Lightning and Thunder

Lightning pullman

Lightning flashes and Thunder rolls demonstrating the presence and voice of God. Think of it like this. Our souls live on a dark planet, a world constantly at midnight. The stars shimmer and dazzle all, leaving the faint knowledge of something more. Heavenly lanterns faintly illuminate the world around us, vague outlines and shadows, and where adventure calls to us, society tells us the world is too dangerous. “You don’t want to see whats really out there so stay still, don’t move, and keep your eyes on the stars.”

However God calls each of us according to his purpose, and the lion cub of Judah was never one to be subtle. Lightning. Fury, glory, rage, power, eloquence and most of all, righteousness, announce the presence of God. A flash of light, a millisecond in length, illuminates the darkness light as day. All can be seen, from his great mountains to his vast oceans, but as soon as they appeared they were gone. You question, was that God or just me? Could I have possibly imagined all of that? Could God have possibly revealed all of that for me? Wait for it… Thunder. The voice of God calls. Like it called David and Abraham before you, it does not meekly ask for your compliance, it roars. It demands the fear of God. Can you hear his power? Can you feel it? That tingle you get when it rolls over the hills, the way the hair stands on the back of your neck as you slowly count out the seconds from the strike… One mississippi… Two mississippi… That was close. God calls us close to our hearts. Too close for comfort for some, we hear the thunder and retreat in fear. The beauty, the majesty, the love, the rage, the grace, the power, the fury, the omnipotence of God is too much. But God doesn’t call us to fear and shrink back into our comfort zone. He doesn’t call us to admire his storm from a distance either. He calls us to be storm chasers. So often we are stuck in darkness and too scared to go searching for light.

So what will it be? Will our souls acknowledge the power of His voice in our lives and seek further his light? Will we catch that glimpse of the glory of God and come running? Maybe tonight has been your glimpse, if so, brace yourself. Here comes Thunder calling.

Elevate 8-5-13 The Final Post

I don’t want to write this post because it means it’s really over… But alas I can hear the rain outside and the dull grey of the Puget Sound reminds me I am indeed home. Where did two and half months go? Better question: where did I go? Because the person I am today looks nothing like the man I was on May 18th. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t think were possible, and now I believe Drew Worsham (the mastermind of the trip) when he said you would gain years of spiritual experience in just 10 weeks.

Where do I start? I guess I’ll start with community. There is NOTHING like biblical community. If you aren’t in it then go find it right now. People who are a guide for you, there for you, willing to go to bat for you, call out your faults and all the while love you and point to Jesus as the example and last word, not themselves. You ever want true friends? The kind of bond you see in a movie between two individuals after decades go by? I made 40 of those relationships in 10 weeks. That’s what Jesus can do. That’s what fighting side-by-side with one another, failing with one another, succeeding with one another and honestly, completely and unabashedly doing life together in Christ can do.

I didn’t stroll through these 10 weeks. None of us did. None of us were good enough, or tried hard enough or prayed hard enough, or (insert really stereotypical Christian thing to do here) enough. We all fell apart at one point or another and no one judged someone else for it. We just loved each other. Why? Not because we had to, or because it was the right thing to do. Just because Jesus loves us and honestly that’s enough.

We practiced various spiritual disciplines; I prefer the word habits, during the trip. For the first time I viewed them as something I can do to draw closer to God and not rules that God gets mad at me for not doing. For example I memorized and read scripture willingly for the first time since… well probably ever. It was something previously done for a grade, but now it’s being done to explore the heart of God and to keep in my heart. For example Romans 5:8, Psalm 139:23-24, James 5:16, Romans 8:28, Matthew 6:33, 1 Corinthians 13:10 and so many other verses are now seared into my heart.  Understanding them brings me closer to the Lord, and their power is an aid in times of temptation and struggle.

Its about having a FOUNDATION in the Lord. So often you see Christians fail because what are they built on? John 3:16? That’s a fantastic start but it’s a pebble, not a solid foundation. I speak about this from experience. I failed a lot and sat stagnant because I had no foundation. Don’t get me wrong I’m still going to fail, but with a solid foundation in Jesus you can still grow. To illustrate it imagine the classic parable of the men who built their houses on sand and rock.

For the Christian who tries to build upon the pebble, every time he gets somewhere the weather tears his house down. He just cant last amongst the elements, it isn’t possible. This is like a Christian who either A: goes through life thinking he doesn’t need spiritual discipline and wonders why he/she are victimized by spiritual warfare so easily or B: Christians who go from zero disciplines to trying to participate in them all right away. For B, he/she will build, build, build and then get burnt out as each time they build it crumbles down around them. The Christian who builds upon a foundation of Scripture, memorization, prayer and time spent getting to know God will be able to actually build his/her house. Sure, he/she will mess up and make some wrong measurements, but they just have to redo that specific part of the house, the whole thing doesn’t crumble to the ground. You still see progress. You still see growth.

That’s me from this summer. Did I mess up? You betcha, BUT I’ve seen so much growth and progress and the really encouraging part is that it isn’t all spontaneously combusting now that I’m home.

