Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I'm completely convicted. Lately, the Holy Spirit has been bringing to light so many areas of my life I need to be more aware of, and many of my character flaws that need to change. They're still not changed, but I'm very aware.

One of the areas I'm very aware of is this: Sometimes my passion turns into frustration. If something is not as I think it should be, I get frustrated. This happens most often with how I wish the world and the church could be in relation to the gospel, and I am left unnerved and sometimes paralyzed with frustration and my inability to change things.

Most often, I'm frustrated because other people don't help make the change happen, and therein lies the frustration. The changes need to start with me.

Today in passing I had a conversation about a person in our church who is socially awkward and has very few social skills. This person knows, and it affects his ability or inability to serve in various capacities. I got frustrated, because too often when we meet people like this, we cast them off as awkward or difficult, and we fail to press into those relationships and walk with them through the awkward mess to help them to overcome it. In this case, thankfully, there are some people here on staff who are willing to let him serve and to press in. But that isn't always the case.

I fear that too often we want the easy call to ministry. It can be easy to minister to those who are similar to us, but what about to those who are unlovely? Those whose lives are messy and filthy? The ones who can barely hold a conversation because they're so strange? The ones with whom we have nothing in common?

I'm as guilty as anyone.

I'm not always willing to get messy. I'd rather stay on the surface and do the little things I can to help make change happen. But change often requires digging deeper. I need to dig deeper, to work harder, to press in.

I'm involved with a ministry here in Louisville called Scarlet Hope through which we dig into the messy lives of strippers. None of their lives are simple. Their past, their hurt, their pain, their addictions - it's like a tangled web of Christmas lights that have been knotted for years and years, and only half the strand is working. It just isn't easy to figure out. It takes work.

Too often people I know will say things like, "I think it's so great what you do by going into the clubs." or "I could never do what you all do!" I certainly hope that isn't the case for Christians. If God calls you to dig into the mess of someone's life, I certainly hope that just because you see the dirt on the outside you don't cast them off as if they're untouchable. And I deserve no praise for simply going into the clubs, because that's not the hard part. The hard part is following through, sharing the gospel, and then walking with these girls through the mess as they untangle their painful lives and begin a new life in Jesus Christ. I admit, I'm not always quick to jump into that part, because it's messy and it requires a lot of time.

It reminds me of the story when Jesus healed the leper in Mark 1:40-45. In that day no one would touch the lepers. Even their own families couldn't come near them, because they were untouchable. The lepers were forced to live in communities with one another, without any physical touch, and they had to yell out around them "Unclean!" so no one would come near. We all know how the story goes: Jesus actually touched the man and he was healed. Could you imagine if Jesus had never gone near him? What if Jesus had just healed him from afar? What if Jesus chose not to heal him at all?

I fear that this is how some Christians live. They see someone who is living a life much different from their own, and they want nothing to do with it. Or they choose to just help from afar. "A stripper hangs out in places inappropriate for Christians to be." "Awkward people are just too hard to have a conversation with." "People with physical disabilities or special needs require too much work."

But I'm convinced that Jesus would never have hung out only with the popular crowd. In fact, I'm not sure he ever did. He chose the lowly, the untouchables, the unlovely, the messy.

Bethany Dillon's song "You Are On Our Side" says these words:

You sit at the table with the wounded and the poor
You laugh and tell stories with the thief and the whore
When you could just be silent and leave us here to die,
But still you sent your Son for us--
You are on our side.
I love those words, because they tell of the character of Jesus.

Today I read on Francis Chan's blog how he threw a banquet, as Jesus told people to in Luke 14, not inviting his friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbors, or anyone who could repay him in return, but a banquet for the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and those who could not repay him. I love the ways that he and his wife went about this--making the guests feel incredibly special, and I loved the ways they went the extra mile. And I was struck when Francis wrote this: "We do this for donors, why not the least of these?" Isn't that so unbelievably true? Churches, businesses, organizations--we all treat donors like kings, because we know they can repay us with million dollar charitable gifts, but why don't we do this for the least of these?

And again, I'm caught in frustration. My passion for the gospel to take action in my life is met with frustration, because I'm not sure how to change my own life first. Am I really diving into the mess of people's lives in order to help them see Jesus? Or am I just helping from afar? Am I pressing in?

