Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Radical-"What part of the Gospel is optional?"

This blog post is going to consist of some raw thoughts. Thoughts that I have been wrestling with for the last couple of years while being in Seminary. Thoughts that often scare me because they mean sacrifice, but nonetheless important things to wrestle with.

I started thinking about these things again because I just started reading the book Radical-Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. I am reading it along with the staff at the counseling center that I am interning at this year. We are using it to better understand the clients that we see and helping us to continue knowing how to push back the affects of the fall as we walk through the process of therapy with them. I am excited, but felt nervous after reading this line in the book.

"You and I can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying the success based on the standards defined by the culture around us. Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him" (pg. 3).

The thought that I have wrestled with for a long time is that being a Christian and following Christ is not "safe." Following Christ calls us to something radical. The standards of the american dream call us to work our way to the top, but Scripture calls us to to intentionally step to the bottom, becoming less so others can become greater. The message we often hear is that we need to overcome our enemies, Scripture calls us to love them. Living for Christ means sacrifice, struggle, pain, service, and so many other things. I often wonder if my commitment to Christ involves these things. I am expecting this book to continue to form my thoughts and challenge my own faith.

The author of this book invites the reader on a journey of more questions then answers. I think my wrestling will continue to be a journey as well. I hope to continue to reflect on this book as I work my way through it.

Luke 9:23
"And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Few of my Favs...right now anyway

If you like to exert all your energy at the gym, but don't want to fill up with Gatorade that has sugar and artificial color and ingredients then try this awesome water! So glad that someone finally came up with this idea!

A great snack! Some people might mistake it for rawhide, but don't be fooled. It is simply banana. No additives! :) (This is also my favorite Trader Joe's worker)

The fall has finally arrived and so has some of Trader Joe's holiday items. Stock up on this awesome tea. Enjoy it with a dash of milk and some honey or sugar and cozy up next to a fire place with a blanket!

I was not paid for this brief advertisement just wanted all of my friends to enjoy them too!

What are some of your favorite items from Trader Joe's or any other grocery store?


Friday, October 22, 2010

A Music Recommendation

If you have never listened to Sandra McCracken well then you are missing out! This is her new album and it is incredible! Such encouraging lyrics set to beautiful music. My favorite song on the album is "Justice Will Roll Down." You can listen to the whole album on or download some at

Here is a link to listen to" Justice Will Roll Down." I think that you will find it encouraging!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Latin America Area Retreat

A week ago today we got home from our trip to Mexico where we had the opportunity to serve all of the missionary kids whose parents are serving in Latin America. It was a really great trip and gave us a small glimpse of what our job will be like once we graduate and have all of our support raised. Some of Drew's roles included teaching three times from the book of 1 Peter, working on videos, leading a small group, emceeing many of the games and other events, and hanging out with students whenever possible. I also led a small group of Jr. high girls, helped to lead most of the games, helped with worship, and enjoyed riding the waves with my small group girls. We had such a great time serving all the students as well as serving with 24 other amazing youth workers from around the U.S.. We are so thankful for this opportunity, and for the beautiful place that we were able to be at for the retreat. It was so neat to see the missionaries enjoy this retreat and use the time to connect with their families, other missionaries, and be refreshed by God's Word. We are thankful for many supporters that helped to make this trip possible for us. Enjoy some of the pics!

All the wonderful leaders!

One of the fountains in the lobby of the hotel

small group

The whole gang

The beautiful water

During one of our large group meetings

There were peacocks and other animals roaming around the resort.

Luchadors (Drew and Brooks)

One tradition during these retreats is to make video skits. The luchador theme was a huge part of the videos. Check them out

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some thoughts on love...

I remember laying on my floor when I was young listening to the "New Kids on the Block," and being swept away with thoughts of the cutest one on the block. I think it was Joey, but then again I was so fickle it could have changed weekly. Like any young girl I dreamed about the day that my prince would come and sweep me off of my feet. If you ask any of my friends from high school and even college I longed for that day, and used to throw dating books across the room out of frustration. It was like the man of my dreams just could not show up soon enough. But God's timing was perfect, and unexpectedly brought Drew into my life.

I started thinking about these things while I was driving today and listening to Taylor Swifts song "Love Story." Since I work in youth ministry I am constantly intrigued by the music that young girls are listening to and the message that it sends them about, love, men, relationships, sex, and their bodies. This song is really catchy and the climax comes at the end when Romeo gets on his knee to ask Juliet for her hand. They can finally run away together and escape the problems of the world. Even as a happily married woman of 5 years I got chills at the end of the song because there is a God given desire to be known, loved, and sought after in all human beings. This is why so many love songs are written. God has designed us and made us to be in relationship.

The thing I struggle with is the message that the love songs send. Just like me sitting in my room on my "New Kids on the Block" sleeping bag listening to love songs and dreaming of my prince there is definitely something to be affirmed in everyone (and in this case young girls) desires to fall in love. I think there is also a call in all of our interactions with media to look to what Scripture says about what love, marriage, and relationships should look like. There is a message to affirm in Taylor Swift's lyrics. But the false message that it sends is that meeting prince charming takes way all of your problems.

I think part of my job as a leader of young girls is to engage in conversations regarding love and marriage. Helping them to know how to affirm the desires that God has given them, but also pointing them to Jesus who fulfills those desires completely. But by God's grace and design he has made us to be in relationship with others and it is privilege to love and to be loved. I believe that in youth ministry one of the greatest ministries that my husband and I can have is modeling to young people what it means for a husband and wife to love and serve each other according to God's design. Certainly we are not perfect in this endeavor, but we see it as so important and encourage others to do the same.

I will be the first one to admit how much I love to watch romantic comedies and listen to love songs, but think it is important to engage young people and our own hearts in the messages that this media sends.

One of my favs!

I am thankful for my husband who continues to sweep me off my of feet everyday! Going back to the title of Taylor's song I finally got my love story and it was more then I had EVER dreamed! Love is not like the movies, but it also doesn't have to stop after you hit the 5, 10, 15, 20 year mark either. Loving and pursuing each other in marriage is one of the most beautiful things that God has ever designed!

P.S. Pictures and reflections from our trip to Mexico coming soon.