Saturday, March 23, 2013


to the Jesus Culture "Live from New York" album.  It's fantastic.  I actually didn't get into Jesus Culture until about a year ago, but ever since I stopped and listened to a couple of their songs, I haven't been able to stop.  Such pure, focused worship.  It's precious.

Also, I'm not usually a big fan of what I like to call "generic Christian radio" music (and if you are, I am more than happy for you), but I actually really like Matthew West's latest single, "Hello, My Name Is."  It's all about one of my favorite verses, 1 John 1:3.  Check out this amazing bridge and chorus:

What love the Father has lavished upon us, 
That we should be called His children.
Hello, my name is Child of the one true King.
I've been saved, I've been changed, and I have been set free.
"Amazing Grace" is the song I sing.
I am a child of the one true King.

So much identity is in this song, and I love it.

Some secular music I'm enjoying right now would be a large portion of the latest FUN. album, as well as the entire Imagine Dragons album.  I'd definitely recommend purchasing all of Imagine Dragon's songs, but be careful with FUN., because a few of their songs have family un-friendly words.

"Iscariot" by Tosca Lee.  Okay, this is kind of a lie.  I actually finished this book about a couple weeks ago, and I'm currently re-reading "The Scarlet Letter" for my English Lit class, but I want to talk about "Iscariot" for a little bit.  Tosca Lee is my favorite author of all time.  "Havah" is my favorite novel, "Demon: A Memoir" is fantastic, and Tosca Lee's collaborations with Ted Dekker are all amazing.

"Iscariot" did not fail to disappoint.  I've never looked at Judas in such a way before as Tosca Lee painted before my eyes.  I've always been able to relate with Peter and John and Thomas in their brokenness and faith in Christ, but for the first time, I have looked at the disciple Judas and seen my broken self in him too.  "Iscariot" is beautifully written.

Fun fact.  Once, after I reviewed "Havah" on my blog, I received a personal email from Tosca Lee, thanking me!  Needless to say, I was more than a little excited. 

and in the Bible...  
I'm occasionally messaged asking how I read the Bible during my quiet times, and perhaps one day, I will write an entire blog post about this topic.  Usually, I read from four different places in the Bible each day.  I do this so I can get a grasp of both the new and old testaments, and see more clearly God's love and promise throughout the entirety of His Word.  I'm not legalistic about this, so some days I might read in only one place and other days I might read in ten, but I have four bookmarks that I use.

A college minister also recommended that we mark down each book of the Bible after we've read it; this is something I have been doing ever since.  This way, I can remember what I have studied recently and what I haven't.  Each word of the Bible is from God.  I don't want to read James a hundred times and never once open Lamentations.  Reading in more than one place lets me re-read my favorite passages, while exploring unusual ones at the same time.  And I've found so many treasures this way.

I'm currently reading in Joshua, Psalm, Song of Solomon, and Romans.  Yesterday I finished Ecclesiastes, which is one of my favorite books of the Bible.

Community!  It's a comedic sitcom about a charismatic and self-centered lawyer who discovers his Canadian education is unaccredited, so he must return to college to get a new degree.  In the process, he befriends a gaggle of bizarre students in his Spanish class.

I finished season 3 of Downton Abbey two weeks ago, which left me feeling distraught and unsure of what I could watch next that would possibly measure up to my new favorite show.  I found an unexpected delight in Community.  Each episode is less than half an hour long, which is convenient, and they've all been hilarious so far.  I like to watch an episode of TV after I get home from class and I'm recovering from the day, so I'm always looking for good shows. 

how to play "Dawn" from the movie Pride & Prejudice on the piano.  Unfortunately, my keyboard is in my hometown, so I'm having to stall the progress I made during Spring Break until I go back in May.

about how the Lord has been moving this semester.  Totally because of His faithfulness and power, I've raised nearly half the money I need to go to Kenya this summer in less than two weeks.  Also, He moved in a big way today, so I'd like to share that experience with you. 

I was meeting at the on-campus chapel with a few of my friends this afternoon.  There were six of us in total, about to have a small meeting for our Christian organization.  However, before we began, a young man entered the room and approached our group.  "Hey," he said, "this chapel is called All-Faiths Chapel, so are you of all faiths or only one?"

"We believe in Jesus, so we're of only one faith.  We're just meeting here to talk about Him," we explained.  "What do you believe?"

"I believe in everything.  I'm a Muslim, but I believe in Christianity and Judaism too."  The guy, whose name was Zach, excused himself in a friendly way and left the room, but he was back in less than five minutes, asking another question about our faith.  Immediately, someone in our group invited Zach to sit down.

I asked Zach how certain he was of his salvation, and he shook his head.  "I'm not sure if I'll go to heaven.  I don't think I will know until after I die.  It's up to God."  When we asked him if he had any questions, he surprisingly had many.  Each question held depth and sincerity.  Zach wanted to know what it meant to believe that God was three-in-one.  He wanted to know the difference between Jesus the Prophet and Jesus the Savior (and God).  And he wanted to know why God would ever send His only Son down to earth to die a horrible death for our sake.  Although Zach said he was a Muslim, he did not know much about his own religion.  There was an empty, aching place in Zach's heart.

For two hours, we talked to Zach.  Every person in the room was able to share the Gospel with him in a lovely and unique way.  By the time we all said goodbye, Zach made no decision to follow Christ, but thoughts were turning in his head.  Seeds had been planted; love had been sown.  Zach clearly wanted to know more, and for perhaps the first time in his life, he was considering the idea that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. 

I've been thinking recently about how sometimes it seems like every person on my college campus has heard the Gospel and claims to be a Christian, at least by their words.  This isn't true.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of lost and hurting students on my campus alone.  They're seeking something, and God will be faithful to their searching hearts.

For the remainder of this semester, I want to put more of my focus into asking God to work through me to share the Gospel with everyone around me.  I don't want to care about what others think.  I don't want to care about my own shyness and discomfort.  If there are people walking past me each day who are searching for truth and have not found it, I want to share it with them.  I want to have the eyes and ears and hands and feet of the Lord.  I want to be used.

What are you listening, reading, watching, learning, and thinking?


  1. Emily, I was moved by that last paragraph to say that it confirms what I first thought of you, when I found your blog during a search for people who want to be candles for God. I will tell you frankly that I've sometimes wondered if you're a fictional character. You look too good to be real! (tears) I know you might not like me saying that. (tears again). I'm pouring out my heart here. I'm trying to learn to speak from my heart more, when I feel moved to do so, no matter how much I make a fool of myself.

    I'm confused about whether to post here, or to write to you privately about such personal feelings. Should I embarrass you by posting them here, or make you uncomfortable by writing privately, or just forget the whole thing? I'm sorry if I've made the wrong choice. (tears again)

    What I'm listening, reading, watching, learning, and thinking:

    I'm trying to learn to be a better friend to each person in my life. A new idea I've thought of recently, to improve in that, is to find something a person is doing or learning to do in his life, that I can try to learn to do too.

    I've just started working on a Web site with samples of individual initiatives putting into action what a person believes in. I'll ask each person to write a description of his initiative, and how it relates to what he believes in.

    Reading: Robert Lawrence Kuhn, "How China's Leaders Think"

    Watching: Patty and I watched a Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn movie a few days ago.

    Learning: Trying to learn to build a Web site.

    1. Thank you for your sweet feedback, Jim. Your words are always an encouragement. I appreciate your openness and honesty.

    2. You put a big smile on my face!