Switching Gears

These past four days I’ve been in a cabin. Yes a cabin. After graduation I figured the smartest thing for me to do was to take my knowledge I recently learned and hide it from the world… haha not quite.

Sweet Right?!

Sweet Right?!

I decided I would do what was best, and go straight to God and pray for direction along with offering up thanksgiving for the past few years at Asbury University. What an amazing school, and what a community it offered. If you can look past the normal things everyone complains about, rules and regulations, you can form relationships that are truly the riches of this life. I mean Asbury isn’t the only place I form those, but living in close quarters creates a different atmosphere for engaging conversations and fun times to last early into the mornings. So thank you so much for the past three years Asbury, and I hope to see you’re drupelets in the future.

Back to why I’m sitting here in this cabin, typing this on my iPhone. I’m here because I wanted to switch gears, and prepare myself for the future. I wanted to detach myself from the world and connect with heaven for a little bit so I could see, or hope to see the direction God was sending me in.
On day one, I arrived late in the afternoon with one of my friends Austin, who came out and showed me around. We talked about life, school, and of course women. Can’t have a official heart to heart conversation with another dude without women being in the line up somewhere.
On the second day, he took me up the trail onto the mountain to a peak called,”Raven Rock” which is awesome, see image below. The property is on the edge of the Red River Gorge, yet still outside the boundary of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Pretty sweet right? I know. Anyways, so we’re up there a mile from the cabin, and the view is spectacular. We talk for a bit more, and we head on down the mountain. On arriving he jets out, and then I begin my shifting gears.
Myself checking out the view on my first day up on Raven Rock.

Myself checking out the view on my first day up on Raven Rock.

Raven Rock looking into the Red River Gorge - Shiloh, Ky

Raven Rock looking into the Red River Gorge – Shiloh, Ky

First thing I did was hit the music. I picked up my iPhone, scrolled to, “Rend Collective Experiment” and I hit repeat all. I started to Praise.
(If you have not listened to this album, please do so now on either Spotify, iTunes, or listen to the link on YouTube)

At first I’m like alright I’m digging this. I started praying for God to show up, next thing you know, I’m jumping! I was doing circles in the living room loving every second of worship. (Imagine all 6 foot 1in of me twirling, shouting maybe the right lyrics, and jumping) A hiker passing by might have recounted a certified lunatic making loud racket in a cabin. But I didn’t care, I was making walls crumble.

You see, this trip wasn’t simply to mark an end to an era of scholastic learning but it was a rejuvenation of a man bogged down with the stresses of life. This year was huge in the learning life lessons department. I was going up against Goliath himself to say the least. If it wasn’t for my faith in Christ this past year, I may have been defeated.

But Jesus looked at them and said,

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

I had the verse written on my dry erase board since the very first day of classes at UK in 2008. It did nicely as a reminder.
Check the white board - upper right corner

Check the white board – upper right corner

Anyways, so there I was kicking, jumping, and yelling. That lasted all about 30min, and then I just sat and gave thanks for everything that has happened to me, and for me in these past six years. From starting school at the University of Kentucky to attending school at Asbury, to multiple road trips, an internship to London for the Olympics, and graduation itself. Oh and not to mention this entire time being in the Air Force/Kentucky Air National Guard as well. That too I concluded two weeks ago. This time certainly is a time of endings and new beginnings to say the least. So maybe for the 10 readers of this article, you can now understand a little bit of my reasoning for coming to the cabin. I need to switch gears, and shifting, I have been doing.
The second day ended with me sitting in my hammock, on the front porch reading the book of Philippians as it rained.
And then it hit me. For a while now I’ve been praying for direction. I’ve been praying for guidance. I’ve been praying for a career to fall in my lap pretty much… Then I plowed through Paul’s letter to the Church Philippi. There’s is so much to obtain from this book, but this hit close to me.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:1-11
Get pumped for that right?! If you had trouble finding your places on the totem pole, you found it now. But wait it continues, and this is where God gives me direction, or rather an assurance to keep faith in him to show me the way through life.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:12-13
Daaaannnngggggg… First Paul says hold up, humble yourself like Christ did because he saw equality with God something not to be grasped, or obtainable! Then he says God will then work through us for his will, and for us to act.
I’m on board now, you following? I mean I’ve always known this, but it’s always that ahHAAAA moment when you realize that scripture pertains your life, and always will.
I’m sitting here in this cabin waiting for a direction, and I’m getting feedback like, stop worrying about your future because 1) I’m going to work you wherever and whenever as long as you humble yourself and 2) if you do so, I’ve got you covered.
I’m worried about moving out of my parents basement, paying back school loans, and finding a woman and God is saying hold up, humble yourself and serve others. Dang.
Check, roger, good for launch Houston! Man such a solid reminder.
So anyways, that’s what I first learned while out here.
On the third day, I learned that walking up the mountain to Raven Rock, should only be done so after checking the forecast. Around lunch time I walk up to the top, and it’s a no joke “unofficial” trail that is muddy from the last few days of rain. So I get to the top, and I’m like, what up mountain that’s twice in two days sucka… Then I turn around, and see the biggest storm clouds ever. Well ok, maybe my shortness of breath and irritation to the possibility that I would soon have to walk back down, only just getting to the top, made me believe it was a monstrous storm (I know that is a run on sentence. Don’t know how to word it differently). So then I barreled down the mountain as it thundered and poured.
If you spend any amount of time with me on my adventures, the first thing you’ll notice is that they are never perfect days. I need Bill Meck or someone on speed dial.
So I get back down, and what does it do after 15min. Stops raining. Fail. Whatever, so I decided to help out Austin Norton and his family clear some trees, and clean up the yard around the cabin. It rained off and on still the rest of the day, but it was good weather for planting trees anyways. I concluded the night by watching Cheaper by the Dozen, and eating a baked potato. Did you know you could cook those in a microwave? Sweet right. Baked potato for days!
So then I woke up this morning, determined to climb the mountain once more to sit for at least an hour or two. So that’s what I did. I recently got a sweet gift from a friend that tracks my location, and saves my runs. So on the way up today I tracked walk and found out it approx. 1.12mi and takes about 30min to walk up. If you know anything about hiking, you might notice that’s a really long mile. Just imagine the incline one would have to climb to complete a mile in that time… Yeah… Today made my third time doing it!
Hike to the top

