Monday, December 14, 2009


So, this post is a little nerdy. But it's a great testimony to how God even cares for our little worries.

I warmed in a dear friend's car last evening. We both sharing our cantankerous struggles as of late. The deep rooted problems that God has been teaching us for years and bringing into the light are burdens at times that we give to God and then take back again. This seems a perpetual cycle.

On occasion, these burdens are added to with annoying little worries that tip over the scale and and send me rolling into a disorienting darkness. I forget that my Lord is sovereign. I forget that I'm his daughter. I just sit in the darkness and cry.

Little worry #1: On Friday, I bought a roll of stamps. On Saturday, I couldn't find them. I immediately went into a frenzy. "How am I going to get my newsletter out? I can't afford another roll of stamps? What am I going to do? Don't you care God?" are just of few of my doubting thoughts.

Little worry #2: My friend, with whom I was speaking with in the car, just returned from a trip abroad and lost her car key the night she came home. She searched the ground everywhere, retracing her steps three time. Still, no key found.

This morning, as the dawn breaks and the shadows flee away...

I woke with a text message from my friend. "Key found, on my pillow"

I walked into the office, comfortably sitting on the corner of my desk was a roll of stamps.

These may seem small, but God uses them to restore our faith. What thankfulness I have to my Sovereign Lord. For He is good all the time, whether stamps found or missing, he cares for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Merry Christmas!
Friends, I’m so grateful to be wishing you blessings upon your Christmas festivities. Just today the weather became appropriate holiday climate. Though I feel that God mistakenly placed me in the Midwest, I was able to enjoy this “snow-day” as a time to fellowship with roommates and feel the warmth of Christmas in the air. I was reminded of you today too. How can I thank you…I feel surrounded in this moment by your encouragement and your strength of faith. Thank you for being my family, I feel truly blessed.

To begin my Praise God Roll: You remember last month we were praying over the Boxes of Love outreach, where 90 urban partner churches were able to distribute 2,200 boxes of food in their communities. Praise God for His provision for all the boxes! Praise Him for the successful outreaches! One member of our team, Dave, was able to go out with one of these outreaches. He shared that as he and the pastor knocked at one particular door a woman. The mom was broken by this gesture of kindness and even more moved by the fact that she had nothing to feed her kids for supper that evening. She confessed that she heard the music from the church down the street many times, but never felt comfortable going. Now she was. Praise God!

On Wednesdays, I work with five 6th grade girls from St. Paul. God’s timing blew me away a few weeks ago. It amazes me that you can share the gospel over and over again, but at JUST THE RIGHT MOMENT God moves the heart. What a reminder that it is the Spirit of Power at work. Our group was talking about what happens when

you accept Christ. Mariah, quickly raising her hand as she can’t get the words out of her mouth fast enough, asks “But, Ms. Lauren, how do you first get Jesus in your heart?” I almost leapt out of my chair; this is exactly what every Christian begs to be asked! At that moment, Luz raises her hand too, asking if she can know too. Both of these girls prayed and asked Jesus into their heart, what a chorus in heaven.
Continued prayer in the planning of the purity retreat, we are asking God for 75 girls.
Pray for Luz and Mariah, that God would protect them as new believers.
Prayer for truth to be spoken into my life to fight against lies.
In writing this letter, I flipped through my journal to reflect on the past month. On December 2nd I wrote: “I am afraid. I am worried that I don’t have the ability, capacity, and the gifts to plan this Purity Retreat. I am worried that I don’t have any friends. I am worried that I’ve sinned too much lately. I am afraid that I’ve messed it up and I’m not supposed to be doing what I am.” I share this with you friends for the purpose of showing you the grace that God has gave me a moment later when I read, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid!” (Matthew 14:27). I find myself often as Peter, standing in the midst of a storm. I start looking at the elements around me: the burdens of the girls I mentor, the opinions of others, the work load, etc. I start to sink. But Jesus speaks to both me and the storm. “Take courage!” He shows that He is the powerful one. “It is I.” And he destroys my fear. “Don’t be afraid!”

