Thursday, March 31, 2011

hope to see you all there!
saturday april 9.
31 bits warehouse.
all proceeds go to relief efforts of the red cross in japan.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

it was only a few years ago that i sat on the floor of my bedroom with the very broken pieces of my life scattered before me. at that moment i couldn’t comprehend how God was going to take my brokenness and shame and pain and turn it into something beautiful and something that would bring glory to Himself. in that moment, none of those things made sense and seeing beyond the mess was nearly impossible. two years later, i know it is true. i know that nothing is beyond the reach of almighty God. nothing is too far, nothing is too big, nothing is broken beyond His hand of restoration. i know it because He has proven it to be true in my own life. He took my brokenness and shame and pain and turned it into an identity that is complete in Him and confidence in being a daughter of the King and a heart that is whole and wholly committed to Him. 
life circumstances that have come to light this week have tested my trust that nothing is too big or too broken for the hand of God to make beautiful and bring glory to Himself. i look at the “hand that has been dealt” and am tempted to think this is too broken or too far beyond the hand of God. while my past doesn’t define me, it has played a significant role in shaping who i am and how i see life. in this case, God is using my past to remind me of His faithfulness, of His power, of the fact that He is God and nothing is beyond Him. 
but as is consistent with His character, He doesn’t just want to reiterate a lesson He has already taught me, but He wants more. i am choosing to entrust my circumstances and the corresponding fears and pain that come with that to God not because i know He has the ability to make them beautiful, but simply because He is God. i wrestled with Him this week and came out the other side out of breath and with an eerie freedom that came with my commitment to Him: whatever happens, if You choose to make this better or not, You have my heart. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a picture is worth a thousand words

the more i love Jesus, the more i want to spend time with Him.
the more i spend time with Him, the more i love Him.

i tend to complicate the very simple principles of love and relationship. for us visual learners, i am grateful for the imperfect yet beautiful image of how marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church. imagine a wife who readily proclaims her love for her husband yet neglects every opportunity to spend time with him, or a husband and wife who never spend time alone and are always surrounded by others, or a husband and wife who never just lived-they always had an agenda or a schedule. sounds absurd? yeah, and i'd say hardly a relationship. how then, could i claim to love Christ and forgo any opportunity to spend time with Him, or be satisfied simply with corporate worship and neglect the intimacy of spending time with just me and Him, or always hearing from/about Him though a book or study rather than taking a moment to just sit at His feet? i can't.

the more i spend time with Him, the more i love Him.

being in the word has a profound effect on how i view God. i tend to forget that when i slow down and listen, He will speak. today was great. while my intentional time to spend with God isn't limited to once a month, i love third wednesday. conveniently, my school is closed every third wednesday of the month so i really have the entire day to intentionally press in and thank God for the over abundant blessings He has given me, seek His heart, to fall before and intercede on behalf of the lives and circumstances He has put before me. today, i feel like i got a glimpse of His heart and my only response can be to love Him more.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

