Sunday, December 31, 2006

Looking Forward to 2007

Tonight is a night of time alone with the Lord and of course posting to my blog. :-) 2006 has been eye-opening and wonderful and it’s been good to take the time to pause and reflect on where God has brought me this year. Since 2007 will (Lord-willing) include my final semester of college (I know, I know, it’s about time you all are saying), graduating mid-May, getting my first full-time job, possibly moving out on my own and possibly far from home, I have felt an intense need to get alone with Him and commit this next year entirely to Him. As I have been spending time with the Lord, I’ve been thinking about songs that have been my theme song this year. I think MercyMe’s “Crazy” has been this year’s theme as well as the old hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” I think my new theme song is this song called “Divine Romance" by Phil Wickham (for audio see Here are the lyrics courtesy of that site. Thanks Jen for getting me the link to this!

"Divine Romance

verse 1:
The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God, I’m completely satisfied

For You I sing I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love

verse 2:
A deep deep flood, an Ocean flows from You
Of deep deep love, yeah it’s filling up the room
Your innocent blood, has washed my guilty life
In Your presence God I’m completely satisfied"

As I think about this next year and wherever God is going to take me and whatever my life is going to look like a year from now, I rest assured and deeply satisfied in all God is for me in Christ. I know that wherever He leads me, I will be all right, just as long as I have Him…because “In Your presence God, I’m completely satisfied.”

New Year's Resolutions

As I do every year on New Year’s Eve, I am prayerfully contemplating what my resolutions for this upcoming year should be. For the past three years I have been influenced greatly by Jonathan Edwards’s 70 resolutions ( ) and this year is no different, but since 2006 was a bit of an eye-opening year with regards to the brevity of life, I have decided to include some other random, but very important resolutions. [I have marked the Jonathan Edwards’s resolutions with quotes and “JE” is placed after them] Now my resolution list is actually a tad bit longer than what I have included here, but two resolutions are a little more deeply personal than normal and only my dear mother and closest girlfriends will know of those two specific resolutions. :-)

All right, without further ado, here they are, my 2007 New Year Resolutions!

1. Resolved, to pursue God with all I have within me, so that each night as I lay down to go to sleep I can honestly say, 'I am more in love with Christ today than I had been the day before.'
2. “Resolved, To live with all my might while I do live.” -JE
3. “Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.” -JE
4. Resolved, To continue to immerse myself daily in Scripture with the help of the DJ Bible Reading Plan (
5. Resolved, To devote myself to memorizing a minimum of one Bible verse a week, and to meditate and chew on that verse as much as possible throughout the week.
6. Resolved, to sing at the top of my lungs each and every day.
7. Resolved, to learn one new hymn on the piano each and every week.
8. Resolved, to renew my commitment to good health by engaging in some form of cardio a minimum of three times a week, strength training two days a week, as well as monitoring/increasing water intake to prevent kidney stones and allowing myself 7-8 hours of sleep a night, as much as it is in my power to do so.
9. “Resolved, never to say any thing at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.” –JE
10. “Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity.” –JE
11. “Resolved, Never to do anything which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” -JE
12. “Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.” -JE
13. “Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion” [i.e. my relationship with Christ], “and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.” –JE
14. “Resolved, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God' s.” –JE

Monday, December 25, 2006

Missing Grandpa

[WARNING—This is a bit more personal of a post than normal, skip to another post if you feel you shouldn’t read.]

Well Christmas is winding to a close and my thoughts are drifting to Grandpa again. This was our second Christmas without him and although rarely does a day go by without me thinking about him, it’s still the holidays that seem to be excessively difficult. I love my family so much and getting together with them is always a blast, but there is still this massive, gaping hole without Grandpa there. I miss him greeting me at the door with a kiss on the head, a quick rub on the shoulder and the predictable, “How’s Mouse doing?” with that awesome twinkle in his eye. [I am my grandpa’s “mouse” for those who didn’t know] :-) I miss curling up on the couch next to him after I am stuffed from dinner and getting drowsy and experiencing that awesome warm, safe feeling that always flooded my body whenever I was near him. I miss him joking with my uncles around the table and his adoration of the dogs and his delight at any of the tricks Uncle Brian could have his dogs perform for him. I miss him coming down on Christmas morning to be with us as we opened our presents, particularly when Benjamin “opened” his.

