Learning to Surf

Some of my favorite memories have to deal with being close to the ocean. As a child I dreamed about the family road trips to Florida or North Carolina beaches with the family. Hitting the beach, running towards the ocean to cool our feet off from the hot sand. Digging huge holes and building moats for the sand castles. Staring up at the night sky and envisioning what it would be like to be up there with God looking down at his creation. Man the memories can just keep going and going. But the ocean is what brings up the next topic I would like to talk about.

It’s about learning how to do something. You see one of my favorite things about the ocean is how a person can surf the waves as if it was man’s way of walking on water like Jesus did. It’s sight is astounding and breathtaking. When I see a person out on the waves surfing a three foot wave or seeing them crush a 20ft wave on tv it still has the same effect for me. Its the feeling of, dang, the person out there is awesome and I bet it feels so good to be out there surfing like they are. You know, if I lived closer to the ocean I probably would be a weekend warrior surfer. But I’m not and that’s totally cool. I enjoy my mountain biking, road running and motorcycle loving self. But the application of learning how to surf is where I’m going today.

You see in movies they show you a glimpse of what it takes to become a surfer. At first they start off on dry land. The instructor gives the person a board, they lay it down and begin to practice paddling and jumping up on the board. They do this so they can imagine themselves out on the waves jumping up on the board and keeping it stable. After a few hours or so they send the surfer out to test their newly found skills.

Paddling out, the squid (rocket power reference) surfer is nervous about catching their first wave. Once they’re out in surfing territory they get to pick and choose what waves they want to ride. Depending on the person and their sense of adventure determines their wave they choose. So for stories time sake let’s say this surfer picks the biggest wave and goes for it.

So they start paddling with the wave and then they miss it. The surfer is now super nervous because they just missed what could’ve been their first epic wave. Aggravated and crushed the surfer turns around and starts paddling back out to catch the next one. On returning back out to the lineup the surfer doesn’t sweat it, they’ve got theirs eyes back out on the horizon.

Then it’s go time again and this time they make it! But they crash because standing up on the board is a lot harder than it looks. It takes many tries to create that experience. But then eventually they learn how to get their surfing legs.

So waiting in the lineup once more the surfer starts to catch their next wave. They start to paddle with the wave, waits for the right timing and then they pop up standing on the board surfing their first wave! But then they crash, again. This time the surfer has taken a pretty bad thrash against sandy floor. So they paddle back into shore.

Arriving to shore they realize their friends are starting to take a hold of this surfing thing pretty well. They’re catching waves left and right. But in the surfer’s mind, all they can really think about are the misses and crashes. Which at first seemed promising but turned out to be another try, try, and try again. Not really getting the hang of something that might come easier to others, can be one of the most frustrating but humbling things to a person.

But that’s when it hits the surfer. Sitting on the shore isn’t going to get them their wave. It’s learning what they could do better and getting back out there and trying a million more times if it takes that many to learn how to surf. If the human wants to surf, they’re gonna surf eventually. So with the encouragement of friends and the instructor they head back out into the lineup.

This time they wait. Taking in all of what they’ve learned. Then out of no where they see it or maybe the wave chose them. Then just in that moment as if time freezes, the surfer thinks about everything that has happened in the past. Fears rush in from missing past waves or even getting crushed once more by an unforeseen twist. The mind is racing now along with the heart. What should they do? Should they try again? Then as the wave nears they’re reminded once more of what they know…

One, they know how to catch a wave. Two, being afraid of crashing no longer has that much sting. And three, the resiliency of the human mind/body is incredible with the right support of friends encouraging the surfer to go for it.

So the surfer starts to paddle with the wave once more…

You see to become a surfer it takes a lot of effort trying again and again to get where they want to be. Maybe like it would be in any other area of life that requires skill. To become a musician, actor, director, businessman/woman, computer programmer, and/or even in a relationship. It takes time, a level of confidence, and the resiliency to get back up and try it again.

You can’t let the fear of missing or crashing on the waves stop you from pursuing what you would like to be a part of one day. If you want to surf the wave, you’ve got to do the same things over and over again until you’re surfing the wave!

