Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Blast" - The Beginnings...

Blast! Kingsfield's fun-filled, Halloween "alternative" is tomorrow evening from 6:30pm-9:30pm. 

Admission is FREE, and food is $5 per person, or $20 per family max. 

All are welcome! We have lots of activities for ALL AGES. Pony Rides - Gladiator Joust - Inflatable obstacle course and slide - Bounce House - Maze - Dunk Tank - Live Music - Cotton Candy - Games - Tons of Candy - and MUCH MORE!

I was blessed to have the opportunity to be the director of this years Blast, and I hope and pray that it goes well, and that God is glorified through the whole night!

Our setting up is off to a start, and because YOU are a faithful reader of my blog, I am going to give you a sneak peak. 

Kyle and Craig getting the lights ready...I had a vision this year of lots of lights covering the entrance with Trunk or Treat to the side, and smiling people at welcome tables right in the middle...I think it's going to be awesome. :)  Thanks boys for helping to make it happen!!!

Frank, looking GQ

Chris looks really determined...and then there is the one and only - Robert Custer
(seriously, the Custer family is amaaaazing)

Before from the back

Is this before or after Chris almost fell off the roof?...

Before from the front

O Frank.

Yes, this is one of our pastor's

Junior High Booth Before

Before to the Left

Before in the middle

Before to the right
Before on the side

Before for the men's booth (thanks to the Custer's!)

Simone thought this would never be seen by the world...

Hand made maze, built by our youth pastor (and others) - Jono

Where's Jono?

Yup...it's in our sanctuary
So there ya go! A little sneak peak to the festivities happening around here. Tonight I will be up putting the finishing touches on my pirate costume that I made, and also getting various things taken care of for Blast. I am excited! It's going to be a great night tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Shift"

I have more great news: The Junior High Ministry here at Kingsfield Church is off to a great start! 

It seems in the history of church life, sometimes the Junior Highers are the ones who are always shoved to the side. They are like the middle child, screaming for attention. They are not in Kids Ministry (which is always heavily organized and great), and they are not in the high school program (which is usually filled with fun events and camps). But they are stuck in the middle of it all...making the biggest "Shift" of their life! 

I have done youth ministry for many years, devoting myself to many overnighters, pranks, camps, bible studies, tears, laughter, costume parties, and rides home. I watched my small group of girls through 4 years of their life - freshman year to senior year - and I was so blessed to do so. 

Now I feel as if God has put a different call on my life - Junior Highers. I have felt God leading me this way ever since last December, but I decided to be really patient and just wait on God's timing. Well, God has so graciously bestowed upon me the responsibility to oversee the Junior High Ministry at Kingsfield Church now, and I am so blessed to be able to teach, lead, love, and minister to these kids. 

I daily have been asking myself, "Who am I Lord, that you would call me to do this..." I feel so inadequate. I daily have to ask God to fill me with His Holy Spirit, and to be the strength in all my weaknesses (and there are many!). 

I think the most difficult part about Junior High ministry is all the questions these kiddos have! They are coming into this stage of life now where they are learning to think for themselves, and they are being thrown some crazy theological and scientific theories at school. I noticed this right off the bat, and so the first thing I wanted to do was to go through a "Life's Toughest Questions" series. I encouraged the kids to write down some questions, and I have already gotten a TON! And, now, they feel so comfortable to just shout their questions from the audience whenever I get up there. 

They want to know things like - "Is the Bible 100% true, and how do we know?"... "What is heaven going to be like?"..."What does God think about gay marriage?"... "If all the other religions think they are right, how do we know WE are right?"

These are some good questions! 

So pray for me as we build up to this series in January. Who knows, I might be calling you in to answer some of them! ;) Until then, we are going to go through 1 John on Wednesday nights, and what "Shift" means on Sunday mornings. Then we will hit a Christmas series (yay!), and then we will be in the new year! Wow! Crazy!

In conclusion, I wanted to share with you one of our first projects - the revamping of the Junior High Room. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the "before", but just imagine white, everywhere. Like as white as a hospital. And the most hideous couches you have ever seen in your life. 

Now...it's a glorious Junior High Room!

