It’s Time to Step Out

It’s Time to Step Out

I’ve always been the kind of person who steps out. As a little kid, I had no problem going up to the counter at a fast-food restaurant and asking for ketchup or saying hi to a stranger. I thought this would translate into missions with no problem but I remember my first time in a third-world country when God told me to step out and I stayed put. It was a defining moment. From then on, I told myself I will always step in to what God is calling me to. 


It was my first time out of the country and in a third world country. We would go to a university to do ministry, talking, and getting to know the people there. Because it was such an impoverished country, everywhere you went there were beggars. Most of the beggars at this university were children or elderly. It was our first time visiting this university. Because we are obviously from America people started to crowd around pretty quickly. 


As I was talking to some people who were students there two beggars that came up to me. One was an elderly woman, she was hunched over with hardly any teeth. She came and put her hand on mine and began to talk to me in a language I did not understand. The man I was talking to at the time looked at her and said go away. I was in shock. How could he say that to her? I realized then that they had absolutely no value for her. That she was always cast off. I looked into her eyes. I wanted her to feel seen by me even though I had nothing to give her at that time. I wanted her to stay. The other beggar who approached me was a little boy. He asked for money in English holding out his hand. Money was probably the only word in English he knew. I apologized in the broken words of his language that I knew. Again the students surrounding me told him to go away. This time I was mad. I turned to them and demanded that he stay. I asked him as many questions as I could in his language which was about three. So our conversation was short but I so wanted him to feel seen. He left and my day continued. 


Later, our team was about to leave the university. We were gathering everyone up. As I walked with a group of a few of my team members. I turned. The little beggar boy was on the ground holding his head in his hands and crying. My spirit immediately lept. That still small voice said to me “Go, put your arms around him”. But my feet stayed walking the course. I stared as we walked by. The Holy Spirit again told me again to step out and yet I stayed walking the way I was going. My heart broke. I felt sick to my stomach. How could these people cast off these other people? How could this little boy feel so alone? How could all these people walk by and shrug this off? I didn’t know why he was crying, was he hurt? I still do not know. But here is what I do know. God told me to step out. God told me to take step towards the boy not towards the exit. I like everyone else walked right on by. 


On our way home from the university on the bus, I sat with my headphones in. I was still in culture shock. We had only been there for a few days. I felt so confused, angry, and sick to my stomach still. Why hadn’t I stepped out? I was raised to stand up when no one else is. I was raised to be a person with extreme courage. I was so disappointed in myself. At that moment, I vowed to myself that I never wanted to not obey the Holy Spirit again. From that moment on I was going to step out. 


This day taught me a lot. It will forever be burned in my heart. I learned that Jesus always saw and stopped for the people who society called the lowest of the low. We are called to be Jesus with skin on us. I want people around me to always feel seen. So often we let the fear of man become more than our fear of the Lord. I want to be a person of extreme courage, focused only on God and the person he has in front of me. Not the opinions of those around me. 


Jesus is calling you into a purpose. He is calling you to step out. Often the most impactful things in our lives take courage. But He gives it freely. The still small voice is calling. Let’s listen better and step out more.


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God is Still Good

God is Still Good

This year has not been easy for many people, I can imagine. Sometimes it can be so hard to find peace while living in the storm. On top of Covid and all the craziness that is happening I experienced a great loss in my family, a loss I never thought would happen so soon and at such a young age. I’ve had so many unanswered questions and waves of fear, doubt, and confusion crashing in. Sometimes it becomes unbearable! As great sorrows try to bring me down I have to remind myself to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. As I gaze into His face, He is what keeps me standing. I’m able to continue on with life with the hope and joy He provides.

I have learned that joy is not just something you experience when everything is going great. True joy is there even when you go through the darkest of nights. Joy is connected to a deep relationship with Jesus and it is in His strength that I can choose joy. Hope could not be more important in these times. Losing your vision and losing your hope allows depression to creep in.

I have to keep my hope focused on Jesus.

To be real with my emotions before the Lord and others has been the most rewarding lesson I have ever learned. Through that I’ve learned to let Jesus pick me up when I’m weak. No one has ever been as kind to me as Jesus. He’s always available and always loving!

So, I challenge you to continue to lean in a little closer to His heart. Let Him into your struggles, be real, and don’t hold back. Learn to smile even even when it’s hard, because God is still good! This I have discovered and this I can testify: He has never left me hanging. Alone time with Jesus is the most satisfying and fulfilling thing I can do! Don’t underestimate what the Lord can do. He is the peace in my storm and bad things will happen but God will bring good out of it.

But will we be patient enough to let Him? If not, He is still good.

