It Should Sting…

I love this verse. Goodness I love our Father! We are so alive in His eyes & He is so dang proud of us. No matter where you are at in life, He loves you. He is deeply IN love with you. Nothing can change that. You are loved beyond any amount of measurement possible. His love is infinite. His passion for you is incredible. You are His.

BUT, when we sin against Him it SHOULD sting. This is the biggest misunderstanding I have seen within believers & within myself. Satan LOVES to take the conviction of the Holy Spirit & twist it into condemnation. Something that is beautiful & Godly becomes something shaming. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is an amazing thing.

Satan friggin LOVES to take something that is Godly & twist it to go against God. Why? Because he hates our Father. Because he envies our Father. Truthfully, he hates & envies us as well. So that’s why he will do everything he can to make us feel unworthy, undeserving & ultimately like we aren’t loved.

You see that? THAT’s his tactic. Satan will take the conviction of the Holy Spirit, twist it into condemnation & try and convince you that you aren’t loved. Which is crap.

This is why the word is so vital in our life! If we don’t know how our Father works, then we cannot truly combat the deceiver himself (Satan)!

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Count The Cost…

I remember sitting at a bench when I took this picture. Just in complete awe of the amazing talent that helped build this place. The incredible amount of talent that God gave each & every person who built such beautiful architecture.

How from the very beginning they counted the cost, did all the blue prints, put a team together & executed the plan.

Often times I think we need to do this in our lives. We need to sit down & let the creativity of God flow from our hearts into the plans He gives us. We need to pray through what it costs to make the dream a reality. We need to outline our goals & figure out how God needs us to get there. We need to pray for God to surround us with people to help execute His plan and finally… We need to execute.

God has given us all desires deep down in our hearts. Things that truly light our hearts on fire. An idea or vision of something AMAZING that seems way toooo good to be true. Many of us have experienced it, but very few take the next steps in the process…

For me. I’m learning how to count the costs & allow God to remove things from my life that don’t truly matter. I’ve allowed God to continue to make me get out of my comfort zone & I am going through the process of being obedient regardless of my feelings… it’s incredible.

We are all saved by our faith in Jesus, but one day we will present an offering to His Kingdom for what we’ve done on earth. I want to give it all. I want to take the 10 “talents” God gives me & return back to Him 20.

What about you?

Lowered Expectations…

Tonight during youth our senior Pastor spoke to them. At one point during his message he was speaking on our expectations as believers.

God put a pretty difficult question on my heart.

It was a simple question… “Are your expectations of me lower?” At first, of course my automatic response was OF COURSE NOT! I mean c’mon?!

As I sat there and truly dig deep to ask that question I quickly realized that I have. In a lot of ways. Some ways a lot & other was a little. Regardless, I couldn’t see myself believing God could raise something that was dead in my life.

Thankfully, there was an immense amount of peace concerning this question & answer time in my head. It showed an area where I can improve! It showed an area where I can reflect deeper on & goes in this next season of life God has.

The Holy Spirit should be consistently convicting us of areas where we are falling short. It’s a good thing. False, it’s a great thing! There is so much beauty behind that process. Knowing that God is preparing us for more…

Embrace it. Bring those expectations back up to where they should be. Read the word & understand that the God of the Bible is our Father. The things that happened in the word are happening everyday, all around the world!

Raise the expectations fam..

Does Love Hurt?

This is an interesting question and I have heard the phrase, “love hurts” time & time again. The truth is, no it doesn’t. The way this world has twisted “love”, yes. The way true love really is, no.

Can love be hard? Heck ya. Does love require work? Tons of it. Does love require sacrifice? Oh ya… but love doesn’t hurt.

God is love. And we are called to love everyone the way Jesus loves… Jesus never hurt anyone. Jesus was hurt BY people, but that wasn’t in love. He was hurt by those that SHOULD have loved Him.

We have all experienced heartache. Some of us more. Some of us less, but at some point we have felt that deep pit in our chest. The main thought that screams out in our head is, “love hurts”.

BUT I would like to submit to you all that it isn’t LOVE that hurts, but the lack of love. You see, when Love is missing we feel off. When Love is missing we feel hurt. When Love isn’t expressed we question. When Love is questioned we feel insecure. All of the negative emotions surrounding love have everything to do with the LACK of love…

wherever you are at today, remember that God loves you. So very much. You are loved, you are accepted & love doesn’t hurt. Lack of love hurts. So as we go through each day, let’s show the love this world needs to everyone around us. We have no idea how much the person right next to us needs to be shown love…

Would You Be Satisfied?

It starts with you…

Something interesting happened to me today in Church. I was in Seattle, so I decided to join ChurchHome while I was in downtown.

Judah Smith was kicking off their 6-week study on the book of James & it was incredibly encouraging to see what God is doing in Seattle!

This post realistically has nothing to do with what Judah spoke on, but during a portion of his message he painted a picture of the reunion of James & Jesus. The joy & beauty of that union and how Jesus will be so very proud of all that we did.

