Sunday, December 1, 2013

Isaiah 49

** I am cleaning out my computer and just found this.  I wrote it in February, and think it is time to share it. **

Isaiah 49:12-13
See, they will come from afar-
Some from the north, some from the
Some from the region of Aswan.
Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
And will have compassion on his
Afflicted ones.


I read this and keep thinking of a mirror being smashed.  The problem with using a mirror is it is too self-centered.  It is not about the mirror.  It is about the light of Christ.  There is freedom in Christ.  Freedom from sin.  Freedom from shame.  Freedom from our own self-worth and self-image.  The pressure is off us to be perfect.  All we have to do is love him and he has compassion on the affliction in all of us.  He sets us free from our pain, from our circumstances, our fears.  Free.  In Christ there is no condemnation.  No one can touch us.  Christ protects us like a mother hen.  He loves us like a husband should love his wife.  He wants to protect her and make her feel loved.  He leads her down right paths.  That is how Christ loves us. 

I have been watching Supernatural recently and whenever they have a spirit who is not at rest they salt the bones and light them on fire.  Are we supposed to do the same when our spirit isn’t at rest?  Is that part of being salt and light?  Are we supposed to help purify eachother?  We should make each other strive after God harder than before.  As iron sharpens iron.  We should be exposing the darkeness in our lives to the light of Christ.  We shouldn’t settle for ok relationships with Christ.  Paul didn’t reach a certain point and stop striving; he kept running after him and so should we.  We should be spurring each other on towards being more like Christ.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The World is on Fire

The other night I had a dream.  For most people that isn't a big deal, but I don't dream often.  When I do, someone usually is dying violently or some other nightmarish thing happens.  This dream was different, though.

It started with me outside playing basketball with some of my Impacters (the students at Impact).  After a really sweet shot (dream-me has skills) I noticed that the building we were next to was on fire.  It was just a small billow of smoke, but I knew I had to get people out before the fire grew.  I left the game and ran into the building.  I stepped into a room that looked like a lecture hall.  I started telling everyone in the room that the building was on fire and they had to get out and save themselves.  Some people immediately got up and left the same way I came in.  Others remained seated.  I started singling people out; "I need you to understand.  If you don't leave now you're going to die!"  Their responses varied.  Some listened and left.  Others argued, "I don't see a fire, so why should I leave?"  Still others complained, "But I'm comfortable where I am.  I don't want to leave."  Each time someone ignored my warnings I became more and more upset.  I wasn't angry, I was distraught.  "But if you don't come with me, you will die!  How can you just sit there?"  I just didn't understand.  There was an immediate danger and I was warning them.  Why didn't they listen?

At this point I woke up for work.  But I couldn't get the dream out of my head.  When a dream sticks with me like that I tend to ask God if there is something I should be learning from it.  What did that dream mean? When I asked this time, God reminded me of what we had discussed this week at the Gathering (our High School youth group).  We were talking about loving the lost (aka people who don't know Jesus).  One of the students said that he worried he doesn't really love his friends because he doesn't tell them about Jesus.  That struck me.  How many people do I know and not really love because I don't warn them?  At the same time, I don't want people to "convert" out of fear.  I'm not a turn-or-burn Christian.  I believe we were created for so much more than a faith from fear.

I have never considered myself much of an evangelist.  It makes me uncomfortable to just randomly talk to people about Jesus.  If someone asks me about him I am more than happy to answer questions or give them the run down.  But I have a hard time just putting myself out there.  Maybe that's the point of the dream.  I'm going to be rejected sometimes.  That's not the point.  Instead of letting my fear of failure stop me from trying I should remember those who left the first time I warned them.

Plus, in the end I'm only responsible for being obedient and faithful.  I can't change anyone's heart, only God can do that.  I can just tell them about him and live in a way that makes his existence undeniable.  I can love the people around me out of his love instead of my own.  And I can pray.

So that's what I will do.  I'm going to love people and pray that God open their hearts to him.

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well." -1 Thessalonians 2:8

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I'll Sleep When I Am Dead

“I’ll sleep when I am dead.”

