Sunday, February 14

my golden calf

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." So Aaron said to them, "Take off the rings of gold that are in that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" Exodus 32:1-4

My heart relates all too well with this text. Every day I choose to worship some ridiculous golden calf that I molded myself, making myself believe that it will truly give me hope, that it will redeem me, that my god will provide for what I crave at that very second, that this god I created can give me everything I have hoped and dreamed of, everything I have waited for, everything that my heart desires. Yet because I have created it, because I have put it on a throne instead of looking to the only right, and true God, it will never give me true satisfaction, true love, true joy, because it came from me. Although my god does not look like a golden calf, I relate so closely with the Israelites. My golden calf is a cruel love of acceptance, a lust for relationship, a self motivated worship of me.

There has been too many times that I have turned my back on the Lord to worship myself. What words are to be said to rock us out of this love of self, into a love of Creator? I remember the gospel, how Christ was sent to die for my sin. My sin is the reason Christ had to suffer, to allow me to have a relationship with God, so that I may be guiltless and stand in front of Yahweh. I have to remember the truth that God loves me, no matter how many times I walk away from Him. God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 The thought that I can look forward to a day where there will be no more sin, no more aching, no more worship of self, no more hatred of serving others, that there will no longer be starvation, or death is glorious! This is how my golden calf is smashed, broken to pieces by the word of God, For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Romans 8:22-24

I hope in a hope that I do not see, because what else is there to hope for? Everything else will melt away, everything else will return to dust. God promises me, if I keep on serving Him, if I continue to confess my sins and turn from the worship of myself and anything else that comes along with that, that I will enter into His presence and worship Him. My heart will be filled with the thing that I have always been looking for, our Creator. It is so hard to remember this when I'm looking to myself instead. Yet, He continues to love me, He continues to pour out his grace on me, and He continues to remind me that He is the true God.

So there is an incalculable, faultless, eternal God who loves the frail beings He made with a crazy kind of love. Even though we could die at any moment and generally think our puny lives are pretty sweet compared to loving Him, He persists in loving us with unending, outrageous love. Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

Cling to this.

Monday, October 12

mind numbing

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

I find it very peculiar that the God of the universe loves me. Today I sat and meditated on this fact. After sitting and solely thinking about this for a time it is absolutely mind numbing. I can't wrap my mind around it! I'm not able to. The Creator of the universe loves me. Me. & you.

Just think. The I Am whom created the 100,000 of leaves on a single tree also created you. Unlike a tree, He created you to be in relationship with Him. He breathed life into man. He died so that we might live in community with Him.

Isn't it painful to think we so easily get caught up in our day that we forget this life jarring fact?

Friend, go meditate on this. Look to God, who He is, and what He has promised us.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19

Monday, September 28

a call to Humbleness

It seems the Lord loudly speaks to me through members of the community, especially those who are in the margins. This Sunday Karis looked at a passage from Luke 17 where Jesus heals ten lepers and only one of them comes back to praise Christ. He is so excited to be cleared of his uncleanliness that the first thing he does is turn around from his way to the temple (so that his community would be informed he was in fact clean) to thank God. He falls on his feet and praises God, One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him- and he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15,16

To be brief, a friend of mine has had a hard past. Rougher than your next door neighbor. And yet somehow, finds the strength to praise in midst of San Quentin. He doesn't love the Lord, yet, but his heart is being softened daily by the gospel. Today, my friend imparted words of wisdom to me, but more than that, he told me truth. Without even knowing it. He praised what was happening even before he has come to see the result. He reminded me that knowing the outcome shouldn't change how I respond to God. Knowing what is going to happen next shouldn't be the reason I praise or am disappointed. It isn't about what is given to me, but is about what the Lord has chosen to bless me with throughout my life.

It was an absolute call to humbleness and I'm willing to bet that will be a theme the Lord continues to teach me through others. I want to praise God like the Samaritan that was healed by Christ. I want to fall at the feet of the Lord and thank Him even before He fulfills or answers my prayers. He yearns for me to learn this concept so He teaches me through the most surprising. Someone who doesn't even know Him, who is searching but has still not entered into a relationship with God. But because my friend is created in the image of God he has a relational characteristic that dwells within. And he is thankful in the midst of the unknown.

My prayer is not only would my friend respond to the Lord through this, but that my heart would be softened. That I would be able to be humble and praise the Lord in times of uncertainty, and the things from day to day, because God has made me! He has healed me and I find my rest in Him. I pray that Christ would transform the people's hearts that He is using to speak truth and the people who need truth spoken too.

