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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Greg!

Today my little bro turns 19! I'm so thankful for my brother, Greg! He is a man of God who is going to change the world! I thought I'd take some time to recall some of my fav memories with Greg and tell you a little about him.

Greg is an incredible leader. People follow him because He is a gatherer, influencer & great communicator. He has the mark of leadership on his life. I have loved getting to see him lead others, especially my sister and those at his school.

He also is a protector & watches out for others. Last year I got a phone call from Greg during my spring break mission trip. He called and was so worried about my sister. He calmly asked for advice in how to protect and honor her well. He asked me to pray for him and said he was committed to standing up for our little sister and handled the situation with such integrity and grace. I was so impressed by his mature heart. What's cool is that Greg's name means watchman. He is called to watch and protect others and lead them towards Jesus!

One of my favorite things about Greg is that he is super goofy & charasmatic. He consistently makes others laugh and is such the life of the party! He's the kind of guy everybody wants to be around. He is known by people and has the respect of many. I'm so honored to be his sister! Can't wait to see you next week, Greg!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Power of Words on Father's Day

Over the past few days I've been reminded of the power of words. With my mouth I have the power to bless and curse others. We hold words of life and death in our tongue. In James 3, it says that our tongue directs our whole body, and that it has the power to destruct our whole body if we do not control it. Although this is a dangerous powerful tool, it can also be used to bless and encourage others. When we choose to speak negatively about another person we are actually speaking words of death over them. But if we choose to encourage and build up, then we are speaking life. Also, by encouraging others you are actually calling them up to their identity.

Ephesians 4:29 says "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as it fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." My mom made my siblings and I memorize this verse when we were younger to teach us the power of our words.

Since yesterday was Father's Day, I thought I'd take some time to tell you about my Dad and speak words of life over him. My Dad is one of the most selfless people I know. He consistently looks out for other's interests before his own. (see Philippians 2:2-4). He is always looking for ways to serve our family. And he does so without complaining or calling attention to himself. What a picture of the way Jesus serves! I am so challenged by this.

My Dad is quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (see James 1:19). He weighs the value of his words before he speaks and is so patient with others. He is so consistent and steady. He is not swayed by his emotions or circumstances. Because of that, he is trustworthy and safe!

My Dad also takes care of our family so well. He is responsible and loyal. He pays attention to the details and doesn't overlook things. He is so faithful to the tasks God has given him. He is also so faithful to our family. Dad, I'm so thankful for you today! Thank you for serving and taking care of us well! You are purposeful, simple, and powerful. And you guard/protect others well because you know the value in them! I love you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foreign Ambassadors

Over the last two weeks I've been resonating with the idea of being a foreigner and ambassador. When most people think of basic Kingdom identity, the words alien and ambassador do not often come to mind. However both of these words are biblical truths we must learn to adopt as sons or daughters of God. 

Last week I ended staff training at KAA. While I was there the Lord initiated a new process in my heart encompassing these truths. When I first arrived I was honestly a little anxious. There was part of me that felt so exhausted after being in a new place this semester (at KU) and having to build new friendships & relationships. I wasn't looking forward to having to build in a new place again. As I was spending time with God one morning I was reminded of different men & women in scripture who were called to 'foreign' places. For example, Abraham was called to leave his home and travel to a new land. Hebrews 11:8-9 says "by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called out to go to a place that he was to receive an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith, he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land..." Abraham blindly followed the voice of God and became a foreigner in a new land. 

Later in Hebrews 11 it says they (those who received the promise) "acknowledged that they were strangers & exiles on the earth" and knew they were "seeking a homeland" because they longed for "a better country, that is, a heavenly one". It struck me that the reason why they were called exiles or foreigners on earth was because they believed they were citizens of a different country: Heaven. And if I was made by God, then my home is with Him, not on earth. Philippians 3:20 says that we are citizens of Heaven. I'm not a citizen of Wichita, of Lawrence or of Waco, Texas. Those places are not my home. The people in those places are not my home. In the presence of God is my home. I have to detach my idea of home from a physical place or person, otherwise my safety, comfort and identity is found in places other than Jesus. 

We are called to total immersion with distinction. I am a resident of the world, but not a native of it. I am a stranger or foreigner who belongs to something so much bigger than this earth. However, I am not a foreigner without a purpose. I'm also an ambassador. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says "we are ambassadors for Christ". An ambassador was never a native or member of the land in which he dwelt. He was a visitor who represented the King of leader of his native land. This means I have a unique purpose and assignment. I have the privilege of representing my King. So wherever He says to go, I will gladly go, knowing I get to help make my King's name known. Even if I'm called to new places all over again, it's worth it. Because this isn't my home; Heaven is. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday Miss

For those of you who didn't know, I just got back from staff training for 10 days at KAA (Kids Across America). I'm sure I'll be writing about what God's been doing in my heart soon. However, while I was gone my sweet little sis turned 16! I didn't have access to a computer on her actual birthday, so I thought I'd post a belated entry. I hope to give you a picture into what life with Gwen looks like. She is one of my absolute favorite people.

I started calling Gwen 'Missy' or 'Miss' when I was little and the nickname has stuck ever since. The name suits her. There's no one else that makes me laugh as much as this girl. She's totally sassy and so hilarious. Almost every time we spend time together we reach the almost-pee-your-pants point. (Sometimes we go past that point, but I won't include details). Some of my favorite memories are with Gwen. She is simply a joy to be around. Recently I've felt so refreshed being with her. Whether we're laying out by the pool, or laughing in our rooms or riding in the car, I can always expect our time to be a blast.

One of my favorite things about Gwen is that she is quick to forgive and extend grace to others. She truly believes the best about others and gives people the benefit of the doubt. When hurt or offended, she chooses to forgive rather than stay bitter or resentful. I am so challenged by this! She is also incredibly loyal. Miss is a trustworthy friend who sticks close to those she loves.

She is also able to relate to so many different types of people. She is quick to befriend others, regardless of who they are. She is not judgmental, but accepting and willing to receive. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 when I think of her. Like Paul, she is able to "become all things to all people". What a gift!

Gwen is a leader and a trend-setter. She is funny & easy to please. I am so thankful for Gwen and the blessing she is in my life. I love you Miss and happy belated birthday!