Quote: Giant Gap

In that giant gap between who you want to be and who you really are, every other religion (including the evangelical church) tells you to “close the gap.” That’s religion.

Jesus is the only one who said, “I will meet you where you are. I am running backwards through the gap to YOU. And we will walk this together, one step at a time, me in the lead, and I will always be with you whether you feel me or not.” Faith is being more and more sure of this reality — it is NOT being more sure that you’re sinning less. It is not just running from sin, but running to Him.

— from this post

Breath For Dreams

I know, it feels like you need to get your life on track. I know, it feels like you should be further ahead. I know, it feels like you’re stuck in that rut. You want to get it together and get over the inadequacy, uncertainty, missed chances, and all the should’ve-beens.

Don’t beat yourself up about it. Pace yourself, relax your fists, make steps, and don’t run. Let the dream breathe. Should-be is still could-be, and though time is short, time is left. Your moment is any moment you say now.

— J.S.

Question: Lonely, Hopeless, Unwanted

Anonymous asked:

I need help. I feel alone, helpless, hopeless, unwanted (and that’s what hurts the most I guess). I’m away at college and it’s my freshman year and everyone I love feels so far away? I thought that I’d be able to take this ‘fast’ from people, but it’s so hard. I hate myself for not being better able to adjust, for not making friends quickly, for not being happy. I feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore. God always seems so far away, even if I do pray and read the bible. Please please help.

Hey: I’m really sorry and I know how crippling it is to be lonely.  As much as you don’t want to hear it now, please hear me say that you’re totally loved and you’re very much not alone. 

Most of us who feel lonely and unwanted get tricked by our flesh into an imprisoning cycle: we think being unwanted means we “deserve” to be unwanted, or that loneliness somehow means we are bad people.  We think of it like a permanent virus, but that is NOT true. Those emotions are very real, but they’re more like a fog that you need to keep walking through to the other side where there’s sun.

Being a freshman anywhere (school, job, church, marriage) can be a weird limbo-ish place of growing pains, so please know that it will NOT always be like this.  There’s always an “initial phase” of frustration to new journeys that take a little time, and for some it takes longer than others.  Don’t ever feel bad about your own pacing: everyone blooms differently.  No more guilt about that, all right?  Be comfortable with your own rate of growth.

You’re also at an exciting juncture where tons of opportunities are waiting for you, and if you haven’t yet, please check out the local campus ministries and some younger churches near you.  There are always student ministries that are ready to embrace you, and while no church is perfect nor a final solution to every issue, it’ll be a start to grow into a new community.

Continue reading “Question: Lonely, Hopeless, Unwanted”

Quote: Inspiration

“We were made to respond to inspiration. Everybody wears an unseen sign that reads: ‘Inspire me. Remind me that my life matters; call me to be my best self; appeal to whatever in me is most noble and honorable. Don’t let me go down the path of least resistance. Challenge me to make my life about something more than the acquisition of money or success.’”

— John Ortberg

Quote: Greatest Desire

“I have sometimes wondered if the greatest desire of man is to be known and loved anyway. It is no secret we are terribly protective of our hearts, as though this tender space is a kind of receptor for our validation as humans. The closer we are to another person, the more vulnerable we are and the more we feel a sense of risk. Lovers can take years to finally trust each other, and many of us will close ourselves off at the slightest hint of danger. Introductory conversations are almost always shallow. ‘Where did you go to school?’ and ‘How old are your children?’ are safe places to begin. Start an initial meeting with ‘What addictions do you struggle with?’ or ‘When do you feel least loved by your wife?’ and we are going to have a tough time making new friends. It seems that we feel we must trust people before we let them know anything remotely vulnerable about us, and to ask for more before trust has been built is to contravene a social etiquette dating back to the fall of man. All this, I suppose, is connected to the fact that our validation seems to always be in question.

And yet it is through this system of defense Christ walks with ease, never seeming to fear that He would do damage by rummaging around in the tender complexity of a person’s identity. Instead, He goes nearly immediately to our greatest fears, our most injured spaces, and speaks into those places with authority.”

— Donald Miller

Quote: The Way

“The Christian way is different: harder and easier. Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked — the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’”

— C.S. Lewis

Yelling “Lukewarm” Doesn’t Help Anyone — Especially The Lukewarm

Christians: So many of us are lukewarm, but it doesn’t help to yell “lukewarm.”

If you yell at someone long enough, it somehow feels like you will jolt them into purpose like a wind-up action figure and they’ll embrace the fiery Christian life of the Bible they never read.

We say a lot of hard things like, “If Jesus really is he who says he is, shouldn’t we be completely sold out for Jesus? Are you in or out? Are you committed or not? Then a long pause, which always means, “This is the convicting phrase you have to tweet.”

Christians: The goal of our faith-journey is NOT to avoid being lukewarm. That’s just standing on anti-ground.

