"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." -John 12:26
As followers of Jesus, it's really easy to get into a pattern of reading the Bible, praying before meals, and going to church on Sunday's. We think of Jesus as a convenience rather than a lifestyle. We view serving as a way of feeling better about ourselves. We attend events to make sure other people notice us, so that we can get their gold star of approval.
If any of this sounds familiar, know that at one point or another, we've all been here. It's our natural sin nature that wants approval from others, convenience instead of sacrifice, and routine instead of risking change.
But when we study Jesus in the Gospels, we see a very different kind of life. We see Jesus living a life of service and inconvenience. We see a life that was focused solely on the mission of God and the pursuit of people, the truth of the Gospel, and love.
In John 12:23-26, Jesus is answering a request brought to Him by His disciplines, Philip and Andrew. The Bible tells us in verse 20 that there were some Greeks who had come up to worship God at the Passover festival, and they wanted to see Jesus. What's interesting is, when Philip and Andrew bring this request to Jesus, He never directly answers it. Instead, He tells them that the hour has come for Him to be glorified (vs. 23), that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (vs 24). And finally that anyone who love their life will lost it, while anyone who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life (vs. 25).
Right after saying this, Jesus says this: "Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." Jesus uses the words "serves" and "servant" three times in this verse, all in reference to Himself. In the next chapter, we see Jesus doing this exact thing when He takes the job of a slave and washes His disciples feet.
I don't know about you, but washing dusty and worn down feet doesn't sound like the most convenient thing to do. Yet, this is the example we find Jesus setting. This is where Jesus was--and this is where we should be, too.
Going back to John 12:26, Jesus makes the statement, "Where I am, my servant will also be". If you look around at your life today, is it a true statement to say you are where Jesus would be? Jesus calls out in particular a few groups of people in Matthew 25 that are close to His heart: the hungry and thirsty, strangers in need, those who lacked clothing, those who are sick, and those who are in prison (vs. 35-36). He wraps this up saying, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me" (vs. 45).
It's easy to think we're serving Jesus by posting words of encouragement online from our air conditioned houses while we sip our iced coffees, and it's easy to think that by donating to the church on Sunday mornings, we're doing our due diligence to keep ministries up and running. While these things aren't bad, I would suggest they're simply not enough if that's all our hearts are desiring to do on a daily basis. If Jesus was here, where would He be? What would He be doing? And as followers of Jesus, are we in those places, doing those things on His behalf?
This week, take some time to evaluate what your service to God looks like. If it's merely made up of things that are convenient for you, maybe consider going to God in prayer and asking Him what He would have you do. Is there a buried desire you have that could lead to service? Is there a spiritual gift that you could use to fill a void near your neighborhood? Following Jesus doesn't necessarily mean moving across the globe to reach people for Him (though it might!). It might just mean we get a little bit out of our comfort zones to reach the hurting and broken right close to home, the people the world would define as dirty and unworthy, and meet Jesus right at the intersection of service and inconvenience. We can be assured that whatever we do for His Kingdom will be rewarded many times over.
Until next time,
“By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.” // Genesis 2:2
Happy Sunday, Friends!
I don’t think I’d be too far of a stretch to say these last couple months have been anything but ordinary. What’s been interesting about this time is we, as a whole entire planet, are going through the same thing, at practically the same time. Nearly every nation on planet earth has been living through this thing called quarantine, social distancing, Cornavirus.
The other interesting thing is that this pandemic has hit everyone differently. Some have had to deal with the economic impacts. Others or their loved ones have experienced the actual virus themselves. But all of us have been impacted by this one way or another. And while I’m a firm believer that God has a purpose and a plan behind everything, I think it’s our job as a Church to be listening to what He wants to say to us during this time.
One thing I’ve been noticing through this quarantine is how nice it’s been to be able to rest and not feel guilty about it. Instead of thinking I should be out on a Friday night doing something productive, I’m resting, reading a book or just laying on my bed while observing how beautiful the blue sky is through the blinds. And honestly…it feels really, really good.
