Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted...

"Do not think because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:13-14 (Mordecai to Esther)

The story of Esther is an English major's delight. It has everything. Love, irony, war, suspense. What a remarkable story! I long to exemplify the faith and courage of Esther; however, as many of you have read, I can identify more with Thomas (womp, womp, wommmp!).

Sometimes, I think we all need our own personal Mordecai in our lives. Can you imagine if every believer lived with the tenacity and bravery inspired by him? We would all live our lives for Christ as Esther did, with the "...if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16) philosophy. His encouragement was the finger that flicked the first domino in the effect of protecting the Jews from a bloody and terrorizing obliteration.

If we all lived as Esther did, what impact would our lives have?

I believe those who work at the Presbyterian Outlook are living with the same tenacious spirit and faith of Esther. Though the economic pressures of the country and changing face of the print publication industry have put a - shall we say, dent - on the company's financial resources - that is not slowing them down, and certainly not discouraging them.

Within the past week, we've been working on two grant proposals: one for a redesign for the entire magazine, and another to continue supplying free subscription to Presbyterian seminary students. See? When the going gets tough, the tough doesn't hang its head! It sally-forths with an air of Esther, head held high.

I'm so proud of these wonderful, faithful people! Perhaps I can act as their ever-encouraging Mordecai this summer!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hey, Mom! I'm published!

Remember those two articles I spoke about in my first blog? Here's the link to the first one on immigration reform in the United States and the one-year anniversary of the immigration raids in Postville, Iowa.

Check it out:

Let me know what your opinions of immigration reform are, I haven't made up my mind yet. On one hand, I see how loving our neighbors applies to everyone no matter what nation they are a citizen of. At the same time, I can see how relaxing our immigration policies and allowing citizens of other nations to work and live without red-tape could cause major problems and be potentially dangerous...

You Gotta Have Faith

"Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'" John 20:27 (NIV).

Oh, Thomas. How little faith you must have had. How foolish you must have seemed to all of your peers. From now on the term "doubting Thomas" will be a phrase describing Christians who struggle in trusting the Lord.

Give the guy a break.

Can you imagine the turmoil Thomas and the other disciples must have faced after seeing their Master brutally flogged, needlessly massacred, and meekly hammered into a wooden cross? How could they be expected to believe something that literally was too good to be true? I think over the years, our Sunday school teachers and Christian education leaders have been a little too hard on Thomas.

I read this passage this morning, and was completely convicted. While I stand 100% in the truth that Jesus Christ suffered for my sin and was resurrected, however I have trouble trusting him with other things in my life. Luckily, Jesus is very patient with me (and I know the hundreds of thousands of others who are currently struggling with the same thing in their walks).

Lately, I have been really worried about my school/job/financial situation. I had planned on working at Ukrop's (a part-time job I have held since the summer before my freshman year) along with interning at the PO this summer. Well, come to find out, Ukrop's has laid off all of their college kids, leaving me jobless therefore money-less this summer.

Yesterday, my best friend (who also held a job at Ukrop's) was spouting off all of these really great job opportunities that have fallen into her lap. She's been offered several babysitting/nanny positions. On top of that, she was even offered her job back at Ukrop's.

I didn't understand. I am just as hard-working, have just as many skills and love Jesus just as much as she does. So, why wasn't anyone knocking down my door to have me work for them?

This stress/worry therefore snowballs into something much bigger. I start to worry about my career choice, and graduation and how I am going to pay for graduate school. Then I think about how all I have ever wanted to be was a journalist and how newspapers are folding all over the country, and the entire face of the news industry is being completely turned up-side-down, and I think..."what on EARTH have I been working myself to death for?" From there I begin to question everything. I question my abilities, my talents, my effectiveness in spreading the gospel and even my own worth.

Then I read a passage like this. And I picture Jesus looking me square in the eyes and saying "Stop doubting and believe." Woah. How convicting that must have been for Thomas, and how convicting those red letters are for me today.

What are you having a problem trusting God with? Will you be the "doubting Thomas" and need physical affirmation that Jesus is truly at work in or life? Or will you be the one who will let nothing (even their own self-depricating thoughts and worries) stand in between interefere with your love and passion for Christ?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Little is Much

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:12,14

in-tern 2 an apprentice teacher, journalist, etc. - *vi. To serve as an intern.

Webster’s New World Dictionary, found amidst back issues of the Presbyterian Outlook, empty boxes and the UPS machine in my newly commandeered office, defines my position as such. Webster, however, fails to mention exactly what the expectations of an intern is, and does an even worse job of informing an intern what his/her precise duties are.

Being a Media Arts & Design major, I have heard dozens of horror stories of internships gone wild. My peers relish in the ability to one-up each other with anecdotes of the most frivolous tasks they have had to perform eight hours a day, five days a week. They served as their employer’s one-(wo)man chauffeur, coffee-maker, copier, secretary, toilet-cleaner, shoe-shiner, silver-polisher. And they knew better than to expect to be paid for all of their running around…after all, what prepares an aspiring journalist for the crazy media jungle better than an acquired expertise in coffee brewing? These lessons are truly invaluable.

I came into this office on Monday expecting something similar to what my peers had experienced with their internships. Within my first three days I was given my own cup of coffee (which I did not even have to brew), strawberry shortcake, an office, my own two story assignments, introductions to the entire staff, my own e-mail address and lunch at a local restaurant.

Woah. Needless to say, I will never let my peers influence my expectations ever again.

This summer I am really looking forward to serving with the folks at the PO*. This internship was definitely God-breathed, and I really do feel as though, after working with the PO team, I will be better prepared to enter the industry after graduation.

*The Presbyterian Outlook, will be abbreviated “PO” for this blog’s purposes.