This Is My Last Blog Post

Yes, you read that right: this is the last blog post I will ever make on this site.

But I’m not done writing!

In fact, I’ve just launched a brand new website: ChristopherWitmer.com.

I’ll explain more over on the actual site, but I wanted to give my followers a chance to hop over with me!

THANK-YOU so much for journeying with me on this blog! This is a special site for me because it’s where I did most of my processing after my Mom died. You all have been so encouraging and helpful and have pushed me farther than I would have ever imagined!

AND THE ADVENTURE ISN’T OVER!

To keep up with the launch of my new site make sure to follow my various social media channels:

Twitter: @chriswitmer95
Instagram: @christopherwitmer
YouTube: youtube.com/wildlifecast
Wild:Life Facebook: facebook.com/thewildlifecast

C.D.

An Unusual Day – A Story from 9 Year Old Me and Raw Reflections about Current Life

An Unusual Day

While sorting through a bunch of old memorabilia, my sisters came across this short essay I wrote when I was 9 (I think).

An Unusual Day.

It was an unusual day when my pants got wet and I had no pants to wear! I had to wear my sister’s blanket. I had to do everything when nobody looked! I had to lay in my brother’s bed. I had to write a story about it in my blanket. My sister wrote the story because I didn’t feel like writing it. This all happened in California. True story

I have no idea what happened to all my other pants, or why I had to lay in my brother’s bed instead of my own, or why I chose to write a story about it, or why I couldn’t write the story myself. Really 9-year old me. Really.

On a more recent note, pray for my family if you think about it. We are needing to move out of our house by the end of the month and we don’t know yet where we are moving. We have some ideas, and we feel God’s peace, but nothing is certain yet! That is why my sisters were sorting through old stuff.

It’s tough because this is the last house where my Mom lived and where we were a complete family unit. This is the house we lived in when we were out here in L.A. “by ourselves” with only a handful of friends. This is the house we lived in when we saw more teammates move out and ministry grow. Where we got to know people from L.A. and build local connections.

And now our roots are being torn up again. And I wonder where home is. And I realize that it’s with the people I love–but it’s more than that–it’s wherever Jesus is.

Life has not been perfect for me. Lately, it’s been kind of rough. But I’m realizing that it’s in these rough times when life is swirling, and roots are mangled, and loved ones are gone or hurting, and the enemy is attacking–it’s in these moments when I want to check-out, when I want to scream at God “This isn’t what I signed up for!” When I want to shrug my responsibility–to lay down my sword–to curl up behind a tree and sleep while others fight–that I sense Jesus with me.

It hasn’t always been this way for me. There have been times in my life when I thought God could care less about what was happening to me. But not right now. Right now I sense His peace. I sense that despite all the lies, and feelings, and chaos Jesus is with me, loving me, holding me, teaching me, pruning me, filling me with more of Himself.

I’m realizing that–at least for now–I feel closest to Jesus when I feel the most desperate and lost. I feel God’s presence at the same times I feel the rawest anger and frustration.

Everything within me wants to avoid hard work, pain, and raw, real relationships–but, yet, they are very precious and, in a certain way, I cherish these times.

I remember, as a kid in Minnesota, boating on the lake with my family during storms or windy days and feeling the safety of my Dad’s arms or the comfort of my Mom’s lap. Nowhere else did I feel more at rest.

I think that experiencing Jesus isn’t so much about Him making my life comfortable, but about Jesus being with us in our pain and trouble. It’s hearing Him say, “I’ve got you, Son! I’m here. I’m with you. I’m holding you. You’re going to be okay. You are safe. Just rest in my arms.”

The Power of a Simple Story

I had the special honor of guest posting on my brother, Asher’s, blog. Check it out below!

asherwitmer

Authors Note: This year I have invited a few guests to share part of their story for my audience. I will be posting at least one guest post a month through the end of the year. To begin it all is my brother, Christopher. He is a regular contributor to the Rebelution Blog and has recently launched a YouTube channel for young men called Wild:Life. In today’s post he shares about the power our stories have to influence others for Christ.

“He moved through the days in peace and wonder, for his whole story had been told for the first time, and he found that he was still loved.” – Podo Helmer from Andrew Peterson’s North! Or Be Eaten

a simple story © Depositphotos.com/Alex_Ishchenko

The idea just popped into my head one day, kind of out of the blue. I was tired of people cowering in their shame, hiding their stories…

View original post 1,015 more words

Do You Agree with Every Book You Read?

My brother Asher has really good thoughts and insights for reading books whether you agree with them or not.

asherwitmer

In today’s world, there’s an endless supply of resources to help us grow. Perhaps you, like me, enjoy reading good books. But how do we know if an author is trustworthy? And is it okay to learn from them if they have some beliefs that we’re not sure are Biblical?

