Saturday, January 29, 2011

Note Writing

I talked to Naomi (one of the roomies) last night and asked her how she gets opportunities to speak with the kids one-on-one. I think it is especially hard for those of us in the development office to get those opportunities because we see the students out in the hall where everyone is or in our office while other people are working, and no one wants to talk about things they're struggling with while other people are working in hearing distance.

The first thing she told me was, of course, pray. I do this sometimes but I definitely don't pray about getting opportunities to speak with the students one-on-one enough. Even though, I know that when I have prayed for an opportunity, one has come up.

The second thing she said was to write them notes. This is the second time this week I have heard about one of our teachers writing the students a note. I know that I, for one, am much better at articulating my thoughts into a note. I also think it's easier to say hard things on paper than in person, for me or for the student. She went on to say that notes are more permanent. They can be re-read where a conversation can only be remembered.

I'm excited to start doing this. I pray that the words I put on paper will be God-glorifying, gospel-centered words which God will use to impact hearts.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Half-Marathon Training

Well, ladies and gents, it's Monday, and that means it's time for another installment of Half-Marathon Training with Tori.

This past week was my first week using my official training schedule.

It went well. I've decided that I'm going to try to be very disciplined with the schedule and do everything it tells me [otherwise I would probably cheat and cheating is for lame-Os. Yes, I said it. Lame-Os]. I did have to change my Tuesday/Thursday runs to Monday/Wednesday due to basketball games and such, but I think that's pretty legit.

On Monday, I did 2 miles at a fairly slow, but respectable and easy-on-the-old-lungs pace. Wednesday, I did 2.5 miles at around the same pace. Saturday, I did a very slow 3 miles. Yesterday, I felt very good. I did 2 miles at a pace about 30sec/mi faster than on Monday.

Today, ladies and gents, I beat my 2 mile time from last Monday by 2:07! I'm pretty pumped about that.

And I went to the Nike outlet today but it had closed for renovations. Lame. Then I tried on 3847982 pairs of shoes at Famous Footwear but I just wasn't in the mindset to buy. Oh well.

And just fyi, for those of you who are wondering and/or who want to know if you could run even though you're terrible at it, you can! I'm loving getting into shape, getting outside, having some alone time, and having tons of time with God!!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dear Heritage Baptist Church

Last night I got a text telling me I had to do nursery during the main service instead of Community Group (henceforth referred to as "CG"). I was upset because I wanted to hear the preaching, but I went with it. I'm so glad Chago changed the schedule now because Brent touched on some things in CG that I had noticed but couldn't yet give words.I realized that I'm nervous to go back home for a few reasons, most of them centering on the church.

Brent talked about the local church and its importance in the lives of Christians. One of the things that is most important in a body of believers is accountability. I don't think Heritage has many people who are passionate about discipling. Don't get me wrong; I'm to blame as much as the next person.

I do, however, think my parents, Tanner, and Daniel have done an excellent job with shepherding our CG on a one-on-one or very small group basis. But at the same time, my parents are still my parents. I know this about myself, that when they show me sin in my life, I will be less likely, or at least much slower, to heed their words than if someone outside of my family called me out. But how many people at Heritage know me well enough that they would know when I was in sin? A very few. But THAT is what the church needs to be. We need to be in each other's lives "sharpening each other's iron" in love.

Even in our CG at Heritage, we tend to come together, answer stock questions, joke around, and leave. We build up our knowledge of God, maybe [knowledge puffs up], but we don't know each other's hearts. We are not real with each other about our struggles. We don't bear one another's burdens unless it's convenient [and then it's not a burden!]. We don't reach out to the people around us, especially those younger than us who would hang on our every word and watch our every action that we could perform to the glory of God! We have such a simple opportunity, as simple as crossing the parking lot, yet we don't take advantage of that.

We're all going along so comfortably, but we're not stretching ourselves. We're not stretching each other. We will never look like Christ if we are self-serving and comfortable.

We must start the change. We can't sit around waiting for someone else [church leaders, authors, CG leaders] to make a plan. We have to be the revolution.

I know our CG has been talking about going on a mission trip this summer, and that is still something I would love to do, but we can't just sit around making plans for summer. We must act now. Every breath should be filled with glory to God, not just our summers.

So I challenge you, church, find someone who can shepherd you and then begin shepherding someone yourself. You don't have to know the words to say right now; God will give them to you when you ask Him. Stop waiting for something to happen and make it happen yourself. If we are surrendered to Him, we cannot fail.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

My, how so much can change

It's amazing to me how so much can change within the course of a year. God has surprised me with so much this year.

I live in a place I had never thought of moving to with 6 people who I didn't know before, work somewhere I had really never given a second thought to, and have a heart full of my little [and not so little] lions.

People I didn't even know existed are now some of my best friends. People have taken on new roles in my life. I have seen people change from irresponsible children into mature adults.

In just one year. God is good.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Way God Works

Thanks to Carla Gibson, I was reading the biblical account of Hannah and Samuel. It occurred to me as I was reading that many people in the Bible go through a similar series of events.

The person goes through a trial, they seek after God and surrender to His will, they receive a great blessing, they thank God, and they use the gift they have received in such a way that it brings God glory.

Take Hannah, for instance: She could not bear children, she cried out to God and surrendered to His will, she becomes pregnant and has a son, she thanks God, and she gives Samuel to God and His service.

Similar things happen to Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Job, David, Mary, need I go on?

So while we're in the midst of hard times that may seem to last forever, we should thank God, because He is ultimately drawing us to himself. And when we give up trying and truly surrender, we can rest in Him, knowing that He is working all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called [even to suffer?] according to His purpose.

