Friday, December 7, 2012

life is an adventure

I've always been one of those daydreamers. As a kid, my head was constantly constructing thrilling plots and stories for the dozens of adventure novels I planned to write. (It hasn't happened yet.) In my head, I always imagined myself as one of the characters in the heat of the perilous action, living a life full of heroism and excitement.

Although much has changed since my adventure novel aspirations, I still find myself drawn to the idea of adventure. In a way, I think we all dream of getting caught up in some grand scheme that's bigger than ourselves. There's a little part in all of us that wants to be part of all the action and suspense. And though my life may never have as much action as an Indiana Jones film, it is definitely full of adventure.

When I look ahead in life, all I see is an unclear future and one great mystery of a story. But when I look back on where I've been, I see all the twists and turns that God has brought me through and think, Wow! I never dreamed it would ever have turned out this way! In the midst of the journey it sure was tough, but it was always exciting. During the times that were most difficult in my life, God's faithfulness has always appeared more clearly.

With God, life is one big adventure.

Clearly, life is never boring with the Creator who specifically crafted your story into the history of the world!!! So... you can expect your story to be full of the unexpected twists and turns... but you can face the future with an adventurous spirit because he's already written the ending... and you can approach each new adventure with confidence because he's right by your side. (Like a sidekick.)

With God, you don't have to take life so seriously. Sure, there's guaranteed to be be plenty of twists and turns in the future, and maybe some disappointments and heartaches; but instead of freaking out when something doesn't go like you planned it or worrying about an uncertain situation, remember that it is just another part of God's great story. He just wants you to trust him--he's up to something incredible. Face the future like the adventure it is.

So, good news! You're already a part of the great adventure you've always dreamed of! Only in this story, you already know the ending: you are victorious in Jesus Christ. So in the next uncertainty that arises or in the next complication or disappointment, just remember God's faithfulness and constantly press forward... you're in the adventure of a lifetime.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

a beautiful paradox

In the quiet stillness of the sunlit room, alone, I sat listening as the breeze rattled the last leaves on the trees. Tucked away in my bright, sunny, secluded room, I came to think and reflect. In the tranquil atmosphere, I could not help but pause and ponder the text I had just read.

Trying to picture myself in the cell of this man, I searched for something deep inside of me that would enable me to endure fourteen years of imprisonment under the Communists. How long would I be willing to suffer for Christ? My spirit was overwhelmed with the account of horrendous tortures, horrific abuse, and anguishing pain. But there was something much deeper and greater that my soul felt.

There was something beautiful.

Amidst the persecution, there was love. Through the loss, there was unfading hope. In the midst of suffering, there was self-sacrifice. This story about a man who suffered for Christ, who prayed for his torturers, and who never ceased praised God that he was counted worthy to sufferthis life radiated with a beauty beyond anything any earthly eye could behold. The courage, the faithfulness, the unconditional love; this is a beauty the world is not worthy of knowing.

There is something overwhelming beautiful about self-sacrifice and loss for something, someone greater. It doesn't make sense to earthly logic, but it is transcendentally beautiful.

exultation through humility
strength through weakness
freedom through serving
gaining through losing
living through dying

Perhaps true beauty is a paradox, like many other aspects of the Christian life. So, in the quiet stillness of that windowed room, I prayed that my life might be a beautiful paradox, too.

The book referenced to is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

what is education?

To you, the student:

Maybe you feel like you're running an obstacle course. You probably spend the majority of your morning and afternoon hours sitting in classes, listening to lectures, and doing homework. (Or if you're homeschooled, just doing homework.) You must learn the facts, memorize the equations, and write the papers. With every assignment, you dutifully complete it—or at least do as little as you can get away with—in order to gain the tools you will someday need to make a living. For now, you are just enduring school, every requirement bringing you ever closer to that glorious end: graduation. Whether your educational journey ends with your high school diploma or your college diploma, you are most certainly anticipating the day when you will "arrive" and receive the certification declaring that you have successfully jumped through all the necessary hoops. You have been adequately prepared for the "real world." Congratulations! You've done it. You have successfully completed your education.

Or have you?

It is a common assumption to view education as means to an end. It is something you must begin in order to bring about a desired cause (in which case you will have reached the end). However, contrary to popular belief, this is not what education is—at least, education according to the Bible. 

The Biblical view says that we never "arrive." The process of becoming Christ-like is on-going and constant. We must take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23), continually die to ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:11), and always be being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). While we certainly do have the hope of heaven, there is no "finish line" for the Christian. In the same way, education does not have a "finish line," but rather education is an end in itself....

As a Christian, it doesn't matter what you do—whether you're an engineer, an actor, a musician, a construction worker, or a preacher. Everything you do is sacred. There is no distinction between sacred and secular in the Christian life. The same goes for education. We are called to be in a constant accumulation of understanding, both in our view of God and our view of the world. With God, education is more than just a "coupon for life" that you redeem for a job in the "real world." Education's purpose reaches far beyond passing a test to the entirely more magnificent end of glorifying God with our minds

Maybe you're still in school; or maybe you've already graduated. Maybe you're already retired! Whatever the case, you are still called to be a hard thinker for Christ. The Bible commands us to love God with everything, including our minds (Matthew 22:37). If we adopt the mindset that education more than mere knowledge or a ticket to the work force, then we will begin the journey of perpetual learning for the glory of God. 

