Thursday, December 1, 2011

by faith.

Somehow I've seemed to have zero time to write any blogs in way too long...if that even makes sense. But, what better time than when I should be writing a paper that's due in 5 hours for a final in my last semester of college? No time like the present, right? That's what I thought.

My heart was so heavy this morning. After I woke up, in my typical routine, I grabbed my phone and pulled up Twitter (no one make fun) to catch up on anything good I may have missed over know, just to check and see if any other Kardashians are pregnant, make sure that the NBA is still un-locked-out, etc. While scrolling through my timeline, I see a friend's tweet that said, "HE who promised is FAITHFUL."

Ever have one of those moments that you feel like someone says something to a million people, but it could have been just for you? That was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I've heard and said it countless times that God is faithful, but for some reason, this morning it resonated in a whole new way.

After seeing that I just started praying that I would hold onto the promises of God and that I would trust him to keep them. I know it seems like such an elementary prayer, but maybe that's what we need sometimes, a childlike trust that God is going to do what he has promised, without question.

After I forced myself out of my warm covers and downstairs for some coffee, I opened up my Bible to get in the word and the page I opened to, the first verse I laid eyes on was this: "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for HE who promised is FAITHFUL." [Hebrews 10:23] Not to mention, the "title" for the passage is, "A Call to Persevere" -- something I need right now, perseverance...believing that he who began a good work in me will never leave me and will bring it to fruition.

I kept reading and went on into chapter 11, By Faith. This chapter of the Bible has to be one of the most inspiring and challenging sections of scripture for me. By faith, Abel. By faith, Enoch. By faith, Noah. By faith, Abraham. By faith, Isaac and Jacob. By faith, Joseph. By faith, Moses. By faith, the Red Sea was parted. By faith, the walls of Jericho fell. By faith, Rahab. By faith, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets. By faith, all of these people became incredibly useful for the sake of Christ and the kingdom of God...when I die, will it be known that by faith, I lived? By faith, Jordan...did what?

Do I regard disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of this world because I'm looking ahead to my reward?

Look up the lives of these people; they weren't perfect, by any means. They all had their failures. But, they all made themselves available to be used by God in extraordinary ways. All of these people accomplished incredible feats for the kingdom, through faith. It goes on to say in verse 38, "...the world was not worthy of them." Through faith, are we living lives that the world is not worthy of? Are we coming together as a force for good for the cause of Christ? Are we living by and acting in faith?

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." - Hebrews 11:1

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6

I hope that this can come as some encouragement to anyone who reads this, as these passages of scripture have been for me. God is faithful. He is good. And his love is great.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:24-25

Sunday, July 10, 2011

jordan at the well.

Yet again, El Roi (God who sees [me]) saw my heart tonight and knew exactly what it needed. Funny how He does that...sees my heart, knows my heart, and still gives me what I need and loves me beyond comparison.

Tonight marked week 4 of our study in the Gospel of John at Passion City Church. Before Louie (Giglio) even started tonight, he prayed that our lives would be "wrecked with grace." And that is so what I've been praying over my life and the lives of some of my close friends lately...just in better "verbage." Haha. God completely reminded me of that grace tonight.

You may want to go ahead and read John 4 before you continue...just throwing that out there. I promise it won't be a waste of time.

Chapter 4 starts off (and continues to be a majority of the chapter...not to belittle the incredible works of Christ in the 2nd half) with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. (Insert history of Samaritans and Jews here...long story short: they didn't associate with each other.) Oh, the infamous "woman at the well"...married 5 times and living with a 6th man. Our modern day scandal, "that girl" people think they shouldn't speak to for fear of hurting their reputation...or is You? The everyday sinner...doesn't that mean all of us? Yep. WE are the woman at the well. We are the sinner, the woman who has had 5 failed marriages, or failed 5 times in some other way. Our sins or our failures are no more or less than hers. We are the person Jesus Christ risked and gave everything for. Getting a picture of this grace yet? Just wait.

