Rachel Shane

Ben Rector

March is such a great month. Such a great month.

I am going to see in concert Andrew Ripp, Ben Rector, Dave Barnes, Gungor, Needtobreathe, and some other sweet concert that my friend is bringing me to, (I forget the name at the moment).  But obviously it is a great concert month.

Ben Rector is opening for Needtobreathe.  I have known about Ben Rector for a long while. To me Ben has always been one of those artists in my mind that I have said, “yeah, I will listen to him eventually, after I get through the other 4 albums I just bought.”

Wrong logic. Go buy all of his music now and put it to the top of your listening list. I am not even kidding.

In my efforts to convince you to buy all of his music, I am going to lead you through the same process which made me an avid fan.

First, watch this music video.

Then watch this music video.

Then go here and get some free samples of his music. You will then realize that his music is even better than the covers above.

Noisetrade

Then go on itunes and buy all the other songs that he has recorded.

Then listen to everything on repeat.

Finally comment my blog thanking me for making your life better.

You’re welcome.

Prosteline.

This is the girl I think of about 20 times a day.  Her name is Prosteline.

Each day I spent a great amount of time playing with Prosteline.  For 4 days I spent a considerable amount of time holding her, playing ball with her and doing crafts with her. Never once did she smile. Seriously. I don’t think people understand this.  This girl, she was probably 6 years old, never smiled.  After holding her, trying to tickle her, there was no reaction.  The only way I got her to smile was picking her up and spinning her around really fast.  There were maybe 6 other kids in the Children’s Home (basically an orphanage) that were the same as Prosteline in this matter.

Can I even say that a child can be ruined? How else can I say what happened to her?

The first day at the Children’s Home I noticed parts of Prosteline’s scalp that had this yellow puss on it, and in the back of her head in the middle of the puss it was bleeding.  An intern next to me told me they noticed that and were sending a doctor to look at the children’s heads tonight.  All the other children had white dust in their hair, and apparently they all had a fungus.  Prosteline had an advanced level of this, and her scalp was bleeding from this fungus.  This fungus came from them not being able to properly bathe themselves.  This broke my heart.  First off, who gets a fungus from not being able to wash themselves properly? Secondly, if we wouldn’t have came, what would have happened to these kid’s heads? What would have happened to Prosteline? Would her scalp just continue to bleed and the fungus spread the rest of her body?  Who is looking out for the health of these children?

The final day, I met Prosteline’s mother.   I found out Prosteline has two other siblings in the Children’s Home and her mother is pregnant again.  I don’t know how often Prosteline’s mother came to see her, but she came that day to remove some of the yellow puss from Prosteline’s scalp. I knew before that a lot of these kids had parents, and they are in the orphanages because the parents cannot provide for their children, but I immediately was SO mad at her mother.  Here is this woman, not able to provide for her 3 children, and is STILL having babies.

Now to give her benefit of the doubt, I don’t think this mother enjoyed giving up her kids.  I think she honestly thought it was best for them to be there, because in the orphanage they got “fed” and received an “education”.  By quotations, these kids get fed once, maybe twice a day, and it is beans and rice everyday.  (Can you imagine eating one meal a day, and that being beans and rice, everyday? This is why the children are so small and malnourished.)  And you go to school, but your teacher most likely has the education of a 4th grader, so really, how much can you learn from this person?  But this mother had to make a choice, for her children to be fed and not loved, or loved and not fed.  This picture is so hard for me to understand, and get over.  Children need love to be healthy.  But these kids lose love, and in exchange are barely taken care of.   Their emotions become as hard as stone, and they are not able to experience happiness, receive or even give love.

My heart weeps for Prosteline, and the thousands of other children who are put in her same situation.  Right now, as I think of her, all I can do is pray and have hope that things will either change for her, or she will somehow overcome the broken system she was born into.

The words to this song also run in my mind all day everyday since Haiti.

Poverty

I returned late last night from an 8 day mission trip in Haiti. Thank you to all of my friends who prayed for me and my team over this trip.  Our week was overwhelming – in a good way. I have so much to share, and I plan to write about it soon. Right now I am going through reverse-culture shock, so I want to wait to write about my trip until my emotions are more under control.

I am writing this now because I really want you to watch this video.  My eyes were opened up to the vast amount of poverty in the world, and this clip shows a lot of what I learned through the organization I worked with in Haiti.

Please please watch this.

Haiti

January 4th – 11th I will be in Haiti for a missions trip with 17 people from Renovation Church.

