This place is starting to get me in the habit of thinking more. It's good. Any time I used to have to just sit and stare out of a window, I'd instead spend it mindlessly staring at TV. I really love not having TV here, but that's beside the point. So getting into the habit of thinking more is what I'm working on. I seem to resist taking time to do devotionals, or to just sit and talk with God, or to just simply sit there and think. I'm mad at myself for that. I love thinking. What's my problem? Why can't I just take some time and go off by myself? Well... I'm going to try my hardest to do that. Also I'm going to have some help...
At the beginning of the year, we were encouraged to get a mentor for the year. I didn't consider it. At all. Up until about a week ago, the idea popped into my mind again. I just couldn't shake this idea of getting a mentor for this year. So I thought about it and discussed it with a few people, and I've decided to get one. Today I asked somebody to be my mentor, he agreed, and I'm excited to get started. He told me having a mentor is my choice, and his role and responsibilities are up to me. It's so strange for me telling somebody how I want them to function in my life. But I need it. He asked me to email him what I want this set up to look like, I'll post it when I figure out what I need a mentor to do for me.
Last night I went to Mountain's Fire Tower. If you can't figure out what a fire tower is, it's a tower which they use to look for forest fires. They don't use this one anymore because they have a new cool invention called "radar" and "satellite pictures." Anywho, they left the tower up, and made a park out of it. I'm telling you, this was one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen in my life. All of the fall colors, and we could see fog in low spots. Just completely breathtaking. I was there with Paul, Rachel, Clair, and Drew, and we took some pictures. Maybe I'll post some on facebook someday. If any of you guys come up here, I've gotta take you to this place. It's just wicked awesome!
Tonite I had Quest. In case you dont know what Quest is, its the high school youth group at ACC (ACC is the church silver birch is connected with). Im the worship leader there (in case you didn't know). We played "Grace Like Rain," "Surrender," and "Wonderful Cross." I didn't know Grace like rain until about 2 days ago, and thier verson of wonderfull cross was weird. but the night went well.
theres only one thing that bothers me tho: I remember Jon talking about why he doesn't do worhship during youth group. He said youth group is supposed to be an outward ministry, as in you are trying to get new people to come. New people aren't going to want to "worship" a God they don't know. I think most of the people that to to Quest know God, but they just dont seem to want to worship. I know i've been doing a bad job of leading them into worship, and not just playing lead guitar. But it just bothers me when I look out at the growd and see people looking bored out of their minds, starting at the ground, looking like that wish it would be over.
I lied, there' 2 things that bothered me. during small groups, it just seemed like most of the guys had no interest in discussing anything besides jokes. it seems so discouraging to minister to these guys who seem like they dont care. I want to help them be alive for christ and help them grow, but it just seems like they dont care. remind me again why i'm there? I know that even if they dont change now, i know what i'm ministering to them now will affect them in the future. and that just happens to be good enough for me.
i washed my truck today. took 2 hours to get mud off. drove it around a bit to air dry it. ended up on dirt road. truck dirty already. backed into a fence. night time. 2 weeks ago. broken tail light. haven't put gas in it since aug 28th.
I just had a nice long talk with the wonderful Craig-o-licious. Man, it was nice talking with him, just catching up and such. I've missed hanging out with Craig. I remember one time where me and G made a video on his bed. Oh Geez good times. Craig, your my hero.
Today Dave said something that I can't get off of my mind. At the end of each class he has a "so what" slide, where we talk about how this affects us. He asked how this affects us. Does it affect us at all. I thought to myself... I know how it should affect me, but did it really affect me. I'm gaining so much knowledge, but am I being transformed? I don't know. I've been here for a month, but I don't know if anything is changing.
Today I had a blast! Ivy took us to a place called the "dells of eau claire." It's not by eau claire and its not like the dells, so don't ask how it got the name, but just know it was awesome. I'll get some pics posted up on facebook soon. Anywho, it was just a state park where there were some awesome rock formations with some small waterfalls and such to explore. I went swimming in some parts of the river and went explorin in some other parts. I really couldn't tell how much fun it was. Then we went to wally world, and culvers. I had a mind oreo concrete mixer with andes mints. Oh my gosh, it was pretty much the most delicious thing on earth. YUM! you should go get one... right now
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This last Monday, I don't remember why, but this idea of fasting popped into my mind. On Tuesday one of the teachers said something, but it spoke to me like "Tony, you need to fast." Then Thursday it happened with another teacher. Then there was one more thing that happened, I don't remember what, that pushed me to fast. So I decided that today I was going to fast.
