Sunday, August 21, 2005

One of the hardest days of my life.
I went to church today...but not at Trinity. Because Trinity's not my church any more. Latitude is. And I love it. I LOVE IT. But it was hard. When Kim saw me this morning she smiled and said, "Welcome home." And I burst into tears. Which surprised even me. She totally understood though. Everyone understood. Everyone asked how I was doing knowing it was my first official Sunday there and everyone understood my mixed emotions. I talked to Christina about youth stuff and was just honest and told her that I miss my kids and I don't feel like I can jump into a new youth group right now. She looked at me like I was crazy and said she never even expected me to get involved right away and that I needed time to fully release stuff from Trinity and to take whatever time that was.
I went to both services. I was planning on doing that anyway, but I think God had something more than I knew in that. I had to just sit through the first service to receive, to be ministered to, to let a healing process begin, to just be completely filled. That's not usually how I walk into church. I don't go to church to get from God, I go to church to give to God. I get during the week alone with Him, so I can give on Sunday. But I had to allow my self to realize how completely empty I was and to just let the Holy Spirit minister to me. And I could honestly feel things fall off me at different times during the service and freedom beginning to creep in. The second service I gave...I had something to give.
There's this girl Lindsey at church that I think I may become good friends with. She's only 18 and I think she even just graduated from high school, but I don't know...we click for some reason. She is an intern at the church, and is in love with Jesus. I don't know what it is, because even her personality is not one that I'm generally drawn to, but there's like a really sweet, gentleness in her that I like.
There are some amazing worship songs coming out of this house. It blows me away actually. WE are recording an album on September 17th and it's going to be good.
Honestly, I don't think I even knew how much my kids at Trinity were a part of my life. Basically they were my life. I dont know how I didn't realize that, but I guess you realize the importance of things when all of a sudden they're gone. Not that my kids are gone, but it's different. They aren't my life anymore. I've known some of those kids since they were like 7 and now they're like driving. It's going to be different.
I was debating this morning on whether or not to keep doing Adopt-A-Block on wednesdays now that school is starting and my day is going to pretty much be school and work. If I do AAB it means I will only be able to work about 2 hours on Wed. Which means I'll be missing out on 2 hours of work. Which is $20 a week I won't have. I'd pretty much resigned myself to not doing AAB on wednesday, but to continue on saturdays. Driving to church I knew that I wasn't supposed to do that, but in my flesh just felt like I had to. That's like $80 a month. And in light of the insurance bill I just received, that's a lot of money. Interesting how the message today was titled "How Big is Your God?". And was all about trusting God. The guy that spoke was a guest and I actually knew him from my days in FCA in high school and he is doing some radical stuff for God and the last four years has been living totally on faith. And the stories of God's provision just totally made me feel like the most faithless person out there. At one point he needed $5500 to come in in one day to pay bills and stuff and it did. It all came in. In one day. All I need is like $300 something dollars to pay insurance and I still have a couple weeks before it's due. And this guy LIVES by God's provision. And he has a wife and three kids! And that's how they live! Incredible. So here's what God says to me, "If you can't 'sacrifice' $80 a month for one of your dreams (AAB) then it must not really be that big of a dream". I'm not going to be sacrificing anything. God is going to make up the gap financially...some how...and there will be lives changed every Wednesday afternoon on Alpine and Alder streets in Mesa, AZ.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I've just started reading "I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away" by Bill Bryson. I'm dreaming of the day when Bill gets a show on the Travel Channel because I'm pretty sure it would be the funniest thing on tv. Which I guess isn't really saying much, but the man is flipping hilarious and so dead on in his observations and stereotyping of other cultures. If you're going to be a successful travel journalist it's important to be able to correctly stereotype other cultures.
So here is the bit that had me nearly peeing my pants today.

"People sometimes ask me, 'What is the difference between baseball and cricket?'
The answer is simple. Both are games of great skill involving balls and bats but with this crucial difference: Baseball is exciting, and when you go home at the end of the day you know who won.
I'm joking, of course. Cricket is a wonderful sport, full of deliciously scattered micromoments of real action. If a doctor ever instructs me to take a compolete rest and not get overexcited, I shall become a fan at once. In the meantime, my heart belongs to baseball."

He slays me.

