Safety First!

I thought money was going to be my parents’ main concern, but it was actually about safety. I wish I could impart on them the faith I have that I’ll be safe in SE Asia. I understand the lengths to which staff go to in order to guarantee the safety of all the students, but it’s difficult to relay that to my parents. My faith rests in God alone, but because my rentals don’t believe in God, I can’t appeal to them on that basis. 

There’s no common ground. 

God please continue to work in mysterious ways in their heart. Also please keep working in my own to trust you; not by logic, but by faith. 

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Money Maturity

I’m not working yet, and at the rate I’m going, I won’t have a formal job for the next few years. These past few days, after getting accepted into UHCO, the conversations with my parents and friends shifted to loans, determination, and committing to going to class. All the sudden, I feel convicted to monitor my finances and expenses, particularly because I’m currently spending what I haven’t earned.

About a year ago, I spent a few months praying that God would teach me about the power of money. You know… Why did He create it? What is it worth to us? And ultimately, how much should it be worth to us in eternity? Right now, I feel compelled to monitor my expenses for the semester.

Since I arrived in Cstat yesterday for my tenth (as someone notified me of) and last semester at Texas A&M, I have spent over $100. Granted, about than 80% of that was spent on groceries for the next couple weeks and paying for someone else’s food, I realize I haven’t had a very watchful eye when I pull out my credit card. I just feel compelled to monitor any expenses I make for the course of this semester. Perhaps I will challenge myself to put a ceiling on eating out or total amount of money I’m allowed to spend. Or maybe, I’ll limit how frequently I allow myself to eat out. We’ll see; I haven’t made up my mind yet. I believe this will definitely be one of my tithes this year. I want to be able to give freely to support missionaries instead of satisfying my own desire/hunger for unnecessary things.

This might be a baseline on how I control my expenses: http://dining.tamu.edu/dining_plans/optionsfall12_U2_U3_U4.stm#U2

I want this to be a lesson for myself, not so I can set a standard I want others around me to follow. I also don’t want it to be a standard that I follow based on being “better” than the people around me.

I’m extremely grateful for my parents. They taught me to buy only what I need and nothing more. I believe I’ve definitely strayed away from the median of that ideal, and I want to return to that norm. So, a big thank you to my parents for raising me and teaching me. Thanks for not giving my presents growing up, but instead, trusting me.

Please teach me. 

Influences, Justin, Josh, Joanne, Tiara, Rents, cloward,

Some of the things I’m thankful for

Well, this could be a thankfulness post, but to be honest, it’s more of post of things I’ve been learning. Of course, we can always be thankful for things we’re learning, right?

I’m thankful for community. I don’t say it often. Most of the time, I’ll never admit its importance. I’ll normally think less of people who seemingly depend on having friends or community probably because I yearn and seek it less. Tonight, I got to hang out with a bunch of epic guys; Ryan, Justin, Jonathan, William, Stephen, and even Daniel were all there. I enjoyed seeing Daniel in my life. It made me realize how much I do miss having him around. But yeah, I’m thankful for community that I’ve received and generally take for granted. I don’t know how Fall 2013 will be without all of them. 

I’m thankful for the money that I have, even though I’m a “poor college student”. I gave my first tithe about 5 years ago. I gave my first missions support to a friend this summer. At the time, what I thought was very little (because she had to raise over 6000 dollars) was actually a lot to her. In the summer, I struggled with the concept of money – what it was worth (purchasing power), what it’s true value was in light of eternity, what it can and should be used for. And today, I decided to financially support someone very close to me on a monthly basis for the better part of the next year. I feel like God is opening me up to understand that idols such as money/school/profession can be things intended for good. I have an opportunity to partner with someone and their ministry, and I will dutifully do so with my money as well. So, yeah God’s been teaching me about money, and I’m thankful. 

I’ve been driven to an understanding about myself. I used to think the most God-glorifying thing you could do in life was to go to a third-world country, life there long term, and devote your life to starting a church there and sharing about Jesus with people. I thought to myself,  “Man, those people must be really holy because they’re willing to leave everything behind to serve God. That’s awesome.” The truth is, I still think that’s awesome, but what I realized today while externally processing with Jonathan was I think it’s even more awesome to do it in the United States. Here, the struggle isn’t having enough; it’s having too much. Here in the United States, money and success things that can cloud us serving God. While we can walk into church and give willingly, our security rests with the bank accounts that we know are filled with our retirement fund. I don’t think anything is wrong with spending our money wisely, but there’s an intangible line between doing that and storing our treasures on earth instead of heaven. When I was talking to Jonathan, these words slipped out, but they say more about my ambition than anything else.

I think the coolest thing anyone could do would be to live like Jesus in the most money-centric industries among people who work in the richest professions. 

As I thought about it, I realized that I’ve always wanted to distract status quos. Think about it… a radical Christian who makes it into the big time. President, congressman, heart surgeon, lawyers, judges, business owners, managers. People who earn respect in the world with their worldly status only to tear down the expectations of others because they’re living by Jesus’ standard. The Holy Spirit can manifest himself through these people and reach those people who have much but know little. To me, that has become, in the past few years, something that’s driven me deeply. I want so badly to be someone who makes a lot of money and has enough courage to live by Christ in this money-idol culture because I think I’m crazy, bold, audacious enough to try it. I don’t know if God’s telling me to do that, but to be honest, I wouldn’t mind if that was the path of sanctification He’s set out for me. Does that make me sound crazy?