Archive for September, 2008

Being in the world, not of it

September 27, 2008

God calls us to “be in the world but not of the world.” That has been on my heart lately. This is coming from a book I have been reading bits and pieces of lately, called Fireseeds. One of the things I’ve gotten out of it is that it point out that we have made Christianity boring. As much as lame as that is, its true. We have gotten so comfortable in our own Christian bubble that we forget about a world that does not know Jesus. We are so content with only having Christian friends that we don’t have a desire to love on other people. Disclaimer: Christian fellowship is very important and necessary to your relationship with God. But we are called to be followers of Jesus, which means acting like Jesus, and “‘being Jesus” to the world, means that we are to spreading His love to EVERYONE EVERYWHERE. Look where Jesus hung out, and who He hung out with. It wasn’t just His good buddies, His followers, but those who didn’t believe or mocked Him so that they could see that He is good. His disciples, did the same thing. Stepping out into the world for Jesus is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do, but it is so worth it! Just recently I have been experiencing what it is like to live in the world and be a witness at the same time, and it has been amazing. When I’m out in the world, there is an element of Jesus that comes over me that makes me feel that I should be there, loving on people like He did. It’s finally like I am becoming on fire for Jesus in a whole new way, and I want to encourage ya’ll to do the same and find where it is Jesus is wanting you to be.

Holla,

-Bhavs

“Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God’s will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

This song really speaks to representing for Jesus, enjoy it, LeCrae is the man.

Determination

September 23, 2008

last night at our soccer bible study, P Rick layed down a really good message about being determined. It was focused on finished the task or job that God has given us. It got me thinking about what it is that God has for me, how He is gonna use me, where, when, and why? Then I realized that God uses all of us, even in ways when we dont realize it. Theres got to be more to life that just existing right? Jesus’ plan for us is always better for us than our own, but being human, we need to keep our eyes focused on Him, maybe leading to things that we never expected. Last night rick talked about how Paul, after being stoned and practically killed for sharing his faith in Jesus, got thrown out of the city and woke up to find himself left for dead. Most of us would give up right, saying that world is more important than God, and that he was no longer useful to God because of his “failure”. But Paul knew what his task was, given from God, which was to go spread the grace of God to all of the cities he went to, so he got up, marched back in to the city, and kept loving on the same people that just tried to kill him. WOW. His determination is such an encouragement because it shows that when we follow God’s plan for our lives, we dont lose. God never promised a problemless life, but He does promise life to the full if we “deny ourselves and follow Him”. If we can live unashamed of the Gospel, so that all others can know of its love and power, imagine what could be done for the kingdom of God, through you and me and everyone else who decides to take up their cross and follow Jesus Christ. “The pain of discipline is nothing compared to the pain of disappointment.” This is a quote rick shared with us last night that he saw on the back of a cross country shirt, but does it not speak directly to our lives? The effort we put into something is so much more valuable than that of disappointment in ourselves, “knowing that we could have done better” because our determination was weak. I know I feel like that all the time, when I sacrifice Godly things for my own sinful desires, but if we can learn to live like and follow Jesus, that disappointment vanishes along with the sin that God wipes us clean of.

just an update on school…it sucks…its hard…but i love it here

holla

-Bhavs

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” -Acts 20:24

Everyone has a story

September 16, 2008

so lately i’ve had it on my heart to share my testimony with people, because our testimonies are the most powerful tool to show how God works and loves. so here it be:

“Growing up I was made to go to church on Christmas and Easter, because that was the “right thing to do” and they were “holy days and what not”. I had always heard about God and Jesus, but never really wanted to listen, so I just tuned it out, especially as I got older and more prideful. I didn’t have anything against God, but more just thought of Him as a rule maker, someone who’s out to get me as soon as I mess up, and throw me in hell, that kind of thing. My family wasn’t big on church so I never really got exposed to any of “the God stuff” like other kids my age. Middle and High school started to make me realize what was important to me. It came in this order: friends/family, sports, girls, and school. God was not even part of my thinking process.