If Bill Bryson was me right now, he'd be writing about how he currently does not have the use of his shower. But since Bill Bryson is not me, and it's actually the real me that currently does not have the use of my own shower I shall be writing about it. It just won't be as funny if he were me.
Apparently, before I moved in to this lovely little condo there were some issues with the shower in my bathroom. I've been here for a year and have never had any issues, but I guess the other day when I was in the shower it started leaking through the 1st floor roof again and now I can not use my shower. I can, however, use the bath tub. Don't ask me what kind of sense that makes. I would assume any leaking issue would have to do with drainage and that it really wouldn't matter if you used the shower or the bathtub, but this specific leakage is due to something that is wrong with the shower mechanism. Or so I'm told. So for the next two weeks, until I go to live with a friend for a month, I have to take baths. At first it didn't sound so bad. Kind of more like forced relaxation. But then this morning I had to wash my hair, and the whole thing became a bit more tricky. And now I'm certain I've pulled a muscle in my back from all the odd contortions I had to do just to manuver my head under the faucet in the bathtub. So as to spare my back I'm either going to be bumming showers off of friends for the next couple weeks or just getting really farrell and smelly. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

So I've been in 1Samuel recently. I'm pretty sure it's been for-ev-er since I've spent time in some of the OT narratives. I've hung out in the prophets a bit lately, but it's honestly been so long since I've read some of these great stories that I feel like they're really fresh. Almost like reading them for the first time. It also helps that I'm reading them in my new favorite version the New Living Translation.
There's just so much incredible stuff in this book. I think as Christians we tend to focus a little too much on the New Testament. I mean that's a really good place to start if you're a new believer because that's really where the basics of salvation and life in Christ are laid out. But once you start growing and really wanting the deeper things of God, there is so much in the OT that is incredible and we miss out on.
Ok so you get to chapter 8 and it's where Israel decides they are tired of being lead by God and they want a king to rule over them. Yeah, how often do we do that today? "I'm tired of following God and living by faith. I'm going to go make my own money, my own way, my own life with out God." Maybe it's more subtle than that, but it's still there. Then, God, in his infinate patience, grace, and love for his people tells Samuel to tell the people what it will look like if they have a king over them. It basically boils down to what any government looks like: takes your money, drafts your boys to fight wars, takes your best crops, takes your daughters to serve him, and on and on it goes until God says that the Israelites will cry out to him for help from this king who is oppressing them and he won't listen to their cry because he warned them. So Samuel tells them all this and they basically say, "We don't care, we want a king anyway because we want to be like the nations around us. We're tired of being different and sticking out and we want to be like everyone else." (That's my own little paraphrase there.)
But seriously, how much does this sound like our society today. Espeically within church culture. We don't want to be sanctified, we don't want to be different. Instead of using the amazing original creativity God has divinely given to us, we chase after the trends in secular culture so that we have "positive alternatives" which really means "crap copies of music that wasn't so great to start out with". I was just blown away when I was reading this chunck of the story that there really is nothing new under the sun. I could hear the cry of the Israelites coming out of kids in my youth group, christian media, the church, and me.
What is so wrong with letting God lead us, being set apart, and possibly if we get our heads about us even leading the way in the arts. Or even leading the way in medicine, education, science, etc. I believe God wants his church to lead. Because really, what good is salt if it looses it's saltiness?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I saw this thing on tv just now about this guy Sufjan Stevens who's like this incredibly talented and original musician. He was raised by hippie parents and his music is like some eclectic mix of folk, pop, jazz, and classical and it kind of surprised me that he's working on this project called the 50 States Project or something. He's going to write an album dedicated to each state as his form of like patriotism or giving back to the country or something. He didn't really strike me as the patriotic type, but it sounds like a cool deal. 50 albums is a heck of a lot though.
Anyway, this guys' stuff was super original musically and lyrically and it inspired me to want to go write. I've actually been doing a bit of writing recently...more than in recent months...some of it is actually decent I think.
I always feel like I have this internal battle going on inside me when I try to write and it really holds me back. I think what it boils down to is my purpose for writing. I find it really hard to write stuff that doesn't have some kind of God connection. Like say I wanted to make an album about the state of Arizona...I don't think I could do it because what is the purpose in that? Then when I get to this point I get frustrated with myself because I feel like I'm way overspiritualizing the whole thing. God has given me these gifts of music and creativity and I love using them for His glory, and I think that's the point of the gifts anyway, to glorify God. Am I glorifying Him simply by using the gifts? Because then you get into the whole thing about like Usher thanking God when he wins awards and really, I'm pretty sure God isn't glorified by Usher's music even if he did give him the gifts.
Sometimes I just want to write stupid songs to just get out whatever I might be thinking or going through internally and it's like I can't do it because what is the purpose? I hate doing things for no reason. Or maybe just expressing my thoughts or whatever is reason enough.
I thought writing and processing all of this in here might help me wrap my head around it a bit more, but I think I've just dug myself deeper into confusion. I think I'm over analyzing this way too much.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I love my new church. I love it SOOOOOOOOO much. I can not wait for the next 2 weeks to pass so that I can be there 100%
This week we started adopt-a-block with the pastoral and leadership team. Don't ask me how I got to go out with them...Jared and Kim have completely opened everything up to me. It's so crazy. So we went out on Wednesday and started with 2 neighborhood streets. We split into 2 teams and each took one of the streets. This neighborhood is right across the street from the church so it's pretty cool. I had no idea this neighborhood even exsisted in this part of Mesa. Total ghetto trailer neighborhood. It's not even like a "trailer park", it's just like streets of trailers. We basically started off introducing our selves to people, telling them who we were and that we'd be back every Wednesday until they die. We didn't say that to the old people though because then it sounds like we won't be around for that long. We got to talk to so many people, and everyone we talked to was really receptive. The other team was a bit more spiritual than we were and they got to pray with people and apparently one lady invited them in for lemonade or something so they chatted with her for a while. People are just lonely. I met a young hispanic couple that had just moved in and were excited that they had just bought their first home. There was something in me that wanted to put them down for considering a trailer an exciting new home...but then I remembered my parents first home was a trailer...and why would you judge someone for something like that? Sometimes the thoughts and pride and judgements that come into my head are just horrible. Anyway, so AAB was awesome. It was the first time for pretty much everyone except for Jared, Kim, and me so it was really cool to hear their stories and see their excitement. I am just excited that it's finally happening in my community. No more longing dreams of sweeping streets and handing out pudding in L.A. Here we are Mesa! And God has totally gone before us, so watch out!
So that was Wednesday.
Last night was WACA rehearsal and I went to that. After my year at Hills I never thought I'd see the day when I got excited over a 3 hour worship rehearsal again. But I was SOOO excited. Oh my gosh. It's so crazy to me that this church is still just starting out, and yet they are so on top of stuff. I went to the choir practice, since that's where all the newbies start and it was so deja vu"ish". On a much smaller scale, but still it was really weird. There is just so much creativity, and like actually working on stuff to make it excellent and make it flow and smooth and sound good and make it original. It was awesome. After the choir practice then there's like a devo/vision time and then the people that are on for sunday practice. They let me stick around and watch them rehearse, which sounds kind of lame but you learn so much from watching people interact and create and worship together. I decided I was going to marry Joel simply by watching him, so you know, there's power in that. But seriously, like I'm walking into a new church culture, and even though it's very similar to Hills, I haven't even been there for a year and a half, and then you still have to add in like individual personalities and I don't know just a bunch of stuff. So it was really cool and I just can't wait to be there all the time. And I have a feeling that I will be there alllllll the time. Two weeks from today.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I wish I were asleep. But I can't fall asleep.
Probably the 10 hours I got last night after completely crashing out after the cali trip might have something to do with it. I still feel tired though.