It reminds me that God has built rest into the fabric of creation, and the fabric of our lives. We were not made to drive on high speed for days, months, or years at a time. We were meant to stop, pause, rest. Physically, spiritually, and mentally.
We are only human. And the beautiful thing about rest is that it reminds us of that very fact. We are only human. None of us were made to go at this world alone, do our work alone, accomplish our to-do list alone. We were made for reliance. Reliance on God and His Word. Reliance on prayer and reflection. Without stopping to physically rest and spiritually rest in God’s presence, we’re going to get burned out. We won’t be as effective. And not only will we be affected by it, but everyone around us likely will, too.
None of us know how this whole thing is going to end, but when it does, I hope we can look back and see all the things God was doing through it. I hope we don’t forget the lessons God is weaving into our stories during this time. I hope we can learn that rest is good, and maybe we can work that into our lives whether there is a pandemic or not.
I hope you and your family are all doing well and staying safe during this time. Remember, God loves you. He sees you. He is for you. This week, try physically taking a rest from the things you’ve been striving to do, and let Him sing over you (Zep. 3:17). Let His arms wrap around you, like a father to His child. Be still enough to hear Him. Be quiet enough to feel Him. You’ll be glad you did.
Until Next Time,
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” // Psalm 73:26
Hey guys! I hope you’ve been having a great start to 2020! It’s been a minute since I’ve released a blog, but I’m going to try and be back with new blogs every week again!
If you read any of the blogs I put out towards the end of last year, you know that I experienced a lot of hurt and disappointment in 2019. I didn’t realize this at the time, but the hurt and reality of all my disappointments had really taken it’s toll on me. I started to question God, and I just plain didn’t understand why nothing that I wanted or had been praying for was happening. I could feel my heart starting to harden, and I knew I was in trouble.
I say all that to say this: out of my own experience, and the experiences of others around me, I know that hurt and pain and suffering is real. So many people wrestling with God–let alone His goodness–when times of trials come. But here’s the thing–sometimes the advice we get or the comfort others give (that comes from well intentions, no doubt) isn’t what we need in those moments. What we need is REAL HOPE for REAL HURT. That’s what I want to talk about the next couple weeks.
We’re not talking about Romans 8:28–though that’s a great verse, and is certainly true.
We’re not talking about– “Everything happens for a reason”, though I believe that’s also true.
We’re not talking about– “It’ll happen, just have to wait”.
We’re talking about:
Who is God when my world falls apart and what can I hang my hope on to get through this? Because it doesn’t feel like anything is going to help me right now.
That’s where I was, and that is where so many of you are right now. So we’ll start here.
Recently I was reading Luke 8 in my Bible, and was reading the story of when the disciples were in a boat with Jesus and a really bad storm kicked up. These guys were in danger. The Bible goes so far as to say they were in “great danger”. Panicked, they rushed to Jesus, scared for their lives (literally), and they say, ““Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (vs. 24).
So Jesus gets up and literally commands the winds and the waves to calm. And they do. When the storm subsided and all was calm, Jesus turned to His panicked disciples and says this: “Where is your faith?”
This hit me so hard when I read this. As almost Jesus Himself was saying these words directly to me. “Where is your faith?”
This got me thinking about where my faith actually was. I could say it was in God. But was it?
I think that’s where so many of us are right now. The winds are roaring and the waves are swamping our lives and we are drowning–just like the disciples. They knew where to turn, but I don’t know if they fully grasped Who they were turning to. If they had, would their reaction have been the same? Would panic have overtaken them? Or would they have remained calmly confident?
Honestly, I’m not sure. Fear is a human emotion, and if we were in a boat about to go under, I would surely be panicked. But in the midst of that panic, I have to wonder if there would there be an underlying peace because we knew Who is in our boat.
So I want to leave us with that question today. “Where is your faith?” Could it be that your faith is actually in yourself? Have you been putting everything all on your shoulders? Or maybe your faith is in someone else. Or something else. Honestly take a look at what you’re putting your faith in.
Next week, we’re going to talk about the components of the One we put our faith in. What makes Him trustworthy? Why can I choose to put my faith in Him? Let’s talk about it. I want you to experience the real hope of Jesus. Because that’s where healing and real hope comes from.
