Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Letter to a Friend

Dear Church,

This isn't the holistic update I have been planning to write. That will come soon.

The past few weeks, I have been writing a series of letters to a dear, dear friend of mine. Tonight the letter was a revision of a note I wrote to myself a little over two years ago. I am itching to revise it further, but if I begin that, I may not finish it and it may not get posted. In summation, though, I will say this:

Marriage is no longer the scope through which I view Christ and the Church. The relationship between Christ and His Bride is now the lens through which I view everything else. It never ceases to fascinate me. More on that later, beloved...

October 29, 2008, 23:07

Oh, girl --

Don't try to win him with your charm.
Don't try to put forth something you're not.
It will take more energy than you have to keep up an image of yourself that will eventually crumble.
Search your heart and see that that is what you really want.
You don't want to have to keep trying to be something you're not.
You are who you are, and you are SO wonderfully and intentionally made.
If you were to search your heart, you would almost definitely find a desire to be loved and accepted and enjoyed and celebrated for who you are -- not for who you can pretend to be.
If all you show is a mask, the mask will get loved.
(But God pours His love on you ceaselessly...)
Again, I say to REST.
Seek the Lord -- not a relationship.
He is the God of relationships, and knows exactly what you need -- and don't need.
Trust Him to do the winning of the hearts -- and do not trust your charm.
"At just the right time..."
Let Him win the hearts -- because He wants all the credit.
This builds up your assurance in His will.
Seek Him now, seek Him then, seek Him until then, and seek Him beyond.
Seek the Lord and LIVE -- abundantly, victoriously, freely.
Trust Him and give Him your whole heart.
He made it.
He knows how it works.
He will wake it up in ways you didn't know could thrive with such life.
He is Life.
And your past?
Whatever it is, you're not beyond healing.
You're not beyond restoration.
Grace always tells another story.
It extends a long way down. It meets us where we are in order to bring us to where we could never otherwise be.
If you receive it, it will tell your story in a whole new way.
No one can love you like the Lord.
No one can see you quite like He does.
No one can fulfill - or even know - your needs like the Lord can.
You want romance? He's the Author of it.
He will guide you to overflowing springs, if you let Him.
Marriage is like Christ and the Church.
And just as Christianity isn't about being good enough, neither is marriage about being good enough.
It's not for what you could earn, but to express and receive a love undeserved.
That's why it's grace.
And it is AMAZING.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

But God

Dear Church,

The enemy comes to steal.

But Jesus enables us to store up treasures in heaven, where thieves do not break in and steal.

The enemy comes to kill.

But God raises the dead to life and speaks things into being.

The enemy comes to destroy.

But God is our very own healer and restorer.

The enemy may breed darkness and hatred.

But God is Love and light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

Satan struck His heel.

But Jesus crushed his head.

The powers of darkness may wage war against our souls and prowl around like a roaring lion waiting to devour us.

But God has created us not only as recipients of His ferocious love, which is our fortress, but as weapons of holy war to wreak havoc in Satan's backyard.

The enemy may confuse and interfere with God's good gifts purposed for His glory.

But what he means for evil, God means for good. He makes dry land out of deep seas, and creates paths where paths have never existed. Nothing is too hard for Him. Nothing exhausts Him.

The enemy may be "the god of this age." (2 Corinthians 4:4)

But God is the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come; the Almighty.

Satan is the father of lies.

But we have within us the Spirit of Truth.

The enemy is our accuser.

But Jesus is our advocate at the right hand of God, always interceding for the saints...who are the righteousness of God in Him.

How wonderful it is that we are not left alone to contend for ourselves!

"If God is for us, who could be against us?" Psalm 56:4

I read this quote today:

"We have to come to a place where we are more confident in the Lord's ability to lead us, than the enemy's ability to deceive us."

Jesus has brought me to that place. It is victorious. It is unshakable. There is an incredible peace and rest resulting from complete, blind (some would say foolish) trust in the Spirit of God. The joy is boundless.

Lately the only things I have been aware of are that He is good, He is sovereign, and He loves me. To love Him with my mind is to let myself be concerned with these few things, trusting Him with the details and enjoying the rest that He has set apart for me in His presence. It sounds so simple -- and that's because it is!

