JustStephen

Just Stephen

Month: November, 2013

Early morning ramblings

6:14am – 11/30/2013

I know that I haven’t posted anything in a while so I thought I’d post a little something this morning anyway.

Thanksgiving went well enough, went on a day trip out of town. Yesterday was full of drama because of one certain tenant here as she likes to call herself.

If that happens too much, I might look for somewhere else to stay as drama and stress makes me physically sick. I already am sick all of the time, so that’s the last thing I need.

Managed to see a gastrologists PA the other day. Colonoscopy in January. I’m hoping it’ll show something. It just gets tiring being sick most of the time.

I thought about posting 26 things I am thankful for on Thanksgiving, however that seemed a bit corny.

I’m writing this on my phone, so I’m going to turn this off and get some rest or try to.

Have a fantastic day, everyone.

Stephen

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Late night ponderings

Nov 24 2013, 2:35am

I was talking to an old friend online the other day. It was great to hear and see that they we’re doing a lot between both mentally and physically than before, however what saddened me is when she said that she was an atheist. Sure, I knew she was unsure about religion, however hearing that directly put a sadness on my heart.

Sure, at times, especially when I don’t feel his presence I question if there is truly a God, however I have to realize that it is satan putting thoughts into my head.

Looking at the world around me, examining the miniscule details and the immense complexity of the world also shows me that there is no way that this Earth could be the product of two particles of dust running together and billions of years of evolution. It just doesn’t compute. That leads to the fact that there must be another explanation and the Bible is the only one that I’ve found that makes a shred of sense.

I’m not going on and on tonight. If you want to pray for me, pray that I’ll not linger in the past and the time I’ve wasted, but focus on the future as we never know how long we have left. Also, pray for my health. I’ve been feeling weaker and weaker and more drained every day it seems.

Stephen

Birthday post

11/22/2013 – 9:15pm

Well, today is my 26th birthday. I’m pretty determined at the moment to make this year better than the rest that I’ve had, as I’m tired of living life mediocrely. I’m tired of just sitting around and letting life slip by. The past thirteen years in particularly have been pretty non-productive. The same old going around in circles and going no-where fast.

Too much repetitiveness. Some changes, but not nearly enough. I’m going to try to make sure that this year, year 26 of my life, is different and better than the rest. How am I going to do that? I don’t know. Will I need help with that? Probably. Will I accept help when I’m so stubborn about being independent as much as I’m physically able? I don’t know that either.

One way or another though, year 26 is going to be different than my life thus far.

I was going to write something that would end up being pretty corny, perhaps 26 things I’m glad for in my life, or 26 things I’ve learned over the years, however I’ll stick with this for now.

Stephen

Churches, leaders and small groups

11/20/2013 – 9:45pm.

I usually struggle on having something to post, however tonight my mind has been stirred by a discussion that I had with a small group about church, pastors and their roles and the church and just the mindsets of those that attend churches.

Although a large part of the study ended up focusing on examining a certain paragraph in a deeper sense that C.J. Mahaney wrote in his book, ‘humility’, I started to examine my life when it comes to attending thoughts and was pondering the different motivations behind why people attend church and the reasons I have attended church in the past which aren’t the reason we’re supposed to, which is to learn more and give Glory to God.

I believe that many attend church out of a sense of obligation, others attend because they want to socialize and others are there to truly learn more about the Lord. Some attend as they feel it’s a safe place and some attend as they’re curious about this Christianity thing and they want to learn more. I’ve heard of people who have said that the only reason they’re attending church for the day or a Bible study or Sunday School is to make a final decision if they want to believe in Christ and creationism or Athiestism and they make their choice based solely on the one experience.

Going back to pastors and their roles in the church, this whole train of thought came from a discussion about if a pastor was to leave, what percentage of the church would remain due to them leaving. A good percentage would, I’m sure, however others would leave that were there for different reasons than to simply worship the Lord and learn more about his Word.

