Sunday, October 14, 2012

opportunities to forget

This morning at church ( we had Dr. Dan Fink join us for a Q&A session on the Biblical ethic of sex. (que Salt'n'Peppa)

Man. It was good.

Of the many things Dr. Fink talked about, the one that I've been wrestling with all day, is this statement: All temptation is an opportunity to forget.

To forget our worth.
To forget God's goodness.
To forget Jesus' sacrifice.
To forget our satisfaction.

When I really think about why I sin, or why I give in to temptation, it's because I want to forget. I may want to forget about a feeling at the time, such as guilt or shame. I may think that indulging myself and my temptations may make me feel better; it may satisfy me.

But that's a lie.
It adds to the guilt and shame.
It cheapens God's grace.
It. Doesn't. Satisfy.

Hosea 2:7 reads: "She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.'"

When I was a freshman in college this verse revealed deep idolatry in my life and lead me to take ownership of my faith. To return to Christ.
Now, it does the same. And it reminds me that it is better with my first husband than it ever could be with my temptations.

It is better with Jesus.
It is better to remember what Jesus does in sanctifying me daily.

Don't seize the opportunity to forget.

Remember Jesus.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

when friends smack you in the face

I talk about my friends. A lot. Mainly because I have amazing friends.
One of the attributes that makes my friends so amazing is that they aren't afraid to smack me in the face. Figuratively speaking.

Recently a friend REALLY smacked me in the face. I was dealing with some junk in my life, feeling extremely guilty for mistakes that I have made. In the midst of me saying how crappy I felt, my friend stops, whips out her Bible, and reads from Isaiah.

"And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!' Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.' And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'"
Isaiah 6:5-8

Pretty much every time I've read that passage (aka: every youth camp/conference I've ever been to...), I read it as Isaiah just being super pumped about being sent by the Lord. I read it as if this man was too legit to quit, so he raised his hand and was like, "Don't voluntell anyone, I'm your man!"

However. HOWEVER. Isaiah was in the same place I was not too long ago. He was sinful. He felt guilty for whatever it was that was going on in his life. Just like me. 
Yet, as soon as the coal touched his mouth, as soon as the angel declared that his sin was taken away, he believed it. And he was consumed by the amazing grace that the Lord had bestowed upon him. And that truth changed him.

I lived in my guilt. I knew that God is big enough to forgive me and to toss my sins as far as the east is from the west. But I wasn't willing to forgive myself. I hung on to that guilt like it was the only thing that mattered.

Two days later, the same friend sent me this text message: "Guilt feelings after confession and repentance have a satanic origin and are designed to hinder our spiritual growth." Boom.

If I (you) have truly confessed and repented of sin in my life, then it's done. Be willing to forgive yourself because the Creator of the universe already has. God's grace and Jesus' sacrifice are sufficient. 

Live in that truth today. 
I know I am.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

what's with all the voices?

March 2-5 I had the awesome opportunity to go to Louisville, KY for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Or if you followed me on twitter at that time (@kacoustic89) then you saw a lot of #symc going across your feed. And probably decided at that moment it would be a good life choice for you to stop following me. However I did give the disclaimer that I would be over-tweeting. So if you did unfollow me, shame on you.

Now that I have that out of my system...

SYMC was incredible. 

(for the youth worker reading this, go to and look in to next years conference. We could carpool. It would be a grand time.)

I met some amazing people, formed great friendships, and was poured in to by some of the most passionate people I've been around in the field of youth ministry. The conference is "by youth workers, for youth workers" and this year they wanted us to breathe. Only being in vocational youth ministry for a short while, I initially went in to the conference thinking I was going to get a lot of to-do lists, or 7-steps-to-grow-your-ministry talks.

But I didn't. 

I was told to slow down and listen to Jesus. And only Jesus.

Saturday night's keynote speaker was Jon Acuff. If you don't know who he is and you have me as a friend on Facebook, I now know that you pay no attention to the links I post. Shame on you again. So go check him out at You can thank me later.

Jon spoke about voices that we all hear. We all have internal and external voices that tell us who we are. At least we let them speak to who we are. 

Here are some of the tweets that people sent in toward the end of Jon's talk. Many that made it to the screen that night were lost in twitter land by the time I was able to get a screen shot...

As you can see, insecurity is a common thread. And this isn't just in youth ministry. This is in life. 

"I'm not making a difference"......"Your work isn't worthy".....You. Aren't. Good. Enough.

The interesting thing in all of this is that these are lies. These voices that we allow to speak to who we are, internally and externally, do not mirror the Truth that God has and does speak in to and over our lives. 

Zephaniah 3:17-"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."

His voice alone has the right to speak to who we are.
His voice alone gets to tell us we are worthy.
His voice alone gets to remind us that we are loved.

His voice causes us to be quiet and rest in His love.

That blows me away.

Of all the voices we can hear, may we learn to block out the lies of the enemy and rest in the Truth of our Creator, Sustainer, and Lover. 

He is the only one that has the right to tell us who we are. So let Him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

what college actually taught me

9 semesters.
4 1/2 years.
171 hours in a classroom.
2 degrees.

And my biggest take-away? Grace.

I learned what it meant to accept and live through grace, and I learned what it meant to extend grace.

Pride has always been a struggle of mine. I want people to notice me and notice my accomplishments. I want people to see the good things I've done and tell me how awesome I am. I want to be able to tell people I graduated with a 4.0 and multiple honors. I wanted to be the star athlete that was mentioned in the papers week after week. But I can't. And I wasn't.

Why? Grace.

The grace of God knocked me to the ground and took me off of the pedestal I put myself on. And I'm so thankful for it.

The grace of God showed me that my life is not my own. It showed me that, "by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God." (Eph. 2:8) The grace of God allowed me to not own my life. It was long process. It cost me almost 5 years, multiple tears, countless hard conversations, nights of restlessness, and my life.

But, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Is the process of learning grace and how to live in it over? Absolutely not. It should never be. But college for me wasn't about being able to tell you about Henry VIII's wives (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, case you were wondering), it wasn't about being able to discuss the changes in warfare after WWI, or talk about the change in Europe's borders during the 19th & 20th centuries. 

College was about learning grace. About learning how to be a friend. Learning how to be Christ to people. It was about learning that my life and my salvation is a gift from God.

I can't rely on myself. I must rely on Christ. I must continually learn and know that by grace I am saved, and by grace I am made whole.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.