But it gets simpler yet, Beloved. I pray that you put more stock into His love for you than your love for Him. Just receive. That's it. No strings attached. Your condition does not determine the flow of His love for you. Nothing can separate you from His love. He is faithful and He is near. Read that again and breathe it in: He is faithful and He is near...He is a part of you and He will never leave you.

My mind may wander and forget these things...but the Holy Spirit pursues me and reminds me of what is true. He wins!

I may have been a great sinner, but God is a great Savior. He made me an entirely new creation that now stands before Him with Christ's righteousness as my resume. That is why we are not condemned! He is just in not condemning us because Christ's crucifixion and resurrection have justified us, making us as if we had never sinned. Enjoy that access, holy ones, because in your inheritance is everything that Christ earned in His perfection.

He who has an ear, let him hear.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Author and Pioneer of our Faith

Dear Church,

Trust Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Give Your people faith.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Spilling Open

Dear Church,

My heart swells for you and for what I wish to communicate to you. Every time the Holy Spirit leads me into truth, every time I realize something beautiful He has done, I am overwhelmed with a burning desire to speak to His people about His greatness.

That is happening again right now. Since being back in the States, I have started writing over ten different blogs -- but I have no idea how to finish them. I've been planning on writing out the details and insights of my trip chronologically (and quickly), but it's not happening. I don't know why, but I trust His sovereignty.

Let me tell you why my heart is burning today. I came across a list I wrote before going to North Africa. On it were weakness of mine and difficulties I anticipated. I nearly wept as I recalled not only my inadequacies, but His surpassingly gracious provision. I was expecting to be under the heavy weight of oppression and darkness, and I was willing and even excited about the victory that would stem from that. But my King and Father saw it fit to cover over everything for me.

I thought I would experience loneliness,
but I have never interacted so intimately with Jesus Christ.

I thought I was going to be aware of darkness and fear,
but my only atmosphere was the Light of Christ. It was stronger than anything else, and I carried it with me everywhere I went -- to cities without any believers!

I thought the powers of darkness were going to hinder and discourage me,
but I experienced an unstoppable joy as I effortlessly rested in the victory of the Resurrection.

I thought I was going to be attacked with memories of former sins,
but He continually renewed the freshness of His grace to me throughout each day without mention of my sin.

This is what confounds me the most: I have been asking Him for years to break my heart for the lost, but He won't do it. The more I ask to be broken, the more joy He gives me in His presence for making me His own. He is so gracious; I can barely take it in. There is no one like Him!

The memories I have of this time overseas are one thing; the symbolism it has on my life is another. Before I explain further, I need to tell you something else: I jumped off a cliff.

I was fearless and at rest, which was peculiar to me based on what I knew I was about to do. Excitement calmed me, strangely. The cliff was a mere thirty feet above the Mediterranean. The wind was blowing my hair. My mind was clear. I could hear conversations in Arabic all around me. It was nearly sunset, and everything had a gold hue. I breathed deep, braced the wind, and ran to the edge of the cliff. I flew forward, putting myself entirely at the mercy of what would catch me. I couldn't contain a smile as my stomach rose while my body fell.

Seconds later I broke the surface of the water. My smile grew. When I came to the surface again, my ears were welcomed by applause behind the sound of my own laughter. I looked up at the sky in joyful gratitude and began swimming back to the foot of the cliff.

This memory is treasured in my heart. It also sums up my time in that particular country: There were dangers and risks, but each one was worth it. I could have made myself anxious by dwelling on what it could cost me, but all that I received was joy in His presence because He brought me to a place of rest as He fought for me. He just wants to be gracious to me; no strings attached. "The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22. Selah.

Also, it is very fitting to mention that only about four months before I went to North Africa, I was in a hard season of discipline and deconstruction. I "messed up" big time, and thought it was going to be years before I would be restored. But my Jesus healed me quickly and brought me to safety in surrender. Praise Him with me, because He is not treating me as my sins deserve! He is giving me beauty instead of ashes and confident access to His throne of grace. I can't get over how good He is to me, and I never want to leave His presence. This grace is an ocean of its own, and is offered to you. Take it from someone who has jumped in already -- it is amazing here!

Church, I am begging you, for the unified sake of His glory and your joy -- REST! Ask Him to show you what this means. His Spirit will lead you into all Truth, and He will make His voice heard. He is stronger than our enemy. If the risen Christ is for you, who could be against you? You're already on the winning side. Enjoy!

