Posts Tagged ‘God’

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!


VegetariansI have a sister-in-law who is a vegetarian and I came across this verse in Romans 14 that had me worried about her. It said:

“One persons faith allows them to eat anything, but another, WHOSE FAITH IS WEAK, eats only vegetables.”

I knew there was something wrong about being a vegetarian! Just a bunch of weak faithed people that turn down Zaxby’s chicken fingers for no reason at all and then choose to eat wasabi peas or chips that look like vegetables. I don’t think I would survive without Zaxby’s chicken fingers in my life…and we don’t even need to get started on bacon. Bacon should not be left out of anything. It makes sense why their faith is weak…

Well…Paul had more to say in Romans 14. The next verse says:

“The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”

God has accepted vegetarians…so we should too.

There are certain things in the Bible that are clearly forbidden (murder, adultery, homosexuality, theft, idolatry), but we need to be careful not to create our own rules and then make them equal with God’s word.

Let me explain…there are certain situations I do not put myself in because I would leave with a guilty conscience and I would not feel like I was obeying God. It could be an area I struggled with in my past that I want to stay clear of. That is fine…I am listening to what God is telling ME and showing ME in MY life. But I can’t take that scenario and condemn others who choose to enjoy their freedom in that area. It might not be an area of temptation in their life.

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.” Romans 14:13

Just as I can’t make my friends or family live by my rules…I need to be weary of those areas of concern in their lives. If my actions are putting them in uncomfortable situations I need to be aware of that. We are all strong in some areas and weak in others…but we must be aware of how that is affecting those around us.

“If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.” Romans 14:15

The Bible does not tell us we can’t ever drink a beer, but if we are around an alcoholic or someone who struggles in that area, out of love for them we probably shouldn’t hit the bar scene. By doing that we would be turning something that we see as harmless in our eyes and using it as evil.

“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.” Romans 14:20-21

Our relationship with God is a “personal relationship” that we learn in and grow in everyday. The Bible is clear on many things we should stay clear of, but it is also very clear that we are called to love others. Part of loving others is honoring the things in their life that cause them conviction. Christ died on a cross so that we could live a life of freedom. Do not be a stumbling block in the life of those around you. Love them and bring unity to your community through the way you love them. We have to do this life together and we have to love each other in the best way possible.

As far as it goes for vegetarians…that is between them and God.

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)


The idea of a greater being, a creator, an all-powerful God is a wild thought for some people, which is completely normal. It is crazy to think about. In this universe there are so many things that are indescribable. Did you know that the Earth could fit inside the Sun 960,000 times? Now that is ridiculous. Think how small you are compared to the Earth. Well, the Earth is tiny in the grand scheme of the universe. It is nothing. There is another sun out there called Canus Majoris and it is the largest KNOWN star. The Earth could fit inside Canus Majoris 7 quadrillion times. If the earth was the size of a golf ball, Canus Majoris would be the height of Mt. Everest! Go to Mt. Everest, put a golf ball at the bottom, and look up…let me know how that makes you feel. Before we move on lets think about how big a quadrillion is:

  • A million seconds ago takes us back to 12 days ago.
  • A billion seconds ago takes us back to 1982.
  • A trillion seconds ago….that’s got to be the 1500s… about 31,709 years ago.
  • A quadrillion seconds ago takes us all the way back to 30.8 million years ago.

And 7 quadrillion Earths could fit inside this one star!! That blows my mind…on to the next one.

This example was portrayed to me one time and I thought it was awesome. Someone drew a circle and told me this circle represented all the knowledge in the universe. They then told me to shade in the amount of knowledge I thought I already knew. I put a dot. I graduated from college, but there is too much knowledge out there for me to even think about. The possibilities of this universe are endless. We are still discovering more and more each day that we didn’t know the day before. The point of this circle was to say that if we only claim to know this much (whatever you shaded in) who is to say that there is not a God?

Now, imagine you are walking down the beach. Something shiny catches your eye slightly buried in the sand. You reach down and pick it up and it is a nice shiny watch. You are in disbelief…how in the world did this watch just get created. Your first thought is probably that the watch was created through some chemical reactions, bonding of molecules, and the sand grinding together. I am kidding…someone had to have created that watch. In the same way a watch had to be created by a creator, it would only make sense that the same thing happened to us. The human body is a quadrillion times more complicated than a watch!

This earth, this universe and everything in it are simply indescribable. I know everyone has challenged his or her faith at some point because there is so much we do not know, but it all comes down to the simple story of a man named Jesus. He is the reason I love others because He first loved me; He is the reason I forgives others because He first forgave me; and He is the reason I pursue relationships with others because He first pursued a relationship with me. He is indescribable.

Watch Louie Giglio’s- How Great is Our God (not the shortest video, but really good)

Always Put Your Relationship With God Before Your Relationship With Me

If I ever put you in a situation that compromises your faith…or makes you have to decide whether to make me happy or to make God happy…please side with God on that one. He is going to be right 100% of the time.

Be Confident In Yourself

I will do everything I can to make you feel loved. I will tell you that you are beautiful, surprise you with flowers, make you laugh. But don’t let me be your main source of confidence. To me, confidence is one of your most attractive attributes. You don’t need me for that. God made you perfectly and you can be confident in that.

Be Quick To Forgive

There will be times when we argue and you will not want to be in the same room as me. I am going to mess up from time to time, but please forgive me. By forgiving each other our marriage will only grow stronger. God forgave us.

Have Fun

Laugh uncontrollably. Play pranks on me. Don’t take life too seriously.

Know You Are Beautiful and Always Will Be Beautiful

You are one of God’s daughters. He beautifully and perfectly created you for this earth. Your outside beauty caught my eye, but your inner beauty kept me by.