Friday, December 31, 2010

dreaming




last night was so. much. fun.
when you are surrounded by a community of people who love each other this deeply
and when those people are convinced of the power of the Gospel
and those people consistently speak life over one another

transformation happens.

empowerment manifests itself in the lives of people.

the Name of Jesus is exalted.

and i dream.
i dream because i believe these dreams to be possible.
mom asked me a couple days ago about the degree that i am working toward
and for what may be the first time
i answered impulsively and assuredly.

and so i'm dreaming.
because i believe so much to be possible.
because i believe Him.
because i have been loved so well.

1 john 4.12
no one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us
!

Monday, December 27, 2010

fruit


YOU are my identity.
I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, even You.
“I am not good enough” will always be a lie.
I need You like nothing and no one else.
I am good enough. I am enough.
When You look at me You see Jesus.
I am good enough because He was more than good enough.
Love is acceptance and grace, patience and compassion.
By the ground in which I am rooted, I will bear fruit, fruit that will last.
My dreams are not small; they are not less.
Your gifts and Your call are irrevocable.
You have equipped me with everything that I need.
I am priceless in Your sight.
Real grace is only given when it is truly received.
YOU are my joy, my peace, my hope.

[john 15.16-17] You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

twyla



[kendra, beka, me, twyla]
can i just tell you how blessed i am to know this woman?
she [and her husband, steve] have blessed my life more than they may ever understand.
the wisdom and confidence that they carry i covet.

paul tells the corithians, "be imitators of me, as i am of Christ." [1 corinthians 11.1]
i hear this same call from so many godly men and women and these two are no exception from them

and i take an example from Jesus' disciples who seek not only to know the teaching of their master, but who desire to be just like Him and who then have a ministry to call others to follow them as they follow Christ.

and i will not hesitate to say that i hope [and pray] to one day have a ministry with even half of the impact as the Lees'.
i have had the opportunity to sit as a disciple in their class, in their office, in their home this semester and to leave is one of the most bitter parts of this semester's coming to a close.
i've sat and talked with them enough times, gaining God's perspective and His wisdom, and being reminded of the differences between His voice and that of the enemy.

satan’s voice:
rushes/pushes/frightens/confuses/discourages/worries/obsesses/condemns
God’s voice:
stills, leads, reassures, convicts, enlightens, encourages, comforts, calms

i've observed how precious and impactful a ministry can be in which two people partner together in all grace and vision to love people for God's glory, not their own.
i asked twyla that night, as our bread dough baked,
what would you say are the three biggest factors that brought you and steve into the place of ministry and influence that you have with young adults today?
without hesitation her first answer was: God's grace. there's no way steve and i could have lasted apart from Him.
the second explanation she gave was: partnering in ministry. we've always done ministry together.
and the third: commitment. and hard work.

i've begun to understand and accept my value.
i've learned to pinpoint some of the lies that i have believed and i've learned to replace those with Truth.
i've experienced love in way that i haven't felt the need to perform in order to be "good enough", but simply to run after Jesus as i am.

oh, and i'm home. all is very well.

merry christmas :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

favorites

1. skiing at copper!
2. rockies game in denver
3. graduation day and hanging out with the moore's
4. cascades hike with michelle, andrew, and kevin
5. bread-baking and talks with twyla, kendra, and beka
6. celestial seasonings excursion in boulder
7. mountains mountains mountains
8. quiet times and Jesus Calling
9. koinonia dinner at the thomason's
10. old colorado city with the kucera's
11. thursday nights- family dinner and worship
12. glen eyrie with kathryn and alyssa
13. carless drive-in!
14. laughing over lunch
15. monday night football at the Lee's
16. laughing with mallory
17. learning to crochet with ciera
18. the convenience of a 24-hour gym across the parking lot
19. a sunday afternoon at agia sofia with kathryn and bethany
20. L7 [life group 7: kendra, scott, ashlea, janae, joy]
21. CHC fundraising event with live music and art sale at jive's
22. bus rides
23. valentine's day at 1022
24. an amazing pool like i've never seen
25. barn dance and cowboy hats

Monday, December 13, 2010

immanent

i'm growing so much more sure than i've ever been
more sure of myself
more sure of God's grace
more sure of His immanence
and more sure of my future as a valuable part of the Kingdom

he has used so many different avenues this season to reveal Himself
and Truth
to me

people.
people people people.
there have been a handful of people here this semester who have spoken truth,
whether they were aware of it or not,
to places in me that so badly needed to hear it
maybe just a word
maybe direct guidance
maybe a conversation or a challenge that i needed to face
but all of it in love

and this season too has been one in which i have wrestled with my own integrity,
asking God to "Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting." [ps. 139.23-24]
and He's not slow in answering these requests
His goodness is such that He takes great delight in our growth
and He isn't afraid to allow us to struggle to meet that end
because
our growth means our increasing Christ-likeness
like Paul claimed, "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." [phil. 3.10-11]

dr. phil has always said, "you can't change what you don't acknowledge."

i want to be made aware of it in order that i might acknowledge it, and then to change.

a few illustrations from class come to mind

johari window



and
system of change:
unconscious incompetence (I don’t even know what I need to know) →
conscious incompetence (I realize how much I don’t know) →
conscious competence (I am learning and practicing) →
unconscious competence (now becomes part of who I am)

*the change ( → ) cannot be achieved by focusing on elimination, but by replacement

there is much that still lies ahead of me on my journey, but i'm not intimidated by it.
instead i take this as a challenge

deut. 30.19 "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life..."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

leftovers

finishing leftovers this week
and getting ready to get back on a plane-
hoping this is the last time for a while.

i'm anticipating going home and making leftovers at home,
hoping to bless mom with a little help in the form of these favorites
[ones that i've accumulated while i've been out here]

from kathryn- creamy pumpkin soup
[i prefer to leave out the water]



lemon chicken



mom's banana bread [not my mom's recipe, but maybe it will be soon]



and i thought of you, jana, when i wrote this.
i hope that you might enjoy one or all of these as well~


.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

courageous



perk |pərk| |pəːk|
noun (usu. perks) informal
• an advantage or benefit following from a job or situation : they were busy discovering the perks of town life.

yes, a perk indeed.
we got to talk with some of the actors and see a special screening of the film before it premieres in theaters next september.
it is well done [although not hollywood quality, they don't claim it to be]
with another amazing message for building up the institution of the family in our context.

the message is directed to men,
pushing them to actively engage in the battle for a healthier society.
the challenge is for our men to step up, embrace a maybe-foreign introspective pattern of understanding themselves,

and to accept the call of their primary ministry: loving their wives and their children well.
[far beyond adequacy]

this is a call to integrity,
to accountability and discipleship,
faithfulness to God - His Spirit, His Word, His children.
for these things my heart beats as well.

i'm excited to see what our Father desires to do through this movie for His Kingdom.
9 months and counting...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

suffering

and a sermon from shemen sasson [brings back sweet memories]
by shimon myers.

