Break My Heart

I belt out songs in my car when I drive, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. And hey, I know you do it too.

But do I mean what I sing? Most of the time it’s mindlessly singing random country songs or whatever I find on my phone that day, but when I am home, I throw on the XM Christian radio station and really let it rip. These songs tend to get me thinking about the big claims that the artists are making. Can I fully claim the lyrics with all the confidence the music makes them so easy to say? This line always stops me in my tracks:

“Break my heart for what breaks Yours.”

Wow. Usually that’s one that I sing emphatically but think about it. Sit back for a second and actually think about what you are requesting when singing that line.   That’s an all-inclusive statement! If I’m asking God to break my heart for EVERYTHING that breaks His then I had better be ready for an eternity’s worth of heartbreak. I drove by a car crash the other night and felt my heart crumble to pieces and I understood on a miniscule scale of how God’s heart breaks for injustice. Yet, I didn’t know these people and God knows every hair on their heads, and still my heart broke. To feel God’s heartbreak for what breaks his is to feel hurt at every instance in the world of hunger, sadness, grief, disappointment, loss, and so much more. Am I ready for that?

Luckily, (or should I say providentially?) God’s heart breaks at the same time it is completely more whole than I could ever imagine.   This paradox saves us from the crushing request to break with Him. Because if we break with God, we also heal with him. If we were to suffer in the same way He does, then we would be full of His perfect love. And that is what I am requesting. I shouldn’t be asking to be decimated but I should be asking to be built up with love. Maybe we should sing this instead:

“Make me love just like You do.”

So please break my heart to understand, but don’t leave it there in pieces. Build me back up, O Lord, so that I may more fully grasp your love. And I truly mean that.


Good Morning, Maranatha

For five weeks this past summer, I would wake up, and then take a walk around the summer camp I worked at and wake up every cabin. Each morning started with me pounding on the door and yelling “Good morning Maranatha!” to wake up all of the reluctant 6 and 7 year olds inside Maranatha cabin, while waiting for some sign of movement inside. Then I got to thinking, what was I saying when I said Maranatha? It was a foreign word to me but it must have some meaning. What I discovered is encouraging and timely. Maranatha can either mean “Our Lord has come,” or “Our Lord, come.” The reason for the confusion is because it is transliterated (or spelled out phonetically) from Aramaic into Greek in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 16:22), which leaves the meaning unclear.   Yet what it does tell us is that the phrase was common and well understood in the time Paul was writing. And this hope that was so prevalent in Biblical times should be a hope we still are familiar with today. We need to every day be waiting for the Lord to come again and living to show that he has come.

With the development of greater persecution of Christians around the world, there are no words to express the sadness and heartbreak for those brothers and sisters who are experiencing trials far beyond anything I can begin to imagine. Much of the time my heartbreak leads to a desire for action, followed by a disability to do anything seemingly significant.

Among all of the trials of the world I am reminded of the words of John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (ESV). What better hope is there than this? Jesus Christ, God made flesh, came to live among the people he came to save, and created a hope for a perfect future and a perfect reality for all who believe. Some day, when he returns again, there will be no more persecution and trials and fears.   The Lord has come, and the Lord will come. Revelation 1:7-8 reminds us, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” A time before the Triune God has never existed, and a time after Him will never come.   And this hope is what remains. Though the sorrows come, and my words may fail, the knowledge of an infinite God whose magnitude cannot be fathomed is more than enough for me. And though I feel helpless and small and insignificant to do anything meaningful for those persecuted and those in trouble, I can earnestly pray for the day to come when Jesus Christ returns and He continues his eternal reign in the new heavens and new earth.

So I pray that each day begins the same way I began the day this summer.

“Good morning, Maranatha.”

Our Lord has come, and our Lord will come.


“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)


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From Greece to Rome

We’ve spent the past 10 days in Greece, and I must say, it has been incredible. Going to the Parthenon, Mars Hill, Delphi, the River of Lydia, Corinth, and so many other amazing places. One of the best experiences was at an evangelical church that we went to 2 weeks ago in a small Greek town. By us being there, we doubled the congregation for that day and we got to participate in the worship service at the church. When we started singing the first song, them in Greek and us in English, it was so clear that this place was filled with God’s presence. I loved this church and it made me a little homesick for my MCC church family back at home! The evangelical population in Greece is so small in a country dominated by The Greek Orthodox Church, but the people who are part of the church are quite strong and faithful in what they believe. There is so much that can be learned by observing these faithful people. We have seen so many more archeological sites than I ever thought I would see and the museums we have been to house some of the most famous works of art in the world. There has been so much to learn and I am excited to let it all sink in and realize how awesome the places that we have visited are. Tomorrow we leave Greece and go off to Rome for a few more days of learning and then back to the USA! The trip had flown by but it will be exciting to be home so soon and see my family!



