My Heart Starts Beating: 50 days until departure

YOU GUYS IT’S SO CLOSE. 50 days until I am transplanting myself into the land of fish and chips and real live princes.

50 days until I join the Pais Project and move to Bolton, England to serve at the Bridge church. (More about the Bridge here and here) I haven’t had a chance to explain in depth all the great things Pais does, but basically they are a kingdom minded organization focusing on missionaries making missionaries! Please visit their website (http://www.paisproject.com/) or watch this video if you would like to get a better look into what the Pais Project is and how I will be serving.

I just want to update everyone really quickly on my preparation thus far and what the coming weeks will look like for me.
                                            ______________________________________

I am still employed at beautiful Glen Lake Camp and have been so blessed by the interactions I’ve had with our WONDERFUL summer staffers this year. Their willingness to serve God basically 24/7 is a blessing to me as much as it is to the campers we have.

Because of my job at Glen Lake I have been fortunate enough to be able to save about 1/3 of my total costs for my year on my own, plus I have paid for my visa + plane ticket on my own. Praise God from whom all goodness flows.

BUT I am still in need of more support to ensure that I am fully funded for my year in England, you may be wondering what exactly I am needing money for since it is a FREE apprenticeship… well Pais is such an awesome organization that they cover the cost of training and partner with churches and families to cover the cost of housing, meals, transportation, etc but I am responsible for my own pocket money. I need to raise ~$200 a month to support myself while living in England. $200 should be able to cover all extraneous costs such as snacks, clothes, toiletries, cell phone and sundries (I really wanted to use that word, I am not actually sure if it even works in that context),. Please keep in mind that things can be a bit more pricey in England so while $200 may sound like a lot in America it won’t go quite as far in Great Britain.

My goal is to raise $2000 between now and August 21st. 

If I have learned anything from my years in church it is that God’s people have kind and generous hearts and I am barely worried that I will be able to raise the funds I need.

I am planning on having a fundraiser luncheon at FBCGR towards the beginning of August as my one big fundraising event, but I hope that even if you cannot make it to that you will help sponsor me.


There are a couple of great ways that you can help me out. First off you can once off donate directly to me or to my church if you are in Glen Rose.

Secondly you can donate to me online at http://www.gofundme.com/2m8048 

Lastly (and most importantly) what would ideally be the best would be for a handful of people to pledge to support me monthly by giving amounts such as $10 $25 or even $50!

This is ideal for me, and hopefully you too. By having people pledge to support me I know that I will have people continually thinking and praying for me throughout the year plus it makes it easier on your bank account.

If you are interested in helping out in any of these ways please message me.


I am so grateful that God has given me this opportunity and truely feel so overwhelmed by his goodness to me. I know that God will provide for all of my needs in the coming year and I am expectant to see how God uses me.

This song by Love Lite sums up my feelings right now

{Lyrics}
Before we knew of our great need
You cared for us
You have buried sin and death
Deep in the dust

You call us out from our sleep
And we run to You

Your death awakens me to life
And my heart starts beating, my heart starts beating
Endless songs arise to You
And our hearts start beating, our hearts start beating

Catching glimpses of Your face
We’re wanting more
Fill our senses and our souls
So we can’t ignore

You make us alive

80 days: Expecting an Exodus


As I am 80 days from moving I want to share with you where my heart is at as I prepare myself for my mission in England.


I have been re-reading Exodus the last few weeks and have been loving it. A great story, and a wonderful example of providence, but more than that I love how God perfectly curates everything. 


For a handy recap go here.


In Exodus 9 we see the wording shift from “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened” to “the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh ” Now I don’t have to be a theologian, or even a learned woman to tell you that the shift we see there is important. It is explicitly explained in 9 v 16, as well as in 10 v 1-2


9 v 16

“But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so <sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”

10 v 1-2

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart<sup class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs<sup class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> of mine among them that you may tell your children<sup class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> and grandchildren how I dealt harshly<sup class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”


For the furthering of the Kingdom of God the Israelite’s were enslaved, for the furthering of God’s Kingdom he sends down 10 plagues, and for the furthering of the Kingdom he uses a privileged royal, turned Bedouin farmer, to implement his plans. 


