Why Jesus?

I have asked that question a lot lately. Why Jesus? And as I prepare to go to a small group of middle school girls.. I have myself thinking why Jesus? Why choose and live for Jesus?
Now tons of people have written books, preached sermons, sang songs and even devoted their life to this question. From the Case for Christ to Velvet Elvis and everything in between, on the book side, I’ve read a lot of them. Lots of them fantastic. And really the Bible is probably the best source for the answer to this question. And as a disclaimer.. this is not a post of debate or argument. If you feel differently – that’s you. I am not a scholar by any means but this is how I believe and how I work out my own doubts and questions.

The real question is why of all the ways you could believe or not believe and ways you could choose to live your life, why live for Jesus? Why call yourself a Christian? Almost ten years ago I made a line in the sand for myself that I was going to choose to believe in Jesus. I had some pretty personal reasons for turning to Christ but when healing progressed and life became a little easier, why did I continue to have a relationship with Christ? I truly believe that there is no other way I would want to live my life. So why Jesus?

I have to first start by saying that I use the Bible as how I measure the standard for my life. In order to do that, I need to know what it says, not blindly follow my senior pastor (but he is pretty cool) or a DVD Bible study series (and those are good too), which means I need to open it up and read it. As I read it I find out who Jesus is. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that what says is true not only because it says to but time and time again the promises of God have been confirmed in my life. He has done some amazing things that have me going, am I really this special? To God, yes, I am. So I can truly say that the God of the Bible.. is my God. Father, Son & Holy Spirit (but we can get to that later)

Why Jesus?
Jesus came to the earth so that our sins could be wiped clean. He felt everything we feel on earth and yet he is fully God. He is our redeemer and restorer. He came to show us the character and nature of God the Father who loves us and created us. He intercedes on our behalf. He is compassionate and all loving. The Gospels are all over this. Isaiah professes that Jesus would be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. He offers salvation graciously. He brings light to darkness and hope in the face of uncertainty. Because of all of this, I listened when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” and followed him. I haven’t chosen to follow Jesus because I am afraid to go to hell but because I can’t imagine life without Him. It’s not about rules or restrictions, just a desire to please God.

10 years ago I was deeply insecure and was looking for anything to make me feel like I belonged in this world. That caused some tragedy. Like many I have faced some pretty awful realities and lost people I have loved. I walked in false striving perfection and feared anyone really knowing me. It sounds pretty dramatic but when it comes right down to it this was who I was.
Now I am far from perfect at this point of my life.. but I know where I stand with God. I know He loves me- the real me. The one that gets worked up about weird stuff. The one who loves shoes and pretty things. The one who has always wanted to do everything when she grew up. The one who just needed someone to fight for her.

So I as I go to ask lots of questions of a bunch of 6, 7, 8 grade girls.. I’ll hold this in my back pocket. Not terribly scholarly or well read but filled with heart.

On being a starving artist…

Okay in the hunger or poverty meaning of the word starving I am not.. but I think all remotely creative people are starving in some way. We are either starving for attention, inspiration, approval or any number of ways to feed ourselves in order to produce. I am not new to the creative, growing up in music and drama, it has been something normal. One of my favorite presents was a ream of white paper and a set of markers. As I grew older I also enjoyed writing and sometimes poetry. The arts have always been a therapeutic outlet for me. What has been new as it being part of my job. Specifically writing and graphics. It has been a learning year and when I look back at things I produced a year ago it is sometimes hard to look at. I am so thankful I am around people who have let me learn as I go. I am also incredibly thankful for tutorials and training videos. Often I know what I want something to look like, I just don’t know how in the seemingly endless Adobe Creative Suite tools.

This past week has had me thinking who I live for. Am I starving for approval, attention, etc? I think you can walk into dangerous territory if you are. If I seek approval from people, I will always come up short. I can’t please everyone. But my simple desire to create something that would either reflect the glory of God or at some point get people to a realization of who He is and really to please God. I already have his approval- paid for long ago. If I am looking for attention I will be hurt when I don’t get recognition. I have the attention of God. If I look for influence and inspiration in places that are not of God, I will come up short. I will be starving if I am apart from God but full and fruitful with Him, seeking his approval, attention and inspiration.

So I’m okay. I would change about 12 things about my latest project. There are flaws and errors that probably only me and the 3 graphic designers at our church can see. But I’m learning and it was created to hopefully help people get what they need in a simpler, cleaner and less wasteful fashion. I can’t beat myself up just continue to move forward and pursue wholeheartedly Jesus.

Who Do You Work For?

So in the last month.. I’ve been a bit busy.. For example: first there was Easter and in the church world whether you are involved  a lot or a little there is much to be done.  Then I, with an amazing team, pulled off a 12-25 ladies dinner/dessert event (Graceful) that was awesome.  Dinner was fantastic, Kim Fader sang beautiful, Christina Gard knocked it out of the park with a message to our young ladies about beauty, and it felt like a win.  I think somewhere in there was a trip to Seattle for a bridal shower and a wind symphony concert in Centralia.  I also learned how to develop and publish a website (really the folks at Clover take care of the hard stuff and then the rest is writing and picture selection).  I also followed directions meticulously and did not destroy our staff’s email and web presence while changing name servers.  AND I still don’t have a firm grasp on what a name server is but I am okay with the fact I didn’t destroy a major part of our communication!  I also almost figured out html and sending an html email.  I know it sounds like I am tooting my own horn (yes tooting)… but I’m not.. I’m pretty God had a hand in every detail.. because between team building and IT skills I’m not that talented.  It is good to know that God had his hand all over it and to make sure to dedicate it to him.  Why? 

Here’s why:  For every praise I got over the last month.. someone else having a bad day or life or mood thought I did crummy.. or at least made sure to point out things they didn’t like.  And if they didn’t say it.. they are around every corner thinking it.  Scary right?  No.  My worth.. not in what those people think. 

Now there is definitly a difference between constructive criticism and what I was describing above.  Are people saying things out of love?  Have I asked for it (literally)?  Are they someone I trust, watching my blind spot for me? 

Now I reflect on that today as the website launched this weekend.  I’m proud.  It is a fun challenge and I intend to continue my pursuit of growth.  Was there notsoloving criticism.. yes.. but that’s okay. I don’t live for Negative Nelly.  I live for God.  I work for God.  I do it to see people come to know Jesus, grow in their faith, get connected and learn to be leaders.  My worth is in Christ alone.  That is a safe place.