12 Years…Where Were You?

Today marks 12 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

12 years…

It is astonishing how quickly the time has gone by, but I have never forgotten what it was like that morning. I was in the 7th grade, and I remember it like it was just yesterday. I never thought I would remember a single day so clearly, but I do.

My parents woke me up early and told me to go look at the tv. This was weird for two reasons: both of my parents were in my room and they told me watch tv…I spent the next few hours glued to the tv, watching attack after attack. Those new stories and images are forever burned into my mind’s eye.

I was at home with my family, before going to school and being with my friends…where were you?


Chapters in Life

Think about a book for a moment. Nearly every book of any length is divided into chapters. These chapters work together to bring about the full story. If taken individually, a single chapter would not make sense…the reader would be confused as to who the characters are and what is happening. This is why a book is not read by only reading a single chapter; no, it is read by reading all the chapters, in order. Just because a chapter ends, does not mean that everything starts a new with the new chapter, rather, it builds. In this way, the story is understood by the end and all the pieces have fallen into place.

I like to think of our lives as being broken into chapters. These chapters often reflect significant events that shape us and provide structure to our lives. Chapters may include things such as: college, time at a particular job, a relationship, and living in a particular area…I think you get the idea.

Just like a book, there are themes, people and ideals that run constant throughout our chapters. While some of these things remain constant throughout our lives, or at least through multiple chapters, but some of these do disappear between chapters, and do not play a part in subsequent chapters. It is important to recognize when these chapters end and try to determine what will happen in the next chapter, what will remain the same and what will be set aside.

As I have moved through the story that is my life, there have been people, places, material possessions, ideas and more that have stayed through the chapters, been written out and been added in. It just keeps showing me that my life is like a book, and I do not even know everything that is happening. Is it easy to move through the chapters of life? Not always, no. But I try not to be too worried.

You see, one of the reasons I am not too worried about what is next in my story, is because I believe the words of Hebrews 12:2, which state: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus is the author of my life. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11).

So as I move into new chapters in my life, I know there are things and people that will not have a significant role in the new chapter. This is not necessarily an easy pill to swallow, but life does go on. For everything that is taken out of my life, I know that God will replace it with something even more amazing and in line with what He has in store for my life.

To those who are also starting new chapters, to those who are working on figuring out their own story and what may or may not be in it- I wish you all the best. We all go through periods of life in which we try to figure out more of who we are and what God wants for us, and I hope each and every one of you gets to that point. Know you are in my thoughts, but more importantly in my prayers.

So live life, enjoy the chapter you may be in, and know that something new is around the corner…in a chapter still waiting to be written. But also know that some times, goodbyes happen…

Every memory of looking out the back door
I had the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor
It’s hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye.
Every memory of walking out the front door
I found the photo of the friend that I was looking for
It’s hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye

Names of God

At the last meeting, my fellow UTurn Junior High Leaders and I talked about the various names of God and how we could illustrate/teach about the names at youth group. We had some great discussions regarding different names and it really got me thinking into how God has been evident in my life and how each of the names attributed to Him in the Bible are still so evident and clear. Perhaps the best way for me to show what I mean is to briefly discuss a couple…

  • Yahweh Jireh: “The Lord will provide” Through everything, God provides just what we need, when we need it. He knows the plan that is best for our lives, and will provide for us accordinly, all in His timing. I keep trying to plan out my life and it never really works in the way I want…I have learned that God has a plan and I need to just be willing to go along with it and set my own agenda aside. In a way, this is why I do not have my life all mapped out and planned…sure, I have a desire to better myself and I have the motivation and drive to do so, but I am also letting God work on the roadmap of my life (I like the way that sounds…possible blog post in the future??)
  • Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Santifier” God alone can make us pure and holy, through Him we become as we were meant to be. We are all sinners…you, me, everyone. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Through Christ we are made holy once again and our sins are washed clean away.
  • Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd” God guides us and protects us, much in the same way a shepherd guides and protects the flock. We are all lost sheep and Christ is seeking us all out to bring us back together in His flock. Whenever I get off track, I feel the gentle prodding my my Shepherd…getting me back on track.
  • Jehovah Nissi: “The Lord my Banner” Jesus is our rallying point, the firgure that we, as Christians, gather around and are united under. I will rally around the banner that is Christ…it is above any nation or government and is my first allegency.
  • King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

There are so many names in the Bible used to describe the attributes or characteristics of God. It is a topic worth studying and deserves so much more justice than a simple blog post can provide. We are covering some the various names of God during Wednesday evening services with the junior highers. If you should feel so inclided, please pray that God gives us the words to say so that the junior highers understand just how great and mighty God really is, in all aspects of life.

Names of God

Above are the various names of God...which do you feel the most drawn to, the most powerful or the most inspiring? All thoughts welcome!