Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last post of 2008

Another year is almost gone and now is the time we spend reflecting on everything we've been through. It's funny how the turning of a year can invoke this ritual of reflection that inevitably leads to a consciousness of the need for change and self renewal.

In reflection of the past year, here are some of the highlights and lowlights.

January
  • I moved in with Naomi, Brittney, and Katie. We had ups and downs and even fought a little, but I think we walked out of it with relationships that are stronger than they've ever been and friendships that will certainly last for the rest of our lives. I love these girls.
February
  • I don't remember if anything significant happened in February.

March
  • I began the journey of weight loss with my 100 pounds in one year plan. Although I stopped making an effort with the plan, I lost 40 pounds in 5 months and went through high stress periods and holidays without gaining a single pound.

April
  • I passed all my classes.
May
  • I watched many of my close friends and the people I've known for four year graduate from Bethel. Good job guys, you made it, God be with you.
  • I started the most life changing experience I've ever been through, an internship with the church I attend. I learned a lot about youth ministry, but I learned more about the Kingdom of God, and I know that my life mission revolves around helping others to see and be a part of the Kindgom.
June
  • I attended a CIY event as a leader and had the opportunity to grow close to several of the girls in the youth group. We started an accountability group that is still going.

July
  • I had an opportunity to lead a small group geared toward helping young women to see themselves the way God does. I honestly don't know how much of a long term impact it made, but I learned a lot about the girls and I know our relationships are stronger for it.

August
  • My internship ended. I wish it would have ended differently than it did.
  • I returned to Bethel despite having doubts about whether I should return.
  • I lost a friend.

September
  • Spiritual Emphasis week happened. The speaker, John Vermilya, reiterated everything, and I mean everything I have learned this summer about living in God's Kingdom.
  • I met my roommate, Neisha. I love this girl. I think she is fantastic.
  • I spent a weekend on a camping trip with the house church I attend while in school. Went for a 4 or 5 mile hike, made it, felt good. Grew closer to those in the group.
  • My room at Bethel flooded, mildewed, took maintenance 5 weeks to do anything about it, started developing headaches.

October
  • Went home for Fall Break early due to migraine headaches.
  • While at home during Fall Break, my cousin Erica had a seizure and went into ICU.
  • Erica was taken off of Life Support and died. I came home a week after returning to Bethel to go to the funeral.
  • On the way to the funeral, Erica's sister Megan got into a car accident.
  • A financial mishap came back to bite me in the butt.
  • I went into the emergency room for severe abdominal pain. Made the hospitale staff laugh a bit, got a job offer, and completely baffled the doctors as to what was wrong with me.
November
  • Finally dropped out of school, came home, and started a job hunt.
  • Had to turn down my top two choices for a job because they were too far away with me not having my own vehicle.
  • Spent Thanksgiving taking time to get to know some of my dad's side of the family.
December
  • Rejoined the Bridge Builders Group.
  • Been struggling a bit with where it is that God wants me. I didn't fit at Bethel, and I feel like I don't quite fit here either.
  • Said goodbye to my friend Naomi and she got the awesome opportunity to teach English in Korea!
  • Spent Christmas getting to know my family on my dad's side a bit more.
  • My grandma Linda went into the hospital, details are fuzzy right now.
  • I'm still struggling a bit with life and all, but really experiencing God's providence in the midst of it all.

All in all, as the year comes to a close we realize that we will never see 2008 again, but the memories we've made will stay with us forever.

As I was growing up I stayed out of trouble by learning from mistakes others have made. Now that I'm older I'm finding that I am starting to learn from my own mistakes and that is driving me crazy.

Inspite of the lowlites of the year, I can't say that it was a bad year, nor can I say it was a good year because of the highlights. It was life and life happens and I'm blessed to be a part of it knowing that in all things I have the power to be content with what God has given me and where he has placed me.

The year 2008 is supposed to be a new beginning but that doesn't mean that the past is irrelevant. But I can enter the new year a little wiser, and with the knowledge that when the trials come, God does not abandon us, but will carry us through it holding us close, if we will let Him.

I've made no resolutions for the new year, and I am uncertain what the future holds, but I know that as 2008 closes and 2009 approaches, the one constant in my life has been God, and I will cling to him through it all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

whatever

Okay. I admit it. I'm feeling lonely right now. But it's not because I'm alone. I think it's because I feel like a few of my relationships are stressed, and that bothers me. But I'm also driving myself crazy with this insatiable desire to make things right, but I don't think it's within my power anymore.

Dear friend with whom I have a stressed relationship:

I miss you. I miss your friendship. I miss the way things used to be. And I'm sorry.

You'll probably never see this.


Anyway, my mouse babies are a little more than a week old right now and are incredibly cute. There's only six of them now.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Babies!!!

Well... baby mice, within a few hours after birth.
(click picture and it should enlarge)
Amazing. They were born sometime between 8am and 11am yesterday. There are nine of them, but my mouse or her babies may have squished the runt. I'm not sure, You probably can't see it in this picture, but there is one that is laying under the rest and is a purple color and it wasn't moving. I'm not going to mess with it, but I'll take more pictures in about a week. I don't want to bother them too much or the mommy might kill them.
I had to separate the daddy from mommy or he could get the mommy pregrant again right away. the Daddy seems lonely in his own cage. Mice are social creatures. I feel bad for him, but the mommy mouse needs a break from him. Male mice are supposed to be good daddies and will take an active role in raising the babies (if they recognize them as theirs) but too many pregnancies is hard on female mice, especially when they're back to back. What to do...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Volunteer Opportunity

On Saturday April 18, 2009, Rebuilding Together will have a work day.

When I was a freshman in college, I did this and I had a blast. I want to do it again. I wonder if there is anyone who would volunteer with me. :-)

www.rebuildingtogethervalparaiso.org

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Love and Forgiveness

Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.
Luke 7:47 (NRSV)

I read this verse a few days ago, and the last sentence really struck me. I know from the context that in this verse Jesus is saying that those who recieve little forgiveness will not love as much as one who recieves great forgiveness, but the first five times I read, I read it much differently.

