Sacrifice.

“They say that you can’t give your whole self away
So why am I finding it hard to tell some pieces to stay?
My life, like a living sacrifice, is offered to all
Until nothing is left, it is then that I will fall?” -Jon Bauman

Sacrifice is something that not many people “get”.  Sacrifice does not mean doing something to benefit yourself, it means doing something to benefit another.  It means giving up things yourself, to make things better for another.  It means true compassion.

I do not claim to be a fully sacrificial person; I am also selfish, stubborn, prideful, arrogant, ignorant, and may other not-so-attractive attributes that can define some things that I can be and that I can do.  I strive everyday to go against these attributes and live more humbly, honestly, sincerely, and lovingly.  Now, it is not so much of an effort as it used to be, I barely think about it because the positive attributes have become who I am, and the bad attributes come more sparingly, and all credit goes to God.  But thats what college can do to you; it changes you because for the first time – you are yourself, you can make your own decisions, and you start seeing the effects of your bad ones.  Instead of not doing something because you were told not to, you don’t do it because you do not want to do it.  God has really used college to shape me into the man I am today, and I am so grateful.

That being said, I will do so much for people because I want to, and because I have a better mindset of what the right thing to do is, than I used to.  Some call it maturity, others sanctification, I’m just thankful that it happened, and is continuing to shape as I grow in faith and age.  During a semester in college, I went to a homeless living community in Bristol, PA once a week to just communicate with the guys there, and be real with them.  People may give them clothing, food, etc., but few actually stay and talk, and come back week after week to build relationships with them, and I am so thankful that the church I went with, Redemption, does that, and has let me join them.  After I got to know the guys better…I found it hard to call them “homeless”.  They have tents, family, friends, food, clothing, and all of what they need to live, and most of it is self-sustaining, but God’s Church through Redemption and other churches have given them what they don’t have, what they need.  And that…is really, really awesome to see.

Sacrifice can be done in many forms.  We can sacrifice our time, money, efforts, houses, cars, and many other things; but the largest sacrifice we can make is our life.  Would you be willing to die so that others may live?  Would you be able to die for your faith?  These are questions that are hard to answer.  The answer we know we should say is “yes”, but there is always a part of us that says “no”, or “I honestly don’t know”.

A few years back, I was at the beach.  And at this beach, a friend and I saw two girls by the rock barrier, in the water, at high tide.  We shouted to see if they needed help, and they did so we swam over and we each took ahold of one.  Because of the high tide and the struggle of trying to swim with another person, I got separated from the girl that I was trying to save.  I then got pushed into the rock barrier and was stuck there for a few minutes, and after I got away from it again, every foot I swam, I got sucked back another two feet; I was making NO progress.  This went on for a few more minutes(which seemed like hours), and my breaths kept taking in more salt water as I was getting more fatigued and the tide was continuing to rise.  Finally, I looked up at the sky and prayed in my head, “God…I’m ready.  Take me now, I’m ready to go”.  In that moment…I was SO content about dying, I was OKAY with it.  Then immediately after I prayed that prayer…my feet felt sand, and I was swimming towards shore and I was completely safe with just a few minor scratches on my ankle from the rocks.  That event taught me that I was okay with dying, and that God had a plan for me.

But that event taught me something else too.  Since I was okay with dying, I would be okay to die in order to save someone else.  I would be willing to make that sacrifice for others, and for my faith.  To me, to live is to make others’ lives enriched.  To me, sacrificial living is the way to go.  People that know me know that I am a pretty peaceful guy, but they also know that I am very protective of my friends and my family.  I will do anything for them.  but as stated before…I am NOT perfect, and therefore, I am not a fully sacrificial person, but in most cases, I yearn to live sacrificially.

How do you view sacrifice?  Does love require sacrifice? Would you Not sacrifice something?  These are questions to think about and to ponder.  And that is what i will leave you with.

