Sunday, March 31, 2013

We're alive and We're Shaken

I am currently at Starbucks listening to the stylistic sounds of Brazilian music that incites one to get up and shake their hips. It's quite enjoyable, actually.

Anyways. Happy Easter! Christ is risen! He conquered death so that we may have freedom and life through Him!

Okay now be honest. How quickly did you just skim over that? Did those words really have any sort of profound effect in your heart? 

Maybe not if we were honest with ourselves. As someone who grew up in church her whole life, I can pretty much predict (down to a science) how an Easter service will go. It will be packed. Though the messages may vary, it will pretty-much-guaranteed have a large emphasis of it centered around coming to Christ or evangelizing to non-believers. I mean, c'mon, churches are smart right? They know this is, besides Christmas, will be one of their most packed services, so they want to bring as many people to Jesus as they can. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Not really. It's you ever realize how apathetic we get about it?

Well at least that's the sense I got today when I was at church. It blew my mind that I was in a packed room, filled with believers, and yet I couldn't help but feel this crushing burden of apathy and boredom from the majority of the people around me. How incredibly sad is that?

Are we that dry as a people that we can't even summon up at least a tiny bit of excitement to celebrate a day that brought to life everything we believe in? It's kind of no wonder we get called hypocritical all the time.

We need breath. We need fire. We need passion. We need to be shaken to life.

I'm completely repeating myself. I know that I've already written one, if not several, blogs on this but it's just something that is so important. 

Guys our world is so dark. It is in so much need of Jesus it's insane.There are so many lost and broken people. And we've gotten so comfortable in our apathy that we've ignored our sleep for so long. We've let our faith become clouded with worldly values. We've let ourselves come to the point where Easter is more of a chore than a celebration of our God.  It's scary, talking to people about Jesus. Even though we're told not to fear rejection, but let's be honest...rejection kinda sucks. It's no fun to have people hate you and call you a bigot. And it can be seriously not fun to serve others. Our lives are hectic and crazy, it seems there is never enough time to do all that we should. And I'm lumping myself along with everyone else. I don't do either of these things nearly as much as I should. But I need to. We need to. 

For lack of a less cheesy analogy, I feel like I've been asleep for so long, and Jesus is slowly bringing me back awake. I feel the beginnings of a fire. A fire I don't ever want to let burn out. Oh geeze. Please excuse how cheesy all of this is, but seriously. I feel like I'm falling in love with Him a little more everyday. It's like seeing the boy you have the biggest crush on and getting all those butterflies and fluttery guttery feelings. He makes my heart race and I just love Him. I want to talk about ALL the time. I just really love Him.

I don't mean any of that to come of braggy. That is not my intention. Honestly, I know this is all God. I am so thankful that He has brought me out of my apathy. And I'm praying that He will do the same with those around me. We NEED this guys. We need this all consuming love. We need to be overwhelmed by Him. 

Can you imagine what we could do, what we could change, if we as a church finally shook off our apathy? If we finally let Him take control of our desires and hearts?

Something revolutionary, that's for sure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Acts 2:44

Have you ever taken a second to think about how many sermons in church are based off the idea of servant hood? Or how there always seems to be hundreds and hundreds of volunteer opportunities that it's almost overwhelming to think about? I wonder why that is. Why do so many of the messages we hear seem to revolve around that one idea?

I think it's because so many of us have yet to fully grasp the true meaning of servant hood.

I feel like a hypocrite even writing about this because I used to be extremely bitter towards any message on serving. In my mind, it wasn't preached with good intentions, but rather as a ploy from the church to get more volunteers. In hindsight I realize that much of what I felt was a result of how burned out I was. I was volunteering for too many things at one time and blamed it on the church instead of myself. Which, sidenote, don't do that. Volunteering for 80,000 things does not make you a better Christian than someone else, or make you holier than someone else. Just volunteer for what you feel called to do. Otherwise, you will get burnt out and you will hate everything.


I think (like so many other things) we've let American ideals blend together with Christian principles. And that is rarely a good thing. As society we're told to help others, but there's always some sort of hidden agenda within it. And our culture encourages that principle. There always has to be some kind of reward or recognition that comes with our seemingly selfless act. I think, as Christians, we've kind of adopted this idea. We've created this... expectancy when serving others. We can deny it until we're absolutely out of breath, but it exists. I realized that there are so many times I serve others with some hidden intention in my heart. Whether it be recognition or the security that the person I'm serving will one day return the favor, the expectancy exists. And I hate it.

This is completely not how I'm supposed to serve others. This isn't how we are supposed to serve others. I want to serve someone out of a joyful and willing heart. I don't want them to feel obligated to me. I don't want to expect something in return.

(and again, I think I'm making too many generalizations here because I have met so many Christians who serve others entirely out of genuine love for God)

I think I've come to the point in this blog where I've completely overused this example, but the church in Acts guys. Oh my goodness. Is there a better example? THEY GAVE UP THEIR LAND FOR ONE ANOTHER. What in the world? This blows my mind EVERY time I read it! I can't seem to get over it. That's what true servant hood looks like. Helping out of the genuine love you have for God and others. 

I want to serve in love. I want to serve others because I have so much love for Jesus that it just pours out into every area of my life and I won't be able to physically stop helping others. No expectations. No rewards. Just genuine love and care for others.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Reckless Love too Wild to Understand

Reckless: "utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless".

