Two Months From Today!

Today is October 25th and that means that Christmas is only 2 months away! I'm so excited. I love Christmas. I'm seriously considering watching one of my Christmas movies. Hmmm...which one to choose. It's A Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street (in black and white), White Christmas, A Christmas Carol or one of the great Christmas cartoons like A Charlie Brown Christmas or The Grinch. I also like to watch the Christmas episodes of FRIENDS. Oh how Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross make me laugh on Christmas.

I will admit that I have already started listening to Christmas music. I like to start that a little early, like October 1st. Go ahead and judge me, I'm used to it. I will say this, as much as I love Christmas, I'm not a huge fan of shopping around Christmas. I love being able to get my friends and family gifts, but shopping around Christmas is a little scary. Wes and I took part in 5am Black Friday last year and I can say with about 99% certainty that we will not take part again this year!

My God Loves the Nations

Over the last two months my attitude has changed about missions on a weekly basis. I've always believed in missions and have seen it as a part of what the church should be doing. I went on mission trips in high school around the country and then went out of the country for the first time after my freshmen year at OBU. I remember getting ready for the Nicaragua trip and thinking how I was going to make a difference in the lives of the boys at the orphanage. It took me about 5 minutes after getting there to realize that this trip was not at all about me impacting the lives of these kids, but about the GOSPEL changing their life. That was 2007 and it has taken me almost three years to understand the true purpose of missions.

This past summer I began reading a book that has not only changed my mind and heart about missions but has changed the hearts and minds of many around the country. David Platt is the pastor at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, and he is the author of the book Radical. I can honestly say that this is one of those books that I have to read a chapter at a time and then re-read it because it challenges the way you think about things. I did a similar thing with Crazy Love by Francis Chan and The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoffer. In this book, Platt talks about how we have allowed the American Dream to creep into our churches and thus kill the work of missions around the world. We have created lives that are comfortable and safe and in the meantime neglected what it means to live out the Gospel in the way that Christ demanded.

This semester at SEBTS, I'm taking a class on Christian Missions with Dr. Robinson and I am so thankful that for 3 hours every Tuesday afternoon I hear that there are people all over the world that have yet to hear the Gospel. I'm thankful that I'm reminded that there is no Plan B, we are Plan A and the work that Christ demanded is not done yet. We still have a long way to go. Platt says in his book that, "The price is certainly high for people who don't know Christ and who live in a world where Christians shrink back from self-denying faith and settle into self-indulging faith. While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remain in the dark."

I have been convicted a lot about what I'm doing for the furtherance of the kingdom. I know that at this point in my life I'm supposed to be at SEBTS studying, but I also know that I can still be living missionaly even in Wake Forest. So far, these are a few things I've thought of that can help me to think of the nations on a daily basis.

  • I hung up a world map on my wall in my bedroom to being praying for M's all over the world who are engaging lost people.
  • This month there is a new version of Operation World being released that gives statistics and current prayer request of many countries and people groups all over the world.
  • My current job is working with an Indian family who are not believers, I can use my time with them to show them the Gospel.
  • I can go to the nations on short term trips. I'm currently in the early stages of praying about going to South Africa next summer.
I am convinced that we as Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe.
David Platt

I'm Not a Fan of Waiting

Waiting: being and remaining ready and available for use

I've never really enjoyed waiting. I don't like waiting in line for roller-coasters, I don't like waiting for a table at a restaurant, I don't like waiting on people who are late, and I don't like waiting for red lights to turn green. However, for the majority of our life
we are in a period of waiting.

During my senior year at OBU, my small group and I went through a study called In Transit: What to Do With Your Wait by Mike Harder. I remember thinking that there could not have been a more fitting study for a college senior who was wondering what was next. I was genuinely excited about the study because I remember thinking I know for the most part where I'm headed. Little did I know I was completely wrong. I knew that I had been called to full-time ministry and after just getting back from a great internship at Prestonwood that summer I felt that I might be doing something exactly like that after graduation. I loved working in Women's Ministry and my plan was to apply at churches and then move to either Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Atlanta, or somewhere after I graduated and fulfill my calling.

