Friday, August 27, 2010

Thoughts on fads, time and new things.

I have some confessions to make. I often am easily swayed by pop culture. I like Justin Bieber. I mean have you seen this kid? He's cute and talented. People say he is just a fad. When I was in the states this summer, Gabo and I watched an E! special on him. His voice coach was talking about how his voice is going through the change but they believe that he has great pitch and will make it through the change and have a career afterwards. I am rooting for him. In fact, I have made a bet with my friend Abraham here in Mexico that people will still know him in 2015. 

All that to say, I think we mostly focus on what is popular or cool now. We are impatient and we don't usually want to take time to see if something is going to last or not. So if it's Justin or an IPAD or the newest car, why do we become so obsessed with the newest thing?

Gabo and I have talked a lot lately about how there is nothing "new" we need to know about God. Everything that has been taught that is valid was written in the good book long ago. If someone has a new idea, chances are it's not from Jesus. We don't need new ideas. We need to know the old ones well. 

The book of Nehemiah is showing up EVERYWHERE in my life these days. I think God wants to teach me something about this guy. First of all, this guy was committed to rebuilding the walls. Do you know that in total the process took 12 years? Building movements and mobilizing projects TAKE TIME. 

I too have bought into the "the quicker, the better" philosophy in ministry. I believe God can do anything don't get me wrong but ministry takes time and patience. I have really wrestled with the idea that I don't know if I have done anything life changing in 3 years here in Mexico. But it's only been 3 years. always gets you. I don't know where we will be working in a year or where we will live in 5 years. But I know that time is precious and I need to use my time wisely. More than that, I need to trust Jesus with my time.

The Bible talks extensively about being renewed but in Christ. If we don't experience renewal, we become bogged down with cynicism, we lose our imagination or the idea to dream. These things are part of using our time wisely. If I am cynical and just want to make it through the day, I am wasting my life. I am learning it's a fine balance of the two. I tend to be "over analytical" and think it is all up to me. 

I am not sure where I will end up or what will be popular on that day but I want to continue to not lose heart as I am given one more day. And I hope that Justin still has a voice in 2015 so I can win a bet. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hello Transition. My name is Emily.

So we are back and settled in after the staff conference. It was a good time in Cholula. God has done a number on our hearts and I believe that the staff in Mexico are more united than I have ever experienced. It was fun to see how Jesus is faithful to change us.

It was Gabo's first staff conference and I think he enjoyed it. He helped with the music and that blessed people immensely. I love his attitude to jump in and get to know people.

So we are getting ready to start ministry this week here in the City. I don't know what it will look like. All the faces on my team are familiar, which is a huge plus. There are just less of them. I pray that we enjoy each other and the students. I pray that we change the culture of what it looks like to be Christians here in the city. I desire deep community and students living out what God has done in their lives. Honestly, I am a little dissatisfied in that in my own personal ministry. So I am excited to try new things and risk more.

The new married stage has it's challenges in any world but here where we both have weird schedules, just adds more fun. Gabo and I have been married for 2 months but we don't know yet what it's like to live a "normal week" with each other. We'll see how it goes.

The other area of uncertainty is what God has for us in the future. Where will we be? Where will we work? What is our jobs to go with our sweet calling? How the next year plays out will be interesting and life changing I believe.

I am grateful to have friends, teammates, and family to walk with me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rant #1: living a 1D life instead of 3D

Caution, you could be offended. 

So I spend about 5 weeks with my family in Indiana/Michigan. It was a good time spent. Gabo and I took care of my lil' man Rylan and spent a lot of time just chilling. In those times chilling, we frequented facebook. I use facebook these days but not so long ago my friend Charity had to start a petition to get me on there. I tend to be a private person. I want to tell people things when it's my time so you can imagine when i log onto facebook and hear that someone got engaged or whatever the latest news is. Nevertheless, I know that when I sign up, I willingly participate in the craziness. 

A couple of weeks before the wedding, I decided I was going to fast until after the wedding from social networking. It was sucking my time, I was over knowing more about my friends from a computer than from their mouths. I was sick of fighting gossip. It was good. Not the first fast of this form and will not be the last. 

