Tuesday, June 30, 2009

judging the book...

Perhaps you've heard to old adage, You can't judge a book by it's cover. The cover may be amazing and alluring and awesome. Publishers may even market and distribute a book world-wide because of the fantastic cover. But there's no guarantee the book has anything worthwhile to say. On the flip side, a fabulous piece of literature may have a very uninteresting cover.

It's the same with people.

The cover or external appearance and character of a person does not tell us what is at the heart of that person. The people that James addressed in his epistle must have forgotten this fact because in the second chapter of James, there is a clear directive: My brothers, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. The Greek text literally says, don't receive the face. 

Yesterday I had something came up where I felt like someone judged my cover. I immediately hit up two of my friends and asked what I should do. Being the spiritually mature Christians they claim to be they said, Beat her up! Throw a stick at her! Put her in the burn book! Just kidding. Both essentially gave me words of wisdom that James shares, Dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (1:19). The words they passed along to me will be apropos for tonight's Seven Deadly Sins study. If you would like to join in at 6:55PM pst for worship by Jimmy Robeson and a wrathful bible study, click here

Don't receive the face,
B

Sunday, June 28, 2009

haute couture...

In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different--Coco Chanel

It called to me from the coffe table like a Siren at sea. It was if I heard intoxicating songs about French fashion with a Parisian accent as I lifted up the most recent edition of the holy grain of fashion. Yes, it was if Jean Paul Gaultier himself lured me to sea only to die from desire. I flipped through fashion magazines and drooled over dresses that I foolishly believed were going to make me a haute couture woman who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on garments designed to tailor-fit my waist, hips, and [not so long] legs. The magazine documented waif-like woman on the Parisian runway who stopped and did a little turn on the catwalk... and I was undone! 

In that nanosecond I truly believed that if I put on that dress, I will be the envy of every woman and the desire of every man. Coco Chanel would applaud me and Christian Lacroix would nod at my fashion saavy decision to pair a vintage Valentino piece with a Balenciaga heel. I would bask in my prowess and pride and stand before the world because I had something no one else had: haute couture clothing. A one-of-kind, hand-sewn, pain-stakingly difficult garment made through the blood, sweat, and tears of a little Italian woman hunkered over a pile of priceless material and thread. 

I shut the magazine and I was convicted. The one letter boldly printed on the cover stared back at me in silence as if letting me know W stood for Wanton or Wishing,  but definitely not Wisdom. I'm not a fashionista, I'm not a wealthy heiress, or socialite. But I realized something profound in the glossy pages of a fashion magazine: I am a haute couture woman. I have a one-of-a-kind Savior who has tailor-fit to my soul and has pain-stakingly created a piece of art through blood (Matthew 26:28), sweat (Luke 22:43), and tears (John 11:35). By the avant-garde holes in His wrists and pierced side, He has designed a robe of righteousness for me that no one else could create for me. Yes, I love adorning the exterior, but more importantly than any robe I can put on,  is the fact that the Creator of the Universe lives inside of me. Therefore I am and heiress; an heiress to the kingdom of God (James 2:5). 

Today I will walk down the catwalk of Life sharing my haute couture relationship with my Savior. And if I'm feeling up to it, I may just do a little turn on the catwalk. Why not? 

Friday, June 26, 2009

getting down and dirty...

Mud? Yes. Brown murky pits of ooze? You betcha'. Dirt, dust, and 6.3 miles? Oh yeah!

When my high school friend Brandon called me last week, he left a message that piqued my interest. Hey B! I don't know if you're still the girl from high school that's always up for a fun challenge, but if you are, call me. I've got some cool news. Um, did someone say challenge? Did someone challenge me? Get my boxing gloves--bring it on! Or so I thought...

This isn't a regular challenge, friends. It's a MUD RUN?!

I wear heels to the market, fake eyelashes when I need a pick-me-up, and match my gym outfits. Yes, I'm that girl. But I'm not the girl who puts glitter on everything, writes with fuzzy pens, or waves with spirit fingers. To prove this, I've decided to try and train for this competition. I'll be chronicling my journey and I ask that you 1. pray that I realize how ridiculous I'm being and quit, 2. pray I don't break a bone, or 3. pray I stop waving with spirit fingers... 'cause really, sometimes I do. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

seed...

My mother has been a center piece for this blog for some time now. I guess I'm realizing how integrated she has become in my life and the forming of my philosophy after 29 years of being pulled from her womb. The lazzire-faire, bohemian hippy spawned a type-A, alpha female who is neurotic and obsessive. Go figure. But her life lessons through everyday experiences have left huge impacts on my life. 

This morning at a camp in Big Bear, California I taught the same message my mother taught me many moons ago: God's Word is like a seed. You must plant it (Luke 8:11). 1 Peter 1:23 affirms this, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever... Jesus said His words are alive and they contain life. Though the words in the bible may look lifeless and powerless, they, like seeds, contain life and the power to produce beautiful! We would plants pinto beans in styrofoam cups and see it sprout into Life and talk about how the Word of God does the same.

