Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I seriously can’t believe Thanksgiving has come and gone…just when I think life can’t fly by faster! 

I hadn’t actually been home to Lubbock since February, so I was really anxious to sleep in my old room, see our dog Buddy, and just behold the true beauty that is West Texas. J I always joke about how unappealing West Texas is, but there really is beauty in every area of the country. I can guarantee you that you will never see a sunset like the ones you see in West Texas and there is no better place to look at stars than out in the West Texas country. Plus…it’s home for me. So that’s beautiful in and of itself!

Anyway, the week went by entirely too fast, but I loved every minute of it. Wait, I take that back…there were a few minutes toward the end of the Turkey Trot (the two-mile run that my cousin Ross talked me into doing with our friend Ryan) that I did not enjoy…

It was slightly depressing how much those two miles killed me. But it gave me a little extra freedom when it came to Thanksgiving dinner!

I love my family. I really do. They’re awesome. We have so much fun together…we laugh a lot. And are ridiculous most of the time. I love my relationships with all of my family…I particularly love the relationships that I have with my cousins. They are some of my favorite people in the world. I got to see my cousin, Bobbi Nell, for the first time in a LONG time. 

And I finally got to see her new baby, Jayme, who was born in February. She is wonderful. And of course I took tons of pictures of her…to the point of maybe creeping Bobbi out a little (haha). But she’s just so stinkin’ cute! I mean, look at her!

I also got to hang out with my other adorable little cousin (or…I guess “second cousin”), Leah. She’s getting so big…already 3 years old. She’s getting crazy, and I love it. Look at that hair!!!

Thanksgiving dinner was amazing…as always, I felt like I was going to explode when I was done. But what is Thanksgiving if you don’t feel sick at the end of the day, right? My cousin Haley’s boyfriend, Ryan, joined us this year. For some reason, it really hit me this holiday how I am slightly concerned about the possibility of one day trying to bring someone else into my family…we are a...uh...special bunch. It’s definitely going to take a unique person to not think we are all somewhat insane. haha

I also got the chance to hang out with my best friend in the whole wide world, Ashley Adamson. Ashley and I hardly ever get to see each other and our communication throughout the year is quite weak…so it may seem weird that we are best friends. But there’s just this deep, spiritual-level connection that we share that is so rare and doesn't seem to be affected by time or distance. It's totally a God-thing. I am so thankful for her and was so glad to get to spend some quality time with her.

It was also just great to hang with my parents. They are the best. I am increasingly thankful for them. We took some family pictures because mom is actually going to send out photo Xmas cards this year. We hadn’t had a good family picture in a long time, so it was fun. Here are a few of my faves…

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I’m blessed beyond measure…so much more than I deserve. 

Now back to the cubicle…ugh

Monday, November 17, 2008

No one else for me...

Okay this might get a little personal but here we go...

So I mentioned in my last post that I would talk more on the lesson I taught last Sunday night at youth group. We are currently in a study based off of the book "2 Die 4" by Ryan Dobson. It's basically about what it truly means to die for Christ. The majority of the book is about how you have to "die to self" to truly find life. But my chapter was on the total sacrifice - actual physical death for the sake of Christ. Going all the way. 

It was a heavy couple of weeks studying this. I can't believe the things that are happening ALL OVER the world...things that many western Christians are completely unaware of. The number of Christians dying for Jesus’ sake is now more than at any time in history. According to one estimate, there's a total of 600 million persecuted Christians in the world today – one-tenth of the entire world’s population!

There's so much that I could say on this topic, but bottom line for me right now is this: I want to know Christ the way these people know Him. I want to love Christ for who HE IS...not because of what He gives me or because I can find purpose and meaning in life through Him. I want to love Him for HIM. Because when you have a gun to your head or a knife to your throat, that's what it will all boil down to. If you love Him because of what He gives you, you will choose to stay alive. But if you love Him for HIM, you will not deny His name. You will realize there is something that you love even more than your own life. 

Sometimes I find myself worrying about God's provision. But I think it's because I have a warped vision of what I really "need". I have a messed-up view of what is truly necessary.  He has been showing me over the past few weeks the truth that there is truly NOTHING that I need outside of Him. I have heard this and even claimed this all my life...but I think, for some reason, I am really starting to believe it. I love when David says "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you"...(Psalm 73:25). I want to know Him like David knew Him. 

God is truly beginning to make Him the desire of my heart. I so desire to love Him for HIM...not because of what He gives. There's that song that says "nothing I desire compares to You"....but I don't know...It's not that I want there to be nothing I desire more than Him. I actually don't want to desire anything besides Him. I don't want Him to just be at the top of a list of desires. I want Him to be the only One on there.

