THE END ZONE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I think it’s about time that I write a post specifically to The Few, (aka the people who are serious about living for Jesus) because most of my posts are intended to challenge the Church (all of us) to do better. Oh, who am I even kidding? That’s pretty much all of my posts, ha!

I want to write a post to the people who are known as the “radical one” at their church, and those who try to make every conversation they have relate back to Jesus. To the person who has moral standards and is not afraid to do the right thing when everyone around them chooses the opposite. The one who lives to spread the Gospel and share with others how Christ has transformed your life.

Yeah. This post is for you.

I know that you wake up each morning and lay your head down on the pillow at night, thinking that you could have done better. You could have been better at reading the Word or praying consistently, and you beat yourself up about it.

I know that you tried to disciple that person in your life who was really excited about the Lord in the beginning, but then ended up walking away without ever really saying why. I also know that when people ask you about them, you feel like an utter failure and have no idea what to say in reply.

I know that you do not have a lot of people in your life who you can genuinely trust and do life with, because most people just don’t get it.

I know that every time you have a breakthrough with someone, you have a hard time not expecting an even bigger disappointment from that same individual a week later.

I know that it is hard to be serious about Jesus and be someone that chooses to follow Him despite the discouragement and difficulty of it.

But I want to take a minute to remind you of why you should continue to persevere…

If I need a little motivation to keep going, I usually watch a clip from the movie Facing the Giants. If you have not seen it yet, then wow. Every Christian should seriously be required to watch it. There is a clip in the movie where one of the football players, whose name is Brock, makes up his mind that their team is terrible and that they will certainly lose their next game.

The coach, who just heard Brock speak that to the whole team during practice, tells him and another guy to come out on the field. The coach then proceeds to blindfold Brock and tell him that he wants him to do the death crawl with the other player on his back all the way to the 50-yard line.

Brock makes up some excuses, but nonetheless, the coach tells him that he wants his very best. Brock agrees, and at first, he doesn’t do too bad. But as he continues, he starts to get weak and wants to take breaks. The coach walks beside him, telling him not to quit until he has nothing left.

Constantly telling Brock that he only had a little further to go.

As he gets farther out, the other players who were sitting on the sidelines, start to stand up to see how far he can go. Brock starts to yell at the coach that it hurts and that the player on his back is heavy.

This is the moment where the coach gets down on his knees and starts to crawl beside him, yelling back at Brock, telling him to keep going and that he cannot give up.

To just give him 30 more steps. Then he can be done.

Brock continues to yell that it burns, and the coach yells back to let it burn. At this point in the clip, the other players are walking across the field to see how far Brock can go.

The coach tells Brock to take two more steps and then he can quit. He takes the two steps and falls to the ground and buries his face in the grass. The coach takes Brock’s blindfold off and tells him to look up.

Brock is in the end zone.

The coach then tells him this… “Brock, you are the most influential player on this team. If you walk around defeated, so will they.”

I tell you this story to remind you of the purpose. The reward. And the reason why we persevere as one of the few.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

God has blindfolded us and has kept us from seeing the reason in so many things, because He knows that the few will continue to press on.

Christian, in case you are not hearing me clearly, let me say it in a different way. You are one of the most influential players that God has. Do NOT walk around defeated or the world around you will too.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “Great eagles fly alone, great lions hunt alone, great souls walk alone- alone with God. Such loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God accompanied. Prophets are lone men; they walk alone, pray alone, and God makes them alone.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

You might be the only one, but don’t you dare give up. Let it burn.

You’re almost in the end zone.

“I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” (Revelation 3:11)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you often tempted to give up?

= What is your favorite thing about living for Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

BECOMING OBVIOUS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Christians seem to think that they have to “hide” that they are a believer when they are around people at school, work, the gym, or sometimes even in their own home. Have you noticed this before?

Maybe, you are familiar with this concept because you have done it before.

Things like not wearing that “Christian” shirt that quotes a Bible verse because you’re afraid somebody will make fun of you for it. Or could it be that you don’t read your Bible on your lunch break, but instead scroll through your news app so that you don’t look like that weird, over-dedicated person of faith? All while making up an excuse in your head that your school doesn’t allow kids to wear that kind of stuff, or that your boss will be upset with you.

To be truthful, we probably all play the pretend game on a daily basis. I’m going to be bold and say that we typically do it without even noticing that we trying to hide that we believe in Jesus.

1 John 3:9-10 has really been working on my heart for the past week or so and I’d like to look at it with you. It says “Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in Him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God. This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister.”

We could get into so many deep things here, but the main thing I keep coming back to is how God’s children are supposed to become obvious just like the devil’s children are.

I mean, you don’t see the people out there rioting right now trying to hide that they support the organization BLM, Antifa, abortion, and all kinds of evil stuff, do you? Do you know why they do that? Because they want you to know what they stand for. They want to be obvious.

They wear all the shirts and pretty much destroy everything in sight.

My question for believers today is this: What is wrong with us? If we have been born of God, then why are we so afraid to become obvious?

I’ve met many Christians across the country who are fearful that they will be persecuted for speaking up and doing what is right, but what is the point in believing in something that doesn’t require you to take risks? Taking risks proves that you would die for that very thing you believe.

We really like to say that we’re different, right? That people can just “see” Jesus in us. Well, that may be the case for some, and I certainly pray it is the case for The Few. However, I’ve met a lot of Christians who have fooled themselves into thinking that people really can see Jesus in them when the reality is, they can’t. They were fooled when they made that their excuse not to share the Gospel, and they believe that it’s true because they have been faking it for so long.

It’s a mind game that most of us don’t want to fight. We have allowed the enemy to convince us that we are the ones who have to run and hide.

James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

To not sin is to do the right thing, y’all. Let me make this super simple and clear… If it isn’t obvious that we are Christian’s to the people around us, then that is a problem. A big problem.

There’s a song that I’ve been listening to by NEEDTOBREATHE that says,

“I know that I’m found
And I can’t keep from hidin’
I don’t have a choice
But I get stuck decidin’
I am a man in need of
A constant revival”

The Church of 2020 cannot afford to be stuck “deciding” whether or not we will take a stand against sin. We are called to make it transparently obvious that we will do what is right even if it is not the popular thing to do. We don’t have a choice anymore.

I have no doubt that there would be a constant revival if you and I became obvious, fervent, radical lovers of Jesus and were willing to take some risks for the things we say that we believe.

Start proving it by living the Gospel out in your everyday life, no matter what you think other people think.

“People who are not prepared to do unpopular things and to defy clamor are not fit to be Ministers in times of stress.”   (Winston Churchill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do the people in your life actually know that you’re a Christian?

= Has there been a time where you got stuck deciding instead of just doing it?

= What are you going to do differently?

A THOUSAND TIMES OVER

(Republished Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A year ago today, I sat in front of my computer completely broken before the Lord, about to write a post that I had no clue would make its rounds through multiple churches in the U.S. and be sent through many other jail pods all across Texas. It is one of The Few’s most popular blog posts, so today on October 7, 2020, we are going to republish it. Just to make it clear, Madie and I would still do it a thousand times over…

I shared a little bit in the last post about how one of our dearest friends is sitting in a Fort Worth, Texas jail cell right now. We went down to see him a couple weeks ago, and I have a few thoughts I’d like to share with y’all.

A little bit of background on our friend before we jump in; we met him when we did mission work down in Texas for three months back in 2017.  My family basically spent every minute with him the whole time we were there. We were together praying and sharing the Gospel all over Fort Worth. He was always the one who made people laugh and made them feel at home wherever we were.

Our friend was super involved in ministry and loved to work with teens. He was also working with a few of the local churches in different ways. He already has a crazy, amazing testimony. I truly believe that this time in jail is another chapter that God will use.

We got to Fort Worth late on a Monday night, so my dad went to visit him for the first time on Tuesday. When my dad came back from the first visit, he said how happy our friend was to see him and to know that we had come all the way from Ohio to support him.

However, my dad also said that no one else had been to visit him in the three weeks since he had been put in jail. Now, let’s just back up for a minute. Remember how I said that he had been super involved in a couple of local churches?

Yeah. No one from the churches or from anywhere else had come to see him.  

Listen, I’m not trying to beat up any specific churches here. That’s not the point. What I’m trying to get us Christians to realize, is that this is the reality of the Church as a whole. We’ve got our Sunday morning routine down, but not much happens outside of that. Especially when ministry gets hard and messy.

If I am being honest, I didn’t really want to go in to see him either. I was scared. I had no idea what I was going to say to him.

There is a quote by Francis Chan that I kept thinking about and it says this, “But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

On Wednesday, my dad and my brother went in to see him and had another good visit with him.

Thursday morning comes. My heart is racing from the time I got up until the time we got to the jail later in the afternoon. I knew I just needed to do it. I didn’t want to have any regrets, and I wanted to show him that I loved him and that I support him.

So, I just went in. I was still pretty nervous. My dad and I got our booth and waited for him to come in.

The Lord kept reminding me of James 1:2-4 which says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

All I can say is that nothing in ministry, and nothing in life, will ever prepare you for seeing someone you very dearly love in a jumpsuit behind glass. Nothing.

I’m not going to go into any detail about the visit itself. However, I will say that he was pretty discouraged that day and it wasn’t too great of a visit.

As we walked out and got into the car, I lost it. I just remember thinking about how terrible sin is, and how one little choice got us here. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in our van, outside of a jail, all because of one bad choice he made a little more than a year earlier.

But guess what? I don’t regret going in there one little bit.

I went in the next day, and the next day. Did it get any easier? Nope. Not even a little. I still broke down after every visit with him.

But I would do it a thousand times over.

I’d rather sit with him in a jail cell, scared as I was, a thousand times over again than in church with someone who professes to have it all together but really isn’t living for Jesus. Let alone, think that they should actually go try to reach the lost and hurting outside the church walls.

You know why?

Because I experienced Jesus in that little concrete visiting booth more than I think I ever have in a nice, beautiful, clean, church building.

I’m just being real with y’all.

If the Church would just take the two steps out of their pew, I think we would experience the presence of Jesus in a way that we never have before.

I think we might start to understand what the persecuted Church is dying for.

I believe that we may start to live how Jesus wants us to.

If Jesus came here to do ministry today, I don’t think we would find Him sitting in a pew at a church. I think we would find Him in the places like the jails and the streets where people are broken and hurting.

I’d do it a thousand times over. But the real question is, would you?

“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”   {Isaiah 1:19}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

= How do you think we could do better as Christians? How can we live like Jesus wants us to?

= Did you relate with this post at all?

THE AMERICAN’S DEVOTION

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The last couple weeks have been nothing short of interesting for me and the older girl Bible Study group that I lead each Thursday evening. I have had the opportunity to take a government college class this semester, which has resulted in so many deep discussions in the Bible Study group about a Christian’s responsibility to government, as well as the things that are needed to get our country back to the founded freedom we once had. https://thefew.blog/2020/08/27/founded-freedom/

I have read multiple devotionals that I have written for my government class to the girls in the group, and many of them have encouraged me to post them so that others can begin to see what we have been uncovering on our nights together.

Since I am six weeks into the class, I will refrain from boring you with every single one that I have written, but here are a couple that we have been going through and discussing as a group recently:

Regarding The Author Of Government:

August 24, 2020 – “I found it interesting that we started off with the topic of submitting to authority, because my family and church have been in deep conversation about that very thing for the past couple of weeks. I agree that we should honor and submit to authority, but only if they uphold our God-given, inalienable rights. Personally, I believe that we serve a “higher power”, as the beginning of Romans 13 states in the King James Version. This “higher power” is God. If government does anything that contradicts our Constitution or what God says in His Word, it is our right and duty as American citizens to throw off such government as our Declaration of Independence so clearly tells us. Does this mean that we are to rebel and cause disputes? No, not at all. However, we are told in Scripture (Rom. 8:16) that the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit. So, in my opinion, if our spirit knows that something is evil or goes against the truth, we need to submit to that godly authority first and foremost; for it is God testifying to us and guiding us. For example, Acts 5:29 says, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” The question of “did God actually establish the rule of appallingly evil rulers” is a tricky one. Matthew 28:18 tells us that all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. Do I think He allows evil dictators and tyrants to be placed in authoritative positions? Yes, I do. However, I believe He allows that to happen with the hope that it will bring us closer to Him and the “higher power” that He alone has.”

Regarding A Christian’s Responsibility To Government:

August 30, 2020 – “As God’s children we are called to do what is “right”. However, I can’t help but think about how many of us actually take that duty seriously. In Romans 13 Paul says ‘’to do what is right and THEN you will be commended”. As believers, we should never be the ones to cause any kind of division, but we cannot be fooled into thinking that being bold and doing the right thing is the same thing as causing division. It’s not. That’s why the question of our responsibility to government as Christians is a little more difficult to answer. James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Sometimes it is our very job to not do what government tells us if we know that it is wrong. It is also a privilege and one of the greatest honors to submit to a godly authority who does what is right. Just like children are more inclined to submit to parents who behave according to God’s plan, or wives to their husbands who are submitting themselves to Christ first. I believe that is the point Paul is trying to get across in Romans 13.”

Regarding Who Is Responsible For America’s Actions:

September 6, 2020“Knowledge and discernment are not only needed on a leadership level in America, but also on a civilian level. If we, the people, do not have discernment and godly wisdom when it comes to elections, political arguments, and so forth, then we certainly should not expect our country to remain a Christian nation. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We live in a world where instead of so many evil things being opposed, they are now tolerated. Christian Americans feel as if they must compromise the truth because that is simply “just the way life goes”. This is a lie that the majority has accepted, and in turn deceived others into thinking is absolute truth. However, as believers we are called to “test the spirits”. This is especially crucial when it comes to electing certain individuals to lead us as a country. We must not only observe our leaders’ doctrine, but their conduct as well. Just because a majority of people believe or do a certain thing, does not mean that it is correct and what God wants of us. There are many of us who need to practice testing the spirits, instead of blaming our leaders for our problems, because this is indeed our responsibility as God-fearing Americans.”

I believe that those are topics that many Christians would struggle to answer from a Biblical perspective and be able to back up with Scripture. We seem to struggle when it comes to finding the balance between politics and spirituality, but my question today is why can’t we just do what is right?

Why do we make it seem as if we can only be involved in one or the other, when reality is that they are really meant to be one in essence? I’m not sure why so many believers and the Church have chosen not to think for themselves in what I think is one of the most crucial times in history to do so.

I’m so tired of people saying that Christians should just be quiet when it comes to politics. The reason believers need to stand up and speak up is because politics effects morality. Politics effect your God-given rights, the unborn, religious decisions, schooling, your safety, etc! Y’all, we have to start standing up for ourselves and the things that we know are absolute truth, because no one else will.

Does God know what He’s doing? Absolutely. But I don’t think He’s called us to be cowards who sit in a building with four walls on Sunday mornings and do nothing, simply because we don’t have the guts to, and then say that “God is in control” as an excuse. Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

I am devoted and determined to fight against the same thing our Founding Fathers did; evil. I’ll fight even if I have to do it alone.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you struggle to look at these issues from a spiritual perspective?

= Are you willing to do something so that we can remain a Christian nation?

= What are you going to do differently?

CHRISTIANITY AND…

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Earlier this year, I read a book by C.S. Lewis called, “The Screwtape Letters.” This book was one of his most popular works of literature, and I can see why. I enjoyed every minute that I spent reading this book and it really opened my eyes to lots of new spiritual truths! (If you have never read it, I recommend it to everyone)

Ok, so here is a little synopsis of the book for those of you have not read it before…

The book is a book of letters between two demons. Screwtape, is the Uncle of the second demon, Wormwood, who is a “demon in training.” Screwtape is writing letters to Wormwood giving him pointers on how to win the person that he is possessing over to their side. So, it is a constant battle between them and the Lord regarding who is going to win the “Patient” over to their side.

With all that said, I want to get right into a quote from the book that rings with truth.

“My dear Wormwood,

The real trouble with the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You know – Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Physical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian coloring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing.”  ~C.S. Lewis

So, let us ask ourselves, are we merely Christian? Do we simply put a little Christian coloring on our lives?

This is something, that in the past couple years especially, I have noticed the Church doing. This is what The Few is about. We need to be the Few who do not just have a little bit of Christian coloring on the outside.

Now I want you to ask yourself, what is it that you have added on to Christianity? Is it sports, work, entertainment, relationships, money, etc.? This is something that every single one of us has done, so we should all have an example in our minds. Our world is constantly telling us that we need more and more stuff to make us happy, and most of the time we tend to fall into that narrative. But what I want to know is, do you think that you could only live with Jesus, and have nothing else? Would you still be content with your life?

The truth is most of us would not be.

I really love the way that C.S. Lewis conveys this point in his book. If I am being honest with myself, I believe that I have been guilty of adding other stuff on to Jesus in order to be “happy”. But that is not true happiness. True happiness lies at the feet of Jesus and nowhere else! Church, when are we going to wake up and see the madness that we have fallen into? Because that is what it really is, complete and utter madness!

I really don’t know why we all feel this way. I do not have all the answers. But I do know that this is a lie straight from the devil’s mouth. Jesus tells us in Luke 10 that only one thing is needful. Only one. And indeed, that one thing we need, is to fall at the feet of Jesus and find true joy and contentment.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27

Church, we do not need “Christianity And”. Only one thing is needful. So, come and lay down the “Fashion of Christian coloring” at the cross and be made whole, so that we may experience true happiness and joy.

We have got to get past the lie that we have been taught, that we need all these other things, with a little Jesus on top.

We just need Jesus.

Now, I want you to think of the things that you have added on to Jesus like we did earlier, and I want you to think of ways that you can set those things aside, and be content with just Jesus.

Throw off the Christian coloring and be stained with the blood of Jesus.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What is something that has gotten in the way of your relationship with Jesus?

= How are you going to change that?

= What are you going to do differently?

WINDOW REFLECTIONS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I woke up this morning remembering the absolute fear that I felt last year on this day when I woke up. It’s been an entire year since we were in downtown Fort Worth looking up at a huge jail, knowing that a guy named Rocky, who was genuinely family to us, was in there.

How? Why? What’s the purpose? Those are all questions that I still have and can’t answer entirely.

Late last night I was texting with a friend that has spent hours on her knees, alongside me and some other girls, praying for Rocky. Not only has she done that, but she’s stuck by me and supported me through this whole process. As we were texting about how crazy it is that a year has gone by, she said, “You know, honestly, I would have never been able to do what you did.”

This hit me. Some people may have read that text and patted themselves on the back. But I know that when I went in to the jail to visit Rocky, it wasn’t just me.

Truth is, I was hurt that Rocky had broken the trust that I had in him. I thought that he was a “good guy” and that he was different. That’s why I didn’t go in to visit until the third day we were there.

There’s only one way I know how to explain what made my mindset change, and that’s with some song lyrics. I recently heard a song called “Who Am I” by NEEDTOBREATHE, and man does this song tear me up every time I listen to it. Here are some of the lyrics…

White lights and desperation
Hard times and conversation
No one should ever love me like you do
Sometimes my bad decisions
Define my false suspicions
No one should ever love me like you do

While I’m on this road you take my hand
Somehow you really love who I really am
I push you away, still you won’t let go
You grow your roses on my barren soul

Who am I, who am I, who am I
To be loved by you

At first, I didn’t want to go visit because I was hurt. But secondly, I didn’t want jail to change my mindset about who Rocky really was. I wanted my memory of him to be when we all said goodbye for the 400th  time outside of his favorite pizza place.

