Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

donald miller thoughts.

When I was a freshman in college, I read Blue Like Jazz. I also heard a sermon on a single chapter of the book, and went through it with a group of people in my dorm. The thoughts Donald Miller puts in this “memoir” really started the maturing of my faith that I underwent while I was in college, and even now.

My sophomore year I read Searching for God Knows What. I am currently making my way through Through Painted Desserts, and after this weekend, I’m pumped for when I’m able to get my hands on A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

So fast forward to now. I guess now is as good a time as any to announce that I am officially moving to New Orleans next year to undertake a film project with my friend Lori. This has been something we have been in prayer about together for about 9 months and her for much longer than that. So anyway, I was excited to visit this past week for about 5 days and get used to the city a little more, but the trip ended up falling through. I can’t express how disappointed I was. Then I found out Donald Miller was coming to Southland Christian Church to speak the same weekend I was supposed to go. I was pretty excited to see him and the possibility of getting a book signed or something.

And God used Donald Miller’s words to again change my perspectives and affirm things that I am fearful about in my life.

What Donald spoke about this weekend is the concept of our lives as the telling of a story, and how God doesn’t necessarily give us a specific plan to follow to glorify Him, but says, “here are gifts and passions and dreams for you,” and guides you. And in this story, conflict is the essential and most important factor. And of course, what comes hand in hand with conflict is…. fear.

I have been really afraid of this project. Excited, but so afraid. What if I go down there and can’t support myself? How will my parents react to my leaving the great life I have made for myself here in Lexington? What if we never finish the film? What if it never goes anywhere but on my DVD rack next to my college comedy shorts that no one ever watches? Then I’ve left an absolutely wonderful job here in Lexington with a great living situation, etc, etc.

But my story is about telling stories. That is what God has given me a passion and a talent to do. And God used Donald Miller this weekend to affirm it. It doesn’t matter what conflict I run into now and when I go, because this is all part of my story. A story that I feel is worth living, and living well, because that’s what God calls all His children to do here on earth until the “Act III Climax” also known as the Wedding Feast of Heaven. I can’t wait to be a bride, but especially the bride of Christ.

So thanks Don yet again using your words, this time in person, to inspire my faith.


What Matters More?

October 20, 2009 1 comment

I follow Derek Webb, the former lead of Caedmon’s Call, on Twitter, and when he offered a free download of his “uncensored” single, I readily took it. The first time I listened to it, I didn’t catch many of the lyrics except for the “hell”, “shit” and “damn.” But I sure as heck loved the techno, synthesized beat. So I took a second listen and began learning the words.

Here’s the video:

Since then, I’ve come across a lot of people on blogs, especially Christian music ones, that have berated Webb for this song being “pro-homosexuality” and of course for his use of profanity. Personally, profanity for shock value is sometimes the best way to get a message across. But what struck me the most was how much of this actually matters? It makes me angry that people who don’t know Jesus may stumble across these blogs/opinions and chalk it up once again to those “close-minded fundamentalist Christians.” This large scale berating of other followers of Christ just irks me.

Because what did Jesus preach? LOVE.

And when it comes down to it? What is Webb’s single trying to emphasize? That we LOVE the hurting around us. Yes, homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle. But so is lying and manipulation. So is selfishness and self-centeredness. We ALL fall short of the glory of God. Those of us who have Christ dwelling inside us have the answer to this shortcoming. Why aren’t we sharing this with those who don’t know/understand/accept it?

The closest opinion I have found to mine on this subject is here. I really recommend the read.

I love this song, especially these lines: “Cause if you really believe what you say you believe / You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak / Wouldn’t silently consent when the liars speak / Denying all the dying of the Remedy”

Because that is what my Jesus is: the Remedy. The Remedy to the hurt, disappointment and injustice on this earth. The Remedy to the anxiety, restlessness and discontent of those of us who live here. And I have the Remedy. And the only way to share it with others is love and relationship. Period. What matters more? Love.

*steps off soap box*

The Glory of Unfinished Stories.

September 8, 2009 3 comments

This weekend was bookended with two very random occurances, & I know I need to share them.

