Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My help comes from You

for KING & COUNTRY's song Shoulders reminds me not to fear even when I find myself in the middle of a storm or stand in front of a huge mountain in my life. My help will always come from God. I'm never alone in my struggles.

My Story

Louis Cole lives in London in the UK and does work with youth at risk. Louis' goal in life is to be "the best Louis I can be" and to encourage other people. Louis Cole has realized that there's incredible fulfillment in working with the people who have been rejected by society and in trying to encourage and inspire others, to be a good role model. What a loving and awesome guy this young man is! :)

Meet Ellen&Clayton

In this video Ellen & Clayton Kershaw share a bit about what motivates them in life. Ellen and Clayton have found a way to use what they are good at and passionate about for a greater purpose. This is a young couple who decided early on in their marriage that they weren't just going to spend their time building a better life for themselves, they wanted to help others get a better life. I find Ellen and Clayton Kershaw to be a very inspiring young couple.

My passion: caring for orphans

As Christ-followers we know that we were all created for a specific purpose, that God had a plan in mind when he made us in our mother's womb. We are all born with a personal set of skills and gifts and we all have different things that we are passionate about. God has made it our job to put the broken pieces of this world back together. When we all commit to doing our small part we will see the world starting to change for the better. The question many new believers ask themselves is: "What is God's plan for my life?" How do I figure out what my passion is?

It does require some soul-searching before you can uncover what gifts you have and what you are really passionate about. You know you feel passionately about something when a particular topic seems to upset you more than most people. What injustice in this world make you really angry? What particular group of people does your heart ache for more than others? The answers to these questions might reveal your passion.

Clayton and Ellen Kershaw realized that they were both really passionate about caring for orphans. Their passion motivated them to start the foundation Kershaw's challenge. They decided to start raising money that they would eventually use to build an orphanage in Zambia. The video above show us a little bit of their journey and how the idea op building Hope's home came to life.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What is life really all about?

What is life really all about? That's the question we all ask ourselves at some point in life. What's the point with life? Judah Smith explains to us how life is all about love. The focus in this small group session is God's ridiculous love for all humans. Our God is a God who doesn't only love those who love him back. God loves all people, he loves good people and he even loves really bad people. He loves those who care about him and he loves those who couldn't care less about him.

We were created by a God who is obsessed with us, because he so dearly want us to love him back, to come back to him. Once we understand how big God's love for us is, that's when we will become motivated to love him back by serving the needy around us. :) It all starts with understanding the greatness of God.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Don't settle and you WILL find true love!

It's amazing what we can get to experience in life once we decide to stay true to ourselves and choose not to settle. Moriah found her true love Joel and got her first kiss at the altar! :) Courage and strength in your faith will always be rewarded by God. Let's be brave so we won't miss out on the best things in life just because we didn't believe they would ever happen.

Stay you

Most of us remember our childhood days as a time when we were free and able to explore the world. We were happy and care-free. As we grow up we learn more and more about the world's tough expectations on us. We learn that we are expected to dress a certain way if we want to fit in, behave a certain way and talk a certain way. We learn to change ourselves to fit that mold, even if it's a really uncomfortable mold to squeeze ourselves into sometimes. We do it because although we wish we could be accepted and loved for who we really are, it's more important to survive out there in the world. We can't risk not being accepted by others, so we do what we need to do to fit in, and somewhere along the way we loose ourselves. We are no longer happy and care-free, the world has us locked in.

I think this scenario is what most of us go through, but then there are those out there who find a way to stay true to who they are. People who decide they aren't going to let other people's expectations and opinions compromise their personal beliefs. People who have the courage and strength to stand up for themselves and say: "this is who I am and I'm happy being me, I'm not going to let you make me believe that I need to change myself to be good enough for this world." Moriah Peters is a young lady who has done that, she found the strength to stay true to herself. I find her story really inspiring! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Touch The Sky

I love the new song "touch the sky" by Taya Smith and Hillsong United. :) I found my life when I laid it down.

