Thursday, April 23, 2009

depravity & a late night. exactly as it was scrawled in my notebook.

naked. exposed. vulnerable. violated. unworthy. useless. unloveable. trash. ugly. ashamed. abused. belittled. dirty. alone. cold. haunted. plagued. cheated. double-minded. doubtful. torn. conflicted. victimized.

from the beginning, there's been a war for my mind; and it would seem as if the bad guys were winning. my peace has been threatened.

a vagabond, a charlatan
i've wandered
hands covering my
face, You lowered my
arms, my guard, fought your
way into my vulnerable heart past
the thoughts of unworthiness...
i'm convinced,
there was never a
time when You didn't
have Your hand holding
mine... I may have dirty
hands, cold from the night,
I may have cheated on you
with an ace hidden up my sleeve, or
so I thought-
I may have acted the harlot... but
I'm convinced that You are the bigger
man, the better half, the one who forgives
the thief & traitor, adultress... I turned on
myself, I'm conflicted, I'm divided- now I'm
in the corner naked & violated, because I let
myself go- You silence both halves of me &
for a while at least, I'm at peace... I'm
convinced, You desire me even after all I've done...
I need to realize, You still chase me, pursue
me, You love me, & where would I be if You didn't?

precious. prized. beloved. clean. restored. treasured. important. meaningful. purposeful. warm. comforted. sheltered. rested. wanted. desired. healed. whole. lifted.


Monday, February 2, 2009


It's been over a week since I went to the youth conference called Thirst, but I felt the need to write a quick blurb about my experience.

It was quite a showy setup- a stage with spotlights and new equipment, projected lyrics, a worship band with attractive members, all dressed quite stylishly.

Great. An empty show, solely meant for a spiritual high with no real life change. I did not have high hopes for that night.

Taryn and I rushed the stage as soon as we walked in. Worship started soon thereafter. Since I didn't know the songs they were playing, I took to observing the people around me [as well as following the lyrics on the graphically appealing projection screen, of course]. Most people were really getting into it- raising their hands, kneeling, crying. Hm, I thought. That's cool, but are they really feeling it, or are they just showing off? It's unnecessarily hard to tell the hypocrites from the sincere these days. [Yes, I'm a cynic.]

Then something caught my eye. A few feet in front of me, a tall, strong young man [I'm guessing him to be about seventeen or eighteen] collapsed, I mean COLLAPSED, onto his knees in a completely submissive state of worship. I saw him crying.

There are very few forces that can bring a man down like that.

Worship ended, the sermon began, and while I did take something away from that it's not the main point of this post, so I'll save that for another day.

After that sermon there was another worship session. I was really starting to feel God in that room and I thought, Hm, maybe this isn't just a charismatic show after all.

A couple hundred of us, students and youth leaders alike walked to the aisles for worship.

I can't really explain what happened right then, but it was one of the most surreal things I've ever experienced. I'm not kidding you, I was literally expecting flaming tongues of fire to appear on the head of every person in that room.

As I stood in the aisle I was joined by this FREAKISHLY tall boy- as he walked up, the lead singer of the worship band invited everyone to join hands. So of course we did join hands, and together we worshiped, like a brother and sister. It was really cool. That got old after a while though, so we disconnected and wandered away.

Our little Faith Evangelical church group started to form a prayer circle. After a while three girls whom none of us knew joined us. A tallish girl with blond hair took my hand when she joined. After about a minute of prayer I heard her bawling, I mean really wailing- as I held her hand I could feel her tremble. I didn't know what her name was or where she came from, but all I knew was that God was working in her right then, that she was my sister and that I loved her as if we were the closest friends. Just as a sister would have, I embraced her and let her cry it out on my shoulder. It was surreal. I was completely overcome.

Simultaneously we both fell on our faces in worship and prayer. I wasn't crying out of desperation or loneliness like I know many of those other teens were- I was crying out of awe and love. I loved so much in those few moments that it physically hurt the cavity in my chest. I was so amazed by this God who could bring a roomful of seemingly invincible teenagers to tears.

This lasted for a really long time. No one wanted to leave, and the band played on. Several people took the microphone and shared their personal revelations. The young man I had seen fall to his knees at the beginning of the conference stepped up to the mike. He began to pray for all of us there, his family. He thanked God for the opportunity to come out here. He prayed for those he knew were hurting. After praising God for a while he became overcome with tears and couldn't talk anymore. I love him, too.

Our circle prayed on. Though we had disconnected hands we were all still in a circle. Most of us were kneeling, others were facedown on the ground. I opened my eyes once during my prayer, and I saw Danny praying over Taryn's ankle. I didn't tell him this, but that was one of the best things I've ever seen. You could feel the passion radiating from him.

