Kevin Stelzer


A beard and flannel suit me best.

The woods and mountains have a rather strong

pull on my soul, as does the freedom

of a good motorcycle ride.

God has blessed me far more than I deserve.

 

Current Status: Second Year EPIC commission student,

graduate of Central Michigan university

(bachelor in science: Biology and chemistry), employee

of Bridgestone construction, interior and exterior

painter, and co-founder of Eleutheros Supply Co.

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Full of It

Full of It

This past Sunday was the start of a brand new series titled “Full of It”, pertaining to being full of the abundant life found in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). This series will more or less be describing what it is to live in the abundant life that Jesus came to give to those who love and follow Him. It entails favor, grace, love, purpose, guidance, among a wide array of other grand blessings that we can partake in! However we must first think to the very general and very basic concept of being full.

When you’re full that means you are not lacking or omitting anything, you have no empty space left, and your capacity is maxed out! How fantastic is it that God wants us to be maxed out, not lacking anything, and full of the abundant blessings in Christ! That truly is the blessed life, where you walk in love towards others out of the overflow of Christ. Again, however, turning back to that basic concept of what it is to be full we cannot deny the simple truth that if we are already full or maxed out we don’t have room to be filled. This being put in a more spiritual light eludes to the juxtaposition of worldliness and Godliness.

If we are full of the world and the things of this world we have not left room for the things of God. We can believe that we can be full of the cares of this world and give attention to Godliness, but the teachings of Jesus make a clear point on this.

Matthew 13:22 “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

If we care more for the world than God we are not living in the abundant blessing that He so greatly desires for us. This also is the case when we think of splitting our love, half to the world, half to God. We still do not walk in His divine blessing.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.”

If we cannot even be half filled with the world then what is it that we can do? The only reasonable response to this is to die to self, or empty oneself of the cares and love of the world. This may seem like a hard concept, and indeed it can be, but how great the resulting life is when we make the choice to empty ourselves of our self love and self serving ways and allow that void to be filled with the things of God.

Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

But great is it to follow Christ, for it is in His presence, before God that we can truly begin to taste of that abundant life and be full of it.

Matthew 25:23 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”

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Devote or Desecrate

Devote or Desecrate

For ease of understanding the following definitions will be the foundation for which this blog post will be built upon

Consecrate: make or declare something (typically a church or a life) as sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.
Devote: To give all of one's time or resources to (a person, activity, or cause).
Desecrate: To treat (a sacred place, thing, or person) with violent disrespect; to violate.

Exodus 32:29 “Then Moses said, “Consecrate (Devote) yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day”

As we break into the start of the second month of EC there should come a point where we intentionally draw away and take time to depart from the busy bustle of life and quietly spend some time in deep introspection of our heart and soul. During this time (which should be done in depth weekly, and at the very least monthly, in my opinion) I believe it to be of the utmost importance to ask ourselves the simple, yet potent, question of whether every area of our life is one of consecration and devotion or rather the opposite,  one of vile desecration. The basic and limited duality of these states of being seems harsh, and indeed it is, but based on the very definition of these words light begins to shed upon it and reveal that it is indeed one or the other.

Everyone wants there to be different levels of reality, like a scale from 1-100 where the upper 80’s are still pretty good, but the truth is that the very definition of devote requires, not suggests, but requires all of one’s time and resources. Therefore if not all is given then it is not devoted and therefore can be marked as a desecration. For to only give to God a portion of what is rightfully His is of great disrespect and shows a sign of sincere irreverence.

Ephesians 1:4 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love”

In this situation the recognition that we have not a sense of pure devotion can be disheartening, and can in many ways trip people up to a form of legalism towards works and good deeds. While these things are good, but they can also be pointless if we do not wholeheartedly turn our gaze to God and His amazing Righteousness and Grace! (Romans 10:3 “ For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”) The Gospel is not that of Legalism, but that of Relationship! We are to be co-laborers with Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9).