Hike to the top

So I get to the top, and I’m like ok God. Today, is my last day here, and I’m going to need to hear from you. At this moment I’m standing on the side of the cliff. I hear him say, first back up so when you close your eyes for this you won’t fall off. Noted. So I take a couple leaps back, and I sit and close my eyes. I begin to pray.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been in conversation with many individuals that are older, and some that are my peers. Every conversation was a blessing, and a confirmation that I had my head screwed on straight, and how I was handling things was the smartest thing to do. And so what I heard, made no surprise.
I heard, “Max, my son, you need to be happy. In whatever you choose, be happy. I’m going to use you no matter what you choose, but just choose something. Either it be in Oregon, in another country, or Winchester… I’m going to use you. Continue to walk with me, and I’ll always walk with you.” I opened my eyes as the wind was rushing through the pines. The smell of the needles and sap were overwhelming. I smiled, and took in a fresh breath of air.
I still don’t know what I’m going to do the rest of my life, and frankly I don’t think no one ever knows what they’ll do, and unfortunately it paralyzes so many people. Our purpose in this life can be as certain or uncertain as we choose to make it. For as I am about to leave this cabin, I pray that I am certain of one thing.
I am certain that I will, like Paul understood, live a life realizing that equality with God will never be grasped, and so I should continue to serve others as I have always done before. This time outside of a education environment, and inside the working environment. That I may work without complaint, no matter the career choice, so that Christ can be glorified in everything I do. This is my declaration, and this is my prayer.
God may you twist and turn this world as I walk in your will, and place me where you need me to be.
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My Story

#Summer2012

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29.11-13

Intro

So where should I begin…

How about I start at the end and travel back in time to the beginning?

Very well, let’s do that.

Hello, my name is Max Rechel, and I am sitting here in my apartment at Asbury University thinking of a way to share, “My Story”. A few background things before I tell my story (First off, I’m horrible at writing and suck at telling stories but I hope that you will look past the awful grammar and find this post exciting and life changing).

I love adventure. I love to share life with others. I love my friend Yahweh. The mission statement for my life may read, “Seeking out the curiosity in my present world, while pursuing God’s will for my life, and waiting for the unexpected to show itself.”

I am in one word, _______________.

Well I don’t know…

Friends around me would say, “Max is being Max”. I can be totally irrelevant at times, random/uncontrollable, yet serious and wise (I don’t have a big head, I’m just saying what I observe and hear). I do listen, but I’m always thinking. There’s no off switch to this brain, or AC adapter to unplug. Just me in my thoughts, surrounded by millions of other people just like me striving to make since of it all. So, I do what I feel like I want to do.

I see things I want to do… and I do them. Of course there are boundaries that effect ones eternal soul, and I strive to stay away from those fences of temptation. However, to the boundaries and borders of this Earth, I freely explore. This summer I traveled over 14,000 miles around the world, from Winchester, KY to the mountainous regions of Yosemite, CA and even across the pond to London, England and everywhere in between. This is where I find my story.

In past years, I have worked for the sole purpose to save up money to travel around the United States with my good friends Andrew Newlun and Joseph Miller. It’s what we do. We see adventure, and we see life to be lived while encountering others on the way. It’s not the meaning to life it gives us, but it’s the result of the meaning of life that drives us to seek out adventure. Life is about people… life is about loving people… life is about loving God and loving people… Yes, Loving God therefore leads us to Love People. (Some may simply say, Love People and leave out the God part… I will respectfully but firmly disagree). Conclude ably, I believe that life is about the relationships we build while sharing the Truth to those around us.

So this is my story laid out from a-z, through my journey this summer, and where I found the God of my life, Yahweh, in the most unexpected places and times.

1. Louisville, KY – The Hand Meets Metal (Graphic)

So imagine a huge roll of photo paper roughly 100in long and 44in wide, an exacto blade and… my wrist… Yes, my wrist. Trust me it sucked. So I was cutting individuals photos out of the roll and I was moving too fast and oppsss… I stabbed my wrist.