I have no resolve for this. It's simply what I'm working through today, among many other mental wrestling matches with God. I'm going to ask the Holy Spirit to begin showing me where to dive in and where to begin the change in myself. If my passion for the gospel leads to only frustration with the world around me, but not a holy frustration within my own heart to inspire change, then I cannot expect the world around me to change one bit.

Monday, October 10, 2011


"I know you can be overwhelmed and underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?"

Anyone remember this quote from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You?

This is totally how I feel right now. I'm usually underwhelmed or overwhelmed, but rarely am I stuck somewhere in between the two. When I'm underwhelmed I'm fairly apathetic, halfhearted, passionless, lackadaisical about life in general. And then something happens, and I'm completely overwhelmed with passion, concern, inspiration, challenges, etc. Right now, I'm in a state of overwhelmed.

While most would assume overwhelmed is a negative thing, I am in a place where it is good. Overwhelmed usually means you're drowning, overpowered, or buried underneath the weight of something. These are still very true, but when you're overwhelmed by truth, conviction, and the Holy Spirit, it's very much a good place to be. And that's where I am.

I'm actually hesitant to write anything, because I know it won't do justice to what I'm trying to work through. But as I typically find with myself, when I write, things seem to work themselves out in my brain and heart. I'm trying to make that happen. I've neglected writing for quite some time, and in a way, that means I've neglected a lot of things in my heart. A few years ago I discovered that writing helps me push through the messiness in my heart and it forces me to discipline myself. So here I am.

As of late, I sense the Holy Spirit pushing me and telling me to step it up in some things. Last week I had the privilege of going to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA and hearing some great words and worshipping with 13,000 other Christian leaders from around the country and abroad. There's something about being in a place with that many people leading the Church that makes you feel both incredibly responsible yet so very small in the grand scheme of things. That's the tension of where I am right now.

Isn't this the way of a leader?
If you are a Christian, you are called to lead. To lead the lost to Christ, and to teach them to then do the same.
So being a leader means you're responsible for lives.

You should carry a heavy burden for the lost, for those you lead, for the needs of the world around you - locally and globally. The message we carry is life-giving, and life depends upon it. So much of the world, including ourselves, is living in all kinds of bondage, and we hold the very keys to freedom.

So why do we forget this? I know for me, I am fearful. I get caught up in my own circumstances. I would rather watch TV. I am lazy. I forget that lives hang in the balance, and all the while I am eating popcorn on my couch and worrying about what to wear and making sure I'm caught up on my DVR or on all the new music that's out there. My life is so filled with the things that do not matter in this world, because I forget to live in the urgency that some people have not heard or do not know about Jesus. Or I forget about the people who do but have questions about him and I don't want to lean into the responsibility of trudging through the mess of their lives with them, because there are layers and layers of doubt, sin, and life experience to dig through.

And who am I, anyway, to tell someone about Christ? What if I use the wrong words? Who am I to walk through life with a high school girl while I feel like I've messed it up myself? Who am I to walk into a strip club and share Jesus with a girl who has experienced hell on earth in her 21 years of life and thinks she's too sinful to be forgiven? I'm only a sinner myself, so how can I explain this?

I'm not worthy.

Mainly, I just have excuses, none of which are valid.

I'm not worthy, but I am still responsible.

But I'm overwhelmed right now with the truth that I've needed to hear, and now I just don't know what to do with it. My heart is wrestling with the responsibility I am called to and my own laziness. There is a stirring...

You know when you make caramel, you have to keep stirring the mixture or it will burn on the bottom of the pan. I feel like this is the same (as lame of an analogy as that may be) with my heart. The Holy Spirit is stirring something in my heart, and if I don't keep working and letting Him stir, there won't be any fruit in the end.

So right now, I'm trying to lean into the stirring. I'm trying to remove the excuses and the worry and the fear and the laziness and the junk in my own life, and instead I'm leaning into the truth of the word. I'm trying to listen to songs that point my heart back to Jesus to remind me what I need to hear when I start to believe the lies that I start to tell myself. I'm going to be more intentional with my time. I'm going to "do for one what I wish I could do for everyone" (thank you Andy Stanley for that wisdom). I'm going to stop trying to supplement the Savior, because He is enough (thank you Judah Smith for that truth). I'm going to abide in Him, and let Him keep stirring.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Joplin, part 2

Since there's so much that has been going on since the tornado in Joplin, I'll be honest: I've lost some perspective. I think most of America has by now. Anderson Cooper is no longer there, the news cameras are gone, and the reality of it all has settled in.

