Thursday, March 31, 2011
I don't think everyone is destine to become a brain surgeon, astronaut (that would be cool though) or a CEO of major company. We have all been blessed, in some degree, with unique abilities that God has graced us with. We are all good at different things and we are all bad at different things. I don't think Michael Jordan could talk about relativity just as Albert Einstein couldn't play hoops. I just wish I could write as good as everyone here, but it's not in the cards. But I am good at other things like lifting the washer and dryer up two flights of stairs (and yes I have done that, not fun) and officiating sports.
We all have different gifts to glorify God. We are all the Body of Christ. Each of us has a different function. The hand can't be a foot and a foot can't be the hand. We need each other for different tasks: serving, speaking, and even listening. We should use are ability to the fullest. So if you are good at under-water basket weaving then use it to glorify God and bring people to Christ through under-water basket weaving. Still I wish I was good at writing, I'm not the bestess but it's getting gooder.
I love the imagery of John 21. Can you see it too? The day is coming to and end and I picture the disciples sitting around, perhaps at the dinner table, without a clue of what to do with their time or lives. Peter speaks up “I’m going to go fish.” The rest shrug their shoulders and say “Yeah, ok. We’ll go too.” Perhaps they’re processing what they've experienced or are still in awe of the events that transpired over the past week or so. Either way, something big just happened and I’d probably be in the same place of asking myself: now what? Where do we go from here? Peter’s reaction to Jesus answers that question!
Freshman year of college I was introduced to the song “The Question” by the Old 97’s and got so excited when I saw it on a Scrubs re-run a couple days later. In the episode, Turk asks Carla again and again to marry him, but she won’t give an answer until the very end of the show when she calls him to tell him she’s ready to say yes.
I find myself reacting to Jesus’ invitation a lot like Carla’s initial response to Turk’s proposals. I get caught up in the questions and doubts. What about the future? Isn’t this too good to be true? Can it last? Are you who you say you are? Do I trust you?
BUT WHY? It’s more than a little ridiculous. Jesus’ question is bigger than Turk’s and praise God our Lord is more persistent. Not only that, but Christ will always be faithful to us, always love us, provide for us, and support us. We can turn to Him for every want and need and He will never leave us or abandon us. It's such a simple question: Will you dine with me? It’s a question I should say yes to so SAY IT!!! and don't just say it, DO IT!
He’s asking the question now and He’ll be asking it this summer. If we submit to the Lord’s will we will see lives changed and have the greatest week(s) of our lives. But after every conversation, every day, and every week the question is still the same. Our response? JUMP!!! (no diving. good one, Peter!) and give all we’ve got to seek our Lord and get closer with Him.
Happy Thursday, everyone.
I love reading about the smells that each of you have shared about and the many analogies that go with them! This is very encouraging because as each of us read something we put a tiny different spin on it as we share about it. It reminds me of how during the summer God puts specific students on the boats because of the (same smell) different experiences we have had!
Day 1- It's because of the His blood we reek! Pheromones are unique to us. Each person we come into contact with our pheromones the body secretes are picked up. The smell can be good or bad depending on the way the other person perceives them. Interesting! Christ created us so uniquely, this constantly blows my mind. Lord, may I not spray things on myself, (pride, jealousy, status... ) that take away or cover up the natural smell you put on me.
Day 2- "When you desire Christ's company because being with Him is fun, refreshing, and your life's highest joy, you celebrate freedom." Reading (anything in general) was always tough for me, it wasn't until the last few years that it became easier. Reid had said a few years ago that some of his best friends were the disciples in the bible! Hearing that I thought, Wow! What Faith! I am finding the more I read, the more I WANT to read, a far cry from a few years ago!
Day 3- “To this day, one of the most difficult images for me to contemplate in my imagination is my savior’s eyes peering down at me from his cross. ” I look at where his eyes are focused- not on his hand but right into my eyes! Powerful, Piercing, eyes, looking at me, telling me "You are worth dying for." I also love where it says "He is not safe, but he is good!" With just a look from Him I'm brought to my knees in worship.
