Monday, September 1, 2008

What the World Needs

"People aren't confused by the Gospel. They're confused by us. Jesus is the only way to God, but we are not the only way to Jesus. This world doesn't need my tie, my hoodie, my denomination or my translation of the Bible. They just need Jesus. We can be passionate about we believe, but we can't strap ourselves to the Gospel, 'cuz we're slowing it down. Jesus is going to save the world, but maybe, the best thing we can do, is just get out of the way." - Casting Crowns, What the World Needs

I love Casting Crowns. Their songs are powerful and they speak truth to my soul. Even this one, which tells of the world's need for a loving Father, a rescuing Savior, and a leading Spirit, is no exception. But then come this interlude, spoken in sections by teenagers. And my spirit rebels against what they say.
It's true that the world doesn't need our possessions, denominations, or interpretations. But if we just stop witnessing and decide not to obey our commands to be salt and light, how else will the world find Jesus? Yes, God is all-powerful. He could very easily save the world without any help from us. But I don't think that's His plan. Because what, then, would be the reason behind the Great Commission?
How can we be slowing the Gospel down if we are fulfilling the purpose we have been chosen for? If every single Christian on the planet suddenly stopped evangelizing, if missionaries stopped going out, if we stopped trying to invite people to church, what would happen? If we got out of the way, would the Gospel reach more people on its own, without any human interference? Are we in the way at all?
Most of these questions are rhetorical. I don't know that anyone could answer them, because we don't know what would happen if we forsook our calling. And I pray we never find out.
God calls people to be witnesses, evangelists, missionaries. Who are we to decide that it would be better if we didn't do what God has ordained for us to do? Who are we serving then? It's not the lost people of this world, to be sure.
I will be the first to admit that I'm not a very passionate evangelist. I'm slightly terrified by the thought of approaching a stranger, or even a neighbor, and sharing my faith. But the idea of ceased evangelism appalls me.
I'm more or less fixed in my viewpoints and opinions, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


What is beauty? It can be defined in several ways, depending largely on context. You could call a person and a landscape beautiful, but is it the same? I don't think so.
"Beautiful" is kind of a loosely used word. As already mentioned, people and nature can be described as beautiful. But so can animals, interior decorating, food, architecture, landscaping...even technological items, such as computers or cameras or mp3 players, could be described as beautiful (although maybe only by a very techie kind of person).
When I think of beauty, I tend to think of people. And that begs the question - what makes a person beautiful? And I really can't answer that question. Beauty, to humans, is subjective.
It can also be judgmental. I know I'm not the only one who sometimes makes a decision about a person's character based on their outward appearance before even meeting them. This, I know very well, is wrong.
The only definition of beauty really worth caring about is God's. And when God looks at people, He doesn't see their outward appearance, though He knows and loves everyone just the way they are. He created them, for crying out loud, and this fact convicts me time and again. But that's kind of off-topic.
God looks at people's hearts. And if their hearts are right, in a place of humility before Him, then to Him they are beautiful.
My desires are that 1) my heart is beautiful in God's sight, and 2) He helps me not to judge people by outward, false beauty, which fades.
True beauty is all that matters. Man, insignificant, mortal man, looks at the outward appearance and draws potentially limiting and even condemning conclusions as to a person's character. God, everlasting, perfect, awesome God, looks at the heart and sees man for what he or she really is, no matter how handsome/beautiful, well dressed, and put together they may seem on the outside.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Thankfulness. It's not a very small word, but its length really doesn't do its meaning justice. The dictionary definition is, "feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative." Sure, that's just a few words. But they mean so much, and I know that I personally forget what it means to be thankful quite often.
We live in a country where everyone wants instant gratification. No waiting, no work, no cost. We want what we want now and we don't care about anything else. Once we get whatever object we currently have our sights set on, it doesn't seem worth it anymore. Then it's on to the next thing.
It's so easy to forget.
I talk to God frequently. But I realized recently, all I'd been talking to Him about was my problems. My never-ending, extremely frustrating problems. All the ways my life wasn't exactly how I wanted it to be. In the middle of my complaining, it hit me: God's given me so much...and all I can do is ask Him for more, for better?
I then resolved to stop complaining and try to be thankful. And I began to see little, tiny occurances in each day that could only be God working in my life, reminding me that He loves me no matter how whiny I am, that He will always give me another chance at being thankful for all He's done for me.
Yesterday, I wrote an entry on thankfulness in my journal. I just began listing anything and everything I was thankful for, and when I reached the end of the page, I could hardly stop. The more I wrote, the more things I came up with to thank God for. He's given us everything - our lives, our families, every material possession we own - and the least, the very least, we can do is stop and thank Him, and express our gratitude for the great, amazing, wonderful things He has done for us undeserving, wretched sinners.


