Thursday, September 30, 2010


The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice...!
-Psalm 97:1

Listen to this:

Simple lyrics, right? Our God reigns; forever Your kingdom reigns!

The definition of reign as a verb: 1) to posses or exercise sovereign power or authority 2) to have control, rule, or influence of any kind 3) to predominate, be prevalent

So when we sing Our God reigns, we are claiming that He is sovereign and in control. We are CLAIMING that He will prevail - His kingdom, His power and His glory. Jesus Christ is not only our Lord and Savior, but the Supreme Ruler. No matter what we are dealing with, no matter what darkness we are going through - He REIGNS!!!!!!! Seriously, can we even fathom that? If we could, and if we really trusted that God reigned over EVERY ONE of our situations, there would be so much more peace and joy, even in the midst of our trials.

You guys, our God reigns! Listen to the song again. Only this time, let that truth sink in to your heart.

If we truly trust that our God reigns, how do we respond? As i've been praying for specific situations friends are dealing with, this is what i feel is the answer that encompasses several of them: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)

Now, waiting on the Lord may look different in each situation. But as we wait in the Lord, we trust His sovereignty is at work - meaning, He is reigning over all our situations! Sometime in our waiting, we are called to act, make a decision, reach out to someone, say something we've been scared to say. Sometimes, we'll be called to not say anything and completely remove ourself from the situation, pray without ceasing, etc.

I am in a season where i am learning to further trust in our God's sovereignty. I believe He has called me into this new season and new career, for it was only after acting - taking a semester off and waiting on Him, that i received new direction. In this season of rest, i've sought Him more than i ever have, but i have also waited on Him (and still am). While His calling on my life becomes stronger, so do the enemy's attacks. And THAT is hard to deal with - the doubt, the apathy, etc. i'm currently confronting. SO, i must wait and trust that my God REIGNS and the enemy is crushed beneath His feet!

Sweet friends, you three who are learning to let go of love lost, trust in His sovereignty. He reigns! You who are in the midst of this beautiful season of being engaged, trust He is preparing you for your role as wife (even the submission part ;P) - He reigns! You all who are in a season of mourning or learning to comfort friends who mourn, He reigns! He reigns, He reigns, He reigns. Trust this, and find true freedom knowing He is taking care of our situations and asking us to WAIT on Him. Give the situations to our Sovereign Lord, be obedient, and see what He does with it. Trust me, the outcomes will be far greater than we can imagine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Search Me, O God...

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
-Psalm 139:23-24

At my church's worship service tonight (Deeper at Substance - check it out!), this Psalm became my prayer. The Lord has led me to the verge of something NEW, something HUGE. What's ironic about this psalm is that God already knows us, inside and out - our thoughts, our hearts, etc. But when we invite Him in, in fact when we command that He enters, as in this Psalm, He is able to move and bring things that are not pleasing to Him to our attention. Sometimes He uproots things, sifts through our hearts and makes us aware of footholds or areas in our life we were not even aware of before!

Minutes after praying this, i felt a need to reach out to someone - someone who i felt i deserved justice from, and have a strong desire to be reconciled with. However, after reaching out countless times in the past, i know this desire for reconciliation is out of my control. I have put myself out there, but now is my time to give this person space and allow them all the time he needs. SO, point is, this very thought and need to contact that person was a FOOTHOLD, a grievous way the Lord brought to my attention! At first, i did not connect my praying of Psalm 139 to this thought. This thought caused me to hit a wall, as i became frustrated and stopped worshipping. After finally forcing myself to seek council in the prayer chapel, the walls of confusion came down.

