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I was getting really bothered by all the negativity and cynicism regarding the Kony 2012 campaign, and then I got in the car to drive and this was the first song on the radio. I’d never heard it before, but Sara Groves is on of my favorite artists, and this is a beautiful song about freedom. It was another perfectly timed reminder from God to keep going when the world tries to bring you down. No power on earth can separate us from the love of God. One day He will break all chains and free the enslaved and oppressed. We have hope.

Paul and Silas, bound in jail, 
Got no money for to go their bail, 
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

Paul and Silas thought they’d lost, 
The dungeon shook and the chains fell off, 
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

Freedom’s name is mighty sweet, 
and one day soon we are gonna meet. 
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

Got my hand on the Gospel plow, 
Won’t take nothing for my journey now. 
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

The way is slow, 
And we’ve so far to go. 
Keep your eyes on the prize… 

Hold on. 

Only chain a man can stand 
Is that chain of hand in hand, 
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

Ain’t no man on earth control 
The weight of glory on a human soul. 
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on. 

Keep your eyes on the prize… 
Keep your eyes on the prize… 

When you see a man walk free, 
It makes you dream of Jubilee. 

When you see a child walk free, 
It makes you dream of Jubilee. 

When you see a family free, 
It makes you dream of Jubilee. 
Keep your eyes on the prize, 
Hold on.

Saturday, February 4, 2012 Day 4 of February Tumblr/Facebook Fast

Alternatively Titled: Prayer and Persecution

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What a powerful way to start my day. After exercise and a shower, I sat down to eat my croissant and cantaloupe and read Romans 8 - something Pastor Steven Furtick and his church did every morning during one of their series. The Romans 8 part, I mean — I’m not sure about the croissant and cantaloupe part.

As Pastor Steven said in his message, this chapter is really Paul’s masterpiece. I felt something stirring in me as I read it, but little did I know how soon I would need the strength from the words I was reading.

At 11 am I met with five other girls from my Bible Study to pray for Campus Crusade for Christ’s upcoming outreach. We met in the lobby of our dorm, a public place where groups gather to study and socialize all the time. We were a small group, not in any one’s way, simply sitting in a circle of chairs with our eyes closed, our heads sometimes bowed, talking quietly to one another and to God.

We had decided to pray for the outreach from 11 am to 12pm. After about 45 minutes, a girl approached us, presumably an RA, though I didn’t recognize her, and apologized for interrupting us. She said that the university had a policy of not allowing “religious organizations” to meet in public venues because they are a public university and they don’t want to be seen as “promoting” a certain religion over another. She told us we would have to leave the lobby and go to our rooms or one of the study rooms if we wanted to continue. 

Now. My group of friends was not preaching to anyone. We were not even loud enough to be overheard by passing people. We did not have any signs or bibles or even Jesus t-shirts. We were simply sitting there, talking. To us, this is not a “religious organization” trying to “promote” out beliefs, or force them on others. We are simply having a conversation, and that conversation just happens to be with the Lord of the universe. 

I had not realized that praying in a public place was against the rules. I had not realized that according to my university, we do not have freedom of religion or speech. That I pay thousands of dollars each year to attend a school that does not allow me to pray (even quietly) to my God in public. If we had been praying with our eyes open and our heads up, would we have been allowed to continue? Probably. If we were Hindu or Muslim, would that girl have told us to stop promoting our religion? I doubt it.

I believe that this girl probably told us to move because tour groups were coming through the lobby at the time. We weren’t in the way of those tour groups, we weren’t looking at those tour groups or talking to them, but heaven forbid that one of them (for some ridiculous reason) gets offended by people praying openly in a public place and decides not to come to this university. I don’t know why anyone should be offended by another person practicing their religion in a country where we are supposedly free to worship however we want. Heaven forbid we have religious freedom at a public university. A university supported by a government that claims religious freedom for its citizens. 

I do not pay thousands of dollars a year to my university to be persecuted for my faith.

