Saturday, February 28, 2009

I love it here!

I love a lot of my classes. They really fire me up and make me want to LEARN so much more. I get big ideas and dreams and just pretty much want to curl up and study my Bible (sorry textbooks!) all the time. Since I need to do the work to continue staying in the courses, I can't read my Bible instead of writing papers. But that doesn't stop my mind from wandering.
In Disciplemaking I get so excited about Jesus' model of discipleship and how He taught and led and used SO many different ways of witnessing.

In Interpersonal Ministry Skills, I daydream of sharing with people and relating with them on a non-intrusive but very personal way and sharing the Truth with them.

Every week in Church Planting I decide that I will go off somewhere and start a church. I'm not sure where... I'm pretty much wishing I had lots of money so I could live everywhere and do everything. The other three girls in my class and I decided on Friday that we're going to buy burkas and head for an Arab country to start something for women. Good thing I can't afford that ticket!

SO many of my classes are focusing on people. Go figure, ministry kinda involves people after all. But it makes me want to just get out there and into people's lives. I love that though my major is International Ministry, I can do the people part of it anywhere. And I love that I'm learning how to relate to them. I really just love Moody and what it's all about. I kinda want to keep taking classes here forever (I LOVE electives) but then again I'm SO thrilled to graduate and be able to do things :)

Thank You God for sending me here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Isn't it great to rewear a pair of jeans with mud spattered on the back of the legs? I just love that! I'd pick dirty nasty jeans over clean ones any day, wouldn't YOU?

Hm. I don't think I've ever met a person that liked dirty clothes or felt life was enjoyed more fully with greasy hair. I think we're made to appreciate cleanliness. Or at least I like to think so.

That's why these verse made me think: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors You was, and sinners will be converted to You. Psalm 51:10-13

It's a prayer of King David, after he'd gotten Bathsheba pregnant and had her husband murdered. Nathan the prophet had come to him and confronted him about it (II Samuel 12). Nathan came to David with a little story about a rich man with many lambs who stole the one lamb of a poor man. The story enraged David until Nathan informed him that it was an allegory and that David was the rich man (that would make Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, the poor man). Nathan then told him that God was going to deal with him for what he had done. David confessed that he had sinned, but God still dealt with David by taking the baby's life shortly after its birth.

David had sinned. He knew it, of course, but had hidden it. After Nathan confronted him, he confessed his sin and wrote the little prayer in Psalm 51. He asked God to change him and restore their relationship. After his confession he was in a right standing before God.

He wanted more than just a right standing with God in that moment though. David asked that God would deliver him from the way he was and use him as an example to teach those that didn't know and lead them to God. In essence, David asked God that what he had done wrong could be used to point people to God.

I think that sometimes we approach God with everything we've ever done wrong and kind of look towards the sky with a sinking, look-what-I-did-now attitude. Too often, we come to Him and ask that He will forgive us and change us but we say it with a whisper. We're afraid of offending a Holy God.

I love that David went to God, having done several pretty bad things, confesses his sins, and then asks God to create a clean heart in him. It was too late for him to tell God he was going to try harder to follow His law, he'd already failed. But he went to Him, asking and expecting to receive a changed heart. Not only that, but he asked God to USE the sin he'd done as a tool to share with others. Wh-at?

David was guilty of adultery and murder. On a regular basis I'm guilty of all sorts of things. When I think of the things I've done wrong I rarely think, "God's going to USE this! God's going to be glorified because I sinned!" I think sadness and "I wish I hadn't done that! I'm such a bad example and blah-blah-blah".

That's what I used to think.

This is the way it really is: I am a sinner. God sent His Son to die in my place since sin = death. Because of this I am free to live a life that is beyond sin. It doesn't end there though. God took my heart, which was probably pretty gross to look at, and made it clean. Therefore I am a testimony to God's work in my heart. So what I've done wrong has been forgiven and washed away but everytime I talk of the sins I've done, I must also mention that God took them. And this gives Him glory. Talking about the fact that I sinned doesn't give Him glory but mentioning that He washed my sins away does. It was all His work.

Just like David demonstrated, once I have cleansed my heart, I am clean. I don't have to stand outside God's presence and fearfully repent for the same thing a million times. Because of God's forgiveness and grace He uses me in spite of what I've done and to testify to His grace because of who I was.

What do you think? When your heart is clean do your actions toward God demonstrate that? Part of repentance is moving on and I realized that too often I hold on instead of moving on and I'm not as usable.

I may as well not repent if I'm not going to stop mulling over my sin and acting like I'm not forgiven. It's kind of like wearing those jeans with the mud on the back. Same idea...

* By the way, I can't STAND it when there's mud caked on my jeans but it happens all the time since I can't find them short enough... it's super annoying!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A blonde, a brunette and a redhead...

