Clearing Cobwebs.

Oh my goodness. There is a layer of dust and cobwebs in this little corner of the internet.  I’ve not abandoned this blog on purpose, I promise. I not only went on tour, but I’ve also taken on several writing projects. I’ve had the pleasure of writing for a stellar organization called RYFO, and I wrote a novel in November. Along with that I’m also in charge of social media and blogging for DLC and all of the ministries under that umbrella. Needless to say, this personal blog has been pushed to the back burner…sorry guys!

 

Anyways.

I’ve been spending a lot of mornings in prayer. That I would be submissive to the seasons in life that God brings me to, and that this transition from doing what I wish with my time to having increasing responsibility would grow me in the best possible ways, and that I would seek after Him. But, my prayers haven’t been just for myself. I’ve also felt an increasing burden to make the gospel my first priority-continually.  My new years resolution for 2013 was to be more intentional. And in a lot of ways, my life has been much more intentional. In others, I feel like God has been very intentional with me. He always is, but in the past year I’ve really seen His faithfulness with new eyes. He is a very very good God and constantly brings me just outside of my comfort zone. I want so badly to share this goodness with everyone.

I recently heard a missionary speak about biblical hospitality. One of my biggest struggles with living in an RV is finding ways to practice hospitality without having much room for people in our home, and it’s been cool to find opportunities to do hospitality in unconventional ways. Just meeting people’s needs, investing in their lives, following through in prayer…loving. It’s so much more significant than preaching with words. I ask God daily that my life would exemplify His goodness-even though I am not good.

Mostly, He is my sanctuary every day. His goodness, grace and mercy constantly surprise me. And even while everything is going to sleep for the winter, He continues to stir up new life, making us new creations. He quiets my chaos, and I find rest in Him.

That’s my life update. Perhaps I’ll have more to say soon-but maybe not.  I love you all. 🙂

~Sydney

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Being Still

“Be still and know that I am God.”

 

Our God is a consistent God, our God doesn’t change like shifting shadows. I love that the God who breathes stars and holds us in the palm of His hand is the same God that sent Jesus, who wrote His mission to be carried out in a way that breaks cultural barriers.  The thing that strikes me about the prospect of stillness in acknowledging who God is, is that it’s not our first inclination as humans.

Yesterday, we remembered the horrifying event that is forever stamped on the date 9/11.  During that time 12 years ago, and throughout the weeks following, the churches were brimming with people looking for security. Were we still?  Our human reaction in the midst of desperate times is to create for ourselves false security by whatever means necessary.  We’ll go to money, houses, relationships. We’ll even go to church. But none of it’s secure. No, we gain this Hunger Games mentality whenever we are faced with the chaos of a fallen world. But the fact is, God is God. He is sovereign. He is all powerful. And believe it or not, He is still the one on control.

And when we are faced with the painful reality of earth and it’s horrors, His encouragement to us is not “make a way for yourself to be safe. Hoard, prepare, ensure.” No. The God of the universe tells us, “shh. Acknowledge who I am. Remind yourself who is spinning the world that you are so wrapped up in. Remind yourself that no matter how much chaos you contribute, this world won’t spin out of control but by my hand.”

Some of you might say it’s a bit bold to talk about the sovereignty of God with 9/11 still fresh in our minds. It’s bold at all times, because our limp faith muscles often refuse to accept a sovereign God when we look at our lives and all the places He didn’t seem to show up. But let me ask you, from which perspective are we sitting? Where are we that we would have the audacity to assume that we know better than the All-Knowing? The questions we should be asking often point more at our own hearts than at the character of God.

God asks those who follow Him to counter what this world tells us to do.  When the world tells us, “give in,” He tells us, “resist the Devil and he will flee you.”  When the world tells us to build up false security, the One who blew on dust to create a human being in all it’s complexity said to be still.    He holds the authority.  As I was thinking through these things, I asked myself why we shy away from being still. If we are supposed to be still, why isn’t it attractive?  I think that A. W. Tozer put it well when he wrote, “religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God.”

What a statement as we look at the American Church and see often, a blind group of people who are caught up in believing this lie. They are leaning so much on works. Our often discipleship consists of training new believers with fresh fire how to run the welcome center, or work in the nursery. But heaven-forbid we admonish, encourage, or teach them in a direction of Holy fear of the Lord. How much more harmful to our narrow minded Kingdom would it be to teach them how to make MORE of us. The things that could come of that! The people they bring in might have baggage…pasts…they might ask hard questions or ask us to be transparent.  How much more inward focused can we get? I will follow that up by saying I know that there are few left that are Kingdom focused, and I encourage those. The road is narrow. Few will find it. Most will believe they’ve found it.  This is a petrifying thought. We have whole congregations of people thinking they’ve found Jesus and thinking that they’re Heaven bound. We have hoards of highschool and college age kids leaving because they thought this was going to be about Jesus, and it turns out that it’s about us. It turns out that we are wrapped up in expanding our bubble of Christianity as the American church knows it and not about expanding an actual Kingdom. We are wrapped around the worlds finger often without knowing it at all.

