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. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Yucky

Okay, So I've got a few good things and a few yucky things to share.  But with each thing I guess there's really good and bad, so... 

I got my housing assignments for Bethel today. 
I will be living in Logan Village.  Boo. :-(

My book, The Tangible Kingdom, came in the mail today. 
I was supposed to get it 8 days ago. 

I saw an old classmate from high school and got to talk with him at the fair today. 
He recognized me first and even remembered my name. I haven't seen this person in 4 years!
He is planning to visit Life Bridge this Sunday. 
He is visiting Life Bridge because he doesn't feel comfortable in his old church anymore. 

Just plain bad: 
I got my bill for Bethel in the mail today. I owe: $12,432. 
And that's just for one semester. 
But not all of my financial aid has been applied yet. 
Downright discouraging: 
I know I've lost at least $5ooo (possibly more) in financial aid because I'm taking an extra year. 

Welcome to my life. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Respect is something you earn. It's not just given to you.  If you want to be respected (and you know you do, Amanda) grow up a little.  Act your age, be a good leader, make yourself worthy of respect. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I can't get away from these questions. They haunt me, the taunt me, they drive me mad. Tension? You could say that.

What do we do about the commercialism of youth ministry?
How do we involve the parents?
How are we preparing students to be successful in their walk with God once they leave the youth ministry?

But perhaps the most pressing question in my mind would tell me whether any of the other questions even matter:

Does the Bible support Youth Ministry? I've been wrestling with this question for almost a year now. And what if it doesn't? What if there is no Biblical basis for youth ministry? What if all this youth ministry stuff is a mere chasing of the wind? What then does that mean for my life? Have I done it all in vain? Was I wrong when I believed that God was calling me into the Youth Ministry? Have I been wasting my time and resources, collecting debt, and putting myself through countless hours of work and study to come to this moment of time where I wonder if I'm really moving in the right direction? How do I know?

My desire is to move toward God in every area of my life. Personal, educational, relational, vocational... I don't by any means think youth ministry is a bad thing, but I wonder if there is something better. Let me rephrase that... I wonder if there's a bigger, more all encompassing picture that I am missing because I have chosen not to look past what's right in front of me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today's High Lights

1. The opportunity to serve others by leading the booth at the fair and handing out suckers, prizes and bottles of water. 

2. To be able to interact with people and to  see the smile on each child's face when they walked away from the booth with something.

3. Hanging out with Christine and Doug. (watching Doug try to climb the advanced rock climb and Christine and I whispering our bets on when he would fall)

Not so great things about today: 

1.  Seeing the greed of humanity... or Americans. 

2. Low energy. 

3. Sore, achy feet and back when I got home. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008



I need help... I AM 
I need hope..I AM 
I need a fresh start... I AM
My vision is bigger than my resources... I AM 
Who can I trust...  I AM
I'm not sure who's on my team... I AM
My marriage is sinking and I don't know what to do... I AM
My kids deserve more... I AM
I'm pouring into others who's pouring into me... I AM
I've given all I can give and it's not enough... I AM
I'm tired...
I can't...
I quit...
... I AM

John 14: 6:  Jesus answered:  "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."

What a message.   I AM.... the answer.  Who is my hope, who is my fresh beginning, who is on my team, who is pouring into me, who is enough.... I AM.  But more than that I see that even when life is more than we can bear alone... I AM.   Not I was... not I will be...  But I AM.  I always have been and I always will be.  God is still God no matter what our circumstances are. He is still above all and greater than all.  

Oh how often we diminish God.  How often I diminish Him. 

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Anna sent this to my email. It's a part of a message by Louie Giglio. Touching...'s amazing that God would work things together in such a way that we have little 'coincidences' like this.

God will always hold us together no matter what. :-)

Submit yourselves to one another

I love the times when I receive the gentle but wise counsel about something important from someone who understands but has no idea that they are giving any sort of counsel. I think it's just easier to accept that... for someone to talk to you rather than at you.

I guess there is something to be said about submission... I mean, for me as a follower of Christ. I suppose it could also be as a woman and an intern as well, but I feel this is more about being a follower of Christ and a pursuer of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of submission when he became obedient to the cross, and when he washed his disciples feet, but I feel like there's more to it than service to one another. I don't really know how to explain it... but like it says in Ephesians 5:21, submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ. I'm sure this verse is talking to husbands and wives, but why can't it apply to the body of Christ, seeing that we are the bride? Anyway... I think it implies more than service but I'm not meaning it to be as much as having anything to do with the marriage bed.
So, I've looked at what other Scriptures say about dealing with one another (listed below) and I see all of these things as submission. But more than that, not only do I love as an act of submission, but I allow myself to be loved. Not only do I serve as an act of submission, but I allow myself to be served, and so on, for each thing I've found.