Horrible I know, but however it didn’t hurt. It honestly felt like some punched me in the wrist bone. Of course now though I had blood running from my wrist. Afraid I cut a vein, I ran to my boss and calmly said, “Can we please go to the emergency room. I, ummm, stabbed myself on accident, and now I feel kind of faint.” So there we were running towards the hospital in his car. Ah man, was I feeling light headed. This whole time I was like why? My summer just started and now I’m going to have to have surgery… this sucks! However once we arrived the noticed that the blade barely missed the veins and hit the bone slicing into my muscle nerves.

The nerve was the ulnar nerve, or commonly known as the funny bone nerve. That’s right, I ended up cutting 80% of my nerve and could no longer move my pinky and ring finger. The follow up surgeon appointments would show that somehow the blade penetrated the nerve cutting barely into the sensory nerve and hitting the part that controls my hand muscles.

theCut

Exacto to the wrist really doesn’t feel pleasant.

Man that was close I remember telling myself. What would happen if I did cut the veins? Would I still have reacted the same way, or would I still even be here today?

That sounds a little extreme, but I don’t doubt that could’ve been very well a possibility and I’m so thankful I had God looking after me. Still He was calling and catching my attention for some reason. After working, I saved up enough money to take a road trip and that is where I find God’s hand next.

2. Crater Lake, OR – What a Beautiful Day

What a beautiful trip it was. We saw many cities from Winchester, Ky., to St. Louis, Mo., some small town in Arkansas where my best friends sister lives, El Paso, Tx., Phoenix, Az., Yosemite National Park, Ca., San Francisco, Ca., and Cresent City, Ca. There were so many places we stopped in between it’s hard to count.

I must say first though that this story is by far my favorite of the summer.

Have you ever been to San Francisco? It is remarkably one of the coolest cities with its town homes, monuments, and of course its bridges. Man that Golden Gate Bridge was something else. Here is a picture.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, Ca

I forgot

I forgot what this was, but the architecture of it was was pretty awesome

Fifth City

San Francisco was our 5th city to see on the trip

I may be going out of order, but I’m just flowing as I remember it all.

Yosemite National Park. Takes about an hour getting to the valley pretty much, and another hour getting out. We had high hopes of traveling all over that place, but man was there a lot to see. I’m talking GIGANTIC scenery that went for miles and again only looked like someone painted it all. It’s so hard to believe that one Man did all this. I know he spoke it into existence, but for real, this place was amazing and nothing short of God given beauty.

We went hiking up to the falls and found a pretty sweet view of the entire park and were satisfied with what we had accomplished so we hiked back down and continued on with our trip.

Yosemite Falls - California

Yosemite Falls – California

Yosemite Park

Yosemite National Park – California

Before we hit up Yosemite we stopped at place in Phoenix where one of my friends from Asbury lived. She put us up in her place for a night and it was nice to just chill from the road and swim in the pool. Phoenix was nice, but most definitely one large oasis in the middle of a desert.

Lazy River

We went to a lazy river in Phoenix, but could not find the raft rental so we splashed anyways.

Phoenix Cactus

Phoenix Cactus

Before Phoenix we were in El Paso, Tx., to see our good friend Monte. He’s stationed at a post there and we thought it would be nice to say hey. Boy was it hot. So hot my iPhone became overheated simply because the air temperature was ranged around 100 degrees… and we were stuck in traffic most of the time getting there from New Mexico. Oh, don’t even let me talk about New Mexico… dislike that place for sure, but I mean if your from there, I’ll respect where you come from, but all my experiences there, minus one, have been awful. I’m talking car stuck in mud for hours, thought we lost a friend in the woods, stinking hot, stinking cold, and just plain boring desert lands. Not a town for at least a hundred miles sometimes. Anyways to say the least, New Mexico… ehhh, but El Paso was still pretty fun. Shout out to Monte. El Paso was rough, but somebody has to live there.

El Paso, Tx

Far from home

Whataburger

First time eating at a Whataburger #awesome

Mill

Stopped in a Ghost Town, in Nm., just before entering Tx.

Before El Paso was some town in Arkansas. Second time being in Arkansas, but first time liking it. So I guess I can say New Mexico may still have hope… Maybe. Anyways, we show up late at night, needing some rest after driving like 12hrs including a stop in St. Louis to see the arch of course. We roll up to the door, and Megan, his sister, half asleep, greets us and we crash hard… I’m out in like 45secs.

So the next day we go out with her friends and we go to some sweet BBQ place and go to minor league baseball game that team’s name just so happened to be called the Cardinals. Affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, where we were just at the night before.

Play Ball

Arvest Ballpark in Arkansas

Vignette?

I think this lady was going for a vignette style, but it was pretty funny.

Sweet days for sure, but I think I have over stated the funtivities of the trip! So let’s talk about the title of this section. What a beautiful day.

So after a long night, of travel and sleeping at a rest stop we find ourselves leaving the California coast and heading into Oregon. What a beautiful coast. Check the picture. I’m talking humungous cliffs with crashing waves, boulders and rock formation sticking out of the water. Sweet, place to vacation. I love pine trees right, and they are everywhere. I feel as if it’s fall. What a great morning it was turning out to be.

