For many of us, becoming a Christian and joining a church is a lot like getting invited to a country club.
We sign up on a little card, are handed instant “community” within the group and are even given a calendar full of all the ways to become involved.
We receive a place at the table of doing, serving and attending. We meet up for regular gatherings that make us feel good, feel loved and feel accepted.
Yet, despite the all-inclusive aspects of this new life, something is missing. Something is lacking.
After years of attending, doing and serving, we find that we don’t know Jesus more intimately than we did that first day we prayed and asked Him into our lives.
You see her.
In your Instagram feed. Writing another book. Up on a stage. Traveling the globe and doing work that seems to be changing the world.
Meanwhile, you are stuck paying bills and budgeting. Carpooling and folding laundry. Hustling but not getting anywhere fast.
Your life feels far from extraordinary. Yours lacks influence, and your work seems unimportant in comparison to what she, and others like her, are doing.
People all around you seem to have megaphones and microphones, and you are simply standing among the masses: a speck in a sea of insignificance.
The beautifully wrapped packages, the gorgeously decorated tree, the perfectly prepared meal. This time of year we all begin to make our dream lists about creating the warmest of holiday celebrations for our families.
While the details of our visions may vary, our hopes are similar. We want those who fill our homes over the holidays to feel loved, welcomed, and celebrated, with nothing missing from the picture perfect vision in our heads.
And so we hustle to the stores, bustle around the kitchen, and keep our hands busy prepping and planning so that the holidays can be all they were meant to be.
But, friends, have you ever felt harried by the holiday hustle? Does the stress of meal planning, house tidying, gift buying, and guest hosting wear you thin rather than fill you up?
If so, then I am here to tell you that you are not the only one.
Have you ever just needed a friend?
And most people I know have.
At one time or another, we all will need a true friend, someone who is willing to show up, even though it’s inconvenient, costly or hard.
This life, no matter how self-sufficient we are, is not meant to be experienced alone. Community is an integral part of the human design, but somewhere along the way to gaining 1K online friends and followers, we have lost our connection in understanding the need for real friendships in real life with the people right beside us.
One of the best examples we have of how to be a good friend came from Jesus. He was the master relationship craftsman and fine tuned the art of showing up and loving people well.
Everybody loves fall, but within some Christian circles, not everybody loves Halloween.
The creepy masks, the gory costumes and the darkness that seems to cloak the festivities of the holiday are enough to make the best Christian turn off their porch light, attend a harvest party at church and just otherwise pretend Halloween doesn’t exist.
Now, I know that there is indeed a lot of darkness surrounding the holiday, even today, and I would be remiss to not acknowledge the influence of it on all the revelry of October 31.
I have a confession to make.
I am a gossip.
Seriously. I am a nosey busybody who wants the latest dirt on everybody who is anybody.
At first, it may sound a little silly to confess this to you but I am realizing that just because gossip is more of a “respectable sin” doesn’t make it any less hurtful or less ugly.
Sin is sin, and allowing gossip to breed in my heart is a subtle way to let the enemy sneak in and kill, steal and destroy from the relationships in my life. And I don’t want to do that anymore.
Over and over again in the last few months, God has been peeling back the layers of my gossiping heart to show me just how deep this sin runs in myself. And, friends, it. is. ugly.
You, my friend, are a missionary.
You may not have had to move to a faraway country or raise financial support, but you have been strategically placed by God to live intentionally in the very community you are in right now.
You may not be an official missionary in the traditional sense of the word, but you are indeed an everyday one. You are an everyday missionary, and God has placed you in your corner of the world for a purpose.
And I believe that purpose is to love God and love people with everything you have. (Mark 12:29-31)
You may be thinking, who me? I am not a missionary. I’m not married to a pastor; I didn’t go to seminary. Heck! I’m not even a small group leader.
To that, I say, Perfect! Because God’s Word doesn’t call people to do any of those things.
For many young Christ-followers, there is a question that is almost taboo to ask in certain Christian circles. Is it wrong to drink?
I think this is both a valid and a fair question, and it deserves a response. So today, we are going to dig into God’s Word and see what it has to say about this whole topic of drinking alcohol.
So, is it wrong to drink alcohol?
In a nutshell, Yes. And no. And maybe.
Yes, It is wrong when:
Whether it’s remodeling a house, starting a business or growing a garden, Praise abounds for those do-it-yourselfers out there. However, sometimes, I think we need more “I don’t know” moments and less “I got this” ones.
Tiny little smartphone squares and on-the-go hellos so often encourage us to believe that we need to have our lives together. No gaps. No stutters. No insufficiencies. Especially for others to see.
But, friend, that isn’t real life. Real life is messy. It is hard. And we aren’t equipped in our power to do it all by ourselves. Real life is not DIY.
And honestly, I think that it’s not even close to the life Christ would have us to live.
I was on Facebook today. The deluge of information, opinions, support and hatred is vast. At times, it can be overwhelming.
This week it centers around Orlando. Last week it was about a collegiate criminal.
Despite my strong feelings on many of these topics, I typically choose to remain silent on the interwebs about such things because I do not believe I need to add to the noise that so many are already sifting through as they try to process, understand or even grieve.
But today, I saw something that was powerful enough to move me to speak.