It's crazy how that works, huh? When we reach out, when we allow others to pray over a burden or foothold, when we let people in to the things we've kept in the dark....there is true freedom. As it says in the Psalms, for when i kept silent my bones wasted away... (Psalm 32:3) The Lord has created community and given us brothers and sisters in Christ so that we may be uplifted in prayer and encouragement. After seeking refuge in the prayer chapel, both for affirmation in the calling i feel the Lord has placed on my life and in further releasing this foothold, i broke down. Gosh, there is so much freedom in breakdowns sometime. I love it. The Lord affirmed a couple things that i would so love to share with you all:

1) Sometimes, there are deep-rooted lies we've come to believe as truths. When we ask the Lord to test our hearts and examine our thoughts, He may bring these lies to the surface. I had come to believe a lie a few years ago - i was not cut out for ministry or potentially being a pastor's wife. Though the Lord has absolutely crushed this lie and replaced it with His calling, there seems to be remnants that have remained hidden beneath the surface. I can say now, with full assurance, the Lord is calling me into ministry. For now, I am hesitant to share what exactly that entails, regarding my future career and mission field, for the Lord's call and direction could change once again!

2) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - even conquering footholds, though i am impatient and still a little frustrated. As i turn to Him and admit my weakness, man oh man does He MOVE!!

3) I suck at being pursued. I am such an excitable, outgoing, go-getter. While i can attribute this to my personality, i will also willingly admit it's a fault and shows a lack of trust in the Lord. Praise Jesus, He's working in me. And gosh darn, i don't have time to pursue a relationship right now! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Haha...i guess that could be my excuse in any season, but i'm so turned off to pursuing and slightly open to being pursued, given the right man.

4) In praying for my future hubby/ministry partner tonight with two amazing women (that's weird to type...and think about haha), besides it being completely necessary that he is a man after the Lord's own heart, i also realized there is a need for him to be ready and willing for our mission field to change. While my mission field is currently in Lakeville and the Twin Cities, who knows where the Lord will lead (and to what different state? country? CONTINENT?!?!?) So exciting, right?!

:) God is good. Allow Him to search you. If you invite Him in with an open heart, He has room to move - even if that means correcting, sifting, disciplining (for surely a loving Father disciplines those He loves). I also strongly strongly encourage people in all sorts of faith walks to not hesitate in seeking council and being prayed over. It is freeing to allow others in, to gain prayer warriors who will uphold you in prayer!

I am blessed beyond BELIEF to have such an amazing community of brothers and sisters!! THANK YOU LORD!

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Foot In Front of the Other

I am a sporadic, undisciplined runner. I'll go through waves of really feeling motivated to run mile after mile, only to be discouraged weeks later that i can only run a couple miles. Its SUCH a mental thing, you know? I have the confidence that i am fully capable of running a half marathon and great distances, but there are times when i simply cannot because i mentally talk myself out of it.

The mind is a powerful thing. Today on my run, I ran two miles straight, then walked some. I was ready to tackle this long hill i always pysch myself out about. When i arrived at the bottom of the hill, I looked down at my feet and focused on each step. Rather than looking at the crazy intimidating hill that lay ahead, I focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I cranked up the worship music, meditated on Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me), listening to worship, and kept my mind focused on the Lord. It worked - for awhile, but my undisciplined mind and curiosity got the best of me, and i realized i still had so much more hill to climb. So i walked the rest of the way, feeling discouraged.

How applicable is this idea of "putting one foot in front of the other" in a life sought after the Lord, huh? While we are called to run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith.. (Hebrews 12:1-2) it is also important that we take it a step at a time. For me, conquering that hill was similar to confronting other areas in life. If we focus on what lies ahead, or the difficult journey the Lord is calling us to embark on; if we were able to see a desert season lying straight ahead of us, or see situations that would bring us pain and hurt, we would be SO discouraged and so...unwilling to continue running this race, wouldn't we? Gosh, if i could avoid pain or a trying season, i think i would. And that is why the Lord's ways are so mysterious. That is why we catch glimpses of His plan in His timing, and He reveals things to us as He sees fit. This race we are running will be difficult at times. We will be left heaving and tending to running cramps. We may even have to sit it out on the side line, crippled by excruciating pain. We may have to run for lengths of time, in the heat of a desert and feel all that is within us running dry.

