Neoblogs: A New Home

We are currently in the midst of recreating our blogosphere in hopes to bring back the many neobloggers in the fellowship.

  • New additions include now a base site that displays all the most recent posts from current authors.
  • Linked sites for better navigation
  • Updated user functionality for both readers and authors

If you would like to start your own blog or migrate your existing blog back to our new home feel free to contact me at interns@neoxenos.org

Current users may also contact me for support with updating themes and looks for their blog site.

To access you blog site just click you name listed on the site to take you to your blog page, then just click the login link on the side!

UPDATE!!!!

As those of you who have blog sites may have noticed, you should have received an email to set up a new password. This was cause by a transition in our database to make future endeavors much simpler. If you have ANY issues logging in please contact me.

As far as linking social media with your blogs, we will be using Jetpack, you can find this on your dashboard. To do this follow these steps:

1) Log into WordPress and go to your dashboard
2) Towards the top left-hand side click on the “Jetpack” tab
3) It should go to a screen with a giant banner saying to log in with your wordpress.com credentials, along with 6 bubbles of options below it. Click on the giant banner to login and create a new user for yourself (its really easy)
4) After this go back to the previous page and click on the “Sharing” bubble.
5) Once there drag in the social media forms you would like, i.e. twitter or facebook. Make sure you are logged into those accounts. Then simply click the connect button.
6) Before you save at the bottom make sure to change the “Button Style” to “Official Buttons” and then on the “Show Buttons On” section, click the “Posts” tab.
7) Then save and it may take a few minutes to show on your blog, as always if you have any issues, shoot me an email (interns@neoxenos.org)

Shattered Dreams

Life has not been hard for me. Sure, I’ve had my ups and downs over the years. I’ve had my fair share of screw ups and trials. But all in all, I have had a pretty easy-going and full life. I’ve only experienced the death of one close family member (My grandma Yoerger), I’ve broken some bones here and there, been in the hospital a few times, and I’ve experienced the heartache of losing friends (just like most people). Although, when I look at my life honestly, it has been amazing. I have two very loving parents that have dedicated their lives to the Lord and have been married for 100 years. I have a cool relationship with my brother and we don’t hate each other (anymore). I’ve always had a core group of friends and I was never lonely growing up unless I somehow convinced myself that I was. The Lord has shown me the significance of doing ministry and fighting for people’s eternal lives. He has given me cool gifts to utilize. I have always been handed good jobs. I am healthy and I’ve never had serious surgery or life-threatening injury. I could go on.

With all that being said, I should be very grateful. I should wake up every morning and thank God for all the good things he has given me. I wish I could say I’ve always done that. Sadly, my pampered life has chartered me to live a life that is rich with entitlement and high expectations. The Lord has blessed me continually and that makes me a steward of those blessings. One reason I am writing this blog is to say I have not been a good steward. If I focus on the past year alone, I have taken the blessings God has given me and spit on them. Without saying the words, I have made it clear to God that “these blessings aren’t good enough. I want this too. Why can’t you give me this?”. It was more than questioning the blessings he gave me, though. I took that a step further and ‘said’ to God “Well, if you won’t give me what I want. I’ll take what I want. I’ll get what I want how I want to get it”. This is called rebellion. I pressed the play button on “playing games with God” and let me tell you, it did not look pretty. Everyone that knows me well, understands that I have a strong personality. For better or for worse, I have a way of getting my way. This works for some time, but I tried to strong-arm God and it blew up in my face. It didn’t happen all at once. It was a slow progressive process.

I remember the moment in my heart when I “pressed play”. The moment where I lost my joy. The date of my wedding was pushed back due to some communication issues that were going to be important to sort out before jumping into marriage. Tick..tick..boom. It was like one moment I could see clearly and the next, I was standing in a battle field; ears ringing, light-headed, vision obscured, head pressure. I was angry and confused. I was angry at people. I was angry at God. Voices were screaming at me constantly. My dreams felt shattered. Looking back, it was silly. Nothing bad even happened. If anything, things were going to be better after some more time. I couldn’t see that though.

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My dreams felt shattered.

That was only the start. I have a tendency to dream and fantasize about situations. It has been a good thing in some situations but it has also been perpetually destructive in my life. I get a big plan in mind and have literally no idea what it will take to make that happen or what that dream even entails. It is what you could call suffocating tunnel vision. The problem I started to face in this situation was that I had a hard time controlling things. I couldn’t flip a switch and make something happen. This added to my frustration. My rebellion against God became more severe. I was deprived of almost all of my joy. I tried to find pleasure and fulfillment in illegitimate ways.  My happy moments were fleeting and I started to just grit my teeth and do what I thought I needed to do. I made it up in my head that I would do as I’m told so I can get what I want. I’ll wait it out.

