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Archive for August, 2010

Nothing frustrates me more than directions. I want to pinch people who can just look into the sky and be able to tell they are facing southeast. It’s amazing to me that people can tell by where the sun is which way they are headed.

The thing about directions is that you can’t be headed in more than one direction at one specific time. So, if you are headed southeast there’s no way that you could also be headed north. You are headed southeast or north, but never both.

Living in a world that worships comfort, feeling good, acceptance, and tolerance; it’s really easy to pretend that there are absolutes- no north and south, no black and white, no right and wrong. It’s really easy for me to start trekking down a road; just riding on my feelings, completely unaware of the direction I’m headed in life. Not thinking about why I’m headed that direction. It’s just comfortable.



I take a highway (I-27) from Amarillo to my little town Canyon. You know how some times highways can merge and travel together? There is a point on my drive to Canyon, where I-27 is actually highways 87, and 60 at the very same time, headed the very same direction. I loathe this, because I know somewhere down the road the highways will abruptly split and take off in their different directions. And if I am not paying close attention, it’s so easy to go the wrong direction.

I think it’s safe to say, and true in life, that if I goes the wrong direction, I will not end up in the right place.

You know, for the most part, being a good person and living a good life really goes a long with the flow of traffic. It’s acceptable. It’s a comfortable way to live. But is that really ALL that life is about?

Something is always motivating you to drive. And for the most part, whether you are a Christian, or a moral relativist, or an atheist, or a Muslim, or an agnostic, you are probably living a decent life just cruising along. You’re not going to think about what direction you are headed until maybe you break down, or maybe until you take your eyes off the road and feel alone, or maybe one day you wake up and wonder where you’re headed. Just cruising along in the direction that feels right, thinking that gaining our own fortune, reputation, agenda, making our own point, being all that me could be, becoming the best me now will satisfy that driving force inside each one of us. We think those personal goals and achievements will give us peace. Then wonder why that thing inside of us is always hungry, no matter how much its fed.The problem is that the satisfaction never comes, and the problem happened when the roads split. The problem wasn’t in how you were driving. The problem was in what direction you took.

Living a Christian life can look a lot like going with the flow, but if you become too comfortable you will start living your good life for yourself. You may wake up one day and realize that every decision you have made a long the way has been motivated out of what protects you, and makes you feel good about you, and makes you comfortable. You may even be angry because God isn’t one of those things in your life making you feel good. But you are living for you. And your mistake happened when you got comfortable going with the flow. There is something inside of each one of us that will never be satisfied with going with that flow. There is something inside of you that will never be satisfied, because you were made for something grander, something larger, something BEYOND you!

The Gospel is just that; its finally making that connection to something beyond yourself. It’s the bigger reason for your life. It’s the cause behind what you do. It’s being a part of something BEYOND you. God loves you so much. Your mark in this life is not just your existence. It’s love, and worship, and relationship with a God who loves you. It’s living your life motivated by something bigger than yourself. Jesus what the trees are swaying for, what the birds are singing for, and what the sun is rising for. When everything in life is for Jesus, the whole world seems brighter and each day is full of purpose and life. Best of all, its through relationship with Jesus that peace and satisfaction finally come.

You can’t go in two directions at once. You are either living your life for Jesus or you are living your life for you. You cannot serve two masters. “Choose this day whom you will serve.”
KR:)

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2 Corinthians 5
14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

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Proverbs 21:26 “All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.”

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Only 16 countries in the world accept international refugees, the United States is one of those countries.The neighborhood of Eastridge is the home of many refugees that are sent to Amarillo. “Each year, approximately 1,000 refugees are resettled in Amarillo. They come from a myriad of countries, including Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq, DR Congo, and Iran. ” (Resource) Driving into the community of Eastridge in north Amarillo, is like driving into a foreign country.

Eastridge Elementary school is nestled in the middle of the Eastridge neighborhood. There are 736 students that attend Eastridge, and less than half of those students are able to afford their own school supplies. Trinity Fellowship Church and North supplied the rest! Of the students that attend Eastridge, 91% of the students are considered economically disadvantaged, 52% have limited English proficiency, and only 60 of those students are considered caucasian. (Here’s more of the break down)

“The number of students needing additional help learning English has grown by nearly 80 percent in 10 years in Amarillo Independent School District, to 3,544, which include refugees and immigrants. The most recent count showed that 2,480 students spoke Spanish, 376 spoke a Burmese dialect, 150 were Somali, 86 were Arabic speakers and Persian was the native language for 86 others,” said Shannon Davis, ESL coordinator for the school district. Davis has counted 38 languages spoken by AISD students.” (resource)

Here are the pictures from Saturday’s Back to School outreach.

