Roughly two years ago, I picked up a guitar for the first time. My intentions in learning guitar was so that God would use me to lead his congregation in worship. I knew complaining about worship in church wouldn’t fix things. It’s easy to say what’s wrong, it’s not so easy to get your hands dirty to fix it. I will not boast in my abilities, but I will boast that God’s power was at work in allowing me learn so dang fast. I literally was able to learn basic strumming patterns within two weeks. Before I knew it, I was leading worship within less than a year, and now I’m at a point where I want to actually get GREAT at guitar. For me, I feel like guitar is easy to learn, but hard to master. I’ll continue to allow God to use me in whatever ways he can. I don’t know…This was just a thought that went through my mind today. I pray and I ask you readers to pray for me that my heart is humbled :)
I’m not the type to worry, especially when it comes to material things, but when it comes to relationships, I freak-the-crap-out. I just don’t mean with girls or what not, I mean with anyone. I also don’t mean I would randomly start to think about things too much when there should be no reason for me to. I mean when something actually does happen that would effect a relationship I have with a person, I start running all these hypothetical situations in my head. The “what if’s”…Those are the worst! I realize I freak out because these things are out of my control. This life of mine is too short, and even Jesus says “Who will add a day in his life by worrying?”. Once again it’s the constant battle between flesh and faith.
I feel like this is a sweet beginning to the end. Stony Brook has less than a 10% acceptance rate to their nursing school and now that I’m in I need to focus on what matters. My number one goal and probably my number one struggle for next semester is discipline. I love being a free-spirit, doing what I want when I want, but nursing school is no joke. I can no longer study when I want to and sleep and wake whenever I want. I know discipline is a huge thing when it comes to the Christian walk and it’s something I’ve been lacking. Anyway, this post isn’t about discipline and I kind of just got side-tracked. The point of this post is to tell you about what happened when I found out I got into nursing school.
To be totally honest, I feel like I had a good chance of getting in, but at the same time those feelings were paralleled with feelings of doubt. I think the hardest part about it was the wait, the anticipation. From the moment I submitted my application, it was all faith from there. I don’t like to use the term “let go let God”, because people usually use it as an excuse to not do anything and hope that God would do the work, but at that point it was literally out of my hands. I always told myself that when I found out that I got into nursing school I would be doing jumping jacks and cartwheels while screaming at the top of my lungs. That did not happen. I was at Stony at the time and I was sleeping in my old room. It was 11 AM and I was dreading signing up for classes. Why? Well let me list the reasons for you.
- I had to plan everything out to make sure I got all the proper courses that I needed so I would graduate in a year.
- I would have to overload my schedule with psychology classes for next semester.
- I would probably not get into a lot of those classes due to budget cuts.
So everything I listed above was before I found out I got into nursing school. My plan b was the finish up my psych degree and apply for the one year program. Well…God was good and I got into the two year program. As I logged on to Solar (The website that Stony Brook students use to pay for rooming/classes/food, apply for rooming, classes, and all that jazz). Well, under the category “My student applications” there was a tab that I’ve never seen before. It said “My decision” or something like that. I knew what it was and I was scared out of my mind because the results of a year and a half of work was just a click away. I said a short prayer and it pretty much went like this:
God…Whatever happens I know it’s part of your plan… BUT PLEASE LET ME IN THIS NURSING SCHOOL !!!
And with that, I clicked the link and all I saw was “Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to…” and I was like O_O, and then I scrolled tot he bottom and there were two links:” I accept, I decline”, I clicked accept and I said a prayer to God thanking Him. I didn’t shout for joy, I didn’t scream, I didn’t do cartwheels…I simply thanked Him. Then I called my dad, and being the Asian parent he is who doesn’t like to show emotion he just said “That is good…Go tell your mom”. And my mom being the Asian parent she is, she said “Good”, or something along those lines. I know deep inside they were really happy and really relieved. They’ve been bothering me since day one about when I’d find out. Well with that said, let me say that God is good and that anything is possible. I simply ask you guys pray for me as I embark on this journey called Nursing School. I do not expect it to be a simple task and it’d probably be foolish to even think so, but I ask that God meets me in this place and that I discipline myself in my time management.
By the way this thing is really long, so I’m not even going to bother to proofread it. K BYE!
