Rise out of the dark concert

Yesterday I got to see Danny Gokey sing in concert. He was INCREDIBLE. He has such an amazing, soulful voice and has a powerful story as well. I loved the concert!

IMG_1355.jpg

Much love, B

Advertisements

Just as I am I come

Some days I feel inadequate. I feel like my skills are not useful or that I am not skilled to do the things that I would like to do. I am reminded of my weaknesses. I become reminded of skills that I do have that are being wasted, and it makes me frustrated. Today is one of those days. In these moments it is worship songs in general that tend to speak to my soul the best. I was reminded about the song “Jesus I Come”. This song is a great reminder for me today that I can come just as I am to God. I can bring all of my insecurities, weaknesses, doubts, and frustrations to Him. He covers me.

“Jesus I Come”

Oh how I need Your grace
More than my words can say
Jesus I come Jesus I come
In all my weaknesses
You are my confidence
Jesus I come Jesus I come

I will rise stand redeemed
Heaven open over me
To Your name eternally
Endless glory I will bring (oh)

Oh what amazing love
We need Your cleansing flood
Jesus I come Jesus I come
In every broken place
You are my righteousness
Jesus I come Jesus I come

Thank You Jesus
Just as I am I come
Hallelujah
Oh what amazing love

I pray that these words would ring true for you today as well.
Much love, B

Faith in Action

Today we read Hebrews 11 during devotions, and it was a great reminder of the ways that God has been faithful to His people. All of these people led their lives by their faith in God. They were not passive about waiting for God’s promises. They acted because of their faith in God, trusting that God would provide and watch over them. We talked about how many people say that they are waiting to hear from God on what they should do in life or where they are supposed to go, instead of taking action now. These people in the Bible knew about God’s promises, but did not just sit around waiting for life to happen to them. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We can’t just wait around hoping for some grand revelation to hit us over the head. There has to be faith in action.

Verse 13 stood out to me in particular:

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

These people were faithful until the end even though they had not fully received the promises of God. They trusted that God would be faithful. How hard is that for us to do? I feel like I often get tossed around sometimes because of circumstances in life. I doubt the faithfulness of God’s promises because I can’t see how it will work out. But that is not how faith works. Faith means that we have to trust in what we cannot see or cannot understand. We have to remember the character of God. God is faithful. Therefore He will deliver on His promises. I am continuing to grow and add to my faith so that I can be a person that is faithful until the day I die, even if I do not see the fullness of God’s promises during my lifetime.

Much love, B

Silly frustrations

Do you ever look back and think, wow why was I so frustrated by that? Sometimes in the moment things seem really big because we get tired, or little annoyances build throughout the day, or we feel like something was unfair. When these things build, something that is actually really small gets blown out of proportion later on. I had to remind myself last night that small things need to stay small and be let go. This might seem obvious, but I feel like it can be really easy to say you’ve let something go, and then it actually just sits in the back of your mind. It takes a conscious effort to release the small things, brush them off your shoulder, and then move on.

So what made me frustrated last night? Well it is actually pretty silly, but like I said in the moment it was super frustrating. I was playing in an indoor soccer game last night and had two fouls called on me for things that I did not do. The referee claimed that I had pushed another girl into the wall both times. The reality was that I had not touched her either time. She had actually pushed herself against the wall in order to block the ball from me. The referee told me that he would throw me out of the game if I did it again. That is when I became super frustrated, because I could be thrown out of a game for doing nothing. The other girl even admitted to me that I did not touch her, but was not willing to let the referee know. This just made me angrier because there should be a level of sportsmanship involved here. We are not in the World Cup. This is a recreational league for adults.

Luckily I did not get thrown out of the game. The frustration did carry over throughout the game, but I had to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things this is really small. Yes, it was unfair. I actually play with integrity, so it was frustrating that the referee assumed that I was purposefully doing these things and not being honest about it. But I am only in charge of my actions and not other peoples. I had to decide to be a good sport anyway. We get to choose our reaction to things that happen. In these moments it is important to view things that are small as small. We can’t let the small things take away from living a joyous life!

Much love, B

Friendsgiving

Yesterday my small group had Friends-giving together, and it was amazing. There was so much food that we could have had another Friends-giving using just the leftovers. Everything that you would typically have for Thanksgiving was there. IT WAS SO MUCH FOOD. There were drinks and desserts in abundance as well. It reminded me that we are definitely blessed to be able to partake in something like this. We were cozy and full and content.

26 of us gathered together for our Friends-giving. The room was filled with laughter and people chatting together. As I looked around the room, I thought…this is family. We are one big family that has its ups and downs, but that loves one another and does life together. Ifeel extremely blessed to be a part of this community…my second family. We all did a toast together where we toasted that we would be together forever! And I truly believe that. We were put together for a reason, and we have banded together and grown together over the last year and a half. I love my small group. We will forever be “The Good Community Group.”

IMG_1319.jpg

Much love, B

Learning about North Korea

I am a part of a team that is working on a project to figure out how you would plant a church in North Korea. We have been learning about church planting this week, and now we have to put what we have learned to the test! I was in charge of researching what the lifestyle is like in North Korea so that we could create strategies for how to reach people more effectively. I learned so many interesting things that I actually did not know before.

