Following Jesus (Practical Faith)

Growing Pains

I detest discomfort. From as far back as I can remember I have been this way. As a kid if my socks bunched up under my toes I would flip out. My socks had to fit perfectly, otherwise I just could not get past the discomfort.

I suspect this feeling characterizes most of us in western culture. We have such a disdain for discomfort that we avoid it at all costs. That’s why Americans spend over $2 billion a year on non-prescription pain killers. We can’t even stand a small headache. Now, while I think this presents a problem, I think this mindset of avoiding discomfort brings has another unintended consequence.

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Grace Has a Cost

Grace is a word I hear tossed around a lot these days. We like talking about God’s grace, however I’m not sure the full concept of grace is truly grasped and understood. We like to talk about grace that covers us and grace that forgives our sins. But when we stop grace at that we turn the beauty of grace into “cheap grace.” We take this powerful life changing thing and turn it into something that is small and selfish. Isn’t grace so much more than that? Maybe God intended grace not to just save us but also to restore us and change us.

We can’t buy or earn grace; it’s given as a gift. Most of us have heard this preached to us for most of our lives. However, rarely have I heard of what our response should be once we receive God’s grace. 

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Dear God… A Lesson in Prayer

How do you approach God when you pray? I think if we are honest we often view prayer as a way to get something out of God. We pray because we want an answer, direction, healing, or relationship fixed. None of those things are inherently bad; however what if prayer is more than getting what we think we need? Maybe God intended for prayer to be more than a platform to submit our requests.

Most of my life I have viewed prayer as a way to get from God what I thought I needed. I would approach prayer as trying to show God why I needed what I was asking for. Sometimes it was for something that was good, other times it was down right selfish requests. My prayer life looked more like a series of sales pitches rather than an authentic relationship. I see now that I was missing out. God intended for prayer to be so much more than what I realized. 

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Standing in the Need

The current season of life is coming to a close for my wife and I, and a new one is slowly coming to be. It’s a strange place to be in; I’m sure in hindsight I’ll find more appreciation for it than I do now. For now it’s bittersweet. It’s tough to say goodbye, but exciting to think of where God will lead us. This is a growing season. Not a season that one might want, but one that everyone needs from time to time. It’s a season that reminds us that we cannot do this alone.

I look at other people who are following Jesus and it seems to come so naturally. When I look at my own life things don’t seem to come as naturally. I struggle and doubt; I consistently find myself doing the opposite of what God has called me to do. I suspect that even the people that seem to have it together secretly struggle. I presume I’m not alone in this. It seems like human nature to want to attempt life on our own. Yet one doesn’t have to try for very long to see that attempting this rarely works. 

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Good Stories Need Conflict

I like hiking. Well I like being at a beautiful spot and I like the memory of hiking. But I hate the rest of it. I don’t like to be uncomfortable. Once I hit that point where I’m getting tired I’m done. Hiking is great until I’m tired, sweaty, and 5 miles away from the car and all I can think about is my couch and a cold drink. It’s always more fun in memory, but in the moment I would rather do something else.

I suspect that describes most of us in western culture. We so detest discomfort that we avoid it at all costs. We have made our lives as comfortable as possible. While I don’t think this was done with bad intentions I think it has had negative consequences on our walk with God. The second we run into a problem our gut reaction is to ditch God’s plan. We view the conflict in our lives as something to avoid at all costs.

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Trusting God in the Midst of Change

Gail Poor~ I’m a Colorado native who loves the outdoors. I love cooking, baking, teaching kids, traveling, ministry, and quality time with friends, family, and my dog. I am a pastor’s wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a cherished child of our King. 

Change has always been a hard thing for me. I don’t mean change of scenery, routine, or change in my route to work. Those I really enjoy. Most people say I am easy going and a “go with the flow” kinda girl. But here I mean big life changes, those that shake you, move you, and are indeed brought on by a big God intending to change your life. I have often struggled with these changes, and being the processor that I am, it takes me a while to accept them too. Thankfully, God has placed some pretty great people in my life to help me who are full of patience and grace.

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Victory Redefined 

Last week I was at a high school conference where we learned about the story of Daniel. Daniel is an interesting guy. He is one of the only people in the Bible, besides Jesus, where his mistakes aren’t recorded. Throughout his whole story Daniel is portrayed as an upright guy that is following God in the midst of some pretty hard circumstances. The book of Daniel is full of story after story of how Daniel stood up for what was right despite the imminent danger that it would cost him. This is where the story gets really interesting. Each time Daniel or his friends were faithful in the midst of danger God spared them. From a fiery furnace to a lions den, when they stood for what was right, God showed up and saved them.

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5 Things I Learned From My Grandpa

My grandpa, or poppa as I grew up calling him, has taught me many things over the course of my life. Those lessons didn’t come from words or a big teaching moment; they came from his life. His life spoke the love of Christ louder than words could ever express. Over the years I have learned many things from watching him. Here’s 5 of the biggest lessons I learned from him through my childhood and teen years.

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Love Your Enemy | A Christian Response to the Tragedy in Charleston

Unfortunately in the world we live in you don’t have to wait very long for the next tragic event to occur. It seems with increasing regularity someone decides to commit an appalling act against people around them. The latest tragedy happened last night when Dylann Storm Roof entered a church and killed 9 in a twisted sense of patriotic justice. This has left many shocked and outraged. Many of us asking how a human could carry out such an evil deed.

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Uncertain Trust

Confession time. I like to be in control of my life. Sure I have no problem saying I trust God and talking about how I will follow Him anywhere. However when it’s time to back up my words with actions I’m confronted with the reality that my words speak louder than my actions deliver. I suspect I’m not alone. In fact I know I’m not alone; the Bible is filled with examples. None more prominent then Peter.

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