Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Lord, OUR GOD, is Holy.

Every January, my school this week of three nightly services and two morning services (normally we have one of each). This years' speakers were not my favorite, and I contemplated not going. I finally decided I'd go not because I like the messenger but because I love the One sending the message.

Well, I got lots of messages.
- God calls us to practice and teach. (Not just teach).
- In Matthew 7, Jesus basically says, "You're a dork."
- "Let your yeses be yes and your nos be no. And let your actions agree.
- We're not free because we have a hard time freeing ourselves from our past, people's expectations, and and our perceptions.

For tonight's service, a friend and I were asked to quote some scriptures and handed a page to memorize. Just the two of us. An entire page of Bible verses. In front of a plethora of people. Memorized. Microphone. The whole schebang.

Remember the little 5th grade girl who could hardly be heard in the first row of the stage much less the back? Yeah, she's gone. My friend and I were told that we wouldn't really need a microphone, but they wanted us to have one anyway. We both stood at least an arm's width away from the mic, so I don't even know how much of us it picked up.

Well, we got through it, and I only stumbled over one word. I couldn't properly pronounce the word "awesome" because my mouth wasn't working properly. That's it. The rest of it was there. Nice and slowly, too! But I can't take credit for any of it. There were times up on that stage where I had no idea what the next line was, but it came out.

Before the service, we prayed (like eight times). I prayed that God would be seen tonight tonight. I said if people saw David or Katie or Tara or Nathaniel or Matt then we'd failed. We'd all failed. It's not the messengers that need to be seen. It's the One sending the message. (That was my personal theme for this week). Well, when I finished I sat back down in the same seat I've sat in for the last three nights (the company has just changed over time).
"I had no idea I was sitting with a star," Sarah said. I smiled politely but the inside of me broke. That was exactly the opposite of what I'd prayed for.

God and I had a little discussion. I'm sure it's not the last time we'll have to have this chat. Truth be told, the only thing I did tonight is get my lazy butt out of the chair and let Him use me. It was terrifying, but it was so worth it.

I was talking to Sarah again afterwards and she said she was going to go fellowship. I told her I was leaving before fellowshipping (SHOCKER! That's something my church does well!) because I was didn't want to hear people tell me I did a good job. In all actuality, it was God who did a great job! (And I felt really corny saying that).

I'm not one to pull the "Statue of Liberty" or even a "Fork Lift"... I grew up in a church where we were lucky if we got more than the praise team clapping. There are probably three songs where my hands will go in the air. Our last song tonight was one of those. What better way to end a fantastic week but by singing:

I'll stand,
with arms high and heart abandoned.
In awe, of the One who gave it all.
I'll stand,
my soul, Lord, to You surrendered
all i am is Yours.

God is good,
<>< Katie

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory do to His name. Bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brian's Big Mess

Neither Amber nor I wanted to go to church this morning. It's really hard to get up early to go to a church you don't love. We were both dragging our feet because we were exhausted, but we went anyway.

We got there and managed to find ourselves in the first row (AHH!!! Cardinal sin in the Lutheran church). Across the aisle was worship leader Brian and his wife Emily (who we know from school). Well, halfway through the sermon, Amber and I hear a huge SPLASH and our eyes dart to Brian and Emily. Brian spilled his glass of water on the floor. Not just any glass of water. A HUGE glass of water and it went all over himself, his Bible, the floor, and almost all over me, too!

We laughed histerically as this huge puddle spanned the aisle. I'm really glad no one came down for the altar call because I am quite sure they would have tripped. (And it would have been my responsibility save them... wouldn't that be a great, "How'd you break your arm?" story?). The usher during the offering came by and had to step very carefully as he looked down disapprovingly at the mess. He quickly came back and mopped it up... in the middle of the service... as he sang praises to God. :-)

After church Brian teased that he was cleansed for the sin of wrinkles. Don't know you the 11th Commandment? Thou shall not have wrinkled pants on Sunday. What does this mean? We should fear and love God that we eliminate ourselves from wrinkles or face the dreaded water cup. :-)

In Christ,
<>< Katie

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama for Chocolate?

My apologizes, blog friends. Surprisingly, I've been a bit lacking in the "what to say" area.

I was in an informal meeting with my advisor sometime last week and a different professor came in and gave him a piece of chocolate. She announced that it was Obama's favorite kind of candy, and to celebrate her birthday, she was sharing it with the department. My advisor was a big Obama fan, and... well... I voted for McCain-Palin. My advisor told the other professor that I went out partying the night he was elected. The other professor began to open her box of chocolates before I informed her that it wasn't true. She closed the box and said, "Awe, I was going to give you chocolate if it was true."

