Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Superheroes

Posted: March 27, 2016 in Faith
Tags: , , ,

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If you could have any single super power in the world, what would it be? Tough question, I know. There are so many good ones out there. Having to choose just one makes it tough. The ability to teleport, fly, or breathe underwater would each be an unbelievable power. Mind reading is one that tends to be longed for too, although personally I think that one would be more of a curse than anything. Super human strength…lightning speed…turning things into gold…the list goes on and on. If you’re someone like me, you’ve put some serious thought into this over the years. Let’s be honest, it’s important. In the slight chance that we encounter a genie, or find ourselves in proximity to some other extraordinary wish granting phenomena, we all need to be prepared to answer this question on the spot.

This past weekend some friends and I met up and gathered around the table to break bread. We enjoyed each other’s company as we talked about life. It was a truly fabulous night. We touched on faith, politics and sports. We shared our hopes and dreams and the cool things that were happening in the world around us. We were hitting all the high notes. Somewhere over the course of dinner the superpower question was thrown into the ring. I think it came into play shortly after the topics of Donald Trump and the early bracket busting upsets in the NCAA March Madness tourney. Since all proper dinner parties should not be concluded until you truly know where your loved one’s stand on the hot topic of “if you could have any superpower in the world”, we ventured down the rabbit hole. Once again my interest was piqued.

It’s strange that we are all attracted to the supernatural in some form or fashion. We love stories of heroes and their supernatural feats. Even when normal people do unbelievable things with their gifting, we want to dub them as “supernatural”. We term sports performances as supernatural, or out of extraordinary. We’ve heard stories of ordinary mothers lifting cars off of their children in moments of distress. We’re left in wonder by shows put on by great magicians. Supernatural things are riddled in the television shows and movies we watch. It’s been penned in the pages of books since the beginning of time. There is something inherent in each of us that yearns to believe in something out of this world.

Diving head first into the question, this particular discussion started shaping up almost exactly the way that I suspected. The superpower of flight gained momentum quickly and took the early lead. Invisibility, breathing under water and super strength all made a cameo appearance in the conversation, but were brushed under the rug rather quickly. Teleportation was introduced onto the scene and, with some strong support from the movie “Jumper”, was starting to gain some popularity around the table. The teleportation movement even included some converts from those in full support of flying. In the height of the conversation, as all of the supporting evidence was being brought to the table, the youngest member of our group chimed in. This bright young lady at the ripe age of 13 introduced a superpower that I had never heard of before. I could tell by the silence that followed that most of us were taken aback.

Whenever your Saturday night dinner party attendees are self-proclaimed professional world problem solvers, myth busters and formidable experts in regards to the superhero realm (just to name a few of the credentials), as most of us around the table were, it’s not often we find ourselves faced with a new scenario that no one had thought of before. Caught off guard by this foreign and original superpower, the natural reaction of the group was to interrogate and dismiss the idea altogether.

At first, the power seemed elementary at best. No true superhero in the history of superherodom would ever want this power! It was way too simple. Not cool or flashy. None of us had even heard of it before. How could it really be a sought after super power if it had never been aired on television or in cinemas? A superpower that has never been written about or spoken of in a story. I know I’m probably building the suspense a little at this point and I apologize if there is any feeling of let down at the grand reveal. Drum roll please…the superpower is…the supernatural ability to “fill things up”.

Crickets. Exactly how we felt. If you’re like our eclectic group of know-it-alls, you are probably left scratching your head at this point. You mean like the ability to fill up a cup with water? Or juice if you’re feeling crazy? I can do that myself, thanks. Or the ability to fill up a hole with dirt? We all have that power already. How about fill up our car with gas…do it several times a week… next. We started to grill this young lady on her not so “super”power and what happened next I won’t soon forget.

