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I always seem to have a plan. And after a brief moment--when measured against the timeline of one's life--He gracefully and graciously ruins my plan of the hour, whatever it may be, in lieu of a greater one. This has occurred in my life without fail. In light of recent circumstances, a reverberation of His love, strength, and faithfulness has echoed in my spirit. As David said, "one thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Psalm 62:11-12

Friday, July 30, 2010

Men of Snow

Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible. I know a lot of people find it depressing but I think it is full of wisdom! The author of this book says that he searched the world for meaning--Wisdom, Pleasures, Folly, Toil, Advancement, Riches--and does not find it in any of them. It reminds me of The History of Rasselas, in which the Prince of Abyssinia  sets out on a journey to find the best way in which to live his life. He observes ideals similar to those of Qo'heleth (the author of Ecclesiastes), and concludes that it is best to reach no conclusion regarding life's questions, lest one stop questioning. Moreover, he chooses to live a life of learning and of faith.

Albeit less romanticized, how many of us have sought most of, if not all of these things to satisfy? At this point, you are either trying out the next thing as a means to fulfillment, or you have realized that at the end of the day, we are men of snow; we melt away. But what then? When I read Ecclesiastes, I find hope in realizing that nothing on earth will ever cut it. Because I know that you and I were never meant for here. Should we put stock in wisdom, find joy in pleasures, avoid recklessness, work hard, be the best we were created to be, and accept responsibility for the resources with which we have been blessed? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, His first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It's as simple and complex as that. When we love God and know His heart, we will discover compassion for others. When we know His mind, there we will gain wisdom and understanding. And not until we forfeit our lives do we truly find it.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I make a mess of things. I do.

And don't we all? Have we not all made a mess of things, of situations, of relationships in our lives, some with greater repercussions than others? If you're thinking "no" in your head (as a side note, I don't believe you), then have you ever been subject to a similar scenario?

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace, that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. -Ephesians 1:7

In my lifetime, I have seen my parents' marriage restored.  I have seen my older cousin come to truly love the Lord, God redeem her relationship with her high school sweetheart, and consequently, marry him.  Her faith has affected her family.  I watched as Jesus transformed the life of my sister, from struggling with anorexia nervosa to knowing Him personally, loving Him, and wanting to serve Him.  I have seen individuals across several generations in my family healed of old wounds. (And you wonder why I want to help couples and families via Christian counseling). I have seen a lifelong friend come to know the Lord, and actively pursue Him with her fiance, who came to the Lord 5 years ago.  I have seen a relationship that I ruined, be healed and restored. Additionally, this friend is now walking daily with the Lord, and is an encouragement to me.

As I read back over this list, it seems so miraculous--and, of course, it is.... Who else in heaven or on earth could be given such credit for changed lives?  The thing is, this should not surprise us.  As Christians, redemption is our reality.

God is so good. And the most awesome part is that He doesn't do it for us! I know, crazy to think that God does not take care of us and provide for us for our sake!? His ways are perfect, and He has purposed everything and everyone for His glory. There was a time when I did not understand this; there will be times when my behavior suggests that I still don't. But praise God that you and I, in Him, find forgiveness, redemption!

*Grammar lesson #1: Alliteration: the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent of closely connected words.
                    Ex: "subject to a similar scenario"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Euchre, Sparkler Bombs, and Academic Decathlons.

I was cracking up (alone) the other day as I recounted the sparkler bomb episode to my family.  They just...didn't quite get it.  I know my friends are weird.  I mean, who enjoys getting together to eat powdered Donettes and play cards for hours upon end, when the same partners win every time?  And who gets together after work to come up with 100 questions, ranging 10 subject areas, so that the brainiacs of the bunch can compete to determine who is the smartest? If someone, unfamiliar to the dynamics of our interaction, could be a fly on the wall on any given night, one would seriously wonder.... Nonetheless, it is obscure evenings such as these that have brought me joy this summer.

So, cheers to contented, age-old friendships!  I count it a blessing to still have you in my life.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A dear friend of mine reminded me of a few verses recently.  And I would like to share them with you.  Romans 4:1-4 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

This scripture is saturated with God's goodness.  I have peace, meaning I can rest in God through the grace brought me by Jesus Christ.  I would go so far as to say that the only reason I am standing is because of His grace.  

I will not go into detail about my recent experiences, except to say that I know my pain is nothing compared to what others have endured, or to what I even may endure later in life.  But for the moment, the hurt I feel subject to is enough to bring daily struggle, enough to bring me to my knees, in need of strength and love.  I was listening to a Tim Keller sermon the other day and he stated: "If God is letting you get hurt today, it's because He's trying to save you from a greater hurt tomorrow.  He's trying to wake you up with a pain now to keep you from a greater pain...he'll bring you a loss now to keep you from a greater loss later."

Lord, as unpleasant as this may be, Your Truth has given me hope.  You are always faithful and the plans that You unveil later never cease to astound me.  Thank You for Your people, who have encouraged and walked with me. And whatever brings You glory, whatever that means for my life, let Your will be done.

From Pew Filler to Intern

I am interning at my home church this summer and was told by some individuals that I would be taught a lot about the ministry; by others, I was told that I would learn a lot about the ministry via observation.  After 7 weeks of working in my church, I have decided that the latter is far more accurate.  Have I been taught how to prepare a sermon, youth lesson, or Bible study?  Yes.  Have I been taught one way of how to go about visiting hospital patients and shut-ins, how to conduct funerals and weddings?  Yes.  And I am very thankful for my opportunity to have done so.  

On the other hand, serving as a staff member has opened my eyes to the politics of church life, if you will.  I am becoming more aware of how easy it is for one to go about doing the church work rather than God's work.  And it's not that intentions aren't honorable, it's just that church leadership are expected to carry the weight that the Church should distribute amongst themselves to lighten each other's load.  Speaking from what I've seen, how can the pastor be expected to carry every burden, to remember every birthday, anniversary, and other important dates, to know who has been admitted to the hospital without someone calling, prepare for sermons, have people drop in while he's trying to do so, attend every meeting of every board in the church, take care of 5 maintenance issues that suddenly arise on Sunday morning right before his message, see his own family, and then endure the criticism that is unleashed when he cannot effectively lead the congregation? 

I admit, I have been one of those pew fillers, one that thought that the pastor was in charge of...everything.  I did not vocalize it, but I have been let down because he or she had dropped the ball, in my opinion.  Now, to those who have been guilty of a similar mentality: YOU are the Church.  I am the Church.  And Jesus Christ is head of the Church.  So, if you have issues, I would recommend going to Him first.  I know that He will fix them for you. :-) Most effectively.  

So, what have I learned about the ministry via observation?  First of all, what a shame that I have just realized what a role I play in the ministry; not because I am being paid for the summer, but because Jesus Christ called me to His ministry the day He saved me by His grace.  He called you as well the day He saved you by His goodness and grace.

It's definitely not comfortable.  But being comfortable has gotten us nowhere.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Reading List

Hopefully, I will be able to check all these off as noted by a future book report, by the time I leave for Colorado!
  1. Crazy Love...Francis Chan
  2. The 5 Love Languages...Gary Chapman
  3. Love and Respect...Emerson Eggerichs
  4. Sunset...Karen Kingsbury
  5. Unchristian...David Kinnaman
  6. Miracles...CS Lewis
  7. Mere Christianity...CS Lewis
  8. The Problem of Pain...CS Lewis
  9. The Screwtape Letters...CS Lewis
  10. A Wideness in God's Mercy...Clark H. Pinnock
  11. Radical...David Platt