“Alive in You” by Jesus Culture


It’s been a while since I last shared what new music I’m listening to so here’s what’s been on repeat lately!

Jesus Culture’s latest cd has a song called “Alive in You” and I absolutely love it, especially the chorus:

You are God, You’re the Great I AM
Breath of Life I breathe You in
Even in the fire I’m alive in You.

You are strong in my brokenness
Sovereign over every step
Even in the fire I’m alive in You.

This past season has, for various reasons, often felt like a furnace. Heat, pressure, no idea what’s coming next…but Christ, “one like a son of the gods” (Dan. 3:25) not only can keep us alive in the flames of the furnace and use it to refine us: He is also with us in the furnace and sovereign over every step that led us there and every step we’ll take afterwards. It’s truth I need to keep hearing ūüôā

 

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I Am Groot-Transition, New Beginnings, and Isaiah 6


 

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A few weeks ago at our orientation for GGBTS, Dr. Durst shared a devotional on Isaiah 6. He started from the beginning of the chapter-Isaiah’s vision of the Lord on the throne and Isaiah’s call to go and speak to the people of Israel on God’s behalf. The chapter is a familiar one to me and yet God still spoke a distinctly new thing to me through it. (side note: isn’t it amazing and wonderful to hear new things continually through the Word? I love it!)

I’d never really focused on the last verse of the chapter before. After volunteering to accept God’s call, Isaiah asks in verse 11 how long this mission to speak for the Lord is to last (which is a good question, although the timing brings to mind Merry and Pippen’s stunt in the movie version of¬†The Fellowship of the Ring where they insist on accompanying Frodo with the Ring¬†and only after being accepted say, “Great. Where are we going?”).

God’s answer is that Isaiah is to speak until judgement comes upon the people (v-11-12). This is¬†probably not what Isaiah wanted to hear¬†(although I have no way of knowing and this is just informed conjecture). I know if I were in Isaiah’s shoes (sandals?), what I’d want to hear from God would be more along the lines of “Until the whole nation repents and you are a national hero!” or “Until I call you to a different task” or even “Until you’ve faithfully obeyed me even though not many have repented.” But to hear the Lord effectively say “Obey my call until the nation is destroyed in judgement for its sins and taken into captivity and the land is mostly forsaken”? Wow…I don’t know how I’d react to that, honestly.

But, hard as the answer is, that’s not where God leaves things. He’s told Isaiah that it won’t be an easy ministry by any means and that there’s an incredibly hard transition coming, but his last words to Isaiah here leave him with hope:

And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump. -Isaiah 6:13

A remnant will remain. Even in his judgement on the people who have forsaken him, God will spare and preserve some. And from this stump will come new life! (Hence the Guardians of the Galaxy reference-sorry if that’s spoilers for any of you, but c’mon! It’s been out for quite a while now.)¬†It’s hard not to think of God’s messianic promise in the midst of cursing the snake in Genesis 3:15 that Eve’s offspring (literally¬†seed in Hebrew) will crush the serpent’s offspring under his heel. From this remnant comes a Messiah.

God’s promises have not failed, his purposes have not been thwarted. He remains faithful.¬†post-tbird

What a joy and comfort to know that God is a God who-even in the midst of judgement and punishment- is in the business of fresh starts, new life, restoration, and reconciliation for his chosen people. New life from the ashes of the stump.

Monday Morning Music-Tuesday Edition!


“It is Well” by Bethel Music

“So let go my soul and trust in Him / The waves and wind still know His name”

I need to be reminded (often) that I’m not the only one know knows His name-my troubles know it too. Praise God. A beautiful song to carry through the week.

ReBlog: Why You Settle For Less via Storyline


*Photo Credit: bark, Creative Commons
*Photo Credit: bark, Creative Commons

About a month ago in a post titled “Why You Settle For Less When You Know There’s Better” on the¬†Storyline Blog, Cadence Turpin shared a simple story about a man and a maple tree. It’s stuck with me since then¬†because it deals with a topic and some questions that I’ve been asking during our transition from the past season of our life into the next one: dealing with necessary change.

