Ignore (and it hurts)

For a while now I’ve been contemplating the (in)action of what it means to ignore and be ignored by someone. This has been a prevalent issue for me during my entire adult life.

Often times ignoring someone is simply the easiest thing to do. Sometimes being ignored is not a big deal. So what’s the problem? When being ignored by someone almost hurts like you’ve been stabbed in the side and the blade is twisted a bit. Yeah. Being ignored hurts a bit (emotionally).

The word ignore originates from Latin and simply means “not know.” The expanded definition of ignore is, “refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally.”

I’ve been one who has intentionally disregarded people because talking to them would be emotionally taxing. I’ve ignored people because it was easier to not tell them I didn’t want to talk to them for various reasons. I’ve ignored people because I was mad at them and talking to them would only anger me more. I’m not the only one.

Oh yeah, if you didn’t know, ignoring someone is also known as giving someone The Silent Treatment or Cold Shoulder.

Winter

We all have our reasons for giving someone the Cold Shoulder. I’ve been the recipient of the Silent Treatment many, many times. I’m still trying to figure out why. I’ll probably never know why, at least, for certain.

My most common experience of being ignored is this: when I try to initiate a friendship (or deeper friendship) with a seemingly godly young woman, they refuse to respond to my messages or even acknowledge my physical presence. It’s not like I’m being a jerk to them. I honestly try to be godly, kind, and caring person towards them, but it’s as if I’m being treated as a phony and they want nothing to do with me. Often the person will be nice to me to my face, but refuse to acknowledge me otherwise. Once, I had someone refuse to acknowledge me in person most times, but would only speak to me if it was absolutely necessary, but it was with the briefest words. I still don’t know what I did wrong to deserve that. (With this person, things have gotten better. They no longer give me the Arctic Cold Shoulder.)

In most of these situations, I tell you, it hurts so very much.

As I mentioned before, I’m 28 and I’ve wanted to be married for over 10+ years. I am looking for a woman to love and serve the Lord with. Some may say I’m just being girl-crazy. It’s not like that. I genuinely want to love someone faithfully. If there is someone I’m interested in, I sincerely want to establish a godly friendship with them first. From there, if the Lord leads, I want that friendship to develop into a deeper relationship that leads into marriage. I don’t want to play games. I want to do things God’s way. However, I’m misunderstood and sometimes these issues arise.

So when I get ignored by a godly woman I’m interested in and respect very much, it hurts. A lot.

Even being rebuked or insulted is better than being ignored; at least that shows that the person cares enough to criticize you. But to be ignored feels like the person is saying, “You’re so unimportant to me that I can’t even be bothered to acknowledge your presence.” Except that they’re not saying anything at all. That can sting worse than any insult. — Darren Hewer

Darren Hewer articulates my feelings on this exactly. He’s on point.

Being ignored sometimes makes me feel that I’m unworthy of a godly woman and that I might never get married. The more that I get ignored, the more I feel this way. Being rejected and ignored sucks. If it were not for the love of God and the promise He made to me, I would be in despair over all of this. Though, I often walk the line between discouragement and despair, but the Lord brings encouragement and comfort in my time of need.

After being hurt so many times I’ve learned that I shouldn’t do it to others. I need to communicate with the people I don’t want to. Perhaps I need to be brave and tell them outright that I don’t want to talk, but in a kind way.

The apostle Paul emphasizes in Ephesians 4-5 that believers need to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the calling God has placed on their lives. Paul exhorts believers to live as Christians, followers of Christ, in love towards each other. We need to live in unity with each other. To speak the truth in love. To be kind to one another. To speak in such a way that edifies others so that our speech may give grace to those who hear it. We are called to be imitators of God, and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.

Believers, to ignore someone, to disregard someone intentionally, is not a behavior Christ would do. This does not convey love and kindness. I encourage you to speak the truth in love, even if its hard and you don’t want to in the moment. Do it all in kindness. You have the Holy Spirit to empower you to do it. Perhaps as we all mature in Christ, we will ignore people less and be more kind to others.

