God

/Tag: God

Church Conflict 101

“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:2-3).

The Body of Christ is a blessed place, a community, a family to be in and a part of. Paul shows us, though, throughout his letters that church conflict is unfortunately normative. We are still sinners, awaiting the return of Christ and desperately needing his grace in the meantime.

My home church recently toiled through some ugly conflict. The pattern is sadly typical in our lives as Christians. Feelings get hurt, we want control, pride is injured, or perhaps we do not understand proper biblical leadership. We hold grudges, we gossip, we act out, we point fingers.

Church Conflict 1012019-10-08T02:29:18+00:00

Much so Far has Happened

Approximately fifteen minutes ago I was crying in the girls’ bathroom as a shaky eighteen-year-old who was starting her first day of college.

It is now April of Year 4. I have just left a friend’s apartment where we discussed and prayed and dreamed about the next phase of life, hopefully living together and working full time and seeking the Lord for his wisdom and clarity.

I am waiting to hear back from nonprofit administrative positions. I have been published. I am helping my boyfriend apply for seminary scholarships. I am hearing friends lease in the northern part of town and receive job offers and get engaged on the beach and I am being asked to speak at our last senior gathering and and and

 

Lord, so much has happened.

I am reading Exodus. A lot happened for those people of God in that time, too, albeit a lot more grander of a scale

Much so Far has Happened2017-04-03T02:45:34+00:00

Reflections and Cardboard

My mind seeks to organize life in boxes. That’s how I work, and it’s great for many things.

This year has certainly been one to break the boxes. I’ve been challenged, humbled, confronted, and forced to process much–my own sin, my own fears, my own judgments about others that are incorrect and wrong.

I’ve cycled through the topics of race and gender roles and Christians needing to vote too many times to count; I’ve read Matthew, Acts, Hosea, Joel, Luke, Obadiah, and Amos; I’ve completed and started another year of Bible college; I’ve said goodbye to friends and welcomed new ones; I’ve walked with other through mental illness, relational difficulties, anxiety, and a lot of prayer for more faith that God will provide; I’ve been heartbroken over the state of sin in the world more than ever; I’ve discovered a desire to hone my teaching skills; I’ve begun dating a wonderfully complicated

Reflections and Cardboard2019-10-08T02:29:18+00:00

Jacob and the Ladder

How many people does it take to tell you something and actually believe it is true?

To tell you that the objective of life is not to just escape through with the least amount of scars, and to bemoan the ones you carry?

To tell you that you are beautiful, a treasure, worth a suffering and a sacrifice?

To tell you that your sins and flaws and edges and grotesque deformities don’t negate unconditional love from your Father in heaven?

 

Wrestling with the truth leaves you tired. I’ve been mulling over all these things, which have come to light this semester as I’ve been reading and writing and contemplating my life and post-Year-4 existence. I’ve been studying Ruth and Hosea and Genesis and 1 Samuel and realizing the same God who was there in the beginning has always been relational and has always mourned the disobedience of his people.

I have read examples over and

Jacob and the Ladder2016-10-24T03:37:56+00:00

Proper Lives Lived

“‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.’”
—Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

 

 

Her parents started a major missions organization that impacts thousands of Eastern European youth each year and has ignited a gospel hunger where the Iron Curtain once hung. Her mom wrote a book detailing the life story of their family and how the mission happened by God’s grace and leading. I am privileged to call this dear sister a very close friend. Her faith and contentment inspire me.

As I skimmed the memoir her mom wrote of saying “Yes” to God, I’ve been thinking about how every fiber of my being longs to live a life of “Yes”– to God’s plan, will, and promises.

The hard part about saying, “I surrender all” to God is that there’s a ton of suffering that accompanies that, because God uses trials to shape us,

Proper Lives Lived2019-10-08T02:29:18+00:00

Kitchen Table and Expectations

I’m sitting at the breakfast bar in my parents’ kitchen. It’s 9:30pm and I’m knocking back coconut chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, courtesy of my mom and her practical love.

