Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adoption

...a picture of God's love
...a response to Christ's call
...a model of God's example
...an answer to the world's hurt

Monday, December 05, 2005

I just gotta say...

...that Bethel has some amazing, amazing professors. It's one of my favorite things about my school. I love that just today, I was able to talk to the head of the ASL department about an essay I'm writing for a non-ASL class. This lady is incredibly busy, yet she cheerfully helped me and loaned me a book for my essay.

Profs here get to know you as a person. More than once, I've spent time just talking with teachers about life and things that weren't related to school. I love it. I love that I'm more than a name. My profs truely care about me and the person I am becoming. They want me to be the best interpreter and woman of God I can be, and they're willing to invest in me to reach that goal.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's happening already

We all know that December 9th, 2005 will be an exciting day. I am very much looking forward to the opening of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I am currently re-reading it so I can relive its great tale and better compare the book and the movie. I have around 40 or 50 pages left and wish college would pause so I can finish it. It has been quite while since I read the book, and despite the fact that some of the Scripture symbolism is kinda cheesy, I like the book.

Anyways, what I am not looking forward to is the fact that this movie is going to be used as an evangelism tool and be manipulated into something it wasn't meant to be. It happened with Lord of the Rings and it will happen with Narnia. Can't good books be made into good movies without people infusing it with a message it doesn't explicitly contain?

I realize this doesn't really make sense. I think I'm just irritated by the fact that anything remotely Christian is hailed as the next big thing in evangelism. How 'bout we see the movie, with our friends (saved or unsaved) and let our lives be a witness. If they ask about the movie, that's fine...but must we twist everything to make it have a clear Gospel message?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's Our History, Too!

Over the last few years, I've become increasingly aware of how little my peers know of Church history. Many Christian college students have no clue what Reformation Day, Ash Wednesday, All Saint's Day or any of the other holidays celebrated by the Church are. That really makes me sad. Like the title of this post says, it's our history, too!

I once heard a [very good] series of sermons that used the analogy of a song about our relation to the Church at large. We are just a part--a small part--of God's plan for human history that is played out in His body, the Church. Like a song, God's plan is complete--it goes from start to finish and has a theme, but it also has individual sections (like the notes, verses, etc.) We can't forget our place in the song.

It wasn't until I was in highschool that I finally began to understand the importance of the Creeds. (Thank you, Mr. Fakkema!) Each week we would discuss a phrase of the Apostle's Creed and what it meant. Thanks to Rich Mullins, I easily memorized it through a song.

Maybe this stems from my love of hymns. I don't know. But it...saddens (?) me that so many people are ignorant of our history. You can't be a 'Lone Ranger' Christian, and neither can the Church. Good or bad, we have a history. Let's learn from it. "Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us..." (Romans 15:4a) "Now these things occured as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things has they did." (1 Cor. 10:6)

Friday, October 21, 2005

Few more thoughts

Many people think that in a large family not everyone gets individual attention. Obviously I can't speak from personal experience on this as there are just four kids in my family, but I know that in my friend Luke's family (he's fourth out of 14), his parents frequently do things with just one or two of the kids. Luke and his brother, Mark (the only other one I know) seem to be quite well-adjusted individuals.

The other issue people have with large families is the myth of overpopulation. The world isn't overpopulated, the people just aren't spread out wisely. Every family in the world could live comfortably in part of the US with a modest house and backyard. I believe I've also heard that China, with its one child per family policy, will not be producing enough people to replace the ones that die.

Have kids, people...it won't kill you. ;)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

By now you've all heard...

...of the Duggar family, who recently welcomed their 16th child into the world. (Family website and CNN)

Many people have said that this family has too many kids and that they are being irresponsible. Let me rant on both of those points.

First off, how many kids a couple has is no one's business but theirs and God's. I also believe that as a general rule, there is no such thing as too many kids. Some couples should not have a lot of kids; if they know that they simply cannot parent a large number of kids well, then they should wisely limit their family size. However, many people could handle large families, and if they chose to have several children, let them! Children are a blessing from God, and if a couple wants to accept as many as the Lord gives them, who are we to say that God is blessing them too much?

Secondly, there is the issue of responsibility. Who's more responsible; a couple with 16 kids who live debt-free and have happy, healthy kids or a family with two kids who are living on welfare and have kids who run around getting in trouble with the law, doing nothing productive to contribute to society?

