Washed Away

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It can be so easy as a Christian to get wrapped up in all the things that we do each day rather than focusing on the One who made us righteous. So many times we can exert all of our energy doing a bunch of really good things and yet completely miss out on a real relationship with God. Sometimes, especially in my case, God has to get us alone and without any distractions to bring us to this revelation. We can stay SO busy and SO focused that that still small voice that the Lord usually speaks in is almost non-existent because of all the loud noise within our lives.

When we begin to focus on all the good things more than the maker of all those good things we can miss out on a truly fulfilling life and begin to feel burnt out and let down. The good things, the accomplished goals and even change in others lives is not what will satisfy us. that will satisfy us is a real tangible experience with God through the Holy Spirit.

We can come to him anytime and he will receive us with his never-ending kindness and love. He doesn’t receive us because of all the nice things we do but simply because of his mercy. He washed those sins away so that we can live a new life in the Holy Spirit without the burden of trying to do all the right things in our own strength. We are forgiven in Christ, PERIOD.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior

Titus 3:4-6

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Teen Challenge

I am a graduate of the Teen Challenge program and wanted to post a quick video with some more information about it. It made a huge difference in my life and really thrusted me into the future and plans that God has for me. Without all that God did in my life in the program of Teen Challenge I really don’t think I would be alive today.

Community & Relationshipstuff

This whole past week God has really been showing me so much about my personal relationships and how key they are to sharing His love with others. So many of my relationships stay at a really “healthy” distance and I have a large group of people that I barely have any idea who they really are. The truth is that I have walked through much of my life having a lot of friends but never really knowing anyone or allowing anyone to really know me. I can try to blame this on my busy schedule, Facebook and even how most people will tend to let me down but the truth is the reason I find myself in the situation is always simply because of my own choice to stay that way.

God has been teaching me how vital it is to live in community and to really “rub shoulders” with a select group of people. He has been showing me that I am missing so much in my life by living in a way that I have nothing but surface relationships everywhere I go. The reality is that this existence is really empty and is not the way that he created any of us as humans to live. We were created to live in community.

Another thing I have begun to realize more than ever is that it was through relationship with “sinners” that Jesus shared God’s love with them. He didn’t just merely hand them a peace of paper with 12 steps to heaven or share with them a good sales pitch on why they should convert to something. He ate with them, he spent time with them and met with them exactly where they were. He did not require that they would get everything together before he would give them his time. Jesus showed them true Love even when they were in their mess and in that He taught them that there was a much better way of life available for them.

For so long I have lived with an idealism that in sharing my faith in Christ it was my job to convince them or show them the truth. I am now seeing that its not my job to change the way they think or to try and sell Gods love to them in a well worded sales pitch. I simply need to go and meet them exactly where they are and share Gods love with them by getting to know them and praying with them. I am just now growing in the understanding that it is in relationship that we can spread Gods love to the people that may never ever walk into a church or take the time to read our little pamphlet that we hand them on the street in passing.

10 Jesus ate in Matthew’s house. Many men who gathered taxes and many who were sinners came to Matthew’s house and sat down with Jesus and His followers. 11 The proud religious law-keepers saw this. They said to the followers of Jesus, “Why does your Teacher eat with men who gather taxes and with sinners?” 12 Jesus heard them and said, “People who are well do not need a doctor.

-Matthey 9:10-12

New Category! Non-profit 101

I have spent the last 3 year working with and for a ministry called Teen Challenge. Our organization has over 1000 programs worldwide and over 200 within the US. I have had the privilege of going to many of the programs here in the US and several programs outside of the US. At each program I have been able to see many different avenues for building relationships with the community and churches surrounding their non-profit, raise support, build sustainability, manage and create micro-businesses and also continue fulfilling their goal and mission statement all in one!

As I continue in creating systems, putting ideas together, making recommendations and doing research I will publish them here as a great resource to anyone who may want to get some fresh ideas. Be sure to subscribe to my blog and my hope is that you will find it to be a great resource for you and the organization that you serve!

