Thursday, October 23, 2008

Least of These

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not (and we're not) here for ourselves. That's not a popular concept, especially in Southern California where everyone wants the newest gadget, the namebrand clothes, the big house, the expensive car, etc. We've taken on the mentality that we have to look out for 'number 1' and that we have to try and have as much fun as possible. While I know that God wants us to enjoy our life, I know that He's called each and everyone of us to a much higher purpose than being able to afford the latest Louis Vuitton bag. We are supposed to be helping the widows, orphaned, oppressed. Day after day I keep thinking about Matthew, where Jesus tells us:

"For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me."

The righteous ones then ask Him when it was that they did these things... they didn't remember helping Jesus in this way, and Jesus' response is:

"I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!"

BUT, the opposite is true as well. For when Jesus told them:

For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

And, again, He is asked when it was that they ignored Jesus' when He was in need, and His reply is:

‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

I can't stop thinking about those words. Of course, all of us would agree that if we saw Jesus lying on the street, we'd see what we could do to help him, but here Jesus is saying that when we fail to recognize the needs of someone or fail to help them, we are failing to help Him. There are so many times when I walk past a homeless person on the street and I just feel sad, because I begin to wonder, 'was that Jesus that I just passed by?' Was that a test to see if I would help 'the least of these' and I completely failed? There's a song out now by Monk and Neagle titled "21st Time" and there's a section of the song that always sticks with me:

Nowhere to live
Nowhere to fall
He used to have money
But he’s wasted it all
His face is a photograph burned in mind
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

He sleeps under stars, it’s all he can afford
His blanket’s an old coat he’s had since the war
He stands on the corner of Carter and Vine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

He may be a drifter who’s grown old and gray
But what if it’s Jesus and I walk away
I say I’m the body and drink of the wine
But I pretend not to see him for the twenty-first time

I say I'm 'the body', but I'm beginning to recognize how little my actions reflect what I say. Because, in reality, if that homeless person on the street is a believer, then they have God's spirit in them, so I really am just passing by God, Himself, and doing nothing.

I've always fallen back on several excuses... there are too many people in need, so how can I give money to one person and not the other 50 standing on that street? So, I do nothing. The other excuse is that if I give them money, they'll probably just use it to buy drugs and/or alcohol. But, really... is that MY concern? God calls me to give to the needy, not give to the needy, but only if I can be sure they won't spend it on drugs. I'm called just to give. Period. What they do with that gift, is really between them and God and I need to remove my 'holier than thou' self from the equation and let God work in them and on changing their hearts.

I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do about all of this, but things have got to change and I have to continue to pray for God's direction and guidance and I've added a couple of other things onto that prayer... I pray that God would give me His eyes to see everyone as He does, His ears to hear the cries of those in need, and His courage to get off of my behind and do something about it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Praying About the Little Things

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Phil 4:6

God cares about the details. For those of us who are followers of Christ, chances are, you’ve heard this scripture countless times. Anytime we start to worry about something, we are reminded that God commands us not to worry and, instead, we should pray. But, do we really think about that second part of the verse, “pray about everything”?


There are no guidelines or parameters as to what falls within this category because everything means everything. So we know, in our minds, that God wants us to pray about everything, but how many of us actually take that head knowledge and translate it into heart knowledge? How many of us really apply this principle? Sure, we’ll pray about the ‘big’ things… for someone who is battling a disease, someone whose child has died, for people starving around the world, for an end to violence, etc. But, what about the seemingly ‘little’ things? Lost car keys, to lose those 10 lbs, for a front row parking spot?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but, for myself I know that I never used to pray about the little things. My reasoning was that God had bigger fish to fry than to help me find the earrings I misplaced and that it was foolish to even take up his time with such prayers. Looking back, I think that I saw prayers almost as though they came to God through email… they would come in order of request and God would read through them one by one and answer them in order. So, my way of thinking was, here was my “lost earring prayer” sandwiched in between a prayer for healing of someone dying and someone praying for a job so they could put food on the table and if God had to read through and answer my prayer, that meant a delay in responding to the person praying for a job and their prayer really was more important than mine. Apparently, I thought God was only capable of doing one thing at a time.

Talk about putting God in a box. I was trying to put human limitations on a God who has no limitations.