What is it that you've failed at over and over again? What are your 5 failed marriages? Right now, mine are the 4 years I've spent in college more worried about my social calendar and personal agenda than being burdened for the souls of some of my best friends who don't know what a relationship with Christ is like. How in the world could I waste 4 entire years pursuing my selfish desires and chasing after things that mean absolutely nothing in the scale of eternity when I know that some of the people that mean the most to me don't have the promise of eternal life? Just the thought breaks me. The fact that I actually did it, I have no words for. But, the fact that God knows that, that He's stayed with me and my selfishness the past 4 years (or 22 for that matter), is a display of grace beyond comparison. It is a picture of Christ on the cross. Love indescribable. It is the water of life that Jesus offered the woman at the well and that He offers me and you.

"...but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

"When Jesus saw her (the woman at the well/me/you), He didn't give her a righteous lecture. He gave her an unfathomable offer." (Louie) The offer was/is grace. Christ in me is the hope of glory.

"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27

The water the Christ offers us is grace, hope, forgiveness, redemption.

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." John 3:17

[Skipping a lot of other incredible verses and important parts of the story - because I feel like I'm either hitting a word limit or the end of an attention span...ha.]

Verse 42 says, "They said to the woman, 'We no longer believe just because of what YOU said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.'" This verse hit home to me on so many levels. But, the main one is, what am I saying? Are people believing not only because of what I say, but because what I say leads them to hear for themselves from the Savior of the world?

As much as I regret wasting so much time these past 4 years, I can't change the past. But, I can change the direction of the future. Behind me are the years I've spent more concerned with my own agenda and ahead of me are the days that I make plans and follow through on intentionally sitting down with those that mean so much to me that don't know the love of the Father. Without the grace of a Father who loves us beyond description and comprehension, I would be a lost cause...along with the woman at the well.

So, I'm asking for your prayers. That you would pray that God would grant me strength to be bold in my faith and that the agenda of God would be mine as well. This is also my prayer for you.

"If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

choose LIFE.

Tonight, I experienced one of the most powerful and touching moments of my life at Passion City Church.

To start the night off, the time of worship was awesome! (Led by Chris Tomlin & Christy Knockles.) The house was packed...standing room only. My friend & I had been saving two seats for a couple of friends, but saw an older man and what I believe was his granddaughter standing against the wall & we offered them the two seats. I couldn't be more glad that we did!

Louie Giglio, the pastor, has been doing a series on the Gospel of John and tonight we were studying chapter 3. Each week, we go through a different chapter and Louie gives us a key word to summarize the chapter. Tonight's word was LIFE. (Check out John 3 and you'll see why!) He talked about how every believer has two births, one of the flesh and one of the Spirit, and only one death, of the flesh because our soul has been given the gift of eternal life. (verse 5)

At the end, he offered the chance for anyone who experienced their second birth (of the Spirit) tonight to a room of at least 1,000 people, about 3 people stood. After a moment, he felt compelled to encourage anyone who was timid to stand at the first offer to take the opportunity now and gave them a few minutes. As I began to look around them room, people were beginning to stand left and right. A couple of minutes later, there had to of been about 30 people standing.

Here's where it get's good...after about 3 or 4 minutes had passed and everyone we thought was going to stand had stood, at the last minute, the grandfather sitting next to me stood up. He had to have been 70 years old. As he stood, tears started streaming out of his eyes...and soon enough, out of mine. He was the last person to stand and then Louie began to pray. As Louie was praying, people just gathered around this man, laying their hands on him, and praying for him as he stood there weeping.

How encouraging! A man, closer to the end of his life, finally finding a new beginning of true life in Christ...standing there singing, hands raised, "I'll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all. I'll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. All I am is Yours."

Sorry for giving your seats away, guys, but this was way worth it. Sitting next to a man who realized it's not too late...that he too could find eternal life as a child of the King.

As we were sitting there, all I could think of was 1 John 3:1 - "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called CHILDREN of GOD! & that is what we are!" This man truly experienced the love the Father has lavished on us tonight and realized that there isn't an age limit on becoming a child of God!

My heart is full of joy knowing that this man's heart is now spoken for!