Thursday night I received an at-reply on Twitter from someone I didn’t know, letting me know he reads this blog and it has made him think. I responded appreciatively and offered to try to answer any questions he had. The following two days of conversation blessed my life (That’s right Azrin, if you’re reading, I want you to know you have given me something you couldn’t even realize). I was asked to put my faith into words. This may not seems like a big deal, but wait until you have to do it. I was so blown away by his searching heart, willing to email a random person to further his search for Truth. My prayer life got a dose of perspective from this young man, and I pray that this story isn’t over. Keep searching. You will know when you have found the Truth; it is God and living for Him makes it worth it to wake up in the morning.

If this wasn’t enough, what happened to me and the girls last night is still rocking my world:
Coming back from my parent’s house to Lexington, I wasn’t planning on hanging out on campus, but ended up there at a cookout. Later that night I was at the house of my best friends and we were just watching tv. Someone knocked on the door, and it was a young man wanting to plug in his cell phone so he could make a call. Now, this wasn’t the safest part of town, so I kept an eye on him, realizing he was very upset as he was talking. He came in to ask for a pen & pencil, and I proceeded to ask him if there was anything we could do for him, trying to get his story. With tears streaming down his face, he told me his mom texted him to say goodbye because she had taken a bottle of pain killers.

I was blown away, as I’m sure the girls were too. Later I ended up talking on the phone to this young man’s father, pleading with me to give him a ride to the hospital in Georgetown where his mom was (about half an hour away). As much as I was ready to up and go, I realized the safety concerns, and after a dozen phone calls, my friends Josh and Matt came to pick up this young man. Before he left, we circled around him and prayed for him and his mother. The whole situation just shook me, and thank God for His providence.

Just the way God orchestrated that whole situation is still blowing my mind. Rachel told me later she just felt like she was supposed to open the door (even after some reprimanding from me about being more careful). Even just the fact that the girls were in the front of the house where they could hear the door is proof of God’s sovereignty. And of course, it is no accident that this young man chose to knock on their house, a house full of followers of Christ willing to show Love, even when common sense tells you not to do so.

So I guess you could say my weekend is one of stories I may never know the ending of, and I’m really okay with that. I’ve been praying for more purpose here in Lexington, and God delivered, and of course not in the way I was expecting.

My God fills me with awe & wonder, and I will praise Him forever.

My Weekend to Rob Bell.

August 18, 2009 2 comments

When I finally sat down in the second row of Mars Hill Bible Church, exhausted by the 8 hour trip and sleeping on a friend of a friend’s floor, I had no idea what to expect. The church was very inconspicuous, with no signs on the building so as we drove right past it. After 15 minutes of taking in the surroundings and watching the warehouse-type room fill up around the stage in the center, I looked up and suddenly saw Rob Bell and 2 other guys walk on stage. For a second, I got caught in the “holy crap, that’s Rob Bell 10 feet from me,” but I quickly recovered. The announcement guy said this week was gonna be special: they weren’t going to have any music (to my immense disappointment) but instead were giving the whole service to Rob to speak (to my immense pleasure). And then the next 75ish minutes were pretty cool.

[Let me preface this with the fact that I am not a huge Rob Bell fan. I enjoy NOOMA videos a lot, but do not necessarily like his writings, and am not very pro-Rob Bell doctrine/theology. That, however, did not stop me from going on this trip, or listening with an open heart and mind for what God had to tell me. And it was quite a bit.]

Rob began in Genesis 1 & 2, talking about how the earth was before sin aka how God intended it to be. He talked about us producing, ruling, subduing, and living in a blessed place. In these chapters, the earth is not a place to escape. The story starts here. Then he moved to Revelation 21 & 22, showing how when Christ comes back, He is bringing the Heavenly realm HERE; God dwells HERE. The story ends here. So many times, he said, we tell the story in relation to Genesis 3 (the Fall). Starting the story there concentrates on removing sin, on what we aren’t, and on evacuating from earth. But that’s not necessarily how it should be. Starting the story in Genesis 1 & 2 concentrates on restoration, what we are, and participating in creation.

And this all determines how WE share the story.

…the story is about Jesus’ resurrection beginning a new creation right here in the midst of the old one, about God reaffirming the goodness of creation, about anticipating the coming day when heaven & earth are one again (Rob Bell).

What I realized the most is that my hope as a follower of Christ should not be in escaping this world, but reclaiming it & overcoming it. My hope needs a good solid dose of perspective. Thanks, Rob Bell.

So while I spent 16 hours in the car and only 14 hours in Grand Rapids, I did come away with some great memories & experiences that only a ridiculous road trip with 5 friends can offer. And it was quite reaffirming that Rob Bell said God loves OCD people. 🙂

i wanna go Home.

November 17, 2008 1 comment

Last week was unlike any I’ve ever gone through. Quite high on the difficulty scale, there was little sleep, little class, much tears, and much driving, leading to a lot of playing catch-up for a lot of us this week. Not good timing with the end of the semester quickly approaching.

Yesterday, as I was pulling out of church, I was thinking about the way situations and relationships where handled this past week. Death, especially untimely and seemingly unfair death like we’ve experienced, many times brings about perspective. I used to hate that word. It brought me nothing but guilt. Now, I’m a little more keen on the subject. Anyway, I realized that no matter how I feel, I should do everything in my power to make sure people feel nothing but love from me. Even if I feel wronged, even if I want them to see my hurt, I should never make them feel anything but love. God will take care of the rest. Now, I know this sounds like another Christian cliche, but I hope you know I’m above that shit. This is truth. Easier said than done, but truth. It’s all about perspective.

Mostly the overwhelming feeling I have had this week is jealousy and anger. I am jealous that Tom and Brad got to leave this world, and angry that it wasn’t me. If that sounds morbid, so be it. This world is not my home. I don’t belong here. As a follower of Christ, I know that’s the truth. The most common thought I’ve had besides “I can’t believe he’s really gone” is “I can’t believe they got to go.” Heaven isn’t something I think about a lot, and with this perspective, (there’s that darn word again) it’s been on the forefront of my mind. I hate not being able to wrap my mind around things, and heaven is definitely one of those things. It’s times like these that I realize the fleetingness of this world, and relationships here, and my heart yearns for Home.

My heart yearns for Home.

Thank you TEL 300 (ok I’ll never say that again!)

October 11, 2007 1 comment

I’ve been at work since 7 this morning and I consider it a miracle I survived my first cold bike ride of the year (40 this morning!). Alas, I forced myself to do some homework after I warmed up and in my TEL 300 class, our group project consists of determining if the Kentucky Kernel (our campus newspaper) has a more liberal/conservative, positive/negative, or focus on certain issues kind of slant. Consequently, I just spent 2 hours reading Editorials and Letters to the Editor from my freshman year of college. This, combined with last night’s small group discussion on discipleship, has led me to this thought:

It’s becoming harder to be in the world and not of it.

As I was reading old opinions about the Genocide Awareness Project that came my first semester of college (they put up huge graphic pictures of aborted babies, people protested, police presence was heavy, it was during midterms week, etc), I found my face getting warm and my tension rising. This all happened two years ago, and it had nothing directly to do with me! It saddens me that much of this world believes Christians are “those kind of people.” You know, the ones who stand in the Free Speech Area at the Student Center and tell people they’re going to hell, the ones who put “God” and “the Bible” in their Facebook profile under Interests and Favorite Books and then get drunk on the weekends (notice I didn’t say that they drink, but that they get drunk), the ones who say they are Christian, which inherently means “follower of Christ,” and then they live solely for themselves.

This is beside the point, though, because what saddens me even more is that followers of Christ, myself included, engage in heated arguments, get drug into insulting debates, and do not show love when confronted with conflicting beliefs. I don’t know about you, but I get angry when someone disagrees with my beliefs about abortion… or same-sex marriage… or even gambling in the state of Kentucky. I get angry when people criticize me for boycotting Abercrombie, Hollister and Target and still shopping at Wal-Mart.

This is not how it should be.

If I remember correctly, love “is not easily angered” according to 1 Corin. 13, and in Colossians when it said “you must now rid yourself of all such things” the first thing listed is anger (ch. 3). When I get angry, I am not able to show Christ’s love. That sounds so puerile, and I wish I could jazz it up and sound theological, but then it would lose its substance. Plus the simplicity of the language does not account for the difficulty of carrying out its opposite. To show Christ’s love to the world, to be in the world and not of it, I must not act out of anger. I need to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart. I need to not give the devil a foothold, and when I open my mouth, what comes out should be building someone up or be of benefit to those who listen.

So that I pray for this post, that it be of benefit to you who have listened. Peace.