Tonight, because I am home I was able for the first time in a very long time to go to my old Youth Group for Wednesday nights. That Youth Group has been a blessing to me for years but tonight was especially incredible. This summer they had a new intern there teaching Wednesday nights and most Sunday mornings and on Wednesdays I guess they had been going through some of Francis Chan’s video messages who, as I have mentioned before is one of my favorites. They were going through his “Basics” series which is unfortunately extremely copyrighted and can therefore only be found by buying the DVD which I would really enjoy watching at some point. But in tonight’s video, the conclusion video for the summer he was talking about The Church and fellowship and how we as Christians should always be acting. It was crazy awesome and exactly what I needed I think. Because I took notes the next part of this post is just gonna be some bullets of what he said and I’ll discuss a bit more at the end.
– Do everything in remembrance of Christ, no one has had or ever will have greater love – share it and remember.
– We should remember His body in a group of friends. Break bread and have communion among people we love and know – Not just in a big group at church.
– We need to completely devote ourselves and our lives to Him.
– There is something in all of us that longs for that simpler time of loving Christ. The commitment was harder but the love was simpler, the church didn’t over complicate it. They just loved.
– We have to make a 24/7 commitment to be part of Christ’s mission always.
– Our lives, our everything is about a lifetime of living for Him, being committed to true fellowship, devotion and unity.
– We need to pray for the things He desires.
– Jesus is going to build His church with or without us so we need to decide, do we just keep attending like a “good church goer” or do we actually want to be a part of the growth and building?
– We should be known how the original church was – for being glad and generous and having favor with all people. We need to love. Plain and simple. That doesn’t mean we should excuse sins or let them go but we just need to love the person.
– You will never have genuine, authentic community if you don’t have genuine love.
– We have to be vulnerable and open with people.
– Discipleship is key in community and relationships with the church. It helps the community and church grow in all ways.
– We need to be like the Acts 2:42-47 church always.
Acts 2:42 – 47:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
That’s pretty much it, it was just an incredible night and I got to fellowship and really talk with some people I hadn’t in a while which is always cool but God is just so good. And I was just struck by how much we do need that fellowship, I’ve been blessed to have that in a handful of friends from my floor last year and it was the coolest experience ever and I literally thank God for those people on a daily basis but it’s time for me to step up and be a leader and start being more of a community and living my life in love. As I start this new school year next week in a completely new dorm with new people, I’m really gonna strive to live my life in such a way that everyone knows the love of Christ through me.
God is gonna do some incredible things here, I can tell.
Last night I went on an adventure with my Bible study where we hiked through the woods to the river. We had a lot of fun, playing in the river, digging ourselves into the sand, roasting hot dogs and s’mores over a campfire and enjoying each others company but my favorite part of the night was when one of the guys pulled out his guitar and sang some of our favorite worship songs. It was amazing, being out under the stars, staring at the fire and being in complete and utter worship of God and His amazing creations.
During the time of worship, as I was sitting there running the sand through my hands and worshiping I thought of a truth I had often heard in life but hadn’t really stopped to think about. God knows the number of every grain of sand in every beach and sand bar in the universe. Now granted, compared to all the other millions of marvelous unbelievable things He does that might not seem like a crazy revelation but think about that, I couldn’t even count like 5 grains of sand before I got overwhelmed and gave up. Not only does he know how much sand there is but He created all that! And if He cares enough to know how much sand there is, think about how much He cares about us, creations that can think and speak and worship Him!
It just really got me thinking, even those grains of sand, that seem insignificant are important to Him and so are we, and all of our problems.
God is super cool, guys. :)
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I’m forgiven, no matter how many times I screw up, God will always take me back long as I just ask. How CRAZY is that? Really? The God, the creator of the UNIVERSE cares about me enough to take me back when I screw up and sin and don’t love how I should and judge and any of the millions of others things I do wrong in my life.
It’s amazing and I’m so blessed and not nearly as thankful for this chance as I should be. The words from “Come Thou Fount” unfortunately seem to be relevant to my life 24/7 – “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” Thank goodness He’ll always take me back like a small child that ran away foolishly.
God, I love you and help me constantly think of your love and forgiveness but help me be so focused on it that I don’t need to ask your forgiveness quite as often. I want to always be so in love with you sin can’t get in.
The other day, I was watching a Francis Chan sermon on YouTube. For any of you who don’t know, Francis Chan is a pastor, speaker and author who is absolutely incredible and has some absolutely outstanding insights! His book Crazy Love I am currently reading and has been absolutely life changing.
Anyways, I was watching one of his sermons – “What to Do When God Doesn’t Listen” and was really struck by something he said, he talked about how being a Christian is basically being a fan of God, and when you’re a fan of something (He used NASCAR as the example), you know everything about that thing, and are really passionate about it and talk about it all the time. Obviously this resonated with me since I am a huge fangirl of Doctor Who, The Avengers, Harry Potter and countless other things that in the scheme of things, don’t really matter, and he’s right! I know so many countless, useless facts about all my fandoms and am truly a fan, everyone knows within like an hour of knowing me all the fandoms that I obsess over, and I try to make sure they know I’m a Christian too, and even more so I try to live in a Christian way so they can see my beliefs through my actions but how often does that happen? When people think of things I’m a fan of, do they think of me being a fan of God? Or being a fan of the Avengers, Loki and Tom Hiddleston? I’m a little bit afraid of the answer, honestly. I mean, I know that all my friends know about my faith, and even people I’ve known for a little while that I don’t know well know that too. But I think that should be the first thing people know about me, that I’m a fan of God.
So, that’s what I plan on working towards now, being a fan of God, Him being the number 1 thing in my life, as He always should be.