It started off great. I woke up, and actually remembered not to eat... that is until breakfast time came around. I was working in the kitchen today, and the boss told me I could go eat quickly. I was like "sweet, im famished." So I get my tray full of food, and as I'm pouring cereal into my bowl I think "Crap. I forgot I'm fasting today." I then stood there for a minute debating whether I should eat it or not. I figured... I have the food on my plate, I can fast tomorrow. The whole time I'm eating my food, I'm thinking "This isn't right. I shouldn't be eating this."
I continued eating it anyways, and planned on fasting tomorrow. Then I was talking to Jon about it, and basically he convinced me that I could just start then, and go until noon tomorrow. So since then thing's have been going... interesting. Man, I'm just so freaking hungry! I got food all around me, delicious food! I want to eat it all... so badly. But I've got a purpose today, a goal--I'm going to succeed.
I'm not sure if it's got anything to do with me fasting, but I really feel God tugging at me. I'm in a mode where I'm angrily challenging myself, my beliefs, and motives. Lets just leave it at this: It has been one interesting day.
Here is a list of all of the "insights" I've had here at NBI so far. They aren't just insights I've had. Some are things I've realized, some are me revealing what I feel about certain things, some are crazy awesome things my teachers have said. Some are just random whatevers. Here they are:
I feel like I'm missing out on something because I've always been in church.
Problems in relationships root in lack of forgiveness and holding on to bitterness and unsolved issues
When you choose to follow God, don't expect an easy walk in the park.
Pharaoh says "Who is the Lord, that I should obey?"
Can God be trusted?
Disbelief is not rewarded
Truth is not debatable.
Don't believe all you hear
I've tried this one before "God, if you want me to do this, move the clock as a sign" How would you know if God moved it. If all satan has to do is move a clock, he'd do it.
Are you going to choose to bless yourself, or let God bless you?
Can you take care of yourself better than God can?
Many (by that I don't mean a few, I mean many... hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of trillions... ok maybe not that far, but many) believe they are Christians, but they aren't
I try to surround myself with people who support my sins--who justify my sins. Also, when I want to hear a certain answer, I'll ask somebody who I know will give me that answer.
Greed and Gluttony need to be defined. Is greed bad? What is considered greed?
Read the bible to know God, know yourself, and know HIs love for you
My heart is desperately wicked.
Life is deeper than I think
Don't understand your love language. Understand the love language of the one you love.
If you can't see yourself clearly, watch out.
Don't reshape God, rather Discover Him.
Do you come up to me and say "Tony, I don't believe you exist"? Why do we do that to God. What is he supposed to say to us when we say that besides "uh... hello I'm right in front of you"
Worship because you love Him.
God is not here for your convenience.
Feeling comes after love. Why do we seek the feeling so that we may have love?
I truly have a blessed life.
The only reason you defy God is because you don't know what you're doing.
What are you in charge of? What's God in charge of? Now how important do you think you are?
Investigating the bible and Jesus Christ can only reveal truth.
Those aren't all of them, but that's all I have written down. Also, just because I understand all of these are important ideas/questions doesn't mean that I understand them and am changed. I'm just being loaded with so much new information, and new ways of thinking about things. I am changing and growing though!
Yeah. Man what a day. I don't ever want to do that much homework in one day again. I'm finally finished and sitting on the couch with the coolest person ever... her name is rachel peterson. she's fricken awesome. And I'm just wicked tired. The last thing I want to do is get up tomorrow morning to have class at 8. You know what I'm sayin? Shoot. Psh.
I am also super hungry right now, but aint nothin good in the PK. There's 'tatoes in there, hehehe, and refried beans. uh he he and and and ouhghth uh hu he and bread but i dont want none that. I got a bag of Lays Baked BBQ chips up on my dresser that Imma go eat before i head to bed.
Today is slightly better than yesterday. I'm plowing through my hw. Just finished up my Hermeneutics (i hate that word). I can't decided if i wanna start my OT survey or Theology hw next. I'm gettin pretty pissed off at these computers here, I really want to keep all of my work I do on the computer, and my jump drives dont work now. And i'm just irritate with how much stuff is blocked on here. I mean, I tried downloaded an attachment that jon sent me, and it wouldn't even let me do that. AHHHHHHH! I want to pound a sledge hammar into somebody's face!
Anyways, I did a whole crapload of housecleaning and maintainence work today. I was all over the place doin this and that. Washin cars, sweepin, mopin, dustin, vacuumin, cleanin bathrooms, cleanin windows, moving furniture, organizin crap in the kitchen, and who knows what else.
I was really hopin i could easily get my hw done bw yesterday and today, but got nothin done yesterday and I worked today until 4... so we'll se how late i get to stay up tonite!