The way I interpreted it the first time was more like: those who forgive little, love little; or in other words those who are quick to withhold forgiveness are not people who have a lot of love as opposed to someone who forgives more easily.

I don't know why I read it this way, but when I did it just struck me as true. If I am quick to withhold forgiveness, can I really say I have a lot of love?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Together We Can Change the World

I saw a commercial recently talking about how one dollar could give a person in Africa clean water for a whole year, and only 30 dollars could give several families clean water for a year.

It stuck out to me how they seemed to emphasize that it's only 30 dollars, or only one dollar can help one person for a whole year... They emphasize how little it takes on our part to make a huge impact on a persons life.

So I started wondering what it would cost to impact an entire community, a country, a continent. I don't know if its just me, but I wanted to see what an impact would look like on a grand scale. Sure I want to make a difference for the individual, but I want to do something much more grand than just that. I think a lot of people do.

Sometimes I just want to shout "Don't tell me how my pocket change can impact one life, tell me how I can sacrifice myself to really make a difference!" I think it's just the idea of doing something so much bigger than myself and being a part of the grand adventure. It's the idea that I see worth and importance in other people in such a way that I am willing to put them before my own needs and pleasures for a time.

I've been trying to do a little research on what it would cost to build one well in another country. www.savethechildren.org has cited that $2,500 can build a well for a community.

For me $2,500 is an entire years wages. It's what I've been making every year working part time while at Bethel. For me that would be a large sacrifice.

For others, $2,500 is:
  • a tax refund
  • a years investment into a 401K plan
  • a super fancy big screen tv
  • a Carribean cruise vacation or a trip to disney land
  • a used car
  • a laptop computer
  • an engagement ring

I'm sure the list could go on. But if that's a small sacrifice for others, I wonder what $25,000 or $250,000 could do.

How much would it cost to provide an entire country in Africa with clean water? With a little sacrifice, I really believe it's totally doable.

Imagine the impact! It would be revolutionary.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jeremy Kingsley- Be Last

I want to read this book.

America the Greedy; the greed epidemic

It might just be that I've never noticed it like this before, but it seems like there is more greed and selfishness than I can recall.

It bothered me last Friday when I heard about the worker who was trampled to death at Walmart. It bothered me even more when I was told the next day that a woman was trampled and lost her baby. And it bothered me today when I read that there are a lot of people who want to hold Walmart responsible for it.

Seems to me if greed were not in the hearts of those who broke down the doors, then the worker and the woman (and the other two people) would not have been trampled.

I was told that the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because it's the one day out of the year that stores actually make a profit (which I don't believe at all, otherwise half of the top ten richest people in the US wouldn't be Walmart heirs), but I really believe that Black Friday is called Black Friday because this is the day that exposes the blackness of societies hearts.

It's more than just Black Friday and shoppers though.
From consumerism to credit card debt greed and selfishness really do seem to be more prevalent.


From what I've been learning about the economic crisis, I have to pinpoint that it's because of greed.

God help me to be done with my own personal selfishness and greed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a good day today.

I had a wonderful meal with my mom and dad, and my brother Josh. Sadly Eric didn't make it because he had to work.

I also had a fantastic time getting to know my dad's side of the family a little better. We've been pretty disconnected for... well most of my life. But today I got the opportunity to just hang out and they are really great people. My Aunt Terry even said that she had a great time getting to know me because she's never had the opportunity to get to know me (and give me pudding shooters).

That's one of the things that has been on my heart for a while now. I just want to build relationships with them. Today was a step in the right direction.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ecclesia kai Basileia tou Theou

The Forgotten Ways, pgs 40-41


What are the irreducible minimums of a true expression of ecclesia? We came up with the following -- a church is:

  • A covenanted community: A church is formed people not by people just hanging out together, but ones bound together in a distinctive bond. There is a certain obligation toward one another formed around a covenant.
  • Centered on Jesus: he is the new covenant with God and he thus forms as the true epicenter of an authentica Christ-ian faith. An ecclesia is not just a God community -- there are many such religious communities around. We are defined by our relationship to the Second Person of the Trinity, the Mediator, Jesus Christ. A covenanted community centered around Jesus participates in the salvation that he brings. We recieve the grace of God in him. But, more is required to truly constitute a church.

A true encounter with God in Jesus must result in

  • Worship, defined as offering our lives back to God through Jesus.
  • Discipleship, defined as following jesus and becoming inccreasingly like him (Christlikeness).
  • Mission, defined as extending the mission (the redemptive purposes) of God through the activities of his people.


It needs to be noted that practically as well as theologically these are profoundly interconnected, and each informs the other to create a complex phenomenon called "church." This definition is important because it distills the core aspects of what constitutes a faith ecclesia. Graphically represented it might look something like this:



(I couldn't find the actual model online, nor could I scan it, so I had to recreate it myself.)

So basically... I'm pretty sure that I read about a concept similar to this in another really good book I read. :-)

The Tangible Kingdom, pgs 147-148

During a recent international consultation on "community" that brought together monastic orders, house church, submonastic orders who work among the poor, and "normal" joes like us who get to thrash out church in the Western suburbs, the entire group realized that everyone shared, in some form or fashing, three primary aspects of incarnational life. As illustrated in Figure 18.1, they are communion, community, and mission. (once again, had to recreate the model)

Communion represents "oneness -- those things that make up our communal connction and worship of God. Community represents aspects of "togetherness" -- those things we share as we forn our lives together. And mission represents "otherness" the aspects of our life together that focus on people outside our community. We believe that whenever you see a group of people who find a rhythm or balance among communion, community, and mission, you will always find the Kingdom. It will be tangible!

I read The Tangible Kingdom this summer and I highly reccoment it, but I just picked up the Forgotten Ways and I'm working my way through it, Alan Hirsch's writing tends to be very systematic, and I struggle through those types of books, but with what I've read so far (and with what I've read in The Shaping of Things to Come) the content tends to be good.

