Month: February 2015

A Love that cannot be contained

It’s been about 2 days of listening to the same song on repeat.

My husband first introduced this song to me last year as he was preparing for missions. I heard him practice in our tiny apartment and listened to the track quite often in our car rides to dinner together. He would share his heart as to why he wanted to sing this over the people of China.  It’s beautiful and simple.

MULTIPLIED by NeedtoBreathe

Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name

God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies And these Hallelujahs
be multiplied

I rediscovered it recently on Spotify Tuesday morning and haven’t stopped. With 40 Days of Community and the project to love others, the lyrics of this song has been beating hard in me.

Last night I was heading over to Starbucks to get some studying done. The area is pretty new in development as it’s by the airport. I passed by the newly built stadium for the Earthquakes and just had this feeling of temporary..vain and worthless. This city I live in..has so much invested in New development. Sometimes it suffocate me. All these buildings and “look at me . look what I have” theme.

I pulled into the small plaza and saw a homeless standing at the end of the driveway. This time it was a woman. Usually I give it a second or two before I say , “Naaaah.” but this night was different. Maybe it’s because I’ve been studying about addictions and biopsych that my heart has softened towards the homeless. As humans, we were made to depend on God but history has shown that humans have chosen other things…one of them being alcohol or drugs. To cope to numb to alleviate to medicate to forget for moments…everything and anything that may be extremely difficult to handle in life. Unfortunately once our bodies get hooked..it’s no longer about avoiding the outside pain..there’s a new internal physical pain that has latched on as an addiction. Helpless and out of control are not great feelings. So my heart has become more compassionate which I am thankful for God revealing these truths to my mind and heart to contemplate on.

I parked and walked back out to where she was at. I sang in my heart…

“God of mercy sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies And these Hallelujahs
be multiplied”

We made eye contact and though I felt a little nervous I was determined to do what I could in that time and place. I smiled and she smiled back. Front teeth were completely out. She looked tired and worn. Didn’t shower for a few days but looked still cleaner than others. I asked if she wanted anything to eat and immediately I could see in the corner of my eyes that the cars leaving the lot were slowing down to watch and see..

Odd…is it new? Do people think a fight is about to break out? Why does it feel like I’m at a zoo. Folks were rolling down their windows to try to hear what was being discussed…

“Oh.. Sure yeah. A hamburger and a pink lemonade would be great.”

Found out her and a friend were staying on the other side of the freeway.

I walked back to In n Out and the place was packed for dinner. I hope the lady didn’t think I flaked out on her by taking so long. Finally got the food and headed back. She seemed as if she was packed and ready to go. I handed her food and though I bought my cheeseburger to try to sit down and eat with her….maybe keep her company(?) she seemed ready to move on.

” Thank you so much. I’m going to really enjoy this..”

“No problem. I hope you enjoy it. Take care of yourself.”

And at that moment…something came over me. I rarely hug strangers let alone homeless strangers. I’ve hugged new people I’ve met or heard news about through a close friend but a completely homeless stranger is very out of character and judgment for me.

I reached over to give her a hug and surprisingly she met me halfway.

“Thank you. You really made my night. Really”

“Really?? Wow I’m so glad. Take care okay?”

So strange. Not in a bad way. But I felt strange. What I gave her was not much. It wasn’t even all that I had. It was a small meal that would only relieve of any hunger for through the night at most.

I felt free..er? Why? What is this God? What do I make of this odd feeling in my heart?

Is this the freedom that comes through the perfect love that casts out fear? Fear of rejection.. Fear of safety being taken away.. Fear of hurts and disappointments.

If so.. I want to experience more.

Safety is not guaranteed

Today was the first time in a long time I was reminded of this sobering truth.

I first learned about this in a sermon called Prayer Remix by Louie Giglio (Before questionable teaching/association days)

He challenged us in our prayers and heart attitudes during praying. There are 5 common phrases we Christians always say. It’s like we say it because that what we’ve heard all our lives so we throw it in there like a disclaimer or silence filler without truly knowing.

“God, protect us.”

Initially it sounds perfectly fine doesn’t it? What’s wrong with asking God to protect us? I don’t think there’s anything wrong until we feel when safety becomes a priority over obedience or trusting God even in questionable circumstances. Safety is not guaranteed ever. There is nobody in the Bible that claimed to follow Jesus who had life easy safe and sound. Every disciple died because of their faith. They faced persecution and were in danger constantly. People came after them attacking and accusing. “There’s never a dull moment” is really an understatement for the disciples.

