Monday, May 31, 2010

Preparing For Departure!

There are less than 48 hours until I leave, and I'm in the midst of making last minute preparations.

Which brings us to this:

I've gotten a lot of questions about navigating the comment stuff. People, minus the tech savvy ones, don't really get how to comment on the bloggity. So, assuming this works, you should be able to sign in with your facebook, twitter, or yahoo accounts. Or as a guest. Supposedly.

I'm not entirely sure if it will work.

Comment to help me test it out.

So now other stuff.

I have to finish packing still. I just haven't gotten to finishing it. There are a mere TWO DAYS until I leave. And wow, I'm starting to get nervous. Nervous just about being there so long. Nervous about lots of stuff. Nervous about leaving friends and family. Nervous about changing.

But mostly, I'm worried about my own ability to trust God. Sometimes it seems so easy. He's the God of the whole universe, not trusting Him seems stupid. But other times trusting the God of the universe means going against everything to do something that seems absolutely impossible with what seems like nothing.

Sometimes that's hard.

It's worth it, but it's hard.

This is the part where I'm going to choose to be a lot more honest than I'd really like to be.

Some days, I don't want to live my life in submission to God. Even though I know (remember, the difference between knowing something and knowing something.) that anything He has to offer is better than everything anyone else has to offer, some days I'd rather live doing my own thing.

Some days, He is all that I could possibly want. But.. not every day.

Not every moment of every hour of every day.

That's how it seems like it should be.

Some days I don't even want to work on making it there. Some days I look at where I should be, and I just want to cry because it seems like this far off place, thousands of miles away, that I'll never be able to reach.

Sometimes I look around and see all this potential for everything to be better than it is now. For everything to improve. And I hope and hope that we can reach that. But at the same time, there is that lingering cynicism that says, "We can never get here. How dare you even try to get there? You don't even know HOW!"

How does one overcome that? How do I know that the God that I know can do anything can do anything?

Okay, so now that I've worn my heart on my sleeve, here's a funny picture to distract you from Emily's epic failure.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

People Are Quirky Little Things, Aren't They?

Four days to go, and reality has yet to set in. It probably never will. I probably will be walking the streets of Honduras still thinking I'm back in Bethpage.

I never realized just how much I like it here until now. I was driving home last night, and looking around (mostly imagining it because it was dark), and I just kept thinking to myself, "Man, it sure it pretty here." Then again, there is beauty everywhere.  Isn't that a cool testimony to the glory of our God? The desert, the plains, the mountains, the deciduous forests, the sea, the coniferous forests (there's a difference, look it up), the rainforests, the arctic, the moon, the stars, and all those other neat space pictures we get have the ability to take our breath away.

Beautiful, isn't it?

change of plans.
It's been about 45 minutes since I wrote that particular tidbit of the blog, and now I'm gonna write about something completely different.

This is my blog so I reserve the right to be spastic and change direction at will.

Yesterday, it was brought to my attention that I own a large number of objects that I have deemed "quirky," objects that are functional, but that need a little bit of extra attention to work.

For example:
In Mom's shower, hot is cold and cold is hot. The knob thing is backwards.
My bedroom stereo doesn't always work.. it likes to choose it's own music.

and then there is Aidan the truck. He is in a league of its own as far as quirks go. For example...
1. The gearshift is off a little. All of the gears are actually a little to the right of their matching symbols.
2. The passenger door gets stuck sometimes and is hard to close or open.
3. The cd part of the stereo doesn't work. Except some days.
4. The middle seat is supposed to fold down for cupholders, and it does, provided that you put excessive pressure on the base of the seat.
5. The windshield wipers leave one long line of water right through the middle. (This has nothing to do with the blade, because it has done this with every pair we've had.)
6. There is this screw thing that holds the lock for the triangular window, and it shakes and makes it sound like the door (see #2) is open.
7. The passenger window rolls up slower than the driver window. It's automatic!
8. Sometimes the starter likes to keep the key and I have to turn the truck back on and then off to get it to let go of it.

If you spend any sort of time with me, you'd know just how much I *love* my truck truck. I talk to him and I say goodbye to him when I leave the house, and I sometimes say "Thanks for the ride, Aidan old pal!"

