Sunday, July 22, 2012


My favorite song is "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" by Matt Redman.

If you don't like it the first time through, put it on repeat until you do.

"For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,
10,000 reasons for my heart to find.

So bless the Lord, o my soul,
O my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, o my soul,
O my soul,
I'll worship Your holy name."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

But our eyes are upon You

I had the joy of visiting the city of my birth, Stockton, California, on Wednesday. There I met with some sweet family friends and shared with their youth group. It was such a joy! There were a handful of kids who were really excited and tracking with me. I shared parts of my testimony and primarily from 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 and Matthew 9:36-38. After I shared there was a time for questions and the same kid (whose last name is Blythe!) asked two questions:

1. If you want to see your campus radically changed for Christ, what is the first thing you would do?

2. What is the greatest act of God you have seen?

I loved that these questions showed his faith, his belief that God could radically change his campus and that God does great acts! Wonderful! Him and his friends were passionate about the gospel. What a joy to see that these are ones who indeed regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though they once regarded Christ in this way, they do so no longer!

Not only was I blessed to be with the youth, but with the adults. The couple that hosted me is in ministry, and for years they have been faithfully plowing the hard soil of Stockton.

Stockton has recently made international news for being the largest city to declare bankruptcy. Stockton is also the second most violent city in the nation, fourth in car theft, and boasts some 73 gangs (all these stats. I heard word of mouth while visiting). The city's bankruptcy particularly has stirred the interest of many other struggling nations, but ultimately there is a whole lot going wrong in this city and a whole lot of attention. It would take nothing short of a miracle of God to bring lasting change to this place.

And that is what my friends are believing He will do. And not just one miracle, but lots of them because every new creation is a miracle in itself.

My friends also shared that Stockton has the largest police chaplain force in the country, which began when his brother was killed in the line of duty many years ago. He shared that they have allowed the chaplains in the schools, and that he got to baptize five youth this spring (at a public high school!).

I am reminded of king of Jehoshophat and the armies ready to wage war against him, and before the people he prayed. His conclusion, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

O, I pray that as the world's eyes are on Stockton, and my friends eyes are on You, that You would move in a mighty way, Lord. Get all the glory! It is Yours to be had! You are so worthy! Thank You for these faithful friends, for these like-hearted lovers of You, for these ones who are willing to come alongside of me in ministry! You blow me away, Lord!  Seriously. Why do You love us so much?

And as if this were not enough? There is so much more! This week God has convinced my heart that He is going to do great things. There is an urgency in the Spirit stirring, a healing He wants to bring. Do not be counted among the luke warm! Repent and believe! And if you are slow to believe, call to Him. "I believe, but help my unbelief." There is a race to be ran with endurance! Oh run out ahead of the others if you must; we've no time to waste!

Spirit, this is Your work! I look to You! I wait for You! Oh I am but a vessel for You to use. I've counted the cost, this life-lost, for the sake of knowing You. Lord, in light of this day's tragedy, in light of this week, I see the battle even more clearly. It is black and white. I hear Your words, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." The war is on, the victory has been won, and the kingdom comes! 

O Lord, may they come and be counted among the living! May they rise up and join the Victor's side. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Bless, O bless, each weak endeavor..."

"I am the vine; you are the branches.
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing."
-John 15:5

"Apart from me you can do nothing,"
Jesus' words to his disciples resound within me,
as though there were a bell in the center of my chest.

Apart from You, Lord, I can do nothing! I can do nothing of significance or eternal value, nothing that will out last this decaying world. All that I see is passing away, but You have appointed us to bear fruit that would last. This work is only possible as we remain in You. O Lord, convince of our sheer need for You. That we would come and esteem You as Lord in our lives. Lord, convince us in our depths that we would do nothing in our strength, but that we would look to You, Spirit. That we would run after You and wait upon You, that we would search out the deeper things, the things that will last, that are beyond time. O Lord, You are Creator and to You a day is like a thousand years, a thousand years are like a day. You are the One Who sees all and knows all, and is beyond all. You have written eternity in our hearts even as You are eternal. O Lord, we seek You, we look to You. We ask You and beseech You to come and move with power. Spirit, stir our hearts, light us a flame, cause us to run after You.

May we not forsake You, but may we delight in You. May we remain in You. May we let You speak to us through Your Word, and may we wait on You in prayer and pray in all things with all kinds of prayers and requests. Lord, I can do nothing apart from You. For in You we live and move and have our being. You are the One before all things and in You all things hold together. O Lord, strengthen Your branches, to bear more fruit that it would be a testimony to the beautiful power of the Vine and the Gardener. 

How worthy You are. How majestic! Your grace is sufficient and Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Apart from You I can do nothing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Alis Volat Propiis

She flies with her own wings,
And in her heart, a song of hope she sings.
And where she is going, she don't know,
But by and by, the wind will bring
Along this girl, and her wings.


Today I am rejoicing simply in the fact that God is the God Who works out the details.

Yes, in the chaos of organizing and orchestrating all that this summer has held, is holding and will hold. I am brought to places of confusion, frustration and exhaustion, but also to places of seeing the Lord meet my needs in perfect, tangible ways. I am left to be awed and amazed at the way He is working things out, and the way that He is blessing my heart.

For example, one of my best friends is getting married in Texas this September. As the maid of honor, I am joyfully responsible for hosting a bridal shower. Alas, the bride lives in Texas and I do not! But God has worked it out. My EDGE teammate, a Texas native, happens to be transferring with The Navigators to Penn State in the fall and she is flying me out to help her make the move cross country. I will be in Texas and the bridal shower has fallen into place with only a few hours of phone calls and emailing. Voila! Thanks, Lord!

