catching up to my brain

It's fortunate that after this post, I'll finally have written all of the thoughts that have been building up inside my head lately. Of course, they'll build up again, but at least I won't feel like I'm behind anymore. I feel like I just shook out the last of the stuff rattling around up there, kinda like a cartoon character hitting himself on the head so that the sand and sea water comes out of his ear. The name of the game is to get ahead of my brain, so that I write things on this blog as soon as (or even before!) I think of them.

Okay, now for the rattlers. They all are thoughts that God has placed on my heart last Tuesday night and last night at the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship nights that I go to. Last week was "Senior Share" night, when all of our family members who are graduating or otherwise leaving Chi Alpha after this semester gave their two-bits. Last night was Steve Barke's last sermon of the semester. Both nights were very special and thought-provoking, so I am going to address each of them one at a time.

Senior Share Night:
  • Robbie Love reminded the body that if we all come expecting to get something out of Chi Alpha, then there's no one who's actually giving anything, so eventually, we will all run out of whatever it is that brings us there. Instead, we should all come ready to give, so that the Spirit will overflow among us like a fountain. His words were very prophetic. Also, he mentioned something that I've heard before back at my church in Spokane Valley, that it's good to have a Paul, a Barnabus, and a Timothy in our lives. Basically, a Paul to mentor and train us in spiritual wisdom and maturity; a Barnabus to come alongside of us and encourage us as a peer; and a Timothy with whom to share our own knowledge that God has already taught us.
  • Marjorie Nelch definitely played a musical collage of the Beatles, ending with the song "Love", only with a Christian application in the lyrics. It was pretty much amazing!
  • Roselyn Gunderson had an important message to say, and it was something God really wanted to tell me. Essentially, she reminded us that we do not need to be afraid of God failing. So when we ask Him, we can have faith that we are not limited in what we ask, because God has never failed and cannot fail.
  • Natalie Hardy isn't graduating, but she's going to UCLA starting in the fall. She encouraged us to be there for people who have no one except us and Christ.
  • Alana Brunner exhorted us to live for God in every moment, rather than living in the past or the future like we're so prone to.
  • Jeff Storvick's whole message to us was to emphasize the power and availability of prayer that we often take for granted. Also, another thing about prayer we forget about is that talking with God is a two-way street. We need to wait on the Lord and listen for His voice. We need to be prepared to hear something we might not be expecting to hear.
  • And Jake spoke that night as well, but I hadn't started taking notes yet because I was taking care of the offering at the time. Sorry Jake! I love you too.
Last night's TNF: Steve Barke has, since the beginning of our time in Philippians, been drilling into our heads that God is BIGGER than [insert everything here]. But for some reason, this lesson hadn't really gotten its way into my head completely. In keeping with the drilling analogy (sorry, my dad's a contractor, so I think like this naturally), the chuck was on low power and the bit too dull to bite into my skull, until last night, when God switched tactics and found a jackhammer. God really is bigger. He's bigger than our every need. As Steve put it last night, when He looks at our needs, He laughs and asks us, "Is that all?" We need to need more. Steve finished by challenging us to answer the question for ourselves, How will we accomplish our mission? One other random tag-along thought: there is a big difference between me just hoping that God will give me a job this summer, and the people I know praying for a position that they have found and desire greatly. I want to be in the latter place...but I'm not quite there yet.

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Author's note: 'TNF' stands for "Tuesday Night Fellowship", for those who aren't as well-acquainted with Chi Alpha. If you aren't acquainted, ask me about it...I love our family!



Lately, I've been doing a whole lot of looking back...more so than usual. It's nearly to the degree that I find myself bumping into things mentally because I'm not paying attention to the things right in front of me! Fortunately, the key word there was 'nearly', as I am not currently in such a state. Rather, I have simply been reflecting on the past year of school, starting in August.

From the past year, there are two major things that I have been thinking back on: ...


Hmm...make that three: the experience of living in Waller Hall, being part of Chi Alpha, and everything else.