Turkish Delight

We have made it safely through Izmir, Turkey, and made it yesterday to Istanbul! After being here for 4 days, I can easily say it’s one of the most interesting counties I’ve been to. There is so much culture and history here but it is also trying to become Westernized that it looses some it the culture it makes it unique. The country is 99.8% Muslim and the other .2% is a mixture of Christian denominations, Judaism, and other religions. It is an interesting culture to be submerged in and has taken some getting used to the there is such a strong religious majority after being in Israel here there are large groups of many types of religions. In the Izmir area, we saw six of the seven churches in Revelation; Ephesus, Smyrna, Laodicea, Philadelphia, Pergamum, and Sardis. It was amazing to see how the cities all had similar remains but the people who had filled the cities were all so different. Today in Istanbul, we saw the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and we attended part of and Eastern Orthodox service where we met the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the archbishop of South America. The service was for Ascension Day which is very important to this church because it is the only day of the year that the church is functional. Tomorrow we will have a Q and A with the patriarch which is an amazing opportunity since he is the equivalent to the role of the pope in Eastern Orthodoxy. The Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque were absolutely beautiful, but the Hagia Sophia had a very interesting conflict between the Christian and Muslim influences. There were icons of Jesus and Mary throughout the church but there were also clear add ons that represented the Quran. One thing I know for sure from this trip though is that I cannot read the Bible the same way as before, now that I know and understand geographical and social relations of each town. It’s hard to believe we only have just over 2 weeks left, but right now we have to focus on Turkey then off to our beach day on the shores of Greece! (pictured is the Hagia Sophia)


We’re Halfway There!

Today is our second to last day in Jerusalem and at JUC. It’s so crazy to think that we have been in Israel for 3 weeks already and that this place has started to feel like home away from home! Samaria field study was on Sunday, then off to the north for the rest of the week! We travelled to Galilee from Monday until Thursday this week, spending one night in Nazareth and two nights at an amazing resort in En-Geiv, right on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee was breath taking and we got to take a boat tour on the lake and then we traveled around it to so many important New Testament locations. We were in Caesarea Philippi, Tabgha, Gergasa, and many, many more places. We were at the Golan Heights the day before the Syrian revolts, its so good that our schedule worked out just perfectly to keep us safe! At night we got to swim and see the sunset over the Cliffs of Arbel and have a bonfire right on the beach. The resort we stayed at was little huts right on the beach, it was so perfect with great Mediterranean food. Coming back to JUC was so refreshing and Jerusalem was a great place to be last night! There was a light festival that was all over the old city and it seemed like the whole city was out on just a few streets. Soon we will be traveling to Turkey, but it will be so bittersweet to leave JUC and Israel! (The picture is the view from our hut in the Sea of Galilee!)


Back in Jerusalem

Our three day excursion to the Southern Hill Country and the Negev regions was amazing! We got to see Masada, En-Gedi, Beer-Sheeba, Arad, and so many other archeological sites. One of the craziest things was floating in the Dead Sea. You can walk right in and just float, without needing to tread water or anything! The sea is 38% salt and minerals so that means its only 62% water, which is less than our bodies have! So amazing! When we went to En-Gedi, we ran into many other tour groups and one of them happened to include my long jumping coach, Coach Malmquist! It was fun to see a familiar face so far away from home and Wheaton. After three days in the wilderness with very little cold water, I think it’s safe to say that we were all excited to be back to the familiar life of Jerusalem and JUC (Jerusalem University College). Now, we are gearing up for four days away up north in the Galilee, which I have heard is the best part of the whole trip. The huts on the beach that we stay at sound wonderful. Needless to say, we are all excited to go on this trip but it’s so strange to think that we are going into our last week here at JUC! (Below is a picture of the site of Golgotha at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. There is the altar and underrate it is an opening to touch the dent in the rock where it is said the cross was placed)


Off to the Desert

The past few days have been so crazy with all we have seen, so here are the highlights!
1. Sunrise from the Mount of Olives. Waking up at 4 was definitely worth it to see the sun light up the old city of Jerusalem piece by piece.
2. Bethlehem. We got to see the Church of the Nativity and the site where Jesus was believed to be born. Also we went to Bethlehem Bible College and heard a lecture about the Palestinian Israeli conflict from a Palestinian Christian perspective. It was so interesting to hear the professor’s perspective on the issue and be in a Christian organization in Israel.
3. Jericho. I now know what a real oasis means! After being in the Judean Desert for hours, finding a tree and some water was absolutely amazing. Also, seeing the ruins of old Jericho was really cool and learning on site was awesome!
4. Church with locals. A group of 7 of us went to church in the middle of the old city with a small Palestinian congregation at a church called Jerusalem Evangelical Alliance Church. It was amazing to hear the worship in Arabic and hear how powerful their prayer was.
5. Temple Mount. It was absolutely beautiful up on the Temple Mount and at the Dome of the Rock but it was so conflicting to think about all of the Jewish and Christian history that happened on that site and it is now a Muslim holy site. We’re still processing what we learned and saw there, but it was still beautiful!

We did so much more that we have done and seen and it’s so exciting to spend so much time in the same city! Tomorrow we travel south to the Dead Sea, Masada, Negev, and many other places in the desert. Week 2 in Jerusalem begins now!