Let’s Not be a “What can Church do for Me?” Kind of Generation

Picture this:

You settle into your church seat with your church cafe coffee in hand and sway along to the music because you’re too busy drinking it. (You don’t like the setlist that week, so there’s no way you were going to sing along anyway.) During the sermon, you wait for the verses to be up on the screen because you didn’t bring your Bible to take notes. The game’s on at 1:00, so you and your family dip out during the closing worship set. Check the box- you did church that week.

Is it that far off from the truth?

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We live in a generation where we want to know what church can do for us. There has to be free coffee, good music, and a hip, young pastor, and if the message hits home too much, we don’t want to hear it.

If you call yourself a Christian, you ARE the church. You are a part of the hands and feet of Christ. You are needed to grow His kingdom. The church is not a separate group that puts on a show every Sunday.

This concept of consumer-driven church is one that has been bothering me for a long time, and I don’t think anyone is immune to the mindset- we have to make a conscious change not to fall into it.

Here’s How:

1. Fully accept what Christ has done for you. When we accept Christ, He makes us new and radiates from us. This transforms our desires and how we see the world. We were born to serve others and to love God with all that we are.

He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

2. Be in the Word. God has given us His directions for living and interacting with each other. We have the ability to see how the early church worked, and bring our culture back to it.

3. Go out and serve. Get connected with service opportunities at your church! Church is not just confined to a building. As the hands and feet of Christ, we have the ability to go out and serve others and testify of His love. Take advantage of this beautiful opportunity.

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28

4. Be in community. Surrounding yourself with other believers helps align your heart with the will of God. We were made to need community. This can be getting involved with a Bible study or starting a text group to share prayer requests and encouraging stories.

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

1 Corinthians 1:10

We were made for much more than just simply living. We were made in God’s image, and our only goal, while we are on earth, is to make Him known. Go out and change the world for His glory!

Have questions or comments? Head on over to the ‘Contact’ page and let’s talk!

 

 

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Change is Gradual, Not a Race: Guest Post by Jessica Sawaya

Change- it’s scary, difficult and brings out all kinds of emotions in someone: fear, excitement, joy, sadness, etc. Everyone goes through it, in all sorts of sizes, from microscopic change to more extensive change- it’s simply complex. In the last couple of months, I’ve personally gone through various changes, the biggest one has been moving halfway across the world for college and let me tell you, it’s been one of the hardest changes I’ve had to adjust to yet.

I grew up in a city called Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE is located in the Middle East, and Abu Dhabi is the capital city right next to the more well-known city of Dubai. I lived there for the majority of my life, 17 and a half years, to be exact. It’s a place that is so dear to my heart and I am grateful to be able to call it home.

Image result for map of abu dhabi

I may be quite biased with what I say next, but Abu Dhabi is one of the most unique places to be and being a part of such a diverse city is what made my experiences and more specifically, my walk with Christ, such an influential journey. The friendships I have made, the different cultures I’ve gotten to learn about and even partake in have taught me so much about people’s viewpoints on the world, how to love others as Christ would, and just simply having that opportunity to be a light to people who don’t know Him personally. While those had been some of the highlights, knowing that my time in such a place was running down the clock every second of every day, knowing this chapter was coming to an end and a new one about to begin, made me fear the unknown even more.

My final day came, and there are no words to even begin to describe how I felt, but one thing I could say was that I was NOT mentally prepared, in the sense that it didn’t feel like it was going to be my new reality. I just saw it as another summer away from home. Even though I had been talking about it with my family, friends, and God for months and months before, it just never sunk in and it was also me denying the change in a way. But who wouldn’t? Leaving the comfort of your home and the only place that you have known your entire life is terrifying and a huge transition that your mind needs to take in.  

Fast forward to the first couple of months living in the US, I tried to deal with the change right away. I kept looking at the positive things and would not even let the slightest of homesick feelings creep in. Of course, it happened a couple of times but just for a few minutes and never more than that. I submerged my feelings so far down and I rarely talked about it with God either. I was still in denial and refused to let the change and emotional roller coaster take its turn. Personally, I was in the honeymoon period, where all this change was so new, fresh and exciting. Don’t get me wrong, it was how I was feeling; however, that is all I let myself feel.