Photo Credit: Nic's events via Compfight cc Photo Credit: Nic’s events via Compfight cc

I often refer books that I find helpful to my friends and I’ve started doing it online, as well, as a way of generating income for my family. I have yet to read a book where I fully agree with the author and I’ll be forthright with you that I don’t always agree one hundred percent with the books I refer. I can’t promise that you won’t need discernment as you read. Here are some thoughts I try to keep in mind that I believe can help all of us test authors in a healthy way.

  1. Just because he uses…

View original post 526 more words

one thing mom did well we all should learn

Insightful post from my brother about our beautiful Mom.

asherwitmer

Mothers are amazing people. They don’t get near enough credit! They work so hard and do so much and barely get a “Thank you for the meal” at the end of the day. It blesses me that so many Mom’s faithfully serve their families with joy, in spite of the lack of recognition they sometimes receive.

But it blows me away to meet a Mother that goes beyond the hard work and proper care and invests something even more strenuous into their families. Those women are not just good Mothers, they are the saints of all Mothers. And they have something that each of us should develop.

62276_10151333933281155_1391867251_n *Family photo of my Mom

My Mom was one of those mothers. If you don’t mind, I’m going to brag on her a bit, today. You see, this is the second Mother’s Day that I have not had her alive to celebrate. My Mom was…

View original post 278 more words

Got Any Change?

A year ago today I was headed over to Asia with my sister, brother and sister-in-law (my sister and I for two months). It’s crazy how much change happens in a year. I definitely miss Asia and all the experiences we had over there…

But what if we got our wish? What if we could stay suspended in time at our favorite moments? Sure, it would be a blast for a while, but we would eventually become bored and resentful at God. Because life is like a dance and every good dance needs good timing: ups and downs, slow and fast, smooth and bouncy.

I hate change, I hate goodbyes, I hate disappointments–if I could remove them, I would. But in order to remove them, I’d take away the movement of life’s timing and the dance would flop.

So let’s embrace the movement which change brings to life–because that’s pretty much what life is: constant change. Remember that the Master Choreographer is GOOD and knows what He’s doing. Every old and new move is according to His grand plan.

I loved Asia, more than I expected. My bones have been aching to go back and I probably would have hit pause, if possible. But I experienced so much rich LIFE since then that I’m glad I didn’t.

But coming home from a fun trip to Asia is not the extent of the change I’ve experienced. About every year and a half or so, half of our household moves away and is replaced by new people. Strange, right? You see, my family houses the volunteers for the ministry we work for, unfortunately, their terms are only a year or two long after which they move on with their lives. Every time one of them moves on, I get a little bitter about the whole change concept. But invariably when I look back and see where they are and where I am today and the relationships I’ve made with the new volunteers, I would not have it any other way. See, God does know what He’s doing after all.

And then there’s death. One of the irreversibles of change. Everyone will experience death, in some way. If someone does not experience losing a loved one, it means they died first. In every marriage, someone will experience the death of a spouse, most children lose their parents, some parents lose their children. Everyone will die.

But therein lies Hope. Because death does not have to be a period, separating one sentence from another. It can, and should be, a comma, which is a mark of transition, or a colon: emphasizing why. Those who are hidden inside Christ will overcome death and be raised to a glorified life where there is no separation (death) or pain–but if I know the Master, there will probably be change.

Thank God!

los angeles evening Bible camp

For those of you interested, this is a post by my brother Asher. about the Evening Bible Camps we do here in northeast LA. Please pray for us!

all-out sprint for Christ

In 2008 three hundred thousand (300,000) children, in LA alone, lived in communities where walking to school put their life at risk. Those of us who live in North East Los Angeles live in some of the worst of those communities and many of the families that we relate with are from those communities.

Last year during our annual Evening Bible Camp 203 children came and were a part of our camp for at leas part of an evening. Grant it, only 25 came regularly enough to win a Green Machine EBC T-shirt as a reward for regular attendance. But, many of those 203 children that we got to know at least briefly come from communities where gun-shots are heard weekly, dope is smoked publicly, and their families are made up of a bunch of “half’s.”

Next Monday we begin the 2013 Evening Bible Camp at Rio De Los Angeles…

View original post 270 more words

[Not] an Accident

Imagine the scene. Tuesday, November 6, 2012: Election Day, a presidential election no less. The nation is attentively watching President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, who will win?

