Monday, August 16, 2010


please go to my tumblr if you want to know what's going on.
the 365 project is over.
i've tried to keep up but i've done some thinking and some prayer and i think it's time to just post when i feel lead.
it's connected to my facebook so you can keep up with there as well.
i really enjoyed doing this but i know that i can't keep doing this with no passion and a doubt in my mind.
thank you guys for reading and paying attention.
you are truly amazing and a gift from God.
if i follow you on blogspot, i'll still do so but i won't be posting.
also, if you have tumblr, let me know so i can creep.
i love you all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

dark. [210]

Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn’t as bright as it could be.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

the one thing. [209]

why do we let the one thing we don't have affect how we feel about all the things we do have?

beautiful. [208]

remember, you're beautiful but keep in mind that not everyone's going to be able to see that.

wasted. [207]

no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

my heart, Your hands. [206]

please, etch Your words in my heart and keep me ever closer to You.

i am for you. [205]

since you are precious and honored in My right and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for your life. do not be afraid for I am with you. - psalm 40:4-5

count me in. [204]

"I'll turn things around for you. I'll turn you back from the countries into which I drove you," God's decree, "bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. you can count on it." - jeremiah 29:14

Monday, July 26, 2010

idiot box. [203]

i want to hold your hand. [202]

i want to have enough faith that when i take the leap, i'm confident, without a doubt, that God is holding my hand. like when the guys held my hand as i jumped off the cliff for the first time.

do you want to know? [201]

people are constantly trying to comprehend God and how He works but He's incomprehensible. there's hardly a time when i understand God and what He's doing. all i know is that He's good. He's not safe but He's good. i can trust Him. i can love Him. but i can't understand Him. but the question is, do i want to? what would happen if the human mind could understand God?
i think our god isn't God if He fits in inside our head.

a filthy addiction. [201]

the truth is that Jesus loves you no matter what you could have done. or what you do. He loves you through your negativity. through your addictions. but He wants to see change after you fall in love with Him because His love changes people. when you legitimately fall in love with Christ, your world changes. your life changes. but Christ's love for you is a constant wave, washing us clean. His heart breaks for us when we struggle with substance abuse. addictions. His grace surrounds us. wraps is in His arms and loves us. Jesus loves you. this, i know. because He loves me too and there's no difference between me and you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

call me back when i'm honest. [200]

aaron gillespie is another musician who inspires me. he was in underoath for a very long time and then started the almost. i love both bands. he also does a worship side project. either way, the lyrics he writes, whether it be with someone else or alone, often speak to me. especially lyrics from underoath albums. the newest the almost has a couple songs that seem like he was inside my heart, going through life with me. it's encouraging to know that you're not alone.
oh yeah, hey you, you're not alone. you're never alone. there's someone who loves you very much. with His whole being, His name is Jesus. He died for you because His love is so great. and His love is so great that He rose again. He's alive to love you. and He will love you no matter what you do. His love is that great.

this is war. [199]

dustin kensrue is a big inspiration of mine. he's the vocalist for thrice and does his own thing as well.
thrice's song come all you weary really got me through walkabout last year and a lot of other things as well. it's a blessing. really. to have a song writer that i can go to and listen and know exactly what they're talking about and connect to it.

beautiful. [198]

you are beautiful. always. a beloved child of God. fearfully and wonderfully made.

shout unto God. [197]

by: erika opalecky

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. - Matthew 10:27

In the past few weeks I have been apart of and witnessed some conversations/debates concerning God, religion, scripture, etc. and after seeing some of the words that were said, I find it necessary to post this little tid bit that I found while studying today during my devotion time. It seems to me that we Christians could all stand to learn a little about grace, self control, and obedience, myself included for sure.

I have found that many times, in my past, when I come to a level of understanding on a certain subject, I feel the need to blab it out whenever I get the chance. Or even worse, I have somehow considered myself a scholar on the subject and proceeded to advise my peers on how much they don't understand about the topic in which I had recently been "enlightened." The above scripture has often times took the blame for my immaturity, as I quoted it to justify myself and my lack of self control and consideration of others. "God says we're supposed to preach it from the roof tops!" But after some more in depth studying of this verse I found out a few things: i had taken this scripture totally out of context and manipulated it to serve my own purposes


2. how much this scripture speaks self control and obedience (which is the opposite of how i was applying it :/ )

here it goes :)

This scripture starts off with the phrase, "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light."

Face Value: What God tells you personally (in your devo time, through worship, through his Word) shouldn't be kept in the dark. Don't keep it all to yourself.

buuttt, I was curious and looked up the word "dark" in Greek which was skotia. It actually means darkness due to the want of light and the word "light" comes from a word that literally means to shine or make manifest.

So when we consider the literal meaning of these words, we see that God will speak to us when we seek after and want his light, and in return we are supposed to make it manifest in our lives. We do this by living it, more than saying it.

I was read a quote in a book once that said, "I'm sorry, your actions are so loud I can barely hear you talking."

think about that for a second.

but wait, there's more ;)

The next part of his instruction is to preach on the housetops what we hear. (paraphrasing of course.)

I think this is the part where we may get a little carried away. We all want to be heard, especially when we have something we feel is really important to say, but when Jesus says the word "preach" he doesn't mean screamin', spittin', soap box preaching.

When He says preach, the greek says that He means "proclaim as a herald." Well, to be honest, I didn't know what a herald really was :) haha so I looked it up on

Herald- n. royal messenger, esp. one representing a monarch.

wooww, don't you think that we would be a little slower to speak if we understood that we were representing a monarch? Moreover, THE monarch. The king of kings and lord of lords?

In this scripture God is saying a few things, (probably more, but this is all I can understand now)
1. You are royalty. Act like it.
2. You are representing Him.
and here is my question, are you an accurate representation of a loving, graceful, merciful, self-sacrificing god?

Finallyyy :)

- It is always helpful when studying the Bible to consider the setting of the verse that you are studying. When did it happen? How was it influenced by culture? Who was the audience and why?
- While studying this scripture I found myself wondering, Why a housetop? aka roof top There are many other possibilities if it is only used because of its height - why not preach it from a mountain top?
Here's why.

Housetops in the this culture, even now are what is considered oriental.
Unlike our housetops which are most commonly angular and sloped, this type of roof is flat and frequently used to do several things including:
a) walking
b) praying
c) meditating

Is it a coincidence that God tells us to go to a place of walking, prayer, and meditation to preach?

Let me see if I can wrap this up and make some sense out of all this.

Does God want me to tell others about the Word and what He speaks to me personally?
- Absolutely! But God is a God of order and not of confusion. It's crucial to be attentive to his Spirit so you know WHEN you should say it.

I think this verse provides a nice little checklist for us to consult when we feel the need to speak up.

1. Are YOU personally seeking after his light? Will what you say be a light to others?
2. Is what you are saying accurately representing His majesty or are you merely proof-texting scripture?
3. Are you behaving like royalty?
4. Have you applied this in your personal walk?
5. Have you prayed about it?
6. Have you meditated on it?

* Remember, when Mary the mother of Christ received the Word that she was to birth the Messiah, the Bible says she hid it in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Proverbs says that where words are many, sin is not absent.

and finally.. i'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.