Molly, Erica and I call ourselves a joke. It's not that our self-image is bad, but we realized that the three of us together epitomize the redhead, brunette and blonde that you hear about in jokes. Together, the three of us can get a little... weird. We laugh way too much about nothing at all, talk till the wee hours of the night, and do our homework together. (Amanda is usually at work - or sleeping - thus she doesn't make it into our craziness) This picture is of us all dressed up for dinner on Valentine's Day - we forgot to take a non-blurry picture.

The roommates and I were in a "fashion show" last night. The "Senior Saints" group at Crossover hosted a potluck for the college/single group and we provided the entertainment. It was a play on words fashion show so that's why we're wearing such ridiculous outfits: Molly is in a "business" suit and "pill box" hat; I'm wearing (you can't see them so well) "dress" pants and 14-"carrot" necklace and earrings, Amanda is wearing "Jim" shorts (they said "Jim" all over them) and a (horse) halter top; Erica takes the prize for the best costume with a "tank" top and "bell" bottom pants (you can't seem them either). It was a little embarrassing but they loved it. We got free food and got to know some of the older people at our church.

And finally... the thing I'm looking forward to: My favorite sister is coming in TWO weeks! I'm excited to see her, to introduce her to my friends and roomies, my school, a few profs, and SPOKANE! I'm SO pumped about her visit and hope for a little bit of falling snow for her to see... pretty snow, like the other night :) We took this picture on the way to the beach over break :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oh My, It's Wednesday: Part Dos

(To read part one, click here.)

Last Wednesday was not a great day. It was long and hard and spiritually and physically exhausting. I woke up the next morning to a more pleasant experience but the trauma of last Wednesday nearly made me fear for today.

I lived to tell about it! I actually had a great Wednesday though my expectations were, admittedly, quite low.

Why: I had to face one of my biggest fears: Public Speaking. We had to prepare our testimonies to give before the class. I'd written and rewritten and practiced and then rewritten and revised my speech over the past few days. Practicing it with my roommates last night nearly brought me to tears. I couldn't get the words out. I stumbled. I was so nervous that I cheesy-smiled my way through it my first time (Erica pointed out that saying, "I realized that my sin deserved death" was really NOT best illustrated with a goofy grin. I took that to heart). I was overwhelmed and discouraged last night. I talked it out, prayed about it, and determined to make it not about me. When I say that, I mean I still talked about myself, but I didn't want my pride to get in the way. I didn't want it to be about me saying the right thing. I really wanted to say what God wanted me to.

After a long and agonizing introduction to class (including a quiz and a small lecture on doing coming to class on time) this morning, my professor announced that I would be going first. I was SO nervous. My hands were shaking really badly. That's all I remember. I have no concept of how I did but it's done. I probably could have done better but even if my words weren't so grand, I know my attitude and outlook on it was right. That makes it worth it.

It's Founder's Week so instead of Chapel, we're watching videos from Founders Week in Chicago. Today was a video of Phil Vischer speaking. It was really poignant. His "thesis" (if you will) was that God is ready to use us as soon as we are ready to give Him anything (he used Abraham and the Shunamite woman as examples). Very good. And what's making Founders Week nice is that we don't sit in Udhen Chapel, we get to sit downstairs at tables, eating free food. Today was soup, salad and bread. Very exciting.

Research Writing wasn't too bad. Still not a joy but not bad. We brainstormed for papers and looked at sources.

After class ended at three, I set out with a friend to find something to eat. We decided to brave a diner that "looked cute" and it turned out to be really good. We both had burgers topped with mushrooms, swiss cheese, and grilled onions. Yum! I really enjoyed the fellowship, hearing about her life and talking about the future. It was encouraging. I definitely hope to get together with her again soon.

I took the bus home and it was uneventful. Talked to Dad on the phone the whole way back which was a treat. Now I'm here and about to start some homework for Hermeneutics.

I'm not really sure what it was that made today "better". It definitely had just as much opportunity for a bad day but I think some of it personally was that my focus was on making not just my testimony but my day about God and not about me. It was so much more enjoyable that way!

Found a picture of Brooke and I from two years ago and thought I'd share...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday

It's someone's birthday today and I can't forget it!

Happy Birthday to Grandmamma! I hope your day is wonderful!

...I forgot to mention another birthday!

Aunt Bonnie's birthday was on Valentine's Day... what a happy day to be born! I hope it was great!

Snowy Nights

The snow was so peaceful outside tonight.
It deserved poetry.
Sadly, I'm not much of a poet so I decided to video it instead.
Isn't it lovely?

