Challenges

YOLO

Please don’t judge this post by the title. 😛

YOLO.

You Only Live Once.

Why has this become such a negative thing? True, people use it as an excuse to do a lot of things. “Hey, you only live once, you know?” It gives them an excuse to do crazy things, like skydiving or bungee jumping or going on cruises or literally shopping until they drop. It supposedly gives them an excuse to do bad or sinful things, like steal or murder or deceive or drink.

But as Christians, we can change that into motivation.

After all, if you’re only going to live once (which everyone does… *gasp*) then why not mention your faith to the clerk at the grocery store? Why not leave an encouraging note on the table in the restaurant with your tip? Why not tell someone that Jesus loves them? Why not pray in public for those around you?

Why not share your faith?

You only live once, people.

Live loud for Jesus.

YoloYoda

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Jesus Wept

Jesus wept.

-John 11:35

This verse is a pretty well-known verse. It’s the shortest verse in the Bible (although you can correct me if I’m wrong). But most people don’t really think about everything that this verse really says.

Yes, I know this verse is only two words long. Yes, I know that it just says that Jesus, well… wept. But you know what it also says?

(1) Jesus was human. Crying is something you can’t do unless your human. I’ve personally never seen anything other than a human cry. But you can correct me on that, too.

(2) Jesus had emotions. Jesus was sad. Hey, one of his friends had just died, and some of his other friends, who were also Lazarus’s sisters, were crying, too. Jesus wasn’t some stone-faced, stoic statue. He was real, human, and felt things just like we do.

(3) It’s okay to be sad. When people die, it’s natural for us to be sad. We shouldn’t take that too far, though. After all, if they’re Christians, they’ll be in a much better place with Jesus.

I hope these points have helped you to see what you can see when you look closer at verses and think about them. I pray that you’ll learn something from this and learn to do this with other verses.

Challenge: Study a verse in depth like this and come up with three points about it that aren’t necessarily obvious.

Just A Few Rambling Thoughts and A Gut-Punch (Hopefully)

Please share this post! I’d love for this to reach as many people as possible and to hopefully motivate them to share with others.

Interesting title, isn’t it? 😀

Last Wednesday, in my small group, one of the girls was talking about a skit she’d seen at a church camp a few years ago. Basically (and this is probably not going to be the best description, sorry) there were two guys talking to each other, and one of them said “I found the cure for cancer!” And the other guy said, “Really? That’s awesome, let’s go tell people about it!” And the first guy said “Well, you know, I’m not so sure, I mean, I’m so small, and young, and insignificant…” etc, etc, etc.

You and I are that first guy.

We have the cure for cancer.

Well, not for cancer, exactly. We have the cure that can save people from having to spend hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of years in hell. All of eternity in hell. Which is kind of hard to wrap your mind around.

That cure is Jesus.

Also mentioned during small group was this: If you, knowing about that someone isn’t a Christian, don’t share the gospel with them, you’re refusing to give them eternal life.

So why aren’t we sharing it?????

Purge

Purge v.

To rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify.

As Christians we need to purge the sin from our lives. We need to completely reject that sin, cleanse ourselves from what is undesirable to God. We must purify our hearts from… impurities.

Here’s the bad news.

You can’t do it.

No matter how hard you try, there is no way that you can completely rid yourself of your sin. It will simpy lay dormant and wait for the right time to come back and attack you. It’s impossible to do.

The good news?

Our God conquers the impossible.

On our own, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. He can completely cleanse and purify you. Ask Him to do it today.

Challenge: Ask God to purge you from your sin. He will give you His strength.

Not Of This World

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

-Colossians 3:1-4

If we believe in God, Christ becomes our life. We will appear with Him in glory when He appears. We are now hidden in Christ!

We are not of this world.

That’s why this verse talks about setting our hearts and our minds on things above, not on earthly things. That’s one of the best ways to grow closer to God: focusing on Him and not on all of the junk and sin of this world.

Challenge: Focus on God instead of all of the sin around you, and let Him lead you in the direction He wants you to go.