"Preach the Gospel, use words if necessary."


starvation is gluttony. [196]

is gluttony destroying our world? if we are truly living a godly life, wouldn't we be treating our body like a temple and avoiding the burden of body fat? gluttony is the excessive consumption that deprives another being of a life giving necessity. gluttony transcends eating and relates to material goods and other physical pleasures.
someone can eat healthy food in a gluttonous way.
gluttony is about excess. and in the united states, we know excess. we've become a society that rejoices in overconsumption. yet denounces those who put on weight and get a DUI.
gluttony, related to food, is rarely mentioned in the Bible. still, the New Testament encourages us to be sensible with intake and observe the body as a temple. the concept of willpower actually came from teaching about temptation. in Deuteronomy 21:20, it states that a "glutton and drunkard" is to be stoned to death by the elders of the city.
though the Bible doesn't say a lot, it still says something. we waste so much and eat way more than we need while 80% of the world suffers from hunger.

Monday, July 19, 2010

sunshine summertime. [195]

the one summer when i want everything to stay in the same place. i must go. the one summer where i finally found my place in this town. i must go. the one summer where i finally had the guts to tell you that i love you but maybe we need to talk things through and maybe we're not meant to be in this moment. i must go. the one summer when perfection could almost describe it. i must go. the one summer i get to see you for more than one night. and one drive. i must go. i must go. i must go. but maybe, i'll return. not wanting to return. only to find that my place is here. by you. by them. by him. by all of this nonsense called life. to find that seizing each day as it's last will always be worth it.
carpe diem.

dear future. [194]

dear adults in my life,
i'm sure i'll be more conservative when i get a family.
but only about certain things.
i'll still be very centered around saving this world for my God.
dear future, come get me.
yours truly, britney.

amazing grace. [193]

too much grace.
in the Prodigal Son story, the essential argument of the older brother is that his father is giving his younger brother too much grace. when he realizes his failure of a brother received a party instead of punishment, he berates his fathers, lists his younger brother's faults an refuses to attend a party. who does that? i mean, it's a party.
but there's one thing about this approach to life.
you can never out grace a God who sent His Son to the cross for you. you will never have a reaction towards anything more loving than God.
but don't get me wrong, God's not soft on sin.
in fact, His wrath for sin is demonstrated best in the severity of His grace. we don't get casual, easy, soft, cheap grace. we get severe, unyielding, Jesus on the cross, bleeding, dying grace.
the reason we get this grace is because God is hard, wrathful, all-knowing, all-powerful on sin. His wrath is undeniable on sin. which is why it took such tremendous grace to quench it.
show grace without end.
give comfort even when it makes no sense.

anorexia. [192]

unfortunately, there are a lot of taboo subjects in the Church. it's a human flaw. to be in a place of supposed perfection and not feel able to share your flaws so that they may be perfected.
one in particular is eating disorders.
everyone always thought i had an eating disorder. for obvious reasons. i never did. and i never remember anyone in my Church talking to me about it.
the struggle with food and body image is widespread. one out of three American adults is obese. one in five women struggle with an eating disorder. these numbers shouldn't be ignored. but the silence from the Church is deafening. Church is not always grace-filled. it can focus solely on actions and perfectionism.
even though eating disorders are prevalent today and gluttony is mentioned in the Bible, the Church hasn't focused on them in a transforming way. not many Churches address gluttony. the Church has various reasons for neglecting eating disorders. weight and body issues are at the bottom of outreach lists.
people need to learn how God sees them and how He loves them. it's a freeing step.
recovery from eating disorders must be experienced on two levels. freedom from the behavior and freedom from the lies. it means turning to God. believing the truth of their value as God's child, how He loves them and cherishes them for who they are.
Churches often times focus on symptoms and not the disease. Jesus wants to go to those places and heal them. His abundant life means complete freedom and healing.

money. [191]

money in the bank.
our money moves our world.
how we spend our money shows what's important to us. there is a Spiritual side of money. our financial choices can be moral choices and they can trap us.
you can never be independent of money. money is active. you have to manage it. move it. no matter how much you have. our strengths and weaknesses in our lives affect our finances. we all need disciple when it comes to money. some, more than others. i need a lot of discipline. everyone needs to think before they swipe the card. we all must recognize that we need to bring our finances under complete control.
personal growth requires that you give money away. *penny pinchers cringe* start by giving small or your time. you can always give something. there are very few well balanced, happy, healthy, wealthy people, who don't give money.
we must, however, beware of who we give our money to and what they are doing with our money. be responsible with our giving.

make all you can.
save all you can.
give all you can.

throw away the trash. [190]

this summer, i have cleaned a lot. my basement. my room. my garage. my yard. not your normal cleaning. but the organizing, disinfect, spotless kind. it reminds me of how we need to do this in our souls. and lives. more times than we do. if ever.
it seems we forget about our trash, our mistakes, after we throw the wrapper away. we tend to think more highly if ourselves than we ought to.
according to recent studies, americans think they consume less than they really do. 40-60% less. that's a ton of trash. i can only assume that Christians think they sin less than we really do.
maybe it's time to dumpster (heart) dive and go through our trash (sin) and see what we're hiding.

love today. [189]

alright, i'll say it.
love is not just about romance.
but love, in all forms is something we search for. crave for. for someone to tell us, "it's okay."
the heart is a delicate thing; and the wounds that seem to heal, leave scars that run deep.
we are all equal. sharing in this pain, looking for love.
there comes a time when no one can run from Love. He catches you. no one can fathom His ways. we try to. and fail. miserably. Love is the greatest mystery, the most unstoppable force. God is Love. we cannot understand Him.
He is the love for which the world looks. the love it desires. we must pursue Him because He has pursued us, He chases us. madly in love, He chases us.
His love, it does not change. it does not stop.
unworthy, we break His heart.
but always, He accepts. loves us.

the mark of the faithful. [188]

how do you tell people about your faith?
a lot of people are dismissing the Bible at literal and reading at a story. don't get me wrong, there's a lot of things in the Bible that should be taken as symbolism. but most of them are fairly obvious.
i think it affects how we share our relationship with Christ.
i can be pretty radical when it comes to modern, political Christianity. but i'm pretty old school when it comes to the Bible and sharing my faith. i believe the Bible is true and when it says something is wrong, then it's wrong. and that these convictions should be brought to the forefront with love. after all, they'll know we're Christians by our love not our t-shirts, facebook statuses or bumper stickers.

gasoline. [187]

i love how God reveals Himself to us through stories similar to those in His word.

2 kings 4:1-7
the wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to elisha, "your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. but now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."
elisha replied to her, "how can I help you? tell me, what do you have in your house?"
"your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."
elisha said, "go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. don't ask for just a few. then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side."
she left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. they brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. when all the jars were full, she said to her son, "bring me another one."
but he replied, "there is not a jar left." then the oil stopped flowing.
she went and told the man of God, and he said, "go, sell the oil and pay your debts. you and your sons can live on what is left."

my mom and i dropped my nephews off to my older sister. she lived in the boonies of missouri at the time. my mom didn't know that. she needed gas to get back to town. i told my mom about that story and surely if God can fill the woman's jars with oil, He can fill her tank with gas. sure enough, the needle rose and we had enough gas to get back to town.
i rarely tell this story. the first time i did, people didn't believe me. i was discouraged but i now i know it was our faith that allowed God to do His work.

