3.27.2007

forgiven.

"He was FORSAKEN so we might be FORGIVEN."
I read these words this week in a book called "Living the Cross Centered Life"...and it has affected me so much. I think the longer we walk in a relationship with Christ, the easier it is to become overFAMILIAR with forgiveness - and I am definitely guilty of this. But lately I have been overWHELMED with the forgiveness that God offers me, day after day. And it forces me to a place of humility and gratitude. Oh, how I pray I'd never move past this place...and the desire for a life of pure and simple devotion. I think of an old hymn...LOVE SO AMAZING, SO DIVINE - DEMANDS MY SOUL, MY LIFE, MY ALL. Knowing I'm redeemed, I'm forgiven, ignites in me the response of giving God my ALL.
I'M FORGIVEN, BECAUSE YOU WERE FORSAKEN. I'M ACCEPTED, YOU WERE CONDEMNED. I'M ALIVE AND WELL, YOUR SPIRIT IS WITHIN ME, BECAUSE YOU DIED & ROSE AGAIN. AMAZING LOVE, HOW CAN IT BE, THAT YOU MY KING WOULD DIE FOR ME. AMAZING LOVE, I KNOW IT'S TRUE, AND IT'S MY JOY TO HONOR YOU.
The gospel. The story of Christ enduring what we so deserve, and in so, offering us a life of redemption. It's so incredible. It's so humbling. As Easter approaches, I pray this would be grasped by all those who hear it...that people would "open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light"...to see what He offers.

I'm sharing my own story of redemption at our Campus Outreach weekly meeting tomorrow night. We usually have a student share each week, but tomorrow's meeting is special to me. Coach Mark Richt (UGA's head football coach) is coming to speak. The last time he spoke at our meeting was my sophomore year in college - 5 years ago - and that meeting played a huge part in my story. So I'm excited to get to share, and I pray the message is clear - I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see.

3.15.2007

headed back east...

[HAIKU #4...]
an old wooden ship
we're sad because i'm leaving
sweet view from the plane

and my trip comes to an end.



CALIFORNIA...day #3.

[HAIKU #3...]
day trip to L.A.
visiting with my cousin
fresh mex with some friends




3.14.2007

CALIFORNIA...day #2.

[HAIKU #2...]
urban equals love
we met up with friends downtown
in and out burger




3.13.2007

CALIFORNIA...day #1.

well, it was a BEAUTIFUL day in san deigo...82 degrees!! i'm here visiting my friend allie (her husband is going through navy seals training...so i'm her roommate this week!!)
naturally, i've decided to write a HAIKU for each day i'm here... :)

french cafe breakfast
watch surfers at sunset cliffs
coronado beach




3.04.2007

MOVING on up...

alright, it's official...I'M MOVING TO NASHVILLE!! (i love this skyline...)
i have a closing date on a condo may 1st...so that makes it pretty for sure :)
nope...no job yet...but i'm confident that the Lord will provide that for me (you can pray for that, though - b/c i will have a mortgage now...so i need an income!). and it's really bittersweet...b/c i do love athens, and my friends and my job here, so it will be hard to leave...but i just know it's time to move on to the next season in my life. and God has put nashville on my heart for over a year, and i'm so excited to see it coming together....a great church, a community of amazing people, a best friend - yay brooke!!, and now a place to live - IN THE CITY...exactly what my heart has longed for. the condo is in a new development in east nashville - the first floor is retail, and the top 2 floors are flats. i can't wait!! :)

3.03.2007

awakened. [01.16.07]



i am completely overwhelmed with JOY at what the Lord did at Passion07 - and so humbled that He chose ME to be a part of it!! Along with a couple of friends, we have been laboring, planning, praying, organizing, building for the GLOBAL AWAKENING part of the Passion07 conference in atlanta for the past 6 months. immersed in the details it was hard some days to see the big picture...but as i sat in phillips arena the last morning of the conference and heard what God did through the students all i could do was weep tears of joy...knowing that we were changing the world...one dollar, one prayer, one life at a time.
our aim was to stop injustice...free captives...care for the poor...make hope real...asking the students to DO SOMETHING NOW...and wow, they did...God is BIG.
i've copied from the PASSION BLOG below so you can get an idea of what i'm talking about...