For me, it’s the pursuing of a woman to love and to be loved back. That simple. I’ve had my fair share of crashes and no goes. But that’s ok and I’m totally cool with it because I’m learning so much from it. Especially, when it comes to friendships/relationships around me currently. It’s made me realize that I need to love more and not always towards finding the next woman. I believe God is trying to teach me it’s about loving Him and care for people like I would my future wife. Unfortunately, it took me a few years to get that one down and still trying to. Would I want to do it all over again, nope, but again I’m happy for the insight I’ve learned about the ability to love.

So, my encouragement to you out there is to keeping going for it and don’t let the waves of the past make you fear the next one. But let it remind you that you’ve got this! You’ve got the experience and the confidence to take it on, so go surf the crap out of that wave!

PS. And if you crash or miss it, listen to what God may be trying to tell you, and then go try it again. See you out there.

– Max

Oh and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Escape to the Mountains

Somedays I think that escaping to the mountains would be the best life ever. The Simple Life. Then I stop and think that maybe once I get out there I won’t be able to find food and if I do find food I’ll end up like the guy from “Into the Wild.”

So then I stop thinking about escaping and maybe I’ll just go explore and return home for dinner. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll then be able to leave this phone behind.

#irony #adventureisoutthere

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Changing the World Around You

Use the talents God has given you to make the world a better place to live in

First, I’m sorry for it being so long since my last post. I’ve had a hard time being able to sit still these past few months (since Nov. ’13). Becoming the Director of Media and Communications at my home church, Calvary Christian Church has had it’s ups and downs. It’s been a year since I’ve started here, and the experience I’ve had so far has been nothing short of beyond this world. From stepping into a position where I had to not only hit the ground running creating things (graphics, videos, text content), but be able to troubleshoot current existing ways of doing things in the media area, and find ways of improving it. Haha, I’m still waiting to tell if it’s better but I’m learning.

Growing up I dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot and flying for the U.S. Air Force. Little did I know God had a different plan for me. A little into my sophomore year of high school, I had a good friend show me a video he had created in his video production class. Needless to say I was hooked, more so about the iBook apple computer and Final Cut Pro, but from then on I knew I wanted to be in media sharing stories of others and traveling. Well since then I’ve done some traveling you can say, especially as a photographer for the U.S. Air Force (2007-2013), interning for the London Olympics (2012), and freelancing for various companies taking me around the US and abroad to Israel (2013). So by the age of 25 I’ve been to places that some have only dreamed of going one day. To say God has #blessed me with a great traveling life is an understatement. However, currently I find myself in another great place. My home.

Winchester, Ky., may not be the greatest town in the US or this world, but it’s where God has me now and I love it very much here. It’s where I’m growing as a leader, learning how to manage my time and others to effectively accomplish goals at hand. Do I plan to stay here for the rest of my life, no, but if God wills it, yes. As always though, I am thankful for this time of learning. The range of lessons from this past year could classify me as a veteran in some aspects. I’ve experienced hopelessness, stress beyond belief, and uncertain outcomes that should’ve crushed me, but I’ve come out on top. As a young leader, I’ve witnessed events that made senior leaders shake. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t talk for 5min. I tried, but I was in such a state of shock, my mouth wouldn’t open.

However, on the other hand, God has helped me conquer projects that looked out of my reach of expertise. I helped orchestrate a live broadcast to over 2,000 people scattered throughout a high school, via a small studio, 20 tvs, and hundreds of feet of sdi cable. Not to mention tapping into the intercom system so that we could broadcast the audio throughout the building as well (all planned and done within 1.5months). I’ve taken in information by the fire house amounts, and dished it out accordingly, so others could grow in their training. I was able to build a church app, that is now being able to help communicate vital information to our local church family, and as well give them the opportunity to watch past message series, give financially electronically, and sign up for groups.

I mean, the many things God is doing here through me is one of the reasons why I continue to stay here

I am on a daily basis overwhelmed by the good… and the bad things happening here in this town. I am in love with people of this town/world, but the actions of some make my stomach turn topsy turvy.

If I were to be very honest, I am scared for this generation. Turn on the news, and watch what’s going on… everywhere. Diseases spreading (some incurable), the Middle East in unrest, Russia and Rebels trying to takeover Ukraine, the Islamic State forcing people to conform to their beliefs – while killing the infidels, but worst of all… when we turn on the tv and see all of this happening, we change the channel because we’re tired of hearing about it thinking we can do nothing to stop it.