Today was just one of those off-days. I didn't really get much done, despite my few attempts. And I just felt off for most of the day. And then there's that problem that I've been thinking about for the past few days that's been bothering me. I'm not looking forward to this week much.
Kinda random, but I think I'm going to fast this saturday.
I'm contemplating trimming my goatee down.
I've gotten no hw done from thursday, and it's due tuesday, and I work tomorrow.
I'm really want to go 4 wheelin.
I've watched a few movies in the past few days, which is against the rules here. Today I heard Ivy talking about that today (she wasn't talking to me, she didn't even know I watched a few movies), but I still felt convicted and decided I'm not going to watch movies anymore... maybe.
One of my credit cards increased the limit from 600 to 1100. Yey me. I'm not going to use it at all. Yey me.
OH what a day yesterday was. We had our first chapel, which went surprisingly well. I played guitar, Luke played bass, Justin Steve and Pete sang, another Pete played "drums." I put drums in quotations because his "drum" was one of those Culligan man water buckets. There's no drumset here, so that's the closest thing we had to one. Speaking of which... got a drumset you want to donate? Anywho, we had our first meeting/practice the night before, which lasted about an hour and a half. I'm interested to see how things will work out.
After de chapel, I had to clean the canteen (not by myself), which was completely filthy. It took a good 3 hours to clean (and thats with 3 other people)... It would have taken like a whole day to clean alone. Then we had to wash SBR's bus, which was also flithy. It was funny: Rachel and Justin climbed on the top of the bus and they asked what all the black stuff was and we were told it was mold. How sick is that? Anyway, that took about 2 hours.
Then came the swimming. Anna, Justin, Rachel, Clair and I went. Except I had to throw Rachel and Clair in, and they got out right away cuz it was too cold... and it was cold, but you get used to it quickly.
OH yeah, then lastnight me and a few others decided to watch the matrix trilogy. We got to bed at about 230. Late night. But it was fun.
Today I'm working in the kitchen from 11-7, but I'm on break right now. I'm super sore today too. I think my soreness is a combination of my best rainy day (scroll down to read if you already haven't... which you should have already read. shame on you if you haven't) and cleaning all day. I don't really spend too much time just chillin out relaxin. you know what I'm sayin?
So despite being in class from 8-3, and my first worship meeting that lasted like 2 hours, yesterday was a freakin awesome day. It was raining about the whole day. After class I went on a bike ride in the rain, which was flippin wicked fantabulous. That was so much fun getting soaked and muddy. Then after that i played football in the field in the rain with 5 others. Not that football is my thing, but just playin in the rain and goofin around was inexplicably fun. after that we went swimming in the lake. It may not sound like it, but it was just so much fun. I haven't ever really played in the rain like that before, so it was a great first-ish experience. Then I watched movies illegally till about midnight. What a sweet day. I just can't get over how delicious it was. You're jealous.
So I just finished up with my first class of the day, Biblical Theology. A few things stuck out to me, and I just thought I would share them with you, my loyal fans.
1. Let's say that one day you come up to me and say, "Tony, I don't believe you exist." What am I going to say back to you? What the heck can I say to you? I mean... hello, I'm right in front of your face, what do you mean I don't exist. Why then, do we say that to God? Why do we demand He proves his existence to us? It's just rediculous, God is all around us. We see God in nature, we see God in fellow Christians, we see God in the Bible. He is in plain sight, but we still tell Him to prove his existence to us. How ludicrous. (btw, I do this all the time)
2. Say I'm married. I'd give gifts to my wife because I love her. I don't give gifts so that I love her. A big struggle for me (and many I know), is that we don't get "the feeling." Often I wonder where the feeling is. To me that says I don't have the love. I'm searching for the feeling to get the love, when it should be the other way around.
There's ideas like this that God shows to me. I hate it because I understand them... but I just really don't get them. I continually seek God in ways that don't work. I don't get why I can't get it. Arg.
So I've got three classes as of right now. My three teachers all said something like this: "This year at Nicolet, our primary goal is not that you learn a lot. Our primary goal is not that you would make new friends, or memorize the bible, or become like a "super christian." Our goal is that you grow in Christ. If you treat everything here like you're regular classes, where you rush through the hw, and study only if you have to, then you know... you get out of it what you put into it. You pour your heart into it, and bring God into all of the studying, then you will grow. If you choose to seek God, seek to know him, seek to understand him, then you will."
On the first day I was here, I was telling somebody that I heard there was a ton of hw. I remember saying "I usually fly through hw without a problem, and I never study." Man.. now I'm at the point where I know this year will suck if I rush through my hw, and dont study. At this moment, I've gotta make the desicion to commit to working my hardest and commit to seeking God. I have made that commitment.