Living in Waller Hall for me has been such an awesome experience! [Ten minutes later.] Wow, it's definitely been a long day, and you can probably tell I just wrote a 6-page paper from the way I'm writing. And I have the credits song from "Portal" stuck in my head. Anyway, to keep things short for my own sanity's sake as well as yours, I just want to mention how easy it is to take for granted the opportunities and experiences that we have. I'm going to miss Waller Hall next year (moving into Honors Hall, ftw!) mostly because of the family feeling. Definitely will miss serenading our "sister halls" and having barbecues. Last night's End-of-the-Year BBBQ was a great culmination of all the year's atmosphere. Made me start thinking and feeling nostalgic.

The Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship group on campus was the perfect fit for me spiritually. Literally. God couldn't have done a better job finding a place for me to get plugged into and not only be a blessing to me, but help me bless and encourage those around me through the gifts He has given me. Playing electric, acoustic, and bass guitar on the worship team was a perfect example of this. Another is me going to be a Corefa (Core Facilitator, a.k.a. small group leader) next year. Scary as all heck, but exciting as well, because I know that God will be able to use me. Tonight, my Core met for the last time of the semester, at Denny's. This year's Corefas both shared how even despite their unpreparedness, God was able to work in our hearts, minds, and spirits, and minister to us through each other. I'd write examples except for the interest of time.

Finally, I feel like throughout the past school year, I have vastly expanded my circles of friends, to the point that it might even exceed the number of people I knew before coming to WSU. (I'd have to count to make sure, so for obvious reasons, I'm leaving it at 'might'.) The way I see it, all these new friends are a sort of extension of my family. Of course, I feel that way more about some friends than others, but generally the same around the table. In fact, I'll be kinda sad to go home for the summer, because I'll only be able to see my original family, plus a few lucky individuals who live near me or will otherwise be visited by me this summer.

Looking back on this year, I have been trying to think of a time when I knew, without a doubt, that I had just done something really freshman-y. Some examples would be staying up all night with Nathan Snook playing our free WoW trials, breaking Angela's ankle, running all across Pullman looking for the Thai Ginger restaurant, getting "kicked out" of the Rock for reciting Disney lines while watching "Robin Hood" (to the dismay of those trying to watch the movie), arriving consistently late to chemistry midterms after SpagDin (spaghetti dinners at the Rock), running head-long into a swing set at full speed and connecting my forehead with the uneven bars (and not losing consciousness for even a moment), placing dead last in the Pullman Highland Games, and many other times that I hadn't regarded as freshman-y but now do.

rawr, es tiempo para beddie-bye. sleepy! nighty! wakey wakey, aaAOOOGga, aaAOOOGga! ha ha hakltehl;ahoweioa;iuocnlk;ooqwheohaosh

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Author's note: I take no responsibility for any lack of sanity caused by the reading of this post. Please note that I do not jest when I say that I am crazy (in a good way, of course), and keep a mental distance from my ramblings when necessary. slurpeeeeeeezzz...


sleepless night

Last Thursday, I was reminded of the true value of human life, and shocked at how quickly we take it for granted. Sometimes, it takes a dramatic event to help us appreciate the lives of those around us. And of course, you all are probably begging to hear all about this ‘dramatic event’, but it’s too soon. I’ll give a basic overview of it, I guess, but you won’t get any huge details. A friend of mine (whom I will not identify) has a heart problem, which sie1 briefly explained to me, but I didn’t really understand. All I got was that there’s a blood vessel behind hir2 heart that is somewhat problematic, as it periodically (around once a month or so) causes hir blood pressure to fall rapidly and sie faints. The danger is that there’s a chance of heart failure along with the loss of blood pressure, so when this cardio-something panic occurred and sie was taken to the hospital, I was scared.

