Because we’re family

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. 

 

 

 

Just keep asking

“I’m just going to keep asking if I can help. Who knows? One day the answer might be yes.”

After the Boiler Room I was teasing one of my friends–a mom with two young kids–about her not accepting my requests to help ferry things to her car. 

She’s never really needed my help because her husband is great at taking care of that kind of stuff–which is awesome btw. 

It got me to thinking…

There’s nothing wrong with sticking your neck out after being turned down by whoever you’re trying to help. 

Just keep asking. 

Just keep being a friend. 

I truly believe that’s one of the biggest reasons most Christians aren’t making disciples like we should be. 

Most of us give up way too fast on people. 

Most of us have bought into the lie of microwave evangelism when evangelism and discipleship is more akin to a crock pot. 

It takes time. 

I’ve spent a lot of time in different communities where trust is everything. 

You have to show up and keep your word. When you don’t, you better fess up fast because the people can smell a phony a mile away. 

This kind of intentional lifestyle of service is refining; think about it like sand paper that takes off the rough edges. It demands absolute sincerity. 

And it’s truly the most worthwhile way to live. 

I am a better person and Jesus follower because of this demand to slow down, to take off my mask. 

Going back to what I said earlier, never stop asking how you can help. 

Being available to serve is a foundational teaching within the gospel. If Jesus’ mission was to serve and not to be served, then that’s our mission too. 

Be unrelenting in your pursuit to help, to pray, to encourage. 

You might get turned down 9 times out of 10. 

You might get cussed out. 

You might be misunderstood. 

Just keep asking. 

Because your quest to serve will provide opportunities to share the love of Christ in ways you could never orchestrate on your own. 

26

My birthday was awesome!

I received so many sweet Facebook posts, messages, texts, and phone calls. 

I talked with my family and even got to FaceTime with one of my best friends. 

The weekend as a whole was a whirlwind of fun from start to finish. 

Here are the highlights:

  • Thrift store shopping
  • Barnes and Noble 
  • Barbecue
  • Finding Dory
  • 2 get togethers
  • Fireworks
  • Reading
  • Coffee
  • In PJs till lunchtime 

I basically partied like a rockstar all weekend. 

And while I’m thankful for good work, getting back into my routine will be hard tomorrow. 

Now, it’s time for this 26 year old to go to bed! 

Remember: the new blog schedule is Monday and Friday. 

Let me know if you have any topics you’d like me to discuss more in-depth. 

Farewell to 25

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new adventure–Year 26.

I’ve already shared my goals with you, so now I just want to recap what happened last year:

  • I was working as an office manager
  • Serving the deaf at 2 churches and a school
  • Making the decision to leave Alabama again to head out to Rhema
  • Falling in love with missions
  • Writing for this blog everyday
  • My heart was steadily being changed by this radical notion that following Jesus was never meant to be a Sunday only affair 

I am so blessed and humbled by everything that happened which brought me to right here, sitting on my couch, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. 

25, you’ve been good to me. Now it’s time to start out on my next adventure. 

Lessons from Finding Dory

Finding Dory was awesome!

This is one of the few times when I think the sequel is better than the original. 

The journey of Dory, Nemo, Marlin, and the gang was quite epic. 

I knew it would have a happy ending, but Finding Dory really stuck the ending–I didn’t see it happening that way!

Plus, it tied in really nicely with Finding Nemo. I loved how Pixar weaved the two stories together. 

Here’s some of the lessons I learned from Finding Dory:

  • Family is #1
  • Life lessons are truly unforgettable and will always guide you to make the right decisions
  • Always be yourself 
  • Don’t say things you don’t mean
  • Just keep swimming (couldn’t resist!)

Go watch the movie. It’s super cute. 

Almost 26

My birthday (and America’s birthday) is almost here!

Hard to believe that my daily blogging commitment is coming to and end. 

I will definitely keep up my blogging, but not everyday. 

Right now my plan is to blog on Mondays and Fridays. The days are subject to change (the objective is biweekly posts). 

This is just my preliminary planning because birthdays have always been mile markers for me. 

This upcoming year I really want to become a more focused writer.

Daily blogging was only step one for me. I needed to get in the habit of writing everyday. 

Now I want to get better at taking ideas and fully developing them. 

I am excited! And I hope you’ll stick around through the next year. It’s going to be fun. 

Not quite a chef

I learned a new skill today. 

I can now slice up a watermelon–and it doesn’t look like I’ve hacked it with a sword!

My cooking skills are slowly developing…

(Anyone can learn how to slice up fruits and veggies pretty fast.)

Planning out menus and such does not come easily to me. Honestly, I’ve kept my meals simple enough to be sitting down and eating within 30 minutes. 

But I have a crock pot now, so I want to utilize it and make yummy foods that just need to be reheated. 

Pretty sure that when I have kids they will spend a lot of time with me learning how to cook.

Assuming that I figure it out myself…

I didn’t pay attention to that growing up and, if I had an opportunity to go back in time, that’s one thing I would change. 

Learning to cook while you’re young is much easier than figuring it out later. 

Selfishness Anonymous 

We’re all selfish. 

It’s true. 

The number one priority can easily be yours truly, especially for us single folks. 

At least, this is something I have to keep in mind…

There is coming a day when spontaneity will come less and less. 

And I’m okay with that. 

The temptation to put others last is not new. This has been a problem from the beginning of time–only Jesus is perfect. 

He gave us many great examples of selflessness. 

We all want to be like him, but it’s hard…the upside down kingdom is a bit much to wrap your head around. 

  • The first will be last. 
  • He who wants to be first must be a servant. 
  • It takes the faith of a child to get into heaven. 

None of these truths can be lived out with a selfish attitude. (And none of this is possible without the Holy Spirit.)

Maybe we all need to go into Selfishness Anonymous. 

It couldn’t hurt, right?

Creating Realistic Goals

I have a bad habit of setting up unrealistic goals for myself. 

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals that stretch you, but be careful to not beat yourself up during the stretching process. 

I am working on a writing project that is definitely stretching me!

The project is helping a phD candidate in an electrical engineering program turn his research into a written dissertation. 

Reading the material and translating the data takes time–which means that setting realistic goals is important. 

I’ve been working on this project less than a week and I’ve already logged in 5 hours. 

Setting realistic goals keeps you and your project collaborators on the same page. 

There’s also no shame in being honest about your limitations and potential time constraints. 

I already know that having this proposal completely finished by Friday (what we agreed upon last Saturday) will not happen. 

I am working diligently to get as much done as possible, but I have also communicated this fact to my employer, the student. 

What I am learning as I begin this journey is that you can never go wrong in planning and goal setting by telling the truth. 

Hoarders

Hoarding–of any kind–is not the behavior of a healthy person. 

I just heard about an animal hoarder on the news. His house and yard was PACKED with cats and dogs. 

The animals were malnourished and full of fleas and ticks. His backyard was a pet cemetery. The number of animals buried was indeterminable. 

What brings someone to behave in this way?

I think it’s many things:

  • Fear
  • Obsession
  • Lack of self-control
  • Mental illness
  • Scarcity mentality 

I used to watch Hoarders–until it got to be too much for me. 

Every person on that show exhibited one or more of the above behaviors. 

What always amazed me was the horrid living conditions most hoarders live in. 

An altered mind will put up with a lot…

The media attention given to hoarding serves as a warning to us all: The things we have are not meant to have control of us. 

In relationship to pet hoarding, it just goes to show that unhealthy behaviors affect everyone–family, friends, and pets.