This is me trying to be artistic with my photography skills...

Here are our flyers...designed by Christopher Reinhardt

I think they look great!

1 John...so gooood. 

Bowling Night Next Friday!

I will give you one guess at who had the idea for the bookcase...

Our Info Table

Our logo - painted by AJ Ranson

I am so excited to see what the Lord has for this ministry in the coming year! I will keep you updated!!! And you will also be able to stay updated, soon, on our website - ShiftSM.com!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Biola Magazine!!!

I have great news!

I just received an email from Biola University Magazine that said they are doing an article on the GodBlog conference (something I WISH I could have gone too...)in the winter issue, and will be featuring some blogs from Biola's staff, faculty, and alumni. I am so blessed because they have chosen mine for an alumni feature!!! How amazing is that?! 

God is so good to me, because I just love my blog...and blogs in general. I am daily encouraged by so many blogs out there, and I just hope that mine can be an encouragement to others as well. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

So Tired.

I'm so tired of mediocre Christianity. Lukewarm living. I think there is a song about this...oh my gosh, it is that song I don't like because the chorus is "Set me on fire"...and that's kinda weird. Strangely enough, that's what I want! Not to be physically and literally set on fire, but to be passionate about the things of the Lord again. 

I don't want to be a mediocre Christian. I don't want to die, and realize that I am in heaven, but have lived a mediocre Christian life. I am so tired of wasting my time with things that don't matter in this life. I am so tired of centering my life around me, and what I want. 

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but
we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way,
the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

Do we really believe this? Seriously, go back and read it. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. 

Lord, help me to not take your gospel lightly. And help me to not be turned away from your Kingdom because of my weaknesses. I have Your strength and power living within me...weakness can never be an excuse. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here I am Lord

So, I love talking to Simone (our youth pastors wife), and we love talking about how crazy awesome the bible is, and lately, about Moses. Hi Simone!

If you don't want to read the entire passage below, then just read the highlighted portions for the point of this blog. 

ARE YOU TELLING GOD, "HERE I AM"...?

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Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

And Moses said, "Here I am."

"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."

Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?"

God said to Moses, "I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

"Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.'

"The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.' But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

"And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."

Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"

Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"

"A staff," he replied.

The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."

Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.

"Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

...but asking for God to send someone else to do it?

Simone always reminds me that sometimes God asks us to do things we don't want to do...

...but we always need to be ready and willing because He will equip us...He is with us...whom shall we fear?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Staff Meeting

The people I work with at my church are fabulous. We always have an exciting staff meeting every Tuesday morning...afternoon...night...? ;)

Anyway, Simone (youth ministry), was doing a little diddy where you write down random sentences that people say throughout the meeting, and then read them all together afterwards...they were hilarious! I made a copy, and had to write them all for my blog. It will be so much better if you know us...

I want you to guess which ones I said!...reply in my comments...

And then after that, I wanted to show him a paradiddle!
BJ's, Thursday, everyone?
We watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
You're Stupid! (this one was a joke...)
There will be childcare
I like that spiritual discipline
This is your second notice
What a day, huh?
I'll warm that up if I come home
Background to the video...that was pretty cool
It was a whole week of disrespect!
You need to SPECT me!
I personally don't have an issue
His cocaine problem is out of control (this one was a total joke as well...)
That thing could survive a nuclear blast
Selacious piece of gossip
Specificity
Can't we just put them in the green room?
Then there was that glorious video
I'll be right with ya
I remember this now, it's all coming back to me...
Where are those pens coming from??!!!

Obama and the Abortion Issue

The following are some very interesting articles that have to do with Obama and Abortion. 

The first is an interview with Donald Miller about his view of Obama's stance on abortion. Here is an excerpt:

"Burnside: Can you lay out your biggest reasons for supporting Barack Obama?

Donald Miller: First off, I know this is an odd thing for somebody in my position to do, to support a candidate for President. But I do feel this candidate is unique. Barack is the only candidate willing to talk about his faith in Jesus. Other candidates are reluctant, but Obama is not. He is the only one who has consistently talked about the cross, about redemption, and about repentance. Many white evangelicals have a misconception about Barack...they believe that because he is a Democrat, he cannot be a Christian. But times have changed, culture has changed, and political parties change. So one of the reasons I support Barack is because he is my Christian brother, and other Christians are rejecting him.

