I walked in the door about half an hour ago and I'm glad at the thought of my pillow. God continues to show His grace and blessing, though I am still training myself to look for it. Tonight, I'm thinking on these two things: this article based off a Mark Driscoll sermon, and this Spanish worship song.
I already knew this was true, but this little clip from the sermon today was just the reminder I needed.
After 45 minutes listening to dramatic pauses and well-placed Scripture references, I was ready to sign up. My elbows propped against my knees my chin strained forward as if I could hear the words faster if my face was closer to the stage. Every word fell in its rightful place and my heart became all twisted and stretched and then I heard this question,
"So, who will go to Africa this summer?"
"Sometimes, Caroline... sometimes God just wants to bring us to the point where we say we are willing. Whether you go or not doesn't matter as much as how ready your heart is to do whatever the Lord asks. You were willing to go and God saw your heart."
torrential downpour Last Friday night was the overnighter event for the elementary kids. Though I'm not involved in the outreach with the little ones, they asked me to help with the game CLUE that our HS students had come up with a few months back for our own outreach event. ... And play human CLUE we surely did! We ran to different "rooms" and played games in order to receive clues and try to solve the mystery.
This is a re-post from November 19, 2007 when I was living and working in Austin, Texas with Americorps, coordinating service for the college students at St. Edward's University. It is so funny how I recently saw a bright light bulb illuminate about my strong desire for a partner in ministry, male leadership, and family. I thought I was seeing a new understanding and desire emerge. Then, I randomly read this old post and it seems that this desire is not so new at all! Though my location has changed and my contentedness to continue adventuring alone until God guides otherwise, I still feel very much the same.
There is a very sad song by William Fitzsimmons called, "Afterall." It's a song that pleads for love to remain, after all. With the memories of wedding vows in repetition, the song is so painful because by the end he is pleading without hope of securing the love, afterall.
Here are pictures from the mission trip I took with students March 7-12. We collaborated with a school from Plano, Texas to reach out to children in the rural areas outside the city. These pictures cannot possibly communicate the way God worked that week, but it will give you a little dose of the JOY we got to experience just being close to God's heart.This was a carnival we put on for children at a rural public school. These kids seem to be listening to some directions and enjoying some of the tasty CANDY that all the gringos brought!
Daniel Aleman (on the right) is greeting Youn Hee Choi, one of the students from Texas ... who is actually only lived in the states for 2 years and before in Korea. We all ADORED her smile and personality... and culture!
We did outreach/evangelism/prayer for people in the streets of nearby towns of Valle de Angeles and Santa Lucia. This was very "mission-trip-like" and typical for the students from PCA, but for my students it was kind of crazy. These are our neighbors.
Pablo. What a joy to know and love this student! He takes every opportunity to use his skills to bring delight to God and others! This is at the orphanage one afternoon.
This is another picture from the carnival at the public schools. This was a racing game and the kids LOVED IT!
O HAPPY DAY! This captures the joy the kids at the orphanage felt at our visits!
Here is a big group of students/kids from the orphanage just hanging out. We did a lot of that ... just unplanned hang-out time. I think that was most valuable for the kids at the orphanage - to see that we were just making ourselves available to love them.
We PAINTED! Were we the most effective or experienced painters Honduras could find? Nope :) But we sure had fun and learned a few good lessons! :)
This may have been my favorite part of the trip - the Lifehouse drama, but in Spanish. These are my students and they did a MAGNIFICENT job. This performance was in the public school.
Last week I was asked to speak at a neighboring Christian school in Tegucigalpa at a few chapel services. Even though the target audience seemed a bit young (6-8 grades), I decided to just share what was on my heart: BEST. Here are some snippets.