I want to see this picture of God's Kingdom realized.

If you want to build a ship, don't summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs, and organize work, rather teach people the yearning for the wide boundless ocean.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Someone did that for me, and I want to help create a yearning in others to live in the Kingdom.

We're so close, it's almost tangible...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Basic Conflict Avoidance Theory: Communication

You know... some people are easy to read, and some aren't. The people who are easy to read are predictable, they follow the patterns of most other people. When you find a person who doesn't follow those same social patterns, then you have someone who is hard to read until you learn what makes that person tick.

So let's think about this for a moment... If you have someone who is hard to read (because they don't follow the same patterns) then it follows logically that if someone says or does something, then the interpretation of those words or actions should not be interpreted in accordance with the same pattern that the person does not follow!

And thus the basis of conflict between some individuals.

In conclusion:

If you know I'm hard to read, don't be an idiot. If something I say or do is questionable, ask me about it and don't make stupid assumptions!
Communication is key.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birthday's and Good Ideas

Happy Birthday Andrea!!!
Andrea's birthday was on the 15th.

Happy Birthday Josh!!!
Josh, my brother, his birthday is today.

and Happy Birthday me... in 10 days. My birthday is on Black Friday.

On another note:

What a great idea:
"Several Valparaiso churches are banding together in an effort to provide emergency shelter for homeless men. This is a major undertaking, so we began with a ?test run? in February and March of 2008. Now we are taking the knowledge gained from this pilot project and developing a program to run from the beginning of October 2008 to the end of March 2009. Each night, the men are provided with dinner, a place to sleep, breakfast, and a sack lunch. They sign in from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and leave by 7:00 am. The location rotates among the different host churches, with each church taking one night of the week. This allows us to express hospitality using already existing facilities, while not overburdening any one church. Men in need of housing can simply come to the appropriate site (with ID) to be admitted."

http://www.valpochurches.org/shelter/

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm dropping out of school to become a Country Music Star.

This has been a very hard semester. There has been a lot that has been going on, too much going on.

But it's all going to change because i've made my decision. I talked with mom and dad and we made the decision together.


I've filled out the paperwork, I've talked with almost all of the necessary people, I got the signatures I need, did my exit internview, and I'm packing up and getting ready to check out... There's a lot to do before Thursday. (Mom and Dad have arranged to pick me up on Thursday at noon).

It's overwhelming because people keep asking me questions, asking me why... and I don't want to answer anymore questions. I don't want to talk about it to anyone anymore.
I had to get 7 signatures and each person asked me why I'm leaving. On the paper I filled out, I had to put my reason for leaving. Each time I just wanted to say "What's it to you?"

I've tried to tell the few friends here that I'm semi-close with that I'm leaving and they objected, got teary eyed, and then insisted that we have to have one last hurrah before I go home. I'm not going to make the claim that it's nice to know I will be missed because I know that next week when I'm gone, their schedules will resume like normal and it will be as though I was never here.

I just want to disappear. I want to slip from the memory of this school as though I were never here. I don't want people to ask what happened to me or where I am or why i'm leaving.

One of the really good things that have happened is that both my advisor and the academic dean for the youth ministry program were very understanding and let me go with blessings. I don't know if they saw it coming or not, but I've kept in touch with them almost everything that has happened this semester.

By the way, I'm not planning to become a country music star. I've just been threatening to drop out of school and become a country music star since I was a freshman, so I thought the title would be fitting. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Treasures in Heaven

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but stores up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

What are the treasures then that we are storing up in heaven?

I wonder how many people have ever really taken time to think about that, to ask the question. I wonder if Scripture even gives us a clear answer to what the treasures we are storing actually are.

What if the treasures that we store up in heaven are our friends and family. What if the treasure is seeing the people we love make it to heaven. How would that effect our lives and actions and the way we do ministry?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We live like we don't need God.

I have no desire to be here (at Bethel). I have no desire to finish my degree. But it's not just a lack of desire, I desire to be somewhere else. I desire to be doing something besides what I'm doing right now.

What's to be said for a change of heart? If I stay at Bethel I what do I gain? If I leave, what do I lose? On the other hand... What do I gain by leaving? What do I lose by staying?

Here we go again.

What is gained if my ministry stays in the church? What is lost? Doing youth ministry doesn't necessarily mean that I have to do ministry in the walls of a building... but I wonder how much more effective ministry would be if I just did life with people... The way Halter and Smay describe it in The Tangible Kingdom.


No programs. No agenda. Just life.

I want that.

What purposelessness overtakes my present plan. Why?

I want to live spontaneously. I want to live the daring adventure of being totally sold out for Christ. I want to be radical, off the wall, fully committed to the God I love.

I don't want to have a back up plan...

You know what breaks my heart? We... as Christians, or American Christians... or I don't even know... don't have it in us to live radically.

Is it a faith issue?

Why are we so addicted to security?

I'm not seeking that we should be irresponsible, only that we should live in radical dependence on God, and we don't.

If Scripture says:
"Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26)

Then:
Why do we have savings accounts? Why do we have emergency funds? Why do we have life insurance? Why do we save up for retirement?

If Scripture says:
"Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12)

Then:
Why is it that we don't even try to heal the sick or to cast out demons or move mountains? Jesus goes on to say, right after this very passage: "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)

If Scripture says:
"Jesus answered him, 'You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above...'" (John 19:11)
Then:
Why are we so flippin' worried and horrified that Obama is going to be our next president? Even if another Hitler should rise up, what is that to us? If we know Christ then we know what we ought to do. We need to pray for our leaders. We need to pray for our country. We need to share the love of Christ with the world.

You know... Sometimes God doesn't seem real to me. Sometimes, at best, he seems absent and univolved. But I think that's because I live as though I don't need him. He is the genie who might grant my wish if I pray long enough, hard enough, and do the right stuff.