God is miraculous, friends. And even that isn't a fitting word for how grand He truly is.

Sunday, April 26


Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:31

Could you imagine, Jesus, God, saying this to you? With a gentle frown on his face, "ye of little faith," and then comes the loving commanding question, "why did you doubt?" What would my answer be? Looking back into the face of God. Gazing at Him on the water that night; I doubted, God, because...
the wind was blowing. i thought i could do it on my own. i was scared. i couldn't trust you. i don't love you. i'm strong enough. i can do it. i'm fearful. you're not enough. the water was above my ankle. i got distracted. i was on my own. Andrew was laughing. other people don't believe in You. i'm enough. you're not enough. can it really be. my heart was fixed upon something else. i can't give everything over to you. you are not enough. you're right in front of me, but i can't follow. i'm afraid. i love myself too much. i'm selfish. i want to be in control. are you really enough? i'm prideful. i thought i could. redo. i'm stronger. i am human. sin.
Why Lord? Why did I doubt?

I am Peter, sinking in the water, with Christ strongly looking me square in the face asking, "why did you doubt?" Again and again I try to control situations and somehow love people into loving You. With such a half hearted attempt at showing them who Christ is; I do it for myself, because that's what 'good' believers do, right? I am Peter, asking Christ, "tell me to come to you on the water." And when Christ does, and provides, I shriek, out of fright, because what or whom could be so powerful to keep me afloat? I'm walking on water! And yet, he saves me. Over and over and over again. He continues to be patient with me, His child, and shows me that He is in fact always in control. That is me. "You of little faith."

The last thing I would have thought come from her mouth would be, "I have been wanting to go back to church for a long time."

Lord, you prepared her heart. You allowed me to walk on water. You continue to open her heart to the gospel and you use me as a mouthpiece to show her what Your gospel truly means. Dying a torturous death, on a cross, crucified by our sin; defeating death to be our sacrifice, so that we can look into our loving Father's face. Father, please help me have more faith, help me not stumble and fall into the water. I know that you will always catch me. I pray that You will catch her too. Be with her throughout this time, Lord, I know she needs you right now. Allow a community to come around her and love her. Provide for her God. Open her eyes to you, Jesus. Allow me to follow You and worship You, and let your light shine, Christ.

and all who touched him were healed.
Matthew 14:34

Monday, April 6


The fate of the downtrodden, the abused, the lonely, the beaten up and misguided in some regards is up to us, as a society, a community, and in my case a believer. But what happens when the community, our society - lets those who are undirected keep on keeping on? When we are too involved in our own lives to see that others are hurting, that other people need more help than us. Usually we walk right past them and tell ourselves that it's their problem, they did it to themselves and we forget to take into account the experiences and the life they have lived through. What happens when we don't create rules for those who desperately need guidance and help? How is it we externalize all hurt and pain of others' lives and don't seem to care? And why is it that when we do step in and start to show we care, the misled seem to not want our help in the first place? You can give someone a place to live and something to eat, and yet you can't infuse them with responsibility. Maybe that's why we stop caring, because it just is too much work and everyone knows we don't have time. We don't have time to teach a developing person all the things their mother should have taught them, like a sense of responsible independence, a sense of thankfulness, the feeling of love. Because, quite frankly, we hardly know how to do it ourselves.

And yet some press on. Some continue to work with these hurting, misguided people, who we love, only because there is something in us that wants to desperately love and help them. We want to piece their life together because at one time or another someone loved us. Because we can't imagine a world where we have never experienced love - and we can't imagine the emptiness that has to fill the hearts of those who have never felt it. And because of that emptiness, the unloved take the actions of the loved as completely ludicrous and are unappreciated of the true love they are experiencing. A free gift, with no strings attached, given to them only because that person absolutely and fully loves them. And at that point, the person receiving the love has no idea what to do, has no idea how to react, because they have never been loved before.

We struggle so hard not to be loved and yet God lavishes his grace and love abundantly upon us. We turn and ran away, and sometimes try to kick Love in the face because we simply do not know how to be loved. And He continues to give. and Love. and forgive. and for the rest of our lives we will have to continue to allow our barriers to come down, because we are afraid of getting hurt and scarred again. and still He loves us. and sometimes there is tough love, but this love is a good, full, absolutely pure Love. And when accepted it changes our lives.

