Friday, December 30, 2011

Time and Twenty-Twelve

It never speeds up. It never slows down. Time is constant: steadily constraining our lives in this world, yet unceasingly bringing us closer to the end.

To us, time is just a measurement—it passes in minutes, hours, days, and years; but we live day to day subconscious of its passing. To us, time is eternal—it's all we have ever known; but we don't often think about the fact that we are only given a short allotment of it. Forgetting its brevity, we readily spend our time on meaninglessness pastimes, using it on whatever seems best at the moment. But are our lives to be spent away moment by moment? Will we use our time with a "present" purpose only? When we live for the "here and now," we forget that time had a beginning, and it will one day have an end. We forget that time is precious.

Of course, it's much more pleasant to live as if we had "all the time in the world." We dream; we scheme; we plan our lives away because we don't want to admit that we have no control over our lives at all. Yet, we are surprised when things don't work out like we'd planned them; we complain when we don't have "enough" time. Although time never changes, it always seems to "fly by" faster than we expected it to.

Time is temporary, limited to this earth. Even so, it is so easy to view our lives in the span and sequence of time alone. We see our past as years gone by and our futures as simply more years to come. It's the mentality of "this year is gone and over, but—hey!—I'll have next year!" But God says, "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14). We can't count on tomorrow, or next week, or next year. 

But, what if our lives were about more than...our lives? What if we were created for a greater purpose that totally exceeds the boundaries of time? What if the little bit of time we have could have eternal significance?

I want to challenge you (and myself!) to view this new year like you've never viewed it before. Although there's nothing wrong with New Year's resolutions (in fact, they're great), I don't want to get so caught up with "right now" that I completely miss the eternal perspective on my life. Today is more than today. Next year is more than next year. Our lives were created to have an eternal impact!

So let's make our resolutions; let's look forward to a fresh start. But let's keep in mind that 2012 is more than eating right, reading more books, getting better grades, losing weight, or whatever resolutions you may have. 2012 is a year of purpose. God put you in this world in this decade for a purpose! Let's use our time on stuff that really matters, on things that will count in the end. 

If your life purpose exceeds the limitations of time, then it doesn't matter when it ends. What matters is how it counts.

Lord, teach me to number my days,
That I may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beautifully Incomprehensible

This was the moment. The moment the world had been waiting for. All of History had been scripted for this one moment. Every prior event was played to set the stage, to build and lead to the climax of this beautiful story. Though through the ages, many wonderful stories have been crafted and retold, none can compare with the beauty of this story—the Advent of the Savior.

"Though he was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,"
Jesus—the infinite, eternal God—did not hold on to His heavenly, glorious position as God. Although He didn't become less of God, He gave up all of heaven's glories to come down to earth.

"but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."
I will never conceive how much Jesus gave up when He became a man. It is too great to fathom. He was the Creator of the universe, yet He lowered Himself to become a human. Truly beautiful.

"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Not only did Jesus give up all of heaven, He gave up His life. He willingly traded His righteousness for our filthiness. A beautiful exchange, indeed.

"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
God valued His glorious, righteous name so much that He was willing to kill His own Son to justify sinners. Jesus' birth and death is more than our salvation—it's God's declaration to the world that He Is Righteous.

We hear this story every year. And in the midst of the rush, the hustle, the bustle of the season, it's easy not to hear it at all. I don't ever want this story to become too familiar to me. This story is the beauty of the gospel and the glory of God. It may be incomprenehensible to our small minds, but it is beautiful.

The most beautiful story was written by God Himself.

Philippians 2:6-11


Monday, December 12, 2011

A Peace Offering

So in case you haven't noticed, I haven't been a very good blogger. Sorry, guys. Last year of high school + college planning stuff = a very busy me.

As a peace offering for my lack of posting, please accept (and watch) this awesome rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas." You'll seriously love it.

I hope you all are having a blessed Christmas season!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

18 Things that Eighteen Means

Eighteen means Grace. For eighteen years God has graciously given me life and breath. He loves me, yet I don't deserve it. He sent His Son to die my death, and, by His grace alone, He saved me. Instead of my filthy rags, He sees Christ's righteousness! Praise be to God!

Eighteen means Time. Yeah, it's time for me to get a car. Still workin' on that.

Eighteen means Choices. Boy, I am so grateful that God has a definitive plan for my life... because I don't! Yes, there's a bunch of choices, but thankfully, I don't have to rely on my own wisdom.

Eighteen means Legal. You betcha I can vote now! (And buy all that stuff off TV.)

Eighteen means Wisdom. I have a tiny bit more and need a LOT more of it.

Eighteen means Family. Without the love, encouragement and comradery of my family, I wouldn't be the person I am today. (Or here, for that matter.)

Eighteen means Endings. *Deep, scoffing voice* "Ah, high school, your end imminent!"

Eighteen means Beginnings. The beginning of a new season of life, new responsibilities, and new decisions. And another year. :)

Eighteen means Fast. Whoa... these eighteen years have gone by a lot faster that I ever dreamed they would. I'm pretty convinced that life continually gains momentum. (Which leads me to....)

Eighteen means One. "Only one life 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."

Eighteen means Wonderfundle. I'm not sure why. It just is. (Actually, I think it's just because I like that word.)

Eighteen means Vision. I may be considered young, but having vision is not defined by youthfulness. Whatever age I am, I want to have God's vision for my life.

Eighteen means Uncertainty. Honestly, I don't know what lies ahead. But as Corrie Ten Boom said, I don't have to be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. I've learned more about trusting God these past several months than I ever have in my life.

