No More Aquariums

October 11, 2011 Comments Off on No More Aquariums

“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” -Matthew 4:19

What does an aquarium really do for a fish? It provides a safe, secure, clean, and effortless place to thrive and live amongst the other fish. Providing no predators, no uncharted areas to explore, or concern to the fish – besides swimming around and looking pretty for everyone watching them.

For so many people today, you manage your own aquarium of your faith. You surround yourself with the same people, same small group, same weekly routine of showing up. You like the idea of keeping things the way they are, just trying to keep the aquarium running, and playing a game of religion rather than faith in Christ.

Jesus called us to be fishers of men, not keepers of the aquarium.

Our faith can only grow to a certain extent when all we do is surround ourself with like-minded people. Think about Jesus, our leader, He put himself out into the streets with the common people. Jesus had so much compassion for anyone that was willing to hear and receive the truth. There was no qualification to hear Jesus speak or to have a conversation with Him.

Yes, it is important to have a good core, supporting group of people around you. But it is not biblical to thrive only in that group and only encourage and build up those members. That’s called being selfish. Church world likes to tell us that the church is the only place we can thrive, only place that we should invest in. We are called to have our part in the body of believers, but to advance the kingdom and pour out our heart on those that are the exact opposite.

The truth of the matter is: the people that you judge and think are bellow you because they don’t go to the same church as you, same campus ministry, or even same religion are the people you should be spending the most time around. 

To be a true fisher of man, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable to the people that need to hear the truth and love that Jesus has in store for their life. Jesus invested in the most diseased and social outcasts of his time, not just his disciples. Jesus spent time around his disciples to empower them to go out and be fishers of men, not be an exclusive judging group of men.

You have to be willing to elevate them above yourself: Jesus never condemned anyone, rather offered them something greater than what they had – eternal life and love.

1 Corinthians 10:13

July 8, 2011 Comments Off on 1 Corinthians 10:13

“13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” -1 Corinthians 10:13

As I reflected on the short, yet sweet 19 years of my life today I came to this conclusion: God never put me through something that He wasn’t sitting on the other end waiting for me. Whether it was a traumatic break-up that meant more to me than it ever should have, a family crisis, a death in the family, a difficult living circumstance, or a burden that someone close to me had to endure. He was always waiting.

1 Corinthians 10:13 describes God as never allowing you to go through something more than you can stand, but really it’s more than He can withstand for you. God will allow you to go through a difficult time in your life; whether it’s a financial difficulty, a body image issue, a family crisis, or many other things. Remember the last sentence “When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure”. Don’t be afraid to look up in your situation and look for a way out because it’s right there.

I think so often times we tend to blame ourselves for a bad situation- we tell ourselves that if we would have been living better this “bad thing” would have never happened. Listen to the truth: God is loving and a caring God that accepts you for as you are, not for who you think you should be. There is no standard of good deed or desire from Him to wear makeup, God wants you to respond and look to Him right where you are, no matter the situation.

Do not live in condemnation because Jesus conquered condemnation and death, so that you would be able to always have a way out in times of trouble.

There is no reason to hide what you’re going through because He’s waiting for you to turn to Him. There is no shame or guilt,  but only the opportunity to find an end to your hurt and pain- give it to God.

God is waiting for you right now, exactly where you are.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12

Condemnation

June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

“Why is he here? I totally saw him last night at that party.” “She doesn’t deserve to be in church, she’s a skank.” “What a hypocrite, why would he come to something like this?”

Have you ever had someone talk about you like that? Have you ever felt a spirit of condemnation over your life?

In John chapter 4, Jesus goes for a drink in Samaria at a well. One of the most well known bible stories is often neglected in our life.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

God often speaks to us, but we neglect to realize He is trying to communicate with us. We find ourselves praying for purpose, praying for an option out of a dilemma, and asking God to use us in a mighty way- but we totally miss the opportunity when it comes because we are praying for our will to be accomplished in the way we want, not His will.

If you knew that Jesus was speaking to you, wouldn’t you listen? God is giving you direct instructions to do something with your life, but you are too afraid to do something about it because it doesn’t match up with what you want for your life.

Live in the truth that nobody can judge you, but God- only His opinion of you matters.

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

 17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

   Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Jesus knows everything about you, even when you try to hide it behind going to church and being involved in every ministry possible. The fact of the matter is, all of Samaria knew this woman was a prostitute and slept with many men, but Jesus did too- AND He still wanted to use her to further His ministry.

It doesn’t matter what others think of you, they are always going to have something negative to say. As long as your opinion of what God thinks of you matters more than what others think of you, you are living in the truth that the Bible gives each and everyone of us.

Jesus didn’t even ask the woman to repent of her sin, He didn’t ask her to make it right with Him. Jesus accepted this woman for who she was and used her for his ministry by having her go back into Samaria and tell everyone what she saw (The Messiah).

