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Archive for October 2008

What’s God up to?

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So, for those one or two of you who follow my blog, you know that a few days ago I posted a blog about how I am thinking about moving to India. When I wrote that blog, I was serious, but in a kind of fantasy-world sort of way. Like, when you have a crush on someone, but you don’t know if the feeling is mutual, and you kind of daydream about it for awhile before you actually make a move – that’s kind of where I was with India. I was serious, but not too serious.

It’s all come crashing down to reality now – in a good way! I received an email from the Meager’s today – they are the founders/leaders of The Jesus Way ministry in India (this is the orphanage to which I led a youth team back in ’06). In this email, they graciously invited me to come to India and be a part of the team there. I’m honestly just in shock about it! I haven’t made a decision yet (it’s been only 24 hours!), but it seems difficult to ignore when such a wide door of ministry just opens up in front of you (1Cor. 16:9).

Honestly, my experience in ministry up to this point is that I have had to search diligently and push through and advocate for myself in order to fill ministry roles. Hope Chapel was great, but I had to find an ad for the position on a website, apply, submit a resume, do an interview, etc., and then it didn’t end so well. Right now I’m feeling quite frustrated at my current church (though I love it), because I have all but thrown myself at them, offering to serve where needed. I have made known that I served as a youth pastor for 3 years, that I am a student of the Bible, that I am in Seminary – but no one has approached me for anything except to make a few calls to invite people to home group, and to help move furniture (all of which I am happy to do, by the way, and which I joyfully did!). However, it again feels as if I have to struggle so hard to serve God in what I know He has called me to…I’ve had more than one discussion with God about this throughout the years. Many of those, “So, are you REALLY calling me to ministry??”

But then this email…I didn’t solicit anything. I wasn’t submitting resumes. I wasn’t looking around for openings, and yet this opportunity falls into my lap! It feels like how everyone said it would be (but hasn’t been up to this point). Everyone always talked about how God would prepare a place for me, how “God has a ministry for you, brother! God will make a way,” etc. But it feels like I’ve floundered and struggled for years without any clear direction. I’ve fashioned all sorts of explanations as to why it’s been this way, some of them end with my own failings and shortcomings, some of them end with the devil’s handiwork, others still end with the simple explanation of circumstances…But now. How can I ignore this? It’s a little suspicious that I would begin to seriously consider becoming a missionary in India, and within 3 days receive an offer, a “Macedonian call” if you will (there’s some good Bible trivia for you – look it up).

Jesus said, “Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” So what about when you don’t even knock?! So I’m praying, I really want to hear from God on this one. But admittedly, I feel like I would have to hear a clear, “No,” from God in order NOT to go. It all just seems to perfect…

Written by jeffrossman

October 27, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Life

I’m moving to Kathmandu.

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Well, maybe not Kathmandu, specifically, but I’m seriously thinking about moving to that area of the world – somewhere in India.

I’m not sure what did it. A combination of many things have contributed to my current mental state. Let me take you on my journey.

April: I get fired from my job as Youth Pastor. That sucked. There was no warning. No ability to prepare, not ability to think through the next step, etc.

April-August: Unemployed. I figure that I want to take a break from ministry and get a job in the secular world. A combination of frustration from getting fired, and a desire to focus on my relationship with God, make sure that I am walking close with Him, before I try to help others get close to God. I have a lot of difficulty finding work. The bills keep coming, though, and I’m just focused on getting an income again.

August: I’m hired at LaFrontera. Decent job. Decent pay. I feel like I can stabilize, financially, finally.

August – present: Work’s okay, but ultimately unfulfilling. On some level, there is a sense that you are making a positive impact on people’s lives, but it’s a weak feeling. Most of the time you’re doing paperwork. Frequent frustrations, high stress. I begin to realize that, though a job (any job) and an income is necessary to survive, that I want to do more than survive. I have a calling. God has a purpose for my life, and of what use am I, if I am not serving Him.

Yesterday: For some unknown reason, I start surfing the internet for jobs in India teaching English, then all of a sudden I am on websites for Missions Organizations. It hits me. I’ve been thinking about doing missions work in India for years now. I’ve been there twice for short term trips and have totally fallen in love with India. I’ve already asked for the Hindi version of Rosetta Stone for my birthday (which is in two weeks). What better time than now?

Basically, I think that I have moved, mentally, from “survival” mode (I need money), to “calling” mode (I need God).

