Friday, September 28, 2012

heart reflection

Missions update:
* I am a couple weeks into an online class that is helping prepare me to successfully fund my ministry opportunity in Kenya.
* My first newsletter went out officially this morning. Click HERE to sign up to receive it.
* I'm almost halfway through the undergraduate seminary course SMCC's mission's dpt recommended called Biblical Hermeneutics. So far, 100%... mid-term is Monday @ 4pm.
*In 5 weeks, I will be getting on a plane to head to NC for a two week training. Countdown has begun!

As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man. -Proverbs 27:19

I definitely feel my heart slowing moving towards leaving. I desire to spend more of my time lately preparing to go by studying, researching about Kenya, and praying over little details. My goal date to leave is just over 10 months away, that's 300 days!! As much as I love my family and friends and ministry opportunities here, I am soooooo excited for what God has for me in Kenya. I really don't think words can describe (and I am the worst at facial excitement) just how joyful I feel inside anytime I get to talk about going to Kenya.

However, I am surprised at how emotional I have been lately knowing that precious time with family and friends won't exist for a year. I have left many hang-outs recently in tears in the car knowing that moments like that won't be going with me. My heart is wanting more time with the people I love and less time doing other things and I had no idea that would hit so early on in the process.

My heart is preparing the best it can. There's so much that has to be done in the next 300 days! There has definitely been moments of feeling very overwhelmed but within a couple hours, God's peace surrounds me and I remember this is nothing He hasn't done before. I'm doing my best to rest in His love during these busy days and keep my heart in check with what needs to be accomplished now. The to-do list seems long, but He has it all under control. I love to think about the perspective God has; He is with me right now as I'm writing this, He can see me one day in the future in Kenya teaching, and at the same time can see my life in its entirety. He holds my heart in His hand as well as my life.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Living Water in the valley

What are you going through right now?

What is God asking you to give over to Him so that He can work in you to accomplish what He wants? 

Does this something seem impossible or doesn't make sense?

Maybe you aren't going through anything at the moment, but we all know this life comes with both ups and downs. Whether you are facing that trial right now, or realize one is up ahead, I wanted to share this simple analogy that I pray will help you whether you are in the hard time right now or will be facing it in the future. 

Ever heard of a mountaintop experience? As we journey through this life on this Earth, there are going to be great times in our lives, where everything seems great, and one might call that being at the top of a mountain. 

Psalm 23:4 says, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death... In this analogy, the valley is a place you don't want to be. When one is in a valley, he/she may be facing a tough decision, hard circumstances, or something just doesn't seem right. In the valley things are hard, but this is often the times that we are closest to our God.

Ever been in a valley? What might you find in the valley that could provide hope for you? You see rivers only flow through valleys, they don't run over mountains. And God claims to be our living water (see Jeremiah 2:13). You see, when you are in that valley, God feels close because that's when we must depend on Him the most. It's in the valley where He provides the refreshment we need that only He can give. In the valley, He provides the strength we need to move out of the valley and climb the hill, out of the hard times, stronger in order to shine brighter for Him. As we climb up the mountain, we realize the provision that God had as He walked us through that valley which allows us to glorify Him as we share His joy. 

Psalm 23:4 continues..I will fear no evil for you are with me your rod and your staff comfort me. In that valley, He(the Living Water) is with you, and provides the protection and guidance you need to get you through it and on to the mountain.

**Underneath my "about me" section on the right hand sidebar is a button with a mail envelope (it is black and white)... if you have something that I can pray for you for as you walk through a valley, I would love to do so! May God bless you dear friend!! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

a drink offering

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. -Philippians 2:17

I haven't posted in awhile, not because I haven't wanted to or haven't had the time, I just couldn't come up with something interesting enough to post about! I have been busy tho, balancing family and friends, work, the beginnings of raising my support, a seminary course and all the little stuff that goes in between. You would think with all that, something interesting would be happening but not so much. However, today I kept asking God for something; I spent the day relaxing, catching up on rest since the past few days have been busy studying,going to church and a few parties. I figured, within the rest, something would spark my mind and I would have something to write about. Time went by, and before I knew it, it was time to leave for class with zero inspiration. But my God answers prayers and during the lecture tonight, He showed me His inspiration.

I mentioned that I started a seminary course. Its an undergraduate course called biblical hermeneutics. A seven week, one day a week, 2 1/2hr class where I am picking up invaluable information regarding interpreting the Bible. I will never look at a word, verse, passage or book of the Bible the same way again. Philippians 2:17 was not only one of the verses we discussed tonight, but also my sense of inspiration.

Our main topic today was context. You can't correctly interpret a verse without looking at the verses within the chapter before and after the verse. You also have to look at the historical and cultural context of the book as well as the overall context of the testament it is found in and the big picture of the entire Bible. It takes time looking up words and and studying the background.

Some things about the context of Philippians 2:17
- these are Paul's words
- Paul is writing this while in prison
- the letter is to the city of Philippi
- main purpose of the letter is the thank the Philippians for their gift they had sent Paul
- Ch. 2 begins with some teaching on humility
- Paul continues with exhorting the Philippians
...and there we find verse 17.
But even if I am being pour out as a drink offering... 

