Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How God Used An iPhone Screensaver to Speak to Me

Photo by #shereadstruth
Thanks to #SheReadsTruth I have this photo saved on my phone as my lock screen saver. It's a wonderful tool for ladies who want to memorize scripture. For me, since I'm always checking my phone for one reason or another, it's been a great help. Whenever I check my phone, I see the verse and repeat it a couple of times, trying to get it to sink in.

I've had this particular photo as my lock screen saver for a couple of days now. You'd think it would have sunk in by today, but it didn't. But I'm glad it finally did!

You see, about a month ago God asked me to take a big giant leap of faith and do something I wasn't even considering -- lead not one, but TWO outreach teams this summer! Really. You'd think I would've been excited (I am) but instead I started freaking out a little bit (a lot). In my mind I started thinking of all the reasons why I couldn't go...

  • I don't have enough paid vacation days
  • I don't have the money to go
  • I'm pretty sure my husband will freak out (and he has)
  • I know other people on the team that could lead better than me (and they would)
  • I don't have my passport
  • I have bladder issues
  • I have anxiety issues
The list could go on and on. 

But, you say, isn't this your calling in life? The very gift and passion that God put in you as a 13 year old girl? Didn't you spend the last 15 years of your life doing missions/outreach work?

Um, yeah.

Funny enough, the answer to all those questions is a resounding "YES!" From the time I was 13 years old I knew what I was called to do in life. Missions/outreach is and will always be my calling, my gifting, and my passion.

So what's the problem?

Trust. I have trust issues.

And what's that got to do with the photo that's your lock screen saver?

Back to that. So this morning as I was reading and repeating this scripture, it dawned on me... God is speaking those very words to me.


When God spoke to me a month ago to take this giant leap of faith to go to Chicago and Mexico, He knew I was going to freak out for all the reasons I listed above and more. Like the fact that this Sunday was the first financial deadline for both outreaches and I didn't even come close to reaching the goal. Or that my car is having major issues. Or that Sallie Mae keeps calling my phone but I just keep ignoring her.

God is going to give me peace in the midst of my doubt because He is the one who called me to go. He is sending me. HE IS SENDING ME. He has a plan and purpose for this summer, of that I have no doubt. And I'm excited to be a part of whatever He has planned!

(If you want to help God send me, CLICK HERE to donate!)

When was the last time you were anxious about something and heard God speak to you through His word?

Monday, April 28, 2014

What Do You Reflect?

Photo by alantakenghoe

Yesterday morning my church, Centerpoint, started a news series called "You Asked for It." A couple of weeks ago our social media team sent out a poll via Facebook, Twitter, and email asking people to vote on specific topics they'd like to hear the pastor address. The topics ranged from "is drinking alcohol a sin" to "did Jonah really get swallowed by a whale." The three topics with the most votes were chosen, and so yesterday morning Pastor Chris tackled a hot topic within the evangelical community: do all religions lead to God?

Without batting an eye, Pastor Chris answered the question head on -- Jesus is the only way. Jesus Himself told His disciples (and us) in John 14:6 that He is "the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me." While to some this may seem like an exclusive statement, the truth is that all have been extended an invitation to accept and embrace Jesus as the way. Jesus came for all, not just a few, but only a few choose to accept His invitation.

Even though the world see's Jesus' message as exclusive, it is inclusive. He has and continues to invite each of us to accept Him. To believe He is who He says He is. To embrace the Truth and to be set free! Not only does Jesus pursue the world, but He invites His followers to do the same: "You are the light of the world... let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

Our lives are a reflection of Jesus.

The words we speak and the actions we take, these things the people around us hear and see, are a reflection of what we believe about Jesus. If we believe Him to be the way, the truth, the life, then our lives will show it.

As I said in a post last week, the greatest commandments are to love God and to love people. When we love people, when we show them Crazy Love, we are extending an invitation to them. I don't know about you, but that's what I want to do with my life. I want to live in such a way that people see Jesus. But I don't want it to stop there. I want them to see Him in my life and also want to know Him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mission: Crazy Love

"My mission is to model and impart an understanding of God's love to this generation through service and worship."

Little did I know how this mission statement was to play out 15 years later. All I knew when I sat down to define my calling in life was that I wanted to show people God's love. I wanted them to know and understand just how much God loves them. And the only way I knew how to show folks was to serve them. For me, that's what worship is -- a lifestyle of service.

Nowadays I call this lifestyle of service Crazy Love. The term was originally coined by Francis Chan, but my church and I have kind of hijacked it. Mother Teresa is often quoted as saying that "small things done with great love can change the world." Most people think differently. They think to change the world you've got to do something extraordinary. But I think Mother Teresa had it right; love changes the world. 

Changing the world, for me, starts at home. I've been extremely blessed to be able to live out my mission statement in small town Chillicothe, Ohio for the past several years. I get to work with amazing people from my church and different churches around town. I have the privilege of getting other people excited about showing Crazy Love locally, regionally, and globally by organizing and participating in various Crazy Love projects through my home church, Centerpoint.

Here's the thing -- Crazy Love can be (and should be) a lifestyle for every follower of Christ. Like I said before, it's simple. You've probably even shown Crazy Love to someone just this week without even knowing it. Showing Crazy Love is as easy as:
  • buying the guy behind you a cup of coffee
  • helping a single mom with her groceries at the store
  • mowing your neighbor's grass
  • listening to the elderly man at the nursing home share his war stories
Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30-31 that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love people. When we show others the grace and love of Jesus through small acts of service, we are showing them Crazy Love.

In what ways have you shown Crazy Love this week?