God Bless,

-Jon

Advertisements

Blessed.

pros·per·i·ty/präˈsperitē/
Noun:
The state of being prosperous.
Synonyms:
welfare – success – well-being – weal – wealth

When most people think of prosperity, provisions, and being prosperous, a few words come to mind; they are wealth, and money.  But I challenge us all to view the state of being prosperous as something more, and to have it mean something that may not have to do at all with material wealth and/or money.

I am saved by Christ.

I am loved by the holy Godhead, three in one.

I am loved by my family.

I am loved by friends.

I am loved by my church family.

I have opportunities to love others.

I have people praying for me.

I have the opportunity to pray for others.

In short, I am Blessed.  In short, I am prosperous.  Today is my birthday, and I got to spend it with my family, with my friends, and most importantly, with God.  In church this morning, the pastor was speaking about what it means to be a “follower” of Christ, and what it means to be just a “fan”.  It was based off of scripture passages, and the book “not a fan” by kyle idleman.  The scripture passage that struck me the most was when Jesus fed the 5000, and the people followed him across the lake to the other side, and he said to them, “you only follow me because I gave you food, not because you know the miraculous signs”(paraphrase). Then the people went back…

How often do we ask God for money, for food, for funds for expensive missions trips, for things we want, or even things we need?  I am not saying that asking is wrong, all I am saying is that we should already feel prosperous because of what we have in HIM, what HE Gave to US.  And we should also be willing to accept that we may not get what we pray for all the time; God may not “provide” in the way we think sometimes.  Not our will, but His be done.

Are we willing to die for our savior?


Overcome The Apathy

Have you ever just sat in silence-in sad wonder over what is happening to other people?  Have you ever cried or almost cried because you saw how much other people are hurting?  Have you ever just wanted to shout at their agressors and guard the hurting person(s) with all of your being?  Have you ever cared so much, that you actually pray for them…more than once?

Praying is a really good thing.  Not only are you asking God to help the other person(s) through whatever they are dealing with, but you are having the thought and compassion to do so.  Sometimes, I tell someone that I will pray for them, and then I forget.  Or I pray for them once, and then i forget to pray for them again. Now, this loss of thought is me being human; it happens.  So, sometimes when I say I will pray for someone, I literally pray for them right away because I don’t trust myself to remember.  But there are other times where I pray for the same person(s) everyday, sometimes multiple times a day.  It is on those days that I feel closer with God, and I feel like I am being a more compassionate person, because in me praying for those other people, I am thinking of them, asking God to help them, and truly caring about their well being.

I think the first step, or at least the most prominent step to overcome the apathy is prayer.   But there should also be more action if you at all can provide it.  Action can take multiple forms; from praying, to conversing, to hanging out with the person, and to take action like feeding the homeless, healing the sick, giving water to the thirsty, or even to simply buy products from companies like TOMs Shoes, falling whistles, invisible children, Pura Vida Coffee, etc..

But in all that we do…we must do with upmost sincerity.  Don’t just befriend someone to “save their soul”, or to do your good deed.  Don’t just give a blanket to a homeless man or woman because it makes you feel better, and don’t just say that you are praying for someone because it may make you look good.  Instead, befriend people because you like their personalities, give a blanket to a homeless person because they are cold, and pray for people because they need it.  Do all of this with a mindset of Love, and Christ will shine through your words and your actions.

To overcome apathy, means that we have to overcome ourselves.  What motivates our actions?  Why do we do the things we do?  Why don’t we do things we don’t do?  Who are we, without all of the fasades that we wear like extravagant robes?  I try to think about these things, and I try to weigh my motivations myself.  Through this, I have discovered that I am a compassionate person.  I care about what other people go through…but sometimes…I’m apathetic; even though I am wired to care for others.  Why doesn’t my heart break every time I see burning buildings on the news?  Why doesn’t my heart break when I see a tsunami’s damage?  The answer to that is because I may not know the people who were harmed directly.  But really, I should be praying every time I see those things.