Sadly, the reality for those of us not living there is this: we're not really affected.
The reality for those who live in Joplin is this: life is forever different.

(above: the living room/bedroom of my boss Cody Walker's mom's house - Praise God she was found OK and uninjured on that mattress!!!)

After seeing the damage there, I'd like to say that my life is forever different, but I've lost some of that perspective. A week after getting back from there I found
myself complaining that tiny ants had taken over my kitchen counters, yet somehow fighting to be thankful that I even HAVE a kitchen still intact. Over a month later, I'm still not content with so many things in life, and I'm afraid I've lost perspective.

(above: the kitchen of Cody's mom's house)

To try to regain a little perspective, I didn't want to forget about posting some things from there. I truly will never forget the images in my mind from this, but I'll also never forget hearing stories and seeing the Church's response to this city's tragedy. The gospel is being made known.

If you're interested, my friend Tony Anderson answered some questions on his friend's blog HERE. It's a great read from someone who happened to be in the city the night of the tornado.

Continue to pray for the people of Joplin and for Jesus to keep being made known through this. There is still great work to be don
e. While a city is being rebuilt, there is a Kingdom being built.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Joplin, part 1

I don't even know where to begin...

It was Sunday night, May 22nd, and our High School ministry at church, Collide, had just ended. I overheard my boss/friend, Cody Walker, talking to 2 other leaders about how he hadn't yet heard from his mom. I asked what was going on, and he said that there had been a huge tornado in Joplin, MO and they hadn't heard from his mom or brother. The next hour or so had to be traumatic for Cody & his wife Rachael as they frantically texted and called everyone they knew in Joplin (where they're both from) to make any contact they could with their families.

I started to check Twitter & Facebook from my phone, and from all of the friends I have in Joplin through CIY or Ozark Christian College or at churches there, I was seeing comments like "I'm OK" or posts on friends' walls saying "So glad you're OK" and so on... I heard "Chick-fil-A is gone" and I heard "supposedly it was an F5" and "half of Joplin is flattened." This wasn't the kind of tornado I'd expected at all. This was bigger.

Obviously, you all know that by now after seeing the news, and the world is well aware that this was something bigger than anyone ever expected. No one expected it to happen in Joplin, MO, let alone anywhere.

That night, someone finally got a hold of Cody's mom, and though she had been pulled out of her flattened house, she was ok. His brother got access to facebook long enough from the Stained Glass Theater where he was (also flattened) and wrote on Cody's wall "Tell mom I'm ok." No one knew what kind of miracle this was until later on.

Pictures, video footage, and the news drew me in and I couldn't pull myself away that night. Over the next couple days I tried to pull myself from having my eyes glued to the TV to having my knees glued to the floor in prayer. I know I'm not able to do much, but I can pray, and I knew I could find some other way to simply help.

I had almost moved to Joplin several years ago after a job offer from CIY that I happened to turn down. I can't imagine if I'd been living there. Honestly, I wasn't impressed with the city of Joplin when I visited (this has changed now...more to come on this later), but there are a lot of great people there. Everyone I know who works at CIY (Christ In Youth) is good people. Those I've met from Ozark Christian College are good people.

All of them - faith-filled, Jesus-loving Kingdom workers who seek to change the world. That's what I knew of Joplin before the tornado.

That hasn't changed.

I had to do something last week to help. I felt like I couldn't NOT do anything. The Spirit was tugging on me to act, and I just didn't know what to do but what many other churches knew to do: 1) Pray, 2) Collect donations for people in need, and 3) Go there. I was willing to drive a big truck down there if that's what it took, because I knew it was something God was calling me to do for His glory.

So I asked some of the leaders at my church if I could help. Oddly, at the exact same time I sent a facebook message to our campus pastor to ask if I could do something, he was sending me a message asking if I'd consider brainstorming ways we could help. The next day I found some resources via facebook (social media has been an INCREDIBLE help to those in Joplin - communicating needs to one another and to the world), and found a list of items that were needed. After we made plans, changed them, thought they were set, and then changed them about 17 more times, the plan was this: we'd rent a big truck, ask people in the area to donate supplies on the list, and drive it down there. So that's what we did.

I take no credit and no glory. I'm just thankful I got to do something. I knew I HAD to do something. The Church (big C) had to do something. I put the word out...again, on Facebook. And people responded. Items started coming in, slowly on Tuesday, a few more on Wednesday, and then an overload on Thursday.

