Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly

haugenGary Haugen, CEO of International Justice Mission, spoke at my church yesterday. I couldn’t believe this man. He was so humble and real. And God has used him to do So much in helping those who cannot help themselves. He has freed countless lives around the globe from oppression, victimization, sex and human trafficking, and the list goes on.

What spoke to me the most was his authenticity in saying how every day he wakes up he thinks about “me” and battles self. Every day he has to choose to go outside of himself and do something bigger. I kept thinking, Man, he struggles with this too? It’s Gary Haugen!?

Then I realized we’re all pretty much the same and we all battle the “me” within us. Because we’re so consumed by “me”, many of our inadequacies keep us from doing God’s will. We simply don’t believe in Him. We believe too much in ourselves. Gary encouraged us out of Matthew’s gospel to give God the fish and loaves, so that He can multiply. Clearly, this is what Gary has chosen to do.

One way we can do this is to obey God’s word by tangibly seeking out ways to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God. We’re called to do it as Christians. There’s no way around it. I’ve been challenged more than ever to be involved in these critical affairs on a world-wide level and to encourage others to do the same.

And I’m so thankful that all I have to do is give God my loaves and fish, so that He can feed the people and so that His glory may be revealed. And not my own.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

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What’s Inspiring Me of Late

cannons1Several things have been inspiring me of late:

1.) Jesus- of course. all the time. without him, who in the world would I be? enough said.

2.) My husband Jeremiah– his constant encouragement, accountability, and unconditional love for me.

3.) My son John– watching his brown eyes stare into mine. his laughter and joy. He makes me want to be a better mom and woman.

4.) My job– I love working with a team of highly creative producers, writers, and graphic designers. We have a great time together. My boss is solid and loves the Lord. Bluefish is impacting so many lives and I love just being a small part of it.

5.) My church Watermark. Spurring me on to authentic community and loving this city. Gary Haugen with International Justice Mission will be speaking thus Sunday (can’t wait).

6.) Matt Chandler (his podcasts). I appreciate his constant focus on Christ and boasting in Him alone. My coworker Lonnie said he’s going to connect me and Jeremiah to Matt for coffee one day (yay!)

7.) John Piper. I’m almost through his book Don’t Waste Your Life. It has challenged me like no other book. And is causing me to do some deep soul searching (or perhaps sin searching).

8.) Musicians: Phil Wickham, Brandon Heath, Chris Tomlin, Fernando Ortega, Meredith Andrews, Laura Story. Some old. Some new. These are just a few but their artistry stands out among the rest. Their focus is obvious. God has used them to inspire my writing. Meredith lived next to me on dorm 19-1 at LU. I’m extremely proud of her and how God is using her.

Who or what’s inspiring You?

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Get out Your Gifts

tightropeWhat would be the one thing you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? I was challenged with this question in college and for some reason I was reminded about it yesterday.

I think this question ties in with the gifts God has given us and how we choose to use them. So maybe it would better read, “What gifts that God has given you would you use, if you knew you wouldn’t fail?”

I’ve seen different gifts really shine in my community  group for example. There are five of us girls including me.

Ashley T.- She works as an Admin. Asst. for Josh McDowell and she’s gifted in administrative work. Yet she also has another side of her that explodes with creativity. She loves photography and has an eye for capturing life and beauty. She’s humble when she relates to people and easily makes friends.

Jen- is highly hospitable- she brightens days with home-made desserts and dishes. She put on a home-made spa night for us once with edible (yes!) spa treatments. She’s gifted in organization and at performing tasks. She works as a children’s nurse and has a heart for kids. She’s truly one of a kind.

Julia- You would never guess by meeting her that she makes six figures! She’s a Physician’s Assistant who spends a lot of solitude time in serious heart surgeries, yet she’s bubbly and loves meeting people. She’s an amazing artist, painter, and is skilled in crafts. She has a way of putting “life” into people with her contagious joy.

Ashley C.- She’s our world traveler as a flight-attendant for Southwest Airlines. She frequents Italy and other amazing places around the world. With the resources God has given her, she’s blessed our group with a free Time Share together, gifts from her travels, and free plane tickets. Ashley has the sweetest heart and is just plain fun to be around.

I’m so humbled to see my friend’s gifts at work and how they’re  being used for God’s glory. So my question to you and that I’m asking myself is, How are you using your gifts now to further God’s kingdom and what gift would you start using if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

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Healing Faith

grace_candle_logoWhen God wants to show you what human nature is like apart from Himself, He has to show it to you in yourself.

I read these words out of Oswald Chambers this morning. It really hits home to me especially in the last few months where I’ve seen ugly parts of my sin. I’ve heard it said once that the closer you grow towards Christ, the more you see your sin.

