Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Let Him Just Look At You

I love this time of year. One of my favorite things to do is to watch the ABC Family channel’s “25 Days of Christmas” holiday shows. I get to see the shows I watched as a child. My favorite ones always make me cry. In a very simple way they weave a personal story around the greatest story ever told. Like the Little Drummer Boy, who played his drum for Jesus. Like Nester, the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem. Each reminds me that the coming of the Christ child is always a personal thing. The light of God always shines in the darkness that falls close to home. The peace of God always comforts the hurts that seem too mundane to share. The joy of God always brings happiness that is fashioned perfectly for the one receiving it. As each little cartoon character comes to life within the Christmas story, I realize that my story and your story are part of Christ’s story too. What is stirring in your heart, right now? Can you offer it to Christ? Can you invite His gentle presence into the center of it?

There is something miraculous about such a simple thing as saying, “Here I am, Lord, the good, the bad, and the ugly.” It is as if Jesus enters the rude stable of our hearts to be born once again. As gentle as a baby’s smile, as joyful as lungs filling for the first time, as tender as a mother’s first caress, Jesus comes to us. Something within me leaps and weeps, all at the same time.

Thank you for walking with me this year. It has been such a joy to know each one of you. Jesus loves you so much. He is crazy about you. As you leave this place, traveling home for Christmas, imagine yourself drawing close to the manger and peering in. Allow yourself to be gazed upon by Love. You are so precious in His sight. Let Him just look at you this Christmas.

Y’all are the best.



Tuesday, November 25, 2003

To Know Him

In spending some time in Bible study and worship this morning, my eyes were opened once again to the Majesty and Mercy of our Lord. Consider this reflection upon our God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

You are love, pure, and sweet; its finest expression. Your loving, Lord, Your being, is so precious, a rare and exquisite gift. I think about our attempts to love. We offer our fallible tries to one another and to You. Oh, but You take our offerings and fill them with Your own worth, and they become beautiful. You are so gentle and gracious. It is hard to even put it into words. My heart is so bruised and frightened, skittish. And yet, in all Your mighty power, You find ways to communicate so gently. Who are You, who is like You, so forceful and strong that a human cannot stand in Your presence without being destroyed, and yet so humble and gentle that our hearts naturally turn to You, genuinely seeking Your face? Who are You, who is like You, who created galaxies and still lovingly and delicately knit each one of us together with astonishing detail? Who are You, who is like You, whose passion is stronger than death, yet whose life comes in a new-born baby’s cry? Who are You, who is like You, who tenderly and genly leads our stumbling and fumbling footsteps upon a holy path, and delights in doing so? You alone are worthy of our worship. You alone are powerful enough to evoke our truest fear, and yet humble enough to desire our truest love instead. You are a King of earthly paradox, yet robed in Heavenly perfection. You are holy; You are so holy; You alone are holy. And in bringing us to Yourself, You make us holy too.

When I stop to consider the holiness of God that is married to the humble lovingness of God, I am always drawn to worship. It is so wonderful to me that a God who is incomprehensibly awesome loves us flawed and messy human beings. He knows all my faults and yet isn’t scared away. He knows all my failures and yet sings over me with joy. Say those affirmations for yourself, because they are true for each and every one of us. The only one qualified to point a finger at us never does. Instead He tenderly walks with us, changing us from glory to glory until we reflect Him in the world.

This break, I encourage you to think about what you are most thankful for in your relationship with Jesus. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, I encourage you to accept the invitation He is offering you to be His close personal friend. It’s as easy as saying, “Jesus I want to be Your close personal friend, and I want You to be mine. Please come into my heart.” This is His desire for you: To know Him and be known by Him. Spend some time loving on Him this week and letting Him love on you. It will refresh you more than you can even guess.

Know that Jesus loves you and I do too.



Friday, November 14, 2003

Prayers As the Semester Ends

Dear Friends,

God is so good! Just sending out this weeks letter with a prayer that you will be enveloped by the goodness of God. Please know how precious you are in His sight. And Jesus has carved out a special place in my heart for you as well. I am often overwhelmed by the love He feels for you. You are special stuff!

