and thus, I seriously question whether other nonbelievers are actually being influenced by what you believe.
If you have a problem when you hear cuss words or when people have messy lifestyles, then you’re not understanding how Grace came to the broken and beaten to give them hope, extend a helping hand, and give them the peace they are all looking for (that’s how He found you, remember?).
And by not understanding that, it’s affecting how you relate to those around you, especially nonbelievers…
About a week ago, I was lounging with some friends who spend a lot of time drinking, messing around with women (even though they were already in relationships), drop “shit” and “fuck that” every other sentence.
The “churched” part of me felt like I didn’t belong, that I was out of place, that I need to get out of there and “have no fellowship with darkness”, but the love I learned from my Dad told me I was perfectly in the right place.
It’s only when you befriend ‘sinners’ they can actually see your life, how you live it and then ask questions. That doesn’t happen with strangers.
Oh yeah. Isn’t that what Jesus was called? Friend of sinners?
Oh yeah, was there something about imitating Him? Being sons and daughters? Ambassadors… that’s it.
Let’s grow up into maturity, figure out who we are, where we belong, so we can be unphased when walk into the darkness and shine.
The world is dying and waiting for rivers of living water to come to them.
Depression is a byproduct of not knowing what drives you and what you are passionate about.
By implication, if you don’t know what drives you, everything feels aimless and pointless.
If you don’t know what you are passionate about, there is no excitement or spark or anything that makes you truly come alive.
Trying to treat depression and treating it like a condition or labeling it as something that can be “chronic” is like giving someone a pill because they’re inside a dark room, afraid of the dark, and can’t find the light switch.
I don’t care if you are scared of the dark, that’s not uncommon, but why be passive about it and feel like a victim of the dark? Why sit there with other friends also afraid of the dark and have a pity party?
You know what the solution is? Spend your energy figuring out where that light switch is and never turn the lights off.
I don’t struggle with depression because that light switch I turned on a few years ago, I’ve never turned it off. Why would I?
Why should you?
The darkness doesn’t leave when you cry, should, try to fight it off, or beg for it to leave you alone. Just turn the freakin light on and it pisses off. Easy.
I wrote this with an analogy. There are many many levels of this analogy. Please don’t read this at face value, because if you do, it will sound like, “hey! just get out of depression deerp!”. But If you read the analogy and understand the multiple layers of it, it’s actually helpful.
If you get too offended by the method, you will miss the heart. Sorry if you are offended by this post.
|—||Grow every second (via favoredgrace)|
It’s actually possible to walk through the darkest places where ‘evil’ thrives and shine brightly, come out unphased, untainted, and untouched by its influence.
All creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons who are not intimidated by darkness and run toward it willingly, knowing Who is with them — not to prove a point, but to give hope to the hopeless, and rescue the lost who wander aimlessly in the dark waiting for a light to show them the Way.
Self-harming is just another method of coping. Some people watch TV/Movies, some people game, some people smoke, some people get high, some people drink.
Those coping methods are just ways to avoid the actually problem instead of facing it. When there is an uncomfortable truth or reality in your life, a lot of times, it feels easier to escape/run from it rather than dealing with it.
It makes no sense if you think about it, you end up just avoiding it for years and years, never getting any better, and you face an emotional turmoil every single time it pops up. If you just face it and deal with it, ask God to show you the lies you’re believing about yourself, the situation, or another person, the truth will set you free.
It’s not a cliche, it works.
Knowing and understanding the way God knows and understands doesn’t create more mystery, it’s revelation. It should empower you to victory, not keep you in bondage.
The past is an Achilles Heel for many believers. The solution is just to never face your past without your Dad with you, helping you clear up your perspective about it. Your perspective of the past is colored with lies, emotions, misunderstandings, etc etc, and He can cut through all the BS and show you how to get free from it.
Trying to “stop” self-harming, like cleaning up other addictions is like cleaning the outside of the cup. It’s a surface level issue that is solved by dealing with the inside, root issue.