This is why I try to love those who have never been loved before. Not knowing Love, pure, true love is a tragedy. To not ever feel needed, or respected, or worthy is .... something I can not put into words - but can see it on faces. This is why we are called to love. This is why even though it is frustrating and hard, we must try to love those who are hurting and have so deep of scars on their hearts that only God can know and heal them, & I pray He will. How do we teach people responsibility and give them a sense of self worth? We love them. And sometimes that means we practice 'tough love.' They are shown there are consequences to their actions but that doesn't mean the love ceases to exist, that they are loved fully no matter what.

And maybe, just maybe, people will start to understand.

Tuesday, March 10

07:00 report

No bond.

It's like watching someone cut the branches off of a living tree. You know the branches could survive if given nourishment, love, and attention. But instead the men just hack away at the lifeless branches because someone deemed them unworthy. Maybe it's a large pruning process, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I know that this pruning is doing more damage than it is help. A part of it was killed and will not return.

I watch the rain fall. And I rejoice, because I love the rain. I thank God for a beautiful day like today... rain. drip. drip. But I can't help but watch the tired souls who cross the street, hating the rain, getting splashed by passing cars, because they walked too slow. And then, two obviously intoxicated homeless men pass by one man, smokes. Bum a cigarette. He shakes their hands. Other people wouldn't touch them because they're hands are stained yellow from nicotine & cigarettes. He smiles & walks away. What a blessing this man is. To treat these men as humans, as if they are someone's child, someone's brother. We need more of these friendly, caring people. Friends. Their hearts are content on smoking just one more cigarette. Making it to the next day.

Our society is in need. I am affected by something big. Today. Yesterday. A friend, a kid that needs guidance, nourishment, and love - put in jail, "put me in black & whites" I hear him say. Cut off like the branches of the tree I just watched get hacked off and discarded into the trash. It doesn't have to be like this. This is the imagery I see in my head, with my friend. I've seen the punishment for a
Felony B RSMo: 195.211 be 15 years. 15 years is three quarters of his life. I pray it is not this long. I pray its only a "120." To shake him up a bit. To get him set on the right track. Can prison push you in the right direction? Doubts. Can he be redirected? I believe everyone can. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good. It is times like these when I thank God for putting me where I am, for working and laboring for Him. His love covers this. Jesus, guide us - for we can lose sight of you in a second. Let your light shine Lord, the darkness has not overcome it!

I see the light. I do not see the ending. I do not know what will happen. I trust the Lord has me here for a reason. Has me in specific people's lives, there is a reason. What is it? First and foremost to love them. To provide for them, through Him, that love, nourishment, and attention. Me. Through You.

Tuesday, February 24


today was a good day. it was the first monday i've had off for around a month and it was truely a blessing. i went & bought some jewelry making stuff at Hobby Lobby and dinked around making jewelry almost for the whole entire day. i was so thankful for some time off, amist my silly-busy life.

& i realized how blessed i am. i am so absolutely blessed in every facet of my life. i have a truly wonderful (& crazed) family, great friends, two jobs, i can afford college, and i am able to provide for my needs. what a blessing. i have to remind myself everyday how blessed i am to have these things, because some people don't. i know. i know these people. i interact and love these people. and then i go home to my blessed life and have to fight my american-money-hungry-consumerist mind. I praise the Lord for blessing me with so much. So much Joy.

i have fallen in love with the City of Columbia in the past three and a half years. & I'm here to stay. Hello Columbia, you are my HOME. what a wonderful thing to be able to say. Columbia, it's great downtown district and the things and people i've grown to love. Kaldi's, everyone's favorite coffee shop. Main Squeeze, the best organic food & smoothie restaurant of anywhere. Maude, a mod thrift store ;). Sparky's! who doesn't love Sparky's icecream? MU, where I've slaved... okay been a student for the past 3 1/2 years. The locals and regulars I see everyday that are an integral part of my life, because without them I wouldn't have the great conversations or friends that I do. The homeless that sit outside on 9th St & give me a good laugh when I get off work. True.False film festival, yum. The Heritage Festival, sweet music & homemade goods. Oh Columbia, thanks for becoming my home. I have definitely been blessed by the Lord's call on my life to live here. Who would have thought? Not me.

friends, smile at someone today. go out of your way to make someone's heart happy today. we are among hard times. let's get through it together. we are not alone, Christ is with us. & so are you.