And I don't know what that's going to mean...but I don't think there's any way that I'm going to get there until He starts taking some things from me. It's going to be hard to truly believe that He's all I need until He's all I have. So who knows...I very likely have a painful road ahead of me. But HE is the greatest gain... and I want to be able to say with Paul that you can take whatever you want to take from me - even my LIFE - but as long as I have Jesus, I have more than enough! 
I have fallen in love with this song by Christy Nockels called "None But Jesus"...I'm thinking about making it the theme song for my life :)

In the quiet, in the stillness 
I know that you are God
In the secret of your presence 
I know there I am restored
When you call I won't refuse
Each new day, again I'll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion 
I know you're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness 
You give me grace to do your will
When you call I won't delay
This my song through all my days

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

I am yours and you are mine...

All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord

Oh...and if you wanna watch the video that I put together for the lesson last Sunday, it's on my Facebook. Not sure if this will work, but here's the link:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Playing Some Catch-Up...'s been a while! I took a little un-planned blogging break...but I'm back now. So it's time for all the REST of you who've been taking a break to jump back on the bandwagon too! :)

So first of all, by this time tomorrow, I will have seen Coldplay in Atlanta. And I'm stinkin' pumped. My cousin Ross along with our friends Kate and Grant Minchew are all driving down tomorrow not only do I get to go see Coldplay, but I also get to go on a road trip with 3 of my favorite people in the world...can't beat that.

Hmmmm...I feel like many things have happened since my last post. So I'll just give a list of the 10 most significant moments of the past two weeks (all of which I would have blogged about had I the time...):

1. The Loop - We had a unity service of 4 different youth groups all coming together to worship and pray together...super cool event. And there's just nothing like coming together as THE CHURCH...not 4 churches.
2. Baby Shower - Some girls threw a baby shower for one of the students in our youth group. She is still relatively new to the group, and it has been amazing to see the way our girls have just loved on and supported her. 
3.Little League SOCCER! - I've gotten to go cheer on the cutest soccer player in Franklin at a couple of games. John Mark has definitely stepped up his game a notch this season. I love that kid.
4. Halloween - I got to see Quisha (a girl that I'm mentoring) and her baby, Jevandis (sp?) Halloween morning before she went to school...and I mean, seriously, there's no way there was a cuter kid than this on Halloween.
And then Halloween night was the annual par-tay at the Hackett's...always a good time. I got to hang out with the whole cast of Star Wars...jealous??
5. FHS/CHS football game -  The majority of the students in our youth group go to either Centennial or Franklin High School...and this is always a big rivalry game. I LOVE high school football!!!! My favorite shot of the night:
6. TEXAS TECH FOOTBALL!!! - My hometown Red Raiders have been kicking TAIL!!! I'm so proud of them...I have been loving watching their games and cheering them on. They're #2 in the country right now...I'm so pumped. HUGE game a week from Saturday at OU!

7. Laserchase! We got to hang out with our buddies from Against the Grain at Laserchase, which was bound to be a good time. I lived up to my name as quite possibly the worst Laserchase-er alive. I rarely end up with any points. haha
8. Junior High Lock-in - Definitely an experience. :) One of the more exciting parts of that evening was that I skateboarded for the first time in my life. I'm now consumed with wanting to learn...

9. I spoke at youth group last night on Christian persecution and martyrs. There were a lot of good things that happened last night. It's been a grueling couple of weeks preparing for this lesson...very heavy. Very convicting. More to say on this later. But it is my greatest desire to love Christ and to know Him and see Him the way these men and women do/did. I put together a video for the night that I CANNOT seem to upload on here, but I posted it on Facebook. Hopefully, this link will work:

10.We elected a new president. Kinda a big deal...and I'm tempted to just plead the 5th on this one. Some people think the world is coming to an end...others think Obama is the Savior of all. But I definitely think that as a whole, the responses to this election have sadly indicated a lack of faith and Christian maturity in this country. There...I said it. If we really believe that God is in control, why are we afraid? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what Walt Mueller said:
Government can't save us. Numerous societies have been down that road all throughout history, and it's never worked. Those who think Obama is the Savior are wrong. And those who think that Obama is the opposite are equally wrong. . . . simply because their despair is an indicator of the fact that they have relied on the political status quo to save them (whatever that means), and now that the political status quo has moved them from a place of comfort to discomfort, the world and their lives are doomed. Either way is idolatrous. . . replacing the Creator with something created.
100% with you on that one, Walt. Okay, I'm done.