Friday, January 7, 2011

It Wasn't My Fault!

Genesis 3:12, (Adam being confronted by God about eating the fruit) "The man replied, 'It was the woman YOU gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it." (emphasis mine)

I read that and instantly the Lord convicted my heart. A little background: the Lord has really been dealing with my heart lately about how much I think of myself (meaning = I'm vastly too prideful..."heady", as some would say, is but one demonstration of that.). Anyway, it is so easy for me to be confronted with obvious sin in my life and my response far too often is to BLAME SOMEONE ELSE! That way I remain guilt free, and sinless. How gross! That's exactly what Adam is doing...he blames the woman who gave the fruit to him and God for providing him the woman. How could he be at fault? The bottom line: ADAM ATE THE FRUIT = TYLER NEEDS TO OWN HIS SIN (PRIDE).

My prayer going forward from that verse is that the Lord will continue to convict me of the areas where I am being prideful or simply making excuses for my own problems. I was reminded again from my  reading for today: Psalm 5:4-5 "O God, You take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. Therefore, THE PROUD may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil." Lord, crush my pride with the weight of Your glory. I want to be in Your presence.

What about you? Is it easy for you to own your mistakes? What are somethings you need to own up to in the eyes of others? Who do you need to ask forgiveness from? What do you need repent of before our great God? I've got much love for you...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Things I Learned at Seminary - God Is In Control

Whoa...I typed the 'God is in control' line and had a flashback to an old school Twila Paris's a random flashback! Worth a good laugh if you're bored.

Anyway, I surely learned that. This is actually something that I realized going to, going through, and finishing up seminary. It all began way back in 2007 as I was trying to decide where I was going to seminary...some of you know the story. I decided I wanted to go to Beeson Divinity School. I didn't get in. Then I decided I wanted to go to a seminary extension in Nashville and get a cool job in a church to work while I was taking my classes. I completely had my life planned out. To make a long story short, once I bought in to the Lord's plan, I realized my plan wasn't what God wanted, so I ended up in New Orleans.
Throughout seminary I was faced with some of the hardest semesters of my life: academic rigors, socially, responsibility lessons, relationships, loss, stress, and the like. My seminary years were brutally difficult, and I think seminary is designed to be that way.

Then I graduated, and now I find myself moving to Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY to be the Student Pastor. This situation seems like the Lord has completely hand crafted it for me, and I'm very excited about it.

How is all of this possible? I'm completely convinced that there is no way all of these things come together by any means other than there is a God who is in control. I'm convinced. God wanted me in New Orleans, and He closed a door and opened my eyes to lead me there. God had extra-curricular lessons he wanted me to learn, and He delivered them. God had a place for me upon graduation, and He made this church opportunity work out to send me there. I could go into vast amounts of detail, but I'm sure that would bore you to death. Suffice it to say that all this is not possible without God having a plan, and working it out in my life.

It is a quite popular verse, but I've seen it played out time and time again in my life: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11. I'm confident that the Lord is in control. What about you? Reflect on some things that have occurred in your own life! Can you see how the Lord was steering that? Can you see that God was working out His plan and the He was in control of those moments? I know it is a simple truth, but it is a lesson that sticks out to me from my time at seminary. Have you trusted that Jesus is enough and God is in control? I've got much love for you...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Interruption of Unstarted Series - aka HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So I said be watching for 'things I learned at seminary' blog posts. Continue to do so, but it is time for the obligatory New Years Eve post. Happy New Year of 2011 to you, by the way!

2010 has finished up. What happened in 2010? Here are my highlights:
1) Grew in some relationships with great people
2) Spent lots of time praying about what 2011 (specifically what life after seminary would look like)
3) Worked with an unbelievably solid team to communicate the Gospel at camp
4) Saw my brother graduate and begin a job with the US State Dept.
5) Saw my dad recognize an obstacle and seek help.
6) Recognized my own obstacles and my own need for help. God's grace abounded.
7) Watched the Lord hand craft the small details of my life to fit specifically me.
8) I graduated from I'm a student apart from school.
9) The Lord provided a job!
10) Found myself ringing in the New Year in ye old Gray, GA for the 2nd straight year.

An update on my 2010: I still haven't arrived. I'm still in progress.  2010 brought some hard life lessons and made me recognize how desperately I'm still in need of grace and I'm still a lover of community. So how about you? How was your 2010?

2011: What are my hopes? Well there are many. But I can tell you what my prayer for 2011 was/is: I pray that the Lord will grant me wisdom and favor. I know that I love the Lord, but for 2011, I pray for grace to trust Him even more. I would LOVE to see the essence of faith spelled out in my life. My friend Ann Dorriety reminded me of a passage that I'm praying will be my life in 2011: I'm sure you've heard the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Those were the 3 that the king ordered to be thrown into the fiery furnace. They demonstrated legit faith. As they are about to be thrown into the furnace, they are telling the king that they believe the Lord will save them from the fire. That's faith. Faith is belief in something unseen. They didn't know they would be saved, but they had faith that they would. But within faith is always the element that you could be wrong. So facing this uncertainty, here's what these 3 had to say to the face of the king: (Daniel 3:17-18) "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. BUT EVEN IF HE DOESN'T, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." FAITH. These three knew their God could save them, but would He? For clarity's sake, God did save them.

I want the kind of faith in my God so that I pursue the belief in things I cannot see. But even if I get it wrong, I will trust Him to steer my paths and passions. What are YOUR goals for 2011? What do you want to see happen? Hey, I've got much love for you.