Monthly Archives: March 2009

Easter Series (Introduction)

Easter Lily   Easter is right around the corner. The day that has been hidden by candy and fluffy bunnies still manages to shine through all of that to show the Truth, the Way, and the Light. It’s so easy to forget the reason behind the best day in history by the show that the world puts on to try to distract us. We are all busy with Easter plans, services, activities and such going on that we forget to take a deep breath, slow down, and meditate on the glory of this day where we celebrate the gospel, our salvation, and all that Christ has done for us.

 Easter was when Jesus conquered death and sin. Easter was when the whole world was turned upside down. Easter is when the most miraculous event in history happened, Jesus rose from the dead. Easter was when God saved us. There has been no better day since the dawn of time than Easter.

 This year I’m going to do a series of blog posts for the purpose of preparing my own heart and also help you as well. I’m also going to try to read Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die (also known as The Passion of Jesus Christ) by John Piper in the next two weeks so I’m sure a lot of my posts will be influenced by this book (not to mention quotes galore!). I hope you all enjoy this series and the Lord will work through them to help your hearts be ready for Easter. God bless!


Filed under Christianity, Easter Series, Faith, Holidays, Jesus, The Gospel

New Theme!

 Hey guys,

 You might of noticed that there is a slight, ok, big change of theme. I was getting sick of my old one and felt it was uninviting and sort of cold, nothing like me. :) I also have a bunch of other reasons for the switch… one of them being that I wanted the widgets on the right side. I hope you guys enjoy it and aren’t too shocked! God bless!


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Welcome to the Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

 Welcome to my blog party! 5 Minutes for Mom’s is hosting the Ultimate Blog Party with hundreds (and maybe thousands) of bloggers and even though I am sure not a mom, I thought it would be a great way to network my blog and meet new blog palls. So for all those coming over from the UBP, welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy it!

 I started this blog last June as an outlet for my writing and meditations. It’s been a lot bigger of a journey then I would of expected. Through my blog I have met so many dear friends, including some that I have gotten to meet in person. My prayer for this blog is that God will use my meager efforts to encourage, convict, or inspire someone. My goal is that God will be glorified above all else.

 That brings me to the biggest part of my life, my great and awesome God. He has saved me from my state of ugliness and filth and through the redemption of His blood I have been made clean and am called a child of God. There is nothing more wonderful then to know that I am forgiven for all my sins and that I have a God that loves me, not because what I’ve done or who I am, but because of who He is and what He’s done.

 With that said, I suppose I should also share some other passions in my life. Music is one of the biggest things in my life. I play piano, guitar, and violin and am a song writer and music teacher “aprentice”. I am almost always listening to music and I’ll listen to almost anything. Currently I’m in a folk/acoustic rock/pop phase with some 50s and 60s oldies tacked on. I also take great pride in having jammed with the next big thing in worship music, Vivit, and having my own brother in the next big band Solution2Pollution.

 One of the things that I am know for is my passion against modern day slavery. My dad terms it “Olivia’s Little Crusade” (though I don’t like the term “crusade”…). It’s something that God has heavily put on my heart to fight against and it’s one of my greatest passions. Go look under the tags “slavery” and “Human Trafficking” for more of what I have to say about it. I support “International Justice Mission“, “Free The Slaves“, “Love 146“, and my all time favorite “Project Rescue“.

 I also adore my wonderful family including our newest additions, two little boys ages 2 1/2 and almost 1 through foster care adoption. We were placed with them about three weeks ago and it will be another 6-9 months before the adoption is finalized. I love them to death and am having a great time having little munchkins to snuggle with and love to death. :D I am also blessed with two wonderful parents, a fantastic older brother who is one of my closest friends, and a little sister with some mental special needs.

 Well God bless you and be sure to leave a comment so I can visit your site as well! God bless you and for my regular readers, I’ll have a new post on here shortly, I just have to get through 11 performances of a play I’m in first. :)


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Does God Need Us?

 In the church there tends to be a constant (and rightful) focus on doing things for God. Going out and witnessing, helping the poor and hungry, ministering to others, and being a light to the darkness. These are all awesome and amazing things and it’s right and good to serve God. In my last post I talked about having a heart that is willing to do whatever God calls us to do. But how often do we look at God and the work He calls us to do and think that God needs us?