All One

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

-Galatians 3:26, 28

If you have accepted Jesus into your heart, you are a child of God. You are one of God’s children!!! Isn’t that amazing? God values you, just as he would a birth child. Sure, you’re adopted, but you were chosen. You are a chosen child of God! Isn’t it awesome to know that you are God’s kid, and that he picked you?

The second verse, Galatians 3:28, gives us some good reasons for not discriminating against others. Everyone is one in Jesus. You shouldn’t discriminate against someone because they’re different from you. After all, we’re all unique! If not for us all being different, it would be a pretty boring world out there. A plain white wall is pretty boring, since it’s exactly the same all over. You most wouldn’t find someone there staring at it in awe. Unless they have a thing about white walls… But paint a mural on that wall, a super detailed and diverse mural, and people probably won’t mind trying to find all the interesting and hidden details in the painting. It would be something really interesting. That’s my opinion on diversity and discrimination.

Diverse, adj.

Having variety; assorted, distinct in kind

Challenge: 1) Remember that you’re a child of God, and 2) Don’t discriminate! After all, other people are God’s children, too!

I Double-Dog Dare You To…

…do seven random acts of kindness (one for each day of the week).

…talk to someone you don’t know.

…tell someone that Jesus loves them.

Challenge: Do one of the three dares above!! 😀

Do Not Conform

GoldfishConform

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

-Romans 12:2a (NIV)

I thought it might help to add in the definition of conform. Thank you Dictionary.com!

conform   v. to act in accordance with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc. of society or a group.

So, in plain English, this means to “do what other people are doing.” 😀

Now that we’ve figured out what “conform” means, we can move on to the verse itself. This verse says that we shouldn’t do what the world (as in the secular world around us) is doing or wants us to do. We should let God transform our minds, to renew them. When this happens, we are better able to be the people He wants us to be.

Now, a little bit about conforming. We know what it is now, but how do we avoid it?

We avoid conforming by standing up for what’s right and going against the crowd. We read God’s word to know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Just think about the fish in the picture above. Don’t go with the flow. Do what’s right, not what’s “cool,” or, sometimes, what’s “normal.” Only when what’s “normal” is bad, of course. Weird is good.

Challenge: Stand up for what’s right; go against the crowd.

You Are A Door

I love randomness.

Yes, you are a door.

No, I’m not crazy.

God put a million, million doors in the world
For his love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For his love to walk through
One of those doors is you

-“With Every Act of Love” by Jason Gray

That’s a nice song. That’s the bridge, not the chorus. Just to let you know. 😉

So, we’re doors. Try picturing that. Ha-ha!

Let’s see if I can get this back on track. If you’re a door, like this song says, your purpose is to let his love walk through you. (Hang with me, okay? :D) So, if you were a door that God’s love was supposed to walk through, would you rather be…

  1. Closed tightly, locked, and maybe boarded up. (That should keep you from getting through! Ha!)
  2. Closed but not locked. (Hey, love, ya just have to turn the doorknob!)
  3. Open halfway. (Oh, come on, you can squeeze through…)
  4. Open wide. (Woohoo, let’s go!)

Challenge: Let God’s love rush through your wide-open door.

The Lord’s Temple: Part 2

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

-1 Corinthians 3:16

Yes, that’s the same verse from yesterday. 😉

So, continuing from yesterday and building off the challenge. How do we make our “temples” clean like Hotel Room #1? Obviously, it’s kind of hard to actually bake some cookies for God, or at least to get them to Him.

One way to do this is obviously to try and keep from sinning. Ask God to help you keep your temple pure and clean from sin. He’ll help you.

Another way is to stay healthy. One way to do this is to eat healthier, (obviously, but still…) and to exercise. Yes, my current “exercise program consists of running around the yard with the dog just about every day and horseback riding once a week, although I do get to play the occassional tiring game of hide-and-go-seek/tag. Those little kids always beat me! 🙂

Challenge: Same as part one. But maybe you should try moving the cookies a little farther away from you this time, so you don’t eat all of God’s cookies.