April 15, 2006: Suffering
[if you want to listen, you'll have to click the link,
then scroll down to April 15, 2006]

i pulled a few exerpts here:

God trusted job enough to let him suffer greatly.
what if God wants to make an example of you to the enemy?

we question our suffering when instead we should question God's grace.


when we're suffering we consider in a mystery, but the mystery really is why does anything good ever happen to any of us?

i challenge you like paul to consider the goodness and severity of God.

consider the goodness of God. He's greater in mercy than anyone in here could ever be.

2 peter 3.9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is LONG-SUFFERING to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

long-suffering [adjective]:having or showing patience in spite of troubles, esp. those caused by other people

don't think you can earn your way out it.

the answer to your suffering isn't just that everything is going to be alright.
we go from trial to trial.

we live only out of His mercy. and grace.

38.2. WHO IS THIS?

who are you to answer God?

You can please God, but don't think that somehow by your goodness you're going to negate suffering.
if you're not suffering chances are you're not anywhere near God's will for your life...

"would you condemn Me that you may be justified?"

the full revelation that job received was seeing who he was (40.4) and seeing who God is (42.1-6)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

rest and grace

simple and beautiful, one of my favorite songs currently:

Rest In You - Hillsong

Your faithfulness endures always
Where mountains fall and reason fails
And You calm the raging seas
And You calm the storms in me, again

All I know is I find rest in You
All I know is I find rest in You


My heart will praise throughout the night
Where singing seems a sacrifice
Your grace is all I need
Your grace is all I need


Rest In You

Friday, December 3, 2010

sore

let me just say that i have never been more sore IN MY LIFE.
but
yesterday just may have been the most fun i've ever had. in my life.
my alarm went off at 445a. we boarded a bus at 545a.
we arrived at Copper Mountain at about 800a.

we suited up and headed out.
the baby hill first,
and i'm not kidding
we rode the conveyor belt about 15 feet, with the 3-year-olds
then we headed to the beginner's green hill
and this was a blast.

[riding the lift with kendra]

once we got the hang of the small hill (i didn't realize at the time that "small" was understatement), we tried the next "green" trail
alyssa, patrick, and i got on the american eagle lift
and after what seemed like an ETERNITY (probably close to 10 minutes), we got to the top [just before the skittles. ha.]
this should have been our first clue that this green was a bit more than the last
considering that the last lift we rode was no more than a 2 minute ride

[here's lindy and katelyn at the top of the mountain
beautiful, huh?]
so then we set out down the trail.
winding around turns at a downhill angle that i'm not sure i was quite ready for
the most terrifying part being the cliff-like fall to our right. gah!
i managed the first quarter quite confidently.
then came the humbling portion of the descent.
yes, i absolutely wiped out, losing the rest of the group, a pole, and a ski.
dang...
then i got back to it, did well for a bit, then took another beautifully impressive spill. after collecting all my parts yet again, i was so cautious that made it back to the bottom without leaving my feet again
and this return was quite a relief...


and the whole day just might top my list of favorite days at FLI.
[coming soon]

Saturday, November 27, 2010

sorrow

i don't mean to sound sadistic at all here
yet i'm recently very intrigued by the concept of suffering.
probably because you can determine a lot about a person's character from how they react in times of suffering.
look at Jesus for example.
but i'm thinking about the vanderwilp family
and if anyone has more reason to be angry about suffering,
it is them.
but they refuse
and present such a beautiful picture of a community of people who genuinely understand their Father
and they have, with their integrity fully intact [like job]
chosen to worship Him who is sovereign
and they've chosen to celebrate kristie.
and i pray that i might learn from them
to suffer well.
because i'm understanding that we weren't called to a life free from challenges
but to show the world a hope amidst hardships
because these are the things that help us to relate to one another, to empathize,
to connect, to really know and care for one another
there's something beautiful about vulnerability, weakness, humility
and these relationships open doors
when we become less
and He more

[colossians 3.15]
"and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. and be thankful."

joys

this past week was full of them :)

it started out with one massive disappointment as my flight, which was supposed to arrive at 1145p, didn't touch down until 510a
a long night to say the least
yet- i was ever so thankful that we even got out of denver that night as we were one of two flights that was allowed to take off through the denseness of the fog
and i was content with 510a because that meant that i could worship with my community sunday morning
and it was a pleasure like never before
to see will's surprise, then erin's
to catch holli and daniel with little isaiah and analiese
to get a hug from my chels
and bethy and tt
to hear ryan declare the realities of acts 2
and rod, john 4
then to have lunch with my sweet addi...and colin
[and the rest of the family of course]
to see that house in progress: tiling, paint, cabinets...
that new book that arrived the day before i did- a woman who is a true conduit of grace and truth and peace- such a blessing and encouragement

seeing katie and janster, natey, benji [um, he's huge. he walks. he talks. and he overcomes the flu...]

dearest emily and kristopher and the best rice and lemon chicken ever
jenn, tony, maca, lily, bea, ezra, vivi and the best aveda tea ever
[and this vivienne...as smiley as ever, only more wide-eyed and curious!]

jordan x2, charis, deem, charla grace, paula, brooke +1, michelle, brad and the westside [ah, my precious fish ladder...]

emily haus, molly, future roommates...and the best smelling hair products. ever.
anna's house, breakfast, and sheraya +1!
chels and jana and ben- again- and vitale's
and the simple fact that people will always be the most important thing. talks and prayers and tears and laughter...
good old ada crc. people. and worship.
thanksgiving dinner. extended family and dessert. cousins and beautiful marriages.
laurynn and sweet ella joy. driving an hour to say hello.
a little shopping with k and the crazies. a scarf.
then russ', of course, on a friday night.
a saturday morning flight
colorado sun
a roommate so willing to pick me up at the airport
a package waiting for me in the living room at my apartment
[oh kristen, you brightened my day more than you may have expected!]

oh for the small things, for people, for thankfulness, for joys

Friday, November 19, 2010

Worthy


Rak Atah Raui [click here]

i LOVED this song when we were in israel.
we used to worship with a congregation in the New City in Jerusalem on Hillel St.
they are called Shemen Sasson (Oil of Joy).

this song is one that i've been searching for for years :)

the chorus is
rak atah raui letilehotai

it means
only You are worthy of my praise.

