Monday, February 24, 2014

It's the kind of day . . .

Where people need a break from life. And seriousness. So here's some things people have said to me, as a Canadian. Happy Monday! :)


video

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

All in All

You are my strength when I am weak.
You are the treasure that I seek.
You are my all in all.
Seeking You as a precious jewel,
Lord to give up I’d be a fool.
You are my all in all.

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame;
Rising again, I bless Your name.
You are my all in all.
When I fall down You pick me up.
When I am dry You fill my cup.
You are my all in all.

Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name.
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name.

This is currently one of my favorite songs. I keep going back to it this semester. Every semester/year, God has given me a song that He uses to remind me of something I need to learn. Freshman year, it was “God is There”. Sophomore year, it was “Press On”. Junior year and last semester (first semester senior year), it was “Blessings”. Now, it’s “You are my All in All” (words above).

I apologize in advance for the potential length of this thing. Also, if you don’t want to know what God has been teaching me or if you don’t like personal (like, personal about me), I have a suggestion for you. In the top right hand corner of your screen, there should be a little red x. Click it. You don’t want to read this post. This isn’t just a challenge to my generation.

This is God’s challenge to me.

That I want to share with you.

When I was in youth group, (which feels like so many years ago), we did an in-depth study on the book of Colossians. I want to say that study lasted for about 2 years. I could be wrong on that. We memorized chapter 1 and chapter 3, and I can still quote “most” of it. We studied a lot of different things, but our main focus was on how we are complete in Christ. Our theme song for youth group was “Complete in Thee”, which we sang almost every week.

I am so thankful for the time our youth pastor invested in us through this study. So often, teens struggle with their identity. With “who they are” and “finding themselves” and all that. They want to have some sense of worth, to think that they have value. I remember thinking as a teenager that if I could do ____________ and accomplish _________, then people would appreciate me, or notice me. I would finally be worth something to people. I didn’t ever completely grow out of this idea. It’s something I still struggle with at times. But this study in Colossians helped me a lot. I knew that because of what Christ had done for me, God views me as perfect. Yes, I sin. But God looks at me through the lens of Christ’s sacrifice. He has claimed me as His own. And He loves me—not for what I have done, but in spite of what I have done. As a teen, this was huge. And now, as a young adult, this is huge. It isn’t what I have done or can do for God. I am complete in Him. It isn’t what I think I am as a person—what I think should define me. It’s what God has done for me.

This sounds great. But so often I forget. WAY too often. More often than not, actually. The life I live suggests that God is not enough. That what He has done for me is not enough. Am I the only one who struggles with this?

I was saved when I was 6 years old. I was quite willing to say that Christ’s sacrifice was enough for me. I didn’t need to add any good works. That faith thing? I did that just fine. Christ’s work on the cross made salvation complete, if you will. I didn’t even suggest that I might need to do something extra. I knew better.

So why do I live differently today? Why was Christ’s work enough to save me from hell and give me an eternal home, but not enough to satisfy me daily? Why do I feel like I have to do something to earn God’s favor? When I stop and think about it, it sounds ludicrous. I can trust God with my eternal destiny, but not enough to love me for who I am or what I do.

Something needs to change.

I invite you, everyone reading this, to join me in finding our satisfaction in Christ. To realize that we are complete in Him.

God doesn’t love me based on my GPA.

I am not rewarded based on what extracurricular activities I did.

What I do with friends doesn’t matter.

My relationship status doesn’t affect how God views me.

My grades don’t guarantee me a better standing before God.

My talents don’t give me eternal security.

What I do with my life doesn’t change how I am loved by the everlasting God.

So if I never have friends, live my life on the streets because I fail college, and am completely alone with nothing, God will still love me. He will still be there for me. And He will still view me as a created being—made in His image. Perfect.

Loved.

Do I want to live alone with no friends? No. Do I want to fail college and work at Subway forever? That’s about the worst thing I can imagine.

Actually, worse would be living without God for all eternity.

