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?

THE HOT TOPIC THAT CHRISTIANS ARE BUYING INTO

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you seen all the cute coffee mugs, bags, and sweatshirts lately?

Have you heard the saying that’s been going around?

Did you see the message that’s recently been shared all over social media?

The world has recently been putting this message out to everyone and it is “supposed” to fix all our problems in life…

The saying is this: If you can learn to love yourself, then everything will be ok.

Can I be honest with you? The Church and churched people in general have accepted this and have started sharing this message.

This really hit me last week as my dad and I were visiting one of our dearest friends in a Fort Worth jail cell. He said someone, another Christian as a matter of fact, told him this was the fix to all his issues… learn to love himself.

After some discussion with Dad, our friend was the first to say that loving himself was actually the reason we were visiting him through a glass and concrete wall. This hit us like a ton of bricks!!!  He was so right and needed to understand what loving himself really looked like. A great conversation followed, and we are still praising God for that opportunity!!

I feel the need to shine some light on this topic today. I want to examine this message of self-love through the Word of God.

Let’s start off in Mark 12:30-31 which says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

This is a very popular verse. One you have probably heard before.

When you boil that down, this verse is telling us to 1. Love God and 2. Love people.

There is absolutely nothing in that verse that says to love yourself. Jesus gives us our two greatest commandments right there and I think we are trying to ignore them as a Church and society.

So, I am going to be bold and say this… I think that we have twisted and tweaked that verse to say what we want it to say. Because truly, deep down inside, we really don’t want to love God with everything we have, and we definitely do not want to love other people and care more about them.

What we really want to do is love ourselves because we are selfish.

Francis Chan once said this, “Nothing you will ever do in this life will ever matter unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made.”

You see, we are sinful. We really shouldn’t love ourselves because we are nothing without Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. If we could love ourselves and have everything work out and be great, then the Gospel is useless.

Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first the kingdom and then everything else will be added to us.

David Platt said this, “We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”

Instead of loving ourselves, I think we need to learn how to be loved by God.

Because once we do, we will realize our true worth and our pure identity that is made possible through Jesus. Then, we will want to love God and others with everything we have because we know how much God loves us.

Does this make sense?

It’s impossible to learn to love yourself without loving Jesus first.

We need to love ourselves, in that, we love who God made us to be. Our peace will come through what Jesus did for us.  Each of us; on the cross.

Abandon yourself and let God refine you. Let Him determine who you are and how much you are worth.

The world spreads lies. Jesus speaks truth.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Have you bought into this message of self-love?

= What are you going to do differently?

= Is there someone you know who needs to hear this?

NO MIDDLE GROUND

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

The Lord gave me a really powerful message last week. My Bible Study group was meeting, and I was waiting on the Lord to give me something to discuss with them later that afternoon. As I was praying, the Lord just made it clear that I was supposed to talk about the persecuted church and how much they love Jesus.

So, I grabbed one of our Jesus Freak books off the shelf and started to look through the stories. I landed on the story of Polycarp being martyred. He was a bishop and the last remaining direct connection to the original 12 disciples; he studied under John.

I read that story aloud during Bible Study that night and I was so emotional. Not because it’s such a terrible thing that he was martyred because he didn’t deny Jesus, but because of his passion and devotion for His Savior. I’m not sure if you have ever read that story or not, but he actually told the guards to leave him untied from the stake as he was burned alive.

Polycarp said this as he was about to die, “Leave me as I am; He who gives me strength to endure the fire will enable me to remain still within the fire.”

The Jesus Freak book describes his death like this, “The flames rose high above his body, but miraculously, he was not burned. Those who watched said, “He was in the midst of the fire, not as burning flesh but as gold and silver refined in a furnace. And we smelled such a sweet aroma as of incense or some other precious spice.”

Guys, right now everybody is so focused on fall and pumpkin spice and all that delightful stuff. Right? Is that stuff bad? Nope. But again, it’s one of those things that we tend to focus on more than Jesus.

 So, here is my question to you…  Do you smell like a fragrant offering for Jesus? Do you reflect Him and His perfect image? That’s what we should be focused on. Not fall and pumpkin spice!

Come on Church! We are more focused on posting our thoughts and opinions on that kind of stuff when we should be proclaiming that Jesus has saved us from our sin!

A.W. Tozer once said this, “Throughout the entire New Testament a sharp line is drawn between the Church and the world. There is no middle ground.”

Listen, Polycarp loved Jesus and gave Him everything he had. He didn’t have one foot in to this whole “Jesus thing” and then one foot out in the world. His focus was solely on Jesus and that’s it.

1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions – is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.”

To make it basic, if we love the world, we don’t love Jesus. If we love Jesus, we don’t love the world.

Proverbs 1:15-16 says, “…my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path, because their feet run toward evil and they hurry to shed blood.”

Truth is, many of us are on the road that the world has paved all nice and smooth for us. However, it leads us towards evil.

My challenge for myself and the girls that night was how far are we willing to go?

Would we be willing to stand in an arena and be killed for Jesus?

Francis Chan once said, “We live in a time when Christians need to be told that they are supposed to live like Christ. That’s weird.”

So don’t be weird. More on that another time…

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= How far are you personally willing to go?

= Do you find yourself loving the world or Jesus?

= What are you going to do differently?

GO AGAIN!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever been hurt by someone? Maybe somebody in church has hurt you. Maybe your best friend lied to you about something. Maybe, someone you have loved and poured so much of your time into doesn’t seem like they care the same way about you.

Yeah. I think we have all been there. I know we are all thinking it so let’s just say it. IT STINKS! IT’S AWFUL!

Nobody wants to go through that.

Have you heard about Hosea? If you have, you’re probably like, “Yep! I know where she is going with this.” Well, just stay with me. He was a man in the Bible who was called by God to live out and preach a very difficult message to the Israelites and basically invite them to come back to God.

You see, God had a marvelous plan for this really bizarre example. Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was unfaithful on multiple occasions. God told Hosea to take her back, over and over again, even though she returned to her sin many times. The Israelite community watched as Hosea did the illogical, unthinkable, merciful act of taking her back.

So, while Hosea was dealing with his wife and all of her sin, the LORD was having him preach a message. God wanted the Israelites to return to Him even though they were living in sin and had turned their backs on Him multiple times. God wanted the Israelites to get just how much He loved them!

God was having Hosea practice what He preached.

Hosea 3:1-3 says, “ Then the Lord said to me, “Go again; show love to a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to the other gods and love raisin cakes.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and five bushels of barley. I said to her, “You are to live with me many days. You must not be promiscuous or belong to any man, and I will act the same way toward you.”

Poor Hosea was getting to experience what God was feeling. Which is why the message he was giving was SO much harder.

Yet God tells Hosea to go again. I can only imagine what Hosea was thinking here. Probably something like this, “What if she cheats and hurts me again? How can I genuinely love her when I know how she feels and what she has been doing?”

Yet God tells Hosea to go again.

