FROM BROKENNESS TO LIFE

FROM BROKENNESS TO LIFE

As I sit on a plane, flying back from Miami to Georgia, I’m struck by how different this spring break was compared to last. That’s an understatement, though, because it’s not just the spring break that is different.

It’s me.

If you were to tell me a year ago that I would be spending my Spring Break sophomore year of college in charge of and leading a missions trip to Miami, I would have laughed in your face. Not maliciously - I just would never have imagined possessing the confidence, skills, or relationships that I have now.

This time last year I was coming to terms with just how broken I am as a person. I was overwhelmed. Past hurts, anxiety, consistent sadness, and fear were all I could see in myself. I knew I could give the brokenness to God, but I didn’t really know what that looked like.

THE GREAT SURPRISER

THE GREAT SURPRISER

Often I think of faith as charging in where God directs, even though everything inside wants to pull back. Faith as blind, almost insane obedience. I think of Jesus riding into Jerusalem not knowing how God’s plan was going to play out, only that it would.

But it’s sometimes hard to grasp faith like this, sitting where we are looking back at the story. We already know how the story ends, and so it’s easy to assume they somehow did too.  

As I look at the Easter narrative this year, a small passage in Luke 23 stands out to me:

“On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”

PASSION

PASSION

My generation (those of us in our 20’s, and 30’s) has informally been dubbed the “Passion Generation.” Evidently because we’re full of fire and zeal and a longing to change the world!  I’m exceedingly expectant that because of this great passion, today’s young adults will affect major changes in issues of poverty, trafficking, creation care, disease eradication, racial reconciliation, reaching the lost and more.

But passion alone can’t accomplish long-term fruit. Movements that are just fueled by righteous indignation and fervor can quickly burn out, or their focus gets distorted, or their leaders go crazy, or they don’t actually accomplish anything except hyping people up.

I’ve seen too many of my friends, not to mention myself, be quick to jump on every train that says it’s off to make a difference. It’s just so exciting to take a stand on something that matters! And, don’t get me wrong—that can be a good thing.  Praise God that more and more people are finding creative ways to engage our society in helping a world in need. I just wonder if deep change and lasting impact comes that… easily… and if it really looks that… cool.

LENTEN DEVO

LENTEN DEVO

The Christian life is given a voice in the telling of a story. It is a story of how the Creator of all things is working to restore a broken universe, a universe broken by the very creatures God created. In particular, this story focuses on how God became human and took on the role of a servant, so that those who trusted in God could be redeemed from their condition of sinfulness.

Often in telling this story we place an emphasis (rightly so) on the way that Jesus’ death on a cross is a key event in God’s plan to redeem humanity. Sometimes, though, we neglect a very important element in the equation: the resurrection. While the death of Jesus is important to emphasize, it would all have been for nothing without the resurrection.

FOCUS

FOCUS

This week I've been feeling a bit out of sorts with a loss of focus.

I love rhythms and routine, and when those things are interrupted I feel out of focus. On Monday, we moved our offices at work and that threw me off in terms of preparing for the week at work. At home, I've been waking up later than usual and haven't had my time in the morning to focus and get going. This happens every now and again and it used to take me days to get focus back. I've learned some things that have helped me get my focus back in minutes rather than days. It's a three step “Process for Focus.” I hope it helps you like it helps me:

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 2

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 2

This is a continuation of our first blog on reframing short-term missions, found here

-----

Moving from FOR to WITH (Us & Those We Serve)
Poor posture: The Church in the Majority World looks like the Church in the West, and the Western Church sets the tone for what the global Church looks like, acts like, is motivated by, etc. 

Often times we in the West see ourselves as representative of global Christianity today. Which may have certain ones of us stressed out, given the way things are going in our postmodern society. Christianity is not thriving in Western culture; some would say it’s on its way out. With globalization on the rise and the spread of the gospel in the last 50 years, you may be surprised to learn that the average Christian is more likely to be an African woman than a white American or European. In the words of Paul Borthwick, the Church today is nonwhite, nonWestern, and nonwealthy. The Church is spreading fastest among some of the poorest ethnic groups in the world, and in some of the most dangerous places. Korea is the second largest mission-sending nation. It’s estimated that by the year 2025 there will be more than 1 billion believers in Africa. 

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 1

REFRAMING SHORT-TERM MISSIONS, PART 1


Short-term missions are a controversial part of the missions landscape today...From stories of modern day colonialism, to hyper-emotional narratives about participant life change (separated from any tangible impact on the ground), to missions “tourism,” where it seems like the trips are more about visiting an exotic new place (and taking an inordinate amount of selfies) than they are about partnering in ministries for the long haul.
 
As a part of the landscape, we believe that short-term missions are here to stay, but we also believe that somewhere along the way, our posture became a bit skewed. Wrong posture leads to misalignment, often resulting in pain or damage done to the Body. By reassessing where we’ve gone wrong, and focusing again on solid biblical (not cultural) missiology, we can redeem these short-term experiences for the benefit of the Church.

SLAY THE DRAGON OF INSECURITY

SLAY THE DRAGON OF INSECURITY

I have a confession to make. A confession that only those closest to me know about. I am incredibly insecure.

I constantly wonder what people think of me and feel constant disapproval. Regularly, I live under this idea that no one likes me, or they think I’m a jerk or just don’t want to be around me.

There are times and seasons where it's better or worse. But insecurity is the dragon I do battle with. I always question every decision I make and regularly experience feelings of failure and self-loathing.

I struggle with feeling good enough. Smart enough. Competent enough. Rich enough. Successful enough. And if I let those voices run rampant, I start to get paralyzing anxiety, depression and fear.

A LIFE OF PRESENCE

A LIFE OF PRESENCE

Lately, I have been learning to stay present.

It started, in a way, by necessity. Life is crowded, and the first thing to go is patience, contemplation. It seems our youngest always wakes up whenever I’m sitting down with coffee and my Bible. It took me too long to realize that God is available to us even when quiet time with Scripture is not.

However, there is a much more human problem at play. I like to live everywhere but now. I plan, worry, and work - and live my days entirely in the future. Or, I remember, regret, and wallow in shame - still stuck in the past. My drive to work. The time it takes to shower. The walk from my classroom to the copy machine. All of these, I know, are opportunities to take root and connect with the Vine, but I pass them as I usually do. Worry, planning, regretting. 

4 THINGS TO BE AWARE OF DURING TRANSITION [PART 1]

4 THINGS TO BE AWARE OF DURING TRANSITION [PART 1]

Let's talk transition--more specifically moving from one culture into another.

You just packed up your life in one suitcase, two if you’re lucky, and moved to a brand new city and quite possibly a brand new country.  You just left the familiar.  You just said good-bye to your car, to your regular routine, to a job that you were good at, to your family, to your favorite grocery store, and your favorite cereal.  Tears were shed as you packed, anxiety was battled as tickets were purchased, and prayers were prayed as money came in.  As you got on the airplane, there was a sense of accomplishment.  I did it.  I raised enough money, I packed everything in under 50 pounds, and I grieved what I was leaving.  I said "good good-byes".

What you were not prepared for, perhaps, is what it looks like when you step off the plane: