Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Conditional Love

I have been reading the book Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus. Good stinkin' book. It goes through the deepest desires of our soul. Right now I'm reading the part about our souls desire... no, need, for love. God created us to be human beings that need love to survive.

The problem is though, the world, and I would argue even religion have taken love and created a subtle premise that love is conditional. And we've come to this point where we are more comfortable with conditional love than we are unconditional love. If it is conditional, we can control our actions and our thoughts and we can control the things about us that people will love. We have no sense, no understanding of an unconditional love. How can we accept the greatest love of all when we and others can't love every part of us?

A passage of this book says...

"Its just too hard to believe that if you come near to God, you will find yourself not drowning in condemnation, but swimming in compassion. Jesus called to all who were weary and who found their souls exhausted to come to him and find rest. He is telling us that God will be for us our place called home. We run form God because we long to be loved and we have convinced ourselves that the One who is most loving could not and would not embrace u. We run from the one our souls crave. It is insanity to run from God and search for love."

We run from the God of the universe that gives an amazing, unconditional love because we know what we have done. We know who we are. And therefore, we think, because other people don't love us, because we can't love ourselves, that God wouldn't either. That is so untrue.

How can we break free from this feeling of being unloved. How can we convince our friends who feel so very, very unloved that they are loved beyond all measure?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Simple Things

The Christmas season is upon. A time for laughter, cheer, love. It is during this season that people often open up the Bible to read the accounts of Jesus' birth. People who wouldn't normally go to church, step inside the walls of church for one special day to celebrate the birth of a man. It's funny how this one man unites believers and unbelievers one day a year.

I grew up in a Christian family. Every Christmas, my family and extended family act out the Christmas story with wise men dressed in towels and a baby doll Jesus. It's a story that I have heard over and over and over again. It's a story that we grow numb to.

Twice today though, I was hit over the head with the stark irony of this Christmas story. I don't know if people fully realize how perfect it is that the Messiah, my King, chose to make His entrance into the world in a manger! You see, he's God... he could have been born in a palace, in a place of pristine condition for that time period... but no, he chose to enter a messy and dirty world in a messy and dirty barn. And not only that, he came from parents that were not well known. It's so perfect.

And if you look at the scandal of the virgin birth... Jesus' coming was supposed to be sin, it is ironic though, that through His coming, sin was conquered.

Following God is not going to bring a life of extreme extravagance, or fame. In fact, following God may very well lead to an unpopular life. But that's a life that is beyond worth it.

God wants to save a lost and broken and messed up generation. People get sooo wrapped up in the idea that Christians have these perfect, comfortable, put together lives. But no! There are days that Christians doubt the existence of God, heck there are days even I myself don't even believe in a God. But that's what's so perfect, in all my doubt, I faith and I cling to the fact that I KNOW he exists and I know He is CONSTANTLY with me.

So this Christmas season, I want to follow my Jesus, who chose to enter this messy world, in a messy manger.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I want to hunger and thirst...

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Matthew 5:6

A couple of weeks ago, as a Young Life staff team, we fasted for 24 hours in order to focus on praying for the kids of the Salt Lake Valley. We were allowed to drink juice and water and such, but man, I'll tell you, when the afternoon rolled around and I was sitting there doing homework and able to think about how hungry I was, there was nothing else that could replace the thoughts of my hungry stomach!

What if we were to have a hunger for God like that? Where we had this ache to feed a burning fire for Him? How much different would we be? How much more awesome would our lives be?

John 6: 35 says "... I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes will never be thirsty."

Now, I know I have never really experienced what it is like to be truly hungry and truly thirsty in the physical sense. But I do have a glimpse of what it is like to have an insatiable desire for more of God. But after going to church tonight and hearing the message, I feel like all too often I fill that hunger for God with things other than seeking God. And, I'm fairly positive, I'm not the only one doing that.

I want to have the kind of hunger for God all the time that I did the day I fasted. Because like that verse in John says, whoever comes to him will never, ever go hungry.

Just something to ponder.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Utah Man Sir, a Utah Man am I!

