a king for a kingdom

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood it's to a king & a kingdom
// derek.webb

This semester's small group --

There are those days when you can almost see the tension between fallen and kingdom come. This week has been a montage of those days -- stuck between the disparity of this world and the divinity of His love. I think when it comes down to it, I just wanna see Jesus and know that He who has seen and felt what it feels like to be in the very presence of God,... would choose to come to a world of filth. I want to see a Jesus who loves us that much... I hope that's enough.


Yesterday, caught up with an friend who is set in her anti-God, anti-love, and anti-hope beliefs. And as we sat in the little cafe in the hotel on campus, we started talking about those things -- God, the existence of hope and truth in a world filled with logic and apathy. She asked me more how I am in theoretical physics and a Christian. Then, .. she asked me about the Comparative Lit. class I was in (the one with the crazed atheist professor). She asked if I thought my professor was wrong, and why I was staying. I confessed that I was scared out of my mind, but wanted to stay and hear what he had to teach and say. I started telling her about what I thought to be the sovereignty of God, that He exists even in the classroom at a university such as this. Then, she asked me this:

"W, how many people in your fellowship do you think would make the same decision you are?"

"... what decision? to stay in the class?"

"Yeah. Or even, how many Christians would? Not just stay in the class... but to put yourself in a place where your faith is challenged."

"Oh. Um... I don't know.. "

"'Cause you know... Christians like that? They expect us to listen to them. But they don't listen to us; they don't even know their own faiths. I've asked people questions before, and the answers are cop-out answers. Either, "Oh I'm new to the faith still," or a change of subject. So.. thanks for staying and listening."

.. it's funny how all the affirmation I needed was from this conversation.

because love is not against the law...




"If you are committed to your religion, I do not suggest taking this course."

Another late morning. Another late night where insomnia takes over -- times of prayer seem to get longer and longer into the late night hours as my wall of post-its grows. Lately I've been really burdened to pray very specific and intentional prayers -- specific people, specific requests, specific circumstances.

"This course is to teach you how to think. Education isn't bliss, ignorance is. The government wants you ignorant. The school systems want you ignorant. The state wants you ignorant. But most of all... religion wants you ignorant."

Last night, ended up intending to read Hebrews 1 and 2. Ended up reading 1 Timothy and didn't notice the difference until halfway through the first chapter. Felt stupid and slightly confused, frustrated that my mind was that spent from reading about the 123907 pages of circuits lecture notes assigned.

"We are here to be analytical. Take a look at Deut. 27. God is second-hand. He is being used as a play on the people of Israel's conscience so they will not commit sins in secret. There is no punishment because it is left up to 'God.'"

Up in the morning for 8:40 classes. Into the shower, out. Dry hair, toast bagel, brush teeth... (in a different order, I think.) Stuff binders and lab books into backpack, grab ipod and jewelry and shove into pocket.

"What is this God anyway? Why is there a human need for some sort of deity? Why is there even mention of him in the Bible -- a book, I must say, that we know absolutely nothing about."

Ran off to class. Lost coin, lost sheep, lost son,.... lost mitten.

"Any mention of God in the New Testament is a fabrication of the human mind."

Up the GS stairs, five minutes late to class, a 25+ class stares as I try to slip unnoticed through the door.

"God does not exist."

Sit down. Sip coffee. Slowly reach into pocket and take cross necklace out.
I'm good for today.

You are my GOD... early in the morning,
I will rise to meet You.. rise to meet You.

even in our classrooms, You invite us to come meet with You. what an interesting outcome of events and discussions this day has been.



lately, something i've been thinking about about: one of pastor bob's catch phrases --

faith is spelled R I S K.

i challenge you today to pray something that only the Lord of the universe could answer :)




It makes me sick that a few hours ago, I was ecstatic because I found a pair of GAP sandel heels for $4,... where halfway across the world, there are kids who have never seen a pair of shoes before in their lives -- and probably never will.

... it make me sick to the point where I felt suffocated in falling deeper and deeper into this world of junk that I felt overheated and ran into the bathroom to stick my head under the cold faucet and try to breathe.

....... only to feel guilty that I was wasting water where halfway across the world there is a shortage of clean water.


guilt is from satan.
conviction is from God.

.... hope is from God.