How many times have I heard myself say that recently?  I am so tired, and yet I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere near enough rest.  I am exhausted.  Even when I finally do sleep, I am plagued by dreams of my responsibilities and nightmares that wake me up in a cold sweat. 

“I’ll sleep when I am dead.”

This is what I tell myself when I am so tired I feel physically ill.  It is usually around then that ‘something comes up’ and I don’t have time to get some rest.

“I’ll sleep when I am dead.”

I have been saying this for years, but today the meaning changed for me.  I listened to one of the Jesus Culture Leadership Podcasts called Leading from Rest.  The speaker, Banning Liebscher, focused on the story of Jesus calming the storm which is found in Mark 4:35-40.  

As I was listening, it struck me that Jesus was asleep.  I mean, that really isn’t new information, but as a kid that didn’t mean as much to me as I does now.  Now, I am sleep deprived.  I am working a job that isn’t really what I want to do forever, while I am volunteering in a position I feel called to.  I sacrifice sleep (and other forms of rest) so that I can do what God is calling me to do. 

Jesus’ calling was even higher than mine, and his was probably quite a bit more stress inducing than mine.  His was going to end in an excruciatingly painful death; mine involves doing life with middle school and high school students.  Mine is difficult, but it doesn’t even compare to what Jesus did.  With that said, Jesus slept in a boat with a storm raging around him.  I can’t seem to sleep in my warm bed under my parents’ roof.  What is the difference between us?  (Other than the fact that he is God-incarnate, that is.)

It hit me today, as I listened to the podcast, that Jesus knew his whole ministry only existed because of the work of the Father.  Banning kept saying that it was God who builds the house, not us.  I was convicted of holding the hammer and telling God that I’ve got it.  It’s no wonder I am so tired.  I have been trying to build a ministry, and inviting God to come along with me.  It’s totally the other way around.  God called me to join him in HIS work in my students’ lives; I didn’t call God to come with me.  I’m trying to wield tools that don’t belong to me.

When the success of the ministry isn’t on my shoulders, it is much easier to rest.  When I remember that God builds the house, I just get to help where he calls me the weight falls on God, who it more than big enough to carry it.  I can actually rest for a change.  I can sleep without worrying about my kids and leaders.  When I remember who really does the work, I am not burdened by the pain and challenges of loving my kids.  I can just celebrate what God is doing in their lives, and comfort them when they are hurting.  I don’t have to fix them.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

I think I have been looking at that all wrong.  It is more like ‘I will rest when I am dead.’  I will be able to breathe when the burden isn’t all on my shoulders, crushing my lungs.  When I die to myself, and come back to life in Christ I am finally able to rest.  I can rest in my identity as a daughter of the King of Kings.  I can rest in the assurance that God really is looking after ‘my’ kids, and that he does in fact love them more than I can even fathom.  I can rest because I know that ultimately God asked me to join his story, so the spotlight isn’t on me but on him.  I can rest because I belong to Jesus and nothing anyone says or does will ever change that.  He loves me enough that he died for me; of course he will see me through a little storm. 

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Tonight I pray that God reminds me of who is really building the house.  I don’t have to save the world, Jesus already did that.  I just need to love those God brings into my life, and respond in obedience and faithfulness to the promptings of the Spirit.  So tonight, I will finally sleep knowing the pressure isn’t on me.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” –Galatians 2:20

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Disciple Updated

Back in 2008 I wrote a blog post about which of the 12 Disciples I identified with the most.  At the time I was really struggling with my faith.  I was questioning everything about who I am and what I believe.  I wrote:
Reen and I have been talking about which Apostle we think we are most like. We have both taken a liking to Thomas. I have always likened myself to Thomas in his doubt. I've been thinking about it today and have come to a realization; I am Judas. I am disheartened by Jesus. He isn't enough of a revolutionary for me. I am fairly sure I would probably have done the same as Judas. I would have sold my teacher to better the mission of the revolution.   (My Disciple)

I read that and it makes my heart flipflop.  

I remember feeling like that.  I remember crying for an hour after coming to the realization that I was not ok with Jesus.  I remember feeling like I was stuck in that situation forever.  But that isn’t what God had in mind.  He didn’t leave me there, and I am more than thankful for that.  

