Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I got more Humility then you! (kid voice)

first off, sorry I haven't posted in awhile. Life put my away from the internet for a week (not a bad thing in todays society)

so anyways, this deals with mondays.


Well, lets say that this week is not one that is my favorite title. Humility: that thing that I have more of than anyone else in the world…. Yeah… right.

One of my biggest spiritual struggles is pride. It’s been a long and hard road with that inner demon. I have pretty much known I had pride issues for quite awhile, but I didn’t care because I was too proud to admit to myself that I had issues. (hows that for being twisted up in yourself!)

Then it became clear that something needed to be done. Thus the struggle began.

Here is the main kicker: God gives you things that glorify you in the eyes of people, so how are you not supposed to get your ego going on that?! I have to constantly tell myself that it’s nothing that I am doing. The only reason that I’m any good at anything, and my life has any purpose and meaning, is because God has enriched me and trusted me with gifts and talents.

So literally is my body should be a message forwarding service. Any sort of praise should be immediately directed towards God. I have no more right to bask in it than a UPS guy has to open up the package of chocolates that your grandma sent you for your birthday and sample them. Shoot, if that happened there would be one heck of a reckoning! So why would God be any more okay with that?

But wait! It gets better, because if you use your gifts in the way that God wants then you get the added bonus of receiving more talents entrusted to you! (are you recalling a parable about the servants that are entrusted with the money?) PLUS, these new talents will probably bring more praise down on your head and make it all the easier to fall prey to that nasty little pride thing again.

So here is what I’m gathering. The ONLY way to win the loosing battle is to constantly remember that we are not the ones that get credit for it. All of our praise comes from the father when we run (idk about you, but I’m sure not walking through, I’m impatient! Haha) through those pearly gates and are greeted by God saying, “well done my good and faithful servant”. That one single comment will sooooo lay waste to any sort of glory we can achieve in our blip of an existence.

That’s my drive to show humility, it works pretty well as long as I don’t screw it up.

Running on empty

This morning's reading from Isaiah 6 sent me straight to that line from the SUP under "Discipline":

"The more you focus on your creator's fullness, the more you perceive your own emptiness. As the creator fills the secret, empty recesses of your soul, your countenance reflects the creator's fullness."

First, Isaiah sees the fullness of his creator ("the train of His robe filled the temple"), then he hears his creator's fullness proclaimed in the song of the seraphim ("the whole earth is full of His glory"), and his natural response is a pretty intense realization of his emptiness ("woe to me! I am ruined!").

BUT in view of his emptiness, Isaiah also sees clearly that his only option is to turn to the One who CAN provide fullness and fill his emptiness. When YHWH asks who He should send, Isaiah eagerly calls out: "Send me!" It's the same with Saul/Paul or Moses and their equally intense encounters with God. When they are exposed to His fullness, they are also confronted with their own emptiness and have no option but to fully surrender to Him and His unique ability to fill them.

The critical thing though, is that the opposite approach doesn't work. I got to thinking about Job next. In his agony and suffering, Job only thinks about his own emptiness at first and, as a result, he falls into despair. It's not until Job starts to look at the emptiness he feels in light of YHWH's unending fullness that he finds peace and fulfillment.

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”(Job 42)

Dwelling in our emptiness without realizing first YHWH's fullness leads to despair and frustration, but a display of our emptiness via revelation of His fullness leads to complete and total surrender.

Father would we be full of Your light and life today!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Romans 1:11-12

I totally thought of you as I read Romans 1 this morning... "For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine."

You guys encourage me a ton - I think you're definitely fit to be Team Barnabas (Barnabas means "son (or daughter!) of encouragment"). Thanks for all your insights on the Scripture passages and devotional paragraphs in these last couple weeks. It's so cool to stay connected and "do life" with you guys even when we're far apart!

No real thoughts from me today... just a post to say I think of you each regularly, and I am praying for you. I really do echo Paul's words... I can't wait to see you, I want to encourage you in your faith, and I am so blessed by you and your faith!