(now if i only believed that more).



something less

And what would you intend to find?
Your peace of mind?
Holding out for something less
Than touching the hand of God?
-- better than ezra, closer.

i spent the last two hours sifting through photos from the past. it's kind of surreal -- every next click of the mouse brings back another smile, another memory, another part of the past. and these were the photos pre-anything -- pre-dating, (or psuedo-dating for our generation), pre-driving(.. pre-accidents), pre-drama, pre-church politics, pre-.... being jaded.

the time we went to navy pier over the summer just to sit on the concrete slabs and try to dip our toes into the lake. numerous trips to ice cream places, movies, lunches, chicago. retreats, planning, videos, skits, laughs, pranks, cakes, birthdays. dress-ups, games, dances, sleepovers, movies, ramen.

i'm starting to realize how precious youth group // high school years.

the other day i friended the girl who was my "big sister" summer before sophomore year. she baked me chocolate chip cookies and wrote bible verses on little slips of hello kitty paper. i have no idea where she is now.

.. and i keep thinking. why me? why out of the so many who were at youth group, camps, retreats, outreaches,.... why did so many of them leave? and why am i still here?

i don't really have an answer for that.




"At the end of the day... will you feel better that you got your checklist of things to do all completed? Or.. that you invested in someone just a little more.. or deepened that relationship a little more?" -- a conversation while laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, listening to sixpence none the richer.

At the beginning of last semester, at one of the large groups where we discussed our vision statement, I shared with my small group how I wanted to commit to getting to know the people on my floor and in my classes better. Unfortunately, that did not happen until now, haha... but I'm really thankful for the opportunity to do so now.

I've been meeting tons of people from my floor, (we have like, 6 new transfers) and people I just never talked to before... getting to know the people on satellite better... it's good. Something I'm realizing is that... a lot of people are just looking for people to listen to them. To hear what they have to say and what they're thinking and unsure about, and not, "Hey I'd love to chat but I have a pset due.." or, "Hey how are you? Good? Well my day sucked.." Intentional, intentional.

But yar. My past week has been mostly meeting/hanging out with hallmates, project team, running errands, and going through le book of Mark for sg. I am so in awe of how intentional Jesus is... it really encourages me to be more so with the people around me. Even in the calling of the disciples in Mark 1 and 2, He goes to the Sea of Galilee (think huge naval port) or the tax collector's booth (think tollways on 294) or directly to people's houses, while the Pharisees just sit on their behinds in the Synagogue waiting for people to come to them. Jesus rocks. I wanna be more like that :D

Haha so tonight... I can either,

1. Go to this bar in collegetown with my satellite buddies to say goodbye to this one guy who's moving in Cali for some high-paying job in space. Read: beer, burgers, and 60+ college kids in one bar.
2. Go to dinner with the people who are back from my hall and some fellowship kids. Read: lounging and crashing at a friend's apt from wings overload.





Since I've moved back in my dorm, I keep having these incredibly vivid dreams of us having these magnificant fights. I remember locations and exactly what's said and the people who are involved.

They usually involve us crossing paths.
Then you give a bitter or sarcastic remark then walk away,
then I finally stop and ask you what your problem is.... (which I'd never do in real life).
Instead of bottling it up, you blow up and tell me you're mad/angry/jealous/bitter/unsettled at what I'm doing and not doing... (which you'd never do in real life).
I yell back that you're being unreasonable... (even though I know you're probably right), and to look at your own life and the problems you still struggle with.
And you try to defend yourself, .. (knowing that I'm probably right)
Then it ends. With both of us being frustrated and walking away from one another.

... and last night's ended with a flair -- you gave a rather loud "Shut Up!" and walked away after I accused you of something.





On stormy days, we may wonder if it was such a good idea to live so close to the stream. We may even wish God would just leave us alone. Yet if the torrent sweeps away the things that are not spiritually rooted, then even that is a grace. Remember, the point of God's grace is not to be nice to us. Grace does what we cannot do for ourselves. It carries us home to God. Sometimes on a gentle stream. Sometimes on a raging river. Yet always back to God. -- M. Craig Barnes.

we hopped the fence down the path to the gorges by my dorm. it had just finished raining, so the river was raging -- crashing down the rocks, piercing its way through into the emptying lake. we stopped at a point near the bottom, right where we almost feel the water bouncing back from the rocks.

it was loud yet calm at the same time.
God kept whispering, This is what grace in your life looks like right now.

it's a raging river that tears apart all pride and rooted sin and filth.
but always back to Him.





.... nehh

dc: the only person who knows whether it's a cop out is you
dc: professional development is important
dc: it's just like school
dc: you're not directly serving God, but you're preparing yourself to
dc: and better an internship now and a career serving God
dc: than a short term missions trip just to make youself feel better and a career of greed
dc: (or status-seeking)

arrgh. words i needed to hear :( would i want to go on short term missions to alleviate my guilt, or to really serve God? (and it's not like i can't serve God through work.)

then later,

dc: or, maybe God wants you to be like tom lin
dc: and go on campus staff at cornell
dc: and then your parents disown you
dc: =P


book list 2007

... so how'd fall 2006 classes go?

