26 February 2012

i am full

The group of women who disciple me every week say a lot of wise things. I'm so glad that they tell me the thoughts that they think so that I can think them too.

We've been reading through the book of Revelations and a few weeks ago Tiffany said something profoundly simple that made my heart tremble. First she read these words out loud:

Revelation 1:16 "In his [Jesus'] right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."
Revelation 22:3b-5a "The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light."

Then she said this: if Jesus' face is brighter than the sun, his love must be more than enough to fill me. When Satan whispers that there are empty spaces in my heart that people need to fill, he is lying. I am full.

This screams like a megaphone into my life. I adore people so dearly that I often assume they are the ones to fill my heart. But that burden will suffocate our friendship. Our relationship is most alive, most free and vibrant and right when I receive my sustenance and value from the radiance of God's love, just as a tiny sprouting plant flourishes in the life-giving rays of the sun.

In Searching for God Knows What, Don Miller said:
“I think Jesus is saying, Look, you guys are running around like monkeys trying to get people to clap, but people are fallen, they are separated from God, so they have no idea what is good or bad, worthy to be judged or set free, beautiful or ugly to begin with...
Imagine how a man’s life would be if he trusted that he was loved by God. How he could interact with the poor and not show partiality, he could love his wife easily and not expect her to redeem him, he would be slow to anger because redemption was no longer at stake, he could be wise and giving with his money because money no longer represented points, he could give up on formulaic religion, knowing that checking stuff off a spiritual to-do list was a worthless pursuit, he would have confidence and the ability to laugh at himself, and he could love people without expecting anything in return. It would be quite beautiful, really...
Earthly love… is temporal and slight so that is has to be given again and again in order for us to feel any sense of security; but God’s love, God’s voice and presence, would instill our souls with such affirmation we would need nothing more and would cause us to love other people so much we would be willing to die for them.”

The inner struggle to rest my heart in this truth is reflected in this insight from Lewis (does it always come back to him?):
"The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes [and lies] for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through."

I long for God's love to soak through my heart like a dye, utterly permeating and transforming it. For now I only see faint tinges of color, the first traces of sunrise.

04 February 2012

the first birthday

The year in pictures!
Check out the ways that God has been faithful to Downtown Cornerstone in 2011! Maybe I'll springboard off this and collect a few photos from the past year showing what God has done this year for me. Check back later. (But no promises.)

03 February 2012

neighborhood house

Spent yesterday evening at the Neighborhood House here in my new neighborhood of High Point. It's only two blocks from my house and I walk past it every day on my way to the bus, so I couldn't resist connecting there. Got plugged in with their youth program, and yesterday was my second evening tutoring kids after school. It's a really good place to be. The kids are largely from immigrant families, which means they instantly had my heart. The program director is a woman worthy of respect; the atmosphere she creates in the program is peaceful, relaxed, hard-working, caring, but caring enough to call kids out and gently redirect them when they're distracted. The program is well structured. Both kids and volunteers know the expectations, and they are thoughtful and reasonable. The ratios are manageable: one to two kids per volunteer tutor. It's encouraging to be involved in a solid program.

Last night I listened in amazement as a sweet, soft-spoken, sixth-grade girl read me the tragic adventure story she was writing about two kids who get stuck in a pyramid during a gruesome mummification process and end up dying of dehydration and despair. Then I helped a fourth-grader with long division and a fifth-grader with graphing coordinates, and ended the evening trouncing them both (I know, it's hardly fair when your opponents are ten years old) in Chinese Checkers. The cherry on the top of the sundae was walking two blocks home. The Lord is beginning to open my heart to this neighborhood and to the opportunities waiting for me to live well here.

01 February 2012

rolling stone, but rolling after Jesus

Moved again.

6517 29th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98126

Drop me a line sometime.