Missionary Call of Israel in the Old Testament

Missions is not strictly from the New Testament, instead it began in the Old Testament (OT) where God called His people to be a light to the nations and an example of godliness to those who knew not the Lord of Creation...

What Lies Ahead: Hope for Those in Fear of the Future

We do not have to carry the heavy burden of yesterday, but instead we give our burden to Jesus so that we can feel the precious hope of a future in Him. He has plans for me and He has plans for YOU!

Hiding God's Word in My Heart

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

I Smile...

God is so good. That small sentence has such enormous truth and meaning and comfort behind it. He is good, He is good, He is good!

The Great Online Commission

Two million people log onto the internet everyday all across this beautiful planet and they search... for answers, for truth, for God. Find out how you can help lead them to know Jesus!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Call to Repentance... It's Not What You Think!

"Repentance" has become considered to be such an ugly and judgmental word in today's culture.
People on street corners hold signs that say "The end is near!" and they yell "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!" Well, that certainly worked 2,000 years ago when John the Baptist did it... but today? Today, passersby are either offended, annoyed, confused, oblivious or desensitized to it. Most don't have the theological background that the Jews did two millenia ago to fully understand the meaning behind the words. Even some Christians, including myself, who understand the theology and "get" the terminology, have at one point or another looked at these "street-corner prophets" like they are possibly being over-zealous or possibly even judgmental, as if they have condemned us before even asking our name!


This method of trying to get others to come to Christ might just be too abrasive and I'm not sure if it's a good tactic to use in a society that already has so much NOISE.

The Word says that God speaks to us in a still, small voice, and maybe those on the street-corners need to take a quieter, more gentle approach in getting us to see our need for repentance.

When they keep yelling "Repent! Repent! Repent!" people may take it to mean: "You must change who you are before God will accept you! If you don't change your wicked ways, then Jesus will not love you!"

THIS IS A LIE!

I hope this is not what is on their hearts as they yell "Repent!", and I don't really believe it is, because that is not what God's Word says! Jesus loves everyone no matter your circumstance and He wants you to COME AS YOU ARE - broken, sinful, and dirty. He wants you to come to the foot of the Cross, with ALL your sinful ways, and He wants you to lay all of that at His feet so that He can make you whole, righteous and spotless!

Don't even think about trying to change anything in your life in order to come to Jesus, because you will never, ever - no matter what you do, or how hard you try - you will never be "good enough"! But the good news is, He wants you anyway! He is already knocking at your door, even amidst your sinful life. Like the song "Love Me" by JJ Heller, Jesus says to us "I will love you for you. Not for what you have done or who you will become."

Repenting is looking the other way... Looking away from yourself and looking toward the Cross. 


I may be wrong, but it seems to me that, just like there is "saving faith", that there is a certain degree of repentence necessary for you to turn your heart to Jesus... a degree of "turning" necessary... (or maybe it's just a small amount of faith?) Nevertheless, when your heart has been changed by the Cross and your mind is being continuously renewed by Christ, you will find yourself repenting of various things (i.e., turning away from them)... but only after we come to have faith in Jesus can we have an honest and fruitful repentance.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mark Baxter's 6 Keys to Becoming a Strong Finisher - Part 1

I want to share some videos that discuss the main key points in Mark Baxter's book "Finish: Starting is Easy, but Finishing Makes the Difference". Mark, who is the Director of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Jacksonville, FL, was one of my Perspectives instructors this past Spring and he really has a hard-hitting and challenging way of driving home the truth of the gospel. Mark's book has a special meaning for Christians in light of the words and life of the Apostle Paul.

At the end of Paul's third missionary journey to the churches in Greece (54-58 A.D.), he bid farewell to the elders at Ephesus, saying he must hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible before the day of Pentecost. He told them he was compelled to go by the Holy Spirit and that he didn't know what would happen to him there because he knew the Jews in Jerusalem were plotting against him. Despite this he said:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

The book of Acts ends with Paul's arrest and his dangerous and miraculous journey to Rome to be imprisoned (though he was allowed to live outside of the actual prison). The author (most likely Luke), in writing the last sentences of the book, affirms:

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! Acts 28:30-31

In what is most likely Paul's last epistle (after prison), he writes to Timothy:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Paul's life offering to the spreading of the good news of Jesus is a wonderful inspiration and challenge to all Christians. I want to finish the race too. When I see Jesus, I really, really want Him to say to me "Good job, Jenn. You were faithful until the end."..... Doesn't satan just have a way of making you believe it's "too hard" though?! Boy he's good at his job sometimes.... BUT the Holy Spirit is even BETTER at the job of building us up in faith and when we turn our hearts toward Jesus then we can rightfully see the path God puts before us and we can follow it until the end - without turning to the right or to the left.

