Reflections for a New Year

Below are 10 questions that were given to me to review at the beginning of a new year or on your birthday - both being ideal times to pause and reflect on where you've been, where you are, and where you hope to be. A nice way to regain our bearings.

I appreciate how thinking through these things has helped me carry more intentionality into my relationship with God and with the people he has placed in my life - may they do the same for you!

Happy 2011!

1. What is one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What is the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What is the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What is the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? in eternity?



This is Ceili (Kay-lee). She's the sweet 6-month old puppy I've been watching for a couple days. Cute, right?

Sometimes I only sort of want a dog, but after 24-hours with Ceili, I really want a dog. Along with the 'want' for a dog is the want of a lifestyle that would enable me to have a dog - ie. not being gone for 10-13 hours a day and traveling multiple nights every month. Beyond these 'wants,' of course, is the ever-increasing 'want' of wanting less - of being content with what the Lord has given and living with a deep sense of gratefulness.

I talk through these things all the time with the students I work with - how comparing ourselves with others or envying God's gifts to others robs us of the joy God has for us. Truths that are easy to tout, but require a little more time to internalize and own. Nonetheless, the Lord keeps brining me back to the truth that his good gifts to others don't make his good gifts to me any less good. I lose a sense of gratefulness when I fixate on the things I want that the Lord has lovingly withheld - like a bratty child that is given loads of presents but not that one that she wanted, and erupts into tears. I'm thankful that the Lord pushes me to step back and have an eye for all that he has given - I am not left in 'want.' He satisfies our desires with good things (Ps. 103:5)...He satisfies me with good things.


Establish the work of our hands

The following is an excerpt from Wendell Berry's book Bringing it to the Table - On Farming and Food.
It got my wheels turning about the value of work / the transience of life / Psalm 90

With industrialization has come a general depreciation of work. As the price of work has gone up, the value of it has gone down, until it is now so depressed that people simply do not want to do it anymore. We can say without exaggeration that the present national ambition of the United States is unemployment. People live for quitting time, for weekends, for vacations, and for retirement; moreover, this ambition seems to be classless, as true in the executive suites as on the assembly lines. One works not because one loves to do it, but only to be able to quit - a condition that a saner time would regard as infernal, a condemnation. This is explained, of course, by the dullness of the work, by the loss of responsibility for, or credit for, or knowledge of the thing made. What can be the status of the working small farmer in a nation whose motto is a sigh of relief: "Thank God it's Friday"?

But there is an even more important consequence: By the dismemberment of work, by the degradation of our minds as worker, we are denied our highest calling, for, as Gill says, "every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist." The small family farm is one of the last places - they are getting rarer every day - where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the maker - and some farmers still do talk about "making the crops" - is responsible, from start to finish, for the thing made. This certainly is a spiritual value, but it is not for that reason an impractical or uneconomic one. In fact, from the exercise of this responsibility, this giving of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, the farm, the consumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most practical ways: They gain the means of life, the goodness of food, and the longevity and dependability of the sources of food, both natural and cultural. The proper answer to the spiritual calling becomes, in turn, the proper fulfillment of physical need.


A Steady Pace

I've been thinking a lot lately about the pace of my life and the lives of those around me - asking the question, "What is God-honoring and healthy? I imagine that there is no blanket response to that question - we have all been blessed with different energy levels and capabilities. Yet within Christian circles (at least the ones I have passed through) we seem to honor those who "do, do, do." I read a few biographies of the men and women who led the turn of the century revival movements - night and day they served, traveled, spoke - we read about them waking up before the sun in order to pray and study God's Word. They are framed as heros of the faith, and the Holy Spirit certainly empowered the work of their hands. Yet many sacrificed their health as well as their family life for the sake of living and serving at such an incredible pace.

