my God is full of awesome

don’t look at the past again / the first and last has made everything new / and you are too / so lift your hands / and let your story be told

Break Your Knees, Flyleaf

The power of worship, community and love just overwhelms me sometimes. And the power of any of these things would not be able to exist without a very loving, powerful and overwhelming God.

Ground Zero tonight was awesome—inspiring, refreshing, recharging.

There is something very awesome about praying with your sisters in Christ—praying with people who are perhaps just discovering the redemptive love of Jesus in their lives.  There is something very awesome about being on your knees in awe of all that God can, has and WILL do.  There is something very awesome about feeling the stillness, the love and the PRESENCE and WHOLENESS of God.

There is something awesome about knowing that no matter what, He CAN and WILL make it all become okay and that we can TRUST Him in that—that we can trust him in anything.

There is nothing more awesome.  There is nothing more I could want in life than to know MORE of that awesome.

stand

Where do you stand with Jesus?

all these things that i have done / the hours i have spent / looking for something to run to / to cover my head / the rain came down in sheets of razors / cutting my face and blocking my way / it was impossible to see the angel that was staring at me

if you could stand tall with me / what are we fighting for? / we have to believe / it was setting us up for more / so much more than we could know / was waiting just down the road / if you could stand tall with me

someone said You were the one / who comes to every man / when his back’s against the wall / and his money’s all been spent / and it’s time to fan the flame, never to walk this way again / will i be the one to rise above? Lord am i strong enough?

it doesn’t matter what we say, it only matters what we do / move past this flesh and blood / see what’s inside of you / i need to know

if you could stand tall, we could be so much, much more.

stand, ed kowalczyk

you don’t have to be a christian to dig Jesus

I was listening to 30 Seconds to Mars earlier.  In the song Buddha for Mary, this lyric comes up:

He said “there’s a paradise beneath me"

She said “Am I supposed to bleed?”

He said “You’d better pray to Jesus.”

She said “I don’t believe in God”

That said, in reference to this mostly irrelevant lyric, if you don’t believe in Jesus as God, you are likely not praying to Him in any sort of capacity.

This, for one reason or another, once again reminded me that in order to dig Jesus, to think Jesus was a cool guy, you don’t have to be what today’s society calls a Christian.  I actually think that’s one of the awesome things about Jesus.

I’m pretty sure Jesus never actually called His followers Christians, but rather disciples.  The term Christian was likely coined after Jesus was killed.  Disciples as in, we are supposed to learn from Him . . . follow Him, and not only when it’s convenient to do so.  As with anything to do with humanities or social science, I do believe our learning, especially on these sorts sociological issues dealing with human interactions [which is, hello, pretty much solely what Jesus taught on], is to our own interpretations of His words when He was teaching.  That doesn’t mean we might not be taking something He said not as He intended, but contrary to popular belief among certain circles, life is in no way black and white.

I’ve written before that I often hesitate to call myself a Christian.  In fact, my Facebook “Religious Views” simply say “i worship Jesus”.  I don’t even deserve to be able to worship Jesus, nor do I deserve to be here alive, but the very least I can do is lead a life of worship to Him in all that I’ve screwed up and He fixed.  So, I stray away from the Christian tag, even if that’s what most call me [and what I call myself sometimes for sake of simplicity].

As much as it perhaps demeans the love that salvation in Christ is to entail, many Christians believe in Jesus but aren’t interested in following His teachings.  They may believe in redemption and being freed from their sin, believe in the awesome teachings of Jesus, but what if one doesn’t actually live their life in attempt to fulfill the image of Christ?  (Not that, you know, anybody can be Jesus except Jesus, but that’s kind of the point, I think.)  They appear to use God’s forgiveness as a tool to eff up and then continue on as nothing happened.  In essence, they treat “Christianity” simply as a label not as a lifestyle.

Dan Brown, a YouTuber, made a video simply entitled Jesus.  He raises many points as a non-Christian that I agree with as a Christian, and I really appreciate the views he puts out here:

Okay, so here’s the deal.  I don’t agree with all of it, of course, but that doesn’t mean Dan is wrong.  Here are the points I agree with:

  • “My family never put pressure on me to accept their faith as my own, and I cannot thank them enough for that.  I’ve been raised to understand that religion and spirituality is a deeply personal journey.” 
  • “What He made of Himself, was a person completely unafraid to speak truth to power.”
  • “I’m not saying my Jesus is angry, but my Jesus isn’t nice to the point of inducing vomiting, either.”
  • “He was the people’s grassroots response to all overzealous society figures.  When the overzealous want to resort to needless violence, Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek.  When the overzealous wanted to take more that was rightfully theirs, Jesus declared that the meek shall inherit the earth.  And when the overzealous tried to turn the temple into a marketplace, Jesus got pissed off.”
  • “And Jesus definitely understood that religion is not something to be bought and sold.”
  • “It is un-Christ-like for any church to reject someone simply because of something they were born with and had no control over, such as, oh . . . their sexual orientation.”

Amen.