Seriously, what is wrong with us?

What have we lost that has made us act so evil and not care about other human lives. Remove yourself from this screen and imagine being somewhere where this is happening. Imagine yourself facing death if you won’t conform to the Islamic State’s rules, or imagine yourself finding out you have a disease that no one can cure – what then?

This should raise some questions inside your mind – what hope do we have, and how can we help the world? Well instead of thinking about what is wrong with us, I’ll ask the question, what are we missing?

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Will we be tempted to sit by and simply let satan win the day? Or will we remember that there is life found in God’s Holy Word. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” We should not assume that what we consume mentally and physically is not entirely what keeps us healthy. As the world has lost its grasp and sight of an Almighty God, it is unhealthy. The world wandering without direction has forgotten the healthiest thing we can do for our heart, mind, and soul is to feed it with the Word of God found in Biblical scripture. What is wrong with us is that we’ve tossed God to the side, creating an unhealthy world.

So, what shall we do about the international community that seems to never find rest from disease, war, and religion forced terror? We should pray for them for starters as if they we’re our own family. Being faithful for what we’ve been asked to do, sharing Christ’s love and saving grace with anyone that will listen, while waiting on God to come through with the outcome. Secondly, helping the world starts with your attitude towards your own community. Stop changing the channel because you’re tired of seeing the depressing news. Find your talents, get engaged, and serve in your local community to help make it a better place.

This world we live in, was entrusted to us, so let’s do our part in making it, and at least Winchester a healthier place to live in. Take in God’s Word, stop discarding it.

I pray that these thoughts that I have are not empty and worthless, but allow you the reader, to consider your current position. If you have the ability to get engaged and serve somewhere, please do, and use your freedom to do so. You never know when your life could actually effect someone else’s decision for eternal life.

John 3:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Remodeling my room is hard… but awesome

So for the past few weeks I’ve been hanging out with my dad doing some remodeling to my bedroom. Yeah, I’m 24 and living at home. I’m paying rent, and paying back debt to school. If anything I think it’s a great way to reconnect with family who I haven’t seen in quite sometime.

Anyways, like I said I’ve been knocking down drywall, framing, and electric wiring just to move it, and put it back up (my dad has a lot of knowledge that I’m grateful for). We spent hours yesterday in Lowes yesterday looking at lights, wiring, and switches. For the past few years, all I’ve done is sit behind a computer, and work on creative projects.

Now I’m spending time with my family. Using my hands building things, and I love it.

I hope one day, I’ll be able to teach my son what his dad knows. I know I’m probably going to fail him, and my family one day, but I pray during that time they could learn grace. Like I am.

Back to building things with my hands. Did I say I love it. There’s nothing like using my hands, and imagining God creating this world that we live in. That’s probably the reason why I enjoy creating things so much. It’s almost as if we were created, to create. Well for men, that’s how it normally is. It’s along the same lines of being out in the woods, or getting lost in the woods! Oh dang, that’s an awesome feeling. It’s like you’re lost/scared, but you want to use the sun/stars to navigate your way down the mountain (tikaboo peak – another story maybe). It’s only natural.

I say all this because, recently if I’m honest with myself, I’ve gotten pretty frustrated with my parents comparing me to my 3 year old self.

“Aw, I remember when you were so little and cute.”

Well what am I now? Taller, and responsible. But while getting frustrated, I’ve missed the message of what they’re telling me.

They’re proud of me, and of who I’ve become.

To them, I’m their “creation” (take that lightly, God is creator of everything). They built me, from themselves. I am theirs. And it’s rude of me to neglect or to disrespect them by not allowing them to love me in the ways they are trying to.

Yes, I want to be independent, and am so in many ways. But…

They are my parents, and I will strive to respect them as best as I can, because one day… I will have children, and I hope they will understand what I do now as well.

Thank You – Whomever You Are

So I’m sitting at work, and I come across someones tweet. And it reads:

What Women Want, Listen Up Guys

So, I’m like why not.

I am now speechless.

Maybe because I’ve never had a girl tell me this before in that fashion. I mean I kind of assumed it/heard bits and pieces, but the way the author is so real in her sharing, it did a lot for me.

