Monday, December 31, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 7

Meet Ariel and Luis!

Since I don't have separate pictures of these guys, I would like to introduce you to them together.

They are both from the small high-jungle town of Shell. When Ariel shares about his call to missions, he shares the story of Nate Saint, whose story you might be familiar with from the move End of the Spear. Those five missionaries were based out of the town of Shell as they ministered to the Waodani indigenous people, who ultimately killed them.

One of Ariel's strengths is charisma (or Woo, as it is called in English in the Gallup StrengthsFinder themes), and it is very notable from the first time you start talking to him. He is charismatic, confidant, and friendly, and so passionate for the Lord.

Ariel and Luis have both worked in indigenous villages to plant churches. When Luis shares of this experience, his flexibility in all circumstances comes through when he speaks of eating bugs and sleeping on the ground when necessary. Luis is so laid back, and loves people so much that he wants to take the gospel to them.

Pray for Ariel and Luis as they continue to raise funds in order to be deployed in January with the Ambato team.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 6

Meet Nikol!

Nikol Calderón is from Riobamba, Ecuador and is excited to put aside her studies for the next two years to become a part of a church planting team. We are excited to see her thrive in the church plant as she is a vivacious fun young lady with a passion for missions.

The inspiration for Nikol's call to missions comes from a song by Jesús Adrian Romero, which says, "You don't have to look for anyone else, I want to go.  Here is my time, here are my hours, here I am."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 5

Meet Nancy!

Nancy Ojeda hails from Riobamba, Ecuador and is passionate about getting on the field to start church planting. She is such a blast to be with and knows how to hold her own with sarcasm. Nancy has already finished her fundraising and will deploy in January and be part of the team planting a church in Ambato. 

She shares, "I can't imagine my life not doing His will.  I understand that when the Lord calls you He also backs you up.  I'm leaving behind all that I am for cause of God's love because, He loved me first.  My best decision is Christ."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 4

US Mobilization Team

These churches were planted, built, and have been covered in prayer because of the Mobilization team.

What if we could train and deploy every person in the world who is called and able to serve? What if there was an avenue in which we could disciple all nations to Jesus Christ? What if the Church remembered that to be mission-minded is not enough, and that we must focus on mobilizing the called to win the world for Christ.

Often times we forget that the most important link between the called and the field is mobilization. I am here because I met members of the Mobilization Team on campus of Southern Nazarene University in 2009. Everyone on the field works with a mobilizer who helps them find the way God has uniquely equipped them to serve.

But the Mobilization team has an extremely tough job! So join me in prayer for them today, that god would encourage their spirits and lead them to the people he has called.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 3

The Cercado Team

Arequipa, Peru is a city close to my heart, since I lived there for nine months during my time of 40/40 training. It is a beautiful city of about one million people, considered to be "The Land of Eternal Spring."

But Arequipa is a tough city to do ministry in, since it is located in the Andes mountains where people are generally not very receptive to the gospel.

But my friends in one of the very first church plants of XSA are planting a church in the urban center of Arequipa, the district known as Cercado.

Please pray for the members of this team:
Chris and Anndee Stringer and their daughters, Cluster Coordinators
40/40s Sheena Green, Brenda Portocarrera, Jessica Strickland, Kelsey Halterman, Mike Wheatley, Heyner Rustafo, Ray Bezjak, Sammy Martinez, Megan Schimmer, and Elisabeth Nuñez.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 2

SAM Mobilization Team

For the first time, Extreme Nazarene has a mobilization team for South America, seeking and deploying national missionaries into an Extreme expansion of God's kingdom.

This team currently includes myself, and Trevor Allen. We have both worked as 40/40s in Peru, planting churches in Cusco, and Puno.

Now, we find ourselves in Quito, Ecuador, seeking out 40/40s to send to four cities of Ecuador, and mobilizing local churches to send them. After six months, we will move to Chile to do the same thing there.

We are also seeking another member (or two) to join us in this mission in South America.

God is doing amazing things and blessing us greatly!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twelve Days: Day 1

What is Extreme Nazarene Ministries?