However, over the course of the past few years, I’ve gotten better about remembering to pray about all things and, you know what? God shows up time and time again, being faithful as He always is. Just last week I was having trouble finding my camera. I needed my camera that night and it wasn’t in any of the usual spots… camera bag, computer desk, kitchen table or my car. I could feel a mild panic creeping in. Now if you’ve known me for long, you probably know my track record with cameras- they don’t live for long when they are around me, and now it appeared that one had gone missing. I had to tell myself to not worry and I was reminded of Phil 4:6; so, I prayed about it. Nothing elaborate or fancy … no “Oh Lord of Lords, King of Kings, if it’s in thy will, please help me findest my camera” (I’m cracking myself up because I never pray like that- I’m not that eloquent), but it was just a quick, “Lord, please jog my memory as to where I left my camera.” Then I went about busily getting ready to go out. I was going up and down the stairs and into various rooms, gathering everything up that I needed and I walked out to the garage and I just stopped, looked around me and, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember why in the heck I had come out to the garage. I looked around, figuring it would come to me. It didn’t. So, I turned around and started to walk back into the house and there, sitting on the workbench, was my camera. God cares about the little things.

Not only is it important to pray about the little things, but you also have to remember to acknowledge and thank God for responding to those ‘little thing’ prayers. Don’t brush it off as a coincidence or, worse yet, pat yourself on the back as though you solved the problem. Instead, take a second and thank God and find joy in the fact that GOD, the Creator of absolutely everything, wants to be that involved in your life because He loves you that much. That’s definitely something to smile about.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Minor Change

This blog was originally created to journal my trip to Thailand and while I did do that, as you can see, I've continued blogging, so I thought that it was about time that I changed the title of my blog and the description... so, that's why it looks a bit different.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

God gives us His Word.

The Bible is a guide to understanding what matters to God, and what should, therefore, matter to us. And we find that some of the people-groups God cares most about are: widows, orphans, the poor & the oppressed. Oftentimes the reason someone will fall into one of these categories is due to some form of injustice that has occurred in their lives. Evil. I don't even like to watch the news anymore. All it does is confirm and multiple my fears about how evil is pervading our lives. These fears build upon one another until I am completely overwhelmed and rather than do one thing, I feel paralyzed and I do nothing.

I've been reading this book, "Just Courage" that is written by the President of the International Justice Mission. IJM is responsible for locating injustices within the world and going in and trying to 'right the wrong'. Sometimes this is through offering free legal services to those who are seeking justice, other times (and what is more often the case) it means that they are physically going into the brothels, the rice mills and factories and literally saving people by sneaking them out and getting help. It's definitely not a 'safe' job.

Several things, in this book, stood out to me and I'll mention a couple.

In response to people thinking that they can't make a difference in the face of crushing evil, the author of "Just Courage" states, "...while our arguments against the impracticality of doing justice are understandable, they are ultimately not very interesting to Jesus. Nor are they very helpful to the slave boy or to the prisoner being tortured or to the widow brutally thrown off her land. Imagine yourself enslaved in a rice mill or handcuffed on a concrete floor or violently chased from your own home, and then picture yourself listening to millions of Christians explain why there is nothing they can do to help you."


Oftentimes I can think up good, even great, excuses as to why I don't do something. I need to keep myself safe, I would probably just mess things up, and there's nothing I can do, are but a few of the excuses I oftentimes generate in my mind to avoid doing something that causes me fear. But, ultimately, if I were the one enslaved and forced to work 6 days a week, 16 hours a day in a rice mill, how would those excuses look to me? Would I be, "oh, okay, sure, I understand why you did nothing. No big deal." Of course not. My initial thought would probably be, 'well, why didn't you at least try to help me?'

Fears about personal safety aside, we also have fears about what will happen to our stuff or how will others view us if we step out to stop evil.

"We fret over what might happen to our stuff, our reputation, our standing, our children, our ideology and our investments, and in the process we forget that we have these things so we can live fully for Christ. All the things we were given were never meant to be safeguarded. They were meant to be put at risk and spent, for we are in a life or death battle."

"Blessed to be a blessing." I've heard that phrase countless times and have always believed it to be true; however, I don't know that it ever really hit me, until reading this passage from the book, that EVERYTHING we are blessed with is to be used to live for Christ. There's a reason I have the job that I do. There's a reason I have money in my bank account. There's a reason I was born in America. There's a reason for my gifts/talents. It ALL is to be used to fully follow Jesus and to serve those around me. I wasn't given these things to sit back and live a comfortable life while, halfway around the world, there are 5 year old girls being sold into sex trafficking. And I'm by no means saying this is easy. I'm writing this post to myself as much as anyone else. But, I truely believe that all of us want to be courageous. All of us want to make a difference. All of us want to have a life of significance.

