Friday, November 5, 2010

Fellowship Offering

Fellowship in Christ is a beautiful, beautiful thing and I just continue to be reminded of that over and over. Sometimes its through being reunited with that dear friend that God has blessed you with and sharing with each other all that the Lord has done, whether over a cup of tea/coffee, typing through Skype, or in the midst of a tear filled conversation ended with prayer...Sometimes its through the sweat, tears, and evidence of the importance of the body in a silly game called basketball...And sometimes its seen as two are united in and through Him as they enter in to a life of sanctification and refinement together. There's a "profound mystery" in all of these as God shows His face in a variety of different ways. Often its difficult to understand His purpose and plan. Often it is so clear it feels like He's right there causing certain things to occur. With either situation, I seem to hear God say, "Kristin trust me. Trust my plans and let go of your worries for your family, friends, and future. Give them to me and allow me to fill you with peace as you walk with me."

I made this painting for Mark and Liza De Younge who just got married October 22. These were their wedding passages:
Ephesians 5:1 & 21-33
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God...
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

I love how this picture of a husband and wife is to be an image of Christ with the church! I love how over and over in the Bible God uses different tangible, visible things to show His truth to us. I love how God is so creative in the different ways He seeks to draw us to Him.

Even the Old Testament, which I often skip over or lack the understanding to fully comprehend what God was trying to make evident, shares the importance of fellowship in Him. Leviticus 3 talks about the details of a fellowship/peace/wellness offering (translated as any of the three). My study bible states this about these passages: "Two basic ideas are included in this offering: peace and fellowship. The traditional translation is "peace offering," a name that comes from the Hebrew word for the offering, which in turn is related to the Hebrew word shalom, meaning "peace" or "wholeness." Thus the offering perhaps symbolized peace between God and his people as well as the inward peace that resulted. The fellowship offering was the only sacrifice of which the offerer might eat a part. Fellowship was involved because the offerer, on the basis of the sacrifice, had fellowship with God and with the priest, who also ate part of the offering." This sacrifice was given not to atone for sin but in thanks to God.

When I start to create these collage/paintings I often do a lot of cross referencing. After I made the base coat but before I the major of my cross referencing, I went with my roommate Morgan :-) to her hometown of Sully, IA. There we explored an old, vacant house with one of Morgan's friends, Jaden. We saw a beautiful curtain hanging in the window and I said, "I want to use that for my painting!" Jaden preceded to karate chop the window out (the house was on his families' property) and rip down the curtain for me.

God knew.

I then cross referenced to these verses:
Hebrews 10:19-25
"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Jesus Christ has crashed through anything that separates us from the Most Holy Place! We no longer give sacrifices of animals because Christ has sacrificed Himself for us. He desires us to "draw near to God with a sincere heart." He gives us one another that "we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." So we continue in fellowship together with Christ as our sacrifice. He gives us our family, He gives us our friends, He gives us all those around us in His perfectly planned timing. This can also go the other way though too. God works through you to be that person that spurs those around you to Him. So maybe your married, maybe your dating, maybe your single...Maybe your a best friend, an acquaintance, a teacher, a coach, a teammate, a roommate, on and on...All relationships are a part of God's plan. He desires you. He has opened the curtain. He loves you.

The curtain is the center, ivory fabric on the painting. I pray this painting spurs you on towards Jesus Christ the head of us, the church. Love you all!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What brings a mosaic together?

As I continue to move forward in my life after Israel, its impact continues to resound in my life. Sometimes I think it is slowly magnifying day by day, but ultimately that it not the main issue I want to share with you all today.

Psalm 67: 3-7
"May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him."
As I sat in class this week, my professor shared a song with us in which the lyrics were simply Psalm 67. I loved it of course and have listened to it over and over. Yes, I'm one of those people that just kill a song when I like it. God's heart for all peoples is something that is continually being revealed to me more and more. When asked for a short answer about Israel I gave them the word culture and a short explanation. I realized the depth that comes in studying Christ's Jewish roots, His culture but I also saw the importance of understanding my own. Which left me with the struggle of loving those around me for Christ without becoming completely immersed in the culture and simply being of this world.
The beauty of God's people going to the end of the earth leaves me in awe of our multifaceted God. Christ has called us to proclaim His good news to the end of the earth, yet He calls us to love our neighbors. To walk with Him (AKA living our life with God) not worrying about tomorrow but living in the present, giving ourselves to Him and those we can serve and love around us. The tapestry God paints is full and magnificent in the entire world but with a closer look is a "mosaic of local beliefs and practices in creative tension with a universal framework shaped by belief in the God of the Bible, as handed down through Jesus and His followers (Robert, Christian Mission)."
Ephesians 2:19 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone."
While in Israel, we got the chance to see the wall that now encloses the area of the Dome of the Rock (once was the Temple). The picture above is a cornerstone. You can't see it wrap around the corner but it does. Looking at the stones you can see how each is perfectly formed to fit this wall. It has stood here for countless years with no cement to bind it together (fun fact that wall runs much, much deeper into the ground-the ground has been built up over the years). Jesus is a tecton, translated in our bible as a carpenter. A tecton is actually more generally a worker skilled in making buildings, whether with wood or stone. While in the Galilee you see very few tress and the trees that are there are not native to the area. Now combine this picture, verse, and expanded meaning of Jesus' occupation. Jesus is chiseling us, "cutting off the branches that bear no fruit" and pruning us so we will be more fruitful (John 15). He does this to form us to the perfect fit within not just a local body of believers but the worldwide body and He himself binds us together, making sure that we will not crumble.
How have you seen God worshiped in other cultures, either in the US or another nation? This summer I went to a talent show in Kansas where a group called Divine Intervention offered there many talents of rapping, dancing, humor, and gospel singing to the Lord, to glorify Him. I wasn't necessarily always comfortable but praise Jesus for the heart they have for Him. It was beautiful. Feel free to share any of your experiences to give others of an idea of the Lord's masterpiece mosaic painted as His Spirit works in us.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The large cave you see is actually where water used to run out into the stream. However, in 1837 there was an earthquake and now the spring runs out at a different spot. So imagine tons of water running out of the mouth of the cave, resulting in all the beautiful green of the area that is not typical for most of the landscape in Israel. People worshipped fertility gods and therefore this became a very religious area because of the fertility of the land. The life was brought through water, and life comes from god, so where the water is must be where the god is.

