Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear God, I quit

Dear God
I quit
I quit trying to do this on my own
I quit striving for perfection
I quit hoping that I will amount to something of worth
Because I won't

Dear God
I'm stopping
I'm stopping praying scripted prayers
And babbling off blessings like I'm righteous
I'm stopping the sound of religion
The notes of a choir
Because that's not what's happening
Inside

Dear God
I'm tired of pretending
That everything outside is going great
When inside it's falling apart
I'm tired of pasting on makeup
And instead ready to show others
My broken heart

Dear God
I'm quitting pretending that I don't need you
Each and every day
I'm quitting doing this on my own
Because I can't
Instead I choose to rely
On your perfect strength
To fill me.

Dear God
I'm quitting me.
I'm serving you.
I know you'll be enough for everything.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prayer

God has been good to me and my family. He answers prayers.
Last Tuesday I found myself on my knees in front of my bed weeping to God.
It was a position I hadn't been in for a long time, when I just cried pleading for God to help my brother in surgery. I was so scared for Him and concerned. God and I had a long talk that day.
I had so many friends post on my Facebook wall that they would pray for my brother.
Honestly, it made me feel so loved and so near to Christ's church.
God did answer my prayer to help my brother's surgery go well and I praise Him for that.

Sometimes I have to wonder about prayer though.
Would my requests ever change God's will for someone else's life?
Am I twisting God's arm when I pray or trying to present my case in a way he has never seen it before?
If over 50 people pray does it make God more likely to answer my prayer? If someone is popular, they could get alot more prayer requests than someone who isn't known very well.

What about prayers that God don't answer?
That same day my brother crashed on his dirt bike the last lap of the race..
that same day I had prayed.
I had asked God to keep my baby brother safe.
I had pleaded for Him on his behalf to protect my brother during the race and not to let Him get hurt.
And right after I got word of my brother's crash I asked God
Why? Why didn't you answer my prayer?

Why don't you answer the prayers for the kid that just died from cancer?
Or for the orphan I met in Peru?
Why is she still there?
Why God do you answer some prayers and not the other ones?

I don't know if prayer is something we humans can ever really get
How can we commune with a God whom we can't ever fully understand?
Does prayer make a difference?
I believe so, but sometimes I don't know exactly how.

If I look at what the Bible says about prayer, here are some things I know:

1. God hears our prayers when we pray according to His will. 1 John 5:14
2. God commands us to devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
3. The peace of God can fill our hearts when we pray. Philippians 4:6-7
4. The Lord draws close to us when we pray. Psalms 145:1
5. We need to confess our sins when we pray because the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
6. Finally this is the truth, I find most difficult to understand. When we have faith, God will answer our prayers if it His will. Mark 9:29, Acts 9:40, Mark 11:24, James 1:6

I know that God wants us to pray. I know that the devil does His best to stop us from prayer, and finally I know that prayer is powerful.









Thursday, March 19, 2015

No turning back

I want to be blunt with you. This past year of college has probably been the hardest ever with my relationship with Christ.

I went from serving God and praising Him, relying on Him for everything in Peru to questioning why it felt like he had abandoned me and wondering if I truly had a real walk with Him. Coming back to America after the mission field was so hard. In one way, I felt like I had truly fell in love with service and knew where Christ was calling me: around the world somewhere serving His kids. Yet for some reason He called me back to the states and told me to wait and to serve Him in college. I was expected to be a spiritual leader in my university and summer camp even though my own walk with God was shaky. I tried to be there for other people and support their needs, but I just always felt like I was never enough (not just for them, but for myself).

There were so many days when I felt so alone and wondered why I didn't feel God's presence or spirit in my life. Instead the stress of school, changing a new major, and creating a new identity for myself fell into my own hands. Now I gotta tell you, God never left me and He has continued blessing me throughout the entire year and breaking my heart to remake it- but it has been so HARD. Some days I wonder.. Am I really good enough to be a leader for Christ? Maybe I should give up on my faith. Maybe I can't do this- too much pressure...

I want to encourage you that when you feel discouraged in your faith, God has not abandoned you. In fact He promises to continue working in you and never to forsake you....Because he has not abandoned you and because He continues to love you with an everlasting love beyond compare,
Don't give up on Him. Don't turn back on your relationship with God. Stay strong in the faith. Battle against your enemy the devil. Put your hope in Christ again! 

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I'm not turning back. I want to serve God all my life no matter what the consequences.
I pray you sing this song with your heart to the Lord in hard times as well as glorious times.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Unveiling the Mask



Masks- we all wear them. We all have them. We wake up each morning and choose what parts of ourselves we want the world to see. Some of us take out our makeup and paste on layers of foundation covering up the wrinkles, the acne, and the black and blue scars. Others of us put on our baggiest t shirts and jeans to try and hide ourselves from the judging eyes of others.