Much more happened, but the English language doesn't have the right vocabulary to describe it. All I can say is, I don't know who all was in that room, I probably only knew a grand total of twenty people there- but I can't wait to see every single person who was there in heaven. I really can't. I can't wait to spend eternity with them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Journal Entries from Freshman Snow Camp 2009

1/16/09 Friday night

[On Nick's talk]: I'm a Christian, sitting in the boat being called by Christ to be a fisher of men- I believe, but do I ever really follow? I can hear him calling me, holding out his hand, I want to follow but I need to be trained... what does truly following God look like? Is it deeds, a change of lifestyle, or a total change of insides and character? I'm begging him, please, PLEASE, clean out my insides and tell me what to do... Five Iron Frenzy's "Far Far Away" comes to mind...

1/17/09 Saturday morning

[On morning devotions]: I'm still praying for God to gut me, transform me from the inside out... I didn't actually do the devotion, but I read Ephesians "Living As Children of Light" and was struck dumb by the passage...

Saturday night

[On group sessions]: I can't believe I finally spilled my guts about the OD-ing I used to do. It felt right, though. My friends spilled their guts, too, and we're closer and understand each other better because of it...
[On the campfire worship session]: It was so beautiful I can't even describe it. There was such a sense of family, EVERYONE felt connected. People kept talking about how we ARE family, and it made me realize that we are bonded by something so much deeper than blood... Bill told us to never forget the moment... awesome acoustic worship... I saw a shooting star while singing "Your Love Is Extravagant" to the sky, and I know it was meant for us... I cried... We sang "Jesus Lover Of My Soul," "Prince Of Peace," "My Savior My God," "Blessed Be Your Name," "Heart Of Worship [a capella]," "Surrender..."

I don't want to leave. This is my family, and we may not all be together like this again. I love everyone here, I mean REALLY love them because of who they are in Christ. I can hear God out here in the mountains... I've stepped out of the boat... I'm ready to read the Bible myself and work on joining worship band in the summer as a guitarist, start really loving and ministering, learning to be full of God and absolute truth... I love this. I'm so blessed to be here. It's a spiritual high, sure, but I've learned solid, substantial stuff and I've gotten a lot of things straightened out...

When I'm eighteen, I'm getting a star tattoo with a verse in Hebrew [or Spanish, maybe??] to accompany it. stars play such a big role out here...

1/18/09 Sunday morning

[On morning worship]: The band played "Surrender" and everyone fell to their knees... I learned more about my calling through 2 Peter... we had one last group hug... took the group picture in front of the Covenant Heights sign... had an awesome time in Estes...
and then it was over.

End of entries.

I walked away with a lot this weekend. I'm never forgetting it. Loneliness truly is a bit of hell... now I've gotten a taste of what heaven is like.

it clicked.

i just came back from bible study, where we're reading through Alex and Brett Harris' "Do Hard Things," and i have a few quick thoughts i'd like to relay to anyone who's reading this.

i figured out a huge part of why so many teens i know [myself, especially] are so restless and feel so bored with their lives here in loveland... and anywhere else, really.

what does society expect of teens? go to school (you don't necessarily have to pass). be immature (already accomplished). party hard and get drunk (staggering numbers of teens do this every weekend). blow off work and any other responsibility (who needs work ethic?). stay a kid for as long as possible (even though we're so close to adulthood). be irresponsible with your money (hey, we have disposable income, and it helps the economy, right?). text all the time (a kid has to stay in touch with all the hot gossip). never communicate with or respect your parents (they're a bunch of old geezers anyway).

no one expects anything of us. ANYTHING. i can't stress how little our society expects of young adults. it's completely ridiculous and very insulting.

God made us to do so much more. yet, we buy into the lie that adolescence is a vacation... and we feel robbed, and don't know why. we are horrendously trapped.

brooke erickson put it in a very clear way. have you ever seen a tiger or a lion pacing back and forth in their cage at the zoo? why do you think they do that?

answer: they were never meant to be in that cage, and something in them knows it. they were meant to be wild and have no bounderies, they were made to run, they were made to be powerful. yet they are in a cage, they are demoted, and they crave something more.

i realized that the reason i've been feeling so restless and trapped is not because my life is mundane. it's because the world's expectations of me are so low that i've come to meet them, and they're not enough. i know i could be doing something more. and THAT'S what i'm upset about. i love my life. it's the expectations and lack of opportunity that disgust and bore me to no end and make me want to get the heck out of here.

i've forgotten to live up to God's expectations. i had come to accept that teenhood is a vacation and there's really no responsibility. in reality, that's one of the most revolting lies ever conceived. God has an abundant life planned out, and i haven't been experiencing that because i'm only meeting the low expectations of everything else.

no more. i'm so done with that.

reader: do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed through the renewing of your mind, that you may find and live in the perfect, good, and pleasing will of not let others look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. QUIT buying into the lie that adolescence is meaningless and unproductive. we were MADE to be meaningful and productive, to follow God's perfect will. raise the bar. you will not be satisfied with life until you are working towards God's expectations instead of the world's. i tell you this because i love you and i'm tired of seeing our generation be dehumanized.