This summer however, Gabo and I took note of more and more comments, updates and such that made us see that people are living more in a relationship with technology than in real life. I am going to break my beef down to two parts...sharing, saying things that you would never say in 3D world and the second being the over spiritualness of Christians.

Lets start with the idea that if I write it, it isn't as scary if I say it. Actually, when it is written down for 5,000,000 people to read it, it carries a little bit more weight. If 24 year old Bobby is writing that he loves his 2 week girlfriend and she is the woman of his dreams after he just broke up with last gf 3 weeks ago, it makes his words not so trustworthy. And he looks pretty silly professing his love to everyone instead of just to her in a park or a coffee shop. I don't love that. It makes me feel like Bobby, Cindy or Jan display their feelings on facebook because they don't have the guts to say it in real life. And somehow they get some validation or some reputation by saying it to everyone. What are we trying to prove with social networking? Are we looking for purpose or worth if someone gives you a "like"? Why can't we just go back to real life? I mean, I live in a foreign country and these things help me stay connected but are we at risk from losing real relationships because we can do a couple of clicks and express all of our emotions? I don't get it. It's scary.

Secondly, let's talk about Christians on social networking. I, being a Christian, should be loving and kind and actually be more sensitive to my kind. However, I think sometimes I struggle with loving the ones that should know better. Don't get me wrong, I work in Christian ministry and we all know that social networking is THE best way to recruit students to come to events, even connecting with students that still don't believe. But more than I see us as Christians using technology to just shouting that God is great. 

Friends, Believers...listen to me. By writing "God is love. I love him because he first loved me." or "The Holy Spirit is my best friend", this is not evangelism. This doesn't pull people closer to Jesus. Actually, in my opinion, it makes you look like a religious zealot and that does not help the kingdom come. 

Please, get off your blackberry and off the laptop or the IPOD, live life with people that are in 3D. The hurting broken people that would never say it to the world of social networking. That is how we are Jesus. 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Learning a lot and liking it.

So the new hubby and I have been spending some quality time in the Michiana area with my family. We go home to Mexico on Saturday and I am really looking forward to getting into a rhythm of life again. I am in a new chapter of life--not sure what is to come but desperately want to have a positive attitude about it. I want to share some of the highlights.

- I am pretty responsible when it comes to finances. I have lived off the support of others for the last 6 years and never have been in desperate, dyer straights where I couldn't eat. However, I do have debt. I have been working to pay off my college debt since graduating in 2004. Gabo has some debt too and we want to live within our means and plan well. I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey and Gabo read the book before we got married. I guess the question is how do we both live on one budget? We both, getting married later, are used to buying what we want when we want it. If I wanted to go to Taxco (the silver city of Mexico) and blow $100 on silver jewelry, I did it. And Gabo with music things. We are learning and growing in this area. I am completely open to suggestions from all of my 5 readers. 

- I see my sin more clearly now with the husband. I heard people say that before but I constantly try to defend and justify my actions when Gabo points out that I did something unloving or disrespectful. We are reading a book called "Love and Respect" and it is challenging us. I guess when it comes down to it...I just want to always be right. :) and I want Gabo to be wrong. Yikes. That is sin and I want to be grieved by it. 

- I think in some ways I am grieving my single life. Don't get me wrong, I love waking up next to Gabo and living life with him. But I lived an awesome single life. I had great, fun roommates that we cooked together, shopped together and watched Friends episodes together. I want to transition well but I don't want to be one of those women who forgets how to hang out with the singles because she has a husband at home. Those ladies drive me crazy. 

- I want to be healthy. I want to take steps in taking care of my body. I know a girl from when I lived in Colorado that just dropped like a million pounds. She motivates me. I think I can do it. I will just have to start cutting back on DQ blizzards. Praise the Lord Mexico hasn't discovered DQ yet. 

- In general, I am learning a lot about friendships. I think in the process of getting married, I have learned the value of a friend. Not just because they did or didn't come to one of my weddings but because the way they handled it. Gabo has been helping me understand that in friendships there are always expectations and in mine I have a very sacrificial attitude. That I will do just about anything to show that I love someone and they are important to me. I want to tell you that 97% of the wedding process, I felt completely LOVED and cherished by my dear friends. I want to focus on the 97 and not the 3%. 

Not sure what God has in store for me or us this next year. But I am looking forward to it. Hope you are too!