Monthly Archives: November 2008

Preach On!

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After dropping off a gift basket at the local newspaper, we had some waiting to do before the bus returned.  Matt saw people across the street and immediately saw it as an opportunity.  Becca and I crossed the street also as I said, “Matt-this street witnessing is your gift, not mine…”

I missed the exchange of names, but I arrived to see the confusion in a man’s face as Matt approached him just to ask about how he was doing.  How could he have been singled out?  He was just a man standing on the sidewalk smoking a cigarette.  If only he knew just how special and unique he had been created.

I continued to keep my eye out for the bus as the conversation went on.  Eventually the story of the Love Out Loud tour and our mission to show Christ’s love in a tangible way to the west coast came up.  It was about this time I started engaging in the conversation. “Okay, I have a question for you”, he stated.   Immediately, I started praying in my head for words to speak and for his ears and heart to be opened.  “Why do we just live to die?”  Matt responded we would be able to know more in heaven.  This man’s eyes were troubled-“why can’t we just have a choice-to live in heaven, hell, or earth?”

This is when the words came.  His questions resonated in my heart-this was a lesson the Lord had revealed to me through the book of Genesis over the past month or so.  The Truth is we were never intended to experience evil.  We all know the story of Adam and Eve-and the Fall that followed you really should check out Genesis 3:14-23 -I was blown away by the reality behind the punishment and how we still see the effects today-it’s the human condition all found in this Book!).  Although I still don’t understand the necessity for the severity of our punishment, I can now trust that it was out of His goodness and faithfulness that we were punished-it was for our best interest.  Adam and Eve were given the opportunity to eat out of any tree but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil-for the reason aforementioned (we were never intended to experience evil).  Once that happened, in our punishment, the Lord still offered provision-He kicked them out of the garden so as not to eat of the Tree of Life.  God did not desire that we would be eternally separated from Him-He desires a perfect relationship with us as intended.

So yes, we do have a choice.  Our time on Earth here is our opportunity to make a choice.  God has given us the exact environment needed to come to a saving knowledge of Him.  The Bible tells us in Romans that everyone to all ends of the earth will hear (Romans 9:15-21).  So, dear man, rest assured-your question isn’t unique; nor is it invalid.  This is a question that burns on the hearts of so many.  But, also know that judgment has been paid-Christ has died for all of us-and no longer is it a question of us being judged, but really of us judging God…is He enough for me?  Could Christ really have died for all?  Is eternal life only available through an active obedience to the will of God?

The answers are there-and readily available to be sought out.  God has revealed Himself to all of us in all of His creation. It’s pretty incredible when you look around at how intricate His design is. 

I’m not exactly sure what was conveyed through our conversation.  But I do know he introduced me to his wife as a person who had finally answered some of his questions.  His questions that had been building and festering for years-based on a  fear of living a life without his wife, watching his mom suffer, and seeing others in pain.  So, my heart was burdened as well.  To get out the Truth that we do have a choice.  We are designed to have a relationship with our Creator.  I know many people might find me crazy, others will agree, and some are indifferent.  I’m just frustrated with the view people have of this “Christian Religion”-due to the face that many Christians cause others to look past the intimate relationship Christ desires with us.  One that’s loving, compassionate, captivating, honest, and genuine-and potentially everlasting.  The Bible also states that one day every knee will bow and acknowledge Him as Lord.  Our time here is our opportunity to accept who He is.

So, although I might never meet or talk to the man again-I will pray our conversation prompts him to seek more-because “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.”

So, there you have it folks-my little spiel (that really isn’t my spiel at all-nor is it little).  But i do always think about this, particularly because I don’t have too many Christian friends.  I wonder if one day people will end up in front of Jesus and wonder why I never spoke more boldly about my beliefs.  So, this is not AT ALL to condemn-only to encourage. To seek.  And to ask questions.  To go to God and ask Him to reveal Himself.  And open your heart.  It’s been an incredible journey for me-and I pray the same and more to you 🙂

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Loving Out Loud

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Hey there, wonderful readers!

We have officially reached our day five marker and are two cities down on our Love Out Loud tour!  For those of you who don’t know, the school that I have been going to (Horizon School of Evangelism) just embarked on our three week mission trip.  We’ve got 90 of us packed into two charter buses, a truck, an expedition, and a 15 passenger van heading up the west coast to Seattle and back and stopping in eight cities.  Our intention is for us to have known God’s love, to have grown in God’s love, and to be able to continuously show God’s love!  WHEW!  And, of course, these things are ALWAYS evolving!  Which is such a beautiful and incredible thing about a relationship with Christ. 

