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Why Missions?

I remember as a young child, missionaries from foreign countries would come to visit our rural midwest church with amazing stories of the work that God was doing around the globe. It was fascinating, but there was a big disconnect–these stories had no real relevance to my daily life. Even as I grew older, missions was something others did and simply shared cool stories with the rest of us.

Jump ahead a few years to my sophomore year of college. I was attending a missions conference in San Francisco. And still there was this disconnect. Missions is what other people do. That is until the final night of the conference. I distinctly remember sitting in this church in downtown San Francisco, there was a great time of worship, an impassioned speaker… And in the midst of all this, a quiet voice asked me to say “yes.”

My first thought was: “Yes to what?” That seemed like a rational response, right?

But the voice was persistent. “I want you to say yes to whatever I ask.”

Why Do We Sing on Sundays?

Like with most things that break me, I never saw it coming.

This time, the words came in the form of a letter. A smattering of broken sentences and life had come undone. My heart shattered, falling like sand through my fingers. Even if I were to gather the remaining pieces, mend them together through tears and time, I would never be the same.

Photo credit (c) Juno Nygren

My life is yours
My hope is in you only

In these moments, when my heart is breaking, sometimes I find it hard to sing. And to my surprise, it is these very slivers of time of heartbreak when it is vitally important to keep singing.

Why do we sing as part of our worship?

The Cost of Silence in the Face of Love

A friend of mine was at a gas station when a young man came inside, loud and agitated. The cashier instantly told the man to settle down or get out, but when confronted, the young man (who happened to be Black) said that he was upset because when he was outside a tow truck driver started calling him racial slurs. The cashier apologized while my friend went out to stick up for the guy, including taking the tow truck driver’s picture so she could report him. The tow truck driver started arguing with HER, swearing and calling her racial slurs!

My friend didn’t back down. She called the tow truck company.hen they heard what had happened, they were pretty upset. Hopefully, the racist tow truck driver has long since been fired.

When my friend told me this story, naturally my first thought was: “she is awesome!” But my second thought was:

“Wait, was this in Tacoma?”

Oh yes, it was. And not 1956, Tacoma, last month Tacoma.

Maybe some of you reading this are not surprised.
Maybe some of you reading this are a little surprised, but not too concerned because you know you are not racist.

Jesus, (I’ll) Take the Wheel

No help required, everything is awesome!

It happens to all of us. Yep, you and me, and anyone else who is a Christian. When things are going well in our lives, we have everything figured out. Life is smooth ride and all we need to do is sit back and take it all in. No need to wonder how we got there or if the God of the universe might have had something to do with it.  We have everything under control.

We say, “Jesus, I’ll drive.”

Then the storm comes. 

Grieving in Grace

There is one thing at Discovery that everyone I have crossed paths knows about me: I am in love with my hometown. My hometown being a small surfing, ranching, and rodeo community (yes, we do have an annual event every summer called “Surf Rodeo”) by the name of Ventura, California.

I left Ventura in the summer of 2015 to attend college up here in Tacoma. I was ready to be out of Ventura after living there for almost twelve of my eighteen years. I thought I was going to leave forever when I got on a plane to SEATAC that August day.

But Ventura called me back sooner, rather than later. I fell more in love with my hometown the longer I stayed away. I didn’t realize how unique, special, and wonderful Ventura is until I left. I took every opportunity I could those first few years to go home and be in my beloved community.

One of my favorite places in my hometown (as it is for most residents of Ventura) is Grant Park. Grant Park sits on the second highest hill in Ventura and has a gorgeous view of the entire city of Ventura, beach and countryside both. The Cross sits in Grant Park, which represents The Cross placed in Ventura by Father Serra when he founded Mission San Buenaventura. The Cross is a holy place in Ventura. I have seen weddings, funerals, graduation photos, and family reunions all take place there. I have driven to The Cross when I feel the need to cry, have a moment to myself, or to take in the view as I eat my Corrales burrito.

The Cross tells us that we are home when we see it. It’s truly a sanctuary to so many people.

Be Not Afraid…

I’m not sure about you, but it seems that fear is a pretty big issue these days. We are surrounded by people telling us what we should be afraid of and why. The Christian radio is singing about fear not owning us, as if breaking up with fear is that easy.

And Scripture is constantly telling us to not be afraid. God says this to both Moses and Joshua multiple times. The angel says it to Mary. Jesus tells it to his followers. Do not be afraid.

So clearly, it is not a new issue. But simply saying “do not be afraid” doesn’t give us much to work with.

How do we go about overcoming fear in our lives?

Sweet Dreams

“You’ve got to be careful believing what you think.” That’s the statement Andy Andrews made from the stage that began the long, slow gut punch that had me uncomfortable in my seat for over an hour. I felt exposed, and it only got worse as he continued with his next statement: “Open your mind to […]

Exact Same Dad

He and his dad pack days worth of food, cold-weather gear, and shovels and hike into the mountains. They’ve bought special sleeping bags that keep you toasty below freezing. They choose the perfect patch of deep snow and dig out the perfect cave, complete with sleeping platforms, to call home for the next few days. Each cup of coffee is brewed with melted snow over a small camp stove, each meal rehydrated the same way.

She and her dad hop into the truck early one morning, travel mugs full of coffee hot from the Keurig, and set out towards the Olympics in search of snow. Forgetting all about packing a lunch, they drive until they find the old logging roads he used to travel during hunting seasons past. The truck takes them as high as the road will go, where they find a red picnic table and far-away views of Mt. Rainier.  

When I was a young girl, I secretly harbored a curious fascination with incense. With wide-eyed wonder, I watched the priest carefully open the lid of the gold-plated incense burner. Smoke rose from the burning coals held within. His lips moved in silent prayer as he sprinkled the fragrant incense over the coals. He closed […]

Peacemakers

I’m a teacher and one of the subjects I teach is computer science. Not long ago a friend asked me what I thought the biggest challenge for the body of Christ is in this digital age. I didn’t have to think about this one at all. I firmly believe that our biggest challenge is found […]