Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday: Romanced by Death

"At His core, God's heart expressed in this world seeks to romance you through His body broken and His blood shed... He is seeking to be peculiarly attractive to you by His love poured out."

Romanced by death?! It doesn't make sense! And yet that is where I have found myself, over and over again as of late.

Communion is such an incredible picture of the body broken and the blood shed, and I have been struck by how uncomfortably intimate it is to participate in. Jesus has made himself 100% accessible to me, to the extent that he invites me to (figuratively) eat of his broken body and drink his shed blood. I hear him say, You want to know my Father? Here; come. Eat of the bread and drink of the wine. Let my death and resurrection live within you. And then you will know intimately my Father and His heart.

Why would the bread of heaven (Jesus) be broken for me? Why would the cup of salvation be held up for me to drink? Oh Jesus, what a mystery! Why would Jesus command his disciples to "Drink from [the cup], all of you" (Mt 26:27)? I hear him say, Yes, Judas... even you. Yes, Peter... even you. Yes, Emily... even you. My blood is shed for each of you, even though you betray me.

He tells us to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:24-25). How can I not do it in remembrance of Him?! This body, broken for me, is what has given my life meaning, purpose, and passion. This blood, shed for me, is what has redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness. The wine (okay, grape juice...) is sweet on my lips, and the bread is satisfying to my stomach. Infinitely more so does the death and resurrection of Jesus linger sweetly on my lips and provide nourishment to my soul.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus. You are peculiarly attractive to me by Your love poured out. You have romanced me - and continue to romance me daily - though your body broken and your blood shed. I am romanced by death!

Romans 12 3-7

This is my first post. I don't think myself as a good writer, poster or in this case of the website...Blogger. I just have really bad punctuation, spelling and fragments are a common problem. Not to mention I am really REALLY shy. I have a lot of things working against me. I don't think It's a bad thing, I am good at a lot of other things like eating, cooking, and eating and cooking at the same time.

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.

Would You Rather.....

All throughout high school, I hated eating breakfast. Not because I didn't think it tasted good or that it was the better thing for my body, I just simply never wanted to eat breakfast. My life in high school was always go go go... especially in the mornings. I am not a morning person. I never have been. My roommate, over the course of this year has come to learn that I need a few minutes in the morning before I jump into anything -- I wake up in the mornings and it is not my first desire to jump into a great conversation with my roommate. However, with that said, I love jumping into a great conversation with Christ. But to be completely honest, I find it difficult to wake up in the mornings. My bad habit from high school followed me into college. I don't wake up early enough in the mornings to go to the dining hall and eat breakfast. I have always told myself that those last few minutes are sleep are so beneficial to me and they are more important to going to eat breakfast. We sometimes do the same with God. We tell ourselves that just a few more minutes of sleep will be so much more beneficial to our day. With that said would you rather spend a few more minutes sleeping or would you rather spend that time growing in your relationship with Christ?

I am in no way perfect at waking up in the morning. Mornings are a struggle. There are nights in college when I stay up way too late studying or working on other homework and then the mornings come faster than I would have hoped. To be honest, there are those days where I slip and I don't take my quiet time and accept Christ invitation to breakfast. Later in the day though, I realize that my day would have been better if I had accepted the invitation. I let what is going on in my life control me. I let it consume me. That is where I get stuck. I can't let those things consume me. I need to let Christ consume me. I was talking with a friend earlier today about how God has been working in our lives lately. Both she and I have had awesome weeks... Why? Because we both have put aside the other things of life and surrendered to Christ. It was so encouraging to talk with my friend. She was telling me how every night at 8, regardless of how much homework she has left to do, she puts everything else on hold. She spends the next three hours focusing on her relationship with Christ and those around her. I was telling her about this blog and how great it has been only a week in. She said it was an encouragement to her to hear what an encouragement it has been to me this week. Fun how God works like that.

So my challenge to myself in past weeks, in this week and in weeks to come, has to been to let God in and fully consume me. I need to accept his invitation to breakfast. Starting my day with Christ is so much greater than beginning my day a few minutes later. I hear Jesus calling me. Will I answer?! Of course!!!! Will you?