Myself, personally, I started as a child with my parents, going out of obligation as they did. As time went by, they stopped attending as much as were less strict on us to attend, to the point that they didn’t attend. I then in my early teens, or ‘tweens’ if you want to call it what they do these days, at the age of 10 or 11 started wanting to go to church again. At first, at that age, it was more to be around others. When I was that young, I don’t remember what my mindset was, but it wasn’t as much to focus on Christ. It was a safe haven and I was simply trying to fit in I believe. I was pretty much a recluse anyway at my house, I didn’t socialize much as I believe I started homeschooling at this point, so this gave me an opportunity to do so.

A few years later I became more serious about Christ, however I was always confused. I felt guilt for so many years and still do due to sins that I had committed. I didn’t fully comprehend God’s grace and I still don’t if I am honest.

I went to a few churches in my teenage years. I went to a Methodist church for several years. There were great people there. I had my first ‘experience’ or ‘high’ as some would call it there, at a trip to Daytona. I still don’t know to this day if that is when I accepted Christ or if it was solely an emotional experience brought on by the worship that they were having. David Crowder was playing via a “live link” as they called it. That is the first and the last time that I can remember that I was freely able to worship and I didn’t give a darn about what anyone else was thinking. Ever since, I’ve been always afraid of being judged due to my voice or any other number of things, so I just keep my mouth shut for every window in the building won’t break. (Not really, that wouldn’t happen.. Or would it?)

Regardless, after that point I was really convicted by sin, however I was pretty much stuck in it at that point. I didn’t understand grace. I didn’t truly repent for my sins. I believe I kept on going to church due to the same fact that there were people around that I could associate with and that it was a safe place where I could get away from all of the drama at home. Yes, I was searching, I’ve been searching for as long as I can remember, but it was a safe place for me, and that meant a lot.

I’ve done so much ‘going through the motions’ as Matthew West’s song says in my 25 years of life that it’s not funny. Sitting or standing at a pew just listening to the worship, trying to get some energy from it, thinking about the lyrics in my head and hoping that I’d get something from the worship service, but usually getting nothing at all. Sometimes I’d think to myself that I’ve heard it all before so I would get pretty bored and almost fall asleep as it seemed so repetitive to me and I just couldn’t apply it to my life.

At any rate, after I went to the Methodist church in Pooler, I started going to a Baptist church. I kept on trying to get closer to God, however it seemed not forthcoming, as if any time I prayed, my prayers were hitting an impenetrable barrier and just bouncing back, unheard and unanswered.

I know I went to a few churches before these when I was younger and in between, but they don’t hold a huge deal of significance to me. Such as a Pentecostal church where speaking in tongues was quite common. It was a good group, however I didn’t really get much from it. The speaking in tongues I didn’t really understand and back then I didn’t really have a true desire to understand them, in my head I attributed them as a gift that some might have possessed back in Biblical days, however now it’s not given.

I believe that I stopped attending there when I moved to where I lived with my grandmother, as there wasn’t any way that I could go back and forth as I didn’t drive and I still don’t.

I then started looking around here for churches to attend. I tried a few, a Methodist church I didn’t really enjoy as the ‘young adult’ group consisted of about a dozen elderly members in their 70’s and 80’s and I didn’t feel like I fit in. It’s quite possibly that they were young at heart, but not young when it comes down to physical age on this Earth.

I then started going to a Baptist church that my oldest brother used to attend. I enjoyed it for the most part, however it started getting stale after a time. I just couldn’t get a huge deal by the way that the sermon was being preached. The bullet list that the pastor used seemed to be getting more and more repetitive as I really didn’t get a lot from the little stories that he added on.

I was active in the college group for several years, however it honestly felt like it was very click in there, if that’s what you call it when there are groups that stick together that don’t really welcome others into their group. I did everything I could to try to fit in, helped everywhere I could, brought stuff on Sunday mornings, not just out of obligation, but because I truly like to serve and I like people to be able to enjoy themselves. However, after time, it started to feel more like an obligation. This is probably due to the fact that I wasn’t really getting fed, more than likely due to my own stubbornness and that I wasn’t as open to learning and I didn’t have as good of an understanding of things as I do now, however I’m not saying that I have much understanding now, just more than I did then.