You guys rock, in a big way.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Hey Everyone!
So todays lesson really hit home for me. I have such a hard time being humble. I come from a town that is all about luxury and opulence. I really don't have either and so I feel like to compete with all the other kids in my town and at my school, I have to up play the few things I can claim. One thing I tend to do this with is Jesus. I get so wrapped up sometimes in the whole look at me! Over here! I love Jesus! and I forget that the humility Jesus had even to death is what made him so intoxicating to everyone. I really hope that you can all join me in prayer for humble hearts this summer.


I thought today's verse was immensely encouraging! The reason I liked this verse so much is because this really helps us in how we should be with others and Christ. This world strives so hard to impress others and be the best. Why can't we be humble and accept one another for who we are?
I try my absolute best to humble and to be open to what people have to say. Most of the people I know only want to help me in my life; therefore I should welcome it.

I just thought this verse was a great way to start the day off, so there you guys go. (:

Sincere Love for People - Week 2


"Ministry that lasts beyond the anguish of distress, tears, and crosses is not purpose driven but love inspired." - My response - "Less of me. More of you! Displace my darkness with your light.

"If you want to witness to dark, lonely hearts like Jesus, you must die. . . .He wants to shake the heavens through your death." - My response - "My cells want to live, yet you bid me to die!"


In other words, "re-create me in grace by your spirit into your image so that I can bleed mercy to others like you Jesus."

Thank you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

1st Post

So, I am very embarrassed by the amount of time it took me to figure out how to use this site...

I hope I don't scare anyone by posting this, but I want to be honest. The barney retreat was great, and that weekend, I decided that I needed to recommit to God. Not just live through him halfway, but be fully invested you know? and make myself more like him completely, not just on a shelf. So, that saturday when we were all sharing our testimonies in a group by using the verses, I said, "Walking by faith and not by sight," which I was. And I got home, reassured in my reconfirmed belief and immediately, and I mean AS SOON AS I got home, it was like Boom! God pretty much pulled everything I knew and was comfortable with and things that I was counting on, right out from under me. In no time at all. I am not exaggerating in the least. And I wonder desperately why He would challenge this fledgling, mustard seed, baby step faith... Logically it seems like He'd want you comfy and safe and secure in Him before he'd test you. It seems that way to me..
Im scared, to be perfectly honest, but I keep trying to remember Jeremiah 29:11... "for I know the plans I have for you... etc" we know it. So I really am walking by faith and not by sight right now cause I cant see a thing. From my view its pitch black out here. But I keep thinking about... was it John? when the disciples saw Jesus walking on water and Jesus said to come out to him and have faith that he would not let him drown- thats me, anyways, trying not to look down and trust.
I havent talked about the devotional at all.. I'm going through it though, I'll post about that later, cause I have some questions there too... Anyways, Im praying for you all! really, I am, because I'm so lost right now I can't even begin to sort out myself haha
Wishing you all the best

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Someone follows me and leaves messages for me in the devotionals.

1. It's been a crazy week.
2. Logan, sorry I never texted back (see #1).
3. I honestly feel like the last two days' readings were specifically designed for me. Someone got a time machine, followed me around this week, then went back to insert these passages into the Staff Devotionals packet.

"The depth and power of your leadership will stem from your ability to forgive."
I've always been pretty good at forgiving other people, but never very good at forgiving myself. What this made me realize, and reflect on, was the fact that forgiving others and myself was always much easier when I was in a position of leadership; but it also showed me that there has been and will be suffering. There's simply no escaping it. So I might as well use that pain and turn it into a light at the end of someone else's (or my own) tunnel.

"This is a very common life of faith."
Extremely true. I think that in my life I've played both roles very frequently. I don't find myself getting offended or angry at anyone very often, and even when friends act in ways that I personally wouldn't act in, I hang onto them and continue to be that friend. I think (know?) that this stems from the fact that I have at at times behaved in ways strikingly and frighteningly similar to those of Peter, and at those times I've thanked God for the Johns in my life.