Take one down, pass it around LIMITLESS AMOUNTS OF GRACE ON THE WALL

There is a book out there that is awesome called The Bible. You've probably heard of it. But there are countless other books written by Christians out there, devotionals, encouraging words, challenges. And these books are pretty rad too. I wanted to share something I learned from one of these "other books." Brennan Manning wrote one called the Ragamuffin Gospel. In it Manning writes about how Peter was pretty much tearing himself up over denying Jesus, and that it was because he didn't understand that Jesus' love for him had no basis in what Peter could do. His strength, or ability to speak to others, or sweet hair cut and killer sneakers wasn't the factor that tipped the scale in Peter's favor. Manning writes, "The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven. It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness." Yeah.

My experience with the Lord is different than Peter's, sure. We each have a unique walk. But I know that Peter and I both understood, to a certain extent, what Jesus was trying to say. I love you. Stop talking, Start listening. No really, I don't care about that... I love you. Its funny sometimes how hard it is to remember that. Day after day I see God filling my cup. Not just so that its full, but so that it overflows onto those around me. And it just keeps getting filled. How exciting that God promises to keep filling out cups. We don't have to grab a second cup, so we can save some of our overflow for later, rather, we can share it! SO GOOD!


Hi! So, first off I just wanted to say that reading all of your guy's posts have filled me with so much joy! (hence the title haha) I am more excited then ever to spend the summer getting to know all of you beautiful people!

Second of all, God is so good!!! As I was unable to make it to the training weekend, I just received the devotional via email, and so I just read all of the devotionals for this week in quick succession, and at the end of it all I just feel overwhelmed by God's love for me in his pursuit of me and how unfathomably wonderful and good He is!
I've had some jank (yeah NorCal slang!) times this semester, and I'm usually a happy person, so I really dislike being sad (not that anyone likes being sad. But sometimes I have a tendency to view it as me doing something wrong that makes me deviate from my usual happy disposition and then I get frustrated with myself, especially when I believe that I have no valid reason to feel sad). But God has been teaching me to thank him for the good times and the bad, and has shown me that many times we actually grow more in the bad times than we do in the good. Not only this, but I've been coming to realize that most of my feelings of sadness and jankness are from his Spirit convicting me of my sin, and so I've learned to give it up to God. He is the only one who can defeat my sin, not me. His power is perfected in my weakness.
So this quote from Monday's devotional just hit me: "Whether served or beaten you are having the kingdom wrestled into you and for that, you rejoice. " Therefore I will rejoice in the fact that God is shaping me into the daughter he made me to be! Whether it makes me feel happy or makes me feel like crap. Because it is a process and because I have grown more this year in college than I have my whole life! Glory to God! I've been drinking from the cup of life fully for the first time and sometimes it's soothing and sometimes it burns but it has brought me closer to God in ways I could never have hoped or imagined. I am just overwhelmed by the fact that he cares for us so much that he is always by our side, counseling us, guiding us, convicting us, and pouring his grace out on us.

How wonderfully relentlessly good our God is!


Reading everyone’s blogs has been so exciting and such an encouragement. My new favorite thing is signing on during the day just to see what gets added!

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.

time for breakfast

Here at school my life is surrounded my academia and expectations, future plans, decisions etc. things that never crossed my mind in CA-- I blame the cold (mostly because i blame everything on the cold) My days are filled with fruitless labor. Some school habits have permeated my everyday life-which i do not all. For example--> I feel the need to always be prepared- for anything- enough stressful class periods have taught me what happens when you don't do all of the reading or make sure you are ready for any circumstance possible. Its easy for me to see how this affects my relationship with God. If I don't feel fully prepared to encounter God, I get stressed, its like I'm afraid God's going to call me out in front of the class for not finishing my assigned reading. But isn't that ridiculous? Because, come on. Who is ever fully prepared to encounter God? NO ONE. We can never fully prepare ourselves for Someone so glorious and awesome--we don't even know where to start. So basically after reading John 21:1-14 I am like- Stop letting this stuff distract you ADK! Not your past, present, or future! I can't get caught up in preparing myself for God- because i gonna put on some nice calm and collected facade for Him. That just sounds silly. God knows me- he sees my brokenness, he sees my heart, and my thoughts, and He loves me....I know its crazy but HE DOES! Even if I roll out of bed and put on sweats, he still wants to eat with me. He wants me, and my heart, and trust ...EVERYTHING! He is pursuing an intimate relationship with me so nows my chance to do it right back! So I want to eat breakfast- I want to talk to God and i want to answer His call!

