King Jesus

I wish I’d posted this yesterday, because a song has officially slipped my mind and I can’t get it back.  😦

Rarely do I turn on the radio in my car in the morning because I’m not too fond of the "John and Rhonda Morning Show"-especially when the Birthday Blessings Club comes on.  The song they play for that gets on my nerves.  I didn’t have a CD in the player yesterday morning so the radio was the next best thing to silence in that moment. 

*Recently I’ve been experiencing great, random songs on the radio.  The other day, twice, I heard Crown2004a_1 this new song by a guy named DaWayne Woods, called "Let Go".  I just downloaded it from itunes-awesome song.*

Anyway, I wish I could remember what song I heard yesterday, but I know that it was an older song-maybe a hymn-that was redone in a contemporary style.  There were two words in the song that I haven’t been able to get away from…"King Jesus".

I was singing along with the artist, not too passionately, really, when all of a sudden I realized that there were tears streaming down my face as I sang the words, "King Jesus".  Huh.  He’s my King!  In a society where we have broken away from monarchy and have declared a democracy.  In a place where "the people have a vote".  In a country where everyone lives for themselves…I still have a King.

This is not just any King.  This is a King who stood, and still stands, on the front lines of battle for me everyday.  He has taken ridicule, abuse, beatings…all for me.  His enemy did not charge into His kingdom, to come after Him…He made Himself available for all of this.  That’s my King!  He makes me proud to serve Him as King. 

This stirred deep emotion in me as I drove to work yesterday and thought about Who I was singing about.  I can’t even remember the song, but I remember those two words.

King Jesus

Family Mission Statement

Tonight I arrived safely on Bosworth Lane, in Northfield, Illinois.  This is where one of my favorite families resides.  I got to take the dog for a walk, read several pages of a new book, hug on my 2 oldest nephews and enjoy my youngest laugh hard at me for the first time.  I got to see my brother and his wife.  It was a great night.

I’ve gotta admit one of my favorite things about tonight was reading something new that was stated in several places throughout the house (in the bathroom, in the kitchen…). 

It was the Burton Family Mission Statement, which states:

We are a family.  We are the Burtons.  We will live our lives to make Jesus smile.

If these are the people that I have to spend my week with, then maybe God wants to show me something about mission.  :0)  …because this family is on a mission.  What mission?  Well, its stated clearly in its mission statement, "to live [their] lives to make Jesus smile."  Certainly, this is a worthwhile mission.

I’ve got a few questions about that. What will that look like this week?  And how can I be a part of this great mission?  Can I steal that and tack it onto my own life mission statement? (To become better and to help others become better.)  It could now be:  To become better at making Jesus smile and to also help others become better at making Jesus smile.  Perhaps I will tweak that, but it will do for the moment.

I remember the first time I ever learned about such a thing.  It was as a student leader in my high school youth group.  I had an amazing youth pastor who taught us a thing or two about leading.  It’s hard to forget those times when he would walk us through writing and rewriting our mission statements and goals.  Sounds of "Failing to plan is planning to fail" run through my head even now!  I’m glad that at the age of 15 God wasn’t complete in writing my mission on my heart.  He has since expanded my heart beyond myself and my own desires.  I like that. 

If you have a family, it might be cool to write a mission statement together. It builds ownership.  Once we’ve got a goal in mind, we can always take anything we want to do back to the goal.  If something doesn’t somehow help to meet the goal, then it needs to be evaluated for what it’s worth in your life, or the life of your family.  Inspiration is running through my veins as I write.  I might even do this in my class. 

What’s your mission statement?

Thankful

This fourth week of November brings us all to a place where we are encouraged to think more about what we’re thankful for.  It’s one of those things that you either don’t know where to begin or you don’t know where to end.  This week I’d like to just keep posting what I’m thankful for…in no particular order:)  To be honest, this is more for me than for anybody else.  It’s just good to remember…

I’m thankful:

-that I grew up in church

for change in my life

-that God gives me grace beyond what I clearly deserve

-that I am working at a school where I am appreciated

-that this year has brought me the coolest group of students to work with

-that I am from a cool place like Philly

-for a family that loves me more today than they ever did

-for my mom who is the BEST customer service representative at Cardone Industries (buy Cardone car parts!), winning 3 out of 5 awards at this year’s banquet

-for my dad who always draws Robbie the cat stamps on every envelope he gives me-and my biggest fan

-for my brother Todd who has always made me laugh

-for my sister-in-law Tiffany who giggles w/ me about silly things

-for my brother Dave who (finally 🙂 occasionally calls me out the blue to say Hi and who has committed to watching all of 24.Season 3 with me this week

-for my sister-in-law Stephanie, who has become one of my best friends and one of my favorite people to talk with

-for my nephew Robert who, at the age of 11, still gets so excited to see his Mim!