Lets see, where else should I take this. I guess girls are a good subject, so dudes listen up. I spent a summer living with/loving on 30+ girls as sisters in Christ and its been such a drama free relief. Seriously. Learn to love and appreciate the women around you for who they are in Jesus. Stop looking around and thinking “hmm I could date her” or any other thought that pops into our pervy little heads. Don’t worry I am still a realist and I know, girls are cute, heck girls are hot and worst of all some are drop dead gorgeous. You will fail, I know I did at times, but honor their hearts, keep your eyes where they should be, don’t try and show off or boast and treat them all equal (cause they are) and with respect. I was so blessed by the relationships I was able to form with the girls on this trip and I saw the beauty that comes from a true woman of faith, eagerly seeking the Lord.

Alcohol is another good talking point. I wont be drinking this year in Pullman. At all. Some of you don’t know that yet and reading this may come a bit of a surprise or a “psh, yeah right” moment. But I’m serious. I’ve felt called from drinking for a while now and I’m not going to ignore that call any longer. Honestly last semester I would have fun in the moment but I would hate myself every morning waking up. I just felt empty. For those who know me well you might try and call BS and say “I saw you have tons of fun” but ask my housemate Matt, he could tell something was wrong for a while… I just spent a summer sober and it was the best summer of my life and the happiest I have been in a long time. Also I will be a freshman village leader next year and part of the rules of that is not drinking while you are in Pullman. Even if you are 21. So that’s what I’m gonna do. If I’m in Pullman ( and I think Moscow too actually) you can bet I’ll be sober.

I just realized my last post on here was from… a month ago. So you are probably wondering what we actually did the last month. We spent 4th of July on the beach (rough I know) and spent our last weeks spending as much time as possible with our co-workers and friends in California. I hungout with Miguel in Balboa park and got to share the Gospel with him a bit, and we people-watched at comic-con which was so epic haha. Another co-worker from Petsmart, Steve, started going to Church with the flood group and hanging out with us every Sunday and playing ultimate Frisbee or Soccer. I found cliffs to jump off of around La Jolla Cove so that was really cool. Some family friends came down from Washington and had us over to Coronado for dinner. TYLER GOT BAPTIZED and it was freaking awesome haha coolest moment of the trip for me for sure. Also sarah, a girl who we thought was going to leave and wasn’t a Christian, has been moved so much by God its incredible. I love seeing the way God is preparing her heart and I’m gonna try to steal some of her poems and post them here because they are beautiful.

WHAT ELSE?! We went to a water park the second to last day in SD and that was a blast. Gah there is just too much to make this sound coherent. We had our last Sunday at Mission Trails Church and all got journals and coffee cups (it got a little emotional) and I had to say goodbye to my Broncos friend from church Geoffrey.  I hurt my shoulder the last day of Ultimate Frisbee so that’s a bummer, it still doesn’t feel right. I was told several times the last month that I should be a pastor so there is that. Its in my blood so who knows? I’m just going to be listening this next year and see where God calls me, but I feel like its going to be somewhere in ministry, of what kind I’m just not sure.

I miss all my friends now that I’m home. BUT home has been the best its been in a long time. I’ll enjoy spending time with family this next week, but I’m so excited to get back to Pullman and continue to grow with our community and to just make it bigger. That and I miss Pullman and Football very, very much.

So I think this is where I’ll leave it. Somewhere around the 1500 word mark haha. I want to say thank you so much to the people who prayed for me, and supported me financially. You’ll all be getting notes and things of that nature, but you honestly have no idea how much it means to me that you took the time to invest in the best summer of my life, and I hope you all know that I consider you spiritual investors in me. Please continue to read my blog as I’ll be posting about my adventures in Pullman in both professional and spiritual endeavors.

God bless everybody, Jesus is so good.

–Chance Chaffin

 

Elevate 7-1-13 Trust in the Un-trustable: Why Logic Fails and thats the Point

I have trust issues. Trust issues in that I have no problem trusting people I barely know, but I shy away from trusting more obvious choices for advice and insight. Perhaps you are the exact opposite. You trust your immediate friends or parents to a fault, letting their will become your own. I’ve met both kinds of people and neither is worse than the other. The funny thing is that they all have a central trust issue in common. They don’t trust God.

Honestly can you blame them? Several times I have found myself pondering whether or not God is even real. That’s a hurdle I think is more accurately defined as a high jump or pole-vault. You cant see him, you cant hear him, you cant test for him, you cant gather scientific data, you cant find a shred of evidence that would pass in a court of Law. If your life depended on proving God to a judge with tangible evidence, you might as well strap yourself into the electric chair while preparing your case.

Its not logical. But that’s also the point. The whole experience of knowing God is built upon a foundation. Faith. Its the very first thing you need to follow Jesus. Even the desperate drug addict who cries out to God with no other options is basing his please on faith, be it a desperate faith, that someone will answer. That someone is really there. Now see, this is incredibly important because everything else you do in Christ is going to build off of that faith. God’s very first call to our spirit is to trust that he is even there. “Trust me.”

