Single’s Awareness Day

Posted: February 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

This year for Valentine’s Day, I thought I would do something a little bit different and create a fun little campaign video.  Now, as you can probably guess, this is a joke.

I created it because I thought it would be funny to poke fun at being single, since there are a lot of people who make a big deal about it.  People think they can’t be happy unless they are in a relationship.  This is simply not true.  The only way to receive real joy is to be in relationship with God.  I’m sure that there will be a lot of lonely people on Valentine’s Day this year, trying to get a table for one at Applebees, a restaurant making mediocre food since 1987.  But I have had a change of heart about being single recently.  Instead of looking at it as waiting for someone to come in my life, I look at it as a chance to grow in my relationship with Christ, and learn how to truly love by the one who truly loves me.  Am I saying that I hope I have the gift of Paul?  Of course not, but I’m no longer worried about it.  I am confident in who I am, and I know that when God chooses to bless me with a beautiful woman, it will happen.  Until then, I’m going to continue to stay embraced in the lover of my soul, Jesus Christ, who loves me more than any other, and gave up His life, so that I could spend eternity with Him.

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Back on the Weight Loss Track

Posted: January 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today, I started back on Weight Watchers after several months away.  I made the decision this week that I was going to get back on track and deal with my weight.  Why is it that I feel that this time around I am going to finish?  I think that there are several reasons.  I had a lot of issues from my past that I had never dealt with.  I had a lot of scars that I never allowed to heal.  I have recently begun healing from these wounds.  I also believe that I didn’t love myself enough to work at it.  I have to be ok with me before I can make true changes in my life.  Another reason is because I have become comfortable in my uncomfortableness.  Allow me to explain.  Sometimes, we can get used to the pain and being uncomfortable to the point where changing would be too uncomfortable.  For me, I know what I need to do, but I don’t do it, just like what Paul talked about in Romans 7.

I had some people who I needed to forgive in order to get to this point, most importantly, myself.  I had been living in a world where I believed that I was unworthy and unlovable.  satan is constantly trying to make me believe that.  What is amazing though is what happens when you finally begin to seek the truth.  Jesus said that the truth shall set me free.  Well, here is the truth.  I am the son of a father who loves me unconditionally.  I have friends who I can trust and who would bend over backwards to help me.  I have a church body that loves and cares for me.  But most importantly, I have a God in Heaven who loves me with a passion that I can’t even begin to understand.  He loved me enough to send Jesus to die in my place.  He loves me whether I weigh 150 pounds or 800 pounds.  He loves me whether I am rich or poor, educated or non-educated, single or married.  He will love me regardless of what job I take or even if I live on the street.  His love will never change; and to know that is to be free.

I know that this is just the beginning.  I know that I will continue to struggle with satan’s lies for a long time, but at least I know that I can always come back to the truth.

Like I stated in the beginning of this post, I went back to Weight Watchers today.  It was difficult walking in there and having to stand in front of the group leaders and weigh in, knowing that I probably had gained weight since the last time I went in there 3 months ago.  The funny thing is that my fear was that they would ridicule me(That would be another lie satan makes up), but they were actually very glad to see me return.

I did gain some weight.  I am now the heaviest I have ever been.  I weigh 341 pounds.  I could get all upset and be sad about it, but it won’t help the weight come off.  Instead I have taken a new approach.  I looked at the number and decided that I will never see it again.  I can’t change the number that came up today, but I can change it for next week.

One more thing.  I firmly believe that I can lose this weight.  But I can’t do it alone.  I need the power of God working through me in order to do it.  Only through His power working in me will I be able to conquer my goals.  This means that I will be praying to God to constantly work in my life and help me fight the temptations and emotions that come with weight loss.  I have to give up my grip on this part of my life and allow God to have complete control.  I want God to be in charge of every part of me, from my heart, mind, soul, strength, stomach, mouth…everything.

My prayer in doing this is that God will be glorified through this journey.  That He will allow me to inspire others and that I can be a witness through my weight loss.

Today, Tim preached what I believe to be one of the best sermons I have ever heard, especially in the context of what has happened recently at NCCC.  As you have probably already heard, Tim Spivey, Randy Armstrong, Peter Wilson, and D.J. Iverson resigned as ministerial staff at North County Church of Christ.  This was not something that could be considered a rash decision, nor was it something that was taken lightly.  Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of working closely with these men, and know the heartache and sadness that has accompanied this decision.