Oregon Coast

Beautiful

So anyways, we traveling up the coast hitting small bay towns left and right. This is where we find this sweet song on the radio called, “Weakness” by Kris Allen. I mean Joseph’s girl was back home on the east coast and here we were cruising up the west. This song was perfect for him, and for me, I was like I just like the sick beat. The words were cool too of course, but they weren’t really relevant to my particular life then.

So were still cruising right, heading inland now towards Crater Lake. Weaving through trees, checking out the solid blue lakes, and awesome sky. I remember passing through some small town called, Chemult, Or., and I was like why in the world is this rinky-dink town here for, its so small it’s almost pointless. I’ll soon be thinking differently…

(Best to read the next few lines in slow motion to catch the full effect of what’s about to happen)

So were driving down this small two-lane road towards Crater Lake. Seven miles away now, and I can only imagine the beauty of this old historic volcanic lake and how sweet it’s going to be once we get there. But in front of us is this slow moving RV. I’m like, come on RV get out of the way. After a minute or two of being stuck behind it we go to over take it and pass it.

While pulling out to pass the thing, we’re hit from behind from a driver trying to pass four cars… with his boat…

We’re now in this tail spin to the left, then the right, back to the left, then to the right, and then finally to the left where we make contact with the gravel side of a ditch ravine into some trees crashing and possibly flipping into 30yds of shattered forest.

It went a little something like this… from my viewpoint after hitting the gravel I instantly tensed pressed against the middle console and door. Still unsure of what was happening I thought for a second, “Am I about to die.” Haha, then for some reason I didn’t hear a voice, but I knew I wasn’t going to die… then I hear trees cracking, no exploding, and then I open my eyes. Oh ps, I have a pair of Oakley Holbrooks on, and man was I happy at that moment. When I opened my eyes I saw brown dirt, dust, glass, and rocks flying everywhere. This is when I realized… I’m floating, what’s going on?! So I instantly curled up into my self, and covered my face and head. On raising my heads towards my face I feel the seatbelt snag, and that’s when the second thought came into my head. “Ahhh, sweet, I have my seat belt on.” Couldn’t have been happier in that one moment then any other. It reminded me of the drop zone at Kings Island. When you’re in the seat, and then your being held in by the restraints acting against gravity. Yeah, just like that. Then all of a sudden I slam back into my seat, and we’ve stopped.

The car is now parked up on a tree chilling facing the opposite direction we were going.

My initial thought after and spoken words were, “Joseph, you alright.” I heard a yeah man, and then I bounced from the car. Have you seen movies where the car randomly explodes after impact, that was the picture I had in my mind, but sure enough I wasn’t sitting around to find out if that was true.

But after I bounced out I realized the engine was still running, so I hopped back in and threw it into park and turn the ignition off.

Secondly, I went to the battery, and yanked it out just as the car started to smoke.

Thank goodness for all those car commercials describing wrecks, because I wouldn’t have had a clue on what to do. My heart was racing… so I stopped and that’s when I noticed people standing around the car just staring at me. So what did I do?

Represented Christ is what I did. Man I can’t even describe the feeling I felt when I said what I’m about to tell you. All I know is that I lost all mobility of my mouth, and I just let them hear some good news for a minute. I said, “Thank you all for coming over, and I have no clue why any of you are here, but I want you to know something. You see my friend and I are Christians, and we’ve been praying everyday before we drive off that God would protect us. I’m not saying this because I’m a Christian. I’m saying it because it’s true, and look at us… Not even a scratch. God answers prayers.” After I finished the crowd must have thought I was high, or something else, because they were just staring me down. But hey, I let them know. God saved our lives that day.

Front

Cracked…

Right

Parked up on the tree somehow

Roadside

You can see the angle we came down towards the trees

Left

Overview picture with some scenery

Crazy

Crazy

Asbury

The only piece of glass still connected together

Blessed for sure

Thankful for being alive… #again

But the story is not over yet. We’re still Oregon.

So the tow truck comes to pick us up. I’m thinking in my head, where are we going from here? Are we flying home… where’s the money going to come from? Oh my gosh this is about to get crazy. So were driving back towards the way we came, and that’s when I asked, hey sir, where are we going? He replied, “Chemult”.

That’s the town I was given grief about earlier… and in my head I was like, ha, what are the odds. So I asked him, well where is the nearest airport? Expecting a, oh about five miles down the road… nope, try two hours. By this time Joseph and I are just dumbfounded for the situation that were now in. I at first was like, well I guess we can walk and leave all our stuff here. But God had a different plan for us.

So we show up in Chemult, and I mean this place was small. We get out of the truck and right next to the tow truck place was a blue building that looked like a church, and then I was like, “Dude, Mill. A church. They can help us!?” Man, was I excited. I’ve never had to ask for help from a church before. Always been in one, but never needed real help until now.

So after a long ordeal we square away payment for the tow and say goodbye to my car. Picture this (I would have a photo from this, but my phone broke during the wreck) a sunset in a junkyard, that is in a valley surrounded by mountains, and right in front of the gleaming sunrays sits my 2002 black Chevy cavalier, all mangled up. The car is wrecked from inside out. Just sitting there all by itself… so what do I do, I wave goodbye to it and I have a moment with my car. “See ya car,” I remember saying to myself. I hated but loved that car.

