Monday, September 29, 2008

The One Necessary Thing

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

I love Martha. I get her. If I'm one of these people, I'm Martha. I get the pressure and the weight that comes along with "work" and service. Work is an addiction in our country today. Most of us work like crazy. I totally feel the weight of having much to do - even GOOD things to do. Martha's not doing anything bad here. She's being a good hostess. She got caught up in things that need to be done. But is that life?! 

Jesus tells her that ONE thing is necessary. There's really one thing that you have to have.  And Mary chose it - Christ. She's chosen the thing that fills her soul. She's chosen the "good portion". And Jesus says that it won't be taken from her! We can get so busy doing what is "right" that we miss the necessary thing. I was there...and last night, I watched the one necessary thing happen.

Eternity changed for 5 students last night. The Spirit was all over that room. And it just left me thinking, "Really, what else matters after this?".  I once heard Matt Chandler say, "Only a fool would exchange bottles of water for gold in the desert". There's one thing necessary. 

I want to be Mary. I just want to sit at His feet. I want the one necessary thing - HIM.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I just found out a crazy statistic today:

If every member of our church tithed, we would have enough money to eliminate poverty in Franklin. 

Makes my stomach hurt a little bit.
...but at the same time, gets me really excited

Monday, September 22, 2008


I don't even know how to start this post. You know when you feel like you've been experiencing something that just really can't be explained? Like putting words to it almost seems to cheapen it all? That's how I feel...maybe I should just end the post here.

....I don't know. God is just way too much for me sometimes. Like He's so big...I'm so small. He's so mighty...I'm so weak. One of my favorite worship songs ever:
Strong, yet beautiful.
Just, yet merciful.
Never changing but still mysterious.
The infinite yet intimate GOD.
He is all things good. All things perfect. Just when I think I've seen it all, He comes in and blows me away again. Just when I think I love Him and I know Him, He comes in and reveals Himself in a whole new amazing way...I don't know. I'm getting frustrated even trying to explain it.

This weekend was crazy. I got to spend two days at the lake with seriously 20 of my favorite people in the whole world. We had our first annual Youth Leadership Retreat and it was so much more than we could've asked or imagined...suffice it to say that these students just inspire me. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They make me proud. They encourage me. They're some of my best friends in the world. As I said to my sister when we got back, " I seriously don't think it's possible for me to love a group of people more than I love them...." They are already being used in incredible ways and I cannot WAIT to see what God is going to do in them and through them this year...and beyond. They're gonna change the world.
I love to hear the dreams they have for this youth group. I love to see the way they love each other. I love to hear their desires to be nearer to God, to know Him more. I love that in them, I see pictures of Jesus with skin on. 
...I love making a 30-minute drive with all of them to the nearest Walmart at 1:00 AM just because we're all craving ice cream. I love the fact that I'm going to get to spend eternity with them. They make my heart full. 

It was just an awesome two days. A few more pics...
So we get back from the lake about an hour and a half before youth group is supposed to start. And by this time, I didn't know if I had anything left in me. I was SPENT - emotionally, spiritually, mentally...and definitely physically. But how easy it is to forget that God says He's going to be strong when we're weak. He just decides to go and blow us away after we thought we'd experienced it all for the weekend! 

There was an insane energy around youth group....from everyone! From the leaders all the way to the could feel the Spirit! And there's something crazy about that feeling... students who have been far from God are being drawn to Him. There is NOTHING that gets me more pumped than that. Wait, yes there is: seeing a combination of students who are from God being drawn to Him AND students who know God getting excited about seeing the other students who are being drawn to Him! dang...that's amazing. And that's what we witnessed last night. What could possibly still be to come?!?!

