Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What defines who you are?

So tonight at 722, what Jared said really hit me right when I needed it to. His series right now is called Re:Purposed, and tonight the focus was on work. We all know that one of the first questions asked when meeting someone new is "So, what do you do?" But have you ever asked someone "who are you, really?" instead? 

Mark 6:1-2 "Jesus left there and went to his hometown...when the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. 'Where did this man get these things?' they asked? 'What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn't this the carpenter?'

Often times, we learn to define someone by their job, or their title, instead of who they really are as a person. Even Jesus, at this point, was defined by these bystanders by what he did..."isn't he a carpenter?" It's commonplace for society to tag you by your position- "Oh, he's a doctor, he must be smart, kind, in good moral standing..." blah blah blah. With this constantly pressed upon me, I'll be honest, it's sometimes hard to escape defining myself by anything other than what I do from 8-5 (ok, 9-5, haha). If Jesus allowed himself to accept this definition of carpenter, how would he have accomplished what he came to do? What I realized tonight, is it's the same for me. 

Take this one in: Mark 1:9-10 "At that time Jesus...was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open...And a voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." If you know the life of Jesus, at this point, he wasn't even officially in the ministry. He wasn't out preaching yet, or traveling performing miracles. He was still just a carpenter. What had he done up to this point that was of earthly value? He was just a carpenter, but God still said "I love him because he's my son, and he's established in me." Jesus' worth and identity came from knowing who he was in God. 

This is something I need to be reminded of daily, hourly sometimes: truly knowing the heart and character of God will allow me to know who I really am. My purpose is to do the will of the One who created me. I long to know the heart of God- to know that he is my Abba Father, my friend, my protector, my redeemer, my provider, my healer, my lover. And by know, I mean KNOW- I mean understand, grasp, receive. But how am I to know this about God, to know his character and to know how he views me, if I don't spend quality time with him? Some days, since I'm still new to Atlanta, i have absolutely nothing to do, and still I spend time watching movies, or playing around on the computer. If I truly want to know who God is, why don't I strive harder to get there? I could bypass alot of stress, and times of no confidence, if only I would know God, which would in turn allow me to know who I am. Jared was right, instead of focusing on what I do, and how I perform in that job, the right way of thinking should be

        Who are You (God)? ---> Who am I? ---> What do I do?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Let it Snow, let it snow, LET IT SNNNNOOOOOWWW!

YAY, i'm jumping up and down for joy because it's been snowing for about 2 hours now. The last hour of work was a crapshoot because we all just stared out the window watching the flakes. Once I left to come home, the flakes were HUGE. These really are the biggest flakes I've seen in the south in a looonnng time. It's definitely sticking on the ground, for now, too. That makes it even better! Snow just plain makes me happy!

Chewy (my dog) loves the snow too. Last year in Charlotte was his first snow, and he ran around in circles in the park with the other dogs for hours that day. His hair was long then, and he was literally dripping when we came back in the house, because he was in the snow for so long. Today was not much different. He was super hyper when I got home (more than usual, if you can imagine) and when we went outside to walk, he just took off running. He stayed on the sidewalk for awhile, not knowing what to think of the grass being white. Then, after sniffing the snow for a few minutes, he just ran around in so many circles. He loves it. I love 
it. Everyone loves it. Snow is fun! I know the storm is moving north pretty quickly, so it won't last long, but I am going to savor every moment. You never know, it could be years
 before I see it again.
Chewy sniffing the snow
My home in ATL with snow...yay, fun!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Christianity vs. Jehovah's Witnesses

Wow! What a big topic. Something I now wish I knew more about. 

let's go back for a minute...remember when you were little and you used to get random knocks on your front door at the most random times of the day? When you opened it, if you did, you'd see a couple of people from the nearest Kingdom Hall coming to talk about being a Jehovah's Witness?When I was little, it happened frequently in my neighborhood, and after awhile, I'd hear my mom or dad somewhere in the house say "don't get it, it's just Jehovah's Witnesses...."

It's been a long time since that has happened to me...until today. This morning, I decided to sleep in for a change, and go to the night church service. I was sleeping real good, when all of the sudden Chewy started barking because of a knock at the door. My first thought was, "who the heck is knocking at my door at 10am?" then I thought "darn it, they see my car in the driveway and know that I'm home...I guess I'll get up." As soon as I answered the door, I saw two ladies, one with a bible. One lady said "we'd just like to share with you a verse from the bible" and i said (being sleepy) "sure, go ahead, I read the bible and I'd love to hear." After she started talking about "the kingdom" I knew that they were Jehovah's witnesses. My first thought was why did i even open the door?!? And then it hit me...i am a Witness too...though i believe differently. Part of my responsibility is to spread the Truth that I believe. So, i let them keep speaking. All the while, my mind was drifting back to a mission trip I took to NYC one year in highschool, where I learned alot about the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses as we passed the "WatchTower" headquarters building. I could've kicked myself...i couldn't remember all of the differences in our beliefs. I couldn't even remember any of the main, very important differences. How am I supposed to reach them with the Truth, if I can't refute what they believe. I said "i believe in Jesus" and she said "well, we do too"...crap! Then I just admitted that I would gladly take the magazine but that I knew I believed differently than she did. I told her I would go and do some studying again to refresh myself of what they believe that is different from Christianity. And that's what I did...right away, I went and opened up my mac and googled "refuting Jehovah's Witnesses." I found a few good sites to read up on their faith. It made me ponder again, how did so many different religions and faiths come to exist? Why does God allow all of these to exist? If there are other people out there who believe so deeply in their faith, as I do mine, and they believe that theirs is the one true way, how will I ever reach them? ...i know some of the technical, book answers for these questions, but I still struggle with them in my heart. 

