Tag Archives: Jesus

I feel pretty . . .


The next topic on my blog challenge was to write about the best compliment I ever received and why it meant so much. Contrary to the title of this post, my favorite compliments have nothing to do with being pretty.

For those of you that don’t know, my first love was theatre.  In fact, my undergrad degree is in theatre, with a minor in vocal performance.  Back in college I walked off stage after performing a monologue in “The Good Doctor” and a fellow cast member told me “You inspire me.”  I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty dang good.  Partly because that cast member was a professional actor who’d been being paid to act for years.  But if we’re being real, it probably had a lot more to do with the fact that I had a massive crush on him.  So maybe that’s not really the best compliment I ever received.

Then there was this time about six years ago I asked a parent I knew to write a reference for me.  I was applying to work as a nanny and I needed to have several written references.  Within her letter she wrote, “I believe Amanda would sacrifice her life and take a bullet for my kids.”  Awe.  It was awesome . . . and it really is true.  I fall in love with every kid I am blessed to work with and I’m so thankful that not only the kids, but also the parents, feel that love.

But probably my favorite complement came one day in college when someone came up to me.  I’m not really sure how she knew me.  Honestly, I can’t even remember who it was.  But she looked at me with a slightly curious look on her face.  Then she said, “I see Jesus in you.”  And that was amazing.  That’s my life goal right there.  For people to look at me and not see my occupation or IQ, not my dress size or faults, but to see the love of Jesus through me.

What about you?  What kind of compliment has made your day?


The Vision


Tonight I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite poems!  This is The Vision by Pete Greig.  Pete is one of the founders of the 24/7 Prayer Movement and is the Director of Prayer at Holy Trinity Brompton in London.  I hope you enjoy his poem as much as I do!

So this guy comes up to me and says,
“What’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open up my mouth and the words come out like this…

The vision?
The vision is Jesus:
obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is of an army of young people.
You see bones?
I see an army.

And they are free from materialism—
They laugh at nine-to-five little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the West was won.

They are mobile like the wind.
They belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting, dirty and dying.

What is the vision?
The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimal integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, from every conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps—their Satan games.

This is an army that would lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day, its soldiers choose to lose that they might one day win the great “well done” of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night.

They don’t need fame from names.
Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again:
And this is the sound of the underground, the whisper of history in the making, foundations shaking, revolutionaries dreaming once again.
Mystery is scheming in whispers, conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground.

And the army is disciple(in)ed—
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Who can stop them?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them?

And the generation prays like a dying man with groans beyond talking, with warrior cries, sulfuric tears and great barrow loads of laughter!

Whatever it takes they will give:
Breaking the rules,
Shaking mediocrity from its cozy little hide,
Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs,
Laughing at labels,
Fasting essentials.
The advertisers cannot mold them.
Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late-night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive on the inside.
On the outside?
They hardly care!
They wear clothes like costumes: to communicate and celebrate, but never to hide.

Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their lives, swap seats with the man on death row, guilty as hell: a throne of an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days, they pray as if it all depends on God and live as though it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses Jesus.
He breathes out.
They breathe in.
Their subconscious sings.
They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.

Their words make demons scream in shopping malls.
Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdoes!
Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes!
They walk tall and trees applaud.
Skyscrapers bow.
Mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.

Their prayers summon the Hound of Heaven and evoke the dream of Eden.

And, this vision will be.
It will come to pass.
It will come easily.
It will come soon.

How do I know?
Because, this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the spirit, the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is His today.
My distant hope is His 3-D.
And, my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking, great “AMEN!” from countless angels, from heroes of the faith, from Christ himself.

And He is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Were Adam and Eve cave people?


Were Adam and Eve cave people?

That’s what I was asked by a kid at church recently.  Let me back up.  At Kid Connect we believe it’s important to involve kids in the learning process, so we encourage them to ask questions.  We don’t want to be that teacher calling out the standard fill-in-the-blank questions looking for “Sunday School answers.”  So, throughout the worship experience kids have the opportunity to write down questions.  We take those questions and the inspiration leaders (our large group teachers) address those questions in the teach time.  As you can imagine we get some awesome questions.  Teachers have three options when they read a question–they can answer it themselves, challenge the kids to come up with the answer, or they can put it in the “Expert Box” for me to answer later.

As you can imagine, I get some very interesting questions.  And so it was that last weekend during one of our venues our inspiration leader pulled out a question and read “Were Adam and Eve cave people?”  There was a moment of awkward silence.  Then she looked up, smirked at me, and laughed “Well, that one’s going in the Expert Box.”

Thanks a lot.

