Hide and Seek

106…107…108! Ready or not, here I come!  Gotcha!

And what is the significance of 108, you may ask?  There are 107 days between May 9th and August 25th, the period of time for a college student that is considered “summer”.  I’ve played “hide and seek” many times in my life, but this time, I feel like the counter was counting by 54’s, and I’ve had only enough time to take three half-hearted steps before I hear the famous words, “Ready of not, here I come.” At times, the counter seemed to be taking a break between each individual number between 1-108 to take a three month tour of Europe or something, yet now the numbers pile up and ring in the air clattering to indistinction.

So what did I do with day 106, one might ask?  I spent it sleeping in til 8 (even on a Saturday) and biking to campus to get books. I compared prices at the two bookstores and finally found what I needed for $350, an amount I would usually have winced as I charged it to my Ncard, but this time I wrote out a check. Lunchtime crept upon me quickly and I discarded my heavy books at the Rec center and ate an overpriced meal at Amigos.

After watching about an hour of high school football on ESPN, I bought a ticket to “The Dark Knight” and took in the movie my friends and family had raved so much about. It was good, but not as good as they said for reasons they won’t understand. (If you what to try, just email me:)) I biked home unable to see the left side of faces of the people I met along the way. I think it had something to do with the lingering effects of a mild concussion I may or may not have suffered at the hands of evil cabinet doors at work the day before. Home brought a headache that throbbed in the front of my head and wouldn’t go away. I slept, or tried to sleep until my siblings got home at 9.

Today (day 107) I woke at 7 to do my morning routine and, about 7:50, went on a walk to talk to God and think. It was refreshing and church later continued the renewal. It’s amazing what God does when we listen to His voice and obey.

Day 108 is coming quickly and whether I’m ready of not, school is about to begin. Pray for me that the transition would be smooth and that I would be able to find a time to rest. Pray especially that I would continue to press in to God and follow His lead as He matures me into the image of His son in this new season of my life.

JA Menter

“In order to lift high the One who is above all things (Phil 2:9-11), I must bow down that He might become bigger in my estimation.”

Sunrise, Sunset

These phenomenon have fascinated me of late. I haven’t been diligent enough to view many sunrises, but the sunsets from the past three weeks have captivated my interest.  I went on a short 6 mile run on Sunday evening and caught the sunset that night. It was amazingly gorgeous. I had been lefting up requests to God, first from Sunday school, then ongoing things from my friends and family, like Bekah returning from Mexico and my younger siblings starting another year of high school. At 8:43, I paused in my praying to thank God for making such a beautiful scene before my eyes. He shows His creativity and power in the way all the colors blend at just the right time to create a picture. I tell Him how much I love Him and how worthy He is of my praise, a theme in my conversations with Him. It flows out of me in an outburst of emotion founded on facts about God and the truth of His working in my life. I continue with my run and interceeding for my friends until my pace doesn’t allow me to speak (this usually happens around miles 4 and 5)

As I think more and more about both sunrises and sunsets, I see that a sunset signals the end of a day. It is a reminder of God’s care for me and His power over all things, but it is also a warning that I am coming to the end of the day and I mustn’t have unfinished business. It prods me to examine what I did and who I interacted with. Is there anything I regret? Are there things I left unsaid that I need to say? Has the sun gone down on my anger and do I have someone to forgive? (Eph 4:26) Tomorrow hasn’t been promised to me and I must do everything I can while it is still today. I am not guaranteed the next sunrise.

That same sunrise tells me that God has blessed me with another day and expects me to do His work in it. I should rejoice and be glad in it. How often do I take the next day for granted and then complain about what I have to do in it? Each day is a gift, yet so often I view it as a day like any day in my past that must be suffered through to get to a day perhaps more enjoyable, like the weekend.

I think I should be cherishing my daily gift, which is why I’m going to try to catch as many sunrises as I can from now on, starting with the next one, Lord willing. If anyone cares to join me wherever you are, feel free to…

JA Menter

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:15-16

BTW, instead of telling me this is a good thought, (if it is, in fact, a good thought?!) shall we follow it up with action. (James 1:22)

Saturday Fun!!

