Modern Day Amos

I am taking a class this semester, History and Literature of the Bible, from a secular university.  For my class, I had to study the Book of Amos and report on how I thought the world today would receive a modern-day prophet with a message similar to what Amos preached, and if I believed there were any modern-day prophets like Amos.  It was a fascinating study that I very much enjoyed, and since I do my studies online, it was great to know that my class of 60 people from around the country could also see the essay.  I pray it was an encouragement.  My professor loved it (he gave me a 100! 🙂 so I thought I’d post it here as well, if anyone is interested.

Amos was a shepherd, a common man, who was called by God to deliver a message both to Israel and to her neighbors.  To Israel, Amos prophesied judgment for turning away from the Lord and for forgetting the poor and needy: “They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.  They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.”  Amos 2:6b-7

The book of Amos is so interesting because it could have easily been written to the church in America today.  There is a large evangelical cultural and even political Christianity that is seemingly complacent to true righteousness and to the care for the poor.  When Amos wrote in chapter 6, verse 2; “Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!” he could have been writing to any number of Christian leaders of our day.

If a modern-day Amos was to appear (which in my opinion the Lord has sent several which I will address later), I believe he would be disturbed by the amassing of wealth in our society, and even by the large elaborate church buildings and churches giving 3% to the poor.  Churches filled with members who seem to be numb to the fact that they live in a world where 8.1 million children die each year before their fifth birthday (  Just like in Amos’ time, there is a sense where the religious of today have largely ignored the covenantal obligation to care for the poor, the widows and the orphans in their distress.

Like other prophetic works, the purpose of the prophecy was a warning to return to the Lord or face doom, and that only in returning to the Lord is hope found.  Amos’ message was a warning what would happen if covenant abuse continued (Hauer, 140).  This is why the end of the book is a hopeful picture of the restoration of Israel after her repentance.

I believe there are four modern-day prophets, or “Amoses,” calling the church to wake up and address the needs of the most needy:

  • First is David Platt, Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills and author of Radical, who has called millions of people to take seriously the commandments of Jesus to care for “the least of these.”
  • Second is Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution, has challenged the assertion that most Christians actually follow Christ. “I asked participants who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.” (Claiborne).
  • Third is Richard Stearn, President of World Vision and author of The Hole in our Gospel, who leads an organization that cares for millions of children in over 100 countries around the world and who calls churches and Christians to examine whether their giving to the poor lines up with their claims to care for the poor.
  • Finally, although he is not often given the credit he deserves, is the work Bono has done to call churches and governments to fulfill their obligations to the most innocent.  In an interview with Bill Hybels, a noted Christian leader and the Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, Bono called out church leaders who have not led on the issue of caring for the poor (

These four are considered fringe, or liberal, or even heretical by a great majority of evangelical Christians, and are not taken seriously.  Like the prophets in Biblical times, they are criticized and ostracized.  The news media does not pay attention to them because they are too busy selling politicized visions of doom. But these prophets have remained faithful to their message and for those with the ear to hear, they have called us to a Christianity that seems more like the way Christ actually lived than most of what we see in the world today that passes for religious behavior.  Their message gives me hope for the church, because I believe that if we continue to get this wrong, and to build up treasures for ourselves instead of following the clear commandments of Scripture, we are as surely doomed to judgment as the nation of Israel in the time of Amos.  Only in getting this right and caring for the least of these will we actually see the Kingdom of Heaven, both here and in the life to come.

Claiborne, Shane. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. Zondervan, 2006.

Hauer, Christian E., and William A. Young . An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds. 7th ed.  Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2008

“Maternal and Child Health.”  Accessed 23 Feb 2011.


My One Thing

I just finished watching “It Might Get Loud” and was totally inspired and challenged.  For those of you who have not seen it, it is a documentary of a meeting between The Edge (U2), Jack White (The White Stripes), and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin).  It is the story of these three men and their dedication to their craft as three highly influential and very diverse guitarists.

Each of these men started off impressed by people who came before, and each is deeply dedicated to the perfection of their craft.  The documentary shows them playing old records and tapes of artists who inspired them.  There is a scene where Jimmy Page is in a room filled with 45s, Records, CDs, tapes and he walks that room not as a collector but as a student.  He listens to old records and knows every note – you can tell these are the things that moved him to write and record the music Led Zeppelin produced in the 70s.

None of these three men started off as an amazing musician.  Each of them began life in a relatively average way.  But because of a gift from God, a little courage to take creative risks, and a lifetime of hard work, they have become living legends.

