I can’t…I’m busy

I’m a theater kid. I’ve been acting, singing, and dancing since I was 9. But along with any extra curricular activity comes a huge time investment. In September I was in a production of “Cinderella” the musical, and had rehearsals every weeknight for a month, and then 16 shows over 3 weekends and 2 week days. The other day one of my friends saw a shirt that said “I can’t, I have rehearsal” and started laughing because she thought it was ridiculous. Then she stopped, looked at me and says, “actually that’s about right.” For every night during rehearsal for Cinderella, I had to tell people I couldn’t hang out, go to the movies, or have dinner. I even went to rehearsal on my birthday. But it’s funny how often we say or think that phrase–“I can’t…I’m busy”. Most often, we tell it to God.

This past week I’ve been struck at how God is supposed to be my best friend. Since when do I tell my friend to stop calling me because I want to dance, or to go away because I’m texting. But yet, I do that to God all the time. I find that the busier I get, the happier I seem to be, but ultimately chaos comes out of it because I tend to leave God to the “spare time” instead of 1st priority.

So nothing too earthshattering today, just a simple revelation that He deserves way more time than make-up, dancing, my friends, or any other thing–even if it is a good thing.

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May 28, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

The final hour

I’m down to the final hour of our 24-hour fast. I can say it’s been a really interesting experience. Yesterday it was really hard not to cave in and just eat something. I was “starving” for the first few hours. But I filled my time with school and youth group, and instead of eating dinner I spent time in the Word and journaling. At first fasting was painful and just an exercise in self-control. But as it went on, every time I felt hungry I’d think about why I’m doing it, and how this whole thing is an exercise in focusing on God instead of self. It’s really been a great experience, and like I said before–something I’d totally recommend trying at least once. I probably won’t have the guts to do it again in the near future, but I’m glad I did it.

Now I get to wait the final 50 minutes before I can eat my lunch…I already decided what it’s going to be… 😀

May 21, 2008. Lessons from God. 2 comments.

Fasting

At our church, the pastor is talking about spiritual disciplines. The one for this week was fasting. Great. Fasting is a thing old people do to make them more holy or something. ….or not.

                                                                           

Our youth pastor goes over the main church sermon and applies it to the youth durning the youth service. So we can’t skate out this time by saying it’s only something adults do. Mark (my youth pastor) talked about different kinds of fasts: food fasts (absolute and partial) and thing fasts (stuff and people).              

 Absolute fasts are where you don’t eat ANYTHING or drink ANYTHING. Your body can only handle this for 3 days. It’s not generally recommended unless you really feel like God is calling you to do it. Partial fasts are where you can still drink water (and some people also drink energy drinks or juice). Your body can handle this for up to 40 days.

The non-food fasts are where you just take time off from something or someone. It can range from not watching TV, playing video games, going online, blogging *cough cough *, to not dating, shopping, spending money, or texting. It’s just taking a break from things that get in the way of God being the focus of our lives.


Our youth pastor challenged the youth group to a 24-hour partial food fast. Those who want to participate aren’t eating from lunch today to lunch tomorrow, and devoting the time spent to eating, to prayer and Bible study. As you might have guessed, I took Mark up on the challenge and for some reason decided to torture myself by looking at all these yummy pictures…

                                     

24 hours for me ends tomorrow at 12 noon. It works out well because I have online class at noon, and I need to be alert and not hungry for that. So far I haven’t learned much–except that I love food. 😀

May 20, 2008. Lessons from God. 4 comments.

The Cross

The cross. A Christian’s trite little symbol of Jesus. Even non-Christians use the cross as a logo or symbol because it’s “cool”. At Mars Hill on Sunday, I was again struck by the power and beauty of what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

Jesus didn’t just say “ok God I’ll die” and get shot or something that ended quickly. No. Crusifixion was the ultimate torture method that the Romans (the best of the best at torture) devised. It was only used for the worst of worst crimes. As Pastor Mark Driscoll shared, the word “excruciating” was created to describe the pain endured during crucifiction. The way people died on the cross was by suffucating. Not only was the body wracked in pain from being nailed in the nerve centers of the body (the wrists and feet) but the criminal could barely breathe on top of that.

So clearly crucifiction was a horrible death. But Jesus wasn’t just crucified. No, before he was crucified, he was beaten and scourged. I’ll spare you the details of scourging because it’s so horrible I can’t write it down. Basically the victim who was scourged had their back turned to raw meat.