She started describing the power. “Yes, you would have the ability to fill all of those things up.” she answered. “Not only that, but you have the power to fill up anything. You can fill up closets with clothes. You can fill up your homes with anything also. Pictures, appliances and anything else. You can fill up your bank account.” At the mention of filling up bank accounts, she started winning over some of the group, including myself. I’m not even going to lie, I would definitely add a couple digits to the account total if this were a power I was entrusted. As she was gaining steam and winning the crowd, what she said next was nothing less than profound for me and everyone else in the room. Her next statements are what forever sealed a spot for the ability to “fill things up” in the super hero hall of fame.

She continued to list the amazing attributes of what shortly became the most remarkable superpower I had ever heard of. “You see, not only can you fill up all of these great things that we all want, but you can also fill up yourself and you can fill up others too. You can fill people up with peace. You can fill people up with hope. You can fill people up with joy. You can fill people up with love.” We were blown away. What a shift. Everyone in the room went from all but scolding the young lady on such a foolish recommendation to congratulating her on her nomination for what we now believed to be the greatest superpower of all time. Marveling at the insight and deep thought I tried to recollect any superheroes to date that had ever possessed this superpower. I could think of none. There were no marvel comic characters, Greek mythological beings or extraterrestrials that came to mind who had ever possessed this power.

Our group couldn’t think of anyone either. We were baffled. Then, in the moments of silence and pondering, there he was. How did we miss him? With all of this searching it’s hard to believe that he didn’t come to mind. The greatest superhero in the history of the universe. The only one ever that was endowed the supernatural power to “fill things up”. His name is Jesus. I was truly humbled in that moment. Here we are in a world where our souls are yearning for something believe in. Something supernatural and out of this world. Searching for something eternal, that is greater than this life on planet Earth itself. In the magnitude of the reality of the quest for truth, here we are, desperately searching for a hero who has the ability to “fill us up”. Someone who can fill us with peace, hope, joy and true love. Someone who can give us purpose and complete the since of fulfillment in us. In the face of all of this searching, we almost missed him.

Jesus said, “ The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

In this Easter season, whether you are a believer or a skeptic, I challenge all of us alike to take a look at what the savior of the universe has done for us. He sacrificed it all so that we could have life and have it to the full. He gave his life on a cross, paid for our sins and rose from the dead three days later so that we may have unity with God himself. As we think about this gift, let’s think about the hole that each of us have in our inner most being. The part of our soul that we often try not to think about. The part of us that knows there is something more. The part of us that we have tried to fill up ourselves with so many things of this world. The part of us that we fill only to find temporary fleeting happiness that it is always fading and never enough. We just don’t have the power.

If you’ve found Jesus and you have found the peace, hope, love, joy and life to the full that he has promised, let’s give praise to the Savior of the universe. Let’s lift up the King of Kings and Lord of Lord in a way that we never have before. Let’s honor the one name above all names. Jesus Christ, the only name that can save, and the only one in heaven and earth with the supernatural power to fill things up!

Only Jesus has the power to make us:

Thankful – Hopeful – Peaceful – JoyfulFull of Purpose – Full of Love – Full of Life

Maybe this is not the case for you. Your life does not feel full. In fact, you feel empty this season. Maybe you are like I was a few years ago. Like we all feel before we find our purpose in Jesus. You are still searching for this fullness of life. If you have been turning to the things that this world has to offer and it is still not working, or you’re only finding temporary happiness, maybe you’ve been missing it? I invite you to open up your hearts to the ultimate healer and redeemer. The one who wants to offer us life and wants to give it to us to the full. The one who wants you to hope again. Dream again. Feel true joy and contentment again. Give your life to Jesus. It doesn’t matter where you are at, or what you have done, he has overcome the world. Trust him. Put your faith in him. Give over your heart to the only one that has the power to truly fill us up. His grace is enough and the life he gives us will change us for forever!