My Jesus, I’m pretty sure, is a badass.  Maybe Dan would agree with me.  Because Jesus taught right from wrong.  But He also LOVED and ACCEPTED those who had done wrong.  He never said [at least not in the research I’ve done this last hour] anything against same-sex relationships.  Jesus also never professed to be better than anybody else, even if He was the Messiah.  Maybe he was just a really cool dude.  Like Dan said about his belief in God, however, I do take comfort in the fact that there’s something at the end of this all, and I take comfort that Jesus had something to do with that.

I must also make it clear right now, that I take the Bible as inspired by God, but not the “infallible Word of God” as many do—maybe that’s the liberal social views in me.  If anything’s been translated and re-translated as much as the Bible has, things are bound to get lost, screwed up, and maybe even twisted into the way someone else who is not God or His messengers wants us to think.  Maybe I’m totally wrong, but just consider it.  Not only that, is that God never sat up there with a pen [or whatever they wrote with back then] and wrote the Bible and dropped it down here to Earth, and Jesus didn’t legit write anything in the Bible.  If He did, or even if somebody claimed He did, which nobody can claim, maybe I’d think differently, but at this point, I am of the point of inspiration and interpretation and growth and love through Christ’s teachings.  And while I believe there are things to be learned from the Old Testament, Jesus came and led by example of love and changed things, changed people, transformed lives and attempted to change the standard of thinking, which to me is much, much more of a lesson to be learned from, and should be a starting point for those of us who have accepted the gift of Jesus’ salvation into our lives.

I’m cool if you differ from my beliefs in salvation and God.  If you don’t believe in the salvation part, or even the God part, I do totally think that having an understanding of who Jesus was, even outside of the “religious” context, can only help make our world a more loving and tolerant place.  Even if you just believe He was a “he” without a capital H, and was therefore just a regular dude, maybe you too agree, like Dan Brown, that Jesus was a pretty awesome dude.

I happen to agree.  Jesus is a pretty awesome Dude—but He’s also my King, my Saviour and the Life that is within me.

 

AFTER NOTE:

I know this may be touchy for some.  I’m entitled to this as much as you’re entitled to think I’m wrong.  I’m not about to change my beliefs as much as you want me to, and I’m sure you’re not about to change yours.  So if you want to smack me in the face with Bible verses in the comments, save your time.

my heart . . . is alive

My thoughts have all been really tangled lately, so much so that I haven’t been able to write a coherent post.

God is definitely moving in me and that’s really, really cool.  I am learning more about TRUSTING His faithfulness every day; even now.  I’m finding myself once again contemplating phrases, contemplating past and present and future.  Where I’ve come from, where I am, where I’m going.  Contemplating this crazy thing called life, where God has saved my life before I even knew Him, and then again when I met Him. 

My heart is beating because of my God; my God who knows I can’t do this on my own, my God who knows more about me than I know about me, my God who has turned me from nothing into something.  My God who has LOVED this broken heart to healing.

My God who has given me life and hope.

i am finding out / that maybe i was wrong / that i’ve fallen down / and i can’t do this alone . . . stay with me.  this is what i need, please

sing us a song and we’ll sing it back to You / we could sing our own, but what would it be without You?

i am nothing now / and it’s been so long / since i’ve heard a sound / the sound of my only hope . . . this time i will be listening.

this heart, it beats, beats for only You.  this heart, it beats, beats for only You.  my heart is Yours.  [my heart it beats for You, it beats, beats for only You, my heart is Yours, please don’t go now, please don’t fade away].

my heart, paramore

“In this world you will have trouble; take heart!  For I have overcome the world” // john 16:33

london fog, smiling . . . and my God

Tara has introduced me to the London Fog.  It is delicious.  I meant to have an awesome moment this morning drinking a London Fog and writing a blog post reflecting on God making me smile, except, the London Fog was gone too fast because it was that good.

I think it would be cool to have coffee with Jesus.  One of my camp counselors, Lisa, once wrote in her blog that she was a firm believer that the Bible should be enjoyed along with something hot and yummy.  I would definitely have to agree with this statement.  Which I guess is probably the closest equivalent we would have to being able to have coffee with jesus.  I also think something hot and yummy would be an excellent addition to reflecting on God and what God is doing.  Blogging with a London Fog would have been awesome, except, I was too distracted.

So, on the way to school, I wrote this:

My God is making me smile this week.  He is igniting things in my heart, and promises of His love that I’ve heard dozens of times before, in church, in songs, are making me smile.

It’s true.  Yesterday Sam, Tara, TaraLin, Kim and I joined in the sea of pink and white and did the Run for the Cure.  It was awesome, albeit, rushed.  Too rushed.  Time was not taken as fully to reignite hope for all those and their families and friends still facing breast cancer, scared of cancer, every single day.  I’ve been there with my grandma . . .  It could have been done differently, and it was not one of their better presentations.  It should be about fun, but it should be about something more . . .

Hope.

Afterwards, Sam, Tara and I made it to church.