I often feel the pressure of this lifestyle. I wholeheartedly don't desire it. I don't think that God calls us to a life of 'panting feverishness.' I trust that He can sustain some to live at a quick pace with complete peace, and even that He could do this for me. Nonetheless, scripture continually reminds us that we are limited, transient beings - like the flower of the field we are here one day and gone the next, the morning dew that is quickly dried up, a vapor in the wind. The success of God's work in establishing his kingdom does not hinge on my struggling and striving - yet He invites me in to labor; to labor in the strength He supplies.

I feel the weight of this in the ministry I'm currently serving with - I could literally work 24/7 and still have things to do. It requires a conscious choice to stop, and in faith to entrust what is left undone to the Father. As a single person, I sometimes believe the lie that I can or should "go, go, go." I secretly envy those who are married and/or have children and have a 'legitimate' reason for setting boundaries. Even as the thought comes to mind, I know its false. I have some friends who have made intentional choices to limit their commitments in order to love God and love people well. I'm encouraged by them; reminded that it is possible; and challenged to affirm that a well-invested day does not necessarily involve rushing from one thing to the next.

The Lord knows our frame; He knows that we are dust; He created us as a limited beings and called it good. May we live in line with his good intentions.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15



In the midst of sensing that I'll be making some big decisions in the near future, I was encouraged to read through George Mueller's description of how he sought God's will when making decisions about the orphan houses God used him to establish. I hope this is as helpful to y'all as it has been to me.

"I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter...Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God...If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit. I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgement according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly."

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21


Mixed Emotions

The drive from northern Indiana down I-65S is familiar territory for me - I made the trip many times during my college years to get from home to Franklin. To be honest, the trip is pretty uneventful...cornfields pretty much the whole way. Within the past year there has been a new addition to the scenery that I just can't make my mind up about - the windmill farms.

Apparently farmers have sold pieces of their land to make room for these towering windmills, and our present/future move as a nation toward more renewable energy sources. Each time I've driven past them, I feel very torn. On the one hand, it is wonderful that we are moving away from the use of fossil fuels toward things like wind and solar energy. We need to do this. And as we do it, the windmills have to be somewhere.

Nonetheless, its painful to see how they interrupt what has been the same for generations. For so long we've looked out over the area and seen nothing but flat fields all the way to the horizon - now there are hundreds of towering specters as far as the eye can see. At night it was completely black except for the stars on a clear night - now there are hundreds of red blinking lights to keep any planes from hitting the windmills. Something about all this feels unnatural and icky, and yet utilizing wind energy is such a positive thing.

So, I find myself torn. I suppose it is yet another thing where we live to learn in the tension rather than assigning a clear black and white, good or bad category. I drove past them again this weekend for my 5-year college reunion (where has time gone?), and the tension was renewed for me.

If y'all have any thoughts please share.


Isaiah 56:3-8

Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely exclude me from his people."
And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree."

For this is what the Lord says:

"To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant -
to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant -
these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."

The Sovereign Lord declares - he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
"I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."


Life Together

I've been revisiting Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in preparation for a teaching I'll be leading on Christian community.
I was really encouraged to be reminded of Bonhoeffer's thoughts on community, particularly while navigating some issues with those I'm blessed to 'do life with.'

Here goes...

Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients.

We thank God for what He has done for us. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, and His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace?

Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day? Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ?

Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together - the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship.


Our Invitation

But who am I, Lord, that I should presume to approach unto Thee?

Behold, the "heaven of heavens cannot contain thee" and Thou sayest, "Come unto me."

What does this most tender condescension and so loving and invitation mean? How shall I dare to come, who know not any good in myself, whereupon I may presume? How shall I bring Thee into my house, I who have so often offended Thy most gracious countenance?

Angels and archangels stand in awe of Thee, holy and righteous men fear Thee, and sayest Thou, "Come unto me"?

Unless Thou, O Lord, didst say this, who would believe it to be true?
And unless Thou didst command it, who could attempt to draw near?

Thomas aKempis



I have a small bumper sticker on my car that looks similar to this. You would never guess how many comments I get on that tiny sticker - from the guy who changes my oil to people in the grocery store parking lot - something about the value of simplicity catches people's attention.