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This Season of Abiding

Hey friends.

Recently I’ve come out of an extended period of ministerial + personal exhaustion. A period of time where I’ve been so worn out in my body + mind + spirit. And this isn’t the first time I’ve gone through this. Probably my third time in the last 5 years. However, joy has returned to my life again and I want to ever so abide in Jesus forever.

Ministerial exhaustion could also be called ministry burnout. Perhaps similar to compassion fatigue. My experience recently has been something like this: Working more stressful hours in ministry-related tasks. Conflicting with other Christians. Stressing out about the increasing physical needs of the church building and the increasing lack of finances to meet the needs + wants. Feeling heartache for the people I care for. Not feeling anything for the brokenness of others around me. Feeling anxious for things that are out my control, but wishing to control. Dealing with bouts of depression because I feel unworthy of personal love from a woman (I’m 28, single, and have longed to be married for over 10 years). Feeling inwardly dirty from unwholesome things coming out of my mouth. Worst of all, my relationship with Jesus has been staling.

It’s not like I don’t seek Jesus. I do try. I regularly spend time in the Word in the morning before I begin work, Monday-Friday. Weekends are iffy. I get so frustrated when my morning routines are disturbed and I don’t get the time to read the Word before work begins. It’s not like I don’t pray. I do try. I pray for my dear friends and family who serve as missionaries in other countries. I pray for the church I primarily serve at. I try to pray for people and situations that popup through out the day.

Just recently I concluded that this staleness is joylessness. Joy has been absent in my life for a while now. I have many moments of happiness, but joy, it’s been out of touch. I vaguely remembered what joy felt like. I think I prayed for joy every-so-often.

So what changed?

The Lord met me in my joylessness. He used the Word to stimulate my heart and mind. He used people to profoundly impact my life. He reminded me of His love and He infused joy back into my life.

The Lord spoke to me through 1 Timothy 1:5.

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. — 1 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)

The purpose of Christian ministry is LOVE: to show the Love of God to everyone around us! Love is the aim of what I do in ministry. Sometimes I forget it. This passage reminded me of it.

Love.

The Lord used the staff of SpringHill Camps to greatly impact my life. SpringHill Camps, in partnership with KIDS Inc., hosted a Day Camp for 80+ elementary students at Horizon Central last week. I was privileged to aid and serve the staff during their time here. Throughout the week they faithfully preached the gospel to these students in fun and creative ways. I was privileged to be in their presence and observe their interactions with each other.

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My dear friends of SpringHill.

Before they began their service, the majority of the 20+ person staff joined us at Horizon Central for Sunday morning service. It was an honor to see how this group of young people publicly praise the Lord during corporate worship. Seeing this encouraged me to whole-heartily engage with them in this praise of Jesus!

The following Tuesday evening invigorated my life to such an extent I haven’t experienced in a long time (O praise Jesus!) I joined them in a time of a praise + worship and one song in particular resonated with me. The leader of this SpringHill team, Jenn, sang the song “Defender.” Part of the song goes like this…

You restore my faith and hope again…

When I thought I lost me
You knew where I left me
You reintroduced me to your love
You picked up all my pieces
Put me back together
You are the defender of my heart…

Hallelujah, you have saved me
So much better this way
Hallelujah, great Defender
So much better this way…

This song shook my spirit to the core and got my focus acutely back on the Lord. O Praise Him!

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Jenn (SpringHill), Eliza & Jake (KIDS Inc) leading the team in praise & worship.

After this, Jenn spoke to her team with the Word. The theme was on one of the spiritual disciplines for believers: Prayer. Simply put in my own terms, prayer should be a burdensome thing believers do. Rather, prayer is the amazing privilege we have to commune with God! It should be delightful and joyful experience. It comes down to abiding in Jesus.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. — John 15:7-10 (ESV)

As one abides in Jesus, their time of prayer will be so precious and delightful.

