Words In Red | Critical Christianity Revitalization Radicalism
I am independent and a wanderer. I am high energy, intense, and I take life seriously. There's no other way of living for me. Now I breathe in the spirit of God and breathe out tranquility and peace. I have found who I am, Now I am looking to help others. You will get to truly know me through my stories and testimonies.
In my Book, there exist two versions of me. One who was hostage to the World and by it Dead. And one who is living through identity in Christ. To be detailed, there exists one version of me when I was lost, confused, and depressed. My whole existence was so separated and distanced from everything around me. What little there was of me, was just a pathetic pile of rotting trash. Then came one version of me, revitalized with God’s electrifying energy. Through this energy, I climbed out of the fissures of sorrow and into the wide-open arms of my Father.
This revitalization recovered the lost parts of me and added much more than I had asked for. Through the empowerment of Jesus Christ, I became a soldier on fire with the full armor of God fighting the battle’s which I was pulled towards. My newfound identity became a symbol of hope and a harbinger of His love. Now, I fight with passion for you.
To fully understand how a transformation like this could have taken place, we need to rewind way back to where my soul started to split and I became sorrow and sadness. I was saved a year ago. Three years before my saving was my crash. I fell deep into the pits and spiraled out of control. Due to my belief that I had full control of my life, when I spiraled out of control there was no one there to slow my trajectory down. I went down and it was fast.
Twin Cities :
Three years before my saving I was just a freshman at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I had complete control of high school life because everything was easy for me. Academics, mind, emotions, friends, and living were completely under my control. I assumed I would be in control of them when I would start my collegiate years at Minnesota. My college plan was set out for the next eight years. Although I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was given gifts to do the many possibilities. My ambition and motions were nonexistence. I didn’t know what I truly wanted, I just wanted to live the college life really bad.
My freshman year is difficult to talk about because it all seems like a blur to me. I was lost and the stereotypical college experience was what I desired. Long story short, it was a lot of partying and it was a lot of depression. I’m not sure why, but my living-learning community just liked getting together, drinking, and then talk about sad stuff. When you are surrounded by this and consistently partaking, even the most joyful soul can be extinguished. It didn’t take long for me to avoid classes. I couldn’t sleep consistently and that’s where my insomnia developed. After a tearful metldown with my mother, I told her I needed to get out of the city and just restart. Mentally, physically, but most especially emotionally.
La Crosse :
I transferred out of the Twin Cities and to the University of La Crosse. I’m not really honestly sure why I transferred to La Crosse, but I created reasons for myself to believe. There was my best friend from high school who was there and would support me. There was the fact that it was quite smaller than the Twin Cities as well. I thought being closer to home was going to make it easier. All these were lies I told myself but what did I know? I was at the lowest at that point.
I had tried to kill myself at the Twin Cities. There was one man, put by God, who intervened. His story is for another time, but his name was Scott and he became the saving grace that showed me that happiness, though seemed far away from me, was abundantly possible and it was only a heart away. The time at La Crosse wasn’t all that much better than my time at the Twin Cities. I was damaged and I never went out to party.
I got addicted to gaming and my roommate and I spent hours a day playing. It was the only “happiness” I could find. Not even alcohol, drugs, or love could fill it. I just felt so empty and like a ghost, I was sucking on anything that could give a little bit of happiness. Are you wondering what about the friend that I thought was going to support me? Well, no surprise he completely changed and he became a social animal and he loved going out. Now, not only was I sad but I felt great regret and rejection. Here I am expecting something earthly to cure or at the very least nullify my depression. Foolish, I was.
I started being prescribed all these drugs and going to therapy. I am going to write a post about depression, suicide, antidepressants, and anxiety soon but it is a complex and sensitive topic that I’m familiar with but I do not have the necessary attention span of my readers to write about it all here. In short, the drugs made me emotionless and like a zombie. Going to bed and waking up was a hard battle itself and if I ever got out of bed within 5 hours, it was a victory. Truly I tell you, there are many who understand what I’m talking about.
I left La Crosse and came back home completely torn apart, ripped, and damaged to the core. There was nothing about me that wasn’t ripped apart. My spirit especially was weary. I had lost hope. Hope, is a complicated topic that also will deserve its own post as well. The ultimate question was, what can you do with shattered pieces? What was once a heavenly masterpiece just seems too broken to put together now. A sad hollow vessel carrying not even a soul to live. To breath the stale air, and then to exhale lifeless air was my existence.
I felt useless and worth nothing. I had failed the world, and most especially I failed myself. No longer was I the confident boy who had everything under control. The control I perceived I had, was there no more. It didn’t help that I had an uncle who kept telling me how stupid and wrong I was for even going to Minnesota. I just couldn’t fight anymore, and I accepted it. The world took the opportunity to beat me down and I accepted it because my spirit was too weak to fight back. I lost who I was, and most importantly I rejected my name and my past. My existence became and I accepted entirely the failure that I thought I was.
I took a break from college. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I for sure knew I wasn’t who I was previously. He was long gone and every time I went searching for him, he could not be found. With this feeling, I took a job at Costco. I just needed some consistency in my life and I thought a job would be perfect. It would distract me and I could make a little cash on the side. Who was I when I went to work for Costco though? I rejected who I was before, but I wasn’t familiar with who I was now. The person who I became, his name is Can, pronounced Khan. I took this name and this name represented the pathetic mold that I was. It became a part of me that showcased the beatings done by the depression and sadness.
Hi, my name is Khan. How may I help you? This was my new way of greeting. I didn’t know who this Khan was but this name became a part of me that reminded me who I wasn’t. It reminded me that I had lost myself to this world and now the world had its grip on me and I was lost in the maze of the sad world. My given name is Zhong Can. In Chinese, phonetically, zh is a j, o is a long o, and the c is a weird combination of t and s (ts), and short a after. Zhong Can. I took Khan over Can because I hated just the sound of Can, soda can. It was terrible! Zhong Can is the name the world gave me and it means brilliant. It’s silly how my name became an oxymoron. I went through this season believing the exact opposite.
This Is Who I Am :
My parents, the gifts from God, cannot speak Chinese at all and they butchered it when they tried pronouncing my name. It came out as Donton. You must understand that this name was the heavenly name given to me by the gifts that were my parents though! Without them I wouldn’t be alive, so I loved this name because it represents life new life given to me. When the whole world had rejected me at birth, it was these people who gave me this silly name but the silly name came with a fresh and loving life! Sadly, this was the name that died. I had rejected my righteous name.