Unique New York!

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!

Genuine Love of Christ

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!

WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

Last night as I was going to bed I was excited because I didn't have to set an alarm to wake me up in the morning because it is Cesar Chavez day which equals no school. When I woke up this morning I thought that it was around nine or ten because I couldn't see my roommate in her bed and she was going to be leaving around nine so it had to be after then. When I looked at my clock I was amazed because it was only a little after eight and I then realized that my roommate was in her bed still just wrapped up under her blankets so I couldn't see her. As I laid there in my bed for a few minutes I felt God calling me to go spend some time with him, but I postponed and decided that I could get another hour or so of sleep then spend time with God. When I finally got up and did todays devotional it hit me hard. It was only a few hours into my day and I had already put my selfish desires before what God wants for me and from me. As I thought about my past week I realized that every morning I pushed my snooze button a few to many times. Each time I press that button I am loosing ten minutes that I could be spending with christ at the foot of his cross. Christ died for me and nothing I do will get even close to that sacrifice. I thank God so much that "it is by grace i have been saved, through faith... not by works" -Ephesians 2:8-9. Yet i still couldn't sacrifice a little bit of sleep that i didn't really need.
Also, in the past week or so the topic of freedom has come up a lot. I had never really spent much time meditating on what it meant to be truly free. This week a big theme (I guess you could call it that haha) has been that you are not really experiencing the fullness of life with out Christ. In Leviticus 18:5 it says that "if you obey my law and regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord." I think that the biggest thing in that is that God really does know what is best for us and that through following him we are truly free. Recently at the church I grew up at part of the talk was about freedom and how there are really two types of freedom. Freedom from external constraints and someone telling you what to do this freedom brings chaos because you are doing what you want to do. The other type of freedom is freedom for living the kind of life we were meant to live. With God we are free!!!!!! Which is so cool!!!
This week God has challenged me to put a letter about the RJW in the letters that I send to my friends back at home while I am at school. Most of these friends do not know Christ. So if you guys could be praying that God would use that as an opportunity to have conversations about Christ that would be awesome.

Befriend/Encourage/Model/Challenge - RJW

Hey D/T's! It is the last day of March and this post will either be and encouragement or a challenge.  Below is the total to date for the Run-Jog-Walk that you have brought in!  Please continue to get out there and ask people to partner with you in sending kids to camp! Do not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ!  We have all committed to raising a min of $500.00.  To Christ be the glory!

 $$$ Name
 $     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
 $1,100.00 Connor Drake
 $     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

what a licarice!

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"
so, heres some pictures from my time with God last night, they're from a cell phone and it really doesn't do it justice. Oh and one more thing, I hate LA, really hate it, cities just aren't my thing, and last night God said, "I can make even LA beautiful, what you think is ugly is beautiful with me"

Am I his Reflection?

