Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year: Sweet Persecution.

A message from Brother Andrew.
"Persecution is not the latest buzz word; it's for real.  It happens when either a political or religious system takes away our liberties of Christian witness.  Can it ever be sweet?  Only in the victorious lives of those who choose to pay the price-beginning with Stephen."
                                                          -Brother Andrew

Another year is coming to an end.  2012 was pretty amazing and as I look back I am reminded of everything that the Lord made happened.

1. I was able to create a new body of work for God when I was asked to be apart of the UNDERGROUND art show.  God showed me a new level of creating art, to bring light to scripture and to show others His glory.

2. I became a homeowner.

3. I went on my first missions trip, doing outreach for churches.

4. I participated in and won the ONE BODY, MANY GIFTS contest by Open Doors USA.

5. I was able to photograph the iGo AweStar Missions conference and meet Pastor Mony from Cambodia.

These things are just a handful of the blessings God has given me.  I want to remember them and never feel ungrateful or unappreciative to the goodness of my God.  I also never want to think that I did these things on my own strength or by my own will, but by His grace and his perfect plan for His glory.
[Romans 11:36]
"For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."
On this day after Christmas I also remember my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I think about those whom, on Christmas day, were not allowed to celebrate openly their love and adoration for our Jesus who came down to earth.  I remember those who pray on bended knee about the true reason for the season, and I remember those who celebrate Christ's coming without a tree or presents, but IN HIS PRESENCE.  I think how foolish we must seem to those who only need God on what should be one of the most reverent days of the year.  This quote sums it up for me:

"Santa Claus fits the theology of the world. He can drink with you at parties and he can cater to your selfish desires.  The Christ child calls us to worship; something bigger than we can understand is happening here." -Nathan Johnson

Now don't get me wrong, I did celebrate with my family.  We ate together and exchanged gifts, but I fear that for many the main reason has been lost amongst the heap of wrapping paper waiting to be thrown out after the excitement of presents has dissipated.  I pray for my own self that as this year comes to a close I keep Christ at the forefront and my eyes upon his eternal glory.

For the new year I will be starting this devotional called Sweet Persecution: A 30-Day Devotional With Reflections From the Persecuted Church. (click the link to find it on amazon) The book is under three dollars and if you want they even have a Kindle edition for 2.99. Will you join me as the new year begins? Will you focus our thoughts and prayers not on yourself or a new years resolution, but let us, you and I, be resolute to put God first and pray for those brothers and sisters who suffer persecution for the name of our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.
[Acts 5:41]
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
-A.

Prayer Requests:

1.  Still working on getting a passport and deciding where I should go for my visit with persecuted Christians.  Please pray for guidance.

2. Pray that our brothers and sisters and Christ would rejoice in their suffering and know that they are not alone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FOUNDATIONS. (iGo Missions Conference Photographs)

Here we are, finally finished and posted the iGo Conference pictures that I took back in November.  You can check all of them out on my facebook page, but here are few just for you.



Dr. Heng Lim is the author of My Journey to  Paradise, it tells of his story of escaping the Cambodian killing fields.  I haven't started reading it yet, but seeing how passionate he is for the Lord I really can't wait.


Praying for my sweet Cambodia.
I think my favorite part of this conference is praying for the different countries by gathering around their flags.  Some flags only have a few, but the number is growing each year.  I am in awe of what God is doing through AweStar missions.  Although my heart longs to step foot in Cambodia, seeing so many surround the flag and pray, I know that God is still doing great things ahead of me by planting seeds and laying the foundation of what is yet to come.

"For we are co-workers in God's service; you are God's field, God's building.  By the grace God has given me, I laid foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

-A.

Monday, December 10, 2012

FINALITY.

[Psalm 73] (read the whole things, its intense)
v. 25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I finished my second digital photography course, I learned a lot.  Here is one of my final pieces.

reminds me of Psalm 73.
©Abandoned Heart:Art & Photography
DO NOT use without consent. Violators will be prosecuted.

-A.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Unusual Ones

"You know, Alex, your gifting's are pretty unusual."

Conversations at midnight bring some of the most interesting and insightful perspectives.

I read a quote recently that ended with the phrase: Struggle well. I feel as of lately I have been struggling with some things in my life and wondering where this path that God has me on is leading.  I've known for a very long time that I wanted to do missions work, but what kind of missions long term or short term and how to get there has been very unclear and it has been my place to wait upon the Lord to reveal these things. (I also find that its best not to act out of confusion or fear of uncertainty/not wanting to miss out etc...)

Have you seen Lincoln yet? It is a very insightful movie, although I missed the last few minutes because of a rat, there was a moment when the President asks two young men "Are we fitted to the times we are born into?" This is the time when God chose for us to live and he created us, our gifts for such a time as this.

"Did God call you specifically to long term missions?"

When the question was asked...I honestly could not say yes. I struggled...is it that I am not called for long term missions or is my heart not willing? Am I afraid? No...I know that I have been called to go, and I am willing but right now in my life I only see a small portion of the picture. What God is orchestrating right now I cannot see, but I trust in Him and his perfect timing.

T-shirt designer, photographer, painter, graphic designer, poet...these gifts don't necessarily fit into any typical ministry of a church.  This is has been a struggle for me as well, not knowing where I fit in at the church because of the talents God has given however today a woman from a missionary training organization spoke to my friend and I, and she said something that reaffirmed what God was trying to speak to me "Doesn't matter where you go, your gifts go with you."  She began speaking exactly what my friend and I had discussed last night in early morning hours of how if we had been born at any other time in history our gifts would have been obsolete.  There is purpose in us being here now, we these gifts and there is a purpose for you too.  Whatever your gifting may be, use it for the advancement of the kingdom and fulfill the purpose that God called us to: go out and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"What do you see yourself doing?"

Advocacy. My desire is to show the world, and Christians what it means to suffer for the name of Christ. I want to bring back stories and photographs and make the orphan in Haiti real to those who live behind the white picket fence of the American dream.  My desire is that God would take these talents and refine them into instruments that share his burden for souls and awaken sleepers to the truth of persecution of our brothers and sisters. God break my heart for what breaks yours and teach me, show me, guide me instruct me in the ways in which I can pierce the heart man that our people may be awaken once again and stand for righteousness.

So I am unusual, but as I look through the Bible and read the history, I see that many of my heroes were also unusual and did not do things normally.

I leave you with this truth:

[Philippians 3:7-8]

"But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ..."

-A.

Prayer Requests:

1. November Missions month has ended, but that doesn't mean that we as the church should not continue to be missions minded.  Please continue to pray for our missionary brothers and sisters who go where God has called them to go, that they would have the support from the body of Christ that they need, and that God would continually surround them with protection and blessings, that doors would be open to them because of their willingness and faithfulness to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.