Time to ramble

Blogging is a funny thing. I’m sitting here, thinking “Hey! I should update this thing” when I sit down and my mind goes blank. Well, it doesn’t really go blank. I COULD write about a lot of things. But I have to search for the thing that’s the most “real”, the most “worth sharing.” Kind of vain when you think about it.

So, before I go any further, keep me accountable in this if you read this. Feel free to leave a comment that might challenge me.

So moving on…dang, there’s that problem again. The truth is, my mind has been racing all day. I’m what people would call a pensive guy. I zone out a bunch. A lot of times when I’m speaking a sentence will come out awkwardly because I’ll change my mind mid-speech about how I want to phrase something.

One thing that will help in this is this project I’ve been working on at my job as an analyst at Fillmore Capital Partners. My father and his business partner have this little investment entity that they want to make into something. As of now, its a whole bunch of cash sitting around doing zilch. So, what I’m doing at work is basically a business application of the parable of the talents. Right now, we have all these resources that are sitting there doing nothing, that is until we find the proper investment vehicles and take action. So that’s my job. Take ideas and probe, summarize, probe some more, dig. Articulate my thoughts on a daily basis for feedback. I even got a stockbroker to help me bounce ideas around. So this project is one way to harness these racing thoughts into focus.

The neat thing is the more we succeed at this investment experimentation, the more resources we will have to invest. I think its the same way with the Lord. He’s saying “Look, if you’ll just trust me and let me use you the way you were meant to be I’ll reward you. But its not just for you to keep. It’s for you to invest again.” Repeat ad infinitum. I think in the age to come believers will still be learning and finding new ways to serve the Lord. And it will all be done joyfully, because we will be fulfilling our original purpose.


Wow.

I got this email from my online GMO penpal Richard from Kenya yesterday.

Subject: Wonderful Miracles
Dear Servant of God brother Ryan,

I thank God for the miracles and wonders that God did yesterday. I went to pray for a sick man who was sick with evil spirit and was talking in minus resting. God really helped him alot.
I also went in another family where both father and mother are witch craft. I talked the word of the Lord through the holy spirit and they were open and confessed that they had killed 17 people.They accepted God as their personal Savior. Thanks for your prayers of daily.May God bless you alot.
Continue to pray for this people to stand in the Lord and Satan to be ashamed.

Wow. Release from that kind of bondage really is a miracle.


Online outreach – don’t underestimate the possibilities

This past spring, I took an Evangelism class during my final semester at Wheaton College, a course taught by the much-loved Jerry Root, who sort of had a grandfatherly reputation among Wheaton students. The course required that we share our faith multiple times a week (to get us in the habit – this is something that should result naturally from being a follower of Christ) and one medium in which we did this was through Global Media Outreach.

Global Media Outreach functions as a network of websites answering basic questions about God and the Christian faith, that through search engine optimization pop up early in search engine results from seeker oriented questions, such as “Who is Jesus?” or “How can I become a Christian?” When seekers navigate to these websites, they have the option of filling out questionaires which are then emailed to online missionaries in the GMO network. These seekers can choose to identify themselves as one who just accepted Christ, one who wants to recommit their life to Christ, or a non-Christian that wants to learn more. An online, anonymous email correspondence then begins with the seeker and one of GMO’s online missionaries. Well, it isn’t completely anonymous – you can see each others’ first name, city, and country.

Early in the spring, a pastor from Kenya began writing me. He identified himself as Richard N and consistently asked me to pray for his church in Kenya, that God would provide needed equipment and also that they would be effective in reaching the lost. He then decided to send me weekly updates on the happenings of his church, and lets me know regularly that he and the congregation have been praying for me. In that time I have offered him a few prayer requests of my own, and I can say I’m confident this isn’t any kind of scam – I think he would have quit a long time ago if this were the case! Here’s a recent email I got from him through the GMO website (the English isn’t great, but you can get the gist of it):

Subject: Re: Re: greetings and love from iranda kisii-Kenya!!!!!!!!!
Hello in Christ brother Ryan.

With much greeting to you in Jesus name. Happy to hear from you again, we are finishing well our event on last week date 11 Sept 2011 Actual we will see the hand of God and marcials through our God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in that event 10 new Souls are received Jesus in they lives!!!! please continue pray for them to grow spiritual day by day all over us here we are praying for as your School.and your Young ministry there.

Your brother Pastor Richard.

