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.