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 Sufjan Steven's music is so beautiful, it makes me cry. There's this song called "For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti." The whole song seems to be about the role of love in the crucifixion. Anyway, there is a line at the end that say "I did everything for you." and it gets repeated several time. I was listening to it the other day and just started bawling. I just imagined living my entire life, and getting to Heaven and what it would be like to be able to say that to Jesus as he says that to us. That is love right there. To be able to say I did everything for you. That is beautiful.

priorities, priorities, priorities.

I am sick of PETA commercials. I'm sorry. I love animals, I think they are cute and lovable. But the way they portray animals is just ridiculous. I think animals have feelings, and I am certainly not FOR cruelty against animals. I just don't think animals are comparable to humans.

The slogan on this particular commercial is: "This is your chance to say I won't sit by while an animal suffers." How can PETA members care soo much about the suffering of animals, ABOVE caring about the suffering of their fellow brothers and sisters? I am sorry. Maybe I lack compassion. Maybe I am wrong on this one. But, all I can think when I watch these commercials is that donations going that are going to PETA is money that is not going to end world hunger, the water crisis, AIDS/HIV in Africa, lack of health and sanitation... It is just beyond my comprehension. I can't help but believe that folks in 3rd world countries would literally hate us if they saw one of those commercials. 

When you can go to a gypsy camp and look a child in the eye who is starving, thirsty, and naked and tell them "Sorry kid, but there are cats being hurt in America. You'll just have to wait." THEN... then get back to me. Stare poverty in the eye. Then tell me who needs saving. 

Its not that caring for animals is wrong. But I think for a long time we've been made to believe that poverty is poverty and it will always be; and my friends that is such a lie. If there is one thing [Besides the glory of Christ] that I will write about 1000000000001 times on this blog, it is that poverty does not have to exist. We are just too sick and greedy to make a lasting change. Our priorities are out of whack.

God's love is a beautiful paradox.

So, I'm reading up and preparing to write curriculum for this week's children's ministry program. This week we're discussing a few of the parables that Jesus told; specifically the lost coin and the lost sheep. [If you're not familiar with these parables, Google "Luke 15:1-10"]

I was thinking through the meaning of these stories, and trying to get to the root of them in order to come up with ways they could be presented to children. As usual, however, my mind went off onto a bit of a tangent. You see, the purpose of these parables was to represent how intensely God loves us. If one of us wanders off, He'd drop everything to become a search and rescue team. I think sometimes we as American Christian's can brush past the idea of personal love and stick to the fact that God loves "us." But these stories so vividly describe how valuable we are to God... as individuals, not as a community per say. 

Which reminded me of what is often said: "If you were the only person left on earth, Christ STILL would have died for you." He didn't do it to save all of us, He did it to save us individually. 

And it made me think, wow. I am valuable to God. Not just valuable, but priceless. So worthy, that He would give up everything for me.

Yet at the same time I am so filthy and unworthy of His glorious presence. 

Because it's the fact that God loves me that gives me any value. Separated from this truth, I am worthless. Literally, nothing but dust. 

Because God loves me, I have all of the value and worth in the world. Despite what anybody thinks of me, or the way I look, or who people believe me to be, I am priceless. And so are you. Despite the fact that we never earned it or deserved it. 

This is one of those simple facts about following Christ that is so basic, yet so awe inspiring to fully remember. 

God, you are worthy. 

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 I really enjoy the Facebook "like" function. It really caters to my laziness. Before, I if someone posted something that I liked, I had to think of something clever or witty to comment on it. Now I just click a little button. Thanks, Facebook, for getting me as close to a vegetable as possible.

My only question is, what is this going to do to society? I mean, our communication skills are already dropping off with the rise in computer mediated communication. The "Like" is sure to destroy us completely.

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Things are going great up at camp, so far. We are definitely feeling your prayers!! Thanks to all who have committed to doing that for us.

I think its hilarious how people really can't handle change. Why is it that every time facebook creates a new layout about 1/2 of my friends post a status update hating on it, only then to follow a rush of group invitations to communities named things like "Change the homepage back, facebook!" or "10,000,000 to get the old facebook back!" This to me says one of two things:

1. You're far too resistant to change. Sometime changes can be good. Learn to be more adaptable and flexible.
2. You car way too much about facebook. If you're that frustrated over a simple change in the layout of facebook's homepage, perhaps its time to sit down, have some quiet time alone, and think of some more serious world problems you can channel your frustration and invest your time into. 

Winter Camp

Hey everyone,

ROCKHARBOR and Mariners will be heading up the mountain with a bunch of children for winter camp this weekend. We're really excited and anxious to see what God does. Join us in the excitement by praying. Here are some things we could definitely use prayer for:

- Obviously, safety. Up the mountain and back, and the whole time we're there. Kids can get crazy, we don't want anyone getting hurt.
- Against homesickness. Many of these kids will be away from their parents for the first time, and that can be scary. Pray that their hearts would be so fully excited to be there and focused on God, that they wouldn't even consider being afraid to be away from home.
- For the staff and leaders to lead and guide the program effectively. 
- For our guest speaker, that God would speak and move through her. That children would experience God through her in a new and powerful way.
- For the counselors and leaders who will be in the cabin with them. This can get tiring, so pray for peace, patience and strength. Also, that they would truly be filled with the Spirit, and that they would just shine God's grace and love to the kids. In addition, kids can ask some tough answers. Pray that God would be with the leaders, whispering answers and wisdom into their ears as they wrestle with the questions children are shooting at them.
- Pray for the kids who have never accepted Christ before, that they would feel a tug on their hearts and be obedient to listen. Also, that all the kids would feel impacted to some degree, and that as we come down the mountain they are stoked on God and ready to change the world for Jesus.
- That we all have a ton of FUUUUUUUN!

I can't wait to get back and share stories with everyone. Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. <3

Gratitude is an attitude.

More people should give a "thank-you" wave when you let them over in traffic. Its not tough, you just lift your hand up momentarily. And while you're at it, use your blinker. Its just a tiny flick of the finger.

spoken to.

A few days ago I was in the spare bedroom working on a painting. I had spent literally hours putting in detailing with sharpie, knew I had a loooong way to go, and was in need of some inspiration. 

Though I rarely do portraits anymore, I find a lot of encouragement and inspiration from looking at photographs from missions trips; my own, my friends, and those from strangers. There is a certain energy from those trips that I love and admire and try to emote in my artwork, regardless of subject matter or style. So, I was sorting through a bunch of photos from trips my friends had made... Mexico, India, various locations in Africa... I came across a few pictures of kids with wounds on their feet and legs, and I started getting really bummed out and angry and frustrated. I kept thinking: God claims to love them, but if He does... if He really loves them then why would he let His children go through this? How does He let children He supposedly loves live in dirt and suffering like that? Probably 15 minutes went by of this, with me nearly in tears, and then God intervened. I think in the moment He told me Who are you? Who are you to question my goodness? Don't you see that you are wasting your time? No amount of tears shed, or time spent frustrated will save these children. To you they are suffering because they lack the possessions that you have. But for them, I AM their daily bread. Their depend on me for everything. The things you hold in high regard are only noise in your life, distracting you from me. They experience me in ways that you cannot, so why do you question if I am good? Have you forgotten how I've gifted you? Have you forgotten where I've brought you from? Have you forgotten the path I've led you on? Remember the things I have done for you. You should be directing these feelings to something productive; you should be worshipping me and the ways that I have saved you. The feelings you're holding on to now will save no one, but using the giftings I've offered you will. 

I am humbled.