This is all such a blessing!

p.s. I've decided to make "Like a lamb among wolves" my mantra, at least for this chapter in my life. It's extremely fitting and I want my life to look exactly like that :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This mornings reading really just made me rethink a lot of things. As I was reading I came across the line that says.."forgiveness is the first step of leadership". Ok, so I am not even going to try to hide it.. I am really bad at forgiving. When I hear about a friend talking behind my back or someone saying something mean or just doing something that I don't like, I tend to just allow it to consume me and ruin the friendship. But Jesus calls us to be much more loving than that. We are only human, and so are the people that hurt us, we cannot let disappointment in others bother us, because we will all fall short of God. So I guess I just really realized that those girls I can hear whispering about me from two feet away or the kids who through things at me or call me rude names in the hall are all made in the image of the same person I am.
So I hope that made sense to someone...

I MISS YOU ALL SOOO SOOO MUCH!!!! Feel free to give me a call anytime you are bored or want to talk, I want to catch up with everyone and hear how lives are going since the training weekend!

Mostly Dead? Or Slightly Alive?

I don't know about you guys, but Wednesday morning's reading made me think of that scene from The Princess Bride when Inigo takes Westley to Miracle Max to be revived. Max says "It just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead," because apparently, there's a big difference between "mostly dead" and "all dead." The catch is that mostly dead is also "slightly alive," because of course, Westley isn't really dead at all.

Isn't that just like the lies that we tell ourselves? There is no mostly dead in the Kingdom - there is only all dead and slightly alive. When we think about death to self, it seems like it ought to be ok to be slightly alive as long as we're mostly dead, but the truth is that any amount of alive is still just plain old alive - Jesus doesn't see it as a sliding scale.

But the twist is that where any degree of life to self still qualifies us as "alive," any degree of life to Christ also qualifies us as wonderfully, gloriously Alive! Even when we feel like we're barely scraping along on our hands and knees, when we feel like we're so broken down that we're mostly dead, we find that He's pushing us along the whole way. And we discover a glorious depth of Life in giving our lives away fully.

It also makes me think of a the chorus from a song I love called "Only Love Remains":

Kill the liar, kill the thief in me
You know that I am tired of their cruelty
Breathe into my spirit, breathe into my veins
Until only Love remains.

Father, would I be a living sacrifice for You today, holy and pleasing. I want to be fully sacrificed in death to self, but fully Alive to You, for You, through You!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Ministry that last beyonds the anguish of distress, tears, and crosses is not purpose driven but love inspired... If you want to witness to dark, lonely hearts like Jesus, you must die."

I'm not sure how to draw the link between Tuesday and Wednesday's devotionals... but it totally makes sense in my head! Bear with me...

First, I am passionate in a big way about this "ministry that lasts beyond the anguish of distress, tears, and crosses" and about "witnessing to dark, lonely hearts." It's one of the things that has drawn me back to the delta for the last 5 summers, and it's what gives me motivation to push through classes and wake up early for my hospital rotations. God has given me a heart of compassion for people in broken places, and I literally feel compelled to pursue such people out of the overflow of my love for Jesus and out of the overflow of his love for me (which I still don't get... what the heck, Jesus?!).

But what I'm learning more and more is that I cannot possess a sincere love for people out of my own store houses of love. Rather, my sincere love for others MUST flow from my genuine love of Christ. I think that's why John 15 drop kicks me every time: Jesus says, "ABIDE IN ME" and then (and only then) will we bear any fruit. I sense Jesus say to me, "Emily, focus only on loving me and letting me love you. That is the inspired love that will fuel ministry that lasts beyond the anguish of distress, tears, and crosses." And as I focus there, as I focus on just that love relationship, as my eyes stay locked on Jesus' eyes, I find (here comes the link from Tuesday to Wednesday) that Jesus calls me to die. I sense him say, "Emily, focus on loving me and letting me love you. And as you focus there, you'll find that you've taken up your cross, followed me up Calvary, and climbed up on your cross next to me." It's painful, and it stinks (I just had to "word softener" myself!) sometimes, but Jesus is showing me that as I die to what I think I need and think I should be able to do, I discover Him in a new way. My cup is filled to overflowing, and I find I again have the strength and energy to witness to dark lonely hearts and to love others sincerely out of the love that has been shown to me.

