Tuesday, December 29, 2009

book review: singing the songs of the brokenhearted

I just finished a book entitled “Singing the Songs of the Brokenhearted” by Bill Crowder. It’s an examination of ten different psalms and taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding each. A recurring them in this book is the fact that even when we feel God isn’t listening to our prayers – that He’s too busy with other things to pay attention to us – He IS listening and He DOES care. “God does not always answer our prayers in ways that we understand, but He always hears our cries. He does not turn His back on us or ignore us. He is not too busy to listen. He is never disinterested.”
Eight of these ten psalms were written by David, each expressing his pain and fear at different moments in his life. “Whereas in brighter days we too often find ourselves warmed by the sun of our own abilities, in times of somber reflection following defeat we are often driven to God. David’s defeats caused him to do precisely that.” As David goes through trial after trial in his life, he is given the opportunity to simply give up and stop trusting God. After all, why would God continue to allow these things to happen to him? Yet David’s faith remains strong. “He will give thanks – even without having yet received relief. He will live a life of witness – even in the midst of mistreatment. And he will seek to honor God as he awaits the response of his Rescuer.” The thing I often struggle with is the difference between my timing and God’s. He seems to take longer in answering me than I’d like and it often causes frustration on my part. Yet trusting that He knows best is part of having faith. “David is so completely yielded to God’s purposes that he is not only willing to seek His help, he is willing to leave the timing of that help to God.”
Another recurring theme is trust. We have to trust God even when our lives seem to be slowly spiraling out of control. We have to trust that God has a plan despite how things may currently look and not let go of that faith. It’s during those times that we seem to cling to God tighter because, sometimes, He’s the only thing we have. We have to always look forward, not allowing ourselves to trip because we’re too busy focusing on what’s behind us. We have to press on, even when we feel exhausted and don’t want to take another step. “We cannot by strength of will extend our lives, but we can – and must – extend the influence of our lives. We can regret the limitations that we endure and live accordingly, or we can live our lives to make a difference. This is a challenge that is not governed by the length of our days, but by the depth of our commitment. Only when we are more concerned with living than we are with dying will we be able to truly live meaningful, victorious, and purposeful lives.”

looking ahead

It's that time of year again. The time when we reflect on the year now behind us and look ahead to the new year looming on the horizon. It's a time of evaluating what all we did or didn't accomplish and making note of what to do differently next time. It's a time of writing the final lines in this current chapter of our lives and preparing ourselves for a fresh start once the page turns. I'm excited about 2010. My pastor gave a message Sunday about things to leave in 2009 and what to take with us into 2010. He challenged us to make goals in each aspect of our lives (spirit, soul and body) and then actively pursue them. He said even if we don't meet every single goal, at least we'll have done more than had we not made the goal at all. I'm using the next few days of this year to write down what I want to see happen in my life next year. I want to have the best year yet, doing more than I ever thought possible. I want to walk in the plans God has for me, letting Him use the gifts He's placed within me. I want to accomplish everything He has for me, having no room for regrets. I'm excited!!!! I think 2010 will be an amazing year and I look forward to it :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

where are you christmas?

I was talking to a co-worker and we agreed that the month of December is nothing more than a blur. It's four weeks of parties, church programs, shopping for THE perfect gift, mounds and mounds of gift wrap and then if there's time, we reflect on the real meaning of December 25. We become so caught up in ways the world says to celebrate Jesus' birth that we lose sight of what's really important. It seems with each year, the push for Santa Claus becomes more and more imminent. We keep hearing the politically correct "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas." All of it does nothing but attempt to pull the focus from the whole reason as to why we're celebrating!! Saying all of that to say, may we not become so bogged down in our busy schedules that we neglect to remember what transpired some 2,000 years ago in a tiny stable.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I'm learning that while what you say is important what you DON'T say is equally as important. When I'm communicating with people, listening is a vital component to the conversation. The reason is that my voice is currently on vacation, leaving me with nothing more than a whisper in which to converse with others. I'm having to rely on hand motions and facial expressions to do the bulk of my "talking" for me. Because of this, it's so very important that those I'm trying to talk to take into account all of this. It takes patience on both parts for communicating to be successful. It's been an interesting lesson - letting my actions speak for me.

"Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts." - Margaret Lee Runbeck

"Saying nothing...sometimes says the most."
- Emily Dickinson

Friday, November 20, 2009

scooby doo

I'm realizing something that I don't fully understand: the older I get, the more I revert back to things of my childhood. Let me explain. I was at the store yesterday, needing to buy some band-aids. My eye was instantly drawn to the Scooby Doo ones and without any more thought, I grabbed the box, adding it to my purchase. When deciding on what to eat for lunch, my menu alternates between pizza lunchables and Spaghetti O's. I can think of four instances in the recent past where I ordered a kid's meal. I'm seeing a pattern slowly develop. Yet I don't think there's anything wrong in re-connecting with those parts of your past. I think it adds a certain amount of unpredictability and randomness to an otherwise rather dull day. A day filled with appointments and schedules and all other things 'adult.' We need to not be so busy we forget to "smell the roses" or feel we're too old to play on the swing. I mean, how can you not smile when you look at your hand and see Scooby Doo smiling back?

Friday, November 13, 2009


We're currently in the midst of a 48-hour prayer vigil at my church. For every hour of these 48 hours, there's at least one person at church, praying - it's really cool when you think about it. I went yesterday afternoon and as I was praying something occurred to me that left me in wonder. I was praying for financial increase for those in church and was thanking God that when we sow seeds, there's always a harvest. Then I thought about that. There's...always....a...harvest. Even though a seed may take it's time in sprouting, it will at some point break through the ground and produce. Always. I know I've sown seeds before and am still waiting on the return but I can be assured that those seeds WILL produce.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


A friend of mine was sharing some advice given to another friend regarding perspective. The advice was to, just to mix things up, take a different route to work. The point being it would be a catalyst for a paradigm shift that would flow into other areas of life as well. I'm trying to follow that same advice. I've rearranged my work schedule so I'm going in at different times (it's ok with my boss, I promise) and not stuck in a monotonous routine. I like variety and not doing the same thing every day. Having a change of pace shakes things up a little bit and keeps things interesting. I think if we find ourselves in a rut, it can also play a part in our spiritual life. When we're feeling trapped with where we currently are in life, I think hearing from God can be difficult. We feel that what we're experiencing is either 1. too big for God to handle or 2. we're too exhausted to even utter a prayer about it. This is where change is vital. Even if it's as simple as going/leaving work through a different door, we need to do something to alter the routine we're in. Detours can sometimes be annoying since you're forced to go a way other than what you intended but they can also be points of clarity. You may find that by taking a detour, you stumble upon something so amazing that you never would have found had you not. So turn right instead of left or take the stairs instead of the elevator and see what happens...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

my best

A new month is now upon us...and seems to be quickly speeding by. I've welcomed in the month of November with Christmas music. My personal opinion is that Christmas should be celebrated longer than the one month it's often given (although most stores start "celebrating" in September or October when they bring out their holiday merchandise). Christmas is truly "the most wonderful time of the year" because for that brief span of time, people are caught up in the wonder of it.
My current Christmas favorite is "Drummer Boy" by Mercy Me. I'm not sure I've ever paid attention to the lyrics until now. This little boy has nothing to offer the Savior who's just made His grand entrance. All he has is his drum. So he plays for Jesus. I love the line that says "I played my best for Christ." Though the drummer boy didn't bring an expensive gift, he offered what he had and gave his absolute best. The same is true today. All God asks is that we give our best. Just like the drummer boy...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Our college ministry, er, young adult ministry (we're trying to not sound so inclusive) had a really good service last night. The topic was on "faith vs. religion" and how sometimes Christianity takes the form of things we "have to" do or else we're not a good Christian. We feel as though Jesus will love us more if we ________ (read our Bible everyday, pray for an hour, etc.). We forget the simplicity of Jesus died for us - end of story. We tend to take on all of problems, feeling that God somehow needs OUR help instead of leaving our worries, needs, etc. with Him. All of this is not faith but religion. Faith in its simplest form is belief. It's knowing what God says and believing He'll do it...because that's what He says.