But let me affirm and encourage, the end result is worth it. Reaching the finish line after a trying journey, will be the best feeling EVER! God has placed us in this very journey - do you believe it? Instead of asking for Him to reveal more about the journey you're on, instead of asking Him why, let our whys be silenced with prayers asking God to be our strength and all we need on the journey. His plan is greater than ours. His plans are for our good.

And as for the mental discipline? We all must learn to take our thoughts captive before the Lord. When we catch ourselves falling into an oppressive cycle that bring feelings of unworthiness, that reveal generational curses we have come to believe, that discourage us and keep us from valiantly running the race that lies ahead, may we bring them before the Lord and allow Him to shatter the lies. May we turn to His truth, the Living Word to build us up and keep us hoping in Him. This journey? It starts by putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that whatever lies ahead, Jesus is who we look to, He is who we turn to, He is the source of strength we need to keep running, and the one who will shatter the lies we've come to know and replace them with His glorious truths. So take the next step.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting Towed

It seems like when we're at a place where we're pursuing the Lord with all we've got, when we've laid down our will, the enemy attacks us even more and boosts up his defense. He hates when we are drawing closer to the Lord and allowing Him to work in our lives. So, since my last post about Letting Go, i've definitely faced some challenges. That same day, Friday, I went on a last minute road trip to visit one of my dearest friends in Mankato. Ally's been going through a lot of major changes and challenges of life, so i was really looking forward to just catching up and lounging together. Upon arriving at her apartment, the guest parking was completely full. Being the "responsible" women we are (haha), we wrote a note that said "visitor parking full", stuck it in my windshield and parked two spaces away from guest parking. The next morning, I headed to my car bright and early since i had to go to work. When i got to where i had parked my car, it was gone. I couldn't believe it at first! MY CAR HAD BEEN TOWED! Three things immediately came to my head: 1) I HAVE TO GET TO WORK! THIS ISN"T FAIR! 2) Really?! My car gets towed in Mankato?! Of the three years i've lived in Minneapolis, my car was never ONCE towed, and now HERE?! DUMMMMMBBB. and 3) Shoot! I do not have the money to get my car from the impound lot.
After calling Ally and convincing her this was not a joke (hahaha), she and her sweet roommate rolled out of bed, found the number for the impound lot and tow service and brought me there. It cost $80 to get it out, and i had little time to get to work and shower. THANKFULLY, i made it home in the nick of time, got ready, and booked it to work with three minutes to spare.
The funny things are, which are also the God things:

1) I had just read a chapter in Elizabeth George's book, A Woman After God's Own Heart about prayer - praying about EVERYTHING! As Proverbs says, in ALL your ways, acknowledge Him... so the whole time, I was praying. For patience dealing with the towing company and the lady who answered the apartment phone line. I prayed that God would reign in this situation, that i would trust Him and be slow to anger. I prayed prayed prayed, up until i arrived at work, i would get there on time. I prayed that God would provide, for He knows my money stresses.

2) I made it to work on time - with three minutes to spare.

3) The shift i was working? I had picked up the shift from a coworker who asked me to cover it. Guess how much i walked out with in tips? You're going to be in awe. $80!!!! The EXACT amount of money it cost to get my car out of the impound lot. I think it is safe to say, God was really reigning over this situation. HALLELUJAH!

We are faced with situations that will try us - every day of our lives. It is so important that we learn to act NOT on our emotions and anger, but to trust that the Lord has it all under control. As Hannah Hurnard states in her book Hinds Feet On High Places, "Every circumstance in life, no matter how crooked and distorted and ugly it appears to be, if it is reacted to in LOVE and forgiveness and obedience to Your will can be transformed". I pray that we learn this. No, the towing example is NOT an example of how i've mastered this technique - i'm not even CLOSE. It is a testimony, however, of God's power, His hand on the situation, and how comforted, looked after, and at peace we can be in the midst of trying times if we turn to Him and trust in Him with all we have.

