Jan 29 2016

Living from victory

When Jesus died on the cross, his sacrifice brought about a restoration of the identity that all of us were created to live out. Ephesians 1 and 2 tells us that Jesus was seated in heaven far above all rule, authority, and power; everything was placed under his feet. And then it goes on to tell us that we are seated with him so part of our identity is the reality of being seated with Jesus in that place of authority. So when we speak, we can speak from that position of authority and from the position of victory that Jesus paid for on the cross. We all need to live from victory and live from the place we have been granted through the sacrifice of Jesus.

We don’t have to be afraid of anything the enemy does and we don’t have to worry about what tomorrow will bring. Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34) and it’s such an interesting comment because we all have a tendency to wonder about what is going to happen next. I’ve been guilty of being worried about the future but at some point I came to realize that God really does have everything under control. He is the master orchestrator of all creation and there is nothing outside of his control. If he has given you a promise, hold onto it, and declare it over yourself every day. Everything God speaks has to happen, everything! When he commanded light to exist there was no question about whether or not it would happen. Every molecule and atom in the universe obeys his voice and when he speaks they all line up to do what he commands. So we don’t need to worry and we don’t need to focus on the problems or situations that may currently surround us. Our God is bigger than all of that!

Live from victory, live from authority, and live with an expectation that everything you speak that is aligned with heaven will have the full backing of heaven.

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Jan 27 2016

The hardest thing to say

So, since we had almost 20 feet of snow here in the DMV area (depending on whose measurement data you follow) there has been a lot of time for reflection. Almost too much time, along with too many hours of TV, Hulu, Korean dramas, movies and whatever else you can do whilst enduring a blizzard. I even had time to crochet a new scarf for upcoming blizzards and freezes. I digress.
Reflection, that’s where I was going. I learned something about myself when I turned 40. Something that I feel like would have helped me immensely in my 20s. I learned that there are some really hard things that we have to say to people and to ourselves sometimes. Sometimes we need to say goodbye to people, places and things. I know alot about this since it seems that throughout my life I have been saying goodbye to people every few years (such is the military lifestyle). Sometimes we need to say things to friends about their behavior, in love, so that they can see beyond their circumstance or situation. Sometimes we need to say things to ourselves so that we stop repeating patterns that are unhealthy and hold us back from becoming everything we can be. Sometimes we need to say things to ourselves to stop repeating patterns that hold us back.

One of the hardest things for me to say is , “No”  Well, it used to be a lot harder!  I have learned to practice saying this and it has saved me several times from over committing myself, over indulging and even setting some boundaries in my life.  I had a severe case of the FOMS- fear of missing something- for a long time.  I felt like I would miss some sort of excitement, miss being a part of something epic or even missing out on an experience.  I also felt like I would disappoint people or if I said no that nobody else would do it.  The idea that somebody might be able to do something better than me or people would like others better than me always made me feel like I had to say , “Yes”.  I would constantly over commit myself and stress out about how to fit everything into my schedule because I wanted to make sure that I never disappointed anyone.

God showed me that every time I say Yes to something, I am saying No to something else. God showed me that every time I say Yes to something, I am saying No to something else. He showed me that the important things in life were the ones that were ending up on the No list, or more like, the leftovers list.  The leftovers of my time, focus and my heart.  I freely gave so much of myself to others, often at the sake of losing myself.  A lot of my bad decisions resulted in my inability to say No.  I let people, thoughts, and things get the best of me and not what God had for me or who He had for me.

Not knowing who you are and placing your value in what you do or don’t for that matter is a huge distraction from all the Yeses that are out there.  Learning to be intentional about your Yeses and more frequent in your Nos can be enlightening.  The more you practice it, the more you get better at it.  I have learned that there are people that are waiting for you to say no so that they can say yes and step up to new opportunities.  It’s ok if they even do it better than I could, in fact, I hope that they do!  So, don’t take it personally when I say no to you or something that you need me to do.  I prayerfully think about each request and have made sure that I stop giving out leftovers to God, others and to myself.

