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Kera Package | Archive | October, 2010
Archive - October, 2010

Aspirations and applications.

My plan since my senior year of high school was to major in international studies, become fluent in Spanish, and then flee the country to work in development. Seeing that I can neither speak Spanish nor call myself an expert in international relations, my plans have evidently changed.  

Yet, my heart still grows strangely warm every time I hear Spanish, read about African politics, pray for the oppressed in the Asia Pacific, recall the isolated people groups in Eurasia, or listen to a bit of propa club music and rock my Euro scarf. My heart belongs to the nations, and I truly believe that God will call me to them in His timing… and I’ll live the dream of the prophetic, evangelistic nomadic missionary. 



For now though, I find myself serving my alma mater, living in the heart of American civil religion, and ministering to the one culture that I don’t feel particularly called to serve. Though for this year, I am fully devoted to serving the community that served me. My game plan was to finish the year and pray about how to best begin my lifelong adventure. Well, once again, plans have changed. 

When I began praying about my future a few months ago, I was reading through Ezekiel in my personal devotions and the concept of Ezekiel being a prophet for his countrymen really stood out to me. It was as if God were saying “Kera, you need to learn to minster to your people before you can effectively minister anywhere else”. *sigh* Many days I don’t even feel connected to “my people”. Ask  me how much I love America if you haven’t heard my feelings on this before.  Oh, how Ezekiel must have felt a much stronger disconnect with Israel.  Scripture actually says he went to his people with “bitterness and anger in spirit” and that he only went because he was caught up in the spirit of God (Eze. 3:14). 

Unlike Ezekiel, I don’t feel like God is calling me to my countrymen permanently. Why would my heart be to be much more nomadic if I were meant to be stationary? Why would my life experience, desires, dreams, and ambitions allude to another calling? I do, however, believe that my future looks significantly different from my present. Yet, I believe that I am called here to “my people” for the time being. 

So with bitterness in my heart, God and I began to have another conversation about my training for ministry. I  have long recognized that I am an intellectual, and that my mind is not fully developed. I am not equipped to preach and teach because I do not have the knowledge and wisdom needed to be effective in those areas. I have known for awhile that a seminary education is probably in my future, sooner rather than later. Somehow in my mind, seminary once seemed like Hogwarts. It was this mythical experience that secludes you in the middle of nowhere and requires an insane amount of work to gain greater access to the supernatural world that much of reality overlooks. Obviously jaded, I have recently come to the conclusion that seminary is not a fantastical academia, but an institutionalized hierarchy of Christian scholars and aspiring clergy. My day dreams of intellectual growth faded away as my desires to live a Spirit-filled missional life of servanthood expanded. Just when I fully surrendered the idea of ever going to seminary in exchange for the radical life of a missionary, God has seemingly refocused my radar yet again. 

With inexcusable anger in my spirit, I begrudgingly began to ask God if I needed to reconsider a seminary education. My frustration with this idea is not with the return to academia, but with the fact that a return to academia means remaining in this country for an undetermined amount of time.  Through much prayer and argumentation, it has been resolved that I need a seminary degree in order to prepare myself for my future ministry. It has also been resolved that I am not to cease serving “my people” through ministry while pursuing my personal and professional growth. In other words, I am applying to begin a correspondence seminary program and this nomadic heart has been broken once again at the realization that I could be exactly where I am for the next three years. 

My submission is to God’s will. If it is in His plan, my application will be accepted and my coursework will begin as soon as next semester. If not, then I know that this process is just another step in learning to surrender all that I am to His will. Either way, my aspiration is to follow Jesus and I’m open to wherever He leads me… 

I’m praying for a paradigm shift. Lord, help me see the joy of serving my countrymen; help me to embrace this as my calling for this season in life. Also, it would be  awesome if I could spend at least a portion of my summers serving You abroad… and I can think of a few places that I would love for You to send me. =P

Simply smile.

A little smile goes a long way. A “hello” and a sincere “how are you?” goes even farther. I try my best to offer as many smiles and hellos as I can, but sometimes they feel rather fruitless. This afternoon, I was reminded that a little kindness is never in vain. 