What is most interesting to me is that people never have negative things to say about simplifying - it seems to be something we all desire in the midst of our consumer culture. We're assured that the next product, the next innovation will be the thing that will finally make us happy/fulfilled/acceptable. So we clutter our lives with stuff that never seems to fulfill our expectations or hopes. In the midst of this, the term 'simplify' seems to come as a breath of fresh air, a sigh of relief. Christians and non-Christians alike, this seems to be a value we yearn for and yet aren't willing to make the tough steps to move toward.

Simplicity is costly. It demands that we find our worth and joy in something greater than the things we're able to accumulate. It requires that we confront the ugly reality that we DO try to find fulfillment in these things. It means consciously choosing against acquiring more, as well as getting rid of our excess. I heard Shane Claiborne speak a couple times and one of his ideas that stuck with me is that the more stuff we have, the more time and energy we have to pour into protecting/maintaining that stuff. I recently moved and found a lot of joy and freedom in cleaning out my apartment and getting rid of a LOT of things - things I thought meant a lot to me or thought I needed that, to be honest, I now can't even remember.

Simplicity is counter-cultural. It is knowing that others will measure you by the things you have/clothes you wear/etc. yet choosing to live outside of these standards of measuring worth - even if it means losing the respect of your peers. We as Christians need to lead the way - letting the world know that there is something better. Fulfillment can't be found in stuff. We have inherent value and dignity as people created in the image of God, and fulfillment and true joy can only be found in knowing Christ. Yet the church seems to miss this and reflects the consumer culture - perhaps I see it more drastically living in Chicago and attending a church mainly comprised of young urban professionals. How can we live-out faith in a compelling way through living simple lives? I think this would be a sigh of relief in the midst of the culture we live in - and opportunity to step off the treadmill of work and accumulation. Simplicity is a compelling witness. It's clearly something the world is longing for!

As the body of Christ, we need to be honest with ourselves asking - how does this stuff clutter our lives and distract us from Him who truly satisfies all our longings; Him who offers us true fulfillment; Him who calls us worthy and valuable simply because we are His sons and daughters?

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. I Thess. 4:11-12



I thought I'd let y'all in on one of my quirks.

It is my habit to use one pen until it is finished before moving onto another. None of this 5-pens-at-once business or just grabbing whatever is nearest. Perhaps it is an inflated sense of commitment or an unrelenting loyalty; regardless there is always a mixture of celebration and sadness when one is finished and I get to/must move on to another.

All this to say, the other day I finished a pen - its a sweet little accomplishment, so I thought I'd invite you in to celebrate with me. Scared of commitment? I think not!

Feel free to psychoanalyze / ridicule the absurdity of this post - HA!

Here's a picture of the 'new guy.'



This year I've been asking God a lot about what it means to live with unfulfilled longing and how that is a part of the process of sanctification - how rather than distracting us, longing ought to drive us to prayer and cause us to seek the Father more diligently.

Along that vein, here's an excerpt I read today from The Imitation of Christ:

My son, it is needful to learn many more things, which you have not yet well learned.
What are these, O Lord?
That you set your longing wholly according to My good pleasure; and that you be not a lover of yourself, but an earnest follower of My will.
Various longings may often overwhelm you, and drive you forward with vehemence; but consider whether you be moved for My honor, or rather for your own advantage. If I be the cause, you will be well content with whatever I shall ordain. But if there lurk in you any self-seeking, this is it that hinders and weighs you down. Beware therefore you lean not too much upon preconceived desire, without asking My counsel, lest perhaps afterward you regret it; are displeased with that which at first pleased you, and for which you were earnestly zealous, thinking it the best. For not every affection which seems good is immediately to be followed; nor again is every contrary affection at the first to be avoided.


