Wednesday, September 30, 2009

flip happy crepes...

this post is long overdue, but i recently came across the pictures and decided to write a post.
one of the places in austin that i have heard about over and over again is flip happy crepes. a trailer in central austin that is known for its delicious crepes. so a month or so ago, some good friends of mine and i decided to hit it up for lunch.

obviously all they serve are crepes. i got one for my meal (the name of it escapes me) and a nutella and banana one for my dessert. it is so good! and lives up to all that the food network has said about it. i highly recommend it. good food and a great austin atmosphere.

food never looks as good in pictures, at least not my pictures.

me and my good friend olivia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

psalm 127:1-2

1Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
- psalm 127:1-2

the lord really used this scripture last week to convict me. for most of my life i have run at a very fast pace (hence the blog title), it comes natural to me and i think it is how i am wired. the lord has been teaching me the difference between just going going going, and walking in his spirit as i am going going going.

i have noticed that i sometimes do a lot of things or am involved in a lot of things that perhaps i am not supposed to be. i do it for a couple of reasons:
  • i just want to (my selfishness and desire for comfort)
  • it would look good for me to do it (my pride and my name)
  • i think that if i do not do it that it will not get done (not believing god's sovereignty and power)
well these verses shoot those reasons down. i am guilty of building in vain or staying awake in vain. i am often rising early, staying up late, full of anxiety or just working until i'm exhausted. oh, how i forget that the lord is powerful, in complete control and if he wanted, he could take care of my to do list while i sleep. sleep, just like sabbath, is a gift to help me to live by faith, requiring me not to work all the time, as i trust him for my future well-being.

i know there are times when i will be rising early and staying up late and that is part of life in the kingdom, but here i am refering to when i run hard in my own strength or in anxiety or for my own name. vanity! pointless! trust the lord and rest!

my first ut game...

this past saturday, i got to attend my first ut game and it was awesome! as many of you know i LOVE football and i love watching it live (i recently found out i get to go to a dallas cowboys game this year too!!). so 2 of my good friends here bought me a ticket to the game. it was super hot! (like sweat through your clothes hot) the horns dominated utep 64-7. our seats were really close. and yes, i even said hook'em and texas fight.

don't worry friends, i still love the sooners. and in 2 weekends, my heart will bleed crimson, but every other weekend this fall, i will also be cheering for texas. it is just too fun to pass up.

catie and i (one of the girls that bought my ticket)

our view. we were so close.

Monday, September 28, 2009

elect exiles...

so i have been spending a lot of time in 1 peter. it is a great book that talks a lot about suffering. i decided to study it with some girls because i realized that i do not suffer much and when i do suffer i do not suffer well.

tonight we talked about 1 peter 1:1-2. there is a lot crammed into this introduction, but what stuck out to me tonight was the phrase "elect exiles." when reading this before, i just breezed over this without thinking much about it but tonight it hit me.

i am elect. i am loved. god chose me before the beginning of time. i am not perfect, i do not have it together and never will this side of heaven, but i am fully loved and accepted. i am chosen to be a part of a heavenly kingdom. i may be rejected by everyone else, but i am chosen and embraced by god. he loved me so much that while i was still a sinner, heck, before i was even conceived, he died for me! (rom 5:8)

i am an exile. this world is not my home. i forget that all the time and i live as though it is. i do not and should not belong here. if i try to make it my home, it will always disappoint. as an exile things will not be comfortable, and i should not expect them to be. as an exile, i will not be loved and embraced by everyone. as an exile, my life will often be contrary to this culture because the kingdom i belong to has a different set of values. yet i forget, a lot! and i try to make the things of this world work for, i get frustrated at my circumstances, i fear rejection by people. but why would i expect anything different. i am living in exile.

so if you hear me complaining, moping about, looking depressed, fearing people, etc please remind me that i am an elect exile. i am fully loved and embraced by god so stop looking for that from someone else and this world is not my home, so stop expecting it to feel like it.