Due to my affection for cheap food and french fries, the McDonald’s on campus generally makes an appearance in my schedule at least once a week. I make small talk with the employees, order from the dollar menu, wish them a good day, and head on my way. Most of the employees are of average amiability, but there is one particular employee who always seems disgruntled. She is notorious for being the brash, short tempered, often insulting McDonald’s employee. Most people avoid interaction with her, but I have tried my hardest to show her that I value her by being as authentically friendly as possible. It honestly saddens me to think that every day is a bad enough day to appear frustrated and angry. So, I try to smile and brighten her day just a little. 

I walked into McDonald’s today, and she greeted me as she took my order. Generally I pay with change or my credit card and order the same thing on every visit. This time I added a PowerAid and miscalculated my total by a mere four cents. I went to switch my $5 bill to my debit card, but she wouldn’t let me. She said “there ain’t no sense in using your card for four cent; I got ya.” and pulled a nickel out of her pocket and placed it in the register.  I humbly accepted her gift, and thanked her profusely.

Looks like I earned the trust and friendship of  someone who has been labelled by many as just another inconvenient element of their day.  A little smile goes a long way.  If only we would offer a little kindness a little more often…

I love my mom.

Often times, we don’t get along. Or even remote listen to each other. But, last night, I had an amazing conversation with my mom. I love her and miss her. Some old medical issues are resurfacing… so I called for her advice, and she had more insight than I would have anticipated. 


I’ll save you the long version of the story, and summarize my conclusions from our conversation. 1) I’m not being intellectually stimulated and it’s having a negative effect on my behavior pattern and overall health. 2) I’m under-stressed. In other words, I am not being challenged enough in my current environment. 3) I’m lacking adrenaline. I need to be more physically active and competitive. 4) I’m not quite utilizing my imagination and creativity. 

In summary, I am not pushing myself to grow. And, as my mom noted, the same issues plagued me the last time I was in a similar place in life. I think her points have some validity, and now I am pondering how to respond. 

Answered prayer

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”  - Oswald Chambers.
I can’t tell you how many prayers have been answered this weekend. Since I don’t have much time to blog, here are just a few.

  • In July, I wrote in my journal that 10/8 would yield an unexpected check. My paycheck deposited on  10/8 was mysteriously $300 more than it should have been.
  • I have been praying that someone in Chi Alpha would preach on 1 Cor 12-14. Our retreat speaker spoke on those chapters.
  •  Been praying for clarity and a game plan, and I believe that God shed some light on that at retreat.
  • Not to mention, a number of prayers that I have been praying specifically for individuals are being answered…
  • …and many of the prayers we prayed last year at Weds night prayer and the year before in 24/1 prayer are coming to fruition.

Post retreat, I talked with two Chi Alpha alumni. One of whom almost cried. She exclaimed in awe, “This is the beginning of our answered prayers… God is answering our prayer.”  Yes, it is. =]

I love prayer…  also, another prayer that may be answered. I have a job interview at AU on Friday; we’ll see how that goes. 

Retreat

I’m trying to force myself to fall asleep… in a beautiful house with the beach a few steps from my door. Oh, Chi Alpha beach retreat- I love thee. Before I leave the ocean, I want to make sure that the lessons that I learned here leave with me. Here is a quick recap, possibly foreshadowing some future posts.

In no particular order, here are ten points I am taking away from this weekend.

- I know God, I am known by God, and God knowingly works through me to help others to know Him better.
-  I actually like myself when I’m connected to God and serving Him. Imagine that.
- Loving people sometimes means speaking the truth as much as God has enabled you to, and then leaving them the freedom to [or to not] seek the truth on their own.
- Taking a step back from people’s lives is hard for me, but necessary because life has nothing to do with me. There are people that I care about that I need to give room to decide [or not] to seek truth. God is big enough to represent Himself.
- I need to realize that the “[or not]” is actually a possibility. And, that I don’t have the power to change someone’s decision to not seek or act on the truth.
- He’ll do it in His time and His way…. but God does answer prayer and He always fulfills His promises.
-The key is the possessive pronoun. God does not always fulfill His promise the way I interpret that it would be filled.
- I need to continue going deeper in faith, encouraging others to do the same. Whatever the cost, I need to continue walking forward toward the cross.
- Also, I need to figure out who my support network is and where my community is based… for the long term. And, I need to be intentional in that regard.
- God has blessed me with a great friends for this leg of my journey… possibly well beyond.

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