Middling

The fancies and reflections of a loquacious ninja

Category Archives: Happenings

Beautiful Things

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'”

  ~ Revelation 21:5

On a trip to help my dad pick up a lawn-mower today, I slipped on a hill that turned out to be muddier than it looked. I caught myself, but my hand was covered in earth as a result. I wiped it off as best I could, knowing with some annoyance that I wouldn’t be able to wash it off until much later. But a few minutes later, I looked at my hand in the sunlight — and scattered all over it were grains of something that sparkled in the light. I suppose there are specks like in any handful of dirt, but I’d forgotten about them. In those particles of dust and grime filling the lines of my palm, I saw a touch of beauty shining at me. That reminded me of this song.

Whether or not you’re familiar with it — even if you can’t yet relate to the heartfelt story of  pain and redemption captured in its notes — it’s worth listening to and giving time to reflect over:

One of the ways I think our Lord most delights to display His beauty is through using what is weak, what is despised, what is barren, what is broken, what is forsaken, what is worn and exhausted, to shine the very radiance of His face. He makes everything beautiful in its time — even pain, even weakness and defeat, even lowliness and ashes, even dust. We serve a God of beauty.

“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.”

  ~ Psalm 27:4

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Let this day be seized

I’ve been struggling for the past week (longer?) to make the most of my time, to live each day fully. I still have such a long ways to go, in so many respects, but I’ve been encouraged recently by stumbling across these various tidbits. May they inspire and energize you the way they did me.

*    *    *

Want to make the most of every day?

Then remember that it is a gift. You never owned it, it was graciously given to you. Use it. Even when other small forces thwart you, you can still make the most of your day and enjoy it.

~ from a friend, posted on Facebook

*    *    *

Life is precious.
So I will not exist.
I will not get by.
I will not muddle my way through.
No.

I will Live.
I will cherish every sunrise.
Every heartbeat.
Every breath.
And I will prepare myself for countless more.
I will thank God for my health.
By embracing what is healthy.
I will nourish my future.
By nurturing my present.
And I will respect the gift that is my life
By inspiring others to do the same with theirs.
I will Live.

~ excerpt from Chick-fil-A’s Live. Love. Lead Anthem

*    *    *

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kB0oPgCexh0

*    *    *

“Thou hast died for me
May I live to Thee
In every moment of my time
In every movement of my mind
In every pulse of my heart.”

~ Valley of Vision

*    *    *

Friends, we’ve been given such a gift, and I know I’ve squandered enough of it as is. Let us waste nothing in forgotten gratitude or purposeless drifting. May we Live truly, abundantly, unto our King.

Carpe Diem,
~ Timothy

A wind-filled walk

After investing so much time and pouring so much energy into my first paper of the semester, turning it in and walking away  last Thursday was confusing; like stepping out of a world you’ve confined yourself in for too long, or removing a heavy visor that you’d almost forgotten you were wearing.

So I went for a walk. I can’t remember the last time I took a walk for the sake of taking a walk.

It was powerfully windy that day. I had thought I would be praying or singing, or at least humming as I went along, but I didn’t. I just tried to take in what was around me. The wind filled the silence.

The ground was much muddier than I’d expected. The surface of the lake wavered and shifted like a thing possessed. The gusts tossing and shaping the waters blasted my face and pocketed hands with cold. Inspired by a photograph a friend had taken, I diverged from my route to explore a new area. The ground grew muddier, the sights more breathtaking. The wind remained strong.

The Spirit is closely associated with breath or wind. Our breathing in and out daily is a reminder of the life that was breathed into our first ancestor, Adam. And now, as the wind churned and blew with strength, it made even what is not alive seem living. The near-barren trees shivered, the nearby barn groaned like a forgotten giant of old, and the waters took on a thousand quickened forms.

All this with no words.