Some Needed Reminders

John Wesley’s Holy Club Daily Questions
John Wesley lived almost 300 years ago. In 1729 John Wesley, his brother Charles and other students formed the "Holy Club" at Oxford University. This was the beginning of the Methodist Church. These are 22 questions members of John Wesley's Holy Club asked themselves every day in their private devotions.

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I'm better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
3. Do I confidentially pass on what was told to me in confidence?
4. Can I be trusted?
5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying or self justifying?
7. Did the Bible live in me today?
8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
9. Am I enjoying prayer?
10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?
11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
13. Do I disobey God in anything?
14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
17. How do I spend my spare time?
18. Am I proud?
19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what I am doing about it?
21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
22. Is Christ real to me?


A week in the Upper Peninsula

I spent last week in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with 80 Northwestern students at InterVarsity's Cedar Campus. We take the students up there at the end of every school year for a time to relax, connect with God in the beauty of his creation (and man oh man is it beautiful), receive training in ministry, and prepare plans for the upcoming year of ministry on campus.
I must confess that I entered this week with a feeling of 'have to.' It is meant to be restorative and restful for students, but for staff it is often exhausting and I was bracing myself for that. It also internally represented that last big hurdle before summer break would begin and my schedule would slow down tremendously. Hmm...it all sounds a bit self-absorbed as I write it now. At any rate, we start the week asking the students to take a three-hour retreat of silence - to get alone with God for three hours and spend time in the Word, prayer, journaling, silence, etc. I was tempted to use the time to finish up some teaching plans for later in the week, but I sensed the Lord pushing me to meet with him. So I found myself a rock along the shore of Lake Huron and spent some time with the Father. I felt dwarfed by the beauty of my setting, and it was sweet be reminded that Someone greater, more majestic, more awe-inspiriting created it all. Here was part of my view:
Thankfully, the Lord used that time to reconnect me to the truth of who He is and who He says I am. I left with a feeling of 'get to' rather than 'have to,' and a willingness to serve the students.
I feel like God has used this year to teach me a lot about what it means to be in 'full-time ministry.' I entered with such idealism, knowing I'd get to do the things I love to do and am passionate about - and that's true! But its also true that when I'm tired or struggling it is hard to live in the tension of 'having to' serve. It can be hard knowing there is a tacit understanding that I 'have to' serve even when the 'get to' attitude is gone. It's difficult to go to a discipleship meeting with a student and try to be pointing them to the Lord, when I am also feeling distant from Him. It is an odd new level of accountability in my own walk with the Lord, knowing that when I choose to be disobedient or lazy in my faith, the students and ministry indirectly (and sometimes directly) suffer. Sometimes that feels like a burden, but mostly I rejoice in being pushed to a deeper understanding of what it means to follow after Christ - trusting, wrestling, hoping, persevering.
Of course, its not pursuing growth for the sake of InterVarsity or even for the sake of the students, but it is living into the fullness of who Christ created me to be and daily asking him to teach me more of what that means. That's the heart of ministry and that's the only valuable thing I can give to others.
Whew, that wasn't the direction I was anticipating this post to go...allow me to also follow through in saying that the week at Cedar was great! I had some wonderful conversations with students, God gave me favor when called upon to teach out of turn...I wasn't feeling quite ready but it went really well, and a student I've met with several times this year to explain the Gospel decided to invite Christ into her life - Praise God! What sweet end to the first school year!
Here's some more pictures from Cedar for your viewing pleasure :D

Some of the crew at dinnertime - don't they just look like so much fun!?

A group shot at the end of the beautiful "Narnia" trail


This left me questioning whether I really wanted to return to Chicago

Queen of the mountain!

The end of a day as well as this really long post...thanks for hanging in there.


The Helpful Parakeet

I didn't have to take Greek classes during my time in seminary, but of course I picked up some common Greek words along the way. One that I'll always remember is the Greek for the 'Holy Spirit,' Paraclete, which means 'advocate' or 'helper.'