Friday, July 16, 2010

dear 365 followers,

i have the entries in my journal but i'm behind.
i'm working a photo shoot all weekend so i'll get caught up and posted as soon as i can.
thanks so much for your patience. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

as your voice fades. [186]

somebody, please, tell me
what am i suppose to do?
you've died and i'm here
thinking that i hear your voice
but it's somebody else
it's always somebody else

why did you die?
don't leave me, please
i beg You, God, tonight bring me peace
i'll never sleep without
the dreams of you alive here with me
alive here with me

the brightness left your eyes
as i held your face
don't tell me, "it's the right time."
and your last words will sustain me
until my end
until I see you again

while words (your life) evade me (but a moment)
i'll wait to (i'll cling to) remember you (forever)
and what you had (your words) meant to me (on my blood)
could never be forgotten

the chains (why) of death (don't take)
are falling (away), but my heart still bleeds
it longs for (why) the day (did you die)
when we will be as one, one, one

as your voice fades by emery.

plain and simple, this song reminds me of my dad. every inch of it.

the widow. [185]

dead man, were you ever alive or was i just a seed
buried deep inside some woman you wed?
right before you crawled out of her bed
and crept down the hall.
did you think of me?
did you even for a second hesitate in the doorway?
it's just something that i’d like to know
though i’d still love you if you told me, that you just walked away

my God, what a world You love.
men bury their sons
and without thought
just walk away

and my mother’s heart breaks like the water inside of her
and my mother’s heart breaks like the water inside of her

dead man, is it being high that makes you alive?
it makes you leave behind three boys and a wife in ‘89
and as the track marks inched their way up your arms
ay mother taught my brothers and i not to call you daddy,
but to call you father.

and i believe there is something here to be learned of grace
'cause i can't help but love you,
no, i can't help but love you,
even with a heart that breaks
like the promises that you made

‘cause i can't help but love you

my God, what a world You love.

as cities burn - the widow.

for some reason, this reminds me of my life but it has nothing to do with my life. but when i hear this song. sing this song. feel this song. it's as if my life, my soul, my heart, my pain is exuding from the cracks. that this is somehow my story. somehow, he finds grace for his estranged father and somehow, i find grace for those who hurt me. for some reason grace comes easy for me. for some reason, i see the hurt in this world and still believe it can be healed.

the hardest part. [184]

my heart is hard.
i don't feel like writing.
i don't feel like people reading.
but i don't want to be alone.
being alone is a funny thing. the moments when we need someone, we're alone. the moments we need silence, solitude, we're surrounded by people and noise.
or that feeling of being alone in a crowded room. or being alone when surrounded by loved ones.
my heart, it's alone. it's been neglected. despite the fact i want companionship. i'm too lazy to do the right thing.
oh God, where is justice in letting me live?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

conviction. [183]

i have so many convictions. so many thoughts.
they come out better in conversation.
i feel distant from everything in life. it's making me physically sick.

dear God, bring me closer to You. closer to everything. closer to the heart of this world. bring any sort of pure passion. make me whole again. fill the gaping hole in my soul. only You can. bring tears to my eyes. God, let me lay everything out before You. my life. my love. my heart. my soul. my everything. help me make it Yours. i can't do it on my own. everything's falling apart. i have no where to turn. i've left the only one who's truly loved me for every inch of my being. Lord, i'm coming home. coming back. slowly but surely, i'm coming back to You. let me find my love in You. heal this black heart and make it new.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

i miss you. [182]

"if you miss someone then you love them." - my 5 year old nephew. profound.
children have almost a clear view to this world. it's surprising.
no wonder Jesus says we need to have hearts and faith like children.

Luke 18:15-17
People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

wormholes. [181]

also known as "the scarlet worm"

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,

“ Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. "
-Isaiah 1:18

So, I read this scripture yesterday during my devotion time and God showed me a few reeaallly cool things. So cool that I kinda felt the need to tell every person I came in contact with :) I would also like to share what I found with you all, so please bare with me haha.

The face value of this verse in and of itself is enough to make me want to dance!

- God begins his statement by inviting us to come and reason with him. He doesn't demand or mandate, rather pleads with us to come into conversation and relationship with him.
- God wants to (and will) take away the sin that has plagued and stained our lives and transform us into his pure and spotless bride!

But as I began to study this scripture a little more in depth, I found out that there is so much more to this statement then I ever knew.

When God says that our sin are as "scarlet" he means to communicate more than the idea of color.
-The word scarlet in Hebrew is actually shaniy. Literally, this word refers not only to the crimson color associated with blood, but a small insect commonly known as the "scarlet worm"

its a worm, big deal. right?

let me teach you a little something about this little worm.

- When the female scarlet worm was ready to give birth to her young, she would find a tree and attach herself so firmly and permanently that she would never again be able to leave.
- Here, she would lay her eggs and they were protected until the larvae grew and were ready to enter their own life cycle.
- As her young grew, she died. And as she died, her body would secrete a scarlet fluid, covering her body, the tree, and her children.

In Psalm 22:6 Jesus says this:
"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of man and despised of the people"

- Jesus entered this world in a human body, knowing that he would not be able to leave. He limited himself to our restrictions, stepping from the heavens into time.
- Jesus loved, taught, healed and saved as he trained up his disciples, all the while on his path to the cross.
- Jesus was nailed to a tree and gave his life so that his children would live. His blood flowed, covering the cross, covering his body, covering his children, and covering our sin.

I am in awe of the love of God.
How it streches and reaches and fights for its children.
How it is evident in every scripture, in every move of God, and even in nature.
How it acted first.
How it never fails.
How it casts out all my fear.
How it laid its perfect life down so that a worm like me could make the transformation into his beautiful child.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

By: Erika Opalecky

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

life is what you make it. [180]

life is not about toning down and repressing your God-given life force. it's about channeling it and focusing it and turning it loose on something beautiful, something pure and true and good, something that connects you with God, with others, with the world.

Monday, June 28, 2010

the future freaks me out. [179]

i want to help people through psychology and sociology. some Christians believe psychological disorders don't exist. they also believe the Bible tells us everything about the brain. i know this not to be true. God gives us knowledge so we can help others.
i either want to work for a high school or ministry. i would love to work for illinois student ministries and somehow start a counseling service through them.
to do this, i have to go to school and follow the footsteps God has put before me. i might intern for ism.
when i look in my future five years from now, i see me graduated from college. that's it.

all of me. [178]

the meaning of friendship to me is the ability to know that people i'm surrounding myself with are always going to be there for me and are pushing me to be a better me. i am confident that most of my friends are doing so.
i hVW great circle of friends at home and at school. i'm blessed.

all around me. [177]

one of the best memories i have is camping with my family and crying at iycm teen camp. it seems to be the only place i feel free to let the tears flow.
the world memory of my life is my dad crying as he told us he wasn't going to survive the cancer. i say that's the worst because it affected me more than his death. knowing you're going to die soon and having to tell the most important people in your life has to be devastating.

let me in. [176]

three major milestones in my life so far are going abroad to Spain, making it to college, and learning more about the outside world.
i needed to go to spain. i learned so much about culture outside america. i realized not everyone is as well off as i am.
i am the first person in my family to go to college full time and pursue a degree. my family has done well with no schooling but i've seen how that has changed and how i need to go to school to do what i've been called to do.
i have learned that the rest of the world is predominantly poor and in need. i want to help. i want to be Jesus to my world not just bring Jesus to my world.