They're living debt-free and have a happy, healthy family. The Duggers with 16 kids, the Arndts with 14 kids (I'm friends with one of them) and many other families with lots of kids don't need our judgements of their family size. They need our friendship, love and support. If you don't/can't have kids, find a family with kids and help them...great training for the future and lots of fun, too! :)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Go

If Jesus says "Therefore, go..." (Matt. 28:19), why am I still here?

"We must go
Live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken
We must go
Stepping forward
Keep us from just singing
Move us into action
We must go."
--"God of Justice"
www.passionforyourname.com/loops/GodOfJustice11.mp3
www.passionforyourname.com/1104newsong.html

I'm incredibly fed up and frustrated with my lazy, selfish, comfortable lifestyle when there are so many people that need to be reached for Christ that I could be helping.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Some thoughts on valleys...

I've been thinking about spiritual valleys lately. I was listening to Caedmon's Call today (big surprise) and one line in their song "Valleys Fill First" really caught my attention. It said "so I'll stay in this valley/if it takes 40 years." That got me thinking about some other songs with that same concept. Ginny Owens sings, "I will go through the valley/if You want me to." (Really, the whole song "If You Want Me To" is fantastic). In "The Valley Song," Jars of Clay says, "I will sing of Your mercy/That leads me through valleys of sorrow/To rivers of joy."

The Bible says that Jesus was "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Mark 13:43). If that doesn't sound like a valley, I don't know what does. Some people say that spiritual valleys are a result of a lack of faith. To them, I say...well, I won't put it here. ;) Let's just say I think it's a bunch of crap.

I've experienced my share of valleys...they're not fun, but God uses them in our lives. I think that they can be (but are not always) the result of unconfessed sin in our lives. If that's not the issue...then you just gotta keep following God, trusting that He knows where He is leading you through this time and that it will turn out for your good. "I will walk by faith/even when I cannot see/because this broken road/prepares Your will for me." (Jeremy Camp--lost his first wife to cancer before he was 25.)

Hebrews 11:1 says "now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." It's in times of spiritual dryness that we need to walk by faith. Psalms 62:8b says "pour out your hearts to him." We're to do that not only when times are good, but when life sucks and you feel like God's not there. It's not easy or fun to keep at it when you don't see any results, you feel like you're talking to a wall and wonder if there's a point to it. However, God has promised amazing things for us (1 Cor. 2:9)...we must patiently walk by faith...through the highs and lows of life...someday, we'll see Him, face to face

and it'll be worth it












all.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Thoughts on memorizing/quizzing

So today we started a Bible study with some girls on our floor. It involves watching a DVD for about an hour. The speaker included lots of Scripture, which I of course loved. I had memorized almost all of the verses she quoted, but if someone had asked me to quote them by just giving the reference, I wouldn't be able to. That made me really upset, because I realized how all those verses that I memorized aren't with me like they used to be. Sure, I can quote them along with someone, but I can't quote whole chapters like I used to. I want to be able to do that again. I am working on finishing 1 Timothy right now. It's one of my goals to memorize all of the Apostle Paul's letters. When I finish that, I want to review the passages I've learned. It's easier the second time around, and I want Scripture memory to be a life-long habit.

I also gotta say that I miss quizzing like crazy. I sometimes wish for the days when my biggest concern was how many verses I'd have by the next meet. Quizzing is so amazing...I can't wait until I can help out with it and give back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What I want in a man...

Yes, I'm one of "those" girls. I have a list of what I want in a husband. It's gone through many changes over the years. Things important to me now wouldn't have even crossed my mind several years ago. Anyways, here it is. I know that no man will ever be able to fulfill all of them, but I hope he comes close. ;)

I desire a man who...
*Puts Jesus Christ first in every area of his life
*Believes in the importance of the local church
*Protects and leads me
*Is constantly striving to be a better man
*Loves kids and wants lots
*Has a sense of humor and loves to laugh, but also knows when it is appropriate to be serious
*Loves music (doesn't necessarily have to play any instrument)
*Is responsible, especially with money
*Supports me in my desires and God's leading in my life
*Is honest, even when it's hard
*Will do things like fly kites on a windy day, stargaze at night, have snowball fights...just enjoy life!
*Wants to homeschool, if God calls us to do so
*Cherishes me and makes me feel special
*Is the spiritual leader
*Fights fairly
*Will hold my hand after 50 years of marriage
*Is generous
*Is open to adoption
*Has compassion on others
*Loves me despite my many faults
*Isn't afraid to cry
*Makes submitting a joy
*Will stick it out, no matter what

If you know anyone who fits all or most of those criteria, have him contact me at...kidding. (I think). ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Computers are good but...

