Friday, November 10, 2006

 

It's been so long...

I can't believe that I haven't entered a single post in October...but then again, I think that is ok. After all, I can all to easily spend too much time staring at my computer screen. I have enough to do with work, homework, bible study, and doing the other things that I enjoy.

Speaking of things I enjoy, I just watched the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. "Wow" is all I can say. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was compelling, moving, funny, sad, inspiring...All the things that a good movie should be. Some of it was a little gory, Gollum was disgusting, but Aragon was wonderful, and so was the younger son of the steward. Sam and Frodo turned out all right, and Gandalf was always there to help them.

Anyway, I'm glad I watched them, and I'm glad that some truly good movies can still be produced in Hollywood. :-)

Enjoy November in case I don't write again this month,

Kristi

Saturday, September 23, 2006

 

I'm trying out the email feature

You will notice that the blog has a new look...and a shorter title. I'm pretty excited about change...and hopefully you are too. You know, I can say that I enjoy change...change of colors, change of scenery, change of furniture arrangement, but I'm I as excited when there are old sinful habits and patterns in my life that are in need of change?

I'm not really sure if I am. I mean, it's easy to want to change something when I'm dissatisfied with it. But if I'm happy with it, I'll probably leave it the way it is. Herein comes the rub: I must be dissatisfied with my sin before I'll take the time to change it.

And now the convicting question...am I dissatisfied and repulsed by my sin? Hmmm. Not all things are as easy to change as a blog look.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

 

Camp on This

If anyone has heard the music of or seen Steven J. Camp in concert, well...you probably don't need to read this. Because if you have, then you know that he is passionate, well-educated, a God-centric musician, and an extremely strong Calvinist...and it's probably been impressed in your mind so strongly that you don't need me to repeat it to you.
But if you haven't (or even if you have) heard of him, I would strongly encourage a visit to his blog. It is also passionate, well-educated, God-centric, and is rated R for extremely strong Calvinistic content. But the article he posts are well worth the effort of reading them...even though you may feel that you are swimming in mud (at least, I do sometimes). They are weighty, meaty, and long (not to mention the extremely broad vocabulary).
Anyway, there's my pitch for http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com. Please visit it, enjoy it, and let me know what you think. Talk to you later!
Kristi

Saturday, August 19, 2006

 

Thoughts From my Recent Venture

Dear Friend,

Tonight I sit down to tell you my thoughts/reflections from my recent trip to the country of X. (In obedience to previous instructions and for the safety of certain people, that country shall remain nameless). I've been thinking for two weeks of things to say about the things that struck me, and the things that changed me.

First, I learned a little regarding the lives of those who are spreading the gospel in foreign lands. It was a life that I had never really paused to consider. I suppose I assumed that their lives were extremely different...strange, holy, exciting, romantic, adventourous...everything but normal. In a sense, however, I found out the opposite. Life as an ambassador for Christ in X is just like living life for anyone anywhere. Sure, there are cultural things to get used to: changes in diet, manners, etc. But really, it's the same kind of life with above average occurences of the same kind of problems that we face. I knew that, but yet...I didn't really realize it. Until now.

Lesson #1: Missionaries are normal people.

Another thing that struck me was that one of the workers who was with our group asked the following question a few times: "For the sake of the gospel, would you be willing to ___________?" That question sunk deep, because it was again, something that I hadn't ever really thought about...what was my view of the worth of the gospel?

This question sort of floated around my mind for much of the trip, then began to culminate one night in a large city. We were out walking to get some pictures of a famous building lit up at night, and I was listening to one of the workers describe a difficult, frightening situation with the police that had happened recently. The story made me feel frightened and angry...how could anyone live in this kind of environment? We were walking in between two mosques, and suddenly the call to prayer began, echoing back and forth between both buildings. It was long, loud, mournful, and piercing. I thought to myself, 'This is why they live in this country. This is why, "For the sake of the gospel" they go through difficult circumstances. It is for every unbeliever in X who needs to hear about Jesus Christ."'

Lesson #2: The gospel is infinitely more valuable than any difficult or unpleasant happening in my life.

Finally, it was with a sense of joy that I arrived back home in Washington D.C. But also with a sense of sorrow. I thought back to how careful of our words we had to be in X. I remembered to how careful the workers had to be in spreading the gospel. Then I pondered that here in my homeland, I don't have to be careful about where and how I mention the name of Christ. Which lead to a question: do I make use of the freedom so graciously bestowed by God to forward the purpose of Christ's kingdom?

Lesson #3: I need to take the opportunity to evangelize in one of the only countries in which I am free to do so.