Here are some of the things that we will be doing:

Hanging out with these kids

Building a playground for them

Building a storage unit for them, so they don’t have to keep their food in a tent that gets flooded with water and infested with rats

Working with Haitians to fill in the road outside of their orphanage with dirt, so it no longer floods. This will reduce mosquitos and chance of them getting malaria

Telling these kids and others in their community about Jesus

Other things that we will find out when we get there

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Please be praying for me and my team as we go out to change the world

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Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…

James 1:27

Where did the time go?

Okay, so I basically failed blogging about Advent.  I truly thought it would be good way for me to blog more often, but alas, I put it aside everyday until Christmas.  Did I celebrate Advent? Honestly, the first week I really did.  And I was super excited to blog about my experience. But then I never sat down to write about my experience, and then basically every other day I thought. “I need to sit down and focus on Advent and blog!”, but never did.

I really hope I get to this point where I don’t have to apologize all the time in my blog for being a terrible blogger.  Okay enough pitter patter.  On to something more constructive.

So 2011 is basically over. I honestly feel like, seriously? Where did the time go?! What did I accomplish this year? Here are some thoughts of reflection..

For 9 months I worked 3 jobs, becoming terribly stressed out, but made a good dent on my loan payments.

I never went on vacation. I think the longest break I had off was 3 days.

The Youth Group I lead tripled.

I started learning how to play the piano this year.

I went to a U2 concert!

I basically failed at running this year, due to having neck pain for about 3 months while running, and then never fully getting back on the bandwagon after.

And the list could go on of hundreds of accomplishments and failures of this year.

But as I have blogged about this feeling before, I think there are really only two things that matter of what I did this year:

1. Have I grown closer to God?

2. Did I make an eternal impact in the world this year?

To answer the first question, I know I have grown closer to God, but it has been in a different way this year.  In college I feel like I grew emotionally much closer to God.  I spent more time than I ever had worshiping and praying, and had many tough life things happen that always kept me near Him.  This past year my relationship has taken more of an intellectual turn.  I have been connecting and growing closer to Him through reading theology books, and discussing with other Christians about such things.  One thing that has really sunken in this year is that I never have to shut off my brain with God.  I say that because I think many intellectual non-Christians believe that Christians have to make themselves dumber to have faith, and that is completely ridiculous, or more-so foolish to believe that you can outsmart the study of God.

I also grew a lot this year by realizing that I learn better by receiving lots of input, so I have been listening to sermon podcasts about 2-3 times a week. This has been a powerful way I have connected with God.  I learn so much about God by listening to Pastors such as Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and of course David Sorn. :) I recommend everyone listen to these people! They are all brilliant!!

Also, I FINALLY have legit, wonderful accountability partners.  Ali and Molly, you have been an answer to prayer in my life in so many ways. Your accountability has caused me to read the Bible more consistently than I ever have this year, and your encouragement has strengthened me and my ministry in so many ways.  I love you both so much!!!!

To answer the second question, I believe so, yes.  I have seen some people I have been discipling come closer to God.  I have shared the gospel with multiple people.  I have worked harder at being a better representation of Christ to people in my life.  Sometimes I feel like I see little fruit, but I think many times we will never see the full effect of how God uses us in other people’s lives.  All we can do is daily serve and love God, tell others about Him, and love them the way He wants us to. If we always attempt great things for Him, we can expect great things from Him, whether we see them or not.

Ask yourself the same 2 questions and see what you come up with.

News Years resolutions coming soon, I have great plans :)

Advent Anyone?

I was blessed to grow up attending a very healthy Lutheran Church.  I seriously really love that Church.  It is the place where my faith began, and many people there made an incredible impact on my life.

Anyways, being part of a Lutheran Church and all, we definitely celebrated Lent and Advent.  I didn’t really understand why we did, but simply that we did.  I loved these times in the church because there were more candles to light in the front if you were an acolyte, and after Church was soup supper. Holla!

Anyways, the past few weeks I must confess I have been listening to Matt Chandler sermons about every other day (I know that is almost obsessive, but do yourself a favor and go listen to one here ).  He is a Pastor of an evangelical Church in Texas, and most contemporary churches do not celebrate Advent, but their Church is going to this year. So, I decided I am going to as well, and learn about the true meaning of Advent (aka learning more about Jesus). And I am inviting you to celebrate Advent with me.  And I am going to post blogs about this. So read them.

Check this out, here is what got me interested in doing this.  I will be using their guide, and you might as well too. It will be good for the both of us I am sure.

And yes, I will still be incorporating soup into my Advent season.  Duh.

Boldness is actually easy.

Hey there.

Last Friday I led worship for this conference called Anchored In The Word. It was a real legit thing. Anyways, one of the speakers was a Professor at Bethel Seminary, and he described a class assignment he did.

Now from the results I am going to share, he did not clarify how many years or times that he has done this assignment, so there could have been 40 people or 400 people that have done this, but I don’t really care.