Genuine love of (and by!) Christ flows naturally into a sincere love for others!

My Mom May Have a Point :)

Recently, my mom told me that when I'm in the zone of working on my homework or a project, I tend to speak rudely to those around me just because I am so consumed with keeping my grades up. At first I didn't want to see it, but after reading these past three days of devotionals, I have realized that she knew what she was talking about. I have discovered that when I'm stressed about school, I do not have a sincere love for people, and that really makes me a little upset with myself. I have thought about this and have realized that if I put my relationships first and truly love others (even when I am stressed) I would have no reason to talk rude to them. I would no longer be consumed with my school work, but consumed with loving and bringing out the best of the people around me. This summer while working on houseboats, there will stressful times, but through these devotionals, I have learned that by truly loving all the people around me, and bringing out the best in them, I won't be consumed with the stress and problems I am facing that week, and then I will be better able to minister and serve the campers on the boat.
I'm praying for you all and hope you all have a great rest of the week! Can't wait to see you all in 2 months and 4 days! (Not like I'm counting or anything ;))


"Every day, I have to re-hand my life over to You. It's so much more than I can handle, but "there's nothing that's going to happen today that You and I can't handle together". I have a houseboats devotional I've been doing to barney, and there was a really cool message tonight. It was 1 Corinthians 3:18. It said, "Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you thinks he is wise by the standards of his age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.... so then "no more boasting about men". If you are consumed with bringing out the best in others you will take yourself far less seriously. You will be generous with praise and proactive about serving. Generosity, praise, proacctivity, and service are bedrocks for effectively drawing out the best in others." I don't know how much of that was from the verse and how much was part of the devotional, but I liked it all! I want to focus on generosity, praise, proactivity, and service, and I want to see the difference it makes in my relationships with other people! Lord, help me to focus on these four things, and help me to really dedicate myself to serving. I'm not above anyone. I'm your humbled servant............"
I was journaling Monday night after reading the Sonshine devotional. The message really hit home! That was a little bit of what I wrote.
Too often, I think people find themselves consumed with their self-image. They're focused on appearing to be pretty/handsome, funny, and likeable. What's really hard, but effective, though, is focusing on the needs of others! When you pour yourself out and let God use you to serve others, that's what really gets people. It demonstrates the beauty and compassion of Jesus Christ. When you focus on bringing out the best in others, you feel better about yourself!

Monday, March 21, 2011

With a Little Help From Princess Diaries

How good does being consumed with bringing out the best in people and just acting like a fool sound when it's 40 of us Jesus lovers sitting around a circle? It sounded wonderful to me. To not worry about myself, but simply be humbled and serve and encourage and not care what happens to me in the process.
Today, I returned to school. And it's not really that that sounds less appealing. It's just life is life. Class is class. It took me less than 24 hours to simply start going through the motions again. Doesn't it always seem like that?
Following Jesus is such a daily, hourly, conscious choice. Because my flesh isn't naturally pouring out all this praise and wanting to be a fool for God. My flesh would like to have it all together, and frankly, just get through the day. We are called to so much more than getting through the day! Because it's not just about our day. Bear with me as a quote one of my favorite movies of all time, Princes Diaries. "Then I realized how many stupid times a day I used the word 'I'. In fact, probably all I ever do is think about myself and how lame is that when there's 7 billion other people out there on the planet. But then I thought, if I cared about the 7 billion out there instead of just me, that's probably a much better use of my time."