To add to all this, they pounded a thorn “crown” into his skull. Not little rose thorns, but big huge thorns. On top of all that, he had to carry his own cross that would have been 200+ pounds.

But why did Jesus do all this, you might ask? Who benefitted from this? Why do Christians say how wonderful the cross is, and wear it as a symbol? Jesus suffered through all this, willingly, because He loves you, me, and everyone. He died a traitor’s death without complaint because He wants us to live in heaven forever with Him and his Father. What did it accomplish? Everything.

You see, everyone sins. Sinning is when you do something that goes against God’s laws. It can be as big as murder or adultery or as small as gossiping or swearing. Since God is a perfect God, He can’t allow sin into his beautiful paradise, heaven. So everyone who has sinned has to go to Hell. Hell is a place of eternal torment. Revelation says there’s fire and brimstone all the time. This is a literal place–if you sin, you really deserve to go there.

But God loved His world and the people He created SO MUCh that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to take our place. Jesus lived a perfect life and so he could make it into heaven, but instead he took upon himself all our sins. So He died in our place–we don’t have to go to hell anymore, if we believe in Jesus and his wonderfully sacrificial gift of life.

But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He conquered death by rising from the dead after 3 days in the grave. Now He sits in heaven, next to God the Father. Jesus wants so desperately for everyone to believe in this wonderful gift. So do I, which is the reason for this post. If you have any questions pick up a Bible, contact a church (I recommend non-denominational Christian churches or Baptist churches), or leave me a comment.

To hear the sermon that inspired this post, visit Mars Hill church online. I don’t believe they have the sermon up yet (as of 5/19/08 ) but will very soon.

For all of you who are Christians, I challenge you to re-think the cross and its HUGE significance to us. It’s not a trite little symbol that we should put on our cars or jewelry. It’s the sum of our all our faith in one item. It’s the demonstration of God’s love, grace, judgement, and wrath in one act.

May 19, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Church, Lessons from God. Leave a comment.

The Christian and The God

                                                                                        

 

I’ve been reading my textbook like a good student who is trying to finish school strong, and I came across this interesting idea… Talking about the Puritans and their strict rules, the book was talking about Luther’s Creator-Redeemer idea.

What is the Creator-Redeemer Idea?

Creator-Redeemer says that God is not only someone high-up who created the world and stepped out (as diests would say) and he also is not just someone who came to earth to save us. He both created and rules over the world we live in, and came to save us from eternal punishment. Assumptians by Christian Overman goes on to say that this idea bring us an interesting thought. Overman notes how we tend to separate the “Sacred” from the “Secular”.

Sacred and Secular

What makes a church sacred (or something that’s holy, having to with God or religion) and a skyscraper secular (something to do with the world, not related to God)? We separate the two worlds of sacred and secular because God doesn’t seem to be in one place (our secular lives) but abounds in the other. The result of this way of thinking, though, is that we separate God from every aspect of our lives. You see, the skyscraper is just as sacred as the church. Men that God created used thoughts God gave them to design the building. Men God created and gave talents, strength, and intelligence built the building. God is in the skyscraper just as much as the church.

Why Does it Matter?

Why? Because we have the tendency to do in our lives exactly what we do with the buildings. We separate in our heads the “difference” between our church life and our school life, our “God face” and our “friends face”. Pretty much when we’re at church, youth group, Christian conferences, or religious things, we put on one face that’s modest, holy, pure, humble, and in total submission to God, but as soon as we get in the car we turn on inappropriate radio stations, swear at the driver who cut us off, and knowingly disobey the law (i.e. speed). After really thinking about it, I don’t know how we justify this behavior switch except to fool ourselves into believing that God isn’t there watching. The problem is, God doesn’t just exist in church or at “holy gatherings” He’s everywhere, all the time.

I’m not separating myself from everyone else and saying I never do this. The reason I’m blogging about it it because I do it. I do it every day and not realize it. The word hypocrite comes to mind. Doing one thing one place and another thing somewhere else.  Sacred and Secular. Is there a difference? Should there be? Something to think on…

 

My apologies to all who have been reading and seeing the lack in updates… I usually update this blog once a week or so. Leave me a comment if I forget!!