For a brief moment, I contemplated lying and telling her I did support Obama I just didn't go out partying once he was elected. For a piece of chocolate? She doesn't have any idea that I didn't vote for him and she has no way of seeing my ballot. It's a free piece of chocolate! I ultimately let it go without saying anything, but something about that moment struck me. Would you abandon everything you believe and support for a piece of chocolate?

Maybe lying about who I voted for in order to get a piece of chocolate isn't like I'm abandoning everything I believe, but is it too far fetched? How often does Satan try and feed us lies (delicious, chocolatey lies) in order to get us to turn away from God? At the same time, do we consider hiding Jesus because it's the popular thing to do? Do we conform to the pattern of this world for a simple piece of chocolate?

I have never eaten President Obama's favorite kind of chocolate. I probably never will because I don't have any idea what it is. But I know my heart was true. I did not back down from my beliefs to gain a simple piece of candy. God has better things waiting for the faithful (even if our new president has a good taste in chocolate).

Don't read too far into this (or play devil's advocate) and think I'm calling Obama Satan or something silly like that... Regardless of whether or not I voted for him, Obama is now my president and therefore deserves my prayers. I trust he will lead this country better than I could. I know I won't agree with everything he does, but I will respect him for his decisions (even if I think they're absurd and wrong).

In Christ,
<>< Katie

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Sunday, January 11, 2009

God's Sense of Humor

My friend Amber took the Praxis yesterday morning. Since this story involves two Amber's, we'll call the Amber taking the Praxis "Roommate" even though she's not my roommate anymore. We'll call the other Amber "Amber". (Their last names start with the same letter, too, so sorry for the confusion!)

On Friday, we were driving around and Roommate said she needed to get to bed early because she was taking the Praxis the next day and she was really worried about it. Amber asked the time of the Praxis and said she'd pray for Roommate. She even said she'd get up at 7:30 in the morning (Praxis time) and pray for an hour.
"I'll pray for you tonight," I said implying that I would be praying for Roommate but refused to get my lazy rear-end out of bed at 7:30 to pray for her... We laughed about that and went on with the evening.

Well, Saturday morning I woke up at 7:30, Praxis time.
"Wow, you're funny," I said sarcastically to God (I say that to Him all the time... it's kind of become our inside joke, I guess :-)), said a little prayer for Roommate and rolled over and went back to sleep. An hour later, I woke up again. It was Praxis ending time, I said another little prayer for Roommate, rolled over and went back to sleep. A little over an hour later, I woke up again. "God, it's not Praxis time anymore, would You just let me sleep?" I groaned, said another little prayer and went back to sleep. An hour later I woke up AGAIN. "This isn't funny anymore!" Said another little prayer and went back to sleep.

In talking to Roommate today, the times I woke up where when she was doing something important. Arriving at the testing location, taking the test, leaving, arriving home again, etc. We both got a good laugh out of God's sense of humor. He's clearly paying attention if He's waking me up at exact times following my half-joking comment the night before.

In Christ,
<>< Katie

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cat-Like Claws

Fellow cat-owners understand the constant battle between cat and master. My aunt's cat, Tiki, thinks she's the ruler of the house. After all, she sits around all day guarding the palace while the serfs are sent out for food. They refill her water bowl. They feed her. And they have no other purpose but to pet her to her heart's content.

We were sitting around my aunt and uncle's table the other day just chatting. All of our eyes were on the cat sitting at the table with us as she chewed her toenails (doesn't the cat know that is not appropriate dinner table behavior?)

Poor Tiki was frustrated with her toenails because they were too long and she couldn't chew them down again. As soon as my aunt pulled out the clippers, however, Tiki fled. She hissed and scratched to get free from my aunt's clippers. It was as if the uncomfort of having long claws was worth it. Ultimately, my aunt was successful in clipping Tiki's toenails.

Later on, Tiki was ecstatic that her toenails were clipped. She pranced around like she owned the place. Forgetting the trial she had to go through to be comfortable again. Forgetting the assistance of my aunt that was less than pleasant but ultimately led to better days.

How often do we do the same thing as Tiki? Do we think we are the master of the house and God is only there to fill our food and water bowls? He'll do more than merely provide our daily bread, if you'll let Him.

Do we hate our lifestyle (our long toenails) and desire change. Yet we often are more upset when God tries to change our very problem. In the end, the change was worth it, but it was a struggle to go through it.

Let Him be the King of the world. Let Him be the King of your life. Let Him wash your feet and clip your toenails.

<>< Katie