i am excited to learn more from this book! if you are looking for more info about 1 peter, mark driscoll has a great sermon series on it. check it out here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

respectable sins: discontentment

this is the third sin that jerry bridges addresses in his book, respectable sins, discontentment. he begins with this disclaimer:
"before we get into this chapter, i want to acknowledge that that there is a place for legitimate discontentment. all of us should to some degree, be discontent with our spiritual growth. if we are not, we will stop growing. there is also what we might call a prophetic discontentment with injustice and other evils in society that is coupled with a desire to see positive change. the subject of this chapter is a sinful discontentment that negatively affects our relationship with god" (71).
Bridges says that discontentment often arises from ongoing and unchanging circumstances that we can do nothing about. he lists a few examples:
  • an unfulfilling or low-paying job
  • singleness
  • inability to bear children
  • an unhappy marriage
  • physical disabilities
  • continual poor health
he goes on to say that even if it is not one of these that he listed there are others and sometimes even when things are going great, there is something small over which we will become discontent.
"whatever your circumstances, and however difficult they may be, the truth is that they are ordained by God for you as part of his overall plan for your life. God does nothing, or allows nothing without a purpose. and his purposes, however mysterious ans inscrutable they may be to us, as always for his glory an our ultimate good"(74).
when we are discontent or craving something else, it shows a lack of trust in god. we do not trust him or his plan. we think something else would be better. and if we could just get that something else then life would be better and i sometimes i think i could love god better. but the truth is, i wouldn't. i may be content for a short time, but once that wore off, i would chase something else. see discontentment shows that i am looking to my circumstances or things here to satisfy me and make me happy. but god's blessings were never meant to satisfy us. only he will satisfy us!

bridges ends the chapter by telling us that a proper response is not resigning and saying, "fine god, whatever." but rather in truly accepting his plan as best.
"acceptance means that you accept your circumstances from God, trusting that he unerringly knows what is best for you and that in his love, he purposes that which is best"(75).
do you see how discontentment is sin? god's children should not be discontent, because they know the one who is true and who provides! if we as his children find ourselves discontent, we are either looking for happiness and satisfaction in something here, which will always leave us discontent. or we do not truly believe that he is good and that his steadfast love endures forever (psalm 118).

Monday, September 21, 2009

respectable sins: anxiety and frustration

anxiety and frustration
this is the second sin that bridges addresses in his book, respectable sins, and one that hits real close to home for me. it is a huge struggle and i know i am not the only one. bridges does a good job explaining why anxiety is a sin.
"the opposite of trust in god is either anxiety or frustration..."(63).
matthew 6:25-34
mathew 10:26-31
luke 12:4-7
philippians 4:6-7
1 peter 5:6-11

above are all scriptures that we give to others as suggestions and encouragement to not be anxious, "but when jesus (or paul or peter who were writing under divine inspiration), says to us 'don't be anxious,' it has the force of a moral command. ... or to say it more explicitly, anxiety is sin" (64).

if i am worried or anxious about something, i do not think that god is in control. i doubt that he will come through. i don't think his way is best. all prime examples of not trusting god, but rather trusting ourselves or other created things. i don't think many of us would say this out loud and i think we know in our head that god is able, but we act on what we believe, not what we know. so if i am anxious (which i often am), there is some unbelief somewhere.
"we tend to focus on the immediate causes of our anxiety rather than remember that those immediate causes are under the sovereign control of god" (65).
in addition to worry, frustration is also not trusting god. bridges points out that "frustration usually, involves being upset or even angry at whatever or whoever is blocking our plans" (69).