Once we break this barrier, we dive into trusting God with our lives. This is something every Christian will battle with for the rest of their lives. Do we trust God to do whats best for us? Do we do what he calls us to even when its the exact opposite of what we want to do? Logically its flawed again, but once again that’s the point. In order to trust God with your life you have to give it up completely. For instance I take pride in all my extra-curricular activities in college. I put my identity in them, and to be honest they plain stressed me out after a while. But they defined me so I didn’t want to let go of the ledge I so desperately clung to. God reached his hand out and said “trust me.”

But what if you drop me? What if you aren’t strong enough? What if you aren’t for me? What if you aren’t good? What if this is a trick? What if I cant jump far enough? What if I fail? What if? …..

We spend so much time concerned about God’s intentions or our own strength, we don’t focus enough on the biggest question: What if He’s right? And I’ll let you in on a little secret. He is. HE IS. He is good, He is strong enough, He is for you. Want to hear another secret?

No matter how hard you try, or think, or will yourself you CANNOT do it on your own. That’s why logic fails you. If logic got you through, What would you need God for? You could figure it out on your own right? You could reason it all out… But you cant. Sooner or later what you can see is going to fail you.

God starts you off with that foundation of faith so in the future when you are called to give, to go, to talk, to walk away, to love, to fight, or to be still you will listen even when the logic fails. As logic fails and God’s plan unravels you will begin to see a heavenly logic that is beyond the world of man. Strange thing is, what started off as un-see-able, un-trustable and illogical now is the most important, tangible, trustable and logical thing you have.

Elevate 7-1-13 Trip Update

Guys writing something around here is really hard. I’m the kinda guy that needs zero distractions to write, and that situation is practically impossible around here. Thankfully God blessed me with a day off today, and the rest of the guys are at work, so I have locked myself in my room and have some room to think! So lets get to it shall we?

Certain days just leave me riding high, and yesterday was one of those days. Which is strange cause it started off a little embarrassing. In an attempt to give myself more time for showering and eating I set my alarm for 6:45. However sleepy me (never trust sleepy me) insisted hitting the snooze button was a good idea. 10 minutes later my alarm rings throughout the room yet again and as I hit it, Evan jumps out of bed and gets in the shower… Son of a… James proceeds to start getting ready as well. There goes my window of opportunity, so I decide to cut my losses and just go get some food first.

If you’ve ever lived with me, spent the night at my house or vice versa, or worked with me in the morning you know I look like I got hit by a truck first thing in the morning. My mood is about twice as bad. So as I saunter to the breakfast buffet 2 minutes removed from my slumber, I’m lookin real good. I walked by a group of girls from the trip , greeted with “mornin sunshine” and several other variations of greetings to which I nod and simply walk right by them all. Embarrassed isnt the right word, and it might be a little bit of an understatement for how I was feeling. I dont like looking bad in front of people, especially cute girls so that got me down a bit. BUT God used it to reveal an area I need to work on. I cant go around so concerned with peoples perception of me. That might seem real generic and think because it is, we tend to think that issue isnt very big, but it is HUGE. A total foothold for the enemy, and a generator for pride and comparison. So I’m trying to give that up to God, and some prayer for that would be excellent. I encourage you to find areas you need to give up and work on doing that yourself, as well as seeking out community to pray for you/keep you accountable for staying out of that sin.

The rest of the day went swimmingly.  Church was awesome, Kyle talked about spiritual disciplines, which we got a sneak preview of last week during teaching. Subject matter included reading your Bible and practicing diligence while being realistic with your goals. We were challenged to read the New Testament in 90 days (they provided a daily reading plan) and I’m going to do it, I dont think I’ve ever actually gone through the whole New Testament before.

We help with setup and tear down at Mission Trails Church, and its always a blessing to be able to serve people and see their gratitude for the simple tasks we perform. After tear down Tyler and I choreographed a fight scene (video is on instagram) and we ventured off into the commnunity to pass out flyers for a community BBQ we are sponsoring with Mission Trails this Saturday. We will be running the event, giving the MTC staff a chance to mingle and get to know the community.

It was hot out. Like it used to be warm here everyday, and now its officially hot. Like really hot. I wanted to take my shirt off the whole time we did flyers but I guess it wasnt “appropriate”… The second we passed out the last flyer I said “are we done representing Mission Trails now?” “Yes” *Shirt flies off*…

After getting home we decided the beach time is the best time, so we showed our friend Eric (who is the video man for Resonate and visiting for a few days) around La Jolla Shores. I think we got some really cool video of us all (yes I was flexing everytime I saw the camera, I have self-esteem issues ok?) and spending times around waves and sand is never a bad thing. I’m so thankful for the place we get to call home this summer. Eric kept asking if we could believe where we were and at first I was like “well yeah, we’ve been here for like a month and a half” but then I realized I was getting a little complacent with my surroundings. I dont want to take this for granted, its the best summer of my life and I have only Jesus to thank for it.

