Church

 
 

Never More Than You Can Handle

It’s often said that God will never give us more than we can handle. In a sense, those words can be comforting. In some ways, it seems to indicate that we won’t be taken in over our head or be burned in the fire. But it’s a complete and total lie. God never promised us that he wouldn’t give us more than we could handle, in fact he promises just the opposite. He gives us way more than we could deal with on our own, takes us deeper than our feet would wander, and perhaps singes us in the flames. That phrase comes from the verse 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises he will never let us be tempted beyond what we are able to bear or handle. God places a burden upon us that we can’t possibly carry on our own- and we are left with a choice. Will we try to take the load up ourselves and walk on our own? Or will we acknowledge that we can accomplish nothing in our own strength? In 2 Corinthians 12:9, we read “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul has just finished describing his struggle with what he calls a “thorn in his flesh”, we don’t know exactly what he’s referencing, but through his battle with this, he hears the voice of God speak to him the words “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul concludes the verse with the phrase, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” The key is to not be strong. What do I mean? When it comes to spiritual matters, we cannot have the mindset of “suck it up, be strong, and just get through it”. That attitude puts us in control of carrying a responsibility that we can’t possibly deal with. It will never end well and it won’t make us stronger than before. It’s like trying to lift 300lbs when you can only really lift 30. Lifting that weight isn’t going to make you any stronger, in reality you’d probably end up breaking an arm. It doesn’t end well because we were not capable of lifting that weight ourselves. We must learn to be spiritually weak, so that God’s power is able to shine though us. As Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Our weakness brings our good and his glory. But don’t get me wrong, being weak doesn’t mean we stop exercising faith, in reality, it takes more faith to be spiritually weak than it does strong; this is because our weakness is a sign of humility and a sign of trust. It’s surrender. We recognize the fact that we can’t do it alone, and we roll that sense of responsibility back onto him. We place one end on the shoulder of God. God meets us at that moment when we are faced with something we can’t possibly handle, and He’s there when our faith his goodness and sometimes our faith in him run out. He quietly asks the question, “Will you let me help you?”

There are times when we must walk on the raging sea, go through the fire, or carry a burden so that, as James writes in verse 1:4, “we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” But we never have to carry it alone. God gives us more than we can handle so we turn our eyes back to him, walk with him, and watch as he does incredible things in the middle of our weaknesses. In those times where we don’t know what to say. In the times were we feel inadequate. In those moments where we are scared out of our minds to take a leap of faith and be bold. In the times where our perfectionism and our fear of failure swallows us up. In the times when the world is falling apart and you know you can’t possibly piece it back together. We give it to him. And he works it for our good and his glory. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”. We can’t fathom the power that is accessible to us through the Holy Spirit. God does so so so much more than our minds can comprehend. His reserves of power never run dry. He never gets exhausted. Only when we admit to being weak can God fill us up with that kind of power. Only when we place our faith in him and trust that he’s going to pick up the other end of the load. He won’t let us carry it on our own. Only when we believe his promise in Matthew 20:28 that he will be with us always even to the end of the age, and we tell Jesus that we are through trying to get though it on our own. That we can only do things when Christ strengthens us.

What about you? Where are you? Are you caught up in trying to do things on your own? To power through one more day? To soak up some strength from who knows where? I challenge you to fall before the feet of Jesus and tell him that you’re ready to be weak. Ready to trust completely in his power and his plan, even though you don’t know what that might mean for you. Ready to trust his goodness and his sovereignty, even when things don’t seem to be good. To cast all your cares upon the one who cares for you. Because he has a purpose and a plan even when you can’t see it, and it’s to prosper and not to harm, it’s a plan to glorify him, it’s a plan that means the best for you and will give you hope and a future. Do you truly trust him? Be weak. God has promised to never give you more than He can handle.

Categories: Bible, Church, Faith, Trust | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Following: Leading Well (Part 2)

Proverbs 14:28 (MSG)

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

**********************************************

This is the second lesson that God is teaching me regarding leadership. The verse really speaks for itself, you are not a good leader if you have no followers. It makes a lot of sense, you don’t to talk to people you don’t want to hear speak. You don’t hang out with people you don’t like. You don’t follow people who don’t lead well. Because this next year, everything will be new to me, I will see how many people follow me.

