Neoblogs: A New Home

We are currently in the midst of recreating our blogosphere in hopes to bring back the many neobloggers in the fellowship.

  • New additions include now a base site that displays all the most recent posts from current authors.
  • Linked sites for better navigation
  • Updated user functionality for both readers and authors

If you would like to start your own blog or migrate your existing blog back to our new home feel free to contact me at interns@neoxenos.org

Current users may also contact me for support with updating themes and looks for their blog site.

To access you blog site just click you name listed on the site to take you to your blog page, then just click the login link on the side!

UPDATE!!!!

As those of you who have blog sites may have noticed, you should have received an email to set up a new password. This was cause by a transition in our database to make future endeavors much simpler. If you have ANY issues logging in please contact me.

As far as linking social media with your blogs, we will be using Jetpack, you can find this on your dashboard. To do this follow these steps:

1) Log into WordPress and go to your dashboard
2) Towards the top left-hand side click on the “Jetpack” tab
3) It should go to a screen with a giant banner saying to log in with your wordpress.com credentials, along with 6 bubbles of options below it. Click on the giant banner to login and create a new user for yourself (its really easy)
4) After this go back to the previous page and click on the “Sharing” bubble.
5) Once there drag in the social media forms you would like, i.e. twitter or facebook. Make sure you are logged into those accounts. Then simply click the connect button.
6) Before you save at the bottom make sure to change the “Button Style” to “Official Buttons” and then on the “Show Buttons On” section, click the “Posts” tab.
7) Then save and it may take a few minutes to show on your blog, as always if you have any issues, shoot me an email (interns@neoxenos.org)

February

HOW DARE HE PROVIDE FOR ME
This lowly fool that I am

If he to say I’d die today
I’d take me as I am

But loves me, he does
For all because

His Son came down to say
Hear it is my way

With love so big
The juicy fig

How could I turn away?

January

“Positive Poison”

 

Stop poisoning ourselves!
Unfortunately, this may be seen as an anthem
for the poor & beaten down
to rise up for themselves
and own their thrown.

But it isn’t.

Who else is sick of ppl
Lying themselves into a “better” reality
Who should rather take a look
Into what their actual reality is —
Really closing down this fake reality —
And realizing — reality is needed.

The way it really is.

So, please stop.
Stop “changing today” and
“Choosing good vibes only” and
“Cutting out negative people” —
Aren’t we ALL negative ppl ?? —
That’s why we hit against each other oh so hard
(Didn’t we learn about this in high school?
Two negatives don’t attract –
I think. Never was good at science)

Negative can’t fix another negative
Without an extra-outside-positive source
(Sounds like I passed)

Why can’t we all stop PRETENDING
and admit, we need help.

We ARE NOT strong enough to face everything.
LIFE SUCKS – stop painting it prettier
DEAL with your problem.
SEEK help –
From someone
who can actually
help you,
Son.

I May Be Creating Fireworks on a Blank Page?

Recently, I’ve been looking forward to a trip I am taking to – drumroll – ISRAEL! I cannot believe we get to go there in less than a month – and by “we” I mean with around 40 of my friends! I have always wanted the opportunity to travel to another country with a group of my friends. Whenever I have gone somewhere, I think of how certain friends would react. So, going to Israel has me so excited for that reason… SO excited that I thought I’d write a pre-Israel blog, like the one I wrote before going to India last summer, but different.

When this trip was first proposed, the above excitement was all that I had: I was excited to go somewhere with all of my friends! But that’s it. I never felt the desire to go to Israel… I mean, in all of the children’s books and portrayals of Jerusalem I’ve seen, it seems like a dusty, plain place. (Although, that’s the reaction I had to India before going: it wasn’t anywhere I could imagine myself enjoying.) Since actually and financially committing to this trip, I’ve started to do some research into what this land is that we are travelling and spending much mula to go. Why, again? I know Jesus was there, or whatever, but why?

And so, this is what I’ve been asking God lately – what’s the point of going to Israel?