I started off super excited about this trip-after all, I love people, I love traveling, I love the west coast, and I love what the Lord has been doing in my heart over the past few months.  Well, quicly into the trip I felt a little overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility I felt I was taking on.  More on that in a minute.  Our first stop was in Montebello-we got to stay at Calvary Chapel Montebello and sleep on the church youth area’s floors, use a neighboring home’s showers, and enjoy their wonderful facilities!  We did different outreaches in the community–cleaned the park (and people got to engage in some amazing conversations), worked around the church (a blessing since one of their maintanence men is leaving soon), and took a trip down to Skid Row (where one of my friend’s heart was completely changed and God gave her a tenderness, compassion, and love for the homeless).  After a few days there, we were off to Sacramento!  Here, we’ve been able to enjoy a Holy Spirit-filled evening at the church with prayer and worship (really incredible–the Lord has always seemed to speak through me through watching others worship.  It’s so beautiful!*).  Monday, we had a day of reflection-which involved some much needed along time with the Man Upstairs!  Then, I was blessed with my sister’s presence!  I seriously love that girl so much.  I got the butterflies when I saw her in the parking lot 🙂  She drove an hour and forty five minutes from San Francisco just to spend a few chaotic hours with me (one in the parking lot, two she had to go run errands while I had a meeting, two more hanging out with me and meeting all my fun friends here on the trip with me, two more at a church service/seminar on the Love out Loud tour, and I kept her around for another hour before she finally escaped).  It meant so much for her to come up and spend time with me here!  But, it was part of where my bad thoughts towards the tour came in and my sense of feeling overwhelmed.  I really just wanted to spend time with her and had been called into other meetings and had other things on my mind–but thankfully, my leader Amanda saw that-and excused me from the meeting just so I could have some quality time with Becca!  So, it all worked out–and my heart has changed once again in my approach to this crazy tour!  I am excited to be going around and sharing the love of Christ in unique and random ways.  And I am grateful for the position of leadership He has given me.

So, tonight was pretty chaotic.  We ended up with half of us (45 that is) at a Boys and Girls Club.  Two clubs had combined so we could come spend time with them–and somehow they’re numbers ended up practically double what we had anticipated!  There were forty hungry high schoolers when we arrived (along with another eighty students under the age of twelve)–and about 20 of us to entertain them-some more intimidated than others!  My t”eacher presence” has definitely diminished over the last few months, but it was awesome getting to hang out with them, participate in some games, eat some pizza, and then play them in basketball!  However, I came home feeling like I had kinda missed out.  I was so worried about things going smoothly (and that, they didn’t–pizzas late, poor communication about the supplies needed for games, much more students than expected, more traffic that anticipated, etc.) that it was difficult to really sit and enjoy the moment.  Or so I thought.  But, upon thinking about tonight, I was so blessed.  I got to hear several stories about how the Lord used people from our team in that Club tonight (one woman led a man to Christ, another had an employee chase her down to ask her to pray for him, and yet another truly got to share Christ’s love and acceptance with a little girl who truly understood it).  I also got to spend an hour playing ball with kids from all ages.  I pulled two of the teenage boys aside afterwards.  I was so impressed with how they interacted with the younger kids, engaged the younger kids, included the other kids, etc. I wanted to make sure they knew they were having an impact.  I’ll be praying for Eric and Isaac. 

So, despite all of my worrying–guess what?!  It didn’t matter!  I was reminded once again, “Rejoice in the Lord always!  I will say it again Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus” (I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes).  He is consistently and gently reminding me, it is not about me.  It’s not about how I want things to go, how organized I am, how productive I am–it’s about Him getting all the glory.  Really, all He wants us to do is come and see.  So, that’s my request, Lord-that I would be willing to let all my plans go and just come and see.  Come and see all it is that you have to show me-and not let it be limited by my own expectations.  Because, I know Yours are exceedingly, abundantly more!

So, if you want to know more about the tour-check out their blog at www.loveoutloudtour.com

*I remember the first thing that inclined me to Jesus was watching people at the church my family would go to on Christmas and Easter sing the songs.  I would look around and realize the people actually believed what they were seeing…and I desperately wanted that.

**I have a special memory of Kisha the week before she died.  She was listening to the radio and began singing along to a Christian song that was one-but accidentally started singing the wrong verse and laughed at herself.  She had gone through a period of time where she was really turned off to God (a lot of my fault, but thankfully the Lord works regardless of us!)–this was just a small part of how God showed me she had turned back to Him before she went to join Him for eternity

***There always seems to be a song that plays on repeat in my head and it’s so wonderful to be ministered to through the words of a song.  Currently, I have LOVED the song ‘Sweetly Broken’….brings chills to my spine!