But that has little to do with his candidacy. In short, there are a few issues I agree with Barack on.

Senator Obama is going to move us past the impasse in our cultural war, something I think of as a cultural Vietnam. On the issue of abortion, he is the only candidate who has a plan to reduce the number of abortions. John McCain's only plan is the same old trick: say that you are pro life and offer no plan at all other than to criminalize abortion. I simply think that plan hasn't worked, and we have to face that fact and look for other ways to make progress.

I realize this is controversial, that there are many who would rather vote for a pro-life candidate and keep the abortion rate the same, on principle. And like them I believe in the sanctity of life, I simply think we need to begin making progress, and Barack is offering progress. He is also standing up to his own party on the issue and moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life within the Democratic Party. I also see this as progress. I do wish we could end abortion completely, but the Republicans have not spelled out a realistic plan to do so, and until they do, I won't vote for a candidate who simply throws us a pro-life line and no plan. It seems insincere.

But let me add this: I do wish Obama were pro-life. His plan to reduce the rate of abortion is a great step for the party, but I also wish he would defend the unborn to a greater degree.

However, at this point, in this election, with these two candidates, I think progress will be made with Barack. Not enough progress, but some progress, especially within the Democratic party, who may soften their stand on the sanctity of life.

A personal connection with me regarding Obama involves the initiative he is taking with responsible fatherhood. He has already drawn up legislation to change the welfare state to stop rewarding families whose fathers leave, and is working to change the economic structure so fathers who stay with their families are given tax relief. This has been an age-old problem that was written about in George Gilder's book Sexual Suicide. (Gilder's) book is a Conservative's economic manifesto, but Barack sees a lot of value in Gilder's ideas. But because Barack is a Democrat, Conservatives are unable to even consider his ideas."


The second article is written by a reporter for the LA times. She is Catholic, and she is also supporting Obama. Here is an excerpt:

"...Some might ask, isn't John McCain, the self-proclaimed "pro-lifer," still a morally superior choice for Catholics? Not necessarily. McCain's commitment, as he stressed in the debate, is to try to reverse Roe vs. Wade. But Republicans have been after this for decades, and the effort has not saved a single child. Even if Roe were reversed -- unlikely, in my judgment -- it merely transfers the question to the states, most of which are not expected to ban abortion. A Catholic serious about preserving life could reasonably find Obama's educational and material assistance to mothers the practical, stronger alternative..."

**I am not trying to convince you to vote for Obama...I am just wanting to encourage you to think logically about the abortion issue...and only the abortion issue...in this post...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bedtime Prayers.

Well, the Normans entrusted me with their kids again for an overnight stay (I know...I am shocked too...). I will blog about the whole day later, but for now I wanted to comment about how I was crying after the kids bedtime prayers. 

Sometimes we can reeeally underestimate little kiddos, but they see and hear SO much! They are so precious. Here is a little intro to them just in case you don't know them:

Elias Kyler is 8 yrs. old
Cadence Mae (left) is 3 yrs. old and Ryah Scout is 5 yrs. old

These kids  have some mighty prayers!

First Cadence started out...it went something like this:
"Dear God, I thank you for my mom and dad, and ummm...ummmm Chris Reinhardt.... ummmm...I pray that you would keep up safe....ummm....thank you for my papa...amen."

Then Ryah:
"Dear Lord, please keep my mom and dad safe when they drive home, and thank you so much for my papa and grandma, and grandpa Hillrich, and Aunt Joyce, and Elias, and Cadence, and Carrie...and thank you that Carrie could watch us today...in Jesus' Name, Amen."

Elias' prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for this day and everything you gave us. Thank you for everything you have created and given us here on earth. And thank you SOOOO much for all my friends and family, especially for letting Carrie babysit us over these days. Please keep mom and dad safe while they are away...in Jesus' name we all say...AMEN!"

This was totally hysterical because his dad, Chris, always says, "And all God's people say?!"..."Amen!" Elias totally said it in that tone, but he just said, "In Jesus' name we all say?!"..."Amen!" 