I'm guilty of trying to "help" God. I get tired of waiting on Him to answer me and try to do things on my own. The only thing this accomplishes is that not only am I tired of waiting but I'm now frustrated because I CAN'T do it on my own. I find that often times I need to do daily (and sometimes minute by minute) surrender my life to God. I have to stop trying to do EVERYTHING and rest in the fact that God is genuinely concerned with me. For me, faith is more than an act - it's a lifestyle. It's choosing to live each day with the confidence that God has a plan, even though things at the moment might not make sense. It's knowing everything will truly be ok. It's whole-heartedly embracing Jeremiah 29:11. It's knowing that NOTHING can separate me from God and seeking refuge in that fact.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin Roosevelt

Fear has a way of paralyzing you, making you want to do nothing more than hide under a rock or cower in a corner, wishing the thing you fear would go away. Staying in the pocket of what's safe/comfortable can be tempting - "nothing ventured, nothing gained." But at some point, we all have to move. You either move forward or you move back, pressing farther into the recesses of what's familiar, what you know.
It's often in our moments of being scared that we exert the greatest strength. Moving when you're scared out of your mind takes courage and will undoubtedly either "make you or break you." Moving when there are countless uncertainties looming in front of you can be overwhelming but by taking that step forward, God will come behind us and alongside, bringing clarity to what once seemed obscure and muddled. So go on. Move.

(this song was playing in my mind as I wrote this...)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

attitude check

With my birthday being last week, I'm still going through the motions of adjusting to being a year older. However, what's making the transition easier is that this past week has been filled with so many great moments that I'm eagerly looking forward to what the coming 360 days have in store until my next birthday. It's as if something has been lifted and God is deciding each day "I want to bless you today...and today...and today." Not to say God doesn't bless me each day but it's as though I'm able to see physical manifestations of it more clearly these past few days. Which makes me wonder: what's different? What has happened for me to witness these changes? I always start each morning asking for favor and thanking God for the day but something is different. The cool thing is that once one really good thing happens, that buoys your attitude to believe for something great the next day. This is one of those things where you just give it to God saying, "I don't know what's happening but do whatever You will..." and then He does and all you can say is "wow..."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

when i was your age...

One of my co-workers told me this morning that when she was my age, she had her second child. I never know what the intention of statements like this are (I put these right up there with "kids today..."). I'm single and nowhere near having my first child, let alone second - all I could do was smile and walk away. Replies such as "oh, I better get a move on!" or "so you're how old?" would not have been appropriate although comical.

So I'm using my 100th post to not only celebrate that milestone but also a milestone in my own life as I add another year of wisdom to the vast knowledge I already obtain (I just don't always choose to use it). The past twenty-some years have been good but I'm believing for this coming year to truly be the best yet. I'm believing for things I've been praying for to finally come to pass and experience more of what I know God has for me. He and I sometimes disagree on the timing of things (we both think we're right) but I know that His timing is indeed perfect and I think this year I'll be seeing some "finally's" in my life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I was talking to a friend the other day and shared how I'm starting to like the word "no." I'm coming to realize it can be easy for us to become so bogged down with commitments that we are barely able to get our head above water and gasp for air. Therefore, we sometimes must say no; something that's hard for my wanting-to-please-others self to do at times. Yet I'm finding there's a freedom in not saying yes to everything. I'm able to pick and choose what I do or don't do - the metaphorical (is that even a word?) ball is back in my court. We simply can't do everything - we all have limits and there comes a time when we have to step back and try to maintain the spinning plates we already have going instead of adding even more. The more you add, the more chance of some falling and shattering on the ground.

Saying all of that to say, we must use some of the God-given common sense He's instilled in all of us when deciding what all we take on. I think it's better to do a few things and be able to devote 100% of your efforts instead of dabbling in far more than that, and giving less than your best. So what are you waiting for? Go dabble (just not in EVERYTHING)...

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I'm experiencing the thing writers rarely speak of for fear of bringing it upon them merely by uttering the words: writer's block. I've tried to make myself write profound, soul-searching pieces of literary genius but it's been the equivalent to ripping off a band-aid: painful and messy. I'm not one who wants to spend word after word, line upon line only taking up space by talking in circles. When the reader is finished, they're left scratching their head and wondering why they just wasted five minutes of their life reading something they'll only forget about in even less time.

I'm in need of inspiration that will help me overcome this present challenge in my writing career. Something that touches me in such a way that I have no choice but to write about it. The words will flow like water upon dry land and I'll be able to step back and amaze even myself at how eloquent it sounds. Now just to unearth that inspiration :-)

Monday, October 5, 2009

that's her

I found this really great quote that I had to share:
“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep...wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you're in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you're just as pretty without make-up on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have you...the one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'” ~ author unknown

Thursday, October 1, 2009

keep seeking

Received some on-time encouragement today that I wanted to share:
"Sometimes when we look for an answer and maybe we've looked for a long time we begin to get discouraged. This is nothing new and we have to remember that just because we don't find the answer right away doesn't mean that we should stop looking. Keep seeking and God's promise is that we will find the direction that we are seeking for."

Monday, August 31, 2009


I like things neat and tidy. I like knowing what to expect and being prepared. Yet it's seeming that recently when things have come about unexpectedly, it's the spontaneity that makes it fun. For example, last week after being at church for choir practice, two of my friends were all "Let's go grab a bite to eat. Wanna come?" We ended up getting burgers and spending the next two hours talking about sooo many things. We laughed, had those "" moments and the occassional awkward-in-a-funny kind of way moments. When we all climbed into our cars to go our separate ways at the end of the night, I realized it had been a good evening. None of it was planned but it's in these times when we can find ourselves pleasantly surprised. Huh. May we all be open to "beautiful surprises" (remember that, Alicia?).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

energy boost

"So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us" (Romans 8:31-39 - the Message).