After getting back to the hotel we had dinner in BBQ form with everyone and it was a delicious blast. Ultimate Frisbee followed soon after and I friggin love Ultimate Frisbee. There is a competitive nature at the heart of every man and its not often I get to work those muscles anymore. After Frisbee we watched a movie and I got a shoulder massage that 1. was awesome and I loved it but 2. Shouldnt have happened because our leaders asked us to stop letting that happen, so I need to talk to my friend about that (which I really dont want to cause I <3 shoulder/back massages but damn it imma do it)

Then we went to bed. A great day to be sure. I’m also starting to learn that everyday doesnt have to be great, and the true character of someone comes from how they pursue God on the bad days. The other day my friend (the same girl who gave me the shoulder massage) had a family issue dropped on her during her lunch break and then got bit by a dog (she works at petsmart) in the face an hour later. By a German Shepherd no less. Thats a crappy day. Instead of cursing God (at least to me) she said how lucky she felt to be ok and that God was good… Wow. That’s faith and perseverance of another level. My friend Georgia exhibits the same thing as her mom battles health concerns. They are total inspirations for pursuing the Lord and thanking him even when the sun is gone and the rain is pouring down. I don’t do that enough.

But hey everybody, I’m human and loved by the creator of the Universe. I’ll never be perfect and thats the point so all I can do is thank God for these people who lead me closer to him try to put that action in my own life.

Hope summer is going well all. Godbless and peace out.

Elevate 6-28-13 Trip Update

My last few posts have been more like stories than updates of what we’ve been up to, so I thought I’d take some time today to let you all know whats been happening around the trip.

We have been crazy busy. From Tijuana, to Coronado, to Pacific Beach, La Jolla Shores, work, teaching, devotionals, quiet times, one-on-ones, movies, pool, workouts, to just hanging out and loving on new coworkers and friends. Its been a lot to handle, and its been teaching me rely so heavily on God and his strength more so than my own. ‘

The heart change I’ve been experiencing while here is incredible. There’s been this change that is so tangible its sort of eerie, to the point that I have certain reactions to things and I think “where did that come from? a month and a half ago I would have never had that sort of reaction.” My arms hurt from the workout today so excuse me if I dont sound as coherent as normal, its a struggle to be typing right now.

But God gives me the strength to go on!

We’ve been going over spiritual disciplines the past 2 weeks and boy has it been helpful. So often I had heard of spiritual disciplines in the past and thought, “ok Im gonna start doing all these things now and Ill be way more spiritual and such a better person.” But really my heart wasnt in them, and even if it was, it was just too much and I would find myself burnt out in a week and falling back into sin. Kyle, a pastor from the church we go to here, showed us the P+1 system. Take a discipline, say secrecy, and find where you are presently and add 1 tangible step for you to do the next week or two that will build you up in that discipline. You dont have to become the most humble man in the world overnight. That just isnt how it works. As Kyle would say, you cant just say “I’m going to run a marathon today” and try really hard and just do it. You’ll fail. You have to train everyday for weeks and months and maybe years. Spiritual discipline is the same way. You cant just say “I am going to be like Jesus” and try really hard and there you go. You will fail. You need to start training a little bit each day and week and build up your spiritual strength before you can take a task like that head on.

Other heart change things that have hit me since getting here are working on lust, lying, comparison, envy, pride, and even more fun things that I wont get into via blogging just yet. A lot of it had been brought about by the community I’m in. These guys dont let much go unnoticed and we hold each other very accountable. When you live with a bunch of strong Christians in really tight spaces it becomes a big ol mirror for you to see where you need to grow. One thing we’ve been good at is confessing our sins as soon as they happen or the day of. We dont let sin fester, because then it builds up and destroys us. James 5:16 says to confess your sins to one another and to pray for each other so you can have healing and holyyyy crap is it powerful.

We’ve had the chance (no pun intended) to meet so many people while we’ve been here and share the gospel. From hotel staff (I just had a 30 min convo with Austin the front desk guy on his lunch break) to co-workers and people we just met on the bus. I have too many friggin new phone numbers in my phone haha and its such a blessing. We’ve been playing ultimate, bbq-ing and going to beaches like coronado with these people, and they say they keep wanting to hangout with us because they havent seen a group of individuals like us before that are so accepting and loving of complete strangers. Steven, a guy from PetSmart that my friend Kara invited to hangout said we were the nicest people he has met in San Diego and after one evening with us he said he felt like part of the group. That’s what it looks like to follow Jesus. Love God and Love people.

Its been pretty interesting getting to know all the girls on this trip. Yes, there are some that I spend more time with than others, but I really enjoy spending time with every single one of them and getting to know them. Ladies, if any of you are reading this, you all have beautiful hearts, and the way Jesus shines through you all is nothing short of incredible and a blessing in my life. Thanks for being awesome, Godly women. I wish I could tell you all how special you are individually, but I’ll leave that up to Jesus.

This is where I start spouting off random updates in no particular order.

We are planning a community party with Mission Trails Church right now which should be really fun. I feel like a expert in all the planning stages because of my time at APP, who knew that would pay off?