Those are my thoughts for right now...I'll probably come up with more. But those are a few of the insights that I'll probably never forget, and they are just a few of the reasons that I'm grateful for opportunity to go to X.

For His glory,
Kristi

Monday, July 10, 2006

 

Rejoice in the Lord

Rejoice in the Lord
By Ron Hamilton

God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying his servant, and molding a man!
Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long...
In darkness He giveth a song.

Oh, rejoice in the Lord -
He makes no mistake.
He knoweth the end of each path that I take.
For when I am tried and purified
I shall come forth as gold.

I could not see through the shadows ahead
so I looked at the cross of my Savior instead!
I bowed to the will of the Master that day...
Then peace came, and tears fled away.

Oh, rejoice in the Lord -
He makes no mistake.
He knoweth the end of each path that I take!
For when I am tried and purified...
I shall come forth as gold.

Now I can see testing comes from above
God strengthens his children and purges in love!
My Father knows best and I trust in His care...
Through purging, more fruit I will bear.

Oh, rejoice in the Lord -
He makes no mistake.
He knoweth the end of each path that I take!
For when I am tried and purified...
I shall come forth as gold.





Friday, June 30, 2006

 

Where in the Wide, Wide World?

I'm not sure myself. I've begun working for my Dad full time, and it's been an adjustment...hence, no posts. Have you ever tried to do sales, customer service, writing, cleaning, wrapping up a website, and doing the various minor tasks that other people delagate to you in only 40 hours a week? I have, and my blog has fallen quite low on my priority list.

However, I've been learning a lot lately, so I'll share a couple of random things with you:
  1. In church, the bible study I'm involved in has a theme for the summer: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord: the Psalms". This title is taken from Psalm 150. Accurately translated, however, it literally means "Let every breath praise the Lord." Profound, isn't it? Let every breath - everything that I do, everything that I say - praise the Lord. Let every breath honor and please God. Let every breath show the lost world around me that God is Lord and King.
  2. That for the joy set before me, it's easier to go on when you feel you can't. Where did I learn this one? Playing Ultimate Frisbee. For the uninitiated, that game means hard running back and forth across a park after a white disc. But the game is a lot of fun, so even when I'm out of breath and my sides hurt, I keep playing. Why? If I was out on a jog by myself and I began to feel that way, I know that I'd quit. After all, why not? But the joy of playing the game outweighs the discomfort of the body. So, I think, goes the Christian life. My life and my discomfort is worth less than the glorious upward calling of Jesus Christ. That is why we can run on when it's tough, when it's hard.
  3. That Shakespeare is neat. I went to see "Shakespeare in the Park" for the first time, and it was a truly enjoyable experience. For those who live in Montana...I would recommend it. :-)

So there are my thoughts for the day. Please enjoy them, think about them, and relish them until I return again!

For His Glory,

Kristi


Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

my extra sleep is worth less than my calling

Beep…beep…beep…beep…” (Press snooze button). Ah. Sleep. Bliss. Hmmmm. “Beep…beeps…beep...” It’s Monday morning in a nutshell. And Tuesday morning. And Wednesday morning. And…wait! This happens every morning! Yes, waking up every day is a part of life. So is sleeping.

Why write about sleep? Here are three great reasons:

  1. We all sleep, Moreover, my guess is that almost all of us have (or have had) struggles with sleep.
  2. As teens, we tend to love sleep too much. For many of us, sleep has become the latest idol. The alarm clock is our sworn enemy.
  3. Sleep takes up one-third of your life. Look at it this way: if I live to be seventy-five years old and sleep an average of eight hours a night, then by the time I die, I will have slept approximately 219,000 hours in my lifetime. If you didn’t notice…that’s a lot of time. That equals 25 years worth of time spent sleeping.

If you are still not convinced that sleep is an important topic to think about, look at 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”[1] Sleep is a part of the whole “whatever you do” thing. Besides that, the words sleep, slumber, sleeping, and sleeper appear ninety-two times in the Bible. I think that sleep is something that God cares about…so we should care about it, too.

Wait. What do sleep and God have in common? Nothing, right? I mean, God never sleeps. Never has, never will. We humans can’t help sleeping…every person who has ever lived on this planet has slept. But even though He doesn’t sleep, what does God say about sleep? How does that affect who I am and how I serve Him? Well…

Start thinking about leadership. As teenagers, we are the leaders of the future, correct? And as Christian thinkers, we hope to be leaders now, as well. A leader is someone who makes a difference and is an example to those around him or her. In Isaiah 56, God was rebuking the leaders of Israel. In a long list of grievances, God says in verse ten that “His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber.” (Emphasis mine). Israel’s leaders had problems, one of which was loving sleep. To be effective, you have to open your eyes – Proverbs 20:13, “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.”