Anyways, back to the church we go, and just outside we find the pastor. We’re like hello sir, still holding all our stuff, do you think we could stay here tonight. We filled him in on what just happened to us and who we were and he said yes and showed us out back to his old RV that looked like it had been sitting there for years. I mean were getting the hook up right?! That’s not all. We mention that we have to fly out and he offers to gives us a ride to the airport the next day after the service. So I’m like swwwweeettt, man this is awesome. This guy is God given. Then were like awww man, what about our stuff. You see we traveled with clothing baskets as bags, because we had no need for external traveling. We simply lived out of the car. So then the guy says, well were having a yard sale this next week and we have tons of old suite cases were willing to donate for you guys to fly back… OH MY GOSH?!?! Really? Are we in a movie, maybe, I haven’t really decided that yet for my life.

I mean, we needed a place to stay we got one. We needed a ride and we got one. We needed suite cases and we got them too. Now we only needed to check for plane ticket prices. We get online to see that the plane tickets are just under $600 a piece and there was a flight leaving the next day. We have just enough money each to return home… You see we budgeted $1,000 for the trip each, and by the time we made it there we had spent $400 each. Crazy right?! I know, God working yet again.

So we talk with the guy all night after settling in and find out that he was called to Oregon to minister to local truck drivers through his small church and his mobile trailer church he constructed himself. This guy had so much commitment and love for God it really blew my mind. He is in the middle of nowhere, oh and before we got there we were the first visitors in six weeks, preaching to his wife basicly. I honestly didn’t know how to take it all in when I was sitting there in his living room listening to him talk. I was like, really God, you put him here for this? What were you doing with his life, what were you doing in my life?

Well we concluded the night, and the next day after church he took us up to Redmond, Or., where we got on our plane and flew home. But before we left he prayed for us. He prayed that whatever God had for us in life that we would glorify Him in everything we did. We told him thanks, and they drove off just like that.

It’s funny to believe that God always puts people in our lives to be there for us and to share wisdom, knowledge, and to take care of us. This story is a perfect example of how God uses others and you never know what will happen when you’re in God’s hands.

3. The Summer Has Only Begun

-As soon as we return home I call up my friend, Jason Epperson. I said, hey man I need a job. Do you have one? He said yes sir, and then I was off editing with him, and his two friends, Tim and Steve Bates, who are brothers working on a documentary about UK fans, and how they have a “Krazy Love Story” for the game of basketball. Getting some professional experience finally! Sweet awesome! Next…

-I welcomed home my friend who I’ve been waiting forever to see. You see I’ve asked her out twice before, and she’s respectfully declined because she was being pursued by other guys, but this time, I just survived a wreck so I had my confidence tuned to super swag, and I wasn’t backing down. Funny really because the first night we saw each other again, we connected and I noticed a difference in her attitude towards me. So I was like sweet, I like this. Solid conversation continued, and everything that happened after really caught me off guard. I mean I have high hopes, and it wasn’t the fact that I thought she was too good for me; it was just that I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for so long that it was hard to comprehend what she was saying, and how it corresponded with what I was saying. I remember describing it as something only the Holy Spirit could be working up. So I did the only thing I knew what to do, and that was to start praying for whatever God was doing with us two, and what His will was for us was. So weeks continued, and feelings grew. So much so, that I realized that if I even wanted to pursue this Godly woman, I would need to pursue God with an even greater passion that I would her. Anyways it’s been a couple months now and the relationship is still pending, because she has left the country again, but when and if the time is right… we’ll have to see what God has in store for us both.

I think this is a really good spot to talk about relationships with others around us, and how God wants us to live our lives searching for them to share the truth. You see that’s what God truly wants with us, a relationship. If you look at Christ, and his ministry, yes he came to be the savior of this world, but how did he do it? He did it by building relationships with the people around him in his world caring for them. God sent his son to save us from hell, yes, but I do not believe that’s how he wants our minds to be focused. I believe he wants our minds to be focused on the hell around us, and the people suffering in it. He wants us to be fishers of men, who seek out others in need, and share life with them, showing them love, while telling them about the great gift of salvation that we have as Christians. Respect them for who they are, where they come from, and help them. Then lead and instruct them to the truth and salvation. (I’m speaking to myself on this one too. No one’s perfect.)

Having this girl in my life has made me really take a hard look at my relationship with God and others around me. If my relationship is more detailed with her than with God, something is seriously wrong. So consciously I decided that to be a better man not only for her, but for every relationship around me I would need to pursue God with all of my being. I remember in prayer one day, saying that I better not be doing this only to receive a blessing from God, and after I said that I felt a reassuring peace that I was most definitely doing the right thing. Since that moment I’ve felt the Holy Spirit melting the inside of me to reform my old ways and thoughts, creating new ways of thinking.

I tell you what, there is no feeling in the world greater than praying consistently twice a day and seeking God passionately in his word.