Jan 20 2016

I am a promise

There was this song that I learned as a kid.  “I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise, with a capital P, I am a great big bundle of potentiality!”  The Gaither Vocal Band sang this song and I loved it.  You can check it out here. I learned it and happily sang it and it still comes to mind when I am in doubt.  Thank you, for those of you in the Jesus movement that helped make some of those songs such catchy tunes.  I love that this song can probably be sung by so many people from memories when they were a kid!

Every day we have a choice in how we live that day.  If I relied on my emotion of how I felt that day, it might look very different than if I woke up feeling great and had a great night sleep.  Trust me, there are some days when I am thankful that I can remember to be thankful instead of wallowing in my complaints of how so and so has more than I do or how we would love to feel normal for just one day.  It’s hard to have faith for the things you have been waiting for if it seems like you have been waiting a very long time. It’s hard to have faith for things when you feel you’ve been waiting a very long time.  It’s even harder sometimes to be truly happy for those that are getting or doing the things you are waiting for in your own life.

Often we get so bogged down with busyness and life that we forget that we have so much more in store for us and we settle for ok.  We learn to live with mediocre and not really fulfilling all that we can be or even close to what God has for us.  We get comfortable and we learn to navigate around all of the potholes in our lives by swerving around them instead of looking for a way to repair or repave the roads. We get comfortable & learn to navigate around potholes in our lives instead of fixing them. I am thankful that I have some amazing people in my life that really believe in me.  They are the roadcrew of my life.  They are the ones that help me tear up the worn out roads and help repave them. They remind me of the promises that God has given me.  They are also the ones that can tell me to suck it up and put on the big girl pants.  Sometimes they are the ones who have more faith for the things that I am waiting for than I do!

This is what I have learned to do.  Write down the promises that I have been given by God.  Read them out loud over myself, sing them over myself if I have to ( thank you – Julie Meyer) and know that as I learn to “listen and hear God’s voice and am trying to make the right choices” that I am being cheered on by my roadcrew and that I am a part of others’ roadcrews and need to do the same thing for other people.  A little encouragement can go a long way and I promise you that will make all the difference.

Jan 15 2016

Active Impact

When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to us in Acts 1, he said that we would receive the power to be his witnesses throughout the world. And if we flip to the next chapter we see that 3,000 people gave their lives to Jesus on the same day that Holy Spirit showed up. The disciples immediately took what was given to them and started giving it away. And that same story continues throughout the book of Acts as they actively partnered with God to reach the people in their own communities and in every place they visited with salvation and miracles occurring in each place. They were actively going for it because they recognized that they had a message that the world needed to hear. We have what the world needs. We carry the hope of the world inside of us. So we have to go and share with them what they need. It’s really easy to sit inside the safety and comfort of a church building and hope that someone who needs Jesus will come to us. But that model isn’t effective. Jesus never called us to be comfortable; I fell into that trap once and I didn’t even know it. I thought I was making an impact but one day I realized that I was on a spiritual plateau. I stopped growing because I became too comfortable in the place where I was and the impact I was having was nowhere near where it needed to be. I don’t ever want to be in that place again. There are so many people who will never step foot in a church for a lot of different reasons so we have to go to them. And most of them are looking for what Jesus can give them but they won’t know that until we show up. We can bring them the encounter they need. I am determined this year to reach more people outside the walls of the church than inside. Join me and let’s change the world!

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Jan 13 2016

My Word for the year…drumroll…

For the past few years, I have  resolved to no New Years Resolutions. I know, it’s contradictory even as a statement.  But the disappointment of not completing a goal or even being further behind on a promise I made to myself was making me feel like a failure.  I would literally add things to my checklist that I had already done just so I could check it off. I mean who does that? No judgement here if you do 🙂 .
So, a few years ago I heard my pastor, Mark Batterson, tell us that he doesn’t do resolutions. I got so excited when he said it! He said he does do a word and a Bible verse for the year. I loved the idea and have since embraced it as my own. It’s like I get to create a theme for my year. Of course, not only would I have a word and a verse, but in true Lauren form, I have would choose a song too. Kinda like my theme song if I was a tv star or an MLB player going up to bat.

