Thursday, September 2, 2010


I'm considering switching to wordpress.  Shhhh!

After visiting a few friends blogs on there, along with a few random ones, it seems to have a lot more versatility.  Also, their editing and design interface seems a lot more friendly, so far.

I'm open to hearing arguments either way.  Where do your loyalties lie, and why?

(see my first foray at

Sunday, August 29, 2010

something better, pt. 2

Noticed this in the bookstore today.  Timely.  (see previous post)

Creation gives us another such glimpse of God's glory.  I left out this example yesterday, but it's incredibly powerful.  It's just a slice of what's to come;  when our physical existence here on earth is redeemed, and we see Him face-to-face.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what was made, so that men are without excuse." [Rom. 1:20]

Saturday, August 28, 2010

heaven on earth.

Do you ever feel really, really lucky to be alive?

Could be at that perfect concert, right before the band comes out.  The anticipation is thick, and you get just a brief second to feel grateful that you're there.

Could be the moment you realize just how much a friend means to you.  Maybe you haven't seen them in a long time, but you notice them do that one thing that only they do, and a flood of memories rushes back.  You get this happy, tickling feeling just remembering that you know them so well.

Have you ever been around a dog when a gust of wind blows by?  He'll stick his nose into the air, taking in all the fresh smells.  You can see it when he's hanging out the window of a moving car, too.  It's almost like he's trying to get the most out of that moment of life--not missing even a single scent.

We love these moments because they give us a tangible connection to something bigger than ourselves.  Whether we find it through a good pint, a good view, or a good conversation, we love this feeling of "living life to the full."  We're getting such a sweet taste of a better life.

I love Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, because he makes a request for this very fullness of life.  He doesn't want to manufacture this feeling through substance abuse or thrill-seeking, nor will he wait around for the next random moment to come his way.  He knows the Lord is the only source of true life, and responds accordingly.

"...that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."  [Eph. 3:19]

But how?  There's so much pain and hurt in the world, and if we're really honest with ourselves, we all contribute to the brokenness around us.  How possibly can we be filled with this fullness?

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me HAS eternal life and will not be condemned;  he HAS CROSSED over from death to life."  [Jn. 5:24]

Present tense.

Believing that Jesus is the son of God redeems your soul, and God lives within you in all His fullness.  You have eternal life at that moment.  Our time on earth will still feel the curse of sin, but that too will one day be redeemed. 

I'm broken, you're broken--hope in Jesus Christ is a hope in He who ordains all of those moments we love about life.  Not only that, but even more than we can ask or imagine. [Eph. 3:20]

So the next time you catch yourself saying "it's like heaven on earth!" you might be closer to the truth than you think.

I confess this to you.

I have been treating fund development as a "functional savior." 

This summer, as I raise funds to do college ministry with InterVarsity, my hope and prayer has been reaching the point of being "fully-funded."  Naturally, that term means I've raised my entire operating budget for next year.  The problem is that I've put this goal in such a place of prominence in my life, that it has often replaced my true hope found in Jesus.

I've even gone so far as to establish this as a "functional heaven"--a place or ideal which translates to paradise, peace, comfort, and completeness.  I've anticipated reaching my goal of being fully-funded and finding worth.  That disgusts me to read, typed-out here.  I'm not going to erase it now.  It's been embarrassingly true this week, and I want to face it.

Well then, how does one get to such a heaven?  By way of a Savior.  

This process of fund development has become the functional savior on which I've started to place all my hope, energy, satisfaction, and even identity.

Earlier in the summer, I was doing FD pretty well.  Humility to myself, trust upon the Lord, and wonder at His incoming provision--this embodied my FD process.  Deuteronomy ch. 8 was crucial in keeping my perspective grounded in the reality of my situation.  It's not: "my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me" [v.17]  Not at all.  That verse comes in a passage that warns about forgetting God, and that's exactly what I've done.

Praise be to Him, for reeling me back in.

It was His word, not my own doing, that has called me into this place of contrast.  I see my own sinfulness against the truth of the great I AM, and that's not something we can see on our own, friends.  Here's how the Lord showed me.

"...apart from me you can do nothing." [Jn. 15:5b] 

I haven't been raising these funds.  I haven't been tuning people's hearts to have a vision and passion for my ministry.  The LORD has been at work.  I have only offered my best efforts of obedience to my calling, in faithfulness, and He is honoring those. 

All of the sudden, I feel like the little kid trying to help his dad cook breakfast.  I'm trying, probably even hurting his progress, but he's looking at me with love. [Jn. 10:21]

Since it was Scripture that brought me around--the true word of God--that's what I'm leaving with you.

