Happy Birthday

Hillsong College has been booming with end of semester presentations and performances lately, which has been great fun mixed with a little nervous excitement. The first year songwriters had their performance this week and as I sat at the packed out café and listened to their beautifully composed songs I began comparing (as you do). But it wasn’t a negative comparison or even a “me against them”. It was more reflective of my first year songwriting self – I began to wonder if there was a difference between my time before college, last year and this last weeks performances and the caliber of songs that I was producing. I think this was Jesus – because I am not this clever – but I felt in my heart that it wasn’t a measure of “are my songs better” but:

“Am I better? Am I better at being a songwriter?”

I got stuck on the thought that if I haven’t improved in my discipline of songwriting, then, I haven’t improved. I feel the same can be said of my character and life. I question a lot if I’ve changed much year to year being at a Christian Leadership college and spending most every day at the church. We are invested into almost hourly and are exhausted by the second week of school. It’s beautiful here and it is hard. This has been the most demanding semester I’ve been a part of and I have felt stretched and sometimes broken. I didn’t address my infrequency of writing this semester in my previous blog because I didn’t want to.

But just so you know, I KNOW.

In my questioning if I have changed, if I’m the same, if I’m different but revert quickly back to the worst of me, I again felt that drop of a discipline thought – If I haven’t improved in my discipline, I haven’t improved. I can’t actually gauge how I’m doing by how I feel because that changes every time I change my diet. If I don’t see my journals filled, if I have more books to read than books that I’ve read, If I have more abandoned coffee dates than friends then I am no better.

But tomorrow, I get to start a new journal, I get to start reading Joshua, I have a coffee date with a good friend and I get to choose to believe that He who began a good work in me will carry it out unto completion. I’ve learned more this semester than ever about getting into the Word of God and APPLYING it to my life. Technically there is a model to look at them, us, me – but that’s more of an in person conversation and it’s my blog so naturally I’m talking about me.

The Word of God is active and is most useful when it is USED. Of all my disciplines I pray this increases the most.

My life isn’t about the caliber of my accomplishments but the consistency of my growth – and I pray that yours never becomes about what you produce but the daily producing of fruit and great things to build your community and to grow you closer to Christ.

I love you all, Happy Birthday.

Obey: Journey and Heart

I think this one is hitting home for the last #ThinkBackThursday this season. It’s now been a year; 52 posts of old material that G-d used to once again locate me and challenge me. This blog was birthed out of obedience, and while I didn’t want to be THAT Christian-Hillsong girl who writes a blog about my journey… I am. And I LOVE it because it’s what G-d has put on my heart and in my hand to do. So dang it – I’m going to do it well. I’m going to do it out of obedience and trust and I’m going to do it out of self-reflection and self-location because I’m going to want these things written; I’m going to want these stories that I get to live with others retold because I have enough faith to believe that Jesus will turn up in the midst of them.

The biggest THANK YOU to those of who you have read my blog faithfully, inconsistently, never read it but always intended to and to those who’ve stumbled upon it now.

THANK YOU for reading… not because it’s my blog but because I’m honoured that you somehow might believe in my story. Thank you because your time is valuable and spending 5-10 minutes, twice a week to catch up with me means heaps to me. You are so treasured.

I have such love for you all.


5 November 2008-

“G-d, I’m listening, and I don’t know what to do-
I’m doing my best to listen to what you tell me to.
Putting actions with my words has become the hardest thing
When I cannot speak anymore, LORD, you’ve taught me how to sing.”

All I’m hearing lately is “OBEY”; Even though I have NO idea the outcome or the process that He will lead me though. Sunday night G-d surprised me and just told me to obey… it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt (thus far), but I did. I have no idea when He will mend what he’s asked of me or how many days it will last. But, I’m learning that it’s not about me anymore.

G-d has something amazing in store for those who seek them, and He’s leading me beside the still waters so that I can.

I watched “Everything Is Spiritual” by Rob Bell, with our leadership core on Sunday afternoon, and throughout all of it what really stuck out to me is “Sitting on top of the mountain”.

*G-d called Moses to Obey… Exodus 3.11-14 ((EDITED))
(a)
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go ((Insert G-d’s resolution to a personal problem here))?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have ((Fixed your problem the way I TOLD you to)), you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go ((Oh, I dunno… OBEY, what then should I tell people?)), ‘The God of your fathers has sent me…’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am… ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

(Actual Verses Cited below)

Something that I couldn’t get out of my head is the thought that all He’s asked us to do is obey. Just to sit with Him, hear Him out and obey the words He has given to us. Moses was instructed by G-d to go up Mount Sinai and meet Him there.

