Category: My Walk With God

Passion…

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There are truly no words to describe the two days that I just spent at the Passion Conference…no words…the Lord is moving in a MIGHTY way in this generation, and in my own life…and I can truly say that I will never be the same…what a powerful weekend…

“Passion” is not just about worship–it’s about uniting worship and justice…so they gave us the opportunity to “Do Something Now”–and we had three challenges. One was to give towards the Passion World Tour which will happen this year. I hate to call it a “tour” because that makes it sound like it’s a concert. It’s SO not. Anyway, our “sister city” is Jakarta, and we gave $38,000.00 to help bring the name of Jesus to Jakarta! That’s SO amazing!

Another organization we gave to was the Blood Water Mission, which drills fresh, clean water wells in Africa that will last for the life of the village. It only takes $3,000 to do that…at the last annoucement they gave, we had given enough money to drill 16 wells!! PRAISE GOD!

The third project was for each of us to bring towels and socks to give to the homeless shelters in Los Angeles…I can’t remember how many of those we brought, but it was a ton!

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It was amazing…and that’s all that I will say for now…but I would highly recommend buying the CD when it comes out on Feb. 5th…AMAZING new songs…powerful songs of worship to our King…

“You’re the God of this city, You’re the King of these people, You’re the Lord of this nation…You’re the light in this darkness…There is no one like our God…Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city…”

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“Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen, and show me how to love like you have loved me…Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your Kingdom’s cause, as I walk from earth into eternity…”

Wow…Amen…

Thoughts on the Happenings of Today…

I love politics…it’s part of who I am…and today, two very interesting things happened (of note)…

First, DrudgeReport was FILLED with headlines today about the negative campaigns that Hillary and Barack are running right now…Hillary and Barack are absolutely going after eachother, and it’s making me nervous…not because either of them are my candidate of choice–but because I’m afraid that this is only going to increase the voter apathy in the U.S….Voter apathy is something that I spent a lot of time writing about/researching in college, and it’s something I closely monitor when I read the news…And one of the top reasons that people don’t vote, don’t pay attention to politics is because of the politicians. Hillary and Barack (and Bill–what the heck is he doing? Who’s really running for President?! But that’s a totally different soap box…) are being the type of politician that make Americans stay home…

It has nothing to do with their party affiliation–if two Republicans were doing this I’d be just as mad. It’s dumb! I am increasingly opposed to partisan politics (though I understand that it’s inevitable, just like denominations in Christianity), precisely because of this ridiculous fighting, slandering, etc. I hate that often a bill won’t be passed just because it’s from the other party.

I feel like I can say all this because I used to be incredibly partisan–and I still am to some extent, but I also realize that it’s really dumb to not look at the merit of a bill just because it’s from the other party.

Anyway, so Hillbilly and Obama aren’t making good moves right now, I don’t think, because I fear it’s going to make people even more wary of politics…

The other thing that caught my eye was this article about Saddam and his WMDs. Apparently, Saddam lied about having them because he was afraid of Iran attacking Iraq. To me, that is completely legitimate, and I can’t blame the guy. The guy who interrogated him spent seven months with him, and really was able to get Saddam to open up. I was also amazed that he didn’t really think that the United States would jump in–he said they had survived the attacks before, so they could survive them again. Anyway, it was a fascinating thing, because it also may mean that Bush didn’t necessarily deceive us by saying they had them: Saddam went to great lengths to make the world believe they were.

Interesting things…

On a personal note, God is already really challenging me to trust Him completely, and that goes along with my desire to be “uncomfortable” this year. But, I know that He is going to take care of me–of that I am completely sure. But, it is a challenge, and I can’t wait to see how He works things out!

And it’s still raining…it actually snowed about seven miles west of my house this morning! Crazy!

Passion this weekend…I’m stoked. I’ll post when I get back…have a great weekend!

Passion…

At APU (and at ADP, actually), they encourage each student to take a strengths assessment called “StrengthsQuest”. This was put together by Gallup, and to be honest, I was quite skeptical when I first saw the test. But, because I was going on a mission team, I had to take it.

My top strengths were:

Arranger
Belief
Communication
Context
Developer
Positivity
Responsibility

After the test, and after taking time to learn about what each strength meant, I began to understand myself in a completely new way.

My most prominent strength is belief. It is simply defined in this way: “Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you..your Belief theme will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.”

