Friday, February 25, 2011

it's a miracle!

i just wanted to testify for a quick lil minute
that God has performed a miracle in my life.

the miracle?

he is enabling me to memorize scripture.

now obviously, this is not the typical miracle one might think of.
but for me, with my track record of scatteredness & lack of discipline?
trust me.
it's a straight-up miracle.

1) he's changing my heart to actually want to do it
2) he's helping me to do so
to the point that it actually is easier
with each passing week!

in january i decided to try to memorize Philippians.
who knows what on earth i was thinking?
i have been horrible at consistently memorizing 1 verse here or 2 verses there
so i'm not sure why i thought i should tackle a book?

Piper's thoughts there and his obedience here
along with Ann's post about scripture memory hit me to the core:
"in making to-do lists to run our lives,
why not make time to let God’s Word revolutionize our lives?
because making time to memorize His Word
is putting the first things first."

she is memorizing Colossians
but she shared about a community of people
memorizing Philippians by Easter.

i liked the idea of having Resurrection Sunday as the end point,
then discovering that the d-group i'm in was studying that book this semester -
i knew it was game on.

i wanted:
my mind to be saturated with scripture
to fight anxiety
to better take the thoughts captive
to fight sin
to dwell on things above
to think on things lovely
to fight laziness
to meditate on Christ!

and it's definitely not even close to achieving all those things yet
but that's what i trust that the discipline of scripture memory
will, over time, help me to do.

this week i'm on Philippians 2:12-18
i still struggle at it and don't always make my weekly deadline and i miss words
and always have to remind myself that it's not about doing it just to do it.

it's about living what it says
and hiding scripture in my heart
to meditate on
and make me think of Him.

to fill my mind and my mouth with sweet honey
trusting that it will taste better than any worldly thing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

letters for katie

i leave for uganda in 16 days. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

that leaves me 16 days
to gather as many encouraging letters & notes as i can.

my friend John gave me a great idea:
get friends who have been encouraged by Katie and her story
to write a letter of encouragement to her

i know for me words of affirmation is definitely one of my "love languages"
it means a ton to have someone verbalize, written or otherwise, what you mean to them

so imagine what an encouragement it might be to receive:
a packet bursting with letters
from total strangers!
telling stories
of how they've been encouraged
and challenged
and changed
by her blog and her life lived for Jesus

so if you've been impacted in any way by her story?
please consider taking some time to send some words her way

what a way that we can "spur her on towards love and good deeds" [hebrews 10:24-25]

lemme know if you want in. thanks friends :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

seeing jesus

thought i'd start out by sharing a lil clip of katie davis & her life in uganda...

i think the thing that challenges me more than anything else about her life
is her capacity to LOVE people well.

she loves when it is inconvenient & messy & hard.
she brings the dying into her home, feeds them, prays over them.
loves them even when it's only a matter of time til they're gone.

the amazing thing is how she gives herself so fully to people.
she gives of herself, selflessly.
poured out, stretched thin, yet full of joy!

i say all this not to deify her!
she's just a person
a broken, needy sinner like everybody else!

but when i see her loving the way she does
i see Jesus

it's evident
that she's so FULL of Jesus
that she overflows with His love towards others.

when i think about my immense inabilities
to love people well
[how i'm selfish & impatient, irritable & individualistic]
the glaring disparity between myself and Jesus
is abundantly clear

what must i "do"
to love people better?

i must seek more of Jesus
seek His heart, His word, his presence, His Spirit...
that changes
and enables me to love beyond my own meager capacity

i'll never be stretched to love
beyond what's comfortable and natural for me.

thanking God for how her recent words challenged me
to see more Jesus
by striving to love like He loves us.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

busyness vs. jesus

the past few weeks have been non-stop BUSY.

plenty of 'good things', mind you:

bibles studies to be done & books to be read

discipleship groups coordinated & Uganda trip preparations made

check marks on to-do lists & frantic alarm reminders...

but with that pace of life

often comes stress:

health worries & money worries & too much to do

but not enough time

maybe i just have less stamina than the average person?

but all this busyness wears me OUT

i find that so much busyness

(even when it's really 'worthy' stuff)

can be a bad thing...

when it's robbing me from time to BE WITH JESUS

it's a trap that's so easy to fall into:

doing for Jesus

rather than

being with Jesus

Luke 10:38-42 has been a passage i've returned to countless times

where Jesus reminds 1 the 2 sisters

not to get caught up in all the busyness

not to be so "distracted by all the preparations"

He tells her this,

in all these worthy deeds

(hospitality for Jesus, after all!)

don't neglect the most imporant thing, the "better part" ~

being with Him

sitting at His feet


it can be a tricky thing to balance,

because there's value in both:

service for Christ & time with Christ

but really,

one must precede the other

one fuels the other

still trying to figure all that out:

how to order my life in such a way

where time with Jesus

is not something i squeeze in

but the main thing

that comes before anything else

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feb 18 = ELECTION DAY in Uganda

tomorrow is a big day for Uganda
election day!

as we've seen in the news recently,
political turmoil has been rampant in African countries
(Egypt and Tunisia)

please pray for peace & justice
to be carried out during this election

Uganda has dealt with years of
horrifying violence & injustice
...let's beseech the Lord on their behalf

this is a helpful article & list of prayer requests,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

compassion = see. feel. DO.