Remember your VIP pass into His presence. Meditate on His unfailing love. Discover all you are in Him, and all He is in you. There is power in the blood, there is victory in Jesus, and I long for you to get a taste of it. Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Father to the Fatherless

Dear Church,

We have brothers and sisters in India who are in need of faith, comfort, and protection.

Just over a week ago, an inspector from the government visited Asha House, a children's home near New Delhi. He said that it is an issue that the boys and girls are together in the same house. At first he gave orders for either all of the boys or all of the girls to leave the home. After more discussion, it was decided that the younger children and anyone still in school can stay for one more year, since the school year has already begun. However, all of the children over the age of twelve must be sent away by tomorrow, July 10. Ruth, Ravender, Savita, Vinita, and Diwan are all true orphans but have some extended family who will be able to take them in for a while.

Please pray for the protection of the traveling children and for the comfort of the Asha family staying behind. Their hearts are hurting, but they are trusting God. Pray not only for these things to happen, but to focus on the faithfulness and power of our compassionate Father.

"O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations. . . For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy...O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name."

Daniel 9:18-19

With love and hope,

P.S. I have much to tell you about the time I got to spend in North Africa...soon!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Anticipating Opposition...and Victory

Dear Church,

Very soon I will be in Atlanta, Georgia, training for a short trip to North Africa. The trip's purpose is two-fold: First, it is to assist the established missionaries in connecting with as many people as possible so that relationships may be brought to a place where the Gospel can be spoken and received. Second, it is to immerse believers in Muslim culture in order to better understand their hearts so that, while in North America, they may be more efficiently served with the hope and salvation of Jesus Christ.

This morning I wrote myself a note to read whenever I become discouraged while overseas. It seems fitting to be shared with more than just myself:


If you're reading this, you are probably discouraged. Let the discouragement be countered in Jesus' name. He is more powerful than your enemy. I pray that the hope of future victory will cause you to rejoice even now. The greater the opposition, the greater the victory. Your God can not be defeated, you are His, and there is nothing that can shake that. Let the Spirit of truth encourage you -- the evil forces at work may be more intense than you have previously experienced, the Body may not be functioning ideally, and things may not be going according to plan. But take heart. There are unchangeable things in place that are worth praising Him for.

David wrote in Psalm 27, "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord."

His goodness is shown simply by you being here. Being...regardless of what you do. He has done an incredible work already: You are salt. You are light. This light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can not overcome it. Above all else, rejoice that your name is written in the Book of Life. Not only is your God good, but He reveals His goodness to you continually. Rest in His love for you, and remember the victory that was already won for you and for all of the saints.

And as for this affliction? It is light and momentary. Any pain will be surpassed by His comfort. Any fear will be driven out by His love. Any lie will be exposed when the Spirit of Truth works to set you free. Any opposition will cease when Jesus, who is for you, speaks His will into being. The pain of the cross was real, but the joy of the resurrection is eternal. Rest effortlessly in the victory that was won for you as Christ makes Himself known among the nations. Whatever He gives or takes away will cause you to rejoice. You will see His goodness and praise Him for it. Let Him make this your unwavering hope. You'll be Home soon.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sufficient for All

Dear Church,

One thing that has been blowing my mind recently is that the Gospel is sufficient for every person on the planet. It is able to reach everyone wherever they are.

This has been particularly astounding to me since I began cashiering at a local store. The Lord sees it fit for me to cross paths with hundreds of people per day. And what do I do? I smile the brightest smile I can offer. I ask the Spirit in me to exude His own aroma. (Hehe.) Sometimes I look people in the eyes and pray for them as I ask them if they want their milk in a bag. And they have no idea that the mundane works of my hands provides a rich experience for my heart every time I meet another person loved by the Lord.

(Disclaimer: Of course, these prayers and thoughts do not happen with every encounter. But these encounters are the ones I want to emphasize because of what I intend to focus on in this post.)

For the husband and father exhausted from work and misunderstood by his family, the Gospel is hope for peace to calm him and joy to seize his relationships.

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

For the woman who is 40, single and insecure about herself, there is a Love more pure and passionate than what she has been imagining for the past 25 years.

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

For the man consumed with his career and unwilling to give anything else his time or attention, there is a Kingdom more exciting and consuming and enduring than what earth has to offer him.