Weekend in Arizona!

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Well, folks, it’s true-my weekends as of late have been filled to the brim!  I apologize for boring you with the details yet again-but I’ve come to realize the details are more for me at some point down the line.  It will be nice to be able to look back one day on all the things the Lord has given me the opportunity to experience!  So, feel free to skip on to the next blog-or enjoy the details of another fun-filled weekend 🙂

The party started Thursday–it was Beth’s 25th birthday!  So a few of us headed over to her house to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by Erin and Jen-followed by cake.  And a whole lot of conversation and laughter-some induced by Beth driving her housemate’s wheelchair over a total of three feet (only one of mine included in this count).  It was so nice to enjoy an intimate girls’ night with new and old friends here in San Diego.

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Friday, it was off to school I went-to prepare some more for this 3 week Road Trip/Mission Trip/Love out Loud Tour we’re going on THIS Friday!!  Afterwards, Jen D. and her pup, Jordan, came over to join me on a drive out to AZ.  Originally, it was going to be five people and two dogs in a car (me not included)-but after my sister decided not to come to town, I thought why not head to AZ as well-to make some more space in their car-and to enjoy some time with my dad and friends!  Plus, heaven forbid I have a down weekend anytime soon!  So, off to AZ it was–and what a trip it turned out to be!  After searching for a Jack in the Box unsuccessfully, we found another one-and a homeless man named John Luke we were able to spend some time talking to and praying with.  Then, back on the road-only to get pulled over for speeding (thankfully the cop was also amused by the ‘Schneple’ address-and let me off with a fix-it ticket for not having my registration).  After that stop, we got pulled over at the Border Patrol station-apparently the drug dog was not happy with Jordan, the pug.  So-we were able to get back on our way!  We rolled into my dad’s house around 10pm.  The second carfull didn’t arrive into town until about 2am-and they stayed out at Ruth’s.

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Saturday included a lot of fun as well-I was up to enjoy breakfast with my dad.  Jen then went to work out and Lyndsey picked me up to go enjoy a Latin Fusion Dance class-that included a lot of hip action, dancing, awkwardness, laughing, and sweating!  I then got to spend lunch with Lynds, Kevin, and their baby, Gracie!  SO CUTE!!  Then it was back to my dad’s house where Erin, Rachel, and Beth arrived to get ready.  As they got ready I went with Jen Halland and her sister to go hang out at the park, catch up on what’s been going on-and to be attacked by their chihuahua (they tried to convince me giving him a kiss would be a good idea-apparently they do smell fear and it’s contagious-he yapped and snapped at my nose three times!)

After surviving the near catastrophic nose biting experience, it was back to the house to hang out a little bit with pops.  Shortly thereafter, he was left with dog sitting duties (both Jordan and Chaco) while I went to dinner with Lindsay and the rest went to a bar in Tempe.  After enjoying just a few hours of catch up time with Linds, we went and joined the rest at Casey Moore’s-on the tandem bicycle!!  HOW FUN!  We stayed for just a little while before returning home to the exhausted and amused dog sitter–about 12 fights, 3 naps, 2 walks, and 1 pee accident later! 

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Sunday-we were all up and at ’em!  The crew went to church in Phoenix and dad and I went to Desert Springs.  We enjoyed a good conversation with Kevin and Lynds after, swung by the office, and then dad treated all the girls to lunch at Pita Jungle-delish!  We returned home to pack, clean, take pictures, and say bye to dad!  What a good sport he was hosting us all there 🙂  Who knew he’d have a 26 year old daughter and still be hosting sleep overs 🙂  We stopped by Mistie’s to pick up another passenger-Lindsey (yes, the third Lindsey of the weekend) and we were on our way!  No tickets, no stops at Border Patrol, and just a little bit of rain and we made it home by 9pm!  Just enough time to settle down and get ready for the week!  What an awesome weekend!

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And, now, the next three weeks are sure to be highly amusing as well!  Thursday I’ll be hosting an early Thanksgiving for some people in class-and Friday morning it’s off to Montebello followed by three more weeks of serving, loving, laughing, and learning!  I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Halloween Weekend!

