Post #84: “Wake me up inside…”

Hey, I’m back a little early. Oddly enough, I haven’t really had a whole lot to write about, so this shouldn’t be too long.

In recent news: Choir got a “2” rating at state last week, and the two small ensembles and the two solos got a “1”, so go us. 🙂 I was in a hotel room with Jamie, Taylor, and Amy when we were there, and the guys next door woke us up at two o’clock in the morning (Zach can officially scream like a five-year-old girl–that was disturbing). Some of us are heading up to Austin next week for Arts and Academics Competition, so that’ll be loads of fun. (Come on, David Shook’s gonna be there–how boring could it be?) My friends and I have turned into Evanescence fans and I’m thinking it’d be cool if we did “Bring Me to Life” for chapel. (Hehe…) Ummm…the musical’s going to be in a few weeks and I got the part of Lady Chow in The King and I. Yeah, I get to play Zach’s wife. That’ll be, um, interesting, to say the least. Mark and Laura Shook and a couple of other families (including the Holzmans, Schillecis, and Longneckers) are starting this new church, so pray for them…first service is April 13th. There’s a blue-tongued skink living in the biology room at school and as of now his name is “Bruce”. (Don’t ask.) Cheryl Miller is the new girls’ minister @ Champion Forest.

I think that’s it.

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Had an epiphany the other day (in the shower, no less). A lot of times we, the girls, get told that our beauty’s supposed to come from our character and our love for God. Makes sense. Well, why don’t the guys get told that more? Honestly, the guys that I’ve been most attracted to are the ones that are deeply in love with Jesus and are seeking to follow Him in everything. And it’s not just spiritual attraction, either–it’s been physical and emotional attraction as well. I think that the most masculine guys are the ones that have found their security in Christ, not the ones who have to act all macho and stuff. So there’s a word for you, guys: Godliness is attractive.


Post #83: Well, you see how long that lasted…

Dear goodness, I have no self-control. Someone please help me. My name is Manders, and I’m an Internet addict. There, I admitted it. Someone please get me into therapy or something.

The problem is that this is keeping me from listening to God, most of the time. Sometimes I’ll stumble onto something that’ll make me think for a while, or it’ll convict me, but more often than not I just sort of shut my mind off and zone out. And not only do I shut out God, but I shut out my family and forget to do stuff that I have to do. This isn’t the first time that I’ve tried to get away from the computer, but I keep coming back to it. I’m getting tempted to give my laptop to someone and keep my dad’s computer shut off during the day. In fact, I think that’s what God’s been trying to tell me to do for a while. *sigh* Don’t you hate that–whenever God tells you to do something and you can’t bring yourself to do it? The world can get on without me. So I don’t know. Eventually I’ll master this.


Post #82: Goodbye for a while

Hey, I’m going to be gone for a while. I’m starting Lent late and giving up the Internet until Easter (so sue me, I’m Baptist, we don’t normally do Lent :D). So if you want to reach me, call the house or something. Don’t post a lot while I’m gone, it’ll take me too long to read. 🙂


Post #81: Jesus…

I just wrote this. He’s been on my mind a lot.

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Let’s talk about Jesus, shall we?

You say He was a good guy who got killed off. He said a lot of good things. He did a lot of good deeds. A Middle Eastern Superman.

Or maybe you say He was a prophet–a preacher. He put forth a lot of rules and a lot of regulations. He told us what to do and how to do it, and expects us to do them or else we�re all going to burn.

Or maybe He was a hippie of sorts, an anti-capitalist, peace-loving fellow who grew His hair long and preached a message of love and unity.

Or–and this is extraordinary–you’re one of those people who grew up in church, and Jesus is a familiar person to you. He�s the guy you hear about in the sermons and the songs and He makes you feel really good.

There’s only one problem with all of this…

Jesus is so much more than all of that.

He will not fit into any box that we can build, any label that we can give Him. He loves deeply. He judges justly. He is superior to any sort of religious system. He called Himself the only way to the Father. He is deity–He is sovereign and omniscient and omnipresent. He is human–He laughed and cried and had friends. He is the Mediator between the Father and us. He is God Himself, one of the members of the mystery called the Trinity, the Husband of the church.

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Here He comes, strolling into town, the Israeli wind blowing through His hair, the sun He created beating down on His back. His feet are dirty and there�s dust between His toes. Twelve men walk with Him on the road, following His lead, even though most of the time He doesn�t make any sense to them. Yet they stand in awe of Him, His words, His deeds. There�s something powerful there.