The problem was, with a whole dictionary full of words, how could I choose just one to define my year?  And how would I know if I picked the right one?  Would my one word define my experiences for the whole year and would God be pleased with my choice?  Would the word I chose be the one that God would choose for me?  I realized that I was completely overthinking the simplicity of choosing one word over a list of demands to put on myself.  So, I simply asked God, “What word would you have for me this year?”  And low and behold, I heard an answer.  My word for the last two years was the same.  LOVE.  Apparently I needed to really embrace what that meant, not only for me, but for others as well.  I also had to learn how to love God even when I didn’t FEEL like He was loving me at that moment.  I learned the truth:God is still God even when I don’t feel like He is being God to or for me. God is still God even when I don’t feel like He is being God to or for me. WOAH, this was some crazy deep revelation that I had a hard time swallowing.  God was still God and He loved me, even when I couldn’t feel His presence?  Even when I felt like my dreams had been waylaid?  Even when those we love die unexpectedly?  Even when I see others healed and I am still waiting for my own healing? Yes, even then.

So, as I explained before, I am a lifelong learner and I learned in the last 2 years that Love really is all we need, so to speak.  Once we learn to love ourselves as God loves us, it gets easier to love those around us.  After some time in prayer and worship , I knew what my word for 2016 was going to be….  HOPE.  In a world where people live everyday without it, I have taken advantage of this life, this blessing of living, in contentment and striving.  I am being intentional to bring this into every aspect of my life.

My word for 2016- HOPE.

My verse – Hebrews 6:11 MSG: And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full- bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish.

My song- Louie Armstrong: “It’s a Wonderful World”

Hope along with me, y’all.  Let’s be intensely hopeful for a better world and a beautiful restoration of HOPE.  Hope along with me. Be intensely hopeful for a better world & beautiful restoration of HOPE.

Jan 8 2016

No Limitations

Sometimes I feel like believers think there are different categories of Christians and that only some Christians are called to do the things that Jesus did. It’s this idea that God chooses to give gifts to certain people who are holier and everyone else just has to live a “regular” Christian life. I’ve also seen the other side of the coin and I know people who do not have a healthy relationship with Christ and yet they routinely see miracles when they pray for people. And they use the miracle lifestyle they have seen as an excuse to validate the negative areas of their lives. It’s a “God does miracles thorough me so he must approve of everything else in my life” kind of thinking. Both of these viewpoints are skewed and tend to come from a lack of understanding the identity that God created all of us to walk out. The last part of Ephesians chapter one tells us that Jesus has taken his place on his throne in heaven and is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
Jesus is the ruler over everything. Everything in all of creation, the physical realm and the spiritual realm, is under the authority of Jesus. Everything must bow before him; every sickness, every disease, and every problem has to bow before him. If Jesus walked into the devil’s house, the devil would immediately fall to the ground and bow before him; he might not like it, but he will do it because every atom in his being recognizes the authority of Jesus. And if we keep reading into the next chapter of Ephesians we find out in verse six that God has seated us with Jesus. We are sitting right next to Jesus on his throne. That means that everything that is under Jesus’ feet is also under our feet. Every Christian occupies this position. We have all been given authority over the physical and spiritual realms. And when we learn to fully live from that authority we will see the things that destroy people’s lives disappear when we show up.
Of course, we have to exercise a bit of faith and I have learned that a miracle working lifestyle tends to start small but it quickly grows as we continue to step out. No other part of creation has been given the honor and privilege of representing Jesus on earth and there are no limitations to what any Christian can do if we just use a little faith. Try something in faith today and see what happens!

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Jan 6 2016

I choose

I choose to BeLoved.

Everyone has told me that I should start a blog.  I love reading and I love writing, but what qualifies me to write something that people want to read, much less share what I have to say with others?  Who am I?  That thought has been a lifelong learning lesson and I’m sure that I am not done discovering who I am.