It reminded me of a time back in December, during Finals Week, some buddies of mine and I convinced my “cousin”, Angela, to come with us to Moscow, Idaho, and buy some sleds. We told her we’d drop her off back at her dorm before actually sledding, but we had nothing of the sort in mind. After returning from Moscow, we took her with us to a hill on top of the REC parking lot. While performing the fearless feat of sledding chains, in which we would hold the sled of the person in front of us and slide down all together, Dani, my cousin, and I found ourselves hurtling towards across the parking lot towards a lamp post. We were going fast enough that Angela’s foot went over the curb wrong, and she broke her ankle. She ended up going to the hospital in an ambulance, and to this day has to wear a boot on her foot, although it should be coming off soon.

I like to say that I have no fear, and that nothing can ever frighten me. After all, I relish experiencing new (even potentially hazardous) activities/people and jump at the chance to try something I’ve never tried before. I am pretty bold and courageous when I want to be. But I have discovered my worst fear: the fear of my friends dying. There’s nothing quite like the agony of helplessness generated by the sight of my friends going somewhere I cannot follow…in this case, the sight of my friends disappearing into the back of an ambulance, knowing there is nothing that I can do to help.

Being thus frightened for my friend’s life, I was literally unable to fall asleep Thursday night. I tried working on schoolwork, but finally, at around 1:30 in the morning, I went to bed and left my phone on, underneath my pillow. I’d like to say that I spent the entire night like that, without sleeping a wink. In truth, I went to sleep literally ten minutes before my friend’s roommate sent me a text message letting me know that sie was back from the hospital and recovering. But while I was still awake, I was reminded of (can you guess?) another spiritual truth that God has been laying on my heart and mind in the past few weeks.

First, I was reminded that God loves my friend so much that in comparison, I hardly even care. And because He loves my friend so much, sie is in good hands. And here, ‘good’ is the understatement of the millennium. This made me feel a little bit foolish for doubting if God would come through and save my friend’s life. Though it’s hard to write this and even harder to believe it, I know that even if my friend had died that night, it would have been part of a much higher, much grander plan that God had for hir life. (But I’m exceedingly glad that that wasn’t God’s plan.)

Second, and more interestingly, I was reminded of a great analogy: God is like a good [cue the understatement again] father. He loves His children very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much. So much so, that when we commit depraved actions, which deserve punishment and death, God chose to punish His one holy son. He poured out all that wrath and hatred for the awful things we humans do (and we do a lot of those awful things…just look at the news!) on His only son Jesus. *AND* here’s where I tie this back to the original subject. When evil circumstances occur, like heart problems, sledding accidents, diseases, and every other horrible thing, it’s kind of like something bad happening to a child. It’s sometimes the child’s fault, and the child is just reaping the consequences of a foolish action (for example, burning your hand on the stove because you touched a frying pan when it’s hot). Other times, it’s not the child’s fault, it just happens without warning or provocation, like with falling down on a bicycle.

But *NEVER*, within any of those circumstances I just listed, is it the father’s fault that something bad happened to the child. So why do we blame God our Father for bad things that happen? Even if it’s not our fault, it’s not God’s fault. If God were to keep every bad thing from happening, it would be like a father keeping his child perfectly safe by never letting anything happen to the child. Life for that child would be like living in a bubble. Even though nothing bad would happen, nothing good would happen, either.

In the book of James, the Word says that God is good and holy, and in Him there is no darkness. So when it says that God works all things together for good, it means ALL! Whatever happens to us, it is better than what didn't happen.

So the beauty of God’s plan for our lives is that He’s given us all this wonderful, horrible world to live in, to do with it as we choose. Whether we choose wisely or foolishly, however, God will always be there for us, ready to catch us if we fall off our bicycle or even if we get put in jail for stealing something or shooting someone. He’s still there for us, better than the best father. I encourage you readers to look for ways to appreciate the lives of those around you. Don’t forget that our lives are as a vapor, like the Bible says. We could be gone tomorrow. Don’t let a moment go by without thanking Him for the time He’s given you on this earth to enjoy the company and to be His ambassador.