 Reverence for God is lost in our day and age. Even in the church God is not seen as the great and powerful I AM but as a grandpa figure, someone that needs our help crossing the street because His arms are too full of groceries to push the walker. I mean, God’s pretty old… he’s getting up there is age, he must need our help crossing the street, right? Wrong. What we need to remember is that God doesn’t need us. Ever. He is all powerful, all mighty, all knowing, all creating, and all doing Yahweh. He can make the very rocks rise up and praise Him.

 God will accomplish His plan with whatever means He chooses. But we tend to see that we (or someone else) are doing great things for God and “God must really need them!” God spoke the very world into existence. He breathed life into the dust of the ground. We are but His creation and He can do fine without us.

 We often loose sight of how small we actually are. We have the humblest beginnings; we came from dust and couldn’t even keep the one rule that God gave man. God is the Alpha and Omega. He existed before time even began and through Him all things were made; without Him nothing that was made that has been made. (John 1:3) He spoke and there was light. He has total control over angels, demons, nature, space, time, science, and humans.

 So are you making God into a feeble old grandpa by the way you live? In your mind is He as awesome as He actually is? Or are you cheapening him? Do you look at yourself and think that God needs you in order for Him to work? Do you look at God and think that He needs help crossing the street because things are obviously not working out too well in the world? We need to ask ourselves these things and search our hearts for signs of this sin. I think that most of us have at least traces of it in our lives. Now it’s just time to recognize them and cut them out.

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Two Different Prophets

There was a man in Israel many years ago. He was a “good” man and a Jew, one of God’s chosen people. In fact, he was a prophet, one of the chosen messengers of Yahweh. One day God had a task for this man. There was a great city in the heart of the Assyrian empire that was extremely wicked, exceedingly evil. God told this man to go to the people of the city and to call them to repent. But he was reluctant. No way was he going to these Gentiles! He knew that God would be merciful if they repented and this prophet didn’t want that.

 So what did he do? He ran.

 As far as he could; as fast as he could. All he wanted was to be away from the presence of Yahweh. Of course that’s what sin does, makes us separated and afraid of the Lord. But the story doesn’t end there. This prophet had found a ship going as far away from the wicked city as you could get in those days (they didn’t have space travel yet) and boarded it. But God wasn’t over with him yet.

 Soon the waters turned violent and a storm arose. It threatened to destroy the ship and the sailors were afraid, they each called out to their own god. The captain went and found our runaway prophet sleeping in the inner part of the ship and called him to call out to his god with hope that maybe that god would hear them. The sailors soon realized that this was happening because of someone’s evil. They cast lots and the lot fell on the prophet. He confessed that he was running from the Lord God Yahweh and the sailors were greatly afraid.

 After trying to row back to shore, they realized that the only way for this storm to stop was to throw the sinful prophet into the sea. As soon as that happened the storm ceased completely. Then something unexpected happened. The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow the prophet. Our prophet spent three days in the belly of this fish, crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness despite his sin. God heard him and caused the fish to spit the prophet onto dry land. Again God called him to go to the wicked city, this time he knew better than to disobey. So he went to these people and told them of their eminent destruction.

 What happened? The sinful people repented of their sins.

 This shocked the prophet and he mourned. For he did not want God to show these people grace. The story doesn’t have a happy ending. The prophet waited for the city to be destroyed and even when God showed his mercy to him again he still had no mercy inside his own heart. He ended up having more compassion towards a plant then the whole city.

 The prophet I spoke of was Jonah as many of you already figured out. The story of Jonah is one that those growing up in the church have heard since we could sit in our parents laps as they read to us. It’s so familiar and so we often overlook it. This story is so rich though, it holds so much truth for us no matter our age. Though there are many lessons to learn from Jonah, one that has struck me lately is his response to God’s call. He down right refused to do what God commanded because the job was hard and he despised the people of Nineveh. This is an amazing contrast to another prophet in the Bible, Isaiah.

 There Isaiah was, before God’s holy throne in heaven. With the angels and seraphim bowing before the amazing glory of the Most High, the Lord of Hosts. I wont even try to begin to describe the awe inspiring glory of God, for is it not only impossible, but it often limits the glory of God. When Isaiah beheld God’s radiance he was sure he would die. For he was “a man of unclean lips dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips” yet he had “seen the King, the Lord of hosts”.

 Then a seraphim flew to him with a burning coal in his hands and touched that coal to Isaiah’s lips saying, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sins atoned for”. Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”. “Here I am! Send me,” Was his reply to the Most High.

