Wednesday, March 31, 2010

hump day, favorite day.

In honor of Wednesday, otherwise known as Hump Day, which commemorates the middle of the week and the resulting downhill slide to Friday, I've decided I am going to make Hump Day "Favorite Day" on my blog. I'll be posting a couple of things from the past 7 days that have made me laugh, cry, smile or a combination of all of the above. Enjoy!

Here we go....


1. When I was in 1st grade, I wanted to be an astronaut. My dream died the day I found out astronauts had to be smart in math and science. Also, there was something about a height requirement? I'm still waiting to know if that is true, or just what mom said to get my mind off black holes and "space food" and decide to be a storm chaser instead. (Which was also a short-lived aspiration) Anyway, Buzz Aldrin (the man who walked on the moon and uttered those famous words, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"), is not only a renowned astronaut (and pitiful to watch on Dancing with the Stars), but he is now a rapper. With Snoop. Don't believe me? See it for yourself...



2. There's a new coffee shop in my city. It's called "Gallery Coffee" It's part art gallery part coffee shop. I'm excited about it because every other independent coffee shop in Montgomery has closed. So, let's lift our lattes to hoping this one stays awhile.

3. Andrew Garcia performing "Forever" on American Idol.


4. Psalm 118. It's always been a favorite of mine and I was reminded by a friend that it was this psalm that most people believe Jesus and the disciples sang at the Last Supper before Jesus was arrested. Reading it with that in mind just gives it a whole new meaning. It's beautiful.

5. Days With My Father. This is a photo essay that left me in a puddle of tears. I've been told I'm "overly emotional" and have been known to cry at the end of movies like "27 Dresses" (which is clearly not a sad movie) but if you don't at least feel a bit of emotion welling up inside after reading/looking through this...you may need some emotional help. Just sayin'.

6. Jeremy Cowart's photo essay "Voices of Haiti" (No. 32) ...this photo has been one of my favorites so far. It's hope. It's joy. It's the kingdom.

7. And last, but not least....SPRING IS HERE!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

hope.

There's nothing better than a little inspiration.

Right now, I am reading a book called "The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty". It's an amazing and practical account that invites the Church in on how HOPE International and other organizations are working to help the poorest of the poor pursue their dreams and no longer rely on charity, but live the life they were made to live through employment and microfinance. I am not a "businessy" person, but I have continued to learn about these social enterprises and am starting to believe that they, along with a holistic approach, could be the weapon that slays the dragon of poverty. My eyes have been opened to the unintended consequences of our good-hearted charity and how sometimes, it can hurt rather than help the poor. In the words of the author:
"Relying on charity might provide enough for bare existence, but it will never be enough to help a poor man off his knees. Charity will never allow an individual to be the way God created humankind to be..." pg. 67
The book has challenged and inspired to work for lasting change in people's lives and as the opening says, "is a compelling call to carry God's mercy and compassion to the hurting people of this world."

Here are some startling facts about the developing world...
  • 850 million people go to bed hungry every night.
  • 11 million children die every year before their 5th birthday...
  • That's 30,000 children a day...
  • 1 child every 3 seconds
  • 20% of the world does not have access to clean water
  • 6.6 billion people live on earth...
  • 4 billion of those people live on less than $4 a day all of whom living in developing countries.
  • these numbers bother me.


The touching video is about how HOPE is working with the beautiful people of Haiti (with music by my favorite...Josh Garrels!) Watch and learn!

Monday, March 22, 2010

city.

I've been thinking a lot about cities recently. My city. American cities. Global cities. For the past year, God has been growing in me a heart for "the city", but I haven't really understood what it meant or how it translated into my life and sphere of influence. Sunday morning I was reading Hebrews when this verse seemed to jump off the pages and into my heart and I've been thinking about these words since...

"For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come."

If these words are true, and I believe they are, then my heart and efforts for "the city" cannot be in and of themselves for "the city" alone. Some day, the city will crumble. It's buildings will topple and what we do for our cities alone will not last...unless they are done with hearts set on the purposes of God and making His name and not our own and not the name on the map, great.

In these days I am asking God for a sincere brokeness for this city I currently call home. To be honest, at this point I am not broken for this place, but desire to be. I am keenly aware that I am here for a reason and that reason is ultimately to bring Him glory and radiate his life signaling Light into the darkness - a peculiar darkness that I myself feel and has caused many people to believe it is, perhaps, a lost cause. Just like no person is too far from God, I also believe no city is either. We don't need "saviors" to come into our cities and try to "fix" them. No, we need passionate dreamers and leaders who know what it means to be restored and set free by God's grace and are intimately acquainted with God's heart and desires for his people. We need people to love our cities in tangible ways. People who no longer merely talk about the state of the places we call home, but walk out what they believe in ways that not only change people's lives, but change their hearts. I think I want to be one of those people.

I have struggled and fought it, but I have finally come to a place of peace about being here and believe I am in Montgomery for this season for a purpose beyond my comprehension. And though I know this place, or any place for that matter, will never be completely free of poverty, loneliness, political corruption, violence etc. I believe our cities will rise when we invest into the lives of individual people in them -- it is then that we will all catch a better glimpse of the city that is to come.