So, what does he do? He goes and buys her back. I might be crazy for saying this, but I really don’t think that He would have done that if He didn’t actually love her.

Here is the hard part though. I am like Gomer.

I can’t tell you how many times Jesus has had to call me back to Himself. To buy me back and pull me out of my sin.

As the church, we need to return to our God, to our first love. He fiercely loves us and wants us to return to Him no matter how big or how many are our sins. Once we have done that, then we can be like Hosea and go again to the people who have hurt us. Not because we have to. Not even because it’s the right thing to do.

But because we actually love them.

Oh, how He loves us, church. We are His portion and He is our prize. Drawn by redemption by the grace in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. (Taken from the song, “How He Loves”)

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= In what ways have you been like Gomer and turned away from Jesus?

= Are there people in your life that you know you need to act like Hosea to?

= What are you going to do different now?

THE LIGHT ALWAYS WINS

(Guest post by: Michelle Hobbs)

I was walking in the main hallway of a nursing home recently, heading to see one of my patients. A gentleman stopped me at the bulletin board and asked me to read to him the riddle posted there. It said, “The more you have of this, the less you can see.” Can you guess the answer?

Darkness. I found that riddle to be profound, and I’ve thought of it several times since then. It reminded me of the following scripture:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.     John 1: 1 – 5 (NKJV)

John 1: 1-5 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. I love verse 5 in particular. I recently became intrigued by all the different translations of this verse and discovered something that you need to hear too. Here are a few translations:

CSB That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

ESV The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

NIV The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

NET And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.

NLT The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

When John says, “the light”, he is referring to Jesus. Jesus calls himself “the light of the world” in John 8:12. Those of us who believe in Jesus and follow Him are also to be light in our world. John 12:36 says, “Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

The darkness is the world of evil, unbelief, sin, misery, death, and judgement.

Now, I used to read this verse and think, yep, the darkness does not understand the light. I get it. Those who are not yet saved don’t understand those who are. They don’t understand the gospel or the scripture on their own.

But… NO, NO, NO! That’s not all! It’s so much more exciting and massive than that!!!

Did you notice, in the various translations above, all the different words used at the end of the verse?

  • did not overcome
  • has not understood
  • has not mastered
  • can never extinguish
  • comprehended it not

You see, there is this battle between light and darkness. The darkness wants to overcome, master, extinguish the light, but the darkness was not able to do those things!

One commentary states, “The darkness did not hem it in, oppress it; it was invincible before it.” The light was invincible before the darkness!  

The darkness did not, will not, cannot overcome the light! The light always wins! Friends, if you are struggling with some dark stuff in your life right now, concentrate on this fact.

Lilias Trotter tells us, “Believe in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”

Just think about when you were a little kid or when your electricity has gone out and you were left in a dark room. The complete darkness is scary! You can’t see anything, and the “what ifs” come creeping into your mind. But just a tiny bit of light from a little night light or a candle drives the darkness out of the room. That tiny bit of light takes over and allows us to see more clearly.

So verse 5 is saying, that Jesus, the light of the world, has entered into the darkness of evil, unbelief, sin, misery, death, and judgement; and this darkness did not overcome Him. When you believe in Jesus, you leave the defeated darkness and enter the victorious light. Ephesians 5:8 says, “Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light”.

The light always wins! Jesus has triumphed! All who believe in Him, the children of the light, will triumph.

There is a whole lot of darkness in our world today. Someone out there needs to hear this great news and be invited into the light! Go tell and show them about Jesus.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Did this post help you understand anything better?

= In what ways can you be the light to those around you?

= Which Bible verse stuck out to you the most?

DO PEACE AND BUSYNESS MIX?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

This past Sunday, as we were on our way to church, my Dad happened to turn on a podcast discussion. They were talking about peace and what it should look like for Christians if we are truly living in peace. It was very interesting to me because as I look around at the world and culture we live in, I don’t see very much peace.

Everyone is so busy. We are always going somewhere to do something.

While those things are not in themselves bad, we elevate them on our priority list. What happens then, is we start to make those things more important than our time with Jesus, praying, and studying His Word.

My question to you is this; have you filled your life full of stuff to do that are you are constantly tired and feel like you are never at rest or feel at peace?

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Do you have time to just sit and be still before Jesus? Just to be in His presence with no distractions?

As they were talking about peace, I thought of one of my favorite quotes.

It’s by Elisabeth Elliot who once said, “One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business. When all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

I think that a lot of us read that quote and cringe. We realize that there are some items on our agenda we know God didn’t place there, but instead that we signed up for. Is the item necessarily bad? No, not at all.

However, it may not be what God wants you to be busy with.

I know that there have been times in my own life where God did not let me feel at rest with what I was choosing to do with my time; because that’s simply not what He had planned for me.

Listen guys, He gives us pretty clear hints.

If it’s not where your supposed to be, He will make it hard for you to do.  I think He’s hoping we will get the hint, that maybe our choice is not a part of His will.

No wonder we are always running everywhere, and we don’t have peace. We are trying to do all of those things because WE want to.

Isaiah 26:12 says, “Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you.”

Jesus wants us to live in peace. He doesn’t want us to be so busy with other things that we miss out on spending time with Him.

You see, peace actually comes from spending intimate time with our Savior. It comes from living in His presence.

I want to challenge you with this… Are you busy doing the things that the Lord has told you to do in your quiet times with Him? Or are you busy with the things the world says you should spend your life doing?

It’s a very big question that we must ask ourselves so that we don’t spend our whole lives doing stuff that doesn’t really matter.

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “In the center of a hurricane there is absolute peace and quiet. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God.”

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What is one thing that you may need to give up in order to do what God is calling you to?

= Is this topic of busyness and peace something you struggle with?

= What has Jesus been teaching you lately?

LOOK BESIDE YOU

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever wanted to share the Gospel but didn’t know how or where? Maybe you have had the intention of telling someone about Jesus, but you just don’t have any clue when or where to do it.

Let me tell you, that’s ok! As we discuss this topic further, what I want you to do is give that frustration, of not knowing how or where to share the Gospel, to Jesus. Trust me, it’ll help you focus on what I am about to share.

This past week, we had our annual Church Camp. A couple days before our camp week started, the Children’s Director at my church asked me, my sister Madie, and one of my best friends, to share the Gospel with the 5th and 6th graders in the class she was teaching at camp.

Of course, we said yes! (Now you might be thinking, “Lilly, that’s crazy! Why in the world did you say yes?” I know it sounds crazy! But it’s what God calls all Christians to do.)

Before we shared the Gospel with the kids though, I always like to start with asking the question, “How can I pray for you?” I took three prayer requests and had different people pray for them.

One girl was in foster care and didn’t know if someone was ever going to adopt her. Another girl had been terribly abused and removed from her home. One boy was worried about his dad’s back and his health.

These were 5th and 6th graders, Y’all! Those are some heavy burdens these kids are carrying!

