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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Newest Job

There is a certain peace that comes with doing what you know you were made to do.  Your body may be tired and achy, but your spirit just soars so high it’s like it can touch God.

That is how I felt tonight.  I have started running the Kid’s Club for SON Ministries’ ESOL classes.  Basically, I hang out with anywhere from 50 to 70 kids whose parents are in class learning English.  It is such a cool place to see God moving. 

I filled in for my predecessor last year.  She had fallen and broken her arm playing soccer with some of the kids.  Kim, the woman in charge of SON, called me to see if I could come be the substitute.  I fell in love with those kids.  Most of them are rough around the edges, and they are definitely not church kids, and that is why I love them. 

My first day as the official gym leader I spent fifteen minutes playing catch with a boy who spoke next to no English.  That didn’t stop us from giggling and having a blast.  He would point over my shoulder, as though there was something I needed to look at.  When I would “fall for it” he would just burst into fits of laughter.  It was a beautiful moment. 

Tonight we had a group of the Columbus Young Professionals come in to play games with the kids.  One of the gentlemen brought a backpack with paper in it.  He taught some of the kids origami.  I talked to him briefly afterwards.  He said he had planned on leaving an hour earlier than he actually left.  He still had a job to go to after he left from ESOL.  He seemed a little flustered, but I don’t know that he saw the joy that extra hour brought to the kids.  I had one boy who would not leave when his mom wanted him to, because he just wanting to talk with me about the origami art that the CYP member had made. 

My first night I had the opportunity to speak with a volunteer who had just started that night as well.  She said she had wanted more volunteer opportunities, and this seemed perfect since she was the daughter of immigrants.  She said that the ESOL program, including Kid’s Club, would have been so nice to have had twenty years ago when they moved here and were trying to learn English.  When I connected with her on Thursday she really seemed to be enjoying her time with the kids.  That is huge. 

It is incredible to me the way some of the students matured in the last year.  There is a particular set of twins, a boy and a girl, who were constantly at each other’s throat last year.  So far I have only had to break up one spat between them, knock on wood, and the girl was one of the first students to ask if I needed help with anything on Thursday.

It is so neat to see how God is at work in these students and volunteers.  It is a different atmosphere than I am totally used to, though.  Unlike Impact, at Kid’s Club God is more covert, yet I see him moving so apparently that it brings my heart such joy. 

This is where my heart is right now.  I love it.  

If you are interested in volunteering with SON Ministries go here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

25 Before 25: Updated

So, on New Year’s Eve I had a realization.  I only have one full year until I am 25.  That means I only have one year and a couple months to finish my 25 before 25 list.  So, I went back and looked at the list.  Some of the things on I’m not really interested anymore.  I’m going to switch some for ones that I actually want to do.  So, here is my updated 25 Before 25 list:
My 25 Before 25: Updated

1. Graduate from college
2. Run a 5k
3. Start my own business
4. Go to New York for the New Year's Eve ball drop
5. Become better at slowing down and enjoying the moment
6. Weigh less so I have more energy and get off the sidelines.
7. Get better at Spanish
8. Go paint balling
9. Learn to play the guitar (or ukulele) better
10. Visit Martha in Buffalo
11. Go on a mission trip
12. Move out of my parents' house
13. Buy a car
14. Go geocaching and actually find something
15. Help (at least) one person to become more compassionate toward the world outside of the USA
16. Spend less time angry with God, and more time in praise-filled prayer
17. Go on a road trip
18. Start writing a book.
19. Help build a house (with Habitat or another group)
20. Start working on getting my teaching license.
21. Visit Ground Zero in New York
22. Go to Daytona for the Student Life at the Beach youth conference.
23. Find a community of believers my own age and get plugged in with them. (01-28-2013)
24. Try Deep Fried Kool-Aid
25. Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s 

Some of these I should be able to knock out together.  I already have plans with friends to go to New York for the ball drop this coming New Year’s. I figure we can visit Ground Zero, and I’m sure I can convince at least one of them to have breakfast with me outside of Tiffany’s.  As for some of the others, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

If any of these seem like fun to you, feel free to let me know, and I will bring you along on my adventures.