Today when I think about which of the disciples I am like I wouldn’t say I am like Judas anymore.  If I really sit down and think about it, I would probably be the most like Peter.  It kinda kills me to say that, because I feel like he was a bit of a tool.  The would speak and act before he thought.  He had a tendency to get an answer right, and then turn around and say something incredibly ridiculous.  

We see a great picture of this in Matthew 14:22-33.  Jesus just got done preaching and wanted to take some introvert time, so he sends his disciples ahead of him and basically says he will catch up.  So the guys get in the boat and shove off into the Sea of Galilee.  Just before daybreak, Jesus walked out to meet them
.  The disciples flipped out, and thought he was a ghost.  Jesus called out to them to reassure them that he wasn’t a ghost, and they didn’t need to be afraid.  Next thing we know, Peter has opened his mouth and said that if that was actually Jesus, to tell him to get out of the boat and walk to him.  So Jesus tells him to come to him.  So Peter hops out of the boat and starts to walk toward Jesus.  This is about the time his brain catches up with what is going on.  Peter takes a look around at the wind and waves, he freaks out and starts to sink.  Jesus reaches out, and pulls him up and asks him why he doubted.  
I don’t always jump before thinking.  But Peter really doesn’t here either.  He said he would get out of the boat if Jesus told him to do so.  I try to be the same way.  I don’t jump at every whisper of the wind, but if I feel like Jesus is asking me to do something, I am out of the boat before my brain registers what happened.  Often I have the same sinking outcome, but Jesus doesn’t let me go under.  

That isn’t the only thing about Peter, though.  Peter didn't always follow the blind faith.  When Jesus was arrested, Peter refused to admit that he had know Jesus.  The same guy who walked on water and traveled with Jesus for three years, denied being associated with him.  

I did the same during the time I wrote the post I talked about earlier.  I was disheartened with Jesus; I didn’t think he held up to his end of the deal.  I was ready to walk away and leave it all behind.

However, when Jesus rose from the dead he didn’t let Peter sit with his guilt.  Jesus met him on the beach of the same body of water on which he and Peter had walked.  It was there Jesus forgave Peter, and helped Peter forgive himself.  Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus.  Each time, Peter answered with a yes that was more emphatic than the one before.  From there, Peter went on to do great things in the name of Jesus.

Jesus didn’t let me stay where I was either.  He used friends and family to remind me of who he is, and who I am.  He basically asked me if I love him.  Next thing I knew I heard myself saying “Yes, Lord, of course I love you.  How could I not?”  I am so thankful for his unwillingness to let me stay in my guilt and misery.  

I love going back and reading old blog posts, because it gives me the chance to rethink things that I wrestled with when I was younger.  It’s also fun, because sometimes I will type something out of exasperation that ends up being what God does.  That is what happened in the original post.  I ended it by saying:
I don't know what will happen. Maybe this will be the end of the Christian adventure in my life. Maybe it will turn out I am actually Peter; I have denied him but then he will take me back. I really don't know, but I’m just going to have to wait and see.  (My Disciple)

It was a hard road getting here, but I wouldn’t trade it for world.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Radical by David Platt

Radical by David Platt took me way longer to read than I expected.  That is not to say it isn't a great book; I just wasn't at a point where I could read it.  In my life there are times where I want to read a book, but it is like trudging through quicksand to even get through a chapter.  That is what this book was for the first year I had it.

One day, I picked it up to give it another shot.  It only took me a week to finish the book.  I love the message Platt delivers.  It is really easy for the American Church to forget how our faith started in struggle as well as there are others in the world still fighting the battle started by the early church.  Radical by David Platt really forced me to examine my own view of my faith.

Platt writes; "Soon I realized I was on a collision course with an American church culture were success was defined by bigger crowds, bigger budgets, and bigger buildings.  I was now confronted with a startling reality: Jesus actually spurned the things that my church culture said were most important."  I totally identified with that struggle.  I go to a rather large Lutheran church in an affluent part of my state capital.  As a ministry leader it is really easy to fall into the trap of making the ministry about the numbers instead of about the individual kids and their stories.