I think God is telling us to use I a little less, and that's not so natural. But I'm askin' God to help me make that conscious choice to praise, be pro-active, and serve this week in whatever way I can!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jesus cracks me up

Hey guys, so it literally took me about an hour to figure out how to make a post. So I am sorry it took me forever to write on here, technology just doesn't get along with me to well. But just some words of warning, I basically find everything hilarious. So if what I just realized isn't funny, bear with me. As I was reading our verses for Friday's daily scripture one of the verses says, "Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God..." (John 21:19). Jesus was using foreshadowing to give Peter a hint into the future. Then it hit me. The entire time Jesus was on earth he knew the whole story, and knew what was going to happen. Basically everything he said related and connected to something that he had already done or what he was going to do. And all I could do was laugh. Because I just imagine it being like when I see a movie and then a friend wants to go see it with me again cause they haven't seen it and the whole time I'm just smiling because I know what is going to happen next but they don't, especially when what is happening next is like amazing. Imagine living your whole life like that! Just knowing everything. Well Jesus did. And it kinda just blew my mind.

So there you go, I hope it made sense!
Jackie :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Not Actual Blog

Ok, I apologize if I got anyones hopes up with seeing a new blog from me.. I know many of your days revolve around reading my thoughts... (Please note I am using sarcasm)

I was wondering for any of you advanced and experienced bloggers if there is a way to get email notifications when someone posts a new blog?

If you know how, I would greatly appreciate it!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh the things he has done!

First of all, you guys are fabulous insightful writers and I am honored to be able to be reading this stuff! I must admit though, I'm feeling a little intimidated now that I'm writing my own...

John 21:25 really stuck out to me. It says "Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written".

Wow! I already feel as if the Bible has a monumental amount of things Jesus has done. But wait, there's more! If everything he did was recorded, our world wouldn't even have room for those books. I can't even comprehend that! I've been in libraries with hundreds of thousands of books and to think that if every one of those books was just about the things Jesus did, that whole library would be just a grain of sand in the beach of libraries of books just about Jesus. Wow that was a long sentence but hopefully it makes sense!

Week 1 - Genuine Love of Christ - What a Reward!

This week I felt challenged by your posts and the devotional guide to love for love's sake.

Why do I serve? To love for love's sake.
Why do I worship? To love for love's sake.
Why does Jesus call me to be sacrificed on a cross? Love for love's sake. At the cross I'm given the exquisite opportunity to love so the cross is not a duty, but a privilege!

So if loving is the reward and through serving/sacrificing we love, then what does Jesus give servants who sacrifice? More opportunities to serve and sacrifice!!

My stubborn brain/heart wants to look for some other purpose or reward but the reward is simply to live, love, laugh, and serve like Jesus.

Today I celebrate this tremendous mystery - By absolute 100% grace His blood can flow in my veins and move me to the rhythm of love.

To be moved by love is to experience every imaginable spiritual reward!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Box of Shame

So today after school I couldn't sleep so I decided to watch Despicable Me. Adorable movie, but thats not the point. I read through the devotional after school and just could not get my head around forgetting my past in order to pursue Jesus like Peter did. In the earlier half of the movie, the girls go back to the orphanage and they are put in cardboard boxes with "Box of Shame" written on the front. I feel like I just always put myself in that box. Rather than being like, "hey Jesus, I am struggling with this and its embarrassing, but can you help me out?" I always try to hide it from God, which is ridiculous, because He knows everything. Jesus says in Mark 2:17

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

He then goes on and later says in Mark 3:27

"In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house."

Satan uses our sin to tie us up and plunder our houses.

I don't know about you guys, but I really struggle with coming to God with my shameful secrets (even though there are no secrets from God). I have been reading through a book called Celebration of Discipline (it would make Billy Graham feel like a bad Christian as my friend said when I mentioned I was reading it) but I recently got to a chapter about confession. God calls us to confess our sins to each other and to reaffirm to each other that we have been forgiven.

So as I frankly could have stated in one sentence but felt necessary to write a million paragraphs about, I really wish I could be more like Peter (not the whole betraying Jesus three times thing, but the whole forgetting everything to listen to God). I really don't think I have ever actually heard God say something to me. Maybe I just haven't been actively listening or I just haven't realized it, but this weekend my prayer is that God would really just give me a heart of confession and silence so I can fully hear what He is trying to do in my life. I would really appreciate prayer if you guys think about it. I also just want to encourage any of you, if you need someone to talk to your past about or just to come to with anything, I am always available...