God isn’t asking you to waste your life asking for forgiveness and never letting go of what you did. God already sent His son, Jesus, to die for your sin- He wants you to give your life to Him. God wants you to give your opinion of your life over to Him. God wants to use you, specifically, in the master plan of his purpose for this world. God died for you specifically, so that you wouldn’t have to live in condemnation and judgement of others.

The choice is yours: Go. Live. Be free from sin, change the world!

Romans 8:1-2 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.

Go-To Verses Romans 8

June 22, 2011 Comments Off on Go-To Verses Romans 8

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. -Romans 8:1-2

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. –Romans 8:5-8

 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligationbut it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. -Romans 8:12-13

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  -Romans 8:18-19

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? -Romans 8:31-32

Nothing beats the truth that the bible gives us for our everyday life. Romans 8 is my favorite chapter in the bible because it is such an encouragement for us, a constant reminder that God love us and how we should live.

Be empowered by the verses. They were written just for you!

Summer Thoughts

May 31, 2011 Comments Off on Summer Thoughts

5 things on my mind recently that I want to share with you…My summer has given me a lot of time to think.

  1. Being humble and serving is the greatest way to reflect Christ to others. //Philippians 2:5-8 “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” Even though you may have position, use that position to reflect Christ- not leverage it against others for your own gain. 
  2. God has you exactly where you’re supposed to be, even if you don’t think you have a purpose.// 1 Corinthians 7:17  And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.” Even though you wish you could be somewhere else, God has a plan for you this summer and has opportunities for you- You just have to position yourself to find out His will. God is positioning you in a season of change, giving you lots of downtime to seek Him and actually study your bible- don’t waste this time sitting around all day and feeling sorry for yourself!
  3. God’s blessing isn’t in the act, it’s in the action.// James 1:23-25 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” We often times are willing to take on the act of something in our thoughts, but are never willing to take action in our lives. You can accept Christ, but if you never take action on your faith and share it with others you are wasting your faith away.
  4. Our greatest problem in forgiving others isn’t what they did to us, it’s ourselves. // Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you.” God has to forgive us everyday of our sins, so why wouldn’t you be able to forgive someone else? We can accept and process what happened to us and why they hurt us, but we are unwilling to let it go because we want them to think they owe us something. // Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”
  5. We like to judge others because it makes us feel important and all righteous. // Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” We are too easy to condemn others for having little faith or slipping up short in their walk with Christ, but you’re too afraid to open your own eyes and see all your flaws. You hide your spiritual insecurities by judging others, but if you judge others you are asking for God to judge you with His perfect standards- you don’t want that to happen, let me tell you.
**God expects infinitely worse from us than we expect from ourselves, so don’t get down on yourself when you mess up. It’s why Jesus died for ALL our sins and not just some of them.

     

     

    Past=Present, Future

    May 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

     So many times, we allow our past to dictate our present life and the future of where we are going, what we’re thinking, and who we’re friends with. The only past thing God wants you to identify with was the life of Christ.

    For many of us we allow a heartbreak, financial set-back, a past relationship, a death, or a mistake hang over our head each and every day that we are living. We allow what happened in the past, something we cannot change, to tell us how we feel about ourself and what kind of friends we can have. But I am here to tell you that it’s ok whatever path you’ve BEEN ON, it’s about where you’re GOING. The truth of the matter is, we’ve all been on the wrong path in the past. We have all failed ourselves, our friends, and family so many times but there is something we forget: Christ died for us.

    Christ died on the cross for us because He knew the path we were going on wasn’t the one to success and an abundant life in His will, so we died so that we would get on the right path. The path to heaven.

    Sometimes it takes a setback to get back on the right path for our life. Instead of kicking yourself over something that just happened, realize that God is trying to get your attention and instead of running away from His ways, turn to them as a place of comfort and get back on the right path. When you put something infront of God (your job, a friend, a significant other, money, or skill)  and it gets taken away, you don’t know who you are anymore. You lose track of “you” because you let the things of this world identify and define who you are. The only thing that can ever define who you are, what you live for, and the decisions you make is Christ. Why? Because His ways will never go away and can never be taken from you, no matter how far you run.

    Here’s the thing, you can either sit here and feel sorry for yourself or you can find a way to make your life right in Christ. Nothing gets accomplished through self-pity and judgement on yourself. Christ called you out of your old sinful ways and wants to introduce you to a new life. He called you out of loneliness and into the body of believers to show you love. He called you out of financial stress and into a life full of security in Him because money will not matter in heaven.

    So my challenge is thus: Are you identifying with the people that are connect to the current of Christ? Are you seeing their success as empowerment to your situation and as a foreshadow of your vision for your life coming true? Or are you letting your past dictate who you are and the way you feel about yourself because that’s exactly what the devil wants you to do.

    Chris covered my past= Giving me a hope for my Present and Future.

    “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
    1 John 2:1

    “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”
    Acts 3:19

    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”
    Romans 8:1

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
    2 Corinthians 5:17 

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