The purpose of Extreme is to seek and deploy people into an Extreme global Expansion of God's kingdom by prayerfully and thoughtfully engaging the specific talents, skills, experience and resources God gave them and to further develop them into full-time constructors of the Kingdom.

Extreme began in 2005 in the Ukraine with just one long-term staff person and 113 short-term volunteers. Projects have taken place over the last seven years in Ukraine, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Paraguay.

The newest project of Extreme is called "Extreme South America," a five-year project during which we will plant 16 churches in urban cities of South America, in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and more, using the 40/40 model and the Master's Plan strategy.

The two goals of the project are to:
1) Plant self-funded, self-replicating and self-governing churches
2) Develop 40/40™ Missionaries for Judea, Samaria and the ends of the Earth

Join us in prayer for Extreme and this huge vision God has given us!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas Introduction

Having been thoroughly informed on the Twelve Days of Christmas from a Wikipedia article (insert tongue in cheek), I now feel I can pass my knowledge on to the blogosphere!

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day and continuing through the Day of Epiphany on January 6th. The traditions of the twelve days vary in the different Christian churches and regions of the world.

Well, I want to create my own Twelve Days of Christmas, commemorating the work of Extreme in South America and sharing about the newest members of the Extreme team--the Ecuadorian 40/40s. This is most of all a call to prayer for what God is already doing in South America.

So make sure to check back during the Twelve Days of Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Year In Review

New Year 2010
New Year 2011
This year, I was going to skip my now-traditional year-in-review post. I felt like there wasn't that much to talk about, or not that much to reflect on. But then I started looking back on past blog posts, and I LOVED reading those posts from 2011 and 2010.

So, I don't want to miss this opportunity to review twenty-twelve, the year the world was supposed to end. But I will have to really rack my brain, because I have been a lazy blogger this year, and the only old journal I have in Quito only goes back to April of this year!

Here goes...

January: Alex and I celebrated Christmas and the new year with our good friends in Arequipa. Work resumed in Cusco, with Kathy and I working in Lamay, Coya, and Santiago. Tyler and Amy brought a ping-pong set back from the States that can be used on any table, so we started having ping pong nights!

February: We had a short-term team of five men come and build the first ever MOBILE foam chapel out of styrofoam bricks. We continued church services. I made homemade Pop Tarts, which might qualify as one of my proudest moments of the year.

March: I started to work more in the church plant sites of Oropesa and Huaro. We painted the foam chapel, and also began preparations for handing over the church plants to local leadership. We filmed the testimonies of our contacts, which I will always cherish. The Cusco team travelled to Arequipa to do a time of debrief with the Well-Being Team.

April: Since it was the Cusco team's last month, and we had done almost all of the leadership-handover, we got to do some fun things, like visit the Chocolate Museum of Cusco, take a day trip to the nearby city of Abancay, and go on several trips for coffee in our brand-new Starbucks. We also had a goodbye service at the home church in Cusco, and said our goodbyes to our dear friends and disciples. At the end of the month, Tyler, Amy, and Alex headed to the United States, and I went to Arequipa.

May: I was able to take a couple weeks of rest in Arequipa, recovering from the hard work of being a 40/40 and preparing for the next task of helping with short-term projects. May was maybe the first time in my life I have experienced real homesickness. But then it was off to the jungles of Peru for the first time, where we did a short-term building project in Puerto Maldonado with a team of college students from Southern Nazarene University. We built two chapels and did several outreach events, and I got to hang out with a monkey and zipline across the Amazon!

June: I went back to Cusco to prepare for the short-term project, and the first two weeks of June were all about preparation: organizing transportation and setting up events. Then a team of about forty people came, and they built two chapels for the churches I helped to plant, and did countless impact events, visiting schools, hospitals, orphanages, and plazas to reach out to people in these small towns. We dedicated the churches, and I will always remember hearing the disciples say, "Now we have to fill this church!"

July and August: I went back to Cincinnati! Chipotle, Graeter's, the Reds, and time with family and friends. I spent a week with kids at camp. I also spoke a total of twenty times to various groups about what God has done and continues to do in South America. I took a road trip with my dear friends Katie and Kristen to Chicago to get my visa for Ecuador. God provided financially in amazing ways, paving the way for me to return to South America.

