Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No Difference to Him.

As I spent sometime with Jesus today I found myself overwhelmed with an ache in my spirit that my life-the way I spend my time, my relationships, words, actions-would matter. I have no interest in mattering as the world deems worth but desire so deeply that my life may matter in eternity, for the Kingdom of God.

In the last week God has provided a job for me at a local restaurant where I carefully inspect and deliver plate after plate of fancy food. While the actual position as an "expo" at a restaurant will do nothing in terms of eternal impact I am struck with the amount of people that I now have contact with on a daily basis. As I have been getting to know this funny mixture of people and sharing with them God's plans for my future, I have to admit that the reactions have been quite hilarious. When I tell them I am moving to Africa to work with HIV/AIDS orphans it is as though a light from Heaven shines down on me and all of a sudden I am in a different league. I assure you this is not the case. I am so humbled and blessed that God would choose to use little me in such a mighty plan of His.

Here is the thing, today I felt Jesus opening my eyes to see my fellow employees with new vision. While it is easy to evoke compassion and effect when thinking about orphans in Africa, God was reminding me that He sees no difference between the hurting ones in Africa and the hurting in Bend. The youth I will be serving in Botswana and the waiters, chefs, and managers in Bend have many similarities. I know, it sounds strange but here's what Jesus showed me:

1) God is passionately pursuing the lost ones to welcome them home.
2) In both places, there are souls at stake.
3) He has powerful plans for every heart present that were created before the beginning of time.
4) There are broken, hurting, wounded people in need of a healer.
5) God has called me to usher in His presence in both places.

Honestly, the list could go on but more than anything I am so encouraged that the call of God on my life is to make a dent in eternity through knowing Him. His heart is so big and He shows no partiality. Tonight as I head into work I know that I will not see with the same eyes. Orphans in Africa or people in Bend, God's heart of compassion and love is bursting for both. I pray that I may serve wherever I am with the same focus and passion, making the life I live mean something to those around me. I ache to be to others the fragrance of Christ and I am so thankful for every glimpse of the Father's heart.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I think that quite possibly that is one of the most beautiful words in the English language.

Lately God has been making me stop and take notice of this little word and the thickness behind it. I say thickness because this seemingly ordinary word has intense power within. I believe that the Precious and Powerful Message that Jesus brought to the world was carefully packaged in the wrappings of love and tied neatly with a tender ribbon of Hope. To dig in and receive all that God has, you must encounter Hope.

As I read Isaiah 35:7 this morning, it said, "Springs of water will burst forth out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain."

I have to admit, I have found myself in quite the wilderness/desert off and on over the last year and it has been these streams of living water that God brings forth that has given me a deeper understanding of hope. In the natural when one finds oneself wondering in a desert, water of any form is an extreme symbol of hope. The words that I have heard my Father speak is that I am to, "Swim in His Hope." Regardless of my circumstances I can walk through the desert with eyes of faith finding hope bubbling up here and there. The challenge is to not just look at His promises and take a sip, but rather to dive head first and wait for His hope to prove itself. Believe me, His hope will not disappoint.

Here is the remarkable thing: The more you swim in the hope of God, let it surround you, strengthen you, and fill the cracks of doubt that the desert has created, you will find hope pouring out of you. I wish I could pass onto you this deep undercurrent of hope I know possess in my soul. It is real, it is delightful, and it comes straight from the heart of my Daddy.

Hope changes things.
Hope sees what God sees.
Hope is that precious little whisper that always gets the last word.
Hope is bubbling up where you least expect it.

My friends, take a swim in the hope of God and watch it pour out of you.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I am George Costanza.

Today was like any ordinary day. I was, however, sporting an extra spring in my step because I finally got hired for and began a new job! (Praise the Lord!) After getting off work I purposed to run a few errands never suspecting that I would encounter a quick, yet utterly embarrassing moment. Here it is in its entirety...short but nonetheless quite humbling. (Please feel free to laugh, it was funny.)