My good friend Crista Williford, who teaches at North Oldham High School just outside of Louisville, asked students to fill backpacks with supplies, and there was an overwhelming response from teenagers who may or may not even be believers.

Three guys who work at Humana collected about $350 from the people in their office, and over their lunch hour they went to Wal-Mart to buy all kinds of things (including feminine products - impressive, guys!) to donate.

A high school student went around to his neighborhood and collected whatever his neighbors were willing/able to give.

Countless people gave what money they had in cash or gift cards directed to Cody's mom to help her rebuild and fill her home with needs in the future.

It was overwhelming to see the response that people had shown, but this is what I know: in times of need, communities come together. And in times of despair, God is still good. So are His people.

With so many vivid images still in my mind from the 2 days I got to spend in Joplin, I'm still processing what to say about my time there, but I'm hoping God will give me the words. He allowed me to go, and I think it's His story to share how He's at work in Joplin and in me.

Stay tuned...I'll share more in days to come.
And please, keep praying for the people of Joplin. There is more devastation than you can even imagine.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dirty, Rotten Hearts

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
--Proverbs 14:30

This verse stopped me dead in my tracks tonight as I was reading through the 14th chapter of Proverbs.

Just yesterday at church, one of our teaching pastors preached a sermon about guarding the heart rather than modifying behavior, which is so often the route we choose. We’ll take care of the outside of our lives, the parts that people see, and all the while our hearts are rotting inside. Our spiritual life is decaying daily while we seem to have it all together on the outside, wrapped in a perfect little outfit with a bow on top.

He used the analogy of very large trees being knocked over by the wind. It’s common thought that a strong wind is what has the power to uproot a large, old tree, but the truth is usually that the tree has been dying and rotting from the inside for years. By the time it reaches such great decay, it doesn’t take too strong a wind to knock it down completely.

In fact, this happened in my own backyard just 2 weeks ago. There was a monstrous tree in the neighbor’s yard with 3 major branch sections. Apparently earlier in the week one giant section had fallen one direction, but I must have missed it. A few nights later that week I was watching TV when I thought I heard a gunshot or an explosion in my yard. I looked out the back door, and the second part of the tree had fallen on a transformer, causing it to blow up.

The next morning on my way out the door to work (running late, as usual) a man from the neighborhood was surveying the damage out on the sidewalk and called me over by yelling, “You better be careful!” To my knowledge, the tree hadn’t done anything that would harm me, but I went over to be friendly and see what happened. He pointed out where the tree had fallen and how it had occurred. The tree had been covered in ivy, and that ivy had sucked all the moisture out from the inside of the tree, so the tree had been dried out for a long time. Two of the large sections had already fallen, and it was only a matter of time before the third part was going to fall…and when it did—it was going to fall right on my house!

So when Kyle Idleman preached this past Sunday about the heart and how trees decay from the inside and can be blown over or swayed fairly easily, I thought about that tree in the backyard and I thought about my heart.

I’ve got a lot of junk in my heart that I don’t want other people to see. There are damaged parts in there, some areas are just ignored and covered in cobwebs, and some parts are tucked away on purpose because I’d rather not address them and make changes. Some areas are just ruined by what I’ve let into my heart, and some areas are full and healthy because of what I have allowed in.

But when I read Proverbs 14:30 tonight, I knew immediately that my own envy and bitterness and lack of peace was an area of my heart that needed to be addressed. I’ve noticed that the effects of that part of my heart’s decay have been surfacing lately, and it’s affecting my outward behavior and the way I treat other people.

I want what they have. I compare myself with others. I want to be somewhere else with my life. I never pictured myself here at this stage of life. I don’t understand why other people’s dreams have come true and mine haven’t. I’m not satisfied with parts of my life. I want more. I don’t think it’s fair when I have to make decisions on my own, and I don’t think it’s fair when it seems that everything just “always works out” for other people.

It’s dirty. The envy, the bitterness, the pride, the conflict in my heart. It’s all destroying me from the inside out, and it’s ugly. Decay isn’t pretty. Have you ever seen mold? Gross. I’d like to stay as far away from that stuff as possible, and yet I forget I’m allowing these feelings and sins fester inside and eat away at a heart that should be beating with passion for a world in much greater need than I.

