Friday, October 12, 2012

God, School, Guys, and making it all work.

Life has gotten awfully crazy in the last month or so, Summer brought me closer to God then ever, and then school started. I never realized quite how hard it was to find the strength and the courage everyday to stand up and do whats right. My language has gotten awful, and other things have begun to to creep into taking more priority then my spiritual life. I never understood Gods grace until now, its such a beautiful thing that He will take us back into loving arms after a very sinful day, but I still struggle with guilt even after being forgiven. Everyday i go into school with a Godly mindset, but by the end of the day I have screwed up so much that I cant believe that God still loves me the way He did before old habits snuck back into my days. People criticize me when I do happen to be strong and do whats right, and that makes it quite difficult. I guess this is what He was talking about when He said that we must be different and set the bar, even if it means being judged and outcast. This too shall pass, hopefully sooner then later!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Loving God...loving others?

The first greatest commandment in the Bible is to love the Lord with all your heart...did you know that the second greater commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself? Most of the time, I have a really hard time loving others; it's hard to not judge them for where their at and meet them where they need you to. It's especially hard for me to help them when the don't have any obvious ambition to change their circumstances. The other day, I was chatting with a wonderful lady in my church about the homeless, and I realized that we can't make them change, but we can show them love and show them that they have a life worth changing. Someone very close to me was abused as a child, and has lately been struggling with loving the abuser as he loves himself, and knowing that God loves them the them equally. Knowing this, I realized that we need to firstly forgive people and leave the judging up to God and know that they will pay, and that it isn't our job to make sure they do. I also realized that I am failing miserably at doing my part in serving others. So, as you all go about your day today, think about others and loving them as we were instructed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Living Holy: through grace or through works?

This past Sunday, our preacher gave a sermon on living holy. I was expecting this sermon to be conflicting, considering our church is typically very legalistic.  In my opinion, if we accept Gods great grace and live a life through it, He will change our hearts to better reflect Him and his holiness; the works will come with a heart change. It is not necessarily up to us to become holy, but rather to offer our lives and hearts to God and then allow Him to make us holy. I believe that after our lives and hearts are completed tuned in to what God wants, we will start slowly changing into an intimate, holy relationship with God, and we will want to become more like Him. I do not believe we will become holy by doing good things. We need Gods great grace to carry out His holiness. Unfortunately, many people believe that holiness comes from doing things and trying to be perfect. Thankfully, we dont have to be perfect to be holy; but rather strive for living a life like Jesus. Doing works without having your heart in the proper place will not make you holy, it will only make you a hypocrite. We need to put our entire being into the Lord before we can even consider becoming holy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that his views were very similar to mine.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Religion vs. Jesus

For quite some time, I have felt that there was something wrong with the way my church interacted and the way we read the bible or worshiped. I have finally started to realize the problem...we are religious. We are constantly striving to earn Gods grace and love. We put our masks on and come to church, trying to be perfect. We are constantly trying to follow the rules, but that just leads to a legalistic walk with God. We read the bible as it pertains to us, when really the bible isn't about us at all. Its about God. We judge others based upon their sin, while in actuality, their excessive smoking or drinking isn't any different then our own thoughts against them. We don't know how to do community because we are so caught up in our own legalistic nature that we can't find the time to love others as we were meant to do. Jesus didn't come to save a perfect people. He came to save a broken world, and gave his blood for us. Trying to put on the perfect act isn't going to get us anything but a life of chasing something we cannot reach. We are constantly trying to do enough stuff to be perfect, but Jesus has already done all that we need. We need to accept that we aren't perfect, and allow ourselves to fall for a God that loves us more then life(:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Week of Change

This last week, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a week in Northern California learning about God, myself, and what it means to be faithful. The first night of camp, we talked about how being a Christian is more then going to church and following the rules. Following rules when it comes to my faith is something I struggle with. People make it sound like God won't love you if you do not follow the rules perfectly, and I just don't like the way rules with faith sounds. In my opinion, God has placed restrictions in the bible to help provide us with a less complicated route through life. Those restrictions are optional, but they will have consequences that we are not able to comprehend. To me, that was a huge breath of fresh air because I felt like I had been given more freedom in my faith. I have and will hopefully always strive to follow those guidelines to perfection, even in my sinful nature. Being a Christian had nothing to do with what you do and don't do; it has everything to do our trust in God the way that we bring glory to him. Jesus didn't come to save perfect people, but broken people that need nothing more then Him. A lot of teen in today's world play "church" because that's all they've ever known, but what they don't realize is that church isn't going to get them salvation. I kinda forgot what the second night was about. But, the third night, our speaker spoke about the difference between and quest and an adventure. An adventure is something that you do with no intention of changing or accomplishing anything. A quest is something that you're willing to lose your life for; something that you hope to come back from changed. Now, this week I had come into camp completely numb to God. I didn't care what He wanted and what He had planned for my life. When I prayed, I felt like I was talking to the walls and when I read my bible, I wasn't comprehending. I was going to live my life the way I wanted to to. On that third night, I realized that I didn't really have a relationship with the Lord,and that my life was gonna be pretty well screwed if I didn't change something. On that third night, our speaker gave the camp an opportunity to make God their quest if they hadn't already done so. I had been saved when I was super tiny, but I didn't remember it, and it really had no meaning in my life at that point. So, our speaker prayed the prayer of salvation with our camp. After the prayer, he asked the ones that had just prayed that prayer alongside him to do something pretty bold. He asked those to stand and declare their newfound faith, and on the count of three, I stood. On that third night, I accepted Jesus as my redeemer and Savior. The passion I felt for God at that moment still has yet to die down, and I pray that it never will. I devoted my everything to God, and I have never been so happy and a peace with my life. In the last few days, my life has changed with change still yet to come. I am on fire for God, and wouldn't have it any other way. I cannot wait to see what he has for my life now. This week was filled with worship, and I found that the key to my relationship with God was going to be through music.this week, I learned so much about life, God, faith, and priorities. I went a week without my phone or Internet, and it changed my life. In the midst of our busy lives, maybe we should take some more time to remove the distractions and truly listen to what God can say.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Young People and the Gospel

