Saturday, March 22, 2014

but He knows

   So she keeps her mouth shut. And she goes on with her happy little life. And she helps everyone else. And she buries herself in novels. And when it's quiet she lets her brain run wild. And she stands in the shower until the water runs cold. And she thinks no one knows.
   But He knows. And He never leaves her side. And still He loves her.


Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
-Joshua 1:9

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

   I read The Fault in Our Stars. I did it in about 25.2 hours. I did it because Jessie refused to stop raving about it, and I wanted to read it before the movie came out, and I didn't have a book to read during 8th hour, and Shannon had it in her locker.
  You can ask my mom just how quickly and deeply emotionally attached I became. 96 pages in I was venting to her about Augustus and Hazel Grace and hamartias and injustice. The further in to the book I got the harder it was to read, but it was also harder to put down. Eventually, I had to stop reading every few I chapters to catch my emotions and put them back where they belong, before they went on a rampage.
   I finished The Fault in Our Stars outside on my trampoline. It was one of those oh-Missouri-wants-to-actually-be-kind-to-us-and-not-make-it-64-degrees-instead-of-snowing days. I read the last sentence, and I actually didn't cry (which is kinda weird). I was just overwhelmed. I kinda just lay there, drowning in my own emotion.
   So I've been trying to figure out what it is about this book that makes us love it so much, what it is that makes it so devastatingly beautiful. I think I have an idea. You see, technically, The Fault in Our Stars is a book about cancer. But we forget that. Way deep down, in the places that matter, TFiOS is a book about living.
   How is it that two kids with cancer managed to live more than the rest of us even tried to? How is it that John Green managed to perfectly stitch together such opposites as life and death? How is it that we spend all our time trying to understand our existence, instead of making the most of it?
   So I think I've figured out what it is about this book that makes us love it so much, what makes it so devastatingly beautiful: It's the dying that breaks our hearts. And it's the living that puts them back together.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Was Jesus For Real?

            I just want to know if Jesus was being serious. I mean, sure, we all believe the parts that say that He came to save the world, not to condemn it, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, that nothing can separate us from His love. What about the rest of it?
            We as the church embrace the parts of the gospel that we like and plaster them on our signs, posters, wristbands, t-shirts, and memory verse cards, and we ditch the rest. We take to heart the parts that save us and ignore the parts that convict us. Is it really OK for us to pick and choose? Are we really worshipping Jesus, or some idol of our own creation that vaguely resembles Him?
            What if Jesus visited our churches? Just imagine. Would He be impressed by the really cool worship band, or the conferences and classes and programs, or the brand-spanking-new building, or the number of people in the sanctuary? I don’t think so. I think He would be appalled. I think He would be appalled at our selfishness, our focus on material things, and our lack of love.
            You see, the same Jesus who calls us to come to Him said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, follow me.” The same Jesus who was moved with compassion commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The same Jesus who went to prepare a place for us had no place to lay His head. He said, “If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Have we broadened the straight and narrow? He told us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. We are commanded to take care of orphans and widows. He said, “If any man take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”
            Was Jesus being serious?
            We are supposed to be like a Man who never did anything wrong, yet was hated; who was a King, yet came to serve. We are supposed to love like He loved. We are supposed to live like a Man who died.
            So I just want to know: What if we took that seriously?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Fearless Weekend

   So I went to Texas this last weekend. I know, I know, I never tell you anything. Well, I'm telling you now.
   Pastor Jason took me, five girls who come to my Jesus Parties, 13 kids from Cafe 41, and Miss Christie down to Eastland in a school bus for Fearless Weekend. We spent more time on the road than we did there. It was totally worth it. Here are 10 things I want to remember:
  1. Everyone's names. Probably not gonna happen, but I'm trying. I got to meet so many people! People are my favorite. (:
  2. Praying for Anne in Wal-Mart. We got to Eastland 3 hours early, so we decided to go bless some people. At Holy Spirit's prompting, I talked to an older lady in the canned goods aisle. Then I prayed blessings over her and her family, and asked God to multiply her wisdom. When I looked up, she was crying. Let's just say I teared up a bit. It was awesome.
  3. The fact that it was 80 degrees and I got to go barefoot.
  4. Epic games of Ninja. They started with a few kids from Missouri, and by the end of everything we probably had 20 kids in the circle.
  5. The wise words of Zach Gryder, Chase Hall, and Jason Neustater. "When you are closer to Jesus, you are more fearless." "Love demands action." "Obedience is a result of love, not a means of earning it." "If you fear man, man will control you. If you fear God, God will lead you." "Being fearless is not always fun." "What matters to you matters to God." "Demons tremble because of my identity inscription, not my job description." "Nothing on this planet is worthy of our fear."
  6. The skill it took to take pictures like the ones at the bottom of this post.
  7. This was the first time I didn't use my own pen and notebook. Provided!
  8. Being cleansed with fire.
  9. Fearless = lacking fear = me.
  10. Basically everything.