Kristin’s New Testament Hashtags #LegalismIsEw

As part of our training for Cru staff, all 180+ of us have to take an online New Testament Survey class. We have a December 1st deadline, that may kill me since I’m still only 40% done with the class. [Erps.] I should have opted out since I took New Testament in my undergrad, but considering I took it at a secular university with a professor who argued that Jesus didn’t actually claim to be God… maybe it was a good choice to take it through Cru.

As our final is approaching, Kristin Rooney (a new staff member who serves in France) created fun hashtags to help remember the main themes of each book of the Bible. She’s so creative! You can learn more about her and her ministry here.

Here’s Kristin’s hashtags through the New Testament.

Matthew ‪#‎KingdomOfHeaven‬ ‪#‎JesusIsABetterKing‬
Mark ‪#‎SonOfMan‬ ‪#‎ServantKing‬ ‪#‎DshipDoneRight‬
Luke ‪#‎HSAtWork‬ ‪#‎PrayerLifeMeansLifeOfPrayer‬ ‪#‎traveling‬buddy
John ‪#‎JesusisGod‬ ‪#‎VerdictRendered‬ ‪#‎TheLastDino‬
Acts ‪#‎firefalldown‬ #HSatwork ‪#‎travelingbuddy‬
Romans ‪#‎howtodolifewithJesus‬ ‪#‎DoctrineApplied‬ ‪#‎SanctificationLeadsToService‬
1 Corinthians ‪#‎SpiritualSolutionsToSecularProblems‬ ‪#‎gentileproblems‬
2 Corinthians ‪#‎ReunitedAndItFeelsSoGood‬
Galatians ‪#‎freedom‬ ‪#‎GraceForEverybody‬ ‪#‎LegalismIsEw‬
Ephesians ‪#‎bodyofChrist‬
Philippians ‪#‎GospelJoy‬ ‪#‎Jesus‬>circumstances
Colossians ‪#‎ChristOurHead‬ ‪#‎HeIsEnough‬ ‪#‎HeresyIsEw‬
1 Thessalonians #hope #JesusIsComing #GentileProblems
2 Thessalonians #comfort #Jesusiscoming
1 Timothy #dshipdoneright #PastorLikePaul #PastorLikeAPro
2 Timothy #Legacy #PassingTheBaton
Titus #HangInThere #GentileProblems #FaithBearsFruit
Philemon #ForgivenAndFree
Hebrews #ChristTheFulfillment #NewTestamentNewCovenant
James #FaithBearsFruit #SavingFaithIsNeverAlone
1 Peter #PersecutionIsNotWithoutPurpose #HangInThere #SufferForHisSake
2 Peter #TrueKnowledge #HeresyIsEw #Jesus>Heresy
1 John #Assurance #Certainty #Security #TheLastDino
2 John #walkInLove #FalseTeachersAreEw #TheLastDino
3 John #BravoGaius #BooDiotrephes #LoveThroughHospitality #TheLastDino
Jude #NeededReminders #KeptInHisLove #HeresyIsEw
Revelation #VeiledHope #GoodWins

The One With Nail Scarred Hands

Sometimes in my time with the Lord (whether that’s in the Word, prayer or worship) I imagine myself sitting next to Jesus. Before anyone gets all, “idolatry!” on me, I don’t see His face. I know I’m sitting next to Jesus, the God-man, and always envision a human formed body with no face. I picture what everyone pictures I suppose: a white robe.

During this time with Jesus, I talk to him. I sit at His feet. And sometimes I lay on the floor like a terrible two and beg the Lord to just let me have my way (Sidenote: have you not caught on yet to how “mature” I am?). In those early morning moments of curling up on the couch with Jesus, reading His word and drinking my coffee I miss one thing: His hands.

I heard a sermon this weekend that showed a few clips from the Passion. I think I almost forgot what that was for Him, for us. I forgot that although death did not win, He did suffer the crushing weight of sin on our behalf so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price of sin.

I kept thinking yesterday, “God, why do I feel like you don’t understand the trials of this life?” And then I thought of all those times hanging out with Jesus. What did I picture his hands to look like? Were they pristine as though no life had actually ever lived in them? Hands that never went to the cross? Or were they the hands of God himself who took on flesh, worked years as a carpenter, had those calloused and strong hands nailed to a cross for the redemption of the world? Am I picturing the hands of the only One who will ever be my hope and my portion?

