The Pain of Sacrifice.

O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless
Your name

Wonderful Cross

I think passionate Christians speak a bit too joyfully of giving their all in all. We romanticize the Christ likeness of it and never speak of how hard and how painful it is. True sacrifice requires something of you. It isn’t fun. We do what is right and sometime its at a cost. I think that is why good Friday is so good. We remember that Christ’s sacrifice was hard and it hurt and that He had to be exasperated from his father. Sometimes we confuse being kind with being sacrificial. We tithe, we give to the poor some, we help a friend move. We pat ourselves on the back and move on feeling better about ourselves. Being sacrificial makes us holier and makes us more like Jesus. But it isn’t necessarily supposed to make us feel happy. If it makes us feel better was it really a sacrifice?  I had to make one recently. It had the potential to make my life much harder and I hated every minute of knowing what I was about to do. It was the right thing to do. I am glad I did it.  It sucked. Just like a sacrifice is supposed to. Remember Isaac? Remember that trip he took with his father that one day? Sacrifice feels how Abraham must have felt before we do it. But, O, how it is worth it! How we rejoice in our submission and obedience to our Father. How abundant is our call to come and die. How precious Jesus and how wonderful His cross. 

The Lie of the Coffin

I have been cranking KLove lately. If I am humming something around my coworkers I want it to be about Jesus. One of the songs I heard today was played at a friends funeral last week. Her heart for God was evident on every life that came to her memorial service. Her testimony had touched us all. God had clearly known her and she Him. I cried many times that weekend. Even tears of joy at a friends wedding the next day. We all would have done ANYTHING to have her back. Yet, me and my friends had the comfort of knowing that this was God’s will. That her accident happened under His sovereignty. We are also not the ones that miss her presence at the table for every meal. Her families grief, and her closer friends all took a much bigger blow than me.

I had joy. I felt it in the many moments of silence and sniffles I felt it. Hope, truth, love, grace.. it was all here. In her life. It was with us. We knew she was home. Perfectly in Ch\rist, with Christ forever. Even though nothing would be the same for anyone, today was a victory. She dies in Christ. Satan and sin can never torment her again. There is no death in Christ.

Romans 6:8-10 …Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.…

She died with Christ. She could never die again after that. That is the truth.  We long to be home with her. I can’t imagine the pain of her family. But I can’t wait to see them reunited and I cannot wait to be reunited with all of the people that have been lost to us as well. It is also pure happiness that that is the least of my joy to come. Christ Himself will triumph the joy of any reunion.

We miss you Nina. See you soon.

And I will say that we should take a day to break away
from all the pain our brain has made
the game is not played alone
And I will say that we should take a moment and hold it
and keep it frozen and know that life has a hopeful undertone.

Couples Ministry.

God made men and women to compliment each other. To reflect his image in their uniqueness. I find that I am unique enough on my own and never really struggled with needing another person to do ministry with. I never wanted to be a lead pastor or any position reserved in God’s service for men. Just to serve quietly and wildly with whatever ministry God blessed me with. Yet somehow I am dating a music minister who loves Jesus in crazy ways too. He is constantly teaching me about humility, self-sacrifice and servant-hood. Some times I wonder if he gives a thought to himself at all. Yet somehow I received the high honor of teaching with him.

Wyoming let me see what a worship guy does. It always sort of looked like just getting up there and using a natural talent to pretend to be a rock star for an hour. I was talking with a friend and he said “So you go preach the gospel and he just sings. Sounds good.” He said this without thinking and took it back but it was enough to set me off. I had seen Chris look over my lessons with care and a bit of admiration that I felt was undeserved. He was not too prideful to throw the selected songs that he had chosen with care out the window because of some wise council. The thing I told my friend that spoke carelessly is that some might hear the gospel in a song he plays and not in my exertion of John. The look in their faces when they ran up to him and asked for The Great I Am, or Beautiful Things or Marvelous Light was astonishing. They were being spoken to, and they craved it.

His ministry is great in ways mine is not. Using music to speak to the heart is older than the psalms. Not only that but MY ministry with his is stronger than mine on its own. His willingness to serve me publicly and my best attempt show my pure joy in serving his ministry did a lot of kids with broken images of what love looks like more good than I could know. I did nothing that week. I stayed up late reading as many commentaries as possible and when it came to teaching time I forgot much of what I wanted to say. Still, the Spirit showed up. He worked in hearts through that week. I did very little. He could have given them dreams and visions. He could have put his love for them in the sky. But he used me. I can’t begin to explain the honor and humility required to tell you about how some kids from a reservation met Jesus that weekend. How I sparked conversations about creation, sin and salvation. I still can’t fathom it. He spoke. I did… but not in any way that mattered. Yes, I was careful with my words. Yes, I studied and prayed. But that was the end of it. I am sure Chris feels the same way. In the end I really did justtalk and he really did just sing.

Together we were seen teaching and worshiping. Little girls followed us around chanting for us to kiss. We didn’t of course. But we let them see us pray, read the gospel and enjoy life together. I think it was good for many of the younger staff members as well. I enjoy serving as a couple in ministry. I have always admired the ministry of a man and woman side by side. I have never had the joy of being part of one. I can’t wait to do it again. It’s worth the cost of having some competition. Nothing swoons middle school girls like singing and playing bass apparently. No worries, I can take most 8th graders. ;)

The Problem with “home”

Home has meant so many things as I have grown. It has meant my childhood home across the street from my grandmother. The one where my first dog, Bart Starr, slept with me every night.  The train went by each evening right around bedtime. Then it was across town, in the place that  I got my first room to myself. I painted it blue.  Then it was my house on Crombie. The place my parents and sister still reside. Where I went from being a child to being something more. Then there was my college campus. Where I craved and devoured book after book. Where the rhythmic tapping of  papers getting typed, kept the seconds. Where life long friends were made and where each inch became familiar to me.  The smells and faces were seared into my being for four years. It was my best friend’s home when I needed refuge and my home now, where I live at with my new friends and we test the waters of life together.

Now home means the place I am leaving. I for a moment tasted my permanent home. Singing songs of praise, joining in prayer as the Body, exploring creation, encouraging one another, sharing meals, making art and learning more and more about God. This was a taste of the home I was made for. Now with the bump of the road, dark clouds on the horizon, and camp behind me I want to weep. A part of me is missing. The issue with homesickness it that it is me longing for heaven. I will never escape it til Christ embraces me and I Him.  I have tasted creation, imitated my maker with the labor of my hands and my lips have sang of his goodness. I have been surrendered by other children of the same Father and have been blessed by them. They have prayed and fought darkness by my side. The pit in my stomach grows with the distance.  I will go back home, but it is less like the home I was designed for. Less like camp. It is less like my heavenly home where we will share testimonies by the fire.

Or is it ? What keeps me from those things from being in my life outside of camp?