"If you abide in me, and my word abides in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples."  [Jn. 15:7-8]

May you and I stay soaked in the word, and may the Lord be glorified by the fruit he bears through us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"the stakes couldn't be higher"

Why do I want to do college ministry?  Where did this passion come from?  I'm not even going to answer this myself.  You get enough of my writing and rambling, so this morning you get to read someone else's words.  context: I was checking out the blog of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA and came across this excerpt in their most recent post.  They just purchased a new building within blocks of the University of Washington campus, and they're stoked.

See their vision.  Hear my passion.

(Excerpt from Mars Hill Church blog.  Read full article here)
This is Huge
The building will be home to our U-District Campus and is located mere blocks away from the University of Washington, one of the largest, most influential institutions on the West Coast.

Students come from around the globe to study at UW, representing over 100 countries. A permanent presence in the middle of this crossroad of cultures will allow us to take full advantage of the transitory nature of college life. We’re in a position to influence these kids for just a few short years before they go on to start families, build organizations, lead communities, and change the world.

When students graduate, they’re sent out to either build their own kingdom or live for Jesus’ name. A sense of urgency comes with the territory, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Monday, July 19, 2010

you're my boy, Paul.

I've been reading Romans over the past few days.  So far, it has mostly been Paul's discourse on the nature of humans (sin) and the nature of righteousness (through faith in Jesus' death & resurrection)  It's always good to rehearse these theological truths, but during chapter seven I started feeling pretty crappy about myself.  It resonates so deeply with me when I read words like those in verse 18 that say,  "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."  At this point in the letter, our hope in Jesus had already been explained multiple times, but here our sinful nature seem so powerful!

"What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?"  (7:24)

Exactly what I'm saying!  Whew--thanks, Paul.  I'm glad I wasn't the only one feeling crappy here.  But what do we do?  He continues,

"Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"  (7:25)


The kind of "yes" when something is so relieving--so true!--that you feel like you could just fall down upon it with all of your weight, and find rest.  Reaching the shore after boating in a storm.  No more waves, no more insecurity, no more fear--just rock solid stability.  Immovability.  Breathing freely, deeply.

When I take a good, hard look at my sin, it's scary--but that's when the textbook knowledge about the Gospel becomes real.  I keep talking about wanting to "turn the corner," from dwelling in my sinfulness, toward grasping the Gospel deeply.  Paul is helping me get there.  Thanks be to God for using Paul to write these words, because they're finally making the long, hard voyage from my head to my heart.  I've known them, but now I'm knowing them.

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood..."
Romans 3:21-25


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Desperately wanting to be myself

It's so great to see old friends.  It's even better to know that I can be myself.

I get so caught up sometimes in trying to be the person that I assume people want me to be, that I miss out on a big fact of life:  people want you to be yourself.  That's what I want in other people, so why is it so hard for me to do it in my own life?

I remember back to my second semester of college, when this was a big struggle for me.  It was the end of my freshman year, and I was getting ready for a big transition (as if freshman year isn't transition enough).  I had been invited to work at a summer camp, and I was filled with a mix of nerves and huge excitement.  Four years removed, I can say that this was one of the best decisions I ever made, but at the time it was a big deal to make this commitment.

I'm from the mountains--this camp was on the coast.
I'm a people-person--I only knew one person working at this camp (I had only heard two people even mention it in my life).
I know nothing about boats--this was a sailing camp.

In the midst of all this, do you know what my biggest prayer was? I desperately wanted to be able to be myself.  I wasn't sure exactly what this looked like, but I felt like it was something along the lines of goofy, outgoing and confident.

I didn't find the answer that summer, and I still don't have it.  I can tell you that I've spent the past few months taking an honest look at myself, and I've come to a pretty stark conclusion.  I'm pretty bad, all-through, when left to my own nature.  It hasn't exactly been a healthy state of self-image during this time, but I feel like I'm finally turning the corner toward understanding and "getting" God's grace more and more each day.  It has been a real answer to prayer to experience it in different ways.  Basically, you and I naturally suck, but God loved us so much that He couldn't stand by without changing that fact.

This means that I'm accepting help, charity, welfare--but it's beautiful.  It's making me come alive, and it's so refreshing.  Amazing grace.  I'm starting to view that phrase as less and less of a cliche.  I pray for the day when you and I can humbly accept and rejoice in this truth together.

There's so much more that I want to write!  I've already written and erased twice as much that's written here, so this is probably a good place to stop.  As always, thanks for reading.  See you soon, friends--and hopefully as a humble, real version of myself :)