psalm 139:16

the author, says he uses this verse to help fight off the sin of frustration. He says to himself,
"this circumstance is part of your plan for my life today. help me to respond in faith and in a god-honoring way to your providential will. and then please give me the wisdom to know how to address the situation that tends to cause the frustration"(69).
do you see how frustration can be a sin? i was in disagreement at first, thinking, i am allowed to be angry, as long as i do not sin in my anger. and then in felt the lord say, "the sin is when you are frustrated because you fail to remember that i am well aware of your circumstances, and you fail to remember that i know best and that if i wanted to, i could instantly change things. you really are just angry you are not getting your way." so whether is it the jammed printer, lost luggage, things at work or at home, a crying baby, etc. remember who is in control of your circumstances (hint: it is not you, so quit worrying about it). i realize now that my ungodliness is part of my problem here.
"both anxiety and frustration are sins. they are not to be taken lightly or brushed off as common reactions we have to difficult reactions we have to a fallen world. ...we should never accept them as just part of our temperament an more than we would accept adultery as part of our temperament"(70).
just because these are socially acceptable, does not mean that they are okay. it is time for us to wake up and speak the truth in love to one another so that we can grow up in to Christ. we are all guilty of letting our loved ones sit in the sin of anxiety and unbelief because it is not a morally appalling sin. but it is a symptom of a really big issue. one that it not dealt with early will lead to other sins that are not as socially acceptable. let's help each other out before they get to that stage. so, if you catch me being anxious or frustrated, please remind me of the promises of god and call out my sin of unbelief.

**two other great resources for fighting anxiety, worry and frustration are john piper's book, battling unbelief, as well as beth moore's book, praying god's word.

next chapter: discontentment. get excited!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

sabbath [part three] what does it mean to keep the sabbath?

So what does it mean to keep the Sabbath?
This is something that I did not know until even this past year, which is why I want to share it with you. For most of my life, I thought that the Sabbath meant going to church on Sunday, eating a big lunch, napping, watching football and then doing any last minute work for the week. In fact, I thought that was a pretty good definition, I was getting a lot of physical rest and I was getting some spiritual food as well. But this past year, the Lord has taught me that it is so much more.

It is not a day just to rest from work and activities, but a time to rest IN Him. In fact, how many Sabbath’s have I spent only thinking about God when I am at church? That is hardly resting in the Lord. Keeping the Sabbath holy does not mean being a Pharisee and locking yourself in a room with a Bible, not doing or even thinking about anything else. But I think we have to look at our time and our activities and really examine to see if there is a day set aside where we are truly resting in Him. A day set aside to spend with him!! The Sabbath is something the Lord created to remind us that we belong to Him and that we are sustained by Him alone. We need this! It is not just a good suggestion.

I think it looks different for each person and I do not think I have the perfect prescription, but I will use a few examples from my life in hopes to help you find some ways to rest in the Lord. First off, Sunday is not my Sabbath. There is no resting in the Lord on Sunday for me; working at a church has ruined that. So I set aside Fridays. I do not check my work email. I screen most of my calls. And I usually do not make any plans until late Friday afternoon and if I do they are just with a few select people.

So what do I do with my time? For starters, I sleep in. No alarm sleep is the best! Then, I get up and have breakfast. Once I am awake, I get out my Bible and journal and dive into time with the Lord. It usually ends up being for a couple of hours. And it is sweet. It takes me a while to clear my mind of all the things I need to do, people I need to call, and everything else my mind wonders about. I try to spend a good chunk of time reflecting on the Lord’s faithfulness that week and I thank and praise Him. Then I spend some time reading the word. I may read a Christian book as well, but time in the word essential. It is amazing how when I do not have anything planned or anything to get ready for, I can spend so much undistracted time with the Lord. I am not getting through my time with him to get to something else.

I usually go for a run or walk outside too. It is good for me to be out in creation when thinking on the Lord. It is also common for me to take a nap or crawl back in bed just because I can. I feel more rested when I am not distracted by the things of this world. I can be more aware of his presence and can converse with him throughout the entire day. I have really grown to LOVE this time with Him and can say that I long for it.