beautiful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sure


this semester
thus far
has been a great learning and growing experience for me.
i have been challenged in ways i would have never wished.
but i have found confidence in ways that only He could validate.
more than anything i have learned
to a much greater depth
who He is.
and who i am.
and there is this question that He has been asking.
do you trust me?
and this has been the most vivid question that i've heard
since the day i stepped off the plane in tel aviv.
i can answer that question, by the way,
immediately in the affirmative.
now.

one thing that i have struggled with is this issue of adequacy.
knowledge. capacity. understanding.
i'm not a genius. i know this.
[even though jim isom still rings in my head, "your genius lies in your calling."]
but what do i know?
and how do i know it?
the how- so much more than the what- clings to my identity as the most vital thing that i could possess.
Jesus Christ, who lived as a man and as the very representation of the Father- He died and rose again to life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
and because of this free gift of atonement through the blood of Jesus, we are offered justification through faith in Him.
and only because of the justifying work of Jesus on the cross, we have the Spirit who dwells with us for our sanctification

romans 5.1,9,16,18
1 peter 1.2
hebrews 10.14

and i'm not unsure.
i don't know everything. and i never will.
but what i must know, i know.

His love.
never.
fails.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Waiting

another great article from boundless.org

It's Good to Wait by Candice Watters

Monday, November 15, 2010

office


seriously.
i am sitting in what i call my office.
aka the laundry room.
i get my best work done on the dryer.
with laundry going. smells wonderful. and its warm...
currently 3 pages in to an 8 pager on yet another great book by Cloud and Townsend.
maybe i'll fill in the details later

Aslan


“I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

winter



did i mention that we got our first snow? [the mountains are there, really, just hidden behind the clouds]

upon talking with kathryn a few days ago, i decided that in order for me to not dread, despise, and hate winter, i should take up a winter activity.

i'm leaning towards one of these...




[snowshoeing or cross-country skiing]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Name



yes, joy follows obedience,
and perspective is a gift.

[more to come]

actually, the following is the more that i promised...

Henri J.M. Nouwen.
i am blessed by his heart.
and i am learning from his testimony.

"I am telling you all this because I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her vulnerable self.

"...when [Jesus] was asked to prove his power as the Son of God by the relevant behavior of changing stones into bread, he clung to his mission to proclaim the word he said, "Human beings live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

"We keep hearing from others as well as saying to ourselves that having power - provided it is used in the service to God and your fellow human beings - is a good thing. With this rationalization, crusades took place; inquisitions were organized; indians were enslaved; positions of great influence were desired; ...splendid cathedrals, and opulent seminaries were built; and much moral manipulation of conscience was engaged in. Every time we see a major crisis in the history of the Church, such as the Great Schism of the eleventh century, or the immense secularization of the twentieth century, we always see that a major cause of rupture is the power exercised by those who claim to be followers of the poor and powerless Jesus...

"The long painful history of the Church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led...

"One thing is clear to me: the temptation of power is the greatest when intimacy is a threat. Much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead. Many Christian empire-builders have been people unable to give and receive love.

"Powerlessness and humility in the spiritual life do not refer to people who have no spine and who let everyone else make decisions for them. They refer to people who are so deeply in love with Jesus that they are ready to follow him wherever he guides them, always trusting that, with him, they will find life and find it abundantly."

and i guess these are only a few of the lines that captured my attention [i might as well just have reiterated the whole book]. however, the heart stands out in all 80 short pages, and this heart is one surrendered and humble. and it is not that everyone needs to give their lives to the lifestyle that Henri Nouwen chose, but should everyone seek to have a heart like Jesus as Nouwen did? i think yes.

and i am so BLESSED to have been able to serve and worship under this kind of leadership. i am blessed by the heart of Jesus that i have seen reflected. i am blessed by the need, not to be relevant, spectacular, or powerful, but to have healthy, intimate, and vulnerable relationships. to give and receive love. for real. like Jesus. the greatest blessing that i wouldn't trade for anything.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

112


Psalm 112

1 PRAISE THE LORD! BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO FEARS THE LORD,
WHO GREATLY DELIGHTS IN HIS COMMANDMENTS!

2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 LIGHT DAWNS IN THE DARKNESS FOR THE UPRIGHT;
He is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.

7 He is not afraid of bad news;
HIS HEART IS FIRM, TRUSTING IN THE LORD.

8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.
10The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!

[oh and yes, those are the northern lights. i will see them someday!]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

faceoff

here's an article from boundless.com [this is where i'm doing my internship this semester].
tim sweetman is talking about the facebook addiction that many of us know so well.
i think he does a great job stating the case for prioritization.
i must agree with him that the Word of God must take precedence.

here's a clip:

"Honestly, I don't think I understand the gravity of my distain of daily time with God. It's not an issue of salvation, of course, but I do think that it's essential to my spiritual health and growth. The thing is, I can spend hours upon hours on the internet browsing Facebook or messing with my electronic devices; I find it absolutely disgusting when this takes the place of God.

What is my true priority in life? I need a serious wake-up call."

here's the whole article:
Facebook Faceoff

Sunday, November 7, 2010

beloved



“The woman was made from the rib he had taken out of the man;
not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be
trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under
his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”


– Matthew Henry

Saturday, November 6, 2010

emotions



"God could have created us without any capacity for
feelings. But then, in a very real sense, we would have
been left without the capacity for relationships, with
Him or with one another. To eliminate emotions
would not only rid us of fear of the dark, sadness over
death, and anger at inconvenience, but also the deep
love of one close to us, and the joy of connecting with a
friend. Without emotions we are hollow people."

[H. Norman Wright]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

hoyt


we watched the team hoyt video in class this morning
following the testimony of Mike Haley from Focus on the Family, a man who God has drawn out of a homosexual lifestyle.
as the father and son team, team hoyt crossed the finish line of an iron man contest and it was such a picture of a father's love
and i remember rod saying a year or so ago after we watched this video together in church, "if you don't realize that you are just as helpless as that son, you don't know who your Father is."
and i find myself needing to ask that question.
and realizing that i don't trust Him in the way that He is so worthy to be trusted,
that he indeed IS sovereign and not just sovereign for the sake of sovereignty, but He's lovingly sovereign in such an involved way that will never compare to any other relationship.
but do i believe that He works all things for His good, for our good?
i want to

Sunday, October 24, 2010

mail


so i should be honest.
and i've tried to be subtle but i think i am buying into the idea that honest is the best policy.
i'm learning that "gifts" may very well be my first love language.
sure, sounds shallow, but i've come to accept that this is a primary way, if not THE primary way, that i feel loved.
and... i still exist out here.
and i love to get mail.
shoot, i love to get packages too.
in fact, i've gotten 3 letters that brightened up my day(s)
and 2 packages that i was elated to pick up at the GRC offices.

just don't forget about me, k?