Eighteen means Adventure. With God, life is one big adventure. I can't wait to see where He takes me next!

Eighteen means Food. What can I say? My birthday is always Thanksgiving week.

Eighteen means Memories. Dear family, friends, and e-quaintances (my bloggy readers), thank you for being a part of my life. I have a plethora of stupendous memories tucked away in my long-term memory.

Eighteen means Closer. I'm one year closer than I was before, closer to the finish line. And as I press on, my goal is to one day hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Eighteen means Anticlimactic. That's weird. I don't feel any different. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Bigger Gospel

Do I really know what the gospel is about?
Well, I thought I did... until my youth group started studying the book of Romans. It wasn't that I was incorrect about what I had known before, but it was that I was missing the bigger picture of what the gospel is truly about. Because of a few misconceptions I had about the gospel, my view of it was narrow. However, the gospel is deeper than I ever realized.

The Gospel is for Believers, Too
I think it's safe to say that most Christians think about the Gospel in terms of those who are not Christians. But notice that Paul writes the book of Romans to the Roman church. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul commends the Roman church for their faith because it's known "in all the world" (1:8). If anyone should know what the gospel is about, it should be the Romans. Yet, just several verses later, Paul says that he's "eager to preach the gospel to them" (1:15). Why would they need to hear the gospel?

The reason that the gospel is for believers as well as non-believers is because the gospel is not a one-time event. Salvation is the first part, but then it continues to feed the Christian. The gospel is living and is to be a part of our lives every single day. Believing is not what I did yesterday -- it's present tense, it's continual. Yes, it has a starting point, but it keeps on going. I want the gospel to play an active role in my life, and I want my entire life to be about the gospel.

The Gospel is Not About Me
While it's true that my salvation is definitely a part of the gospel, I don't think that's what the gospel is about. The very first verse in the book of Romans mentions "the gospel of God." So often, I see the gospel in relation to myself. I think of it in terms of my salvation, how Jesus saved me, or how I have been forgiven. But it's not about me.

Before the gospel is about me and my salvation, it's first about God and His righteousness. Next time you read Romans, I challenge you to mark every time the word "righteousness" is used. (It's a LOT, by the way.) The gospel is all about the righteousness of God! Because God made a way to pay in full the penalty for sin AND therefore justly forgive sinners, the gospel displays His righteousness. It screams with the righteousness of God.

The Gospel Has Power Because of Christ's Righteousness
Jesus came and died so that we can be forgiven, right? Well, yes, but there's so much more to it. You see, there's a problem with forgiveness. A big problem. God could have just wiped out our sins and forgiven us all, but... it's not right. If a convicted criminal goes before a judge and pleads for forgiveness, the judge would not be just if he just pardoned the criminal and let him go. Consequently, if the judge gave the criminal what was rightfully due him, he would be upholding justice.

That's what it's like with God. He can't just freely pour out forgiveness to everyone who asks for it because He would be marring His righteousness. To forgive guilty sinners would go against God's character. But God solved this problem. He made a way to forgive sinners AND uphold His righteousness: justification. When I placed my faith in Christ, God could declare me "not guilty" because He imputed Christ's righteousness on me. Jesus died, taking my sin, so that I could have His righteousness. This is what justification means; I am made just (or righteous) in God's sight.

The Gospel has power to save because of God's righteousness. Romans 1:16-17 says that "it is the power of God for salvation... for in it the righteousness of God is revealed...." Without God upholding His righteous character, the Gospel would be powerless.

Do I really know what the gospel is about?
The Gospel is so much bigger than I ever realized. It's beyond myself and all about God. Now that my perspective of the Gospel has changed (from being about my salvation to about God's righteousness), I get so excited when I hear the Gospel preached! Before, it used to be that I'd already "heard it, done that." Now, I can't help but thinking how great, how glorious God is! The Gospel is not just a thing of the past - it's about the present and the future.


Monday, November 7, 2011

I Love Martha

Martha Mahinsky has all the answers to life, so her videos are certainly worth checking out:

"Not everybody is like me... unforntunately."

"If you werew a Bible verse, I would memorize you."

"If you're single... you obviously have communication problems."

"Once again, you're welcome for watching."

(You should really check out the Jostie Flicks Youtube channel. The Jost family uploads new videos nearly every week... and they are so creative and hilarious! Yeah, you might be seeing more of them on my blog soon!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

So He Can be Gracious...

Give Him time to do great things. The greater work He plans, the greater the prayer preparation that may be necessary, including prayer for guidence. God often waits so that He can be even more gracious.

~ Wesley L. Duewel

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Point of Waiting

Swamped. That's what I've been. Constantly searching for scholarships, writing essays, and trying to squeeze in some school. I feel so bad that I haven't been able to comment on any one's blogs lately... but I've just been so busy. But you all know what that's like, right?

As I am in this season of "waiting" in my life, I thought it appropriate to share this poem. Read it. It's amazing.

What's the Point?
By Josiah Schwartz

The point in waiting is
to enjoy
To love and worship God
In act of your life

Including the waiting.

And in the waiting
Remember His nature
That He is the Giver of every perfect gift
That He desires to lavish on you with such treasures
Treasures that are worth the wait
Solely because He is in them.

Rest in this:
He is going to give you
Exactly what you need
At exactly the time you need it.
That is reason to smile.
That is reason to breathe easy
And rest in Him.