Jenn also challenged the team in their own prayer lives. If I recollect rightly, to pray for one specific thing that they want changed in their lives and to pray for one big thing in their lives, something that requires a leap of faith. Even though it wasn’t directed to me, I received this challenge!

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SpringHill Staff praying daily together before starting camp.

Ever since I heard all of this, man, the Lord poured His love and joy into my life. Joy became a familiar friend again. I “see” vibrant colors again, after a period of dullness.

Throughout the week, I saw what God was doing through my friends of SpringHill. I saw the result of their abiding in Jesus. They were lavishing the love of God on these students and each other. It encouraged me! It invigorated me! Joy was abounding in my heart! Thus fulfilling the Word…

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. — John 15:11

Jesus, He is so good to me. This was an answered prayer.

Joy has returned to my life as I serve others. It has returned in my daily reading of the Word. The Lord has been so sweet in my scripture reading times. I have joy again in my prayer life.

I’ve decided to fervently pray for my SpringHill friends daily. To pray for a certain person diligently. I’m seeking the Lord’s Will for the next chapter of my life. I don’t know what’s next, but I pray I remain faithful and obedient to Jesus in all areas of my life. I don’t want to neglect my Jesus. I don’t want to be joyless again. God is so, so good to me.

Thank you for reading this. I love you all.

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I love these dear, dear SpringHill friends of mine.

Impact

These last six months have been very impactful for me. As I continue to grow in my walk with the Lord and in life daily I see glimpses of how the Lord uses me to impact others and be impacted by others. When I notice such moments of impact and reflect upon them I often pray, “Lord, You’re good.” I use this prayer to simply express my thankfulness to the Lord and praise Him. I am often reminded that it is a privilege to be used by the Lord to impact others and it is a joy to be impacted by others. Often moments of impact, giving or receiving, are not only composed of actions, but also of words spoken and even observing the joys of other people.

Back in February, the weekend before my birthday, I returned to Cleveland, OH to help my former employer out with the annual Fat Tuesday “Packzi Day” celebration. For those who do not know, I worked at an Italian bakery for eight years. The weekend before Lent we would make THOUSANDS of jelly-filled donuts called “Packzi” (POONCH-Key). This year, I came out of retirement (I joke that I did not quit, but retired) and worked 38 hours in four days. It turns out that this was extremely helpful to my former employer because he was down a couple key employees and really needed the help. Even though it was a hard time of work, I was glad I could help him out as best as I could. I did not realize immediately how much I helped him out until I was paid. This is how he expressed his thankfulness.It was a sacrifice for me to come to help him, but in the end, it was worth it to help a friend out.

There have been many instances this past year of how I sacrificed some time and even money to help someone out. In return I was blessed with finances that were beyond my expectations. I am extremely thankful that people give me the opportunity to work for them, even if its simple work, and they do so in order to financially bless me in return.  There have been many other times where people have simply given me gift cards or money to help me financially. I know in the grand scale of things that God is providing for all my needs and He uses people to accomplish this. Through all of this, I know God has used me to impact all these lives through my time of service to them. And they recognize this impact I have had on them. I thank God that He has impacted them to help me out in my times of need. God is good! God uses His body (all believers) to minister to each other for the mutual growth of the body. He is so good.

As I reflect upon this year I think of other ways God has used me to impact others. One such way is how the Lord has worked in my heart to reach out to other people and develop deeper relationships with them. Prior to moving to Indianapolis almost three years ago, I was not very intentional in developing deep relationships with people but friendships often occurred via osmosis.Now, I try to be intentional in talking and hanging out with specific people in my life, whether it be over drinking coffee, eating food, taking them to do errands or simply sitting down and talking with them to better know them. I want to develop deeper relationships over intentional meetings but also in the midst of  doing ministry together.

