Sunday, May 10, 2009

Resurrection Stories

Pastor Jon has been preaching a series entitled "In Broad Daylight - Stories of Resurrection." This series has had Jon filling the shoes of a reporter who is out to find stories of life, hope, and resurrection. Today was senior Sunday. We honored our graduates and showed our support for them as they begin a new chapter in their lives. It was a special day for all our seniors, but it was extremely special for one in particular. His name is Joe. Joe has quite a story. Joe first started attending our church in 2000 as a child at VBS. He quickly made friends with some other kids at the church and became especially close to our children's pastor's son as well as the rest of the family. He came on and off for quite some time but at one point in his life he found himself getting involved with the wrong crowd and he started selling drugs. He also became involved in a gang. His life journey has been one that has been very bumpy. Last year, Joe spent some time in jail and has stated it was the worst nine days of his life. Joe was released and expressed a desire to get back on the right track with his life and schooling. He was set to graduate this May but because of all his troubles (he had also spent some time in Detention in previous years) he was very behind and was classified as a sophomore. Enter Lisa, our children's pastor. Lisa and her family have been very very close to Joe throughout his life. Lisa knew Joe's potential and refused to back down. Lisa spoke with the school and 2 people in our church about getting Joe back on track with his school. Joe worked very diligently and was able to get caught up in a 6 month time span so that he could graduate on time. Joe received word that he would graduate and receive his diploma but he was not going to be allowed to walk at graduation. Once again, enter Lisa. Lisa knew how important it was for Joe to be able to graduate and show his success after everything he has overcome. Pastor Jon brought Joe up during his sermon today and spent some time interviewing him and talking with him about his life. At the end of their talk, Jon explained that Lisa had contacted the school district and made arrangements to have school officials at our church today and Joe was going to have a graduation ceremony. The look on Joe's face was priceless. It was a look of shock, joy, and gratefulness. As Joe walked down to get his robe, the congregation erupted in applause and support for him. What followed was one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed. Joe's family and Lisa's family (who have become like family to Joe) stood on the side of the stage to greet him and the 2 school officials, the 2 individuals who have been diligently working with Joe, and Pastor Jon all stood in the middle. Lisa and Joe took the stage and one official read his statement that made Joe an official graduate. He then read Joe's name and Joe proudly walked across that stage to receive his diploma. When he reached the end, the other school official lead him in moving his tassel from the right side to the left, signifying he was a graduate. Tears were streaming down my face as I was taking this sight in. Now you may be asking why I started this story by talking about Pastor Jon's sermon series. I know this is getting long, but stay with me for a minute. Joe's story is one of the most beautiful resurrection stories I have ever seen. You see, living in the light of the resurrection is all about living in hope and refusing to accept the darkness. Living in the resurrection is actively living in community with one another and bringing a slice of hope to everyday life. Joe's story is such a beautiful story of hope and resurrection. Not only did Joe have many many people who chose not to give up on him, Joe chose not to give up on himself. The Joe of a year ago is not the Joe of today. The story of living in light of the resurrection does not end with Joe. It is an ongoing story that we are invited to participate in. What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blow the Dust Off

Well hello! It's been quite a while since I've posted on here! I've actually had several things happen and thought "ooh I should blog about that" but that's as far as the thought went. I want to start blogging more faithfully - we'll see how that goes! Since my last post, I have had something very exciting happen in my life. I have joined the pastoral staff at my church as a member of the student ministries team! This has been a dream of mine for quite some time, not to mention youth ministry is my heart and passion. I feel truly blessed to be a member of this staff. My church is incredible and I absolutely adore it. Our students are a wonderful blessing and our student pastor and his wife have been an awesome support for me. I could go on and on about how excited I am but we'll just stop with that for now. :) I am still working at DHS as well. Well, it's getting late so I'm going to head out for now. I will try to update this more regularly!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Love and Conversations