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

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FullSizeRenderRecently, I found myself trying to give a close friend some sound advice. His dilemma was a tough one.  A journey that I had not yet navigated through myself.  Without much direction and certainly no clear path, how would he ascend the daunting mountain of an obstacle that lay ahead of him?  He was searching for answers and unfortunately, I had none. In my head I started praying and I asked God to bring me some supernatural wisdom to share with my friend in need. Instead of honing in on an epiphany that I could reveal to my friend, I started reaching for some of the colloquial phrases that we probably find surfacing way too often, at least I do. Phrases like “The million mile march starts with the first step”, or “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

I mean, seriously….who thought of these phrases anyway? Who do we know that has marched even close to the tune of a million miles? And an African elephant is a 12,000 pound creature. The average human eats only about 4 pounds worth of food each day. I’m no rocket scientist, but that sounds to me like we’re talking about 3,000 days’ worth of eating elephants. That’s over 8 years!  In the midst of my friend’s completely overwhelming situation, where life seems too tough and almost hopeless all together, here I am wanting to offer up metaphorical advice on eating elephants. Wow.

I don’t really feel like I’m going out on much of a limb hear, but I believe every single person reading this blog can think back to a similar time in their lives – where this life just feels downright overwhelming and every single problem / solution seems hopeless at best. I would even dare to say that a lot of us, if we’re being completely honest, feel that this is describing the season that we are currently in. Many of us have embarked on new journeys and don’t know the destination, or even where to start. Maybe some of us have found ourselves in a situation where we are dissatisfied with a series of decisions we’ve made and we do not even know where to go from here.  It could be that financial struggles are looming over our heads. Maybe relationships that we’ve been fighting for are crumbling beneath our fingertips.  Maybe illness and disease are plaguing loved ones and we feel that we’re at the end of our rope praying for healing. Whatever the giant obstacle we are facing, we just feel stuck. Staring into the face of what feels like a hopeless situation, with no end in sight….is a scary place to be!  If you have ever been here, or maybe you’re here now, the only natural question to ask ourselves is, “What next? Where do I go from here?”

I found myself thinking about my friend’s situation in my quiet time. I found myself reflecting the great obstacles in my own life.  As I the wheels in my head turned, I opened up the word and I ran across a story in the Bible that really shed some light on everything. The story, in John 5:1-15 (read it, it’s good!), recounts the tale of a man who was in dire circumstances. The story tells of a disabled man who was trying to make his way down to a pool of water called Bethesda. You see, this particular pool of water was rumored to have healing powers. The blind, lame and paralyzed came from all over to dip themselves in the pool, searching for some end to their ailments and a new start to the rest of their life.  This particular man in the story had been disabled for 38 years. Can you imagine the size of the elephant this guy was facing? The frustrations and questions he must have had….searching for healing and answers, not knowing what to do next.  I wonder if his buddies ever chimed in, “You know how to eat an elephant, right”?

As the man tries to make it to the pool with no avail, the story pans over to Jesus’ point of view. Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well”? Um… let’s stop right here. Why does Jesus ask this guys that question? Of course he wants to get well! He’s been crippled for 38 years.  I’m sure he’s tried everything at this point. The disabled man looks at Jesus and more or less says, “I’m trying man.” “Every time I’m about to try to get in the pool and get healed, someone else goes down ahead of me and I’m left in the same boat. The same situation where I left off.” I can almost feel his pain. The years of heartbreak and disappoint. He’s found himself in the same situation he’s been in since he can remember, trying to do everything in his power and finding himself catching the short end of the stick once again.

Jesus response to the man blows my mind. He tells him “Get up. Pick up your mat and walk”. Wait…that seems too easy. You just want him to pick up his mat and walk? What about all of the struggles he’s had Jesus? What about all of the problems that have been building up over the past 38 years Jesus? The solution is just for him to pick up his mat and walk? ….and then it hit me. In the face of an obstacle that seems bigger than life and impossible to tackle, Jesus told the man to get up. With an elephant in his way, a life that had been getting the best of him, a hopeless situation where there was no end in sight, Jesus told the man to take a bite. He gave him one simple command. Get up. Granted, this simple command seemed like an impossible task, but the man trusted in Christ. He trusted his next step in the hands of the one true healer and redeemer. The one who holds eternity in the palm of his hand. The one who loves us more than we can ever imagine and wants to give us life to the fullest. He listened to Jesus.  He put his faith in the one simple instruction Jesus gave and then responded.