My heart broke. I sat there & for some reason I quickly became flooded with the realization that we do not have much time on earth. Within this limited span of time it is my hearts desire to bring all that I can to God. To bring forth everything I did on earth as an offering. Not as a way to “get” a better place into to heaven but to simply say THANK YOU for it all. I want to utilize every possible resource, moment, talent & passion as leverage for building His kingdom!

What broke my heart is the idea of ALL the opportunities I may have missed when I wasn’t focused. All the moments that passed me by when I was so focused on my own hurts that I didn’t take the time to look for others who are hurting. I sat there thinking, “If Jesus took me home right now, would I be ready.”

And the answer was NO! There is no way I’m ready to go home yet. There is an abundance of young men & woman walking around in this world desperately seeking love, acceptance, community, etc… in all of the wrong places. Whether that be jobs, relationships, hobbies, Crossfit, drugs, alcohol or whatever! And when I say “this world” I AM talking about believers as well.

As a Church, we should be different in all the best ways. Sadly, we aren’t. If anything, it is the complete opposite. As a church we have done a TERRIBLE job of creating a safe space for people… The Church should be known for our crazy radical love, our incredible generosity, living with complete abandonment for those around us.

The big question would be trying to figure it where to start! But realistically that is simple… it starts with ourselves. The simple choice of living & loving everyone in the best way we can. Tipping a little extra for the waitress or waiter after you eat. Holding the door open for someone, waving & smiling at strangers, asking how someone’s day is going in a LEGIT manner instead of as a bridge to start conversation, etc… it’s simple.

The church doesn’t need some 10 step plan on how to bring our best to God. We should be so incredibly in love with God & His grace that we can’t help but offer the same love and grace to all of those around us!

It starts with you…

Random thought…. “the chief of sinners”

This morning I was challenged pretty deeply.

I was reading and I came across the Apostle Paul calls himself “the chief of sinners”… it challenged me simply because Paul was such a man of God, completely abandoned for the Gospel. He was easily one of the holiest men alive at that time & even still today challenges true holy living, but yet… He is aware of the immense grace that God has for him.

You see, the more in love & passionate Paul was for Jesus the more he realized the immense grace he needed…

If we look at how this is for the church, that means the longer we are Christians the LESS judgemental we should become and the MORE aware of our own sin we should be… The sad truth is a majority of those in the church (little c) have done the opposite… They have become MUCH better at judging others & less aware of there own sin and desperate need for Jesus…

We need less finger pointing & more self-reflecting. How are we to REFLECT the love of Christ if all we do is judge. How is that a reflection?! Nah man… that’s reflecting the Pharisees… it’s time for a gut check fam.

Mask off

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Masks are a thing of wonder and beauty in some ways… Great deception can come from people who constantly live under a mask and I am not just referring towards bad things, but even towards deceiving those around them that they are “okay” when they aren’t.

I have been doing a lot of thinking and meditating on the idea of masks and how people hide behind them. What I love about this picture is that the mask can go two ways. It’s not always that people are hiding behind hideous masks, but sometimes hideous people are hiding behind pretty faces. Even more so, that sometimes the person who puts off being tough, scary & even intimidating can be the biggest teddy bear in the world.

Sometimes the nicest and sweetest people have the darkest intentions. Unfortunately, for most of us, we have had to learn that the hard way. Trusting in people only to find out their true colors after the fact. There have been a few occasions over the last few years that I can vividly remember being disappointed in myself when I “feel” for someone hiding behind a mask.

The point of this post is not to talk bad or good about masks, it’s about the plague in our society of people who never took the mask off. The plague in our world to where we never take the time to truly get to know the person behind the mask. You see, there is a certain level of vulnerability to comes from taking off the mask. An even BIGGER plague is those who claim to have their mask off, but in reality there “transparency” is all a part of their mask….

In the world we live in, it is so very important to take the extra time & effort to seek the person behind the mask. Work for it. This world is full of spoiled brats, especially in America. So many people are nice and sweet to those that they are getting benefits from, but the moment they are no longer being pleased by that person they throw tantrums. Whether that be online, through friends, through mutual friends, etc… Regardless of the method of the tantrum, it only ends up causing more damage. It only ends up putting on a different mask.

Eventually, the mask will come off. The ugly will be revealed. The beauty will be revealed. The longer we all keep these masks on, the more damaging it becomes. Eventually, our mask can even become our reality. We can forget who we are because we have spent so much of our life trying to put a different mask on for different people…

Take the mask off…. It’s not worth it. Be you. Be who God needs you to be.
Stop worrying about others and worry about yourself.

This world would be a much better place without all the fakeness that is around. This world is so worried about an appearance that people focus more on how others perceive them over how they perceive their self. Even worse, that the perception of others become their perception of themselves.

IT will be scary. I’ve been there before. Sometimes it seems like keeping our masks on is the only way for us to be safe. There has been times where I have been seen without my mask on and someone has taken it for granted. They use it as a weapon for gossip and slander. There are also people in my life that have shown me the beauty behind the mask. That it’s not necessary to walk around with a mask to please those around me. People will talk bad about you regardless of what you do. There will always be a critic.

How would this world be if we stopped trying to hide and show our true selves? If we took the masks off? If we stopped trying SO HARD to convince other people that we are something we aren’t and put that same effort into trying to be the person we are trying to fool others into thinking we are?