Where are all the Christians?

We’ll see how that title pans out by the end of this. Typically I write one and change 12 times before determining the right one. However, this one struck me while I was driving this evening, so I’m going to stick with it.

You may be gasp or wave and say “hey I’m right here…” but are you really? Andy Stanley talked today about how we will be remember as “American church goers”, not necessarily the Christian that is described in the Bible.

He went over Acts 4, how Peter and John stood at death door mat and courageously stared into its eyes. Yet didn’t back down. They stood in front of the same people who just crucified Jesus, they didn’t budge. Instead they prayed, they asked for more boldness…

Do you know what we don’t have today Bold Christians, Courages Christians. Why? Today’s society in America we let it beat us up. We let it take control of our lives. We let what others think dictate our actions.  You can say you don’t, but you post on Facebook, you strive for that like. You want to make sure your post sounds great or the snapshot of your life is the perfect angle. We do it everyday and we don’t even realize it.

When was the last time you stood up as a courageous Christian and stood for what the Bible said declare as true, rather than shaping it to for your opinion or opinion of others.

I’m guilty of all of is. I’m a passive Christian. I don’t got out on a limb. I don’t speak my mind, let  alone the truth.  I don’t go up to people courageously. I try to keep my mouth shut and let others fight and gossip on Facebook or media around me. BUT yet I’m just as guilty because I don’t take the stand. 

We need to courageously seeking truth, seeking Jesus. We need to go out and take on the battlefield of life that we are in armor up, but otherwise all we are going to do passive wait and never go anywhere.

Unintentionally Intentional Ignorance

Today during the sermon, I began to question whether or not I was intentionally avoiding connection with God or if it was unintentional.

There’s this saying that is “You will set time for things you want to set time for” So if you don’t make God a priority are you intentionally avoiding connection with Him?  You could argue both sides. However, I believe at least for me, it’s  unintentionally intentional. Meaning that at first I unintentionally placed God on the back burner. I unintentionally allowed my time with Him to be put aside, but as time marches on you get to a point where you recognize it, but instead of acknowledging it and setting time aside, you continue ignoring it and it becomes a pattern in your life.

Why do we get to that point? Why do we let it become a pattern?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this whole connection thing. Maybe it’s just me who feels broken and tries to hide it and hide from it. I mean seriously if I don’t talk no one will know right? If I don’t say anything no one will know that I’m secretly struggling with my connection with God, if I don’t say anything no one will know that I struggle with loneliness, no one will know that I struggle with worthiness, no one will know that I struggle with accepting any compliment as genuine, no one will know that I struggle with relationships, no one will know that I am a complete mess and completely broken.  Hiding prevents the light from coming in and allows for darkness to creep in.

Don’t hide. Don’t be afraid to tell people who you trust in your life what you are going through because God doesn’t want you to go through life alone. God put those people in your life for a reason. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but God doesn’t grow you in your comfort zone. You are allowed to struggle. You are allowed to not be okay in moments. You allowed not to be perfect. Don’t let your sinful self be what’s holding you back from your connection with God.

So if we don’t make God a priority  we will lose that connection. We lose our ability to keep fighting, because we aren’t allowing God to provide our strength, we only rely on our own. God has amazing plans for your life, you just have to be able to make Him a priority again in your life. Let God be your King of your life again, let Him be God again.

God’s in Control

 

Let’s be honest for a moment, we all know God is in control. But how many of us would rather say, He’s not because we don’t want to face that fact that we are not perfect, that we fall short, we don’t want to admit that we need Jesus every day of our lives. We all do, even the people you see as “they can do no wrong” they too fall short! We can do nothing in our power, in our own strength, to make us not fall short. The beauty is Jesus came and died for us to build the bridge, so that we no longer fall short. He covers our sins.

You can say, “I know that”, but do you? Do you actually sit there and realize that every time you have a setback, that God is in control? I bet if you get the promotion, “it’s all God, thank  you Jesus.” But in the hard moments do we go and say, “thanks God, I know I fall short, and I know you and me have some work to do, so thank you so much for allowing me to go through this hard moment.” No, we don’t, we say, “Where is God” “I don’t understand” ” What did I do wrong”. We underestimate God in the hard moments, we feel if he was in control, then we wouldn’t be going through the things we go through. But sometimes we have to go through the hard moments, to get us to where He wants us.