Looking at a tapestry/50 awesome things

I said a little while ago that I quite literally had almost nothing to do before heading back to school, and thus could devote plenty of time to writing here. Boy do I need to put my foot in my mouth…

Anyway, I’m about to head to a New Year’s Party at a friend’s, so I have to make this quick:

I spent part of yesterday and today reviewing the year, partly through even little acts like cleaning out my wallet of old receipts, but mainly through this blog. I went back and skimmed or read through everything I posted this year, starting in January all the way until now.

All I can say is… man, what a journey.

I couldn’t possibly condense everything that happened this year into a list of even the most important things (and there are so many other things, great and small, that I failed to record here), but suffice to say that it has been one incredible tapestry of grace. God is good, and I learned a lot about that this year. Sometimes I’m tempted to wonder if I ever lived before this year.

I apologize for being so informal, but I have to get going.

Wishing you all a 2013 full of blessing, joy, growth, and drawing closer to Him,

~ Timothy

*   *   *   *   *

*update

Once again, I must make a meal of my words. After declaring with such certainty that this past year had been so full of adventure, joy, challenge, growth and a plethora of other things that I couldn’t possibly boil it down to a mere list, I saw a friend do this on Facebook and caved in was inspired to do the same.

Here it is:

50 Awesome Things I(?) Did in 2012

1. Created a Facebook and kept it.

2. Became shorter than both my brothers, older and younger. (Maybe I should reconsider having this one here…)

3. Graduated from high school. Twice. (Sort of.)

4. Finished Chinese school forever — a beautiful thing, I assure you.

5. Almost got my black belt (still one requirement to go).

6. Took Marine Bio with Mrs. Ellis, where Finding Nemo was quoted at least twice every class.

7. Did mock trial for the first time.

8. Partook of my first Shakespearean play! Discovered I evidently have a knack for acting drunk…

9. Took part in my 5th and final HST troupe show; even got to choreograph my own number!

10. Crafted, completed and performed a martial arts demonstration that drew from 7 different styles of martial arts, learned a ton.

11. Caused my first car accident – and experienced God’s grace in a way unlike anything I’ve ever known before.

12. Pulled an excessively elaborate but immensely entertaining senior prank with my graduating class, mostly involving caution tape, bubble wrap, glow sticks, army men, and a LOT of streamers.

13. Spent a week in Paris with six females who are very capable at shopping.

14. Attended Momentum 2012; came back a different person.

15. Enjoyed a surprise 18th birthday party, complete with a violent but thoroughly enjoyable water battle to the death.

16. Played the most ridiculously fun game of gravel conceivable, on the most awe-inspiring playground ever constructed by man.

17. Learned how to juggle (now I REALLY need to practice).

18. Got a laptop.

19. Completed my first semester at a college that now lies very close to my heart.

20. Developed an obsession with historical primary sources and everyday quotes of hilarity.

21. Learned how to swing dance!

22. Developed a laugh reflex to the words “vocation” and “studly.”

23. Learned U.S. History from a professor who made me enjoy, understand, and appreciate it for the first time.

24. Dressed like a Bolshevik and danced like a cossack. Got shot for my pains.

25. Kidnapped a professor and held him for ransom (in tandem with the rest of my class), ending in an incredibly epic battle fought within a gazebo.

26. Forged many new friendships with like-minded yet wonderfully different people from all over the country (or beyond) – some of which have reached a depth I’d never known before, and that I hope and believe will last a lifetime.

27. Developed a new appreciation and love for the friends I’ve known for many years, and discovered how rewarding staying in touch can be.

28. Learned it’s okay to ask people for prayer requests; in fact, it’s an incredible privilege.

29. Played a newspaper boy, a cat-calling baseball player, and a dead man in my first Eden Troupe show. Learned that life is beautiful, in ways you often don’t expect…

30. Had a blast on my first political campaigning trip in St. Louis, MO, with my very Southern, music-loving team.

31. Visited several amazing churches. Got left at one of them… Learned that Baptist churches always have food. Always.

32. Dove deeper into the Word than ever before… and felt more distant from the Word than ever before (which seems also to be a blessing in an odd way).