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was driving to work this morning, windows down and enjoying the nice weather. I saw something out of the corner of my eye and realized there was a spider on my driver-side window. I immediately rolled up my window, panicking at the thought of it flying in and what if it flew in my mouth? I would have thrown up for sure, no question. Arriving at work, my unwanted friend was still clinging to my window, in no hurry to leave. Sitting in my car, I had the choice of getting out and risking it falling on me (I REALLY don't like bugs) or getting out on the other side. So I crawled over the gear shift and climbed out the passenger side (I'm so thankful a co-worker didn't see me). I don't know why something so small freaks me out. I'm going to chalk it up to being a girl and being okay with that :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Twitter is a fun way to fritter away any down time you may have. I joined Twitter back in October and am constantly surprised to see how popular it's becoming. It seems anyone and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and proclaiming that they're "twittering." I looked back over my updates and wanted to share some that made me smile when I sent them and make me smile now as well. Please enjoy :-)
* I really don't think church is the place to cuddle...
* Just because you're a guy doesn't mean you automatically have the right to strut around without a shirt; some restrictions do apply.
* Just saw a car covered in "fur" like the one in "Dumb & Dumber."
* Pet peeve #36: people wearing black & navy together (unless it's jeans & then you're fine).
* Washing cheese out of my hair...ew - gotta love fellow youth leaders :-)
* I've spent 1/4 of my calories for today on a box of Andes chocolate - it's been worth it :-)
* This is what i get for selecting 'play all' on my MP3 player: 'Mission 3:16' by Carman. MAJOR stroll down memory lane :-)
* Two coworkers are discussing the merit of 'Napoleon Dynamite.' Really?
* Currently fighting with the stapler...the stapler is winning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


In just a little over a week sixty-some teenagers and adults will head to youth camp for a week of fun and finding God. In preparation for what God is going to do, my youth pastor asked all of us to give something up in exchange for God to move in our lives. I'm starting to really miss what I sacrificed :-) Yet I keep thinking of what I'm needing God to do in my life and I keep hanging in there - I know He'll prove Himself faithful. I've been reading in Hebrews about all those such as Moses and Abraham who believed in what God had promised them though they didn't fully understand the means in which their answer would come. Waiting on God to move is not always easy - there's a lot of waiting sometimes involved but just as our forefathers in the faith realized, God always fulfills His promises. No, He may not answer when we want Him to but He will ALWAYS come through. So as I wrap up my fast, I'm looking forward to not only what God will do at camp but what He'll do between now and then as well.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I'm having a hard time believing the fact that 2009 is now halfway over. It seemed like just yesterday that we were ringing in the new year and now we will shortly we welcoming in a new one. I think the biggest thing is enjoying each day as is and not looking to sporadic "big" events in order to count them as worth celebrating. For example, in a few weeks I'm going as a leader to camp with around sixty teens. While I know those four days will be absolutely amazing, I can't keep wishing away the time I have right now in exchange for it to already be time to load the bus and head to camp. We have to make the most of every day and search for the potential that each day holds. So even though half the year is gone, I still have six more months to fit in lots of experiences and adventures. And once 2010 is here, I get to start all over :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

on its way

A few weeks ago, I saw Hillsong United in concert. Hearing songs from those who wrote them that I listen to and being surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of people who are hungry for God is a beautiful thing. About halfway through the concert, the youth pastor for Hillsong Church came out and spoke (I'll admit I absolutely love their accent). He talked about the fact that he and his wife have a new baby at home. He said that they have decided to feed her "the old fashioned way," as he put it, leaving him completely incapable of feeding her. One day the baby was fussy and hungry, the youth pastor only able to offer what comfort he could while his wife was on her way home. He said he was holding his daughter close, rocking back and forth, trying to keep her pacifier in place - everything humanly possible to console her but it still wasn't enough. Though he couldn't give her what she needed, help was on its way. He said the same is true with us. God is holding us, comforting us as only He can, promising our answer is on its way. We're 'fussy' for whatever reason, all of us needing something different from God. "I love you. Hold on. Just a little bit longer," God says, rocking us back and forth. I like that idea. God knows what we need before we even ask which means we can be assured we'll have the answer at the right time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


This morning started out sunny and warm but a few hours later, dark clouds loomed overhead. Sitting at my desk at work, I made the choice to leave my umbrella in the car though I knew a downpour was on its way. Leaving work, I savored the feel of rain on my skin, finding a little bit of freedom in not using an umbrella. In keeping with the theme of my last post, sometimes we need to 'leave the umbrella in the car' and just enjoy the simple things.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I went to Nashville with some friends last weekend to see Hillsong United in concert (another blog post entirely). Before the concert we had some down time so we went to the mall and squeezed in some shopping. As soon as we walked into the mall, we were greeted by a merry-go-round. The other girls decided we should ride it - so we each purchased a ticket and waited in line. We opted to ride the spinning teacup so the three of us climbed in and for the next few minutes went round and round, laughing as we turned the wheel faster and faster.
Though such an act may seem childish and inappropriate for two teenagers and a twenty-something to engage in, to me it was a moment of throwing caution to the wind and having a little fun. I think sometimes we need to break tradition and remember the fun we had when little by swinging or riding on a merry-go-round. Life goes by so fast - sometimes we need to seek out the joy found in the simple things.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

dead end

Have you ever thought God was leading you in one direction only to hit a dead end and then scratch your head and wonder "Now what?" This wall, appearing seemingly out of no where, threatens to upset our carefully constructed plans since we didn't allow for a plan B. As we survey our surroundings, we notice a partially hidden but well-paved second trail, stemming from the one we're on. Because we were so focused on staying on THIS path, we failed to take notice of anything else - even if it was in right in front of us. Uncovering the second path, we begin walking on it, unsure of where it will take us but excited at no longer being at a standstill.

It's not until we've walked a little ways that we see this alternate trail brings us back on the first path but we detoured the dead end. By being willing to abandon our plans momentarily, we find out that we're back where we need to be but needed to go a different way - if just for a season.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

changing lanes

I know I've used road analogies before but I have another one. I was driving home from work one day and getting a little frustrated at the slowness of the car in front of me. I entertained thoughts of switching to the other lane but didn't. It was then that the turtle in front of me turned. Glad I didn't change lanes at the last minute, I was ecstatic when the other three cars in front of me turned as well, giving me a straight shot to my destination.
I then thought about how in life, we kinda do the same thing. When life becomes frustrating and we feel we're at a stand still, we might want to change lanes, thinking the other lane is quicker and will get us to where we're headed faster. Yet the other lane brings it's own challenges and could, in fact, hinder our arrival. My point is that we shouldn't be so quick to abandon the path we're on just because it feels as if we're traveling at a snail's pace. We have no idea what things await us if we just stay steady and enjoy the ride.

Friday, May 22, 2009

bottom of the ladder

Today was my brother's last day of middle school. Picking him up, I couldn't help but have flashbacks to my own last day of 8th grade - probably my favorite year. In 8th grade, you're at the top of the social ladder, an air of superiority in your step as you pass 6th and 7th graders in the hallway. Yet in two months, he will have to start over again, being at the bottom of the same social ladder he was once at the top of. This process can be seen outside of the school environment as well. Going from one job to another, you're labeled the "new girl/guy" until someone else comes along to claim the title.
While some may shy away from such experiences, preferring to stay where it's safe and predictable, it's these very experiences that help shape us. Alan Cohen once said, "It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."