My name is not Khan. Khan is the name that represented my weakness. It represented my inability to fight the depression and how I allowed myself to reject my former name because I didn’t think I deserved it and I thought my former was dead. It is the version that was ignorant of Christ’s salvation. Khan is now the name I see of my former self and I laugh at it. I am in awe at the sheer power of healing which God has done in me. I am grateful for the sheer amount of will He provided to overcome some of the worst doubts of depression. Khan now gives me confidence and I do not mind it anymore because it doesn’t represent my rejection of my former self. It represents how the world attempted to drag me down, and how I persevered. Khan represents how close I was to suffering eternal damnation and fire but now I am living in eternal life.
My Identity :
My name is Zhong Can, also known as Donton. I am saved and God loves me. It took me three years to finally accept my true identity. It wasn’t my control that led to me finding myself again, it was Jesus Christ and never again will I reject the name that was a blessing given to me. If you are my friend, call me Donton. Call me Donton knowing who my true identity is. I am proud of this name and this is who I am. I am a loving child of the God Almighty and Jesus Christ is my savior.
If you ever have been addicted to anything then you’d understand that when you indulge you do not care about the past or the future. What matters most is only the present and the satisfaction of temporary happiness guaranteed by the indulgence. We know from our past that our addictions are bad and that the indulgence will ultimately negatively affect our future ability to quit. However, during the present point, we feel the strong need to be happy at that singular state. All time periods are independent of each other with our indulgences. This is a sad case of how this perspective of time negatively affects people. It is the reason why it is so hard to pull out of addiction when we are gifted with that extreme sense of pleasure in the present.
The same case occurs with sexuality. God has blessed us with sexuality so that we may enjoy, in the present, our partner. However, if we indulge without that intention then it can become an addicting force that may lead us to feel trapped by our biological feelings. At the point we indulge in sexuality for manners other than the primary purpose, then it becomes the period when we shut out God. It only takes a split moment of time for us to feel so far apart from God even though we have only left him out for just a little bit.
Pleasure In Christ :
I’m talking about dopamine and endorphins and the powerful force it has on our ability to reason with the present point against the overall cumulative states. We are blessed to feel now more than the future. I believe these intense feelings released by dopamine were created by God so we could enjoy Him more. I personally am affected by this when I listen to worship. It is during this period of happiness from God that makes me most grateful for Jesus Christ and what He is. This gift can sometimes be used by the devil to trick us into what it was not intended to do. Adultery, Gluttony, and Addiction are just some of the sad consequences. It is our choice to snatch control back from the devil.
We don’t have to face this battle because it has already been won and we know it as our savior, Jesus Christ. With his resurrection, we can be assured that we have new life in Him. To feel Jesus Christ and how much His sacrifice meant to you in every moment of your day. That is what glorifying Him looks like. Jesus Christ sacrifice was sufficient for the past and the future for all of humanity. We are the living vessels to carry him through the present and the now.
Change your mindset to focus on the present and you will be forever grateful for Christ and the peace that He has brought in your life. I was born to overthink. It is innate for me to focus on the past. Then use that to decide how to avoid doing it in the future. I think of the future and what I must do in the near future to avoid that future! It used to be that the feeling of living now was last felt as a kid. A long time ago I never cared too much about what I just did nor what I will do. I just played and had fun living.
Do you know why I didn’t care about the future or past actions? It was because I had parents who would take care of the consequences from past actions. I had unconditional loving parents who would forgive my stupid kid actions. They would take care of everything in the future no matter what how many mistakes I made. No wonder I was so reckless! It is exactly like our Father and everything that He is! The Bible says for us to be like children because the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are like them. Matthew 19:14. The world might call it naive, foolish, and stupid but these are the principles that we are at war with!
There’s a reason why time goes by so fast when you’re having fun. There’s a reason why volunteering is such a gratifying experience. When we partake in those activities, we are not focused on the states of time. We are focused on something higher which can be joy, fun, charity, and many more. I ask you to focus on something higher than the world. In Jesus Christ, you’ll receive eternal rest in soul and spirit. The world is limited and it can be hard for us to believe that there is more. I am telling you that there is an entire new ceiling when we accept eternal salvation. Through that, we are stronger and more lively than we could ever be with the products of the world.
Receive the products of the Heavens and you’ll be blessed with gifts beyond the measures of material happiness. How terrified is the world when the soldiers are focused on winning the spiritual battles of now than focused on the obstacles we have no control over? This is how you live in eternity through Christ. We give the grave power over us when we have a clock running down and we fearfully focus on it. Fortunately, we have power over the grave by accepting the Savior that has conquered the grave himself!
We may be gone today, or we may pass tomorrow. When we pass we don’t want to know whether or not we should have lived our life with greater energy. If we pass and approach the gates knowing that you risked everything in order to preserve the Will, then surely, we will find salvation. Time is the only resource that we cannot gain back once we lose. The question is whether or not you will live every moment of your life with the Holy Spirit flowing, because only then does time have no hold on us. We will receive eternity in which time has no measure because, in eternity, time becomes infinite and heavenly eternity is a state of everlasting love with God Almighty. Everlasting meaning a state not bound by time.
Pain, sorrow, death is what defined my past. Salvation, Eternity, Everlasting is what has been guaranteed to me in the future. Peace, Love, Tranquility is what represents my present state I’m experiencing because of Jesus. I have given my past to God the Father, the sorrow and the joys. My future has been laid out and the Holy Spirit will have it happen that way. During this season of calmness, through Jesus Christ, I can live fully in the present not entrapped in the past nor controlled by the future. I am allowed freely to be happy now knowing Jesus Christ is alive and moving now. Why do you wish God to change the past when it has already happened? Who in their right mind would pray so much about the future as to stay stuck dwelling on the fears of the future and their uncertainties?
Being focused so much on the future takes away your ability to enjoy the blessings of today. It takes away the reason why Jesus Christ sacrificed himself, which is to allow us to live freely and love freely now and forever. The future will be taken care of, and the past has been received with grace. Time is one of the concepts that has controlled much of humanities pride. The way we perceive time makes it hard for many nonbelievers to justify there is a God. I assure you, our God lives beyond this time. He is this time, and the past, and the future flowing through all and being at all times. That is the beauty of God’s omnipresence. We are given an opportunity through Jesus Christ to live through Him now. To enjoy the blessings at this present state.
