Thursday, December 22, 2005

T'is The Season

My best friend is engaged! I'll let you hear about it in her own words:

"As many of you might already know, I am engaged to marry Allan Luciano! He proposed to me on Friday, December 9, 2005, at Disneyland at approximately 2:30pm in the afternoon – and I accepted! I was at Disneyland with my friend, Janea Brown. Her work had their Christmas party at Disneyland and each employee got to invite a guest, I was her guest. I spent the first part of the day with her and another friend until mid-day when we went to meet up with some friends. We met up with some friends and were waiting for the others to arrive so we could all have lunch together. We were in the middle of the park by Main Street and the Walt and Mickey statue.

Allan was suppose to be at work that day, and thus didn’t join us at Disneyland. But he had secretly arrived around 12:30pm or so and was waiting and planning on how to surprise me. Unknown to me, Allan and Janea were text messaging back and forth and setting up a time and place to meet. Finally they decided on the Walt and Mickey statue in the middle of the park.

I was taking pictures with my friends, waiting for the “others” to arrive. My friend Jon was taking our picture when all of a sudden Allan walked up to us. I was shocked and surprised to see him there, but still didn’t think or expect anything more. No one else seemed to be shocked to see him, only me. Then, Allan took my hand and said that he had a question to ask me. He then told me that he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Then he got down on one knee and pulled out a ring box and asked me to marry him! I was shocked, flustered, surprised, happy, and smiling. I don’t remember too much, but I did manage to say 'yes!'

Allan and I then parted ways with our friends and went to Downtown Disney to have lunch and call our families with the news. Later we met back up with the rest of our friends and spent the rest of the day and evening at Disneyland. My friend Lola bought me a bridal Mickey-ears with a veil, that I wore for the rest of the day.

Allan and I are planning, Lord willing, to get married on June 24, 2006. We are excited, thankful and joyful over the blessing God has given us in each other’s friendship – and we look forward with eagerness and expectation at our upcoming marriage – when we make a covenant of lifelong companionship and friendship of serving the Lord together. It is such a joy to have our friends and family share our excitement and joy with us!

I will end with a verse that Allan wrote to me in a letter that he gave to me a year ago – when he expressed his desire to develop a relationship with me. This verse was true then and it remains true now.

“20Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Our lives are a sacrifice to our Lord Jesus Christ – and we give thanks and praise to Him who not only gives us what we don’t deserve but gives us more than we can ask or think! May we strive to glorify Him with our lives."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ode to Nuts

Teen Dies After Kissing Boyfriend

A 15-year-old girl with a peanut allergy died after kissing her boyfriend, who had just eaten a peanut butter snack, hospital officials said Monday. Christina Desforges died in a Quebec hospital Wednesday after doctors were unable to treat her allergic reaction to the kiss the previous weekend.Desforges, who lived in Saguenay, about 155 miles north of Quebec City, was almost immediately given a shot of adrenaline, a standard tool for treating the anaphylactic shock brought on by a peanut allergy, officials said.An autopsy was being performed. Dr. Nina Verreault, an allergist at the Chicoutimi Hospital in Saguenay, declined to comment on the case.The symptoms of peanut allergy can include hives, plunging blood pressure and swelling of the face and throat, which can block breathing.Peanut allergies have been rising in recent decades. The reason remains unclear but one study found that baby creams or lotions with peanut oil may cause children to develop allergies later in life.About 1.5 million Americans are severely allergic to even the smallest trace of peanuts and peanut allergies account for 50 to 100 deaths in the United States each year. Canadian figures were not immediately available.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What's Emerging from Evangelicalism Today?

I am amazed at the different movements the church has had to battle with all of these years. And they just keep on coming. I've been reading up on the newest fad/phenomenon sweeping through the church these days--it's called the "Emerging Church."

Leaders of the Emerging Church are targeting people in my generation (ages 18-30). They've seen my generation's rejection of the charismatic approach to worship and our desire to get back to the roots and basics of our faith. In an attempt to make worship services more appealing to this target audience, they've taken to dark, solemn meeting places with Celtic crosses, candles, and antiques strewn about. They encourage people to have individual relationships with God--if that means getting up in the middle of service to go in the corner and pray, then by all means, please do. In the Emerging Church, worship is expressed in a variety of means--painting, drawing, writing, poetry, any creative medium with which you want to worship God.

While many of the foundational elements of the Emerging Church are acceptable and even commendable, I am concerned with the direction the movement is taking. It seems the Emerging Church has been so distracted and preoccupied with the ambiance and method of their worship, they've neglected the content and object of it. In fact, the gospel seems to be secondary or nonexistent in subjection to the needs and numbers of the church.

As evangelical Christians, it is our responsibility to know about such movements and to be educated about their content so that we can be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us...yet with reverence and gentleness. I would encourage you to google "The Emerging Church" and find out more about it. There are some great articles about it such as the ones I've listed below:,,PTID314526CHID598014CIID2082654,00.html,,PTID314526CHID598014CIID2082384,00.html

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Legalism Is Still Sin

Yesterday, my coworker sent me a link to a website--a very interesting website-- definitely worthy of a blog entry. Here is the link to the site if you want to check it out:

Here are some of the "highlights" below for those of you who are too lazy to visit the site:
The pictures are courtesy of Janea :o)

Lev. 19:28, 21:5

Ephesians 5:12, Colossians 3:16, 1 John 2:15-17

1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Romans 13:14 2 Timothy 2:22, James 1:27

1 Corinthians 11: 1-15

And remember, these are just a couple of "highlights"--the list goes on and on.
This is not a joke! At first I was laughing my head off when I looked at this site. And then I got really sad...this is true and there are truly people who are out there twisting God's Word to fit their own legalistic rules and regulations of what a Christian looks like--just like the Pharisees--Woe to them!

