Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Psalm and the Shepherd

This story is taken from Madeleine L'Engle's book, The Rock that is Higher. I picked up the book because 1) I love the verse the title references. 2) I read A Wrinkle in Time and am therefore vaguely familiar with L'Engle. 3) It was $5 

I really loved the story she shared - 

"Often after dinner at these parties people give recitations, sing and use whatever talent they have to entertain the company. One year a famous actor was among the guests. When it came his turn to perform, he recited the twenty-third psalm, perhaps the most beloved psalm in the psalter. The Lors is my shepherd. I shall not want. His rendition was magnificent, and there was much applause. At the end of the evening someone noticed a little old great aunt dozing in the corner. She was deaf as a post and has missed much of what was going on, but she was urged to get up and recite something. So she stood up, and in her quavery old voice she started, The Lord is my shepherd, and went on to the end of the psalm. When she had finished there were tears in many eyes. Later one of the guests approached the famous actor. "You recited that psalm absolutely superbly. It was incomparable. So why were we so moved by that funny, little old lady?" 

He repliesd, "I know the psalm. She knows the shepherd" 

Oh that we would seek to know Him and, and not just about Him. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Seattle Life

Tuesday night, 9:15pm 

Elizabeth: Are you waking up early tomorrow? 

Me: yes

E: Alright. I'm going to get a smoothie ready. I just don't know if I want to go the chocolate banana route or the banana mango route 

K: it's a tough decision 

Wednesday, 6:36am 

E: I'm late. Where's my jar? 

K: Use mine. 

E: ok thanks. *opens door* 

K: and it's raining. A little? 

E: Too much to bike to work. Ughhhh and I really wanted to bike today. 

K: running in the rain. My fave. 

For the record, I later saw the smoothie in the fridge, unblended. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What Do I Know?

I woke up this morning to the sound of a smoothie being made, Elizabeth getting ready for work. And the rhythm of my day begins.

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in One Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:14-18

I added that 18th verse today. And I dwell on it as it runs over my tongue, like a song I never want to end. Through him, Jesus, we have access to God the Father. Not just the Father but our Father. My Father. Jesus made me his so the Father could be mine. What is that?

I take my time this morning. Cardigan. Scarf. Toms. (That's an inside joke, but it's also #typical Seattle church attire). Bible. Breakfast. Paper (DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON HOW UPSET I AM ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS RIGHT NOW. I JUST CAN'T). Tea.

And it's one of those mornings. It's a day to worship. A day to sing.
 I don't know what time it is but that's the beauty of church not starting until 11. I'm never rushed.

Never in a hurry.

So I see a pick on the counter (how did it get there, anyway?) and I grab it and pick up that trusted guitar and sing

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart...

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all

I recall that the worn Dakar hymnal has Rien Ne Peut Sauver Mon Ame, known to us as Nothing But the Blood and I turn pages and sing,

Rien d'autre, je ne veux plus
Rien que le sang de Jesus

And I realize I need to leave 3 minutes ago so I grab the keys with the "You Never Let Go" on them and walk into church where Fiola asks me why I'm not in kids min today and I see Gab and laugh with Elizabeth and we sit and then I realize Abigail is right in front of me. She moves back with us and we sing together,

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I'm come 

Our pastor preaches hope from Hebrews 6

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:17-20 

I write notes down fast and furious -

Our hope is not in the good we think we should do an be; our hope is in the reality that Jesus came and dwelt among us and has washed us clean 

His promises are good and durable and true because they are based on who He is 

An Ebenezer is a monument that you point to and say, "Look! Look what God did!"

God has been working since the beginning of history to give you life and save you from yourself 

Humans broke everything that God made good. He takes our brokenness and makes a promise. And my hope is in the God who fixes broken things like me, through JEsus 

And our hope is not just in the promises, it's in a God who is ALREADY at work 

When you're drowning and just trying to hang on, Jesus ALREADY has you in his arms

Jesus doesn't take breaks as your advocate. He doesn't rest.  Our hope in Christ is not a dream hope; it's based in the REALITY of the power of his death and the cross and his resurrection into life. 

And we take bread and wine and we sing together,

Why should I gain from his reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom 

Was blind but now I see 

I'll cling to the old rugged cross
Til my trophies at last I lay down 

No other fount I know 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus 

And Abigail turns to me and smiles wide and we have that members meeting and God is so faithful.