Especially for someone like me living in America. Land of the free. Freedom rings and freedom of religion is still one of the most prized yet taken forgranted in this country.

This morning a situation arose where I felt that freedom was slightly tainted or scratched on the surface. We serve on the ushering team and we had a group of 3 including myself. I noticed our pastor speaking to another member and they quietly asked pulled me aside. The news and instructions they gave me were not what I expected at all.

” A gentleman (somebody’s father) will be looking for ______. They are not mentally stable at this point. If he comes, please notify that person and ask them to come out of the chapel so he can escort him outside. If he tries to cause violence or start a fight, do not get involved or try to stop them but call the police immediately.”

It sounds bad. But at the time nobody could guesstimate how this gentleman would react. Standing there with my teammates was similar to the feeling of that classic game where you pull the swords out of the monkey barrel? Anxious and nervousness. I was waiting for a good moment to inform my other two co-servants but with people around it was hard to go into details and hard to pull them away without making things obvious or weird.

And then…I saw him. I recognized the face instantly and waited for him to approach out greeting station. He asked for that person and I said I would bring them out. I turned around to see that the was following me and asked him to please wait outside because worship was in progress. He agreed and shortly after blurred, “F***!!!!! ㅅㅂ(a Korean cuss word basically meaning poo or F”

I quickly told that person that they’re here. As soon as they came out the hello and cussing began. Two words were repeated over and over and somehow he was quickly escorted outside the building. Or or were shocked and frightened. Nobody expects to walk into a church building to hear this or are it. Everybody had this “What…the….” It was an awkward and frightening moment for everybody.

I couldn’t make a decision whether I wanted to dial 911 or search for the local police department number. I called in and told them there’s a gentleman who will not leave our premise and is causing disturbances. Thankfully two brothers got involved and somehow was able to escort the man further down the parking lot. 911 needed to transfer me over to local police but I hung up not sure what to do at that point. They called me back and my phone was silent so two officers came eventually.

I felt horrible. Fear is not the right word though it’s mixed in there. Felt sick in the heart. Unsettling. I came quietly back to my station and I could see my hands were shaking. My handwriting became shaky as I wrote nametags for people who continued to walk in. When this all happened the 3 of us were standing there along with 2 other ladies. We all just felt super numb. Lack of words. And to know he said he would come back every Sunday..was something I wish I didn’t hear. I hope it’s just a bluff. In case it’s not.. God, you are our light and our salvation..whom shall we fear? Give us courage O God.

This is different than when you see a homeless man yelling or shouting profanity on the streets. Even if that homeless man came into our building and did the same it would not feel the same way. This was somebody’s father. Somebody we love and is a member of our church body. This was a man who was mentally unstable. This could have been my dad or my father in law. Upset and emotional for some reason. This was where we called our gathering place for the body of believers to come and worship. This was our safe haven. Our space to come and seek God. Where people who are broken come to seek peace, not to have it shattered. They seek comfort not fear.

My heart split open into so many pieces. For the family members of this gentleman. For the people who witnessed and must have felt so many different emotions. For the two other servants and the two ladies who saw everything upfront…and for the gentleman.

I made my way into the chapel to join JP for worship. My heart…all it longed for was to be with Jesus. I didn’t care to know the reason and motives behind all this. I didn’t care to know. I just wanted Jesus. It was a bubble that was popped.

After a few hours of processing..
I remembered what Louie Giglio had said…..our safety is not guaranteed. Whether were overseas serving as missionaries preaching the Gospel which some would find far more worthy of protection and safety or whether were gathering to worship as a solemn assembly. It is not guaranteed. I began to think of my brothers and sisters around the world who face persecution weekly or daily. At their church or in their homes. On the street in the public. At school. Whether they’re known as a Christian or not. Harm is there. Sin is there. Evil is there.

I kept thinking, “Judy..man up..this is nothing compared to what others go through. ” Yet my heart felt as weak as if all the blood had drained. It ached and hurt for this family. That man. The way others were shaken by all this. It hurt and ached so much.

It could have been a man with a gun. A bomb. Anything..Anything…

Came home exhausted. Just drained. Overwhelmed. Slept for 3 hours only to have dreams where I and other church members were being pursued or chased out. Anxiety and nervousness in sleep or awake.

Read some Word to fill my heart and mind with more of Him….

Psalm 27

13
I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of theLord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

My blog is a poor documentation of today. But it’s all that I can say. I desire to be in His courts for 1 day..than a 1000 days elsewhere.