So, we all have the desire to finish the race in "all boldness and without hindrance," but we need a little lot of help getting there! Let's see what Mark Baxter has to say...

Here is his intro video where he explains his book "Finish" (which can be purchased here):



Father, thank you for the ministry of Mark and for everything that the YWAM organization does to be a blessing to others. I pray that you bless him and that his book turns out to be a huge success. As I listen to his words in this video, I hear a challenge made directly to me. It is SO easy to start things. I start things all the time and don't finish. I don't want to take the easy route anymore and I pray that You give me an abundance of faith and strength and courage to be a finisher, and not just a starter. I pray for godly wisdom and strength to take a stand for Jesus and for the truth of His life, death and resurrection. I know that I am blessed to be a blessing to others, and I pray that You take over my life and make it whatever You want it to be so that I can be a vessel that brings the living water to those who thirst for it. Protect me from the lies of satan and keep me and my husband (and baby) safe from his wickedness and from the destruction that comes from believing him as opposed to believing You. May our faith be strong enough to overcome the lie that we "can't finish" the race. May Your will be done in our lives so that we complete the task that You have called us to do - to live holy lives and proclaim the truth of Jesus. I pray this in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen

Jenn

Friday, April 29, 2011

Praise Him Anyway

On the way to work today I heard Katie Giguere's version of country singer Martina McBride's song "Anyway" and boy did it make me cry! I could use the excuse that I am overly-emotional because I'm pregnant, but I won't because I really am just a big cry-baby :-) Songs - mainly Christian songs - make me cry all the time... as you can see from previous posts! I think this version, found on Katie's album "I Lift My Eyes Up", is more moving than Martina's version. It's so soft and humble sounding, yet so strong when she sings the "anyway" parts. She also slightly changed the lyrics and I like them better as well. Below the lyrics is a video of Katie singing this song. (Not the official music video, but it was the only one I could find.) I hope God blesses you in listening to it!

 
ANYWAY
(Katie Giguere's version)

You can spend your whole life building
Something from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not never come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain’t good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world’s gone crazy
It’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
In a moment they can choose to walk away
Love ‘em anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain’t good
And when I pray
It doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
Yea – I do it anyway

You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yea – praise Him anyway

I sing
I dream
I love
Oh, anyway
Anyway

 

Jenn

Monday, April 18, 2011

Follow Him!


Today I am thankful for the below video!!

This video is so so sooo awesome!! 
What a way for God to reach today's social media entrenched world! 
"Real-time" Twitter updates from disciples, pharisees, and witnesses of Jesus... 
telling the Easter story is such a creative way! 

Check it out, it's #amazing ;-)


My Savior Lives!
God bless you!
Jenn

Friday, January 21, 2011

Missionary Call of Israel in the Old Testament

courtesy of heartlight.org
In reading and doing my homework for the "Perspectives" class, I am learning that "missions" is not strictly from the New Testament, instead it began in the Old Testament (OT) where God called His people to be a light to the nations and an example of godliness to those who knew not the Lord of Creation.

Despite current beliefs that the command of "evangelism" (the Great Commission) was given only to readers of the New Testament, it is very clear in the text I am currently reading within my Perspectives Reader, titled "Israel's Missionary Call", that this belief is false. This text cites three basic scriptures from the OT as evidence that God's purpose for His chosen elect, the Israelites, from the bloodline and seed of Abraham, through whom God said He would bless "all peoples on earth" (Gen 12:1-3), was to do just that - bless all the peoples on earth through His Name!!