David Platt challenged me to really examine the way I was thinking about the ministry I was leading.  He challenged me to keep the words of Christ in the forefront of my mind when making decisions, and the book encouraged me to not be afraid of living radically; that was the original plan anyway.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Wise Counsel includes Psychologists

I have had a post rolling around in my head for a while now.  It is a topic incredibly dear to me, and it affects me and a number of people I love.  It is a topic our churches don’t always want to deal with, and sometimes sweep under the rug.  Other times, they blatantly alienate those who are affected by this.  What is it?


But it’s more than that.  It’s all the mental health issues we see in our society today.  Depression is the one I deal with the most.  That and anxiety.  But there is a myriad of other ways mental illness shows up in our society and, yes, even within the walls of our very own churches. 

I can remember many conversations with close friends who have been told by other Christians who they love and trust that the reason they have depression/anxiety/fill-in-the-blank was because they don’t pray enough.  That is a load of crap.  You are not less of a believer if you have a mental illness, and your mental illness does not define you. 

Recently I had a friend come to me and “confess” they are depressed.  The way they talked about it made it sound like it was some dark skeleton they have kept in their closet for years.  It absolutely broke my heart.  I could tell while talking to them that they honestly thought this was something to be ashamed of.  Like this was going to make me trust them less or think less of them.  All I wanted to do was hug them and tell them that they are going to be ok.  Instead I shared some of my story.

I have had some serious depression issues in my life.  I know what it is like to wake up and feel like there was no point to life.  I can literally tell in my mind when I depressed and when I wasn’t based on the colors of my memories.  My memories from when I was depressed are muted and have lots of cool colors in them.  That is contrasted with the incredibly vibrant colors of when I am free of that mental state.  There have been times where I literally fell into be completely spent at the end of the day; not because I did anything spectacular, but because I survived the day.  There have been times where the only book in the Bible I could identify with was Ecclesiastes.  Everything was meaningless.

That book doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of the Bible.  There isn’t much about God’s love/power/etc. in it.  Ecclesiastes is basically King Solomon’s view of the world from the lens of depression.  Originally there was debate about whether or not it should even be in the Bible.  Do you know why they added it?  They ultimately included it because it was a good depiction of part of our broken world.  Depression is real.  It hurts.  But it doesn’t define you or make you less of a believer.

We are often told in the Bible to seek wise counsel.  People are ok with that, until it comes to mental illness.  Then they want to just sweep it under the rug.  Don’t do that.  You aren’t helping yourself.  Now don’t get me wrong, I totally believe Jesus can heal us of anything and everything instantaneously and forever.  But that doesn’t discount the fact that God has given us the ability and knowledge to be freed through medicine.  Do I think you should pray for supernatural healing for your mental illness?  Abso-freakin-loutly.  Do I think that is all you should do?  Hell no!  Seeking wise counsel includes us going to the correct doctors for what is ailing us.  Don’t just ignore it and hope it goes away.  That is too dangerous.  Don’t mess around with your life.  Life isn’t a game, so don’t treat it like it is. 

If nothing else from this sinks in, please remember that your depression/anxiety/suicidal thoughts/eating disorder/bipolar disorder/ etc. DOES NOT DEFINE YOU, and it does not make you less of a believer.  You are loved no matter what state your mind is in.  Jesus didn’t wait for you to get your act together before he died for you, and he doesn’t wait for you to heal yourself before he will welcome you into his family.  He said it himself, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Matthew 9:12)  So please do not be ashamed to seek out professional help.  And don’t forget that you are not alone in this struggle.  There are a lot of us out there fighting this battle.  I believe one day we will win this battle, for Jesus has already won the war.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Empty Tomb

“Christ has risen!”  Our day has been full of that amazing truth being proclaimed everywhere we look.  It is on Facebook, it was trending on Twitter, and people were professing it to one another in person.  Our pastors were preaching like the lives of their flock depended on it.  God is alive and moving today!