I’m thinking about a lot of things. Tomorrow I leave the Northwoods after a short stint home to begin: Year 4. I feel so funny about starting my last year at Bible College in the big city when three years ago, freshmen orientation was happening and I was scared to walk down the street by myself. In my head it’s only been about a week and maybe five minutes.

This summer, I completed an internship serving in suburbia with a local church’s women’s ministry. I have written a paper encapsulating my current philosophy of ministry to women, studied the Word immensely, took ownership of my retirement account, and upgraded my solo-highway-driving skills. I have struggled with anxieties, calling, future,

Kitchen Table and Expectations2016-08-20T05:02:45+00:00

The Door Opener

It’s funny how He does it.

My life has consisted of a progressive unfolding, a journey of steps and many, many doors. My heart has been rent and reformed dozens of times–expectations derailed, God switching my direction, people hurting me, me hurting people, disillusionment, and other assorted inconsistencies with my fallen logic about how things are supposed to be. The Lord always uses it to grow me into a deeper disciple.

This moment is a moment of sweetness, a door that has been steadily opening in segments with little slits of light peeking through. God has been showing me glimpses of the future by intersecting my present: affirmations that I am gifted and blessed, future plans falling into place, expressions of love by my family and dearest friends, reminders that our God is the Lord of all.

I sometimes stare into space, mentally pinching myself because it’s hard to believe that I am

The Door Opener2019-10-08T02:29:19+00:00

Pieces

Crumbs. Pieces. Fragments. Slices.

The Bible, when you think about it, doesn’t offer us that much. This book is, by its own attestation, God’s complete self-revelation, everything he believes is necessary for us to know about him, ourselves, and this world in order to live the way we were meant to. And all we have? Some history of an obscure people group in the Middle East, poetry, strange prophecies from even stranger times, and some random letters written by preachers on the run. Not much.

But this is everything. Life, truth, light. We can KNOW GOD through these seemingly-random desert scribblings. This is how the Creator and Redeemer of the universe has decreed it, and the fact that he used the vehicle of language is shocking. When you examine the Bible through the lens of humility, of knowing God, this is what you see.

Currently, I am staring at a dusty passage from

Pieces2016-01-29T20:07:41+00:00

They held feasts in their homes on their birthdays

Tragedy comes in different packages.

It’s a suicide bomber at a Parisian concert hall. It’s a phone call that dad has brain damage from a slip on the linoleum. It’s a cursory glance at the Bible instead of a long drink. It’s an alcoholic beverage or a frosted sugar cookie or one more click on the computer even though you vowed to stop and “just do today” in God’s grace. It’s realizing that you got something really, really wrong.

For Job, tragedy was a gaggle of breathless messengers who delivered the worst news of his life. I wouldn’t ever be able to hear running feet the same way again if I had been him.

His life had been idyllic, blessed by the hand of God for being obedient. And yet, in his sovereignty, God destroyed his life: his children, his material wealth, his personal wellness.

Friends came, sat in silence for an eternal seven

They held feasts in their homes on their birthdays2019-10-08T02:29:19+00:00

Sometimes Quiet is Violent

I remember sitting with Luke on the steps to the alleyway last semester. He was dying inside for lack of peace. Over the next few weeks, we talked and prayed and cried out to God together. I fervently read the Psalms with him. We’d eat french fries and wonder when God would respond.

We didn’t doubt, we just wondered.

I’ve been confronted with the idea that God suffers inconsolably with us, and that discontent breeds love, so we all must be discontent, including God. That he’s impatiently pacing back and forth, waiting for the day when perfection can be restored in heaven. Eden made us lose our innocence, and now we have to face the tragedies and sufferings that accompany knowledge of good and evil. He’s going to wipe our tears away, but I denote a problem with this image of a suffering God who is out of control, doesn’t understand, and doesn’t

Sometimes Quiet is Violent2019-10-08T02:29:19+00:00