God's message to the Israelites is still His calling for us today:

To Proclaim His Plan to Bless the Nations
In Haran, God promised to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:3

To Participate in His Priesthood as Agents of that Blessing
On Mount Sinai, God called on Moses and said: "‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

To Prove His Purpose to Bless all the Nations
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us, Selah,
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth. Selah
May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Although Israel did not and does not always step up to the plate of being a light to the nations, it does not change the fact that this was God's purpose for them - and still is! However in the meantime, until the time of the Rapture when all believers in Christ are taken from the earth, as descendants of Abraham through faith in the Promised Messiah, Jesus, we Gentiles must be co-workers with God in order to fulfill His promise and plan to bless all the nations through Abraham. The Lord our God is One, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the same yesterday as He is today as He will be in the future, and His will, promises and plans for His creation has not and will not change, whether we read about Him in the Old Testament or the New Testament.

courtesy of heartlight.org

courtesy of creative-spiritz.com
God bless you!
Jenn

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

From God's Perspective

My husband and I are taking a 16-week Certificate Level course called "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement." This course is a discipleship course that really gets to the heart of God and opens our eyes to His redemptive plan and promises, from Genesis to Revelation and through the Church today. It shows us how to look at the world through God's eyes and teaches us about God's mission of saving and redeeming souls through regular, everyday people like you and I. In God's eyes there aren't any "nobodies" and when we make His vision our vision, and we make the purpose of our lives to become His "co-worker," then God can use you and I to enact His plan and to fulfill the promises He made through Abraham. The course is sectioned off into four "topics" and really digs deep into the heart of God's missions mandate by looking at it through a biblical, historical, cultural and strategic lens. {Check out the video below to learn more about the course, then visit their website to see if there are any courses going on in your area: www.perspectives.org}



I feel so touched by this course already and we've only attended one session so far!! The session we attended is titled, "The Living God is a Missionary God" and technically I should be doing my homework right now, but I figured why not turn it into a blog post!
"Our problem [is] a matter of shriveled vision. We cannot devote ourselves to that which we cannot envision. Our vision is limited by the horizon of our own concerns and culture. But, there is a better destiny - a larger purpose. We can lay hold of it by knowing and following God toward a vision which extends far beyond ourselves." p. 1, Perspectives Study Guide

God bless you!
♥ Jenn

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Lies Ahead: Hope for Those in Fear of the Future

In giving himself as an example for the church in ancient Philippi (Φίλιπποι), the apostle Paul wrote:
"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." (Philippians 3:10-16)
Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God (sinned) and everyone has done things that they are not proud of or they regret. I have so so many things, even things I still do every day that I am ashamed of and regret. But we are not the sum of all our past (or present) mistakes. When we have accepted the gift of Jesus's death and His blood has cleansed our lives, God does not look at us and see our sins - past, present or future. Instead, He sees His only Son, hanging on a cross and then risen glorified. Although the past did happen and we even make mistakes with each new day, we do not have to hold on to those mistakes and those regrets. We repent of them by bringing them to the foot of the cross and we lift them up to our Lord and Savior, who died for those very mistakes and regrets. We do not have to carry the heavy burden of yesterday, but instead we give our burden to Jesus so that we can feel the precious hope of a future in Him. He has plans for me and He has plans for YOU:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
We press on and we fight the good fight in hope and expectance of the good things our Lord has in store for us. What JOY we should have as we walk through our days! What PEACE should be upon us as we think about our future. True, we know not what our God has planned or when our life will end, but when we trust that it will all be according to His perfect and good will, our soul and our spirit should be relieved and burden-free. For if we believe that God is, and we believe that our Messiah Jesus died and rose again to save us of our sins, then it should be easy for us to believe that our future holds blessed gifts of God like joy, peace, wisdom, and all other fruits of the Holy Spirit. We just need to keep our eye on the Cross and on the Risen Lord. If it sounds hard and you feel bound to those past mistakes and you are fearful that you may repeat those same mistakes again in the future, please remember the word of our God:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Do not allow your past, or your fear of the future, keep you from "pressing on toward the prize"!

"Heavenward Toward Christ" created by me on www.Polyvore.com

This post has been my thoughts upon reading today's entry in the Upper Room Magazine that my friend recently got me as a gift.

God bless you!
♥ Jenn

Monday, November 1, 2010

The hope to which He has called you...

