I don’t wait anymore.

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An Ode to Wikipedia

–In honor of the loopy phase that has now set in as a result of week-long honors paper writing, I think I’m going to depart from the usual…here is a celebration of the wonder that is Wikipedia–

Picture this. You wander around the library, and find your go to spot for studying and paper writing. WHAT? Someone is in there. What the heck do they think they’re doing? Don’t they know that you have a paper to write? And it’s YOUR spot. People these days clearly just don’t get your awesomeness. . . .you deserve this. . . .

So you finally find a new spot. Now you’re sitting in the library. It’s quiet…too quiet. The guy three cubicles over just sneezed. That’s really gross. And now you dropped your pen, and it feels like everyone can hear it in this deafening quiet. Oh, the library struggle.

Hours later, words later, paragraphs later…you’ve hit a block. Writer’s block. Your worst nightmare. So not okay. The blinking cursor on Word is taunting you. Your doc is filled with squiggly green lines and you know your grammar isn’t wrong! Silly Word. So again, that writer’s block thing. You’ve got it! You need just one more source to kind of clarify things. You pull up the Internet, and fight the horrible urge to go Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, social media, basically anything and everything that is more fun than this paper. Scroll through the Google results….nothing….nothing….nothing….PERFECT definition! Where’s it from? ……….Wikipedia.

Oh no! The unspeakable has happened! You need a source and all you have left to turn to is Wikipedia! Suddenly and all at once, all your high school teachers’ voices come into your head. “Never use Wikipedia!” “Wikipedia isn’t credible!” “WIKIPEDIA IS EVIL!!!!!” Do you cave? Do you do it? Do you search more? And then you wonder. Why can’t I use Wikipedia just this once and make life easier just this one time?

As a response to all the years’ of teachers’ collective groans over Wikipedia, here are some exciting, wonderful things about Wikipedia.

1. Wikipedia is accessible.

It’s always there. Never lets you down. You don’t need a password. You don’t have to pay. What else could a college kid want?

2. Wikipedia gets to the point.

Because there’s nothing worse than reading an article and staring at your screen, trying to sort through the “I’m gonna babble and pretend to be smart” lingo. Stop it, shut up.

3. You can play the Wikipedia game.

There’s nothing better than trying to get from lemur to jeggings in 6 clicks.

4. Wikipedia deserves some loving.

It’s been a long hard journey, of being knocking by teachers everywhere. Have a heart.

5. Wikipedia can fulfill all your dreams.

I mean, what other website can you edit so that it says you’re the Poptart Princess of Wisconsin? Maybe this is why professors hate Wikipedia. . . . .

So, if scrolling past Wikipedia in countless Google searches has left you feeling sad, fear not. You are not alone. And Wikipedia is actually awesome. The loopy stage has happened. It’s happening. And now, it’s time to sleep.

Our Hope and Stay

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heartLord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

I’m feeling convicted and reminded once again today of God’s constance. Life changes. Things happen. Emotions change. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s always our defense and our righteousness…and we can put our hope in Him. That’s truly a beautiful thing, especially in our always on the move kind of life. It’s also something that I know I certainly need. I’m so grateful that Jesus sustains me. I’m holding on to that promise today, and I hope you can too. Happy Monday. 🙂

Clutter, Clean, Contemplate (10 points for Alliteration)

So, maybe this is just me, but if that’s the case, indulge me for a second. Wow, actually I hate myself for saying “indulge me.” That’s so weird. But I guess that isn’t really the point. . . . just. . . if you’re feeling it, go with what I’m saying for a second. I really appreciate when I clean my room. Don’t get me wrong, my room definitely isn’t messy. It’s more like, cluttered. Basically, there’s stuff on the floor and on my dresser, but I know where the important stuff is, so that’s what matters right? It’s been a lot worse since college (Interestingly enough, my dorm is pretty neat!), because nothing really got organized in the last minute packing spree back in August. Then, we got our floors fixed, so my room became a storage room, and since then it’s gotten better, but I’ve dumped stuff off during breaks, plus there’s just other stuff. 