What truly amazed me though, was that the kid sitting next to them had no idea they were dealing with that. No clue.

It made me stop and think, how often do we sit next to someone whether it be in school, or a restaurant, and never offer to listen to what they are going through and pray for them. We have no clue, and they were right beside us.

Psalm 96:2-3 says, “Sing to the Lord; praise His name. Each day proclaim the good news that He saves. Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.”

Jesus has entrusted us with a very important job! We are to proclaim that He saves every day!

We don’t have to think about good places to share the Gospel or speak of Jesus. Just do it with the people right beside you. God has put those people in your life so that you can pray for them and share Jesus with them!

Out of this class of 5th and 6th graders, two kids recommitted their lives to the Lord, and one gave her life to the Lord for the very first time!! Isn’t that amazing?!

David Jeremiah once said, “Share the Gospel. According to the Bible, it is every believer’s privilege and responsibility to share the Gospel. If we understand what lies ahead for those who do not know Christ, there will be sense of urgency in our witness.”

As Christians, we should have an urgency for the people who are beside us when we are going about our day.

Another really exciting thing, was that the next day (Thursday), we got to take a few of the kids out into the surrounding communities to share the Gospel. The kids in that class felt empowered and excited to share their faith after seeing the simple method and tools we use.

As we went out, my team saw a garage sale sign, so we walked up to the sale and two women were sitting in their garage. We asked them how we could pray for them, and the one woman said her daughter had just committed suicide earlier this year because of bullying.

It was a very special moment as we stood there and prayed for her. She had tears streaming down her face as we were wrapping up. Both of them were so thankful that we had stopped by, and said that they had been wondering where God was in the midst of this awful situation and now they knew He is with them!

Again, I thought, how many times do we go to garage sales or the grocery store and never know what the people around us are going through or dealing with. These women were right beside us. We would have never known about their struggle if we hadn’t asked them.  

If you are reading this and have no idea how to share the Gospel clearly, and you feel like it’s too hard, please send me a comment down below. I would love to share an amazing tool that makes sharing Jesus so easy!

God will use you, I promise! Just look beside you. I’m sure you’ll find somebody who needs Him!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What do you think you need to do after reading this post?

= Who is beside you that you know needs Jesus? Are you going to share the Gospel with them?

= What stuck out to you after reading this?

# WORTH IT

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

June 27th, 2019 will forever be one of my favorite memories. I had gotten up really early that morning because my dad and I were headed to a seminary for the day to take the students of a class out of the building to pray with people and share the Gospel.

I went out on a morning team and then came back to the seminary for lunch. During lunch, I got a text from one of my best friends, Isabelle, who is apart of The Few (our Bible Study group), and she asked me if it was ok to bring her cousin to our Bible study meeting that night.

She shared with me that she didn’t think that her cousin had given her life to the Lord, or even had any girls around her that would help her and encourage her to follow Jesus.

I said that she was more than welcome, and so that night she came to our Bible Study. We talked a little bit and got to know each other and then we walked her through the Gospel and we each told her how this “Jesus thing” has changed each of our lives personally.

You could sense that she was really listening and open, and that the Lord was moving in her heart. I asked her if she wanted to give her life to Jesus and turn from her sin and she said yes!

She prayed, and then we all prayed over her, and it was a very powerful experience! Over the past couple weeks, she has continued to come to our Bible Study nights, and she and Isabelle have been going through the book of John together every day! We have been meeting two times a week because we are all so excited that once a week isn’t enough!

We can’t wait to pray and worship, and study God’s Word together and just discuss and share the things that we are going though and dealing with. Her conversion has encouraged me in my faith, and she has taught me so much about what it’s truly supposed to look like when you are serious about living for Jesus.

I asked her what some of the things were that she has chosen to turn away from since giving her life to Jesus and this is what she said…

 “I have chosen to give up most of the music I typically would listen to, and I’ve started listening to more Christian music. I also chose to give up the way that I talk to people, which was definitely a great change. Not only do I talk about Jesus more often, but I also feel like I am more respectful with my words. Along with music, I also chose to give up some of the YouTubers that I would normally watch.”

How awesome is that?!?!

That just shows me that she is serious about this Jesus thing and I often think that as believers we take repentance and turning away from worldly things very lightly.

She has also asked so many great questions about forgiveness and how to look at others like Christ does, and she is genuinely applying these things to her life.

I tell you this because I truly believe that Jesus is worth it.

He is worth all of the hard work.

He is worth the scheduling conflicts and preparing studies and lessons.

He is worth EVERYTHING simply because He is God.

A.W. Tozer once said this, “Accepting Jesus Christ, receiving Jesus Christ into your life means that you have made an attachment to the person of Christ that is revolutionary in that it reverses the life and transforms it completely. It is an attachment to the person of Christ. It is complete in that it leaves no part of the life unaffected. It exempts no area of the life of the total man; his total being.”

Jesus leaves no part of our lives unaffected when we have actually made a choice to follow Him, even if it means that we have to give up everything.

So, my question to you is this… Is Jesus worth it to you?

Have you chosen to listen to God honoring music because you want to please God with what you listen to? Has He changed the way you look at people, and the way you talk to them?

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

If we are seeking Jesus above all else, then He will affect the shows we watch, and the way we talk, and everything in between. No part of our lives should be unaffected by Jesus!

It’s so worth it to follow Jesus and see others lives changed because of Jesus and what He did on the cross!

God is moving, get ready!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and because of your will they existed, and were created.”    Revelation 4:11

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Would you be willing to drop everything if Jesus asked you right now without thinking about it?

= How has Jesus affected your life?

= Are you seeking Jesus first?

= What TV shows, music, activities, etc. do you need to give up or change to honor Jesus?

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!! THE FEW OUTREACH DAY!!

Guess what?!?! We are going to have an outreach day! Whoop whoop!

Now you may be wondering what this “Outreach Day” entails. We are going to have a time of worship and prayer together, and then you will sit in on a simple and easy training that will show you how to pray for someone out in the community. If the Holy Spirit leads, you will also know how to walk someone through the gospel!

I promise you can do it; so don’t be nervous. Then you will go out on a team of 4 or 5 people, with a leader who has already been out and done this. If you have never done something like this before, you can just watch and have fun with your group!

After that we will listen to the different and fun experiences everyone had on their teams and then fellowship together. Yes, there will be lunch! We would love to have you join us!

THE DETAILS:

When: AUGUST 10TH

Where: PLEASANT VIEW MISSIONARY CHURCH, 5231 Gettysburg-Pitsburg Rd. Greenville, OH 45331

Time: WE WILL START AT 8:30AM AND END AROUND 1:00PM

 P.S. LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENT SECTION IF YOU ARE ABLE TO COME SO THAT WE CAN GET A COUNT FOR TEAMS AND FOOD

EVERYDAY CHURCH

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In our last post, “Where Did Church Go Wrong”, we looked at how the Church has gotten hung up on human traditions and philosophy and has lost Jesus along the way. Today, I thought it would be interesting to do a follow up post and examine how the Church can get back on track, and what it’s supposed to look like if we are genuinely following Jesus.

