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Archive for January, 2010

Have you ever thought about what happens when things go unmoved, untouched? Dust settles. It collects. If left alone, it begins to look like underneath my couch. And if left alone even longer, that very item will become dust.

We can try and clean it and wipe away, but it is an inescapable fact that we are all dust. Maybe that’s a hard thing for you to think about, but it does not make it any less true. Each one of us is on a march to the grave. Every flower on earth will fade, and every person on earth will pass.

And maybe that is why birth is such a miracle. Maybe that is why humanity is totally obsessed with the transcendent and the supernatural. We watch shows about people from the past speaking to us, go to psychics or stars to learn about our futures, and wear “age-defying” makeup. We think about ways to leave our “mark” on this world or dream about ways to throw a wrench in the “circle of life”. Yet the fact remains, we are all dust.

There is something inside of us that knows there must be more. If not, why would we obsess? Why would we even try? We know there must be more to us than just our outer shell of a body. And again, in the core of who we are, our DNA points us back to the beginning, back to the way it should have been before The Fall.

Genesis 1:26-31
Genesis 3:17-19
“for out of it you were taken;for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

See, you and I were meant for so much more. In the beginning God spoke a word, and things were created. Things moved toward life. And in the beginning of us, God breathed into us life.

But sin started a cycle of horrible death. Sin doesn’t just set us on the path leading to dust, but it seeped down to your very soul. Sin cut your soul off from its very source of life in the beginning. Sin has murdered your soul.

But there is hope. Hope for life. Hope for eternity.

Again, God must breath life into our souls. He must give us the word. Even the Psalmist, the great King David proclaimed, “My soul clings to the dust, give me life according to your WORD.” Psalm 119

God in His great love made a way for a new beginning…. John 1:1-5

In other words, Jesus is the word. Jesus is life. Jesus breathed life at the beginning, and it is only by Him that your soul can come alive again. It’s what the Bible calls being “born again.” Jesus’ death lifted the penalty off your shoulders, and He bore it out of love. But came back from the grave, the only one to break the cycle of death, and He defeated death.

When you put your faith in Jesus, you are “putting to death” your old self, your old way of living for yourself. And you are giving your life away to Him. When this miracle happens, Jesus breathes new life, everlasting life, into your soul. You are a new person, and you begin to change. (2 Corinthians 5:16-17) You begin to show signs of things that last forever. Eternity is knit into your heart.

Psalm 103:13-17 (English Standard Version)
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it,
and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting…”

Psalm 30:8-11 (English Standard Version)
“To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD,
and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”

We will spend the next few weeks discussing the beautiful signs of eternity that are in the souls of those who believe.

But for this week,
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Examine your soul. Are you dust? Have you accepted what Jesus has done for you? Have you been born again and accepted His gift of love and eternal life?

Examine your life. Are you living for things that will ultimately just become dust? Or does your life reflect eternity to a world moving toward death?

Is Jesus your life?

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A few nights ago I cried myself to sleep because I was afraid.

Please no pity:
1. Because my loving, amazing husband was there to kiss my tear-stained face…

2. Because I was crying over the ridiculous fact that the next morning, 8 am sharp, I was scheduled to face my very worst fear.

my husband documents all redonkulousness

“Redonkulous”
Definition: the reoccurring phenomenon of overwhelming, overdramatized, hardcore fear.

And since this IS a blog, and as the writer I have certain obligations to be honest and vulnerable, I will now admit that I am terrified going to the doctor. Like I said, REDONKULOUS. All the syptoms of normal, legit fears (rapid pulse, anxiety, sweating, excessive crying) , I have the wonderful pleasure of experiencing just thinking about going to a doctor’s visit.

So in a moment of overwhelming dread and tears, at midnight the night before I decide to cancel and “reschedule” (and when I say “reschedule”, I mean never reschedule) my appointment as soon as I wake up. I was decided, and I am an absolute mule about my decisions.

Secure and happy again, I fell fast asleep at last.

As I slept, I had a dream.

I dreamt that the west Texas wind was blowing everything I owned away. It blew so hard, I even began to blow away. Gripped by fear and hopelessness, I was sure that I would die. Until a very fatherly man grabbed my hand. He pulled me back to the ground, and saved my life. He took me to a safe place away from the terrible wind. I looked into his loving eyes, and I knew it was him. It was Jesus. It was then He spoke to me and said,
“Kate, you are no longer to make decisions motivated by fear. By doing things because you are afraid, you are bowing your knee to fear. You are worshipping fear. It is your master. Come to me. Give me your fear, and I will give you peace.”

