Wednesday, January 5, 2011

BlogLight!: Amped Soul

I must say, I totally slacked on doing BlogLights in 2010, so this is me trying again!

I have an awesome brother in Christ named Jamil that I met on Howard's campus my freshman year through Impact. Now can I be honest with you guys? At first I thought he (and all the other Impact people for that matter) was.... strange. Yeah. And you know why? It's because I had never before seen Christ's love and consideration for people exhibited in such a normal, everyday way among people my own age! But now as I sit here, I definitely think it's an awesome thing to be thought strange simply because of Christ in us!

Let me not go off on a tangent here; the real purpose of me sharing this is to let you know about the blog Jamil has going! It's called Amped Soul (if you didn't figure it out from the title). The Lord has gifted Jamil with the ability to share things that God has laid on his heart as well as to share his life experiences in a way that really connects with the reader! I must say, I've enjoyed pretty much everything I've read of his, from poetry to prose. It's an awesome thing when someone has a natural talent, combines it with the supernatural power of God, and reaches people and touches hearts in a way that can only be attributed to our Maker!

One thing I've enjoyed about Jamil's poetry is that he always (or at least, as much as I can remember) gives Biblical reference to the things that he's saying. It can be so easy for us to attach our human wisdom to the things that we write, or give justification for the things that we do through our finite reasoning. (This makes me think of 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5, when Paul reminds us about how even the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and because of this our words and actions should rest solely on the Spirit's power!) This guy definitely gives the Lord His due (which is, all?) in his writing.

The other thing I appreciate is that when ever I go to Amped Soul, it's a dose of reality. It's not a picture of perfection, with him going through life with things right on track with his five year plan and him serving God and never falling and blah blah blah blah blah. (By the way, if you ever do meet someone who's got it all together like that, do introduce me!! I'd love to hear how they do it. Lol!) There's a very real element of reality and humanity in Jamil's writing, which allows whoever's reading to not feel like their talking to (er, reading from) a zombie ...a perfect zombie, that is. It's really encouraging, edifying, and humorous at times, too!

With all that being said, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and support our brother in Christ at Amped Soul! His latest post is called Whose Plans???, and here's one of his poetry pieces called Foolishly Stupid. If you scroll through his blog, you'll even see a couple posts where Jamil performs his poem for you!

I hope this is a blessing to you guys! Are there any blogs in particular that stand out to you as always being an encouragement, or a place to get a good laugh? I love to check out new sites. :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Fish Named Grace

I mentioned briefly in my last post that a couple of my siblings and friends and I went to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia from December 27st to the 31st. It was truly amazing! I first went to one of Impact's National conferences by myself in 2008, and it was INCREDIBLE. To be able to share it with friends and family this time was truly awesome.

Believers worshiping the Lord at the Impact 2010 conference.
Photo courtesy of the Impact Movement.
The mission of the Impact Movement is to reach the college campus, community, and world by producing leaders of African descent who are spiritually focused, financially responsible, and morally fit. At first, I struggled with being part of a group whose focus was on one main ethnic group, so I really sought the Lord regarding my involvement. As I saw the moral devastation of the black community, the doctrinal errancies being perpetuated in many of our churches, as well as the desperate need for leaders in my age range who are bold about our Lord, there was no way I could pass up the opportunity to get plugged into this group! This is the same group I went to South Africa with in 2010, by the way. I have grown leaps and bounds in my walk with the Lord since I first became involved with Impact my freshman year of college in 2007, and I am still involved with Impact on my campus now, even though I haven't been in school!
Priscilla Shirer
Photo courtesy of the Impact Movement

So yeah, there's my short little blurb about Impact, and they have conferences every other year (except this time they're having one at the end of the year, woohoo!). At this particular conference, a woman (no, she's not a pastor or anything like that, f.y.i. lol) named Priscilla Shirer spoke about the story of Jonah. Often when we think of the big fish that, swallowed? Jonah, we think of it as a punishment. However, as Priscilla explained, this fish was actually evidence of God's grace toward him! Here's the background: You've got this guy Jonah, who is commanded by God to go to Ninevah. The guy balks, and begins to high tail it to the furthest island known to man at the time. While on the boat, God sends this crazy big storm, and Jonah agrees to have the crew throw him overboard. Now this could easily be where Jonah's story ends. He wouldn't be playing man overboard if he had simply obeyed God, right? Seems like death by drowning would have been the natural consequence.

