Sunday, September 30, 2012

To Have or Not to Have...

I used to be very against the popular website, Pinterest. Why? Because from how others had described it to me, it was simply a place to look at what one does not have, and "pin" things to express a desire to have those things. It sounded like covet central to me.

Well, I am a big proponent of Pinterest now. It is a great resource! Through Pinterest, I have gained knowledge I did not have prior that will help me be a better wife, missionary, cook, baker, housekeeper, budgeter, creative giver, and someday mom! However, I did notice in the beginning that I was having to remind myself that just because I liked it on Pinterest, or re-pinned an item, didn't mean it was in my budget to have it (DIY or not!).

I'm also in a life stage where many of my friends are happily in their careers, purchasing new cars, new homes, shopping for all the latest trends and traveling regularly with their husbands. However, where my husband and I are currently is very different. We will likely rent for several years to come, we are a one (used car) family, our furniture is mostly "hand-me-downs" from family and friends, and our spending looks quite different than that of the average young adult. This is a challenge for me because like many women, I struggle with comparison. Not only do I compare how I look, but I compare what I have... or rather what I don't have to what others do have.

But today, God gave me this Truth that I immediately knew I needed to hide in my heart, meditate on, and hold on tight to....

"And he said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." - Luke 12:15

What others have does not make them any "happier" or "satisfied." I have more than what I need! And I am commanded to not covet what others have. I look forward to the day that I can go shopping a little more regularly, buy new furniture, and when Tyler and I will have our own vehicles. But for now, I will choose (because, after all, it is a choice) to be content with what God has provided for us, meditate on Jesus' words in Luke 12:15, and praise Him for giving us all that we DO have! 

At the end of the day, no item will fill the deepest desires of my heart like the love of Christ does. Like I said, I have all that I need!

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." 

- Philippians 4:11-13

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Serve One Another

I regularly do seemingly nice things for my husband, friends, family, and those around me. It might be cleaning up after someone else, a batch of a friend's favorite cookies, a "just thinking of you" note sent via snail mail, a homemade gift, an evening of babysitting free of charge, or even just a text that says, "praying for you today!" Why? Not because those people have earned it and certainly not because I am, in my own strength, thoughtful or giving.  But, because God has called me to be generous, loving, to serve others, and appreciate all the blessings I have been given!

We were given the ultimate example of servanthood in Jesus. "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:26-28. So, because we are to model our lives after the perfect life Jesus lived, and he, the Most High King, came to serve others, it's safe to say we don't have an excuse! Jesus, who deserved all the praise, service, and worship, successfully modeled leadership with such humility. So how can we expect to be served, praised, and even worshipped because of who we are or what we do? Humility I think is an important factor in all of this. We have to see ourselves as undeserving before we can effectively serve others purely out of love! We are not worthy of being served by others, we don't deserve anything from anyone, and we shouldn't hold those expectations in our hearts.

It's a tough challenge we are given. "...through love serve one another." - Galatians 5:13. How do we do that? By purely loving others. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.  Love is not self-seeking. We can only serve one another out of love if our motivation is not to help ourselves. A non-example would be thinking, if I help them in this area, then surely they'll help me in this area, especially because I've helped them! They'll owe it to me! When we are more others-focused than self-focused, we will better lovingly serve.

Who do you need to serve out of love today? How can you grow in the area of serving without self-seeking? How can you serve others around you more/better? I encourage you, and will be doing so too myself, to check your heart motives along the way! Serve out of love!

"...let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." - 1 John 3:18

Thursday, September 20, 2012

He Who Boasts

I sat at a table at a conference last year and heard the speaker from the front say something like, "it's about how you are doing not what you are doing." But too often when someone asks, "how are you?" the response they'll receive is something along the lines of, "doing well -- keeping busy with [school, kids, marriage, work, etc]." What if we changed that? What if rather than sharing about what we're doing, we actually shared with people how we're doing? I think we are all more likely to share about the what because it's less personal than the how, especially if how we're doing isn't all rainbows and butterflies, but our works portray otherwise.

