Tuesday, September 8, 2009

god in our own image.

I was reading the book "Reaching Out" by Henri Nouwen today, and came upon this.
It made me think of all that our God has been teaching me here at Antioch...

"Prayer is often considered a weakness, a support system, which is used when we can no longer help ourselves.
But this is only true when the God of our prayers is created in our own image and adapted to our own needs and
concerns. When, however, prayer makes us reach out to God, not on our own but on His terms, then prayer pulls
us away from self-preoccupations, encourages us to leave familiar ground, and challenges us to enter into a new
world which cannot be contained within the narrow boundaries of our mind or heart. Prayer, therefore, is a great
adventure because the God with whom we enter into a new relationship is greater than we are and defies all our
calculations and predictions. The movement from illusion to prayer is hard to make since it leads us from false
certainties to true uncertainties, from an easy support system to a risky surrender, and from the many "safe" gods
to the God whose love has no limits."

For the last two weeks, instead of a sermon, Ken has had more of a panel. Two mics on either side of the stage,ready for any questions from anyone in the church. It has been an incredible thing to be a part of. I took some notes the other week that had to do with this idea of who we have made God to be...

...we've created an image of God and when He doesn't fit as we want, we throw Him away. He "doesn't deliver"
what we want. This creates utilitarianism where we pick and choose what is "good" and reject what will bring us
pain. We think that this will bring us peace and harmony and make our lives peachy. We have this view of God
that He is a product and will give us the desires of our heart. This is America's version of God..."it's all about me."

My hope is that this will encourage you as it has me. Until now, my very own view of who God is has been something that I have created...habit, religion, a label, something I have been spoonfed since birth, "a weakness, a support system which is used when we can no longer help ourselves." I have loved my God with a "good face" and a pretty voice, but in my heart there was rarely a fire and I loved someone that I did not know. I look forward to knowing Him as I should, not in my own strength but in His. I am so thankful to God for the authenticity at Antioch, it is why I decided to do the internship, it is why I am here now, and it is why I want to stay...

I am a better woman because I am here...where God has called me to be.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

this is it. this is as good as life gets.

September 1st...I can't believe it. The summer months are over and everyone is heading back to school. All of the interns have been back at home/school for about two weeks now. Needless to say, it has been a lot different without the seventeen of us in meetings, eating at a yummy BBQ, or being hardcore on one of our many adventures. I miss them all so very much but am excited about this next season of life...

I was baptized two Sundays ago. Definitely had an overflow of emotions and thoughts racing through my mind, but also felt so comforted and at peace with my decision...even in the newness of being away from home and those that I love. Brandon Reynolds (the Community and Discipleship Pastor) asked all of the interns to e-mail him what baptism means. This was my response...

To be baptized...
Is a proclamation of my faith...
Is stating that from this point life is Gods...not my own...
Is a symbol of dying to myself and claiming a new, whole life in my God...
Is an opportunity to let others hope of accountability as a community...

I am so lucky to be here. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. It meant the world to me to be baptized by Justin and Ken with all of my friends there to love and support me. Every day I am amazed at how fortunate I am to be loved and cared for by such a wonderful family here in Bend.

Lord, may I never take this for granted.

Friday, July 17, 2009

just a few thoughts.

"Love, definition of: It is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good."

I found this quote in "The C.S. Lewis Index." The idea was taken from his books, "Mere Christianity" and "God in the Dock." For some reason out of all of the quotes about love...ranging from marriage to family...this one stuck out the most to me. What if we all loved each other this way? What if relationships began with this as their foundation? What if we were intentional about every decision to love each other?

This is the way that I want to live. To love the people He has put in my life wholeheartedly, steadfastly, with my ultimate desire to be their well being.

To guard my little heart in this venture will be most important. I will be unable to do it on my own strength. May our God give me that strength to He has loved and continues to love each of us...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I am still enjoying every bit of my time here in Bend. So much so that I have accepted a job offer that will continue full time until the end of this year!! It was a really difficult decision to make, but I am confident that I have made the right one. I am so lucky to be in a place where I know with all of my heart that it is where the Lord wants me to be, and I can't say that I have ever felt such clear direction before. For the first time, I feel like my focus is really where it needs to be...and it is with His strength that I feel so sure.

The idea of being part of the growth of such an incredible community here at Anitoch is a delight to me. There is no place I would rather be...chasing after what is most important to me...loving every moment of it along the way...even when it hurts. I am learning so much about trusting our God. Really trusting Him, and giving Him control over the things that I have held onto with all of my might is so hard to against what our culture teaches. I am so contenet in this place. Running hard after my first love and knowing that it warms His heart in a precious way.

Lord, may I never cease to run after you with all of my matter where I am.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"...with a loving hand of perfect design..."