Hm. So my thoughts went: God cares for and loves every single human life in the same beautiful way. There are those with simple faith, who will never see the inside of a Sunday school room or own their own Bible or aspire to copy Billy Graham evangelism or follow in the courage of Elizabeth Eliot. These chosen children are precious in their simple faith and God will bless their hearts full with obedience and love. They receive the gift of highest price and perfect quality: the presence of the Almighty God for eternity. And then there are those children that have on this earth a greater capacity and wider sphere of influence (not that they are greater) from the very beginning when they chose to believe. From these, MUCH IS REQUIRED. I look at it like this: I have a stove and many don't. Therefore, I should use that stove as a sphere of influence. I have a roof and a bed and clothes and I have a degree and a job and I have two feet and I have two eyes and I have speech and hearing. Maybe Billy Graham was one of those much-much required types, but I know that my station in life and my background have definitely placed me in the category of much required. So, I'm trying to ask, what areas can I be more obedient? Where can I be more ready and willing to serve my Master, though I sometimes can't see or hear Him clearly? So, I guess I'll be thinking about this for awhile:) In the meantime, I happened upon this book and it is now currently on my wishlist. It's all about learning to be a follower instead of a leader. Weird that it sounds so... wimpy.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
Hm. So my thoughts went:
God cares for and loves every single human life in the same beautiful way. There are those with simple faith, who will never see the inside of a Sunday school room or own their own Bible or aspire to copy Billy Graham evangelism or follow in the courage of Elizabeth Eliot. These chosen children are precious in their simple faith and God will bless their hearts full with obedience and love. They receive the gift of highest price and perfect quality: the presence of the Almighty God for eternity.
And then there are those children that have on this earth a greater capacity and wider sphere of influence (not that they are greater) from the very beginning when they chose to believe. From these, MUCH IS REQUIRED.
I look at it like this: I have a stove and many don't. Therefore, I should use that stove as a sphere of influence. I have a roof and a bed and clothes and I have a degree and a job and I have two feet and I have two eyes and I have speech and hearing.
Maybe Billy Graham was one of those much-much required types, but I know that my station in life and my background have definitely placed me in the category of much required. So, I'm trying to ask, what areas can I be more obedient? Where can I be more ready and willing to serve my Master, though I sometimes can't see or hear Him clearly?
So, I guess I'll be thinking about this for awhile:)
In the meantime, I happened upon this book and it is now currently on my wishlist. It's all about learning to be a follower instead of a leader. Weird that it sounds so... wimpy.
I finally got rid of my doubting spirit and have again a heart set course for joy. Praise God. I was in a funk and I'm so thankful those don't last forever! I have to share a wee-little story about my time in funk-city. I was riding the bus down last week, after staying after for Bible study. I sat in the front and let worship songs be an escape for awhile until a student came and sat next to me. She had questions about this and that and finally she asked (could it have been because I was obviously weeping?) me, "what's up?" I just said I was sad. I was sad about how deceptive life can be and how glittery the world looks and how so many people I love make the wrong choices. I was sad because I couldn't stop it, but also sad because I knew I wasn't doing enough. I was just sad.
Then (as if revelations such as these come so quickly and gently) she said, "Well, I bet that's how God feels when He looks down at us... only magnified."
.........whoooosh. This is the perspective I needed!
Today, please let me hook you up with a few things that are inspiring and interesting and accessible through this little monster called the internet.
You probably know I just finished Forgotten God by Francis Chan. Well, I didn't use any of his internet resources for this book (even though I really liked using them when our Bible study read through Crazy Love). But, now I find out that there are some great resources there! Also, I happened upon this "trailer" on vimeo and I think it's worth checking out. It just might convince you that you should pick up the book too.
Let's just say you are like my dad and in the car a lot. And let's also say you wouldn't mind having something intelligent to listen to (other than, let's say, radio talk and country music), then you should definitely check this out: Christian audio allows you to download one FREE book each MONTH! That's right - it's free! I'm all about getting things for freesies and this month I think it's a gem, so I'm sharing it with you. It's a book by Mark Driscoll called, "Religion Saves."
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This is a short post. It doesn't happen often, so pay close attention.
I am preparing for the season of Lent. I don't know what this will mean, but I know I don't want to be about giving something up if I'm not adding more Truth to the daily mix. I want this time to be one where I understand better my history/why it is important, and how I will live differently beyond 40 days.
I just think I want to start some heart-preparing now.
I'm trudging on through the BRP (Bible Reading Plan) from the ESV study Bible and can't begin to count the blessings. Does anyone have any ideas, readings, books of common prayer, etc. that would be a good centering tool for this season (in addition to daily study)?
Oh, and yes, I did watch the Super Bowl at Micah House tonight (amongst many uninterested Micah boys:) and I did see the pretty amazing two point conversion... and I did try to explain the game of fútbol americano to several Hondurans (fail). It was a good night!