There I was walking jauntily out of TJ Maxx with a sense of accomplishment having successfully completed my return. As the automatic doors slid open I was met with the warmth and delight of the afternoon sun on face. I intended to simply slip my newest receipts into a secret section of my wallet so that I would easily be able to locate them on the day (oh there WILL be a day) when I actually balance my checkbook and clean out the plethora of receipts that I have been lugging around for weeks. I approached the curb completely unaware that somewhere in the vicinity of my exact location and more accurately the location of my wallet, there was a storm a'brewin'. Like a whirlwind (a very small one mind you, seeing as though it seemed only to attack my wallet) a GUST of wind blasted my pile of receipts into the air, out of my wallet, and all of a sudden it seemed to be snowing in July.

Picture it...in 2.2 seconds every receipt that you meant to throw away, all of your dorky family pictures, your South African currency (oh, is that just me that carries that in my wallet?) flailing around you in a cyclone-like formation for the world to see. Papers fiercely flew into the street stopping multiple cars en route.

Here is the lowest and yet redeeming part. As I stooped down to start picking up the evidence of my secret disorganization, out of no where people appeared to aid in the rescue. I mean seriously, when I walked out of that store there was no one else around. Yet, miraculously as though they had flown in with the wind there was the grandma, the security guard, the teenager who hopped out of his car, and the friendly couple running around the parking lot attempting to salvage my "valuables." ( It was straight out of a Mr. Rogers episode!) "Neighbors" from all around pitched in to help the dork who clearly needs to clean out her wallet. The best part was when I heard a lady yell across the parking lot, " You are totally George Costanza!!!!" (Sadly, I knew she was referencing a classic episode of Seinfeld where George gets mercilessly mocked for having so many receipts in his wallet that he is unable to sit flat on a surface and has to sit with one cheek lifted due to the girth of his wallet.)

That was me, George Costanza completely exposed and laid bare for the world to see. I literally just stood there in embarrassment as my "neighbors" handed me pile after pile of papers and tid bits. I realized in that moment that, 1) I need to clean out my wallet and 2) People can still be neighborly in a delightful little way. Truthfully, I wish someone had been there to see it snow today, it was a real hoot.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Get Out Your Hiking Boots.

" Come, let's climb God's Mountain, go to the House of the God of Jacob. He'll show us the way He works so we can live the way we're made." Isaiah 2: 3

As I read this verse this morning I have to admit I sensed an ache in my spirit regarding two very important things. One is that these days especially I desire so greatly to truly understand the way that God works. I know by now that His ways are not my ways (which I am relieved about) but so often I look at my life and scratch my head. The thing I have come to realize, however, is that it is more than me just wanting to know God's plan and wacky ways that He brings about His purposes. I want to know Him. I see Him all around me and the amazing ways He orchestrates His Kingdom plans and it makes me thirsty to know the God behind it all. Yes, I know Him, but in those quiet moments before the Throne of grace I continually hear God whispering to me, "There is more!" I love this verse because it reminds me that God wants to let us in on His workings. It is hard to understand His ways but He so graciously reveals "sneak peeks" along the way via His Word, promises, and the gentle nudging of His Spirit.

The second thing that stirs me is the thought that I may truly live as I was made to. Doesn't that just make your spirit tingle? It does mine. The thing I have been battling lately is how to live life day to day filled with purpose and obedience to Christ when my days do not look like I expected or desire them to be. This verse reminds me, however, that I was created to live TODAY. Before the beginning of time God saw this day, had a purpose in it and is delighted to let me in on the secret of His ways. The challenge for me is to slow down in actions and in my spirit enough to seek Him. I must begin to set aside my expectations of the day to day and begin to tap into the resources and vision of the Kingdom of God. The truth remains, no matter what today looks like in the natural, God has an eternal purpose which He longs for me to become aware of. So many days I walk around spiritually blind forgetting that this is not my home. I am overwhelmed with the truth of God's word today. I ache to live as I was made to and to know deep within the ways the Almighty works.

Today I choose to get out my hiking boots, climb the Mountain of my God and take some time to see things at a higher elevation. My prayer is that I will come down the Mountain living fully as I was created to and knowing better the heart and ways of my God. What a treasure this trek is!