870 robbie view #421
colorado springs, co 80920

Sunday, October 17, 2010

project



so i've borrowed some of these words in a condensed form from Dr. Del Tackett's description and vision and mission of the Truth Project. [emphasis added]

the full article can be found here The Truth Project

oh, and you can view the trailer as well: Truth Project trailer video
_______________________________________________________

In 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul makes an interesting statement: "We are not unaware of Satan's schemes." I am afraid that the vast majority of God's people in our culture today are unaware of our enemy's schemes. That is why we are not faring well in the battle.

Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth who will guide us into all Truth; the Word of God is described as Truth; Christ proclaims that it is Truth that sets us free; Scripture proclaims that we are sanctified by the Truth; and Jesus confessed before Pilate that the reason He came into the world was to testify to the Truth.

Sadly, the vast majority of believers in our culture are ill-prepared to fight in this battle. We suffer from the same pathologies the world does and, statistically, at roughly the same levels: divorce, sexual addictions, eating disorders, depression, worry, apathy, discontent, anger, abortion, poor media viewing habits, pornography . . . and so on.

How can this be? Quite simply, we are falling for the counterfeits.

We have taken key elements from the more than 300 hours of material that I have been teaching to students at the Focus on the Family Institute and New Geneva Theological Seminary, and have created a DVD-based, small-group curriculum that is designed to build a comprehensive, systematic, biblical worldview within those who participate.

There is one central theme running through The Truth Project: the Truth that we seek — and the Truth that stands directly opposed to the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil — is found ultimately in the character and being of God Himself. That is why, over and over again, the DVD curriculum begins and ends with Him.

[and with reference to the 12 israelite spies upon their return from checking out the land of canaan...] How can 12 men, all seeing the same thing, return with such contrasting perspectives? The answer to this question is of the utmost importance to us today, because it speaks to the heart of almost every reason why some Christians shrink back in fear while others march forward in boldness. It has nothing to do with a good or poor self-image, or whether or not someone has achieved "self-actualization." It has everything to do with our beliefs about God and our thoughts on who He really is.

I believe the scroll of Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, continues to be unrolled and new names continually added to it . . . names of those whose hope and trust rest in God, His truth and His promises.

Our all-powerful God has promised us, through the prophet Isaiah, that "no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you" (Isaiah 54:17). Our prayer is that The Truth Project will provide you with the knowledge and insight you need in order to be a vessel for change in our fallen world.

Oh, that God would grant us a vision of Him! That is the desperate need of this hour. Take hope, my friends.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

_______________________________________________________

and if you're wondering why i posted this, it is because i have a fire inside of me to be an ambassador for the Truth. every once in a while God brings about a conversation or a thought or some revelation by His Spirit and/or His Word that leads me to believe all over again that my life has a specific purpose, that although i do not yet understand the details of all of it, He is orchestrating. always. for His glory and my partnership with Him in His work. i hold onto nothing as tightly as Him and the Truth. and His transforming work in our communities, families, and the Church.

i can't wait to see more.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

debut




here it is: my podcast debut. lol.

Confidence...What's A Girl To Do?

JFA



i mentioned that a week and a half ago that we spent a day at Colorado State University with Justice For All. and jess asked me to follow up, so i am!

first off, here's what JFA is if you want to check it out:

Justice For All

it went well.
i will be honest and admit that i didn't love it. it was exhausting and overwhelming and i believe that we were in the minority of people on the side of life.
however, one life changed or one mind opened is well worth it, no?
and we had a few of these stories come out of the whole experience. these were exciting to hear as we debriefed in the evening. here's one from patrick, one of my classmates:

Focus Your Story: Focus Leadership Institute

and personally, i spent a good deal of time listening to individuals and listening to other people's conversations.
kathryn and i picked up a clipboard and some surveys in the afternoon and started asking some questions, and this was the most beneficial part for me.
i was able to ask specific questions and start conversations that felt a bit more structured and attainable.
like i said, it was good. we put a lot of effort into just asking questions and encouraging people to think about these issues since most people who support the abortion agenda seem to do so out of ignorance.
the JFA crew and some of my classmates engaged in some great dialogues and students were left thinking about these issues in a way that they hadn't before.
the vision of the ministry is: dialogue not debate.
and it was beautiful to see this unfold.

Monday, October 11, 2010

podcast

we recorded my podcast in the studio today!
the topic was "women and confidence."
i got to pick the subject matter, plan the conversation, set up people to talk with us-
drs. steve and twyla lee, our marriage & family professors from the institute.
lisa anderson was hosting, as always, and she did a phenomenal job, especially since i was a wee bit nervous :)

link to come...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

roomies



here we are. the girls of 421.
mallory christine moore aka mally slats
kathryn elizabeth joy crutcher aka kathy- but she hates that, so we just call her kathryn
bethany ross brown aka bb or butterfinger bb, or...just bethany
tammy joy dykstra aka tam, tams, tam tam, and more to come, i'm sure

i'll update soon...er...soonish. hopefully...

Monday, October 4, 2010

abortion



early. let me emphasize early -tomorrow morning, we set out to the campus at Colorado State University, campaigning for the sanctity of precious human life.
we'll be volunteering with an organization called Justice For All (JFA), with the goal of engaging in positive dialogue with students to encourage people to really think about the issue of abortion and the value of life.
we're really just going and trusting God to orchestrate divine appointments to connect with people who need to see the hands and eyes and love of Jesus.
so, please, if you will, pray the same. thanks :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

sunday

today marks 4 weeks since i arrived in colorado springs.
does it feel like it has been 4 weeks? eh...not really. but the past 2 weeks have been c r a z y .
so a sunday morning, just to breathe, is a very welcome gift.
i will reiterate what i've said before: i love it here.
and i wouldn't want life any other way during this season.
granted, the thought of having my favorite people here with me will always make me smile.

and i really didn't expect to miss kids so much. that's not to say that there aren't a slew of sweet little ones here as well, but when you know kids so well, and then you're not near them, its odd.
max, lily, bea, ezra, and vivi. every single one of those smiles and laughs that i am anxious to be with again, in their new home, and the new yard, new garden...
abby and brady. the adventures of everyday life. the library, the pool, gymnastics, the grocery store, baking cookies, slip 'n slide, bike rides...
russel and lauren. the wildest and craziest and most predictible. lauren, always asking to have her hair straightened, and both always asking to go to the farm...and of course, to the candy store. world's best babysitter? just maybe.
and then my most precious addi and colin. the little tears the day i left, as if she really even understood, and the little man- his excitement over people, family, familiarity, and freedom.