1 – ‘sie’ is a gender-neutral pronoun meaning he or she.
2 – ‘hir’ is a gender-neutral possessive pronoun meaning his or her.
Gender Neutral Pronouns

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Author’s note: I spent like ten minutes looking for a good picture of the scene from Lord of the Rings’ “Return of the King”, when Sam finds Frodo comatose and wrapped in spider web, and he says, “Don’t go, Mr. Frodo…don’t go where I can’t follow!” But I couldn’t find any. It was absolutely ridonculous.


like a jumbler, only less puzeylier

Wow, there has been a butt-load of stuff on my mind. (Yes, literally, the measure of the mass of thoughts mulling inside my head is a metric butt-load.) Not the least of which is the blessings in my life that God has provided me with, but that's for another time and another blog post. In the interest of some of the readers out there (you know who you are), I'll try to make this and subsequent posts as brief as I can. The potential problem with this is that the following thoughts might get a little sticky to dig through.
  • At the Good Friday Service (April 10th), I started thinking about some spiritual matters. In this case, I was looking at the parallel between Isaac from the Old Testament (Genesis 22) and Jesus Christ from the New Testament. God asks Abraham (Isaac's father) to sacrifice Isaac on a mountaintop. Abraham is torn, for obvious reasons...and not only is Isaac his son, but he represents a miracle that God did to allow Abraham to even be a father. Why would God ask him to kill his miracle son? When Isaac asks his father what's going on, and what the sacrifice will be, Abraham says, "The Lord will provide". (For those who don't know how the story ends, as Abraham prepares to do the deed, God sends an angel to tell Abraham not to sacrifice him, because it was just a test.) In the Gospel books, Jesus Christ is revealed as the new provision for us...a sacrifice in our place.
  • Another random thought was that I should try to write a song about the approximately three hours Christ spent on the cross with God turning His back on him. I mean, what enormity of anguish must he have been going through to cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Incidentally, I've recently discovered a great chord progression: G to D to Em to C to D>G
  • When we take communion (as in the bread and grape juice passed around in church), it represents two things. 1) We crush the bread in our mouths, just as God crushes our sin out of our bodies—I think of it like a wine press, crushing the grapes so that only the layer of skin remains. 2) We let the fruit of the vine wash through us, just as God took the blood (our life) and created new beings out of us, free of the control of sin. So, as it says in II Corinthians 5:17, the old has gone, the new has come—you are a new creation. Back to the grape analogy, God crushes the evil out of us, and then refills us with His own powerful and mighty blood.
  • This is something I shared at Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship several Tuesdays ago, along with a verse from the song you all know, "Amazing Grace":
    'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
    And grace my fears relieved
    The Lord has brought me safe thus far
    And He will lead me home
    God has redeemed each one of us, and has made us His children, and part of a family that can never be separated. Not by the enemy, not by fear, not by power, not even by hate itself...His love shall never fail.
Wow, I still have about two blogs' worth of thoughts swarming around inside my mind. (I'd say that's approximately 2/3 of a metric butt-load.) Stay tuned for more hopefully better-organized thoughts soon!

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Author's note: There is something very soothing about drinking a cold glass of Ovaltine with a sore throat. You don't have any? Please, just ask me, and I'll get you some...I have so much RDA to use up!


resonant -(evil)

Admittedly, that title was just my pathetic attempt to make a cool pun that would more or less have something to do with what I have to say. But really, all that ‘-(evil)’ is supposed to mean is the opposite of evil. In other words, holiness.

There are a few things I’ve heard lately [at the time of the original composition: September 24, 2008] that I’ve really been resonating with, thinking about, mulling over, and struggling with. Hold on to your hats, and pay no heed to that numbered list...it's just there to confuse you/make things easier to understand, depending on your personality.