I try my best to remember everything I read, and learn… but it’s not all about what I obtain, but it’s about how I’m forming a relationship with God seeking after Him. In relationships we’re never perfect, we can’t remember everything about the other persons likes and dislikes, but we do remember what matters. For me, with God, it’s my continual daily perseverance to seek Him and His will in my life. As well the understanding of how I should build relationships around me by pouring out God’s love, that He’s poured into me.

All right, I’ll talk a little more later about relationships and how God can use them to further his kingdom. But let’s move on to the bigger part of my summer.

4. 2012 Summer Olympics

So to keep this short, yes, I went to London, England this summer, and met some amazing people! Some were from Australia, Africa, Greece, Slovakia, Japan, and Great Britain. Super blessed to have worked with so many professionals, and friends.

My job wasn’t a glamorous one, but it was still fun nonetheless. It did get boring some days though. I was a runner, aka a do this, and go do that person, and I loved it. I got to interact with so many people, and had the opportunity to make them happy. One day I would create meal tickets for the camera crews and the next I was inside the venue occupying empty seats, or running errands into the city fetching last minute items for production. But it was really all about doing my work, and doing it well so that whomever was asking something of me they could tell I was working hard to please them.

I used to work at a movie theater, and I remember the answer to a question a friend asked about why I loved working there. It was simply because when I pushed that start button on the projector to play the movie, I knew that the people down below were going to be happy with entertainment. I may have not have created the film, but I did have a helping hand in making them smile. It was something simple that even brought a smile to my face. If they were happy, I was happy. I still continue that today.

Anyways, that’s what I planned to do for the people I worked with in London. Of course there were days that I wasn’t feeling good, but most days I was sharing some light.

And one day, they asked a question.

It was a simple question of, “Max, do you pray”, but it turned into a five to ten minute discussion on faith, and what I believed in. I told Jason, Slavi, and one other Gareth, that it wasn’t about being religious, but it was about following Christ, and understanding who he was in relation to God. Of course they, respected what I had to say, as I did when they responded, but I was happy that I could even sow a seed into each of their lives. They may have not accepted Christ there, but they were noticing my actions for sure. They told me they were, and that that’s why they liked hanging out with me. Even through the culture barriers God can speak truth through actions, love it!

I prayed for those guys nightly, just only waiting, and hoping for another chance to speak to them, but it didn’t happen. So I hope wherever you guys are at, loving life, that somehow God is speaking truth to you.

For me that is pretty much it for London, I’ll post some pictures below, but everyday was the same just different date.

Taking Off

Flying to London

Destination

Almost there

First Day

Ready for the first day of work

Aquatics Venue

Aquatics Venue – Olympic Park

Orbit Tower

Orbit Tower – Olympic Park

London Eye

London Eye – London, England

Aquatics Venue

Aquatics Venue – Olympic Park

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium – Olympic Park

Aquatics Venue

Sunset over the Aquatics Venue – Olympic Park

Orbit Tower

Sunset behind the Orbit Tower as an American flag flies below

Bored

Got bored easily

Cupcake

Chowing down on one the biggest cup cakes ever #diabeticshock

Video Feed

This is the truck that received all of the camera feeds to produce the live coverage to the world for the Aquatics Venue

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

River Thames

River Thames

Diving Platform

Taking a photo just as we were being told to get down 🙂

Aquatics Venue - Olympic Park

Aquatics Venue – Olympic Park

Cruising

Cruising on the left side of the road on the right side of the car

Crew

The entire crew photo of the runners for the Aquatics Venue

Flying Home

Sunset while flying home from London… before getting stuck in Boston for 8hrs

Flower

Couldn’t find real flowers anywhere so I found a way to create one for the girl back home

5. The End

Well that’s it pretty much it in a nutshell. So much more happened, but they were small events, and I don’t think you would understand. Sometimes I don’t even understand. To sum it all up though, this summer of 2012 was by far the summer of my life. I may say that again in the future, but this one will be hard to beat for years to come.

So there you have it. From a-z, somewhat… maybe because I just realized it’s taken me three weeks to type this, and if I don’t finish here and post it… I probably won’t ever! Ha.

Well I hope that through My Story of this summer some how you can see how God was working in my life, and how on numerous accounts He was there to help me. He may not always seem like He’s there, but He is.

Praise be to God for what He has done, and what He will continue to do.

Thanks for an unforgettable summer God.

“5hr Plane Ride”

So this summer I went out to Missouri with the Air Force to do some training. On the way back we flew all over the south east dropping people off like a huge flying school bus, and I remember how fun of a ride it was. It’s random I know, but this is how I remember things.

Flying back from Missouri in the summer of 2011.

“One Word”

Wow.

Thank you Lord for the molding and reshaping of the heart. I feel it happening as I continue to pray. Action from the heart is what I long for, especially for the things I know and believe in.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-24

So many times have I heard this, but now understand it’s meaning. It’s all about the heart. From it, and with it a human can do anything. God doesn’t want a person to know of him in their head and lead a good life. He asks for a revival of the heart, a transfiguration, a remolding, a heart driven to choose him daily because it wants to and not because it is demanded to.

