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Saturday, June 25, 2011

"The One"

Let's rewind about 4 and 1/2 years. Oh hey, 16 year old self. I see that you're in like. Not love, like you think. Just like. Also, your hair is really pretty.
Let's also rewind to a conversation my 16 year old self had with my godbrother in which he told me that when it comes to marriage he thinks "the one" doesn't exist - its "a one" that you make "the one." This statement rocked my world. My immediate thought was "how unromantic!!" My second thought was "good luck finding someone to be your wife." Ever since he told me this (and since he did find someone, an awesome and godly someone, to be his wife), I've thought about what he meant. At first, I totally did not believe in "a one." I was certain that there was one man out there somewhere that I would meet and be pursued by and live happily ever after. While I'm totally not dishing the fact that God knows who I'm going to marry one day, I've come to grips with how right my godbrother was and how romantic the pursuit from "a one" to "the one" is. 

Mutually choosing someone to be "the one" for the rest of your life is super romantic. If you went with the whole "fate brought us together" or "when God made you he must've been thinkin' about me" (hate that song, BTW) approach, its not a godly pursuit and choosing, but a cosmic attraction that is simply consented to.

A wise woman recently told me that while God totally knows who you're going to end up with, there's freedom in the choice. Even though it'd be way easier to have God give you a ten step plan to find your husband/wife or be tagged in a Divine tweet, that's not obedience. She said we so often want to genuinely obey God, but want Him to lay out the steps in obedience, which isn't obedience at all because if He was to tell us how to obey Him, there would be no trust or faith and so it ultimately wouldn't be obedience. 

If God were to spell out your future partner's name in the clouds, you wouldn't be forced to pursue and rely on Him while pursuing another godly person. So, even though its hard, relish the freedom, relish the romanticism, but most of all, relish the Ultimate Pursuer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Scaredy Cat

For the past few weeks, the Summit has been going through a series called "Homewreckers." Not surprisingly, the series covers topics that are destructive to the home and relationships in general. The first two sermons were about ambition and work. They were definitely both good sermons with challenging points, but the third sermon in the series hit me hard. It was about fear. 

For the record, I didn't even know I struggled with fear. I mean yeah, I'm paranoid if I'm by myself at night at home. Yes, I took a self-defense class before going to college just in case I ever had to walk through the Arboretum (a.k.a. the Raparetum) after dusk. But fear? Definitely not a word I had (until today that is) in my vocabulary to describe sins I struggled with. But that's probably because I never really thought worrying and fear were sins. I always thought that in excess amounts fear was bad, but in moderation it was okay. I even convinced myself that fear was a good thing, from God (after all, the Bible does repeatedly tell us to fear Him)! There are two explanations for this: 1) I'm retarded and uber type-A or 2) the church doesn't really spell out what fear is/that it actually is sinful. The answer probably lies somewhere between these two choices.

I definitely don't want to recap the entire sermon (if you want to listen to it, here's the link), but some of the things Veronica said about fear were super convicting. Because fear so often dominates women, J.D. stepped aside for a portion of the sermon and let his super cool wife talk for a few minutes. Her first point was that worrying/fear is a sin. Shocker. She also said that we operate as if we control our own lives which is why we even worry about day to day stuff in the first place. Ouch. And, we (usually women) make up situations that have never even happened and worry about those things. Totally guilty. She said we suffer more in dreading imaginary situations than we would if the situation actually happen. *Insert knife and twist*

J.D. finished up by saying that fear ultimately signals unbelief in the Gospel. Why? Because God's love is perfect and perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God's love is intense, secure, and satisfying - leaving nothing to be afraid of.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New York!!

This past week marked our first non-orientation week at The City Project. Instead of slowly warming up to our internships or seminary class, we went to New York to minister to Muslims! It was crazy. Crazy good. Crazy uncomfortable. And sometimes just plain crazy. 

