Oftentimes as a writer I find myself blanking as I stare at my computer, trying to muster up some words to write. Funny enough, oftentimes in life I find myself blanking when I try to talk of God's goodness or faithfulness. This feels embarrassing to admit, but it's true, and maybe you've done the same thing?
It's a little surreal, seeing something we've hoped for for the last two years become a tangible reality. But I won't lie, there have been days where it has been hard to hope for good things (about this church and about many other things). So this post is about hope and how hope can feel impossible. But also how hope is exactly what we're guaranteed in the Christian life.
My year-long Bible reading plan is taking me through the Gospels and I just love it. I've been able to see Jesus' character as I read the accounts from the disciples who spent so much time with him. Recently I read this verse and I slowed down a bit...
As believers, we must write as one who will give an account for every word we speak (and write). At the same time, there is grace when we don't get it right. We must embrace this tension, writing with fear and trembling while leaning into the abundant grace of God.
Including the book I recommend to EVERY college student and young adult I know and some helpful books for pastors and pastor's wives!
The Bible is big and at first glance it can seem intimidating. I mean, it's 66 books that were written thousands of years ago by really smart people under the inspiration of God.
So how do we even go about studying it?
Sometimes it's hard to set apart time to be in the Word. Sometimes even when you set aside the time to be in the Word, it's hard to focus [or to stay awake] or to even understand what you're reading.
So what do you do?
I never really thought of myself as an independent person.
I've always been fairly introverted, yes, and have learned [aka been forced] to step out on my own quite a few times, but I never really knew how much I craved independence and freedom.
Until I got married.
This post is rooted in years of questions and doubts about whether or not I was truly following the “calling” of the Lord on my life. I pray that the words I share are encouraging to you.
“We are all tempted to want to do something important, but who are we to say what is important and what is not? Every person we engage is an eternal soul and every moment is one that can be leveraged for the sake of your spiritual growth and for the sake of the Gospel.”
We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose.
And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
There are a few cautions that we should keep in mind when it comes to celebrity pastors, at least for the Christians who are not members of those famous pastor’s churches. So to the people that belong to churches led by ordinary pastors like me, I would say this:
This poem by Mabel Williamson, a missionary to China, is a much-needed encouragement to lay down our notions of our "rights" in this world and praise God for the privileges we have in Christ.
Yes there is freedom in financial peace, but there is even more freedom in trusting God fully whether your bank account is empty or full.
Yes there is a benefit to having a retirement fund so that you can serve God freely after you stop working, but there is even more benefit to sacrificially and regularly giving of what you have, whether your gifts are large or small.
In the act of open-handedly holding your finances before God, you are invited to a level of trust and intimacy with Him that is so incredibly beautiful.
I know this is a topic that we don't really talk about. It's a topic that I, even though I have been a regular church-goer for all 26 years of my life, didn't hear mentioned in the church even once until a few years ago. It seems that in most churches, sexual sin is considered one of the "darker" or "worse" sins, so we don't talk about it, we keep it in the dark.
But I'm going to talk about it here because I believe that Satan works in the darkness.
Our Father does not look for moral competency – for crossed t’s and dotted i’s and straight-line walking. Instead He takes the sin and the shame, He lovingly deals with them on the cross, and He promises to walk with us as we seek to follow Him and know Him more.
His grace. It saves and sustains. It redeems and it reminds. It is forever and it’s also right now. In every moment, over and over and over. It is available in abundance.