Friday, October 28, 2011

a house divided cannot stand

inspiration: disunity in the church - Ernest Smith's message last night.


so i missed two weeks at theWell so it was absolutely fantastic to be back last night!
last night, Ernest preached an impactful message, at least, it was to me because it made me really think about the unity/disunity within the big "C" Church and the role that i play in that.


if you ask people, "What are your impressions of the "church"?", you'll get a hodge-podge of answers. And unfortunately, most of them will be negative. i have the book (although, i haven't fully read through it) called "Unchristian" where a highly renown research group polled Americans and compiled their findings to discover that Christians as a whole are known more for what they are against than what they are for.


...and it's unfortunate...
...but there's always hope...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

modern day jonah

inspiration: Josh Surratt's sermon

i missed the beginning of our new sermon series at Seacoast "Jonah" last week
but if last night's sermon is in any way a reflection of last week's sermon, i'm pretty sure i missed out.

first off, i will confess this: when it comes to the Bible, i enjoy it much more when it comes to real-life application - hence this blog :P i know that the Old Testament is full of history and the plights and reigns and fall of Israel - God's chosen people, but if I'm honest, it was hard for me to focus and pay attention when i read it earlier this year (I've been reading through the One Year Chronological Bible this year :)).

but the book of Jonah is different (at least to me).
perhaps it's because i knew the story of Jonah and the Whale (which, actually is referred to as a "big fish" in the Bible - didn't realize that it wasn't explicitly a whale until a couple years ago - interesting...)
but whatever the reason, sometimes the story hits a little too close to home, if you know what i'm saying...
(can i get an "Amen" ?!")

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

thoughts about washington


i can't put into words what i've taken away from this experience.
i really sure didn't know what to expect.
but the expectations i had were completely blown away.

this experience was so much different than being in costa rica.
i feared the people here wouldn't be receptive to the Gospel.
they had been hurt and devastated before by Christians.
but by being the hands and feet of Jesus and serving those who needed to be served, we spoke so much louder than if we had come preaching out of Bibles.
it's been incredible to see how God is moving on the Res.

i got to talk to leah and get to know her and seeing how much God has changed her life is incredible. talking to her and being around her, i never would've expected that she would've been through everything she has.
but to see how much she loves the Lord and is trying to serve Him and to raise her kids knowing Christ and knowing that the life she had before and the lives that many on the reservation live isn't the way it has to be.


washington: day three.

inspiration: our last day on the Res

today was our last day on the res.
we started once again with breakfast at nate's mom's house - breakfast burritos.
(btw, taco time last night was not the brightest idea we've had...just saying)

but we headed out, got to the res and then made our way to leah's parents house.
we split a significant amount of wood in about an hour and a half.
we also got to pray for leah's parents in their house - it was absolutely powerful.

for lunch, sonny led us down to the most amaaaaazing place!
it was at the top of this mountain, overlooking other mountains and a lake - it was calm and the breeze was cool and it was just absolutely beautiful! (pictures will follow as soon as i can get them up here!)

but there was a lot of photography moments!
after we left for lunch, we went to the community center to drop off shoes and basketballs to the kids.
we brought like 3 suitcases full of shoes and about 15-20 basketballs to donate to the community center!

we stopped at walmart to pick up gifts for our host family.
we took a picture with our host family yesterday morning, so we got that developed and bought a frame that we signed and a card and flowers. we came back to spokane and had dinner with all the host families at a place called Pete's pizza. i got the chicken bacon ranch calzone and it was amaaaazing! i, honestly, didn't realize how hungry i was! (nothing new there, though...)

when we got back to the house, we've been talking to gary and nancy about our week and how much of an impact we made on the res and how much God has moved in our lives.

words can never express how much God has been working here.
our group was talking about everything from how leah shared her heart and testimony with a few of us at lunch today. to the respect that we've been shown by the tribe elders and how much what we've done meant to them. to us, it was just splitting wood and doing yardwork, but to them, it's SOOO much more powerful.

i, honestly, don't think i'll ever understand how much of an impact we've made.
but again, i don't think they'll ever understand how much they've changed my life.
the spirit of some of the people we've met is just overwhelming!
to know that they've been wronged and hurt by so many others, but that because of us, we have truly made an impact in the few days that we were here is just incredible! God works powerfully when we are obedient to Him!!

i just hate that this trip came and went so soon!
i'll definitely be back and i've made so many connections and i can't wait to see how God is going to move in this place! i believe our coming and being the hands and feet of Christ and serving the ones that, literally, are forgotten has brought so much hope and joy to this community!