Let go of "when" and "if"
Because His ways
Are so much higher than yours.
His thoughts
Beyond what you could ever fathom
Because He loves you.
Oh, how He loves you.
And that is the point
of your entire existence
To experience His presence
His love
Inside every moment.

Especially in the waiting.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Just a Simple Man

I can't see God's future plan for my life. I don't know what's ahead.
And that's okay.

Because it's not about me.
Because it's not about my significance.
Because it's not about my qualifications.
Because it's not about my inadequacies.
Because it's not about me.

My life is just a tiny piece in the larger scope of God's plan. And it's God's plan. I don't want to get caught up in the tiny picture of my life (with all its decisions, choices and troubles); I want to see the bigger picture of God's plan, where I merely play a small role.

Maybe you all haven't noticed from the themes of my recent posts, but I've really been struggling with some decisions in my life that seem really big right now (i.e. college). It's called "there's-a-bunch-of-options-and-I-don't-know-which-one-God-wants-me-to-chose." (And it doesn't help that I am naturally an indecisive person.)

Anyway, this Brandon Heath song has been on constant replay on my ipod. I kid you not, there are some days where I play it up to 30 times. At least. Serious. It's been such an encouraging reminder that God is sovereign and has my life all panned out... not to mention that it's just a catchy song. =)

So take a few minutes, and be blessed:

I'm just a simple man
A little part of a bigger plan
Everything that gives me worth, God, it's you
So take the rest of me
Cause you got the best of me
Everything good in me comes from you


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Two Years

Today marks the second anniversary of my blog! =) When I first started Blooming in Christ, I never knew how much I would enjoy writing. I never knew how much I could encourage others through writing. I never knew how much I would come to love this blog.

Over these past two years, I have learned many lessons just through blogging. I'm amazed at how God can use something so simple as my little blog to teach me so much! Here are just a few things I've come to realize about my blog:

1. You don't have to meet someone in person to become good friends with them.
2. I should not blog for affirmation. (In others words, the reason I blog is not to get tons of comments or followers.)
3. My purpose for blogging is to put in words what God is teaching me 1) to promote and glorify God, 2) to create a kind of visual journal of God's grace in my life -- for my sake, and 3) to encourage my readers in Christ.

Thank you to those who have stuck around these two years! I hope to continue writing for more years to come!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Waiting for a Sign...

Our culture seems to expect young people to have their life planned out by the time they graduate high school. Once the senior year rolls around -- and even before -- the reoccurring questions seem to be, "What college are you going to?" "What do you want to major in?" "What are your future plans?" With all of the huge, significant choices that life brings, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the fear of making the wrong choice.

Lately, I've found myself wondering, how do I know what God wants me to do? What if I chose the wrong thing? I just wish I could know God's will for my life! When I, or most other people, talk about the "will of God," I think they're usually looking for a specific sign from God, or an "open door" for God's specific plan for their future. In Scripture, however, God doesn't often reveal a person's life plan to them in advance. Abraham, for example, left everything he knew to follow God... without knowing anything about his future.

So here's the thing about the will of God: you can't always know it.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD (Isaiah 55:8).

I think some of us have this notion that we can "mess up" God's plan. We become paralyzed with the questions and decisions of life. The fear of making a wrong choice keeps us from committing to anything. So we sit. And wait. We want a specific answer from God before we move forward.But when I don't know God's will, how do I know what direction I should take? Maybe the question isn't What is the will of God? but rather What should I be doing right now so that God can lead me? Instead of waiting for a "sign," I should be moving forward. Stepping out.

God may not verbally reveal His plan, but He sure does guide. Take the time to read Proverbs 3:5-6 (and really read it): Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. If we trust in God's sovereignty, He promises to direct our paths. But God can't direct our paths if we aren't moving forward.

It's okay not to know the future. Although God doesn't always give us our life story in advance, He does require us to step out in faith and move forward in confidence. So do something. Develop your skills and talents. Pursue your interests. Look into all of your options. You may find something that God wants you to continue doing.... Or, He may shut the door in your face. But either way, don't just stand around doing nothing.

Instead on focusing on the great unknown future, find a way to follow God now. God is sovereign. You can't mess up His plan. Move forward and trust that He will lead you exactly where you need to be.

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yet Will I Wait

Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and then the saint says -- "I cannot stand anymore." God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. "Though He slay me, yet will I wait for Him."

~Oswald Chambers
My Upmost for His Highest

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Settling for Less. Made for More.

Photo source unknown

His testimony was radical. His transformation was dramatic. His passion was dauntless. His words were persuasive. His impact on the world was momentous. Who was he? He was one of the greatest missionaries to ever live: The apostle Paul.

I love the book of Acts. It's filled with rise of God's Church, the spread of the gospel, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. In it, I clearly see the strength, courage, faith, and passion of Paul. (He's probably my favorite Bible character.)

Subconsciously, however, I think I often elevate Paul in my mind to some "super-Christian" who had an extra dose of boldness from God. Seriously. He spend his life preaching the gospel, building churches, and encouraging believers. He was beaten multiple times and left for dead and performed many miracles by the power of God.

Paul may have been one of the most influential people for Christ, but it wasn't because he was amazingly gifted (or because he was a "super-Christian"). Only by the power of God did Paul accomplish what he did. It was God's power in his life that enabled Paul to change the world. The truth is, the same God that dwelt in Paul dwells in me.