We want to think big thoughts about God. We want to develop our God-given skills. We want to work hard to strengthen our weaknesses. We want to think critically, and all for the Lord Jesus Christ! So let us not view school as an obstacle course, dodging our way around hurtles and doing our best to just get by. And while it is absolutely fine to look forward to graduation, let's not assume that our education will then be complete. Though we will never "arrive" or be complete in this life, we have a goal we're aiming for in everything we do: the glory of God. As you finish out this school year, keep in mind what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."

Monday, September 17, 2012

college life

I live in a ten foot square room that's infested with crickets.

But, on the bright side, the campus is beautiful. Here's a shot I got one glorious evening:

When the classrooms are about 60 degrees but outside it's about 100 degrees, it's difficult to know how to dress for the day.

It's not as hard academically as I thought it would be. But then again, I'm taking all basic Gen.-eds. Since I don't have many of my core classes yet, I probably have my more challenging courses to look forward to. Yippee.

I've discovered that you can be surrounded by friends and still feel really lonely. The hardest part of college is giving friendship time to develop deeply. Slowly but surely things are getting better. But through this process of making completely new relationships, my relationship with God has deepened considerably. He remains faithful when everything around me changes!

The rate at which freshman couples are formed is astounding.

Potatoes. Pasta. Fried food. Carbs galore. That's what the cafeteria food basically consists of. Praise Jesus for salad and cereal because that's what I'm surviving on!

I didn't know this before, but the way I alleviate stress is through the piano. I'm discovering so much about myself here!

There's only about 500 students on campus here, and I love it. I've gotten to the point where I recognize almost everyone here. We're like one huge family here. It's awesome.

That's it for now!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Link Up! 07/22/12

11 Incredible Customer Service Stories - Surely there is a lesson for the church in all this.

Why Bees Die After Stinging - This is an incredible photo!

How many legos would it take to build your house?

Matt Redman and LZ7 - Twenty Seven Million - Wow, this song is incredible.

Stars and Whales - Yeah, this gave me goosebumps too. Listen and stand in awe of our Maker.

If snack labels told the truth... - As someone who actually does read food labels, I got a kick out of this!

10 Tips on Solving Mysterious Bible Passages from Sherlock Holmes

The Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare - This is a bit late, but it really helped me understand what's going on and what it means.

Oh, and this worship music from Mars Hill Church is pretty great too! (Number 4 might be my favorite.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

the story continues

Head's up: I. Am. A. College. Freshman.

Just getting here was one of the craziest journeys I've ever had. 

It was stressful, confusing, emotional, disappointing; but most of all it was one big adventure with God. I still don't know why God gave me such a crazy year of finding a college, but God was faithful through it all. (On that note, if you ever find yourself stressing over a college decision in the future, I'd LOVE to talk to you. I know exactly what it's like, so I'd love to talk to anyone who is going through the same thing I did.)

So, as I embark on this new unfolding chapter of my life, I anticipate a change in my schedule, my responsibilities, my time, and basically my life. In other words,

Head's up: My blog posts have a very probable potential of being few and far between in the future. 

Obviously, I don't know exactly what my schedule will be like this coming year. But I do know that I will have many more responsibilities, AND I know that blogging will (unfortunately) not be on the top of that list. Although I dearly hope to continue writing here when I can, there may not be much of it from here on out.

With that said, I'd like to hear from some of YOU! Since I won't have much of a chance to do a lot of blog interactivity now, I'd like to take the chance (while I can) and hear from some of my readers!


1} The summer is often the time we do service projects, outreach, missions trips, leadership camps, and so on. What did you do this summer and how did you see God work in your life through that?

2} What song or songs do you currently have on "replay"?

3} Out of all the posts you've ever written, do you have a favorite? Please share!
(In case you were wondering, this is my favorite!)

4} I'm a quote-y person. :) Any inspiring quotes you'd like to share?

5} If you could travel in time, what time period would you travel to, and why?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

another declaration of independence

236 years ago, 56 bold men signed their names to a document that would forever change the course of history. As the citizens of the United States remember how by the Declaration of Independence we became a free nation, let us also reflect on another Declaration of Independence: the one that bought us from bondage into liberty, was purchased by a cross, and was signed by the blood of Christ. 

Happy Independence Day!

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Saturday, June 30, 2012

a small snippet

This is just a glimpse of what I took away from Worldview Academy....