I then slowly stopped attending Sunday’s there about two years ago and started going to a non-denominational church, where I currently attend. I enjoy it and I have a good many friends that attend there. I still keep in contact and enjoy the Bible studies that the Baptist church I attended previously held on Tuesday nights, as I really find them to be helpful and I love the people and I am getting fed and learn something that grows me every time I attend, however since the service on Sunday’s wasn’t benefiting me spiritually, I was getting exhausted and wasn’t really being fed as I should, again, likely due to my own stubbornness, that I felt that I had to do something else before the pressures of this life got me down too far.

I started going to my current church that I attend on Sunday’s and different activities and groups with, and I’ll say this, it’s different than what I experienced at other churches. People overall seem to be pretty open, sure, everyone has their own subset of people that they associate with more than others, however overall, I’m getting more from it on Sunday’s than I was previously. I don’t expect to get a ton of changes from attending one service. I go trying to believe that I’ll learn something different.

It seems that I really enjoy smaller groups and communities and studies better than I do large ones, as you can be more personal and in depth with others and really go into specifics and learn more about each other and in that, learn more about Christ through those discussions, whereas if you’re in a large group, not everyone will have the opportunity to speak when it comes to small groups. Sure, not everyone is going to speak, but I really get more from a community setting than I do the traditional ‘preaching’ aspect of church it seems like.

Perhaps this is because I get more food for thought from them or perhaps it’s because I can better relate and then later look up and reference and read the Bible later and get more from it as I actually go back afterwards and am motivated to look up additional resources and Biblical references, I’m not sure.

I just know that since I’d say last October I’ve been wanting to delve deeper. Sure, I feel like I’m going nowhere progress wise and that Satan tries to pit his demons on me still, throwing thoughts such as, ‘If only you really believed that’ or ‘God doesn’t care’ or ‘God doesn’t exist’ in my head, however I’m getting better at blocking those thoughts out of my head.

I’m still sinful and there’s a few specific sins I focus with more than others, but I fully understand that every human being on the Earth is sinful, myself more than most and that I’ll sin far too many times a day than I’d like, no matter how hard I try not to. That’s when trying to fully understand the possibility and ultimately reality of God’s grace, however I know that I will never fully comprehend it in this life and I don’t think any one of us will, as it’s beyond what our human minds can fathom.

This whole blog post that is now getting pretty long was inspired by a simple conversation about church as a whole and the role of pastors. Once I get into a subject, my mind delves pretty deeply into it.

I’m generally not good at speaking my thoughts verbally, unless it’s to someone that I trust pretty well, I am utterly horrible at group speaking in groups, occasionally I can speak in smaller groups of under a half dozen or so, however it’s that fear of judgement and Satan that kicks in again, telling lies which distract me too much to actually say anything that I’m thinking.

I suppose I’m using this blog as an outlet of sorts. I don’t know how well I really went into anything in this post, and I don’t know how complete or incomplete it is. I know I more than likely skipped things I wanted to say, however I’m not feeling very well, I think it was the lasagna I ate for lunch that was so good burning my throat coming back up, burning my throat for retaliation, so I think I had better lay down and get some sleep.

I know there are so many details that I missed in this post about different experiences and different things I’ve done related to church events and whatnot, however if I was to go into everything in detail this would be a small book.

I’ll end this post with a Youtube video of that song I mentioned earlier, ‘Going Through the Motions’ by Matthew West.

Tired

10/20/13 10:00 am

I’m sick and tired of some issues I had for a long time, I say had as I’m giving them up and am going to take some proactive measures to prevent them from popping up again as they tend to do. Being vague intentionally.

I’m not going to let another birthday go by with them. All they cause is grief and I pray that God will give me the strength to accomplish this.

Waiting at the bus stop, another bus went by without enough room for me, so I am waiting another thirty minutes for another. I wish the weather would stop being so bipolar.

Stephen

Late night posting

It is 12:40AM. I find myself lying in bed thinking, as I think clearest when I’m exhausted or when it is late at night.

Tonight, most of my thoughts have been pretty depressing, mostly about how it feels most of the time that I have accomplished very little in life.