Good life? What does that truly mean? Too long have I lived my life wanting to be good for the selfish reasons. I am good, because it is demanded of me everywhere I look. Why am I not good because I want to be. I am afraid sometimes of the thoughts and feelings that flow from my heart. Recently I’ve asked God, why is it that I think the things I do. I heard him respond through others. And what I contrasted between them and I is that there’s no action from my heart, but that only of my knowledge.

My friends and family, are what make up my life, not a bad thing, but it could be when there are in the wrong priority listing. You see, to Love God, is to have Him at the forefront of our mind, number one, and not everything else. So many times have I mistakenly placed friends and family before God and I have seen the weakening of my relationship with Yahweh. But no more. Last week, I can’t even describe the magnitude of how upset I was at myself and my heart. The passivity of my life was letting every wrongness pass by with out check. Comments, thoughts, and actions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an evil person, or by the world’s standards I’m not. However, by God’s standards I’m no where even close to being a good person. That’s why I am so thankful for His son, J-Dawg, JC, Dude, Father, Abba, Holy Spirit, God, Jesus Christ. And it hurt to know that the Man that saved my life was second, and I was ticked!

Too many times I’ve prayed, “God, I am sorry for what I have done. I promise the next time I’m in this situation or that situation… I’ll look to you and respond differently” and have failed. Because of this meaningless mental, physical, spiritual game I played has made my heart uncertain of the foundation of my beliefs. I find myself asking, “God why can’t I overcome this. Why aren’t you helping me overcome this. I know it’s not about me overcoming this, but you doing it for me, why?!” and then it hits me. I’m trying to receive God’s help with out my heart.

My heart. Where is it? Can you help me, I must have lost it between the transition of boyhood to older boyhood.

I find myself seeking to find a relationship with a woman, to pursue her, to win her heart, to have a relationship with the intended that I can put my heart into, but have realized I haven’t even went seeking to find my own heart. I’ve over the years collected knowledge and schematics of what one should look like and mimic the image portrayed by movies and tv… but Man was I wrong. No, boy was I wrong. To be a Man, I must search for my heart. Not in this culture, city, or world because that would certainly lead me back to where I am now. No, I must search for my heart where God intended a Man to find his heart, and that is in the Bible.

The stories of sacrifice for true justice, bravery above all odds, faith to the end in certain of death, a gladiator strength mentally-spiritually-(and even)physically, given to all, by God, to those Men who choose to seek it and live for it because they are in Love with their Creator.

My heart is being fought for, re configured, and is downloading from the true source this time, so that, I can find what it truly means to be a Man with a heart after God.

God, I feel my heart changing as I write this, and I pray that you continue to help me find my heart and rescue it from the grasp of the devil. It’s not his and I want it back. Give me Ephesians 6:11-13 so that I can fight for it and win it back.

“11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” -Ephesians 6:11-13

Wow.

Encouragement to everyone that may read this, and understand, your not alone, male or female, in this struggle to fight for your heart. But do know seeking God is the only armor and weapon you’ll truly need. And then beside him, standing to the right after Christ and the Holy Spirit, for a little extra encouragement, your God driven friends and family.

Wow. Praise be to God.

(Backstory: What spawned this whole deal with searching for my heart, came after listening to the first chapter of, “Wild at Heart.” Can’t wait to see what the other chapters have in store.)

The day after starting to listen to, "Wild at Heart", I traveled out to Natural Bridge outside Slade, Ky., and I conquered that mountain like nothing else. The intent was to seek God, but once out there, I saw that He just wanted me to explore his creation.

School Project = Success

It’s about time a school project feels good when you accomplish it!

So this past week I had the pleasure of editing and putting the last touches on to a music video, directed by one of my friends, Daniel Bowman, called, “Keep Your Head”, by Ingenious Dreams. There was so much work put into this project from all types of Asbury Students and your work has paid off. I hope you guys love how it turned out because I certainly do!

Praise goes out to God, for giving me strength, and talent to be able to do what I do. Thanks Yahweh!

Desires of this Life

So for the past couple days my body has been on the fritz, again, not going to lie it kind of stinks staying up till 4-5am in the morning not being able to sleep because your job forces you to stay up late, messing up your sleeping patterns. I feel antsy, not tired, hungry (of course, what do you expect guys are always hungry), thirsty, a desiring to put my body to sleep enabling it to recharge for the day ahead. The other day I stayed up so late, my eyes burned because they too were exhausted from the continuous glaring at my ceiling wall, It’s quite plain if you ask me but I have noticed it reminds me of mountains I once saw while traveling across the US and I miss them something awful. I think next summer I will go traveling again to explore more of the great land called the US.

Anyways the reason I’m typing this now is because of this morning, at church, a friend of mine was speaking and through out the entire time he was on stage, all I was thinking about was how tired I was, and how I wanted to retreat back into bed and cover my eyes drifting into more hours of uninterrupted rest. But somewhere else in my body, my soul, I heard God saying again don’t worry you got out of bed on a good day, be patient and listen for what he is about to say. Of course though even though I was drifting in and out of sleep during the first 30min of his sermon, I could’ve past a pop quiz after, if they would have given one, on what he was talking about and the passage he was describing. He was talking about the passage in Mark 2.

