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Post #73: “Prepare the way of the Lord…”

For anyone who wants to know, the song that we sang in chapel yesterday that had Jesus’ name being sung over and over again is called “Prepare the Way”…it’s by Charlie Hall and it’s on the Passion CD Our Love Is Loud. It’s simple, but it’s powerful. “Prepare the way of the Lord…You are the Light of the world…You are the King of the earth…JESUS.”

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the cross lately…most of my readers have probably been in church long enough that you’ve heard about the crucifixion a whole lot. We all know how brutal it was–the beatings, the nails through the wrists and ankles, the amount of blood He lost. We know He was mocked. We know He took on all our sins. We know it so well that I think we take it all for granted most of the time. What Jesus did on the cross is the reason why we even have a chance. He literally became our sin, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians. He went through so much torture for US. And until He brought us to Himself, we literally were all anti-Him. He had no reason to die for us except that He loved us and by doing so He brought glory to Himself. Wow.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[1] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…” (Galatians 6:14).

The cross, neither jewelry nor icon nor charm
The cross held a Lover who died in my arms
Under the weight of the hammer I held
The space between heaven and everything spanned
And the lost art of living was found again
When the cross became loving and Christ became friend

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For some reason I keep thinking of Godspell…at the end, Jesus has been crucified, and (in the original script), the disciples take His body down from the cross, and carry it, pallbearer-style, out of the theater singing “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” There’s not a resurrection per se, but one interpretation of that I read said that it’s probably symbolic of taking “the body of Christ” into the world. We are literally His body. We are Jesus in the flesh on earth. And so you get the church fulfilling Christ’s command to take the Word to every nation. Not the dead Jesus, of course, but the risen Christ.

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Post #72: “I sing to life…”

I have now decided that I hate Chris Carrabba’s voice. It annoys the heck out of me. All you hardcore Dashboard fans out there, I apologize, but his voice is too nasally and whiny and…it’s just bad. Someone give the man voice lessons.

That said, I have recently become obsessed with Further Seems Forever and Evanescence. The latter band is going to playing downtown a week from today, so if someone wants to get tickets and go, let’s do it.

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Saw one of the saddest (but also one of the most amazing) things yesterday that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Remember that cat they’re dissecting in Biology II? Well, it’s a girl cat…they opened her up, and noticed that her uterus was unusually big, so they opened that up, and there were kittens in there. Three boys and two girls. They were so little, and they were so perfectly formed–they weren’t full term yet, though–with little tails and ears and claws and everything. I almost cried. A couple of us came over from consumer math to watch. They have names–they’re Billy, Bobby, Benny, Becky, and Bonnie. So sad. I think Monika and Taylor gave them a proper burial.

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For anyone who thinks the Bible is boring, read the book of Judges. Dear goodness…there’s enough violence in there to make it R-rated. A guy gets stabbed, another guy gets a tent peg nailed through his head, a whole Israelite tribe gets almost obliterated–it’s interesting stuff. And the gore doesn’t just stay in Judges; the next few books are pretty violent, too. All sorts of wars and stuff. I’ve been reading through the Old Testament and I just finished Judges, so whenever I try reading the New Testament, it’s sorta weird. No one getting into wars or anything terribly violent. In fact, this guy Jesus sorta shows up and says “Love your enemies.” It’s a culture shock. No wonder people thought He was odd.

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Post #71: Good songs for you guys.

“My Immortal” by Evanescence. This is the closest thing to a girl doing an emo song that I could find.

“Pride War” by Further Seems Forever. Come on, it’s Further Seems Forever…what more can you ask for?

“Untitled” by the David Crowder Band. They’ve been trying to come up with a title and haven’t succeeded, but listen to it anyway.

“This Ruined Puzzle” by Dashboard Confessional. Good song. 🙂

“August in Bethany” by The Juliana Theory.

“One By One” by the cast of The Lion King. Yeah, it’s in Zulu; yeah, it’s from a Disney musical. But it rocks. I like it.

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Post #70: Cool verses…

The Bible has a lot of cool stuff to say. Here’s a sampling.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a).

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave” (Psalm 86:12-13).

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3).

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9).