I thought that loving who Rocky really was, was loving who he was when I hugged him outside the pizza shoppe. As I look back, I see that I was wrong. I found out as soon as I saw him through that rusty window, wearing a jumpsuit, that really loving who people are, is when you love them in the middle of their sin.

In the middle of the mess, and through the reflection in the glass.

You know, it’s really easy to love who you think somebody really is when there’s no hurt or sin mixed in. It’s easy to love when things are all good, and you know you can trust them.

Anyone who has decided to follow Jesus could have done what I did by going in to visit Rocky. When you experience Jesus loving you the way you really are, you can’t help but do anything else than love others the way they really are too.

And to love who they really are, is to love them in their sin. Just like Jesus did when He proved He was willing to die for us, while we were yet sinners, not knowing if we would ever love Him back.

I had to learn that what people do does not determine their worth. I had to stop my mind from tricking me into thinking that he was a “bad guy” just because I was talking to him through glass.

1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

My goal in life is to love who people really are, simply because that’s what Christ has done for me. What we have to remember is that not everyone will accept that love from us right away. It might take some time, and that’s ok. How long did Jesus wait for you? 

There will be people who decide to close the window when you’ve come back to help them a thousand times over. But what they need to know is that we will be there when they decide to open the window again; simply because we love them.

We just have to be willing to wait and see their reflection in the glass when they come in desperation.

“I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.”    (Elisabeth Elliot)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you personally believe that Jesus loves who you really are?

= Is it hard for you to love people in the middle of their mess and sin?

= What are you going to do differently?

RELIGIOUS LIFE SUPPORT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

People really like to throw around the term “fake it till you make it”, and I’m sure you’ve heard it said before on multiple occasions. In the last blog post that I wrote titled “How Dead Is Too Dead”, I mentioned how many “Christians” today are on religious life support.

The Lord has been working on me with that phrase since last Thursday, and I would like to share with you why it’s such a big deal to me.

I think that many people who say that they believe in Jesus are actually just propped up by their fake religion. When they go to church they sing, not because they want to worship God, but because that’s what everybody else is doing. They say all the right things, and no one ever questions whether they really believe those things they speak.

Actually, you know what so many “spiritual people” are doing right now? They’re crowd surfing.

There are enough “Christians” in our world today, there are enough grandma’s and grandpa’s and Christian classes to just prop us up and make us look like superheroes in the faith. Obviously after reading some of the stats we did a couple blog posts ago, I think it’s safe to say that’s not working.

We’re crowd surfing over all of the shallow worship songs that are more about us than Jesus, and all the superficial pastors who do more motivational speaking than convictional preaching.

Titus 1:16 says, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Some of you may be reading this and wondering, “Ok, Lilly. That’s all true. But how do I really know if I’m personally on life support in my spiritual walk?”

Well, I’m glad you asked, friend. 🙂

If you want to know how to measure success in your relationship with Jesus, then you should see fruit from your actions; not just hear words from your lips. Your faith and relationship with Jesus has to be yours.

YOU have to own it for yourself. It can’t be whatever your pastor is telling you or grandma and grandpa’s religion that they have been practicing for the past 50 years. You have to read the Bible for yourself. You have to be the one who decides not to go along with somebody’s wrong idea at the party.

That’s all you. Nobody else can prop you up and make it seem like you’re doing just fine.

This is why I think people get such a high from hearing missionaries come in and speak at church events, and why conferences are such a huge hit. Those things prop “Christians” up like nothing else can.

However, what happens when it’s just you? Do you run after and pursue Jesus on your own? If not, could it be that nothing’s going on inside?

For me, Jesus isn’t my religion. He’s my relationship.

Lamentations 3:25 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.”

I want to be a passionate and genuine believer of Jesus, not religion. Let’s be a people who don’t just settle with being on life support.

May we actually desire to be alive in our Savior who has made such a thing possible!

“One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you seeing the fruit from following Jesus in your life?

= Have you been settling for shallow, spiritual things?

= What are you going to do differently?

HOW DEAD IS TOO DEAD?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

If you’ve read the last few blog posts then I applaud you for coming back to read another one! I understand that they haven’t exactly been what I’d call “uplifting”, but through them I pray that we’ve all come to the realization that different parts of the Church are dying. To be honest, I’m afraid those segments we have discussed, the younger generation and then many of the adults are on “religious” life support. They are almost dead.

Please notice I said “almost”; not “is”. There IS indeed hope.

The reason for hope is because there are still a FEW who are willing to make other choices. However, I’ve recently been wrestling with the question of how dead is too dead? Is there a point where the FEW should just stop trying because the souls they are trying to reach are already dead?

I quite often feel like that. It seems like there’s only so much you can do before it’s just a lost cause and wasted effort. I mean, there are some people out there who just don’t care how much you help them and tell them the hard truth, right? If you feel like I’m literally reading your mail by saying that, I just want to quickly say that I know it’s tiring and that it’s frustrating…

But are those people you are trying to help actually “dead”?

Let’s just be real. If you’ve ever done ministry and, remember that is what we are all called to in our everyday lives, then you know that the people around us who are “dead” spiritually, typically end up leaving us with pretty good scars. Even though we’re the ones trying to help them heal their own scars.

Whenever I’m dealing with situations like that, I am usually reminded of Ezekiel 37:1-6 which says, “The hand of the Lord was on me, and He brought me out by His Spirit and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them. There were a great many of them on the surface of the valley, and they were very dry. Then He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?

I replied, “Lord God, only you know.” He said to me, “Prophesy concerning these bones and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord God says to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live. I will put tendons on you, make flesh grow on you, and cover you with skin. I will put breath in you so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

There is so much there that we could get in to, but there’s one place where I think our focus needs to be… hope.

You know that one person that doesn’t seem to get it after you’ve given them all you got? Keep pouring in, they aren’t too dead for God to change their mindset.

Your local church that seems to be a million miles from the New Testament Church, it’s not too dead for God to recover the good that’s left; even if it appears to be the smallest amount.

Can I just say it a little bit louder for the people in the back? NOTHING is too dead for God! Only He knows what will actually come to life. But you know what, I won’t be that Christian who gives up and asks the question “what if” later on.

I want to be the Christian who doesn’t ever give up on people. Because there’s always a chance that God will resurrect the dry bones and I don’t want to miss it when it happens.

You know, most times we don’t realize we’ve been asleep until we wake up. I believe that’s the state of many of our churches and Christian’s across the world.

God didn’t place you in 2020 on accident. Timing isn’t a coincidence. You were made for such a time as this. Keep breathing on those dry and dead bones; they just might come alive.

“I think the most awesome task in the world tonight is not to be the president of the United States or the king of an empire, but to be a man who stands between a living God and a dying people.”  (Leonard Ravenhill)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has there ever been a time where you wanted to give up on someone or something because it appeared useless?

= Do you believe you have an awesome task?

= What are you going to do differently?

FOUNDED FREEDOM

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The news, hatred, riots, the virus, they all have one job. To take us away from our founded freedom; founded in God not man. I feel like it’s time to connect the dots here. We’ve been trained to think that wanting freedom is selfish, and I guess I should even say not very “submissive” like. I believe that’s the lie the enemy is specifically trying to use against believers today. This hit me as I was writing an essay this week for the government college class I’m taking this semester. I’d like to share that essay with you, as it goes along with a truth God laid on my heart to share with y’all this week…

Week 1 Government Essay

“The reasons for studying government vary greatly from person to person, each one having their own personal motivations and convictions. However, I believe we can all agree that we should study government so that we can remain true to the original intent of the Constitution. Our freedom is worth fighting for, because the United States is unlike any other nation. President Ronald Reagan (1964) once said, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” America is indeed exceptional.

Another reason to study government would be for the purpose of becoming better citizens than we are at the present. In order to become a better citizen, we must understand what our actual freedoms are, how government is intended to work, and the things we should pursue as  Americans. We must be an informed people. The reason we have seen such a decline in patriotism and American exceptionalism is because people are uneducated about the founding of our great country and are listening to the mainstream media that tells us that our country is contemptible. We will lose our freedom if we, as Americans, do not educate ourselves regarding government. I saw great truth in the article by Roger Pilon that we were assigned to read. The article’s ending statement was this, “At stake are nothing less than our liberty and the legitimacy of our legal affairs’’ (Pilon, 1999).

The United States is a country that has been shown God’s favor more than any other nation (Wallbuilders, 2019). We cannot afford to stray from those spiritual convictions that our Founding Fathers valued so much. Great American patriots such as John Quincy Adams, Sybil Ludington, and Nathan Hale had a passion for liberty within them. I find it hard to believe that they were just extremely ambitious souls. I believe that they had a passionate, God-given spirit within them. They were Americans who knew that there was something about liberty that was worth dying for.

Even our own people take for granted the great American experiment that has not failed us yet. According to WallBuilders (2019), the average length of a nation’s constitution is only 17 years. The American Constitution is over 230 years old and is still the greatest system in the world.

Ronald Reagan (1987) also made a powerful point in favor of studying government when he said, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” These are the reasons why we should study government; why it is of the utmost importance. Even now we see a generation trying to erase history by disrespecting our flag, taking a knee during the national anthem, and destroying historical monuments. Things I never thought I would see or experience in my lifetime.

I personally run a ministry called The Few, and we do a lot of our ministry on social media. A couple of months ago, I posted a picture on Facebook with two of my friends. One happens to be Asian and the other one is an African American. In that specific post, I brought up how there are still people that love other people, no matter the color of their skin or popularity status. About two weeks later, I posted another picture stating that ALL people are precious in God’s sight.

We received such an amazing response from those posts and gained many new followers because of the amount of people spreading the word and sharing the posts to their own social media pages. However, about a week later, I noticed a significant decrease in the amount of likes and shares that we were receiving. After looking into the actual statistics that Facebook provides us, I realized that it was not because people didn’t like what we were posting or because we lost a huge amount of followers, but because we had been censored. The reason I share this experience with you is because if I had no knowledge of The Bill of Rights and the freedoms ensured by it, I would have no idea that the First Amendment gives me the right to freedom of speech.

Now, more than ever, Americans must educate themselves regarding their rights and be reminded that government was established to work for the people. (Lilly Hobbs 2020)

Many of us ask ourselves how we can “fix” our country. After doing much research and thinking this week, God showed me the one solution. If we are not living how God wants us to live and pursuing the truth in our everyday life, then our nation will never be “fixed”. Want to know why? Because you are the Nation. Just like you are the Church.

Remember how I said earlier that it was time to connect the dots? Well it’s true. We will fall and our nation will fall without God at the center of lives. We’ll fix our nation when you and I make God our only priority. Which in turn will affect those around us.

Don’t just be an American. Be a God-fearing American.

“…Test me in this” says the Lord of Armies. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the Lord of Armies. “Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of Armies.”  (Malachi 3:10-12)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways are you putting God first?

= Do you find yourself thinking that freedom (in God and as a country) is selfish?

= What are you going to do differently?

WAR WITHOUT WAR

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever had a time where you knew what you were supposed to say, but you just didn’t have a clue how to say it? Well, I’m kind of in that awkward place at the moment. I’m really not sure how to best write this post. The Lord has been working on me with a couple of different things over the last several days, so I’m going to write this post in order to preach to myself…

If that’s ok?

I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual warfare. The real importance of it and how it often goes unnoticed. I guess I hadn’t seriously thought about how God, (quite literally) made you and I for war until recently.

The issue is that most people that call themselves a “Christian” aren’t engaging in any kind of spiritual warfare at all. Even though they were made to fight. Not only do some not fight, but many wreak havoc on their own souls and cause themselves to fight unnecessary battles.

Leonard Ravenhill has an amazing quote that I’d like to take a look at with you today, but I first want to make it clear that this quote isn’t what it seems. I’ll explain later…

He said, “No church group that knows spiritual warfare has wiener roasts or even passion plays. There is a real warfare. I have said before that we are an arrogant, self-styled bunch of believers. We “believe” to the point of inconvenience – and then quit.”

Here’s where I explain. Some may read that quote, faint, and after they wake up think to themselves, “Is that quote really saying that wiener roasts and passion plays are bad, and that my church shouldn’t be doing any of that?!”  

Sure, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but is that not the truth y’all?

Of course he’s not saying that those things are bad. What he’s trying to do is make an incredible and valuable comparison that I think we skim right across.

Ravenhill is trying to make the point that we replace real war with our own “wars”. Sometimes we start fights (intentional or unintentional) on social media so that we can satisfy our God-given desire to fight for something.

Most of the time, the reason we put on events is not because we are fighting for people’s souls and want to see them come to Jesus, but because we want to do more this year than the church down the street could ever dream of doing.

You see, we wage “wars” that won’t ever satisfy us like real war will. All because we don’t want it to be an inconvenience on our part. We want to create the “wars” we fight. We want to plan them so that we’re certain we can win them before we even start.

But that’s not even close to the kind of war that Jesus created us to fight! He created us to fight against darkness and evil.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live — not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

It’s a great thing to have the will to fight, but it’s an even greater thing to have the discernment about what kind of wars to fight.

The greatest war we will ever have the honor to fight is for people’s souls. Not because we’re anything special, but because of Jesus’ power through us. Like I said, I’m preaching to myself here. These are the very things I need to remind myself of daily.

My prayer for us this week is that Jesus would reveal to each one of us the very wars we need to be fighting.

 And, just a quick reminder, not everyone will encourage you to fight the war’s God calls you to fight. Not everyone will approve. But you, my friend, are a mighty warrior. Made with an amazing, passionate desire to go to battle and win a real war.

“For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you fighting unnecessary “wars” in your life right now?

= Do you believe the salvation of souls is worth fighting for?

= What are you going to do differently?

DEAD FISH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I don’t feel like I can just “move on” from last weeks post. My thoughts, my feelings, my ideas, they all keep going back to “While We’re Sitting”. https://thefew.blog/2020/08/07/while-were-sitting/

After looking at some of those shocking numbers about how many young people are leaving Church, I think many of us were very unsettled. The question being, what can we even do about it? The whole thing just seems rather hopeless.

Truth is, there are a lot of different ideas about how we can fix “the Church”. Entire programs have been created to help solve problems in Church.

What I can reassure you with today is this… I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. I’m 100% sure that what I write about in this post is not going to be new to you. Most of us already know the solution. Discipleship. We just don’t want to do the work.

Allow me to explain why we often think the whole discipleship and “Jesus thing” thing seems to be hopeless.

One of the most irritating and frustrating things I see Christians doing today is they are always acting like they are on the defensive side. They live as if evil has triumphed, and we are trying to take back whatever it is that we’ve lost.

The definition of “being on the defensive” is this: If someone is on the defensive, they are trying to protect themselves or their interests because they feel unsure or threatened.

What would it look like if we were on offense though? Hold that thought…

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to give an account to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

Listen to me here, if you have been bought with the precious blood of Christ and been completely changed, then you are ALWAYS on the offensive. There is not a single moment of your life that you should act or live like you are threatened by evil.

We were made to fight from a place of victory and never defeat.

Church, you already have the victory. You just don’t realize it.

We’re too busy trying to argue out all of our hashtags like “save the children”, “black lives matter” and “flatten the curve” that we don’t realize Jesus already has all of those things figured out. Those things are just distractions from what Jesus actually wants us to be focusing on.

What would it look like if we were on offense though? Give me a minute here, we’re about to answer just that.

His tactic is you. He needs you to wake up and realize that you already have power over those things because He’s laid the victory right in your lap.  

I hate to burst your bubble, but a hashtag probably isn’t going to save the children. But Jesus’ victory will.

A protest and taking sides according to people’s skin color probably isn’t going to lead people to God. But Jesus’ victory will.

Sharing all of your profound and wonderful knowledge about the virus on your social media probably isn’t showing people the hope and gentleness that you’re supposed to have. But Jesus’ victory will.

John 16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He’s already overcome the world. So why do we think we need to or that it’s up to us?

My point in all of this is that you and I can’t fix “Church” or the world when we act like we are on the defensive side of this thing. Like we are always feeling threatened and trying to get something that we’ve lost back.

However, if we were to actually take this “Jesus thing” seriously for ourselves first, I truly believe Jesus will take care of the rest. We have a God who doesn’t need us at all, and yet He desires for us to be a part of it with Him.

The reason why young people are walking away from the faith is because all they see is a bunch of dead fish. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that anybody wants to be discipled by a dead fish.

I once heard a speaker ask, in regard to discipleship, “Do we really want two of you running around?” “Would it benefit the Kingdom to have two of you in it?” If you are not living out true Christianity and taking your faith seriously, then the answer is “no”. You are just polluting the water.

I challenge you, ask someone how you can pray for them and pray for their request while you’re with them this week. Forgive that person who you have been holding a grudge against for a while now. Be in prayer about who God may have for you to disciple. Then take them to lunch and just do some life together.

To be on offense means to take your own faith seriously. It starts with you. Remember, you can’t give to somebody else what you don’t have to begin with.

“But making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. A disciple is a disciple maker.”  (Francis Chan)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you feel like you’ve been distracted from what God wants you to do lately?

= Is discipleship an important thing in your own life?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHILE WE’RE SITTING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

“I had seen it happen many times. Heard stories told and realized that it was a harsh reality. No one else seemed bothered though. I didn’t see the people around me making an effort to stop it from happening.

In fact, maybe I’m one of the few who can actually see what they are doing, and why they are doing it?”

These are just a couple examples of the thoughts that I’ve thought about many times over. I mean, kids, teens, and young adults leave the Church all the time, right? It’s certainly not rare or something that we are shocked by.

But, why?

You see, I’m 16 years old. I fully understand what teens are faced with today because I am one. I know what it’s like to go to church every Sunday because I do it. I get what people think about “religious stuff” because I’ve thought it.

What people don’t know is that we have a very serious pandemic on our hands, and no, it isn’t the virus that we currently seem to be extremely challenged by.

It’s a pandemic that is bringing utter disaster upon traditional Christianity. Causing so many young people to call it quits and walk away from what they know as ‘’Church”.

And believe me when I tell you that it is a literal “disaster” of a mess. And it all happens while we’re sitting.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 says, “Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” – which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”

According to Ken Ham and Britt Beemer in their book titled, “Already Gone”, two-thirds of the young people you see in Church on any given Sunday are already gone. Even if they haven’t actually left and walked out of the building.

You know that teen in the back who always has his jacket hood pulled over his head on Sunday morning? Oh, and that young girl who always recites the Christmas story found in Luke 1-2 at your church’s Christmas play each December?

Yeah, it’s very likely that they’re already gone.

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer also reported that of those who no longer believe that the Bible is true,  39.8% first had doubts in middle school, 43.7% first had their doubts in high school, and 10.6% had their first doubts in college.

Something that I’ve noticed a lot of youth ministries do is focus so much on preparing youth for their time in college. But what about now? According to the statistics, it’s way too late by the time they get to college. Kids are having doubts about Jesus and are walking away from church in middle school.

We may not be losing them physically in middle school, but we have certainly lost them spiritually. They just might wait until college when it’s the opportune time to walk away completely.

You want to know the only reason I haven’t walked away? Because I have a Dad who is willing to drive over a thousand miles to help a guy who messed up just because he felt like it’s what Jesus wanted him to do. It’s because I have a Mom who packs the bags and never questions whether it’s really worth it or not. I also have a few other Godly mentors that show me what it looks like to truly live out Christianity the way Jesus tells us to.

Because trust me, if it was up to the Church to keep me involved and passionate about Jesus, I would have been included in those stats that I shared with you earlier.

