Tuesday, March 31, 2015
It's not always easy to find a church that fit you when you are on the lookout for a new church. I recommend choosing a church where you feel comfortable and accepted, where you can be yourself. You also want to make sure you choose a church where you understand the message that is being preached.
All pastors have different styles of preaching and what works for one person might not work for you. You won't be able to continue to grow and become a better person if you don't fully understand what's being said. Ja Rule shares his story about how he found a church where he felt right at home from the start.
He conquered death,
He set me free.
Jesus is alive in me.
Broken hearted restless soul,
lost out on the open road.
I needed to know the blood he gave,
Jesus bled and died for me.
He conquered death,
He set me free.
Jesus is alive in me.
Come tell them what great love we've found!
This upcoming weekend we are celebrating Easter. Easter never used to be that big of a deal to me, because I never understood what it was about. This year is the first year in my life that I feel like I get it! I get what Easter is about now and it's amazing when your eyes get opened up like that, when you're able to see the beauty of something that just seemed ordinary at first glance.
I thought I would share a sermon from this year's Easter series at Elevation Church, it's a message about how Jesus came to pass our test. Jesus came to show us who God truly is, what he is about and what that means for our own lives. Pastor Steven Furtick gives us a message that's easy to understand and that can help us see what Easter is really about. What's the big deal? What are we missing?
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Many things in life depend on our choices. If we work hard we are much more likely to get that dream job. If we don't care about eating healthy we are much more likely to get different diseases as we get older. Our good and bad choices affect the outcome of our lives, but then there are other times in life when things don't make any sense.
Why does bad things happen to good people? When we have done everything right and we are still hit by a terrible accident or disease. Why does these things happen? What's God's plan in all this?
Bethany Hamilton's story is about being an overcomer. Sometimes the hardest things we go through can be a part of what forms our legacy. Sometimes it's because we ourselves have struggled in life that we now have the ability to help others. Bethany Hamilton's story is about how God can take something that was bad or wrong in our lives and use it for something good. If we choose to not give up hope, God will pull us through our darkest moments in life and get us back to a place of joy and laughter. Never give up hope, continue to believe that God will get you through this struggle.
Bethany Hamilton's life story was made into a movie in 2011 and has inspired many people all over the world. Sometimes when bad things happen to us we wonder why and can't see how anything good could possibly come out of this, but years later we might see how God used something bad for good. If we hang in there and let God lead us through our struggles we will make it out on the other side. When we choose to be an overcomer our story might later help someone else in a similar situation.
On October 31, 2003 Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack and was close to loosing her life. On August 18, 2013 Bethany Hamilton married the love of her life Adam Dirks in front of 300 friends and family members in Hawaii.
Bethany's story shows us that although life may seem very dark at times, there is light on the other side. If we hang in there God will get us through our struggles. We will still be able to experience great joy in our lives. Never let go of hope, believe that God can and will turn things around in your life and he will!
Monday, March 23, 2015
Vitor Belfort's story is about love, pain and about being an overcomer. We all have something we need to overcome.
Fear is loosing ground,
to our hope in you.
let your glory go on and on.
Nothing shall be impossible,
your kingdom reigns unstoppable.
We'll shout your praise forevermore,
Jesus our God, unstoppable.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Megan's story is about how we can live out The Life Of Love in our work places. Megan knows that no matter what job she is in, she is called to do that job according to her best ability. When we do our jobs with excellence it pleases God. Whatever job God has given us he has given it to us so that we can love and care for those around us in that particular work place.
We spend so much of our time at work, so how we work really matters. This is the story about the company Bandwith and about their values in the work place.
I've known you're with me
but now it is clear
I can feel you.
Though the storm it rages
I won't be moved
I won't be shaken
I am anchored in you.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Living The Life Of Love looks different for everyone. We are all called to different things. The Kershaws felt called by God to care for children in poverty. They started by sponsoring a girl named Hope and today they have opened an orphanage in Zambia. The things we can accomplish when we open our hearts to God's purpose for our lives can be truly amazing! :)
I found this message from last year's Easter series at Elevation Church. This sermon is called "Get Your Hopes Up." We are often told that we shouldn't get our hopes up but pastor Steven Furtick teaches us to do just that; get your hopes up! :) In this message we learn what to do when it seems like everything is against us. We will learn how to have hope through faith even when our mistakes, our feelings and the facts are against us. Here's a description of the sermon:
It's easy for us to define ourselves by our worst moments. And it's hard to be hopeful if we are only known by our worst days. But, in part three of our series The Hope of Glory, Pastor Steven examines the life of Abraham to show us that, when God defines our lives through Christ, he doesn't focus on past mistakes or even our current feelings and circumstances. And even at the end of hope, God can use our faith to fulfill His great purpose in our lives.