I had such an amazing weekend. I couldn't really tell you exactly what made it so amazing. Just the overflow of salvation and abundant life. That sounds so super spiritual, but it's not really. It just struck me a lot this weekend how I was just having a really good time and how the only thing I could really attribute it to is just abundant life in Christ. then I ran across a verse in Psalm 130 that talks about the overflow of salvation and that seemed to sum it up. Hanging out with all of my "children" this weekend is definitely not making it easier to leave. Trips are such a bonding time and then to be thinking during all of the bonding that those bonds aren't going to be the same anymore is hard. I was definitely close to tears a couple times. I'm really struggling and trying to work out how this all works. Part of me knows that when I am done at Trinity that it needs to be a really clean break. I need to invest 110% into Latitude, and I want to, but what do I do with my relationships at Trinity? Especially with some of my kids that I just can't bear to not be a part of their lives. I don't know how that all works. Do I just take them out to coffee a couple times a month and catch up? Do I add on a txt plan to my phone so I can txt them randomly? And how does this all look? Is that a "clean break"? Ministry happens in relationships and there are some really good things happening in some of these kids lives that I can't bear to just drop out of. There's actually one girl that I love to bits and love her family to bits and if there was any way I could become a part of their family I would, that I'm actually praying that God would bring her to Latitude with me at some point. I don't know why I even started praying that. It came out of some cool conversations and God things that happened over the weekend. And somehow it just lead to praying in that direction. I think it would be a bit of a shock for her, and I don't know why she would even want to leave Trinity. or what her parents would think...but I want her to be in my life more than coffee. I want to be in her life for more than coffee. There is SOO much in this kid if she would let God get a hold of her completely. Who knows.

Adopt-a-block starts at Latitude this wednesday. Actually just the leadership team is going out, but I think I'm going to go with them. I'm super excited for this. I truely am excited for this transition to be over. I can't wait to call it my church, and to be completely sowing in there. No more double duty. It's definitely an interesting learning process though.

In other news, when I got home last night I saw that the 2006 IKEA cataloge had arrived! There was much rejoicing...and coveting...and realizing that I have no money.

Krys is coming to see me soon. I can not wait. HURRRRRRRRY. I love it when friends visit. I just love friends actually. I love that I am insanely blessed with amazing frienships.

I'm going to try to sleep again...I really need to sleep.