So adorable. Tatum is totally right...I am so having like 8 kids. I could totally do it. ;)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sleep Walking?

So I have been having these crazy sleeping episodes lately (and by "sleeping episode", I am referring to the 5-7 hours of sleep I get a night). I was hesitant to write about it on my blog because I am totally about to embarrass myself, but then I thought...what the hay, who cares?

Bottom line of embarrassment...I wear a retainer at night. And I have to wear one for the rest of my life. But not in heaven! ;)

Night #1 - Don't remember much about the night, but I woke up without my retainer in my mouth. I groggily wake up and feel my teeth with my tongue and realize that it is gone. The first thought that came to my head was, "Could there be a retainer fairy"? That thought was shoved to the side as I panicked and frantically began to look for it. I quickly found it sitting on my bedside table (which is a chair by the way...), snatch it up, and stare at it for battle wounds. I have no recollection of how it got there. 

Night #2 - I remember having a dream. In the dream I am talking about politics, and I am completely heated up about what we are discussing. Then, in my dream, I clearly remember having a thought of, "I better take my retainer out so I can talk more clearly." So after that thought, I am in one of those moments where I am half awake and half asleep. There is 50% of my brain that is shouting out to me "Take the retainer out so you can talk!!!"...and the other half is shouting at me, "Keep the retainer in!!! You are having a dream dummy!!!" At that point I don't really recall what happened, but all I know is that when I woke up the next morning, the retainer was sitting on the floor next to my bed. 

On the way to work that morning, I started to get kind of freaked out because what if I have been doing worse things than just taking my retainer out while sleeping? What if I have been sleep walking at night? What if I am this chronic sleep talker...of politics?! I'll keep you updated...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ha.

Such a successful day of cleaning. 

I Heart Bible Majors

Last night I needed a book recommendation and so I sent out a mass text to all the Bible Majors in my phone. Considering it was after midnight, I didn't think anyone would really be awake, and was expecting many texts to come in in the morning. 

Well, I was wrong about that! I underestimated these Bible majors! The texts started flying in, more than I could handle. People were giving me amazing recommendations, and I was so excited to hear from people I hadn't in a while. After my overload of texts, I was imagining everyone sitting in their homes, up late, reading about...the Bible of course... ;) ...just as I do every night... ;)
But seriously, us Bible majors do love theology, and we love books, and we love texts, and so it was just the perfect plan. 

And for all my friends who read my blog and got my text, I decided on "The Ragamuffin Gospel"

Thanks for the advice!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Limited + God...maybe not.

Have you ever loved someone who didn't love you back? 

I mean, really, really loved someone who really, really didn't love you back?

I think of parents loving children who have run away. Or even children loving parents who are estranged. It could involve siblings loving other siblings who just want nothing to do with them, or a "one-sided love" between a man and a woman. 

Sometimes I picture myself standing in the middle of my life; all the people I know are circling all around me. As I spin around to look at each one in the face, I realize that so many people are busy loving someone who doesn't love them back. I was brought to tears this past weekend because I was watching someone close to me, try her best to love someone who really should be loving her back, but doesn't. I also wanted to cry watching children cry out for their mother's attention, but just couldn't get the time of day. 

I also love someone who doesn't love me back. I sacrifice a lot just to try and earn this persons love in return. It's heartbreaking. 

But I was thinking about all of these situations the other day and I started thinking about God's love (of course). I started to try and imagine how much God loves me, because if I am able to continue loving someone who doesn't love me (and therefore doesn't treat me very well...), then God will still be able to love me when I don't treat Him so great. 

But then I began to think about the fact that as Christians, we do love God. He loves us, and we love Him. So what about all the people who don't love God? Does God love them? 

The gospel of John tells us that "God so loved the world, He sent His Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16)." 1 Timothy 2 states that Christ has died for all, and 1 John 2 states that Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). *Sidenote* I think it is interesting that right after this in 1 John, the scripture goes into a big push on loving one another...some of my favorite passages*** We also see in the gospel of John that the Lamb of God has come to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29b). 