I am going to be honest; sometimes it is really hard to spend an extended time with the Lord. I think this is because we are so busy in life that it is hard to sit still that long. Also, we do not see our need for the Lord. We know in our head that we are sustained by his hand, but our hearts still think we can do it. Rather than grasping for this time with him, we often find ourselves dreading it, not knowing what to do. My encouragement is to fight this. Claim that you know that the nearness of God is our good and that better is one day in his courts than thousands elsewhere! Ask the Lord for help. Ask him to meet with you, to guide you and to lead you.

So, I write all this to say, please find a day that you can set aside to Sabbath, if you are not already. Spend some time repenting of your lack of Sabbath and for misusing it. Then pray about when you should Sabbath and fight for it! It may not be Sunday for you because you go to church, are in a gT class, volunteer somewhere, have tons of studying or work to do or have meetings. Maybe it is Saturday for you. The hard part is that to set aside a Sabbath, you are going to have cut something out (work, social stuff, trips, unnecessary serving, etc). I would encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you what you need to do to protect your Sabbath. It will always be hard, but remember that the things of this world are always enticing but none of them satisfy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

sabbath [part two]... why is not taking a sabbath a sin?

Why is not taking a Sabbath sin?
Well, aside from the fact that it is a commandment, when we do not take a Sabbath we are being prideful. Let me explain. I know for me there are usually three reasons I do not Sabbath. One, I have too much to do and if I take a day of rest, it will not get done. Two, I do not think I need it. And three, I do not proactively plan for it and protect it, so I may have all intentions of resting, but I cannot. All three of these reveal sin in our heart on some part.

Let's start with the first reason. If we think we do not have time to Sabbath, we are guilty of being a part of more than we are supposed to and need to step down from some commitments or we think God needs us to get something done. Both are rooted in pride. Somewhere along the way we bought into the lie that I am needed for something to take place or happen. That if I don’t answer that call or email or have that meeting that it will not get done. We do not work for God, He does not need us to accomplish his work. By continuing to work, we are essentially saying, that we do not think God is control. That by commanding us to Sabbath, he does not know how much we have to get done.

Secondly, if we do not think we need it, we are essentially telling “God thanks for the offer, but I think I know what I need and rest with you is not it. These other things are more filling.” Often we do this without realizing it. We think something else is what we need. If had this one thing or could do this one thing, it would bring me so much joy and rest. But Paul puts it best in Romans 1.
21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. … they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:21-25
Lastly, we often fully intend to have a Sabbath, but something else always interrupts. This used to happen to me all the time. It was so frustrating. In theory, I really wanted to Sabbath, but something always came up. Be it work or something fun. I could not make it happen. Then I had a wise woman tell me that I had to be proactive and protect my Sabbath. Say no to things. Do not check your email. Screen your calls. Don’t schedule anything for that day. Don’t make plans. Do whatever you have to do. It took my awhile to get where I could do this. What I found was happening was that I knew I should Sabbath, but in my heart, the two other reasons I mentioned previously were still in full force, just hidden a little better.

One more thing, I think if we were to take a step back and look at what we look like when do not Sabbath vs. what we look like when we Sabbath, we would be amazed. When we are well rested in the Lord (not just physically) our whole perspective and response to life is different. When we are not Sabbathing, we get tired, worn down, start to think we are entitled to feel better and then get irritated with anyone who steals our precious time. It is much harder to reflect Christ when we are not being sustained by him and spending time with him. Our burdens are much heavier when He is not carrying them.

Stay tuned for one more blog on what sabbathing looks like.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

sabbath [part one] ... why do it?

So I want to write a few blogs about the Sabbath. I know for me, I did not know really what it meant to Sabbath, much less what it means to keep it holy. I just knew it was a commandment and that we went to church on Sunday. But the Sabbath is so much more than that, something I did not know until I came on staff here. And i wanted to take some time and share with guys what the Lord has been teaching me about the Sabbath. Also, if you have any input, points to add, or questions, I welcome them. I think we could all benefit from learning about this.