September: I left the USA and went to Colombia, earning a new stamp in my passport. I spent two weeks in Cali, becoming completely immersed in the church there, and growing spiritually in intense ways. At the end of the two weeks, I made my move to Ecuador, beginning my job as SAM Mobilization Manager.

October: Off and running in my new job, making new contacts, following up with candidates, receiving training with Rachel Kuhn, and getting to know Ecuador, traveling to several cities, including Santo Domingo, Guayaquil, Riobamba, and Shell. I also celebrated my twenty-third birthday.

November: With Trevor having arrived at the end of October, we were able to visit two youth camps and generate new candidates. We had our first interviews and approved the first five 40/40s. We had a big Thanksgiving celebration with many missionary families in Ecuador.

December: More interviews, more speaking, more travel, and more new candidates and new 40/40s. Completely falling in love with Ecuador! Also visiting some very special people in the States for the holidays.

I was dead wrong about not having much to say this year, and in thinking not much happened!

 God has been so wonderful to me in 2012. I can't begin to sufficiently praise him for what He has done. He has poured his love on me and allowed me to swim in oceans of mercy. He has healed my heart and restored my soul. He has continued to call me and to equip me. I thank him and praise him.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best of 2012

I am not a music critic.

          And plenty of people really don't care for the music I like.

                    Nevertheless, music is very important for me. And I like to reflect on it.

So here is my list of the best songs and albums of 2012, in alphabetical order by band:

"Wake Up" by All Sons and Daughters from Reason to Sing
  • All Sons and Daughters is one of my favorite worship bands, lifting up honest worship for the church to the Savior. This song is a call for the church to wake up, rise, and carry her cross.

"After All (Holy)" by David Crowder Band from Give Us Rest
  • The lyrics in the verses of this song are incredible. "I can't comprehend your infinitely beautiful and perfect love. Oh, I've dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars, but they're never bright enough."
"Skyline Hill" by Jenny and Tyler from Open Your Doors

"I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons from Babel

"Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men from My Head Is An Animal

"Build Your Kingdom Here" by Rend Collective Experiment from Homemade Worship by Handmade People

"Over the Moon" by Rosie Thomas from With Love

  • One of my favorite love songs ever.
"When We Were Young" by Sucre from Minor Birds

"The Struggle" by Tenth Avenue North from The Struggle

  • This entire album is fantastic, and I actually considered doing a blog series to review it. Instead, this is me HIGHLY suggesting you support these guys and get this album. Surprisingly, based on the title, this is a hopeful album, reminding us that we are strangers here, redemption will win, there is still grace, we have freedom in Christ to struggle, and the struggle will end. I can't recommend this band or this album enough.
"Daughter" and "Will You Love Me" by The Vespers from The Fourth Wall

  • This whole album is amazing, and holds your attention with its incredible diversity. I can't even pick just one, because I love the whole album.

Honorable Mentions:

Derek Webb, Ctrl (I always love Derek Webb.)
Heath McNease, The Weight of Glory (This album is written based on the works of CS Lewis, and it is more than worth a listen. You can also download it for free legally HERE.)
Pomegranates, Heaven (I grew up with the keyboardist/singer of this band.)

And as I've done for the last couple years, I want to feature my best posts of 2012, the things you may have missed from this year:
  1. There's a Party In Heaven
  2. It's Over, But Not Really
  3. False Peaks
  4. Intense
  5. Crazy Discipleship
  6. Cost of Discipleship
  7. Twenty-Three and Restless
  8. Mobilizing Ecuador Doesn't Get Sweeter Than This 
  9. I Want Joy
  10. First Love
Thank you for being a part of my 2012. May God bless you abundantly in the coming year!

And don't forget to check back for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Extreme style, beginning December 25th! I've been working hard on this, so I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reflecting and Seeking

Another year is coming to an end.

I think Christmastime typically makes people nostalgic. I mean, at Christmas, you can listen to whatever music you want. I personally, am partial to Point of Grace's Christmas albums. Steven Curtis Chapman, too. And what would I do without Relient K's "Let it Snow Baby, Let it Reindeer?"

You watch the same old movies you watch every year. It is a busy time of year, but I think you can be content just sitting by a fireplace sipping hot chocolate, too.

