Category Archives: aiming at heaven

I’m a music box and you’re the song inside.

I haven’t blogged very much since finding out I was pregnant. The thoughts and feelings are so deep and so many that I haven’t even known where to begin. This morning I woke up remembering what lies ahead in the day–boy or girl?? I finally sat down and wrote out some thoughts that I’d thought I could share. It’s an intimate glimpse, but one that I think you could appreciate.

How will it all look? How will I handle the hard times? Can I love enough-deep enough? Can I be devoted enough? Can I sacrifice enough? Will the good truly outweigh the bad? Will the lack of sleep drive me to distance myself from others? Will my wonderful, perfect marriage become dull and full of daily chores and exhaustion?

Will I lose a sense of myself-the young me, the artistic me, the adventurous and a bit crazy me? Will it all be taken over, like some alien abduction where I return as a “Mom”, robotic and set in a routine?

No amount of planning, praying and waiting could have possibly answered these questions. They are deep and surrounding.

It’s all been an idea of a baby-a concept. On paper it all seemed so simple. I just want a baby. Now all I really know is that I am almost 15 pounds heavier, it looks like I have a globe of the world stuck under my shirt and I can barely roll over in bed at night. It’s become a mystery, like looking into a deep ocean and seeing shapes of what lies just beneath the surface. Even when I look to others who have gone ahead of me in this craziness, I still feel a vagueness about the whole thing. No amount of books or friends can make me feel “ready”.

In about 2 hours we will find out if you are made of sugar and spice or snails and puppy dog tails. It will be another step in the reality of YOU. A person, not an idea or an event to plan for. A person with dreams, with hurts, fears, desires and accomplishments. A person who will be brave, loving, full of questions and unspoken hopes. You will grow, you will explore. You will struggle. You will be unpredictable. You will love Jesus. Your daddy will be your hero and your best friend will be Ripley. You will fish with grandpa, you will take walks with grandma. You will be spoiled by Aunt Mary and go camping with Uncle Henry. You will taste fruit and climb mountains. You will play in piles of yellow leaves and splash in puddles after rain storms. You will scrap your knees and find comfort in my arms.You’ll laugh and splash in the bath and I’ll wrap you up in a towel with your little wet head poking out. You will be the most loved, the most cherish, the most beautifully perfect-and you will be all mine.

I want the world for you, my baby. And no amount of questions or fears will ever change that.

I can’t wait to meet you.

btw- you are a BOY!!!



Filed under aiming at heaven, BABY, I love my husband, Life and Marriage, life questions, music, So it begins...

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes (turn and face the strain)

People deal with change in their very own, unique way. Some people truly hate it, some people get all giddy over it. I am the kind of person who acts like I hate it but inside I am secretly all giddy.

Everyday I get to know myself a bit more. This time I have discovered that I actually really enjoy change, even if it’s scary or uncertain. I feel all excited that something is stirring and I am a part of it. I can always see the positives of the change. Always.  Unfortunately somewhere along the way I have picked up a bad habit of acting really stressed and complaining about it the whole time.  Why do I do this? I don’t know. It makes no sense. Maybe now that I see the truth, that I love change, I can stop pretending to despise it and start receiving it with giddiness and positivity.

Naive? Yeah, maybe. Oh well, I’ve definitely never said I wasn’t naive.

As David Bowie said:

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I’m going through

(Turn and face the strain)
Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers
(Turn and face the strain)
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older


More about these changes next week…


Filed under aiming at heaven, BABY, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, Life and Marriage, life questions, right?, rockin' out, So it begins...

Jesus is not Ghandi


Last Thursday Dustin and I saw David Bazan perform a “house show” at our friend Josh’s place. There was about 50 of us nicely packed into the living room where Bazan strummed his guitar and played a great acoustic set that even included some classic Pedro the Lion songs.

Bazan always has a question and answer time at his shows. Dustin saw him a few years back and was really struck by some of the answers he gave. So I was really interested when someone asked him if he believed in an afterlife. I’m not going to write out the whole reply because I don’t remember it accurately enough to do it justice and also I’m a blogger not a reporter. But there was one part that stuck out to me- Bazan said that he is no longer afraid of death and hell. He said he has come to realize that hell is something that some mean people made up as a threat. (He didn’t talk about heaven so I don’t know if he feels that it is something nice people made up or not.) After stating some disgust at the state of the Evangelical church he went on to say that he would just like to see people follow what Jesus taught. There were supportive “yeahs” and light clapping around the room.