I like computers. They allow me to keep in touch (for free!) with friends and family who are far away, and also are a great source of information and an aid in school, such as using Excel for statistics and Word for writing papers.

However, there are a few things computers just should not be used for. Here are some...
*Poetry...don't do it, people! For the sake of all that is good and holy, please, please write it on paper. Words are more alive when handwritten than when it is done by machine.
*Love letters...I know computers are faster, have cooler fonts and spell-check, but they're not romantic! I write letters to my future husband, but I refuse to use a computer to do so. Nothing but the best for my man. ;)
*Math...okay, I know this one sounds strange (and my mom is probably thinking "what in the world?") but as I've been doing my math homework this semester, I've decided that simple math should be written on paper. My current math teacher requires it to be typed (or messy writing may effect your grade) and it just feels wrong to me. Sitting down with a textbook, binder and pencil feels just like highschool to me, in kind of a good way, actually.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's this? A rave?

So this blog is for rants and raves. I think I have the rants fairly well covered. Now for a rave.

American Sign Language (ASL) is pretty much the coolest language ever. I love that I can talk with someone who's 10 feet away, not yell and understand everything. I can fully communicate in a place like the library where you're supposed to be quiet. You can even communicate with a glass window in the way and not be guessing what the other person wants to say.

ASL is asthetically pleasing. It's beautiful to watch people communicate in that way, especially during musical worship. Something about using something other than your voice to praise God is amazing.

In addition to all this, you also get to learn about Deaf culture. Very cool culture.

Did I mention the added benefit of being able to converse in classes, especially ones where the teacher doesn't pay attention to what the students do? (My parents read this...mom, dad, ignore that part.) ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Speaking in tongues/Charasmatics

Day one of Spiritual Emphasis Week and I already have a rant. Woohoo!

**Re-reading this, I realize it doesn't have much to do with chapel...read it anyways. :p**

This morning, chapel was pretty good. This evening started out fine, but when the speaker got up and practically conducted a mini-healing service before he started preaching...I was definitely uncomfortable, and I don't think it was in a good way. He reminded me a little too much of Benny Hinn (minus "being slain in the Spirit." If you don't know who Benny Hinn is...be glad.)

For fun, let me state my position on speaking in tongues/the whole Charasmatic movement. I have friends who are Charasmatic. I love them dearly. I have also been in churches where people have spoken in tongues on many occasions. When we Bible quizzed on the Corinthians, I memorized 1 Cor. 14 where Paul clearly says in verse 27, "If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. (Can you tell I feel strongly about that?) ;) I have never seen/heard anyone interpret tongues.

Point number two--Paul also says that "in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue." Point being? Speaking in tongues is not the evidence of the Holy Spirit. We make too big of a deal out of it.

I may be wrong on this, but I believe the only times tongues are mentioned in the Bible in great detail are Acts 2 (where it originated), 1 Cor. 12 (spiritual gifts--no one has them all) and 1 Cor. 14 (instructions for the chuch). I see nowhere where it says we are to speak in tongues. Communion--obviously something for the entire Church. Foot washing? Tongues? Prophsey? Nope.

So the guy in chapel said he'd gotten these "impressions" from God and was basically "speaking healing" on illnesses in the room. Now, I personally believe that if God wants to heal someone, He will do it with or without permission from a human. God doesn't need your permission to do anything. Like Steven Curtis Chapman says, "God is God, and I am not." So simple, but so true, and quite frequently, so forgotten.

The Internet Monk has a very good article on this that you can find here.

I've never spoken in tongues or had a vision from God, and you know what? I'm okay with that. It doesn't make me any more or any less of a Christian than someone who has.

Anyways, that is tonight's rant. I might write another one relating to the Internet Monk's article "When I am Weak," just because I like it so much and he does a good job of expressing what's in my heart. Like anything on the internet, I don't agree with it 100%, but he does have some amazing things to say.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Essay from contest

I recently entered a contest you can read about here.
This is my essay:

