Saturday, July 29, 2006

After a small absence, I'm back in the blogging world. Life has been a wee bit busy between work, making some new friends, and a visit from my mom, sister and nephew.

I was just messing around on my My Space, updating a few things, moving a few things around, etc. For the first time in a while, I read my "headline": "Wishing for Egypt or looking for milk and honey?" I put that headline up soon after I moved to Colorado. I was longing for where I had been, but knew that this was the place God wanted me. (He has proved that over and over again.) I felt very much like the Israelites whining to Moses to let them go back to the blistering heat and back-breaking work that was better than trying to conquer the land of milk and honey. (Not comparing Portland to Egypt and slavery here, by the way.)

Since that time, I have seen God prove over and over that He has great blessings for me here and great things to teach me here. I saw it in an awesome conversation I had with a coworker over dinner the other night. I saw it in reconnecting with a friend on My Space. I see it in the people He puts in my path on a daily basis. I see it in the thrill and excitement of getting started in seminary this Fall. I see it in the changes I see being made in me. Old habits being broken and new ones being formed. I see it when I'm in those lonely places missing close friends and family so badly. I see it when I'm forced to lean heavily upon God in those moments.

I've been in Colorado for about two months, and I'm not oblivious to the fact that a great journey has already begun. I can only pray that I will be willing to follow the journeys path.

"When I Get Where I'm Going" by Brad Paisley and featuring Dolly Parton, is a song that has been very important to me in the past months. It's a good reminder for me of where I'm headed and that makes all this very worth it. Take a listen here on my My Space if you are unfamiliar with the song.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

You know those ah-ha moments when you catch on to something that you missed before and sometimes you feel slightly dumb for not catching it before? I just had one of those moments.

During my devotional tonight I brought out an old devo song from youth group days--"All in All." It's a standard that no doubt many of you know. If you haven't heard it before, I'll jot down the lyrics at the end of this post so that you can enjoy this "oldie but goody" that can be kind of cheesy if you look too closely at the forced rhyme scheme.

My ah-ha moment:

For the first time, I finally understood what the title phrase means--All in All. "You [the Lord] are my all in all." For whatever reason, I have never thought about this phrase before. I usually focus on the verses and leave out this phrase. But tonight it struck me what amazing meaning this phrase has, what powerful and awesome meaning.

For a quick reference on the definition of the word all (because honestly how many of us have ever looked up the definition of "all"), click here. Notice that every one (all) of the ten definitions denote an entirety. (Also on a side note, check out definition number 7. almost went country with that one, just pull out a few letters and add an apostrophe.)

So what that phrase is getting at is that God is our everything, our entirety, in every situation, in every thing. That is a big statement. That means that there is not one situation in our lives in which God is not everything for us.

Wow! Knock me for a loop! I really needed to be reminded of that because, you see, I'm an incredibly selfish being. I'm always wanting what I cannot have and am a malcontent in most circumstances that do not involve life going "my way". I'm wanting more when I have all. And as a reminder to my self, that "more" can be anything from human relationship to the latest tech gizmo; it's time to remember that the "mores" in life can be just about anything.

Kudos given to those of you who were struck by the meaning of this phrase long ago. For me a pair of fresh eyes, or maybe ears, has reminded me of a God who truly is my All.

All in All

Verse 1:
You are my strength when I am weak.
You are the treasure that I seek.
You are my all in all.
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool.
You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God, You are my all in all.
Jesus, Lamb of God, You are my all in all.

Verse 2:
Taking my sin, my cross, my pain,
Rising again, I bless Your name.
You are my all in all.
When I fall down You pick me up.
When I am weak You fill my cup.
You are my all in all.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The things I miss most about Portland:

10. The rain. Yes, I miss the rain. It rained today in the Springs like it does in Portland, and I found myself very reminiscent of cool rainy days in Portland.

9. I miss my apartment. I like my new apartment, but I miss the great neighbors that went with the old apartment. I miss my great landlord. And I miss being in such a central location to everything important in my life.

8. I miss green things. More specifically green, flowery plant life. Everything is brown here.

7. I miss the smell of Portland. Portland has a distinct smell that I can't describe to you--maybe something to do with all of the rain and the vegetation. Colorado Springs has no smell good or bad.

6. I miss hearing the goings-on of NE Portland outside my window. Not so much the fighting or the police sirens, but people greeting each other and the jazz music that my neighbor Midget would always play that wafted in my back windows.

5. I miss my life group at Shirley's. I miss her good cooking and the great conversation to follow. I miss all of Shirley's encouragement that she so freely offered me and so many others. I miss seeing her passion for the Lord.

4. I miss Sunday morning worship at PUMP. I miss the hand-clapping and the stomping. I miss Steve sweating bullets as he worshiped his heart out. I miss the smiles and the sound of so many voices in such a small space.

3. I miss the kindergarten class and the youth class that I spent so much time with, teaching them and learning from them.

2. I miss good conversation that stimulated me and caused me to grow and look at my own life and my own walk in different ways.

1. I miss the people. I miss so many smiles. I miss so many hugs. I miss so much love.

So Portland, in case you don't think I miss you. Believe me I do, and maybe I just share all these things that I miss right now because I'm a wee bit homesick. But I do miss you, and I do love you Portland. Lord, bless that city and bless all that I love there.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I keep a small whiteboard in my apartment where I write down statements that inspire me. Sometimes they are my own thoughts. Sometimes profound thoughts of others. Wherever they come from, they are statements that I need to read frequently.

Tonight's new thought to be added to the board: "Keep it simple, Stupid." A phrase we've all heard no doubt, but under it I added three other phrases: Love God. Love People. Love Self.

So why does this thought make the board? Because I daily make life far more complicated than it was meant to be. I truly believe that God meant for life to be simple. When He first created man, He created a thing of perfect beauty that served the purpose of bringing glory to God. That simple.

But sin entered the world and made life complicated as we constantly stress over what is good and what is evil, what is worth worrying about, what isn't, and whether or not worrying is worth it.

Thus why I need the reminder. Because the thoughts of everyday life constantly force life to be complicated. I need a reminder to keep it simple. And it's as simple as this: Love.

And don't try to make it complicated by saying that love isn't simple. Love is God's essence. We are created in the image of God. Therefore, love is part of our essence.

Love. It's that simple.