Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Am Broken.

Why do I do this? Time and time again God gives me an opportunity to trust him, and I throw it away. I depend more on myself rather than on his promises and what I know to be true about him. I have become the very same type of person that I so often speak against. The person who does not look to God in her circumstances and trust him to bring her through. The person who makes herself more like a god than God himself by believing that she has everything under control. I am without doubt a despicable human being.

Why is it so hard to trust the God of the universe, the one who not only created everything, but who also sustains it? It's hard to fathom just how easy it is to love God one minute, and then completely turn one's back on him the next.

I should trust God with my future, and know that he knows what he's doing. Through all of this, I'm realizing that I do not spend nearly enough time in the Word. I focus more on myself and what I want to do instead of immersing myself in Scripture and getting lost in it. I should want to fill my heart and mind with Scripture, but so often it just becomes a drudgery and I end up doing or reading something else instead because, well, God will love me anyway.

I need to stop this, and I need to actually get into his word and really glean what I need from it. Scripture is supposed to encourage and convict us, but too many times I've just stared at the pages, not letting any of it sink in. I want to trust God, and I want to fall thoroughly in love with his word. I need to in order to be healthy. I know in my mind that God is good and trustworthy, but it is through reading Scripture that my heart may know the truth.

Psalm 62:5-8

For God alone, O my soul, wait in
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Jesus is My Boyfriend."

So, lately I've been hearing from a lot of people a lot of criticism of songs that are apparently "Jesus is my boyfriend" songs, where if you took out Jesus' name in the songs and inserted someone else's name (the one you love, obviously), you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Honestly, I have a hard time having the same criticism as these people. I guess I can see their point, but aren't we supposed to sing songs of how much we love and adore God? Yes, He is far more than anyone that we could ever love and He is absolutely incomparable to anything that we have ever experienced, but if we want to express our love for Him, why can't we express it in a way that we know how to do, which is to describe it in terms of a human relationship? I think that love songs to Christ have come under far too much criticism. I don't know if I'm just not listening to the same music that other people are, but the songs I'm hearing are absolutely fine.

Right now I'm thinking of a song by Phil Wickham called "Always and Forever." In it he sings, "You are my Love, my Life, always, forever..." Sure, that could also be sung to another human being, but we are supposed to sings songs of adoration and love to our King. I do believe that there needs to be a balance between how many of those types of songs we sing and praising God for the things that He has done, but I don't think it's fair to criticize the love songs simply because of what they are.

I think people have gotten carried away when it comes to criticizing things, that we have forgotten about the things that are actually important. We spend all of our time judging this and that, thinking this is stupid and that is dumb, and not realizing that we may actually be missing the point of the things that we are being critical of. Does that make sense?

I mean, I know that I have the same issue as well. I tend to pick apart every little thing in a song or a sermon. I become very judgmental and want things to sound good on my terms instead of realizing what the other person is trying to say. Should we be critical and discerning in our lives? Yes, yes we should. But we can definitely become too involved in it, and unfortunately I think the reformed culture has taken being discerning to an extreme - even to the point of mocking things that they don't agree with.

This needs to change. Instead of having superior attitudes over the things that we disagree with, maybe we need to actually take things in and consider what the person is really trying to do or say, and if we still disagree with it, then maybe we just need to hold our tongues.

No, we are not here to please others and to make them happy, but we need to be mindful of them and the fact that they are made in God's image just as much as we are. We may disagree with other believers on certain issues, but really... if we agree on the basic doctrines of the faith, shouldn't that cause us to be more unified instead of becoming divided on small issues? Instead of alienating those that we disagree with, we need to embrace them because God has called us to be unified as a church.

It has been rare that I have seen criticism be uplifting and encouraging to the person that it is against. This is what causes divisions in the Church, and it needs to be stopped. Be discerning, yes. But don't be so critical to the point that you bring down fellow believers and end up hurting and pushing them away in the process.

Philippians 2:1-11

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Contradictory Culture.

Hm.. I was talking with Eric today, and something that we talked about caused me to think about the postmodern culture that we live in and how contradictory it really is. Have you ever noticed that? I've found myself guilty of it as well. I think that the cause of this is mainly just the effects of postmodernity in general. While I don't believe everything about postmodernism is wrong, I think that it has greatly affected us in how we believe what we do. So many things center on there not being an objective standard of truth in today's culture, and I think as Christians we unfortunately are susceptible to being sucked into that. We are inundated with the world telling us that truth is subjective and it's how you want it to be that it becomes difficult to separate what the world is telling us from what God is telling us.

As Christians, we know or at least we should know that the Bible is our objective standard of truth. I'm sure you've all heard the cliche that "all truth is God's truth." This is... well... a true statement, as cheesy as it is (I might be a little more critical of it since I've heard it at least once a semester since jr. high). However, I think we tend to get more caught up in the unknowns about the Bible instead of focusing on the objective reality. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it causes us to be more easily swayed when we're told about different interpretations of certain Scriptures and how we should apply Scripture to our every day lives.