I knew all about my trucks quirks, but I never really paid any attention to them until yesterday when Kelsea was in my truck and she got to experience all of these things for the first time. Some people (not Kelsea.. just people) would want a different car. But I love my truck. I love my truck. I cannot imagine driving (routinely) another car. He is my truck truck. He's only failed me once (his battery died and he had to get a new one!).

People are like my truck a lot of the time.

I think of myself. It's no secret that I am "quirky" too. There are things about me that don't entirely work right.. they work, but just need a little extra attention sometimes. That is the beauty of grace. (Look! Beauty. See? It all comes full circle.) Even though we need a little extra attention sometimes, we're accepted and covered by grace. We don't have to work completely perfectly. My truck isn't perfect, but it gets me where I need to go.

 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. ~Romans 5:2

We are covered by His grace! His grace that accepts our flaws and shortcomings, and still manages to use us for His good!

Of course, I feel like it's important to note that this doesn't mean we can get out of needed maintenance. My truck still needs oil changes and tire rotations and a few months ago they had to replace some important belt in it. God still works on us, fine tuning our engines until we run smoothly.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

7 Days or 168 hours or 10,080 minutes or 604,800 seconds.

This post is mostly because I'm supposed to be doing something else.

Today I was overcome with a strange mix of overwhelming joy and absolute terror.

Joy because so many things seem to be going RIGHT. God seems to be working and moving in so many places and I'm just incredibly lucky to be able to see it all. I can see Him working in the SWORD team, putting the right people in the right places at the right times. Just last week we were talking about how we needed a place to go (the campground is going to be booked all summer with mission work!), and now we have a bus, a church that is open to us at any time, and a coffeehouse that we are always welcome to use for anything. Not to mention the church is allowing us to use their instruments  Just in a week, when we were no longer able to use one place, we were provided with a new place.

We were asked to lead worship on Sunday night at the church (Unity Faith Fellowship) and everything just came together. The musicians, the vocals, everything. (I just have to learn to run a sound board!) It's just so cool.

And now I'm leaving.

That part isn't so much fun, because it seems like we're just getting started doing real stuff. And.. now I'm gonna be gone for all of that.

Will it be worth it?


But right now, it's almost a bummer, because I want to see the team grow. I know I'll still get to hear all about it, but it's not quite the same.

I leave in ONE WEEK!! How crazy is that? I put the check in the mailbox today. I'm supposed to start inventory and figure out what all I'm going to take and what I need to buy and all that. I'm so excited, and still so so nervous. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be but there's so much that I don't know. Little things that you can't really ask, that just have to be tackled once I get there. I'm sure it won't take me long to settle into my niche there. I'm so excited about growing there. I told Amy on Sunday morning on the way to church that I was looking forward to taking all the things that I'd learned in church my whole life and putting them "to the test," so to speak. I'm looking forward to meeting and falling in love with the kids. I'm just looking forward to it.

Still.. one week.. so much to do. It seems like the whole week is packed full of stuff to do. I still have to shop for stuff and pack and clean everything so I don't have to worry about that on the way home. Then there's the fact that my schedule is pretty busy this week anyway. Church tonight. Kelsea is coming over tomorrow. Shopping and hair appointment Friday. SWORD meeting Friday. Babysitting Becca-Boo Saturday night. Church Sunday. Last minute preparations Monday and Tuesday, and then Bible study Tuesday night!!

Then I get to arrive at the airport around 4 in the morning for a plane that leaves at 6:15 Which means I have to leave my house around 3 in the morning. I don't plan on  sleeping until I get on the plane.

I'm supposed to arrive at the airport around 1 that afternoon. Then who knows what will happen.

This makes me very glad that I'm officially out of school. I don't have to come back until August. Today was my last day, and it is a wonderfully freeing sentiment. Next year is my last year of high school, then I have to be a big girl.

Speaking of being a big girl, this is what Willum told me yesterday: "I know someday you're going to really grow up and be mature and responsible. To be honest, it makes me very sad. But I know you'll be so happy then. For now, though, I want you to go to Honduras and be with your orphans and just be a kid and love them, ok?"

