Friday, April 26, 2013

homesick kid stuff.

I'm a little homesick today. Maybe you are too. 

What's funny is that I'm not even totally sure what I'm homesick for. It could be about a billion things, people and places. Is it highway 18, on the way up to see friends in Crestline and Lake Arrowhead? Or maybe Riverside, along Victoria Ave and all the orange groves where I learned to drive and spent hours just cruising on my bike with my walkman and MxPx, Value Pac or Supertones CDs?  It could easily be any of the beaches in Carpinteria or Ventura, where I was so stoked to sit for hours with friends and watch our kids fight, play, eat sand, nearly drown, beg for snacks and show off their muscles. 

California is pretty easy to miss sometimes. 

My memory is good enough, though, that I can remember having these same feelings of homesickness in all of those glittering, fun, friend-filled and sunshiny tan times. And I think I'm finally starting to get it- none of those places are home for me. 

The more I walk with Jesus, the more I long for home. The home that He created me for- the home that He created you for. And I begin to understand just a little more why Paul tells us to comfort each other by talking about Jesus' return- how He's coming back for us, and the people we've had to say good-bye to on this earth will be there. And we'll have an eternity together with the Creator of and the Redeemer of our souls, "and thus we shall always be with the Lord." (I Thes. 5:17)

Yeah, that's pretty comforting. Like my soul just sighed with relief. 

I begin to identify just a little more clearly with Abraham, who "went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country... for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and Maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10) Like Abraham, I'm waiting for a city of promise. (Rev. 21)


Maybe I'm not the only one who's homesick today. 

Maybe you can be homesick even if you've lived in the same place for your entire life. 

And maybe in this brief snatch of nap time quiet I can remind you of your home. Read it. Like for real read it- not like "I've read this a billion times for my devotions" read it; like "this is your home" read it. 

"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there; they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever." 

(Revelation 22: 1-5.) (also Revelation 21 if you want to get gnarly.)

About a year ago Ricky and I bought our house. It was built from the ground up for us, we even got to pick the cul-de-sac and lot that it sits on- we poured over floor plans and colors, recessed lighting and where the light switches should go. We thought about countertops and flooring; ceiling fans and paint colors. We knew our home before we ever moved in. We loved driving by and taking pictures to post on facebook on Sunday afternoons; I joked about dreaming of our awesome new kitchen sink. 

I wish I thought about my heavenly home in the same way. 

To consider how God's plan from the very beginning of time is going to be my reality, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." (Rev. 21:3) How the Lamb of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah Himself will wipe away every tear; how we get to experience a home with no more death, sorrow, crying or pain- for eternity. 

That's my home. That's my King. When my soul and my heart have had their fill of grief and sorrow, when I don't know what to do but cry about injustice- I need to remember my home. And my King. 

Maybe I'm not the only homesick kid whose heart needs that stirring up to remember the One who we worship. The One in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 who's surrounded by seraphim crying to one another "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is filled with His glory!" The first and the last, He who lives and was dead, and is alive forevermore- the One who has the keys of Hades and Death. Jesus. 

Maybe someone else out there has a heart that cries out with the psalmist in psalm 130:5-6:

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
And in His word do I hope. 
My soul waits for the LORD more than those who watch for the morning- 
yes more than those who watch in the morning." 

It's okay to be homesick. I think we're supposed to be. As long as we remember home. 

And now some random (but very cute) pictures that totally have no context for this post:  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

the connection connection.

Way back when, when Ricky and I were but wee babes, we were blessed to be a part of something that was pretty special. I was in my first super awkward years of junior college, just sort of meandering through academia without any sort of purpose. Ricky was (heehee) still in high school and later Bible college, kind of being a rocker, slash Bible hippy guy. (Weird, I know. But how would you describe him in his onceid Bible college years?) 

And then some friends of ours sort of just birthed this idea for a totally homegrown Bible study, hangout, fellowship thing. Get this: without a pastor. Nary a youth pastor or college pastor in sight- we were just a bunch of kids who really loved Jesus and wanted to enjoy Him together. There weren't any titles, there wasn't one set teacher or worship leader. I'd say no one had any particular finesse because we were all just figuring it out. It was (if my memory serves me correctly) just a super organic and I'll even say experimental sort of thing. It was fun. 

The Connection. 

Right? You guys totally remember. 

I've been thinking a whole lot about the connection lately. What made it different and why it sticks out so much in my mind with some of the best memories and friends that a twenty-year old girl could have asked for. I had been to several churches, camps, youth groups and Bible studies, but I dunno- maybe the connection was special because it was ours. For some of us, at least I know for me, those were the early days of learning to hear from the Holy Spirit- like what He sounds like, how to hear Him, what it looks like when you respond. Sort of the basics in Christian living, when you want to make it your own- your life, living as a Christian for real. 

When Ricky and I got the vision for Hosanna and really started to roll up our sleeves and get into the work of praying for it, Jesus brought back a lot of that connection fun. Only now in a way that's seen eleven or twelve years go by. Eleven or twelve years of joy, loneliness and hardship; even devastation, rejoicing and discipleship. Life

I think that in the daily gettin' er done of life, we slowly allowed laziness to creep into our souls. We lost some of that early joy and passion in hearing from the LORD; in savoring His voice and His call. I'm not saying we stopped reading our Bibles or even had no vibrant times of prayer, but I will say that much our drive and enthusiasm to be dependent on Jesus and led by His Spirit diminished. Sort of a lot.  

As we began to cry out to God He did something radical. We were praying for revival in Denver and He brought it. To us. In Denver. He restored to us the joy of our salvation in a way that's brand new. 

Revival started in our home. It changed us. 

With Hosanna, we don't know what we're doing. We're not trying to impress anyone with our awesomeness. Do you know how freeing that is? We're watching Jesus take the gifts that He's given us and do stuff.  And it's like we're learning all over again how to hear His voice and obey it. 

It's so good. 

I was supposed to sit down and say a little something something about how our first Hosanna went and this is what I wrote. Sheesh, right? Our first Hosanna happened a couple weeks ago and it was... well, wow. Jesus dumped joy by the truckload on our house and it was awesome. I'm talking foot stomping, the neighbors could hear it, Holy Spirit was moving, awesome. Our prayer is that Jesus preserves that genuineness and passion as we keep it going and just tune into Jesus. We're so convinced that the Holy Spirit wants to pour His joy out on the churches here and it's crazy exciting to see that start to spread. Prayer, worship and joy- who doesn't want to get in on that?  

So there you go. That's the connection connection.