I’ve started reading this book (I am not nearly done, but will finish!) called “The Israelis”. It’s not about Israel’s past, rather, about its present. How do people live day to day in Israel – a country full of history, culture, and turmoil. What surprised me is the tremendous amount of differences you will find in the people of Israel… I forgot – they’ve come from all over the world! Literally! Even Lithuanian Jews moved to Israel when it was birthed. This is amazing!

As I thought about it, why I want to go to Israel now: to be where Jesus was.

Life’s been hard, lately. Not anything tramatic – just, hard. I’ve found myself looking to the past with longing – why can’t life be as exciting or fun as it was two years ago? Why can’t I go back to India and stay there? It’s been a suffering-ish long, low period with little to look forward to, except this trip. On my desk I have Psalm 9:1 posted so I must see it every day: “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds!” Sometimes I read it and laugh – HA! Nothing is wonderful right now! Everything is hard. Nothing is going the way it should. Life lacks excitement. It’s hard to keep hope without having much good news in ministry.

But, as my wise, younger sister reminded me: Paul didn’t have much good news, either. Neither did Abraham… Nothing they really wanted to happen actually happened. Paul was in jail for a few years at a time – that must have been bleak. But he kept hoping! Even Peter, messing up so drastically, (same, Peter, same) was able to rebound and continue in triumph.

What makes me different from them? I’m only looking at the surface results while they were able to experience the joy of being suspended in God’s plan of goodness. They were able to know God so closely, they celebrated everything because he was worth fighting for… And that’s what I’m looking forward to with Israel. I look forward to getting a deeper understanding of the life of Christ, which could not have been filled with many “good things” – I mean, we know this. Yet, in the midst of a world that hated him, he pressed on knowing how good his Father was. That brings me to tears. I see how hard it is to continue when it looks like everything’s falling apart. I see the doubt creeping into my day to day. I see how enslaving these thoughts and feeling are – how restricting they are in keeping us away from knowing the true goodness of our Father – I WILL give thanks to you! I WILL tell of all your wonderful deeds! I won’t let my faith in His goodness die just because it’s getting harder.

I wrote this a few weeks ago and since have started the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4 I was reminded that entering God’s rest means having faith… Rest in the midst of hurt, pain, storms – all happens from faith in who God is, what he wants, and how he has created us to be. I want to get there. Every time I read it, I realize I’m so far away from resting in God, but it’s comforting knowing that’s an option.

Thank you, Lord, for dealing with me so gently and so patiently. Thank you for giving me a chance to learn what I need to learn – even if it takes awhile. Thank you for showing me who you are again & again & disproving my thoughts that affect my life that say: you are not good. Because you are so, SO good.

 

 

Well, that kills my one-blog-per-month goal… so here’s a pic of the cutest kitten you’ll ever see:

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Look at that fuzz….

A whole LOT of UNFINISHED thoughts

When I run, my feet don’t hit
When I prod, it stays put
When I throw, it doesn’t zoom
When I hit, no impact.

It’s like I’m S U S P E N D E D

Like my feet don’t touch the ground
Like the air won’t fill my lungs
Like my fingers won’t curl

But I can think & feel
& everything is so fast around me

But IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII am suspended!
EYE can’t reach!
AYE can’t hit
I CANNOT GO.

I’m looking around at E V E R Y T H I N G
On me, in me, that IIII do.
So concerned, so consumed.
“Why can’t I hit? Why can’t I go??”
Repetition on & again
Examining every piece of me to find freedom

I cannot stop!
I must NOT be suspended any longer
My feet can’t take it
I need the solution. I need to solve this.
I need to move.

I flail & jerk & bend & scream & kick,
but I’m still suspended.
Unrelenting my anguish, unforgiving of my captor
My flesh, it’s crawling & yelling & hating
& I burn because I…
I’m suspended…

fullsizerender

Come here, stupid sheep

Last night was one of those extremely wonderful nights that you don’t get all the time. I started the evening in a sour mood. I got home from work, ignored my husband, and just cleaned/cooked/folded to get my pent-up rage work usually brings out of me. I felt that way even when one of my sisters walked in, 15 minutes earlier than the rest. She was sweet and could tell I wasn’t in the mood. Then, the other girls showed up. This was my high school cell group meeting, so these days require a bit more energy and fun. I was NOT feeling it.