Jesus starts around the kitchen table on an ordinary evening. And if there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s this… if kids don’t see their parents making the right choices and living like Jesus is real, they won’t either.

We’ve traveled the U.S. and I’ve seen it in every little American town and big city I’ve been in. It all goes back to the Church in every way. If the Church hasn’t produced passionate believers in one generation, it won’t be passed on to the next.

I lead Bible Study groups for younger and older girls two nights out of every week. If parents show their kids that Bible Study isn’t as important, or should I say even more important, than their school, sports, or any other activity, then don’t think that the kids will make Jesus first when they are old enough to make their own choices.

This stuff is real, and young people are walking out while we’re sitting in our comfy church chairs showing them nothing different that makes them want to stay.

Young people will stop leaving the faith when there are Christians who will disciple them and show them that the Jesus they serve isn’t boring, and that He isn’t like anything they’ve ever experienced before.

The thing is, you kind of have to get up to do that. It’s true. They will start staying when we stop sitting.

“God’s Church is not a social club. It’s not a building, and it’s not an option. The Church is life and death. The Church is God’s strategy for reaching the world. What we do inside the Church matters.”   (Francis Chan)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Were you aware of this “pandemic” before you read this post?

= Did the statistics shock you? If so, why?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Alrighty Y’all! I am excited for this one! If any of you know me, then you probably know that I absolutely, positively, love ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and once again, J.R.R. Tolkien has delivered with some good blog post material.

The following quote is said by one of the chief characters, Samwise Gamgee, at a time when he and his companion, Frodo, are almost ready to give up their perilous quest to defeat evil and return home.

He says, “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had plenty of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

“What are we holding on to, Sam?” Frodo asked.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

This quote motivates me every time I read it! I love this quote because it is so relatable. I mean, how often do we feel like there is just nothing in this world that is worth holding on to? This quote, for me, is a wonderful representation of how we as Christians should live. Even when it feels like there is no good left in this world, you keep fighting. Because there is always a Few who will fight with you.

As I was preparing to write this, I didn’t really know what to say. But my mom was reading this book called ‘Book Girl’ and the author had a few pages written about this very quote and it gave me a lot of inspiration.

 She writes about how heroes and heroines are formed by the stories they believe. Frodo and Sam were able to glimpse the story that their small, faithful actions were part.

“Heroism isn’t about taking your own life in your hands; it’s about being taken hold of by something much bigger and more beautiful than yourself, by a story that draws you into its larger drama and empowers you to act in hope.”    – Sarah Clarkson

Heroic actions always come from our identity being rooted in a story. And when your identity is rooted in a good story, you are prompted to act in hope. As Christians our identity should be rooted in the greatest story in history. The story of our Savior dying for us and gaining victory over evil.

Christians have the awesome privilege of knowing the end of the story. How it all turns out in the final chapter. God wins! Good triumphs over evil. It’s already a done deal!

We are helping with a Gospel Crusade at our dear friends’ campground in Indiana this week. Last night, we had the honor of witnessing a woman give her life to the Lord!

Y’all, God orchestrated, through His body of believers, the perfect circumstances to draw this woman into a saving relationship with Him. It was beautiful!

Long-time co-workers of hers had prayed for her and shared their faith with her over the years. She ended up, through those friendships, coming to this Christian campground, where the owners loved on her and prayed with her and for her.

She picked up a book, ‘Left Behind‘, from the book box here at the campground. She read it and wrestled with the story. My dad shared his testimony at the Crusade last night, where the woman was in attendance. He told about how reading ‘Left Behind’ was part of his salvation experience. The woman then realized God was speaking directly to her, and she told the Lord if there was an altar call, she would answer.

This precious woman is now a sister in Christ. She is part of His story. She has a great story to share with others who need to know Christ. Those of us who witnessed this story unfold last night, and hopefully those of you reading this story now, are encouraged to continue fighting for good!

When we are rooted in this kind of story, we cannot help but fight for the good that is in this world, even when it feels like all hope is gone. Because when we glimpse that our small, faithful actions are part of a story that has changed the world we live in, you cannot help but be empowered by your hope in Jesus.

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”     – Luke 10:19

Y’all, it’s time to fight back against the darkness that is so quickly trying to overtake our world. We must have our identities rooted in the story of salvation and have faith in the victory that the Lord has already given us.

Because there’s some good in this world. And it’s worth fighting for.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you sometimes struggle to fight for the good that is left in this world?

= Are you rooted in your identity in Christ and the story He has given you?

= What are you going to do differently?

WHAT WE’D MISS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

About a week ago, my Dad was praying at the beginning of one of our church services, right before the offering was taken up. He said something in his prayer that struck me in a new way. He said, “Oh what we’d miss, if we missed you.’’

As soon as he said that, I immediately thought of a story that happened when we were on one of our ministry trips a few months back.

We were having a great outreach at the church that we were at, and there was a certain individual there who was just starting to understand what this “Jesus thing” was really all about.

This individual went out with us on both our morning and afternoon outreach, and was greatly impacted each time. That same day, my Dad was going to preach for the evening service after supper. As we were all sitting down to eat though, we noticed that this certain individual wasn’t there.

We started supper and then started the service. The individual still wasn’t there.

Someone ended up texting them just to make sure that they were ok, and the individual answered saying that they wouldn’t be able to be with us for the evening, but that they would come again the next morning.

The service that night was crazy powerful. God moved in so many amazing ways. It was probably one of the most real and genuine services I’ve ever been in.

We came back to the church the next morning for another day of outreach, and everyone was still talking about the night before. Many of them were sharing about how God had spoken to them and how it was a night they wouldn’t forget.

Guess who was there hearing all of them talk about how amazing the night before was?

Yep. You guessed right. The individual who had missed.

Now, let me get this straight here, I was totally fine that they had to miss being with us that evening. Besides, I didn’t know where that person was or what they had to do. Of course, we were all disappointed that individual had missed experiencing God move, but there wasn’t anything we could do about it.

So, as everybody was standing around talking about the night before, somebody ended up asking the individual who had missed what they had to do and if everything was ok.

Are you ready to hear the individual’s response? Please prepare yourself, because I definitely wasn’t ready for this answer…

“Yeah! Everything’s fine. I went to the high school football game last night. They didn’t win though.”

I can’t even begin to explain how absolutely sickened I was when I heard that that was the reason.

Oh what we’d miss, if we missed Him. Ah, guys, I want you to get this today. It sickened me that this individual missed being in the presence of God, and, for something so completely trivial.

Sure, it was only one night. But it was a night that person will never, ever get back. You see, the individual wasn’t going to support a family member or anyone in particular. They were simply going to watch a football game on one of the three nights this revival was taking place at their church.

There are so many of us who try to justify our worldly pleasures. “Well, you know, I shared the Gospel all day and got my “Jesus time” in, so now I can go to the football game.

We seem to have a bad habit of “rewarding” ourselves with worldly things after we do anything at all spiritual.

I know that there may be some us who will read this post and think that we’ve heard this time and time again. However, might this be the time that things actually change for you?

Listen, I don’t want to be a Christian who looks back and realizes that I missed it. I want to be a Christian who gets to Heaven and knows that I ran as fast and as hard as I could after Jesus. Placing Him first in every single area of my entire life.

Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

The key is to seek first, not second.

“Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”  (C.S. Lewis)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you feel like you miss what God has for you sometimes?

= Is there anything that you related with in this post?

= What are you going to do differently?

IF WE THOUGHT ABOUT IT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

What do you think Christianity would look like if we had everything our way? I think that’s an interesting question to think about for most us. What would look different than it does now if we got to choose?

What’s optional and what’s necessary?

I want to answer those questions with you today in a realistic fashion. I want to see what it would actually be like if we did our own thing, even if we knew what the truth was.

You see, I don’t think the Holy Spirit is an optional thing. He is absolutely necessary.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own…?”

I’m just going to be bold and say that I think we’ve had everything our way for so long now, that it’s gotten to the point where we don’t think it’s a big deal if we don’t listen to God when He leads us to do something.

We don’t think it’s a big deal at all.

For example, when the Holy Spirit encourages us to pray for someone, to set a high standard, or to let go of a worldly pursuit, we trick ourselves into thinking that it’s optional. We don’t really have to do that.

Listen, I just want to make this clear. It’s a big deal to hear from God or read a command in His Word and intentionally say “no”.

Truth is, we do have Christianity our way, and you’re seeing what that looks like right now. I’ve heard people say things like, “Well, you know, I can’t really live out my faith at school or at work every day, so it’d be nice if it could just be an optional, once a week opportunity.” Or, “I’ll be back to Bible Study in a couple months after I finish with my summer activity.”

We make the things of God seem optional in our lives, and when we do that, we also make them look trivial to the people around us.

We have verses like Matthew 6:3-4 that we trick ourselves into thinking are optional. That verse talks about not being prideful when we give money. In the times we’re living in, I think we’d probably shout from the rooftops that we gave money to somebody, instead of being quiet about it. Please, we put our names on plaques and banners saying that we gave money to something because we want people to know about it!

This is the question I want you to ask yourself today… Do I think that the things of God, the things He asks of us, are necessary and worth doing every time I’m asked?

Hudson Taylor once said, “Christ is either Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.”

If only we lived like that quote was true. If we actually believed it, then our focus would be on Him and not ourselves.

So, I would like to challenge all of us to seriously consider how we think about these things. Because if we think this through, we might just choose to do something differently.

Otherwise, listening to the Holy Spirit really is optional and, we should just realize this Tozer quote is really how we are functioning:

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the Church today, 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference.”  (A.W. Tozer)

Everything He asks you to do is extremely necessary. Now get out there and do your job, Christian.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you consider some of the things God tells you to do to be optional?

= Would you believe yourself to be an ordinary Christian?

= What are you going to do differently?

LET THE ARROWS FLY

(Guest Post by: Michelle Hobbs)

Attention Y’all! Girls (and guys), please gather your parents around for this one. My mom wrote one for them this week!

Today, I was reading the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. A beautiful story of how God hears His children’s cries of grief and longing, then answers their prayers. He is so faithful to those who love Him!

But, I was thinking afterward, “How did Hannah give up this son that she so desperately desired?” “Didn’t she want him for herself?” You see, Hannah raised her son only until he was weaned, then took him to the temple so that he could serve the LORD.

Of course she wanted her son for herself, but she wanted her son for God’s glory even more! She wanted a child who would serve the LORD, glorify Him, and further His Kingdom.

Parents, do you think of your children that way? Do you think of your child’s main purpose being to glorify God and further His Kingdom?

I would propose that we tend to think of our child’s purpose as to gain their own glory, or maybe even, to bring us glory. Our actions, our priorities, and our messages to our children do not line up with giving God glory above all else.

We tell our kids (even if it’s subconsciously) to get good grades so they can get into the best college, at least a better college than the neighbors’ kid. Play every sport offered so you can make a name for yourself in town.

Participate in every extra-curricular activity offered just in case it will look good on that college application. Then, after we do all of those things, we will try to squeeze in some “church” when it’s convenient.

I feel like parents of today suffer from “Any Benefit Syndrome”. We are inundated with so many options for our kids that seem great. We think that if there is any possible benefit from x, y, and z that we must include it in our lives and in our children’s lives.

Now, I am not saying that our kids should not participate in any of the activities at all. I’m not even saying that there is no value in them. There are many lessons learned and good character traits built through sports and extra-curriculars.

The problem comes when we make these things our priority, whether on purpose or without really meaning to.

The fact is, we had better sit back and evaluate what our ultimate goal really is. Only when we have sincerely thought that through can we make wise choices regarding what to include and what to pass up.

We must only choose the things that have the biggest benefit to get us where we want to go. Hopefully, you will conclude that where you want to go is toward Jesus.

Our children are given to us for such a short time. I urge you to consider the day they walk out of your door to begin life as a young adult.

Will you say something like, “I’m so glad we focused on all of those worldly pursuits.” Will it be grades, sports, and extra-curricular activities? Or will you say, “I wish we would have focused more on Jesus, and teaching them how to love Him and serve Him well.”

Parents, your children are made in the image of God. Made to be image bearers of The Lord of Armies. We are in a spiritual battle today more than ever before. There is a battle going on for your child’s soul; their eternity. Have no doubt! Will you fight for them?

I read a great quote by Jim Elliot, a missionary who died while bringing the Gospel to a tribe in Ecuador.

In a letter to his parents, written just before he left for the mission field, he wrote: “Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So with the strong arm of prayer, draw the bow string back and let the arrows fly – all of them straight at the enemy’s hosts.”

Are you raising arrows to launch straight in the face of the enemy? Effective warriors for the Kingdom of God?

If you are not raising your children intentionally for this purpose, then you are handing them over to the enemy. You are not doing this on purpose, I’m sure, but believe me, it happens passively.

The world and worldly things naturally become the things that get most of our attention unless we are purposefully pursuing something else.

Parents, I beg you to take some time in the very near future to look at the priorities you have set for your parenting and for your child’s life. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)

Here is the hard truth, we as parents may be hindering our children from coming to Jesus. All the worldly choices we make for them (what we allow them to watch, read, listen to, and participate in) are either placing them in the arms of Jesus or in the enemy’s snare.

You may think I’m being dramatic, but the battle is real. “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Let’s raise a generation who follows hard after Jesus. A quiver full of arrows that we can confidently launch straight at the enemy!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How did God use this post to speak to you today?

= Do you feel that you are being intentional with your priorities?

= What are you going to do differently?

HALF MEASURES

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Jesus does nothing by half measures for His children. Those simple words seem to be stuck in my head at the moment. Any good blogger would tell you not to reveal the purpose of your post in the very first sentence you write, but that rule seems to have just gone out the window for this post.

And I’m perfectly ok with that, because there’s so much more to that phrase than I think we realize.

Think about this with me for a moment… Jesus was not content until He had given us all that He had. He isn’t satisfied unless He is in constant communion with those He loves.

Such a surprising mystery of grace that many of us cannot begin to comprehend.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The limitless fullness of His all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes.’’

Here’s the thing, as Christians, we all know that we are called to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). So, if we actually believe that, then we should do nothing in half measures for God. We shouldn’t want to do that because that’s simply not what He does for us.

However, that’s exactly what I think many of us are doing right now. We’re choosing to give Jesus “sections” of our lives.

But you see, Jesus isn’t interested in being any place in your life except first.

Now, you may be thinking, “Lilly, I just don’t feel that blessed, loved, or genuinely cared for by God right now. Why would I want to make Him first in my life?”

Well, I know this might be hard to hear, but it’s something the Lord has convicted me on many times…

Perhaps it’s because you’re too busy to be blessed?

2 Thessalonians 1:12 says, “If your life honors the name of Jesus, He will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving Himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving Himself freely.”

There should be this natural reaction that just comes out of us when we experience the grace and passionate love of Jesus. That “natural reaction” should be that we just can’t help but give everything we have, and all that we are, and lay it down for Him to use in full measure.

Listen y’all, Jesus modeled how this thing should look, perfectly, when He died for our sins. Death is love. There’s not a way to have love without death.

Here’s my point in all of this: If we really love Jesus, then we have to let the worldly stuff, that we hold on to so tightly, go. We shouldn’t want anything more than for all of that stuff to die, if it was something that was coming between us and our relationship with Christ. The One who refused to give Himself to us in half measures.

If we are but willing to do that, then I truly believe that we will joyfully get to partake of the fullness of Christ. It’s guaranteed to those who are willing and obedient and give their everything. Whatever that looks like in their lives.

It’s a fullness without measure.

Now, Christian, is your devotion to your Savior without measure today?

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  (1 Peter 1:13)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What’s your “natural reaction” to the Gospel?

= Does Jesus have your “everything”?

= What are you going to do differently?

YOUR CONDITION

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Many people that I’ve come in contact with or that I know, are pretty much convinced that the quarantine we just went through was straight from the enemy. I’m not here to say whether it was or wasn’t, however, I do know that in my own life, God did some amazing things that allowed me to make Him #1 in every area of my life through the quarantine, and I know He did the same for others.

Psalm 46:10 has never been so real to me until this virus appeared. It says “Be still and know that I am God…’’

I quickly came to realize that I cannot “know” God unless the worldly things around me are stilled in order that I may be still. So, I spent my time asking the Lord to reveal Himself to me through His Word and through my everyday life, so that I could actually know Him for myself.

I didn’t want to just know all the literature and the “right” things to say about Jesus. I wanted Him to show me who He really is.

My whole point was simple. I wanted to know God so that I could trust His plans. This became evident to me one night before the quarantine ever happened, and I desperately wanted to be content with whatever God had for me. I wrote this in my journal that night, “Lord, help me to remember that your plan is so much better than what I want.” That’s stuck with me ever since I wrote it.

Isaiah 14:27 says, “The Lord of Armies Himself has planned it, therefore, who can stand in it’s way? It is His hand that is outstretched, so who can turn it back?”

He convicted me that if I wanted to be reminded that His plan is better than mine, then I needed to know Him and His character. I needed to be certain that He is trustworthy.

I’m not sure about you, but when He challenged me with that, I thought that I was doing great in my relationship with Him. Of course, I knew Him and that He has a great plan for me…

I mean, I go to church, serve Him faithfully in different places, and lead Bible Study groups. While those things are good, and I should be involved in those things in order to keep growing in my faith, I equated a portion of my personal relationship with Jesus and actually knowing Him with some of the “works” that I was doing.

We tend to have a warped way of thinking when it comes to how we are really doing and how much of ourselves we are really giving to the Lord. We lead ourselves, and the people around us, to believe that we just love Jesus so much and that we’d be willing to do anything He tells us, when in reality, we are sidetracked and busy with the world.

Truth is, I had to be honest with myself about my condition. I knew about God, but I didn’t let God reveal Himself to me every single day so that we could have an intimate relationship. And I think that’s how many of us are, even though we don’t often like to admit it.

When you are steady in His presence and come to a knowledge of who your Creator actually is, loving Him just comes naturally. Serving Him, and even giving Him your all, comes naturally.

Our responsibility is to be honest about where we really are in our walk with Him. God wants you to be content in Him. He wants you to know that He has a plan for your life that is so much better than what you want. But you can only experience that when you experience Him.

As Crowder says in one of his songs, “But I find I know less as I come to know you more. You’re not who I thought you were. Praise the Lord.”

I want to know God more than I ever have before. Do you?

“Pay attention to your condition and see whether you are in Christ or not. It is the easiest thing in the world to give high marks when grading your own paper.”    (Charles Spurgeon)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What’s your condition today? Do you actually know God?

= Do you think that God has a good plan for you?

= What are you going to do differently?

MAKE ME MORE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

For some reason, the Lord has put some people in my life that I’ve just recently noticed have something in common and are satisfied with the very same thing…

A little bit of Jesus.

That sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Well, that’s a yes and no question. I want to share with you what the Lord has taught me by being around those kinds of people in my life.

The first thing is that they trick themselves into thinking that Jesus doesn’t really “need” their all, when in reality, they just don’t want Him to be involved in their all. This is because they know if He was, they’d have to let go of some worldly stuff, which they are unwilling to do.

Call me radical, but I truly believe that Jesus deserves so much more than our all. But our all is all that we have to offer Him, and we think that an inconvenience on our part.

But I love what James 4:7 has to tell us. The very beginning of verse 7 says, “So give yourselves completely to God…’’

You see, there’s no way you can be a follower of Jesus and just have a little bit of Him. People think, “Well, if I fit Him into my schedule for an hour or so on Sunday and maybe a Wednesday here and there, I’m good. I got my Jesus time in, and I’m doing way better than my neighbor down the street.’’