Recently I’ve started (and will soon be finishing) the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. For any of you who have not read it, I encourage you to go find it immediately and pick it up. It is a challenging, life changing book discussing how our lives as Christians should be, and discussing how often in our current society especially, most of us are just lukewarm Christians, living complacently in our faith but not being “radical”, not living like Christ called us to.
If you think about it, it’s so, so true, many of us “Christians” talk the talk all the time. We claim our faith, we’re open to telling people what we believe but only if they ask. We don’t want to inconvenience anybody, we don’t want to offend them. We’re happy in the lives we’ve been given and we certainly don’t want to be uncomfortable. Well you know what? That line of thinking is wrong. And no, I’m not pointing fingers I promise because I fall prey to that probably more than anyone I know. I screw up so much it’s ridiculous. I’m a hypocrite. I came to my new apartment this summer, knowing I would be lonely, even telling people that but telling people it’d be ok, I’d be fine because it’d be good, great even, I’d spend that time instead of being lonely drawing closer and closer to God, drawing in, living life how I’m meant to, all that jazz. But you know what? I haven’t done that. I’ve been here over a week and I’ve hardly opened my Bible. Yes, I went to church Sunday, yes, I went to a Bible study Tuesday but I haven’t actually put effort into it. Sure, I’ve prayed, but they’ve been selfish prayers, prayers like, “God, be with me, stop me from feeling lonely.” or half-hearted thank you’s that I’ve been safe and provided for here. I haven’t actually been open, and honest and dug in the Word like I should. I’ve been complacent. I haven’t shared my faith with anyone since I’ve gotten here. I’ve been wasting my time on the internet, day after day, watching YouTube videos, spending countless hours just browsing Tumblr and Facebook, not even having anything to do on them. Being bored. There’s nothing inherently wrong with spending time on the internet but there is a problem when I’m wasting the precious time that God has given me.
God has given me this life and He wants me to use this time, for Him, as the servant that I so often claim to be for Him. Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me”, I haven’t done that. I’ve hardly done anything inconvenient. Sure, it’s been bothersome a bit biking everywhere in the heat, but that wasn’t truly uncomfortable. People everyday all over the world are actually persecuted for their faith yet still stand up for it but I’m here living a blessed life, with everything I need, doing nothing. Sure, I’ve been lonely, I’ve been missing my friends a lot, but why? When I have God. The only one I really need. I claim all the time that He’s my best friend, and yeah, He should be, after all He’s done for me. But I wouldn’t treat any of my friends here on earth like I’ve treated Him. Putting Him at the back of my mind, not spending time with Him, not doing what He asked of me, when He sent the person He loved most in this UNIVERSE to DIE, a brutal, tortured, HORRID death, for ME. Because of my sin.
What am I doing with my life? Not the right things. That’s for sure.
So, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but this time I mean it, and this time I’m going to make sure He’s at the forefront of my mind at all times and I’m going to live my life for Him. I’m going to treat Him like a real best friend treats their friend. I’m going to love Him, and respect Him, and honor Him and be the servant He asked me to be, the servant I need to be, and the servant He deserves to have.
From now on, I’m going to live like a Christian. I’m going to shout my faith from the mountains, I want everyone around me at all times to know of my Jesus, my best friend, my Savior. I want them to look at me and say, what does she have that I don’t have? Where does this love come from? And I’ll tell them, I’ll tell them exactly where it came from. Because it won’t be me, oh no, I don’t have strength or love like that. It’s all God.
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Ok, so you know in church and in praise and worship songs people always say “My God’s enough for me” or “God is enough” or some variation of that phrase, while I completely agree with it, it seems to be a bit of an odd phrase. I mean let’s think this through, God’s not enough for us, because that almost implies that we’re just settling with how we are because we have Him. But no, God’s not enough for me, God’s all I’ll ever need.
I was thinking about this in church this morning because one of the songs we sang had those lyrics, that God’s enough. And I mean, it is a wonderful sentiment, knowing that Christ is enough, but I just feel like the sentiment in those songs isn’t strong enough. He’s not enough, He is all. He’s perfect and He’s everything.
So yeah, this has been an extremely short post but it was just what I was thinking of, how amazing it is that we literally don’t need anything but God. I could get rid of all my possessions, everything I own and I would be fine, God would provide. That’s how incredible the Lord and Savior of my life is. And that to me is mind-blowing.
Have a lovely end to your weekend, readers!
Obviously the above statement is pretty much the biggest understatement there is but really, God is so cool. Last night Jared and I started talking like we often do and we talked a bit about our struggles and fears and then about how awesome God is and then we started listening to amazing worship music and we literally just layed there, on the floor at the end of the hallway praising God until 3 in the morning. It was absolutely incredible, there is nothing better in this world than praising God fully, with your whole body and mind, completely consumed by His glory and beauty. Then this morning, instead of going to church like I do every week, I decided it would be a better use of my time to wake up at almost the same time and go outside by myself and listen to more worship music, read my Bible and just pray. Being outside and reading my Bible is literally my favorite thing ever, I never feel as close to God as when I’m worshiping Him outside. It’s brilliant and I love it.
Needless to say, I’m just completely in love with God right now and I never want to lose this feeling, I’ve been doing a lot better recently of just keeping Him foremost in my mind and focusing on loving Him.
Our God is amazing.
My God’s not dead, He’s surely alive. He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion. ~ God’s Not Dead (Like a Lion) ~ Newsboys
You have called us loved
And you have called us wanted
One time we were bruised
We were bankrupt and haunted
~ Seen a Darkness – John Mark McMillan
“Unless I believe in God, I can’t believe in thought; so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” ~ C.S. Lewis