And I simply woke up.
This verse was in my heart.

Psalm 91:1-2

“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’.”

We make decisions big and small every day, and for many different reasons. Truly, let’s examine our hearts. When I bow my knee to fear, I worship fear. The things in our hearts that motivate the decisions that we make, are the things we truly worship. I cannot accept this any longer. My Savior deserves so much more.

The opposite of fear is faith.

Hebrew 11:6
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”

God’s love for me has been and continues to be so radical, so big, I want every moment of my life to be worship to Him.

Epilogue:
I went to the doctor, and as I sat in the waiting room, I had peace. It is never as bad as I think it will be.

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What motivates the decisions you make?
What is it that you worship with your actions?

Not ALL doctors are EVIL

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A response to suffering

By now nearly every person in the world has heard about the devastation of Haiti. Words and pictures cannot even begin to express what our brothers and sisters in Haiti are experiencing. Wednesday night turned on the TV attached to the elliptical I was using at our local gym, it wasn’t until my husband touched my arm that I realized I was crying. We just went home.

If God is real, and if God is good, where is God in suffering?


Many people ask me, and I admit to you, this question has kept me up at night. It has made me cry and question God, it has made me read and study.

If God is real, and God is all-powerful, surely He could not be good. And if God is real, and God is good, then surely He could not be powerful enough to change the immense suffering and pain in the world. Maybe you, like so many, see suffering in the world and think that God is either a fake or a God that cannot be trusted.

You look at the world around you and wonder how God could allow disasters and earthquakes to destroy.

Something inside of all of us breaks, burns, cries, screams out at the injustice, unfairness, agony, and pain in this world…in Haiti. In the core of who we are we know its wrong. We know its not the way it should be. Somewhere deep in our DNA, our hearts wrench at the idea of innocent, helpless people suffering so horribly.

In such moments of hopelessness, for some reason, we tend to build a case against God.

C.S Lewis once recounted:

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of ‘just’ and ‘unjust’?…What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? …Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too- for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies…Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple.”

Let’s be honest. When I, when you blame God for horrific suffering, we are saying that such atrocities are beyond what we can understand. Something only something bigger than us could understand or handle. Likewise, we are recognizing that something in our hearts break at the injustice of suffering, that we have a standard of what is good, right, fair, and just. We have a standard of what should be. That standard does not come from your own mind and certainly not from the world of pain around us, it could only come from by being created to know that things in this world are not as they should be. It could only come by being created by a good God who made the world in perfect harmony out of perfect love. Whether you want to believe it or not. Whether you are mad at God or not.

The truth is this: God exists. God is good. God loves you and everyone in this world. God created the world, and it was good. It was in perfect harmony, and there was perfect love. He created it beautiful and just, and it was the way it ought to be. In the core of who you are, you know that’s the way it should be. That’s why your heart breaks over injustice and suffering. You have a standard. Your heart longs for what SHOULD be.

In the beginning, the world was the way it should be. We were created out of love, and God dwelled with man. It was perfect. But then we broke it. We chose to walk away from that love. Sin entered the world. We cursed ourselves, future generations, and even the ground we walk on.

Genesis 3:17-19

Romans 8:18-22

From that moment on, the earth began to die. We began to die. All of creation began to die, cut off from our life source- cut off from the love of God. But from that moment on, God in His great love and goodness created a plan to make it right again. It could only be done through grace. Interestly enough, yet another concept we can only truly wrap our heads around by God.

Though we do not deserve to dwell with God anymore, God sent Jesus. John 3:16-17 And though it wasn’t fair or just, Jesus who had never sinned and who was perfectly loved by God came and He suffered a terrible death. He didn’t deserve to suffer, but He put our sins on His loving shoulders and was tortured. And while He was blanketed in our sin and guilt, God could not dwell with Jesus on the cross. It was an act of supernatural grace and perfect love. There were no strings attached, He just wanted to be with you again. And if you trust in that love, He does.

But that is not all. God made a way for us to have relationship again with Him and experience is love and grace, and when life for you ends you will be with Him again. And one day, He will come back again, and when He does He will restore humanity for those who have turned their hearts back to Him and this earth to be as it should be.

Revelation 21:3-7

My friends, God exists, and He is good. He is the only hope we have during tragedy and suffering. He is hope in pain. He is the healer and redeemer of this world and your life. Listen to your heart.