As young adults, we are constantly searching for ways to work around the rules and have as much fun as possible. So, when we start digging into theology and realize that being a Christian is going to be the furthest thing from easy, we tend to stray from Christ so that we don't have to worry about the restrictions and rules that He may bring to our table. Staying pure,
refraining from using inappropriate language, and treating others with decency are things Christ declares important, however these are not things that are easy to do. A lot of the time I find myself thinking that life would be simpler and more fun without Christ, but deep down I know that these restrictions are placed for and in my best interest. Commonly discussed themes in youth events are things that you cannot do, and that Christ is there for broken people. Now, don't get me wrong, Christ is there for broken people and there are thing we shouldn't do. But when teaching young people about Christ, shouldn't it be focused on building solid relationships with Him and filled with more praise? As a young adult, I would be so much more apt to respond to teachings if they were filled with what you can do for Christ, not what Christ can do for you, but shown and modeled in a joyful manner. We need to see Jesus as role model and someone that is like an older brother more so then someone that calls our shots. We need to be shown that He isn't about rules, but about us.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Little things, big value.

As I'm sitting here in the dark because our power is gone, I realize just how much we don't value power. It's just something that we have always had, and expect to always have. Power is really something we use a lot, but never actually realize it. People in other countries would kill for the accessibility that we have to resources like clean water, heat, POWER, and food. Everyday we use these things, but never think about how lucky we are to have them. People have to walk days just to receive a jar of murky water. People have to choose which child to feed on a daily basis. People die from the cold. So, the next time you think your day couldn't get any worse, just remember how good you have it here.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Contemplation Wonderation

As I lay in my bed this fine morning, I contemplate how lucky I am. I live in a country where I am free to read my bible, free to speak against the president, and safe to go to sleep at night because soldiers are risking their lives for my safety. Next week I leave for almost two weeks to go to California and Pacific City. Many others are blessed, but still find time to complain about their children or how their house is the wrong color and their dog ate some "people food". Do they not realize that thousands of couples would kill to have the child that is being complained about? Or that the person living under the bridge would live to have a house, no matter the color? Or that the person going to the soup kitchen with their skinny dog only dreams of being able to first of all have people food and second of all have extra that the dog stole? We are quite lucky as a nation, and the amount of complaining that we do is obscure. I know that for my, my focus in life isn't on Jesus. That's a problem. Maybe I can focus of Jesus and what I do have instead of what I don't have.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Hey! My name is Sarah, and soon I hope to know your name as well. I'm a young lady that every day battles with right and wrong; trying to carry out God's plan for me. With the amount of sin that's in the world today, its not ever easy to follow God's plan. Sometimes I wonder if its even worth trying, and a whole lot of the time I think that life would be so much simpler without Him and his plan, but then I look back across my short life, and realize that I could quite possibly not be typing away today if it weren't for him. I struggle daily with peer pressure and just wanting to fit in. I have never fit in and I am coming to believe that I never will. I have and probably always have been that nerdy kid; the one that always has her face in a book and is always done with her work early. So, when faced with situations that could make me "cooler" but are not morally sound, I tend to become weak and do what seems cool. Thank goodness God is forgiving. Without his forgivness, I dont know where  I would be today. That's where I come back to after thinking that life would be simpler without Him, but wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about staying pure until marriage, or not saying "that" word? I suppose it would for awhile, but eventually I would assume that we would all come to the conclusion that he had those limits set in our best interest. Right now, I am trying to decide where in the sam heck to go to high school. Yeah, I know, right? Such a small thing, but something that could turn into something huge! To be quite honest with you, I dont even know what God has planned for my High School. Ive tried praying, yeah, that didnt do it. So, theres a whole lot of confusion and frusteration in my life right now. But hey, isnt that what life is for? I can only hope that He will use this frusteration for something great, I sure hope that he reveals what he wants soon though...