Quote: Step Forward

The lie of unforgiveness is that people think it works. It does not. It’s only allowing the person who hurt you to keep hurting you. It’s allowing the knife of the wound to stay in, fester, and get infected. Removing the knife doesn’t mean that what happened to you isn’t wrong. Of course what happened is wrong, and God knows it. But forgiveness is to set you free from the wound.

The step forward is to be able to breathe again, smile again, laugh again, serve again, be joyful again. With that picture in mind, those who are traumatized can see past their pain into a better future for their world. A pregnant teen, a husband whose wife left him, a young kid about to serve thirty years in prison, a guy who almost overdosed, a mother who just lost her child — all of them need a new chapter, not a visual of the old one. Flip the page.

— from this post

Quote: Pushback

“There will always be pushback for anything you write into the world. No need to melt down or flip out. Be ready to engage discussion in a sound, sober, gentle, humble manner that forgets your insecurities and approaches the actual idea. Public discourse entails that your baby is now up for grabs, open to attack, vulnerable to dissection, dissenting voices, and differing opinions. If you’re not okay with that, then keep yourself in the third drawer of your candlelit desk in the dungeon chamber. But if you have the guts to welcome disagreement, then speak passionately for what you believe to your fellow human being, not that all will be convinced but that a few would be convicted.”

Quote: Being Free

We rationalize ‘sleeping around’ as freedom because we think our body needs this sort of reckless venue for pleasure. But after a while, that’s sort of shallow and superficial. It’s really missing out on the Big Picture. A committed, covenantal promise to be forever faithful to a husband or wife in a stable family unit of sacrifice through every season always leads to the best sex ever. That’s an ocean-deep foundation of nourishing goodness that makes anything else pale in comparison. God wants to give you the real thing, not a cheap imitation. It’s like holding a candle to the sun.

Being free does not mean that you maintain an image to sell yourself to the nearest sexual object to satisfy your flesh for a minute, or to play the paranoid game of ‘I better keep this up or he/she will leave me.’ Being really free in a marriage means you have an unfailing love that is stronger than every hardship in life, stronger than your feelings, and big enough to grow you into God’s glorious vision.

— from this post

What If Faith

What if faith is not based on the strength of your belief, but in The One who gave you that faith?

What if faith is not based on the amount you know, but in The One who knows you?

What if faith that is even feeble weak dried up half-steps towards Him is just enough for the next step?

What if faith is not measured in religious metrics like Bible-reading and church attendance and prayer time and loud singing, but in your messy love for Him and the people He has made?

What if faith was not about the mountains you could shake, but about the Son who climbed a hill with a cross to save you?

What if faith was preached in the pulpit not as a critical barometer of your works, but as the source we draw from for the work itself?

What if faith is just dang difficult, and God knew that, so He sent His Son who welcomed all doubts, questions, and confusion, and became the answer on a cross?

Originally posted here on my Tumblr.

The Silent Departure: When Your Friend Walks Away From God and Out Of Your Life

You might have recently sent a Facebook invite to a close-ish friend you remember from that church revival four years ago, and then you get this kind of response:

I’m sorry bro, but I haven’t gone to church in a long time. I don’t know about all that anymore. But thanks for inviting me.

You’re not sure if you should follow up, ask what happened, drop a verse, dig in a little, or revert to small talk.

Most times though: we back up and move on. It’s not because you don’t care. It’s because it feels like that story is done and over, and maybe you’re supposed to give them a lot of room so you don’t look like a religious window-peering creeper, and you feel like they will come back if they really want to and you can just keep sending them invites in hopes that they’ll come out to one of your sweet, hi-tech, modernized church events.

Or maybe: your former friend is just waiting for you to press in.

Maybe their head is barely above water, they’re suffocating in a world of secret hurt, and you’re the only lifeline who’s come close to discovering the shipwreck below the surface.

During the winter season, I remember certain faces who used to come around church and I just start to miss everybody: the way it used to be, the raucous ragtag Sundays and senseless giggling and fist-pumping during praise and getting lunch in a giant group to talk afterward in the parking lot for hours.

Sometimes now I still see them online and they haven’t exactly gone prodigal, but they’ve just moved on. Graduated from church. Onto “real life.” It was another lifetime ago.

Continue reading “The Silent Departure: When Your Friend Walks Away From God and Out Of Your Life”

I Made It To $10,000

Well, I finally did it.  After saving half my income for the year, this is a check I took out from my savings to put in my checking account, which I will then send a check for $10,000 to fight human trafficking.

One Day’s Wages has set up a site to ask for matching contributions, so you can help too!

The holidays are coming and I know you’ll be busy shopping, so please also consider donating even $5 to this awesome charity. 

Here’s what your money can do:

  • $50 provides one month of education/vocation training for one rescued girl (age ranged from middle school/highschool)
  • $37.50 provides one month of Health + Hygiene (Medication, toiletries, medical visits, water) for a rescued girl 
  • $250 covers the cost of 6 days of aftercare for a trafficked victim
  • $500 covers the cost of 7 days of legal advocacy

You can read the story of how I saved up or just scroll to the bottom to donate.