I sent an email to the pastor of the church. Surprise, surprise, he hasn't responded and I don't think he will. But if he does, you will be the first one to know!

I felt like saying--LEGALISM IS STILL SIN!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pharisee Turned Truly Holy

Since my best friend Sandi put her testimony on her blog, I decided to share mine as well. It's basically a story of God's grace in my life and how I got to be in ministry where I am now! Enjoy!

It is only by God’s amazing grace that I was born into a family that loves Jesus Christ and raised me in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I was brought up at Grace Church, so I learned about Jesus Christ from the time I was little. I also attended private school for most of my education, so I was constantly surrounded by and immersed in the influence of believers. At a young age, I “accepted Jesus into my heart,” understanding as much as a six-year-old possibly could.

As I grew up, I continued going to church every Sunday, but I was basically living for myself. I thought that I was saved because I was a “good person,” but I had mastered the art of compartmentalizing my life. I would go to church on Sunday and Wednesday night and neglect to acknowledge God for the rest of the week. I was constantly disrespectful, disobedient, and dishonoring to my parents. I was seeking the approval of man rather than God, which manifested itself in my pursuits and goals. I was intensely involved in gymnastics and I was planning on training for the Olympics. Gymnastics was an idol in my heart. It consumed all of my time, energy, and was my consuming passion, rather than God.

It wasn’t until I was at a winter camp with the jr. high group at Grace that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and showed me that I was living a lie. It was then I realized I couldn’t rely on my parents’ faith to save me. I had to decide on my own to follow the truth. I learned that true, genuine, saving faith is a relationship with Christ who died as the ultimate sacrifice and payment for my sins. In a response of thanks for what Christ did for me, I am called to give Him every part of my life--not just Sunday. At that camp I committed my life to serve the Lord.

Right away the Lord put trials in my life to prune me and shape me into His image. My mother was diagnosed with cancer. This made me evaluate my priorities and put things into perspective. I began to focus more on significant, eternal matters. And for me, giving up myself also meant giving up gymnastics. I quit the sport that had once consumed my entire life. Now I had a desire to read Scripture and to have daily devotions. My motives for attending church were radically changed. I went because I loved God’s Word and His people.

I knew that once I made the decision to follow the Lord, I should be baptized, but pride held me back. I thought to have an effective testimony, you had to be saved from a life of drugs or outward sin. But my discipleship leader helped me understand the error of my thinking. Salvation is God raising someone from the dead (spiritually speaking). It is a miracle only God can perform. I was just as dead in my sins and praise God he pulled me from the pit of self-deception.

I am now a member of Grace Community Church. I am involved in 180--the high school ministry. High school was a pivotal time in my walk with the Lord. So now, my desire as a staff member is to encourage the girls in my small group to seek Christ in their youth and to make wise decisions now that will affect their futures. I know these girls are watching my life, so I desire to be an example to them and to be more like my Savior each day. I pursue holiness, because that is what the Lord requires of His children. I am daily amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness to me, though I have done nothing to deserve the abundance of blessings I receive. I look forward to a life of service and ministry wherever I am.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Stress Ball

Okay, so I've decided. The best thing to do when I am stressed out is to post a new blog entry. (Okay, maybe it's not the "best" thing to do when I am stressed, but it is something...) Forget the thousand and one things whirling around in my mind, my cell phone ringing off the hook, the work piling up on my desk. When I've had enough, I think it is legitimate to take my "coffee break" and spend it trying to amuse the thousands of people who read my blog :o)

Please bear with me and follow my random train-of-thought. I have to say, I really admire stay-at-home-mothers. I've never had as much appreciation for them as I do now. You see, my parents are out of town, so I have the house all to myself for a month. And let me tell you--it's not easy. There is more to having a house than I ever thought. But it has been a good learning experience, who knows; someday I might become a wife and mother! Now that is a stressful thought...but a good one.

See, I've only written a couple of paragraphs and I already feel a thousand times better. I think that's because when I actually take a minute to catch my breath, I realize I don't really have any stress in my life. And if I do, it's a good kind of stress. The type of stress that makes me thankful...that makes me drop to my knees and praise the Lord for the overwhelming blessings he has put in my life. ("Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, present your request to the Lord.")

So, what stresses you out?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Murphy's Law

Whatever can go wrong, will!
I am starting to believe that is true.
Yesterday was a long day for me. After Bible study I was exhausted, but I didn't want to rush off and neglect the fellowship. So I hung around for a while and talked with some people.

I got home much later than I would have liked too, but no harm done. Or should I say...I thought there was no harm done. When I pulled into my driveway, the first thing I noticed was a massive blanket of brown pine needles covering my freshly manicured lawn--sad times. I'll clean it up tomorrow, I thought. Then, I walked into the house to notice the lattice against the wall in the back yard had completely fallen over so I went outside and struggled to lift the heavy board which, I might add, is taller and heavier than I am. But somehow I managed. While I was outside I noticed that several plants and trees and potted flowers were scattered across the lawn, leaving a heaping pile of dirt on my porch. So, I cleaned that up and swept up the unsightly mess. Then I realized...there had been a mini Katrina in my own back yard! The winds were pretty strong today, so I guess that's why the pine needles were everywhere and the lattice fell over the plants were knocked over. I am not complaining, mind you, just trying to show the validity of Murphy’s Law! In fact, I thanked the Lord that I don't live in New Orleans, and I prayed for the victims of Katrina.

But nonetheless, I am sure it was quite an amusing sight for my neighbor to watch me cleaning up the mess and struggling to lift massive objects all while dressed in my "fancy" work clothes just longing to find the comfort of my bed. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