Lay Aside Every Weight

8e0d28d548588e7f6d537f0673713d89

It must be just about time for tristate.

My brain feels so full. Speech on Monday. Prophets exam Tuesday. Meeting at 11:00. NRSV vs. NIV translation. Find new worship songs. Extra credit assignment due before break. Can I do church praise team next week? Learn French and German for voice lessons. Meet with pastor. Drive up to Twin Cities. Get wisdom teeth out. Email him. Call her. Turn in paper by 12:45 pm. Read 100 pages by next week Monday.

I. am. exhausted. I need time at home to catch my breath. Granted, most of it has to be spent in bed because of the removal of my wisdom teeth . . . but I think I’d need that anyways. I feel as if I’m so close to exploding I can barely keep it in.

Thank goodness there are only two more days until I’m home.

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Hebrews 12 (ESV)

Lord, teach me to see You first, to focus on You and lay aside all of the weight that holds me back from pursuing You.

So I can stay the course

God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

Psalm 119:33-40 MSG

Nothing I Hold Onto

I lean not on my own understanding,
My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven

I give it all to you God,
Trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me

I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open

There is nothing I hold on to
There is nothing I hold on to
There is nothing I hold on to
There is nothing I hold on to

Love Is Here

Part of my job as a worship leader is to constantly 1) Listen to music to get new song ideas. 2) Listen to the Lord speak about what He wants to happen on this campus.

One song that keeps coming up for me is “Love Is Here” by Tenth Avenue North.  It comes as a great comfort to me as I am struggling through some things. The Lord commands us to come before Him, and from there He will remind us of the Love that poured from His hands and side.

It’s a message I’ve had to give myself over and over this week. Love is here. He is the Lord. His love satisfies. As we sing this song tonight, may we all be reminded to come before Him, no matter what our standing is in life.

Come to the waters
You who thirst and you’ll thirst no more
Come to the Father
You who work and you’ll work no more

And all you who labor in vain
And to the broken and shamed

Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow
Love is near it satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side
‘Cause Love is here

Come to the treasure
You who search and you’ll search no more
Come to the lover
You who want and you’ll want no more, no

And all you who labor in vain
And to the broken and shamed, yeah

Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow
Love is near it satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side, yeah

And to the bruised and fallen
Captives bound and brokenhearted
He is the Lord, He is the Lord, yeah
By His stripes He’s paid our ransom
From His wounds we drink salvation
He is the Lord, He is the Lord

Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow
Love is near it satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side
Streams of mercy flowing from His side
‘Cause Love is here
Love is here

Tooth. Tooth. Tooth.

I’ve officially become wise. How do I know this? Is it from my campus ministries training? My theology classes? My recent conversations? Perhaps . . . but I know I’m becoming wise because my wisdom teeth are coming in.

Bw9oHimCMAAuGZ0.jpg large

Actual x-ray of my teeth

They say that 1 in 4 people have their wisdom teeth come in sideways; it turns out the odds were in my favor. My senior year of high school, the dentist told me that I should get them out sooner rather than later. I chose later. Now, two years later, my back left wisdom teeth has erupted from my gums and it is painful. I now understand why babies cry all the time; this tooth is all I can think about! My tongue passes over my back teeth constantly. My thoughts basically consist of “Tooth, tooth, tooth, tooth, tooth.” It is almost impossible to think of anything else.

As I was sending out one of many emails today, I took a second to look at my signature. It includes my name and my favorite Bible verse which says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I’m not sure how familiar you are with this passage, so let me give you a little big of background. Paul was talking about how He able to boast in Christ and all the things that He is doing through him. But he writes “a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” I imagine that this pain he felt in his side is a lot like the pain I’m feeling with my wisdom tooth. It consumes you. It’s all you think about. I’m sure all Paul thought was “Thorn. Thorn. Thorn. Thorn.”

But this is where God continues to work. God used that pain to remind Paul that He is sufficient through all weaknesses, physical and spiritual.

This has been an excellent reminder for me, especially as I’m about to lead my first praise and worship with my very own team. Perhaps the Lord is pushing my tooth through my gums at this time to remind me that I can’t do it all on my own. That I should change my thoughts from “Tooth. Tooth. Tooth. Tooth.” to “Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace.”

Grace is the reason why I’m here. It’s not because of anything I’ve done because I’ve made so many mistakes. I deserve nothing; in fact, I deserve a lot more pain than this tiny little tooth is giving me. But grace washed all of that away and I am made perfect in the eyes of Christ.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.