Today I am excited to announce that I have a special guest post brought to you by a good friend, and all-around awesome human-being, Evan Krause.
Some of you reading this may already know Evan, but for those of you who don’t, Evan has been working for about a year with a Christian missions group called the Circuit Riders and with a national tour called Carry The Love. Last month he had the chance to work with The Send—a Christian revival that has been called the ‘Jesus Movement‘ of this generation and he’s without a doubt one of the strongest Christians I know.
He has some powerful words about finding our identity in Christ and living in the freedom that God intended us to have!
I promise you will be blessed by it and even if you are not Christian, I pray that you will still take a couple of minutes out of your day to watch this video! You won’t regret it!
If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please leave a comment below! As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say!
“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” – C.S. Lewis.
In our day to day life, it can be so easy to get caught up in our everyday troubles, and miss what matters most. To miss the one thing that we were put in this earth to do; know God and make Him known.
Recently, this has been something that God has been placing heavily on my heart, and I felt led to share. It is something that I have been learning, and processing, and figuring out in my own life.Something that I cannot say that I live out perfectly, but that I have been striving to improve in. Something that I feel like every Christian must grasp in order to grow.
Hebrews 12:2 says much of what I would like to try to say in this blog, as it reads, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (MSG). As Christians, we are running a race. And if we want to achieve full victory, we must keep our eyes on the prize, which is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
I cannot stress enough how easily it is to stray our focus onto other things.It is something that I battle in my own life, as a Christian college student in the 21st Century. There are a million things that scream for our attention as we struggle to juggle all of these things at once. I have seen this struggle in friends and peers in regards to school. I have seen this struggle with others in regards to work, or a goal of some sort. I know I personally have dealt with this in a variety of situations at various points in my life—ranging from potential jobs to potential relationships. From lifelong dreams to algebra exams.
However, last week in my hometown there was a shooting at a local high school. Someone took their own life right in the middle of the school.Tragedies like this remind me how important it is that we always keep first things first, and never let the everyday-ness of life distract from the things that God has put us on earth to do. To never let school, or work, or guy-drama detract from sharing God’s love with those who are hurting or who don’t know God at all.
There’s a world out there that is starving for love. That is starving for someone who is willing to reach out to them, and share the love of Christ. And as Christ’s hands and feet here on this earth, it is our job to spread that love to those around us. To never miss a chance to share the Gospel with someone, even if it may be uncomfortable in the moment. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV). This is our calling as Christians, no matter what other callings God may have given us – to share His Word with the World.
To conclude, I would like close with a passage that I believe speaks into this. It’s found in Philippians 3:15-17 (MSG). “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal.”
Every day is a new opportunity and a new chance to set our eyes on Jesus. To focus on our Savior and the mission fields that God has given us in our day to day lives.
To, in the words of the Hillsong New York Pastor, Carl Lentz, ‘Occupy all streets’.
What will we do with these opportunities?
What will we do with these chances?
How about you? What are some ways you are striving to ‘occupy all streets’ in your town for Jesus? I’d love to hear how Jesus is working in your lives in the comments below!
“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion. It is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.” – Billy Graham.
As Christians, we spend a lot of time talking about outward ministry (as we should). How we can be an effective witness to others. How we can share Jesus in our circles of influence. How we can shine our light for Christ. All of this is great, please don’t misunderstand this – I hope that these are questions that you are asking yourself every day. However, if we are going to be effective witnesses for Christ, we must first start inward—with the condition of our heart. We must first start with seeking after God’s own heart.
Jesus talks about this very concept in John 15. He says,“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches.[e]As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless.If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words[f] live powerfully[g] within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!
“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!“ John 15:5-11 (TPT).
As Christians, we are called to be so full of love and so full of Jesus that it is contagious, and it spreads to those around us. People should look at us and see something beyond ourselves – they should see the love of Christ moving in and through us. Jesus talks about this in John 13:35 when He says “For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.” (TPT). We are called to fall in love with Jesus and spread this love to everyone that we know.
If you’ve been a Christian for a while than you’re probably familiar with terms like “falling in love with Jesus” or “it’s a relationship, not a religion“. These are terms that I personally have heard since I was nine years old. However, there have been points in my life when it’s been hard for this message to really get through—for me to really understand this on a heart level. It is easy to go through the motions in our faith; reading our Bible, praying, going to church and Bible studies. It is something else entirely to maintain a relationship with a God that we cannot see. But once we encounter the width and depths of His love, our relationship with Christ will never be the same.
