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 anger, bitterness, forgiveness, grace, Jesus

The Root of Bitterness

woman sitting under tree
Photo by Rio Guruh Imawan on Pexels.com

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

Bitterness is dangerous. It can and will consume a person if they’re not careful. I have struggled a lot these past several weeks with bitterness towards a certain situation. I have dealt with what I consider righteous anger towards the situation but then I learn more and bitterness will slowly start to take root.

I can’t turn away from this situation. Meaning until it resolves it’s always going to be around. But I can control how I deal with it.

I thought I had dealt with the anger but suddenly new things come into light and boy do I get upset. Because of my bipolar disorder,  I have a harder time dealing with anger. I can get worked up so quickly. But in the last two years, I have done a lot of growing in Christ and have allowed Him to step in and take control (most of the time. I am still human after all. I’m still going to mess up.)

Being a bipolar is my thorn in the flesh, I honestly believe that. God definitely could take away my illness but I truly believe He’s using it to help me grow closer to Him and to remind me to lean on Him when I’m struggling with something.

Bitterness, at first, is not something that can be seen. It can, however, be felt, little by little if we let it grow. We must learn to rip out the bitterness by the root. It does no good to just chop it down. No, it must be grabbed by the root and tossed. If we let it continue to grow in our hearts, it suddenly will sprout and out comes anger, slander, heartache. Bitterness will turn to anger. Anger will produce sin if we’re not careful. When we seek revenge, when we act on our anger, we are in danger of sinning.

Check out my post on anger: Be Angry and Sin Not

Ephesians 4:31 says ” Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (ESV)

Bitterness doesn’t have to take root. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, Leigh, you have no idea what’s happened to me. I have a right to be bitter.”

Let God take control. Give Him your bitterness before it takes root.

 

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 Faith, fear, Jesus, quotes

Blogging For Jesus

I came across a quote the other day that really got me to thinking.

As a Christian blogger, you are a digital missionary.

I never thought about that before. But it is so true! As Christian bloggers, we have a duty to reach out to the lost. We have a duty to inform them of Christ’s love for us and what He sacrificed in order for us to find freedom.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about them unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news?

Romans 10:13-15

Christian bloggers….we are blogging for Jesus! We should be wanting to see others come to know the Lord.  As bloggers we are the digital feet!

Does this mean we might offend someone? Unfortunately, yes.  But we still need to get the truth out there for the whole world to hear. We must not live in fear of offending someone.

Sometimes we will have to step out of our comfort zone in order to reach the lost. It will feel uneasy at first, we might be tempted to give up but if we just persevere, God will see us through the uneasiness.

We can’t live for the approval of men. Living for the approval of men will let us down. Living for the approval of men will most definitely disappoint us.

Living for the approval of people will keep you from living for the purposes of God.

Craig Groeschel

 

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 Faith, fear, Jesus, mental disorders, peace, phobias, worry

Fearless Faith

Fear Is a Liar by Zach Williams

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

Disclaimer: Satan is REALLY not wanting me to post this. WordPress keeps crashing on me and it’s getting me frustrated. However…I will persevere. I WILL get this post out.  

 

Satan knows and uses my anxiety to try to bring me down. He knows I’m a chronic worrier(which I’m trying to work on.)For as long as I can remember I’ve been on medication for my anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder. Yet I still suffer from panic attacks and will sometimes fall into a deep depression. Medicine doesn’t cure the issues I have (in fact I was placed on a new medication today) but it helps keep my emotions at bay. Thank God I’m currently stable but there was a time I wasn’t. The anxiety would pile up and then the panic attacks came like clockwork.

But thank God we have Someone on our side. Someone to root us on and Someone who will love us unconditionally and through His perfect love drives out all fears!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.~~~2 Timothy 1:7

We need to look to Christ when doubts start flying. When that anxiety kicks in and pushes you towards a full-blown panic attack.  When Satan whispers in your ear that “you’re not good enough.” Look to Christ!!! He will give you what you truly need!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

 

 

Posted in church, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, prayer

March 16th, 2003

priscilla-du-preez-607177-unsplash
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

March 16th, 2003 will forever be a special day for it is the day I let go and clung to Jesus and trusted in Him. Has it always been easy? No.

 

I was 19 when I became a Christian, despite having grown up in church. I went through life thinking I was saved, thinking I had it all together when in reality I was lost.

I basically had the head knowledge but none of it made its way into my heart.

I even attended a Bible College before I got saved. I honestly thought I was saved. Then I came home for spring break and we had an evangelist come and speak at our church.  He made a statement that has stayed with me all these years…..

You can be 99% sure (of your salvation) but you’re still 100% lost.

Basically, he was saying that it doesn’t matter how much head knowledge we have, if it hasn’t reached our hearts, we are still lost.

Do I doubt my salvation sometimes? Well, I’d be lying if I said no, that I never doubt it.  But Satan has a sneaky way of getting into my head and stirring up trouble. He whispers in my ear that I’m not good enough, that God doesn’t really love me, that I’m not really saved.

God is always with us even when it feels He is not. He doesn’t walk away from us, we walk away from Him.

I’ve been struggling lately but I’m slowly getting back on track. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers.

I haven’t been writing lately but like my relationship with God, I’m slowly getting back into it.

I really do want to write a book but I’ve been neglecting it. Who knows how long it will take for me to get through the whole process but if it takes me years then so be it.


Prevail Church is taking off! We have been having a steady number of people week after week! Pastor Jonathan began a new series last week, entitled “My Story.” Here is the first sermon from that series!