Friday, May 8, 2009


I was reading my devotional the other day and really liked the particular reading for the day. The book is called "Solo" by Eugene Peterson and all the verses are taken from the the Message translation. I like the Message because I think it just adds something more to the scriptures - making them somehow have more meaning. The passage is a prayer by Solomon as he dedicates the temple he's just built to God. I love the way it describes Solomon's physical condition as he prays - on his knees with arms outstretched (2 Chronicles 6:12-18).
"Then he [Solomon] knelt in full view of the whole congregation, stretched his hands to heaven, and prayed.
God, O God of Israel, there is no god like You in the skies above or on the earth below, who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and unfailingly loves them while they sincerely live in obedience to Your way. You kept Your word to David, my father, Your promise. You did exactly what You promised - every detail. The proof is before us today!
Keep it up, God, O God of Israel! Continue to keep the promises You made to David, my father, when You said, "You'll always have a descendant to represent My rule on Israel's throne, on the one condition that your sons are as careful to live obediently in My presence as you have."
O God, God of Israel, let this all happen - confirm and establish it!"

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I was driving to church this morning and there was a light drizzle in the air. Though I would rather not drive in the rain, it wasn’t really bothering me – just a little annoying. It wasn’t until I ended up behind another car that the rain became an issue. Since the roads were wet, the car’s tires in front of me were spraying water. This wasn’t a problem until I was closer to the car – the closer I got, the more water that was sprayed onto my windshield. I then began thinking about how this can relate to our walk with God. If we’re focused on pressing into Him and desiring that closeness, we’re going to get really wet. However, if we’re keeping a safe distance from Him, we may get a light sprinkle. I don’t know about you, but I want to get SOAKED.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The college ministry at my church ( met tonight and the topic of discussion is still heavy on my mind. We talked about being content where you are in life but still desiring to move forward – just being happy with your present situation. I’m reminded of a song by Mainstay called “Become Who You Are.” To me, the song talks about letting each experience we go through help shape us into who God wants us to be. I think we should try to glean at least one thing from every trial we endure or else we went through it for nothing – there was no benefit so it was a waste of time and a needless emotional struggle. Lots of good points were brought up in our talk but I think the main point was to trust God, even though we may be frustrated with our circumstances and not understand all the ‘why’s’. We have to rest in the knowledge that God is able to see the big picture while we can only see a small part. It all goes back to Jeremiah 29:11: “I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Message).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

slow dance

I’ve read a couple of books lately that have altered the way I look at God. I think sometimes I struggle with getting past the fact that He’s the Creator of EVERYTHING to see that He also desires a personal relationship with me as well. But now I’m beginning to see God as wanting me more than anything and I want that too. I’m currently reading a book called “Searching for God Knows What” by Donald Miller. In one chapter he talks about Adam and Eve and the whole concept of them not being aware of their nakedness. “Man is wired so he gets his glory (his security, his understanding of value, his feeling of purpose, his feeling of rightness with his Maker, his security of eternity) from God, and this relationship is so strong, and God’s love is so pure, that Adam and Eve felt no insecurity at all, so much so that they walked around naked and didn’t even realize they were naked.” He goes on to talk about the loss of their glory once they eat the forbidden fruit but that’s another post.

I was listening to one of my favorite songs today, “You and Me” by Lifehouse and though it’s about a guy and girl, I began thinking about the song in a different way. When we enter into a personal relationship with God, it’s just us and Him. It’s as though we’re slow dancing, God gently guiding us around the room as we sway and spin to the music softly wafting in the air. We completely trust where God is taking us, totally enraptured with Him that we notice nothing else. Everything and everyone seems to fade into the background as we become lost in our love for the One we’re with. While God is big and powerful, He's also gentle and loving. Yes, God made everything but He also made us to enjoy it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

he still moves stones

Today is a day for celebration. Today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead, proving that He had indeed defeated death and He became the gateway for salvation. It is through the cross that we are able to meet God. The choir at my church put on a program this morning entitled, "He Still Moves Stones." No matter where we are or where we've been or what we've done, no "stone" is too big for God to move. I heard a quote once, "How big is God? Well, how big do you need Him to be?"
It's because of this day that we're able to have the assurance that one day we'll be able to be with God. We'll be able to walk those streets of gold and commune with those we've longed to meet. Robert Flatt once said: "The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances." He still moves stones.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

wait on me

I read a book a few years ago but my attention was suddenly drawn back to it today as I spied it sitting on my shelf. It's called "His Princess - Love Letters from Your King" by Sheri Rose Shepherd and it's just that - 'letters' from God to His daughters. I want to share one with you and hope it touches you as it did me.
"My Princess...Wait on Me.
Wait on Me, My princess. My timing is always perfect. I know you're anxious about many things, and I see your passion for all the plans I have put in your heart. I know that you long to fly, and I see your enthusiasm. However, just as a vinedresser nurtures the vine and waits patiently for the right moment to harvest the grapes, so too am I working tirelessly to prepare you to bear much fruit. Don't run ahead of Me or try to fly before My plans are complete. Your strength will fail you, and your dreams will wither away. Trust Me that My dreams for you are far greater than you can dream on your own. You will run farther and soar higher if you will patiently wait for the season of My blessing. Draw close to Me now, and I promise that this season of waiting will bring you the sweetest of rewards.

Your King and Lord of perfect timings"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

made for

Everything is made for a purpose. Cell phones? They're made to send/receive calls, text messages and sometimes take pictures. Cars? They're made to drive and get us from point A to point B. Us? We're made to worship the One who made us. During worship tonight, the lead singer for our praise and worship band brought up this point as we were making the transition from fast and upbeat songs to slow and intimate songs. She said that just as we would get frustrated with our phone or car for not doing what it's made to do, so does God sometimes get frustrated when we fail to do what we're made to do - worship Him.

The song "Made to Worship" by Chris Tomlin only echoes this thought: "You and I were made to worship. You and I are called to love. You and I are forgiven and free. You and I embrace surrender. You and I choose to believe. You and I will see who we were meant to be." I've heard it said that "Life is God's gift to man. What we do with it is our gift to God." What kind of gift is your life to Him?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I was listening to the radio yesterday and heard a short blurb for a website, The guy was relaying an experience he had when younger. His older brother was driving, him in the backseat and their mother riding shotgun. At one point, the brother switched lanes but when their mother thought he wouldn't have time to get back over, she took the wheel, pulling them back into the lane. As a result, the brother lost control of the car and they ended up off the side of the road, in some water. The mother later admitted that she should have trusted her son's judgment and not interfered. The guy then brought his point home. What about us? How often do we hand God the keys but then try to take back the steering wheel when things don't seem to go as we think they should? Do we honestly think God needs our help? Why is it so hard to trust God and let Him take us on the road we need to be on? If we can relinquish that control to Him, we can simply enjoy the ride and not panic that He'll make a wrong turn.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

hey batter batter

I recently made the decision to sign-up for a co-ed softball team at my church. I was temporarily forgetting that a) I've never played softball and b) I'm not a big fan of objects coming towards my face (thankfully I was put in the outfield :-). Our first official practice was last night and I was quickly reminded of both the things I failed to recall when signing up. While standing at home plate, bat in hand, eyes focused on the pitcher (and yes, I was picked to bat first), I couldn't help but wonder what on earth possessed me to do this. After a few strikes, a little boy off to the side told me I was swinging too high - indicating that yes, I had just hit rock bottom :-). But the night wasn't all "oh, I wish I wasn't here" - I actually had fun. Several others were just as inexperienced as I so I didn't feel as if I was the weakest link or would be voted off at the next tribal council.