A Greater Perspective

Just a few days ago I experienced a very familiar situation from a totally new perspective. I went to go pick up my 5 year old from Pre-k and casually went inside to go get him only to find his teacher was telling me they needed to talk to me about his behavior that day. After going back to turn my car off, I went into the office of the teacher and she began explaining me the behavior that Landon had been doing that got him into trouble that day. I spent very much of my own childhood getting into very similar situation my son found himself in and it was really surreal being on the other side of this situation.

I left her office with a note in hand and took him out to the car. The whole way he was begging me to reassure him that he was not in trouble and that there would be no repercussions. I could not and told him that we would talk about it when we got home. During the drive I prayed that God would help me to handle this new situation in the same way that He would. When we got home I really sensed that I did need to discipline my son and talk to him about his actions. I realized that even though it was inconvenient and a little uncomfortable even for me in that moment that it was necessary for him to grow.

The whole situation ended up being such an intimate time between my son and I even though it was a sort of hard situation because I was disciplining him. The best thing was that after I disciplined and talked to him about his actions I was able to hug him, remind him that I was not mad and that I loved him so much. We really then were able to get to some of the deeper reasons behind his actions and school and come to a better understanding (even though he is only 5). The greatest part of it all was that I could share the gospel with my son in such a relevant way in that situation. I explained to him how even though we all make mistakes, just like he had that day, that we have a way of forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ. I then got to lead my son in a prayer asking God to forgive us of our sins and asked Him to help us do better next time.

This tough situation that I had stumbled into turned out to be a huge opportunity for me to help my son grow and for us to connect on a deeper level than before. Later on, God reminded me how applicable this whole situation is to how he relates to me as my Heavenly father. Just like I could see further down the road and the damage that it could cause my son if I do not correct his actions, God see’s us and how certain behaviors will cause us harm further down the road. In that situation my son has such an immediate perspective on it all while I can not only look at the present but to the past and even into the future in a way.

We are just like that in relation to God. We have the limited perspective and sometimes find ourselves in situations where it does not make sense. What we have to begin to understand is that His perspective is SO much greater than our own. He can see the damage that things can cause in our lives if we continue and even lovingly disciplines us to help us correct our behavior. His motives are always pure and his intentions always have our best in mind.

The following scripture has become so much more real to me from this situation:

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

-Isaiah 55:9

The Most of Every Opportunity

This is my first WordPress post ever and I am really short on time because I need to take my son Landon to Pre-K in about 40 minutes. I really have felt an inclination to start a WordPress for a few months to post some of my longer thoughts on scripture and life lessons that is too much content for Facebook and twitter. 

This Scripture really spoke out to me this morning:

 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[b] so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

– Colossians 4:5-6

The main part that challenged me was the part stating to make the most of every opportunity. Yesterday I was riding the MARTA train in downtown Atlanta and was headed home after running a half-marathon I saw a guy on the other side of the platform that I really thought I could relate to b/c of the band buttons attached to his hat and his clothes. I intentionally walked into the same train cab as him and sat towards the front hoping he would sit near me. He sat right in front of me basically facing the same direction that I was. The only problem, at first, was that he had his headphones in. I sat there praying and thinking about how I wish he didn’t have headphones in. Then about 10 minutes into the ride he takes them off! I kinda got excited and then a little nervous. How would I start the conversation? What if he was about to get off at the next stop? I didn’t want to bother him or seem religious. I really wanted to share God’s love with him but had no idea how to start the conversation.

This is the part where I wish I could share about the amazing miracle that happened when I started talking and how he accepted Christ right then and there…

This is actually what happened; He sat there without his headphones the entire way to exact same stop I got off. I said nothing. I worried the whole time about what he may think, and how he may respond. When we arrived he walked by me and disappeared off the platform. 

I felt really discouraged by that whole experience and how I wasn’t willing to step out in faith and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in that conversation. When I read that verse in Colossians this morning it really challenged me to “make the most of every opportunity”. As I reflected about it I thought about where he may end up or how he could have died that afternoon and I said nothing. 

In closing, I plan to continue to strive to take advantage of each and every opportunity that presents itself with eternity in mind. I want to constantly keep my conversations “gracious and attractive” so that It will flow easily and I will always be prepared. We truly have the power to give life with our words, the only condition is that we have to use them.