I’m not trying to single out Bazan, but he is a good example of a common theology among our culture. It has become popular to see Jesus as a sort of Ghandi figure, quoting the couple of verses that fit their personal idea of who Jesus is- love your neighbor as yourself, take care of the widows and the poor, turn the other cheek, ect.

I find that they often leave out the parts where Jesus talks about the divisive things: the kingdom of Heaven advancing by force, worshipping God and serving only Him, how Jesus will turn people away from heaven, how real hell is and how many will end up there, and don’t even get me started on the parts where Jesus starts predicting the future and talks about a final judgement. These are not the things that you hear when people reference how great Jesus was-WAS-and how we should all follow his example.

People think of Jesus as some really great guy who taught us how to live in love and peace with humanity. The ultimate hippie. That is partly true, in a very pathetic, watered down way. Jesus didn’t see himself that way. He said: “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace on the earth! No, I came to bring a sword.” Surprised? Read Matt 10:34-39.

Is this the Jesus that you know? If it’s not then it’s time to open a Bible and read who it is you claim to know and follow.


Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, groupies, i am feeling feisty., in my opionation, life questions, more like Him, my friends., right?, stuff I don't like

10 years ago.

All day I have debated whether or not to write about the 10 year anniversary of Columbine. I hate being on any bandwagon and I especially hate when people use large-scale tragedies as their own personal drama. I decided to go against my usual ways and just let myself write. Who cares if it will seem cliche and typical.

10 years ago I was a freshman at Christian Fellowship School. We were sitting at lunch when a rumor starting going around that someone had been shot at Columbine. We were a small Christian school but all had friends at Columbine. It was the public school that kids would leave CFS for, and all the rest of us would be jealous of their freedom. One of those students who left us for the cool, public school was Cassie Bernall.

Hearing that someone was shot could not have been more foreign or hard to understand to a bunch of kids from the suburbs. This was before cell phones, remember, and we were hearing crazy stuff about bombs and kids lying dead all over. Instead of feeling sadness it was more like an electric buzz of excitement.  Lunch ended and we all went back to class as usual. I was in my English class and it was about 12:30.  We were asked to write a paper about something I don’t remember when all of the sudden I felt a surge of fear and grief so strong that I started crying and couldn’t stop. They sent me to the Vice Principals office so I could talk to someone and calm down. No one else was crying at this point. We didn’t really know what was going on enough to take it in and cry. I didn’t know at that time that Cassie Bernall was in the library and had just been killed.

I wasn’t that close to Cassie. Her brother Chris was actually a close friend and the last time I had seen Chris and Cassie was when we all went to a OC Supertones concert. We all swore we would love Ska forever.

I don’t know why I was overwhelmed with sadness so strong at the same time that Cassie died. We wouldn’t find out that she had been killed until late that night when she never came home. Coincidence? I have no idea. There really is no connection that makes sense. All I know is that it is what I experienced.

The weeks that followed I now interpret through an adult mind. I was just such a child still. We would visit the make-shift memorials at Clement Park dropping off flowers and slowly walking by the TV booths where Tom Brokah or MTV was broadcasting. We attended Cassie’s funeral and for some reason all went bowling together after. We saw Michael W Smith and Amy Grant play a tribute concert on the steps of our local movie theater, down the street from Columbine. It was all so surreal and I don’t think I ever really have understood the depth and the horrible things that happened that day. It’s forever frozen in the mind of a 15 year old girl with limited understanding.

Cassie has become a living legend in my mind. Part of her reality and another part folklore or fantasy. If she were alive today I’m certain we would not even be in touch. But yet in her death she is important to me and I’ll never forget her. The deepness of death can sometimes take years to really set in. In my case it has taken about 10.