I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the Hurricane Gustav shelter today. I walked in the door and saw the 1800 people spread all around this huge building. Some were eating, some were sitting and talking, some were walking around, and some were attempting to rest on their cots. The first hour I was there I walked around and collected trash from people as they finished eating. After that more cots began arriving. I helped unload several cots from the boxes and get them ready to be handed out. The line began to form rather quickly and there were tons of people waiting for their makeshift bed for the next few days. I looked over and saw 2 precious older ladies sitting down looking on as people received their cots. I walked over to them and offered to get their cots for them. They thanked me and I went and got their cots then helped them find a spot and get set up. Once I knew they would be ok I headed back to the cots. The line died down and it seemed as though there was a lull. I walked over in the direction of the cots again and I spotted a precious older couple sitting together behind their cots. I walked over and sat down on the floor in front of them, smiled and said hi. They smiled back and said hi. We started talking and I absolutely fell in love with this couple. They are hands down two of the sweetest people I have ever met. Their names are Rosabelle and Limon and they are from Lafayette and have been married almost 40 years. We had some good talks about life at home, how they met, and their trip to OKC. After a little while I went back and checked on my 2 friends from earlier and picked up some snacks for them. I eventually left for a little while to rest and get some food. I got home and found that I couldn't stay away. I did rest for a little while and ate some dinner but I then headed back, eager to talk to my new friends again. I went back for about an hour and spent just about the entire time sitting with sweet Rosabelle and Limon. My friend Debbi happened to be there this time and saw me talking to Rosabelle and Limon. She came over and joined our conversation for a few minutes and before heading back to her station she asked if she could pray for them. They eagerly agreed and we had the priviledge of praying for this sweet couple. So what was so amazing about today? It wasn't when I was hauling trash and got stopped by a lady who looked me in the eye and said thank you; it wasn't when I struck up a conversation with a man as he ate dinner and he said "we need more people like you"; and it wasn't when Limon told me that he woke up feeling really down this morning but has felt much better because of all the people who have talked to him today. Hearing these things is nice, but it is not why I do the things I do. The amazing thing for me was even having the opportunity to minister to these wonderful people. Watching the footage on TV and hearing of the 2 million people that were displaced was absolutely breaking my heart. To be given the opportunity to be in a building with a handful of these people and have the opportunity to sit down with some of them and hear their stories meant the world to me. I do have to go back to work tomorrow but I have every intention of stopping by again tomorrow evening and you better believe I can be found with Rosabelle and Limon - I want to soak up every story they have to tell me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Frenzy

So I am completely addicted to the Olympics. It's funny - when I was younger I would get bored and tired of the Olympics. Now, I can't get enough. I watched all 4.5 hours Monday and Tuesday night THEN stayed up a little later watching the late night stuff. Wow. I cannot get enough of Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, and Nastia Liukin (no idea if that is spelled right.) I am enjoying watching people from other countries just as much - that Chinese men's gymnastics team is something else. I'm glad there is still a week left to absorb everything, but it will be nice when it's over because I will get more sleep - haha.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wounded World

My pastor has been doing this amazing series entitled Hiking the Trail: Matthew Fits Our Feet for Discipleship. His message today was called "The Harvest is Plentiful." He gave us some challenges as to what it means to follow Christ. My favorite one of the morning was "To follow Christ is to recognize and eventually claim his gut-level ache (compassion) for people, especially those in danger." The ache of compassion that God has for his people truly is an ache that comes from deep within. The compassion of God does not say "oh wow that's terrible - let me help you so long as it's convenient for me." It instead says "I not only see and reconize that you are hurting, I feel your pain and am choosing to live life beside you, no matter the cost." God aches deep within for his people and has called us to do the same. "If mercy and compassion aren't a part of your make-up of following Christ, then you haven't been following Christ." To follow Christ is to love. To love as Christ is to live. To live as Christ is to give. We have been singing a song entiteld Wounded World - the lyrics are below:

Wounded world that cries for healing
Here we hold each other’s pain,
Wounded systems, bruised and bleeding
Bear the load, the scars of strain;

Dollars ration our compassion,
Hard decisions rule the day,
Jesus of the healing Spirit,
Free us to another way!

Through our nation’s spent frustration,
Through the corridors of stress
May there move a kindlier wisdom
All may feel, and all may bless;

Tax and tithe are for a purpose
Shared to shield the poor and weak;
Past the symptoms of our sickness
Let the voice of justice speak.

Honor those whose loving spirit
Nurses hope, restores and heals,
Towel and basin used in service
Like the Christ who comes and kneels;

In the tending, in the mending
May we see the right and fair,
In our common quest for wholeness
Heal each other by our care.

This song really speaks to my heart because this topic is so near to my heart. My heart beats for the ministry to the broken. It is my prayer that God will shape and form me into a person who has claimed his gut-level ache and lives life the way He has called me to live. I want to feel the pain of those who are broken and hurting and live life alongside them. To follow Christ is to do just that - follow in his footsteps. I pray that He will give me eyes that see the world as He does, arms to embrace others with His love, and hands to reach out to those in need, but most of all I pray He gives me a heart that beats with the same ache and compassion He has.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pray

Please pray for Carl and Cara - things are pretty rough for them right now. Read about it here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A letter to Spencer

Spencer,
Congratulations - you earned your degree Saturday! Dr. Gresham presented it to your family - there were so many of them there to see it happen. Your friends in Europe are building coffee shops and naming them after your songs - I know you would love that and you would love to play there. I'm not even gonna lie, I miss you buddy. I miss your smile and your music and your passion for life. You were always an inspiration to me, especially at the end. How you kept that positive attitude and outlook when the rest of us were beginning to lose hope I will never know. Thanks for being you and thanks for touching my life. I love you Spencer.

My favorite Spencer song:

I Trust

This hope that sometimes I don't feel
This hope that sometimes I don't see
I trust will carry me
I trust will carry me
This hope that I don't see

This love that I could never earn
This love that I just don't deserve
I trust will carry me
I trust will carry me
This love that I can't earn

This grace that's somehow kept me here
This grace that's somehow kept me here
I trust will carry me
I trust will carry me
This grace that's kept me here