Sunday, December 27, 2009


I want to share a few things I've noticed come out of multiple people's mouth over this holiday break. As much as I love every person who has said them, these phrases/thought processes/quotes have really been bothering me...

1. In regards to missions, third world countries, or countries in dire need, I have noticed that many people say/make the excuse, "it's just too sad for me" or "it would just be too hard to see people like that." A lot of people do not want to see or hear anything about areas where there are people suffering. I have found that most of these people have huge hearts but decide to supress any emotions they may feel because they either don't want to feel responsible for it OR believe that they are not able to make a difference anyway. Injustice and poverty is chosen to be ignored. I don't understand that mindset. I do know that when we choose to ignore these issues, we miss out. We miss out on God's purpose for our life (Isaiah 58). We miss out on His heart (which is for the poor and helpless). We miss out on gaining joy and wisdom, and seeing hope. We miss out on what these beautiful people have to offer us and on the ways God desires to use us, transform us, and reveal more of Himself to us. It is a great loss and, I believe, a great act of disobedience, to forget or ignore the hopeless, helpless, and forgotten people.

2. Something that was said to me that literally brought tears to my eyes was, "one person cannot make a difference anyway." This was in regards to going somewhere that is filled with need, a country that almost seems helpless. When I heard this I couldn't say anything. It really upset me. To believe that one person cannot help is a lie from the enemy. He wants us to think that a life is not worth our time. I agree that there are SO many countries in dire need and it seems overwhelming. But, doesn't change begin with ONE person? One life that is obedient to the Lord's will, WILL have a major impact. Ripple effect (from there it keeps growing). And all of heaven rejoices when ONE person turns to Him.

3. One of the hardest and most common thing said to me is, "there is enough need right here, in our own backyards." Believe it or not... I KNOW. Believe me, I see need EVERYWHERE I go. It's like my eyes are a magnet to need. I spend 98% of my time here and hopefully I am helping needs be met. And not to outweigh the needs here, but if people could see the immeasurable amount of needs in the world, I think we would quit saying things like this. If you're not someone who enjoys leaving the country, then encourage and support the ones who actually do want to go and are willing to go, go. Then, help take on responsibility for the needs here. I guarantee that 95% of people who say this haven't done much here at all. So, quit telling me that there is enough dang need right in my backyard.

4. And the last mindset that can really get me fired up is, "well, you shouln't/can't go there because it's just not a safe place." Almost EVERYONE thinks this way. And when I answer saying that the unsafe areas do not scare me, I am blamed for being selfish for wanting to put people who love me through that. Heaven forbid I die and go to heaven! I know this is said because there are many people here who deeply love me and don't want me to get hurt. I really appreciate that and I love and care for them just as much. But, I'm here for one purpose and that is to carry out His will and bring glory to Him. The gospel demands us to follow Him wherever He leads. I laid down my life for Him years ago and because of that I no longer live, but He lives in me. It can be costly. I love how my pastor puts it, he says, "the most dangerous place to be may be in the center of God's will." In Acts 20, Paul says, "I consider my life worth NOTHING to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace." May this be how all of us feel. I love my parents. I respect my parents. But, I love Jesus more. I cannot and will not ignore His call for me. If it is dangerous, and I am called there, I will go. I trust Him. He is the shepherd in whom I fully trust will guide and protect me. Yes, I know, "we've got to be smart." But yet again, the lives of people are just as significant as my life.

Friday, December 25, 2009


I LOVE the way this children's book tells the story...

Now some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn't do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It's about God and what he has done.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but most of the people in the Bible aren't heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.
No, the Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne--- everything--- to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
You see, the best thing about this Story is --- it's true!
There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.
And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle --- the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.
And this is no ordinary baby. This is
the Child upon whom everything would depend.
Everything was ready. The moment God had been waiting for was here at last! God was coming to help his people, just as he promised in the beginning.
But how would he come? What would he be like? What would he do?
Mountains would have bowed down. Seas would have roared. Trees would have clapped their hands. But the earth held its breath. As silent as snow falling, he came in. And when no one was looking, in the darkness, he came.
.... But this child was a new kind of king. Though he was the Prince of Heaven, he had become poor. Though he was the Mighty God, he had become a helpless baby. This King hadn't come to be the boss. He had come to be a servant.

