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. 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.