Saturday, August 11, 2007
How much time and energy do we spend wishing things were how they used to be? We often think about times in our past when things were different and want our lives to be like that again. Some of us have even come to believe that our best days may actually be behind us. But if we’re in some way hung up on the past, what does that mean for our lives now? How are we and those around us affected if we’re not fully present? If we’re longing for the way things used to be, what does that really say about our understanding and appreciation of our lives today? Maybe we need to learn to embrace our past for what it is, in order to live our lives to the fullest, right here, right now.
We want to know why we are here. If our lives really matter. How our religion is relevant to this life. Today. We want to understand what significance this minute, hour, week, month, and year has to our lives.To our world. We need a God who cares about this life, in this world, right now. We want to understand why everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do matters. We don’t want to just sit back and wait for something to happen or someday to come. We want to know if all the choices we make now will shape our world and lives for eternity. Because we want our lives to have meaning today, and our lives today to have meaning forever.
Some of the central claims of the Christian faith are the source of many discussions and heated debates. But are we always debating the right things? Maybe some of our discussions would change significantly if we had more insight into the actual circumstances that surrounded the first people of the Christian movement – if we had a better understanding of the things they did in the context of the world they lived in. Maybe some of the claims of the Christian faith that we typically perceive to be unique aren’t really that special at all. And at the same time maybe we don’t always put enough emphasis on the things that truly should matter in our lives.
We always think we know what’s missing from our lives in order to really make us happy, don’t we? If only I had that car, or that job, or if only I could lose those 15 lbs, then I’d be happy. Really? How often do we want something only to find out that it wasn’t that great after all? Sometimes we ask God for things and if he doesn’t deliver right away, we start questioning whether God really understands or even cares. Do we really trust God? Do we trust that God is good and sees a bigger picture than we ever could? It’s easy to want what’s right in front of us, but maybe God knows what’s better for us, and sometimes we just can’t see it.
I love Nooma.
Monday, July 16, 2007
1. I have realized that one of my most favorite things in this life is watching children participate in worship, in singing praises to our Lord. Last week I was a counselor at JBC, a camp for young children. One evening I found myself completely surrounded by little girls with their eyes closed, voices raised, hands lifted, and tears running down their faces. It was so inspiring to witness the passion and sincerity in their hearts. Yesterday morning I watched the India Children’s Choir perform in church and one certain beautiful little girl seized my attention. The song, in their native tongue, spoke something about having no earthly treasures, but Jesus is enough. What a powerful message to acknowledge and believe at such a young age.
2. I have really made many good friends in the last six months, yet I have also lost some really close high-quality friends. Not to death, but to other directions of life; change of address, change of family.. maybe I have changed. It will never get easy. I am half-expectant that the rest of my life may be this way, at least the next four years of college. One day I will move quite far from my family and my friends.. maybe with a husband and child. I have no idea where my life will lead, but I am learning to be dependant on Him to be “my steadfast”. There are so many in my life whom I have respected and depended on for guidance, many of whom have recently turned to another road. I am not ready to "grow up".. I hate "moving on". It often seems easier to others rather than to the true source, meanwhile I know I must also continually rely solely on God. Nonetheless, thank you to those who have always been there for me.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I must find my identity in Christ. He designed my character, my being, and I cannot genuinely honor Him with my life until I am living out who and what He created me to be; whether that means breaking away from the forged and artificial person I have become or excavating my insides to recover the truth within my being.
Meanwhile, I had a really great time at camp. I am sad that this is my last summer as a camper, but I expect there will be greater opportunities in college; whether it be on a summer traveling team, or in a foreign country on a 6 week missions internship. I cannot imagine how uplifting, yet exhausting, a summer of service and sacrifice would be. The friends, memories, and lessons will never be forgotten.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
This next week at camp I am only going to focus on developing an organic relationship with God. Organic in essence meaning natural, pure and essential; stripped of all pollutants and additives of this world. I am desiring to discover God in a healthy, refreshing new way so that I cannot help but fall in love all over again.
