Friday, May 22, 2009

I think there is nothing quite like a warm breeze on a sunny day :) Especially when that breeze carries the voice of David Gray. I'd like to just close my eyes and soak it all in for an hour....but I've got to stay focused and finish this report.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random story:

Yesterday I am in the bathroom. (all great stories start this way).

I go over, and with my pinky roll out the sufficient amount of paper towel from the dispenser. All the while there is a girl to my right who is washing her hands. I then turn on the faucet (I'm standing right between the said girl washing her hands, and the paper towel dispenser I've prepped-- one of like 8 in this bathroom). As I'm washing my hands and counting in my head-- The aforementioned girl turns off the faucet with her hands, and then GRABS the paper towel she must have seen me just prep.

She dries her hands, tosses the towel and leaves.

I was deeply bothered and had to choose right then not to be offended. That was the biggest decision I have had to make to not receive an offense in quite some time. Clearly, I'm still battling it some. WHY? She'd seen me do it. I wouldn't have minded if perhaps she'd used it to dispense MORE paper towel and leave some for me... And if she had already used her once clean hands to turn off the faucet that she already used her dirty hands to turn on--- why not use those now dirty hands to get her own paper towel to dry her wet, dirty hands? Or why even wash her hands, since by the point she tossed that paper towel and grasped that door handle to leave, they were already dirty again!?

"What is this ____ on my hands? Look! It's there again!"

Yep. Just something I've been pondering. At this point I'm not really bothered, just very entertained. One of those things that happen to you and you feel its so remarkable that you have to share it with someone. Someone knowingly stole my paper towel yesterday, right before my eyes.

Huh. Love. I know. :P

Monday, May 11, 2009

On Mother's Day, I returned home from my early morning test to find my mom wasn't home. :/ So, Dad and I took off to do some last minute errands. While my dad wandered Best Buy...I drove down the lot to one of my favorite stores, Barnes and Noble!

Melissa had told me about a book called "He Loves Me" and I was anxious to get my hands on it. So I wandered in and found the Christian section (which has been moved a few rows to the right). The trouble was, I didn't know who the author was. And I wasn't even sure I had the title right. But as I scanned through the shelves, picking up each one that had either a catching title or a great cover, I found a little treasure.

The spine of the book said "Crazy Love." It was a simple red, a deep autumn red leaf, and the words were simple. The cover of the book had two hand drawn arrows, one up, one down. Thats it. The right bottom corner says "Overwhelmed by a relentless God." Only just now am I realizing that I've been asking God to "overwhelm" me! (Oh MY WORD!). But immediately I knew this could be the book I've been thirsty for. I read the back, and bought it! I cannot WAIT to start this book! Its been a long time since I wanted to skip sleep and just read....but last night I had to convince myself to leave the book on the night stand. This morning I excitedly read the prologue.

I'll keep you all updated, but I am so excited, I couldn't wait to tell you all about it. My expectations are high, and I really believe this is a little treasure my relentless and adventurous God left for me to discover in B&N shelves. :)

(I also found "He Loves Me" and I am incredibly excited to read that too--- I decided to wait on it till I can read it with a friend!)

Here is a review of Francis Chan's Crazy Love on Tim Challies's blog:

There are many voices critiquing the North American church today. The voices come from both within and without; from those who love the church and those who hate it. We all know that there is something wrong. But what? In many cases the prescription is the same while the cure varies widely. In his new book Crazy Love, first-time author Francis Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, regular speaker at Passion conferences and other events, and the guy who recorded that “Just Stop and Think” evangelistic video where he walks for miles holding a surfboard, takes his opportunity to challenge the church. “This book,” he says, “is written for those who want more Jesus. It is for those who are bored with what American Christianity offers. It is for those who don’t want to plateau, who would rather die before their convictions do.” It is a book that is meant to change the way Christians live their lives.

There are two ways of critiquing the church. We can critique out of love or out of disgust. Chan is committed to critiquing the church as an act of love. In a recent interview, when asked about the emergent church, he said this: “As a pastor I hear a lot of emergent leaders talk about what is wrong with the church. It comes across as someone who doesn’t love the church. I’m a pastor first and foremost, and I’m trying to offer a solution or a model of what church should look like. I’m going back to scripture and seeing what the church was in its simplest form and trying to recreate that in my own church. I’m not coming up with anything new. I’m calling people to go back to the way it was. I’m not bashing the church. I’m loving it.” And his love for the church is obvious throughout this book.

