Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the Dry Places.

I sing to the dry places.
His voice gushes from my lips, 
pouring over the desert, 
refreshing the weary. 
I laugh with Him in harmony;
He is here. 
He has not forgotten.
Reverberating from the corners of the earth,
bouncing from ghettos to plains and skyscrapers to sea, 
our voices join in a whirlwind, a crossroads. 

I sing to the dry places.
I spew red dirt and sod, 
Choking for breath,
Grasping for hope.
My tongue, scorched and crumbling--
He touches it. 
I don't thirst any longer.
Resonating from the well within me,
rippling from the tips of my fingers to the mouth of another,
we send out a message for the one, the hundreds.

I sing to the dry places. 

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord." - Psalm 27:13-14

Friday, March 25, 2011

To Have and to Hold.

"You have me
You have me
You have my heart completely"

Too many times I have heard words of commitment and love, muttered emptily to Jesus. 
"We love you." 
"Help us to follow you with our lives."
It seems strange to me that following Christ in America comes without a cost, and I think it's diluting our ability to commit to Him wholeheartedly. It is perfectly acceptable to call on the Name of Jesus, to claim His Name, yet look nothing like Him. I suppose we believe that calling out His Name will benefit us, because then we will go to heaven. Yay. But I have been looking seriously at my life. Why would I even call myself a Christian if I don't act like one? I would never call myself a Engineer... because I am not one. And I am not at all prepared to act like one. So why would I call myself a Christian if I'm not one? If I am not prepared? If I don't look like Christ?
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." -Matt. 7.21
Our faiths often lack the unconditional marriage commitment that we take on in Baptism. Of course, I suppose that kind of commitment is losing its popularity as well. 
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." -James 1.22-24
I realize I just wrote a post about the fact that the Lord does not require a list of good deeds. But right now I'm stuck in middle of these two - deeds and faith - and I am trying to find a balance. I also do not think being a follower of Christ can be confined to donating to a charity or sitting by the lonely girl at lunch, though it often includes those things. Sometimes, being a follower of Christ means knowing when to say no. All the same, I need some serious courage and strength from the Spirit to choose life with Christ, and to match my actions to my words. 
Let me know what ya think. If you've found the balance, I'd love to hear how you do it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He's after our hearts.

I don't know if you struggle as I do with never feeling like I've "done" enough for the Kingdom of God. The enemy looms over me, whispering to me that my efforts are worthless, my strivings are in vain, I'm spinning my wheels, getting nowhere. Well, I've been reading The Me I Want to Be, and John Ortberg (though perhaps indirectly) addresses this issue of mine and of the Church. Or perhaps his thoughts just stirred up my thoughts.
God doesn't require results from us. He doesn't ask for a 6-month report. He doesn't even ask that we keep record of our "good deeds." While I believe that faith without deeds is dead, I also believe that the Lord is after more than a list of charity donations and mission trips.
He's after our hearts. 
Why is it that I can call the number on the TV that is showing me pictures of crying African children and abused puppies, and I can donate my money, and I still wake up the next morning feeling purposeless, meaningless? Shouldn't my list of good deeds fulfill me, give me a purpose? I am just now grasping in my heart that He is not after my little acts of goodwill (though He does call us to give, and give and give and give). After all, isn't He perfectly capable of ending world hunger, preventing tsunamis and earthquakes and nuclear power plant explosions if He so chooses? Is He not bigger than me? Does He really require of me little acts of kindness? Of course, the answer is yes. But He is, first and foremost, after my heart. I'm realizing more and more that deep, genuine, intimate relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is the only answer to fulfillment in this life. We can't find lasting purpose or fulfilled life apart from Him. I've been realizing just how incomprehensible and uncontainable the Lord is. He will not be boxed in. He will not be limited to a list of humanitarian acts. He is a living, breathing, roaring force of Love and Goodness, and He is calling after our hearts. The very center of who we are. And our hearts, our guts, our souls are desperately crying out for Him.

He has been meeting me in the most unlikely of places. Like a Monday afternoon walk with my main man. He's cute, I know.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring has sprung, my friends.

I used to hate Springtime.
Don't ask me why.  I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I've always had horrible allergies, and they are by far the worst during Spring.  So maybe deep inside I had some deep-seeded anxiety about pollen and flowers and sneezing in Spring.  But that's not important now.  Now, I love it.  It may even be up there with Fall on my favorites list.  I've been at home for Spring Break (both homes - Dad and Mom) and it has been so relaxing and even a little adventurous.  It's been especially awesome to spend a little alone time with Logan, seeing that we're both pretty busy during the semester and we'll be in different states this summer.  But enough about me.
"The God of glory thunders.
The LORD thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars;
the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon."
Psalm 29:3-5

Our God is Present.  Enjoy His Power today. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zionsville, Indiana.

I'm here with the fam (praise the Lord for family), and I have had the blessing to participate in some no-bake cookie gorging, trampoline jumping and flipping, wii-fit playing, and some wonderful, deep conversations seasoned with joy and love. There's nothing like being home (or in this case, being pseudo-home).  
Today at church, we heard a lesson about being unworthy--a message I was desperately needing to hear. Matthew 9:13 says, "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. What a relevant verse... particularly in a "Christian nation" where deeds are praised and "followers" are cynical and judgmental towards others and their actions. Personally, I have become altogether too result-oriented in my faith; rather than seeking, above all, a relationship with the Living God, I have sought after a life worthy of praise, a slew of works that can be admired at my funeral, a powerful impact on the world around me in ways I can see. A good friend reminded me recently that God doesn't work in the same way we do - when we seek results, the Lord seeks reconciliation. And these kinds of mission fields - the ones that strive to make the Name of Jesus famous first and foremost - are not quite as tangible or visible to the naked eye. Understandably, it's easy to get frustrated when we try and try and try to make a difference but we see no outcome. But thankfully, our God doesn't measure success by our standards. And we do not owe Him our service. We have absolutely nothing to offer Him. For too long I have felt that, in some way, I have cheated God by withholding my abilities to serve. Really, I'm cheating no one but myself. 
I have been pretty inconsistent with posting on here, but I needed at least a little break. I hope to continue posting more often, and I hope this will be a source of encouragement for you in some way. I mentioned several posts back that I wanted to try memorizing scripture. Well I've been working (with a few lulls in motivation) and it's going swimmingly. :) I highly recommend it. Mardel's has these awesome key-ring notecards that are perfect for scripture memorization... props to Amanda. 
On this same random note, I have a couple of recommendations that will, I hope, enrich your life: The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg (don't judge the book by its title... it is rocking my world), and the new show "Secret Millionaire." If you're someone like me who gets fed up with trashy and materialistic TV, this show will reassure your hope in humanity. 
Have a fabulous week. Hopefully Spring Break is treating you well.