The Parking Ticket :
First, let me share a story about a parking ticket and then a view of time. I am a college student who takes the park and ride most of the time. I do it because it’s free but it requires a student ID. There are some days that I have forgotten my student ID. At the time I arrive at the university there are two possible solutions: To pay 9 bucks to park in the parking structure or to park for free on the curb. The risk of parking on the curb is if I overstay I may get a 25 dollar ticket for parking too long. There are three important stages of time that will be important in the understanding of my perspective of time.
Point One :
The first stage is the point where I have to make the decision to either pay 9 bucks or to park for free with the risk of being ticketed. At that point, I will either lose 9 or lose nothing. I chose to lose nothing and parked in the free parking.
The second stage is the point where I come back to the car to see if I got a parking ticket. At that point, I either know I lost 25 dollars or have lost nothing. What happened when I made the initial decision does not affect whether or not I have lost 25 dollars or have lost nothing at this point in time. I found out that I did indeed get a ticket of 25 dollars. Now I am at the point where I lost 25 dollars.
Period One :
The third stage occurs after the second stage after taking into account the first stage and the previous two times I’ve gone through this. The previous two times I parked in the free parking, I did not receive a ticket. During the second stages of those two times, I did not lose money. During the second stage of the time I got a ticket, I knew I had lost 25 dollars.
What if I didn’t get a ticket though? I would have gained nine bucks because I didn’t spend it in the parking structure. However, I only understood I lost 25 dollars or gained 9 bucks because I took into consideration what occurred with stage one. Additionally, with a three-point period, I paid 25 dollars for three parking days. Therefore, I ended up paying less if I were to have gone through the safe route and paid 9 dollars each time I forgot my ID. It would make sense that I should risk parking in the free parking right if given a time period I’d be saving money.
Time and the feelings and decisions associated with times exist because there are two points of time we consider. A single point of time at the moment you make a decision is independent of the past or the future. We do not know what will happen in the future, nor do we know what will happen given the past. That is not saying that the past does not affect the present or the future prospects will affect the present. What I am saying is the single time point is independent regardless of what happened given all other conditions are not considered.
Time, as we know it exists because we have two points to compare. If we did not have two points but had one point then time is obsolete since that point in time would be the only state that we are familiar with. Time can control people whether it be the past or present. It is the events that have happened in the past that brings perspective and can infect the present. It could also be the worries and uncertainty of the future that negatively affects the present. We must live in a constant state of mindful living in the present through Jesus. When we can do this then it makes it so we do not have to worry about the past or future because we have given dominion of it over to Christ.
Live Now :
An example is tithing. Tithes are financial offerings to the church. For many people, they are not in a financial situation that allows tithing to be easy. I am a college student and I have no money laying around! However, at the moment that I am asked to sacrifice what straps many to the world (money), I am overfilled with a willingness to give everything I have. Many people at the time of offering are of course in a similar scenario. What has caused me to not give as much as I should is not the present point of offering, but the future uncertainties. It is whether or not I will be provided with enough money to live through the week. It is when this idea creeps into my head which yields me to think, “Maybe I don’t need to offer anything this week”.
We all want to offer at that moment, but it is the insecurities of the future that hinders me. However, if I live all for that moment then it doesn’t hurt me. The future has not arrived yet and at that present moment I am still provided. My uncertainties of the future is a result of my worries about not being provided enough in the future. It does not come from not having enough at the present point.
Now, when we are focused on the sadness of the past, we are openly inviting the spirit of offense to infiltrate our present moment. How can you live in the present with love if you are openly inviting the spirit of offense? You can’t, and if you do then you are not living in love.
Being stuck in the past or worried about the future hinders our ability to feel Jesus Christ now. When we are so focused on whether or not we will be secured in the future, we are ignoring God’s promise to fulfill us with all of our needs inorder to fulfill our spiritual desires. Matthew 6:34. The past and the future must be associated directly with the works of Jesus Christ. Testimonies from your past in context of Jesus expects for Him to do it again in the people you are ministering to. Assurance of the future in context of Jesus expects him to provide always so that you may live fully in the Present Moment. The “free parking” is the salvation and eternal life Jesus is. It is not an easy decision and you will be judge and prosecuted. It is not the safe way out. You pay a great deal by taking the safe way out by not proclaiming Jesus. You might think it will be safer at that moment, but in the end you will be hurt. Salvation is the riskiest decision you can make and many have died for it and many more will die to spread Him. However when you do, then you’ll have made a choice that is beyond time. You’ll have made a choice which will earn you eternal salvation due to your faithfulness in Jesus Christ. Live now and prosper through Jesus.
One of the most beautiful trait of humanity blessed by God is our need to socialize with one another. I truly believe we were blessed with this quality to make it easier for us to love one another. Without socializing and connecting, the Lord’s love cannot be expel out and spread from his willing vessels. This is entirely my reason why I’m where I am. I wouldn’t be where I am on my journey with Christ without friends supporting me. I believe them to be reinforcements from God’s righteous and holy army.
The grouped that I became a part of accepted me with open arms. They groomed me to be the best that I could be. They trimmed the fat and kept me lean. When I was low they were there to catch me. I was able to help others when they weren’t so high. They became my family and they supported me through the thick and thin. This is the beauty of the body of Christ. Wherever there are two or three, there is Holy Spirit flowing through the air. My first night with this group was the first time I felt open to making friends in a long time.
I Fear :
I struggle with people and I find it difficult to connect emotionally and socially. This weakness started when I was in adolescence and I’m still struggling with it today. I used to call it my steel heart. There was a tendency for me to believe that a heart made of steel could not get hurt if nothing could penetrate it. This is a sad way of thinking. This way of thinking is thinking out of fear and not love. I described how thinking out of fear is detrimental to your relationship with Jesus Christ in my previous post. In my case, I feared love so I used to believe that locking people out would prevent me from getting heartbroken.
I could give you a billion reasons why I struggled, and my psychiatrist could give you a million more. It has been one of the traits that have been holding me back. I use to think that this weakness was going to keep me out of the gates of heaven. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my end of the new covenant. That is, to love your neighbors. I justified my fear by twisting the Word with my humane wisdom. I reasoned with my own interpretation and I was very wrong.