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3).

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

“Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10).

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:12-17).

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:5-10).

“Be merciful to those who doubt” (Jude 22).

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Post #69: More random songs that bring back memories…

“We Are Hungry”: We sang this a lot at camp in ninth grade. That week I hung out a lot with Ryan and Zach and Jamie…worship was crazy awesome…every time we sing “We Are Hungry” I always have this picture of us standing in the back worshipping…

“Take Me There” and “On The Verge” by Watermark: Camp, eighth grade. We made a lot of memories that year…Caleb’s head getting shaved, all of us walking around the camp (us being Katherine and Josh and Caleb and Ben and Steph and Jenny and Tara and Hebble and me), walking to Mexico (on Galveston Island…lol)…and those songs.

“My Glorious” by Delirious?: The Sunday night after 8count…for those of you who weren’t there, after 8count we had a follow-up worship session. God was there. “My Glorious” was the last song we sang, and all of us (well, all of us from the Collins/Coker house, anyway, I can’t speak for anyone else) were standing there yelling it out together. I think God had done a lot in all of us that weekend and we got excited.

“Letters to God” by Box Car Racer: Another one of those songs that I’ll always remember the guys by.

“Sweet River Roll” by Waterdeep: For some reason I always think of David Mitchell when I hear this. I think it’s because he loaned me his Waterdeep CD once, but not before playing this song for me.

“Sick Cycle Carousel” by Lifehouse: Drama class, November 2001. We did a skit for chapel that was based on this. I think we heard this song at least a hundred times in a time span of about a month. It was a great skit, if I do say so myself. I got to call this one guy a player, which for some reason got a huge response out of everyone. I think it’s because I don’t usually use terminology like that (only b/c I don’t have to…).

“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies (that’s a horrible name for a band, by the way), “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional, and “Stomp” by Kirk Franklin: Farkle, spoons, and Egyptian war @ Heather’s house a couple of weeks ago. Those are the only songs I specifically remember listening to…

“Higher” by Creed: Another Seattle memory…we’re on our way up to the middle of nowhere, driving through the mountains, and we listened to this song about eighty million times because Amy Maddox brought it along and that song, along with “With Arms Wide Open” were the only songs we felt like listening to. I think I had it memorized by the time we got to our destination. That was the day my friend Jenny fell in the river…but that’s a whole other story.

“Holy Roar” by Passion: I remember my friend Heather signing this for a demonstration speech for (duh) speech class, and I’ve wanted to learn it ever since. She did such a gorgeous job with this because she’s so graceful when she signs…

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Post #68:

So we had (I think) a pretty decent discussion in Bible today about chapel yesterday. As most of my readers know, we didn’t have any “worship time” (read: singing) in chapel yesterday. There was something bothering me about it, but I couldn’t figure out what it was until someone vocalized it today. The people who aren’t worshipping aren’t going to start just because we take the music part away. The silence yesterday was awesome, and I worshipped then. God got a huge hold on me about a lot of stuff. But the same people who are apathetic about God are going to stay apathetic no matter what we do, because there’s nothing we can do except pray for them.

But the thing is, Mrs. Gertson got a word from God, and I’m going to trust that she’s obeying it. There’s something about silence that forces you to confront yourself, forces you to either listen to God or ignore Him. I think that’s why people hate it so much if they don’t have a good relationship with Him. So who knows, maybe this is what we’re supposed to be doing. At any rate, I don’t know what’s going on, but it’ll be interesting to see how chapel goes for the rest of the year.

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Pray for Monika and Zach…it’s a long story, you’ll have to ask them when you see them…

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Post #67: “You are…”

I wrote this during chapel today….

You are…unending, unchanging, immortal, invisible, beautiful, eternal, holy, pure, good, righteous, praiseworthy, extraordinary, supernatural, joyful, hope, just, glorious, forgiving, merciful, graceful, simplicity, loving, peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, gentle, compassionate, powerful, ruling, alive, life itself, demanding, intimate, coming, close, giving, freedom, covering, approachable, lovely, wonderful, famous, great, encouraging, genuine

You are Father. You are King. You are Lover. You are Savior. You are Friend. You are Brother. You are Ruler. You are Sovereign. You are Priest. You are Prophet.