I find that in the more I am pushed to get to know Christ, the more I'm challenged to share about Him. He chooses to use even me (us) to bring glory to His name (I am... a co-laborer together with Christ)
Lord, for as long as you see useful continue to have me look like a "fool" for your name. Thanks for your faithfulness, thanks for loving us, may we continue to see ourselves and others through Your eyes, with Love! Lord may our love for you and others be genuine. All I am is Yours! Less of me More of you!
|$ 10.00||Aaron Cardinio|
|$ -||Alyssa Barlow|
|$ -||Alyssa Holloway|
|$ 150.00||Amanda Potts|
|$ 10.00||Andy Clayton|
|$ -||Anne Towles|
|$ -||Anneliese Dion-Kindem|
|$ -||Chelsea Rediger|
|$ -||Cody Schulze|
|$ 90.00||Elizabeth Sherwood|
|$ 300.00||Emily Ferree|
|$ 10.00||Emily Williams|
|$ 10.00||Eric Wyne|
|$ -||Hillary Rush|
|$ 70.00||James Hansen|
|$ -||Jamie Sickler|
|$ 10.00||Jennifer Harnet|
|$ 125.00||Jordan Costa|
|$ 350.00||Jordan Leonard|
|$ -||Joseph Lee|
|$ 95.00||Josh Vance|
|$ -||Josiah Auer|
|$ -||Kaitlyn Bonne|
|$ 60.00||Karly Nelson|
|$ -||Kate Stipa|
|$ 10.00||Katie Jameson|
|$ 10.00||Katie Lind|
|$ 225.00||Katy Conlin|
|$ 10.00||Kayla Neal|
|$ 210.00||Kelly kurtenbach|
|$ 185.00||Kevin Ganon|
|$ 900.00||Kevin Straw|
|$ 50.00||Kira Thornley|
|$ 60.00||Kristen Anema|
|$ -||Lauren Stack|
|$ -||Lauren Whitney|
|$ 10.00||Lexi Prior|
|$ 10.00||Michael Corsetto|
|$ 35.00||Michael Obrien|
|$ 10.00||Molly White|
|$ 410.00||Pearl Snow|
|$ 45.00||Reid Delgado|
|$ 440.00||Sarah Josephson|
|$ 10.00||Sean Pierce|
|$ 20.00||Stefanie Woodruff|
|$ 135.00||Steph Fry|
|$ 110.00||Steve Mann|
|$ -||Tony Dunn|
|$ -||Tyler Moore|
|$ 10.00||Wendy Whitcombe|
so it's been a crazy week, three midterms, still have two left (one today one tomorrow, please pray if you get a sec! :) and last night I was home alone studying in my apartment and i looked out the window and caught a glimpse of probably the most beautiful sunset ive ever seen! absolutely incredible! I didnt know it was possible for the sky to be those colors, some of the brightest hottest pinks and oranges ive ever seen! I took some pictures but they really don't do it justice at all. point being I dropped my books and ran to our bigger living room window and just stood there for a good 20 minutes, face pressed up to the glass kinda jumping a bit in excitement periodically yelling ''GOD! OMG GOD! ITS SO PRETTY!" needless to say I felt kind of like a child but thats what I am, his little daughter that he delights in and paints the sky for when she has a long night of studying ahead. Last night God didn't whisper he screamed "FOR YOU BABY GIRL" (sometimes I hear God call me baby girl...a little personal info...weird? who knows but i do) Last night when He asked me, "do you love me?" He said "then be joyful, rest knowing I'm here, if you love me, let your heart towards school be for me, to follow after me. All this hard work and stress right now doesn't matter because Im here, look at the big picture, its me. The only thing that matters is that I love you and Ive come for you and Ive called you"
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Today I thought about the verse in John 21 when Christ asks Peter, "Do you love me?". All I keep hearing is Christ declaring, "If you love me, than serve. If you love me, then pour yourself out. If you love me, pick up your cross and follow me." I am learning that if we deeply love Christ we must be moved to do something. Ultimately, Christ is calling us to express our love for him, by serving others like he did. As we serve this summer we do not do it out of obligation or because its some kind of requirement, we do it out of genuine love for Christ and appreciation of who he is. He has given us so much, and we have no other response but to pour ourselves out in service to our King.
Secondly, I was drawn to verses 20-25. After his call to follow and feed Christ's sheep, Peter starts questioning what another disciple is called to do. "When Peter saw him, he asked, 'Lord, what about him?' 22 Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'”
This verse struck a strong cord within me. It is so easy for us to compare ourselves with others. Sometimes we can get so fixated on comparing our lives, struggles, and callings with others, that we fail to keep our eyes on Jesus. Jesus is simply saying that it doesn't matter what others are doing, or not doing; YOU must follow me. Others around you might be living their lives completely different. Friends might be going down wrong paths. The world might be fixated on wealth, fame and sin. Christian friends might be called on a different journey than your own. But regardless, we are called to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow him. Don't look at others-press on toward Christ even if that means you find yourself alone. Often times the act of comparing ourselves trips us up, because we take our eyes off of Christ and fix them on places they shouldn't be. It is as if Christ is saying.."My beloved don't look to others, look to me! I call YOU to follow me".
