Hey y’all. On February 21, I did a “sermon on the fly” with you guys submitting questions and me answering them. I was blown away by 1) the number of questions that came in 2) the depth of those questions. There was no way I could answer all the questions in one night, so I’ll be writing a blog every couple of weeks to continue our conversation. If you have any more questions, hit me up!
Let’s jump in:
“I’ve been getting further away from God. I stay at home a lot and try my best to keep away from being near people. I’ve gone through a lot of bullying, and I feel like a can’t trust any friendship. How do I grow more in God and how do I stay in a relationship with God?”
Wow, this is heavy. First, I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced so much pain. I know what it’s like to be bullied, and the wounds are deep. And to be real, digging yourself out of this emotional anguish can also painful…but it is possible through God’s grace and power.
I believe your first step in your spiritual growth is to ask yourself these questions:
Do I need to forgive somebody?
Do I carry hatred and anger towards somebody?
Keeping anger and unforgiveness in your heart actually BLOCKS God’s power to HEAL your heart (and keeps you from growing). When you forgive, you are telling Him, “God, take this situation out of my hands. I won’t let this keep me from feeling love, valued, and cherished by You and by others.” BTW, forgiving people is HARD! But when you do, you will feel SO MUCH FREEDOM.
The funny thing is the more we love God, the more we start loving ourselves. When you grow in Him, you realize WHO you are. You are NOT a mistake. You are a child of the Most High God. You are created with a purpose and hopeful future. And if other people can’t see that, it just means they are hurt and need Jesus themselves.
By the way, church people aren’t perfect or immune from hurting others either – but I hope that at CY, you can find a few friends who you can be real and in community with. The devil wants us to believe that we belong alone, but it’s so much easier to get stuck listening to the lies in our head when we have no one around to remind us about the Truth of Jesus!
How can you pursue your passions (like for a career) but do it in a way that keeps God in the center?
Just the fact that you are asking this question indicates that you are already on the right path. All Christians should be continually praying that they are living the life that God wants them to live. As long as Jesus is in the center during your DAILY walk, then your whole life (career, family, hobbies) will glorify HIM.
A couple of thoughts:
I think sometimes people believe that they have to be a “pastor” to do ministry…NOPE, NOT TRUE!!! God needs doctors, lawyers, influencers, welders, mechanics, service staff, and all kinds of other occupations to make His name known on the earth. The truth is that ALL of us are called to minister to others regardless of our occupation (…or age for that matter).
And here is a SUPER duper CONTROVERTIAL statement…your occupation does not necessarily have to line up with your passion (*ducks as parents and guidance counselors start throwing pots and pans at my head*). Yeah, I said that right – just because you are passionate about something, doesn’t always mean you should make a career out of it.
This is an extreme example, but hear me out: If you are a student who loves underwater basket-weaving…weird flex…but good for you!!! Weave those baskets while wearing that scuba gear, and do your best which brings glory to God. Here’s the deal though: you probably won’t be able to pay your bills that way. But should that devalue what you are passionate about? OF COURSE NOT! Who cares if you don’t make money, it’s your passion. Keep it in your life!
But maybe – just MAYBE – you also step into a career that you might not be super passionate about, BUT one that you have a gifting in. Maybe it enables you to use your talents in a meaningful way, even if it’s not the most “fun” all of the time. Maybe it’s WORK?! (*Gasp*) But Proverbs 13:4 tells us, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”
As you’re able to pursue (and fund) your actual passions, maybe your career is one God can use to bring you joy in the little moments, while enabling you to fund the local church and bring the hope of Jesus to your community.
Does God have your future planned?
Answer: Yes, but it’s your decision to follow His plan or not.
How do you inspire others to follow Jesus?
Answer: Be genuine with your faith!!!!!!! And don’t be a jerk…fo’ reals.
Can Christians observe and celebrate Lent?
Answer: Absolutely! I need to do a better job at explaining Lent for MS and HS students.
Are smart people overrated?
Answer: Intelligence is a gift and should be celebrated. But intelligence becomes a problem when we trust our own intellect more than God’s omniscient (“all-knowing”) wisdom.
I love y’all very much. More questions will be answered next week 😊