29 April 2005

that's not who we are...

I'm not sure yet what I am going to say about this yet, but here goes:
This morning, my mom, myself and another lady (Mary) from my church brought donuts and bottles of water to a local park, to give to people who were there. We mostly expected that we would meet homeless people or "transients." And that was the case. We did this in response to a challenge from our Bible study and the 40 Days of Community our church is going through.
When we got to the park, there was a small group of about 5 people talking at a picnic table. We offered them all donuts and water. Some accepted the donuts and I think all of them accepted the water.
We ended up talking a bit to a man named Larry and he asked who we are. Mary quickly answered, "We are from Hillside Church." While she said that, I thought to myself, that's not who we are...We go to that church, but it isn't who we are. We also introduced ourselves, by name to him.
Over the next 2 hours several other people came and went, the group we met first "helped" by offering the donuts and water to others who came. Like I said, it was mostly transients, but also a man came and typed on his laptop for a bit, and two Muslim women brought their children to play in the park. I spoke to one, Anisa, and she asked if we were from a church and said that her husband has spoken about Islam at many churches in the area. I got his name and e-mail address because it sounded like it would be a great resource to have.
In the last half hour a man named John came by. I offered him a donut and some water. He was a little hesitant at first. He asked if I was "advertising" something, and I said no, we were just offering them to everyone. And he asked where we were from, and I said that we were a small group from a church. And (a little later) he asked why we were there. And I told him that our group was challenged to reach out to the community and that we decided that we would come and share donuts and water. And I said, "Do you think that was a good idea?" And he responded positively.
After a little bit of "small talk," he seemed to be thinking about leaving, but then said, "Do you have time to talk?" And I said, "Sure," and we sat down at the picnic table and he just starting talking. He told me about how he felt that the State was trying to get all his money, how all the people at the halfway house he was at are crazy, and the thing that hit me the hardest was when he told me about being in juvenile hall at 16 or 17 and seeing a film about Jesus and going back to his cell and crying because he was so moved. And then, the jailer came and told him he was stupid to believe that stuff, to quit crying and then John was beaten by the jailer. He told me that he decided that he shouldn't try the religious stuff after that. Although later, he said that sometimes he feel touched and spiritual. All this time, I just listened. I think that is all God wanted me to do. Just listen. That is all John needed right then. He didn't know me. He just wanted to talk to somebody. To be heard.
Leading up to this morning, I was very tentative about going. I knew I was going, I just was a bit "weirded out." I think that the mental state of most homeless people has just made me feel a bit intimidated. I feel ashamed to have more than them. Now, I hope we go back.
Lord, I was willing to do your will this morning, and I pray that that is what took place. I pray for Larry and Anisa and John and all the people we served this morning. I pray that we were able to meet a need and to look like you in the process. Please guide us in future relationships with them. In Jesus' name. Amen.

25 April 2005


Just a quick post to say (to you AND me) that I have not abandoned the blogging world. I have just had a very full couple of days. But I am really excited about a new habit I am picking up. For the last three days (and I intend to continue this daily) I have taken up walking. As in going for walks. Saturday I went with my mom and a friend, Megan. And Sunday I went with my sister, Kathryn, my niece, Cheyanne, and the dog, Tres, and today I braved it alone. It is so refreshing, I'm not sure what kept me from it before. I will try to keep you posted.

P.S. Does anybody else think it is silly that "blogging" and "blogger" are not words in the blogger spellcheck?

22 April 2005

Day 13

Point to Ponder: People know we love them when we show we love them.
Verse to Remember: "Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions." 1 John 3:18 (LB)
Question to Consider: Who can you share the love of Christ with in a practical way today?
"Preach the gospel, if necessary, use words." ~Francis of Assisi
I love this quote, but the question is do I follow its teaching? Sometimes I just think too long and hard about things. I feel God tugging on me to offer help (in any way) to the person asking for money on the street corner, and I avoid eye contact. Sometimes I just feel like I am too busy judging them, wondering if they really need the money; are they just going to buy drugs and alcohol? Well it is not my job to judge. But I should be serving.
Question to Consider: I will offer support to the next homeless person I see.
Lord, use me, guide me and don't let me falter! Amen.

21 April 2005

Day 12

Point to Ponder: Love the people of the world, but not the values of the world.
Verse to Remember: "Be friendly with everyone. Don't be proud and feel that you are smarter than others. Make friends with ordinary people." Romans 12:16 (CEV)
Question to Consider: Do you have any meaningful friendships with non-believers?
Today's lesson kind of feels like daggers piercing my skin. I have felt convicted lately to talk to and make friends with non-believers. I'm just not sure how. I don't socialize outside of the church now. I feel pretty isolated. Plus, I had an argument with my dad last night and I don't think I was being very Christlike. I want to make amends but I don't want to totally concede to him. Is that possible?
Question to Consider: No. I have in the past, but right now I tend to surround myself with Christians.
Lord, please provide me with opportunities to befriend non-believers. And guide me as I do.