The funny thing is that the “neighbor down the street” isn’t even saved most of the time, and yet they want to compare their faith to that neighbor’s sinful lifestyle.

Of course you’re doing way better than the guy down the street! As Christians are we really called to compare our goodness against his?

No! God wants us to be imitators of Him and His character.

So, let me ask you a question… How are you doing compared to God and what He has called you to be? Are you sharing the Gospel on a daily basis? Is there someone in your life who you are discipling? Do you spend time with your creator so that you can come to actually know who He is?

James 4:8 says, “Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure.”

We can’t have Jesus on our terms. We have to take Him on His terms. You and I can’t follow the world AND follow Jesus wholeheartedly at the same time. It doesn’t work that way.

Listen y’all, I want to be more than the guy down the street. Not because I want to be some great and admired Christian, but because I want to be more like Jesus.

 I want Jesus to make me more like Him every single day I have on this earth. However, that only happens when I look at how pure and holy He is, and I then try to imitate that. I don’t want more “Church”. I don’t want more routines and rituals that make me feel more spiritual.

Francis Chan once said, “We need to be more concerned about who we are before God than our reputation before people.”

I want more of Jesus so that He can make me more than the world.

Jesus, would you make us more today? We want to be the vessels through whom you do the impossible. I pray that we would take a stand against the world and the evil in it, and that we would be the light of the world. Let us not settle for just a “little bit’’ of you in our lives. I pray that our entire lives would revolve around who you are and what you’ve done for us. Amen.

Give yourself completely to the God who loves you enough to make you more like Himself today. Take Him on His terms. You won’t regret it.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What stuck out to you the most in this post?

= Do you settle for “a little bit” of Jesus in your life?

= What are you going to do differently?

I CALL THIS TO MIND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

On June 7th, The Few officially hit its Two Year Anniversary. If I’m totally honest, I didn’t know if I would have any strength in me to actually “celebrate” Two Years.

I thought I would be experiencing more grief and heartache, than joy and gladness.

This is probably not how you expected me to start off this “Happy Two Years” post I’m sure, but the reason I’m sharing my heart here is because I never want to make it seem like The Few is living in this unrealistic dream where we are always “living the dream”.

Has God done some crazy and amazing things over the past two years? Yes, absolutely! But I would be putting on a show if I didn’t tell you that so very many tears have been shed in the process of walking this thing out that Jesus has called us to.

Truth is, I was really scared to hit two years, because a couple months ago, I wasn’t even sure anyone would be celebrating with me. I was scared that this ministry that God has given me to lead would appear to be a complete failure to others.

That I, myself, would look like a failure.

At this time, I don’t think I’ve ever related with anything more in my life than I have Lamentations 3. In the midst of doing ministry and showing up for people, I can certainly think of moments where it felt like I was just “grinding my teeth on gravel” as it mentions in verse 16.

I know that sounds dramatic and over the top, but those times when the enemy is working against you and trying to make you feel rejected by God and His love, is real. Those moments that He’s trying to take your eyes off of your Savior and get you to focus on the seriously low situation at hand is extremely tough to fight against.

And the enemy wants to trick us into thinking that that’s our reality.

But thank God we can move past those feeling’s and find an overwhelming sense of security in verses 21-23 which says, “Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!”

Can I get an amen y’all?! This is the climax in the book of Lamentations!

The author is coming to a realization of something. He’s remembering the things that God has done in the past. Look at how verse 21 starts off, it says, “Yet I call this to mind”.

His perception of rejection changes and becomes a reality of hope!

Remember… God doesn’t change when your emotions and circumstances do. He is constant and His faithfulness never ceases to meet every one of our needs.

So, today, as I look back at the hurt and scars that I’ve gathered over the past two years, I call to mind that I do indeed have hope.

A hope and a joy that no one can take away or tread upon. I can celebrate that today, and so can you, friend.

You can call His faithfulness to mind morning, after morning, after morning. Because His mercies are new, today.

“If we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” {2 Timothy 2:13}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What’s one thing God has done for you in the past?

= Do you “call it to mind” and remember it often?

= What are you going to do differently?

BASIC

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I feel like we’re all confused. No one has any idea how to react or what words to say anymore. To be honest, I feel that most everything has already been said; it’s just that no one applies what’s been said to their life.

We’re living in a time where the enemy AND the world want nothing more than to confuse us and make us unsure of our basic and fundamental beliefs.

The things that we should never have to question because they are truth, absolute truth.

I want to make this basic for you today. Jesus doesn’t want the Gospel to be complicated or confusing. He’s basic so that everyone can understand and find His grace and love.

He’s the complete opposite of what we are seeing in our world.

Now, I’d like to share with you a quote by Charles Spurgeon that I believe explains the root of the problem and why there’s confusion and conflict among Christians in particular. It says, ‘’If you profess to be a Christian, yet find full satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is false.”

The problem with “professing” Christians is that they are false and do not know basic truth. What’s worse is that the majority of them end up affecting the Church as a whole as they start to bring a sense of worldliness in with them.  

As much as I hate to say it, I think that describes a lot of “Christians” today.

A lot of us want the world AND Jesus. We want to be involved in all of our worldly pursuits, such as sports, entertainment, extracurricular activities, etc., then still do Jesus, if we can squeeze Him in, on the days we are free.

Listen, I’m just going to be truthful with you here, that doesn’t work. If you still find satisfaction in the pursuit of worldly pleasures, you’re fake.

Please hear me y’all, I say all of this in complete love. I’m just desperate for you to know, that this “Jesus thing” and living it out in the midst of hatred and evil does not have to be confusing.

If people would only open their eyes and see for themselves the basic stuff the enemy and the world is trying to make them unsure of, I’m confident that it would make us sick to even think about participating in and doing all of the things we are right now.

Because that’s the way the enemy drags you into believing his lies. The execution of his plan may vary a little from person to person and from time to time, but his basic scheme is always the same. The enemy’s only play is planting doubt in what is the absolute truth.

Listen carefully, he will always have you asking yourself, “Did God really say…?”

This was his tactic from the very beginning with Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:1). It is the same tactic he uses on you today.

Our only defense is to know the Word and the heart of God with certainty. Jesus laid out the battle plan in Matthew 4:4-6, when He was tempted by the devil. Jesus always replied with, “It is written…”. You MUST know the Word, friends. It is our complete and perfect defense.

Rest assured that the enemy is trying to work in the midst of the confusion and sin that we are experiencing right now. However, if you know the one basic thing that matters, which is Jesus, then He will give you the victory to overcome all of that.

Jesus is my essential foundation. He is what I want to start with and what I want to end with. I choose to live basic.

“I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me—he’s got judo moves I’ve never heard of. But he can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in me.” -A.W. Tozer

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you find satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits?

= Is Jesus your essential foundation in life?

= What are you going to do differently?

SELF-IMPOSED WORSHIP

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

Earlier today, I was thinking about what to write for this post. My mom started talking about the devotion she had read in A.W. Tozer’s book called “My Daily Pursuit” and said that maybe I should write about it. I went and got the book and read the devotion she had mentioned, and it just wasn’t really speaking to me.

So for fun, I flipped to the devotion for January 23rd (which is my birthday). I always look at that one in the day by day books since it’s the best day of the year! (Lol) Wow! It was so good. In that devotion Tozer talked about how we get so caught up in ritual and tradition, that if we were really looking at where God’s presence is, we would realize that it isn’t there.

Especially in this time with all the COVID-19 stuff, I have seen how much we value our “normal”, and how much we value our traditions. We really value our church buildings, but that’s not the only place we can experience the presence of the Lord.  The presence of the Lord is in you and me, not in the church building. We are the Church.

“The sons of the fathers may be worshiping the God of fathers, but for the most part, they are only going through the motions they saw their fathers do a thousand times before. Where is the glory? Where is the fire? Where is the brokenness before the possible presence of God?” -A.W. Tozer

When was the last time you were broken in the presence of God? As Christians we often act as though we are whole. As if we have it all together, and our lives are perfect. I’m here to tell you today, God wants your brokenness. He wants your flaws and imperfections. As you start to spend time in His presence, that brokenness, that shame, all starts to go away as we give all that to Him and start to lean on Him and not ourselves.

Psalm 139:7 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Where shall I flee from your presence?”

This is such a great example, straight from God’s Word, of how the presence of God is not in any one place. It is all around us. It’s in the extraordinary and in the mundane. It’s in the joy and the sorrow. It’s in the certainty and the uncertainty. God’s presence cannot be bound. What a comforting thought that is! God’s presence is always moving, always working for our good.

In Leviticus chapter 10, the Bible tells us about the sons of Aaron whose names were, Nadab and Abihu, and how they brought unauthorized fire into the place of the LORD. They lit their torches and put incense in them and offered it to God. They were immediately enveloped with the fire of the LORD and were killed because they offered fire that was kindled in their own way; not in the way the LORD had commanded.

You see, the fire they brought was to have been gathered from the Altar of Sacrifice; sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. This is God’s command. We must approach Him covered by the blood of the sacrifice. Our God is a holy God, and before Jesus was sent as a perfect sacrifice, everything that was offered to the LORD was to be given the exact way that He instructed.

For a moment I want us to step back and put ourselves in the place of Nadab and Abihu. How often do we do things for God simply because they have been done for generations before us instead of seeking the true will of God for the here and now? The sin of Aaron’s sons was in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God.

It was self-imposed worship.

OUR sin is in acting in the things of God without seeking the mind of God. Church, do we not see what must be done in order to have thriving churches, with thriving Christians? We MUST seek His presence.

His presence is something too many of us have been living without, and it is time, now more than ever, to truly seek His presence.

Let us stop having self-imposed worship and doing the same things over and over without noticing that the presence of God is no longer there. God’s presence cannot be bound. Let’s take it wherever we go, and seek it in whatever we do!

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?

= How have you been spending time in God’s presence lately?

= When was the last time you were broken in the presence of God?

= What are you going to do differently?

IT COMES WITH TEARS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Has God ever told you to do something that didn’t make any sense to you whatsoever? I’m talking crazy weird that you didn’t really want to share what He told you with anyone else because you feared they might think you’re wacked?

Yeah. I know that feeling all too well.

A recent personal experience comes to my mind when I think about being obedient to what I know God wanted me to do, even though it seemed crazy.

On our drive home from visiting Rocky in jail in September of 2019, (refer back to this blog post to learn about Rocky’s story: https://thefew.blog/2019/10/07/a-thousand-times-over/) I felt like God wanted me to get serious about praying over that whole situation. I’m talking praying about/giving things to the Lord that I didn’t even want to start thinking about, let alone pray for.

Getting serious about praying would mean that I would have to wrestle with what Rocky had done, and what the future had in store for him since he had made some really awful decisions. I think what the Lord was trying to teach me was how to forgive the hurt, and also love unconditionally.

So, as we were driving home and I was wrestling with God about the whole prayer thing, I specifically remember Him telling me to pray whenever I saw 111 or 1111.

That’s it.

The Lord obviously didn’t tell me that in an audible voice or anything, but as I was just sitting there listening, I knew that’s what He wanted me to do. Pray whenever you see 111 or 1111.

Y’all, I just have to admit, I literally thought that this “request” was the silliest/dumbest thing ever. I thought that I would only be praying 2/3 times a day at the most.

Boy was I so wrong.

111 or 1111 started popping up EVERYWHERE. All over school assignments, our social media pages, whenever I looked at my phone, I felt like I saw 111!

As I was looking up verses to use in this blog post the very first one that came up was Deuteronomy 11:1 (seriously??) which says, “Love the Lord your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always.”

Here’s what I want you to take away from this post, so grab your notebook or scrap piece of paper because I want you to write this simple phrase down…

Sometimes obedience comes with tears.

It wasn’t easy for me to get serious about praying for Rocky that much. I’m just being honest here. It continually brought back feelings of hurt and questioning within me about why the Church didn’t want to step up and do ministry.

Sometimes my obedience to God and doing what He wanted me to do, meant that I had to shed a few tears and push through in order to walk this “Jesus thing” out.

If you’re listening to God and trying to be obedient, it’ll come with tears, and that’s a great thing.

Is it going to be hard? Yes. Will it challenge you in ways you don’t want to be challenged? Yes. But you will grow and become more like Jesus every single time you choose Him even though it might be hard.

2 John 1:6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.”

Now, you may be wondering, “Ok Lilly, what in the world was up with the whole 111 and 1111 thing?”

Let’s fast forward to January of this year, (2020) Rocky was being released from jail, so my dad and I went down to find him a place to stay and help him look for a job.

He was released on a Wednesday afternoon, so Thursday was our first full day with him. On Thursday morning we went to pick him up. When we walked into the little hotel room, Rocky mentioned that the house phone that was in the room had some numbers that wouldn’t work when he tried to dial.

So, naturally, we walked over to look at it to see if we could ask the front desk for a different one that he could use until we got a cell phone.

Guess what the first thing was that I noticed on that old, beat up house phone? It was the line on the left side of the phone that had the after hours/attendant dial number on it.

I’ll give you one chance to guess the number that was labeled in bold.

#111. (See the actual phone in the picture above.)

I almost lost it. For five whole months I had been praying and praying and being obedient whenever I saw that simple line of numbers that God had given me late one night on our long drive home.

I had no clue why God had asked me to do it, but seeing 111 on that house phone was total confirmation to me that I had clearly heard from God, and that I had followed through with what He had asked me to do.

Because you are Christ’s, you can hear straight from Him. You have to make the choice however, to be willing and obedient when you do hear from Him.

You may be the only one willing to shed some tears, but rest assured that our God works mightily through the few, not the many.

“Are you placed where others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to loiter, cry, “No, I cannot stop, for I am Christ’s.” – Charles Spurgeon

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Has there been a time in your life where you were obedient to God even though it was hard?

= Do you sometimes fear looking like a fool in front of others for Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

STARS AND MORE STARS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This morning, I was looking back at some of the different Bible Study lesson notes that I have saved over the past couple of years, and I found one titled “Who is God” from September of 2019.

I remember being so excited to preach that night for Bible Study because I had recently listened to a sermon by Ravi Zacharias prior to that study night. It was super deep; packed with so much truth. I couldn’t wait to share everything I had learned with the girls in the group.

He included a story, in that sermon, that I think many of us can learn from and relate to. So, I’d like to share it with y’all today.

When this story made its rounds a long time ago, it was considered one of the funniest stories ever. I’m not sure who actually wrote it, but it is the story of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Watson, on a camping trip.

Ravi Zacharias told the story like this, “They had been out really late into the night, and they went in to sleep. In the middle of the night, Holmes awoke and looked out into the night sky rather stunned. He woke up his sidekick Watson, and said to him, “Watson! Watson! Look up into the night sky, what do you see??”

Watson said, “I see stars, and stars, and more stars.” He said, “What does that tell you, Watson?” Watson said, “Well, astronomically it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Oralogically, it tells me that it’s about quarter to 3:00 in the morning. Metrologically, it tells me that tomorrow will probably be a beautiful day. Theologically, it tells me that in this vast universe, we are just a little part of it. Why Holmes? What does it tell you?”

Holmes said, “Watson you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!”

While you might laugh and read that story in a lighthearted way just like I did, I think that we are much more like Watson than we’d all like to admit.

It has appeared to me that many Christians have a terrible tendency to over complicate this “Jesus thing” and the simple Gospel in every way we can.

I believe that we have made the Gospel what we personally want it to be. Honestly, we have taken away the Cross to make it look all nice and pretty. But when you do that, there is no reason for the Gospel.

You see, we have made God look how we want Him to look, and we only pay attention to the parts of Him that we like and “agree” with. We add to that and take away from this and pretty soon nothing makes sense because we’ve made everything so complicated.

Voddie Baucham once said this, “The modern Church is producing passionate people with empty heads. People who love Jesus, but have no idea who He is.”

Sound familiar?

We have no idea who God actually is. We don’t know where to start. What we end up doing is making Him look how we want Him to look. We define Him for ourselves.

Guys, lets step back and look at the big picture for a minute here. All we can really know about God is who He says He is in His Word. And all we can really know about ourselves is who He says we are.

As Christians, I think we need to fix our minds on Scriptures like Micah 7:18 which starts off with the question, “Who is a God like you?” Let’s not just assume we already know.

You see, there is no one like Him. So we can’t begin to define who God truly is. We cannot comprehend Him because our imagination isn’t big enough to contain God.

He is too big for us to fathom.

Yet, we put God in this kind of ball, and we roll Him into what we want Him to be. We limit God, because WE are limited in understanding Him! He has not allowed us to grasp His holiness because He wants us to have a relationship of mystery with Him.

Beth Moore once said, “There is no mastery in mystery.”

You can’t have an intimate relationship with a person without mystery, because if you know everything about the person, then there is no excitement. You’ve mastered them. There’s nothing new to learn about them.

When an inventor invents something, he masters it. The inventor knows everything down to the very last detail of their invention. However, the invention will never be able to master its inventor. The invention just does what it is created to do. It knows its place.

As humans, we are so narrow minded, like Watson was, and we focus so much on the question and what WE want the answer to be, or what WE think the answer is, that WE end up getting it all wrong in the end.

Sadly, that’s exactly what we have done with God. We think we know who He is, but by thinking that, we limit Him. We confine Him to only what we can comprehend in our minds.

I want to challenge y’all today. God is so much bigger than what you and I can comprehend. He made us to have a deep and intimate relationship with Him. A relationship full of mystery, joy, and satisfaction.

That’s what we were made for! We don’t have to be distracted by all of the stars and miss the entire point of life. In our lives, the “stars” that you may be distracted by might be things like worldly activities, theology, or different “sides” and opinions.  

The simple answer to this whole thing, is that we just need to accept that we don’t/can’t know everything about God. We can’t master Him no matter how hard we try.

As God’s invention, we just need to do what He made us to do. You and I need to spend one on one time with Jesus, and let Him reveal parts of Himself to us in His time.

He has always been everything that we have needed Him to be. Amen? We don’t ever have to worry that He won’t be something that we need Him to be.

So, don’t get distracted by little things like the stars. Now’s the time to get to know your Savior for yourself.

“You, God, are my God. Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”   (Psalm 61:3)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have trouble staying focused on Jesus alone and His purpose for your life?

= In what ways do you limit God?

= What are you going to do differently?

SO VERY CONCERNED

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In the past couple of months, I’ve stayed pretty quiet about what is going on in our world today with the Coronavirus. I’ve chosen to stay quiet for multiple reasons. However, I feel that God wants me to speak up in a way that you might not expect in this post.

Prepare yourselves. This is what I’ve been convicted of lately.

I’m just going to be extremely honest with you here; I’m so very concerned. I’m concerned about how the majority of Christians, here in the U.S., have handled this virus and their time at home during the quarantine.  I think we have been selfish.

I mean, you can’t even get on Facebook or Instagram without seeing people commenting on someone else’s post about how they “feel” and what they “think”. The people of the Church are literally out here posting the new and updated numbers of how many are infected every single day just to keep everyone informed.

Guys! You and I need Jesus whether the numbers went up or down yesterday! If you really feel the need to “update” people, then why in the world aren’t you informing them about the Gospel?

Wake up Church! Yes, I absolutely believe that we should have the freedom to do and say as we please. I’m not saying that we should just throw that out the window and forget about it. But Jesus offers us the ultimate freedom, and people out there need to hear about that way more than they need to hear about how you are “feeling” and what you “think” about this whole thing.