When Jesus wrecks your comfortable life

I'm reading a book by Jen Hatmaker right now called "INTERRUPTED-when Jesus wrecks your comfortable Christianity". It's awesome! Jen is the kind of author who can make me both laugh and cry in the same chapter. I'm standing at the threshold of walking into two new projects in my life right now and I was hoping that Jen's book would help me get the courage needed to take the next step.

I've definitely been a comfortable light-Christian for quite a long time now, the kind of Christian who isn't exactly all in. A "light-Christian" is what I call the kind of Christian who is mostly believing for the sake of what her faith can do for her in life. When you are a light-Christian you have realized the great benefits that comes from having God "on your side" as you go through life. You believe in God and you try your best to be a good person, but when it comes down to sacrificing some things in life for God you are quick to come up with excuses why you can't possibly do that.

As light-Christians we run to God when we are in trouble and ask him to help us and get us through our struggles. As soon as things turn around and we are okay again we forget about God and go on doing whatever we feel like. We aren't interested in serving God or asking Him what he would like us to do with our lives. We have clear personal goals in life and we have no interest in getting God's opinion on those things. Most of the time we are fine without God.

The Bible says something like: "he who holds on to his life will loose it, but he who looses his life for Me, will find it." That sounds good and all, but what if I have no interest in giving my life up to serve God's plans for this world? What if I rather want to follow my own plan for my life? The good news is I have noticed that this attitude tend to be a sign of a faith that still hasn't matured. As you "grow up" in your faith you no longer find yourself wanting to live for yourself, now you want to serve God. God also has his ways of getting us to grow up, whether we like it or not.

I still remember how differently I used to view the world just seven years ago. You could say I definitely felt like "the world is my oyster". The world was there for me to explore and enjoy and I wasn't going to let anyone or anything hold me back from pursuing my personal goals and interests. It was all about me, myself&I. Every time a situation, person or city wasn't what I wanted it to be I would complain, whine and criticize. The way I saw it the city was there for me, not the other way around. The last chapter in Jen Hatmaker's book is called "In the City, For the City". I think that describes my change in world view very well. I used to think that my city was there for me to use and enjoy, but now God has shown me that he wants me to be "In the City&For the City".

Yes, the city is meant for me to enjoy, but it's not only here for me to enjoy. God placed me in this city for a reason. I could have ended up in some other city but I didn't, he wanted me here. As a follower of Christ I know that my purpose is no mystery, it's crystal clear. I'm expected to follow in Jesus' footsteps, to serve my city like Jesus served when he walked on this earth. That means helping the needy, feeding the hungry, comforting those who are lonely and giving to the poor. That's what God expects out of every single person who calls themselves a Christian. And if we choose to not do those things, then can we really say we are true followers of Christ? I'm done with being a light-Christian, it's time to let Jesus wreck my comfortable and complacent life. It's time to be here for the city.

Can We Know God Personally?

Can we know God personally? That's a good question. How is it possible to have a relationship with someone who we can't see?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Song of Hope

The storm rises from the deep
And rages around me
But I will remember
When doubt wars within my heart
The battle almost lost
I will remember

You have the last word
It is finished
My fear is silenced in Your love
My hope is endless

Your voice that calmed the violent sea
Speaks courage over me
So I will remember
The words that wake the sun to rise
Are breaking through my night
And I will remember
You have the last word


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Live With Abandon

Chasing after this world makes me tired.
Praising my own name leaves me dry.
There has got to be so much more to life than this,
a higher calling that I have missed.
I want my life to count, every breath.
I want to live with abandon,
give you all that I am.
Every part of my heart Jesus,
I place in your hands.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Josh's Story

Josh's story is about what it can feel like when you don't really know who you are and you feel lost and lonely, when what matters the most is your social status.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What is Easter really about anyways?

Chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny, blood and a crucifixion, joy? How in the world do all those things go together and what’s the point of it all? That’s a question I think many of us ask ourselves. It doesn’t make much sense at first glance does it? J I thought I would answer a few questions surrounding Easter in this blog post according to my best ability. First up:

Why do Christians celebrate that Jesus died?