Church was awesome.  I was feeling it hardcore.  Real.  A simple topic, the Bible, being explored for real.  Like, that there is good stuff in there.  Stories with impact and fire that are only a couple verses long.  But the hardest part . . . is getting your Bible open.  Indeed.  Completely.  Worship involved songs that truly resonate in me – In This City, Our God . . . it was awesome . . .

Then I realized something.

So music is a huge way that I connect with God.  But here’s what I realized: I could sing He Loves Us every day.  And not get sick of it, and not have it lose any meaning.  I feel so alive whenever we sing it in church; I kinda missed it yesterday.  The message in He Loves Us is one that I feel really resonates with me, which I wrote about before.  The words make me smile.

But yesterday, I was finding other lyrics that made me smile.

  • and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us, and if our God is with us, then what could stand against?     –Our God, Chris Tomlin

The other thing with Our God, is that it holds the quality of NOT rejecting other faiths even though they may not be what we believe, as many songs do.  “Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God You are higher than any other”.  As a Christian, I worship only my God, not others.  But does that mean I reject that other gods could exist?  Of course not.  Surely my God created belief and disbelief in His and other faiths for a reason.  Everything for a reason.

Our God is bigger than life itself.  God inspired those lyrics, those same lyrics that made me smile . . .  God inspired every single Bible verse that makes me happy.  God creates the hope that we need to be happy.

God makes me smile.

i’m restless but i will not fight alone again

The last few days have been kinda rough.  I feel like I’m both in a very new place, but also reverting to places of the past, places where I don’t necessarily want to be, places I don’t think I belong.

Right now I don’t feel good.  My spirit and passion for God were really ignited tonight, and I feel like I’m going to grow and learn this year.  But physically, I just don’t feel good.  Wednesday and Thursday were both persistently tough breathing, and I’m breathing a little better right now thanks to a fair bit of medicine.  I can deal, whatever.  Right now the lungs are okay, but I just feel sick and headache-y and have been like that for a few hours.

Emotionally, it’s been a little tougher.  I have really been leaning on God this last week, and that is good, but it’s been a rough week.  Worrying about a friend who’s been going through some really tough times.  That especially.  Coupled with slightly rocky breathing, getting back into the jive of school hardcore, it’s just been tough.

The place where I feel I’m reverting to places of the past is with how things are at home right now.  I’m making stupid mistakes, I’m being called on it, called stupid on it.  Because I try to do all that I can and still fuck up on it, and that’s nobody’s fault but my own.  Because maybe they’re right, maybe I am stupid and useless and not all that they’d dreamed of.  This too is how I used to feel, and still do sometimes.  Like now.

Yeah, I can act like I have my shit together, I totally can.  In reality, I just have a God who’s bigger than all this, a God that’s got my back, and a God that has in some ridiculous way rescued me from who I was five-plus years ago and transformed me into this girl who’s stumbling after Him, but who still swears when she writes, who doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to Him a lot of the time, who sometimes has problems at home, and who still needs to open her eyes wider.  A lot wider.

And for some reason, He’s called this current version of that same girl to be a youth leader.  Because there is a reason that I’ve become engaged, a reason that He lead me to Forward tonight.  A reason that people are praying—a reason that people are praying for me.  A reason that I’m praying.

And all the tough stuff?  There’s a reason for that too.

what can i learn from You today?

So, through a friend, way back in the day, I found a blog called what can i learn from You today?

I loved it, because it was so real to me.  Because real people experience hard times and darkness, desperation and pain, which are then eclipsed by happiness and the stuff we’re passionate about, the stuff that makes life worth living.  The negative desperation, yeah, it sucks.  But it can mold us into who we are.

Well, at least it kind of did that to me.

Anyways, God is teaching me stuff lately, now that I’ve started trying to grow in Him again.  As I read truereligion, as I go about my day, as I listen to Falling Up on my iPod, i find myself asking:

“Hey, God, what can I learn from You today?”

It’s a cool feeling.  It’s a cool feeling when God keeps interacting in mysterious little ways, like making everything you’ve read in the Bible the night before pop up in truereligion or on your Facebook wall the next day.  When what you were talking about (the Chunnel, for example), pops up two hours later in the book you’re reading.  Yeah, only our God could pull something crazy like that!

I tried to make myself think it didn’t matter in the past, but it did—this:

fellowship helps.

Getting involved helps me grow.  Encouragement helps.  This is what the Body of Christ is about.  Because it’s so much better when you’re sharing the journey with someone.  When you can say “Man, our God is awesome.” and the person gets it.  When you have someone who’s feeling it, feeling change, feeling God as much as you are, who wants to dig deeper, who wants to see the change hope can create in the world—that Jesus can create in the world.

I’m back in church.  I’m not only back in church, but I’m getting ignited.  I want to know more, and I want to be there.  I can’t wait to be back.  I’m doing things in church.  I’m excited about church.  I’m excited about unraveling God’s mysteries, unraveling what God wants us to learn together.

I want my thoughts toward God to become second-nature.  I want to grow deeper, grow bigger in faith.  I want to grow deeper into who God is telling me to be, what God is telling me to go after.  I want to see the parts of this world that He wants me to discover.  I want Him to lead me, to discover how to do all this.

I want to be His.