Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mexico Rocked!

Over the next few days I'll try and give you guys some of the  stories from our mission trip to Mexico City.  God is so amazing!  Tracy and I were so impressed with the 24/7 team, that let us join up with them at the last minute, the whole team did a great job.  The VCH (Victorious Christian Harvesters) staff and interns made us feel special and made it easy for us to do what we felt God called us to do!  
A cool fact - over 1600 people came to Christ!  SHUT UP!!!!!!!  This continues to blow my mind! How can that happen in just a weeks time?  It was all God!  He just used our availability not just our abilities.  We said God use us and made some room for Him and man did He ever show up! What a concept! What a God!  
Anyways, I love being home (for just a few days) and hope I get to see all of you at some point and tell you face to face about all of the great things that God did on our trip but if not I'll try and convey as much as possible on my blog along with some pictures and video!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

OH MY GOSH: WE NEED COMMUNITY!!!!

Wow this last week has been very interesting. The entire Genesis staff is gone to Mexico joining our youth on a mission tip to Mexico City. So, because they are gone i have been holding the fort down. Not that i have done a whole bunch but i am realizing the importance of community. This last week has shown that we our created to be involved in a community. Not only is it nice to have but it's how we thrive and our able to meet our potential. I was reading this week where Paul talks about all the members of the body being important to the whole. Basically what I am trying to say is: I want Rodney and Maria Back..............

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Advocates for Jesus Christ!

Advocate: to speak, plead, or argue in favor; supporter or defender of a cause. Also “one called alongside”.
1 John 2:1 ….And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
This word advocate somehow got into my head today. Don’t ask why, but I was struggling all day with the meaning, so then I finally looked up the definition. I even tried to tie it in biblically and it did! This is what I got…it’s so awesome. The word advocate means to support, to help, to be alongside one. In 1 John, as you can see, God is our advocate (especially with sin). Through our lives in every area God is alongside supporting us in need, love, and hope one-hundred percent, all the time. Eventually God calls us to support, defend, and speak on his behalf. We become like the defense attorney for God. Some of us (like me) get nervous with this task. Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” What this means is we are not just working alongside someone that just sympathizes with what we struggle with but has actually experienced the very same things we have experienced. This in itself gives us confidence in our faith. This encourages me because I know Jesus did the very same thing I am doing and that is standing up for God. He gave his life for him. How cool is this? This builds up so much excitement and anticipation inside! Maybe this week and continuously we can think about how we could become better advocates for God in our lives. God has a separate plan for all of us individually but we are called to be his advocates just as we expect him to be ours. We are called to be the supporters, defenders, and lovers of Jesus Christ!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wise Living


I was just reading in Ephesians 5 for my quiet time, and something new struck me that I'm sure I've heard but not really listened to a thousand times.  In verse 15, we are told to "be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise."  And again in verse 17, "don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."  I've always read these verses and thought that I live a pretty good life and try to do what pleases God.  But I don't think that's what God really is telling us through His Word.  It struck me tonight that ignorance is no excuse and that living for God is not something that really comes naturally.  To many of you, this may seem pretty intuitive, but it really surprised me when I thought about it just recently.  I've always tried to just follow the rules I'm told and to do what feels right.  If I feel guilty about something, I don't do it.  If I feel like something needs to be done, I do it.  Of course, this doesn't always work out perfectly, but you get the idea.  But in Ephesians, God is telling us to start THINKING.  We need to look at our lives and evaluate them and really think through our actions and thoughts and words!  This is so vital because when we do this, we can really start understanding what God wants us to do. Taking the clean, easy road isn't always the best way.  Jesus didn't even get along with the religious leaders of his day very well, and they followed all the rules.  Seeking God is about seeking His heart and really SEARCHING and THINKING.  I want to stop being a fool, led by the law only or by emotions only.  I want to start seeking after the pure and beautiful heart of my Lord and Savior!! He is the whole reason I am here--He is my everything!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Random Day!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Goodbye Kaitlyn

video

Monday, June 09, 2008

Memento mori

Memento mori is latin for"Remember you must die."

What if today was the end of my life?  I know, it is a morbid thought but one worth thinking about.  What if today was the last chance I had to spend time with Tracy, how would I spend the day? What if i knew that I only had one more day to insure that I had given Sarah, Brock and Cody everything that I have learned so that they could go farther in life then I had, what would I say?  What if I knew that at the end of the day I was going to stand before God and give account for my time here on earth, how would that look?  What if I only had one more day to change the world, what would I do?  
Our clocks are ticking!  Carpe diem - Seize the moment! Go for it! 
Get going MAN!
My prayer for this day - God, today, help me to lead, live, love and laugh like there is no tomorrow!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Planning a Small Group..


