mail1For this week’s blog, I could find another great Bible story to tell or dig out some great illustration that makes me look like a thoughtful and inspired Christian. However, I feel compelled today to dig a little deeper and reveal what I am going through rather than offering a well-polished story.

I think recently I have been avoiding having to admit the fact that in reality, I feel like I have hit a wall. It is a wall that perhaps I have built for myself to keep me in a bubble; that place of comfortable Christianity. Where I do just the right things that make it appear that I am at the right place with God, when really I feel this sense of emptiness. I think it’s a familiar wall, one that I’ve seen before when I reach a certain point of routine and comfort. It is as though I have nothing left to offer God. What I love about God though, is that is ok. He doesn’t need anything from me, He’s God. I guess in those times all I can do is receive. It sound so easy in theory, but I have never been good at receiving…whether gifts or compliments, I feel like I don’t deserve it or I feel guilt or embarrassment. I guess it’s the same with God, I’m not good at accepting the love he gives so freely and so abundantly.  I think maybe it’s because receiving that love means letting go. My hands won’t be able to grasp God’s love until they let go of grasping so tightly my insecurities, my fears, my plans, and everything else.

I think its also easy to reach a place where we have to learn that just because we don’t feel “moved” every minute, doesn’t mean God isn’t moving in our lives. There are just those times in life where its only somewhere down the road when we look back that we can see and understand why we felt this way now. I guess it’s about making a choice to not sit and wait for God to “move,” but to have extraordinary faith in all seasons. Having extraordinary faith not only in the chaotic, difficult times when you have to have faith and you have to trust God with everything you have, but in the quiet, ordinary, routine times of life where it takes more and you have to be intentional about not falling into routine and complacency. It’s the little, day in and day out decisions that accumulate to cement our character one way or another, towards God or away from him. We need to live intentional lives even in the ordinary, realizing that those little decisions impact our character. My prayer is that God would give me strength in my feeble attempt to live my life in that way.

~Mikaela~

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April 28, 2009

psiloveyou1

14628_80171Habits are things that we do repeatedly. Most of the time we are hardly aware that we have them. They are like our inbuilt character auto pilot. Some habits will have a positive impact on our lives, while others will have a negative impact. Depending on what they are our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.
Here are the seven habits of highly effective teens that can be found in the best selling book written by Sean Covey.
Habit 1 – Be Proactive – Take responsibility for your life
Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind – Define your mission and goals in life
Habit 3 – Put first things first – Prioritize, and do the most important things first
Habit 4 – Think Win Win – Have an everyone can win attitude
Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood – listen to people
Habit 6 – Synergize– Work together to achieve more
Habit 7 – Sharpen the saw – renew yourself regularly

To infinity and beyond

April 23, 2009

shrek_12For some reason, this phrase popped into my head this morning. And with it came a plethora of memories that brought me back to the classic Disney movie from which these words came: Toy Story.

Now I know that it’s just a cheesy tag line for Buzz Lightyear in the film, but if you think about it, when Buzz says that line, he says it with conviction and authority. He has an unfailing faith in who he is as a space ranger and in his abilities to fly, even when others (Woody mainly) doubt him. The idea of failure or danger doesn’t even cross him mind, he was made to be a space ranger, to fly, and save people from the evil Emperor Zurg. And that is just what he plans to do, no matter what obstacles may come his way.

And here comes the cheesy Christian metaphor: we should have faith like Buzz Lightyear! Deep, I know. But really, imagine the things we could do if we stepped out with that same confidence and assurance in who we are in Christ and in the abilities that he has given us. Just like buzz, we were born with a specific purpose in mind that we were created for and once we realize that, the possibilities are endless, we can fly too! With this theme of Identity that we have been discussing at youth, I’ve realized that I still have much to learn about my identity in Christ and I still have a long way to go in realizing the depth of the power that I have in Christ. Now, if I could just be like Buzz…

~Mikaela~

Right in the centre

April 23, 2009

There are many life lessons that I have learned in life, but one that really sticks out to me, and is a great reminder when I find myself in tough situations. It is the lesson of knowing that there is no safer place in the world, then the centre of God’s will. You can be caught in the middle of the worst war, but caught in the centre of God’s will, and no matter what, you will be safe. You are immortal until God is done with you. Now that doesn’t mean going and jumping off a bridge and seeing if God is done with you. It means do not be afraid when God calls you to a place of discomfort. Be all out for the cause of Christ. Stand and realize that when you fight for God, you never fight alone. Be a rebel. The root of every rebel is someone who is fighting for something that has no cause. Be a rebel with a cause, the cause of Christ and bringing those who are lost into the light. We are privileged to be chosen by God to run the race as Brian was saying Sunday night. Our God is a big God. Don’t be afraid to stand in the middle. – Daniel –

