Sunday, November 30, 2008

my everlasting God

11/30/08 Sermon

Isaiah 40
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
"My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint

Our senior pastor is FULL of faith and if God had a VIP list of who's prayers to answer first, he's definately top 5. It's like there's a warehouse in heaven where his requests are stored and all he has to do is say the word and his God is always ready and willing to release them. Anyone who knows him can give the same testimony about him.... Me on the other hand, I look at my prayer list and I have been praying for the same things for years. God's answer remains..."not yet". Sometimes it starts to feel more like God's forgotten. And then there I am, whining and complaining instead of believing. (I hate this about myself!) But today, want to thank God. I thank him for his word and the privilege to be able to read it. I thank him for today's service as it served as a reminder our ways "aren't hidden from him" and that he never "disregards our cause". He works in ways that are beyond comprehension and He will never grow weary in answering prayers.He just likes to answer in ways that he alone will be glorified. That way, no one, especially not me, can ever take take credit for it. And so today I knelt at the altar and asked God to renew my revive my heart when it starts to become faint.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I recently heard a testimony about a man who was tortured in Thailand after secretly giving away bibles. How can anyone ever be this brave? I remember the words I say to the youth.... about sacrifice and "taking up our crosses". I tell them that if we are truly following Christ, we're going to find ourselves bleeding someday, somehow. Truth is, that thought scares me. They think of bleeding as being teased by classmates for choosing youth group over parties, or having to break up with their unequally yoked boyfriends and girlfriends..... But a different image comes to my mind. I think of this man.... and Paul, Timothy, Peter and the rest who literally bled to follow Christ and join in his mission. I think of the missionaries out there still .. in Nepal, in China, in Thailand, who wake up every morning and sincerely thank God for new opportunities to "bleed" for Him. Will I ever be this loyal?

Friday, November 14, 2008

love letter

I like to read love stories. Not romantic kinda love stories... (well those too) but Agape kinda love stories.... Corinthians kind of love stories between God and his people.... I'm drawn to the bible passages where God shows compassion and mercy to NOTORIOUS sinners and calls the ordinary, nobodys of the world to follow him.

.......I'm reading this book called Irresistible Revolution. I don't even know where to start!!! It's such an amazing book about how to love Christ and extend this Agape,no strings attached kind of love to others. I realize there is a WHOLE LOT I need to learn about Christ and this thing called Christianity that I claim to be a part of. I really need to re-read the life of Christ and understand what he was really about. I pray that God takes away the little bits of doubt I might still have. It's silly to claim to believe in something if you don't believe it with all your heart.

Like Paul, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings"...... If I don't experience this for myself, how will I tell the world! I know I'm not a good speaker, I don't know nearly as much as I should about his Word, I'm a doubter who constantly needs reassurance. I need work. But I know I believe that Christ is the truth and that he gives people hope, leads them to repentance and leads them to "hunger and thirst for righteousness". I know that He wants people to accept his love then live it out so it infects others. I plead with him to help me connect on a level deeper than just reading words on a page. I want to know the depths of his heart and to love him with all of mine. People say that the bible is God's love letter to his people...

My love letter to him would hopefully be this:

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in YOU"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"break my heart for what breaks yours"

So many things excite me about the future. I've always had the desire to travel the world, meet people coming from completely different walks of life , experience their culture, hear about their values, dreams, desires, fears, and have my eyes opened to their needs.. There's a whole world out there filled with people God created. People that He loves just as much as he loves me... it's doesn't make sense for them not to know this. I want to start praying for them more often. I know that my Father's heart breaks for these people. People who are lonely, starving,thirsty, sick, and cannot understand the concept of love because they've never experienced it. I want my heart to break for these people too.I don't want to just "feel sorry or sad for them". At the very least, I want to stop thinking about myself long enough to remember to lift them up in prayer. I want to get to the point where I'm so burdened for their causes that I want to set aside my own wants and needs... Just in case God decides to use a nobody like me to somehow meet theirs.

I'm most excited about being able the idea of medical missions.... If I could go to any country, I choose Uganda. I read about their child abduction issues in high school and since then, I've felt a special connection to this country. I hope to meet Max and Christon one day, our compassion children. <3 Is it possible to love people you've never met? MmHmm. After finishing nursing school, I wanted nothing more than to join a team of church planters excited to introduce Jesus to the forgotten people in the ends of the earth. I started feeling this way this way my first semester of school when all my patients were either homeless or sharing homes with ten other families. While we gave their shots, hung their ivs, gave them their bed baths, they were so relieved to be at the hospital. Most of them weren't even sick. They needed to get out of the cold. They needed food.. a bed to sleep on... warm sheets...someone to talk to them and show them that someone in their empty world cares for them!!! They had no home, no one to call family or friend. I remember feeling so grateful that I wasn't them, but so troubled because after they were discharged, I'd never see them again. How do you begin to introduce God, and love, and new life?? I wanted to tell them everything I knew. I wanted them to know that someone created them.. And that their creator is madly in love with them...And that he gives hope and new life to those that believe and choose to have a relationship with Christ.

One night, I got in trouble for giving my patient 50 cents. She was being discharged from the hospital and no one was there to pick her up. She was counting her change and didn't have enough money for the bus ride "home". I had 2 quarters in my pocket that I secretly handed to her. My professor saw me from the nurses station and wouldn't let me back in her room after. She said she wouldn't write me up this time because I was new. Honestly, I didn't care if she did. Call me stupid, but I didn't care if she "might've been manipulating me into giving her drug money" I didn't care what kind of drugs and alcohol she was planning on buying. I just wanted her to feel like someone cared about her... That someone thinks she's worth giving 2 quarters to. How could anyones heart not break for this woman?!! How can your passion for life and love and people not be stirred?!

I get a bittersweet feeling when I think about not being able to work as a nurse. I would love nothing more than to show people God's love in this way. To go to countries where hospitals don't have flat screen tv's and fluffy bed sheets. But I'm learning that there are lonely, empty, hurting people outside of hospitals, inside this country, and inside my circle of friends and family. And they need God just as much. I'm still excited about what the future with God holds. Excited that he might decide to use an ugly person like me to help build his kingdom. "No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"

One thing I find myself being more and more excited about is sharing all these desires with someone who feels the same. A strong but humble man who loves Christ with all his heart and loses sleep when he's not right with God. I've always prayed for him.. That God keeps him safe from harm, and in the grip of his Grace. I think I've wanted to be a wife since I was ten. I admired the sacrifices my mom made for our family and I hope to be as selfless when I have my own. I want to be a good wife. I want my husband to always feel like he married a good woman. I read about the woman in Proverbs 31 often and I pray that God will mold me into a woman like her.
10 [ A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I have a LONG way to go but I hope to be this strong woman one day. A woman who shares a deep, real relationship with her God, shows great love for her family, and strong convictions to help the poor, the sick, the lonely. I want to understand what it means to fear the Lord... To love him with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind.