matthew 6:21)
5. Guard your mind. (Colossians 3:2)
6. Guard your eyes. (Job 31:1)
7. Guard the little things. (Luke 16:10)”

Father God, thank you for the ability to break down barriers. I pray that we can get uncomfortable to serve your purpose. I pray for peace. I pray for love. I pray for You.

Deuteronomy 31:8New International Version (NIV)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

God Bless!!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

It's Been Awhile

     We're all missing someone. Whether it be a friend or friends that you have met at camp or a relative that passed away. When the thought of them crosses your mind you think of all the memories--good and bad--and reminisce. You never really think of your last meeting as a goodbye do you? Camp is over and you say your goodbyes, but you plan on seeing them again, right? I couldn't live without my camp friends. With missed relatives, there are times that you think you'll never see them again, but at the end of your life you will see them again!

     Today I would like to write about the Crucifixion a little bit. Bits and pieces of Luke 23 and 24. Think about this for a second, your one and only chance at salvation is dangling on a cross. All this hope that you put in this man, slowly leaving you on that cross. "45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”[a] And with those words he breathed his last." Luke 23: 45-46 NLT

Imagine the heart-drop of the disciples after that. He is gone "forever" *wink wink* and their hope is lost. How long do you think those three days felt before Jesus ultimately rose again?! Days spent in hiding because of fear of persecution. (John 20:19)

While this is happening, Jesus appears to them! "36 And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 37 But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!" Luke 24: 36-37 NLT

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure I would pee my pants if I was there through the Crucifixion and Jesus just popped in on us. After I changed my pants though I would be stoked! I'd probably say "dude, (Yes me being myself I'd probably call Jesus dude) I thought you were dead!". In all honesty, I'd have the same reaction as the disciples, frightened then excited. It's not everyday someone rises from the dead.


It's been awhile since the ascension, what do we do until He comes back? There are two instances in which I find very intriguing, one is in Mark 16: 15-16 (15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.) and the other is in John 21: "15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[a]
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others[b] will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”" The answer is simple in what Jesus wants us to do: 1. Go and preach the Good News to everyone. and  2. Take care of his sheep. 
We simply have to follow Jesus and share His story! 
Its been awhile, but it's gonna be a party when Jesus comes back.
Devotion Pick for "15 Minutes Alone with God for Men" By Bob Barnes
"Speak Out!"
Read Romans 1: 1-17
Here are some steps in speaking out and being unashamed of the gospel!
1. We are "set apart for the gospel" (verse 1). Focus on it!
2. The gospel was "promised beforehand through his prophets" (verse 2). This faith is not recent!
3. We are to share the gospel with our whole heart. (verse 9). Get Passionate!
4. We are to share the Good News with everyone! (verses 14-15). This message can make a difference in anyone's life!
5. We are to take a stand for the gospel. (verse 16) 116 UNASHAMED (Lecrae/Andy Mineo reference).
6. We need to see the power of the gospel for salvation (verse 16). Share some personal experiences on how the gospel has affected you!
7. We are to live a righteous life by faith (verse 17) Study that gospel!
"5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:" Philippians 2:5 NIV
God Bless!!!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Grace Lets Us Create

How boring would this world be if we couldn't create?

Seriously, all the things that I see around the world that I love are a product of creativity. "I'm Turnt" by Lecrae? Created. My mom's beautiful artwork? Created. Your favorite Disney movie that makes you feel like a kid again? Created. 

Creativity is a trait that we can only get from one place (or person); and that person is God. Genesis 1:27 wraps this blog post up in one powerfully worded verse, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." 
So, if God created us, and we are made in his image, doesn't that mean we can create as well?

Shoosh yeah it does!

The fact that we are made in God's image is sign that we can create. When I look around my high school, I see so much God-given creativity that inspires me to create differently and wonderfully pieces of creativity for myself. I see so many talented artists that use that gift beautifully to paint, take photos, and draw. I have a friend that writes her own songs; that's AMAZING. I have a friend that is a sick drummer. Great cheerleaders, gifted writers, wicked good baristas, and amazing athletes. There are a couple of dancers at school that can elegantly entice your attention. Creativity/gifts don't even have to be an art form. My best friend is becoming such a good role model to her peers and is really an excellent example to follow. There are strengths in places you might not even know. 

