MyLife

10 Things I Learned About God From Brother Lawrence

Brother_Lawrence_in_the_kitchen

“Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of GOD were great, we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.”

How is this possible? Here are 10 ways we can grow in our knowledge, understanding and love of God:

1. We Need to Be in Constant Conversation with our Father

“That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that GOD would give him somewhat to suffer, when he should grow stronger.”

Sure, set times for prayer, but even your job should not hinder you from praying to the Father.

 

2. No Matter The Circumstance, Do All Things For The Glory of God

“That we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of GOD, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed. That we should not wonder if, in the beginning, we often failed in our endeavors, but that at last we should gain a habit, which will naturally produce its acts in us, without our care, and to our exceeding great delight.”

Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen in a monastery, no one saw or appreciated his work, yet still found joy in the everyday tasks.

 

3. Tell God Your Faults, Failures and Fears

“That in his trouble of mind, he had consulted nobody, but knowing only by the light of faith that GOD was present, he contented himself with directing all his actions to Him, i.e., doing them with a desire to please Him, let what would come of it.”

In the moments of struggle, doubt, or failure, talk to God about it. He will give you hope, he will console you.

 

4. That God Loves Us Because He Loves Us

“That all bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, except as they serve to arrive at the union with GOD by love; that he had well considered this, and found it the shortest way to go straight to Him by a continual exercise of love, and doing all things for His sake.”

There is nothing you can do that can change God’s love for you. You can screw up over and over or attend church every Sunday, God doesn’t see the actions, He see the heart and He loves you no matter what you choose to do or not to do.

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Finding My Voice

Screenshot 2014-12-09 19.11.54

Elation.

That is what I want you to feel as you see my first blog in quite awhile. I can hear it now,

Yay, Trent. You’re our hero!

Screams are going on in the background. A parade walks by. News anchors crowd at my front door,

Today a young man has found his way home to his keyboard and computer screen. After an absence from American life and living over a year traveling the world, Trent Hope has finally found his voice again.

No sweat. No biggie. I’m back and ready for a new chapter. Besides, I need something to talk about at my 10 year high school reunion this year. Here’s my battle cry:

To create environments that allow people to feel loved and open to God’s calling on their lives.

I LOVE people
I LOVE community
I LOVE fellowship
I LOVE learning and growing together
I LOVE traveling the world
I LOVE God

I am called to make disciples. My goal is to help those I lead to see themselves as God sees them and to help them discover the gifts and calling God has placed in their heart.

I Know That I Don’t Know

Tap. Tap. Tap.
Ugh!
Click. Click. Click.
Argh!

 
Anxious. Impatient. Troubled. Frustrated. These words barely describe my life right now. I am having to change, let go, and give up things I have spent years building up. Systems, projects, resources, methods, traditions. Boom! They’ve got to go.
I know, I know. House built on the sand gets tossed to sea. I know. But it is going deeper than that. My identity is changing. I can no longer live for me, myself and I. I’m narrowing in on one thing and one thing alone . . . Christ.
You are a Christian, Trent, ya know . . . I know, I know. But my needs come first, ya know! I mean, I do it unknowingly most of the time: flip on the TV, play a game, search Netflix, eat a box of Cheese-Its in one sitting. BAH! What a wreck!
Have you seen my room? Do you know my sleeping pattern? Did I just eat 5 cookies? Is this my fifth cup of coffee? Are my eyes still glazed over. Has my breathing become short and quick?
I know one thing. It is the not knowing that has got me. I am about to cut ties with family, friends a job to die for, and  leave the good ‘ole US of A for 11 months.
No, I was not always this troubled. You would never believe me now if I told you one of my strengths is “Adaptability.” And 99% of the time I am very adaptive, very easy-going and extremely chill. But this is straight-up obedience, and straight up what God has called me to do. I do believe that if you are scared out of your wits about what lies ahead and what decisions you have and will have to make it is because you are right in the middle of God’s Will for your life.
So, the next breath will hopefully be a little less heavy and maybe my nights will be filled with rest when I just make the decision to know that I don’t know about what lies ahead and trust that God knows what’s up. I’m scared, but I’ve got some big arms to rest in. I think it’s time I ran towards them.
I’m running.

Ohana

Growing up my Mom and Dad have always told me to “Enjoy your youth!” or “Take advantage of every moment in your college years, son! They’ll be the best ones ever!” There is so much truth in what they have said, but something has always not settled right in my heart about this ideology that these are the only best years. Do we have to give in to the 9-to-5 once we graduate? Does the tie become our go-to accessory when choosing our daily wardrobe? Am I supposed to be raising a family before I am 30? Where do these cultural norms come from and why do I have to make them my own?
I’ve aways seen Christianity as an adventure. Honestly, that is how God got me to believe in Him. He promised me a life better than one I could ever create by myself. I’ll elaborate more on that story some other time, but for now I will simply say that He promised me no ordinary life. So who is to say that I have to settle for the American Dream? Isn’t that a materialistic and egotistical ideal anyway?
I think why my parent’s eyes always light up when they talk about their young adult years is because of the community they had around them. It was tight-knit, fun, and they always had friends to hang out with. There were no commitments, sports practices, piano lessons, tutoring or parent-teacher meetings. Life was simple. But somewhere along the way people moved, children were born, new commitments were made and community took the back-burner.
Sure there is Sunday school, small groups and retreats, but sometimes these are more commitments and not community. I am not saying that my parents don’t have authentic community, they actually have paved the way for so many people to discover how to read the bible, share life’s deepest secrets, pray honestly and love unconditionally. But there are people who are being fooled by shallow community. You know, the ones who poke their head to small group in every once in awhile, whose prayer requests are always self-centered, who come to church only when it is convenient. This is what I think of as cultural Christianity. It is a faith that is built around you and your comfort zones. It is there only to help ease the ache when your heart is crying out for someone to listen, love and guide you in your walk.
In the book, Kingdom Journeys, by Seth Barnes, he says:
“Community and vulnerability are essential for the church of the broken. We must authentically share both our pain and joy. As one body, we will deeply experience one another’s hurts, as well as their honor. As Paul says, ‘If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it’” (1 Corinthians 12:26). 
We are meant for rich community and that is what I am looking forward to in the coming years. Not just in my youth, but forever. The fun times I have had in my youth do not have to end, you know why? Because the Bible shows us through both Jesus’ disciples and Paul how to live in authentic community. There was no college, no youth group or greek life (and I don’t mean ancient greek life) back then. These people came from all ages and all walks of life.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10 (ESV)
I urge everyone, no matter how old you are to seek community like they did in the Bible. One of the best words that describes what community is to me, is “Ohana.” If you have ever watched the movie Lilo and Stitch, you will understand that it means “family.” That is what community is. I long for Ohana, and when I don’t have it, my heart begins to harden and my focus goes to self and away from God. I want the real deal and not the fake stuff.  So for many who ask why I am doing the World Race, I will tell them, “I am doing it for Ohana!” I am doing it to learn how to love, give, serve, grow and be the me God created me to be.
Some of my Ohana:
Support me on my World Race! Visit http://trenthope.theworldrace.org