Friday, July 08, 2016

When it Hits Home

I don't usually write responses to these sorts of things, even the biggest ones. Not because I don't care, but because I don't ever know what to say.

But this time it hit 20 minutes from my house.

Twelve police officers, twelve people shot, five killed. In Dallas.

How many times can we stick #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter on our tweets before we actually realize that's true? The value of life can't be summed up in a million hashtags. Prejudice exists, and it's good that we've brought attention to that. But now all we're doing is bringing attention to it instead of fixing the problem.

The problem didn't start with gunshots and protests. It didn't start with national outrage or Twitter trends.

It started with hearts. It started with people.

It started with people who didn't know the value in others. Maybe because they didn't know the value in themselves. The more we shout "#LIVESMATTER," the less we hear "you're valued."

Regardless of how many times we demand that lives matter, if we don't know why, it won't last. When we view people behind filters of race or occupation, when we push people into categories, we no longer see them as people. We no longer see them as lives. They become numbers and statistics. We can't love numbers and statistics.

Shouldn't that be what it's about? Instead, we've made it about tearing every other side down.

In the midst of this, my favorite social media post is from Olan Rogers. It isn't long, but it means more than a lot of 1000 word Facebook posts out there.

There is so much potential for this country to be something special for generations to come but it all comes down to this one. We start listening to one another. We start to understand one another. We start to love one another.

We need faith to believe that God is still working. We need hope to see that change can happen. We need love know that lives matter.

Lives matter because each one was individually crafted by God. Lives matter because each one is loved deeply by Jesus. Lives matter because each human being on this planet is worth dying for. Maybe if we realized that, people would stop killing people.

I hate that things like this happen. But I have hope that we can get better.

"Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Friday, July 01, 2016

What She Really Wants

If you buy this product, you will be beautiful.

If you wear this outfit, you will be sexy.

If you listen to this music, you will be popular.

If you act like nothing bothers you, you will be accepted.

If you do what he wants, you will be loved

You will be enough.


In the last few weeks, I've learned how hard youth ministry really is. And I haven't seen the half of it.

It shouldn't have surprised me. I've seen today's TV shows, heard the music, read books, watched commercials, listened to my friends. I've seen, heard, experienced the lies. We're constantly being told to want more, be more, do more. The bombardment of demands and standards and expectations is insane.

A few days ago, the internet at my house went out. Yes, the great American tragedy. No Instagram, no Netflix, no Youtube. We don't have cable anymore either. Terrible right? (No. It's not. I highly recommend taking a few days off from the Internet. You'll live, and if you can't you have a problem.) Without all that intense media out pour around me, I realized how much that media is usually sending out. We scroll down Facebook or Twitter or whatever, thousands of letters of information in a constant flow. We watch Netflix and Youtube for hours. Do I need to go on?

The media is tailored to appeal to our interests. And then it's tailored to use those interests to benefit the people creating that media. Real talk it's kinda scary. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with following trends, listening to fun music, or Snapchatting your friends. The problem comes from motivation.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a mission trip with my youth group. I stayed in a gym with 100 other teenage girls and every morning, something new was wrong with their bodies. Her hair was too frizzy, her butt was too big, her skin was breaking out, she was too tall, too short, too pale, too fat, too skinny, too much.

And not enough.

Our culture has told us so many lies that the Truth is left outside, pounding the brick wall.

It's not that the truth is shy or timid. She is trying just as hard as the liars--maybe even harder. The difference is that there a thousand liars, shouting their message, building a wall around a girl who doesn't really want to fit the picture perfect standard the liars have pushed on her. A girl who doesn't love the attention. She doesn't want praise. She doesn't want popularity. She doesn't want 'empowerment.' She doesn't want what every loud voice is telling her she needs.

She wants love. Deep love. Love that goes beyond the makeup she wears, the clothes she buys, the opinions of others. Love that isn't fragile, that isn't insecure, that isn't conditional. Love that reaches not only her body and mind, but her soul.

The wall of the liars is built out of dust, constructed on a foundation of sand. It takes a moment to build and a moment to fall.

Truth is outside, waiting on the rock. Always there, never changing. And when the wall of the liars falls, she beckons to the girl lying in the rubble. There's something better. There's something deeper. There's security, there's hope, there's joy. Most of all, there is love.

Youth ministry is hard because it's nearly impossible to be heard above the noise. All we want is to tell those girls that what they're looking for is so close.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)

You are known deeply by your Creator. (Psalm 139)

You are never rejected by Christ. (Psalm 34:17-20) (Romans 8:1)

You are loved.

You already are.

|| “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'” - Lamentations 3:22-24 ||