Brenda started sharing what she had studied out of the book we are going over prior to the school year: “Crossing the Line of Faith”. The content arrested me: people matter to God. 

Lately I’ve been hooked on how amazing it is that we get to know God and how life changing it is to get closer & closer to Him. This was definitely an addition to my findings: as you get to know God, you see how remarkably people matter to God. Yes, it seems so obvious: God loves people. I mean Jesus died on the cross for us, didn’t He? But the passage we went over just focused on the weight of God’s care for us so well. The passage was Luke 15 – finding of the lost. 

There are three examples of things that become lost in Luke 15 – a sheep, a coin, and a son. As we read through the process of each thing being lost it was SO relatable! A woman loses her coin and she begins to carefully search EVERYWHERE for it even sweeping! HA! How funny. When I lose something important to me, I lose my shit. It’s on my mind ALL day if I do not find it and if I want it right then & there. Such great efforts, emotion, and time is spent looking for things we care about when they are out of our reach. We think, we strategize, we PRAY for that we could just find what we are looking for – whatever it is! (I think I search for lost items of clothing weekly. Oh, the frustration and turmoil I go through over a pair of pants… How funny.) 

Luke 15 includes my favorite passage from when I was a child: the lost sheep. Oh, how unreasonable the shepherd is!! He has 99 fine, smart sheep, but he leaves them to look for the one lost sheep. How STUPID did that little sheepy have to be to leave the comfort of his flock and the safety of his shepherd and get himself lost? He must’ve been the idiot sheep. I think I’ve always related to this little dull sheepy… What does the shepherd do when he finds his lost sheep? “Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep!’” I have found my stupid little sheep! YES! He cares so deeply for the little, stupid sheep that he gathers a party for its return. 

Lastly, there is the prodigal son. He has everything: wealth, comfort, love… But he was ungrateful, demanded money, then left. How heartbroken his father must have been. (I think of my parents watching me go through my various spurts of rebellion… How much more could I demand of them when they had given me everything?!) Then, the world drags him through shit, and he returns home. Upon his return, there his father sees him and throws a celebration! He did not care what he had done, only that he is home now. 

When we were done, one of the girls voiced a concern she has: that even though she has a relationship with God, she thinks that something will happen in her life to make God look at her after death and reject her from entering into heaven. At this point, I knew I could relate. How often do we think this way that my status with God is conditional?! That if I mess up, he must really be upset with me or annoyed with me or he will ignore me! He won’t be there for me anymore. This is SO sad.

Something I realized during the pain of a brother committing suicide was something beautiful. I wasn’t even too close to him, but I felt the weight of his absence. The body of Christ is so built upon each other, his death left a glaring hole. But then, as a friend and I spoke, she said: “I wonder what he did when he got to heaven… I bet Jesus walked up to him, threw his arms around him and said: ‘This is why I died for you. You are home.”

No matter what we do we have an amazing standing with God. That is how much we matter to Him. He will go to great lengths for us even if we’re as stupid and naive as a sheep or as demanding and rebellious as the son – he will ALWAYS welcome us with open arms. 

Seeing this teenager get it, seeing the tears well in her eyes as we talked about this made me realize I was getting it, too. I had to be reminded. I had to rejoice in this. I forget too often. And we cannot forget. We CAN’T FORGET how solid grace is, how unshakable God’s love is because it affects the basis of our relationship with him. If I think he judges me, it will not be a good relationship. It will be based on pressure and fear. But with the freedom to come to the Lord as David does and voice whatever concerns you have – that’s a real relationship! That is why your best friend is SO cool. No matter what my best friend does, I will always be on her side. Even if I’m mad, even if she annoys me, even if I’m being a jerk: we committed to being best friends. If you mess with my best friend, you better watch your back. She’s my person. (Silly, but for real.) 

God is staggering. 