In light of this I am reminded of the words of Paul in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Our goal is to operate through the Grace of God to do our best to walk according to the statutes He has given us and the call upon our lives! For in our times of greatest weakness when we want to forsake our devotion to our Heavenly Father we can take heart by looking at the very words that He gave us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

His great Grace is sufficient enough for all things we may face, will face, and have faced. Therefore we must constantly look to the Cross of Christ and lean on that tender Grace to keep us in a position of devotion to our God! He never leaves nor forsakes us, and tenderly loves our aim to please Him in all that we do by saturating ourselves in His grace. So press on to that upward calling in Christ, not operating in a sense of legalism, nor disregarding the need to act on the Word of God, and make it your aim to please God by devoting all the areas of your life unto Him and Him alone. He is very near and desires greatly to help.

Deuteronomy 30:9-14 "The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it."


Kevin Stelzer

2nd Year Student Blogger


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Will You Make the Time?

The Purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water

but a man of understanding will draw it out.

-Proverbs 20:5

 

Proverbs has always been a favorite section of mine when going through the bible. It’s absolutely loaded with wisdom and practical common sense practices. Everything in Proverbs can be considered a benefit to your daily lifestyle! So when it says that the purposes, counsel, problems, intentions, issues, and desires of the heart are like deep waters that need to be drawn out if we are to be men and women of understanding then I fully believe we ought to do that! But then the question arises as to how do we even go about drawing those things out!?

I don’t hold all the answers and am figuring out life on a step by step and day by day basis, but I do firmly stand by the truth that looking to the Lord and making your ways still before Him bring about the answers as He speaks to you in that tender, still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12). But in today’s day and age there are a myriad of things that willingly intrude in our lives and keep us from listening to that still small voice. These things, often social media or Netflix related, are not bad things, but if not dealt with can often inhibit us drawing out deep things from our heart.

So here’s where the rubber meets the road! In order to be a man or woman of understanding we will have to push through some self discipline, make some sacrifices, and put aside those distractions to quiet ourselves and find a place to be still before the Lord. Even Jesus was intentional about waking up early to spend time alone with His Heavenly Father in prayer. This was how He was able to hear the Will of God for His life! He didn’t even sin and needed to do this; so we have a desperate need as well! Especially in this new season with school and work and a plethora of things beginning anew! So the question falls upon all of us of this: Will you make the time to be still before the Lord? Let us be sure in this though, that through it all we can be comforted that the Lord is with us!

 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

-Isaiah 43:2

 

Kevin Stelzer

2nd Year Student Blogger

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The Garden Takes Time

Last summer I was given a task that I had never done before. The job, at the time, seemed simple and at first got me pretty excited, giving way to grand visions of what it could be and how to go about it. This task was to oversee a garden from start to finish! Seemed simple enough, so i began down a summer chore that would end up teaching me far more spiritual lessons than I would have ever anticipated.

The process of gardening is very much a mirror to the process of the development of our spiritual lives.

You realize the lack of meaning and purpose of a plot in your yard and feel an urge to strip it down and start something that matters. (There comes a point where you realize the brokenness of your life and realize the need to make a change and start over new.)

You either rent or borrow a tiller and take time breaking the land apart and digging deep to purge the soil of any unwanted life to compete with what you know you want to grow in your garden. (You open your heart to Jesus and let His love and forgiveness wash deep into your past and pull up the roots of sin that so readily desire to block the spiritual fruit that you’d like to harvest).

You understand that nothing good will grow without first sowing seed, so you create clear defined rows with specific seeds in specific rows so you know what you will get. (You become aware of the spiritual principle of sowing and reaping, and desire to reap a good harvest of spiritual fruit and blessings, so you begin to sew love, gentleness, goodness knowing that there are spiritual laws at hand).