take on me. [175]

i was born on october 23, 1989 in alton, il. i was the first born. i have a younger sister. my parents named me britney alyse. i don't know why they named me britney. maybe because it was the most popular 80s name. but they chose alyse after my grandma, alice.
my earliest memory is when i stuck a rock in my ear and i couldn't get it out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

in a sweater, poorly knit. [174]

we, as Christians, have a calling to serve those in need and impact those around us. if there are Christians in an area, then that area should be improving. but you may be thinking: i'm young. there's not much i can do. i'll wait until i'm an adult. but the Bible says in first timothy, "don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
you actually have more opportunities since you're young. no career. no spouse. no kids. no bills. well, maybe some but not as much as when you're an adult. you might be thinking you don't have enough money to donate. the thing is, Jesus doesn't need money. there are things you can do to impact your community that will only cost you your time.
Jesus talks to His disciples about the judgment. He tells about how His followers will be questioned. He asks why we didn't feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, clothe the hungry, house the homeless. at the end He says, "Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did to one of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me." (matthew 25:40).
Jesus never says to the poor, "come, find the church." He says to those of us in the church, "go into the world and find the poor, hungry, homeless, imprisoned." true compassion and outreach is more than giving money to the begging. if you ask the poor, they will tell you who the Christians are. poverty was created not by God but by you and me, because we have not learned to love our neighbors as ourselves.
i read this book by an extreme follower of Christ. his name is shane claiborne. the book is called the irresistible revolution. the whole book impacted my life. but one excerpt opened my eyes to a truth of this world.
when i ask God why all of these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, i can feel the Spirit whisper to me, "you tell Me why we allow this to happen. you are My body, My hands, My feet."
we allow people to be poor, hungry, homeless.
Christianity is for sick people. in matthew 9:12-13, Jesus says this to the Pharisees, "it is not those who are healthy who need a physician but those who are sick. but go and learn what this means, 'i desire compassion, and not sacrifice for i did not come to call the righteous but the sinners.'"
if we are the body of Christ, then are here for the sinners. and being sinners as well, we are here for each other.
going back to the beginning, if there are Christians in an area then that area should be improving.
but how do we improve our area?
there are places to volunteer. community hope center, riverbend family ministries. all it takes is you contacting the ministries and centers in your area.
there are homeless people in wood river. it's sad, really. they're people in need of clothes, you could hold a clothing drive. EAWR students in need of uniforms. people in need of food, so hold a food drive. people with no a/c who are in need of fans, hold a fan drive. and find out who needs what.
it takes work but Jesus never said being a servant and helping others would be easy. He just said it would worth it.

a thousand angry panthers. [173]

With every album, Bradley Hathaway seems to grow as a person and as an artist. From spoken word to folk music, Bradley has opened up his life to others. A Thousand Angry Panthers, his recently released 4-song EP, is no different. A glimpse of love, loss, hope, faith and how they're connected. A powerful ending with The World is Screaming reminds us for how God is with us in our struggles. This EP seems darker than the previous released, A Mouth Full of Dust, but you can hear and feel the hope in each and every song.
You can (and should) pick up a physical copy of A Thousand Angry Panthers at Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, IL. You can watch him on the main stage this summer.

Bradley Hathaway's Myspace

Monday, June 21, 2010

pain. [172]

and her pain is relevant
her pain is prevalent
but he won't relent
he sees it
but he continues
she's to strong for tears
she hides them
but if you looked into her soul
you'd know
you'd see
her pain, her sorrow, her sin
you'd want to rescue her
but no one looks
ignorant to obvious pain
blind to what
they need to look for

Sunday, June 20, 2010

like father, like son. [171]

happy fatherless day.

today is the day that we celebrate our dads. the thing is, this is the third year i haven't had an earthly dad to celebrate. i have to be honest, it hurts. i love my dad. i miss him more than words can say. i truly believe he is heaven bound. i also believe he isn't looking down on me. i've had some serious wrestling with this one. i don't think that people in Heaven watch us. they have no need.
anyways, God blessed me with seventeen years with the best dad anyone could ask for. quiet and gentle. righteous anger. what i imagine Christ to be like. of course, he had flaws. we all do.
but my dad showed me how women should be treated. i'm slowly remembering that i deserve to be treated in such a way.
he taught me to work for what i desire. to do everything to my full potential.
he supported me and guided me in decisions.
he gave me the gift of music. every inch of my love of music is from him.
he taught me to love nature and time spent in the wilderness.
now, God is reminding me of all these things.
like a crashing wave.
today, i realized that God is my Heavenly Father and loves me more than my dad. He knows that i crave a hug from my earthly father and a drive to somewhere just listening to music.
so God gives me those things in different ways.

jim baker,
i love you. and i miss you. see you soon.

deathbed. [170]

i don't know how i should feel, from a Christian perspective, about death row. i know that i personally have a conviction about it. and that definitely pisses people off. they wonder if i have no sympathy for the victims. yes, i do. but i also have sympathy for the criminal. which can be convicting in itself.
how does Jesus do it?
have equal love and sympathy?
how does He see each sin as the same degree?
i feel that if Christ has sympathy for everyone, so must i.
i'm slowing learning to be more like Christ.
and even more slowly, i'm beginning to apply it to my life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

focus. [169]

there are times in my life where i have trouble focusing on God. everything in my life is distracting me from interacting with HIm. i think that's how satan gets to Christians. not by getting them to sin. but getting them from interacting with God.
it's a great strategy.
i feel completely ridiculous and stupid because i know satan is working on my life in such a manner but i do nothing to stop it.
i need to get myself busy in my relationship with God.

oil and water. [168]

all of you have heard of the oil spill in the gulf. just about everyone is freaking out. but i see a lack of Christian response.
i have seen an organization hold a prayer vigil.
it's difficult to know what to do. i mean, it;s not like with katrina. you can't just go and rebuild. but there are things that you can do.
we can pray. this is often put on the back burner but it's the most powerful thing we can do . pray for guidance, wisdom, mercy, grace, the environment and the community affected.
we can mourn. mourn for those losing their jobs and the animals covered in oil.
we can act. we must act to restore the lives of those in the gulf. we must rethink the way we consume resources in a our lives.
we can prove the Christians care by praying, mourning, and acting to positively impact the situation in the gulf.

high hopes in velvet ropes. [167]

a 6-story Jesus statue in ohio was struck by lightning.
the pastor's wife said it was a "beacon of hope."
apparently, they want to rebuild it.
use $300,000 to rebuild an obvious fleeting statue.
personally, investing that much money in a statue is not promoting hope. it's holding it back.
what if they used the money to reach out to the community and providing ways to accommodate the needs of those around the church.
we waste so much money on appearances.
no wonder people hate Christians.
i'll say it again.
people will know we're Christians by our actions, outreach and love, not our expensive statues.

Jesus, Lord of Heaven. [166]

Jesus isn't always nice.

John 2:13-16
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

jesus isn't calling us to a life of anger and fighting just to get our own way. but Jesus does call us to righteous anger and the right times.

ephesian 4:26
In your anger do not sin...

there is a way to be angry and not sin.
there is a way to turn over tables and remain holy. righteous anger is anger birthed out of wrong doing. yet leads to God-honoring actions and justice for people.
righteous anger should lead to strong feelings. but it should lead us away from hate and hostility and into action.
Jesus acted for the honor of God and the benefit of the people.
all to often, righteous anger becomes stuck in awareness, knowing needs but doing little to be a part of a solution.

the new face of american evangelism.

