Thursday, August 31, 2006

Getting ahead

I am reading the Cost of Discipleship right now.

Before I get started with that -- you might be thinking, "Wow, Leah is always reading a new book. She is so cool." I just want to put your thoughts to rest. Here's the real reason I'm always reading a new book. Ever since I finished college, I'll start a book, get super excited about it, and then quit. The last book I finished I had to make myself just so that I wouldn't continue my bad habit.

Back to the point. In the memoir at the beginning of the book, whoever wrote that was talking about a couple different sins and what Bonhoeffer thought of them. The one that stood out to me was ambition. He says that ambition is the "start of the road to hell." Strong words for sure.

I've read before that ambition is bad. That has never made sense to me though. To me ambition meant being pro-active, goal-oriented, not lazy. Why is that bad?

Yesterday I read that word and instantly knew why it was bad. There wasn't any special definition that enlightened me. I understood it for the first time because only recently has ambition become a part of my life. Obviously, it was sneaking up on me, but when I read that word yesterday it grabbed me by the shoulders and yelled, "Boo!"

Ambition wants to give me success. It'll make my dreams a reality. But, ambition only has room for one...not two, three, or four...just me.

It really is a tricky one. For me it seemed so innocent until I saw it in me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Two Newbies

Two people have recently joined the blogging world.

The first is a fellow Sandals-lover. Grace started a blog called It's Amazing Grace. I wish my name had another meaning too. Well, actually Leah does mean "wild cow, or gazelle." I promise. Look in your dictionaries, not those silly pretty name posters. The footnote in my Bible says that it means "cow" or "ewe." I think I'll stick with gazelle. I'm feeling light and graceful today.

Anyway, check out Grace's blog. I think she's amazing, so the name fits.

The second is my beautiful sister, Heidi. If you don't know her, you've probably seen her son's face all over my blog. He's a cutie who comes from a cutie mom (His dad's cutie too. I don't want to leave him out. But, this post isn't about him, so I'll move on). Her blog is called Backwards Hugs. You'll have to go to her blog to find out the reason for the name. I, personally, think it's pretty funny.

Give them some comment love, so they don't give up.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

L ... is for the way you look at me

If I run over my neighbor's dog on purpose, that's horrible. If I sponser 6 kids in Africa, that's awesome. Unless I don't have it, then that's crap too.

If I gossip, that's very destructive. If I can hear God and tell you everything he wants you to know to follow him, wow, what a blessing. Well, if I don't have it, nevermind, there's nothing good there.

Patient, kind, rejoicing, protective, trusting, hopeful, persevering.....yes

Envious, boastful, proud, rude, self-seeking, easily angered, holds grudges...nope

I hate to fail. I wish everything I did ended up with good results. But, if I have it, I'll never fail. for the only one I see. very very extraordinary. even more than anyone that you adore.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I guess it's my theme lately

I worked alone all week this week because my boss is on vacation. The introvert in me loves that. Something I like to do when I get the chance to work alone is listen to APU chapels. Most people who went to christian colleges hated chapels. APU is different. I looked forward to chapels...not just because I'm a nerd but because pretty consistently they brought simply amazing speakers.

Today I randomly chose three chapels to listen to. It's funny, every single one of them was talking about caring for the poor, and I had no idea. Now, if you want to be convinced and inspired in ministry to the poor, listen to these guys. Bart Campolo, Kurt Salierno, and Matt Rindge are the guys who I clicked on today. Listen to them...I promise you won't be bored. You'll laugh, cry, and leave changed.

Campolo and Salierno in particular have lived crazy lives for God. I was shocked today as I listened. I forget sometimes that there are people out there who take Jesus' words very literally and seriously. I know I can't relate to that kind of ministry. I wish I could and I hope that I will.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I hate thinking of titles

I read Isaiah 40 yesterday. That chapter is packed full of good stuff...stuff that I just couldn't get my mind around.