when i think about how blessed i have been to have the people in my life that i do, i just don't understand Him and His love and why i have received so much of it. but i want to know Him.

i want to know Him the way Paul did and the way that Paul desired to. I want to know Him the way David knew Him, the way David knew His heart- to be called a man after God's own heart- i want to desire His Word, His presence, His Spirit, the way David did, and whoever the heck wrote psalm 119...maybe David, maybe Ezra...to be able to say the things that he did-

i have hidden Your Word in my heart that i might not sin against You

i delight in Your decrees; i will not neglect Your Word

turn my heart toward Your statues and not toward selfish gain. turn my eyes away from worthless things

You are my portion, O Lord; i have promised to obey Your words. i have sought your face with all my heart;


at midnight i rise to give You thanks for Your righteous laws

it was good for me to be afflicted so that i might learn Your decrees

in faithfulness You have afflicted me

if Your law had not been my delight i would have perished in my affliction


how sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path

Your statutes...are the joy of my heart


You are near, O Lord, and all Your commands are true.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

colorado






[picture #1: at horn creek conference center, in the mountains, on a retreat, #2: Bethany, me, Mallory, and Kathryn: roommates, in front of Focus, #3: at the retreat. magic circle (i'm in the pink), #4: in Denver at the Colorado Rockies' baseball game]

i'm taking time this afternoon, time that i shouldn't be taking, but it is important to me to update this blog!
i'm currently between lunch and my internship. we had class this morning 8-1130. actually this is the usual schedule m-f.
things have been wonderful here. the weather, for example...it has been in the 80's and 90's since i arrived 3 1/2 weeks ago...and no humidity- which isn't great for the curls/waves, but as for personal comfort- couldn't be happier.
and have i mentioned our apartments? and our neighborhood. beyond my wildest dreams, if i can say that. if you care to see what i'm talking about, here's a quick tour:

http://www.forrent.com/apartment-community-profile/1015562.php

there was so much more that i was bursting to write about, but i have been distracted by all the bustling people that are constantly around. however, i am not complaining about that. i do get my own space on occasion and the people here are just so much fun, wonderful people to learn alongside, to be encouraged by, to learn from, as well as to laugh with, play with, eat with, and the all-important studying and reading. our professors at the institute keep us p l e n t y busy with hours of work. but again, i am not really complaining. the reading has been fantastic stuff...a couple of my favorites thus far include:

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The American Leadership Tradition by Marvin Olasky
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
The Power of Commitment by Scott M. Stanley

So- here is just a brief synopsis of what's going on here with me. i'm sure i have barely scratched the surface but its a start.

oh, and here's my address since i love getting mail...almost a month and still waiting on that experience...

tammy dykstra
870 robbie view dr. apt. 421
colorado springs, co 80920

[peace]

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

boundless

today
i received my assignment for my internship/practicum for the semester.
the ministry is a branch of focus on the family.
check
it
out.

http://www.boundless.org/2005/aboutus.cfm

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

fresh air






well well well
i am finally here.
and things are good.
i really couldn't be more pleased regarding all the details of life here.
this apartment is wonderful, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 roommates + me.

mallory is 22, from oklahoma. she just finished her student-teaching and graduated from...i can't remember. she is our extrovert. she's great, a lot of fun, and makes me laugh a lot, which you know i need...she has a brother in town and says that she will have plenty of family and friends visiting over the course of the semester.
bethany shares my room. she 22. she's sweet and an introvert. makes for some good quiet moments in our room for which i am so thankful :) she is from a missionary family that lived and worked in tanzania for quite a few years, though she considers herself to be from east tennessee.
kathryn 23 and is from pennsylvania. she is also quiet and kind. and i think we have deemed her a genius. ha! maybe not quite, but she is a very humble sort of woman who loves to learn, is very responsible, and a hard worker. and she brought this sweet poster of chili peppers, which i love, that is hanging in our dining room.

and our apartment is only minutes from the closest grocery stores, coffee shops, goodwill, etc., most of it between 1/2 mile and a mile away.
oh and by the way, my address is:

870 robbie view apt. 421
colorado springs, co 80920

you should write to me :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

transition

i'm sitting in this time of transition
well, hardly sitting, actually.

this week i move out of the boiler room
i guess i just didn't quite understand how difficult this would be for me...
i tend to see things in a very practical sense
and so
moving out was just one of those things that happens when life changes
but
this community
these people
this house
these have all become home.
and with that, safety and so much joy.
familiarity.
rest.
i don't want to leave.
but regardless of what it is that i think i want,
God knows so much better
and so the next step is to sort and pack and bring my things home.
home...mom and dad's house on egypt valley-
the place i grew up
and the next step after that is to board a plane for colorado springs for 3 1/2 months
and all the while i'm there
my childhood home goes through transitions of its own
as it is emptied of everything that i've known to be mine
and it is moved into a new home, about which- don't get me wrong- i am incredibly excited
i have discovered of myself this love-hate relationship with change
but we serve a God who does not change...
and this constancy is beautiful.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

answers

when God answers requests
or when He gives a gift
humility is always the added bonus.
looking back this is easy to appreciate
but in the moment...never quite so simple.
at community prayer a few months ago
we prayed for eachother's requests.
it was a monday i remember vividly
because todd and rachel were there
and tony and char and paula and deem and jord...
basically i asked that God would increase my faithfulness,
that He would entrust me with more of His secrets so that i could be the servant...the slave of Christ that i claim to be
and so He has been revealing what i've asked.
He has been proving that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
and along with that He has been preparing me to step out
and He's asking of me these conversations that i cannot possibly anticipate
only trust that Jesus' words in luke 12.12 are truth
so i sigh.
and humble myself under His sovereignty.
yet again.