"If there is something that absolutely must be done before you die in order to go to Heaven, waiting until tomorrow is insane." - John Piper

Check out any of Louie's pod-casts here: I definitely recommend watching the "Open Heart" series and the "Word" series (the series on John).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

wish i may. wish i might.

Here's my June 2011 Wishlist:

1. Any of the bracelets from the DANNIJO Rima line ($95 a piece)...they happen to be popular on one of my new favorite bloggers, The Man Repeller. She wears multiple at a time and calls it an "Arm Party." I wouldn't mind a similar Arm Party of my own...I die.
2. A pair of the Ray-Ban RB4147 Flatop Boyfriend Sunglasses ($129.00) a proud member of the Ray-Ban clan, I may be slightly obsessed with this style and feel the need to add it to my collection of sunglasses. This pair resembles the original Aviator style, in a more modern way. I'm thinking I need these.

3. A pair of Tom's Ash Canvas Women's Classics...probably the most comfortable shoes on earth. Love them.

4. Tickets to see Taylor Swift & NEEDTOBREATHE on either July 9th or July 10th. I'm dying to be there.

5. And coming in at number 5 is...this ( chunky lace swing dress from Tibi. It is perfection. Not to mention I have a dying love for lace, at the moment...and a long term relationship with the color black.

6. A cream blazer...preferably in a J.Crew style...I just haven't found one yet. So, keep your eyes peeled friends & let me know if you spot a good one!

Hope all is well! Xoxo.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

the house that built me.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove past the house I grew up in that my parents moved out of coming up on a year ago. And, for the first time since moving out, I saw another family living there. One with young kids that had sidewalk chalked a huge "Welcome!" on the driveway. As sad as I was to see someone new living in the house my father built, I simultaneously felt a pang of hope...hope that the children that live there now will have a similar upbringing that I did, in the same home. I hope that their parents love them, encourage them, and tell them they have the world at their feet--like mine did.

I hope their parents teach them that, no matter what, love wins. Love for each other. Love for others. Love for the Father. I hope that they learn what it is to be loved and to love in return.

I hope that their Dad teaches them what it is to be competitive, but a good sport all the same. I hope he instills in them a sense of adventure and a love for travel. I hope he teaches them that hard work pays off, but work isn't life. And, that integrity is more important than a paycheck. I hope they inherit his love for others and the joy that reaching out to those less fortunate brings him. If these kids are lucky enough to have a father like mine, I hope they know how fortunate they are and that they never take a moment with him for granted.

I hope their Mom loves them more than words can say, that she tells them they are "her heart." I hope she is their biggest fan. I hope she gives them "surcies" just because and that she teaches them how to cook. I hope that her wisdom is passed down to them. I hope they hear how beautiful they are from her and know that there's nothing they can do or say to make her love go away. If their Mom is anything like mine, I hope they know she'd give them the world if she could.

But most of all, I hope the parents of these children teach them that there is no love like the Father's and that He is truly all they need. I hope they know that while they may not have everything they want, between those four walls, they have everything they need, and that's more than enough.

If these kids are blessed enough to have parents like mine, they are blessed enough.

With Mothers' Day just passing and Fathers' Day approaching, I found this a timely inspiration. I can't begin to express the gratitude I feel for my parents and the lessons and values they have instilled in me. I truly could not have asked for better.

Mom and Dad, I love you more than words can say.

"But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13b

Thursday, January 13, 2011

heart abandoned.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have just heard a sermon that you feel was written specifically for you and at the end of it, the worship leader comes out and plays just the right song to close out the message? I have. I did last night, in the comfort of my own room.

I'm in the process of reading David Platt's book Radical - one I would recommend to anyone! And as I was reading, I came across a section that sang to my heart. Here's an excerpt:

"God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in His extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate His power to all who are radically dependent on Him and radically devoted to making much of Him."

It's safe to say this rang in loud & clear! I read these two sentences over and over again, dissecting each part.