So this break I was just like, how can I live here!? I’m gonna clean up. SO I DID! And it’s pretty darn satisfying. But the point is I found a devotional I wrote last year for homeroom. (My homeroom teacher had the students take turns…it was really great!) Mine must have been given around New Year’s because it was all about resolutions. In retrospect, it’s really neat to see all the ways God provided! 

I wrote. . . . 

-God put Acts 17:28 on my heart at the beginning of this year– “In Him we live and move and have our being.” 
He challenged me to put Him at the center of my life, as the #1 priority, rather than something on a check list. 
-I was challenged to pray for His will, not mine, which was (and is!) hard for me, since I’m a “planner” 
-God had turned a lot of my college plans upside down. I learned to accept those, and was reminded of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane– “Father if You are willing, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) 
-God’s timing is greater than mine! Always, even when it’s hard–“Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14) 
-Often times, I’m not thinking BIG enough. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

It was crazy to find this and spend some time reflecting. During senior year, I was really set on going to PBU. I visited the campus and loved it. I mean come on– I even had the hoodie! AND the T-shirt. I was all set. I spent so many hours trying to make it fit the desires that God had laid on my heart for my major, but it just wasn’t working. (Duh, Emily. This should’ve been a red flag. . . ) I went to Houghton on ANOTHER visit, convinced that it wouldn’t be a good fit for me (It couldn’t be! No way! Please! Anything but a college 5 hours away in the middle of….literally….no where), and then it ended up being seemingly perfect for me. Then I wrestled with God to accept that. Now, it’s hard to believe that I’m almost done with my freshman year at Houghton. I know I’m just getting started, but I have already been so blessed! Through the challenges, lessons, laughs, friendships, etc. I have gotten to know the Lord more, and been a part of some beautiful friendships. 

While God is still teaching me a whole lot about what it means to pray for His will, wait on His timing, and trust His plans, it is encouraging to think about all the things He has done in the last year in this area.

And to think all this reflecting happened because I was feeling a little cluttered. This never would’ve happened if I had a clean room, right? (psh.) Who says spick and span is better than clutter, anyway? 😉 

The Missionary …

The Missionary Heart:
Cares more than some think is wise
Risks more than some think is safe
Dreams more than some think is practical
Expects more than some think is possible

-Karen Watson

 

Our Highest Pursuit

Yesterday at church, our pastor gave a sermon on the idea “God is the goal.” He used the passage in 1 Corinthians 9 where Paul talks about a race. 

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Paul talked about running to get a crown that will last forever– that is living in a way where he is wholeheartedly pursuing God. God is not just another item on his checklist, but rather the lens through which everything else is seen and done. 

This was especially challenging and convicting to me in light of some decisions that I will have to make soon. I was challenged to examine my prayer life and my spiritual life. As much as God does care about the things that are important to us, we surely can and should pray about these things and trust that God will answer us. However, I found that I had been obsessing over them, in hopes of getting an answer. That’s all good, and I do have faith that God will answer my prayers. But, in the waiting time, I need to pursue and draw closer to Jesus. By knowing Him and His heart more, I will be able to better discern His will. 

I was also challenged by this thought: 

Worldly people pursue worldly things. Godly people pursue God. 

Notice that it does not say godly things. Godly things are not bad things, but at the end of the day, God Himself should be our greatest goal and our highest pursuit.  

 

I hope your Monday is off to a wonderful start.

“Our son was co…

“Our son was convinced that God wanted him to be in Egypt serving others during that year [of revolution]. With that as our foundation we were certain that the safest place for him to be was Cairo, Egypt.” -Dan Lacich of Provocative Christianity

GUEST POST ALERT:

Hey friends, it’s Michael Carpenter, Emily’s good Houghton pal who has agreed to write a guest blog post.

Emily and I talked tonight about this article. It’s about the idea that safety, comfort, and security can get in the way of living the Christian life. And it’s true! Too often, E-Dawg and I realized, we find ourselves making decisions against God’s will. We let ourselves off the hook when we do, though, because we can lean on our culture’s “common sense” that discourages any type of wild living for Jesus.