This Greek word, in particular, has stuck with me due to some unfortunate word association - 'paraclete' vs. 'parakeet.' Ha, now you can all imagine along with me the Holy Spirit as a parakeet sitting on my shoulder.

All joking aside, I've sensed the Lord pushing me lately to understand the truth that the Spirit lives within me and all believers. I don't dwell on this truth often enough. Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Jn. 16:7-15

I'm convicted that I don't trust the power of the Spirit indwelling me and other believers; I don't grapple with this reality. Recently, I found a Quaker church in Evanston and have been considering checking it out. I read info on their services - no clergy or sermon; everyone sits in silence until the Spirit gives a word for someone to speak for the edification of the body. My initial reaction to the thought of this was fear - what does it mean for a local church not to have a 'head pastor' who is highly trained in Bible exposition and able to teach each week? Couldn't the church fall into some dangerous heresy? Then I had to step back and ask myself, "Do I trust the Spirit of God at work among his people?" Whew, that's a moment of honesty. Having invested years learning about Hermeneutics (principles of Biblical interpretation), Systematic Theology, and Discipleship, it is all too easy to trust in my training rather than living in utter dependence upon the Spirit. Not to say this training is bad - certainly not - but it isn't necessary for knowing God. The Spirit indwells believers to convict of sin and point us to the truth.

It is amazing to me that Jesus would say that it is better for him to not be present among us, that the Holy Spirit might come as our Helper. Certainly, it rings of the fulfillment of the promises of the new covenant; that the Law would no longer be an external code we're unable to live-up to, but that it would be inscribed on our hearts and the Spirit would compel us to obedience (Ez. 36:26-27). Praise God for His wonderful provision on our behalf. May we all acknowledge/lean on/trust in our great Paraclete.


Tough Stuff

I woke up this morning and my first thought was, 'Today is going to be a hard day.' Perhaps not the most encouraging way to start the day, but as it draws to a close I'm reminded that hard or difficult does not equal bad - as much as my comfort-seeking self would like to assume so.

It got me thinking about Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane - he knew he was about to face some really really hard things. My hard day doesn't even begin to compare. His impulse was to turn to the Father and ask for strength to move forward. He recognized that this hard thing was for the ultimate good of those entrusted to him; he moved forward out of love and compassion for us.

I'm humbled to have a sweet little flock entrusted to my care. I love them, and I'm blessed to endure some hard things for their sake. I'm learning a reliance upon the Father that I've not yet had to experience, and for that I am grateful.

I'm also learning that I'm made of some tougher stuff than I usually realize; that alone is a work of God's grace in my life and nothing of my own. Despite my harmony-loving, adept conflict-avoiding tendencies, I'm learning to hold a hard line on the truth. I trust that no matter hard or offensive the truth may be, God is for truth. I've been meditating a lot lately on II Cor. 13:8, "For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth." I'm not sure I fully understand the depth of what that means, but I'm learning that the truth is powerful.

I'm ending today feeling really thankful - thankful to know and be known by the only true God; thankful for the ministry that has been entrusted to my care; and thankful for the exhaustion that accompanies a day committed to others.

Here's to more difficult, challenging, blessings of days!



I've been kicking around the idea of getting a tattoo for a while now - some of y'all are probably sick of hearing me talk about it. At first it was the thought of an olive tree on my side...such a lovely tree (I have a special place in my heart for trees) and biblically significant, ha ha.

At any rate, my current thought is to get 'maranatha' somewhere. I was hoping for the palm of my hand, but it turns out tattoos on the palm of your hand go away quickly... weird, right?

So why 'maranatha'? The word itself is found in I Cor. 16:22 and Rev. 22:20 and means - 'O Lord, come!' It is an expression of hope in the certain return of Christ - a time when what is broken will be restored; what has been veiled will be fully revealed; all longing will be satisfied; joy will be complete. Maranatha, then, is an expression of longing for that day - the day when faith becomes sight and Christ's kingdom is fully inaugurated.