Stronghold – Rejection :
I realized that my newly discovered family was going to change this quality of mine. In the beginning, my understanding of the Body and how important it is was negatively poisoned by the stronghold of rejection. Before, I was okay being the lonely person sitting in the back at church. I reasoned that the relationship with Jesus is between two people. The Word states, strong is the one who prays in private and loves Him with all His heart genuinely. The problem with my acts were the reason behind them. The Word says those things to show extreme levels of love with disregard to people’s judgements. I was doing it out of the fear of being rejected and I needed a team to break this stronghold down.
Overcoming this barrier alone is difficult, but with support from other’s, it becomes a ton easier. I, alone, would have faltered. Had it not been for Dominic being the friend I needed, I would not have the courage to share my testimony. It was easier for me because I had a friend and he probably didn’t know what I was experiencing at the time. Prior, the stronghold of rejection wouldn’t allow me to open up.
In the beginning, the world had never accepted me in the first place. I was an orphan and was rejected by the world. My own biological parents had rejected me. I had no place in it, and I was deem trash and thrown away with disfigured feet. If there was any way the world could say “F*** Y**”, it would be to put a young toddler in that situation and to tell him to survive in a poverty filled country like China. I was told I was rejected when I was one and by the time my parent’s had found me, I felt so much rejection that it accumulated and transformed into hate and anger. Loving was hard and I never truly learned how to love until I was 18.
The true blessing came with my parents. My parents gave me life, but I had engraved in me rejection and hate already and I never could fully appreciate the life given to me until later. This is the main reason why rejection was such a stronghold on me. It occurred when I was a baby and I didn’t even understand the feelings involved in rejection, but only understood hate and anger. Every time that I would feel rejection, my hate and anger would grow as well.
This sense of rejection from the world is the main reason why I have no attachments to anything of this world and that includes people and relationships. I was an orphan to the world and the only value I saw from people and friends was their acknowledgment and approval. It didn’t make me feel good, but it made me fit temporarily in something that I never felt a part of.
God, my father saw something else in me. He saw how much I felt rejected by the world, yet He also saw how much I loved the world. The reason why I love the world is because there were many in the world who were rejected like me but were strong in their will and heart to overcome darkness. Those people’s ability to overcome their strongholds was the part I most admired.
Divine Family :
To the core of our existence, we are all orphans of the world. We become a part of something greater when we accept God as our identity and accept Jesus Christ’s salvation. The truth is we become a divine family together with friends and family to support us with our dad to show us the way. I love the world not because of the physical, but because of the spiritual fighters fighting. The physical cannot heal, perform miracles, and transform. It is the spiritual that can heal, perform miracles, and become something greater than anything one can imagine. It is the spiritual that can drive out demons, heal the blind, and breathe eternal life.
Though, this world had rejected me, I found acceptance in the world not from the world but from the One True God that created the world. Nothing from the world can do harm to me if I am accepted by the creator of the world. With the divine family, God’s Kingdom will conquer. This is the time to fight the hardest. We live in an era where it is easy to dismay Christianity, but the fact remains that many people are dieing to the world when they could be living in eternity within God’s realm. I have overcome my stronghold of rejection because of friends and family. You can too, but are you willing to accept a new family even if it means leaving your old one behind?
The first thing you have got to understand about Dom is that he is a clear product of God’s Love. He was not saved when I first met him. I didn’t even know he went to church when I first met him. When I met him at the church on Christmas Eve, he was going through a difficult break with his girlfriend at the time. God had told her that she should not date Dom because Dom was not saved. It was hard because Dom really loved her and she really loved Dom. Dom was saved during this breakup period though, and they got back together. This shows that sometimes things happen for a reason and although we may feel hurt, the truth is that we aren’t and the path is still paved for us to walk to get us to the point of salvation.
Dom is handsome and he dresses nice too. You could say that Dom was everything I wasn’t and I envied that. He was good at singing, played instruments, had really cool tattoos and helped me get my first. He was just ideal. I wonder why Sarah ever broke up with him in the first place but then again, I barely understand myself. None of that matters to me though because striving to be like Dom would pull me farther from Christ and my true identity in Him. God wants us to know who our real identity is and to use our Gifts to make us the best us we can be. We are the engineers who specialize in our skills He has blessed us with.
Soon after receiving the invitation I met the first people who I’d come to adore. They were a lovely young couple brimming with an adopting aura of love. To me, Glen and Heather were the mother and father our group. Most importantly there existed a sense of responsibility whom God had blessed them with. They possessed a responsibility of adoption that gave them heavenly rights to raise children who have had no contact with God to be fully embraced in God’s love. I was welcomed and adopted into those two homes instantly and I was happy.
As soon as I walked in I naturally got anxious, but it was relieved as soon as I talked to Glen. Glen is an easy guy to talk to and he was always engaged with you. Anxiety was flushed away. Heather is an incredible and beautiful woman with a good natural welcoming heart. I was so blown away when she offered to make me tea! I’m not sure what I was expecting from these two people but I was beyond satisfied. I was calm and at peace with my cup of chamomile tea.
Future Bros, and Pizza Girl Ray :
Two of my closest friends would appear that day. I would not know it because I am afraid of tall people and these were two VERY tall people. Kennen, also known as K-dog, is a great friend of mine and he is my brother in arms. He is knowledgeable and is seeking the Word fervently. That night, I gave my spiritual experience and I remember clearly he was intrigued. I could tell that he understood how real it was to me and got really excited for me. I did not know that day that he would be one of my closest bros.
Nate, also known as Nate Wood, is one who embodies God’s grace honestly. He is fire and fury when it comes to His love. I find this part admirable and I wish to become a leader like him one day. He is also tall. Regardless of their height, Nate and Kennen would become my bros in the future. The strangest thing happened in the middle of the night.
This tiny girl, Ray, also known as Cousin of Kennen, came in with her work clothes on and a Domino’s pizza. She sat down and ate that WHOLE fricken pizza! Incredible. How much does she hunger for the Lord if she hungers this much for pizza, I thought. Ray is really nice and I love the way she doesn’t back down. She is a fierce fighter indeed. I remember thinking to myself, how similar she was in character to Ray from Star Wars. I learned instantly that she loves her Corgi, and all corgis while at that. Also, don’t call her Rachel, she doesn’t like that name.