At the very least, I'm glad that I had a knock on the door this morning. Some people might have been irked that they were woken up from some good sleep, or that they were "pestered" by some Jehovah's Witnesses. I, however, am grateful for the opportunity to study their faith again and feel even more solid in mine. I'm grateful that this gave me another chance to be reminded of what they believe in, so that next time I might remember what I read today and be able to speak truth into someone's life. After all, who knows if I'll become good friends with someone here who is a JW? I'll be more equipped now. 


This is my first weekend to spend in Atlanta since I've moved here. Moving in December was hard because there were birthdays and holiday parties and of course Christmas and New Years. I went back and forth from Atlanta to Charlotte 4 times in 4 weeks. It was exhausting, but fun. Then, last weekend I went to Sarah's wedding in Columbia. Thank God that I have no agenda this weekend, except to relax and experience Atlanta. My "experience" starts tonight...

Tonight at Buckhead Church, my new church, there was an event for people my age to connect. It was called in:Fusion. I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I knew is that I needed friends, and this was one way to get some :)

So, when I walked in, there were lots of roundtables and people sitting all around them. I thought, "I have to pick a table? I don't know a single soul!" I just went for it. I walked around for a minute, trying to find a table with open seats and people who looked to be my age and my style. After I found one, we did a trivia competition with everyone. It was a "pop culture" trivia game...and some of the questions were hilarious. I couldn't remember what Meredith's half sister's name is in Grey's Anatomy for the life of me...and I watch it all the time! My table didn't win, but it was still fun. After we took an intermission to grab some drinks, we were told to find a new table with new people. More chances to meet more people...yay! I found another great table, and this time around in the trivia game, we did much better. I contributed to knowing a song was sung by Keane, to knowing the order of the American Idol winners, and to recognizing David and Victoria Beckham from a picture. 

As we were leaving, I found out that one of the girls from my table used to work at the Depot. I thought this would be one thing we have in common. So i asked her where she lived, and she said the Smyrna/Vinings area...yay! I do too! So, boldly, I asked her for her number so that we could maybe grab dinner. Thankfully she was cool with that. Her name is Courtnay, and she may very well be my first good girlfriend I make here. As I was driving out of the parking deck, I thought aloud "Thank you Jesus for allowing me to meet one person here tonight that I think I can connect with." Now, after tonight, in a church of 5,000 plus people, I know a few more faces and a few more names. It excites me to think about the new relationships I'll start here, and the lasting memories that are to come.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I love visitors!

Anne Marie, my BFF, is flying to Orlando for a work trip. Her plane ticket got messed up, so when they changed it, so had them give her a pit-stop in Atlanta for the night. YAY!

I love it when people come visit. They get to see first-hand about what my new life is like. Instead of having to tell random, sometimes long, stories, she was able to see my house...see where I work...see where my new life is. It makes me happy that she can now relate to me better since she has seen it all. 

I hope there are many more "house guests" to come!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year's Resolution 1: Reading the Bible

Ok, I am the first to admit that I do not read my Bible every day. Who does? I mean, I know there are people out there who are great about doing their daily devotions, but I am not one of them. Although I've heard and been reminded on several occasions how beneficial it is to read the Bible, I still suck at it. How can I rely on the scriptures (aka the Truth) to get me through the good times and the bad, if I can't "remember" what they say? Even further, how can I trust in the Lord to bring me through the storm if I'm not solid in what the scriptures say? I want to be well versed on the truths of the Bible so that I can quote scriptures to myself when I need to be reminded of how Jesus will work in any particular situation. 

Tonight at Buckhead Church, the pastor spoke about "a" way to read the bible. He reminded me that I don't have to give up altogether if I miss a day or two, or twenty. Many of us feel like failures when we miss our devotional time, and then we just completely give up and don't keep trying. He reminded me that I don't have to spend an hour in the Bible everday, at first...because it's not realistic all the time. He reminded me that you don't have to read a full chapter or book each day- it's not about length, it's about depth. He said that we should choose 5 or 10 verses, and read them, then meditate and hear what they are saying, then pray. Read, meditate, pray...continually for about 10-15 minutes each morning. We don't have to be perfect- ie, do it every day- but we do have to try. This is one of my New Year's Resolutions. I want to go deeper...and this is a great way to do it.