Words are interesting things to think about. They are different, sometimes almost random, combinations of the twenty-six letters in the English alphabet. Each combination has a meaning attached to it. Strung together in a sentence, words mean not just what they mean individually, but, depending on their placement and the accompanying words, they can mean something else entirely.
Words are powerful. They can be used to hold everyday conversation, make a joke or comment, criticize someone or something, teach, build up, tear down, scold, and they can mean different things in different situations, given the frame of mind and current emotions of the person speaking them. Words can be used to draw people in or push them away. They can affect a person in nearly unlimited ways.
Words provide a common way to communicate, which is good. But they can do so much damage, too. Proverbs 12:18 says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Life would be nearly impossible without languages that can be spoken and written. We would rely on symbols and movements to communicate. I couldn't be writing this entry without words. Written directions on street signs keep us safe. Books, newspapers, magazines, etc., teach, inform, and entertain us. But the most important things words do are enable us to read the Bible and allow us to witness to others. Though they can be painful sometimes, words are arguably the most valuable thing we have.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Believe in Yourself

This is sort of along the same track of thought (two separate trains, one track =P) as the last post. Another one of those really popular sayings that glorifies man and implies that he is something in and of himself. Well, I apologize to those of you who believe in believing in yourself, but I am about to do my best to disprove that saying. You are allowed to stop reading, of course.
Why should we believe in ourselves? That's one of the questions that comes to my mind first when I hear this phrase. I know what I'm made of. And like I said previously, it's not pretty. What is there within us to believe in? Inner strength of some kind? No.
Sometimes, it's a lot easier for some reason to tell myself, "You can do it" than to admit I can't and pray that God would help me. Maybe because whatever I really can't do seems so insignificant, so solving a difficult math problem, making a shot in basketball (which I thoroughly stink at), or getting through a blog entry without wondering what the heck I think I am trying to do here. Maybe the ability really is locked away in my brain somewhere, and it's not unlocking when I need it to.
But that's a small picture. The big picture shows that God gave us all our abilities, and in all honesty, we are nothing without Him. Nothing we can believe in to get us through life. We will fail. Really, we already have failed. Even if we are successful and have good jobs and fancy cars and a big house, we fail. That's the bottom line, plain and simple. Because nothing we can do on our own will save us from ourselves, which will be the reason so many people wind up in hell. We cannot believe in ourselves to get us into heaven because we are fallen. There is NOTHING GOOD IN US. Even though we might find it in ourselves to do good things sometimes.
This is getting slightly depressing, even though it's the cold hard truth. So here's some comfort: God can save us from ourselves and cleanse us of our sins and shortcomings and lead us onto the path to heaven. All we have to do - all we CAN do - is ask and be humble enough to allow Him to change us. And why shouldn't we be humble? We have nothing to boast in, nothing to speak of. Ephesians 2:8-10 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Be Yourself

Be yourself. That's such a common message these days. Generally the idea is that you don't want to conform to the mindset of the crowd, the majority, the popular people; to have your own identity and be okay with, or even proud about, it. And I'm not saying that is entirely a bad thing, except for the pride part. But...if you take it for face value, just read the phrase with absolutely no context, it comes across a little differently. "Be yourself." Well, personally, my self is an ugly thing. I have no pride in it. If I was to always be myself, I would be a short-tempered, merciless, sharp-tongued beast with no friends and no hope. That makes the saying sound awfully grim.
I'm NOT saying we SHOULD conform to the world. Um, no. There's kind of two different topics in that one phrase. I'm addressing the fact that in and of ourselves, we are hopeless. We have our talents and abilities that makes everyone unique. And we should hold onto those, and use them, but take no pride in them because they don't redeem our wretched selves. What I AM saying is that we need to not be ourselves, not be okay with what we are, because we are utterly sinful. We shouldn't strive to better ourselves for our own benefit either. Rather, we should be like lumps of soft clay that are pliable and formable so our Maker can use us and make us into what we should be - people whose purpose is to bring Him glory. I love Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
I hope all my ramblings are a little bit understandable and that they edify you in some way. =D

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Life is Ironic...

I wrote this a while back (January 6th) before I made a blog, but I'm going to post it now. It's not really edited, just my thought pounded out into a word document.