Evan Moore is the guy I’m really bonding with the most here. They talked about making friends for life while we are here and I get a feeling he might be one of those guys.

I went to Tijuana again which was SO AWESOME, because this was going to be my first year in like 5 years I hadnt gone, BUT God is so good and decided to let me go again for just a day and let me serve via building a house. Love it.

Drew approached me about being a Freshman Village leader at Resonate this year. If you dont know, village is like a Chapel Hill Life group or YoungLife Campaigners. A pretty big deal, and I was totally blind-sided by the nomination. Drew says Freshman Village Leaders are like the Deacons for Resonate and prayer for clarity and confidence in what kind of decision I should make would be greatly appreciated.

I am getting in shape! We’ve been working out everyday and that combined with me getting tan has really improved my physique since getting here, I am a million times less subconscious about my body than when I arrived which is awesome.

I have hit 1000+ words so I’ll cool it and let this be the end of todays post. I work at 11:30 tomorrow so I’ll post another update/maybe a story tomorrow.

Godbless all, hope your summer is just grand.

Elevate 6-21-13 The Devil’s Audible: Hurry Hurry

I have this nasty of habit of comparing life to football, so bare with me here.

Here is the setting: your life is like a football game and you are the quarterback of your team. Across the line of scrimmage is the world. Calling plays on your sideline is the Alpha and Omega himself, the Great I am, the Lion and the lamb, you get the point. On the other sideline with the headset is the Devil (Bill Belichick).

For many this may seem overwhelming because we want to be position players or backups. Maybe an invisible lineman or perhaps the WR who just runs his/her route and doesn’t have to account for the whole game plan. But God calls us to be Quarterbacks. Leaders, intellectuals, the orchestrators of his offense. There is a special bond between a head coach and his Quarterback. The best of the best know each other intimately. They can communicate without words, and they know each others tendencies. A great coach always puts his QB in a position to succeed and a great QB always executes to perfection.

God is the ultimate coach. He knows our exact strengths and weaknesses because he made us, created us, and loves us regardless. So often we question God’s motives and the plays he calls for us. We don’t think were ready, or we question a call for a run on 3rd and 8. But if a NFL Coach always puts his guy in a position to win, why on earth do we doubt the greatest signal caller in history? He’s studied more film than we can comprehend, he knows every tendency of the defense, heck he knows EXACTLY what play the other coach is calling, yet we read the defense and think we know a better play.

Cue in the Audible.

An audible is when the QB changes the play at the line of scrimmage after reading the defense. He steps back, sees how the defense lines up, decides how his play stacks up to it, and will keep the play or change it. Christians audible too much. When you have the greatest play-calling head coach of all time, its probably not wise to change up his plays, but we do it all the time.

Why? Because all to often we fall for the tricks of the defense. If you watched any Denver Broncos game last year you heard Peyton Manning shout “Hurry Hurry!” at least 20 times a game. That’s his trademark audible and that’s what the defense uses against us. Hurrying. In life busyness is one of our greatest enemies. We are so busy and so stressed during our days that we are irritable, angry, envious, and just too tired to take time for others and especially God. Husbands come home and sit in front of the TV instead of engaging. Families spend more time worrying about their own day than asking about each other.

Its because of this busyness that we often don’t make time for God or his plan in our lives. We feel his call on our hearts and say, “maybe tomorrow when I have time God.” Or maybe we say next week, next month, or next year. We think God doesnt realize how the defense is lined up right? We are too busy for a run on 3rd and 8 so we decide to audible “hurry hurry” to a pass. Whats the result? A pick six. Every. Damn. Time. But we never learn to trust God’s playcalling.

Even here at Elevate, I’ve found myself yelling “hurry hurry” at the line of scrimmage. I find time in my day to go to work, workout, hangout with everyone, get dinner and watch a video/maybe read a book, but I rarely get any real quiet time with God. I spend time investing in others spirituality but claim I’m to busy to really dig into my own. In the words of John Ortberg in The Life You’ve Always Wanted**, “We need to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives.”

Eliminate whatever is holding you back from your time with the Lord. For me that means time away from social situations. I hate to miss out on hanging out with people, so I’ll spend all my time trying to be social instead of spending just 10 minutes in prayer. Today I took almost my whole day to just relax and be comforted in the Lord and I feel the most rested and calm I have on this trip so far. God has a play-call and as long as I follow it I’m good to go, and that is so comforting.

Is it hard? Yes. Does it always make sense? No, and I’ll get to that in a later post. But we can all start by eliminating the one thing Satan has implanted so deep into our culture, even Christian culture, hurry. And be quick about it.

Elevate 6-9-13 A Battle to Fight

Ever watch a movie and wish you were in it? That you could slay gladiators, or wage war against robots? Maybe its just a guy thing, but I found myself with this desire since I was a little kid. The other night we watched Gladiator and Terminator Salvation and as I watched I made some odd discoveries.