I wish you a Happy Christmas and many blessings upon the New Year!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On Wednesday evening, the SAY Yes! Center, called THE LIFT, in St. Paul gathers about 20 children from the neighborhood school. My group includes five sixth grade girls, each with obvious preteen frailty.
Three of the girls have been faithful SAY Yes! attendees for three years. The other girls were welcomed late last spring. God has been helping our group work through molding these two sets of girls together.
All of the students and mentors gather at the very beginning to pray over the evening and address any announcements there may be. We split into our small groups following. At six we have a family dinner with everyone again. And close with a game and ending small group time.
Last Wednesday, November 11th, our group was talking about how we can know that Christ is in our life. Two girls, Luz and Mariah, were a little uncertain. Luz felt she was about 50% certain she was a Christian, Mariah was 25%. They both stated they were 50% sure they would go to heaven when they died.
God lead our conversation to the truth that when you receive Christ, he comes into your life, you become a new creation, all of your sins our forgiven, you now have a intimate relationship with God, and God will never leave you.
Mariah’s eyebrows furrowed, she asked, “I’m confused, how do I first get Christ in my life?” Luz shot her hand up, “Yeah, me too!” she echoed. Praise the Lord! What beautiful, curious hearts he had softened.
I asked if they believed that God created them and has a plan for their life, if they believed that they were sinful and this separated them from God, if they believed Christ bridged that separation for them by dying their penalty, and if they wanted to have a relationship with God? Luz and Mariah nodded fervently. Mariah interrupted, “But how do I get Him in my heart?”
“We can pray and ask God to come into our hearts, and believe that He will,” I answered.
“Let’s do it!” Luz responded.
They repeated the words from the prayer found in The Knowing God Personally Book. We ended the evening talking about how they can be 100% sure that they are Christians and 100% sure that they are going to heaven when they die.
Last night, a week from when Luz and Mariah prayed, we had the chance to go out for cappuccinos. We talked about the decision they made the week before and about how things are going. Luz was really excited, talking about how she had never done that before and that she felt she “could tell God anything.” Mariah is a very sincere and deep thinker. She processes deeply. She was talking with eternal perspective. She commented that she is “no longer a skull.” (We used a skull and Bible to demonstrate the Great Exchange that happens when Jesus takes our place.)
Praise the Lord! The dead come to life because our Redeemer lives and works mightily in our age to reconcile all of creation back to Himself.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Skittles girls (fruity balls of sugar)

Camp Patmos

Just recently I asked my city director, John Sather, a question I am in the process of wrestling with, “How can I, a middleclasswhitegirl, make any impact in the inner city when I so obviously come from a different background with a well-full of different experiences? And with that, know that there may be a better representative?”

He shared this quote.

To preach the gospel of the unconditional grace of God in the unconditional way is to set before people the astonishingly good news of what God freely provided for us in the vicarious humanity of Jesus. To repent and believe in Jesus Christ and commit myself to him on that basis means that I don not need to look over my shoulder all the time to see whether I have really given myself personally to him, whether I really believe and trust him, whether my faith is at all adequate, for in faith it is not upon my faith, my believing or my personal commitment that I rely, but solely upon what Jesus Christ has done for me, in my place and on my behalf, and what he is and always will be as he stands in for me before the face of the Father. That means that I am completely liberated form all ulterior motives in believing or following Jesus Christ, for on the ground of his vicarious human response for me, I am free for spontaneous joyful response and worship and service as I could not otherwise be. – TF Torrance.
This is a freedom quote, I feel. We are free from the responsibility to always appear perfect and of actually being perfect. I know that, out of my own strife, I will be inadequate for the task of ministering the gospel. But I rest in that inadequacy. I rest in Jesus Christ. I’m free in Jesus Christ. I must speak these truths to my soul, daily. But I can be confident in my inadequacy when I’m surrounded by people that I feel I can’t possibly relate or serve well. Though I can’t relate, I know the one who does and He lives in me.
These are some pictures taken from a youth group retreat with my church. We took 70+ youth up north for the weekend to Camp Patmos. The theme was “What is TRUTH?” Praise God for connections with students, deep conversations surrounding Truth, and a weekend without CELL PHONES!

We know that Our Lord Jesus hasn’t returned yet because another soul can be won for his kingdom. One more soul was won over this weekend. A 6th grade girl, Natasha, who was invited by a friend to camp that weekend, prayed to receive Christ. Pray for Natasha.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Reading from He’s My Brother, by John Perkins and Thomas Tarrants, III

“I will never forget a time during my adolescence that a group of Klansmen decided, for no apparent reason, to “teach a less” to a friend of mine. I went to school with him, and we could not have been any more than 14 or 15 when it happened.
He was walking along the road to town, minding his own business, not causing a bit of trouble for anyone, when a carload of Klansmen spotted him, They liked their odds- six to one- and decided they wanted to “have some fun” with this nigger.
Their idea of having fun was to jump him and beat him nearly half to death. But that was not enough. So while several of them held him down, one of the attackers got out his hunting knife and castrated him, while my friend screamed. They flung him into the ditch and went on their way.
Somehow the mutilated boy survived. He spent a couple of years lying in bed, and has been paralyzed ever since. “

I could barely finish reading this recount, blurred by the tears that covered my eyes. What hatred exists! What irrational insanity has replaced the purity God intended for the human mind? And how much our Lord weeps.

The last few weeks God ushered me to peer into a room of His heart; the room of his emotion. It’s opened only a tiny crack, but the light that pours out shakes my heart-it’s all too consuming.