The whole point of the experience is not to be all about winning (though I do enjoy a good victory) but to fellowship (I'm not sure everyone on the team shares the same sentiment :-). It's about laughing with others and not being afraid to strike out (both figuratively and literally). I have no idea what's in store for our first game next week but I know we're going to have a good time and be able to look back and smile.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

while you wait

"Would you like something to eat/drink while you wait?"
"Can I get you something while you wait?"
"Here's some bread until your food is ready."

Have you ever noticed the attention given to waiting? Even those at restaurants who provide us with service our called waiters/waitresses. I've been thinking about the whole idea of waiting and how it's not just sitting still until whatever you're waiting on does finally happen. I think I've posted on this topic before and we've discussed it in the college ministry at my church ( but I think it bears repeating.

While waiting is a test of your patience, etc. what we do while we wait is just as important. There are countless examples in the Bible of those who either waited obediently on God or who took matters into their own hands, thinking God needed their help. Um, hello, He is God.

There's a song currently playing on the radio called "While I'm Waiting." In it he talks about the things he's doing while waiting on God because as has been pointed out before, the word 'wait' is a verb, meaning it's an action. So since all of us are more than likely waiting on God for something, how are you waiting?

Friday, March 13, 2009

speak up!

I got a haircut the other day and have to laugh at the attention I’ve received since then. People who I hardly talk to take the time to say they like the new ‘do I’m sporting. What I find the most funny is when guys tell me they like my hair (since I don’t think of them normally paying attention to such details). All day long I had been debating to either play it safe and go with a trim or walk a little on the daring side and cut off several inches. This was a big decision for me; only I could decide what's right for me. No one else could choose for me what I would do with MY hair - even the hair stylist was only able to do what I asked.

Reese Witherspoon, in the movie "Legally Blonde 2," addresses the members of Congress, relaying a prior hair experience gone awry. She talks about how she was sooo excited to finally have an appointment at THE place to get your hair done. However, she was sorely disappointed due to the fact that the colorist used the wrong color, the shampoo girl used the wrong shampoo for her hair type and the stylist had the nerve to give her a bob…with bangs. Yet though her first visit was also her last visit, she admitted that no one was to blame except herself for the tragedy her hair suffered. She encouraged all those listening to speak up when suffering an injustice; to not sit idly by and do nothing.

It’s our responsibility to ask for and go after what we want; we can’t expect it to be handed to us. It’s our duty, in the words of Elle Woods to “speak up for the land of free gift with purchase.” Speak up!

Friday, March 6, 2009


I've been thinking about how God uses people to bring about change that are often the most unlikely of choices. He uses those that most might overlook to accomplish His plans on this earth and I find that really cool. In the Bible, there are countless examples of people who God called to do things they felt they were no where near capable of carrying out. Moses, Gideon, Esther, Mary, Jonah, the disciples - all people who were average individuals that God used in above average ways.

The same is true today. God still uses people who appear to have nothing to offer but when they willingly allow themselves to be used by God, become vessels of change. When we say yes to God, we admit that on our own we're not capable of doing what He's called us to do but we're trusting Him to give us the strength and ability to do what He's asking us.

I had the privilege of hearing Joyce Meyer at my church last fall and she talked about beginning a 'love revolution.' She made a comment that has lodged itself in my mind and any time I feel that God has come to the wrong person for what He's asking, it will replay itself over and over. She said that God often uses the things in us we're the most insecure about. In her case, she said she doesn't like her voice because it's deeper than most women but yet her career centers around her voice.

I think God likes irony because it does away with our plans and ideas, leaving us to throw up our hands and say "Ok, God. I give up - let's do it Your way." We know on our own we're unqualified and unable to do what He asks of us. It's only by setting aside our agenda for His that He's able to work through us and make us qualified.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

life is NOT a musical!!

I can't help noticing a rising trend in today's entertainment industry. Ever since the release of High School Musical back in 2006, we've seen an increasing interest in movies where people randomly burst into song. I will openly admit that I've seen all three movies in the High School Musical trilogy and my point is only further reiterated: no one resides in such an environment where it's normal to start singing out of the blue. Not only that, others will most certainly not join in and sing/dance to the tune that apparently is only playing inside your head.
Nick finally decided to cash in on this fad with a movie they premiered earlier this month, Spectacular. Though with a different plot line than the Disney films, one can't help but see similarities. However, despite the unrealistic idea of a musical, the movies do promote some good themes such as standing up for what you believe in, working together as a team and doing the right thing, even if it's unpopular - all important to instill in a impressionable tween.
While I'm hopefully not sounding as though I'm against these movies, because I'm not, I'm just saying I wonder how many teachers will attest to the face that their classroom has been disrupted by one or more children singing and dancing their favorite number from these movies? I'm just saying...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


This week has been...interesting but in an amazing kind of way. God has been opening doors for me and I'm to the point of just trying to catch my breath. It's as though God is showing me He does hear me (because there have been times I've felt as though my prayers don't quite reach His ears) and I'm excited at how these opportunities will play out.

So this morning I was getting ready for work and realized I ate my last poptart yesterday. I like a grab-and-go breakfast because I can eat in the car. Not able to enjoy my strawberry pastry topped with frosting and sprinkles, I opted for some Fig Newtons (not nearly as tasty).

When I arrived at work and walked through the door, one of the girls immediately told me they had all provided breakfast - biscuits, doughnuts, fruit, and orange juice. Maybe it was just a coincidence but I can't help but wonder if it's not God showing me in yet another way that He knows my needs before I do and will provide. I'm so glad He doesn't get tired of having to find new ways of demonstrating His love for me :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

sway, clap, sing (repeat)

One of my goals for this year is to boldly say yes to whatever opportunities God might place before me. I don't want to miss out on anything that could result from obeying by deciding to play it safe and promise myself that I'll say yes "next time." I was tested in this decision Sunday morning when one of the guys in the choir tracked me down, declaring there had been a "state of emergency" issued and all those in the choir were to find someone to sing that morning as well. Apparently the majority of those that usually grace the stage were sick, leaving lots of empty spaces - thus the "state of emergency." My first instinct was to say no but I couldn't ignore what I'd set out to do this I agreed. To say I only wanted to blend in would be hard to believe since almost everyone had on black and me? Yes, I was wearing pink.

Walking on stage, I was a little nervous, wondering what on earth I'd agreed to. Backstage, the choir director prayed and made some reference to helping those who were stepping out of their comfort zone. The girl beside me and I both started snickering since he was, without knowledge, referring to us. As we shuffled around in the choir loft, making room for everyone, it was cool to see the congregation from a different perspective. Once the music started, I had to try to juggle swaying, clapping and singing all at the same time (not as easy to do when you're not used to having lights and eyes on you). But it was a good experience. Will I do it again? I'm not sure but I don't think it's completely out of the question.