This brings hope to me tenfold- this passage to me is full of hope, wrapped in a package of suffering and hatred. Yes, what the Israelite’s are going through is horrible, but what magnificent glory will come of it. 


We, young Christians as a whole, need to rise up to the task and show our power, so that the name of God is proclaimed in all the Earth. We need to engage young people to break free from the sin they have chained themselves to that they may glorify God in doing so. 

___________________________

As I look at how sin has enslaved my generation I am praying that I will be a small part of a massive exodus of the enslaved looking to find freedom in Christ. I am expectant to be involved in breaking the chains of bondage and sin that this generation is lost in. 

Please pray for me as I enter into a very secular country to reach the enslaved, and show them the only way to gain freedom: In Christ Alone 



Four Things Every Christian Should Have:

This isn’t a great list, or even an okay list, and you probably shouldn’t actually follow it and expect amazing results, this is just what’s helped me grow in my faith and learn to love my savior but also learn to love my religion and all the wackos that also say they are part of my religion.

Okay here goes nothing.

1. A Sense of Humor 
If you don’t have one of these then you probably aren’t even a Christian. I would just stop whatever you’re doing and accept salvation before you burn in hell for all the terrible things you have done (just today!) If you don’t repent and accept salvation you’re going to burn forever with people like Hitler, George Carlin, and that lady that cut you off in traffic then had the gaul to give you the middle finger. You know the lady, the one with the coexist sticker on her car. What type of Wiccan she-devil does something like that. Hitler was a better person than that lady.

2. A Coffeeshop:
You can tell a good coffeeshop one of two ways: a) It is filled with Hipsters and the rack in front only has light weight carbon custom bikes on it. b) There is no other way. 

If you want to be a good Christian in this day and age you have to find a place to read your Bible and/or meet with your other Christian friends to discuss the Bible. Loudly. You prove your salvation by how loud you talk and how many “Christian” words you use while talking out loud.

3. A book by at least 2* of these authors:
Francis Chan, David Platt, Donald Miller, TD Jakes, John Piper, Rob Bell, Bob Goff, Craig Groeschel.

If you are a girl, or have many women in your life you must have at least one Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer, or Christine Caine devotional or book as well.

*You can own both John Piper and Rob Bell material, but you must vocally choose a side, you prove your loyalty by which version of “How He Loves” you sing at church.

4. An Atheist friend or Five:
If you don’t have an atheist friend are you really even living out your faith? Who else is going to argue with your and make your doubt everything you believe? The Bible says in Revelation 3:16 that God would rather you be hot or cold rather than lukewarm, and having an atheist friend is basically a Litmus Test of your faith. You’re either going to be a full on idiot (according to the atheist) or you’re finally going to cave and be sucked into the illuminated vortex of atheism. I’ve been there before and it’s awesome. You should check it out at least once. They have all the best coffeeshops there. I like having atheist friends because they have the best bars and taco stands in their world.

Plus everyone knows atheists have the best street style so they’re the ones you need to be following on the fashion front.

So basically that’s it. Some extra things you might need on your journey are an iPhone, a journal, and a bag big enough to carry all of your books and crap to the coffeeshop.

Other than that you’re on your own. I don’t take any responsibly for what happens if you follow my advice.

"…Love Your Enemies"

I know we as a nation should be angry that 2 brothers took their agrivation and aggression to an unneeded level of hatred last Monday but something won’t let me hate them.