How many times have I been afraid to let go of a relationship, job or opportunity because it felt hard and I wasn’t sure if God was going to really provide something better?

The answer (for me at least) is many, many times. Change isn’t always fun. Or easy. Or exciting. But there are lessons to be learned in the midst of it. One I’ve been reminded of and learning in a deeper way is the truth in Isaiah 26:3-4:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

God is faithful. HE won’t change. He’s our sure foundation in the middle of all else. And that’s the first step: trust him. The rest will follow.

You can (and should!) read the original post here: Storyline Blog.

For those that read the article and/or have put some thought into dealing with change: what are your thoughts? Any insights or lessons learned?

Golden Gate Bound


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Lauren and I the weekend we got engaged

In my¬†inaugural post here¬†I shared that “I currently find myself at the end of one particular season of life and at the beginning of another.¬†The particulars are still in flux and I‚Äôll share them at a later point.”¬†That was just over two months ago and I haven’t followed up on that promise…yet. So without further ado…

I have recently been accepted as a student at¬†Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, which is in the North Bay Area. Classes begin next month and Lauren and I will move out that direction and live on campus. Going to seminary has been something I’ve always thought of as a possibility for myself but the timing has never been right and I’d never felt God leading that direction. However, those factors have changed recently and we’ve seen God redirect us towards this via a variety of circumstances (not all of them “easy” or “fun”).

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Lauren and I are excited about this next phase of our lives. Although the unknown is seriously scary and the road that’s led here has not been all smooth sailing, the fact that we can look to God through it all is a constant encouragement and refuge for us.

A verse that’s been especially encouraging to me lately is Psalm 37:3, which says:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Wherever He has put you or is bringing you: trust him. Do good, dwell there, and be faithful. He’s worthy of our trust.

For those of you who have followed us as we’ve ministered to college students with The Navigators, this move was the subject of our most recent (and most likely last) newsletter, which you can read here if you did not receive one. -> Summer 2014

Why Joy is Fleeting


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The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, he has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home. -C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

 

Fellow Pilgrims, we are not home yet.

 

Calling: As Simple As G+P+V?


A recent article on Time.com titled “What Should You Do In Life?” had a short formula to help answer the article’s titular question. But surely a short little formula can’t answer a question that important! Or can it? I drew out the formula on a napkin like the article suggested you could do:

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What the equation promises is that your calling is the sum of your:

  • (G)ifts
    • These are the things we’re good at doing. Our talents or skills, natural or developed.
  • (P)assions
    • The things you care about-that get you fired up.
  • (V)alues
    • The preferences you have in how you do things and live life.

So just figure out what you’re good at, what you care about, and your preferences in how you do them and you’re set! Done. Pretty easy, right?

Well…

Maybe not.

Maybe what you’re good at isn’t something you’re particularly excited or passionate about. Maybe you can’t come up with much that you’re good at or maybe no one does what you care about in a way that you value and would want to learn or imitate. Maybe you just have THREE¬†more confusing questions instead of one now (“What are my gifts? What am I passionate about? What do I value?”). Maybe x, maybe y, or maybe even z!

That’s a lot of maybes. A lot of uncertainty. And it can be a scary place to be.

No matter what our questions might be, Christ is our certainty. Before all else, Christ calls us to himself.  post-tbird

“Follow me” Jesus says in Matthew 4:19 (ESV, emphasis mine) to a group of fishermen about to go through some major job transition.

“Come to¬†me” Jesus says to “all who are weary and heavy laden” in Matthew 11:28, “and I will give you rest.”

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink,” he says to the crowd at the Feast of Booths in John 7:37.

The questions of career, vocation, etc are important ones, even critical! But the first and most important question has already been answered definitively at the Cross for us. This gives us hope in the rest of the questions.