Let me wrap up the story by saying that yesterday I received a call from a school I had applied to substitute teach at. Is there a connection to me singing in the choir and the phone call? I don't think it was a coincidence. I think it might just be a little surprise, if you will, for saying yes to God.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


“Yes, our God, He is a consuming fire
And the flames burn down deep in my soul.
Yes, our God, He is a consuming fire
And He reaches inside and He melts down this cold heart of stone.”
- “Consuming Fire” by Third Day

Hebrews 12:29 says that God is a consuming fire.

Webster’s defines consuming as “very intense” or “to devour.”

A consuming fire is one that ravages whatever it touches; nothing is left unscathed. The flames stretch upward, seemingly forever, as they lick and sputter. The heat emanating from the flames is unbearable. Even standing a safe distance away, the heat is smothering, settling like a heavy blanket.

Keeping this image in mind, think about God. When we experience God, even obtaining just a taste of His presence, it’s as if that same fire is ignited within us. As we press in deeper, the fire blazes hotter and hotter, the flames spreading into every part of us until we’re consumed with it. The heat melts away all impurities, leaving only a heart hungry for God. When a fire touches something, it’s never the same; it’s forever altered. When God invades us, we’re never the same – we’re forever altered.

Friday, February 20, 2009

eternal vibrations

I wanted to further my thoughts from yesterday. One other key point that was brought up in the message Wednesday night is if you had thirty days to live, would you begin to regret more? Would you begin to treat those around you differently, knowing how little time you had left? Edwin Hubbel Chapin once said, "Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." Every action, no matter how important or seemingly insignificant has the potential to either affect only you or countless others as well. If you did have only thirty days, wouldn't you strive to make every action touch someone else?
It can be so easy for us to let such a concept feel overwhelming and therefore we do nothing to change our lifestyle. It's by acts of random kindness (ARK - Evan Almighty) that we can begin to slowly take the focus off us (since we do tend to be a little self-centered) and onto others. Instead of such a task seeming daunting, we should let it challenge us to each day, find creative ways to touch someone else. It is then that we are SPENDING our time instead of merely LIVING it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

30 days

If you had thirty days to live, what would you do? Such a simple question but also difficult just the same. This was the topic in my youth ministry last night and the guy speaking challenged all those listening to not LIVE each day we have but to SPEND it. The difference is that by living, we're focusing on us and what we can get out of everything. By spending, we're investing in other people's lives so that when our time is up, we'll have made a difference in our corner of the world.
I think all of us want to be remembered for something but the question is what? Do you want to be remembered for accomplishing some great feat (think Guinness book) or for doing something that makes an eternal impression like leading someone to the Lord? All of us have a choice as to how we'll use the time we're given; either to live it or spend it.
This song is called 'Legacy' by Nicole Nordeman. It talks about living a life that's focused on more than just earthly goals but striving for eternal ones as well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

perfect fit

I read a blog the other day that I both liked because of the point brought up but didn't like for the very same reason. The topic was about this girl wanting a boyfriend but currently still single and her resolve to wait on God because He'll work it out in His time. The illustration she used was that of going shopping with her mom in search of a jacket. Finding what she feels is the perfect one, her mom firmly shakes her head, insisting they keep looking. It all boils down to not going with the first thing she sees but continuing to look until she finds exactly what she's looking for - not settling.

I think this same principle can be applied to anything we're believing God for. Anything that requires us to say, "Ok, God. I believe this is in Your plan for me and I'm giving it to You." And then we have to partake in the difficult task of releasing control and letting God work things out according to His timetable. What's the alternative? Ending up with a jacket that we either are only semi-satisfied with or waiting until we find that jacket that is just absolutely perfect...for us (please don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others because we all have a different path God has placed us on). Yeah, I think I'll go with the latter.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

#2 approval of others

“Life. Now.” Chapter 2 – What If No One Claps For Me?

The second obstacle that we must overcome in order to go after our dreams is the realization that we can’t please everyone and we have to do what’s right for us and not let what others think keep us from moving forward. Part of this is being able to just say no. We can’t be afraid of disappointing others that we are constantly trying to appease everyone. “We need to be comfortable outside of other people’s approval. Because if we choose to pursue our dreams and get from where we are to where we want to go in life there is a guarantee that other people’s approval isn’t something we will always have.”

The authors stress the point that we must stop feeling as though we need permission in order to say no. “We do not need to raise our hands and ask for permission before doing something like pursuing our dreams and what we honestly believe to be God’s will for our lives.” One of the key points from the chapter is that in some instances, approval from others can’t be taken as a sign that we’re making the right choice. “What we need to realize is that the approval of other people doesn’t always serve as confirmation that we are headed in the right direction. Many times the approval of others stands in stark contrast to the approval of God.”

The end of the chapter talks about how it’s sometimes in unexpected moments that we taste glimpses of our freedom. One choice leads to another until we begin living a lifestyle of not letting what others think weigh us down and influence our choices. The last sentence inspired me and I want to end with it: “You are on the verge of your emancipation. Step forward with boldness and embrace it – now.”

Thursday, February 5, 2009

final answer?

Q. What's your favorite thing about God's love?

A. Um...

A certain singer for our amazing youth worship band, Pursuit of Red, was running around the Student Center last night, asking people this very question. Admittedly when she came to me, I couldn't come up with an immediate response. It's kind of like, on a much smaller scale, being asked to describe the U.S. Where do you start? I mean, there's fifty very different states that comprise the country so how would one begin to explain such a vast subject? I think it's the same way with God. There are so many aspects to God and He's so...God, that to readily be able to answer the favorite thing about His love is difficult.

I ended up giving an off-the-wall response because she already had the standard answers and wanted something a little different. Yet the question still begs to be answered. What is YOUR (all those who may read this) favorite thing about God's love? Is it the fact that He loves us regardless of our mistakes or the fact that we'll make more mistakes? Is it because though we have done nothing to deserve His love, it's there for us? Is it because, as a sign of His great love, He sent Jesus to become our pathway to salvation? Is it because when you're going through a storm and it's raging on all sides, you can seek protection in His love? I don't think we're fully able to process the extent of His love, thus making it hard to be able to explain. It's hard to describe something that you yourself don't fully understand. All we have to know is that His love is there and yeah, it's pretty awesome :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

roll with it

I had a very recent experience in a lesson on not freaking out when things don't go as you plan. Leading up to this event, I had spent a lot of time in preparation making sure I had everything I would need only to have all of that work go straight into the trash can as I had to improvise. I was driving home after the event trying to not feel frustrated that things had taken such a sharp turn. To put so much effort into something only to have it not go anything like you thought it would can make you want to stop trying so hard. Why invest the time and energy only to have it fall apart (I hope I'm not sounding too dramatic or negative - I'm ending on a positive note).
I finally realized that even though things didn't follow the exact plan I had wanted, the whole thing was behind me. I was nervous going into it because I didn't know what to expect but I can now be better prepared for the next time. I think if we look at things through the scope of "Oh, I'm not going to even bother trying next time since it blew up in my face this time!" or "What's the point?" then we're going to walk away not learning anything. I think in every experience we have we should find at least one positive thing to take away from it. By doing that, I can say, "Well, things didn't go like I wanted but I survived (if only you knew the details :-)."
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is about Joseph. His brothers sell him into slavery and he ends up working directly for Pharaoh and overseeing the rationing of food for the famine. His brothers come to him (after 10 - 15 years), not knowing the man before them is their brother from so many years ago. After a bunch of drama involving a silver cup and several treks back and forth, Joseph tells his brothers that what they meant for harm, God turned around for good (the exact reference escapes me at the moment). Life is full of the unpredictable but if we make the decision to find the positive amidst the chaos we'll be able to roll with whatever is thrown at us.