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Trusting God When Doors Are Closed

Trusting God When Doors Are Closed

Seasons Change

I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of plans for this year that have been totally canceled because of the pandemic. When plans don’t work out because of circumstances that are ‘out of our control,’ it almost feels easier to trust God, because we can clearly see what’s keeping the plan from happening. But what happens when things don’t work out, and you don’t see any reason for it? What do we do when God closes doors that seem to be open?

The other week, I started thinking about all the things I’ve pursued in the past year that didn’t end up working out. I felt like the Lord was in each thing, but when it didn’t go how I had hoped, or didn’t go at all, I started asking God what the heck was going on. Did I not hear from Him all those times? Did these things not happen because I need to adjust some things in myself and my own heart? Why did He tell me I could go for it if the door was just going to be shut anyway?

Seasons Change But God’s Voice Doesn’t

When we feel lost and confused by the situations and season around us, the Word of God is a beautiful place to go to to get a new perspective. In my situation, the Lord has taught me a few things. I’ve learned that, if the Lord allows you to go after something and then it doesn’t end up working out, it does not mean that you heard from the Lord wrong! Our circumstances and seasons change, but God’s voice doesn’t! We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to hear from the Lord correctly and precisely when the truth is, most of the time, the Lord doesn’t yell answers at us; sometimes all we get is that gentle whisper, an inkling in our spirits, or sometimes nothing at all, about a direction. Don’t let the enemy tell you that you don’t hear from God just because you said, “yes” to something and it didn’t work out.

I’m also learning that, when I chase after something that’s from the Lord and it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with me, or that I’m unworthy of those things I’m pursuing. Sometimes we do need to get before the Lord and ask Him to clean out our hearts, but He doesn’t just cancel His plans for you because you have a bad attitude for one day.

He Always Knows What He’s Doing

We will never fully understand or be able to see God’s grander plan. What we can do in those moments of defeat and confusion, is choose to trust Him. Choose to trust in His character and who you know Him to be, even when things change. In the moment where I sat before the Lord and shared how I was feeling with Him, He brought me to scriptures that talked about His promises and faithfulness. Isaiah 54:10 says, ‘“For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD who has mercy on you.’

I once saw a picture that said, ‘Spiritual growth happens when you start thanking God for the doors He’s opened, rather than questioning Him for the ones He’s closed.’ 

Today, I pray that you remember who is holding the plans, and that He always has your best in His heart. Because, let’s face it, the Lord is a way better planner than us anyway 😉

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Learning To Serve More Like Jesus

Learning To Serve More Like Jesus

When I think about what serving like Jesus looks like, I’m reminded of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet (John 13:1-17) and the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). From these passages, 3 characteristics of God that stand out to me are love, compassion, and humility. I read a book about Servant Leadership and I loved how it related love to serving. Love is defined as, “intentionally caring or helping another person by doing something regardless of our feelings.” Compassion is defined as a “sympathetic concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others”, and humility as a “modest or low view of one’s own importance”. These three things are essential to serving like Jesus. Without them, we can’t effectively serve. 

Jesus is one of the greatest servants of all time. In Matthew 20:28, He said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others”. As we continue to read through the Gospels, we see Jesus constantly serving those He encountered and constantly serving His Disciples. In John 13:14-15, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples at the last supper. After He finished washing their feet, He told them, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set an example that you should do as I have done”. The King of Kings, the SAVIOR of the world, humbled Himself and washed the dirty feet of his disciples. What an honor for Jesus to do that! 

From that simple act of humility from their leader, they learned what it means to truly serve and love as He does!  The Apostle Paul said, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13). 

Another great example of serving like Jesus is found in Luke 10 when Jesus tells His disciples the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, a man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jerico and was attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest and a Levite saw the man and walked right past him, but the Samaritan had compassion and stopped to help him. Out of love, he made sure that the man was well taken care of. Jesus told His disciples the greatest commandment was to love Him and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). I wonder how this simple act of kindness impacted the man’s life. I bet he was so grateful and choose to do the same for someone else in need.

Just like the Good Samaritan realized, serving others and serving God is one of the most important principles of the Christian faith. God expects us to serve Him and those around us wholeheartedly. 

Being in full-time ministry is teaching me what it means to truly be a servant of God. It is not always an easy task to serve others, but when we do, it pleases God and we glorify Him through our serving. Sometimes the people and places He calls us to serve can be stretching and challenging, but thankfully we don’t have to serve in our own strength, the Lord is with us every step of the way. 

Every act of service we do for the Lord is not in vain, He will reward us for our obedience and faithfulness to Him. When we serve like Jesus we will impact the lives of those we serve and help change the world. 