Just as Paul was merely a vessel of God, I am merely a vessel of God as well. (Okay, I am just blown away by what this means for every believer!) What if we really believed that we have the very same God that Paul had? What if we actually lived like the infinite, all-powerful God dwelt in us? Can you imagine what God would do if every Christian lived like they had been "crucified with Christ," and if they counted all things as "loss" for the sake of knowing Christ?

I can say that I "know" that God dwells in me... but do I really live like it? Why is it that God's power doesn't seem to be very evident in my life? While I'm sure there are several answers to this question, I've come to this conclusion: I have settled for less than God has for me. I'm content with just "good-enough." Since no one seems to expect anything of great significance, I don't strive for excellence in my life. When I treat God as a separate part of my life, His power is not so clearly displayed in me.

Although I may not be called to preach the gospel in the streets of every city I encounter (like Paul did), God's power should be evident in my life. But I have to die to myself so that God can live in me. He can't work if I don't move.

It's time for me to get out of my comfortable chair of Complacency and live a life of continual striving after God.

Why would I settle for less when He has so much more for me?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Seat - A Story of 9/11

A Pilot's Story (Peter Scheibner) from Sept 10th - 11th.  He has a powerful testimony about the providence and grace of God. Please take the time to watch this video -- it's very powerful.

Will you remember to pray for the families of the 9/11 victims today?


Friday, September 9, 2011

Link Up! 9/8/11

Dear Photograph - It's a picture of a picture. People take old photos and take a picture of it in the same place it was originally photographed. It has never been so fun to look at people's old pictures!

Starfall - This one is for the little ones in preschool. Now there's a lot of children's websites that claim to be educational, but this is seriously the best site I've found for helping kids with reading! In fact, it's more like an online interactive book than a game. My little sister loves it and will be using the activities as part of her schooling!

Suffering: the most feared blessing - "Personal suffering is the thing we fear the most." A good reminder for me that God is in control of everything, even suffering. "Suffering is no doubt God’s most feared blessing. How are you stewarding the gift?"

Thinking About Grad School - I'm not quite to this point in my life yet, but it was a helpful article about the costs and benefits of grad school. When is graduate school pursuing God's calling on our lives? When is it an irresponsibly expensive, time-consuming venture? And you might as well check out part 2 if you're interested.

You Lead - A very catchy song from Jaime Grace:

If you want a religion to make you feel comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. —C.S. Lewis


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lord, Prepare Me....

 photo source unknown

 September? When did this happen? This year... over halfway over already?

Wasn't it just recently that I was celebrating the new year? It seems only a couple months ago that I committed this year to the Lord. I didn't have many plans, and I didn't know what the future held for me. Like the blur of a very distant object, God's direction for my life was not clear. Still, I prayed that God take this year and use it to prepare me for whatever He had in store. Though I did not know what His plan was, my prayer was that God would use the upcoming year to ready me, prepare and equip me.

Little did I know how immensely God would answer my prayer.

It all started at the end of April, when I had just finished my TeenPact class. Through that class God opened my eyes in so many ways. I saw how many opportunities I have to live for Christ right where I am.

Well, that TeenPact class lead me to the TeenPact National Convention in Tennessee. I don't know if I can describe in words what God did there. It was incredible, powerful, and challenging.... and the impact on me will last a lifetime.

This was only the beginning of God's plan to shape me. It was a beautiful beginning with much more to come: Not long after National Convention, God graciously gave me the opportunity to attend Worldview Academy. Again, I can't put into words everything that I learned from there. All I can say is that I learned a LOT and I loved it. Each day there I was equipped with more and more tools to use in ministry for God. (Even months afterwards, I am still excited about everything I gained from that week!)

When July rolled around, I was ready to pour out all that God had taught me (thus far) into three sweet campers at Camp Good News. That week of being a counselor was definitely a stretching experience, but totally worth it. There is no better feeling than knowing that you have been used of God. I'll never forget it.

I probably would have been satisfied with all that God had done that summer,
but He wasn't done yet....

Three words: Do. Hard. Things. Yes, I went to the conference in Kansas City! If I thought the book was good, then this tour was absolutely amazing! It's one thing to read it in the book, but to hear Alex and Brett's story from them personally was so much more impactful. After coming home, I was overwhelmed by a bittersweet feeling because this was their last year of touring... and I wished that I had convinced more people to come. Nevertheless, that conference was definitely something that God used to prepare me as a rebelutionary.

Throughout the entire end of the summer, I began participating in The Truth Project with a group from my church. Honestly, this one of the best video series I have ever seen! In fact, I'd like to go through it again sometime in the future. I'm convinced that every Christian should go through it.

Finally, the end of the summer came around, and God had one more thing in store. As a vocalist on my youth group's worship team, I had the humbling opportunity to help lead worship for our youth retreat. I don't think I could have ended my summer more appropriately than in worship of our awesome God.

I prayed that God would prepare me. He answered it above and beyond what I expected. Through all that's happened this summer, I feel more equipped, more prepared than I've ever felt in my life. And even though I'm still not sure what exactly God has in store for me,

I feel ready to go
wherever He leads me.

(And the cool thing is, this year isn't over.... yet!)


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Broken and Glorious

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us."
2 Corinthians 4:7

There are times when I am overcome with my inadequacies, my faults and insufficiencies. While there are many other people much more qualified and able than I am, God still chooses to use me. Why does God find pleasure in using me in my weakness? How is it that God uses me inabilities to bring Him glory?

"But we have this treasure..."

This treasure refers the glorious Gospel of Christ (4:4), the light of the knowledge of the glory of God (4:6). And it is this priceless treasure of surpassing value that I hold. I have this treasure.