Filed under aiming at heaven, my friends., sad stuff

Attention All Church Shoppers

I had a fabulous facebook chat with my friend Josh today. We were talking about the current trends we see in some friends relating to church. There are a few things that we noticed, and maybe I will write about those another time. For now I thought I’d blog about the biggest thing: church shopping. We as a 20-30 Somethings are the absolute worst when it comes to church shopping. Or, probably more appropriate, just church bashing (sometimes not even actually attending anywhere). Somewhere along the way church became a buffet to us. It became unlimited options for us to pick through and chose exactly what we want. What WE want. It seems like the part about where GOD wants us has become unimportant. (note: I am not talking about people who happen to be in-between churches, I am talking about people who have a pattern of criticizing and leaving churches.)

I was in church one Sunday morning about 3 years ago really unhappy with my church and wishing that we could attend a different one. A cooler one. God spoke to me something at that moment that seemed so base at the time but has subsequently changed my life. I sat in the balcony looking down over the congregation, irritated, frustrated and disappointed, when God said to me that He had called me to this church. He said church is like a family and in a family you can’t chose which one you will be born in to, or what your family members would be like. You may have a weird uncle or a nosy aunt. But it doesn’t matter because they are your family and you chose to love them. I was so convicted by God saying this to me, and I repented for my judgment against my church- my family. After that Sunday the flood gates opened for me and Dustin. We met amazing friends, were promoted in the church and found a true intimacy and unity at ORCC. I can say with all my heart that I love this church, and in return the church loves me. Does that mean that I don’t struggle with things here or don’t have certain desires that I would like met? No, of course not. But when in life is that not the case? This is true in my marriage as well, or in my friendships, but I don’t stop being loyal to them. If you chose to be loyal and love your church you will find the same in return. If you are cold and judgmental you will receive the same in return.

Here are 2 of the best quotes I have ever read about church shopping:

“We have reduced the church to one hour-and-a-half event per week; we have reduced the Gospel to cater to felt needs and personal preferences; and we have reduced discipleship to optional private spiritual exercises …We are raised with so many options we are paralyzed by the possibility of something better … God/church simply gets added to the list of things we consume … the problem is that much of the ‘attractional’ church has fostered this understanding by catering to it …” -Mike Erre, speaking pastor of Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, Calif

“But we as individual “church shoppers” must realize there are problems with every single church. Let me repeat that: There are problems with every single church. There are lame people in every one. There is gossip in every one. There are weird, awkward people in every one. Pastors are going to screw up, the music might suck and the greeter at the door might turn her nose up at you when you enter. When these things happen, remember that none of those things matter. Do not be distracted by these things. People are always going to be flawed. That’s why they need Christ. And you know what? You are there to bring more of Him to that place. You are there to give of yourself, to humble yourself, to form relationships with people you might not normally associate with for the sake of something greater than you. Offer to apply for leadership.  Offer to help with a mission trip. Go feed homeless people. If you go with the intent to give of yourself in any and every way possible, I promise the sucky worship leader or the yawner sermons will not matter.

If we walk actively and raise our voices, we will connect. If we sit passively, expecting to be catered to, we will be left in the cold.”

source: Pastor Andrew Schwab


Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, i am feeling feisty., in my opionation, life questions, more like Him, right?, stuff I don't like

my husband wrote a blog!

Dustin wrote for our church’s 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting blog. It’s awesome. 

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

I don’t know if your childhood was as surreal as mine; growing up as a pastor’s kid seems to set you up for a parade of odd characters to march through your life.  And many of your recollections of the tender years have a curious, unreal quality.  As I reflected on Isaiah’s words above, my mind drifted to one such recollection.

As a tot in Children’s Church, I was pretty convinced that God was real and Jesus loved me, etc. and many of my fellow church-going chums felt the same.  The folks in charge, however, seemed to never truly feel confident that we understood their message.  They suspected, I think, that we children nodded our heads and clapped our hands and gave clever answers in order to get candy. This wasn’t completely untrue.  For whatever reason, church seemed to have mountains of the sweet stuff, generously dished out for good behavior or bright answers.

I see now that these pastors and teachers wanted us to know more than simple answers to get candy.  They were trying to connect us to the loving God of the universe; a God with a personal and profound plan for our little lives.  And that is why they invited huge men to come to our Children’s Church to break things.