Reflection is an important part of the holiday tradition. You reminisce about years gone by, about family members who are no longer with you. And as you say goodbye to another year, you think about all the good and the bad that year has held for you.

That's what I currently find myself doing.

A friend recently told me that I seem happier now than I've ever been; and I don't disagree. I love my life. I am so thankful for every blessing I have, and so content with my circumstances.

I have this incredible job that I started in September, and I feel so extremely fulfilled. For those of you wondering what exactly I do as Mobilization Manager for South America, I will try to explain it...

My team is seeking South Americans who want to Go, Give, and Pray through Extreme Nazarene Ministries. A large portion of what we do is meet with individuals who have a passion to do something more. We sit down with them, and listen to their stories. We help them discern what God is saying to them. We listen in order to determine if they have the potential to be long term staff with Extreme, specifically 40/40 church planting missionaries. Sometimes we recommend they go short term. And we pray together.

Some of my job involves paperwork and budgets. I like the relational aspect of the job, but I'm also an organization freak. So this part is really fun for me to.

I love going out though, and visiting churches. One of my favorite things to do in North or South America is to share my passion for missions and cast the Extreme vision. And we are being met with such an incredible response in Ecuador.

I love this job. I get to live in another culture. I get to speak another language every day. I get to travel all over South America and live in several countries during these two years. I get to relate to people, young and old, who have a call from God to go, give, and pray. This is seriously the most incredible job ever!

Are you jealous of my amazing job? Well guess what? You don't have to be! We are seeking a third (and then fourth and eventually fifth!) member of the mobilization team to work with us in South America for the next two years. If you feel God calling YOU to be a mobilizer for South America and have this amazing life too, contact me at We REALLY need another mobilizer, and I believe God is already calling someone to be a part of this team.

So, enjoy this Advent season. Make a fire. Drink some hot chocolate. Consider the amazing gift of Emmanuel. And take time to reflect on this year. Above all, be thankful.

May our Lord Jesus Christ fill you with joy in his presence.

**Keep an eye out for the SAM Mobilization version of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" later this month, where I am going to introduce you to our Ecuadorian 40/40s, and share how you can pray for Extreme.**

Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Words

One word to describe my life: busy.

Wait, can I have two words? Because that one word doesn't tell the whole story.

My second word to describe my life: blessed.

Busy, but blessed.

Mobilization is now a team. It is at least a duo, a pretty dynamic duo, if I do say so myself.

Meet Trevor Allen. He joins me now in Ecuador as a fellow mobi, straight from Ohio, via Puno, Peru where he worked as a 40/40.


We are seeing so much progress in Ecuador as we cast the Extreme vision. We now have five approved 40/40s following our November 10th interviews. And honestly, we have more candidates than we know what to do with, which, I must say, is the best problem EVER!

We are now gearing up for the next round of interviews, which will take place in Guayaquil December 7th and 8th. It looks like we will have even more candidates to interview this time around!

As a matter of fact, it is worth mentioning that I will be traveling every weekend of December. This weekend, we will be speaking in a church in Riobamba. The following weekend interviews will take place in Guayaquil. The next weekend should take us to Santo Domingo to speak at another church, where one of our 40/40s is coming from. And finally, I will be headed home to the States for Christmas, and traveling to visit friends after. There won't be any dull moments for a while, which is just how I like it!

I love this job. The longer I am in Ecuador, the more I love this beautiful country. I am having the time of my life sharing my passion for missions, and seeing young people step up to follow the Lord, while the church steps up to support them. It really is an amazing privilege to be a part of what God is doing in South America through Extreme.


Last week, the United States celebrated Thanksgiving, and we, too, celebrated here in Ecuador, a small group of expatriate friends gathering together to eat, and be thankful. And I am thankful. I thank God for bringing me here, for providing for me, for placing amazing people in my life, and for blessing me with a call to serve my Lord and Savior forever and always. I am blessed.

And because I am blessed, I want to be a blessing to others, all the days of my life.

God bless you friends, during this holiday season,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Twenty Three and Restless


I told a few people that I thoroughly expected to arise this morning to discover a face filled with wrinkles and a head of gray hairs, to match my now elderly stage of life.