Cool eh? GMO for me has been a neat way to see direct impacts for Christ with minimal risk involved (but we shouldn’t be afraid of big risks either). I would encourage any believer with a heart for the lost to apply.


Leadership Lessons from Superman’s Underpants

Leadership Lessons from Superman’s Underpants.

Yes. Really.  Skye makes some good points about how American consumers have made logos and icons practically idols.  Kinda pathetic when you think about it, right?


Narrowing the field in faith

This is essentially a follow-up to my “brainstorming…” post from last week. I had two thoughts:

– How can I best use my talents for the Lord right now?
– Maybe the fact that I’ve spent the whole summer meandering between different ideas means I’ve been placing too much pressure on myself.

With these things in mind, I’ve decided to hone my investment skills for the time being. It is a good foundation, and a valuable life skill to have. If I want to experiment with consulting later, I will have a study source of income to fall back on. BY NO MEANS am I abandoning my passions for trends in media. This is something I will continue to study, and investment analysis is another means of exploring my trend passions. The worst thing to do would be to sit around and agonize about making the right choice. By doing so, one would risk becoming like the son whom the Master curses in the parable of the talents, who buried his talents in the ground instead of at least putting them away to gather interest, for fear of making the wrong decision.

Alright Lord, start your engines.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
-Proverbs 25:2


A neat thought

Sometimes I feel like a walking oxymoron. I realized recently that asking God to help me get past my regret and having trouble trusting him with my future creates conflict. I never realized the two were directly related. So, to those struggling with similar issues (whatever they may be) I suggest this: Sure, completely entrusting your future to the Lord can be scary. Satan wants you to believe that yielding to the Lord means that you are giving up all of your desires in favor of God’s, which are inevitably contradictory to what you want. But are we not fearfully and wonderfully made? The truth is, by yielding, all that sin and regret holding you back loses its power. So while Satan wants us to believe that yielding to the Lord is only giving up something good, God wants our allegiance because He wants to save us from what weighs us down! Cool eh?


Falling Up to the Blue Ghost, amidst the Slow Waves

I know I said that Tuned Up! would be my music blog, but since this blog is more about life in general, I don’t see the problem with picking apart some songs that I’ve been hooked on lately.

Falling Up has been one of my favorite bands for very long time, and lately I’ve been thinking about two tracks from their latest release. Here are the lyrics to “Slow Waves,” also a great ambient track.

They had my lungs on machines
Their rhythm is pumping air – I’m terrified
But I won’t let my hope go
I won’t let my heart keep from leaping out
It’s leaping out

To me, this is a gentle reminder not to let the things that weigh us down keep us from pursuing our passions, and that God will lead us every step of the way. The periodic rhythm of trials can indeed “pump air” into our lives in a way that terrifies us. We mustn’t lose hope, nor prevent our hearts from leaping out into the arms of Christ.

Here are the lyrics to “Blue Ghost”:

You can see I am in shock
To catch you wearing wires underneath your heart
It was mechanical
But we were born to endless architecture
Spinning to a fault and infinitely strewn
Where you’d be ahead of your time

Cause in this place it’s beautiful

Tracing lines your flaws connect the starry skies
He is tracing lines like flashes right before your eyes
Grace comes like a thief in the night
It comes like a thief in the night
It blooms in the weak and the blind

Then they finished their machine
It’s algorithmic parts perfectly in time
And that’s how they found you
But listen you are born into a landscape
That’s glittering like water and covered by a blood
It has been bruised at the heel, the wire’s been cut

I interpret the first stanza to mean that while it might initially be a shock to discover that motives of humanity may be flawed fundamentally, we were born in a universe that “spins with a fault (sin)”, so it really shouldn’t be that surprising.

In the chorus, I believe it is referring to how God is able to trace the lines of a sin-tainted universe and use it all for His glory. Grace comes like a thief in the night because God manifests Himself often in ways we wouldn’t expect. That is, when we are weak, He is strong, no matter what the enemy might try to tell us.

The second stanza I think is talking about how if we look hard enough, we can find God in everything we do. Phil Ryken gave an excellent sermon at the academic convocation of Wheaton College (so weird I’m not there right now) about how the eternal signifance of a liberal arts education – Learning will not end with the current age transforming into the one in which the cosmos are renewed by God. True learning ought to point to the nature of God, and leave us in awe. The truth is that this destiny of God with us came at a price, Christ’s death on the cross (“You were born into a landscape that’s glittering like water and covered with blood (of Christ)”).