If there is one quote that the Church has proven true during this time, it’s this one… “What are you going to do when you get to eternity, if you can’t stick in an hour with God down here? What are you going to do in a million years in God’s presence? Expect some reports from earth about football or something?” – Leonard Ravenhill

I don’t think we’re actually ready for eternity. I don’t know if Jesus is really enough for people when I see that all they want to do is get back to normal, sitting in a pew, “church”.

This virus has made me realize, more than ever before, that we have a much better friendship with the world than we like to claim. Myself included.

James 4:4-6 says, “You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God. Or do you think it’s without reason that the Scripture says: The spirit He made to dwell in us envies intensely? But He gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

If there is one thing in life that I don’t want to be, that I’m even scared to be, it is a proud person. I’ve seen how pride can totally ruin people. I’ve seen firsthand how it can change a person’s thoughts and mind to focus on nothing except that which is inward.

James says that God resists proud people, but that He gives grace to those who are humble. Oh Church, why can’t we be humble to the things of this world?

God wants to use us right now, if only we would open our hearts and minds to the Lord and deny ourselves. I’m concerned for the Christians who aren’t ready today.

We’re wasting precious time when we are spending time only on ourselves. The Gospel is what needs to be on Instagram. Your testimony is what should be on Facebook; not your opinions and feelings. Those are fleeting and often reflect your friendship with the world.

“If we are going to share our feelings, why aren’t they about what Jesus has done for us on the cross and how it impacts every decision we make; every conversation we have; every moment of our existence?  Or could it be that the things of the world, our normal, have been given a more important place in our daily life than what Jesus did for us?” – Scott Hobbs

Be the leader who will lead “The Few” around you to fight for the Gospel. For the ultimate freedom.

I’m concerned over people’s desperate need for Jesus, and I hope you are too.

“I’m embarrassed to be part of the Church of Jesus today, because I believe it’s an embarrassment to a holy God. Most of our joy is clapping our hands and having a good time, and then afterwards we’re talking all the dribble of the world. Oh, to be lost in Him, to be consumed in Him.” – Leonard Ravenhill

I want people to expect Jesus out of me no matter what I’m doing or where I’m at. The Gospel has changed me, and it affects everything I do.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Would you say that you have a friendship with the world?

= Is it even possible to be consumed by Jesus? How?

= What are you going to do differently?

TODAY IS THE DAY

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I am in awe that we are officially celebrating our 1 Year Anniversary for this blog today! As I look back on the past year and all of the posts, comments, likes, and messages, I can’t help but feel so very humbled. God has used The Few as a vessel to show others that they really can get serious about being serious for Jesus in their everyday life. It’s possible, and it’s what God desires of us.

I don’t want this to be a post where I beg you to follow and support us, because I want that to be a commitment and decision that you make for yourself. We are totally ok if we don’t gain a ton of new followers. I don’t need to read more “feel good” comments to keep me going today. Truth is, you don’t need The Few to have an intimate and deep relationship with Jesus.

You need Jesus, and I need Jesus. That’s it. He’s enough.

Today, we celebrate Jesus and how He’s used The Few. However, Madie & I did want to make our 1 Year Anniversary something to remember for, hopefully, years to come!

So, it is with much excitement that I share with you that we launched a brand-new PODCAST and it is available on many different platforms TODAY! The podcast is called A Few Minutes With The Few, and you can listen to it through platforms such as (links below) Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, Castbox, etc. It will also be available on Apple Podcasts, as well as Pandora and iHeartRadio in a couple of weeks!

During this time of chaos and craziness that our world is experiencing, the Lord has filled us with an urgency to share the simple Gospel in every way we can, and on every platform that we can.

We pray that this podcast encourages and challenges you in your walk with Jesus, and is a resource that you can tell others about who might be struggling and need somewhere to go and hear truth.

May we love God and love people even more in the coming year, together, as The Few!

THE RIGHT ONES

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of watching TV shows or movies, which many people in my life like to give me a really hard time about. I guess they think I’m boring, haha! However, my family loves the movie Miracle. If you’ve never watched it before, it’s based on the true story about the men’s U.S. Olympic Hockey Team who won the gold medal against the Soviets in 1980.

Miracle is one of the few movies that I genuinely enjoy watching, and I think it’s because I relate so much with it from a ministry standpoint.

In the beginning of the movie, the head coach (Herb) is picking the guys he wants to be on his team. He’s studied every single one of them, well in advance, knowing their strengths and weaknesses before they even have a chance to play on the ice in front of him.

He knows the teams that they have played for and what position they’ve played the best in the past. So, after the very first day of tryouts, Herb hands his list of the guys he chose for the team to the assistant coach (Craig) to go through it and tell the guys who aren’t on the list that they can go home.

Craig, who has not studied the players pasts to know their strengths and weaknesses, turns to Herb and tells him that he doesn’t have some of the very best players on the list, and that he needs to reconsider his choices.

Herb then looked at Craig and says, “I’m not looking for the best ones, I’m looking for the right ones.”

Now, that is the part that I really relate with, and I want to tell you why… God looks for, and lovingly pursues, the “right” people. Totally opposite of our human tendency to chase the mass amounts of people that appear to be the “best” from a worldly perspective.

In Matthew 18:12, we are given the illustration that God’s people should go and search for the one lost sheep, even if it means that he has to leave 99 others behind. See, this is what Christ has done for us. I think we all could certainly testify that we must have been the “right” one when God redeemed us from our empty way of life.

I can testify to this because I am positive that I was not the “best” one when Jesus rescued me from the path of darkness and sin that I was on.

Jesus only had 12 disciples who said they were willing to follow Him while He was on earth, and later in the story we see that even some of the 12 were not fully devoted to this “Jesus thing”. He had a couple “right” ones in the mix though.

Y’all, our FEW Instagram page has over 200 followers, yet we average around 30 likes per post. That doesn’t disappoint me. Do you know why?

Because I’m convinced that those 30 are the “right” ones.

Listen, I really don’t care if celebrities look at or follow our social media accounts. I don’t care if we get verified or recognized.

Yeah, they may appear to be the “best” ones, but they’re not the “right” ones that God wants me to pursue and pour my time and effort into.

Are y’all ready to be encouraged today? The beauty of the Gospel is that we are ALL the “right” ones. It is us who make the distinction between the “right” ones and the “best” ones, not God.

When you look at it from Jesus’ perspective, you will quickly see that you will always be the “right” one to Him. He’s studied you, He knows your weaknesses and your past. Yet, I truly believe that He wants you to know that you don’t have to go back there again.

He willingly left the 99 to rescue me when I was the one. Now He’s the One who means everything to me.

You’re the “right” one. Don’t forget it.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you get caught up in looking for the “best” ones instead of the “right” one?

= How does it feel to know that Jesus is willing to lovingly pursue your heart?

= What are you going to do differently?

RUNAWAY KNOCKS

(Post by: Madie Hobbs)

What is something that you have given up praying for? I want you to think of that something and keep it in mind. It will be important later on.

Earlier this year, my mom found a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, The Importunate Widow, and it is SO good! I get so excited every time I read it.

The sermon focuses on the topic of consistent prayer. The scripture which he bases the sermon on is Luke 18:1-8, which is one of my favorite parables about prayer. (If you would like to hear more about that parable, go and read another blog post that I wrote called, “Will He Find Faith?”) https://thefew.blog/2020/01/16/will-he-find-faith/

In this scripture, Jesus was teaching His disciples to always pray and never give up. I feel that so often we pray for something, and we expect results right away. We expect God to fix it the exact way we tell Him to.

Most of the time when nothing happens immediately, we just stop praying because we didn’t hear an audible voice from heaven. We suppose that it must not be important to God, so we give up and go on about our day.

I am here to tell you Church; He cares!

Here is a small portion of Spurgeon’s sermon:

“When we ask God for a mercy once, we are not to consider that now we are not to trouble him further with it, but we are to come to him again and again! If we have asked of him seven times, we ought to continue until 70 times seven; in temporal mercies there may be a limit, and the Holy Spirit may bid us ask no more, and then must we say, “the Lord’s will be done,” If it is anything to our own personal advantage, we must let the Spirit of submission rule us so that after having sought the Lord thrice, we shall be content with the promise “My grace is sufficient for you,” and no longer ask that the thorn in the flesh should be removed. But in spiritual mercies, and especially in the united prayers of a Church, there is no taking a no for an answer! Here, if we would prevail, we must persist! We must persist incessantly and constantly, and know no pause to our prayer till we win the mercy to the fullest possible extent.”

Might we be a Body of believers who seek God constantly and incessantly! Might we be a body that believes that the Lord hears us and will actually answer. Church let’s pray.

As Lilly and I were talking about what I wanted to write in this post, I realized that when we pray, we let the enemy know that we believe the Lord can help us. The Lord knows what’s on our hearts, but through prayer, we remind the Devil who’s really got the power.

Every year I pick out one word to focus on during my devotion time. For 2020, I chose the word “wait.” This year I picked out a quote for the year and, surprise, surprise, it came from Spurgeon’s sermon! It says this:

“But, brothers and sisters, how many times we ask of God, and have not because we do not wait long enough at the door? We knock a time or two at the gate of mercy, and as no friendly messenger opens the door, we go our ways. Too many prayers are like boys’ runaway knocks-given and then the giver is away before the door can be opened! O for divine grace to stand foot to foot with the angel of God and never, never, never, relax our hold, feeling that the cause we plead is one in which we must be successful, for souls depend on it, the glory of God is connected with it, and the state of fellow men is in jeopardy! If we could have given up in prayer our own lives, and the lives of those dearest to us, yet the souls of men we cannot give up, we must urge and plead again and again until we obtain the answer.”

We must persevere in our prayer! If you have been praying for something for a long time, keep praying! If you have been praying for something for only a little while, keep praying! We must pray!

Just because you’ve been praying for something for a while doesn’t mean that the Lord doesn’t hear you; or is neglecting you. He just wants you to be faithful and wait. He will answer.

Remember how I asked you to remember something you have stopped praying for? Well, here is my challenge to you. Pray for whatever that is, and continue to pray for it.

We cannot give up the souls of men. They depend on our prayer. So, let’s not let our prayers be like boy’s runaway knocks.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! {Isaiah 30:18}

Church, let’s pray.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you been praying for something for a long time?

= How did this post affect you personally?

= What are you going to do differently?

FACING OUR FEARS

(Guest Post by: Pastor & Missionary Gerald Steele)

COVID-19 is an insidious virus that is sweeping the world. Like a massive earthquake, it is rattling the very foundations of countries everywhere.

With it we are witnessing a tsunami of fear as people die, money markets become volatile, small businesses padlock their doors, schools are shut down and sporting events are canceled until who knows when.

We are all afraid to greater or lesser degrees. Fear is both a negative and a positive. A healthy fear causes us to wash our hands frequently, wear masks in certain environments, and maintain social distancing.

An unhealthy fear on the other hand, can cause incessant worry and even insomnia. It often paralyzes us. We sit motionless in our living rooms staring at television sets watching every report on the expansion of the virus.

I read recently that the expression “fear not” appears 365 times in the Bible. Wow! That’s one “fear not” for every day of the year.

This does not mean that none of us will experience the virus (I have two of my immediate family members who were tested yesterday and are awaiting the results) but that God’s presence will accompany us no matter what!

 Isaiah 43:2-3a, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” NLT

This blog focuses on “The Few,” who dare to exercise faith even in the worst of times. In Judges, chapters 6 and 7, there is a fascinating story about a farmer by the name of Gideon. The narrative begins with Gideon threshing his wheat in a winepress.

Typically, a winepress is located in a valley. It’s where the grapes were stomped on to make juice and wine. However, farmers normally threshed their wheat on hilltops so that the wind would carry the chaff away.

So, why was Gideon threshing his wheat in a winepress? Because he was afraid of an enemy, called the Midianites, that was stealing crops and livestock.

Suddenly, in the midst of his work an angel of the LORD appears to him and says, “Mighty warrior, the LORD is with you.” I’m sure Gideon was thinking to himself, “Me, a mighty warrior? That’s why I’m hiding out in this winepress. I’m a wimp and coward!!!”

But God saw potential in Gideon. Here’s a great lesson, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how we see ourselves, or how others see us, it’s HOW GOD SEES US!!!

God made Gideon the commander of an army. God whittled down the size of Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300. Then armed, not with guns and tanks but with trumpets, pitchers, and torches Gideon and God’s 300 surrounded the Midianite army of 135,000 soldiers who were sleeping in their encampment.

At Gideon’s command, in the wee hours of the night, they blew their trumpets, broke their pitchers revealing their torches and shouted, “the sword of the LORD and Gideon.” The startled Midianite soldiers awakened from their sleep and fled their camp.

Confused by the element of surprise they actually started killing their fellow soldiers.

In the end, Gideon’s band of just 300 gave chase. Other countrymen joined in. Ironically, they located one of the Midianite commanders hiding out in, of all places, a winepress!!! They killed him there. Wow! Don’t miss the application.

The very place where you experience your greatest fears, can become the very place of your greatest victory!!!

The Bible seems to suggest that the antidote to fear, is faith. However, in the midst of the storm, it’s very difficult to get our heads and hearts around this.

This Easter season, I was meditating on Matthew 28:1-10. Multiple times in the passage I saw the expression, “fear not.” The narrative clearly outlines a pathway that will get us from fear to faith. In verse 8 the Bible said that the two Mary’s left the presence of the angel and the tomb with “fear and great joy.”

Lesson: In the midst of life’s fearful moments we must not allow Satan to rob us of our joy! “The joy of the LORD is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Secondly, in verse 9 the story reveals how when they met up with Jesus they fell at his feet and worshipped him. Again, we must worship God even in the midst of the Coronavirus.

Worship enables us to see the greatness and majesty of God even though the circumstances around us are eroding and exploding.

Lastly, we must remind ourselves that in the midst of all the negativity, Jesus is still with us. The very last phrase of Matthew chapter 28 tells us in Jesus’ very own words, “I am with you always, even until the end of the age.”

So, how do we face our fears? We maintain our joy. We worship. We practice his presence!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you think we often allow Satan to rob us of our joy and peace?

= From reading this post, why is worship so important?

= What are you going to do differently?

ARE YOU OK?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Y’all are probably so sick of hearing my Texas stories by now, but I have another one to share with y’all today! Everybody say “yay”, ha! I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I’ve shared every single experience and story, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Since Rocky was released from jail on Wednesday, January 15th, my dad and I got there a day early to look for a place he could stay and line up a few other things. As soon as we got into Fort Worth, around noon, we decided to grab a quick lunch and then check out a motel for Rocky that someone from the church we worked with in 2017 had recommended to us.

Now, this was after my dad and Sebastian (Rocky’s son) had an hour long conversation about where we would meet up and when we would all need to eat and stuff (insert rolling eyes emoji). They were both extremely indecisive when it came to eating plans. LOL.

The phone calls were fun to listen to though!

Anyway, we finally met Sebastian at the motel to see if they had any rooms available and if it would be a good place for Rocky to stay for a couple weeks.

However, when we pulled up to the place there were a couple of guys carrying paint and tools up to the third floor. We suspected that meant they were remodeling the third floor and were probably moving people into other rooms.

We went into the little office area and the lady that was behind the desk was talking with all of the construction workers and confirmed to us that they were, in fact, remodeling the third floor.

As my dad talked with her about getting a room, a man walked into the office with a basket of bread. He handed out some flyers, and it turned out that he was from a local rehab place that Rocky had been to many years ago.

So, Sebastian bought some bread and talked with the guy for a little bit. Meanwhile, my dad was still trying to explain to the lady that we needed a room for the next night and that Rocky would be staying there, not us.

Yeah, it was kind of hard to explain the whole situation to her.

It was a total God thing, because they only had one room left in the entire motel. As my dad was still working all of that out with her, I looked behind me and realized that Sebastian wasn’t there talking with the guy anymore.

Wondering where they had gone, I looked out the window of the office and saw that they were both praying over each other in the parking lot.

Here’s the really cool part of the story though, some of the other people staying at the motel had come into the office and every single one of them were looking out the window commenting on how it was so cool to see that people still did that and cared for each other.

It was crazy amazing! You could tell that it really touched them just to see that.

After Sebastian came back in, we all went and looked at the room to make sure that it was nice and clean.

Since we wanted the room to be in Rocky’s name (who wasn’t there with us) my dad had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and get all the stuff that Rocky needed for the next day.

Well, as he was filling everything out, I noticed that the lady behind the counter was trying to quietly get my attention. As I looked up at her, I noticed that she had a very concerned look on her face, and she whispered, “Are you ok?”

At first I was confused and thought, “Uh, yeah. Why wouldn’t I be ok? Do I look sick or something?” Then I realized what she really meant by the question. I quietly reassured her that I was completely fine and then she said, “Ok. I just wanted to make sure you were safe and that really was your dad.”

I then realized that the situation did look a bit odd. I mean, two guys coming in with a teenage girl to get a room, saying that they aren’t going to be staying there but that one of their friends will be the next day probably wasn’t the best idea.

Sadly, this is the reality of what people are thinking in the world that we live in. It saddened me that she even had to think about asking me if I was ok, but at the same time, I was so grateful to see that she was bold enough to ask and that she was looking out for young girls like me.

Now, here is my question for you today… Is it evident that you’re “ok” with Jesus? Or do you wait for people to ask you? You know, I often think that as Christians we like to wait for people to ask us if we are a believer.

Y’all, people shouldn’t have to ask us, they should be able to see Jesus all over us. The people around us should have no doubt that Jesus is more than enough for us in life.

The truth is, you’re really not “ok” if they can’t see that you love Jesus with everything you are.

We all know that we are living in evil and uncertain times right now, none of us know what the future holds. What if we are never able to meet in a church building once a week like before? What would your faith look like?

Would you be ok if it’s just you and Jesus from now on? What if you no longer had a nice building to go to once a week to gather with other church members. Are you ok if it’s just you and Him?

I don’t want people to have to ask me, I want to show them that I am more than “ok”.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” {1 Peter 2:21}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are YOU ok with Jesus?

= How often do you find yourself choosing Jesus over other things?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE MISSING PART OF THE STORY

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I’ve wrestled with sharing something with y’all for months now. I talked a little bit about it in a LIVE Madie & I did on our Facebook and Instagram pages this past week, but I knew I needed to share this in a post.

I really should just title this “Lesson 467 that I learned while visiting someone in jail” because I feel like God is still teaching me through this situation to this day. For those of you who haven’t heard Rocky’s whole story, I would encourage you to check out a post I wrote titled “A Thousand Times Over” so that you understand the whole story.

However, most of y’all have heard Rocky’s story already and know that our family went to visit him when he was in jail back in September. In past posts, I’ve shared how going into jail to visit him was an extremely difficult thing for me.

My other little country jail ministry experience definitely did not prepare me for this whole thing with Rocky. But that’s another story for another post.

Anyway, there is a part of the story that I have never shared from our trip when we saw him in September. I first went to visit him on a Thursday (which is what I shared about in A Thousand Times Over) and I felt like the Lord wanted me to go in again on Friday.

Since Thursday was such an emotional experience, I was praying so hard that I’d be able to make it through another visit without losing it in front of him. This was a bad idea, because I very quickly realized that what the Lord wanted to teach me that day was how to fully surrender and show others my weaknesses for His glory.

I was basically praying against that happening all day Friday, because I wanted to appear strong in front of Rocky.

