Friday, April 29, 2011
Go read it if you haven't already.
It opened my eyes to what Jesus was feeling/thinking while on the cross.
I love that the chapter ends in:
"FOR HE HAS DONE IT."
The whole family was together for Easter this year which was AWESOME! It's been so nice to see everyone twice already this year! Such a blessing considering that hasn't happened for many years.
Christ is Risen seemed to be the song of choice this Easter. I don't like the original singer as much as I liked the versions I heard at church on Sunday :)
School is so ridiculous at the end of the semester. This past week I felt like I was drowning in homework on top of being sick. But God's power is made perfect in weakness, right?
"I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body will also live in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence."
I finally finished re-doing my room this week! YAY!! After many hours (and many lessons learned) my mom and I constructed the frame for my huge map! Ah, I feel like such a little carpenter now ;)
Friday, April 22, 2011
which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
-Jesus (Mat. 23:27-28)
In the past few semesters, I remember seeing/hearing about some preacher that came to campus and got people all riled up. I remember thinking, "I don't think that is the best way to tell people about Jesus. I don't agree with doing that, it just makes people mad."
However, this week, the preacher was back and I happened to get out of class early so I went over to join the huge crowd to see if I agreed with what he was saying. To my amazement, I was (along with everyone else) captivated by the conversation going on. It was an open forum where people were asking questions (usually screaming them) and "Tom the Preacher" would answer them.
I ended up listening to him talk two times that day. The first time, the crowd was surprisingly calm and civil. The second time, however, was...slightly horrifying.
Angry people say and do stupid things. Click here for a video from my school
For instance, I heard that the day before, someone grabbed Tom's iPHONE and threw it across campus where it shattered. I guess the guy was later arrested. There was one point while I was standing there that the crowd kept on getting crazier and angrier by the second. A girl and guy (my age) came up to me with hands full of rocks. She said, "Grab one! Get ready!" with a huge smile on her face. I asked what the heck she was talking about and she said, "We are going to all throw them at him all at once to make a point." Thankfully, myself and a few others who heard what she was trying to do convinced them to put them back. You may be thinking, "Wow! What a total IDIOT!" That is just one of the many examples of how INTENSE this whole debate was. I was praying over Tom FERVENTLY a few times when I was almost positive the crowd, that was slowly closing in on him, would beat him up (which has happened multiple times in years past).
I must have been listening to him for a good hour or so and I could feel him wrapping up for the day. I wanted to stay and see how he would close all of it and to my surprise, it was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced.
He said to the crowd, "I want to ask everyone who has decided today or before today, that believes in God and wants Him to be their Lord and Savior, to come to the center of the circle." The crowd started moving and dispersing until there were like 30 people. We then all grabbed hands, formed a small circle and sang:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed
When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
It's hard to explain, but it was such a...moment. To stand in the middle of my secular school, be united with other Christ-lovers that I didn't know, and sing a song that simply tells of how AMAZING God is. I mean, wow. EPIC.
Tom closed it out by praying over us and our campus. We then returned the favor and laid hands on him and prayed over his ministry.
I do believe, that was (by far), my favorite moment on my campus. I truly believe lives were changed by what happened that day. God can work through anything.
I still don't believe people should be "preached at" but I truly believe that wasn't what was happening. I saw real conversations, real emotion, and the one real God. I just pray that no matter where I am or what I am doing, I'd have the courage to do the same thing and stand up to the lies of this world and spread the amor de Jesus.
If you want to learn more about Tom, go to his website.
Monday, April 18, 2011
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall."
this was so sad, eye opening, and heart wrenching to see...
Shawn McDonald - Closer
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I was homeless yesterday.
Ha. Not really. I went with my youth group down town for what they called "URBAN PLUNGE". Myself, along with 3 other leaders took 11 students downtown to learn more about homelessness.
To start, none of us ate breakfast nor lunch before we headed out around noon (and didn't eat until 6pm). Now, I know what you're thinking, "WOW, Brooke! Did you survive? I'm sure you were pissed and miserable the whole time!" Haha, okay, so it's true...I'm not a happy camper when my blood sugar gets low ;) but we all did it together and I was glad we did it because it really added to the experience.