The format of Crazy Love is straightforward and effective. Chan dedicates three chapters to renewing our understanding of the character of God and seven chapters calling Christians to examine themselves. Within the book are two ongoing themes that are going to get people talking.

The first theme is that we must painstakingly examine ourselves. We cannot assume we are saved, or to use the biblical metaphor, we cannot assume that we are the good soil. Chan calls the reader to a serious self-inventory through a chapter that provides a profile of the lukewarm. He concludes, “a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are ‘lukewarm’ are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven.” God wants all or nothing.

The second theme is deeply counter-cultural, going against the stream of both Christian and secular culture. It is this: live your best life later. Chan wants to see Christians living differently—living in a way that is markedly different from those around them. He wants to see Christians forgoing much of what we consider necessary, what we consider our due, in order to focus on treasures that are eternal. He wants us to get outside the realm of what is comfortable to us and focus instead on radical obedience. “God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

These two themes and a focus on the Scriptures serve to create a powerful and deeply challenging book. There is a very obvious commitment here to teach Scriptural principles from the Scriptures and to invite the reader to verify what he is writing from those same Scriptures. Not surprisingly, the book’s weakest chapter is the one that depends least on the Bible. It is a chapter providing examples of men and women who have made radical choices to live radically different. At least a couple of examples are of people who are probably not the best examples overall because as they’ve jettisoned their old lives, they’ve also jettisoned too much good theology.

That small critique aside, I found that this is a paradigm-shaking book with a message that Christians desperately need to hear. Too many of us are living too safely and too easily. But for the brief moments we spend at church each week, we are practically indistinguishable from the unbelievers around us. This is not the way it is meant to be. The church could use a loving exhortation and Chan delivers well.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Yep, time to blog again.

It's a rainy evening and I'm drinking a hot beverage and studying- how could I resist blogging? Then again, I am short for words this evening. Many emotions, many thoughts, few audible words.

You know those times you feel like so much is going on inside and some internal form must be changing, but you aren't able to see it or understand it just yet? Thats this evening. I think some attitudes are surfacing that need to be dealt with, but I can't fully put my finger on them yet, or what actions need to be taken. Do I just need to repent and ask God to change them? Maybe thats it right there. And beyond that, I feel like I need to press through something, into something new. But I can't fully comprehend it. I'm still a student, and I see no job change in the near future, but I think it's stepping into a new level in both of these things. A level of intentionality, or organization, or prioritization. :/

Something's going deeper. Something is changing and getting ready for a new step. Maybe it is Monroe. It would be silly for me to deny that praying about moving to the Monroe church is affecting me deeply. With this sort of a move, I know that my friendships can change, and many will. Some will not, some will pursue me just the same, or even deeper, but others will not and that will be okay too. I know that things will need to change, and I think my heart is busy disconnecting in some places and reconnecting in others....and this evening there is a bit of evaluation about whether or not I am allowing any coldness to creep in while these changes are happening. I don't want coldness in my heart.

Its funny, one of the guys called me a "hippy christian" at Bible Study monday night, light-heartedly. Something like "hippy christians like Kati who are all about love" and its true. I couldn't deny it, and I've been thinking about it the last couple days. And then today I felt like I fell really short of that love- and if I am going to be a hippy christian, I better at least learn how to love. My favorite verses are about love. I must dwell at least once a day (more like 15!) on the verse, "He who is forgiven much, loves much" and "If I speak with the tongues of angels and move mountains, but have not love I am nothing but a squeaking gate" and "This is pure and spotless religion, to care for the orphan and the widow." Those may not be exact translations, but they are deep, deep in my heart and I WANT TO BECOME LOVE.

Really, I am not led by emotions, but I want to be led by love. The Bible says, they'll know us by our love. THAT is our mark. AGH. Really, I could groan right now out of frustration- because I am just beginning to learn what this love feels like, this love that creeps into your bones, and gets into your blood and makes you want to cry suddenly because you so badly want those you love to KNOW the Father, to be overcome by His love and affection and truth and destiny! I want it more, I want it to be so deep in me and through me that it really does overwhelm those I come into contact with and they get saved because they feel Love and I can't deny it, and they can't deny it and it's undeniable LOVE. :)

So yeah, I like to be barefoot, and I really do think it comes down to this, Love. There are three things for us to do now until the completeness of God, Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly, and the greatest of the three is love.

I think I'm a hippy christian. :)