Here are seven attributes to a seed that parallel the Word of God:
1. A seed is alive. A seed has life though our physical senses are incapable of judging whether it is alive or not. The only way to prove it is alive is to plant it.
2. A seed does nothing until it is planted. Seeds in a pretty package will sit there like a bible on a shelf. It's not until seeds are planted (like scripture planted in our hearts) will it begin to burgeon. We must plant God's Word in our heart (Psalm 119:11).
3. A seed is much smaller than the plant it produces. The problems we face may seem huge and scripture, in comparison, seem small. But when planted, the Word will grow and cover the problem we are facing. A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds, but yields a massive tree (Luke 13:19)! 
4. A seed takes time to produce. No one expects a seed to produce a harvest the same day the seed is planted, so why do we scripture that that? The fruit of the Word grows in a person's life over time.
5. A seed is persistent. A seed never gives up, but works day and night. Even when we can't seem to see growth, beneath the surface there is bios (life) or zoe (God-given life). Psalm 138:8 always reminds me of this.
6. More seeds planted produce a larger harvest. 2 Corinthians 9:6 He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, but he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Are we planting good seeds in our hearts and minds?
7. A seed will stop growing without nourishment. Planting a seed is not enough to assure a harvest. Protect the seeds and douse them with Living Water. Then you will see the fruit of the harvest mature and take root in your life.

My desire is to take seeds that minister to me and plant them deep in my heart to grow into trees that are firmly rooted by the river, whose leaves do not wither, and fruit is bore in due season (Psalm 1).  To prove that my mother hasn't aged a day, she encouraged me to take a potted basil plant and even gave me seeds to use as a visual of God's Word. Yes, she's the only tree-hugging hippy I love!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

manicotti...

I needed some comfort food yesterday because I was extremely nervous about the series. Thankfully, my womb-mate had left over manicotti that we warmed up and ate heartily! In light of the wonderful time meeting and ministering to over 400 women, I've attached a new video clip that Denny from Bridgeport Productions complied about my love affair with manicotti :) 

Once again, for those who tuned in last night for our live webcast and didn't get audio, I'm SO sorry! But the good news is IT is posted the vodcast here. Just click on the link that says, One-Click Subscription (it's uploaded on our side, but iTunes is taking a minute). Or you can download it instantaneously by following the manual subscription! You'll see the link for the Seven Deadly Sins.


video

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

this is it. don't get scared now...

There's a scene in Home Alone where the camera zooms into Macaulay Culkin wearing fatigues and holding a large BB gun as he says, "This is it. Don't get scared now." I stinkin' LOVE that scene because it's a eight year-old boy going to battle with two convicted felons to save his home. He has a battle plan, strategy, and even says a prayer over his microwavable meal before the clock chimes to indicate that the war is about to begin.

Well, that's kinda how I feel. No I'm not eight, I'm not protecting my home from robbery, and I will never eat a microwavable dinner, but tonight I'll be metaphorically wearing fatigues, holding a BB gun, saying a prayer, and quoting to myself, "This is it. Don't get scared now."

As a reminder, I'll be starting the Seven Deadly Sins series tonight. We all know that Jon and Kate are divorced, Jillian had to let go of two bachelors, and the Desperate Housewives of New Jersey are really desperate, so fill yo' mind with some J-E-S-U-S! We'll be webcasting live, starting at 6:50PM. Click here to watch!

god of ALL comfort... [part II]

I vividly remember the day. I could tell you everything about that moment; what I was wearing, how I felt, the music I heard from the frat boys room below mine. Something supernatural occurred in my heart as I overwhelmingly experienced the comfort of God in a moment of great need. I was curled up in  fetal position laying on the floor of my college dorm room, my world in pieces as I tried desperately to keep it together. I was 21 years-old, going through finals, my mom is battling brain cancer and literally dying in front of me, my 16 year-old sister was in rebellion to all rules and was living on her own, and my dysfunctional three-year relationship with Satan had just ended. In between the sobs and tears, I cried out to God and begged him to help me. Yes, my mom had cancer and my sister was on drugs and needed Jesus, but in that moment I needed help.

Matthew 15:21-28 documents an encounter of a woman who interceded for her daughter as well as herself. Like Martin Luther King, Jr. asked, let's see how she stands in the moment of challenge and controversy.

 In this passage we are told that Jesus and his disciples were traveling through gentile cities which Isaiah 23 tells us were not looked upon very favorably. A parallel account of this story, we are told that Jesus went into a house to rest from the crowds and throngs of people (Mark 7). She's obviously heard about Jesus because Luke 16 documents that word traveled from Jerusalem to Judea about the miracles, healings, and teachings he was doing! Multitudes of people had spread word about what he did for them or someone they knew.