Praise You God for You are a sovereign God. People may make mistakes but You do not. In You alone I put my trust.

A beautiful sound

I’ve heard the term “Korean style praying”. It’s when folks gather and pray out loud. It’s the cries, shouts, babble..you name it. Supposedly, it’s not longer a Korean thing but Hispanics will pray in the same manner.

In the morning, the Korean Ministry intercessory prayer team gathers down the hall from us on the 2nd floor.

I’m here in the first floor. The congregation is worshiping inside. The pastor is teaching and I hear this faint noise. Like a group of people are arguing. It kept getting louder and louder.

It’s them. Crying out to God. It’s sweeter than any tune or song that man can produce. Simultaneously as the pastor is teaching, the prayers of a a small group of men and women (mostly elderly) are crying out to God.

I wish there was more people of prayer. It commanded but few take the opportunity to gather and pray. To seek His face and cry out for His power to move mightily..even on Sundays.
John 1414

Lord raise up a people who will pray…

Workplace woes

A few weeks ago I came across an encouragement on FB. Moved my heart so much that I decided to screenshot it for future reminders

image

I can’t remember the last time I felt I was really being a servant leader. For a long time I thought providing free Starbucks or something along those lines…was the “servant enough” approach. When I read this I felt the Spirit tugging at my heart.

Judy..serve them not with things you can purchase but place deposits in their lives with your words.”

This week has been one of those weeks where I guess God wanted me to encourage through speaking. Unfortunately, encourage is often defined and misunderstood as just “positive words”. Words that make the person feel good. I don’t think encouragement is limited by feel good phrases. Honestly, encouragement can say,

“It may not make sense right now but we must find ourselves trusting God’s promises than focusing on our circumstances.”

“Take that step of faith. Its time to grow and move on from “comfort”.

“What you did was not acceptable and is not acceptable at any other workplace. I strongly feel it is something you should not do again or be ready to face the consequences.”

Sat down with some coworkers today in a meeting that was meant to be short and simple. It ended up going much longer than anticipated. I had to approach them no longer as an office manager but as a friend and speak truth into their lives about how their attitude as an employee is actually more harmful to them and the office than they realize. To point out that “pointing fingers and pouting. Throwing folks under the bus” isn’t what a grateful employee does, and then package it in a way in love that is respectable was…hard.

Its not the type of “encouragement” that is popular but it was the best way I could promote and provide support to them regarding their circumstance. I hate being a disservice to those I care about and those I’m called to serve. As much as I want to feel comfortable and stay in my bubble aka cubicle, I’ve had to realize each day that..that..is not God’s call for me.

Its not my call as a Christian to turn a blind eye.
Its not my call as a Christian to “check out” when a coworker drops by and starts sharing their personal worries and circumstances.

I want to though. My selfish nature and my sinful nature wants to every time I feel inconvenienced and interrupted. It’s not Christ-like. So then why would I who professes to believe that I am a New creation. I am redeemed and made new by the power of the Gospel…want to do it?

Sigh.

I hope..I do hope that my act of service to my coworkers was pleasing to Him. I hope it was the encouragement they needed not wanted to hear. I hope He is magnified through my position to them as a Christian and as an office manager.

Day 2 of SMFast

I think I’m aiite.
Yeah
I’m okay with not seeing FB or checking for new notifications or seeing what other people posted. Its okay. Feels like it’s not as wild and beastly as I expected it to be..

HOWEVER,

I catch myself spending the same amount of time but on another app. I don’t know if anybody plays HeyDay but it’s my Farmville “I wish I raises animals and fresh produce” dream fix. I initially started playing because JP was and we always get competitive until I lose because I’m just not very sharp in the strategic field of gaming.

Crazy thing is..I’m not competing against him anymore but I’m on it checking my crops and production line like my Facebook. Ladies and gents…I am like a chain smoker who wants to quit cold turkey and discovered gum or better, e-cigs.

Sigh.

Replacing FB with another. 

Well on a brighter note…
Last night wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I read the Word and reread my LJ reading plan. Read some articles on DesiringGod.com. Checked out the news (the important stuff not the celebrity junk) and fell asleep oh..around 1am or a little past 1 am. Not bad…at…all.

Its 11:03pm. I am in bed. I don’t know what to expect but I hope and pray it’s better than last night. Detox junk out and refill with Truth.

Man I need to sow new seeds and reap my harvest. Sell items in my barn and create more items in my production queue…

image

My thought art for the day.