I have met many Christians who have given their life over to the Lord and then say something like this, “Well what now? How am I supposed to live? How can I do this whole “Jesus thing” right?”

Guess what? I can’t tell you, because I often ask myself the very same thing. I don’t have this secret formula for living this thing out perfectly. I mess it up just like you and everyone else.

However, I believe that Jesus has given us a primary channel through which we can learn how to live, listen to what He says, and obey wholeheartedly. The Bible is the place where He can speak to us if we give Him our time. So, let’s take a look at God’s Word, and see what He has to say about how we are supposed to live this thing out and get going in the right direction…

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

WE are a chosen race. WE are a royal priesthood. WE are a holy nation. WE are a people for His possession. Why? So that WE may proclaim the praises of Jesus!

What I take away from that verse is that if we are really wanting to live this thing out, then we are going to…

1.  Talk about Him. You won’t be able to help it. You will want to proclaim His praises to anyone that will listen.

It’s the same thing for the whole Church. If your Church is longing to make Jesus #1 in everything, then it’s going to talk about Him at every event, program, and gathering.

A.W. Tozer once said, ”What’s closest to your heart is what you talk about, and if God is close to your heart, you will talk about Him.”

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.”

So according to that verse we will…

2. We will offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. In order that He may use us in whatever way He chooses. This verse is saying that when you’re a living sacrifice for God, then that means you are willing to give up your time, your money, your possessions, literally everything.

Being a living sacrifice is to abandon yourself completely. Because Jesus sometimes calls us to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel. See Luke 14:33, Matt. 6:33, or Matt. 16:24

David Platt once said, “My prayer is that people will see that following Jesus costs you everything you are and everything you have. And my prayer is that people will see that Jesus is worth it.”

Main idea: If Jesus was #1 in every single Christians life and in all of our Churches, then we probably wouldn’t see what we do in the world today.

So, make Jesus #1 in your life and watch others catch on to the idea. One of my best friends has started to pray before and after every one of her sporting events with her teammates. Two men in our church started a Bible study/prayer time once a week with a couple of the guys they work with every day.

3. It all truly boils down to discipleship and if you are pouring yourself into other people.

That’s what it looks like when you apply those verses to everyday life. When you start living like that, suddenly you are not living for the mundane, “normal life” stuff, but instead you are living for your eternal destination!

Be the Church when you’re at the grocery store! Show Jesus when you are working. Start small groups that will reach others with the Gospel. That’s Church gone right!

Jesus calls us to be intentional in the little and big things we do in our everyday life. Jesus didn’t want to become a “weekend” thing.

He calls us to open our eyes to see the waitress at the restaurant we eat at on Tuesday, or the guy collecting the carts at Walmart when we go shopping on Friday. You never know what they may be going through or dealing with.

When we start doing everyday Church, that’s what will change the world.

“It is the whole business of the whole Church to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world.”  -Charles Spurgeon

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= What are your thoughts after reading this post?

= Who do you think you could pray for this week?

= Do you have any other ideas about how you could do everyday Church in your own life?

WHERE DID CHURCH GO WRONG?

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

As my family and I have done ministry across the United States, I have come to realize that many churches are dying off. So many of the leaders are discouraged. They can’t get any new people in their doors; especially young people. No matter how many programs they try, they cannot grow.

Why? Where did we go wrong? What did we mess up?

Well, let’s take a look at Colossians 2:8-10 which says, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” CSB

So based off that verse, could this be where Church went wrong?

  1. We have made Christianity and Church all about philosophy and human tradition based on what the world says and even looks like.
  2. Once we did that, we lost the true nature of Christ. We forgot that it’s about Jesus and advancing His kingdom.

Look at all the areas where Christians get together to worship Jesus in secret because of persecution; they’re thriving! New people are coming in willing to risk jail, torture, and even their own lives! They are making new believers because they are not silent, despite a great cost.

Why?

Because they know that it’s about Jesus and not about routine and rituals! They know that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have power!

That’s why they are packing their homes and the other places they meet.

However, there is a bold truth that the American Church doesn’t want to hear… Once you start making Church a chore and all about tradition and philosophy, people will STOP coming. Why? Because you have lost what they actually NEED, in an attempt to give them what you think they WANT.

Richard Greene, Keystone Discipleship Project founder, once said, “What you win them by is what you win them to.” So, if we win people into our church by entertainment & flashy programs, then we are winning them to a false, and very shallow faith.

Leonard Ravenhill once said, “The church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is college-trained, but not Spirit-filled, works no miracles.”

Church went wrong when we lost Jesus!

You see, we put so much effort and time into developing programs or events like Easter egg hunts, movie nights, Vacation Bible Schools, or youth overnights and then forget to even leave time to share the Gospel. We neglect to share the single most important thing with folks because we don’t have time in the business of “church”.

Guys! This is our reality, and we need to wake up to it!

David Platt once said this, “We have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the Gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires.”

To put it plainly, a lot of Christians do not grasp the power of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Many do not understand or appreciate their Salvation that came through the blood shed on Calvary!

I mean, people in the persecuted church are walking miles and miles on foot to worship Jesus in secret! While the American church is complaining about how hard it is to get in our cars and drive a couple minutes to 2nd service!

Our persecuted brothers and sisters truly appreciate Jesus, and what He did for them. They count it a privilege to walk a few miles in the crazy heat to worship Him! They actually long to worship Jesus!

If only the American church could get back to her first love and ditch the whole man-made tradition and routine idea. Only then, will we experience Him and His holy presence and begin to see an ushering in of repentance poured out among the nations of this sinful world.

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.”    -Leonard Ravenhill

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Do you genuinely understand and appreciate your Salvation?

~How can you help your church get back to Jesus and the only true purpose of church?

~Are you on fire? Do other people see that?

A CALL TO BIBLICAL OBEDIENCE AND HOLY LIVING

(Guest post by: Pastor Gerald Steele)

Thank you, Lilly, for inviting me to share a few thoughts on your blog. I’m honored! I love the emphasis on “The Few” and your call for others like yourself to live a life of “reckless abandon for the Lord.”

 Your call for THE FEW to remain faithful to God in the midst of cultural relativism is necessary and applaudable. In my lifetime, I have witnessed like never before the erosion of Biblical authority. Biblical absolutes are considered obsolete.

Unfortunately, many who claim to be born again followers of Jesus Christ have allowed the world to squeeze them into its mould (See J.B. Phillips paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2).

Christians here in the West have adopted practices that are identical to their non-Christian counterparts. They lie, cheat, cuss, have sex before marriage, drink, exhibit addictive behaviors, divorce etc., but show up at church on Sunday morning like all is well with their souls.

 Something is blatantly wrong. There are obviously some major disconnects!