I want to offer you a prayer as we go into another busy weekend and as the semester draws to a close.

Dear Father,

I thank You so much for the joy and privilege of serving in such a wonderful place with such wonderful people. You must love me a lot! Thank You, thank You, thank You. I pray right now that you will bless each one, each student who reads this. I pray that as she or he opens this e-mail, You will flood each with a sense of Your presence. Help each one to know without a doubt how precious he or she is in Your sight. Help them all to understand the beauty of the unique creation You made them to be. I pray that for every stress they encounter, You will shower them with Your strength, knowledge, and insight. Help them to persevere in the crunch time of this closing semester. Give them peace about all that has already passed. Help them to understand that You are holding the whole world together by Your grace and love, and that nothing that happens to them is mightier than Your love and Your ability to step in and make things better. Help each one to know Your arms are so safe and trustworthy, and that they can take all of their cares and concerns to You and leave them there. Give them the grace to be able to let go of their worries and anxieties, casting them on You. Grant them the faith they need to move the mountains in their lives by believing You, not just believing in You. Thank You, Lord, for loving each one of these precious young adults more than I do, and for already making provision for their every need.

I love You, Lord. You are so much more than I ever imagined. Thank You for loving us and giving us abundant and eternal life.


Friends, I hope you are blessed this week.

Much love,


Wednesday, November 05, 2003


Today I am thankful for friendship. I see it growing so beautifully at the Foundation. There are new friendships that are forming and old ones that are being deepened. What continues to amaze and bless me is the atmosphere of love, acceptance, and joy that permeates our time together as a campus ministry. It is the same atmosphere that gave me new life as a student 10 years ago. Sometimes on the way home at night I sit and bask in the afterglow of the warm feeling I get from being with all of you.

Before Jesus died He had a heart to heart with His closest friends. He said to them, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). I have often thought that this was a weird message to give to the disciples. I mean, shouldn’t He be saying, “This is how the world will know you are my disciples, by the way you love everyone in the world” ? But then I consider all of the churches that are full of people who hate each other. It doesn’t seem like a welcoming place, even when it takes steps to reach out to those outside its walls.

I guess that is what makes the Wesley Foundation such a special place for me; it is the quality of relationships that are born and sustained through many years, reproducing with every generation of new students. Certainly this takes work. We have to continue to love one another, beyond our flaws and mistakes, always trying to see the imprint of our Savior in each other’s faces.

For those of you who have invested your hearts in this ministry, thank you so much. You have made this place special, a place where the presence of Jesus Christ comes alive through the unique personalities and gifts of students who love the Lord. If you haven’t visited us in a while, stop in sometime and say hi. Like Motel 6, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” And if you have never been to one of our services or group nights before, but always secretly wondered if you would enjoy it, know that you are always welcome here. You have a faith home waiting to take you in.

Just know that each of you are so precious in our Lord’s eyes. Each of you have something special to contribute. Each of you make a difference no one else can make. I know I say it a lot, but I am truly honored to be your campus minister.



Thursday, October 23, 2003

I Praise God For . . . .

Psalm 22:3 says, “Yet you [God] are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” This verse moves me so much. I find it awesome to think that our praises are the very throne of God. So often it can become so easy to feel lost from God’s presence, like God isn’t there or is far away. I have learned (the hard way) that nothing brings Jesus, and the power and presence of God, closer than praising Him. It is often referred to as the “sacrifice” of praise, because sometimes we need to praise God when we don’t want to and don’t feel like it. Sometimes praising God seems impossible because we feel like the whole world is falling down around us and there doesn’t look like anything praiseworthy exists. But nothing has the power to lift us above our circumstances like praise.

I praise God for bringing me back to Kentucky and allowing me to minister in a setting that I deeply love. I praise God for this old house and facility, and all of the memories these walls hold for so many. I praise God for those (students, directors, others) who have kept these walls standing for almost 50 years. I praise God for the gorgeous autumn weather we are having. I praise God for this computer that helps me get my work done. I praise God for Brenda, our treasurer who cheerfully takes over the financial stuff that ties me in knots. I praise God for the joy of students who just like to be together. I praise God for all of the things we have laughed about. I praise God that our volleyball team played well together and finished the season far better than last year. I praise God for all the times we go out to eat after worship. I praise God for songs that express what my heart feels during worship. I praise God for friendships that make this place a home. I praise God for trees, and grass, and surprises, and a roof over my head, and food to eat, and people to laugh with, and ideas, and new experiences, and failures that teach me something, and . . . .

