Superheroes, Snacks & Surprises

What do superheroes, snacks and surprises have in common? Well, they were all a part of the academic camp that our church put on last week for kids in our local community. Superheroes, because what 5th grader doesn’t love people in capes running and flying around to save the day, and snacks, because growing and learning kids need sustenance—and lots of it. And what better snacks to have than these superhero-themed ones? Any guesses as to what each one represents? 😉 (I’ll leave the answers at the bottom of this post!)

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You might be wondering then, where did the surprises come in? Let me tell you a neat story. 🙂

On the first day, another volunteer and I were walking around the middle school campus searching for ice when a woman called out to us. The first thing I noticed about her were the cool metal frames of her glasses, followed by the eager brown eyes peering out from behind them. She told us she had just dropped her daughter off and was surprised to find out that the camp was put on by a church. And not just any church, but the one she had spotted just the weekend before when she was across the street from the high school where we meet buying boba tea! She said she’s been telling her friends that she wants to go to church, saw our church’s signs that Sunday, and then came across us again on Monday. Her exact words were: “It’s meant to be”.

The other volunteer and I exchanged wide-eyed glances as we proceeded to answer her questions about the service times, childcare and dress code (which she was relieved to find out is “come as you are!”). When we finished chatting with her, we exchanged names, shook hands, and parted with smiles all around. 😀

I shared this story with the person in charge of the academic camp and we were just amazed that God had orchestrated everything to happen at the right time and in the right places. It’s not that it’s surprising to see God do amazing things (come on, He created the universe!), but it was super cool to see that He is working in ways we aren’t aware of yet and that He’s working all things together for His purposes. Even though we may not talk about Jesus during the camp, God is still using it to open doors for people to hear about Him. That’s pretty superhero-ific, if you ask me. 🙂

Speaking of superheroes, take a listen to Charlie Puth’s song, “One Call Away”.

Okie, if you haven’t figured out what the snacks up above are, here are the answers:

  1. Cheese on a pretzel stick = Thor’s hammer
  2. Green-colored vanilla yogurt with Oreo pieces = The Hulk
  3. Sandwiches = Bat cutout for Batman & Star cutout for Captain America

How have you seen God work in superhero-ific ways in your life?

The Quest for Perfection

I was a naive freshman in college, walking around with a load of books on my back and a new, strange world of possibilities in front when someone posed this question to me:

“Do you think it’s possible for us to be perfect and without sin? Even for just one second? Like maybe when you’re in the middle of worshipping God?”

That someone was my small group leader, an outgoing, assertive girl two years older than me. We were sitting in her apartment, along with a couple of other freshman girls, talking about the Bible. The discussion was interesting, if not ordinary, until that question popped up.

There was silence, and something in my brain or heart didn’t feel right about her theory. I had sat through enough sermons and Sunday school lessons to know that the whole point of Jesus dying on the cross was to save us from our sins. If we could be perfect for even a second, why would we need to be saved? Couldn’t we then try a little harder to be perfect until we got good at it? That’s a rhetorical question of course. Even if we did everything we possibly could think of, or didn’t do anything at all, we still wouldn’t get any closer to perfection.

Because perfection is not a feeling or an act or thought or even a state of being. It’s more an essence, something intrinsic, and at the core.

But the thing is, even though we can’t achieve perfection, we’re always on the quest for it. We want the best results at school or work, we want the ideal marriage, we want the healthiest kids. We even want the cleanest and shiniest produce at the grocery store. (Tell me I’m not the only one who inspects a dozen pieces of fruit before picking the “perfect” one. LOL)

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix/freedigitalphotos.net

Why then do we have an obsession with perfection? Maybe because we were made to appreciate beauty. To be drawn to wholeness. To desire goodness.

Perfection isn’t a bad thing. But when we look around at the world, and the people in it, and especially ourselves, we see quite the opposite. There’s a lot of imperfection out there and there’s just as much in us, too.

Sounds pretty hopeless, doesn’t it? But it isn’t.

It’s a good thing we can’t be perfect and without sin. Not even for one millisecond. Because the burden to be perfect would be too great. It would crush us. Instead, it crushed the only Perfect One who took our place on the cross. That’s the perfection of the Gospel. That’s why tomorrow is Good Friday and Easter Sunday is even gooder. 🙂

Perfection isn’t the enemy. But if we’re going to pursue perfection, may we pursue Jesus, the only one who can make us whole.

Take a listen to Tori Kelly’s song, “Hollow”, which she has described (when she was a guest mentor on The Voice) as her prayer to God. I love these lyrics:

“I confess my weakness
Till you pick up the parts that are broken
Pour out your perfection on me now”

What have you been chasing in your quest for perfection?