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Eventually, those pushed down feelings started making its way up to the surface and one night, I decided to look through my memories from back home and that is when I just completely broke down. I felt defeated, heartbroken, weak and above all, disappointed. I cried and cried and cried and couldn’t stop. I asked God why I felt so much pain and why I was hurting like this. I had just made amazing friends here in college, I found a church that I truly felt a part of and I was growing rapidly in my relationship with Him. I just didn’t understand it.

I remember one Sunday at church; the sermon was about carrying all this external baggage and how that can hold us back from the life God wants to fulfill for us. More specifically, when we have baggage, we should not carry it alone, we need Him and also the church community to share it with. The verse that was given with this message was:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

When we seek God and acknowledge His goodness, graciousness, and glory (what I call the three g’s), He will provide all that we need to get through our trials, it could be at times where we least expect it. And that is when my mindset started to change and I allowed myself to open up my heart to every emotion I was feeling. I started talking more about it with my parents, siblings, friends and I definitely opened up to Jesus about it. In those times of talking to Him, He taught me something significant through the chorus of a song called “Seasons Change” by United Pursuit and has been on my mind ever since:

“Though the seasons change, your love remains.”

Even though every season of life has its changes, Jesus remains faithful and His love for us NEVER CHANGES. His character stays the same regardless of what goes on in our lives, prosperous or dry seasons, and that to me has been one of the prominent reasons to why I do not fear change nearly as much as I used to, because His steadfast love for me is sufficient enough to prepare my heart, mind, and soul for the next changes in my life. There has also been a couple of verses that have stuck with me through the times where I’ve experienced various changes, here are a few of them:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

Hebrews 13:8

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:25

Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:34

Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain you.

Psalm 55:22

These verses emphasize the promise that God has our path all mapped out for us and that we need to persevere and remain patient through times of uncertainty and the unknown. Also, we should not carry the hardships that come with change on our shoulders and on our own strength because no matter how hard we try, it will never be enough.

So even though I have transformed my mindset about one of the biggest changes in my life and I have been able to work through it, I still struggle, stumble and fall down because I am still human, a human being that continuously sins and is broken. Although this time, I have accepted God to pick up some of the heavy burdens of change and do not lean on my own strength. Also, I remind myself that I am not alone in this and I want to remind everyone reading this that you are not alone either. There will be times when experiencing changes in life, that you may feel exhausted, depressed or burnt out, and that is okay! BUT do not bottle it up and seclude yourself. Talk to someone about it: a friend, your pastor, youth leader, and above all, open up to God about it! He hears you, loves you so much more than anyone else on this earth will ever be able to and He will provide in His perfect timing. The last important reminder that I want to speak about is do not treat change as a race. Change is not something you can accomplish overnight, it is not a “how fast can I settle in” type of deal, and it is not a task checked off on your to-do list. It is a process, more specifically, it is a gradual process. It takes time and as agonizing as that could be to be patient, it is a fact that needs to be accepted.

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I want to reassure you all that change is still hard and all these things that I tell you will not completely prevent the circumstances of change but if you can set your mind on God himself and abide in Him, I can guarantee that the way you portray the concept of change will be quite different, as it has for me. I want to end with this verse that always keeps me encouraged and hopefully will do the same for all of you too:

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7


Thank you all for reading, and thank you to Jess for sharing her story with you guys! As always, if you have questions or comments, head on over to the ‘Contact’ page. If you have any questions for Jess, send them to that page and I’ll be sure to pass them on!

What if We Truly Believed?

Happy Truthful Tuesday, wonderful people!

Thank you for sticking with me through a bit of travel and busyness, but we are back in business!
To be completely honest with you guys, I’ve been going through a season of spiritual stagnancy, and that can be a really hard thing to battle. If you’re reading this right now and you’re in that season, I would encourage you to not let it shake your belief- God is bigger than it all, and this season will end.

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While I was in high school, I was introduced to Tim Timmons, and his song ‘Christ in Me’. Here’s a snippet of the lyrics:

And what, what if I believed in Your power,
And I really lived it?
What, what if I believed Christ in me
What if I believed?
I would lay my worries down
See these hills as level ground
What if I believed, Christ in me?
What if we truly believed that the power of God is living in us? Would you change how you act? Would you be bolder in your conversations? Would you sacrifice more of your time to serve others? If you truly believed that the Creator of the universe was in you and you could do mighty things, would you?
It can be so so easy to accept God into your life, but to act like He’s not with you all the time. He’s living inside of you! Friends, this is so beautiful. What if you truly believed in His transformational power? What if we still had that child-like faith that still believed He could do anything?
In the laughing, He’s in you. In the crying, He’s in you. In the tough conversations, He’s in you. Through the fear, He’s in you. When the devil is pulling on your heart, He’s in you.