The first thing that I thought of was yesterdays devo on freedom. We are all unique, "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14), yet so often we fall into the things of this world. We idolize other people and strive to be an exact replica of their character and behavior. We try to be something or someone we are not. But with the Holy Spirit, we are given freedom, freedom to not be copies, but continue to be originals. "Jesus draws out of you your unique, individual talents and passions." This freedom allows us to always be ourselves, to not be influenced by the powers of this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are free to be unique in Christ, to live in expression of freedom.
The more I think about this, the thing that comes to mind is how we are called to live like Christ. To be a "window through which [people] can see the living Jesus" (SUP-Camp Counselor 101). We are called to living copies of Jesus here on Earth. We will never be able to be perfect copies, but we strive to be like Christ.
I don't know about you guys, but I'd love to be able to say that I died a unique, copy of Jesus Christ. I would say that would be quite the accomplishment. :)
We live in a culture where the more money you have, the more you are looked up to. It's a sad reality but why else would we have shows like "Cribs" (is that show even on anymore?)? We see people's "treasures on earth" and applaud as if they are living life to the fullest. Jesus had everything yet he gave up everything so that we might have everything that God intended for us. God shows us that real value and worth does not come in things of this earth but only what we have in Himself. God blesses us so that we might bless others. Our identity is not found in what car we drive, how much we make, or our 401k. Our identity is in the priceless value of knowing Jesus and His grace shown to us on the cross.
The whole topic that we're discussing this week is "Genuine Love of Christ". Is it really love when we see that Jesus gave up everything for us and we only give up a portion of ourselves? Or is it really genuine when we tithe just because God tells us to? These are questions I'm asking myself all the time. What's my motivation for doing things? Am I tithing because I realize that everything I have is His and I'm giving it right back or do I give so that I might get something in return?
Full surrender is love for Christ. We're told in Philippians 2 to have the same mind of Christ Jesus. When Jesus is arrested in the garden, He tells Peter "Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. 26:53). Jesus had the choice to either save His own life or surrender everything for the advance of the Kingdom. Shouldn't we be in that same mindset? Willing to lose everything for the sake of the Gospel?
Another image that came to mind was from the speaker the first year of CPC. His message was on the searching we all have. He used a flashlight without a battery to illustrate this point. He filled the flashlight with worldly things: drugs, alcohol, lust, clothing, you name it that went into the flashlight but the light did not go on and we continue to search. He then took out a second flashlight and explained that Jesus was the perfect fit for that battery shaped hole in our heart; the Father was the only thing our soul keeps searching for. The speaker then put in the battery and turned on the flashlight making a bright light shine through the morning light.
We draw everything from the Love of God. We can do anything He is calling us to; simple because He is the headlights leading the way and guiding us to the place we are called to. Simple yes, but challenging to follow; we want to do our own thing and yet the Father is courting us the entire way. He is “romancing” us to His side. We are called to Him not only by His desire to be with us, but also our relentless searching to be by His side. We will not stop searching until we are filled with His encompassing, over powering light. When we are filled with that light that is when everything we do is over taken with it and people begin to see the Lord and not us. We die to Him in a completely different way because His love spills out from us onto those around us, even if we don’t say a word.
What are you filling your flashlight with?
I guess, the facts are these: in the future we are going to have spaceships, and warp speeds, and make friends with vaguely human-esque aliens who will be logical, or violent, or just plain bizarre. But in the end everything is going to turn out ok, the Enterprise will complete the mission, and survive to explore another day!
When I was a little kid (ok, even now) one of my favorite things about Star Trek was trying to figure out how the crew was going to get themselves out of the pickle they were in. Generally, some forgotten tool, or twist of fate was the only thing standing between the crew's certain death, and heroic escape. Nothing was ever certain, everything was based on luck, and the combined qualities of the crew.
Yet even with the odds perpetually against them, the crew continued onward, to fulfill their mission. We are called to serve Jesus, and to follow him. This is our "mission." Our final frontier is this world, strange and constantly new. Despite the fact that everything sometimes seems to be working against us, we continue forward. John 12:26 says "if anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also." God gives us such great reward for following him, for serving him. Not like a servant. We do not come and go as we please. We entirely captivated by God's glory.
In Matthew 24 when the word "serve" is used, it comes from the greek Douleuno- to be a slave, to be in bondage. But, as the body of Christ, we serve together in joy, working towards the goal of bringing God's kingdom to every human being on Earth. Each of us has our own qualities that will help us succeed in the end. What a pleasure it is to be given a task to work towards for the sake of our amazing father! The ability to serve, not because it is required for our salvation, which was given to us as a gift, but because we are so in love with Jesus Christ that we would do anything to please him is mind shatteringly rad.