I don’t think about it in terms of “practicing the presence.” I think about “how often do friends hang out?”
The only time you forget about friends are when they weren’t very good friends to begin with. You never forget your closest friends.
You don’t “build a habit” to hang out with friends more, you just get to know them, and the closer you get, the more you hang out to the point where people say, “You two are inseparable.”
You’ll miss it if you try to ‘practice the presence,” just get to know Him as you would get to know a friend.
I second shoot periodically with a friend of mine who is a photographer named Ben. Every now and then when he needs help shooting a wedding, he will hire me to second shoot and assist him with anything and everything he needs. Whether it’s to keep him on schedule, get people who are next for a…
Many people who criticize those of us who have decided not to attend a conventional institutional ‘church’ do so often based on strawmen.
“Well, brother. You gotta have community.”
“Brother, you need accountability.”
“Brother, you can’t do this on your own.”
Yeah, well no shit.
My mom tells me this stuff almost every time I go over to her place or get dinner with her.
These are some things I usually say:
Mom, “fellowship” and “community” rarely happen at most churches… I find more fellowship and community by intentionally spending time with other believers throughout the week.
Mom, I bet you I spend more personal time with pastors/leaders than 90% of people who go to church. I meet with 3 different pastors of different churches on a regular basis to fellowship. And.. no one told me to start meeting with them, I just valued being connected to them.
Mom, just because I’m not going to a weekly Sunday morning church (which I haven’t for the past 4 years) doesn’t mean that I’m “backslidden” or “falling away.”
See we have been cultured to believe that a strong spiritual walk is IMPOSSIBLE outside of the 4 walls of church. That’s complete BS.
But it is true, a healthy and strong spiritual walk that is devoid of consistent relationship/fellowship with other believers is near impossible.
Why? Because growing spiritually is almost synonymous with valuing the relationships around you. The byproduct of spiritual growth should be LOVE, and you will naturally pursue relationships because love will drive you continually meet with those around you.
If you think you are spiritual, but don’t have many strong/healthy relationships with people (believers or nonbelievers), then you are deceiving yourself. Jesus was the most spiritual person, and yet he was the most relatable.
These conclusions are based on years of observation of failed relationships:
- You are not ready for a relationship if you typically step into them purely based on emotions
- You are not ready for a relationship if you have not learned to take care of yourself. (You cannot effectively care for another if you aren’t taken care of.)
- You are not ready for a relationship if you don’t know who you are, what you stand for, and what you want.
- More specifically, you are not ready for a relationship if you aren’t sure why you want to be in a relationship — in other words, what is the purpose?
- You are not ready for a relationship if you’ve spent more time looking for relationships than you’ve spent growing and maturing yourself.
- You are not ready for a relationship if you are more interested in what you can get out of one rather than what you can give in one.
you tell me that the church is a building,
with deacons and a preacher,
you tell me that this building is made up of wood and cement and insulation in the walls,
with paint and pictures hanging on the halls
you tell me that the church meets on wednesdays and sundays
and that it takes up communion the first service every month
you tell me that the church is opening up the bible
and memorizing the scriptures and singing a few hymns
but those places have always felt too cold for me,
too worn out,
and my heart has always felt too out of place with the structure
that forgets the broken
the church I have seen is in the hearts of the broken, the abandoned, the ones forgotten in the back of the classrooms
and coat closets,
the church I have seen is the home to the believers and unbelievers alike, and the doors are open on more days than just two,
it’s made of broken limbs and broken hearts,
shattered windows and shattered dreams
it’s made of tears and lost memories
it’s made of every forgotten promise and the weight of the burdens we’ve carried since before we can remember
the church I have seen doesn’t just meet on certain days,
but it meets in our brokenness
in the hospital room of the drug addict that just overdosed
in the car accident of the drunk driver
in the delivery room of the prostitute who doesn’t know whose child she is holding
in the arms of the teenager who has never known his parents
in the broken heart of the woman who just lost her husband to leukemia
and it doesn’t just take communion once
and living like Jesus was actually someone who placed his feet on this earth
instead of just walking out the door after drinking the grape juice and stale cracker,
and hitting their kid
the church is more than just the structure
but chaos that loves in all it does
the church doesn’t abandon
doesn’t create boundaries
and it doesn’t leave behind those we don’t understand
the church should love in all it does
|—||where did we go wrong? (via amandaspoetry)|
I will give, serve, build up, lift up, encourage, and strengthen you no matter what.
