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Come together.

I recently saw an ad that I want to share with you guys. It was posted according to the article it was attached to, as a response to the heinous Pepsi ad that got a lot of backlash. Pepsi actually removed the video and apologized for its content, since it was seen as so offensive. (If you’re unfamiliar with the story, read it about it here) Since that though, Heineken has actually put out an ad with a similar theme of bringing people together. Now before you watch it, I want you to understand: I am not making any kind of statement about whether or not I agree with alcohol use or any of the political statements made in the video. Please hear me. I am not agreeing or disagreeing with any of it here. If you want my opinions, we can talk privately where my heart and personal experiences can be properly heard. I do not believe that the internet is a constructive place for controversy to be discussed.

What I do want to highlight is the ad itself. Watch.

 

Now like I said. I am not making any sort of statement about alcohol, climate change, transgender issues, or feminism. That is most adamantly not my point. But what I do want to talk about is having conversations.

What Pepsi failed to understand with their tone-deaf ad was that people need to hear each other’s heart before understanding can be reached. You can just hand a riot police officer a cold drink and expect the protest to dissipate. People feel strongly enough about their causes that they are literally moved to action. In any sort of protest or demonstration, people have passion. Whether it’s the Women’s March, a Black Lives Matter protest, a March for Life, or even a teacher’s union strike, people are fired up. and in those emotionally charged situations, no amount of drink, Pepsi or cold brew, will help. What Heineken seemed to understand is that when we sit down with each other in a calm and rational manner we are more likely to hear each other out. Believe it or not, that is a Biblical principle, folks.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
    but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)

The Lord himself calls us to use reason to understand things. (I didn’t use the famous “Come let us reason together” passage in Isaiah 1 because in context it’s about being forgiven of sins, not understanding each other)

I think we need to do a lot less forming opinions and a lot more spending time together. Jesus ate with sinners and shared his heart with them. He never wrote a strongly worded Facebook status about how their lifestyle was gross and ungodly. Jesus won followers through love and relationship. And through that relationship, people understood the truth and their lives were changed. In the immortal words of John Mayer, “Is there anyone who ever remembers Changing their mind from the paint on a sign?” conversation-1940x900_31263.jpg

Transformation and understanding is a powerful thing for both parties. And it only happens through that love and relationship. Stop trying to shout the truth into an already overloaded information sphere – speak it tenderly to friends. Support each other in hard times. Love each other as brothers and sisters; equals. As Christians we are called to point others in the right direction, not force them into submission. God will do the hard part.

That is all.

 

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Why I Love the Bible. 

This morning I was in the sound booth, as usual, singing along to one of my favorite songs. The chorus explains how He is our rock, our shield, our strength, etc., and I was thinking about what that means to me in my life right now. It means that as a parent, I can lean on Him. As a daughter, I can Open-Bible-1024x683come to Him. As a wife, I can talk to Him. And then I got to thinking about the Bible because all of these thoughts are biblical of course. And I thought back over some of my favorite Bible stories. I thought about how different pieces of the Bible relate to my life in different ways. That’s what we mean when we say that the Bible is the “living” word of God. And wouldn’t you know it? My Dad touched on this in his sermon too.

I had a professor in my first semester of college at Evangel. When I first started his class, I honestly hated it. I thought he was weird. I thought he was one of those crazy literature professors that reads meaning into every little thing even when it isn’t supposed to be profound. He was ancient and talked about how he loved the way his wife moved through the house and the gentle timbre of her voice and other nonsense. But, as often happens, I realized that I was wrong (weird) and I grew to really appreciate him. He had a way of reading poetry that made it come alive. I once even visited he and his wife (who wasn’t nearly as enchanting as he described, but I digress) at his home and we talked about life. I learned a lot from him.

Probably the best thing I learned from him though was to read the Bible like a piece of well written literature. Read the Psalms with a poetic mind. Consider the authors and their worldview to better understand their point. The whole Bible is so rich and beautiful.

Since that class, my view of the Bible is totally changed. I see it as dynamic and I analyze it as I would any good piece of writing. And what’s so cool is that every analysis brings new truth.

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lol medieval art.

I am reminded of a favorite Bible story of mine, about King David, dancing undignified before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14). He was accused of nakedness and his wife became angry. But he didn’t care. Cool story that reminds us to care only about the Lord’s opinion. But upon deeper study, we can learn that David actually was not naked, but was wearing a thin, traditional undergarment but the robe had been stained pink with the blood of the sacrifice he offered to God. So what the others thought was shame and nakedness was actually evidence of a grateful celebration to the God who had brought them safely through a battle. Even cooler at that deeper level.

