Thursday, August 30, 2012

People: Good or bad?

Don't we all struggle with this? You want to believe in the best of people. You try to find the good in everyone. Yet, we all suck a little bit. Okay, some a lot.

I'm reading here in my management textbook about nonreligious spirituality and how Christianity differs. Nonreligious spirituality says that "all humans are intrinsically good."

I remember hearing in Sunday School a very easy counter-argument for this. Little kids never have to be taught to misbehave. No, instead we have to instruct them on fairness, sharing, and respect. You never have to teach a child how to be selfish, rude, and disrespectful.

So I guess it's all about how you value people. Because yeah, the Bible says that we are by nature sinful beings, our hearts are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). But yet, we were made in the image of God, and through His power we are able to do good things. Only through Him. All people are good because God said that we were when He created us. He cares and loves each and every one of us selfish, cold-hearted, and deceitful people so much that He came down as one of us and died. People are all God's creation, God's children. Yet we have this sin nature that tempts us to do bad all the time. So why do we always say that we have to find the best in people? 

I think it's because if God can love that person, we can too. The least we can do is care about someone that God cares about. And maybe that person will come to love Jesus because you loved them. It's pretty cool.

The good in people is that they are all created and loved by a good, Holy, and merciful God. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Giving is Better than Receiving

Today I was reminded of how selfish I am. I was reminded that God did not promise me glory, material wealth, or comfort here on earth. He promises Himself. And He should be all I need. Not God AND anything. God plus anything = idolatry. I constantly prove to God that I don't understand Him when I create images of a God I'm comfortable with in my head. God is who He says He is and nothing less. I should be giving my all to glorify Him. I should be worshiping Him with every moment of my day and yet I'm constantly worried about myself and receiving things and answers and comforts from Him. I read this verse earlier this summer and I believe that God placed this verse in my heart again through my dear roommate who had a lovely conversation with me on repentance.

Acts 3:19-20 says:

"Repent therefore and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus."

My constant focus on receiving gifts from God is a selfish act and an idolatrous view of who God is, believing that He's not important enough for me to worship and that His main function is to satisfy my wants. He satisfies my soul and that's all that is important. My times of refreshing will come after I repent of my wrong attitude and God grants me His presence. Giving worship to God will bring me way more joy than anything I could ever receive on this earth. I can rejoice in the presence of the Lord and he provides refreshment for my soul. Thanks be to God for his wonderful blessing of Himself.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Is it Junior year already?

I would like to start off by saying that I'm officially an upperclassman. This means that I am an experienced college student who knows the ropes. I know which professors are awesome and which to avoid... I know which foods in Chuck's are edible and which will make you puke for days. I know the dorm life and the good places to go in Cedarville [there aren't many.] I'm already re-addicted to the coffee shop on campus and I was only on campus for like 12 hours yesterday. I have my awesome friends that I'm looking forward to re-uniting with!! I'm one class away from finishing my Bible minor and halfway to completing my undergrad degree. It's pretty darn fantastic.

There are also a lot of firsts to deal with. The first time one of my good friends doesn't come back for the year. The first time that we have the HSC building to study in. The first time I'll be studying abroad. The first time I'll be an officer in a student organization and the first time I feel secure in my place at Cedarville. I'm looking forward to my IBC class starting and running our own business. I'm looking forward to chapel and my bible class. I'm excited about OneVoice and Women in Business and working in the Library again! I'm excited that my roommate gets to see my hometown this fall and that I'll be visiting one of my besties in Chicago.

It's a good time in my life.
It's going to be a great year :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Last Week of Summer

After the internship at Antioch ended... I've had about nine days at home [4 days of which I spent camping.] It's a strange feeling being home because I was so used to living in Bend with my host family, that I kinda forgot what home is like. One thing I really miss when I'm not home is cooking and baking. I LOVE making food, it's just so rewarding when it turns out well, especially when other people love it. I spent almost a whole day making lasagna [which turned out great!] for a bible study that my sister is a part of. I also made some coleslaw using Paul Dean's recipe and cornbread as sides for some chili my sister put together. 

Last weekend I went camping at Silver Falls State Park with families from my home church and had a BLAST. I haven't seen most of them for a really long time so it was great to catch up, especially with one of my best friends, Jackie. We got to catch up about our lives, I got to tell her about my internship and she told me all about her extravagant trip to Chile. My friends Jackie, Jimmy and I went on a 9 mile hike on Saturday and saw tons and tons of amazing waterfalls. My feet hurt so stinkin' bad! It felt great to be back in nature [Just like Bend!] and to have great conversations with some great friends. I'm so thankful for my home church family, it was great to see everyone together. 

Now today I packed for school... I convinced my mom to help me pack lightly :) and so far it's going well. I might sneak some extra things in the bags before we go. It's a strange feeling going back to school. I'm going to miss a lot about being here and seeing all my friends, but it'll be nice to see other friends at Cedarville and start studying again [sarcasm]. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Made for Eternity, Forced to live in Time.

Change sucks. Change is really really hard. For some people they are so afraid of change that they try never to do new things and avoid turbulence in their lives as much as they can. Others seek change because maybe they're afraid of permanence and commitment?

What I have come to discover in life is that change is hard no matter if it's mostly good or mostly bad.

This summer has been a huge time of change and growth and challenges. God has pursued me hardcore, and I have never felt more blessed or more excited about what God is doing than right now. I know that God has  drawn me closer to Him this summer and that I have gotten to see Him work in glorious and magnificent ways. God has brought people in my life who have challenged me and given me a glimpse of different aspects of Him that is so beautifully shown by different personalities and passions.

So now, it's time for this summer adventure to end. It is so hard to know that this community is separating, but I will always look back and have the best memories and will always have a place in my heart for each and every one of them. These relationships are meant to last forever. This world is broken and we are forced to live in a place where relationships don't last forever... when we were made for lasting relationships where we never have to say goodbye.

Tozer has some good stuff to say about this:

"To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is
for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions. All within us cries for life and permanence,
and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. Yet that God has made us
of the stuff of eternity is both a glory and a prophecy yet to be fulfilled."

That last line leaves hope for eternity and seeing everyone in heaven and picking up in our relationships RIGHT where we left off. Seasons pass and people in your life come and go, but that's not how people were made and that's not how we'll be for eternity. Praise God.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Epic-ness

I LOVE the Olympics. Literally I LOVE it. I love that we can come together as a country to root on the best athletes in our nation. The US also tends to do very well.. so that helps make it exciting. It almost makes you feel like you can do anything [provided you work REALLY REALLY hard and train like crazy]. I've tried to watch it as much as possible while here in Bend still. I even invited a bunch of people over and made popcorn so we could watch it together. I love watching people go for their dreams and I will literally watch it for hours and hours even if I don't understand the sport. I love watching 17 year old amateur swimmers win gold  and two volleyball players [who are also mothers and wives] win 32 sets in a row in the Olympic games.
It's very epic. 
It's inspiring.

In 2010 I somehow convinced my parents to TAKE me to the Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. for my senior "present." I don't think at that point I realized my obsession, because it wasn't until after we returned home that I watched the entire rest of the games on our DVR. I tried to watch every single event... let's just say senior year wasn't that busy. Here are some photos from our trip :)