-for my nephew Ross who gets super sentimental when I leave him and makes me laugh when I come

-for my nephew Ryder who I’ve only met once-who I can’t wait to hold in 24 hours!

-for Jessica who lives far away but still sends me pictures of her and her family in the mail

-for Jen (Gowell) who has been my best friend since I was 8; my former roommate; my oldest friend

-for my roommate, Jennifer, who stays up late with me all the time to just hang out and who vaccuums @ 10.30pm and can’t seem to figure out how to work my TV/VCR

-for pigs (hah!)

-for Carrie who keeps me accountable for my thoughts and who makes me laugh a whole lot

-for Eddie and JT who really care when they ask me how I’m doing

-for Nicki-my mentor and friend-who keeps me accountable and whose life of integrity causes me to be grossly real with her

-for Chris for sharing Nicki with me;)

-for Brad who not only challenges me every time he preaches, but who introduces me to the funniest and weirdest websites ever…and he introduced me to blogging

-for Katie who is real with me and whose book I will someday own:)

-for Phil who thinks just like me!

-for Emily who has been moving through this season of her life with grace

-for a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks (or a Mint Condition from Caribou)

-for Jamie who I love to worship with

-for Tal and Gwen who are my favorite example of what a couple should be

-for www.maps.google.com

-for King who lives in China but who still seems to impact my life on a regular basis

-for Richie and Michele who have shown me true friendship through their consistency

-for Church of the King-a body of people who want to see Metro Detroit filled with church plants

-for having the privilege of leading New Life Ministries-the best ministry ever!

-for my crockpot

for hoodie sweatshirts

-for the opportunity to go to North Central-some life-changing years

-for Jeremy Camp‘s music

-for life!  it’s so amazing!

****This list is far from finished…I just need to go to bed, for tomorrow I drive to Chicago!

I’m Ready

After 2 1/2 weeks of trying to locate a copy of 24.Season 3, I finally have it.  I realized that I could catch up through Season 5 before it all starts in January.  This would make me happy.  So with these next few days off (and no work to do) I’m going to hang with my brother, and hopefully my sister-in-law, to watch Season 3.  I’m hoping to snatch Season 4 for Christmas in Philly and then Season 5 when I get home from break.

I know what you’re thinking.  "That’s crazy!"  And you’re right.  It has the potential to consume me for a couple of days.  I figure that as long as I pray for Jack Bauer to make it through safely then surely that will keep me focused on the Lord the whole time…

So I need to give a public shout-out to:

-Chris and Nicki Bradshaw for letting me borrow their copy of Season 3

-Matt Wyland for letting me borrow Chris and Nicki’s copy from him (cuz he had it)

-Carrie Cornelius for calling Matt right before he left for worship practice tonight to tell him to bring it

On this Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for these people.  🙂

Braces and Headgear

On the lighter side of life:Braces20030529

For the sake of my friend, Katie Trapp, I am posting this to try to grab some of the search hits she gets from her lovely post about "braces and headgear"…although to be honest, it doesn’t come up when I do that search.  Also, I’m not sure why this frustrates her so much either.  Anyway, this is just for fun.-mostly for Katie 🙂

Tearing Down Idols

I couldn’t help it but relate to Hezekiah as I read Isaiah 36-37 this morning.  The king of Assyriah taunted Hezekiah and his kingdom.

On what are you basing this confidence of yours?…And if you say to me, ‘We are depending on the LORD our God’-isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar?’  vs.4, 7

Hezekiah worked to tear down idols that his people were worshipping.  And still the enemy (which you would’ve almost thought would’ve left along with the idols) comes and tries to bring discouragement, saying that LORD will not be able to deliver them from the Assyrians-who at this point had defeated many.  The king of Assyria tried to make it sound like the idols that were torn down were of this LORD that they worshipped.  He put questions in their minds and tried to cause them to doubt.  He told them not to listen to Hezekiah-not to trust him when he says that God will deliver them.