I will post things about Youth camp later this summer, but I wanted to shine a light on the commitment that I made to my youth group while I was there. Each night, we would have a worship session and then the speaker would stand up and give the message. That night, the message centered on this question, will you be able to walk across a graduation and have people say about you, I can follow her because he/she follows Christ. He/She constantly seeks after what God desires of him/her and I know that he/she is going to be on the right track, I know I can follow him/her because of their relationship and closeness with Christ.

My youth pastor posed this question, and what I heard was a call for leaders to rise up in the youth group. I stood. It is a big responsibility to have an entire youth group looking up to you and watching your actions to see if Christ is evident in your life, but for a while I could hear God calling me to do something more with my youth ministry. The teens in the youth group were being poured into, but it was hard to tell if they were pouring anything out. It was time to start a revolution, beginning with me, because I was willing to let God use me to change the church attitude both in myself and in others. I asked for accountability, because if I’m leading, not only do I need people following but people alongside me to point out things in my life and bluntly tell me; Mackenzie, if you carry this on any longer, you are going to be leading people into sin.

I’ve been gone for most of the summer, and I haven’t had a chance to notice if my commitment had produced any followers. I may not ever see the people who seek after Christ because my relationship with him changed them. I hope I will be able to look back across the graduation stage and look back at people who have followed me as I followed Christ and know that even as I step out into the real world, I will continue after what he asks of me with all I am, no matter the cost.

I want to be able to lead the people at my school this next year and the people in my youth group this summer and for the rest of my high school years, and if I notice that I have no followers, I know it’s time to back off and let someone else do the leading, while I follow.  With Christ at the center of everything I do, I want to lead people to walk in his ways, and get up people out of the pew and onto the road. If you always live your spiritual life in one place with no risks, you’ve never really lived at all. And besides, I need some followers. You can’t lead if no one is following.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, learning, life, people, purpose, School, students, summer, teens, Trust, Uncategorized, words, youth group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

I’ll Be With You: Leading Well (Part 1)

Exodus 3:9-18 (MSG)

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God—our God.

*********************************************************

For a long time, I’ve been behind the scenes working for Christ on campus. I’ve been there, I’ve led in my own subtle mannerisms, but never noticed a big group following behind me, or was ever entrusted with the care of their spiritual growth.  I prayed, was outgoing, witnessed, all of this leading in its own way, but never truly led. This next year, I have the chance to lead. From what I have heard, I am a very possible candidate for a leadership position with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You have no idea how excited this has made me. I get my chance to lead people. People will look up to me and I’ll challenge them in their faith. More witnessing will happen and the school will be turned upside-down because of the call he has placed on my life. But I’ve never truly led.

The reality of this hit me one night and I was suddenly asking myself, “How is it possible that I could be leading others?” I wondered what I would say to get their attention. How I would say it? I planned out all the things I wanted to get done and everything that needed to be done. And I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of leading actual people. Even more so, people my age and older than me. Of course the cute Christian girl praying at her Dad’s college meetings is enough to inspire a Christian college student, but not lead them. I’m not teaching Bible Stories to five-year-olds either. After moving, I hardly had any friends. In middle school, I integrated with the “outcasts” of middle school society and felt a whole new way to stand up for what I believe in , from a bunch of atheists who hated god, a bunch of skeptics who didn’t think he existed, and a bunch of hurting people who couldn’t accept a God who had never done anything for them and allowed them to feel pain. My faith dwindled and then grew as I was able to tell them what they needed and was able to stand apart from them, but allow a safe-haven for them even though I believed in something different.

I was still left out sometimes, most being of the popular Christians crowd.  As the two groups of us moved further away from each other, a fear began to grow inside of me that kept me from going back and finding Christian friends. It was a fear of rejection. We were only 3rd and 4th graders when we met. I didn’t know one person my 3rd grade year who had  felt what it was like to be new someplace and have no one to welcome you.

My story turned out for the better, I stepped outside my comfort zone and the haze of lies the Devil had fed me to keep me away from the people who might help to grow and encourage my faith the most. The Christian people like me. Of course, the giant gap remains between my group of lesser on the popularity chain to greater on the popularity chain. I feel like I can’t relate to  Christian people sometimes. These people have always had Christian friends, they always seemed to be accepted by everybody. I haven’t. So it was this that I came to that night. That I had a chance to lead the people I had been afraid of and bridge the gap between my group and theirs. Where do I begin? What do I say? They won’t listen to me! I’ve never led anyone before. Near tears, God spoke to me. He said “I’ll be with you, believe me, they will listen to you. I gave Moses the words didn’t I?” . I remembered this passage and read it over and was so overcome with joy.

