Happy December!

Friends and family,

I love you all so much and am excited that the month of December has arrived. I have the blessing of going home to Montana from December 19-26 and am excited to connect with many of you! I was also in Boise for Thanksgiving and had such an encouraging time with my immediate and extended family.

As the year is approaching an end and I’m still coming off of the Thanksgiving spirit, I want to recap and reflect briefly on what I’m thankful for from this previous year.

One Year of Missions

After moving to California last September, it wasn’t until November last year that the Lord revealed to me that I had actually moved here to work on college campuses with Circuit Riders. I was expecting initially to find a corporate job. However, the Lord kept directing my steps and led me into working with Circuit Riders full-time. As I was leaving for Thanksgiving break last year, I had no money left and didn’t know what life would look like for even the next month. Since then, the Lord has provided financially and directionally for my life with such faithfulness. He has used all of you to provide for me in moments of extreme lack as well as to provide for moments of blessing and abundance. I can’t thank you and the Lord enough for your support and faithfulness! Time after time, the Lord has confirmed his call upon my life by providing for me.

Movement on Campuses

From my first tour stop in Montana back in March to now navigating our way through planning over 200 campus tour stops for this spring, I’ve really been seeing more and more of the Lord’s plan for campuses. We are finding pockets of students on every campus who are totally sold out for Jesus and want to see him move on their campus. I am so grateful to work with college students to see young people lay down their lives to pursue Jesus. We truly are believing and practically planning for another Jesus Movement and Student Volunteer Missions Movement.

Personal Growth

At the end of the year, I am more on fire for Jesus than I was at the beginning of the year. He has been opening up my heart to really be able to love him more in every area of my life. The Word is alive to me and prayer is honestly one of the most exciting times of each day. As with anyone’s life, it’s not always easy, but following Jesus does get better and better because we draw closer to him and become more like him. Like Proverbs 4:18 says, “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”

In summary, I am so grateful to God for this year and for all of you in my life. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy all the time you can spend with family! I’ll be sharing some thoughts here in the next week or two on God’s promises over our lives. Until then, enjoy December and I appreciate your continued prayers!

Miles

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Many Members, One Body

We always start from the ground up. In fact, every member of this body has reached greater heights than us. The mouth speaks, the ears hear, the hands create, and the heart beats. All of them get rewarded for their excellence. We often go unseen, but that’s ok, because we know that we hold it all in the balance. In fact, no other part of our body could reach the heights it does without us. We are comfortable in our shoes… at least, we used to be.

At the end of a long day, the hands take our protective coverings off of us and allow us to feel the cool breeze refresh us from our claustrophobic state. After a few moments of this fresh air intake, the brain lets us know that the ears are picking up a negative report about us. They are telling us that the nose can’t stand our presence. What? Why after a long day of supporting the nose is he suddenly frustrated with us? We haven’t even come near him all day! Pfffh, pfffh, pfffh, as we are whisked away to the bedroom for either a quick water boarding experience with some of that white suds or a cover-up from those soft white tubes.

Pfffh, pfffh, pffh. As we re-enter the room, the ears hear the mouth stating that the nose can have the fingers removed from around it. “Ahhhh, relief,” the mouth says. Once again, we are covered up and forced to remain in hiding. We feel like we play a very important role in this body, but yet we are always being covered up, compared to the arm pits, or finding ourselves in nearly as much trouble as the tongue. We must have greater purpose!

For years these problems persisted. We were told our arches were too high and that the back was suffering because of us. Sometimes when we were finally uncovered, we would get sharp objects stuck in us because we were not tough enough to keep them out. The whole body would hurt as a result. We helped win a race once, but again, the glory went elsewhere. Finally, when we felt we couldn’t get any lower or mean anything less to the body, we began picking up interesting signals from the ears.

The brain had told us all to be quiet because we were in some kind of gathering of other bodies and we all had to listen to what some body behind a wooden stand was saying (only the ears paid attention). Suddenly, we felt electricity rush from the head all the way down the torso and legs and into us! We were told that the whole body had its attention focused on us. The ears relayed the signals.

                How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

What?! Is someone actually telling us that we are beautiful? Not only that, but they are saying that we are beautiful on the mountains. Haven’t they seen mountains? Don’t they know that mountains far surpass anything around them in beauty? Why would anyone even see us if we were positioned on mountains? Also, why are we called beautiful when it is the mouth that shares the good news and proclaims the peace?

                He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Now we are hearing that the purpose of our entire body is to go into the whole world and preach the gospel of Jesus. The man who is talking says that the only way we can make it is if we take the body there! He is saying that we were created to go and not to stay put.

But so many times we have tried to take the body places and the end result is always the same story. The rest of the body is offended by what the nose feels about us.