 Maybe it’s the fact that they are close to my age, or that since an attack of this nature has last happened I have met many wonderful Muslims who have enlightened me in their beautiful religion and way of life. I don’t really know what it is, but I know that whenever I see pictures of young Dzhokhar Tsarnaev I only feel love and compassion. Whenever I read articles about him, and hear speculations that he may have tried to end his own life I don’t envision a terrorist, or even a hate filled maniac, I envision a lost and confused boy who was looking for answers. He may have been influenced by rage, hate, and malice along the way, but I refuse to believe that his religious views truly acted as the catalyst for such a terrible crime. Islam preaches a doctrine of love and compassion, very similar to my own religion of Christianity. 

In 113 out of 114 chapters in the Quran Allah is referred to as “compassionate and merciful.” Islam is a coalition of people seeking mercy and justice, not revenge and hatred. At the center of their religion is this verse from Qu’ran 7:156 “My mercy takes precedence over my anger.” If these brothers understood the true foundation of Islam surely they would not have taken matters into their own hands. 


Please join me today in praying for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The lost, hurt, confused, and enraged young man in need of salvation. 

If you would like to read more beautiful Hadiths, Duas, or quotes from the Qu’ran regarding anger, compassion, love, and peace look here. Or read some of the Qu’ran yourself. 

Third Space Sanctity

A latte from one of my favorite places:
Local Coffee on Broadway in SATX

For me, my “third space” has always been a coffee shop. Not a Starbucks, but a local shop bent on bringing joy and quality ingredients to it’s patrons. There is nothing inherently wrong with Starbucks, they are great at what they do, but they aren’t what I consider a “third space” for anyone who actually thrives off of having a place to spend copious amounts of time. 

My favorite thing in the entire world is to read a book, chat with friends, or write in my journal in a coffeeshop. The big windows, the smells, the music, the perfection of the delectable art of acidic & deeply rich espresso being shrouded behind sweet foamy angelic milk, the conversations you overhear, the way that when you sit in a coffeeshop you are a part of a silent club that stands beside you to say “You are serious about your coffee: We are comrades.”


Some examples of my past “third spaces” are (the old) Mill Street Coffee in Cleburne, Texas, The Foundry on McCullough (now closed) and Local Coffee on Broadway, both in San Antonio. There are other places I have visited that offer up the same elements, but because of either time or distance I have not had the chance to thoroughly invest in becoming a part of the communities they hold. (Even the small town I live in has recently opened up a small coffeeshop, but it offers none of these elements and the local Burger King actually has a more inviting atmosphere and menu, though I do on occasion give them business.)


So, to many of you who do not understand my predilection for perfectly roasted beans from thousands of miles away being hand crafted before my eyes with fresh milk you will think this is ludacris, but I have already researched my future coffeeshops. I have even reseached what tram I will have to take to get there! From my devices thousands of miles away I can spot where I am most likely to spend time at. I will be living within 20 miles of Manchester in less than a year and because of its size I have found a hearty number of promising looking shops, and even some chains, in the metropolitan area that I am very excited to check out.  Things can obviously change when I arrive, the location, the people, the airy and roomy nature of the establishment, the beans, the couches, the lack of seating, all can change when you finally visit a shop. The internet is very helpful because shops can post information, but nothing can equate to stepping foot inside a shop for the first time. 


So what they heck is the point of all of this rambling about coffeeshops? Well, to keep it simple: I am excited. 

To me a “third space” can actually be much more than a place to spend time focusing on me – on my reading, or writing, on my enjoyment of a latte, but it can become a place of healing. I am excited to open up this new chapter in my life, and the number one way I find community and inclusion is by getting into a daily rhythm and finding a “third space” to call my own.


When I go into a coffeeshop I already know that the people occupying those stools and chairs, couches and chaises, have one thing in common with me: they too appreciate the simplify of enjoying a latte paired with a perfect pastry. They too understand the importance of finding a place of comfort and habit. 

We may not agree on much more– we could have differing opinions on the acting credibility of Nic Cage, (as a student of modern film studies I can tell you Nic Cage is a gem) or who would win in a fight: Paula Deen or Anthony Bourdain? Maybe they are Muslim, Agnostic, maybe they believe in Nirvana (the band or the Buddhist quasi-afterlife.)   