That night he promised me that he would give me a full training in how to be a leader. I know it will make me better equipped and a better leader than any “how-to” book on the market or any year-long seminar. He’s the best leader there is. I love how he gets irritated with Moses. He says that he will be with him through everything, that he will give them the words and the victory, yet Moses doubts God. My favorite line is one I’ve said myself many times, ““But why me? What makes you think that I could ever _______________________?” And every time God answers me,  “I’ll be with you.” He’s with you too, whether it be leading an entire body of Christians or overcoming the initial shock of something extravagant he asks of you. He says,  “I’ll be with you” and proves it to be true every time.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, prayer, teens, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

My Future Husband

While Valentine’s Day and New Years are very much different, I have resolutions to be the best fiancee. I read at least five verses in Proverbs about not being a nagging spouse. About how living with a nagging spouse is worse than listening to a leaky faucet and how it would be better to live in a cabin alone than to live with a nagging spouse in a mansion. Ouch. While I’m not married yet, I have the best future husband ever! This is the long post where I tell you all about him. But really, it’s too short to began to describe how awesome he is.

He asked me to marry him when I was six years old. And, of course, I said yes. We then began growing our relationship even more and began planning our wedding. He told me about a place he knew where we would have our wedding. It sounded so beautiful, I couldn’t help but agree. I almost didn’t believe him, except for the fact that he never lies to me.

I met his dad, and absolutely loved him. He remains just like a father to me and I usually tell him all about my problems. Did you know he is both a counselor and a doctor? His dad is a pretty good teacher as well, so my future husband has the gift in his genes. His dad lives in the place where we will have our wedding. I told him, “It must be so wonderful because you live there.” He most definitely agreed with me.

My future husband writes me letters all the time. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the time to read them, but his dad told me that you make time for what is most important in your life. It made me feel guilty about the things I hadn’t read yet. My future husband never forgets to tell me how much he loves me and how he thinks I am the most beautiful girl in all the universe. He writes me songs and sings them to me and makes sure that I always feel loved. He shows me where I am wrong and tells me gently how to fix it. Sometimes, I let him be the handy man and fix it for me. There are some things that are beyond what I can do to repair.

He tells me not to be a nagging wife and trust him always because he knows best. That’s hard. My future husband doesn’t want me to drive the car, he wants to drive it for me so he knows that I am safe under his watch. He hugs me when things go wrong so I know I am safe in his arms. He tells me to dream big, because his dad can do anything, but not to dream so big that I lose sight of what really matters. Because it’s more important to have a bunch of people move to where his dad lives and see the wedding, than it is to make a big show of how many decorations we will have.

My future husband loves me so much that he moved away from his dad to come and ask me to marry him. At first his dad wouldn’t allow it, but my future husband gave me a red dress to wear while I’m around his dad, and now his dad has forgotten all the bad things that I did to soil his honor. But that red dress cost a fortune. My future husband had to pay a lot to give that dress away. It cost his life. He loved me enough to do something like that. I didn’t think I was worth it. But he told me that I was chosen, and no one can take me away from him, because I belonged to him and him alone.

My future husband moved back to where his dad lived . But he never forgot me and still writes me letters. Sometimes, I forget about him and the price he paid to have me. I find exciting things that live around me and I forget about my future husband. They become more important to me than my future husband. And my future husband gets mad, well… not mad, jealous. They never paid as much for me as he did, and he tells me that. We go to marriage counseling with his dad and I tell my future husband how sorry I am. I broke the contract we had, I shrugged off that red dress like it was nothing. I never expected to be forgiven. But I was.

My future husband loves me in spite of what I’ve done. He tells me that he still loves me and always will. He says I’m beautiful. My future husband never gave me a diamond ring. My eternal valentine never gave me a box of chocolates, a necklace, or a rose for Valentine’s Day. He gave me him, and that’s all I will ever need.

My future husband and I are getting married when I move up to heaven and all the wedding guests have arrived. They’ll ring the bells and the service will start. The best food will be served and we’ll all be praising him and his dad. My future husband’ s name is Jesus and we hope you’ll come to our wedding. My future husband… he’s awesome.

