Monday, July 28, 2008

What Happened To The Love?

Does anybody know? What happened to acceptance?

These days I'm hearing about kids getting completely shunned from everything, everything, because of their orientation, style, race, choice of music, personality, etc. Some of the most awesome people I've met have been closed off and cast out because of who they are and that is SO WRONG I can hardly even articulate right now. Sure, maybe they're shunned because of a continuous sin in their lives, but you know what? Jesus calls us to love them anyways!
Jesus loves the following:
Child abusers
Gay/bisexual people
Sexual abusers
Slave traders and owners
And so many more that I can't even think of right now.
Regardless of what they've done or who they are. Now, does He like what they do? No, not at all! But He loves them unconditionally, even if they don't love Him back.
Jesus has set an example for us- love everyone no matter where they are in life. When Christ saves people, He doesn't say, "Okay, first make yourself perfect and THEN we'll talk about having a relationship and you getting to heaven and whatnot." NO! He says, "I will meet you where you are. Let me love you and I will make you clean if you let me. If you cry out to me for forgiveness, your call won't be unanswered. Let me love you, and we'll talk about the rest later."
For example, when the woman in John 8 was caught DURING sex with a man who was NOT her husband and brought before Christ, did He say, "Get away! I will smite you unless you are perfect before coming to me!" HECK NO! He said, "I do not condemn you- leave your life of sin." First, He showed her complete love and mercy by forgiving her when she came to him. And then He said, "Leave your life of sin." True love comes first at all times. A changed life is a result of that love.
So we need to follow Christ's example. Love the people first with a sincere, steadfast love. It's the greatest need in the world. The changed life because of that love will come later.

Post-Mission Trip Blog

As much as I would love to relay every single detail of my week-long trip on this blog, I really don't want to sit here for two hours of writing.
If you would really like to hear about my trip and the things I experienced, then I would be more than happy to talk to you about it. Because, let's face it- it was freaking awesome. :]
So, I'll give you a summary of the important things.
All through the week God had been using small experiences to mold me and whatnot. By the end of the week I felt like a different person, literally. I mean, I acted basically the same [i.e. dry humor, same manner of talking, personality, and other things of that nature] but the way I thought about things, myself, and other people had totally flipped. And in the back of my mind I realized that each of those amazing experiences I had were connected in some way, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Then Sunday night at 11:15 pm, a full 29 hours after the trip had ended, it hit me-
God had been teaching me to work through the things that hinder me and just live to Him.
I don't know about you but there are several things in my daily life that keep me from living fully and walking with God. Here's a list of the most common of my hindrances and how God used certain times at Navajo to cut them away:
1) Cynicism (not getting attached to people because I would end up having to say goodbye and getting hurt): All through the week I felt God pushing me to take a leap and love everyone without holding back. Normally I would never do that because it always ends in saying goodbye and, being the selfish person I am, I don't want to get hurt. But I decided to take the challenge and I can proudly say that I let myself get attached to the people I met there. It hurt so bad when I had to leave [ask Katie, she was gracious enough to let me bawl my eyes out on her shoulder] but I'm glad I did it. It really is better to have loved and lost.
2) Vanity: Now, I'm not the type of chick who can't go get the mail without putting a pound of makeup on first. I'm also not the type to freak out about not being able to wear Hollister all week [heck, I don't even wear Hollister]. But I do sometimes make vanity a bit of an issue, and staring in the mirror all day typically hinders people from living the life God gave them. Not having a mirror around all week to be checking my hair or clothes or whatever really helped to focus on God and let personality and love shine through more than appearance.
3) Letting go of the past: I do have issues with not being able to let certain aspects of my past go. I dwell on certain things. But being so busy all week and loving on other people didn't exactly give me time to reminisce about stuff, so I got to know what it feels like to let it all go for a little while- which, I must say, is tons better than holding on to something that keeps my focus off of God.
4) Selfishness: God threw tons of little experiences into each day to teach me about honoring others above myself. When I became willing and put others ahead of me it was awesome- totally a God thing. I can't wait to put that into practice here in Loveland.

Anyways those are just the major things that hinder me daily. Moving on.
For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I was having such issues living the way God wanted me to live. Like I said, on Sunday night it dawned on me and I opened my bible to Hebrews 12, which says, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverence the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith." After reading that I thought, "So THAT'S what He was saying!" Don't ask me why it took such a long time for me to figure out such a simple spiritual truth- maybe I was blinding myself. Who knows. Point is, I've rarely ever been so focused on God or so bold in my faith before. It was during that week when God helped me cast away the things that hinder me that I was really living the way He intended me to. It was so relieving and fulfilling, I can't even describe it. So now that I know what can happen when hindrances are cut away, I'm planning on cutting away some of the things in my daily life to continue living the way He wants me to.
Please pray for me, because this isn't going to be an easy task whatsoever. But I'm willing to "run the race," if you will, and any prayers would be much appreciated.
Thanks and God bless.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pre-Mission Trip Post