33. Experienced more challenges to my faith than ever before.

34. Grew in my faith more than ever before.

35. Shared in some of the most profound, enlightening, engaging and entertaining conversations of my life (mostly taking place over an ordinary dining commons meal).

36. Rekindled my love for jamming with my myachi – and got a friend infected with it too.

37. Learned and cultivated the ability to talk to perfect strangers about spiritual matters.

38. Became more aware of the issue of human trafficking and involved in the fight against it.

39. Spent more time than ever before on my knees in prayer.

40. Choreographed a routine with a kindred spirit in dance, wrote/directed a skit on Western Civ, helped write a song parody, and sang in another duet – in other words, took on way too much but had loads of fun – taking part in my first Harmonicomedy.

41. Attended a number of dances – including but not limited to a prom, a Christmas Ball and a masquerade – all proving that homeschooled folks are quite capable of having fun.

42. Found a new appreciation for a cappella music, and found no small amount of pleasure in singing it.

43. Enriched my understanding and skill as a musician at least tenfold in my first semester of Chorale. Sang in my first Lessons and Carols.

44. Participated in two White Elephant parties, one being the most fun I’ve ever seen (I don’t remember how or why, except that crayons were involved), the other by far the most unusual… (A plunger and a live lobster. Need I say more?)

45. Went caroling with glow sticks, sign language accompaniment, a full band, a hay ride, and a pickup truck decked out in Christmas lights.

46. Experienced Handel’s Messiah for the first time, in the form of a sing-along concert.

47. Danced more frequently, consciously, subconsciously, publicly, privately and unashamedly than ever before in my life.

48. Kept my blog alive for another year (though admittedly and unintentionally dormant for parts of it…).

49. Made good my graduating class’s long-time motto, “Strong enough to survive the end of the world.” Three times, I believe.

50. Lived more deliberately than I ever have before.

Quite a few of these have some kind of connection, large or small, with another member or two on the list. I apologize for the number of times I had to resort to the phrase “in a new way” or “more than ever before,” but this really was a year unlike, in many ways, all the previous years I’ve lived on this earth.

We use the word “awesome” to describe pretty much everything nowadays. Usually it denotes some kind of exceptionally fun, uniquely enjoyable, or wonderfully memorable experience, which is generally how I used it here. But for a number of the items on my list, the older, original meaning applies too — something inspiring awe, something wonderful and even unbelievable. So much of this past year has put me in awe — once again, in a new way, more than ever before — of the love of God, the creativity of God, the complexity of God, and especially the grace of God.

I received so many good things at His hand this year; far more than I’m even aware of, or could even begin to adequately thank and praise Him for. And I did absolutely nothing to merit receiving most, if not all of these blessings. Even the hardships, which have assuredly been there, are a form of blessing themselves. Through them I’ve grown stronger, learning to rely on Him to sustain me in my weakness. That too, is grace.

Which is why I have a question mark next to “I” in my title. I’m the one who experienced the blessings, and I have no doubt that I had a hand in making at least some of them happen, to the degree that they did. But looking back on all the things that I had no control over that made these things so rich in my life, I can’t conclude it was entirely I who did them either.

There is absolutely no conceivable way that I could have looked ahead at the end of 2011 or the very beginning of 2012, and seen even half of these things happening or the transformations that I would go through. Sure, I’m still me. But I know that because of what God has been doing in me over the past 12 months (and before), I am not the same anymore. So much has changed, and as far as I can tell, it’s for the better. It has been one grace-laden year.

I’m not even going to try to guess what 2013 will bring. But Lord willing, I’ll be able to look back at the end of it and say once again: It’s been an awesome year, full of grace and transforming growth. And I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

Here’s to grace,

~ Timothy

Duty, results, and thankfulness

Over election week, I went on a campaigning trip where for several days, I and many others engaged in various endeavors aimed to affect the outcome of the election. We had a short devotional each morning before shipping out; on Tuesday morning, our devotion centered on this simple verse: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

The first part of the verse reminded us that though our campaigning was largely done in the names of the various officials we hoped to elect into office or organizations we happened to be collaborating with, our efforts would ultimately be in vain, regardless of the results, if not done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Striving to serve those other names that week was entirely appropriate, but only if kept in perspective with our primary focus, the name above all names.

