The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom from beginning to end.
And I struggle as a young person to wrap my head around these upside down commands because nothing about our world is about putting others first.
The worlds says, “Me first!” and the Kingdom says, “Me last!”
Check out Romans 12:10 in these 3 translations:
NLT: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
ERV: Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself.
MSG: Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
We are to love everyone like they are our brothers and sisters. This makes sense when you think about it because there are only two types of people in the world: Those who are already our family in Christ and those we want to see become our family in Christ.
My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:16.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!
Evangelism is not about us versus them. Outreach is not about being a bully and forcing Jesus down someone’s throat.
I can’t get away from these thoughts…
I am not sharing the gospel to get ahead.
I am not seeking a platform to build “my ministry.”
Evangelism has absolutely NOTHING to do with my advancement and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with showing someone else the path to redemption.
The path of humility is all about taking jealousy and the need to get ahead off the table.
We’re on this journey together.
We’re growing together.
We’re serving together.
You’re not more important than me and I’m not more important than you because we’re family.
I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to talk with my family and friends a bit more than I was during the school year.
Technology makes it easy to stay in touch. Thanks to Facebook, email, text, and FaceTime living so far away is much more bearable.
Honestly, I have struggled with a touch of homesickness the last week.
I know that Rhema is where I’m supposed to be, but these feelings can creep up faster than you realize.
Reminding myself what this season is all about–following the Holy Spirit–is why I chose to move away.
This is something I needed and wanted to do.
And while I do miss my family and friends, I know that they are supportive of my desire to follow God.
I’ve come face to face with homesickness ( and I’m sure this won’t be the last time).
I’m also living in such a sweet season of blessing.
The amount of stuff I’m learning at school and in ministry service is more than I ever imagined.
It makes these momentary challenges worth it.
If your dad is still around, be sure to visit or call.
It’s weird to think about my parents and grandparents passing away…
As a young adult, I have a hard time picturing life without my family around, but I know one day it will happen.
Several of my friends have already lost their fathers. They don’t talk about the difficult times and their differences.
What they talk about is how much one more day would mean.
Nothing else matters.
This Father’s Day I’m reminded again about the power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love.
Hard times come–disagreements happen–but do what you can to make amends.
Decide to forgive instead of holding a grudge. None of us knows if today is our last.
When the end comes–for you or your loved ones–wouldn’t you rather know that you’ve done everything you can?
Regret is a bully.
You don’t want that hanging over you head.
This Memorial Day was awesome.
Here are the highlights:
- Slept in
- Hung out with 2 of my friends at the mall and their house
- Ate Chick-fil-A
- Had my first visitor over at my new place
- Watched a movie
- Ate pizza
- Laughed a lot
- Finished a book
The day was quite restful.
I’m so thankful for servicemen–the fallen heroes, the veterans, and those who are active duty–because the life I enjoy wouldn’t be possible without their sacrifices.
Did I mention my sister Sofia turned 12?
I’m thankful for Sofia’s sweet spirit and for how she so willingly embraced me as her big sister 5 years ago.
Her friendship and love mean a lot to me.
She even laughs at my jokes sometimes! (Wink, wink)
Happy Birthday, Sof!
It’s been an awesome day!
I was invited to a birthday party, so I’ve spent the day surrounded by kids.
My friend Evie (Nina’s daughter) turned 6.
Sophia (Evie’s older sister) and I filled up water balloons and then we helped Evie with her birthday presents.
Now all the kids are playing while the grown ups talk (and grill hot dogs).
It feels good to spend the day outside and with friends.
Today was gardening day, which means that I spent the afternoon with my friend Nina.
We planted okra, corn, radishes, cucumbers, and spinach.
It was also cool to see that the veggies we planted last time are coming along nicely.
Next time I head out there I will snap a few photos to show you. Nina’s beans are coming in and the bean plant’s flowers are beautiful!
Of course, getting to dig around in the dirt is always fun as well as chats about anything and everything as Nina and I get the work done.