Thankfully, last week the section of the neighbor’s tree that was headed for my house was cut down altogether. All that’s left is a giant stump in their backyard. And you know what the greatest part about that is? It has allowed so much more light into my backyard than I had before. When the sun shines, it shines more brightly back there & the flowers in my little garden will be able to grow more! (And at night, the streetlamps shine more light into the yard, and I’m hoping that will be enough light to keep my friend the possum far away!)

So before my own heart gets eaten completely away, I’m going to be working hard to get at the root and cut that sin away. I don’t yet know what it’s going to take to do that, and maybe it will be my own awareness and boundaries with where I let my mind wander. But I certainly don’t want my body wasting away because of the things that have sucked the life out of my heart—the very organ that gives life to the whole body. I hope that when I cut out the decay, more light will shine into my heart and out through my life.

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
--Ezekiel 36:25-27

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

One Thing I Know...

Oh God, one thing I know: You are good.

The other day someone texted me regarding something great that had happened, and at the end it said, “God is good.” When I read it, I thought “Well duh!” And then it hit me how often we praise Him for His goodness when things truly are good as we see them, but what about when we don’t see the good?

There are things in life that don’t look good on the outside. I’d certainly love to change some things about past experiences that hurt me or longings that are yet to be fulfilled or losses I’ve had to endure. Those things don’t look good upon first glance. In fact, they usually look terrible, and I’d like to say “um, thanks, but no thanks God!”

Don’t we all have that stuff? Don’t we all wish we could pick and choose the situations we find ourselves in like in a buffet line? Of course we’d all pick the good. Who doesn’t love a good juicy steak or yummy mashed potatoes or delicious strawberry shortcake with ice cream? Who would choose the bad stuff—like turnip greens, stinky cabbage, or straight vinegar? Very few people, I’d assume.

We don’t typically choose the bad in life, but sometimes it gets put on our plate. And when it does, we don’t normally look at it and say, “Yes! God is good.”

We ask questions. We doubt. We complain. We get jealous of what other people have. We get bitter and hardened hearts. We grow weary of relying on God and would just rather get along by ourselves. We wallow in self-pity.

In all of these ways, are we questioning God’s goodness just a little?

Don’t get me wrong; these things are a normal part of being human. I am fairly certain God knew we’d do this, but I’m more certain that He wishes we’d see His bigger picture. I wonder if He’s saying, in those moments, “Just wait…it looks bad, but one day you will see the good.” I don’t believe in the whole “everything happens for a reason” mentality, but I do think God can REDEEM everything and bring good from it. I believe Romans 8:28 when it says “we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Not in merely some things, but in ALL things He works for our good. And, ultimately, our good (what’s best for us) is HIS good. Our good is His will being done, His Kingdom being advanced, His Name being made known.

Right now I know of more people than I can count on my fingers who are hurting in a variety of ways. One is pleading for a baby and experiencing a loss. Another is in the hospital and probably pretty lonely. Another is making desperate attempts to survive in this world and making all the wrong decisions. A family across the country is watching their little girl suffer a destructive disease and fighting the battle against it. Another is struggling with friendships. Different people. Different situations. Different hurts. Some of them are believers, and some are not.

But I’m positive that ALL of them have been led to this place of wondering, maybe pleading with God, asking “WHY?” and wish their circumstances were not so.

I have been there.
I have asked that question many times, and I still keep asking.

I haven’t gotten many answers. I’m left unknowingly wondering about much, except for this one thing I DO know: that He is good.

Even when my world isn’t good, HE is good.

Once again, a song from the Oaks Worship album Lift Up the Light reminded me of this truth tonight. (I’m telling you, these songs are reaching down into the depths of my heart in ways a song hasn’t done in a long time. I highly recommend that you check out this album!!!)

With that said, I’ll end with these lyrics:

Oh God, one thing I know:
Every good gift flows from your heart
From the father of the heavenly lights.
You don’t change like shifting shadows-
Your light shines & my heart glows.

In mercy, provision, healing, compassion, freedom, redemption.
Your light shines & my heart glows.
One thing I know: You are good.
One thing I know: You are good.
One thing I know: You are good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

love + love = new life

"Your love is deep; Your love is wide. Your love has breathed in me new life." (Forever - from the Oaks Worship album Lift Up the Light)

Have you ever noticed the change in people when they find love?

It's like their lives completely change. The way they use their time, the things they think about, the way they just ooze happiness?