So there she was. A gentile woman standing proxy for someone she loved probably outside the doors of the house. She was interceding for her severely demon-possessed daughter and Jesus was her only hope for healing. Loudly she cried out for Jesus to heal her daughter. He says nothing. Ouch! But we should never judge the Lord by the process, but rather the product of the process. His silence to this woman, like the silence to the psalmist who cried out for answers, like the silence we sometimes receive, reveals that he is not obligated to respond. The gentile woman, like us, had no basis on which to appeal to Jesus except to cling to his mercy. She cried out not once, not twice, but three times, with the final plea not being for her daughter, but for herself! It's at the point of complete surrender that the voice of Jesus can change our lives. And so it was in that moment, as it was in mine, that I was comforted by my God. O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire (verse 28).

My God is the God of ALL comfort! He can heal the sick, the weak, the feeble, the hurting, the lame, the dead, and the desperate. Nothing is too big for our God (Luke 1:37)! Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Monday, June 22, 2009

god of ALL comfort... [part I]

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 [click to read]

Paul (aka Boyfriend) encourages the Corinthian believers by reminding them that God is full of mercy and has endless arms to which He can love on us (BIV* paraphrase). The definition of mercy in the Bible is not quite what we think of in today’s term. Today mercy usually means that we cease to deliver a punishment that is justly deserved; or refraining from dishing out pain and punishment usually out of pity (BIV*). But that’s not the best definition according to The Handbook of Biblical Values.  Dr. Pilch notes that an ancient context of mercy is better rendered as steadfast love. 

Paul also says that God is the God of ALL comfort. Not some comfort, or a little bit of comfort, but ALL comfort! The word comfort used here to to make strong, impart strength, to encourage, and to fortify. When the earth on which we stand trembles and we stumble around looking for comfort, God is there. When we feel like we are surrounded in darkness and can't see the light, God is there. When our hearts ache and break from the trials of Life, God is there.

How do I know this? How can I speak with conviction and persuasion? Because I'm living it out. Through poverty, God has been there. Through obesity, God has been there. Through adversity, God has been there. Through loneliness, God has been there. Through bruised, beaten, and battered heartbreaks, God has been there. Through cancer, asthma, and hydrocephalus, God has been there.

1 Corinthians 1:7 ...our hope for you is not shaken, for as you have shared in our suffering, you will also share in our comfort J The words Paul gave me for comfort, I pass along to you. God will never leave us nor has He forgotten about us (Deut. 31:6). Maybe you are physically sick and need comfort, God is there. Perhaps you're psychologically sick and life is too overwhelming to continue on, God cares. Maybe it's an emotional sickness residing in your heart, God wants to heal you.

God is the God of ALL comfort.

The question that begs to be answered is, how will you stand in the face of affliction, the depths of despair, in the choke of the challenge? Martin Luther King, Jr. beautifully said, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Tomorrow we'll take a look at a woman from the bible who stands before Jesus in the face of challenge and controversy and comes out fully experiencing the God of all comfort.

*BIV=Bianca International Version

Sunday, June 21, 2009

daddy...

Daddy,

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for believing in me.
Thank you for playing dolls and sipping tea with me.

Thank you for being the best travel partner to Spain.
Thank you for being the best travel partner to Greece.
Thank you for being the best travel partner to Prague.
And yes, even to Nice.

Thank you for dancing with me when no one else would.
Thank you for making me laugh when no one else could. 
Thank for setting a standard and precedence for living as I should.

Thank you for being my friend, my father, and financier. I owe you a debt I could never pay for the woman I claim to be today. 

I love you forever, I love for always,
Bibee

Thursday, June 18, 2009

green...

The length of her legs reaches to about my eyelids and her hair hangs at the side of her size 2 waist. She has to be a fitness coach, professional dancer, or super model because really, who looks like a Grecian goddess at 5:30AM? 

She and I have history. Oh boy, do we have history! One morning in spin class we happened to sit on bikes that were next to each other and I, being the non-competitive girl that I am, had to exert more energy, sweat more sweat, and push pass pain. She, on the other hand, whisked through the workout effortlessly. At the end of the workout the instructor glanced in my direction and said, Good workout, Shorty! Obviously she was talking to the girl who stands 5'4'' (on a good day). I mean, obviously. I smiled a proud smile until she said, No, girl! You're not Shorty, she is, as she points to America's Next Top Model. She must have seen the confused look on my face. To encourage me she quickly replied, You're not Shorty. Your Killer! I blinked my eyes with rapidity to indicate my disbelief. Did I wear a spiked collar and leather chaps to the gym today? No, I wore a hot pink Lulu Lemon top and black pants which doesn't scream Killer the last time I checked with Stacy and Clinton. I called my best friends and recounted the story. They laughed at my expense... I hope you can too. 