We don't think in terms of what is wrong; we think of what can we be doing in terms of restoring what God wants the world to look like.

where's your faith now? [164]

the stress of adult life often reveals the lack of authentic faith in our lives and often times, we don't recognize it.
it's a sobering moment when we realize our child-like faith and peace has disappeared.
it isn't until we have come face to face with uncertainty that our faith can be truly tested. recognizing a crisis in our faith is not always difficult. we are always wrestling with out faith to a certain extent and that's quite alright. it's alright to be concerned about situations in our lives. we're human.
it's when we're crippled by the lack of faith that prohibits us from living our lives. that's when we know we have a serious problem.
if faith is belief in what we cannot see then the opposite of that is fear. fear is the absence of faith. a resistance to things we can't control or see. it's important to assess on what's going on in our hearts and our heads.
refusing to question is essentially saying God Himself is too weak and His spirit incapable of bringing us full circle with our doubts and back into powerful faith living.

romans 9:20
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

God almighty, none compares. [163]

we sometimes forget that we can experience God anywhere. the grace of God can be experienced just as easily on a trampoline. another way to experience God is through confession. not the man behind the screen confession. but legit confessions to God. it reveals the true content of our heart. it reveals what has been previously hidden. and once it is brought out into the open to a loving listener, it leads to healing.
if spirituality is about paying attention, then the question is, what are we paying attention to?
whether we see the sacred and holy in everyday life is not a matter of whether it exists. wearing the lens of the sacred and holy will show us it has been there all along in plain sight.

tears. [162]

i have a problem with crying.
i don't like to do it and i don't cry very often. i have to be extremely upset to cry.
or my heart has to be deeply touched.
but, sometimes, crying just feels good. like all of the pain is being washed away.
it's amazing how God created us to get rid of things we don't need.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

death is an alcoholic. [161]

so i read "mere Christianity" by c.s. lewis. it was a quick read. i liked it because it reminded me of his banter in "chronicles of narnia". but that also distracted me from what he was saying. overall, i was uninterested when i read it. gasp. i felt kind of bad because it's one of the most famous books on Christianity but, honestly, i don't see the big deal. don't get me wrong, he had great things to say but you had to strip away a ton of filler to find it. but there was a passage that literally made me laugh out loud.
a great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for everyone. i do not think that. at least i know i should be very angry if the Mohammedans [muslims] tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.
first of all, i agree with this statement. second, i read it to my mom and she said that Christians can't drink either. she has a drink [wine] every once in a while. i say this because she wouldn't deny it if you asked.
personally, i don't think it's a sin to drink. i believe that God will be extremely disappointed if we get drunk because He speaks against being drunkards. but drinking? no. only to specific people did He say something and some people decided not to drink on their and God's terms. but alcohol was/is a prominent role in Jewish culture and it was in the Early Church culture. but it was corrupted (like everything). so people got prude and made it a sin.
i think that your ability to drink should seriously taken to God in prayer because He can guide you. you might be more prone to be an alcoholic and not know it. i try to go to God for guidance in personal gray areas because He knows my life better than i do/
eat. drink. be merry.
but, above all, ask God.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

words of hope. [160]

we all do it. it's engrained in us. and it's one of the most dangerous things we can do.
take verses from the Bible out of context.
if you read the Bible looking for it to argue with you, you can most likely find verses that do but you usually take them out of context and it might not actually be agreeing with you. how we think about the Bible affects how we think about it applying to our lives. the Bible has become a tool for many to push selfish agendas that don't represent the heart of God.
when the verses remain separate from all the others, they lack the purpose they were created for.
a few verses that are misinterpreted:
matthew 18:29: i'm sure God hears our prayers even when we're alone. i've felt His presence when i was alone before.
john 12:32: Jesus was talking about His crucifixion, not being praised.
my favorite: jeremiah 29:11: read the whole chapter, please.
each of us has been guilty of misinterpreting the Bible. but the power of Scripture lives in its ability to communicate it's truth even if we mess it up.

total brutal. [159]

so if you've never read the old testament, you're missing out on a ton of metal songs. families were killed. women. children. everyone was dead.
definitely read Joshua.
seriously brutal battle scenes.
r-rated stuff.
so here's the question.
is God brutal?
i'm going to say yes because He's God and i want to.
but in reality, all of the death in this world was caused by one simple yet extreme event in human history. the fall of man. from birth we are bent towards selfishness and self-absorption. death was created in us. we are flawed and do shameful things. there are not innocent people. there is something wrong with the human condition. we think hideous thoughts. we say hurtful words. we harm others and create injustice.
throughout the old testament, God suppresses evil and upholds His justice through annihilating people who do and pleasure evil. sin deserves justice, it always has and always will, and a loving being always has wrath towards sin. God righteously does this.
the remarkable reality is that God's justice didn't wipe out all people. it is glorious He chose to be merciful.
but now, the people of God are used to show God's grace and love because He's not brutal anymore.
the brutality of God was taken out on Jesus, violence on His Son as to give us peace. God throws His arms around us and He overwhelms out failures with His love.

Friday, June 11, 2010

city of black and white. [158]

the past few weeks, i've realized how much racism is still present in my life even when it comes to Christians. i'm not racist and i'm not just saying that. i believe we were all created in God's image and that the pigment of our skin has noting to do with His love for us.
i had never been to birmingham. i wanted to go but i was told that it wasn't worth it because it was dirty and filled with blacks. i live in wood river. cleanliness of a town doesn't really matter to me. but i never go to go to birmingham. i think because it was too black. but i still see the disrespect of other races. not just black but hispanic, asian, whatever. it's quite ridiculous. don't Christians know that Jesus was persian. He probably had darker skin.
i know some play the race card. which is completely unnecessary. but they still deserve respect as much as the next person.
i'm disappointed in Christians.

coming clean. [157]

we're kind of like dirty houses. we have a ton of junk in us and a lot dirt on us. the selfishness, the stubbornness, the pride, the pettiness, the lack of self-control. so much cleaning out that needs to be done before we can be fully used to our greatest potential.
i wonder if God is heartbroken over that or overwhelmed. somehow, He can handle it. He doesn't become paralyzed. He never gives up.
God sees the great potential we have, always there encouraging us to clean house, to come to Him, to be stripped down of ourselves, so He can fill us up with clean things so we can be better. there's so much daily work that we need to be clean before the Lord. yes, He takes us as we are but when we begin to follow Him, we need to make more of an effort to please Him. get rid of the old self.
clean us out, Lord.
make us new.
clean us up, show us how to live.

generational curse. [156]

something i'm guilty of...
...everything is permissible....
we're growing up in a time where everything is permissible. and our generation is stuck in between being moral and being prude. do we obey all of the rules? or do we bend them? but why are there rules?
older Christians have built a Church of rules.
no smoking. no drinking. no sex. no cussing. nor shorts. no make-up. no piercings. no tattoos.
but some rules are ridiculous. others make sense. waiting to have is a great thing. following the ten commandments is a great guide line.
it's all gray area. it's all really confusing.
but i do know that if i seek God, i'll know right from wrong.

falling. [155]

contrary to what you thought as a kid, life is full of disappointments and those disappointments can leave you wondering if God is still involved in your life. and if He is involved, what is He doing?
i feel as though many of us base our plans, dreams and desires on our concept of God's presence. then, when things don't turn out how we planned, we question is God's there with us anymore. but the truth of it that God is most powerfully present even when He seems most apparently absent. He's always working. even when we can't see God, or feel Him, all the evidence of our lives will testify to His presence. it's normal to doubt His presence. but we need to remember that God will never change. this is why our faith must rest on His identity not necessarily His activity.
sometimes, our lack of hope we're experiencing is more about our perspectives than the circumstances we're encountering. i've come to believe meaning and hope are more often found in embracing the difficulties. i find that God is more interested in our change when we go through difficulties or things don't go our way.
God isn't asking us to understand. He's asking us to trust Him and the fact that He loves us. He's the God who has promised to be with you. God is right now engaged in the mysterious process of reshaping you into who you need to be. He can bring you joy, peace and hope.
faith will win over doubt.