"Now if there is no resurrection...why do we endanger ourselves every hour? . . . If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" 1 Corinthians 15:19, 30 & 32

For the pregnant teenager overtaken by fear, rejection, and uncertainty, there is hope for an abundant future, absolute acceptance, and unfailing love and faithfulness.

"Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth." Isaiah 54:4

For the Indian family in an unfamiliar land, there is hope for eternal citizenship in heaven and a loving Father who will meet every one of their needs and understand their cultural background.

"For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." 1 John 5:4

For the adamant Athiest locked into his "theology," there is truth that will set him free. He no longer has to exhaust his mind with what he cannot know for sure, but can be given faith, rest and the unshakable promises found in Scripture.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . . My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power." 1 Corinthians 1:18 & 2:4

For the respected pastor battling with (and losing to) an addiction that, if known, would cost him his job and his reputation, there is grace to catch him where he has fallen that can bring him to a place without fear or shame.

"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. . . [He] will again have compassion on us; [He] will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:8 & 19

For the nine-year-old Filipino caught in the web of sexual slavery, there is a jealous Lover who bought her with a price so she could be brought into the joy of sharing His inheritance. And for her predator, there is compassion, forgiveness and restoration through Christ's victory over the power of sin.

"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves." Colossians 1:13

For the marriage that has been weighted down by unfulfilled expectations, there is an example of perfect love and the ability to release the reins of a broken relationship. There is a God who wants to glorify Himself through marriage -- and He knows just how He wants that done in every situation.

"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples." John 13:35

For the precious elderly woman whose husband has died and whose family has lived out of state for decades, there is hope for a Romance that will not end with death. And Christ's promises are enough to sustain a heart until He is fully known.

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?" Hosea 13:14

For the devout Muslim family in Libya who has never heard the truth about Jesus or even considered another way of life, there is release from the harsh requirements of their religious law and all-surpassing comfort for when following Christ brings about the suffering of rejection.

"If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more. . . But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. . . for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but a righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Philippians 3:4, 7-9

For the college student no longer running after his First Love for reasons he can't even explain to himself, there is hope for Christ's passion to fill his heart. There is power available to overcome apathy and the bondage of deception.

"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. . . . The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so that you may have life and have it more abundantly." John 8:32 & 10:10

For His willing servant waiting for direction, there is hope for contentment and abundance for the present.

"...and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts." Romans 5:5


I could go on. Perhaps I've been too elaborate already. But the point is to remind myself and God's people that His grace always meets us where we are. His victory has been made accessible to us through Christ's resurrection and is absolutely sufficient for every situation. He defeated death...how could anything else be too hard for Him?!

For the joy,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Joy of the Nations

"We want to thank all of the sponsors of the children both for financial and prayer support. All of the children passed their exams and were all top 10 in their classes. Please pray for the children who will be starting school for the first time this July."

--Simini Prafulla, the mother of Asha House: the children's home I got to work with in India

I asked her which children would be starting in July: Jyoti, Malathi, Mary, Sunitha, Punitha, Mithulesh!

This is such a big deal because over there, education is setting the captives free. (Sound familiar?) At Asha they are taught basic English and math so that they can pass the entrance exam to get into a public school. Once there, education is continued and a more desirable future is offered. Without formal education, the future of these precious children may consist of begging in the streets or prostitution in the brothels.

But back to the good news: I am so encouraged and in awe at this! Let me share a little background on some of the kids.

Jyoti was born in the slums. Before she was even a year old, her uncle murdered her mom. Also, due to the filthy water in the area, she contracted worms that somehow made their way into her brain. Her aunt chose not to take care of her, and would only take in her twin brother. (In India, it is a big deal to not care for a family member.) However, the founder of Asha House had connections with the pastor that oversees the slums, and the Lord made a way for Jyoti to live at Asha. She recently turned three, and is one of the brightest girls I have ever met. Oh, and one more thing: "Jyoti" means "light" in Hindi. :)

Malathi is another miracle child at Asha House. I'm not sure about the details of how she arrived there, but I know it is rooted in the Lord's perfect care for and faithfulness to her. One morning in October, I arrived at Asha with my team to see this sad and shy little girl. We tried working with her to see where she was in her studies, and found that she knew some Hindi -- but wrote the letters backwards or upside down. She also knew a little bit of a tribal language spoken in the northern rural parts of India. It is assumed that she labored in the fields -- she has buff arms and a muscular stomach. We also think she was beaten. However -- after about a month of being exposed to the Light and love of Christ, she completely transformed and blossomed into a child who laughs and plays and wants her picture to be taken. :) At four years old, her handwriting is better than mine and her dedication to learning is astounding...that is, when she applies herself. :)