I realized that I plead my case before Christ as if He has no idea as to what’s going on in my world. I forget the hands that were pierced for my transgressions. I forget that my life isn’t about me. It’s not for me. It’s for Him and always will be about Him. Letting go of that is scary, but so very freeing. I make a crummy god.

When Jesus calls us to take pick up our cross and follow Him, He knows it’s going to be hard. But Jesus, being worthy of trust and obedience, reaches out His nail-scarred hands and bids me to come. So I come.

Tornados, Trains, and Thirty Things Before Thirty.

Many people don’t know this about me, but I am a tornado magnet. Ask my mom.

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 12.12.05 AM

My fave/worst tornado story was when the tornados came through Chattanooga in 2011.  Aimee and I were at school when UTC cancelled all of our classes because of the tornados coming. As we were headed home from school both of us were like, “WE ARE SO HUNGRY.” We decided, “Let’s casually stop at Panera and get food to go.” [We were dumb; and by we I mean that was totally my idea].

I open my car door and the wind was so strong I couldn’t get it to close. Exnay on the Anerapay. We got back in the car, sped, drove safely home.

We get to the house and we’re trying to figure out what to do. We don’t have a basement. The storm is coming. Our neighbor runs out into the street to tell us a tornado just struck down 10 minutes north of us. And me, Maury and Aimee are yelling at each other trying to figure out whos house we need to go to and where.

Don't be fooled by her mature demure. She was totes speeding. And we were totes egging her on.

Don’t be fooled by Maury’s mature demure. She was totes speeding. And we were totes egging her on.

Do we go up on the mountain? YES. So we start loading up the car (dogs and all) when Ali, Aimee’s sister calls and says she see’s funnels forming behind her house which is next to the mountain. We unload the dogs and run back into the house. What do we do?

We yelled at each other a little more. Nobody panic though.

We eventually made a decision (I think I bullied them into it). We went to Bonnie’s that was about 2 miles down the road to stay in her basement. I’ve never seen Maury drive so fast. I think she ran red lights. Maybe that’s my imagination… I’m pretty sure she california stopped those… But we were safe! And I have five more tornado stories since then.

Tonight we’re anticipating some severe storms. With the drop in temperature, it’s perfect tornado weather. I have both of my windows open and as I was finishing up work stuff, I kept hearing a train. And then I realized, it was a real train not a tornado.

In lieu of a slight, “Not again,” moment I decided I’m too young to part with the world. I have 30 Things I Want To Do Before 30 (thanks Natalie!).

Here they are:

  1. Moonwalk at a wedding I crashed
  2. Write a Women’s Devotional (I’ve started!)
  3. Learn how to make cookies. I just can’t.
  4. Paint a picture of heaven while blindfolded in a park with Jesus
  5. Learn more Spanish. No habla español, chica.
  6. Spend an entire afternoon at a cooking class learning how to properly cook steak.
  7. Write a song, preferably about being in love with Jesus.
  8. Go on vacation just me and my mom (sorry mom, I’m a missionary. It’s on your budget.)
  9. Grow something useful. Not marijuana you hippies. Like a potato.
  10. Go back to Africa to share Christ with DiaDia
  11. Learn how to cook Ethiopian and Senegalese food.
  12. Make hilarious YouTube video with Christine. CAUSE YALL.
  13. Watch the Star Wars movies. I’ve never seen one.
  14. Read 30 books. Wait, let me specify. I need to read them from start to finish. I cheat.
  15. Dance in the rain… I do that every year.
  16. Go legit camping. None of this “glamping” stuff.
  17. Get a dog. YES. I almost did it today and then I thought, “DUMB.”
  18. Go to Montana. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard.. Well. I’ve never heard anything, but I’m sure it’s beautiful!
  19. Learn how to kayak/be able to flip it. That’s terrifying.
  20. Stay the night in a treehouse with my California Avenue girls.
  21. Build a fort with chairs, sheets and Christmas lights and watch all the classic Christmas movies.
  22. Invite a homeless man to eat at a restaurant with me and hear about his life.
  23. Go to a park and secretly recruit random strangers to participate in a water balloon fight. There will be a red team and a blue team.
  24. Do one thing I’m majorly terrified of each year (ie: hold a spider. ride a roller coaster. No more ziplining. I’m done with that).
  25. Dress up as a man (with fake facial hair) and walk around with a camera man interviewing people about news that didn’t actually happen.
  26. Marry somebody I guess.
  27. Move back overseas to reach the 10/40 window.
  28. Memorize the book of Colossians. It’s my jam.
  29. Own my own furniture. DREAM BIG.
  30. And lastly, be in Epiphanie’s wedding in the Cameroon. :)