Last week, I spent 17 hours at church scrapping cracks and mudding them in, sanding, priming, and painting. That entire week, I listened to worship CDs over the church’s sound system, since I was working in the santuary. For the past two weeks, at least, I had had the sond “Savior King” stuck in my head. It’s a very good song to have captured my brain, as opposed to the bad conotations we have when we think of a song “stuck” in our heads. In fact, I really didn’t have any desire to dislodge it.
The youth worship team did this song for their Sunday and made a CD of all the songs they’d chosen. On Monday and Wednesday of last week and all the week before, I listened to that CD over and over, but Wednesday night I “stole” “Facedown” from Anna (I’ll return it when I finish my work at church on Wednesday) and listened to it on Friday and Saturday.
By Saturday morning, I’d spent 10 hours at church and 43 hours at work. The Valient Men had a prayer meeting at 7:30 that morning and I had been told by God the Sunday before that I needed to go, so off I went.
I prayed with the four other men that came until 9 and set up to finish painting the santuary. I popped “Facedown” into the player and went to work, ocassionally singing along with the annointed Matt Redmann. My heart already soft and malleable from an hour and a half of prayer, whenever I’d start to sing along, the words of the songs and the impomptu praise from Matt would take deeper meaning and tears would well up in my eyes. I stopped painting at least three times because my tears of awe and joy blocked my vision of the physical world and I couldn’t see where I was supposed to paint. At least once, I set down my brush or roller and declared praise to God in my own words.
I didn’t get done at church until 4pm (Ie I worked nonstop on painting for 7 hours) but I never felt the pains of hunger except for God to be praised as He deserved, both in my life and in the life of the people I knew. For those seven hours, God was incredibly real and acutely worthy of my praise.
The night before I had complained to everybody about how I was going to struggle through the work I needed to do Saturday, but when it came time to do it, the work wasn’t an obligation for me but a service that I was happily willing to do. It is truly amazing what God has done in my life so far this summer to mature me into His likeness, but the summer’s still got a week left. There’s still much more He can do in me and through me.

JA Menter

“And He who began a good work in me is faithful to carry it out to completion until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Maturity Part 2

Maturity, by its very nature, can only be seen in others, not declared to be possessed in one’s self.  Humility is the foundation on which all other characteristics of maturity build. Humility can’t draw attention to itself without being false.  Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own tongue; a stranger and not your own lips.” (Prov. 27:21)

Humility is defined, according to Webster, as a deep sense of one’s own unworthiness in the sight of God.  In my own words, humility is seeing yourself in light of God’s holiness through the lens of His mercy.

Bond-Service stems from an understanding of the price God paid to love us. (John 15:13)  Jesus gave His life as a bride price for the church, His bride (Eph 5:25-27).  In ancient times, the bride price was a payment given in public to show the value the bridegroom placed on his bride.  Jesus chose us and considered our worth to be enough that He would die to have us (John 15:16; Rom 5:8).  That knowledge, coupled with humility, leads to gratefulness and love, demonstrated in obeying Christ as it says in John 14:15;  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Obedience to Christ is an ongoing thing.  A bondservant must choose each day to obey his master, a Master he sold himself to of his own choice. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”

Obedience and serving are not always the same thing, because serving is a matter of the heart.  It is the difference between service and servitude in a purely worldly sense.  Servitude has a motive of duty behind every action, whether the actor wants to do the action or not, he must. Serving, on the other hand, doesn’t have that same duty driving it. It can, but the motive for serving (Service) is to be a help to the one being served. This comes back to Paul’s admonishment of the church in Philippians 2:3-4;  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that doing what you’re told to help someone out isn’t serving them, but it is all about the heart and your attitude about doing it.  If you obey because it’s your duty, are you really serving? I believe that in this situation you have become a slave and not a bondservant, a servant who wants to serve his Master.

Selflessness is the regard of a person for others’ interests before one’s own (Phil 2:4).  This takes humility because it is human nature to think of themselves first and often times neglect to think about the people around them.  Really, John 3:30 is a necessary prayer: “He must increase and I must decrease.”

This maturity is not only for one person to enjoy. It must be acted out in interactions with others. Service to others is only meaningful by 1 Cor 13 when selflessness is involved in obedience to Christ. It is a vital part of us that was taken from us at the fall, when we were deceived into thinking that we could be like God. Only God could be God perfectly.  I can’t truly be myself until I am truly selfless.  As Psalm 17:15 says, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”

My prayer has become:  “Lord, I choose to be your bondservant. Make me selfless as I humbly obey you. Mold me into the image of Your Son that I might reflect Christ.

~JA Menter


I hope one day I’ll be able, like Paul, to say, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1)


Burdened, I am with the weight of my thoughts.

A restless struggle within me stealing my strength.

The mask I wear no longer able to conceal me.

A mask I used to hide my ugliness.

In this battle I’m losing, I can’t see Moses’ arms.

Will someone join my fight and help me stand?

I am called Joshua but who am I?

Riddles and Things

Apparently, I can write a screenplay that will make everyone think, but I believe I’ll just give everyone a sample set of word oddities.


“Virtues cave!  Slaves crave and knaves brave.”


Many things foreseen yet doesn’t see

Ageless and timeless though it be.

Experiences and knowledge together

Shows itself in colors of salt and pepper

A guardian of the heart and hand,

Wisdom preserves us to the sand.