Or having my worth based on what I do, instead of what He has done for me.

So, friends, next time you here me complaining, tell me to shut up. Please. Tell me to get my eyes off of myself and back on God. Remind me that my satisfaction should not be found in a grade or a meal in the dining common, or in friends. Ultimately, I need to find my satisfaction in Christ. Because of His work, alone, I am complete. Complete in Christ.

And if I can help you with that, or be an encouragement for you to do the same, please let me know. Comment. Message me. Email. Let’s do a meal. Something.

I want to build “iron sharpening iron” relationships.

“Complete in Thee, NO WORK OF MINE
Could take, dear Lord, the place of thine.
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And I am now Complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee, each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied
Since thou my portion Lord wilt be,
I ask no more, Complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee, no more shall sin.
Thy grace hath conquered—reign within.
Thy voice shall bid the tempter flee,
And I shall stand Complete in Thee.

Dear Saviour, when, before Thy Bar
All Tribes and Tongues assembled are,
Among the Chosen will I be,
At Thy right hand, Complete in Thee.

Yeah Justified, oh blessed thought!
And Sanctified, salvation wrought.
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified I too shall be.”


Again, I’m sorry about the length. I’m also apologizing for the randomness of this. This is why I don’t normally write after 1:30 in the morning . . .


Monday, February 3, 2014

Above and Beyond???

Every semester, (a couple times a semester???) BJU holds a "President's Club" during chapel. During this time, they recognize students who have upheld the school's mission to serve, grow, and stuff like that. OK, so I'm not exactly sure how they choose people, other that they are peer-nominated. It's really cool to sit and listen to how God is using my fellow-students in furthering the gospel. I was particularly challenged this time, and I want to share with you what God showed me last hour.

With I believe all of the people who were recognized, Dr. Jones said something about "They went above and beyond . . . " which sounds good at first thought. And please don't misunderstand me--what these people were recognized for was good. They were doing what all of us as Christians should be doing. But why aren't we all doing what they are doing. Helping a friend or sharing what God has blessed us with should be something we are all doing every day. Giving the gospel or doing our best at work should not be "above and beyond". It should be natural for us--image bearers of Christ. We are called to be like Christ. We are called to represent Him to those around us. It should not be "unusual" when a Christian is working hard and obeying Christ.

Why is this "above and beyond" now?

When did the standards lower?

I've always wondered why Christians feel like they don't need to be different from those around us. When I work, I want my co-workers to know that I'm different. This should mean that I do my best to do my best work at all times. That I'm polite even when customers are annoying. Even if I'm sick, or tired, I'm still willing to do my best at all times.

I'm calling my generation to go "above and beyond" above and beyond. We need to set the standard of what we can and should do higher than it is. Congratulations to the people who were recognized today--you are an example to all of us of what we should be doing. Every day, living out our faith.

Romans 12:1-2--I beseech you therefore Brethern [fellow Christians], that ye present your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE

Holy

Acceptable unto God

Which is your REASONABLE service.

And be not conformed to this world, but be ye

TRANSFORMED
by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that

Good 

and acceptable

and perfect

Will of God.

Have you read Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris? It is a book written by teens for teens. It is a cry to our generation to start rising above the low expectations. Start doing hard things. Serving God. Giving him
EVERYTHING
We have. 
I went to their website/blog, and found some old blog posts that were an encouragement to me again. They are called "The Myth of Adolescence" part 1 and part 2. They basically talk about how there is this myth that has been perpetuated that the teen years are a time to goof off, waste time, and just enjoy life. While I believe that you can enjoy life all the time (no matter your age or what you are doing), the teen years are not about us. Since I am not a teenager, I believe that your years as a young adult are not about you. You should NOT spend your life making yourself feel good. It isn't about seeking enjoyment. It's about serving God. 

Raise the bar. 

Do Hard Things. 

Go Above and Beyond above and beyond. Don't settle.

Serve God.