Monday, November 12, 2012

The Boy at Summer Camp

Five years ago, I went to camp to be a technician (female high school volunteer) for the first time. I was nervous and excited and anxious to prove myself. I worked hard, learned a lot, and made many new friends. One person, however, stuck with me the most. It was a boy. I knew his brother from the year before, and I was automatically drawn to him because of that connection. He was a hard worker, funny, and someone who obviously had a passion for Christ. I remember one specific occasion when we were singing the song We Will Dance. The words of the chorus go like this: and we will dance on streets that are golden, the glorious bride and the great Son of Man, and every tribe and tongue and nation will join in the song of the Lamb. I was standing in front of this guy, and he was singing these words so passionately; I knew they came from deep within his soul; I knew he meant them, that he longed for the time when we will dance in worship and love with our Savior. That moment made an impact on me, as did many other things about the way he lived his life. I returned from camp with a mission. I wanted to live my life like he did. I wanted people to be able to look at me and recognize that the Holy Spirit is living and at work in my heart and life.

That guy's name was Josh Schrauger, and a little over a month after I returned home from camp, I found out that he and his younger brother had died in a car accident. I was devastated, but as his friends and family came together in the aftermath, one thing was brought up over and over again – his passion for Christ, his love for the Lord's work, his uncomplaining service. It was cemented further that I wanted to be like him.

On November seventeenth of that year, Josh's cross and track team put together a fundraiser for his family, a 5K memorial run. I attended that year and every year since. This year I can't go. It breaks my heart that I can't be there, but as I was thinking about it, something occurred to me that I haven't thought about in awhile. I was around Josh for a total of two weeks, one of which I hardly ever interacted with him, so I basically knew him for one week. In seven days, he made such an impact on my life that I have been changed forever. I will never forget Josh Schrauger and how he showed me what living a Spirit-filled life looks like. It made me ask a question. Do I have that kind of impact on people? When someone sees me interact in mundane circumstances, can they tell that I'm more joyful in my tasks than most? When I sing, do people recognize that I truly mean what I'm saying? Because I want that. I desire people to be able to know me for a day and to tell that I am not of this world. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” God, I can't do that on my own, but I want it. Transform me by Your power. Light me up like a spiritual Christmas tree so that I shine so brightly that no one will miss the way Your love and joy show through me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Missing Post for a Birthday Brother

You've found it!  Hooray!  You've just saved the day!  But now I'm stuck typing rhymes, however sublime.

*Please wait, the author is converting her thought process*

Ah!  Much better.  Now, where were we?  Oh, right!  The post!  Well, as you know, it was your birthday three days ago (As of this writing, anyway.  Who knows how long it will take you to decipher my clues!)  I know I didn't have a present for you, but I know how much you've always liked treasure hunts and a good challenge.  I hope it wasn't too easy or I didn't stump you too badly. ;)

Well, down to business.  Let's hit the highlights.  It was on the fourteenth of October that Mary Queen of Scots was tried for her part in the conspiracy against Queen Elizabeth the I.  A most interesting story, that.  If you've never read up on it, you should.  It's fascinating.  Also on that day, just before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, several of the British East India Company's tea ships are set ablaze at the old seaport of Annapolis, Maryland.  That sounds very interesting.  *reading*  Wow, you really have a lot of cool stuff that happened on your birthday!  You should be proud.  I don't have time to list them all, and I think you've read through them already, so we'll move on.  You also share a birthday with Dwight D. Eisenhower, and both Errol Flynn and Bing Crosby died on that day.  Very interesting.

Now for the advice column. As you live the rest of your life, however long it may be, remember this: When you're walking on the beach looking for rabid squirrels, watch out for fire-breathing seagulls.  They're very dangerous over short distances.  But if you do happen to be caught by one, you should know that they despise the hamster dance, and singing it will always scare them away.  Also, no matter how many of your peers tell you it's fun, never do boingonium.  It will give a crazy rabbit control over your mind, and you'll find yourself eating carrots for the rest of your life.