I'm so tired of that kind of living. I want to really, truly live like I need God in my life, because I do, and I wish there were other people who would do the same. I wish there were other people around me who would committ to living radically.

I don't think many people realize that their faith does effect others around them.
I don't know if this blogpost is really going anywhere right now. I just know that something has got to change.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blessed be the name of the LORD!

When there's peace and calm
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When the darkness falls
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When the wind begins to blow
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When the flood waters rise
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When the storm rages
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When I say Amen and it's still raining
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When all I have is lost
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When my own body is afflicted
Blessed be the name of the Lord
When I've reached the point of no return, when I am broken beyond repair, when the storm takes me beyond what I can bear I will still say
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!!!
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
1 Peter 1:7: These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just for fun

Greivancees of a chapel attendance taker:

  1. If one of the double doors is locked, try the other one before you knock.
  2. If the other door won't open, don't pull, try turning the handle. That's how doors open.
  3. You should have your card out and ready to go before you get to me. Don't hold up the line because you're looking for your card.
  4. If you don't have your card, tell me you don't have your card and THEN say your number. Don't just walk up to me and start spouting your number.
  5. If you do walk up to me and start spouting your number, don't get mad when I ask you to repeat it.
  6. Don't move your card or think that you know how to make it scan. You don't, I do, end of story, let me do my thing.
  7. If your card takes a long time to scan, it's probably your fault for doing grievance number 6, so don't get mad at me.
  8. Once you scan your card, go all the way into the chapel and find a seat. Don't stand in the doorway
  9. We're not supid, we do suspect when you are pulling a Chapel skip scam, and we will tell our boss. Have a little integrity.
  10. Use common sense. It's not that hard to figure these things out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Praise you in the storm




This is my hearts song this week.
Everyword rings true.
It's hard to watch someone you love and care about die.
It's hard to watch those around you hurt.
It's even harder when the person is 20 years old.
Everything within you screams "This is not right!"
And it's not.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The end has come

5 am this morning, they took Erica off of life support.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crash and Burn...

Well, I talked to my grandma, Dale, Rita and Doreen about my cousin Erica and found out what happened and how things are going now.

My cousin Erica had a seizure while giving her daughter a bath last night, and Doreen heard the baby screaming and went into the bathroom to find Erica between the tub and the toilet. She had a seizure, vomitted all over herself, wasn't breathing and had started turning purple. Dale checked for a pulse and there was a faint one. They called 911 and an ambulance came but no one was allowed to go in the ambulance with her. When they got to the hospital they found that Erica had 'died' in the ambulance and was 'dead' for 10 minutes before they hooked her up to life support. They believe she's suffered extensive brain damage.

Since last night they've transferred her to Porter Memorial Hospital, but there has been no change since last night and they don't believe she is going to make it and are preparing themselves for a funeral.

I fear she may already gone and life support is just keeping the body functioning. I hope I'm wrong.

But, I have peace, and I hope and pray that God gives peace to Doreen and the rest of the family.

Since they're at Porter now, I'm going try to go visit when my parents get back from the Aldi.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Children of the World Choir

They are so cute. They sang at Bethel today, and I took this video of them singing Jesus Loves the Little Children. A few of the older ones passed out the World Help booklets while we were taking chapel attendance. Isn't it amazing how much these little children capture your heart?



















Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hooray for Fun Weekends

Movies... Niles Haunted House... Corn Mazes... Eating Out... Parties at Professors Homes... Pumpkin Patches... Board Games... Laundry for free while playing Super Mario 3... Christine spent the weekend with me and it was a blast! She and Ruthie, and I hung out and had a great time. It's just too bad that Naomi wasn't there.



I could really use some rest. I don't get a lot of that here at Bethel. Can I take a nap and trust that I will finish my paper by midnight?

A wise man once said one of the most spiritual things you can do is take a nap. That would be a nice luxary. I'm ready for the weekend again. LOL

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just wanted to pose a question:



Is it possible to have true forgiveness without reconciliation?


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Life Purpose

Happy October!!!

Fall Break is in two weeks. I'm sooooooo looking forward to going home.

It seems like more and more lately I'm hearing something and it always sticks out to me: Perhaps you are here now "for such a time as this". I have heard this at every Chapel for the past three Chapel.

I've been thinking about that... for such a time as this. What is this time we're here for? Really.

Anyway, I have the epitaph, what I hope people to say about me after I die, the starter for developing my Life Purpose Statement. I hope that when I die, people will know that I lived for a single purpose, but I would also hope that they have more to say about me than just two sentences. So... It feels too cheesy and cheap, but here's my draft epitaph:


She lived and died for the Kingdom Of God; Love was her Alma Mater


I know my purpose lies within a passionate pursuit of God's Kingdom, and I want my life to be characterized by this. I also want the mark of Love to be on me. We shared our epitaphs today in class, and there were two others that really struck me.

Adrien's said: The influence of her faith reached far beyond those she was in contact with.

And Professor Brandt's said: The impact of his life outlived him.

I think that's the thing about life purpose, no matter what I pursue as my lifes purpose, I do pray fervently that the influence of this life and faith and purpose both outlives me and reaches far beyond just those whom I have had direct contact with.

Or I would even want people to be able to say "She finished the race, she kept the faith, she was worthy of the call." (combinging 2nd Timothy 4:7 and Ephesians 4:1)

Or "Being with her was like walking with Jesus"
I don't need to be remembered, but I do want my life's work to matter.

We are but a mere breath, woven into the strands of existence by the ever moving winds of God. Though this life will pass away, may the legacy remain.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Life, Mission, and the Kingdom of God

Tim Elmore spoke at Chapel today and he started his message by talking about when we die and 20 years later our names get mentioned in conversation, our entire lives work will be summarized in a single sentence, much like an epitaph on a gravestone. He talked about having a single purpose that drives our lives. He said today: The two greatest moments of our lives are the moment we are born, and then the moment when we figure out why.

