Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Third Option

Okay, so I know I wasn't going to post again until June, but with the end of the world prediction and all the mayhem surrounding it, I had some thoughts to share.  This was a note I posted on my Facebook:

One local church was concerned that Camping's followers could slip into a deep depression come Sunday. Pastor Jacob Denys of Milpitas-based Calvary Bible Church planned to wait outside the nonprofit's headquarters on Saturday afternoon, hoping to counsel believers who may be disillusioned if the Rapture does not occur. "The cold, hard reality is going to hit them that they did this, and it was false and they basically emptied out everything to follow a false teacher," he said. "We're not all about doom and gloom. Our message is a message of salvation and of hope."

I found this little story in the middle of a longer story on about the "end of the world" craziness that's been happening this week.  The article interviewed Camping's followers, and the skeptics, and presented the harsh arguments that both sides were giving.  But this one paragraph struck me; instead of trying to find proof and arguing obnoxiously about how false the predition was, this pastor saw Camping's followers as lost sheep following the wrong person and felt sorry for them.  He had plans for comfort and counsel Camping's followers, not by arguing with facts but by presenting to them a message of salvation and hope.

This was the first time I heard this perspective.  Everyone on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else is quoting Matt. 24:36 and talking about how wrong Camping and his followers are.  Never did it occur to me that there's a third option we can choose, not the side of Camping or the skeptics, but of those who see these people as lost and hurt for them and want to love them and pray for them instead of judge them.

Why didn't it occur to me?  How could I have been so blind to not see that loving these people could be the only thing that brings peace?  In chapel I sing over and over, "Show me how to love like You have loved me," but I didn't think to love these people like God loves me.  How did I fail so easily?  How could I condemn these people as crazy when I turn around and act like such a hypocrite?

I need God's grace every single day.  So does Harold Camping, and his followers.  So do all the skeptics.  Everyone needs His love so desperately. And that is the message I want to live out in my life, not arguing and condemning, but loving even those who would be called crazy.  "Show me how to love like You have loved me."  Yes, that is my prayer, and I pray it even more earnestly than before.

Monday, May 9, 2011

As the Semester Ends: An Odd Assortment of Thoughts and Events

First matter of business: my Twitter!  Yes, I finally gave in to peer pressure and activated a Twitter account for myself, for two reasons.  One: Jim recently got a Twitter and asked us all to follow him as he travels this month. Two: I figured that during the summer updating my Twitter would be easier and faster than updating my blog, so in between blog posts you can still stay caught-up with what's happening with HeartSong.  You can follow me, "pianoguru8813," or HeartSong, "CUHeartSong," with your own Twitter account, and my tweets will also be posted on my blog to the right. - - >

Last week was the end of a difficult but very fast semester, and now I am officially a college junior!  During exam week I spent a lot of time with my friends.  Tuesday night and Wednesday night I spent with my music major friends hanging out and de-stressing after juries and a busy day of finals, and Thursday night, as part of Rachel's last night in our room, we had the MOMM girls over to hang out.  It was so great to spend some time with my friends before we all left for the summer.  On Friday, Rachel and I moved out of our room and gave each other one last hug.  I prayed with her one more time, giving her over to God to do His will in her life, and I am so excited to see what He does!  I went home for the weekend before I came back to school on Sunday for my May term class, and when I got back I noticed that she forgot her curtains!  So, I kept them and put them up in my new room for May term as something to remember her by.

I had a wonderful weekend with my family.  Friday night I surprised my grandma by coming to her birthday party/Mother's Day outing, and I think I surprised my entire extended family as well!  We had a great time catching up with each other and eating some yummy Chinese food.  On Saturday, my dad and my sister and I took our mom out for Mother's Day to the Cheesecake Factory and shopping; my sister and I also surprised her with a toaster oven, something she's been wanting for years; we finally found one on sale that we could afford!  I was so happy to spend the day with my family and to be with my mom for Mother's Day, especially the next day at church during the Tribute to Moms video.  Church was amazing as usual; I love love LOVE my home church and will definitely miss being there this summer.  After church my mom, dad and I left for CU to finish moving me over to McKinney, my dorm for the next three weeks.  During May, I'm going to be taking New Testament Literature for three hours every day with Dr. Gombis, and amazing NT professor who is going to be leaving CU to teach NT at a seminary next fall; I had to take a class from him when I could!  I am so excited to take an entire Bible class in a month; it will be like an intense 3-week Bible study, and I won't have any other classes or extracurriculars to worry about! :)

Class starts tomorrow, so today I had some time; Jackie stopped by and we had dinner together again.  I am so blessed to know her and love that we can encourage each other whenever we see each other!  I had a chance to encourage her with something wonderful that God has been teaching me lately; she told me, "Don't keep that to yourself.  You need to share that!" So, even though I've blogged about this before, I'm going to again with a little more detail; this is about worshipping God above all else.

About halfway through this semester, I found myself worshipping HeartSong. I LOVED being on HeartSong so much that after a weekend out I would find myself on Sunday evening depressed and sad that the weekend was over.  I took every opportunity given to me to be a part of any extra HS events, and I thought and prayed about my teams a ton.  None of these things were wrong, until I found myself telling a friend that I could not picture myself in college and not being on HeartSong anymore.  I realized that I was putting HeartSong above the God of HeartSong, just like I had put the place Camp Carl above the God of the place.  I became really worried that God would take HeartSong away from me somehow in order to get me back on track with worshipping Him above everything else.

In the course of a week or so in April, I was presented with two different ministry opportunities that would involve leaving HeartSong to be a part of. First, Sanctify Ministries, an org. of college girls that lead girls' retreats, was looking to recruit some new members, but travelling with them for the retreats would conflict with HeartSong.  Second, the women's ministry leader position for my class was open because no one was interested in it, but all the responsibilities for that would be too much if I was on HeartSong as well.  I started praying: "God, both of these are great opportunities that I would be wonderful at.  Do you want me to pursue one or both of them for next year, and leave HeartSong?"  I was so confused, especially with the deadline for the women's ministry leader position being only a week away, and asked my family and friends to pray for me.  I remember telling God that if no one else was interested in the women's ministry leader position that I would step in and do it.

About two days later, I got a reply e-mail from the person I contacted about the position with information about it.  There were about 30 names that also received that e-mail!  I took a step back, deciding to let another girl with a passion for women's ministry take the position instead.  It was as if God was giving HeartSong back to me after I gave it to Him.  In a book called "The Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson that Jake, Jackie's wife, recommended to me, a man with a dream takes the steps to make his God-given dream come true.  One of those steps is giving the dream over to God in a practical way. For me, that was considering leaving HeartSong and taking the steps toward joining a different ministry.  In the book, the man leaves his dream journal behind for God, but as he travels he finds his journal along the road; God had given his dream back to him.  God did the same thing for me; after I showed Him that I was willing to give up HeartSong to worship and follow Him instead, He gave HeartSong back to me.  From that point up to now, I still love HeartSong as much as I did, but I know that at any moment God could take it away for something greater, and I'm not holding on to it as tightly as I did before because I know it belongs to Him.

Well, there's something to chew on for the next month!  I'm planning on postponing more blog posts until June when my summer tour starts.  Looking forward to worshipping my God and letting Him be glorified in my life and through my blog this summer.  To Him be all the glory and honor and praise!! Soli Deo Gloria!!