4 (maybe 5...) students are giving their life to Jesus and getting baptized on Sunday. It's going to be a party. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

my obsession

I love sunsets/ I LOVE them. Yes, maybe to the point of obsession. Every person has certain things in nature that uniquely connect them with God. And I mean, I know everyone loves sunsets to some extent. But I go through random periods of 2-3 week time frames when I don't know what happens...I'm just crazy about them. I'm in one of those periods of time right to the point where I can't wait for 6:45 PM to arrive each day so that I can see what God has in store for me! (Who could ever say that He's not a romantic?!)
Now the downside of this obsession is that on more than one occasion, I have possibly endangered my life trying to take a picture of a sunset while driving. Maybe not the best idea...but when you're out of your mind in love with the sunset, you do crazy stuff! haha...
The sad thing is that most of the time, cameras just have no way of capturing them...but every once in a while, you just get a great picture. So as a result of my current obsession, I decided to pull together some of my best sunset pictures and would now like to share them with you for your viewing pleasure.
Beach Trip '08..
,,,taken from my bedroom window...yeah, this is what I get to see every morning!!
in looks like it's on fire...
mmmm...nice one, God
who says Texas is the only place you can find beautiful sunsets..
Ski Trip '07
good GRIEF
And this one I just threw in for kicks, because it's the most ridiculous sun picture I've ever taken. and was totally a soon as I took it, I was like..."uhhhhh"
I can't remember where this quote comes from, but it goes something like this (and I'm totally not going to say it right, but here's my attempt...):
"If these are the beauties bestowed upon mortal men, how much more awaits those who will be with God?"
...something like that...

Monday, September 15, 2008

still restlessly seeking...

I am beyond myself excited for this movie to come out...soon, very soon.

I am continuing to wrestle...God has opened my eyes and has been breaking my heart for the things that are happening in the world around me. And I just can't sit on it...I can't ignore it. I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I just can't shake this!...not that I want to. But what to do with it is the question! I struggle with knowing how we as followers of Christ - the Christ who spent his time on earth with the "lepers" of the world (literally and figuratively...) - how are we to respond to the brokenness and the poverty and the sick and the dying? It's just so hard living in this ease and comfort that we live in here in America to connect - or even grasp the reality - of people who don't have clean water to drink or who go to bed every night scared for their lives. Very few of us have any realm of experience from which to draw to connect with people who are experiencing things like this. So yeah, what does this look like for us here? I'm still seeking...
I've been debating whether or not to go to this conference I head heard about called Catalyst. When I first went to the website to check it out, I noticed that there was like this whole lab track that you could sign up for called "Justice". And it's basically going to be focused on how our culture is being faced with major social issues and how the mission of the Church intersects with those needs.  Check out the sweet list of some of the speakers:
  • Jena Lee Nardella - Executive Director of Blood:Water Mission
  • Bethany Hoang - Director of International Justice Mission
  • Jeff Shinabarger - Founder of Rwanda Clean Water
  • Peter Greer - President of Hope International
So that totally grabbed my attention...a whole lab track on the Church's role in this new age of awareness and responsibility...exactly what I've been seeking God on lately! (Of course the fact that one of my favorite speakers of all time - Matt Chandler - is going to be speaking at the conference was also a major draw. :) The only thing holding me back from signing up were: A. money (or the lack thereof) and B. the fact that no one around here wants to shell out the dough to go, so I'd be journeying to Atlanta alone. But I'm kind of a fan of little adventures long story short - I took the plunge tonight and signed up to go. Come to find out, the lab track is actually a pre-conference event the day before it starts, so I'm going to the labs but not the actual conference. haha...weird, I know. But I really think God wants to show me something there. I absolutely don't believe it's a coincidence that there's an entire lab track on the exact thing that I've been seeking Him about and wrestling with for the past few months. I don't know what's ahead...I'm excited...
In other news, I got my first pair of TOMS shoes today. And I love them with all my heart. I totally encourage you to check these things out. A. their super comfy and B. for every pair you purchase, TOMS gives a pair to a child in need. Sweet stuff.
I got this know you want some :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Did It!