I drive home and the radio's on and I hear the twinkling intro

I've made you promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from heaven 
But I've talked the whole time...

And I turn the corner and oh my gosh, Seattle, you look beyond beautiful today. The mountains and the trees and the sun, I see them

So what do I know? 
What do I know of holy? 

Because the God who made those mountains SAVED MY SOUL.

The Christ who died for me LIVES to make intercession FOR ME

What do I know of holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love? 

What one earth do I know of holy?

I don't know what it was for Jesus to enter into the Holy of Holies on our behalf.

I don't know what it is to behold him with unveiled face.

And yet I know that I have access to the Father

I have an advocate

And I have hope. Hope as sure and steadfast as an anchor in my soul.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I was reading from my Dakar hymnal again. I have long forgotten many of the tunes and now the words are simple praise poetry. 

Two struck me, their translations here: 

You didn't wait for me to come to You 
But You lived with our humanity 
You didn't wait for me to cry out to You 
It's You who called me first...

Jesus didn't wait for me! He loved me before I ever wanted to want to love Him! 

O Jesus, I rest in what I know of You
What marvelous thing Your love for me 
To me You have made Your divine beauty known 
And have transformed all my being for eternity. 

So that's where my heart is know. Ever being pursued by Christ. 

Yes, Elizabeth, pursue ;)

Friday, January 17, 2014

I got comfortable

Today, I drove out to Issaquah to run Squak Mountain. I had a great run and decided to find a cool local coffee joint and had success in the Issaquah Coffee Company. They make their own syrups and brew Stumptown coffee and have a lot of interesting non-dairy alternatives (hemp milk...). The owner's dog roams the cafe, and the baked goods are all gluten free. Also, the owner is a runner, and he took a ton of time to talk with me about his favorite trails in the Issaquah alps! I think I'll be seeing him quite regularly.

Then I came home and after showering, I bought tickets for a play tonight at the Seattle Repertory Theater as well as a Baroque Orchestra performance. I'm excited to get out and see more of the area in which I live.

Which made me realize that I got comfortable. When I first got here, I was really into going out and trying new things and taking some drives and making some wrong turns and finding new places. But then I found my places. I found the runs that I like and the cozy coffee shops and the nice places to hang out and the cool ice cream shop.

I want to get back to exploring. Seattle is huge, and when you take into consideration the fact that we are SURROUNDED by mountain ranges, there is an infinite number of things to see and and do.

Resolved, to live with all my might, while I yet do live.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

13 in 13

13 most important books of 2013 

I read a lot. It took me this long to nail down what I would consider the 13 most influential books of my last year. It was nearly impossible for me to do this; I had to leave out a lot, but overall I'm happy with it. I think it represents my year as a whole quite accurately and speaks to what God has been doing in my life and heart. 

In no particular order: 

1. 1,000 Gifts. Ann Voskamp. This book helped me dig deep into Scripture in a way that absolutely astonished me. I read it in a peaceful dorm room and was thankful for snow and wearing Betsy's packer shirt and little girl giggles and then I read it in a dark hospital room and was thankful for medicine and technology and grace for every minute. Eucharisteo. 

2. The Glory of Christ. This John Owen classic challenged me to "Think Greatly of the greatness of God". Owen writes for the practical intellectual and there is no one who conquers the theology of Christ's work as mediator like he does. 

3. The Pleasures of God. An early work of John Piper, it takes you right to the heart of what makes God happy, what he delights in. It places you right on His will and how do you not bend in awe? 

4. Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Rosaria Butterfield's book continues to blow me away. Her conversion story isn't about her sexuality; it's about grace. Pure and simple, her words for the church today should not be ignored. This book is for all of us. 

5. The Greatest Gift. Ann Voskamp again. This Advent book turned my Christmas upside down. It was a systematic exploration of Christ's coming; it started in Genesis and worked its way to the good news of great joy. Raw beauty. 

6. The Jesus Story Book Bible. This children's Bible was by Sally Lloyd Jones was brought to me by a friend deep in depression. It states the gospel over and over and over again in the simplest of terms and that is enough for me. 

7. Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin. This book scared me the most. It had come to my attention in the past, and I had avoided it like the plague. The church? Homosexuality? Loving the gay community? Bridge building? I was downright terrified to face the hard questions head on. And then my thesis brought me to a full on collision. And I am so thankful it did. Marin's principles for love, relationships, and building bridges with those who are different than us have had tremendous impact on me and have been wonderful tools in my life. 