To do all things in this name has ramifications: How can you do anything in the name of the King of the Universe, and do it in a half-hearted, timid spirit? How can you act in the name of the One who is lowly and meek in heart, in a manner that is ungracious or ungentle? And how can you live in the name of the Prince of Peace in a spirit of constant frustration and anxiety? It’s a question worth pondering: what does it look like practically for me to carry out the task before me, and my whole life, in the name of Jesus?

This brought us to the second part of the verse. Having done all things in the name of Jesus, both word and deed, the proper course is not to take ownership of or to agonize over the results. It is to thank the Father. In the context of our work there as campaigners, I was reminded of the sermon I had attended that Sunday, in which the pastor exhorted his congregation to approach the impending election with humility and graciousness, neither returning the next Sunday with knowing “I told you so” smiles or “This is it; the apocalypse is upon us!” broadcasts of despair.

I find it interesting that at its root, both of these responses display a denial of the Lordship of Christ mentioned in the verse. One remarks “now all things will be put to rights; we have the right people in office,” the other laments “clearly, with these folks in office, the end is nigh,” but both fundamentally place their trust in the political leaders to make things right, rather than the sovereign God. Towards the neighbor who voted differently, both display a sort of ungracious arrogance, a turning away from the character of God, which in essence is a denial of His Lordship over one’s life. And both fail to thank God for what He has already done; one because he’s too busy celebrating the victory won by human effort, the other because he sees nothing to be thankful for. Both are greatly mistaken.

Instead, as we are commanded to do all things in Jesus’ name, we are called to be thankful in all things through our Lord Jesus to God our Father. And such an attitude of thankfulness, acknowledging both God’s sovereignty over all circumstances and over one’s own life, does not easily degenerate into either of these extremes of arrogance or despair.

The motto for the campaigning organization we worked through was “the duty is ours, the results are God’s.” This obviously applies and was intended to apply to political elections and offices, but it seems every bit as applicable to the rest of our lives also: our jobs, families, schoolwork, hobbies, friendships, and so on. A very real duty is set before us; to do all things as unto the Lord, in the name of Christ. Yet once this is done, the results belong in the hands of the very same Lord. We can and should hoe, plant, water, and weed with the best that we have to offer in our abilities and attitudes, but it is He who makes the crops grow or wither, not us. And however the harvest appears for the future, still we put our trust in Him and remain faithful to His character, through our Lord giving thanks.

How I just took an event from election week and turned it into a Thanksgiving message is beyond me, but I hope that you spent and enjoyed this day in a time of gratitude to the Lord and fellowship with others. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  ~ Timothy

On my lack of posting…

I’ve said this far too many times for it to sound remotely sincere anymore, but I do realize my abhorrent lack of posting new things recently, and I apologize…

Since I’ve embarked on this new adventure we call college, I have never had so many things to blog about… and so little time to actually blog them. So, to rectify this gross wrong, I suppose I have a few options:

I could try to post more often but generally have shorter posts. That may happen to a degree, but I hope to keep burdening you with my excessively long-winded and drawn-out posts at least somewhat. At any rate, I am now trying to set aside a time every week devoted to working on bringing something new and worthwhile to the table. That probably will not result in a new post every week, but I’ll hopefully have something to show for it more often than I do currently.

As always, many thanks to those who persist in remaining faithful to this little blog. I owe anything that has been of value here to the Giver of every good gift, though I’m afraid I have to take full credit for the mess that usually surrounds it.

Here’s to praying for more of His wisdom to be proclaimed, His power to be revealed, and His love to be displayed!