*God delights--this brings Him joy!
*In using ordinary Christians--that's me.
*Who come to the end of themselves--where am I? (Insert Philippians 1:21)
*And choose to trust--it is OUR choice.
*In His extraordinary provision--He is Jehovah Jireh (my Provider)!
*He stands ready--with all He is and does, He is ready and waiting on little me to call on Him!
*To allocate His power--the Holy Spirit is the power of Christ in me.
*To all who are radically dependent--to all, not just some, all who are radically relying on God to supply them with ALL that they need.
*And radically devoted--definition of devoted: dedicated exclusively to a purpose or use; am I exclusively dedicated to Christ?
*To making much of Him--we were created to make famous the name of Jesus and to live a life worthy of the gospel! (Philippians 1:27-28)

When I finished the chapter, I could hear in my head myself, along with 22,000+ other college students at Passion 2011 Atlanta, singing,

"I'll stand, arms high and heart abandoned, in AWE of the ONE who gave it all! I'll stand, my soul, Lord, to you surrendered. ALL I am is Yours."

I hope that, in some way, God uses this to touch your life in the way it has mine and that you will CHOOSE a life RADICALLY DEVOTED to the One who gave it all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fresh Start.

Passion 2011--I'm not really even sure where to start with this...or what to say. There's so many things running through my mind and some still processing. In the past 4 days, my mind has been blown, my world has been rocked, and my life has been altered forever. And, it's not because I was at Passion 2011. It's because Christ was.

I went into this conference with the desire to start my year off by immersing myself in the presence of God with 22,00+ other believers. The first night, in our community groups we were asked the question, "What are your expectations for these next few days?" My answer was simple. I had none. I did not want to put any limits or expectations on what God was capable of doing in my life during this conference. I wanted Him to take the reigns and say, "Here I am, follow me." I did have a prayer, though. My prayer for this time, and still, was that God would break my heart for the things that break His. And that is exactly what happened.

I have more desire now to serve Christ and to live for His glory than ever before. My heart is burdened for the souls of the lost. And at the same time, my joy is made complete in Him. Our first night there, Louie Giglio spoke on making sure our lives count for what matters most. At one point in his message, he said something that has stuck with me. He said, "God is no respector of age. You can change the world right NOW." He went on to talk about Time Magazine's Person of the Year, Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), and how, at age 26, he has changed the world. He is only 4 years older than me. Imagine if I lived my life, if we lived our lives, in such a way that, by age 26, we had forever changed the world for the Kingdom. After spending some time thinking about that, I only had one question. What's stopping us? We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

"Do not 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. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." --1 Timothy 4:12-16

After the second night, I added another part on to my prayer for this conference. Francis Chan spoke on living a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ. He asked us two questions. 1. Can people see that I believe in hell? 2. Can they see that I'm saved from it? I evaluated my life, my actions, and my speech and came to the conclusion that I had some serious stepping-my-game-up to do. I asked myself when the last time I shared the Gospel was, and my answer was WAY TOO LONG AGO. So here's the second part of my prayer: God, make me dangerous in the eyes of the enemy for the cause of Christ.

"But if I say, 'I will not mention him or speak anymore in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot." --Jeremiah 20:9

The next morning Andy Stanley said something at the beginning of his message (which I will delve into in a later post) that really clicked with what I had been praying. He said, "You have NO idea what God may use you to do in the world." Which led me to ponder, is my heart in a place to accept whatever it is that God will have me to do?

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." --1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 2:12-14

Another thing I learned (from Beth Moore's message) was that for every plan God has for my life, Satan has a plot to destroy it. So, I'm working on constantly renewing my mind and keeping Christ's glory the motive of every action. I'm still processing everything that I've learned in these past few days, but I just wanted to share a bit of it. I serve a Master who demands radical sacrifice and a Maker who gives radical rewards. (David Platt)

"I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." --2 Samuel 24:24

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." --Matthew 6:20-21

"Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead..." Our God is the I Am. Not the I Was. Not the I Will Be. He is the I AM. I am done dwelling on the things of the past and worrying about the future. My focus is now on the present and making famous the great I Am.

Now is the time for change. Now is the time for sacrifice. Now is the time to bring fame to the name of the Lord. Now is the time to glorify our Creator. Now.

I will be posting more on everything God had for me to learn during this conference, but I wanted to give you just a portion of it now! We serve an amazing God.

Let our shout, be His anthem.
All glory to the Father.