Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
It's over. This journey is finished. We graduated/were sent out from the Mount of Olives today. What a blessing it was to have these 6 months devoted to diving in deeper with the Lord. For me, this was a time of major refining. It was time where my roots grew much deeper. Deeper than I ever thought possible. I cannot say it enough, but I am thankful for this season. I am changed. I am different. More than anything, I am completely in love with Jesus.
Joseph Watson, a speaker from lecture phase that every single one of us fell in love with (he spoke on dreams and destiny...changed my life, literally), surprised us on Monday. He has delivered all the messages over the past few days. Wow. So good. Such a good reminder of my destiny and the authority I have. I am transitioning into a new season of life. Right now, everything is tossed in the air as I have no idea what to expect. A new city. A new school. New roommates. New friends. I know that it will be so good. God has told me that He has gone before me. He has prepared a way for me. He is the same everywhere and NOTHING can separate us. BUT, that doesn't mean it won't be tough. I am guarding what He has given me. I will be led by Jesus, not by the world. I won't waste what He's done. I am going home a new person. I know I will be tested in the areas He has worked. The enemy will try to take that from me but I will stand against him knowing that God will meet me. I need to be on my knees, seeking His face. I am excited to reunite with people but I will not be reuniting as the same person. I have experienced and seen far more than I could have imagined. I want to continue serving. I hope there will be many opportunities to pour into other people. To tell people all that God has done and is doing. I yearn for conversations with the central focus being Jesus. Yes, it's a given that this will be hard BUT I will go home knowing that it's going to be good. I will fight for it. I will focus on the light, not the darkness. And I will remember that the power that rose Christ from the dead is the same power living in me. He's there. He's the same. Amen.
Tomorrow I head to the beaches of Tel Aviv for the day. I fly out at 11pm. Arrive in Atlanta Saturday morning. Oh. My. Gosh. I'll be hitting the ground running. Please pray for this transition. Goodbyes will be tough. This has been my family. And to jump right into this new phase is quite scary. Thanks to everyone who has followed me and prayed for me on this journey! I will continue blogging. AND...please please please call me or email me! I'd LOVE to talk about these past 6 months.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I am currently sitting in my hotel room in the middle of the old city of Jerusalem. A 5-minute walk from the Wailing Wall and the famous Dome of the Rock. I still can't believe I'm here. I'm blown away. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word to describe my feelings over the past 5 days or so.
We have spent a couple FULL couple of days touring and another day doing team presentations. The first day we walked down to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock. Both of these I found myself thinking, am I really seeing this with my own eyes? Later we went to the Garden of Gethsemane and one of the possible sites of the crucifixion and tomb. The olives trees in the garden were unbelievable. They are literally the same ones that Jesus prayed under at one of His lowest points before He was arrested. I was able to spend some time reflecting on my future and the uncertainty before me. My prayer is that it is NOT my will but rather His will that is done. Just as Jesus went into the Garden not knowing what would happen but asking His Father that His will be done, that is how I feel as I enter into this new phase of life. And I pray that as I seek Him for direction and guidance that I will be strengthened just as Jesus was (Luke 22).
Ok...thoughts on the possible crucifixion site. I will say that being here is reminding to focus on Him only. Not the outward appearance. It is disappointing though. The church that is built on top of the place it happened is so ornate (candles, chandeliers, paintings, mosaics, etc). It's not who Jesus is or what He represents. It's a little sickening and very hard to focus on what actually happened. It reminded me of the many Buddhists temples I've been in over the past few months. It doesn't at all show the humility and simplicity of our Savior. It made me mad. BUT, in the midst of it all, as I was looking and listening for His voice, He spoke. I cannot focus on the darkness and obvious disappointing scene but rather I should fix my eyes on Him and what He went through. The possible tomb (which was in the same church) was just as disappointing. But, again He spoke and reminded me that He is NOT there. I was reminded of the good news that He has risen and He lives and dwells EVERYWHERE. We can celebrate because He is not in that tomb anymore.
In Israel, it's very easy to be put off by the millions of churches built over the famous sites. But, that is religion. Israel is filled with it. SO many people believe that our God is confined to religion. But, He is not confined. And because of this I am not confined to religion or a "box" that so many people are in. But, I have this amazing power and strength living inside of me. And you know what blows me away? The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the SAME power that lives inside of me. Holy crap.
Ok, wow. I could go on and on. But mainly I am OVERWHELMED. Here I am, in the center of the world, walking the same places Jesus walked. This is His land. His chosen country and people. This is where He walked and where one day He will come back. He is alive NOW and I am am so blessed to have the opportunity to seek His face among this land that is rich with history and prophesy of what is to come.