There's just something about the word "reckless" that instantly sets my heart beating fast. Maybe it's just because I fancy myself a reckless person in some aspects of my life...or maybe it's just the idea of it and what I think about when I hear or see that word.

Regardless of what comes to mind, I cannot think of a better word to describe the love we should have for God. I know it may seem wrong, especially since the word reckless is used to label so many negative things, but it just seems so...right to me. I honestly can't think of a more perfect, or fitting word for it.

Think about it: "utterly unconcerned about the consequences...without caution". Can you imagine how many things we would do for Jesus if we were completely unconcerned about the consequences? We wouldn't care what society says about us, or what our friends would think about us. We would just do. We would do it out of this crazy, irrpresable love we have for Him and nothing would be able to stop us.

How amazing would that be?!
Having a reckless love for Him means putting aside the insecurities or fears we may have and going after Him in full abandonment. It's complete surrender. I want that. I want to be recklessly in love with Him. I want to be completely surrendered to His will that no matter what He calls me to do or where He calls me, that I would go and do without a second thought. 

There's not much else I can really say about this other than just think about it. Think about how truly free we would be if we allowed ourselves to let go and recklessly loved Him with everything we had. It would be crazy. The kind of crazy that our world needs. The kind of crazy that Jesus delights in. 

I hope that this isn't coming across as judgmental or preachy. I, myself, have trouble letting go. The idea of being recklessly abandoned to God is terrifying.'s also kind of really exciting. And I just really can't wait til I can get to this point and be used by God without holding back. 

I think it'd be kind of fantastic.

Oh! This whole post was very much inspired by Up in Arms by Hillsong United. So here's a link. Listen to it because not only are the lyrics wonderful, but the music is so on point:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Can we get some love for the old?

I know, I know. I posted just two short days ago. But sometimes when the blog bug hits, you must listen and post away.

Anyways. This post will probably offend some...but honestly when do my posts (except the ones where I am being vain and talking about myself) not ruffle a few feathers? So we can all just ignore this little disclaimer. But I should add this one on: I think this is going to come off sounding like I'm very bitter, but I'm honestly not. I promise. I admit I've written some posts with bitter notes in them, but this is not one of them. It's just something that I've been noticing more and more lately.

Maybe it's just me, or the age group I'm with, or even the place I'm at, but lately I've just been getting this feeling that being an "old" Christian is just not very cool anymore. Or at least being an older young adult Christian isn't cool anymore.

Should I explain this? I think I should.

 I've been a Christian since I was five and rededicated my life to God when I was fourteen. I've gone through many ups and downs, great times and bad times, but I've never completely walked away from God. I don't think I ever could. He is ingrained (in a lovely way) into my system and He could never, and I'd never, want Him to get out.Well apparently, at least in the young adult atmosphere, this isn't normal. I have new believers come up to me and ask something along the lines of "so what were you like in your BC days?" And perhaps I should explain the whole "bc" concept. "BC Days" basically means what you were like before you surrendered your life to God. It's just a cutesy way of describing all the not so lovely things you participated in before Jesus.

Whenever someone asks me this, I don't actually have an answer unless I want to talk about what a horrible child I was before five, which lets face it...were any of us rays of sunshine at 2? No. Anyways, after I tell them that I do not, in fact, have BC days, I get this...look. Ohhh how to describe this look? I guess you could say it's almost...condescending in a way? Maybe that's not the right word. Pity might be better. Yes actually pity works well. It's like they pity me because I've never "acted out" or done something I insanely regret and therefore my testimony is not as powerful as theirs. I can't witness to someone who used to party every night because I never did that. I don't have the right. I'm not even going to get into how so many people seem to take pride in their BC days, because this post would end up being a year long or something ridiculous like that. But let me just say, what in the world? If it's not the pitying looks, then it's looks of disbelief or doubt. I've had people actually question whether or not I'm saved because I've been a Christian so long...and half of this isn't even from my peers, but from the leaders themselves!

Thank you. Because that is not belittling at all.

The sad thing is that so many of the ministries I've been involved in lately seem to just reinforce this idea. I can't tell you how many messages I've sat through that are basically, "Repent! Surrender! Live for Jesus!" And yes. I am completely ALL for this! This is what Christianity is about. But sometimes I'd  just like to dive further into the bible and learn other things besides that message. I want to grow, you know? I want to be able to ask all these questions I have without "oh we can't get into that yet, because so many people don't know the story of Jesus yet". I think I can count one ministry around me that's directed towards "older" Christians. And I am absolutely in love with it. However, compared to the 15 or so other ministries on campus that are dedicated to helping new believers, it's a little sad.

Oh and just because I am an older Christian, please don't tell me that it is my sole responsibility to mentor and disciple others. I am not against that at all. Actually, the thought of being someone's mentor is very exciting to me. However, please don't forget that I am still growing. I still need someone to help us. Yes, I have been a Christian for quite some time, but I (and no one does) don't have all the answers. I need guidance as well. But it's very hard to receive that guidance when so many ministries get so caught up with converting new people and ignore the others in their congregation. Please don't forget about that. That's how ministries loose so many people. Because they neglect us "older Christians" and spend all their energy on new believers.
Oh gosh. I feel like a horrible person even posting this because I can see how whiny and snobby it may seem to others. I am sorry. I'm not trying to be a snob. I'd just like to stop feeling like I'm condescended because I haven't just now given my life to God. 

Okay. I'll be done now. I just had to get this off my chest.