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Jesus, I pray that those who are reading this whose heart break over the injustice of the world, would know that you are real and that you love them. I pray for those who wonder if you are good and trustworthy, will they see that you are the answer. I pray they would see that you are the only hope they have, the strength to face this broken world. That they would see that they can believe in your love. That they would see that one day things will be as they ought to be. Lord Jesus, move in Haiti. Heal their bodies and their hearts. Let them know how much you love them. I pray that you would move in mighty ways in that wonderful country.

Thank you for the love and grace I receive from you that I do not deserve. Amen.
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What is your heart saying?

For those of you in the community for North, we will be taking an offering this Tuesday at 7pm. 100% of all money raise will go to Haiti relief.

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Response to Pat Robertson
(by Donald Miller…I share the same views as this blog)

Good Books on this:

“The Reason for God” Tim Keller

“Mere Christianity” C.S. Lewis

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You are not the first child of God to struggle to accept His love.

Could relationship with God truly satisfy my deep need for purpose? Was the sacrifice of Jesus truly enough? Will His identity really cover my faults and failures, even the ways this life has abused me? Is He enough? Is He enough when life is hard?

The love of Christ may sound so good in theory, but could this all be too good to be true?

Once upon a time, God’s people, the nation of Israel, were enslaved by fierce tyrants in Egypt, but God in His love longed for His people to be free. God chose a man, Moses, to go to His people and through a series of miracles he led a nation of slaves out of captivity. Once enslaved, now Israel was blessed with a new identity of freedom. They were led away in the Presence of God, following a cloud of His Presence by day and fire by night. They witnessed some of the profound and amazing miracles ever recorded in history.

But God led them into a season spent in a wilderness, and they wondered: “Is He really enough? Will He truly satisfy? Are we everything that He has promised we are? Even after being chosen, saved, set free, and given a new identity, Israel still wondered, will God be enough? Will He satisfy physical needs, but also will He satisfy our hearts?”

And then, God caused physical bread to fall from the sky, just enough for each day’s needs, and said,”that ( I ) might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.“

Deuteronomy 8:2-3

God proved to His people that He is faithful and true. “I have called you mine. I have called you new. I have called you free. I will be enough.”

Many years later, Jesus came sent by God to save not just a people enslaved by tyrants, but He came to save all of humanity from the tyrant of sin and death.

And God called Jesus, “the Word”.
John 1:1-5

We live in a broken world. Sin hurts us, and it also hurts everyone around us. We are surrounded by the effects of a dying world and broken people: sickness, poverty, crimes against the innocent, depression, hunger…on and on.
God knows that this world conditions us to wonder, is what we have in Jesus enough?

He knows we need physical provision, but He also knows that even physical bread is not enough to satisfy the true needs we have. It’s not enough to satisfy our broken hearts. And so He sent the One who is truth, who is “The Word” to give life to our empty souls. Look at this! John 6:35

Jesus is the “Bread of Life”. And when Jesus sees His friends one last time before His death, His beautiful gift to us, set forth from the beginning of time, is fully revealed:

Luke 22:14-20

In this amazing moment, Jesus says “I am the only One who satisfies you. I am bread. But I will not just say I satisfy, I will prove it with my love. I will be broken for you.”

His body, the bread, was broken for you.

Jesus has promised to satisfy our greatest needs, AND He proved that He we can trust in His great love on the Cross.

Jesus is not just a word; He is not just a promise; He is faithful and true. He is enough. And He has proven it.

Hebrews 12:1-3

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Questions for discussion:

Do you really trust Him?
Is Jesus your bread each day?
How has He been faithful tested and true in your life?

Please, respond with testimonies!

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Have you ever observed two people meeting for the first time? Names exchanged and quickly followed by an explanation of identity. “I’m Pastor David’s wife, I’m a runner, I’m a teacher…etc” Much of the things we say, the way we act, the things we wear portray our desired identity to the world.

Each of us longs to be infused with a sense of identity.

And our identity really answers deeper questions that each one of us carries in our heart: Am I okay? Am I worth something of value? What tells me that I am worthy of life? Who am I?

Ironically, identity is not something we can conjure from inside and portray to the world. Identity can only be found in something outside of ourselves. Identity is projected on to us by an outside source.

Something someone has esteemed or praised you for, something you aspire to be good at, and something you have therefore made ultimate. This is what we form our identity around.

As British writer Ford Madox Ford said, “We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.”

The problem is this: in the depths of who we are, in the core of our make up, there is an undeniable truth that we cannot escape…we will never be enough. We will always fail to measure up. Our identity will never completely satisfy our deepest desire to be ok, worthy, enough.