Please pray for me. I’m still kind of working it all out, and it won’t be an immediate thing. But I feel like this is all sort of clicking right now…

Written by jeffrossman

October 23, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Life

Tagged with , , , , ,

The Mightyrandomthought #6

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Jeff is sleeping…

For those of you who are privy to the MySpace/Facebook universe, you’ve probably seen one of your ‘friends’ post their status as ‘Sleeping.’ Does this strike anyone else as odd? I mean, I can understand, “Jeff is about to go to bed,” or something. But obviously, if you are checking your facebook, and updating your status, you’re not actually sleeping.

What’s more, I’ve seen people post things like, “Sleeping, and getting ready for the big day tomorrow.” What?! Seriously people. I’m going to start writing things like, “Jeff is refusing to check his Facebook today.” Or, “Jeff is running a marathon.” The point of the status is to say what you are doing, not what you are not actually doing yet. That’s the purpose of the future tense. Let’s use it, people.

Written by jeffrossman

October 23, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

God is so good…

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So my relationship with prayer has been spotty for the past few years. I feel ashamed to admit it, especially since the past three years of my life were spent in ministry…

But last night was incredible for me. But first let me back up a little. We had a guest preacher at church yesterday. The men had an “advance” in Rocky Point over Thurs.-Sat., and he was the speaker there (they call it an “advance” because they don’t want to call it a “retreat” – it’s dumb, but whatever). Anyway, this guy from was pretty cool, he had the church in stitches several times. His message was good, but, as it often goes with me, the things God speaks to me are usually either minor points of the message, or something that was said in passing. So it was yesterday.

Somewhere in the introduction, the preacher got off on a tangent about prayer. He said, “Everything we do must be predicated on prayer, and preceded by prayer.” I don’t know why this spoke to me so deeply, but it did. Later, this thought occurred to me – “What excuse do we have for not spending every free minute in prayer?” I’m not trying to be hyper-spiritual. I’m not talking about quitting our jobs, or neglecting things so we can prayer…I’m talking about using our free minutes to pray. I’m talking about those times when we’ve got nothing else to do. Those times that we usually fill up with useless activities.

I guess it was a heart matter for me more than anything. I was asking myself why I didn’t pray so often. Why is it that I’m so eager to fill that time with other things, why am I not interested in being in God’s presence more?

I thought about it all day – right through several “free moments,” that I could have prayed instead of thinking about praying. But around 6:30, I finally got on my knees. It was one of the most wonderful times I have had with the Lord in so long. Not so much intense as refreshing. Do you know what I mean? I just felt at peace, calm, in love with God. I spent most of that hour or so in worship. God even gave me a simple chorus during that time to sing to Him.

The greatest thing about it, guess what I wanted to immediately do when I woke up this morning. And guess what I did. I didn’t spend a long time in prayer, but I defintely got into His presence for a few minutes. It was wonderful again. And this is the thought that came to me this morning – we should never think of prayer as an obligation to be fulfilled; we should never think of prayer as some fixed ammount of time where we “punch in” when we begin and “punch out” when we’re done. Prayer ought to be an ongoing thing. Like reading a book. You have to close the book now and then, but you eventually open it back up to that exact spot and continue on. An even better analogy would be that of a friendship. You never “put in your time” with your friends. You hang out for awhile, then you part ways, looking forward to the next opportunity to see them. God doesn’t want our prayer times to be dull, ritualistic. He wants them to be living, vibrant, passionate encounters with Him.

That’s my prayer for myself, and my prayer for you. Go be with God for awhile today. And ENJOY IT!

Written by jeffrossman

October 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts on State-Funded, Social-Service Programs

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The System is broken. I don’t think anyone argues this. Whether you are an enrolled recipient of these services, an employee in the system (as I am), or a conscientious observer, you probably have acknowledged how, despite its good intentions, that “System” fails time and time again.

I was thinking yesterday about how interesting it is that our government sets aside any money at all for such programs – programs for the poor, for the disabled, for the mentally ill, for community development, etc. With all the political hullabaloo lately, and the failing state of the economy, I wondered if such funding was even appropriate. Should the government be giving any money to these things at all??