Thanks and love you guys!

— J

Originally posted here on my Tumblr.

Question: Why Is Evangelizing So Awkward?

Anonymous asked:

I have trouble sharing the gospel. When I want to share it (either to a believer or a non-believer), most of the time I end up saying nothing and feeling guilty. I know my lack of confidence (is it gonna come out right?) and fear what others may think of me (which I know is sinful) have something to do with it. If I do say something, I get uncomfortable and it doesn’t come out the way I wanted it to, even after asking the Holy Spirit to help me. Why does sharing the gospel feel unnatural to me?

You know, I was nodding my head the entire time I was reading this question: because every Christian ever has felt the same exact way.  I’ll dare to say that as a “professional Christian,” I still feel this way sometimes.  So I’m totally with you on this and I got much love for you for confessing the whole truth.

If anyone is really all that confident in evangelizing, it could be false confidence derived from “good technique” or polished apologetics, neither which actually care about living breathing people. Please allow me to suggest some things about evangelism to set the record straight.

Continue reading “Question: Why Is Evangelizing So Awkward?”

Quote: Afraid of Grace

I know, we’re afraid of grace. It’s freaking uncomfortable to think we’re letting someone “get away” with something. But how exactly do we think people will change? By beating them into submission with religious fervor? By conveying a God who is waiting for you to fail? That’s a puny, horrible, diminutive God that no one would ever follow.

True change always happens when we’re motivated by a God who loves first. The beginning and end of God’s every motive is love. Even His wrath is loving because He hates injustice and oppression. The lie in religion is that we can win God somehow, when God has already come to us through His Son. It’s all by His grace. God loves you, He loves you, He loves you. No past sins or future disobedience will cancel it; God’s mind is already made up about you. You can’t change that in Him no matter what you do, and it’s His unchanging heart that changes you.

– from this post

Quote: Core Issue

Unless what you’re saying is actual factual truth from a real source of reliable authority, then don’t speculate and presume and make false connections and spread rumors of rumors. Don’t trust yourself to have an opinion when you only have half a story. You’ll not only live longer, but you’ll actually have to confront the core issues. You’ll find most of the time the core issue is really about the ugliness of yourself, and right around that corner of self-confrontation is freedom from a self-taught lie.

Quote: A Process

“Faith is a growing process and it took me a long time to get that. If you haven’t worked with broken people, homeless people, drug addicts, porn addicts, if you’ve tried to disentangle and recalibrate their brain — it’s a hard process, a long process. I’m afraid a lot of preachers who know nothing about grace — all they know about is guilt — they’re going to just say, ‘Change, change, change!’ But broken people take a long time for the pieces to come back together. No matter who you are, you got some kind of brokenness, emptiness, missingness in you, there’s a feeling everyday of, ‘I’m just not getting this God-thing” or “I just suck at living this life.’ I want to give you a little bit of freedom and say: God absolutely loves you, and there’s nothing that you can do that will change His heart for you.”

— from this message

Quote: Real You

Trusting God is also trusting how He has made you uniquely YOU. It’s to know that God sent His Son for you and loves you just as you are, the nervousness and all, and this is real confidence: a sort of humility that submits to God’s plan. People who are comfortable with themselves have increasingly found their security in God’s absolute, never-stopping, always-constant love. This is the Real You that God is sculpting you to be. We so often hide that with a cultural idea of ‘confidence’ that is really just shallow fakery, whether it’s a nicer car or better hair or cuter purse. Those things are fine, but not if they define you. Let yourself out to play.

— from this post

Quote: With Wonder

To fear the Lord is to be overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and his love. It means that, because of his bright holiness and magnificent love, you find him “fearfully beautiful.” That is why the more we experience God’s grace and forgiveness, the more we experience a trembling awe and wonder before the greatness of all that he is and has done for us. Fearing him means bowing before him out of amazement at his glory and beauty.

— Timothy Keller

Four Simple Ways To Prepare For Married Life

Though I am yet unmarried, there are a few things I’ve been doing to get ready. They’re simple, effective, and build the maturity that we all need.

Continue reading “Four Simple Ways To Prepare For Married Life”

Quote: It’s Free

If you think at all that you can abuse God’s forgiveness or you have tried God’s love already, I will counter-back and contend with you that you might not understand then how big God’s love really is. Whatever you think about God’s love — not big enough. It’s too small. God does not look at you and make you the exception to His love. You might say, ‘All these Christians over here, they got it together, God will love them. Me? No, not me. I got the one thing that God cannot understand. I tried to work it out with Him already and I don’t want to abuse His love.’ But God doesn’t look at you and say, ‘I forgive ninety-nine problems but you ain’t one.’ God loves you, and that love that He gives is a gift. You can’t abuse that gift. It’s free. It’s grace.

— from this podcast

Quote: Always Tell

Tell the truth. Always tell the truth. If you’re twisting reality to manipulate someone — a reality that God knows, you know, and the rest of the world knows — then sooner or later it’ll mushroom-cloud in your face. Be the one everyone can trust, even if they trust you to say the thing that hurts. It’s worth the couple days of awkwardness to say it like it really is.