Easter is approaching! :) If you have questions and thoughts about life and death, why we are all here and what the point of all this is, Easter is a good time to find some answers. Come check out Easter at Elevation Church! Here are a few of the locations where you can find an Elevation church:
ROCK HILL, SC
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Annie Lobert's story is a powerful story about what it can feel like when you believe that nobody loves you and that nobody wants you. When you feel unlovable. It's a story about the dark roads that this false view of yourself can lead you down. You have to know that you are loved to be able to love yourself.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Seven years ago I told my friend at work that I'm a little curious about God. My friend told me they have a Bible study group for 20-somethings at her church that I could check out. "Oh no, I wouldn't wanna do that, I'm not religious", I said. My friend explained to me that she's not religious either but that she has strong faith. I remember thinking that I had no idea what she was talking about. It took me many years to learn the difference between having faith in God and being religious. I used to think the two automatically came together.
The easiest way to explain what it means to be religious could be to say that religious people follow other people. People who have faith in God follow Him, not people. Religious people also love rules and often tend to judge others for not following all the rules, while they themselves pick and choose which rules they want to follow. Religious people can often be more about "appearing Christian" than actually following Jesus for real.
If people tell you they are Christian but you can tell by their actions that they aren't really that different from regular people, chances are these people are religious. If a person is a true follower of Jesus you will be able to tell by how they talk, work, serve, love, live and by what their life goals are. This doesn't mean that the follower of Jesus is free of faults, but you will be able to tell that something about this person's life is different, even without the person revealing that he is a Christian.
Religious people easily get stuck in following a group of people's view on God, while a person of faith has a personal relationship with God. We establish our personal relationship with God by reading his word in the Bible and by having conversations with him through prayer. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible right now is Luke:6. It's so good! :)
Each one of us needs to make sure we are really following God himself, and not a group of people's opinions. We don't believe because somebody says we should believe in God, we believe because our eyes have been opened and we have seen what He has done for us in our own lives. The more you have seen God move in your life the stronger your faith in him will become, and the more you come to Him for help and guidance the more He will move on your behalf. Prepare to be amazed and in awe at what He can do if you only have faith in Him. We serve an awesome God! :)
Monday, March 9, 2015
Hillsong church in New York city is the church most of you have probably heard about at this point. There's been a lot written about Hillsong in the media since some of it's members are famous celebrities. Ja Rule, Vanessa Hudgens and Anna Sophia Robb from "The Carrie Dairies" are some of the celebs that go to Hillsong and have mentioned their church on social media. Beyond all the hype, Hillsong Church has something that's real. Pastor Carl Lentz has a style of preaching that hits home and is easy to follow and comprehend.
Hillsong Church is a church that started in Sydney, Australia but now has locations in most major cities in Australia, North America and Europe. If you're on the lookout for a new church Hillsong Church is worth checking out. You can listen to a sermon by pastor Carl Lentz from Hillsong NYC in the video above. Except for NYC, here's a list of some other cities where you can find a Hillsong church:
Friday, March 6, 2015
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Living "The Life of Love" looks different for everyone. Ben and Katie felt called to move abroad and be teachers in Haiti. After they had gotten married they stepped out of their comfort zone and gave up "The American Dream" for serving others in an underdeveloped country. It's a story of courage and love.
There are seven billion people on this planet so living The Life Of Love is going to look very different for each one of us. Jesus simply said "come, follow me", we are called to live a life following in His footsteps. We all have different skills and unique gifts, but each one of us were created to fill a specific need in the world. We are all very important pieces of the puzzle.
Jessie and John have hearts that ache for the orphans in this world, they have chosen to walk in Jesus' footsteps by loving and adopting orphans. What does your heart ache for? I like what Mother Teresa said about love:
"We can not do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love."
"I alone can not change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
"I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things."
One thing I never understood, although I grew up in a Christian country, is who Jesus truly was. I find it quite interesting that it's possible to grow up in a Christian part of the world and still miss the core of what Christianity is about. I read a blog post a few months ago where a Swedish fashion blogger wrote about how she is Christian and believes in God coming down to earth, being crucified and that he rose from the dead. Many people (who were not Christians) commented on the blog post and wrote "you mean Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, not God."
I realized these people, and me, never grasped the core about Christianity. The core of what Christians believe is that God himself came down to earth, 2015 years ago, because he loved us so much that he wanted us to truly know him and understand what he created us for. He took on a human body because he wanted to demonstrate to us how he wants us to live. This body was named Jesus.
During the days God walked on earth, in the form of Jesus, he showed us who he is and how we are meant to live. He taught us to love our enemies, treat others like we ourselves would like to be treated, forgive people, be content in every situation etc. After God (in the form of Jesus) was killed and had risen again he gave his disciples the holy spirit. The holy spirit is God in a third form, it's God's spirit living within us. God's spirit now lives within each one of us, and if we learn to listen we can hear Him, guiding us through life. We are no longer alone.