This past weekend, we had the joy and pleasure of taking our group to SoulLink, a youth rally in Houston.
Up until the very last minute, we didn't know if Hunter would be able to join us because of the turnaround. But through God's grace, his schedule had about a 40 hour window--which just happened to be the exact amount of time off he'd need to come with us. FAN-TASTIC! This also meant that Kyle would come with Rachel (those two birds are our best friends...and he wasn't coming if Hunter couldn't)--so it was a double win.
We ended up taking a group of 26--15 adults and 11 teens :) It's not that our teens require that much supervision--they actually require very little (we are incredibly blessed with our youth group, full of spirit, heart, and maturity). Our adults just enjoy spending this weekend with them so much, and in turn, we are able to get our cup filled as well. The worship experiences were sincere and touching; the fellowship with our group as well as others there were irreplaceable; the changes and growth are undeniable.
- If you are alive, breathing with a heartbeat, you will hear the voice of the Adversary; and he is saying, "you are not enough." He gives you filters to see your life through to make you believe that lie.
- Instead, read through Ephesians 1:18-21 and look through your life using these filters. "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come."
- If we hold the standard of our lives (Scripture) next to our actual life, what do we see? What happens when we run our lives through the filter of humanity? Think of giving someone a picture of something beautiful for them to make a cake from--and then it turns out as something much less beautiful than the plan. That original picture is our lives as God designs them. How close is your cake (life) to that picture and design?
- It's not ok when Satan says, "oh that didn't turn out so well." It's even worse when he says, "let me help you fix it." Don't give him a foothold in your thoughts. He will not help you.
- You can let the world give you a filter through which to see Jesus, or Jesus can be your filter through which to see the world.
- The adversary's voice is loud...even when he's whispering...
- "You knit me, so I praise; You found me, so I live!" (Psalm 139:14-16)
- A filter blocks out things that don't belong, but also lets things through to allow change.
- Colossians 1:21-23 -- Once you were.... But now.... Focus on the "But Now"! God uses filters to put you back together. "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."
- The amount of light and darkness in our lives determines the way we look, the way we act, the way we see ourselves and others, the way we are.
- A view master (the old toy with the picture reels) has to be pointed to the light to work. Our sight has to be pointed to the Light in order for us to be able to view the Master.
- If we're not uncomfortable, God won't be able to change us. We won't let Him.
- We look through a church filter instead of a Jesus filter. The church filter is allowing us to love events more than the Father. We're excited about the pep rally, but we ignore the game.
We serve a creative God; serve Him creatively!
Don't get sucked in to redundant and habitual acts of worship and service, allowing them to lose their meaning. Keep your service to our God alive and purposeful, with a heart full of dedication and joy!
Doing a little "shake it out" to wake everybody up and get the blood flowing Saturday morning! #handstohammies
We even had the pleasure of meeting, hearing from, and learning more about Kid President, Robby Novak! His videos about loving life, being awesome, and dancing through it all have gone viral across the social networking community. We were privileged to hear testimonies from Brad Montague (pictured above) and his wife, Kristi, last year at SoulLink--including her family's story of adopting two children with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease). Well, this year, all the connections were made when we realized that Kid President is one of those precious kids Kristi's parents adopted! The whole team's passion and drive for action, unwilling to accept the state of and suffering in the world, is motivating and contagious. Go!
Let's start a joyful rebellion!
Love changes everything, so fill the world with it!
We have a pretty awesome group of people whom the Lord has given us as family with whom to spread His Love. The weekend helped us regain focus, boost our stamina, and remind us what we're all about--all while teaching us to look at the world and its people through the filter of Jesus' blood.
I pray we allow ourselves to be used in BIG ways for the Lord. I pray for the broken hearts who are searching for the "But now" portion of their lives. I pray for joy and love to sweep over the world with uncontrollable passion. I pray that God will continue to shower His mercy and grace. I pray that the hearts of the lost will be found.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:1-2
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." -Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
I love both versions of those verses in Romans--what a declaration over us! Be comfortable being different; be comfortable being you.
Remove all of your filters until there's nothing left but the eyes of our Jesus.