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Whatever Stands In His Way

Yesterday as I was sitting in church listening to our pastor’s sermon, God began to convict me of something.  The Scripture was based out of Mark 6: 1-5.  This passage talks about how Jesus went to His hometown to preach.  The people were impressed by His teaching, but were caught up in the fact that they knew His family and where He came from.  They saw how ordinary He really was, and their focus was on His humanity so much so that they could not see that He was the Son of God.  The Bible says that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith, and it was because of this that He could not do many miracles in that town.

Pastor talked about the things that stand in the way of God’s desires.  He asked, “If Jesus were standing here and speaking to you, would you hear Him?  Would He be able to get through?  What things in your life are you holding onto that keep Him from being able to do what He desires to do in your life?”  Immediately my mind went to my situation and everything that I am doing to prepare to move to South America to be a missionary.  I am in the process of downsizing nearly everything I own, but there was something that I was planning on keeping that God showed me was a stumbling block to Him in my life.

I love my movies and I love my TV shows.  This is something that over the past few years I have really invested in, and I enjoy having a library with a wide variety to choose from.  I was planning on sending these things to my parents’ house for safekeeping during my time in South America, and there would have been nothing wrong with that had God not stepped in and pointed out how much I love those things.  He showed me how I was more than willing to give up the things that really didn’t matter to me, but could I sacrifice something that I value when He asked me?

I went down to the altar yesterday and settled the question.  What I desire more than anything is for God to have complete control of my life and to have my entire heart.  Should there be anything that stands in His way, I must obey Him and destroy the barrier.  I want Him to be able to do anything He desires to do in my life.  I want Him to have all of me.

It seems so stupid that something this small would stand in the way.  It is easy point the finger away from ourselves and toward America and say, “Our society struggles so much with materialism.  Americans are so selfish.”  However, it has come time for me to give up everything that I have accumulated over the years, and I have found that I am just as guilty of placing high value on things as everyone else.  I am the selfish one.  Could I be brave enough to tell Christ that I desire more than anything to identify with Him in His life, death, and resurrection?  What does that truly mean in the practical of my life?  I can and have talked about being wholly His for years, but now when the real test of faithfulness and surrender comes to pass, will I be found true to Him?

Therefore every day as God shines a light on certain areas of my life, I must be obedient to remove whatever stands in His way.  I want Him to have a clear path to my heart.  This means that I must stay faithful even when it hurts and even when it seems that what He is asking of me is more than I can give.  May He give me the courage and strength to follow Him wherever He might lead no matter how much it may cost.  Let there be no question:  I am HIS.
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My Story

I grew up in Nebraska and lived there until I went to college at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS.  My parents are both volunteer youth pastors in their church and have been in that position for around 25 years.  Youth ministry is their passion, and growing up in a house surrounded by it, I developed a passion for ministry as well.

 

I knew from a young age that God was calling me to be a missionary.  It was honestly something that I rarely doubted.  The call grew stronger the older I became, but the lessons I needed to learn grew more difficult as well.  Especially during my college years, I had many experiences that stretched, molded, and shaped me.  I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa as a representative of the United States in a global leadership conference, serve as a missionary intern in Ecuador for seven weeks, and teach English in the Dominican Republic for three and a half months.  I served on a ministry team for a summer at Mount Rushmore National Memorial and worked with inner-city kids for three and a half years.  God has opened several doors for ministry over the past few years, but I have found that I have walked away having gained more than perhaps I ever gave away.

I have learned that even God-given visions must be laid on the altar of sacrifice.  So often I have chased after the dreams God gave me and left Him in the dust.  He then brings me back and calls me closer to Him, reminding me that it is Him that I serve, not His plan.  It is He who is my love, the passion of my life.  He is the treasure worth giving everything I have to possess.  What an honor it is that we could know Him; not just who He is, but know His heart.

So many times I have broken down, and there was a time when I gave up my calling.  God chased me down in a supernatural way and reminded me that He called me to be a missionary, not because of what I could do for Him, but because He wanted me.  I saw myself as useless and a hindrance.  He saw me as His child.  I learned that it is not what I do for Him that defines my worth; I am worth it to Him just as I am, and He proved that when He died on the cross.  Even before I cared about Him or gave Him my heart, He loved me and He gave all of Himself for me.  Therefore, I no longer serve Him out of obligation or the need to repay a debt I feel I owe Him.  I serve Him from the center of me, out of His love that overflows, filled by His Spirit.