Seeing Nina’s love of gardening, of establishing a strong homestead, inspires me. She’s truly passionate–this is not a passing fad for her.
There’s a lot to be learned about sticking something out even during times of failure. Not all of Nina and Jeff’s homesteading adventures worked out at first, yet they kept learning, kept trying.
Persistence, focus, and dedication are traits that are often discussed but rarely lived out.
And the fruits of their strong character are evident to me as I look around their farm.
I am blessed to have friends who are teaching me through their example.
I spent the afternoon muddy and I loved it!
My friends, Jeff and Nina, invited me over for lunch. After we ate, I helped Nina replant an evergreen tree.
I met Jeff and Nina back in October when my dad and I came out to College Weekend. Dad went to Rhema with Jeff, so they’ve been friends for years.
Their sweet family is so much fun to hang out with! We spent the afternoon chatting and working around their farm.
They have 3 children, so it was noisy…and awesome! I miss my brothers and sisters. I miss having little people around me.
Also, all 3 of their goats had twins. 6 kids were romping around the farm. It’s amazing to see God’s creation doing what it’s intended to do: be fruitful and multiply.
Working outside, digging in the dirt, was a blast.
Gardening is something that I enjoy and want to do for the rest of my life. There’s something so satisfying about tending a garden and eating from it’s bounty.
Jeff and Nina work hard on their farm. It’s cool to see their passion and how their children work alongside of them.
I want to share a praise report with you…
A father and daughter were reunited because my dad shared our story with the father.
The father is watching our video series to help him navigate this new relationship.
And a couple of other men are now encouraged to reach out to their abandoned children, too.
I am incredibly humbled by this news, especially since sharing this part of my life has been a stretch for me.
Thank the Lord for allowing my dad and I to help others. God gets all of the glory because it’s only by His grace any of this happened.
Abandonment is a big issue in our world. A growing percentage of children are being ditched by the people who are supposed to love them the most.
Sadly, most of them see God as another bad parent and walk the other way.
One of the biggest desires of my heart is to help these hurting children–child and adult alike–see the love of God for them.
The revelation of God’s love will heal the wounds of broken hearts.
The power of redemption is best expressed through the narratives of redeemed and restored lives.
I encourage you to share your story and watch how God uses it to change lives.
I had a good time visiting with my dad, stepmom, and the kids today.
They came to town for a funeral and we spent Monday night and Tuesday afternoon together.
Our friends, Tim and Carolyn Clark, ate dinner with us on Monday night and then spent spent time with us before they headed to the airport.
When the Clarks left, us adults hung out and talked before surprising the kids with a trip to the movie theater to see Kung Fu Panda 3.
After the movie, we enjoyed a quiet dinner followed by more talking and some family worship around the piano.
I was sad as I said goodbye to everyone.
However, I know in my heart that I’m supposed to be at Rhema. Tulsa, Oklahoma is my home for now, and I am excited about all that is ahead of me.
This knowledge doesn’t make me any less sad–I miss my family and friends back in Alabama–but it definitely helps me keep going in the midst of bittersweet moments.
I came home at the end of the visit and looked around at my new reality, the path that is mine and mine alone to walk.
Good things are ahead.
I am so thankful to God for this journey.
And I am so thankful for family and friends who encourage me to go on great adventures with God.
I had an amazing Saturday….and I can’t tell you anything about it!
The School of World Missions (SOWM) Cultural Immersion Weekend was this Friday and Saturday.
I rode the church bus out to Rhema Ranch early this morning with 10 other student volunteers.
We were sworn to secrecy because SOWM wants the experience to be a surprise for upcoming missions students.
What I can tell you is that I will definitely sign up to volunteer in the future!
The presence and power of God was so strong. These students are ready to take the world by storm.
Another cool aspect of volunteering is knowing that my dad and stepmom went through similar training to prepare for the mission field.
Missions is a core value in my family, so I want to help SOWM any way I can.
I was also more stirred up about deaf missions. There are so many deaf people who don’t know Jesus! I look forward to seeing how the path God has for me unfolds.
Missions is on my mind and burning in my heart!