 God had big plans in store for Isaiah. Not only would Isaiah tell the people of their evil and call for repentance, but he would foretell the birth and death of Christ! He did amazing things and the words God gave him composed the largest book of prophesy in the Bible. Of course God did things through Jonah too. God used Jonah, even if he was not willing to be used, but Jonah got no reward.

 We are presented here with two completely different prophets. One that had a heart that turned a cold shoulder to God and despised His mercy. The other, when hearing that God wanted an ambassador, he cried out in an offering of himself. I wish I could say that I had the heart of Isaiah, but far too often my heart is like Jonah’s. I’m afraid that if I do what God tells me to do the results wont be what I want. If I surrender to God maybe things wont quite turn out right. The truth is, that God is perfect and when He calls us to do anything for Him, He knows what He’s doing.

 God is continually calling us to do “something”. Whether it’s simple things like reaching out to our single mother neighbor and shoveling her driveway or even just being faithful in our quiet times or it’s huge things like going to the mission field or continuing to trust in the Lord when your daughter dies, there is a constant call. So what will your response be? Will you humbly cry out to God, “here I am, send me!” or will you turn and run the other way?

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Project Rescue

 I’m obsessed. I realized that quite awhile ago but it’s hitting me again.  What is this obsession of mine, you ask? What is this thing that when I hear it I instantly sit up strait in my chair and excitedly look at my friends with a smile on my face? Or make me want to break down weeping with sorrow and pain? This is a relatively new obsession for me and has grown as my knowledge grows. So what is it? Slavery. Particularly when it comes to young women who are sex slaves. It breaks my heart and all I want to do is to weep with these girls.

 I have to wonder if some of you broke out your calendar, checking to see if there was any “justice” or “freedom” holiday. :) No, it’s no holiday, unless “Olivia is Uber Passionate Again Day” but that happens almost weekly… maybe it should just be a day of the week. Wouldn’t that be fun? :) And yet it’s more serious than just that. It’s one of the things that God has laid on my heart with an incredible burden and I can’t ignore this call on my life to pursue justice.

A few months ago I was looking around Leslie Ludy’s website and stumbled across Project Rescue. I was so excited to find this anti slavery mission that was not only working with mainly women and doing mostly aftercare work but was also mainly located in INDIA!!!! (Those of you who don’t know, I also have a slight, moderate ok, huge obsession with India and a burden for the people there.) Last night I looked at their site again and was overcome with a renewed passion for these young women and a deep desire to help.

 Not only is Project Rescue providing medical care, education, counseling, and a home to victims of human trafficking, they are offering hope and freedom in Christ! They are boldly and apologetically a Christian mission and they share the light of the gospel to those in the darkness. So please go to to their website and check them out! It’s such a fantastic and needed ministry. Just think about the ripe harvest waiting to be gathered when it comes to these sex slaves! What a desire for love and hope that must dwell inside of them and there is no one else who can better satisfy their desire than Jesus! For He has already said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

 So what can we do to help? Well of course we can pray. That is a huge thing that is so important. But in addition to that I think that educating ourselves and others is a great place to start. Project Rescue have some great article links on their site like this article from the New York Times about sex slavery in Asia. Also you can find stories of former slaves on their site as well. If you are on Facebook I would encourage you to join the Project Rescue cause as well as the group they have. Not only is this showing support for the organization but it can also open up windows of opportunity to share with friends. One last thing that is unique is that you can buy items made from the survivors in Nepal HERE.  Pashmina shawls, hats (they are really really cute!), journals, bags, and table runners. All very beautiful and  are giving these women a chance at a new life (and you don’t have to worry about the workers being paid fare wages for once!).

 God loves the fatherless and the opressed and hates injustice. We are the hands and feet of Christ on earth. Our responce to seeing injustice is action, or at least it should be. What will your responce be?

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, Justice, Missions, Passion, Slavery

My Family Grew!

 For a really long time we have been hoping that our family would grow a little more. We were just far too small (in my opinion) with only three children and five people total.  Well now our family is officially “hefty” as I put it. :) This last Friday we added two little boys to our family. They are being placed with us for adoption through foster care. Here is my dad’s post about this along with a John Piper clip on the theology of adoption.  I can’t say too much online since it’s through foster care and for privacy purposes. But I will say that they are very cute and I am loving them so much!

 So my life is very crazy right now so posting is slow. I’ve been working on a post and should have it ready in the next few days. I’ve also been finding some cool nuggets of wisdom I would like to share with you soon. Here is a quote I came across by J. Hudson Taylor (a personal hero of mine and great missionary to China) that I want to give to you to chew on. Give me your thoughts on it.

“Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success.”

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The Call (Monthly Poetry Challenge)

 Before I post my poetry, I need to mention how I was inspired for this poem. My dear friend Abigail’s mom, Lynnette Kraft, wrote a wonderful book that I am currently reading entitled In Faithfulness He Afflicted Me. It’s about her personal story of loosing three of her nine children. In one part of the book she talks about how after the second time she experienced the death of a son she was talking to a friend and she talked about how we should look at trials like God is asking us, “will you, my servant, go through this hard thing in order that I may get glory?”. That really made me think about how we are to look at trials. This poem is my meditations of that. (Note: I should have a post out in the next few days talking about having a heart like Isaiah rather than Jonah. Keep your eyes out for that.)


Standing before God’s holy throne

His glory, I behold

Full and alive

Too much for my small eyes

The angels bow in praise

And I fall on my face


“Behold, I am unclean

I don’t deserve for you to look on me

I should be struck down

For your holiness is renown”


He looks at me and says, “rise”

“I need a servant that wont compromise

Who may I find to complete this task?

Of bringing me glory by doing all that I ask?

The trials they face will be tough

But am I not more than enough?”


“Lord use me!” I beg in reply

“I will serve you and not your name deny

Whatever you say, whatever you have me do

I will be devoted to you.”


“Then take on this affliction

This thorn in your side

Keep remembering that I’ll never say goodbye

Bring my glory, by this testing of faith

Be my ambassador to that sinful place

I will afflict you,

But you will stay strong

For I am Yahweh and I am you God.


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The Greatest Power For Change

 I live in a tough area of the country. Drugs and alcohol abuse run strong and there are as many bars as churches, if not more. It’s the most unchurched county in the state. Teen alcoholism, STDs, and pregnancies run high. There are children as young as four roaming the streets in the town. A few years ago a girl like that was kidnapped and hasn’t been found. It’s a hard place here.

 Yet God has been changing my heart towards it… while I used to have a bitterness and an attitude of scoffing towards the depraved culture, now God has been showing me that this is a place in desperate need of the gospel. No amount of abstinence speakers, police enforcement, parental guidance, or anything else can change this group of small towns that makes up the area I live in. Only the power that can bring about change is the gospel. It’s Jesus’ blood and redemption through His grace.

 We are Christ’s ambassadors. We have the light of the world inside of us and it’s our job to let that light shine. In James is says that whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, he is sinning. We keep the good news of the gospel locked up inside of our hearts, letting it out a little at church or on a missions trip. But if that’s so, do we really value the gospel? The gospel is the power of God, our salvation, hope, water for the thirsty, strength. Do we truly value the gospel if we don’t share it?

 One of my favorite stories about a man who truly valued the gospel was pastor John Harper. He was so in love with the gospel that he jumped into that ice cold water from the ship Titanic so that he would share the gospel to the dying souls drowning in the water. He cherished and prized the gospel enough to tell everyone he could instead of only worrying about his own life and wellbeing. That is how we should be.

 We should be madly in love, infatuated, captivated, enraptured, obsessed, and head over heals for the gospel that we should have a passion to see others find that love too. I know full well how hard it is to break down our pride, to be willing to make things socially awkward, risk friendships, or our reputations to share the good news of forgiveness and life in Christ. I’m still learning how to do it and do not do a good job of sharing the gospel yet. But I pray that God will work in my heart to make His truth so treasured in my heart that I can’t not share it.

 It’s so easy to just hate the sinful culture instead of changing it. Though we are to hate sin, we are to love sinners with a pure heart, one that desires to see sinners lead to repentance and regeneration and ultimately to God. We can’t do the saving on our own, we aren’t even the one that does any of the saving. We are simply the preachers of the good news, the rest is God’s job, not ours.

“Wake Up” Leeland

The nation lost and dying
Searching for You
Creation waits
Children with the word of God
Written on their hearts
Show love to the world

We need to wake up, wake up
Live like God
Pour out love
We need to wake up, wake up
Live like God
Pour out love

I know it’s sad
That the gift we have
We keep it for ourselves
Most of the time
The world is looking
For a love that’s locked up
Inside these four walls
Break the door down and shine

Our face is set
Our goal is heaven
Jesus, You are the well of love
We’ll pour You out
We’ll pour You out

(Note: My dad has some excellent posts on evangelism and the gospel on his new blog Gospel2Live. Go check it out!)


Filed under Christianity, Everyday Life, Faith, heroes, Jesus, Passion, The Gospel