I saw her today and thought about all the things she didn't have to do. You know, like hem denim, wear 4-inch heels to look like the average height of a woman, stand on tip-toes to get stuff in a cupboard. I felt like my skin was turning every shade of green with every envious thought bubbling in my mind. A cauldron of jealousy was brewing and I caught myself... four hours later. I wish I could say that I bowed my head, prayed for forgiveness, and repented from my heathen ways that very second. But I didn't. 

I read this morning in Proverbs 27:4, Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can withstand jealousy? I was totally convicted because for months I have been so jealous and envious of a woman I didn't even know. I know a good chunk of blog readers will be attending the series I'll be teaching next week and for those that are, can I ask you to take a good hard look at your areas of weakness? Honestly analyze who are you and see if you fall short. And let me tell you, I fall shorter than 5'4'' in many areas.... even with 4-inch heels on.

Admission is the first step to recovery,
B

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

wings...

One of the great and wondrous themes of the Bible reassures us that God is our refuge and fortress, our shelter and protection, our strength and covering in times of danger. 

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge (Ps 91:4)

The psalmist undoubtedly has an specific bird in mind. This bird senses danger and protectively spreads out its wings while chicks quickly take cover underneath where they are safe and sheltered. While in Israel my friend and tour guide Sarai took my hand and led me to a tree in the
Golan Heights. She pointed out a local bird that the psalmist could have been referring to. She explained that the wings of this birds are comprised of many, many bones and dense feathers to provide shelter, nourishment, and even a hiding place in the presence of enemies. So when the psalmist parallels God covering us as with His wings, it is more than a warm place to dwell... it could actually spare your life. 

I don't want to have a Bette Midler moment and break out into The Wind Beneath My Wings (I've watched Beaches more times than I can count and still cry), but really, my mother is pretty darn awesome. She, like God, spread out her wings to protect my sister and I during a alley shootout in 1984. Check it out...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

aloneness... [part 2]

On Saturday night I sat and discussed singledom with a 30something who was attractive, articulate, and athletic. He openly shared with comic relief the pity he receives from married folk who treat him as a diseased member of society; as if something was wrong with him because his left ring finger is empty. On Sunday night, a friend in our small group bible study moderated the conversation and discussed similar sentiment. Both want significant relationships. Both recognize that the time is not now. But do they walk around with an emotional limp or romantic leprosy? Or do they walk into a community, share desires, edify each other in individual stations in life, and actively wait for God's perfect timing?

My theological presupposition is that God is triune (I believe in the trinity [see Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646])). Before anything was anything, there existed God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit (confusing right? Don't worry, theologians have been working through this for years!). There was never aloneness in the nature of God and since we are made in His image, we are created to long for relationships. Here's a simple chart:
One = Aloneness
Two = Relationship and Intimacy
Three = Community and Fellowship
When God said it was not good for man to be alone, we can infer He was taking a "divine pause" in His creation process to state that it was never intended for people to do life alone. God himself exists in a community and relationship; man, who is made in His image, is suppose to do the same.

So what happens if we are alone? Do we exist and live in this world as the walking wounded? I hate to be the Negative Nancy right now, but I got to keep it real. The truth of the matter is that not everyone is going to be married, some are going to get divorced, and others are going to be widowed. Does that mean their life, as in the words of God, is not good? Absolutely not. Being desirous of relationship is normal and God-given. My issue is that people [read: women] tend to find themselves as the social leper who must scream, "Single! Single!" as they walk through the marketplace.  In all of this discussion I want people to understand that 1. aloneness is not good, 2. we weren't intended to do life alone, 3. God finds value in you in whatever station you are in because He cares for you.

If you're single, please remove the sackcloth and ashes! Start enjoying the season you're in and believe that God knows it's not good for man to be alone. Revel in this season and make your time count. Find a community of support and stop trying to do Life alone.
If you're married, adopt a single person! Start a community of support! Remember what YOU'RE Friday nights looked like as a single! Yes, yes, Jesus left us a comforter and all that jazz, but really, the Holy Spirit doesn't make warm food for me and welcome me in to watch the Lakers game! Do something good: adopt a single. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

aloneness... [part 1]

The only thing more pathetic than a poorly dressed drag queen is a desperate woman. I laughed uncomfortably as the words poignantly rolled off my hair stylists lips. I laughed because it was funny. I laughed uncomfortably because it was true. 

It was never more apparent than at the gym this morning as I completed a two-person workout... by myself. I altered the routine so it wasn't too difficult to do the exercises sans a companion, but the ab routine was impossible to complete without a partner. The exercise required a partner to toss a weighted ball toward me as I lean back and toss it forward--but I didn't have a partner. Being the resourceful girl I am, I tucked my toes under a bar and tossed the ball against the wall... hard. In theory it was a great idea. In praxis, it nearly broke my nose. When the ball came flying back at my face I laughed as I thought of a poorly dressed drag queen and me, the desperate woman. 