Along with sowing seeds comes watering, so you faithfully water your seeds and wait. (You realize that you must continue to nourish the fruits of the spirit to see the harvest, so you continue in your ways and give them room to develop and grow).

After a few days you sit back and realize that all is well in your garden, and that you can now see the first signs of sprouting life! (Your spiritual walk feels amazing after such an amazing experience with God and His love! Sowing and watering your spiritual seeds is the best thing ever, and life is super awesome!)

You walk outside to tend to your garden the next morning and suddenly notice there are roughly one million other plants growing, and somehow they’re all bigger than your seeds already! Oh no….weeds….(One day something not ideal happens and then you realize it….being a Christian doesn’t make your life 100% perfect all the time…)

You spend the next several hours meticulously weeding in and through and around your rows of vegetables until order in the garden is finally restored! (You spend the rest of the day realizing that you still can get frustrated and angry at people, things, life, etc. and realize that it takes time and dedication to do the work needed to ripen your fruit).

With order returned you finally can be at ease, until tomorrow comes and there are twice as many weeds as before….(You feel good about how you figured things out in your first “sticky situation” as a Christian, so you now can successfully handle it, until tomorrow is an even rougher day…)

Over the next several weeks you battle weeds, bugs, too much rain, too little rain, too much sun, not enough sun, and everything inbetween. (As your spiritual walk progresses you see ups and downs, victories, failures, support, loneliness, and everything else).

Then the harvest comes and you realize that all that work produced this plant that you eat and it gives back to you in the form of vitamins, minerals, calories, health benefits, and you feel something truly amazing eating something that you tended to. (Then you see the fruits of the spirit have victory over sin, you see the fruit as your default more often than not, and it feels oh so amazing to be led by the spirit!).

Then the next season of sowing and reaping begins. (And then you take the next step forward on your long spiritual journey).

That may have seemed long winded, but I cannot emphasize the amazing parallels between gardening and your spiritual life. It is truly a task that needs daily tending! For different seasons there will be different levels of harvest and different challenges that come with them, but it’s important to realize that every season, whether a school season or summer season, you need to tend to your garden as if it’s your job! Because ultimately it is; this is your life after all!

When gardening I had some crops that I spent hours and hours on and they gave me so much I couldn’t even come close to eating it all, some that gave me just a handful of blueberries, and others that after all that time and effort died and never made it. This too has happened with seasons of my spiritual walk. But when all's said and done we have to recognize our part is to plant, water, and weed (remove sin), God brings the fruit into fruition when we show ourselves faithful to Him.

Kevin Stelzer

Summer Blogger

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To be Still

The year is coming to an end quickly and as many people would say, its officially “Go Time!” The end of the semester papers are due, final exams are quickly approaching, living situations are potentially changing, summer jobs and job training may be starting soon, all on top of the normal hustle and bustle of keeping up with media and trying to balance a social life. Overall everything is happening all at once! Stillness, as nice as it sounds, isn’t important right now, because that time needs to be used for other things just to stay on top! But is that really true?

 

Psalm 46:10

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 62:5

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

 

The bible makes a clear point that silence and stillness brings us closer to the presence of the Lord and the Hope that lies with Him. Our generation has fallen into the belief that staying deep in the buzz is what keeps us flowing and on top of the game. We fill our ears with the all the latest music and celebrity news, flood our eyes with the newest magazines, vines, and Instagram feeds, and can often find ourselves more up to date with what’s going on in the sports world than our own world. If we’re honest with ourselves we can put far more emphasis on all these things and far less emphasis on what God is gently whispering in our hearts.

God knows who He is and will not try to compete with the things we give our attention to. He gives us our own free will and will kindly and tenderly wait for us to slow our life down and turn the volume down on our distracted hearts so that He may breathe tender blessings, unending mercies, and unearned favor into our being.

So when we reach a point where there is no moment to be silent, no time to rest, not a chance to tell our soul to be still, we must then realize that there is no time not to be still. To yield our own agenda to the Lord is the best move that we can make in these situations. So silence your soul, be still, and be strong and courageous, for the Lord our God is ever with us!