In roughly 13 hours I will be embarking on a 10 hour road trip, in a van with 14 other people and limited air conditioning, speeding towards a culture none of us has ever experienced before.
[That's my epic-sounding intro.]
So, we're about to leave to go drop my stuff off at the church so they can pack it and we can be ready to leave at *gasp* 4 a.m. tomorrow morning. oaweirgjfjgsdjrfsflsdfsljfd.
I'm feeling happy, excited, and nervous all at the same time. I absolutely love to travel and meet new people, so this is kind of my forte. God has been preparing me for this trip and, while I know that in some ways I will be prepared, I'm still anticipating yet another unexpected event that He will throw at me to make me grow into a woman after His own heart. But the jitters are on the verge of being overwhelming at the same time, too.
See, we're going to be doing missions work at a Navajo reservation in northern Arizona. The Navajo culture is very rich, very rigid, and very unlike my own culture. As I was reading over the trip description, I came across a full page of ways that the Navajo pay respect to their community, nature, and each other. I came across guidelines like, "Don't make prolonged eye contact with an elder" and "Enter each house/monument/historical structure quietly and with reverence." The more I thought about it, the more nervous I got. Naturally, I'm sort of a bubbly person- for me to stay quiet when in the community is something that's going to take a miracle. Part of that bubbly nature is also to be confident with people, which includes making eye contact when speaking to someone.
The Navajo have a wonderful culture and way of life- and I'm a little worried that I'll do/say the wrong thing to offend someone, and that's the last thing I want to do.
But, I was reminded that God called me to go on this trip for a reason, and while I don't know that reason is just yet I should have faith that He will take care of things- and even if I do mess up, something good might come from it.
I started thinking about last year's Alamosa trip and what a beautiful thing it was. I can't even describe how life-changing it was- a full year later, I'm still feeling the impact of the trip and applying the lessons I learned from it to my own life. I can't wait to experience Navajo.
Out of the blue, a question popped up in my head: Why did so many people want to go on this trip? It's going to be a lot of hard work with little rest, a lot of loving others, a lot of selflessness, and a lot of self-sacrifice. It's going to be hard. Why would people go through so much trouble just to reach people?
Then David Crowder blared the answer over my speakers: "You're everything we could ever want/You're everything we could ever need/You're the reason we're coming here/You're the reason we're gonna sing/We'll shout it out loud from the rooftops/We won't be quiet/We've fallen for Your heart and we won't stop/We won't deny it."
Why do we go to such lengths to help people? Because we've fallen head-over-heels for God, it turns into love for others, and there is NO WAY we can keep quiet about this amazing love.
Pray for me and the rest of the team, that we'll be able to spread the Gospel effectively and that our efforts will go towards the Kingdom in everything we do.
I love you all. Have a good week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stop The Traffick.

"trafficking in human beings” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Article 3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (Palmero Protocol)

Human trafficking is the world's third largest organized crime, surpassed only by weapon and drug trafficking. However, it's quickly picking up speed, generating $7 billion a year in criminal proceeds. The "profession" of trafficking is gaining popularity across the world, due to the fact that little money is needed to start and prosecution for participants in the practice is rare.
Ideal victims for trafficking are either runaways or refugees, no matter their background or race; however, many traffickers hunt for people in ethnic minorities in rural, impovershed areas. According to available statistics, at least 80% of people illegally trafficked are girls and women, primarily due to the fact that sex exploitation is a fiercly growing business. Child traffickers take advantage of families living in poverty, promising good jobs for the children and a regular income if the parents agree to sell the trafficker their children. Sadly, it's not until after the children have been employed and enslaved that the parents realize they have been manipulated and deceived. Although men are slightly less at risk of being bought, sold, and enslaved than women and children, they are often the ones who are given the unskilled manual labor, sold again into sweatshops, or become soldiers in countries foreign to them.
Some causes of human trafficking include lack of employment opportunities, profitability, political and economic instability, high demand for slaves and prostitutes, low prosecution of traffickers, conflict between countries [prompting a high demand for trafficked child soldiers], and social discrimination.
Human trafficking isn't just a distant humanitarian issue- it happens everywhere, including the U.S. These aren't just statistics and numbers we're looking at. These are billions of lives, beating hearts and minds that know nothing but injustice and degradation. Every trafficked human has a story to tell, talents that are untapped and hideously underused, and a body that deserves better treatment than what they're given. Children are being trained to fight and kill enemies without giving a second thought; young women sold as prostitues are becoming mothers as early as age eleven, and some have been sexually abused so much that they are now infertile; men are starved, beaten, and forced to do manual labor in sweatshops.
It has to stop. And you can help. Visit to find out how you can be a part of a movement to put an end to the illegal trading of humans.
To help employ Ugandan children caught in the political heat of war, visit and buy a bracelet made by one of hundreds of beneficiaries involved.
Change is possible, but we can't do it alone. Promote Stop The Traffick and Invisible Children and gather your friends and family to help continue the fight together. People shouldn't be bought and sold.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

I must confess...