(b) “The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain.”

Just to meet Him. Just to spend time with Him. Just to listen to Him.

I attend The University of Tulsa (Community College) ha… Ahem, anyway I have classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-9.20am, and then another class at 11am. I was given a book called “Practicing the Presence of God”, so I thought I would read it during break. There is a hallway at TCC that everyone refers to as the ‘breezeway’, because it is a hall of windows, and I suppose seeing the outside is just as good as being there nowadays? I sat in the breezeway staring out until a bench outside caught my eye. It was tucked away underneath two trees no taller than a one-story house and decently shaded, and still allowing enough light to keep whomever was underneath warm. I gave G-d a sarcastic look in my head and thought, “Why do you want me outside? I could just read in here and not have to move.” G-d has a funny way of returning my cheeky favors, so a little more clear and for no particular reason I get a nudge to get off my rear and go outside. I start down the breezeway when I realize that I’ll have to walk through the smoking area to get to my little picnic table that G-d wanted me at, and I begin to think “I don’t want to go through the smoking area, I hate the smell of smoke it’s bad for you.” As I make my way to the Library G-d pulls all the more hard telling me to go to table and reminding me that sometimes he takes you through something you don’t really want in order to get you alone with him.
I sat and read and didn’t really understand why I had to be there. But it’s not about me… G-d just told me to obey and I’m trying my hardest to do so.

(c) “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.”

G-d, do you really think that of me? Am I really a treasured possession of YOURS just because I listen? That’s enough for me – it has to be enough for me.

So I’m stuck, at the top of the mountain waiting on the Lord to come find me. I can’t do this alone because I wasn’t created to be alone, and right now trusting in G-d is all I need to be leaning on.

Just some thoughts of a Follower of Christ trying to find whatever He needs of me.

“And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For you are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm”

Exodus 3.11-14 (a)
11
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

Exodus 19.20 (b)

Exodus 19.5 (c)

What To Expect When You’re Expecting: The Heartbreak Edition

I am not blind and my heart is not numb.     

There is no bliss in ignorance and I am unprepared. There is heartbreak coming, you see. I have family and a group of friends that are very dear to my heart. I have a best friend I treasure more than every possession I own. I am fully aware of how bad moving across 9,000 miles is going to hurt — I’m patiently and grudgingly waiting for those first few lonely weeks of crying myself to sleep while my family gets ready for their lunch. I’m emotionally conscious of the random lonely that will hit. I know I will be sad and cry my way through the airport. There is a balance of excitement along with this, but that isn’t the point of this overflow. ((Blah, Blah, PERSONAL STORY TO GET YOU ENGAGED))

How do you proceed to the heartbreak when you’re FULLY aware it’s right around the corner?

      This is NOTHING like what Jesus experienced, but this is the thought process He used with me to get this story across to me. I’m reminded of Calvary. Jesus was fully aware of the heartbreak that he was willingly walking into because of something greater that had to come.  He saw my salvation as a fitting and worthy cause to be broken.Through the last few days and moments the disciples had with Jesus, He was telling His story. “When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away–and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”a

                    ((Whoa, Symolism)) The Passover was a festival celebrating the Hebrews’ first-born children who were spared by covering their door frames with the blood of a pure and spotless lamb.

I get it, it’s all in there packed between the pages of Genesis and Revelation but sometimes it just hits you. I believe that G-d is The G-d of ALL creation, I believe He is a poetic being and that He is creative in the deepest bursts of wind, in the cries of infants, and in the silence of a dark night. I believe He uses symbolism because He enjoys it; He created us in His image and He knows that we will understand when He uses stories because HE CREATED us to understand. I believe that’s why I tie things together like my silly little life stories reminding me of The Cross and what Jesus did knowing how badly it would hurt. MY LIFE was saved because of His blood that He chose to spill so that I would be COVERED in the blood of the lamb. This story has been there for years and it’s finally resounding in my heart in a new way. I was passed over by death and sin and destruction because it couldn’t even see me through His blood. He knew what He was doing and sat it fit to give up His perfect Son so that I may live.        Blugh. Real talk. Hits you in the feels, every time. He continued through knowing heartbreak was coming for me – for you.       Please understand me, like I said… this isn’t the same thing but this IS what He used for me to understand that His story isn’t over; it’s written between the pages of Genesis and Revelation and it continues to be written in each one of us, or despiteeach and every one of us. I am not a saviour to the world but what I am is called and chosen. I accepted the call to live my best to love. My obedience is 9,000 miles away from home. I’ve been promised that through obedience I will see chains fall. I believe in the redemption of time in HEALING and I believe that Jesus uses stories to draw us closer to Him. I believe in the authority He has given to us when He ascended to heaven promising us that, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and TEACHING THEM TO OBEY everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of age.”b What is your heartbreak? Where is your obedience? What is coming in your life so that something greater can come? I surely have no idea; I’m only a friend closely with a few of you and even less that actually get real with me. That’s ok, I pray you have your person that you download to and your group that you invest in. They’re worth it –if you’ve been hurt by them or not. And if you haven’t been hurt by them, don’t worry it’ll come. But, your giving isn’t about what you can get from them. It IS about living and being a member of the body of Christ. Jesus continued because of LOVE. Learn to love and I believe you can give the world something that might make a difference.

