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. =)