Somewhere in the deserts of Colorado a teenager opens his eyes, sensing commotion coming from everywhere. He feels the cool November air against his skin. His body tells him a story he does not understand. He shakes his head and looks around but what he sees does not commute to his brain. He is in tremendous shock. The fact that he is in a vehicle of which the roof is creased and the sliding door is shaped like an awkward ‘v’ registers nothing with his senses. All he says is “What? What?” and even those words mean nothing to him.

The young man realizes that there is a woman leaning through the driver’s window of the vehicle. She is talking. He finds she is attending to another woman: his mother.

He finds the word: “Mom?”

Suddenly his senses are beginning to actually make sense. He sees that his sister is no longer in the passenger seat. Yes, she had been in the passenger seat and is now walking around talking on her cell phone. There is another girl with her, also using a cell phone. Forgetting that his seat belt remains fastened around him, the young man makes movement to get out of the back seat he is in.  The strange girl puts her hand out and tells him to stay put. He looks confusedly at his sister as she says, “Christopher, we’ve been in a car accident,” and “It will be alright.” The dots begin to connect.

I am that young man.

I woke up to a new life that day. I became one of those motherless teenagers. I began a journey I did not ask for, but one God entrusted me with.

I could give you a full report of my mental processes. I could tell you of my tremendous pain, or I could tell you about how awesome and peaceful God is. But you know both are true and to speak of one without the other would be incomplete. We have to face it, life is painful. Yet, the pain we encounter does not negate God’s goodness, in reality it is our own fault that pain is in the world. The pain I have encountered has helped me to realize the importance of one’s view of God to how one reacts to life.

I believe God is sovereign and in full control of the universe; I also believe that God is completely good and the very definition of love. But one cannot reconcile His two characteristics without remembering that, firstly, it was we who brought pain into the world and, secondly, God has a plan. I could scream and holler and relieve my pain and guilt by calling God unjust for taking my mother; but I do not—I cannot—because I know that He is completely loving and therefore MUST have a better plan in mind. Mom is enjoying perfect bliss away from pain and one day I will join her, but until then, God has a marvelous plan which is somehow better through her death. God makes no mistakes, He knew exactly what He was doing when He allowed her to die.

All I know is that from the moment I awoke, I had a very strange calmness about me.

I looked around the vehicle. Oh yes, I remembered my new red backpack, no longer next to me on the bench seat, but on the floor. Instead, with me on the seat was a shattered car window—everywhere. I remembered that my sister’s name was Kristi and that we were in Colorado for my brother’s wedding.

I remembered a dream I had while unconscious. It was a weird dream about a truck coming straight at me.

As an EMS lady helped me out of the minivan, I saw a black book wedged beneath my mom’s jarred seat. I knew it had significance and I desperately tried, to no avail, to make my brain think of what it was: my dad’s Bible. I pointed at it and she asked me if I wanted it, I believe I nodded. Once put on the flat, hard, plastic board with a brace strapped onto my neck, they allowed me to hold the Bible close to my heart.

At this point memory filled my brain as water fills a bathtub, slowly but steadily. Mom, Kristi, and I were on our way to somewhere in the city of my brother’s fiancée, when apparently we were in an accident.

My neck hurt.

The ambulance ride was very uncomfortable, but what should one expect when strapped to a board and unable to move their neck? The EMS lady with me in the ambulance asked many questions. She asked me who the president was, I told her Barack Obama, but added hopefully, that it might change.

I do not know why, but they did not use sirens for me. In fact, I heard my sister’s ambulance pass me while I was stopped at a traffic light (or something). Apparently they were not too concerned about me. Maybe it was because I had answered all their questions right, or maybe they saw the tears I shed as I heard my Dad’s voice call out my name and as I saw the faces of my brother and his fiancée. My sister, though, was in shock. Shock has killed people. And my mom? She was life-flighted, but she would be alright, I just knew it. She had to be alright. She was Mom.

When we reached the hospital they swiftly pulled me out of the ambulance and pushed me through the emergency area into my room. It was like being in a movie—only much worse. This was real life—that is what shocked me more than anything.

The next few hours could be described in one word: waiting. I am told it is standard procedure for victims of a car accident to be cat-scanned for any internal injuries. Of course they did not find anything. I could have told them as much.

My memory was still weak at this point, but with every familiar face I saw, the memories returned. It is hard to imagine the significance of a familiar face until one no longer has them. Seeing friends all around me kept me from despair.

After both Kristi and I had been scanned, they wheeled me into her room because “my sister wanted to see me.” I thought they were referring to my sister Kristi who was healthy and wanting someone to chat with. (I did not know that because of her concussion she could chat with the same person and talk about the same subject over and over again for hours and have a wonderful time.) I soon realized it was Carita, my other sister, who wanted to see me.