Here are some of the other questions I’ve been asked:

  • Did God know Santa?
  • How do we love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, when we’ve never met him?
  • How was the “big bang” made?
  • How many people die from hunger in 24 hours?
  • Why did the women not get treated fairly?
  • Why are people mean?
  • Can I beat up people?
  • What does God look like?
  • How do I get people to stop hitting me?
  • How does hope spread?
  • Can God stop school?
  • Why didn’t God just wipe out sin instead of making Jesus die?
  • Why are some churches so big and fancy and some don’t have a playground?
  • What do you do when there are a lot of people annoying you?
  • When you get baptized is it like falling back into Jesus’ arms?
  • How do you tell someone you are afraid of about Jesus?
  • Why do people think it’s all about money?
  • Why do people bully?
  • Does God have a Holy Spirit in himself

Wow!  Right?

So, it’s time for you to get involved!   What questions have kids asked you?  Or, what questions do you have that you’ve been too afraid to ask?  And how would you answer these questions?

Reflections on Volunteering at a Homeless Shelter


dull plop
hard crusts
and mashed pasta
spooned onto
cold pastels of
plastic trays
white plastic spoon
white plastic fork
pale hands
with smooth skin
perfectly filed
pass the hard tray
out the
in tired eyes

thin bodies
thread bare
rough hands
big smiles
large hearts
tight hugs
tired eyes
I hold you
in my lap
I smile large
laugh loud
but inside
I cry
and so do you
we try to be strong
for each other—
the world
if only
I could hold you
but impossibility of humanity
prevents it

so instead
I whisper sweet words of
in your ear
sing you happy songs
and hold you
for this moment


If I’m Invisible to You


The following is a poem I wrote a while ago.  It is dedicated to the children who inspired the Invisible Children movement, for more information check out http://www.invisiblechildren.com.

the soft thud of your footfalls haunt my dreams
i hear your calloused heals hit the dusty paths of beaten down earth
i watch as your thin body balances a small plastic bag in one hand
[contents: one tattered strip of cloth; translation: blanket]
while gently resting your other arm on my shoulder
[you do not notice i am there]
i smell the pungent odor of sweat mingled with sewage as we
walk on
we must be nearing the town
as we draw closer a smiles rises across your beautiful, sorrow- scarred face
in your eyes i watch the moonlight dance as you begin to stretch
your clenched body
soon i hear the litany of drumbeats calling out to us
and then i hear you laugh—
God, what a beautiful sound
laugh, as you lift your arm off my shoulder and run toward the glowing fire
[i rush forward after you]
i watch as you join thousands of faces—
all smiling
[trying to disguise the fear and sorrow i see still lurking there]
i watch as you dance in the street—
rhythmically beating your hips to the bass line that blares from some dollar-store radio
[checking my pockets, i wonder why i don’t have anything to offer you.  i sat down to eat with you only once today]
slowly the sun fades away into complete darkness
[and i push forward, put my arm around your shoulders]
and we begin to hurry towards the small basement nearby
[the size of my one bedroom apartment]
already our friends have arrived
121 of us
[i try to picture all of you in my apartment—sleeping on counter  tops and bookshelves]
you are expert clowns fitting children in a tiny car
i watch as you carefully unpack your plastic bag,
climb atop a pillar,
stretch out your blanket,
and close your eyes
[you don’t see me, but]
i stand by and listen till your breathing slows to sleep.
lean down and kiss your head goodnight.
and i stand by
whispering prayers
. . . God, i know you care for this child . . .
and i stand by
praying that i may ward off the demons that haunt you
and i stand
i stand.

they tell me that you are invisible.
that because your family bore you into another place, far away,
because you’re poor,
because you’re African,
that you are invisible.
and i know they’re right.
but i want to know why that’s true.
i want to know if i’m invisible too
if when i stand
with my dimes instead of dollars
my prayers instead of peace
if i’m invisible to you.

tomorrow we will repeat this pilgrimage.
you will haunt my dreams as we travel that long, dusty road
if i am invisible to you, i want you to know
you are not invisible to me.





Living Without


we’d been living without
faded away like the mists that cloaked Eden’s garden
that day paradise evaporated, we buried hope
hid it in the darkest cave
in the pursuit of survival

and then he entered our wilderness
journeyed with us through our desert
and we began to dig
to retrieve that forgotten treasure
hope tiptoed into our vision
began to color our world
and then, like a cheating fox
it snuck into our souls

that dark Friday
they nailed up a man
but we knew it was our hope
hanging on that cross beam
we wept as despair crawled back into our souls
and we took it down
and buried hope that day
convinced we’d never have the courage to retrieve it again
we locked it up
walked away

until we heard it creeping up behind us
wrapping its warm arms around us
filling every place of fear and emptiness inside us
and we were lost
in the mystery of it all
how hope climbed out of that grave
and relentlessly stalked us down
captivated us with the sense that it would never leave again
never again hide in the ground



when the busyness that consumes my life
is hiccupped by some strange interruption,
I hear you whispering to me—
Sometimes I hear your voice and I smile
but often I blink back tears
hating myself for having ever forgotten
for letting silly distractions steal you from me

you say
and sometimes I try to push your voice away
too comfortable in my self-made world
to want your memory creeping in
interrupting my plans

you cry
and you call me back
and the memories wash over me in waves
and I am all alone in an ocean of

“I remember”
I whisper.
“I will remember.”