The Bible describes itself as he bread of life. Nourishment. But there is an admonishment in the New Testament about living off of the milk instead of digging deeper into the meat that’s there. (Hebrews 5:12) The Bible is at once milk, made for baby Christians and those with little understanding, and a thick, rich, juicy steak, for the mature and seasoned believers. How can it be that a book – written by forty different authors in three different continents over two centuries – how can it be that this book is consistently challenging to us no matter what season of life we are in?

There is no answer except divine intervention. I love that my favorite verses can bring me to tears even today after over a decade of life as a Christian. I love that as my experience in life changes, so does the understand and beauty of the truths within the pages of an ancient book.

There are times that I neglect reading the Bible because life happens. But I love when I pick it back up because I learn so much every time. I pray that you find yourself as enamored with the truth as I do.

That is all.

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With Reckless Abandon.

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately, and for a few reasons. I want to find out who I really want to be, what I really want out of life, etc. Because like, I’m getting ready to graduate soon. And when I’m not all, “NO MORE HOMEWORKS LOL” I’m like… “Real life. Woah.” So the thing to do in a time like this is to read Song of Solomon, amirite??? Actually I sort of just stumbled upon it, and since I’m pretty caught up on the whole subject of love these days, I want to share a little gem I found between a description of this poor woman’s towering neck and sheep-teeth.

Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.

This couple of verses is in chapter 8, and it is the woman is making this impassioned plea to her beloved. The thing that I can’t help but see here is that this woman is so incredibly taken with him, that she is making herself 100% vulnerable to him. She is telling him that she is irreversibly gone for him, as it were. And she asks him to set her “as a seal” upon his heart, so that her place with him could never fade or be taken. Now here’s what I have to say about that:

This woman be cray-cray. (that’s crazy, for those of you who aren’t thugs like me)

This woman is being completely forward. She be putting all her eggs in one basket and counting them chickens way before they be hatched. She is begging him to commit because she has “love as strong as death” Woah girl. It’s like every article from girl magazines that says “PLEASE GIRLS DON’T DO THIS OR GUYS WILL LITERALLY BE TERRIFIED OF YOU”.

But. The cool, amazing, incredible thing, is that this woman, who loves without reserve, who begs for commitment and basically says “I’m it, bro, hope you like it” has chosen to love a man who really does reciprocate that level of affection. It’s one of those relationships that therapists and rational people assume will experience some form of burn-out and eventually end in deep pain and heartache. And most of the time, they’re right. But sometimes, a beautiful thing happens that happened for this woman: She found someone she could really trust. Someone who loved her with all of the reckless abandon with which she loved him. God brought her a pure, amazing love that she could put herself completely into.

See, most of this book is just her, praising her love. And when he does respond, its like 99% just him telling her she’s beautiful. But what she does say, 3 times actually, that is more important than anything else said in this entire book, is a simple admonition to her friends:

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Because she knows that this precious gift she has been given is so incredible that if taken at the wrong time, or with the wrong person, it can be detrimental to the one taking it. She understands that this amazing thing she has been trusted with, can do irreparable damage to hearts and lives.

So I guess that what I’m saying here, is that this woman knows what’s up. She may seem crazy. But she knows that she is putting her trust in something worthy to be trusted. And she knows that she has waited and been patient long enough that it’s the right time to enjoy the bounty of their pleasure. Maybe I’m just gibbering because I just really love a good love story, but I so hope and pray that when the time is right, I will have the opportunity to love someone with that reckless abandon. To trust and and admire and adore and desire someone so deeply that keeping from getting hurt isn’t even on my mind anymore. And I believe I will.

That is all.

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…That burned and yet was not consumed.

Fire. What does that make you think of? Hot, Massive licks of leaping flames that destroy homes and forests? Giant pyres of flame that burn up villages?

Or maybe you think of bonfires. Or fireworks. Or maybe you think of a cozy fireplace in front of a couch. When I think of fire, I think of love. And the cool thing about both is that they come in different forms.

In chapel this morning, we had a good, old-fashioned, Pentecostal throwdown. The preacher shouted and stomped his feet… and called down the fire of God. And as I’m worshiping, I realized that fire, passion, love… they’re all the same. This preacher was, in essence, calling down the love of God upon us. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but God has really been challenging me on this subject of love.

So here I am, crying and praying, when it hits me: every bit of love that we experience here on earth serves as a learning experience. We learn what love is through relationships, so that we can know how to love God. Every experience that we share, every emotion that we feel, every sacrifice that we make… it’s so that we can better understand what it means to
know and love God.

I realize that this may not be as profound to you as it was to me, but as I was praying about this, I realized something more: God’s love is perfect. The imperfect love that we experience is nothing but a fraction of the Love that God has for us. The amazing, mind-blowing, earth shattering love that we can feel for another human… is absolutely infinitesimal compared to the love that God is.

This fire, this love, this passion, is the type of fire that is all at once consuming, peaceful, violent, calm, constant, life-changing,  and perfect.