You are.

And You are near to us. You are why we’re alive and here. Your mercy flows down like a river over us. Your love is wide and long and high and deep and You choose to give it. You are dwelling in our hearts.

And we are proud, unyielding, selfish, immoral; we are apathetic, false, hateful, angry, bitter; we are broken, wounded, torn apart, unholy, self-seeking; we are ugly in our depravity. We turn away from Your face.

But in You, we are made beautiful. In You we are made a pure bride for You. In You we are made perfect. In You we are united and pieced together. In You we can touch Your face. In You we have received the kindness leading to repentance. But only in You. Solely in You.

And we need You like water, and we breathe You in like oxygen, but we’re content to dehydrate and suffocate to death…come and take us kicking and screaming near to Your heart again. We need You. Because YOU ARE.

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Post #66: A mixed bag of stuff.

Thanks to Relevant for providing me with another reason to like Waterdeep.

“Whatever the political climate, and whatever the outcome, one thing that seems certain to me is that the Christian voice needs to be present in this discussion. When I say this, I am not presupposing that ‘the Christian voice’ is, by necessity, one way or the other, or at a certain place in between. Rather, I firmly believe that there is a wide range of opinions on this subject within the body of Christ, and that wide range is a good thing. It does not signify, as some would say, disunity in the Body. It signifies diversity. I believe as Niebuhr said that, in the army of Christ (pardon the military analogy), many of the soldiers (us) are not aware of the full plan in the Captain’s (Christ’s) mind, but this does not mean that as we carry out our commissioned duties and wonder at the difference between our various activities, that there is not still a master plan which is above and over all of us. As to specifics, in my mind, there are at least two important things about the ‘Christian voice.’

“The first is that it be Christian. Whatever our unique reasons are for believing what each of us does regarding war, are those reasons really founded in some way on our faith from the scriptures and the faith of the church? Do we let our faith go so far as to penetrate our politics, or do we hang on to our essentially petty view of things, with no concern for God’s kingdom above the kingdom of our city, state, nation or political party � or for that matter above the kingdom of the religious right? Are we willing really to look at the implications of scriptural principle on political reality? Because we should be, and we should be willing to embrace those ideas which we gather to be a part of the scriptural and ecclesiastical witness.

“The second important thing about the Christian voice, and really this is implied in the first, is that we actually care about these things. Often times, it seems the evangelical approach to life is too simply “Get ’em in; get ’em saved.” There’s too little concern with the planet we live on and all the people, Christian or not, who are our brothers and sisters in the experience. The Bible-the story of God and the people of the earth-however, is indeed about the whole world, started at creation, ending (or being recreated or something) in the consummation of the age, and includes every last little hair-on-head and sparrow-on-ground in between. For us to blow off important political issues with a little snort, and ‘It’s all gonna burn’ is not just rude, it’s un-Christian. Jesus, it says, was frequently moved with compassion. Political issues may be complicated. They may be comprised largely of human struggles for power, but if there is no Christian voice in there somewhere, then we have abandoned the post in taking up Christ’s compassion for his children.

“I think we just need to look at this thing a bit more closely and challenge our own apathy and religious smugness � I unfortunately am challenging myself in this at least as much as I am challenging you.” �Don Chaffer

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Ever notice that how people perceive you and how you perceive yourself tend to be two completely different things? That’s the case with me, at least…I have this reputation as the nice, crazy, intelligent Christian chick from Korea. To tell the truth, I have a sort of paradoxical view of myself. I know I have a huge ego, but at the same time I know that 1) I have little (if any) common sense and 2) I’m just as depraved as anyone else. I love and hate myself at the same time. It’s something I really struggle with, to tell the truth. I don’t share that with a whole lot of people normally, but it’s getting to a ridiculous point and I could use the prayer. Please.

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Played some hangman today in study hall…it was the “band edition”. Fun times. We had two different games going at once–first it was me against Ryan and Amy against Zach, then we switched. It was sorta funny–one time around Zach and I both thought of the same band, Something Corporate. I don’t really know why that was funny. I guess you had to be there…anyway, we pulled out all sorts of random, obscure bands. It was fun.