Thanks, Christina for writing yesterday about business vs. personal. I think the blurred line only gets more blurry when you are working in a Christian context. Because your business is also mission, and also community, and also the Body of Christ, and also family. All those things together make for a pretty crazy mix of business/personal. I have to echo the thoughts of our mom on this one... personal goes with you wherever you are. You bring 'personal' to every meeting, every encounter with a student, every board decision, and every pink slip. You bring personal because that is how we are made: personal, relational, human. I think God intended it this way. But, it sure is difficult.
Entirely unrelated (and mostly because I already have it written and it's an easy copy/paste job), I wanted to share something from awhile back. I spoke to two different sets of high school students a couple weeks ago on Nehemiah 8 (per my mother's brilliant suggestion) in an attempt to discuss joy and suffering. I did some writing before/after and here some excerpts:
When I stand up against Truth ...
(sin secret and hidden) spouting
nonsense words and misplaced
SHAME fills me and
too weak to stand
destroyed and scattered like
chaff, swept up by the hungry wind
and I fall faster
fear, though I know its true place
surrounds the pieces
of what was once complete
the feeling that i have failed
that the world has failed
is only overcome by the
it is overcome by the
I guess I'm on a bit of a poetry kick these days and I don't mind at all. I hope you don't either. I finished reading "The Singer" by Calvin Miller at the same time that the song, "Come and Sing" by Brooks Ritter (see yesterday) was repeating on my ipod. To put it shortly: after (what could have been merely) a frustrating day, I realized something... If all I accomplished today was getting myself to that beautiful throne to join in the angels' song, then that would be just fine. If I made it there and just really belted out my heart full of gratitude, then this day was alive. This song just kind of bubbled out of that joy.
I just want to post a few reflections I had on the Holy Spirit while reading through Forgotten God and studying Scripture. I am overwhelmed at this idea that God is inside of me. The power of the most High, the beauty and perfection and love and GOD. Inside of me, really?
I can't make sense of it. Inside me is so close. I can't escape this body and that's how close He is. The Holy Spirit is in me. whoa.
The Living Lord inside of me
littering the corners and walls and storage bins of my heart.
for I did not realize how close you were.
YOU LIVE HERE
this washed up piece of garbage,
cast-off and misused by its owner
this junk clumsily folded into
neglected and scorned by the one entrusted
this hollowed-out shadow, dark with anger,
fierce with bitter rage and pain
this monster so neatly covered,
the depraved mind and within
the lusting heart
the abused and burdened
the twisted and desperate
the confused and grieved
I just keep feeling overwhelmed at the enormity of the pain and suffering in Haiti. I know there are tragedies and disasters around the world every single day. Sometimes, we are struck with a disaster that seems so complete. This is one of those times. I just wanted to give a few links where you could go for info, give donations, and keep up-to-date on news and how to pray.
Compassion International is an organization that has proven themselves faithful to God's call to serve the poorest of the poor throughout the world. When a crisis happens, I know Compassion is already on the ground and already working with churches in the country that they have developed relationships with. I know when I support Compassion, I am not just giving money to a haphazard medical mission, but a structured organization with a pure heart fueled by God's design.
Paste Magazine is giving away a BUNCH of free songs to download if you donate through them or if you donate at all through any organization you can reach the free songs. This is a way artists are supporting the cause too.
Mars Hill Church is sending a team down with photographers and videographers to bring back images so people can see and respond. Read the story below.
The Mars Hill Blog | Blog Archive » Haunted by Haiti
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Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center has great pictures and blog to follow. Click below to see more from their blog.
The Gospel Coalition Blog has posted some really great, honest articles that give some perspective. I especially liked the article, "Live with Haiti in Your Heart." If you feel yourself stuck in a strange place of apathy and guilt, read this article.
Living Water International is an organization whose goal is to bring water to people all over the world, and also the living water of the gospel. Their goal is to repair 500 wells damaged by the earthquake. Click here to see how you can help. My family used our Christmas tithing money to support this great cause!
"We Will Rise Up"
This song is an anthem and a challenge to the church to rise up in the midst of hurting and pain to heal the world with the power of the Lord. Click on the link below to download it.. hopefully it works, it's a link from twitter. If not, go to NationsBeGlad twitter and they posted it there.