8. The Unlikely Disciple. This expose by Kevin Roose is another "for everyone" book. A Brown student turned Liberty University "study abroad" transfer, his insights into the church are honest and thought-provoking. If I could teach a class at Beloit College, this book would be on the curriculum. 

9. On the Mortification of Sin in the Life of the Believer. Another John Owen masterpiece, that will convict you until you don't know how you'll ever get off your knees. And then he hits you with grace and the truth that Christ will bring his work in you to completion. For those looking to be challenged in your spiritual walk, crack these pages open. 

10. Unveiling Grace. This book by Lynn Wilder is her testimony of conversion into, life in, and conversion out of Mormonism. She so strongly communicates the difference between the law and the gospel, between regulations and faith, between religion and relationship, and the power of the Word of God that any believer will be encouraged by her story. 

11. White (Circle Series book 3). The only novel on this list, this Ted Dekker book makes it because of its creativity, beauty, and eloquent communication of gospel truth. He wraps the romance of Christ's pursuit of his people in a futuristic novel in which spiritual truths are actual realities. It's confusing to explain but enchanting and all-consuming once you get into it. 

12. Gods at War. This is the second Kyle Idleman book I've read that has blown me away. It breaks down different idols we are prone to worship and cuts right to your soul. I had no idea the depth of my idolatry problem until I examined my heart while looking at the holy God. A must for readers trying to focus on Christ. 

13. Amazing Grace. An Eric Metaxas biography on William Wilberforce. I am so inspired by the work Wilberforce accomplished and by his relentless faith. You can ask Betsy, Elizabeth, and basically anyone else with whom I speak regularly; I am obsessed with this man. He has none of the recognition that he should and this book does him justice. 

Alright. So that's me. What did you read last year? Did any of these titles jump out at you? 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Loving The Church

Today I did two things that scared me. 

1. I led worship by myself. I haven't done that since InterVarsity, and I'd never done it for a church on Sunday. It was great though, and I'm glad I did it. God was glorified and Christ's church sure praised him today. 

2. I was the outgoing one! I saw a new girl at church today and I talked to her for a bit and then went to coffee with her. Abigail is 22, just moved to Seattle and doesn't know anyone. 

I know what that feels like! 

Also, just yesterday I was reading Rosaria Butterfield's words, "you never know the road someone has traveled to the pew on Sunday morning" 

Abigail grew up in a church, and was very very involved, as was her whole family. When she was 16 or 17, the church basically turned into a cult and her family left. She spent years being angry with God and questioning everything she ever thought she knew. 

Today was her first day back to the church. After 5, 6 years, she made it today. 

With tears in her eyes, she told me how much she loved the service today. She loves that Anchor is Jesus Gospel Seattle. She felt like Pastor Andrew's message was for her. She loved the singing. And she appreciate me taking an hour to sit down and hear her story. 

You never know how far someone has walked to this moment. I am beyond thankful to have met her and look forward to continuing to pursue this friendship. 

I am also reminded of how much I love the church, as Larry Crabb would say, "a community of broken, joyful people dancing at [God's] party" 

Thank you, Jesus, for claiming us as your people and building your church! 

And all the hipsters said amen

Elizabeth recently shared an article with me that promised to be a discussion of hipster Christianity. It was actually a feature on one specific "seeker-friendly" church. This church uses a huge operating budget to put on flashy displays during its worship services. 

As someone who goes to a real hipster church, I was offended to be lumped together with them. Let me make a case for hipster Christianity as I know it. 

My church is incredibly young. People are going to college, getting married, starting families. We like coffee a whole lot and are as in to craft beer as the rest of Seattle. Our 11am service might start around 11:10 on a good day. We rent space in a local Boys and Girls Club and support local families through an orgranozatipn literally down the street from where we gather. We meet in people's homes for Tuesday night community group, and at a local coffee shop on Thursday mornings to study the Word. My favorite story about what our church looks like is from a father who came to visit and said, "This is it? These are the Christians?" 

Yes, we are the Christians. 

We are the ones who exclusively song hymns on Sunday mornings. There might be a dulcimer, but we are just as likely to use an electric guitar or a game boy or sing acapella. The worship team may not be the most uniform or organized, but in Christ, there is nothing but unity. 

