Passion

Todd Braschler spoke today at Northridge about Purposeful Unsettledness, which he defined as: a challenge to recognize the uneasiness, the unsettledness, the discontentedness in the heart of God and to accept that same sense in our own lives.

 

Sounds a bit strange, right?

But really, it’s pretty awesome.

Basically, the idea is to feel unsettled due to a particular broken area of our incredibly broken world.

With that issue, we can’t be content:

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment

– 1 Peter 2:2

We must never find ourselves so content in our relationship with Christ that we stop growing. Contentment is a dangerous place. For progress, we need a felt need. We need to be unsettled.

1) Holy Discontent is defined by the passion of my heart, mirroring that of Christ. 

One of my favorite things to do is find what people are passionate about. Find that one thing, and you will open the door to a deeper understanding and connection to that person. I love to hear people describe what they are passionate about. Light comes into their eyes and their entire demeanor changes.

Now imagine that person mirroring the passion and heart of Christ.

Wow.

Ever see someone so clearly on the path of God that His light seems to radiate from them and everything they do?

They find their passion and peace in Christ, mirroring the desires of His heart.

2) Without holy discontent, the purpose of my life is difficult to define. 

I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us. A perfect plan, blessed by His hand and His guidance. After all, He knows us better than anyone else.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

– Psalm 139:1-3

We are valuable to Him:

What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

– Matt 10:29-31

For in him we live and move and exist.

– Acts 17:28

And He has these great plans:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

– Ephesians 3:20

However, I also think that we stray from His plan quite often. We are, after all, sinful creatures and we often veer off course.

There is a phenomenon in human nature where we become frustrated when we are delegated to participate in an effort that has no understood purpose.

Therefore, a life seemingly without purpose is frustrating. Because of this, I believe that we often rush to decide our own purposes in life. We want the answer now, so we create it ourselves.

And this is dangerous.

With this, we limit what God can achieve in our life.

However, understanding God’s Holy Discontent gives us something greater to strive for and achieve – a greater purpose for our lives.

3) Understanding Holy Discontent brings immeasurable fulfillment and purpose through Christ. 

Wow. That sounds awesome.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10

God’s desire is not to destroy our lives, but rather bring fulfillment. However, that can only come through a life truly devoted to following Him. If we do not make that commitment, we miss out on His amazing plan for our lives.

I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.

– Habakkuk 1:5

Don’t miss out.

Think about what this passion might be.

What strikes you that also is within the heart of God?

What situations have been defining moments in your life in Christ?

What problem are you passionate about?

Do you seem to have more insight to this problem than the average Joe?

How would this world be different if you focused your efforts on this problem?

What would it mean to you if at the end of this life, you saw that you had an eternal impact in regards to that issue?

Think. Pray. Pray some more.

God has amazing things in store for you and through you.

Let him act.

 

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What am I going to do with a Spanish degree?

The question of the moment. Generally asked by caring people. It’s definitely cultural. I notice myself asking other friends what they plan on doing with a Biology or English degree. It comes naturally. Why? Because that’s how we are as a culture. We want to know what comes next. We want to know the final product, immediately.

So to derail that speech, I tell them (truthfully!) that I might double major in Social Work.

But that doesn’t mean that it will happen. I might very well graduate December 2014 from Wichita State with a Spanish degree.

And what will I do with it?

Honestly? No idea.

But do you know who does have an idea? God. The creator of the universe, of you, of me, of the trees, and flowers, and time, and ideas. He knows what He has in store for me. He knows what He will use me (and you) for.

You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.

– Nehemiah 9:6

Me? Not really.

We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.

Proverbs 16:9

And that’s kinda really cool.

To be completely honest, my biggest spiritual growth in Chile was learning that my plans are garbage in comparison to the perfectly scripted plans of God. I waste my time forcing my plans to work. I see that I’d like to go from Point A to Point B, and can give you 32 ways to get there, 3 that are the most effective, and the one I like the most. But really, God wants me to start at Point 7, jump  to Point 3, and cartwheel to X34 (something completely off my radar).

God is not limited to my plans. 

You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

– Proverbs 19:21

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

In fact, it’s kind of selfish for me to follow what I think is right, when God has so much more in store.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

– Ephesians 3:20

Chile was not in my plans.

Not at all.

But it was in God’s plan.

It was God’s leading and nudging that derailed the Jean train and put me on His track.

It was God who showed me the importance of flexibility and openness to change.

It was God who demonstrated peace in the midst of confusion.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT, emphasis added)

God’s got this.

It’s not my responsibility to worry. In fact, I’m told not too.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  – Matthew 10:29-31  (NIV)

So you’re telling me that I’m worth a great deal to God?

Yes.

You’re telling me that God has a plan for my life?

Yes.

You’re telling me that God has a better plan for my life than I have for my life?

Yes.

You’re telling me that God might surprise me with His plan for my life?

Absolutely yes.

God’s not limited by our human expectations or dreams. He’s so much more. If we let Him work in our lives, He can and will exceed even our wildest dreams.

So no, I don’t know what I’m going to do with a Spanish degree. I know that I want to continue to follow God wherever he leads.

That might mean another major. Or grad school. Or teaching. Or moving across the world.

But as long as I serve Him, all else falls away.

Also, our message this Sunday at Northridge was over God the potter and us as the clay. Something our pastor said struck me.

“What should you do when life falls apart?

Let God remake you

As I type this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs. “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.

If you haven’t heard this song, take a listen and soak in the lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7VOKQ0xJY

“You make me knew. You are making me knew….You make beautiful things out of us”

God will refresh us. He will renew us.

God is enough.

He is all we need.

Hace un mes

unmescollage

It’s been a month since I stepped on U.S. Soil after my Chilean Adventure. And it’s still an adjustment. Not really to the culture, but rather of my new self in an old, yet different environment.

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”
― Cindy Ross

A friend posted that quote on facebook, and I couldn’t help but think how true that statement is (replacing long-distance hiking with travel). My piece doesn’t fit where and how it used to. I don’t fit in the same space that I did before I left.

Therefore, I’m searching for where I belong in this new, changed reality.

Thank goodness our God is unchanging, never-wavering, always faithful, and always true. I can count on Him to be steadfast and true during this season of change.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

– Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

Thankfully, my relationship with Christ is continual and He will always be there for me in times of change and uncertainty.

However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss things from Chile.

I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss sunsets from the dunes. And living in Spanglish. I miss the hospitality and warmth of Chilean culture. I miss last minute plans that turn out to be the best evening of the month. My heart aches for the girls in the home. I miss sharing God’s unconditional love and joy in their lives. I miss the kisses. I miss the hugs. I miss the closeness I felt. I miss having Lisa down the hall. I miss the sense of adventure in the air. I miss the fire that we all had for living. The desire to go wherever, whenever, on a whim. Flexibility. Unscheduled life that just happened. Laughter late in the night. Sharing tears in joy and grief. I miss my Chilean adventure.

Chile will always hold a special place in my heart. A time of joy, change, flexibility, love, peace, and adventure.

As for now, I’m thankful for the adventure I had and ready for the next one.