Coffee Stained Papyrus

Just a Seattle-based girl who loves Jesus. As such, coffee and God's word connect time and time again.

Insert {Your Name} Here April 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 12:58 am

Today is Palm Sunday which marks the upswing of an important see-saw-like week of the Christian faith where we grieve over Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross and then rejoice over his triumphant resurrection. When I was younger and attended church, I always liked Palm Sunday because the entire congregation of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Kelso, Washington waived palms in the air as we walked around the block surrounding our church shouting exciting things like ‘Hosanna!’ Meanwhile, I secretly wished that I had a donkey that I could ride around on.

The truth of the matter is that Christianity is no less controversial today than it was 2,012 years ago when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. People who sought to share the truth of the gospel and the life of Jesus a couple of millenniums ago were at odds with the obnoxious, moralistic, and politicized just as we are today. In light of this, I can be discouraged at what appears to be insurmountable circumstances or I can rejoice in the faithfulness of God as he fulfills His perfect promise to His imperfect people as demonstrated by the growth of the Christian faith.

One thing I will not do though is forget the mind-bending truth that Jesus came to earth and to Jerusalem and to the cross and then back to life to have a deep, raw, and intimate relationship with me. Despite the fact that I often live life against the backdrop of an angry, hurting world, I am thankful that I can insert my name into verses 14 – 16 of Psalm 91. You can too. Why not give it a try?

“Because Jessica holds fast to me in love, I will deliver her;
I will protect Jessica, because she knows my name.
When Jessica calls to me, I will answer her;
I will be with Jessica in trouble;
I will rescue her and honor her.
With long life I will satisfy Jessica
and show her my salvation.”
(Psalm 91:14-16 ESV)

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Hold My Heart March 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 5:21 am

The absence of cable TV and a propensity to listen only to Christian radio often leads me to be a couple of steps behind pop culture. Seriously, it if it weren’t for Glee, I wouldn’t have heard of Lady Gaga or her music. My sweet sorority sisters and I still laugh about the moment, when at my friend’s wedding in the fall of 2009, I jumped up emphatically shrieking about the fact that the DJ was playing Beyonce’s newest sensation called Single Ladies. Only after I bought the CD did I find out the song was at least a year old.

But back to the point… a week or so ago, an awesome and new song came across my Pandora station. As I clicked over to give it a thumbs up, I noticed it was called Hold My Heart and was performed by Sara Bareilles, a singer/songwriter, who I very much like. Sara’s voice, the melody and the chorus combined into something which I have crooned over and over to myself since the initial interaction and has spurred me to come here and ramble/share about an important lesson I learned in recent years. The song paired with my church’s current sermon series and a couple of years of additional reflection and practice have led me to the time where I feel compelled to share.

Simply put, I am annoyingly romantic. As a  girl who didn’t date much in high school or college, I have had a lot of time to fantasize and scheme up the ways things should be done. When I became a Christian, I was elated! First, Jesus would love me and nurture me. He’d figuratively hold my heart in His hands until, through spiritual growth, it would grow strong. And then when that happened, he would provide a husband who he could pass my heart along to. The visual picture of Him carefully passing my heart on to tan, man hands (inside joke) was vivid to me and I carried this with me as I sailed through the last few year of college and came to Seattle to work. I met a lot of smart, handsome, and nice men but things didn’t really work out because they either weren’t interested in Jesus and/or me. At times, I questioned whether something was wrong with me because I had seriously imposed upon myself the idea that love was an “if, then” statement where “If I really loved Jesus and shaped up, then (and only then) would He provide me with a husband”.

Original Art by Michael Sparks via Etsy (Watercolor Heart Original)

I wish I could say I came upon a revelation after spiraling into manic depression. Instead, in the midst of my skewed thought life, I met a boy who liked Jesus and liked me. We dated and things got serious. As our relationship grew, I talked at (not with) Jesus a lot. First, I apologized for growing impatient. Second, I thanked him for bringing me spiritually to a point where I was deemed ready to date. And then, I started tapping my foot in expectation. Dating was new and exciting and I truly enjoyed the time spent with my boyfriend. The rhythm we developed of going to church together, going on double dates and planning outings was sweet. As I prayed for him, I would pray that Jesus would bless us and that we would be married, recalling upon the transfer of my heart as I did so.