There is a fine line between how to be there and really be present and affect the world. In order to affect it and really be there, you have to be immersed in it. It is definitely a balancing act and something that is a challenge for me, how to really be in both worlds at the same time. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in this submerging progression. Now I am in the process of trying to figure out how to do both, how to be in the world, but not of the world. I am also, though more diligently, on a personal search for truth. I am taking in and being open to what I am taught, yet I must let doubt confirm my own beliefs.
We know a lot about God, just like we know a lot about Brad Pitt or George W. Bush, without truly knowing Him. There are no short-cuts or substitutes for knowing God ourselves. It is a pursuit that must always begin in the Word.
Through scriptures I have discovered a big-hearted and deeply mysterious God. In Him we find our identity. The Bible is a huge invitation into conformity to Christ. I admit it is usually the heavy-handed "why" questions that bottleneck my faith, but there comes a time when we have to move forward(!!!) with all of our questions, baggage and uncertainties to experience God.
I will never have God in the palm of my hands. There are aspects of God I will never know but, it is someone I can pursue my whole life and never grow exhausted.
I must shed potential familiarity and begin with a simple and purist agenda to know God, organically, through his word.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
There is a popular bumper sticker that reads “God Bless America,” but has not America already been blessed? It is so easy for us to fall into a mindset of viewing “our” world as “the” world, because it is all we generally see. We are constantly bombarded with images of the latest styles and models of everything, and it can easily leave us feeling like what we have is not enough because we see people that have even more than us. But how does what we have compare to what most people in the world have? I can tell you that what we have is enough; it is more than enough. God has blessed us with everything we have so we can bless and give to others. God bless America? America bless Niger. America bless Sudan. America bless Haiti. America, bless! God bless America should not mean doom everyone else. Serving is sacrifice. Take a hold of the life that is true life! Step in to your divine responsibility to give and to give abundantly.
Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.
30,000 children die each day due to poverty. They die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world.
Number of children in the world: 2.2 billion
Number of children in poverty: 1 billion
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.
1. I feel blessed to have plenty more than enough.
2. I feel blessed to be called to minister to those who have nothing.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Romans 9:2,3; 10:1; 11:13,14
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers... Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved... Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
Paul, the writer of these passages, is willing to be accursed to facilitate the salvation his companions. Paul would give up his position in Heaven, so as to allow his friends into Heaven.
What have I given up to save a lost soul? A weekend? A favorite television show? Lunch with my friends? What would be the kicker, "Oh God, anything but that!" You cannot sacrifice what costs nothing. Be conscientious and continual.
Christianity is not an attachment to our lives, it IS our lives. Would the church grow if Peyton Manning, Lebron James, or Oprah were there? Jesus is there.
Also, for your viewing pleasure:
A video of the Zambian Orphan choir, ministry of World Hope International.
Monday, June 04, 2007
One particular acquaintance comes to mind; in all probability, one I may never see again. We have had just one class together, and I recall only two or three collective conversations. Sure “Mach” believes in God, but he wants nothing to do with Him. I remember one occasion late this year “Mach” and another underclassman, “Jake”, were debating the true purpose of life. I was so proud of “Jake” in his attempts to convince “Mach”, his superior, that he was doing it all wrong. “Mach” claimed to want nothing more from life than to have fun (women, money, speed, sex, and hangovers). “If I end up in Hell, well... at least I had a good time here; and I know all my sinning friends will be there with me.” I knew if I joined in the discussion “Mach” would have not only NOT listened to me, but perhaps stopped listening to “Jake”. Here I sit with the realization that I may never have another opportunity to witness to “Mach” and to numerous others I know are rootless and moving in the wrong direction. I feel I have lost my chances with those I have “left behind”, but I pray God will send one who will take advantage of the opening that I missed.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Eldine D. Landis. He was the man I always thought would be around. He was like a rock, conquered by nothing and defeated in the end only by tragic accident. But God took a man who was ready to go. He is smiling big now. I loved his smile, his unmistakable laugh. Eldine meant alot to many people, he meant alot to the Lord, and the Lord meant alot to him. I never told him how much he meant to me (you think I would have learned by now), but he always told me how special I was, how proud he is of me. "Jesus loves ya Jewel, I love ya. Stay strong." Now he is watching over me, and I hope that I can still make him proud. I want to be strong for him. He was like my Grandpa. I will miss those big strong arms who always reach so perfectly around me. It is still hard to believe. We share a pew every Sunday. When I go to church and he isn't there, and it's just me and Jessie.. then it will be reality.
