Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011

Are you ready, NYC?

Two things I’m absolutely, positively thrilled about and excited for:

I’ll be sharing more on these in the coming days… but for now, would you please pray with us for God to move powerfully in New York City?

March 29, 2011

Follow You.

“God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him.”

— Hudson Taylor

This song came to mind (seemingly out of nowhere) last week as I was sitting at my desk.

Lately it seems I’m living out the struggle to remember Ethiopia.  It’s something I need to fight to hold onto, to actively pursue.  My flesh wants comfort.  My flesh would rather forget.  Why?  Because it’s easier.  But it’s not the better way.  The easy way is rarely the better way.  Jesus told us that.

The chorus of this song brings me back to Mother Teresa’s in Addis Ababa.  It brings me back to a place so overwhelming, so heart-wrenching, so consuming… There’s a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  The chorus brings me back to that place and back to those challenging moments.  Every selfish part of me wanted to bolt as quickly as I could.   Rooms and walkways were full of sick and dying people.  And children.

If I’m being honest, emotionally speaking, I did bolt.  I checked out.   I was afraid.  As I wrote in an earlier blog post (“Journal Excerpts“), I knew that those were the people Jesus surrounded Himself with, and yet I felt like I could barely look at them.  Yes, physically I stayed, but emotionally?  I couldn’t have run faster.

I’m certain that I will encounter moments like that again and be given the opportunity to stay and engage.  First of all, because God is gracious, and I’m so thankful for that.  Second of all, because this is life.  It will inevitably get difficult and be painful at times.

Will I follow Jesus into those hard places?  Will I give myself to Him fully, knowing that it will not always be neat and easy?  Will I roll up my sleeves, trust in His all-sufficient grace, and step into the mess that is life?

I’m more aware than ever that apart from His grace, I’m absolutely incapable.  I just can’t do it.  But He can.  I want to follow Him there.  And by His grace, I will.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 16:24-25

March 21, 2011

God’s willing heart.

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Mark 1:40-41

I love this account of Jesus healing the leper.  I love the leper’s display of utter dependence on Jesus, and I love Jesus’ compassionate and loving reply:

“I am willing.”

About a year and a half ago, my pastor was doing a study through Mark.  What he said about this particular section of scripture has stuck with me:  This is the heart of God.

In our pain, our brokenness and our distress, He is willing.

But notice what happens first: the leper comes to Jesus.

The leper does not scoff at Jesus; he does not write Him off; he does not pretend everything is fine; he does not deny his need for help.

No, this leper recognizes his complete and utter depravity; he recognizes his hopelessness apart from Jesus; he recognizes the power Jesus has to cleanse him completely; he humbles himself before Jesus and admits his need for help.  Not only that, but he actually gets down on his knees and begs!

And, in response, Jesus is filled with love and compassion and gives that heart-melting response, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Can you imagine how glorious those words must have sounded to the leper?  Can you imagine how that must have rekindled hope in his life?

We all suffer from our own forms of spiritual leprosy.  Will we admit to our helplessness and depravity and fall on our knees before Jesus, earnestly asking for and seeking healing and restoration?  Or, will we put on our game face, tough it out, and cling tightly to our pride?

Jesus can speak those same words of hope to us, if we’d only come to Him.

God is willing.  Are we?

March 18, 2011

Dwell in the land.

Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Psalm 37:3-5

Where are you right now?  Where does God have you?  Are you “dwelling” there, or are you sitting around waiting for whatever might be next?  Or maybe exhausting all of your energy, desperately trying to catch even the slightest glimpse of what’s around the corner?

God has been ever-so-gently, yet persistently, reminding me that He is not a wasteful God.  He does not waste moments or seasons in our lives.  Where He has me now is just an meaningful as anything to come.  It may not look as exciting, but it is.  Because He is with me.  The most mundane tasks of our lives should be met with joy in knowing that He is present with us.

Jesus tells us to worry not about tomorrow, but about today.  God knows what we need, He reminds us.  Let Him worry about tomorrow while we invest, engage and truly dwell in the places and moments where He has placed us.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!…But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:30,33-34

March 3, 2011

My 25th: An Overview in Photos

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March 2, 2011

A quarter-century.

Today is my 25th birthday.  How strange.

I keep wondering if there will come a time when I’ll actually “feel” my age.  Sometimes I still feel like a little girl who someone foolishly trusted with an apartment, a job, bills and a life on her own.  I know in a lot of ways I still have some growing up to do.  And yet time doesn’t wait for us to get our lives together, it just keeps on truckin’.

Anyway, today’s my birthday, and I love birthdays!  I’m always reminded of and overwhelmed by the wonderful family and friends I have been surrounded by for the past 25 years.  I have already been flooded with texts, Facebook posts, phone calls and emails from people I love dearly.

This day is a gift from God.  You all are a gift from God.  I’m excited for all He has for me in my 25th year!

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:16 (NLT)

 

Whaddya say, any wisdom to offer this 25-year-old?

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March 1, 2011

Prayer request.

As many of you know, I spent two weeks in Ethiopia a little less than two months ago.  I’ve blogged about it here, and I promised I’d post prayer points for you.  I have yet to do that, and I apologize.  I’m going to start here with one request, though I do ask that you pray for all those I’ve mentioned before.

Please be praying for the street boys in Ambo.  I don’t want to say too much here, but our time with them was very difficult both for our team and for the boys.  Please pray.  More than anything, please pray that those boys would come to know Jesus as their loving and merciful Savior.  Pray that they would believe, that their hearts would be transformed, and that they would share their hope with all of the street children they encounter.

My heart is heavy today.  Not just for these boys, but for all children who don’t know what it feels like to be loved and cherished.  May we seek to show them the unchanging, selfless, perfect love of Jesus, both in our words and in our actions.

We have a God with whom nothing is impossible.  We have a God who hears us when we cry out to Him.  Let’s intercede on behalf of the street boys and believe God for healing, redemption, hope and restoration.  He is able.

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the  brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:17-18

PS – The prayer I posted HERE from John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ expresses so much of my heart in this situation.

Your Turn:

What’s heavy on your heart today?  How can I be praying for you?  What are you believing God for right now?