may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. romans 15:14.

torches together. [154]

it takes a village to raise a child.
i've seen this to be true within the Christian community. churches are incredibly important to the growth of children and Christians. community is tough to find in our mobile, throwaway society. community means having a lot of friends on facebook or followers on twitter. (i don't have a twitter). before community was just about emotional or spiritual needs, it was about survival. neighbors were the first and last line of defense against life's problems. community was unavoidable.
in our convenient society, have we lost community?
but what is community? people who are collectively experiencing life together.
why is it so hard for us to live in community? being independent of everyone is what's normal. community is so foreign to us, to everything we know. we want all of the advantages of community and none of the obligations and have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives. every aspect of our lives is separate from each other. but, in reality, they are completely connected.
relationships and community take time and connectedness. without it, our souls are longing for it.
so maybe it does take a village.

living is simple. [153]

humanity is hard to satisfy. let me rephrase that, the well off of humanity is hard to satisfy. we're always chasing fulfillment but we never seem to reach it. we work more hours to make more money. we make more money to buy more stuff. we buy more stuff to make our leisure time more enjoyable. then we sacrifice that free time to work more. people's most stressful area of their lives is work but what if we found a way to get paid and to do something we loved?
a simplified life is a more satisfied life.
there can no joy in life without joy of work.
unfortunately, we get to an unfulfilling job because of the economic stability it gives us. we need our jobs because they support our spending habits. but what if our spending habits fit our jobs? i personally have to do this and it's a lot less stressful than trying to find a job that supports extravagant spending. i'm definitely a thrifter and i love it. a lot of times, we're living in a whole we've dug ourselves. honestly, if you don't to want too much, don't spend the money.
Jesus talked about money and economics more than any other social concern. He told the rich, young ruler that getting rid of things was the first step in a life of obedience (matthew 19). He spoke blessings to the poor and woes to the rich. He even said that it would be difficult of a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
but you can't simplify the outside of your life without simplifying the inside of it. your heart. your mind. your soul.
simplicity is about living intelligently, deliberately and doing on your and God's terms, not society's.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

because. [151]

so i've been on a cleaning spree. i cleaned as much as my basement family room as i could. while doing so, i found my dad's hand-written vinyl archive. i saw he had abbey road by the beatles [and a ton more. yes, we have a record player as well]. i got really excited. i grew up listening to my dad's music and the beatles was one of my favorite bands. [still is]. more importantly, it was my dad's. and he kept track of all his vinyl records. and it was hand-writing. chicken scratch like mine. my dad inspired my love for music. so all of this is important. and finally going through his basement after three years is important. this is a big step in my family's life. and mine. when i listen to my dad's music, i miss him more. but i love his music so there's no way i'll stop. i've been slowly putting his music on my macbook. i finally put joshua tree by u2 on my computer. what the heck was i waiting for? all in all, i know going through my dad's stuff is going to be hard but fruitful. it's going to be a fresh, clean start. a cleansing for my broken soul, perhaps. who knows?

modern morbid prophecies. [150]

sometimes, i hate the modern church and her politics but i am completely in love with Jesus Christ.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

fashion. [149]

this is not deep but i felt like sharing my non-Spiritual side.
i love fashion. but not in a narcissistic way but in an artful and creative way.
please, forgive me.
i'm addicted to lookbook.

Friday, May 28, 2010

friday night. [148]

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in his fingertips
It burned like a fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Oh my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

may day. [147]

defiler of the Sabbath.
dishonorer of my mother and my father.
woman of wrath.
woman of greed.
i swear, i've done them all
or at least, thought about it.
i think the thoughts
whether or not i see them through
but by grace
You have saved me
go and sin no more.
at least i'm trying to

commercialism. [146]

Christianity and advertising.
i feel like Christians are advertising their faith. with catchy and cheesy knock-offs like abreadcrumbandafish. i used to love these shirts. i thought that they were clever. a way for Christians to have those cool shirts but preach the gospel at the same time.
now, they annoy me.
i feel it's a cheap imitation. and that Christians should stop wearing stuff like that.
after all, people will should know we're Christians by our actions not our bumperstickers.

praise the Father, praise the Son. [145]

worship is more than a song. but the song matters too.
i used to say that worship was my life and praise was when i sang because worship is so much more than a song we sing. when people decide to worship something, it used to mean that they devoted their whole lives to that something. it's not that way anymore. worship is singing a few songs and that's it. we forget to move into action. but if we rank missions or worship ahead of one another, we end up ruining both. when they should be used together. when we sing praise, we meet Him there in that moment.

luke 4:18-19, 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 prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. 2 corinthians 3:18, and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ephesians 6:11-12, put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

but we need to continue to grow in Him after we met with Him.
we need to come together and go forth. as well as come together and worship.
missions flows directly from the worship of the Church. it involves how we treat others. living a life of true worship means feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and imprisoned.

matthew 25:31-46,31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' "Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'
"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?' "He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.' "Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

we need worship and missions; they are essential and inseparable.

don't leave. [144]

i've been struggling with a question. i don't know the answer.
when is it okay to ask people to leave the Church?
i can't think of any reason.
but i'm sure there are Bible answers.
i just don't know where.
time to read my Bible.

rolodex propaganda. [143]

i have a problem with televangelists. don't get me wrong, a lot of good comes from them. it's a wide way to preach the gospel of Christ. but are they really preaching the gospel? i feel like a lot of them aren't. that most of what they are saying is false. many of them promise prosperity through money if you begin to follow Christ and give money to their ministry or if you follow certain steps you'll have your best life now. when all of this is false. life is not a series of steps. our relationship with Christ is not a series of steps and we will not get monetary prosperity from following Christ or giving to a ministry without fervent prayer.
God's plan for us may have to do with us being monetarily poor but spiritually rich.
that's the gospel of Christ.
it's not about how fancy your set is, which speakers you get, how many viewers you get, how many people call in during your telathon. it's about telling the truth. promising the truth and going out to the world instead of staying in the studio.
it's all about the truth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

lazier than furniture. [142]

Romans 12:11, Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Proverbs 28:19, He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
Proverbs 13:4, The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Ephesians 4:28, He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Proverbs 12:24, Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

we live in a lazy culture. we desire to have jobs that don't require work. we would much rather sit around and play video games (don't get me wrong, i love them too) than go outside and run. i think this is leading to a lazy faith as well. whatever we can do without putting forth much effort. the problem is that Christianity isn't and shouldn't be a lazy faith. we were created for so much more than that. a faith that breathes.

choices and consequences. [141]

i feel as though Christians can believe that no matter what the choices they make, there will be no consequence. don't get me wrong, much of what grace does is erase karma. but when we choose to destroy our body by not keeping it healthy, bad things will begin to happen to our bodies. arthritis. obesity. diabetes. cancer. much of it can be avoided or prevented to some extent. the Bible says that our body is a temple of the Lord's and we should keep it holy and that includes eating healthy and exercising.

the fatal wound. [140]

we've all been wounded by the Church. it sucks. i feel it's harder to get over Church wounds more than any other.
insensitivities. hypocrisy. Church politics.
the deepest wounds are the more personal wounds and pain doesn't remain in the pews, we take them with us and people on the outside see it too.
majorities of people surveyed believe Christians to be judgmental and over half of Church-goers believe it to be true. it breaks my heart because it's totally true. there has to be a remedy for this. wounds are meant to be healed.
why are Church wounds so devastating?
broken trust. deeper vulnerability. expecting perfection.
john 10:10, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. jeremiah 17:9, the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. who can understand it? ephesians 4:23, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. romans 8:28, and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. 1 chronicles 16:22, do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm. romans 13:7, give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
i decided to let the word of God speak on how healing can take place. i believe that God can heal my Church wounds. and i know that He'll the Church and her wounds and make her an agent of change and healing to a broken world.

your love is extravagant. [139]

1 corinthians 13:13, and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

lots of things are revealed in Christ's love.
i will know what matters in situations not necessarily why those situations occurred.
i will see His plan. at least part of it.
i will be assured of what is important in this life.
maybe we should love more extravagantly. even in the pain and hurt.