Often I end up feeling like I’m clawing for the threshold of some invisible spiritual success and that God is a parole officer and I’m bleeding towards victory, lest a terrible fate awaits me in the darkness of failure.

But these kinds of lists and proclamations — “Ten Signs You’re Missing It, How To Know You’re A Spiritual Infant, The Quick Sure Road To Hell” — seem an awful lot like pointing at all my flabby places hoping I’ll go to the gym.

I already know what’s wrong with my gym-life and my emotional-life and my spiritual-life, and knowing this doesn’t really motivate me. Does it work for you?

Continue reading “Yelling “Lukewarm” Doesn’t Help Anyone — Especially The Lukewarm”

Quote: Imagine Jesus

I imagine Jesus going to the blind, beggars, lepers, sick, demon-possessed, and little children: and I bet he fit right in. Maybe no one could tell it was Jesus from afar, because they expected someone cleaner. I wonder if Jesus bent down on one knee to the girl with the cleft lip, touched her face, and called her beautiful. I wonder if he prayed for her right on the spot, hugged her, pulled back her hair and told her to smile. I wish I could’ve seen her light up, throw off all insecurity, and do something worthy with her life. That’s what Jesus is about. I want to be about that too.

— originally posted here on my Tumblr

Question: The Aftermath of Giving Away Half My Salary

image mmrn asked:

How are you doing? I hope that you are doing well and enjoying your day so far! I am a fan of your blog, posts and wisdom and just thought I should pop by and say hi! 🙂 I remember you saying that you were giving half of your salary to charity in a post last year, on February 12th, 2012.

Now that the anniversary of this date is coming up, how do you feel? What is the most significant thing that you learned? Are you looking forward to having access to your full income, or is the thought overwhelming at all? I can’t imagine being brave enough to do the sacrifice that you have done! I would truly love to have more insight regarding your experience, if you have a moment to share your thoughts! Thank you so much, have a fantastic day, and take care!

Can I tell you first: thank you for asking me how I’m doing and how my day was.  Not enough people ask those simple questions and you’re awesome for doing it.  I am well and today is a good day, and thank you for all your kind encouraging words. 🙂

I did indeed give away half my income at the end of last year to fight human trafficking, and began a campaign with the charity One Day’s Wages to raise more money.  Please allow me to shamelessly plug that campaign here — you can still contribute any amount that you like.  Just scroll to the bottom, and you’ll also see a list of everyone else who’s donated.

Now to answer your questions!

Continue reading “Question: The Aftermath of Giving Away Half My Salary”

Quote: Really Are

We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forget.

— G.K. Chesterton

Birthday Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking

Birthday Campaign to Fight Human Trafficking

Last year I donated half my salary ($10,000) to fight human trafficking.

Today, March 7th, is my birthday.  Instead of gifts, I’m asking that you consider donating with me to fight for this cause together ..!

You can donate here to my campaign (scroll to the middle of the page), and all proceeds go directly to fighting human trafficking and sex slavery. 

Please consider giving $5, 10, 25, or any amount you’d like!


Here’s what your contribution 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

Thanks for considering.  Love y’all!

— J.S

Grace: To Rest, To Fight


We are in constant battle,
and grace is just as much our haven of rest as it is our resolve to fight.

Grace cheers for you, roots for you, and receives you again and again:
with a direction and momentum that says you’re better than this.

Grace will confront the sin like a surgeon’s tool and work through it to the messy end.

Grace does not excuse nor absolve sin,
but acknowledges the reality of our great desperate need as sinners. 
It’s not merely comfort, but healing.

Grace is a cross, a substitution, an atonement, a victory over the grave —
a handful of gritty truths wrapped in flesh that breathed the air and dirt of this earth.

It’s a beautiful, wonderful, furious, unchanging, heart-stopping love
that cannot be shaken no matter what.

Jesus: he is our rest, our fight.


— J.S.

Quote: Famous For

Christians: Love people. That’s our prime directive. Love people with names, faces, problems and needs. Love them so much that your funeral is gonna break their heart like nothing ever has. If you want to be famous or remembered for something, make it this. Be famous for love.

— Lee Younger

Book Review: Heroes and Monsters

Josh Riebock writes an incredibly honest, gripping autobiography (the best kind, of course) about his struggles as both a Christian and a human being. If you combine Donald Miller, Chuck Palahniuk, and J.D. Salinger, then here’s the wild creation that bursts forth.

I first heard of Josh Riebock through a quote on Tumblr that went viral, and then I saw that Riebock had written a book. Honestly, my ethnic prejudice thought it would just be another white guy complaining about his first-world-woes and I’m-so-mad-at-church-culture-and-my-daddy, but from the first few pages, I was swept up into a very broken, human story that’s sort of the untold jagged thread in all of us.

From insecurity to grief to rage to love to hatred, Riebock carries you into his struggle and doesn’t hold back on his craziness. It’s everything about you that you wanted to say in church and to your best friend, but were too dang afraid to be that vulnerable.

Continue reading “Book Review: Heroes and Monsters”