We Christians arent so far off from those fictional stories. Think about it, what happened to Adam and Eve after their time in the Garden of Eden? Judgement Day. Sin attacked and we have been on the defensive ever since. The earth we cultivated and animals we trusted turned on us because we got to cocky, to ahead of ourselves, too busy trying to play God. Now what do we wait for? Salvation. Following me yet?

Gladiator tells the tale of disgraced Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius. He is betrayed and sold into slavery after the Emperor’s son kills his father and takes his throne. Maximus loses his wife, his son and is sold as a gladiator. He fights with honor and courage to the top of the Gladiator ladder, and finally he meets the Emperors son. Maximus refuses to take off his helmet, walking away from the man (Commodus) who had him made a slave and his family killed. Commodus demands he take off his helmet and give him his name. Here is what he has to say.

Maximus: [removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

You might be wondering what I’m getting at here. WE are ALL in a great battle against a POWERFUL and REAL evil. So often Christians meander about ignoring the facet of spiritual warfare that is all around them. Day and night there wages a fight for our souls. For the glory of God and the darkness of Satan.

Judgement day came as Adam and Eve ate the fruit. We then became a resistance against an enemy who comes at us with real Terminators: Lies. The lie of comparison, the lie of contentment, the lie of not good enough, the lie of abandonment. Satan uses these against us every day and we have to wage war against it.

We were like Maximus once. We controlled angel armies, and had families. Then a great uprising sent everything spiraling out of control. We were tricked, betrayed, and made slaves to sin. Since then we’ve lost friends, family members, brothers and sisters in Chirst, to the lies of the enemy. I know more than 7 people who committed suicide because they couldn’t escape the darkness. Satan won the battle. Doesn’t that stir something in you?

We have such power in prayer, and in the name of Jesus Christ, that we can drive out demons, we can break chains, we can destroy lies and thoroughly undercut the enemy advance that has so devastated this world.

God even gave us armor. Ephesians tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we may extinguish the arrows of the enemy. We defend ourselves with the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes of Readiness, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and to attack with the Sword of the Spirit. WHY DO WE VIEW THIS AS A FUNNY METAPHOR?! God calls us to fight! Too often do we view Jesus as a push-over, “turn the other cheek”, and “just kill em with kindness” kind of God. The God of the Old Testament slayed thousands for his people. He brought down the walls of Jericho. He armed a shepherd boy to kill a giant. The list goes on and on. Even Jesus drove out gamblers from the Temple with righteous fury. Yes, Jesus says to love your enemy. But you miss the point if you think you aren’t supposed to fight.

If my friend is under spiritual attack, and committing sin in the form of lust or aggression or whatever, I am going to love on him and go to battle for his soul. I will pray in the name of Jesus that battalions of angels combat the enemy clouding his judgment and trapping him with lies.

Lies took more than 7 people I knew, but I refuse to cower in the corner with a “WWJD” bracelet on and say “well everything happens for a reason.”

I want to remove my helmet, look the Devil straight in the eye and say, “My name is Chance Wyatt Chaffin, commander of the Armies of Heaven, General of Angels and loyal servant to the TRUE king, Jesus Christ. Brother to a murdered friend, former slave to a fallen world. And I will have my victory, in this life and the next.”

Elevate 6-4-13: Wait its June?

Some how this didnt post the other day which is a little upsetting… So just take note of the date above, and I’ll try to add another post today to catch up.

Ladies and gentleman time is flying by here in San Diego! I finished my last post, blinked, and now here I am. I am so stressed for time that I am going to make this as brief and informational as possible because I am headed to the beach in… 19 minutes.

GO

Ive worked about 5 days at Petsmart now and its been great. I stock shelves, say hi to dogs and run the cash register. I havent gotten a whole lot of time to talk with my coworkers because my managers have kept me busy but today I got this guy Miguel’s phone number and he wants to hangout in the near future. I have been praying for God to give me favor with my co-workers (thanks to James) and its working! My manager is awesome, she’s like a mom to everyone and I like that, and this 42 year old who helped trained me is hitting on me which is kinda weird considering she is older than my mom. Literally though, she told me I was fun to look at… yeesh

That might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been having to wear a womens medium Petsmart shirt to work every day. It is rather formfitting and very flattering. Did I mention I work at 5am? Yeah. 5 AM everyday. I like to sleep, so this is like my hell. God is really trying to stretch me and challenge me to be happy and thankful and loving enough at 5 am to make an impact on my co-workers.

I’ve been working out everyday since getting here and I think its starting to pay off a little bit, some of the people are mentioning I look more fit since I arrived. Cool. The whole “I’m not pale as a ghost” thing probably helps as well.

I have Romans 5:8 and Psalm 139:23-24 memorized now, pretty sure I did that once in private school already so I kinda cheated (pretty low) but hey Private school came in clutch for one.

We had a wiffle ball tournament, multiple movie nights, and nighttime hottub/pool sessions since the last time I wrote, all a blast. Once again it really sucks being one of 5 males on the trip. We did a photo shoot the other day too, look up my tagged photos on facebook if you want to catch a glimpes. God has just blessed us with amazing girls on this trip, its so awesome. And awesome guys to lead as well. Everynight we have been praying for people by name for things we see throughout the day and over the entire group. We believe the Devil is and will come at us hard with spiritual warfare so we are fired up to go to battle for this group. We wont go without a fight.