I want to clarify that it wasn't a complaint about being alone in that moment, but more of an analysis of doing Life alone for that second. In Genesis 2 God affirms His creation with resounding praise, It is good. The sun, moon, stars were good. The lions, tigers, bears were good. The fleas, flies, ticks were good. However, after several days of creating the miraculous, He divinely pauses after the creation of Adam and notes, It is not good that man should be alone. 

So we must now ask this question, was this a qualitative or ethical statement? At first glance, I immediately slap the qualitative label on it and move on with Keeping Up With The Kardashians and counting the caloric value of a Boca burger. But at the root of this question, at the root of the design of man, at the root of our aloneness is the discovery that this is an ethical statement uttered by God Almighty. Why? Because aloneness is contrary to God's nature. 

Yesterday I learned through the Truth Project, that in all eternity there has never been aloneness. What does this mean? How does this effect me? Why is the statement an ethical one? Why did God even mention the state of aloneness? What if I don't get married?

On my drive home I started thinking about aloneness and what that word means. Everyone wants a Jerry McGuire You-Complete-Me moment, but the truth of the matter is a man is not going to complete you, you will probably still feel alone at some point in your marriage, and our completion will not be found when you change your last name on your driver's license. Before you think I'm a FemiNazi who doesn't shave my underarms, let me clarify my thoughts on tomorrow's entry. I hope you're laughing an uncomfortable laugh. Laughing because I'm funny and uncomfortably because what I'm saying is true.

Friday, June 12, 2009

puppy love...

I was greeted with the most beautiful thing I could have seen this morning. And I love him. And he's nameless. And I can't stop squeezing him, and kissing him, and holding him.

I can't even blog because I can't hold him while I type.

Help us pick the most perfect name for him!

This dog will be the end of me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

mars and venus...

For research purposes I decided to borrow the book Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. I thought I was going to gain some wisdom to impart to women who are in desperate need to hear the knowledge I possess and tenure I have in regards to womanhood [insert snorting laugh, scoff, and gag sound here]. But what I've really discovered is that I'm from Venus. And I have oogly eyes. And I speak a different language. Because really, women are weird. And I'm the president of the club. *sigh*

If you intend on attending the Se7en Deadly Sins series starting in a few weeks, please remember that I am mere mortal, simultaneously laugh and cry at Kodak commercials, and don't know anything about being a good woman. What I can do is teach the bible! So if you want to roll through, but can't because you live far away (England or Canada perhaps), will you drop a comment to let me know? I'm speaking to our IT department about a live webcast, but I need to make sure it's not just one person sitting in front their computer too lazy to drive down the 5 freeway (*cough, Jasmine, cough*).

I must now climb aboard my space ship and speak my language of Nanu Nanu.

Venus love,
B

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

one year mile-marker...

Today is a mile-marker for me. Last year I was asked by Kathy Ireland Inc. to speak at an event to benefit inner-city teen mothers. Most of the girls were in between the ages of 13-17 and lived in South Los Angeles or East Los Angeles and all of them were either pregnant or about to give birth. This event was pivotal in my life because it catapulted me to sharing with different women from different places. 

It was a fluke that I even shared?! My father was originally invited as the key note speaker, but he had emergency knee surgery. They asked him if he could recommend someone (anyone?!) who could fill in last minute. He said he would send me. My father and I had a Esther/Mordecai moment as I stared blankly at him and blinked. Is he serious? I'm going to share at this huge event?! He's got to be kidding?! Mordecai assured Esther in Esther 4:14 with these words, "And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this." My father wisely told me, "Be who you is, B. Be who you is." Not as poetic as Mordecai but the sentiment was the same. 

I was invited to speak again for this year's event and I couldn't be more excited. In one year my life has flipped upside down and I'm holding on for the ride! Thanks for taking the time to chronicle my journey with me. I'm truly humbled and honored.

Denny from Bridgeport Productions is a dear friend and works on taking my videos and editing them so they can be posted online. The clip below was edited, but a full posting will be on Vimeo shortly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

sallie mae, fungi, and hypocrites...

In light of the recession and the country bumpkin Sallie Mae who hounds me every month for my Whittier College loan repayment, I pack a lunch to work. I don't mind it. In fact it makes me feel like the kid I always wanted to be [note: as a home-schooler I never got to carry a pink Strawberry Shortcake lunch pail and I'm still bitter about it].

A few days ago I opened the refrigerator at work today to see plastic containers of old salad, styrofoam boxes filled with prehistoric food, and a collection of crumpled lunch bags. Being repulsed and controlling gag reflex simultaneously is difficult, but I succeeded. I immediately began to throw bags and boxes away without regard to who the owner might be and wiped up the primordial ooze which plopped on to the floor. While thinking of who on staff could commit such heinous acts of lethargy, I was faced with the sad truth: ME. 