                   Why are you being scared kid? –                                                  “It’s a completely different sky there.”

stralia

Because I Said So

Creative success is not always found in inspiration; rather, we see it frequently in diligence and obedience.

You can search the sunrises and travel the world to have your eyes opened to the mysteries that beckon a new thought process, but you’ll find that the true success of completing a creative thought comes in the daily time spent on your craft. There is a slow build that takes place in the moments of paying attention and working with what you have access to. Often you’ll find yourself in seasons (days, weeks, years) of layering character. What’s funny about this act is that you can rarely see the progress. It is as if you are standing on top of a building that you’re putting together yourself and you only have an option to look up and continue the build, or look down and try not to become discouraged as you just see the same two-dimensional view of the sides of what you are creating. Maybe, just maybe we were never meant to see the build. What is entirely apparent to those we surround ourselves with is the completion of this growth. We may never see the height of the diligence that we possess – which is possibly the greatest thing.

If perhaps we were able to see it, we might become terrified at what we actually are… Either upset that we aren’t as far along with life as we had hoped, or we might become intimidated at the height on which we actually stand. This also prevents us from becoming prideful (about how cool we think we are). It limits our focus on ourselves and forces us to glance again and again into the sky and see what else there is to do. We can only go up. One layer at a time, one day after one day, and it all rests on diligence.

G-d will you bless the obedience?

For one of our assessments in school we have to write out some 3-5 year goals that we have. Our assessment then asks you to break down how to get closer in the next 6 months to these goals. Then we have to come up with 1-2 tasks that we can do daily to accomplish these goals. It’s really helpful, because it makes these goals achievable. This is also really terrifying, because it makes these goals achievable.

Part of the reason I’ve been so overwhelmed with this build is that I feel like the daily tasks to get to the end aren’t doing anything remarkable. Not to say I have to accomplish something incredible every day that I’m alive but when you have multiple days of unremarkable build up you wonder what you’re really working for. Yet, I have found so much blessing in the obedience.

Can we real talk? Sometimes I hate what I produce: I think songs can be cheesy, I think blogs can be irrelevant, I think my school work could be 1000 times better, I think I could be doing more creative things on all of my teams, and I think my consistency in Jesus time can ALWAYS improve. But I do still try. I still have a commitment to do my best with the daily and I have found that is all I can do is offer what I have and see what G-d does with it.

But sometimes what I feel I’m called to do doesn’t make sense; you know when you get a nudge to say some encouraging word to someone that seems so obvious that you really don’t care to say it? Then your heart starts to burn and you can’t ignore the words that are being bolded and impressed on your spirit? All I told him was that he had an anointing in leading. It was clear because well, he was leading and it was anointed. So why did I have to say it? Later he, (lets not introduce him as friend number Nick) told me it was actually what he was struggling with and needed to hear. He needed to hear value and a confirmation of what he was doing. My obedience wasn’t to validate me or to do anything that had to do with something that I understood.

My obedience was to build the kingdom.

Listening and obeying even when you don’t know the “whys” (to me) is where faith comes in. Knowing and holding onto the fact that we are the sons and daughters of G-d and that He walks with us and uses us when we are willing. We have a gospel and a truth to proclaim over those who have never heard as well as those who are in need of encouragement.

So, G-d… This is what I could do… honestly again, I feel like I’m not quite doing my best. I’m still working towards that but you’ve been so good to bless what I do have. I can’t see the process of this build, but I will chose to keep my eyes up and keep layering. G-d… You’ve given me every reason to trust You.

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