Christians believe that Jesus was God walking on earth and celebrate his crucifixion because that was the time it became clear that Jesus really was God. When Jesus rose from the dead his disciples finally understood that he wasn’t only some wise teacher, he was God himself.

If Jesus really was God then why did he not save himself and come down from the cross?

Jesus came to die in our place. If Jesus would have come down from the cross we would have to suffer and die for all our mistakes, he came to pay for our debt.

What do you mean “Jesus came to pay our debt”? What debt are we talking about here?

In the Old Testament we learn about how God’s chosen people (Israel) loved their God and lived in peace and harmony and everything was good. A few years later they got bored with their goody goody lifestyle and decided they wanted to do something else. They forgot about God and did everything that they were not supposed to be doing: murder, rape, incest, idol worshipping etc.

God was furious with their behavior and punished them for it. Israel eventually repented from their bad behaviors and went back to loving their God and living in peace and harmony. Fast forward a few decades and the people once again forgot what the point was with loving their God and living in peace. They got tired of being kind and friendly people and went back to doing whatever they wanted.

God got angry at their behavior again and punished them by bringing down destruction on Israel. Hopefully by now you get the picture. This cycle went on and on, century after century. You could simply say that this was a time when Karma would apply.

A few hundreds of years later nothing had gotten any better so God eventually came down to earth himself (in the form of Jesus) to set things right. God is all about justice and when Jesus died on that cross he died for all the things that his people (we) should have been punished for. Jesus died in our place, now the old time of karma is over and we are given grace.

When we love Jesus we are forgiven, we no longer have to pay for our own mistakes. After our death we will stand in front of God and have to pay for all the mistakes we have made in life. When we believe&love Jesus we are told that we will be forgiven on that day, Jesus will be there to proclaim something like: “this is my child, and his/her mistakes have been forgiven”.

When we believe in Christ God also gives us the holy spirit in life, through the holy spirit God starts to change us from the inside and out. Punishment couldn’t change us, only God’s love could.

Okay, thanks for clearing that up, so how does the Easter bunny fit into all this?

Good question. The Easter bunny has nothing to do with Jesus, he is some kind of a folk legend similar to Santa Claus. Parents like to convince their kids that the Easter bunny brings all the good stuff instead of the parents themselves. J

What about Easter eggs? Why do we eat chocolate eggs on Easter?

Chocolate Easter eggs is a modern invention and has nothing to do with Jesus either. The chicken eggs, on the other hand, was traditionally a symbol of fertility and rebirth. Christians started painting and decorate hard-boiled chicken eggs as a reminder of Jesus’ rebirth when he rose from the grave. The eggs were a reminder of the price Jesus paid when he died to pay for our mistakes so that we could become forgiven by God.

Rebirth itself is also at the core of Christianity, Jesus was reborn when he rose from the grave. We ourselves are considered reborn when we come to faith in Jesus, become forgiven and give up our old ways of living. We choose to love Jesus and therefore commit to living in peace, kindness and love rather than however we want. J

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Broken Vessels

I've been set free.
I once was lost,
but now I am found,
was blind but now I see.
I can see you now.
I can see the love in your eyes,
laying yourself down,
raising up the broken to life.

Good Friday

Today it's Good Friday and I'm filled with joy! :) I'm so thankful that I am where I am today and that my God has brought me here. I don't deserve this awesome life, but He has given it to me anyway!

This morning we went to church and experienced a powerful Good Friday service, a worship experience that brought tears to my eyes. Every time I think of everything I've been through this far and all the mountains God has removed in my life I get a little overwhelmed. :)

I've only lived for about a third of a lifetime but I have already experienced so much that shows me exactly how great God's love is for me. He has introduced me to amazing new people.

He has protected me from those who have been out to hurt me and has sustained me through it all.

He has given me new opportunities in life that I would never even have dreamt about 10 years ago! :)

He has shown me that he isn't a distant God, but that he is in everything and all around me. I like how Mother Teresa describes it:

"Wherever there is love, there is God."