Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I am Exhausted

I am completely exhausted. I don't really know why, because I have just barely hit the tip of the iceberg (the iceberg being all the stuff that I need to get done). However, I really should be sleeping and even though this is probably closer to the time old people go to bed than people my age, I will be going to bed pretty soon, like in several minutes. But I am really tired, mentally and physically. It isn't that I have worked all that hard today. I mean, I had school, running errands, coming home to work on invitations for my graduation reception, going to work, going to the end of youth group, and coming home to work on invitations again, so it was basically like every other day, but for some reason, it still wore me out. Maybe it was that I was thinking about all the stuff that I still need to get done before Friday. Yes, it is so much that I am not even going to start packing until Friday because I have too many other things to worry about.

But maybe it isn't all that I have going on, maybe, just maybe, God is trying to bring me to my knees. I will be speaking in like two days (not even) and I still haven't decided what to say (don't tell Cole), but every time it feels like, before I speak, God takes me to the point of exhaustion so I get to the point where I am just like, "God, what do I say? What do I do? There's no way that I can do this." And I think God just answers, "Good. I don't want you to do it, I want everything you say to be what I want you to say. Don't try to do it all, listen to me and speak what I want you to speak." Amazingly enough, it always gets done. God is so amazing, so that even though I am so tired, I am so very tired (can't you tell by the way I have abandoned all sentence structure?), but God is enough. Not only does God bring me to my knees, but He also must control the shuffle on my ipod, because the song that came was a "Cry in my Heart" by Starfield, which is my ultimate stripped-down worship song. (P.S. I am posting the song lyrics and the actual song below.)

"There's a cry in my heart, for Your glory to fall, for Your presence to fill up my senses. There's a yearning again. A thirst for discipline, a hunger for things that are deeper. Could You take me beyond? Could You carry me through? If I open my heart, could I go there with You? (For I’ve been here before, but I know there’s still more. Oh, Lord, I need to know You). For what do I have If I don't have You, Jesus? What in this life Could mean any more? You are my rock. You are my glory. You are the lifter Of my head... Lifter of this head." -"Cry in my Heart" by Starfield

I Like the Rain Even When No One Else Does

videoI did realize I wasn't recording my face upside down.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Work at a Nursing Home, Part Two

My heart broke today. I know Ruby doesn't really remember who I am, but still it hurt.

I went down to Subiaco today to deliver some saran wrap (yes, my job is glamorous) and since I wasn't sure if I should wait for them to cover the cake or come back later, since I didn't really have anything to do at that moment anyway, I decided that I would chat with Ruby for a little bit. I say, "Hi, Ruby, how are you tonight?" She smiles all cute and says that she is good. She then asked me what my name was, and then she asked who I am related to. I told her who my grandfather was and who my father is. She smiles. I smile, even though, inside my heart is breaking. And the funny thing is, I knew this would happen.

Let's go back several months. I do actually remember the first time I had this exact same conversation with Ruby. I mean, I know she doesn't remember me all the time, and I do sort of wonder if she doesn't ask what my name is just because she can't remember if she has asked before. But, it is such a weird feeling having the same conversation. I love Ruby, she is such a sweet lady. It is sad because I can notice that she is getting older. I really do love her. I will be so upset if anything happens to her. If I am in Kansas at the time, it will be really hard for me to not come back to town.

It is hard when you grow attached to people, because people, no matter what age, will leave. Maybe we should all just learn to enjoy every moment we get to spend with people while we still can.

See Part One of I Work at a Nursing Home

And You Thought Death was a Big Problem

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Bringing a Story from my Freshman Year Out of the Grave

Yes, this is from my freshman year of high school, wasn't I clever?

The Mystery of the Missing Socks

There are plenty of mornings in which you push the snooze button several times and when the alarm clock goes off for the fifth time, you still don’t want to move. However, this morning is not one of those mornings. In fact, this morning is quite the opposite. This morning the sun wakes you up and you smile as you slowly get out of your bed. After you’ve recovered from your sleepy state, you’re ready to take on the world. Perhaps with the assistance of a cup of coffee or a splash of cold water in your face, but you’re ready to take on the world nonetheless. There’s no doubt you’ve woken up on the right side of the bed. Nothing can bring you down from this high. Then, the unthinkable occurs. Your sock drawer is stuck. It requires a little more effort than usual to open it, but since your muscles are like that of a superhuman, you’re able to get that sock drawer open. Now, right in front of you are socks upon socks upon socks. You pick up a sock. Depending on your personality, you may smell it or just examine it closely until you come to the conclusion that this is a decent enough sock to adorn your foot. So, you go looking for its mate. After several minutes, you realize that it’s partner is no where to be found. You’ve found yet another sock that does not belong to any other.

What has happened to this other sock? That is a question scholars have asked more than “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” That’s a question that, though it is hard, they are able to form theories about it and are able to contemplate. On the other hand, no mastermind is able to answer the question or find that partner less sock. Perhaps the answer will continue to go unanswered. Perhaps, I will make known the truth by the time this story comes to an end. I will not tell you if I’ve chosen the latter. Perhaps, I may indeed dive into a deep conversation on something completely irrelevant.

