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!)