Happy almost Friday!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Like a Box of Rocks.

Ok, so I've been doing these devotionals right after school, in the quiet time before anyone else gets home, and today I seriously could not get my head around this reflection passage. Maybe I was just wiped out and stressed from school, but I couldn't find any real discernible message to take away from it. I prayed, I napped, I went about my day always with that image at the back of my mind - looking up at the cross, being intimidated and scared and unable to adequately express myself. It just wasn't clicking with me.

So I checked the blog tonight, and read a few posts (Stephanie, Pearl, Emily), and it hit me, like a box of rocks, why I wasn't getting it: I just couldn't believe how illogical it all appeared to be! But what you guys have pointed out to me, and what I'm feeling in overwhelming abundance right now, is that that's exactly why this love is so beautiful! It wouldn't be nearly as special or meaningful or, to use an extremely appropriate word, incredible if God loved us and died for us for the sake of logic; that would be something akin to a marriage of convenience, something cold and calculated and unfeeling.

This love that we receive and share and attempt to reciprocate is something so much more than that!! It's a love for love's sake, forged out of the beauty of our Savior's grace and enacted through the blood of Christ. The God of everything, the Creator, Redeemer, and Savior, the wrathful, jealous, eternal, almighty Master of the Universe loves us! He was flogged and humiliated and crucified before us by people He came to save, people He could have smote on the spot, all to demonstrate to us that God is deeply, passionately, perfectly in love with each and every one of us in a completely unique and intensely personal way, regardless of what we do or how we feel about Him!

Romanced by Death

"At His core, God's heart expressed in this world seeks to romance you through His body broken and His blood shed... He is seeking to be peculiarly attractive to you by His love poured out."

I echo Pearl's post... romanced by death? It doesn't make sense! And yet that is where I have found myself, particularly in the last week. Communion is such an incredible picture of the body broken and the blood shed, and I have been struck by how uncomfortably intimate it is to participate in. Jesus has made himself 100% accessible to me, to the extent that he invites me to (figuratively) eat of his broken body and drink his shed blood. I hear him say, You want to know my Father? Here; come. Eat of the bread and drink of the wine. Let my death and resurrection live within you. And then you will know intimately my Father and His heart.

Why would the bread of heaven (Jesus) be broken for me? Why would the cup of salvation be held up for me to drink? Oh Jesus, what a mystery! Why would Jesus command his disciples to "Drink from [the cup], all of you" (Mt 26:27)? I hear him say, Yes, Judas... even you. Yes, Peter... even you. Yes, Emily... even you. My blood is shed for each of you, even though you betray me.

He tells us to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:24-25). How can I not do it in remembrance of Him?! This body, broken for me, is what has given my life meaning, purpose, and passion. This blood, shed for me, is what has redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness. The wine (grape juice) is sweet on my lips, and the bread is satisfying to my stomach. Infinitely more so does the death and resurrection of Jesus linger sweetly on my lips and provide nourishment to my soul.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus. You are peculiarly attractive to me by Your love poured out. You have romanced me - and continue to romance me daily - though your body broken and your blood shed. I am romanced by death!

Madness?! This. Is. JESUS.

The one thing that's really stuck out to me from all of the posts this week is the same thing that stuck out to me from Monday's reading in Deuteronomy: this whole Jesus thing is absolutely insane!

"Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any other god ever tried to take for himself one nation, out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm or by great and awesome deeds like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:32-34)

I mean, seriously, this is so crazy! Who does this?! What perfectly self-sufficient, self-sustaining God comes down to our level, and exposes Himself to hurt, shame, and heart-break for the sake of love - a love He knows can never be fully returned and may be completely rejected?

And yet, the other sentiment I think we've all been scraping for words to describe is that it's all still so right. It's the craziest thing on the planet, but it's the only thing that really makes sense. The cross and everything about it is completely insane, but still so perfect.