So for the past 5 days I’ve been at Stony Brook God has taught me to be dependent on others. Trying to save money, I told myself I’d spend less than $50 while here at Stony and I have all thanks to the brothers and sister’s I have here at Stony Brook spotting me with their meal points. Many of us choose to be independent and it makes us really comfortable when we can rely on our own resources. Ultimately God has taught me to be dependent on Him. Isaiah 40:27-31 states:
27 Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
I am so used to control that when things get out of MY control I start to worry and feel weak, but God says here that it is okay to feel weak. We are human and even if we were filled with riches, even if we were able to run 30 mile marathons, or can study 8 hours a day; we are still going to grow tired and weary. So if you’re tired right now whether financially, academically, physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually I encourage you to just put down whatever you’re doing, and just ask God to renew your heart. It requires faith and if we are truly honest with God and ourselves than I truly believe God will answer your prayers.
I shouldn’t have gotten a large Slurpee at 3 AM…I’M STILL AWAKE AND I CAN’T SLEEEPEEPEPEPEPEPPSADFSDF.
I don’t know what it is, but being at home drains the life out of me. I can’t seem to live my own life without something interrupting it. No I don’t mean people need help and I want to be selfish and just live my own life and let them be, but more along the lines that I am told how to live my life by those closest to me. I’ve had a rant post before this but I realize it’s those who are closest to me that that do this. It’s almost like I can never make anyone happy and in result I’m not happy. I really miss the sense of fellowship in college and without it I can see my walk with God not going so well. I wish my church had a sustainable college fellowship, it is one of the cons in being a commuter church. People from all boroughs makes it hard to fellowship. In two years everyone should be back and we’ll see how it goes from there. I was looking at twitter today and I ran by this verse:
Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
What powerful words…This is something I definitely struggle with…How is it that I find it easy to get things done for church whether it’s worship stuff or fellowship stuff, yet I find it so hard to fight battles of self-control in my own life? Well, I ask you guys just pray for me as I continue on here at home being miserable, because it’s taking a lot more patience than I thought and a surely a lot more patience than I can bear.
I prayed a prayer not too long ago asking God to humble my heart. I’ve been living on the easy track for the past couple of months and I must confess my life has been full of sloth and gluttony. I remember the reason for my prayer: so that I could live life more Christ-like. Well let me go with the first thing that has been bothering me: my job. My job consists of calling people and asking them if they want to take an accident prevention course. Well for one, I am not used to asking people that I don’t know to do things, and number two I am not used to people rejecting me. I will be totally honest with you, I am not used to rejection. I am used to people liking me and when I find out someone doesn’t like me, I choose to just ignore them or not think about it. It might be a sense of pride that I have in myself that I don’t really think of consciously but it is sub-consciously there. I know I am a likable person but it isn’t something I flaunt. Every single call that I make I am scared to death of the person rejecting me. This has been bothering me for some time now and you might say “Joel, just leave the job and find something else that is easier… Well, I think God might actually have a plan for me, he might be building me mentally and emotionally to give me a tiny, JUST a tiny fraction of what it was like for Jesus to be rejected. I know this will build my character and even though I suck at this job I’ll continue on with it. In the beginning I was all about the money for this job…But…The money doesn’t mean much to me anymore as I’m trying to use this to better myself. This is another reason why I am scared to evangelize, knowing full well that I have EXCELLENT NEWS for a person but being scared of rejection. Maybe this is a way for God to prepare me for something. Like, “Okay Joel…I know you aren’t good at spreading the good news, but here, let me start you off with something smaller, just call people and ask them to take this driving course and maybe soon you’ll understand how it feels like to be rejected”. It may sound dumb but this is something I am actually really scared of… Like REALLY scared of. The funny thing is though…I’m not really that afraid of public speaking, I’m more afraid of one to one conversations because it’s more personal. So I sit there with all these thoughts going through my head as I’m about to call the next person, and in anticipation as I’m waiting and the phone rings, no one picks up. I continue this over and over again and 80-90% of the time no one picks up…I know I’ll get used to this after a while but I have a feeling God is using