Giving Gift Guide

Consume consume consume. Honestly, I think it is overstated that the holidays are a time where consumption is king. Overstated in the way that it offers an out to the spending madness because "everyone is doing it, right?" Wrongo. Let's shift that culture and frame of thinking, why don't we? 

The beautiful people @preemptivelove have put together an even more beautiful gift guide for this holiday season. 

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"Our promise

Empowerment starts with listening. Displaced families know better than we do what they need to rebuild their lives. We seek to empower them in ways that honor their vision for the future and complement the skills they already possess. We also believe in honoring your generosity, as you share your heart for remaking the world with us. That’s why we make every effort to use your gift for the purpose or item you indicate. If we receive additional donations beyond what’s needed for a specific area, we will use the excess amount to empower refugees where needed most."

-@preemptivelove

You can find the online version here. There is something so beautiful about taking the concept of gift giving and recognizing that your giving can be multiplied in extended measures with an easy, but intentional, small swap of shop. Happy gift giving!

In Las Vegas as in Heaven

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

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Spirit of God, fall fresh on us, we need your presence, your Kingdom come, your will be done, here as in Heaven.

Here are in Heaven (Elevation Worship)

A lack of words and a space of pain and "but how can you let this be, God?" came as quick as I heard the news of Sunday night's Las Vegas shooting. I work as social media coordinator for my local church, and honestly as I scroll through our instagram feed dotted with SO MANY recent #Prayfor_______ posts from shootings, to natural disasters, it just feels dark. And yet I read scripture and sing out worship with the promise and declaration of presence and perfect love some how, some way, taking down darkness and trickling light in to illuminate hope's song in it all. 

Honestly, I'm not there yet. I don't see the hope in it yet. I can speculate, I can believe that family members of those lost will find God in the thick of horrific tragedy, I can believe that individuals have a new awareness of the urgent call on their lives in the midst of it's fragility, I can believe that in a state of desperation, our country will turn to God even if in a bit of unsure belief because they simply don't know where else to look. But in transparency, those are beliefs that I am constantly rewriting as truths in my mind. A narrative I am choosing to believe to be greater than the outworking of evil. A Gospel storyline that wipes away tears, shatters pain, and offers a breath of air so fresh, so pure, that the unknowns, the confusing moments, the vicious attacks and attempts of evil to take out faith, and the moments of raw desperation are deflated in an exhale to draw in salvation's lifeline.

So those are the waters I will allow to wash over: Jesus saves, Heaven's hope is active and alive in and through us today, right this very moment, and the tides of a perfect love that conquers all.

For every individual affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas, I pray healing, hope, love, and Heaven's whisper deep into your spirit and soul in the name of Jesus. May it be #InLasVegasasinHeaven.

In Charlottesville as in Heaven

"Whether we are aware of it or not, racism and hate are two of the greatest sins in us. ONLY Jesus and His transcendent Love can remove this fact of a fractured heart. If any of us claim to be free of bigotry, we may need to look deeper. Only the broken hearted that look inside first can help mend others. If we find ourselves unfazed or indifferent on a day like this may we be humble enough to stop and ask our gracious God to shake our soul with the empathy that fills His." @JudahSmith

 
 

Heartbroken by the hatred splashed across new screens yesterday. Even more heartbroken by the fact that our news stations are more concerned with the "tweet response time" of certain individuals, than they are proactive in rallying and encouraging communities to unite as the human race in the face of disgusting violence and hate.

May our local churches rise up and be the voice that seems to be missing in the midst of it all.

God, build Your church to demonstrate unity, to understand peace, to act on injustice, to rally around LOVE today, in real time. Let her not be silent, but let her lead in love's light. Let her be a place of healing for those physically and mentally wounded from yesterday's events, so that fear may be dispelled, and strength may rise. May we be the generation that learns the impact and application of loving our neighbor as ourselves, may we be the generation to eradicate racism and hate from our country's pulse, and may we be the generation that rises up with the truth that LOVE has, is, and will conquer all. May we be the spirit driven voice of nation-wide revival. May it be in Charlottesville as it is in Heaven. Amen.

In Manchester as in Heaven

I recently spent a few days in New York City. I always leave with the bizarre intermingling of 'never been more energized,' and 'I think I could sleep for two days straight.' The energy of humanity in that city in hard to put into words. A concrete swamp filled with movers and shakers, dreamers and do-ers. I love the buzz.

The presence of worldly power in NYC is inescapable. Billboards, taxi ads, fashion shows, Wall Street, world renowned museum events, political campaigns, noted artists, politicians, and deemed celebrities for anything and everything themselves, holed up in their residences. With this presence comes the "always in the back of your mind" thought of danger. I imagine this is mostly for the traveler who buzzes in and out like myself, but regardless, the post 9-11 threat and reality of terrorism rings out.

Last night, and about a week out of this mindset, I read the news out of Manchester. ISIS attacking a concert with the intentional target of children and women. And there was the "in the back of my mind" emotions again, only this time they are realities to so many lives that I feel so far removed from.

So though our hands and feet may not be there to aid and support the people of Manchester, we lift up our voices once again because there is evil to be dispelled and Light to intervene.

Father God-show yourself as just that to the people of Manchester. A GOOD and PERFECT Father. Lord we speak against the plans of the enemy, the physical plans of ISIS as they continue to wage war on the Earth and agree with your Word in 2 Corinthians as we raise our weapons high: 

"The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity."

We pray peace beyond understanding, and somehow for an awakening of hope in senseless chaos, and a sense of salvation in the areas and lives calling out for a Savior. For the families who have faced literal death in the past 48 hour, we call your life light to awaken them to your plans for redemption and renewal of all things. Come swift Jesus. May it be in Manchester as it is in Heaven in the name of Jesus.