This place had idols dedicated to worship, pan, the god of fertility. So how do you worship a god of fertility? I don't know details but don't necessarily want to know. I learned that they would have orgies in front of the idols and I don't care to know more.

During Jesus' day, he spent 70% of his ministry in the religious triangle of Chorazin, Capernaum, and Bethsaida. Now read Matthew 16:13-15. He's ready to complete his ministry and talks to the disciples here before he dies. Weird, huh?

I'd like to challenge you to rethink what rock Jesus told Peter he would build his church on. Imagine Jesus teaching his disciples on the mountainside that I took this picture and saying "on this rock." I know what rock I would have been thinking of when he said that (most people believe the rock he's talking about to be Peter's works or his confession). I now think Jesus is saying "this rock" meaning the rock where the gods are, representing the paganism of their culture, all of the ungodly, nasty sin. This is where he will build his church.

A deeper message of this place comes with the knowledge that this opening is called the Gate of Hades. They called it this because fertility gods would go into the underworld, or Hades, during the winter (this is why there was not rain) and if worshipped right they would return in the spring bringing fertility, or rain, to the land.

Jesus says, "I will build my church on this rock. And the gates of hell will not stand against it." We know that gates are built to protect things. Jesus is calling us as a church to not be immersed in the culture, but take Jesus amidst it all (movies, sports, food, etc) and attack the gates of the paganism of our culture.

I have been rethinking the way I live my life. Am I living offensively to attack my culture or to form a bubble that I find myself helpless to love those outside of my bubble. My prayer is that as a church we may work to offensively attack the gates of Hades in our culture!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Joy, joy, joy, joy...down in my heart

Psalm 119:32 "I have run in the path of your commands and you have set my heart free."

As of late, I've been thinking a lot about my testimony or simply God's work in my life over the past 21+ years. I'm amazed by His gracious Spirit at work in my life when I realize the different paths that He protected me from as I grew up and made different choices. As I painted this for Hannah and Greg (based on Isaiah 55 and Pablo Naruda's poem "Your Laughter"), I became more and more thankful for the joy that is found in Jesus Christ and none other. My favorite part of Isaiah 55 says this " is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."

This post is a short one, but if you're reading this I pray that the Spirit will urge you to dig deeper into a relationship with our King that He may produce beauty, joy, and peace in your life. Making fruit that will last and inspire others to pursue Him, too.

Thanks to Greg and Hannah, whose joy in life and each other has been an instrument of the Holy Spirit to teach me.

PS Anyone, wanting updates from my AIA trip email me at

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grafted in

This summer I have been invited to many, many weddings. This turned into a source of inspiration to bring out a part of me that isn't always very evident in my life. I decided to make something for gifts instead of buying something (cheaper, more meaniful, and lots of fun). So after seeing a my friend Emily's graduation gift, I started on my own version of a collage/painting. The picture on the right is one that I made for Andrew and Halee Stimson, both of which I met at NWC. They both traveled to Israel last summer and I just want to share with you the message that God was teaching me about as I was making this and prayerfully meditating.
John 15 talks about the vine and the branches. Christ is the true vine and God is the gardener. We must remain in Him to bear fruit.
As you can see there's a lot going on in this painting and I see it being similar to our lives. We have good and bad things swirling around us and cluttering our lives. Often we look to these instead of what will really bring us true joy and fulfillment.
When you look at the painting you can see some pretty things, some not so pretty things around the center focal point. This shows how in order to bear fruit that lasts we must remain grafted in Christ, the true vine, and His unlimited grace given to us on the cross. When we are abiding in this ultimate grace we find our definition of love being redefined by the true love of our Lord that is both unconditional and undeserved.
Lord Heavenly Father,
I pray that your Spirit fills and renews all who read this post and glance at my rediculously inadequate attempt to be like you, the true creator. I pray that you give them eyes to see your word come alive in their life. I pray that you give them strength to pursue loving you and others with even more zeal. Ultimately, I pray that you continue to refine them as you cover them in your unconditional grace. Thank you for the gift of your son.
Thank you Andrew and Halee for boldly proclaiming this message as you were united in marriage as a vessel for our King.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 that you may live

Hey everyone :-)
So as of late I've been reading again through Matthew and going back in the references Jesus uses from Deuteronomy and just letting the Spirit speak to my heart through it...