That being said, there is a "what" that is worth sharing about! But it's not our accomplishments. Your accomplishments and mine alike, will never amount to the accomplishments of Christ - no matter what. Jesus Christ came to live a sinless life in a sinful world just to take on the wrath we all deserve for our sin. What a Savior! My college degree, happy marriage, close friendships, or career in full-time ministry cannot compare to what Jesus Christ has done for the world. And please don't be offended, but neither can yours. Nobody's "what" will ever top the accomplishments of Jesus Christ's!

Boast about Him, not you. It is so easy to begin rambling about all that you are doing or have done. But what if we refocused on the utmost important achievement? Are you more proud of who you are or who He is? What if we were so captivated by Jesus and less proud of ourselves, that we boasted in Him rather than us? If we remember that, at the end of the day, what He's done is eternally more significant than any "what" in our lives, it shouldn't be too much of a challenge!

"Thus says the Lord“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am theLord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”" - Jeremiah 9:23-24

Monday, September 17, 2012


Recently, I have found myself walking back into the black and white after spending some time in the gray. For years, I have had "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:10 memorized, because I naturally lean towards seeking mans approval as opposed to God's approval. And there have been many times that God has convicted me of going to people first, instead of seeking Him first, in prayer. My dependence on people was larger than my dependence on God. I took what man said as true and allowed others to guide me, rather than [fully allow] my Lord to do so. Why would I allow another human to trump the God of the universe?!

Dependence can be defined as relying on or needing someone or something; reliance; confidence; trust.  For me, my dependence on others looked like too heavily relying on them and placing too much confidence in them. I wanted to not necessarily "please" them but I thought their ways were right, instead of trusting God's ways, which are far surpassing any person's! "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higherthan your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:9

I know it really doesn't sound all bad, right? I mean, after all, we do need people. While, yes, we do in fact need others -- God created us for relationship with Him and others -- my relationship with others was my number one. I looked to others, especially those in authority, for approval and direction [thinking they had to know what was right for me]. Again, that can be good, but when done before seeking God's approval and asking Him to lead, it is no longer good, but harmful.

People, all people, are broken and sinful. This is why we cannot fully put our trust and hope in man. Even our Spiritual leaders will fail us! There is no person who can replace God. We must depend on God before depending on others. I am a firm supporter of Godly counsel, that is not what I am arguing here. What I am against, is putting "all of your eggs in the basket" of another person -- regardless of their position (pastor, mentor, peer, etc.). We absolutely need Godly leadership, we all need to be under authority. But ultimately, we need to be under the leadership, authority, and direction of God! We will find ourselves in major trouble if we allow a person to play the role of God in our lives. I am grateful that God wants and deserves to be my number one.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." -- Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

People vs. God

People will lie. 
God is Truth.

People will wrong us.
God is for us.

People will judge and gossip.
God extends forgiveness and undeserved grace.

People will manipulate us.
God desires good for His children.

People will disappoint.
God will surpass all of our expectations!

Don't be surprised when your peers, parents, friends, enemies, co-workers, or leaders disappoint you. Consider how you will respond WHEN they do.

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." 
- Colossians 4:6

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lead and Be Led

Lately, the Lord has been teaching me on the theme of leadership. I believe we are all called to lead in some fashion, although, I have not always thought of myself as a leader. But, I know I am called to be -- God has called me to lead young women in the faith. Therefore, I must submit to that and not just lead, but lead well. 

Last week, I came across a passage that I had previously read and marked in the margin "call to holiness in ministry." - "For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." - Titus 1:7-9

Then today as I finished reading 1 Peter, this passage struck me in regards to leadership - "So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” - 1 Peter 5:1-5

It's obvious to me that God wants to get my attention in the area of leadership! And I think yes, he is setting me up for success as I will soon step back onto a college campus and begin shepherding young women, training them up to be mature in their faith. But I also think he is giving me Truth to stand on as we head to New Jersey soon. With this move will come many changes. Tyler and I will have to choose a church to get plugged into, we will find a small group to get connected with, and we will be part of a new staff team with Athletes in Action at Rutgers. So what does all of that have to do with leadership? I think God is pruning me in my views of leadership and equipping me to find Godly authority to be under, as I step into a position of authority as a leader.