So, the choice before us is: Do we want to be safe or do we want to be brave? We can't be both at the sametime. I think, in our heart of hearts, that each one of us wants to be a Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego and be able to stand before an oppressor and say,

"...we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Daniel 3:16-18

We mistakenly think that if we're scared, that must be God telling us not to do something. We forget that Jesus tells us that his disciples will suffer for following him. However, as mentioned in "Just Courage", "...we will avoid a lot of suffering because we are following him- the suffering of guilt, of self-destruction, of addition, of hell...In fact, if following Jesus does not feel dangerous, I should probably pause and check to see if it is Jesus I'm following."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Passion Conference World Tour - Vancouver

Jamie and I in our 'lovely' neon green Passion T-Shirts

So I've finally made it to Monday, the last day of my trip to Canada and the day of the Passion Conference.

Jamie and I arrived at the GM Place around 9am. They only had a few of us volunteers arrive there at that time in the morning because they didn't have a lot that needed to be done in the morning- we asked to be able to come in early because, after all, we were in Vancouver for the purpose of serving at the conference, so we wanted to spend as much time there as possible.

We immediately met several other volunteers all of whom live in the Vancouver area and a couple of which were local Pastors. It was interesting talking to them because they really gave us some insight on Vancouver. Vancouver is a very liberal city and faith is not something that is overly 'popular' I guess you could say. Every person who I met who lives in Vancouver described it as a 'dark' city, in that it's spiritually lacking in a huge way. Our first task was to fold up t-shirts to be sold to the students and thanks to one of the other volunteers, I learned the 2-second t-shirt fold technique (you too can learn it if you go to YouTube :-) I really could have used that technique when working for Disney. We helped with other small tasks throughout the day and we took sometime to go down into the stadium seats to pray for the conference and the students who would be attending that evening.

This is the GM Place:

Back of one of the t-shirts we were folding (there we are!):

Finally it was time for the students to start arriving (heck, some of them had started arriving around noon to line up),

so we got ourselves set up and I was working the registration area which meant that I had to be standing outside and it was SO cold. I was out there for about 1 1/2 hours and it finally got to the point where I was in physical pain because of the cold... my toes, hands and nose all felt numb! I was finally able to go back inside and found out that Jamie was dealing with the opposite problem... she was assigned to seat the 'special guests', so she was having to run up and down the stairs and from backstage to front of the house and she was overly warm. But, we were able to successfully get all of the students settled in their seats and ready for it to begin. I didn't spend as much time, as I did in the past, actually watching the conference...but, I was completely fine with that...I had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful volunteers; and, don't get me wrong... I did get myself into the conference for a bit of Louie's talk and also for several of the worship music sets. I think one of the things that struck me was, when they were singing 'God of This City', the students went crazy! I mean, you could just tell how much that song meant to them. Being that they live in a spiritually dark city, to sing that song, declaring that they know 'greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city.' you could tell that it meant so much to them and that they really took that song to heart. The other moment, during the worship music, that really stands out to me was when they were singing the last song "Sing Sing Sing"... the students went CR-A-ZY!!! From where I was positioned in the GM Place, I had a great view of the entire place and there was just a sea of students jumping up and down and all over the place- they got into that song more than any other conference I've ever been to. Really amazing to see students just losing all inhibitions and just celebrating their faith with all that they have.

OH!!! Also, Mike, one of the volunteers we went to dinner with the previous night...he brought a sign that read "God Bless You Seoul" (the next stop for the conference). They put the camera on him and there's a picture of it on the 268Generation website. He was SO excited!

At the end of the conference, the students filed out really quickly (which could have been 'thanks' to the security guards 'strongly encouraging' everyone to leave...another story). We were able to get things cleaned up quickly and I met up with Jamie backstage and it was really cool because Mike had been invited backstage, so he had a chance to meet Louie and the worship could tell that he was having a great night!

Thus, ended our night and our stay in Vancouver :-( Got up super early the following morning, had an uneventful drive back to Seattle (no stop at the border this time) and were at the airport in plenty of time to grab one last Starbucks drink and muffin before we all had to say bye.

This trip was such a blessing in so many ways... seeing a new country, meeting so many wonderful people, being able to relax, getting to know Jamie better (a bit scary how alike we are in some ways), and of course, another opportunity to serve with the Passion team is always thrilling for me.

