Everybody Always

You do business with buyers; you do life with neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors? I just moved out of my childhood home, and I knew most of the neighbors on a surface level. I did not really know them, but we would do the wave and talk to one another when we were outside. I think this is how a lot of Christians know their neighbors. We never take time to invite our neighbors to dinner or get to know them. I know I am guilty of this, and I hope in the future- once I settle in a community to call home- that I am able to put this into practice.

I want people to meet you and me and feel like they’ve just met everyone in heaven.

WOW! This statement is hard to take in because it is hard to love people that have hurt you or taken advantage of you. I think most people expect a lot of Christians to fire back, but we as Christians have to learn to love through trials. I think social media has painted a bad picture of a lot of Christians, and unbelievers will judge a lot of Christians by what they post and how they respond to others. We have to stop beating each other down and learn to not post at all. We show more strength by not posting at all than we do by trying to be right.

God isn’t always leading us to the safest route forward but to the one where we’ll grow the most.

Embrace the journey through the uncomfortable. Loving people can be challenging, but it is people that shape us along the way. Each of us can learn important lessons from people that are different from us. Sure, people will take advantage of our love, but that is okay because we learn to forgive them through God’s love towards us. Love is not safe, and it is painful, but it is worth the journey.

People don’t follow vision; they follow availability.

I think this is a shift that is taking place. People want someone to talk to more than they want vision. I think this shift is happening because of social media. We see so much of others that we, in the end, simply want someone to talk to. Our vision has been blinded by our unavailability.

Loving people the way Jesus did either changes everything in us or it changes nothing.

Jesus loved people expecting nothing in return. Too often we make loving people a job instead of a calling. We cannot look at people as a job, but rather we should look at them through the eyes of Jesus. When we see people the way Jesus did, then we will be moved with compassion, and that changes everything in us. We have to quit using the language of “they are a piece of work” or “they suck the life out of me” because those are the very people Jesus would choose to be with. Love people to the point of being uncomfortable because that is when Jesus will change more in you as a person.

Roots

Roots

Last week, I was taking a walk around the park at lunch time, and I noticed that the concrete was not even. I started to wonder why there were so many bumps and cracks in the concrete, and then I noticed the roots. Next to the trail, there are a lot of trees, and the roots have been getting under the concrete and breaking the concrete. One place along the way you can see the roots where it has completely broken through the concrete. It is sad because most of the trail is flat until you get to the parts with the roots.

This trail reminds me a lot of our lives. We all have roots, but we try to hide them under a flat surface- hoping no one will see the bumps along the trail. This is why roots have to be dug up and cut off at the core. You can’t cut the limbs off the tree and call it dead. You have to get down to the bottom of the problem. I have been reading and writing a lot about brokenness and how brokenness has a story.

The story with the roots on the trail is that even if the trees were cut down the cracks would still be there, but the cracks would tell the story of redemption. It doesn’t mean the trail will be flat again, but at least it won’t be so bumpy. Embrace the roots that have caused damage; realize that roots are part of the journey, and along the journey repairs have to be made. Repairs aren’t meant to perfect us but to remind us of what once was.

So, what root is breaking through the surface in your life but is so hard to cut at the core? Embrace the breaking but don’t let it stop you. Journey through the roots but do not let the roots journey through you. Do not let the roots control the outcome. Remember, brokenness is a sign of strength not weakness.

SEX, JESUS, AND THE CONVERSATIONS THE CHURCH FORGOT

So often, our impurity grows out of our impatience.

Guilty as charged. This is a true statement because sometimes our desires grow so strong that we give into sin. It is hard when all your friends are getting married, and you are just in a corner singing “All By Myself”. It is easy during the impatient season to try to make something happen out of God’s will. This is when we settle for what our culture wants. I have noticed that churches that have small groups and accountability partners do not struggle with this as much. It is still hard, but find a group of people that can keep you accountable through your impatient season.

We have made love a relative term-open to anyone’s definition.

This statement could not be truer in our culture. We say we love so many things that we have lost the definition of love. We do not understand the definition, and that is why we let anyone define love because the word has lost its power in our culture. Our culture has defined love, and the church is losing the war in this topic. We watch love movies and Hallmark hoping that one movie would be my story. Love is not defined by a fiction story; it is defined by the cross. You can’t fall in love until you’ve fallen for the one that has died for you.

 “Invited Jesus into our bedroom”- In a humble and unassuming step, he became the first man in my entire life to realign God and sex into their rightful positions-intertwined with one another and braided together with our love story.

I love this point! If we are honest with ourselves, how many men have done this in their marriage? I am not married, and this point hit me in the heart because I would have never thought about inviting Jesus into the bedroom. Yes, some of you may think that Jesus is already in our hearts, but we need Jesus in the bedroom as much as we need Him in our heart. Sex in our culture is not sacred anymore. It is sad because we as men have let this get away from us. I must apologize to the women for not taking a stronger stand on this topic. We as men have to become better and realize women are a gift to us- not to be taken advantage of. We have to get better at building up worth and dignity in women. This is our job as men of the church. Stop being boys and start being men. Set a new standard.

This book is raw! I read this book from a man’s perspective, and it reminded me that men are imperfect and have a lot of work to do. The church cannot shy away from this conversation. I think the average age now of kids seeing pornography is 10 or 11. We must have these conversations at home and church. Do not let culture talk about this topic before you as parents or church leaders address this issue. Men, we have to get better. We have to set the standard and be the man of the house. I would recommend reading Kingdom Man by Tony Evans for all men. We can go longer wait; it is our time to be counterculture.

The Broken Way

When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ.