In 10th grade, I got invited to young life. It’s basically a youth group focused on presenting the Gospel to high schoolers. I went because everyone loved it, and there were a lot of cute girls that went too, so that was a plus. I continued to go and get to know some of the leaders, who are college students and then they invite me to campaigners which is the midweek guys only hang out. Like a bible study but more just hanging with the boys, and eating fast food while playing video games. At this time though, I was still finding my identity in how well I was doing in school, sports, and the social aspect of school (girls). As the year was about half way over I got invited to young life summer camp. Based on what I heard it was great, but I wasn’t too sure I wanted to go, but after being persuaded by some friends, I decided to go. When I got there, immediately I started to feel loved, the same feeling I would get a young life club or campaigners. The entire week was nothing short of amazing, everyone at the camp was so nice and literally one of the best weeks of my life. Not because of the cornucopia of cute girls or the wide array of activities to do, but because of the message I heard that week. The message I heard was that of Jesus, how it’s not about religion, not about rules and restriction, but about freedom and love that is all poured out because of Jesus’ death on a cross. And that we are made in sin, and our sin separates us from God, and we are sentenced to eternal death, but Jesus came to pay our penalty, so that we can live eternally, and be filled up and satisfied here on earth and forever in Heaven when we leave here.

It was that week that I decided to trust Jesus with my life, and follow Him as my lord and savior. After that there weren’t lightning bolts or anything like that, some crazy sign, but there was a feeling of a hole that’s been filled in my heart, one that I couldn’t explain but I knew I was missing. It was then I started my relationship with Jesus and started to grow. I started learning how to deepen my relationship with Him, I started to see sin in my life, I started to have a heart to see other people have what I have, I began to fall more in love with Jesus and less in love with the world, because I finally realized that when I have Him, nothing else can compare to that. Things started to make sense, I got to learn about communicating with Jesus and how I can grow closer to Him.

Then I was able to start helping lead young life a year later, as a senior in high school, then do work crew at a young life camp for a summer, and serve God and learn how to live out a life of following Jesus. When I got to college I saw a campus in need of Jesus and immediately wanted to get involved with ministry, which is where I’ve spend my past two years. I’ve developed a heart for the lost, and helping them see Jesus for the first time, or in a brand new way if they have an offset view of Him. I found Mosaic Community Church right before Christmas break last year (2007), and got involved the very next week, and it has really become a home for me. Everything from the messages to the worship has each and every week inspired me to grow in my faith so that I can follow Jesus just a little bit closer.

I just wanted to end my saying that I am not even worthy to share this, because I fall short so many times of God’s perfect standard, but there is a Jesus who loves us and died for us so that we can be made righteous in front of our perfect and holy God, and share His love.”

-Brandon

“Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there your hand will guide me;
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” -Psalm 139: 7-14

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” -1 Timothy 1:15

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” –Galatians 2:20

Permissible and beneficial

September 12, 2008

So first off, my b-stud, CFC, is by far one of the things I love most about being back at school. There is nothing like having a group of guys that I know I can go to and be encouraged, held accountable, spill to, so on and so forth. Our first week meeting together, we went through 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. The main point is flee from sexual immorality, and of course, being guys, that would be a good topic to go over. But thats not what I wanted to talk about, because I have CFc for that. I did want to talk about verse 12 however which states that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. That verse got me thinking like crazy. I truly believe that because God is so loving, He allows us to make our own decisions, even when they are the wrong ones. “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” Us and God have a relationship, and in that relationship, just like any other, there are things that can harm it or help it. We can do this by the choices we make. Paul writes that everything we do is “allowed” but not everything we do will bring us into a closer, more intimate relationship with God.

My challenge from this verse alone, lately, has been to make everything I decide to do, a benefit to my relationship with God, not something that will hurt it. Sin for example, ya it’s clear that its “permissible” because we do it all the time and can be saved if we take it to Jesus, but the second part of that is trying to eliminate that part of us, that problem that is hindering our relationship with Jesus, needs to go because it is not beneficial.

Is everything we do, whatever it may be, bringing us closer to God or blocking our view of Him?

