Monday, March 31, 2014

Great Conference

I have really been blessed by the testimony of Paul and Jenny Speed. Below is a conference that they have put together for singles. I went to this event last year and I learned a lot of great stuff that I have been using in my spiritual walk. Much of what I have been sharing on my blog was learned through this ministry. I am hoping to make it out to one of these events again this year. I would encourage everyone to prayerfully consider going to this conference.

Scholarships are available for those who would like to go but don't have the money. Contact me for information;

The following is copied from

WIT ALIVE Singles Conference Overview
A Life-Changing Conference for Singles!
During the past several years, Paul and Jenny have had the joy of speaking to thousands of young people across America. They have watched as many of these same young people find “Mr.” or “Miss Perfect”, but are soon sitting before them in tears, disbelief, and hurt. They are searching for answers to issues they are facing in their marriage that they never expected to encounter. As the Speeds began to counsel these young couples, they thought of how much heartache and damage could have been avoided if only these couples had learned certain truths BEFORE they married and not after. Thus, the idea of “WIT for Singles” was born!
“Whatever It Takes!” Singles Conference promises to be a life-changing, world-altering weekend! We will dig deep into our hearts and souls to expose all the hidden lies and strongholds that have kept us from becoming the person God has created us to be. The goal of this conference is to help you identify the areas of your life that need God’s wisdom and understanding applied to them. Not only will it prepare you for marriage, but it will prepare you for Life! You, by the grace of God, will never be the same!
Conference topics include:
  • Love God, Live Life!
  • Openness and brokenness
  • Exposing lies that shape your thinking
  • So, who is your “real” enemy?
  • How to throw your bags overboard!
  • Hanging on when you should be letting go!
  • Moral purity in an immoral world
  • How do you find Mr. or Mrs. Right when everything is wrong?
  • …and much more!
Attendees must be 17 years of age or older.
Click here for upcoming Conferences and to Register.

Since 2005, Paul and Jenny Speed have had the joy of speaking to thousands of young people across America. They have helped many of these young people find freedom in their lives and a deeper love for God. The Speeds hearts’ desire is to equip young people by giving them the tools they need to walk in freedom and truth, and to empower them to be world changers! Out of this desire “WIT for Singles” was born!

“I came here blaming so many people for my anger and bitterness and now realize my need for personal responsibility. I have realized that the very people I have blamed are the ones I need to ask forgiveness from.”

 “I was blown away by the honesty! I expected to meet all these “perfect” people who were holier than thou and was surprised to see people being so real and transparent.”

 “I came here knowing that there were things in my life that I needed to take care of.  I’m ready to go home and confess.  I hate my sin!”

 “Praise Jesus for all the ways I have found freedom and growth through this weekend.”
 “I have learned this week that I must be 100% open and broken to have victory. WIT has changed my life forever! You guys rock!”

“Thank you for investing in my sons this past weekend. You guys are awesome!!!
All three were so grateful to have a place to go where Christ is glorified and practical help in solving sin issues was the norm. Thank you so much for being real and relatable.”

“I want to thank you for sacrificing your time and energy to do the singles conference! My life truly has changed from living in bondage of fear and unbelief which was the root of a lot of other sin in my life. I am AMAZED over and over at God’s amazing grace and how ‘my chains are gone and I’m set free. My God my God He ransomed me, and like a flood His mercies reigns, unending love, AMAZING grace! He is Forever mine!!!!’”

“I just wanted to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! I attended the Singles Conference this past weekend and was blessed VERY much by it. It was definitely life-changing!”

“This weekend was way more than I expected. God showed me so much about how to identify and break the chains of bondage and lies. It was a HUGE encouragement to meet other singles my age who share the same beliefs and values regarding Christ and relationships! Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one, but now I know there are many more of like faith and we are continuing to keep in touch and support each other. Thank you, Paul and Jenny, for teaching us so much and bringing us together!"

Friday, March 28, 2014


One of the greatest disappointments in my life was when I had to break up with my first girlfriend. I had been pursuing her from 14yrs old and I had made her the primary focus of my life. Because of my very conservative upbringing, all of my pursuits were minor and disguised somewhat. Neither my family nor hers would have seen a formal boyfriend/girlfriend situation as being OK.

I finally was financially stable enough to begin the process of courting her with marriage in view. We were about 20 years old at this time. I had poured so much of my life into her and my mind was fixed upon marriage.

The courtship began in March of 2011. What followed was four months of utter bliss. We were able to share our hearts with one another and talk about our plans for the future. We were nearing the time when we would have commenced with engagement when suddenly, through a sermon I listened to, "Openness and Brokenness" by Paul and Jenny Speed, I was convicted of some unconfessed sin I had in my life. I knew that this sin would make me ineligible for marriage in the sight of her family.

I cried the entire night that God got hold of me, convicting me of my sin. I knew that this would end the courtship and put marriage out of view for a long time. Nevertheless, I was far too convicted to lie and pretend like my life was in order, and so the next morning I called her father and told him I needed to talk with him. Later that day, I told him everything. They prayed about what they should do and two days later ended the courtship. It didn't come as a surprise, I knew that ending the courtship was the right thing to do.

I hadn't eaten anything since the day I was convicted, being full of remorse. Later that day, I began eating again. I was relieved that the hardest part was over, or so I thought. It was the first time I have ever really grieved over something. One minute I was in denial, thinking that any moment I could get a phone call that would turn it all around. The next, I would be angry about the situation, angry at myself, angry at them, and angry at God. Obviously, I was also very depressed at times. Quite a roller-coaster of emotion to ride on.
After several months I was able to see and understand that I had come to a place of acceptance, trusting God's will was the best for me.