There is a lot of debate about the theological issue "Limited Atonement". For those of you who might not know what that means, "Limited Atonement" is the theological theory that states that when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the "world", He actually only died for Christians (the "elect"), because He already foreknew who all the Christians would be. While this seems to make sense me (I understand it is a sensitive subject to others), the sensitive part of this theory would be that Jesus' blood did not cover the sins of all people, because if it did, that would kind of be a "waste" of "atonement" - hence, "limited atonement". 

Like I said, this has made sense to me over the years because I would hate to see Jesus' sacrifice go to "waste" for people who (God already knows) will never accept God as their Lord and Savior. But then I began thinking about this one-sided love I am involved with, and I realized that this love was in no way "limited". I mean, people say that I am stupid for feeling this way, but, it is what it is. I have asked God, "please, let me love less", but He is not allowing it. So for now, even though I get a back to my face, I will still sacrifice anything for the well being of this person, to the point of laying down my life, out of love. Would we call God stupid for loving people who will never love Him back?

I attribute this faithful love that I have to the fact that I have just a bit of God's love living within me (which is quite a miracle on its own!). And I started thinking, well, if I can love someone, and sacrifice anything for someone who doesn't love me back, why wouldn't God do the same. Why wouldn't God die for the "whole world", in its true sense of the word "world", as a sign of His love. He isn't "wasting" His atonement by shedding His blood for people who will turn their back on Him in the end...He is truly loving them. 

I can feel all my Calvinist friends stirring in their seats right now, but I just want to think about the beauty and meaning of our Lord and Savior sacrificing Himself for someone who will never love Him. If Jesus Christ laid down His life for a lot of people who will never love Him (a full atonement)...I don't think this is a bad thing.

By no irony, as we read on in 1 John, moving into chapter 3, we find God's word telling us that, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

Yes. This is how I know what love is.

*I do want to note that 1 John 3 is specifically talking to Christians, but I think if you wanted to argue against limited atonement, you could possibly use this scripture to make a statement about Christ laying down His life, and then tying it into the "love" theme that is all over the gospel of John. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Can I get a Gold Star?

So if you don't know, I help out with the junior highers at my church, and something hilarious happened today. Junior highers can be a particularly rambunctious bunch of kiddos, who always have the darnedest things to say. 

So today, one of the youth leaders, Chris, was asking all the kids about what they would rather do (as a way to get to know one another) - Option One: Go the spectrum and see ANY movie and eat ANYwhere they wanted, or, Option Two: Go to the OC Fair and have unlimited rides and food. In the end, the consensus was down the middle, but not without a fight over where the kids would eat at for dinner at the spectrum.

Finally, it got to the point where Chris said, "Okay, you have mike shake from Ruby's in front of you, and a milkshake from Johnny Rockets...who comes out on top?"

Without missing a beat, one of the kids, Daniel, screams out, "Chuck Norris!!!"

Yes Daniel, yes, Chuck would come out on top wouldn't he...

And for you gold star people (you know who you are)...I motion that Daniel get one...

So what would you rather do...Spectrum or Fair...I said Fair...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I want to lead people towards Christ.

In this blog post, we will read a little bit about politics, and a little bit about religion...two of my favorite things. I think this post has been settling in my bones for weeks now, and it has finally come to the point (in the heat of the second presidential debate), that I want to make myself clear to many people. All of these people might not read my blog, but maybe they do.

I want to be clear by stating that I am solely focused on leading people to Christ. Many people want to know who I am voting for in the upcoming election. If you are a close friend of mine, then I have probably told you. But as a church worker, I have made the decision to withhold my presidential choice from public display for three reasons.

First (and foremost) - Again, I want to lead people to Christ, and not to any man or woman.

Secondly - I do not want to cause anyone to not determine themselves who they want to vote for. I am not trying to be prideful, but I am honored that many people respect the (measley) things I have to say, and I wouldn't want any of those people who are influenced by my words when it comes to spiritual matters, to be affected by things I say when it comes to political matters. Because I think people reeeeally need to start thinking for themselves when it comes to politics. So many of you out there might think that I am voting for Obama because of the things that I say on facebook...but maybe I am just trying to get you to think a little bit more. 