Well, I think that I about covered it! Hope you enjoyed reading about it :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh Canada! Part II

So, I had us caught up through Saturday night…

Sunday we got up and went (again) to Starbucks and opted to head out, first, the Capilano Suspension Bridge as it was supposed to rain that afternoon. It was AMAZING!!! I seem to use that word a lot to describe my trip, but it really was amazing! The bridge was originally built back in 1889. It’s 450 feet across and 230 feet above the Capilano River in North Vancouver.

Isn’t it cool looking??? We both thought that we’d be nervous walking across a bridge suspended over a rushing river, but it actually wasn’t all that bad. When there were a lot of people on the bridge it would sway a bit back and forth and that just made it more difficult to walk, but if there was just a couple of us on the bridge it was more of an up and down bouncing type of motion. I can’t even adequately describe the view. Huge trees as far as the eye can see and the sounds of the breeze blowing through the trees as well as the river below our feet. Completely breathtaking! You really felt as though you were up in a tree house because once you crossed the main suspension bridge, there were a bunch of lookout points and several other smaller suspension bridges that went between the trees. There was even a large treehouse at one point! At some points on the trail, when you were on one of the suspension bridges, you were literally walking up amongst the trees…the ground was far below you, but you still couldn’t even see the tops of some of the trees. We had a great time and both of us agreed that it was probably the highlight of the trip thus far.

Here are a couple of pictures taken while we were in Capilano.

We drove back and picked up Angela and then headed off to Queen Elizabeth Gardens. I don’t really know any details/history about this park, but, of course, it was gorgeous. You would have thought that it was still Spring. All of the flowers were in bloom and all of the trees were green and there were small waterfalls throughout the park, along with a Conservatory and Rose Garden. Pictures say more about this park than I ever could (and even they don’t do it justice).

Next, we were off and running to meet up with a couple of the other Passion Vancouver volunteers to have dinner and go to an evening church service. We met up with Kimberly, Michele and Mike. Kimberly and Michele were also volunteering with Jamie and I and Mike had been assisting with a couple of volunteer items, but he had just graduated from high school, so he was actually going to be attending the conference, verses volunteering at it…which was really so important given his age and that he had never experienced one before. It was so great getting to know him better. I think what really struck me was the heart he has for God. He was uber excited about the conference…more so than I had seen anyone in a long time. He is so hopeful that the Passion Conference (Vancouver has never had a collegiate Christian conference before) was really going to stir people’s hearts and that God was going to use it in a mighty way. It was really exciting for all of us to see his excitement because he is what Passion is all about; and, yes, I do see a lot of college-aged students at these events and I do speak with some of them, but it was really exciting to be able to spend some time getting to know one of them and to hear how God is working in his life. After dinner we went over to a church service and we were about 40 minutes early, so we were able to arrange to borrow one of their prayer rooms and we spent the next 30 minutes or so praying for the Passion Conference the next day and praying for Mike and the students on his campus. It was another favorite part of my trip. I used to always be very anxious about praying out loud with others around. I suppose I was afraid that I wouldn’t sound ‘holy’ enough or something. So many people are eloquent speakers and their prayers always sounded so polished and thorough. I used to absolutely dread the beginning and end of small group because I’d be holding my breath wondering who was going to be picked for opening and closing prayer. It still isn’t something that’s super easy for me, but I’ve found that I pray (before I pray) that God will speak through me and give me the words and that He’ll help me to let go of my fears and anxieties and just speak from my heart…after all, God knows what’s in my heart, so even if I can’t articulate myself well, He still knows what I mean and I have to make His opinion of me, the most important one- above everyone else’s.

I’ll finish up with Part III tomorrow… I have to stop doing these late at night…too tired :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

OH Canada! Part I

Where to begin…

I am SO glad that I decided to go to Vancouver!!! It was a blast.

