Saturday, January 16, 2016

Emmanuel: God with us . . . even in puberty

Have any of you realized that when Jesus said: YES! to sacrificing everything to become the atonement for us on the Cross, He was also saying YES! to being an awkward, gawky teenager? 

It's easy (for me) to see Jesus as an adorable little baby, asleep in Mary's arms.

Away in the Manger, right?

But imagining Jesus as a pimply, trips-on-his-own-feet, forgets-how-to-walk teenager.

And I teach middle schoolers. They're great kids and yet some of them are struggling to remember how to do the things they did so normally last year (aka a pencil or how to walk).

How many of us would willingly repeat our middle school years? I honestly can't remember much of my middle school years, except being super obsessed with how other people perceived me, and how I was SURELY the most awkward person EVER, and that I would ALWAYS be this way. . . 

Yet when Jesus said YES to being Emmanuel, God with us, God living in the tents among us, He agreed to all of it. 

This is grace. That Jesus didn't just pick the best parts of humanity, the moments when you walk across a stage and you receive an award, or you lay in a hospital bed and someone hands you a baby, or when you open the chapel doors and see THE ONE walking down the aisle in her gorgeous dress. . . 

He picked the messiness.

He picked a stable.

He picked being a refugee to Egypt.

He picked being a 12 year old. 

He picked sacrifice.

And obedience.

And humility. . . 

All the things that you and I can never accomplish on our own. 

He stood in our place, fulfilled it perfectly, and then gave it to us.



This is the Great Exchange. That Jesus got all of my sin, and my filth, and my awkwardness, and my self-obsession, and the world-revolves-around-me mentality, and gave me His perfection, so when I stand before Abba Father, He sees Christ. 

(find more in Luke 2)
(I am also no claiming this thought to be mine; heard this preached at Trinity Park in Morrisville. Listen to the sermon Twelve Year Old Jesus at 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

All we like sheep: seeing Christ in the classroom

This past month I began my life as a teacher in the public schools. While technically I am part time, substitute teaching and planning makes it feel more like full time. Dealing with children in large groups has definitely changed my perspective. I've realized that my daily fight to see them as individuals that God created in His image for His glory is more challenging than when working with them one on one. I have realized how easy it is to slip into a "please don't bother me" mentality. . . And yet, Jesus. . . 

Jesus speaks life into my classroom by speaking truth over them. Sam (names are all different) may be EC (current term for special ed), he may be bouncing off the walls, or he may be poking his neighbor, but more importantly he is created in the image of my Lord. He is gifted with certain talents and callings. He has a unique purpose and it is my privilege to encourage him to grow. 

And how much more does Jesus care for him than I could? 

And how much does God love me when I'm whining and complaining about my circumstances? Or not paying attention to His instructions? 

Like the Israelites who grumbled and disobeyed, our hearts are prone to wander from Jesus. We are prone to whine about our circumstances. And yet there is grace. Christ fulfilled all things by being perfect in every way. Isaiah 53 foreshadowed how Jesus would be led like a sheep before the sheerer, silent and grumbling not a word. 

So today, there's hope. There's hope because it's not about my performance before God. And it's not just about my students' performance. I can have grace for them without telling them their mistakes don't matter. Just like Jesus doesn't tell me, "Don't worry about your sin, it's no big deal" I can deal my students with grace for their mistakes while still holding them accountable.

Yet there's this ache in my heart. I don't get to tell my students the most important thing about me: my identity in Christ. In the end, this is the hope for my kids, not grades, not test performance, or being in the popular crowd. 

So for those of you who teach, join me in praying for our students. For those of you who don't teach, please pray for us as we navigate the waters of guiding, teaching, and providing safe haven for our students. 


Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Beginnings

My goal this year is to write a book.

But I'm also a new teacher (yes, middle school!).

So I'm going to start with a blog.

I'm praying this is a year of new beginnings, but I think that's what we all hope for. Like Anne of Green Gables said, "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

Put in terms of the Bible:

"Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:23

My goal for this blog is to be a place where we (you and me) can find encouragement and a refreshment to start our days. A place full of reminders of God's new mercies. In Christ, we are new creations! The old has gone, the new has come! Thank you Jesus for making us new creations through the washing of your blood. Thank you that we can look forward to seeing you unfold your glorious plan.