Anyone who’s dated (honestly) knows that it’s an awesome and hard process some times. As the boyfriend and I approached months three or four, we started to rub against each other. When we had started to date, I had joked about our differences. I was a “yes” girl. He naturally said “no” first. I was an early bird while he was a night owl. I liked country music and he somehow listened to something that resembled techno. Over time, our differences became points of contention. I was disappointed but resolved that relationships were hard and I just needed to ride the wave and be more open-minded. Expecting a perfect relationship with an inherently sinful human was illogical, right? Still, I wondered what Jesus had in store for me. Finally, on a car ride with the boyfriend, I turned to him and suddenly said, “You know what? For the longest time, I thought that Jesus was going to pass possession of my heart over to my husband but the more I think about it, I realize that when that time comes for me, Jesus is going to hold my heart together with my husband’s. My heart will always rest in the palms of Jesus. That’s the only way  it will be safe, the only way it will be beautiful.”

The boyfriend was really kind and agreed with my observation. Meanwhile, I was floored, relieved, and a little embarrassed. While the boyfriend and I parted ways a couple of months after that, I found a lot of comfort in the fact that Jesus is the answer to Sara’s question:

Does anyone know how to hold my heart?

More than that, I am thankful that Jesus will hold it lovingly and perfectly until the day when He brings His right hand to his left and there will be another heart which He has been waiting in anticipation for mine to be held with. I have no doubt that it will be  immeasurably more than even I, an annoying romantic, could hope for or imagine.

Psalm 28:7 ESV |

    The LORD is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

 

Justus – Just Another Runner Up? February 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 5:28 am

I started 2012 with a few resolutions:

  1. To learn how to do a  proper blow-out.
  2. To get great arms.
  3. And… whatever else sounded good each and every minute leading to midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Upon New Year’s Day, I found myself soberly sitting in my living room. I was feeling the aftermath of an irrational decision and wanted to dive into the Bible for a feel-good. As I sat holding my study Bible in my hands (it is pretty heavy and I was dead set on achieving resolution #2 at any cost), I realized how I wasn’t going to get far.

You see, I wanted God’s word to be a band-aid. Rather than approaching it as a source of truth, I wanted it to be a cure-all so I could stop sulking and start bopping around again. I was deflated. I didn’t know which book to turn to as I wasn’t sure there was anything that addressed my circumstances with the specificity that I ached for. Within minute I was crying. Big, wet, tears. As I flipped through the pages I came across a table in the back that offered a reading plan to read the Bible in a year. The next thing I knew I was laughing and feeling a wave of relief coming over me. If I wanted the Bible to be meaningful and more than a toy for me to manipulate, shouldn’t I know it well? Shouldn’t I read it in its entirety? Before I knew it, I had found my third resolution and it wasn’t going to be changing anytime soon.

Flash forward to now. It’s February and I’m reading from Genesis, the Psalms, 2 Chronicles and Acts every day (by God’s grace I’m sticking with it – the arm resolution, however,  has run out of steam). I had initially decided to read Acts in its entirety to gain a perspective on the growth of the Christian church back in December before I had any idea that I’d be reading it and much, much more this year. As such, I was excited to dive in and read about the mass baptisms, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the rapid rate of conversions that happened in the days and weeks after Jesus returned to heaven. As I finished chapter 1, however, something else caught my attention entirely (warning: more than ten verses ahead):

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and“‘Let another take his office.’

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

(Acts 1:15-26 ESV)

These verses conclude chapter 1 and I’ll admit that all I could think about was what had happened to Justus? My concern was not so much about why they hadn’t picked him (clearly they casted lots) but rather I just felt bad for the guy. I mean, he had walked with Jesus from the baptism of John through Jesus’ resurrection. Among the “chaos” after Christ’s ascension, he stuck with the early church. And finally, when Peter felt led to replace Judas, he (out of 120 other men) was one of two to be singled out, to be prayed over, and then… the lot wasn’t cast in his favor in front of (most likely) everyone.

Let me tell you… if we eagerly watch reality TV shows such as Survivor or America’s Next Top Model with bated breath, how much more hope and expectation could there be in being named as one of the twelve disciples? Again, I just felt bad for the guy.

So… what happened next? Well, I frankly thought it would be only logical for Justus to drop into the background. After forcing a smile and hugging Matthias, he would fade from the front lines of ministry. He would return to his hometown and his family, pick up his prior day job and faithfully send in his financial support as the other disciples built the early church. On the holidays he would commiserate with his friends, recalling the fervor and excitement of the days he was one of the 120 seeing Jesus perform miracles and rebuking the religious. Because he had been one of them, he would have to keep appearances, of course. Only in the dark of the evening as he lay awake would he give in to the darkest thoughts… “Why wasn’t it me?” There, he would cross-examine every interaction, every word he had spoken during his time of ministry. Had he insulted Peter in a casual conversation? Had he not been faithful enough? What did Matthias have that he didn’t?