Yet even with these people congregating together from many many walks I have yet to hear a quarrel between patrons.  In San Antonio I was always especially surprised by this, I lived in a radically diverse area called Alamo Heights/Olmos Park that housed yuppies, young liberal Trinity students, poor SAC students, and even military personnel, yet never once did I hear anyone be anything but polite to one another. Au contraire, I often heard polite subdued conversations between tattooed hipsters and staunch clean cut career military men sharing anecdotes from their lives. 

Locally owned, small business coffeeshops are the only place on the planet, I feel, that can support this unique ecosystem. Even most bars, diners, and delis cater to a demographic, in my experience, only coffeeshops offer up a wonderfully accepting atmosphere. 

Here’s the point guys:

In just 150 (ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY!!!!) days I will be moving. I will be starting a brand new exciting wonderful hopeful new chapter in my life, but I will be doing so much more than that. I will be following God’s will for my life. I am not going on a short “mission trip” where I meet and greet strangers then go back home to my American life, I will be uprooting and moving to a completely new place. I will be living with strangers. I will be eating foods foreign to my American palate. I will be leaving my old life in the dust. 

One thing I won’t be leaving behind: the well-spring of life I have received through salvation. That just baffles me, and it should you too. I am leaving my “comfort zone” yet I am continually reminded that my comfort shouldnt rely on tangible, physical things, but should come only from the security I find in trusting God and his perfect will for my life. 

So while some things may be very different for me in the UK, I take comfort in the fact that God is the God of everywhere, and God’s love and comfort can’t be evaded.

And that lattes are ~basically~ the same world wide. 

I am so excited about this opportunity, and I am so glad that I am at a place in time and in my life that I can travel so freely. 

Please continue praying for me as I get closer and closer to my departure date. I will be doing some fundraising in the coming months and I would love to have you all come along side me to support the call God has placed in my life to show and spread the unrelenting love and grace of Jesus Christ, our LORD and savior. 

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
    For each day he carries us in his arms.
20 Our God is a God who saves!
    The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death


Psalms 68 v 19-20

New year, new journey, new blog

An except from Goff’s book, and a touching message to me. 

I also recently read the book Love Does by Bob Goff and it has continually touched my soul, made me cry, made me laugh, and made me want to change the world, starting with myself. It’s outlook on love has made me rethink some things and by including “Love” in title of my blog I hope to continue to draw inspiration from Bob Goff’s marvelous book. 


So I am starting 2013 as a recent grad of UTSA now living in Glen Rose, America where I am working at Glen Lake Camp! (and they said I’d never get a job with a history degree) I am the guest services assistant for the office and I am in the kitchen on some weekends as well. In in future I will possibly even be life-guarding. I was under the impression that you had to look more like Pamela Anderson or Yazmine Bleeth to be a lifeguard, but apparently I was wrong. 

My job at GLC runs through July at which time I will be in full swing preparation mode for my upcoming move to England! I know I’ve written about it before, but just in case you need a refresher, here are the deets:

“Missionaries making missionaries”

I will be working with the Pais Project in North England, I’ll be centered around the town of Burnley. Pais offers 1 year apprenticeships in youth and school ministries, the Pais project is all about getting students involved in the local church by seeking them out in their local schools. By doing lunch clubs, assemblies, mentoring programs and Bible studies Pais helps students find connection and purpose in their lives.  Pais hopes to use their apprentices as local missionaries to create a new generation of followers. 

You can watch this video from the founder to learn more about Pais apprenticeships. 

According to a study published in 2007 by BBC only 10% of the population age 16-24 regularly go to church, and an article by the Washington Post published in March of this year predicted that within 20 years atheists will outnumber Christians in England

Now, let me just say this, my goal in going to England is not to get kids to come to church. 