  • Engaging the culture is more than just having intellectual conversations, it's about loving others.
  • I often assume that people aren't interested in spiritual things. But they are; and if Christians don't engage them, they will be taken captive by the world's spiritual ideas.
  • What you fear is what you will worship.
  • Courage is fear in it's proper perspective: fearing God more than men.
  • I should never accept the label "rebel," because I am always under the authority of God.
  • Truth is Truth, regardless of how one perceives it.
  • The five pillars of leadership are meekness, integrity, vision, attitude, and empowerment.
  • We do not argue anyone into the kingdom, but we are called to give a defense of our faith.
  • The gospel is a conversation, not a presentation. 
  • Jesus wasn't "nice," but He was truthful and loving.
  • I have more influence on people than I ever imagined.
  • I can turn what is common in culture into pulpits to proclaim Truth.
  • Movies are the teaching tools of our culture.
  • God did not invent relationships; He IS relationships. So when we cultivate a relationship with God, we are joining Him in who He is.
  • I do not think critically enough.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

is there a storm coming on?

...Cuz I'm hearing some THUNDER!

I'm from Oklahoma, so of course I'm rooting for the OKC Thunder in the NBA finals tonight. :) :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012


You know those moments when your heart is so full that you don't have the capacity to express it in writing (much less the time to do so)? Well, I'm having one of those moments. Of course, it's wonderful to have God doing so much in my life! But I shall spare you the plethora of deep, lengthy posts, and give you a few snippets into the life of yours truly. =) And as always, I'd love to hear about all the goings-on in your lives as well!

So then, I am....

...constantly being amazed by an amazing God...

...processing all that I learned at TeenPact National Convention 2012...

...learning more of what it means to treasure Christ...

...freaking out/getting excited that I will be in college in, like, 11 weeks! Cra-zy...

...loving all the travelling I've been doing...

...writing lots of graduation thank you notes...

...trying to find time to read the mountain of books I optimistically started...

...preparing for an INCREDIBLE week at Worldview Academy (coming up SOON)....

So, what's up with you?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

just imagine

If songs written by mere men cause your heart to become humbly overwhelmed and awed by a great God....

if, with your humanly imperfect heart, something deep inside of you longs to worship the infinite, almighty God....

if worshiping in the midst of a mere five hundred other people causes your soul to resound with excitement and delight in the Savior of the universe....

if your heart, incapable of praising and loving God to the fullest extent, finds joy and satisfaction in His presence....

if our earthly melodies, limited by the notes, pitches, and tones of this world, inspire your soul to the highest worship of the Creator....

if our words, wholly inadequate to magnify and glorify the Great I AM and God of the universe, are what we use to give Him praise....

if our worship in this life defines some of the most wonderful and glorious moments of our lives....

then just imagine

                      what worship will be like

in heaven.

Friday, May 11, 2012


The usual rule is that the more we really know the more conscious we are of the littleness of our knowledge.
—C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Link Up! 5/10/12

10 Steps to Becoming a Hipster - Even if in fun, this post offers some practical tips for achieving the hipster look.

Visual Theology - I just like how clear and visually delightful this is.

Tim Tebow: 10 thoughts - "The “Tim Tebow phenomenon” has garnered so much media buzz that I think it warrants a closer look from a Christian point of view. Obviously, a lot has been written about Tebow, mostly focused on his unconventional style of play and the media splash his short career has generated. But as believers, what are we supposed to think about the cultural phenomenon that centers around this young quarterback?"

Journaling Tips - "The following tips are things I’ve learned from several years of journalling, and while they are aimed at Christians journalling for the benefit of their spiritual walk, many of the points will apply to journalling in general."

How to Boost Your Reading Comprehension - "With all of the things out there to read on the internet—all of the blogs we want to keep up with and all of the news funneled to us every day—how can you make sure you read each item in a way that really enriches your life? The short answer: You can't, not without help, anyway. Here's how you can stop, refocus, and change the way you read so you'll take more away from it."

The Joy of Quiet “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.”

What is the Unpardonable Sin? - "I cannot tell you how many times in my teaching career very distraught Christians have come to me to ask about the unpardonable sin and whether they might have committed it. I suspect most believers have asked themselves whether they have done something unforgivable...."

"Authority is like soap, the more you use it the less you will have of it." - Mark Dever

"Every genuine revelation of God has this mark upon it, that it makes him appear more glorious." —C.H. Spurgeon

Start Over - My current motivational music.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

3 easy steps to getting free awesomeness on your iPod

My iTunes just became unfathomably this much more awesome because I followed these simple steps:

{1} Go to iTunes and find the "Radio Worldview" podcast (with Jeff Baldwin).

{2} Click "subscribe."

{3} Listen every week for engaging and hilarious conversations about the culture, current events and media, critical thinking skills and apologetics -- all from a Christian worldview!

I LOVE Worldview Academy and am fully convinced that every Christian young person should attend a camp. However, I realize that it is not reasonable to expect everyone to be able to go to Worldview. In that case, this Worldview Academy podcast is the next best thing! I am not even kidding when I say that this is my favorite thing on my iPod!!!

(You can also listen on the website at

As believers who are called to live in the world and not of it, we need to be able evaluate everything that comes at us and articulate what we stand for. I know that I can always turn on Radio Worldview for challenging discussions and thought-provoking questions that will drive me deeper into my faith.

Go get it. Go listen. Go be challenged.

(And, goodness, it's free!)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

one idea

There's so many things to be known for, so many things to be remembered by. With so many outlets to channel human passion into, life has become a game of achieving one more thing, accomplishing as much as possible. Somehow, the things a person aims his life toward has become equated with his success. The more directions his life takes, the more applause he receives. It is admirable to be a person of many ideas. Those whose passions and efforts are aimed in many directions are upheld by the world. With every well intended cause and every righteous goal, the world resounds with a cry to be a person of many ideas.
When life is full of endless possibilities, it would be foolish not to chase after every desire or attempt to satisfy every passion.

If that is the case, however, I suppose I'll have to be foolish.

Because I don't want to be known as a person of many ideas. I don't want to be remembered as a person of countless passions.

As foolish as it might seem to the world, I want to be someone of one idea. Uno. Single. One. There's so many things to aim my life towards; but I only want one. One singular idea, one singular passion - that is what I want to have... to be about... to be remembered for.


How ridiculous it is to the world to only have one purpose and one idea that your life is centered around! Some would call it narrow-minded; others would label it as foolish. But regardless of how of how the life of "one idea" is perceived, it is the only life worth living. Only one thing gives life purpose. Only one thing brings true happiness. Only one thing is worthy of my entire life.

The glory of God.

In every deed, every thought, every achievement, God is central. I am not the end; He is. A wise man once said, "The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love" (Henry Scougal). I could then ask, what is the object of my love? What am I aiming my passion toward? The answer to that question defines the "idea" of my life. But even more importantly I should be asking, what is the object of God's love?

Why is God worthy and why is He excellent? Because above all else HE is the object of His love. He has one ultimate, supreme, all-encompassing purpose: Himself. And He is completely and justly right in doing so, for there could be nothing greater or higher to direct His love towards than to Himself.

God is not about me. He is about Himself. And if God is not about me, then neither should I. Constantly, the ideas of this world are trying to pull me into myself. But the one idea I was created for is God.

What will I be known for? Someone who accomplished a lot? Someone who had many dreams? Or someone whose life centered solely on one thing in every aspect of life? Though it may not sound impressive or exciting, I want to be known as a person of one idea. Instead of having multiple passions that my life pours into, I want every passion to feed into one supreme and ultimate passion: God.

So when distraction comes, and when the world starts pulling and telling me I need to be about many ideas, I'll say " no thank you." I only have room for One.

Friday, April 20, 2012

just. do. something.

I feel so liberated right now. Set free. Released. (You get the picture.) All because my perspective was changed by a short, little book....

All throughout this senior year of mine, phrases like "waiting on the Lord" and "the will of God" have seemed to repeatedly keep popping up. Chances are, they've popped up in your life every now and then as well. As soon as things become a little uncertain, that's when "God's will" becomes ever so important to us. And, boy, have I been uncertain a lot lately!

With so many "life-altering" decisions coming up (i.e. college), I wanted to be certain that I was making the right choices. I knew God had a plan for me, but I didn't know what it was. Many days were spent pleading with God to show me His will and stressing over decisions. After months and months, I still didn't have an answer. Why was nothing clearer? Didn't God want me to make the right choice?

And then everything changed.

No, I didn't get a sign from God. No, He didn't reveal His entire will to me. But I discovered that I was in bondage to the idea that I had to find "God's will" for every decision in life. I was held back by the fear that I would make the wrong decision. I was looking for clear, distinct, unmistakable direction for my life; but that's not always how God leads.

Let me just cut to the chase: I read this really awesome book called Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung that totally changed my perspective on making decisions and seeking God's will. Trust me, this book is liberating. Because my attempted explanations to describe this liberating approach to finding God's will could never do this book justice, you will just have to read the book yourself.

I discovered that God's way is not to tell us every detail of our lives ahead of time. God's way is to grow our faith by having us constantly rely on Him. God's will happens not when we "let go and let God," but as we trust God and get going! Honestly and truly, this is one of the best (and most needed) books I have read. This is a book I will be recommending to all of my friends!

Final thoughts? JUST DO SOMETHING. And read this book.

"Trust God and do the next thing" -- Oswald Chambers

Sunday, April 15, 2012

of bank accounts and (probably) nonsensical ponderings

You know those incredible experiences that grow you and change you, yet at the end of it all, you're left with more questions than answers? I do.

I've been reflecting on the last several months of my life. Although I didn't realize it then, I can see that God has done SO much in the last year. I've changed. I'm not the same person I was 12 months ago. Yet, in spite of all the life-changing experiences I've encountered, I don't have any more answers. In fact, I may even have more questions than I began with.

I'm left with new perspectives, new ideas, new options, new possibilities, and new opinions. I've grown, but everything is even more uncertain than it was before. When the door is thrown open to endless possibilities, the daunting task of making a choice becomes even heavier.

In the midst of my indecisive feelings and ever-growing questions, I have somehow managed to hold on to peace. Peace that comes from God. Peace that surpasses all understanding.... even my own understanding! I should seriously be freaking out right now. But I can have peace because I've given my anxiety over to the Lord.

Why am I worrying over the future, as uncertain as it may be, when I have no control over it whatsoever?