It's evident in newlyweds as they begin a marriage. Two people who chose to love one another begin a new life.

And for most (not all, but most), the next thing in life is a baby. And I'm not about to get into how that happens, but it's obvious that, again, two people who love each other bring new life into the world.

It's evident that where there is love, new life abounds. Change is inevitable. Some of that is fun, some is easy, some is painful, some is difficult. But love + love = new life.

I'm thinking about how this equation works with Jesus.

Jesus loves me, this I know. But I forget that a lot. It's a Truth that's hidden somewhere so deep down that at times it creeps to the surface, and other times I have to dig down past all the junk I've put in the way to reach it. I know His love has never gone anywhere, but I've smothered it, covered it with other things, people, ideas, ministries, TV shows, opinions, songs, etc. In a sense I've been saying "Jesus, your love isn't enough. I need more or something else."I know in my head that He is enough, but I don't let that knowledge trickle down into my heart as often as I should.

But what happens when we choose to love Him back?
Every single time?
New life.

He never fails.
His love never fails.

If we've forgotten it, He still loves us.
If we've walked away, He still loves us.
If we've covered it up with other things, He still loves us.

All the while, He's reaching out His hand to us, waiting for us to reach back.
And even more than a new couple gets tingles and butterflies the first time they hold hands, those feelings of joy overflow when we reach back for Jesus' hand.

"Oh, the joy that floods my soul when I'm with you Lord..." (Take Me In - from the Oaks Worship album again)

That is the deepest form of new life that could ever possibly exist.

When we see a new believer accept Jesus for the first time & become baptized, it's like seeing those two hands meet. A new life begins.

And even when those who already believe, those who are "old" in their faith, those who have forgotten or covered up His love with other temporary loves, simply remember & love Him in return, how beautiful that new life is that springs up once again.

As spring approaches I love that new life is around me everywhere. Flowers are beginning to bloom, the magnolia trees are taking my breath away again, and the sidewalks are coming alive with people walking or running. Winter is making its closing remarks, and Spring is bursting forth.

In the same way, every spring there's a little bit of winter in my soul that has to part ways (and I'm thankful for that), and there is ground that needs to be tilled for new life to spring up.

The reminder of His love for me tonight came through a song I was listening to, and that's all it took for me to remember. Of course, His Word is there as a constant reminder, but tonight it came in a song. I'll be hard at work, tilling the ground that needs prepared, but all the while He is creating new life.

Thank you Jesus, for this new life you so constantly offer us through your unending love, and thank you for letting us love you back even when we're inconsistent.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pray for Kate

I feel immensely burdened to take 5 minutes out of my day to spread the word asking people to pray for this sweet little girl, who I don't even know, who has been battling cancer for the past 2 years with more grace and maturity than I could ever hope for in her situation. I'm moved by her story every time I read it, and last week I sobbed on my couch for quite awhile reading their latest update at the discovery of more possible cancer.

You can read more about her story on the blog at this site devoted to praying for her: http://www.prayforkate.com

Pray that her PET scan today (3:30 Eastern time) shows no sign of cancerous activity. In this, pray for complete HEALING.

No matter the results, pray for WISDOM for her doctors and those caring for her medical needs.

Pray also for her parents, Aaron & Holly, as they seek WISDOM and must make quick decisions in terms of treatment following her PET scan today.

Most importantly, pray for GLORY to be given to God in this, through this, after this. No matter the results, HE IS GOOD.

If you want to read more from both her parents, Holly and Aaron, you can check out the journals they write online. Holly writes on the blog at CaringBridge, which is tied to the http://www.prayforkate.com site, and Aaron writes on his blog here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

a HUGE gift from God

Just yesterday, Feb. 5th, 2011, God blessed the ministry of Scarlet Hope with a new house!!! This is a huge blessing. We have been praying about houses, buildings, locations to become the home for Scarlet Hope, and God has answered our prayers in a big, big way beyond what we'd ever imagined. A local organization had been praying about who to give their building/house to, and we were one of the options. Obviously, the Holy Spirit led them to us and it will become our home in April of this year.

This building will not just be offices, but it will be used for countless resources and opportunities for us to display Christ to girls in the sex industry in Louisville.

You can read more about it here.