I really don't want to get old. At all. And for some reason I've been thinking about getting old a lot lately; maybe it's due to the fact that we'll be celebrating my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary in August [praise God for a wonderful marriage!] or maybe it's because my dad is already sending in my applications for college scholarships and it reminds me of how fast time is going by. Who knows why I've been thinking about it so much. But sometimes, [call me lame], it really stresses me out. Today was one of those times.
However, God found a wonderful means of comforting me. As I was reading one of our church missionary's blogs, I found something she had written a while back:

"A small hand with broken fingers and weathered skin reached up to the sky. A streak of grey ran through her black hair. I could barely see her 4’10” frame around the other people in the church, but her hands stretched upward without regard for anyone around her.
The sights and sounds around me seemed to fade in comparison to this woman. I was close to tears as I watched this seasoned woman hold both hands outstretched for over 20 minutes without so much as a tremble.
This is strength and beauty; a woman whose worn heart is devoted to the Lord. Some see age, the Lord sees a true worshipper. Others see weakness, the Lord sees one who has trusted despite all odds.
As I stood there, I asked the Lord if one day my hands could look like that."

Makes aging sound a lot better, doesn't it?

[blog excerpt taken from]

Saturday, July 12, 2008


diakonos [die-Ah-ka-nose] [Gk]: One who serves the Living God, who feeds the poor, and looks after the flock


Today I had the privilege of meeting the Diakonos church at the "Taste Of Loveland" festival downtown [basically a huge barbeque- competitive grillers come from all over Colorado to promote their food].
Now, the Diakonos are the farthest thing from your conventional Sunday church.
A) They don't have their own building.
B) They don't have a membership.
C) And did I mention? They wear black leather, bandanas, and boots- yes, they are all bikers.

When I first saw their booth I was a little confused. All I could see from the distance was about 20 or so Harleys leaned up against a brick building and just as many bikers running this one bbq stand. I thought, "Cool, bikers." As I drew closer I realized who they were and got extremely excited. Not only were they selling Christ-centered merch smack-dab in the middle of the festival, but they were also giving the Gospel to anyone who would stick around long enough for a biker to get off the grill shift and chat for a couple of minutes.

I can't lie- I almost cried. I felt the tears start swelling and a lump formed in my throat. Good thing I was wearing my Aviators at the time. There are few things that can make me want to cry in a public place, but one of them is seeing fellow brothers and sisters taking a stand for Christ in a place that needs it so much.

The Diakonos church is a prime example of what this world needs now. The members don't have a church building- they are the church. This is what many followers of the early church did- they traveled the streets, declaring God's Word to whoever would hear it and resting only when they needed to. They rarely stay in one place for long- they've traveled all across Colorado and Kansas and are preparing to head off into Wyoming, Nebraska, and California later this year. They reach out to everyone, but the center of their ministry is with, you guessed it, fellow bikers. Their slogan? "Offending the religious, and reaching the lost at any cost." Sounds extremely similar to the evangelists of the early church.

What I really love about them, though, is that when they do outreach, they make it clear that they don't follow religion. Rules and regulations are out of the question. What they focus on is the relationship with Jesus Christ and how to live it out according to His Word. Which is exactly what true Christianity is- no religion, just a relationship. And that is what it's all about. Jesus Himself discredited religion back in the day because religion is man jumping through hoops and rules to get to God. What Christ represented is God reaching us, because there's no way we can reach God on our own.

Needless to say I bought a shirt to support their missions. The logo is just like this only it's not in cursive. And of course it comes in the traditional biker color- black:Photobucket
Please take the time to pray for the Diakonos and their mission. For more information about their ministry and how to support it, please visit

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Blog!

So, I've started a blog. And unlike the blog I had in the past, this blog will be an account of my walk with God as I continue through the notoriously awkward teenage years.

My hope for this blog is that it will always be God's words that reach your eyes and never my own. My purpose is to serve as Christ's ambassador through which He will make His appeal. The title of my blog, "Dry Bones Dancing," is a direct reference to chapter 37 in Ezekiel. God shows Ezekiel a valley of dry bones, and asks if Ezekiel believes the bones can live again. Knowing full well that God can do the impossible, Ezekiel wisely replies, "Only You know."

And God proves to Ezekiel that He can make even the driest bones dance again.

We're all dry bones at some point in our lives. I pray that God will use this blog to remind us that He can always breathe life back into us again.