“What’s that you say Jenoa? Don’t you want them to go to church? Don’t you even understand the statistics you just posted?”

Yes, I understand them perfectly. When I read those statistics I don’t seen a culture who is in desperate need of a church. I don’t see a society who is not familiar with traditional rites and traditions, I see a population that needs to understand love, God’s love. 

I don’t want to go to England to help their church grow, or to improve their stats– yes, I hope that I inadvertently do both of those, but I hope first and foremost I am showing Christ’s love to broken, hurting, confused, lost sinners, like me

Thanks for reading! 

Please join me in praying for my few months at Glen Lake as well as my upcoming adventure with Pais. 

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.” Titus 2:7

The Grass is Green Where You Water It


Yes yes yes, the title of this post comes from Big Sean’s verse in the Bieb’s song ‘As Long As You Love Me,‘ but stay with me here…

Even though this rap is hardly Sean’s best work, this one line stuck with me:

But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side // It’s green where you water it

How often do we run away from our problems because we think it would be easier to start anew? 
How often do we think that a relationship with a friend is over because both parties have been hurt? 
How often do we think that if we buy something new we’ll feel better about ourselves?? 
Etc. You get the idea.
We are in a ‘throw away culture’ but how good is it to know that God is not a part of the throw away business! 

So today how can we begin to think like Christ? 
As we go into Thanksgiving tomorrow and, knowing that Christmas is just around the corner, here are some things we can start to think about
What are some ways be can begin  ‘watering’ family relationships that might need some work? Or continuing to water and be blessed by the great relationships we already have.
How can we work on practical things like fixing that bathroom tile that has been in need of a fix up for weeks now? Or taking a better look at our finances this season to realize that perhaps spending and spending isn’t making us any happier or our situation any easier….
How can we also think about ‘watering’ our relationship with Christ this Holiday Season? 
In Galatians 6 Paul writes “You will always harvest what you plant,” so this season of life lets work on watering the good seeds in our life! 
I hope everyone has a very wonderful Thanksgiving here in the US, and that as many in the world gather in the coming weeks to celebrate the birth and life of Christ that we will work on becoming more like him in every aspect of our lives.
Let’s also remember to pray for those hurting around the world during this time, the lost, the broken, the homeless, the forgotten, those in war torn areas, and especially those who are away from their loved ones during this time of celebration.
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas everyone 🙂
xx

The Gospel is Free | thoughts on graduating and my future plans

Last Thursday I finished two summer school classes, meaning I literally only have one semester and 5 classes left in my undergraduate degree. This fact startled me. I will have a bachelors degree in a short 4 months. 1/3 of a year. I will be 21 when I graduate and after that I guess I will have to make like long term plans for what I plan to do on earth. 

This hasn’t sent me spiraling into an existential crisis (yet), it’s just made me excited more than anything. Excited for what I will be able to do with my life. You see, the thing I love, more than anything else in the whole world, is traveling. I love to go to new places, to meet new people, to try new food, to wear something new, I love how that notion of new is translated to you yourself when you travel. You become a new person. You become a new creation. Being a Christian that idea of being a new creation is central to my beliefs. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul says this “17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” I think traveling plays an important part of you becoming new, and I would argue that Jesus wanted us to travel and experience newness as much as he called us to love one another.  In Matthew 28 Jesus tells his disciples this

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 This passage has become known as the great commission, it’s sorta the field guide to be a Christian. Jesus tells us to go to all nations! And if you still doubted whether or not he really wanted us to go, check out Luke 10,

The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.
“If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’ 

Not only does he want us to go, but he doesn’t want us to pack much either. 


As a girl who loves clothes, but especially jackets, this sounds crazy to me, but the message is the same. GO.

Go tell people about Jesus.

Go share about the love that Jesus has.

Go proclaim God’s grace for everyone.
God wants us to GO and tell people about him.

This is my favorite part of the gospel because it lets me do something I love so much, all with the blessings and goodness of God around me.