And thinking about any other day in the year that isn’t a holiday…I miss Grandpa’s hugs, I miss the unconditional love he always poured out on me, I miss being able to just sit at his house with him for hours and not have to talk, to just sit and be there beside him. Or to prattle on about anything and everything going on in my life when I was stressed or nervous and him just letting me get it all out...and not judging me for anything that was said. I miss being able to call him when I’m alone in a thunderstorm and him driving down to be with me. I miss his laugh. I miss him teasing me or teasing the dogs or cats. I miss feeding all the animals with him. I miss eating Snickers with him, or ice cream, or any form of chocolate. I miss being out in the barn with him or walking back to the pond with him with a dog close at our heels (Abby or Ben). I miss watching Casablanca with him. I miss sitting at the picnic table with him on an early summer evening, drinking in the smell of lilacs and looking out around the farm. And I had to pause just now because my mind went blank and that scares me to no end because I think that one of my greatest fears is I’m going to begin to forget, forget what he smelled like, forget what it was like to have him hug me, forget all the sweet and funny and absolutely wonderful things that made him my grandpa. One of the sure and stable, and thoroughly dependable presences in my life.

So tonight, as I’m missing Grandpa so much that my body hurts, I am pointed Godward, to Christ, my Rock, the eternally dependable presence in my life. Christ who IS my life. I am comforted by the fact that my relationship with Him will extend into eternity, that there will never be a time when I have to be separated from Him because I just couldn’t bear that. Having to keep going without Grandpa is trying enough, a life without my God would be unbearable!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Thoughts

I love Christmas! Sure I love spending time with family, baking cookies with my mom, watching Irving Berlin's White Christmas, wrapping presents, singing Christmas carols, etc., but what I really love is the time for reflecting on the birth of Christ. Tonight though I’ve been thinking a lot about what our world would be like if Christ had NOT been born. I have been aided in these thoughts by a letter from Sam Crabtree to the congregation at Bethlehem Baptist (Piper’s church). It's entitled, "What Would Not Be If Jesus Had Not Been" available at [Sorry I'm not linking directly to it, I'm having problems tonight inserting links.]

If Christ had not come to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for my sins, rose victoriously from the grave, triumphing over death...I would not be able to come before our most holy God, I wouldn’t have the Holy Spirit to rely on day in and day out, I would not have a church family, I would not have the wonderful encouraging missionary biographies to read, the apostle Paul who is such a great inspiration to me would never have penned the epistles. There would be no verses that serve as my lifelines, like…

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” -Colossians 3:1-4

Or Philippians 3:7-10, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

Or verses that send waves of excitement through me and cause me to want to burst out singing at the top of my lungs…

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:4-10

Ultimately, if Christ had not come to this earth, I would have no hope of heaven. Such sobering thoughts on Christmas Eve, but oh how they make me love and adore my Lord all the more! Because the truth of the matter is He DID come to earth, He DID live a perfect life, He DID die on the cross and was resurrected and I am now clothed in His perfect righteousness and have full access to a perfect, holy God through Christ alone. Oh how I love this!!!

Sam Crabtree says at the beginning of his letter “I pray that during this Christmas season and at all times God would enable you to treasure his incarnate and risen son above all else.” And I must thank this man, although I don’t know him, because his letter posted on Desiring God, has done just that for me. Oh how I love my Lord more tonight, thinking of what my life would look like if He had never come. It causes me to celebrate His birth with a more joyful and grateful heart than I have ever before!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Tribute to Frank Lampard

I am sad to announce that in the past few weeks I have been assaulted with various critiques of Frank Lampard's level of skill as a midfielder. Now in defense of my favorite midfielder in the world, I went in search of something to justify my opinion of him and I found it, on YouTube, a great source of fun clips which I am quickly becoming a bit addicted to. Check it out...

Or how about this goal from Dec. 17th....

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christian Biography

John Piper is a constant encouragement to me in my walk with the Lord. And it is his thoughts on Christian biography that have molded my post for today. When I first became a Christian my junior year of high school, men like Jim Elliot were my source of inspiration as I poured over his biography and journals, inspired by his intense devotion to Christ and his passion for the lost. As God continued to grow me through His Word, He kept bringing more men who have long since departed from this world, men like Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, Henry Martyn, Adoniram Judson and more recently John Paton. These men were so “God-besotted” [I stole this phrase from some man after God’s own heart, Piper, Pastor Dan at Five Points, who knows, sorry I can’t cite it properly], that by just reading a paragraph in any one of their biographies, challenges me, convicts me, causes me to desire God more than I had a moment before.

Piper says in his book, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy that “when you read Christian biography you get to see a person fight for joy over a lifetime. This is tremendously helpful. It gives guidance in the warfare. It gives inspiration because of triumphs of grace. It gives humility and hope because of failures and recoveries. And sometimes there are glimpses of what is possible in relation to God that set a reader to praying and longing as never before” (133). That has been my experience time and time again. I want to see and know deeply within me what it takes to go hard after Jesus for the rest of my life. I count these men of God as my dear friends, the men who have inspired me to go harder after God than I knew was possible. They have showed me what it means to live a life of uncompromising allegiance to Christ and I long to live as they did. I thank God time and time again that I can have these biographies in my own language, just as I have the Word of God because after all, “a Christian life, whether past or present, is a demonstration of the truth of God’s Word and a display of God’s grace” (Piper 132).