I feel it is necessary for me to clear up my thoughts on my "cookie cutter/bubble" life I mentioned in a previous post. I think we should just take the word cookie cutter out of my example completely. I meant more that it is my fear that I would live a cookie cutter life in my own bubble, completely oblivious to everything and everyone around me. I often feel like this is what our society offers us. The newest car, the most money, the best clothes, the biggest house...the list continues...all of these things have to do with the way are viewed by others or how WE can be the best. How are we (myself included) taking these things and using them to glorify our God? I failed at expressing that last time. I made it sound like I was unhappy with who I am/have been and how I have lived my life. I am not unhappy with who the Lord has shaped me to be. He has been the most important part of every aspect of my tiny, and at times seemingly insignificant life. Think of who He magnificent!!! My mom said it best, "we have a good God who doesn't deal with us capriciously or randomly, but with a loving hand of perfect design..." I could never imagine that I would be so lucky to have Him love me so deeply. Because of that, I will serve and worship Him with every fiber of my being...for all of my days. It is my hope and prayer that no cookie cutter/bubble of a life gets in the way of that.

Lord, may You always be the desire of my little heart...

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's been a long, long...week

Alright, so I think it has been longer than a week since my last entry. It's interesting how I avoid doing things when I "have to" do them...and here I am trying to fill you in on all that has happened since then. Our first week was filled with meetings, BBQ's, more meetings, figuring out what projects we would be responsible for, getting to know each of the sixteen other interns, more BBQ's, getting to know the staff, a full day of rock climbing at Smith Rock (followed by another BBQ), and ended with church on Sunday...guess what was after got it...a BBQ. Needless to say, come Sunday afternoon I was exhausted, but still so thrilled to be in lovely Bend.
I am realizing so much about my faith and relationship with my God (unfortunately more often my lack of a genuine one.) I have come to the conclusion that I am here to listen with an open heart and a quiet mind, to learn to know my Savior and know His Word, and to grow by giving all of it up...and I mean all of it. I have lived in the same 30 mile radius my entire life. I have known nothing other than the Beach Cities of Orange County. In the two weeks I have been here, I have listened, learned and grown more than I could have ever hope for or imagined. I am not sad to be here away from my friends and my family and what is familiar to me. I am grateful that I am being used and shaped into who the Lord will have me be.
I am being challenged in ways I didn't think I needed to be. I have treated what I claim to be the most important part of my life as just another item to be checked off of my TO DO list. My world is being rocked to the core here, and for that I am thankful. God is holding up a mirror to the cookie cutter/bubble of a life I have lived, and is showing me that there is so much more that He has to offer me. He requires so much more than what I have been giving Him. How can I deny Him my entire life? How can I justify my selfishness? My lips should never cease to praise Him. My soul should always thirst to know Him.

May my lips and my soul and my life and all of who I am thirst for You...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

do justice.

Part of of my job description as Worship and Arts Administrator is working in The Kilns Bookstore one afternoon each week. ( I have been in the bookstore twice so far and am absolutely in LOVE with it. They sell a variety of books on culture, philosophy, social issues and theology. And it is filled with clothing, quilts, handmade cards, and many other beautiful works of art that support organizations who train and employ people in third-world nations. The whole idea is "shopping with a purpose," which I couldn't be more in love with. I definitely am looking forward to the afternoons that I will be working in there. I am sure it will feel like I am "working with a purpose" which totally might sound cheesy, but helping in that minute way sounds amazing to me.

In the fall, Ken (the Senior Pastor) will be teaching a class at The Kilns College about Human Rights. We hosted a meeting at the bookstore today that basically outlined what the class will be about. So much of it was information that I have never heard, or had heard and chosen to tune out of my comfortable bubble of a life that I live in. I was moved by how disconnected so many of us are from the reality of what is going on in this world and I hate that I have chosen to be someone like this. We are called, as disciples of Jesus to be more aware, we should desire this awareness and not only that but we should seek to "do justice" in every way that we can. Whether it's buying a scarf from a non-profit company that rescues women from sex-trafficking, being involved with missions or seeking to build this global awareness...there is always a way that even the busiest of us can "be the change that you want to see in the world."

Lord let me be that change...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

all is full of love.

Okay so I am terrified of starting a blog. I am way too critical of my own thoughts to have one, but I thought it would be a nice way for you all to have an idea of what I will be doin' this summer. Anyways...for those of you who don't know...I am living in Bend, Oregon until the end of August. It is basically a worship internship with the job description of "Worship and Arts Administrator." (ooooh fancy) I have been here for a few days now...and couldn't be more in love with this town. Everyone at Antioch has been so welcoming and excited to have me here. I haven't moved into my house yet and have been staying at the Lavik's the last few nights...but I couldn't feel more at home. It is a funny feeling, being so far away from everyone and everything that I know and love so much...yet I am pleased to say that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

To think that these people here have a heart for me and the other 16 interns that are complete strangers to them is absolutely incredible. Members of the church have offered to be host families, provided cars, mountain bikes, furniture, kitchen appliances...the list goes on and on. And what makes this so great is that they do it all for the joy of serving others. There are 17 interns here at Antioch this a church of about 500. This, to me, is how Jesus wants us to live....FOR others. It is about community and making sure that every action has a serve and to love...and to do it with a content and selfless heart.

I hope that I can learn to live this way and be more like Him...