Last night Andrea and I were discussing what an alive and dynamic God looks like.  We started talking about the story of Jesus.  Jesus is the best image of an alive and dynamic God.  He walked among us and did miracles.  He loved people and was present in their lives.  He loved them to his own death.  That is not a passive love.  That is a love that is alive and dynamic.

Our churches I think have done us a bit of a disservice, though.  We have always been taught that the story centers on the cross, but I don’t think that is entirely true.  Please, please, please don’t get me wrong; the cross is huge.  Without the cross Jesus never could have crushed Satan under his feet. 

By dying on the cross Jesus provided the blood for the new covenant.  It satisfied our need for a spotless sacrifice to be able to repair the damage in our relationship with God.  By Jesus dying, he broke the chains that bound us.  He paid for our life.  We were dead in our sin.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  We were dead.  So Jesus became like us and joined the dead through the cross.

That is great, and super important, but we would never know that happened if Jesus had stayed dead.  Jesus, while he was alive, even said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)  We would never know that we had been set free and given life to the full if he didn't come back to tell us.  We would still be living in the bondage of sin and death if. 

To me, the Gospel isn’t leading up to the cross.  It is leading to the empty tomb on that Sunday morning.  The story cannot stop at Friday, because we have a God of life, not death.    If the story stopped on Friday, if it ended with the cross, then our God would be able to die.  We have a God who is bigger than death.  The empty tomb shows that Jesus stomped death in the face and said it can’t touch those of us who follow him. 

To me, the Gospel is that Jesus came and destroyed the shackles that we were bound by.  He destroyed the sin, death, shame and anything else that keeps us from our God in Heaven who loves us dearly.  Jesus made us free, and more than that, he made us family.  We can only be made family if he is alive to speak for us.  We would never know our righteous lineage if Jesus had not come back on Sunday and let us know he is who he says he is, and we are who he says we are. 

When we accept Jesus and the good news of his resurrection we are crucified with Jesus.  We die with him, but that is not the end.  No, just as we die with him, we are raised with him.  And when we are raised we have a choice.  We can either sit in the tomb, or be like Jesus and leave the tomb and walk among the people spreading the light.  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after him to live in us and work through us.  In partnering with him, we leave the tomb and share the Good News of life and freedom with the rest of the world. 

So, it is time we leave the realm of the dead and walk with Jesus into the life he paid for.  Take a chance, step into the light.  See what happens.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I don’t know what it is about spring, but this time every year my desire to go on an adventure is awakened.  Something about spring makes me hope that Peter Pan would come through my window and tell me the Lost Boys need a mother.  Makes me long for a blue Police Box that is bigger on the inside to bring the Raggedy Doctor into my life, even if it means I have a lot of running in my future.  I want to become the heroine of my story, not a passive bystander.

I never really know how to put this feeling into words.  I do know that it is like a fire burning in the pit of my stomach.  It is in the same place where I feel nervousness or shame, but it is an entirely different feeling.  It moves from my core and spreads through my limbs making me antsy for whatever it is that is coming my way. 

This is the same feeling that has caused me to try to pack a bag and skip town every time there is a natural or man-made disaster.  More than once my mom has walked in on me throwing clothes and toiletries into a dufflebag.  The first time she didn't even know what to do with me.  She stood in my doorway asking me what I was doing.  “Mom, didn't you hear?  There was a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.  It has killed a lot of people and I need to go help.”  She wouldn't let me go.  In her defense, I was only in High school, and didn't have a passport.  The same feeling was awakened when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  Once again, I tried to physically go help.  Again, mom wouldn't let me. 

The cycle continued when I watched the Invisible Children movie as a senior in High School.  I tried to leave, mom put me on lock down.  I started to realize that my intentions were good, but my application did not match where I was in my life.  Instead of trying to do it on my own, I started talking to my peers.  This was too big to let go without doing something.  We decided that if we cannot go to help fix the problem, we would help raise money so other people can do what we can’t.  We held a benefit concert to raise money and awareness. 

After all of these my hunger for adventure was satiated, but barely.  Now, nothing is quenching that fire.  I was thinking about this on my way home from giving my siblings a ride to school.  I was struck with how tame our faith has become.  The reason I am so antsy and so hungry for adventure is because that is what we were created for.  When we look at the stories of the Ancients of faith we see them walking closely with God, and their stories are so full of danger, impossibilities, and love.  They live adventurous lives. 

