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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Your Gatsby On (Roaring 20's Loveshack Style)

I live in a house with 8 girls. That means that there is constantly people around, something to do and fun to be had. I absolutely love living here (at the Loveshack). Praise God I'm an extrovert - because if not our house may be a little overwhelming. :) Six of the girls lived in the house last year and I was privileged to step into the culture/atmosphere they have created. It is so refreshing to live with girls who are in the same season of life as me. Here's to an epic, fun and adventurous senior year!

One thing this house is really good at is throwing parties. A couple weekends ago we hosted a 1920's party. The front lawn was transformed into a Gatsby Garden scene with porch lights, mocktails, swing dancing, and even a live band. Most of our attendees dressed for the occasion, which made the party look like a scene straight from the book. Anyone that knows me knows that I love themes - especially when I can go all-out. This party was no exception.

Because the party was mostly set up outside people walking by our house saw and joined in. Our house is two blocks from campus, so we're used to a lot of traffic. Some were so intrigued that they came in and chatted for a while. We had several visitors that probably wouldn't of otherwise come to our house.

Below are some photos my roommate Kaley (who's an incredible photographer, by the way) took of the party. Hopefully this gives you a little taste of my life in Lawrence this semester.

The roomies. Please notice Bitti on the far left. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

To Obey is Better

Recently, I've been reminded of the value obedience. I was spending time with Jesus the other morning and felt the Lord tell me to turn to 1 Samuel chapter 15. I started reading and the chapter is about Saul being annointed as King. Samuel annoints him then gives him his first command from the Lord: to destroy Amalekites. He was told to not take anything for himself and to kill every person living among the Amalekites. Rather than obeying completely, Saul chose not to kill the king and take some of the animals for himself. Partial obedience isn't obedience. It's actually disobedience.

The Lord was not pleased. He sends Samuel to confront Saul and Saul tries to make exscuses. He claims that he took the animals so that he could sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel's reponse hit me: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, TO OBEY IS BETTER than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams" (verse 22). Yes! Obedience is better because I know that Jesus is for me and has the best for my life. So can obey confidently knowing that He takes care of me and has His church and my interests at heart.

I started reading again to see where Saul went wrong. Samuel says to him in verse 17 "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord annointed you king over Israel." Saul didn't know his true identity and didn't walk in the royality and authority God had given him. When we believe lies we shrink back from obedience. But when we walk in the authority of who God says we are, we obey easier. When we know Who's we are, we can obey without hesitance or fear.

I also noticed that in verse 24 Saul says "because I feared the people, I obeyed their voice." Saul gave into fear rather than walking in his authority. When fear invades our lives, it clouds our judgement causing us to disobey when boldness is required. 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." When we have an encounter with the love of God fear is removed. When our eyes are on Jesus who is all-loving, we are able to walk without fear. Stare at Jesus - it's really that simple!

I'm convinced that when we live in the reality of the love of God, we will obey more naturally. Because the more we know His character, the easier and more natural it is to obey. I'm also convinced that obedience is better - no matter the size of the task or step. When we disobey it ends in conviction and then repentance. But when we obey it ends in faithfulness, character development and more authority/responsibility. And when we obey in the small things, it's easier to obey in the big things. Stare at Jesus, receive the love of God and then obey even in the little things, ready to follow what He says when He says it. TO OBEY IS BETTER.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Hero Revolution: Lauren Allbritton

Today I want to honor and encourage another person in my life: Lauren Allbritton. When I first arrived at Baylor University as a freshman I was hungry for community and more of God. I went to a lifegroup my first week of school and was amazed by a community of people that loved Jesus passionately, had so much fun and were so open and vulnerable with each other. I kept going and eventually called the members of that group my best friends. About a month into the school year Lauren approached me and asked if I wanted to be discipled. I said yes immediately, honored that she would ask. Over the next two and a half years, Lauren faithfully invested in my life and is now one of my best friends.

Let me tell you a little more about Lauren. Lauren loves people so well. She pays attention to the details, asks good questions and remembers the answers! One time she had me write a list of all my favorite things, then over the next few months she surprised me with little gifts. I always feel so loved and valued by her. She taught me that loving people is more than spending time with them, it's putting others before yourself, meeting their needs and actively listening and responding. It's being willing to go to the hard places, work through conflict and then supporting and encouraging. It's having the attitude of how can I serve this person, rather than what can this person give me.

I don't think I've ever felt judged by Lauren, not once. She is so for those around her and nothing anyone says phases her. I remember several discipleship meetings where I had to confess pretty deep stuff, and she loved me through it without judging or condemning. She is able to love without condition, which makes her a safe, valuable friend. She has a way of communicating her own convictions and decisions without raising expectations. She supports rather than pressures. Because of that, my life has been radically changed because of her commitment to purity and holiness. People are attracted to the way she lives her life because she LOVES Jesus and believes that those who are pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). This woman isn't afraid to let go of things in order to get more of God.

I'm forever thankful for you, Lauren! Your investment in my life changed me in so many ways. You are GOLD, my friend.

Lauren and I the end of my freshmen year.
Photos by Jeff Jones