Today (Sunday) I opened a book (so to speak) i thought had closed long ago - full of insecurities and not letting go of certain things. While my friends offered their outside perspective and advice, they kept insisting that I was, in fact, NOT over it as i claim to be. And while i know they're right, I felt discouraged. I thought i had begun this journey of giving it to God - that my decision not to act but to trust Him with it - were sure signs of me letting go. And, after a long nap full of many weird dreams, I felt even more discouraged. But that's just it - i have BEGUN this journey of giving it to God. BEGUN. It's going to take time. I'm not where i was a month ago or a year ago - praise JESUS! And this journey has gotten sweeter and produced more fruit as i learn more about what it looks like to release things into His hands! It is also important to acknowledge the inner workings of Christ - sometimes, God is doing some crazy heart/life changes that take time to cultivate. And while we may be aware that He is working, we may not know where His workings are leading and others may not see them right away. So, i'm filled with encouragement knowing i've sensed His workings and cannot wait to see the results!!

To wrap up...we're going to face trials. The death of a loved one, not being able to be reconciled with a friend or individual, not having enough money to pay the bills, etc. There's SO MANY trials. God did not promise us a smooth road. He did, however, give us His strength - and get this. It works BEST in our weakness. (2 Corin 12:9). He DID say our trials and tribulations will develop character and help us learn to persevere (Romans 5:3). And while we can not do it on our own, we can rest assured the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26). So, let God in to trying situations. Acknowledge His presence, His power, and your need. And you will be amazed at what He can and will do as He reigns over your situation. Give Him time and room to work.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Letting Go

Why do we have such a hard time letting go? Releasing control, loosening our grip, casting our anxieties and worries and burdens on the Lord? There is so much freedom when we acknowledge that what we've been holding on to was never really ours to begin with. In the past, I've had a hard time letting go of relationships and admitting that God doesn't need me to work in their lives. I've had a hard time letting go of situations and truly accepting things i cannot change. Letting go is a struggle for many of us - letting go of someone we've lost, letting go of wanting to "help" people with areas in their life (which also results in attempting to live their life for them), letting go of the past, letting go of stress and present circumstances, letting go of wanting to plan the future, and the hardest of all - letting go of our own lives.

While i have been so fearful of a future unknown and unplanned, i have found sincere beauty in letting go of those plans. By loosening my grip and letting God work it all out, I feel...different. Renewed. I, Katy Gunderson, someone who had her whole future figured out, am finding pure joy knowing the Lord is guiding me into bigger and better things i never could've planned for myself. Even if i'm being kept in the dark and am uncertain of what/when they will be revealed. As i give Him more - my career path, my identity, etc. and acknowledge His faithfulness as He guides me, I am free.

Think about it. If God is in control of everything, if He has known us from the beginning of time and "all the days ordained for me were written in [His] book" (Psalm 139), these temporary afflictions, circumstances, losses, confusion, hurt, pain, etc. will pass. He has a brilliant future for those he has called (Ephesians 1:18). All we have to do is choose Him, with our free will, and entrust our lives - every aspect of it - into His hands.

As my man Oswald Chambers says, "Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything."

So, no matter where we are in this journey, what is it God is calling us to let go of and trust Him with? For me, it's the career choice i've had planned for years and years. It takes a giant leap of faith, but it is worth it. I pray that we all get to the end of ourselves and allow the Lord to take over and show us what He has in store.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jars of Clay

Last night, i spent my quiet time reading 2 Corinthians. I am so blown away by the amount of verses that really spoke to me in this time. For you women out there, of any age or any walk of life, I wholeheartedly recommend A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. I'm only two chapters in and so impressed with her teachings and encouragement to get rooted in the word. Seriously, check it out! She's inspired me to start memorizing a verse a week, so that I may store up truths in times of drought, and so i am ready and willing to speak them into existence!

