Hey guys... I am truly blown away by your prayers and support. I did the little post on FB and Instagram about the trip and how many have reached out to me, prayed for, and encouraged the journey has humbled me and lit a fire under me at the same time. I was thrilled to see many names on the email list from many different chapters of life - College friends, high school friends, past teachers, extended family, some I have not spoken to in years. There is a verse in Hebrews, one of the most encouraging and beautiful pictures, in chapter 12 where the author writes: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." What a wonderful picture and reminder this has already been- your prayers and kind words, that we are indeed surrounded and cheered on. We encourage each other to run.
I've been typing your emails in, growing a little more nervous with each one. While on the phone with my friend Malcolm, I confessed that I was writing to more people than I thought I would, and that this scares me, since this journey will be a very personal one, definitely vulnerable past comfort. Calmly, Mal assured me, "It's good to do things that scare you."
FLIGHT ATTENDANT RICHARD
God has gone before and is leaving me gifts along the way. Already on my flight, I had an encouraging encounter that I believe served as a reminder of God's presence within me and His mysterious ways of setting the table without us knowing. After they passed out the airplane peanuts and cookies, one of the flight attendants comes back down the aisle towards me. I am listening to some of the current mixes of the band I am producing, seeing how our progress sounds on iPhone headphones. I'm bobbing my head to their song "Keyholder," enjoying the song's epic gang vocal hook at the end. The flight attendant stops in front of me and signals that I take my headphones out. He looks at me and says, "I just have to say. You have joy radiating off your face, what are you thinking about?" What he didn't know, and what I had almost forgotten, was that my brother Jake Hagan prayed for radiant joy on my life the day before I left. Anyway, we then starting talking about where I was going and I was able to share my experience with my dad and how important I thought this trip was. He told about his own family and he wished forgiveness could have happened sooner. *There's never a better time than now*. After it all he offered to gift me a drink and about a pound of Southeast airplane peanuts (literally), saying to bring them to my dad. "Who knows, maybe they'll be a good conversation piece with him." I'm open to it. The theme is going to be yes to everything no to the devil.
BROTHER NOAH, MICHAEL, IVEY, P.P.
I met this amazing guy in July at worship school named Noah. He lives out here in O.C. and is a rad barista and guitar player. He's only 20, but God has grown a deep will in him. He's like a long lost brother to me. Noah has been my hero. He picked me up from the airport and took me straight to eat Poke (my first time). That blew my mind. Then we went right to Daydream Surf Shop, which was a really cool surf shop/coffee shop. Then we went to watch the sunset on the beach. The sky was one of the most beautiful I had ever see. The kind with the pink firey cotton ball clouds, and It was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean. After seeing the beach, we make our way over the Michael and Ivey's house, where I'm staying for the week. Michael and Ivey have lived a wild life and continue to walk in youthful faith and obedience. Being around them is so refreshing because, though they have radically walked with God for a long time and have changed many lives, it is clear that their faith is simple. They have managed to avoid the red tape of religion. They managed to remember the point of it all and walk in that narrow vein. I could go on and on about them and Noah. We spent the evening out on the porch, talking with Ivey and the kids, and then when Michael got home, us guys just got to hang in the hot tub and talk. Michael shared the story of his father and his father's father. As you grow up, you begin to realize that each of us comes from a unique environment and situation. Some upbringings are seemingly easier or lighter than others, but not a single one without challenge. It is folly to ever compare. As you grow with God and understand His heart for your life, the issue begins to shift from "I can't believe this happened to me" to "with God, I don't have to repeat this cycle. There is a better way." It's the journey of freedom. I'm going write about the revelation I had in the hot tub about running in mud. But I think that will be a whole post in its own. I think when it comes to freedom in our relationships, the foundation needs to be a grace to release people from being your savior. The reason we grow to resent people is because they have failed to meet our expectations and standards, and we never reconciled the divide. Grace reconciles the divide and releases people from the crushing pressure of your astronomical expectations of them. We expect people to be our perfect fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends. Let's release each other from that, and as that void is made by removing man from it, we begin to invited God, the father, in.
I am having a wonderful time here so far. I feel God's presence with me and He is really close. I am loving getting to watch these wonderful friends live a full life and walk with God in the ordinary steps of their every day. It is life-giving. Here are some pictures from the first day. I'll catch up with yall soon!