Although my loved ones will depart, my Lord will always be beside me and for that I praise His name. My God is amazing. He is miraculous. He is awe-inspiring. He is tremendous. My God is indeed great. I have found him to be my rock and shelter. In Him I find strength, joy, peace. He is always there. He is faithful. My God is my everthing.
Psalm 121 ~ I lift my eyes up to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
If you would like to know the instructions for long division, I will tell them to you.
Los instrucciones para división larga
(The instructions for long division)
Los cinco pasos básicos estan:
(The five basic steps are:)
1. dividir (divide)
2. multiplicar (multiply)
3. sustraer (subtract)
4. anotar (bring down)
5. repetir o permanecer (repeat or remain)
Por ejemplo: 947 / 2
novecientos y cuarenta y siete dividí por dos.
(For example: 947/2)
Dividan el numero dos en el primero numero del dividendo. Este es nueve.
(Divide two into the first number of the dividend. This is nine.)
Crean cuantos los dos encajare en nueve.
(Think how many twos will fit into nine.)
Escriban el numero sobre exactamente el numero en que dividieron, el nueve.
(Write the number directly above the number you divided into, the nine.)
Multipliquen el divisor y el primero numero en el cociente, cuatro y dos.
(Multiply the divisor and the first number in the quotient, four and two.)
Escriban su respuesta sobre exactamente el numero en que dividieron
(Write your answer directly under the nine or the number you just divided into.)
Tracen una línea debajo del ocho.
(Draw a line under the eight.)
Tracen una línea de sustracción al lado del ocho y sustraigan nueve menos ocho.
(Draw a subtraction line next to the eight and subract nine minus eight.)
Escriban su respuesta sobre exactamente el ocho.
(Write your answer directly below the eight.)
Vayan al numero próximo en el dividendo.
(Go to the next number in the dividend.)
Escriban una flecha sobre el cuatro.
(Write an arrow under the four.)
Anoten el cuatro abajo al uno.
(Bring the four down next to the one.)
Aquí es donde decidan repetir los cinco pasos o permanecer.
(Here is where you decide to repeat the five steps or to remain.)
Si su divisor puede dividir en su numero nuevo, catorce, o si tienen los numeros en el dividendo que no han anotado, repetan los los cinco pasos de división larga.
(If your divisor can divide into your new number, 14, or if you have numbers in the dividend that you have not brought down, you repeat the five steps of divison.)
Dividan dos en su numero nuevo, catorce.
(Divide 2 into your new number, 14.)
Escriban su respuesta sobre el cuatro en su cociente.
(Place your answer directly above the 4 in your quotient.)
Multipliquen su divisor, dos, con su numero nuevo en su cociente, seite.
(Multiply your divisor, 2, with your new number in the quotient, seven.)
Escriban su respuesta sobre exactamente el catorce.
(Place your answer directly under the fourteen.)
Tracen una línea debajo del catorce segunda.
(Draw a line under the second fourteen.)
Tracen una línea de sustracción al lado del catorce segunda y sustraigan, ese es cero.
Draw a subtraction line beside the second fourteen and subtract, this is zero.
Escriban un cero sobre de la línea y escriban una flecha sobre el numero próximo, seite.
(Write a zero under the line and draw an arrow under the next number, seven.)
Anoten el seite al lado del cero.
