Archive for God

Jesus > Easter Bunny

I worked this evening – Easter Sunday. And although I’ve been missing my family, spending Easter with the guys that I support was one of the best alternatives.

As a support worker for three young guys with developmental disabilities, things can get difficult at times, but others can be extremely hilarious and rewarding. Tonight was one of those special nights.

Going into work on Easter, I expected to hear a great deal about the Easter Bunny and how great he (she?) is. However, that was thankfully not the case. Instead, I was so encouraged about the enthusiasm these guys had about their love for Jesus. Even though the Easter Bunny “had come” and “dropped off” chocolates for them, that was not their main focus. One of the guys in particular could not cease to talk about Jesus and his love for him the whole night.

Here’s where the hilarity and the fun came in: I began to read from one of their books consisting of a bunch of easy to follow Bible stories. One of the guys decided that he wanted to act out Jesus’ parts. To do this effectively, he retrieved a bath towel and wrapped it around his waist. As I read the story of the crucifixion (as per his request), he stood up and stretched out his arms as if Jesus on the cross. He went through Jesus’ death and burial, and when it came time for Jesus’ resurrection he sprang to his feet with such excitement and said [speaking to Jesus] “Thank you, Jesus – You came to life. I’m so happy!!!”

This guy loves Jesus, and I have always known this, but his love for Him has normally been equated with all the members of the make-believe crew (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, etc). It was so refreshing to hear him talking about Jesus (the real meaning of Easter) so persistently and with such vigor.

I was really encouraged tonight and I’m glad that I had a chance to spend Easter with them. It was honestly so much fun!

And with that, I leave you with other cute and thoughtful statements made by the guys:

“I loooooove Jesus. …Not Satan.”

“God has a grey beard.”

“Jesus won’t get mad that we’re acting like him, eh? He won’t mind?”

“I don’t like the guards – they hit Jesus. Boom!”

“I’m done acting now. I’m tired. I’m a good actor.”

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A Change in Identity

April 21st. This date has been engraved in my mind for the past few months. And for the last week, I no longer judged time by the current date, but by how many days rest between the present and the 21st. I had made a countdown on the chalkboard in the lab at the five day mark. It gave my two colleagues and I a sense of urgency, yet excitement at the same time.

I printed my thesis last night, and as I walked through the tunnels and hallways of my university, I realized that this was one of the last times that I would be walking the campus as a student. And as I walked, I realized that I will no longer be a CU student – my identity for the last four years. When people ask me what and where I study, I will no longer say CU majoring in Psychology. That is no longer who I am or what I do. It’s really odd to think. I have experienced and learned so much at that campus, that it is hard to leave.

As I walked, I reminisced the good ol’ days. As I passed each building I recalled certain memories – locations where I used to set up to do readings and study (which always varied from year to year as I discovered better, and sometimes hidden locations), booths and tables that I used to meet up with friends regularly to eat or “study”, areas on campus that I would go with friends to randomly talk to students about their beliefs, the classroom where I had my very first lecture in university, Cardiac Hill (the very steep walkway in the tunnels – essentially a hill beginning at the first floor of a building and taking you to the fourth), going on prayer walks with friends to pray for our campus, and countless others.

I think for me, university was not merely a place where I went to obtain a degree; a means to an end. It was a place of much personal growth. It was a place where I grew in my relationship with God. I became involved with a Christian group on campus where the students had a burden to share their faith with others. I met new people, made lasting friendships, and really adopted the burden that they had for the students on our campus. We invested so much time into loving on and praying for our campus that it became more than an institution.

Today marks the last day of my undergrad. I am finished. I handed my thesis to my supervisor this morning. I had imagined this day for months. I had imagined the excitement that I would feel and the relief that I would experience. But the feelings aren’t as intense as I had imagined. Perhaps it hasn’t quite hit me yet; it’s hard imagining that four years of schooling have come to a close. But maybe I’m also a little reluctant to say goodbye to CU and all of those experiences. Things will change, and I’m definitely ready for it and excited to transition into a graduate program at another university, but it will take some time. I’ll have to remind myself that I am no longer that undergraduate psych student anymore, but a Master of Arts student in Counselling and Spirituality. And that, I am excited for.

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Have I shared this with you yet?

What do you love? What are the things that you cannot silence yourself about? It seems that when we love something we want to tell others about it in hopes that they will come to feel the same way, loving it just as much as we do. Whether it be a TV show, a movie, a restaurant, an idea, vacation spot, we can go on talking for hours and are baffled when others don’t quite understand why we’re so passionate about it. I mean, some people wonder why I love cereal so much. Well, let me tell you! [kidding! that will be left for another post…if I ever get to talking about meaningless things]

When we love something we want to convince others to feel the same way so that they can get the same enjoyment out of it.