God is going to work mightily!

i shared this with the group yesterday:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

i am so humbled by the fact that i was part of something amazing that's going to take place on the Spokane Reservation. mission trips always change us and there are things that words can never express. i know that i came with expectations of serving and being the hands and feet of Christ and showing love to a people who have been hurt and devastated. but i've truly been humbled and changed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

washington: day two.

inspiration: washington - day two.

we began this morning like we did yesterday - breakfast at nate's mom's house.
breakfast was delicious!!
we stopped at walmart on the way to the reservation - i bought shorts (since i forgot to pack mine) and a fleece jacket so that i didn't have to wear a hoodie to the church service.

we helped out a a couple houses today.
a group split wood at one location and a second did yard work at leah's (one of the staff members at newspring) aunt's house. i helped with yardwork again and it was amazing to see the transformation that raking and clearing out some old brush and branches did.
her house was by the river and it was absolutely gorgeous!!

(btw, shout-out to elizabeth christmas - she and i are raking ninjas! ;))

we also held a basketball camp for some of the kids.
not as many kids showed up as i expected, but it was still a lot of fun - i cheered and encouraged from the bleachers...my best and favorite position in basketball is that of benchwarmer - i'm pretty much useless in basketball =P

we then delivered some axes and tarps to the senior center where we served yesterday! it was great!

tonight, we also helped set up for church. kyle and AJ led worship - which was amazing! a few of the Natives joined us, so it was awesome to be able to worship with them. and Matt Bucy gave a great and powerful message! (word on the street is that this was his first sermon - and it was awesome! proud of you Matt!)

Matt just spoke truth about how we all have those moments in life that we mark as "failures".
we all have them - those black clouds that we feel like we'll never live up to or be able to overcome.
and he taught from several verses in the book of Isaiah about how Israel had strayed away from trusting and relying on God, just as we do today - the same struggles the people of God had, we are still struggling with today.
but how Christ takes away our failures and sins and because we are sinners, we are like crimson stains, but he makes us as white as snow!
we are literally made new!

the song "Beautiful Things" (which we sang tonight) is one of my favorite songs.
"You make me new, You are making me new" is one of the lines and I love it because it speaks truth to our entire life - once we accept Christ into our hearts, we are new creations! it's a powerful statement because, like i said, we all have those "moments of failure". but because of who Jesus is and what He did for us, we are made new!!

this has been an incredible experience!
i know that God is definitely at work here on the Spokane Reservation and it's abundantly apparent with every smile and "thank you" that we get!

right before we started the basketball camp, one of the tribal council members (the vice president, actually) came out and spoke to us and prayed for us and just gave thanks with all of his heart for the things we are doing for the community. he said that serving in the senior center was one of the most respectful things we can do and it just struck me that even though it seems like i just raked leaves, that it actually was a hugeeee and powerful sign of respect. and that i'm part of the body of Christ that the elders and members of the reservation are witnessing - it's absolutely incredible!!

our night ended with listening to music in the van - everything from Backstreet Boys to country to cover songs and mash-ups and dinner at Taco Time.

i can't believe tomorrow's our last day!! i wish this was a week-long trip - i'm absolutely without a doubt wanting to come back! the scenery has been beautiful - and while the winters would probably be miserable for me, the weather for this weekend has been awesome!!

God's doing mighty things here!! =D

Sunday, October 16, 2011

washington: day one.

inspiration: washington trip - day one.

we started out this morning with a phenomenal breakfast cooked by nate's family.
we headed out to the reservation around 10ish.
we stopped to pray before we drove onto the reservation: apparently, Newspring Church and a Catholic church are the only churches on the reservation right now - 3 other churches have been planted and failed over the past three years. but we prayed for the team and for the people that we would be serving.

once we got onto the reservation, we stopped at the senior center where several of the elders lived. we were able to split wood and do yardwork for several of the elders. it was an amazing experience. most of the guys (and lindsy)e split wood; the rest of us raked leaves, scooped horse poop, and did lawn and yard work.

jen, elizabeth, and i raked leaves in two yards - the second yard we worked on was for ms. sharon. she had the most beautiful spirit and was the sweetest and funniest woman! i really enjoyed helping her and seeing her smile with appreciation at the work we were doing.

we then ate dinner at the community center and prepared for a tribal pow wow! we were all pumped!
between dinner and the pow wow, several of the team members played football with the kids (from my vantage point on the sidelines, it looked like the kids were winning ;))

but the pow wow was pretty incredible! there were large drums that were played throughout the night and traditional dancing - of which i participated and dragged caitlin in with me ;) - so i can officially add and mark "dance at a pow wow" on and off my bucket list!!

i'm so incredibly excited for what we're doing here and i'm amazed at the reception and how quickly word has spread!! people were coming up to our leaders - leah, in particular, who is on staff with sonny at newchurch - and giving names and numbers of people who needed work done.

we are going to meet and go back to the reservation tomorrow where we will be doing more yardwork/wood-splitting/etc. we host a basketball camp and then have church tomorrow evening! this has been an incredible experience - i am sore already and probably will be incredibly sore tomorrow. but i'm amazed at how boldly God has shown Himself here, to the group, and definitely to the community!! :D

i forgot to bring the card to put my phone SD card in to put pictures up, so i may have to wait to put those up when i get home....it is literally after 1AM back in charleston and i am pooped! so please keep praying for our team - for our health - the jet lag and hard labor are definitely setting in, at least for me - as well as the people! may they see the love of Christ pouring through us :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

jetlagged

inspiration: finallyyyyyy here!!!