It's always interesting to think about how differently we would act if Jesus were to be literally / physically walking on the earth with us right now. Someone once asked me, "If Jesus was driving in the car ahead of you, would you still impatiently honk your horn at him? If Jesus were the homeless guy on the corner, would you still drive by without recognizing him?" I used to and still do forget that showing love for others is one way to show love for Christ. Especially when I consider the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If I am led by the Spirit and have all of the above, then I contradict my character when I impatiently honk my horn or neglect to acknowledge the homeless guy on the side of the street. Love for Christ --> love for people.
If Christ were walking side-by-side me today, sitting next to me on the couch, how would my plans for the day differ? If I saw the holes in his hands, the thorn scars on his head, the hole in his side, the look in his eyes, how would my life change? When I wake up in the morning, do I see myself or see Christ? Do I live for myself or live for Christ? Do I fight for myself or fight for Christ? It's easy to answer that question when he is physically sitting right next to me, but what about when he's not? Am I still his witness? Do others see Christ walking alongside me, holding my hand?
As I think about this summer and think about what it means to model to others, I keep in mind the understanding that I might be the only Jesus some of these campers ever see or encounter. Am I still going to fail to show love, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Or am I going to model to others that Christ is love, patient, peaceful, kind, good/just, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled?
Jesus, I am going to strive, like never before, to be your reflection.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

No Big Sunglasses!?

I admit that I find a little to much comfort behind my big sunglasses. I can hide behind them; they are like a barrier separating me from the world. Something about eye contact with people feels so vulnerable. When I make eye contact with someone, I usually feel the immediate need to glance away after just a few seconds. Why is that? Can I even look into Jesus' eyes with my bare-eyes? No big sunglasses!?

When I imagine looking with my bare-eyes into His, I see myself feeling the immediate need to look away because of the uncomfortableness and vulnerability it would bring. I see myself thinking "let me just put my big sunglasses back on, then I can look at You." There is no comfort in hiding my eyes from Him - hiding my fears, doubts, anxieties. But do I believe it? Do I trust it? He calls me (He calls us!) to find comfort in Him, comfort in His eyes and all that they convey. He calls me to look with bare-eyes into His.

"You Must Follow me"

Thanks for all your posts! It has been super encouraging to hear how God has been growing you this week through his scriptures. I am learning a ton from your posts so keep it up. Its amazing how your insight can encourage others, and give them a different prespective about God's word. So cool.

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".

Holding On For Dear Life

What is it that makes us cling so dearly to our earthly possessions? Is it the memories that they hold? Is it their significance to who we are? What about God though? We hold even greater significance and memories in our relationship with God. So why don't we cling to Him as much as we do our possessions? Why are we always becoming distracted? We know that when our earthly things diminish, the relationship, love and power of Christ will remain will us. Christ's love will never diminish. So why do we cling? Its like we hold on to these things for dear life as if our lives depended on them.

"To capture your heart, the King who is the author of anything gave up everything." We ask that Christ will fill our hearts. To surrender our hearts fully to Christ, why don't we give up everything? We are called to follow Christ, so why don't we? Not to say that this is an easy as pie thing to do, but honestly, why is it so hard to us to trust that Christ has control over everything? We are always trying to take control. What we need to do is let Him take control... completely. At the beginning of the year, I was speaking with my advisor and he said, "God laughs when we make plans." This is something that has stuck with me throughout this year as I try and listen to what God wants me to do instead of what I want to do. This was also something we were discussing in my bible study this week. We came to the "idea" that we can make plans but we HAVE to be willing to change them if that is what God intends for us.

It is a daily choice for us to surrender to Christ -- it is something we have to do everyday. Surrender and let Him take control. Stop clinging to the things that mean nothing when it comes to the love that Christ has for us.

Let me leave you with this thought, would you give up everything, if it meant that you could have anything that Christ has to offer?


A combo of yesterday's passage and today's thoughts on God's incredible pursuit of me has got this heart pounding and aching. A weird and powerful mixture of conviction, love, fear, and freedom. To be desired by the king? God's love for me is so so scandalous.
Over and over the last few days Ive heard a whisper when my heart is drawn in other directions, "do you love me?" ah Yes Jesus, I do, I do! pull me back to you like only you know how. Take this heart and seal it for yourself. As I am your treasure, be mine. you gave everything for me, you lay your life on the line, pour yourself out...for me. oh and it makes this heart burn with a fire I've never known. A heart that searches for something to burn for, to be moved, to feel, to fight for something, and there it is, right in my face, the only real treasure, a call that scares me to death, a passion worth everything. Teach me to respond, to give myself away to you fully. You are not safe, but you are good. I dont want safe and I dont want easy, I want risky, and dangerous, and You.
"Listen! my lover! look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the lover spoke to me and said, arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. See, the winter is past and the rains are over and gone" Song of Songs 2:8-11
you call me beloved, beautiful one, yours...SCANDAL!

