Friday, May 2, 2014

How Can the Church Better Reflect Christ?

A couple weeks ago in church my pastor was talking about this very topic. Our church is in a very small community that is becoming a bit run down. It has the potential to become a beautiful place, but a lot of the people who live there don't necessarily have the money to change things. Pastor Jared challenged us to think of ways that our church could make a difference in the community. He challenged us to look at evangelism as not just inviting people to come to church, but to bring the church to them. I believe having a servant mentality and love for the people are two great ways for the church to better reflect Christ.
First off the church needs to develop a servant mentality. In the presentation, “Christianity and Culture” Professor Towns talked about how just as Jesus was sent into the world we are also sent into the world to serve. Matthew 23:11 (MSG) says, “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant.” I use to think of a servant as someone who has to do everything their master commands, and they are dirty and looked down upon. But, now that I've really thought about it I see a servant as someone who is obedient, not afraid to get dirty, and humble. The church needs to be obedient to what God tells them to do, and he has already called us out into the world. The church also needs to be willing to get down and dirty and do some work. All of this should be done in a humble manner not to draw attention to themselves, but to draw people to the Lord. As I mentioned, the community my church is in could use some work so I’ve been thinking of things the church could do to improve things. Professor Towns mentioned a few things in his video such as starting a free clinic, music and acting classes, and working with Habitat for Humanity. My church could easily start some music classes and art classes for local children. We could also just start cleaning up the town. There have been some houses burn down, and the remains need to be cleaned up. Another need the community has is for a fire truck and a few volunteer firefighters. This of course is a large need, but it is something the church could make happen in the future. These are just a few examples of things the church could do in order to help the community.
Along with all of this work needs to be love for the people. It’s important to remember that the church is not the building you meet in it’s the people (Etzel & Gutierrez, 2012). So the church should be just a bunch of people who love other people. Everything that the church does to serve the community should be done out of love for the people. Everything Jesus did on earth was because he loves his people with an unconditional love, and that should be said of the church as well. I think one major problem with some churches today is that they just try to get people into their building rather that really loving them and getting down on their level. I think the purpose of being a servant is to do life with the people of the community, to help them with whatever they need, and to love them unconditionally. Doing this will help to form a relationship with the community that goes beyond the walls of the church into the very hearts of the people. The more the church does to help out the community the more people will be drawn to the Lord.
I know there are many other things the church can do to reflect Christ, but I think these two things will a good place to start. If the church can grasp the concept of loving the people unconditionally they will in turn become servants. When you love people with a Christ-like love it moves you to help them and have compassion on people. When the church starts loving and serving the community will be changed, and when the community is changed the kingdom of God will grow, and the people will go out into other communities and do the same. It will be a ripple effect that can change the world.

Works Cited
Etzel, G. and Gutierrez, G. (2013). Praxis: beyond theory. Virginia Beach, VA: Academx Publishing      Services.

Why the Gospel is Rejected

In our culture today the gospel is often times rejected. Currently the U.S. is all about being “politically correct” and not offending anyone, but the gospel is very offensive. The gospel tells us that we are sinners (Romans 3:23) and that there is nothing that we can do on our own to change that (Ephesians 2:9). The gospel is often perceived as very narrow, and Christians as narrow-minded.  
                I believe that morals are often taught by parents and culture, so if a person does not grow up hearing about the gospel it’s easy to just reject it.  People would like to believe that their personal morals are enough, and that they don’t need anyone or anything to tell them what’s right and wrong.
I think some people reject the gospel because they have been hurt by the church or Christians in the past. Sometimes Christians can be a bit judgmental, and often forget to “remove the plank from their own eye” before trying to point out sin in someone else’s life. I think another emotional reason people reject the gospel is because it’s just hard to accept that you have done something wrong. It’s not easy to admit that you need help, or that you have made a mistake. So if people just reject the whole gospel then they don’t have to admit their sins, or mistakes.
As for intellectual reasons for rejecting the gospel, I think there are many. Science can explain many things in the world, and people tend to believe that science and God cannot coexist. God is then pushed out of the picture and labeled “impossible” simply because He can’t be explained. People often times have trouble believing something they can’t physically see or touch. Having simple faith can be hard sometimes because intellectually you want to be able to explain everything, and there are some things that you just can’t explain about God. That’s because “His thoughts are not our thoughts,” some things we just can’t wrap our minds around.
There are many ways we, as Christian’s, can address these objections and learn to better communicate the gospel. I think the first thing we need to learn to do is simply listen. We need to learn to stop talking and listen to what the other person has to say. If you first let the other person talk you will learn what it is they believe, and from there you can figure out how to best minister to them. Being compassionate and understanding of where people are coming from is also very helpful. If you can relate to them on some level and be more personal with them it is easier to share your beliefs. They must know that you really care about them, and not just winning them over. One way to handle intellectual rejections of the gospel is by asking them questions to get them thinking. One question you could bring up is, “How it is that all the earth is in the perfect location to be able to sustain life? If the tilt of the earth were off by just a tiny bit we wouldn't be able to live here.” I think it all comes down to one thing though. We need to love God, and love people. If we can do that lives will be changed.


Monday, March 10, 2014

College Adventure... and More

This past Friday was the end of my first two college classes. I'm so glad I made it through pretty smoothly. My first two classes were fairly easy so I didn't really have any problems with them. I know it's just going to get harder from here, but I'm so excited to continue and much less nervous now that I've got two classes down.
I'm looking forward to getting started with my first psychology class next week. I'm pretty sure it's going to be hard, but I like a challenge.
This week I have no classes, but I have a ton of work to do to get ready for my very first craft fair. It's March 22, and I just found out that it's actually a really big fair. I thought it was on the smaller side, so I thought I'd be ok with a smaller amount of products, but now I've realized that I need to make a ton. So this week I will be trying to build up my inventory, and figure out my display and prices and everything. I'm excited about it, but nervous at the same time. I've never done anything like this before so I'm just hoping that people like my stuff, and hopefully we can make some extra money.
Well, that's really all I have to say for now.. I'm sure I'll think of more later, but there just isn't a lot going on right now. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ts for Compassion

I just launched a campaign through to raise money for Compassion International. What is that you ask??