Friday, May 21, 2010

all i wanted. [138]

i want you to want me. i need you to need me.
this is resounding in my head. while i know that God doesn't need anything. He wants us to want Him. i've mentioned robot love before and how God doesn't want that. forced love is not genuine love.
as we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a Godly life. He has called us to receive His own glory and goodness. and by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. so make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life.
God filled us with desires and Himself as the fulfiller to those desires. knowing Him, we can unlock His promises. we don't need to look for validation in anyone else. God wants us to realize this. He desires that we desire Him. to be close to Him. everything we need is found in our relationship in Christ.

bitter taste. [137]

grace conquers bitterness.
i think that Christians get tired of Christians. especially when they disappoint us. the pastor committed adultery. a sibling gossiped about us. our parents get a divorce. a friend left us when we needed them most.
so we decide that we can fix our wounds on our own and feel justified and instead of being disappointed again, we leave the Church. but soon, we realize we have a bitter attitude. we've lost faith in Christians so we begin to question God and it begins to be hard to imagine finding away towards healing between you and the Church and God.
i know i say this a lot but it's very true.
grace changes everything.
what if we looked at all of our hurt through the eyes of grace.
broken people cannot mend broken people. knowing this is a step towards having grace for people.
maybe we should change our expectations. it can change our reaction when people disappoint us.
grace for others is also the key to healing for our wounds.
grace isn't an excuse for others and it does not absolved them from consequence.
we need to remember that it's not our place to administer that consequence. [this reminds me of batman and his rule to not kill his villains but to leave them to the justice system]
grace is for the strong, not for the weak.

friends don't let friends dial drunk. [136]

you are who your friends are.
it's very true. if your friends aren't encouraging you forward in your Spiritual life, there's a good chance that you are staying exactly where you are.
our choices begin when we choose the friends we get involved with. we become like our lives.
it might be time to look around at the people we're hanging out with. are they the kinds of people you want to be like? if your friends are going where you don't want to be, leave and head the opposite direction. find something better. the world needs better people.

honor and harmony. [135]

honor your parents that it may go well with you.
what does it mean to honor my parents? how do i honor them?
our parents do want the best for us. but our best and their best can differ greatly. so how do we honor our parents and still make our own choices?
throughout the Bible, we are continually reminded to honor our parents.
children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. honor your father and mothers. if you honor your father and mother, things will go well for you and you will have a long life on earth.
maybe we shouldn't shun our parent's advice. maybe we should listen to what they have to say instead of automatically assuming they have no idea what are going through. we do need to keep in mind that are not perfect either.
always be humble and gentle. be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. make every effort to keep yourselves together with peace.
we show respect and honor toward our parents by being patient with them and understanding they are just like us and don't necessarily have it all figured out.
yeah, sometimes, our parents won't get us. but we should still respect them and listen to them. if we did, we would be surprised at their wisdom.
to honor our parents is to honor Christ.

assistant to the regional manager. [134]

being an RC [resident chaplain, similar to a resident assistant], has been a challenge and a blessing. i've seen the face of God in the girls on my floor. His characteristics shining through. i also had to lead a Bible study so i learned a lot about being a Spiritual leader. i'm not very good at it but i realized that we're not supposed to be. God is supposed to mold us into the proper leader that He designed us to be.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

love is the movement. [133]

1 john 3:11-17
For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other. We must not be like Cain, who joined the Evil One and then killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because he was deep in the practice of evil, while the acts of his brother were righteous. So don't be surprised, friends, when the world hates you. This has been going on a long time. The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together. This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.

from death to life.
no love, no life.
they'll know we're Christians by our love not our bumper stickers.

beggars. [132]

All you great men of power, you who boast of your feats -
Politicians and entrepreneurs.
Can you safeguard your breath in the night while you sleep?
Keep your heart beating steady and sure?
As you lie in your bed, does the thought haunt your head
That you’re really, rather small?
If there’s one thing I know in this life: we are beggars all.

All you champions of science and rulers of men,
Can you summon the sun from its sleep?
Does the earth seek your counsel on how fast to spin?
Can you shut up the gates of the deep?
Don’t you know that all things hang, as if by a string,
O’er the darkness - poised to fall?
If there’s one thing I know in this life: we are beggars all.

All you big shots that swagger and stride with conceit,
Did you devise how your frame would be formed?
If you’d be raised in a palace, or live out in the streets,
Did you choose the place or the hour you’d be born?
Tell me what can you claim? Not a thing - not your name!
Tell me if you can recall just one thing,
That’s not a gift in this life?

Can you hear what’s been said?
Can you see now that everything’s grace after all?
If there’s one thing I know in this life: we are beggars all.

beggars by thrice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

buildings and mountains. [131]

i don't have time for the church when i follow You. the building has been abandoned. i could care less. for the body is being healed. fed. loved. clothes. cherished. the body is going forth into the world. the building can't move. the body is going to starving africa. to starving saint louis. Your body. many parts. is moving. in our world. becoming Your revolution. Your love, peace, healing, joy.
Your body is bringing You to our world.
Your hands. Your feet. Your heart.
we don't have time for the building when we're the body.

eat, sleep, repeat. [130]

the valid things in life need resaid.
the valid things in life need resaid.

mother's day. [129]

celebrate moms.
you don't have to clean like your mother.
mom knows what's best.
mom always has a plan.
mom knows what it takes.
mom knows who's right.
moms are a gift from God.

truth of a liar. [128]

is lying ever okay for Christians?
what's important is what tempts us to be dishonest. it is possible to be a person who fears the Lord, walks by faith and yet feels constrained in extreme, life-threatening situations to oppose evil by lying.
there are even stories in the Bible about this. like the Hebrew midwives and Rahab. when pharaoh decides to kill every Hebrew newborn, the midwives lie and tell pharaoh that the Hebrews have given birth before they even arrive, saving thousands of people. but they're not rebuked, they're blessed. when the spies in jericho are found out, they go to rahab and she hides them and when the king's messengers came, she lies and tells them that the spies went else where. she was saved during the destruction of jericho.
the bible never commends lying.
although the midwives and rahab were blessed for their faithfulness, their lying is not explicitly approved.
God hates lying.
the deceitful desires that lead us to lie need to be replaced with the truth of Christ that will lead us to truthfulness. i think it's the motives that matter. are we lying because it's necessary to defeat a certain evil or are we lying for personal gains?
everything changed for me when i heard that bonheoffer lied to the nazis to save the lives of jews.