20 April 2005


I had an argument with my dad today. I think I knew it was coming. I just wasn't really sure what the breaking point would be. For a while now, we haven't been able to hold civil conversations. He will ask me questions that he's asked me a thousand times before and I will give him answers such "I don't know," or "Maybe." I almost always say, "just a minute" when he asks me to look at something or asks for my opinion. I'm not sure why I am so aloof with him. I suppose that it is just that from previous situations, I'm really not sure how much he will take my opinion into consideration. And I feel like when he tells me something or tells me a story, he just wants to hear the sound of his own voice (I'm afraid that I may take after him in this way, sometimes - I like to tell people stuff). I just haven't figured out how to tastefully and respectfully tell him that I've already heard what he has said and really don't need to hear it again. Or should I just sit there and listen quietly.
Well, tonight my brother, Ben, called, and after he spoke to my parents, he asked to speak to me. I knew what he wanted to talk about. Five years ago, when I graduated from high school, Ben offered to me, as my graduation present, a trip anywhere Alaska Airlines flies (he works for them). Somehow, over the past 5 years, we have never found an appropriate time to take the trip. Over my last birthday we planned to go to Mexico, but that never happened. So, I told my brother that I would come visit him and his family (they are currently living in Oregon). He sent me a ticket that was good for 90 days. When it was about to expire and we still couldn't find a time that worked for both of us, I sent it back for him to get it extended. Well, today, he asked me about when might be a possibility to come visit. I suggested that the beginning of May might be good. He liked the idea too, because he and his wife would have some time off during that time, and he suggested that I could spend some time with all of them and also stay with his two daughters for a few days while he and his wife went away for a few days. I made mention to Ben that our parents will be in Europe from May 4th for several weeks and we'd have to make sure that the house was watched and I would find out more later. Well, my dad seemed to feel that I was making "last minute plans" without consulting him and was irritated that I expected us to find someone else to watch the house (which could be my sister, or a neighbor has has housesat for us before). He then told me that he did all sorts of things for me, but he gets no respect, I pay almost no rent (something agreed upon with my mom) and that I need to "do something" and move out.
I was really upset. I attempted to defend myself, but wasn't sure how to say it and I definitely didn't speak as respectfully as I am supposed to. I didn't want to be in the house and I just grabbed my purse and some shoes and left. I started driving and then came to the realization that I wasn't sure where I was going. I just felt all alone. I just wanted someone to come to mind as the person I could call or go to their house and lay out my problems and get comfort and guidance and just a safe place to rest. I know God is the ultimate at that, but I wanted someone I could touch. As I drove in a circle around the city many people came to mind, but I was afraid to intrude, I didn't know so and so well enough to arrive at their doorstep crying, my two best friends were too far away. I, for a moment, considered driving to Davis or even L.A. but didn't really think that was a good idea with tears streaming down my face and a speedometer that works some of the time. Plus, I have responsibilities-places to be. About 15 minutes into my drive my mom called me to make sure I was going someplace "safe." I told her that I didn't know where I was going (that's how I feel about life sometimes) and she suggested a few places that I had already vetoed for the reasons above. And then I told her that I just wanted to go home and go to bed but I didn't want to be around my dad. And she told me that he had gone to bed. We talked for a little while and she told me that my dad just wants to be in control and felt like I wasn't consulting him, and she gave some other reasons for his behavior. She suggested that he didn't want me out of the house but he wanted to know what my plan is (for the future). All I wanted was some way that I could make things better between my dad and I, but that's the one thing I don't know the answer to. I have told him that my intention is not to just be lazy. I'm still paying rent even without a job. I decided that it would make more sense for me to wait until I return from Cambodia to get a job. I think that sometimes I am so defensive because I have no idea what I am going to do. My life is totally different than what I ever expected. I was always a really smart girl. I actually liked school, but I never knew what I wanted to do "when I grow up." Because of that I ended up going to the JC and slacked off because I still didn't know and I was getting burnt out. I eventually got a decent "grown up" job so that I could go on an adventure (to Europe) with a friend and stayed there (at the job) for two and a half years, having no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A couple of months ago, I felt God calling me to "something different" and I still don't know what it is. And now I am an unemployed 23-year-old, living at home with her parents, wanting to see what God's will for her life is, but confused about how to survive in the "real world." I want to be independent, but I'm afraid I can't afford it. I just feel lost and alone right now. I must be in some weird transitional phase. I have friends but can't think of anyone I can really call on. I am so willing to support others, but I just feel like I have nobody to lean on myself.
Wow! If you took the time to read all the way through that, God bless you and I'm sorry. I don't get all that many chances to rant. I needed to let it out somewhere.
Lord, help me to rely on you, but also please place people in my life to be my earthly support system.