I was deprived of almost all of my joy.

This worked out grea…….TERRIBLY. I was not a happy person. I became even more frustrated. I bullied people and threw shade. People became objects to get what I want. If they didn’t make me look good, then they weren’t worth my effort or time. I was jealous in that it seemed like everyone else got what they wanted. I couldn’t listen to anyone that had something to say. Not even the closest people to me. The one’s I love dearly couldn’t even cut through the fog of my mind and I was left moving forward with my plan while God continued to put his foot down.

Fast forward 6 months.

I am no longer engaged. I am single and not dating anyone. I have moved into a new apartment with new people. I am in a new cell. There have been many changes. All of the dreams I had…shattered.

Its hard. I have never felt pain this deep before. About a month ago there were weeks where I couldn’t go to bed unless I cried. I have had nightmares regularly. I feel like I’ve walked into work looking no different than a zombie staring blankly at my computer screen. Tony Evans says it well, I was in “spiritual bondage”. My life fell apart around me and I couldn’t understand why. I was writhing around in agony. I couldn’t think straight. Voices screaming. Wishing I wasn’t alive. Wanting to give up and walk away totally. But, also trying to hold on to false hope and more dreams. Then I was struck by Isaiah 50:11

“Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from My hand:
You will lie down in torment.”

I was lighting my own fire. I have done that my entire life. The past year has been the story of Jordan lighting his own fire. That led me into a miserable situation and was continuing to torment me. This left me with a decision. It was a nostalgic crossroad. I remember when I was 14 and lying in my bed helplessly weeping. God was asking me, “Will you give up and trust me with your life Jordan, or will you continue to try to make life work on your own?”. I received Christ that night. Now 10 years later I face a very similar question, “Jordan, will you trust me? Will you abide in me? Have I ever failed you? Or will you continue to reject me?”.

A couple of weeks ago I was crying out to God. I told him that I give up. I said “uncle” because I was wrestling with him, and he was completely obliterating me. I knew that I had nothing left in the tank. I had two options to die. If I walked away, I would die. If I stayed and trusted God, I would also die. The keynote difference is that with the Lord, the death brings forth life (John 12:24).

I had two options to die.

I can say for the first time in my life that I want to truly die to myself. I’ve held so many ultimatums and reservations my entire life that it has caused my communion with Christ to falter. It caused me to see everything through a screen. Once I was able to finally just give up, the screen lifted. Just like that. I feel like Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”. God’s taking me on a walk and showing me my character and how skewed my thoughts have been. Things started to make sense. I think about the things I have done in the past year and all I can do is just shake my head. I find myself saying, “that didn’t even make sense” on a daily basis.

I just finished a book called “Abide in Christ” by Andrew Murray (Best book I’ve ever read). Oh how I wish I read this book years ago. In the midst of this suffering I have finally been able to see how necessary it is to abide in Christ and trust him. True fellowship with my creator didn’t seem likely unless I gave up everything. My dreams needed to be shattered because my dreams suck. This is one of my favorite excerpts from Murray’s book:

“Our hearts are continually prone to wander from Him; prosperity and enjoyment all too easily satisfy us, dull our spiritual perception, and unfit us for full communion with Himself. It is an unspeakable mercy that the Father comes with His chastisement, makes the world round us all dark and unattractive, leads us to feel more deeply our sinfulness, and for a time lose our joy in what was becoming so dangerous. He does it in the hope that, when we have found our rest in Christ in time of trouble, we shall learn to choose abiding in Him as our only portion; and when the affliction is removed, have so grown more firmly into Him, that in prosperity He still shall be our only joy.”

That is my confident hope. Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” That is what gets me through the day. The Lord wants to bless us. He has great plans for our lives. When I am hit with memories, regret, guilt, shame, more failure; my face can now be turned toward a gracious father that loves me dearly. There are moments of everyday that are painful. Yet, what a great comfort it is, to say in that moment, “Father I abide in you. I trust you”. That comfort turns to joy. A joy that I have missed for so long.

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Thank you for freeing me to be with you, Lord.

-Jordan

 

 

 

 

 

Getting caught

Voices shoot past, incomprehensible.

Screams, laughs; flying by so fast.

Some faces you catch, others keep going

Always moving, never slowing.

 

Lives, just ending. Running into darkness.

No one can stop us, no one can save us.

Here we go, into the dark.

To death we race, our lives we pace.

 

But I got caught.

Before the pit, was a net

And it caught me in its soft threads

Before I hit that endless pit.

