Friday, September 4, 2009

Send Me

One day this will be me.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Life in the City

It had just gotten dark, but it was a beautiful evening so my two friends and I decided to take a drive downtown to check out the weekend festival. Being away for so long made me miss those relaxing strolls across the Grand River, the diversity of people, and the buzz of city life. As we walked, I thought about my life in India and how vastly different that life was from this one. I thought about the landscape, the people, the day to day activity. In India, you can see pain and suffering around every corner. You can smell it in the air. You can see the desperation in the eyes of the orphans and widows, and of the single mom with AIDS struggling to survive.

Here, we often tend to mask our struggles and shortcomings behind our fake smiles and new iPhone. As I walked past the happy college-age couples, the weekend bar attendees, and the eccentric high schoolers, I forgot for a moment harshness of this life. As we walked by tent after tent of workers cleaning up for the night I wondered if this is all some people will ever know of this world.

As I thought about these things, we stumbled upon a group of 20-somethings in an obvious heated discussion. I quickly saw the large picket sign that the man in the center held. It read: "REPENT! Prostitutes, strippers, homosexuals, rock n' rollers, thieves and all other sinners. God will judge you! Romans 4:14." Curious, I moved closer in earshot of the main conversation. The man with the sign was quite passionately arguing with a guy around college-age who was expressing his obvious disagreements. The man was openly gay and arguing that even so he had done more to further the kingdom of God through serving the poor and the hungry than this man will ever do by holding a picket sign and persecuting homosexuals. Although I don't agree with his lifestyle of sin, the guy had a point.

As the cops sent everyone away I stood there in silence watching the man roll his sign up and disappear into the distance. I had no words that night -- not for that man, the crowd, my friends, or even in prayer. As I walked back to the car, I couldn't help but feel a sense of shame for allowing such a distortion of truth to take place. Thinking back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all that his ministry meant to those he reached, I see a message of grace, forgiveness, and love. I don't see condemnation, hated, or judgment. I was appalled at the labeling of sinners and the apparent exclusion that the man with the sign had from being in the group of "sinners." Aren't we all sinners?

It is people like that who put up walls in the lives of nonbelievers that turn them off to all things Christian. No wonder the world hates Christianity...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wedding Festivities

One of my closest friends got married on Sunday and the wedding was breathtaking. Since I returned from India a week and a half ago I had been working alongside the bride on last minute wedding preparations. Amid the stress, long drives, and late-night bouquet making, I had a wonderful time with Liz in her last week of singleness.The wedding was perfect -- a warm sunny day (except for bridal party standing in the freezing shade), clear skies, family and friends, laughter and tears, and a very happy couple. I am so honored that she allowed me to be a part of such an incredible day.
I met Elizabeth Millay -- formerly known as Elizabeth Pastoor -- my first week at Cornerstone University before classes had even begun. Her and Brenda -- known as Brenda Ben at the time ;) - lived directly across the hall from me in our freshman dorm. That year laid the foundation for what would become one of the greatest friendships I have ever had. Despite our busy schedules and hectic lives, I can still think back to the many many memories we had together. From the fun and crazy, to the serious and sad, the time I spent with Liz was always of value to me. I think all who know her can attest to the quality person that she is. Although I don't know Dave near as well, I have come to see the incredible man of God that he is and rest well knowing that she will be well cared for and loved.
I love you Liz and Dave... it has been an honor to walk with you from the beginning of your relationship through the good times and not so good times and finally be a part of your beautiful wedding day. I am proud of your commitment to one another and to the gracious God we serve.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. David Millay!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hold My Heart

Hold My Heart
Mike Donehey, Jason Ingram, Phillip LaRue

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You?
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You?
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through

I'm on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I'm on my knees
Father, will You turn to me

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there's no other way
I'm done asking why

So many questions without answers
Your promises remain
I can't see but I'll take my chances
To hear you call my name
To hear you call my name

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Heavy Heart

I have many feeling welling up in my heart, but few words as I prepare to leave the place I've called home for the past four months. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, these kids unknowingly will rip my heart out as I leave. And yes, I will be back here one day, Lord-willing. It is amazing what can happen when you just invest a little time and a whole lot of love in the someone's life. For those of you, if any, who have followed me through my time here know that I see this not as the end. Quite the contrary, I see this as a great beginning to the trials, joys, and adventures that God is going to lead me through. Please be praying for the following things as I transition back into the life I once knew in America:

-Continued daily time spent with God and an enhanced prayer life.
-A place to live during the summer for the few weeks I'm in Grand Rapids.
-Commitment to my OAFA kids through work done on the U.S. side on their behalf.
-Growth in relationships and that He would give me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
-For God's peace that surpasses all understanding to guard my heart against the schemes of the enemy.

"To God be the glory, now and forever, Amen."