" jars of clay..."

In Greek, the word for "jars of clay" literally refers to cheap, baked clay pots which were used for holding garbage and human waste. They were expendable, easily replaceable, and common. Worthless. They were not beautiful or glorious, simply used to hold filth. I am this jar of clay. I am like a lowly, cheap pot: unimportant, common, replaceable. And still God chooses ME to be the bearer of His glorious Gospel!

" show that the surpassing power belongs to God..."

God uses lowly, unworthy people like me so that others can only conclude that the power of the Gospel is from God. The all-glorious power of God overcomes and outshines the jar of clay... so all that's left to be seen is God's glory. God doesn't use me because of my abilities, He uses me in spite of my inabilities. He is most glorified to put Jesus on display through my weakness.

"We are afflicted in every way,
       but not crushed;
       but not driven to despair;
       but not forsaken;
struck down,
       but not destroyed;
always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."

I often try to cover up weakness for the purpose of appearing strong. I do my best to make myself as glorious as possible. But when others see me as glorious, they can't see Christ as glorious. So, sometimes God humbles me. He brings suffering and adversity into my life. Because through every struggle, every trial, every persecution, I am left more cracked than I was before. And the more cracked I am, the more God's glory shines through.

I am Broken. But He is seen more Glorious.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-10)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Link Up! 8/27/11

Hello dear Readers! I thought I would start sharing some on the interesting things I've stumbled upon every now and then. Enjoy my "findings" for the World Wide Web.... =)

9 Core Principles of Writing - A "short-n-sweet" list of principles useful for any writer.

Soul Surfer - The point of this review isn't whether this movie is "good" or "bad" (I actually haven't even seen it yet). But, as many people would label this a "Christian" film, this post simply asks the question, is it really a Christian movie?

The Freshman Fifteen - "Dining hall food gets a bad rap, but incoming college freshmen don’t seem to have a problem packing on the infamous “freshman 15.” Honoring that tradition, here are 15 ways incoming freshmen (or upperclassmen for that matter) can seek to glorify God as they head off to college this month."

Singing to Build Up - I love singing. I love worship. And this puts a whole new light on it.

Half-Aborted - I don't understand how anyone can justify abortion. The immorality of abortion is just too apparent and sooner or later people will have to come to terms with the reality of what it is.

37 Ways to Love One Another - This would make a wonderful personal (or group) Bible study!

Students Love Technology - This is a really interesting infographic on the importance of technology to students today. (And if you've never seen an infographic, you should check this out!)


Sunday, August 14, 2011


Enthralling. Captivating. Mysterious. Rapturous. Those are a few words that come to mind when I think of music. And I've been doing some thinking on music recently.

Music intrigues me. I'm fascinated that people have been writing music for centuries, and yet composers never "run out" of music to write - it's so versatile that there will always be new music. I am in awe of how when completely different notes are played together, it can sound so beautiful. It amazes me that the most intricate, complex piece of music can be precisely and literally written on a page. Possibly most fascinating of all, however, is the fact that simple sound waves floating through the air are interpreted by the ear as harmonious music that stirs the soul in a way nothing else on earth can.

Have you ever wondered why music even exists? Why are there different pitches of sound, and why do a bunch of notes have such a profound impact on us? I am convinced that music is evidence of a Designer, a loving and good God who created and enjoys beauty. Any musician (with a little theory knowledge) can attest to the fact that music is incredibly structured, precise, and ordered in a systematic and organized way. Whether jazzy and irregular, or flowy and lyrical, every piece of music can be calculated in exactness on paper. The chords are related, the keys are related... it all fits together! If the universe really came about by randomness and chance, then how can the order and harmony of music be explained? How can something with such exactness, structure and unity be accounted for?

My belief is that God created music as an expression of His nature - His character, glory, and beauty. Music reflects God's creativity. And, because you and I were created in God's image, we interpret these floating sound waves as something much deeper than sound. We understand that music is more than just notes. As human beings made in the image of God, we have a greater appreciation for the beauty (and possibly even divinity) of music.

Music has a way of reaching down inside a person and stirring the soul like words alone cannot. Music is powerful. And whether you realize it or not, it affects you. That is why it's important to only listen to truly good music. The purpose of this post is not to define exactly what kinds of music are worthy of listening. I would like to challenge you, however, to evaluate what you listen to.

I once heard "the arts" in general defined from a Biblical worldview as "skilled human creativity that reflects the truth and beauty of God." Personally, I think this is a wonderful standard for me to evaluate all types of "art" (music, movies, literature, paintings, etc.). Is it the product of skilled creativity? Does it reflect truth? Beauty? The character of God? Is it therefore worthy of my meditation?

When music is skillfully composed with order and harmony, it is beautiful. I love music. It intrigues me. It resonates deep within me. It is evidence of design and order. And I can't help but think how privileged I am and what an honor it is to worship and glorify God with music. God is good.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Do Hard Things 2011

As Alex and Brett closed the final session of the Do Hard Things Tour, I was overwhelmed with bittersweet emotions. On the one hand, I was filled with excitement and passion to go and put into action everything I had heard about living my best life as a Rebelutionary. I was in awe of how the pressence of God was evident that day, moving in the hearts of many there. But at the same time, I realized that this was the last Rebelution tour - Alex and Brett were moving on.