We had a much better visit with him on Friday, but I was still just trying to cope with the whole situation actually being reality. The officers gave us an attorney booth to visit him in that day, (which is just a little bit bigger grey concrete room than the other visiting areas), and it was the very last visiting booth.

So as we sat there in the booth, you could see every one of the guys in their jumpsuits standing against the back wall with their hands behind their backs. Officers pacing back and forth taking guys back to their pods and bringing new ones to the wall to wait to be visited.

As we were sitting on the other side of the glass waiting for Rocky to come in, I remember sitting there being able to feel and hear each one of the convicts whispering and walking along the other side of the wall. I don’t say this be dramatic in any way, but it was genuinely one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard in my life.

I kept myself together for the whole entire visit, right until the door closed behind Rocky when the officer came to take him back. Immediately after that rusty metal door shut, I buried my face in my hands and sobbed.

I can’t really even explain why I was crying either. But the amount of spiritual warfare in those kinds of places is crazy real.

You can feel it, you can sense the evil in there.

As I looked up and tried to get myself together to walk out, I saw this young guy through the little window. He was the first one standing against the wall. A little earlier I had noticed that he had been looking at us intently through the window right before Rocky was taken back, but I didn’t think much about it.

I noticed that he was wiping tears from his eyes. Then it hit me. He had been standing there watching me the whole time I was crying. First off, I was completely embarrassed that I had let someone see me do that.

 Like, really embarrassed.

I was worried that they would just think that I was some weak teenage girl who should not have come to a place like that.

However, as I watched that young man, the Lord spoke right into my heart. God wanted me to see that when I allow my weakness to show, His strength is revealed, and He gets to work through it.

God wanted me to surrender everything to Him, and as I did that, this young man was watching and was touched by it. Still, to this day, I have no idea how the Lord spoke directly to him or what touched him so much by seeing that.

I do know that God was working on him though.

A.W. Tozer once said, “The essence of surrender is getting out of the way so that God can do what He wants to do.”

Truth is, I just had to get out of the way so that God could work. I had to put down my pride and my worry to appear strong in front of others. God needed me to wholeheartedly surrender which in turn touched the young man who just happened to be watching.

Listen people, that’s not luck or coincidence. That’s God.

To think that He would use me and teach me so many things just by visiting a Fort Worth jail is still crazy to me! Not only that, but that He would work on others who just happen to be “watching” the whole process is even more crazy!

God will use your genuineness, your brokenness, and even your weaknesses to display His wonderful power to others.

I promise.

All you have to do is get out of the way and surrender everything you are and everything you have to Him. Because trust me, He’ll use whatever you give Him.

Jesus doesn’t waste an ounce of surrender.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you confident that God can use your weaknesses?

= How does surrender affect our walk with God?

= What are you going to do differently?

SPARE NO ARROWS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever wondered what you’re really doing with your life? Seriously. I often find my mind wondering to a place of “why’s” and “if only’s”.

I’m assuming that you feel the same way.

Obviously, I know deep down that my heart was made to be with my Savior, and that I was made for Him, but how do I live and do all that I can for the Kingdom here on Earth? It almost seems impossible to actually live for Jesus every single mundane day of my life.

The Lord gave me the answer to my wondering this morning as I was praying about this blog post. The answer is: Spare no arrows!

Now I probably have you wondering, what does “spare no arrows” mean? How in the world does that relate with what I’m doing with my life?

Well, when I say spare no arrows, I think of a really, intense battle where you’re worried if you’re going to run out of arrows when things get desperate.

Maybe I’m an overthinker, but it sounds like a pretty cool illustration to me.

Here is my point. That’s how I feel when I’m living for Jesus and following hard after Him.

I feel like I’m in this really intense battle where I can’t even take one step without getting hit. And when I get hit, I don’t feel like I’m strong enough to fight back.

There are times where you so badly want to just give up, but you know you can’t because the enemy will win.

Francis Chan once said, “I want the joy of knowing that I am doing something with my life, the joy of battle.”

You see, the battle may be hard and discouraging, but the great thing is that you and I were made for battle. It’s in the job description that God gives all of those who believe.

The “arrows” are the most important things a Christian can do. Which is being in God’s Word, praying, sharing the Gospel, and discipleship.

We should never limit ourselves in those things because that’s where the battle is. That’s where things get messy, and people disappoint you, and the enemy wants to overwhelm you.

Jeremiah 51:20 says, “You are my war club, my weapon for battle—with you I shatter nations, with you I destroy kingdoms.”

Do you know why people don’t feel like they are doing anything with their lives? Because they aren’t doing those four things I mentioned above. They are not doing battle for the Lord. They are sparing their arrows and ignoring the job that God has given us.

I don’t know what kind of fighter you are, but I’m not going to spare any of my arrows. I’m not going to quit fighting just because it’s hard.

Listen, do you know how much the enemy hates to see you studying Scripture? You know he absolutely despises when you say no to a worldly thing in order to do something greater and more meaningful for eternity. Right?

That’s war. It’s not sparing your arrows and wasting time in the midst of battle when you already know what your enemy hates the most. We could be victorious Church if we would only invest all of who we are into the battle.

There’s joy in that.

I’m asking you today if you’ve just “bought in” to the battle or if you’re completely “sold out”? Because if you’ve just “bought in”, you’re really not fighting. You’re standing on the sideline sparing your arrows, wondering how much it will cost you.

You are actually just in the way of those actually trying to fight.

Amy Carmichael once said, “Satan is so much more in earnest than we are – he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.”  

Don’t wonder what it’s going to cost you, because it’s going to cost you everything you are, and everything you have, to be in the battle for the Lord.

But it’s worth it. Failure is not an option. Don’t spare your arrows. They are more powerful than you might think.

“Together they will be like warriors in battle trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets. They will fight because the Lord is with them…”   {Zechariah 10:5}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you know the joy of battle?

= Have you “bought in” to this Jesus thing or are you actually “sold out”?

= What are you going to do differently?  

DON’T ASSUME

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Some of you may already know this about me and some of you may not, but I have Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed when I was five years old, so I’ve had it for 11 years now. You’d be surprised how many people make such crazy assumptions about me when I tell them that I have diabetes. So, I thought that it would be interesting (as well as funny) to share with you some of the assumptions that people make about diabetes that just simply are not true.

One of the most popular assumptions that people have is that I don’t eat and can’t eat anything that contains sugar. All of the other Type 1 diabetics out there can most definitely agree with me here.

Y’all, I would die if I couldn’t have chai tea lattes and Chick-Fil-A! The awkward part of this assumption is that I would have to basically explain to you the whole process of how I handle diabetes, so that you could understand that I can eat anything as long as I give myself insulin for the food. It’s easier to just let it go than correct people most of the time.

Another assumption is that diabetes is super easy to take care of and handle, but that most diabetics just don’t want to take of it and aren’t responsible. This is probably the assumption that drives me most crazy.

Do you know how extremely difficult it is to keep your blood sugar under 200 while not going low at the same time? Or when you do get low and have to deal with feeling weak, shaky, and like your about to have a hot flash? Have you ever had to change/insert two blood sugar device’s every three days before? The list could go on for eternity. Yes, it’s true that some diabetics do not take care of themselves and end up with a ton of problems. But to assume that all diabetics are like that is crazy. Especially to those of us who do try really hard.

The next assumption is made by many Christians specifically. The assumption is that I want to be healed, and could be healed, if I just had enough faith.

Very early on in my diabetes journey, I remember God telling me to be ok with it because diabetes was going to be one of the major ways He would use me to tell others about Him. Guys, diabetes is a huge part of my testimony. It’s not that I’m against healing or don’t believe that Jesus could heal me, it’s just that I’m drawn back to that time when He told be to just be ok with it because He had a purpose for it.

Of course there are times when I get annoyed with having to deal with it and manage it all the time. I mean, I don’t think that anybody really wants to have two needles in them all the time. But I can honestly say that’s my testimony, and I own it. Every alarm and 3:00am trip downstairs to get juice, I own it.

I was at a seminary a couple months ago helping train the students to share the Gospel, and there was a young lady in the class who was in a wheelchair. As we were discussing the best ways to share the Gospel with the class, she explained that because she is disabled, people often assume that she wants prayer for healing, when in reality what she really wants prayer for is the stress of school and family stuff.

She told the class that her and God had already dealt with her disability, and that she had learned to become content with it in order to glorify Him. That really spoke to me because I feel the same way with my diabetes.

We’ve wrestled through those things with God, and I truly believe that God will use sickness and diseases to bring others to know Him. Even though illness is a result of the fall, God can use it for His glory.

Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Ok. Now that I’ve shared all of that with you, I want to point out the worst assumption that we could ever make about someone and it is this…

To assume that someone is saved and knows the Lord when they do not.

Of all the assumptions people make about diabetes or whatever else it may be, to assume that someone you know is saved when you don’t really know for sure is one of the worst things we could ever do as a Christian.

A lot of the time it’s because we trick ourselves into thinking that they are good to go because we love them and don’t want to think otherwise.

Please, please, don’t assume. Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

They are not going to be good to go if you just keep on assuming and don’t tell them the great news that’s in Romans 10:13. Ask them their story. Have them explain to you what they believe. Trust me, that’s what I wish people would do when it comes to my diabetes instead of just assuming that they already know.

I promise you that there are unsaved people out there who wish that someone would actually share something real and legit with them, and then actually give them the chance to respond.

Don’t assume. Even if they go to church. Make sure.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have an urgency to share your faith with others?

= Is there someone in your life whom you have assumed is saved but aren’t really sure? Will you ask them?

= What are you going to do differently?  

SAY SO

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I’ve found that our personal testimonies can be one of the most powerful things God uses to touch others. However, I’ve met and have worked with so many Christians who act like Jesus and Christianity are boring. That makes zero sense to me.

The God I serve isn’t boring.

So many Christians tell their stories as if they haven’t been changed, and honestly, they act like they don’t care all that much.

Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble.”

All throughout Scripture we see multiple times where Jesus tells those He heals and performs miracles for to go and tell people what He had done for them. Others come to know of Jesus because of our stories and what He has done for us when we are willing to show that He’s changed us in a real and legit way.

Charles Spurgeon has a great quote that says, “The Bible is not the light of the world, it is the light of the Church. But the world does not read the Bible, the world reads Christians! You are the light of the world (Matt. 5: 14).”

Do you realize that you’re often the closest thing a lot of people will ever get to a church door? People listen to how you talk to others, they notice if your content with your job, or if your attitude is different at school.

I’ve noticed that people will pay attention if you are sharing something that is a personal thing for you. The people around us will listen if they see that we are actually different than everyone else, and that we are trying to live this “Jesus thing” out.

As Christians, we can’t shy away from sharing the Gospel and how good Jesus has been to us. We’ve got to make things personal.

Christ commands those who have been saved, to say so. He wants us to tell everyone we know, and don’t know, the great news of the simple Gospel. Jesus certainly hasn’t commanded us to just walk into a church once a week, sit in a pew, and then walk out and call it good.

Just to clarify the verse, when He tells us to say so, it doesn’t mean to just say so when it’s comfortable and convenient. He wants us to say so no matter what.

I’m not sure about you, but I want everything I say, and everything I do, to reflect what Jesus has done for me.

Jesus isn’t boring, yet we act like He is. Which is why so many people don’t want to have anything to do with Christianity. I would say the reason we act like He is boring, is because we tend to forget what Jesus has done for us. Just as we discussed in the last blog post.

I want to help you recognize a real-life example of how quickly we forget Jesus. So, I’m sure that everyone on the face of the planet has been seeing all of this stuff on the coronavirus, right?

Well, can I be blatantly honest with you? I can’t stand getting on social media and seeing everybody sharing “funny” things about stinking toilet paper! Are you kidding me people? Why aren’t we panicking that people don’t know Jesus??

How pathetic Church? That’s just an embarrassment to our God.

Why aren’t our Facebook pages filled with the things of the Lord instead of the things of the world right now?

To me, that is a great way to see what people’s priority is. Jesus or the world? It makes me sick that people would rather talk about and panic over the coronavirus instead of talking about and panicking over sharing the Gospel.

The redeemed aren’t saying so, and look at where our world is at right now.

We get so caught up in the craziness around us, that all of us totally forget about what Jesus has done for us. Instead of telling people about that, we spend our time sharing stuff about toilet paper and other trivial things on our social media pages.

That’s how quickly we forget.

My challenge is this… Say something that will affect someone’s life for eternity today. Don’t get all caught up in the things that won’t even matter tomorrow.

If you’ve been redeemed, say so!

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What stops you from sharing the Gospel?

= Have you ever shared your testimony with someone?

= What are you going to do differently?

HE DOESN’T FORGET

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The world we live in is always in such a rush to get to the next thing, isn’t it? Everyone seems to be going 15 different places at once, with a million other things that they have to do. Because we are all so busy, we often forget a lot of important things. Right?

 Or, maybe I’m just crazy forgetful.

We live in a time where people’s emotions are all over the place. One minute we’re joyful, and another minute we’re angry and frustrated. One minute Jesus is our only priority and we are living for Him, and then a few days later we remember that we haven’t been in our Bibles at all lately.

Let’s just be real here, we tend to be a mess!

I first started noticing how forgetful I personally was, specifically to the things of God, at the end of 2019. God would work in my life and I would be really touched and impacted by it, but by the next week I would totally forget what He had just done for me.

The Lord convicted me of my forgetfulness and laid the word “steady” on my heart to focus on for 2020. I want to ever be in Jesus’ presence no matter what I’m going through or what’s going on around me. Constantly reminding myself of how good God is, even when I don’t feel like He is or when I forget.  

You see, God’s promises and His goodness do not depend on how I feel about it. Thank the Lord it doesn’t, because I’ve given Him countless reasons and chances to walk away from me.

Y’all, I am fully convinced that if we would actually get serious about Jesus and who we are in Him, that we would not just forget about it! We shouldn’t pay any attention to our temporary emotions because our emotions don’t affect one thing about who God is. Done deal.

The Lord is faithful, and He is constant. He doesn’t change.

Deuteronomy 8:11 says, “Be careful not to forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His commandments and ordinances and statutes, which I am giving you this day.”

Did you catch the beginning of that verse? It says to “be careful”. Why? Why do we have to be careful? Because God knows how forgetful we are. The Lord knows that if we are not intentionally careful of not forgetting, that we will forget.

You know, I’m the one who forgets. Not God. God doesn’t forget me or the things I’m going through. It’s me. I’m the one who spends my time wondering when God is going to show up and move. Guys! That’s ridiculous! God is waiting to move! But He wants ME to show up and be a part of it.

You can be sure that God does NOT want to work without us. He doesn’t want you and I to miss the things He’s about to do. Trust me. That’s just not our God.

Our God loves us so much that He wants us to join Him and be a part of the blessing even though He could do anything and everything without us. Amen?

That’s our God y’all. He doesn’t forget me. I forget Him.

Francis Chan once said, “The God of the universe – the creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor – loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.”

If that is our response to our God, then I think it’s safe to say that we’ve forgotten Him and who we are in Him.

One of the things that I’ve noticed real Christians consistently do is always talk about how good God has been to them, and the wonderful things that they have seen God do.

However, a lot of us tend to talk about how we feel and what we think about God, instead of what we have actually seen God do and reminding ourselves of that.  

The purpose for this blog post is this: We are the ones who need to be careful to remember that God wants to work, but He really wants us to see it and be a part of it. So, we need to be the Christians who show up and are actually legit about the things of God.

Too often we think we are waiting on God, when in reality, God’s really waiting on us. Remember who He is and what He’s done, and then move your feet to be a part of the action.

“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, being rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.”    Colossians 2:6-7

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you easily forget what God has done for you in the past?

= What is your typical response when God is moving?

= What are you going to do differently?

I’M SO DONE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This blog is different. Our posts are very transparent. The Few isn’t something a lot of Christians want to be involved in, let’s be real. Just a couple days ago, I looked at my sister Madie and I told her that I don’t want this blog or The Few to be like every other ministry or blog that’s out there.

God has really been working on my heart lately. I hope y’all know that everything I say, I say in love. I know that some of the things you’re about to read might be hard to hear, but I’ve just got to say it and be obedient to what God has asked me to say.

I’m so done worrying if people think that I’m too harsh or too real. I’m so done watching Christians waver in their faith because they really don’t want to be serious.

I don’t want to keep watching parents take their kids to every sports event they’re invited to, only to end up missing church all the time. I can’t keep waiting and hoping that people will actually do the things that God tells me to write in these blog posts.

To make it plain, I’m so done settling with something we call “Church” that’s not really Church. I’m so done patting people on the back, who claim to be “Christians” but aren’t living like it, and telling them that they are doing a great job.

Just this morning, as I was studying and asking God to guide me with this post, I read something by Leonard Ravenhill that just spoke to my heart like crazy.

He said, “Someone asked me, “Do you pray for the dead?” I said, “No, I preach to them!” I think every pew in every church is death row. Think about that! They’re dead! They sing about God; they talk about God, but they’re dead! They have no living relationship with God. In the early church, signs and wonders and miracles followed. They cast our demons, blindness and paralysis. That’s normal Christianity! Today’s Church wants to be raptured from responsibility.”

Raptured from responsibility. Hmm. That struck me.

The more my family and I travel the U.S. helping local churches, the more I am convinced that there are a lot less of The Few in Church than I had originally thought. You’d be surprised how many people would choose to go to a game night over going to a prayer meeting. Or how many people who come to church but aren’t actually saved and living it out during the week.

Y’all, we are wasting so much time. I wonder what would happen if every church in America would decide to have real church every day of the week and not just a service on Sunday morning.

 I’m talking about prayer meeting’s and serious worship. I’m talking about going out of our building’s and sharing the Gospel with the lost and taking discipleship seriously.  

The reason that I’m pouring out what’s on my heart all in one post, is because if Jesus decides to come tonight, I want to have said what He told me to say today. Oh, how I long to live every day for Jesus. With passion! With an expectant heart that I’m going to get to see Him move!

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Have you ever attended a church service where the Spirit was moving, or a prayer meeting where the Lord was speaking directly to you? I know I have. It’s powerful, it’s the most amazing feeling, so why don’t we want to go to go to church every day of the week?

Why do we prioritize worldly things like work, sports, and materialistic items over our big God who is so good to us?

I’m so done trying to figure out why Christians don’t act like Christ and why our idea of “Church” isn’t cutting it. All I know is that I personally have a responsibility to make Jesus and His business my ONLY priority while I’m here on earth. You do too.

My encouragement for you is this… If you’re not going to settle for fake Christianity, then choose not to now. If you’ve been meaning to get in your Bible and pray more, do it now. If you’re going to be a real Christian, do it now.

God’s not going to wait around for you to get your act together forever.

Do it now.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Are you changed because of what Jesus has done for you?

= Did you relate with this post?

= What are you going to do differently?   

DITCH THE LESSON PLAN

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

On Wednesday nights at my church, we have different Bible Studies and classes going on, as well as an Awana program for the children. I lead the Cubbies group which is for kids who are about three to five years old.

I love each and every one of the kids that are in my group, but we’ve just been having a really rough year. It’s easy to be discouraged when you feel like the kids aren’t really getting it; when they are easily distracted and not focused on the songs or the lesson you’ve prepared.

So, to be honest, that’s the mindset I went into last night’s meeting with. I already felt defeated and not to mention VERY exhausted, with the thought that I was just a volunteer who was “babysitting” and not making very much of an impact for the Kingdom.