Do Something Now!

During the days of Passion 07 over 22,000 of us banded together to make a difference throughout the world in Jesus' name. The Do Something Now Campaign was more than charity, it was our worship as we offered to God what He really loves. The results so far have exceeded our expectations...and the story has just begun!

Touch Atlanta
We wanted to Touch Atlanta by providing towels and socks to 15 area organizations assisting those in need. 13,000 towels and 31,000 pairs of socks were provided.

Help Stop Human Trafficking
Speaking up against the trade of precious people in the sex industry, 3000 signatures were gathered with Stop The Traffik to be presented to the UN with others from around the world.

Bibles To Unreached People
We wanted to send 3000 Bibles into East Asia, committing to pray for each recipient for one year. 4000 Bibles were sent. 4000 people are being prayed for!

Clean Water For Africa
We sought to sponsor the drilling of 11 wells (at a cost of 3K each) to bring clean water to African villages for life. 52 wells were sponsored + additional funds were collected for at least one more expensive well in Sudan.

Life-saving Surgeries For Kids
We hoped to sponsor 50 surgeries for children in Central/South America at a cost of $1,000 each. A donor agreed to match whatever was given at Passion 07. 124 surgeries were sponsored, bringing the total (with the matching grant) to 248 surgeries.

College For Promising Africans
20 young people were sponsored to attend college in Africa through Compassion's Leadership Development Program. Additional Compassion children were sponsored.

A Community/Student Center on a Campus In Iraq
We sought to raise money for the Freedom Center in Kurdistan of Iraq.
Over 2400 bricks were purchases for $10. (Our goal was 500!)
17 groups have committed to raise $5,000. (Our goal was 10! An additional 20K was given at Passion 07). The numbers are still growing.
200 people have committed to pray about spending a year in Iraq teaching English at The Freedom Center.
1200 committed to pray for the Kurds for one year.

The Bible For The Dela People of Indonesia
Through us, God funded the translation of the New Testament for the Dela people of Indonesia. In addition, so many gifts/pledges were made we have funded additional translations for the Rikou and Lola people of Indonesia. But there's more... we have funded the completion of three additional translations that were in mid-stream for people groups in Indonesia. We set our sights on one translation and have now completed six. Calls and requests are pouring into Oneverse with people/groups requesting additional translations to sponsor. Over $450,000 was given/pledged for translations of the New Testament!

On top of these amazing ventures, the offering for Passion's World Tour (we are trusting God for close to 4 million) taken on the last morning was $256,000... and it's still growing. Humbling. Thank you for letting us know you are with us.

God is amazing!! And in Him we can change the world together. Let's don't stop here!
If you still want to get involved, information on our Do Something Now partner organizations under Latest on the Passion Website.

PS-Who said college students were poor?

city love. [10.31.06]

i admit it...just like john mayer "i tell everyone i smile just because i've got a city love..."



i heard a talk by tim keller (pastor in NYC) at the desiring God conference in minneapolis last month, which really spurred these thoughts about loving the city, and he was talking about "gospel urbanizing" -- being strategic about bringing truth, love, and grace INTO the city (instead of fleeing it, as most christians do)
in Jonah 3:2, the Lord tells Jonah to "go to that great city"...because as the CITY goes, so goes the CULTURE...if we want to influence and affect today's culture, we must first start in the city...cultural trends tend to be generated in the city and flow outward to the rest of society!!
in an article entitled "a new kind of urban christian" keller states these points:
1. more christians should live long-term in the cities.
2. christians should be a dynamic counterculture.
3. christians should be a community radically committed to the good of the city as a whole.
...we should move out to provide service to all people, regardless of their beliefs...to become attractive enough to win influence!!
WE MUST NIETHER JUST DENOUNCE THE CULTURE NOR ADOPT IT. WE MUST SACRIFICALLY SERVE THE COMMON GOOD, EXPECTING TO BE CONSTANTLY MISUNDERSTOOD AND SOMETIMES ATTACKED. WE MUST WALK IN THE STEPS OF THE ONE WHO LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS OPPONENTS.


i'm reading "the radical reformission" by mark driscoll right now (which is an amazing book by-the-way) and he is huge on this idea, too...