Thirdly - Political debates can take up a lot of time within people's lives, and I already have my select friends and acquaintances that I discuss politics with. I have received many comments on my facebook etc.; comments which I believe are made without proper thought going into them, and I would like to avoid those kinds of comments at all costs.

Now, people have said to me - "If you support a candidate, why not shout it from the rooftops?" Well, that is a great question, and I would like to answer it here on my blog.

I am going to start with a little background...

After I decided I didn't want to be a nurse when I was 19 years old (I am 25 now), I went back to school to finish up my general education. At this point, I had just become a Christian, started getting into "Social Justice" things, and was taking an amaaazing Political Science class with a professor named Mrs. Pieri. Pieri was awesome. She was this perky blond woman who had kids and a husband. She was a passionate democrat, and I always enjoyed her stories about her father-in-law who was a strict conservative (Christian) Republican. Her favorite thing in the world was CNN and Bush-bashing. It was enlightening. Not only did her class open up my eyes to the glories of politics, but she also opened up my eyes to the fact that knowledge was power, and I wanted to attain as much knowledge as I possibly could.

I looked up to Pieri, and wanted to be just like her. I decided to major in Political Science (and History), and took all the Poli Sci classes I could (I almost had a minor...). All the schools I was looking at were Poli Sci schools. I had attained straight A's, and had all the recommendations filled out and ready to go from Pieri. But somewhere down the line, I had a massive realization.

Politics are a dead end....for me.

I would never say politics are a dead end for all Christians, no no no, but for me, I realized that this was not God's calling on my life. Going into politics, I wanted to teach at the college level, so I knew I would need to attain my PhD (of which I wanted to write my dissertation on the changes of the American political party system throughout American history...or something similar to that...) or go to law school. Both of which I wasn't opposed. Another goal of mine was to be elected into public office. Maybe started out as a mayor, then congresswoman, then senator, and then it probably would have been time to retire. But the more I thought about doing these things, the more depressed I became because I realized that a majority of my life would not be focused on things that mattered in eternity (like people's souls), but on things that mattered on this earth.

Again, things that matter on this earth ARE indeed important, but it just wasn't what God was calling me to do. So I changed my plan, and decided to major in Biblical Studies at Biola University. Pieri still filled out my recommendation for that program (with flying colors), though I think she thought I was totally crazy. Mrs. Pieri, if you are for some random reason reading this blog - thank you so much for your influence upon my life. I would not be here without your confidence in me.

Anyway, moving on now, when it comes to politics and all the "good" that I probably wouldn't end up doing, I just don't want to waste my entire life getting one or two bills passed. Well, I would probably work harder than that, but you know what I mean. What it comes down is the fact that I feel like God has called me, to make the majority of the work I do here on earth, have more of an eternally based outcome, than a earthly based outcome.

I taught in women's ministry last Friday, and my message was about suffering in the midst of persecution. What I loved about this message was that one of the other clear points that cannot be denied is that God is sovereign through all political matters. Lets take a look...

Acts 4:23 - 31
"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

'Why do nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.'

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.' After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

While we read this passage of scripture, we come across a quotation from Psalm 2. When we look at the context of Psalm 2, I believe we can get a better understanding of what the believers were thinking about when quoting the passage. 

Psalm 2: 1 - 6
"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. 'Let us break their chains,' they say, 'and throw off their feters.' The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 'I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.'"

As we put this all together, we get this amazing picture of God's sovereignty. David tells us in the Psalm that God is in heaven laughing at the rulers of earth for thinking that they have all the power. God has made those rulers of the earth and sustains them only by HIS choice. 

In the same way, the book of Acts is telling us that again, the rulers of the earth are thinking that they have the freedom to make all choices, even when Herod and Pontius Pilate were a part of crucifying Jesus. But the believers remind us that GOD is the One who had planned for that to happen. Herod and Pontius Pilate had no control over that situation, though they thought they did. 

This passage is used often to encourage those who are under intense persecution (for their belief in Christ) from government officials. This passage reminds them that the governments of this world aren't in charge, but God is in charge, because He is sovereign. 