So I press on in my reading of Christian biography and I have to conclude by once again quoting Piper, “For the sake of your joy in Christ read Christian biography. It will take you out of yourself and put you in another time and another skin, so that you see Jesus with eyes more full of wonder than your own. Find some Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered saints from centuries gone by and learn from them how to fight for joy” (134) in Christ.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Premiership Ties

I have observed that in my little area of the world (i.e. the United States), to be a fan of Premiership soccer creates a bizarre bond amongst the unlikeliest people. Example, three summers ago (possibly it might have been four, my summers have kinda blurred together) I was on the beach with my brother and cousins and we encountered a girl wearing a Tottenham shirt. I approached this "Tottenham" girl and started chatting about her shirt and the past season and instantaneously we're friends...because after all, to love Prem. in the States is a bit of an anomaly...or so I had originally thought.

Next example, sitting in class at SVSU almost two years ago, I walk in one day sporting my new long sleeve Newcastle United shirt. I go quietly to my desk and start pulling out my books only to look up and find a guy and a girl smiling at me. I hadn't talked to these two all semester and now they are smiling at me. Hmmm. At the break the girl approaches me, asked me where I got my shirt and we start chatting and I find out they are devoted Man. City fans. The rest of the semester whenever I'd see them in class or in the halls we'd express condolences or congrats on various games that had occurred the previous weekend. I've run into those two so many times that now we typically sit down and chat about soccer and catch up on life when we're together.

I have tons of other examples, but I'll turn to more recent examples. A much appreciated Prem. fan is one of the history professors whose office is on the floor I work on at SVSU. He is always e-mailing me classic goals, getting tapes of games to me when I missed one because of homework and provides a steady stream of break-room commentary on the games. And even though he is an Arsenal fan while I am now a devoted Chelsea fan, we don't hold this against one another, because after all, a love of Prem. nullifies all such childish tendencies.

And of course, my supposition that Prem. fans are few and far between was completely abolished when I started attending Midland Free. I have met Liverpool and Everton fans and people who watch it once in awhile, but have yet to form an allegiance to any one team. This has been really encouraging. Well, there is my short commentary on Premiership ties. Oh and I have to dedicate this post to my friend Ciaran who was the one who got me really addicted to Prem. back in 2001. Thanks Ciaran. :-)

My fun week continues...

So my first week of Christmas break is turning out to be way better than I had anticipated. First I was just excited because all I had was work this week and NO HOMEWORK to think about and race to get done. Then I realized with all of this free time I would have plenty of time to catch up with the girls and that made me even more excited. But I had no idea how great it would be and how much I have missed everyone.

Monday night started out great with catching up with Jen as we went over to the Andrews' house for Jennifer Chen's tea she was hosting to update all of us on her work in Washington, D.C. Then, to my great surprise, Amy greeted me at the door (I haven't seen Amy all semester!!!) and I got to spend part of the evening catching up with her as well.

Tuesday night featured Amy, Shannon and I shopping for Adam's present that REAL is sending over to him when a group from church heads to SE Asia this winter. We were able to get Adam's presents, but our own Christmas shopping was left for a later date because we needed more concentrated time to chat. There is nothing in this world like catching up with these dear friends and hearing what God is doing in their lives. It is always so encouraging!

And now that brings me to last night. Jen, Shannon and I congregated at our summer hangout, McDonalds. This probably seems weird, but I got all nostalgic when the three of us sat down, just like old times (I know said "old times" is only last summer, but it really seems like an eternity ago). Discussing God stuff, general life stuff, work, music, books, incredibly random (but oh so not random at the same time) llamas and t-shirt design, and so much more. Oh yes and good ol' soccer stuff with Jen. [Quick aside, Jen is well on her way to becoming quite the devoted Premiership junkie! Yea! My takeover is almost complete.] Anyway, the point being is that it was just an awesome time. I love my girls so much and I am posting this partly because my blog is my space to just get out whatever I'm thinking about, but also to serve as a reminder to me next semester when I'm drowning in all the work that goes with a final semester of college, that I need to take time out to just relax with the girls. Then, Andy, Matt and Kyle came to McDonalds after their movie and I was able to catch up with them for a short bit before I had to head home. There is almost nothing like catching up with old friends!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Official Now

OK, so I’m actually starting my blog now, officially this time. Format for this blog is going to vary, so please bear with me. I’m basically going to use this space as a medium for my incredibly random, scattered thoughts that are always ricocheting around in my head. So anyway, that’s my little disclaimer.

This week has been so wonderful so far. First of all, I have been getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night! Woohoo!!! Next, I’ve been working 8am-4:30pm every day this week. I love this schedule! I have so much free time compared to the 12-14+ hour days I had this semester. It is incredible! And since I have all this free time it means I have time to spend catching up with friends. Praise God! Yea for four weeks of no classes and four weeks of normalcy!