Something that's come to the forefront of my attention recently is just how much the world needs to see and experience the love of Jesus. There are a lot of things happening in the world right now, from controversial politicians to the refugee crisis to gun control issues to the sex trafficking epidemic and so on and so on, and it seems that there is just so much darkness surrounding us, making it easy to understand why people might be feeling a little — or a lot — hopeless. And hopelessness, in a way, is like a disease. It infects and spreads and wears people down, bit by bit until they can hardly see the light and goodness that are present in the world.
And living in the time that we do means, I think, that there's just a lot of confusion about who God is. Is he cruel, judgmental, full of wrath, and if so, is that why the world is so dark and hard and evil? Or is He loving, kind, and full of grace, because if that's true, where is that on display? Plenty of people grow up or grew up in some form of the Church, learning about God and about Jesus. Many "know" the basics, yet have chosen not to believe, and I really think that a choice like that — to not believe — may be two-fold: they see evil in the world, and can't bring themselves to believe in a God who would allow it (or "cause it" — another topic for another day); and/or they don't see God amongst the people who claim Him... which is a very huge and very real problem. Read More
A few weeks ago, I led a devotional for the student leadership team at my school. We had been going (almost) non-stop for about two weeks when my devotional was set to happen, so we were all pretty tired, and it was on my heart to encourage my peers with God's Word. Being this is my third consecutive year on leadership, I have some experience with the "process" of what it means to be a servant leader. It's not really a title or a job that you slip in and out of - it's an everyday job that has no timestamp. I'd like to adapt that message and share it with you... Read More
"Suffering is necessary for the growth of a follower of Christ. Without it, contempt festers - and contempt leads to a stale faith. And a stale faith is of upmost danger! It leads to self-reliance and self-centeredness, and God is no longer your sole focus or source of life. Allow Him to put you through the fire, trusting that the end result will always be worth it. Remember: He's not finished yet!" Read More
The other day, I was having a great discussion with someone close to me, and we came to the topic of God's plans versus our own. I was both enlightened and encouraged by our conversation, and knew I needed to embed it in my heart. Often times, we - being the controlling, self-centered people that we often are (come on, I know I'm not alone!) - make our own strategic plans for how to get what we want, go where we want, and be who/what we want. Yet many times, we are disappointed when our own plans fail. It's never easy, and can even be heartbreaking. Realizing why they fail, however, is simple: because they weren't God's plans. Rather, by creating our owns plans and relying so heavily on them to work out, we cease to allow His Spirit to work in and fully establish His plans for our lives. Read More