 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

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A Moment From Mexico

To fully impart to you the detail in full of what transpired the past week through this blog is not possible, regardless of the length or detail I use. What took place transpires mere words. However, as a simple overview of what too place can be given. We (A group of twelve EC students led by Pastor Eric, and a team from Rhema Mexico led by Pastor Tim Rogers) ministered three days in three different rural areas in the heart of Mexico. Ministry involved free haircuts, dental work, kids programs, free clothing, and care packages, and prayer for healing as well as prayer to receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. Many people came forth to invite Jesus into their hearts and many were healed through prayer. In short the entirety of the experience was amazing, truly something that only the Lord can do!

There are so many elements from this trip that could be the topic for what is to follow, but at the heart I believe that simplicity is best, and a moment this past Tuesday ministered to me a lot of what was stored up over the Mexico Missions Trip.

Tuesday we were given the day to rest, recover, catch up, and more or less do what needed to be done in light of being gone for the previous week. I took the tail end of that day to go to Saugatuck and see the sunset over the frozen remains of the lake and enjoy a period of peace. Over the two to three hours of walking down the beach and out to the pier the Lord brought many aspects of the trip up in my heart and really let them sink in and do a good work in me. Of these the main work was done in terms of what was stated earlier; simplicity is best.

In Mexico this was a very true reality for the portion of time we were there. The object of our focus was singular, to do the work of the Lord by loving and serving His people. The lives of the people in these towns were also so simple. They worked hard to support their family and help the community and didn’t give much attention to exterior distractions. This concept has been rolling around inside me and I believe that we can all take away from the idea that simple is better. Pastor Eric even had the opportunity to preach on this very topic over the week. His main focus being that the answer for many of our problems is simple, simply spend time with Jesus.

So after an amazing week of seeing the Lord work, heal, save, and move amongst His people we came back to the hustle and bustle of the States and it’s been easy to realize how we get lost in all the ways we busy ourselves. There is never a shortage of things to do here in the U.S. but I truly believe that can be our downfall. We lose focus, set our eyes on things other than what we have on our plate, check out mentally, and decide to coast after a long stretch of hard work and end up missing what the Lord had in store for us. We can easily fill our lives with so many daily choices and decisions that by the end we feel worn out and further from peace than the previous day.

The reason for simplicity is easy to grasp. When we don’t have so many distractions shouting our name we are far far more capable of appreciating the people in our lives, and the things that truly matter. So in light of this principle I encourage you to turn off your phone notifications, limit your time on social media, donate or sell the unnecessary material goods that waste your time, take time to get away from the hustle and bustle and be with God, and realize that every single day of your life is a mission field, for we were all called to preach the Gospel and make disciples.

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10

 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

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Behold the Day in Front of You, for the Spirit is Working

How far out do you have your life planned? Today? This weekend? The week? Month? The answer will be different for everyone, but for most everyone I feel there is a common problem associated with this planning; Focus. But wait…aren't you focused if you have the week planned out? Absolutely! I’m not here to tear down the walls of schedules and break the shackles of daily planners, I support them and believe they can do a lot of good! However, I am here to say there is a pit you can fall into while planning out the days that lay ahead. That pit is called distraction.

Planning leads to productivity and staying on top of your day to day tasks, but at times can limit your unique presence in that day. We can do our best to plan out our future, but I’m a big advocate that God’s ways and thoughts are not like ours, they’re much higher, and sometimes that means He would like you to do something that differs from what your schedule may say. This is where the crossroads can pop up. To keep your course because you have it planned out or to follow this tugging to do otherwise? If we’re not careful we can fall into a state of belief that always following our schedule is God’s will. I’ve been there before, keeping on top of a Google calendar that literally had every hour planned to the T from 5:30am usually until Midnight. That doesn’t leave much room for the Holy Spirit to intervene and lead you in His mysterious ways to do His work.