That's right, I don't have any idea either. I serve a God who never takes risks. At all. Therefore, I can afford to take risks. I can risk because God never does.

I have gained so much these last few months.... from people, from God's Word, from life experiences. And while I may be left with more questions, I have been prepared to face these questions in light of God's sovereignty. I have so many questions. But I feel prepared. I'm ready to face the future. Because God is sovereign.

Like a bank account, I have been filled up. Each new piece of knowledge, each new step with God, and each new relationship made has been a deposit into my "bank account." The more I seek God and equip myself for His service, the more deposits I make.


Money in a bank doesn't do any good if it's just left in there. Neither are my "deposits" of any benefit if I don't eventually "withdraw" them.

Serve. Influence. Encourage. Challenge. Comfort. I must used what I've gained and put it into action, pouring into others' lives what has been poured into mine. I want my life to have a healthy, balanced cycle of "deposits" and "withdrawals."

This is what God requires of me. Sure, I don't know all the details, but I have a God who does. There's a whole lot of unanswered questions, but it's all the more opportunity for God to show Himself great in my life. If I'm faithful in the small things, God will show Himself great in ALL things.


Monday, March 26, 2012

hang in there

Any seniors out there that can relate? =)

Friday, March 23, 2012

even when i'm weary

One word: weary. That's how I feel right now. 

For the entire past six months, I have spent my time filling out more college applications than you would believe. Yeah, tons. With each new college I would come to, I would always think, maybe this is the one, and picture myself spending the next four years on the beautiful campus.

Well, I haven't found one yet.

After months and months of searching and hoping, I'm kind of burned out. It's not that I'm tired of filling out applications; it's that I'm tired of not knowing. This next huge season of my life is looming ahead of me, and I have no idea where I'll be spending it. 

I am a planner. And planners like to know things in advance. That's the problem. I don't know anything in advance right now. Everything is so uncertain, sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy inside.

And now I've exhausted myself.... because I kept trying to create a path that wasn't meant to be there. I kept trying to make everything to line up perfectly so that my life destination would be crystal clear. And while I kept trying to plan my own way, God kept directing my steps elsewhere.

After all of this searching, then planning, then burning out, I've noticed something odd about myself. Now that my efforts to figure out my future have failed, I've started spending my time on things that I don't really want to spend my time on. I'm struggling with priorities and productivity. It's almost as if since I can't know my future, then I turn to distractions in life to keep my mind off the fact that I still don't know. These distractions keep me from thinking about the uncertainties I've failed to resolve. I've gone from trying to do everything, to doing almost nothing at all.

Deep down inside, I think I've excused myself, saying that I'm simply trusting God and leaving the outcome up to Him. I tried and failed to do it myself, so I'm done. If God has a plan for my future, then it's up to Him now to bring it along.

Of course, it's absolutely true that God has a plan for me, that nothing in my life happens outside of His sovereignty. (We ALL know that.) However, I don't think that's an excuse for not doing anything. 

The Christian life isn't a passive game.

It's a battle.

And as soon as I realize that God's sovereignty is no excuse for resignation, I will begin to see that God's plan is so much bigger than the next four years of my life. In the span of eternity, my college decision is marginal. God's purpose in my life isn't that I find the ultimate university, it's that His name be magnified in my life.

I'm in a full-fledged battle, and God expects me to fight. There is victory in Christ alone, but it's my responsibility to engage in the war. Day by day, I must lay down my life, pick up my cross, and follow Christ. Even if I can't see where He's leading me.

Even when I'm weary.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Link Up! 3/17/12

How to Use the Internet - This is an interesting video and website about how to use the internet to its fullest potential. Something I could definitely benefit from!

The Hunger Games - I recently posted about this series, and I found this to be an interesting review as I sort out my feelings about the books.

Kony 2012 - Surely you've seen the Kony video by now. The video has had a staggering viral impact. But when I first saw all the links on facebook and tweets on twitter, my first response was, why all of this urgency now? All of a sudden, this 30 minute video gone viral transformed all of these social networkers to "social activists."

I found Tim Challies' article on it to be an interesting analysis when he stated, "This is a campaign designed to take advantage of the power of social media. . . .Social media campaigns tend to be dependent on one thing more than any other: speed. Do not think about it, just do it! Don’t get the facts, don’t wait a few days to consider it, don’t ask someone who knows more—just click Tweet or Share or Post or whatever else it is that will spread the word. We’re all in this together, we need your vote, we need it now! Go! Go! Go!"

While I adamantly believe that Kony should be stopped, I would be wary of supporting campaigns or organizations that I have not researched. Personally, I would rather give my support to a distinctly Christian organization who will not only provide physical aid but also spiritual healing, as well. (This article gives some great insight too.) All that said, I believe Matt Papa summed it up best.

Senior pictures - I just have to survive until May! =)

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Hunger Games - A Christian Review

I just devoured the first two books of the Hunger Games. (Pun intended.)

Riveting. Spell-binding. These books are page-turners for sure. But there's just something about this series, something that really sickens me. Honestly, I don't really know what to think about them. While I like the action and I like the suspense, there is definitely something I don't like about these books. I just haven't quite pin-pointed what it is yet.