The class assignment was for each student to ask someone to have a spiritual conversation with them. With whoever they spoke with, they could not of had a spiritual conversation with before. I am pretty sure those were the only rules. I think (I wasn’t super into the example until after he said it) he guided the students to just say something like, “Tell me what you think about God” or “Would you say you are a spiritual person? What do you think about spiritual things?” He encouraged the students to just ask people a simple question and listen. And you know what happens when you do that? People talk for a while, but then they feel they are rude, or they get curious to what you think, so they ask YOU the same question! And then you can answer it! And share the gospel. Easy.

He said that he was told of at least 20 people who came to a relationship with Jesus from this assignment. Like I said, I don’t know how many people have done this assignment, but really, at LEAST (cause we never see the full fruit of anything) 20 people got saved from just taking time to ask someone a question and hear them out.

Come on now, that’s easy to do.

Living and Active

This month I had to learn how to play a little bit of mandolin, and basically have not stopped watching Chris Thile youtube videos or daydreaming about being in a bluegrass band.

I basically want to post this video on all of my friend’s Facebook wall, so I thought I should just post it here. Since I play viola, I GREATLY enjoy playing in quartets. I love playing with other musicians to listen to what they can do, and to enjoy the sounds that I cannot make by myself.  Just like people were not made to live alone, musicians were not meant to play alone. So enjoy this FANTASTIC bass, cello, violin and mandolin quartet.

Other than that, I have been having such sweet quiet times with God.  I wanted to write a quick thing that I have learned about my attitude in reading the Word.  Daily I read my Bible, and right now I am just going straight through the Old Testament.  It has taken me forever because I get “bored” with the Old Testament and then jump up to the New Testament for a few days.  I read through Ezra really quick and starting blowing through Nehemiah not really caring about what I was reading.  Praying after I read the Word, I felt convicted about not reading those books with much interest or reverence.  Then I found myself arguing with God.  I felt God pressing on me to read those books again, but I fought back saying that stuff isn’t really important for my life right now.  I reread them again anyways (cause I have learned life works better if I do what God tells me to), and slowed down.  I have a study Bible and I took time to read all the notes.  I realized I was once again SO wrong.  Even though the Word sometimes talks about historical events that happened thousands of years ago, it is still the Word of God, living and active.  There is still so much God can speak to me through it.

Example: In Nehemiah 8, Ezra gathers the Israelites all together to read them the Book of the Law of Moses (which was most likely the first 5 books of the Bible). In verse 5-6, Ezra opens the book and all the people stand in respect of the Word. They then immediately worship the Lord with their faces to the ground.

I am ashamed by reading that and having the attitude I expressed above.  These people gather together to hear the word of God, and they immediately worship, and later on are weeping because they realize they are living so far off from how God wants them to live.

How BLESSED I am to have the Word of God to read at anytime.  How incredible this Book is for being able to teach, convict, comfort, and challenge me. The Word is living and active.  I just want to encourage anyone if you are reading the Bible and finding it blah-zay to do whatever it takes to change your attitude. Buy a book to help explain the Word to you. Start memorizing it.  Write it down yourself.  Download an audio Bible and listen to it.

Or another cool way to get into the Word – make a point to see all the ways it connects.  If you look on the inner side of the Bible, there are most likely cross references, where you can see how the word supports itself in other parts of the Bible.  An incredible aspect of the Bible is even though it has so many different authors, it is so obviously inspired by God for how well it references other parts.  Here is a picture of how much the Bible cross – references itself.  How sick is this?

Recognize how valuable the Word of God is.  Do whatever it takes to become a person who is excited and anchored in the Bible.

Harmony!

I am a lover of happy music and harmony.

John Mark McMillan

You know that popular worship song “How He Loves”?  The David Crowder Band did not write that song. Kim Walker did not write that song. John Mark McMillan wrote that song. And his version dominates the others. Just sayin’.

Now I got that off my chest, John Mark McMillan is so, so great. I am going to actually see him live in a few weeks, which I am happy about, because he is on the list of “10 bands I need to see live before I die”.  Yes, I have one of those lists. You should too.

You should by his album “The Medicine”, and then get his other album called “Economy” on November 1st. John is one of my favourite artists because:

1) He is a great musician – well, I am pretty sure he is great musician, but that is only based off all the youtube videos I have seen. I will be able to confirm this in a few weeks when I see him live.

2) He is great at writing lyrics –  “The Medicine” album lyrics are phenomenal. If you hate his music, at least just read his lyrics. I reckon it’s worth your time.

3) He is an authentic person – from reading his blog and watching youtube videos of him just talking, he seems to have stayed a real, passionate, man of God.

4) Two words – Epic Beard.

And don’t just listen to these videos, watch them. They are also great.