So I've been looking at the Fried Ice Cream Blasts on the Sonic menu ALL summer but I just couldn't ever get myself to take the plunge and get one!
So I don't know what it was about tonight - maybe the wind, maybe the arrangement of the stars, maybe just my ridiculous sweet tooth - whatever it was, I was just feeling it tonight. So after youth group, I drove to Sonic and bought a Sonic Fried Ice Cream Blast. And it was more than what I could have ever wished for. Truly...delectable. It was worth all 630 calories and 76 grams of sugar (...HA! yeah...when searching for a picture to put on the blog, I ran across the Sonic menu nutrition info. remind me to never look at that again). Anyway, if you like ice cream and you like crunchy cinnamon things, you must go get one of these before they leave the menu. They'll change your life.
An interesting observation: for some reason, when eating something super unhealthy, it feels even more unhealthy when I'm eating it by myself. Maybe because I feel like I'm doing some sort of naughty thing in secret instead of doing it with other people, for all to see. haha...I don't know. Maybe next time I'll go in the middle of Sonic and announce to all around that I'm about to consume 76 grams of sugar and then I'll feel better about it. I don't know...I'm talking crazy right now.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I run to You

Man I am feeling this song right now....especially that second verse there! 
THANK YOU, Jason Houser, for writing this...

Hear my cry. Let it rise to You.
My heart aches to meet with You.
Reveal Yourself. Through Your Word speak to me.
Lord, I will wait to hear from You.

Only Your love can satisfy. Only Your love does not run dry.
Only Your love has set me free. Only Your love is all I need.
Only Your love for me, only Your love my King.

Here's my heart lifted up to You. 
Have Your way. Do whatever it takes.
Here's my will. I lay it at Your feet. 
Help me see where You're leading me!

And so I RUN TO YOU!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


So we walked out of the hotel this morning and after we took about 10 steps, I was like, "Uhhh...does it not feel like we've already been walking for a full day?!" ( more walking trips immediately after a marathon...). 
Haley had to work today, so Ross, Melissa and I started the day out with a stroll by the Capitol Building...
on our way to the Library of Congress, which turned out less than magical. 
We had these grand ideas of going to the "coffee shop" in the library, finding a cool reading room, and just chilling and reading for a while. It turns out the "coffee shop" was actually just an underground cafeteria and you weren't allowed in any of the reading rooms unless you had a special pass. So we basically ended up wandering hallways for about an hour. Still cool to be in the Library of Congress and at least imagine what the rooms looked like. haha. We did get to see The Supreme Court building as we left though...very cool.
We then had a somewhat horrific time trying to transport ourselves down to the Museum of Natural History. We took the wrong bus which ended up taking us farther away from the museum, then decided to go on the Metro-rail which ended up shutting down for a period of time for maintenance issues. But we finally got to the museum for a quick hour run-through. Very cool stuff in there...
The Hope Diamond
Dinosaur fossils
A super sweet African exhibit (which SO made me want to go there even's gonna happen...soon)
and I made a friend of my own at the "Evolution" film. Apparently this guy is my ancestor :) 
 It's interesting how everything in the museum totally points toward evolution. 
There's never even a mention of any other possibility (such as a God creating the universe!) Anyway, the museum was super cool then we headed back to the Capitol. We got to see the office where Haley works, which was very exciting. She is interning for Texas Congressman Sam Johnson. This is where she goes to work every day!
One of Haley's jobs as an intern will be to give periodic tours of the Capitol to people. So Ross, Melissa and I got to be her practice run-through today. She did fantastically. The Capitol building is just so cool. A few of my favorite places we visited inside...
This is the geographic center of D.C. The room is called the was originally intended to be the room where Washington would be buried. And it's supposedly good luck to rub your foot on the star. :) 
Then there was the inside of the rotunda...amazing! You can fit the Statue of Liberty in this room with like 50 feet to spare! 

Then there was the Old Senate Chamber where the Senate met for 50 years...until the recent one was built.
And then we got to actually go sit in the Senate floor, which was awesome! I actually sat in one of the seats where the First Family sits when they are in cool. But you're not allowed to take pictures in there :( Then we went outside for a few more pics...