"we love the things God has given us - homes, cars, hobbies, health, friends - more than our great cities and the spiritually blind people who annoys us. we pass these people every day and ignore them because our minds are consumed with ourselves rather than with our God and our neighbor."
...so true for me, but i'm seriously praying about giving up some of these "comforts" and praying God would direct me to a city that i can be a vessel of His grace and love in!!

"to change a culture, we must change the people in that culture. the question that arises is whether people do whatt they ARE, or if they are what they DO. the answer to this is imperative, b/c if we are what we DO, then all we need to do is train people to act differently, and they will change themselves. but if we do what we ARE, then we do bad b/c we are bad, and we cannot do good until we become good, the very thing which bad cannot do, not matter how many dollars are spent and organizations are founded to help them."
...we must resist the the temptation to first change the culture, and instead we must begin by bringing the gospel to PEOPLE so that they can be given a new heart (and then new families, new church, new government, new business...) and what results will be a transformed CULTURE!! oh how i long to see people, cities, and culture grasp a new transforming life with jesus!

"as we engage culture, we must watch films, listen to music, read books, watch television, shop at stores, and engage in other activities as theologians and missionaries filled with wisdom and discernment, seeking to better grasp life..we do this so we can begin the transforming work of the gospel in our culture."
...i LOVE this, b/c i'm slightly obsessed w/ progressive culture right now, and the Lord is showing me how it really helps connect us to this world around us, and gets me outside of my oh-so-tempting comfortable christian bubble. (side note: a great step towards engaging culture, check out relevant magazine)

"focus on the urgent need in our own neighborhoods, which are filled with diverse cultures of americans who desperately need the gospel of Jesus and life in His church...what i am advocating is not an abandonment of missions across the globe but rather an emphasis on missions that begin across the street, like Jesus commanded (Acts 1:8)."
...wherever you live, be jesus to those around you...until we reach all of our neighbors around the globe.

"I HAVE BECOME ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE, THAT BY ALL MEANS I MIGHT SAVE SOME. I DO THIS FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, THAT I MAY SHARE WITH THEM IN ITS BLESSINGS." 1 CORINTHIANS 9:22-23

believe. [09.26.06]

wow. life is hard. i'm constantly reminded of this. but, God is good. He reminds me of this, too.

so if things aren't crazy enough right now, we found out my mom has cancer this past weekend...yah, it's pretty rough. but somehow i know God has been preparing me for this...

i had just told some of the girls i disciple last week how i just don't BELIEVE God for big things with my family. He wants me to ASK Him, SEEK Him...let my requests be made known to Him, and "the PEACE of God which surpasses all understanding" will guard my heart and mind in Christ. and i have felt that peace...it's totally surreal. i love what the message//remix says here: "don't fret or worry. instead of worrying, pray. let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. it's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." isn't that awesome? "INSTEAD OF WORRYING, PRAY." that is my hope...to be a prayer warrior right now for my family.

i may not receive what i request, i may not find what i seek, and the door upon which i knock may not be the one opened...but the ASSURANCE is that where there is asking there WILL be receiving, where there is seeking there WILL be finding, and where there is knocking God WILL open a door!! He's teaching me that through persistant prayer i need to be conditioned to receive...to receive HIS plan, HIS answers, HIS hope.

i pray i would not be distracted, i would not destroy myself with anxiety over a future i cannot control...may i TRUST and BELIEVE in a God who alone knows the future.
"DON'T GET WORKED UP ABOUT WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN TOMORROW. GOD WILL HELP YOU DEAL WITH WHATEVER HARD THINGS COME UP WHEN THE TIME COMES." (matt. 6:34)

so, may i BELIEVE, one day at a time.

YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD; I WILL TAKE JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION. GOD, THE LORD, IS MY STRENGTH; HE MAKES MY FEET LIKE THE DEER'S; HE MAKES ME TREAD ON MY HIGH PLACES. habakkuk 3:17-19

i run to You, when my heart is weak, i cling to You, You're all i see. it's my desire to be close to You, 'cause here in Your arms, i'll find my strength. - kari jobe

lost & found. [08.03.06]



so, my trip to visit brooke in north africa was AMAZING! we had some great times, and God opened my eyes even more to the nations and His heart for every nation. every tongue. every language. everyone.

a cool paradox He showed me while i was there...
so, my 2nd day there...i'm feeling overwhelmed with the fact that i don't speak french or arabic, definitely do not read arabic, don't know where anything is...i'm feeling lost, misunderstood, confused, alone.
then, He shows me...no, marisa, YOU are one of the few in this nation that is FOUND, UNDERSTOOD, KNOWN, and IN FELLOWSHIP w/ ME, the Creator of the universe.
my heart broke for those people...they are the ones whose souls cry out to be known and found and understood.

may He rescue them from their religion.
may they see the FREEDOM that comes from knowing the Lord....freedom FROM religion, rules, condemnation...and freedom TO relationship, love, mercy, grace.

....on a funny note - i actually did lose my wallet in the germany airport..and it has NOT been found :)

listening...seeing. [06.29.06]

on our summer beach project, the book has been A.W. Tozer's "The Pursuit of God"...and the last couple of chapters have been awesome...

first, "the speaking voice"...a reminder that God's Word is not only a book that was once spoken, but a book which is NOW speaking!! "our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing and we have trained our ears not to hear"...Lord, TEACH ME TO LISTEN...the times are noisy, let me hear You speaking in my heart, let me get used to the sound of Your voice!!

then, "the gaze of the soul"...FAITH is believing a promise...and believing is done with the HEART. so faith is the continuous gaze of our soul upon a saving God!! while we are looking to God, we do not see ourselves...Lord, REDIRECT my sight, may i get out of the focus of my own vision and get YOU into focus!!

"so FAITH comes from HEARING, and hearing through the WORD of Christ." romans 10:17
"FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfector of your FAITH..." hebrews 12:2

**God has been humbling me SO much this summer, reminding me how much i still so desperately need Him, and how i have so much growing to do...
but i've also seen His GRACE so abundant lately...it's awesome.
constantly clinging to the One who sustains...

[p.s. i am SO excited that i'm going to visit brooke in north africa in a week!!!]

global night commute. [04.19.06]


did you know...
- northern Uganda called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today b/c of the lack of attention
- 1.7 million people forcibly displaced
- an estimated 20,000-50,000 children have been abducted to fight as soldiers
- tens of thousands of children commuting nightly
- 130 people die per day in northern Uganda due to violence

AMERICANS ARE CLOSING THEIR EYES TO OPEN THE WORLDS' TO AN UNSEEN WAR.
y'all, i'm SO excited about what is happening on april 29th...
invisible children is sponsoring something called the "global night commute"...every night in northern Uganda thousands of children leave their homes out of fear of being abducted and walk miles into town to sleep......for one night, all across america...WE ARE DOING THE SAME!
on April 29th in over 130 cities across the country, thousands are lying down to demand that our government take a stand and put an end to child abduction, the need for night commuting, and war in northern Uganda...by lying down, we are joining the invisible children by demanding that our government put an end to the longest running war in africa!!

in ATLANTA, we're going to commute from piedmont park to yellow jacket park on ga tech's campus, and sleep there, as thousands all across the country do the same, to show our government WE CARE ABOUT THESE KIDS!! we'll also be making worship art projects, and having a letter-writing campaign to the president and congressmen!!
MORE DETAILS!!!

PLEASE sign-up for your city on the website, and join in this movement!!

we have a group commuting from athens if you want to join...let me know!!

it costs you nothing...but could change these kids lives forever.

"be the change you wish to see in the world"...


We ask two things:
President George Bush and the United States government should press the United Nations and Yoweri Museveni to do everything in their power to:
1. end the conflict and protect the civilians in northern Uganda
2. ensure adequate humanitarian assistance to the Invisible Children (in the internally displaced camps and beyond)

for further information please refer to:
Civil Society Organizations For Peace in Northern Uganda (CSOPNU)
http://www.nrc.no/UgandaKeyFacts.doc
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
http://www.theirc.org/news/page.jsp?itemID=28173324
International Crisis Group (ICG)
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=2346&l=1
Amnesty International
http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/uganda/reports.do

mocha club. [03.21.06]


i had my discipleship groups read an article on "simplicity" this week (from the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster), and we were all so convicted...
"simplicity breeds joy, balance, and FREEDOM...may God give us the courage, the wisdom, the strength to always hold the Kingdom of God as the number one priority of our lives...to do so is SIMPLICITY."

this talk of simplicity led to talk on frugality...removing our desire for status, glamour, and luxury! we live in a culture of waste, in a world where a billion people survive on less than a dollar a day, and by our wasteful and self-indulgent lifestyles we are contributing to the poverty and starvation around the world..but DON'T FEEL GUILTY, FEEL RESPONSIBLE..AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!
frugality is about investment of time, of money, of thought, and of energy...we refrain from spending them on indifferent things so that we may be free to spend them on things that are ETERNAL...

