Sunday, March 27, 2016

He is Risen

Happy Easter friends! What a joyous day Easter is! 

The resurrection of Jesus is everything - it is the foundation of our faith and the HOPE we have in Jesus. No matter what we face in this life, we have the hope of life with Jesus forever. God is victorious over death and all evil, and nothing can ever separate us from His relentless love. 

May we seek His face always, and live in light of heaven every single day. Our best days are yet to come, when we get to spend eternity in His presence. 

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us love, hope, and life in abundance.

"Now, death, where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated.
Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive!"

With all hope in Him,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

One of my favorite songs is "In Christ Alone" because it is such a sweet reminder of the Gospel and all that Jesus has done for us.

So what is the significance of Good Friday?

Followers of Jesus set aside time on Good Friday to acknowledge the weight of what Jesus did on the cross - enduring a horrifying death for sins that he did not commit so that ultimately, God's redemption story for His people could take place.

Jesus gave everything so that we could have what we do not deserve.

He saved us when we couldn't save ourselves, even while we were still sinners.

The punishment for our sins is death, which we deserve for all the wrong we have committed and will commit in our lifetimes. God, who is righteous, perfect, and holy, cannot be in relationship with unholiness. And so, Jesus became fully human so that he could live a perfect life, die as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and then rise again in victory to keep loving and forgiving us, over and over. Jesus bridged the gap between us and a holy, perfect God so that we could live in relationship with Him forever.

The enormity of His love and power never ceases to amaze me.

It is the greatest love story every told. Because of His great love for us, His children, Jesus died so that we could have life. He paid our debt so that we don't have to.

All I can do in response is fall at His feet, receiving His boundless grace that I am so unworthy of, and love Him with all my heart and soul. I give my life back to Christ because it is all because of Him. This life does not make sense apart from Jesus. His grace has transformed my life, and my story is ultimately God's story. Once you have experienced the relentless pursuit of our incredible God and tasted His love and goodness, there is no turning back.

I pray, dear friend, that you experience the depth of His love for you. I pray that we allow the weight of Good Friday to reach the core of our hearts, so that we begin to understand more fully how loved and redeemed we are. Nothing else makes sense in this life that we have been given if God is not the center and end goal. Seek life with Him, and you will always have everything you need.

A life with Christ is not easy - we are promised that trials and struggles will come. But, with the Holy Spirit always with you, and the God of the universe as Your Father, nothing will be impossible. He is faithful, worthy of our trust, and always working for the good of those who love Him. You can be assured that God will never allow you to endure anything that He cannot use for good.

And so, it is a Good Friday indeed.

In His Grace,

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday - it marks the beginning of Holy Week and a significant moment in history when God's redemptive story began to unfold through the life of Jesus. Hosanna means "God, save us". How desperate we are for God to save us. The respect Jesus received on this day, so many years ago, is truly what He has deserve all along.

"Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Rejoice in heave and glory in the highest!"
Luke 19:38

I love that our endlessly gracious Savior is the same table-flippin' Jesus who burned with a righteous anger because sin was keeping people from relationship with God the Father. That's how much He cares about the purity of the temple (symbolic of our bodies and hearts, which are temples of the Holy Spirit - 1 Corinthians 6:19), being free from sin and in right relationship with our God.

Today, that connection between the cleansing of the temple on Palm Sunday and the cleansing of our temples was made clear to me. I asked myself what I need Jesus to cleanse me of, so that I can have unhindered intimacy with God.

And so I too ask you: what does Jesus need to clean out of your temple to free you from the bondage of sin and redeem you from within?

Let us pray for cleansing from our sins and a deepened intimacy with God, because in Him is fullness of life, and through Him we get to share in the glory of God.

Why wouldn't we?!

"You will find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13

In His Name,

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Custom Youth Ministry Signs

Junior high and high school students are a little notorious for being difficult. Surprisingly, even though it can be tough sometimes, I love working with the junior high and high school students at Solidarity. I never expected to be called into ministry with this age group, at least for a season, but the adolescent years are so crucial for growth and I consider it a privilege to be part of our students' lives. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to tell kids about Jesus for the first time, to be a positive voice that speaks God's truth and casts out lies, and to walk with them as they become the men and women God intends for them to be. It blows me away sometimes - that God would choose me to be part of His great story in their lives.

I do recognize, however, that working with them everyday, week after week, is tough. Sometimes, kids are annoying and loud. Sometimes they don't listen. I get it.

These custom signs were created for my friend who works at a local church. She was actually one of my very first clients, and I am so appreciative of her and so many others who believed in me from the start. She is also a dear friend to my sister and family, and I am certain that she is an amazing youth leader.

I pray that if you are a youth ministry leader, that you will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to be patient even when its difficult, and that God would use your voice, faith, and leadership to mold our next generation.

Your presence matters in their lives. Your leadership is significant, even if it doesn't always feel like it. Remember that we were never meant to do ministry without God (as silly as that sounds, how often do we try to get through it all on our own?). Depend on His Spirit to guide and sustain you. Resist the tendency towards self-reliance, because every thing we do is for God's glory, and apart from Him, we can do nothing.

Isaiah 40:31
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."