 If I understand my Bible correctly, we are saved FROM our SINS and not IN them. That doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally stumble and fall, but rather that when we do, we get up quickly and move forward in our walk with Jesus. We don’t embrace sinful behaviors, we do our best to avoid them and the Holy Spirit is our Helper.

The current recruiting slogan for the United States Marine Corps is: The Few. The Proud. To be a Marine, you have to learn self-discipline, submission to authority, commitment, endurance, loyalty and integrity.

 The Bible also calls us to similar character traits. For example, David in Psalm 15:1-2 gives us a useful question and a clear response when he writes, “Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.”

Pastor Scott Harris puts these two verses in the form of three short preaching points. True worshippers who have access into the presence of God: WALK in integrity, WORK acts of righteousness, and speak truthful WORDS.

In other words, what ushers us into the presence of a HOLY GOD is a HOLY HEART.

However, God invites the FEW to “hitch their holiness to the harvest.” Genuine followers of Jesus are missional in their thinking.

 They know that God never invited us to a “holy huddle,” but rather to make disciples, who will make disciples. God’s objective for us as Christ followers has always been to “bring many children into glory.” Hebrews 2:10. NLT

For the past nearly fourteen years, I have had the joyous privilege of working with an unreached people group in northern Mozambique in East Africa. God has blessed this ministry. Today there are nearly 60,000 disciples that have been made and 1,500 churches that have been planted.

 As I have worked with these first-generation disciples, I have been amazed at their ability to embrace and obey the Bible, break from sin, commit to serious prayer, and their total commitment to winning the lost and discipling new Christians.

This is not something radical in light of the New Testament. Jesus chose a FEW. The FEW reached the MASSES. As a result, the Kingdom of God grew! Do it again Lord!

THE GRAVE DANGER OF SILENT CHRISTIANS

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

I think that the American Church, and all Christians, should be scared of something: Silence.

As Christians, we are way too quiet about what we know to be right and wrong according to the Word of God. From things like gay marriage and abortion to bad movies, TV shows, and unacceptable music, we are told to be silent and keep our opinions and the truth to ourselves.

Well, I refuse to be silenced about what Jesus tells us is right and wrong. I will NOT be quiet about what I believe and what Jesus did for me on the cross.

A lot of Christians have been very silent about Jesus and what He has done for them and I think it’s time they realized that’s not ok.

If you remain silent and scared of what people think and say about your faith or what you believe, then you need to ask yourself if He really means EVERYTHING to you. You need to ask yourself if He is #1 in your life.

I believe if Jesus is #1 in your life then you will talk about Him, and your going to show up for what He made you to do. It’s impossible to be silent if He is everything to you.

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

Jesus calls us to rebuke evil, not back down from it. He calls us to discipline other believers in kindness, even though they may not want to hear it. Christ tells us to preach the gospel to the lost and hurting people around us, no matter who says we can’t.

However, many Christians would much rather stay in their comfort zone and in their churches where it’s safe and cozy when it comes to this.

Here is the grave danger of silent Christians…

 When you are silent about Jesus and what He did on the cross, people will end up burning in Hell because of your silence. You are here with one mission, and that is to tell all people what Christ did on the cross of Calvary.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said this, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

I suppose that a lot of people believe that they are living a good Christian life. A lot of believers think they can get by with going to church on Sunday, posting the Word of the Day from the Bible app on their Facebook page, and sending a card to someone who is sick to be nice.

Y’all, there is SO much more to Jesus than that! There is so much more to living how He wants us to live than that!!

John 14:12 says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Do you get the amount of gravity in this verse? If we believe in Jesus, then we will do the things that He did while He was here on Earth: healing the sick, preaching the good news, discipling other Christians, helping the poor and lowly, and much more!

It’s more than just going to Church! It’s more than having the nicest car! It’s more than living a nice life!

It’s MORE than posting encouraging things on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter!

We cannot remain in silence if we are living for the salvation of 7.7 BILLION souls on planet Earth!

Guys! People are going to Hell! They will be in Hell for eternity! Somehow, we have gotten comfortable with the thought of living in our daily routine and have lost sight of why we are even here and why our voices matter!

The Church needs to wake up and realize that 7.7 billion people will be spending eternity in 1 of 2 places if they died tonight. We need to realize that Jesus has given us work to do and it’s about time we show up and clock in on eternity’s timeclock!

 Cause at some point, it’s gonna stop ticking.

Frank R. Wolf once said, “My hope and prayer is that the body of Christ in America will awake with holy boldness, a boldness content neither with silence nor mere words but that backs up those words with action and results.”

My challenge to you is to not be comfortable with staying silent on matters that you know are not Biblical. Awake with a holy boldness and stand up for the truth!

“Church, we are plan A. There is no plan B.”     -David Platt

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Can you remember a time where you were silent about your faith or the truth? Do you wish you would have spoken up?

~Are you scared to speak about what Jesus has done for you on the Cross? If so, why?

~How are you going to do better about not being quiet or silent about the things you should speak up for?

SOME PEOPLE CHANGE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

My dad listens to this song by Montgomery Gentry called, “Some People Change.”

For some reason, the Lord has been putting this song on my heart, and I really feel like I need to write about it. A lot of Christians struggle in this area. I don’t think that God’s children fully understand what it means for some people to change, or what God requires of us if they do repent and begin again with Jesus.

The thing is, we have been offended. Someone has totally messed up and messed our lives up in the process. I’m sure you are probably thinking of that individual in your mind right now.

However, what if God got in the middle of that situation? What if your offender turned from their sin and found Jesus and repented? Repented from all that junk; from all of the evil and selfishness that was involved.

What if God brought restoration and healing to your heart, their heart, and the whole situation?

I would like you to read some of the lyrics from the song before we jump in. So here they are…

His old man was a rebel yeller
Bad boy to the bone
He’d say: “Can’t trust that other fella.”
He’d judge ’em by the tone of their skin
He was raised to think like his Dad
Narrow mind full of hate
On the road to nowhere fast
Till the grace of God got in the way
Then he saw the light an’ hit his knees, an’ cried, an’ said a prayer
Rose up a brand new man
Left the old one right there

Here’s to the strong
Thanks to the brave
Don’t give up hope
Some people change
Against all odds
Against the grain
Love finds a way
Some people change

Oh guys! I want you to get this! Some people change! Not all people, but some, and that’s what makes everything I do worth it! It’s the hope that some people change and will actually get what this whole Jesus thing is about!

But here is where Satan attacks. He whispers this in your ear, “You have been hurt. They have offended you. You are not the one who messed up. You didn’t do anything wrong. They are the guilty one. They deserve to be punished for what they did to you.”

Sound familiar?

Satan’s bait is getting you to believe that you have been offended. We are so quick to believe every single lie he throws at us because it feels like the right choice when you’re angry and hurt.

However, while Satan is whispering all of those things in your ear, God is over here saying, “You can’t believe all of those lies. You are being deceived, and you are blinded from the truth. You must walk beside me and listen to what I say. Do what I would do. Forgive.”

“Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He is trying to change your heart.”  Unknown

WWJD; What would Jesus do?

Well, we see that Jesus forgives and forgets all of our sins IF we truly repent and turn away from that sin. He allows us the chance to start over. He takes the chance that we could either begin anew, or we could just go and break His heart again. Either way, He allows us back in after we have messed up.

Listen to me here, the enemy wants you to throw your hands in the air and just give up. Satan wants you to get mad and angry toward the person that has offended you.

Satan DOES NOT want you to see that that person has changed and repented, because if you do, he knows that you will experience amazing freedom through Jesus. He doesn’t want you to realize that the cross and the blood of Christ can even save the person that you are dealing with.

No matter what they said, no matter what they did, it cannot change what Jesus did for them on Calvary.

Romans 5:20 says, “The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more.”

Jesus gives us SO many chances to start again. So why can’t we realize that because Jesus forgives us, we should also forgive and allow the difficult person in our life to change.

Do you think that Jesus let the Pharisees steal His joy and zeal?

Nope.

In fact, I believe that anything that offends us or hurts us will NEVER compare to what hurt and offended Jesus when He was being whipped and flogged, and then nailed to a tree to die a horrifying and bloody death. NOTHING.

I don’t care how big that person messed up. I don’t care what they said or did. Absolutely nothing that person did to offend you will be greater than the love of Jesus.

If Jesus can forgive the people who flogged and killed Him, then I would be a very weak and ignorant Christian not to forgive a person who has caused me pain and made me suffer.

Some people DO change. All because of what Jesus did. LOVE, Jesus’ love, can find a way past our pain and can allow us to give that person a second chance.

 I assure you that there will NEVER be a time where Jesus just gives up on you when you mess up. When you come running home to Him after you have repented and changed, there will NOT be a time where He tells you to go away because He doesn’t want to be hurt and left alone again because you have already broken His heart.

If Jesus can restore you and your rags of filth and sin and turn them to riches, then He can restore your offender. Pray and watch for their repentance.

Christ wants you to experience freedom in your situation. He wants to bring restoration to people’s hearts and to whole families who have been affected by one person’s poor choices.

Because some people change.

It’s time for you to be like Jesus and give them the chance to change. Often, you will be surprised at how blind you were and what the enemy wanted you to believe. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I’m going to be really bold and challenge you with this… If you cannot allow the person who has caused you so much heartache and pain a chance to truly repent and change, then you need to make sure that your heart is right with Jesus. If you have experienced Jesus’ forgiveness of your sins, then I believe that we can, and might I say SHOULD, forgive the people in our lives who have offended us.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~After reading this post, was there an individual who popped in your mind that you know you should forgive? (No names please)

~Are you grateful that Jesus gives us countless chances to begin afresh?

~Have you seen people change and turn from sin because of Jesus and what He did for them on the cross?

SELF-RESPECT, STANDARDS, AND AN EMBARRASSING STORY

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A lot of people probably look at my family and think we are crazy! No really! We live a life that the world thinks is weird and different.  We are a homeschooling family who loves Jesus and does ministry together. We don’t play every sport that has ever been created. We have very high standards and goals for ourselves, and so on. Does this make us perfect? Absolutely not! Am I ok with not going to public school and not having a trillion friends? Yep, I sure am.

Honestly, me and my family just live totally different from what the world classifies as “normal”. However, I like to say we live in light of eternity.

My dad was in the Air Force, so growing up I have always been taught to keep my standards high and to never quit; no matter how hard it was or if it was just easier to lower my standards in order to fit in. I have been brought up in a strong Christian home as well, and there are standards I have set for myself in that area.

 I have strict standards for myself because I want to please God, and I also respect myself. I believe that if you respect yourself, then you will set your standards high. Self-Respect = Standards and Guidelines.

 The sad truth today is that most girls don’t have any self-respect, resulting in what we see in our modern culture. They don’t have standards because they don’t want to do anything that may be hard or take effort. They just choose to go with the flow.

Before I jump into sharing with you some of my personal standards as a teen girl, I want to make sure you understand a few things…

  1. Jesus tells us straight up what is right and wrong and the things we should do, and then it is our decision whether we listen and choose to live like He says. It’s called free will. I don’t choose to set guidelines for myself based on a man-made set of rules. I choose to set them up because I love Jesus and I want to do what He says.
  2. I believe that you should set your standards early in life so that you aren’t in a situation where you end up doing something you didn’t really want to do. Set your standards and stick to them. If you do this early, you won’t end up in a situation where you don’t know what to say or do.

Ok. Now that I have made that clear, I am going to share with you a few of my standards and guidelines that I have put in place for myself, and how it helped me avoid some things I did not want later…

I have personally decided to court instead of date. (Courting means to date with the intention of marriage). I have set that standard because I don’t want to just date around to have “fun” or to just be able to say that I have a boyfriend. I want to be intentional in the area of relationship because I do not want to end up with a bunch of heartache and regrets later.

 I have chosen to save sex for my wedding day with my husband. I have set this standard based off of Matthew 19:4-6 which says, “He answered them, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

 I want to experience intimacy with one man, within God’s design, which is marriage. I don’t want to get married and know that I had experiences with a bunch of other guys. God intended it to be between one man and one woman. Done deal. Marriage and intimacy are supposed to represent the connection between Jesus and the Church; holy, sacred, and special.

It’s time that a FEW girls broke the trend of quitting on themselves in order to “fit in” and decided to do something hard, because it’s worth it to set challenging standards. It’s what Jesus calls us to.

Elisabeth Elliot once said, “If your goal is purity of heart, be prepared to be thought very odd.”

Do I expect it to be hard to court instead of date around and then wait for my wedding day to be intimate? Yes, I do. However, my goal is purity of heart, and I’m prepared for people to think I’m crazy and weird for it.

I know if I hold myself to those guidelines though, Jesus will be pleased and glorified through my choices to do hard things.

A couple months ago, I was at a church helping with an outreach and there was a young guy there who kept talking to me during the time I was there. He was very nice and respectful but as things were wrapping up, he asked for my phone number, (which he had hinted about getting a couple times before, but I was able to ignore it). I do not want to be rude or make this guy sound weird or anything, but I knew what his intention was.

It was the first time I had been in a situation like that. However, I knew what my standards were and from the long conversation we had, I knew that they did not line up with his.

Now, I’ll have to admit that I felt awkward saying no. I wasn’t really sure how to say no to him.

Are you ready for my really weird response? Here is exactly what I said, “You can have my dad’s number if you want.” Ahhhh! Really Lilly?!?!

I know, it was kinda awkward, but we laughed it off and it was all good!

I tell you that embarrassing story to say this, if I would not have known what my standards were, I would have been so much more uncomfortable, and it would have made it very easy to say yes and just give him my number. Right?