I can’t say I’ve done near as many things as most people I know have done. I didn’t go to college and get a higher education. I’m single and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Sure, there are things I’d like to do, but they aren’t realistic considering my health issues that limit how many days I can be away to just a couple. Most of them involve volunteering and travel. I hate being stuck in one place, feeling like I’m living the same days over and over again with just slight variations.

I need change, drastic change, but I’m not sure of what that is or what it’d look like. Also, like most people, I’m afraid of changes.

I fail to see the point behind this post, but I’m going to go ahead and post it as I’ve told myself several times that I can’t go back on posts or edit them. I’m posting this from my phone as usual.

I have a doctors appointment at 8:45am, so I better try and get some rest.

Stephen

Apple is the devil

11/16/2013 10:00pm

Whenever I meet someone that seems to think that Apple is the best thing since sliced bread, I tend to tell them about my theory about how Apple is an evil corporation, even though in reality, it’s no more evil than the rest of the electronics companies out there. I feel sorry for the workers in other countries that get paid pennies to assemble the products we use every day.

The story that I generally give people is based on Apple’s logo. It has a bite taken out of it. That represents the fruit in the Garden of Eden where Satan convinced Eve that the fruit was good to eat, therefore came the downfall of mankind into sin and corruptness.

So, pretty much Apple was there in the beginning conniving with Satan since the beginning and their product these days is the culmination of millennia of conniving and scheming, waiting for the day when technology would advance enough to bring their diabolical product into mass market, which they have succeeded in doing.

But no, I’m not insane. I know that this is completely and entirely false and that Apple has said it was to distinguish the logo from a cherry.

Honestly though, I just prefer Android and PC due to the fact they’re much more expandable and not as limited as Apple. You can easily replace the battery in PC or most Android smartphones, while you have to contact Apple and risk them denying you a battery replacement and it costing hundreds to fix the issue, while if your battery dies on an android, you can likely buy three of the batteries on Ebay and a charger for under ten bucks.

I carry around multiple batteries for I don’t have to worry about my phone dying. You can’t do that with an Apple product. If you don’t have an electrical outlet and a charger with you, you’re out of luck.

I guess I’ll get off of my soapbox about apple and talk about my day. i went to give my mother some clothes and took her out to eat for breakfast. The restaurant was decent, however the service wasn’t too well. I never received my bacon that I ordered and they never refilled the drinks. I understand that they were busy and probably understaffed as the decent sized eatery was packed, however it was still frustrated. They did take it off of the bill, which was good.

I ordered chocolate chip pancakes, which are pretty good when the chocolate is all melty. They were just as good quality as Ihop or other similar restaurants.

Tried to fix her bicycle for her, however the chain was rusted to no end, therefore it was impossible to fix. I might end up buying her a cheap one before too long as I hate how she has to walk to work in the morning every morning.

So, to talk about myself, I’ve been making it. It’s a day to day process that takes effort. today I haven’t been feeling too bad, just a bit depressed, however that is something that I have to struggle with continually. I’m trying to be more social and talk more freely to people, which is slowly happening. It’s not something that is going to improve instantly.

I am going to try to get up in the morning and go to church, however I have also had a lack of motivation recently, so I don’t know if I’ll feel up to it or not. I know I should go regardless, as I should always try to expect something positive to happen, even if I don’t believe it will.

My 26th birthday is next Friday – I’ll probably sit at home and not do much for it. I don’t really do much for my birthdays. Time seems to move pretty slow when you’re living between days, however after they’ve passed, the years seem like seconds. I don’t know how much time I have left in this world, and I need to find some way to make sure that I don’t waste whatever time I have left.

Before, we’d generally have a little cake with my grandmother and whatever immediate family that lived around here would visit, however since my grandmother passed away last year, I doubt we’ll be doing much of anything for any holidays. My father is always depressed about them, and I’m surprised he agreed to go to Columbia for Thanksgiving.

At any rate, I don’t have too much that I know to go into tonight. If anyone reads this (I don’t know if anyone does) and wants me to post about a specific topic, leave a comment or something. Otherwise, I’ll just keep on posting random posts now and then.

Stephen

Just another post

It is 4am in the morning and I felt like writing something on here, I’m not sure what. I’m up at this hour.because as it tends to do, my stomach woke me up hurting rather severely.