Mithulesh is a sweet, sweet boy who stole my heart in a beautiful way. One day he just wouldn't let me leave his side. We played hand games and sang songs together. My heart went out to him that day, and I've had a soft spot for him ever since. In his learning, he has struggled to understand. But he worked so hard! Apparently that hard work has led to understanding, because he's starting public school soon! I only wish I could praise his efforts in person. If the Lord wills...

My heart is swelling for these kids and their lives. They are the salt and light of India, and I am beyond blessed to have worked with them. Their suffering has been great, but it has been greatly surpassed by the grace that is given by Christ Jesus. He is gracious and compassionate, strong and victorious, merciful and sovereign. And He's in me!

Please pray for Asha House as they are always in need of financial support. Finances are needed to send these kids to public school in two months. If you're interested in giving, here's the link to their site and to each of their stories:



Sunday, April 11, 2010

Faith, Hope, and Love

Dear Church,

I hope you know how much you're loved and longed for.

I hope you understand that you are a dwelling place for the Almighty.

I hope you are not overcome by evil, but that you overcome evil with good. Christ already did, once and for all.

I pray that you are driven more and more to gain treasures that will last, even if you have to lose what was already destined to fade. May it be on earth as it is in heaven.

I pray that you are not afraid of evil -- if God is for you, who could be against you? The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not overcome it.

I pray that you are not unaware of the devil's schemes -- so that you may live abundantly in the freedom of the glory of the children of God, without shame or fear or any hindrances.

I trust that the Spirit's power in you will bring these things to light.

I trust that His glory is for your joy, and that His goodness will sustain your hope.

I trust that He will be faithful to you, His Bride.

For the Unshakable Kingdom,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Irresistible Christ in Me

Dear Church,

This year has been incredible.

After returning from India in December, I went through a season of awareness of earth's brokenness. In the mornings I had to grab onto hope with both hands and in the evenings I would not sleep until my soul found rest and escape from the weight of the day. He was enough. Understatement.

Joy was present, but it was hindered. I was more focused on what there is to lose, instead of what there is to gain. I was distracted by the desires of my flesh and could not fully delight myself in the Lord. I remembered His whispers to me in the night:

"My child, your delight will be as full as your surrender."


More recently, when I lost the one thing that I begged Him not to take, I began to experience a freedom that I would not trade anything for. Job said, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away."

Lately I've been viewing it the other way around: He takes away so that He can give. The Lord gave Job double what he had before it was taken away. And now He gives beauty for ashes; Love's unselfish trade-off.

(At this point, I would love to interject a poorly-made exegesis on Psalm 44. The beginning explains how He gave His people abundant victory and strength. Verse eight takes a turn and goes into an explanation of how He made them "a reproach" to their neighbors, "the scorn and derision" of those around them. Swooping in with verse 17, the writer proclaims, "All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten You or been false to Your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back...but You crushed us..." The Psalm ends with a desperate request: "Rise up and help us; save us because of Your unfailing love." He did what was pleasing to Himself. The Lord is gracious and just; strong and beautiful; dangerous and irresistible. More on that...now?)

Switching gears:

When some friends of mine were sifting through their relationship, the only thing that would come out of my mouth (and fingertips) toward them had to do with their identity in Christ. I was not aiming to sound like my pastor and friends who "got it." It just...happened.

But as the days progressed, the Spirit began a new work in me: I began to understand more than ever before the implications of the power of sin and my identity in Christ. Or better yet -- Christ's identity in me!

If Christ is in me, and if His Word is true, and if my flesh is the only thing that is left to be redeemed -- then my lot is joy, rest, and awe. Christ is in me. All of Him. All the time. He fulfilled the law. He fulfilled me! Now all there is to do is let the cat out of the bag -- let the Jesus out of the me. He knows how. He gives strength for rest. He prompts me to ask for strength to rest so He can work through me. He does things before I even ask. He is Sovereign and in control. And me? I get to follow Him around.