It seems... it's about letting go of pride, being humbled, dying to self... loving. There is something mutual about it. Is it possible for me to love to the full extent of what it means to love if I can't find it in myself to let another love me? Or can I truly serve to the fullest extent if I don't allow myself to be served now and then? Can I really say that I'm really bearing another's burden when I'm still trying to carry my own all by myself? I don't know for sure, but something in me says that I can only serve others as much as I allow them to serve me.... but that thinking seems so upside down, but it seems right. I don't know.

So what's the application? Stop resisting people, Amanda. Just stop resisting people. Figure it out.

Wash one another's feet
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.
John 13:14

Love one another
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34

Be devoted to one another
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Romans 12:10

Honor one another
Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10

Live in harmony with one another
Live in harmony with one another.
Romans 12:16

Not judge one another
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Romans 14:13

Edify one another
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:19

Be in unity with one another
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:5

Accept one another
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7

Instruct one another
I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 15:14

Wait for one another
So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.
1 Corinthians 11:33

Have concern one for another
So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Corinthians 12:25

Greet one another
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12

Serve one another
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13

Not provoke or envy one another
Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:26

Bear one another's burden
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Show forbearance to one another in love
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

Be kind to one another, forgiving each other
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Submit ourselves one to another
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21

Consider the other as better
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3

Be mindful of one another
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4

Not lie to one another
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Colossians 3:9-10

Bear with one another
Bear with each other.
Colossians 3:13

Forgive one another
Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

Teach and admonish one another
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

Be at peace with one another
Live in peace with each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:13

Encourage one another
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13

Spur one another on
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24

Offer hospitality to one another
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

Not slander of one another
Brothers, do not slander one another.
James 4:11

Not judge one another
Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
James 4:11

Confess our faults to one another
Confess your sins to each other.
James 5:16

Pray for one another
Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:16

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ouch, that stings.

Well, I'm feeling a bit wounded right now. Is that my fault? Probably. I guess sometimes I don't know how to leave well enough alone.

I think what's worse though is the probability that I might have wounded someone else, however unintentionally.

Monday, July 14, 2008

to see through Kingdom lenses...

Well, I suppose it is officially Monday July 14... you know what that means? Today is my dad's birthday. I wish I had something for him.

July has been a bit of a rough month so far... financially we are not doing well at all, and everyone has pretty much had empty stomachs for the past few days. I think mom has decided against going to the food pantry. I know she hates going there because she feels like a beggar. I don't blame her, it's hard to tell people you're in need, especially when everyone around you is having their own struggles. It is sad though that we're so individualistic.

After everyone left Amped tonight I sat in the grass by the parking lot and read through Matthew 6:25-34 (the do not worry passage) because I felt like I needed to remind myself. We are precious to God, he knows what we need and he will take care of us.

I feel that I am beginning to really view Scripture through the Kingdom lenses because I feel like I'm seeing things that I've never seen before, not that they weren't there, just that I didn't understand them in the same way. For example, Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well. This passage is talking about not worrying about things like where your basic needs are coming from, and it goes on to say, seek first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well. I have to laugh because, well, compare it with Acts 4:32-35; the fellowship of the believers... the kingdom lived out. All believers were together sharing everything they had, and none of them were in need because they were all taking care of one another!!! Do you see the connection? Jesus says Don't worry, seek the kingdom... as the kingdom was lived out, there was no one who had need. Wow.



I can't wait until i can call Stephanie Joy and tell her what I've realized. She'll be so excited (even if she's already seen the connection). We've talked before about living in community, pursuing it... That's what the Simple Living Experiment was supposed to be. I loved the community of SLE....I kept thinking about it as I read through Irresistible Revolution.

