Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sovereignty vs. Intimacy

Just a few thoughts have been on my mind lately. I’m reading A.W. Tozer’s book “The Knowledge of the Holy” and it has been challenging me since the moment I started it. I love being uncomfortable about what I believe…it makes me want to know more

But on a slightly separate note, I think about Easter…Good Friday. First let me explain to you my view on that. I feel like this Easter means so much more to me. For whatever reason, the cross feels real to me. Maybe its because I feel like I actually know the man that died for me. Let me put this in perspective. I think of someone like my dad. Some people don’t have good feelings when they think of their fathers, but I do. I think…what if my brothers and I really messed up. We did something really wrong and as a result my Dad had to suffer on a cross right in front of us. That rips me up. Seriously, think about that. Dwell on the thought for minute before you continue reading. Let it sink in. Someone who did nothing to deserve the punishment, yet did it willingly out of his love for me…for you. And to think that Jesus is even more perfect than my dad, loves me even more, and sacrificed even more. He gave it all FOR ME.

In Hebrews 12:2 it says “ Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” My grandma and I were talking about this verse. “the joy set before him” what was the joy? I don’t think it was just the fact that he was returning to the father….I think it was the fact that he knew how many lives would be saved through his act of obedience. He had great anguish going into the crucifixion…but he did it knowing that his loss would be our gain. I think of all the missions trips I ‘ve been on, times when I’ve sacrificed money, or comfort to see others come to know the love of Jesus…and done it with great joy…and how that is NOTHING in comparison to the sacrifice of Jesus…but the joy was that much more. To think of the millions that have been snatched out of the hands of Hell. Jesus made my life worth something. Apart from him, my life has no meaning. He is the only good that is in me. I love being used to spread His name.

In a synopsis, those have been my significant thoughts regarding Easter….but back to my talk about Tozer. I think sometimes its easy to forget how far above us, God is. He is worthy of our worship. I think of how often our faith becomes about US. We want to worship God so we can feel His presence. We want our ministry to be as effective as possible, because we want to make a difference. Sometimes we do something wrong and we feel like we can’t go back into God’s presence right away because we are unworthy, or we’re not feeling it that day….but since when has worship had to do with YOU? We worship God, not because we feel like it…but because he is 100% worthy of every bit of honor we can bestow him. He doesn’t need to give us a thing. We don’t need to feel his presence. But we need to honor him because he is GOD. Not because of what he has or hasn’t done for us. And what an honor it is that God humbles himself to our level and draws us into himself. We are nothing in comparison to everything he IS. Its almost embarrassing to think that God listens to me whine all the time. Yet he loves it! He wants to hear my thoughts. He is so far above me and knows so much more than I can even comprehend, and yet he cares enough to see my thoughts.

How often do we feel like God has to prove something to us? Today I’ve been wrestling with the idea of faith. Is faith blind acceptance of what the Bible says is true? Does it show a lack of faith to question concepts? My grandma read me something from Oswald Chambers that talks about how often we expect those moments of inspiration that we receive from God to be the norm. How we expect that God will tell us exactly what we should do for every decision. How faith is believing even when we don’t hear anything. A commitment that is not dependent on consciousness of God’s active presence in our lives. This kind of makes me question. I believe that God speaks to man. I believe anyone can hear the active living word of God, and we can be conscious of his presence at all times. But why do some seem so content WAITING to know more about God. Trusting that eventually they will understand his nature, and know his thoughts….while some are in a constant pursuit to know NOW. Is one wrong? Is faith a marathon or a high dive? Is it both? What is right faith? I think there is significance in both. I think those that believe without seeing, without knowing, and without needing proof are rewarded. Think of Hebrews 11, and all those listed there. But then I think of the men in Acts who stepped out in faith on a regular basis. Both had faith…but Acts seems more instantaneous than the Old Testament. Did things change when Jesus came?

Where is the balance of knowing that God is absolutely sovereign and worthy of all our praise without any NEED to interact with us, and that desire to know God intimately and tangibly on a day to day basis? Both seem to be right…yet it almost seems like belief in one negates the other. But who am I to know?

I will keep seeking and questioning. I will dig until I find and I will sell all I have to buy that pearl of great price. I want to believe what is right. My heart longs to know more. If my longing is wrong, I will find what I must do. Almost seems like seeking is a lack of faith…but I feel like once I find what I’m looking for, I’ll stick with it…and try to find something else. :] Hmm…just thoughts that go through my head.

I’d love to hear some feedback. What do you wrestle with?

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Choice to Get Lost. (Poem)