I find myself in this predicament at times.  I’ve actually been facing this taunting for awhile now, although I’m finding that because I don’t believe those lies so much anymore, it’s way easier to shut up the enemy.  🙂  I have idols that I’ve torn down in my life.  To be a little transparent, one of them is food.  Unfortunately if you know me, that won’t surprise you.  I kind of wish that it would surprise people, but fat chance (hah!  no pun intended).  Throughout my life I’ve heard preachers joke about their own weight and gluttony, and I’ve only ever heard one sermon specifically on the sin of gluttony and food as an idol.  Most of the other 17 works of the sinful nature get touched on though (the ones from Galatians 5)…so why not this one?

One of these last weeks of Neos, Pastor Brad’s sermon message was entitled Feast or Famine.  While he wasn’t specifically targeting overeating necessarily, I know that God reinforced some things about this aspect of my own sinful nature to me.  Overeating=Famine in my life.

It’s funny that a lot of Christians excuse their weight problems by throwing out, "while man looks on outside appearances, God looks at the heart."  To think that this has anything to do with outward appearances is actually ridiculous.  The fact of the matter is, this is completely a heart issue.  If my heart is set on worshipping the gods of the "golden arches", Ghiradelli double chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, pizza and Coke, good night-how do I even fit Christ into my heart with all that stuff?  Let me tell you, it’s hard.  I try to shove Him in there.  He seems to only fit about halfway, because those things take up so much room!  They make my body get bigger, not my heart.  Hmmm…yeah…that doesn’t help me accomplish my life’s mission, right?

This is not to say that I have not been serving Jesus and that I don’t love Him.  Nor is it to say that I don’t take time to seek Him daily…none of those things.  But what I am saying is that the idols of my heart, no matter what form they come in, don’t allow Christ to take over as much as He desires to. 

So now that the idol has been torn down, the enemy tries so hard to taunt me-to invade my space.  He does it in the same ways he did with Hezekiah and his kingdom:

-by trying to get me to think that the idol was of God and that it was ridiculous to try to tear it down

-by trying to get me not to trust God’s power in my life

-by trying to get me to think that my confidence in the changing power of the Holy Spirit is worthless

-by trying to get me to doubt that God has delivered me from my sinful nature

-by tring to get me to just accept defeat; after all, overeating has taken over so many others

Thank God for His amazing power and deliverance in my life!  I praise Him for being so kind to me, to bring this to the surface in my life.  I thank Him for bringing a couple of incredible accountability partners into my life who pray for me and really want to walk through this moment in time with me.

You know the Father from personal experience. You veterans know the One who started it all; and you newcomers—such vitality and strength! God’s word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One. 1 John 2.13

Please get my heart on this.  Not everyone that’s overweight idolizes food…but I would venture to guess that many do.  Sin is sin and we need to take steps to walk in victory…I need to take steps to walk in victory. Actually, I am taking steps to walk in victory 🙂

Did you know?

Did you know that:

1. a bignonia is a tropical vine named after Louis the 15th’s librarian?

2.  Sarah Hale is the lady who wrote the words for the nursery rhyme "Mary had a Little Lamb"?-Mother Goose, my foot!

3.  P.U.F.F. stands for People United to Fight Frustrations

4. in Tuscumbia, Alabama, it is still illegal for more than eight rabbits to live on the same city block.  (Although I keep trying to figure out how they charge that ninth rabbit…Do they handcuff him and read him his rights?  Haul him off the Tuscumbia jail?  Charge him a $5,000 fine?)

Tonight I played Balderdash and found out that the Philly team of Jamie and I just don’t work well at this game-although I already knew that I stunk at the game and was hoping that Jamie would pull it in for us.  Not so.  Nonetheless I had a blast playing the game, especially when an unnamed pastor’s wife wrote that in Israel it was a crime to circumcise a bear as her ‘fake answer’.  Balderdash is all about writing fake answers, statements, definitions, etc., in hopes that someone will think that yours is correct.  The things I listed above are some funny examples from a card in the game.  I really enjoyed #4.