I think he almost choked up. I'm gonna have to spend some time with him before I leave. I'm so very loved. :)

Sorry there is nothing incredibly profound here. My mind is just bubbling with possibilities.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sniffin' Jesus.

I feel like I'm the only one who has ever thought the words, "Man, I just wish I could SMELL him!" Because honestly, that's not something we hear everyday. It's a rather strange statement for one to make.

Today on my way home, I was sleepy, so I had the Willum drive us home. I sat in the middle and used him as a pillow. (He's a sweetie and doesn't mind). When I was laying on him, I could smell him.

Here's the thing about Willum..

He smells AMAZING. Absolutely amazing. All the time.

He's the only guy I know whom I routinely sniff. He just smells so good and wonderful that I can't help it. One morning, he got in my car, and the whole truck was filled with the smell of the Willum instantaneously. It was very possibly one of the best drives to school in my whole life.

Anyhoo, so I was using Willum as a pillow and I sniffed him. He smelled like Willum.. with a little bit of school tainted in it. He laughed at me for sniffing at him. A few seconds later, he caught me staring at him, and just asked, "What are you thinking?"

So I very casually (as if it's a completely normal and sane question..) asked "Will. What do you think God smells like?" He grinned, and said "He smells like the rain.. ya know.. right after it's done and the sun is starting to come out."

The best smelling boy in the whole world. Forreal. 

So, I started asking people what they thought God smelled like, and the answers go something like this: incense, rain, lilacs and butterscotch, a meadow the clouds and chocolate milk rolled into one, bacon, peaches, deodorant, creation, outside, and raw carrots mixed with cacti and ammonia.

My parents said "Nothing, He isn't human and therefore doesn't have scent glands" (typical Dad..) and "It varies from person to person."

Now: A short lesson in the science of sniffin' stuff. (Most of which was taken from HERE.)

Okay your smell is what is known as a chemical sense, meaning that it is triggered by chemicals in the air. The scent receptors (known as olfactory bulbs) in your nose go straight to a part of your body known as the limbic system. Your limbic system is what produces the reactions that you can't control. For instance, if you smelled your little brother's fart and you crinkled your nose because it's gross. It also helps control the endocrine system (i.e. making you sweat or releasing adrenaline to make your heart race).  It has little to do with conscious thought.

Olfactory bulbs have the ability to trace scents (think bloodhounds), and every person has their own distinct scent.

Your sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than your eyesight. It has strong ties to memory, and it's retention rate after one year is 65%, compared to eyesight, which drops to 50% after 3 months.

After learning all of these little tidbits, I really began to wonder about the scent of God. If you read yesterday's blog post, I quoted Exodus 33:20, which is when God tells Moses that he would DIE if he saw God. Now, if our bodies are 10,000 times more sensitive to odors, just imagine what the pure, concentrated scent of God would be like. (At this point, I think my brain blew out my ears, seriously)

Think back to the limbic system, and how it is outside the control of thought or will. It makes me wonder if (and I'm not saying this is true, just a thought) when we are exposed to the pure scent of God, "every knee will bow and every tongue will confess." If you look at the gospel, when Jesus comes in contact with people who are possessed by demons, you often (not sure if this happens every time.. didn't check) see the demons falling at the feet of Jesus and worshiping. I wonder if that was an automated reaction to being exposed to the scent of God, even when masked by human flesh.

Scent.. as you are already aware.. rubs off on people. You can catch the scent of something and carry it with you. You also probably know that scents can mix. Let's carry this back over to God's scent. What if we, Christians, are supposed to be "carriers" of God's scent.. so that others can trace it back to God? What if we have, either unconsciously or consciously, have mixed God's scent with something that just frankly STINKS? What if the smell of God has been so tainted by us, that when people get that whiff of Him, it brings up feelings of pain and hurt?