Honestly, I really dont want to make it, because I'm lazy. Because there's other stuff that right now I deem more important, more enjoyable. Also, because I'm scared of the change that I know will come. Reguardless, I'm going to chase after God this year. I've got plans to help me along the way when I get lazy and scared and all that mumbo jumbo. Pray for me guys, that I stick to those plans. Pray that God would keep chasing after me and shout at me when I'm not listening. Thanks.
The sovereign purpose of God is defined theologically as the decree of God. The decree of God includes all that God accomplishes through natural law, all events and actions that God does Himself, and all acts of humans. Though we cannot understand it, God has come up with a system whereby He has given humans freedom of choice--yet this all-wise God, in complete knowledge of what humanity will do, has come up with a perfect, divine plan. The divine plan includes all that has happened , such as Adam and Eve being permitted to sin so that there could be the divine remedy of Christ's death and the eternal fellowship of believers with God. It includes all enemies of God being made the footstool of Christ and their eternal rejection. "It is not a blind, mechanical philosophy of fatalism but an intelligent, loving wise plan in which man, responsible for his choices, is held accountable for what he does and is rewarded for his good work. Before such a God man can only bow in submission, love and adoration" (Chafer, 1947, vol. 1)
-Strengthened by Grace: A systematic Theology Handbook, Richard E. Wager
So yesterday, (i'm not sure how this first part came to be, but) I was "married" to a student here, Rachel. Then we decided polygamy would be a cool thing to try. So I proposed to Clair, another student here. Right now they're fighting for my attention. It's just jokin around, but its so awkward having two girls fight for my time.
Additionally, I totally got stung by a bee today. I mean, what the heck. I was just walking around looking for my bike (which i'm starting to get angry about) and I feel this extremely intense stabbing in my achillies. It hurt so bad that I just hit it away before I could take a look at it, but I'm pretty sure it was a bee. Theres a huge hole in my leg (I exaggerate just a bit) and it's all hard and swollen and it hurts like a beast. You know what I'm sayin? That stupid bee stung me for no reason, I didn't swat at it or nothing. It was just like "welp, i think i'll sting this guy." I hope its one of those bees that dies after it stings.
Yesterday was a pretty good day for me. It consisted of me awaking at about 930, after a great nights rest. Then I did my dish crew duties, which wasn't too bad. After that I don't remember what I did... And then I went horseback riding for about an hour, which was pretty enjoyable... if you know what I'm sayin. Then we had this wicked exciting (can you hear the sarcasm?) safety meeting. I got to dip about early though, because I had to go to my first Quest meeting.
Quest is the name of the high school youth group at Antigo Community Church. I will be their worship leader for the year. Lastnight was just a small bonfire/get-together. I rode out there with Ivy(i have no idea if that's how you spell it), and two other girls. It was an awkward experience b/c the only person I knew there was Ivy. And of course, being the kind of person I am, I refrained from socializing. We also had a short "worship sesson." Me and another guy practiced 3 songs in about 2 minutes, so you can guess how well the "worship" went.
Anyway, after that was all done, we came back to camp, and I did hw for a while. I got a little done. I still got a lot to do by tomorrow, but I'll still avoid it as long as I can.
Hey guys, I just figured out that I can blog, it's just that I can't see anyone else's. I can log in and all that jazz, it's just when i type in tonynelson.blogspot.com or jonduey.blogspot.com it's blocked... So i shall be blogging. I'll see if I can get the techie here to unblock that, but I will continue to try to post all my exciting jazz for you.
So I'm moved in to Nicolet. It's my fifth day here. It seems like it's been longer. I'm getting to know the other 17 students, along with the staff, pretty quickly. I'm staying in the Chalet, which is above the Fix It. My specific room is called Cedar. My roommate is Luke Bihl. I already broke my bike. We're supposed to sign up to do some kind of ministry outside of SBR, and one called for a worship leader for the affiliated church's high school yg. I'm the only guy here that can play and sing... so I guess I'm up for it. I think they say we should expect to give about 4 hours to our outside ministry. I'm not sure if that's realistic for what I would want to do with them. At least it's an opportunity to lead some people into worship (and actually lead, i've been involved in being part of a worship team, just not leading it really).
Oh let's see... what else can I dump on you? The computers here are super slow, so if you want to donate a laptop to me, you would become my hero! My classes are: Bible Study 101 (Hermeneutics), Old Testament Survey, Bible Theology/Doctrine. We'll also be starting one more class next Friday, but I'm not sure what it is yet.
I really didn't know what to expect coming here, but the few expectations I did have (which I wouldn't know how to explain) are totally off. This place is such a change for me. It's not what I expected, but it's not better or worse. It's just what it is. It's gonna be a long year tho, that's all I know. That's all for now, folks