Who Will You Follow? A Response to the events in Kenya, Russia, Lebanon, and France
A Response to the events in Kenya, Russia, Lebanon, and France I was out running errands when I heard about the attacks in France. I was upset. Angry. I shook my head at the Arab world around me and said to myself, “So this is the fruit of Islam?”  Hatred began to bubble up in my heart. Heading home, I jumped in the backseat of a cab, hoping that that Pakistani driver would ignore me. Yet, 30 seconds into the trip, the cab driver realize I spoke his language and my hopes for a silent journey vanished. Feeling argumentative, and wanting to blow off some steam, I asked him if he had heard the news. He had, and like every other Arab I know, he claimed that those men weren’t real muslims. They weren’t following the way of the prophet. I disagreed by quoting some choice verses from the Quran, “kill them [the unbeliever]…Continue Reading
That Faithful Witness in the Sky On the heels of being given the dream for his life, Joseph immediately entered into a pit of despair. Literally, a pit. In Genesis 37, after receiving his promise and dream, Joseph is betrayed by his brothers, stripped of his robe, and left for dead in a pit awaiting the arrival of a ravenous beast looking for a feast. Sounds prosperous, palatable, and promising, right? Actually no, it’s the exact opposite of what Joe had been promised just a few verses before. So how do we explain this? I’ve heard it said that “p-i-t” stands for “prophet-in-training”. It seems to be a way of God to give a promise, and then He will allow circumstances to arise in life to test our motives, our obedience, and form us into the image of Jesus more and more so that when the promise comes to pass,…Continue Reading
“Fear is real, but God is bigger, and His love is stronger. My story is a testament to that. There is nothing in this world more beautiful or wonderful than God Himself, who invites us into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. There is no greater hope for our broken humanity than that.” Dan Baumann doesn’t just write a theological, abstract book on fear and how to biblically overcome it but provides simple stories about his experience with fear from his own life. These fears include: Fear of man Fear of loneliness Fear of Failure Fear of lack of finances Fear of lack of control He has lived his life obeying God’s voice and giving his fears over to God and watching as God helps him in his weakness. His training grounds have been living in volatile, dangerous places like Afghanistan and Iran, but also everyday encounters with leaders and…Continue Reading
Dreams Tyler Connell
Joyful Birth unto Opposition We’ve all been given desires, dreams, and promises. In the moment of the epiphany, a sense of ecstasy and joy shroud the hope of the new-found future. Suddenly, anything becomes possible for us. The world is at our finger-tips. Our emotions are saturated with the thought that my life actually has a discoverable, divine-purpose. Whether, it’s the desire or promise of a particular calling, relationship, entrepreneurial venture, or creative expression, we feel invincible, unstoppable. Morning has dawned and night is no more. Or so we think… In Genesis 37, we see Joseph, experience this moment of excitement. So much so that he KNEW he had to share it with those closest to him. Of course his own older brothers would be excited for him, right? “5Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.6 He said to them, “Listen to…Continue Reading
The Invitation - Jessica - AwakenMAG
My favorite nights are what I call “some nights”. Some nights, when I sit with my Bible in my lap, I find that God’s love has never changed. I feel as if I’m reading the words for the first time, honestly, with some shame that they seem so new. But in a moment, shame is consumed by the grace of God, and as if with the turn of a page, pools of forgiveness render me speechless as they spill out upon my fingertips, marking me, “Blameless”. Some nights, I discover again that His love is big—much deeper than the shallow efforts I make. I realize that only by His love can I attempt to share it. In those late hours, I realize I am wading in a river of grace, and I cannot neglect the invitation He offers me. Not to simply endure have I been asked, but to learn…Continue Reading
Twice in my life, family and friends have gathered to shower me with domestic gifts. When I got married, everyone wanted to help me set up a home. When I got pregnant, they wanted to deck out a nursery. As someone who’s dreamed about cookware and cribs, this generosity was all I could hope for and more. The problem was, in both seasons, God was calling me far away from home. My husband and I moved to Kosovo just weeks after we got married. After our child is born, we’ll head to France. Unlike most of our peers, our possessions are limited to what we can carry in a few suitcases. We find ourselves constantly resisting the urge to nest. This resistance isn’t easy. I hate declining gifts and having no space for something impractical. I envy the security of my home-owning friends. Yet, in my nestlessness, God has taught…Continue Reading
Dewali Festival Decoration by John Pavelka
The Festival of Lights is just flicking on in Nepal, and I need to buy eggs and beat the dusk home. Against the paling sky, blinking lights bedazzle shops and house verandahs—like Christmas in October. The supermarket is lit up like Santa’s workshop. Familiar shopkeepers smile. As they put my groceries in white plastic, they invite me to join them for prayers. I ask to whom? for what? They motion to a colourful woman’s portrait behind the counter—their goddess of fortune. The lights attract her favor. “Do you need money?” they smirk at their funny question. I laugh-smile, handing over rupees. “I’m ok. When I need money, I pray to my God too,” I say. What I don’t say: I don’t need to put up lights. Scurrying home under a sky blinking with man-made stars , I am thankful for eggs and God who gives for the asking, not just…Continue Reading
The Creator Revealed in Nature
God, in His infinite wisdom created a world where it’s physical nature reflects the shadow of His endless beauty. I am convinced that it is the single most effective tool to bring mankind back to the eternal longing, the eternal question and ultimately the eternal answer. In Romans, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us that “..since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse…” (Romans 1:20) In the place of waiting on God, in peace, in the quiet, where no social network is a distraction and no busy to-do’s flash their lights; you’ll find God again. Creation was set in order as a divine plumb-line for mankind. Inviting us back to the eternal pleasures that can only be found in the whisper of the wind,…Continue Reading
The S word
Is it wedding season or what?! Every weekend recently its like I’m either at a wedding or looking at the photos from one! All of my beautiful friends are getting married and their wedding are off the charts awesome! Shout out to Jana and Eli Contreras and Matt and Kiki Anderson! There is no party like a wedding, its my favorite of all celebrations I can attend! God bless your marriages! Im obviously only 19 and don’t need to worry about a life companion right now right? I’m too young or whatever the wise say. But c’mon people. Let me be honest, I think anytime is a good time when a relationship is about Christ. But thats not really what the topic I want to fully tackle in this post. What I want to talk about is the ‘S’ word. S I N G L E N E S S. *enter dramatic…Continue Reading
Uncertainty and the Kingdom
One of the most common questions I get as a friend, mentor, and someone who is continually changing places is “Where should I go?”, “What should I do with my life?”, or “What if I miss what God wants me to do?”. Usually I laugh.. because I ask the same exact questions. Yet, the more that I continue to walk arm in arm with God, the more I’ve wrestled with questions like this. The more they actually become less and less about locations and time, and more about the deeper things of life. Passions, callings, purpose, dreams. Actually, the more I ask those questions, the more I come out on the other side believing that knowing for certain what I should ‘do’ or ‘where’ I should go isn’t really the right question (and not that there is right and wrong, but you get what I’m saying). My friend Dan Baumann…Continue Reading