This past year of living in Nashville has been a time of refining, growth, and discovery.  I am no longer the scared child I was for so many years.  God has taught me so much about faith and His trustworthiness with the unknown in my life.  He is always at work, often times much deeper inside my heart than I knew existed in me.  He knows me far better than I even know myself, and He believes in me more than I think He should sometimes.  I am learning more every day how to shed the lies of insecurity and fear that I have believed for so long and to put on the truth that God proclaims over me.

In April, God presented an idea to me that I stubbornly tried to ignore.  However, if you’ve ever tried to duke it out with Almighty God of the Universe, you know that it is a battle you can’t win.  A friend of mine began recruiting me for a program in South America through Extreme Nazarene Ministries.  It started out as a simple trip to a coffee shop, then over the course of a couple weeks became something that I couldn’t get out of my mind.  Finally, I gave in and applied for the program and during my interview in June, God confirmed His call that I will be going to South America in September.  What an overwhelming decision that was, knowing that it would take nothing short of a miracle to be able to pull that off in just a couple short months.  However, I also know that He is more than able to do anything, and He loves the word “Impossible”.  He will not call me to something that He will not come through on, and I am trusting His heart to do this big and enormous thing that He has promised.

We will be moving to Arequipa, Peru in mid-September and will attend language school and training for the next five and a half months.  In March, we will arrive in our new home in Ecuador and serve for at least two years.  We will be given the task of evangelism, with the goal of planting thriving churches and cell groups throughout the city in which we will be living.  Each of us from the United States (there will be 4-5 of us) will be partnered one on one with an Ecuadorian that will serve with us throughout our time there.  If you would like more information, please contact me through Facebook, Twitter, or the email address below.  I would love to talk to you!

Probably one of the most amazing parts of going into missions full-time is the opportunity that I have to partner with people in the United States and around the world both financially and through prayer.  Everyone who has done missions knows that there is always fundraising involved.  However, when it is done right, it involves the development of a relationship and the sharing of two journeys in ministry.  So many people that I know are passionate about missions but are not able to move to another country to live and serve.  However, they have the opportunity to support me as I go, and I in turn have the opportunity to share not only what God is doing on the field but also learn in greater depth what God is doing in the lives of my supporters.

Would you be interested in being one of my supporters?  There are a few different ways that you can.  You can support me with a one-time donation.  These are important as I need around $4,000 physically in the bank to be able to leave.  The big thing I would like for you to consider, however, is supporting me monthly while I am on the field.  It costs a little more than $1,000 per month to live there, and I am excited about the opportunity I have to build strong relationships with those who would pledge to regularly support me.  I must have around $37,000 pledged in order to go.  This cost covers all our living and travel expenses as well as language school for the next two and a half years.  For more information, you can visit my profile on Extreme’s website at:  www.extremenazarene.org/weber.  On this website, you can also sign up to be a prayer partner, and I will add you to my newsletter list.  You can also email me personally at cweber@extremenazarene.org.

Thank you so much for being a part of my story, and I look forward to sharing in yours as well!  God is doing amazing things in this world, and we are so blessed to play a role, however small, in this great dream of His.  May His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!  For His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever, AMEN!

Saying Goodbye and Saying Hello

Life is full of changes.  We are always having to adjust to something.  To live and be a part of the world is to experience change.  I have been thinking all day about this curious thing called life.  Why does a child long so much to grow up, only to discover as an adult all they want to be is a child again?  I watch my little cousin grow up and I wonder at time and how it passes.  This particular chapter in life leaves me with so many things to ponder.

Tonight as I was driving home from meeting a friend, it struck me how short my time is left in the United States.  I leave Nashville in less than a month to go home for a few weeks before I move overseas.  I started thinking through all the things that I am going to miss:  driving through downtown at night blasting Daughtry, gazing at the city skyline with all the lights glowing, having freedom, actually driving my own car, being alone.  A part of me just wanted to cry, because I realized how much I really love these things.  In fact, I have fought hard to have these things for so long.  Now after just a few short months of living here, I am giving it all up.  I am leaving.  I am saying goodbye.

Leaving a life that I love and people that I love is so hard.  There are so many emotions flying around inside of me.  I can be completely excited one moment with not a cloud in the sky and then I blink and all I want to do is cry.  It is a mourning process.  It is a rollercoaster ride of feelings and junk.  However, throughout this whole ordeal, I am choosing to remember that saying goodbye to my life here is not the only thing that I am doing.  I am also saying hello to something new that God has ordained in my life.  Just like there are things that I love and treasure here in Nashville, there will be things that I will love and treasure in South America.  Life is full of twists and turns and changes and experiences.