As he did so, he spoke from Esther 4:13-14.

Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think that in the king's palace
you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent
for such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from
another quarter, but you and your family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps
you have come to royal dignity for such a time as this."

Out of this passage he challenged us with four points.

If I don't step out and take a risk:
1. ...my fate will not differ from the rest of the crowd.

2. ...God will bless someone else who will.
3. ...I may lose more than an opportunity.
4. ...I could miss my God-given mission in life.

And of course, there was more to the message, but it all centered around the idea of our mission, of knowing the mission.
I thought this message was very fitting for the coming week. In my class, Leadership and Administration in Youth Ministry, we are going to begin writing Life Purpose Statements.

When I did this last year I felt clueless. How do I summarize my life's mission with a single statement. As I read through Scripture, I kept coming back to Isaiah 61:1-4.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liverty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lords favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn in Zion-
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display His glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations
.

I knew my life's mission had something to do with this passage. I didn't know what to call it, so I called it Social Justice, but this summer I learned that my hearts passion is more than that; it's for the Kingdom of God, and my life's 'mission statement' will be written around the Kingdom.

When I have developed my written Life Purpose Statement for class, I will post it.

By the way, Tim Elmore said his was: "he influenced the influencers". Seems to work. He does leadership training.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So what happens in this video sort of happened to me on Monday...


Not exactly like that though... I wasn't struggling to keep up, the treadmill just lurched forward in an amazing rush of speed, and it happened so quickly that I just fell on my face, and then the treadmill spit me off.


I had three initial thoughts run through my mind.

OMG, What just happened
OMG, I can't believe that just happened.
Hehe, that's going to make a great story!


I got a little banged up from it. I'm not going to bother turning the picture.


My pride was bruised more than my body was, but I think it's hilarious

I got a bit of a blessing today. I only have two pairs of shoes. The first pair completely fell apart, so I've been wearing the second pair, which are my water shoes, which are starting to wear down and get holes in them. I can't buy a new pair of shoes until I get paid on the 30th, which is a long ways away when you don't have shoes that keep your feet dry.

But one of my friend, Gia, got a package in the mail from a friend. Her friend sent her $20 dollars with a note that said to spend $5 on her self and to bless someone else with the $15, so she saw me today and gave me the $15 to buy a pair of shoes. (the blessing is not in the recieving money or anything, but in the fact that God sees me and He sees my needs and is taking care of me). I'm going to do something to pay it forward.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I found Mr. Right...

He was sitting across from me at dinner tonight.

(read his shirt)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The rain came down,
The flood waters rose,
And God provided. YES!

The rain this week has been crazy. Bethel is flooding! I took this picture about an hour ago. If the rain keeps up the way it has been, the sidewalk is going to disappear in the middle there. See the tree in the pond? Usually the water doesn't go past that.





When I got home from camping today I discovered that my room flooded. Yep. My room at Bethel. Is God preparing me to live in an area where there is a consistent rainy season? Or maybe he's just baptizing the campus. haha.

Despite the rain, camping was kind of fun. We had a dry patch yesterday so we went hiking and ended up walking for 3 1/2 hours and covered nearly 6 miles. But that's what happens when you get lost.

Yay for pictures!!!









So we've got our tent and tarps set up.











And we went grocery shopping. The next picture is from our hike, great water from that fountain.

You gotta love Katie's sense of adventure. And Trapp thought he would sacrifice Maggie.

I would love to post the rest of the pictures, but that would take forever with the way blogspot has you upload them.

I had to do laundry when I got back to Bethel, and I couldn't wait until I get my paycheck on Sept. 30, so I washed my clothes by hand. It took about 3 hours just to wash. I had a dollar, so I just put them in the drier.

But I know how to beat the system now! I think if I wash one outfit per day, then they will have time to dry without putting them in the drier and without taking up too much space. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Light and Darkness

This weekends agenda:
  • Camping with House Church
  • Homework (Holy Spirit study/prayers of the NT/tons of reading)
  • Young Life Training

It's going to be a very active weekend.

Spiritual Emphasis week has been a very (dare I say it?) BUSY (oh, I dared) week. But I wonder if all the activity was really beneficial. Even in the midst of everything going on, I still can't seem to keep myself 'busy' enough keep me from remembering that it's lonely here.

God is good to me. I should take more time to remember that.

You know, I'm thinking about what John Vermilya has been speaking about this week. One of the topics he addressed was about being the light of the world, and how America is a very Spiritually wealthy place. We really don't know how good we actually have it spiritually. I'm at a Christian College, where I'm studying ministry, I can read my Bible, there are other Christians around me, we sing hymns and spiritual songs, we commune with one another as believers... I truly live in the light. It's strange because I percieve darkness, and I believe that darkness is real, but truly, being here at Bethel is living in the light.

But if the light I'm living in is darkness, how truly dark is the darkness of this world!

I want to go to the dark places and let my light shine. Imagine that... going to the places where there are not a lot of Christians, but rather there are even people openly opposed to the whole Christian thing. I think of Donald Miller and his experience at Reed College in Oregon. Wow, what an incredible opportunity he had to be Jesus to the opposed and jaded.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Spiritual Emphasis Week

Today starts Spiritual Emphasis Week. I've spent some time praying for the campus, the speaker, and the whole of this week and between random flu like symptoms, nightmares, and sleepless nights, I am starting the week at my weakest, most humble point. That's a good place to start, huh?


Our speaker for the week is John Vermilya.


He works with Kingdom Building Ministries, and I thought that was awesome. This morning, since I showed up to Chapel early to take attendance (I wonder what Jesus would say about me working that Job), and I said hello to him and that I wanted to let him know that I have been praying for him.





He had a good message today, I mean, for starting out the week. It feels like he sort of jumped into it, holding nothing back, speaking the truth that God gave him. I can't wait to hear what message God has given him for this campus.