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You know how songs can bring back memories? Here’s a list of some that bring back some crazy ones for me, along with the memories they bring back.

“Center Aisle” by Caedmon’s Call….when I was depressed, this is one of the songs that kept me from committing suicide. I just stuck myself in the place of the girl in the song and it made me think…
“Stranded” by Plumb, “What You Want” by Caedmon’s Call, “I Just Don’t Want Coffee” by Caedmon’s Call…..the past year has brought about some interesting things relationally. I’ve listened to these a lot and they make me think of the same person.
“Tribute” by Tenacious D, “Stay Together for the Kids” by Blink-182, “Konstantine” by Something Corporate……some of the most often-played (and sung) songs at school. I’m going to think of the guys every time these come up.
“Worlds Apart” by Jars of Clay….God’s used this song a lot in my life….not to mention that 1) we listened to it a lot coming home from Austin last year from TAPPS and 2) it’s our class song!
“Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega, “Hey Baby” by No Doubt….I danced to these @ homecoming and they’re the only ones I remember.
“My Refuge” by Sonic Flood, “Great Is Your Love” by Ross King…some of the songs we’ve tried to do during worship for chapel…
“Get Happy” by Judy Garland…hehe, Kristen, I always think of you know whenever I listen to this.
“Lean on Me” by Kirk Franklin…I sang this with Lindsay E. last year on mission trip, so I hear it and always think of everything that happened then.
“Late Great Planet Earth” by Plumb…they sang this a lot during 8count
“Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel….Josh Kendall and I, in the back of the van (with six other people), mission trip in Seattle. He’s got a rain stick, I have an egg shaker, and we’re in the back trying to reproduce the percussion on this song.
“Gloria! Hallelujah!” from the Christmas play…years of doing backstage work @ church, hanging out with some crazy people and a cage of tigers.

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I got to watch Monika and Taylor dissect a cat today. It made me think of this one part in The Once and Future King (it’s a great book about King Arthur) when this witch starts boiling a (live) black cat because it was apparently common knowledge back then that there’s a bone in a black cat that makes you invisible when you put it in your mouth. That part disturbed me when I read it, and it disturbs me even more now….

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Post #65: “We are, we are the youth of the nation…”

Something I’ve noticed about most people my age who are in the church: They tend to go to extremes. They’re either way too skeptical or way too trusting. That’s not everyone, mind you–there are plenty who have found a decent balance–but most people tend to lean one way or another. I, personally, tend towards the skeptical side. I constantly question whether this is true or not. I’m quick to point out theological errors in everything. I’m a complainer. On the other hand, some people tend to not question anything at all. They’ll just take what they’re given without even checking out the Bible at all about it. Neither extreme is healthy–both can lead to severe disappointment and doubt if you’re not careful.

So how do we strike a balance between the two? We have to realize that it’s healthy to question, but it’s also good to trust, too. There are some things that shouldn’t be criticized, but there are plenty of things that we have to test against the Word of God. Really, it’s a matter of trusting God enough that He knows what He’s talking about, and make sure everyone else gets to know that, too. Makes sense, I hope.

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Post #64: More tips on surviving high school life.

1) Convince your parents to get a CD burner.
2) Get your driver’s license as soon as you possibly can.
3) Don’t let yourself get hooked on stuff like the computer or caffeine. You’ll end up regretting it eventually.
4) Take a lot of pictures.
5) Don’t be afraid of dancing around in your room by yourself, or screaming, or locking yourself in the bathroom and singing something really loud.
6) Quiet is good. You don’t have to be scared by it.
7) Start memorizing a lot of Bible verses.
8) Pray for your friends. Have them pray for you. Pray together every once in a while.
9) Get to know that one person that no one really hangs out with. They’re probably pretty cool, but they’re just shy or something.
10) Talk with someone about what’s bugging you.
11) Keep a journal.
12) This is a really “mom” sort of thing to say, but eat right. Trust me; you function better when you do.
13) You don’t have to freak out about what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. You’ve got until your junior or senior year of college to do that.

(For more of these nifty tips, look at the post for December 21 in the archives)