flipping tables + changing things

I was asked this week the question, “What tables would Jesus overturn if he walked into your church? Your life?” Immediately a few things came to mind, what I would consider “obvious” things in our society that Jesus wouldn’t be the happiest with. But as I was reading through John today, I was slapped upside the head with something that got thrust to the top of my list. 

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In Due Time

Psalm 145:9, in multiple translations:

“The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them food as they need it.” – NLT
“All eyes are on you, expectant; you give them their meals on time.” – MSG
“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in proper time.” – NIV
“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.” – ESV
“The eyes of all look to You [in hopeful expectation], And You give them their food in due time.” – AMP

Need (verb)- require something because it is essential or very important.

There is waiting required in the fulfillment of a need. The need does not just come and then a second later, the provision. There has to be a waiting period- otherwise our relationship to God the Father, the fulfiller of need, would be reduced down to an ATM / debit card. That’s not a relationship – that’s a transaction.

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Finding your Frederick the Great

Here’s the thing about finding the beauty in the ordinary: you’ve got to fight for it. You have to truly seek it- past the distractions, past the pain, past the rush of this hurried life. Beauty in the midst of the ugliness of the world can be easily overlooked when we hold to our horizontal perspectives. You have to fight for it, because anything beautiful is worth the fight.

Finding Wonder in the Smallest of Places

Here’s the thing about finding the beauty in the ordinary: you’ve got to fight for it. You have to truly seek it- past the distractions, past the pain, past the rush of this hurried life. Beauty in the midst of the ugliness of the world can be easily overlooked when we hold to our horizontal perspectives. You have to fight for it, because anything beautiful is worth the fight.

The Start of New Life

I recently started cultivating a garden in my backyard. I moved into this house 2 months ago, and this past weekend finally got around to sprucing up what’s back there. I honed in on a planter that is made out of an old row-boat. The ground needed to be tilled and tended to, but I knew that it could make for something great. After a long Saturday afternoon of tilling / watering / tending / tilling / watering / tending / repeat, it was ready to go. But alas, as with most projects, I was exhausted. The prep work to get the soil ready to take in new seeds took so much time that I put off the actual planting until I had more energy + time.

[Sidenote- I highly recommend making your own garden if you ever want a sweet picture of cultivating new life. Can’t tell you how many, “Man is this how God sees me when He is pruning me?” moments I had, and am looking forward to have.]

Sunday morning consisted of planting new seeds. Measure out the rows, make holes a few inches deep, depositing the little seed, closing up the earth with dirt. By the end of that, you couldn’t tell where the seeds were. Only I, the gardener, the cultivator of this land, could tell where I had placed new life, new wonder.

I watered them, and walked away.

Distracted by the Ugly

Today wasn’t the best day. I’ve been battling an undetermined illness that caused me to be home instead of where I actually wanted to be. It had ruined my whole day that I couldn’t fulfill an obligation that I looked forward to each week because of how I was feeling. This distraction led to a dull day, and I was fully prepared to dive into bed and go to sleep when I got home from work. But, then I remembered my responsibility to my new plants-to-be- if I didn’t water them, who would? So, I put on my dirty converses, threw on a jacket, and walked outside. Here is where I met Frederick the Great.

The Moment I Met Frederick the Great

I’ve never been more surprised by a 1/2-inch sprouting as I was by Frederick the Great (pictured above: the little green 🌱 in the middle of all that brown dirt). I planted him and his brothers + sisters just two days ago. I fully expected it to take at least a week, if not two, to show any signs of life.

Frederick the Great is like a new born baby, 3 weeks premature. I just wasn’t expecting to see him- I was no where near prepared. And I have to tell you, I teared up a little. I was totally caught off-guard by this little miracle of life. This bursting forth.

Frederick the Great’s Great Implication

Here’s the point: God meets you in the mess, and makes it beautiful. Like He did for me, in this exact situation. I had been so down about how I’ve been feeling physically that I’ve been walking around with my head down. But he lifted it, with just a little bit of wonder, so I could see heaven surrounding me. Heaven, in this case, was in the form of Frederick the Great.

And here’s the Great Implication: Whether it’s as little as a seed or as grand as a Sequoia, God wants to renew your awe and restore your wonder. But He’ll do it in the little things, in the hyper ordinary, to catch you off guard, to heighten your attention, and to make you look for the unexpected.