Anyone who knows me KNOWS this is true. Think about politics…think about family…just about anything in my life! I am a passionate person, and when I stand behind something, or when something really means something to me, it’s hard to get me to not talk about it πŸ™‚

I say all of this for a reason…missions is a huge passion in my life, and has been for as long as I can remember, thanks to my Grandmother. My whole life has been spent learning about missions, the whys, hows, wheres, etc…and now I have several short-term missions trips under my belt as well. The more I teach about missions, experience missions, the more I want to do that for the rest of my life. Period. I can’t imagine anything more satisfying than serving others and sharing the love of Jesus with them–which I realize you can do anywhere, but I feel like I might end up overseas…

I am really praying about the Lord’s call on my life…but things seem to be pointing toward career missions, overseas…most likely in an “unsafe” country…and that excites me to no end! It’s what gets me through the day, knowing that right now I am in a position to learn and to grow, and to receive training for whatever the Lord will bring my way…

Tonight, I spent 2.5 hours listening to a friend share about her recent missions experience in India, and then sharing about my own experiences. Another friend came in later who just got back from the D.R., and she shared about her missions experience as well. I am so fired up right now, so passionate about all that God is doing around the world…and I just had to post this. πŸ™‚

God is doing amazing things in my heart, and in my life, and I am so excited to see where He leads me…because I’ll go wherever that is…

Navajo Trip Update…


Wow–it has been a month since I’ve blogged! Life has been as crazy as usual…

Quick update…

July 6th-14th: Navajo Mission Trip…amazing! The Lord did some incredible things out there! I had my own personal miracle on the first day of the trip, which set the tone for the whole week. When we prayed in the church parking lot before heading out, I set my camera on the bumper of one of the SUV’s we were taking. We got in the cars and drove off. I realized as we were heading up I-15 (Cajon Pass) that I didn’t know where my camera was (and we weren’t stopping until Barstow, about 90 miles from Glendora)…so for 60 miles, I was trying not to worry, trying to convince myself that my camera was just in another vehicle. We arrived in Barstow, and my camera was STILL on the bumper! Nothing was holding it on! Praise the LORD–He knows what we need!!! I took 800 pictures with my camera this week, though I won’t keep them all. Many shots are worthy of framing, and I will be doing that in the coming weeks.

We had over 100 kids in our VBS during the trip–which is incredible! There were about 20 decisions to follow Christ! πŸ™‚ Yay!

I’m still processing the trip, so I don’t really know what to say yet…but I do know that I feel even more strongly that I could be on the mission field for the rest of my life…

More to come…here are two small albums of pictures to give you a small glimpse into our week. These pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the valley!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2035798&l=f4a55&id=56901132

http://apu.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2035800&l=423ce&id=56901132

Oh–and an update to the previous post: my team got 2nd place, so we each received a $100 gift card to BestBuy!! πŸ™‚ YAY!

Perfect Lyrics…

Caedmon’s Call is my all-time favorite band, and there is always a song of theirs that is appropriate for what I’m going through…

“For You know the plans You have for me, and You can’t plan the end and not plan the means; so I suppose I just need some peace, just to get me to sleep.” –“Table for Two”

God alone knows why any of us go through what we do, and He alone sees the end result of it all. I just have to remember that, and trust Him, no matter how blindly I am walking through this life. I need to just “sleep”, because we don’t generally worry while asleep, and know that He’s in control!

What a great reminder…

An insight into who I am…

Warning: VERY long–but equally honest post…

My whole life it has seemed as if I were wearing a sign on my forehead that said “mock me, please.” For the most part, I let it roll off and just laugh. There are a few occasions where it hits hard, and inwardly I cringe, because I don’t generally show when I’m hurting.Tonight, I mentioned to my Bible study group that I should find out tomorrow if I got the part-time job I interviewed for last week, and I had just started to mention that I think I have figured out what I want to do with my life when one man asked “What happened to your other job?” (the job I had for only 6 days because I was just miserable there). I told him, and that launched everyone into (what felt like to me) a session on “you are so young and naive, etc.” They told me that I should have kept the job because “sometimes work sucks and you have to deal with it.” Etc. This went on for about 10 minutes, and I was so frustrated.

What these people don’t know is how this has affected me over the past few months. How do they think I have felt being a college graduate who has no idea what she wants to do with her $100,000 degree? Have I actually enjoyed staying home most days, sending out probably 100 resumes and not hearing from a SINGLE one? Or, how have I felt being the ONLY one out of my close group of friends from APU who doesn’t A) have a job that they love or B)have any plans for the future?