I wish not for anyone to fall into this lifestyle. Please, by all means keep creating your schedules! It is a useful and disciplined exercise, and I believe God enjoys seeing that discipline. Don’t, however, deaden your sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading by asserting your will over His. You will end up going through your day with a robotic nature, later pondering where your joy went. Robots don’t feel emotion, so when you put yourself in that state of existence you choose to sacrifice some of the unique characteristics and oddities that it is to be human. So plan your week, but keep your personal focus on the day at hand, for no man ever conquered tomorrow, because to make it to tomorrow you must make it through today, and you’ll soon realize that every moment you’re in is today.

 

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:33-34

 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

 

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Where's the Focus?

It’s that time of the year that most people, especially those in the cold regions, tend to dread; February. For most people the “magic” of New Year’s Resolutions have worn off, school has been going on for an eternity and a half, the weather has been dumping endless amounts of snow, and there are no real breaks to be seen in this month. This all piles up and creates what I like to refer to as an attention shift. Our focus moves from one thing to the next and very often ends up on things that occupy our attention with little to no meaningful satisfaction.

This version of “burnout” medicates itself by escaping into excessive indulgence of things that are comforts, whether it be comfort food, Netflix, video games, sleep, or the myriad of things on our smart phones. As we begin to sink time into these things we can find, if we’re honest with ourselves, that there are days where we put more concerted energy into what we are going to wear, how we’ll smell, what our hair will look like, and what stories we will tell than we do to prayer, time in the word, or just enjoy a peaceful period of silence. It’s a simple war between flesh and spirit. One grouping of actions satisfies the flesh and the other the spirit.

My motive behind this is in some sense to call people out, myself included. I’m definitely guilty of spending more time thinking of how much I enjoy sausage, eggs, and cottage cheese in the morning than I should. It’s a simple matter of realizing the vast importance of prioritization. Enjoying a good breakfast, dressing nicely, or doing your hair are all great things, and I encourage them! However, if that habitually takes the place of morning time with the Lord it may be time to wake up a bit earlier so you can spend time with Him before you go on and enjoy those things. It is also important to realize how that need for comfort is actually built into us as a means to seek the Lord! That’s why we can watch hours and hours of Netflix without filling the void, because a square peg doesn’t fit in a round hole; only the Lord can truly fill that spot.

All in all I desire to encourage us all to give it a shot for just a week and see how it feels. I can only imagine that after that week you’ll naturally tender a yearning for that time without a challenge from someone such as myself.


 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

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There is No Need for Regret

More often than not the most memorable forms of regret come not when we as people attempted to do something great and failed, but rather when we dreamed something great and didn’t attempt it at all. The reason this form of remiss stands out so prevalently is that instead of understanding that with your effort and action it simply didn’t work out, your mind will always wander to the thought of what if you gave it an honest effort and it worked out well and changed your life forever.

Don’t let this be the case for you when it comes to God. If there is anything or anyone in existence that should be given a chance to change your life forever it is Him. He can set the captive free, renew your heart, and bring you to a life full of true joy, peace, and love. But giving Him a chance isn’t a matter of simply asking Him to intervene while you continue to do what you’ve always done. Instead, you have to make the active choice to pursue Him. This is what EPIC Commission is all about, the authentic pursuit of God.