So what is the purpose of sleep? Simply put, it’s for refreshment of the body. It’s sole purpose is to make sure you are at optimal functioning capacity each day. It is not for pleasure. It is not for personal gain. It is not because it feels good. It is solely for God’s glory. Sleeping is a part of the body, so 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 applies here: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

God doesn’t look kindly on lazy sleepers. Proverbs 10:5 tells us that a son who sleeps in harvest (when there is work to be done) brings shame. Later, in Proverbs 24:30-34, God says that only a man lacking sense sleeps in laziness. His vineyard looked like a weed patch, and he is going to be one hungry person when winter comes along.

Fellow teens…I think that we can be self-disciplined in many facets of life and forget this vital area. We eat right, we exercise, we get done with schoolwork and chores, we are responsible with our siblings…but we sleep way longer than we should each morning (not to mention going to bed too late at night). Consider with me for a moment that every time we press the snooze button, we are using time that we could have spent in profitable things, such as time with God or family. Every time we press the snooze button, we are saying “I can’t have self-control in this area."

Now, I don’t want you to become sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll, 80% of teens today do not get the optimal amount of sleep that they need. So begin using the gift of sleep wisely by getting enough shut-eye (that means 8 ½ - 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night). Go to be early. Get up in a timely fashion. This is not a call to less sleep. This is a call to responsible sleeping habits. Sleep is supposed to glorify God, like everything else in life. Use sleep as a tool…do not let it control you.

Most importantly, make time for our Lord in the mornings. When you rise early each day, you are saying that God is more valuable to you than a few more minutes of sleep. Follow the example of Jesus by rising early and spending time with our heavenly Father. It will be worth it…it always is. The road that we take to follow God is hard at first, but gets easier as we go on.

One might say, “Come on. Sleep to glorify God isn’t exactly culture-changing Christianity, is it?” Oh, friend, do not forget the mundane of life! It is in the commonplace that we live. Honor God in how and when you sleep. Worship Him by taking care of yourself in how you sleep, then show how valuable He is to you…infinitely more valuable than sleeping five more minutes.

Beep…beeps…beep… Next time you hear the alarm clock, thank God for it. You are master of your sleep. Be a good steward of it and slumber will serve you well. With the hymn writer, get up each day with these words on your lips:

Awake my soul and with the sun

Thy daily stage of duty run.

Shake off dull sloth and joyful rise,

To pay thy morning sacrifice!



[1] All scripture quotations from the English Standard Version

And on that note, I think that I'll go to bed! :-)

For His Glory,

Kristi


 

For Example...

This past Sunday, a gentleman came to our church to speak. He had some very good things to say on Islam and Christianity, but what especially struck me was his testimony. When he was a young man in Asia, he came to know Jesus Christ personally. After that, he soon became excited about preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to others, and he brought some children to the Lord.

The Muslim parents were far from thrilled.

They invited this young man to their home. He went, thinking that he would have an opportunity to share the gospel with the parents. He was wrong. The father took a big stick and began beating him for his faith.

After that, he told God, "I don't want to be a pastor. It's a dangerous job!" Well, it was dangerous, but God kept his hand on that young man's life, and soon he surrendered his will to God's and became a pastor for the lost Muslim people of his country.

Now he lives in the United States, an exile from his homeland through a series of incidents that aren't important to this post. He continues to preach to American people because he loves them with all his heart, and because he has a great desire to see people come to Christ and His truth.

Becoming a pastor wasn't an easy choice. This man has been threatened, persecuted, beaten, and finally chased out of his country. But if you could hear the man preach, you would know that he is happy in his Lord. He rejoices because he believes that to live is Christ and to die is gain. His response to death threats? "If you kill me, I will go to be with Jesus."

Do you and I have this mindset? That serving our Lord is more important than our personal comfort and ease? I so wish that we did. I think that there are lots of Christians who try and take the easy road. Those of us who do have no idea of the joy of living for something other than ourselves. The joy of worshipping the Creator for whom we were made. Are we willing to suffer for Him? Die for Him? And perhaps do what is even harder: live for Him?

I hope so. I want to fall so in love with Christ that His plan is the only one that need be carried out. Not mine. His. To die for Him daily by denying self and living in obedience is great gain, for "If you kill me, I will go to be with Jesus." Hourly. Daily. Monthly. For the rest of our lives.

For His glory,
Kristi

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