The reading in Deuteronomy pretty much sent me straight to Isaiah 45:18, and those words have been echoing just as strongly in my mind:

I am YHWH and there is no other.

I'm basking in awe at my creator and loving every moment of it.

Burning My Heart

"On the hill, outside of Jerusalem, at the foot of the cross, I feel an incredible tension and weight on the back of my neck when I imagine looking up into my savior's eyes. His mercy and love is so pure that it burns through His eyes to my heart. His romance burns with such intensity that I fear it will kill me and yet I feel Him bidding me to trust."

In these lines, I could literally feel the emotion expressed in the words pressing in on my heart. Although His love and mercy are almost too much to fathom; I can still feel the scalding burn of His holy romance even now. I can't even put to words how 'right on' this description of Christ's love is in my life at this moment....such and indescribable crazy feeling!!....I can only ask Him that he continue to stir this passion inside of me as he romances me from the cross.

A Unique and Devastatingly Holy Romance

I just basked in this reflection today. One of my favorite things that God does is bring things to my attention more than once. To me, it's one of the rare moments where he's clearly telling you to look at something, as if he's saying, "Hey, did you get it the first time?"
On my way to the retreat, I was listening to a sermon that talked about Lucy asking that question. In that conversation, she's also told, "If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or just silly." We're in this love affair that we keep talking about...with the God of the gosh darn universe. That's terrifying. I think Jesus as our best friend is rightfully emphasized in youth groups. It's a very inviting picture that leads me to throw up my arms and dance around in worship. But some of my favorite moments have been on my knees, face to the ground, kind of terrified and totally in awe.
One of my favorite worship songs says, "Now I've found the greatest love of all is mine, since you laid down your life, the greatest sacrifice." We're in a HOLY romance where we both embrace and bow down. That's a really great love. And I think picturing yourself in front of the cross completely captures it. We can't understand, we can't really see it, we can barely stand it, it makes us celebrate, it breaks our hearts...our love dying for us. MY love dying for ME. It's a unique and devastatingly holy romance.

Jesus is crazy. And so good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Beloved

Ok, so i just thought i would share a little picture of how grey yet beautiful the ocean is right now. I have been sitting at the beach just having some quiet time and reading the section for today. I really liked the daily reading, especially verse 10, "I want to know Christ and the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death"
i just think that its really a cool idea to want to be in fellowship with God through our sufferings because none can compare to what He did on the cross. I really just keep thinking back to what Eric said about God being our spouse and the fact that you wouldn't just see Him every other Sunday or Wednesday night. I really thought that was a cool way to look at how I spend time with God. If I continue to put Him first like I would any other relationship and spend time with Him everyday I can really begin to understand and grow closer to His love. WOW
Sorry for my obsessive writing, I just think this blog is so awesome and I have a lot of free time.
Your Sister,

This is Amazing!

"When you daily crave intimacy with Christ like you'd crave fine wine or a romantic evening, you dwell in freedom. When you desire Christ's company because being with Him is fun, refreshing, and your life's greatest joy, you celebrate freedom."

This is exactly what I'm feeling right now! Never before has my hunger for His word or my desire to commune with Christ been so powerful; I prayed to have that hunger, and now all I can think of is growing closer, talking more, laughing and rejoicing in His presence. It's all I want, to have an extremely intimate, extremely personal relationship. What's amazing is that I have Christ to thank for not only His person and for being the beautiful, perfect object of my affections, but also for instilling in me the passion for Him that I feel now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Whats that smell?

Dear Barneys,
This weekend was really amazing. I just want to thank you all so much for your amazing sense of instant friendship this weekend. I feel so blessed to be serving with such compassionate and encouraging people. It was really depressing to wake up this morning and not sit with really awesome people eating and laughing.