What pain fills His heart! He wept greatly at the merciless beating of his precious child. But there is a part of his heart that I can’t understand.

It hit me last night when I was singing “Mighty to Save”

Everyone needs compassion,Love that's never failing;Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness,The kindness of a Saviour;The Hope of nations.

In the past I had only thought of myself in these lyrics. Yes, I need compassion, I need forgiveness. When I sang these words last night, I pictured the Klansmen.

Who can our God be that loves them? What does that say of his heart? He screams out at the injustice of the oppressed and yet reaches out in compassion to the oppressor. “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Ps 86:15)
O, I pray God for a heart with your compassion.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will someone please make a Venn Diagram?

What does ministry to the poor look like? How do we balance the Kingdom of God and social justice? What is the form evangelism should take in the city?

These are the questions that swim in my cranial juices as of late. I pray that they continue to bring my face to the Lord to look for answers. We know from scripture and the very nature of Christ that God mandates us to take care of the poor. “I command you to be open handed toward your brother and toward the poor and the needy in your land.” (Deut 15:11)

God has made both the physical and spiritual, how can we think that our service is only the spiritual? (Gen 1:28). I’m guilty of running to evangelize to the man that hungers for literal bread. His mind is consumed by the gurgling s of his stomach. I leave without a prayer for repentance and without a care for his hunger. This cannot be what God means by “mercy.”

The other side of the ditch is there too. The side that runs to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, but feeds NOT the words of eternal life and clothes NOT in garments of righteousness. These are churches that remove the name of Christ from their work and become just another government program.

I don’t mean to speak harshly; I only rebuke my own wanderings into ditches. It is evidence of God’s love in our life when we respond with balanced deed for need. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:16-17

Jesus teaches that anyone who has truly been touched by the grace of a merciful God will be vigorous in helping the needy. I ask you brothers and sisters, what does vigorous mercy look like?

In our human nature we tend to put limits onto our aid. We limit by deciding on our own accord the worthiness of a person in need to receive our help. We also limit by what we believe he or she may do with our aid. We make them out to be “deserving” poor. I was getting an oil change a few weeks ago. I was backing up my car when a man approached me and asked, “Do you have $.38 for the bus?” I barely looked at him, but internally I judged. “I can’t give money, I’m never supposed to give money, they’ll just spend it on alcohol, etc.” The middle-class mantras invaded my carnal mind. I limited my aid by judging both man and use of my aid. I counted him as “undeserving.”

Who am I? I’m the undeserving sinner obstinate toward the Lord. I spit at His grace in that moment, denying mercy to another. Who are we to judge worth? Who are we to limit the workings of the Spirit of God? The Holy Spirit is in the movements of mercy, in the acceptance of mercy, in the extension of the acceptance. That $.38 would have been blessed. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as I don’t claim to know any depth on this subject.


"Life comes, not in spite of, but because of death." Elizabeth Elliot

"I belong to Him simply because He deliberately chose to create me as the subject of His own affection." Phillip Keller

"You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. BUT let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." C.S. Lewis

"Humility is the soil in which everything good in the Christian life grows." John Piper

"It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself." John Calvin

"A man is justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone." Martin Luther

"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness" James 3:18.

"Abide close to the cross, and search the mystery of His wounds." Charles Spurgeon

"Grace Hurts!!" Kid after Pastor Eric dumped candy from the rafters to represent the Grace of God poured down.

"The great equalizer of human kind is the foot of the cross." Ryan Sather

"I know nothing, except what everyone knows - if there when Grace dances, I should dance." W.H. Auden

"Our black and white thinking of right and justice, hates the colorfulness of Grace." Lauren Taylor

"Drippings of grace: a scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited." C.S. Lewis


"God is so masculine that all creation is feminine by comparison." C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It’s exciting to announce that: I AM EMPLOYED BY CAMPUS CRUSADE FOR CHRIST! As of yesterday, September 1st, I have started working! Thank you for all of your prayers and support in the last few months. You have been true instruments of the Lord, pointing me to the light of the truth when the journey seemed unattainable and uncertain.

My first order of business on the “dream job” was to take 15 inner city kids up to a fishing camp in Northern Minnesota. Who wouldn’t want to start off this way? Part of Here’s Life Inner City are after school programs, called S.A.Y. Yes! Centers (Save Americas Youth). These programs focus on building relationships with at-risk children and offering a solid foundation on which they can build a hopeful future. Through the local church, each child is ministered spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and socially.