In North Korea, everything revolves around the Kim family. Kim Jong-un is the supreme leader, and the people are taught to worship this family. The people are required to have pictures of the leaders in their homes, they must sing songs praising the leadership, and there are statues everywhere. North Korean people are brought up being told that their every word, thought, and action is known by the Kim family. People in North Korea have no internet access, only access to the state-controlled intranet. Everything that the people listen to, watch, or look up is controlled by the state. If they were to get access to watching a Hollywood movie or another illegal product, then they could be punished through execution or torture. Everything the people believe comes directly from the Supreme leader. The people are brought up to view America as the enemy. America is evil because of the Korean War. Every struggle the North Koreans face is blamed on America, so they are brought up with a hatred for the country. The people have a deep loyalty to their country and the Supreme leader.

There are many obstacles to church planting in a place like North Korea. It is not impossible, because nothing is impossible for God. But it definitely presents many challenges. My team came up with an outline for how we believe we could begin to reach people and then start a church plant. The church there would not look anything like the kind of church we are used to in America because they do not have religious freedom like we do here. But a church could form. In fact there already are underground churches in North Korea, which is exciting! People are hearing about Christ here, but there are still many people that have not heard the Gospel yet.

So we have an informal plan to present tomorrow for our project, and we will see how it goes.

Much love, B

Sarcasm

Anyone that knows me knows that I am sarcastic and pretty sassy. I am also sweet, but there is definitely some straight up sassiness that comes out accidentally or not so accidentally. One of my favorite Facebook pages is called “Sarcasm,” and it is truly amazing. It is filled with a bunch of memes and GIFs that some marvelous person posts every day. I always find myself laughing about them, and so many of the posts I can relate to. So I decided to share some of them! Maybe you will like them and maybe you won’t…that’s okay. But I definitely love them and will continue to find joy scrolling through the page of sarcasm.

IMG_0348IMG_0353IMG_1266IMG_1259IMG_1257IMG_1258IMG_1255 (1)img_0350.pngIMG_1261IMG_0347IMG_1262IMG_1265IMG_1263IMG_0352

Much love, B

Where is the discipleship?

I have been thinking about the idea of discipleship a lot lately and how much it is missing in our churches and everyday lives. In this blog, I am referring to discipleship in the terms of encouraging, training, and teaching other people. There are many places in the Bible that talk about teaching/training people, so why is this not a bigger deal to the body of Christ? I think it is mostly busyness, selfishness, uncomfortableness, and pride that tend to hinder us from discipling other people, specifically the younger generation. However, those are terrible excuses. We should be willing to set aside time to serve other people and to raise them up to be the next leaders. We should want the next generation to surpass us…to know more than we know, and to do more than we could ever do.

So what does the Bible say about discipleship? Here are a few verses…

  • Ephesians 4:11-13 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
  • 2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others
  • Titus 2:1-8- You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live…Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children…Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.
  • Proverbs 27:17-As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17- All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that a man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Discipleship is important for everyone. We all need people to encourage us and to teach us. We need people to help us grow and mature in our faith. There is a serious lack of discipleship occurring in churches, even within the church that I attend, and it needs to be addressed. We cannot be complacent about this issue any longer. There are far too many people getting lost through the cracks because they have not had strong Christian role models in their lives. There is a lack of Biblical knowledge, apathy among people, weakened families, weakened men, weakened women, weakened churches, spiritual gifts that are not being developed, etc. Where are the men and women that are willing to sacrifice their time to disciple and walk through life with younger people?

Churches can preach all day long about how strong families are important and how there needs to be a rise in strong Christian men and women, but if we are not actively doing anything to disciple the younger generation and help them mature in their relationship and knowledge of God, then these ideas are just that…ideas. And they will continue to be ideas until people act. I am disappointed by the lack of discipleship that I see in formal church settings. BUT I am ready to do something about it.

Much love, B

Church Planting

Today we had a class on church planting, and it was great! The first topic we discussed was why we plant churches. Here are some of the ideas we talked about:

We plant churches…

  • To establish a community of faith in a local setting
  • To have a place where people can learn about God and grow in their relationship with Him
  • To have an assembly of people that worship God together and are a family of God
  • For discipleship and correction to occur; for encouragement

*We then talked about what churches are/what they look like. In America, these are the most common traits for what a church looks like:

  • A building, greeters, worship- songs, hand-raising, standing, announcements, sermon, podium/stage, communion, prayer, refreshments, offering, benediction, attire- typically everyone is dressed similarly

*We looked at a few passages from the Bible to see what they say about what a church should look like. We looked at 1 Corinthians 14:26-32, Acts 2:42-47, and 1 Timothy 3: 1-13. We came up with these things based on the passages:

  • The people met daily, they met in a formal setting and in people’s homes, there was giving, there was fellowship and devotion to teaching, there was worship, there was a sharing of food or communion, there were qualifications for leaders and their families, there was order, everyone was able to contribute and be heard, there was discernment on what people were sharing, there was encouragement

*We talked about things that are non-negotiable for church planting like communion, baptism, discipleship, worship, prayer, discipline, and leadership. These are non-negotiable because they are in the Bible for what church should look like. When planting churches in other countries, these should be elements of the church. However, each church can express these principles differently based on their culture. Church can look radically different and can be unique to each people group as long as the non-negotiable parts of a church are held intact.

Every church does not need to look like the one we grew up in or the one we are comfortable with. Church is not just an American thing. Sometimes our traditions can actually hinder the spread of the Gospel because the way we like things are not natural or comfortable for another group of people. God created us all differently, so surely His churches around the world can be different without one being better or more right then another, as long as the Biblical principles of church are there.

We have only had one class so far, but I am excited for the rest of the week. This class is challenging me to think about my views of the church and what I think is normal. It is challenging me to think about what God intended for His church to be or look like. I am ready to learn more!!!

Much love, B