so it's finally here - the Spokane trip i've been looking forward to, literally for months!
...and i start my second missions trip out with extreme jetlag.
for real.
been in the air almost as much as i've been on the ground these past 29 hours.

charleston. baltimore. nashville. kansas city. oakland. spokane.
i'm like the johnny cash song - i've been everywhere! ;)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

this is the story of a girl....

inspiration: a lot can happen in two years...

in december of 2009, i started this blog.
to share the thoughts of a girl who thought she had it all together.
who thought she was "good enough" to get by.
who thought she knew what she wanted.
but had a humbling experience in a relationship that changed her life forever.

i wish that relationship had been Christ, but it wasn't. although, that came later.

i realized about half an hour ago that on this night two years ago (although, it wasn't necessarily the right date, but it was a Sunday night in October), my ex-boyfriend broke up with me. thus beginning a journey that began down a path that seemed to for a brief period of time seemed to lead toward depression, but instead turned into a path of grace, mercy, and discovery of the true meaning of what being a Christ-follower looked like.

against the tide

inspiration: Completely Irresistable devotional

i'm reading through Completely Irresistable by Shannon Ethridge during my quiet time.
((i LOVE Shannon Ethridge and definitely encourage young women to read Completely His and Every Young Woman's Battle. two incredibly powerful books, especially the latter!))

but my devotional reading for today was entitled "Swim Against The Tide".
she recounts a story of a family vacation where she and her family went white-water rafting and the boat hit a pile of rocks, stopping the boat, but her daughter got thrown out and was swept away. her daughter was able to cling to a rock until the boat was set free by the guide and she was able to be pulled out of the water and back into the boat.

i loved this quote:
"Swimming against the current is incredibly difficult - both in white water and in our world. Without a rock to hold on to, we can get swept away far too easily. Even with a rock to grasp, in the midst of strong surrounding currents we can grow weary at times...Not only are we to cling to God, our solid Rock, as Christians we are called to be a rock that can help others resist the pull of a sinful world."

Friday, October 7, 2011

God is one.

inspiration: Jack (3.0)'s sermon last night

God Is One.
That was the overwhelming theme of Jack (3.0)'s sermon last night at theWell.

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:27-31)

but what exactly does this notion of "God is one" mean?
we had discussion at our tables last night about what it meant or could possibly mean.
while none of us exactly knew, as a group, we agreed on a few things.

1) God is united through the Trinity: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit
2) We are called to be united as the body of Christ
3) God is one in that He is the God of everyone.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

seasons.

inspiration: the changing of the seasons.

this will be my first official autumn in charleston, but based on how it's been so far, i'm pretty sure i'm going to loveeee autumn in the new homestead :)

i realized earlier a few minutes ago how much i've been slacking in blog writing lately.
sometimes i'm discouraged when nothing comes to me, but i realize that we're always moving in and out of seasons of rest and seasons of fruitfulness.

i tend to write more when i'm in a season of resting.
during those times where i feel God calling me to rest, i have time to process and really focus in on what i feel God is placing on my heart.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"where are you men of courage..."

inspiration: Courageous, the movie

not gonna lie, i've been waiting for Courageous to come out for months!
when my friend, Nise' Davies, had mentioned her son would be starring in it, i began doing my research about it. it's a movie by the same producers of the popular movie Fireproof! the main purpose of Courageous is to draw out the calling that men, specifically fathers, are given: to lead their families with Christ at the center.

it follows the stories of four police officers with different backgrounds and how a tragedy changed their lives; these men are protectors of their communities, but bystanders or even outsiders in their families. but God used this tragedy to draw them closer to Him and to each other and to lead their families with Biblical integrity. it was a phenomenal movie.

i know that it wasn't exactly for my demographic, but i am truly encouraged about how God will use this movie to challenge men to step up into the roles they are called to fulfill as fathers!



MEN: Go see this movie!
WOMEN: Take your man: husband, boyfriend, father, son, cousin, brother, uncle - whoever it may be, to go see this movie! I  believe it will challenge and encourage them to be men of courage. To step up and glorify and honor God; to challenge them to rise above mediocrity and heed God's calling for them.
So go see it!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

the great debate: the existence of God

inspiration: The Great Debate: The Existence of God - Jack Hoey, Jr. vs. Herb Silverman


this past thursday, theWell and the Atheist-Humanist Alliance sponsored a debate between Jack Hoey, Jr, Chief Operating Officer at Seacoast Church, and Herb Silverman, a distinguished atheist and professor at the College of Charleston, regarding the Existence of God. it took place at Physicians Auditorium on the campus of C of C and it was packed out!


...and my good friend jonny sharp asked me to blog about it.
(you can also check out my friend Ernest Smith's blog here)