Originally, I started the series after all the ranting and raving I saw about them on facebook. So many of my friends seemed fanatical over them. I wanted to know what all the hype was about. Plus, I wanted to have read the book before the movie came out.

Not knowing much except from what my friends had told me, I downloaded the first book to my kindle. I made the mistake of starting it at the beginning of the week. Needless to say, I was not the most productive person that week. =) I couldn't put the book down!

(Note: I'm not going to use this review to summarize the plot; so if you are unfamiliar with this series, I suggest reading these articles first so that my thoughts make more sense. Focus on the Family, CCB Review.)

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I read the Hunger Games. Generally, a book centered around teens who are forced to kill each other would appall me. I would never think of reading such a book! So why was this one different? Why did I consider it worth my time? I think it's because so many people I knew were crazy about them. They kept going on about how great they were. So I assumed it was just that. Maybe it's just me, but reading about how teens must kill each other to stay alive isn't "great" to me.

While I can absolutely see why people would love this book for its thrilling experience and relate-able characters, I just can't get past all the killing that goes on. Yes, I know it's necessary for the central plot of the story. But it's still a little disturbing. What really bugs me is how I cannot figure out the morality of these books: the morality seems to be so circular. On the one hand, killing is wrong and terrible. But the tyrannical Capital forces you to take innocent lives in order to save your own. But that's all the other person is trying to do as well! The other person is only trying to kill you because they don't want you to kill them, but the only reason you're trying to kill them is because they're trying to kill you.

Do you see how it seems so circular? I just can't figure it out. Is it honorable to kill someone in order to save your own life? If it is, then each one of the Tributes displays honor. And if all of them are honorable then no one is wrong. But I just cannot get past that there is something wrong.

I'm not saying that protecting your own life is wrong. In fact, it's right. But all of the Tributes are trying to protect their own lives. So in essence, the Capital forces these teens both to be the criminal AND the defender at the same time. You become guilty of murdering an innocent person who is only trying to preserve their own life; yet you've just preserved your own.

So this brings me to another question. Can Katniss be considered the "heroine" of the story if she is both criminal and honorable? The book series puts a bazaar twist on the dynamics of the protagonist in this plot. Is she really heroic? And if she is the protagonist then who or what is the antagonist?

I really haven't come to any final conclusions about this series. Maybe some of you could help me. I really want to know your thoughts on this series because I'm still trying to sort out my own. What do you think?

  • Why (specifically) are these books best-sellers? What is different in this series that makes these books stand out above the rest?
  • Is it okay for Christians to read about gore and death simply because the book is a best-seller or because everyone recommends it?
  • What do you think of Katniss as the protagonist or heroine of the story? Is she really a hero?
  • What do you think is the main conflict of the books? What is the struggle driving the entire plot?
  • What would you say is the morality of these books?
  • Is there some kind of political message the author is trying to portray? What are the major themes?
  • Are these books that Christians should read?
There are parts of these books that I like. And parts that I don't like. While I haven't decided for sure what my stance on these books is, I don't think that I could truly recommend them to anyone. To me, they were too hopeless, dark, and twisted for me to call them "great." Maybe there's something I don't see, and I'd love to hear your thoughts! But for now, I guess I'll have to conclude that I didn't like the Hunger Games as much as everyone said I would.


Monday, February 13, 2012

National Chocolate Day

So, I vote we change "Valentines Day" to "National Chocolate Day". First of all, that's practically what it already is. I mean, I'm not even dating and I still have tons of chocolate to eat every year! (Trust me, I'm not complaining.) Second of all, it would take the emphasis off all this gushy-lovey-dovey stuff. Give me something to really celebrate about.... like chocolate!

This would mean more chocolate for all and less of the "singleness blues." Isn't it brilliant?

Okay, you know I'm kidding. But some people take Valentines Day a tad bit too seriously. For instance, see this: Valentines Day by the Numbers - An interesting infograph on Valentines Day. Yeah, I'm thinking 448 million dollars is a little heavy on the candy. Unless it's chocolate.

Oh, and one more thing: Pinterest is awesome.

Have a LOVEly day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We're Like Eggs

"Welcome to the best week of your life."

These were the assertive, opening words of my Worldview Academy student notebook.

The best week of your life. That's quite an assuming statement to make. A very weighty welcome indeed.

But, my friends, they weren't kidding. Worldview Academy stands out as one of the most impactful weeks of my life. By far. This is an impact that lasts long after camp is over. An impact that exceeds far beyond the "spiritual high" after camp.

Worldview Academy is more than a camp. It's more than an experience. It's a launching pad for life.

As Christians we have the responsibility to engage the world and proclaim Truth to a dark culture. Are you equipped? Worldview Academy will supply you with the tools you need to defend your faith and think critically like a Christian, as you learn what it really means to "take every thought captive to obey Christ."

We are the generation of future leaders in our culture. What active steps are you taking to equip yourself with the tools you need to defend Truth? Will you consider attending Worldview Academy this year?