So, what do I think God smells like? I think He smells like fresh creation. I think you can smell Him when I crucify my own flesh. I think He smells like trees of kindness and gentleness and joy and self-control (and all those others). I think He smells like a vineyard, ready to be harvested. I think He smells like an upside-down kingdom. I think He smells like soaked fleece on dry ground. I think He smells like a dove's twig, promising life. I think He smells like a ram, saving the life of a child.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comprehending An Incomprehensible God.

Last night, Jonathan was talking about how we simply cannot comprehend God. It's simply impossible for us, in our finite bodies, to understand God, the infinite. He was so very, very right.

But it made me wonder.. what do you do with that? Because, at least for me, the knowledge that He is incomprehensible is coupled, intertwined, mingled with the burning desire to understand Him, to know Him, to stand there with Him.

We talked about Exodus 33:20, which says "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." (KJV)

We can't even stand to see Him. He's that glorious. That wonderful. That beautiful. That holy. That PERFECT. So perfect, wonderful, beautiful, glorious, holy that if we were to catch even the slightest glimpse of Him, we would DIE. 

It would absolutely be worth it. Imagine, your very last sight on Earth is God in His full glory. If you know the story, you know that Moses got to see the backside of God as He passed by. You would also know that Moses was forever changed by that experience. By that moment. The Bible says that His first (and only) reaction was worship. He fell on his face and worshiped God. I think it is one of the most beautiful moments of the Bible. The Bible says that he stayed on that mountain for 40 days, and that when he came down from the mountain, his face was shining, and Moses didn't know about it. The rest of Moses's life, he wore a veil over his face because the people couldn't look at him anymore. 

Doesn't that just make you want to KNOW HIM? to know who God is? I don't know about you, but that's what it does to me. It makes me want to run to Him and say to Him "Show me! Oh please, oh please, show me! I want to know too. I want to see!" 

As we go to church tonight, I hope and pray that we have a desire to see His glory. I want to see it. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Picking Up An Old Story.

A few days ago I decided to start picking up an old story that I had started writing almost two years ago. It started as a novel version of the Book of Revelation (with some added fantasy elements). But it kind of escalated into something different and new.

The story followed four main characters:

1. Jason: The original Main Character (MC). A shy, artistic college freshman..

2. Derek: Jason's roommate/best friend from childhood. He's extremely sports oriented and competitive.

3. Susan: Single mother of a six week old son named Sam.

4. Melvin: Extraordinarily intelligent metrosexual astronaut.

Each of the four characters had surprisingly different views on God. They come together after the beginning of the rapture, and the story was set to take them through the entire thing and bring them close and bring them to love each other. Then they go to Heaven and you get to watch them as they see God and meet God and learn more and more about Him. To me, it's beautiful because you get to watch an extraordinarily narrow view of God transform into a view of Him that is broad and all-encompassing. You get to see a 2D or 3D version of the God of the universe turn into a view of the God of the universe as He is! With INFINITE dimensions! With knowledge that surpasses all understanding (like Derek learns!), with control over nature and the ability to step over the line of the natural world (like Melvin learns!), with beautiful healing powers and an extraordinary personal nature (like Susan learns!), and finally, with a safety that surpasses all other things (like Jason learns!).

It's beautiful, because the lives of these four people leaves them with four separate views of God, and God is the one who takes these views and says "Now watch this!" and absolutely astounds them.

I love it, because in writing it, I began to give myself permission to see God in a new light for myself. So now, knowing that I know Him better, I wonder if the story will be exponentially better than it would've been. My hope and prayer for this story is that if I ever finish it, that it could help someone somewhere see God in a  new way.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The More You Know, The More You Know You Don't Know... or Something.

I am currently reading "A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren (thank you John Stephens for recommending the read, and John Hill for providing the book.) I'm still in the beginning, but thus far, the book talks about the transitions between ideas and perceptions of God. It talks about how we are completely conditioned to be "analyzers." We look at everything from a scientific mindset. This is "modernist" thinking. But before modernism, there was Medieval thinking, and before that, there was Ancient thinking.

Both of which are COMPLETELY different from how we look at God.