They are each extraordinary guitarists.  If I was a person who used the word “epic” – it would apply here.

It made me think.  I have always been a person of many passions.  I never related to people who didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up.  I wanted to be everything.  My problem was narrowing it down.  In my life I have had many jobs, I have sold wigs and traded stocks, made graphics and edited video, been in ministry and traveled to produce massive corporate events. Even now I am in school with my purpose being a complete career change.

I have always related to the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” and struggled with the question of whether or not I will ever be truly extraordinary.

This documentary made me question, again, what my one thing is.  Am I, in my random weaving life of careers and jobs, average at everything because I haven’t specialized?

During the three months of therapy that changed my life, my therapist asked me what was my purpose in life.  I looked at her blankly and said, “to help people?  That’s what makes me feel fulfilled.”  She looked at me and simply said, “No.  Your purpose as a Believer is to bring God glory.  Until you figure that out and start to live like it – you’ll be miserable.”  At the time, I struggled to understand.  It seemed too simple and yet incredibly difficult.  But even tonight, her words rang true.

If my purpose in life was to perfect one craft, one career, or one skill, then yes – my randomness absolutely would hamper my success.  If Jimmy Page had continued to pursue painting as well as music professionally it is likely he would have been, at best, moderately successful in each.  But I am a bit different.  If I really believe that my purpose is bringing God glory in the places He leads me – my winding road then becomes a tool He uses to make my one thing stretch into many diverse realms.

So I have to watch myself here and not measure my success as the world measures success.  I was not a great stockbroker, or a great graphic designer.  I will hopefully be a great nurse, but that is not my primary goal in my career change.  My definition of success, my documentary at the end of my life, will be the people I have influenced in the many spheres in which the Lord has allowed me to roam.  I haven’t always understood this, and certainly haven’t always been faithful.  I remember with shame years wasted in selfishness where I was no light, love, or encouragement for anyone.  But I press on, forgiven, and asking the Lord to redeem the years the locusts have eaten and somehow even use those years.

At the end of my life I pray that people were turned towards the cross:

  • When I was an Admin at a brokerage firm
  • And a Communications Director
  • And a video girl
  • And a single woman
  • And a wife
  • And a mom
  • And a Facebook friend
  • And a blogger
  • And a student
  • And a nurse
  • And an adoptive mom
  • And even an unemployed person

Do I really believe that I can bring God glory in those realms?  Yes.  By His grace and in His power, I can.  If at the end of my life, those things have been accomplished by God’s grace and for His great glory, well then, it just might get loud as I rejoice in finally having found and accomplished my “one thing.”

The documentary is fantastic.  As a creative person – it made me want to paint and write and be fearlessly brilliant.  Watch it – you’ll be inspired.


I was sad a couple of days ago to see that Bono was injured in a rehearsal in Germany.  It appears it was a rather serious back injury, but they believe he will fully recover in time.  He’s been a huge influence in my life and is one of my favorite people on the planet (certainly my favorite artist) and I am praying for his recovery.  I’ve written about him a few times before (here and here), but what I love the most about Bono is the man behind the art.  I believe his work for the poor is unparalleled, at least in “celebrity culture.”  As founder of the ONE Campaign I’m not sure we’ll be able to measure this side of heaven the good he has done in Africa.  He has a gift and a platform, given from God, that he’s giving back to God.

Here’s a line from a song:

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb

It’s interesting, just this past week I was reading about the new U2 album expected at the end of the year, Songs of Ascent. I already love the title and have always been impressed with the amazing music they put out – some of the greatest worship music ever in my opinion.

Anyway – it may seem silly but I wanted to, on my own little blog, say that we in the Wells home are praying for Bono and his family for a quick and full recovery.

May I be a 12 year-old for a moment?

These are celebrities who I just love.  Totally.  And I just had to share.


Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs.  The girl can sing and act.  I saw her in Wicked as Elphaba and let me tell you – she’s amazing.  And he HAS to have the greatest smile on the planet.  When he smiles – I smile.  Plus he sings, and dances.  Geez. I LOVE THEM.  And they just had a baby.  That kid is destined to be perfectly beautiful.

Photo by Tina Vanbeveren /

Photo by Tina Vanbeveren

Bono – he writes beautiful lyrics, his voice is fantastic, he loves Jesus, and he is making the world a better place.  And I kind of have had a bit of a crush since the late 80s/early 90s (I may or may not have a poster of him rolled up in a closet somewhere).  And he has a gift, given from God, that he’s giving back to God.  Here’s a line from a song

I was born, I was born to sing for you
I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice from the womb
My first cry, it was a joyful noise, oh oh

love him.  How can you not?