Almost everyone has had the disappointment of losing a sock while doing the laundry. It’s truly a mystery within itself. Yet sometimes the mystery is not losing the sock. Sometimes the mystery is finding the sock somewhere else. Every now and then you go back to your closet and realize it was your mistake and that the sock just somehow jumped out of the laundry basket onto the floor. However, there’s nothing quite like putting on a sweater only to have someone else point out that there a sock stuck to the back of it.

Who is to blame for this unexplainable phenomenon? A number of people think that they have discovered the solution. Some people think that they can simply blame the dryer. They say that during the drying cycle, it gets sucked up in the dryer vent. Still some think that it’s during the washing that the washing machine eats the socks. Perhaps department stores hire secret agents to come and steal your socks, so you need more socks and where else to go but their department store? This would not surprise me. Department stores have been trying to take your money for centuries. Now, let’s focus on something more serious. Picture a pair of socks that you have forgotten about, due to the fact that they are ugly or maybe they are Christmas socks that you’d assume people would think would be odd to wear in March. You finally discover once again that they are in the back of your sock drawer. You go to take them out, only to find that one of the socks is no longer there. Perchance the sock didn’t go anywhere. It could have spontaneously combusted without notice. Maybe it’s even still there, it has just somehow put its cloaking device on so it’s invisible. There are several things that could be. Thinking of all the possibilities can be mind-boggling.

I am confident in my knowledge to boldly say that the answer is none of the above. The truth is sock gnomes. You may now currently have a puzzled look on your face and you may be filled with confusion. Nevertheless, I am not joking and I am not kidding. Gnomes, those pointy-red hat wearing lawn ornaments, are stealing your socks. They are sick and tired of being displayed in your lawn, having to endure all kinds of torturous weather. They’ve even started a website declaring that they need freedom. They are seeking revenge on you. Furthermore, they know nothing else bothers you quite as much as finding one sock and not the other. Since they are quick creatures, they come into your house and are able to take your sock out of the dryer. You may be thinking that, “I do not have a gnome in my yard.” Let me tell you, that does not matter. Sock gnomes work together to conquer everyone’s laundry. Sock gnomes devise evil plans and make detailed maps. They store them in a location that I prefer not to disclose because if I were to tell you every detail of their genius, they would come and I would wake up the next morning with an empty sock drawer. As a result, I must inform you that you never heard this from me.

Written by Andra Lauren

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why is This Happening?

Sometimes it is okay to cry.

Sometimes it is okay to breakdown.

Sometimes it is okay to become numb.

Sometimes it is okay to despair.

It is never okay to quit.

It is never okay to give up.

It is never okay to lose hope.

It is never okay to stop trusting God.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Have I Been Doing Lately

"What have you been doing lately
Your life could use improving greatly
I just wanted to know what's going on
But everything that goes is going wrong"
-Relient K, What Have You Been Doing Lately?

I know that I haven't posted in a while and yes, I feel quite bad about that. However, we press on. Nothing much exciting has been going on really, although this week looks like it will be quite busy. Today is really my only non-busy day and by non-busy, I mean I only have one exam and something else that I need to write because it is due (even though I should have written it two weeks ago). Tomorrow might be my busiest. I have a Math contest thing that my class (and people from other classes) are going to, not that I am good at math, I am just in the Senior Math class. At least we will probably get ice cream out of the deal. I have a hair appointment tomorrow also, but I stupidly made it for 3:00, which I may or may not be back for. Then, there is of course, youth group, however, in the middle of youth group (around 7:30) I will be picked up for the ride down to Olathe for MidAmerica X-treme. Yeah, lots to look forward to. Or dread, in my case. I should be excited, but I am really not. Oh, well, hopefully I get over that by tomorrow.

I wish I had a story to tell you or this post wouldn't be boring just me telling you what's going on in my slightly pathetic life, but if I do, I will be late and I feel as though I will already be running around today trying to get everything in order for tomorrow. So, yes, my running will resemble a chicken running around without a head.

P.S. I just realized that my post doesn't answer my title at all... Hmm, maybe later?

The Good Guy

So, I have a friend who has friends who make videos. Now, my friend wasn't there, but here is the video:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Watch Your Step

Rev. Dr. M. Rhodes once said, “Mr. Sheldon's venture is unique. It has at least challenged the thought of the reading world and as the aim of the author of the enterprise is sincere and in behalf of the world's highest good, good is bound to come of it.” The Mr. Sheldon that he is referring to is Charles Sheldon, author of the widely-known book In His Steps. This novel first published in 1896, published again in 1980 by Whitaker House, has sold more than 30 million copies world-wide and continues to be read all over the world. The theme in the book is to ask “What Would Jesus Do?” in all of life’s complex situations. It is a story that stirs souls by showing the lives of men and women who decide to take up a challenge given them by their Pastor to follow what they think Jesus would command them to do in their day-to-day dilemmas. A person should make conscious choices that follow in Jesus’ steps, but the book shows that Jesus is more of an example than a redeemer. If we forget that Jesus came to save the lost and only focus on our actions or deeds, we miss God’s purpose for sending Jesus Christ into the world. The purpose that is to lie down his own life so that we, sinners, not worthy of the glorious grace of God, could live.