There is nothing you can do to make me stop, or do it less, or do it more, because I do it because it’s who I am, not because you’ve given me a reason to.
You can push me away, try to hurt me, or resist me, but I will never push you away, hurt you back, disown you, I will never leave you, I will always be for you.
I will never go behind your back, I will never betray you, I will never punish you, I will treat you better than you think you deserve.
I will never assume the worst about you, I will never react out of offense, I will always believe the best in you.
I will never beat you when you’re down, I will stay on board when everyone else jumps ship.
I will never require anything of you, I will never need you to perform, I will never hold you to any standard, I will never hold you to your past, and you can never let me down. You are my child.
I will always be proud of you, I will always remind you who you truly are and who you are becoming. I will encourage you and support you, I will always have your best interest in mind.
Never settle, never sell yourself short, I believe in you.
This will never change.
One of the worse mindsets perpetuated by the church today is the idea that you need to ‘get right with God’ — as if there was something you could ‘do’ in order to ‘be right’ with Him.
Isn’t that called self-righteousness?
The reality is that if you are a believer, you are ‘right with God’ solely on the fact that you have believed in Him and have *been* made His righteousness in Christ, not because you’ve performed well.
We’re trained to think that the more spiritual activities — retreats, events, outreaches, prayer meetings — we do, then we are more ‘on fire’ and more ‘right’ with God. And then when we get back to life and don’t do as much, we feel like we’re in this ‘wilderness season’ and we feel distant to God because secretly believe our “do’s and don’ts” determine the way God sees us.
This creates a cycle of trying harder because you feel guilty for doing less, so then you try harder only to fail again, which only causes you to want to do more ‘right’ to make up for it.
This leads to the cesspool of guilt, shame, condemnation, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, and worthlessness because you fail to meet this ‘standard’ you’ve set up for yourself.
The reality is, ‘living right’ is a natural byproduct of understanding *you have already been made right*. Good fruit is the result of understand you are a good tree.
The end of ‘roller coaster Christianity’ happens when you realize you can’t earn your right-standing and that also means cannot maintain your right-standing by your merits.
So now in the light of sin/failure, you can rest, knowing that you’ve been forgiven. You won’t have to plead and apologize for an hour to ‘earn’ forgiveness — you already have it! So you’re free to stop begging for it and actually believe that what Jesus did was enough.
at this point…
i’ve removed all filters whenever i talk to God
i don’t even call it prayer anymore
i don’t say prayers
i talk to him literally the way i talk to anyone else
i don’t need a filter
he doesn’t need a filter
he’s my dad
there’s no protocol i need to follow in order to interact with him
i don’t need to say “dear God” “in Jesus name”
he’s my dad
when i’m clueless or have no idea what i’m doing i just say, “help me out…”
when i don’t understand i say, “why..? i don’t get this”
and then i listen. cause that’s what a loving father does, he talks back.
He guides, he helps, he comforts, he reveals his heart and your heart.
He loves. He cares.
He’s rooting for you, he’s on your side.
He wants to help you grow, he wants to help you understand.
Theology is not a study of God. Theology is a Son’s understanding of a Father.
So do not let your ‘study’ affect how you hear from your father.
Do not let the box you’ve created from study skew and distort what a loving Father says, and how he treats you.
He is a Father. Not a study.
He is someone you can talk to, not someone to send “prayers” toward.
|—||Pete Cabrera Jr (http://www.youtube.com/kwisatz73)|