In other words, I couldn’t blame Justus if he had been human.  I mean, here he was at the pinnacle of his life with the opportunity to be a major character in history and he had missed out. He was second best.  I haven’t been shy about sharing my experiences with you regarding how placing second nearly drove me to my wit’s end. Losing out on titles and prestige is hard for most of us, especially in such a competitive and accomplishment-oriented culture. Thankfully, my tailspin led me to Jesus. But what about, Justus?

Well, thankfully, Justus remembered the Gospel. Rather than sulk, or question, or have an internal temper tantrum, Justus remembered the last words of his Savior, Jesus Christ:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

Although my research is merely limited to a Bing search, several sources confirm that Justus remained a leader in the early church and one even suggests that he was a martyr of the faith. He didn’t cower at his lost title but instead stood up into his place in Jesus’ kingdom. He was faithful and, to me, a great encouragement. So, thanks Justus… for not only preventing pride from getting the better side of you but for responding to Jesus’ calling and leading by example.

 

Crowns November 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 3:50 am

There’s something about crowns that (generally) make a girl’s heart go aflutter. As such, when I spotted the following print at a shop I fell in love with it instantly. I’m sure you’ll recognize it:

Not only is it Biblical (Philippians 4:5-7) but it is inspiring and simple to remember. I wanted one but soon found out that my very good friend had already put one in her kitchen. And then another friend had put one in her living room. And then I just wasn’t sure where to get one. And so I didn’t get one.

I recently moved into a new house and was trying to cover the walls with something.It appears, however, that I’m a little resistant to parting with money to purchase art. As such, faced with a beautiful set of silver frames, I elected to make my own print. I’ve enjoyed it (it’s very simple) for the last few weeks but feel compelled to share it here as a means to reflect on some recent happenings. It’s not penance, mind you, but rather a way to ramble with some built-in accountability:

I have loved this phrase (a line taken out of some mysterious hymn – ie: I can’t remember its name) since I first heard/sang it and I’m thankful to have it posted above my ironing board. Up until today I have typically taken it in as I’ve prepared for the day. Today, however, was not one of those days. Instead, I just caught myself reading it thinking ‘Hmph. I wish I had kept that in mind before I went off the deep end.’

You see, in just a few minutes, I felt like my pride (ick – pride!) got sucker-punched back to back resulting in me becoming instantly moody and forgetting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As I settled down after exhibiting a not-so-attractive tantrum, I quickly realized that perhaps if I had not been clenching a few key crowns of my life so tightly, I wouldn’t have been injured so much when they were taken from my hands.

Depending on who you talk to, Christians may tell you that when we arrive in heaven we will be crowned by Jesus according to the lives we have led. While that is fascinating in a way, I am much more concerned about the crowns that I’m trying to bestow myself with and their danger. Just like the assortment in the pictures above, the crowns I try to wear vary in material, size, and splendor. All of them, however, are crafted by me and I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit has shown me that they will not make me happy in the long run. For now, all I can do is to look towards Jesus Christ, the God-man who came to earth to wear a crown of thorns (John 19:5), be crucified and die so that he could resurrect and ascend into heaven to wear a golden crown (Revelation 14:14).

It’s His crown that really matters, right?

 

I’m Hosed (And You Are Too) July 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 3:04 am

I love my community group. Not only is my time spent there on Tuesday evenings wonderful because of its delicious meal and the time spent catching up with those in the “five years old and younger crowd”, but it a time where my friends and I get to share life together as we open God’s word and dig deep within us. It is a time for honesty and sometimes, such as this last Tuesday, it hurts.  Despite the wonder of this summer season which seems to magnify God’s beauty in the Pacific Northwest, the hearts of some of my dear friends in community group were heavy, weighed down in the ever constant tension of flesh and spirit, the desire to do God’s work while simultaneously contending with their own desires.

Faced with their hurt, I wasn’t too helpful. Upon trying to encourage them with Christianese, I sinned against them. In so many words, I failed them as I encouraged them to “try harder” instead of  pointing to Jesus’ grace, the Father’s care, and the super-naturalness of the Holy Spirit. As I moved into Wednesday, my trite pep talk hung with me and by Thursday, as I sat down to continue the study of 1st Timothy that I had started on a recent vacation, God was faithful to illuminate verses 12 through 14 in chapter one. Prior to this, these verses had stood in the background among others that had pulled on my heart strings (verses 5, 15-16). Moved by this, I sent the following to my community group (along with an apology for the mindless rambling which had occurred a few days prior) and felt compelled to share it with you too.