I am specifically thankful for Sunday mornings because I get to serve alongside great people that have changed my life. On Sunday mornings at Horizon Central we setup up chairs and equipment for Sunday service. Every week. And put everything away afterwards. Every week. I am also responsible for other little things on Sunday mornings that make up the Sunday Service. I have come to view this work as a privilege, especially because I can do it with great people that I deeply love. I am thankful for the conversations I have with these people during these Sunday mornings. Whether it involves talking about serious issues, sharing life experiences, or quoting lines from TV shows and movies. I treasure such times of fellowship (partnership in service).

My favorite day of the week is Thursday. On this day I am privileged to be a part of the three things I thoroughly enjoy. Typically, I spent the early part of Thursdays working around Horizon Central. I love figuring out the 115-yr-old building and fixing things that I am able to. The second part of the day I am involved in prepping and being a part of Elementary Club (E-Club), an after-school program ran by Eliza Kosobucki, the Elementary Outreach Coordinator for KIDS Inc. It is a joy and challenge (the good kind) to interact and influence 25+ elementary students weekly during the school year. Sometimes it feels like we are referees, but most times it is a delight and joy to talk and play with these students. More importantly, we tangibly demonstrate God’s love to these students and flat-out share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. My favorite moments of E-Club were telling students Bible stories and observing how it impacted them. E-Club taught me to keep intentionally loving people despite their ungodly actions. I learned how to better relate and communicate with students who experience bad days. I was privileged to serve alongside my friends, good friends, and develop the brotherly love that the apostle Paul taught.

The last part of Thursday (my favorite part) consists of going to college/young adult Bible Study at the home of some very dear friends. It is through this Bible study that I have made many friends, some I consider very dear friends and value their friendship immensely. We begin by enjoying each other’s company, eating dinner, engaging in community praise and discussion-based study of God’s Word, and closing the night with variety of activities and discussions. It is through this study that I encountered many great people who love Jesus, love His Word, and love godly community. I have learned much from the studies and through discussions with friends. I may not be an active participant in discussions, but I enjoy listening to my friends speak. I appreciate how God shaped their lives. Every single person who comes to this Bible study is wonderful. Thanks, friends. 🙂

In final reflections upon this year I would like to share my experiences at Camp Allendale (Camp AwesomeDale) with KIDS Inc last week. KIDS Inc took 21 students and 6 counselors to Camp Allendale down in Trafalgar, IN for six days. These students live in the near South/South-East side of Indianapolis. This a week filled with outdoor living, crazy fun activities, and moments connecting with God. I witnessed students befriending each other when the day before they did not know each other’s names. I witnessed students being exuberant about serving each other food during meals. I witnessed students angry with each other in one moment and later mending their relationships. I witnessed students being challenged and overcoming many  of those challenges with people they love. I witnessed students painfully sharing their life stories of pain and hurt and then seeing their friends comforting each other. I witnessed students hearing that God loves them and some of them responding positively to His love. I also witnessed our counselors dealing  sometimes sternly, but very lovingly to students when they were misbehaving. I witnessed counselors demonstrating God’s love in word and action to students that did not know that God loves them. I witnessed counselors and students encouraging and helping each other through many situations. I witnessed students and counselors helping me after I broke my right foot* and could not do many things.

Many weeks before camp, KIDS Inc staff, volunteers, and supporters were praying for Camp Allendale and I witnessed the power of prayer during this time. God revealed Himself to students and counselors in many different ways. I spent some of my prayer time just talking to the Lord about personal issues and I am now seeing the fruit from those times.  It was a wonderful privilege to serve these students alongside KIDS Inc. Now I know (by experience) why this is the favorite time of year for some people who go to Camp AwesomeDale. God is Good!

Sometimes in life I take moments to observe and reflect on what is transpiring. God sometimes reveals to me how much of an impact I make towards those around me and how they impact me. I treasure the times when people are intentional in reaching out to me. It means so very much to me that I am acknowledged and loved.

