Friday, May 23, 2014

pure joy

“The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” -Matthew 13:44
As many people would question, Why did the man sell EVERYTHING he had for this hidden treasure? The answer is simple: The Kingdom is worth everything. As it is said in this parable, the kingdom is a treasure — much more costly than the wealth and status that we desire here on earth. The kingdom of God will cost you everything. You hear that? Everything. Like Paul talks about in Philippians:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” -Philippians 3:7-8
We know that the kingdom of God is available to us by grace through faith; however, it also involves us to reorient our lives to Jesus, to be fully transformed into the life we are called to live. We sometimes feel jaded to this concept and find ourselves immersed by the immediate materialism the world offers to us. Sometimes we think we can have both: a life called to Jesus and a life living up to the world’s standards. But God calls us out for something so much greater, so much more than what our world can give us. The Kingdom may not be apparent to everyone unless they have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
And in the verse, it said that “in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” There was joy in discovering this treasure…pure, genuine joy. The joy felt in the man’s heart after finding this hidden treasure is the same reaction we need to have as well. Have we become too careless about what this means to us? We have become too content that we don’t realize there is so much more work to be done in furthering God’s kingdom.
As Bill stated in his message, “When Jesus talks about the kingdom, He becomes passionate.” Shouldn’t we also share the same passion that Jesus had? Shouldn’t we also share the same joy like the man in the field?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

weekend adventure: hidden oaks

When God brings two people together and transforms them into one, it is an amazing thing to witness. This was the case for these two, Sarah & Denny. I've recently gotten to know more of them as a couple over the course of a few months, and their love for Jesus, love for one another, and love for Africa illuminates the room. 

Brian & I had the amazing opportunity to watch these two get married in front of their families and friends. It was such a beautiful, African-themed wedding. They even had a few singers and musicians from Kenya (friends of Sarah) play a couple of songs before the ceremony started ... it was like we were back in Africa all over again! 

Congrats Sarah & Denny :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"we've come full circle"

In 2010 I graduated with these girls. Has it been four years already? 
We began our college journey back in 2006. We met in the smallest room on campus: our Freshmen dorm. It was in this place that we shared our stories, laughed for hours, cried on each other's shoulders, gossiped about boys, pulled all-nighters, ate the most unhealthiest (but oh-so delicious!) food, and watched endless hours of Friends. It was good times, the best times ... so much so that we did it all over again ... for three more years.

College would not have been the same without them. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

words of life

For us Christians, Easter is a day we remember Jesus dying on the cross — dying for our sins — and coming back to life, allowing us to become a new creation. It is a day we celebrate as we recognize and proclaim freedom we have through Christ, that we are no longer held captives by sin. Many times on this day, we are reminded of His unconditional love, or for others it’s the beginning of a new life. And although it’s a day worth commemorating, we know that it doesn’t end the moment we leave church. The question we should be asking ourselves then is “What now?”
As we enter into this new series titled “Words of Life,” we dive into the teachings of Jesus, to understand who He is. Josh posed the question to all of us on Sunday: “Who is Jesus?” And the answer? The greatest man who ever lived, and so much more. As Christians, our ultimate goal is to follow Jesus, to learn from Jesus how to live. Following Jesus is living out our lives as the way we should be, the way that God intended us to live in in Genesis.
Right after Jesus performed the miracle of the bread and fish, the disciples rushed after him seeking more bread. As Jesus reminded them that they need to work for “food that endure to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you ” (John 6:27), the disciples ask how. And Jesus answered, “To believe in the one he has sent” (John 6: 29), to which they basically tell Jesus to prove that He is the one sent.
They missed the point that eternal life is Christ’s gift and were thinking in terms of achieving it by pious works.  Like them, we, too, can completely miss the point, focusing only on the miracles of Jesus instead of the life He lead, in which we ultimately need to live as well. We also need “to believe in the one he has sent.”
The disciples needed a sign that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. They still wanted to be fed by the bread Jesus had given them earlier, not realizing the truth of what Jesus was telling them. How often do we find ourselves in this same position as the disciples? We desire to know more about Jesus, yet we often ask (or continue to ask) the wrong questions instead of the looking at the answer in front of us.
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (John 6: 35)
Jesus always has more to give. It is up to us if we want to receive it. Eternal life is not something to be achieved by works; instead it is given to us by faith in Christ. Believing in Jesus is the essential work God calls for — the one the leads to eternal life.
As we enter this new series for the next four and a half months, let’s be reminded of who Jesus truly was and how we need to live out our lives. No one ever said following Jesus is going to be easy, but it’s worth it and worth it to Him. We tend to get caught up with the holidays in which we are reminded of Jesus, but then it stops there. Instead, allow this series to point yourself toward Jesus and press into Him.

Monday, May 5, 2014

weekend adventures: bowers museum

Being a resident of Orange County for almost eight years, you'd think I've seen it all. The beach. The OC Fair. The Circle in Orange. The high school where they filmed Laguna Beach. The hip(ster) coffee spots. 

And yet, there are more hidden treasures awaiting for me to discover in this extravagant place.

We took a family trip to Bowers Museum, which is located in Santa Ana ... who knew there was a museum in Santa Ana! From exhibit to the next, we learned an array of cultures and their history. Kinda reminded me of taking a field trip in high school, except I was actually interested with the artificats in front of me. From the music of Beethoven to animal mummies (yes, animal mummies), this museum surprisingly held a lot of history. 

Here's a glimpse of our day:

Friday, May 2, 2014

a friday fave

This has become one of my favorite shirts to wear:

I gave him a makeover.
Yes, it may be weird wearing a shirt with a man's face on it, particularly one that is not your husband's. I bought this shirt at An Easter Together where many Christian artists came together and sang worship songs. It's an amazing concert, one that I make sure to attend every year. Tim Timmons was one of the artists, and his testimony is heart breaking, yet uplifting. His giftings as a worship pastor and an all-amazing man of God are evident in his life, and it's always a blessing to hear up there sharing God's word and praising Him.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

a moz reunion

This coming July will mark a year since Brian & I stepped in faith as leaders for this group. Mozambique continues to be a huge blessing in our lives, and we are so happy these these girls think so too. Every time we've gone to this place, we are changed for the better. Seeing how these girls have grown just even this past year has encouraged us to know that we serve an amazing God and He continues to work in our lives after Mozambique.

Truthfully, this trip has been the hardest that Brian & I ever faced. And there were times even coming home from the trip that we wrestled with bitterness and burdens in our heart. However, these girls continue to remind us of the journey we took almost a year ago, and how God continues to move us in ways that draw us near to Him.

We're so blessed to have led this team of prayer warriors and that they continue to play an important part in our lives.

Sometimes when I laugh, I fall down.
Our Liz/Awkward face