Cheers,

~ Timothy

15 Biblical Ways to Get a Spouse

1) Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (Deut. 21:11-13)

2) Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)

3) Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. — Moses (Ex. 2:16-21)

4) Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. — Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)

5) Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. — Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)

6) Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you a rib. — Adam (Gen. 2:19-24)

7) Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. Fourteen years of toil for a wife. — Jacob (Gen. 29:15-30)

8) Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law’s enemies and get his daughter for a wife. — David (1 Sam. 18:27)

9) Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you’ll definitely find someone. (It’s all relative though.) — Cain (Gen. 4:16-17)

10) Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a year-long beauty contest. — Xerxes (Esther 2:3-4)

11) When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.” — Samson (Judges 14:1-3)

12) Get a man drunk, send him off to war and make sure he dies, then take HIS wife. (Prepare to lose four children though.) — David (2 Sam. 11)

13) Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law!) — Onan and Boaz (Deut. or Lev.)

14) Don’t be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. — Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3)

15) A wife? — Paul (1 Corinthians 7)

*   *   *   *   *

I was hoping to have a more profound “first post from the college life” (and ironically enough, I’m sharing this while home for Labor Day weekend), but my theology professor shared this list with us the other day while discussing the various ways the word “biblical” can be used (appearing in the Bible, commanded or condoned by the Bible, and so on), and it seemed worth sharing. Clearly, this list pertains mostly to men, but as my professor made very clear, íf you accept the logic implicit in this list already then there’s really no reason a woman can’t apply any of these to herself as well.

My class nearly died laughing. But who knows? You may find this list edifying, or perhaps even… applicable.

Just remember: they’re all “biblical.”

With a newfound appreciation for hermeneutics,

~ Timothy

And yet

Today’s the day. I move out of the house I’ve called home for the past eight years or so, and move onto campus.

I have so much to look forward to, and yet… I leave so much behind.

I have never deserved the friendships I’ve been blessed with, but now I hope to be a friend worthy (which I believe is different than deserving) of the love that’s been shown to me, by keeping those friendships alive for as long as it depends on me to do so. I do intend to do that.

And yet… I’m learning to accept the hard truth that in this life, I will not be able to hold on to every friendship I’ve ever made. Despite effort from one or both sides to keep it going, some relationships will stay strong while others will simply fade over time.

And yet, I know that every friendship in Christ ultimately has no end; and for that I am grateful.

I thank God for all that He has done in, through, and around me thus far. I thank Him for what He is about to do; whatever that ends up being, though I know it will ultimately be for my good (Romans 8:28) and His glory (Romans 11:36).

I have no clue what the future holds… and yet, I rest in Him who holds the future.

And that is enough.

Wishing you every blessing, and treasuring every prayer,

~ Timothy

Building Momentum

About a month ago, I and ten others from my church spent five days in Kentucky for an annual Christian Youth Conference called Momentum. Though we’d gone on mission trips before, it was the first time our church had tried going to a conference like this; it probably won’t be the last.

I knew I wanted to share something about the things I’d learned and experienced there, but giving a long, drawn-out, detail-by-detail account didn’t seem like the right way to do it. Instead, I thought I’d just post a slightly expanded version of what I had the opportunity to share with my church family yesterday.

Basically, how it changed me:

I went into this conference with very low expectations. For the most part, I was just expecting a lot of hype; if not from the leaders of the conference, then certainly from the other youth who would be there.

And yet, I came out of that conference a different person — a better person — than who I’d been going in. We learned and experienced so many things in those five, incredibly short yet full days, but if I had to sum up the greatest thing I took away from that conference, it would be the way that it made certain things that had always seemed out of reach for me… tangible. They became not just ideas, but realities.

One day at lunch, while I was waiting in line for pizza, the two guys standing next to me in line started a friendly conversation with me. Their names were Zach and Quinton, and they had both been saved at Momentum two years ago and three years ago respectively. After chatting for a bit, I turned to head back to my table with my pizza, when they asked me if there was anything they could pray for me before I went.

