Living Life Without Walls

Living Life Without Walls

I don’t know about you but I think God works a lot of times in us through seasons. Seasons of busyness. Seasons of difficulties. Seasons of prosperity. Seasons of excitement. Seasons of loss. And the list goes on.

Lately I’ve been in one of the craziest seasons I can remember in awhile with so many things going on, our church, 121 Community Church, moving new to a brand new building, celebrating Easter, and reflecting on things that matter the most…and all of this seems to have happened at the exact same time.

I remember specifically walking through 121 for the very last time. No one was there. Nothing was left. Not only was it a little emotional because of such history happening there, but something happened at that moment. It was if God stopped me in my tracks while looking down the empty hallway and said, “this…..this is what life is about……..this is how fast life goes……..now that you see this, what do you think really matters?

And I immediately knew the answer…

The Resurrection Of A Dream

The Resurrection of a Dream

Do you ever have those seasons where you feel like God has just gone completely dark and left you to fend for yourself? Perhaps that’s a little overdramatic, but I would venture to say that some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

To catch you up (since I haven’t had much to say in the last couple months – really sorry about that) . . . our family relocated to the Nashville area of Tennessee to follow what we strongly believed was a prompting from the Lord. It was not an easy process, but we made the move at the very end of 2016. Now, 3 months in, the boys are thriving in their new school, Stephen is cranking away working his job from home, we are making new friends and getting embedded in a great church community, AND we are getting to watch what will be our new permanent home go up in the lot right next to our rent house. Lots of exciting things going on, and yet there still seems to be some pretty substantial gaps that, quite frankly, throw me into a spiritual, mental, and emotional battle every day.

I fully expected to be settled into a new job well before now and I definitely did NOT expect to be looking at almost 6 months since the last time I was behind a microphone. And yet, here I am. Still without a steady income and still waiting to get to do the thing I love doing the most. The two pieces of my world that I thought were the main reasons the Lord was relocating our family are the only two pieces of this puzzle that are still missing.

Please don’t hear me say that I’ve somehow convinced myself that the Lord has uprooted our lives only to abandon us in the desert. There are plenty of good things happening for us that are exciting. But as it goes sometimes with God-sized plans, all the things that make sense have gone out the window, which for personalities like mine creates a deep sense of unrest and leads to feelings of doubt.

And then the other day as I was processing some of this with my husband, Stephen, it dawned on me that this place is somewhere I’ve been before and had just tucked away in those dark corners of my memory.

Are You Listening To God?

Are You Listening To God?

Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Talk is cheap.”

Today, there’s no shortage of talking, texting, or tweeting.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking. It’s a good thing. People are built to talk, and with technology making it easier, we are.

Talking is important to friendship.

A good friendship is marked by good conversation. Good conversation usually means an exchange of sorts. One person talks, then the other, and repeat. However, sometimes a one-sided conversation is necessary, when one person talks the whole time and the other just listens in support.

I took a long walk the other day. My whole purpose was to walk and talk with God. The weather was as perfect as I could want. The topics were plentiful. I unloaded many prayers that morning.

But as I neared my home, it dawned on me. I spent about an hour walking and talking to God, but I didn’t give Him time to speak to me. I wasn’t taking the time to listen.

Getting Religious About Spirituality

This is a guest post by Matthew Brough, Pastor of Prairie Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, Canada for over 13 years. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife, Cheryl, and their daughter, Juliet. You can visit his site Spirituality For Normal People, and contact him here and on Twitter. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

Getting Religious About Spirituality

“I’m spiritual, but not religious.” I’ve heard this little phrase hundreds of times, but I’m not convinced. After years of working as a pastor, of trying (though often failing) to put Jesus first and truly trust Him, I have come to the conclusion that spirituality needs religion.

When I say spirituality needs religion, I am not talking about doctrine or theology, although they are important. What I mean is spirituality needs to be structured.

“I’m spiritual but not religious” is like saying I don’t want to follow any rules or patterns in relation to God. This is an attractive idea because we get to be in charge. We can do what we want, when we want. I can be “spiritual” while drinking a latte at Starbucks, while biking, while sleeping in, or while watching Netflix.

For most of my life, this was the kind of spirituality I practiced. It was an “I believe in God but I don’t really want anyone or anything to tell me how to connect with God—I’ll do it my own way” kind of spirituality. This, of course, meant not really connecting with God at all.

Is Our Faith Too Small?

This is a guest post by Cory Johnson, Church Planting Resident at 121 Community Church, who is planting Austin Life Church in Austin, TX. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you are interested in writing a post for us, visit our Guest Post page. You can also view other guest posts by clicking here.

Is Our Faith Too Small?

I was reading in John 6 today, a story I’ve heard, and I’m sure most have heard countless times – Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand.

But this time reading it, God spoke to me as if I were reading it for the fist time. (That’s the great thing about God and His Word. We will never exhaust all that we can know of Him. He’s just too great!)

In the story, there is a group of 5,000 men (women and children present, but not included in the count; typical for that time and day) who were following Jesus. Jesus then poses a question to Philip…

“Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

It’s a question many of us would ask. It’s a simple question of seeing a need and asking how to meet that need. In any sphere of life, we come across questions like this every day.

  • “How are we going to serve this many people?”
  • “How are we going to pay the bills this month?”
  • “How do we help this troubled teen?”
  • “How do we help restore this marriage?”
  • “How do we pay for college?”

The questions are as many as people in the world, and more.

Most of the time, I, and I imagine most people, seek to answer these questions as best as we know how. We try the logical approach, like Philip did – “With this many people, 200 denarii won’t even buy enough food.” We try being creative with the resources we already have, like Andrew did – “Well, we have 2 fish and 5 loaves to work with, but realistically, that’s a joke for this size of crowd.”

Most of the time, we try to answer our questions, our needs, in a way that makes sense to us, that we can come up with, that we can accomplish on our own strength and mental power.

The problem with that? The needs and questions we face each day are all too often much bigger than we can handle on our own.

The good news?

Back to Basics: Coveting

In this series, Back to Basics, it’s my hope to shed some insight about the freedom I found in Christ through some personal stories from my early years of wrestling with fear of Old Testament law.

Back to Basics: Coveting

In the early 80’s, as part of a diversity program, the Denver Independent School District bused kids from the suburbs of South Denver to urban North Denver for K-3rd grade, and reversed the route during 4th-6th grades.

After a couple years of watching buses load and unload South Denver kids in front our aged, red-bricked schoolhouse, it was time for me to get on the bus and head south to a modern school building for 4th grade.

For a kid traveling south on I-25 back in those days, it was a treat to see the mountains to the west each morning. That part of Denver belonged to everybody. But as we crossed over the Platte River, the contrast was clear.

We were in the land of the new, two-story houses with the neat lawns and the nicer cars. As the bus squealed into the school parking lot, you could see moms and dads walking kids to the entrance. There weren’t any liquor stores within walking distance. No gang graffiti was in sight. All looked good.

This was my first real look at life on the other side, and as I rode the bus each week, I began to covet that life.

From what I knew, coveting was a bad thing mentioned in the 10 Commandments and responsible for bringing banishment to Cain, trouble to Jacob, and heartbreak to King David. I didn’t want to covet, but as a kid, I didn’t know what to do with it.

I’d find that even though I’d move to a decent Texas suburb, attend college and get a good job upon graduating, coveting never took a vacation.

Unfortunately, it never will.