Church has been awesome and we had lunch with one of the pastors sunday afternoon. He and his wife spent 25 years in taiwan and travel throughout the year visiting missionaries and overseeing programs. It was cool to hear because my Grandparents did the same thing for a while. David Royall and I found a high schooler at the service and talked with him a bit, he is going to be our project for next time, hopefully we can get his number.

Lessons have been so awesome and I’ll post tomorrow about what we have been going over and what I’ve been learning/hearing from God. So much cool stuff. But yeah, I get off work at noon tomorrow so I’ll have time to write a tad bit more thoroughly and eloquently

Elevate 5-28-13: God is Faithful

Yesterday was celebration night for the Elevate crew once again. We gathered in a community church to sing songs and just be thankful for the Lord and his goodness. I struggled with being thankful, oddly enough, because I was stressed about work. I was hired a week and one day ago but I havent put one hour of work in yet. As of last night I didn’t know why I wasnt working or when I would be starting. Stress set in as others were still scrambling for jobs and I sat on the beach like a bum. To make matter worse, my friend Kara got hired after me and was starting today. Very happy for her but I didnt know what it meant for me. Then we began to sing a song by Matt Redman called “Never Once.”

“Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful”

As I sang “You are Faithful, God, You are faithful” I began to exhale my worry and frustration. I could just hear God saying “Why do you worry? I am Faithful.”

And he is. Today I went into Petsmart to check on things. I ask the cashier if the manager, Michelle, is in. She isnt. Well crap. She is the only one who knows about my status… So I ask for Derrick or Brandon, the stores assistant managers. Over the loud speaker I hear “Derrick to the front office, Derrick” and out of the back he comes. As I shake his hand he tells me he’ll search for a note in her office or on his desk. Still pensive, I mutter ok and hope for the best… “You start tomorrow at 9″ are the first words from his mouth when he returns. Exhale. God you are faithful. Still walking with me as always, even through my worry.

Lets see, what else is going on?… After my epiphany at the celebration night I decided to go up and celebrate our group. I vaguely knew 3 people going into this trip, but somehow I already feel at home and like I am surrounded by friends. Not that I have ever been bad at making friends, but I never expected this. There was literally no period in which I felt lonely or as an outsider. I think thats because of how loving our group is. They really have servants hearts and they are here for the basic function of loving God and loving people.

I am now determined to come home tan and in shape. We have been working out every morning and getting plenty of sun time at the beach. I’m still just a darker shade of pale, but thats a step in the right direction. And regular workout partners are awesome for keeping you accountable and going hard. Our bodies are temples right? Well I want mine to be nice and shiny. On a more serious note I really struggle with body image and I think this trip is helping a lot. I feel more comfortable in tanktops and with my shirt off then I ever have and thats not normal around strangers. Just the overall boost in self-confidence is pretty awesome. I look good in a tank and I can actually believe myself for once.

David, Tyler and I went grocery shopping for this week and we are eating well. We’ll be having fajitas (with Kyle’s world famous queso) on Thursday, Sloppy Joes on Friday and Steaks on Saturday. Yum. We have a $200 budget for the week for those 3 meals and lunches (Breakfast and 3 nights of dinner are served by the hotel) and we had $70 left to blow on whatever after our initial purchase. So we have a plethora of chips, goldfish, popcorn, and ice cream now. There goes the “stay in shape thing.”

Hey you. Reading this. Yes you. Wanna help us out? Our team is still in need of lots of prayer. There are friends of mine that still dont have jobs. Please pray for all of the jobless but specifically for my bro Tyler and friend Alyse. We also need prayer for servants hearts as we all begin working and to just focus on loving on people like God loves on us. Love wins ya know.

What else has been going on? We saw the new Star Trek today and it was awesome. I highly recommend it. It twas a glorious bro night but for you ladies out there two members of the female race crashed our bro night and they both enjoyed the film as well. I love the guy who played Khan, he plays sherlock holmes in the BBC series Sherlock and its fantastic. Look it up on Netflix if you can.

Evan James and I got tossed around like laundry in the waves yesterday. Literally flipping around like a rag doll, I felt like I was 8 again. Crazy how powerful the ocean is. Imagine if people feared and respected God the way they did the Ocean. I mean he made it so he is more powerful right? A cool concept to think about.

Kyle and I hungout a bit today and just talked about life and what, if anything, I’ve been struggling with and about girls. It’s nice having someone around to check up on you with the tough questions and staying accountable. Kyle is also a amazing musician so you guys should Google Kyle Worsham and checkout his music. I’m pretty sure he is on myspace…

Thats all for today (under 1,000 woohoo!) so I will update you guys after my first day of work tomorrow! Prayers for that would be awesome.