The facilitator was a woman named Courtney and she was the core of the group. No one gives her enough credit for keeping the group together and growing it. She is a great teacher, friend, and communicator. She holds everyone accountable for their attendance and checks up on us if we do not show up. Although Dom was the one who brought me, it was truly Courtney who kept me coming back. She is diligent in this and because of her dedication to God, I know she will find success in whatever she is doing in life. She is a great woman who has started a nonprofit for single teenage mothers.
Sarah, also known as Sarah-I, was the one giving the message that day. She is one of the strongest women I know and her testimony is powerful. She has gone through a lot and her ability to share her testimony with great strength and confidence to strangers is enduring to this day. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. She is the reason why I am not afraid to speak. Her message was emotional and I relate to every bit of it. I was crying underneath the shades of my pride. Her story was so honest I wish I did not have felt the need to hide my crying. I wish I could have shown her my compassion by crying.
The Rest :
There is so much to tell about each and every one of these people. I could write a whole article on each of them. All of their stories and testimonies are real and empowering. They are awakening to the spirit and provide a glimmer of hope to those who seek. There are many more people who were that night, but it is these people who made that night memorable. The message was powerful and the night was filled with the aura of Jesus. Healings happened and testimonies were shared.
At the beginning of my journey, I felt so far from God. Although I knew that He was there, I could not get rid of the feelings of being distance. It can get frustrating when you’re seeking Him, but He isn’t answering you in the way you want Him which leads to feelings of rejection. God is not like that because He loves us. It is us who cannot feel Him, because I guarantee He feels for every one of His children. I learn more about Jesus Christ every single day that I am in covenant with Him. There is no such thing as mastery of a relationship! We can only improve our relationship. The key is to understand that the relationship with Him is a growing process that takes years to develop. With patience and adamancy, the beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ will come to fruition.
Scraped Knees :
Like sports, our journey with God always begins somewhere where we are learning and making mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, then you are not learning. We must learn to fall in order to get back up and we must learn to walk before we can run. I remember when I was learning how to walk, I always had these huge bruised knees. I was born with feet not normal, they were put on backward and on their sides. Years of falling on my knees because I couldn’t walk properly was the evidence. Ambitious, I found a way to walk. The key was I never stopped moving. Moving forward and backward because they were like stilts and standing still was nearly impossible. Surely if I can find a way to walk with that, then we can find a way to be in a relationship with Him.
Honestly, the hardest time for me was at the beginning of my relationship with God because my fundamental concepts were being challenged. It is usually the time where our only knowledge of Him is from other people and from sources. It is difficult to discern heavenly wisdom and your wisdom. Learning about Christ is like drinking tea with a teacher. If your tea is so full, how can the teacher fill your cup with tea? The teacher may overfill your cup with tea, but your tea is still mixed in. If you want the purest tea from the teacher, it is best to empty your cup as to be a willing cup accepting his tea. Then you get the full mighty tastiness of his tea.
Trust the Process :
We may arrive at the church because we are hurt and we don’t know what to turn to. When we are hurt we become so desiring of healing that we rush things through with Him. We may not prefer quality time with Him, but rather that He rushes to work his grace. Like a chick who must proceed to struggle in order to gain the strength to break his eggshell. For if the eggshell was broken before the chick was strong enough, then the chick will most certainly die because the chick is not strong enough to survive the real world. Like the chick, we must struggle in the beginning not to feel more pain but to attain the strength we receive when we are fighting every day. Rush it, and when bad times come we will most certainly fall and perhaps fall further.
I am impatient so I really struggle with long-term goals. I was the same way with Jesus Christ and I saw that it was faulty because the relationship with Him doesn’t end. If you are in it for the 15-year plan then you’re in it for the wrong reason! When you commit, you commit not only for this life but for ALL eternity. I felt like in the beginning, the process was going to take ages. The reason many people are not willing to commit is the amount of time required. We worry about our time and whether the effort will be worth it. This becomes extremely nagging when we are suffering and just want that quick fix. I assure you when you have nothing to lose there is no greater investment than in the relationship with Him!
It is so much better to go into this journey with a friend. My friend Dominic had invited me to a group of young adults who were in fellowship with God. I was initially ecstatic, but then old habits rushed back. Anxiety filled me and I became a nervous wreck. I wanted to go, yet at the same time, I figured it’d be easier if I didn’t. I was thinking out of fear, which came from the devil. It was the fear of being singled out and being in a stranger’s place as a stranger that put me off. This fear-thinking reasoned to myself that I didn’t need to go because I would get less out of it than good. It was that fear-thinking that tricked me into believing that I would be hurt and that I didn’t need to be hurt if only I didn’t go.
However, it was being contested with thinking out of love, which came from God. I wasn’t going to be fooled by the devil any longer. Even though my power in Christ was dormant and I didn’t realize it, it was Him who caused me to be ecstatic. It was that little power that enabled me to go ahead and accept the invitation. I was thirsty and I had a friend who was there for me. God had paved the way for me and now it was up to me to go come through.
I would ask Jordan, the youth pastor, a year later from that point, “Is it that perfect love drives out fear, or that true love leaves no room for love?” He couldn’t give me an answer, but what I can tell you is that when you are thinking out of love you become so preoccupied that fear has no way to creep in. If you condition your thinking to be through Christ then fear cannot take root. Fear is similar to the seed that guides spiritual growth in that it must set and root itself, but unlike the seed of life, it sucks the life out of you. Leave it no good soil for it to take root and you will give fear no chance to take root. I believe in the power of Jesus Christ to fulfill that promise.
I really am grateful for Dom for being there for me. He probably didn’t notice the pain but hiding pain is something that I’ve gotten good at. However, when it comes to these life groups, there is no pain that can be hidden. In order to grow, everything must be put on the table. Healing starts when we expose ourselves and become vulnerable. That was the difficult part because I had already decided at that point that it wasn’t going to work for me. These groups though have a tendency to break you down. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Because ya know, Christianity is supposed to be boring. Right?
As soon as I walked into the doors of the church you could tell from my awkwardness that I did not fit in. On most days, other peoples perception and judgments would be the first thing on my mind. Anxiety and just feeling like I’m not fitting in would have crowded my mind. Today was different because of two things. It was Christmas Eve and I was there with my brother and his wife and for the first time, I wanted to be there. There were no feelings of obligations, but rather I was desiring something to happen. I expected something extraordinarily to take place and expectations were beyond met.