Christmas. The story blows me away. The king came. The king of the universe. Jesus. As I dwell on Him this Christmas, who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do, tears well up in my eyes. I LOVE Him and He has blessed me. My heart is for the world to know His love. To see how significant this birth is. Merry Christmas friends.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Gather round ye children come,

Listen to the old old story

Of the power of death undone

By an infant born of glory

Son of God, Son of Man

Every Christmas there is a specific part of the story that grabs my attention. This year I cannot stop thinking about the 400 years leading up to the birth of Jesus. 400 years of SILENCE. No prophesy's. No word from God. NOTHING. I don't think I've ever really given this much thought. But, can you imagine? How did they believe? How did they live? HOW? I just don't understand. There was nothing. Nothing but DESPERATION and YEARNING. Not a peep from God.

Our enemy, our captor is no pharaoh on the Nile

Our toil is neither mud nor brick nor sand

Our ankles bear no calluses from chains, yet Lord, we're bound

Imprisoned here, we dwell in our own land

Deliver us, deliver us

Oh Yahweh, hear our cry

And gather us beneath your wings tonight

Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay

These shackles they were made with our own hands

Our toil is our atonement and our freedom yours to give

So Yahweh, break your silence if you can

And then He appears.
After 400 YEARS of silence. He APPEARS. And how did He appear? Not majestically. Drawing no attention. He comes in the form of a baby. The silence is broken by the cry of a baby. A baby that will one day become king (the child would bring a Kingdom and the old would come to pass away). Not just a typical king. But a King of ALL NATIONS. All people. All time.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Christ is born

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Christ is born

'All glory be to God on high

And to the earth be peace

Good will henceforth from God to man

Begin and never cease'

I try to imagine living in that time. I think about being born and then dying during these 400 years, never hearing from Him or experiencing Him. I would feel abandoned. Would I believe His promises given in early years that a Savior would come? I'm not sure. WOW. Then I think about living during the time that the babies cry broke the silence. Oh my gosh, could you imagine? After yearning and longing for a King, He comes! In such a humble way, He comes. The Savior of the world CHOSE to dwell with us. Who would choose to come to earth to be crucified? But He chose because He loves us. He came to suffer, to save, to be our substitute, to show us how to live, and to serve us.

He'll bear no beauty or glory

Rejected, despised

A man of such sorrow

We'll cover our eyes

He'll take up our sickness

Carry our tears

For his people

He will be pierced

He'll be crushed for our evils

Our punishment feel

By his wounds

We will be healed.'

I think this Christmas I just can't stop thinking about the desperation of the people during that time. Their cries for Yahweh to deliver them. It's almost like I can feel that yearning for the Messiah. But then, I can feel the pure JOY that came with His birth.

Behold the Lamb

The hope of man

Behold the Lamb of God

Merry Christmas.

(The lyrics are from Andrew Peterson's, "Behold the Lamb of God" album, buy it, it may change your life.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Following after Jesus, aka being a disciple, can be made out to be pretty effortless, comfortable, even fun sometimes. What we either a) don't realize or b) choose to bypass, is that this is not an accurate picture of what Scriptures tell us. When Jesus invited people to become followers it wasn't your typical alter call. He wasn't sugar coating it, or trying to sell Himself. In Luke 14:25-35, He said...

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple...
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

Do we know Christ this way? Do we follow Him the way He calls us to follow Him? It seems to me like we always water this down, soften it, in order to justify how we are living. We must hate our father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, friends, classmates, roommates, and our own life to be His disciple? Are you sure? YES, He requires a SUPERIOR LOVE over everything. A love that in comparison makes our love for everyone else look like hate. A love so superior that causes love for others to spring up. So, the question is, do I truly love Him? Is He the reason I live? Do I want Him more than anything else? This reminds me of when I first got to NZ. Love and passion for Him was missing and I knew that if I could truly love Him, then everything else should stem from that love. As I prayed for love, He gave it to me. But, today, I am reminded to continue praying for this superior love. I am challenged by the fact that I may not love Him as much as I should. I love other things in life too. But, I want to love Him superiorly. I desire a superior love for Him. He is worthy of it, no doubt. He does not deserve left overs. And, if He does not recieve all my love, then I am not a disciple. It's as simple as that.