Friday, January 30, 2009

leave a message

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, the holiday is bittersweet. While those with a special someone can think of creative ways to show how much they care those who are single have to attempt to overlook the movies and Hallmark and jewelry commercials and all other forms of blatant advertising. Not to mention the several-aisle displays in stores, complete with singing creatures that go off when you walk past them.

Those of us who are single have two choices: either wallow in self-pity and drown our sorrows in whatever comfort food we choose or be confident in who are and not let the fact that we’re without an “other half” hinder us from being who God created us to be. I mean, if you choose the first alternative, you’re going to end up sitting by the phone and putting your whole life on hold for a phone call. What if the phone never rings? You’ve traded in time that you could have been doing any number of things…to just wait. On the other hand, by forging ahead into the unfamiliar and blazing a new trail, you’re focusing on what’s ahead of you and if the phone happens to ring, let him leave a message. You’re busy living your life and will squeeze him in when you have time :-)

I found an example of the jewelry commercials I was talking about. However, I think the woman should have been way more excited; I mean, she is getting proposed to (just a side note)!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

#1 fear

"Life. Now." Chapter 1 - What If It Doesn't Work Out?
So the first obstacle to overcoming your dreams is fear. Fear can come in many shapes and sizes. We can have a fear of failing, fear of what others may think of us and a fear or change. By never venturing away from the comfortable, we can ensure that we'll never come up against failure. "We think it is better to not try and not fail than it is to fail when we do try." One of the things the authors point out is that going after our dreams doesn't mean we're not afraid but you're deciding to act in spite of that fear. "You learn not to give in to it [fear]. That knot you have in your stomach may very well always be there. You just need to learn to realize that God is bigger than that knot, and if He has called you to do something, He is going to take your hand and lead you all the way through it. Every time you think you can't do something, realize that you are right. You can't, but God can. Because of that you don't need to give in to fear."
Fear of what others may think is rather ironic because most often the biggest critics are the ones who are the most afraid. Because they won't go after their dreams, they want to make sure you don't either. "If you let other people control your dreams, they will essentially control you, making you as miserable and unhappy as they are."
By wallowing in the comfortable, we're allowing ourselves to fall into a rut and once in a rut, it can be a hard place to get out of. Most often we'll be unable to get out on our own and if we're not cautious, once out, we may wind up jumping right back in when things don't go exactly as planned.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I'm reading a book called "Life. Now." by Shannon and Michael Primicerio. The book is about overcoming the obstacles that stand between us and our dreams. The authors are a husband and wife in their twenties writing to all others in their twenties. They list ten different things that we must overcome in order to start watching our dreams happen now instead of the proverbial "one day." I've only read the first chapter but the first sentence had me hooked: "Have you ever felt stuck?" How many times do we feel like we're spinning our wheels but going no where? Being able to relate to the authors right off the bat just makes you feel that they know where you're coming from and that's important.

10 Obstacles that Derail Your Dreams
1. Fear
2. Approval of others
3. Comforts of home
4. A normal and average life
5. A sense of control
6. Knowing where to start
7. Money to make it happen
8. Motivation to do it
9. Vision to follow through
10. Knowing how your dream fits into God's will for you

Friday, January 23, 2009


"Lord, empty me of me so I can be filled with You."

I guess I'm on a song kick right now because that's been my inspiration lately and is again. I heard the song "Empty Me" by Chris Sligh this morning and it's stuck with me. I think the song should be a goal that we all strive for. If we allow God the room to not only be in our lives but inhabit them completely, He can work through us...without us getting in the way.

Monday, January 19, 2009


One of my "resolutions," if you will, for this year is to draw closer to God (I actually say this every year because how close is too close to God?). One of my favorite verses is James 4:8:

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (NKJV).

"So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and He'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet" (Message).

If we earnestly seek after God, He promises to meet us where we are. I love the fact that whenever I take one step toward God, He'll take three towards me. It's not the whole 'one step forward and then two back' but a continuous movement forward. With God, if I put forth effort, so does He. It's not a one-sided relationship where I give and give and He just takes and takes. When I give, so does God - that's just how He rolls :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

history maker

My brother was watching Smallville last night and I couldn’t help but get sucked in as well. I wonder what our fascination is with those who are more than human. Why we are obsessed with those who seem immortal and are invincible? In the episode I watched, a creature named Brainiac had taken over Chloe Sullivan’s body and was attempting to drain the world of its knowledge. Clark had visitors from the future who were part of a group called the Legion and were sent to stop Brainiac. After the good guys thwart the bad guys’ plans, the Legion prepares to leave. They tell Clark what an honor it is to actually meet the person they’ve only heard about since they’re from the future. They go back to their time and the final scene is Clark and Lana talking. He tells her, “It’s strange to meet people who know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.” Lana concludes he means he’s not sure if he can live up to what is supposedly written about him in the future. She tells him, “Our destiny is not written in some book in the future. We write it ourselves, everyday.” Though I disagree with this last statement in that God has a plan for us and has written it in His book (Psalms 139:16), it also serves to make a point. If we already knew what we would accomplish and do in the future, what’s the point? Part of life is the fact that each day is a surprise and a chance to make of it whatever we choose.

I think we all want to make a mark on our corner of the world if not the entire world. We all want to make sure we’re not soon forgotten. It can be hard to live up to others unrealistic expectations but it can also be just as hard to prove others wrong who may think we’re capable of accomplishing nothing. According to Ephesians 3:20: “We are capable, with God's power in us, to accomplish infinitely more than we could ever dare to hope or imagine.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

learning to breathe

There's a song by Switchfoot called "Learning to Breathe" and it's a little old but whenever I hear it, I always smile and am taken back to the late 90's (good times :-). I looked up the lyrics today (because how many times do we sing along to a song and either stumble through the verses or sing the wrong words?) and it's amazing how much more you can get out of a song when you take the time to stop and listen to the words. I was reading an interview with the lead singer for the group and he was talking about the inspiration for the song. He said, "...this is the spiritual world that we have been called to and the kingdom of the heavens is here. We are learning to breathe in the atmosphere of grace."
Breathing is one of those things that we don't have to think about - it's involuntary. We can go about our day and not have to remind ourselves to breathe. However, sometimes situations occur and we're paralyzed momentarily. We have to consciously tell ourselves to take a deep breath and then let it out (John 14:10 is one of my favorites during these times). I've learned that no matter what, God is never caught off guard and will be with us during these times. Breathe in, breathe out...