EPIC Commission is centered on exposing young men and women to growing a genuine and vibrant relationship with God during some of the most pivotal years of their life. A great way to get a taste of this is the EC UpClose weekend Jan 23-24th. It may sound like a promotion, but in truth and reality this is encouragement to those of you out there that have thought of furthering your relationship with God, whether it be for the first time, or with many years under your belt. I’m simply wanting you to make it to a point where you don’t wonder how EC may have changed your life, how UpClose weekend may have opened the door for spiritual growth, or how a relationship with God would have affected the rest of your eternity. I’m inviting you to live how all of these things “may have” happened by going for it. By stepping out. By taking a dare and opening yourself up to meeting the master and creator of your very soul. Don’t regret not taking action and don’t fear casting your course towards the uncharted.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”

 –Mark Twain

 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

 

 

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Moving Foward

As the year end approaches it becomes more and more a time of reflection and self-examination. How was 2014 for us? How did we grow? What did we do? What did we learn? As we reflect we begin to form the ever so famous New Year’s Resolutions! In light of all that transpired in 2014 how do we want to change? Get better? Learn? And so on. With tall this comes a time that quite frankly can be filled with a lot of hypocrisy. Many of us already know in our hearts the ways in which we want to/should change, grow, or learn, and pin-point New Year’s Day as the day to make the power move and change our lifestyle. My question is why wait until that day? If you have a resolution in mind start now. Don’t wait. Being lax will only bring about being lax.

If you want to read your bible every morning yet plan on waiting until January 1st, 2015 you’ll have 20 more days of not reading your bible in the morning that reinforce the habit of not reading in the morning. If you want to make it to the gym a few times a week, not going the next three weeks will only remind how comfortable it is to relax when you have downtime.

The transition from 2014 to 2015 isn’t the time that the past becomes the past and new beginnings can take place. Every single moment is a new chance to make a change, to better yourself, to start good habits, and to press more and more into God. I do love the start of the New Year, I really do, but it is important to keep in mind that it’s just a numerical representation of starting the new calendar year. There is nothing innately spiritual, holy, or significant about that day in particular. The same principles of change can be practiced every day of our lives. We can learn a valuable lesson from Paul as he writes to the Philippians.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

Every day is a good day to put behind us the bad habits or deeds we have done, and push forward towards the positive changes we are called to practice. So take heart that this time of the year brings about the idea of growth and change for the better, but don’t think it can only happen on the first day of 2015, for every day is a day to pioneer the new you!

 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

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It's a Walk

As far as I’m concerned the vast majority of our life can be considered a walk.

Life doesn’t consistent primarily of the grandiose things that are most often caught by the eye. When we go about the daily grind it’s easy to turn our eyes to see houses, buildings, people getting married, nice cars, and things of the like. Our eyes so easily can see the things that represent status or accomplishment when really purchasing a house, a car, or getting married are the minority of life’s events, yet we allow them to occupy so much of our thought that it can lead to an unhealthy balance.

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

I’ve caught myself at times wishing the order of events had been changed in this scripture. Thinking, alright, I’ll start off slow with some walking, pick up the pace and bring it to a run, then the Lord will give me a boost and keep me soaring like an eagle! But there’s a very distinct reason this verse is ordered the way it is; because life is a walk that is made up of many small steps with some periods of running and soaring between.

By no mean am I downplaying the greatness of those life steps, but rather am trying to pull attention to what fills the spaces between them. That is to say, the “daily grind”. The daily grind has such a bad reputation to it, but really should be something we look forward to because it speaks greater volumes then the car we drive, the title/position we have, or our relationship status. The daily grind is the best opportunity we have to show who we truly are, but it can be very difficult at times. Jesus even said so himself.

“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:14

And that’s where the walking comes in. Jesus didn’t say impossible is the way, but rather difficult, implying it’ll take hard work and time, but will be far more satisfying then taking the easy way out. So when things get rough or you set your mind on a future event (like upcoming breaks) know that it’s ok to look forward to those things, but there will be walking that needs to take place until that day, and if you take your eyes off the path and set it upon something else your feet are more likely to trip. So enjoy the process, find a way to be passionate about the little steps, and realize that your walk is never alone. Even in the darkest of times the Lord is there to guide you along the difficult path that leads to life.

