Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Banannas for Jesus. Part One.

I was cleaning the toilet this morning when it happened. Conviction, love, longing--- I don't know exactly how to describe what it was that I felt, but it happened. And it was while I was listening to Keith Green, which is almost always the way it is and has been since I was 5 years old.

I can remember dancing in the den at my house as a little girl, listening to those albums over and over again-- in the early 70's, there was this amazing thing happening in Christian music and all these ex-hippies were getting radically saved and putting out albums with hard hitting lyrics, and doing the rounds at churches in fellowship halls and house church meetings. It was a rich culture for new believers because it seemed like everyone was new and starving for the MORE of Jesus. Instead of regular pot lucks and vacation bible school (which are awesome, too), I grew up around crazy, just-off-drugs new Christians who didn't know it wasn't cool to cuss in church. I love that my parents found the Lord during that time, my most formative years. I grew up believing what my faith culture taught me: we should live our lives always looking for new stuff about the Lord and His Kingdom, and you should feel stuff in worship. I have so many memories of being bored out of my mind waiting around while my parents sat and drank coffee and talked about Jesus with their friends after church. What a rich heritage. Many of your parents discovered the Lord during that season, too, though many of you weren't alive yet :)

So here are the lyrics (which you will recognize from the Bible) that struck to my heart:

And they shall answer Him, yes, they shall answer Him,
And they'll say, Lord, when?
When were you hungry Lord, and we gave you something to eat?
Lord, when were you thirsty? I can't remember. And we gave you drink?
Huh, when were you naked Lord, and we clothed you?
And Lord, when were you a stranger and we invited you in?
I mean, we invited lots of people in Lord. I could never forget that face.
And Lord, when were you sick and we visited you?
Or in prison, and we came to you? Lord, tell us?
In as much as you did it to the least of my brethren, you've done it unto me.

And here is how I was convicted--- I want to love Jesus. I want Him to know that I love Him. I want Him to FEEL love coming from my life toward Him. And it happens not just in word, but in deed. This past Sunday, we talked about unbelief and we decided that we would, instead of reading a book as a class, take a book of the bible and begin line-by-line study of the Bible itself instead of discussing whether or not it's true or trustworthy or anything like that.

As we do it, we will discover new and amazing ways to "do it to the least of [His] brethren." Not simply because we feel for folks like our Robert (who I've been missing so much), but because we want to love Jesus, and He tells us that THIS IS HOW WE DO IT. It's not about earning His love--- we HAVE that--- this is radical----> it's about SHOWING HIM OUR LOVE FOR HIM. And you and I both know that as we show another how we love them, our love for them seems to grow...

I'm going to post some links here, too. This was a long entry, but it's so heavy on my heart. I'll let you know later what I did about it (I was convicted to do something specific), but for now, I believe that it is a screaming tragedy that you guys don't know who Keith Green was, and you don't have access to the other guys who ministered with him. One interesting tidbit: He didn't charge for his albums. I remember that there were times my dad would order one of Green's albums and he would put extra money in there for someone else who couldn't afford one. His order forms simply said, for the cost, "Whatever you can give."

This is how I want to live my life. Totally "banannas for Jesus."

Sigh. I love you guys. Let's be crazy.


Monday, January 2, 2006

it's late

So, it's late and i'm battling the ever-constant, gut-wrenching pain of waiting for grades. This is the first time I've experienced this fear of a bad (or failing) grade at school, and I am bummed that it's my senior year and this little cloud (or nube en espanol) called Spanish 201** is casting quite a shadow. Anyway, that's not why I'm writing.

I'm writing because this morning I realized that it's bad to live in constant fear (picture: light. angels singing. I am now crowned with wisdom). Fear of all kinds of things. So if this is the time to make resolutions, mine shall be Fear Not. Good thing here-- this is the salutation that heralds the appearance of the angel of the Lord, and He is just the One I am needing right now. What things are we afraid of? For me, it's failure in any form (no pressure, O Perfect One, aka Deluded One). And if it's not failure, it's cancer, usually.

So what is it about fear? The enemy would steal our joy, friends. We were created for one thing: to know God and to be enjoyed by Him forever (I ripped this off from some Presbyterian catechism-- Westminster maybe?-- Kevin, do you recognize it?) This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. So why fear? If we were created to know the most perfect, loving, merciful, creative, beautiful One in the universe, and if He loves us with a love that knows no limits or boundaries, what should we fear? If He has conquered death, so we need never fear hell or dying, what should we fear? If He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that He will be our One Great Love and Magnificent Obsession, what should we fear? My God invented coffee. What is there to fear?

And yet we do. So today I told Him, I am afraid of not graduating on time. I am afraid that I will never completely walk in the vision I feel He set in my heart. I am afraid of disappointing everyone I know in countless ways. Of failing Don, my parents, friends.... and it's all about who's in control.

But here's a tidy message: "We are like windows, stained with the colors of the rainbow, set in a darkened room til the Bridegroom comes to shine through" (rough wording, Keith Green).

----> so here's an interesting thing: I lost the last half of what I had written here. and I can't remember what awe inspiring, illuminating thing I said (it is, as I mentioned, late) to conclude. So how's this: my hope, my goal, is to allow the light of the Lord to shine through me (how trite, it may sound, but what if the Church actually did it?) and light me up. I say YES to Him, and He shines through me, and I trust Him to take care of the rest-- help me to be a great student, help me to walk in the ministry He's called me to, help me to trust Him for the things I am still waiting for--- and the same for all of us. Regardless of age, our little family here have a lot of things-- hopes, desires, stresses-- in common. So let's decide together to trust Him that He is:

abounding in grace

and on and on.

So my thing for this year? FEAR NOT.No more. Conquer fear where it seems to live-- in my mind, all day long, and battle it with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of the Lord. Spend time with Him, bathing my fearful brain and heart with things that are true: Jesus Christ is God and there is none beside Him.

what about you guys?

**update: I made a B+ in that Spanish class...