Holla

-Bhavs

“Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything.” -1 Corinthians 6:12

Grace, Grace, Grace

September 7, 2008

why is it that the best part of God is also the hardest thing to accept and allow into your life? The part I’m talking about is His grace. I long and pray for a heart that is like God’s. One that can see past everyone’s imperfections, and see them as perfect, as God would, because we have Jesus, who took our place on the cross. I think we always try to find ways around grace because we are such prideful human beings. If we accept grace, would that not translate into our lives to love on others. One of my favorite song lines is out of Brandon Heath’s song “I’m not who I was” says, “Well the thing I find most amazing in amazing grace, is the chance to give it out, maybe that’s what love is all about.” We’ve been given that grace so that we can show it on others, no matter what the situation, no matter what they have done, no matter what has taken place in the past, we have a responsibility to God to show His grace to ALL others, especially to those that we love, because its selfish pride that destroys friendships and its that unwillingness to let things go that hurts relationships.

bottom line: God’s grace is enough, and the only thing that can satisfy our broken hearts, so if we turn to Him, He can pour that grace on to us.

holla

-Bhavs

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

Being Lights in a Dark World

September 3, 2008

God calls us to be a representation of Him on this earth, so why is it that we always fall short of that.  Weather its making bad decesions in front of people, personal sin, or even shying away from your faith when questioned about it, why does God continue to let us come to Him and be a witness here?  God’s grace is something that I have had a hard time with the past couple weeks.  Not having trouble understanding what it is but allowing His grace to get into my heart so I can represent Him at all times. And I know I’m forgiven when I mess up, but the hardest part about sin is dwelling on it, and when we dwell on it, that’s when we feel that we cannot be used by God.  Reading through “My Utmost for His Higest” not too long ago was a passage about God using us even in the midst of our sin and failure.  Even when we feel that we are not living for God, God is still pursing us and shaping us to be more like Him, and in that I take joy. 

So when it comes to our witness, we ARE being used, at ALL times, and for that we should be thanking God, because if being a witness to non-believers required us to be perfect, well then we’d fail miserably, and God would have no one here to share His love and grace.  So I hope that you can take into your heart that you are always being used by God, to be a light and representation of Him all the time.  If I can get that thought lodged into my brain, wouldn’t that overflow out of my mouth, actions,  and thoughts? I hope and pray that it does. 

Hope school is going great thus far!

 

holla,

-Bhavs

 

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”- Romans 1:16

 

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”- Matthew 5:16

School Starts up Again

September 1, 2008

Its so crazy that school is starting back up again  tomorrow.  12 weeks of summer class doesnt exactly have me super anxious to get back into school right now with only a week off.  At church last night we had a guest speaker, seeing how it is pastor D’s last week of vacation.  His name was Vic Simpson and he talked about something that really made a dent in my heart, because its so true.  He talked about our enemy, the devil, and compared it to a lion because of recent news about mountain lion attacks at his son’s college.  He made some great points and it was what I needed to hear as I come back to school because it is now that I will be the most tempted and challenged spiritually.

Satan preys on us constantly, and the thing is, he stalks us, weather we see him or not is usually up in the air because he does a good job of camouflaging himself so that we are vulnerable to attacks at anytime.  Unfortunately I know this from personal experience because I know as soon as I let my guard down, hes gonna come in and take me down.

So I wanted to make this post an encouragement to all that are reading it, because sin is a real danger, and something to easy to fall in to especially if you are not ready to fight it.  He ended with sharing about 2 different people that were attacked by mountain lions while hiking trails.  The first guy, was attacked and killed because he was alone, and had no one to help him fight the lion.  The second girl was attacked, and lived to tell about it because she was with friends at the time, who helped her fight off the lion.

The main point here was dont travel alone.  Living a life for Christ and fighting off the enemy is not something that can be done on your own, we need people to encourage us, spur us on, keep us accountable, and look out for us when maybe we cant see that lion coming up on us.  College is prime feeding ground for these lions, and as someone who is having trouble fighting them off right now, I would hope and pray that you seek out God and let Him do His thing when it comes to our relationship with Him, because that will be the only way that we will survive.  Hope you have a great start to school ya’ll!

Holla,

-Bhavs

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”- 1 Peter 5:8-9