How do they think it feels when my friends call and tell me all about their exciting lives (which I DO love to hear about, by the way. That’s not what I’m saying!) and I have nothing to say in return, because I don’t have anything “exciting” or new going on?

I’ve been working for 5 months at a job I did NOT enjoy most of the time, and I dealt with it because I needed a job. And, the jobs that I am hoping to get are NOT my dream jobs. At all. But, I know that I need to work, and I am willing to do them.

There was no way that I was going to stay at that receptionist job, where I was being paid to sit still all day. It was not using my gifts and abilities, and it wasn’t a position about which I felt a peace. I prayed about leaving the job, and I felt the Lord’s “permission”, if you will. I still had a job at the church, so I was fine financially.

It just frustrated me to no end tonight, and it really hurt me. It was as if they thought I was just being young and dumb and that I actually LIKE where I’ve been over the past few months. Except for my living situation, and my friends and family, not much about the past 5 months has made me happy. Did I show that outwardly? No. Why? Because it wasn’t necessary. I really have nothing to complain about–I have food, shelter, and I know that the Lord’s timing is perfect and that He will provide the right job for me when He is ready.

I know that He has “put me through all this” for a reason, and I am truly excited to see what that purpose is. It has been one of the worst “valleys” of my existence thus far, and I am so ready to climb out of it. But, it’s the LORD’s timing, not mine.

These months have been humbling and difficult because I have always “known” what I wanted from my future, and for the first time that I can remember, I don’t know. I’m obviously not in D.C., like I had planned on for about a year and a half. Yes, I have an idea now regarding Arabic, but who knows if that is me or if it’s the Lord? I don’t know yet–more prayer is needed.

Sorry for the venting, but I really needed to get that out there. I have NOT enjoyed being unemployed. I have NOT enjoyed having NO plans for the future. And I really wish that people could see that–or that they would ask me and not just assume that I’m being lazy or whatever. I just haven’t found my purpose yet, and I am seeking the Lord for His guidance, because I don’t know what else to do.

Whew…long post. Thank you for taking the time to get a glimpse of who I am πŸ™‚

To watch TV or not to watch TV?

As I have been pondering what living a holy life means for me personally, one thing that the Lord encouraged me to do was to fast from secular entertainment (music, TV, and movies)…

Today is the “last day” of my fast (which I know that I have not announced on here that I was even doing that…that was intentional, since Jesus tells us to not advertise our fasting)…

I have not watched TV in a month, and have only watched one movie (and that was with my youth group)…and you know what I have discovered? I really haven’t missed it!

I am going to pray some more about the next course of action; however, I believe that I will probably pay just enough attention to what is going on to be able to relate to the youth with which I work, so that I am not “out of touch,” but that I will not watch TV/movies much at all.

It’s just not worth my time, honestly. An occasional movie will be enjoyable, but really, I have noticed just how much more time I have had! So much more time for reading, reflecting, praying, spending time with friends and family…THOSE are the important things in life to me. I know that movies are an art-form, and that most are meaningful…but, I just don’t really know that I want to consume my time with that form of entertainment! I’d much rather spend 30 minutes conversing with my roommates than watching a sitcom on television.

To clarify: This does NOT mean that I look down upon those who do choose to watch these things! AT ALL! This is a personal conviction, and I honestly don’t care what others do with their time. I just wanted to make that clear–if you watch TV, that’s totally fine! πŸ™‚ I know that some may take offense at this post, or think that I am making a jab at others–but honestly, I am not doing any such thing!

I think that I will follow the wisdom in Psalm 119:37–

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things;

preserve my life according to your word.”

And Psalm 101:2a-3b

“I will be careful to lead a blameless life…I will set before my eyes

no vile thing.”

Life leads us on interesting journeys, and I anxiously await

discovering where the Lord will next lead me!

“Love is Life”

Leo Tolstoy once said:

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“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.”

 

My relationship with God is the most important aspect of my life. This relationship has led me to spend two summers in full-time ministry in Williamsport, Pennsylvania (where I will most likely be moving next year)…it has led to countless hours in youth work, worship ministry, etc. But most importantly, this relationship has shaped who I am and all that I strive to be.

