spiritual formation

/Tag: spiritual formation

Wounds and Boxes

There are several storage tubs currently sitting under my bed. They hold things of mine: gloves, an extra hat, shoes, summer clothes neatly folded and laundered.

We tend to associate storage with organization, or unneeded items, or solved predicaments. Our closets hold possessions that are not necessary for regular use, or perhaps they keep hidden things that shouldn’t be seen by visitors in our lives.

Each one of us has a heart closet. In his great redemptive work of love, Jesus cleans out our souls with his blood and enters inside. He takes up residence (Eph 3:17-19), and as we grow up spiritually, he travels further, requesting access into more and more chambers of our closets.

Sometimes, though, there are scars. We make mistakes that leave deep wounds. We run to disobedience, lusting after idols and sin. We bury a hatchet instead of dealing with it. We overlook our offenses against others. In

Wounds and Boxes2015-12-02T05:21:29+00:00

Altar Altercations

It was straight from the Enemy.

Right as communion was about to be served, a commotion began in the front of the sanctuary. A man was yelling something, the worship pastor and the ushers formed a net around him and tried to calm him down until a security officer could escort him out. The organist began to play a tune to smooth everything over. I was dumbfounded as the man continued to put up a fight, shouting, “This church sucks!” as he was led quickly down the main aisle.

Right before the most important celebration believers partake in, when our minds were fully focused on the sacrifice of Christ and the goodness of God. The most holy moment during the entire service. Coincidence? I think not.

How often does a dirty wrench get tossed into our lives right in the middle of sweetness and spiritual growth? Sometimes it’s from the Enemy or our

Altar Altercations2019-10-08T02:29:19+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

Trending

The cross is an instrument of torture. It’s the symbol of who we are in Christ, God’s love, his sacrifice, his awesome grace and cleansing blood.  We wear it around our necks, paste it to our walls, build wooden versions of it on our church steeples. We see it so much….have we forgotten what it means?

Bible studies, sermons, small groups, fellowship, even communion and baptism….we have become desensitized to their significance and purpose. Our society has gripped the church and turned it into a selfish, experience-driven buffet that seeks to stuff us with bloated, boring, banal.

We are tired. We refuse to admit it. We are hungry. We don’t know why.

Oh, how the American church has lost its focus! Who can ascend the holy hill of the Lord anymore, as the Psalmist cried out?

Do we pray for Paul’s words to be true in our lives, that we might count everything as loss compared

Trending2015-08-27T03:12:47+00:00

Wanted: a way to see beyond my sunglasses

Everyone wears sunglasses of perspective.

It’s hard to value your own at times. The big trendy thing to do is to take pictures with kids in Africa and/or post a Bible verse/indie song lyric on Facebook with a #vscocam landscape photo of some obscure beach. Meanwhile, back in the backwoods, God is moving quietly and has me singing in church on Sundays, hosting a couple ladies’ breakfasts, and selling toys in the next tourist town over.

Is this as exciting as spending my summer feeding widows in Guatemala or travelling the Southeast putting on Gospel camps for kids? Is it as meaningful as interning at a megachurch co-leading worship or studying abroad in the Mediterranean or serving at a family camp in Michigan?

God’s Word tells me the answer is yes. When I started working fast food at age 14, this was a verse I quickly memorized and treasured:

“Whatever you do, work at it

Wanted: a way to see beyond my sunglasses2015-07-19T00:28:05+00:00

Drinking root beer and hanging with pastors on a Friday night

How can we not be excited about God?

I’ve been working on a short message from Ephesians 1:3-10 that I’m teaching on at our church’s monthly ladies’ breakfast. As I prayed about what to discuss, this subject kept floating back into my head: regaining our awe and wonder of God. Enter in the magnificent blessings we have in Christ.

The apathy is easy. The laziness is easy. Skipping our faithful reading of the Word is easy. And then we grow numb and forget who our Lord is and what exactly he has done for us. No wonder the Israelites were commanded to REMEMBER HIM:

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that

Drinking root beer and hanging with pastors on a Friday night2015-06-27T03:19:04+00:00

“Nothing Without Love” and the Struggle

Too much information + an analytic mind + a pressing internal desire to know God’s truth and get it right by his Spirit = (not sure yet, not at the end yet, is there an end yet?) Add Nate Ruess’s latest tune, and that’s been the soundtrack for today.

I met with Dr. M. this morning to process some things I’ve been learning in class and life. Namely, where do I fit in God’s designs for his children? I know my passions and giftedness; how do I honor him and not malign the Word when it comes to teaching the truth of the Bible?

This discussion is one that I’ve been turning over and over in my mind. I so desperately wish to serve God, and I want to “get it right” when it comes to what his Word means in light of A) who is given the green signal to teach

“Nothing Without Love” and the Struggle2015-04-09T04:33:16+00:00

Somewhat Soul-Refreshed

It’s amazing to see how the Lord works and proves his faithfulness even when I doubt.

I attended a ladies’ prayer night at a church down the street for a class assignment. I was observing local women’s ministries and writing reports for my ministry methodology class. I didn’t expect to be filled and refreshed vibrantly with the Spirit: renewed energy to serve Christ, and deep encouragement from the kind sisters who prayed with me.

Cue the conversation with my roommate. We had been dealing with some eggshells and tensions recently, and I honestly didn’t think it was going to end well. We got coffee, sat down, and the Lord answered my prayer. We were able to restore our relationship through forgiveness and honesty. Open communication is a gift.

Reflecting on Palm Sunday in worship this morning. our pastor talked about the reasons why Jesus had to die: to fulfill prophecy, to make redemption

Somewhat Soul-Refreshed2015-03-29T21:49:10+00:00

Somewhat Servant-Minded

What does it mean to love God? Answer:  obeying his commands. John 14:15, 23.

How can we obey his commands? Answer: by the Spirit, by loving one another, by serving. John 13.

Serving. The paradoxical clarion call to all who profess faith in Christ: denying the flesh, proactively doing something for someone else instead of putting yourself first. Humbling yourself. Saying, “Yes.” When we are irritated, tired, tempted, prideful, or lazy, we are to remember our Lord and his humility, and to do likewise.

After all, Jesus still washed Judas Iscariot’s feet.

I’ve been reading about the Upper Room and meditating on the Lord’s demonstration of humiliating servant-hood when he stooped to wash the disciples’ feet. It never occurred to me before: why didn’t one of the disciples do it? It was an expected chore for a slave, but since there wasn’t one present to wash their dirty, dusty, road-caked feet, you’d think one

Somewhat Servant-Minded2019-10-08T02:29:19+00:00

Life as Stage

I can’t believe this past week.

Working a major conference into crazy overtime has left me numb and full. It’s like I just ate a huge gourmet meal without having time to take a nap. Big-name speakers, Bible teaching, wearing dress clothes for 16 hours….and then I ran away to visit my mom in the suburbs, which was a nice relief. I loved spending sweet time with my coworkers and getting to know the rest of the event staff better.

Working as an assistant event coordinator has been an incredible blessing. Doing administrative tasks at my desk, emailing and printing little pieces of paper, and then showing up to rope off sections of the auditorium three hours before everyone gets there…..at times it’s difficult to see the point. Yet, when 3,000 people show up to hear Rend Collective lead worship music, a grateful and joyful smile overtakes my face when I realize that

Life as Stage2015-02-09T05:14:11+00:00