this so I can share this in a testimony: “I was once deathly afraid of evangalism…I didn’t know where to start and everytime I got rejected I became more and more discouraged…Up to the point where I decided to stop…Then God had other plans for me, he gave me an opportunity to talk to others but the consequences of them rejecting me for this other good news (saving 10% on your car insurance) were not as big, but it was still rejection. In this world as Christians, we will be rejected and spit upon…And God is starting me somewhere small…”The number two thing that has been bothering me is school. I am only taking a three credit course but how is it that I find it so hard to study? It’d ridiculously hard for me to take an hour or two of my day just to study…Maybe it’s because this job situation is bothering me so much. I have it all planned out…I work from Monday to Wednesday, and maybe sometimes squeeze in a Saturday if I need the cash, and then study some everyday…But the more free time I have…The harder it is to study and the bigger hole I dig myself into as I procrastinate. I need to study more and I plan to right after this post. The number three thing that has been bothering me is my family. Being at home so much, I am going insane having to deal with my parents. My parents don’t ever really compliment…At least not me. I would say of all my siblings, I am the most care-free. It might be because I am the youngest so I am spoiled to death, but they don’t really compliment me. They call me lazy, careless, messy, unorganized and time and time again they keep comparing me with other people. At first it didn’t phase me, but after a while it started to bother the crap out of me. Word’s can do a lot of damage to people, and even though my parents mean well it bothers me a lot. I don’t have any privacy here at home and that also affects me when I am trying to WORK. How the crap do I make calls when I have my mom walking around distracting me?! It’s hard enough as it is but she is always bothering me somehow! Time and time again I tell myself to just find a job where I can be outside of home and not be bothered here but like I said…No more taking the easy way out…
With all that said, I feel hopeless but God is telling me to press on. In time all will be well… It may not be tomorrow…It may not be next week but it will be soon. I think all of this could be dealt with if I just learn to humble myself. One of favorite quotes come from C.S. Lewis
Humility is not thinking less of yourself…But thinking of yourself less
I need to stop thinking “what if this person rejects ME”, or “why can’t my parents just leave ME alone”, and just stop thinking about my own pride and selfishness and start to think about others…I don’t know…I feel kind of depressed. I don’t know what it is, it may be the fact that I am not in college and this transition home is so harsh…Who knows. All I know is that God is sculpting me and he has plans for me. Well if you read through this whole thing, thanks for having interest in my life…And dang you must be bored! It’s mad long so I’m not even going to bother to proofread it. PEACE.
I NEED SOME MOTIVATION.
So I have a big list of things I need to do but couldn’t get done because I was just so dang busy. So the things I needed to do for the past week was.
- Start Working
- Apply for Binghamton’s Nursing School
- Train in Table Tennis (since I have a tournament coming up)
- Start Studying for Microbiology
- Write a Song for WTFoodge
- Help Edit a Video for my staff worker in IV so she can gather up money
Now here are the reasons why I couldn’t get most of that done:
- I visited Stony Brook to buy the book needed for class and catch up with some people for about two and a half days
- I had to eat with my dad’s side of the family on Saturday morning and my mom’s side on Saturday night
- I had church on Sunday
- On Sunday I actually went to the toy fair and it was pretty sick (I’ll write more about it later if I have the time)
- I had to pick up my bro from the hospital because he had surgery to remove a lymph node on his leg…Even though upon picking him up he was walking fine and dandy like nothing ever happened
This is what I plan on getting done today
- Get a few calls in for my job and hopefully get some customers
- Ask Bing what supplementals they need from me
- Study some microbio
So some dude named Kevin Ong came to speak at IV about Christian dating on Thursday. God has convicted me over the years to only look for Christians when dating. I have learned some serious lessons back in the day in attempt to date non-Christians. I pray and hope that my wife (when and if I get married) loves God more than I do so we can encourage each other to grow in Christ and not just have Him to the side in daily living and only worship him when I go to church or fellowship but really worship Him in my marriage in ALL that I do. When I slip she can encourage me and point me towards God. There is something REALLY attractive about a girl who is in love with God. Of course there are other standards I have, but at first place is that I want my wife to be truly in love with God. This has been in my heart for a long time and just as Kevin Ong has said and challenged us to do; I’ll be praying for my wife.