Before a sold out Rice Eccles Stadium, the University of Utah Utes did what they have been unable to do for the last three years... Beat BYU. Not only did they beat BYU though, they totally blew them out of the water. And with that win, they completed a perfect season. And, to add icing to an already overly frosted cake, we've busted the BCS. So, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl or Fiesta Bowl, here we come. We're ready.

It's funny to see the way a student body and a city can be united around one common purpose... seeing your team on to victory. Tonight, from the first U-T-A-H we yelled, we were one body of people united around a common purpose. It was amazing. I can not explain to you the feeling of rushing the field after a perfect season with chants of B-C-S flying up in the air. No one noticed that it was 28 degrees. No one cared that we had half of the student section on the field with two minutes left in the game. Nothing other than Utah beating BYU mattered.

I have always felt the most collegiate during football season. I have kind of defined my college career by football season. And tonight, after an interception and a short pass by Matt Asiata into the end zone to put the Utes up 41-24, I actually cried a little, weird, right?! I know! But seriously, it really hadn't hit me that my college career is ending until that very point where I was sitting by Phil and Kyle who I've known since my freshman year of college and looked at them glowing with this anxious anticipation of a huge Utah victory. It was a weird, but amazing moment.

I feel like a lare part of my college career ended tonight when that clock hit zero. Or perhaps it was just because it was really truly the first time I was able to think about the fact that college is ending. Regardless, I could not have asked or dreamed of a better season to leave this fine university on! Wow. I can remember back my freshman year when I realized the BYU vs. Utah game was going to be at home my senior year. There was no way I was missing it. And I have been so excited for this day since then. And it lived up to/exceeded my expectations!

Man, it feels good to be a Ute tonight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I want to get my feet dirty...

A professor of mine recently encouraged those of us in class to keep a personal blog. I have always been skeptical of the idea of blogging. Somehow the idea of exposing my inmost thoughts to a group of people who know nothing about me is the perfect definition of being vulnerable. However, after sitting on the idea for a while, I thought it a fitting mode of conveying my aimless thoughts and ramblings to an unknown audience in a way that I would not be able to otherwise do.

So... here I go... Hello blog, my name is Katie. It's nice to be your friend.

The title of my blog is Dirty Feet. Why, you ask? Because I want to get my feet dirty. To me, dirty feet imply that you're doing something with your life. To get your feet dirty you've got to take some sort of action, right? That picture was taken this summer when I was working at a camp called Crooked Creek Ranch. Probably one of the more memorable months of my entire life. I spent the entire month serving High School kids as they came to camp, crazy, I know. I got to be the hands and feet of Jesus as they spent a week of their lives being kids. You see, I work with an organization called Young Life. Young Life seeks to share the message of Jesus Christ with junior high and high schools kids who wouldn't normally step inside the walls of a church.

When I tell people what I do, they often look at me as though I am crazy. They respond with, "why in the world would you want to spend hours upon hours with kids that are 5-10 years younger than you?!" And, I would think for a minute, and look back at them and respond with... "because I love to." But, ya know what, it's more than just loving to do it. It's because every time I look into the eyes of a junior high or high school kid and see how lost and lonely and confused they look, I desperately desire to share the message of Jesus with them. Ya know, just in the last few years have I really truly realized how radically Jesus can change a life. And I look at this lost and desperate generation of kids who come from broken homes and have broken relationships and I so desire them to know that they are loved by their creator, that they are cared about and thought about and that they are so beautiful just the way they are.

Just yesterday I got an email from a girl who had been coming to Club (our weekly meeting) but has kinda fallen off the face of the earth. She said, "I'm ready to come find a friend in Jesus." It's moments like that, that make me realize why it is I do what I do. Because the moment these kids realize they can't do life on their own is monumental.

I am convinced that I could not do this job... no.... I know for a fact that I couldn't do this job without a loving God who grants me the ability and the patience and the heart to put myself out there to these kids. And you look at the life of Jesus and how he walked around from city to city sharing a message of hope... He got his feet dirty. And not only did he get his feet dirty, he changed lives. Radically.

So, simply said, I want to get my feet dirty.