1.) The miracle of the community of God
Oooh, Shane's making scary fancy talk. But wait, all I’m saying by that is how amazing the relationship between believers in Christ is. Everybody knows what Communism has turned into...and it's not pretty. When people try to come together and expect that they'll get something out of it, things just don't end up too well. But what's special about a true community of believers is not that we're better than other people. It's not the ability we have, but the ability that God gives us to love each other selflessly, so that we don't need to expect to get anything out of the body of Christ at all, but that we give to them everything that we have, because God has given us more than we could ever hope to pay back.
2.) God's place in our lives
Simply put, Christ has a bigger part in our lives than any "significant other", because He has more significance than we could ever put to His name. There's no way to hide the One who has changed me into who I am today, so I shouldn't try to. Instead, we ought to desire to introduce Christ with everyone we meet because of how big a part of our lives He is...and I don't mean walk up to people and say, "Hi, I'm Joe, and this is Jesus", although there can be a time and place for that. What I do mean is this: as other people get to know us, we will show them how Christ is present in everything that we do and say, and they will see Him because of it, and will ask us who it is. There should not be any reason to be ashamed of Christ, because He is not just a private Being whom we worship in the dark. He is the Creator of you, me, and the entire universe, and He loves us so greatly that He is actively involved in transforming us into perfect people throughout all our lifetimes.
Somehow, the words I write just don't come out with the same meaning that they hold in my head, so hopefully you were able to catch a glimpse of them, and hopefully the words encouraged you in some way.

Yes, I am very excited about living my life, and yes, I am a very long ways away from reaching my destination, but if I continue to run the race before me then I’ll get there in the end.

Yay God!

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Author's note: This ends the Facebook reruns. From now on, you'll get fresh content (you can decide what that means).


a spiritual side to Quiksilver

While I was desperately trying to fix the zipper on my Quiksilver hoodie sweatshirt, back in late September '08, God thought it was the right time to teach me something about Himself.

But before I get to that, let me tell you about all the great times I’ve had with my sweatshirt, just to put some context on my feelings now that the zipper's stuck:

+ my grandma bought it for me like 3 years ago, because she knew that my family doesn't have enough money to buy brand-name clothing
+ I wore it to school almost every day of the cold weather for practically my entire sophomore, junior, and senior year
+ this sweatshirt has been with me through my first job, youth group retreats, summer camps, family reunions, and even to Mexico

Not surprisingly, the wear and tear gradually wore away at the little tab attached to the zipper contraption, and finally the tab (not the zipper itself) broke off while I was zipping it up or down—I didn't realize it at the time—and now the tiny piece of metal is lying on the ground somewhere, hopelessly lost to the travesty of mortality.

So that's just a piece of the tight bond that my sweatshirt and I have formed. You could say that if it's possible to love an inanimate object, then this is as close as you can get. So imagine my frustration, despair, and general sense of sadness that I feel, holding the weak and wounded sweatshirt in my arms. Well, maybe not weak and wounded, but the zipper is definitely stuck without a tab to pull it with.

Nathan Snook (my roommate) joked, "Would you like a hand there?" Of course I didn't want his help. It’s MY sweatshirt, and he has no idea how I feel about it. I sit for several minutes, feverishly tugging and fiddling with the zipper, trying to open the sweatshirt so that even if I can't zip it up and down, at least I can wear it.

But the zipper just won't budge. It’s not even stuck in the cloth along the edge of the zipper edge like you might think—that would've been easy to fix. But for some reason, the metal itself is simply immovable.

So my reply to Nathan is, "No, I don't need a hand. I'm not going to give up on this until it's finally fixed again."

This is right about the time that I heard the Spirit of God. I didn't really hear an audible voice in my ears...I’m pretty sure that I do NOT have the gift of prophecy. But I can occasionally "hear" words in my heart, and that's how I’d describe how I felt God say to me, "Shane, do I love you more than you love your sweatshirt?"

What else can you say to that? "Yes, Lord, you probably love me like infinity times how much I love my sweatshirt."

And in the quiet of my heart, I knew what He was getting at. If God loves me more than I love my sweatshirt, then He will never, ever, EVER give up on me. And that's a promise that will never break.