reverse mission

i see God in the unexpected. He constantly surprises me. there are no off limits places in my life or this world that have been roped off to His Spirit using to speak. who are we that we think we can dismiss things from being used in a powerful way by the creator of the universe?  
“this reversal is the sign of God’s Spirit. the poor have a mission to the rich, the blacks have a mission to the whites, the handicapped have a mission to the normal,  the gay people have a mission to the straight, the dying have a mission to the living. Those who the world has made into victims, God has chose to be bearers of good news.” 
-Henri Nouwen
i have been part of a few conversations this week about this “reverse mission”. 
the first was with regard to christian/worship music. some were critical of the way that worship has become an “industry” and all together avoided it out of not knowing the heart behind it. however, if our hearts are in a mode of worship-the music shouldn’t matter. even if the lyrics are contrived to sell records, those whose focus is Christ won’t be faltered. what i’m saying is God is big enough to speak through music to a heart that desires to hear from Him regardless of the initial motive behind it. 
the second was concerning the present season of lent. some defended that the observation of lent isn’t found in the Bible and dismissed it as seemingly unimportant. true, the bible makes no mention of lent, but does that dismiss God from using this season of sacrifice and seeking Him? nope. preparing our hearts by means of prayer and fasting to celebrate the resurrection of Christ is a beautiful thing and I trust that God will use it in countless lives of those who chose to observe it.
the last was about my passion to do hair/be part of the beauty industry - an industry saturated in self centeredness and vanity. women (and men) spend absurd amounts of time and money on the way they look. many of them find their value in the way they look and if they have the trendiest haircut and designer jeans. i’m in the throws of it. i know that an individual's value lies in who Christ says they are, not their jeans or their a-line bob. but i’m still the one that sells highlights and a-line bobs. i spend between forty-five minuets and two hours with each person on my books. i have anywhere between forty-five minuets and two hours to listen to my client and speak truth about beauty and value to them. a salon - a seemingly unlikely place to encounter God, but i’ve seen it happen and i am honored that God would use the time and place to glorify Himself.
i have no control over those who exploit the christian music industry to sell records, or those who have made lent nothing more than a trendy thing to do within their christian circles, or the stylists who will manipulate the insecurities of their clients. what i do have control over, is surrendering my all to Jesus - that He has full control and authority to use me, my culture, my circumstance, my music taste, my hobbies, my friends to speak and glorify Himself.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


i’ve recently become overwhelmed by how much God loves me. it knocks the wind out of me. my understanding of love is so limited but, His is perfect. 
at life group on monday i said something that struck a chord inside me and i’ve been wrestling with it since. we read the first 18 verses in james chapter one and began to discuss if trials come from God or if He merely permits them to happen. some said that only good things from God therefore, trials weren’t from Him. i said that being sick was God's best for me. as i continued to listen, i realized that times of trial have produced the most growth and consequential goodness in my life. i can really appreciate God’s character - His grace, love, unchanging-ness, beauty, goodness, perfection, faithfulness, tenacity, sacrifice, etc. because of those seasons of trial. let me explain.
on sunday, amy said that she had never been so full of gratitude than when God had blessed them with furniture for their new home. she didn’t understand why this circumstance had her more full of thanksgiving than any other and she felt God respond that she had never allowed herself to be in that much need before. 
a couple years ago, after my season of sin came to light - my world crumbled. i couldn’t see beyond that moment. i had made a huge mess and hurt people who i love and coming back from that moment seemed like an impossibility. my mom came out from hawaii to santa barbara. rewind, my mom and i have a complicated relationship. she has been an alcoholic for my whole life. she goes through seasons of sobriety and seasons of “off the wagon”. when she is sober-my mom is, hands down, my favorite person in the world. neither of us are perfect and our relationship has been marked by grace and love. back to my life in ruins. my mom shows up and says, “dan, i’ve made lots of mistakes in life and have received more grace than i deserve. i know what it is like to need grace, i know what it is like to receive grave, so i have open hands in giving it. i forgive you. lets figure out what to do from here.”
while i appreciate the value of blessings and “mountain tops”. i understand that God is more concerned with my holiness than my happiness. it is the times when i’m in desperate need, when i’m confused, when i’m hurt, when i’m at the bottom of the pit, i find peace, joy, love, grace, patience in the arms of Jesus. without the need, how can we appreciate the gift of His presence?
as far as the theological question of the origin of our trials - does God permit the trials or does He bring them? i’m not sure. but what i do know is i see His fingerprints all over my circumstances. He loves me enough to allow me to get “found out” and give me a second chance at life. He loves me enough to allow me to learn about grace through my relationship with my mom. He loves me enough for me to get sick and lose a job in an unhealthy environment to free up my time to spend with Him and establish friendships with you all. the more i understand His character i can trust that He is up to something far more beautiful than i am capable of comprehending upon first glance.

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets, 
When I think about, the way…
He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.