Those hard moments are when we have our biggest growth. Why? Because you get on your knees, you get back into your relationship with God, you realize the sins that you have been allowing to dictate your life and you give them over to God, and you start focusing on the voice that should be.

So many of us are called to do great things, but sometimes we get discouraged because we have a major set back happen, or maybe we get depressed. And we let our circumstances dicate our life versus letting the Light dictate it.

I have battled depression for years. But the moment I surrender to it and I let it control me, is the moment I find myself, isolated and alone. I have to battle it, I have to fight it because I wasn’t called to live my life depressed, I was called to serve a God with joy, I was called to love others, I was called to be where I am in this moment. I can either take my depression and hide it away and pretend it’s not there or I can help others going through the same thing.

Yesterday, at church was so powerful, we did an illustration on how we are better together. We were told to lift our hands, to feel the burn of burdens we carry everyday by ourselves. Then we interconnected with each other, showing that that if we keep each other lifted, we can hold together longer, we can help each other when someone begins to fall. It was in that moment Pastor read out all the things we wrote down that were battling. We are better together, we get through things together not alone.

So when we face that next challenge or setback, there is a reason, even if you don’t see it. Don’t run, don’t hide, face it because God can use this moment in your life to help someone else out down the road because you’ve been there. God knows what he is doing even if it doesn’t feel right in the moment. Look around you, there are people there who’ve been through similar things, connect with them, learn from them, we do better when we do life together.

 

 

Stop and Look 

“Do you know how much the Bible would be different if Jesus acted like we do?” -Pastor Tally Wilgis

Ponder that. Soak it in. Because we don’t act like Jesus does. We don’t respond the way Jesus wants us to respond. We don’t start our day or end our day or even go about or day the way we should. And we wonder why the world is broken. 

How many of us talk to the broken? How many of us take time out of our day to roll down the window and talk to the homeless man on the corner? How many of us take time to love on our neighbors? How many of us actually care about people around us?  But yet we like to go to church, we like to talk about Jesus, we like to sing songs about Jesus, we like to say to others we are living a “Christian lifestyle” because we do devotionals, we watch sermons, we open our Bible, we  even get on our knees and pray for the broken, and we pray for the lost. But we aren’t living it out. We are living our what it means to be a Christ follower. We aren’t doing what Jesus would do. 

We aren’t loving on others the way we should because we are so self focused that we don’t open our eyes enough to see the world around us. We don’t talk to the homeless man or the begger because we are afraid all they want is money. I’ve learned that most of the broken are just yearning for  someone to take five minutes out of the 1440 minutes in a day to notice them and to talk to them.

How many opportunities does God give you throughout the day to talk to someone, to care for someone, to love on someone? If you say none, then just open your eyes. The old lady taking out her trash, it’s a simple as doing it for her. The begger, take a few moments with them. The mom struggling with groceries and kids, ask her if she wants help. The person who is frustrated at the store, talk to them. The cashier who is not enjoying their day, speak encouraging words. I could go on and on with examples. But literally just open in your eyes, you will see so many opportunities to love on and care for others.

This world is not about us, I really hope you realize that. It’s not about whether or not you receive that promotion. It’s not about how much money you make or what clothes are in style. It’s not about the gossip that you hear. It’s about your neighbor and caring for them. It’s about that random person you meet and you planting a seed. It’s about being that mentor to people who are struggling in their faith. It’s about helping people cross the street of life. 

So stop and look around. See who God put in front of you today. Help them cross their intersection, plant that seed and love and care for them. Do what Jesus would do, not what the flesh is telling you to do. Pray and do. 

Saying “Yes” to God: The Journey

The Journey

I don’t know where you are in your faith walk, maybe you just accepted Christ in your heart and you’re searching, maybe you’ve been a Christ follower for years, maybe you are just struggling right now, but regardless of where you are or who you are, God is there with you. Like what it is written, God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is always be there, you cannot hide from Him, even when we think we can.

I say this because there are many times I struggle and I feel like God hasn’t been with me, that if God was in it would not be this particular way. But that’s just me trying to control my own destiny.Which my path was already written by God, he knows when I’ll  fall, he knows when I rise up. He knows it all. He knows your path too, he knows what he is doing.

But if you don’t trust him, if you don’t hand the reigns over to God, and you try to steer,  your life just keeps repeating it self and you wonder why things are not going anywhere. It’s because you’ve been spinning in circles trying to control your own life. Listen, God has a path for you. There will be some rockiness, there will be storms, but there is also light, joy, happiness. Trust God no matter which direction he calls you.