Given the current state of our world and specifically our country I wonder how different our world would be if we, especially believers, served like Jesus. If we truly loved one another as He commanded us to do? If we had compassion for one another? If we humbled ourselves and put the needs of others before our own? I like to think that it’s not too late for us to do all of these things. God has called us as believers to be His hands and feet to the whole world! We’ve been entrusted with such a beautiful task and have the opportunity to partner with our Heavenly Father to make a difference in the World. 

Today I encourage you to serve like Jesus. Simply choose to love, have compassion, and walk in humility. The next time you see someone in need, stop and help them. Bless someone with an act of kindness. Make a difference in the world by serving God and others.

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Take Up Your Staff

Take Up Your Staff

2020 has been a wild year. As we mourn the injustice of systemic racism, navigate through unemployment, and fight the ongoing battle of COVID-19, my heart, at times, has questioned the Lord’s sovereignty. In the midst of so much tragedy, I keep coming back to the same question with the Lord.

“What are you up to?”

Throughout the last few months, He keeps bringing me back to Exodus 4. That’s where I want to camp out in today.

But first, I want to recap Exodus 2 and 3. God has divinely encountered Moses through a burning bush in the wilderness. He tells Moses that He is going to free the Israelites who have been enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years. Through signs and wonders, He promises to lead them back into the Promised Land of Canaan. In Exodus 3, God tells Moses to return to his homeland and make a petition to Pharaoh, requesting that the Israelites be allowed a three days journey into the wilderness to make sacrifices to God.

In Exodus 4:1-5, Moses responds to God,

“Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it’s the moment that God took a mundane, ordinary object, and breathed life and power into it. This same staff turned the Nile River into blood and produced water from a rock. It transformed into a snake at God’s command. When held up, the Red Sea parted and the Israelites were victorious over the Amalekites.

Moses’s staff is arguably one of the greatest power objects of all time, but it didn’t start out this way. As I meditated on this chapter, I was struck with a realization:

Moses had his staff for years. He used it in his occupation as a shepherd to guide and steer the sheep. When wild beasts approached, it became a defense mechanism to protect the flock. Up until the burning bush encounter, it was just an ordinary stick serving an ordinary purpose.

But when the Presence of the Lord entered the scene, He took what was ordinary and made it a weapon of righteousness. He didn’t give Moses a new weapon, or spiritual gift. He told Moses to take what he already held in his hands, and surrender it for kingdom purposes.

I find this same concept to be true in our own lives. More often than not, God’s desire is not to give us something new, but to ignite the skills and gifts we already possess. 

We each hold a staff that we’ve carried inside of us our entire lives. And just like Moses, I believe it lies dormant until an appointed time. If you study revival history, you’ll find that spiritual gifts are activated and unleashed during times of great crisis. I believe the moment of activation is upon us now.

The world needs your staff. You possess gifts hidden inside of you that God wants to unleash right now in 2020. Over the course of time, God has revealed to me that my staff is my voice. Maybe your staff is music, healing, mercy ministries, public speaking, or spiritual warfare. Perhaps your staff is as simple as having influence over small pockets of people.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of referring to revival like its future tense. If we really want to see the manifest Presence of the Lord sweep our country, and heal our land, we must fan into flame the gifts of God right now. We must ask the Lord to show us what our staff is and fan it into flame. Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6,

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

Timothy didn’t feel qualified to lead the church in Ephesus, but Paul gently reminds him that he already has everything he needs through the power of the Holy Spirit. The only thing Timothy needed to do was fan it into flame.

Further on, in 2 Timothy 2:14, Paul tells Timothy, to guard the good deposit entrusted to him. How incredible is it to be entrusted a sacred gift from the Lord? But what are we doing with that gift? Are we putting it on the shelve in false humility, or are we fanning it into flame in total expectancy?

As the giant, open wound of racial injustice bleeds across our country like the Red Sea, we cannot back down from engaging in social reform and systemic racism conversations. We cannot look upon the Red Sea of COVID-19 and turn our backs and ignore it.

Each time I ask the Lord what He’s up to in 2020, and how I can play a part in ushering in the next Great Awakening, I hear Him say these simple words.

“Take up your staff, and do my wonders.”

God wants the Church to act. He wants us to barge right into the midsts of violent waters, and call raging seas to be still by the power of His healing Presence. As we feel the tremble of revival sweep across our land, His arm extends towards us, and in His hand is a staff. Placing the staff in our hands, He invites us to raise it up and use it as weapons of righteousness in His Holy War. Today you have an invitation to respond. Will you let Him turn your ordinary into His extraordinary?

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