It feels like this week is going to be one that stretches me a lot, and that is excluding anything to do with God's workings during Spiritual Emphasis Week. There's just a lot going on, and I'm already exhausted because I didn't sleep a wink last night. Boo. I left my house at 9:10 am today. The next time I will probably set foot in it again will be around 10:30pm tonight.



I do have a roommate now. Neisha did move in with me instead of staying upstairs, but she's gone so much, that it's like having my own room. I guess I'm okay with that.



Oh, and I guess that people seem to think I'm weird because they figure out that I'm the one who does things like these:




(my Housemates loved this one)



(It was just a little container of Cheerios, but I do what I can to make people smile)
S00n, I would like to blog a little bit more about some of the fascinating discussion we have in class.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To be or not to be... a Disciple?

For many people in the church, as for the young sailor, Vincent's vexation over the discipleship words of Jesus expresses the dilemma clearly. To illustrate this dilemma, when I teach or speak on discipleship in classes or churches or conferences, I regularly ask this question: "How many of you can say, in the humble confidence of your heart, that you are convinced that you are a true disciple of Jesus Christ? Please raise your hand." People are visibly confusesd as they attempt to answer the question. Most do not put their hand up at all, some do so hesitantly, some put it up then take it down, others put it up half way.
Then I ask another question: "How many of you can say, in the humble confidence of your heart, that you are convinced that you are a true Christian? Please raise your hand." Immediately most hands shoot up- no hesitation, no doubt! (Following the Master, Michael J. Wilkins, pg 25)


What does it mean to be a disciple?
Is being a disciple necessary for Salvation?
Can a person be a true Christian, but not a disciple?
Can a person be a disciple, but not be discipled?
How does discipleship fit in into the passage in Matthew 10:37-39?
And what of the great commission... the call to make disciples of all nations?


What do you think?

I don't know about anyone else, but I have a hard time separating 'Christian' and 'Disciple'. I'm not sure that they're even two different things, yet a lot of people seem to want to separate them and define them differently.

I can't.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lonliness and Spiders...

AnAH :OiuJA Po AkKApaoi AHH jaioajh AUO NHhjhkA A;lkAJPOIgj!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let that express how I am feeling. What does it say? Your guess is as good as mine. I'm having another one of those days when there is such a surge of emotion that I don't even know what they are, I just... feel.

I am in a lonely time. I miss my friends, I miss my family, I miss my other family at Life Bridge. It's weird being a 5th year student. Most of the people I came in with graduated and now they're not here. Most of my friends graduated. I know that I have a great opportunity to make new friends this year, and I have been, but there is no one like the friends you make and take with you freshman year. I just feel like this is going to be a long year.


So.... on Saturday night, Bethel had a bonfire and smores (i heart smores), and on the way there I passes by this low hanging limb on a tree and saw a HUGE albino spider making a web. It was fascinating, so I took a picture. I took several pictures. This picture... my hand was literally 4 inches away from the spider. Terrifying.






I hate spiders.

On the other hand, I have finally gone to all my classes at least once. I've been here a week. I survived a week.

My Senior Seminar in Youth Ministry Class is going to KILL me. Well, okay, not really, I'm being dramatic. But it is going to be a challenge. We have to write a graduate level paper that will reflect all the classes we've taken in the youth ministry program... This is a class you're supposed to take senior year when you've had a chance to take all the classes. I've only had three, and one of them I'm retaking because it was an upperlevel class that usually people have had most of their YM classes at this point and it was way over my head... This paper is worth 50 percent of our grade.

I think all of my classes will be good classes, challenging, but good.

Gosh, I feel like I have so much to say, but very little time to actually say it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm feeling the excitement

Classes were supposed to start today, but I got an extra day because the only two classes I have today were canceled. Dr. Linhart is out of town meeting with denominational leaders in the missionary church and he is the professor for both of the classes.

We had the back to school bash last night. Three people didn't recognize me. Two of the people were ones I lived with last year and one of them I go to house church with, so I had a lot of contact with all three of them last year. I didn't think my appearance had changed that much!

Ruth and I hung out a bit. Ruth graduated in '07, but still lives nearby, so it was easy to give her a call and be like "come see my house!" So she came over at 11pm and we spent an hour and a half talking about summer and I told her stories some of the amazing stories from this summer. She told me about her summer and her struggles to find a church that she likes (she tends to not like organized church structures anyway, and her work schedule makes it hard for her to attend anyway).

She said she wanted to be challenged and held accountable, so we decided that the two of us, and anyone who wants to get involved, will have church together on her days off. I'm really excited because it's going to be different even from the house church I go to. We will meet with one another, I don't know what we'll talk about or study yet, but we've also decided that it won't just be us (and whoever else comes) meeting within ourselves. We've decided that we are going to have times when we go out into the community and be Jesus to people. We haven't completely envisioned what that will look like yet, but we have a few ideas.


I've talked with several people now about The Tangible Kingdom and possibly starting a book study on it. A few people sounded interested, some had good ideas, and one pointed me to an option on how to get it started, so it might actually happen.

I am moving out of feeling apprehensive about this school year and starting to feel really excited about it. I think it's because I feel like a missionary who has been sent out. There are people at Bethel who are moving into viewing the world through kingdom lenses, and moving into the incarnational way of doing ministry, and I feel like this year is a great opportunity to encourage them as I continue my own learning in this area. But not only to encourage them, but also to help awaken the vision in others.

It's not what you get out of it, it's what you bring to it. I plan to bring it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here at Bethel...

Okay, where do I begin?

I'm here. I woke up bright and early (8:30, ha! that's not really early) and we were hoping to be able to leave by 9am, but that didn't happen for some reason. We left at about 10am, so I probably could have gone to the church today. But it's okay, Pete and Frank prayed for me on Sunday.