I was skeptical of church and what it represented. It was very interesting to see the majestic traditional Catholic churches that my parents grew up with and the enormous contemporary churches of the newer age. Stepping into a traditional Catholic church fills you with this sense of humbleness because in it, you were small and everything around you was adorned with God’s touch. It always felt surreal.
The church that I was visiting was contemporary in that it wasn’t like the traditional church. It was very basic and nothing striking and the power came not from the ornaments in the church, but rather the rejoicing voices and spirits of the believers within. This feeling, I thought I could get used to. I’m not a big fan of materialistic goods because goods eventually diminish. To me, things that are not materialistic will stay forever.
I know it was Christmas Eve, but the aura of the church was supernatural and you cannot give credit to a holiday. I felt a sense of acceptance and excitement. Those are words that rightfully describe Christianity. Unfortunately, to those outside the truth, Christianity represents the exact opposite. I felt that way for a long time but there was always something deeper to Christianity that I was attracted to and I grew that something that day.
I’m not sure if my pastor saves the best sermon for Christmas and Easter, but that seriously what this sermon felt like. We sat on the upper balcony and I was crying within 10 minutes of worship. The first song that really spoke to my heart was Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. It called to action for my heart to cry not in sadness, but in happiness. Now everyone seems to have Reckless Love as their favorite song, but this song really did mean something special to me. It was the song that made me realize that it was okay to cry.
Sometimes crying can be seen as weakness in society, but I believe it is a value that is not appreciated enough. Whether it is for happiness or sadness, crying shows extreme amounts feelings. They include empathy, happiness, gratefulness, sadness, and everything like that. It empowers the individual to feel what they feel to the fullest. Sometimes it can hurt us when we are sad. However, when you are happy it becomes the catalyst that propels you to remember the past.
In the case of this service, I was flooded with memories of uselessness, regret, sadness, helplessness, and plain weakness. The tears flowing from my eyes were happy tears. I realized that those feelings were fights that took place in the past that I overcame. The fact that I was alive and thirsting for Him was evident that I am beyond blessed.
God’s Way :
From the night that I was called to be his Warrior, I wanted to be engaged with him with one hundred percent effort. My brother was part of a group at the church and he suggested that I find my group. The idea sounded nice but mustering up the courage to actually move forward was difficult. I didn’t know anyone in the church! My brother directed me towards Jordan. Jordan is the youth pastor and is just full of energy. Sometimes, it can be intimidating when you are shy but it is very contagious.
I awkwardly stumbled towards him and introduced myself. Remembering it makes me cringe every time. I didn’t know how to talk to people! Here I was, telling him to set me up with God! The thing is, sometimes we think there are easy and set ways to meet Christ but there isn’t. I’ve come to believe that you must trust in Him to allow Him to set you up with Him. That is not saying that you don’t have to be proactive. I’m saying God’s way will be different from your way. Trust in that. It turns out that when I gave Jordan my phone number, he never contacted me. I was waiting for the call but it never came. Something greater happened.
As soon as I made my awkward exchange with Jordan, I actually saw some very good friends from work! I was so excited to see them at this church that I was called to go to. It would be this man, Dominic, that would bring me to the arms of a new family. This was a family centered around God. It would be a family that I could call upon when times are weak and when I could be called upon when my siblings were weak. Even though Jordan had never called me back, there was another brother in arms who did more than call me. He brought me hand in hand to the gates of his Kingdom. He was the brother who helped me overcome my anxiety to bring me to fellowship with Him.
I do not know what would have happened if Jordan would have called me back. It could have resulted in something amazing or it could result in nothing. What I do know is that my destined meeting with Dominic meant more to me now than what could have happened with Jordan. I would have it no other way to come into fellowship with Jesus Christ. The path set forth by the Lord for you to follow is unknown to us but our God knows it very well. This is the path that I trust. If I were to force my “path” it could have been detrimental to our relationship. I may take the opportunity for God to work in my life.
Pray, Receive, Carry Through :
We all fall victim to believing that our “path” is right. Sometimes we may be confused and believe that our “path” is the path being told from God. Worse, sometimes we are tricked into our “path” and we justify it. This confusion will usually lead to a dark place. The only way to really know our path is to ask and to keep asking for more. Not only ask, but to listen and to listen deeply. Then when we have listened to Him, we have to act and to act always with Him as our purpose. It is a process of molding you into His helper, but it is a cycle and it becomes easier with experience. I have found that when we act for him, it is easier to then ask more from him. Through Jesus Christ, our tapping of his power and usage of his Love is only limited by our own actions.
Today we celebrate a special holiday that is dear to everyone’s heart. Because today is Thanksgiving, and everyone with a little bit of searching can find something to be thankful for. This is my story.
There’s really a lot to be thankful for in life, but sometimes life can construe what we should be thankful for. We may feel life happening too fast to realize what we should really be thankful for. This includes the small and the big stuff. I’m a strong believer in appreciating the small so you can mindfully enjoy life’s pleasant moments during every part of the day.
If you had to ask me what I was most thankful for in my entire life for this year, then I would struggle to find an answer for the reason stated above. However, there was a moment today when I realized what my heart truly was most thankful for this year. It is beyond any doubt, grace. Grace is really hard to define. When I asked my sister what God’s grace is and what it meant to her I realized that our definitions didn’t match up. There is nothing wrong with that but it made me realize what God’s grace meant to me even more. God’s grace is the same for everyone but how we interpret it and experience His grace is up to us.
Grace To Me :
To me, grace was my Father’s desire to be with me and to call me His child as I call out to him as my Father with His truest identity residing in me. God’s grace to me was the constant portrayal of love towards me which overpowered any and all blasphemy coming from my sinful spirit. This, to me, is the saving grace that I needed because for a while I believed I was undeserving of His love.
What led me to believe this way was my constant testing of God’s identity and my ignorant blasphemy of Him. To me, there is no greater sin than blasphemy because blasphemy is not of this earth and it is a direct attack on God coming from our spirit of which our God has blessed us with. It is a teenage rebellious phase. I knew how powerful God’s love was to overcome my sin, but coming to terms with it was difficult.