I was almost tempted to think that this was the end. But this is not the end of the Rebelution. It's only the end of the beginning. It is up to the youth of this generation to carry on what God used the Harris twins to begin. It's up to the young people to continue doing hard things for the glory of God, going above and beyond the culture's expectations, and focusing on preparing for the future.

I was so blessed to have been able to attend this conference. I was inspired, challenged, convicted, and filled with enthusiasm and passion. God is so good. There is nothing like being surrounded by over 1,000 people with the same desire to rise above the low expectations placed on youth. When I think of the young people in that room fully surrendering their lives - their best lives - to God, I am filled with encouragement and hope. If God is for us, who can be against us?

So. It's up to you, it's up to me, to carry on the Rebelution. So what do you say.... Are you with me?

"We become the men and women we strive to become. What are you striving for?"

"There's nothing more foolish than holding back from what God has in store for us because we're afraid of failing and what people will think. Failure is not wasted when you turn to God and try again."

"When we become exceptional in a mediocre culture, we become exceptionally mediocre. Do what's hard for you, not someone else."

"Don't let people tell you that you're amazing. You are just a regular teen who believes that God uses youth."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free Viewing of Divided

What is the purpose of modern youth ministry in the church? Is it biblical? Is it multiplying or dividing the church? These are the questions asked in the new documentary put out by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches. For a limited time, you can watch this 50 minute film for FREE on their site:

My family hooked our computer up to the TV and watched it together. It's an interesting movie. It made me think about the youth culture in a way I never had before. Though I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the information I learned from Divided, it was incredibly informative and I recommend that you take the time to watch it (while it's still free).


Divided Trailer from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Here's the description from their site:

"There is a crisis. Christian youth are rapidly leaving evangelical churches for the world. This well-recognized disaster has been the topic of significant discussion in recent years for both church leaders and modern new media. DIVIDED follows young Christian filmmaker Philip Leclerc on a revealing journey as he seeks answers to what has led his generation away from the church. Traveling across the country conducting research and interviewing church kids, youth ministry experts, evangelists, statisticians, social commentators, and pastors, Philip discovers the shockingly sinister roots of modern, age-segregated church programs, and the equally shocking evidence that the pattern in the Bible for training future generations is at odds with modern church practices. He also discovers a growing number of churches that are abandoning age-segregated Sunday school and youth ministry to embrace the discipleship model that God prescribes in His Word."


Monday, August 1, 2011


I've just returned from an amazing week of being a counselor at Camp Good News. These are the three girls I was with nearly 24/7 of that week. God did incredible things. I was so privileged and blessed to be used of God and to influence the lives of these girls. Than is nothing more exciting than being used of Him! But, after a week triple digit temperatures, it's nice to be home. =)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


In an age of moral relativism, where absolutes are seemingly non-existent, and where Truth is said to be determined by the individual, I found this quote from Joshua Harris's Dug Deep Down encouraging.

Actually, Harris quotes Wayne Grudem in his book Bible Doctrine when points out that in Jesus' prayer in John 17:17, he doesn't say, "Sanctify them in the truth; your words are true." Instead he prays, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."

Grudem further writes, "The difference is significant, for this statement encourages us to think of the Bible not simply as being 'true' in the sense that it conforms to some higher standard of truth, but rather to think of the Bible itself as the final standard of truth."

God. Is. Truth.

Isn't it so comforting to know that God is The final source of Truth, and not the whimsical ideas of man?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Only a Word Fanatic

I really don't know why, but I have this odd fascination with words. I love words. I love how they're spelled, I love how they sound, I love what they mean.... It's amazing that something so simple as a word can convey a message with meaning. Language is the coolest thing ever!

Hence, being the word fanatic that I am, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite words with you. (Yes, I keep a list of all my favorites.)

Scoured - it's better than just "searching" (rummage works well too)
Chortle - you've read "Jabberwocky", right?
Connoisseur - you've gotta admit: French words are pretty awesome
Tenacious - one of those sophisticated sounding words
Provocative - fun to say in a German accent
Prolific - I just like it
Ostentatious - if you like to show off your vocab
Inevitable - change is inevitable, except from a vending machine
Abominable - just too fun to say!
Discombobulated - means confused
Utterly - use for a dramatic effect
E-quaintance - that's what you all are: a person know only through online communication
Hakuna-Mathata - it's a real word in Swahili meaning "no problem"
Skidaddle - a very cool word indeed
Tweetox - tweet + detox = to take a break from Twitter
Plethora - instead of saying "many"
Indubitably - say it really fast
Hullabaloo - it's just as crazy as it's meaning
Nifty - my synonym for "cool" (spiffy works too)
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis - I'm still working on pronunciation

So, is it just me, or do you all have favorite words too?

I'm so sorry you have to watch this, but I just couldn't resist! (Since we are on the subject of words and all...)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Beauty for Ashes

Isaiah 61:3
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ."

Gain. There are many things that are "gains" to me. I have numerous things that I take pride in, many things I put my confidence in. My accomplishments, my talents, my abilities, my knowledge - all of these are gains for me. Loss. But how can I lose my gains? How can I count them as loss? These are the things that define me. These are the things I've worked for. And yet I'm called to count them as loss.

"I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."

However, when I count all these things as loss, I'm actually not losing anything of value. In reality, my gains are all nothing without Christ. I am nothing without Christ. But, I can trade my nothingness for His fullness, my rags for His righteousness, my worthlessness for His surpassing value.

"For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ."

He gives me beauty for ashes.