Obedience And The Love Of God

Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church, is a beast when it comes to handling the Word. I have never listened to a sermon by him and thought, “Yeah, God didn’t use that for my sanctification.” This sermon was no different.

This morning I needed to breakaway and spend some good, long quality time with Jesus. I have been struggling with surrendering something to the Lord (maybe I’ll blog specifically about that in about a month). I felt the Lord pushing and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll be open to that God in about two years.” My prayers looked like this, “I see that you’re trying to show me something here. I am going to look at it and acknowledge it before you. I’m not going to fully give it to you, but I’m not going to take it either.” Talk about an elephant in the room…

I was convicted (a few times this week) while talking to friends who said, “Yeah, what you’re doing is not actually praying.” Or another friend who straight out said, “You’re like Jonah running from God.” Ouch. I needed it, but whew!

I went through my podcasts this morning to just break away with the Lord alone and was skimming through my Église Nouvelle Vie, Desiring God and The Village Church messages. I went to the bottom and saw, “Motivations for Obedience.” Perfect.

I think this sermon is so worth listening to especially for those of us who on our default have a hard time trusting that the Lord’s will and leading is always meant for His glory and our joy. This past week I’ve been convicted that when I’m not 100% surrendering everything to Christ I’m essentially saying He can’t be trusted. I look at the unknown with dread rather than excitement that my heavenly father wants to go on an adventure. And He is so good!

This message helped my perspective in regards to the struggle for my will be done, my view of the Lord, and was a fresh reminder that the word of God is refreshing to our souls and leads us to the abundant life.

The Sprouting Up.

Sometimes I get discouraged because I see grapes when I wanted watermelon.

I picture the harvest, and I don’t see these little fruits you have to prick individually off a vine. I see huge fruit; I see watermelons. The problem is ministry isn’t always going to be full of fruit so large you trip over it. While I wish life was like going to a 5 year old’s Easter Egg Hunt where the treasure is oftentimes in plain view, it just isn’t. Sometimes our role is pulling weeds, prepping the soil, sowing the seeds. Sometimes you don’t see any fruit and other times you see grapes. And sometimes you look to heaven and see the garden of God’s promises and faithfulness.

I took this morning and afternoon off to pray, seek the Lord’s wisdom, to cry out to Him [literally] and lay my heart bare before the Lord. “God, I need you to show up. I need You to provide. I need you to move.” I will admit, I’ve been through a week of increasingly hard discouragement. I called my sister two times in a row {sign of distress} and she finally called me back and I said, “I called. And you weren’t there. I needed you. I’m in the pit of despair.” To which she laughed and said, “Dramatic much?” [TRUTH.] We both laughed and then I got to share my heart about what is hard about this season of life and where I’m struggling.

I went before the Lord with the same concerns this morning and asked for Him to show up through His word. I began reading in Isaiah 50 and continued to Isaiah 52. In Isaiah 51:3 God’s word says,

“The Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.”

I had to remember this morning, even the little sprouts that spring up are reminders of God’s faithfulness. He is worthy to be praised at all times even when I can’t see any fruit or I don’t see what I want. I hold on to this promise knowing that God has redeemed my life and is working in me. I might feel as though I’m in the desert but God will cause it to blossom. I am seeing grapes right now and need to remember that there will be the fullness of the Lord’s garden. It may take time to cultivate, but the Lord is faithful to make produce fruit for His glory and His name’s sake.

I’m holding on to the promise of joy and gladness this afternoon knowing that our God is good. Always.