In closing, I would like to share why I intentionally use the word “privilege.” I have a dear friend who frequently uses the word “privilege” in regards to ministering to other people. They use it genuinely. They acknowledge that God has given them the privilege, not right, to serve in various ways. We cannot earn the right to serve God, but He graciously allows us to serve Him. We do not own any aspect of ministry and should not selfishly control it because it truly belongs to the Lord. This friend’s usage of the word “privilege” taught me to view ministry with a more humble attitude. It’s a privilege to serve God and I delight in it.

God is good. 🙂

*On Day 5 of Camp Allendale I broke my right foot by slipping off the side of the asphalt road and landing on the right-side of my right foot. I was running to catch up to some students. I walked on it that night and the following morning. From that point until we returned home, people helped me carry my things, transport me (one friend literally carried me across camp on his shoulders), and provide me with anything I needed. I am thankful for the help of my fellow counselors and students! I love you all.

Reflections & Prospects

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Much has happened in my life this past year. Many good things and some bad things. Many trials and some triumphs. Many blessings and some losses. Many opportunities and some closures. Through it all, I am very thankful to the Lord for what He has done and how He brought me through everything. I am thankful how used my family and friends to bless me in many different ways. God is good. All the time.

2015 was quite a year for me. Here are some of the highlights and low-lights.

 

I completed my fourth and final semester at Calvary Chapel Bible College Indianapolis (CCBCi). It was the hardest and busiest semester I had in school. I took 20 credits, worked part-time, involved in ministry, helped plan a mission’s trip, and lived life. I was exhausted much of the time. It was hard. I was often overwhelmed and frustrated by circumstances. A pair of verses stood out during this time:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10 ESV

These were not the verses I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. The Lord was growing me during these times to keep going in the midst of busyness and exhaustion and not to give up because life was a bit hard. I recognized the Lord’s work. In the famous words of Calvin’s dad, “It builds character.” The pinnacle of this character-building time came during my mission’s trip to Ukraine.

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In short, eleven people traveled to and across Ukraine and did a bunch of cool things. It was hard traveling with many people and many things. There were many hardships during that 2.5 week trip, but there was much fruit resulting from it. I am extremely grateful for what the Lord taught me from that trip and how we as a team could bless and minister to other people. God is so good! I expected to get gray hair from that trip, but alas, I didn’t receive any… =(

I spent my summer in Cleveland, Ohio with my family. This summer was a bit different from others in that I didn’t know what I was doing after it. Typical for most college graduates, I didn’t know what I was doing for-sure after graduation. During my trip in Ukraine I received a proposal from a pastor-friend to be an intern at the church he pastors at. I decided to spend the summer to pray about this proposal.

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Over the summer I worked for friends and family to save up money to buy my first car. In June I bought a 1999 Toyota Camry. I spent two years praying for a car and finally got one! During the summer I recognized that the Lord was closing doors and changing relationships with people. It felt like my hometown was not the place where I ought to abode anymore. The Lord was leading me back to Indianapolis (Indy) . In short, I decided and committed to intern at Horizon Central in downtown Indianapolis for one year with the option of staying forever-ish.

Prior to moving to Indy again, I was in a relationship with a girl for a few years. It started off well but as time progressed we grew apart. We spent most of our relationship physically apart and grew emotionally apart. I spent my first week in Indy at CCBCi helping wherever I could and establishing friendships with new students. By the end of the week, me and my ex-girlfriend decided to formally end our relationship. It was a longtime coming, unfortunately. Ultimately, I believe this was the Lord’s direction for my life.

After this and in the coming months I settled in Indy and established friendships with many new and wonderful people. The Lord brought many new opportunities to serve Him at Horizon Central, with KIDS Inc., and at CCBCi. I’ve been greatly enriched by the relationships I made with children, college students, and adults through Horizon Central, Horizon Indy, KIDS Inc., CCBCi, and IUPUI. I especially thankful for the friends I made through the College Bible Study at the Kosobucki home.