He also requires an EXCLUSIVE LOYALTY from me (14:27). The reality is, if I am carrying my cross, I am dead, i.e. I have no plans, no dreams, everything is over. Being dead to myself is what it means to be a disciple. THROUGH THE CROSS OF CHRIST, WE DIE TO THE LIFE WE LIVE. Galatians 2:20 says that 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.' I am dead to everything yet alive to Him. Now, the life of Christ determines everything about me. We forget to COUNT THE COSTS of what it means to be a disciple. Just like a warrior going into war, it is important for us to consider whats at stake before going into battle. I am a warrior, in a battle, and there are many costs. Following Him is costly.

Jesus also requires TOTAL LOSS (or SACRIFICE). Most of us have a negative connotation to the word sacrifice. Hebrews 11:26...
"He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward."
I LOVE this verse. Moses new that the disgrace, hardships, and suffering were nothing compared to Christ, our great reward. When we realize what the reward is, it doesn't seem like sacrifice at all! I am told that in order to be His disciple, I should give up everything. Not just a few things, EVERYTHING.

And this is where I get fired up...
What I've been wanting to write about all semester but I know I don't have it down, so who am I to talk? But here goes...
As Christians, we should be taking His word seriously. Not the watered down, disregard the hard parts, soften it up a bit, easy way. NO. I have been challenged and frustrated by this all semester. How can "Christians" go on preaching this watered down version of the gospel??? How can Christians go on living watered down lives??? I don't get it. How could we miss it? It's right there! Do we not believe that the words that come out of JESUS' mouth are TRUTH? He straight up tells us. A life following Him is COSTLY. It's HARD. The world is continually being decieved on what it truly means to be a Christ follower because "Christians" continually live giving Him divided love, half-hearted obedience, and partial control. If you are searching, do not look to the typical 'sunday-goer' because I have found that very FEW actually grasp this radical life we are called to live. Look at the Word of God. Go to Him. He is the ONLY one with answers. The only good and perfect being. I am so sick of His word and this life we are called to live being watered down, disregarded, and ignored. SO sick of it. Because, HE. IS. WORTH. IT. He is worth the cost. The reward is worth it. A reward greater than ANYTHING else. I want people to know this so badly. To believe it and experience it. He is the only one worthy. He alone is worthy of a superior love, exclusive loyalty, and total sacrifice. Only He can satisfy. This. Is. The. Gospel. No, it doesn't make sense. No, I'm sure as heck not perfect. But, yes, He is wrenching my heart and opening my eyes to see His supremacy. Yes, I am wrestling with Him trying to figure out what this means for my life. And my deepest desire right now is to embrace Him, abandon it all, give Him my life, fall on my face, let go of myself, fix my eyes on him and RUN TO HIM.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

an outsider.

I feel like an outsider. Like I don't belong. Like no one thinks the same as me. No one understands me. I feel different. Wierd. Not normal. Unordinary.
I have an overwhelming hunger and thirst for righteousness. Justice. A burden that I can't shake. A burden for the lost, the broken, and the poor. And I think more than ever I feel like I am the only one who thinks this way. It's a consistent grabbing of my heart. I can't shake it. I want others to know. Don't they see it? The injustice, how the world is so unfair? How there is so much need? There are days where the individual faces of Cambodian students, Phillipino contacts, prostitutes in Thailand, friends in Indonesia, Ugandan orphans, or Kenyan street kids flash through my head. I cannot and will not forget these precious people. They remind me constantly of the great need all around the world. And I just feel so alone in carrying this burden. I desire for people to grasp it. To see the need and to take the gospel seriously. To make it become a reality.
More than ever I am grasping the fact that my citizenship is not on earth. It is in heaven. I truly feel like I don't belong here. I am a child of God and this place is temporary. I just wish He'd hurry up because this feeling of not-belonging is hard.

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Phillipians 4:20).

"But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the RIGHTEOUSNESS for which we hope." (Galations 5:5)