God’s grace saved me because even though I made my mistakes, He saw me not for my actions but for my love and my potential to spread His love. I cannot express how thankful I am. It is this undeserving power and strength that allows me to walk in confidence each day. I walk in confidence through Christ because of my faith that if I fall, God’s grace will catch me before I fall and hit the pits of the abyss. Knowing this allows me to live my life to the maximum awareness of the little things in life.
Power of Grace :
God doesn’t leave His children forgotten because we are His most loved. It was God’s grace that put Scott in my life to save me from suicide. It was God’s grace that put Scott in my life while I was eating Chicken and Kale in the Panda Express dining area at the University of Minnesota – Twin CIties. God’s graceful charity allowed me to see how much love there was that was within my reach. I was impoverished and filled with anger and hate but it was God’s grace that eased me.
Above all else, it was God’s grace that put Redre Nelach in my life as a friend. Nelach was like no one else and she was embodied with the full armor of God. She was brilliantly lit up with His spirit and ran steadfast into the darkness of souls. Perhaps it was this trait that I found most admirable. I once told my group leader, “The longer you stare into the stars of the night, the more stars you will see.” Very few people understand this and even a smaller percentage live by this. Nelach was one who stared into the darkness of all souls to see the Lod’s light.
Champion of Grace :
Nelach was a champion of God’s grace and expressed wholeheartedly it. I fell in love with this. When I met her, I had just come back from the Twin Cities and I lost all my friends and never bothered to make new ones. I never would have thought that God’s grace would put her in my life, yet He did. For that, I am extremely thankful. Nelach made me smile on days when even lifting my eyes was hard. A radiant of energy spread from her chest as if it was about to burst.
I learned a great deal from her. Nelach has reminded me what life was and what God could provide. When I didn’t believe in myself, she believed in me. When I didn’t see good in myself, she saw the good in me! What is God’s grace but not that! Nelach must never know what she means to me because she has served God’s Will in my life beyond our Fathers expectation. For that, I am thankful. During my weakest moments, she provided graceful charity to a soul yearning.
She became the personification of Jesus Christ’s Living Hope on earth. I saw in her, what I hadn’t seen in anyone on earth. When all else failed, it was her that taught me during my hardest battles :
“You know how in winter everything seems so dead? Although everything looks dead, the trees’ roots are growing deeper. They are becoming stronger.”
Living with Grace :
God’s grace has saved me from the depths of hell and has raised me to become a champion for the weak like Nelach. If I can become half the man as Nelach was then I would be much satisfied. This is what I’m most thankful for this year. Realizing the significance of grace and how it has filled me with holy energy as it did with Nelach is what I’m most thankful for. Because of Redre Nelach, I am able to live every day to the fullest. I am willing to ride steadfast into the darkest of nights to lend a helping hand. God bless her and God bless the seeds she nourishes. I am her seed and for that, I am most thankful for.
I want to challenge you to view what I’m about to share with you with an open heart. I want to try an exercise where you envision yourself as an engineer. Picture yourself as an engineer. If you don’t know what an engineer is then I can describe what it means to be an engineer to me. Understanding how an engineer works to solve problems can help us in our daily lives to live a life where our problems can easily be solved.
Throughout elementary school, I was taught the main subjects: Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Art, and Gym. I’m sure that unless you go to a special school then you may have encountered a curriculum like mine. The problem with the curriculum is that it doesn’t really have any practical use beyond the classroom. You could argue that Gym could teach you to be physical. Art could teach you to be creative. English could teach you to communicate. Social Studies could teach you to visualize. Science could teach you discovery. Math could teach you patterns.
The current education system was developed and structured to answer the demands for manufacturing jobs and the education system’s purpose really hasn’t changed much then. All these skills are necessary for life, but what are skills unless you have a purpose for them? This is what I mean when I say that it isn’t a curriculum practical for real life. Unless you have the inherent skill to solve a creative problem with creativity, then being creative is “practically” useless in the sense of solving creative problems.
You are not introduced to what engineering is until you get a formal education beyond primary school. An engineer is not limited to a specific field like electrical or mechanical. In fact, engineers can range from all sorts of fields: biomedical, chemistry, agriculture, water, civil, and many others. The specific knowledge relating to each field of engineering is independent of each other and it is not what makes an engineer an engineer.
An Engineer :
To me, an engineer is a professional who uses known processes and procedures to develop a product or solution that solves an applicable problem. They give solutions to real-world problems. Engineer is less concerning of the knowledge of their domain but rather the way of thinking when it comes to tackling problems. Solution-oriented thinking with knowledge of the limitations imposed.
Holy Body :
The reason why I bring this topic up isn’t to bore you but to show you what the kingdom of heaven truly is. The kingdom of heaven is one body through Christ. Each cell in the body of Christ is interconnected to Him, our savior, and to other fellow cells or Christians. Each cell, as you probably have guessed, is truly an engineer. The engineer can be of various fields depending on the skills as you can see with the various different types of earthly engineers. Each cell will have the unique strength they possess.
Not everyone is supposed to be one specific type of engineer. What makes the body of Christ the strongest is the diversity in our engineers. What is most important about the body of Christ is not the individual’s cell’s specific skills but rather the fact that each cell in the body of Christ is operating like an engineer with the same processes and procedures set in place by our Father. If the body of Christ can do this in unison, then we will be stronger together. As long as we find our specific engineer domain and work diligently using the processes and procedures set forth by our Father then we will surely find success.
The Blueprint :
Our processes and procedures on how to structure our problem-solving skills relating to navigating life have been set forth by Jesus Christ alone. There are two fundamental ones. Love your God. Love your neighbor. We maximize our innate abilities when we follow those processes and procedures. Engineers are the problem solvers and the problems are plenty of the world. Sin, nonbelievers, enemies, and many more.
“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Traps of the Earth :
We live in a society filled with traps tormenting us to do wrong. To think the wrong way! To follow false idols and their processes and procedures even though we know are wrong but still fall prey to. Money, sexuality (men and women), greed, gluttony, and sadly many more. The most dangerous trap is our mind and humanly wisdom. When we proclaim our wisdom as just and decree our own processes and procedures over the Father’s, then that is period when we are trapped the most!