Ick, I'm pushing my limits by being awake still. I'm going to bed.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dangerous Faith

So thoughts have invaded my mind relentlessly. There have a been a few really good things that have happened today. In a sense I feel relieved, but at the same time, I feel a little... well, restless I guess. I realized something today, and now I feel like I simply don't know what to do with what I've realized, so I'll just talk about it here I guess and see if anyone has any thoughts... or sympathies. I mean, I guess I really don't need advise or anything because I know I'm strong and capable of working through pretty much anything (well, not me, but God in me), so yeah, maybe what I really need is just to 'blog' about it where I know people can read it and understand or something.... I don't know what I want.
Anyway, when I got home today I went to my room to think because I needed to process a few things, and one of the things I started thinking about was how much having this internship this summer has impacted my theology, my relationships, my ministry... really my entire life. I have a sense of knowing that I am not the same person now that I was when I came into this. It's like there has been something in me that has been lying dormant, something in me that has been oppressed and repressed, shot down, crushed, destroyed and taken from me. Something that my heart has been crying out for since I came to the faith. Something feirce and untamed (barbaric, haha). Something I couldn't fully understand or comprehend until I saw it and experienced it. But now that something in me... it's been set free.
To explain what happened next is going to require me to backtrack a little and explain exactly what I was doing. When I came back to my room. I was tired, fatigued, exhausted, but my mind was active and racing. I was actually talking to God when I was thinking. I started out talking to God about something that is actually just between me and another person so I won't go into that, but then I started thinking about other things and I found myself asking questions, going over what I did understand, begging God to soften my stubborn heart and give me a little clarity. While I was doing this though I was laying in my bed, if anyone walked in they probably would have thought I was sleeping, but I wasn't. I was fully awake, probably more praying in the Spirit than anything.
What happened next scared me a little. So (being fully awake) an image, a picture, like a clip from a movie flashed in my mind and it was really short, like a second, but that's not what scared me, it's what I saw, what I experienced in what I saw that scared me. Its funny how words could not have done for me what seeing did... Anyway, I saw myself, well, it was more like I was actually there, I didn't see myself, I was seeing through my perspective and I was flying and there was someone or something with me, I don't know who it was I just had a sense that it was with me. But I was up there in the air looking down, there were green trees and feilds as far as I could see, and there was a long train. And then I suddenly realized that I was flying, there was nothing around me, nothing holding me up, nothing to keep me from falling, but I wasn't falling, there was a sense of glorious, uninhibited freedom, but I panicked. Yeah, I saw all of this in a matter of a single second. But when it ended I knew immediately why I panicked. I had nothing tangible that I could hold on to and I desperately wanted the comfort of walking on solid ground. The freedom to fly was too much, too new, too fast, and I wanted the limitations back. I wanted what I'd always known up to that point. It was comfortable.
And then I realized that what I saw was speaking directly to what I was feeling about being set free, the feelings I could not explain when people would ask me what was wrong, that I didn't know how to tell people what it was... that something crying out deep within my spirit. It broke free! Answers... Clarity... Freedom... And that's scary. If you're really honest with yourself. That is scary.
Knowing deep within you that theres something higher and bigger than yourself out there and it's so important. Having a sense that something is not right with the way things are. Desperately chasing it, feeling like it's just out of your grasp, you don't understand it. You want it, you need it. It's just important. It's so so important. And then suddenly, it's like God says Okay. It's time for you to understand, it's time for you to see, it's time for you to know.
And then it's like too, much too, soon poured out, trying to take it all in, comprehend it, organize it, process it, make it make sense, and then respond to it. But then you get stuck, scared. Whoa, God this is too big for me, I'm so small. But you know... you know in your heart this is right, this is real, this matters. This is what you have been waiting for and it's here.
It pushed you out of your comfort zone, in a sense, it has the capacity to make you feel as though you've been alienated from those who have not reached this point because they don't understand. You want the comfort of walking on solid ground, but you don't want to go back to those limitations. You look ahead but you can't see what's ahead of you. You look behind you and know you can't go back to it. So you push ahead knowing that you can't just stand there, knowing that you have to trust something outside of yourself to guide you. Knowing that the only choice that makes sense is to trust God so wholely and completely that it drives you mad! Knowing that now that you are here your life is on a dangerous path... but also having that sense of peace knowing that you have surrendered to, that you are completely sold out to the most important thing in existence and not life, nor death or anything else in this world matters except what matters to your King.

Wow...maybe some of you think i'm an idiot, but this is it, these jumbled thoughts, this is the awakening to something greater. It's different than the process of coming to know Christ, I already know Christ.... this is just different, deeper, dangerous. I dont expect you all to understand, but maybe some of you will. I don't know. Someone just tell me what your thoughts are.