No, the Bible doesn't give us an answer about every situation of life. And frankly, I don't think it's necessarily supposed to speak to every situation that we face. It's good to apply the general biblical principles to life, but we also need to consider what we know to be true about God (which also comes from the Bible) and we need to use the wisdom and discernment that God has given us as His children. Honestly, I don't think we use our minds enough when dealing with certain aspects of life or trying to make decisions. Instead we try to gain knowledge and wisdom from other people by buying books on the subject, and talking to as many people as we can in order to get "advice." In my experience though, sometimes that really just makes the situation worse. People are always going to have their own opinions of what the "right" thing to do in the situation is, and we just end up being more confused than we were before.

However, I think I'm getting off-topic. Kind of. This is still an illustration though of how contradictory even our Christian culture can be. We don't have an objective standard that we look to anymore, but we just generally look for what other people's opinions are; after that, we just end up doing what "sounds" best. What "feels" like the right thing to do. This is why I know that God gave us the ability to have discernment in our spiritual lives. We have the ability to make logical and rational decisions on our own without all this help, but we decide not to because we're too afraid of making the wrong choice. This is not to say that I don't believe in asking for other people's advice, but I think there has to be a balance, and you can ask too many people.

Overall however, I think that if we use the combination of the Word, what we know to be true about God, and the minds that He has given us, we can overcome the contradictions that our culture has so inundated us with.

Yeah, I don't know if this post makes sense at all, but it's just something that I've been thinking about and figured I'd throw into a blog. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

So, It's Been a While.

Hey guys... :) So, it's definitely been a while since I've posted anything on here, so I thought that I would go ahead and update everyone on what's going on in my life. I'm on spring break now, so I actually have time to do that, which is really nice.

First off, school has been absolutely insane this semester. I feel as though I'm barely staying above the waves, but by God's grace I'm still surviving. I've unfortunately gotten behind in a couple classes, but my professors are gracious and understanding, and just want me to do as best as I can under my circumstances. I never realized the difference that one more credit in my schedule would make. I've had 17 credit hours without any problem, but 18 is a whole different ball game. I think it's also the fact that I have harder classes this semester with more work, which makes me tired and stressed most of the time. All that being said though, I love my classes. I really do. I'm in the middle of memorizing the book of Romans right now, I've preached one sermon and another is in the works, I'm learning about the history of the American faith, I'm continuing to learn more Greek, and I'm learning how to defend myself as well. :) God is good in getting me through, and while I won't get the best grades this semester, I know that I've done as well as I can.

I don't know if I've mentioned it on here, but I'm the leader of a women's ministry called ZOE on campus. Basically, my job is to create and host events for the women on campus in order for them to be relaxed and to hear from great speakers. We had a professor speak in February, and I'm going to have another professor speak in April. Right now the women's ministry group as a whole is working on a dessert for the women on campus in March, and it's definitely time consuming. Who knew that creating such a large event would be so much work? I've been mostly in charge of advertisement, which is something that I really enjoy and I'm glad that I'm doing. It's just not easy to do in the midst of everything else I'm responsible for this semester, but all of us are in it together, and that's a great comfort.

As far as my summer plans go.... Things have been so confusing and have changed so many times. At first I wanted to intern at a publishing company, then I talked to the women's ministry director at Eric's church for a month and then found out that it won't work, and then I thought I was going to get full-time hours at the library, and I just found out yesterday that that's not going to work out either. This is definitely a time where I'm really confused, but where I know that I need to trust God and His plans. He's choosing not to reveal to me just yet what He wants, and while I don't know why, I know that I need to trust that He knows what's best. Once I get back from spring break I'm going to explore other job options and see what's available so I can still stay in Chicago.

So, now on to the present time. Right now I'm in Spokane visiting friends for the first weekend of spring break, and it's absolutely wonderful. I'm staying with my dear friends Hollie and Carter, and I couldn't be more blessed to be here. Hollie and I have really been able to bond over the past couple of days, and I've also been able to see and talk to a few other friends. It's definitely interesting being here after moving away so long ago (the last time I visited was October '08). While I'm really enjoying being here, there's definitely a disconnect because this is not my home anymore. It's clear that my home right now is Chicago, and this is not where God wants me to be. But it's still nice to catch up with friends and reconnect with them. Tomorrow I head back to Colorado for 12 days, and that will be really nice. It'll be good to see my family again and to hang out with high school and camp friends. Then on the very last weekend of spring break I'm flying up to Minnesota to visit Eric and his family, and I'm so excited for that.

Speaking of Eric... :) Just a short update. Things are going really well with us. We celebrated our one-month this past Wednesday, and we are both absolutely excited about what God has in store for us. We know that it's the early stages of our relationship (obviously), but God has done so much to allow us to open up to each other and really work through the baggage that we both come with. I am continually amazed by this man every day, and it's the hardest thing in the world to be away from him right now. All I want to do is hold his hand and know that he's there beside me, but I have to wait another 13 days for that. It may not sound like a long time at all, but when we're used to being around each other for at least some of every single day together, it feels a lot longer. Please continue praying for us, that we would seek God's will in everything continue to put Him at the center of our relationship.

Well, I guess that's all for now. If I've left anything out I'll just post another update soon, but I think that's pretty much all. Love you guys. <3