Men read the article, because I can’t do it justice.

Through Christ’s word to her, she gave me hope.

God is good, all the time.

So whomever you are, seriously, thank you!

Grace and peace,

Max

Let’s talk about something we all think about…

If I am to be completely honest, love is something I think about a lot.

I think about it when I’m eating my favorite chicken at Raising Canes, or when I go see my favorite movie in Lexington. But then again this westernized type of love is not what I’m thinking about right now. I’m thinking more.

I think most of us are too afraid to talk about this burning sensation of love. I mean it’s how we feel right. Don’t miss read my intentions in writing this world. I’m writing this to simply talk about the reality that this word brings with it. I’m curious with it, and fascinated through the ways we choose to express/interact with it.

Earlier I was watching a movie, and that sudden urge to have someone to love came over me. It was intoxicating to say the least… but why? I would say it’s because God made us that way. Some would beg to differ, but I love you all too. But let’s be real, it’s more of a sign of respect than love. I respect who you are, but not necessarily like the actions some make. I’m not perfect, I dislike a lot of decisions I unfortunately make, but who’s perfect?

But I’m not talking about a love that we all are called to act out towards others on a daily basis. And love is an action. Not just a feeling. It’s a combination of the two. I get that pop culture.

What I want to discuss is the love that we all long for. The love that lingers in the abyss of life. Yes, as a human race we long for a great love. A love my friend would call the great romance between God and us. But I think and believe God has also designed in us, a hole to love and to be loved by our own people. And of course if we’re lucky (as I am), our family will satisfy that lingering feeling for love… to a point. What I’m trying to say is that we all long for that love that stops us in our tracks; the kind of love that quite literally immobilizes you for not only a split second, but every time you’re around the other person. This love can’t be satisfied by your family because they freely offered it to you. I’m talking about actually finding someone to love.

Dang! Just even typing that makes me long for it even more. But patience is key. So is prayer. Don’t let me miss guide you. Christ is and should always be number one in all our lives, because He is and will always be our Lord and Savior. He deserves that honor, and glory.

The love I’m talking about is Eros. This love is the difference between wanting a relationship, and wanting one specific person. That my friends/readers is what we all desire. Romance. Am I right? I think we’d be all lying if we said, “Who’s he kidding”. It’s that desire to love someone else, and to be loved back by them. That bond that brings a man and woman together as one. That look into each others eyes and know… my heart is home. That’s the love I’m hinting at right?! I can’t wait for that glorious day! But wait…

There’s more. Some have made it to eros, and some enjoy it. It’s true. I just graduated college, and I know so many people who have found it. They have either married or are about to. And I congratulate them for finding something I’ve dreamed about for sometime. I’m not jealous… haha well maybe a little, nah I’m playing. But then again it only lasts for periods of time. I mean you can always experience it, but at times it seems dim. Why? Why does something so strong as a connection between man and woman become not so strong at times? Why isn’t enough… enough?

I think because Eros simply isn’t enough. It’s Agape that we truly desire.

Agape is a term that describes the most epicly ultimate awesomest sweetest greatest form of love a human could receive and try to give to one another! It’s the love where action is key. It’s the love that commitment, and discipline do not hold up to it. It’s the love that our God showed us through his son. It’s the overwhelming, relentless, unconditional, scandalous love that words can only put shame to. It’s that truly genuine love through actions, that we all long for right?!

Forgive me if have never loved in this fashion towards you.

But boy do I desire to love and be loved in this way.

This picture of love, this true picture, is humbling/riveting to say the least.

My heart is pounding now at the thought of expressing this love for my future wife.

I can see her saying now…

“Where are you Max?”

Where are you Max? Where am I? Let me help you out.

I’m in Kentucky serving God wherever he leads me. And I can only pray that you are in his will too serving Him wherever he leads you. Send me an rsvp, and maybe I’ll make it a road trip to find you! Ha. But for real…

I long for the day that when I get to heaven, to be with my creator, He can share His agape love with me. But until that day comes, I want to love with the knowledge of agape. I want to love so radically that people question why I do so. I not only want to, I need to. It’s why I was created. It’s why we were all created. For community with each other, and what better way to care for each other than to share agape.

God I pray that my two cents about love could bring you honor, and show your glory.