a couple sundays ago we learned about compassion.
how you see it
then you feel it
then you do something about it!

jesus' compassion always led to action.

so after having seen the orphan crisis
and having felt ache in my heart because of it
what was i to do?

i was excited to be able to help support other people's adoptions in small ways...
i loved giving Ugandan necklaces that supported orphans...
i got excited to help with our church's new orphan initiative...
i began to share what i was learning, through sharing blogs, and thoughts...
i even began to dream of the day when i could adopt...

and then God gave me amazing opportunity
to go spend 10 days devoted to loving on them!

i still can't believe it's happening
that in less than a month i'll be in Uganda!

serving with 5 different ministries
dedicated to serving and loving on 'the least of these'

My Father's House & Return Ministries & Canaan Children's Home
to serve these kids and these kids and these kids too

along with a ministry called Pillars of Hope,
devoted to serving street kids...

and then, for the final weekend,
serving these kids with Katie at Amazima!

oh i cannot WAIT to be there.

there are still shots to be gotten
and money to be raised
and donations to be gathered

but i am excited to be there, to see these kids, face to face...

we'll be leading a vacation bible school:
sharing the Good News
telling them about their Abba Father
who longs to adopt them into His family.

we'll be bringing with us:
new mattresses and much-needed clothes
medicine and shoes and diapers
lots of hugs and love and prayers.

there's still time to give if you'd like to!
whether it's money to help me get there
or goods that i can give away...

will you pray about giving?

what a great way to put our compassion into action!
if you would like to help, please let me know :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

kisses from katie cont'd: adoption & the gospel

katie davis' blog was just the beginning for me.

God used her story to W I D E N my perspective of Kingdom care.
specifically, of "orphan care".


there's a word that doesn't come up in daily conversation.

to me it used to sound so antiquated. so old fashioned,
and always ending with some happy-ever-after scenario,
a la "little orphan annie".

instead of current. daily. reality. for over 140 million real kids.

140,000,000+ kids. each one "fearfully and wonderfully made".
knit together, fashioned by God. [psalm 139:13-16]
made uniquely in His image. [genesis 1:26]
miracle of life.

140,000,000 kids
who are defined by what they don't have

God was not done showing me.
after katie's blog came more...

like suzanne's beautiful story: 7 kids, 3 adopted, 1 HIV+
the earthquake in haiti & the attention brought to orphans there
the carroll fam's inspiring journey domestically
& then again from ethiopia to memphis
andrea's incredible perspective
this family's obedience
and so many more.

God was changing my life by teaching me about t
he care of an orphan.

and i finally caught on to why:
isn't "orphan care" something God's been passionate about?
since Calvary, or before?

since that is what He does,
each time someone gives their life to Jesus.

every time that happens
God opens up His family.
adopts him in.
exchanges her status
from stranger to daughter.
once a slave to sin,
now given the rights of sonship!
i call Him: Abba, Father!

Jesus - sharing His inheritance.
with me!

from orphan... to child of God!
"no longer a stranger ... a member of God's family"
[ephesians 2:19]

no wonder God commands me & other Christ-followers to
"look after the orphan"! [james 1:27]
since i can relate! since that is what i once was!
and i now know the joy of being adopted in.

praise the Lord for adopting me!
and for beginning to teach me
how caring for the orphan
is one way we will
His care for us.

Jesus' promise: "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
[john 14:18]

Monday, February 7, 2011

kisses from katie

a couple years ago my life was changed.

a sweet friend Erin shared a link to another blog. i clicked over, curious.
a blog written by another brown-haired katie from tennessee.
who, 19 years old, had up & moved to Uganda.
skipping the expected, traditional high-school-to-college-to-career path.
following the Lord's will for her life, listening intently to His voice, submitting to His leading.

had moved there first for a little while. and then for forever.
14 adopted kids of her own, hundreds sponsored, thousands more fed.

i was sucked into her world. shocked by her stories. amazed at her heart.
i was changed by her heart for the orphan, for the 'least of these'.
but also by her huge heart for Jesus.

she was one who really seemed to understand...
that Jesus ministered to all kinds of need.
couldn't be confined to just 'liberal' or 'conservative'.
couldn't be pegged as either some secular social worker or some Bible-thumping street preacher.
He saw needs: both physical and spiritual.
He met needs: both physical and spiritual.

Katie lives what Jesus modeled: feed their bellies while you feed their souls.
it's both/and. not either/or.
as you feed them bread, feed them Bread.
as you give them water to satisfy their need, share Living Water,
to quench their deepest thirst.

how sweet that as she tells them of His love for them,
she can give them a picture of this love,
by coupling her words with action.

in about a month, i will get to briefly join her there. more on that to come :)

king and a kingdom...

i consider myself more of a 'reader' than a 'writer'.
[thus the background]

however, after a little encouragement, i've decided to give this a go.

title comes from a derek webb song that totally rocked me back in the day.

here's the excerpt i love:
my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a King and a Kingdom

it's about what (i hope) defines me.
what dictates my priorities, passions, pursuit...
the Person, Jesus.

so He's what i hope to write about. that and Kingdom issues He may be enlarging my heart with.

we'll see how it goes!