 

Kevin Stelzer

1st Year Student Blogger

 

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He's Never Arbitrary

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

There are a lot of arbitrary things in the world we live in. Movies, videogames, celebrity gossip, new “fads”, and the like, while not always bad or sinful are usually fairly arbitrary, or purposeless. We can feel this way about classes (Similar to What’s the Point), jobs, and rules or regulations. Sometimes these things are entirely arbitrary with no direct fruit other than cultivating faithfulness. However, one thing that is never arbitrary is God’s word.

It can be easy to get in the mindset that Faith or Prayers aren’t as applicable in your life as they are in others because you don’t feel like it’s true. In all practicality you feel as though they may be semi arbitrary in your life. Let me tell you that they’re not. That’s why Philippians 4:6 is at the top of this blog. In great times of stress it may be easy to see this frequently quoted verse and think “well, that’s nice and all, but I’m super stressed, so this doesn’t really work for me, I can’t simply stop being anxious.” When this thought hits it becomes crucial to then ask yourself if it seems realistic that God would arbitrarily tell you to do something like that. I’ll admit, simply hearing “Don’t worry, just pray” doesn’t directly give you a lot of reason to do so, however it’s at this point where it becomes crucial to continue reading.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

God isn’t a God who simply tells you to do something with no sense of purpose behind it. Everything he does, all the Words he spoke, and the entirety of the Bible has true practicality and reason behind it. Everything he spoke is for our benefit. To teach us, to guide us, and primarily to deliver us from that which bothers and harms us. All those words are for all people in all situations. They’re never just for the super spiritual person at that table, pastor’s kids, or the lady who is always super nice to everyone. God’s word is for all, and is never arbitrary. He always has a purpose.

Kevin Stelzer
1st Year Student Blogger

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What's the Point?

The ability to have intellectual inquiries is a blessing that can recurrently feel like a curse. When struck with periods of introspection or self-reflection we can find ourselves uttering the simple yet loaded question, “What’s the point?” If you’re a student I’m sure you’ve asked this question thousands of times. “Why the heck would I ever need to learn the Pythagorean theorem…? Life doesn’t revolve around triangles.” I’m thoroughly convinced that in some form or another every single person asked this question – especially when in pertinence to our lives. What’s the point?

The cultural answer to this question is comprised of so many iterations, each intimately entwined within the beliefs of the individual spewing forth their ideas. With that comes a grand buffet of ideology, each as unique as its beholder. With truth being singular (as in there can only logically be one truth) this is a “hot topic” that has started conversations and heated debate. This topic likewise is often passed around within the community of faith, with a host of questions in hot pursuit. What job should I work? Is making money a sin? Do I have to work in the Church to be a “good Christian”? Should we just be “good people”? All smaller pieces that add up and scream “what’s the point?”

I’ve asked this question to myself and found great encouragement in the best source of wisdom this world has seen: God’s Word. Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, the wisest king of Israel, speaks deeply into the pursuits of life and what truly is behind everything we do. Taken by many as a depressing book, speaking of all as “vanity” and “grasping for the wind”, Ecclesiastes does well in delivering a poignant, yet well needed truth to this world.

“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” Ecclesiastes 1:14

You can either throw your hands in the air, deciding that life is pointless and it doesn’t matter how you live it, or you can keep reading and find out what Solomon is saying by this. At the end of the book of vanity Solomon gives us the “Whole duty of man.”

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

There it is. Fear God (in a holy reverence and awe inspired way) and keep His commandments. This is even confirmed by the ultimate spiritual authority, God in flesh, Jesus Christ.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34

Seek first the Kingdom. Jesus even goes a step further and answers the questions that are guaranteed to follow. Don’t worry! There’s enough going on today, why waste time worrying about tomorrow, or next week, month, year…just don’t. For in Christ is the fullness of life. By seeking him daily, the little things will work. The mundane will have purpose. Life will gain value and peace will be sure follow. So remember, there is a point.

Kevin Stelzer
1st Year Student Blogger

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