1st Timothy 1/

12I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

I love, love, love that the grace of the Lord overflows for us with faith and love… can’t you just imagine, God, the Father standing beside us with a water hose blasting us with cool water as a relief to the hot and sticky weather (or the heat of life that we encounter)? Just when we think we have had enough or are getting too wet, He’s still there, still blasting us out of care and concern. The moment that the droplets of relief start to evaporate in the heat, He is there again with the hose on high pressure.

It’s my prayer that we would remember the beautiful truth of the gospel. I often pray that I would remember the gospel so that I would serve others well but I think that the danger in that some days is that I’m simply an intermediary instead of a beneficiary of God’s good grace. I pray that you would find yourself having deep, deep joy knowing that you can’t escape the Lord’s grace, mercy, or love today or any other day.

 

This One’s For the Girls June 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 2:34 pm

And the boys too… although I hadn’t planned on it turning out that way.

I’m part of a book club which is rereading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The club is rereading the book authored by Lisa See for two reasons:

  1. It has been dubbed the club’s “all time favorite”.
  2. It will be coming out as a movie this summer.

I was not part of the book club when this book was initially read so I enthusiastically ordered it off of Amazon when the club decided to reread it. It was mentioned at nearly every book club meeting that I had ever attended and my friend, E, really loved it in particular.

I’m only three chapters into it (including the introduction) and it already brought up an issue which I felt compelled to explore here. You see, if you hadn’t already picked up on it upon reading the title, the book is set in China and starts in the early 19th century and introduces the reader to a six year old girl named Lilly. Why is this important? Because one of the very first significant acts that occurs in the book is the foot binding of Lilly, her cousin, and her younger sister.

I am not an on expert on foot binding but let me give you a brief explanation of what it consists of and why it happened. Young girls would have their feet nearly bent in half and shaped so that they would ultimately become more marriageable. As Lilly explains in the book:

“All I knew was that foot binding would make me more marriageable and therefore bring me closer to the greatest love and greatest joy in the woman’s life – a son. To that end my goal was to achieve a pair of perfectly bound feet …. seven centimeters — about the length of a thumb — is the ideal.”

I knew that I would be squeamish reading about Lilly’s foot binding experience (it was actually very tastefully written if that is even imaginable). It turns out that it was worse. After reading the first third of the foot binding chapter, I began to shake. They were big shakes and not those attributable to being chilly (although I at first assumed it was so). As I read on, I realized that I kept flexing my feet and standing on my toes, and was, in that moment, in agony for Lilly and all of the real women who she represented. As I thought about my size 8 feet and the years they’ve spent running in the grass, along the Pacific ocean, pushing a clutch in my manual transmission car, and most importantly, twirling around in dance class, I was so grateful for the time and place where God has placed me. And then, I became dumbfounded.

I went to work the next day and discussed the book’s events with my boss. I had so many questions. How could men think that turning  women’s feet into animal hooves was attractive? Why were they mystified? I wanted to do more research to understand when the practice began and when it finally stopped. My boss politely listened to my commentary and then made the most unfathomable observation. “J,” she said, “you realize that foot binding also prevented the women from running away…”

I then became infuriated. Is this what God had intended when He formed Eve out of Adam’s rib? That women’s feet would be bound at the age of six (little girl’s bones have a higher water content at this time) or that they be genitally mutilated (an act that still occurs today)? NO – of course not! I immediately desired solace from God’s word, affirmation that women were not only important to Him but cherished. That He, in His omnipotence, omnipresence, and sovereignty was particularly outraged over the sins committed against women in past, present, and future.

When I returned from work, I logged into my study Bible and performed a word search of “woman” confident that there would be something to quell my tension. My aim was to write a post listing all of the verses which affirmed women, creating a spiritual storehouse where I could turn to for consolation. There were 358 results. I read all of them. There wasn’t one verse which even remotely struck me as useable.

I realize that this is where this post could be considered dangerous if one stopped reading here. Surely, the comments included in the prior paragraph would lead some to call me “ungrateful”, a “blasphemer” or a “heathen”. To be honest, I felt this way. Most (as in more than 50%) of the verses in the English Standard Version translation of the Old Testament referencing women did so in regards to the fact that they would be adulterers if they had relations with another man while married, were considered unclean in their menstrual impurity, and that they writhed with the pain of labor. As I moved onto the New Testament, the gospel references detailed women who participated in Jesus’ ministry or were beneficiaries of His miraculous healing whereas the epistles detailed how married women were to submit (it’s not a bad thing!) to their husbands.

