Choose Life

Close your eyes, and imagine yourself stranded in a desolate, barren desert. The only thing in your possession is a compass and the clothes on your back, and with every second that ticks by, the scorching heat is intensifying your unbearable thirst. It is that unending thirst that fuels you to set out in search of water. You have been told that there is a rushing river to the north, so with your compass as your guide you head off in that direction. After only a few small steps your body tells you to slow down and take it easy, so you stop to sit and regain the meager amount of strength that you still have. While resting, you glance around and something catches your eye. You do a double take and realize that in the opposite direction of your destination there was a small pond and cluster of greenery in the far off distance. Could it be? Would you finally be able to wet your tongue with the sweet, sweet water of life? With a sudden burst of energy you jump up and head toward the beautiful source of satisfaction that awaits you. But in your haste you had momentarily forgotten what you had been warned of: sometimes in the desperation of thirst and exhaustion, the desert can play tricks with your mind and convince you that something is real when in actuality nothing is there. It is called a mirage, and it proves to be one of the hardest challenges to overcome when one is trying to survive in the desert. What if this paradise that appeared up ahead actually turned out to be just a further extension of this dreadful desert? If that is the case, then you would have wasted a large amount of your limited supply of energy, and would be that much farther from the real source of water. Now you stand at the crossroads of a life or death decision: do you continue heading south, away from where you were told to find water, in hopes that this possible mirage turns out to be real? Or do you turn and continue to be guided north by your compass, with the intent of reaching the promised fulfillment of clear, sanctifying water? Do you continue seeking after the ways of this world, which appear to offer a much more tangible satisfaction? Or do you continue on the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal joy and fulfillment, even when it sometimes seems out of reach?
-> Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)


The Taste of Sin

So I came up with an analogy the other day, I am actually pretty impressed with it :) Picture your all time favorite candy bar (for me it is a Milky Way, King Size of course) sitting in front of you, just within arm's reach. You haven't eaten all day and have been craving chocolate like none other. Naturally, you grab the candy bar and devour it, letting it's creamy texture melt away in your mouth. Delicious. In the back of your mind you know that eating the candy bar probably wasn't the healthiest decision, but the taste that is overwhelming your senses quickly dismisses any negative thoughts of what consequences might await you. You polish off every last mouthwatering bite and then soon forget about your little treat as you go about the rest of the day. But, surprise! It shows up about a week later-in the form of a 4th love-handle! Regrets flood your mind as the all of strenuous hours you put into working out are ruined by this fateful candy bar.
So the candy bar represents sin..tempting, conniving, revolting sin. Sin that appears so appetizing and harmless, but never fails to eventually come back and bite you in the butt.
Why do the desires of my flesh seem so overpowering, so irresistible? Sometimes I feel that there is no point in even trying to deny them, because I am bound to fall right back into that pit of failure in no time. There are times when I don't even have the desire to say no, the delectable taste of that candy bar is just overwhelming. So I end up here, stuck in this rut where I struggle with even having the desire to escape..


The multitudes of heaven worship you

Creative Worship. Just recently, God introduced this new concept to me. He not only desires our constant adoration and praise, but He wants us to express to Him personally. As his beloved children, we have obviously each been created unique and set apart from one another. But God is not a God of ambiguity-He formed us this way with reason. Ranging from those who thrive off of completing an intricate math problem in under 30 seconds, to those who are invigorated by taking a nature walk to satisfy their aesthetic eye...we all are inspired by different things. I am learning that it is these driving forces and passions that are our God-given avenues of relating to Him. God is the epitome of passion: he is stirred by every different kind of inspiration. It doesn't matter where we find our energy and zest in this life, He created it and consumes it. That means that we having the blessing of creative worship-praising him through our talents and relating to him in our own private and precious way. Nothing brings Him more joy than watching His children, His creation, His beloved, fulfilling the purpose that he put time and effort into specifically planning for them. And isn't it our greatest longing to please him? It almost seems too simple: discover whatever it is that gives us purpose here on earth, something that we enjoy doing and are talented at, and then go at it 100%. This is all it takes to bring a smile to the face of our precious Lord and King. Nehemiah 9:5-6 "Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you."


What's your story?

I had a revelation the other day. Walking between classes, i was throwing myself a little pity party as i dwelt on those i missed back home. No one here truly knows my story, my past, and how i have come to be who i am today. I love and appreciate the new friends i have made this year, but there is something set apart about the people in one's life who have seen you at your lowest low and highest high, and all the crazy times in between. Thankfully I was able to console myself with the reassurance that these people i miss are only an hour away, and i can fellowship with them soon. But what of those who have no one that knows their story? No one can fully understand where they once were, and why they are who they are today. I have learned that personally, i take the irreplaceable validation and fulfillment that comes from loved ones for granted. Where would i be without the people who have watched me grow and helped to shape and mold me? I would be lonely and aimless, much like those i come across on the streets. I think the foremost hardship that they face, one that overpowers the lack of shelter, lack of food, and lack of clothing, is a simple lack of love. If my life was void of every person who i know for certain loves me, it would seem absolutely meaningless. Who would i live for? What is the point? There would be no one who cares, and no one who truly knows me. The validation that we gain from loved ones is what keeps us sane in this perverse environment we call home. The most heartwrenching part of this alarming concept is that each and every human being has the ability to love, that is almost 7 billion people who are capable of loving on their fellow humans, and yet so many slip by unloved. The bottom line? All we need is love. Talking to Rae, we realized that the most cliche things generally turn out to be the most true..so as cliche as that sounds, all we need is love. 1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.


San Fran 07

(written 04/07) As soon as I laid eyes on his weathered, wrinkly skin, small stature, and sad eyes, I was instantly drawn to him. This was a man who was longing for something more, but didn't know where to find it. After engaging in a simple and somewhat shallow conversation, I dove a little deeper and was given the opportunity to minister to this sweet man, sharing with him the hope that I have found in my life. Everywhere we went to do ministry, we were met with a sea of faces: the curious, the broken, the indifferent, and the desperate. Many people we approached, such as the sweet man I spoke with, were open to conversing and pleased that someone would even bother to talk with someone such as them. It was humbling to see that even something as simple as learning their name and shaking their hand was enough to brighten someone's day. Having somewhat of a shy personality proved to be quite a challenge as I was encouraged to go up and initiate conversations with complete strangers, but it proved to be a tremendous personal growing experience. Even though we were blessed by many of these people and their willingness to engage, not every spectator had a pleasant response to our ministry. Our team faced various forms of discrimination and mockery, but we took it in stride, knowing that it confirmed the fact that people were taking notice of what we were doing. But whether the people were receptive or not, they all shared one thing in common. Every individual shared the universal desire for something more, something to fill the void in their life. This unquenchable thirst is precisely the reason our ministry team exists. We have found what these people are so desperately searching for, and long for everyone to grasp the hope that we rest in. Not only do we get the chance to share the joy that we have grabbed a hold of in our own life, we get the pleasure of establishing personal relationships with many of the people we speak with.

I love my best friend

My name is Britni Steiling....and i have a best friend. Where do i even begin, Raechel Wendel.....what a woman. We both have decided to venture off on this blogging journey together... so here we go... sharing our hopes, dreams, and fears with the world. Hope you enjoy......