Anyhow... todays reading was really encouraging for me and completely took my brain on a complete tangent. I hope that this post doesn't come out the way it could and completely look like i am condemning the girls at my church, but I just really need to get this off my chest and share. I really haven't seen true fellowship and compassion until this weekend. The smell of Christ working in all of you was sooo beautiful. But I want to caution against the smell it could become. My home church (not the one I go to Sonshine with) really struggles on accepting people. The girls are very clicky and it is really hard to find God when I feel I cant share anything without being judged.
With this said, I think that the sweet fragrance can also be a form of honesty. People have this strange notion that once you become a Christian nothing bad can ever happen to you and you have to maintain this really high unattainable level of perfection. I feel like this fragrance of God is something that really keeps people away from Jesus. I feel like when we are honest about our lives and realize that Jesus pushes our limits, challenges our lives, and causes us to die to ourselves daily. I think that with great honesty comes a great fragrance of the truth Jesus wants us to share. I feel like the best way we can tell people about Jesus and show them the sweet fragrance is by being completely one hundred percent honest. People fear God because they think He will judge for the broken pieces of their past. When we share our troubles and brokeness and meet people where they are afraid to be, I think we can really just show the compassion of Jesus and clear all misconceptions. My hope for this summer is that God would allow the campers to smell HIS, not my, sweet smell.

WOW, I can really go off on random tangents. Sorry guys, I understand if that made absolutely no sense to anyone.
Your Sister,

A rose by any other name would smell like... death?

Hey guys,

First off, thanks for a rocking sweet weekend. It was thoroughly refreshing to meet and get to know you all a bit.

I think I must have read through Corinthians 2:14-17 for a half an hour, going over and over what it was trying to say to me. I think the part that was causing my consternation was the phrase in 16 that compares us to the aroma of death leading to death for some. Somehow this just doesn't sound overly pleasant to myself. I mean, I've never woken up on a bright sunny day and said, "God, I really want to scare people down to their very souls...". No, I think I would much rather smell like a rose, to have people like me instead of driven from me. Isn't that the nicest way to share Christ with people? Aren't we supposed to love everyone? Isn't everyone around us supposed to fall madly in love with Jesus because they see his love and grace shining through us? (I'm not even worrying about the fact that we screw up and stumble right now)

Oh yeah, not everyone gets along with me because I am a christian. There are those people that just don't like me when I'm not stumbling. Those people who are always uncomfortable when you pray, or when you are wearing a shirt that has some profound statement on it (insert mental image of your favorite jesus freak shirt).

You guys remember that phrase that went something like, "hate the sin, love the sinner"? I'm thinking that this whole "fragrance" comparison is something like that. So yeah, even though we are loving the people, we cant condone sin, because that wouldn't be right. If I put myself in that persons shoes then I might feel a little intimidated by someone who "smelled" like christ, it might feel like a bit of a slap in the face.

When Jesus was chilling with the scum of the time his single action was having two very opposite effects on two groups. The riffraff thought that he was awesome for being so kind and loving and reaching out to them (he smells like roses). The snobs of the day were intimidated by his actions (the death smell).

So to tie that back in with me, (cause what good is understanding without using it?) I have to remember to not let people who feel put off by my faith, knock me away from walk. It doesn't do them any good, and it does nothing but hurt me.

well, its time for me to go and slave away on the trumpet. (and i just had another though darn it!)
I want to know thoughts and comments on this cause when I talk to people about stuff I really gain understanding and retention.


Reid, this is a bestest idea ever. and your 15 min turned into a glorious hour and a half :) thanks man!

Do you smell what I'm cooking?

If Jesus is the bread of life, let my heart be the kitchen. Let my actions and words be the window to his bakery of life, so that the scent of his love wafts out of everything that I am. When people ask for bread, may I share it with them, even when I feel like there isn't even enough for myself; because there is always more, freshly made on a constant basis. And let me serve it freely and humbly to all who want to partake. For I am not the baker, just the server. So start cooking up a storm in this very heart, Lord. Order up!

*warning: I am known for my insane analogies, so I apologize in advance if they don't make sense- it's just how my brain works!

Love to you all!
- Emma