Here's an excerpt from their website telling you a little about what they do.

"Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training.
Today, Compassion helps more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries." (

So what am I doing? 
I designed a t-shirt and got set up with The way they work is you set a goal which is the minimum number of shirts that must be sold in order for your design to be printed. So my goal is small for my first campaign. I decided I need to sell 25 shirts for them to be printed. 

How can you get one?
The ordering process is easy. Just go to and choose your style and size. The shirts cost $25 each. If the goal is not met, you will not be charged and the shirts won't be printed.

 (This is the design)

The money raised through this campaign will be used either as a one-time donation to Compassion or it will be used to actually sponsor a child. It all depends on how much money is raised, and what the Lord leads me to do.

So now, you may be wondering what sparked this idea in my mind? Every year at Acquire the Fire Compassion International has a booth and they show short videos about the program and try to get people to sponsor children. Every year I want to do it, but I'm always worried about whether I'll have the money each month to do it or not. So this year as I sat there listening to a former Compassion child speak to us, I felt God really telling me that I needed to do something. So as I wrestled with the thought in my mind for a while this idea came to me. I love doing creative things like this, so why not use my creative talent for God. That's why he gave me the talent in the first place.
I'm just praying that the campaign is successful, and I would love to make this an ongoing project. I have created a page on Facebook which can be found at and I would love for you to all check that out and "like" the page. But I am also going to be figuring out how I can get more artists on board and have others design shirts as well. It will make them a little extra money, and we will be able to raise a lot more support for Compassion International. 
So please be praying for this as well, and if you are interested in getting more involved please let me know. You can email me at or just leave a comment on here. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wintery Weather and Other Things

Now don't get me wrong, I like winter and snow and such, but it has been so cold this winter. Once again, our pipes are frozen and have been all day. I know it's not as cold here as places like Wisconsin or Alaska or other cold northern places, but I'm not enjoying it. The cold hurts my face when I step outside. It's just not nice, rude weather!

So aside from the weather, things are going quite well with my classes. One of the classes isn't really my favorite, but it's required so I'll deal with it. Only 6 more weeks after this one. It wouldn't be so bad, but most of what I've read so far in the book is all stuff that I learned in high school in my business classes. So it's just like a refresher course... but I'll deal.

I'm thinking about summer classes, and if I want to take them. I should so I can get ahead, but do I want to? Probably, I mean what else am I going to do this summer? Even if I just take 1 or 2 classes that will still help me get a little bit ahead. I really want to graduate in less than 4 years. I know I'm going to have to work really hard, but I have all the time in the world right now so I might as well take advantage of it. 

I started a short devotion series yesterday about choosing one word for the year. One word to study, improve upon, share with others... just one word to focus on all year. I haven't chosen my work yet, but I've been thinking of some ideas. I think it's a pretty neat concept to choose one thing to focus on for a whole year. I've never really done it before, but I think it's a great idea. I think it's something I need with starting school. It will help me to keep focus on something other than school. I'll let you know when I choose my word, and why I chose it. Stay tuned for more info in the next few days.

Eagles! They are so beautiful and majestic. Living a long the Mississippi River has it's advantages when it comes to bird watching. Because of how cold it's been this year the river is mostly frozen. There are small areas where the water is accessible and there have been dozens of eagles gathering at those little water holes. Last Sunday we drove downtown after church and saw 17-18 in one area. It's been pretty cool being able to watch them fly around and get fish and stuff. 

Well, I think that's all I have to say for now. I know this was super random, but I'm just trying to get into the habit of writing again, and this is the best place to do it. If you have an idea for my "one word" for the year please leave a comment below.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Etsy Shop Update

I haven't really mentioned my etsy shop for a while now. So I just thought I'd give a little update here. I kind of just quit working on it towards the end of last year because I had other things going on. So far this year I have added several new items though. I have re-listed a few items from last year, but mostly it's all new stuff.
Here's a few pictures of some of my new items....

Custom Pipe Lamp 
This is a lamp we made to go above my desk in our bedroom. I love it so much, so I decided to post it in the shop as a customizable item. It's got a super industrial feel, but also a little bit rustic(ish) from the weathered wood. I think it would be a great addition to any room.

Original Watercolor Elephant  
I decided to start selling some of my original artwork. In the past I've only really tried to sell prints, but I decided it would be so much cooler to sell originals. Hopefully others will think it's cool to. ;)
Remnant of Fall 
This is one of my favorites. I love the Autumn season so much with all the pretty colors, but then we get to winter and it's just white. No fun. So I saved a few leaves from this past Fall and preserved them in these beautiful resin pendants. It's the perfect way to keep a little remnant of Fall with you all year 'round.

That's all I have for now, but I hope you will check out my shop, and find something you like. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

First Day of Fitness

One of my new goals is to workout every day Monday thru Friday. Today was my first day, and I did it. I only did a very short (5 minute) workout because my knee started hurting, but at least it was something. Tomorrow I should be able to do more than just 5 minutes, but as long as I do something I will be happy with myself. My big goal is to lose about 40-45lbs. But, I'm sure that will take some time. I may start a fitness series here on the blog, but I'm not sure yet. If anything I will at least do some little updates for myself here.