Little do we humans know that the works we do, the programs we start, the business of our lives driven by being good people carries absolutely no weight in light of what Christ did for us. We have no love. We have no desire to obey a simple command such as, “be still and know that I am God.”  Why is that? Because if we give God room to be heard, we are perpetually without excuse. Our perception of the Lord is so much more comfortable than the One True God.

My prayer in all these thoughts is that I will listen. That I will not be blinded by the god of this age. That I will disregard my human desires for noise, so that I may recognize the voice that’s real. The voice of Truth. I pray also that the people in my life and beyond will not be deceived but that we would put the Glory of God above everything else. He is the one to be worshiped.

I love you all.

~Sydney

T o B e H o n e s t A b o u t H i m .

The last ten or twelve times I’ve sat down to write I try to expect content to magically transfer from heart to hand. Lately I feel like all the words and ideas in my head are just spinning a weak little web that can’t hold up to the other demands in my life. There has been nothing outstanding in my thought-life.

 

To be entirely honest, I feel like I’ve stuck myself in mental limbo. It’s having a laptop, smart phone and a vast collection of movies at my disposal. Not the best way to kick off becoming better. I have to qualify my confession with the fact that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Like I always come back to, I never want to use my age as an excuse for laziness. It’s not a valid one. I am a teenager. I am still learning. But I have a brain and all my limbs are functioning (they aren’t very graceful but they work) and I think that that’s a pretty great starting place.

The thing is, this evening a took a look inwardly at myself. My desires and my ambitions. I thought about college and I thought about what point I’m at personally, outside of DLC and music and tour and our lifestyle. Just me and Jesus and how we intertwine. But I couldn’t quite weed everything out. My constant thought has grown to, “I am outrageously excited about what the next chapters in my life hold.”   Because where I am now is absolutely incredible. If I keep growing up and out I have no idea what might happen.

Tonight I felt inclined to power down and pick up a book. And like God does in His Fatherly way, my thoughts exploded life fireworks in the framework of all I have been pondering lately.

The prompting of this post wasn’t about me-really. It’s about Christ. His completion even in my complacency. I was reading a book that was sort of hashing out human perception of reality. We joke about pondering the meaning of it all, but the fact of the matter is that everyone in some way is going to ponder what life is all about. In the big picture it doesn’t make any sense until Christ comes in. You know the intensity of life in your own way-whether you know Jesus or not we can all agree that this world we live in has so much capacity for ruin and heartache and things don’t always make sense. But the beauty in the brokenness is that it all points to the Gospel.

Whether we are willing to reckon with it or not, the tragic is due to our human nature. We are born into a desperation for a gap in our hearts to be filled. We were born to worship something. Naturally we choose the things that cause instant gratification. But the Gospel is sacrifice.  It’s based on one man who came to earth miraculously born of a virgin, in the most vulnerable state we humans will ever find ourselves in. He humbled Himself enough to be brought into this fallen world in a dirty stable. Among animals and filth.  He lived for others in life, and in death He was more selfless than we have the capacity to be on our own. He died a humiliating death so that we could live eternally. His blood was spilled to cover our sin-our worship of instant gratification. He bore the wrath of God so that when God the Father looks at the ones who accepted Him, He sees purity. He sees righteous Children who had no hand in their redemption but that they took the hand offered to them and said, “yes, I believe that Christ is for me.”

A change happens in our hearts when we first recognize who Christ is. We see life in a new light. As the Holy Spirit fills us and begins to shape us like Christ, we find that our lives become sacrificial. Things hurt. Compassion breaks our hearts, humans break our hearts, earth breaks our hearts. But the eternal hope the sprung into motion when Jesus said, “it is finished” keeps propelling us forward.  The hearts of humans created to worship are not satisfied until they find something beyond themselves to adore. Deep within us is a craving for redemption. The something beyond that causes an inward cavern of absolute desperation for more.

I’ve hit a nerve, perhaps?

The thing that propelled this thought the most was a line I recently read by Tozer.

“Our reality is contingent on His (God’s).”

This sentence is one of the most profound things I have ever read. God is the first and the last. He brought time into being because we are incapable of handling His forever-ness. He is all powerful. He created our reality in a way that reveals Himself to us without saying a word. The stars that came from His breath and the mountains that He formed, the bodies He designed and the ocean that is nothing but a drop of water in His vastness. We, at the heart of our beings, long for Him. We need to fear Him with a HOLY fear that translates into the security we have in His love for us.

This God loves us. He designed us to need Him. He desires us. He formulated our reality in life so that we come to Him, and glorify Him.

Isn’t that the most gut-wrenching, wonderful, frightening, glorious realization we could ever have? Christianity is not just a list of rules. It’s not a way of life meant to restrict you in any way. It’s real life. It’s the realest life you could ever life. Because it’s complete. It’s holy. Pure.

Dwell on that. Let Jesus in. Let Him bring you peace. I love you guys.

 

~Sydney