I don't have a ton of confidence when it comes to my perception of my own creativity. I often view my artwork as something that will never be perfect. I color outside the lines, and it often looks messy. When music starts moving these hips I find myself out of rhythm or I just look plain silly. I look at other photographers and see my photos as inferior. 

But you know what? I don't really like to listen to that voice of negativity. My imperfection is a trademark of originality in my work! It's like slapping a big "Aidan made this" sticker on my work. I'm not perfect, I'll probably never be famous for my work; but, using my God-given gifts to glorify my creator, in gratifying enough. And He is up there, delighted and rejoicing in what I do? 1 in 7.3 Billion and counting, and He is delighted in me? 

Zephaniah 3:17New Living Translation (NLT)

17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.[a]
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

He has the same feeling for you, your neighbor, your boss, your bully, your teacher, and everyone else on this world. A God that rejoices and desires intimacy with His creation is amazing and we definitely don't deserve it. The gift of grace inspires creativity, praise, and a eternal promise that is better than anything in this world.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Hi! This post is start off kind of different from the rest, but before you delve into the words I am about to write below, take some time to read the Parable of the Lost Son in Luke 15:11-32. Don't worry, these words will be here when you get back. I'd love to hear your interpretation of the parable and how you feel about it!


As I read this story, I think of it as the world that I was so excited to grow up in. I couldn't wait to drive, I couldn't wait have my first girlfriend, and I couldn't wait to look like the cool kids on TV. I didn't ease into these stages, I dove in head first. I wanted to be popular, I wanted to date this hot piece of arm candy. I wanted to have the next best tech gadget before anyone else did, and be better than everyone else. So I started to drop all the things that were good for me and replaced them with lust, greed, and arrogance. I thought I knew what was best for me, and that's where it all went downhill. I tried to be friends with the crowd that everyone wanted to be apart of, no matter how I got there. I burned some bridges with old friends in an attempt to get closer to the prettier girls. I played football with the athletic ones at recess in middle school just to get my foot in the door for them to notice me. I went so hard that I ended up tearing a ligament in my leg, I came back to school later that week like a peg leg. As I progressed in this decaying lifestyle, the worse I started to feel. I was in the cool crowd, wasn't this supposed to make me happy? Pretty girls talked to me, shouldn't this feel more fulfilling?

It didn't, and doesn't 

The more weight I trusted these things with, the bigger a hit it was when it feel through. It got to the point where I would repeatedly think about taking my own life. I could stop feeling bad if I just stopped feeling everything.

This lifestyle was toxic, not like the bad Britney Spears song; like you're going to put yourself in the ground toxic. So as a last resort (more like a life raft), my old youth minister held this opportunity in front of me, but I had to take the chance. As I had explained in my first blog coming back I accepted Christ into my heart and started to regain the lifestyle I had ditched in the first years of being in Batesville. Today looking back on it, I wonder why God even considered taking me back into His kingdom. I had totally disrespected and disregarded him for years while my sin started piling up. However, every time I look back on the Parable of the Lost Son; the dad is like God. Even though we screw up so bad to the point of no return; we can come back to God. And He will have his arms wide open. He is our refuge, He is our comforter, and He is our Father.

I'd also like to take a look at the perspective of the older brother. He was by his father's side ever since the younger brother left. He was the perfect worker and a blessing of a son. Put yourself in his shoes: your younger brother comes home after making a mess of himself, living wildly and making your family's image turn rotten. Then he comes home and gets a party thrown for him? Where's your reward for staying? Where is the calf for your hard work? Why can't you throw a party for me?

I believe that when we think like the older brother, we get the mindset that God's gift for eternity is earned. But God's gift is just that, a gift. No matter how hard you try, you can't earn that blessing. And if you are a believer, you're working toward something that has already be bestowed upon you . God gives us this gift so that we can spread the Good News and bring more people to Jesus and his sacrifice for us.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Eat Our Own Fruit

Imagine yourself as a little kid again, maybe the age of 6. Your parents are in another room, and you and your 10 year old role model brother are in the kitchen. Now imagine this dessert; it could be cookies, it could be ice cream. However there is this note from your parents on the fridge that reads, "You can eat any food from the pantry, but do not eat the dessert on the table." As a 6-year old kid, you probably have enough experience from the past to listen to your parents. So you get hungry and take some food the pantry, until all of sudden you hear your brother say, "Man, does this dessert look yummy!" He beckons you over to gaze at the masterpiece your mother made a little while ago. "Why don't you take a little bite off the side?" your brother says, "Mom won't notice a thing." But you come back with, "But mom told me not to on this note, and I trust she knows best." Your brother answers, "Mom just doesn't want you to taste how delicious it is! Just take a little bite, then you'll know how she feels after a yummy dessert like this!" He keeps pressuring and seducing you to take a bite of this forbidden and delicious dinner-ruiner. 