Wow, it feels like it has been an eternity since the last time I was here. Upon stepping out of the LIRR as it pulled into Stony Brook station, I felt this bittersweet feeling inside of me. Bitter because I know full well that I’m not a full-time student here at Stony, sweet because I get to spend the next 3 days here with my family. I met up with a bunch of brothers from IV to eat dinner at Denny’s and it was a great time of catching up. Something I miss so dearly about college is eating late at night. There is something very liberating about eating late at night: no parents to tell you what to do, just having a good time. This feeling makes me want to stay here but I know in a day I’ll be back home, boring home… (sigh)
Since I have the semester off, I can sleep as much as I want. Upon realizing this, I started to work out again. Why? Well the reason why I never really liked working out was because I was always so sore that getting out of bed was the worst thing ever…Now I can stay in bed as long as I want, that is no longer a problem :D. Upon this, I also realized that I will stretch a lot more. One of the reasons I’m working out is to improve in table tennis. That is my goal, maybe looks will be on the side but I want to improve in table tennis. If that means exercise, than so be it! This semester off really will test me spiritually. I eat a lot of crap and by God’s grace I don’t get fat! But that’s not the point, I am aiming to be a man of God and that means discipline. My body is the temple of God and slowly but surly in baby steps I’m going to work on some aspects as I aim to be a “Man of God”.
#1, taking care of my body… If I’m going to eat like crap I need to exercise to make up for it! I play a lot of table tennis and I actually think that is enough exercise for me but with more time off during those days where I don’t want to go out because I’m too lazy, well that means lifting weights and or running!
Another thing I’m aiming for (#2) is to study hard, but I really can’t since I’m not in school. Since nursing school is more practical than regular school, I hope to study my butt off, but not up to the point where I lose sight of everything else.
#3 will be reading the bible. We all try to put it in our new years resolutions but we always fail a few weeks or a month into the year, well…I’m saying it and I hope you guys can keep me accountable! School knowledge may make me intelligent but only God’s word can make me wise. I want to say that those who don’t look to God’s word break my heart, but that would be REALLY HYPOCRITICAL for me to say because I’m the same. I have phases where I read, and phases where I don’t. Life just gets in the way and I need to set my priorities STRAIGHT. So, the best I can do is worry about the plank in my eye before I take out the piece of wood in others. I truly believe that
#4 Is to be a good worship leader. I believe #3 and #4 are entwined together. I find that all excellent worship leaders indulge in God’s word daily. Worship at my church feels routine, people really need to examine their hearts and meditate. Music worship shouldn’t just be a time on the schedule for Sunday. I was there on the congregation side before and I know how it feels. After college fellowship, attending Urbana, attending so many different retreats and conferences, I learned SO much and have had the privilege of experiencing and being part of the worship teams. I can’t just take what I’ve learned and let it go to waste. With that, I have to understand that I am but a tool that God is going to use, ultimately it is up to the hearts of the congregation. Will they continue to worship as is or will they really take the time just forget everything else and focus on God? Will they be convicted. I have high hopes for our church.
With that said I’m going to shower now. Until next time…BYE!
So I just remembered that I had a tumblr so since I’m taking a semester off I should be blogging a lot more. I’m also writing this post from my phone (I know! It’s so incredible). I’m planning to abuse my phone for all its uses. Well with that said I guess this is somewhat of a post-retreat…post? This retreat has been a great one, I learned a lot about what it meant to be a worship leader and I felt something I have never felt when I led worship before; I let the spirit lead. God really hit me hard and it is no secret that people have been leaving NYCBC left and right. Up to the point now that a select few have decided to step up and try to revive the church. There were times where I really felt hopeless for our church, but that was because it was too overwhelming… there are so many parts that need work and its so hard to work on evrrything. So I asked myself… where is my passion? God really pointed me towards worship. Over the past year and a couple months I have learned guitar and I’ve had the privilege of learning from awesome worship leaders in college. I’ve realized that a lot of people go to college and realize that college church is sooooo awesome and fellowship there is so much more intimate than their home church or what not. They then decide that their home church is “not for them” so they leave. Me? Well… all of that is true, college church is freaking amazing and I’m really close with my friends at Intervarsity Christian fellowship. Outreach is our main goal and to be totally honest, the fellowship at Stony is blooming! But it doesn’t turn me off from NYCBC, as a matter of fact it gave me more of a passion to revive NYCBC. I’ve learned so much from college and I’m willing to use it to better my home church. The very church that has invested so much time for me in the past 20 years of my life. God is not done with me at NYCBC, and has pointed me to a direction for change in the worship there. Where feeling comfortable is not enough. People should feel overwhelming feelings of brokeness, joy, vulnerability when they worship, not comfort. I have a lot to learn and I hope anyone of my friends who read this pray that I will not let this semester that I’m taking off go to waste.