As humans we are wired for relationships.We are wired to be connected to people in a deep and personal way. It doesn’t take more than a simple observation of children in a Kindergarten classroom to know that there is something in us that longs for connection. It is only in our older age, and acquired hurts that we start to believe the lie that we can go at it on our own. Christ wants us to approach our relationship with Him with the wide eyed innocence of children—throwing off chains of legalism and “religion” that too often characterize our approach to God. God wants your heart – not your perfection and not your works. He simply wants YOU!
This Valentines Day, I want you to take some time reflecting on a different kind of relationship; whether you are single, dating, or married. I want you to reflect on your relationship with the God who loves you with an everlasting love and who left the glories of Heaven to pursue you.Who wrote love letters to you through His word and who continues to chase after you daily. I want you to see and experience the “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, who chases you down, fights ’til your found and leaves the ninety nine”* – Fully embracing the fullness of God’s love, mercy and heart and sharing this breathtaking love with the world.
“God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace!” – Ephesians 2:4-5 (TPT).
“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” – Mark 11:23 (NIV).
Faith.It’s a topic that we hear about often, but often struggle to live out in the real. It is the thing that calls us to trust when there seems to be no way. However, in spite of all of this, faith is the very essence of the Christian walk.
I once heard a quote that said, “If you’re prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.“* Now, obviously God hears all prayers, ranging from the prayer of a seven year old girl in her bedroom to the prayer of an elderly man on his deathbed. However, there is something that I believe we, as believers, can take away from this quote. Too often, it is easy to keep our faith limited—boxed almost. Trusting God for some things, but hesitant to prayer about others. Somewhere deep down, we fear that we might just pray the prayer that is ‘too much’ for God to handle.
However, as believers chasing after the very heart of God, I believe God is calling us to something more radical.
Over the past year or so, God has been challenging me in my faith.As someone naturally prone to mini-panic-attacks about the future, God has been continuously leading me to live out the words of Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV). He has also been challenging me to lean more on Him (rather than myself. Proverbs 3:5-6 y’all!) and have more faith for seemingly impossible things. Faith that God could literally heal someone on the spot. Faith that some of the most far off places (e.g. college campuses) could have mass revivals and dedications to Jesus. Faith that the most lost people we know will come to a saving faith in Christ by our example and the example others.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV). Furthermore, in Matthew 19:26 (NIV), it says, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (NIV).
We serve a God who we cannot see, but whom we can trust. A God who has a track record of performing miracles—such as breathing the world into existence and rising from the dead on the third day. Who is in authority over all of the forces of nature, and has a power beyond what we can imagine, but who loves us infinitely—more than we can even imagine. As Christians, we serve a God who we believe in through faith—who calls us to an even greater faith as we grow and mature in our walk.
This week, I want to challenge you to a greater faith. To a faith that truly believes God can move mountains—even the mountains in your life! I want to challenge you to have faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) and believe fully in God’s presence and power in your life. I want to challenge you to a faith for the impossible.
*Just looked this quote up. It’s by Mark Batterson.
Each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
In Genesis 1:27, we read, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” God created each one of us in His own image, to reflect His glory and here on this earth.
However, we were not created as cookie cutters—identical to every other person on this earth.If you simply look around your local mall, you will see a wide range of different genders (male and female), races (black, white, asian, hispanic, etc.), and personalities (introverts, extraverts, etc.). We are all different, yet we all bear the image of God. God’s fingerprint is in each and every person who walks this planet today.
Sixty-five years ago, a Baptist minister by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. used his voice to bring this vision into reality. He had a dream that someday, his children “would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. Today, we see the product of this dream as reality—a reality where all people are to be treated equally in society. Where people have equal access to education, public spaces, and grocery stores. We live in a better world because one man dared to dream.
I am a firm believer that equality and diversity is God’s dream too. In Galatians 3:28, Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”We serve a God who sees beyond race and gender. Who looks at the heart when society looks at appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). Who desires that we love each other as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Who desires to see us free from bondage and oppression (Psalm 9:9). Who loves and cares about each one of us as His own (1 John 3:1).
I want to challenge you, this MLK Day and every day, to see the people around you as God sees them.To appreciate the diversity around you and the incredible ways that God has made us all so different—yet, at the same time, so similar.
How we are all a reflection of the God that we serve.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”” – Revelations 7:9-10
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” – Psalm 100:1-2
One of my favorite parts of going to church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights is without a doubt the chance to worship alongside other believers. There is something about worshipping God alongside fellow Christians that is practically otherworldly—a feeling that nothing in this world can top. Whether we’re singing a slow song and raising our hands in surrender or rocking out to a fast song and totally getting into it, there is nothing quite like worship. But, what if worship is meant to be more than just singing?
