Sing it Out!


So as of late, I’ve been finding it really hard to set myself on a set book or topic to study in my own personal time in the Bible. I believe that it’s a good thing to have some sort of contextual reference when studying different sections, however I think the Spirit is able to speak clearly through points where we can’t seem to hold focus on one book for more than a day.

As a result, I often find myself gnawing on the words of David (and others) in the Psalms. Again, I end reading them in random order, although I tend to sift through the different chapters until I find one that I deem as appropriate for what I’m feeling. This morning however, I just opened up to where I had last placed my bookmark and picked up in chapter 67. These next few verses are what made me sit up straight on the sofa and knocked out any leftover sleepiness:

“May the peoples praise you,
O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
The the land will yield its harvest,
and God,
our God,
will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him”

At this point I had to take a step back.

To know that God expects our praise is one thing, but to hear that praising him is what will make this world fear him…that’s heavy.

If you’ve been to any sort of church or campus ministry or anything of the likes, you’ll probably see one form of praise in the context of singing. Now granted, it made be weird and a bit awkward the first time you see it, but initially, fear isn’t a word that comes to mind. When you get to thinking about it though, singing praises to God is a way of declaring him name, uttering the various truths, strengths, and power of our Creator in song, and that, is truly frightening to Satan. He acknowledges our God’s existence, but when proclaim that we love God and trust his protection, Satan has no power in the matter of controlling us. Praise be to our Lord for that!

This also made me realize all the more that while structural environments for praise are crucial, we aren’t limited to singing only in church or campus fellowship. What’s keeping you from singing of the love of the Lord right now (ok, maybe your roommate is still sleeping or something, although waking up to the sound of praises to Jesus wouldn’t be a bad thing)? Why not on the way to the grocery store? In the shower? God loves our praises to him all the time and is willing to bless us for them. Even if it’s once today, make known to the Lord your love for him in praising him.

Summer Love

After roughly four months being back stateside, the ache of missing my Betel family back in Birmingham, England is still prevalent. Rarely a day goes by without reminiscing on a memory of one of the girls whether it be singing 12 Days of Christmas in the middle of July while out on flyers, making dinner for 40+ people while dealing with a broken water pump, or simply trying to interpret someone with an extremely strong Scottish accent.

There are a multitude of things I miss, but more than anything, I miss the relationships. Under what normal circumstances would someone become not only roommates, but friends with an ex-heroine or gas addict? When else would you see a former gang leader cooking dinner and setting the table while singing in pure joy?

Under normal circumstances? Probably nowhere.

Coming back home to live in seemingly “normal” life — your typical 20-year-old, college-going, person – still hasn’t been easy. I want nothing more than to wake up to day where I’m not the one planning what I do for work that day past breakfast, be joyful at the sight of fresh vegetables come through in donations, or treasure being “forced” to have quiet time for an hour.

But right now, that’s not where I live. I’m heading back to school today to return to classes, leadership in campus ministry, and more importantly, continuing to be a model of Jesus Christ to everyone around me. It’s a daily reminder from the Lord that he wants a heart of service all the time… not just when it “feels” more so necessary.

If I, or anyone for that matter, expects to see the Lord work in amazing ways and change the lives of others, he first needs to see dedicated in us as his people.

“…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:19-22

I’ll let scripture speak for itself, but take a second and read that again. We are being built as a dwelling where the Spirit of the Lord lives. This is by no means what this world would call a “normal” circumstance. Yet, it’s exactly where God has placed us in his plan. How else could we respond except in gratitude and love for a God who has purpose for us, not just as little minions running around, but as representatives of his love for his people.

Like a Box of Chocolates…

Good evening from Windmill House in Birmingham, England! I finally arrived here Friday morning and took my first breathe of fresh English air as I stepped off the plane (actually it smelled more like plane fuel and baggage, but that’s beside the point).

In any case, I am living in one of the two girl’s homes in Oldbury (Windmill House is the men’s home in Birmingham and is where we can use the internet). About ten other girls (ranging in age from about 20-50 years old) are in the house, two of which just arrived about a week ago, but are doing quite well so far. Only arriving here this weekend, I haven’t experience a “typical” day yet (I have been told that Betel on a day-to-day basis is like a box of chocolates… you never know whatcha gonna get), but I was able to help with passing out flyers on Saturday morning, which advertise the various services Betel offers.

Betel runs several refurbished furniture shops, a gardening business, and also sends out Betelitos to do bag packing in grocery stores to bring income into the ministry. During a Betelito’s first two weeks in a home, they are only given chores around the house to do given the fact they have just come off of whatever kind of addiction(s) they had. It’s a long two weeks for the incoming girls as they cannot make phone calls, use the internet, or really even leave any room by themselves without someone in the house responsible for watching over them (one of the new girls calls this “babysitting”).

Well I don’t want to make this a cumbersome update, but I really can’t wait to see how God will stretch me and bless me through the girls here and appreciate your willingness to continue to pray. =]

Prayer Request(s):
-New girls in the house (an older woman in her 50s and young girl in her 20s); patience and strength during their two-week

Culture Corner:
English cars are tiny for a good reason. Roads are narrow and with people parking on the sides doesn’t help much. Think Mario Kart.

C2G!

At the end of every Spring semester, our chapter of Intervaristy Christian Fellowship goes to a retreat at Rockbridge in Goshen, VA with several other schools from the surrounding area. During this retreat, each individual chooses what track they want to do whether it’s training for being a new small group leader, leading the in coordinating team, or many others. Since I wasn’t a new small group leader this year and wasn’t on the coordinating team, I chose to do a track called Connecting to God (lovingly known now as “C2G”).

From the beginning of this week, I had no idea what to expect. Rockbridge after my freshman year was far from uplifting by the time I left, so my prayer to Jesus was to remove the focus from me, and direct my attention to Him during this retreat.

He wasted no time in answering my prayer. Between blessing me with opportunities to pray with and for other people in our chapter and revealing Himself to me through prayer and His word, I was overwhelmed with joy at the countless ways he answered my prayer. The Holy Spirit seemed to be so alive and active, especially from what I witnessed and experienced in my track. I was in awe and adoration of our Lord. Praise God!

Here is a passage in particular that really stood out during this past week was from Isaiah 40:10-11 (read the rest though… it’s a powerful chapter =] ). When caught up so much business, sometimes it’s hard to remember our God most high, El Elyon, really knows what he’s doing. Who am I to question Him with how he planned my life?

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.