He’s laid a Frederick the Great moment out in front of you today- have you found it? Did you see it? Or were you so preoccupied by the ugly of the world around you that you missed it?

And if you really can’t find your Frederick, are you even really looking? How about throwing on YOUR dirty converses + YOUR jacket, and taking a step outside of your norm to look at this world in a different perspective?

I’m very thankful for Frederick the Great on this gloomy Tuesday. And I’m even more thankful for a good God who meets me on my gloomy Tuesday with a promise of new life and better days. Here’s to always seeking new wonder.

“May we never lose our wonder,
Wide-eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child
Staring at the beauty of our King.”
– Wonder, Bethel Music

partner with Jesus >> be the vessel

Why I Got a Tattoo

There are many reasons to get a tattoo. One is because you want to remember something, one is you want to be cool, one is everyone else is doing it, and one is because no one else is doing it. I’m sure there are many others, but those are the ones I can think of. But they aren’t mine. 

Tattoo

There are many reasons to get a tattoo. One is because you want to remember something, one is you want to be cool, one is everyone else is doing it, and one is because no one else is doing it. I’m sure there are many others, but those are the ones I can think of. But they aren’t mine. 

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In, and Out… In, and Out

I went to urgent care today for a very intense headache. It’s been something I’ve been dealing with for a long time, and I really wanted some answers. I was diagnosed with migraines a few months back and given a medication to assist when they happened again. The problem was that it wasn’t helping this round- hence the urgent care visit.

Finding Peace in His Understanding
I went to urgent care today for a very intense headache. It’s something I’ve been dealing with for a long time, and I really wanted some answers. I was diagnosed with migraines a few months back and given a medication to assist when they happened again. The problem was that it wasn’t helping this round- hence the urgent care visit.

After explaining all the problems and symptoms I’d been experiencing, the Doctor looked deep in thought. After a few moments he said, “I think you’ve been misdiagnosed. I don’t think they are migraines, but actually cluster headaches. Just as painful, but that medicine they prescribed isn’t going to help you much.”

I was surprised to say the least- I thought I had been doing everything right. I asked him what I could do instead. He smiled for a second and said, “Seems simple, but oxygen. Oxygen is the answer to your problems… you’ve just got to breathe.”

He got me on an oxygen mask among some other hook-ups and had me sit for a half an hour. For a half an hour I breathed in, and out… in, and out. And without sounding dramatic, I felt better with every second that passed. The fog I had been living in for weeks began to lift, and I could legitimately seek clearly, and without the blur I was trying to navigate through.

And then something clicked: God is the oxygen to my lungs to every problem I face. While I have a tendency to look for solutions in my own strength and resources, I overlook the simplicity of a good Father who only wants good for me. Every piece of His being is good, including His intentions for me and my life. So in looking for other solutions, I bypass Him.

“You are my oxygen,
You’re making me want to live again….
My lifeblood, my true love
My reason, my because
My hope when I’m hopeless
You never run out, You’re the source of it
The moon in my night sky
My vision when I’m blind
When I quit, You still fight
You fight for me”
– “Oxygen,” by Steffany Gretzinger

We don’t need to be strong, we just need to be still. I am convinced that stillness in the Spirit is the antidote to every anxiety // fear // depression // care in the world. Perfect peace is obtainable, if we only know to breathe in, and out… in, and out.

That’s not to say that peace is immediately obtained- I’ll have you know I am currently huddled on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, trying to balance the light coming from my computer screen with the low threshold I have for any type of light at all. I’m still in pain, and I will probably continue to be in pain for the next few days. But I’m content in the comfort He’s providing in the moment. “God reserves His best medicine for our times of deepest despair,” (Streams in the Desert, Cowman), and I’m holding onto that, and breathing in, and out peace…. in, and out peace.

partner with Jesus >> be the vessel

Rooted over Watered, Any Day

I have a roommate that works the floral counter in a grocery store. Naturally, there is an obvious bonus that comes from living with her (aside from the fact that she is a lovely human): It seems like almost every other day she comes home with a bouquet of flowers to brighten up our home.

Window

I have a roommate that works the floral counter in a grocery store. Naturally, there is an obvious bonus that comes from living with her (aside from the fact that she is a lovely human): It seems like almost every other day she comes home with a bouquet of flowers to brighten up our home. We’ve got flowers on the kitchen counter, in the laundry room, in the living room, the loft, heck we even had a little vase in the bathroom for a while. With their sweet smells and bright colors, they extend and create joy in our home, and I’m super thankful for them (and her).

