Wednesday, June 25, 2008

God's Love

I've debated for awhile whether or not I was going to share this, but after my last post, I listened to the second YouTube clip of Brennan's that I posted a link to and near the end of his sharing time, Brennan asks you to look into Jesus' eyes and see how He sees you. I knew I had to write about this experience I had.

At the beginning of this year, I joined a Care Group and I'm LOVING it. I've never been so comfortable with a group of people (some who I know well, some who I know somewhat and some who I've just met). It's been a wonderful time of sharing, caring and having fun.

One week we read John 8:1 - 11. This is the passage where the woman was caught in adultery and the Pharisees brought her before Jesus to condemn her. Jesus started writing in the sand and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him throw the first stone." One by one, the Pharisees all left (some people believe that Jesus started writing down their sins and exposing them). After all the condemners were gone, Jesus said to the woman, "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?" The woman said, "No one, sir." Jesus said, "Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."

We were to go off on our own for 15 - 20 minutes, reread the passage and then write down what God was showing us that we condemn ourselves of doing that separates us from Him and what Jesus would write in the sand for us. I've always been a skeptic of these quiet times because I've never had a huge moment where God has revealed Himself to me. These times would always discourage me and make me think that I'm not as spiritual as everyone else. Well, I went into a quiet room and read the story and then closed my eyes. I was totally sidetracked and thinking about something completely off track and then I heard/felt/sensed (whatever you want to call it) God say to me, "Don't be scared of me." What? Am I scared of God? I didn't think so before, but I realized that being vulnerable is scary. So, I quieted my spirit and God showed me that I condemn myself of:

1) being afraid I'll screw up

2) not thinking I deserve what He wants to give me (but He told me that no one does. It's called Grace)

3) thinking I'm not as spiritual as others, so why try anyway?

I then put myself in the place of the woman and Jesus was writing in the sand. I was REALLY there! I was no longer sitting in this room in this house. I was fully standing before Jesus (my hands start sweating just thinking about it again)! So exciting! I had my eyes closed and could hear Jesus in front of me writing in the sand. When He stopped, I took a deep breath and kind of opened one eye (peeking, like) waiting to see my sins written out before me. Instead, He had written,


I looked at Him and He winked at me. I have NEVER felt so much love as at that moment. We just continued to look at each other for awhile and then I opened my eyes. I couldn't even see for all the tears streaming down my face. I had no idea that I was crying. Man, that was a powerful moment. I NEVER want to forget that feeling. God really does love me just as I am.

Thirsty hearts are those whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them.
- A.W. Tozer

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm back!

The month of May was SO busy that it honestly overwhelmed me thinking about blogging about it. As much as I really do love blogging, for some reason it takes me a long time to complete one post (maybe if I just showed my pics and stopping blabbing so much it wouldn't take me as long). I really am sorry that it's taken me so long to get back to this, but here I am. Take me or leave me. :( Keri: thanks for your comment and for waking me up and getting me back on track. :)

On May 8, Bren, Leana and I went to Surrey to see Whose Live is it Anyway? Same as Whose LINE is it Anyways, but I guess because we're seeing them LIVE, they do the play on words thing. Do you recognize these guys?

The funny Ryan Stiles.

Ryan and Chip Eston (side note for The Office fans - Chip also played Josh on The Office - Josh was Jim's boss when he went to the Stamford branch).

Ryan and Greg Proops

Jeff Davis, Chip, Greg and Ryan. It was a hilarious night. They sang, danced and came up with the funniest things off the tops of their heads. I'm sure they must have reused some jokes that could be used over and over, but a lot of the stuff they have to act out are ideas shouted out from the audience, so unless they have ringers out in the audience (which I really don't think they do), these guys are awesome. A great night out.
Oh, and it was Leana's birthday, so it was fun to be able to celebrate with her. I can't remember the last time we saw her on her actual birthday. Miss you, Lea!

Bren, Lori and I also went and saw KT Tunstall in Vancouver in May, but I forgot to get a group picture. :( She sings, Black Horse & The Cherry Tree and Suddenly I See (if you watch So You Think You Can Dance, you'd recognize Suddenly I See from a few seasons ago - they played that song when the girls got kicked off).

Another thing I did in May was go and hear this man speak.

This is Brennan Manning. Wow. What a great speaker. He came to my hometown and Karen, Pam and I signed up right away. Probably Brennan's most famous book is The Ragamuffin Gospel. Brennan speaks about God's love and over the past couple of years, that's what I've been learning about. I know that my human brain will only be able to grasp a fraction of how much God loves me, but what I am learning is giving me such freedom. Freedom to trust, freedom to be myself, freedom from worrying ... Everywhere I look lately, someone is talking about God's love and I'm learning something new. Brennan told us that God loves us as we are, not as we should be, because we will never be as we should be. You know how you read about fearing God? Brennan explained fearing God as "silent wonder, radical amazement and affectionate awe at the infinite goodness of God." Not the cowering in the corner kind of fear that we imagine. There is no fear in love. I believe that when I actually do meet God face to face, I will drop to my knees, but not in fear, in awe. God loves us SO much that in loving me, God made me lovable. If I'm lovable and made in the image of God, why do I live in fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, self hatred, etc? The love of God is reliable and not based on my mood or what I've done.

Brennan talked about how he doesn't remember one loving interaction with his mother (can you imagine?) and then told a few stories about her, but before he told these stories, he prefaced them by saying, "I tell you these stories with no bitterness whatsoever," and I really do believe him. He has dealt with that crap and moved on. He lives in God's love so fully that he can move past stuff in his past. I want to be like that. I want to be able to let things roll off me because it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

There's so much going on my in brain that it's hard to get it all down and cohesively at that. I have no idea if what I've written will make sense to anyone else, but I found this clip of Brennan talking on YouTube and in 3 and a half minutes it kind of summarizes what he talked about when I heard him speak. Enjoy, and I'll be back soon with more coherent (hopefully) thoughts.

If you have an extra 54 minutes, here's another Brennan sermon on YouTube. This was actually the first time I ever heard Brennan speak.