Today as I read about Jesus being tempted by Satan in Matthew 4, I also went back to spots like Deuteronomy 6:2, 30:19-20 and 32:46-47

In Matthew 4, Satan tempts Jesus after he has fasted for 40 days. He says, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus replies saying "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Do I live on every word that comes from the mouth of God? I'm not so sure that I always do, but I do know that I desire to and I strive to.

As I look at my own life and the lives of those around me, I often catch myself pondering the mystery of grace and law. I know the truth in this verse:
Galations 3:1-3 "Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified...Did you receive the Spirit by oberving the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

but then I also see the truth in Deuteronomy:
Deuteronomy 8:3 "that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Deuteronomy 6:2 "so that you...may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life."
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 "'Now choose life, so that you...may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life..."
Deuteronomy 32:46-47 "Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you-they are your life. By them you will live long..."

Granted all of these words were given to the Israelites, before the blessing in Christ. But doesn't the word of God still bring us life today? Heck yes it does! :-) This includes His commandments...but the best part...
Galations 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us...He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." And Galations 3:18 "For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise."

We are no longer bound by law, but law still serves a purpose. As Paul goes on in Galations to say, "It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come."
The law no longer brings us life. Life comes from the gift of grace through the Spirit. Matthew and Deuteronomy led me to this truth in Galations and I just can't stop reading... It's all so good. I recommend checking it out :-)

Anyways, Paul continues on to talk of life in the Spirit and how when you are living by the Spirit, you will "not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Therefore, life in the Spirit, by grace brings us the blessing of the law...the fulfillment in a God-fearing life, life breathed in us by Yahweh. But we are no longer held by the curse of the law and ultimately all that matters is grace, grace hung on a cross.

I'm praying that any who read this feel a fresh breath of Jesus and His grace. Be empowered by it! I hope this brings you all some joy in your day. Amazing Grace, what could be better? Amazing that you may live!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Philippians 4:4-9 "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice. Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you have learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be will you."

Matthew 14:13-21

Lately I have felt my heart and thoughts being pulled in so many different directions...My prayer has simply been for this peace that passes my understanding. As I opened up the other day in Matthew I started to simply sit in this story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Do you ever feel like the disciples? Coming to Jesus saying, "Here's what's going on Jesus so let's do this." I often do this. I try to control the situations of my life...

But Jesus teaches us to bring our worries to the Father. He takes our weaknesses, what looks to the world like nothing of use (5 meager loaves and 2 fish), and offers them with thanks. It is then that God provides and feeds us, leaving us in complete satisfaction...a peace that passes our own understanding.

As Jesus broke the bread in thanks to God for the 5000 and later the 4000 before He died on the cross (the bread of life broken for us-John 6:25-35), I see it simply as another model of living in surrender and thanksgiving. So surrender the magnitude of your worries (5000?) to our King in thanksgiving and He will bring satisfaction and peace.

Hungry I come to you for I know you satisfy
I am empty but I know your love does not run dry
So I wait for you So I wait for you
I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus you're all this heart is living for
Broken I run to you for your arms are opened wide
I am weary but I know your touch restores my life
So I wait for you So I wait for you
I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus you're all this heart is living for

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preparing the way...

Isaiah 45:2-3 "I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, The God of Israel, who summons you by name."
Matthew 11:7-10 "What did you go out into the desert to see?..Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.

This second verse from Matthew is actually written about John the Baptist, who fulfilled the words said in Malachi 3.
A while back I had been ready from Isaiah and the this verse continued to give me hope. Hope that I am not in control, that God has went before me and prepared the way, and that I don't need to understand what He will bring out of the darkness (hard times or even a lack of clear vision) that is before me. God has summoned us as His children and He has prepared our lives that are before us...He's bigger than the small circumstances of school and future plans or the big things like trafficking and starving children.

So tonight as I opened up to Matthew where I had been reading and read this verse. I read it for the first time with a completely different outlook. The disciples go into the desert only to find a messager of Christ...a messenger for the man they are with!! The Spirit is walking with us through each and every day, but God is also before us working through weak vessels here on earth to prepare the way for Christ in us to bring out the treasures and that we may know that God has summoned us by name. God knows us and loves us.

I just need to stop getting lost in my questions...still ask them but remember that I the clay will never fully understand what my potter is making (Isaiah 45:9).

Isaiah 55:9-13 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than our ways and my thought than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."
So go out in joy and peace knowing that God is with you and before you. Abide in Him for His name's renown...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Email address please :-)

I recently found out that I cannot have a blog for reasons I will explain in an email. So please email me at so I can add you all to a mass email list to keep you updated on God's work through my trip. I love you all!
For God's Glory,