I’ve recently battled on of my worst depressions of my life. I felt that God was not with me, I felt that abandonment. I had followed what God had called me to do, and I end up in a dark pit. I was scared, I was worn out, I was curled up and was done with life. But here is the beauty of it, God was there the whole time. He never left me. I just had to look up.  I was so focused on my own self pity and my own self worth, that I never realized how much God was trying to steer me, I just had to let him.

If you would have told me that today July 1st would be the last day of my job, that I didn’t hold at the time, if you would have told me that I would start working on July 5th in the administrative side of ministry, I would call you completely crazy, but not to God. If I didn’t follow his calling to quit my job, I would not be here right now, I may have not fallen into that pit, but I followed Him. God was there the entire time, even in my darkest moments.  God is not done with me yet, and he definitely is not done with you yet.

God is on the move in your life. Just trust in Him. Lean on Him.

 

 

 

 

Harden Heart

I was flipping back and saw this old picture of myself…

 
I was 19 at the time. I was immature. I was dark. I thought I knew it all. I thought I was a nobody. I thought I wasn’t worth anything.

These lies I remember telling myself over and over again. I’m worthless. No one likes or loves me. No one even cares. 

But the problem I have found its not that no one does, it’s because I didn’t allow them to. I closed myself off from anyone who had a glimpse of possible hurting me, and it all started in childhood.

Growing up with a mother who loves me dearly but a father who was barely home and said horrible things when he was around. But all I wanted was daddy’s love. 

So I inadvertently gave up all together. I fought my mom about not wanting to get out of bed, I didn’t want to face the world of harsh and nasty people. I even failed a grade because of it. 

Through it all, I lost Tanya. I lost the girl I used to be before my heart became stone.  I lost communication with world. I lost the ability to communicate. In groups I wouldn’t take charge or hardly communicate because the lies people I loved just played over and over in my head. I was the “quiet” one. I was the one no one noticed because it was easier for me to not talk and not be noticed then to have to bare the chance of being hurt. It wasn’t worth it, because I felt I wasn’t worth it.

One day my parents found a poem of mine talking about death and taking my own life. It’s the only day I remember as a kid when my parents both told me they loved me and they were sorry for ignoring me and for everything I’ve been through. Life didn’t change much after that, there was more people tiptoeing around the truth that made me feel more unloved.

I say all of this because 10 years ago I was still that little girl. I didn’t mature from the point at which my heart harden, which was around the age of 10. I simply grew in age and the voices in my head just grew stronger.

It wasn’t until I allowed Christ to soften my heart did anything even begin to change. He began to work in me through the Word and he began to replace the lies I tend to tell myself. I still hear them today, I still battle this but the more I replace the lies with God promises the less and less I hear the lies. The more I see the core of who God made me and it’s beautiful.

I am a flawed person and it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to think what comes to mind and not everyone will judge you. It’s okay to open your heart and to let people in. It’s okay to be me and there is no one better to play the role of me in the story God has already written for me. 
 

Who God Says We Are: The Light

A Christian cliché, you are the light. It’s a commonly used phrase in todays world. But do we really know what it means. Do we really know what God truly intended for us to know about being the light.

I say cliché because it’s so over used and so under defined. God uses the light to represent him, we all know that. BUT do we really believe it. We can say it, because God says it but doesn’t mean we believe it.

Many of us struggle with who we are in God’s eyes but yet to him we a prince and princess, we are redeemed and saved by God’s glory through Jesus. But many of us still go on day after day and do not practice who God says we are, we simply go by who we say we are.

But God doesn’t want us to do that. He doesn’t want us to sit in our daily lives and repeatedly beat ourselves up over the lies we tell ourselves who God says we are. We don’t believe it enough that God says we are His children, we don’t believe we are worthy, we don’t believe we are good enough, we don’t believe in ourselves, we simply don’t believe we are the light.

Some of us believe the light is someone who has it all together, it’s the “perfect” christian, it’s the “non-sinner”. But that’s all wrong. We are the light because we are BROKEN and we are far from perfect. We are the light because God saved us.

It maybe hard at times to remember we are the light because momentarily we are battling darkness, and that’s okay. But the more we are the light, the more we are who God called us to be, the more we are like who God says we are.

Let’s get the walking shoes on. Let’s start walking in a different manor. We don’t sit sidelines any more. We be His disciples. We be His light shining for the world to see.