So that brings me to this, in exactly a year, in August 2013 I will be moving to North England for a year. I will be getting to live in the country that brought us amazing Christian works from the likes of CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, J.R.R Tolkien. I will be living in a country with such a rich history of religious and political reform, the country that hosted Guy Fawkes unsuccessful attempt to rid England of its new royal protestant ways, the country that houses famous Christian buildings such as Westminster Abbey, or the Rievaulx Abbey. the roots of Christianity in England historically go back to as early as the 3rd Century CE….and in the 21st century I will be experiencing all of the wonders of England, as well as adding to the magnificent history of Christianity in the United Kingdom.

While there I will be working with an organization called Pais. Pais was started in 1992 in Burnley, England, and now it’s 20 years old and is in 8 countries across the globe. Pais’ motto is “missionaries making missionaries” and it’s goal is to educate and mentor youths in schools about Christ love for them, and his plan for them. The coolest thing about Pais to me, and why I was so excited to get involved, is that instead of waiting for the youth to come to you, Pais goes to the students! They go into the schools almost daily to have programs, Bible clubs, game days, and other things that take place in the school. When I am not inside schools, I will be working with a local church planning youth events and basically interning for a local church.

The statistics for youth church goers in England is baffling. Only about 10% of young adults age 16-24 go to church. 10%. 1 in 10… If you’d like more info about Christianity in the UK you should check out this study released by BBC in April of 2007.

Pais wants to change that, I want to help Pais, and I want you guys to help me!

In Luke 10 Jesus sends out the 72 in pairs, in a partnership. I am asking you guys to be my partners in this journey. 


In the coming months I will need to fundraise for this opportunity. While Pais provides room and board, I still have to raise funds for spending money for things like clothes while there, living money, my plane ticket, and my visa, etc. 

I will be planning some fundraisers in the next months and I will have money solid info about how much I have to raise and by when, but I would love for you guys to help me monetarily in any ways you can, and would ask that you start praying about the funding right now. 

Remember the gospel is free, it only takes money to get it places.
Right now you guys can also directly help by praying for me, for Pais, for the students, teachers, and other youths that I will be coming into contact with.
Thank you all so much for your continuous support!! XX

Good Things In, Good Things Out

Good Things In, Good Things Out

This is basically a journal entry, so feel honored that I am letting you into my journal*

This is not what my journal looks like, but I can dream


I am trying something new in my life, instead of blaming others, or my current environment, for whatever may be bothering me at a certain time I am going to start blaming myself. Not hating on myself, or degrading myself, but taking responsibility for my own actions and how those actions directly affect me (DUH) and also those around me.
I am going to start intentionally living a life pleasing to my body, my environment, (meaning my locale and people I interact with, but being environmentally friendly is important as well), my health, and my creator, God.
Here are some ways I plan to help live an intentionally pleasing life:
I feel so very often I have good intentions, but I am too lazy or distracted to fully execute those intents. Even if it is just something simple like remembering to take out the pizza box that has been sitting by my apartment door for three days now because I am simply too preoccupied with other things to walk the 40 ft to my dumpster, you know, stuff like that.
In Hebrews 13 verse 16 the author of Hebrews says this:
“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”
Sherman Alexie, one of my favorite modern authors and social commentators tweeted this the other day: 

“Dear Christians, if you’re not helping the poor then you fail the Jesus test.”



How true is that? And how often do we all fail the Jesus test??? (TGFS… that means Thank Goodness for Salvation, I made that up just now, feel free to use it liberally)

Part of this “intentional life” is being mindful of others. The needs of others, the pains of others…the broken hearts of others should be a part of your everyday thoughts.
How can I help those around me?

How can I spread joy?