Christians ought to be at the forefront of the battle against poverty and hunger. That statement may be bold, but I believe it’s biblical. James 2:15-16 says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about this physical needs, what good is it?” That same author tells us, “religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27a)
Growing up in the Christian culture, I was often taught that the most effective way to witness was to be different from the world. “Make your school your mission field,” teenagers are told. That’s all well and good, but there needs to be more. We can’t just avoid what the world does; we need to do things they don’t. Why? Because as Christians, we have been called to go.
Matthew 28:19 starts out, “Therefore, go…” (emphasis mine). It includes action verbs like make, baptizing and teaching. Jesus was active in the physical needs of people. All throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus preaching and healing. When He fed the 5,000, Jesus didn’t just see them hungry and pray for their nourishment—He provided it.
Taking care of people’s physical needs takes on many different roles. It could mean serving a meal at a homeless shelter. Maybe it means giving your life to working with AIDS children in Africa. It could mean supporting missionaries with prayer and money. While I believe that it is good for all Christians, regardless of their careers, to go on a mission trip, I also believe that we must make missions an integral part of our daily lives, regardless of where we live. Doing this, however, does not require that we abandon everything and live in a village in eastern Africa. It depends on where God has called you.
The church in Acts 6 had to deal with this issue. When the Grecian Jews complained because their widows were not getting enough food, the apostles did something about it. They appointed men to take charge of the physical needs so they could continue to feed people’s spiritual needs.
The Son of God doesn’t have kind words for those who failed to care for people’s physical needs. “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat…I needed clothes and you did not clothe me…I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 26:42-43; 45)
We are commanded to reach “the least of these.” In many countries, they are the people who aren’t physically able to go and see drama groups. They can’t read a tract. We must devote our efforts to the least and the most. Dig a well for a small village in Haiti and then tell them about the Living Water. Don’t tell them God wants to fill their souls while their stomachs are filled with pangs of hunger.
What we think of as “typical” mission trip activities such as drama/mimes, passing out tracts are good, but they’re not enough. On the flip side, building a house, yet not sharing the Gospel is equally inadequate.
If you call yourself a Christian, you are commanded to be like Christ. He says to go and minister to the physical needs of people, which is something He Himself lived out. As followers of Christ, we are all called to the mission field and must do no less.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Christianity is everywhere...

This rant is the result of my recent venture to a coffee house. This particular place of business has been frequented by many a student from my school. Last year, however, the college purchased it, which has been wonderful because we can now use our meal cards there. Can we say "hoorary!" for "free" drinks?

Anyways, I was sitting there tonight, drinking my delicious peach smoothie when I noticed that they were playing Christian music ('worship music,' to be exact) and that really irked me. Even before the school bought the shop, it was still a Christian/wholesome atmosphere. I don't know if they previously played Christian music or not, but this was the first time I had noticed it.

Why did/does it irk me? Well, I couldn't help but picturing a non-Christian walking into the place and wondering what they would feel if they noticed the music was religous. Left out, exluded and uncomfortable were the words that came to my mind. Playing Christian music just seems to promote the mindset of being in a Christian bubble, and that this is a good thing. There isn't anything inherantly wrong with secular music, so why not play it? If someone walks into a building and hears Norah Jones as compared to FFH, won't they feel more at home with music they recognize?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"In the world but not of"

And now, a rant.

Anyways, we all know that Christians are supposed to be in the world but not of it (Romans 12:2). This is commonly used to justify things like not watching 'bad' movies and generally being different.

While being set apart from the world is a good thing, I'm convinced some people have taken it too far to the other extreme and actually need to be in the world more. (That last line was mainly aimed at conservative Christians who homeschool and think that it is the only way to raise godly kids.) I grew up in a Christian home (something for which I am very greatful) and mostly homeschooled.

On a web-site by people who are in my words 'freaking conservative,' they extol homeschooling and tell their opinion of public schools. I quote, "Our families will not be devoured and digested, becoming part of the feces of this carnivorous monster called public education, generated by the twisted minds of the morally ill."

Now, I don't know about you, but that pretty much makes me livid, upset and angry beyond belief. I know some incredibly godly people who are products of the public school system. Also (and this is probably my biggest beef with the whole 'homeschooling is the only way' crowd), if Christian kids aren't in public schools, who will reach the schools for Christ? I know I've said this before, but it's worth saying again. ;) Teachers in public schools can only do so much. It's the Christian kids in the highschools that will make the lasting difference in the lives of the world.

Christ never commands us to shut ourselves out from the world. How can you be a light to a people you know nothing about? Being in the world means having some sense of pop culture. No, you don't totally assimlate to the world, but how effective will your witness be if you are still living like it's the 1950's?

Well, peoples, there you have it...my first rant in this blog. You can stay tuned for more developements when I get the next bee in my bonnet. ;)

Monday, September 05, 2005

First post...yay

So I started a new blog. Hopefully, this one will be a bit more serious than my Xanga. I'll still keep up with the other one, but you can come here for my (not-so) deep thoughts. ;)