Posted in book review, books, christian living, christianity, Faith, Jesus

A Fan or a Follower?

Kyle Idleman, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has written several books that I absolutely love. The very first book I ever purchased of his is “Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus.” In this book, Idleman discusses the difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. Here’s the synopsis

Are you a fan or a follower? The dictionary defines a fan as “an enthusiastic admirer.” Fans want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires sacrifice. Fans may be fine with repeating a prayer, attending church on the weekend, and slapping a Jesus fish on their bumpers. But is that really the extent of the relationship Jesus wants? Jesus was never interested in having admirers. It’s not fans he is looking for. Not a Fan challenges you to consider what it really means to call yourself a Christian. With a direct frankness that you’re not likely to hear in Sunday school class, Kyle invites you to take an honest look at your relationship with Jesus. His call to follow may seem radical to us, but Jesus desires it for every believer.

I’ve read this book several times and get something new from it each time. Some quotes from the book include:

The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits but not so close that it requires anything from them.

Ouch. Idleman doesn’t mind stepping on toes, does he? But hey it’s the truth! There are plenty of so called Christians who want to experience the good things Jesus has to offer and that’s it. Following Jesus? No way. It’s too hard. Too much to ask.

Jesus doesn’t expect followers to be perfect but he does call them to be authentic.

No one is perfect. We live in a fallen world. The second Eve took that bite, perfection was something humans would never achieve. However, Jesus does expect authenticity from us.  We are called to be real, to be legitimate.

It’s much easier to talk about following Jesus when you are making general statements rather than specific commitments.

Easier said than done, right? It’s so much easier to SAY you’ll follow Jesus. Actually committing to Him? A lot harder…but it’s what Jesus expects of us. To commit.

I highly recommend this book. You’ll get your toes stepped on, definitely. But the book really makes you think.

 

Posted in christian living, christianity, Jesus

The Cost of Discipleship

Discipleship

Discipleship. What does it even mean?

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)

Discipleship is about following Christ and making new disciples. It’s about being invested in following the Great Commission that Jesus set before us. We as Christians are called to make more disciples, to build relationships with others and teach them the Word of God  and what it says.

Discipleship is about growing in the Lord and having a close relationship with Him all the while teaching others how to have the same type of relationship.

Discipleship is about carrying on the ministry of Jesus Christ.

The Cost of Discipleship

Jesus tells us plainly that by following Him we will meet opposition. We will be hated. Laughed at. Ridiculed. Mocked.

Following Jesus by making disciples isn’t difficult to understand, but it can be very costly. By sharing His teachings, we are often rejected along with His message.

Francis Chan, “Muliply: Disciples Making Disciples”

Jesus tells us we must pick up our own cross and follow him daily. Not just when we feel like it. Not just when the time is right. But daily. As in, all the time. every single day.

Will it be hard? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? Totally.


Update on Landen

Sadly, Landen went peacefully to be with Jesus earlier this evening. Please pray for his family during this time.

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith

I Will Rise

I Will Rise When He Calls My Name!
Hey y’all, I hope your Sunday is going well! Church was amazing this morning. We had a great message, a wonderful time of prayer and an awesome praise and worship time.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of the song, I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin but it is AMAZING! Please take some time to go check it out!
The lyrics are powerful and so very true!
There is a line that I love, “And my faith shall be my eyes”–Oh, how wonderful will it be to wake up in heaven one day! To see our Lord and Savior face to face!
One day there will be no more sorrow, no more pain! I long for this day, as I know any chronic pain sufferer would.

We Will Have New Bodies (Praise the Lord!!!)

2 Corinthians 5:1-10 says:

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

No More Sorrow

In Revelation 21:4, we read that “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
I’m so excited for heaven, aren’t you? There will be nothing but singing and praising and worshiping the Lord!!

I Will Rise

(Verse 2)
There’s a day that’s drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead
(Chorus)
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise
Posted in adhd, christianity, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, mental disorders, Uncategorized

Repost: Thorn in my flesh

**This is an old post from 2017 but I feel the need to share it again.**

My Thorn In the Flesh

…..Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinithians 12:7-10

Some days are just a huge struggle. Seriously, the struggle is real just trying to get out of bed. My mind races with incomplete thoughts, I’m constantly restless and I just have no energy to function. Welcome to a day in the life of someone with bipolar disorder and ADHD and other health problems.