There is none but one way to remove the trap surrounding us! It is Jesus Christ and his Commandments for us! It is the sacred covenant He has made so we are allowed to love abundantly without being held back. Will you accept the covenant as to remove the traps that are waiting for you? When you accept his covenant then no trap will be set off or harm you when you traverse them.
Have you not heard that if you get slapped in the cheek, then you should turn the other one too? We fight the problems of the world not through our own processes and procedures, but with the first two fundamental commandments! This is truly beginning of healing for the wounded hearts who have been plagued by the world.
Untapped Potential :
Know that every enemy you deem an enemy is little to you but to our God, the enemy is His righteous child. The enemy is just lost and not found. It is our duty as radical Christians to engineer a world that fulfills his Will on earth as it is in Heaven through the framework in which Christ has provided for us to overcome darkness. When you want to defeat an enemy who sets traps around you, you best put the most powerful and divine trap within you. This way of living life is what separates Radical Christians because the Lord knows that it is very difficult to live with his most holy trap in you. However, our Father also knows it’s much easier to when we have Jesus Christ as our anchor.
The cells of the body of Christ are indeed God’s helper and we are on this planet to do far more than being scientists trying to do nothing but create problems from problems. We get nowhere if we do that. We are sent to fix the darkness that plagues this world and to bring light to all so all can see by the Word and our righteous battle through Jesus Christ.
When you are a Christian it is easy to walk the walk and talk the talk, the defining difference between a Radical Christian and a christian in it for the label is whether you will exchange the Soul Exchange. Would you be so desperate and so craving of salvation that you’re willing to give up your old soul? The soul which was deprived of a heavenly spirit and the little that was there only sucked on the evils of this world? The little satisfaction the world provides cannot be compared to Jesus’s salvation but it is the only feeling we ever knew. When goods of the world and sin satisfy our souls for 30 seconds, it becomes extremely hard to be willing to part with them. This sense of control of our “happiness” is what binds the world to our soul and prevents us from fully exchanging ours for Jesus’s salvation.
Fallen Knees :
I ran inside because it was freezing and locked myself in the darkness of the bathroom next to my parent’s bedroom. I wanted to be close. I needed to be close. I needed to feel God feel my feelings for them.
Release your control in exchange for God’s control. It is difficult for us but that is what must be done in order to fully be saturated in the Lord because Jesus can only be in a relationship with you if you possess a heavenly soul primed to communicate. The first step is always showing some form of submission to His almighty power and asking the Lord for his mercy, grace, love, life, and saving at the altar. My form of submission was falling to my knees begging for Him. It is to feel your soul break apart with great pain, in order to allow Jesus Christ hold it in His hand and to mend it a new soul which can hold our new heavenly spirits. Through our spirit, incredible miracles happen and through our spirit, we feel the Lord like never before. I wonder if God would be disappointed knowing my altar was on the toilet of my childhood home.
The Altar :
I will be blunt, God could give two-shits about where in the world your altar is. The altar does not have to be an elegant and majestic raised area covered with marbled with holy artifacts surrounding. Look, an altar is a divine spiritual experience that cannot be bound to an item or object, it is a powerful event that transcends all earthly artifacts and when that event happens it is more beautiful than the Big Bang for when that event happens, angels in the heavens sing and our God smiles. That event is the event when you are so tired and weary of this world thereafter you crave for Jesus’s salvation. It is a beautiful defining moment in every Christians’ life. We all have an altar and it doesn’t have to be in front of an audience. There’s only one audience it’s God, with Jesus and His Holy Spirit. That’s your audience. This is why I truly believe He would not be disappointed knowing the moment that I cried out to him was on the toilet. This is why I truly believe he was happiest when I was on that toilet. So a toilet can be a place for a saving. Hallelujah, praise the Lord! Honestly, what He saw was one of his children seeking him like how a baby cries out to his mother for survival. I was crying out to my Father for nourishment because I was starving for life.
Flowing Spirit :
I was crying for the Lord and for his guidance for 5 hours straight. I cried so much I needed a break to rehydrate. I didn’t know I could feel so much because I was emotionless the previous three years. It felt really refreshing to me though and crying out to him made me realize how ignorant I was the past few years. Actually, my whole life. I remember just willing to give up my soul because I couldn’t do it alone and this soul was not made for an individual. This soul was made to do God’s will. I remember asking for God to take my weakness and shame. I remember asking God to give me a soul which would not be bounded by this would but be unlimited in growth through a spirit that would reach beyond the sun and moon. A spirit so strong and inflamed in your love that it would reach you and the heavens. A spirit compatible and desiring of Jesus Christ. I prayed with all the praying muscle I could muster up for your grace and mercy. He was the answer to my questions and I knew it deep inside my heart. I have never prayed so hard or cried so much for God Almighty. It woke me up filled with a renewed energy and I was primed to start my Christian life. The exchanging of your control to our Father is powerful because we are made in His image and so we also have His love and when we choose to give up our side of the equation is when the Lord can fully assert his power in your life. It truly is stronger when an individual actively chooses Christ out of love and not obligation and fear.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
New Beginnings :
What was your first altar? What was the first moment you were willing to give up your soul for a new soul compatible with Jesus Christ our savior? Endings are not truly endings. They are fresh beginnings. Can you not see? When I gave up my soul it was not the end of myself. It was a brand new blessed beginning with Jesus Christ my savior. I realized a soul of the world exchanged for a soul of holiness is eternal life. Following in the steps of Jesus provides you great amounts of resilience, grit, and toughness when the world tries to put you down. God build upon our strengths, not our weaknesses and Jesus allows us to use our strengths to the fullest. It was a huge step for me and honestly, I was uncomfortable but there a sense of relief knowing that death, whether it be me, my parents, or the world would not hold me back.
Father, The World :
Father, I pray for all of humanity to find their peace at your altar. I pray they find their altar to be the moment they realize that they need you. There is no greater love than your salvation and through your Son’s sacrifice and resurrection, we are redeemed. I pray that those who have found peace are engulfed in your holiness and are strengthened beyond their human limitations. I pray we, your kingdom fighters on earth, will have the audacity to live our life in your name and to have the strength to rise above the persecutions and oppression of the world. Lord, you are the truth and the way and through Jesus Christ, we may know you. I pray We, your children, are granted mighty power to fulfill your will. Thank you for watching over us and helping us mend our broken souls in order to empower and equip our spirits with the will of fire of the one true high God.