The second part of the lesson is this: as you get to know God, people start to obviously matter to you.  15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”

During our discussion, one girl said: “This is something I struggle with, though, is caring about people…” Although, as she spoke she came to the realization that she has started to care more about people. One of the greatest motivators for caring about people enough to invite them to Beta or tell them about God is heaven. She realized that maybe I don’t care about them, but how much of a bitch do I have to be not to tell them about heaven. 

I really loved her honesty. Yeah, it isn’t natural to care about people – especially this deeply! I could TOTALLY relate to her. As I thought about this, I realized how important people have become to me. Not all the time, obviously, but how much joy I’ve realized I have in others.

I believe this comes with getting close to God. As you see his value in other people, you start to value them yourself. Also, it must be the right thing to value if the God of the universe values it, right?! 

Anyway… this is long and I could go on & on, but I’m so thankful I matter to God enough for him to love my sin-filled being and teaches me to value others. 

Thoughts on Knowing God…

For the past few weeks I have been writing down every encounter I have with verses that mention “knowing God” in the Bible. Yeah, I could probably just do a word search or whatever and they would all come up, but I decided to do it this way out of curiosity… Well, it just sort of happened. I think I really started this list because, for the first time, I started really noticing how OFTEN the NT authors mention the IMPORTANCE of knowing God!

These verses have so much passion to them. When I read them, my heart started racing. I read them out loud to myself, and tears would gather. They read like words on fire, like poetry, like the most important truths in all of the world throughout all of time… the words about the importance of knowing God.

I made this list out of curiosity because, when I began, I was a little confused about knowing God. I knew that He was important to know, but I was not sure why it was mentioned so often just that we should “know” him. I mean, really, you’d think the passion that swirls and surrounds these verses would be better around a different topic. Maybe one like serving God? Or evangelism? Yes, these topics do have their fair share of passion, but I realized that knowing comes first. It must.

I’ve been through a few changes in my life. In fact, 2016 has been the craziest year and we’re only in June! I started the year looking forward to a wedding, I was hospitalized, I started a fast-paced full-time job, friends have left, I got married + moved in with my new husband, and I have been trying to juggle functioning, submitting, and keeping my thoughts centered on God. It has NOT been going well. My walk has been suffering a little and weeks go by where I do not feel even an ounce of passion like I did before for the Lord. I feel like I’m dragging behind, and often forget the involvement of my creator in my own life. I feel pretty forgotten, left out, and keep piling expectations on myself that I keep failing to meet. Being a grown up sucks. See, I’m still a kid – just in an adult body.

So, in the few times I have reached out to God through his words for comfort, direction, and help all I can see is the importance of knowing God. At first, it was frustrating. But now, I know why this is all I can see: if we do not know God, then we burnout. We act apart from him, which is not how he intended us to live. We start reverting back to our own ability and forget his power.

There is no action here… Maybe just opening a Bible and flipping pages. It is a mindset change, a commitment to remember your need for the Lord. A humbling experience that reminds me I cannot without him. A restoration of hope in who He is and what He has done for us. Getting to know God is the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced.

Over the weekend, we got to hear Keith talk about David – the man after God’s own heart. He spent all of his time getting to know God, didn’t he? He still fell, he still experienced fear and sorrow, he still failed miserably… But he knew God well enough to give his life to him – over & over. His knowledge of God took him to great heights and made his life complete. When you read the Psalms there are mixed emotions, but there is an overall sense of security and hope. David knew the breadth, depth, width, and height of God’s love and stood in it. God was his best friend, his rock. What an amazing best friend.

I want God to be my best friend. I feel like I’m starting over in this phase of my life. Everything has changed. But one thing I know is the same is God’s love for me. How patient and kind he is with me. How much He wants for me. I want to be like David. I want to be like Howard. And Martha. It’s possible to know God without getting swept away in the insanity of life.

Knowing God intimately, as a best friend, propels us into a relationship that results in the outpouring of love. That results in peace in our own lives. That results in answered questions. That results in security and stability in every situation, even the bad ones… Because: we know God.

Maybe I’ll post again about more of my findings… Until then, what are your experiences or encounters with getting to know God better? Anyone else have this sort of revelation?

(Didn’t list the verses bc it might be fun for you all to find them yourselves! Keep an eye out while you’re in your word, maybe?)