Saturday, September 26, 2009

8:32a.m. -- I woke up this morning and reasoned myself out of my covers and into a paint stained outfit, shuffled to the kitchen for a banana and headed to the school for a morning of [droning] community service. This was not meant to be a punishment, but an opportunity to paint the love that I claimed for ministry and service on the heart of a women who was overwhelmed with the loss of an entire lively hood-- due to fire.

9:10a.m. -- Arrive at the house with a less than cheery demeanor, hoping whole heartily that it might snow, flood, or maybe be such a health hazard they would send us all away immediately. And then I walked in to the living room of the charred home, a place that someone had once lived and breathed fresh air, a place where safety was found and children watched Saturday morning cartoons. Ravished. Abused. Abandoned. Every surface was been tarnished by flame and water, the carpet was heaping with soggy ceiling, there was baby food sitting on the kitchen counter waiting in vain to become nourishment.

10:16a.m. -- Toss a few dozen books into the dumpster, snagged a spiral notebook that is full of handwritten recipes. The edges are charred but the pages are miraculously white, and avoiding the gallons of water from a firefighters hose.

12:00 -- Feel accomplished, we completely gutted an entire house in approximately three hours. An entire livelyhood, a place that someone came home to afterwork, where they spent hours watching television and hanging curtains. Feel dishearted.

Hebrews 31:9
"Don't be lured away from him by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don't seem to do much for those who buy them."

Friday, September 18, 2009

A tribute to a friend.

I have had an experience of gaining respect for a friend so overwhelming that I cannot make verbal sense of it.

Watching elasticity define her very conviction is the most inspiring example of a person willing to completely surrender self over to Christ. Hope is the word that crowds my mind as the confidence that carries her rests with humility in her Savior.

So thank you Kori, for being Christ to me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ups and Downs

Matthew 11:28-30
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

So I am in a sort of funk.

Have you ever had the experience of just wanting nothing, being reminded of everything and panicking over anything? So that may have been slightly confusing but like I said right now nothing seems right.

I am trapped in a valley.

Have you ever played the really old school version of Nintendo Disney style with Mickey and Donald Duck? I don't think there was very specific purposes to the game accept to avoid chomping things and jump up cliff sides. I remember being six and lacking the skill to ever get little Donald up, he just kept banging into the side of the cliff over and over.

I feel like that right now, lacking the skill of willpower to jump out of this valley. I was in the midst of spiritual euphoria this summer and am now so caught up in the craziness of school and commitments that I am just squatting at the base of the valley, wishing I could pause the game so I wouldn't lose points.

In John 5:6 Jesus asks a blind man "Do you want to be healed?" This is what we discussed this morning at church, do I want to get well? I talk about a Chaotic Surrender, but what the hell am I doing differently than before? Is this simply words or am I really desiring God's presence?

The purpose thus far has been to need no one but my Savior. To lean heavily on him. But the truth is we need people, God made it that way. In Mark chapter 2, a paralytic man is brought to Jesus and lowered through a roof by his friends just so he can experience Christ. Just like this man, I need those friendships in my life.

This is why we desire to date and have a genuine community of friends. So what do I really need to chaotically surrender to here? ----

Luke 10:41-42
This is the story of Martha and Mary. Martha works so hard to keep everyone happy and is working like crazy in the kitchen. Mary chooses to just sit at her Lord's feet and feast on his love and wisdom. Martha is indignant and self-righteously approaches Jesus asking him to tell Mary to quit being a thoughtless jerk and help out. The Master said, "Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it's the main course, and won't be taken from her."

Mary chose to quit fussing about making everything look good and just sat and rested before Christ.

So...I am learning throughout this CS to enjoy the relationships Boet (friend) has so haphazardly placed in my life while also plopping my failing self at Christ's never failing feet.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Breakthrough

"Let love be genuine"
Romans 12:9

Intimidation is a funny thing, the way we let one little thought or stereotype be fed into the sub-conscience and warp our behavior should be unfathomable.

But is happens everyday, you are introduced to a person and its like every neuron is shooting off trying to unscramble the question of "what box can I put them in?" or worse what box will they put me into?

I remember the first time I met my roommate Angela, I guess I should say I remember BOTH of the times I met her. The first time was right after a freshman Bible study so we both had our "Christian" faces on and she seemed shy and sweet. The second time happened to be that same night at an intramural game and I was under the delusion that she was not the same sweet girl, but a different red head that I saw as a viable threat to my friendship with a certain boy.

Sounds ridiculous, but I hope I am not the only one who has made this same mistake. I am certain that she was quite surprised by my ultra "cool" demeanor compared to our friendly conversation that very same afternoon.

I have noticed how we all seem to have a perception in our heads of what it looks like to be the best version of ourselves. Do you know what I mean? The coolest, smoothest, wittiest, and most attractive version. What we wished everyone saw and talked about. The unlucky thing is, not all of us have been able to pull this off.

I will admit that I have met several individuals who have mastered what I have nicked named "the swagger." I see this occur in men and women both, but I got the idea from the way many men walk in accordance to who they are trying to impress.

But it is more than a walk, it is an entire personality created to fit the mold that resembles that version: the cool, smooth, witty, attractive one.

So for those of us; such as me, who have been unable to pull this off are left with the strong factor of intimidation. Which I believe has the power to ultimately effect our ability to love as Christ as commanded.

A little extreme? Maybe, but I think about all the times that this has held me back from reaching out to someone who has mastered the art of hiding their brokenness.

The other day I had a friend confess that he had recently become aware of his own swagger and the negative affects it had brought on him and others. He explained the talent it had given him to draw in many girls, he also recognized the pain our own insecurities can cause. I think like many, he understands his need for Christ to give him a genuine character.

Hearing this genuine testimony has opened my eyes in many ways to the soft brokenness behind the wall that many of us take shelter behind, the version, the swagger. With this understanding, my intimidation has melted; the brick, steel, and cement wall is looking a whole lot like Saran wrap.

Read Daniel chapter 4.
King Nebuchadnezzar was the master of Swagger, so good that he refused to give God any credit for the glories of his kingdom and wealth. But as God always does, he let Nebby become exactly what he was worth on his own, nothing; an animal eating grass in the field.

"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble."
Daniel 4:37

Blog entry in a nut shell:
The answer to fighting "the daemon" of intimidation is to simply open our eyes to brokenness. Recognize our own swagger and fight against it, give in to genuine and exposed hearts.