Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life is Real

I miss home. This doesn't happen often, actually I don't think it's ever happend. Ironically it's the simple things I miss. The green shag carpet, the dark pannel walls, the way it smells during the holidays, how it looks like 12 kids were raised there. I guess you could say I miss the innocence of home. In my room there was this hope chest in the corner that my grandpa made, I used to curl up in a blanket made by my grandma, sit on the hopechest and read a book while drinking a cup of my moms homemade hot cocoa. I too often complain about my sheltered childhood existance, when in reality I miss it. Don't get me wrong the long hair and skirts I will never go back to, what I miss is the wonder of thinking that people are good. Not knowing all the bad that happens, not just in the secular world but the christian world as well. I miss staying up late and talking to my sisters, about whatever new guy they liked. I don't know what exactly it is that's causing all these female emotions, but I kind of like it. It humanizes me in a way. Sometimes I just need to feel alive again. I've spent too much time forcing myself to be emotionless, not allowing myself to cry at movies, not allowing myself to feel pain, Henrey Longfellow once said "Life is real, life is earnest, and the grave is not it's goal." Life is real...that's all I got for today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Authentic Mediocrity

We need to be real. The world can see through the crap of our fake existence. Someone once said "find out who you are; and do it on purpose". If we as the church do not stand up and own our transgressions, admit to our wrongs, apologize for our judgment, than we the church will fall to the hypocrisy of our own lips. We need to remember that the hands that praise our God are the very same hands that nailed him to that cross. BE REAL! The throat of the church bleeds from silenced screams and unspoken prayers. The heart that doesn't love is the heart that doesn't beat; the church is dying because the church doesn’t love. Leonard Ravenhill once said "it's not the empty pews we need to worry about in the church; it's the empty people in the pews". When did I trade my soul for complacency? Since when is Love an option? Love God, love others. Why have we traded authenticity for mediocrity?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For the Love of God

For the love of God, can we love God? Sometimes I feel like we spend to much time being Christians and forget about being worshipers. We spend so much time fighting legalism, that it becomes legalistic. Please, please, please, please, just love God! That's all I have...because that's all God wants. (In your love for God, you will desire to seek his very heart and you will in turn love others...thus fulfilling the greatest commandments.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

The presence of God

Today we had an incredible chaple service. I stayed and prayed for close to an hour afterwords. The presence of God was so strong in that place. I had chills running from my neck all the way down my spine. God was so real in that moment. I sat there telling him how awsome he is, I told him that I would love him forever. I felt covered in grace, love, and hope, I felt the creator of the world tell me that he would never forsake me, that he would never leave me. I felt safe, until I went outside.

The chill I now felt could alone be blamed on the winter wind. It was as if all the grace, hope and safety I had soaked in a moment earlier, was now gone. Clouds rolled in from the eastern sky, and poured a darknes over the campus. I didn't feel God. The aknowlagement of this fact sent a bitter chill down my spine. I felt alone. I wanted to run back to the chapel. I wanted to stay in the safety of His house. Then God spoke to me in the dead silence of my spirit, He told me this happens every day. He told me I had just never been aware of it. He told me every day I leave Him in the chapel, everyday I walk away from the love and grace and safety, and it's my choice wether I take him with me. I had been abandoning God. I had been rejecting the creator of the universe. I would take him to chapel with me, because that's where he belongs, but everything else I would handle on my own. I was hurting God.

I'm determined to change, to carry the presence of God with me wherever I go. Not just church or the chapel, where it's acceptable. I love God, He loves me, we will be together forever, and I will bask in his presence every day, wherever I go, whatever I'm doing. And I hope you'll do the same.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Finding myself in the Absence of sleep

I can't sleep. There is something about the lack of sleep that makes me face the fact that I am a mortal being. As I watch the hands of time slowly make their way around the tired face of the clock, and into the a.m. hours, I begin to evaluate who I am, and where I am headed. It's in the absence of sleep, that I truly find myself. Seeing how I haven't slept in a while now...I've had lots of time to think. I can't say I've found anything great...which makes me sad. This year I turned 20. Such a strange feeling, it's as if I'm reaching for my future excitedly with one hand, and in the other I am clinging to my forgotten youth so tightly that my knuckles are turning white. I wish I could say that the excitement of growing up shadows the fear of getting old, but it doesn't. I am rarely this transparent...but I can't sleep, and It's in the absence of sleep that I'm truly myself.