Planning for the most part has dictated much of my life. I can tell you things that I want to do in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, etc. I love making lists and I even have lists to make lists. I've planned people's weddings, planned parties, and other events. I like to know what is next and I do not like waiting. The Lord took this study and in essence allowed me to have one big slap in the face. At the time I was a 21 year old single girl who thought I had my entire life figured out. I was going to graduate college, start a job at a church, meet Mr. Right, get married, have 3 kids and then make my family and my church my ministry.

It has been about a year since I began that study with those girls and for most of us our lives have drastically changed. One of them is married, one is getting married in a few weeks, one is doing a job she did not expect, one is currently looking for a new job, one is taking more classes to get a second degree, one is home and not on the other side of the world, one is working while preparing for grad school and one is now in her first semester at seminary. All of us have started different journeys that for the most part we could have never imagined.

I'm still in the middle of this wait and for once in my life, I actually like waiting. I love that in going through that study I learned about three people who spent a lot of their lives waiting. Joseph, David, and Jesus all spent time in their "waiting" period. The question is not whether we like to wait or not, the real question is what are we doing in the midst of our waiting period.

Some quotes from In Transit...

We wait for what's next. We wait for the right person. We wait for the perfect job. We wait for the right time to buy our first home. We wait as people come and go from our lives. We wait when we don't know what to do next. And most of the time, we don't like the wait.

Jesus chose not to let waiting consume Him even though His purpose impacted all of humanity. He was God's solution for sin. You might think that He would have been in an incredible hurry to fix that problem as soon as possible- yet He waited.

The purposes of God are often hard to understand, but He has created us for His good works. Great works, in fact. We are His masterpiece. He values us, and because of that He continually builds into us.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Chick Flicks

All week long I have been listening to my A Walk to Remember soundtrack. I have to admit it is one of my favorites, it has probably been the one CD that has stayed in both of my cars since I started driving over 6 years ago. I love it, the book, and the movie. Kayla and I decided to watch the movie tonight as an ending to our Fall Break. Prior to starting the movie, I warned her that when it comes to sappy chick flicks I tend to cry 110% of the time. It is a fact. I can have seen the same movie at least 100 times and I still cry. Just watch movies like You've Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice, The Notebook, or really most sappy chick flicks. The sad part is that I knew which part I would cry at and then warned her again.

The good thing is that for most of the movie I simply smile. This happens for many reasons. One being that sweet moments just make me smile or blush in the case of this movie. Two, the first date scene in this movie is beyond precious and three, I think Shane West is absolutely wonderful in this movie. There, I said it, I'm a hopeless romantic at times and I really hate to admit that. I sat there for nearly two hours thinking guys are not really like this and even if they are for one date that it could not possibly last beyond that. Guys like Joe Fox, Mr. Darcy, Landon Carter, and any other "knight in shining armor" have to simply be a fairytale.

In all honesty, my favorite part of the movie does not even involve Jamie Sullivan. My favorite part of this movie and the part that brings tears to my eyes faster then any other scene involves Landon and his Dad. Once Landon learns that his Dad has paid for Jamie to have home health care and then goes to his house to say thank you is by far the most moving scene in the movie. The embrace between a father and son and the way in which their relationship begins to be restored is more beautiful then any first date scene to me.

Quote from the movie by Landon: "Jamie saved my life. She taught me everything. About life, hope and the long journey ahead. I'll always miss her. But our love is like the wind. I can't see it, but I can feel it."

I by no means plan to quit watching chick flicks in the near future, but I do hope that I do not look to them as a way to think about my relationships in the future. I have no plan to follow the example set forth in them. I want to look at love through the lens of Scripture.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Have I Mentioned That I Love Fall?

I am 110% sure that fall is by far my favorite season! I love watching the leaves change colors, I love that it stays about 60 degrees outside all of the time, I love wearing hoodies and scarves, and I love all of the pumpkins. I have a pumpkin scented plug-in in my room, pumpkin harvest febreeze, and of course I have had a few pumpkin spice latte's at Starbucks. Today, my sweet friend Crescen and I are going to attempt Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing, I even bought fall themed cupcake liners the other day. I love making cupcakes and sadly I've never tried pumpkin ones. Hopefully they will turn out great. We are going to test them on our small group tonight. Enjoy the fall everyone!

Here is the link to the recipe for the cupcakes if you want to try them.