Also, I am making a funding trip to California and I get to see so many wonderful people, wonderful people! I also get to celebrate the first birthday party of my friends' twins, in person! :) AND for the trek to NorCal, a beloved friend is able to come along for the journey! It is pretty great.

And as there are many unknowns ahead--big, crazy ones--these simple examples of the Lord's provision and divine providence put my heart at rest.

We serve a great and mighty God, the God Who spoke all creation into being! He is the God that spoke to Abram and gave him promises, that through him all peoples would come to be blessed. The God who protected Abraham's descendants by bringing them into Egypt during famine, and some 400 years later brought them out dividing the Red Sea so His people could cross safely on dry land. The God Who anointed the shepherd boy David. He would defeat Goliath and become Israel's cherished king, and to whom God promised an heir who would be King of a kingdom without end.

The God Who saw fit to send His Son in the flesh to bridge the gap between Him and His creation, the vast chasm created by our sin. Yes, this Son came in the flesh, walked, slept, ate, drank, talked, laughed, wept, and was tempted in every way, but found to be without sin. God's sinless Son was nailed to the cross, submitted to the Father's will, and died on my behalf and yours. He endured God's wrath against me, and with His dying breath said, "It is finished." Jesus, perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect and with the power of the Holy Spirit, rose on the third day conquering death! He sent His Spirit to those who would be called the children of God, making us new creations and ministers of reconciliation.

This is our God. He is great and glorious. He has given us Himself, His Spirit, His Word! How our hearts may rest secure beneath the sweet truth of Romans 8:32, "He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him graciously give us all things?"

Yup, and God not only takes care of the big things, but also the little things. A sparrow does not fall apart from His will. Our very hairs are numbered.

"Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " -Philippians 4:4-7

Friday, July 6, 2012


Tonight I attended a concert with two of my friends. I didn't really know anything about the band, but I had listened to one song and from what Laurel told me, I knew if nothing else it would be an interesting night. While we were driving to the concert she tells me that the album is about the rapture, which led to some interesting conversation about eschatology and science over a quick bite to eat at In-N-Out.

During the concert, I couldn't help but think about the gospel and all the people around me. Was I the only one there who knew Jesus intimately? Man, I hope not! After the band played some wonderfully exciting songs, the lead guy invited us outside where he had prepared a tarp and six, Costco size, cans of stewed tomatoes (the whole tomatoes, not diced). He told us all to participate, so out the 150-200 people there about 10-15% of us did. He told us to wait for his cue, but when he nodded his head to throw the tomatoes at him. I have forgotten to mention that he was dressed in a white, linen like robe during the concert. 

The imagery was pretty powerful, especially for me being one of the most vigorous tomato chuckers in the audience. I picked up tomatoes that had already been used and were thrown from the opposite direction, only to throw them again. We left splattered and splashed in tomatoes, wiping the juice on our clothes. 

As we drove back, the conversation led to the different thoughts that we had about this experience. My mind was clearly drawn to Jesus, the Lamb, worthy to take the scroll because with His blood He purchased men for God. I also thought about how even as I threw the tomatoes at the artist, obeying him, like worship, I wanted others to experience the joy of throwing tomatoes at him too. Most people didn't want to throw tomatoes at him; they didn't want to get messed with tomatoes themselves or just genuinely don't like throwing things at people. 

Lord, it is a mess. We are a mess in our sin. We so desperately needed You to pay for our sins; and as we walk, day by day, in the mess, we desperately need to remember that You have paid for our sins. Instead of being covered in mess, Your blood has washed us white. O come let us reason together, for though our sins were as scarlet, they're white as snow; though they were red as crimson, they are now as wool! Lord, You have dressed us in robes of white! You made Him Who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that in Him- in You, Jesus- we might become the righteousness of God!! We get beauty for ashes, a garment of praise for our heaviness. 

Lord, I doubt that this was the message the artist wanted me to walk away with, but I take it with a joyful heart. The visual was so good for me to see and share with those around me. You orchestrate things in ways I cannot. To You I lift my eyes; to You I yield my will. O Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me! Lord, even as I was stained with tomatoes tonight, Your gospel has stained me, my heart desires those around me to know You, for them to throw their sins at Your feet and bow to You as Lord and Savior. Work in the ways I cannot, O Sovereign Lord. Loosen my lips to speak Your praise! How beautiful You are, how worthy of getting my hands dirty in the work.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

anticipating the harvest

There are moments we anticipate, and often we don't know exactly what it is that we are anticipating until those moments come. We live them and we feel their weight. They are moments of divine intervention. Instances when we see that the hard labor in the field--the sowing, the watering, the weeding-- is having an effect because God is graciously causing the seeds to grow. I had the joy of getting two of those moments today in two different "fields," if you will. I don't know how many days there are until the harvest, but how my heart anticipates that moment, too!

Lord, for these ones who You have given me to love this year, I say thank You! Thank You for giving me a heart of compassion for them. Thank You for their friendship, for the laughs we have shared, for the beautiful truths we have talked about, and for the life we have shared. Thank You for allowing me to be Your ambassador. O Lord, even now I pray that You Spirit would appeal to them to be reconciled to You! Lord, may tomorrow be a day of real freedom. Lord, may Your gospel be revealed in greater depth and fullness. Would You give them eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts and minds to understand Your love for them in Christ!? You are beautiful, Lord. Your thoughts and ways are higher. May I ever anticipate Your grace at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. 

Yes, the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. I look to You, I ask. O Lord, would you raise up workers for Your harvest fields?