What a joy it was to watch these inner city kids experience so many new things nestled in the beautiful Northern woods! The first night the girls had permanent wrinkled foreheads as they reasoned why mosquitoes are Minnesota’s state bird. It was hilarious to see them slapping their legs and huffing. By the morning they had adjusted, just in time to learn to put bait on the line, cast, and catch their first fish! For many of these kids, they had not been out of the city; never made S’mores; never seen the Milky Way.

Dylite, pictured in the red shirt, had an even more exciting first experience. One morning, she and I were fishing on the dock, light tickled the waves and a peace rested on us. This obvious presence of God ignited a spiritual discussion on Jesus. She asked to hear the story of Christ. Her eyes were fixed as I explained God’s decision to come to earth; His decision to stay upon the cross; His decision to destroy the strength of death. Dylite made the decision to love the Lord in return. What joy!

Upon returning from this trip, my spirit struggled with an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. I heard so many stories of life for these kids and their breaking circumstances. I was burdened with compassion, but felt I had no words of comfort, no idea how to “fix it.” I know this is the tip of the ice berg in realizing that I cannot fix it. My role is not to come into their lives and change everything to how I see fit. I am certain that I will discover more on this topic, now I’m humbly admit I know nothing. God has tenderly placed me on my knees, utterly dependent. I pray I’ll remain.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity-packing, moving, tying up loose ends with support raising. As you may know, in the midst, I lost my phone and my computer died. This limbo state has been refining. I was explaining this on the phone to one of my friends who replied, “You don’t sound stressed about it.” I hadn’t realized at the time, but I was completely free from worry.
Naturally, this lack of stress was a gift from the Lord for my nature would seek to mistrust. What it comes down to is the sovereignty of the Almighty. We serve a Lord that has complete power and authority in all things.
He, the Lord, is not made by human hands or discovered by human thought. He is as he ever was and ever shall be. "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill.” (Acts 17:29) What security comes from this truth! The tides of earth have no hold over the Lord’s strength. The currents of our troubling circumstances do not hinder His will.
Clinging to this light of truth, I do not worry that I still have support to raise. I do not worry that I have to move out of my house by 2. I do not worry that I lost all my files on my computer. I do not worry! For God has it all. “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the Light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On Monday, I began moving my belongings into my Urban Homeworks Home in South Minneapolis. Here, I will be living in community with four other girls, committed to investing into our neighbors for the year. How blessed to live with like-minded women!

Pulling into the back lot, I was greeted by 6 Somali boys under the age of 9. “Who are you?” shouted one as I opened my car door, followed by, “Do you like basketball?” I knew this would be a great home right away. I learned their names and they continued with questions of curiosity. I then opened my trunk and they began grabbing all of my boxes, filled with books I might add.

These sweet little boys carried all of my stuff up to my new room for me. They boasted about their strength, including the 4-year-old who kept loosing his pants as he carried a box.

Once done, I promised to move my car so they could play basketball with the hoop I was parked under. One of the mothers shouted to her child as we walked down from my apartment; as soon as she saw me, her face softened. I’m assuming she thought her boy had just walked in. I explained that he was “a very strong young man” and that he helped me move in. She rubbed his head and introduced herself. My heart was full at this point. This woman, Loki, in full Islamic head dress, welcomed me into the neighborhood. She lives just across my back lot.

God has loved Loki and these six boys very deeply since before their birth, how exciting to show them.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Time to Start

After the millionth person asked, "So, do you have a blog?" I decided that the bandwagon already left and if I were to start 'blogging' now it would be from my own decision-making. So, with reluctant joy, I'm blogging. But I refuse to 'tweet', 'chirp' or 'moo' or make any other ridiculous animal noises or use obnoxious acronyms that seek to destroy the English language.

My purposes behind this blog are simple, to let you know how God is moving in the Twin Cities!

I'm about to embark, beginning my internship with Here's Life Inner City, in T-Minus 28 days! That is, if I'm fully supported at that time. This is almost completely confirmed by faith. I was walking along Gooseberry Park in Moorhead a few weeks ago, tears were brimming in my eyes, that physical feeling of your heart dropping within your chest, and tingling of emotion surfacing, when I cried inside "Am I going to make it by September?"

God's soft whisper affirmed, "I have the 30%."

Scripture's truth rushed to mind in loud confidence. God will meet all of your needs. He has set a time for everything. With just His voice He created the mountains. He would not call you unless He would provide for you.

Friends, God does promise and He is faithful!

I'm currently at 74% of my monthly support raised and, amazingly, in just a week God raised my one time gift goal from 50% to 70%!

My thoughts have begun to move away from support raising and have taken camp with the peoples of the Twin Cities. I walked around Lake Calhoun the other day, looking into the eyes of the people I passed, searching for the Spirit of the Lord. Their iris' stopped short, lacked the depth of when deep calls out to deep. The poor, the brokenhearted, the captive, the prisoners: the men, women, and children of this place. This place long devastated.