Friday, February 04, 2011

musical candy

Because I'm too unfocused lately to sit down and write anything substantial, I'll just share some music y'all should check out these days:

Adele's new album, 21. My favorite songs: Rolling in the Deep, Rumour Has It, & One & Only (In fact, I'm dying to see someone on next season's So You Think You Can Dance do a contemporary routine to One & Only--I can see it in my head, but unfortunately I am not a contemporary dancer, so I cannot make it happen myself.)

Dave Moisan's debut album, Ungravity Pt. 1 - Dave's a friend here in Louisville who is incredibly talented, and he just released the first part of his debut album in a 3-song EP. It's on iTunes & Amazon. Check it out, seriously. It'll make you want summer here right now. Here's his FB page.

A Lion Named Roar's album Said & Done - I'm new to these guys...also from Louisville. I went to hear Dave Moisan live last week and became a fan of these guys after they performed before Dave. They've also got a great cover of Bruno Mars' song Grenade that you should check out. Here's their FB page.

The Civil Wars' album Barton Hollow - This is their debut album, but you'd never know it. Their insane harmonies sound like The Civil Wars (Joy Williams & John Paul White) have been making music together for decades, but they've only just begun. You would recognize songs they've written as solo songwriters & artists in the past (In fact, Joy Williams was quite the Christian solo artist when I was in high school...loved her then!), but this stuff will blow you away. If you want to hear it before you buy it, you can stream it free here. Trust me, you'll want to buy it. I'm obsessed.

Gateway Worship - God Be Praised - Really love Kari Jobe & pretty much anything she does, so her songs on here are fantastic. Also I am constantly reminding myself of the truth in the song the song Victory on this album.

I'm also experiencing a big resurgence of these not-so-new artists/albums that I've loved for a long time:

-old school Caedmon's Call - specifically the 40 Acres album.

-Needtobreathe - everything. Love all of their music. I don't think there's one song I don't like.

-Sara Bareilles - some of her live stuff - specifically her cover of Sittin On the Dock of the Bay...love it. (apparently so do a million American Idol contestants, b/c everyone seems to sing it during audition weeks...)

-Lady Antebellum - I just cannot get enough of their fun songs sometimes.

-Manafest - I'm new to these guys. Normally I don't listen to much from the genre of Christian music, but I loved the song Avalanche when I heard it on the radio, and I do enjoy their hip-hop feel. Maybe they're new? Maybe they're not? Either way, I'm new to their music...I like it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

10-4 good buddy...

Today is one of those days when I've felt bogged down in my own sin. I'm wallowing around in this pool of myself, and I keep spitting out more of this substance I'm already drowning in called pride. And as soon as I open my mouth to speak once more, I hear these prideful things come out of my mouth and even more, my heart.

But I'm thankful that I'm aware.

There are days when I don't think about it, don't realize it, and I just keep going about my life that's centered around me, until I find myself drowning in moments like this. There was one moment today when someone made a small comment to me that made me evaluate my heart and ask "Why on earth did you say that?" or "Why did you do that?"

I forget. Childishly, I just spout out words and wish I could vacuum them back up. It's messy being prideful.

Our vision becomes so cloudy in this state of mind and heart. A couple weeks ago in planning a girls' retreat I did some studies on purity and having an undivided heart, and my giant Bible Dictionary told me this: "The reward of the undivided heart is the vision of God." It also said this: "no vision of God can come to the heart that is unclean because it is out of harmony with the nature and character of God." Needless to say, I could be seeing a little more of God these days, but I've been wearing these shades of pride and arrogance that are hindering my view of Him.

Oddly, earlier this week I read this verse:
"In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." -Psalm 10:4. I read it on Sunday night, and clearly I forgot about it. Until today.

Today I recognized my pride again, and I found Psalm 10:4 again while trying to combat it. My cheesy side also recognized that the scripture is chapter 10, verse 4, and I immediately thought about walkie-talkies and the good ol' standby police code "10-4." That's instantly what I thought of when I recognized the verse. I felt like it was God's voice coming through saying: "Hey! Make room for me! Stop thinking about yourself. Stop thinking you're better than anyone else. Think about me instead!" Call it crazy, cheesy, or creative...take your pick.

The police term 10-4 means that a message has been acknowledged, received, or affirmed. Today, this was the message I needed to hear, loud and clear, coming through. Thankfully, I got the message. I'll do what I can to pray away my pride, to tear down those walls, and to clear out my view of Him so that it's no longer cloudy. So, God, thanks for the message of Your word today and for the vision of You. 10-4 good buddy...