We tend to think, as Christians, of worship being the time between when we walk in the doors and the time when the pastor gives the message. Something that happens at church, or maybe at a Newsboys concert. But what if worship is more than that? What if it is meant to be something that we do daily—part of the rhythm of our day-to-day life as believers?
In Romans 12, Paul writes, “So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship.” (Romans 12:1). In this verse, the Apostle Paul is urging believers to live their lives as an offering poured out to God, which he describes just a few beats later as worship. Here, we are called to a worship that goes beyond just the sound of our voices on Sunday morning. We are called to worship that starts with our lives.
But, what does this look like? What does it look like to live your life as a living sacrifice—as a worship poured out to God? What does it mean to live our lives in this way?
According to the Google definition of the word, worship is “The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity”. Oswald Chambers, the late evangelist and teacher describes worship this way – “Worship is giving God the best that he has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to him in a deliberate act of worship.”
In other words, we can worship God through everything that we do in this life – just as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 10:31. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.“
It can be so easy to get so caught up in the mundaneness of life that we forget that everything that we do as Christians is in essence, something sacred. There is no such thing as a ‘secular’ task if we are living our lives for God, because in everything we do we can pour out our praise to the God who placed breath inside of our lungs.When we eat, we can thank God for the way that He has blessed us. When we drive to work, we can pray to the God who sustains us. When we write, or dance, or play sports, we can do it all for the God who has given us these gifts. Everything that we do as Christians can be an act of worship!
This week, I want to challenge you to look at the moments in your week differently.
To see the small ways that we can worship God in the midst of the ordinary.
To never allow ourselves to stop being in wonder at the majesty of our God, Savior and Creator!
To truly live your life as an act of worship.
How about you? How do you worship God in the day to day rhythms of your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!😃
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10. (NIV)
Today is officially the last day of my Christmas Classics series, and I am closing it with one of the most well-known Christmas classics of our time: It’s A Wonderful Life.
It’s A Wonderful Life is a (black and white!) Christmas movie created in 1946 about a young man named George Bailey who learns the meaning of Christmas after being visited by an angel named Clarence. George is at the end of his rope and contemplating suicide, after being faced with a lot of disasters at work that feel too big for him to handle. He sees no point in continuing to live until the angel shows him how his life has touched others—and what the world would be like without him. Through this he learns to see the value of his life and goes back to be with his family—and celebrates Christmas with a renewed hope, joy, and purpose.
It’s A Wonderful Life asks the timeless question that many of us have probably asked ourselves at some point: Does my life matter?Am I making a difference? Would this world be different if I weren’t there? And despite the notion that an angel “getting their wings when the bell rings” might be a little theologically shakey, there are a lot of good lessons that we, as Christians, can learn from this movie.
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(NIV) and 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV).
God has plans for each one of us, and whether or not we were ‘planned’ in the natural sense, God knew and formed each one of us before we were born! Though Jeremiah 1:5 is speaking about Jeremiah, it applies to each one of us—before we were even formed God knew us, and had an incredible plan for our lives! And in 1 Peter 2:9, Peter is speaking to every believer who has been called out of darkness, into God’s glorious light! God’s desire for each one of us is life, and that we live out the dreams that He has for us and impact those around us!
If you’re reading this today, and asking any of the same questions that George Bailey asked in It’s A Wonderful Life, than I want you to know one thing above all else: your life matters!God would not have created you intricately and divinely in your mother’s womb if it didn’t. If you are alive and breathing today than God still has plans for you.If you just look around to those that you see each and every day, you will find lives that God wants you to impact—in your school, in your friend group, and in your family. And, there is no one else on this planet that can live out the life God created you to live! You matter. To God, and to so many people that see and interact with you every day!
Maybe you’re reading this today and thinking ‘I already know this. I already know that my life and every other life on this planet matters.’ If that’s the case, than maybe you’ll find yourself in a different character in this story—Clarence.Maybe God wants to use you to encourage someone in your sphere of influence today, and remind them that their life matters! Maybe God wants to use you as someone’s guardian angel. God will often use us to speak to those who are hurting, and maybe as you’re reading this, the Lord is putting someone on your heart that you need to talk to. If that’s the case, than I want to challenge you to be obedient. You never know how God might want to use you in another person’s life! Maybe you could be somebody’s Clarence!
If you get nothing else out of this post, than please remember this: God loves you, your life matters, and God wants to use you to impact the lives of others.In the words of the pastor/writer Max Lucado, “You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the Earth by the Master Craftsman.”
May we always remember this; this Christmas, and the rest of our days!