Team from North!


lined up outside the school


Passing out backpacks, supplies, and breakfast



The faces:)









Proverbs 22:2 ” Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.”

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The smiles on these precious children is pure and perfect happiness. I’ve been a lot of places in the world and seen a lot of people who are a lot more “less fortunate” than myself. And I’m beginning to beless and less surprised to see that these are the people in the world who carry the purest forms of happiness.

A “messiah” is defined as an “expected deliverer“. It would be safe, then, to say that a person’s “messiah” would be the thing that that person expected to give them safety, hope, and peace.

I have a theory. My theory is that my generation has a messiah, and that messiah is comfort. We are a generation of instant results and fast food. A generation of “hipsters” (definition: A person who is keenly interested in the latest trends or fashions) who uses everyone and everything to get what we want…what makes us comfortable, what makes us cool. I see it in myself. I’m afraid of anythings that may make me uncomfortable or that may make me appear to not have it all together. And I think if we really evaluated our lives, we would say that we believe if we had complete comfort, we would have complete peace. It’s so deeply ingrained, that it almost seems too simple. Look around us; it’s marked by striving, always wanting more, never satisfied.

The craziest part of it all, is that we have the most comfort of any other peoples in this world- more money, more sex, more food…etc. Yet, statistically, we are some of the most unhappy, depressed people in the world. Why?

I believe there are two reasons for this:

1. We truly believe that comfort will deliver us and give us peace.
2. We obsess and focus on the things that we find uncomfortable in our lives, and we cannot see anything else. In other words, we are not people who are thankful for what we have. We can’t see beyond the things that stand in the way of our peace.

What is your messiah? What is the one thing that you are striving after? What is the thing that you believe will give you rest, peace, and satisfaction if you achieve it?

Whatever that messiah, it is what you are worshipping. It is what you are spending your life and your best on. And, if it is not Jesus Christ, it will never satisfy you. There is only one true Messiah,

Isaiah 26:3-4 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.”

Start changing your messiah today. Change your priorities. Start by thanking God for what He has done for you, for the gospel. Start by have a grateful heart, this will lead to praising God. Instead of focussing on fears and discomforts, set your mind on Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-8
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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“New morning-after pill ellaOne works up to 5 days”

Thoughts?

Mine.
Life begins at conception. From that moment until the day of delivery, cells are growing and multiplying.
It takes 7 to 10 days from fertilization aka conception for the maturing embryo to implant into the nutritious wall of the uterus. (Resource: “Maturity Care: The Nurse and The Family” Jensen, Benson, & Bobak) What wikipedia says.

EllaOne is a pill that will terminate unwanted pregnancies up to 5 days after conception happens….

A that point, the embryo has already matured to this point.

Potentially, the embryo could have already advanced to Day 5 in the following figure.

Cut to the chase…

Conception is the point when an egg on its way towards death, moves into life. Creation, and therefore life, happens. Creation is a miracle; it completely defies logic and laws of nature (such as Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.)

Every life is important to God. There was a time in my life when I was headed for death, and even though I had had the opportunity to be born I was living for the grave. But because God loved me so much, He died so that I could live. He chose to give me life through Him, and it was a miracle. A miracle I didn’t deserve. A miracle of grace. A miracle of love.

John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

This is not a blog to condemn. This post to promote life, and to remind of us of the hope and life we have in Christ.

More Articles
Here
And Here!

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Recently I found a job. I wasn’t really looking, so maybe I should say a job found me. It was a great collision of some changes I had been feeling in my heart (one being a desire to love my community from inside it) and great opportunity.

Since I moved to Canyon over 2 years ago, I have been a frequent visitor at Morning Glory Tea Room. Morning Glory is a precious establishment that serves hot tea and yummy scones (a perfect place to meet up with girls I mentor), coffee, lunch, and amazing desserts. It’s also a furniture market for antiques. Anyway, my visits led to a friendship with the manager, who asked if I would want to help out. Now I work there!

Morning Glory Tea Room:
(Shameless plug: Open Tuesday-Saturday 7am-5pm, 4th Ave. near the town square)




My husband aptly calls my life, “The Adventures of a DoopADo.”