I’m such a great missionary’s kid, aren’t I? Goodness, you’d think I would know better by now. Any person on the face of the planet who has ever done ministry would have been able to tell you that I was probably feeling that way because God was about to do something so amazing, and the enemy didn’t want it to happen.

Well, little did I know that God was about to give me a wide-open door to share the simple Gospel with the kids in my group.

It took a lot out of me to get to that moment; like having to deal with a poop explosion and a couple of breakdowns, but we got there.

As we sat down around the table to do the lesson that I had prepared, one of the little boys started bringing up the topic of, well, just guess…

Hell.

Yeah. I bet you guessed that answer!

He started asking questions like, “How do you know if you’re not going to hell? What does it look like to live for Jesus even though we sin?” Y’all! I didn’t plan for that to happen.

In fact, the Lord reminded me of something that Sebastian (Rocky’s son) said the night we were driving home after Rocky had just gotten out of jail. He said, “If it’s God, it’s not going to make sense on paper.”

That’s truth. But here’s what the Church does. We “schedule” and “plan” which Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings it will be “good” to share the Gospel. We write it all out and we line everything up so that it will be the perfect time for people to get their lives on track with God.

Can I just make it plain today? Sometimes God needs us to get our planners and agenda’s out of the way so that He can work. Because our tendency is to box Him in so tightly that He doesn’t even want to work because He knows we don’t really want Him to.

He doesn’t need a “perfect” Sunday or Wednesday to move! For goodness sake y’all, He’s God and we’re not! Why do we keep pretending like we are?

What God needed me to do last night was throw my prepared Cubbie lesson off the table and look at what God had on His calendar. So that’s what I did. Guess what happened? That little boy accepted Jesus last night!!

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Know that He is God and we are not. It’s not going to make sense on paper; and that’s a good thing.

It means that it’s God working and not you.

“God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”  – Elisabeth Elliot

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you often find yourself trying to box God in instead of letting Him work?

= How did this post affect you personally?

= What are you going to do differently?

THE WORLD I WALK IN

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In previous posts I’ve talked about how ministry is messy and pretty hard most of the time. I have shared stories about people we’ve met on the street, how we’ve been invited into schools and businesses to pray with people, and much more. I’ve been real with y’all about the ups and the downs we’ve had.

However, did you know that many people think we are crazy for doing what we do as a family? Seriously. You should have seen some of the looks on people’s faces when we told them that we were going down to Texas to help Rocky start over.

Not just that, but we even get funny looks when we tell folks about praying with a guy at the local grocery store who had never heard the Gospel before.

There are some that look at me like I am in a totally different world. You know what though? I am more than ok with getting that response. Not because I’m anything special, but because it means I must be doing something that doesn’t make sense to the fallen world we live in.

I must be doing something that only makes sense if I have a different mindset.

The other day I was texting with one of my good friends who is involved in ministry and deals with many of the same things I deal with. I was sharing with her about a particular situation in which I just had to keep showing up. Over and over again. I said something like, “But nope. You can’t get rid of me!” To which she responded with, “Yeah, that’s true. I tried to get rid of you, but it doesn’t work lol!”

We were completely joking around and trying to be positive about that particular ministry situation, but at the same time I realized something.

I realized that people think that we are crazy for all of the ministry stuff we do because they are so afraid of failure. They may also be in it to gain glory for themselves. When they hear about Rocky’s story and God telling us to go help him, their first thoughts are, “What if he fails? What if he makes a mistake and my time is wasted?” “If he fails, it will be an embarrassment to me.”

Can I be real with y’all today? That is not the world I walk in. Failure is NOT an option for me.

It doesn’t matter if the person I am ministering to messes up or makes some wrong choices. I will always fight against the enemy for their souls. Because in the world I walk in, everything matters. The initial response may not be the final result we want, but my time and effort were most certainly not a waste.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

I think that the reason we see so many people being burned by ministry is because they are doing the work for man instead of for God. We need to stop being people who measure our success by worldly standards.

Ann Voskamp once said, “Sometimes we want greater clarity when what we need is deeper trust.”

Our human flesh wants to know that the outcome is going to be good before we invest in something or someone. We want to have clarity. But if we believe that we serve a big God, then we should be able to trust Him with any situation and just do what He asks us to.

I’m not sure about you, but I want to get to a point where I’m walking in the victory that Jesus has given me. Knowing that anything I’m doing, as long as it’s for the Lord, is not a waste even if it looks like a failure at first.

I don’t give up on people. When doing ministry in our everyday lives, we must have the mindset that failure is not an option. It’s worth it. Every single thing we do for the Kingdom is worth it.

Of course, it may not make sense now, but I know it will eventually. So, you best believe I’ll be in our blue Sonata driving a thousand miles to Texas, or wherever the Lord calls, to do it.

That’s the world I walk in.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”  (James 1:4)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What did you take away from this post?

= Do you believe that ministry is worth it even though it may be hard?

= What are you going to do differently?

BROWN PAPER BAGS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Wednesday, January 15th, I was in downtown Fort Worth right beside the jail and courthouse waiting for our friend Rocky to be released from jail. In the midst of all of the busyness and all of the people trying to avoid eye contact with the person that was passing them on the sidewalk, I noticed that many of them were carrying crinkled up brown paper bags.

Some were waiting on a bus, others just sat down on the street or paced the sidewalks. One thing I noticed about all of those people carrying a brown paper bag was that they were alone. No one was with them and many people purposely stayed away from them.

I found that to be a little odd, and honestly kind of rude.

No, many of them weren’t the cleanest, they didn’t have expensive shoes or the nicest clothes on. In fact, they really didn’t have anything besides that brown paper bag that looked like it had been thrown around for months.

Well, I came to the realization after watching, and observing them, that these people were convicts who had just been released from the jail. Each one walking out with a brown paper bag that sheltered their very few belongings. In this bag was anything they had bought with their commissary money, and if they were lucky, maybe some letters that they had received from friends or family while being in jail.

As I sat with my dad and Sebastian (Rocky’s son) waiting for Rocky to walk out, just like the others, it hit me. He is going to come out with a brown paper bag too. In that bag will be all he has to start over besides the shirt on his back, and us.

Do you want to know what really hit me though? What really hit me was that not one of the other convicts that I saw walk out had anyone to meet them. Not one. All that they had was the shirt on their back and their brown paper bag.

You may be wondering why I’m even telling you this. I am kind of wondering the same thing myself. But here’s what I think the Lord wants someone to hear today…

We’ve all got our own brown paper bag.

I don’t care who you are, what you have done, or where you have come from. You’ve got one. It’s called your past.

Galatians 5:24 says, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

If you have given your life to Jesus and are a committed follower of Him, then you well know that you have to intentionally choose to crucify your past and live in the freedom that Jesus has won for you.

Y’all, as I looked around and watched these convicts, I thought about how every time they look down at that flimsy bag in their hand, they will be reminded of their past. They will be reminded of what they have done, what the world now “classifies” them as, and they will revisit those thoughts every single time they see that bag.

You may be reading this post thinking that it doesn’t apply to you because you’ve never walked out of jail with an “official” brown paper bag.

I guess I’m here to give you a little wake up call. This does apply to you because we’ve all got our bag; like I said earlier. Here’s the problem though: You and I look back at our past, the things we have done, and the labels that we have, and even though we have been set free from our brown paper bags, we go back and pull stuff out of it.

As Christians who have found our freedom and worth in Him, we MUST walk in the identity that He alone has given us. When you live in that and what the Lord has done for you, your brown paper bag is destroyed.

You don’t revisit your past because you’re a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your penalty has been paid by Jesus on the cross.

Guys, God doesn’t set us free and then leave us with our brown paper bag to drown in our sorrows every time we look at it. That’s what the enemy does. He reminds us and takes us back to our past hurts and scars and the things that we are ashamed of.

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

If we are changed then it’s time we start acting like it. If our brown paper bag has been destroyed because of what Jesus has done for us, then we need to stop revisiting our past and listening to the enemy.

Francis Chan once said, “Only the Holy Spirit can give you the power to not think about yourself, to set you free from yourself.”

We need to take our focus off of ourselves. That is a daily decision. It’s a daily choice that you have to make to not pick up your bag, to not buy into the enemy’s lies about you. You know the ones he so desperately wants you to believe.

Do you know why the enemy wants you to focus on your past? Because as soon as your focus is off of Jesus and fixed on yourself, he knows that you’ll go through your bag again. The enemy knows that if he can get you to waste time on what happened in the past, and all of your regrets, that you’ll forget about your freedom and what God really has for you.  

Crucify that crinkled up brown paper bag and focus on Jesus with everything you’ve got. Then make one right choice. And then another.

Talking from experience, when you get rid of that bag, you will walk a little lighter.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you really understand that Jesus has paid your penalty?

= How hard is it to focus more on the Lord than your past?

= What are you going to do differently?

A THOUSAND & ONE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I’m not really sure how to start this post, because I have so many thoughts I want to share with y’all. The Lord has been teaching me so much over the past six months. However, the main thing that I keep coming back to is the area of discipleship.

If you have been a part of The Few, or have read any of our posts, or watched any of our Tuesday Lives, I’m sure you have heard about Rocky. Just in case you haven’t, be sure to read the blog post I wrote a couple of months ago titled, “A Thousand Times Over” to get the whole run-down. https://thefew.blog/2019/10/07/a-thousand-times-over/

Since our last visit to see Rocky in Fort Worth in September, my family and I have been sending letters to him and praying for him. My dad would talk on the phone with him about every other day to encourage him, share Scripture, and make plans for his future. However, our direct intervention was limited since we are in Ohio and he is in Texas.

So, we had been trusting God to work, and for His will to be done. Then we found out a couple weeks ago that Rocky was going to be released from jail on January 15. Immediately, we felt like the Lord wanted us to go down to Texas to help him in whatever way we could.

Honestly, we didn’t know what we would be able to do, or if we would really be much help to him, but we knew God told us to go. It all worked out, and my dad and I went down to Texas this past week to help him start afresh.

In the next few posts I’ll probably share some more stories about our time there, but this is one of the main things that God showed me while we were there helping him.

  • I realized that I had let some frustration and bitterness build up towards people who hadn’t visited Rocky or offered to help in any way. I had a really hard time accepting that the “Church” wasn’t showing up in this situation.

As I was praying and surrendering those feelings, Jesus spoke right into my heart about all of those thoughts. This is what He left me with… Why do we expect people to show up and get messy doing real ministry with someone, when most of them have never been discipled or shown how to do it for themselves?

Why do we expect them to jump right in and do something that they have never been a part of?

You see, I think we have believed a lie. We think if someone has been in church on a regular basis, and they say they love Jesus, then they are good to go.

Can I speak truth for a minute here? They are not “good to go”. They are not equipped to go, and the reality is that most of them won’t go if someone doesn’t show them how to go.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) doesn’t say to go and get people to make a decision to believe in Jesus and then go to church. It says to go make disciples. Not just converts who won’t actually follow Jesus.   

Listen, a lot of us have good intentions to share the Gospel and walk beside people when they are struggling, but it seems like we never put those good intentions into action. Why? Because many of us have never seen it done or experienced the process of discipleship before.

David Platt once said, “We have taken the command of Christ to go, baptize, and teach all nations, and mutated it into a comfortable call to come, be baptized, and sit in one location.”

It’s kind of crazy to me that we sit back, and in a way, simply expect the Rocky’s of the world to mess up and fail again and again. We all want to have an opinion about how to fix them, but we don’t really want to provide any sort of action to help them and their situation.

What Rocky needed was someone to help him, to speak truth and love into him, to drive him to his job interview, and to get groceries. That’s what he truly needed. He needed someone to be intentional with him, not judgmental and doubt if he was going to be legit and get his life on the right track.

He needed someone to show him the love of Christ, not just tell him about it.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

You see, discipleship shouldn’t stop once you have met once a week to read Scripture and pray together. Sure, that’s a great thing to do, but intentional discipleship is when you include people in your already made up schedule for the week.

Genuine, soul changing, discipleship happens when you live life together. Even when it’s not convenient. Even when there has to be sacrifice on your part. It happens when you take the 2:00 am phone call because he is struggling. It happens when you give up a sports event to show up for someone who is in the hospital.

Include them in your day to day life. Be willing to completely change your schedule, not just add another meeting to it.

I don’t expect that Rocky will live out a perfect Christian life from now on. We all mess up and fall. But, one thing I do know, is that he won’t have to live it out alone. I will be there a thousand and one times over.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways did you relate with this post?

= Any takeaways that you want to share with others?

=What are you going to do differently?

WILL HE FIND FAITH?

(Guest post by: Madie Hobbs)

After reading this title, you may be thinking, what do you mean, “Will He Find Faith”? Will who find faith? Why wouldn’t He find faith?  Well, let me phrase it this way, do you think God will find faith among His people when he returns?

A few days ago, as I was doing my Bible study and reading in the book of Luke, a parable caught my attention. In Luke 18, verses 1-8, Jesus was speaking to his disciples and told them a parable about a judge who did not fear God or care about men. A certain widow kept coming to the judge and begging that he would give her justice against her adversary. He kept refusing, but she kept coming back to him time and time again. Finally, after realizing the widow was not going to give up, the judge says (verse 5):

“Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!”

In verse six, Jesus speaks about how the Lord is a just Judge and will grant justice to all His people in His timing. But it was verse eight that really stuck out to me. It says:

“I tell you; He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

This was a question I hadn’t ever really heard before. It just hit me as one of those silent “wow” moments. Will He find faith on the earth? Will He find genuine faith? Not just people who seek Him every now and then, but people who keep coming to Him over and over. People who persist in seeking His kingdom. 

As I was preparing to write this post, I gathered some information by studying various commentaries. One of my favorites was Matthew Henry, who says this:

“It is foretold that, when Christ comes to plead his people’s cause, he will find but little faith in comparison with what one might expect. That is, in general, he will find but few good people, few that are really and truly good. Many that have the form and fashion of godliness, but few that have faith, that are sincere and honest.”

That is the whole reason Lilly and I started The Few. We want to see people develop real faith. Not people who merely have the form and fashion of godliness, but people who truly seek God and are willing to fall on their face before him in utter desperation for everything that He is.

Jesus told this parable to His followers to this end; that we should always pray and not give up (verse 1). As The Few, we should always be in a spirit of prayer, seeking God’s will and God’s glory.

Charles Spurgeon said it this way, “…like the old knights, always in warfare-not always on their steeds dashing forward with their lances in position to unhorse and adversary, but always wearing their weapons where they could readily reach them, and always ready to encounter wounds or death for the sake of the cause which they championed.”

Are you always in a spirit of prayer? Always ready to pray with or for someone? Are you always ready to share the Gospel and give your testimony? Always ready to make tough choices; choices that may go against the world’s grain but are the choices that you know pleases God?

I implore you, be one of The Few. Be counted among the people about who, when the Lord comes, He says, “Look at their faith. They are truly my people!”

“Living by faith includes the call to something greater than cowardly self-preservation.”     ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

This quote has always been a great reminder to me to get outside of my box and trust the Lord with all that I have.

My challenge to you today is to live out this quote. Don’t worry about what the world would tell you to do, worry about what God would have you do. Let us all strive to have a faith that is sincere. Let us not be the people who only have the “form and fashion of godliness” but let us be The Few who make other choices.

SO, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

=What do you think the Lord would say about your faith?

=What choices do you need to make to be always in a spirit of prayer?

=What are you going to do differently?

LET NO ONE GO!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Over the past few months, I have had the chance to become friends with a couple of teen girls that have been coming to our church. Approximately two months ago, one of the girls, named Jamie, asked me if I could explain the Gospel to her.

Of course, I said that I would love to, and I grabbed a Bible and started explaining the Gospel to her. Since she was so open, I thought that she would want to give her life to the Lord that same Sunday. Well, guess what, it didn’t happen. She was still really open, but she told me that she wanted to go home and think about it for a bit.

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed that she didn’t make the decision right away, because I was just so excited for her to give her life to Jesus. So, the next week comes and she asked if we could go over the Gospel again and if I could answer some of her questions.

She didn’t end up making the decision that week either. Now I know what you’re thinking, “why is it taking so long for her to decide?”  There were times that I thought the very same thing, but I will say that there was a perk in all of this waiting time.   

  1. After going over the Gospel so much, week after week, I’m pretty sure I could explain the way to salvation blindfolded and quote all the verses back to you. So that will be helpful! Can you tell I’m an optimistic person? Sometimes you just have to focus on the good things in ministry.
  2. We also developed a really sweet friendship as we talked and got to know each other even more.

For the next five or six Sunday’s, we continued to talk and discuss her questions about salvation and what it would look like for her personally. There were times of distraction, many times of being interrupted, as well as times of great discussion.

It took time. In fact, lots of time. However, I’m so happy to say that Jamie gave her life to the Lord this past Sunday, January 5, 2020! One day before her actual birthday too!

The reason that I am sharing this story with y’all, is because leading another person to Christ is truly the best thing a Christian can do. Sharing the Gospel is the #1 priority that the Lord has for us.

God may have His way of doing things and His own timing, but we just have to be willing to cooperate with His plan and be an obedient vessel that He can use.

Charles Spurgeon once said this, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped around their knees. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let no one go unwarned or unprayed for.”

Are you to that point yet? Are you to the point where you will stop at nothing to tell others about Jesus and what He did on Calvary for you and me?

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 says this, “For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy!”

The greatest result that Christians can achieve here on this earth is the salvation of souls. The souls that we tell about the Gospel and the cross are so much better a reward than all the trophies and medals we might win doing anything else.

Souls are an eternal reward! They are our glory and joy as we wait upon our Savior to return. Don’t let fear or anything else stop you from inviting people to Heaven with you.

Persevere and be patient for the sake of eternity.

“A man who has found out what his true work is – winning souls to Christ – and does it, such is the happiest man.”       -D.L. Moody

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= When was the last time you shared the Gospel with someone?

= Is there something that often stops you from sharing the Gospel?  

= What are you going to do differently?

HE’S IN THE WAITING

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The Lord has provided me with so many opportunities to pour into teen girls in a real and raw way.

Over the years that I have grown in my own faith and really started to live this “Jesus thing” out for myself, I can look back and see how God taught me exactly what I would need to know in order to disciple others and bring them along with me.  

However, there is a lie that I have come to realize a lot of girls and even young women believe. Many girls/women think that they need a boyfriend/husband to be complete.

They feel like there is something missing if they do not have a man in their lives.

Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of “talks” with girls that I’ve discipled about why they should not obsess about a guy they just met, and why they shouldn’t slip notes to their friends in class about what guys they like, because it always ends in disaster.

These dominating thoughts about guys tend to consume us and completely distract us from our relationship with Christ. I’m sure every youth leader could agree with me on this.

I think that there is something deeper here though. As I dig into why we believe this lie so quickly, I now see how the enemy has tricked us into believing that our identity in Christ is not enough to be fulfilled.

That lie leaves us completely vulnerable to the enemy and the world.

Single girls, please here me. God is in the waiting. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

 I think that we often forget what that first part of the verse entails. It says that it’s patient. What I wish girls would realize is that you don’t have to waste the time that you are being patient and waiting. You just don’t.

In my opinion, the “prime time” for growing and getting serious about your relationship with Jesus is while you’re waiting for God to give you the right guy.

You have less distractions. You don’t have to worry about cleaning the house every day, cooking meals, or running errands all the time.

Song of Solomon 2:7 says, “Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and the wild does of the field, do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time.”

Spend this time wisely. Use it to fall in love with Jesus and His Word. Make sure that you have your priorities right.