I was mind-blown. And yet, right there in that bustling cafeteria, they each laid a hand on my shoulder and just prayed for me like it was the most natural thing in the world. It didn’t matter that we’d met two minutes ago.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder why I was so caught off-guard. Are we not called to be a people of prayer, who are unafraid to come before the Throne, who lift up those in need without ceasing? All those two guys did was understand and live out that truth. Now, I can honestly say that I have never been less ashamed to ask people for prayer requests, even my friends who are not believers. Thanks to the concrete yet completely followable example of Zach and Quinton.

Perhaps the greatest example of the intangible becoming concrete took place in an area in which I’ve been struggling to grow for some time now: evangelism. One afternoon, our scheduled outreach was to walk around an assigned street and just find someone to “bless.” We each had $5 (so in our groups of three, we had $15 altogether), and that was to be our tool; buy someone lunch, maybe get to know their story, wherever it takes you.

The first person my group talked to cheerfully told us that she’d already had lunch (it was about 1:30pm after all), and that she was just out enjoying a walk. We watched her walk away, somewhat comforted by the thought that if we didn’t really get any other conversations, at least we’d tried. The second guy we talked to was walking towards the intersection we were standing by just as the crosswalk turned red (I remember thinking, “He has to wait for the light, maybe we can get a quick conversation with him”), so we just launched in and (pretty awkwardly) asked if we could buy him lunch or something. He seemed a little surprised and even slightly amused, so he asked us once or twice why we were doing this, and we responded once or twice that we simply wanted to “bless” him that day. Then he asked if we were from a church group or something (I think excessive use of the term “bless” tipped him off; that seems to be the Christian go-to for anything and everything good), which somehow (I don’t remember how) lead to asking him what he believed. After talking a little while longer, we asked him if we could at least get him a coffee or something to continue the conversation over, to which he readily agreed.

“But first you got to tell me what you believe.”

One hour later, there under the Kentucky sun by that intersection, we were still talking to him; about the Gospel, about Christ, what Christians believe, what he believed, and especially about the Bible. He was a really nice guy, and he shot completely straight with us. We in turn did the same. We listened as he explained what he thought about a certain Christian idea, and he would listen as we explained what we thought he should know about said idea. He believed that the Bible was a great book, full of human wisdom, and that eternal life consists of the legacy you leave behind by living well. We encouraged him to check out the prophecies in the Bible to weigh whether they seemed no more than man’s words or not, and told him becoming an ambassador of God means leaving an earthly and an eternal legacy behind you. It was an amazing conversation. It ended pretty naturally; we just thanked him for talking with us for so long, he thanked us for our conversation, and he just walked off in the direction that he’d originally been going.

He never did get that coffee. As we watched him walk away, we said a quick prayer for him; that God would allow the seeds that He had planted through us to take root, and to grow into something fruitful in that man’s life. Quite a few of the things we had said seemed to take traction in his mind; he just said that he couldn’t accept some of the things the Bible teaches. I pray that he sees that the Bible is God’s Word, and that when our opinions and the Scriptures diverge, we are the ones who must change.

(By the way, we also found out later that one of the other groups, seeing us engaged in conversation with this guy, decided to pray for us while we were talking across the street. That was cool.)

All that to say this: a wall has been lifted. Now, talking to complete strangers about the gospel is no longer… unfathomable to me. I’ve seen that it can be done. In fact, now I want to do it again and often.

I know for a fact that that hour-long conversation in the Kentucky sun was all the work of the Holy Spirit. All the right thoughts and Scripture passages and examples just came to mind (and you better believe that I was praying for them throughout the conversation). It was incredible to see how He used my thinking and what I’ve learned in the past to guide that conversation. And maybe for that reason, it felt pretty much normal to be having a conversation like that. If it had been an incredibly dramatic, mountain-top experience, I would be so afraid that I would never be able to have that kind of experience again. But it didn’t; now, it can become a habit.

One thing I liked about the conference overall was the emphasis on not just having moments with God; nice, fuzzy feelings you can look back on. Instead, we are to build momentum. A snowballing of passion for the Lord’s work that just keeps growing as it goes along, that gets more and more unstoppable and impacts more and more lives as it dives deeper into enemy territory.

