Friday, September 23, 2011

Broken Toes...Ouch!

Seriously.  Read Crazy Love.  God will convict you through Francis Chan's writing....if you let Him.  It will change your life...if you let Him.

In the past several weeks, I can say that I've grown up in my faith.  There have just been circumstances that I've needed God to show me the way, and He has.  It's liberating just hanging on to Him, trusting that He'll get me where I need to be.  When I don't control my life, it's one less thing that I have to do.  It's one less thing on my to do list.

In reading this book, God has been showing me so many things about being a Christian.  

1. Chan talks about "lukewarm Christians" in one chapter.  I read, and re-read what he wrote, because I was so convicted.  He gave example after example of what it meant to be lukewarm.  Some of them didn't apply to my life, but some of them did.  I wrote them all on a sheet of paper so that I could see them all.  It made me reflect on my life to see what I'm doing wrong and where I need to change.

The more I read, the more I realized that there's really no such thing as a lukewarm Christian.  God detests lukewarm. (See Revelation 3:15-18)  To put it plainly, you're a Christian or you're not.  Some days I haven't acted like one.

2.  To give you an example of what Chan writes, he says, "Lukewarm people call 'radical' what Jesus expected all of his followers."

Some might think that our former Campus Minister is "radical" because she and her family live in North Africa and is proclaiming the Word of God to non-believers over there.  Sorry, but that's not radical.  God expects us to "Go and make disciples of all nations."  Get off your tush!  Get out of your comfort zone!  That's what God calls us to do!  Ouch...that kinda hurt my toes a bit.

3.  God is an all or nothing God.  Let's just be real...He wants all.  He's given us a free gift.  All we have to do is wholly surrender our life to Him.  When we do, life becomes a lot better than what we could ever do on our own.

4.  In life, we generally only make changes if we think it's going to affect our salvation.  To be completely honest, we don't make changes solely on the fact that God commands it, but because "we might not go to heaven."

This made sense with me, especially after he gave examples of how we do that:

  • Can I divorce my spouse and still go to heaven?
  • Do I have to be baptized to be saved?
  • Am I a Christian if I'm having sex with my boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • If I commit suicide, will I still go to heaven?
  • If I'm ashamed to talk about Christ, is He really going to deny knowing me?
If we ask these questions and call ourselves Christians, what does that say about our relationship with Christ?  Do we really know Christ?  That really got me thinking.

God is calling us to be his disciples!  A disciple is a follower of Christ, but if we don't obey His commands, how can we say we "follow" Him? me again.

5.  I've also been learning how much I need God in my life daily to keep Satan out!  Satan is alive and well.  He's anger lashing out.  He's sarcasm.  He's a bad attitude, bad thought, or bad words that come out of our mouths.  He rejoices when we do these things.  He's everywhere, but so is GOD!  God shows love instead of hate. He shares encouragement instead of sarcasm.  He's the positive words, not the negative.

It's our decision which we serve, and I want to exude Christ's light.

My relationship with Christ is changing.  My life is changing.  God is my everything.  I need Him every day of my life!  I'm done forgetting about God.  I want people to see a difference in my life, because Christ has given my grace and love.  I choose to accept it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So Many Opportunities!

Oh I'm so excited, I just have to write an update!  Tyler and I just got back from Small Group, and it was fantastic!  We knew that we were walking into a group that had already been established and everyone knew each other.  For that, I was a tad bit nervous going in.  However, the couples were sooooo welcoming.  We all ate supper together, each of us contributing something to it.  That helped break the ice, in my opinion.  When the women saw me and realized I was "new" they introduced themselves to me.  When we were eating, people were asking us questions and trying to get to know us.  It was a really comfortable atmosphere, and I felt comfortable enough to share.

On the way home, Tyler expressed how much he really enjoyed the group.  That made me really happy, because I just didn't know what he was thinking the entire time.  I think it helped when one of the women said, "Oh we're a gun group."  Then proceeded to explain how 4 of them had their Conceal and Carry License.  The guys in the group are already making plans for a Guy's Game Night.

At first, when we were talking about joining a group, we had wanted to join a Young Marrieds group.  Well the ones that would have worked with our schedule were all full.  So we joined a "general" group, but it was a great decision.

I really saw what the church was about.  These people take care of each other.  They welcome other people (us) into their group.  They pray for each other.  They rejoice with each other.  They encourage each other.  They have fun with each other.  I'm excited to be a part of this group.

The couples are all in different stages of life.  Some have been married for just a couple years.  One couple just had a baby (who's a cute thing).  One couple has a 5 year old. Tyler and I are the youngest in the group, but we have so many people to look up to, learn from, get advice from, and grow with.  THIS is the church.

On a side note, after talking with Tyler, I'm going to join the Women's Bible Study Group on Thursday evenings.  They had their first week last week, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't like to be late.  I don't like the idea they've started without me (oops, on my part), but I'm going to suck it up and go.  It's only the second week...I couldn't have missed much.  Besides, I need to form relationships with other women.  Yay for another opportunity to be involved in such a GREAT Body of Believers!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Get Over Yourself

Truth:  We forget about God.