If you are even remotely interested in this camp, you need to act now! Find a camp near you, and get signed up!!! Trust me, it's worth the money. I'm going back this year because it was that incredible. If you're interested or have any questions or just want more information, please contact me! Yes, I am waiting expectantly to hear from one of you! (As an alumnus of WA, I can even get you a special discount on the camp.) I LOVE talking about WA, so don't hesitate to email.

Do it. You won't regret it.

"We're like eggs at present," says C.S. Lewis, "and you can't go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." At Worldview Academy, you will begin breaking out of that shell.

You too can make Worldview Academy the best week of your life.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Children instinctively know how to beg. They are experts in persistence and persuasion. They understand that loving parents cannot long ignore their consistent pleads.

I don't pray like a child.

I don't like to be annoyingly persistent or rude. If I don't get an answer right away, I just take a step back and gradually move on. After a while, it gets tiring of praying and praying and praying and praying. Not to mention that begging is impolite. I don't want to keep asking God for something that He may have already said "no" to (but I just don't know it yet). Plus, I begin to wonder if there's really a need for redundancy. God already knows what I want, right? And I've already prayed for it several times. Is there a need to continue?

Usually, I don't consciously make the choice to give up on prayer. Over time of unanswered prayer, I begin to lose all urgency or passion and, after a while, my faith kind of dies.

But the real issue is this head and heart struggle between what I know is true and what I actually believe. When Luke 11:9 says, "ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you," I know it's true. But do I believe it?

I often forget that God is my Father, and I am His child. He is a Father who delights in giving me every good thing. He desires to lavish on me every good and perfect gift! 

God is good.

And He has good things in store for me because that's what He delights to do. God wants me to be persistent in my prayer life. But I give up too easily on prayer. When I don't get an immediate answer, my prayers fizzle, my faith loses fire, and my passion burns out. But this shouldn't be. The longer I'm waiting for an answer, the more persistent and aggressive my prayers should be!

Of course, God doesn't answer our prayers based on the amount of faith we exert or by how hard we pray. Sometimes He answers no, and sometimes He answers yes. My responsibility is to faithful to the God who is always faithful. He has promised to answer. And I don't want to give up. I want to pray like a little child.

Give Him time to do great things. The greater work He plans, the greater the prayer preparation that may be necessary, including prayer for guidance. God often waits so that He can be even more gracious.
—Wesley L. Duewel
 The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer. —R.A. Torrey

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hopeful Thoughts

Honestly, I don't know what to think right now. I've been wrestling with so many conflicting feelings that I'm not even sure what I'm feeling. I'm at this place where I know I'm trusting God with my life, but I'm still wrestling with this fear of my uncertain future looming ahead of me. (I'm so thankful that God has a plan for my life... because I don't!)

Enough of my complex emotions. I want to share some hopeful thoughts that I've been musing over lately.

"You will not gain holiness by standing still. Nobody ever grew holy without consenting, desiring, and agonizing to be holy. Sin will grow without sowing, but holiness needs cultivation. Follow it; it will not run after you. You must pursue it with determination, with eagerness, with perseverance, as a hunter pursues his prey." -- Charles Spurgeon

"I'm an imperfect vessel who gets to be a conduit of perfect grace."

"The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer." —R.A. Torrey

"Care more than some think wise.
Risk more than some think safe.
Dream more than some think practical.
Expect more than some think is possible."

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

‎"We will be dead a lot longer than we will be alive. Doesn’t it make sense that we would invest more of our time in eternity?" -- Rick Grubbs

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. 
(Isaiah 40: 27-31)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jesus > Religion: TAKE 2

This video is spreading like wildfire! With over 12 million views (and counting) and all over facebook, this video reaching lots of people. But I've been thinking about it. And I've talked with some friends. And so, I've come to a different conclusion about its message than when I first saw it. Let's take a closer look at some of the lyrics, written by Jeff Bethke:

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?

This is basically the whole message of the poem. But you make some BIG assumptions about religion. If religion equals self-righteous laws and working your way to salvation, then you're right on target.

But that's not what religion is. The problem is, this is what most people perceive religion as: rules and regulations and priests and institutions and hypocracy. But Jesus didn't hate religion.

Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums. See one's the work of God, but one's a man-made invention.

Jesus was not anti-religion at all. In the Old Testament, God established the Mosaic Law; God gave the Israelites' all those rules and regulations. Jesus didn't come to abolish this Law - He came to establish it on an even higher level! See the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus takes the law (thou shalt not murder) and raises the standard (he who hates his brother has committed murder in his heart). Jesus came to show us that "the law" is not an external issue - it's a heart issue.

True religion is about what's in the heart. Take James 2:27, which says, "Pure and undefiled religion is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." While I don't doubt that the "religion" referred to in this video is addressing legalism or self-righteous salvation, the well intended message may be having a not-so-good effect.

So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it. Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it.

Whoa there. That's an extreme statement to make. You resent religion? Of course, I believe you mean that you hate all the hypocritical rules that some religions place on salvation... but it's still a rather broad and bold statement to make about religion in general.