And so we spiral. Constantly striving, achieving glimpses of significance, striving, and always coming back to the same old questions.

In my life, I have seen this time and time again. I put all my eggs in one basket. It could be romance or my job or being in the “in crowd.” Sure that this will cure my desperate need to feel secure, worthy, significant. Only to find that any satisfaction I found in one moment of “success”, soon scampers away.

Praise God that when we finally see this cycle, we know that the reality of the gospel is engrained in the blueprints of our souls. The truth is, we know that we aren’t enough alone. We know that we need something to make us right, to make us okay, to make us worthy.

We are created without a face, without identity. We need something to cover us with an identity we do not and CANNOT possess on our own. We need saved from ourselves and our failures. We need a Savior.

The things we aspire to form our identities around, the things that we make our ultimate—these things are our self-made saviors. And the thing about these things is that we created these saviors. They don’t love us. They will rule us by making us constantly strive, and in the end, they will fail us.

Oh but Jesus—He is our true and better Savior!

It is through Jesus that we can be infused with His identity. Only He makes us okay and right again. Only He makes us good and worthy and whole. And only He covers us with identity.
(click on the verses to read them)

1. Gives us identity (Revelation 2:17)
2. Bestows on us something we don’t have on our own (Ephesians 2:1-10)
3. Makes us okay (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)

Questions:
What is acting as your savior (the thing or person you find identity and fulfillment in) in your life?
How is it working?
When you reflect on “who am I?” “what do I do?” what words pop into your mind? Do those identities have higher place in your life that worshipper, daughter, bride, friend of Jesus?
How do you do or turn to when you feel stress, pain, insecurity in your life?
Is “Savior” simply what you call Jesus with your mouth, or is this really His acting role in your life?

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Happy 2010!
“May the Lord bless you, and keep you, and cause His face to shine on you, and give you peace.”

Here we go!
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Have you ever stopped to think about the millions the people in this world, and then took just a moment to stare at all the grooves that make up your fingerprint?
In moments like these I realize that I am a spec. A spec, yes, but a spec intricately and wonderfully designed.
Even so, every spec on this planet wonders why. Why was I created and what am I supposed to do with my one and only life?

The answer is in the beginning:
Click HERE to read Bible text (esv)

Before the beginning, there was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and they were in perfect harmony and in perfect love. And out of absolute love, they created the heavens and the earth, you, and me. In the beginning, we had perfect relationship with our Maker. We knew God completely, and we were fully known. We knew love without blemish or pain.

There was no need ask, why.

We knew why.
It was for every moment His presence. It was for all the time spent with Him. It was for every conversation. Every ounce of love shared.
It was the most important, most significant, most purposeful life.
It was good. It was the way it was meant to be. It is WHY we were created. It is WHAT we were made for.

But sin fractured the relationship,
shattered trust.
Scarred by our selfishness and shame, we could no longer be close to our Holy God.

Yet His love remained. We owed God death, but from that moment on God put forward His suicide mission of love…one we did not deserve.
God the Son, Jesus Christ, who had never sinned, became a man and chose to die as a sacrifice for us.
He proclaimed to all of humanity, that He was the way back to relationship. He had made a way back to the beginning and through His sacrifice, we could once again be made clean. He took the price of our sin upon His loving shoulders,
He died, and paid our penalty for us.

You must realize that you have made the same mistake as Adam and Eve, we all have. We are all born into a sinful, broken world, and the sins of Adam and Eve now run through the veins of our very nature. We have all chosen to live for ourselves. With great effort, we strive to make ourselves great and ignore the loving relationship for which we are created. We are all so far from very purpose we were created. And we wonder why we are constantly striving for an unattainable sense of purpose and peace.

God’s love has made a way back to the beginning! Jesus is the way.
By paying the price of our sin through His death, He had made it possible to live with purpose again. He has answered the question of “why”, and He has made relationship with God possible again.
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Maybe you are reading this today, and you have never really considered all of this before. God is pulling at your heart. He loves you, and He longs to be close to you. He is real, and He wants a relationship with you. He wants to fill you with purpose in your life.

Maybe you are reading this, and you know His hands, because out of those pierced hands you have received the great gift of salvation.
Yet,
You do not know His heart. In fact, you are far from it.
God is calling to you to give your life away, to passionately pursue relationship with God.

Consider why He created you. That He loves to be close to you. That He longs to speak with you.
And every moment your heart has been away, He has longed for it back.
God is love.
And life is all about relationship with Him.

What has been the purpose of YOUR life?
What does relationship with God truly look like?

Lets talk!

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