And all of a sudden a voice cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

It may be a blind man wanting vision. It may be a mother wanting healing for her child. It maybe a leper from the colony on the outskirts of town. It could be someone who just needs to know they�re loved. It doesn�t matter. He’ll stop what He�s doing and heal them.

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Here He is, standing on the deck of a boat, shouting His words to the people. This is truth. This is a sword that cuts to the heart. These words form paradoxes: “If you want to find your life, you have to lose it.” They are challenging: “If anyone would come after Me, he must take up his cross and follow Me.”

The people sit and stand in clusters, amazed, trying to drink it all in. Some understand it. Some hate it. Some are just confused.

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And there He is, on the cross, bleeding, losing blood rapidly. He is thirsty. He has been beaten beyond recognition. He has nails through His wrists and ankles, larger versions of the thorns that pierce through His skull. Some mourn for Him, weeping at His feet. Most jeer at Him. “If You�re the Son of God, get down from the cross! Save Yourself, prophet!” The world is dark�the spiritual realm is darker.

For beyond all this earthly hell, the sins of the world torment Him more. He is becoming sin, taking on everything from the most brutal murder to the smallest thought of the heart of man. And the Father turns His back. And the Son cries out, “My God, why have you left Me here alone?”

He says, “It is finished.” The work is finished. The victory is won. And with that, He draws one last breath.

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And here He is, with two of the women, saying how great it is to see them as they bow down in worship. Here He is in a room with His disciples, one of them confessing that He is his Lord and his God. Here He is on the road to Emmaus, talking about the Law and the Prophets, before disappearing and opening the disciples� eyes. Here He is on the mountain, ready to go back to the right hand of the Father–His rightful place of honor.

And here He is with us–we are in Him, He is in us. He has saved us. He has healed us. He has raised us from the dead. He has conquered death itself.

And one day, He will return to judge the dead and the living, and everyone will confess that He is Lord and God. Every knee will bow. Amen.

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Jesus. The Alpha and the Omega. The Ancient of Days. Son of God, Son of Man. He is holy, almighty, wrathful, all-knowing. He is gentle, humble, kind, intimate. Here He comes. Prepare the way for Him.


Post #80: Too many blogs!!!!

I’ve stumbled upon so many cool blogs in past twenty-four hours, all because I found this one guy’s blog. It turns he has a lot of friends and family who blog, and they all have links to each other on their blogs. And their blogs are all really good and interesting, at that. They’re all Presbyterians (so far as I can tell) so they get into Reformed theology and all that jazz. Crazy madness. So I just added four new links, and you can go from there. This blogging thing is getting a little out of control. 🙂

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I have decided that the library over here by my house is crap. They don’t have any good books, except for The Oath by Frank Peretti (which scared the living daylights out of me whenever I read it in middle school, by the way). Hopefully Baylor has a cooler library than that. They probably will–after all, they have this whole museum dedicated to Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, so how bad could it be?

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Happy birthday to Zach Schilleci, who turns 18 today.

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I will confess something right here and now: I like watching cooking and decorating shows. When we’re on breaks and stuff, that is pretty much all I’ll watch. Well, those and movies. Right now the TV is telling me that the most popular pizza topping in Australia is bacon and egg, which in a weird way doesn’t sound all that bad.

But yeah, TLC just came out with this show called Faking It which is pretty entertaining. The first episode was on last night, and they took this guy from Boston, who’s a carpenter, and they taught him the basics of interior design in four weeks. He actually convinced three professional designers that he was the real thing. The show is a great study in psychology. This kind of stuff interests me. I don’t know why.

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I’m going to try something really freaky–I’m going to try to read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy before we go back to school. You guys think I can do it? Maybe. Oh, that reminds me: the library has Unfinished Tales by Tolkien and I’m going to try it out once I get the trilogy read. I flipped through it and it has all the back stories to all the more widely-known books.


Post #79: One thing I hate about church.