Why Sabbath?
The idea of a Sabbath day comes from the creation account. On the seventh day, God rested. He did not rest because He needed it. Remember he is all powerful and scripture says he never grows tired or weary. So why rest on the seventh day? Because he was creating rest for us. He knew that we would need it. We need to be reminded that we are sustained by Him and him alone!

This is not just a tool He suggests that we use, but it is a commandment. And not just any, one of the big ten!
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11
I know for me, I fight more to keep the other nine commandments more than I do this one. It is easy for me to look down on a murderer, adultery, a thief, a liar, an idolater, but someone who breaks the Sabbath, well it just is not a big deal. God will understand right? I think his word makes it clear that that is dead wrong.

I plan on writing 2 more blogs about this. Be on the lookout for them...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


this flew into town last night with some of his marine buddies! what a fun surprise! only wish his visit was longer. so much more to do together in austin!
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respectable sins: ungodliness...

i have been reading a book that has called so many of my older brother/self-righteous/pharisee sins. it is SOOOO good. i highly recommend it! the book is called respectable sins by jerry bridges. bridges writes about sins in our lives that we tolerate and let ourselves and others get away with it. i will attempt to blog about each chapter and sin that bridges addresses, because, well, it is that good.

bridges starts off differentiating between ungodliness and unrighteousness using romans 1:18.
"ungodliness describes an attitude toward god, while unrighteousness refers to sinful actions in thought, word or deed."
this nails all of us who are pharisees at heart. my outward actions may look really good, but what about my attitude. bridges goes on to drive his point home. here are some of my favorite quotes from the chapter:
"ungodliness may be defined as living one's everyday life with little or no thought of god or god's will, or of god's glory, or of one's dependence on god. you can readily see, then, that someone can lead a respectable life and still be ungodly in the sense that god is essentially irrelevant in his or her life."
"now, the sad fact is that many of us who are believers tend to live our daily lives with little or no thought of god. we may even read our bibles and pray for a few minutes at the beginning of each day, but then we go out into the day's activities and basically live as though god doesn't exist. we seldom think of our dependence on god or our responsibility to him. we might go for hours with no thought of god at all. in that sense, we are hardly different from our nice, decent, but unbelieving neighbor. god is not at all in his thoughts and is seldom in ours."
"do we consciously and prayerfully seek his glory in all we say and do in our most ordinary activities of the day? or do we actually go about those activities with little or no thought of god."
"...we live so much of our ordinary lives with little or no thought of god or how we might please and him. its not that we consciously or deliberately put god our of our minds. we just ignore him. he is seldom in our thoughts."
i am not sure about you, but i have found a new sin to repent from each day! there are so many times i cruise through a day with little or no thought of god. this shows that i do not think i need him, i think i can do this alone, i do not think he is in control, i think that thinking about something else is a better use of my time, etc. yet i like to judge those whose sins i can see. yikes.
"because ungodliness is so all-encompassing it will help to identify specific areas of life where you tend to live without regard to god. these might include your work, your hobbies, your playing or watching sports, and even your driving. "

after this chapter i have had to do some serious repenting. the lord has been showing me that when i walk in his spirit, my burden really is much lighter. when i don't let my mind wander or ignore the lord, i actually see him working and moving and am able to delight in him. i wish i could tell you that i am never ungodly anymore, but that will never be the case, this side of glory, but my life already feels more satisfied when i think more about him!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

two new albums...

here are 2 new albums that i am enjoying! thought you might want to check them out.

leeland's new album, love is on the move, is good. it follows typical leeland sound (which i love) and the lyrics are good too! i am currently LOVING the song, love is on the move. holy spirit have your way and follow you are also both good songs.

the album, the outsiders, by needtobreathe is great! in fact when i first bought it, i listened to it for like 3 days straight. this album sounds like marc broussard meets kings of leon. a good southern rock style with christian lyrics. garden, lay'em down and a girl named tennessee are my favorites.

