Friday, August 29, 2014

A Jim Elliot Poem

If you only read one Christian's diaries, choose Jim Elliot's. Scripture, prayer, struggles with sin, finding God's will, dating/marriage, missions, college, ministry, family - it's all there. 

Even though I knew a lot about Jim before reading these diaries, I was pleasantly surprised with all the poetry he wrote and how good it is. Here's one of my favorites so far: 

I sent my love upon thee, child, 
I knew thee far away
I wept to see the wandering, wild
I yearned til thou didst pray. 
One of a hateful rebel band, 
Strong in thy lust for sin, 
A furtive, fitful, fiery soul, 
I loved; I called thee in, 
Snipped thee of thy grimy pride, 
Laid bare thy secret want, 
Poor vagabond of empty ways
I sent my Spirit to haunt. 
Now desert son, the choice is thine: 
My love thou canst forget
And go to roaming wasteland paths. 
Wilt, willful, wander yet? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Have I been with you? Do you know me?

Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?" John 14:9a 

This question tis not one to be taken lightly. Jesus is faithful to fulfill His promise to be with all who call on His name, and yet we are qucik to grow weary in our pursuit of Him. It actually reminds me of something J said a long time ago - when he appreciated me pursuing his heart; nt that I was leading, but that I was taking an active role in getting to know him. I was responding to his leadership, the way every Christian is to respond to regeneration. God is the one who pursues us, who loves us first, but we are to press on to know Him. Don't miss it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

No longer feeling 22

Hey look at me/I'm feeling twenty-three

Last year on my birthday, I wrote myself an exhortation -

Be willing. Be the first to apologize, and the first to volunteer to help someone out. Be a joy, and be trustworthy. Confess your sin, and don't be afraid to admit that you come messy and ashamed. Love people when it's hard, and love God even more. 

I'm fairly confident that I can spend the rest of my life trying to make that happen. I know I failed this year. But the desire is there. So that's a start. This year I'd like to add,

Remember Jesus. Let Him interrupt you. 

What Then Shall we Say to These Things?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us who can be against? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised, who is sitting at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rules, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
Romans 8:31-39

I kicked off my 23rd birthday by sitting outside and speaking the entirety of Romans 8 out loud (after, of course, grabbing a delicious lemon raspberry muffin made for me by Liztowne and admiring the sunflowers she left).

That question, "What then shall we say to these things?" has been turning itself over in my heart all week. When you look at the previous thirty verses, it's a description of our freedom in Christ,  our freedom from servitude in the spirit of flesh and sin and death to the Spirit of life.  It's an expectant hope for our full redemption and adoption into God's forever family. It's a telling of the promise that if God has called you, you will be glorified in the end.

What then shall we say to these things?

No one can be against us

No one can bring any charge against us

No one can condemn us

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ

We are more than conquerors

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus

If you have never seriously memorized Scripture before, or haven't in a long time, or have never done a larger portion, I can't think of a better chapter to make your first.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thinking Thoughts

Today has been a day.

First off, one of our directors at work was fired. It's kind of a big deal, especially right now, because everyone is left scrambling and confused. The guy wasn't a stellar employee, and it was a long time coming, but we're all still processing. I'm most upset that our company never informed us of the changes. Perhaps it's in process, but when you fire a boss, you should probably tell people about that (I only know because a work friend told me she saw him packing his stuff).

Then, some of us got feedback from our company trainer. My stuff was mostly positive except I apparently spend too much time talking to parents after class...uhhh I have 6 four year olds. Even if I talk to each family for 2 minutes, yes it's going to take me some time. Anyway, one of my roommate/coworkers got it way worse. She was nitpicked at and reamed out unjustly.

Further, this same person's ex-fiance came to drop off the key and didn't even say goodbye or anything to her. It's been a TOUGH season for her and it's just been getting worse.

I also don't know how to be her friend. I have NO IDEA what's she's going through. I don't have a lot to say to her when she talks. So I asked Jesus to give me a burden for her. I called to mind an Eric Ludy teaching/sermon when he talked about putting ourselves in chains in order to set others free. Ring any bells?

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them...To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:19, 22-23 

I can tell I'm at a spiritual turning point because I feel so everything's brand new. Memorizing Romans 8 has kept me dwelling on what it means to be set free. Galatians 5:1 says that for freedom I've been set free, but just today as I was praying for J, I saw that it's not just for my freedom, but for that of others. Paul felt so strongly about people receiving eternal life that he wished he could be separated from Christ that they would be brought near (see Romans 9:3).

I am praying for that same posture of heart. And I don't know where it's going to take me.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Whoever Finds His Life Will Be - Interrupted

Jen Hatmaker recently edited and re-released her favorite book baby, Interrupted. I don't know how to label it in terms the every day American evangelical can grasp. It has the same vibe as Radical by David Platt, except not so globally minded. Jen was leading a life of comfortable Christianity until Jesus showed her that He was serious when He said things like

Deny yourself

Be a servant

Care for the least of these

Be last

Lose your life

This caused her to drop everything she knew and plant a church that would be intentional, missional, and the hands and feet of Jesus. She never claims to get it all right, but she rightly questions all of her motives behind her desires and ideas.

I think a lot about this kind of thing. I see in myself all kinds of entitlement when it comes to how I spend my time, my money, my relationships. I frequently spend my resources on myself, or on others who are similarily blessed, because I feel like I deserve it or because it's easy.

And when I do spend what I have on others, it's not always with all joy.

Now I'm not saying that you can never be kind to people like you, or that they never need it; I'm also not saying you have to live like the poorest in this world or spend all your free time volunteering. There is merit to holy, furious, sabbath rest, for example.

But I think Jen was onto something in this book -

It won't suffice to claim good intentions. Saying "I meant well" is not going to cut it. Not with God screaming, begging, pleading, urging us to love mercy and justice, to feed the poor and the orphaned, to care for the last and least in nearly every book of the Bible. It will not be enough one day to stand before Jesus and say, "Oh? Were You serious about all that?" 

Coming up in my reading list is Taking God at His Word  by Kevin DeYoung. I'm excited to read it in the context of Interrupted because when we claim to believe that the Bible is the true and instructive Word of God, if we take that seriously, we will have to do something about it.

She challenges,

If the gospel is good news to all, then it's not just an idea to consider, a time slot on a Sunday, or a task assigned to a select few - it's a life to live. And it's bigger than all of us. 

Or if you want to hear it from Jesus,

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  Matthew 10:39

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Sprit of Adoption

I'm up through verse 15 and sometimes I sort of know verse 16. By sometimes I mean during the 4 separate times I was working on it throughout the day.

Anyway verses 14-15 say

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"

So today I was working that over my tongue and heart all day and then the children. Oh the children.

"Coach Kate, are you and Coach Cassie sisters?"

We glanced at each other at said,


Cassie to me says, "Well, we are"

The kids again:

"Do you live together?"

"You don't look the same"

"One is older"

"You don't have the same hair"

Cassie again, "We were adopted into the same family"

The Word of God is not bound! There is no Jew, nor Greek, nor free man, nor slave, nor male, nor female, for all are ONE in Christ Jesus. All who are led by the Spirit are called His Sons.

Amazing what that Spirit of adoption can do.