All of this and more passed through my mind in the few seconds after she told us to move, and during the short time we sat there, stunned, try to work our minds around the insanity of her request. (I had never been asked to leave that lobby before in my whole time here. This is my home.) Once we realized that she was actually serious, we simply said that was fine and that we would move to the enclosed study room off the lobby. She stood there and watched us until we actually got up and moved towards the door, as if to ward off any more praying. I wonder what she would have done if we had simply continued praying. Would the hall director or campus security have been called? "Code Purple, we have students praying in the lobby! This is not a drill! Code Purple!"

At first, I was indignant, ticked, hurt, annoyed, angry, shocked at being treated in such a way. But it shouldn’t surprise me. We are told in the Bible that we will be persecuted because of our faith in Christ, and that in fact we should be honored to suffer for the name of Christ our Lord. As Paul said,

I do not consider the sufferings of this world to be compared to future glory.

I also remembered Romans 8, how nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not the powers of demons nor the powers of this world can keep me from my God. We may have moved to a different location, but we will not be silenced. God hears us wherever we pray, and supports us in whatever we do. Being told to leave will not stop me from living a life for God’s glory, for spreading his love wherever we go. We chose to see this as an opportunity to share God’s love. Praying for the girl who told us to leave, for the people who may have seen us in the lobby, for the people at the front desk who probably first asked that girl to tell us to move. I pray that they will see and feel God’s presence, His love, joy, freedom, and hope in their lives.

God does not promise us that being a Christian will make life easy. In fact, as I learned today, it is often the opposite. But I find myself so grateful to have a part in the chance to love those who oppose us. To learn to trust in God’s faithfulness when the world tells us what we are and are not allowed to do.

I see this as a sure confirmation that there is a spiritual warfare going on in this campus. The enemy knows that we are on the move, that God is using his people to change lives here. That a revival is soon to happen on this campus. The enemy is afraid, and he will try to discourage us, and put people in our path to attempt to stop us from reaching out, to letting the power of prayer fill this place. There is a battle going on for the souls of thousands of students at this university. And God is winning that battle. And no power on earth or in hell is going to stop Him from getting to His lost children. 

I am so filled with His Spirit and life on this day. So grateful for that incident of persecution which so sharply called my attention to the spiritual warfare that surrounds us each moment.