217// .. Okay so this class was really hard, haha. Second installment of the honors physics program, and I certainly was not ready. The only other schools who used the same textbook as we did were like, Berekeley and Stanford and MIT. My professor was a tad condescending, and whenever we asked questions would reply with, "I'm a physicist, not a mathematician," or my favorite, "You're in honors. If you wanted that done, you should've taken 213." Ouch. I'm actually retaking it again next semester as part of my affiliation, so maybe I'll like it better with a new professor :P

264// Mostly a programming class with incredibly long Monday night and Wed. labs. Programmed a ton of stuff using the oscilloscope, C++, thermistors, blah blah... the prof's were really nice though. I'm mostly glad I got this out of the way, haha. I napped a lot during lectures..

294// The last class I'll have with my non EP-kids :( Yeah this class was rough too... I napped a lot in this class too... I also ate lunch during this class a lot too, since I didn't have lunches on Wed. and Fridays. Hmm. Yeah.. at least I'm done with all my required math classes?

100 // Ahh I <3-ed this class. It was my Urban Planning class -- the professor was incredibly, smart, not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, and totally unlike most Eng. professors I know :P My TA tells me I'm really good at this stuff, so maybe it'll be something I do in the future too? We shall see..

490 // Special investigations. I'm starting my senior design project already with le satellite, and it's been really hard, but really interesting. You learn a lot about the general nature of people when you see them in a team setting so often :P

And this semester...


Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV). -- does anyone actually have a copy of this?
Vibrations and Waves
Introduction to Thermal Physics
Thermal Physics
Physics of Waves
Art of Electronics
Elements of Spacecraft Design

.. and a bunch of lab manuels I have to buy from the bookstore.

okay NON SCHOOL related stuff :D And I'm totally gonna finish them this semester too.

Practical Justice -- Kevin Blue makes me wanna move to the slums of LA and soap box evangelize.
The Good News about Injustice -- a friend kept talking about this book all semester and finally gave me a copy during break, so I guess I have to read it :P
.. the rest of the books I bought at Urbana :D
..... the books I said I was gonna read last semester but didn't finish :D (i.e. invitation to lead, searching for God knows what, etc...)



conditional affiliation

Man, I think this whole past semester has been such a humbling experience. I feel like God's been shouting, "Yo... you're not all that. You don't even have the bag of chips. But guess what... I love you anyway :)" Through (failing) classes, having hard small groups, and just being doubtful of what I can do on my own ability anyway... sigh. God's so good :)

I got an email from the Engineering Department today that says I'm conditionally affiliated with AEP *grins* How Engineering works at my school is that once you get accepted into Engineering, you need to "apply" to a specific major -- for example, Chemical Eng. or Computer Science. You need certain grades and a certain GPA to make it, and they usually cut it at a certain number -- for my major, it's a B in all major classes and at least a B- overall average... for usually the top 40ish people (out of a class of 800+ o_O). And since I almost failed my last honors physics class, hahaha.... hah.. eh, I have to either retake the last honors class I took, or drop out of the honors class and take the next normal installment. I really like the honors curriculem, so I might just retake it again next semester.

But yeah... more and more, I'm seeing what a dark place it is in the deepest thoroughs of academia. So many of these guys have everything they ever could want... like Gerald's last msg at camp. I need be to be praying for them and spreading light. Already a few of them are like... "Dude how are you so full of life.. the rest of us are like, 'Gah this sucks, we're screwed, I hate myself'" =)

God's so gracious. Even this past semester, when I feel like I've just messed up so many times... needed to seek the forgiveness of others so many times... man. I'm feeling more okay that my parents forbade Missions this summer -- time to apply to other places now =/. But... I'm hoping to get a position in a metropolitan city (maybe Chicago?).

I'm seeing more and more than you don't need to be in "ministry" to do ministry.
and the presence of God doesn't leave just 'cause you left Urbana/OIL/wintercamp.

I need thee...
oh I need thee
every hour I need thee



the third

These last few days have been pretty lab intensive. While in the clean room though, one of the guys dropped my camera and now the battery won't stay in. I'm thinking about about getting a new one.. a more old school one, and not these automated digital point and clicks that everyone has. I miss the feeling of actually developing photos and not just plugging in a usb cable and getting instant gratification.

It's been really good getting to know the people on my team though. I guess you have some sort of solidarity when you're stuck in the same lab for hours on end. They invited me to the Wed. night DT (I found out later this meant drinking team), which I respectfully declined on account of me not being old enough to even get into the bar :P. It's interesting though, seeing their personal quirks and dedication to a satellite -- which in all regards, is just a hunk of metal. I keep asking myself, What are you living for? when I'm in the lab... I hope the answer isn't that same hunk of metal.