Things went smoothly on our way to Seattle. Our flights actually got in early, our bags were there and we had a cheap rental car waiting for us. I also have to say that this was my first time flying into Seattle and I thought that it looked beautiful. LOTS of green colors and small ponds/lakes all over the place. Plus, with it being Fall, all of the trees were changing colors. We don’t get seasons in S CA, so it was nice to see those colors. The drive up to Vancouver, from Seattle, was fun (for the most part). We had an opportunity to catch up and the time went by quickly. Everything was all fun and games until we got to the border. As is usual at any border, they took our passports and started asking question after question after question…. ‘why are you here?’ ‘where are you going?’ ‘you’re visiting your old college roommate…okay, where did you go to school?’ and on and on and on. We finally thought that we were free to go and then the border patrol lady handed us a slip of paper, told us to park our car along the side of the building and to go into the border patrol building. Yay! Given that neither Jamie nor I look like hoodlums, I figured that we were just lucky to have been randomly selected for a check. So, we go inside and just wait. Probably about 20-30 minutes we spent waiting around for someone. Then they call us up and it’s at about this time that I remember I have pepper spray in my purse (oddly enough I went through OC Airport security and they didn’t notice it- not sure how I feel about that). Well, I didn’t want them to do a purse search and then find the spray and wonder why I didn’t say anything, so I immediately told the officer that I had it and they ended up having to confiscate it. Then they take our passports and we are told they have to ‘conduct a routine examination’. Examination??? Excuse me??? My warped mind automatically thinks body cavity search. I believe it was at that moment that the color drained from my face and I was ready to turn on my heels and head home. Turns out that the officer whom we were speaking with was not a native English speaker… he was French. Apparently ‘examination’ to the French just means a background check. Thank the good Lord. So we sit for another 20-30 minutes while they check our background. But, it was rather entertaining. One guy came in with 10,000 dollars in CASH on him. The officers had him empty out his pockets and turn them inside out. He said that he always carries that much cash around. He doesn’t use credit/debit cards…he only deals in cash. Sure… I often carry around 10K in my stinkin’ pocket! What??? Even if you do only deal in cash, why on earth would you have that amount on you?

Once Jamie and I were cleared we were back on the road. We got into Vancouver a short time later and headed to a bistro/café to grab something to eat. Good food. Nothing unusual. If you didn’t know better, you would think that you were in San Francisco or Berkeley… very similar vibe. We then met up with her old college roommate, got settled in her condo and then got ready to go out. She took us on a driving tour of the different areas in Vancouver and then we went to Granville Island, to the Sandbar to grab dinner. Well, Angela grabbed dinner… I grabbed myself some Crème Brulee and Jamie grabbed herself a piece of Chocolate Pecan Pie. At that point we were barely functioning, so we went off back to Angela’s and fell asleep almost immediately.

Granville Island

The next day we made our obligatory stop at a local coffee shop for breakfast and coffee for Jamie and Chai Tea Latte for me. Know what we were supposed to do that day? We were preparing to go on a hike up Grouse Mountain because there are, apparently, stunning views from up there. We were all dressed in our exercise-type clothes and ready to go. That was until we stepped outside into the cold, drizzly weather. We opted to hold off on the hike until the next day when we might have better weather. So we went off to walk around the beach… not really a S CA, layout all day type of beach…again, think San Francisco beaches; but, a great place to take a walk/run or to sit and read a book. Next we drove through Stanley Park. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST if you ever visit Vancouver. Absolutely beautiful! Trees everywhere and many of them were changing to the Fall colors. The park is out next to the ocean, so you also have the water element as well. Bunch of different things to stop and see along the drive… totem poles, statues, bridges, etc. It’s in places like that where you are just struck by how amazing God is… how incredible His creation is… you can’t help but be awestruck.

Oh, and Grouse Mountain??? Yeah, we saw a diagram outlining the local mountain ranges and Grouse Mountain was on there. Was it high? Let’s just say that the top of it was literally covered in clouds. We both started laughing… Angela apparently had much more faith in our athletic abilities than were warranted. The idea of climbing that mountain was not discussed again for the entire trip. Our next stop was at the Cupcake Shop! Yum! So many different flavors… Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate, Lemon, Coconut Cream, Dulce de Leche to name a few. Thankfully, they had mini-cupcakes, so we could have a variety to try. I was so happy :-)

We had to run by Sears to pick something up and, let me tell you, Sears ain’t the same as it is in CA. It’s like a Nordstroms. Fancy schmancy. I’m used to walking into Sears and feeling like they haven’t changed a thing since I first went to one in the 70’s.

We also went through Chinatown. The smells reminded me of Thailand… not pleasant. Perhaps it was the dried shrimp, squid, mushroom combination in the vendor’s boxes out on the street. I felt like I was getting food poisoning just by looking at it.

One very sad part of Vancouver is the homeless problem. Lots and lots of homeless… mainly seemed to be men. Especially on this one street- Hastings Street. It was pretty overwhelming. To me, it didn’t really seem to be more so than L.A. or San Francisco. I would just say the main difference is how blatantly drugs are used. You pass by one street corner and there are 30-40 people on the corner and they are just exchanging money for drugs and in the alley next to the corner, you could see people using drugs. Very surreal.