It seems like for much of the chapter Isaiah is trying to say, "Guys, you really don't understand how cool God is. What about this; does that convince you?" Reading it, I was convinced. I'm convinced that God is a lot more vast that I often think. But still, I don't understand it. I can read the words, but it's almost impossible to be impacted by who God really is...I mean REALLY is.

I think I've had times where I get it. Maybe God has to gift those times. Maybe he has to send some kind of wave of energy at me so that I'm reading and get a sense of awe fill my bones. Just reading it makes me only realize how much I haven't seen of much more he needs to show me. How much more he needs to shock me with one of those waves of awe.

I wanted one of those shockings yesterday, but instead I had to settle with my intellect. I'm much better at the emotional stuff.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My 2nd Try

A couple weeks ago I got to do my second photo shoot. This time my good friend and old roommate let me take her maternity pictures. I had tons of fun doing the pictures for her. Rachel and her husband, Bobby, were great sports and let me take as long as I needed trying all kinds of things. You guys are awesome. Rachel, you look gorgeous!

Growing up

Kids are little guys. They have little bodies that will fall into the toilet if they don't lean over the toilet in a certain way or hold themselves up.

As they get older, their bum gets bigger so that they don't have to do a special lean over. But still, there's a space between the edge of the toilet and their bum.

When I was little I thought that you were truly an adult when your bum filled the whole toilet seat. I'm still working on that.

Just kidding. I completely consider myself a grown-up.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A film over me

For the last week or so, I've had this dull sadness over the horrible things that happen in the world...horrible things that I have no control over. I think about Uganda, the children being abucted and brainwashed, the women being raped. I read about Sierra Leone and the people who had limbs amputated by cruel rebels. Yesterday I heard a story about some prostitutes here in Riverside that broke my heart. I looked up ministries to prostitutes online and read more sad stories.

All these things happen as a result of things that seem too big and scary for me to confront. I want to rescue these people, but I can't. I can send money and that's about it. I could get involved in politics, but that's definitely not something I know anything about.

I want to go downtown and rescue the prostitutes, but I can't. They're not some elderly lady whose problem is lonliness. That person...I can solve her issue. But, prostitutes have pimps and scary walls to keep me from them.

I know I can pray. And, honestly, I have watched God move in response to the mass of prayers lifted up recently for Uganda. But, many people are praying for Uganda. I don't know of a movement of prayer for the millions of prostitutes around the world, for Haiti, or for the people in Sierra Leone.

When there isn't a movement of prayer for these things, I feel like my prayers are too small. Does anyone out there have any ideas of how to change things...really?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Don't forget

I was just reading about the country of Haiti.

Most people in that country live on less than one dollar a day. They have little to no hope of a good government, job opportunity, or education. Listen: The average life expectancy has decreased to 49.

Please let that sink in right now.

Don't forget to spread out what you've been given. A great organization to give to is Empowering Lives International. They are in countries in Africa teaching people real skills that will bring people and eventually whole communities out of poverty. They are also training pastors to spread the hope of Jesus.

Another good organization to give to is Compassion International. They provide food, healthcare, and education to children in third world countries.

With both Empowering Lives and Compassion you can personally sponser and get to know a specific child for about $30 a month. If you have enough money to spend $1 a day on useless stuff like coffee, candy bars, fast food...then you have enough to bring hope to one child...or probably many. If you have to go out to eat, go to Del Taco instead of Claim Jumper and there's your $30 for the whole month for that child. Seriously, how much money do we waste everyday? Gather it together and redirect it.

I'm serious. Right now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What helps me

A few people have been writing about Matt's sermon on Sunday. The buzz has been over the point that we aren't all hands, eyes, or feet. We have our designated part of the body, and we have to get out of the way when the real hand steps up.

Yeah, it's hard, I agree. I don't enjoy finding people who are better at things than I am especially if it's something I like or think I'm good at. I want to be needed, special, the only one who can do it. It's envy and pride, and it definitely gets in the way.