Now, I know that it can still be hard. So let’s just face that reality. It’s not always going to be easy and there will be times that you fail and don’t want to wait with the right attitude anymore.

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”

Truth is, we are all probably in a waiting season of some kind. Whether you are waiting for God to show you what college to attend, which job to apply for, or what house to buy, sometimes we just have to remain patient and bring it to Jesus.

My challenge for you today is this: Don’t waste your waiting. No matter what. Use this time to become more like Jesus in every way possible. Believe me, that’s exactly what the enemy doesn’t want to see you do. Because it means that you trust your Savior wholeheartedly.

“Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, without blemish and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Would you say that you related with this post? If so, in what way?

= Do you tend to rush things so that you can get what you want?

= What are you going to do differently?

PRESENTS OR PRESENCE?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

It’s so crazy to me how easily we can get caught up on materialistic items as humans. Whether it’s money, cars, or just the little things we buy that we don’t really need; it all fights for our attention constantly.

As we near Christmas day, I want us all to ask ourselves a simple question. Presents or presence? Which of those two options are more valuable to you?

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I think that as Christians, we should want to get to a place where God’s presence is so much better to us than presents or anything else. The reason I want us to ask ourselves this question is because it’s a reality check for our hearts.

You can identify what your priorities are pretty quick.   

Earlier this year, we were having a 24 hour prayer vigil at my church. I invited some of the girls from my Bible Study group to come and hang out with me to pray and talk. We ended up watching the movie “Passion of the Christ” later that night, and afterwards we went into our church sanctuary to pray.

God started to show up in a crazy amazing and powerful way as we sat in a tight circle in the sanctuary together. Each of us just poured out our hearts before the Lord. I don’t think that I had ever before experienced Jesus like I did that night.

Have you ever had a time where you realize something new, and it all starts to sink in and feel real? That’s exactly what happened as we prayed. We all got what believing in Jesus really means.

Listen, we can say that “Jesus is all we need” and that “only He can satisfy” as much as we want, but until you actually experience God’s presence, you won’t get it.

Of course, all of us girls were emotional as we prayed and as we talked about what God was showing us. However, I noticed that one of the girls kept getting up to go to the restroom, and then she would come back. I could tell that she had been crying each time she would come back, but we all were so I didn’t think much of it.

She got up to leave again, and then she texted me and asked if I could meet her in the restroom. As I walked in, I remember looking at her and asking what was wrong, almost immediately she began to weep.

The presence of God was so thick in the atmosphere of that restroom, and we both just started to weep over what Jesus had done for us. I can’t put into words how intimate of a moment that was not only with the Lord, but also with her.  

I’ve never felt something more real in my life. Oh what I’d do to live that night over again.

With all of that said, here is what I want you to remember… If you really get serious about living for Jesus, and you give Him your soul’s attention, He will show up.

In this holiday season, let’s not focus on the presents under the tree, the lights, or Santa. Let’s ask Jesus to show up. Let’s ask to experience Him and His presence.

David Platt once said, “I don’t want to be a part of something that can be explained by my own power and my own ability. I want to be a part of something that can only be explained by the power of God.”

Let’s live for what’s going to matter 1,000 years from right now. Jesus is so good, and He is all you’ll ever want after you encounter Him.

“But for me it is good to be near my God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:28)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What is one “worldly” thing that you know fights for your attention?

= Have you experienced the presence of Jesus before?

= What are you going to do differently?

CONSUMED BY THE SUBSTITUTE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I recently had a conversation with someone about whether or not there will be entertainment, food, or other kinds of things we have here on Earth, in Heaven. The person that I was talking to said he thought there would probably be some different forms of fun and entertainment in Heaven, since God is not boring.

As we discussed this topic further, he asked what I thought about entertainment in Heaven. Almost immediately, the Lord reminded me of John 15:11 which says, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”

Now, I want you to get what Jesus means by this. This particular verse, (John 15:11) comes right after the story about the vine and its branches, the good fruit and the bad fruit. In this illustration of the vine and the branches, God basically gives us the command to “remain” in Him, and whoever doesn’t will be thrown aside to wither (see John 15:6).

The point that I am trying to make here is that Jesus should be all we need. Our joy is complete when we remain in Him.

We shouldn’t need the games, the merchandise, or the pizza to be happy or fulfilled. Now, these things aren’t necessarily bad, and I think Jesus does want us to enjoy life. I, myself, love a good chai tea latte from time to time. But we must learn that our contentment in Jesus is enough and always will be.

Leonard Ravenhill once said this, “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. The more joy you have in the Lord, the less entertainment you will need.”   

Y’all, I believe that entertainment specifically is one of the main reasons people are missing church a lot more than they used to. I believe this is why we are running all over the place all the time. It’s the reason we don’t have peace, and the list could go on and on.  

Let’s face the facts: The enemy has tricked and fooled us so well in the area of entertainment, that he’s gotten us so far from Jesus in the process.

Guess what? It’s our fault! We have shot ourselves in the foot here. But the crazy thing is, we wonder why it hurts. We complain about not feeling close to Jesus, but we are the ones who sign our names on every activity list and are never available to spend time with Him.

Yet, Jesus gives us the simple answer in John 15:11 to fix all of the issues I just listed. He tells us that He is all we need in life. Our joy is made complete when we remain in Him.

So, to make it plain, I really don’t know if there will be entertainment in Heaven. I don’t. But what I do know is that Jesus will be there. Maybe we should focus on the one thing we know will be in Heaven?

Jesus.

Post about Him. Talk about Him. Share about Him with the people you know. Remain in Him. He is your source of life.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” {Isaiah 26:3}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How did you relate with this post?

= Do you find it hard to “remain” in Jesus?

=What are you going to do differently?

GONE REAL

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Are we fake? This is the question that I discussed with my Bible Study group last week.

I think that in the American Church we have wrongly tried to make ourselves look like something we are not. We try to appear perfect.

If I am honest with you, I think that is the second most crucial reason people are leaving the Church and the reason church buildings are being closed all across the country. The first reason being, in my opinion, we have lost the true Jesus and His Word along the way and come up with our own version of “the gospel”.

I was watching a conference online a couple weeks ago. It was focused on the topic of the future of the Church. One of the speakers, named Noah Herrin, said this, “We have given people words when they have wanted to see wounds, and sermons when they have wanted to see scars.”

I hope to never forget that quote. Maybe I am just crazy, but there is not one story in the Bible that gives us the impression that Jesus was trying to appear perfect to people. Right?

2 Corinthians 8:8 says, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.”

Our love is supposed to be genuine because of what Christ has done for us on the cross. Not fake and perfect.

People want to see something real. I mean, when you look around at our world today, almost everything is fake in some way. Jesus was real, and I think that’s why people were willing to give up their entire lives to follow Him. So why don’t we copy His example and see if it works?

I want to be a gone real Christian. I want people to see my scars and my wounds. To actually show them what Jesus has really done for me instead of just being quiet and ashamed. Jesus was a gone real Christian and it worked. Guys, we can’t just keep wondering what kind of flyers will catch people’s attention or what new program will get people in our doors.

That stuff is not working anymore.

I was in Tennessee about a week ago, and the pastor’s wife invited me to speak to the youth during their Sunday School hour. I went in with the intention to let them see my wounds and my scars.

To make a long story short, I shared with them how making Jesus #1 in my life has changed the way I see Jesus and the things that He calls me to do. I now want to serve Him in every way that I can. It’s not an “I have to” thing, it’s an “I can’t wait to” thing!

I shared with them that I’m not perfect, and I shared the things I struggle with. Guess what the result was? Every single one of those teens showed up later that afternoon to participate in our outreach. They went out into their community to pray with people and to share the Gospel with random strangers.

I didn’t have to bribe them to come with pizza. I didn’t have to say that there would be some reward for coming. I just followed Jesus’ example of what He did with people and let His Spirit work. All of them showed up. Thank you Jesus!

Luke 6:46 says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” I’m guilty of this y’all. I show up and try to do things in my own power even though I ask Jesus to help me. Truth is, there have been a lot of times where He tells me to do something when I ask Him to lead me, but then I decide to just run solo instead.

We need some gone real Christians. People who aren’t afraid to show others what Jesus has saved them from, and what He can save them to.

I want to be one of them. Will you join me?

“An experience of God that costs nothing, does nothing, and is worth nothing.” (Leonard Ravenhill)  

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What has Jesus saved you from?

= Why do you think we aren’t real with people most of the time?

= What are you going to do differently?

RAINY DAY OBEDIENCE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A couple weeks ago, I went camping in Indiana with my family and a few of our friends. It’s our annual fall camping trip together, and we have been doing it for the last several years. Well, my friend (who is a part of The Few and my Bible Study group) and I have made it a goal to do Bible Study and pray together as much as we can over the course of the camping trip.

So, when it ended up raining most of the day, we decided to go up to the campground’s café to study and pray together. We went into the café and there were a ton of kids in there playing air hockey and a bunch of other loud games. It wasn’t exactly quiet or peaceful, but we sat down our stuff and started to dig in.

After about ten minutes of Bible reading and discussion, a teenage boy walked up to us and asked what we were doing. We replied that we were doing Bible Study together. He said, “Oh that’s cool!”, and sat down at the table right next to us and got on his phone.

My friend and I may not be the “brightest” people alive, but we both knew that he was listening to our conversation.

We were aware of our surroundings, and we were intentional with how we spoke. Listen guys, this may be the only time this guy ever hears about Jesus, and I wanted to use the opportunity that the Lord was giving us.  

A few minutes later, he moved to the other end of our table. One seat away from my friend.

Then, he started talking to a couple of other teens at the table across from us. As he does, one of those guys asked him, “What are those girls doing over there?” Guess what his response was? “Oh, they are doing Bible Study.’’

 Meanwhile, my friend and I were still talking. You know, we were trying to play it cool and mind our own business. But the truth was, we were both listening to what was going on around us.

Almost immediately, the second guy stood right up and came over to our table, sitting so that there was one chair between me and him. So, my friend and I were sitting at one end of the table facing each other and then there’s two teenage boys at the other end of our table facing each other.

Yeah, it was a little awkward.

Finally, the guy sitting next to me says, “I hear you guys are doing Bible Study. I’m not really familiar with your culture, could you tell me about it?” What he really meant to say was “religion”, but I looked at him and said that we would love to tell him. I asked him, “What would you like to know? Anything specific?”

In my head I’m thinking, “How am I going to sum up the entire Bible in three minutes? Do I have one of the Bibles that we use to explain the Gospel to someone in my bag? And thirdly, are they both just trying to play my friend and I to get our phone numbers or something?”

The guy responds by telling us that he had been to a bunch of different churches and started listing off a bunch of denominations. He told us that he had been to a catholic school and was honestly just confused by it all. After all of that, he then said, “Let’s just start in Genesis. Tell me what that’s about.”

At this point, I am thinking, “Dude, there is a LOT in Genesis. But I also had the thought of, “what if I forget something important, or what if I don’t know as much as I should.”

So, my friend and I explained that Genesis tells us about how God created the world, and how Adam and Eve sinned and were kicked out of the garden; how that eventually resulted in the flood and so on. You could tell that both of them were really listening to what we were explaining.

We told them that the point of Christianity is Jesus, and what He did for us on the cross.

The guy beside me got up and thanked us for going over that with him, and said that it helped him understand a lot more. However, the other guy just sat there. I looked over at him and asked what he thought about all we had just discussed.

He responded with, “I don’t think that anyone ever lands on one thing. Like, no one believes 100% in something.” We told him that we understood where he was coming from, but we also told him that we had both given our lives over to the Lord, and that we believe that Jesus died for our sin. 100%.

I asked how I could pray for him, and he said that he has had three cardiac arrests in his lifetime, and he was only 15 years old. In almost an angry tone he said, “So I’ve been prayed for a lot,” and then he got up without another word and left.

Long story short, we wrapped up our study time a little while later and as we were gathering our stuff and walking out of the café, the other teen who had asked about Genesis and our “culture” walked back in and thanked us again.

We asked if we could pray for him, and he said yes. This is so cool though, because I saw God in all of this! My friend will tell you that a year and a half ago she would have never prayed out loud, let alone for a stranger in the middle of a campground café. However, she didn’t let that fear stop her and she prayed the most amazing prayer over this guy without any hesitation.

I share this story with y’all because that’s what I call real ministry. That should happen to us everywhere we go if we are genuine followers of Jesus.

I love what James 4:3-5 says, “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulterous people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God? So whoever wants to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God. Or do you think it’s without reason that the Scripture says: The spirit He made to dwell in us envies intensely?”

Guys, it would have been so easy for me and my friend to have said that we were just talking or hanging out when that boy asked us what we were doing. But because we have the Holy Spirit, and He taught us at that time what we should say (Luke 12:12) we were able to see God move.

We didn’t have to tell him what we were really doing. I mean, what if he got mad at us or made a scene? That’s what I call a friendship with the world. It’s when you constantly live in a fear of what people think, and what they will do, and then you miss out on what the Holy Spirit wants to do through you.  

I never want the Holy Spirit to envy what I am doing or feel forgotten because I’m so wrapped up and focused on the world.

“If our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus, then we are foolish to think that we are actually followers of Jesus in the first place.” (David Platt)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What kind of things keep you from living for Jesus?

= What did Jesus want you to do recently that you walked into or ignored?

= What are you going to do differently?

NO SHORT CUTS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I sat down at the computer yesterday to start writing a blog post. As I typed each letter to form the sentences, I felt like it just wasn’t right. I thought it was what the Lord wanted me to write about, but I wasn’t writing with the same passion and excitement that I usually do.

So, I stopped. I saved what I had written and moved the keyboard away from my fingers. I sat there and read it over, and over again. Lately, as people have been asking what I want to do after school, I have been telling them that I feel called to ministry.

Then, as I was pondering what I was going to do with the post, I thought, “You know, I just need to pursue a 9 to 5 job where I know exactly what I’ll be doing every day.”

I’m just going to be honest with you, in that moment, I thought that sounded a lot easier than doing ministry. While a regular job might seem easier, I’m convicted that I even thought that as I look back now.

Jesus has given me everything that He has, including His own life, and I’m over here complaining about how I’m just tired and want to give up and go with something easier. Y’all know that I’m pathetic right? I mean, I don’t have this thing all figured out.

The Lord reminded me of a verse that says, ”The Lord looks down from Heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalms 14:2)

There have been a couple people in my life lately that have been challenging me to go deeper with the Lord. If you are anything like me, then you know how easy it is to get comfortable with where you are at and just remain there.

A.W. Tozer once said this, “No short cut exists for a deeper spiritual life. The man who would know God must give time to Him.”

If we want to go deeper in our walk with Jesus, we have to give Him our time. I know that I’ve said it a million times, but until we make Him our first priority, we are not going to see Him move in our own life.

Very few people are willing to do that.

That’s why the verse says that the Lord actually “looks” for people who understand and seek Him. Guys, He wants to take us deeper. It is us who get in the way of that happening. We would rather be playing golf than reading our Bibles. We would prefer to be watching our favorite show on TV instead of spending uninterrupted time with Jesus.

 I don’t want to just settle with where I’m at and I hope that you don’t either. Jesus has called us to live for eternity and all we are focused on is the temporary.

There are no short cuts. Let’s stop being lazy. We need to put some real effort into our relationship with Jesus. Living a Christian life is not to make you feel good once a week when you walk into church, it’s about the other six days of the week. He’s not just a weekend thing.

Francis Chan once said this, “Following Christ isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.”

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?

= Do you have those feelings of wanting to give up sometimes?

= Right now, do you find yourself wanting to live for eternity or the temporary things here on earth?

= What are you going to do differently?

A THOUSAND TIMES OVER

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I shared a little bit in the last post about how one of our dearest friends is sitting in a Fort Worth, Texas jail cell right now. We went down to see him a couple weeks ago, and I have a few thoughts I’d like to share with y’all.

A little bit of background on our friend before we jump in; we met him when we did mission work down in Texas for three months back in 2017.  My family basically spent every minute with him the whole time we were there. We were together praying and sharing the Gospel all over Fort Worth. He was always the one who made people laugh and made them feel at home wherever we were.

Our friend was super involved in ministry and loved to work with teens. He was also working with a few of the local churches in different ways. He already has a crazy, amazing testimony. I truly believe that this time in jail is another chapter that God will use.

We got to Fort Worth late on a Monday night, so my dad went to visit him for the first time on Tuesday. When my dad came back from the first visit, he said how happy our friend was to see him and to know that we had come all the way from Ohio to support him.

However, my dad also said that no one else had been to visit him in the three weeks since he had been put in jail. Now, let’s just back up for a minute. Remember how I said that he had been super involved in a couple of local churches?

Yeah. No one from the churches or from anywhere else had come to see him.  

Listen, I’m not trying to beat up any specific churches here. That’s not the point. What I’m trying to get us Christians to realize, is that this is the reality of the Church as a whole. We’ve got our Sunday morning routine down, but not much happens outside of that. Especially when ministry gets hard and messy.

If I am being honest, I didn’t really want to go in to see him either. I was scared. I had no idea what I was going to say to him.

There is a quote by Francis Chan that I kept thinking about and it says this, “But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

On Wednesday, my dad and my brother went in to see him and had another good visit with him.

Thursday morning comes. My heart is racing from the time I got up until the time we got to the jail later in the afternoon. I knew I just needed to do it. I didn’t want to have any regrets, and I wanted to show him that I loved him and that I support him.

So, I just went in. I was still pretty nervous. My dad and I got our booth and waited for him to come in.

The Lord kept reminding my of James 1:2-4 which says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

All I can say is that nothing in ministry, and nothing in life, will ever prepare you for seeing someone you very dearly love in a jumpsuit behind glass. Nothing.

I’m not going to go into any detail about the visit itself. However, I will say that he was pretty discouraged that day and it wasn’t too great of a visit.

As we walked out and got into the car, I lost it. I just remember thinking about how terrible sin is, and how one little choice got us here. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in our van, outside of a jail, all because of one bad choice he made a little more than a year earlier.

But guess what? I don’t regret going in there one little bit.

I went in the next day, and the next day. Did it get any easier? Nope. Not even a little. I still broke down after every visit with him.

But I would do it a thousand times over.

I’d rather sit with him in a jail cell, scared as I was, a thousand times over again than in church with someone who professes to have it all together but really isn’t living for Jesus. Let alone, think that they should actually go try to reach the lost and hurting outside the church walls.

You know why?

Because I experienced Jesus in that little concrete visiting booth more than I think I ever have in a nice, beautiful, clean, church building.

I’m just being real with y’all.

If the Church would just take the two steps out of their pew, I think we would experience the presence of Jesus in a way that we never have before.

I think we might start to understand what the persecuted Church is dying for.

I believe that we may start to live how Jesus wants us to.

If Jesus came here to do ministry today, I don’t think we would find Him sitting in a pew at a church. I think we would find Him in the places like the jails and the streets where people are broken and hurting.

I’d do it a thousand times over. But the real question is, would you?

“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”   {Isaiah 1:19}

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are you going to do differently?

= How do you think we could do better as Christians? How can we live like Jesus wants us to?

= Did you relate with this post at all?

Where Has America Gone? – Episode 28

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-kxqsm-f06ec3

Are you struggling with where we are as a country right now? Being one week away from perhaps one of the most crucial elections in history, we want to have a conversation about a quote by George Washington that just might hold the secret to keeping our freedom. We need to take a firm hold on our sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. We only have one week to do so.

Scripture: Jude 1:18-23 & Titus 1:9

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