Thanks and God Bless

 

Elevate 5-24-13: My Love Language

My love language is adventure. Followed closely by words of affirmation and physical touch. Wednesday night Evan asked us what our love languages were and I had no idea what he was talking about. It was the end of our Village/Ethos group and Drew explained that there are 5 main love languages: Quality Time (adventures for me), Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts and Service. Each one is a way you personally connect and receive praise well. For example Evan is a Physical Touch guy. He connects with people via pats on the shoulder, a hug, physical activity, etc. Its how he bonds and shows affection. I like words of affirmation. Today during a workout Kyle told me “Dude your arms are looking good” and it was totally a boost to my morning.  Was it small? Yeah. But I really appreciated it and its how I receive love well.

For those of you who don’t know, Village and Ethos are two versions of small groups that Resonate Church encourages every member to be a part of.  Village is a group of 10-15 people that meet once a week, eat a meal together and go into the scripture from last Sunday a little deeper. Its like a Life Group at Chapel Hill or Campaigners at Young Life. Ethos is groups of 2-3 and its much more personal. You really bare your soul to these people and expose all of your weaknesses and strengths. This way you have a strong group of men or women that know each other extremely well and you can support each other as well as keep each other accountable for your actions and your walk with Christ.

We are pretty much doing a bigger group of Ethos with the 8 guys here on the trip.  Wednesday we all met and shared out stories. When some people have to “share their stories “ they give a 3-5 minute short version. With 8 guys that would last approximately 40 minutes. Wednesday night we talked and shared for 4 hours. It was so cool to hear these guys just put themselves out there and expose themselves. Even I talked about some stuff that I never really admitted to before. And I don’t even know these people. I’ve known them collectively for like 4 days but here I am just trusting in them to know some pretty deep stuff. I feel a lot closer to the guys after that.

We’ve been working out every morning and I love it. I’m not a morning guy. I would rather set my hair on fire then get up early. But here I am at 7 getting up to workout with James, Tyler, Evan, and Kyle. I am really self conscious about my body so just having some guys to keep me accountable for working out is such a blessing. Honestly I feel so much better about myself throughout the day, especially with being in tank tops or no shirts because of the weather.

We’ve also been doing devotionals every morning. The thing is, a different one of us leads each day. And we aren’t exactly pros at leading a devotional with 6 guys. I watch as each day God puts something on one of our hearts and we bring it to the group. And every time is applicable to all of us.  I’m up tomorrow and I still don’t know what exactly I’ll be going over. I’ll let you guys know in a post tomorrow.

Now back to my love language: Adventure. Yesterday (Thursday) I was sitting in my room and I got a text from Becca. She was heading to the Post Office and was wondering if I wanted to come. At first I thought I should get some reading and writing done but then felt this push to go. “Why not?” We take the shuttle to the post office and end up in this beautiful part of downtown La Jolla. Quaint little shops, Mission Style churches with beautiful bell towers, Art Museums, and a Quicksilver shop, which is like my ultimate clothing store.  As we ventured west we discovered we could get to the water from where we were and there began the real adventure. Cascading waves crashing on tidal shores greeted us. We explored the flats and cliffs and found all manner of critters milling about. From land squirrels and Pelicans to Seals and Hermit Crabs. It was so friggin cool. I’ll post some pictures below.

Eventually we found a beach with a little cave. I decided to explore a bit. As I investigate I emerge in this tidal flat and venture out into the rocks. Just one problem, there is zero traction out there. I slipped, feet straight up Charlie Brown style, and lost my flip-flops while hitting my leg on a rock and scraping my arm. I’m fine. My pride hurts a little bit but I’m fine. Becca laughed, I got up and found my flip flops and ventured home. Becca is really cool. God has put these awesome relationships in place already and I’m stoked about it. We straight nerded out about Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit for like an hour while observing these cool tidepools. She is a zoo-ology major so she is pretty knowledgeable about that kind of thing.

A trip to the post office turned into a 3 hour adventure and I got back at around 3:30 to meet with one of the leaders, David Royal. David will be the guy that I will meet with one on one weekly just to see how life is going and my walk with Christ. We see things on the same page. We talked for about an hour just about life and some things I had mentioned on Wednesday night and I felt like he was a guy who could really understand me and I could really trust. I’m excited about getting to meet with him. He told me he thinks I could be a good leader and he cant wait to see what this 10 weeks does for me.

There is that 1000, word mark again. We had movie night last night in the girls room and watched Shanghai Noon (totally forgot how awesome Jackie Chan is) and got some quality hottub time with David and Kyle. Kyle has this tattoo on his bicep that says “Love Yahweh, Love Peopl” and I think its so cool. I love the simplicity. It really hits at the heart of a Christian. We are called to love God and to love on other people. I think that will be a big part of what I do here. Learn to just love God and because of that love reflect it on other people. I am kind of thinking about getting that tattooed somewhere on me too. Don’t worry Mom I wont do it while I’m here (I don’t think) But I was thinking about putting it on my wrist so I could cover it with a watch if need be.

Todays agenda involves praying for the guys looking for Jobs, memorizing some scripture and after some quality God time, getting some quality time with his creation a.k.a. the beach.

Have a good one all and God Bless