the other side of the soapbox

so this is how it feels on the other side of the soapbox.

i thought it was my platform. and it was, once upon a time. not that i disagree with it now; quite the contrary, actually. i still see all the validity of every argument. it's just an incomplete picture. and maybe it was incomplete back then, too, when i would preach it with such vigor. i just couldn't see it ... until now.

this i know:

i need no help to not preach the gospel. if you look at my life as is, it would [in fact] appear that i am ashamed of the gospel. so rather than give myself [or you] more reasons to refrain from talking about who Jesus is, i would like to see more opportunities arise to let them all know just exactly who Jesus is.

the gospel is the greatest [THE greatest] expression of true Love. ever. period.

and Jesus is not an agenda. what He gives is the best thing i could ever offer anyone, so if i really love someone, it is not an "agenda" to want to tell them about Jesus.

so we sit and fight and claim that we don't agree with each other. the devil is having a picnic while we nit-pick and i'm just sick of it. we wonder ... should we love or preach? do we meet felt/relational needs or do we speak truth boldly?

why can't it just be all of the above? after all ... what is the gospel without a life of love [the kind that 's been changed by the gospel] behind it? and what is any beautiful expression of Christ's love if it's not attributed to Christ, if it doesn't bring the [real, lasting, eternal] healing that Christ brings?

love is the gospel. the gospel is love. you can't love without the gospel. you can't preach the gospel without love.

you can't love
without the gospel.

you can't love


the gospel.

i wonder, now ... does love win? plain old love?

or is it that Jesus wins? Jesus wins with love. Jesus is love, and He wins.

He wins people.
He wins the war.
He wins the glory.
He wins the Name which is above all names.
He wins my love.
He wins my soul.

He wins yours.

and HE wins that person that you're trying to love into repentance.

[maybe next time you should let them know why you're loving them at all.]

[[maybe the gospel actually is the power of salvation.]]

[[[maybe my mushy-gushy love that lets them wallow in sin, death, and lies is more damaging to them than the offense of the truth could ever be.]]]

"for we cannot keep quiet. we must speak about what we have seen and heard."
acts four:twenty


life 2.0

so i'm just chillin in my kitchen, listening to shane and shane [so good ... i can literally listen to them for hours. probably has something to do with the fact that upwards of 85% of their lyrics are quotes straight from the mouth of God, aka, the Bible.] elmar brought me this awesome tea from africa, because i was telling him about this ethiopian tea we used to get in milwaukee at lulu's cafe. best tea on the face of the earth. hands down ... if i could drink nothing else for the rest of my life, i would be more than satisfied with that tea. this stuff that elmar brought isn't quite the same, but i'll take it :D it's actually really good.

tomorrow i get to spend some quality time with the ever-lovely emily o, and i don't think i could be more happy about that :) i do love her, i haven't seen enough of her lately.

monday i start training as a barista at starbucks!!! i can hardly wait ... i love coffee. and starbucks. and the doors the Lord opened in His clearly omnipotent way, before i could even realize how providencial it was for me to work there.

today i had to come to terms [yet again] with my kitchen oddities. there are a few areas and situations that the nature of Christ is not as formed in me as He is in other areas and situations. two of these are [1] driving and [2] the kitchen. it probably sounds funny ... but it's really not when i sit back and examine myself, my heart, my motives, my grudges and complaints. like james says ... it's our selfish desires, our self-idolatry that causes division and strife. and paul says it too, that enmity and strife and dissention are all fruits of the carnal flesh.

well, like i said, i'm chronically human. especially when i'm driving. and espeically in my kitchen.

on september 11 in my utmost for His highest, i had to laugh out loud when i read,

"ministering in every day opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings--it means being God's very special choice to be available for use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us. the very character we exhibit in our present surroundings is an indication of what we will be like in other surroundings. the things Jesus did were the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is an indication that it takes all of God's power in me to accomplish even the most common tasks His way. can i use a towel as He did? towles, dishes, sandals, and all the other ordinary things in our lives reveal what we are made of more quickly than anything else. it takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the most menial duty as it ought to be done."


that is what this season of my life has been about, more than anything else i think; the Lord is really teaching me how to live. not how to live out a specific calling or in a specific place or with a specific ministry or job or anything else .... but just how to live Christ. how to be Jesus with skin on, here, now, wherever He has placed me, with whomever He has put me. it's been hard for me, because [i'm not gonna lie] i'm a big-vision kinda girl. i like the huge plans and the special callings and the drastic life changes that come with following the Lord's lead. so right now, as He's leading me to where i've been for a while now, i'm a little bit like a pouty toddler.

but at the same time ...

it has been so sweet to trust Jesus with the dishes. just like i trusted Him with my major. or my summer jobs. or sharing the gospel for the first time with my dearest friend. or my post-grad plans. or the overhauls that happend in some of my relationships.

yesterday it was life plans. today it's the dishes. tomorrow ... it doesn't matter what or how big or small it will be. because either way i know i trust Him. and trusting Him is no small thing.

and that is nothing short of glorious.

thank You, Jesus.


the lines have fallen

last night i spent some time just reminiscing. i read through my old journal from the summer when i worked for youthworks ... incredible.

i don't know about you, but it's really easy for me to forget all the good things that God has done in my life, all the ways that He has lavished His love on me and all the times that He has shown His glory and goodness in my life. and while i don't think it's healthy to live in the past or wish more than anything that you could go back to a certain time (for God has called you with perfect faithfulness to His purposes in the here and now and in the future), it is no more healthy to be bitter about the past, to wish that it wasn't, to disregard it, or to forget about.

because it is TRUE that God is ALWAYS bearing good things in our lives.

that same summer (2005), i was reading the psalms, and sixteen caught my attention in particular. if you know me fairly well, you know that much of my formative years were characterized by what i now see as some of the greatest trials of my whole life. what i mean is that for a long time i was bitter and angry and hateful about my past and the life i had been 'subjected' to. and when the Lord revealed my own bitter, hardened heart to me, it was not a momentary conversion to a light, soft, loving heart again. it took a lot of time. and it was soon after the 'end' of that process that i read psalm sixteen:five and six.

the Lord is my portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

my prayer that summer was that the Lord would mold me in such a way that i would be able to say this and mean this with my whole heart.

what i am seeing now, two years (and much drama in the Jesus + rachel story) later, is that the only way that i will be able to say this, and mean it wholly, is if i really, truly believe and trust GOD that His plans are for good, for glory, perfectly faithful, not to do damage even if they cause pain, but to bear the fruit of redemption and salvation in my life.

that doesn't mean it gets any easier to deal with the effect of 'my heritage' ... because i am human, i am ever in need of God's grace, and the perfection of His glory on earth has yet to be fully revealed; so basically, things still suck a little bit. but it's my perspective that makes all the difference ... which means that instead of praying for God to change the world, perhaps i should be praying more for Him to keep changing me.

and i should keep remembering my heritage and how He has given me beauty for ashes, a garland of praise for my sackcloth of mourning--not just in my outward circumstances, but in my very heart's conditon.

and what more reason do i need to worship Him with my whole life?