The more time you spend with someone, the more you become like them.  We see this clearly with the disciples.  They spend three years with Jesus, learning to love people alongside their master.  Once Jesus went back to the Father, they were still on earth to finish out the adventure he had sent them on.  They were healing people, casting out demons, facing down angry mobs with stones and a few even took on royalty, all in the name of Christ.  There had to be moments were they looked at each other and asked, “is this real life?”  That life is more real and fiery than all the mediocre, lukewarm lives people live today. 

Today I realized that when I am craving adventure, what I am really craving is a closer connection with Jesus.  The adventure will come naturally.  First, I need to learn how to walk with Jesus, and hear his voice clearly, and then I can learn to run.  It’s not about what I can do, but about how much I love spending time with God.  If I rest into Him, he will give me the desires of my heart; no deep relationship with Jesus can be dull.  So, let’s do it!  Let’s dive in head first and live the dynamic lives we were created for.  No more boring half asleep lives.  It’s time to wake up and walk so close to the fire of God that we can’t help but light on fire ourselves.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spiritual Authority?

I feel like I need to update this.  I haven’t written much recently, I just haven’t had time.  

Work is going well.  I feel like I really am beginning to build relationships with some of the kids at ESOL.  There are still a few who can be a bit ornery, but they are getting better.  I am also building relationships with the volunteers, and that makes me so happy.  It is hard to be the leader of a room when you don’t know the personalities, strengths and passions of the people who are supposed to be helping you.  But we are all learning.  

Impact is doing well.  I have this feeling that it is going to blow up (in a good way) over the summer, so I am really praying for God to raise up leaders who will come along side our kids and invest in their lives.  I have seen so much growth in our current leaders, and am so excited to see what God does with them as they grow older. 

I am still going to Fire, and I love it.  It is so nice to be in a community of believers who are going hard after God.  It is even nicer that they are close to my age!  What a bonus!

For Lent this year I have decided to run hard after the Holy Spirit.  I am spending serious time in prayer and am listening for His voice in my life.  When he tells me to do something I am doing it.  I am praying for dreams and visions.  I am trying to learn how to heal people.  While this may sound crazy to a lot of people, it has been amazing what God has been doing since I started this journey just over a week ago!  Plus, God says:
The Lord says:  These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.  Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” (Isaiah 29:13-14)
I am going to take that and run with it.  I don’t want my faith to be just about what I know, but who I know!

That being said, I have really been struggling with the idea of Spiritual Authority.  In order to walk into the things I feel like I am being called to I need to be able to also walk into my spiritual authority.  That is a hard concept for me.  I have grown up with friends and parts of my home congregation that have said women do not carry the same authority as men.  That has wounded me a lot more than I realized.  I have felt as though I am not as capable in the Spirit as the male counterparts that are around me. 

These wounds are so deep that I second-guess myself often.  I am always sure that God has settled on using me because no one else has stepped up.  That is a blatant lie.  God put me where I am because He wants me there, not because he is settling.  I need to remember that. 

Last night I read a blog about the Priesthood of all Believers.  Jessica Leep Fick is a staff member for InterVarsity.  She was writing about her journey in understanding that she is a part of that priesthood.  She says, “…doubts still linger in my heart from people and churches that have sent me the message- ‘you can’t do this. You aren’t allowed. You didn’t go to seminary. You’re a woman.  You aren’t legit. Who do you think you are?’”  It was like she read my mind.  Ultimately, she decided to believe Jesus, not these lies. 

That is the path I am on now.  I am choosing to believe God’s word, even though I am not sure.  In 1 Peter, God says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.(1 Peter 2:9)  If I am walking in authority in a way that declares “praises of him who called [me] out of the darkness” then why wouldn’t He back me up?