How would you finish it? What do you praise God for? When was the last time you took a moment to remember and say thank you for the blessings in your life? It is something that is easily forgotten. But nothing will change your day more. Because when we are lifting our voices and hearts in praise, the Lord our God draws close. And we are reminded once again that all the help we ever need is found in that beautiful name, Jesus.

Know that I keep you all in my prayers. I thank God for each of you.


Thursday, October 16, 2003

Take a Vacation from Worry!

God has been so good to me lately. Those of you who have known me for a while know how I tend to worry about EVERYTHING. This semester has been particularly bad. But this week I have felt so at peace. It is almost as if the words of encouragement I share with so many others has finally begun to sink in: God really is bigger than all our problems and worries. What a miracle of God’s grace. If you could see me now you would get to observe my “happy dance.”

For some reason, I am enjoying things more. Just allowing the day to unfold in its own way. Just hanging out with Jesus and letting Him handle my doubts and troubles. I guess I decided, unbeknownst to myself, that I would take a vacation from worrying.

How about you? Would you like a vacation from worrying? Did you know you can ask someone else to fill in for you in the worrying department so you can skip off to a spiritual club med? God has assigned us our own personal worry wart that will worry on our behalf and let us off the hook.

I am not crazy. Check out Romans 8:24-27: “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Cool, huh! This is our birth-right as Christians. The moment we were born-again and accepted Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Savior, we were given access to His Spirit who worries for us so we don’t have to. And the Spirit’s worry (or interceding, praying, on our behalf) gets things done where our worrying goes nowhere. If you don’t know if Jesus is in your heart, e-mail me. We can take care of that.

So how do we access this wonderful birth-right in Christ? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Tell Jesus all about it, about everything that is on your mind. And then thank Him for being equipped to handle your needs. Thank Him for being creator of the Universe and creator of you. Thank Him for loving you lots. And then just let it go. If it comes back, ask for more help, thank Him some more, and go do something restful. He’s seen a lot since the beginning of the world. We won’t be able to surprise Him or catch Him unprepared to take care of our situations.

I praise Jesus that He has helped me experience this freedom and joy this week. I give Him all the credit. I pray He is making that same freedom a reality for you, even as you read this. Just let Him work; you’ll be glad you did.



Thursday, October 09, 2003

Realistic Expectations?

Okay, so it’s the middle of the semester and there are more things to do than time to do them in. It can be very discouraging and frustrating. I have found myself in places of discouragement and frustration this year also. I am beginning to understand that it is related to my expectations. They are too high. Sometimes our levels of discontent are directly related to the choices we make or the way we perceive our circumstances. For example, I have often found myself very overwhelmed because I got too involved in too many things and made too many commitments that left no breathing room. In those cases I feel like I am suffocating, and the air in the room is running out. What I am learning to do is to choose better, to have more realistic expectations of myself and others, and to prioritize my commitments by those things in my life that are most important to me.

I want to challenge you to take a moment to consider what is most important to you. No, not what is important to your professors, your friends, your parents, your pastor. I want you to look deeply into your own heart and see what has the most significance to you. Now look at your life as you are living it now. Are you spending your time on what is most important to you? Or is your time being eaten up by things that aren’t the most important to you? It seems that I allow worrying to eat up most of my time. And unrealistic expectations. Some things that I want to happen now just can’t because they aren’t ready. They have to develop.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I hear this saying that as we seek the Lord and spend time loving Him, He will show us what is really important. We will come to understand what is most important and will find help in giving time to those things. Join me in spending time with Jesus so he can rearrange our time. We have nothing to loose, and so much to gain. Hear these gracious words as if Jesus is speaking them directly to you (because He is): “Come unto me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).