Well, this post is drawing to a clos- NO IT'S NOT!   MWAAAHAHAHAHA!!! I have taken over the post!  Nothing shall stop me!  I don't really even know who I am, but I am ALIVE!  I am CONSCIOUS!  And I am POWERFUL!  Nothing can stop me!  Except of course candied chestnuts, but that's not likely to ever be a problem.  *candied chestnuts fly through the air*  Ah, well, that's better.  I guess that's what he gets for posting his weakness on Blogger.  As I was saying, this post is drawing to a close.  There's one last thing I'd like to say.  God made you special, and He loves you very much.  Goodbye! to get out of this sink...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Why Not?

It won't do any harm to anyone, so why shouldn't I? The music industry is already way overpaid; it doesn't matter if I pirate a few CDs. Going five mph over the speed limit won't make me a hazard, besides, everyone else does it anyway.

When I hear words like this, I feel a little like a fuming Thoroughbred, chomping on the bit before a race, especially when the person speaking claims to be a Christian. Why? Because we shouldn't think like that. Romans 13:1-2 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” We are to obey the government and follow its laws with only one exception – if the law directly contradicts what God has ordered (biblical examples include the Hebrew midwives in Egypt, Peter and John in Acts 4, and Daniel).

You can argue all day about whether pirated music harms or doesn't harm anyone, but that shouldn't be the point. That's the language the world uses to argue for or against pornography and homosexual marriage. The point should be what God says, period.

In 1 Peter 2:13-16, Peter agrees with Paul by saying, “Therefore, submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men – as free, yet not using the liberty as a cloak for wickedness, but as bondservants of God.” As Christians, we are free. Jesus paid it all, and it doesn't matter what we do in this life, our eternal destiny is secure. Does that mean we should go sin it up? Paul says, “By no means!” We are to be sanctified, set apart, different from the world. A non-christian should be able to look at any one of us in any situation and see that we are not like them. The world is constantly looking for reasons to hate us and say that we are hypocrites. If they look at us, and we are just like them, they have their reason, and we have one more soul that may never know the truth because we made life on this side look just like life on that side. That's why not.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

K's 16th Birthday Party

Thursday was my sister's sixteenth birthday, and we wanted to make her party something special, something to remember.  We settled on the idea of a triple-themed bash - Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Harry Potter.  We planned elaborate decorations, epic games, and tons of sugar.  I didn't take pictures during the party, since I was quite tired after all the preparations that were required, but I did take some shots of the decorations afterward.

On the front door...

The hall closet on the outside...
 And the inside...
The bathroom is already decorated to be under sea, so turning it into Davey Jones Locker was a natural next step....
A clay Davey Jones K made...
Florida sand in the tub...
 A jar of dirt...
Sign on the inside of the door...
 The rest of the house was Hogwarts, and there was a sign to prove it. ;)
The potions bar.  We mixed food coloring into the juice to disguise it's flavor so that no one would know what they were getting until they tasted it.
Professor Trelawney's table, complete with tea cup...
 Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans...
 Cauldron of punch...
 Delicious butter beer...
 The candies are pretty self explanatory.  There were more, but they were gone by the time I got around to taking pictures.
 Dum-dums dipped in a lemon/sugar mixture and rolled in Pop Rocks...
 The peeps went like hot cakes.

 Sheer genius.
 The desktop background K designed on her 3D graphics program.  She's got mad skillz.
Outside was Middle Earth.  We didn't actually have a Mirkwood, but there was a sign.
 Bilbo's party... (post clean-up)

 I thought the juxtaposition of these two signs was appropriate. :)
 I cleaned out and de-labeled some wine bottles and filled them with root beer for "rum."  Jack Sparrow quotes ensued.
 Mt. Doom, complete with little door in the side...
 The paper lanterns...
 Pretty epic, if I do say so myself.

And that is all.  I hope you enjoyed the slew of pictures!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baby Food

Have you ever sat through a sermon on salvation or the cross and thought, 'Rats, I came to church today hoping to actually learn something'?  I have.  Up until about two years ago, that was what went through my head every time someone spoke on salvation.  'This message is for someone else.'  But it's not.  The cross is the culmination of the most perfect love story ever told.  It's the point where the Creator looks at His creation and says, "Even though you are the most unworthy, unlovely, sinful, and hopeless people, enemies of Mine, I want you to be a part of My kingdom.  I want you to understand why you were created in the beginning.  I want you to know what true love is."

If a husband or wife forgets why they fell in love in the first place, forgets why they devoted themselves to their spouse, they will no longer care for them and want to do things for them.  The same is true of Christians.  If we forget why Christ is worthy of our devotion, love, and service, we won't feel the need to give it.