Church can often be the worst- we feel expected to always look perfect, right on point. We shake each other’s hands and say Happy Sabbath even though sometimes we feel nothing less than terrible and have had a rough week. We congratulate each other and say how pretty we all look and then we go home and take off our fancy outfits, look back into the mirror, and say well this is it. After singing up front praise songs to Jesus, leading out in Bible school, or even preaching the sermon when we are finally all by our self we wonder “Is this real. Am I who I say I am- a follower of Christ- or am I a fraud? And sometimes deep inside we desperately want someone to see us the way we truly are, to counsel us, or to help us- but we don’t feel that we know who to ask.

Masks come in different shapes, sizes, and layers but their function is always the same- protection. Protection from other people’s mean words, protection from our own insecurities, and protection from judgement.Often we fear what others would think about us- if they really knew the truth.


What are we hiding? Our lonely hearts and wounds- but what we often forget is Jesus Christ wants to take our biggest scars and make them a testimony of His love and grace.

Jesus calls us to open up to others and to unveil our masks in order to share the good news of Christ's love in a genuine way. It's no surprise your not perfect. The Bible says that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory God" (Romans 3:23). There are two major problems with wearing our masks all the time.

The first is When we wear our own mask we become blinded to the true faces of others. When we are wearing masks, people treat us differently. While we may try to be true witnesses of Christ with our masks on, it will be more difficult for others to be real with us and let us help them. How can we expect someone weaker in their faith than us to have the courage to take off their mask when we have not yet revealed ours? Taking off our masks is a humbling experience that is absolutely necessary to serve someone else like Jesus.

The second is When we wear our own mask, we make good works look like they are from us instead of giving God the glory and the honor. This is dangerous to do because quickly we may become confident and prideful. If we had unveiled our masks and shown our weaknesses, the world could see that truly everything good is not from our strength but by Christ's trans-formative power alone.

So how do we unveil the masks? Do we simply stand in front of the church saying I am a fraud and telling the entire congregation every sin we have ever committed? Personally, I don't think this is the best method. We must ask Christ to give us courage to unveil our masks and we must pray that it may be done for His honor and glory. As we ask God to take away our pride and make us more fully His, as we develop friends that challenge our walk in the faith, and as we continually commit time to Christ in prayer and scriptural study we will find that we no longer want to wear so much paint on our face. Little by little, with God's help, our masks will be scrubbed away so that we can be more authentic demonstrators of God's grace.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why YOU should stay in the church



If you didn't read my past blog about church, I encourage you too just so you too so you understand that I like you realize there are faults in the church and the church frustrates me all the time. Yet how can we expect a perfect church or even loving church when we sinners are making up the church? Interestingly enough just 2 days after I wrote my blog about my frustrations with the Adventist church, our school started having Week of Prayer. I didn't know what it would be about and the theme was "strands" and ultimately why we as believers should stay in the church even when it's difficult. Now this topic could have gone so many ways, but I seriously believe it was an answer to God to many student's prayers and such an encouragement to us all.

It's so easy for us to look at the church and point out all the wrongs. Quite honestly, and unfortunately, almost all of us have been hurt by the "church" by one way or another. By a person's unkind words, a lack of caring, unfriendliness, comments, fighting, hypocrisy... we can make a list of all the reasons we are frustrated at them. Yet what is the church? The church is the body of believers. We, if we claim to be part of Christ's family are a member of his body, we are His bride- His love- and He sacrificed His only son for the church.

We can't leave the church because people hurt us. The church hurt Jesus all the time. His closest friends even betrayed him at times. We have to stay in the church because Jesus is the head of the church. He loves the church! Because He is in the church, I want to be in the church.

What happens when you leave the church is like a lizzard losing his tail. Your church loses you- but you will be replaced. Unfortunately though the tail will die and similarly without a group of believers surrounding you and encouraging you, your spiritual walk will die.

We have to keep forgiving the "church"- the body of believers striving to follow God- they are are brother and sisters in Christ and like us they will make BIG mistakes sometimes, yet we have to love them the way Christ loved us and forgave us.

You say you don't fit in at the church, they don't like you, or you are tired of the hypocrisy. Jesus understands. The church is the body of believers and when Jesus was on this earth, many believers didn't love Him, didn't like Him, didn't accept Him, and were hypocritical. Nevertheless, Jesus died for them.

Christ commands us to break bread with other believers and fellowship together. You can not walk the Christian life alone. God says that there is power when two or three believers gather together in prayer, and that a strand of three is not easily broken.

I encourage you to not only "stay" in the church, but to let your light shine in the church. None of us is perfect including pastors, elders, and Sabbath school teachers. But what would happen if we all stood up and said "I will be a light in my church". I will welcome guests who nobody talks too. I will hug both the elderly and the youth making them feel accepted. I will lead out in Bible studies. I will help sing for song service. I will play a role. Because this is God's church, I will do my best to help it and to serve others there.