Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jesus is Better

(The words in quotes are from the song "Jesus is Better" by Austin Stone)

"In all my sorrows, Jesus is better - make my heart believe"
I was 12 when my grandfather, friend, and great-grandparents passed away. At that time I didn't want to face the sorrow and grief of loosing so many close to me. Needless to say the sorrow that was already slightly over-whelming became much heavier with time. But Jesus, oh my sweet Jesus, He is still good. Jesus is better. Oh my heart, as much as it might stray, make it believe.

"In all my victories, Jesus is better - make my heart believe"
I learned a lot during my time with YWAM, about God, myself, and our relationship together. This has been a great victory over the past, over sin, and has greatly impacted my life. If I never "felt" or "thought" (for you thinkers) differently because I worked through things with Christ, if I never shook off the weights from those things, if it wasn't tangible, if I couldn't see the difference from it, it would still be worth it to "let go". To surrender to Christ is worth it and in that is victory. May I never look toward a feeling/thought or a time in my life or anything else before Christ. Even the victories are really all about Him. Jesus, make my heart believe that I am not just a victim and look to You as my ultimate Victor and see that You raise me up to be one too.

"Than any comfort, Jesus is better - make my heart believe"
Physically, yes. But many times we overlook another area of comfort.
"But it would just be so awkward and uncomfortable to talk with ______ about *the Gospel/my testimony/etc.*" More than my comfort, my fear of man, my social status, Jesus You are better. Make my heart believe.

"More than all riches, Jesus is better - make my heart believe"
Last year I went with a group from my church to Guatemala. At this point I was already working one job and the money from that was being saved for school for the next fall. I felt God leading me to being a part of the team and so I submitted my application and was accepted. I told God I had no ability to pull this together and He said, "Just watch." The very next Sunday, before I even had a chance to ask for help or even tell people about the trip, I was up the children's ministry and the children's pastor asked me if I wanted to work as their intern. "I'm sorry, I don't know if I can. I already work, these are my hours, and I have school." Oh, don't worry you can choose your hours and it's very flexible. Started within a couple weeks. Each pay check lined up perfectly with deadlines for ticket payments, etc.. Jesus, You provide. Make my heart believe.

"Our souls declaring, Jesus is better - make my heart believe"
Oh, that my life would declare that Jesus is better, that He takes priority, that He is worthy. Because He is. More than anything else, Jesus You're better, make my heart believe.

"Our song eternal, Jesus is better - make my heart believe"
John Piper, "Missions exists because worship doesn't." Eternity is going to be spent worshiping Christ. The song of my life, Jesus, may it scream of who You are. Make Heaven real to me and from that that my heart would believe in the worthiness of You.

I believe. Help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

winged mechanical buses of the sky and broken jars

sitting in the Frankfurt airport in Germany.
3 months have come and gone since I set foot in America.
now I am less than 12 hours away from being there once again.

The instinct is to "wall up". Don't think about it. The mind set of simply "moving on" wants to kick in. Create emotional/spiritual/mental/etc. distance with the physical distance. Then it doesn't hurt as bad. Then you can just walk back into life easy, ordinary, unchanged...

But is that really worth it? We think of standing and confronting the emotions, sadness, etc. as the difficult sacrifice. But the reality is that the sacrifice would be taking the "easy" way. By retreating into myself I am suppressing not only the feelings of sadness but also suppressing everything Christ has taught me. I would suppress the memories filled with joy and laughter as well as those of holding back tears. And it isn't worth it. Because God is so good, to give me these friendships, to show me love, to allow me into others lives and them into mine, and so much more.

So real talk, as I stare out the wall of windows looking onto the runways and winged mechanical buses of the sky (aka planes), I am... Broken. And it hurts. I miss the Middle East. I miss the adventures. I miss the friendships. I miss tea in tents and deep comversations. I miss the smiles on the faces of the children. I miss the struggle to attempt and take off your incredibly muddy boots before going into a home. I miss the bus rides and looking out the window upon mountains, deserts, mosques, ducans, and beautiful people. I miss hearing stories from the lives of the people and bringing hope. I even miss being awakened by the call to prayer and whispering sweet prayers to Jesus which are always heard.

But thank God...
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17 ESV)

My heart doesn't have to be all together. Thank God because it's not...
I don't need to look together. Thank God because I am not...
I don't have to tell myself to suppress the feelings. Thank God because I don't think I can...

"I know I knocked the table over because I watched the jar break
And I've been trying to repair it every single stupid day
But won't the cracks still show no matter how well it's assembled
Can I ever just decide to let it die and let you go?"
-la dispute (a broken jar)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

Here I am. A simple jar of clay. Broken. Reassembled poorly by myself. Re-broken by God and given a new heart. And yeah, my cracks still show, but that's ok.

So this is the sacrifice I choose: to continuously lay aside my pride, because I know I'll pick it up again, so look at these cracks, look at these scars, look at these tears. It's real. This is real. And I have become tired of being a façade so here is honesty. I am broken... (I never thought I'd say this...) and it's ok.