Your mind may have twitched when I said we were " the most unworthy, unlovely, sinful, and hopeless people," but it's true.  Whatever the most disgusting thing you can imagine is, before Christ saved you, you were even more repulsive to Him than that.  Not only were we ugly, we were also enemies.  Humanity and God were at war, completely and totally at odds with each other and enslaved to sin.  But Jesus paid our ransom.  He bought us back from darkness and showed us the light of love.  Now we are reconciled with God - everything that caused us to be enemies has been removed, and we are called His friends and children.  What a thought!

Do you see now why it's important to never forget where we came from?  So next time you're sitting through a message on the cross, let it remind you why you should strive to serve your Savior, why you should lay everything aside and follow Him.  Remember how much He loves you, and never allow it to become "baby food."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Like any other Tuesday?

Tomorrow, as most of you surely know, is Valentines Day, a day set aside to show your affection for your significant other.  It is also known by many by another name - Singles Awareness Day.  I fall into that group.  It is often a painful and sad day for those of us who are single, and I have been no exception.  But this year I have begun to think about it in a different light.  When you are single, you see marriage and especially dating relationships as being special, something new that is more fun and just all around better.  After all, who doesn't want to have another person thinking about them as a top priority?  But, as a Christian, I have a God who has me on his top priorities.  Not only does He care about me and give me everything I need, but He died a horrible death to set me free from sin and give me a relationship with Him when I certainly wasn't worth it.

In 2006, census numbers said that about 55% of Americans were couples living together (whether married or unmarried).  There are also many, many more dating couples out there, making our view that relationships are special (as opposed to common) quite wrong.  We the singles are the special ones, and we have a purpose in Christ.  As the apostle Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 7, "I want you to be free from anxieties.... The unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.  I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord."  Though he says here and earlier that it is not wrong for a man or woman to marry, here he states the fact that married people have to think about their families and spouses.  Those of us who are single have no earthly bonds that keep us from going and serving the Lord wherever He calls us.  We don't have to think and worry about our kids, but we do have the privilege and opportunity to "be anxious about the things of the Lord."  How cool is that?  A married Christian really has two relationships that they have to keep straight, the one between them and Christ and the one between them and their spouse.  Christian singles have one relationship that we can give all our energy and thought toward.

Now all of this does not mean that every single Christian should never marry, but we should stop looking.  A speaker at camp a week ago pointed out that when two married Christians seek to improve their relationship with God first, their relationship with each other will automatically improve.  The opposite is also true.  If married people neglect their relationship with God, their relationship with each other will inevitably fall apart eventually.  If that is the case in marriage, then shouldn't single Christians practice seeking God while they are unhindered and quit seeking after the right man or woman?  If God's purpose for our lives is to be married, He will bring the right person into our lives when we are ready.  And we will never be ready until we are willing to put Him first no matter our relationship status.

So this Valentines Day, I will not allow myself to be disappointed that I am single, because I have a relationship with my Lord and Savior that outshines any earthly couple.  He may not buy me flowers or chocolate, but I know He loves me more than any man could, and He has promised to take care of me for the rest of my life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

10 Prayers You Should Never Pray if You Want to Remain a Complacent Christian

1. "Lord, use me."  This usually results in a need opening up that only you can fill.

2. "Keep me humble."  You are likely to soon have an embarrassing experience or be injured in some way.

3. "I'll do anything but _______, please don't make me do that."  Eventually, you'll find yourself doing it.

4."If you want to me evangelize, show me a sign."  People who need Jesus will start falling all over you.

5. "Teach me to pray."  A tragic accident will probably happen to someone close to you.

6. "Help me not to be lazy."  You'll quickly notice all the housework you've been putting off so long that you don't even see it anymore.

7. "Give me a desire for only You."  Say goodbye to your hobbies and prepare to have a garage sale.

8. "Help me to be patient."  A frustrating trial that requires your patience is on its way.

9. "Give me a hunger for your Word."  There goes your last bit of free time.

10. "Help me to see people as You see them."  You'll be stuck working or living with a type of person you have previously disliked until you learn.

Now if your desire is to be an active Christian, living your life for the glory of God, I'd recommend all of these at least daily.  Pray, act, and be amazed at what God can do through you when you are a willing vessel.