If I am healing, or stepping out in faith as a way to bring Him glory He isn’t just going to leave me hanging.  If I am doing those things with an attitude of pride and showing off, then of course I will fall flat.  The only authority I have is found when I humble myself as Christ did.  Then God will raise me up as one of His beloved children, part of His royal priesthood.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New, Not Better

When I was younger, before I really began to grasp the love of God and what Christ did for me, I was incredibly insecure.  I was shy and quiet.  I would let people walk all over me.  I never could trust that people actually liked me and thought I was fun to be around.  I thought so little of myself and allowed people to treat me like crap.  I only ever wanted to be liked and cared for, but was too scared to seek it out. 

On Wednesday I was sharing with the Impact team how I have been really fighting those insecurities; and the feeling that my new friends from a Bible study (Fire) I have started to go to don’t really like me.  I was asking for prayer that I can push the insecurities aside and remain in who God has made me.  Sarah piped up saying that I will always be that secretly shy, socially awkward, girl.  Maggie tried to tell me that was not true.  After the meeting she read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and said that it applies to me.

As I was driving to worship with Fire last night and was thinking about that verse.  “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone.”  It says a new creation, not a better person.  New.  As I was thinking about this I started to wonder what that would look like.

I think it’s like when you call Verizon for a new phone.  You always want a brand new phone; one straight from the factory.  Instead they send you a refurbished phone.  Those phones always have issues that show up a few months after they send it to you.  But on that lucky day they you get a straight from the factory, new phone, you have a phone that has no history of brokenness.  There are no “fixed” issues that will show up later. 

That is me.  I keep thinking I am a refurbished phone.  I am not.  I am a new phone.  There is no brokenness because Christ has made me new.  My old issues only show up because I expect them to.  I’m only insecure because I am not holding on to the promise that God made me. 

It is easy for me to think 2 Corinthians 5:17 applies to my leaders, my students, or my friends.  It is a lot harder for me to accept that for myself.  I need to remember that God wants to work on me as much as he does them.  I am just as much his beloved child as they are.  It’s time I stop selling myself short and trust God at his word.  I just don't know where to start.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


It has been a long time since I have gotten really mad at something one of the pastors has said on a Sunday.  Today I was livid.  

We were talking about Ezekiel, which is one of my favorite books in the Bible.  Pastor Dan started out talking about King Manasseh.  This was a bad dude.  He worshiped the pagan gods killed so many people it was said the streets ran with blood.  This guy even burned his own son in a sacrifice. 

As we know, God doesn’t let men like that stay in power in the Old Testament.  God allowed the Assyrians to take Manasseh into captivity.  While there he repented.  God, seeing the change in his heart, forgave him and freed him.  Manasseh had a second chance. 

Pastor Dan tried to make the point that this kind of resurrection should offend us.  He went on to talk about the valley of the dry bones later in the book.  This is one of my all time favorite stories in the Bible.  Here’s what happens:  God comes, plucks Ezekiel up and drops him in the middle of a valley of dry bones. 

God has Ezekiel prophesy to the dry bones.  As he is speaking he hears a rattling and sees the bones come together and the tendons are formed and muscle and skin.  God then has Ezekiel call the breath for the bodies.  It comes in and enters the body and they all come back to life; a vast army awakened from a deep slumber. 

Still the pastor tried to say that resurrection should be offensive to us.  That pissed me off.  We should not be anymore offended by the idea of a God of resurrection than a God of love or a God who will fight for us. 
If we as Christians claim to profess the resurrection of Christ, then we should not be offended of resurrection.  It’s what our God is about.  In the Old Testament we see it with the dry bones; we see it with both Elijah and Elisha when they brought people back from the dead.  We see it in the way God continually takes Israel back even though they constantly spit in his face.  And when Christ dies the book of Mark says that the graves are opened and the dead go walking around.  Resurrection is what our God does! 

I am offended by the thought that I should be offended by the resurrection.  When we are claiming ourselves as heirs to the resurrection of Christ we should not be offended by that inheritance.  There are no lost causes with God.  There is no one who doesn’t deserve a second chance.  Everyone gets that who ‘confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.’  You will be saved from damnation; you will be saved from yourself; you will be saved from the things that consume you. 

The resurrection doesn’t offend me, it gives me a reason to live.