I don't care what you say, you phantom, cyber late night guilt-tripper. You can call me lame or loser or whatever you want to call me... I'm stopping at 8. I'm going to be done with electronics and planning and cleaning and thinking about anything but:
If this goal seems slightly out of character for me... well, it is. It just kind of rolled off my fingers in the blank that says, "Title:" above this post. But, after it came out I decided it would be a bold goal. I will use a few of these minutes to give just one thought.
It all starts with this quote I picked up from over at my friend Kaci's blog.
"Entering the day without a serious meeting with God, over his Word and in prayer, is like entering the battle without tending to your weapons. The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep. The body does, but not the heart. We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.” - John Piper
I read this today in the morning and sighed super heavy. Everyday resolutions struggle to be free every morning of my life. I'm not talking HUGE yearly ideas like losing 20 pounds or drinking wheatgrass everyday or becoming a professional singer or seamstress. I'm talking about every single morning when my alarm beeps at 4:45 a.m. I have this crazy inner wrestling match (strangely void of any physical motion) about how important it is for my resolutions to start this very day. It's always a toss up who wins. Now that I am reading through the Bible in a year, there's a lot going on in my mornings, so I really have to get moving, resolutions or not!! This quote brought it all back to center.
And there is God.
This morning, as I gathered details and permission slips for the orphanage field trip, I found out Michelletti (the current President) was going to visit. Nevermind the fact that this would never happen in the States, we pretty much lost any hope of salvaging the morning once the students found out. I can't try to explain how everything went down, but it was pretty neat to watch.
About 40 minutes after Michelletti left, I loaded up 25 7-12 graders into a bus to go to the orphanage for an afternoon of crafts, games, and a drama. We acted out Daniel in the Lion's Den and then we made Lion masks out of paper plates.
Then, at about 5, I tried to say I would "collapse," but instead I said I would, "complatz." I can't even reason out that I was smooshing two words or flip-flopped letters... it's just messed up (where did the 'm' come from??).
And I think back to the morning. And I think about the world and how big it is.
I think about the earthquake strong enough to flatten a city. I think about people who have survival first and
So, what will be the first on my mind tomorrow morning? The very first?
I'm a little late, but I'm starting anyway. I'm going to read through the Bible in one year. Should I be ashamed that the reason this thought sunk in (finally after years of pondering) was a twitter post by ESVdaily? Well, I'm not. I am thankful for twitter and for ESV Study Bible (which, by the way, is an AMAZING online resource!) and I am thankful that God's Word has become so dangerously relevant (who knew that God would ever speak to me through Twitter?).
So, today was the first day I officially began. I boiled a large pot of water and brought a cup and a tea bag strong enough to last through several steaming water refills. The ESV Study Bible was a little overwhelming at first. But, now, I am understanding how absolutely amazing it was the day I decided to order a year of WORLD magazine and receive the study Bible as a bonus. A BIG bonus. I am doing the Bible Reading Plan, conveniently found at the back with the mountains of other useful information.
I read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Genesis 1, Luke 1:1-25, and 1 Chronicles 1. I spit through the genealogies of Chronicles and spilled a bit of tea on the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke, but other than that the readings are starting out splendidly, with Eric Schrotenboer playing some great piano hymns in the background. I feel the weight of the Old Testament and have a new hunger to understand it, thanks to Lauren Winner. I want to see the beauty of redemption through the eyes of God's chosen people.
Tonight I will go see the Micah boys for Sunday night service and probably return to more tea before I read a bit (now onto Forgotten God by Francis Chan) before sleeping soundly in my slightly tidy messy room.
Look tomorrow for the first of many short stories of my childhood :)
I spoke tonight about joy and suffering at the HS outreach. This is the passage (thanks to my mom) we focused on and I believe it is so powerful in our understanding of what joy is, how we can find it, and how much God desires we have it.
1 all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.
2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
4 Ezra the scribe stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. Beside him on his right stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah and Maaseiah; and on his left were Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah and Meshullam.
5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear [a] and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.
9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.
10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."
11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
Read through this a couple times and see if your view of joy doesn't change too. Happy weekend everyone!