(Bring the seven down next to the zero.)
Dividan su dos en el seite y escriban su respuesta al lado de cuarenta y siete.
(Divide your two into the seven and write your answer next to the fourty-seven.)
Multipliquen su divisor con su numero nuevo en su cociente, tres.
(Multiply your divisor into your new number in the quotient, three.)
Escriban su repuesta, seis, sobre el numero seite.
(Write your answer, six, under the number seven.)
Tracen una línea debajo del numero seis.
(Draw a line under the number six.)
Tracen una línea de sustracción al lado del seis y sustraigan.
(Write your subtraction sign next to the six and subtract.)
Escriban su repuesta sobre el numero seis, ese es uno.
(Write your answer under the number six, this is one.)
No repitan los cinco pasos de división porque no hay más numeros a anotar y dos no se dividirán en uno.
(You do not repeat the steps of divison because there are no more numbers to bring down and two will not divide into one.)
El numero restante será el resto.
(The remaining number becomes the remainder.)
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Look forward to more.
Cemento work with Abuelo.
The boys trying on a poncho at the market.
Our amazing group shot (-James): Jael, Christine, Abuelo, Geovanni, John, myself and Jessie.
Where good memories were made.
That fun game in the truck..
James and John getting close in the back seat.
Getting comfy with Jessie and Abuelo.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
A TESTIMONY TO MY GOD:
My God is amazing. He is miraculous. He is awe-inspiring. He is tremendous. My God is indeed great. I have found him to be my rock and shelter. In Him I find strength, joy, peace. He is always there. He is faithful. My God is my everthing.
The following is an excerpt from my favorite lyrics:
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are
Who Am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who Am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
I am Yours..
Romans 5:8 ~
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God's love is so immense.. and boundless, that while I was turned away from Him, He loved me and reached out His arms for me and sent His Son to die on the cross. That is amazing love!! He made the ultimate sacrifice and I owe my everything to a God who could never be compensated. Christ gave His everything for one who deserves nothing.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
My God is big; bigger than my troubles and bigger than my giants. My God can overcome everything. He does not need me to accomplish anything, but if I allow Him, He will use even me. I must forfeit my whole self to God. I must continually look for those opportunities to be used in service. I must have the faith that He can use me. Athletes for instance have a sweet spot, a spot where they feel unstoppable and can conquer anything. I must find my sweet spot in Christ, where I can overcome any barrier to seize believers, an area where I can be truly used by Him.
(posted March 19, 2007)
Tomorrow would be Ryan's 16th birthday; unfortunately we lost him on October 31st of 2006. Ryan was a close friend that could never be replaced, and although he is departed his memories will never be misplaced. The days and weeks after Ryan's death were some of the hardest I have ever experienced, but God provided love and comfort through others such as: my Grandmother. Ryan meant a lot to me, but I know he meant even more to God.
Although my loved ones may come and go, the Lord will always be beside me and for that I praise His name.
(posted March 14, 2007)
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Will my children know what it's like to get birthday money in the mail from Grandma?
Will I have a mantle to hang stockings upon? Will I have stockings?
Will my children receive report cards?
Will I be able to go to the corner store for milk and bread?
Will we know the news from the rest of the world?
Will there be good neighbor kids to play with? Will the other kids want to play with my children?
Will I be able to make Christmas cookies with my kids, like my mother always did with me and my sisters?
Will our family be in danger?
What if someone gets sick? Will there be advanced medical care near?
Will my children know their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents?
How readily will we be able to come in touch with home?
Will our family know the language of the people around us?
I have no idea what life will be like. I expect it to be hard. I expect (and hope) it to be challenging and stretching. I expect it to be full of joy. I expect it to be full of pain. I expect that God will be with my family through it all. Lastly, I expect that life will be normal - a new and different normal.
I greatly anticipate my trip to Ecuador in April and I am anxious to get a trip planned for this summer. I want to be used. I want to be stretched. I want to be confident that I am in the center of God's will for my life.