so buy up and enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

if i can just make it until _____, i will be fine...

i have heard this statement a lot lately. i have said it myself so many times throughout my life and lately i seem to hearing it from several friends.

if i can just make it through this week...
i just want this month to be over...
i just gotta push through this day and then i will be fine...
i am ready for this season to end...

any of those sound familiar or feel familiar? ya, for me too! but the lord has really convicted me about this attitude of my heart. today is a day that he made! who am i to say that it is not good enough, or that i just want it to be over. rather than living in and for today, i live on the promise of tomorrow, or the next day, week, month, or season. but the reality is, i am not promised tomorrow. i have no guarantee of it!

okay so how do i not dredge through this tough time, how can i rejoice in this day that the Lord has made? psalm 118 gives us a good outline.
a. give thanks to the lord.
b. reflect on the fact that his steadfast/unchanging love endures forever.
c. trust in the lord, not in man or anything here.
d. repeat.

quit thinking about how tough this season is and think on the lord and what he has done! quit throwing a pity party and seek the lord and his strength! quit doubting the lord's providence and sovereignty, and trust his word!

we are not promised tomorrow, we only have today. so don't just get through, live it to the fullest, bringing glory to the one who created it!

crazy love...

i read this book, well listened to it on audiobooks in itunes, about a month ago. it is a good book. a great reminder of how big and great our god is, how lowly we are, and how much he loves us! then as a result of that love our lives are changed. it's an easy read (well i guess that is not fair to say since i listened to it, but i did listen to it while working out).

the lord really challenged me a few times in this book. one was the question, "does any part of your life require you to live by faith? " the answer that was no, not really. which revealed to me how i do not see my need for the lord. the second way he challenged me were through the stories in the second to last chapter. the one about the girl that moved to tanzania rocked me to the core. things in my life will be different.

i recommend reading this, or listening to it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

song of the beautiful...

song of the beautiful
by christy nockels
The broken, weary and poor
Finding...You are the cure
The weak and dying, glorifying, You in it all...

It’s the song of the beautiful, Jesus Loves Me...
It’s the song of the beautiful, Jesus Saved Me...
The song of the redeemed, the echoes of those made free,
It’s the song of the beautiful, Jesus Loves Me...

The fallen back on their feet
The fatherless now complete...
The innocent suffering, rising from wounding, to find...You were there all along!

It’s the song of the beautiful, Jesus Loves Me...
It’s the song of the beautiful, Jesus Saved Me...
The song of the redeemed, the echoes of those made free -
It’s the song of the beautiful, Jesus Loves Me...

Oh how He loves me
Oh how He loves me
Oh how He love me...
The broken, the beautiful....

The prodigal running home...
The widow never alone...
The one who is waiting, rising and singing, “You...Jesus, You Are My All!

when i first heard this song, i thought, “yes, god is good to help those who are broken. those people out there who are broken, weary, poor, weak and dying…”but I did not include myself in with “those people.”i did not see myself as such. then one day as i was driving and listening to this song, the lord said to me, “becca, that is you! you are the broken, weary and poor.”

my pride was like, "no, I am not that bad." but the lord quickly brought to mind my struggles. over the next day or so i really wrestled with this. i was listening to the song again and i lost it! i wept.i was humiliated to have my true state revealed to me, but I wept because then that meant that this song applied to me. my guilt was lifted. i do not have to live with shame. the burden i was carrying was removed. jesus loves me! jesus saves me! i can be free!

i finally could see that jesus was my cure, that my weakness glorified him. not my hard work to cover my weakness. i have left the father and tried many other things. but now i have returned and been able to say that nothing else satisfies, that jesus truly is my all! now i continue to struggle daily, but i know that my god is there.

anyways, this is a great song! i recommend buying it. perhaps you will find yourself singing and dancing to it in freedom like i do.