SO...this leads me to the MOCHA CLUB!! my girls and i are forming a team, where we give up 2 mochas a month ($7 each) and TOGETHER can help orphans in AFRICA...i know this isn't a lot..and really not that much of a sacrifice...but the idea of starting to simplify, to give up something for the Kingdom..to "not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God" (Hebrews 13:16)

we're excited...and YOU can join our team, too!!

"They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be GENEROUS and READY TO SHARE, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is TRULY LIFE" 1 Timothy 6:18-19

LIVE SIMPLY SO OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE (thanks brooke!) :)

joy. [03.02.06]

"TAKE JOY IN THE JOURNEY, AND STOP DAYDREAMING ABOUT THE DESTINATION"

this is a little quote the Lord gave me this week, as i've been praying for joy and contentment for where He has me NOW, and not getting so caught up in what the future holds!
i'm learning to trust in isaiah 14:24 "as I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand"...God's gonna do exactly what He set out to do, His counsel stands forever, He will fulfill His plans, His design will endure...and i don't have to WORRY about it!! so much of life is WAITING on God..on the next step, on His timing, on His will.
"be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.." (psalm 37:7)
so, i want to find that JOY, that blessed assurance, despite circumstance, that i am exactly where i'm supposed to be...in the hands of my Creator, ENJOYING His presence.
"these things I have spoken to you, that My JOY may be in you, and that your JOY may be FULL" (john 15:11)

"LIFE IS NOT A STORY ABOUT ME, BUT IT IS BEING TOLD TO ME, AND I CAN BE GLAD OF THAT...I THINK THAT IS THE WHY OF LIFE AND, IN FACT, THE WHY OF THIS ANCIENT FAITH I AM CAUGHT UP IN: TO ENJOY GOD...IT'S ALL METAPHOR, AND THE STORY IS ABOUT US; IT'S ABOUT ALL OF US WHO GOD MADE, AND GOD HIMSELF, JUST ENJOYING EACH OTHER." - DONALD MILLER "THROUGH PAINTED DESSERTS"

light. [01.31.06]

i've been studying through isaiah, and God is totally using it to speak to me. a verse i love right now: isaiah 42:16 - "I will LEAD the blind in a way that they do not know, in the way that they have not known, I will GUIDE them. I will turn the darkness before them into LIGHT, the rough places into level ground."
it's so freeing to just say Lord, i DON'T know the way, i DON'T know the journey or path you have for me to take next, and i can't understand your plans yet...but You promise to SHED SOME LIGHT, to LEAD me, to GUIDE me!! God says that my eyes SHALL SEE my Teacher, and my ears SHALL HEAR a Word behind me, saying "this is the way, walk in it"... (isaiah 30:20-21) - what a cool promise that is!!
may we trust His Word in Luke 1:78-79 - that God "will visit us from on high to give LIGHT to those who sit in darkness..to GUIDE our feet into the WAY OF PEACE"...
Jesus, help us to cling to You in the dark!!

"BUT I'LL TAKE THE HAND OF THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW THE WAY, WHO CAN'T SEE WHERE THEY'RE GOING. I'LL BE A PERSONAL GUIDE TO THEM, DIRECTING THEM THROUGH UNKNOWN COUNTRY. I'LL BE RIGHT THERE TO SHOW THEM WHAT ROADS TO TAKE, MAKE SURE THEY DON'T FALL IN A DITCH. THESE ARE THE THINGS I'LL BE DOING FOR THEM, NOT LEAVING THEM FOR A MINUTE." ISAIAH 42:16 THE MESSAGE//REMIX

lyrics i love. [01.08.06]

so i have been SO obsessed (and BLESSED) with this cd called "christ for all nations" lately (a church in dallas, tx) - i've given it out to everyone i know, seriously! :)
these are some of the lyrics that have spoken to my soul lately...