Ok I realize these are not actual people, but characters, but oh how I love (and miss) the Gilmore girls.  Lorelai with her quick wit and Rory with her seasons 1 – 4 innocence.  I kind of want to be a Godly Lorelai when I grow up.  And judging from the amount she talked (and the speed) and the amount I do – I might be on my way.  Somewhere my brother is shuddering right now…

aaron sorkin

Man I adore Aaron Sorkin and every show and movie he has ever made.  From West Wing to Sports Night to Studio 60 – his lines are like lyrics and he is brilliant beyond comparison.  LOVE him.  Come back to TV Aaron.  Please.  We need you.

I could add Matthew Perry, Sting, Bradley Whitford, Sarah McLachlan, Allison Janney, and Parker Posey to this list (and I’m sure there are more) but I’m probably boring you by this point so I’ll just sign off by saying that I’m a big dork and I know it.  So thank you for bearing with me.

ONE Great Band

So several people were wondering how I got to go backstage at the U2 show and onstage for the song “Walk On.”  I thought I’d write about it to get the word out…

Since 2004, I have been a member of the One Campaign (  This organization works to eradicate extreme poverty in our lifetime and to fight the spread of preventable disease, particularly in Africa.  Bono is a founding member, and Matt Damon is a well known advocate.  About once a month I get an email asking me to sign a petition or contact a congressman for ONE to advocate legislation geared towards the United States fulfilling our commitment to these causes.

I am a long-time U2 fan – my first show was the Zoo Station tour for the Achtung Baby album and I have been to most of the tours since.  But this time, because our financial situation was a little bit precarious, we decided not to get tickets.  I was pretty bummed – but we agreed that it couldn’t be a priority.  I had about given up hope and determined that we would just watch our Elevation Tour DVD that night from home.

The week before the show, I got an email from the ONE campaign saying they needed volunteers.  I applied, but they said they would select people via lottery and they would have few slots but many applicants.  I applied even though it was a long shot, and a few days later was accepted.  I honestly thought I’d be working for ONE throughout the show – that I’d miss the concert but at least I’d be able to be in the building helping a cause I really believe in.  As they began to email me with details though, they hinted that we’d have great seats and that there would be a special surprise.

They allowed me to bring a guest – so my friend Angie and I showed up on the day of the show ready to work hard and have fun.  We began working at 3 pm – working lines and public areas asking people to sign up for the ONE Campaign.  Here is an article about volunteers like me from a show in DC.  We walked around with laptops signing people up for ONE. I was hoarse that day to begin with and by the end of the night I had no voice whatsoever.  But it was fun to tell new people about this organization and talk to the existing ONE Campaign supporters who had been long term members and understood the value of this organization.

Bono gave some statistics during the show about what ONE has achieved – and they were pretty amazing.  Millions of children’s lives have been affected by this group – our emails and petitions really have made a difference!  That was the part of the show that got to me.  During one of their songs, they showed these beautiful stark pictures of real people around the world that ONE is fighting to save.  One of the photos was of a baby reaching out towards the camera and when I saw that, I saw Bekah.  She was the same age and just as beautiful, just as perfect.  But she was born somewhere where Malaria, AIDS, starvation, and death are a constant threat.  And regardless of my political affiliation, my command from my King Jesus says that taking care of her is my problem.  THAT is why I support ONE.  Because they, without any party affiliation, advocate for the least of these.  And it truly is non-partisan, Bono himself praised from the stage the amazing work of President Bush in Africa – so although some people think this is a liberal cause – it isn’t.  It is a human cause.

Anyway – back to the night.  We were brought in from the backstage tunnel right after the band and were able to watch the show from the inner circle of the stage.  And we were able  to go ON stage to represent ONE during the song “Walk On” holding a mask of Aung San Suu Kyi in front of our faces (with the band playing behind us – we couldn’t turn and look – I wanted to SO bad!).  Here’s a far away view of us on stage.  If you happened to take a better picture – let me know.  Angie and I would LOVE to have one!


All in all – it was an incredible night.  (If you are interested in pics and some video Ang and I shot – check out my Facebook page).

Anyway – Angie and I would have gladly worked the show for ONE even if the incredible tickets and the time on stage wasn’t a factor.  We really both do believe in that cause and if you aren’t a member, sign up now. They’ll never ask you for money and never sell or trade your email – but they will keep you updated about what is happening in our world and give you a chance to make a difference.