Introduction: Why “Just a Match”?

Well this is obviously my first post, so I thought I’d just talk about who I am, what the blog’s supposed to be, and why I’ve called it “Just a Match.”

My name is Joseph Olivares, which I guess you probably already know otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blogged which you probably saw linked to on Facebook! Haha. Anyways, I’m 18 and I’m from Santa Maria, California, born and raised, which I’ll actually be leaving in about a month for Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan! Definitely a big change, I’m pretty scared and nervous about, but at the same time I’m excited to see what Jesus does in my life and how He molds me.

I actually already have a blog at freethinkingchristian.posterous.com, which I think I’m still occasionally going to be using as a second blog, although I plan to do more writing here. “Free Thinking Christian,” exists mainly for me to get my thoughts down “on paper” that have to do with theology, philosophy, and all of those things, which I’ll probably still do a bit here, but probably not on the same level. The thing is, I wanted a blog also more to talk about my life and general thoughts, whether that’s including philosophy/theology or not, and what God is teaching me. It just seemed like “Free Thinking Christian” sounds kind of weird for a blog intended to broadly talk about my life and thoughts, because it’s dealing specifically with theology, philosophy, apologetics, and all those things. So I’m thinking I’ll use that for my more in-depth stuff, but use this blog, “Just a Match,” to be the blog that exists more for me to share and express thoughts dealing with my life in general.

By now you’re probably wondering why I’ve titled my blog “Just a Match.” It’s referring to a sermon preached by Jason French at Christ in Youth’s “Move” conference at Chapman University this July, throughout which he continued to take matches one by one out of a matchbox he was holding while he was speaking, lighting them on fire, blowing them out, and throwing them to the floor. Throughout his sermon he repeatedly said “Everybody wants to shine, but not many are willing to burn.”

He then proceeded to talk about John the Baptist and his humble, God-centered, God-glorifying, God-seeking attitude which has come to characterize both the man and his ministry. He emphasized the fact that the vast majority of John the Baptist’s life goes completely unmentioned in the Bible, which only cares to mention a very short period of his life, in which he was used by God to preach the Gospel and call God’s people to repentance, paving the way for Jesus. Jason French pointed out that God used John’s life for a short while, in order for Jesus to shine, after which God blew Him out, because He had accomplished what He wanted to accomplish through him. He then lit another one of the matches and said something which completely penetrated my heart, radically changing how I view myself and who (and what) I’m called to be: “You know it’s funny, everyone notices the flame, but no one pays any attention to the match,” and then he blew out the match, throwing it to the ground.

Having just graduated from high school and turned 18, and going off to college in only a month, I’ve been so consumed with thoughts about me and what I want for my life and who I want to be, not realizing that the focus is all wrong. Who does Jesus call me to be? Just a match. I am supposed the thing that nobody else notices because its whole purpose is to burn so that the flame can be seen. My life and my future, as excited as I am about both as I soon leave my nest of Santa Maria, are only to be about giving glory to Jesus, proclaiming Him and what He’s done. Joseph Olivares only exists to be a means by which Jesus is seen and noticed and treasured. I am not the point. I am not what is important. Just as nobody notices the match, but rather the flame that is shining forth from the match, I don’t exist for my own glory, but as a means of giving glory and attention to Jesus. That’s all I’m called to be: Just a mach.

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