The thing that I have learned is that putting people into categories, types, systems and personalities makes people comfortable.  In reality, we can’t fit into nice compartmentalized lists for people to check off when they need someone in their life from that certain category or group.  People are complicated; life experiences tend to make us want to identify ourselves or name ourselves based on our circumstances or past. People are complicated;experiences make us identify us based on our circumstances or past. Add ethnicity, education, likes and wants to that list and we start to resemble people who are riddled with contradictions of who or what we think we are.  Associations with certain people, groups, religious and political affiliations shape how people perceive us.  People like to try to know who you are or what you are about so that they can figure you out, assess you, and then try to relate to you so they can make themselves more at ease. People like to know what you are about then they can assess you,relate & make them more at ease.

I am…  female, Korean- American, short, full figured, expressive, animated, brash, opinionated, a liberal Republican, a conservative Democrat, a Christ follower, a lover of adventure, corny, sarcastic, a loud laugher, a survivor of sexual assault, a reformed people pleaser, a past liar, a former substance abuser, an overcomer, a visionary, a lover of politics, a licensed minister,  an advocate for the voiceless, a supporter of drug free communities, impulsive, spontaneous, contemplative, melancholy, bohemian, a giver, a helper, a servant, a leader, hopeful, optimistic, a realist, a tree hugger, an earth lover, a Krystal lovin’ foodie, a community advocate, a grass roots leader, an encourager, a military spouse, a military brat, a constant interrupter, an international friend, a lover of house music, a wannabe dj, a motivational speaker, a healer, a teacher, someone who breaks into random song, a lover of puns, brie, chamoy and kimchi.

These are things that I can let define me so that someone can fit me in their lists, or I can believe that I am all of those things and so much more.  I am not defined by my circumstance or experience but who God created me to be and that is to BeLoved and to Be Love to others. I am not defined by my circumstance or experience but by God to BeLoved & Be Love to others.

I have spent so much of my life trying to figure out where I belong or what group I belong to and I realized this.  God created me with so many passions.  It’s almost as if He created me with the passion for living and discovering.  Actually, He did.  I love life and every aspect of it.   If you know me, you know that wherever I am, I am there 100%.  I may not love baseball, but if I am at a game, I am there for the experience, the clothes, the food, the friends, and the team.  I might not know all the words to “Take me Out to the Ballgame”, but I am going to sing the parts I know and really loudly.

I am Lauren, lover of life and a lifelong learner.  Looking forward to loving on you, doing life with you and now I can add Amateur blogger to my list.


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Jan 1 2016

Love, not judgement

A few days ago I was sitting in a hotel lobby and a lady who was walking by stopped to hand me a pamphlet about the religious beliefs of the church she attended. As I quickly flipped through it I saw that it was full of judgement, condemnation, and a dislike for anyone who believed differently from their organization. It made me a little sad to think about how many people are trapped in the wrong type of religious approval systems and living their lives focused on all the wrong ideas. Then I remembered an experience I had about a year ago; I woke up in the middle of the night, saw that my phone screen was on, and when I picked it up I saw that the Bible app was opened and displaying the passage from John 16:8-11. These few scriptures in John 16 show us that Holy Spirit has the job of convicting people of their sin; humans have never been given that job.

Some organizations are hyper focused on judging other people instead of honoring and loving them for who they were created to be. Even Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world (see John 3:17) and since our job is to represent him, we don’t have to point out the mistakes people made or the things we dislike about their lifestyle. Instead, we get to love people and invite them into a relationship with Jesus. In a spiritual sense, everyone is in a different place, and when we love people where they are they experience a facet of God they may have never seen before. Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing and the only people he was harsh with were the ones who were blatantly trying to control other people. So our mission in life is to love people no matter who they are, what they have done, or how they have treated us; and we can let God handle the judgement piece.

Love people on purpose and watch how quickly their lives turn towards the one who loves them more than anyone else!

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