Okay, so the connection. After reading the second chapter of George's book, I turned to 2 Corinthians for my first verse to memorize: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. I'll get into that verse in a later post. I really want to focus on a verse later on in 2 Corinthians:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us -2 Corinthians 4:7

We = jars of clay: Plain, simple, average vessels used to carry water or other...things. We were created to contain what is poured into us. The power of God in us - His existence, His love, His workings in us, His call = the treasure within us. We, average and ordinary jars, have the opportunity to receive this magnificent treasure that is greater than gold! As we grow in relationship with the Lord, as we turn to Him to fill us, we are given Him - our treasure! Think about it - without God pouring into us, we are but empty vessels.

So, may we boast in our nothingness. May we accept that we are but jars of clay, so that the Lord's workings in our lives and His POWER are what people notice, what people see, and what they crave. It is by His hand alone and His power within us that we are: "afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed..." - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 As we encounter trials, despair, confusion,persecution, etc. it is the Lord's power that is poured into us that gives us the power to move forward and live a life set firm in Him.

As mere jars of clay containing the greatest treasure, Jesus Christ, may our prayer be that the power and presence of the Lord will overflow from us (John 7:38). Take heart, friends. Rest assuredly on the Lord's promise and workings in your life:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, September 20, 2010

Savoring His Presence

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for Him to act.

-Psalm 37:6

Let your ROOTS grow down into him, and let
your lives be built on him. Then your faith
will grow strong in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.

-Colossians 2:7

A dear friend recommended the book, A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. Only pages into the first chapter about being a woman fully devoted to God, George emphasizes the importance of spending time in His Presence. She includes the story of Mary and Martha, and how Jesus commended Mary for sitting in His presence, enjoying His company and dropping the need to busy herself in preparation for His visit.

What makes it so hard to BE STILL and simply dwell in the Lord? How have we grown accustom to always going, going, going, constantly on the move - even if it's on to the next church event or the next service project or youth group or getting coffee with a person you mentor, etc. The list goes on. Yes, faith without actions is dead. Yes, serving and being actively involved in bringing His kingdom to earth is beautiful. But why is simply sitting at His feet - meditating with scripture, worshipping, simply beholding God so hard?

Spending time with Him is what He asks. Putting down the business of life, letting our minds be consumed by Him and stray away from the thoughts of all we have to do is His plea. If only for a few moments each day. As cliche and overused as this line is, we are in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Relationships involve spending time with that person, giving them your undivided attention and just...taking them in. And if our relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important one of all, i pray we all get to a place where we are OVERJOYED to just sit and bask in His presence.

When we give Him our undivided attention, when we allow Him to move as we remain STILL before Him, this is the very place where the Lord will reveal more of Himself. This time with Him is where He gives us visions, instruction, reveals His abounding love and affections towards us.

My prayer for all of us is that we find time to truly savor His presence. That we realize our need for Him, and feel an emptiness without taking the time each day to meet with Him. Stay in His presence, just a little longer. Spend time in prayer, focus on one verse or one quality of the Lord, or simply sit. Whatever time with Him looks like, God may we crave it. May we feel an insatiable desire for more of You.

Be STILL and know that i am God!
-Psalm 46:10

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
-James 4:8

Check it: A Little Longer...

Monday, September 13, 2010

LEANING on the Lord (Song of Songs 8:5)

I want to share with you yesterday's devotional from Streams in the Desert. It's based on one of my life verses and is such a beautiful reminder of what it means to lean on the Lord:

Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover? - Song of Songs 8:5

"I once learned a great lesson at a prayer meeting at a southern church. As one man prayed, he asked the Lord for various blessings, just as you or i would, and he thanked the Lord for many blessings already received, just as you or i would. But he closed his prayer with this unusual petition: "And, O Lord, support us! Yes, support us on every leaning side!"
Do you have any "leaning sides"? This humble man's prayer pictured them in a new way and illustrated the Great Supporter in a new light, as well. He saw God as always walking alongside the Christian, ready to extend His mighty arm to steady the weak on "every leaning side".

Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of your care;
I know your burden, child. I shaped it;
Balanced it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to your unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
"I will be near, and while she leans on Me,
this burden will be Mine, not hers;
So will i keep My child within the circling arms
Of my Own love." Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder that upholds
The government of worlds. Yet closer come:
You are not near enough. I would embrace your care;
So i might feel My child reclining on My breast.
You love Me, I know. So then do not doubt;
But loving Me, lean hard.