Friday, August 6, 2010

full

i think that i have just come up on a season in which God is renewing my awareness of my need for Him.
and this renewal is such grace. from Him.
this reminder, re-focus to Himself, is what i hope to be the daily interaction between He and i. always.
and it is beyond my capability to express how genuinely i am experiencing this need that i have for Him and this love that He has given me for Himself. and i hope that i never lose this treasure of experiential learning.
it is a real gift when He brings me to the place of misery when one too many days passes without real communication.
because He is well aware of where my heart is. He is not oblivious to the days when i read a few chapters...then on with my day (my day, right?)
He demands real relationship. and real knowledge of Him. not because He's egotistical, but because He knows that for me to know Him is the best way possible to live.
He came that i (and you) may have life.

to the full.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ps. 4.4

...when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent...

in my life experience and observations, those who take seriously these words [of david] are the most healthy people, holistically speaking, at any given time.

this introspection is a thing of humility, and humility is the key to life. and by life i don't just mean having air in your lungs, i mean this abundant life that Jesus promised.

and this humility [that Jesus so faithfully displayed and of which i still am inconceivably overwhelmed] surrenders to the fact that we are subject to a standard, to Truth, that is so much more than guidelines and a series of rules, black and white. it is the subjection of man to this standard that is only understood through relationship with the One who is sovereign.

it frustrates me that many, or most rather, are unwilling to assess their thoughts, their attitudes, their motives, and to truly accept with discontentment, anything that is less than good.

and probably, most of this unwillingness is due to a lack of understanding of the standard by which we were indeed created to live. and much of this, counter-sequentially, is because of a straight rejection of the Spirit of God.

and herein lies the root of every imperfection of today. and ever.

and the solution is only prayer. because there is not one thing that any individual can do to change any other. just as there is not one word, one eloquently crafted sentence or monologue that can impact any other person, except by the work of the Spirit.

and we have to know Him.

I have to know Him.

ph. 3.8, 10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

proven

when asked of my dreams and goals,
i usually have to answer vaguely or generally.
because
i just don't know.
sometimes dreaming scares me
because then i am sort of setting up these expectations,
expectations that i might fail to meet.
am i that afraid of failure?
it appears that way.
much of my life, this fear has driven me
to play it safe [i remember j saying this]
to avoid risks,
to give in to fear.
but if perfect love casts out all fear, what am i not comprehending of this love?
it isn't that He hasn't proven Himself
because over and over He has.
it is that i, again and again, in my pride,
fail to humble myself under His leading
and believe in His promises.

i will never leave you nor forsake you.

i have loved you with an everlasting love.

perfect love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.

i do not change.

i have plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

...and...i'm sure this is just a start.
but what will it take for me to actually live like i believe Him?
it will take me seeking HIM preliminarily.
and seeking His Son and His Word are it. His two most specific revelations of Himself and His heart.

You can pray for me to seek these things wholeheartedly. like joshua. and then i can have an inheritance like hebron.

because i'm no different than joshua in that i am under the same limitations of humanness. faith is not something that comes and goes like happiness or like tiredness. it is something that i must choose. and the more i learn to choose to believe, the more naturally it comes.

and i shall learn.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Purpose

i want to be someone of whom it can be said,

she makes mistakes well.

and by this i mean that i want to be someone, not who lives life in fear of making mistakes (because this is who i tend towards), but someone who anticipates mistakes, but understands that the way in which i respond to those mistakes is really what will identify my character.

and i think that the proverbs 31 woman can seem perfect, but i bet you that she made plenty of mistakes, but i bet that she made them well. and with humility.
i bet that she had a heart sensitive to the hearts of other people that she also had an awareness of hurts that she had caused.
and i just bet that her response was to acknowledge where her own depravity had allowed her to slip. because she had an understanding that a mistake is not the enemy. failure is not the enemy. broken relationship is.

and where as we don't have the power to control whether or not a mistake might take place, we can control how we maintain our relationships. and what love looks like.

i'm reading this book (thank you erin!) called Loving Our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk.
i didn't know what to expect. a little cheese maybe? but it is astounding me- the insight and wisdom in the pages of this book.

"So at the heart of godly parenting is the conviction that the mistakes and failures of our children are not the enemy. The real enemy is bondage. And if we don't teach our children how to walk in and handle freedom, they won't know what to do with it. They may stay safe through Christian elementary school and Christian college and then they will go and wrap themselves in a religious environment and say, "Control me from the outside because if any of this went away I think I would disintegrate!" And later they will say, "I married a control freak so I wouldn't fall and we secretly and not so secretly hate eachother. But we go to church." It's a big bummer. To fear our children's poor choices is to teach them to be afraid of freedom."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

reconciliation

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

I LOVE this idea that we are to have ministry of reconciliation.
This is our Father’s heart. This has become my heart.
And this probably because I have experienced a small piece of the death and life that Jesus did. I think I have walked in this genuine humility once in my life. Really. The kind where you feel like you’re walking as Jesus walked and seeing through His own eyes. And though it is so hard for us who aren’t God, it is so worth the pain of the daily death that Paul talks about.
And Tom said it at church on Sunday [and Saturday, I’m sure], he prays everyday that he would die to himself that he might live like Christ. And this is what I want too.
This is the dream that I see for my future and my ministry for the Kingdom. Because it isn’t until I am humbled like Jesus was that I can really see the needs of others, that I can passionately love, that I can wisely offer compassion, that I can truly live the life that He intended for me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

fear

i have to have it all figured out.
at least that is how i feel.
because since i don't have the plot line before me,
i have these fears.
anxieties of all that it is that i don't know.
fear of rejection.
fear of being used for endorsement.
but

if Jesus loved fearlessly,
and took risks selflessly,

and He is honored as the only wise God,
then i have no choice but to follow His example

and choose to close the door to fear.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

sufferings

in romans paul says that
we are children of God, and therefore heirs of God

IF WE SHARE IN [CHRIST'S] SUFFERINGS.
that we may also share in His glory.

if.

and honestly,
until 3 months ago, i didn't know what it meant to share in His sufferings.
i had never had to choose true humility.
i had never experienced the kind of death- complete helplessness and brokenness- that paul talks about.
it isn't that i never wanted it.
maybe i just hadn't asked for it until then. but regardless-
this kind of death has changed me.
and i'm not standing on any pedestal of pride because i know it was such a precious gift
that i my Father did not enjoy giving-
yet, i see so much in the church today that works so hard to avoid this kind of pruning.
but Jesus says in john 15 that
it.
is.
NECESSARY.
why must we avoid it?
it is the worst pain i have ever experienced, so in a way i understand...

but for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross-
is our understanding of life in His presence so small that we are unwilling to die to ourselves,
to daily take up our cross,
FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE US?
is our understanding of the cross so skewed by the gods that we have raised ourselves up to be
that we are so unwilling

to be like Jesus

?