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” (Ephesians 1:18)
My sister, her boyfriend and two children are moving to California on Wednesday... I said my goodbyes today :( The above verse caught my eye and I thought of my sister. This would be my prayer for her and her family:

That her eyes and ears are opened to God's promise of hope that He keeps repeating and repeating and that He has called her to a place more glorious and enriching than California ♥ Even though I will miss them so much though, this is definitely a blessing and I'm so happy for them. Praying that God keeps them safe, hopeful and courageous!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hiding God's Word in My Heart

The fasting retreat was so amazing. My mind was so clear and distraction-free and I loved the feeling of constantly setting my thoughts on God and reading His word. Such an amazing peace!

We got together during meal times to "fill up" on worship & praise and sharing scriptures and praying. I never really felt hungry once; I did get small hunger pangs a couple times, but thinking on God and His word made it go away. It was amazing to see how His word becomes so real in a situation like fasting.

Everyone who came had a reason for why they were fasting and mine was to increase my faith in God and to reignite the fire in my heart for Him. I felt that if I am not feeling strong in faith & obedience then how can I even effectively pray for others and how will I be able to be a light to others? Well, it definitely worked! I drew near to Him and He drew nearer to me, just as He promised. My heart and mind feels so renewed, but I need to make sure that I continue reading His word every single day, morning and night.

 
Today on the radio I was listening to In the Market with Janet Parshall and her guest was Dr. Frank Minirth and he was discussing his book Boost Your Brain Power: Proven Ways to Keep Your Mind Young (previously published as A Brilliant Mind). It was so interesting! He was saying that you can redirect the neuro-circuitry in your brain to however you want essentially... similar to Aristotle's "You are what you repeatedly do", but more like "You can become who you want by what you repeatedly do (or read)." So, he was saying that if you memorize short Scripture verses, then after time you actually become like those verses. So essentially you become more Christ-like by hiding His word in your heart & mind! (Duh, isn't that what the Bible already tells us?! hehe)

Here is the description of Janet Parshall's interview with Dr. Frank Minirth (click on that link to listen to the program!):
Most people use less than 5 percent of their overall brain potential. Dr. Frank Minirth will help us tap into the other 95 percent of our brains. He will also reveal eight time-proven memory techniques, encourage Scripture memorization, and offer insights into language that will open new doors for any listener. Tune in to this compelling conversation!

I'll leave you with a verse that we all focused on while at the Fasting Retreat.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

 In the name of Jesus I pray that my mind be conformed to Your will Lord and that my thoughts, which lead into action, may be completely aligned with Your word. I pray that I take captive every thought and if it is distracting or destructive, and if it sets itself up against Your will and Your word, that I demolish it on the spot. Let not the evil one set himself up in my mind Jesus. Lord, may it be only the Holy Spirit who directs my thoughts, that I may remain obedient to You my God and that Your will may be done in my life.
Amen

Jenn

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My soul thirsts

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water."
 

I chose that verse because I really wanted to write about something tonight and that was the Verse of the Day in the Bible Gateway widget in my sidebar. The funny thing is that I thought I was choosing it haphazardly, but after I just read it a couple times I realized was reminded - there is no such thing as haphazard when it comes to my God. He had me choose that verse for a very real reason:

Tomorrow I am going on my first ever fasting retreat.

What a perfect verse to choose Lord. The goal of the retreat is to dig deeper in God's word and to earnestly seek Him. My body will thirst for water, but should I drink, I will just become thirsty again; but my soul thirsts for the Living Water that flows from a never-ending Source and when I drink of it, I feel quenched. I will hunger for bread, something to sustain my body, but should I eat, I will hunger once more; but He who is the Bread of Life, the Sustainer, He gives the sustenance I truly need.

This weekend will be about retreating from life's distractions and focusing whole-heartedly on He who gives us life, but it will also be about deep and serious prayer for our nation, our families, ourselves. For rededicating ourselves to our Holy God, to get away from the noise and listen to God's voice.

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10

I am so excited to devote an entire weekend solely to God. No T.V. No blogs. No work. No cell phone. Just quiet time with my God and fellowship and worship with sisters in Christ. I look forward to encouraging each other and praising Him together. I already feel blessed by it and I haven't even attended yet!

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?"

Pslam 42:1-2



Jenn

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