Missionary Prayer Cards

I love design and I love the fact that I get to use this passion in a couple different facets of my job as a Career Missionary with Cru. Prayer letters, prayer cards, outreach materials, etc. YUM. It’s slightly therapeutic for me to mix and match patterns, colors, overlays, new fonts (Thanks Maggie) and see what works and what doesn’t!

Here’s what I’ve been playing around with for my prayer cards. I haven’t decided if I’m going to put magnets on the back so that people can put these on their fridge or not, but… I probably will. I want to create something for people to put in their Bibles as well to remember to be praying for our ministry. But right now, I got the hook up with a friend who is printing these for me at cost, so I don’t want to do too much. You know. I’ll only be able to afford so many Starbucks gift cards for payment.

Prayer Card 1:


Prayer Card 2:


I’m still tweaking these of course. And, yes I’ll have my real phone number in these. I’d rather the interwebs didn’t have access to that. ;) Sorry guys.

And I got to play around a little after realizing I didn’t need to create a back to these if there was going to be a magnet for a back. ;)

Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 9.31.45 PM


Bible Studies and Sacrificed Sheep

I am so baffled by God’s goodness right now and slightly drowsy from my emotional high that is now declining that I don’t know quite where to begin this one. Let’s start with Senegal. When we arrived in Senegal in 2011, our team reconnected with Awa, a friend of Paige’s. Awa invited us to celebrate EID or Tabaski, a Muslim holiday, with her family. We said yes, and then went home to study what Tabaski was all about! Tabaski is a holiday that remembers when God provided the ram for Abraham when he was going to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22). For Christians, this is a foreshadow of what God provided through Christ. Christ was God’s provision for our sins; he was the spotless lamb. For two years, we celebrated Tabaski with the Sylla family and tried to connect the bridge to God’s ultimate provision. This year, being in America, I thought, “I want to celebrate Tabaski.” I have a Senegalese friend in America (and she’s my favorite friend ever). I thought, “I’ll see what she’s doing!” After wrestling through my reasons (wanting to recreate a mini-Senegal or to share Hope?), I finally laid down my rights, asked people to pray with me for this weekend, and invited myself to my Senegalese-American friend’s Tabaski party. “Oh, is Tabaski Saturday? Do you have plans? Oh, me? No, I am not busy. No, I don’t need to rest. Oh, how kind of you to think to invite me!”  I don’t think I have time to share exactly everything that happened, but let me explain some CRAZY things that God did! 1. There were two New Testaments in the house.  Two of the kids received two New Testaments for free from someone from school. As I was sitting on the couch, one of the kids came up to me and said, “Auntie, will you read this to me?” And handed me a NT. ARE YOU FOR REAL? And I’m sitting there in the middle of all these adults thinking, “Um. I’m the only Christian in here. Am I allowed to read the Bible to your kids in front of you?” So, I respectfully said, “In a little bit we will read it.”

2. The grandson of a famous Senegalese Serigne asked to study the Bible. I’m not lying. A serigne in Senegal is a big deal. It’s like.. a sect? Their pictures are all over people’s homes, cars, bracelets, etc. It’s like a more influential saint/pastor/marabout. So, this guy and his uncle are the leaders of the Senegalese Islamic conferences in America. He wanted to know about Peter’s betrayal of Jesus, why we call the Jesus the Messiah, and a host of other things. He pulled out one of the kid’s New Testaments and we end up studying parts of John and Matthew. I told him to read the book of Matthew, write down any questions and we can meet again to discuss them.

3. What that guy said. He pulled me into a different room to talk to me, which I was so uncomfortable with but it was okay. He said [paraphrased of course], “I talk to a lot of people about God, but you’re different. I can see it. I can see God’s light shining out of you. I know that now I don’t need to talk. I need to listen.”


I literally almost started crying on the spot, but I knew I couldn’t. God is real. He is pursuing people, and He wants to be seen. He wants the world to know there is hope, abundant life and JOY. There’s forgiveness of sins found in Christ, our atonement. There’s eternal security and assurance of salvation from being sealed by the Spirit. We can know that we will be in Heaven with God for all eternity because we are accepted by God because of Christ’s payment on the cross for our sins and the fact that He conquered the grave in His resurrection. We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of Christ and free in Him. I love that sharing this hope is something I get to do all day everyday-on Cru staff or working at an office. You truly never know who you’ll meet where and who God will lead you to.