Monday, February 16, 2015

Timeless People

I want to be somebody.
I want to have purpose.

My mom told me that when I was little I wished my name was Mike Piazza, best known for being the New York Mets catcher. I wanted his name because I thought you had to have a cool name like Mike Piazza in order to become a professional baseball player. Mike Piazza was somebody, he had purpose. He made an impact on the Major League Baseball world; my catcher's mitt has his named imprinted on the palm. I wanted what he had, even his name apparently.

Michael Jackson
John Lennon
Rosa Parks
Steve Jobs
Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhar
Amelia Earhar

There's a group of people that seem to live outside of time. This list of people could go on and on and despite their deaths, they seem to still exist. They have made such an impact on this world that what they did has lasted generations and probably will continue to thrive into the future. My kids' kids will probably be wearings Beatles T-shirts listening to their iPod's containing music from Jackson because he is the "King of Pop". Everyone knows their names, they were all somebodies.

Albert Einstein
Leonardo da Vinci
Harriet Tubman
Issac Newton
Whitney Houston

Millions of people file through the Louvre Museum to see a painting claimed to be one of the most famous paintings in the world and the creator has been dead for almost 500 years. The Sistine Chapel draws in a similar crowd and these Renaissance artists have more than just fine arts to carry on their name. Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman decided to create four crime fighting turtles and name them after four 15th and 16th century artists, including da Vinci and Michelangelo. I bet they had no idea they would one day be teen-aged, crime-fighting mutant-ninja turtles. They probably were doing what they loved and never thought half a millennium later, people would know be making films and writing books about them.

From time to time, I wonder what my future holds. If I will ever be someone who is spoken about hundreds of years from now. I want to know if my life will have purpose. I remember my time at UNM and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, thinking I had to choose "right" when it came to my career. I didn't want to go through life thinking no one would remember me and I would choose the "wrong" career path. And because of my decision, I wouldn't have an impact on this earth.

I tend to stray away, like a lost sheep, from Jesus. I forget about the promises He has made and when He makes promises, He upholds them. I sometimes forget to see myself the way He sees me.

I am gifted.
I am chosen.
I am the salt of the earth.

I forget that I am already somebody, that my life already has purpose. We all are somebody and we all have purpose. I won't go through this life forgotten because He knows me. I don't have to build an empire of music, iPods, or solve some algorithm to be remembered by Him. I am the salt of the earth, like Russ was saying on Tuesday. Salt makes food taste better, with the right amount, and salt preserves. I really enjoyed the story Russ told, the story of the lady giving him salt while running his marathon but he didn't know he was supposed to eat it to stop the cramping. My purpose is to share the salt, to be the salt for others to help the cramping of the world. And what I do on earth, sharing Jesus with others, lasts longer than a life time. If God uses me to impact some one's life and help them know Jesus, it lasts an eternity. Jesus really is a timeless person, and He gives us the opportunity to be timeless too.

in His grip,


Monday, February 9, 2015


I love hashtags.

This confession might be career suicide seeing as how I am getting my Masters in English Lit, and I am a writing instructor at UNM. I am supposed to be the slayer of all fragments, the bane of improper capitalization.  But I can't help it. I think hashtags are fun, catchy, and a unique form of communication that we have recently embraced.

Also, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon do a hashtag skit, and it's one of my favorite things ever. Funny how Jimmy seems to be at the root of many of my favorite things...

Anyways, Russ and Jamie share my passion for this mode of communication so for the past two years, we've introduced a new hashtag each semester to our students. We started with #allthingsnew and moved into #identity, #courageous, and now #waytobe, each of them directly correlating to our topic for that particular semester. We ask students to tag Instagrams, Facebook posts, and Tweets with these hashtags so that we can create an online community connection as we pursue the Lord together.

This semester - #waytobe - has me thinking:  what is the "way to be"?  We've been talking about the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount for the past several Tuesdays.  Jamie talked about how when Jesus delivered these words to His followers, He flipped the normal way of being on its head. His message was radical.  His message was hard.

