Be Undefined

There is a trap in which we as individuals place ourselves, and it is closer to home than we imagine; it’s your other half, or in other words, your alter ego. Who is it that you portray yourself as being to the world? I have certain friends who will only post about financial success, political inclination, about body building, techie stuff, or the like. Sometimes this behavior is obvious, other times it’s much more subtle, but in both cases, a person’s alter ego can limit their behavior, speech, and even thoughts.

I remember going to watch a few people running to be the representative of a local district, one of whom was a libertarian. Every time this person answered, he said, “well, as a libertarian, I beleive…” Really? Do you have any opinions of your own, or have you limited your own thoughts to that the libertarian party?  It’s difficult to believe that this person does not have one opinion that contradicts with the general party to which he subscribes, yet his answers proved otherwise.

Too often, I see people limited by the way they portray themselves to others (their alter-ego). It’s pretty easy to read in people. This is demonstrated in the way they have to live a life consistent with the way they believe others view them (whether accurate or not). If they think people view them as a party animal, they do everything they can to get credit for being one. People go as far as to define themselves in ideologies in which at first they know nothing about. This person is called “the poser.” -A person seeking to be justified by a particular behavior, even if they know very little about that particular subject. And there are people throughout the entire spectrum.

The problem is that whether we know little or a lot about a subject, we should be cautious not to allow a subject to limit who we are, and what we possibly believe. For non-christians, this would call them to be open to understanding about God by having an empty cup that is genuinely interested in learning and experiencing something in a way they haven’t in the past. For Christians, this is more a call to make sure we’re not putting God in a box. The only thing we should subscribe to as complete truth (regardless of your interpretation) is the bible, and realize that one person’s commentary or mindset even in regards to our faith, may not be what God truly wants for a person’s own life.

Christ called us to freedom! He didn’t call us to limit ourselves, but to freedom. “It is for freedom that Christ set us free” (Galatians 5:1). He called us to be free from a yoke of slavery (a spirit of religion), to be free from fear, and to be free in general, again not to put God in a box, but to be led by the spirit, wherever that may lead.

Keep Reaching

In February of 2013 I was inspired to write letters for my community, describing in a few words my experience and relationship with God. My intention was, and is simple–to write to people on the basis of which my heart was won: love.

In the Bible one of my favorite collection of verses is 1 Corinthians 4-8 (NIV):

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…”

With this in mind, please read this. My prayer is that it will open your heart, mind, and soul to the extraordinary, endless, and scandalous love of our God, who is with you always.

Dear Neighbor,

Hello, my name is Taylor. I never used to be this guy but I want to tell you, you are loved. You are loved by our creator, our father, our savior.

I know a lot of you may disagree and it’s ok if you do but please, consider this: He’s waiting with open arms… waiting for you to come home. It’s easy to say He’s not real, to blame Him for everything wrong in this world; I know this because I did it. I think that being fearful about something you don’t fully understand is a natural tendency, it’s human nature. Hiding behind drugs, alcohol, sex, wealth, fame, pride, anger, deception–it’s all so empty. They won’t lead to answers; they won’t heal your hurting. Again, I know this through experience, through crashing and burning time and time again. Living a life without a purpose is a rudderless ship, aimless, destructive, and going nowhere. It’s a never-ending egg hunt to fill a void in hopes that it will lead us to a measure of peace and fulfillment that seems just out of reach.

I didn’t write this to start an argument, I wrote this to urge you to keep reaching, keep moving, keep hope alive. I wrote this to ultimately remind you that you are loved.

Please, have a blessed day, remind your family and friends that you love them, pour words of encouragement, integrity and honor into them. Light up their hearts. Remember that this life is a vapor, here for one moment and gone the next… so live the life you always dreamed of. It’s never too late to remove the stone and live again. Please know that I will be praying for you, I love you and most of all, God loves you.

God Bless,

Double life

This is my first post!  🙂

1 John 1:6 “If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

Why should I live a double life? Why do people go to church only to return home without applying what they’ve learned? They must not understand the word.

I can not live a double life, speaking the word of God when in fellowship, only to  leave to the work place and stumble just to fit in. I must keep in fellowship with my brothers and practice what I have received from our talks in scripture and not be lead by temptation, and darkness.

A weak identity identified and Salvation by Grace

During that time period, when I first rededicated my life, I decided to give up some things for God. This decision was made in preparation to match the time-line of when Jesus fasted in the desert. I figured I could give up at least a few things as well.

Some of the things I gave up were tangible- alcohol and things of that nature- others were less tangible such as attempting to disregard beautiful girls and to discontinue the standard that our culture encourages- to look at girls as objects. I started off well and was strong for a few weeks. In fact, in some regard, I had never been stronger. Then there came a day when I failed myself.

A friend I hadn’t seen in a long time contacted me to hang out with him and his twin brother on their 25th birthday. They planned on going to the Scotish festival at the Queen Mary, and I joined them. Once there, I found myself in line to get alcohol.  I told myself that I was only going to buy my friend a drink and I wouldn’t get one myself, but as I stood there in line, I felt myself backsliding.  I was an infant in the spirit then, a little sprout I called myself, and I wasn’t then ready to express to each of these people with whom I used to partake in, drinking and carousing, that I had turned a new leaf and about the promise that I made with God in which I decided not to drink. Drinking in itself is another story, but this was my own commitment that I myself made with God. After some definite spiritual growth, my salvation seems a lot easier to explain to others, but at that moment I was caught up, and realized that I was about to fail and did come to fail myself before God. Right before I took that first drink, I prayed quietly to ask God to forgive me for not having enough self-control. I let myself down.

I didn’t drink very much that day, but what was done was done. I did realize a few important things that day, however. That night I got home and prayed to God, thanking him for his love. I could have wallowed in my failure and allowed myself to fall away from fellowship with God once again, but what I took to heart that night is that I am a sinner (period). That is not to say that I should give up my spiritual growth and battle against the flesh (at all), but that times will come when I will be weak, and during those times.. I may fail. I feel that I am now a lot stronger than when I first started, but still, there might be more trying times up ahead. And even still, it’s okay.

One of the many things that makes God so amazing is that he loves us, not for anything that we have ever done, but just because he loves us. And that’s it. We didn’t have to earn his love through piousness or through works. In fact, he loves everyone and longs for a relationship with us in spite of how dirty our decisions in life have made us. We may be ashamed of our past decisions and their affects on us, but the reality is that he still loves us all the same.

Dirty Kid no teeth

Another important thing I realized about that situation was about my identity. I began to consider what sort of identity I had and how strong that was. I realized the issue was that my identity was weak– incredibly weak. I needed to establish to everyone and make a solid commitment to Christ to say, this is who I am, and I’m proud to say so.

That night I renewed the commitment I made to God about not drinking and everything I choose to give up for a while, and started again. I’ve been through a lot of trials since then and have also gained incredible strength- the strength of God’s word which is more powerful than I’ve ever realized.