Categories: beauty, Bible, christianity, Church, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, looks, love, Moving, people, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, teens, Thoughts, Trust, Valentine's Day, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing

To be honest, earwax isn’t the most pleasant thing. Unfortunately, I have gotten to know that really well. A few weeks ago, my ear was clogged up… and wouldn’t unclog. We went to the doctor and, what do you know, a big hunk of earwax was stopping me from hearing things correctly. During that time, I really stopped to think about my spiritual life. Is there anything clogging my spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice? What is the earwax that keeps me from doing what God has planned for me? For any of you who know, it can be kind of cool to hear your own voice after your ear gets stopped up, but eventually it just gets annoying. You try to remove with a Q-tip… nothing. You try all these different things because by now; it’s beyond annoying, it’s maddening.

I went to Disciple Now “D-Now”, a youth retreat at my church, last week. During the icebreaker, my fun fact was that I blogged. Since I said that, I was forced to blog about D-Now. But that’s not the only reason that I brought it up. It really was an awesome weekend that dealt with finding your identity. And as a teen, that can be difficult. You try to find it in so many different things other than God, and soon you’re entangled in a false identity, not at all what God wanted you to be. I will blog along those lines later. What I really struggled with this weekend, wasn’t finding my identity. I knew what my identity was, it was Christ, what I struggled with, was surrendering a few things.

I devoted the weekend to seeking after God’s plan for my life and not my own. I realized that sometimes, living fully for Christ could mean giving up things that you’ve held onto for a long time. Things like your biggest dreams, your firmest hopes, and your obsessions. I can name at least one that this theology struck really hard. I felt like it nearly killed me to give up control of it. I found out something though, once you make God the desire of your heart, things began to change… fast. So fast, it’s like you’re caught up in an amazing whirlwind of his love, his holiness, and his grace. I am completely and utterly in awe of him.

After the youth retreat, I got to talking with my youth pastor and he offered to let me teach a small-group of 6th grade girls this summer. To let you know, no youth lead the small groups, it’s all college students. Teach at church; become an even bolder person in the faith? No way, my life had been planned so drastically different. Last Sunday, my Sunday school teacher offered to have a student teach the class, I was dying to, but before I could say anything, my class members unanimously elected me via the “stare vote”. So I’m teaching now.

I believe it all came from one prayer. I advise you to use these words carefully as they always bring about change as soon as God knows you’re willing. I had been warned, but I honestly thought I could imagine up what God wanted me to do. Take me seriously on this, unless you really want something to happen in your life, which includes all of your dreams falling to pieces in light of God’s supreme plan, don’t pray this prayer.

The prayer: use me, bless me, do whatever you want with my life. I give you all my hopes, all my dreams; I want you to be my heart’s desire. I want to fall in love with you. Take all my plans, and turn them into whatever brings you glory. Here I am, send me.

I finally got the earwax cleaned out of my spiritual ears; and once I did, I heard God loud and clear. What are you waiting for? God wants to do amazing things in and through your life if you’ll just listen. Chances are; you have spiritual earwax. Clean the earwax out of your ears, and give him all your attention. He’s worth every second. And that earwax… toss it in the trash.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, Church, comparision, D-Now, earwax, Faith, finding your identity, God, hearing, identity, life, prayer, purpose, small groups, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, youth retreats | Tags: | 7 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Ashley P Dickens

Stories from my little black desk

Anchor for My Soul

Take me where HOPE is needed.

Jesus>I

Ministry, Friendship, Family, and Life

Shelli Littleton

From Hardship To Hope With A Mission

Enough Tribulations Peace & Deliverance Ministries

Finding Peace and Deliverance in the Midst of Tribulations

worthydaughters: Ava Sturgeon's blog, book info

For Jesus girls walking "in a manner worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10).

Ashley P Dickens

Stories from my little black desk

A Beautiful Purpose

God has a plan for every moment

Elephant Poems

A blog of random poems by a crazy poet

commonground3855.wordpress.com/

Taking Gods love from the pews to the pavement.

Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

Alicia Zinn

A little Life Laughter & Love... It's the little things in life that make a difference!

Not So Supergirl

Truth, Hope, and God's Way

Leaving Perfection Learning Grace

A journey through eating disorder recovery and beyond

Megan Has OCD

About Mental Health, Daily Struggles, and Whatever Else Pops in My Head

Tina's Recipes

A collection of Recipes