Musical Babyfood

I was standing there staring down at the chair before me, I realized then that this was the lowest moment of my life. You see we were playing a game called "musical Baby food" where you run around the chairs and when the music stops you have to take a bite of the food before you. Our youth group was pretty small, so it didn't take long for us to get down to the final two. There we stood, whoever won this would have to finish all the baby food from the previous rounds, and would be the winner. The music started and we began to run around a single chair that held 9 half eaten jars of baby food. The monotony of the music was getting to me, causing me to lose focus, and then it stopped. There I was standing directly in front of the chair.

I knew what I had to do. I dug in. I began eating I started with carrots, moved quickly to peas and then "it" happened, I came face to face with the spinach. I stared down at that green Gerber goodness, and thought to myself "what the crap am I doing"? This is terrible, and then I looked around. All my peers were gathered in a circle chanting my name. I did it, I did it for them. I wanted to be there hero, I wanted to make them happy. So I finished off the baby food.

The irony of this story is that nobody remembers it. The next week nobody was patting me on the back, cheering me on. It was as if nothing ever happened. So many times in high school we settle, to please the people around us. And they never remember it. Now the baby food wasn't that big of a deal, but premarital sex is, drugs are, stealing, drinking, cheating, stupidity, all these things cause pain, yet the people we do it to please are unaffected. We have to show the youth of today how to think for themselves. To put the spoon down and walk away, STOP EATING BABY FOOD.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Life, Love, and Rhubarb Pie

I just finished reading Blue Like Jazz...for the third time. The book instills such a passion in me to be a better person. Ironically the book is nothing about being a good person. It's about life. In the authors notes he state's "Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself, it's as if they are showing you the way."

When I was in high school I had a phase of rebellion like most kids, I would lie to my mom about what time I went and came home from work. Thus giving myself time to get away from the stress of family. The only problem was that I was a home schooled pastor's daughter, who worked in the afternoons, there wasn't much trouble to get into. One day I was driving around, and I saw Marry Cheek, one of the widows from our church, her husband had died earlier that year, and she was in pretty bad health herself. She was trying to walk to the mailbox when I stopped at her house to say hello. She was very frail and much too weak to be getting out on her own. So I got her mail for her, we went inside and talked until I had to be home from work.

This eventually became a routine, I would go to her house, she would tell me all about the great depression, using the rubber of a bicycle tire as the elastic in underwhare. She would always go on rants about how her great grand kids were so spoiled by indoor plumbing. I loved her. She would make me chocolate milk and she always had a fresh rhubarb pie. Every time I came over a rhubarb pie was there, now, I didn't really like that particular type of pie...mostly cause I still don't have a clue what it is. One time Marry asked why I never ate the pie, I sheepishly admitted that I didn't like it. To my surprise she laughed and said "me neither". I was shocked, whenever I was over there was always a half eaten pie, I just assumed it was her favorite. When I asked Marry why she ALWAYS made them, she got a distant smile on her face, and said "that was Melvin's favorite pie". She said "every time I eat a peace I think of him. I used to hate the taste, the smell, I hardly ever made them for him, sometimes he would even make them himself, not any more" she said. "Rhubarb pie is my favorite pie now, every time I smell it, see it, or taste it, I think of my Melvin's smile. Loren dear, someday you'll understand, someday you will love something only because you watched someone else love it."

I'll never forget the next visit to Marry Cheeks house, she made me chocolate milk, and then I asked her for a piece of Rhubarb pie. She smiled and got us each a slice. And thus began the routine for our visits, chocolate milk, Rhubarb pie, and lots of memories. Marry loves Rhubarb pie because of Melvin, I love Rhubarb pie because of Marry. Now I'm not asking you to go out and try Rhubarb pie, I'm asking you to love Jesus so much that other people love him too.

If you do choose to go the extra mile and try Rhubarb pie, I know a little place on 17th maple street in Buffalo, Mo. Marry may be in her 90's, but she still makes the best Rhubarb pie ever!