All of a sudden, you feel the guilt of eating the dessert, and your brother is no where to be found. So you realize what you have done and try to cover it up. Then your mother comes in. It's too late, you're done, you're going to the big house, you had a nice run. She notices that you have tried to cover it up and asks, "Why did you try to cover it up? Why did you eat the dessert I told you not to?" as you explain how delicious you thought it was you couldn't resist. He was tempted. Afterwords you mother sends you to your room after disobeying and you repeatedly hide from her because you are afraid she is still mad at you.

Notice a familiar set of events?

If you haven't caught on, this tale relates to the story of Adam and Eve; the very first humans to dwell with God. Now you see, like the story God tells them, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). One rule; don't eat from the tree of knowledge or else. Now, they obediently followed this rule until they stumbled across a serpent that seduced them into taking a bite. Instantly they knew they were naked and hid from God. They were ashamed.

All of a sudden, God enters the place where Adam and Eve were and asked where they were. Adam answers, (I'm paraphrasing) "I realized we were naked so I hid!" He asks who told him that; this has a deeper meaning that I've missed up until recently. He knows that they have eaten from the tree, he knows where they're hiding. It's a beckon to intimacy with God, the last thing He wants is for us to hide from Him. There is a short passage from Jefferson Bethke's book It's Not What You Think that rattles me down to the bone. God is asking us, "Who told you that you weren't good enough? Who told you I didn't love you? Who told you that you were a failure? Because I sure didn't" (Bethke 58-59) This is such a hard hitter because when we realize that we aren't good enough; when we are addicted to drugs or porn, when we lie, cheat, kill, and steal, we hide. The slime of shame covers us and we constantly think we are worthless. But what God thinks of us is the exact opposite; He wants a relationship, intimacy, and love with His creation. 

Back to the eating of the apple; beforehand Adam and Eve put their trust in God with the knowledge of right and wrong. However, when Satan enters the picture he twists the trust of right and wrong to Adam and Eve, or independence from God. Adam and Eve didn't truly didn't know the difference between right and wrong before the fall because they didn't need to. They trusted that God knows best for them--which he does. 

Sin = I Know  
When we have the false idea that we know the difference between right and wrong, or good and evil; we become our own masters or gods. We think "I know what's best for me", but that is so toxic. This behavior leads to death. Trust in God's plan for your can lead to an eternity that you don't want to miss. 

We have the choice to decide our fate here, choose an awesome eternity trusting in God, or make our own path and completely destroy ourselves.

God loves you, you are worth everything to Him; don't forget that.

DEVOTIONAL PICK: "In His Steps" from 15 Minutes Alone with God for Men by Bob Barnes 

This devo comes from 1 Peter 2: 13-25, at a first glance it is a letter to slaves in various places in Asia Minor. Although, I come to this passage and think of a common message of perseverance. To respect authority even if they are cruel is a testament to your obedience to God. It also talked about how Jesus is the perfect example to follow in the midst of unjust conditions. 

But lets face it, we can't be exactly like Jesus, its impossible. There are a lot of things we can't change in this broken world, but we can introduce people to Jesus. We can develop a teachable spirit. It's the gift that keeps on giving. To share a unity in Jesus with others is truly a blessing. 

How teachable are you? What can you do to be more open to what God wants you to learn?

What will you do to follow in Jesus' steps today?

Father God thank You so much for speaking through me today. I pray that we can come out of hiding and  find a relationship that will truly last forever. Help me and the people reading this live like Jesus and spread the love today and the rest of our days on earth. Thank You for the ability, the time, and the resources to do this today. In Your son's name I pray,

John 16:33New Living Translation (NLT)

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

God Bless!