Such an awesome building! By the time we were done with the tour, we had about an hour to hit up the last museum we wanted to see while we were there - the Air and Space Museum (which apparently is the most visited museum in D.C.). By the time we got there, we only had like half an hour before it closed. But we still got to see some cool stuff, like The Spirit of St. Louis...
part of Apollo 11...
and the ACTUAL plane that the Wright Brothers flew! so cool!
By this time, we were starving and wanted to find a cool restaurant for our last night in D.C. So we went to Chinatown and just started walking around. We found this super cool spot called "Matchbox". It was delish! We had some fun beverages and amazing pizza out on this little patio. It was perfect. 
Then we HAD to have ice cream to complete our meal, so we paid a little visit to Haagen-Dazs. Little known fact: Haagen-Dazs doesn't actually mean anything in German! Just ask Cha-Cha! Our final stop of the evening was one we had been planning and practicing for all week. I've been trying to upload it here, but Blogger isn't liking my file. 
Just think "Star Spangled Banner", four-part harmony, minor key, Capitol steps...
I don't think anyone has ever done it before...and I don't know if anyone will ever do it again...a truly fitting finish for the trip.
Then it back to the hotel and off to bed...lonnnng day tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Today was yet another PACKED-FULL day of activity! We slept until a half-way decent hour then got up and our first stop was Starbucks…we knew we were gonna need some caffeine in the system! We then walked down the street to the White House, which we just saw through the front gate.

It was seriously so beautiful…everything that I had pictured it to be. We then walked over to the Washington Monument, and of course took full advantage of every possible “not normal” picture. 

We picked up tickets to ride to the top of the monument at night, because it just sounded like a cool thing to do. We then headed over to the National Archives Building, which first of all, was beautiful from the outside!

Then inside we got to see all kinds of super famous documents, including…

The Declaration of Independence….

The Bill of Rights…

and The Constitution. So awesome! We also got to see the Magna Carta, Treaty of Paris, and others…it was like being in the middle of a gigantic historical scrapbook. We then grabbed a quick lunch and headed over to The Holocaust Museum.

I was wanting to go there almost more than anywhere in D.C. because I’d heard it was quite amazing. And it was. I don’t really know what to say about it. I guess I’m still kind of processing all of it. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear about it or read about it or watch it, it’s one of the most amazing things in all of history to me – how a group of people could possess such hatred for another group of people simply because of their origin. That hate could be so strong that killing massive numbers of people would be the only answer. That one evil man could gain such power and that propaganda could be so persuasive. And what’s even harder…is to think that genocide like this is happening even today. After visiting the museum, I had a renewed desire to educate myself more on what is happening in Darfur and commit to helping raise more awareness to the evil that is happening there. It’s just pure hatred. Innocent lives being taken day after day. It’s almost unbearable to think about. It was weird because we all kinda left the Holocaust Museum in silence…a lot to think about. It wasn’t until later that night that we really even talked about it.

After the museum, we headed back to the Washington Monument for our ride to the top. While waiting in line, we saw 3 helicopters fly right by the monument toward the direction of the White House. People started running and taking pictures, so I assumed they were something important so I started snapping pictures too. 

I then found out that the last one was Marine One – yeah, the president’s helicopter. Even cooler was that by the time we got to the top of the monument and had a straight shot to the White House, we got to see the helicopter take off with – maybe the President? – inside.

We had some awesome views of D.C. from the top of the monument. 

We then headed down in what we affectionately called the “smellevator”. I tell ya, by about 6:00 in the evening, after a day full of sun and sweat, the B.O. is really coming on strong for many.

From there we walked over to the World War II Memorial and this super sweet wading pool and fountains…

Every one of those stars represents 100 men who died in World War II. 

We then walked down the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial…so awesome.

This was probably my favorite part of the trip – hanging out on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, perfect weather, perfect scenery. Loved it.

Then it was well past dinnertime, so we headed to a DELISH Mexican spot near Haley’s apartment called Tortilla Coast (? I think that was the name...). We got there about 30 minutes before closing time so we pretty much had the joint to ourselves…which is always fun.

Then it was time to take Haley home and CRASH! Awesome day…