It's a reminder to live in light of Christ's return - to hope for it; to long for it; to be found ready. I need that reminder more often than I'd care to admit. It's so easy to get absorbed in the minutia of life and to loose that wider perspective that the kingdom is coming. Another piece of the reminder, then, is to be about the work of the kingdom now - to be planting those tiny mustard seeds that will soon grow into a plant that overtakes the garden (Matt. 13:31-32). The seeds of compassion, justice, mercy, peace, love, joy, etc. In faith to not become tangled up by the concerns of life, but to trust that above all these concerns is the inevitable move toward full redemption.

Praise God, Maranatha!



I've recently found a Christian worship cd that I can't get enough of - apologies to my friends who are shaking their heads at my CCM leanings :)

The group is called Sojourn, the cd Before the Throne - it's legit. The sweetest thing is that the band is comprised of people from a church in Kentucky that have a passion for writing music that is theologically rich yet contextualized. Perhaps the fact that this appeals so greatly to me only exposes my nerdy love for Systematic Theology. At any rate, their songs vary from folky (yay!) to blues and rock - each song is a bit different because its a gathering of different musicians within the church.

One of my favorites on the cd is 'Lead us Back' - it's a song of deep lament and repentance on behalf of the Christian community. It's painfully beautiful. I'd like to think more through what it means to engage in communal repentance; I don't think I have a paradigm for that, and yet its quite biblical.

I've posted the lyrics below:

Falling down upon our knees
Sharing now in common shame
We have sought security
Not the cross that bears Your name
Fences guard our hearts and homes
Comfort sings a siren tune
We’re a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You

Lord we fall upon our knees
We have shunned the weak and poor
Worshipped beauty, courted kings
And the things their gold affords
Prayed for those we’d like to know
Favor sings a siren tune
We’ve become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You

You have caused the blind to see
We have blinded him again
With our man-made laws and creeds
Eager, ready to condemn
Now we plead before Your throne
Power sings a siren tune
We’ve been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

We’re a valley of dry bones
Lead us back to life in You
We’ve become a talent show
Lead us back to life in You
We’ve been throwing heavy stones
Lead us back to life in You

**ps. I promise this blog will be more than me posting lyrics to songs I like, haha.



All through college and grad school I bemoaned how much I hate writing. I see now that it's not true.

I don't hate writing...I hate being forced to write.

I've been feeling a particular 'stirring' to write poetry or songs, but have struggled to know where to start. As a means of seeking inspiration, I started a new journal dedicated to recording Scripture, hymns, poetry, etc. that have helped me understand what it means to be in Christ. I'm hoping that hearing the voices of others will help me find my own voice in bringing praise to our Father.

Here's a sampling - probably my favorite hymn...

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above,
I have a strong, a perfect plea,
A great High Priest who's name is love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart,
I know that while in heaven He stands,
No tongue and bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there,
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God the just is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the Risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself I cannot die,
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God.

The Beginnings

I've kicked around the idea of starting my own blog for a while now - I dismissed it for a long time, judging blogs to be a somewhat narcissistic means of seeking to be known (perhaps that only points toward my own sinful heart), and never really being sure of what I'd write about.

So why start one now? This past year has been so harried and hectic learning about my role with IV, working part-time at Buca, taking on a leadership role at Park, and trying to be a faithful friend/sister/daughter, that I stop and realize that I'm just plowing through life without slowing down to have an eye for God at work in and around me. As our good friend Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living," So this is one attempt to force myself to slow down a bit and not just let life happen to me. Call me an introvert, but I need lots of time, space, and coffee to process life. I've found that in the stillness of slowing down, God speaks so plainly. Yesterday was one of those days - which is probably what has led to feeling like I actually have something to write about.

So, while it may border on narcissism, I'm hopeful that this could be a means to share with y'all about the things I'm learning, the ways I see God at work in the ordinary things of life, and hopefully to get some feedback.

It's sweet to share the journey.