How can I please God by the way I treat others around me?
I want to live a life that is a pleasing offering to God, I want to live my life to the fullest, and part of that is being is caring about others but another important part is being in a healthy relationship with yourself; not being in love with yourself, or anything Kanye-esque, just knowing your limits, your strengths, your needs, and often times learning to push past them to grow.
I want to challenge myself to be aware of all I am doing to my mind and body, and to all I am doing to other’s bodies and minds as well. I think it is healthy to be in communication with your body in that way.

When I am reading the Bible I want to be more cognizant of what I am reading, I don’t want to simply read it to check it off of my to-do list, I want to begin to meditate on what I can take from that specific scripture, I want to understand why God felt the need for me in the 21stcentury to read these stories and narratives about people long past. I want to begin to piece together my narrative using the Biblical narrative as a point of reference.
I want to spend more time speaking to God. I am terrible at this. I am great at reading my Bible, I am a champ at it really, (not really, but kinda) but when it comes time to simply commune with God in a very intimate way, outside of corporate worship, when it is literally just me sitting in silence lifting up prayers and listening for God’s still small voice, I suck BIG TIME.
I am too fidgety, or too busy, or too bored often times and I feel I really need to work on this. I want to be able to sit for long periods and enjoy the friendship and relationship I have with God. If I can spend hours gabbing with my friends about nothing, surely I can spare some time for the big man upstairs. (FYI I’m not talking about a fat neighbor dude who lives upstairs….)  
I want to be more mindful of what I let into my mind in regards to media, this doesn’t mean I am going to start only listening to Christian music, or that I will only watch G rated films, I will still listen to lots of Jay and Ye, and I will still watch Judd Apatow’s films (Some of which I would argue have much better ethics than some other “cleaner” films, eg. Bridesmaids or Knocked Up) Instead of just mindlessly listening to Gambino’s latest Camp I want to be careful that I know what I am listening to, and that I know where Don Glover is coming from. And instead of just watching It’s Always Sunny for entertainment, I want to also think about things such as “how can I not be like Dee.”
I want to become more active, even if that means just going for a 5 min walk; I want to start to push myself to a healthier lifestyle. I am very lucky because my university offers yoga and zumba classes as part of my tuition and so I am going to take advantage of those opportunities placed in my path; as well as the beautiful parks surrounding my neighborhoods. I am going to treat the body God placed in my belonging with price and care.
Finally, I want to be attuned to my body in its appetite and digestion. I don’t want to go on a paleo diet of anything wacky like that. I am still going to get a Hot-N-Ready from Little Caesar’s like once a week, I am just going to be more sensitive to what I am putting into my pie-hole. (Said in a Kenneth Parcell voice)  I heard once that praying over your food can help you lose weight, I think I can totally agree with that because I believe if we are mindful of what we place in our mouths instead of blindly digging in, then we often think more seriously about the repercussions they may have. (The same goes for many more issues, praying before you do almost anything can be a very helpful and fruitful endeavor!)
So there you go, I don’t know exactly why I felt the need to blog this except that I want moral support as well as I want your input on this life-step.
I hope your life is going spectacular and that you are on your way to living a perfect intentionally God-breathed life.
*In reality this is nothing like one of my journal entries, they are commonly much more like this:
Today I made eye contact with a beardy barista at my local coffee shop. When we get married I think he should wear a baby blue bow tie and his groomsmen will wear navy blue. It should be a mountain rustic wedding. Etc. 

Alive


Alive – All Sons & Daughters
We are soaked in all the grace that we’ve been given 
Unchained from all that we have done 
Your mercy’s rising like the sun on the horizon 
We’re coming home 

We’re alive, alive, alive we’re singing 

“We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?” 
Don Miller, Through Painted Deserts
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If you know me at all you know how much I love Don Miller. I can tell you now that I would not consider myself a beloved child of God if it wasn’t for his works, and his life experience that he has documented in his books. His life story and journey echo mine in many ways, and behind God, the son, and the spirit, I count Don as the greatest influence in my life.  Don and his team of friends just created a film called Blue Like Jazz, loosely based on the book Don wrote with the same name. Today was the films last day in theatres in many cities in the US, so if you missed it, I am truly sorry. It was a beautiful film, filled with many truths and ideas that I, as a college aged Christian who herself has had my fair share of doubts, could relate to on many levels. I will tell you the truth: I cried through the entire film– hard, weeping tears. This film moved me in ways that I can only attribute to the spirit of God moving in my soul as I watched this narrative unfold before my eyes.