I’ve noticed that I’ve begun sharing my love for blogging with others. I’ve introduced the concept of blogging to numerous friends on the grounds of it being an excellent form of self-expression. I’ve also provided them with numerous tips that I have learned throughout my years as a blog stalker and my short time as a blogger in hopes to convince them to begin their own.

Works like a charm. So far, I have influenced at least 5 people to begin blogging and another one to return to blogging. And it doesn’t stop there. Those who I have converted to blogging have encouraged others to begin blogs as well. A blog beginning chain reaction is now starting. It’s blog multiplication. You’re welcome, WordPress.

Then I thought to myself: I love God. I love Him more than I like blogging. But when it comes to those who don’t know Him, I share about Him less than I talk about blogging to those who don’t blog. Something is wrong with this picture.

What if I were to talk to my friends about God in the same enthusiastic, free, and confident way that I speak to my friends about blogging? I am passionate about God and my faith in Christ affects every aspect of my life. Why wouldn’t I want to talk about that? Jesus has made such an impact on my life. He makes me feel so much better than blogging could ever. There are so many instances that I can share about how He has made my life more interesting and exciting. Why wouldn’t I want to share that so enthusiastically?

And if I shared about Him more, perhaps others would want to experience the same joy that I have found in Christ. And in turn there would be spiritual multiplication occurring as they share with others.

If I have yet to share about Jesus with you, I am sorry. But don’t let me get away with it. Ask me about how Jesus has changed my life. I’ll enthusiastically tell you. And I’ll also tell you how you should begin blogging too … although, Jesus is infinitely more exciting.

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Savouring

When was the last time that you savoured something? Gave it your full one hundred percent attention?

Last week’s challenge for Positive Psych [to learn more about this class and the fun/happy things that we’ve been doing click here!] was to choose three things that week to savour.

Throughout the week, while deciding what I would choose, I got to thinking about how often we go through life so quickly without fully paying attention and enjoying all the little things.

When was the last time that we slowed down to taste every flavour of our burger? Or listened to every word of a song and enjoyed every instrument instead of having music merely in the background? Or took in the warmth of the sun on our skin, despite the cold weather? Or listened to every word said by a friend instead of mentally rehearsing our reply? Or paid attention to the coziness of our bed?

Those are the things that I changed. I slowed down when I ate. I paid attention to lyrics. I took in every word said  by a friend. These are little things, but they are so easily skipped over in life.

This concept of savouring can definitely be applied to when we take time out of our day to be with God. How often are we distracted by our surroundings or by the sound of our own thoughts. Or thinking of everything that we will be doing after we finish reading our quota of the Bible for that day? But, how often do we actually savour God and His presence?

THE CHALLENGE: Pick three things that you will savour today, this week, or even this month. Let me know how it goes. And don’t say you didn’t enjoy it! You will.

Today, January 17th, marks the day that has been statistically proven to be the worst day of the year (based on suicide rates, weather, amount of credit card bills in the aftermath of Christmas, etc.) Don’t have a bad day. Go savour something!

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The Greatest Gift

“She will bear a son,

and you shall call his name Jesus,

for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 21:1

Come & Worship

Pa Rum Pum Pum Pum ♪

The Little Drummer Boy

“The greatest gift of Christmas,
is the one we’ve already gotten long ago.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS
JOYEUX NOEL
FELIZ NAVIDAD

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From Bad, to Worse, to Best

I was almost rendered homeless.

Well, not really. But all-or-nothing thinking could have lead me to dwell on this very unlikely worst-case scenario.

The house that I am currently living in ran into an unexpected hurdle this past month. A house meeting was called one morning and as the four of us girls sat down, me and NK, one of my housemates, learnt that instead of the original plan of having to replace only one of the girls in May, the two of us would now have to find replacements for two girls – one for February and one for March. For NK and I at that moment, this was not a welcomed change – at all. We needed to have two new tenants secured by the end of December otherwise this would be the time where we would need to give our two month notice and cancel our lease. With exam period and Christmas break approaching we were going to have to find two new housemates. And fast.
This was Thursday December 2nd.

An impossible task? Not with God.

However, at that moment it was very difficult to trust Him. My heart was burdened from the unexpected news and my body was heavy from lack of sleep (I had stayed up until 3:30AM working on a paper…that wasn’t due until Monday…). But as a household we took time to pray knowing that we would need God to intervene in our situation.

Even though I did the best that I could to try to look at the positives of this situation, I was still very much focusing on all of the struggles. How are we going to find TWO people at such awkward times of the year? What if we can’t find two? We’d have to find somewhere else to live! I can’t sign a year-lease; I’m not even sure what city I’ll be in come September. I just moved to this house 3 months ago, moving again would be a hassle and difficult especially with this busy school year.