As I rummaged through the frosty drawers, I saw a plastic container which looked oddly familiar... with a cucumber-tomato salad which looked oddly familiar... and a post-it note with writing which looked oddly familiar. Ugh! I was slapped upside the head with a dose of harsh reality: I'm one of the staff members who commit heinous acts of lethargy?! Ugh. Ugh! UGH! I grabbed a paper bag off the floor and began my breathing into it with Lamaze techniques I've seen on television. But it didn't work. I still felt nauseous inside; partly because the salad was growing fungi and partly because I had accused my co-workers of sins that I was committing. 

But isn't this what we do? Isn't this easier than admitting that WE possibly could be the culprit? This is why Jesus said in Matthew 7:3,5 Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but you don't see the log that's in your eye... You hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Biblical lessons through everyday experiences are WAY harder to accept... but I did. I finished throwing away the containers and smiled at everyone who passed my office on their way to the refrigerator. But to ensure that I'm not the ONLY neurotic freak at work, here is a picture of our refrigerator today. Lisa (secretary and office manager extraordinaire) labeled and disinfected our communal fridge. We love her. 

Sallie Mae is breathing down my back for her money so I gotta get back to work before her honky tonk brother Freddie Mac comes to shake me down. 

I work hard for my money, so hard for my money,
B

Monday, June 8, 2009

details...

I LOVE for details. Rhinestones in floral bouquets, hints of rosemary in lemonade, the moments right before kiss. Sparkles, scents, and seconds proceeding are almost as important the thing they are highlighting. Yes, I believe minutia is as important as main events! 

Before you stop reading and disregard me as neurotic, let me inform you that I stand in good company. God cares about details too! He's involved with the minutia of our day and He cares?! As creator of beings, He has sovereignly worked out every detail of life, liberty and the pursuit of love. Ravi Zacharias says in The Grand Weaver, "Your DNA matters because the essence of who you are matters... He [God] created every feature and personality quirk. Consider it God's sovereign imprint on you." 

Zacharias retells a story of a US Navy officer following the Second World War who was in the USS Astoria that was badly hit by a Japanese vessel and sank the next day:
       About 0200 hours a young 3rd Class officer, Elgin Staples, was swept overboard by the blast when the Astoria's number one eight-inch gun turret exploded. Wounded in both legs by shrapnel and semi-shock he was kept afloat by a narrow lifebelt that he managed to activate with a simple trigger mechanism. 
       At around 0600 hours, Staples was rescued by a passing destroyer and returned to the Astoria, whose captain was attempting to save the cruiser by beaching her. The effort failed, and Staples, still wearing the same lifebelt, found himself back in the water. It was lunchtime. Picked up again, this time by the USS President Jackson, he was one of 500 survivors of the battle who were evacuated to Noumea. On board the transport, Staples hugging that lifebelt with gratitude, looked at that small piece of equipment for the first time. He scrutinized every stitch of the lifebelt that had served him so well. It had been manufactured by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, and bore a registration number.
       Given home leave, Staples told his story and asked his mother, who worked for Firestone, about the purpose of the number on the belt. She replied that the company insisted on personal responsibility for the war effort, and that the number was unique and assigned to only one inspector. Staples remembered everything about the lifebelt, and quoted the number. There was a moment of stunned silence in the room and then his mother spoke, "That was my personal code that I affixed to every item I was responsible for approving."

I would've given anything to have seen the exchange Elgin Staples and his mother! In the theater of my mind I can see the emotion that she must have felt knowing that she played a role in the saving of her son. The woman who gave him life, saved his life. If an earthly parent playing the role of procreation can provide a means of rescue without knowing when and for whom that belt would come into play, how much more can the God of all creation accomplish? By His sovereign will, we have come into being with an expressed and designed and DETAILED purpose. Jeremiah 29:11, I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go kiss my mother who STILL to this day places emergency water in my room, an earthquake preparation kit in my car, and insists that I lock my car doors. She, like GOD, cares about the minutia of my day...

Friday, June 5, 2009

choose life...

Somewhere in between conversations about shaving legs and shopping, they grew up. Somewhere between purchasing a pencil pouch and a prom dress, they found themselves. Somewhere between doubt and belief, they found their savior. And I've been privileged to be there for it all. 

I've been their youth leader, mentor, ATM machine, big sister, nagging mother, diva runway coach extraordinaire, and friend. As a motley crew of girls from L.A., we've left our finger prints and footmarks in Osaka and Tijuana, Okinawa and Bay St. Louis, Rosarito and Tokyo, Palm Springs and Ensenada; around the world and back again, we've taken the Word of God global. 