It's not a fair exchange, by any means. I do not deserve it, nor will I ever deserve it. When I count all things loss, I gain Christ. So why is it so hard? Why do I struggle with this everyday? Why do I cling to everything that's of myself? Because I'm trusting me. My confidence is still in myself. Therefore, I need to crucify myself so that Christ can live in me. I lose myself, but I gain a priceless treasure beyond all measure and worth.

He gives me beauty for ashes.

I lose my social status, but I gain Christ.
I lose my good works, but I gain Christ.
I lose my possessions, but I gain Christ.
I lose my reputation, but I gain Christ.
I lose my accomplishments, but I gain Christ.
I lose my relationships, but I gain Christ.
I lose my life, but I gain Christ.

He gives me beauty for ashes.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom: A Call to Action

We are free. But for 27 million people in the world, freedom is not a reality. Slavery exists today - even more-so than any other time in history. As we remeber our freedom today, let us not forget those who are enslaved. We must continue to fight for freedom.

So now I give you an important call to action from IJM (International Justice Mission). Please go to their website now and send your Senators a message asking them to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. This crucial bill will renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which established the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, authorized the annual Trafficking in Persons report, and established a global minimum standard for confronting trafficking and slavery. Your action is needed! Go to this website to send the message. The message is already written for you - and it takes less than a minute!

For more info on this bill, go HERE.

Happy Independence Day blogging buddies! Remember the One who truly makes us free!

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. - John 8:36


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vision: Where I'm Going (post #2)

Sometimes, writers get their point across by gradually and indirectly introducing their subject. Other times, writers may poetically verse their point so masterfully that the point is made through effect. I, however and in this particular instance, am going to get my point across in clear, concise, straightforward way:

You should have a vision for your life because it is very important.

(There. Now let me elaborate.)

In my last post, I talked about vision. Vision means looking beyond what is now and becomes the aspiration of what could be. For instance, Joshua and Caleb were visionaries because they saw things differently, they envisioned taking the land of Canaan as God described they would. I shall now get personal and directly ask you a question: What's your vision? Do you know where you are going? Where are you headed?

I told you vision was important. You see, without it there's not one specific goal to direct your life towards. And if your life is not directed anywhere, how do you expect to do anything significant? John Piper says it better: "The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered my one great thing." What's your thing?

Your vision might change. You might find a new vision. But having vision is what's important. Have a goal that you're reaching for. Ask yourself questions like, "Where do I see myself in one year? Five years? Ten years?"

Your vision should encompass something you're extremely passionate about AND something you're good at. Personally, I am passionate about music (writing songs on the piano and singing). It's something I've been doing nearly my whole life; and if I may say so, I feel like God has given me talent in this area to use for His glory. I have a vision to bless others with my music and glorify the Lord through it, whether by participating in my youth group's worship band, performing for others, or maybe even recording some songs. Although I don't have all the answers, I have a vision; and if God so wills, I will pursue that vision and reach my goal.

Now it's your turn to share. What's your vision? Discipling younger believers? Writing a book? Becoming a fashion designer? Starting a Bible study? Teaching English? Serving God in another country? Running for representative? Learning another language? Whatever it is, I wanna hear it! Leave a comment and share the vision God has given you! =)

P.S. I highly suggest reading John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life for more about vision.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seeing Things Differently (post #1)

"Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith."
 ~ Stephen S. Wise

We've all heard it. "God has a great plan for you." "Follow God's purpose for your life." And we know it's true because God says, "For I know the plans I have toward you..." (Jeremiah 29:11). But, I'm still left with one question: What's my part in God's plan for me? Will God's purpose just "happen" or do I need to be doing something?

"The spies are coming! The spies are coming!" shouted the people of Isreal. In the distance, the figures of several men appeared on foot, carrying large bundles of... something. Eagarly, the people awaited the spies' reports and curiously tried to figure out what they had brought back with them in those bundles.

Finally, Moses and Aaron had quited the Isrealites. Moses addressed the spies, "You have been forty days in the land of Canaan. Tell us, is the land good or bad? Are the cities fortified? How is the fruit? Are there many trees?"

With much excitment, the spies began describing the richness of the land. The bundles which they had carried contained the sweet, delicious fruit which grew in Canaan. The land was fertile and lusch.

A wave of excited anticipation rushed over the Isrealites. Was this really the land that God was going to give them? They couldn't think of a better place! But then the spies continued their description.

"Nevertheless," they went on, "the people of the land are big and strong. They dwell in heavily fortified cities."

Another spy came forward and exclaimed, "Not only that, but we saw the descendants of Anak there! The Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Canaanites all live there!"

"We don't stand a chance against them!" Another spy added.

The people gasped and began murmuring amoungst themselves. With their enemies (who just happened to be giants) well-armed in fortified walls, the Isrealities truly didn't stand a chance. The spies convinced the people that it was hopeless.

Then Caleb and Joshua stepped up.

(See Numbers 13:17-32)

When everyone else saw the giants, they saw the fruit.
When everyone else saw the fortified walls, they saw the potential.
When everyone else saw the curses, they saw the blessings.

Caleb and Joshua had vision. Visionaries see things differently.

God calls you and me to be visionaries. He wants you to have a vision, a holy ambition. John Piper defines holy ambition as "something that you really, really, really want to do - and that God wants you to do also."  Like Joshua and Caleb, God wants you to see beyond the world's expectations and dream big.

Maybe you're thinking, well having a vision is great and all, Chloe, but I still don't know what God wants me to do. If I don't know what His calling for my life is yet, how can I have a vision for what He wants me to do?