That is how God works.

That is all of life.

He has proven it works repeatedly and beautifully.

Why, then, do we fight it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Half-Marathon Update

This first week has not been easy. Because my mom and I drove here on Monday and Tuesday, I didn't get to run until Wednesday; and when I DID get the chance, I'm pretty sure my legs had atrophied [dramatic much?]. On Wednesday we ran one mile [in a pretty good time, for us at least], then walked for a bit, then ran another half.

My mom flew out on Thursday, so I ran to get some emotions out. That must have been good because I went my whole two miles.

Friday, I rested.

Saturday, I didn't really have the mental energy for trying hard so I ran 1 1/4 miles, then walked, then did another half.

Yesterday, I cross-trained with Jillian Michaels. Oh my lands. The video we did was twice as long as the 30-Day Shred video. Today I am soooore. So, today I will rest and pick up again tomorrow.

This is my "I'm sore" face, in case you were wondering.

Peace out, girl scout.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Your Time To Be A Missionary Is Now

Today, and often, I've been pondering my purpose here and why being here is so different for me spritually than being at home. I've come to the conclusion, or at least a semi-conclusion, that when I am here, I'm in missionary-mode. But aren't we called to be missionaries all the time? When I'm here, it's more obvious, but when I'm at home or away, I should still encourage people in Christ and tell unsaved people about Him because that is my life. It should not be a matter of where I am or my job situation. I should be pursuing Christ and pursuing people in Christ no matter what.

And you should do the same. If you work a full time job, great! Many missionaries in other countries have to work full-time as well, you can do it too! If you think you don't have the words to say, great! You're starting from the same place Moses did, and look at how God used him! You can ask God for the words and He will give you the words to say.

Find a ministry to get involved with. Start ministering to the people you work with, the people you order food from, the people at your gas station. Opportunities are everywhere and God will show them to you if you ask.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Being Back

Being back is a weird thing. Really weird. I can't nail down any specific emotions but here is a little of what is going on in my head.

When I was at home, I did not desperately search for God. I did my devotions and I was very aware when I wasn't praying, but my heart was not yearning for Him. The reason, I know, is because I wanted to focus on spending time with my family and friends while I had the chance. This is not a bad thing in itself but when my thoughts and time are consumed with them and God is put on the back burner, that is sin. Sin.

In Texas it is easier to be desperate for God because I don't have them. But my relationship with God should not be a matter of circumstance, it should be the constant pursuit of my heart. I know that I need to be here because this place is teaching me to make Him my all in all, but that needs to be, again, not based on my circumstance. I pray that God will change my heart and pull my focus ever toward Him.

This semester, so far, is also different in that I feel like I can be a little more independent. Last semester, I always felt like I needed a friend to be my buffer in every situation. For instance, every time I thought about hanging out with students or talking to students, I felt like I needed to have someone come with me. Now, I feel more like I can do these things through the power of God without taking someone with me. So now, I am praying that I would be bold in my ministry and that God would show through me and that Tori would take a back seat.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

101 in 1001 Update - Completed

2. Send more letters to friends - Since I've moved away, I have written tons of letters. Granted, many of them were to supporters, but some of them were just for fun. More of these to come, I hope!
6. Make a new friend and keep them - I guess by now you KNOW how much I love Sarah and Paul! Also, obviously, all my new Texas friends, of course!

All because of MCA:
13. Move out - Well, for the most part. I guess I still live here when I'm in town, but I live halfway across the country, so I vote that counts.
14. Leave the country - Mexico, anyone?
44. Volunteer at an orphanage - I will post breakdancing orphans videos soon.
47. Get an internship in radio/tv/magazine/movies/photo - I count this because I am putting ads in magazines and doing a lot of video and photo work.
91. Get a job - Yep.
97. Fly alone - Done it so much that I get bored now [which is a good/bad thing].

17. Watch the sunset from my hammock aloneCheck
19. Drink only water for 30 consecutive days (30/30) - Check.
21. Go to a play - Breehan took me to see Beauty and the Beast for my 21st birthday in Nashville.
23. Participate in an organized 5k - Check. But my time was terrible. I'll have to work on that.
26. Laugh until I cry - More than once. But the time I recall was with Tanner at the dinner table.
27. Cook dinner for a friend - Family dinners at MCA.
29. Get moleskin journals - Check.
35. Go thrifting - Check.
36. Say “yes” to something to which I would normally say “no” - I've done this a few times too. The first time I went with a friend to something where I knew I would know no one else. It turned out alright.
39. Get a picture published - The East Tennessean. The Monitor. RGV Mag.
40. My room clean for a month straight (31/31) - I've actually done this twice because my room was clean for the first month in TX.
53. Finish knitting something - All the girls I gave presents to got scarves with their gifts this year

54. Have a big hair day - Check
55. Do something completely embarrassing and memorable - Check. There's a post on here somewhere about it.
58. Design a t-shirt, just for kicks - It's not cool looking, but it's got sparkles.
62. Give someone the perfect gift - Check.
64. Start a slow clap in a crowded place - This was one of my favorite moments of the year.
65. Go to an NBA game - Unfortunately the game I went to was at ETSU where no one really had an alliance to either team, so cheering was minimal.
70. Face a fear - Moving out? Going to Mexico?
77. Get a puppy - Yes, after 10 years of begging, just months before I move across the country, my parents decide to get a puppy.
81. Be picked first for Ultimate Frisbee - Check, but it was on my birthday so I don't know how legit that is. [Probably too legit to quit]
84. Make an awesome mix CD for a random friend - Made one for my friend Trip, and it was goooood.