Obviously, it didn't work that way.

But I did celebrate a wonderful birthday in Ecuador. And I realized that I have spent all of my twenties in South America.

I said that I would be celebrating my birthday all month this year. What that really entails is considering everything special, unusual, or exciting that happens in October to be specifically for my birthday. (Whether that is the case or not is IRRELEVANT.) So yesterday I had a "birthday pedicure" and tomorrow I am going out "for my birthday." Like I said, the fact that these events would take place whether it were my birthday or not just doesn't matter!

After awaking this morning and seeing there were still no wrinkles or grays to be found, I received a cinnamon roll from Shirley for breakfast, candle and all! Then I made myself a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice VIA (courtesy of Tyler and Amy Liebelt).

I had a fairly relaxing day, even treating myself to Oreos with Peanut Butter (courtesy of Rachel Kuhn!).
Tonight, I was taken out to dinner with the missionaries, and had a little party after, with delicious cake and ice cream!

I end the day feeling extremely blessed and spoiled.

And this afternoon, I began to listen to a playlist from my iTunes titled, "October"-- a playlist I created two years ago. Birthdays tend to make one nostalgic... It's funny how much has changed, and how much hasn't.

Because the first song of the playlist is Audrey Assad's, "Restless."

"And I'm restless, I'm restless until I rest in you, 'til I rest in you. 
Still my heart, hold me close 
Let me hear, a still small voice 
Let it grow, let it riseInto a shout, into a cry. 
And I'm restless, I'm restless until I rest in you, 'til I rest in you 
I wanna rest in you oh God."

And on this day I celebrate twenty-three years on this precious earth, that is how I feel.

"If our deepest desires cannot be satisfied in this world, then we must be made for another."

I know that the deepest desires of my heart are only truly satisfied in Kingdom Come. I am yearning for a Savior, longing for the day when all things are made new. When we finally reach the peak of what it means to know God, and exist in His presence.

I hope to have many more happy birthdays in this earth, but all the best moments of this life are only a shadow of what is to come. And I want to keep that in perspective as I really do develop wrinkles someday, and see so much more change in this life. I am restless until I rest with the Liberating King.

But thank you for helping make this birthday special.

Grace and peace,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mobilizing Ecuador Doesn't Get Sweeter Than This

It is raining INCREDIBLY hard right now, probably the hardest rain storm I've seen in a very long time.

And I'm listening to Katie Herzig's song, "Sweeter Than This." 

And my life is pretty sweet right now. Besides the fact that I am not a big fan of rain, I am loving my life in Quito!

Rachel Kuhn spent four full days with me in Ecuador for a time of mobilization training.

And now the rain mixes with hail, making so much noise as it hits the roof, windows, and pavement. 

The thunder and hail are distracting as I attempt to put into words what the Lord has been doing these days in Ecuador.

And really, all words of the english language--or spanish for that matter-- are inadequate to describe the things God is putting into motion for his glory.

This is in Riobamba, where we have three candidates. It's okay if you're jealous.

I have now had meetings with six very strong 40/40 candidates. During one of my meetings with Rachel and three potential candidates on Monday, the passion was just bubbling out of the three young Ecuadorians.

Remember how I told you that right now, there are young people in South America with a call to serve the Lord as missionaries, but really have no opportunity to go? Well it is my job to give them the opportunity to fulfill their call to missions.

And I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to do that! And they are willingly responding to God's call on their lives.

So pray for these young people as they begin the application process. And pray that God will provide fifteen Ecuadorians who have answered the call by March 2013. Pray also that God would provide their funding.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Can't Comprehend

Take a minute to soak in these lyrics...

May we all fall more in love with the Almighty Liberating King today.

"Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty.
The whole earth is full of His glory."


I can't comprehend your infinitely beautiful and perfect love
Oh I've dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars
But they're never bright enough after all

You are Holy
Oh Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

I will sing a song for you my God with everything I have in me
But it's never loud enough after all

You are Holy
Oh Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

Heaven and earth are full, full of your glory, glory
My soul it overflows full of your glory, your glory
Oh blessed is he who reigns, full of your glory, your glory
My cup, it can't contain all of your glory, your glory
Hosanna we are found after all you are

Oh Holy
Holy, Holy, Holy

I can't comprehend
You're infinitely beautiful

Monday, October 1, 2012

First Love

Revelation 2:1-5

2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

“You have forsaken your first love.”