What giants are you facing in your life? What hopeless situation have you been facing and trying to resolve, but you’ve found no relief? Give it to Jesus. Get in the word and seek him with all of your heart. Ask him what your next step should be and listen. No matter how simple, how impossible, how crazy, trust him and he will blow your mind! I trust that in this season of life he’s giving us all a next step, even if it is be patient and wait. Take the first bite. Trust him with your next move and then the one after that.  One day at a time, let the Creator of the Universe who has gone before make our path straight. God promises that He will be a lamp unto our path if we seek Him.  We might not be able to see the end in sight, but this story offers hope and encouragement to faithfully trust in His goodness and take the next step!

 

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

Psalm 16:9

YL 1The Lord planted a seed for a mission trip in our heads at the beginning of this year. In fact we made new years resolutions and one of our friends said, “y’all will go on a mission trip.” We started researching and we are so thankful that Davis Orders went to Tanzania because it was through a friend telling us about his trip that we found Young Life Expeditions Africa.

We applied in January and the Lord answered quickly and the journey began. “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I Am. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:3

To Kenya we were going, and the Lord began preparing our hearts from day 1. Between fundraising and attacks in Kenya…Satan was after us, but we persevered and come June 19th we were on our way to change the world in Kenya…or so we thought.

As we reflect on our time in Kenya and process what we experienced there were a few takeaways we wanted to share.

God is bigger than….

We discovered in a whole new way that you fill in the blank with anything and God is bigger than it…because He is bigger than everything. He is bigger than my city, my church, my problems. Bigger than any circumstance anyone in this world finds themselves in. He is bigger than fear. He is doing big things in Greenville and we get to be a part of that, and man…how prideful we were to not think He was doing big things in Kenya as well. God blew us away with His glory and love there. Young Life is expanding all over the continent of Africa and God is using this organization to do big things. In Kenya alone there are 391 leaders, 74 neighborhood groups and 125 clubs in schools. The work they are doing is incredible and the only way they are able to do it is solely through the resources that people donate through mostly America. They are reaching parts of Africa that seem to be unreachable.YL 2

Prayer life

Dependence on the Lord is so apparent in everything they do. Many of the friends we were able to meet and spend time with showed us what faith looks like. They are walking in life with the Lord having sacrificed something…whether it be a job, friends, family, traditions, culture, or even food. One of the Kenyan Young Life leaders, Martin, spoke at the first club about the sufferings and pains we cling to in life that can keep us from knowing the freedom we have in Christ. He challenged each kid to write down the pain and suffering they needed freedom from and then had them ask God to take it. They prayed about it and then came back together and lifted their papers up high while kneeling and praying. They then set a fire in a pot and each put their paper in the fire and said, “I surrender my pain and worries to Jesus.” You could feel their pain, their suffering, but also the Lord in that place. There were Muslims and children of Kenya at camp giving their lives boldly to Jesus Christ. It was powerful. It was beautiful and there just aren’t words that can describe it. Their daily prayers are outside of themselves, and their gratefulness for the mercy and grace the Lord has bestowed on them is beyond what I call thankful.