Now these girls are graduating, leaving my wing, and taking a piece of my heart with them. In Deuteronomy 30 Moses is giving his parting words to the Israelites who he's loved, nurtured, and cared for, in the desert, in captivity, in the face of disillusionment, despair, and depression. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I dispense the words of Moses who said it best:
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, to keep his commands, decrees and laws; they you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. . . This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may love love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life... (30:15-17,20)

There are three commands in verse 15: 1. love the Lord, 2. walk in his ways, and 3. keep his commands. If we follow these uber simple instructions, we will be blessed. But we have a choice to walk away, to go back to Egypt, to choose an easier option. But the words of Moses pierce my heart to the core. If I could give one sentence to the girls I've grown to love, it would be choose life. Though we may be oppressed, though we may feel like we've been wandering for forty years, though our enemies pursue us, choose life

Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the Way, the truth, and the Life." There for I urge you to choose life. I'm not promising a cumbaya campfire and perpetual dwelling in the Land of Milk and Honey, but when we choose life we find fulfillment for our spiritual hunger, living water when we are parched in the middle of our desert, and protection for the enemies who pursue us. Roxy, Becca, Swishy, Nikkie, Sol, Baby Chankla, Jen, Amanda, Kimbo, Celiz, Christy, Leggie and all the girls who came before and all the ones still to come, I beg of you to choose life

I. Love. You.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

tweet, tweet...

I'm addictive by nature. Why eat one slice of pizza when I can eat the entire thing? Why run one mile when I can run eight? Why go to bed like all other responsible 20somethings when I can stay up and read Twilight all night? These examples are fictitious. I would never *cough, cough* stoop this low. 

But the point remains: I obsess over obsessions. This is not good. Mark 9:45 tells us, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 


So internet friends, you are my accountability. I joined Twitter yesterday I've heard that it's addicting.  If you see me with one hand, you'll know why.

The pizza eating, rabid running, Edward Cullen-loving, Twitterer Extrodinaire,
B

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the red sea, creation, and lazarus... [part II]

I was home-schooled by a bohemian, lazaire faire hippy who named her children after flowers. Seriously. When it came to education, she knew no one would care or nurture the spirit of education like she would, foster the agile mind like she could, or take the responsibility of formal education like she should. Ergo, I was taught by a woman whose motto for learning was: Better late than early. Seriously. 

Dr. Raymond Moore wrote the book Better Late Than Early and proselytized this doctrine to many homeschool mothers in the early 80s. His belief was that if you let a child naturally and organically fall in love with learning in the later stages of academics, they will not become burned out of the rigors of formal education. Hence, I didn't learn to read until I was eleven, I didn't learn my multiplications table until Mr. Turner sat me down in College Preparatory Mathematics 1 when I was fourteen, and never knew the grammar rule i before e, except after c until... well, I still struggle with recieved--uh, received.

All that to say, when Jasmine  and I finally learned how to read, we devoured books like we devoured our food (ie voraciously). We loved choose-your-own adventure stories for the simple fact that if you chose to turn to page 36 and didn't like running from criminals, we could always go back to page 27 and be a spy in Dubai instead [note: I've been a control freak since I was a child]. Kevin DeYoung points out that this is fun in adventure books but not in seeking the will of God. It's like, if I pick the wrong major, marry the wrong person, or wear the wrong color eyeshadow {BOOM!}, I'm running from criminals instead of living in Dubai?!

In case you don't read Just Do Something, I'm going to pass along Kevin's five reasons why the conventional way of approaching God's will is not healthy... and even slightly dishonoring to God.
1. Conventional appraoch to "discovering" God's will focuses almost all of our attention on nonmoral decisions. The most important issues for God are moral purity, theological fidelity, compassion, joy, our witness, faithfulness, hospitality, love, and faith. These are His big concerns. But we focus on everything else (picking the wrong major, marrying the wrong person, or wearing the wrong eyeshadow color). We spend more time focusing on what God hasn't mentioned versus what He has mentioned in the bible. 
2. Convential approach implies that God is  a "sneaky." The traditional approach of being in God's will I mentioned yesterday makes God into a tricky little diety who plays hide-and-seek with us.
3. Conventional approach encourages a preoccupation with the future. Our fascination with teh will of God often betrays our lack of trust in God's promises and provision.
4. Conventional approach undermines personal responsibility, accountability, and initiative. It would be wrong for me to use God's will as a way to remove my personal responsibility in decison making. "We need to be careful," says DeYoung, "that we aren't using God as the trump card in all our decisions."
5. Conventional approach enslaves us in the chains of hopeless subjectivism. It's okay to feel a little unsettled about a decision (picking the wrong major, marrying the wrong person, wearing the wrong eyeshadow color), but this doesn't mean the Lord's withholding peace about the decision in order to get back at you for a wrong choice.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to repent for picking the wrong major, pray I don't marry the wrong person, and choose the perfect eyeshadow for work this morning. Why? Well because, I'm Just Doing Something!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the red sea, creation, and lazarus...