I think that this passage can also speak to us during election season. I love politics. They are so much fun to get excited about, and I do consider it a "hobby" of mine to follow political things closely. But when it comes down to it, I need to rest in the fact that God is sovereign. I can get all worried and crazed about who is going to get elected, but God is just basically laughing at me because He already knows...He has already chosen...He has already planned it. He is the one who sits on the throne and is the ultimate ruler over ALL the earth. And this is why I chose to offer up my entire life, my entire being, the serve the cause for HIS KINGDOM, and no one else's. 

I want to lead people towards Christ. His name is the only name I will ever shout from any rooftop. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Let your yes be yes...

Ahaha, when I was writing this title I really wanted to say - "Let your yes be yes, and God will bless." I just couldn't go there. ;)

Anyway, this is the basis of this blog, though I didn't want to go to the "blessed" lengths. 

I have felt challenged lately to let my yes' be yes' and my no's be no's. I so often find myself making plans with a million different people for the same date and time, and I hate it. Plus, I am just a flake anyway, and I always cancel last minute for things because, well, that's just me. But I don't like that part about me. I think I am only this way because I have a lot of friends whom are the same way and we all rub off on each other. 

Today, flakiness occurred, people bailed on me, and I almost bailed on The Union Line show, but decided to pull through, and go to it all by myself - dun dun DUN! (scary music...)

I wasn't sure what to expect because the pictures online showed that this festival that they were playing at had thousands of people at it. I was thinking, crap, there is no way I am ever even going to find them. Well, it wasn't exactly full of thousands, but there were hundreds. But luckily, the good ol' union line took care of their "team mother" (as I like to call myself), and I became a total groupie for the day. I think I am getting too old for this...

They hooked me up with everything I needed, and even a wristband that could get me backstage so I could hang with everyone. As usual, I ended up doing a lot of merch table sitting, which I always love because I love talking to people about how great they are. :) Plus, I had a chance to catch up with my friends from Aushua who were playing their first show since their lead singer, Nate, got out of the hospital. It was sooo good to see them play, and they were just awesome! And of course, The Union Line was amaaaazing. The crowd LOVED them, and I finally got to ride in their big blue van. All in all, it was a great day!

Here is a video of them I found on youtube. They are so cute! Also, this video says their album hasn't come out yet, but IT HAS! Read more about it on Blythe's blog here. 


 If you want to see them live (which you should!), they will be playing at The House of Blues in Anaheim THIS Friday! Be there!



Also, if you are bored...I have been thinking about this Sufjan song a lot lately...think with me, aye?



Cheers!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What Would Jesus Do?


Does anyone else think that Jesus would have an unfair advantage here?


Palin for VP?

Okay, I would like to say that I have been a long time fan of Sarah Palin. When she was elected governor, I thought that was pretty cool. When McCain announced her as his VP candidate, I was stoked.

Unfortunately, (and I am writing this with a kind voice here) I am not exactly certain that Palin is ready to be the next President of the United States. And, being VP means that you should be ready for that. Please do not comment this post until you watch all of the videos. Thanks.

Her foreign policy experience:


On the Bailout. I have no idea what she is talking about. Seriously, what the heck?


Ummm...seriously?


Umm, Sarah, please tell us of a Supreme Court ruling you disagree with, besides Roe vs. Wade...


I can't breathe...can't. breathe...


Everyone, please, lets keep an open mind here...can you really tell me honestly that Palin is ready to be the Vice President of the United States?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Religulous"

I have fallen in love with a new man these days and he goes by the name of Jon Stewart. Stewart has a daily show (called "The Daily Show") which airs on Comedy Central (I watch it on Hulu). I do want to say that I don't like the foul language on the show, but it is edited out, and well, there are people in the world who cuss...I don't live in a cave.

Anyway, speaking of living in a cave, that is kind of the point of this blog. Stewart has amazing guests on his shows. Last week he had Bill Clinton and Tony Blair! Those were some amaaazing episodes. Last night he had Bill Maher on to promote his new documentary - "Religulous". This word is derived from two words: "Religious" and "Ridiculous". In Stewart's interview of Maher, Maher expressed that he wanted to make this documentary because all he wants to know is the "truth". He says he is not an athiest, and is on the lookout for some answers. Watching this documentary hurts my soul because he does come outright and bash Christianity, telling the story of Christ, calling it "crazy".