liar, liar.
it take one to know one.

the power of prayer. [127]

i find prayer boring. i know talking to God shouldn't be. i mean, He's God. but sometimes it feels like my words are bouncing off the ceiling back to me. the silence is killing me. i'm silent as well. the fact that i can't hear Him or feel Him makes me want to be silent as well. it's hard to remember that God is my father and Jesus is my friend. that i can talk to Him as such. i feel that it must be formal for some reason. which is boring and impersonal.
do they have a class in seminary where they learn to pray? because pastors always have an eloquent way for praying.
i just want to talk to God again.

she's got a boyfriend now. [126]

relationships are difficult.
i don't know what to say because it's not up to just me. i just know that this isn't what i expected. long-distance (it's not even that far away) makes things worse.
i want to rant.
i want to get things out.
girls: don't expect your boyfriend to know what you want unless you tell them and you'll have to remind them until the day you die. or they die. don't complain. it seems like you're freaking out. no one likes a drama queen. most importantly, you deserve the best. God doesn't want you with someone who breaks your heart, bones or disrespects you. don't look for a boyfriend. let God guide you and don;t worry about how long it takes. God wants what's best for you. trust Him. always. don't compromise because you feel you have to. that's not fair for you.
boys: saying i love you in the middle of an argument usually doesn't work. yeah, it shuts us up but the problem is still there. and hanging up the phone doesn't mean thing are cured either. also, respect your girl. she deserves it. and you don't settle either. let God guide you. He knows whats best and you probably don't. pray with your girlfriend. be a Spiritual leader. if you can't be a spiritual leader now, you won't be able to in the marriage and with a family. don't expect her to do it. and prove you love her with more than just words. find out what she likes to do and the things she likes. find out who she is. get to know her.
all of this could go either way but i feel like there's a lack of men being spiritual leaders. young men. i see a lot of men falling short and a lot of women trying to pick up the slack. i don't feel this is what God planned.
in the Bible, it talks about men being the spiritual leader of the family and their wives being their helpmate, supplement, complement. but i don't see that anymore.
where are the legit spiritual leaders?
where are the young men who need to take a stand?

stress. [125]

so these next couple of weeks are going to be hell. i'm stressing about getting all of this stuff done and i'm having a hard time trusting God.
have faith always.
trust God.
trust God.
trust God.

spirit fall. [124]

i love sarah beth meyers. can i say that? it doesn't matter. at our last RC meeting, she challenged us to talk about our spiritual lives. i used to be all for that but something changed. i was very nervous about talking about my relationship with God but i realized that these girls (women of God, daughters of the King) loved me and were just there to listen. not being judged when talking about your struggles is a freeing feeling.
i dont really know where to begin. i know that God doesn't feel as close as my skin anymore. He seems farther than the moon. my prayer life is nonexistent. i'm afraid to talk to Him since it's been so long. i don't know what to say. i feel intimidated to talk to Him.
i know that through the 365 project, i have grown mentally. i've learned a lot about God and myself and the Church and how we all fit together.
i can't remember the last time i truly worshipped. my heart feels distant from even myself.
how can i get closer to God?
i'm learning so much about Him and in His word but i can't get closer to Him.
the only thing in my way is myself.

the fisherman song. [123]

jonah was a prophet. he spoke God's word throughout israel. one day, God sent jonah to nineveh. nineveh and israel were enemies. so naturally, jonah didn't want to go. he peaced out and tried to escape God. he went the opposite direction by ship. but God got pissed at jonah's disobedience and sent a storm to that ship and jonah knew that it was God. so he told the sailors to throw him overboard. they were all for that. but jonah didn't drown. God sent a large fish to swallow him. so then, after all of this, jonah talked to God and thanked Him for rescuing him and told God that he'd go to nineveh. so God had the fish vomit jonah on the beach. yum. so jonah went nineveh and warned the people that they needed to confess their sins to God or else God would destroy their nation. they people obeyed jonah and repented it so God forgave them and did not destroy them. hooray! but jonah was upset, he wanted nineveh to be destroyed. he actually sat on a hill outside the town and waited for God to destroy nineveh. but God told jonah that He cares about the people from every nation.
jonah learned a lesson we all need to learn. instead of sitting and waiting for God to destroy sinners, we should remember that He love all nations. He pursued them passionately through jonah. He did not stop. through jonah's disobedience, He sent a storm. through jonah's jumping ship, He sent a fish. through jonah's prayer, He had the fish vomit him up, right at nineveh. through jonah's words, He sent forgiveness. through jonah's bitterness, He sent a tree and destroyed it to make jonah realize that God cares for everyone.
jonah's story also shows the importance of following God and trusting Him. jonah was afraid of the ninevehites and wanted them dead. opposite of God's plan. God had a better plan for israel and nineveh. peace.
obedience to God equals peace. maybe not physically because we all suffer. but there's definitely a spiritual peace.

enemy. [122]

is it right to want our enemies to suffer?
it's hard to say because david, a man after God's own heart, called out to God for his enemies to suffer. jeremiah asked God to smite his enemies so he wouldn't die. jeremiah was a prophet. and he asked God to kill people. wow. i mean, it's very human to want revenge. to want people to suffer because we suffered under them. it's how weird how a lot of things changed when Jesus started talking. turn the other cheek. pray for our enemies so that it will go well with you.
treat them with kindness and respect because it will be like pouring hot coals on their heads. being nice is revenge? i feel as though i'd effect my enemies differently and more efficiently if i treated them with respect. they'd pay more attention to me. but it's not about me. it's about God. God says that vengeance is His and we shouldn't look to have our enemies suffer.
grace is a beautiful thing. it's a difficult thing. it's the hardest thing to give when we've been wounded. but we're called to Christ-like and give grace. being human is so hard. i want to seek revenge. i want those who make me suffer to suffer.
where do we draw the line from protecting ourselves and giving grace? Christ Himself said that it would be hard work to walk in His footsteps.
i remember reading shane claiborne, he wrote Jesus for president and the irresistible revolution. i can't remember which book but he talks about what turning the other cheek meant and mean. it meant that they had to look you in the eyes when they went to hit you again. the eyes are very powerful. they can tell a lot about a person. when you look the person who is hurting you in the eye, they see another person - a strong person. and the changes everything. grace changes everything.
my mom is great at giving out grace. i think you have to be if you're a great parent. but my mom has been taken advantage of bu people who she helps but she still helps them. she loses trust. but she still helps. i question her sometimes but when i read about Jesus, i see that my mom is a woman after God's own heart. she's crazy as hell but so was david. she's not perfect and she realizes that no one else is and that they need grace just like she does. she doesn't let them suffer.
i know that effects them.
i've seen it. they question her. they know that they don't deserve it.
i'd rather have that effect on a person than one they expect.

[never wear your own band's t-shirt.]

Monday, May 3, 2010

forget love. [121]

she had this
glow on her face
grace in her step
joy in her heart
he longed to understand
then he felt His presence
and everything made sense
the glow on her face
was His glory
that grace
oh the grace
was a gift from Him
her joy was His
on her life
she fell in love with Him
a long time ago
and everyone
could tell
they were one

her face is clouded.
her heart is broken.
she felt a glimpse
of Him today
she spilled her heart
for him today
well, He, He listens
and responds
and he, well, he
he sits there silent
His love is always present
no matter how much
she cheats on Him
with him
his love
sometimes feels
closer than her skin
farther than the moon
but she loves them both