Next we went back to Granville Island and did some shopping and, let me tell you, if I lived in Vancouver I would, easily, be 50 lbs heavier.

The market at Granville was AMAZING! Any type of food you could want was there… just a ton of small little markets within the larger market. You could buy Italian food, seafood, Chinese food, desserts… literally anything! We stopped and picked up a snack of Red Pepper Hummus with bread and a Caprese type salad… both were really good although one of them had so much garlic that both Jamie and my mouths were burning. Sorry to the folks who were anywhere near us!!! At this point it was pouring rain and so we made a dash for the car… we kept ducking into stores to try and get warm and then we’d run as far as we could before needing to duck into another store. At one point, we were in a scuba shop checking out the dive gear :-). That night we went out for pizza… that was really good as well… it had sliced apples, bacon, tomatoes, green onion and drizzled with ranch dressing… I was in heaven!

Well, that’s all that I can go into for now… getting tired. Will finish up tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'm Back!

Had a great time touring Vancouver, but still really tired and, frankly, too lazy to post all of the details yet, but I found this video on YouTube that was taken at the Vancouver Passion Conference. It's "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)". You can't see much, but I love listening to the students sing along to this song...but, the video could never do it's amazing to hear 8000 students singing this song at one time.

I'll follow up in the next couple of days with details on the trip. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Less than 1 day to go.... yay!!!

About 12 hours from now I'll be meeting up with my friend and we'll be starting our mini-vacation. I am SO excited and grateful for this opportunity to see another part of the world. I've heard great things about Vancouver and I already know that we'll have a great time serving at Passion.

I just ask that you pray for safe travels to/from and while we're in Vancouver, that I maintain a good attitude, we all stay in good health, that I have patience and that I allow myself to live in the moment. Please pray that God will place me, at the conference, where I can best be used and to please give me the courage to do whatever it is that He asks me to do.

With that said... as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I wanted to end this countdown with the song "God of this City". It's really been the anthem for this past year's conferences and it seems to be a song that really resonates with everyone, no matter where in the world Passion is at (this Fri/Sat they are in Mexico City - 17,000 students scheduled to attend!).

It's getting a little late and, honestly, I'm being a bit lazy... so here's a video that explains where the song came from (if you don't already know) and the second video is of the actual song.

Enjoy and I'll update everyone when I get back to CA. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2 Days to go...

The other day I was driving home from work, I had just gotten off of the toll road and this particular road does not have much of a shoulder to it. As I'm driving along I see this bicyclist riding his bike along that narrow shoulder. Mind you... cars, and there are a lot of them, are traveling at Indy 500 speeds along this road. I thought to myself, 'that person is going to get himself killed riding his bike there'. All someone has to do is take their eyes off of the road ahead of them and he'd be toast because it seems like, whenever you focus your eyes on something, in this case the bicyclist, your car starts heading in that direction. My mind immediately went back to when I had taken a ski lesson many years ago. I was having so much trouble trying to stear myself on the skis...I couldn't get myself to go right or left for the life of me and I was leaning as much as I could and trying to swivel my feet in the direction I wanted to go. Finally, the instructor came over to me and told me to not try so hard at turning; rather, turn your head the direction you want to go and your body will follow. I was pessimistic and thought there is NO way that I'm going to turn just by looking at where I want to go. But, sure enough...I'd look to my right and I'd turn right, I'd look to my left and I'd turn left.

That principle really applies to our walk with God. Whatever we focus on is what we naturally move towards. If we choose to take our eyes off of God, we will struggle and strain to try and get going in the right direction, but no matter how hard we try, we're never fully there. On the other hand, if we quit thinking and focusing on our circumstances, other people and the world around us, and instead choose to focus on God, we will naturally gravitate towards Him and, not only that, but we'll be headed down our God-ordained path for our lives. time again! I'm actually going to double up again, because there's a particular song I want to put on tomorrow night..."God of This City". It's been the theme song for this whole Passion movement this year and I think that it's fitting to end the countdown with it.

First video is Chris Tomlin's "How Great is Our God".

Now, you will not be watching this video for your viewing pleasure... it was taken by someone at the conference and it's not clear and it jiggles, if you want to avoid motion sickness, I suggest you look away. So, why include it??? I couldn't complete these videos without you being able to hear "Hosanna" by Christy's a beautiful song and she has a beautiful voice to go along with it.