THE GREAT I AM

April 21, 2009

franTeenage pregnancy in Londonderry/Derry By Francine Hammon-Moore
It seems to me that teenage pregnancy in Derry is rising and its almost turning into an epidemic. Young people seem too think that if you’re in love you can have sex, but once a young person looses’ their virginity they think its ok to sleep around. Some young people also turn to sex to feel loved, wanted and cared for when in reality they are mainly being used for sex and end up more hurt, “damaged” and more unloved than before. Most teenagers don’t think to use protection either so they end up with an unplanned pregnancy and the people who get them pregnant end up running away and leaving the young mothers too raise the child on their own. From my point of view and being a christian and having friends in that position i feel that young people these days are growing up far too fast for their own good, And by turning to sex,drugs or alcohol or  whatever else they choose to take away that feeling of being unwanted, unloved and insecure. They don’t understand that God can give them the feelings of being wanted loved and secure and so much more. Speaking from my own experiences that none of those things ever filled that feeling of emptiness and loneliness inside. For me the only thing that ever filled that void in my life was Jesus Christ. For me allowing him into my life has made me feel so much better in myself which shows to my friends and family. I know if the young people in this city allow him into their lives the teenage pregnancy in this city will decrease and families wont he torn apart or broken.

DO SOMETHING

April 15, 2009

1034830_464567811There is a famous quote by British states man and philosopher. It goes “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I love this quote because it encourages me to keep fighting. As long as you are doing something, evil can do nothing. It doesn’t really matter what you do, or how much of it you do, as long as it is all part of raising Gods kingdom. Think about it. The smallest act of love, faith, and hope, has the power to defeat all evil. Why? Because God is above it all, and takes that and makes it greater than it seems. No one really notices the greeters Sunday morning, and Sunday night, but they are there with a smile on their faces, welcoming you into Gods house. I or even they don’t know what kind of an effect it has on people, but God knows. If those greeters had taken a day off, who knows what we would have missed. A life changed, someone’s down day becomes a good day, someone is healed. I have no idea, but don’t miss a chance to do something. Doing nothing gives evil a chance, doing something stretches the kingdom even further.
-Daniel-

why did Jesus die?

April 10, 2009

As a Christian I fully believe that Jesus suffered a horrible and horrific death for you and me, that was the most cruel and hideous of tortures. Jesus was stripped and tied to a whipping post where he was beaten and flogged to within an inch of his life with thongs of leather interwoven with sharp jagged bone and lead.  He was then taken to Praetorium where a crown of thorns was placed on his head.  He was mockedand abused  by a battalion of 600 men.   He was then forced to carry a heavy cross bar on his blood covered and broken shoulders.   When he  arrived at the crucifixion site he was stripped naked, laid on the cross and six inch nails were driven into his forearms, just above the wrist.  His knees were twisted sideways so that his ankles could be nailed to the wood.  He was then lifted up on the cross and left to hang in intense heat and unbearable thirst.  He hung there for six hours  while his life slowly drained away.  As his legs and arms grew got heavier, and the thorns on his head sank deeper into his skin, as the blood dripped from his body, the only thing that Jesus could think of was you.  As the people continued to mock him, as his breathing became slower and harder, and his heart began to work harder and harder because of the strain he was going though, the only thing Jesus had on his mind was you.  As he Roman should drove a spear into his side and as he drew his last breath Jesus’ only concern was you.
We humans have a problem, in the eyes of God we all have done wrong, we have all sinned and that sin separates us from the God, it acts as barrier and prevents us from having a relationship with him.
Romans 3 :21-26 (the message) tells us that God has set things right

1124846_8586977421-24But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.
25-26God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.

God loved us so much that he took our place, our punishment for our sin.  He substituted himself for us and suffered the results of our sin.  Jesus’ death on the cross took care of our sin once and for all and as a result of his sacrifice we have been made perfect and holy and enter into relationship with him, no longer slaves to our pasts.  We have been set free!
If we believe in him and say sorry for the things we ‘ve done then we can enter into the fullness of the lives he has planned for us.

created for community

April 9, 2009

During a run the other day, I passed someone from church and after a quick hello and a wave continued along, but continued to think about the encounter. I thought of a book that I remember reading for a class a couple years ago called Created for Community. While I don’t remember exactly what was in the book, the idea that we are created for community has stuck with me. That simple hello was enough to remind how grateful I am for the community that I have found here, the community that has become a home away from home. You see, we can’t make it alone, God created us to live in community with him and with others.

friends-walkingCommunity is at the very heart of Christianity. We are adopted into Christ’s family (Ephesians 1:5 says he predestined us to be adopted as his sons…) and are therefore called into community with other sons and daughters of Christ. He calls us to love one another as he has loved us. He calls us to confess, forgive, love, encourage, confront, sacrifice, and serve. It requires humility and trust. We tend to think we have all that it takes, we don’t require wisdom or strength from outside ourselves. It is so much easier to put up barriers, to hide behind walls and masks we create for ourselves, and try to live separate private and public lives. But the Bible challenges us to enter into those intimate relationships that draw us closer to each other and to Christ.

I hear Christ encouraging me to take a risk, to put myself out there and allow others to see the messy parts of me and allow others to speak truth into my life. Relationships are always messy and unpredictable, but that is when we see God’s grace in our lives. When we are brave enough to be vulnerable with other people, we experience community as God meant it, we experience grace, love, belonging.

~Mikaela~