            After that, he (Jesus) poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Whoa! We never heard that before. You mean to tell us that Jesus, who is God, at one point washed all of us who were carrying the disciples? The man went onto say that he only needed to wash us because the rest of the body was clean. However, he said the reason we are so dirty and need to be washed is because we are the ones who are taking the gospel to the world. He said that we go through the dirt and the grime, the thorns and thistles, the mud and rocks for the sake of the message being spread. He said that we inevitably get dirty if we fulfill our purpose – to make Jesus known to the world!

We sat there… stunned. Energy still pulsed through us. It was the beautiful anticipation of hope. We turned to one another and, with a discreet look that only we would understand, acknowledged that Jesus had finally given us purpose!

Right then, the hands leaned over to us and whispered quietly so the man talking couldn’t hear, “I never realized what incredible purpose you have. We could never do what we were meant for without you.” The nose still cringed a little as the hands spoke, but we didn’t care. “In fact,” the hands continued, “we were meant to work together hand in foot. We just want you to know that we now realize that you were meant to get dirty because you were meant to go. Any time you need us, give us a shout and we will make sure that you get washed so that you receive the honor you are due. Together, we are the hands and feet of Jesus!”

Some Personal Updates

I’m a little delayed in posting this since I wrote most of it on February 28th. However, I will go ahead and post it anyways and then write a follow-up to describe what happened on the Carry The Love Northwest tour.

Personal PicToday marks our first day of travel for our Carry The Love tour, where we, as an organization, will reach roughly sixty campuses in the course of two months with nights of activating students to love like Christ. My next two weeks will be spent in the Northwest going to university campuses including University of Montana, Whitworth, Seattle Pacific University, University of Washington, Oregon State, University of Oregon, and UNLV. Sitting in a hotel room near the Great Salt Lake, tonight is a good time to update you on what I have been doing. Usually I write about things in chronological facts or in terms of insights. However, I think it may be time to write about some of the more personal aspects of my life in Huntington Beach. I usually find writing about myself more difficult, but others (including the Lord) have convinced me that it’s something I ought to do.

Since returning to HB from my week-long trip to Montana in late January, I have been living with the leaders of our community, Brian and Christy Brennt. They are incredible leaders who started ministry as pastors in Tacoma. After seeing an incredible outpouring of the Spirit and writing a couple of books on living out our Christian lives free from the power of the enemy, they joined YWAM. Taking every step in obedience, they found themselves pioneering the Circuit Riders movement and guiding all of us young bloods. They felt like the Lord led them to invite two others guys and me to live with them for a couple months so they could train and disciple us.

Living with the Brennt’s has been amazing because I get to spend time everyday with two of my heroes, learning from them and experiencing the way they treat family and their relationships with God. I also live with three amazing brothers in Christ: Michael Pierce, Derek Mack, and Jonathan Zerkle. All three of these men challenge me every day to pursue Jesus more intensely and to walk in my calling in the Lord.

As a quick testimony, Derek and I went out on the HB pier a few weeks ago to tell people about Jesus. Walking along the pier, we started talking to a kid named Emmanuel. In short, Derek simply explained the gospel to him and Emmanuel immediately wanted to accept Jesus into his life and be a disciple! We got his number at the end of our conversation and then met with him again a couple days ago. We found out that the Lord is still working in his life and that he is an incredible artist. We could tell the Holy Spirit was working in his life since he was finding that he was being convicted to do and not do things that he had never thought twice about before giving his life to the Lord. We really believe that God is going to continue to encounter Emmanuel and that his whole family will be saved through him.

One of the most exciting parts of my life recently is that my sister, Tori, moved back to the States from Jordan and is now living just down the road from me in Huntington Beach (HB). She spent the last year and a half pursuing the Lord and ministering in the Middle East. She speaks Arabic and got plugged into an Arabic-speaking church in HB. Having her around is such a blessing since she and I have not lived in the same place since high school. She is one of the kindest, most servant-hearted people I know and is continually delighting herself in the Lord. I’m not sure of the entirety of the Lord’s plans for us together, but we have had some really fun dinner nights and prayer times together. We both love that the Lord is giving us opportunities to do ministry together as a family.

To conclude, my Grandma Doris Maude, one of the most loving people the world has seen, passed away in January. She had been fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatments for some time and finally her body had seen enough. Fortunately, all of her five daughters were there to share final moments and witness her passing. I saw her several days before she passed away and we had a good connection moment. I tried to do most of the talking since she was in a lot of pain, but she still found time to ask me about my life and let me know that, as always, she was praying for me. I also overheard her telling her nurse that she and the nurse “make a great team!” I will miss her joyful smiles and constant affection. She really did leave a legacy of love. To you, Grandma Doris!