All I can do when this happens is try to get it in my head that God is supreme and that this world is temporary.

I have been quite busy with doctors appointments this week. Not a whole lot was discovered, just that I am allergic to foods I suspected and that others are more than likely cross contamination issues with pollens and food sensitivities that while are unpleasant, won’t kill me.

I’m going to try to escape this pain by going back to sleep. I don’t know how well that’ll work, it usually doesn’t, but you never know.

I’ll try to post something more substantial tonight.

Stephen

Camp and stuff

Say, Nov 9, 2013 8:19pm

This weekend I’ve been at a teen camp to help out and be a counselor. It’s been a tiring but pretty good weekend so far.

The main subjects that are being taught on are grace, knowing if you’ve really accepted Christ as your savior (instead of simply playing the part) and tonight, biblical marriage. There has also been discussion on keeping away from temptation as it’ll only lead to actions and negative choices which will ultimately end in death.

I’m not going to hit everything tonight, but I’ll go on about what pops to the top of my head, coherent or not.

I know one of my largest issues when it comes to Christ is accepting grace. I’ve never been someone that likes to accept handouts or charity. God’s grace and Jesus’s sacrifice is the ultimate act of love and charity.

My issue is accepting what he offers and knowing that it is real. I live with the guilt and inward shame of every sun for a long, long time when if I truly understood God’s grace (which we never fully will) I would know that I’m forgiven and not be stuck dwelling on the mistakes of yesterday.

I hope I don’t, but it might be an issue that I struggle with for the rest of my days. I know I’m broken and that I sin on a daily basis and that I will sin every day for the rest of my life, as we as humans are sinful by nature.

I know that this camp is primarily for the teens that are attending it, but it is making me think as well. I wish that I had more events like this when I was a teenager, not just events where there’s worship, but the word is spoken, even the harder to comprehend sections without ashamedness or trying to avoid them.

I’m not going to write a list of my sins on this blog, but if I had a camp with people I knew cared and spoke the truth with as much honesty as is being done here, my life would be different. If I had been serious about learning and trusting Christ at 12 years old, which is the youngest any of the campers here are, I cannot imagine where I’d be today.

I want their lives to be better than mine has. I don’t want them to make the same stupid repetitive mistakes I have. I really hope that they leave with something tangible from this camp.

I’ll be praying for them and if anyone who is a Christ follower is reading this, I hope you will too. I don’t want any of them to go down the wrong road in life, although some undoubtedly will. I hope that this weekend will be eye opening for them.

We desperately need a new generation of Christians, especially with the media and law twisting and contorting peoples views on what is and isn’t right, such as legalizing gay marriage which will ultimately steer many in the wrong direction.

It’s obvious that the government isn’t going to do anything to help, just try to make more minority groups happy and complacent by going against the very book that the country’s constitution was based on, the Bible.

I am writing this from a bunk in a cabin at the camp. I am hurting too bad to stand up or walk much more today. If you want to pray for me personally, pray that I’ll have a clearer view and understanding of Christ and the grace that he freely offers to those who are willing to accept it. I also pray that I’ll be honest and open on this blog and somehow use it as more than a way to just post my thoughts occasionally, but as a way to honor God, as I really struggle with finding ways to these days. I could go on and on, but I’m going to stop now.

Stephen

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Pain

October 7, 2013: 9:17

I try not to complain or gripe in these posts as I don’t want pity, but I’m so sick and tired of severe pain every day of my life. Be it my stomach or my back that are always hurting or the various other aches and pains I have, I’m just getting tired and grinning and bearing it.

I don’t think anyone really understand how much I hurt. I know there’s not much anyone can do, but I’m tired of it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything drastic, I just had to gripe and complain.

I’m just so tired of hurting so bad it takes every ounce of strength I have not to scream out in pain. But this had been going on for years on a daily basis. Pain so bad it nauseates me. Not being able to do nearly anything I want to do in life. I guess it is what it is.

/end rant

Singleness and randomity

November 5, 2013 – 9:15pm (start)

I know that I haven’t been posting faithfully – it’s been almost a week. I can throw together a coherent post in no time, however I haven’t had the motivation to do so, even though I have been pondering a few different subjects to post about. I doubt that anyone really reads this – at least it’s an outlet of some sort and it might help someone who randomly visits this blog one day.

