People always ask me if after all these years of fellowship meetings and messages how excited I get now. To be honest every meeting and sermon is like a new experience and encounter with God. I cherish every moment of it no matter how many times I hear God’s Word or fellowship with my Spiritual family. To be fed in this way is such a privilege and blessing than not everyone in this world has. It is God’s grace and provision that fuels my excitement and passion. The presence of God filling the heart in worship, prayer, and message is one of the most satisfying feelings one can have. I treat every day as a brand new journey with Jesus and fighting in this Spiritual battle with Him on my side is always a joy and a breathtaking experience.
What if God took away your friends, family, house, belongings, school, money, or all of the above? Would He still be enough then? Is His Word and presence alone enough to hold onto in desperate times? Jesus in John 6:35 says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Isaiah 55:2 says, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” and of course we all know the popular verse Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desires of our heart can only be satisfied by Him. So ultimately when we immerse ourselves in His Word we discover that all we needed in the end was Him. The things of this world will perish and fail you, but God never will. Instead of investing time and effort into earthly things, focus your mind on the everlasting nature of the Kingdom of God. Paul says in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” God is more than enough of us and His glory and power endures and surpasses our understanding. Nothing compares to Him. We were desperate for redemption; God went above and beyond to satisfy our needs. No greater love than this.
Honestly, I have no clear idea or reason for why this is. There is a slight emphasis where there really shouldn’t be. Maybe culture, maybe statistics, maybe gender roles, maybe insecurity and fear, or maybe history. I will say this though, BOTH guys and girls struggle with lust and sexual sins. If Satan can tempt guys with porn or sexual fantasies then he most certainly can with girls as well. Our culture has brought up the idea that for a guy it is “natural” or “okay” to watch porn or have lustful thoughts because well they are a guy. Where as for girls it is looked down upon or kept secret if they are struggling with this sin especially porn/masturbation. Both brothers and sisters need accountability and transparency within their respective genders to relate and push each other to overcome. Insecurity and fear play a huge part in this as well so it may just be difficult to be transparent with each other on this already touchy topic, but never impossible. When it comes down to lust, we all struggle with it and in different ways. Just because people don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Both guys and girls are being stumbled and hurt by this addictive and attractive sin. What you discuss in small groups and accountability groups is up to you, but never be afraid to share your sins with each other because most likely they are going through something similar. It should be something to be addressed across both genders especially in an age where the internet makes it so easy to fall into the sin of lust.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Today I gave an encouragement to my leadership team on one of my favorite passages of scripture, Romans 12:1-13. The great thing about it all was not being nervous at all, God just gave me so much wisdom and comfort. I seriously wanted to talk about God’s Word all night haha. The sweetest times are when His Word fills my heart with excitement.
I am currently reading a book along with my devotionals called “Playing with Fire” by Walt Russell and I wanted to share a part of it that I found very encouraging.
“This is why the emphasis in the Bible, and especially in the New Testament, is not on individual rights or fulfillment, but on the unity of God’s people. In fact, our individual rights are frequently subsumed under the cause of unity in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 8-10; Romans 14:1-15:6). This unity is essential if God’s people are going to work together to accomplish the historical objectives God has given them throughout history. For example, at various times God’s people have had different historical objectives, like living in Canaan as pilgrims, being slaves in Egypt, leaving Egypt, traveling back to Canaan, conquering that land and settling in it and so on. Now, under the climatic leadership of King Jesus, God’s people have been given a very specific mission in history: to make all the peoples of the world disciples of Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 28:16-20). This is the culmination of God’s plan. And it is also why we must view the world through the right pair of glasses- with lenses that are God serving, not self-serving, and not overly concerned with our individual plans for happiness and fulfillment. However, for most of us, this demands a radical change in glasses!”
It reminds me of how important unity is to God and to look at things with a heavenly perspective. That we become one flock and have one shepherd to whom we follow (John 10:16). Many times our own interests or the feelings of others stops us from seeing God’s bigger picture and plan. Then God humbles us and opens our eyes to the path and mission set before us as a body of Christ. To reach the end together as disciples of Jesus by pushing each other toward the cross and helping each other when we fall. Laying down our own lives for the Gospel!
Then: I never really cared about school or doing well. I did enough to pass and that was it.
Now: I am trying a lot harder in school, but still don’t make studying and school an idol.
Then: I only knew Jesus because of Christmas and Easter. Basically nothing. Never opened a bible.
Now: I tell the Gospel to nonbelievers on my campus, make disciples, and share God’s Word and testimony to my leadership team and fellowship
Then: I never talked. Even when people said “hi” to me. I was so shy and don’t even get me started with girls haha. Follower all day every day.
Now: I’m still super shy, but something that I have much improved on thanks to God. I still get scared speaking in front of my fellowship, but hey that’s a blessing in itself.
Then: I only really cared about myself and people that I knew really well.
Now: God’s Word has given me a passion to share His love and grace with the homeless, the lost, the hurting, and praying for people I never even met in person (like on here)
Then: my conversations were always surface level and I never asked how people were doing beyond the minimum
Now: Accountability and discipleship. Truly getting to know everyone and how I can be praying for them in their walks and life.
Then: No idea what worship, devos, prayer, or fellowship was (other than hearing it in Lord of the Rings haha). I never even heard of the Holy Spirit until college. It may sound funny, but its true.
Now: God placed amazing people in my life who taught me the importance and reason behind each one. Now I have to remind those around me the purpose as well.
Then: Never liked clubs, religious organizations, or church.
Now: Serving in a fellowship on campus and looking to get more involved in my local church as well. I go to church every Sunday, even when I was in the dorms.
Then: Was smiley and happy
Now: Same, but with a reason and a source :)
Then: I was lost, never truly found a place of belonging or real community, felt like something was missing.
Now: Found! A community, hope, direction, passion, and a love greater than life. Jesus satisfied my heart and now I want others to know of this amazing love and plan here and now. Thank You God!