After being confronted by a tramp, the pastor questions what it means to be a Christian. In His Steps shows several individual stories of people in the congregation of the First Church of Raymond that agree to commit their lives to Christian discipleship that demands more than a mental assent, that demands action. You follow a newspaper editor, a college president, a railroad executive, a pastor, a singer, a writer, and a wealthy philanthropist who face opposition when they make radical choices in order to follow Jesus’ steps. As Sheldon wrote, “The greatest question in all human life is summed up when we ask, ‘What would Jesus do?’ if, as we ask it, we also try to answer it from a growth in knowledge of Jesus Himself” (Sheldon 173).

The characters in the story encountered circumstances of poverty and deprivation. They underwent trials that come from giving of themselves. The singer turns down a good paying job so she can sing for drunkards. The newspaper editor gave up subscribers and lost money so he could print a paper that did not print advertisements or stories that did not glorify God. The wealthy philanthropist gave up money so she could help those less fortunate. The railroad executive gave up his job and status so he could do the morally right thing. They each gave of their money or their time to follow Jesus’ steps. Nothing that they did was at all bad nor did they have bad motives. However, everything they did was an action: something done or performed; an act or deed. “What if others say of us, when we do certain things” (Sheldon 27.) They lived out Jesus to the world, but the Jesus that they were showing was a Jesus that preformed deeds to save people, rather than a Jesus that bled and died for the sins of the world. “ […] those who volunteer to do this will pledge themselves for an entire year […] so to act” (Sheldon 24, emphasis added). “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’” (Romans 4:2-3).

Sheldon, however, hit the nail on the head when he had the tramp enter the church and ask the pastor went being a Christian meant. “But I was wondering as I sat there under the gallery, if what you call following Jesus is the same thing as what He taught. What did He mean when He said: ‘Follow me’? […] What do you Christians mean by ‘following the steps of Jesus’? (Sheldon 15). Charles Sheldon sparked thoughts in many more lives than just the characters in his book. He started a fad where everyone’s motto became “What Would Jesus Do?” When do we move past just wearing the bracelets and really start not only living like Christ, but being changed from the inside. In His Steps explores different ways that people had to give up something that was important to them. Sheldon’s book realistically shows that not everyone finds it appealing that following Jesus means suffering for Jesus. Following Jesus is a great idea, but when it comes to actually doing it, not everyone finds it easy. That is why the characters in Sheldon’s book should be applauded, because they knew the cost and took their crosses and followed Jesus’ steps anyway.

Sheldon effectively wrote a book that touched millions. Sheldon said, “No one is more grateful than I am, as it confirms the faith I have always held that no subject is more interesting and vital to the human race than religion.” “On February 24, 1946, two days before his eighty-ninth birthday, Charles Sheldon, after suffering a stroke, died peacefully in bed. As I closed the book on his life, I realized Charles Sheldon left us all an enduring legacy with his powerful question, one which I ask myself each time I face a crossroad: What would Jesus do?” (Neighbors, par. 21). For that, Charles Sheldon’s book truly achieved his purpose successfully.

In His Steps was written over a century ago, but can still be applied to our life and culture, despite a few differences. It still asks a question that each person should ask himself or herself in any and every situation. A spiritually dead person cannot live a spiritually Christian life. Christ, the redeemer, is the giver so we are the receivers. Christ did the ultimate act and we are the acted upon. We can do as many good, righteous or holy deeds as we feel are right, but in the end, we will not be able to save anyone. Christ does the saving. We are always the redeemed; Christ will always be the Redeemer of our souls. Sheldon’s book was a magnificent work of fiction, but we cannot forget that actions will not save us. “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” (Philippians 2:8-9). We must remember is that deeds and actions are great. Much like Charles Sheldon asked us over a hundred years ago, “What would Jesus do?” we must also ask ourselves what our motives are for our actions.

Works Cited
Neighbors, Chuck. "The Story of "In His Steps"." 1996. 11 Mar 2008. http://www.mastersimage.com/articles/ihs.htm.
Sheldon, Charles M. In His Steps. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1980.
The Bible. New International Version. 1984. International Bible Society.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Makes You Think to Pray?


Pete Says Hell_3.29.09 from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.

My old youth pastor's wife told us all the time that we should pray non-stop. Specifically, I remember her telling us that she would always pray in the shower, because you are taking the time anyway, so you might as well pray while you shower. This video reminds me of that and how there are times when we need to be reminded to pray. It is easy to get busy and forget, so sometimes we need reminders to bring prayer back to the front of our thoughts. This is interesting, so I think I am going to find some objects. (I will take ideas.) It makes me curious, what reminds you to pray?