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Okay, so I had a fabulous Halloween weekend I would love to share about 🙂  Friday was a lovely day of school, meetings, etc.  Then, my dear roommate, Ha, from what I refer to as my “freshman year” of teaching came down from LA and we went to lunch.  What a wonderful time catching up, laughing, talking, reminiscing, etc.  Then came Friday evening-the first trick-or-treater came at about 5:45.  40 more followed for a total of 41.  Amidst watching Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, playing Tetris, eating a majority of the candy, and baking a cake-Jen and I would often hear a faint ‘twick-o-tweat’ coming from the front door we left open and would have to resist the urge to steal small, costumed children.  It was precious!  We closed up shop around 8pm.  We have yet to carve our pumpkins, but rest assured, we still plan on doing so before Thanksgiving creeps upon us.  Later that evening we were surprised by a guest visitor, Jen Vargas-our second short-term guest here at Casa Schneple back in town for a weekend visit!  She surprised me with a beautiful scarf and I felt spoiled 🙂

I awoke the next morning before the sun came up to meet my mom and her husband at IHOP before they departed for their Jazz Cruise Honeymoon in the Carribean.  It was delicious (they now have Pecan Streudal Coffee Cake Pancakes…really?!) and we had a lovely time!  I saw them off and headed up to Los Angeles, just to find out that despite birthday plans, Ladejeisha had gotten grounded for losing her keys.  Not that I can complain that her cousin is disciplining her–but, really?!  So, I quickly snuck her off to the mall where we got matching bracelets and took advantage of Claire’s 10 for $10 sale!  ldj

I had already promised a few other students, though, that I would take them to Santa Monica.  I was kinda hoping the rain storm would move in and I’d be able to take them to a movie instead so I could sneak in a quick nap (seeing as I’d fallen asleep approximately 7 times on the drive up-rationalizing it was okay that I closed my eyes for a few seconds since I was on a straight stretch–not okay.  Ever.)  But, good weather prevailed and off we went-Donnie even convinced Acosta to come along!  We had a great time eating, laughing, riding all the rides, feeling nauteous (spelling?), and trying to win a basketball-good job, Donnie!  Seriously, I miss those kids!  I’m so grateful for the fact they still want to stay in touch with me though!  boys

After distributing the children back to their respective locations and spending some time with Acosta, I made my way out to Orange County.  I once again used my rationalizing powers to invest in an Oreo Shake to keep me awake while driving.  I arrived at my mom’s house just to realize that the spare key was not where I left it and Kristen and I went straight to Kayla’s house-me sans shower and still utterly exhausted.  There we waited for Irene’s arrival to her surprise 25th birthday party!  Kayla had friends come and hand make sushi, Kayla had made spinach artichoke dip that was TO DIE FOR-I kid you not.  Amazing.  Then, we anxiously patiently awaited the arrival of the guest of honor!  It was an awesome time full of laughter, food, pin-the-tail on the donkey, wrestling, and somehow I ended up asleep on the floor of Kayla’s room.  The rest of them chose to go out on the town, whilst Kristen and I opted to go back to the Anderson’s for a night of catching up and early bedtime-always an enjoyable experience!n187700074_30929113_2820

After gaining an hour’s worth of sleep–who knew it could make such a difference-I made it up in time (by my own, no alarm) to drop Caitlin and Kristen off at church and head to Stephanie and Jojo’s first Muddy Buddy experience.  While I don’t get muddy buddy pal of the year award (that goes to Jamie for actually making it up in time to head out with them!), we had a fabulous time cheering them on-and Irene and Bekah even made it for the final obstacle!  It was awesome and we all can’t wait to participate next time, save Irenefor fear of germs and being dirty.  la-oc-wknd-594

Please visit Jojo’s Facebook for corresponding video footage 🙂

We all headed back to the Anderson’s-where I enjoyed a nice nap on the couch and Bekah spoiled us with burgers from somewhere.  And, off I went back to LA to take the girl I mentored last year, Rosalyn, out to Manhattan Beach.  Someone we both ended up soaked in the water, splashing around, racing waves (and losing) and having our own little photo shoot.  We had such a great time together-even though it was extremely limited and I’m so proud of how mature she’s becoming!  What an amazing girl she is!

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So, there you have it!  I headed back to the OC to pick up J-Jax-enjoyed some more conversation with Irene and Kristen, pretty sure I committed to training for a marathon, and then headed back to San Diego to join my HSE group for a prayer meeting for our upcoming mission trip.  We leave on Friday the 14th-like eight days from now.  Absolute craziness! 

Needless to say, I was exhausted.  Particularly because I had spent the previous three days the past week pretending I was 21 again and could function on four hours of sleep (Marlena had a concert Wednesday, I went out with friends from high school/college on Thursday, and you read the rest!)-even though I wasn’t even capable of functioning on four hours of sleep at 21, muchless 5 years later.  So, there you have it-another whirlwind weekend in the life of me!  How blessed I am 🙂