As a young man journeys the paths of life,

He sees but a poor reflection, like looking into silver.

Many obstacles lay before him and decisions to win.

He has a chance to do something great,

But knows only his sovereign could really achieve it.

The passion is so connected to the man that he wouldn’t relent.


Again, this is just a free sample.  I have some more stuff but there is a price on it. If anyone is interested, just holler. <-~_~->


JA Menter


“I can’t truly be myself until I am truly selfless.”



“Off the Grid”

I have done a lot of nothings since my last post, not because I wanted to do nothing or I had nothing to do, but because nothing had a lot to do with me. I have written that and now don’t know what I mean; I guess that tells you I have nothing in my brain. I really should give you all what you want, a narative of my past week.

The week started out alright. I don’t remember what happened on Saturday, not for any questionable reasons, so it must have been good. Sunday, everyone left to tube the Niobrara or go on the youth trip. To be honest, I was incredibly depressed. It’s weird how much you miss interactions with people, even when interaction on an acquaintance level is difficult for you. I found myself wishing I had the foreknowledge to take a few days off work so I could go tubing, but realizing quite early that, in God’s sovereignty, He knew I needed to stay behind. This depressing overtone clouded the entire day when restlessness, in the sense that you feel like you could never be at rest, and boredom mingled strangely with a desire to do something, if only to take my thoughts away from being by myself.

In that state, nothing (there’s that word again) seemed able to throw me out of it. I tried to walk but all I could think of was what I could do now that it was just me. Running was out of the question, still recovering from 13+ miles of sweat pouring from me at every step. I ended up running errands and picking up some war movies like “Gladiator” and “The Great Raid”. Dan and Deb called me up wanting to watch a movie and we watched “Sentinel”, The jury is still deliberating about that one.

Monday was like any other monday, except that there was no one to text about random silly things, because they were all “off the grid”. I worked my eight hours and bought a new tire rim for my bicycle. After glancing fleetingly at the refridgerator, I sped off to church to scrape cracks in drywall, before returning an hour later to make hashbrowns and meat burritos and watch “Gladiator”.

Tuesday was another monday, though not in the sense of my other post, but rather most of the things I did on monday, I also did on Tuesday. I mudded, both at work and church, put the new rim on my bike, and watched “The Great Raid”, or part of it. I almost fell asleep because I started the movie around 11 o’clock and was already exhausted from working.

Wednesday, more the same. Nothing (That word again) really to distinguish it from any other day this week. I biked to work, perhaps a week after the initial flat tire made me use a motor, sanded and primed the mud at church for 2 hours in the middle of a meeting and raced home to gas up the car before the vacationers returned. I finished watching “The Great Raid”

Today, I finished all the projects I’d been doing at work and was given more, of course. I’ve been so tired that I seem to be just going through the motions when I know that I should be living out Colosians 3:17.  Pray for me that I would take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor 10:5)


JA Menter

“I can’t truly be myself until I am truly selfless.”

Weeks of Days

Have you ever had an entire week feel like a single day over and over again. I just had two of them. It doesn’t follow that the past two weeks have been bad or that that phenomenon is bad. It really depends on the outlook and which day is seemingly being repeated day after day.

Two weeks ago starting on Friday, it felt like I was reliving Mondays all week. Each day held the same dragged out feeling and the knowledge that the next day was going to be just more of the same. I spent more time with a paint roller in my hand than I did sleeping and although I enjoy my job, 40 hours of the same thing everyday with no end in sight was a bit depressing. I came home drained and really undesirous to do anything, yet I was restless from 8 hours of an overactive mind. It all ended last Saturday as the relived day became a Friday.

Friday, as I’ve stated in previous topics, is undoubtedly the most anticipated day of the workweek because it means that it’s almost over and a weekend of enjoyment is near at hand. Saturday is weekend, of course, but I was fairly busy, first walking with my Mom and discussing personal business with her, then running co-axail cable at church with T.  The drive home felt like I was coming home from Burr/Fedde/Love and what greeted me was the weekend.

All of my siblings were downstairs watching “The Incredibles”. They were halfway through so I joined them. This was a foretaste of what the entire week has been like. I’ve watched a movie every evening except for Wednesday, when I caulked windows at church before going to the after youth party at ABC’s. Each day, though incredibly like the last, was unique in the way things happened. I would have to say that I prefer reliving Fridays to reliving Mondays.I just hope that this doesn’t become one of those weird cycles of life.


JA Menter

“Greatness is determined not by what power one wields but rather by what power one choses not to wield.”