You may think that I am stupid, naïve, or just plain weird, but I don’t care. Watching this film was a sort of healing, renewal, and worshipful experience for me, I can only count a few other films that have moved me as such, V for Vendetta and Son of Rambowbeing two noteworthy examples.

So what’s a girl to do after experiencing this joy and awe during a film? What do I do to stay attuned to the message God placed in my heart? Well, I started living with a purpose in mind. Don’s film addresses living a life with a story, we are given one life, and one story (and one love according to Bono.)  In the quote above Don speaks to the idea that we are given one life. I think it’s amazing we were given one life at all, life is precious and we were placed here with a purpose. Christine Caine would say that “God has called us to live in the time and the place that we live into to give solution to the world we live in. We live in a world that is broken, that is full of injustice, and that is full of pain. The purpose of life is not to arrive at the coffin safely. God has called us to a radical life.
So this post today is to remind you all to live your life alive, live your life with purpose, with a reason, with a heart for the broken, with a passion for the gospel. So often I will pass up an oppoutunity to chat about the gospel with a friend in school, or aquanitince in a coffeeshop or bar,  only to regret it later. What if we all intentionally lived a life that made sharing the gospel to those that were hurting a priority? What would our story look like?
I have been reading through 2 Chronicles, that’s old testament for those unsure, and I am continually surprised by the ways God grants wisdom and success to the kings who “did what was right in the sight of the LORD.” Although 2 Chronicles has lots of this dude was this dudes dad and he had this many kids with this chick and this many with this chick, it also comes through with some surprisingly inspirational and uplifting passages, such as this one:

“He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’” 2 Chronicles 20:6-9

I especially love the end, “we can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.” That’s a promise that God has given us from the very beginning, he has always had our back, has our back, and will continue to have our back!
God is in the business of blessing you, if you’re willing to work for him, to serve him, and to worship him. Don’t think that by simply believing in him will he bless you. No matter what some people say, God is not all about giving you “health and wealth.” God is about giving you a life filled to the brim with his Goodness. Never in the book of Chronicles do we see a King being blessed by God without that king making it a point to have his kingdom be a kingdom reflecting a kingdom of God.  
I want to close with this, today as you go to bed thank God seriously for all the goodness he has blessed you with. I know it can be hard, and I won’t pretend to have a life that is filled with hurt and sadness, I know many of you have lives filled with stress and hurt much more than mine, but let God know you appreciate the small things, the smiles of your friends, the warmth of the sun, the food on your table, God gives you these things whether you’re mindful of that fact, or not.  
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In Blue Like Jazz the lead character Don goes through a whirlwind of changes, he rejects the gospel and denies God’s goodness in his life, only to ultimately come back to the cross with a renewed passion for the hurting, for the lost, for those who have been hurt by the church.  I want to make it my life’s purpose to passionately serve those who misunderstand the church, who are unwilling to accept a religion they believe is bent on eradicating the gays, and those who have questions about the existence of a God. Humans are flawed and the church is a creation of humans, God is not our creation, he is perfect, we so many times misrepresent him by simply being human. I want you all to join me on this journey. I want the remainder of 2012 to be a year of living a full life and a year with a story that has meaning, that has a real purpose, and a year that we enjoy, knowing that we have been so entirely blessed by a father who loves us so much he would send his son to be killed, by us, the ones he so passionately loves. We murdered his son, and we are the ones who he send his son for.
Thanks for reading, your support means the world to me!


“After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:“Give thanks to the Lord;    his faithful love endures forever!”                                                                        2 Chronicles 20:21