As you probably heard from the meeting tonight, the finance team, of whom I believe to be the best and brightest individuals of the financial field, spent hundreds of hours over the past several months researching the information about the financial crisis that had occurred within the church.  Based upon their findings, they decided to humbly ask for the resignation of the elders, believing, after months of exhaustive research and counsel, that this was the best decision for the church body.  I know that for my father, this was probably the most difficult decision he has ever had to make.

I had someone ask me yesterday whose side I was on.  The truth is that I am on God’s side.  I am not for a divided church.  I am for unity in Christ.  Unfortunately, because of some of the decisions made in the past few years, we have come to a place where I don’t firmly believe that God is blessing the decisions that were made by the current leadership.  Like Tim preached today, the need for a John the Baptist has never been more needed than it has at this time, and I believe that the finance team’s request for the elders to step down was a spirit led decision, based on truth and love for Christ and his people here, and I respect their decision. This was not a decision that I took lightly or quickly.  Only after looking at all the facts did I make my decision.  Many will say that I merely followed my father (my earthly father).  I want to make very clear that my decision to follow the staff was of my own accord and is nothing personal against the elders.  Some of them I am very fond of and have a very good relationship with.  Some of them have been nothing but good to me and have helped me through some very difficult times in my life.  I love them as brothers, but the actions that have occurred make it difficult for me to remain under their leadership.

As I sang in what I assume is my last Sunday service at North County, the tears began to roll down my cheeks as I began to realize the ramifications of what was happening.  This church will never be the same, and I mourn for the members who have tirelessly worked to make North County what it was prior to all of this.

I will have more information soon regarding what will be coming in the future.  I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of something new and to see how God will bless it.  I ask for your prayers and blessings during this difficult time, and I pray that North County can find healing through all of this, and I pray for the eldership and members of North County.  I only want good things for them and pray for their continued success.   I love so many of you and you always will be in my prayers.

 

In Him,

 

Matt Armstrong

Worship ministry Intern

 

Regrets

Posted: November 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

It has been an interesting past couple of months to say the least.  I lost my job back in August, which was really difficult to deal with.  I remember when I found out, I kept going back in my mind wondering what I had done wrong.  I would sit for hours just thinking of all the regrets I had.  Maybe if I had worked harder, or maybe if I was better at sales I could have kept my job.  I became depressed. My mind was stuck in the past and all I would think of was all the things in my life that had gone wrong.

I think that satan (I gave him the middle finger of grammar by not capitalizing his name.  Take that, satan!) works really hard to keep us in the past.  It’s hard to move forward when all you’re thinking of is history.  It would be like driving a car in which the windshield was one big rear view mirror.  It would be really hard to drive forward because you aren’t paying attention to what’s in front of you.  I think that satan likes us there.  He wants us to continue to think of our past mistakes.  He wants to keep you bound to history.

I’m not saying that reflecting on the past is a bad thing, but I believe that as humans we spend too much time in the past.  I always wonder what my life would be like if certain things would have been different, but it won’t help me to move forward.  God doesn’t want us to live in the past.  He doesn’t even really want us to live in the future.  He wants us to live for now.  I have a good friend Carl, who gave me this wonderful saying:

“The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on and neither your piety nor wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all your tears shall wash out a word of it.”

We cannot change what has happened to us, but we can choose to not allow our past to enslave us.  Paul mentions in his letter to the Romans that you should “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”  I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it was when I began to renew my mind and focus on today, and my present relationship with God.  Jesus came to wipe the slate clean.  He came to remove our regret and our shame.  He wiped history away with his own blood.  Who am I to continue to judge myself when my savior has already forgiven all my sins and past mistakes?

Live for the present.  Don’t allow yourself to be enslaved by your past, because you can’t change history.  Learn from it and keep pushing forward, and allow God’s love and forgiveness to renew your mind and refresh your spirit.

You Are Loved

Posted: September 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, so to my throngs of readers (ha!) I apologize.  🙂  It’s amazing that when things get busy we can stop doing certain things that we enjoy.

A lot has happened since my last post.  I got fired from my job at Ashford, and now am looking for something new.  It has been a difficult and emotional time for me.  It’s hard not to feel like a failure in moments like that, but my dad keeps reminding me that I;m not a failure, I just failed at one thing.  There is a difference, and mainly it is a mental one.

I started reading a book called The Shack. You might have heard about it.  It is a story about a man who several years after the murder of his youngest daughter encounters God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Throughout the book he learns a lot about God and finds healing and grace.  It is an amazing book and it really spoke to me.