And He has promised an unimaginable future for His people. This life is easy to "do," but it can be difficult to endure. Creation is longing in eager expectation for our adoption as sons. Just a few more weary days and then -- we'll fly away. His Word illuminates the path of delight. Daily, hourly we choose to delight in the Spirit or in the flesh. One will endure; the other will pass away. Treasures stored up in heaven will never spoil or fade.

Conclusion? Never! My thoughts are scattered and I do not know how to formulate them properly,but I cannot help but tell about these things. Jesus is alive and surrender is delight.

Restored and in awe,

**The purpose of this post is two-fold: To release thoughts that have been building up and to remind the Church of her first Love. It is not to display my "wisdom" (foolishness), but rather, this:

"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3

"The new self...is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator." Colossians 3:10

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hope of Glory

Dear Church,

A facebook friend of mine recently asked me how my time in India was. This is what came out:

"That's a loaded question. ;-) I spent last semester in India working with orphans, lepers, and those in the slums.

Short story: We got to see God's provision in a way that shook me awake to His graciousness.

A few weeks after arriving, we did a teaching to the kids in the Christian children's home based on John 6 (when Jesus fed the five thousand) and Philippians 4:19. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the glorious riches that are in Christ Jesus."

We had each of the 35 children write their name on a paper fish and put it on a big piece of white paper that was hung in the hallway outside of the girls' rooms.

One day in November, our American contact sat my team down and began a heavy conversation with a desperate prayer. He then jumped right to the issue:

"Asha House is in danger of closing. There is not enough money to get them through December."

We were hit with reality. If God did not provide for these precious children, they were going to be released into the streets of Delhi to fend and beg for themselves. I had seen enough of this -- children begging -- already, and to this day it stirs up rage within me.

Needless to say, we had to DO something.

We immediately contacted our supporters and told them the situation that needed to be acted upon as soon as possible.

A challenge was given for the Body of Christ to seek first His kingdom and store up treasures there.

A challenge was given to consider others as better than ourselves.

A challenge was given to believe that all things are a loss compared to knowing Christ.

I could go on.

The Old Testament came alive to me again. In Nehemiah, he prays for his people,

"...they are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great strength and Your mighty hand. O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of Your servants who delight in revering Your name. Give Your servant success today by granting him favor..."

And this, from Daniel, caused me to weep,

"Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servant. For Your sake, O Lord, look with favor on Your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, O God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears Your name. We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy. (!!) O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people bear Your name."

The thought of Asha House ("Asha" means "hope" in Hindi) closing was inconceivable to me. These kids are the future light of India! This home is a place where transformation happens and the gospel is made known every day! I'm telling you, kids that have been exposed to the truth and reality of His love are so visibly different over there. Those who were once closed off and reclusive begin to dance. They play. You should hear them laugh! God makes Himself so known there. With all of that in place, everything within me was screaming, "This place CAN'T shut down!!"

And you know what? It didn't. It still hasn't. Over $12,000 came like a flood within a matter of weeks. It was neither under nor over what was needed. "Neither poverty nor riches..."

I envy their opportunity for such faith. And I wonder how much of that opportunity can be had here. I believe now that it's not about the condition of my finances or abilities, but about my God. It's not about me. And that's the greatest thing to hear when my inadequacies are always before me.

So, that's a small bit of how India was. Our God is powerful and compassionate. And there's a lot more where that came from. :-)

Oh -- and if you're interested in donating to them, as they're always needing donations, check out



Yours for the Kingdom,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Deconstruction --> Reconstruction

Dear Church,

Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. Ephesians 3:13

I was scared to be broken and wrecked for the Kingdom.

My fears were illegitimate. I used to think those lies were clever.

Surrender. It is so worth it because it is about His glory filling the people of His kingdom that will never be shaken. His way is perfect.

The more I have chased His glory, the more I have found His humility because of the glory He left to take on servanthood.

Jesus. He left an eternity of perfect, unhindered communion with the Father and the Spirit. Why? He wants us.

Can I not also walk away from imperfect dreams and selfish hopes and prideful intentions for the sake of bringing His kingdom to earth? When I stand before Him at the end of my life, how could I ever regret surrender and obedience? That is the preferred option!

And how could I regret suffering? I am reminded of Paul.

"...And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."
(Acts 20:22-24)

Could I presume that he regretted going to Jerusalem because he was beaten there? Absolutely not! He had marks on his body for the rest of his life to remind him of how the Spirit moved in that city.