-Streams in the Desert (September 12), L.B. Cowman

Beautiful image and devotion, yes? The Lord has crafted our burdens, He has allowed certain things to enter into our lives, SO THAT we may LEAN on Him. These hard times? These joys, these celebrations, these times of weakness and sorrow? They are all meant to bring us closer to the Lord. May we learn to truly, TRULY LEAN on Him. We were not meant to take on the world and our burdens on our own - He never planned it to be this way.

The first time this verse really sunk in, really become a life verse for me, was just under a year ago. I was bruised and hurting, I felt the darkness consuming me. And this sweet, sweet verse from Song of Songs, spoke wonders to me. I came across it in a book, an allegory of the Song of Songs (Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard...check it out, seriously). And after spending time just meditating on it, i got this image of myself: beat up, limping, tear streaked and dirty cheeks, blisters on my feet, so weary and worn from the journey, being supported and held by Jesus, as He carefully walked beside me and led me and allowed me to lean on Him. Mmm, this vision still brings tears to my eyes. Life is a journey. We will have seasons of life where we are bruised up and limping and can do nothing but lean on the Lord. There are also times where the season is fruitful and beautiful and joyful, and we forget our desperate need to lean on Him.

So, where are you? Do you acknowledge your need to lean on the Lord? Do you realize our desperate need for Him to be by our side? Do you long for Him to pick you up, for fear that you have fallen and can't pick yourself up? No matter where you are, this truth is real: We need to lean on the Lord. Through any and all things. We need to depend on Him, admit our need for Him, and allow Him to carry our burdens and carry us through.

Friday, September 10, 2010

ACTS: A Call To Serve - ministry Proposal

God has really been placing a burden on my heart - there is SO much need in this world, even in the community around us. I think, as Christians, we all need to be aware of that need and God's call for us to serve, to reach out, to go lower and be servants. This has been something that i've been praying about for a few months now. After being blessed to receive First Runner Up in the Miss Lakeville Pageant and now serving as an ambassador to Lakeville, i felt God beckoning me further - past the pretty dresses, the sparkly crown, the parades and events. God has placed the importance of service and the need for more opportunities on my heart - the need to equip others, to get them plugged in and provide people with places where they can put their faith into ACTION. God's ways are so wonderful, and I'm not the only one whose felt a tug on my heart. Miss Lakeville 2010 and my dear friend Jenna Diercks has also felt God calling her to serve. God had placed this dream and calling in our lives a couple months ago and continues to grow it.

On a mission trip to El Salvador and Guatemala (mid July), God laid a name for this ministry: ACTS. A Call To Serve. I wrote it in my journal and tucked the idea in the back of my head somewhere. Now, a couple months later, God has stirred again and brought this idea to mind. After listening to the song Turn Down the Music by Shane & Shane (listen below) in the car yesterday, the Lord provided further instruction: serve my people. Serve these people. The song outlines Matthew 25:34-40:

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Jesus has clearly instructed us to serve those in need, those who are hurting, those who feel isolated, and those who simply need His unending love. My vision for ACTS is to work with already existing ministries, charities and organizations, meet their specific needs, provide ministry, and provide college (highschool? middle school? adults?) students/people with opportunities to serve. God has given us all unique passions, for a specific group of people, etc. He has given us gifts, talents to serve Him, by serving others. He has given us ALL we need to serve others. It just takes the next step. Do you feel convicted?