THE MORE I SEEK YOU, THE MORE I FIND YOU. THE MORE I FIND YOU, THE MORE I LOVE YOU. I WANNA SIT AT YOUR FEET, DRINK FROM THE CUP IN YOUR HAND, LAY BACK AGAINST YOU AND BREATHE, FEEL YOUR HEART BEAT. THIS LOVE IS SO DEEP, IT'S MORE THAN I CAN STAND, I MELT IN YOUR PEACE, IT'S OVERWHELMING.

WORTHY IS THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN, HOLY, HOLY IS HE. SING A NEW SONG, TO HIM WHO SITS ON HEAVEN'S MERCY SEAT. HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME. WITH ALL CREATION I SING, PRAISE TO THE KING OF KINGS, YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING, AND I WILL ADORE YOU. GOLDEN RAINBOWS OF LIVING COLOR, FLASHES OF LIGHTNING, ROLES OF THUNDER. MERCY AND HONOR, STRENGTH AND GLORY AND POWER BE, TO YOU THE ONLY WISE KING. FILLED WITH WONDER, AWESTRUCK WONDER, AT THE MENTION OF YOUR NAME. JESUS YOUR NAME IS POWER, BREATHE, AND LIVING WATER, SUCH A MARVELOUS MYSTERY.

anyways, i hope these minister to your heart, too! thank-you, Jesus, for music and how we connect through song!!

on a random note - the Lord taught me a lot about philippians 2 this past week...i was heavily involved in pulling off the christmas conference our ministry had in atlanta, and then went straight to volunteer at passion 06 in nashville. it was a major week of serving, and learning to "look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others" and remembering how Christ "made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant" and humbled HIMSELF!! how selfish i am in my flesh...i pray that as i serve i would have the same attitude of my Lord, who gave up everything to serve US!! what a lesson :)

filled with wonder, awestruck wonder...

facedown. [11.21.05]



i love serving a God who strings all things together in my life...

so, first, my pastor gave a kickin sermon yesterday from numbers about us literally getting FACEDOWN in worship...seriously, when do we literally fall FACEDOWN at God's feet?
1. when we're DESPERATE FOR DIRECTION [joshua 5:14 - "what does my Lord say?..."]
2. when we're SURROUNDED BY CONFLICT [numbers 20:6 - "fell on their faces and the glory of the Lord appeared to them"]
3. when we're UNDER ATTACK [2 chronicles 20:12, 18 - "we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You...so he bowed his head with his face to the ground..."]
4. when OBEDIENCE IS HARD [matthew 26:39 - even Jesus gets face down and cries out for the will of the Father!!]
5. when MERCY IS THE ONLY ANSWER [numbers 6:20, 45 - we beg God to please not give us what we deserve!]
my favorite quote was this - when we're FACEDOWN, we can't see what's in front of us or what's behind us, we just have to TRUST by faith what's around us!!

so, i'm all excited about this new idea of FACEDOWN WORSHIP, and i remember i have a book by that same title, by matt redman, so i busted it out today...
some truths i'm holding on to...

- God is easy to please but hard to satisfy - the smallest offering of an honest heart will bring Him pleasure, yet He also has an insatiable desire to see us live out lives of the utmost holiness...
[i want my life to be a living sacrifice, one of UTMOST HOLINESS, desiring to PLEASE my maker...may i offer all that i am, as Christ perfects...]

- TRUST is a beautiful and costly act of worship - we cannot choose our path in life, but we can choose to walk down it with a worshipful TRUST in the sovereignty and Father heart of God!!
[this is the hardest area for me..to blindly trust in God's goodness, faithfulness, and control over my life...but i love that idea of not seeing what's in front or behind - and being facedown in faith, and i pray every day i trust more and more - and that whether He gives or takes away, my heart will choose to say "Lord, blessed be Your name"]

- in His presence, we STILL our hearts and SILENCE our toungue in WONDER and REVERANCE before a holy God...creating essential space to HEAR the voice of God...we need seasons of the soul in which we somehow find space away from the noises of everyday life and still our heart to perceive the intimate WHISPERS of God!!
[He is teaching me so much here - to hear Him in the silence and solitude...to rise above the noise, be still, and know that He is God]

- all worship is a RESPONSE to a REVELATION - it's only as we breathe in more of the wonders of God that we can breathe out a fuller response to Him...the key to a life of passionate and powerful worship comes from SEEING God!!
[i want to be like the early church in acts and be filled with AWE...i want to realize what my jesus has done for me on the cross, and that through it i am able to respond to Him in love...AWE AND INTIMACY ARE INSEPARABLE!!]