FYI I'm pretty complicated. Like, I'm really complicated. I've told my friends lately that I'm about as much fun as a Rubiks cube; colorful, complex, and completely impossible to figure out.  I hate making decisions. Like really hate making decisions. I've been a twin who had the luxury of sharing a womb with an uber-smart and tenacious counterpart who decided everything from what Strawberry Shortcake shirt we wore to where we sat when we watched Punky Brewster. It was great. But then my 20s happened and I had to start making my own decisions [insert panic attack here].

Literally, a hyper-spiritual mantra would roll off my lips mechanically when someone would suggest I date a guy, move to a new location, or find a job (because yes, I was jobless after college). If God can part the Red Sea, create and sustain the WORLD in six days, and cause Lazarus to come back from the grave, I'm sure He'll tell me what to do. Then I'd waddle away like a pharisee and laud myself for being in tune to what God had for me. Or so I thought. 

In Kevin DeYoung's book, Just Do Something, he lists five reasons why Christianese has messed up our understanding of "being in His will" and why we are so desperate to find out God's plan for our lives.
1. We want to please God. Wanting to do what God wants is good and trying to discern His will comes from good intentions, but we should stop putting ourselves through the misery of over spiritualizing every decision.
2. We are timid. There are times when I've been paralyzed by indecision and inactivity for fear of being out of God's will. DeYoung has given an admonition to just do something! If you are loving the Lord and abiding in Him, trust that He will imbue wisdom and is sovereignly in control of everything.
3. We search for perfect fulfillment. If you think that God has promised this world will be a five-star hotel, you will be miserable as you live through the normal struggles of life. "It's no wonder," DeYoung writes, "we expect people to affirm us for everything, criticize us for nothing, and pay us for anything we want to do." We want it all--we just need God to show us the way to the Land of Milk and Honey.
4. We have too many choices. Previous generations didn't struggle trying to find God's will because they didn't have as many choices. He argues that our eagerness to know God's will is probably less indicative of a heart desperately wanting to obey God and more about our heads spinning with all the choices to be made. 
5. We are cowards. According to DeYoung, sometimes when we pray to know the will of God, it's a coward plea to ensure that nothing bad will happen to me and I won't face danger of my bad decisions. But this is contrary to the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 and throughout the bible. 

There is no way I'd be able to go into depth about how DeYoung supports his observations, but I encourage you to pick up his mini-read and prepare to get slapped upside the head. If you're looking to get coddled and cuddled, this is NOT your book. Tomorrow I'll be discussing how God is not our magic 8-ball (like Kevin suggests) and list five reasons why waiting for and moving upon signs is sometimes dishonoring to Christ. 

Now if you'll excuse me I need to just do something. By tomorrow this Rubiks cube will be married, in a new apartment, and sitting back at my office at CCM. 

Monday, June 1, 2009

sometimes God answers yes when we pray...

 My mother has always tried teaching me conventional lessons through unconventional ways. I forgave her for the tactile lessons about reproduction by farming rabbits in our backyard and tadpoles in glass mason jars, the math lessons using pinto beans as counters, and the Native American experience by making corn husk dolls. When kids on our block would ask why my mother wore tie-dye shirts fifteen years past their fashion limit, I whispered, She used to be a dope-smoking hippy. We'd all lift our eyebrows and shake our head at the effects drugs had on the youth of the 60s. We were twelve. 

But some lessons were greater than others. One in particular has stuck with me til this day. She sang a song that went a little something like this:
Sometimes God answers yes when we pray.
Sometimes God answers wait when we pray.
Sometimes God answer no, just because He loves us so.
Sometimes God answers no when we pray.
Her unconventional song caused me to recognize God was sovereign and control of all outcomes for His glory and His will. Yes, the hippy taught me theology before she taught me my multiplication table. 

I wrote about Brianna and how God is the God of the Impossible on this post. Well, let me be the first to break the news: Brianna Marie Glenn ran a personal BEST in her event this past weekend in New York. Yes, y'all, she's pretty much the coolest girl EVAH! I'm SO proud of her and this is case-in-point that when the righteous call to the Lord for impossible things, He answers. James 5:16  The prayers of the righteous are effective and powerful. Breezy, can I get an amen? I may not be righteous, but I was praying for you like the your A-standard depended on it. Essentially, you won because of me. Just kidding! Well... half-kidding. 

In true circular manner, I find myself passing along my mother's song to you as I sit in Starbucks, listen to indie music, and don a urban tie-dye schmock. But don't worry, I won't blog about rabbit reproduction tomorrow. Promise! I'm going to do a two-part post about finding God's will for our lives without a dream, vision, a fleece, impression, open door, random bible verse, casting a lot, liver shivers, or writing in the sky. In the words of Granny Lambeth, y'all come back now, y'hear!

Google

Blog Widget by LinkWithin