I was hoping above hope that she would say Mom is okay and the life flight was an unnecessary precaution. That Mom would be at the wedding. Instead I heard those accursed words: “Mom’s heart couldn’t take the trauma.”

How does a teenager respond to this? Both my sisters began to weep. I was confused. The knowledge of death settled into my mind and I too began to weep, but the reality of it all remained very far away.

I declare that God is still good. This response does not come from Christopher Witmer, but from Jesus Christ who lives inside of me and all followers of Jesus. Yet, the goodness of God does not remove the pain; in fact, it may be God’s goodness which allows me to feel pain. It tells me I am alive. It forces me to ask questions—to be honest before God and express my heart to Him. It forces me to worship God, because the only other response would be anger and hatred towards God.

I am on a journey. You are on a journey. Each journey is different, but each journey must encounter pain. How will you respond to the pain that you WILL face? I have found coming before Jesus is the only thing that calms my soul. It is easy to get caught up in other pleasures in order to distract my soul, but only Jesus gives me the peace which allows me to say that “I am in pain, but God is good.” He is the healer, the miracle worker, the peace giver, the sovereign God, the Almighty, the Beginning, the End.

Who am I? I am a sinner, I cannot lie. I sin. I have sinned, I do sin, and I will sin. I do not flaunt this as something to be proud of, but I simply admit it. I am a fallen human. But therein lies the key–the mystery. Through my confession of guilt, I admit my need for justification. I have disobeyed the Lawmaker, but that very Lawmaker has justified me because Somebody came and paid my fine. I am a sinner, but Jesus served my penalty and justified me. So now, I am a child of God. I went from deserving Hell, to being an heir of all that is good. Now God, in His mightiness, can reach down and lavish upon me all His rich goodness. In reality, I am no different than the “unsaved,” but I have accepted God’s forgiveness and have had my relationship with Him restored. The wall between He and I has been torn down. I am no different as far as my tendency to sin, but I live with the constant expectation that Christ will develop growth in me—that He will sanctify me. I have an even greater hope that one day, He will glorify me with all the believers and this crazy body will no longer desire to sin.

God is the One who sustains you through pain. Pain is a necessary process in life. It helps us grow, but no one can properly respond to it apart from God. Develop a relationship with God. In the end, anything else will be consumed, as fire consumes wood; but a relationship with God makes you to pass through the fire and come out pure gold.

C.D.

We Are Fallen

A Follow Up to the Biblical Fiction, ‘Fallen’

Recently, I posted a piece entitled ‘Fallen.’ You may have seen it. It is a story depicting Adam and Eve’s creation, temptation, and fall in the Garden of Eden. I love to read and imagine about the Garden of Eden: partly because I believe it is an extremely pivotal point in human history, but also because it is such a foreign environment to us. What was the Garden like? What was the serpent like? Why did it not surprise Eve that the serpent could talk? Why did Adam not say anything?

In writing it, I wanted to bring some realism to the story. Not that the Bible is not realistic, but it does not always give the detail of emotion and thought, it just simply narrates the fall of humanity. Yet so much can get lost unless you use your imagination.

I believe it was a normal temptation, just like any temptation we would have today. I imagine that Adam and Eve were on their regular stroll through the Garden and Satan happened to be there as a serpent and started talking to them. He started twisting God’s words and Eve’s thoughts and placed in her mind new ideas. Eve does not seem to have been actively rebelling against God; in fact, I believe she truly loved God. Think about it. How does Satan tempt you? He gets you to think about the sin, twists your thoughts to make it look desirable, and you begin to think that you need it in order to be happy, soon you are rationalizing away the act saying, “I can get away with it this time—just this once.” Satan used a similar strategy unsuccessfully against the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, in the desert, and still today he uses it against every one of us.

I believe it is good to put ourselves into history to imagine what it was like then and there. What was the culture like? How would the culture affect their thinking? Would I respond any different? These questions open a whole new world of insight into the story, and when we do this, we can also see what needs to be done today.

Because Adam and Eve fell, all of creation was cursed, not just the humans and the serpent. Are we then hopeless? No, because God gave us hope when He cursed the serpent saying that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent and the serpent would strike the offspring’s heal. Of course, we know this as God’s prophecy of Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful prophecy. God was telling the humans that, “Yes, you failed. You failed miserably, but there is hope. Somebody needs to pay for this mess, but there is hope. Satan will be crushed and it will take some pain on our part, but there is hope.”

But did Jesus come simply to crush Satan?