We get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to talk to Him.  We listen to music all day long, but we forget to listen to Him.  We get so busy reading textbooks, "fun" books, or even this Crazy Love book, that we forget to read His Book.  But ya know what?  There's absolutely NO excuse for it.  Want to know why?  Because every 1 in 1 person dies.  That means every person will face judgment by God.

In the words of Francis Chan:
"When I am consumed by my problems--stressed out by my life, my family, my job--I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important that God's command to always rejoice.  In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities."

Shame on me!  I have no right to disobey God just because my life is so busy and stressful.  But the sad thing is that I tend to do it on a regular basis.  I get consumed with my life and am selfish about it.

Chan goes on to say:
"Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.  Stress says the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control."

These are two things I need to work on daily.  These are not exceptions to trusting God.  In the grand scheme of things, our problems are small.  Heaven is a place that's free of worry, stress, fears, hurt, loneliness, etc.  When we're focused on Christ, and not our own lives, we learn to rejoice more.  It's time to get over myself and focus on Him.

We aren't guaranteed another day.  In fact, we aren't even guaranteed another minute or second.  I could die just writing this post.  Many people die living for themselves, just wasting their lives rather than living for God.  Then they have to face God after they die.  We can't just be a "nice" person to get into Heaven.  God won't be concerned with "nice," but rather how we lived our life.  He is just. If we don't live for Him, then we aren't going to Heaven.  

This is a wake up call to me. I need to stop living for myself.  I need to quit forgetting about God.  He is everything! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Crazy Love: Forgiveness

Wow.  That's all I can say. I'm in awe of how God works.

I just started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  If you haven't read it, go get it!  Seriously.  I'm 30 pages in and can't believe what I'm reading/watching.  He has videos posted on his website, and in the book he tells you when to watch them.

I just watched one about forgiveness.  I've been focusing on that subject for the last couple of weeks.  I talked about forgiving in a blog post a couple of weeks ago, and it's still so fresh in my mind.  As I was watching this video, I knew everything he was talking about.  I've known in my whole life.  I grew up in the church, and I was taught it when I was very young.  But now, I look at it in another way.  Specifically, forgiving and loving one another.  What would life be like if we loved everyone?  And I mean absolutely EVERYONE.  Wouldn't that just be awesome?

I have an amazing opportunity in the next couple of days.  It's about forgiving.  I'm very excited about it, because I'm ready to be done with what I've been carrying around.  I was thinking about the word:  forgiveness.  It has the word 'give' in it.  It's because that's what we can give others.  We can forget about what they've done to us.  We can forget how they've hurt us.  We can 'give' them a second chance.   God gives us plenty of second chances, why can't we give others lots of second chances?  And why the heck do we want to carry around grudges and wrongs of what people have done to us?  It's too heavy to bear.

I'm guilty as much as the next person. I'm not perfect and I mess up a lot.  I need forgiveness from people and from God.  But this week, I'm going to start with giving forgiveness.  I'm ready to unload this burden from my back.  I'm ready to give a second chance...and third, and fourth, and fifth...whatever it takes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Things!!!

Oh there's so many exciting things going on!!!  First of all, I don't know about you, but I am LOVING the cooler weather.  My favorite clothes are hoodies, jackets, and long sleeved shirts!!! :]

Tonight, we (Tyler and I) just got our first e-mail from our small group leaders.  We start meeting this next Tuesday night!! I'm so excited!  I seriously can't wait!  It will be the first time that I've been in a small group where I don't know a single person (other than my husband). [That word is so fun to say..."husband."]  I think that it will be good for us to meet other couples (finally!) and get to know people in our church as we grow along with them. :]

Saturday, I'm hosting my first "coupon class."  I'm very excited about this, as well.  I've been couponing since about April or May and I get so excited that I tell other people how much money I've saved.  Well, some of my girl friends have been curious about how I do it, and I've held improv Q&A sessions.  Well, this time, I had enough interest that I'm giving a class!!  It will be held at my apartment and there are about 9 girls coming (including my mom!).  I've created a powerpoint, because there are a couple girls that can't come, but would still like the information.  I've also created some printouts complete with store coupon policies.

I know.  I'm such a nerd.  It's ok...secretly, I've always wanted to be a teacher.  I just didn't want to have to teach all the boring stuff.  Therefore, I'm teaching my own curriculum!  I call this class "CPN 101." :]  The girls will be bringing things to make their own coupon binder, and I'm excited to share the knowledge that's been given to me.  I love saving money, and I can't wait to tell others how to do it!

I hardly ever shop at Wal-Mart anymore, but I saw some good deals.  So tonight after work (while Tyler was at Praise Team practice), I went to Wal-Mart.  This is a picture of what I bought:

I saved 71% on these things!  This shopping trip has been my best one yet!  I'm on my way to being the next "Extreme Couponer."  Part of these things are going in goodie bags for my class.  I've tried very hard to find free things with my coupons to give out at this class.  I've done just that.  The bags are already filled and ready to go.

I hope to have another class in the near future, as I know that there's several people who wanted to come won't be there this Saturday.  :]

I'm excited to see the outcome of this little class, and I'm excited for these girls who are learning new things!!

One last thing before I go, I LOVE MY CROCKPOT!!!  :] :]