Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Standing With Brian

My sister's husband's brother was recently diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. His name is Brian Schnurstein and he lives in Kalamazoo,MI with his wife Lindsay and their daughter Kylie. This video tells a little bit of their story, and of the battle that they currently face.

Brian suggests ten different ways that you can get involved at the end of the video. He also has a blog that he updates regularly to raise awareness about ALS and to give updates on his progress and perspective.

Please stand with me in prayer for Brian Schnurstein and his family!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Not Safe But Good

Today I enjoyed a rare thing in Chicago...a snow day. It was much needed actually. It gave me time to read and pray and reflect. January flew by. It was full of activity. Overall, it was a good month - in ministry and personally. However, it was also a challenging month in some ways. I consistently battled anxiety and some depression over the course of the month. As I look back on it, I'm thankful for it, as it caused me to press into God. God has proven Himself faithful once again over the course of the month.

I consistently journaled over the course of the month. The interesting thing is that the notebook that I am using to journal in, is actually an old notebook that I partially used back in December of 1999. That month was also an anxious month for me. I graduated from college that month, and stepped out into the "unknown." I didn't have a job lined up, and I wasn't even sure what my "career" would be. I was both anxious and fearful about so many unknowns. I was reminded by the notebook that I attended a Campus Crusade for Christ Christmas Conference that year, that December. One of the main sessions at that conference was given by Pastor James Ford (He is now my pastor here in Chicago at Christ Bible Church!). The message he gave that night was entitled "Hope For The Hood" and it was a call to college students to prayerfully consider giving their lives in service to Christ in the hood. I took a lot of notes during that session, and it spoke powerfully into what God was already doing in my life, and the things He had given me passion and compassion about. Over the course of the next year (2000), I would progressively have an increasing sense of the Lord's leading towards urban ministry. God would continue to reveal this to me in spite of my anxiousness and fear. In the fall of 2001, I would head to Chicago, to Moody, to study Urban Ministry.

I love how in the midst of a period of anxiousness, entering a new year (2011), I would grab an old notebook to remind me of God's faithful presence and persistent pursuit of me over the last ten years or so. God is stretching me and pushing me out of my comfort zone as I head into a new year with Him. As I continue to seek to follow close after Jesus, I'm reminded that He is not always safe but He is always good. A co-worker reminded me of the following dialogue in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Lucy, the little girl, when speaking of Aslan to Mr. Beaver, says "Then he isn't safe?" "Safe?" said Mr. Beaver, "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king I tell you."

So as we continue on in this new year, let's seek the King and His Kingdom even when it's hard and uncomfortable. And may He be "the stronghold" of our lives (Psalm 27:1) as we face the inevitable coming unknowns.