What is it about life? It's so...ironic. Whoever came up with that word should have been awarded, or something. Because that one six-letter word sums up this entire existence. It's just the way it is. Call it whatever you believe in - karma, coincidence, luck, chance - there's something going on here. Why is it that we find ourselves so often in situations that you can't think about too hard or you will get a headache because it's just not something you can figure out? I've felt that way so many times. The most common situation is when I really don't want to do something, and then I do it because I have to and I have a great time. Then I think, What if I hadn't done that? I would have missed out. But I did do it and thinking about what if's doesn't change it.
Situations like that aren't the only examples of irony in life. There are many more instances that are probably humanly impossible to explain. Some of these situations are almost (often actually, and sometimes extremely) frustrating. Recently, my friend and I snuck away from a party to her house around the corner. We stayed longer than we should have, and when we were leaving, we got "intercepted" by some friends. We stopped in at their house for a minute because they wanted to show us something. Suddenly, we had a perfect excuse for not coming back as soon as we should have, if we were to twist the truth the slightest bit. We went back to my house, confident in our "alibi." Of course, no one asked why it took us so long to get back.
In books, irony is one of the biggest magnets. We - well, I'll speak for myself - I like stories that are unpredictable, or even predicable as long as there are some unexpected events along the way. I read a book the other day in which an unpopular "urban rebel" was just trying to get through life without causing much of a scene - until one day she "accidentially" saved the life of the president and became a national hero, not to mention the teen ambassador to the UN (whatever that means). In about 2 hours, this girl's existence went from virtually unknown to celebrated nationwide. And the biggest goal she had in life was to pass German class. If this isn't irony, please tell me what is.
I'm not sure how much sense this all makes, so I'll stop now and leave you to chew on my nonsense. But I have to say this before I end: given my beliefs, I have come to the conclusion that God has a sense of humor. And I for one am glad of it.

Isn't it funny?

It's so easy to do something when we don't have to. I can only give examples from my own life but I'm sure other people have experienced this, just not in the same ways I have. For instance, I enjoy writing stories and even essays for fun, but when I have to write a paper for school, I procrastinate and think about it with dread. When I have to write something, I'm hard pressed for ideas. But when I'm just writing in my free time, I have too many!!
No matter what the circumstance, I really never like the thought of cleaning my room. I do have some willpower though and I can make myself do it when I need to. When I don't have to do it, it can almost be fun sometimes. If I'm forced to do it, it's just another chore I despise.
Why is this? Maybe it's just me, but is my human nature so twisted and willful that I often dread tasks assigned to me that I would love if I was choosing to do them on my own? Is it rebelliousness or just lazy unwillingness? I don't know. What I do know is that I'm a flawed, sinful being and I need the help of an Almighty God.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


In my fourteen years of life, I have realized that expectations and assumptions are a big part of it. As humans, we - okay, I'll speak for myself - I have a tendency to create expectations for anything and everything. Some are based on facts or the opinions of others but most are not. Unfortunately for me, having so many expectations sets me up for disappointment because it is rare that things measure up or surpass the level I set for them. So are expectations a bad thing? A lot of people who have no expectations or goals in life, at least for themselves, don't get very far. So which is better - underachieving or opening yourself up to unnecessary disappointment when things just aren't what we thought they were? Probably neither. If we could find a spot in the middle, having goals for ourselves that allow us to achieve our "full potential" but allowing things to be what they are and not always comparing of setting standards for everything, then maybe we could save ourselves from a good bit of disappointment. The problem lies in finding the balance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Is it Good to be Desensitized?

This is another "something" that I didn't come up with all that recently. I wrote this in December of last year. Again, it's not edited at all.

It's interesting and at least a little bit disturbing to see how desensitized so many people of our generation have become. If a movie isn't intense, sensual, or violent, it's not really worth watching. If a TV show isn't raw reality or a murder mystery, you can forget it. My brother was excited about watching an old English mystery show until we started it and discovered that the mystery to be solved was a case of arson - a car lit on fire. He was clearly disappointed about this, muttering things about how lame it was, not even a murder, and that Miss Marple episodes were better than that. Miss Marple is a very elderly "detective" who assists the police or Scotland Yard in solving mysteries, generally murders. But that's beside the point. Is this the level we've sunk to? Are we to the point where we are only entertained by brutal staged deaths and gritty reality shows? Even my cousin, who has watched things like 300, Gladiator, and Troy without batting an eye, remarked recently that the number of murder shows on TV was surprising, and even more so was the fact that viewers seem to like watching other people die. I can only agree with that. What's happened to us?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The First Post

Hello, and welcome to my blog. This is my way of expressing my "deep thoughts" in a quiet way because I am a quiet person. I probably won't post very often because I only have thoughts worth reading every now and then, so enjoy what there is!