Once we got downtown, we split up into two groups. Leading both groups was an awesome couple from my church that used to be homeless themselves. They gave each group their "scenario" which, for our group, entailed us just getting in town without I.D. nor money but just the super heavy back-back filled with our clothes and bedding. Half of us were run away teens and the other half were "throw away kids" (teens/kids that are un-wanted by their parents and therefore left to survive on the streets by themselves).
Our first mission we had to complete was to find a computer we could use for free, check an email, and then the email would tell us what to do after that. So we started off at Union Station, located the Denver Public Library, and headed down there. None of us had a library card so we went to sign up for one to get onto the computer...but OF COURSE, you have to have an I.D. to get a card. Thankfully, one of the students in the group was 12 and could get on a computer in the Children's section without a card. It was such a tedious, frustrating process! From there, the email told us to go all the way back to Union Station.
When we got to Union Station, we had to go "Spangeing". This usually entails asking people for spare change, but instead, we asked people what time it was by saying, "Excuse me, sir (or mam), could you please, possibly, spare me the time?" It was SUPER interesting to see people's responses. Some people ignored us. They would make eye contact, decide to ignore you, and keep on walking. Others didn't really listen to what we asked, but instead they ASSUMED we were asking for m.oney and said, "Sorry, I don't have any" or "Sorry, we have to be somewhere." It was so awkward! I mean, really? It made us feel disrespected, un-important, and invisible.
From there, we met up with the other group in a park. Walking by the tantalizing smells of all the restaurants on 16th Street made my stomach turn over. Looking at all the people sitting at their tables, talking, eating and laughing made me want to reach over and grab their fork and eat the rest of their food. It hit me: I HAVE NO MONEY! I would never be able to eat anything today down there if I didn't find some money or if someone gave me free food.
Watching all the cute, dressed up people walking around the streets - some happily taking pictures next to the painted cow or buying stupid, over priced souvenirs - I felt this overwhelming feeling that I didn't fit in. I hadn't showered that day, I was hot and sweaty, I didn't want to carry the backpack anymore, I didn't have any makeup on, I was wearing old clothes I'd paint in, and let's just be honest: I didn't look like the sharpest tool in the shed. I hated feeling like I didn't belong.
Once the rest of the group got there, we talked to three homeless people: JR, Carla & Bruno. JR was a 25 year old from Chicago who left home when he was 15 years old. Since then, he has traveled to Mexico, Canada, and hitch-hiked to Denver from Chicago. He did all this trying to find a place that was easier to live. His sincere message of "If I could go back, I would stay with my parents. It's hard out here. It's really hard. But, God is good, and His way is the right way." He had such a sweet spirit.
Carla is a mom of 3 kids that grew up providing for her family at the age of 16 because her mom would be high on dope all day, everyday. She was never taught what the right thing to do was. She grew up thinking it was normal to have a family that was usually high. When she was 17 (I think) she left home and got in a series of bad relationships that ended in 2 kids, pregnant, no money, and no place to stay. Her eyes welled up with tears as she said, "It's really hard to try and survive and care for your kids and try to give them a good life when you don't have anything. It's scary. It's really scary." She is such a strong woman and I truly respect her honesty and raw emotion.
Bruno told us that he was a throw away kid and the numerous nights that he would be terrified knowing there was a great possibility that he wouldn't survive the night. He described sleeping with an open knife inside his sleeping bag with him. I don't know what it was about Bruno's eyes, but you know those people that have no walls? When you look in their eyes you can tell they aren't trying to hide anything from you? But they would tell you anything? I don't want to sound like I had a crush on him or something (he was married) but his eyes told his story. Eyes that told of hurt, death, pain and fear. But eyes that also told of a strange, peaceful hope in the future. There were no worries, but instead a stillness that could only be described as a peace from God.
I hope this story opens up your eyes to the life of the homeless in the same way it did for me.
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?...
If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if yo spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday."
--Isaiah 58:6-7 & 9-10
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
These past few weeks God has really been speaking to me through running. He wants me to RUN this race (life) that He has called me to. I could go on and on about what I've learned and all the things He has shown me...but I think the scriptures say it best :)
"Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow tired or weary and lose heart." -Hebrews 12:1-3
"My eyes are fixed on you,
O Sovereign Lord."
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul."
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
I hope that is encouraging to you and that you also can run the race God has marked out for you.
DON'T LOSE HEART!