This gratefulness was extended to us when the entire camp of leaders and 200 kids surrounded us, laid their hands on us, and prayed for us. I have never felt more undeserving of their love than in that moment – what a humbling experience as 200+ voices prayed together thanking the Lord for us. I’ve never known a whisper to be so powerful. These people love us with true agape love unlike anything I have ever seen. We found it to be so unique that they invite the Holy Spirit into the presence of their prayers and where we are every time they pray. It was such a peaceful and comforting way to pray…as we know the Holy Spirit is with us, but what a humbling thing to invite Him in wherever we are…who doesn’t want to be invited in?YL 3

Eternal Wealth

America needs what Africa has. Society tells us that we are among the wealthy and they are not. Yet, we discovered they were not lacking in anything. Their wealth comes from within. When your wealth comes from within, you find that what pours out is joy and love despite any current circumstances. Their ability to “just be” was unsettling at first in contrast to the scheduled lives we normally live, but as the days went on we began to revel in every moment we got to “just be”…TIA (This Is Africa). The people of Africa focus so much on building relationships with the people around them. It is such a wonderful way to live out the gospel. God created us as relational beings and that’s what Jesus did during his time here on Earth. Jesus continues to pursue relationships all over the world with each and every one of us.

“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” – 2 Corinthians 8:13-15YL 4

Being the Same Yet so Different at the Same Time

One of the YL Leaders, James, warned us that many of the kids felt unequal to Americans or “mzungus” as they called us. They had not spent much time with mzungus so they had no idea how similar we all really are. They simply believe that America is a wealthy, well off nation and that we are better than them. We could feel and see this during an experience we had with a small group bible study. One of the boys was afraid to speak out or respond to the questions for fear that he would not sound smart. Martin, their leader, reassured and encouraged them that they were free to speak among us. As we shared more they began to open up with each other and us. The bible study was about HEALTHY friendships and the “T” in the word healthy stood for Trust. A boy named Johnte and I were partners and we began talking about what parts of a healthy friendship we struggled with. We discovered that we struggled with the same issues…trusting close friends and being completely honest with them. We were able to encourage each other and we came up with ways that we could practice this with the great friends the Lord had blessed us with. We talked about how with great risk comes great reward. We both agreed it was worth it to be honest and trust our close friends with our story…every part of our story!

The night before camp started we were spending time with some of the Kenyan leaders and we began talking to Peter. Maggie is really good at asking questions, so they began to come out as we were eating dinner and Peter answered them all. As we began learning more and more about his life, we could feel his pain from the past, the sacrifice he made for the Lord, and his joy and passion for what he is doing with Young Life. He sacrificed his friends to follow Jesus and relies on prayer to find work and to live. He spends so much of his time in prayer and in scripture. He was able to give such in depth scriptural explanations for topics like speaking in tongues and tithing. We were fascinated with his every word. He found it to be such a foreign concept that people in America could step into a church without ever sacrificing anything. We found such common ground in our conversations as he spoke of his introverted personality and him having a hard time making friends and trusting people. We found he struggled with relationships, singleness, and doubt…which all sounded too familiar to us.

These two relationships were just a small glimpse at how we discovered we are all the same yet so different at the same time.YL 5

Finding Joy in the Small Things

For entertainment at camp, in Nakuru, at the orphanage, or just every night with our team, we found such joy in a whole lot of dancing and games that required no materials. We played music as often as we could. One of the most moving moments was when Kelly turned on “Carry your Candle” and the children at the orphanage began singing it. It was as if the heavens opened up and the choirs were singing! We had a dance party at every stop we made and sometimes just in the van on our way to the next stop. We played games such as, “This is so much fun”, which simply requires 2 people and a lot of laughter. At camp we jumped our hearts out as we shouted, “Do you have rubber shoes?” or as we played, “Balance the ball”…with no ball. It’s amazing how much fun you can have with no props, no iPads, no toys…just our imaginations.YL 6

Experiencing God

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” – Romans 8:18

This verse is so much more real to us after having experienced the country of Kenya and God’s wonderful creation through the Kenyan people and the African animals. The presence of God is noticeably strong in Kenya as you gaze upon the landscape and interact with the people. The Christians there have faith in God’s promises so unwavering. God definitely has not forgotten Africa! This sums it all up for us…as we come home, humbled that the Lord allowed us to go and experience what He is already doing in Kenya. He did not need us to go. We got to go and be a part of what is already in place. We thought we would go and change the world, and oh how humbled we were.YL 7

Go be part of what God is already doing anywhere in this world, because He is everywhere.