This fascinates me, because lately, I have had no idea HOW to look at God anymore. I don't know if I'm supposed to look at Him like my friend, someone I can go to with anything and tell all the trivial meaningless points of my day, or to look at Him like my king, to go to under complete reverence, bringing only the things worthy to be spoken to Him. I don't know anymore. I don't know how I should pray or how I should study or how I should introduce people to Him anymore. I don't know if I'm doing anything right. I don't know if I should fall flat on my face, or walk right up to Him. I don't know how to even be with Him anymore. I don't know how to hear from Him. Do I need to sit in silence, trying to calm my ever-chaotic mind long enough to get a whisper of glory? Or do I just need to trust that He will tell me what I need to hear, as long as I'm listening? Is He up there twisting knobs and turning dials to keep everything in a specific order or pattern? Or is He watching patiently for His children to ask for His assistance in lives they're directing? Is "He" even a "He" at all?

I don't know.

I don't know God the way I feel like I should. I don't even know how I should know God. 

That leads me to what I want to know. I want to know how all the "greats" looked at Him. I want to know how the people who thought of Him differently than I do looked at Him. I want a fresh perspective. And if fresh really means old, then I want that too. In the basics of this research, I found a gaping hole in what I knew about Christianity. 14 centuries of Christianity that I know NOTHING about.

I know about Paul and Peter and John and Stephen and the "Early Church". I know about the beginnings of the Protestant movement and how Luther revolted against the church. I know about Wesley. I know about Edwards. But... what about the in between? Who came after Paul and before Luther? Who taught the people? Who showed all the grace? Who worked humbly as God's servants?

I don't know.

I'm starting an endeavor. An endeavor to learn about the people who loved God. And hopefully, in the process, learn about the character of God himself (herself?). 

14 centuries of history that needs to be uncovered. 14 centuries that couldn't even BEGIN to be delved into as much as I would like. But just a basic knowledge. A basic knowing of how they thought and what they believed and how they changed things.

Wish me luck :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To Glomp or Not to Glomp?

glomp: to embrace enthusiastically; to pounce on and hug, often from a running start

 This is one of my favorite words, ever. I do this to people all the time. I thought it was made up, but apparently it's Japanese and might be misinterpreted. I don't know. I don't really care. We call this "lingual development." You just wait. It'll make it to Webster. (This is a shout out to all the lovely members of! I love you guys!)

Anyway, that's not the point of this blog.

I'm a touch person. I love touching and being touching and texture and closeness and warmth. I love getting to church and hugging everyone. I love hugs. If I see someone I haven't seen in a while, I WILL glomp them. End of story. If you know me or spend any amount of time with me, you know that I love this sort of thing. I love laying in people's lap or whatever. Anything to make me feel close to people.

The one thing I forgot to mention in my last post was very possibly the only thing that kept me from having a total meltdown last week. Each morning when I woke up, I felt God's presence there with me. It was obvious to me. *this is the point where Emily sounds insane. But I promise, it's not as weird as it sounds* It felt like God was there with me, stroking my hair and my head was lying in His lap. One morning, I remember waking up, feeling like that, and just saying, probably out loud, "But God, I don't want to get up." And I felt Him urging me to get up and start my day. It was so tender, so close. That feeling, that closeness, that rest faded as my day got busy and time was sapped away from me and I "had" to do stuff all day.

Yesterday, I glomped God. I felt like I'd hardly seen Him all week, and I ran into His arms and I loved it. It was everything I needed for things to be better. It was everything I needed to calm down my brain, to ease the chaos. Being with Him is all I need to be happy.

So this morning, when our pastor  prayed that we each get a touch from God, I prayed that we get more than that. A touch is good. It's beautiful. It's changing. It's amazing. But I want more than that. I want to be glomped. I want "to embrace enthusiastically, often with a running start." 

That's all I really have to say. :) 

Just like that.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rest? What's that?

I'm tired. I'm exhausted. My head aches with words and questions and doubts and uncertainty. And I've never wanted to be out of my own brain as much as I do right now.

Part of me (okay, the vast majority), absolutely hates the way I am. The way I think. The way I feel. The way I process things. The way I criticize. Everything.