We are the ones who preach the gospel to each other. Church might not start on time, but what is time when we have eternity? Jesus is always the answer to every problem and the young and the older know it for sure. 

We are the ones who study relentlessly. 15 people from our small church showed up at 6 on Thursday morning to read and discuss 1 John. 

We are the ones who love greatly. You will always have a place to go when you know Anchor church. We love serving our community because oh how Christ has served us. 

So yes, we are the Christians. Our teachers may talk about how the gospel is rad and our pastor is probably wearing jeans this morning but we love Jesus. 

And that's what I think true hipster Christianity is: people who live in and with our culture but also in the eternal truth of who Jesus is. 

Anchor Church summarizes itself as such: Jesus. Gospel. Seattle. 


Thursday, January 9, 2014


I just ate the greatest breakfast taco and I thought you should know about it. 

I usually eat two breakfasts on Thursdays because Bible study is early and work is crazy. I had my leftover smoothie at 5:00am and then at 10 I made the taco. 

I fried a corn tortilla in olive oil while melting shredded cheese on top of it. Then I moved the tortilla to a plate while I cooked one egg over hard. I put the egg in the cheesy tortilla and topped with black bean and corn salsa. 

It was awesome! 

Other things I might eventually post recipes about: 

Lentil stew
Chocolate chai shake 
Sweet potato tacos
Biscuit and egg ramekin dish 

And here's my latest go to work snack: 

I got this off brand cereal at grocery outlet 2 for $1. It's sort of like captain crunch. I add peanut butter and cinnamon to it and it's wonderful. 

Also, frozen vanilla yogurt with banana. Then use the rest of the banana in spoonfuls of Nutella. I ate that one night after work. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting Concrete

What does it mean to have resolved to "live with all my might, while I yet do live"? 

What does in mean for the Ruler of all to be my vision? 

I have some practical, measurable, attainable goals to jump start this new year. 

In December, Elizabeth and I made the goals of 

1. Cleaning up (mostly the newspaper) in the living room each day 

2. Doing the dishes before bed 

3. Exercising every day (walking to work, conditioning with our kids, yoga, jump rope; it doesn't matter as long as you're moving)

To that I now add: 

1. Memorizing larger passages of scripture. January will be Ephesians 2. 

2. Staying a little more in touch with a few more people. I've written a letter, sent a Facebook note and exchanged a few texts thus far. 

3. Attend at least one musical event a month. It doesn't matter if it's a rap concert at the Showbox or a cello sonata at a church. 

4. Eat at least 2 actual sit down meals per day instead of just random snacks. 

Let's go, 2014! 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Just doing us

La finally decided to let me leave; this is the fourth flight I've been put on on 36 hours. But I'm safely en route to seattle. 

When I arrived, it had been 7 months since I'd seen Betsy. We were excited, but I think what I really like about is is that we can be us 2,000 miles or 2 feet apart and not that much changes. I told her last night that she's one of my easiest people to say goodbye too. This isn't to be taken offensively; she doesn't make a big deal of it and we know we're still going to talk almost every day and that there will always be a next time. 

That all being said, I needed this. It wasn't one of those ohmygoshisawthepeopleilovewholovemeandimsooooohapppyyyyrightnow. It was more like, I have a really cool friend and we do some interesting things and are thoughtful people. And we can have no plans for a week and have a great time making it up as we go. 

I'm thankful for this. 

And I'm thankful to go back to seattle with liztowne and see all my kids again! Even though it's probably going to be a long week. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Breaking the silence

I know, I know - the blog went dead for an abnormal number of days. But I had family to see and friends and now I'm in Los Angeles with Betsy herself and it's been wonderful. 

I like to read the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards every year and pick out my favorites. Here's what I have this year:

Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live. 

Resolved, to examine carefully and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it. 

Resolved, never, henceforth, til I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's. 

Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. 

Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretful ness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness, and benignity. 

I know I'm a day late on resolutions, but I had time to reflect today. Betsy asked me maybe 2 days ago what mine would be, but I never had it figured out (besides the ones Elizabeth and I started early). 

As I reflected and prayed, I started softly humming Be Thou My Vision. The last two lines are indeed my resolution: 

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, o ruler of all.

I want to be focused on Jesus. I want to recognize his goodness when all is well and I want to rejoice when it doesn't seem like he is the king, because he is indeed the good king; when God says yes, the answer is never no.