That is the kind of life I long to have, the kind of “regular activity” I long to do, the kind of person I long to be. I don’t want to just think back to the time I had that really cool conversation with that guy in Kentucky. I want to make conversations like that a pattern in my life. As Aristotle so aptly said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” It’s a lifestyle, a consistent pattern, not a moment or a one-time experience.

Obviously, there will be many failures, many rejections, many disappointments as I try to live this out. But I serve a God who can turn my weakness to strength, and turn what the enemy means for evil to the good of His people and His own glory.

I went into that conference with low expectations, and came out… different. Honestly, for the first time in my Christian walk, I can say with confidence that I know — both in my head and my heart — that I am a new creation. That I am not ashamed of the gospel; that I am not the same anymore. And I pray that the momentum I have now will not fade as the days pass, but grow all the stronger for the passage of time.

*   *   *   *   *

Dear friends,

I leave for college tomorrow. And though I go to a Christian campus, I want to get into the community there and be a light to the lost and the unseen. I ask that God would enable me, His servant, to speak and live with boldness, and I ask that you pray that I would live as such. Your prayers are ever appreciated.

I fully intend to continue blogging, but I’ll likely be learning to walk again in my new environment for most of first semester, so it’s anyone’s guess how much time will present itself for me to dedicate here. As always, I thank you for reading, and hope to be back soon.

Praying for boldness,

~ Timothy

So… why the Facebook?

For those of you who have known me for any length of time, the fact that I got a Facebook is probably a shock, or at least a surprise to you. I don’t blame you.

For years, I did not have/get/want a Facebook, often ignoring/dodging/rolling my eyes at friends who pleaded with me to get one, for the following reasons:

* I didn’t see the need for one. I can “keep in touch” with my friends by simply talking to them face-to-face, and also through email.

* I didn’t think I’d have the time. I hear it takes time to maintain these things.

* I didn’t want to risk hitting an extreme. I consider myself the kind of person who (if I got a Facebook) would either run to one extreme and never use it (thus defeating the purpose of getting one), or hit the other extreme and become a FB junkie. Neither of those were desirable outcomes to me, or worth the risk.

So now… why did I finally make one? Why did I finally “cave” and “join the dark side” (in the words of two teasing friends)? It’s simple really. Now that I’m going off to college, a need has come into being that didn’t exist before. I no longer have the option of simply saying that I’ll just talk to my friends the next time I see them, because I won’t be working and playing and moving in the same places anymore.

Simply put, I’ve heard that Facebook is a great way to maintain contact with people, and that’s basically what I aim to do. (I still like using email as a way to keep in touch and will continue to do so, especially for my non-Facebooking friends, but if most people would rather do it through Facebook, I want to accommodate that.) So after thinking for a while about it, I finally decided to make one (though my brother Jonathan still had to practically set it up for me since I never got around to it myself for some reason; go figure).

So what about my other two reasons for initially not wanting to get a Facebook? What’ll I do with those?

Frankly, I don’t fully know yet. But my desire to keep my friendships alive is strong enough to make me be willing to take those risks. They’re still valid (at least what I consider valid) concerns of mine, but I have a better reason to do it anyway. God has brought each friend into my life for a reason, and to let that relationship fade would be, as I’ve heard it said, “a lapse in stewardship.” I don’t want that to happen.

I want to continue to laugh with my friends, to encourage them and build them up and know what to pray for in their lives when things are going well and when they’re not. I want to keep the time-tested relationships I value as gold with me, even as I make new ones in my new environment. In other words, I just want to be a blessing to my friends; and I hope that my new risk will prove to be a tool that allows me to do that.

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I’d already posted this in my Notes on my FB account, but as the message is somewhat relevant even to my non-Facebooking friends (some of whom make up this audience), I thought I’d share it here too. Besides, I’m not going to pass up an easy opportunity to post something I have ready and written. Hope it made sense, and that you enjoyed reading it!

Loquaciously yours,

  ~ Timothy