When I struggle with these things, I don't think the solution is to let the hand be the hand while I discover what I'm really awesome at. Honestly, that's not going to help my envy and pride at all. If I'm supposed to be a foot, I'll be proud while I'm the only one and envious when the next foot comes along who's just as good or better. The goal isn't to be the best at even the things we are gifted at.

What I really need to strive for is to be the least in everything I do, lifting up everyone else around me. "[He] made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant."

Oswald Chambers asks, "Are you ready to be offered?"

Suppose God wants to teach you to say 'I know how to be abased.' -- are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you
ready to be not so much as a drop in the bucket--to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in
connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent....Some saints cannot do menial work and
remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.

These are harsh words. But, it's funny because they make me feel better. When I'm feeling not good enough, this tells me that it's ok to be insignificant.

Hey, I'm not good at all this, it's just something I realize every once in a while and it puts me at peace for a bit while I continue to learn and grow.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Look...of Love

Something gets dropped. They both go down to pick it up. Oh, they look up and realize that they're so close. Close enough to kiss. It's awkward, but perfect. -- one senario

Their gazes meet. They're about 1 1/2 feet apart. Their stare locks and they get closer and closer as if they're being drawn to each other. Their lips part and they go in for the kill. Kiss. -- another senario

Two senarios that you can pretty much predict in a movie or a TV show. Two senarios that are perfect to make fun of.

Rob and I have this goal to be able to do senario #2 without laughing. We haven't done it yet. Gave it another try tonight but failed five times.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


We went to see Hillsong's United on Tuesday. I already knew they are an amazing worship band, so I went into it with a lot of high expectations.

At first I just thought they were really good, and was kinda just listening to them and watching them. But then I glanced over at Amy who was deep in worship and remembered, "Oh yeah, this is a worship band." They said it themselves that they didn't want to put on a show for us. They wanted to worship with us. Amy, thanks for reminding me and displaying it for me.

So, then I started trying to meet with God. It was a bit difficult because I was surrounded by junior highers who had seriously bugged me the hour and a half before while we all waited and they fighted for their spots closest to the stage.

But, as the songs progressed, they led me closer and closer to the throne room of God. Pretty soon they had me worshipping God and being very very excited about being in his kingdom. They played for maybe 1 1/2 hours after which their pastor got up and preached for a bit.

Once he came up, I realized that I was spent...I had nothing left. I already sang as loud as I could, jumped as much as possible, and shouted my heart out. I didn't even put my earplugs in until he came up. His voice was harder on the ears than the band!

Then the band came up again. For the first couple of songs, I was doing my best to worship. But, I couldn't. I literally had nothing in me. I had a pounding headache, and I think I really injured my vocal chords. It hurt to sing anymore. I decided to just close my eyes and try to enjoy and engage...still, not very easy.

But, their last three or four songs got really exciting. Everyone around me was worshipping with everything they had, so I decided to give it one more try. I sang, shouted, and jumped some more.

It was worth it, but afterwards I was a zombie. I have never worshipped with everything in me before. This time I can honestly say I gave God my everything, physically. The crazy part is that I probably could've give him more with my focus and heart throughout the whole night. But, I'm learning.

(Carlos captured some of it on video. Check it out).

Friday, August 04, 2006

To be pure

A friend and I were talking about the possibility of actually feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing God...but not just in our hearts...actually. I think it's possible and know people who have experienced God in this way.

She brought up the verse that says the pure in heart will see God.

I've read that verse a million times but have never understood it like I did in that conversation. I think being not pure in heart is letting the cares of this world take over. Those cares takes tons of different forms: envying people, caring too much what I look like, worrying about the future, wanting more for myself...pretty much desiring the things that this world has to offer or letting the world influence me toward sin.

Satan uses those things to distract me. Now I know that those things aren't just sin in a vague sense, they keep me from seeing God. No matter how enticing they may seem or how much power I feel these sins have over me, I have a greater goal and desire. That's to see God...really.