Until Next Time,
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” // Psalm 90:12
Happy Last Monday of the DECADE!! This is the second blog that I put out this week, because not only is it the last few days of the year, but also of the decade. And if you know me at all, you know I love to reflect on what I’ve learned and am fascinated by how time defines things.
The 2010’s decade has been an interesting one for me. I spent more years out of school than I did in, (which didn’t occur to me until I thought about writing this blog. Seems like I spent more time in school than not!), and a lot happened this decade.
When I think about a span of ten years, I think about how much happens in that time. How much our lives change. The next ten years have the possibility to bring us the most unbelievable joys, the best surprises, and discovering more of our Creator. But before we jump into 2020, I want to take a look back at the 2010’s. Without further ado, here are the top 10 lessons I learned from the past 10 years.
Until Next Time,
“When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way.” // Psalm 142:3
This weekend, in the midst of last minute shopping, holiday get-togethers, and baking cookies, we welcomed in the First Day of Winter. The day, also known as the winter solstice, is the shortest day of the year in North America. For some, the First Day of Winter is welcome–it brings with it snow, cold, and the holiday season. For others, the First Day of Winter is equivalent to the season of the shortest days, the darkest nights, and the coldest temperatures.
What’s interesting is we often equate winter to seasons in our own life that consist of darkness, pain, and suffering. Seasons where we find ourselves alone, surrounded by pain, and where there is no relief from suffering in sight.
If you look back on your life, do you remember a day that ushered in a season of winter? Is there something you would’ve done to change that “First Day of your Winter”. If you’d only known to avoid that person, steer clear of that place, hold on to that loved one a little tighter, maybe winter wouldn’t have come. Or at least wouldn’t last this long.
As we wind down 2019, I want to encourage you, whether you find yourselves in the middle of winter, the start of winter, of are just longing to avoid winter: God sees you. He has a plan. And He knows exactly what He’s doing. When your world starts freezing over, the snow starts falling, and you haven’t seen the sun in days, here are 3 things you can do to not only survive, but thrive in winter, based on Micah 7:7, which says, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
The same will be true in your life. Winter can be tough, but if you let God have His way, He’ll use it for something beautiful.
And soon enough, spring will come.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas as you celebrate the Savior’s birth–our ultimate hope–this Christmas season.
Until Next Time,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” // James 1:2-4
Happy Sunday! (+ Thanksgiving Week!)
Last week we talked about seasons of hurt, and how God is not only present in our hurt, but can relate to our situation. This week, let’s talk about reasons God sometimes allows seasons of pain and hurt, and maybe we can get a good perspective change on how to handle and go through life’s trials.
Take a moment today to reflect on seasons of hardship and hurt in your life. How have you seen God work in those seasons? If you’re going through one right now, ask God to show you what He wants to, and ask Him to open your heart for all He wants to do in you through this season.
Until Next Time
“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” // Psalm 16:8
Hey all! Happy Sunday (and October…where is this year going!?). I hope fall is settling in wherever you are. I know our poor friends in the south are still sweating the summer heat out, while our friends in the PNW are digging out from a massive snowstorm. Where I live, it’s just been cold and rainy. And I mean rainy. Like, send me all your pictures and memes of the SUN you can find because I haven’t see it in DAYS.
It’s no secret that I love sunshine, but what you may not have known about me is I love sunflowers. They’re yellow (my favorite color), and they’re just happy. Cheery. Fun! There was something I didn’t know about these lovely flowers though, and that was how they got their name. They’re actually called sunflowers because they have special motor cells at their base that change size as they absorb water. This causes the sunflower to move their faces towards the sun throughout the day.
This activity is actually known as solar tracking. The sunflower actually shifts directions as it follows the sun in the sky all day long. How cool is that!
Maybe you knew this, or maybe you didn’t. But either way, I think we can learn a lesson from the sunflower. As Christians, there is a Son we follow. Scripture talks repeatedly about keeping our eyes on the Lord, about fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2), and turning to Him at all times. What if we were just like these sunflowers? No matter what time of day, we’re facing towards the Son. No matter what is going on around us, we’re facing towards the Son. No matter where we are, we’re facing towards the Son.