I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” 

Galatians 2:20

Here, Paul did not say “I live in a Christ-like way,” or, “I glorify Christ through my behavior.” No, he said, “Christ…lives in me,” clearly telling us that Christ lives in His believers. The Christian life is not a matter of behaving like Christ, but of allowing Christ Himself to live in and through us.

(Credit to https://blog.biblesforamerica.org/8-verses-showing-jesus-lives/)

I challenge you to live this week truly believing in Christ’s power. Man guys, imagine how we could impact the world for Christ’s kingdom if we all truly believed and acted in this truth.
Check out Tim Timmons’ song below! (Also, a great idea would be setting your alarm to wake up to this song every morning. I just did it!)
As always, have comments or questions? Head on over to the ‘Contact’ page- I’d love to talk!

Five Tips for Successful Dating

Happy Truthful Tuesday, friends!

This week, I wanted to spend some time talking about dating. It seems like our society’s view of dating is constantly changing, and it’s always a good idea to realign ourselves with God’s vision for our relationships, whether you are in a relationship or a season of singleness, this post is for you.

Here are my five tips for successful dating!

man and women holding hand

1. Love God First

When we love God with all of our heart first, loving others falls right into place. From loving Him, we are given patience, forgiveness, understanding, and much more. When you are constantly in the Word and in prayer, it radiates from you and translates into your relationships.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

2. Know Why You’re Dating

So many examples of dating that our culture sets for us are dating for short-term satisfaction and are primarily about what the other person can do for you. This is so different from the beautiful examples God has given us. When Christians come together into a relationship, it’s only purpose is to glorify God. Men and women were created by God, in the image of God, for God. We are made to serve each other and work in perfect unity.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Genesis 2:24

3. Set Boundaries Early and Stick to Them 

It is so so important to set boundaries early in your relationship. Physical boundaries enforce the purpose of your relationship and ensure that you are both honoring each other in chasing God’s heart.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

4. Focus on the Fruits of the Spirit

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the perfect recipe for a successful relationship of any kind. Let these radiate from you on a daily basis.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23

5. Remember That The Other Person isn’t Perfect and Neither are You!

Be forgiving and understanding. You guys are going to make mistakes; what matters is how you come back from it. Strive to honor God above all else, and everything else will fall into place.

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Have comments or questions? Head on over to the ‘Contact’ page! It’s not promised to be easy, but it’s promised to be eternally worth it.

Be Slow to Anger

It can be so easy to get upset at the little things.

For me, it’s when there are no more clean leggings when I wake up in the morning, when I have a million things on my to-do list or when someone annoys me in one of my classes. Looking back on my day, how ashamed I am of letting these trivial inconveniences bother me.

As followers of Christ, we are called to be slow to anger, but how often do I push this idea aside?

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

James 1:19

When we let Christ truly radiate from us, it changes our whole outlook. Suddenly, the things we look at as so bothersome don’t seem so bad anymore, and we are able to find joy and beauty in the little things.

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I encourage you this week to rejoice in each day the Lord has made. Every single second that we are on this earth is a gift and an opportunity. If it’s another person that makes you angry, bring it to God and ask for a change in heart. Instead of fighting back, try to listen first and speak after you understand where they are coming from.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Psalm 103:8

We do so many things that could cause God to be angry and give up on us, but instead, He gives us new mercies every morning. Let us show that same attitude to His creation. We are reflections of His love. How will people see a difference in us if we are quick to anger?

This life is too precious to spend it upset at things that won’t last. Wake up each day and make a conscious decision to be joyful. You have the power to either let things get to you or roll right of your shoulders.

The Lord created this earth and everything in it. Let us have an attitude of rejoicing instead of anger.

This message really hits home for me, and it’s something I have to remind myself of every single day. I pray that you will all find success through prayer and conscious change. Have comments, questions, or just want to talk? Head on over to the ‘Contact’ page!

Intercession: The Beauty of Prayer You Might’ve Never Considered

Good morning and happy Truthful Tuesday!