Packed 1440 minutes

I had an interesting last 24 hours.  Yesterday, I got home from work after a ten minute bike ride. (It usually takes me 12 minutes). The sky was overcast so I debated whether or not to go to my church to caulk windows. I decided that the time of supper and weather would dictate my decision.  I also decided I was going to go on a 6 mile run late last night. About 5 o’clock, C and G came over and started the movie, “Facing the Giants”. It’s a good movie, but we were interrupted around 6:50 to eat our steaks and green beans, among other things.

When dinner was finished it really was too late to be going to church to work and there was still about an hour left of the movie. So I decided to stick around and go do windows tonight. The movie got done and we talked for a while, texting one of C’s friends from college. About 10 o’clock, I left to go on my run, my brother J having shown up and restarted the movie.

I ran 6 miles in 41 minutes and change. The first three miles were faster and I kinda dropped off in the middle, around 27th and Cornhusker. I thought about writing a screenplay or organizing a fun run, where the proceeds would go to a project at church or the Peoples City Mission or something along those lines.  As the run drew on, I began to picture the time on the stove back at home reading 11:38, forty minutes after I had left. I wanted to see it and pushed myself for speed.

This morning, I went out to bike to work to find its rear tire completely flat. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for, but J had been driving to work for weeks so I hitched a ride with him. I had made a lunch and brought my backpack full of my bible and my book. I read my bible for the ten minutes before I had to clock in and set my mind on being Godly throughout my workday.

An hour into work, I receive a text from C and instead of painting baseboards, I labor through a series of messages. It is good and has highlighted an otherwise monotonous day of scraping old paint off doorjams and repainting them. I write an outline of what happens next in my story during lunch and get back to work.

Now, my feet and legs hurt from running and standing to paint the 9ft tall doors but I will nevertheless go to church this evening to caulk the windows, not because I should, but because God has iven me the ability and knowledge to do that and serving Him in that way is what I’m called to.

At some point, I’ll finish my dialogue on maturity, but what’s left is only deductions that I’ve made in looking at the foundations of maturity I discussed in part 1. A site will go up as soon as I can figure it out with my book for some of you to read through. And a screenplay is not an unheard of thing for the future.

JA Menter

“Greatness is determined not by what power one wields but by what power one choses not to wield.”

Maturity, Part 1

“Therefore, let us, as many as are mature, have this mind…” Phil 3:15a  ”

So…what is that maturity that Paul was talking about?  Being a words kind of guy, I looked up the words ‘mature’ and ‘maturity’ in Webster’s 1828 dictionary.  The definition of ‘mature’ (adj) that caught my eye was this: completed; prepared; ready. The only question would be prepared and ready for what?

Romans 8:29 says that we are ‘predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son’.  The end result of maturity is a perfect reflection of Jesus Christ, but the process by which that occurs is called, in biblical terms, santification, which means to cleanse or purify.  Ephesians 5:26-27 says, “…that He might sanctify her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Then, if maturation and sanctification are the same thing, than what does the end product look like?  To examine this, I looked at Jesus’s life on earth as an example.  Nowhere is His life and purpose better described than in Phil 2:5-8. It reads, “Let this mind (sometimes translated attitude) be in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being in the appearance of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

There are four things that I see in that brief look at Christ-Humility, Selflessness, Bond-Servanthood, and Obedience.  These things were characteristics of His attitude, just as they should be evident in our attitudes.

First, Selflessness-though He was God, He laid down His rights as God to take the form of man; He made Himself of no reputation. Too often we forget that as a Christian, we have no rights. Jesus said if a man asks you for your cloak to give him your tunic as well, or walk the extra mile. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.”

Second, he took the form of a bondservant.  Bondservants are servants that choose to serve a master, not because of duty but because of love for the master and a desire to serve him.  Paul called himself a bondservant of Christ in his letter to the Church at Phillipi. Jesus served his disciples at the Lord’s Supper when he washed their feet. He came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

Third, he was obedient, even to death on a cross. This obedience was not done out of a sense of duty but rather love. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”(John 14:15)  Jesus was obedient in service to the Father and gave His life as a ransom for you and I. Again, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)

Lastly, Jesus had humility. This can’t be much more obvious than it already is. Each of the other points also deal with humility, which is why I believe it is the driving thing behind the maturing process, “For God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34) Humility is foundational to the life of a believer, just as it was to the life of Christ.

So then, in a practical sense, what does all this look like?  Paul talks about these things in his epistles, first as abstract concepts that stem from our understanding of God and His work in us, then as practical outward shows of His work in us. (Romans 12; Gal 5:22-25; Eph 4-6; Phil 3-4; Col 3-4; etc)

The sweet thing about all this is that, although we have a part to play in this process of sanctification, God is the one that causes the growth. “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13) “And He who began a good work in you will carry it out to complete until the day of Christ.” (Phil 1:6) “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Phil 3:20-21)