And I am excited to see what next week holds.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - Day 2 of February Tumblr and Facebook Fast
Alternatively Titled - The Dolly Difference
Another crazy day. Started out talking about African Literature in my World Culture class, then headed to film a demo for a Orientation video for the marketing department at my university as part of my TCOM class. I am the Director of my film crew. Exciting.
We used this $8,000 EX3 camera to film today. Along with a Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly. It was such a cool experience to go out with this equipment on our own and film. I think we are the first students to use the Pocket Dolly since the department purchased it this semester. Awesome. I didn’t realize what a difference having a dolly makes to the look of your shots. The Dolly Difference. 
Seriously this Dolly is insane. It takes three people to carry the four bags it comes in, and then half an hour to set up. It definitely does not fit in your pocket. And its amazing. I love love love working with it. 
We filmed outside on campus for about two hours (It was a gorgeous day, didn’t even need a coat most of the time — so freaky for February. Usually we’re having a Snowpocalypse around this time.) and then I headed to my Creative Writing class. We’re writing poetry this week. A small excerpt: 
The grimy light falls
on stone hearts, gathering
on rusty dreams
on fallen bodies
tangled 
on icy tears
Man, I am so deep.
Then back to filming, this time at another location. This is when we set up the dolly and had a grand old time. I think we got some cool shots. Felt like pros.
At 6 pm I met with my Discipler, Andrea. She was my Bible Study Leader last year, and this semester we are meeting one on one to discuss my walk with the Lord. Tonight we talked about Quiet Time with God. How God wants to spend time with me each day. Usually I manage to spend about 15-20 minutes, if not every day, than every other day, reading my Bible, watching Elevation Podcasts, writing out my prayers. I have grown so much in my relationship with Him since I came to college. I want to focus more on prayer, really learning to talk to Him and listen. As with any relationship, it takes time to get to know Him.
Andrea taught me this as a sort of suggested guide to prayer. 
ACTS
Adore - praise and worship God. Tell Him how awesome He is.
Confession - confess your sins to God.
Thanksgiving - thank Him for what He is doing in you life.
Supplication - come to Him about your worries, needs, wants, desires.
I think I’ll be giving this a try during Quiet Time.
Later that night was CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ). They talked about the importance of reading God’s Word in the Bible each day.
I can’t remember the exact verse numbers for these, but I think they very aptly express why it is so important to be in the Word every day.
"Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly."
"I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."
And something the speaker said that I liked:
"The Maker has given us an entire book to tell us he loves us." 
I had a great worship experience at Cru. I went to the back of the audience when the band come onstage, because the speakers are really loud in front. There weren’t many people back there, so I felt especially free to worship. 
Afterwards, I grabbed some orange juice to stave off my sore throat (GOOO vitamin C!), and my friend Casey, and we watched Night 3 of the Code Orange Revival from Elevation Church. Matt Chandler from The Village Church was preaching. 
Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t even.
So powerful. Chills the entire time he preached. We had to keep pausing it to take notes (and once to look up the word, “redound”. What we found was Romans 11:36 "everything that happens will redound to God’s glory." New Living Translation says: "for everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen!"  Redound basically means contribute to or lead to. This has been your Word for the Day.)
Some of my notes:
"Happiness and Joy are very different."
Happiness can be taken away.
"Getting to Joy can sting."
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. -Psalm 23 (This has always been my favorite verse, since my mom taught me the song when I was little.)
"His motivation is His glory."
"Do everything for my Glory."
“EVERYTHING that happens will be for the glory of God.”
Everything. Every single thing. This rocked my world.
"En fuego for the Lord."
"God is not after my begrudging submission. He is after my Joy."
"Heaven is not for people who are afraid of Hell. Heaven is for people who love God."
"If God is about God, you are not the center of the universe."
"Most conflict stems from thinking the world is about you."
"The world is not about you."
At this point I was freaking out. The world is not about me. Why should I be impatient in  line at the grocery store? The world is not about me. Why should I be upset when someone inconveniences me? The world is not about me.
Paul’s response to adversity is utterly inspiring:
"We’ll kill you."
Paul: “To die is gain.”
"We’ll leave you alone."
Paul: “To live is Christ.”
"We’ll torture you."
Paul: “I do not consider the sufferings of this world to be compared to the future glory.”
"We’ll put you in prison."
Paul: “That’s fine, I’ll convert all the prison guards and we’ll sing worship songs.”
IF ONLY I COULD LIVE LIKE THIS. My new goal is to have such strong faith that nothing can deter me.
"God saved Paul to show the world that no sin is too great to be forgiven."
"No sin: past, present, or future, has greater power than the cross of Jesus Christ."
Well, I’m floored. Left breathless by God’s presence through this preaching. I can’t recommend highly enough that you check out Elevation’s free podcasts on iTunes. Start anywhere. They’ll all leave you breathless.
Day 2: Complete.
Zoom Info
Camera
iPhone 4S
ISO
64
Aperture
f/2.4
Exposure
1/3690th
Focal Length
4mm

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - Day 2 of February Tumblr and Facebook Fast

Alternatively Titled - The Dolly Difference

Another crazy day. Started out talking about African Literature in my World Culture class, then headed to film a demo for a Orientation video for the marketing department at my university as part of my TCOM class. I am the Director of my film crew. Exciting.

We used this $8,000 EX3 camera to film today. Along with a Kessler Crane Pocket Dolly. It was such a cool experience to go out with this equipment on our own and film. I think we are the first students to use the Pocket Dolly since the department purchased it this semester. Awesome. I didn’t realize what a difference having a dolly makes to the look of your shots. The Dolly Difference. 

Seriously this Dolly is insane. It takes three people to carry the four bags it comes in, and then half an hour to set up. It definitely does not fit in your pocket. And its amazing. I love love love working with it. 

We filmed outside on campus for about two hours (It was a gorgeous day, didn’t even need a coat most of the time — so freaky for February. Usually we’re having a Snowpocalypse around this time.) and then I headed to my Creative Writing class. We’re writing poetry this week. A small excerpt: 

The grimy light falls

on stone hearts, gathering

on rusty dreams

on fallen bodies

tangled 

on icy tears

Man, I am so deep.

Then back to filming, this time at another location. This is when we set up the dolly and had a grand old time. I think we got some cool shots. Felt like pros.