Looking back, after a few years, I can see how God has used this disappointing experience to grow me spiritually and to guide and direct me through life.

Praise God for His mercy to me in this situation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Darkness and Despair

Through the years the Lord has given me passages at times when I needed them most. When all is dark and the soul is in great peril all you can do is turn to God and rest in His promises.

This passage means a lot to me.

Isaiah 55
 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
    a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
    and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has glorified you.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

I was going through a time where I was struggling a lot with sin. Satan had used some of his lies to make me believe that I couldn't possibly be saved with how sinful my heart was. I was left feeling like I needed to offer an act of repentance to somehow atone for my sins. I was under the impression that if you truly repented of a certain sin then you would never return to that sin. I am sure that there is a thread of truth in this teaching, but I doubt that a human can ever attain perfect repentance. Even in repenting of sins, God has to supply the grace to make it complete. 

God used this passage to show me that He is the satisfaction the soul craves and, best of all, He doesn't cost you anything! You don't need money, influence, religion, or righteous acts to be accepted by Him. You can come, like the passage says, as a "wicked" or "unrighteous" man leaving the empty cisterns where you have sought satisfaction time and time again and turn to the Lord - this gracious God who doesn't require some great act of spiritual asceticism to be accepted in His sight. I am so grateful to be accepted by the God who "abundantly pardons" because I am a great sinner.  

And so, I came to a place where I had to accept that God's word was true and it didn't matter how far gone I was, or how dark my life seemed. I was not out of God's reach, in fact, I was right where He wanted me. Broken, longing for the life He offered. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to save myself. No act I could perform to make myself less dirty. Completely in need of His grace to renew my soul.

The Lord used this event  to open my eyes to the true nature of faith - trusting God to perform based on what He has revealed in His word. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Idols of the heart

I had always thought that idolatry was the worshiping of objects. I read that in the past people bowed down to idols made of wood and metal but today our idols are materialism, money, power, etc.
This is true, but what the Lord has been showing me the past several years is that anything, even good things, can be an idol if it becomes too "big" in our lives. I began to see how my life revolved around these different things.

I loved being around friends (who doesn't?), having a good time. We would get together and have great fun playing all sorts of games. So exciting! I saw how this desire began to control me. A new social event would be on the horizon and life was up. I could live off of the steam of excitement over events for days but once the social event had come and gone, I was left feeling depressed, like I had nothing else to live for. Then a new event came into view, how thrilling! And the cycle continued. Isn't that idolatry? Looking for satisfaction in the fleeting enjoyment life offers.

Another thing I saw myself doing was worshiping music, artists, and bands. It was all about the experience and following someone who was "awesome". I would spend my money on the newest cds when they were just released instead of waiting a month for them to go on sale. It became the driving force behind why I am alive. That is idolatry. I was looking for something to fulfill me.

I was focusing my life around these things trying to find purpose and meaning. Graciously and patiently the Lord began to show me how I was living in idolatry. I slowly began to see that true satisfaction can only be found in Him. I was able to release many idols and look to the Lord for satisfaction instead of the world and its goods. There were still some giants in my life though, and the Lord began to pry on one. One I was not willing to release easily.

Ever since I was young I have had a desire to be married. Now, I know what your thinking, "Wait! That is a good desire!" Yes. It is a good, God-given desire, but any desire that begins to be the thrust of our life, the thing we keep pressing for, the thing that gives us hope and joy and purpose, has probably become an idol. This is what the Lord was putting His finger on. 

I wish I could tell you that after coming to realize that this was an idol in my life that I quickly surrendered it and it was done, but what followed was a several year struggle to keep this at the forefront of my life. Time and time again God would show me that I couldn't have marriage on my own terms, I would have to choose between living in His will without marriage or living outside of it in a marriage that would surely be less than God's ideal. 

Finally, when I could grasp the gravity of the situation and the pain I caused myself and others in all my wanderings, then I began to surrender. But, as I have found in my life, the only way to maintain a yielded state before God is to continually surrender to Him. It is not enough to say it once and forget about our stance shortly after. 

I am still learning this principal of "daily surrender" and so I still struggle with keeping marriage "on the shelf" in my thoughts and actions. One of the hardest things to discern is how I am to look at the future. Marriage has been a part of my thinking from very early on in life, and so, it has been hard to find the boundary in my mind. Do I continue to compare potential spouses, or do I forbid it in my mind? 

I have found it helpful, in my own case, to consider all thoughts regarding marriage as being "off limits". I am sure many would say I am taking this way too far. I mean, I will shortly be turning 23, and the whole "living with my parents" thing doesn't make me feel very cool. Surely this is being taken too far, right? The entire conservative Christian movement is saying things like, "get married early" and "race towards marriage" so surely I am incorrect in thinking this way, huh?
Sorry. I know this is where God wants me to be at this time. It may change in the future and I am open to God working to make that happen, but right now it is my task to live in perfect contentment in the state I am. I embrace it. I look forward to what God has in mind for me right now instead of longing for that day "when I am married". 

As it is every time we surrender our lives to God, we find better life and more abundant life. I have found this true even just in the short time I have been practicing this yielded life. 
What idols are you holding onto? God wants you to lay them down so He can do a deeper work in your life.