Not only were these thoughts clouding my vision and ability to trust God, but right after our house meeting I found out that I had received a terrible grade on an assignment; I had never received such a low grade. Finally after dealing with all of this, I went to enjoy a shower that turned out to be pure ice water. At that point I decided that my day could not get any worse. Unfortunately, because of these events coupled with my lack of sleep, I had such difficulty focusing on my in-class Spanish exam hours later. I was forgetting verbs that I had used dozens of times…

The day was a hilariously unfortunate one that I chuckle at now, but I have to say that I think it was one of the worst days that I’ve had this past year. Or in many years. (I’ve been blessed with many awesome days.)

At the end of that day, in my mind, the housing situation was looking very dim. Nevertheless I contacted many potential tenants, advertised, and prayed a lot.

On Wednesday December 8th we had secured two new tenants.

And not just any tenants. One is my good friend, HD, which is a big answer to prayer all in itself. And the second is a girl coming to the area to begin her Masters degree. She’s something like a friend of a friend of a friend’s cousin (honestly) – which makes it the most random occurrence ever. We knew nothing about her. And as it turns out, she seems to be everything that we were looking for in a housemate and shares many of our core values.

I was in awe at God’s faithfulness. And still am. These events may seem like they were left up to chance, but as a psych student who enjoys statistics, I think I can safely say that the probability of all of these events occurring together is significantly below the rate of chance.

Furthermore, this situation leaves no lack for anyone. The house is going to get re-organized, NK is able to move into a larger room, HD will be turning her 1.5hr commute to school to 15 minutes, the Masters student has a much cheaper alternative than her original plan of living in residence, and my two housemates who are leaving are able to leave earlier than they originally planned.

And through all of this my devotions were conveniently about the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). Joseph had gone through many misfortunes (tossed into a pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused of adultery and thrown in jail, forgotten in jail for two additional years by a man who he had helped), but through all of this he continued to rely on God and trust Him for what He had promised (becoming a ruler). Joseph could have looked at his circumstances and forgotten God and what He had promised, yet he pressed on. And even though things didn’t play out as fast as Joseph would have hoped, God came through. Joseph just had to trust God’s timing.

God always has a plan; we may just not see it right away. I’ve learnt so much about trusting and relying on God as a product of having gone through this situation. I’ve also realized that these events can now be used as a testimony of His faithfulness. God deserves all the glory. Dios es fiel.

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Advent Conspiracy

I’ve viewed this video year after year, but I have to be honest, I never did much about it. This year I want that to be different.

Christmas is about Jesus, not about all of this hyped up materialism.

So what does this mean? Well, Christmas is celebrating Jesus, Jesus loves, and was born to later show the ultimate action of love. Therefore, to honour Him I want to focus much more on Him and on love this Christmas.

I want to give something that says “I really thought about you and love you“. And yeah, maybe surviving the crazy obstacle course of the local mall, risking becoming a victim of a massive stampede of miserable shoppers, and enduring the time-consuming checkout lines with customers who are ALWAYS right can also say “I invested much time and energy on this and practically almost died for you“.

I’m very much exaggerating; people don’t die from shopping… Usually. But I don’t want to be a part of that stressed-out and materialistic culture. It’s not the way that it was meant to be. What I’m saying is that I really want this Christmas to be meaningful. I want what I give and how I spend my time to truly reflect love. It’s not that I don’t think that something that I can buy has no meaning; but I want my gift to make a difference. Many gift giving seasons I fear that what I give will just be put to the wayside. Many times gifts are just given out of obligation and we become so stressed about it all. And there are so many things that we receive that are completely pointless. One example used countless times is that over-sized prickly sweater that your grandmother gives you without fail. Every year. Believe me, in my years of working in retail back in my high school days, I’ve seen tons of people buy these sweaters that will never be worn. Not even sure why we sold such hideous things! Maybe so that they can be pulled out for “Tacky Christmas Sweater Parties”?..

So here’s how I’m planning to make a difference this Christmas:

I’m going to tap into my creative side and hand-make personal gifts for my family and friends. I shall not mention what (presents must always be kept secret!), but I hope that it will show by my time and effort that I really care about them. AND, the money that I would have spent on gift giving, I will be selecting a resource from World Vision’s Christmas Catalogue that will help a family living in extreme poverty. Check out their website. You can buy anything from tasty fruit trees, school supplies, water purification items, multiplying rabbits, and plumping piglets.

Jesus was the ultimate gift of love. I want my gifts to reflect that love.

If you’re my friend or family member and are planning on purchasing something for me, I really don’t need anything. I would much rather you spend time with me, write to me, or something that demonstrates your love. And then possibly invest that money for someone who could benefit from it. I just feel like there are so many people out there that need much more than I do. And like Advent Conspiracy points out: 450 billion dollars spent on presents (in the States), and only 10 billion needed to solve the world’s clean water problem.

I’m not saying that gift giving is wrong; for many people it’s how they show their love. But for me this year, I don’t need anything and what I want as a gift is to help others in need.

Will you help me do this?

Worship fully.
Spend Less.
Give more.
Love ALL.

“God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?”

adventconspiracy.org

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