Now you may be wondering why giving him my phone number mattered. In my mind, if I would have given him my number, I would be leading him to believe that I was interested in something more. Like I said, I knew what his intention was, and it didn’t line up with what I have set in place for myself.

However, you can set standards for yourself in any area of your life. It doesn’t just have to be the area of relationship. It can be areas of your life such as school, Church or a Bible Study, friends and family, etc.

I know standards and guidelines are sometimes challenging and are a lot to commit too, and I cannot promise it will be easy, but what I can promise is that it’s worth it and so rewarding to listen to what God says!

SO WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE?

~Have you thought about setting up certain standards so that you don’t end up doing something you don’t want to do later?

~Has it been hard to stay committed to some of the guidelines you have put in place?

~What are your thoughts from this post? Did it help you realize something?

GET OUT OF YOUR TENT!

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Does it sometimes seem like you’re just having a really boring week? A week where it seems mundane and dull? I think we can all feel like that sometimes. However, as Christians, I think that we may not be living how Jesus wants us to live if we are always bored and feel like we are just living out our “normal” routine.

Did you know that there is actually a man in the Bible who felt like we do sometimes? His name is Abram (later known as Abraham), and God had to teach him a very important lesson that still applies to us today.

Genesis 15:5-6 says, “He (God) took him (Abram) outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Did you catch what the beginning of that verse said? It said that God took Abram outside. Why? Why did it matter if he was inside or outside of the tent?

God knew that He needed to get Abram out of his normal daily routine. God knew that Abram was not going to see the big picture if he was comfortable where he was at. Because what God had planned for him was going to require him to be uncomfortable and step out of his normal day to day kind of thing.

However, God required Abram’s time. What a lot of Christians don’t get today is that God requires OUR time as well. It frustrates me deeply when people say that they are too busy to come to Church, or Bible Study, or just to serve Jesus in general. It frustrates me because people would rather do their other stuff instead of serve Jesus and give Him everything they’ve got.

Well aren’t you glad Jesus isn’t too busy for you? Are you grateful that Jesus wouldn’t rather do something else instead of spending time with you and helping you?

It’s about time that Christians start thinking that way.

A.W. Tozer once said, “The man who would truly know God must give time to Him.”

If we really want to know God and get serious about Him, one of the biggest things we can do is to give Him our time.

We have to start getting out of our tent! Most of the time it’s a tent that we have created ourselves. We make it cozy and comfortable just the way we like it, and then we wonder why God isn’t using us.

However, we must understand that God does the big stuff outside of the tent!

I’m going to share with you a personal story of when God took me out of my tent and then what happened…

I was out on an outreach team in Dayton, Ohio praying for people and sharing the gospel with them. We weren’t having a very successful morning. Not many people were out that we could talk to and a lot of the businesses had not opened yet.

So, we ended up at a Kroger grocery store, and we walked around a little bit, but nothing really happened. When we walked outside Kroger there was this young lady leaning against the wall, and she happened to be an employee. As soon as I saw her, I knew God wanted me to go over and ask her how I could pray for her. However, I didn’t want to! I was scared and uncomfortable.

No joke, my heart was racing, but I knew I just needed to do it.

I walked up to her and introduced myself, told her that I knew it is crazy, but I wondered how I could pray for her. As soon as I asked her how I could pray for her, she started to bawl. Almost ugly cry if you know what I mean.

She told me that she had just had a miscarriage the day before, but she didn’t know that she was pregnant prior to the miscarriage. She said that she had come to work because she wanted to keep her mind off of it, but her boss was sending her home to rest, and she was waiting on someone to pick her up.

After she explained all of this, we stood there, and I prayed over her. When we got done praying, she let me walk her through the gospel, and we just stood there and talked.

It’s crazy that God could use me in such an incredible way outside of my comfort zone! I didn’t want to walk up to her and ask how I could pray, but because God prompted me to, this girl heard the gospel and was prayed over.

See what I mean?

God uses the mundane and ordinary people to further His kingdom! You don’t need to be a pastor or write books to be seen and used by God. You just have to give Him your time and be willing to get outside of your tent!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~ Do you feel like you have allowed yourself to stay in the tent where it’s comfortable? Why or why not?

~ What are your thoughts after reading this post? Do you think that it could help you and your everyday life?

~ Would you share the gospel with someone if God wanted you to?

THE NUMBER ONE THING THE WORLD DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

Have you ever stopped and thought about what is actually true? I mean, look at our world right now. We are told that murdering babies is perfectly ok. We are told that we can do anything that pleases us as long as it makes us happy and doesn’t harm anyone else, and that we should tolerate that from everyone around us as well.

Our culture is putting out a message that tells us that there really is no absolute truth, and that what may be true for me, may not be true for you, and that’s ok as long as we can get along. As the popular bumper sticker says, “coexist.”

Does this sound like a familiar voice you have been hearing from the world around you?

We are constantly forced to wonder what is true, and what we can absolutely believe. Ravi Zacharias once said, “Most of the intellectual elite of the USA completely disavow the idea of absolute truth.”

So, does truth even exist? I’m talking real and legit truth upon which we can safely stand.

I’m writing this because I 100% believe that the ONLY Absolute Truth is the living Word of God. It is the only thing that can be tested and tried and still be completely true.

“Over the span of life, the Word can be tested time and time again and its truths will stand tall as our culture’s fascination with the subjective proves itself to be hollow and false.”   Ravi Zacharias

However, our culture and society will not point you towards the Bible. In fact, they will try to pull you as far away from it as possible.

Why does our world do that? Why do they constantly try to pull us away from the only absolute truth? It’s because our world loves sin, and sin loves to deceive us instead of telling us the truth and pointing us towards the Word of God.

Listen to what Jesus says here, “Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”    John 8:31-32 CSB

That verse says that if we read the Bible, which is His Word, then we will know the truth, and then best part, we will be set free!

Jesus is the truth!

So, look around you, do you see people who believe all of the lies that we hear from the people around us? Are there people around you who long to know the truth but don’t know where to find it?

Well, let me give you a little wake up call. It’s time you start telling them the absolute truth of the simple gospel! They aren’t going to hear it from anyone else, and that’s why as believers of Jesus, we should tell them!

Now here’s the thing, you cannot choose to “coexist” in your own life. ‘Cause believe me, it’s a choice you must make for yourself. Here is what Elisabeth Elliot says about the Bible and what it requires of us so that WE understand and know the absolute truth, “The Bible is God’s message to everyone. We deceive ourselves if we claim to want to hear His voice but neglect the primary channel through which it comes.”

I think a lot of Christians say that they really want to know and understand the word of God and its truth. However, many don’t even take their Bible to church on Sunday morning; let alone read it during the week!!

That’s why the world and sin so easily deceive us! It’s because Christians neglect their Bibles and the truth that it brings! Satan’s means of deception have not changed from the very beginning. In Genesis 3:1, the serpent asks Eve, “Did God really say…?”

