I’m captivated by your ways, so I will worship you

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Ephesians 5:1-2, The Message

In my brief break between jobs, I typically watch the latest One Tree Hill and take some time to read.  I’ve been trying to read through James, but today Ephesians 5 was on my mind.  I’m sure I’ve read it before, but I’ve never read the first few verses quite like The Message puts it.

A constant theme through Passion a month or so ago, to me, was that it really is that simple. God loves us. There aren’t a million strings and rules and loopholes attached, He simply loves us. No matter what we do or where we go.  Yes we are called to do or not do certain things, but those things are to be done or not done out of love, not a list of rules.  In going back through my journal and notes from Passion, a constant theme runs through of simplicity.  I’ve always been one to overcomplicate and overanalyze things, which can easily cause me to miss the beauty in the simplicity of things.  We were not created simply BY God, but FOR Him.  It’s simple and beautiful if you meditate on that.  In all things He does, He does them for the good of His people (Romans 8:28).  He does everything out of love, because of love, so that we may love as he loved.  Period.  This is something many of us know but sometimes forget, if that makes sense.

I was reading through an email last night and realizing how easy it is to forget to take moments and simply allow ourselves to be loved fully by God.  To simply take a minute and rest and just feel the love of God.  It sounds so simple, and it is, but this semester I’m realizing how difficult it has been for me.  To just stop and BE and BE LOVED.  Just try for even a second to comprehend the love He has for us.  It’s overwhelming to the point that all I can do is smile and say ‘thank you’  It’s beautiful.  It’s been a theme through alot of music I’ve listened to lately.  Just surrendering to love, simply love, simply surrender.  At Passion, we went through Colossians in our small group and this passage stuck out to me immensely:

This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me. Colossians 1:26-29.

It really is that simple. Just smile and rest in that. Do it. Smile. Right now 🙂

God loves us. We recognize that. We are an overflow of that Love in all that we do.  In all that we do, if we are drawing ourselves close to the Great Love constantly, we will be filled with His Spirit and our lives will be an overflow.  That may not look how we thought our lives would look.  We might change our major, our career, our relationships, friends, or change everything, but we will become and remain and overflow of the one great love.  Surrender to love.  It was always a terrifying thing to me to think of the concept of surrender, because I am by nature a ridiculous control freak, but more and more each day, I’m deeply learning and loving the beauty of that word.  It’s a relational thing.  It’s a love thing.  It’s a faith thing.

I mentioned it in my last mini blog, but in reading through James, it’s about faith.  About having faith and trust in God to do what He does.  That might not be what we want or think we need or in our timing, it won’t, but it will be what we NEED.  James 1:5-7 says the following:

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.

So here’s life:

Live-fully from the core of your being, live the life He has created for you as the person He created you to be

Laugh. because its important and it keeps you young

Love- because we were first Loved and created out of Love

Smile. because this is also important. a life of overflow from the Spirit will be a life full of smiles. tears as well, but tears of vulnerability falling into the hands of the faithful God. a faithful God who will lift us from what we think are the hardest times of our lives. a faithful God who will give us strength to do exactly what He created each of us to do.

Pray. This is the final and critical component of life.  Relationships don’t happen without communication.  The crux of faith is prayer. and the crux of life is faith.

Live.Laugh.Love.Smile.Pray

Kutless, Taken by Love:

The world will fade away
As I lift my hands
A king that’s worthy of praise
Is the Great I Am

The joy you’ve given rings out
As I lift my voice

I’m captivated by your ways so I will worship You

You’ve taken me by love
You’ve taken me by grace
You’ve taken me away
I can’t resist because
You’ve taken heart

All creation will bow
to the risen king
All of heaven will shout
And the earth sing

The joy you’ve given rings out
As I lift my voice

I’m captivated by your ways so I will worship You

don’t be a wave

“If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm.A man like that shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord.  He can’t make up his mind. He can never decide what to do.”

James 1: 6-8

When we ask, we receive if we have faith. If we receive and attempt to ignore, it will only work for so long (the ignoring).  God is good, He carries through. He provides.  We HAVE to trust. we cannot be indecisive we cannot expect Him to halfway answer our prayers. we cannot expect Him to let us pick and choose what parts or things we follow. we follow Him, period.  I’m re-reading through James starting about an hour ago and half blogging my thoughts

Spring break in Nicaragua

Greetings friends and family.

I am having a good 2009-2010 school year so far here at MTSU.  As most of you know I am in my senior year at MTSU and majoring in psychology.   The classes are challenging but are a key part in preparing me for life after school and for discerning where I am being led to serve in the world through my work after college.  Another key part of this growth has been my involvement with the PSF at MTSU throughout my senior year, an on-campus ministry that is focused on connecting my faith in God to life here at MTSU and for the years to come.   PSF has provided opportunities for worship and Bible study, a great community of people, and opportunities to serve here locally as well as reaching out to those who are in need outside of Murfreesboro.

A group from PSF is going to Leon, Nicaragua next Spring Break for a mission work trip from March 6th –March 13th through a ministry called El Ayudante (The Helper).  I have committed to be part of this team and we are all so excited about the opportunities ahead of us!  Our team of about 25-30 MTSU students and a few other mission experienced adults will be helping Nicaraguan workers with painting and some other construction projects that will help the orphanage, medical clinic, and some of those in critical need there in the community of Leon.   In addition to the construction work we look forward to spending time with the local children.  We plan to do music and sports ministry with the kids and share some fun times together, just playing and singing. It is our hope that this trip will be a life changing experience for the youth and adult leaders who seek to live out the gospel through working in Nicaragua. Many times on these short term mission trips, we receive far more than we can ever give to people. However, we are intent on sharing the love of Christ through service, relationship, and love.

 

As you might imagine, this trip is a major financial commitment for us.  We have to raise the entire personal cost of our trip (airfare and expenses while there) as well as the cost of supplies for our construction work.  We hope to raise the estimated $30,000-35,000 cost of the trip for our team.  We have contacted several of our supporting churches and hope to receive around $5000 in addition to the $3000 that PSF has committed in support of this trip. This leaves each individual on the trip a need to raise an average of $850- $1000.   We are writing to ask if you would consider being a sponsor for our team.   To do this you could contribute to the group’s mission account in our name, pray for us, and hold us accountable to tell you about God’s greatness as evidenced on our trip.

If you would like to sponsor us with a donation (donations are tax deductible), please make the check payable to “PSF at MTSU” with the designation to “Mission Trip.”  Please also send the enclosed donation card.  You can use the return envelopes that have been enclosed or mail them to:

PSF at MTSU

2529 Middle Tennessee Blvd. Murfreesboro, TN  37130

If you would like to know more about the El Ayudante and the types of things we will be doing, you can check out their website at www.nicamissions.com.   Your prayers are requested throughout these next months as we make our plans and seek God’s guidance. Thank you so much for supporting us with your love and prayers, and for participating in God’s ministry with us as you feel led.

March 5 is approaching quickly, if you’d like to help out, please try and do so by February 29!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call at (615) 579-8320.