God gave the humans a free will, the power to do whatever they jolly well pleased in and to the world. When Satan came along, they were given a choice: to listen to the serpent, or to listen to God Almighty. They chose to listen to the serpent, and thereby surrendered their authority over to Satan and Satan then became the “Prince of the World.” When Satan said he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth if only Jesus would bow down and worship him, he was not bluffing: he had the authority to do so, given directly from the humans themselves.

That is the very reason Jesus came to earth. We had lost control. We were given authority over the earth and our destiny, but we had blundered and given it all away to Satan. We are losers. But Jesus—God—came as a man (he had to come as a man) to take that authority back. He was the Second Adam, but he did what Adam had failed to do: he defeated Satan, for everybody. He died even though he did not deserve death; He paid the price that we should have paid! With His great victory over Satan came a victory over death. Jesus did not just pay the price and remain dead: NO! He rose again and lives on to this day! Jesus is ALIVE! And we can be alive through Him! The great tragedy of the Garden is not the end, it only the prequel to the greatest story ever told: the story of GOD coming and paying OUR debt. We are wretches! We blundered, we fell, but God wants to pay the price. If we will only say “Yes” to God, He will show us His marvelous work.

God created, we rebelled, but God punished Himself for our rebellion.

But our duty does not stop here. Yes we fell, and yes, God has redeemed us, but the curse extended beyond ourselves and our souls. The whole universe was cursed because of what we have done—therefore should not Christ’s redemption extend to the whole universe as well? So often we focus on the soul and saving the soul—and that is the most important part—but our redemption goes way beyond that. We should be taking Jesus everywhere we go. Instead of just taking Him to souls, why not go farther and take him to our neighborhoods, to our schools, to our governments, to our parks. Christ deserves to be in our entertainment: he should be in our sports, in our movie industry, in our music. He should be everywhere. But how does He get there? Who takes God to the world?

We do.

We have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of us! In order to take God TO the world we must be IN the world. We should be taking God’s presence (His Spirit in us) to our schools (including colleges) as teachers, janitors, and students; to our sports as coaches and trainers; to the music and movie industries as musicians, producers, directors, actors, and writers; to our government as aids and secretaries—maybe even officials. We need to be in these places influencing them with the Gospel. We do not necessarily need to vocally witness to everyone, but we MUST witness through our lives. If we want to undo the curse in our cultures we must shine the Light into the darkest places and take Truth to the most ignorant people. Christians should be the salt and light of the world, otherwise our cultures will spiral downward and be lost.

The curse is very evident in the world. We all see it. Jesus died to undo it—to defeat Satan and save our souls. But now we must take that Redemption farther, we must take Christ’s redeeming blood to the most lost of places.

So why are we waiting?

C.D.

Who Are You?

Who are you? No, really, who are you? Are you Adam the First? Or Isaac of Abraham? Are you Julius Caesar? I know you are not Adrian Peterson, or Alex Rodriguez? But could you be George Washington…..nah. Most likely not Michael Jackson…Bill Gates?? Ha, let me see your car!

We are all somebody. And I do not mean somebody as in someone who is famous and popular, or has special talents. We are somebody in that, we are special to God, and we each have our own unique DNA and story. But the problem is that we all want to be somebody. We want people to chase after us.

Insecurity. Who am I? This is a question I struggle with, and it is usually a subconscious struggle. I get this idea that if I can score touchdowns like Adrian Peterson, or win battles like Julius Caesar, or have popularity like Michael Jackson, or have wealth like Bill Gates, I will be somebody. I will be secure. I will be established and famous. People will want my autograph, they will want my picture, they will chase me like I mean the world to them. If I had all this, I would need nothing more. If I had everything, I would not need anything. I would not need God.

I would not need God. The last time a civilization decided they did not need God…well, they Babbled.

But the plain and simple of it all–is Christ. If I am a Christian, I do not need anything else. I will be exactly where I want to be. I DO need God. If I would just rely on God’s bountiful supply (that rhymes by the way) I would not need anything else. I would be content. If I was content with Christ, I would be content.

My identity is not in the things of this world, so, who am I? I am not sports, I am not knowledge, I am not fitness, I am not maturity, I am not fame, I am not music, I am not mechanics, I am not money–I am a Christian, which means: I am a follower of JESUS CHRIST! That is who I am. I need no other plea! I am a child of God, and in THAT I stake my claim. In THAT I place my identity. You ask me who I am? I am, unreservedly, unashamedly and most definitely a Christian (definition: little Christ/follower of Jesus Christ).

If I had an official Kingdom of God identification card, it would read something like this:

Name: Christopher Daniel Witmer
D.O.B: October, 2004
Country: Kingdom of Christ
Son of the King

Our significance lies in Christ’s significance.

May you rest in His significance,

C.D.