Brothers and sisters, Satan’s tactics are still the same. He continues to ask, “Did God really say …?” A lot of times we simply do not know what God really said because we fail to read and know His Word.

Let me challenge you to get into the word of God and learn the absolute truth. The next time that you are forced to question if something is true, read your Bible and see what it has to say about it. I promise you, that is the only place to determine what is absolutely true in today’s society.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~In the comment section, tell me what lies you have been told lately from the people/ world around you, that you know are NOT true based off of the Bible.

~Being completely honest, {no cheating}, how many times a week would you say you are in the Word and reading the truth?

~Do you tend to listen and believe what the culture and media tell you?

TRUST TRIUMPHS OVER FEAR

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

In 2018, I felt like God was calling me to be more intentional in my personal Bible study. I had heard of  people choosing to have a focus word that they studied in depth, and I thought I’d give that a shot. My 2018 focus word was ‘’Rock’’. However, I also decided that in the future I would have a focus quote and a focus Bible verse that went along with my focus word.

My focus word for 2019 is ‘’Trust’’. I think God laid that word upon my heart because I had been very fearful of the future and worried about the problems and struggles that life brings in general.

During that time, I had been inspired by a quote from Corrie Ten Boom who said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” God knew exactly what I needed to hear, and what I truly needed to focus on in this season of my life!

Also, just in case your wondering, my focus verse for this year is Psalms 125:1, which says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” NIV

As I started studying the word ‘’Trust’’, I understood why I had been so fearful about my future and my life. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.”

You see, I thought that I had to have my whole life perfectly planned out. I thought that it was my job to handle all of the problems and struggles in my life.

But guess what I have come to realize?

I have realized that my life is not MINE; it’s actually God’s!

Isn’t that great news? We don’t have to worry or have fear about our future because Jesus is in charge, and He knows what is best. Not only are we free from fear, but we can replace that fear with trust in who God is.

Fear is an ugly and terrible thing to live in constantly; and because it’s such a terrible thing, we must replace it with something good. That something, is trust.

We don’t need to know what the future looks like, because we know who our God is!

Once I realized that I could replace my fear with trust in God (because I know who He is and how good He is) it totally changed how I look at my life and my future. Are there times I still worry? Definitely!

However, my trust in God triumphs over my fear and worry.

Now, you may be wondering, how do I know how to choose a word to focus on? My advice to you, is to consistently pray about it. I didn’t plan to focus on the words “Rock” and “Trust”.  Jesus just laid them on my heart because He knew exactly what I needed to challenge myself on.

The craziest thing that God has done through these two years is that each year He has given me a new Christian song to listen to that goes along with my focus word and the things I am studying. I know, crazy right?!?!

AFTER I had chosen my focus word in 2018 “Rock”, I Am They came out with a song called: My Feet Are on the Rock.

This year, 2019, AFTER I had chosen my focus word, “Trust”, 7eventh Time Down came out with a song called: Trust.

These 2 songs came out AFTER I had chosen my word for that year. To me, God confirmed that I was focusing on exactly what He wanted me too. It’s so crazy to me that God will clearly confirm that you are where He wants you to be. He is faithful and so good!

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Tell me in the comment section if you are focusing on a specific word, quote, or Bible verse this year. If so, how has it impacted you?

~Do you think that it helps you to focus on a specific thing for a long period of time? Or do you like to jump around and study a bunch of different things in the Bible?

~How has fear affected you personally? Do you think you have replaced that fear with trust in Jesus?

Come Boldly!

(Guest post by Michelle Hobbs)

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”    Hebrews 4:16

I wonder if we truly understand what a privilege it is for us to pray directly to God; and beyond that, have a promise that we will find mercy and grace in our time of need. I know I take it completely for granted most of the time.

You see, in Old Testament times, before Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again, the common man was not allowed to enter the presence of God. Ordinary folks, like you and me, were not allowed to go beyond the outer courts of the Tabernacle or Temple. Priests could enter the Inner Courts, but only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, where the Spirit of God dwelt, once a year. And he entered with such fear of the glory of God that he prepared for days in advance, and he tied a rope around his ankle before entering so that his friends could pull him out should he be struck dead by God’s holy power!

“But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”   Hebrews 9:7

But the work of Jesus has granted the likes of you and me direct access to God anytime we want! In fact, He tells us to “come boldly” to Him. “Boldly” means: with full confidence, unembarrassed, speaking everything. The LORD is telling us to come and pour out our whole heart to Him.

Think about this. Jesus, while here on earth as a man, was tempted in every way that you and I are.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”   Hebrews 4:15

This gives us assurance that He understands exactly what we are going through, no matter what it is. He has perfect knowledge of the distress we are facing and of the help that is required. He wants you to bring every need to Him.

Charles Spurgeon says, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God.”

Our scripture tells us that we can come before the throne of grace. When I think of a throne, I think of a seat of supreme authority, a seat of judgement. That’s a little scary! While God is the ultimate authority and judge of our lives, He says to His children, come boldly unto the throne of “grace”.

Grace is the undeserved favor and love that God extends to those who are saved through Jesus. Grace is a love that has its own motive; a love that is given regardless of our worthiness, but is built wholly upon the work of Christ. All we have to do is accept it.

The only requirement for you to be able to step right into the throne room of God is that you must accept Jesus’ great sacrifice for you. You must ask Jesus to be Lord of your life. Your faith in His love and sacrifice for you is the means by which you can approach the throne of God, the throne of grace. Have you done that? If not, why not do it now?

100% or 0%? Are you all in or all out?

My passion is to see people make Jesus #1 in their life. That’s it. I don’t have some crazy agenda or goal for this blog except to challenge people to make Him first in their life. It is my belief that if we make Jesus first in every single thing we do, we will do those things well.

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

The majority of Christians I have interacted with are satisfied with just going to church on Sunday, and then walking out exactly the same. They have no motivation. They carry the same heavy burdens on their shoulders that they have been carrying around for years. Most importantly, they walk out with no desire to serve God with a reckless abandon during the week.

How and why does this happen??

It happens because we pack our lives completely full of stuff that does NOT affect eternity one bit!

Your either ALL in to serving Jesus because of what He did for you and how He has changed your life, or your ok with just checking the “church” box on Wednesday or Sunday.

In my mind, there’s no in between. You cannot be half in and half out.

However, there is good news. In every generation there are a FEW who decide to stand up for what they believe in. There are some who choose to stand out when everyone else is purposely trying to fit into the culture.

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

Do you see what God is doing here?

He wants to see who is actually serious about Him and what they are going to do about it. He wants to see if they LONG to serve Him with every breath they breathe here on earth, even though everyone thinks they are crazy and maybe even hate them for it.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15: 18-19 NIV

That may sound harsh, but Jesus lived this thing out and where did that get Him? It got Him nailed to a cross, so should it look any different for a 21st Century Christian? I believe not.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

~Read John 15 and let’s get a discussion going in the Comment Section.

~Why do you think the word “remain” is so pivotal to this teaching?