It has been on my heart a lot lately to follow through with my faith, to put myself in uncomfortable situations for the sake of the gospel. I feel the call to step out in faith to serve the Great Romancer. Though we are saved not through works, but through faith, the great commission says that we need to go out and spread the gospel to all nations, and all people. Cue epic intro music.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I hate that I think this way but I tend to definitely get caught in the "performance Christianity" mindset. That, because I'm a Christian, I have to act a certain way, do or restrain from doing certain things specifically because I'm a Christian and the Bible says to act in those ways. I forget the promise of God that He has FREED us from those thoughts. "It is by grace that we have been saved, not by works". Think back to when we were in sin. What role did we play in earning salvation? At what point did God say 'Alright Mike, you've been good enough to earn your salvation." The point is there wasn't. We can not earn justification. We can not be declared innocent and be made excellent before God on our own accord. Jesus came to do that for us! Jesus died so that we may be declared innocent though we are guilty and treated excellent even though we don't deserve it! If Christ's death was enough to set us free from sin in the first place, what makes us think that now we need to perform well in order to continue to be accepted? We must get out of this "performance Christianity" and rest in the person of Jesus. Knowing that He is the reason that we are saved. We are free from the penalty of the Law because Christ took that penalty upon Himself! AMEN!
But I love how Paul puts it in verses 12-14. Paul explains that he is not already perfect... No man is perfect except for Jesus. Even though we're saved, the fact of the matter is that we still sin. I sin. As my ESV study Bible puts it "The full glory of the resurrection remains in the future". Though we are free from the penalty of sin, we continue to be more and more like Christ as a response to what He has done. We press onward despite falling. The ultimate prize is the fullness of what God has in store for our lives; His blessings.
We are made righteous through faith. Not by works. Have you ever stopped to think about how Abraham was declared righteous before God even though the law of Moses was given much, much later in history? We celebrate our freedom from sin and freedom from trying to impress God through the person of Jesus Christ.
My little sister, Molly, is 15. Since she's 15, she doesn't have her license and when I'm home, I turn into the soccer mom and drive her to friends' houses, dance rehearsal, choir performances, etc. Molly is still in that mindset that she has to look good in front her friends (after being in college, I can't believe that I ever thought that way too... So funny). When I go to drive her to places, she always loads on copious amounts of her Brittany Spears Circus perfume (I only know that because that was my birthday present to her last year... no condemnation...). I joke around and tell her that it's so strong that she needs to take a lap around the block to air herself out before getting in the car. We want to smell good for people. Why do we put on perfume or deodorant? So that it is pleasing to others. When we smell foul people don't want to be around us. Same goes with our relationship with God. When we're with God, we give off "the aroma of Christ". It draws people near to us and therefore nearer to God. If Jesus put out a cologne, I know that it would be called "Life" because that's what people smelled when they were around Him. Our quiet times should reflect us being drenched in Life to the point where it's too obvious to ignore. When we come out of a quiet time and intense time with Yahweh, can people tell what we've been doing without a word being uttered? Or do we try to cover it up with the smell of everyday life so people have to try to smell Jesus on us?
When we encounter our friends, family, co-workers, etc, do they smell God on us? Can they smell life on us? When we are filled with the love of God that should radiate from us. But does it? Are we acting in a manner of God's call for our lives? To be honest, I have to ask that of myself frequently. I have to stop and check myself to make sure that the life I am living is reflecting the God that is in me.
When reading the passage the other morning, verse 36 and 40 totally shook me. "Out of heaven he let you hear his voice, that he might discipline you." "Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land of the LORD your God is giving you for all time." Recently, I listened to a sermon series from Darrell Johnson on the Ten Commandments. In it he talked about how the the Ten Commandments were not just a set of rules that God aimlessly gave us to follow. They had purpose. He used the analogy about how when we struggle with a product, we look to the instruction manual to help us figure out how it works. That's the Word of God for us. These Commandments aren't there to boss us around; they're there to instruct us on how we best operate. When things are going wrong in our lives, read the manual! In the scripture, the author puts it even more in our face that following God's Law is to our benefit. Jesus says that "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:30). The Law of God isn't a chore that we have to do but rather it is God's way of pointing us to Him. The discipline is easy because it's how we're created to be! His discipline is restoring us to be more and more like Him.
When we give into the discipline of God, we radiate the love of God so that nobody can ignore the love that we have inside us. What do people smell on you? Is it your way or is it Yahweh? (sorry to ruin a deep thought with a pun but I had to)