Where do passion and emotion blur the lines?
Reverence, boldness, and ambition not yet refined.
To stand at the alter and lift up your arms
If your hearts not engaged, it does nothing but harm
Callous, dry, overused, and typical
"I can cry and dance, but feel nothing reciprocal.
The God of Heaven alive in my chest?
Why don't I feel it, if I'm DOING my best?"
The actions, the words, the law and expectation
The anguish of desiring but feeling limitation
Is your heart not engaged or do you just not know how?
Do you stick to repetition or question to stand or bow?
I have a word for both of you
Its not that you're wrong, but I question your view
You lift up your hands while texting your friends
Are you feeling the Holy Spirit when you're pressing send?
Why go through the motions if your hearts not involved?
Why be content with mediocre when your world can be revolved?
You lift up your voice and dance with all your might,
But you're tired and frustrated that your worship isn't right.
You sang this song last time, and you felt the Presence
But by merely going through the motions you're missing the ESSENCE
You desire a heart that desires God
But you're either content maintaining your fraud
or you're constantly striving, but never enough
Faking you've got it, so no one calls your bluff
You don't have it together and you're afraid or you don't care
I challenge you to break down your facades and lay your heart out bare
If you lack the desire and lack the will
Ask God who gives generously to all, and that void will be filled
If you lack the knowledge, just stuck in the emotional draw
Know its all about your heart, and stop following the LAW
The Law kills but the spirit gives LIFE
With freedom like a dagger, piercing strongholds like a knife
Your best efforts combined with apathy yield a wall
But at the cross, Jesus died once and for all.
Walls are broken, and chains are loosed
Your heart and passion with Jesus now fuzed
Nothing separates you from the Love at the cross
So lay your actions aside and go ahead and get lost
To be lost in His Presence, undone by His grace
To be overwhelmed by joy, and broken by just a taste
How great is this God that we serve up on high
How can you walk around broken and unsatisfied?
Do you even know what is at your disposal?
Relationship with Jesus, His eternal proposal
Emotion will come when you've received His grace
Yet one does not determine the other, neither does time nor place
Just get lost in the Lord and let yourself Know Him
The farther you go, the more your walls will dim
To stand, sit, jump, or bow isn't whats at stake
Its about the choice to be in awe, a choice you must make
So make the choice.
You're not a victim to your circumstance, you have a voice.
Let the grace overtake you and shatter your heart
And know that the choice is ONLY the first part.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Revelations of the Love of Jesus

Sometimes I look at my blog, and I want to write something but I don't know what to write. Sometimes I want to have a theme or a topic and write about my thoughts on a specific issue. Or I want to explode everyone's brains with some crazy insight I have that may or may not be unique. Or sometimes I just want to talk about how I'm feeling or what I've gone through. Right now I'm looking at this and thinking I should write, because I know Layne wants me to write more blogs. :]

Sometimes its so easy to get caught up in the big question for college kids-- WHATS NEXT? It's almost like we're constantly under the pressure to be where we're not, or to be aspiring to be at a better place than where we are. I know I've consumed SO MUCH of my time this week thinking about what I should do now. Sometimes the answer is simple, and I overthink it and get confused, or sometimes circumstances change so I have to be flexible and work around them.

Lately, I've been at a place where I've gone back and forth between peace and confusion, and I was letting my perception of other people's expectations of me hinder me from making a decision. I wanted to please others and do what seemed to be the logical thing to do to make everyone happy. I was caught up in it all. I wanted to seek God but my confusion was causing me to forget how to even hear God's voice. I was almost panicking, because coming back from such a mountain top experience (aka. DTS) I was expecting to be some sort of prophet from another land that just could constantly determine the Lord's will. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I had an expectation of myself to be at a place that I didn't feel like I was.

A good friend suggested I look over my DTS notes and remember the things I was taught during lecture phase, I did so and all the sudden I felt like my confusion came crashing down. I realized I hadn't actually been seeking God. I wasn't waiting on the Lord. I was riding on my DTS experience with God and just expecting Him to answer me. I wasn't being active. I prayed, but more in passing than anything else. I got my Bible out and I just really sought the Lord. I had a few good talks with people and I got my priorities straight and I've just felt so at peace, knowing I don't have to make a decision right now...The pressure I imposed on myself isn't really there. I can choose to be at peace at a time when I have questions.

Tonight, I went to the MVMNT Thursday night service and God really spoke to me. MAN. Matt was giving the exhortation and he talked about Jesus dying on the cross and looking out and seeing each one of us. Jesus from the cross looked at MY life. He called out Rachel Olson. And all he asked me to do was love him back. Thats it! Yeah, missions and ministry is great. I know God wants me to do that...but all it comes down to is the unfathomable, unchanging, motivating, unrelenting love of Jesus Christ. And the fact that all this love is directed towards me as an individual. I don't have to do anything. It makes me think of the attention of a person. How when someone treats you like you're valuable, like you're the funniest, most exciting and interesting person they've ever met...and they're just so captivated with you. And how Jesus looks at me and He's just like "wow, Rachel, you're fascinating to me. I want to know you more. I want to spend time with you. I want you to spend forever with me. I want you to know the depths of how much I care for you. I want you to feel like you are worth everything that you are. I love a you." Literally...that just gets my heart pumping in my chest. How the God of the universe could come in the form of a human, with a human will and emotion and yet choose to fall in love with ME. It sounds so simple. It sounds like the typical revelation you get when you go to church...but I will never grow tired of having a new revelation of how much Jesus loves me. I just LOVE Jesus. He makes me giddy! I get to a place where I'm just blown away, totally in love and thinking...I'm the luckiest girl in the whole world. And its crazy because I know that God loves everyone to the same capacity...and that doesn't make his love less valuable that its so freely given. God's love isn't cheap. Its costly. His love died a horrific death WILLINGLY just so we could know He loves us and He wanted to save us. He did it for us. He didn't do it for himself...He did it for me. WOW.

I get so caught up in the song that goes "I want to look at the face of the one that I love, want to stay in You presence, its where I belong." I feel like that is the song of my heart. I love singing for the Lord. I haven't written anything worthwhile for a long time...kind of breaks my heart. I think its because I sing when I drive...and I don't have a car anymore and I didn't drive in YWAM...but I just think of all the millions of love songs written out there about sex and emotion and heartbreak and pain...and I just think how love between people is only supposed to be a reflection of the love of the Father for us. How twisted the view of love is. Love is a promise to always look for the good other other person. Always. Not a "hope I someday get to be with you" or a "i like you" Its a commitment and a guarantee. I take the words "I love you." SO seriously. I could write a whole blog just on that...and maybe some day I will.

But right now I'm looking at life thinking... Man Jesus LOVES me. Why worry about tomorrow when THIS is what its all about?