A little farther

Sometimes it’s really easy to feel content and satisfied with our lives. When we’re in a good, comfortable place there is a part of us that wants to stay there. In the past I’ve thought ‘OK God! This is good. I don’t want to move.. don’t want to stir anything up… let’s just keep things. exactly.. like.. this.’ (He must let out a loving chuckle at that genius plan).

Even when we find ourselves in rough waters and difficult seasons it’s not always easy to push forward, outside of our comfort zone and change the situation.

But God loves to take us beyond our comfort zone. His plan for us is to always be changing, learning, stretching ourselves and growing into the people He wants us to be. God always wants us to go a little bit farther.

‘Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed’ Mark 14:35

God isn’t always asking us to run a mile. He knows that sometimes taking one step forward is just enough. God REJOICES when we’re at our weakest or most comfortable and we manage to go just a little bit farther.

He desires this for us and blesses us when we reach out a little bit farther for him. That little bit farther means a closer, deeper relationship with God. That little bit farther could make a big change in your life. The start of something EXCITING. That little bit farther brings you closer to the plans God has for you.

And with each step forward God promises us rest. Jesus went a little farther, fell to the ground and prayed. His prayer was his rest. God’s presence is our resting place. Where He fills us up, fuels us up, encourages us, inspires us and motivates us to go a little farther the next day.

Let’s not be intimidated by running a marathon! Let’s go a little farther…A little closer to God, a little change, a little deeper in prayer, a little step out of our comfort zone. Then let God fuel us up (He’s better than redbull.. or starbucks.. YES!! even starbucks.).

The comforts of life never last. They aren’t meant to! God wants to shake things up so we can continue to rely on him. We were created to live EXCITING, PURPOSEFUL LIVES!!! The best way to start is by going a little bit farther. ♥

 

A Plan Just For You

I recently read a quote that I LOVE ♥ I can’t stop thinking about it…

‘God has designs on our future… and he has designed us for the future. He has given us something to do in the future that no one else can do.’

How EXCITING is that! It doesn’t seem real does it? It’s not a fairytale… it’s not a movie… it’s life! This one sentence excites me, encourages me and inspires me to really focus my life towards God and the vision he has put in my heart.

And it’s not just for my life or other people’s lives….

GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.

Let that sink into your heart…. [my heart beats faster just thinking about it!]. There is a God who created us. He knew everything about us before we were even born.  The bible says ‘For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ [Psalm 139:13] and this amazing God has a PLAN FOR US.

He created that perfect plan for our future before we were even born. He was thinking about us. What our strengths are. What our weaknesses will be. What will challenge us and what will inspire us. God knew all of that before we came into this world and he wants us to embrace every gift, every talent, every strength and even every weakness to live out our vision for his kingdom. ‘We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, WHICH GOD PREPARED IN ADVANCE FOR US TO DO.’ [Ephesians 2:10]

We don’t have to be working in a job we hate. We don’t have to hang out with friends that bring us down or surround ourselves with people that don’t encourage us and make us BETTER. We don’t have to settle in a relationship that isn’t working or one that is harmful to us. We don’t have to live in a certain place just because we feel stuck there. We don’t have to live a certain way because our culture tells us it’s the right way. We don’t have to live a life that we don’t LOVE.  We can really live an EXCITING, passionate, fulfilling life doing everything we ever dreamed of because GOD PUT THOSE DREAMS THERE.  God put our deepest desires into our hearts and if we follow Him and let Him lead, He will make all our plans succeed (Psalm 20:4).

If God has a vision for me that only I can accomplish, if there is an exciting future and a perfect plan created just for me… I want to know what that plan is!!

Ask God… Read the bible…journal and write down what you feel… God will show you how to live a life you never imagined was possible. Then He’ll help you do it.

I Love My Church (Leadership)

Leadership

Jesus Lifehouse has INCREDIBLE Leadership. There are so many leaders in the church who set great examples for us to learn from and look up to. All of the leaders are growing towards the same vision and have the same heart for the church and people. Jesus Lifehouse teaches us and provides us with opportunities to step up and get involved! There are so many young people in our church who have amazing leadership skills and confidence to use the gifts God has given them.

Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being on stage preaching or leading a lifegroup or team at church. It also means being a leader and example to the people in your own life. We can lead by sharing our faith, bringing our friends, encouraging others and taking charge of our lives by being committed to God, the church, people and to living out the plans God has for us!

The messages at Jesus Lifehouse are relevant and life changing! I always walk out feeling motivated, challenged and encouraged. Our leaders give us really great messages from the bible that are based on scripture and also include advice and wisdom on how to apply God’s word to our lives.

They provide us with an achievable plan to fulfill the greatness God has for us!

A strong, healthy church has strong leaders!