Unique Copies

So, I was drinking some Honest Tea this morning, and on the inside of the wrapper on the bottle there's always some sort of inspirational quote. This is what mine said: "Every man is born an original, but sadly, most men die copies." - Abraham Lincoln

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. :)

When success is equated with excess...

As an Economics major, a whole dang lot of my experience in college is about money. Things taught in the classroom like how to spend it properly, when to save, return on investment, etc. and also things outside of the classroom like deciding how much to work vs spend on school, how much money am I going to owe in student loans after this is all done, what kind of job am I going to get when I graduate, etc. Overall, the message proclaimed through the worldview of people within the major is 'how can I make myself better off'. I love when the Bible talks about money because in most cases (if not all) it's related to surrender and trust. While the world says get as much as you can, Jesus says give all that you have.

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?

3 Fold Freedom

As I was reading last night the verse in Philippians and 2 Corinthians I was struck by the power I felt in Freedom. The ability to experience real freedom is very freeing, perhaps the worst definition ever as I use the same word in the definition but for me that is the best definition. I loved the 3 types of freedom described, dwelling in freedom, celebrating in freedom and being a living expression of freedom. These had me reflecting on whether I am dwelling, celebrating and being aliving expression of freedom. All of these come from resting solely on Christ and His freedom. Incredible that His Freedom can be our Freedom, not a new concept but an incredible reminder. I was also very encouraged by the version I read for Philippians 3: 13-14 "....this is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God's heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus." I will not look back but lengthen my stride as I run the raise, work harder, reach as far as I can to Christ. I need to lengthen my stride as I run toward the freedom that Christ is given.

Will you be the light?

The idea of God’s everlasting, ever loving light radiating out of us is so overwhelming beautiful that sometimes I am scared of this. For a brief moment I think of the end of Hocus Pocus when the Sanderson sisters are so saturated with light they explode, but that is what we are called to do; die to ourselves and this world. Random, I know but that is what I pictured this morning.

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?


Last night before small group, I found a video on youtube that I thought would be good to share with the group. I'm sure many of you have heard this story, but I find it extremely relevant, not just to our study, but to our lives.
A man walks into a barber shop to get his haircut and beard trimmed. As the barber and himself begin to talk their conversation turns to God. Inevitably, the barber concludes that God cannot exist, for when he walks outside he sees the orphan, the sick homeless guy, the abandoned child. Surely, an all-loving, all-powerful God would not allow this in His world. The man, not wanting to get into a debate chooses not to respond to the barber's claim. He finishes his haircut, then walks outside. He runs into a man with long, dirty hair and an unkempt beard. Immediately, he runs back into the barber shop and says, "You know what, Barber's don't exist." The barber looks at him, laughs to himself and says, "What do you mean, barber's don't exist?" The man says, "Well just look outside this window. Surely, there wouldn't be any long-haired, dirty-haired, unkempt-bearded people out there if barbers existed." The barber looks at the man and says, "Ah, but barbers DO exist. It's just that those people don't come to me."
When I read this story over and over again, I come to the understanding that this story does not always answer our question. But, in a way, maybe it does. If we are all sinful people as the Bible tells us we are (Romans 3:23), then would it not make sense to assume that we don't always visit the barber? Sure, sometimes our hair is clean, and we're waking up every morning to have quiet time, keeping in the Word, praying, and living a life, that we think, is according to His will. However, our hair quickly becomes dirty when we see the homeless man on the side of the street and refuse to acknowledge him, or when we neglect to give more money to a cause because we NEED THAT MONEY to buy that new video, book, or electronic device, or when we act or use words that are not pleasing to God.
Lately, I have been challenging myself and others with this question of NEED. I will hear myself or others say, "Oh, I really NEED this or that." And, in turn, I will say, "Do you really NEED it, or do you just WANT it?" When we really sit down and think about what we NEED in life, it's not much. We need water, food, warmth... and beyond that I can't really think of anything we NEED physically. So, why do we "store up treasures on earth?" We know that they will all perish along with us. Yet, when we see the homeless man on the street asking for some money or when the offering plate is passed to us in church, how often do we throw in a buck or two, because we NEED that money.
I refer back to the story I told about Rick, and there are tens of other stories to similar to this to only further drive this point. Rick had clothes (warmth), some beef jerky in his backpack (food), and he knew where to go to get water. Other than that, Rick had nothing... EXCEPT THE WORD OF GOD. What sustained him? What kept him going? He did not have the newest Iphone, an Ipod, a computer, hardly any money, a credit card, excessive amounts of clothes, an education, a dental plan, and so forth. But, Rick, who is forced to live with NOTHING showed me that he has EVERYTHING HE NEEDS. How many times throughout the Bible does God tell us He will provide, sustain, comfort, protect, love??? Hundreds, thousands! Yet, we still try to provide, sustain, comfort and protect ourselves! God has taken care of it already. Maybe it's an issue of trust. Maybe greed. Maybe selfishness. Whatever it is, we have to remember that EVERYTHING WE NEED IS IN GOD. It's in His Word. It's in His eyes. It's in our hearts!
It's time for me to go get my haircut.