I really enjoyed this concept in the book. The church does need to do a better job at creating spaces for brokenness. I think a lot of people are afraid to be open with others because the church can turn someone’s vulnerability into gossip time. This has to change! If you have to tell the church every week that this is a safe place, then I question how safe the space truly is.

He looked out the window and pointed. Every morning that the sun rises, and you get to rise. That’s God saying He believes in you, that He believes in the story He’s writing through you. He believes in you as a gift the world needs.

Our brokenness has purpose even though it feels like there is no hope. Our hope isn’t found in the one that caused our brokenness, but our hope is found in Christ. As I read this in the book, my mind went to when my parents got a divorce. I was broken to the core because my whole life had just changed. It was hard! I was 8 years old, and it took me until I was a teenager to deal with that deep wound. There were many nights that I did not care. I questioned God; I asked why. I know now that it had a purpose, and God has used me to help other kids going through that same brokenness. It is true that God is writing a story through us. Even though it may take years to see the story, it always ends in God’s redemptive plan and points back to Him.

It’s always the vulnerable heart that breaks broken hearts free.

This is probably one of the most important aspects of the book. Be open about your brokenness because it is through our brokenness that God can heal the broken heart. I got the picture of having open heart surgery. God is there about to mend a broken heart that has been through a lot of pain and blockage and needs blood to flow through it again. He has to go in and make the blood flow clear again and put His touch on the heart. The recovery will be painful for a short time because the surgery takes time, but your wounds are now scars that can tell the story of God’s sovereignty.

The Broken Way isn’t just a good read. It is a soul-searching book. It will bring up wounds from your past that may not have been taken care of, but through this book, God will do a work. Tears will be shed as you read. Have an open heart as you read this book. Be prepared to close the book at times to talk to God. Don’t rush through God moments because you will have them as you go through this book. I encourage you to keep a journal too. I wrote some things down from my past that I thought were taken care of, but there was more that needed to be exposed. Don’t be afraid to go digging because some roots need to actually be dug up and not just trimmed. Get ready for a journey through your brokenness.

 

Help people with what they want not need

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Help people with what they want not need.

Before you say, “I do not agree with that statement,” let me explain what I mean. There is a difference between a need and a want. A need means that you give me this without a return. A want is something that some people wish they could have, but they cannot at this moment.

This past week, I have been working with a co-worker to help an individual establish a business. She has an incredible talent and can create anything by crocheting. She has a lot of potential to turn this into a business but she does not want that. She needs help getting the word out but doesn’t want the business side of the opportunity. We will have to cut her off now, but we will continue to help get the word out. That is all we will be able to do. I have learned to help people with where they want to go but do not go further than they’re willing to go.

I learned that helping people with needs demands more out of you than it requires from the individual. Some people expect you to help them meet their need, but that is not the point. I learned to work with people that want because people that want have set their mind on achieving a goal. Needy people will continue to need because they only have needs. People that want will do whatever it takes to work towards that goal.

How do you know the difference between individuals that need or want? People that need will only focus on what they do not have and focus solely on that need. People that want will ask for help because they want to achieve the impossible. Wanting people are dreamers. They dream to have what they do not have right now. Wanting people will always be future focused and use terms in the future. I am not talking about “name it and claim it” speech, but they have steps towards their wants and dreams. Focus on people that want a dream, not those that need one.

 

 

Freedom

What does it mean to be free? How can I walk in freedom in this lonely season? How do I become free? I understand the power of the cross but how do I step into my freedom. I do not understand walking in my freedom with no community. The church told me to have faith but then expected me to walk through faith alone. How can I trust freedom from a place that didn’t walk with me through my freedom? I read your word oh God and it is a light unto my feet, but I was never meant to step alone and all I do is find myself in lonely seasons. How is loneliness supposed to lead me to freedom? I know the road to freedom is lonely because the cross was lonely, and it led to freedom. Give me faith oh God to continue to follow your footsteps and realize that the path to freedom leads to death of my flesh for it is only when I die to flesh that I am free. Let me die daily that I may live freely daily.

The Core of Brokenness

Do you remember breaking your favorite toy growing up? I remember having a PlayStation and my mom did not like us playing games but one day it broke (my mom thought it was an answer to prayers). It was the worst day of my life. No more Crazy Taxi and this horrible graphic fishing game. I tried to fix that PlayStation because I wanted to play those games again but it was broken at the core. It was unfixable.

Have you ever felt broken to the core that you were unfixable? This has been the season of my life lately. Being broken at the core and wondering if the God given dream will ever come to pass. It has been the most challenging time of my life. I have never felt more like a complete failure starting a nonprofit but not being able to sustain it. I had to give up the nonprofit and it is still sitting there and I truly hated God. I was mad and broken to the core. I started to question my faith. I felt like no one knew what helping people meant to me and I started to slip away from God. I quit going to church because I did not want to see church people because I was even mad at them. I was mad at the world.

It was not until I came to my breaking point that God started to open my eyes. He had to get rid of everything in my life I was relying on and bring me back to the core of my existence. The past few days, I have never cried so much and felt so lonely because I felt like everyone had abandoned me but God had to break me at my core to bring me back home. He had to take me through one of my darkest seasons of hurt and pain to ask, “Will you trust me?”. He reminded me of the prayers that were prayed over me. He reminded me that this season was part of the core cleansing process. I had to go through this season to prepare for the next season.

My prayer for whoever is out there feeling like they have not accomplished anything and still waiting on the God given dream to be fulfilled is to continue the process. Don’t let the emergency exits of the tunnel get you off track. I got off track for a while but I know the God given dream of helping the hurting through outreach and missions will happen one day. I was created to help the hurting. It is at the core of my existence. It will be hard but do not lose sight of God through the process. Search deeper, pray harder, cry harder, and let the forming of being broken at the core happen.