Watching the sun rise from the top of the mountain. Air so cold that I could almost see the words off my lips like the breath of my lungs. Eternity in suspension for a single moment as a streak of amber grazed the dark sky. As day broke before my eyes and the night sky was rolled up like a canvas, I realized that sleeping half the day on Saturdays just isn't an option anymore.

Hearing His Calling


Expectations for Christmas break with my family overseas involved exploring local coffee shops, photographing the beautiful architecture, hiking in the mountains, and enjoying catching up on sleep. I got that, and much more. I did not realize the extent to which God would open doors for me to get a glimpse of the devastating conditions that the poor in the world live in. I wasn't prepared to see children digging in the trash bins for plastic to sell to provide for their families. I didn't know about the tension between ethnic groups that caused the unfair treatment of the poor. I didn't know what to do about the beggar I passed every five minutes. I found myself speed walking past them when I didn't have cash. The reality of poverty came over me in waves, overwhelming and confusing. It's not that I haven't experienced this before, but you begin to see it in a new light when you consider Jesus' ministry. The Son of God went to the misfits, the beggars, the children, the sick, the prostitutes, the tax collectors. Everyone that Christian culture seems to keep at an arm's length and use hand sanitizer after encountering. We've somehow bought into the idea that a quick-pop missions trip or sending money with missionaries is all that we can do. Now, I'm not saying that either of these things aren't helping; they are a wonderful way of serving. But I think that Jesus calls us to something more - something tremendously uncomfortable and sacrificial and wonderful - if we can hear Him calling in the streets, see Him in the faces of the desperate.

       The early Christians wrote that when they did not have enough food to share with the hungry people at their door, the entire community would fast until everyone could share a meal together. I think there's something key about this: they saw each other as brothers and sisters, and did not want to experience blessing while neglecting their Christian family. Somehow along the way, we have forgotten that God blesses us so we can bless others. Like the master who entrusted his servant with money and expected him to put it to good use, our resources are not our own. In his book "Radical", David Platt writes that the Church is prone to "blind spots" - serious moral, ethical, or spiritual dilemmas that we do not recognize until much later, after we could have done something about it but didn't. Like slavery in the 19th century. Platt states that the Church today has been captured by wealth and prosperity, building up "a kingdom on earth" instead of practicing extravagant giving and caring for the poor. So here I am, trying to figure out if I should even put money in the hat of the beggar I am walking by. It might buy him lunch, but he needs much more than that. This isn't my problem, but suddenly it is.

All I know is this: the stars that burn brightest are the ones that died thousands of years ago, and their light is still traveling through time and space. One day we're going to be six feet under, and most of the things we take so seriously now will not be remembered. That's the thing about life - nothing is long-lasting; wealth can be lost in an instant, and all temporary pleasures must end, being replaced with eternal joy of being in the presence of our Lord, if indeed we have experienced salvation in Jesus. He came to set us free, and commissions us to set others free. He entrusts us to spread His light around the world, to be His sacred messengers. Giving becomes more than our finances - we give ourselves. We joyfully hold nothing back from our Savior who gave His very self to us. In doing so, we become part of His incredible plan for the redemption of humanity, and, like the stars, can leave behind us a light that will burn long after we are gone.

Getting Lost

...In which my bus to the mountains never comes and I spend the afternoon wandering and getting lost.

Other Side of the River

Morning Rituals | Herbal Tea

One of my favorite things about the dawn of a new year is the way in which we look with optimism toward the improvement of self. I stopped making New Year's resolution lists when I realized that they served little purpose other than to fuel my dissatisfaction with anything I tried. So instead of making lists, I've started picking out a single word, such as an action verb or adjective, that serves as a daily inspiration.
I try to accomplish or incorporate the meaning of the word into my life each day. For instance, one year I chose the word "wonder", and endeavored to spend time in awe of beauty, life, and little things. I thought about it for a while, and decided that this year's word will be "overflow". I want to go above and beyond in everything I do. I want to pour myself into my work. I want the good things God has done to fill my heart and run over into the lives of others. I want to live deeply, below the surface. I want to share all the joy and love that's overflowing in my heart. Growing closer to people, creating beautiful things, finding truth, discovering.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." - Romans 15:13

Happy Holidays!

Exquisite Green