Lately, if I pass a car crash, I pray for the people involved.  If I know someone is in trouble, I pray for them, and I let them know that they have support from me(even if they do not know me), because I want them to feel loved, cared about, and supported, because that is exactly how I feel. I love them, I care for them, and I want to support them.

Lately…I have been trying to overcome apathy.

Want to join me?

Covered

Emptied out, I fall to my knees now

My stubborn self, too weak to stand

And to the one I hurt, I slowly bow

Ashamed to look at the bleeding hands

 

My hands touch the wet ground

Of what they touch, I do not know

Ashamed, ashamed, I bow my head

Closing my eyes, anticipating the blow

 

I hear movement, but I dare not look

The hurt man is surely ready to swing

I hear something dragging, but I dare not look

Here it comes, here it comes, my deserved penalty

 

I weep until my tears overcome my vision

This is long overdue, but I dare not look

Here I bow, awaiting the painful collision

Oh here it comes…but I dare not look

 

The man comes beside me

I can hear his heart beating fast

Oh here it comes, here comes the beating

I deserve this punishment for my past

 

The man places a hand on my shoulder

I dare not look, I dare not look

He beakons me to rise and stand

I do as he says, but I dare not look

 

He wipes the tears from my closed eyes

But I refuse to open them

I am ready to be beaten and chastized

I am hopelessly condemned

 

The man tells me to open my eyes

I cannot refuse his request

I look at the ground, but it is unwise

For I am standing in blood, it is all a mess

 

I look at the man in fear

He looks weak, but strong

There was blood from far to near

How long will this prolong…

 

The man speaks to me

“The blood is mine, all mine”

Could one man have this much to bleed

So much that it would pour out like wine

 

I ask him why he bled in vast amounts

He replies, “to cover you”

But why oh why, on what account

Could this claim even be true

 

The man lifts what he had been dragging

It was two wooden planks that intersected

Taller than a man, it was quite baffling

This was absolutely not what I expected

 

The man calmly explained

“I took on your beating

My face is stained

The blood is a sign of a life with meaning”

 

Awestruck I bowed again

This doesn’t make sense, I deserve to die

How could this man who I hurt again and again

Offer me this chance of a brand new life

 

I rise from the ground, and he embraces me

Why is he doing this, what have I done

I look at my heart, and failure is all I see

So how can he treat me like I am his son

 

I walk towards the door as he says to me

“Tell others that what I have done, is for them too”

But oh, How can that really be

How can something so undeserved be true….

-Jon Bauman, July 2, 2011.

Honest. Sincere. Faith.

I try to base my life and faith around a few words: Honesty, Sincerity, and Love.

Honesty – If you have a bad day, don’t act like you are having a great day. When we do that, we are just forfeiting any help we could receive from others if we would have just told them the truth.
When I pray to God, sometimes its not the generic, “God I love you, thanks for everything, Amen” prayer…Sometimes it may sound closer to this: “God, I’m really struggling right now with a lot of stuff, and I need you so bad right now. Please Help me. I know you are there, but I need your help now.”
You see, if we are not honest with God…who can we be honest with? God can handle it. Look at David, Job, Abraham, Peter, Adam, Noah, Ruth, Boaz, etc.. The bible is FULL of God using people, who may not be the most “perfect”. It’s time that we realize this so that we can move forward.

Sincerity – Whatever I do, I want to be Real. Whether that is in my faith, my friendships, my relationships, or in the way I interact with people on a daily basis.

Love – Jesus was such a good example of how to love people. He met people where they were at, healed them, ministered to them, taught them, fed them, and he forgave them. The only times in the Gospels that he was violent or had an aggressive tone was when he was addressing the hypocrisy and/or the insincerity of the Religious leaders of the day.
So as for me, I am going to Love.

With these attributes that I try to live by, I oppose apathy. When people are starving, we should care. When people are sick, we should care. When people are depressed, we should care. When people are struggling, we should care.

When we are struggling, we should care.
and if we are apathetic about the fore-mentioned issues…..We NEED to care…