Suffering was a reason to rejoice. God was using his obedience to bring salvation to many.

And as for us -- we have been crucified with Christ. Anything that we could sacrifice has been trumped by what He sacrificed on our behalf, gracing us with all the reward that He deserved in His perfection. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Welcome to the Planet (Written in India)

(I know that all two of you who follow this blog have read this already, but I wanted it to be posted here.)


Welcome to the fallout

While driving to the leper colony last week, I listened to Switchfoot's "Dare You to Move." In my mind I was merely selecting an album I hadn't listened to in a while, but it turned into much more than that.

Welcome to resistance

We came to a stop in traffic. A beggar -- no, a precious and beloved woman came to the window. She was obviously begging. Her red sari and crooked teeth didn't take me by surprise. Her leathered skin and foggy eyes weren't unusual sights. Her persistence in knocking at our window wasn't out of the ordinary.

The tension is here

But the words that hit my ears were ripping me to shreds.

The tension is here

I tried unsuccessfully to avoid making eye contact with windows of pain. This is her life.

Between who you are and who you could be

So unnerving...and I think she and I are different? One begs, another gives. But both die. Neither of us chose to be born. Who breathes without need of Christ?

Between how it is and how it should be

This isn't fair. This isn't fair. This isn't fair.

I have never felt so responsible for poverty: I looked at myself with my headphones through the window to a woman with empty hands and an emptier stomach. Dichotomy, anyone? And what about her soul -- is that empty too?

I dare you to move

Traffic continued as usual.

I dare you to move

I didn't. I couldn't.

I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor

What just happened? It had to be about more than food.

I dare you to move

But what will become of her if I ignore her need? And even if I can give to her now, she will be hungry again in a few hours, if that. She needs hope beyond all of this. She needs a Savior. So do I. Constantly.

I dare you to move - like today never happened


My heart won't cease to be raw towards every beggar I see. But as painful and uncomfortable as that is, it is given by the Lord, and I am thankful for it.

"What would Jesus do?" What did He do? He healed the sick and raised the dead. He drove out demons and played with children. But in His human form, He only interacted personally with a very small percentage of humanity. As far as we know, He passed by people that He didn't look at, He didn't get to touch everyone, and there was a lot more that He "could have" done. Or so it would seem...

But His Kingdom is not of this world.

He only did what His Father told Him to do.

And so I say, I can do nothing for these beautiful people. I cannot even do anything for myself. I can only receive and be transformed by His power into an instrument of His grace.

And His grace towards me glorifies Himself because it leaves no room for me to boast.

This is not to say that I am lowly, wretched, and worthless.

Apart from Him I can do nothing. But that is my joy! Did you hear that? The pressure is off for me to be strong enough, wise enough, brave enough, or loving enough. When I am weak, I am strong because His grace is sufficient.

He wired us to depend on Him, to live abundantly only when drinking from the Source of Life -- and that dependence is our rest, Church!

We have been crucified with Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. The life we live in the Body we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. (Galatians 2:20)

Praying for you all with love and brokenness and joy,

Trust in Him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge... Psalm 62:8

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Disclaimers and Cliff-hangers

Dear Church,

I do not tell you what I tell you for any purpose other than making God look good. I will write of great suffering and affliction, not to focus on the effects of sin in this world but to tell you how much farther His grace reaches. I do not tell of these struggles to make yours seem small in comparison, but to remind you that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit that resides in His people. In other words, if He can raise the dead to life and speak things into existence, what can't He do? How could I say, "God, I believe that You raised Jesus Christ from the dead, but I don't believe that You can provide food for my family tonight"?

Paul -- who penned over half of the New Testament -- knew pain. In 2 Corinthians 11:24-31 he boasts of everything he has endured: beatings, shipwrecks, threats, constant danger. Suffering was coupled with his obedience to the Lord. He wrote that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us. He called these earthly afflictions "light and momentary."


Light. Momentary. All of it.

I guess I don't understand, but I am compelled to write, so here I am.

Why did Paul endure so much? He was fixed on a King whose Kingdom would never be shaken.

In the days and months to come, I will be posting stories and pictures of people whose lives have been altered by suffering. But again, my purpose for gazing into the well of sin and suffering is to see and portray that the grace given us in Jesus Christ far surpasses anything else in all creation.