Now, I wasn’t a large boy, and so these men with necks like oak trees and biceps like beach balls seemed to me like something from a nightmare. They simply marched in, muscles bulging, matching singlets glistening, and immediately started smashing things.   Wood planks, cinderblocks, phonebooks, hot-water bottles…anything was fair game for these purveyors of mayhem.  And one of them would get on the microphone and plead with us children to pray for these men as they did things our mothers would never let us do. I mean to say, if I were to come home from school one day, greet the family, pet the dog, and then begin mashing stacks of bricks with my elbows…my mother would have destroyed me.

But this was power of an untamed sort. These fellows wreaking havoc displayed strength in an exciting and Samson-esque way. Surely this was how that brawny man-of-old mowed down all those miserable Philistines? Certainly David showed a similar liveliness when he smote Goliath? Even Esther, slip of a girl though she may have been, must have had an intensity that could have inflated a hot-water bottle till it exploded?

When I reflect on Isaiah 40:29-31, my mind earnestly tries to consider it’s encouragements in an enlightened, grown-up way.  The furrowed brow of a tough decision, the pious resolution to do the right thing…of course these everyday tests require God’s strength.  But my mind continuously drifts to those mighty men and their wanton skills.  Is it possible that God had something a little more robust in mind when He inspired these immortal words?  Certainly the thought of attacking the enemy of our souls with similar ferocity, his lies broken into small gritty fragments under the crushing blow of God’s Word, holds a sort of charm?

Pastor Dustin


Filed under aiming at heaven, funny ha ha, I love my husband, more like Him, rad shizzz, right?

Bitterness Sucks.

Each year we do 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at our church. This year the Pastors were asked to take 1 of the days and write a blog post on the verse/topic of the day. I thought I would post mine here to share. It’s a bit long, but give it a chance. 😉

Today is day 3 in our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I pray that God is showing you mighty things as you go through each day. The theme for today is “Deliverance from Bitterness and Rebellion” and the verse we are meditating on is Hebrews 12:15 “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” NLT

In my life I have found few things as sneaky and damaging to my walk with Christ, and my relationship with others, as bitterness and resentment. Something as simple as a mean look or insensitive comment can cause an offense to enter our hearts and unless dealt with properly, a poisonous root begins to take hold. Hurts will happen; it’s unavoidable and out of our hands. Yet what we do with those hurts is our choice. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment, and nothing drains you like bitterness and resentment. But we don’t have to live with it. We must remember that Christ has forgiven us and we should forgive others. “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13) NLT

If we choose to bury a painful offense no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, instead of forgiving, it is guaranteed to grow into an ugly monster. This monster is insatiable; always looking to be fed with agreement from others. It usually sounds something like: “Have you ever noticed how unfriendly so and so is?” “Have you seen the inappropriate things she wears to church?” “They should have never hired Pastor so and so”. Going back to our verse for the day, this is the very place where this bitterness is now “corrupting many”. Our bitterness has become a stumbling block for others. How often do we participate in these conversations where someone’s bitterness is on display and instead of lovingly encouraging them toward forgiveness we participate and join in? I am sorry to say that it happens all too often in my life.

Paul would be disappointed. In this verse he is speaking to us with urgency: “Look after each other!” The mandate that Paul gives is for you and I as the body of Christ. Many times bitterness and resentment lives just under our radar: living, growing and waiting to bring death to our relationships. Paul is saying that it is our job to recognize these deadly traps and lovingly lead one another to the healing ministry of Christ.

We should remind each other that we have been forgiven so much and in return need to forgive others. Remind each other that if we want to experience God’s grace in our lives, we need to extend grace to others. (Mark 11:25). We are a team, we are not called to live separate lives, we are the Bride and in that we need to hold one another accountable.

As Pastor Brian talked about yesterday, the next three weeks is a time of laying down and sacrificing. Choosing to forgive and let go of bitterness is an act of obedience, a true sacrifice. Let us be obedient to Matthew 5:23-24,

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

I urge you, before you go any further in your time of prayer and fasting, find reconciliation. Whether it’s to a family member, a church friend, a co-worker, maybe it’s even your spouse! Go to that person and make peace. This is the true sacrifice that God desires of us. As you do this you will see that root of bitterness dry up and die, leaving room for love, peace and victory!

Much love to you, my church family,

Pastor Kate Groeneman

Leave a comment

Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, more like Him, right?