And another thing: When Jesus said those last words on the cross, was He meaning that He was ending all religion? Or was He just completing man's atonement to God? Let's be careful not to take Jesus' words out of context.

Conclusion: I think this video fuels religious skepticism. It leaves me with the feeling that Jesus hated any established or organized religion. I can see how non-believers could see this video and come to the conclusion that any kind of "religious" affiliation is hypocritical and self-righteous. In fact, I've even read that the atheists and agnostics are using this video to prove their viewpoint! While I understand that this video is meant to condemn the legalistic extreme of religion, I think it might end up steering people AWAY from its intended goal.

Just because all your Christian friends share something that they say is great, doesn't mean it's doctrinally sound. This video was a good reminder for me that I need to think more critically about what I see and hear. I need to view everything through the lens of God's Word -- and not except it just because all the other Christians do.

{See this article and this article for more analysis of the video.
To see Jeff Bethke's response to this, read this.
But this article in the videos defense is worth reading, as well.}

Friday, January 13, 2012

Link Up! 1/13/12

Happy Friday the 13th! =)

Failed Humblebrag? - Jim Hamilton: “Some people think it ironic that Moses purportedly wrote Numbers 12:3, ‘Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth’ (NAS). The irony is obvious, right? It’s hardly humble to declare yourself the most humble man in the world. Unless it’s true.”

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters - This is so sweet!

How many Pages Does the Internet Have? - A lot, apparently. “A group called the World Wide Web Foundation — appropriately founded by Tim Berners-Lee, who pretty much created the internet — is on a quest to figure out, with some degree of certainty, how big the internet really is.”

The Sinful Tragedy of Boredom - "To be bored is to fail to see the many and varied good gifts God has given us, not the least of which is in creation."

Welcome to the English language - And for some weird reason, English is my favorite subject!

The Rollerman -


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jesus > Religion

To see why I don't fully agree with this video, READ THIS.

"There's a problem if people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook."

Monday, January 9, 2012

God is Too Good

“God is too good to be unkind.
He is too wise to be confused.
If I cannot trace His hand,
I can ALWAYS trust His heart.”

-C. H. Spurgeon

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why We Love Jane Austen

I dislike romance novels. Nope. I'd choose C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton over Nora Roberts any day. I can't understand who would want to fill their heads with unrealistic expectations of men and dream about the "perfect"  romance story which many romance novels present. I mean, come on! Give me some reality!

But Jane Austen is a different story.

For some reason, I, the romance-novel-hater, am captivated by Jane Austen's works. Oh yeah, I had seen the movies before, but once I picked up her books, I couldn't stop reading. First of all, Austen is a literary genius, in my opinion. But not only is her writing enthralling, but her characters are captivating and her story-lines are pure brilliance. There's just something about the class and formality of the early 1800's that enraptures me.

So, I began thinking, Why is it that we love Jane Austen so much? (I'm assuming that some of you like her work as well). What is it about her work that has captured hearts for hundreds of years? Why do I love her novels when I shun all other romance books? I have a few theories. =) Here is why I think I love Jane Austen:

1. Her books are literary works of art. I already referred to this, but it's worth pointing out again, that Austen is an excellent writer. Her sentences alone are romantic! The descriptions, the character development, the emotions she portrays—pure brilliance. Certainly, her books are a joy to read.

2. Men are portrayed as men. In a society where feminism prevails and where male leadership has declined (and is often even discouraged), Austen's works are a breath of fresh air. In her works, men know how to be men—even when their deeds go unrecognized, even when it's awkward, even in disappointment, even in a room full of women. Her male characters possess a kind of confident civility that goes far beyond flattering words and good looks in the area of romance. Deep down inside, I think all of us dream of a romance built on character and principles: where the men pursue the women, where honor is upheld, and where sacrifice is heroic. Yes, "heroic" accurately describes the men we all love in Austen's novels.

3. Redemption is beautiful. No one wants to read a romance that's "happily ever after" right from the beginning. Bor-ing. We love Jane Austen (and all other good stories, for that matter), because there's a conflict that has to be resolved. The truth is, romance stories are sweeter when there's a disagreement or a misunderstanding or a separation, because it makes the resolution at the end all the more beautiful. (I'm also thinking about the BBC movie North and South. You gotta watch it.) 

As I was thinking about the beauty of redemption in Austen's novels, it occurred to me that this is one of the reasons why the gospel is so beautiful! If you think about it, we were once enemies separated from God; but because of His love for us, God sacrificed Himself for us so that we could be brought into fellowship with Him and be made into the Bride of Christ. Totally Pride and Prejudice-y! 

It's just a thought, but I think this is one of the reasons God allows sin in the world. I mean, God knew Adam and Eve would sin, and He could have made the world so that there was no sin. But He didn't. In His sovereignty (that I don't claim to understand), God allowed sin. Yes, He hates it. Yes, it goes against His character. But God's ultimate goal is to magnify Himself and bring Himself glory, and through the reconciliation of the sinner to God, God looks great. The gospel of Christ is so beautiful because of redemption.

Bottom line: I love Jane Austen. But God wrote a more beautiful romance than any human author ever could. Praise God!