As the interview goes on, Maher expresses his dissapointment in all religious people. He is astounded because many people have so much faith in what they believe, but can't even answer people's questions. Maher said that he was trying to ask people about what the difference between "Satan" and "Antichrist" was, and no one knew. Maher was also wondering why "An all-mighty God would speak through prophets...and not just speak Himself?" Maher thinks it's crazy that Christians believe the "bible is literal". This is the reason he is so against Sarah Palin being VP because he literally thinks she's crazy for being a Christian (Maher says that he doesn't really think McCain or Obama are "religious" people at all...).

I recommend watching the whole interview here...then reading the rest of my blog...(skip to the second part of the video...that way, you will miss all the foul language).



I started thinking to myself, "well, Maher must have not asked the right people about Christianity...because he could ask a professor at any evangelical Christian college, and they could give him an answer." Then, I wanted to slap myself.

Why the heck should Maher have to go talk to a person with their PhD in theology (or whatever) to get an answer about what a Christian bases their whole existence off of?!

It's not like the Bible doesn't warn us of this. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "ALWAYS be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

Listen. I know it's hard. It's hard to be thoroughly knowledgable in "all things Christianity", but we seriously need to start trying more. We are living in 2008. I believe this to be a time of knowledge. Knowledge is power. People don't want to talk to you unless you KNOW what you are talking about. Thirty years ago you didn't even need a college degree to get a good paying job. Nowadays, you can't even find a good paying job without your masters degree! It's crazy!

To the lay Christian - start building your knowledge of what you believe. Read the Bible. Read good books that will help you understand your faith better (I will post some at the end of this blog).

To the Christian ministry worker - I am assuming you are building your knowledge everyday (hopefully), but it's time to think outside the box, and start training the people in your churches to give an answer (if you are not already...).

To anyone who doesn't believe in "Christianity", or is struggling with their faith - take a gander at my testimony if you would like. On the right side of my blog, all the way at the end, there is a label titled, "my testimony". I became a Christian out of nowhere. God led me right into His arms, but I did not take it lightly. I believed...I really really believed...but I still thought I sounded CRAZY. I am NOT the kind of person who will just do whatever people say, or not question things when it doesn't feel 100% kosher. So I didn't give up. I read, and read, and read, and then I decided to pay a lot of money to go somewhere that would help me learn more about my faith. BUT, I did NOT just limit myself to a private Christian school. I also threw myself into a liberal college as well, where I purposely took anthropology (big bang theory and all that good stuff) from an atheist teacher who worshipped the earth, and gave us one question on our final that consisted of - "Do you believe in God? Why or why not?" And if you said "yes", you basically failed (he ended up changing the question my semester because the school said he couldn't ask it anymore).

Basically, my point is that I was not afraid of the answers. If the answers point to the fact that Christianity is all a lie, then so be it. I wasted a lot of money, and my degree isn't worth anything. But in all my research (of not fearing the TRUE answers), I have found Christianity to be "THE way", "THE truth", and "THE life".

Don't be scared of the truth. Don't be scared of answers. Don't boycott this movie because you fear that people will turn from Christianity. Christians look ignorant when they do things like that.

Christians must stand for what they believe in with wisdom and knowledge and answers. And of course, just like this blog reminds you - we must love.

Take a gander at the "Religulous" Trailer



Here are some good books that you can start reading. If you are reading my blog, then I am assuming you can begin at the intermediate level (I am also assuming you are 18+...and still, some are easier than the others). I would consider these books intermediate. If you would like basic level or a higher level list of recommendations, please email me at carrie@kingsfieldchurch.org, or comment me. 

STILL WANTING MORE?! You don't have to pay a lot of money to get more education in theology. Check out this link from my friends over at "Christians in Context" for more information about taking FREE classes in a wide variety of religious subjects. Woot!

"Jesus Under Fire"





















"Case for the Creator" (or any other Lee Strobel book...)
























"Meaning of Jesus" (A debate between NT Wright and Marcus Borg...I believe what NT Wright has to say...just in case your wondering...)