Today, I wanted to talk about a topic that my eyes were recently opened to at CROSS Conference. A big part of the conference was focused on prayer for the unreached, and that people would have a heart to send and go to these areas of the world. We did this before every session, and in the mornings, there was an extra opportunity for prayer.

As the leaders were praying, they kept asking and thanking God for the opportunity to intercede on behalf of these people. While I know what the term means, and would have previously agreed that that’s what we were doing, it really got me thinking.

Intercede: To intervene on behalf of another.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.

1 Timothy 2:1

Whenever you pray for other people, you are interceding on their behalf. How beautiful is this!? Let us not also forget that Jesus interceded for us on multiple occasions, praying to His Heavenly Father on our behalf (and, of course, preformed the most selfless act of intercession by dying on behalf of our sins). The very least we could do to say thank you is intercede on behalf of all the people He died to save.

Part of living a Christ-like life is interceding on behalf on His people, and praying for those who do not yet know the goodness of Christ. This could be people across the world, but it could also be your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. Your prayer is in God’s will, and He is using all of us to carry out His divine plan. What a privilege it is to be a part of that.

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Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

God says, let it never be a lack of asking that you do not receive. Our God is a big God, and He can do more than you could ever fathom. Are you asking Him for miracles daily? It’s an area of my prayer life that I sure need to work on, and I doubt that I’m alone in that.

How is your today affecting the tomorrows of people that don’t know Christ?

He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”

Luke 16:27-28

I want to talk about the verses above for a second. This is a story in the gospel Luke about a man who descends to Hell after his death on earth. When he gets there, after living a life of unbelief, he realizes the magnitude and realness of God, and begs Abraham to send Lazarus to warn the rest of his family. Friends, this is a reality. If the unbelieving dead could talk, they would beg us with all they have to tell their family and friends.

You have the amazing ability in your prayer life to intercede for the people that have not yet placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Will you live like Christ and do it?

Have questions, comments or just want to talk? Head on over to the ‘Contact’ page! The body of a Christ is a community, so share this post with someone! Below, I have linked a song that I believe covers some of the heart of what this topic is about, so give it a listen!

So Here’s the Truth About Sin

Happy Truthful Tuesday!

I hope you are all staying warm and safe with this huge storm hitting the Midwest! This week, I wanted to take the time to share something with you guys that’s been a little heavy on my heart lately.

I think that it can be very easy for us- myself included -to see some sins as worse than others. We think that our sin isn’t that bad because maybe we didn’t murder somebody, or cheat on our significant other, or whatever the case, and it leads us to elevate ourselves as better than the people that have done these “worse sins”.

Friends, this is so far from the truth. Every sin is equal. We are all equally separated from God by our sin. Just because maybe our sin is private, while other’s is public, God knows our hearts, and He doesn’t show favoritism- He loves us all the same, despite of what we’ve done.

For God does not show favoritism.

Romans 2:11

Jesus answered“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Luke 13:2-5

I really don’t mean for this to be such a downer of a post, but I think that a heart-check is in order for us all, and it can’t always be sugar-coated with extra fluffy stuff to make us feel better about ourselves, because that’s not always the truth of the Bible.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:3

Sins are not just the things that we look at as “big and bad”. Sometimes it happens in your heart just between you and God. What if you had to tell your closest friends all about your sin? I’m sure they could do their fair share of judging. Please let this truth humble you. Let us not look at others as worse than us just because their sin has been made known to you.

When we look at sin, we tend to see a bar graph where we rate our own opinions of “badness” of sins. When God looks down from Heaven, He doesn’t see the manmade bars, He sees us all as equal, because we are all created in His image.

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Thank God that sin isn’t the end of our story! God sent His beautiful and sinless Son to earth in the form of a human to die for every single sin. Every single sin. The sin of me, the sin of you, and the sin of ‘them’. None of us would earn Heaven by ourselves, we would all fall short of the glory of God. What a beautiful gift of grace He has offered to every single one of us. Go love each other. Go serve humbly, knowing that you didn’t earn anything yourself. Go and make disciples. 

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

Luke 12:2-3

Have questions, comments, or just want to talk? Head on over to the ‘Contact’ page, and let me know what’s on your mind! We are not promised that our walk in faith with be easy or without controversy. This is one of those moments to take a step back and do a heart-check to see if you’re truly living out the gospel truth of love.