More often than I would like to admit, I find myself asking God, "Why did you have to make me like this? I don't want to ask these questions. I don't want to think about it. I don't want to reject this, and for ONCE I'd just like to be able to focus on something without having to go through pain and turmoil to keep myself on track for five minutes."

I just want so desperately to be different. To be something that's not who I am. To be someone who doesn't feel like she has to keep her mouth shut all the time. To be someone who doesn't have to "dig deep". To just take things as they are. Appreciate them for the surface.

I don't want to see the parallels anymore. I don't want to look at something and wonder about the symbolism or the history or the culture surrounding whatever I'm researching. I don't want it.

This week has been so long. It feels like so many people have wanted so much from me, and I just want to do things for me for once. I know it's selfish and that I should be more giving but I'm gived out. I'm tired of schoolwork and feeling like I'm letting everybody down. I'm tired of this uncertainty. I feel like someone has pulled the rug out from under me and I'm just waiting to crash. I'm just tired. 

This can't be what God meant for us to live. I found a verse this week that said: "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."

 We're moving too fast. Way too fast.

I'm ready to rest in God. I'm done with this running around and no time thing.

Cheers for a free weekend.

Sorry this hasn't been some spiritual expose or deep analogy/thought thing. I don't have one in me right now. I'll get back to you on that. There's one in me. Maybe on Elijah and Elisha. Maybe. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hezekiah* 32: The Sin Hierarchy

"And the Lord said, "Do not fear, Oh Israelites, for some of your sins are worse than others. Henceforth, these sins shall not be a abominable as the rest of them..." Hezekiah* 32:4.

*Hezekiah is not an actual book of the Bible, just what my youth pastor uses for all those things people say are in the bible but aren't really. 

No, it's not really in there. 

 I've noticed that there seems to be an unspoken, but very, very real hierarchy when it comes to sin. My theory is that putting a wall around ourselves "Well, at least I don't commit THAT sin.. I'm not THAT bad.." makes us feel safe, or, dare I say it, holy. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that we don't need as much grace as that other guy. It is our natural tendency to classify things. So we classify sins. And that classification, give or take a few, looks something like this...

Level 1: Basic Not-Really-Only-Kinda-Sin Sins
 These are things we don't really consider to be sins anymore, unless brought up by someone in authority, (such as a pastor) in which case they are sins that only other people commit.
                    Examples: Spreading rumors, jealousy, "little white" lies, horoscopes.

Level 2: Sins-Committed-Only-By-Bad-Christians
These are things that are done relatively commonly, but are only done by sinful, but still accepted, people. These sins are tolerated of anyone except those in religious authority, such as pastors, deacons, sunday school teachers, or anyone else attempting to challenge your personal belief philosophy. In a case where a person in religious authority is accused of one of these sins, any previous merit the person has received is nullified. This is the level at which the admittance of sin stops.

                    Examples: lying, using minor curse words, giving the bird in traffic, light drinking.

Level 3: Not-Really-OK-But-We-Might-Forgive-You-If-You-Gravel Sins
 At this point, few Christians will admit to committing these sins, especially if confronted by a pastor or other person in religious authority (see level 2). These sins, however, are okay to mention in testimonies, as long as it is understood that these sins are detestable to anyone else and said testimonier has been sin-free since. A Christian caught doing these sins will be allowed to stay in the church community, but the person will generally be avoided, and parents will teach their children to stay away from these people.

                   Examples: getting a second divorce (the first is generally excusable, this, however, cannot be mentioned in testimony UNLESS testimonier has reconciled with spouse one or two), having a child outside wedlock, starting rumors.

Level 4: Keep-Your-Children-Away-From-Mine Sins
These things are not acceptable to anyone who would like to participate in the Church community.

                   Examples: admitting to problems with pornography, any sort of felony charge, alcoholism.

Level 5: We're-Not-Sure-If-Jesus-Would-Forgive-You Sins
Let me just give you the list. These things are considered absolutely appalling.

                   Examples: Murder, attempted suicide, animal abuse, being a prostitute, having more than one child outside of wedlock.

Am I the only one who thinks that there is something wrong with this system? Maybe. I think it's incredibly dangerous to put levels ---and limits--- on grace.