‘Jesus’, I prayed, ‘where is the justice that I know you provide?’

Faithfully, Jesus stepped in as I read the study notes of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 11 (a chapter which is often misused as it addresses marital roles in the family) where I read the following:

1 Cor. 11:7–9. Woman is the glory of man probably uses “glory” in the sense of “one who shows the excellence of.” Paul argues that a woman, by the excellence of her being, also shows how excellent man is, since she was taken out of man at the beginning (1 Cor. 11:8) and also was created as a helper for man at the beginning (v. 9; see also Gen. 2:20–24). Paul does not deny that the woman was also made in God’s image, something that Gen. 1:27 explicitly affirms, nor does he deny that the woman reflects God’s glory.

Immediately, my heart knew that my approach had been wrong. I had run to God’s word eager to find support for my cause rather than His truth. Where I had hoped to find votes for the value of women, I found that God would not take sides on the gender war as the defilement of His creation through human sinfulness has already done such a terrible disservice to His children.

The truth of the matter is that we, man and woman alike, were truly created in God’s image to be loved by Him and be in relationship with Him. In the sight of Jesus, we are all His children: equal but undeniably different. As I reflect on this, I am so thankful that collectively, we are invited into the presence of God. It was Him after all who promised the following:

And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

Leviticus 26:12

 

Two Important Things May 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jessica @ 2:42 pm

I have to admit that I was somewhat comforted by a quick facebook discussion my godmother and I had on my wall.

Yesterday was my first day back to work after a mini-vacation. Back in the real world, I had started making a list of all the things that I needed to do, one of which was something that I felt Jesus had been asking me to do for a while. While I mentally broke my Monday into hours, I quickly came to the decision that if I was going to get eight hours or sleep, then Jesus’ request was going to have to be postponed. Alphabetically, my name does come first after all…

I sensed the human-ness in my response. The postponed task wouldn’t really take more than an hour or two. Who was I to become suddenly regimental over my sleeping habits when just weeks before watching episodes from Parks and Recreation or writing posts for my other blog carried me into the wee hours of the night?

As a means for internal accountability (I know, I know… this use of facebook probably wasn’t intended by Mark Zuckerberg when he created it), I posted the following on facebook:

In consideration of all the kingdom building which needs to be done, I wonder if eight hours of sleep really is a priority?

It didn’t take my godmother too long to come up with the following oh-so-appropriate response:

Not if it’s the end of world this week 🙂

Which brings me to the following two important things:

1) The smiley face: My aunt included the smiley face as a means of  a wink between the two of us. Her comment was referring to the INSANE amount of speculation regarding May 21st, the date of which a so-called Christian (I’m sorry if this offends some people but you’ll see why I’ve written this very shortly) has amassed a huge amount of donations and media attention to try to scare people into believing that judgment day will be coming this Saturday.

I am not a prophet. I haven’t gone to seminary either. I do love Jesus though and I read His word pretty consistently and based on those two things alone, I am pretty sure that this May 21st-is-the-end-of-the-world-movement’s use of a website (I don’t even want to know the number of hits its received), billboards, and wrap-around car ads blatantly conflict with the following as said by Jesus himself:

Luke 17 |  20Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, 21nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” 22And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.


Matthew 24 | 36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Scholars who have studied the Bible more intensely and over a longer period of time will have even more verses to support the truth that the time of the final judgment day cannot be predicted. So what’s the takeaway from point number one: it’s ok to not give any credibility to the latest end-of-the-world movement and, if you feel so inclined, to feel frustrated.

Which brings me to the second important item..

2) Developing a worldview: Perhaps you didn’t need the verses above to know that the May 21st prophecy was a sham. I ask you, ‘Why?’ Did it conflict with your worldview, sound crazy or merely make you uncomfortable so you decided to ignore it?

One of the most unfortunate results of the latest end-of-the-world campaign were the reactions to people who haven’t formed a worldview for them to leverage their life upon.

You know (because you’re most likely my friend as this blog does not generate a lot of search term traffic) which team I’m on and why I’ve subscribed to my worldview. This post (surprisingly) though isn’t about teams.

Instead, I’m writing this as a plea for you to form your worldview because it provides purpose and structure to an otherwise chaotic life. As you ask the hard questions you’ll come to conclusions regarding the existence of God, whether there’s an afterlife and what it consists of, and what a life well-lived looks like. It also provides a platform for intellectual conversations among friends and family as we dwell on what really matters so we’re not spending time refuting false claims but rather sharing life together in a meaningful and purposeful way.

John 14:6/

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”