After walking around admiring the snow we decided to enjoy it further.
We sledded on cookie pans down the piled-up snow.
It was fun but our cookies will never turn out the same again.
I really like snowy nights!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've been looking forward to this holiday for a rather long time. I love it because it can be so cheesy. I love that it gives us a day to think about love. I love that love is not just romantic and mushy and that we can celebrate roommate love, friend love, sisters-and-brothers-in-Christ love, love for siblings and parents and extended family... I'm really excited to have a day to think about all the people who mean so much to me. If you're reading this, you're probably someone who has impacted my life in some way... and I'm so thankful for that and I'm thinking about you today!

I'm also thinking about God's love because, of course, His is the ultimate expression of love, giving His Son to die for us. And He shows us His love everyday. And we can show His love to others!!! We can shine our lights in such a way so that others will see what we do and glorify our Father. That can be done any day but I think holidays are there to make ordinary things we do honored and really special.

So today, show God that He is really special and think about your commitment to Him. Consider who He is and what you can do in light of it... how you can show His love to those around you. I promise they'll notice!
And for the people around you, whether you're with roommates, friends, your parents, your brothers or sisters... let them know that you love them too! Let them feel special (it's always nice on Valentine's Day).

As for me, I'll be doing a "Secret Valentines" with my roommates and then dressing up and going to dinner with them and possibly with the boys upstairs.

Much love,

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's God's Gospel!

"The gospel is God's; God is unchanging and so is His gospel... I am not given the freedom to play around with the simple truths: "God You are Holy," "I am a sinner," and "Jesus is my Savior." But the culture we inhabit is constantly changing, and so the missional challenge is to take the unchanging Gospel and communicate it to an ever-changing culture."
- Daniel Montgomery

(currently reading: Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh My, It's Wednesday...

Wednesdays stink.

Theoretically, it was a really good idea to take the two not-so-great classes in one day. A great idea, actually. I'd cross those things off in one day and be able to look forward to my other classes (I'm quite fond of all but Speech Communication and Research Writing). I just didn't consider that I'd have those other classes on Wednesday.

Something about Wednesday makes it really hard. Spiritual warfare escalates like crazy, we're more tired than usual, it's mid-week so I guess everything starts to hit, a lot of people have Wednesday night services or youth programs at the churches they've joined out here. So putting two draining classes wasn't my smartest move.

It's not THAT BAD, of course. I don't like either of the topics so I'm trying to think of the positives (beyond the fact that once I'm finished with them this semester, I'm finished forever). I'm excited to write my speech for Communication next week - it's my testimony. I don't want to give it but I'm excited to write it. I'm not really excited about anything about Research Writing. It's the means to an end and I really don't like research or long papers. Oh well, there's got to be that one pesky class in the semester, right?

Still, please be in prayer for all that's going on. Today has been a very long day. Without going into details, things are heavy on the hearts of a couple of my roommates and they're struggling to stay awake and do homework today for their Tuesday-Thursday classes before they melt in tears and exhaustion. Prayer for their encouragement and rest and productivity. Lots of things are going on... so much "stuff" that I find myself having a hard time believing it all. Power does so many wonderful things!

God's doing something here. There's too much "stuff" for Him not to be. I'm so thankful that we know that and can trust Him and run to Him all the time... especially on crazy Wednesdays :)

Edit: Wednesdays are sort of redeemed. Erica and Molly got rest before going to their youth groups at their churches tonight and Amanda got a job today! That's exciting news for ANYONE here since jobs are scarce.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Psalm 91

This is one of my favorite Psalms at the moment (Psalm 8 and Psalm 139 are my other very favorites), Psalm 91. I've been learning so much about God's faithfulness and really seeing it in the little practical details of life lately and this Psalm reminds me of that. Enjoy!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress,
My God in whom I trust!"
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

"Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day Four... a very happy Friday

I don't know why specifically, but I have been so HAPPY the past couple of days! I've been bouncy and optimistic and smiling. There are quite a few possible reasons for this happiness:
- Very good quiet time yesterday
- My sister is coming to visit in a month
- I LOVED my class this morning
- I have a job interview next week
- I stayed up until way-to-late having a fun roomie conversation
- There was real rain (I love rain) last night
- It snowed this morning

So there have been many happy things lately. I'm kind of thinking my prayer to fall more in love with God is being answered and I'm excited about that and just excited to be more in love with Him.

About the class I loved this morning: I've been looking forward to this one since I signed up for it in October. Cross-Cultural Church Planting. I was more excited about the "cross-cultural" than the church planting but it sounded interesting and I've heard great things about the professor. When we got in the room this morning, the few students who were there had pulled up chairs so the seating was in a circle. We sat around like that introducing ourselves. He asked questions about what we wanted to do and where we were from and then talked about himself. He's been pretty much everywhere worldwide as a church planter. He recently planted and now pastors a church I visited in the first couple weeks of living out here (it's a really good church, just far away). There are nine students in the class. Since there are so few of us, we're going to our professor's house for dinner in a couple weeks (he really wants the four of us girls to get to know his wife) and we're planning a trip to visit a church plant in Canada over a weekend sometime. So I'm thinking it will be a really good class. I like the group and can't wait to get to know them.