The other game we played tonight was Taboo.  When the other team was going, someone was trying to describe something and said, "They’re fighting the Israeli’s…"  Katie belted out, "The Jews!"  and then sat back in the couch and said, "Oh wait…" 

Good times.  Good times.

Piggy

Okay, I’m really not obsessed with pigs, but a couple of my newest friends, Anthony and Kari, just got one.  They ordered her from a pig breeder in Texas and had to pick her up from the airport today.  Here she is, isn’t she cute?  Walsh_pig_3

This reminds me of a youth leader that I had in high school-Dave Nunner.  He and his wife had a pig.  And I remember the classic line from my friend Amber in an awkward moment…"So, how do you feel about having a pig as a pet?"  Um, yeah, that probably won’t make sense to anyone but my old PRIZM friends (Praying Radicals In Zealous Ministry-our old youth ministry). They will laugh.  Everyone else…enjoy the pig picture-who wouldn’t?  🙂

Fireplace

         I’m sitting at Starbucks and although I don’t have an internet connection, I really want to blog (so I will post it later).  This is a great feeling, to be sitting at my laptop, with a peppermint mocha in hand, right in front of a real fire!  (This is way better than the Fireplace video that waImg_1211tch on TV at home)  Cozy, warmness fills me. J  Even though I’m grading papers, I feel great. 

Here’s a picture of my friend, Anthony, warming himself by the "fireplace" at my apt.

There are memories here.  It was at this very same Starbucks-on the other side of the fire-that I had my hot date back in March.  I am reminiscant of that wonderful night and I’m seeing the need to go on another one.  (Although the 3 older men in suits in front of me are kind of ruining my moment.)  Of course I’ve spent lots of time with God since then, but if I were building a scrapbook of memories of my relationship with Jesus, that night would have lots of pictures and thoughts carefully placed over 3-4 pages.  It meant a lot to me. 

I am finding myself lacking in intimacy and longing for it all the more.  Physical, earthly relationships are just that-just here on earth-but there’s this whole other part to me that no person can physically reach.  My innermost needs cannot possibly be met by any individual person.  I’ve heard it said so many times, and God is trying to get this through to me, but I haven’t quite grasped it yet.  My mind knows it, but my heart is still like, “Really?  It makes sense, but explain that one more time.  Maybe this time I’ll get it.”

           I’m currently reading The Sacred Romance and it’s taking me awhile to ‘get into it’.  I want to draw closer to the heart of God-as the rest of the title alludes to.  You know why?…Because I’m a hopeless romantic…although I’m not quite as hopeless as this suggests, J  I’m definitely a romantic.

          God gave us this romantic side to connect with us deeply.  I love this!  Sometimes I wish that He would take away my longings, but His desire is that I long for Him deeply, and embrace Him deeply.  I want to sit by the fireplace with Him.

“I want to sit at Your feet

Drink from the cup in Your hand

Lay back against you and breathe,

And feel Your heartbeat

This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand

I melt in Your peace, it’s overwhelming.”

-“The More I Seek You”, by Kari Jobe

Just Showed Up For My Own Life

For some people who are in my everyday life, they know that this past year has been one of great challenge and great change.  Without being able to fully articulate January through September, :), I found this song on Sara Groves’ website just now (I’m pretty pumped that my friend, Ben, is playing guitar for her current tour and I keep hoping she randomly schedules a concert somewhere near here so I can go!).  This is a great explanation of me right now:

Just Showed Up

by Sara Groves and Joel Hanson

Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I’m going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that’s honest and real until I’m truly amazed
I’m going to feel all my emotions
I’m going to look you in the eyes
I’m going to listen and hear until it’s finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real

And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I haven’t even heard the song, but the words are extemely powerful to me in this moment.  Maintaining what I’ve gained, in finally showing up for my own life is not as easy as I had hoped it would be.  It holds great challenges to overcome but I walk knowing that God is so pleased that I’ve join Him on a deeper level-as He has always been there for my life.

"Oh the glory of God is man fully alive"-that makes me think of my pastor’s current series, Neos.  This past week his sermon was Feast or Famine, and he talked about feeding that sinful part of us vs. feasting on God and developing a strong spiritual appetite.  To be fully alive is to be feasting on all that God has for us…and that is the glory of God.