 

I landed and there were others

All around me! Looking around, free.

We laughed, we leaned, we breathed

It was so good, so good we could.

 

Suddenly, I remembered again:

The fast faces, missing the graces!

Others thought, too. They reached, grabbing

Hoping for some to just grab and come.

 

Few did, more didn’t.

It was hope making, and heartbreaking.

Some rejected, but some grabbed hold,

Happy to stop, happy not to drop.

 

And so we are, safe, but sad.

Reaching for those who reject,

Hoping they wake up,

And stop soaring to death.

February

HOW DARE HE PROVIDE FOR ME
This lowly fool that I am

If he to say I’d die today
I’d take me as I am

But loves me, he does
For all because

His Son came down to say
Hear it is my way

With love so big
The juicy fig

How could I turn away?

January

“Positive Poison”

 

Stop poisoning ourselves!
Unfortunately, this may be seen as an anthem
for the poor & beaten down
to rise up for themselves
and own their thrown.

But it isn’t.

Who else is sick of ppl
Lying themselves into a “better” reality
Who should rather take a look
Into what their actual reality is —
Really closing down this fake reality —
And realizing — reality is needed.

The way it really is.

So, please stop.
Stop “changing today” and
“Choosing good vibes only” and
“Cutting out negative people” —
Aren’t we ALL negative ppl ?? —
That’s why we hit against each other oh so hard
(Didn’t we learn about this in high school?
Two negatives don’t attract –
I think. Never was good at science)

Negative can’t fix another negative
Without an extra-outside-positive source
(Sounds like I passed)

Why can’t we all stop PRETENDING
and admit, we need help.

We ARE NOT strong enough to face everything.
LIFE SUCKS – stop painting it prettier
DEAL with your problem.
SEEK help –
From someone
who can actually
help you,
Son.

Taking it all in.

So we have just finished our third day in India. Pretty much everything has gone smoothly since arriving in India.  Although, we did have to fly a day early out of Mumbai due to landslides that ruined some roads and flight departure times. This was all good. We took our day of rest in Pune instead of Mumbai.

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I wanted to cover a couple things in this blog so here they are:

FOOD:

I like food and I was really excited to come to India and taste many foods that I have never had before. They put spices in everything just like expected. Have you ever had spicy watermelon? My favorite food thus far has been buttered chicken and fried rice with these special sauces. The other day we went to an Indian KFC that was seriously twice as good as American KFC. Some of the food we have had has been spicy but I don’t think anything has been too crazy yet.

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ATMOSPHERE:

The atmosphere in India is so detailed. My eyes are fluttering, trying to intake everything as we drive or walk down the street. Our hotel is posh while right out of our window you can see young children playing with trash bags for fun. The weather has actually been pretty delightful in my opinion. It hasn’t been deathly hot but rather a manageable temperature and humidity. The atmosphere at the pastors conference was one to remember. There were men and women standing and singing quite loudly. I sat down with the guys at the front in some chairs. I almost felt myself getting light-headed because so many thoughts were flying through my head. During one of the teachings there was a LOUD screech that came from the sound system. An Indian man, probably named Layne, got up and fixed that problem.

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INTIMIDATION FACTOR:

There are some things that we have experienced that can be quite intimidating. One of these things is driving. Usually when I drive at home I tend to be a control freak and overreact when cut off in traffic. This goes out the window in India. The traffic here is nuts. Its one thing to see a video, but it is a whole other thing to experience it. Many of us guys have been using “the imaginary brake” when traveling.

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Another thing that is quite intimidating is the looks. We took a stroll through Pune the other day. I read in the book “Commissioned” that you can smile and nod at people to get them to smile back. Let’s just say, this mostly works. Some men have given me “death stares”, not breaking eye contact until I pass them in the street. It is odd for sure but, I guess that’s how it is. The last thing that tends to be pretty intimidating is the teachings. The looks you get while teaching are very hard to read and can throw you off. Lets just say, I will never be intimidated by some punk in Neoxenos who gives me a dirty look during a teaching LOL. This being said, the Lord has been really working through these teachings and has really done a good job of encouraging the men & women here. Many of the pastors have come up to us and said they can’t wait to teach our material to their church. It is an encouragement to us that we are an encouragement to them.