I got to Bethel just after noon (Eastern time), unpacked (hardly at all) went to lunch at 1pm, ate with my RD, talked with her about the summer (all the amazing God moments), went back to the room, unpacked more (almost there), went to the registrar's office (they spelled my name wrong on my grad. app.), went to the book store, bought books and supplies (phew, that's done), came back to my room, unpacked a little more (only thing left now is my clothes), put away my books and supplies, made my bed, went to dinner, ate with Nat and Gia, talked with Matt and Jamie about starting a study on The Tangible Kingdom, came to the computer lab, got my homework for next Tuesday (since there's no class tomorrow because Dr. Linhart is out of town) and here I am, blogging and talking to Martin online.

It's weird being here. I'm seeing a ton of people that I know, but most of them aren't my friends, they're just acquaintances.

I am indeed in a room by myself. It's weird though because the way the house I'm living in is set up like an apartment, but all the rooms share a kitchen, laundry room, toilet, etc. So I'm downstairs in the basement, and there are two rooms, a bedroom and a study room... I have it all to myself. I'm sure it will be great for a while, but I forsee it becoming rather lonely.

Although, there is a girl who is moving in Thursday, Neisha, I met her today, and she might move into the room downstairs with me rather than go upstairs like she was assigned (the RD already said that would be fine if that's what we wanted to do) so we'll see what happens.

Well, my body is achy so I'm out.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Finally...

Well, I finally started packing. I'm reducing what I bring by at least half. Stuff is just a burden. Haul it up, acquire a ton more stuff while at school, drag it home. What a repetitive, needless process.

Church was... interesting today. Definitely different. Way out of my element. I joked around that I was so put off that I decided not to come back next week, and that infact, I wouldn't return until mid-October. A few people got the joke.

I got the opportunity to go to the Dunes today, which was wonderful because the House Church I go to while at Bethel had planned a beach day today, and I had been sad not to go with them. For a little while I sat a short distance away from everyone else and just let thoughts invade my mind. I enjoyed being alone for a little while, while still being able to maintain the comfort of knowing that I could end my alone time at any time.

Pete and Frank prayed for me today because I won't be able come on Tuesday. Mom and Dad want to leave ASAP. We're borrowing Christopher's car because it's more reliable and gets better gas mileage, so we need to have it back before 3pm. Plus they have things they need to do Tuesday anyway.

My dad is in a really bad mood right now. I don't know why. I hate feeling like an inconvenience, and that's how he makes me feel. But I guess anything that is not what he wants, regardless of whether it really inconveniences him or not, is an inconvenience. I'll just lay low until I go back to Bethel. Out of sight, out of mind, can't really stir up too much trouble then.

Sara is cutting my hair tomorrow. I've told her to envision something, that I'm giving her free reign to go wild. I trust her.

I checked my email today and one of my professors emailed me (my classes) to let the class know that he will be out of town on Thursday, so we won't have those classes until Tuesday. The funny thing is that the only classes I have on Thursday are the ones that were canceled. Hehe.

Oh... anyway. that's all. I don't want to make this entry too much longer or no one will read it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blah

Poo. I'm not feeling motivation to get anything done. I haven't even started packing to go back to Bethel or anything.

And I'm feeling angry, and some other unpleasant emotions as well. I don't like it.

Colossians 3:8
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

and

Colossians 3:12-114
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Yeah... I know. I don't like feeling this way, but I can't help it. Really.

I'm excited for Pamper Night, though. And I hope the women who come are blessed by it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Virtual Makeover!


Why?
Because I felt like it.

Oh... they don't let you right click and save, but the way around that is to take a screen shot of your picture by pressing ctrl/print screen and opening up paint, click and press ctrl/v. It will paste the picture into paint where you can crop it and save it.
:-) I'm so smart, lol.

Today I realized:

*that I don't understand theft. A few days ago, two projectors were stolen from the church and this morning someone stole my brother's (Josh) moped. I kept thinking 'why would they steal his moped? Don't they realize that his moped is his only source of transportation? Don't they realize that he's not even done paying for it yet? Don't they know what they're doing to my brother?' But then the thought occured to me. Of course they don't realize it, but even if they did, they wouldn't care. Understanding the situation wouldn't change anything... and my heart broke for humanity. I don't understand theft. I just don't get it.

*that I'm afraid to be alone in my room this semester. I'm okay that both of the people I was supposed to room with have decided not to return to Bethel, but I don't think either one of them called to inform Bethel. Bethel hasn't sent me anything in regards to new roommates or new living situations. If they didn't notify Bethel that they're not returning, that means Bethel won't assign me new roommates, probably until next semester. I suppose the thought of having my own room should be exciting, but I lived alone for about 12 weeks my freshman year. It has some great perks, but I also know how quickly it gets lonely.

*that if I could go back and change anything about my internship this summer, one of my top priorities would be to change how I related to my field supervisor. I need to talk to him about it. Maybe. We'll see.

*that I'm not ready to return to Bethel. I don't know why. It could be that this will be my fifth year. It could be that everything hasn't fallen into place the way it has in the past four years. It could be that I'm concerned about possibly living alone, or about all my friends having graduated. It could be that I've lost financial aid, and I don't know how I'm going to pay for all my schooling. Maybe it's... It could be any number of things.

Today is one of 'those' days. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, but what for? What reason do I possibly have to be overwhelmed? I'm being serious.

God, when you give my heart dreams, is that all they are? Or is there something tangible to look forward to?

poo, I'm out.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Give Me Your Eyes

One of the things Ive spent the past few years asking is that God would help me to see through His eyes. I found this song tonight and it resonated with me.


"Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Was it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see"

May it ever be my prayer.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Where is He taking me?

What do you say when your mind is reeling with thoughts? What's most important? What really matters?

I found out today that both of the people I was planning to room with this fall are not returning to Bethel.

The funny thing is that I'm not in the least bit stressed out or bothered by that. I'm actually... quite amused. I've had thoughts about not returning to Bethel myself, so it's funny to me that both of the people I was intending on rooming with have made the decision not to return.