You would have to ask him why. But my adventures have now led me to some awesome new friends (the 2 amazing ladies I’m working with), a lot of dishwashing and cleaning (which I enjoy), and waitressing (which I have never done before). Now I joined the workforce at age 14 working at a YMCA, and nearly all my jobs have been working around a majority of men. I have many observations about the fore mentioned factors.
Observations while voluntarily waitressing for the sake of adventure:

• Most of the time women are kind. They speak carefully, and do not demand.
• Women spend a lot of time checking other women out. (of course I mean in a ‘figure her out’ kind of way)

Women, I think you know what I’m talking about, and I am definitely guilty. I think most women think they are not being obvious, but it is easy to see. A table full of women are eating lunch, and several other women walk in. Each woman will take her glance at others. As I walk to a table to take an order, the eyes of those seated scan me deciding how they will react to me as I speak to them. Reactions vary, and that’s not really the point. What is this ‘checking out’ thing? I get the feeling that many women have a kind of sliding scale in their minds. The scale is judged by things she thinks are important, and she knows where she herself fits on it. We also spend a lot of time and mental energy placing and judging other women against ourself and our standards. Please someone tell me what this is all about?!

I did some research this week. Self Concept is the way that you see yourself (this includes how you see your personality, body, ability, values, goals, and roles). Resource</a> More Resources Interestingly, your self-concept begins to be developed at a very young age through social interactions, the responses and interactions with family and peers. We learn what is important to us and who we are by communicating and interacting with the people around us. This development is normal, the way that God made us. And in a perfect world, this would have created perfectly crafted self-concepts.

Unfortunately, we are women living in a fallen world filled with sin and pain. Women are often walking wounded, asking our age-old question, “Do I measure up?” And fearing our common fear, “If I show you who I really am, will I be rejected?” As a way of dealing, we check each other out. We are constantly evaluating each other to see if who is “better” on the sliding scale. If we feel it is us, we get our ‘fix’. If we feel we fail, we retreat in pain or, worse yet, sometimes try and make the other person feel inferior so we feel better. No matter what, so often I see women worn out from their constant mental juggling.

Women, I have good news for you today, there is a way to have a health self-concept. There is a way to stop the ups and downs of insecurity and self-esteem. There is away to love the way God made you, and it will finally free yourself to love others. I’ll be honest, I don’t have this completely figured out. But I will say this, God is working on me in this area.

Observations…how to have a healthy, Christ-like, self-concept:

1. Realize that God made you unique, and He loves you for who you are. (Psalm 139)
2. Realize that life is not about you. You are an individual person, a part of grand and beautiful story. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
3. Realize the magnitude and enormity of the Gospel. Jesus laid down His life in love for you. (John 3:16-17)
4. Realize that God doesn’t measure you on a scale based on your performance, perfection, merit, or good works. Neither does He condemn and judge for your flaws in failures. If you have faith in Jesus and what He did, you are made perfect. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
5. This gives you no right to hold yourself or others accountable in this way. (Matthew 5 &6)
6. We must transform the way we think. We must seek and believe the things that God says about who we are and the way He sees us and other people. Train your mind to think new ways. (Romans 12:1-3)
7. We must love in the way that we have been showed love.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

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El Paso, Texas USA and Juarez, Mexico: separated narrowly by the Rio Grande River and a very tall fence. Two cities whose downtowns touch, proudly fly two very different flags. They are worlds apart, so it seems.

From El Paso looking into Juarez

The city of Juarez has seen well over 3000 murders in the past 18 months, on average 8 murders in the city per day (more than Iraq and Afghanistan). Nearly all the violence revolves around drug cartels and drug trafficking. The drug of dispute, mostly marijuana, all headed for the United States through El Paso. If you think these cities really worlds apart, think again. They are more intertwined then you could ever imagine, held together by basic economics. Think about that the next time you call smoking pot ‘harmless’. Pot smokers demand creates a supply, and people are dying over it. [“Mexico is the largest foreign supplier of marijuana…for the US market.”]

the border

Casas Por Cristo is an amazing organization building houses in Mexico despite the violence and despite the fact that many of the church groups are refusing to come back because of fear. And let me just say, I felt completely safe in Juarez. The biggest difference I could see were the many family businesses that had shut down. The people of Mexico love Casas and love the people willing to come and build houses for them. The violence in tied up in the drugs. We never once felt threatened or scared.