But then this fish come around and swallows Jonah whole. GULP, just like that. (At least I'm assuming, cuz I'm assuming if chomping were involved, Jonah would've been pretty injured!) And after a good little bit in the fish's belly, Jonah was coughed up/vomited/deposited (take your pick!) on dry land. Now this is amazing to me, just how God can show His grace in any NUMBER of ways, including a FISH! But to be honest, I haven't yet even told you the part that really gets me about this story! So let's rewind just a little to the beginning of the story...

**insert VCR rewinding noise here**

God gave Jonah orders, right? He commanded Jonah to go to Ninevah, and Jonah disobeyed. Let's fast-forward again... After the fish deposited Jonah on dry land, God's word, His command had not changed. He still wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah!
Photo courtesy of Google images

Now at this point, you either get where I'm going, or you're scratching your head and really want me to get to the point. But hang with me guys! So many times in our lives, especially around this time with it being the beginning of a new year and all, we set so many goals. We want to change this about our lives, lose weight, read our Bible more, pray more, evangelize more, figure out what God's will is for us. That's not necessarily bad, but what many (including myself, until recently) of us don't realize, is that we can be so busy trying to figure out our future and determine what new thing God wants to do in our lives when we never really allowed Him to accomplish the work in us that He was trying to do last year! Like Jonah, we run away, experience grace, but are still faced with the choice to obey the exact same command God gave us before we ran away.

So here's the ultimate question, guys. What's your year going to look like? Here's what mine is going to be like, starting from this point forward. I am fully engaging in each season of life, not rushing into the next. I am going to walk with the Lord daily, concerning myself with obeying the Spirit moment by moment. I'm going to obey the things the Lord told me to do last year that I simply refrained from doing out of fear or uncertainty or some other un-legitimate reason to disobey.

I've gotta tell you guys, I definitely have a fire right now, a huge passion to be used by the Lord in a greater capacity than ever before. Even today some situations have risen that I know God has a hand in! Remember Vibia Perpetua in my very first post? Well I definitely believe living life in this way is honoring to the Lord and is a life perpetua: abiding, lasting, and fulfilling!  I will definitely keep you posted on all that transpires throughout this time!

Are there any things in your life that God, through His Word and/or Holy Spirit has prompted you to do that you put off or ran away from completely? If so, what are those things and are you seeking to change that in 2011?

Looking forward to hearing from you guys!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's A New Year!!

I cannot explain to ya'll how excited and in awe I am that it is really 2011! Time FLIES! 2010 ended in an awesome way. My brother, sister, two of our friends and I went to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia with The Impact Movement. God MOVED in so many hearts and lives, and 112 people in the community accepted Christ as their Lord and personal Savior! The conference was SUCH a blessing to be a part of. New Year's Eve was spent with family and the Favorite. As a matter of fact, it was the first new year the Favorite and I spent together! :) We went to my church first, then left early to go to his church, and once that New Year's service was over, we went to a friend's house to play games, eat food (chicken and waffles to be specific, yay!), and talk! It was really a great day!

I must say, 2010 was an interesting year. Things happened that I didn't expect to happen, and some stuff didn't happen that I was sure would work out! In the midst of it all, I praise God for His sovereignty and His grace. He has been long-suffering with me continually drawing me to Himself! I am thankful that I can close the year out knowing that even in the midst of many past mistakes, I am forgiven and closer to the Lord than I was when the year first started!

One of my main goals for 2011 and for all the years to follow is to fully engage in whatever season I'm in! I know that I have the propensity to be such a visionary and to have so many dreams for the future that I end up missing out on opportunities to follow and serve the Lord, my community, my family, and others around me right now, in the present! It's so easy for us to begin to question what God's will is for us, what He desires for us to do, etc., etc. While that isn't necessarily bad, many times all God's will for us is to obey Him daily, moment by moment. Each time we are prompted by the Spirit and we walk in obedience to what He has said, we are walking in His will...How amazing is that!? With that being said, my desire is to live life to the fullest on a daily basis, by being obedient to the Spirit and fully engaging in whatever it is He has me a part of in each season of life.

How did you all bring in the new year? And what decisions have you made for this upcoming year/years to come? I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Happy New Year!