In one chapter, he is speaking to God, and they are talking about God’s love, and God begins to give him an example of a bird.  He talks about how most birds are designed and created to fly, but if the bird decides to not fly, but walk, then that would be a limitation, not the other way around.  The bird is not limited in its ability to fly, but in its willingness to fly.  The same goes for us.  God (in the book) says “You were created to be loved.  So for you to live as if you were unloved is a limitation, not the other way around.”  That sentence really hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am created to be loved by God.  God’s love knows no limitations, the only limitations that exist is my willingness to live as if I am loved.  My best friend and roommate D.J. Iverson has a saying:  Know You Are Loved.  I always love to say that, but it’s hard for me to believe sometimes.  I grew up believing that love was something conditional, that I had to meet certain criteria to receive love, but that is simply not true.  When I act as if I am unloved, it doesn’t change God’s love for me at all, it only limits the amount of love I am willing to receive.  You only have to look at the hands and feet of Jesus to know his love for us.  The scars on his hands, feet and side speak of a love that is everlasting.  The more I read that passage and digest it, I can feel it moving through my body and chipping away at my broken and calloused heart.  God’s love knows no boundaries, no limits.  It is only I with the limits.

God is always with you.  He never leaves you or forsakes you.  He is always by your side.  I know that there people who are broken and hurting, people who have gone through horrible things, but know that God’s love has never faded.  It has never ceased, and unlike the things of this world, his love will never fade away.  He doesn’t know how not to love.  I pray that you can grasp the love of God.  I pray that you understand that you were created to be loved, and may that love penetrate to the deepest and darkest places of your heart and allow healing to begin.

Know.  You.  Are.  Loved.

Finding a parking spot can be quite an adventure, especially when you are battling the other thousands of people looking for one as well.  I went to Balboa Park today and I think that everyone else in San Diego had the same idea.  Now, the interesting thing about finding a parking spot is that everyone has a certain strategy that they have used over the years to find that ever so elusive spot.  Below is a list of the 7 people you might meet when trying to find a parking spot:

The Stalker

Have you ever been leaving a mall or walking to your car and thought you were being followed by someone going 2.5 miles per hour in their car?  Then you have been the victim of the stalker.  This person ever so quietly follows those that are leaving in hopes of grabbing their parking space.  This has been known to backfire occasionally when they follow someone who is merely returning to place something in their car and not actually leaving. 

The Plopper

This is a little bit like the Stalker, but instead of following people you just sit in the middle of the parking lot in hopes that someone will leave soon.  This usually creates confusion with other parking spot hunters because they don’t know whether you are waiting for someone to back out or if you’re just plopping.  This eventually leads to a traffic jam as others try to maneuver around the “plopped” car.

The Looper

This person, unlike the Plopper or Stalker, just continues to loop around the same section of the parking lot hoping that the next time he comes around a spot will be open.  This strategy is usually for people who don’t have a real strategy so they drive around hoping something opens up.

The Passer

This driver really drives people crazy (yes, the pun was intended.)  This is the person who starts off as a looper, then passes an open spot, slams on their brakes and then attempts to back up with all the cars behind them just so they can have a spot.  

The Kamikaze

Of all the parking lot hunters out there, the Kamikaze is by far the most dangerous.  This driver does not care who you are, you just better be out of their way when they try to park.  It doesn’t matter if you are waiting for a car to move, or even have your blinker on (which means “finders keepers” in parking terms) they don’t care.  They will fly around you, jump in front of you and even cut you off just for a parking spot.

The Spotter

This one is for professionals only.  Now in order to pull this off you have to have a sidekick.  Here’s how it works:  The sidekick steps out of the car and patrols the parking lot looking for people who are leaving.  He’s like the stalker but with no car.  He is on foot.  Once he finds a spot that is opening up, he will call the drive and alert them of the situation.  Once the space has been opened up, the spotter then stands in the spot, alerting other drivers of the “finder’s keeper’s” rule, and hoping that the other drivers, especially the Kamikaze doesn’t try to force them out of the spot by using their vehicle as a weapon.  Let’s just say you have to have a lot of guts to pull this off. 

The Squeezer

This is the person who attempts to park their car or usually in this case their gigantic SUV into a spot that they can’t possibly park in.  This usually happens in 2 different scenarios:

            The parking lot:  This usually occurs when other cars have done a bad job of parking and leave a space that a motorcycle would have trouble parking in.  They usually either barely fit in and can’t open their doors or they have to give up.

