Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stop Thinking and Just Love

My mind never stops. Something is always goin on up there. No, I’m serious. I don’t know if you can relate but I’m willing to bet that you might. It seems to be a problem for many of us. Our minds take us places without our consent. Sometimes to places that we don’t want to go. My problem is that I over think things. I turn things up side down and inside out. I’m talkin I analyze. Not all situations but the important things, for sure.

For those of you who deal with the same struggle, you know that there is a nasty side to this character trait. Ohh we know all too well.

It goes like this:

“Was I just weird in that situation?”

“Did I say enough?”

“They probably don’t like me…maybe their humor's dry?”

“Am I doing enough?”

That last one has been getting the best of me lately. Things seem to stem from it…lots of things. I’ve caught myself wondering if I live out my faith enough? If I do enough for the Church? If I’m reading and not applying? Would you even know I’m different because of Jesus?

It’s exhausting.

Showing his faithfulness, God stepped in. I was reading 1 John and He put my mind to rest. Chapter 3 speaks about loving one another and in verse 23 it says this: “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he commanded us.”

Here it is again in John:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. 13:34-35

That’s big you guys. The command to us is

1.) to love and believe in Jesus and

2.) to love one another like He loves us.

That is what’s expected of us. Don’t let your mind get the best of you today. Don’t ever feel like you aren’t doing enough or that you somehow don’t matter. It says right here that all we have to do is love.

Love hard. And the promise is they will know we are children of God by doing so.

Yes, you heard correctly…they will know us by our love.

Love wins.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When Your Heart Gets Knit To Another’s

Friend Profile: Natalie Meengs.

Natalie Meengs is someone that I have a hard time describing. Our relationship is indefinable really. It is far past best friend status and seems to even surpass sister status. Our story is a funny one. We’ve known each other for a long long time. We’ve been in the same bible studies and hung out with the same people, but never got close. It wasn’t until after my time in YWAM that we became actual friends. This girl flew into my life like a whirlwind and the rest is history. We came into each other’s lives at the very time we needed each other the most. God directed our paths to where they crossed over and over, and before we knew it, our souls were knit. It has become evident that we both have done the most growing since we became friends. It seems strange but it’s the truth.

In the Bible when it talks about Jonathan and David’s friendship it says:

“…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” -1 Samuel 18:1

Jonathan loved David as he loved his own soul. WHAT?! I mean, really…stop and think about that. What does it look like to love someone like you love your own soul? That’s a wild concept to grasp. It seems pretty hard and exhausting right?

Natalie and I have that. And here’s the thing: it’s effortless. It’s hard to imagine and I can’t even tell you how we got here. It’s a total God thing. We love each other no matter what happens. No matter what each other says, no matter what we look like, no matter where we go, no matter the circumstances. Sometimes we don’t even speak and we’re at peace but other times you can’t get us to shut up. I feel what she feels and she feels what I feel. I don’t have to be sweet to her all the time, impress her or tiptoe around her. We are raw together. The best way to describe it is exactly the way the Bible describes it: Our souls are knit. That’s it. It’s not simple and it’s not complex.

These are the kind of friendships that God wants us to have. These are the type of relationships that He plans for us to encounter. People that mirror Jesus to you and push you in His direction. Not because it’s the right thing to do but because they care about you. They care about the most important thing you have…your relationship with God.

My prayer is that you have relationships like this. That you experience walking with someone whom your soul is knit with. It’s a blessing unlike any other. It’s unique. It’s real. It’s eternal. The best part is that God wants that for you. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. He doesn’t want to keep anything from you. Why, you ask? Because you are his child.

Rebels with Cause

“The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into.”-Shane Claiborne

Rebellion. Hmmmm…it always seems to be calling my name. Here’s a confession: I utterly enjoy going against the grain, living in the moment and abandoning what the world tells me to do. You know, doing what you want, when you want to. I mean, I crave it. Here’s the deal, I’ve always been rebellious. Those of you who know me might say that’s an understatement. But it’s something within me, it’s in my bones. It’s pretty safe to say that it’s there to stay to be honest.

Do you remember when the “party scene” was rebellion and being “good” was the social norm? I sure do. I actually remember it pretty well. But what about now? These days the social norm is the party scene and the opposite is considered going against the current. My oh myyy how the tables have turned, right? Now-a-days if you’re caught hanging out with your homeless friends people ask “hey, why are you doing that?” as if it’s not a normal thing to do. Now-a-days if you go for a skate instead of beerpong you get asked questions about your motives as well.

Being a rebel these days is being good. It is being pure. It is being a child of God. In a world where bad is almost always expected, being different only requires one to say “no” to anything that’s not glorifying to God. The cool thing is we are called to be different. We are called to rebel against the worldly and fleshly things. To walk the earth like Jesus walked it. Then we, when people ask us why we do what we do, get to tell them. And hopefully it does something in their hearts. Beautiful.

SO here’s to all my rebel friends who are keeping it real. Keep doin what you do.

“A rebel is someone who stands up for their own personal opinions despite what anyone else says. A true rebel stands up for what they believe is right, not against what’s right. True rebels know who they are and do not compromise their individuality or personal opinion for anyone. They’re straightforward and honest and they will sure as hell tell it like it is.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Conversations With God

Am I the only one who sometimes finds it hard to hear from the Lord? And why don't people talk about it more? Is there shame in not hearing God's voice? I know He speaks so it must be something that I'm doing. What's the deal?

Relationships here on earth (no matter how beautiful) consist of two sinners coming together and trying to get it right. But our relationship with God is different. Much different. There is still a sinner in the equation but there's also a perfect God on the other end. This relationship is unlike any other.

Think about this: If you're sitting and drinking coffee with a friend and spilling your heart and they're not fully present (texting, gazing off, etc), you no longer want to tell them anymore, right? They're not paying attention to what you're telling them in trust. It's sort of a bad feeling if you've ever been there.

I imagine that's exactly how God feels. We pray:
"God, what is your heart for my future?"
"What do you think about ______?"
"Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours."
"Lord, speak to me."

But here's the problem: We forget that it is an honor to be in the presence of God, the Great Comforter. How often do we sit down to spend time with Him in prayer, in worship, in the Word, and yet we have our phone sitting right beside us and if it lights up...we grab it in a second? Or more over, we'll turn our attention to something or someone else.

It's crazy when you think about it! It's rude and insincere. We would never do that to our friend opening their heart to us, so why do we so easily do that to our God? Our Savior? He deserves better than that, don't you think?

If you want to know God's heart; If you want to hear God speak, pay attention to Him. Honor Him when He shows up. Turn off your phone, put the computer away and just be still. Be a good listener.

Sit in the presence of the Living God and be made whole. It's the most real thing, the most tangible love, and the most peaceful place we will ever experience. He brings perfection to the table and you don't wanna miss it. You'll melt.