Lately, due to many extenuating circumstances, my time with God has taken a backseat to everything else going on in my life. Last night, as I sat alone in my apartment, I decided to spend time with my Maker…and I did. I spent 2 hours praying, singing, reading, etc., which made me realize how much I have missed this time with Him. This post is a reflection of what I learned last night, because this is going to change many aspects of my life over the next few months.

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“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” –Nehemiah 8:10

 

My strength, my joy, my serenity comes from the Lord. I have never been content with the ways of this world. Yet, lately, I haven’t been seeking my refuge in the arms of the Lord as I used to…and this needs to change. For, as MercyMe so eloquently put it,

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“I have not been called to the wisdom of this world but to a God who’s calling out to me. And even though the world may think I’m losing touch with reality, it would be crazy to choose this world over eternity.”

What really matters in life? What is worth living for?

Love.

“Healer heal me

Savior save me

Maker change me

Lover love me

‘Cause I’m so tired of living for

The kind of love

That only lasts for a while

The pain, the shame

Tear me up inside

So I fall on my knees

To get back on my feet again

And I cry out for You

Would You please speak to me…”–Ten Shekel Shirt

Love is the most important thing. Not the kind of love that is fleeting, but the love that is eternal. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all we are and have, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Is there anything more important in life?

1 John tells us that because God first loved us, we can more fully love. If I am relying on the love of my Lord for my strength and for my fulfillment, then I am able to love freely, without worrying about what I will get in return. I will be able to care for my neighbors, for those in need. And, when I love this way, God gives us life abundantly.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshall and direct our energies wisely.”

–Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message)

Love is life…love is everything. And I want to love more…more freely…more abundantly…I want to fully embrace the “greatest commandment”, for that is all that really matters in life. I want to live unapologetically, and how better to do that than to serve God with all that I am?

I don’t know how this is going to play out in my life practically, but I know that I have decided to once more live as my Lord has called me to live, which is to love.

“He’s everything to me, more than a story…”

The Cost of Being a Disciple

APU is known for having phenomenal speakers each year, who come from all over the nation. One of our favorite speakers is Francis Chan, a pastor from the LA area. He comes each year for at least 5 chapels…I missed his 3 chapel series because of DC last Fall, so I was so glad he came today…

But it was also one of the most challenging messages I have heard in a long time. So I am going to share my thoughts here…

He talked about how success is often measured today in numbers…pastors love when their churches are growing, when there are tons of people attending each week…but he pointed out that in the Gospels, whenever Jesus had large crowds around, He was skeptical…

Luke 14:25-34 says, “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'”

Numbers are not everything…because not everyone is following Jesus genuinely…

This is a passage I have studied many a time before; but as usual, Francis posed a question to us all that made us think in entirely new ways…and I was astounded.

He said this: What if Jesus were in chapel today, speaking? What if He told us this parable, and then asked us to follow Him right then, to just walk out the door without telling anyone…leaving everything behind…would we follow Him? And if He told us that we had to pick up a cross, and walk with Him to a hill to be crucified (as the scripture says) to our old life…to everything we have known…would we do it?

The Event Center was quiet, as people pondered the meaning of this question…

Would I do that? Could I do what the disciples did in John 6, when things started to get tough?:

“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.'”

Then Francis began to talk about the salt portion of the scriptures. He even brought salt, as is his style…he always has great object lessons…anyway, he had salt that was good, and salt that was worthless.

He poured a pile of the good salt onto the podium, making a small pile. He then poured the bad salt (or the “white specks”) over that until the pile was quite large. He stood back, admired it, and said “Wow! That’s a great looking pile!” He then asked us what good that pile was, what it was worth to anyone…nothing. The Bible says that the white specks were not even good enough for the manure pile, because manure has redeeming value, and the white specks have none…

Not good enough for manure?

It seems that in Christianity today we have lost the meaning of what it truly means to be a disciple, a follower of Christ. Churches don’t mind having the worthless salt mixed in with the good salt as long as their churches are growing and the numbers are getting higher…but what does Jesus say? The opposite!

What is wrong with this picture? Churches should be helping people to grow, and to become true disciples of our Risen Lord…

In closing, he asked us to consider whether we were the salt, or just a white speck…

And that is something I am deeply pondering today.

I don’t know if I could just leave everything and everyone behind, like Jesus says so often in the Gospels…I don’t know that I could do it!

Yet, that is the cost of being a disciple…

(NOTE: If you ever want to watch an APU chapel, use the link in the sidebar. Our basketball games and other events are also available live and online.)