“Do Something” by Matthew West

I woke up this morning

Saw a world full of trouble now

Thought, how’d we ever get so far down

How’s it ever gonna turn around

So I turned my eyes to Heaven

I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”

Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of

People living in poverty

Children sold into slavery

The thought disgusted me

So, I shook my fist at Heaven

Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”

He said, “I did, I created you”


Big thank you to Maggie Aiken, Caroline Reynolds, and Kelly Martin for sharing their experience in Africa with us! Y’all are awesome and I know this will inspire and encourage others to go join in where God is already at work in their life!

One Word. One Question. Why?

Posted: October 8, 2014 in Faith
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If someone asked you if you believe in God what would you say? I think most people reading this article would say yes. Most of us believe there is a God…we believe that something created this universe. We go to Church. We might even read the Bible. Shoot…we might even be in a bible study! If any of those are you I want you to ask yourself this question…“Why?”

Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Why InstiWhy do I attend a Church?

Why do I read the Bible?

Why am I in a bible study?

You have the opportunity to change your mindset the next time you enter in to each of these environments just by asking yourself those questions. Go to church with a new focus…read the Bible through a new lens…see the others in your Bible study in a different light.

The devil doesn’t want us to ask this question. He wants us to fill up our schedules with work, meetings, events, school, sports and all kinds of stuff. He wants us to go through the motions in life. He wants us to forget why we go to church. When he can get us to feel overwhelmed with life he can take our focus off of the why.

When you find your WHY…you find your WHO.

My WHY is my WHO. WHY I choose to spend my time doing certain things in my life is a direct result of WHO I am doing them for.

Ask yourself WHY you do what you do. If your answer doesn’t involve WHO you do it for then you need to rethink WHY you are doing it. You don’t have to stop doing it…but you might need to change your focus within it.

Lastly…life is busy…it is really busy…so be careful with your time and do not forget to glorify and thank God for the blessings in your life. Slow down for just one moment today and ask yourself “Why?”

#againstiflow

Fear

Posted: August 28, 2014 in Faith, Fitness
Tags: , , ,

The other day I was feeling tired and sluggish after work…I was not aware of how obvious that was until my roommate and his girlfriend, with concerned looks on their faces, asked me if I was ok. Of course I responded with, “Yea, I am fine! Do I look tired?” As I quickly perked up and began to fake my okayness. As bad and as tired as I felt at that moment I knew I needed to get some exercise. To be honest I think I was as tired because I had not exercised in a few days. If you know me that is not normal and my body obviously had no clue what was going on. Working my full time job, trying to start a side business, and trying to grow Againstiflow have consumed my life! But I love every bit of it and I am really excited about the direction all of these are heading.

So here I am after work…tired, but in serious need of exercise. How was I going to make myself go for a run? As any person would I turned to YouTube. I remembered one day coming across a video that just absolutely fired me up! I searched the word “Fear” in YouTube and there it was: (if you are receiving this via email you cannot see the video…go to the website)

I mean if that doesn’t get you fired up I don’t know what will. As the nearly 9 minute video played out I felt more and more like I was ready to hit the pavement for a nice run. This tactic worked and I ran 3 miles that evening. After my run I ate dinner and then met with some againstiflow guys to discuss the future of this thing. I was not tired and I now had more energy than I had all day…except maybe right after my first cup of coffee earlier that morning.

Now so far this has been a good story…and I hope you enjoyed the video, but what does it have to do with anything?