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, My son, your sins are forgiven. Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone? And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise, take up your bed and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—he said to the paralytic— I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home. And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw anything like this! -Mark 2:1-12

Now during this walk through in Mark 2, I heard these three things:

1) Christ again was out and about living life with the sinners, teaching to them the word of God.

2) Christ healed a paralytic man, whom was lowered into the house in which Jesus was in, by four friends.

3) Christ proclaiming that he was the Son of God.

Now those three things are very important, but not the main point of what I learned this morning. What I learned came after the discussion of what happened in Mark 2. Rob, my friend, goes on to say that we sometime miss a key part to this story. The part missing, is the desire of the paralytic’s heart. This is what got me. When lowered into the house the desire for the paralytic man, and the four friends were to heal the broken body. It’s funny though, from creation in Genesis, God created man and woman in likeness of him with a desire to be with him. So in this parable, it’s funny that the desire the paralytic man has in his heart is to be healed from his illness, and that he goes to the Son of God, the true place of our desire yearns for, and asks him if he could heal him (Christ can read the mans heart already without him speaking a word). And then this is the part where Rob says, how many times do we run to God asking him for worldly desires, when everything we really yearn and desire is the one we go to and ask for such things. It shouldn’t be an action that we go to God and ask for desires through him, but that we just simply ask for and to be with Christ, our true desire in life.

Then this is when I thought about myself. How many times have I asked for things I’ve desired, from the one I should be desiring. How many times?

Before this week, I’ve felt God pushing me this way in thinking, and it sunk in today. That is why I’m going to continue what I’m doing but with a different mind set of what desire. From now on I’m not going to go to God asking God for worldly desires for, when what he really wants is for us to desire him. God will provide and place things in my life that will make me happy, I know this, but I also know that this life will not be easy by any means. That is why I keep praying that when I walk with you God that you twist and turn the Earth and place me where you need me to be.

Desiring Christ, because he first Loved me, so I’m going to Love him back through others.

I write this not to boast and say, see this is what God is doing for me, but I write it so that others can find encouragement in it and understand and learn as well, through what God has taught me this week. Desire God, Desire God for Others.

Happy 4th of July!

– Max

Land of the Christ Following Music

Ichthus 2011, by far was one of my  best weekends of this year! From Hillsong United to Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Transform DJs, listening to Family Force 5 ridiculously close enough to touch them, and Twenty One Pilots I’m going to say that I just got my face rocked off with so much awesome talent, that the artists and I would say came only from God. I’m marking my calendar already for next year and counting down!

Amazing night of worship with the "Aftermath" from Hillsong.

Thursday night by far was my favorite night of them all! Christian rap artists from all over America where on stage in the Deep End going insanely nuts in a unique way of worship! I caught myself during the three hours of rapping, closing my eyes and worshipping God as the energy at the stage was pulsing through my lungs and body! I mean this place was a earthquake pleasing to God!

The 116 Clique is comprised of Christian Rappers by the names of Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Flame, and Pro. The 116 comes from Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

During the day though before I got to enjoy the controlled chaos exploding from the town of Wilmore, Ky., I was working for Asbury University in the Admissions tent. We conducted contests, gave away scholarships, free bags, and t-shirts! My job specifically was to record high school students that had ideas to give money to a specific charity to help impact their community! The winner received  $1,000 dollars to donate to their charity of their choice. The girl that won is giving the money to a camp in Ohio called Kamp Dovetail that helps out with handicap children and children alike. Honestly I wish we could have given more gifts because all of the high schoolers that applied for the, “Make an Impact”, gift were all very good, and it was sad to have to turn down so many great ideas!

Two Asbury students have fun while waiting for applicants to arrive.

Besides working and eating tons of Chick-fil-A, I was able to do something that I’ve never done before but always wanted to do! I had the privilege to go out on stage numerous times through out the weekend and take pictures, but on friday night the main night I was able to go without the camera and throw t-shirts and bags into the crowd! Oh my gosh, were there a million people out there! I think I did a good job of hiding my nervousness behind my uncontrollable energy jumping around. Nevertheless it was a experience of a life time and I was definitely gifted by God to be able to do such a thing!

My friend, James Banter, throws t-shirts out into the freebie hungry crowd. Before we went out our boss said don't worry about the crowd because no matter what you do you'll make as many friends, as you have t-shirts, and everyone else will hate your guts! Just thought that was funny.

But the best part of this past weekend though was I was able to spend time with a lot of good people that I’ve come to know over the past year and it has been a blessing. This past year a friend said this to me and I adopted it as my own and love it. The person said, “Meeting a new person you’ve never met before is like receiving a gift from God. Everyone is different, they have their own talents, and getting to know that person and unwrapping who they are is just a pure blessing.” To the people I’ve met in this life either for a day or for 10yrs or more, Thank you, along with God’s help, for making me who I am today. God places people in our lives to encourage us, not to tear us down. The friends walking by the will of God speak truth to you daily, and that is a gift in itself.

This is Peter, he represents 1 Peter 2:11. "Friends this world is not your home, so do not make yourself cozy in it! Do not indulge your ego at the expense of your soul."

Uniquely created to reach out to others.