Space... The Final Frontier

I love Star Trek. It's just the truth. I think Star Trek is epic. Sometimes, I even get goosebumps when I think about the opening sequence. "Space… the final frontier… These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five year mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE" cue epic intro music.

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 absolutely love the way Paul starts out his letter to the Philippians. It is classic Jesus. Encouraging us to rejoice and be glad in the Lord and then says that he doesn't mind telling the church the same things again. I feel like God is constantly telling me the same stuff over and over again. It seems like I am much better at falling back to my old self than I would like to believe. And that's the struggle isn't it? That we can't do it on our own. Although the law isn't burdensome, it is pretty dang hard to follow every single point at all times (well murder is a pretty easy one to not break). God created the law knowing that we can't follow it completely! That's why we have Jesus. Jesus is the plan from the beginning! The whole of scripture points towards that! Man! God is good!

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.

pottsie wottsie's actual thoughtsies

Psychology pushes you to know the self and to embrace your individuality. I believe that every client (whether they know it or not) experiences "healthy" because of the transforming power of Jesus. Looking at the self within is actually diving into the core of who we are and finding a distant image of God. Looking at that image that was woven into us by God is a beautiful discovery. Of course there is freedom there! It's reality! When we fail to go there, we are actually holding ourselves in bondage. The chains that bind us are society, parent's dreams for our lives, expectations we put on ourselves, the list could go on. When you take those chains off, you are set free. A book I read last summer left me with words to verbalize the beauty of affirmation night at the end of each week, "when you affirm what you see in someone, you give them the freedom to be who God has made them to be." Well guess what, Holy Spirit is affirming us every day, right in our spirit. When we listen to the Spirit, abiding within us, THERE IS FREEDOM. Paul had to walk away from these ridiculous expectations that he placed on himself and others. He discovered this concept of faith -trusting that Jesus meant it when he said "it is finished." Would we consider the expectations, that so often rule our life, meaningless? If not, what does it take to get there?

Freedom is Slavery

My high school history teacher hung a poster on the wall of his classroom with the statement "Freedom is Slavery" written boldly across it. Now the teacher meant it as a 1984, big brother sort of reference but as I was reading this morning's devotional all I could think of was how this contradictory statement is strangely true to Christian life.

Following Christ is the most freeing feeling I have ever experienced. Christ frees me from myself, from having to follow the narcissistic trends of society by instead offering the opportunity to look to others and to look to God. In Him I have found more peace, more acceptance than I have ever found through any other person or thing in this world. He frees us from the worries of this world by showing us a new world in Him.

