Friday, June 29, 2012

Music & Revelation

If you're not already a fan of Switchfoot, you should be. Yesterday when I was making the 4 hour trip back home for the weekend I spent a ton of time listening to the album Vice Verses (2011), which is in my opinion their best since The Beautiful Letdown (2004). This song, Restless, is seriously one of those songs where I was listening and I just felt myself start to really really listen and think about the lyrics and I probably could have cried if I didn't need to see the road really well. But anyways the lyrics are all about waiting for Christ's return, anticipating the moment when God's creation is complete and we're finally as we were made to be. 


These lyrics made me so excited for the resurrection and to live in our resurrected bodies on earth under Christ's rule. So basically, Jon Foreman.. you are a freaking genius. Your theology is pretty sound too. I wish we were all as musically talented and  poetic as you are. Also check out Where I Belong because it goes along with the whole anticipating Christ's return theme :) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I am an Oregonian

This summer I have truly discovered my inner Oregonian. This means that...

1.) A little piece of my heart breaks when I have to throw something away that can be recycled. My host family here doesn't recycle much, although I learned they have a bin in their garage that takes everything but glass :) Heart a little happier.

2.) I desperately desire to own a Prius or some kind of hybrid. There are so many here, when will the midwest catch on?

3.) I like that it isn't over 75-80 the majority of "summer." The Texans here are complaining about the cold...but I'm like wow it's really nice out! No humidity either!

4.) I have had so much coffee this summer at so many different coffee shops. There are a ton of great places here in Bend. One being Stricly Organic where I am typing this now. Or the best drive-thru coffee ever, Dutch Bros. There's also Backporch Coffee where my pulse group meets every week...and newly discovered Looney Bean which is downtown with a gorgeous backyard.  Most of the places here serve organic and/or fair trade coffee, so you can feel really really good about your purchases.

5.) Something particularly special with Bend is that there are a ton of round-a-bouts. Which are traffic circles if you dont know what those are you should look them up. I have become the master at driving through those, its definitely a skill that wont be used many places besides Oregon, but oh well.

6.) I way prefer the coast over the beach. This means that I am in love with the waterfalls and caves and the cute little towns of places like Seaside and Cannon Beach (even if they're pretty cold). I would much rather go there than any Florida/California beach where it's all flat and really hot and crowded.

There are more I'm sure... I will figure those out as time passes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Toxic Charity: A Book Review

Title: Toxic Charity: How churches and charities hurt those they help (and how to reverse it)
Author: Robert D. Lupton

I just finished this book and it was a complete gem of a book, so I'm sharing it... It was given to me by Larry Sharp who is the Director of Partnerships for IBEC Ventures and the Vice President of CrossWorld and he's a ministry leader for the internship I'm doing here in Bend, OR.

Toxic Charity is all about mistakes that we've made (usually in the church) when we try to do good things for other people but the long-term effects of our actions are actually negative. Lupton gives us inside stories of many pastors and leaders "who attempt to nagivate their churches or organizations away from traditional 'doing for' the poor towards a 'doing with' paradigm." So many times our youth groups and volunteer groups want to make a difference so they spend one day painting a building or handing out food which totally makes us feel good...but diminishes the dignity and creates dependency of the people in the community we're trying to help. Lupton says, "For all our efforts to eliminate poverty - our entitlements, our programs, our charities - we have succeeded only in creating a permanent underclass, dismantling their family structures, and eroding their ethic of work. And our poor continue to become poorer."

The solution that Lupton proves as effective throughout the book is community development and raising up indigenous leadership to help create better city programs, eliminate crime, increase safety, better the education and better the economy. He has as ton of hands-on experience, as he started Focused Community Strategies which is an urban ministry organization based in Atlanta, GA that does community development one suburb at a time. He gives examples of communities in Atlanta and also abroad in countries like Nicaragua that  have been transformed through the process of development.

If you want a convicting, powerful, yet hopeful book about giving away your time and efforts to help other people, this is the book for you. Really anyone should use it so that they have a better understanding of how to get involved in charities and really what to stop doing. I personally was convicted many times when I thought back to the "projects" my youth group and schools have done in the past and I'm sure you will be too.

I would say more, but you should just read it for yourself. If you decide to purchase this book (which you should), you can do so here :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Solitude with God

So, I'm going to start off this blog by posting about my solitude time with the Lord last week and just some major things that He spoke to me.

I decided to read from Isaiah 43 because my pulse group leader, Audrey, was encouraging us with some verses from that chapter the day before. Reading it got me to reading chapter 44 and so on... So! anyways, I  came to just realizing that even after God just bashed on the Israelites for some 30 odd chapters he is then like, okay guys... even though you royally screwrd up and have created idols and ignored me and not remembered what I have done for you, I have not forgotten you. God tells them that He wants Himself to be known to them, He wants them to know He is God and He pursued them to say: look,

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your offenses like the morning mist.
Returned to me, I have redeemed you."
- Isaiah 44:22

AHHHH! What an amazing love that God has for us, that he looks on us wretched sinners and says come back to me for I love you so much that I have not only looked past your sins but I have redeemed you. Mmmm that just totally baffles my mind. I am so thankful for that solitude time, I just feel like God was showing me His love in an incredible way for those two hours and I am now constantly remembering how much He loves us everyday.

Today in our pulse group we were talking about that song, How He Loves by the David Crowder band, and just how God is jealous for us and he pursues us even in our weaknesses and I really felt that through these few chapters so if you have the time, and we all know we do have time, please read Isiah 43 and then just keep on going because you too will be so blessed!