I love  God. Which is pretty easy, since he himself is love. Thank the Lord for the relationships in my life that teach me more about Him.

That is all.

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A day in the love.

I’ve been desperately trying to come up with fun things to write about lately… But the thing is, I think I’m learning too much. Like, I’m having a blast, really. But I’m experiencing life in a way that renders me incapable of scouring the internets for funny things and lol’s.

So, unfortunately, instead of silly cats or miracle products, I have more life lessons to share. Bear with me, one day I will again be my hilarious self.

The lesson of the day is this: It’s okay to be a little different. It’s okay to like a boy who isn’t like the other dude bros your friends like. It’s okay to be involved on campus instead of sitting around talking about how lame everything is. It’s okay to care about things when your friends are like “whatever”.

It’s not about cool points. Who are these cool people anyway? I can love them and care about them, but in the end, I choose to invest my life in things far more significant. I choose to associate with people who will make me better, not worse. I know, I know, it’s the age old teenage-peer-pressure message, but even in college it rings true. maybe more so, because your parents aren’t around. 

All I’m saying is that the things, the people, the circumstances in my life are ones that I’m happy with. And what else? I think God’s happy too.  Because I have people in my life that lift me up. I’m doing things with my life that I’m proud of.

That is all.

Editor’s note: In the process of trying to find pictures for this touchy feely blog, I found this gem. http://pugstumes.tumblr.com/page/2   CLICK IT NOWWW

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I won’t stop writing about Christmas. And you can’t make me.

Alright. So I’ve come up with just a few more things to love about Christmas. (And you thought it wasn’t possible.)

Last night we had our Student Congress party and as I was co-emceeing (that’s a real word?) I began to recognize a few more of the joys of the season.

Tearing wrapping paper apart. I love it so much. Even when there isn’t a gift inside, the feeling of tearing wrapping paper is definitely the most gratifying feeling on earth. Even more so than getting all green lights on the way home or teaching a baby the preamble to the constitution. Something about the sound and feel of it makes me want to jump into the air and shout “hooray!” In fact, I usually do. Almost every time.

Contests. Ugly sweater contests, tree decorating contests, gift wrapping contests… It’s all a giant contest to see who is better at Christmas. I’m pretty good at it myself.

Santa pictures. Normally, sitting on the lap of a grown man asking me what presents I want would be super creepy, but something about the red suit makes it perfectly acceptable. Also, Santa is so jolly. And to all those people who think that the Santas at the mall are not the real deal, anyone wearing a red suit is Santa Claus himself. How on earth could all those different men have white beards and say “ho ho ho”?? It’s totally the same guy.

And finally, decorating. It’s just so much fun to throw glitter and paper snowflakes all over every flat surface and from every hanging light fixture. It’s too much fun. I just love having the music on, making pretty things, and beautifying a room.

Well, I’m sure there is more about Christmas that I love, but for now…

That is all.

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I couldn’t help but notice.

I was facebook creeping and I came across this picture. It’s nobody I really know, but you know how it goes… a friend of a friend… anyhow I wanted to share it with all of you.

This guy apparently went on a mission trip to Rwanda. From the little I know about Rwanda, it is one of the places on earth that needs support the most. I think it is amazing and admirable that he took time out of his schedule to go and meet some of the needs of the very desperate Rwandan people. But, of course, I have a couple things to say about this picture.

Now, to clarify, I know that this guy probably did an amazing work while in Rwanda. I don’t pretend to know everything about this trip or this person. I want to just talk about this picture.

I feel like this well meaning man has embodied everything that is wrong with our current ideas about missions. I look at this and I say to myself, “look at that rich white man coming to a poor nation to bless the little people with his greatness.” It looks to me like this guy finds this poor child amusing.

Shouldn’t we be getting down on their level? To me, when you go to someone’s nation, you need to get to where they’re at before you start trying to help them, otherwise you risk forcing these people into submission to your western prosperity. These people don’t need button up shirts and khaki pants. They need friendship. They need love. They need someone who understands them. We need to be sure that when we practice service and ministry we aren’t acting as almighty providers but as friends who are sharing with others.

Again, I am sure this guy probably did all of those things. I just want to be sure that we understand our position and responsibility. Jesus served by getting on the same plane as the people. He ate with publicans and sinners. He stooped on the ground to pick up the adulterous woman. He let the children sit on his lap. He did not go to a poor nation dressed like a preacher and tell them all how blessed he is. He got dirty. He did things that religious people snubbed their noses at.

Be challenged that we are all the same. That Rwandan child needs redemption just like we do. Christ died for our ugliness and depravity just like he did for the tribes in South America who sacrifice their own children. We need help just like the Cambodian orphans. Don’t ever let yourself forget that.

That is all.