Philippians 1:4-6 says, "(4) In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy (5) because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, (6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

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Author's note: Yes, this is another "rerun" of a previously-written Facebook note, but I think it's one of my better musings.


God's pain

Most people probably think of God as a pretty happy guy. After all, not everyone is blessed with the attributes of eternity, omnipresence (can be everywhere at the same time), and generally power over the whole universe that He created, so why shouldn't He be happy?

I’ll tell you why. Because He is filled with pain. Not just pain from all of the evil that is destroying the world, but because I believe He knows the future of each individual, whether he or she is saved or not. And so the pain He feels comes from knowing the awful fate someone will face if they die in their unbelief. He knows the eternal suffering that is in store for many of the people on our planet, and He weeps for them...He grieves for them...He pleads with them...and He died for them. The amount of pain that one person would feel in hell, God feels it multiplied by every single lost person on this earth.

God is not just going to lie down and cry for those lost, however...just like a parent who is in the supermarket and suddenly realizes their child is not at their side, God has dropped everything else and is searching for you, his lost child. If you've been found by Him and are trying to help people see that God is seeking them, awesome. Keep it up. But if God hasn't taken hold of you in His arms and rejoiced in finding you at long last, then realize this: God feels your pain, because He made you and loves you even now.

God is searching for you, but in this case, He can't use His divine power to spot-light every lost person in this world to find them. If He did, would that be giving them a choice, or would that just be forcing His godliness on them and turning them into people who follow God because they aren't able to choose anything else? Instead, God searches for you knowing that you might be hiding from Him, or running away from Him. Why do you hide? Why do you flee? Our God who made us cares for us, and weeps with a broken heart for us until He finds us.

His love can save us, and He longs to save everyone. The word that Christians like to throw around, "salvation", is really what God's all about: saving people, just like a shepherd saves sheep. His pain and sorrow can only be replaced with true, pure joy when every lost sheep has been found and rescued from danger.

I’m going to close this thought with a couple sentences from a book called John. If you've ever gone to Sunday school, you probably have heard it before, but only the first part: "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again."

This next part is not as easy to hear, so only read it if you're ready for it: "Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is." (from The Message adaptation of John 3:16-21)

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Author's note: I actually wrote this a few months ago on Facebook, so this might seem familiar to a few of you.


a spiritual side to peanut butter

Tonight, I hadn't eaten dinner yet, so I mixed myself a drink (milk with Ovaltine, to be exact) and then saw my peanut butter jar from August. I decided that I didn't want to see for myself how long PB can last before dying, so I poured myself a stack of Ritz crackers onto my plate and scooped some peanut butter onto it, for dipping.

It was then, that the Lord struck me upside the head (it seems like He's been doing that more often than usual, lately) and showed me something about Himself. And don't worry, it's not that God is like peanut butter...that would be so cliche as to be unmentionable. Rather, God is like the preservatives in the peanut butter.

red, white, and dumb

I'm not sure it's a good idea to be starting a blog now, but while I'm dwelling on the idea, I might as well act on it. (I've done worse.)

Now, what to blog about. Oh, maybe my red and white sunburn. Underneath my chin, all along the front of my neck, on my arms, my face, and even my eyelids! (Yeah, I know I have skills.) Got it from lying in the grass on the Terrell Library roof for two straight hours without sunscreen. That's what you get when you let your heart win on a bright sunny day...and by that, I mean sleep. I had pulled an all-nighter the previous day, so I hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and I took a nap. Good idea. I took a nap in direct sunlight. Bad idea. End of story.

I'll come back to this when I have time to spend on musing about my thoughts - oooh, and musing about Muse! - and then time to write them down in a format suitable for general understanding. That'll take a while. And so for now, I'm going to write my chem lab so that I won't spend another night without sleep because of classwork.

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Author's note: As a tradition, I'm going to put a random link in every one of my posts. So if you see a hyperlink, click on it to see into my mind. Well, sort of.