For now, my vision for this potential ministry involves focusing on specific groups outlined in Matthew 25:
1) Homeless/People in Need
2) Strangers/Immigrants
3) Sick
4) Prison

It would be AMAZING to partner, work with and meet the needs of homeless shelters, food shelthers, clothing drives, English language classes, Children's hospitals, nursing homes, Alcoholics Anonymous, and doing ministry - in prisons, on the street, in spending time with those who are hurting/sick/in need. There is so much need, yet we have been blessed abundantly - we are not helpless. By following specific passions and giving the Lord a chunk of our time to SERVE others, in one ministry or another, we are following the call of James 2:17 and 2:22:

17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. - James 2:17

22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. - James 2:22

We are called to put our faith into action. We are called to minister and serve those in need. For whatever we do for the least of these, we did for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Isaiah 58:10-11 promises THIS:
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

John Piper comments about this verse:
"...if we pour ourselves out for others, God promises to make us like "a watered garden" - that is, we will receive the water we need for refreshment and joy. But even more, we will thus be a "spring of water" that does NOT fail - for others, for the demanding, exhausting, draining ministry of urban self-giving...God has made us to flourish by being spent for others. " - When the Darkness Will Not Lift, Piper 63

That is a promise. God is calling us to spend ourselves, to literally WASTE ourselves, exhaust ourselves, pour ourselves out for OTHERS and their needs. But, we will not be left with nothing. Rather, we will NEVER see an end to God's glorious riches. He will continue to fill us up. We WILL have the time and the energy to continue to serve and continue to waste our lives for others, thanks be to God.

John 7:38 - Whoever believes in me, as[a] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

So, the next step? I need help. I need resources. I need others who feel a passion for one or more of these areas who feel convicted to step up and serve. I want ACTS to be the bridge and outlet for students to serve organizations, charities and people in NEED. Do you feel convicted and/or passionate about helping? God has yet to reveal how this will look, but i'm entrusting it all to Him. And it's time to get others on board, so this vision is not limited by my own tiny brain. Will you help? If so, comment on this note and include an email address. :) Keep pressing in.

A final word: In the past few months, the Lord has also placed the word "revival" on my heart. This world needs revival. The church needs revival. And in what better way to see a newness of life, a resurrected church, a fiery passion than to reach out, beyond church walls into places of need? This whole world needs revival. If you feel called to international missions, know that your mission field, your place to serve is wherever you are. Right now. In your very city.

"Turn down the music,
Turn down the noise,
Turn up Your voice, O God,
Let us hear the sound

of people broken,
Willing to love,
Give us Your heart, O God,
a new song rising up

Let it be our worship,
Let it be our true religion,
In this world, but not of it,
Holding on to our confession..."

-Shane & Shane

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Ah, memories. This afternoon, i've begun moving all of my belongings into my new room in the basement. Shoes, clothes and STUFF are easy to move; memories, not so much. I had photo album upon photo album, scrapbooks, old love letters, photo collages, ticket stubs and old bits and pieces of memories. The hardest part about memories are the emotions they evoke, especially when they tell of love lost, old friends you have lost contact with, and people that have faded away. While i was laughing one moment at the AWKWARD silly things i wrote about old crushes in some of my journals, i was overcome with sorrow going through things that remind me of those i'm no longer close with. It's crazy how that works, huh? God truly does work in seasons.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I think the weirdest part of memories is how much they represent the idea of time and time passed. They tell stories, they speak of where we HAVE been, who we once were. How humbling it was to look at prayers i had written down and to see how the Lord has answered them, in time. No matter our memories, no matter the intensity of the bittersweet feelings they evoke, no matter where we've been, no matter where we are NOW, no matter how much we've changed, one thing is certain: While our memories are fleeting, while our circumstances, relationships, etc. are constantly changing, the Lord does not. He never changes! His love never fails, He will NEVER fail or forsake us. Even if memories tell of happier days and the present appears bleak, the Lord is still the same. Yesterday, today and forever. He will bring us through all memories, He will be our constant, and we can hold on to the promise that we will see joyful days once again.

Thank you, God, for the joys of the past. Even the sorrows and tough times, thank you. Even for love lost, friendships that have fallen away, the process of aging, THANK YOU. May they be reminders of your constancy. May they point to Your consistency, Your unfailing glory and your love unending. While seasons come and go, while events and people become mere memories, You stay the same.