Monday, June 14, 2010

peace

to me,
it is bordering on comical how being sick can truly color the way i see
e v e r y t h i n g else as well.
but only bordering. not actually funny.
i have to remind myself when thinking hopelessly about any number of things just how ridiculously a sickness can effect me.
the thought today was "reading always makes me fall asleep. how will i ever be able to read any book, ever?!"
and.
i can think this way about people.
one fear. frustration. difference of opinion. and i see no hope.
but where is my hope?
is it in my absence of fear?
or my emotions?
or my omniscience?
it's in Him.
and if it's ever anywhere else, in anyone else, i have every reason to feel hopeless.
but
He is my rock.
just Him.
always.
there is not a person in the world that i will ever love and need and trust more.
and as long as i can hold fast to this truth,
the pressure on anyone else is far less.

and this is what peace feels like.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

presence

exodus 33.15
then moses said to Him, "if Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."

here in lies my heart.

i. will. not. walk outside of obedience to the leading of God's Spirit.

moses understood this idea well. without God's presence, failure was definite. with Him, a constant enveloping of love and peace. not necessarily ease and luxury and happiness. but JOY. the only kind. and this is the testimony that we read throughout the OT...and the NT (although kent would prefer me to call them the OC and NC)

deut. 4. 32-39
32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? 33 Has any other people heard the voice of God [a] speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. 37 BECAUSE HE LOVED YOUR FOREFATHERS AND CHOSE THEIR DESCENDANTS AFTER THEM, HE BROUGHT YOU OUT OF EGYPT BY HIS PRESENCE AND HIS GREAT STRENGTH, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.

39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

student

so
in the other room is a dance party.
kids, that is, 7, 6, 5, 4.
if you've ever heard "replay" by iyaz or "single ladies" by beyonce...
i can't stop laughing so i needed to retreat
and shift-

lately
i've been thinking about thinking
[metacognition]
and
i definitely have many friends who are very contemplative
and this intimidates me.
i feel like i have nothing to offer before people so much more educated than i.

jesus, to be defined by you alone.
to care less and less about the opinions and values of the world.


i feel quite small.
not insignificant.
but-
maybe humbled.
learning that i avoid taking strong positions because i fear conflict (ah, my 9ness).
what if people disagree and i can't defend myself?
[this wonderful pride runs so deep]
i imagine that the greatest outcome of such an interaction would be that i would learn exactly which direction i need to turn next to seek insight. because, you see, i'll never be finished learning.
i pegged a friend as a "forever student" like christian used to say (and probably still does) of himself
but i should be a forever student.
i should expect to be a student. forever.
where do i get off thinking that there is ever this destination that i will reach where i'll no longer lack any knowledge or wisdom?
i will have to get used to saying
i just don't know.
but i want to.
and i want to be like my Teacher.

luke 6.40

Saturday, May 29, 2010

ps119

if your law had not been my delight,
i would have perished in my affliction.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

praise


about due for something here, huh?

just dreaming about what's next...
and really just wanting learn
and wanting to be changed.

i'm starting to see more of my dreams and passions
and, as k put it, i am understanding who i want to be.
i'm lacking the specifics on what to do,
but seeing a clear picture of the person that i want to be.

i've seen lately that the world worships the achiever,
the girl who takes 24 credits in one semester and pulls a 4.0
the guy who works 2 jobs and invests in his family at home (and goes to school)
the missionary or world traveler.
i don't want to be those.
i don't even want to be like those
and that's not to say those things are bad in any way,
just not lives that are attractive to me.

i want to be called simple. normal. faithful. organized. available. patient. loving. comfortable. safe. flexible. teachable. a servant and a friend.
and what is beautiful and attractive to me
is a woman who is bold. attentive. humble. aware. a teacher for her children. a listener and prayer warrior for her husband. a cook. a cleaner (and also teaches her children these life skills as well).

i want to be simple.
one who simply follows jesus and is willing to see and hear where i fall short.
i want to be one who fasts and prays to be more like him and for his kingdom to come.
the world can praise whomever it chooses.
in reality, a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
[prov. 31.30]
and i want to be her.

Friday, April 23, 2010

yup.

"There's clearly a social problem when we're interacting more with digital interfaces than our fellow human beings," Rollman said in an e-mail to CNN. "Rich, engaging conversations are harder to come by than they were a few years ago. Our attention spans are silently evaporating."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

quinoa



(keen-wah)

it grows colorfully and is considered a superfood. i am a fan.

A recently rediscovered ancient "grain" native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142#healthbenefits

Saturday, March 27, 2010

beauties

[grace]
days like today
i am beyond thankful that i have you.
the one friend that i run to, consistently.
and i want to understand what it is about you that makes your home such a place of shelter to me.
such simplicity. of thought, of love, of grace, of humility, of peace.
i love you.


[wisdom]
and why is it that you are the woman that you are?
why is it okay that you have such freedom to rest,
[while he works]?
a question through which i seek to understand the depth of this relationship that you have with our Father,
because i know this is why you are free to be home,
free from obligation and people's expectations.
preparing a place for a new little life,
and so faithfully committed to the two most important ones in your life and the One you live to honor.

[joy]
what will you teach me of Him?
i am anxious to have back you and the abundant life that accompanies you

[untitled]

so i'm honestly sitting here asking, "why this season? what was this about?"
and all i hear in response is, "He who called you is faithful."
But really?
Why?
When what i love is these kids who are not living around me.
And when i compare what i do to what everyone around is me is doing
and my only conclusion is: failure; then what?
"The One who calls you is faithful."
He is faithful...?
Okay.
So then i have to believe that He was faithful in calling me then.
and He is faithful in calling me now...
So then it is not because of what i can see or what i can chalk up as my successes
but because He wanted to show me that
He is working when i don't see it.
He has taken to heart my prayers and He has treasured my worship
and He has given me gift after gift.
the greatest being a frail beginning towards humility.
however, only a piece of all that i need, but the one gift i have longed for and loved to receive more than any other.
because it has nothing to do with me being able to look back and inventory the fruit that i have toiled to achieve,
but because He needs me to look back now and see that i have begun to learn how to abide,
how to cling to the vine and simply be a branch, fully dependent
on His root system, his strength, His care
and He has been pruning these things this past season,
the things that He sees that i do not do well.
trust and rest.
i do not walk confidently because i do not trust that He is strong enough to handle the things that i think depend on me.
i do not rest in His grace; rather, i stress under the assumed scrutiny of every single person, having only ever experienced brief moments of beautiful rest.
i just like to control things.
or maybe it isn't that i like to control things, but that i fear that if i don't control things, chaos will ensue and i will look like a failure.
and this i hate.
but my Jesus was willing to look like the ultimate failure in the eyes of the world because of obedience to the One who called Him.
and i get that what God asks is unnatural, and probably often completely contrary to what makes sense.
randy said it tonight. it will probably feel like a type of suicide because Jesus asks us to die to ourselves and to be willing to put to death any part of ourselves that isn't fully surrendered at the God's feet...
and another gift is this friend who is something so uniquely special. bold. and a fighter. and wise. and faithful. and one from whom i still need to learn so much.
and another friend, who like a mom, and like a sister, but so much like Jesus that sometimes i have to wonder if she's real. proverbs 31 is what i call her.
and those men who seek and seek and seek Him.
he says, "i'm learning to re-examine the ways in which i have always done things, hold them in the light of God's holiness, and ask, does this please You?"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