MAY THE POSTURE OF MY HEART BE THAT I AM SO DESPERATE FOR THE INCREASE OF CHRIST THAT I FIND MYSELF DECREASING TO THE GROUND IN AN ACT OF REVERENT SUBMISSION...BECOMING SO CAPTIVATED BY THE ALMIGHTY THAT TO BEND LOW IN TRUE AND TOTAL SURRENDER SEEMS THE ONLY APPROPRIATE RESPONSE

thankful. [11.16.05]

in tribute to next week's turkey festivities, i decided to adhere to the words of paul in colossians 3:15:
"BE THANKFUL"!!

what marisa is thankful for...

1. GRACE - it really is the most beautiful word ever created, and the only reason i get a relationship with my Jesus

2. FREEDOM - it's why Christ set us free, i don't have to live in guilt, i am free to love, free to live, and free to learn from my many mistakes :)

3. FRIENDS - seriously, i am SO blessed here...i can't even express how my much my girlfriends mean to me (the only problem, is i'm gonna have to have like 50 bridesmaids - haha)

4. FAMILY - as hard of a situation we have and as disfunctional as we are, i thank God for them

5. MY JOB - pouring out my life, growing, and falling more in love with Jesus = my work :)

6. MUSIC - notes and lyrics minister to my heart, and move my soul...from singing praises to the Lord, to strumming my guitar, to joyfully blaring tunes in the car, to just enjoying life jumping around at a concert...i LOVE it

7. STARBUCKS - as corporate as it is, i am in love with this place (can i get a tall, non-fat, sugar-free vanilla latte please? hmmm..high maintnance) :)

8. TECHNOLOGY - i mean, whoa - cell phones, iPods, digital cameras, computers - i love how it has enabled so much for communication (i still don't understand how wireless internet works?!!)

9. HOPE - i know that God is in control, that He knows the plans He has for me, to give me a future, that it will be GOOD...and that this place is not my home

10. BOOKS - a new-found love the past couple of years...i'm creating my own little library!

11. SNOW - i still don't understand how mountains get covered with this stuff - but i am so thankful for it - for being the icing on God's creation cake...and then for the PATIENCE it took for me to learn to SNOWBOARD on it!!

12. COOKIES - if you know me, you know it's a minor obsession, and definitely the way to my heart (especially chocolate chip and cinnamon toast from cookies cafe in downtown athens - YUM!!)

13. GREAT COMMUNICATORS - john piper, matt chandler, erwin mcmanus, beth moore, rob bell, donald miller, mark driscoll, louie giglio - they're my favorites, and i'm thankful for their sensativity to the Spirit's leading and their insight and wisdom into what it means to live this christian life

14. PICTURES - moments captured forever

15. GUM - you can just keep chewing this flavorful little rubber thing - what?! love it!! (another slight addiction!)

16. GOD'S WORD - my map, my guide to life, dwelling in me richly

17. COLOR - so thankful we don't see just black and white

18. PRAYER - we can TALK to our Creator?! how awesome is that

19. JOURNALS - i'm such a fan - go through one in about 2 months - so fun to look back and see how far God has taken me, and how He's answered prayers, and taught me so much

20. CREATION - whether it's a warm sunny day on the beach with crashing waves, a hike through a green forrest, or a snowy landscape - what an artistic God we serve!!

may i see the many blessings in my life, and have a thankful heart every day of the year!!

