Saturday, January 22, 2011


suffering is a beautiful thing.
i can say this because i have been taught that the sovereignty of God is the most foundational thing a person can hold to.
i've been taught it
and i've tested it
and i've found it to be true.

perspective is a choice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


God has brought me through some challenges
all things that i would never wish to repeat
but all things that i would not change were the opportunity to exist.
He has allowed me to be pushed beyond the point of frustration
to the point of asking questions
that, unasked, would have deceptively left me feeling far safer.
and this made me to wonder how many unasked questions have i missed out on?
out of how much have my insecurities and fears cheated me?
and as is the pattern of thought in which i have recognized God's leading so many times before
i have been finding myself drifting back to full half of the glass.
i see how this past semester at Focus has played such an indispensable role in shaping my very perspective of myself.
i see how the people around me have so uplifted me that i have consistent reminders of the hope and the joy set before me.
i'm no longer afraid to dream of things that i feel God has stirred in me
even though i don't have the entire syllabus of my life printed and stapled in the top left corner.
i think that for a long time i have been afraid to own the dreams that occasionally surface in me. i've been afraid because i don't have all of the answers to everyone's questions and when i cannot answer their questions my first assumption is that i must be doing something wrong.
but what i know is that the things that i know in my spirit- eloquently explainable or not- have never proved false.
the more that i seek to learn His face, the more that i uncover my uniqueness, my value, my place.

before now i have lived with this disguisable anxiety - insecurity - such that everywhere i went, everyone i talked with, i just hoped that i would say that right things, tell the right stories, prove myself in some way that they would affirm my adequacy, my competency. but as many people as encouraged me in this way, it was never going to be enough.
unless i believed it of myself.
all things must die before they can live.
and He has been walking me through this magnificent fiery purification process
through which so much falsehood has been burned away.
yet the things that He says are of gold remain,
His presence being the one of greatest value.
His Word.
His beautiful people around me.
my character, my personality, my dreams
because of Him.

and i have had to come to learn that as He has faithfully led me out of each of these crucibles that i have encountered, He just as faithfully led me into each of them
because the way that He cares for each of us is no different from the way that He cared for the nation of Israel.
in deut 8 He said that he led them into the desert and humbled them in order to test them and to know what was in their hearts.
and it is so clear to me that He orchestrates this leading, humbling, testing, not because He needs to learn their hearts, but because He knew that they needed to learn their hearts.
and we are no different than they.
i am no different.
i need to see the depth and consistency of my disobedience
to understand the depth and consistency of my absolute need for His grace.
and this is why i can look on these challenges that He has so sovereignly led me into
because it is His kindness that leads us to repentance
and it is His grace that leads us into places where we can see so clearly.
this is Love.

Friday, January 14, 2011


i love jj heller

she writes beautifully
and sings authentically
out of an abundance
of life


I’m not the clothes I’m wearing
I’m not a photograph
I’m not the car I drive

I’m not the money I make
I’m not the things I lack
I’m not the songs that I write

I am … who I am
I am who I am

There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief
Would you say again what you said to me
I am loved and I am free
I believe, help my unbelief

I’m not the house I live in
I’m not the man I love
I’m not the mistakes that I carry

I’m not the food that I don’t eat
I’m not what I’m above
I’m not my scars and my history

There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief
Would you say again what you said to me
I am loved and I am free
I believe, help my unbelief

To your love I’m waking up
In your love I’m waking up

True Things


Saturday, January 8, 2011


1 john
for 40 days
takes discipline.
but i'm gleaning truth of immeasurable value.
22 times john uses this word [esv]
to speak direction,
to- no doubt- bear testimony to the life that He has lived
and to share the key to joy
and the key to his assurance of salvation.
because to abide in Him is the only way to be sure.
john says, "and now little children, abide in Him so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming..."
and "...whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in Him. by this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because He is so also as we are in this world."
and finally john states, "i write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."
john knew that a person lives one of two ways-
abiding in death
or abiding in life

and we
have passed out of death
into life
because we love.

abide. in. Him.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


it is so good to sit with great friends,
under great teaching,
continually pointed to a great God
and grace.
romans 6.1-18.
everyone is a slave - either to sin or to righteousness.

i have pride
that comes from comparing myself with other people.
and in reality i should be comparing myself
not with people
but with Jesus
then i would realize how far i fall short of all that i was intended to be
but the beautiful thing is
that He willingly makes up the difference
simply because He loves me.
He relinquished all entitlement, honor, pride
and became a slave to obedience and therefore to righteousness
and made it possible that we
might be raised with Him

"if you're ever going to experience DEEP CHANGE you have to understand GRACE."
"if you can't humble yourself, you'll never accept God's grace."
"some people so want this grace to be dependent on their works that they might have reason to boast in the flesh."

and pride ≠ humility
lacking humility leaves no room for the application of grace
and grace that is not applied is cheap
and worthless
and when we, in our pride, fail to receive what Jesus has freely given to us
i dare say that we stand in blatant denial of the power of God

and i found myself questioning Him like i never have before.
i found myself doubting like i never have
i found myself wondering if any of this is real
and i had to weigh my options
but if all of my wondering had any reality to it
i struggled to see how i could go about living any other way.
and this isn't because of habit or tradition because these things alone have never proved to be enough
but i look at the lives lived around me and in front of me
and i see without question the best possible way to live

1. joy. not to be confused with happiness, i observe joy as this thing that is an outward reflection of an inner state of peace.
2. contentment. hopeful perspective within an eternity-long meta-narrative.
3. transparency. openness, accountability. a belief that weakness does not denote failure but simply humanity.
4. intimacy. real relationships with real people, knowing and being known.
5. vision. dreams and goals due to an understanding of individual worth and belief that each person has a specific, design and purpose.
6. morality. right prevailing over wrong.

i see these things in the people that i know that love Jesus.

i lived for months among the jewish culture. these people are active, ambitious, hard-working -
but their joy wanes as their hopes for a messiah remain unrealized
and i lived for months among a community of muslim families. they are beautiful, busy, intelligent - but their transparency and intimacy lack as their lives are poured into performance based on conventionality, traditions. their joy is limited. their morality is tied up in obligation.
i have spent time with mormon friends, but i only observed more of the same.
i've studied among atheists and agnostics but the restlessness there edges out contentment and joy.
i find myself in a context saturated by postmodern thinking.
the desire for joy is overtaken by the pursuit of happiness , instant gratification regardless of its temporariness.
an endless chasing after of wealth and pleasures are victorious over contentment.
transparency loses to individualization and privateness.
intimacy is overshadowed by sexuality.
vision is drowned by hopelessness.
and morality is deprived of any of its absoluteness in the face of relativism.

so - i will continue to ask questions.
i will continue to raise doubts and seek answers
i'll continue to wonder
and wrestle anew with these things
but one thing i don't expect to do
is question the testimonies of
the lives that i have seen lived so imperfectly,
so graciously,
so transparently, authentically,
so joyfully,
and so beautifully before me.
i thank you for so boldly reflecting to me the face of Jesus
so that even though i must ask these things, i see no better way to live
and no greater reflection of what i want for my future.

i"ll be honest in saying that this is a season like i've never experienced.
yet the Truth that i've always claimed still stands supreme.
and now i make it more my own.

[1 john 5.2-5]
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.