High Expectations

There is a high level of expectation and excitement at the beginning of the school year. Students are pumped and you hear things like: “I’m following Jesus, baby! Nothing will slow me down!”

You can feel the energy in the air and it’s quite electric. Girls and guys look their best, act their best, and say their best.

Imagine a diamond ring in a display case. Everything about it sparkles and glimmers. 

I think this is awesome! Students should be excited. In fact, they should come to school expecting great things to happen.

Miraculous events take place all throughout the school year at Rhema and I truly believe it’s because there’s a multiplied level of expectancy.

It would be harder for me to believe that 300+ faith-filled, Spirit-filled Christians are hanging out in one place and God didn’t show up on a daily basis.

However, I am always a bit skeptical for the same reasons I get excited…

Being overly emotional leads many Christians astray. The need to be “spiritual” is dangerous.

rbtc-sealI often wonder how we can be any more spiritual than “I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in a body.”

So what’s with the need to be more “spiritual”?

I believe it boils down to a misplaced sense of what it means to be significant, yet trying to gain significance by impressing others leads many Christian leaders down a road of empty accolades.

True significance is only found in Christ. No man or woman can meet that need.

As the school year progresses (or you’re preparing to come to Rhema next year), here’s my encouragement to you: 

 Always be excited.

Always be real.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Walk in the reality that you’re approved by God and called into ministry by God.

And know that you’re a vital part of the Rhema family, a part of Brother Hagin’s God-given commission to “Go teach my people faith.” 

 

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Ordinary Hamburgers

 “This is just an ordinary hamburger. Is that okay with you?” 

I was invited to eat lunch with a few friends and they were bringing the food.

“Of course, I love ordinary hamburgers–I love all hamburgers!” 

And it’s true. I was not lying to my friends, blowing happiness and sunshine their way to be nice.

Ask anyone who knows me well: I’ve never met a hamburger that I haven’t liked. If I had to choose between a salad and a hamburger, a hamburger will win every time.

What got me thinking was the phrase “ordinary hamburger.”

My friends and I had a great conversation over ordinary hamburgers.

I loved every minute of it because I was secretly thrilled to be invited to eat an ordinary hamburger on an ordinary day for the sake of connecting with someone else.

I am a big fan of ordinary. 

If I had to choose between big, magical, once-in-a-lifetime moments and small, ordinary, yet repeatable moments, that choice is a no brainer to me. Ordinary wins every time.

Because 95% of life is ordinary. Chasing the extraordinary 5% is costing us big time. 

So, please, invite someone over for an ordinary experience, like coffee or dinner, and have some fun!

Who you’re not

Do you know who you’re not

I realize this is a weird question. Experts and amateurs alike focus more on discussions around discovering who you are than discovering who you are not.

However, it’s vital to know both. 

You’re more likely to be counterproductive, pursuing things that are not related to your purpose, if you never discover who you’re not. For those who are Christians, you’ll also see more results in your spiritual life by knowing who you are and who you are not.

The topic of identity gets a lot of attention in our culture because our fast paced culture doesn’t allow much time for introspection and reflection. If you’re not moving at full speed, someone else might get ahead of you! 

Never mind the fact that life is more a marathon than a sprint….

By learning who I am not, I am freeing myself up to be who I am.

My focus is getting sharper.

My purpose is becoming clearer.

I compare myself to others less and less.

I don’t have to be you and you don’t have to be me. Isn’t that awesome?

Take my advice. Spend some time getting to know yourself. Then get busy chasing your dreams and helping others.

Know who you are, know who you are not. 

 

 

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. 

A Moment of Silence

Since when did complete agreement become the goal? 

I’ve listened to the news quite a bit since the Orlando massacre and the amount of political talk and civil rights talk and gun rights talk is nauseating.

What about just being sad for 5 minutes before we launch into “These are the issues we need to address”?  

Which, by the way, is what everyone says EVERY SINGLE TIME after a tragedy of this magnitude.

Here’s what I want to say: Everyone, shut your mouth. 

This is not the time to start a conversation about gun control.

This is not the time to start a conversation about conservatives vs. liberals.

This is not the time for Christians and the LGBTQ community to stand off nose to nose.

This is not the time to pick a part Islam.

I just want everyone to please be quiet. 

There are 49 families who are mourning. Their son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father, lover was killed.

If you can’t think of a kind, compassionate thing to say, please shut up. 

We can riot in the streets later.

We can debate for hours later.

I am sad about this senseless loss of life. None of those victims set out thinking, This is it, my last day on earth.” They were just out having fun (albeit at a later hour than I like to be out) on a Saturday night. 

Please pray for the families. There are some hard days ahead.

Pray for ways you can show kindness and compassion to those around you–no matter how different they are. 

Pray for strength and wisdom on how we should all properly respond to this tragedy.

But for now, I think we all need to take a breath and just sit in this space for a minute. Let’s take a few moments to grieve before responding rashly. 

 

My First (Self-help book) Love

Do you remember your first self-help book? 

Mine was How Full is your Bucket? by Tom Rath. 

I read it at the tender age of 13 and it is the reason I love self-help books so much today. 

The book teaches you how it truly is the everyday interactions with those around you that determines how you respond to the good and bad circumstances of life.  

  1. Every positive interaction adds a drop to your bucket. 
  2. Every negative interaction dips (takes away) from your bucket. 

Looking back now, nothing Rath discussed was earth shattering, but it was presented in such a unique way that I was fascinated. 

Plus, Rath had 40+ years of research from Gallup Polls and his stories were mesmerizing. 

Did I mention that he gave readers access to his Strength Finders test?

What about the cool resources to help implement the new information?

This nerdy chick, way back when, fell in love with self-help books and I’m still a bit starry eyed today. 

If you want to wax nostalgic with me, give the book a read (it’s on hold for me at the library).

And if you want me to wax nostalgic with you, let me know the title of your first self-help book.