And yet all of this freedom is in a sense a slavery. The apostle paul states in Romans 6:22 "But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God." Non Christians that I have spoken to often see Christians as slaves to the rules of religion, a people chained to limit themselves from pleasure and fun. And yet to those who follow Christ, any rules set before us by God are actually avenues to freedom. These "rules" free us from the power of sin so that we may bask in intimacy with God. Our slavery to the standards of God is in fact the most beautiful of freedoms.

In light of all this though I wonder, do I as a Christian portray the "rules" of a Christian life as a slavery to the law like the Pharisees did? Or do I portray slavery to God as a beautiful avenue to Christ and His love?

Every human is a slave to something. There is something in which every person bows down to as their master, something which trumps everything else in their life. Whether it is a job, school, sin, or Christ there is slavery. But only in Christ is that slavery truly freedom.

Siempre Contigo

Christ gives us the freedom to be who he wants us to be. "When you acknowledge that as you bond with Christ, Jesus draws out of you your unique, individual talents and passions, you are the living expression of freedom." Our walk with Christ shapes who we are. My friends know that my faith is a huge part of who I am. My faith has a daily influence on how I choose to live my life. I choose to live my life serving others and serving Christ. I choose to live out my faith. As I dig into my relationship with Christ, Christ peels away the layers and breaks the boundaries that have kept my from finding my self worth and confidence. Siempre contigo -- with you always. Christ is with us every step of the way. "When you desire Christ's company because being with Him is fun, refreshing, and your life's highest joy, you celebrate freedom." By having complete faith in Christ, in the fact that he is with us always, we find freedom. We are given the freedom to be us. The freedom to live for Christ and let him expose the unique individuals that we are. We dig into our relationship with Christ with hopes that we may grow closer and grow stronger in our relationship -- at the same time, Christ digs into us to expose the freedom that he has given us. Phillippians 3:12-13 says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." No one is perfect. We never claim to know all the answers. That is perfectly fine. Having the knowledge that Christ knows all the answers is what matters.

My prayer is that as we all prepare for this summer that Christ may continue to work in our hearts as we dig into to Him and that He would continue to peel back the layers and expose the individuals that we are.

Sorority Sacrifice

On the journey back to southern California on Sunday, I was telling Amanda about my reasons for joining a sorority. My friends and I looked at it as an opportunity to go where God's presence was not acknowledged that we might be able to be a representation of Christ for these women. Reflecting on these reasons, I came to the conclusion that I have not been the greatest servant. I have made a few relationships that have included some gospel conversations, and some of the girls have come to Bible study, but beyond that, my influence and my participation have been rather absent. After reading yesterday's devotional, I honestly couldn't say whether I gave off a fragrance of life or of death.
This week is crazy for me with papers and tests, so I was not planning on going to chapter (our weekly sorority meeting). But God compelled me to do something. So I put my papers on hold and went to the meeting. This was the biggest meeting of the year as it included all of the newly initiated women. At the end, I got up in front of over 100 girls and told them about sonshine and the rjw. I have been hesitant to tell them about it because I didn't think I would get anywhere with them (totally underestimating the power of the Holy Spirit). Between last night and this morning, I have had multiple girls approach me and say they want to donate.
Reflecting on freedom this morning carries some weight in this experience. When I over think who to share this experience with, I limit the ability for others to participate. When I exercise my freedom through Christ in relying on Him and knowing that, regardless of the outcome of my encounters with non-believers, He has "made me His own," I display what He can do when we set down our barriers and let praise spill forth from us. Who would not want to surrender to such a faithful God?

A Day Late

A lot of the people that I work with happen to smoke cigarettes. It's never been a pleasing smell to me and sometimes it's so potent to the point where I stop breathing out of my nose. When my co-workers come back from their break and I can smell that on them, I know exactly what they've done. It's pretty obvious. Something that I also notice is that some of them will put on heavy amounts of perfume to cover up that stench. But believe me, you can still smell it. That's the kind of smell that stays with you. And if it's not the hint of cigarettes coming from their mouth, the ridiculous amount of perfume gives away that this is not how they normally smell.

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)