To the graduating class of 2017

Pastor Hagin often says, “Ministry is spelled W-O-R-K!”

And he’s right. Our upside down kingdom requires work—most unseen and unknown to others—from its citizens.

Public teaching and preaching is the fun part of ministry. However, there’s a lot that happens from week to week. Walking alongside others through the mountains and valleys of life is an endless, and often thankless, task. My dad is a pastor and it’s often hard for him to describe his work to others.

Graduation is less than two weeks away, which is why my thoughts are drifting more and more towards this idea of life and ministry.

Many think of the two areas as separate—this is my life and this is my ministry—but there really cannot be a line of demarcation.

My friends who are leaving Rhema for the great wide world are faced with this reality. I understand their conundrum because I’m staring down the barrel of the same gun—I just have a little more time to think about it since I don’t graduate until next May.

Thankfully, our instructors have been pointing us in this direction all along. Our launch date into the great race of life, the passing of the baton, is never far from their minds.

These are men and women are Rhema alumni. They’ve been on the mission field, served/are serving in the local church, and brought their families along for the ride. I am thankful for their willingness to teach us not only biblical truths but also practical life applications of the truth.

I have no doubt that my friends are leaving Rhema prepared.

Their hard work started the moment they moved to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, flipping their entire lives upside down to follow God. Most of my friends have worked odd hours at two to three jobs for the opportunity to study God’s Word in order to become fully equipped ministers of the gospel.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

Go into the world and teach people about faith and what it means to follow Jesus. Know that those went before you and those who are coming behind you are cheering you on!

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Thanksgiving Blessings

rbtc-sealThanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

It’s a great time to reflect on the blessings of being in Christ—He’s given us everything!—and to recall all the ways His hand is moving in our lives.

Did I mention that turkey and dressing is one of my most favorite meals?

There’s nothing like a good pan of dressing (or stuffing as it is known by my friends above the Mason-Dixon Line) to make the heart happy.

And while I am thrilled that my family is invading Broken Arrow to visit me, I was reminded that many of my fellow Rhema classmates will not be sitting around the dinner table with their natural family.

The good news, though, is that no one will be alone because the Rhema family is huge—and worldwide!

Many graduates add extra dinner plates to their tables.

Many current students bring a passel of people home with them for the week.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus in Mark 10:29-30:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

I am so thankful for the friendships that are burgeoning this school year!

My more extroverted personality makes me a social butterfly, so leaving the place where my roots run deepest was a challenge for me.

Jesus’ promise, however, remains a source of constant comfort and encouragement.

I have sat around numerous tables with new friends, both students and alumni, since moving to Oklahoma. Every single person has told me the same thing:

If you ever need anything—and I mean anything—do not hesitate to call.

This one statement illustrates the Rhema family at its best. And it’s one of the many reasons I give thanks for Rhema Bible Training College.

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. 

 

 

 

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. 

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. 

Momentary Challenges

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. 

Happy Father’s Day

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.