On the morning of July 29, we crossed the border into Juarez and met Manuela, Iver, & Ramon. Manuela was a 23-year-old single mother. Her husband had headed to the USA with promises of sending money, only to never be heard from again leaving Iver and Ramon (5 and 3 years) fatherless. Manuela got a job working every day at the airport making $60. per week. This is where they we living.

Our Casas’ reps were amazing women…yes, women, Brittany and Amy.

Brittany, Manuela, Iver, Ramon, Amy

They did an amazing job showing us how to build. We saw sand, water, and rocks become concrete; concrete become foundation; boards become walls; chicken wire hold up stucco; plywood make a roof. Through the sweat, laughs, newly knit relationships, and burritos made by Manuela’s mother, we built a house for this precious family.

Many good conversations were had during the process. I spent the first afternoon talking to Brittany about her story as we worked. Brittany has a college degree and before becoming a missionary worked a great job making a comfortable living.
“I hate to build, and I hate construction,” she told me.
“And I could have continued what I was doing and been comfortable and happy, but I would have woken up every day and known that I could have been making a difference. [by building houses for people with Casas Por Cristo].”

She sees the big picture.

Even now I can’t get her words out of my head. That is true selflessness, giving up her life for love. And not just any love: true love, it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our final day is always my favorite. Out of all the impactful experiences during a trip like this, none compare to the dedication of the house. The sweet boys who had played with us and helped us throughout the build, hid shyly behind their mother’s legs. We told them how much we loved them. How much Jesus loves them. How He sees them. How He will never abandon them. We said our kind words, prayed over the home and the family, and gave them the gifts we brought. It was God who built that house. I feel honored to be a part of this precious family’s lives. I feel honored to be a part of the gift.

The final act of the dedication is nailing in a Casas Por Cristo plaque on the outside of the home. We chose Jonathan, a member of our team, to get the nails started so that Manuela could drive them in. Nails and hammer in hand, Jonathan stood before us and what he said so simply, carried true meaning. He sees the big picture. And his words helped me see it too.

“With these nails and hammer, we remember the nails that hung Jesus to the cross.”

Tears streamed down my face.



I know what held Jesus to that cross. It was love. Jesus could have lived all eternity without experiencing the cross.

But he saw the big picture. And out of love, He humbled Himself to the point of death, so that our sin and our shame might be covered in His righteousness. He gave up His life to extend to us a grace we don’t deserve. Everlasting love and life. Hope and shelter. The gift of all gifts, that cost Him everything.

We loose sight of the big picture. We spend our lives seeking our own comfort, our own desires. So slowly and so quickly, life becomes about such simple, meaningless things. When are we going to see that life is not about us? When are we going to see the big picture?

Look at what Jesus has done.


KR:)

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At the age of 4, my father left my family and I, and never returned. He was an alcoholic and so addicted to drugs, we no longer mattered. The only memories I had of him were terrifying. If it wasn’t screaming and throwing things, it was threats or things of a much worse nature. Being a little girl without the love of a father definitely took its toll on my confidence and overall self-image.

Although I had been saved at the age of 8, I did not fully understand the love the Father had for me. I became extremely insecure and self-hateful. By the time I was in Jr. High, I already had an eating disorder and was drowning in depression. I hated everything about myself and knew that no one could ever love me for me. My father hadn’t, so why would anyone else? I always cried out to God to just take my life.

It was in High School, however, that the Lord really spoke to me through His word and those around me. He promised me that He would never leave! I was worthy of His love and adoration! I ravished His heart! Upon hearing such promises and such unconditional love, I became scared because it sounded too good to be true.

But the Lord really started to break down my walls. I craved having this love so deeply within my being, but I was so afraid to be hurt, I ran away from Him time and time again. The Lord constantly had to reel me back in and remind me of His promises. He is always faithful! He began speaking to me of my worth and revealing the truths about my insecurities, depression, and hurts. After a lengthy process of healing, God healed me of the hurt I felt from the wounds I had when my father left.

He showed me I was worthy of love and something good, and that not all men were like my father. He broke me of my self-hate and eating disorder. I realized I did not have to be perfect to receive love. After teaching me how to love myself, He taught me how to truly love others. I experience more and more freedom as I journey with Him! The Truth has set me free!

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