Day 11

Point to Ponder: God wants you to accept others just like Jesus accepted you.
Verse to Remember: "Reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!" Romans 15:7 (Msg)
Questions to Consider: Who is the last person in your life that you would expect to become a Christian? How could your acceptance of them build a bridge to Christ?
Wow -- today's devotional has been extraordinarily eye-opening. I learned further what it means to love others "as Christ first loved us." It's not just BECAUSE he loved us, but we are to love in the same way that he loves us. Romans 5:8 tells us that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus didn't wait until we confessed that he was our savior and repented of our sins to die for us. No, he gave of himself "while we were still sinners." If we are to be disciples of Christ we need to sacrifice and love in the same way!
Question to Consider: I have had two friends, Val and Rachel, who are NOT Christians, but we have always had great conversations about religion & what we thought about life, etc. I pray that my love and openness planted that seed of faith inside of them.

19 April 2005

Day 10

Point to Ponder: Open hearts lead to open homes.
Verse to Remember: "Open your homes to each other without complaining." 1 Peter 4:9 (TEV)
Question to Consider: Have you had your neighbors into your home lately?
I still live with my parents, so it is a little bit more of an ordeal for me to be hospitable. I need to ask permission first. I can't just invite people over at the drop of a hat. However, I do find myself inviting people over more often. When I was in school, my friends and I rarely hung out at my house. I'm not sure why, but I just preferred to be somewhere else. I know many people who are extraordinarily hospitable -- there is always an extra person (or eight) at their house. I pray that, as possible, I can open my home willingly and often.
Question to Consider: Actually, just this past Saturday, we had a family to dinner. It was quite enjoyable.

18 April 2005

Day 9

Point to Ponder: "We" is more powerful than "me."
Verse to Remember: "...you are working together and struggling side-by-side to get others to believe the good news." Philippians 1:27b (CEV)
Question to Consider: Which of your friends and family members can your small group begin praying for?
"Reach one more for Jesus." These words remind me that it is an individual that I am trying to reach. If we are trying to direct someone to a personal relationship with Jesus, we need to model a personal relationship with them. And that cannot be done over a microphone in a huge stadium, but over coffee, or sometimes over the telephone, etc.
I am encouraged that even in Philippians they "struggled" -- so, it's not just me!
Question to Consider: Serena, my Dad.
Lord, lead me to those you want me to speak to. And remind me that I am not alone in my journey.

17 April 2005

Day 8

Point to Ponder: Make the most of every opportunity to share.

Verse to Remember: "Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5 (NCV)

Question to consider: Will anybody be in heaven because of you?


I love it when a truth I once knew is reintroduced into my life and I am reminded of it. I need to be ready, willing and able to share God's love, but most importantly, I need to be considerate and loving as I do.

Question to Consider: I've always felt like somewhat of a planter (of "the seed") or the caretaker of the flower. I can't really recall a person who has come to Christ, fully, in my presence, as a direct result of what God has said through me. I believe that I have played a part in God's perfect plan, though, and that is most important.

Lord, use me.

16 April 2005

Day 7

Point to Ponder: The whole world is watching how we love one another.

Verse to Remember: "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:35 (NLT)

Question to Consider: How loudly do your actions speak about the love of God?


I read today's devotional twice because I wasn't really sure how to respond in writing-once this morning and just now (10:30 @ night).

I saw a very good example of the "world" watching believers love each other (and them) on Thursday. Our youth group went on a field trip to Alliance Redwoods and it was the first time I really felt like it (the youth group) was reaching out to others. The majority of the group had never or rarely attended youth group & I could really tell that they saw love and experienced acceptance.

Question to Consider:
I am constantly working at loving others better, but I am pretty certain my actions speak fairly loudly-they could, however, always be louder!
Lord, make my love LOUDER! Amen.

15 April 2005

Day 6

Point to Ponder: The greatest lesson in life is love.

Verse to Remember: "We are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward." Hebrews 6:11 (LB)

Question to Consider: How can you practice love more urgently, consistently, and expectantly?


"It is in those that we love that we will find our greatest reward." (Devotional quote) Is the reward here on earth? Is their happiness our reward? Is it because they will reciprocate? Or is our reward in heaven? Maybe it's different in every situation. The only certainty is that our reward in heaven will be "full" -- whatever that means...
Question to Consider:
Urgently -- I need to recognize that my life on earth will end and more importantly I am not here to make it better for ME ME ME!
Consistently -- Be aware of my mood in relation to how I relate to others.
Expectantly -- I need to remind myself that love is not fruitless -- it was also created for a purpose. AMEN!!!

14 April 2005

I'm Back

Sorry it's been so long. I'm not sure what happened.

To get back into the swing of things I am going to post my journal that goes along with the 40 Days of Community devotional I am reading along with my church. We are currently on Day 5:

Point to Ponder:
Love must be learned

Verse to Remember:
"Love your Christian brothers and sisters"
1 Peter 2:17b (NLT)

Question to Consider:
How devoted are you to your church family.


"...small groups are...Holy Spirit-led laboratories..." (excerpt from devotional today) -- I like that idea. We don't know everything so we test out ideas, etc in a safe environment. I am looking forward to the 40 Days...version (small group).

Question to Consider:
I'd say VERY devoted. I spend a kajillion hours a week with people from church. Because I really like them and want to spend time with them. However, lately I have felt convicted to reach out to the world. I feel like I can never lead anyone to Christ, if all the people I see already know Him. What's a girl to do?