psalm 52.8

i've been wrestling with what it means to have God's love
and i came to the conclusion that i struggle to trust Him
and to walk in much confidence at all
because i cannot grasp His love
and i know a lot of people who can't understand it and they end up apart from him
walking parallel, maybe, but apart
and apart from Him,
we can do nothing. and life is not worth living.
so, wrestling with this for myself,
i realize that i can grasp His faithfulness and His voice and His provision and protection
i've seen Him prove these things.
so then what does it mean that He loves me? what does His love look like?

it looks exactly like these things.

i think, 'what does it mean that my dad loves me (my dad, the one on my birth certificate, that is)...?' 'how do i know and feel that love?'
he's faithful and he speaks to me and with me. he provides and protects me.
i remember the traumatic ride on his old motorcycle when i was 7 and he protected me. and k. i remember him paying for my tuition just last semester [granted, i get to pay him back, but- provision].
and his phone calls on my birthdays and his tears when i left for and returned from israel and the questions that he's asked me since i was old enough to understand,
"have i ever told you how much i love you?"
to which i'd respond with a mischievious little smile, "no...?"
"well i do. so much!"

but i see that now, i don't see these things as much as i did when i lived at home.
and with God, i'm not going to see these things if i am not near to him.
and i don't want to live parallel to him
checking off my lists, reading- just to read, praying- just another thing accomplished.
i want to walk alongside Him, seeking Him with all my heart
because only in His presence is fullness of joy
and only with Him am i changed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Near

24/7/6.
exhausting for the first days already.
but fully worth it.
we're seeing some real community developing,
people opening up and experiencing genuine freedom.
things are moving
because God is on the move
[or as jenn might say, "aslan is on the move."]
i've found that my most common prayer these days is
"God, make yourself bigger than everything else in my life."
and i've been seeing Him do it.
i have told Him that i will do whatever it takes to be obedient to Him
[because like the song says, "its only in Your will that i am free"]
and because i'm learning to look to Him in all things,
i am seeing Him answer my prayers,
even the little ones.
and i'm seeing Him answer quickly.
as you can imagine, i really like it
and i think this is how life was intended to be.
everything is about Him
all the time
and He responds
all the time
because when we draw near
so does He

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Joe. [and i only wish i had a picture]

joe passed out on the front porch one day this week.
i came home and, upon passing through the front door, found him sprawled over the living room floor.
it fazed me only for a second, then i stepped over him where i found jordan making himself some lunch/dinner in the kitchen.
"Tam! Check this out!" he says
and proceeds to show me on his phone pictures of Joe with a viking cap on and a "bloody" (ketchupy) knife in one raised hand.

it appears that danmike found joe passed out on the front porch where it is cold and windy and wet and unprotected.
so dm, being the friend that he is in this neighborhood, dragged joe into the living room where its warm and dry and safe.
and the rest is history.
joe, the murderous viking.
i guess that's what you just might have to expect.
for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
does this apply?

Friday, January 15, 2010

westside taxi



kevin has taken a ride 5 times in the last 7 days.
too drunk to walk, passing out, fighting, yelling, slurring, stumbling.
kevin, joe, robi, kenny, billy bob, joe black, steve, and another steve.
beautiful thing in all of it is that they travel in groups,
a sense of community,
a rather twisted community,
but togetherness nonetheless.
[dave prefers isolation; i think this is worse, especially since i've been experiencing firsthand the power of living in community]
they just live in a constant state of winter
and hopelessness
and substance abuse.
i hate it
but God has asked us, me, to be a part of the redeeming work He is doing.
so we do,
as best we can.
and today j welcomed eight cold friends for coffee
and the firemen, police officers, and paramedics think she's crazy
but they don't know these people like she does.
they don't love these people like she does.

and indeed,

18...the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

1 corinthians 1

can't depend on what we think or what we feel like or what we're comfortable with... but what He asks of us because He sees the story in its entirety.

[God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe]
and this is what we "waste our time" praying for-

thanks j.

Monday, January 11, 2010

about due for a new post.
i know.

its coming.
this morning was interesting...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Voice

today pastor shawn craig was talking about revelation 1
verses 9-18
he spoke so confidently about the person of Jesus
and about what that means for man
that Jesus died and is alive forever and ever
and that He holds the keys to death and hell.
if we want life,
[and i remember larissa saying this too]
we need to live out of real encounters with Jesus
like john did on patmos
because if we're regularly encountering Him,
we'll have a sense of wonder at God's greatness,
we'll begin to see recognize His voice
we'll experience a shift in vision, viewpoint
we'll experience power to change

what you encounter often will transform you
[for emphasis, note that "often" in this sentence modifies "encounter"]

and the point that he made that really grabbed my attention
was under the topic of learning to recognize His voice
"and his sheep follow him because they know his voice." john 10.4b
and He echoes this further
"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father" john 10.14,15a
shawn pointed out that the emphasis is on the relationship and the trust and the "knowing"
and i've discovered
that the word "know" in the greek, ginosko,
is the same word (Strong's 1097)
that paul uses in philippians 3
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection..."
and that is used in matthew
"When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son." matthew 1.24-25 (esv)

so this word, ginosko, carries with it this understanding that
this relationship between us and our Savior
is rich with intimacy.

to know Him,
to really, genuinely know Him-
knowing about Him is not sufficient
memorizing every word in His Word will prove inadequate-
He didn't say that His sheep know His doctrine,
but His V O I C E.
but until we ginosko Him, like a husband and a wife know each other
we'll never fully grasp what He's holding out to us
relationship
strength in weakness
unconditional love that has no expectations for us except for steadfastness
all power, wisdom, peace, maturity, love, faithfulness, wholeness, rest...

so please, dear friend,
live in the fullness of really knowing Him,
rather than seeking the doctrine and the academic knowledge,
ask Him
(i've been pleading for this for you too)
to open your heart,
to give you the strength to trust Him
so that you can possess experiential knowledge of Him.
this alone will change you,
your family,
your future.
it will heal your past,
make sense of your failures,
and place you in safety and peace at the feet of
your Good Shepherd.