So, today, I guess I’ll talk about singleness. Myself, I’ve been single my entire life. Not out of choice – I don’t feel that I’m meant to be single. I, like most everyone else, worry about who I’m going to end up with one day, if I’m going to end up with someone, if I’m ever going to be in a relationship.

I believe I’ve personally avoided getting in any situations where I might meet anyone and staying to myself simply due to the experiences I’ve had in the past.

I’ll go into a few. When I was a kid, I had a friend named Nancy for a while. In reality, it was her and her snot-nosed brother, who I forget the name of. I don’t remember a lot about them, just one shopping trip with them and their mother. I do remember though that I ran away, even as a child, when they told their mother that I said that I loved them, which was false. I don’t remember talking to them again after that.

Also, the experience of my parents divorcing after 27 years of marriage didn’t help my perspective when it comes to having a view that marriage is meant to last and that it is a covenant between two people. Sure, I knew this from reading the Bible, however my view from actually living in a generally not pleasant atmosphere affected my overall impressions, I believe. There was always chaos and fighting between my parents when I was growing up and constant fighting between my brothers and I. I hated it to the core – I always have been someone that avoids drama and will do anything to stay away from it if at all possible.

Also, my brother married a woman that just wanted him for his insurance, that also didn’t help things a great deal, although I don’t think it was as influential as other events in my life.

Now that I think about it, I was pretty close to someone that I knew online, however it couldn’t progress further than friendship simply due to the fact that I would’ve been unequally yoked. I made it clear and apparent that it was an issue for me, that I couldn’t bypass. It pushed them away, I believe, however I just couldn’t share my life with someone that isn’t a Christian. 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Regardless, it comes down to that my fear of being judged and simply not allowing me to be myself when around others is the core issue, with these past experiences just making the whole cycle being more vicious to break. There are so many things I’d like to say, that I attempt to, however my mind will not let me do so. It’s not pleasant. I need to work on this. I’m okay with it when I’m typing online to someone or after a conversation has started one on one with someone, but especially in groups, I freeze up. I’m sure it makes me appear like an idiot over periods of time, however that’s not true in the least, at least when it comes to how much information flows through my brain constantly.

I’ve started going on a tangent again. I’m sorry. I tend to do that. Going back to singleness, I’ve been looking at various verses about it in the Bible. Most point towards the fact that it is not good for a man to be alone – ultimately pointing back to the Garden of Eden when God found it fit to create man a helper. However, different people in the Bible have their own opinion in the matter, such as:

1 Corinthians 7:8: To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am.

He elaborates further down about this in verses 32:35.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35: I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Therefore, he is suggesting this so that the man or woman in question can focus solely on the Lord and not have to worry about the insane amount of commitment time and resources that having a successful and Godly marriage entails.

However, there’s a warning near the first bit of 7, vs 1 and 2:
Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

So this boils down to that he believes that it is good for a man to not be married, however because of the temptation that is inherent in man, it is good to be married if you do not have a strong relationship with Christ, which is one way to interpret it as, as you may fall into temptation and succumb.

I guess I’m really falling into tangents again and going past what I meant to for ‘singleness’.

I suppose what it is good for us to do is to pray and attempt to realize if it is God’s will for us to stay single or not. He’s calling some of us to it, however mostly are called not to be single.

Since I’m not editing what I type after I type for any of my blog posts, I’m not going to edit out unnecessary information that isn’t really relevant to the topic of this post. For the time being, I need to focus on being more outgoing and not allowing Satan to trick me into believing that I am being critically judged for every word that I say. When it comes down to it, by not being outgoing and by not allowing myself to worship and discuss the Bible and other topics freely with others, I’m depriving others of input that might stir other ideas and therefore doing exactly what Satan wants.

Ah, if only I could have been in the Garden that day with a pair of steel toed boots, hiding behind a tree (with a machete dipped in holy water for backup) when he approached Adam and Eve… Joking obviously, but I had to end with a more humorous thought in my head.

Stephen