repaint. [10.25.05]

first, if you have not heard about rob bell - check out these websites:
www.nooma.com (a side ministry he does - very cool.)
www.mhbcmi.org (his church - mars hill in grand rapids, michigan)

so, he just put out a new book: "velvet elvis: repainting the christian faith"
...AMAZING!! he does a great job at breaking down some cultural stereotypes about christianity, and really "repainting" them in new way. one of my favorite points...
- he's speaking of us being NEW creations "in Christ" (2 cor. 5:17) - new life, new identity...and so, as Paul states in Philippians 3:16 "let us live up to what we have already attained"...there is this person who we already are in God's eyes - and we are learning to live like it's true!! this paints a whole new view of GRACE...we are not who we were - we are reborn, rebirthed, remade, reconciled, renewed!! and then when we mess up, the point isn't our failure - it is God's success in remaking me into the person He originally intended me to be...it's not "sin management" - it's who we are now, in Him!!
we can't earn what we've always had...what we can do is TRUST that what God keeps insisting is TRUE about us IS ACTUALLY TRUE!! our invitation is this: to TRUST that we don't owe anything, to TRUST that something is already true about us, something has already been done, something has been there all along...

anyways..read this book - it will affect you!! :)

"THE CHALLENGE FOR CHRISTIANS IS TO LIVE WITH GREAT PASSION AND CONVICTION, REMAINING OPEN AND FLEXIBLE, AWARE THAT THIS LIFE IS NOT THE LAST PAINTING. TIMES CHANGE. GOD DOESN'T, BUT TIMES DO. WE LEARN AND GROW, AND THE WORLD AROUND US SHIFTS, AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS ALIVE ONLY WHEN IT IS LISTENING, MORPHING, INNOVATING, LETTING GO OF WHATEVER HAS GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF JESUS AND EMBRACING WHATEVER WILL HELP US BE MORE AND MORE THE PEOPLE GOD WANTS US TO BE." -ROB BELL

mary vs. martha [09.29.05]

so, i've heard the martha and mary story (luke 10:38-41) before, but it really spoke to my heart this week...
i have been SUCH a martha - "distracted with much serving" (v. 40) and "anxious and troubled about many things" (v. 41)...i'm saying "look at all of this ministry, Lord, look what i do for You.." and i get anxious about all of the serving i'm doing for God and His people... but He reminded me through this passage of "the one thing that's neccessary" (v.41) = sitting at the feet of Jesus, being still, RESTING in Him, and LISTENING to His voice, enjoying His presence...what mary had chosen.
Lord, help me to REST in You, to seek 1st You and Your Kingdom (matt. 6:33)

"STAND BY THE ROADS, AND LOOK, AND ASK FOR THE ANCIENT PATHS, WHERE THE GOOD WAY IS; AND WALK IN IT, AND FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS." jeremiah 6:16

waiting [09.19.05]

so, ANOTHER friend got married this past weekend, and it's so fun, because weddings are basically reunions for all of my college friends, and it's so great to see everyone, and witness such a God-glorifying wedding, but, i can't deny that it does make me sad. i'm like "ok, Lord, when is MY day?" (not to mention, and WHO??!!!)
but, of course, the Lord has been so good to answer me right where my heart is. i finished a book by elisabeth elliot today that i've been trying to finish forever, but He knew i needed to read this part today...

"waiting on God is an act of FAITH - faith in His character, faith in Himself, resting in the perfect confidence that He will guide in the right way, at the right time. He will supply our need, He will fulfill His Word, He will give us the very best if we trust Him."
and listen to the Lord's commands to us from psalm 37... TRUST in the Lord and do good, DWELL in the land (be at peace where He puts me), DELIGHT in the Lord (He's my only joy!), COMMIT my life to the Lord, TRUST in Him and He'll act, BE QUIET before the Lord, WAIT PATIENTLY for Him... AMEN!! :)

picture this: remember when you were a kid and if you got lost your mom told you to stay still, b/c if you are both searching for each other, you might miss each other?
well, that is what i'm realizing...i cannot be doing the searching...i must be still!! and then the one God has chosen for me before the creation of the world will find me!!
it's just the sitting still that's so hard for me... :)

"THEREFORE, BEHOLD, I WILL ALLURE HER, AND BRING HER INTO THE WILDERNESS, AND SPEAK TENDERLY TO HER. AND THERE I WILL GIVE HER VINEYARDS AND MAKE THE VALLEY OF ANCHOR A DOOR OF HOPE..." HOSEA 2:14-15