The amount of reading I have to do has increased with the new homework from this class, so I'm off to do that. So excited it's the weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day Three

5:30 came quite early this morning. I had my shower and quiet time in a very quiet house since no one else had classes at all this morning. Left at 7:00 for the bus. It was quite cold outside and a little windy too! The puddles I crossed were completely frozen over. Brrr... it was nice to be inside the warm bus.

Got to school fifteen minutes before class began so I checked my email in the newly remodeled computer lab before finding my seat in Hermeneutics class. Jacey slipped in next to me just as our professor began to start class. He seems nice, has a little smile on his face all the time. He's been here 8 months - was in Southern California all his life until then so this has been quite the adjustment for him. He introduced himself, had us introduce ourselves, went over the syllabus and then went into his first lecture. We took a LOT of notes. Hermeneutics will probably be one of my most-liked classes but NOT because it's easy. I'm excited to get to know the Bible better. Quite a bit of the things from this class are things I learned in Frontlines but I'm excited to really study them.

Class was followed by another chapel. The worship was as good as it was yesterday and the speaker was funny but pointed. It was the pastor of a local church and he talked about the importance of prayer from Exodus 17-18. After that, I bussed home again. Folded laundry, did push-ups (we're doing this thing where we do 100 push-ups every day for the month of February) and cleaned the kitchen when I got home. Haven't done much homework so I'm going to attend to that right now. There's a lot of reading this semester!

For your enjoyment though, here's what my living room is looking like this semester, complete with commentary (you can read it if you click on the picture to make it bigger). It looks so much more lived-in than it did back when we first got here!

Day Two

I promise not to write about every SINGLE day of the semester but for the first week I may as well. You know, in case you were wondering what I'm taking or what I think about each class.

So today I had Speech Communication at 7:45 (I was an idiot and have 7:45 classes Tuesday - Friday... don't make this mistake!). Molly, Erica and Dustin are among my good friends in there. The professor is nice, from Southern Mississippi and has the accent to go with it. He shared his testimony and talked about the class for the first half of class. It seemed like forever though (the "beauty" of a 7:45 class) and I thought for sure the three hour class was over when it was just time for break. Oh well. We're going to have to speak in that class (shocking) but I don't think it will be too bad. He said if we run out crying he'll make fun of us but won't take points off. Good to know.

We were excited about having the first chapel of the semester today. Good worship and a good speaker in there. He talked about his passion and advertised for a mission trip this summer he's going to be a part of. It was funny to think how different the first chapel of the Spring semester was compared to last semester's first chapel when no one knew each other and we were all really shy. None of that today!

After chapel came lunch and then class at 12:15. Research Writing, one of two that I looked forward to least (the other was Speech). It's the first female professor I've had in person (I had a female for Lit my freshman year) so that part might be a little different. She seemed a little nervous but carried on as if she wasn't. Passed out a million papers and had us go over the elements of a story. We found out that we have papers just about every week but they're really short (a page to a page and a half) and that our actual research papers will be only 5 and 10 pages (we only have two of those). There's a lot of reading and a lot of random homework but my only real concern is that I get it all done and don't forget anything, not that I'll have research papers every week. Whew.

I came home and took a three hour nap. I feel a little lame for admitting this but I'm not used to being at school from 7:45 until 3 every day. Plus, I'm still sick and get really tired out doing nothing vigorous whatsoever. I can't WAIT to be over this!

So anyway, that was day two. Now it's off to bed again, I'm exhausted!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The First Day of School

Today was the first day of school!

I had Intro to Discipleship at 7:45 this morning. I think I'm going to like that class - our professor is really good! He's friendly and welcomes discussions/debates. His goal seems to be for us to take the material and really run with it. I think it will be a challenge but very good.

Computer came at 12:15 and was really... not great. Three hour lecture on how to turn a Word file into a PDF. I just finished dropping it, actually. Nice professor but something more than niceness is required I'm going to stay in a class like that.

My roommates had three classes today. They're doing their reading for New Testament together in the living room right now, each alternating between reading different paragraphs aloud. Since they're first-year they have all the same classes this semester.

Speaking of roommates, you haven't yet seen them this semester and that needs to change right now:

(Amanda, Me, Molly, Erica... yes, we often look like this)

We have already done more roomie things this semester than we started out doing last year and so I'm really looking forward to the things yet to come. I love them so much!
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