Prodigal John, as he is known to the twitter world, the author of "Stuff Christians Like" posted this in his blog recently. (Check out his blog at!):

There was a guy in the Bible who was the worst. He was such a failure. He lied once and got an entire village murdered as a result. A priest and his family were killed because of his lies. He committed adultery. He cheated. He trusted in his own strength instead of the Lord’s. And when he did, when he failed, thousands and thousands of people died as a result. His family suffered from incest and murder and his hands were so covered with wrongfully shed blood that eventually God wouldn’t let him do something really important.
Now imagine if that person was a commenter on Stuff Christians Like. Imagine if they confessed to homicide and adultery and a laundry list of other sins. I mean there have been some crazy comments on this site, but no one has ever said, “I saw this girl online and thought she was really hot, so I slept with her, got her pregnant and then arranged on craigslist for her husband to be killed.” But this guy, the guy in the Bible, he could have left that comment. And if he did, would you or me or the writer of that email instantly think, “He didn’t take grace too far?” No, we’d be horrified. We’d be terrified.
So how is he referred to in the Bible? Here is what God says about him:
“I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart,”
 This view of grace, to me, is so astounding. And this is the scary Old Testament God saying all these things!! But just imagine if someone like that walked into the door of your church. If you're just casually chatting it up with them, and they told you something like that. Chances are, you (and thousands of other people) would never talk to him again. He'd probably leave after that, and you (and thousands of other people) would tell the story about the crazy ax-murderer you met in church and how you almost died.

Funny thing is... Jesus flocked to those people. Jesus liked them. Better yet, He loved them. He wasn't afraid to talk to the prostitute or the woman who'd had multiple husbands or the tax collectors or the dirty fisherman or anyone else. He wasn't even afraid to talk to the religious nuts who had that self-righteous thing down to a  pat. I'm willing to bet that if Jesus were alive today, he'd be talking to the stripper outside the club, the drunken homeless men under the bridge, or the teenage mom with two kids, or the creepy guy who very possibly may have just come down from a 3 day cocaine high.

And to think... we're supposed to be Jesus to everyone else.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Learning to Walk

I am sitting in a line that seems to stretch for miles. I'm one of few sitting down. Everyone seems so much bigger and stronger and better than I am. I can see the shadow of what I know to be God walking amongst the people and being with them, and I want Him. I want Him to be here with me.

He turns and walks in my direction. His shadow surrounds me on all sides. His hands tenderly reach around me and pick me up. My feet dangle in the air and I kick them, squealing joyfully. He sets me down on my feet, and my hands wrap themselves around His fingers. I wobble, trying hard to keep from falling. My feet aren't stable, but I cautiously try to take a step. I can hear Him encouraging me, but my focus is on taking my next step. I stumble, and start to fall, but before I can hit the ground His hands are back around me and He lifts me up and puts me back on the ground. I take one step, then another, focusing carefully on each step.

Finally, I trip and fall. I land on my hands and knees. I feel defeated for a moment, then I am lifted back into His loving arms. He hugs me, and whispers "Good job, baby girl" into my ear. He sets me on His lap and offers me a drink. His hand is behind me, supporting my back and keeping me from falling backward. He holds the cup up to my mouth and lets me get a drink of the cool water. I put my hands around the cup, wanting more than anything to do what my daddy does. My fingers feel small compared to His big fingers. I let go of the cup and lay back onto His chest. I close my eyes, and I can hear His heartbeat. I drift off into sleep, feeling His warmth and safety surround me.

Picture taken from here.
I had this day-dream type thing during worship at the SWORD meeting last night. I've felt just like that all week. In many ways, I feel like just a baby with God. I feel like I'm just learning how to do all these things, how to spend real time in prayer with God, how to study His word, how to reach out to people, even how to love. It feels new. I feel like I take more falls than I do steps.

But at the same time, I feel safe. I feel loved. I want to learn to walk.

Not sure what else to say, except this:

"When you pass through the waters,
       I will be with you;
       and when you pass through the rivers,
       they will not sweep over you.
       When you walk through the fire,
       you will not be burned;
       the flames will not set you ablaze." -