Faith

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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How to Leave Ordinary And Become Extraordinary – Part One

Summer is in full swing and while most ordinary citizens are basking in the sun and sipping their virgin margaritas, I am giving it all up. Working for summer beach camps has been my life for the past four years and five summers. You may not think that is normal, but for me it is my job. It all began almost a year ago when I was packing up and finalizing details of last summer’s beach camps. In me I felt a subtle discontent. Something was awry and became more unsettling. As August began to pass I found my heart longing for an escape from the ordinary and average and a pursuit of something extraordinary. What happened was a happenstance glance into a friend’s Facebook photo album. My pal, Kyle Dennard, left America behind for a year to explore the globe with the World Race. He too has a stirring of the heart to just get up and go. That same feeling echoed in my heart, “leave it all behind Trent and go.”

The Millennial Generation does not have the best reputation. We are understandably known as “Generation Me”. We have been raised to be comfortable, self-consumed, prideful, arrogant, and narrow-minded. In fact, articles have been posted recently on CNN, Fox News, and NBCNews.com about how it is not our fault that we are who we are. Here is the thing, we are at fault for who we are. It is a combined effort. Culture has blinded us to the truth that we are essentially emotionless robots who receive sensation from materialistic things. Brand names like Starbucks, Candy Rush, Snapchat, Facebook, Walking Dead, Instagram and Vine all feed into our egotistical self. They all exist to give us a temporary sense of fulfillment. They bring us in and toss us out and make us come back wanting more. Picture yourself sitting in Vegas in front of a slot machine constantly inserting coins into the machine. That is the American life.

The Christian Church has not been immune to this. Unfortunately many churches have entrapped themselves as well to culture. Some churches use flashy production to stimulate the mind. Some churches misuse the Holy Spirit and mistake it for an adrenaline rush. Some churches use tradition and “fire and brimstone” and forget about saving grace. Some churches have become too accepting and allow people living an immoral lifestyle to shepherd a whole flock. Like the rest of American culture, the church too has started to sit in front of slot machines trying to find God in the next pull. But God is not American and God does not change who he is for who our culture says he should be.

So, back to last August, I began to listen to the voice inside and began to ask those I love and trust their honest opinions and thoughts. Not one hesitated to say that The World Race was exactly the right thing for me to do. So in obedience to the urging of the Holy Spirit, I began the application process for the World Race. The turn-around was quick and such a God thing. Before I knew it I was the first guy added to the U Squad for September 2013 departure. The only thing that separated me from a life of faith, trust, risk and obedience was one more step, give the first donation myself.

Part Two coming shortly.

Please consider supporting my year in missions by supporting me financially on the World Race. Give now by credit card HERE. For more information on my involvement with the World Race and what I am doing click HERE.

What Do the New Facebook Changes Mean for Your Ministry?

This post is aimed specifically at the youth leader, pastor, and the influential Christian. Facebook today has jumped into a whole new world of being social. As a person who is involved in the ministry you have been hesitant in the past to post pictures, videos, “likes” and other updates on who you are when you are not under the steeple. Facebook is making this harder and easier at the same time.

Some of the new things announced Thursday at the F8 Conference, Facebook’s “Tell-All” event, were the OpenGraph integrations, timeline, and newly upgraded apps. No longer can you click on an item in privacy, if JoAnne is listening to “Desperado” by the Eagles, Jessie Grace who is in your 6th grade small group will see.

Do not worry, privacy and sharing settings are all still there and are all becoming easier for you to filter what you do not want others to know. But, the point Facbook is trying to make, and where we are heading is that who you are will come out somehow and someway.

As a Christian, this is accountability and discipline at its finest. You can tell it not to show you are playing Farmville, listening to the Eagles, and reading Mary Higgins Clark’s bestseller, however, Facebook has presented two thoughts on why you should not keep these activities from the world. 1. Facebook is integrated around you and what you are doing so that people can be inspired. 2. Others who are with you when you are doing this activity can post that you are with them.

You are probably saying that this is not fair, and it may not be acceptable for someone who wants to just see what others are doing, but we are called to be disciplined as followers of Christ. Who you are and what you are struggling with will come out eventually. Facebook will best reveal the things that lurk in your heart through their timeline and its pattern integration.

Timeline will show all activities you are doing. You will be able to customize this as much as you want. You can show music you have listened to, books you have read, trails you have run, and food you have eaten. Lets say that you have been listening to music and reading material you should not have. If you are listening to or reading the content on a website or app connected to your email or Facebook, Facebook will begin to establish a pattern of what you are doing.

Bob is a dentist. He tells people to eat healthy, exercise daily, listen to motivational music and watch innocent movies. Everyone loves Bob, but what Facebook is starting to show is that Bob eats McDonalds about four times a week, has not run a mile in two weeks, listens to Eminem’s newest album and watched Saw V yesterday. Bob apparently is not practicing what he is preaching.

So what does this mean for you? It means that this is your time. This is the time for you to come clean and check if you are living a double-life. You may be outraged at Facebook, but know that even if Facebook crumbled, this is where we are heading.

Are you who you say you are?

A Late 5 Year Celebration

Happy 5th Anniversary!

It has been over five years since I began blogging. Probably the most faithful time to blogging I had was in 2005, and on Feb. 8th, 2005 I posted my first ever blog post on a fowarded email I recieved. Much has changed since I was 17 years old, and I find it quite funny and fitting at the same time of the subject of my post:

https://trenthope.wordpress.com/2005/02/

My faith was on fire then. God did a whole LOT during my senior year in high school.

– I organized and executed a student rally at my church

– I was chaplain for Y-Club over (practically) the whole northern area of Georgia

– I was Yearbook editor

– I lead of coffee Bible study

– I did production and directed retreats for the student ministry

– I experienced BigStuf for the first time/ rebaptised

So it was a milestone year for me and while my faith was about to be matured and tested in college, for where I was, I was in my prime. Haha!

So kudos to five years and here is to the five more to come!

– Trent