At 6 pm I met with my Discipler, Andrea. She was my Bible Study Leader last year, and this semester we are meeting one on one to discuss my walk with the Lord. Tonight we talked about Quiet Time with God. How God wants to spend time with me each day. Usually I manage to spend about 15-20 minutes, if not every day, than every other day, reading my Bible, watching Elevation Podcasts, writing out my prayers. I have grown so much in my relationship with Him since I came to college. I want to focus more on prayer, really learning to talk to Him and listen. As with any relationship, it takes time to get to know Him.

Andrea taught me this as a sort of suggested guide to prayer. 

ACTS

  • Adore - praise and worship God. Tell Him how awesome He is.
  • Confession - confess your sins to God.
  • Thanksgiving - thank Him for what He is doing in you life.
  • Supplication - come to Him about your worries, needs, wants, desires.

I think I’ll be giving this a try during Quiet Time.

Later that night was CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ). They talked about the importance of reading God’s Word in the Bible each day.

I can’t remember the exact verse numbers for these, but I think they very aptly express why it is so important to be in the Word every day.

"Let the words of Christ dwell in you richly."

"I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

And something the speaker said that I liked:

"The Maker has given us an entire book to tell us he loves us." 

I had a great worship experience at Cru. I went to the back of the audience when the band come onstage, because the speakers are really loud in front. There weren’t many people back there, so I felt especially free to worship. 

Afterwards, I grabbed some orange juice to stave off my sore throat (GOOO vitamin C!), and my friend Casey, and we watched Night 3 of the Code Orange Revival from Elevation Church. Matt Chandler from The Village Church was preaching. 

Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t even.

So powerful. Chills the entire time he preached. We had to keep pausing it to take notes (and once to look up the word, “redound”. What we found was Romans 11:36 "everything that happens will redound to God’s glory." New Living Translation says: "for everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen!"  Redound basically means contribute to or lead to. This has been your Word for the Day.)

Some of my notes:

"Happiness and Joy are very different."

  • Happiness can be taken away.

"Getting to Joy can sting."

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. -Psalm 23 (This has always been my favorite verse, since my mom taught me the song when I was little.)

"His motivation is His glory."

"Do everything for my Glory."

EVERYTHING that happens will be for the glory of God.”

Everything. Every single thing. This rocked my world.

"En fuego for the Lord."

  • "God is not after my begrudging submission. He is after my Joy."
  • "Heaven is not for people who are afraid of Hell. Heaven is for people who love God."
  • "If God is about God, you are not the center of the universe."
  • "Most conflict stems from thinking the world is about you."
  • "The world is not about you."

At this point I was freaking out. The world is not about me. Why should I be impatient in  line at the grocery store? The world is not about me. Why should I be upset when someone inconveniences me? The world is not about me.

Paul’s response to adversity is utterly inspiring:

"We’ll kill you."

Paul: “To die is gain.”

"We’ll leave you alone."

Paul: “To live is Christ.”

"We’ll torture you."

Paul: “I do not consider the sufferings of this world to be compared to the future glory.”

"We’ll put you in prison."

Paul: “That’s fine, I’ll convert all the prison guards and we’ll sing worship songs.”

IF ONLY I COULD LIVE LIKE THIS. My new goal is to have such strong faith that nothing can deter me.

  • "God saved Paul to show the world that no sin is too great to be forgiven."
  • "No sin: past, present, or future, has greater power than the cross of Jesus Christ."

Well, I’m floored. Left breathless by God’s presence through this preaching. I can’t recommend highly enough that you check out Elevation’s free podcasts on iTunes. Start anywhere. They’ll all leave you breathless.

Day 2: Complete.

Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century: The A21 Campaign

The A21 Campaign is comprised of individuals, organizations, government officials,and people like you who are committed to abolishing injustice in the 21st century. Our goal is four-fold:

Unearthed Pictures

Sex Trafficking: The organized coercion of unwilling people into different sexual practices.

  • 27 million men, women and children live as slaves today. (Kevin Bales, Disposable People)
  • The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to be in excess of $32 billion (United Nations)
  • After drug dealing, sex trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world today (U.S. Dept of Heath and Human Services)

(Source: unearthedpictures.org)

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