I also found out that my Project Manager (aka guy who's in charge of the whole project, not just my team) is making $78K once he graduates. I find that sick, cause, 1. He's 22. and 2. It's almost $30K higher than the national average for a four-person family. I told someone about Urbana today and how God cares for suffering people around the world. He just nodded politely and kept wiping down the cleanroom tables.

Sigh. Third day, huh? Aside from some times of prayer and Word I've been forcing... literally, forcing myself into, I feel myself being consumed by this academic world. This thought popped into my head the other night while I was listening to the Urbana recording of I Need You.... that this Family, this home church I'm in is ridiculously messed up. I get frustrated at people, change I don't see, change I do see... as inevitably as people are probably frustrated at me and my idealistic brashness. There's drama left and right, from myself trying to align myself with people and really reconciling with key relationships around me... Even in our spiritual endeavors, our pettiness and self ambition seem to take over. And we tend to give up. I tend to give up.

It's hard realizing what a blessing this is. And last night? In the midst of sketching and reading about how Jesus loves little children... (quick flashback to WC'07, where during Ramen night some of the underclassmen girls sat around and picked my brain on heretics, end times, and spiritual attacks. they're so cute :D) .... I was really, really grateful for this Body.

Sigh. I wish I could go back sometimes. But here I am now.. in the middle of Camera Opportunities and Anti-collision software and circuits and cleanrooms and...

... this world has nothing for me...

It's so meaningless,
but yet, what am I living for..?





... and then Jesus prayed.

It's Jan. 8th, and I'm sitting in my dear friend Whitney's apartment, ready to make a run to the grocery store and then head over to lab to start working on the 1230947 pages of documentation that's due at the end of the month for le satellite. Two weeks of solitude either in this apartment, in the library, or at the lab since school doesn't start for another two weeks.

And before coming back, I caught myself thinking of what movies I should watch and what books to read or music to buy to occupy my time. Then, "...stupid. duh. read His word."

I'm constantly being reminded of the need and strength of prayer. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days to simply pray before the start of His ministry. And now, post-urbana, post-winter camp, all these convictions and new ideas and dreams and hopes are meshing in my brain for this next semester. A friend(?) started a sentence at camp with six of my favorite words -- What would it look like if...

... but to get there, what do we need now? prayerrr. Worrd.


Okay I'm a little scared, haha. And it's not like ithaca is exactly the wildnerness. But I feel like God's really challenging and pushing me with how I spend my time these next two weeks. Or more like He's saying, "PRAY WOMAN!" ahahah.. haha... heh, hmm. But yeah. For someone who's usually surrounded by people/events.... maybe this'll be a good change.

Day one.
Here we gooo.

// please tell me to pray and/or read and/or reflect if you see me. or feel free to call or drop an encouraging note :D



cover the earth

Listening to: Cover the Earth, by Urbana06 Praise Team

Let the sound prepare the way...

Through this Christmas season, the words prepare the way keep ringing through my head. How John the Baptist would preach about preparing the way for the one to come, the Messiah, the redeemer. Not just on earth, but in our lives, our hearts, our minds, preparing the way for the one who is to come.

And now, after another (incredibly) challenging camp... I want that. I want to want to to badly it hurts, it aches when I'm still.

It means not judging. Bearing with the unbearable, those falling into sin over and over... and over again. Fighting for people through prayer and not these idles words I can muster. If we yell and rebuke without the power of God behind it, it is still possible to change people's minds... but only through guilt. I don't want to guilt people anymore. I want to see change and revolution. and I know my God is powerful enough.

A brother mentioned my six favorite words at this camp -- What would it look like if...

Let's keep dreaming and fight to cover the earth with the glory of our coming King :)



large bodies of water

i was thinking the other day,
that i'd really like to live near a large body of water when i grow up.
there's something about sunrises and sunsets that give a person more precision in a blurry lifestyles we live today.

but that's so relative... isn't it? the concept of growing up. are we there? am i there? am i there as i sit here, wondering if things are changed, fixed, grown up from the past? wondering if God's really been healing and forgiving all of this stench and baggage i lug around?

i like sunsets and sunrises.
but sometimes i think i'm stuck between those beginnings and ends.




late in the midnight hour.. God's gonna turn it around.....

'cause sometimes,
eleven comes before twelve.

ah, round two of this state-jumping finished.
urbana was wonderful(ly challenging).
off to power nap, then retrive cornellians from the train station, then... another camp.


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