I Love My Church (Journaling)

Journaling

I have always kept a journal but Jesus Lifehouse showed me a new (better) way to journal consistently and use it to hear from God and apply His word and wisdom to my life. I love the emphasis and importance our church places on journaling…BECAUSE IT WORKS!!!! I have personally witnessed peoples lives completely transformed through journaling, my own included!! I had never felt God speak to me so clearly (and so often) until I started journaling.

Jesus Lifehouse really encourages us to read a little bit of the bible everyday, ask God to speak to us and write down our thoughts. Journaling doesn’t have to be long or complicated. God can speak clearly and powerfully into our lives through just one verse. Journaling has really revealed to me how God’s word is relevant to my life and how I can apply it.

Through journaling God’s word challenges me, encourages me, inspires me, GIVES ME VISION, heals me, comforts me, motivates me, teaches me, strengthens me and most importantly brings me into a closer relationship with God.

I challenge you to give it a try! God has something he wants to say to you!

to be continued…

I Love My Church (Lifegroup)

Lifegroup

Lifegroups are a key part of Jesus Lifehouse and have played an incredibly important part in my spiritual growth. A lifegroup is a group of guys or girls who get together once a week (delicious coffee is usually included!!). There are over 150 lifegroups at Jesus Lifehouse. We learn about God, talk about our lives, share from our journals (my favorite part!) and ‘do life’ together. Being a part of a great lifegroup has changed my life. I have grown so much through the people in my lifegroup. It’s amazing how much we can learn from each other and it’s exciting to see what God is doing and how he is moving in the lives of your friends. It’s SO INSPIRING!

Lifegroups create instant community within a big church. There is a special connection between the members in a lifegroup and the best part is that lifegroups are always growing and multiplying. One of my leaders told us ‘Lifegroups should be rivers…not ponds’ and that really stuck with me. New friends are constantly being added to your life and it’s so encouraging to see people come and get connected and grow closer to God and the people around them. Lifegroups provide accountability, friendships, prayer and guidance. We are challenged to grow and learn from leaders who really know us and want God’s best for us.

to be continued…

I Love My Church (Vision)

THE VISION

Jesus Lifehouse has an amazing vision! Our vision should always be growing!…getting bigger and more exciting! Don’t limit yourself~! I learned about vision from JLH and it has changed my life! Everyone is a part of the BIG VISION of the church but within that, each member has their own vision from God that is unique to their gifts, their passions and their talents. Having a clear vision for my life has been the biggest life change for me. It keeps me focused, passionate and determined. It forces me to rely on God, have FAITH and TRUST Him. Keeping the vision in front of me helps block out the distractions and obstacles on either side of me. You can see VISION in ACTION at Jesus Lifehouse and it becomes a part of your life…it’s contagious! The best part is that when you get a vision from God, there are amazing leaders to guide you, advise you and encourage you to make that vision a reality. Life with a vision is exciting! It’s adventurous, fulfilling and gives your life a purpose! Vision can change the world!

to be continued…

I Love My Church (Community)

There is no denying that the past year has been an incredible growth period in my life. Sometimes I just can’t believe how much has happened and how much God has strengthened me, shaped me and revealed himself to me. The past 6 months have been LIFE CHANGING….in the BEST way possible!

When I reflect on all of the amazing, challenging and exciting changes God is doing in my life I see one major change I made in my own life that took every area of my life and most importantly my relationship with God to the next level. BEYOND what I could have imagined….

♥ I joined JESUS LIFEHOUSE church ♥

There are so many ways being a part of this church has changed me and added to my life. God truly uses the church (the people, the leaders, the vision, the message etc) to shape us and develop us into the people He desires us to be! To live to our FULL POTENTIAL! To be a part of changing the lives of those around us and to live a life that demands an explaination!!

What I LOVE about Jesus Lifehouse….and how it changed my life!

THE PEOPLE

From the very first moment I stepped through the doors everyone was SO WELCOMING. It felt like coming home… and it feels like that every time. It is home. The people of JLH are genuinely loving, kind, friendly and interested in meeting new people and getting to know them. This church has really taught me the importance of community. The importance of reaching out, making new friends and bringing them into our church family. There is no greater joy! Strong relationships are so important. It’s essential to surround yourself with great people and strong leaders. God chooses to use people to demonstrate His love and bring us closer to Him. We are called to LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS and there is no better place to do this than through the church.

to be continued…

The Greatest Love

Dying for something we believe in seems like the most heroic act a human being could achieve. Giving up your life for someone is one of the greatest acts of love on this earth. But lately I’ve been thinking about this statement in a new way. I’ve been thinking about how courageous it would be to really give yourself to LIVING for something, or someone. How much harder would it be to really LIVE for what you believe in rather than DIE for it? I’ve realized it might actually be harder to LIVE for Jesus Christ than to die for him.

‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’

– John 15:13

I’m understanding that laying down my life doesn’t mean dying the way I thought it did… It means really LIVING. It means dying to the things of this world and really LIVING for Jesus.

It means….

Laying down all that I desire in this world and placing it at the feet of Jesus.

Laying down the way I want to live, to be used in the way God desires me to live. To be His instrument. His tool.

Laying down the plans I have for my life to be used freely for God’s plans (which are always greater and more fulfilling than anything I could imagine).

Laying down my fears, insecurities and worries to fearlessly live like Jesus.

Laying down my weaknesses so that God can turn them into strengths.

Laying down my wants so I can serve other people’s needs.

Laying down what pleases people, to live for what pleases God.

Laying down my life for my friends means living in a way that always shows them Jesus.

Laying down my life doesn’t mean dying for my friends but living to my FULL POTENTIAL for them. Laying down my wants, for theirs. My needs, for theirs. My convenience, for theirs. Ultimately living God’s TRUTH in every circumstance and situation no matter how uncomfortable and challenging it is.

It means showing them REAL LOVE. GOD’S LOVE…when nobody else will.

This is the GREATEST LOVE. This is laying down my life.

 

Let Him Into Your Boat

When I think about life, specifically MY LIFE….I see it as a big picture. A whole.

What will I do with MY LIFE? What challenges am I facing in MY LIFE? How can I grow in MY LIFE?

But I’ve been thinking about how my life…. all of our lives, consist of so many different areas. We have our relationships, our work, our finances, our family, our health, our hobbies… and the list goes on. All of these separate parts come together to make the big picture.

I want God to be in charge of my big picture. I want Him to steer my life. I want Him to direct and guide my life.

But if I want God to direct me towards the best, most exciting LIFE… A life that is flourishing and thriving. A life that I could never even dream of…He needs to have access to every area, every part of that life.

In John 6:18-21, Jesus’ disciples are cruising along in a boat to get to their next destination. A strong wind starts blowing and the waters start to get really rough. The disciples look out and see Jesus approaching their boat (walking on the water) and they were totally freaked out. But Jesus said ‘It is I; don’t be afraid’ John 6:20. When they realized it was Jesus they were WILLING to let him into their boat. “…immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading’ John 6:21

This relates so much to my life. Just cruising along doing my thing. Going to work, going to church, hanging out with friends…doing life. I’m walking with God and letting Him be my captain and trying to listen to which way He is directing me. Things are good. Then I hit a challenge. Rough waters. An obstacle. And I get scared.

Before I became a Christian I would encounter a trial, a struggle or a challenge and try to fix it. I would turn to other people for answers, seek out advice, try to fix it my own way (the success rate of this strategy was not very high). Now, when I face a challenge or a problem I want to give it to God. BUT SOMETIMES I get freaked out because I don’t know what He will do. I initially hesitate to give certain things over to God because I know He has BIG PLANS and the power to completely flip my life upside down…Am I ready for this? If I give that problem over to you what if I can’t handle what you give me as a solution? What if I can’t do it? But…

I know that God’s plans are ALWAYS GOOD and the best choice for my life.

As soon as the disciples were WILLING to let Jesus into their boat, they immediately reached the shore where they were headed.

As soon as we are WILLING to let Jesus into every challenge, every area, every PART of our lives, He IMMEDIATELY starts leading us to shore. To a solution. To a FUTURE.

We may not see immediate results but God immediately starts working.

Be willing to let Jesus into your boat and see how fast you make it to shore.

 

Your light will SHINE in the darkness

‘The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it’

John 1:5

Have you ever known someone who just LIGHTS UP a room with their presence? Someone who constantly has a spirit of JOY, HOPE and confidence in every situation….even when things aren’t perfect? Does it make you wonder….how are they always so happy!!?? It used to actually frustrate me because I couldn’t understand it.

This is an amazing characteristic of ‘Living a life that demands an explanation’. Having the ability to be JOYFUL regardless of the circumstances.

In every dark situation we have an opportunity to SHINE and radiate light.

I was thinking about LIGHT & darkness and realized something amazing. If you shine a light into a dark room, it doesn’t matter how dark the room gets. You will ALWAYS see the light. In fact, if the room gets darker the light actually gets BRIGHTER and easier to see.  Picture it. The darkness never overcomes the light.

But if the LIGHT gets brighter…the darkness begins to disappear. The brighter the light, the more the darkness vanishes. I can’t get the image out of my head. LIGHT is always stronger.

We can be that light! A light that the world doesn’t understand…. until they discover the source of that light… of ALL light. God.

God gives us the amazing ability and opportunity to shine His light into other peoples lives.  What an awesome gift.  The more we fill ourselves with God’s LIGHT, the brighter we shine and the less darkness can surround us.

LIGHT always conquers darkness. If we fill ourselves with LIGHT, we will always triumph.

Make people wonder what makes you SHINE!