The church in Ephesus was praised for “hard work and perseverance.”

You can do all kinds of work FOR God, but neglect to love Him, have a relationship with Him, and do it all BECAUSE of Him.

That’s pretty dangerous.

Especially for someone like me… You see, I am all to prone to being a workaholic. I like to be the Fix-It Girl, the girl with all the answers, the girl who gets stuff done.

And if I’m not careful, I end up making THAT my identity, instead of finding my identity in my First Love, Jesus Christ.

I love doing ministry. I have been on the mission field in South America for two and a half years, and I love my life. I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made that have brought me here, and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.


I love DOING ministry so much that it is easy for me to neglect my First Love. I can get up in the morning and spend my days in evangelism and discipleship, without actually spending any time with my Savior and LORD. I can “persevere and endure hardships,” but I must repent of this: leaving my First Love.

There is a delicate balance here. Because we must LOVE the Lord, whether He chooses to use us or not. We must LOVE the Lord, whether He chooses to bless us or not. We must LOVE the Lord and live to bring glory to HIS name, even if our names are forgotten.

I don’t want to forsake my First Love. I want to care a whole lot more about His name than my own. I want to persevere, not for my own glory, but for His Kingdom.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cost of Discipleship

Luke 14:25-35

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even life itself—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Following Jesus has a very high cost. We must love him so much that the love we have for any other person looks like hate in comparison.

A tough teaching from Jesus.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

…And a man who wants to build a building will first make sure he has enough money to complete the construction. He must count up the cost.

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

The last couple of verses of this passage almost don’t seem to fit; Jesus starts talking about salt. If salt loses its saltiness, it is no longer good for anything, and must be thrown out. What is Jesus even talking about?

Passion, love, excitement, can be equated with saltiness. But in the (very long) narrow road, these feelings will not be enough. There has to be something else to it. There has to be a commitment that goes so much deeper. That even if we never received a single blessing from God, we would still follow Him, JUST BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS.

THIS is the cost.

Who HE IS comes first.

You should definitely listen to the above song, but better than the lyrics of RCE, I will leave you with some words of Jesus. I share them because they are convicting to me, and I need to examine myself as much as anyone else. 

The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) tend to have many similarities. So this passage may be similar to the above passage in Luke, but the way Jesus ends in is, well, scary. If not scary, at least something to be taken very seriously:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” --Mark 8:34-38

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Profile of the Obsessed

I want to be a disciple. 
In the previous post, I shared Francis Chan's "Profile of the Lukewarm," and challenged us to do some self-examination. The following is Chan's "Profile of the Obsessed." 
To be completely obsessed with Jesus is to be a disciple. To love him above all else.
People who are obsessed with Jesus…
  • Give freely and openly without censure… love those who hate them and who can never pay them back.
  • Aren’t consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else…care more about God’s kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress.
  • Live lives that connect them with the poor in some way or another…believe that Jesus talked about money and the poor so often because it was really important to him.
  • Are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo…will do things that don’t always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth.
  • Know that the sin of pride is always a battle…know that you can never be “humble enough” and so they seek to make themselves less and Christ more known.
  • Do not consider service a burden…take joy in loving God by loving His people.
  • Are known as givers, not takers.
  • Genuinely think that others matter as much as they do, and they are particularly aware of those who are poor around the world.
  • Think about heaven frequently…orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them.
  • Are characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being.
  • Are raw with God; they do not attempt to mask the ugliness of their sins or failures…don’t put it on for God; He is their safe place, where they can be at peace.
  • Have an intimate relationship with God…are nourished by God’s Word throughout the day.
  • Are more concerned with character than comfort…know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment.
  • Know that the best thing they can do is be faithful to their Savior in every aspect of life, continually saying, “Thank you!” to God…know there can never be intimacy if they are always trying to pay God back or work hard enough to be worthy…revel in their role as a child of God.