Pastor Mark Driscoll has a leadership coaching ministry that my husband recently signed up for. I listened to a short video of Pastor Mark's encouragement to leaders regarding Being In and Under Authority. As leaders, we need to be not simply in authority, but under authority as well. As Pastor Mark states, "It is an incredibly dangerous thing to be in authority and not under authority." He lists some questions we need to ask ourselves...
Who are you accountable to? Who do you submit to?
Who can course correct you? Who can rebuke you?
What could you be better at: being in or under authority?

I hope and pray that God will give both Tyler and I wisdom and discernment in the area of seeking authority to be under (church, small group, etc.), in addition to respect and respond with humility the authority placed above us (Athletes in Action). I also hope that this has encouraged you in one way or another.... maybe to step up as a leader, or to humble yourself and be under authority!

How are you called to lead? Are you leading to the best of your ability? Is God leading you as you lead others? Are you allowing others to lead you? Are you under authority while leading in authority?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Time is Love

God has called me to be a child of His, who walks in the path of righteousness. "He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." - Psalm 23:3 He desires that I remain on the path of righteousness, not just for my sake, but for a greater purpose... for His own glory! Someone recently asked me, "how do you spell love? .... t-i-m-e." In order to remain on the path He has chosen for me, I must spend time with Him, learning His ways! "Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it." - Psalm 119:35 Before all else, God wants to know me, and I want to know Him. The God of the universe and I have an intimate relationship! It truly is mind blowing! He serves best as Lord of my life, when I spend time with Him by mediating on His Word and allow His Holy Spirit to lead me. It is an honor and blessing to be able to sit down and just be with my Lord, Savior, Lover, Provider, and Protector.

Do you take time to rest and be still with him? God desires to know us, and how better than through some quality time?!

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" - Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Authentic Community

Many Christians are familiar with the phrase "authentic community." The first time I experienced authentic community was on a Summer Project with Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru).

There were  23 peers of mine, living in one condominium building, eating meals together, working part-time jobs with one another, sharing fears, struggles, hopes, and prayers with each other, and studying God's Word together. It was one of the most satisfying and freeing summers of my life. I learned from the people I was surrounded with and loved them. Back in the real world (non Summer Project) authentic community is a bit harder to find.

There are many different facets of that authentic community that are vital.
Friendship and accountability. As Christians, we need to surround ourselves with other believers who can be an encouragement to us, come alongside us in prayer, and help us grow into more mature disciples of Christ. "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another..." - Hebrews 10:24-25 
Discipleship. We also need to have more mature believers pouring into us with wisdom and teaching. With this, we will have a model of mature Christianity to follow after and have a safe place to ask questions about the faith we may not ourselves know the answer to. "Be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned..." - Titus 2:7 We then also know what to teach others as we grow in our faith.
Transparency. It is important that we experience the "authentic" aspect of community. From my experience, I find that this happens when people are open, honest, and vulnerable with sin/struggles in their lives. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed..." - James 5:17 Having this type of connection and bond with others, allows us to ask for help when seeking the Lord and aiming to walk in the light.
Christ-like attitude and humility. One of the more challenging aspects of this authentic community, is to "...have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." - 1 Peter 3:8 Living closely with others takes a great deal of selflessness and love - which can only be obtained from the Lord.

This is where I may find some opposition.... I do not think we EVER grow out of our need for this. Sure, it may look different with changing seasons of life, but I absolutely see where God desires this for us, in His Word. As believers, young or old, leader or follower, I believe we all need to be experiencing authentic community through discipleship, accountability, and living life together.

Do you know this authentic community? How can you take a step to get closer to saturating yourself in community with believers?

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will life ip his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Sunday, September 2, 2012


"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight." - Romans 12:14-16