Jenny, Perry, & I
We spent our mornings with a church planter named Brad who knows the city (the people and the place) really well. He trained us on how to evangelize (a really Christianese word that sounds super scary, but definitely doesn't have to be!). Although I definitely have shared my testimony with other believers and know how to present the Gospel, I learned a lot of new stuff. Brad taught us how to be real and how to be practical and not just treat people like a statistic but an actual person with a soul. He imparted his wisdom (very humbly, might I add) in the morning and then we grabbed lunch and went out into the city to make relationships with people and share the Gospel. It seems kind of crazy looking back on the week now, but we (Jenny, Perry, & I) would go into stores, salons, or sometimes just on the street and get into intentional conversations with people and go through the Creation, Jesus birth, His death, and His resurrection and why all of that had to happen. I think the reason why it seems so crazy is that before this week, I never would have done something like that. Not because I didn't think it was important, but mainly because I didn't know how. Hopefully I'll have a spare 8.5 minutes to write about some of the practical things Brad shared with us in a later post (hoping that the seminary class doesn't kill me in the next week).

Since the trip was only 1 week, we obviously didn't have the luxury of building super intimate, invite me to your wedding kind of relationships, but we did get to see God do some amazing things, despite our time constraints. My group got to share the Gospel and/or one (or more) of our testimonies in nearly every conversation we got into (granted, not all those people were receptive). One group with TCP got to meet a man who was the Imam over all of New York City - a huge feat that definitely could not have happened without Intervention. Multiple groups got invited to have meals with Muslims in NYC. One group got to go into a mosque, which for white Christians is a big deal. All of these conversations and experiences could not have taken place without the Holy Spirit blazing a trail before us. 

In addition to the ministry facet of the trip, our team definitely grew closer as a whole. Because multiple people knew each other prior to TCP, I think a lot of people (myself included) were scared cliques would form or people would be excluded, but that definitely didn't happen, which was wonderful. The best part of getting to know everyone is that we get to keep hanging out and being intentional for 7 more weeks!
We also got to do some pretty awesome sight-seeing, which was really fun! We got to experience Times Square and explore Manhattan, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and see the Statue of Liberty - not to mention the crazy culture we experienced in the boroughs we ministered in.

This week was awesome in so many ways! Pray that God keeps working in the lives of the people we ministered to. Pray that the Holy Spirit would use the conversations that were had to spur on a hunger for truth. Pray for Brad that he and his family would be encouraged and that their ministry would grow to see countless people come to know Jesus. 

Next week I'll be starting my seminary class (yikes.), my Summit internship, my community ministry internship, and helping out with Kids Week (a.k.a. Vacation Bible School). Pray for motivation to read for my class, eagerness to learn at my internships and the physical strength to live out the Gospel towards all the kids that will be participating in Kids Week.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mega City Project Update

Holy. Cow. 
Sorry for the lack of updates. I haven't been on a computer in four days. Four days. That's how busy I've been. Between going on crazy scavenger hunts, meeting and hanging out with a ton of cool people and playing with the four cutest kids ever, I've been kinda tied up. Here's a run down of what we've done at the City Project thus far:

Tuesday - Move in.

Wednesday - Crazy, crazy day that started out in Duke Gardens, which I love. We had a two-hour quiet time in the gardens, which was super refreshing. We then embarked on the mother of all scavenger hunts. The first clue lead to Duke Chapel. Subsequent clues led us to downtown Durham - 3.5 miles down the road. We were given 10 clues and 10 tasks and got very familiar with the city which we'll be working in and with! ...And my team won, just sayin'. 

Thursday - Logistics galore!! Before Thursday we hadn't been given a schedule, which was kind of annoying seeing that I'm a big schedule person.

Friday - We found out what urban ministries we'll be interning with. I'm with Bless Durham and will be specifically working with an after school/summer program called Butterflies. We'll be doing a lot of organizing and logistical work which I'm rather excited about. 

Saturday - "Rest day." Hah. Today I'm meeting with friends to go information about NYC, helping one of the pastors at the Summit move in, and going to church tonight! And packing. Kinda crazy. 

Sunday - Head to NYC!! We'll be ministering to Muslims in Queens for a week (we fly back to NC next Saturday). Pray for boldness as our group shares and that the Holy Spirit would go before us.