So here I am again, face to face with the decision: Do I return to Bethel or not? I feel like I'm sort of sitting in default mode. The plan is to return to Bethel unless I recieve clear direction from God not to go back. But I almost feel like I still have to make the decision to either return or not, as though saying "I will return to Bethel unless..." isn't really a decision to go back. I don't know if that makes sense or not.
I've just... I'm not worried about it, at least not on a grand level. I think there's more of a curiosity. If I don't go back, what new and exciting direction will God take me?

I don't regret the past four years because I don't think I would be where I am now without them. But I also know I can't stay where I am now. It's the constant movement of my life and relationship with God. Where is He taking me? We'll see.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I've been reading through Colossians for the past few weeks. It's a short letter, so I've been through it several times (sometimes even several times in one day. It intrigues me), but I can't seem to get away from it. I'm having trouble... moving on. It's not that it's hard to understand, because it's not. It's very straight forward. But everytime I go through it, I find something else that sticks out to me... or I'm hit by the same truth again. I guess I'll just keep going through it until it's permeated through me.

I love this description of Christ:


We look at this Son
.....and see the God who cannot be seen.
We look at this Son
.....and see God's original purpose in everything created.
Christ is the one through whom God created
.....everything in heaven and earth.
He made the things we can see and the things we can't see
.....kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities.
Everything has been created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
.....and in him all things hold together.
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
.....and by him God reconciled everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
.....by means of his blood on the cross.
.
Colossians 1:15-20 (mixed translations)

I asked God to give me wisdom and he made me a fool.

O LORD, how long will you forget me?
Forever? How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die.
Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, "We have defeated him!"
Don't let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD because he has been so good to me.
.
"...Is all my dreaming at an end
or do you still wait for me dreamgiver..."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Only Hope

The loss of hope is death to the soul.




This is a song from A Walk to Remember called Only Hope. The more I hear this song, the more I believe that it was not written to be a song that this girl sings to her lover, but rather a song the girls sing to the lover of her soul.

More and more I find this song to be my hearts cry to the lover of my soul.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pay It Forward

I just watched Pay It Forward... I loved the movie, except for the ending. The ending broke my heart but it reminded me of the Bridge Builders meeting today, we were looking at the hard passages of 1 Peter 2:13-3:22... the passages about submission to rulers and masters, slaves, husbands, wives, unjust suffering, etc., and the study got really intense because we started talking about some stuff that's really hard to accept, but Pete explained: the bottom line is that the Salvation of the person we are in contact with is a higher priority than our own happiness to the point of unjust suffering and even death.

That's hard to take in... it was especially hard for one person who was there. But Ive been trying to take in the message and really consider it because there was something important in it that resonated with me, and I've found myself running into the same application several times since then today. In Pay It Forward, even though the movie is not really about the Kingdom of God or bringing a person to Christ, I see the very concept of paying it forward is what the Kingdom is... it is love. It touched me. I hope the Pay it Forward movement isn't just about creating organizations (www.payitforwardfoundation.com you'll find the foundations started here) but I hope the concept is embodied within the very lives of people everywhere. The Kingdom on earth is possible, and it's closer than ever.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Bigger Picture

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth saying:

"May the day of my birth perish
and the night it was said, 'A boy is born!'
That day- may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it;
may no light shine upon it.
May darkness and deep shadow
claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm its light.
That night- may thick darkness seize it;
may it not be included
among the days of the year
nor be entered in any of the months.
May that night be barren;
may no shout of joy be heard in it.
May those who curse days curse that day,
those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
May its morning star become dark;
may it wait for daylight in vain
and not see the first rays of dawn,
for it did not shut the doors of the womb
on me to hide trouble from my eyes.
Why did I not perish at birth
and die as I came from the womb?
Why were there knees to recieve me
and breasts that I might be nursed?
For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep at rest with kings
and counselors of the earth,
who built for themselves places
now lying in ruins,
with rulers who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
Or why was I not hidden in the ground
like a stillborn child, like an infant
who never say the light of day?
There the wicked cease from turmoul
and there the weary are at rest.
Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave drivers shout.
The small and the great are there,
and the slave is freed from his master.
Why is light given to those in misery
and life to the bitter of soul,
to those who long for death
that does not come,
who search for it
more than for hidden treasure,
who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
For sighing comes to me instead of food;
my groans pour out like water.
What I fear has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil."

I think Job was a bit overwhelmed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What would Jesus buy?

So I watched this film, and while I agree that consumerism is a major problem in our country, I wonder if there's a better, more effective way to get the message across. Some of the things 'Reverend' Billy says and does show that he is definitely doing it in the name of Jesus, but I wonder if the way it is being done is something Jesus would support. I don't know. The message is all about consumerism and stopping consumerism, but there's really a bigger pictures, and while they touch on that a little, the end in itself seems to be: stop shopping, stop consumerism, the end. It's kind of sad because I see them doing more to hurt the name of Christ than they are helping it. It just feels like he's making a mockery of the name of Jesus by doing things the way he is doing them. But maybe I'm wrong.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Secret Message of Jesus

I just finished reading The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren... I don't know what to say about it.   I was fascinated, and challenged.  It was truly a challenging read for me. I felt tension, there was... collision.   I've been processing the book as I've been reading it. That's why it's taken me a few weeks to get through it, but I'm still trying to process it, trying to sort it out... It's not a new message, but I have a new understanding of it. It's a mystery unveiled

I've been finding myself rethinking a lot of things; The Kingdom, ministry, my own relationship with God and my role in the kingdom, who I am, who I want to be... gosh, there's so much and it was so overwhelming. I felt like I was going mad these past few weeks!

And then there's a moment of clarity. I don't know that I'm seeing everything yet, or even that I'm seeing what I am seeing as I should, but for the moment, the tension is gone and I have peace.  I don't feel confused or frustrated... I'm actually kind of excited.  I'm excited that the Kingdom of God is not just a future hope, but a present reality and I have the option to be a part of it.  I want to be a part of it. 

I spent some time talking with my mom about what I've been reading and is intrigued.  She put The Secret Message of Jesus on her reading list.