For these past couple of weeks our small group has been going over this great book called, Teaching to Change Lives by Howard Hendricks. It’s been nothing but helpful and awesome for becoming a great teacher/ leader. I love it! Right now I am in the process right now of planning for my small group next fall. I led one this past year and it went so awesome. There was so much growth with my girls. And I also have the idea of the do’s and don’ts. I am so excited and I just want everything to go right. Lately though, I’ve been struggling with where to start. I know my purpose and that is to raise up godly women and help create growth in our relationships. I want to help launch the process that Howard says, “….will ideally never end, generation after generation.” I just didn’t know what to teach. What are people thinking most about it? What needs to be taught? What does God want me to do? These questions were just swimming in my head and finally I started praying about it. And then ironically I read, “..you should spend more time questioning answers than answering questions.” I was so happy when I read this. I’m still learning what this means, but I finally realized it’s not about these random topics in my head but it’s about answering why we do what we do. Why do we serve and love God? Understanding this has made my preparation a lot easier. Personally I have realized that it’s not about how I’m teaching but what I am teaching. I love it when it says, “Your task as a communicator is not impress people, but to impact them, not to convince them, but to change them.” Although, I don’t have everything planned for my small group step by step in the fall but just praying puts me at peace. I’m praying for changed lives and huge growth!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Twins on the Outside

Last week I went to California for a week for my sisters gradutation (she is my twin just in case you didn't know). I had a great time! I hadn't seen my mom in over 4 years and also got to see many family members that I hadn't seen in a while. My stay there through out the week was relaxing and fun, until the last day. The morning that I was getting ready to leave, my sister and I got into quite an argument or disagreement, what ever you want to call it. And wow, I realized how we both have changed so much in the past 4 years that we've been apart. I in one hand have gotten so much closer to God, and she has totally changed some of her beliefs. Please keep her in your prayers and me so that I can be a guide and an example in her life.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Friendship of Christ's Body


I have been reading a lot in Romans lately, and there is one point made by Paul that I have overlooked countless times. In Romans, Paul enthusiastically asserts that both the Jews and the Gentiles are now God's people. We are ALL saved by faith in Jesus Christ, who died for us all. When Paul proclaims this truth, the Jews seem upset. Like the good brother who stayed with the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, the Jews seem to be screaming, "but we are Your people, chosen by You! Aren't we special anymore? Don't you still love us, Your chosen people?" And to this outcry, Paul declares again the Truth of God that all men fall short of God's glory and are saved by grace through faith in Christ. And while we can all likely see how the Jews aren't responding appropraitely to God's grace and goodness, I can also identify with the Jews. Growing up in a Christian household as a pretty good kid who grew into a pretty good church-going, rule-following adult, I have felt that sense of pride and jealousy and fear of being forgotten by the new believers. If I have walked with God so long and so faithfully, why do those who come to know Him later and for a shorter period of time seem so much more powerfully connected to Him, so much more exciting in their devotion to Him? Why do they suddenly get to reap the benefits of salvation? These are questions I am ashamed to admit I have asked, but if I am to be truly honest, I have to admit I am the same as those Jews who were questioning God's love for them because of His love for the Gentiles. And these are questions I have struggled with for years, burning to become more passionate, more life-changingly engaged in my relationship with Christ. And so, in the end, those new believers whom I have envied have spurred me on and helped me also to grow. And this is when a realization hit me: I may have, by living for God, helped to bring these new believers into the body of Christ. Wow! It's all connected and so astoundingly beautiful that when I finally captured this truth, I couldn't stop thinking about it! And God, showing His amazing love for me, then introduced me to more discourse on the subject in C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves. In the chapter on friendship, Lewis describes how friendship is the only love that does not discriminate or deplete with increasing numbers. The more friends added to a group, the more interaction within the group, and suddenly, certain traits and gifts of one member are brought out by some new member, making the group even better as a whole!! And this is how I see our relationship with God. The more members to join the body of Christ, the more we can come to know of God. Because while I may understand more fully than you the grace of Christ, you may know more of His majesty or His compassion or His power. We all reveal more of God Himself to one another as we come to know Him more. So the growth of Christ's body is no longer a threat, but a gift, as every new believer brings more to the table about who our incomprehensible, beautiful, and great God is!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Earnestness


2 Corinthians 7:9-10
“I now rejoice not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance, for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation but the sorrow of the world produces death.” The whole idea of forgiveness has really been on my heart lately. It amazes me how God is able to still take us back after we sin. And how he has even forgiven us already for the sins we will eventually commit. It’s so awesome to think that when we repent to God there is no strings attached. For a time we feel guilty because our sin but then we know that God will forgive and restore us. Later it says, “…the sorrow of the world produces death.”. When I read this I think of people that I love in my life that are just falling, especially my family members or close friends. I look at them and see so much baggage and hurt. There sin and shame is just weighing them down and you can just see right through them. I hurt for them so much. It also says,“Human sorrow is unsanctified remorse and has no redemptive capability. It is nothing more than the wounded pride of getting caught in sin and having one’s lusts go unfilled.” Human sorrow is scary. This type of sorrow will suffocate you because your holding so much guilt and shame in. It's like your stuck in this hole and there is no way out.... As Christians, after we sin we have this initial reaction called earnestness. This is my new favorite word. It is the reaction to eagerly pursue righteousness. It is the attitude (after repenting) to forget about our sin, and then run straight to God. When I sin, right afterwards I feel guilty. It consumes me and drives me bonkers. I try turning from God because I’m so ashamed but it just makes it worse. Before I know it I have this earnestness to crawl back to him. Not that I should take advantage of it but I know he will forgive and restore me. And when I do I have this crazy, great feeling. I long for God. All of my fear and indignation is gone. I’m praying that God will reach out to the people in my life, our church, and in the world who are holding this human sorrow. Who are just wanting to reach out but their sin is holding them back. We just need to ALL continue to pray that God will just wreck life's and that people will have this earnestness to crawl back to him.