Is this the result of some unconfessed sin in my life? No, I don’t believe so. Could God heal me completely? Absolutely? But do I think He will? No, I don’t think so. This is my “thorn in the flesh.” God is using my mental illness and other physical illnesses to draw me closer to Him. He’s trying to tell me that His grace is sufficient. And it is!

Unfortunately, there are people out there who believe mental illnesses are the result of a lack of faith or some unconfessed sin. I do not hold this stance.

Why is there such a stigma regarding mental illness in the church? Why are people so afraid of it? Tell me, is having a mental illness any different from suffering from a physical illness?

When a person is suffering from diabetes, people have no problem with that person seeing a doctor and being treated for that particular problem. But when a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, there must be unconfessed sin. Either that or the person’s faith is not strong enough.

I had someone tell me that once. When they heard that I was bipolar they actually looked me in the eye and said that my faith wasn’t strong enough. Basically, I needed to “pray it away.”

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! It CAN and DOES happen to people every single day. People who are strong in their faith. People who are weak in their faith. People who don’t HAVE faith. It does not matter!

I know for a fact that Jesus loves me unconditionally. Meaning, he loves me despite my flaws, despite my health issues. He loves me.

Do I believe that I could wake up tomorrow completely healed from all my health ailments? Absolutely! But I also believe God uses these things to draw people closer to Him. And that is what He is doing with me.

My health problems are my “thorn in the flesh.” I have come to terms with that. God is using my health issues for good. I may not know what that is right now but I have accepted the fact that I’m going to have these health issues the rest of my life. And I grow closer to God every single day. 🙂

 

Posted in book review, christian living, christianity, church

Soul Detox

I’m getting ready to start reading (again) Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World by Craig Groeschel. I read this book awhile back but feel the need to reread it. Perhaps God is going to show me something I may have missed last time. I don’t know about you but  He tends to do that with me. 🙂

A quick summary of the book:

As standards of conduct continue to erode in our shock-proof world, we must fight the soul pollution threatening our health, our faith, and our witness to others. Without even knowing it, people willingly inhale second-hand toxins poisoning their relationship with God and stunting their spiritual growth.

Soul Detox examines the toxins that assault us daily including: toxic influences, toxic emotions, and toxic behaviors.

By examining the toxins that assault us daily, this book offers the ultimate spiritual intervention with ways to remain clean, pure, and focused on the standard of God’s holiness.

I have quite a few books by Craig Groeschel. If you haven’t heard of him I definitely recommend that you check him out. He is the senior pastor of Life.Church.

New York Times bestselling author Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of Life.Church, an innovative and pace setting church meeting in multiple locations around the United States and globally online, which also created the popular and free YouVersion Bible app. He is the author of several books, including Divine Direction, Liking Jesus, Fight, The Christian Atheist, and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Visit http://www.craiggroeschel.com

Are you familiar with the Bible App, YouVersion? I use it every day and love the many devotionals you can find on this app. YouVersion was created by Life.Church.

As I venture back into this book, I will definitely keep you updated on what I’m learning at what the Lord is trying to teach me through this book. 🙂

Happy Friday everyone!

 

 

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, Jesus, love, prayer, redemption

Glorifying God

A life that glorifies God is a life that reveals God

Beth Moore

Does my life glorify God? In all that I say and do, does my life reflect Him? It’s a question I ask myself constantly.

Life can get overwhelming at times, we all know this. And in those difficult times, are we focusing on the Creator rather than the created? Is our focus half-hearted? Or does our light shine before men, oozing out Christ’s love for others?

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

We are called to lead others to Christ. We are called to love these people and show them Christ’s love. After all, Christ died for our sins. He literally took our sin upon Him. Why? Because He loves us so much. He loves us unconditionally and undeservedly.

Does our life glorify God? Or are we just going through the motions, just pretending? Pretending to be on fire for God? Do we act one way around our Christian friends and a completely different way around non believers? How will that bring others to Christ?

Christians are called to walk through the world with the heart of Christ.