What's a drink offering? Well as I learned tonight, after referencing Numbers 28:7, a drink offering is the least of the jewish religious offerings. From what I understand, the drink offering would be poured onto the sacrificial lamb. Once the drink offering hit the lamb, it would turn into smoke and disappear upward, creating an aroma pleasing to the Lord (Lev 23:18). What better way for Paul to describe his service to the Lord than as a drink offering. His service, upon being "poured out", would dissolve up to God. What he did would be an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

I want nothing more than my life to be a drink offering to my Lord. I want my service to be pleasing to my God. I imagine the work that I do not being seen or recognized by those around me but rather and better by my God because as it is poured out, it immediately dissolves, creating that sweet aroma.
Jesus, I thank you first for the way you always answer prayers, as small as some are to me, there is no comparison to you. Thank you that you have provided this opportunity for me to open up your precious Word and study it, in context and in love. I am learning so much about the importance of studying the history and cultures of the Bible so that it can have an even stronger impact on my life and those that I have the privilege to serve. Thank you for your wisdom that you impart upon me to be able to understand such big words like hermeneutics, exegesis, homiletics and exposition. I pray for these next five weeks that you would continue to fill me with your Spirit as I read your Word and use other texts to get a better idea of how to interpret correctly your truth. 
Jesus, I want to pray for the plan that you have for my life, including the details, that I would be faithful to be diligent in prayer and action to do your will and not my own. Ten months from now is still a ways away and many things can happen, and are happening. I pray God that you would help me to make wise decisions that fit with your plan and the confidence to stand up for myself when I need to. 
Jesus, I also want to lift up my finances both currently as well as those needed for my service in Kenya. I pray that I would trust you even when it seems difficult or impossible. As I also begin a course on funding my ministry, I pray Lord that you would encourage me, that you would give me opportunities to share this ministry with others and that you would build confidence within me to be able to confidently share what you have laid upon my heart with my brothers and sisters. I am so encouraged already by the questions I get asked, people who I don't know relating to me about their knowledge of Kenya, and the immediate plans to go to training in just a few weeks. You are a God of details and I pray that I would be diligent to see what you have for me to do and that I would do it, as a drink aroma pleasing to [You].
In Your name I pray,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Sing Team

Team_oh-great-is-our-god_19241_itunes_feed_imageI might have a new favorite band... check them out, they are called The Sing Team, and are one of the bands that play at Mars Hill Church, Ballard campus. I have been replaying this playlist since yesterday morning. :)

p.s- my favorite song is the last one, What a Friend we have in Jesus.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Kenya. Within the past few days, as I think about Kenya, I think hope, and future, and pure excitement. When I think missions, I think Kenya. I can’t imagine planning to go anywhere else. As I’ve been listening to music, looking at pictures, reading blogs and researching the culture, I’m falling in love with a place that I’ve never been. If you would have asked me 5 years ago, where I would like to go, I would have said Hawaii or Italy. Now, I can’t imagine going to those places. Every bit of me wants to go to Kenya. This afternoon, my first batch of prayer cards came in the mail. As I looked at them, studying the layout, print details, and mostly the overall look, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the colors. Deep oranges, as well as dried yellows, painted a picture of the changes that will be happening in less than a year from now.

I love change. In the past 3 years, I’ve moved twice. When I was living at home, I would rearrange my room all the time. It just makes me happy, don’t ask me why. So when I think about the change in culture, the change of language and the change with community, I get a little excited. But what about right now, I’m in this waiting period, knowing big change is going to happen and wanting something right now. Work, couldn’t be happier, definitely don’t want to change that. My community of family and friends are beyond awesome, no need to change that. But something I can change and work on is my focus and faith in Jesus.

Recently I’ve been thinking about a relationship with a spouse and having multiple conversations trying to process exactly how I feel about it. Earlier today, I read a blog that talked about not waiting anymore(check it out). It talked about a change in focus from wanting Jesus enough so He would provide a husband to wanting Jesus because of who He is. In many ways when I process wanting a spouse, my faith waivers. If I say enough times to Jesus He is enough, He is all I need, then poof, husband appears. But that’s not how it works, and the blog that I read was a great encouragement as it reminded me that I need not wait for God to provide a husband. I need to focus on Jesus and who He is. He must be enough, all the time, even if a spouse is placed in front of me, because a spouses’ job is not to take the place of Jesus. With Jesus there is no, “if you believe enough I will provide blank,” no instead, His plans are already mapped out. My faith in Jesus, praise the Lord, has nothing to do with the plans God has for me. What my faith does affect is my attitude towards what God has for me.

So how do I “fix” this? Well my prayer life needs some serious help to begin with. And not just a 5-10 sentence prayer here but a constant communion with God through Jesus. Not praying for 2 minutes now,  and then going about the rest of my evening, no a constant focus on communicating with God. One of the ways that I have found to be helpful in reminding myself to do this, to then form the habit, is to think about something I do a lot, throughout the day, and then every time I go to do whatever it is, I either pray before, during or after. For the next week, every time I wash my hands, I’m going to pray and thank God for something He has done, is doing and has revealed to me about the future. I’m also going to share with Him one thing I appreciate about Him. Lastly, I’m going to pray for somebody else. Three things, every time I wash my hands, that I pray will deepen my relationship with Him and help me to refocus and grow my faith.

Thank God that He never changes, but is willing to take the time to change me!

Ministry news: My prayer cards are in(as mentioned above) and my first newsletter is written and approved! I am so excited to really begin building my support team so that this change that I am so excited about can become reality. If you would like to receive a prayer card and newsletter, click here and it will open up another window where you can fill out your information.

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see It with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. –Isaiah 52:8-9

We are in this together, the change won’t just affect my life, but yours too. This mission is not mine, it’s ours’, and I look forward to having each of you be a piece of the puzzle in sharing Christ’s love and truth with the children and families in Kenya. Your pieces of the puzzle are just as important as mine, and know that the bigger picture can’t be complete without all the pieces in place.  
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