May 14, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

Not of This World

So I’ve started the chapter in Do Hard Things about peer pressure and giving in to the world’s standards and push and pull.

Why Is It So Hard?

I realized that we’re not fighting against flesh and blood, but Satan. You see, Satan likes to creep into our lives by taking on the form of good things (friends, teachers, books, etc). And he’s not going to be obvious about it. I’ve heard someone say that the lies we most easily believe are the ones that are almost true.

How Do We Combat Peer Pressure?

Well the first and most obvious is to choose your friends carefully. But what about that urge to “fit in”? You have to think about what group you’re trying to fit in to and why. If it’s a godly group of people who are honestly seeking God, and you admire them, then go for it! But if it’s the popular gossips who backstab and flirt, eh, I would hold off. The Bible is full of warnings against those kinds of people–just read Proverbs.

The Summary

Have I ever fallen into peer pressure to fit in? Yes. Will I do it again in the future? Yes. But with God’s help, I’ll be able to see that I’m doing wrong and hold off from pursuing the path I went down. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found that whenever I start something that goes against God’s laws, a verse, book, speaker, or friend will say something or do something that will knock me over the head with a big “duh, I shouldn’t have been doing that.”

God is faithful.

May 7, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

The Portland Conference

NOTE: this is just my general recap, and what I learned. To learn more about the Rebelution visit their site

Well guyzos, I was able to go to the Portland Rebelution Conference. It was…amazing!!!

I’ve read all the posts on the Rebelution blog. I have finished half of the book. I have been following the Rebelution for a while, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d get out of the Conference. I was able to take 4 other girls with me, most of which had never heard about the Rebelution until I shared about it at youth group. They came away inspired by what they heard….and so did I.

At first I thought “I’ve already been doing hard things, I’m good.” I’m the youngest shift leader at work, and I’m the one being trained as asst. manager. I play for the worship team. I read my Bible, pray, and do Awana. I’m one of the kids who’s told how great they are for what’s easy for them to do. That’s when I realized that I need to do what’s hard for ME.

The girls (Mary, Cortney, Katarina, and Shalliah) and I are going to de-brief at youth group next week, and hopefully we’ll be able to stir up excitement for our entire youth group to do hard things. We’re going to dig out the secret Rebelutionaries like Brett said, and get them involved, too. A lot more kids wanted to come, but weren’t able to make it, so hopefully they’ll catch the vision.

The whole do hard things idea brought a new idea back into my thoughts that I had previously put out because it seems “too hard.” Actually, for a few good weeks, it’s kept coming back, but I’ve kept banishing it because “I can’t” or “the other path is easier”. eek talk about conviction. What is it?

For years when people ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I’d say “a CIA agent”. 😀 I knew that I would never be a good CIA agent since I’m not fluent in languages other than English, so eventually I switched to the FBI. I thought “being an undercover agent would be the ultimate acting job. Your life depends on the fact you can persuade your enemies you are who you aren’t.” But I also knew that I couldn’t do that because I need people too much, and being an undercover agent would require a person to be so alone. But the FBI and criminal investigation work still interested me waaay back in my brain corners.

However. To be the “other side” of the FBI agent (Special Agent or SA) you have to go through intense physical training. Let’s just say….I work at an ice cream store, and I’m not an athlete. I’m not overweight, but I’m just…normal. Not super in-shape either. That’s what scared me about the FBI. The physical testing is intense. I could deal with the pressure, but the phyiscal side scared me. But the idea once again popped into my head last night, and so I’ve been pursuing the idea, now. I know that God will help me through whatever I need to do if it’s His will for me to be a SA. So I’ve opened that door and only God knows if I’ll get to travel into it or not…

So anyway, here are the pictures we got from the conference. We had a 5-hour drive, so we had a lot of time on our hands. 😛 And yes, I’m picking the craziest, weirdest, most unattractive pictures to introduce you to who went with me… 😀

Shalliah

Cortney

Katarina

Mary

Four of us at the conference

 

Sporting our new “Do Hard Things” t-shirts. I got the blue one you see here, and also the red one that says “Rebel with a 1 Timothy 4:12 cause”.

Listening to Alex and Brett

We all got to meet Alex. I also got to meet Brett, but didn’t get a picture with him. *tear tear*

May 5, 2008. Lessons from God. 2 comments.