Louie Giglio, “Goliath Must Fall”

I struggle with selfishness. I will admit that. But if I’m being honest with myself, being selfish is definitely not Christlike. Unfortunately, while I have selfish tendencies, I also tend to be a people pleaser. Kind of weird, huh?  I struggle with how and what people think about me and strive to please them and because of that I lose my focus on God.  I take my eyes off of Jesus and I start to sink like Peter did when he got out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. I should live in a way that pleases God and not man.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10

 

And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men

Colossians 3:23

Now, as long as we live on this earth we will never be perfect. We will slip up from time to time. But thankfully we have a God who welcomes us back into His arms. His love is that strong. He IS love!

 

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, song lyrics

If We Are The Body….

This song by Casting Crowns has been on my mind the past couple of days. My church, which has been open 65 years, will be closing soon and we will be relaunching as a new church with a new name. The building we are currently in is beyond repair. It will cost way too much to fix and it’s just not worth putting all that money into it anymore.
It’s been bittersweet to think about this church closing, because I’ve been there since I was 4,  but as I’ve been reminded, it’s just a building! Where we meet doesn’t matter because WE are the church. We are the body.
We need to be reaching out to others. The hurting and the lost. They need Jesus. We are called to be a light in this world, to show people Jesus.
1 Corinthians 12:27 tells us,

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

 

If We Are The Body

Casting Crowns

It’s crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way, there is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
Jesus is the way
Jesus is the way
we are His hands
We are His feet
We are His body
Jesus is the way
Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, grace, love

Reckless Love

I heard the song, Reckless Love, by Cory Asbury awhile back and immediately fell in love with it. I invite you all to take a listen to it when you get a chance! Here’s the chorus:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

God loves us so much. He loves us with an everlasting love, an agape love. It’s so hard to fathom this kind of love, isn’t it?

It’s hard to think that He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so we don’t have to spend eternity in hell. How is that type of love possible? To love us so unconditionally?

We cannot fathom it because we are human and our minds just can’t wrap around the idea that Someone would love us that much.  But He does and He longs to have a relationship with us.

I long to love people the way Jesus does. As Masey Mclain once put it:

I want to love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does.

Or as my friend Stephen over at Fractured Faith Blog  once said:

Because we are loved undeservedly we need to love unreservedly in return.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

He loves you and is calling you by name to come to Him. He is knocking at your heart’s door. Won’t you come to Him today?

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, Uncategorized

Do Not Lose Heart

We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak,14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Image result for 2 corinthians 4This passage of Scripture was part of my devotions this morning. It’s a great reminder that one day we will have new bodies. One day all of our  pain and suffering will be non existent

I particularly like the last two verses: 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

It is so easy to focus on our problems in life, to dwell on past mistakes and to beat ourselves up over things. But God’s Word tells us to stop doing that and to focus on what is truly important. To focus on what we can’t see. Because one day all of our troubles will be gone. All of our grief will pass away and we will be with the Lord forever and ever.

I’m reminded of the song by Jeremy Camp called “There Will Be a Day” The lyrics are powerful and true.  Check out the lyric video below.

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

 

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith

He Knows My Name

He calls me chosen, free, forgiven, wanted, child of the King, His forever, held and treasured, I am loved. I don't need my name in lights, I'm famous in my Father's eyes. Francesca Battistelli lyrics, print for Abby's room?***I originally posted just the song lyrics in February of this year but wanted to add more to it after doing my devotions this morning.***

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite passages. It reminds us that God knows us. He knows us more than we know ourselves! He knows our thoughts before we think them, our words before we speak them!

God knows us thoroughly as we go about our everyday chores, at different locations and situations, no matter our condition. He does not abandon us or forget us; nor is He so busy that he neglects us. Even when we are in trouble or difficult circumstances, we are not hidden from His presence.

Lawrence Darmani

We can’t hide from the Lord! He is everywhere! Like it says in verses 7-12, there is nowhere we can go that the Lord will not be there.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

I’ve always loved this song but I’d never seen the video for it until today (2/15/18) . I strongly encourage you to watch it. It’s about 12 minutes long but it’s totally worth it.

He Knows My Name

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
Somebody less than perfect
I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact, I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made
Something out of nothing
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh
I’m not meant to just stay quiet
I’m meant to be a lion
I’ll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I’ve got
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made
Something out of nothing
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh
He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King
His forever, held in treasure
I am loved
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name oh, oh
He knows my name