But, alas, something happens to all of these beautiful flowers that come into our home- eventually, they wither and droop. From the root they were picked from to their final resting place in our trash can, we see the end cycle of a beautiful life. Once harvested from their root, it’s only a matter of time before, without the necessary nutrients, they die. 

And that got me thinking- the idea of being rooted in something to keep you grounded isn’t only important because we as humans find it to be, but is important because being rooted is intricately, uniquely, and precisely woven into the very fabric of our universe, the very fiber of our being.

If a plant gets unrooted from the ground that it needs, at some point soon, it will die. No matter how much water you give it, it’s time will come much faster than if it had still been rooted in the soil to where it belonged. 

“Like a seed You were sown
For the sake of us all
From Bethlehem’s soil
Grew Calvary’s sequoia”
– Seasons by Hillsong Worship

How often do we allow ourselves to be fed by influence of this world- “watered,” so to speak, to grow and expand in the way that fits best in the society to which we inhabit?

How often is our beauty (talents, passions, pursuits, potentials) thought of as a commodity, as a property, only important when it can be used and plucked for the root for society’s enjoyment? 

How often have we seen people burned out/overexposed/tossed around, only to wither to nothing, because they have nothing left? 

We are not the property of this world, but the propellers of this world. We were meant to be cultivated, to be tended, to be fully fed and without a need for anything other than the sustenance of Jesus. Yet we settle for being watered by societies’ compliments, only to be thrown out in the trash by societies’ judgements. 

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather be rooted and fed by God than portioned and picked over by society. I choose to put my trust in God.

“Blessed is the man who trusts the LORD, whose trust is in the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 [ESV]

My friend- if you feel like you are in a season of drought, don’t turn to the alluring watering can that society offers- dig deeper, root deeper. Extend your roots as far as you can into the provision of God, and watch your fruit flood over in abundance.

partner with Jesus >> be the vessel 

Song List – January 2018

I find that I often gravitate towards specific songs in specific times of my life- I have the habit of playing the same songs over and over again if they tug on a specific heart string. I know it when I first hear it- it penetrates into my soul and doesn’t let go until I’ve really heard it, and been engulfed by it.

I find that I often gravitate towards specific songs in specific times of my life- I have the habit of playing the same songs over and over again if they tug on a specific heart string. I know it when I first hear it- it penetrates into my soul and doesn’t let go until I’ve really heard it, and been engulfed by it. A few months ago I started making playlists based on the month. It seems like a month gives me time to cycle through it and allow it to settle. Sometimes songs make it from month to month, but for most it seems like the month-long span is perfect. Here’s January 2018’s song list:

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The Reason to Fight

The biggest barrier to living into a full relationship with God isn’t understanding Him, it’s understanding ourselves. Why? Because we change our minds like the winds change direction / we fall apart at the slightest indication of a rumble.

The biggest barrier to living into a full relationship with God isn’t understanding Him, it’s understanding ourselves. Why? Because we change our minds like the winds change direction / we fall apart at the slightest indication of a rumble. But God does not change – His character is constant, and His promises are true. That doesn’t mean He can’t surprise us- oh no, He can do so whenever His will sees fit. But those surprises are always for our good, even when we can’t see it, even when we can’t fathom how. And that never changes. So it’s in understanding ourselves and how we interact and live and breathe that will inform and give way to a full relationship with the Father. An all-encompassing relationship. Fully loved, deeply known.

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on prayer

Prayer should be called “hugs from dad.” A space of complete comfort, complete wholeness. While some of us don’t have the best memories of our earthly Dad’s, those fatherly missteps are redeemed in the time spent with our ABBA, the one who made each part of us, and who wouldn’t change a thing.

Prayer should be called “hugs from dad.” A space of complete comfort, complete wholeness. While some of us don’t have the best memories of our earthly Dad’s, those fatherly missteps are redeemed in the time spent with our ABBA, the one who made each part of us, and who wouldn’t change a thing.

Prayer is, at its core, a discussion. A discussion between the created and the Creator, a discussion between the chosen and the Chooser, a discussion between the protected and the Protector.

Prayer changes things, and should ignite change within you.

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