Not a whole lot has changed about Jesus' message over the past 2000 or so years. It's still radical. It's still hard.  I think about other "way" passages in the Bible, and I'm reminded of Jesus' words in John 14:6..."I am the way, and the truth, and the life."  These statements of Jesus are deceptively simple.  I find myself so often repeating these words with an attitude of: "Of course, You're the way. Of course, You're the truth.  Of course, You're the life."  But I rarely stop and actually think about these characteristics of Jesus.

This weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to spend time at Lone Tree Ranch with my friend Morgan. We rappelled, we ate, we watched men in tights and capes ride fixed gear bikes, we napped, we sang, we listened, we learned how many gallons of water are contained in a toilet as we watched it pour onto the floor of our cabin, and we hiked. Eventful to say the least, yet also relaxing and fun.

One of the songs we sang several times at the Ranch is by United Pursuit Band.  It's called "Nothing I Hold On To" - you can listen to it here.  One of the lines says, "I give it all to you God, trusting that You'll make something beautiful out of me."  We sang it over and over. Honestly, I was getting tired of it. Until I realized God was trying to get me to actually listen to what was coming out of my mouth.  That in giving all (that means EVERYTHING) to Him and trusting that He's doing something in me, I am confessing that I am not the way, that I am not the truth, and that I am not the life. I have given those things up to Jesus when I gave up all.

But this brings me back to Jesus' radical words. Am I willing to let Jesus turn my life upside down? Am I ready to let my way of being reflect that I have made Jesus the way of my life, that I have made Jesus the truth of my life, that I have made Jesus the life of my life? My answer to these questions currently is "yes, sometimes."  This semester, I'm hoping to inch closer and closer to "yes, always."

So what's my #waytobe?  My way to be is like Jesus.  How do I do that? I don't know exactly, but I think it starts somewhere around "yes, always."

Peace and blessings, y'all!

Monday, February 2, 2015


I love reading.

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I love getting lost in a well-told story, letting my mind make up what the characters look like and imagining what their lives are like.  A book I recently read that I thoroughly enjoyed was  Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s not your classic mind boggling piece of literature, but the reason I enjoy this particular book so much is because the characters feel real. It’s a darker book following the lives of a few high school students in Pittsburgh, PA and doesn’t necessarily have the happiest of endings. Nonetheless, the characters are real and their stories are captivating.

I never get tired of captivating stories.

Young Life was where I started my relationship with Jesus and was the first ministry where I wanted to get involved. I thought Young Life was the best ministry and I loved hearing the stories of those involved with Young Life.  I started realizing I didn’t have to go to books to find captivating stories, all I had to do was live life and meet others. The stories I heard were ones that you couldn’t script and bind within a cover with some hipster title like “The Silence Between the Rain” (The title of a story I’m currently writing ha).  These stories were real and I loved getting to hear them.

In 2013, I stepped back from Young Life and I thought the captivating stories were going to end and that I would have to turn to fabricated ones in books once again (Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE a great book with a great story). You could say that this thinking captivating stories will end because Young Life was removed from my life was the result of naiveness or ignorance. I thought no other ministry was as good as Young Life.

A person once told me “Ministry is people”. This was eye opening. I realized people were everywhere I went, no matter what organization I was involved in. Young Life was just a tool for me to meet people with amazing stories. Every one has a story and every one’s story is captivating because it’s theirs. Your story is one I can’t go to the local bookstore and read about. I was reminded of the quote “Ministry is people” because of Young Life College. Young Life College teamed up with the Mission, a ministry that reaches out to people. Both organizations are involved in Laundry Love, another ministry that reaches out to people. This past Tuesday Night, there was an announcement about a ministry called Joni and Friends and yes, they reach out to people as well. I look at Jesus' life and He reached out to people too. And it wasn't certain people who belonged to certain groups or organizations, but to all people. 

Lately I have been reminding myself to focus less on the name of a ministry and focus more on the name of Him who did ministry best. When I do this, I truly care about people and not because of the ministry I am a part of but because of who they are to Him. I want to hear their one of a kind story and perhaps have the opportunity to share Jesus’ story with them.

In His grip,