I believe that this is not only a Biblical posture, but an amazing one. We all know the world we’re living in is quite chaotic, but that doesn’t have to impact our joy, our strength, or our ability to stand and follow Christ. But the key to living in a chaotic world unhindered in the ability to remain in a posture of always look towards–or facing–the Son.
I’m convinced that now more than ever, Jesus is the answer. He’s our only hope. The only One we can put our full faith in. The One who walked on water in the storm is the same one calling out to you today (Matthew 14:22-33). Jesus hasn’t changed since His time on earth (Hebrews 13:8). He hasn’t forgotten, His plans haven’t been delayed, and His purpose in coming is as important and life changing as it always has been.
We influence this world as much as we allow Jesus to lead us. We were never meant to do this life on our own. We were never meant to follow our own way. We were never meant to face something else, following it as it shifts. Just Jesus. Just Jesus.
This week, take some time to think about what impacts your perspective and position in life. Are you turning towards Jesus always, or are you looking towards something or someone else to lead and guide you. It’s never too late to become like our pretty yellow sunflower. I believe that when we spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, He will help us stay focused on following Him always. And when we do, someday we might just change the world.
Until Next Time,
“Come, follow me.” // Matthew 4:19
Hey all! Happy Sunday! Well, summer is in full swing and I’m enjoying all things sunshine, sweet tea, and summer festivities. While it’s insane to think summer is almost halfway over (for us, anyways. Our summers are so short), I’m savoring and enjoying every moment of this amazing season.
One summery thing I did recently was attend Lifest, which is the largest Christian music festival in the country — and it’s less than two hours from my house! I’ve never been, but always wanted to attend. So last week I made a last minute decision to go with a friend, and I am so glad I did! One of my favorite bands was playing, and I knew I couldn’t miss it.
An interesting thing happened while I was there, though. I found myself in a place I’ve never been, and I had absolutely no idea how anything worked, where anything was, and was completely helpless to help myself. Usually circumstances like this freak me out, but not this one. The friend I was attending the festival with was a pro. She attends the festival every day of the three day event, and she’s been going for years. She knew where everything was, down to where she parked her car (which was a complete maze and almost a half mile walk from the main stage). But I found that in this situation where I was completely helpless, I was calm because I was being guided by someone who knew the ins and outs of what they were doing, where they were, and where they were going.
Life is a lot like this. We can get freaked out over circumstances where we can’t see the way ahead – and understandably so. But it’s in these moments that we have to remember Who we go with, and Who goes before us. God knows eternity past to eternity future. Nothing surprises Him, and He is always on His throne. He existed, taking care of His people and planet, before we were born. He is still being faithful now.
Jesus gives us a simple invitation to follow Him. This has to be one of the simplest commands in all of Scripture, yet it’s one we have the hardest time doing. We like control, we like to know all the answers. But the truth is, there is no safer place we can be than to just release that control and follow Jesus who not only knows the way, but IS the way.
Following Jesus takes childlike faith. The older I get, the more I realize why Jesus wants us to be like little children (Matthew 18:3). Little children can chase life with wonder, their hearts are carefree. And even though life often tries to steal these things from us, when we follow our heavenly Father, we are free to be like a little child. When our heart trusts Him and submits to following Him, peace, joy, and childlike wonder will develop. And nothing is better than following the God who has the best in mind for us and finding things we’ve lost along the way.
The way to true life is to lose it (Matthew 16:24-26). A faith worth having is worth a life worth losing. It’s then we can follow Jesus wholeheartedly. And it’s there we’ll find everything we’ve been made for.