Introducing post number two....


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Two Best Ways to Start Your Summer

Imagine the entire ocean. It's vast. It's huge. It's got a lot of water. Now imagine that the entire ocean represents all the attainable, knowable knowledge there is. How much of that knowledge do you know? After considering all the history, statistics, facts, equations, trivia, lives, names, laws and other knowledge that's available, I've come to the conclusion that my knowledge would amount to about a drop.

These past few weeks I've learned a lot. A ton. But the more I learn, the more I realize exactly how little I know. Still, these past weeks have been life-changing for me. I can't even begin to describe how incredible this past month has been... but I'm gonna try.

Three words: TeenPact National Convention 2011. (Or is that four words?) First of all, let me just say that if you've never been to a TeenPact state class, you are missing out on one of the greatest experiences of your life. Check it out. National Convention is a whole week spent on focusing on God with teens from around the nation. Imagine worshipping God with 500 other people, having a quiet time in the middle of His creation, participating in a national ultimate Frisbee tournament, watching TeenPact's election campaigns... not to mention hearing amazing speakers like John Stonestreet and Brett Harris!!!  At National Convention, I was encouraged, strengthened, and challenged in the Lord. I'm already looking forward to next year! 

Next on my life-altering list is Worldview Academy. Again, if you haven't been to or heard of Worldview, you must check it out! I can sincerely say that it was one of the best weeks of my life. Worldview Academy is not your average camp. For most of each day there I was being lectured on subjects concerning worldview, apologetics, evangelism, and leadership. Of course there was still ultimate Frisbee, small group games, team competitions and worship. And it all adds up to equal the ultimate camp experience. But it was more than an experience; Worldview Academy was a launching pad.

Think Hard Think Well

So you see, I've learned a lot, but this new knowledge has given me the desire to continue to learn and to press on in my search for Truth.

God is so good. There is no better way to start summer. I can't wait to learn.


Friday, June 10, 2011

A Surreal Reality

I. Am. A. Senior.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Make Me Humble, Father

Make me humble, Father
Put me in my place
I see myself for who I am
As I look upon Your face
Make me more of your, Lord
And less of me
As I discover more of who You are
Give me humility

Make me humble, Father
Clothe me poor and meek
On my own I am unable
But Your strength shows through me when I'm weak
Let me boast in You, Lord
And not in me
As I magnify the strength You are
Give me humility

Make me humble, Father
Show me how to serve
For You came and washed our feet
Though You are of surpassing worth
Let me place myself last
And look for other's needs
As I follow Your servant-example
Give me humility

~ By Chloe 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Giveaway Winner

I might as well get straight to the point and save my ramblings for last.... Using I now have a winner of the earrings I made and am giving away. Congratulations Marie! You are the lucky winner!

If you don't mind, you can email me (my email is on the sidebar), and I'll get the earrings to you. =)

Thanks to everyone who entered! I'm so excited to look up (and hopefully read) all of those wonderful books you suggested!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Because He Lives....

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

Thank you for conquering death, Lord Jesus!
Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Numero Cien

Apparently, this post is significantly substantial.

Not because this was posted on April 13, 2011 (a very fine day, I must say). Not because the title is in Spanish (which is, by the way, totally awesome). Not because it was posted by yours truly (significant as this reason may be). No, this post is special because it is officially my 100th post.

By now, many of my readers have by far surpassed their 100th posts, and for them, this might seem like a trivial accomplishment. However, for the author of a blog which has been much neglected, this is huge. The very moment that I hover my mouse over the "Publish Post" button and apply a slight force with my right index finger, I will have clicked that button for the one hundredth time. Oh, the exhilaration.

In honor of this significantly substantial occasion, there are some things I will NOT do.

First, I will not aimlessly ramble on like a sophisticated idiot who redundantly says things twice and appears to know what she's talking about but really has no idea whatsoever and therefore she completely bores her readers or either slightly amuses them with her complete ridiculousness and absurdity.

Second, I will not make an atrocious list of one hundred facts about myself (as many are accustomed to doing on their one hundredth posts). If anyone ever reads one hundred facts about any one person, they either have way too much time on their hands or they're stalkers. (If you have ever read one hundred facts about someone, please say that it is because of the first option.) Plus, I doubt in my ability to come up with one hundred facts about myself.

Those, my friends, are the things I will not do in this post. However, there is something that I WILL do in this post.

(Yes, I am a firm believer in productivity.)

In honor of my great accomplishment of reaching my 100th post, I will be greatly accomplishing my very first giveaway! The object of this giveaway will be these beautiful, intricately hand-crafted earrings. (Okay, they weren't that hard to make.)

It's nothing huge compared to the hugeness of the occasion of this post, but I've been wanting to do a "give-away" for a while now. So... Ta-da!

P.S. - The earring part is made of nickel-free metal

P.P.S. - I sincerely apologize to any males out there whose expectations of a "cool" giveaway were utterly dashed. Please feel free to enter the giveaway anyway, and if you happen to win, you may in turn give them away to somebody who would be more likely to enjoy them

P.P.P.S. - To enter, you must do these 3 1/2 things:

     1} Leave a comment on this post.

     2} In your comment, suggest one of your favorite books that you think I should read. (Preferably, suggest a book other than the ones I have listed in my "Faves" page.)

     3} This give-away ends on Thursday, April 28, 2011.

     3 1/2} You don't have to be a follower of my blog, but as I'll be announcing the winner on here, it's probably a good idea.