EMOTION

There has been a level of emotion I have experienced while in India that I do not experience at home. When I am reading my books, I have found myself getting teary eyed when the book makes mention of a verse or the gospel. When traveling one evening, I found my heart in my throat as I saw a women laying in some trash and mud. Her infant baby lay in the trash with its head resting on her calf muscle. This level of poverty is arresting. When we first arrived at the pastors conference, we were seated in the front, facing all of the pastors. They had eyes closed and singing to God with heart-felt passion. As I took a few pictures I was overcome by emotion. It is very hard to explain but I started to cry. There was such a level of intimacy and sincerity when they were singing even in Marati (Local language). I have never experienced anything like that when watching people sing.  Lastly, Tom taught today on the concept of faith and trusting the Lord with difficult situations. He spoke about the situation with his family that he experienced years ago. The men and women were clearly identifying with what Tom said. At the end of his teaching they were able to comment. One pastor stood up and offered to pray for Tom and his family. The entire room raised their hands and pointed them towards Tom and affirmed the pastors prayers with “yes Lord”. Tom began to weep and so did I. It was easily the most emotional scene of the whole trip thus far.

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FUN

Everyone except Greg went out to explore Pune the other day. We went into a supermarket and looked at all the products. I took some good pictures of shop vendors and people laying cricket. 2 days ago we went to the mall with Benny, Minova, His wife Rebecca, and his one daughter Michelle (9yr). Michelle is literally hilarious. She always beats you at competitions she makes up. She gave me great advice on what dress to buy Erin.  I showed her my cats at home and she went “AWWWWWW”. Anyways, driving has also been fun. It’s pretty funny to see the stuff drivers will pull in order to get ahead.

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THANK GOD FOR THESE THINGS

  1. Safety so far
  2. Our guides Benny & Minova
  3. Teachings at the pastors conference went well.
  4. I have not seen a spider yet.

PRAY FOR THESE THINGS:

  1. Tom’s stomach. He is not doing well after the conference today.
  2. Health for all of us. (Some of us have had some stomach issues)
  3. Safe travel from Pune to Vizag tomorrow.
  4. Protection from the evil one. He seems to like to accuse or feed you lies about your teaching quite often.
  5. Continued unity with our team.

We love and miss everybody,

Peace.

The start of a journey.

If you would have asked me at the beginning of 2015 what my New Years resolution was, I would not have said “Missions trip” or “India Trip”. I was actually very apathetic to the idea of going to India. I specifically remember conversations I had with people where I justified my hesitancy to consider a trip to India. I would say:

“wellll I’ve been on the Buffalo Missions Trip 5 times and I feel like I got my missions experience”.

Yes I know, this is silly. I think there was a lot to be learned at the Buffalo Missions Trip. I now realize that I will learn much different lessons through this India trip. Lessons that include being vulnerable with other men on a daily basis, experiencing a new culture with open ears and my mouth shut at times, and learning how to trust the Lord on a very deep level with my deepest anxieties.  I struggle with anxiety and stress so my prayer for this trip is that it will give Matthew 6:25-34 a whole new meaning to my life.

It was in February that Pastor Benny came from India to visit our Church in Kent, Ohio. He spoke on the topic of the different stages of the Church out of Acts. It is hard for me remember the exact points Benny was making but I do know, after that teaching, I was almost convinced that I wanted to go to India. I thought about how this man is willing to travel by himself to America and teach a room full of people that he hardly knows. This moved me. I prayed at the end of that teaching and I felt the Lord put it on my heart that I needed to stop worrying and justifying, He made it clear to me that this India trip could be something that is fruitful.

In the next week I contacted Greg and told him that I would like to go to India and before I knew it, things were on the move. As the months went by it was made clear the the Lord was at work. One thing I will mention is my team that the Lord put together. I am going to India with Mike Hudok, Greg Morscher, Ian McCullough, & Tom Smith. I have heard and read that unity within your team is key to having a successful trip. I found it humorous how the Lord put together a team that i felt so comfortable with. I have led in high school ministry with 3 of these men, do crafts/make cool things with one, and one of them happens to be my gracious boss/mentor for about four years now. I feel so privileged to be able to go on a trip with these brothers and have this experience with them.

This is just the background to the “Start of a journey”.  I cannot wait to share more of my experiences and convictions with you as I travel.

To close, here are some random facts and things I am excited/curious about:

  1. I’ve never flown
  2. I’ve never been in a different country (Other than Canada)
  3. I love Indian food (I hope this remains true)
  4. I want to buy a knife or some kind of handmade item in India.
  5. I can’t wait to say I’ve been to Germany.
  6. I do not want to see a single effing spider on my whole trip.
  7. I can’t wait to buy Sam Stevens Coffee and drink chai tea.
  8. I can wait to sweat for 18 hours a day.
  9. Lastly, I can’t wait to meet this young lady:

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-Gayathri, my parents sponsor child.

Peace out.