I feel like my worldview is constantly under construction.  This place in my life is so interesting.  I have lived enough years to have many memories and experiences to look back on, but I also have many years of future in front of me, if God allows.  I am coming to the point in my life where I realize that the majority of the people I meet are only around for a while, and then they become a memory.  I am finally beginning to realize that it’s ok that way.  We can’t stay best friends with everyone we’ve ever known forever.  There’s a saying going around on Facebook that says something like, “You don’t lose friends.  You just realize who your real friends are.”  I have a hard time agreeing with this statement.  I believe I have had some amazing and close friends over the years and at one point or another we have come to a crossroads and parted ways.  I still consider them my real friends even though we do not keep in close contact anymore.  Life sometimes leads us in different directions, and change is a part of everything.  We can’t constantly live in the past or dedicate all our time to trying to keep alive things that are only for a season.  Sometimes doors close, and sometimes other ones open.  Fact of life.  If you haven’t yet realized this, then your reality check is on its way and will show up at your door soon.

Another thing that is curious to me is that God sometimes leads us to things and then away from things and it doesn’t always make sense.  He calls us to many things that don’t necessarily seem to have a reason.  There are certainly some questions that I have for Him, but I’m sure that someday I will come to understand why certain things turned out they way they did…maybe.  Maybe I never will.  I don’t understand why I was only in Nashville for such a short time when I was planning on being here much longer.  What I do know is that I have grown up more in the past 10 months than I have perhaps at any other point in my life.  I have learned more about life and myself than I ever dreamed I would, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that without all the molding and shaping that God has done in me through this experience, I would not be remotely ready to move to South America.  I’m sure that many more challenges and learning experiences are forthcoming, but looking back over my life until this point, I can see how God directed and used every moment that I gave back to Him.  He never wastes time or tears.  He’s good like that.

One thing that I have learned about the changing of chapters and phases in life is that the more changes I experience, the more I am aware of what is constant.  That pretty much leaves God.  Although my understanding of Him changes as I grow closer to Him, I can stand confident in His unchanging character and these simple truths that hold me together:  He loves me, He loves the world, He knows better than me, He has a purpose for my life, this purpose is bigger and more important than me, and He will carry to completion the work He started.  Although He is into breaking down every mold and barrier anyone can place on Him and the way He works doesn’t always make sense to us, I know that He is good.  It is because of these unchanging things that I can move forward and trust His heart, because I know who He is.  My God can never be untrue to who He is.

Each step of the way, it seems that I am saying goodbye to something else.  My life is in utter turmoil right now and I am feeling so many emotions, yet through it all I have an incredible peace.  I know without a doubt that God has called me to move to South America.  A lot of people would be critical of my confidence, but I can guarantee those people have never grown close enough to God to take a risk with Him.  He is more than capable of communicating His will to us, and when that is what we desire, it is impossible to overlook.  He may reveal it to us in stages, but He makes each step clear as it comes time for us to do what He has asked.  God never leaves us in a comfortable place for long because our trust and reliance on Him is more important to Him than what we like or have grown accustomed to.  He knows that it is better for us to trust Him rather than be comfortable.  God “messes up” our lives in a variety of ways, and it looks different for every person.  However, in any case we must remember that He is good and that we can trust His heart.

The beautiful thing about following God into the unknown and saying goodbye to some things is that we can say hello to something greater.  It’s like walking toward the sunrise, into the sunrise.  We can rest in the knowledge that God will not let us fall.  We may experience failures and disappointments along the way, but through each stumble we learn to recognize the truer success that comes through following God’s will and living out our purpose for which He created us.  I have discovered more joy with every passing day than I knew the day before as I have drawn closer and closer to Him.  I have more confidence today than at any time in the past that God will come through even when things seem impossible.  Sometimes especially when things seem impossible.   And it is always amazing.  It never leaves any room for credit to go to anyone but Him.  I am beyond excited to see how He will come through in this next step.  I am excited to see how He uses this experience to draw my friends and family closer to Him.  Though there is much I cannot see, I choose to trust His heart.

Now I say goodbye to all that I used to know.  I say goodbye to how I have seen and understood the world up until this point.  I say goodbye to my insecurities, fears, and reservations.  I say goodbye to everything I thought I wanted and needed.  I am saying hello to so much more.  I say hello to a life of radical obedience to God.  I say hello to faith that can move mountains.  I say hello to seeing God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  May God use my hands, my feet, and everything I am to show His love to those who do not know it and shine His light to those who have lived in darkness for far too long.  May He shine His light into the deep corners of my heart that I might be changed to look more like Him.  May the things in my life that held me back or misrepresented Christ be stripped away that I might be a real and genuine reflection of His grace.  I am saying hello to the sunrise.  Hello, God.
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