One thing that really, really is starting to bother me about the American church, something that I’m just as guilty of as the next person: All of a sudden, if you’re in church, godliness is just another cool thing to do. Church is another place to see your friends and hang out and learn something about God. You go to FCA or First Priority or whatever the name of your club is, and hang out there. Christianity is something we do. And as long as we’re not drinking or doing drugs or having sex before we’re married, we’re all right. (By the way, why is it that we always talk about drinking and doing drugs and having sex before we’re married? There’s other, more dangerous sins out there, you know.) We wonder why the church is so wussified in the United States…it’s because church is just another part of our day.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Christianity isn’t just another “thing.” We can talk about it all we want, but “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power” (2 Corinthians 4:20). We can be doing all the right things, and not doing all the bad things, and showing up at the church events, but that means NOTHING unless God is changing us every single day. If we’re not becoming more like Him, we’re not Christians, we’re a bunch of good, moral people. There are people who aren’t Christians who do a better job at “acting moral.” Christianity, my friends, is all about the glory and the fame of Jesus Christ, and our getting to know Him and fall in love with Him and be like Him. Jesus is supposed to be the center of our existence, not someone we just sort of talk about and mention and sing songs about every once in a while. And that is what makes all the difference.


Post #78: “Forget your troubles, come on, get happy”

It’s spring break. Get happy. 🙂 *does happy dance* Hope everyone stays safe and doesn’t do anything particularly stupid. No going to Florida and getting wasted, kids. If you’re staying in town, call me and we can go see a movie or something random like that. In the meantime, I’m going to be hanging out in my back yard, getting tan, maybe visiting the pool or something (if it’s open).

The nice thing about spring break is that it’s one of the big signs that the end is near. The seniors (@ CCCS, anyway) graduate in approximately 75-80 days. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m ready to put high school behind me. I’ll miss you guys, but not enough to stay here. 🙂

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Check out a song called “A Lonely Voice” by October Project. “You tell me God is dancing in the rain…”


Post #77: Randomness at its finest

Had a good talk with Monika and Ashley and Jamie today during consumer math about a lot of stuff. Talks like that are starting to become few and far between. I’m going to miss everyone when we go off to college…except for David Gladney, of course, I’ll probably (hopefully) see him all the time. We’ve decided that I’m in charge of protecting him from all the girls at Baylor who are going to want to marry him. Hehe…

Last night I had a really fun mental picture of what we’re going to be like on senior trip. The people on the plane are going to be thoroughly disturbed. Josh and I figured that our guitars will fit into the overhead compartment, so we’re going to have a concert on the way there. (Look out, Hawaii!) Seriously, though, it’s going to be loads of fun. I think we’re all counting down the days.

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I think bloghopping should become an Olympic sport, or at least something people consider a hobby. It’s really cool how many awesome bloggers there are in the world. Of course, there are some who aren’t so good, because they don’t update their blogs or their layouts are bad or their posts are just outright stupid, but for the most part bloggers are some good people. Wahoo!


Post #76: Church…again

Here’s something I’ve been sort of pondering, as have several of my readers. What’s the purpose of the church? Good question. Well, here are some answers I’ve come up with in the past few days.

1) To paraphrase the Westminister Greater Catechism, the purpose of human beings is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Since the church is composed of human beings, I suppose the church is here to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Sounds like a plan.
2) Church is about community, having communion with other people (and by communion, I don’t just mean the sacrament involving bread and wine). The members of the body are supposed to protect and love and rebuke and be there for one another.
3) It’s about making God known and reaching the world with the love and the message of the cross.
4) C.S. Lewis: “It is easy to think that the church has a lot of different objects�education, building, missions, holding services�.The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.� That sounds fair.

So this begs more questions: Is the church doing this? Am I playing my part? Hm. Something for me to chew on.


Post #75: Church.

You know you’ve stumbled upon an interesting church when the adults can get into “My Glorious” and start jumping up and down. I went to Houston Northwest (where I’ve been semi-attending for the past two weeks–more on that later) and the student ministry had charge of “big church” today. So they played “My Glorious” and (*gasp*) the adults liked it! Well, most of them, anyway. What’s this world coming to? Oh, yeah, and during “Everything’s Alright” (which is a cool song, btw), there were a few jumping up and down. That was hilarious.

Yeah, I’ve been frequenting HNW, which is a cool church. Been going to 249 (their Sunday morning HS service) and ABS (short for “Area Bible Study”) for a couple of weeks and it’s been great. I think I needed something different, a change of routine. No offense to anyone @ Champion Forest, but things were getting a little stale for me. I know God’s working in some places there, but the church as a whole needs some Jesus, you know? I don’t know. I’m still going to choir and I’m still going to Chicago this summer…everything else is kind of iffy. I might pop in every once in a while. In the meantime, I’m thinking about checking out some other churches (like Jersey Village, the Met, Gladney’s church). So if I know you, look around for me!

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So, mission trip…I got assigned to working with “senior adults” and the puppet team. Good times.