 

 

At Horizon Central I am interning as the new Building Manager of a 115 year-old former school building (School #18). I am learning how the building operates, what needs to be fixed (and fixing it), and knowing the people who go through this old building. This is an ever on-going process! And I love it! There have been some hardships, but many blessings. Building maintenance is only a part of what I do. It’s also about building relationships with people: insiders and outsiders.

I also spend much time volunteering with KIDS Inc., the non-profit my brother Jake is the director of. I specifically serve in the weekly outreaches to elementary-age children (Elementary Club) and teenagers (Hang Time / 18). These outreaches have grown me very much and I treasure the time I spend with these inner-city people.

In addition, I work part-time at Horizon Indy cleaning the facility. I am privileged to work alongside friends at CCBCi. Through this opportunity I  earn money and continue to build relationships with dear friends.

As we enter the year 2016 I hope to continue strong in the work the Lord has me involved in. I hope for new and wonderful opportunities to serve and build relationships with other people. It is my hope that this internship at Central will develop into a long-term position (with financial provision). I hope that I can be more involved with KIDS Inc and see fruit from ministering to inner-city young people. I hope to have more developed relationships with college students at CCBCi and IUPUI. I hope to see growth and development at Horizon Central, to the building and more importantly, in the lives of the people. Finally, I hope to see more spiritual development in my own life. I desire to love and obey Jesus more and more each and every day of my life. I desire to live a consistent holy life in thought and action. I desire to be more relational with people. I am eager to see what the Lord has for me in 2016.

In closing, I am sharing a part of a verse that spoke to me on this New Year’s Day.

“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” – Isaiah 7:9b ESV

Happy New Year everyone! Grow in the grace and love of God!

Old Buildings & The Human Heart

The Catacombs Cafe

Many people know I recently moved from Cleveland, OH to Indianapolis, IN to take a position as the [intern] Building Manager at Horizon Central.  I’ve been here for over a month now and have learned a lot. I’m learning how the building is used, the people who attend the church, and how the building itself operates.

Abraham Lincoln School #18 (as it was once known) is 114 years old. As with age, the building has many nuances, quirks, and problems. Over the past month I’ve been learning all of those things and will continue to learn them for a long time to come. As I enumerate all the problems of the building that need to be fixed, I can get a bit overwhelmed, but also excited to fix some of them. The main reason I can be overwhelmed is not that the problems exist, but frankly, the lack of funds to fix them.

Like many urban churches, funds do not come in large quantities as many suburban churches. Horizon Central has learned over the years to trust in the Lord for provision and be wise in how we operate. When I see the lack of funds and get overwhelmed by the problems, I remind myself that my heavenly Daddy knows my needs and I begin to bring my requests before Him. I pray for His will to be done with Horizon Central. A couple of weeks ago I began to pray for $1 million. Not sure why on that number, but I pray for it, hoping it’s my Daddy’s desire in my heart. I tell people I have a rich Father. He can provide the funds according to His divine wisdom and means.

Just today the Lord revealed something to me about this building and the human heart. The human heart is in many ways like the aged School #18. Because of sin, humans are filled with deteriorating problems that only get worse over time. We need to accept the redemptive work of Jesus Christ in our lives and allow Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Only then can restoration and revival happen. Life is utterly bleak apart from Christ. Jesus, who is our hope and peace, longs to transform our lives and unite us to His Father. He desires to make us new.

Despite the problems and lack of funds, I’m reminded that God has Horizon Central operating in Indianapolis for a reason and He’s not done with us yet. We’re praying that God will make Horizon Central the church this Fountain Square neighborhood needs. We want to bring more people to Jesus and help them grow in their walk with Him. I bless the Lord for the opportunity to be here to serve the people of this church and community.

Please pray with us for God’s will to be done at Horizon Central; how we can minister to this neighborhood using the resources and facilities God has graciously provided to us. Please for that $1 million to come in to fix and restore School #18 to better working order so we can minister to unbelievers and believers.

In God’s grace and love,

Jesse