Sometimes I think I’m naturally good on my own. And that I can do life on my own. Even as a Christian who knows where my identity lies, I still sometimes struggle with the latter. It’s interesting the way God works in how he shows us the nastiness of our sin. While the news will show us the depths sin can take a person (like the recent murder of the abortion doctor or a major collapse in the economy due to frivolous spending),  as Oswald said, it’s often that God will show it to us in our own hearts… (however scary that might be!)

To show us we really aren’t so good after all. A little lie. A little gossip. Anger. Pride. Selfishness. Greed. Vanity. The list goes on…

But the good news is that God’s Grace covers over all of it! That’s why He came. He died on the cross to heal us from those sins and to give us new life in Him. It’s solely by grace that my sins have been covered- nothing I could ever do on my own. And thankfully he came too so that the more I love, enjoy, and delight in him, the less I sin or desire unsatisfying things that are not of Him.

So the next time I get a sneak peak inside my soul and see the sin that’s really in there, I can thank God and praise Him all the more that He’s healing my brokenness and He’s restoring me into His image day by day. And he won’t leave me where I’m at.

That’s what I thanked him for today.

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My “Straight A” Husband

dts-754138So today calls for me to brag on my husband a bit.

A little over two years ago, we moved to Dallas for Jeremiah to attend Dallas Theological Seminary to further his study in God’s word and to better prepare him for full-time ministry. This past semester, I worked part-time at Bluefish (still do) and put him through school so he could focus on his studies, internship at our church Watermark, and our apartment ministry without wanting to pull his teeth out.

I’m really proud to say that Jeremiah just got his grades back and he got 2 A+ and 2 A’s! So, straight A’s! All semester, he worked so hard in his reading, studying for tests, and writing papers while simultaneously propping up a bottle for John or studying with him on his lap.  DTS isn’t an easy school and it’s one of the best seminaries in the world. Some of our favorites have come out of there like Andy Stanley, Tommy Nelson, David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, and Dennis Rainey.

Jeremiah wasn’t concerned on getting the best grades necessarily but on learning the content. We’re still unsure of what God has for us ministry-wise in the future, but for now we’re trying to live in the present. We don’t really know what the upcoming semesters will look like work-wise and time wise, but we’re thankful for God getting us through this far.

[Photo: Campus of DTS]

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Finding Love in my Son

IMG_9289Last night, for the first time, John Samuel fell asleep on my chest. Typically, I nurse him before his bedtime and he falls asleep that way. But last night was so special. I rocked him while he was still awake, sucking on his green soothie. His big brown eyes just stared into mine. It was a moment for just the two of us- Mommy and son. He was calm and so content. Then eventually, his eyes just closed.

My eyes welled up with tears because of the joy that lie in my arms. And to think that God loves us the way a mother and father loves their own child. The love is so deep and profound that it’s difficult to handle.

God is our Abba father who tenderly guides and protects us in his arms. His love is so wide and so rich. I am just now starting to get a glimpse of that love through my son. I truly can’t imagine life without him and I’m so thankful for the gift of motherhood and how it reminds me so much of Christ’s love.

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Fancy Thoughts

14078172990280c4f4f0150hj3I tend to have all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts about today, tomorrow, the end of the week, next month, next year,  and so on. I think of great plans and how things will most likely turn out. I sometimes even tell God that I know He’s going to do what I ask.

Wow! Just writing that out proves that I’m pretty self-focused and think I have it all together. I’m so far from that though. I like to “think” I have it all together and that I’m in control. I love to control in my thought life.

But the reality is that God is in control. His sovereign hand is leading and guiding me regardless of my thoughts. And it’s when I realize that I’m not in control after all, I begin to surrender and life is actually more free.

Since college, I’ve always loved the verse: “In his heart, a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” I need this verse to be imprinted on my heart because I often forget that the steps are His.

How has God shown you over the years that He is the one leading and guiding you- not your own fancy thoughts?

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Who You are is Not What You Do

best_thingsUpon making the great move to Dallas a few years ago, experiencing the culture here is like nowhere else I’ve lived. What you wear, how you look, what you do, and what you drive is valued above who you are. In our downtown apartment community alone, I can count at least 30 Lexus’s, mercedes, bmw’s, hummers, and jaguars (all owned by twenty and thirty somethings). So yes, the kind of car you have is important.

It seems like in other places, you just don’t see this. At least that’s what our friends say when they come to visit. But why is it that we love to place our identity in what we do or in things?

Perhaps it’s a security for us. It’s easier to find identity and meaning in those things rather than in Someone we can’t see. But what if we stripped all those things away, what would we have? What if people saw us for who we really are? Not what we do or what we drive?

I think we’d all be in for a real shock- to realize that we’re all pretty much the same even if the outside appears pretty: we’re all Messy people on the inside in need of a holy and perfect God.

Though far from perfect, that’s what I’m striving for when it comes to my real identity.

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