            On the street:  This happens when a person believes they can parallel park their car in between 2 other cars and they do the parallel parking dance.  This dance includes going between forward and reverse very slowly and turning the steering wheel in a vain attempt to fit their 12 foot SUV in a 7 foot spot.  This usually causes a traffic jam behind them until they give up on their futile attempt.

Which one are you?

                                                                                                      Well, another year in my life will be in the history books in just a few short hours.  There were a lot of ups and downs, a lot of struggles, and some awesome victories.  I decided that tonight I would look at a few different aspects of my life that are important to me and grade them based on how I think I did in these certain areas.  I am going to be honest about how I did and look at it in a redemptive way, and then come up with some ideas on how I can improve in these general areas.  So, without further ado, here are the topics:

Spiritual walk

Prayer Life

Family and Friends

Financial

Health

Spiritual Walk     C

I feel like this past year I did some growing spiritually, but I also know that I did seem to slide on my daily readings and my worship if God.  I allowed myself to get wrapped up in the work aspect of church.  Like I wrote about last week, I would go several days sometimes without touching my Bible.  That being said, I did feel like I grew in my relationship with Christ, just nowhere near where I wanted to.  This next year I plan on studying more, and allowing God to work more in me.  I plan on spending more time in prayer and more time focusing on God.  I will continue to do videos and do my regular church activities that I enjoy, but I will be sure that I also make sure that I am doing it for God’s glory and not my own.  Another thing I am going to do is have a worship time everyday.  I will take about 30-45 minutes in the morning before work, listen to some awesome music and do some reading and praying.  I think this will really help me to start the day off with a bang and keep me amped up all day long. 

Prayer Life     C

This is an aspect of my life that I really want to improve on.  I don’t spend enough time speaking to God.  I have this great opportunity to communicate with my creator and I really want to take advantage of that.  I know that my trend is to try and do things on my own, but I am beginning to realize that prayer really helps to remove the tension and stress that I carry and allows me to give it to God.  I also realize that I have ADHP. (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Prayer)  I am learning how to pray more effectively.  One plus this year is that I did pray a lot about my new job and kept asking God to open and close the doors.  I made it all about Him and I feel like He has blessed me with this amazing job I now have.  I plan this next year to be better at prayer and to listen to God’s response. 

Family and Friends      A

This has been a wonderful year for family and friends.  My dad and I have continued to grow and I have such a wonderful relationship with him.  I am so blessed to have him around and he has taught me a lot about what a Godly man is supposed to look and act like.  My Mom’s side of the family, I feel like things are going pretty well.  Friend wise, this has been an amazing year.  I added 2 friends to my list of best friends this year.  I haven’t had a lot of male friends that I was very close to, but this year that has all changed with the addition of Peter Wilson and D.J. Iverson.  These 2 guys have really had a profound influence in my life, both spiritually and mentally.  I can’t express how wonderful it is to have friends that are into the arts and music like Peter and D.J. 

Financial      C

Originally, I was going to give myself a D in the financial realm, but with my new job I feel like I ended my 28th year on a positive note, kind of like making an A on the Final to bring your final grade up.  It was an extremely tough year for me financially, as was the case with most people.  My job at RBI was difficult and didn’t produce a lot of financial gain.  I felt like I was working hard but not receiving a lot of reward for it.  I basically limped my way through the last 6 months or  so.  One thing I did learn during this time it that God comes up with extremely unique ways of showing me that He is in control and that He will provide.  With my new job, I finally am at a place where I don’t have to worry about how I am going to pay for bills, put gas in my car, and put food on the table.  I can finally begin to save and contribute more to my church, which really excites me.

Health    D

This has been a rough topic for me to talk about.  It seems as if every year I continue to struggle with this.  I thought after last year that I would finally get rid of this weight, but I didn’t.  I stopped working out, and I started eating bad things again.  This is going to be a major theme for me this year to get rid of my excess weight.  I do not want to go into my thirties with this extra weight on my body.  Some plans I have for this is getting up early and working out before work and also cutting our fast food for lunch during the work week and limiting it to an occasional weekend.  I also plan on eating more at home, which will also save money. 

So there you have it.  As you can see, I have a lot of progress to make.  I did make some wonderful strides and I plan to ride these into year 29.  I pray that God will continue to work in my life and help me to make the changes necessary to be an effective disciple.  May God bless you as well and I can’t wait to start my 29th year with you all.