Seven months ago I set sail for a place I called “God’s will”. Seven months ago I dreamed a dream and decided to pursue it. Seven months ago I started my journey. Several of you came with me. Thank you.
     A lot can happen in seven months and lot did happen. As much as I would love to write about every single experience, revelation, and observation, I can’t. I’m not a professional writer and if I was I still don’t think I could. It’s a hard life, fam. But what I can do, I will do; what I can say, I will say; what I can write, you better believe I will write. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably noticed a few changes around my blog. I did, too! My intention is to keep refining both my content and my platform through out the next six months. I really want to give all I can to what I can. In other words: keep ridin’ with me! It’s going to get exciting. Alright let’s get it! The first of the new and the beginning of the movement.
     While I was studying God in New Zealand, I had several encounters with him that I cannot forget. I don’t want to either. These encounters I want to share with you not only impacted me at the time but still, months later and thousands of miles distant, they are constantly pushing me. They are very important to me and I know they can become so to anyone else with whom I share them. That’s why I want to share them: they are a testimony and they are a prophecy. Listen and consider. I don’t share these encounters lightly because they have become so valuable to me. I treasure them. I share them because I treasure you, too. Today I want to share the first one:
     the altar.
      About halfway through lecture phase on my school at YWAM Zion, I had one of the most memorable encounters of my life. See, about halfway through this phase God started giving me a lot to take in. It seemed every time I read my Bible, every time I went for a walk, every worship session, even when I star gazed, my Jesus was speaking. He spoke to me inside my mind with a still small voice. And when he did my heart began to heal and to grow. He showed me things I never knew before, he literally taught me straight from his mouth through his Holy Spirit. And one day, we shared a moment. It was a normal day as far as I can remember, a Friday morning I think. Fridays meant seven a.m. devotionals, breakfast and Jesus time, and then a worship session before lectures. I’m going to try to remember exactly how this moment started but it was a bit of a while ago and some of my info might be mixed with others. For the lead up, that is. Anyway. I woke up this fine summer day thinking one simple question: what is God passionate about?? So I read. I read all over the place in the Gospel of John. I read about the time Jesus asked his disciple, “Peter, do you love me?” When his disciple said yes of course Jesus told him feed my sheep. That thought staid in my mind. Later, I found myself in the worship session flipping through the book of John. This time I read the passage where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. I lay my life down for my sheep. There are sheep in other flocks, I must find them. ” Only moments later, I was standing in front of the world map still in the middle of worship. All of a sudden what God had been hinting at through the written word became so evident. My heart became desperate for the world and as I stared at the map, God showed me his passion. I knew exactly what he was telling me. Simply: I invite you to lay your life down for the sake of my sheep. Lay aside your rights so that they can join my flock. My Lord. It’s hard to describe the emotion of that moment. All I remember is that I wanted to lay everything down as fast as possible, the reward was too great to miss. So I knelt down. I said, “God, here’s the altar. And here’s me. All my dreams and all my fears. Everything good and beautiful I desire. I’m putting myself here so that through me you can save those sheep. I willingly allow you to take whatever would hinder that.” I don’t remember the exact words. All I know is I came to place of real and total surrender. That was the altar. Then God spoke. His words shook me so hard I physically spun from my knees to my side and sat up against the wall. This is all he said: this is an acceptable, pleasing sacrifice. I think that was it. It was enough. The pleasure of God and his heart of overwhelming passion slammed me. All the lies about not being good enough, about not being qualified, about not deserving to be involved in ministry, boom. They were quiet. I knew enough about the sacrifices in the Old Testament to know that an acceptable sacrifice had to be perfect. I knew it was because of Christ that I can be seen that way by God. The joy though. Honest. I thought happiness and comfort and fun was the best. Then I experienced joy. Oh it hurt to lay down my heart! I knew what it meant. But the smile of God was worth it.
     Only two months later I was in Uganda and I had opportunity after opportunity to share the truth of Jesus Christ. I got to see his children come home, the lost sheep become found. The joy was real.
     This is the passion of God: that we enter into such an intimate place with him we are willing to lay everything down for a smile. And when we lay what we think is the best plan for our life down, he replaces it with one a thousand times better. Fam, that’s a win win.
     Now I’m back home. And again and again, He invites me to come to the altar. Stay with me, He says. When I get overwhelmed by the reality of pain, when I try to fix every situation, when I begin to worship something less then Him, when I settle for my own plans, I go back to the altar. Sometimes I feel his smile and I get up lighter than ever before. Sometimes I don’t. All I know is that it is worth it in the end if just one more person is touched by Love. That’s my motivation. My testimony. And my joy. It can be yours, too.