I couldn't mention the song without including the video...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I don't know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time placing my complete trust in God. Though I know He loves me a ginormous amount and has great plans for me, I think I stumble when it comes to the fact that I can't see God or be able to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with Him (though I know He's always with me and I can talk to Him anytime - it's just not the same thing as having a physical conversation over a cup of coffee or whatever). It's like when you were younger and had an invisible best friend. You were the only one who could see this friend or talk to this friend - everyone else was simply missing out because they couldn't see your friend.
I find myself frustrated because I can confidently know I'm saved but falter when it comes to trusting God with things that pale in comparison. How can I not doubt my salvation but wonder if He's big enough to handle various everyday trials I experience or goals I want to accomplish? I know common sense says this is a no-brainer but I guess when it comes down to things I really want and yet God is silent on the issue (for at least the moment), it's hard for me not to second guess myself and just wonder...
However, if I can remind myself of the little ways God shows He hears me, I can take comfort in that and know He will answer me. An example of this happened last night. I was making pigs in a blanket for Kynetic and thought I wasn't going to have enough cheese to stuff the hot dogs with. I had resigned myself to the fact that two weren't going to have cheese inside them but remember saying, "God I pray I have enough cheese." As I was throwing the box away, I noticed it felt a little heavy and there stuck in the corner were several more slices. To some this may seem completely stupid and nothing more than a coincidence but I'd like to think it was God's way of showing me He's not forgotten me and takes the time to show me that by making sure I had enough cheese to make pigs in a blanket :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009


So I have this friend who has a knack for making you think about things that you’ve either shoved to the back of your mind to deal with at a later time or happened to mention to him during a conversation. He likes to prod and probe and you most often end up frustrated once he walks away because all of these things are now running through your head and you can’t get them out.

The good thing about this person’s habit is that by voicing your thoughts aloud, he can help hold you accountable and not let your thoughts only remain in your head. Having someone else offer their insight is also helpful because you’re gaining another perspective.

It can be so easy for us to remain where we are in life, staying inside the box and finding comfort in the predictable. However, by never venturing away from the familiar, we’ll never know what all we could be missing out on. I think it’s by stepping out that we are truly able to see who we are; what we’re capable of. So while having someone get inside your head can be aggravating, without that push we all need sometimes, we’ll never change or grow. Which is worse: being challenged or becoming stagnant?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

choir practice

Once a month or so I help with choir practice at church by running the computer that shows the words to the songs on the screens for those on stage to see. Tonight they practiced a new song that I just absolutely love. It's called "You'll Come" and I like how the choir director put it. He called it a "song of deliverance." Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed" (Message). When we cry out to God for help, He promises to be there for us and I think this song does a good job of capturing that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

the dark knight

My brother rented the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight and we watched it (several times) the other weekend. Though I saw the movie at the theater, watching it again made me unable to keep from writing a blog about it. There are so many great examples of things that can be applied to God’s love for us that I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself.

1. Even when things looked the bleakest, Batman had not abandoned Gotham and was still going to come to its rescue. We sing a song in Xtreme called 'Rescue' and part of it talks about Jesus coming to our rescue because there's no one else through which we're saved.

2. While one person (the Joker) was able to wreak havoc on the city, one person (Batman) was able to save it. Romans 5:19 says, “Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right” (Message).

3. The value of life isn’t compromised, even if it means others losing their life to spare others. There are two boats on the water, one with convicts and the other with civilians. Both have a detonator to blow up the other boat but neither will pull the trigger, knowing they could be sealing their own fate. This may be stretching it a bit but Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…” (NKJ).

4. At the end of the movie, Batman takes the blame for Harvey’s actions in order to spare his name. Batman willingly is painted as the villain and bears the consequences that come with such a decision. Isaiah 53 talks about how Jesus took on all of our transgressions and sorrows so we wouldn’t have to.

5. The final scene of the movie is Commissioner Gordon’s son asking him why Batman is running away. He tells his son, “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it; because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian; a watchful protector…a dark knight.” Romans 5:6: “When we were unable to help ourselves, at the right time, Christ died for us, although we were living against God” (New Century Version).

Monday, January 5, 2009


Two farmers prayed for rain but only one went out and prepared his field. God will send the rain when He’s ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it.

I was watching ‘Facing the Giants’ this weekend and this scene really stood out to me. The movie is about a football coach who is facing a losing season and possibly losing his job. He finally realizes he must surrender EVERYTHING to God, choosing to serve God no matter what things do or don’t happen in his life. He realizes he needs to give his absolute best to God and trust that with God, nothing is impossible. A man comes to pray over the school, laying hands on the lockers as he walks the halls and he tells the coach this parable of sorts. The point was that since the coach had been praying for God’s intervention, he needed to start preparing himself for the ‘rain’ that was sure to follow.

The same is true with us. If we go to God for something, we need to begin preparing our lives for the answer to that request. It would be like wanting to start a garden but doing nothing to prepare the soil; just expecting that by tossing some seeds on the ground, a harvest will soon appear. With us facing a new year, I want to make sure that I’m prepared for the rain that is weighing heavily in the clouds above me. I want to carefully till the soil in my garden, plant the seeds and wait for that rain. As soon as those clouds burst, I’m going to run through the rain, enjoying the downpour and watching as my garden blooms so I can reap the harvest.

I love this part of the movie because the principle is so true. If we’re only pushing ourselves to reach what’s average, we’ll never go past that. However, if we aren’t aware of when we cross that line, how much farther beyond will we end up going?

Friday, January 2, 2009

life changing?

Every once in a while I'll go through my e-mails, deleting ones that I don't need. I came across one recently that sounded like a good post. The topic dealt with the missions trip I recently went on and whether or not it could be deemed as 'life changing.' Carly was saying she didn't feel it was life changing for her because the phrase is so over used and sometimes associated with negative situations (such as a someone passing away or a relationship ending). I think for an event to be life changing, it forever alters your view on something or the direction your life is going. It leaves a mark on you that won't ever go away; leaves an imprint on your mind that can't be erased. When something is life changing, you have to re-evaluate everything you once took for granted and must decide if you'll remain on the course you're currently on, purposely not allowing the event to affect you or let it set you on a new course - either way, you're having to make a decision.
I replied with a lengthy response: "The one thing I realized when we got back is that I don't want to go back to how things were before the trip. I don't want to be so bogged down that I fail to do anything but what's necessary to get by. I don't want to give up on my dreams simply because it would require too much effort to work towards them. The guy we heard Thurs. night was really good; it just seemed so relevant with us being at the dream center and then he's talking about dreams - I know after we left that service and for the rest of the trip, I felt God stirring some things within in me that I had either just about given up on or deemed too hard to strive for. Then with pastor's message on sun. - wow, I think we all can name one thing that is so ingrained in us but at the same time we are so scared to even take that first step forward. Yet God knows those dreams because He placed them in us and He'll give us the opportunities to bring them about if we're willing to entrust them with Him. I know all of us went to L.A. with different expectations and wanting to get different things out of the trip but for me, it was definitely having that sense of realization that my dreams can come true (wow, that sounds cheesy) if I'll continue to believe and not give up. I know you're at a different place in your life than I am but I'm sure you have dreams you want to see happen too, right? And sometimes we can either let circumstances or what others say threaten to discourage us as we work towards those dreams. I don't want any of us to become complacent and let the fire that was placed in all of us to fizzle out. It was an awesome week and though I agree with you about the life changing thing, it definitely impacted in so many ways and I'm so glad I went."
Was the missions trip life changing? I'm still not sure but I do know that I won't soon forget the experiences I went through and the people I met. The trip will always be a place where I stepped out of my comfort zone and stepped up for God.