Let me be a college student for a minute, and talk about choosing a major. I have a lot of interests. I could be academically challenged and stimulated by a variety of programs at Houghton – writing, art, music education, international development, marketing, and so many others; they all sound (and are) great! This made choosing a major really difficult for me, as none of them seemed like they were wrong answers.

In the process of deciding what my major should be, I considered how much fun each would be during my time at Houghton, which ones would lead directly and easily into a job afterwards, which ones had people participating in it that I wanted to be friends with, etc. I took all of these things into account, but was mostly left even more confused.

I also heard God’s voice telling me from the beginning of my freshman year to choose Applied Design and Visual Communication – a graphic arts and technology program. In light of this, my decision should have been obvious; I should have followed God’s will!

Like, duh.

So duh!

Our tendency (for Emily and I at least) is to treat all these many variables – fun, money, God, and others – as equally important. But if we’re to take Jesus’ call seriously, that’s got to end. His plan is the most important by far.

We both have a lot of decisions left for the rest of our college careers. Right now I’m trying to figure out my next semester of courses, and Emily can’t figure out where to study abroad. But as long as we listen for God’s voice, these decisions don’t need to overwhelm us. Instead, we can feel totally safe, comfortable, and secure by being exactly where the Holy Spirit tells us to be. Maybe we won’t feel it, but ignoring God’s plan for us is the greatest danger of all – the danger of not really living a life we can be proud of when it’s over.

Love, joy, & peace,

Carpendawg

A Worshiper of God

“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.  One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.   And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.” Acts 16:13-15

 

I’ve always been fascinated when I look at different names in the Bible and study what they mean. This is especially interesting when considering names of God, but also neat to see what the names of the men and women of the Bible represent. Today in church the pastor was preaching from Acts 16 to point out how Paul and Silas sang hymns of praise to God and rejoiced even when they were in jail. While we were in Acts 16, I was drawn to Lydia, and how one of the very few things given to us about her is that she was a worshiper of God. 

That was especially interesting to me, because I began to think, when we introduce ourselves, is our faith something that we would even think to point out about ourselves? Probably not. Before that, we would probably mention our first names, last names, hometown, job, family, etc. What do people know us as? Son, Daughter, friend, coworker, student, but a worshiper of God? How wonderful it would be to be characterized for your love for the Lord. What if our desire to serve God was so obvious that people couldn’t help but notice? 

As we grow in our faith and come to know God more, let’s strive to be more like Lydia. Known as worshipers of God. Because after all, isn’t the goodness, faithfulness, and love of God…how he has saved us….greater than anything else about us? 

 

What if we actually believed we were who God says we are?

So Are Your Ways Higher Than My Ways

“God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” -Jim Elliot 

Far too many times have I prayed for God’s will and yet been so unwilling to give up my control. I’ve said the words with my mouth, yet continued to try to work things however I wish. Whoever said actions speak louder than words was spot on. God has been working on me lately, in that He has been challenging me to really see the difference between these two things. For me, that has meant a lot of surrendering certain things to Him, instead of trying to manipulate situations to make them play out as I think they should and want them to. To a lot of people, this might seem silly, or stupid, but what God has been showing me is quite the opposite. 

Last night in Bible study, we talked about how in Galatians 4, Paul talks about how we can call God our “Abba, Father.” This is such an intimate term. Among other things, part of this is that God always knows what we need. A lot of times, we think that we know the best ways that we can serve God, or the best way for something to turn out. Sometimes, God has other plans, and His ways are always higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). I know that I can trust Him to not only provide, but to provide in ways that I never imagined (1 Corinthians 2:9). 

All this is a lot easier said than done, so it’s beyond wonderful that God is patient and doesn’t give up on His children. I’ve been seeing so far though, that there’s a lot of peace that comes with surrender and submission to the Jesus. It’s such a blessing to serve a God who cares about the intricate details of our lives (Luke 12:7), knows what lies ahead for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and wants us to give our troubles to Him (1 Peter 5:7).