This week, try loosening the grips on your life and instead follow where Jesus leads, and see what happens to your heart, emotions, and life. And if we do, someday we might just change the world. ❤
Until next time,
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” // John 17:20-23
Hey guys! Sorry it’s been a minute since I’ve posted. These past couple months have been crazy. Good, but crazy! But I felt compelled to write today in regards to what’s been happening the past week in our country. I haven’t been able to go on Facebook, Twitter, or even turn on the news without hearing about the abortion debate going on. I’m not going to talk specifically about that issue today, as I don’t want to argue or start any arguments. However, I do have thoughts on how we as followers of Jesus can aid in the situation, and any other circumstances where we find ourselves morally at odds with others.
I can’t help but to think of present-day America as Israel in the Old Testament. I’m knee deep in reading the Prophetic books of the Old Testament right now, and as I read, I see America written all over the pages, and it saddens me. It saddens me to see the peace Jesus offers traded for temporary pleasures. Good boundaries- set for our benefit- encroached on because we seem to think we know better. But the Word of God is timeless. What was true when it was written is still true today. And for those who think it’s outdated, I say we’re more like the nation God was speaking to in the day of the Bible now more than ever.
So what can we do in response to outrage, rebellion, and the protests going on challenging the good morals God has set in place, both now and in the future? Here are some suggestions:
“If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” // 2 Chronicles 7:14
Until Next Time,
P.S. If you feel compelled to leave a comment, please be respectful. This post is not intended to spark controversy or anger. Know it’s written in love and genuine desire to see the world changed for the better because of Jesus Christ.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” // 2 Timothy 4:7
It seems as of late, more and more people are failing to finish well. Paul, imprisoned and close to death, wrote the words above to Timothy, his young prodigy, with full confidence. He, in essence, was saying, “I’ve done all I’ve been called to do, I’ve reached the finish line, and I’ve kept my faith.” And I think at the end of the day, when we’re close to death, we’re going to want to echo these words in regards to our own life.
So many people start out strong in their faith, but how come so many people fail to finish well? God has given us everything we need in order to do just that. 1 Corinthians 1:8 tells us, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I think the disconnect comes in when we fail to remember God’s love for us, His promise to strengthen us, and our selfish desires overtake our vision and desire to finish strong. There are many reasons we as Christians get sidetracked as we travel through life, but the one I want to talk about today is how God’s love can keep us on the path of righteousness and cheer us on to finish life strong when it’s all said and done.
Sometimes, we fail to actually remember God loves us. I mean, we all know He loves us. We all recognize that Jesus died for us, that the Holy Spirit is within us, and we hear that God loves us. But I think we sometimes forget that God actually, for real loves us. He sings over us (Zech. 3:17). He provides for us (Matt. 6:25-34, Phil. 4:19). He considers us His child (1 John 3:1). When we start living every day like we actually believe God loves us, that love is going to capture our hearts and set our souls on fire. We’re going to want to stay close to Jesus, be obedient to what He says, and finish strong where He’s called us to.
Our relationship with God isn’t about doing more. Our relationship with God is a love-relationship. Love is always the motivating factor, in both God and ourselves. It was in love that God created you. It was in love that He sent Jesus to die for your redemption (John 3:16). It was in love that He called you and set you apart for Himself (Eph. 1:4-6, Ps. 4:3). And it’s in love that He calls you to whatever His purpose is in life (Eph. 2:10). It’s also in love that we read God’s Word, because we want to know Him better (Ps. 119:17). It’s in love that we do what He says, because we want to honor Him (John 14:15). It’s in love that tells others about the good news we have in Jesus (Matt. 28:19-20, 2 Peter 3:9). Everything we do or don’t do in our relationship with God should be because He loves us and we love Him.
If you’re feeling tempted to give up today, maybe you need a moment to remember and reflect on God’s great love for you. When worldly desires start encroaching on the corners of your heart, run back to your Savior. Remember the cross. And remember His love. Remembering His love will always get you back on the right track.
Because with a world that’s watching so close, it’s not enough to run your race now and flunk out later. We have to live intentionally now – loving others, serving God, and sharing the good news. But we also have to finish intentionally, knowing we’ve done everything God has called us to do and bring as many people with us into His Kingdom as we can.
So today, let’s remember our relationship with God is all ran off of love, and let’s run – and finish – this race well. And if we do, someday we might just change the world ❤
Until Next Time,