Our last Instagram photo had a quote that said, “My greatest fear is not that I am inadequate. My greatest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure because my God is powerful beyond measure.” I actually got that quote from the above video, but I added “because my God is powerful beyond measure.” Why did I add that? I added that because I would be nothing without my God. He brought me from darkness to light and continues to lead me forward in life. When I came home exhausted I still knew that I needed to exercise…I knew it would be good for me at that moment. Although, it would have been much easier to lay on the couch and take a nap. In our pursuit of what the Lord is calling us to do in life sometimes the easier thing to do would be to stay right where we are. That is because sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard…uncomfortable…and challenging. The wise thing to do would be to follow God where he is calling us to go. The evil one will do everything in his power to turn us the other way. After I ran 3 miles I had more energy and felt more alive than I had all day. If we follow what God is calling us to do…even though it might be scary and seem impossible…we will feel more alive than we ever have in our life.

The only thing I fear in life is me being scared to put my full trust in God. I fear that His plan for me is so great that if I don’t follow Him and trust Him completely that I will miss out on something that is “powerful beyond measure.”

We have already seen life change and seen God’s work within Againstiflow. A quote from one Againstiflow member pretty much sums it up, “If Againstiflow were to fall to shambles today then that is fine because God has already used it to do its part.”

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I think sometimes in my faith I feel like Peter from the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” when Kunu is trying to teach him how to surf….

Don’t overthink things. It is not for you to figure out. If you are relentlessly pursuing God in all you do then you will know where He is leading you. If you are not then His footsteps will be harder to follow and you will be left trying to figure out what is going on.

The confusing part of the above paragraph can lie in the part about “pursuing God in all you do.” That is very hard and sometimes we don’t know if we should do this, do that, or are we trying to do too much? Sometimes we get the idea that God is going to magically put some beautiful, perfect, awesome person in our life (single people). He will…but not if you just lay there and do nothing. “You gotta do more than that…you’re just laying there. It looks like you’re boogie boarding.” Quit looking like you’re boogie boarding. God “will be your instincts.” Now “pop up” and go and follow those instincts! In this case the word follow does not mean to watch what someone is tweeting…it means to take action and physically move toward what God has put on your heart. We aren’t perfect and following those instincts will never look like you pictured it…but be “relentless” and never give up. Final thought – the more you get in His Word and pursue Him daily the clearer those “instincts” will be.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

#againstiflow

You know that feeling when you have been hoping for something so long, and then the moment of truth finally arrives for the change to happen…and it falls through? That feeling where you’re back at square one having to reevaluate your next step?

It could be waiting for a job interview, or to hear from a college, or even from a guy/girl for a second date. It hurts…it feels like a punch to your stomach and can be a major let down.

What do you do when plans fall through or don’t work out how you wanted? How do you rebound?

Well, I experienced a set back yesterday morning, and while I am still trying to piece together where to go from here…Jesus is really speaking to me through this process.  So, here are a few tips that I hope will help you when you face these so called “set backs” in your life. These are not profound tips that will lead to deep thinking- but practical and easy ways to get you back on track.

Tip #1 – Dive into the word

I started reading James yesterday and I haven’t made it past the first chapter because the verses are so relevant to my situation right now. I think it’s incredible how a book that was written over 2000 years ago can hold so much wisdom and guidance for our lives today.

Faith and Endurance – “Dear brothers and sister, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

James 1: 2-4

Troubles = Joy. That isn’t something you hear everyday! What an awesome verse…a truth that we can hold onto in the mists of chaos and know that this set back we feel is perfecting us in Christ.

Tip #2 – Remember that God is Good

It doesn’t matter how seemingly bad you feel right now, God is Good, and he wants to pour his goodness over you and bless you abundantly.

Tip #3 – Community

As soon as I got my call of bad news, my roommate knew tip #1 was key and her only response was, ‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”’ Jeremiah 29:11 That was all I needed to hear, and that verse immediately reminded me of the hope I have in Jesus.

Find a verse that speaks to your situation…write that verse on a note card and stick it on your mirror, in the kitchen, or in your car. Place it somewhere you constantly look so you can be reminded of God’s goodness. Let the words of the Bible fill you up. Surround yourself with a community of believers who will stand by you with encouragement and truth.

Be strong and endure the troubles!!