Then, of course, I ran the whole thing though my spiritual/Biblical filter. “What Would Jesus Do?” If we’re going to be straightforward about it, Jesus was far more interested in telling people to give their wealth away to the less fortunate, than to amass wealth for themselves. But often the translation from personal responsibility to governmental or organizational responsibility is a difficult one. If I, as an individual, ought to do something, does that mean that the government ought to do it too – should the government mandate those things which I ought to do?!

This is where the light turned on. The system may be broken, but the very need for a System is itself broken. We shouldn’t need a “System” to do what individuals ought to be doing in the first place! Those with more ought to be generous! Those with ability ought to help those in need. You don’t believe me, read James 2:14-17. The problem is, we’re selfish. We don’t want to give away what we’ve rightfully earned. We don’t want to have to go out of our way to do something that doesn’t benefit us in any tangible way. But if we were willing – each one of us – we would actually solve the problem, and eliminate the need for a System. Not only that, but now every charitable deed would be done out of compassion, love, mercy, empathy – instead of it being a mandate to be followed (which is how the System operates). Then, instead of brokenness, there would be wholeness.

Let’s all do something radical and selfless today. Let’s help someone who needs help.

Written by jeffrossman

October 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Weigh In…

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I weighed in today at 205!! Woohoo! This was especially surprising since I am coming off of a weekend of non-diet friendly food. Friday morning was brunch at my mom’s house – I don’t think I ate one thing that was South Beach friendly. Friday evening was the reception dinner – again, WAY off my diet. Then Saturday was the wedding. The dinner wasn’t actually that bad – chicken, rice, veggies.

This is basically the halfway point for me. I was looking to lose 60-65 lbs in all (goal weight of 175-180). It looks like it won’t be long until I’m out of the 200’s. THAT will be awesome.

Written by jeffrossman

October 15, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Off the beaten path

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So, I’ve got a theological proposition for all of you Christians out there who may be interested. It’s sort of radical; it’s off the beaten path, not quite mainstream – but I think I may be on to something. It will most likely take a few posts to get it all out.

The passage in question comes from Revelation 12. Now there are significant interpretive issues with Revelation in general, even more so with this particular passage, so I understand that it can be difficult to argue ANY theological point from this book of the Bible. Due to its highly apocalyptic/prophetic/symbolic nature, it can be difficult (maybe impossible) to set down an interpretation that cannot be refuted. Maybe some of you will step up and provide other viewpoints. One simple request – use scripture to support your views.

Let’s dig in…

The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

These three characters are the focal point of this chapter. Now each of these characters appear as as SIGNS IN HEAVEN, which means that they represent some truth or reality in symbolic form. The difficulty in interpreting the true meaning of these three characters, is that John only tells us what one of these characters represents: the Dragon is Satan (cf. verse 9). As for the identity of the Woman and the Child, we are left only to speculate, or better, to make “educated guesses” drawn from context, and from scripture as a whole.

The point of this particular study is not so much to determine the identity of these characters, as to point out that the common/traditional interpretations of this passage are severely lacking in continuity. Allow me to explain…

5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

Okay, so the most common interpretation is this: The Woman is ISRAEL, the Child is CHRIST, the Dragon is SATAN. Furthermore, I will list out the common interpretations of the above three verses, with emphasis on their chronological placement…

verse 5 – 2,000 years ago ISRAEL “gives birth” to CHRIST. SATAN is poised to destroy CHRIST the moment He is born (perhaps a reference to Herod’s mandate to massacre all the infants in the region). The Child (CHRIST) is caught up to God – the ascension?? Possibly it is simply symbolic of divine protection.

verse 6 – ISRAEL is hidden from SATAN in the wilderness during the tribulation, apparently to protect them from the horrors of the tribulation. Most likely this “prepared place” is Petra.

verse 7 – Some time before Eden, God declared war on SATAN because he attempted to usurp God’s power. Michael and his angels fight against Satan and his angels. Satan loses, is cast down with 1/3 of heaven’s angels.

If you were paying attention, then you saw the same discrepancies I saw. Only when removed from their context and observed alone do they seem to support the various doctrines they are used for. But placed within their context, the above interpretations seem disjointed & confused. It simply seems impossible that in the span of three verses, which, on the surface, seem to be progressing a coherent and chronologically successive story line, could be representative of prophetically significant, but utterly unrelated and temporally dissonant events.

Well, there’s the teaser anyway. More to come. Feel free to argue with me.

Written by jeffrossman

October 13, 2008 at 4:19 pm