Why You Should Sponsor A Child

By the time your done reading this blog, at least 150 children around the world will have died due to poverty.

(According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day because they lack the means to afford proper care).

Their deaths are preventable.

Organizations like the one I work for (Expect Hope) make it their mission to rescue children from poverty and provide them with food, clothing, shelter, access to healthcare, and most importantly, love.

But WHY does your sponsorship matter?

Well, for one, not every country is the United States. Many countries do not have the means to help orphaned children, so many of them end up on the streets, naked and begging for food.

Many of those same children are targeted by terrorist groups like ISIS or Abu Sayyaf who promise them the same things Expect Hope does, but asks them to pay a hefty price; psychological abuse and, at times, sacrificing themselves for the terrorist groups cause.

There is no Child Protective Services to call in many third world countries. There is no Medicaid, no Free or Reduced Lunch, and sometimes, there isn’t even an option for free “public school”.

There are children right at this moment, walking along the streets naked and barefoot, with tummies rumbling, lacking ONE thing above all else; HOPE.

You could bring HOPE to a child today. You can change a life forever.

Some may say “well, $35 a month is a big ask”, but is it really?

My HULU subscription costs more than that.

Taking my family of four to Chipotle just once a month costs more than that.

Buying three new shirts at Ross costs more than that.

The truth is $35 equals to about $1.17 a day. We spend more than that on Starbucks, McDonalds, or whatever brand’s coffee you enjoy.

Think about that. Skipping Starbucks for 8-9 days a month will literally rescue an orphan from property and give them HOPE.

You can literally be someone’s hero for just $35 a month.

If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, visit Expect Hope today and sign up to sponsor. Still have questions? Comment below and I’ll do my best to get them.

Somethings you just don’t have to pray for.

Jesus said when you care for the least of these, you cared for Him.

Will you?

All Things Work Together

This isn’t the first time God showed me that He kept me from something for a reason.

A couple of years back, I realized something I thought to be perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. It was almost as if I could hear Him saying, “See? That’s why I didn’t let you go down that path“.

And a couple of days ago, I got that same revelation from a different circumstance: What can sometimes seem to be a punishment from God is actually protection.

I know this isn’t a new revelation for some (or even for me). I’ve often referenced in the past that God’s protection is much like a parent protecting a child. A parent will say “no” to a child who wants to run in the street to protect them from getting hit by a car. Even if that child wants nothing more in that moment than to play in the street, the more loving thing to do, as a parent, is to protect them from danger.

But a few days ago, that truth hit me a bit harder.

Through a conversation with a friend, I realized that, during a tough time in my life, God isolated me, not to punish me, but to prevent me, in every way, shape, and form, from doing something I would later regret. At the time, I was too emotionally vulnerable to realize that heading down certain paths would lead me away from God. So, being a loving Father, He isolated me.

It wasn’t punishment. It was protection.

Also a few days ago, the church we were attending decided to go in a different direction. I could write an entire blog post on this topic alone (I won’t, so don’t worry), but suffice it to say while some Christians would be perfectly fine with a decision they recently made, I am not one of those Christians (and we can love each other, yet respectfully disagree).

I tried to join this church multiple times (In other words, get involved, serve, lead groups, etc), but something always came up. The night service we went to as a family would be suspended for summer, my husband’s work schedule changed (making him unable to attend morning services or small groups), etc. I kept wondering why God was seemingly putting up road blocks at every chance to prevent me from getting involved with this church.

Once again, something I thought to be perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. And again, I could hear Him saying, “That’s why I didn’t let you go down that path“.

Back to square one we go.

But this time, I’m not so dismayed.

Even though my church made this decision, it is still a great church led by amazing people who love God and love the city of Phoenix. I still learned and grew as a follower of Christ there.

I don’t know where God is leading us, but I do know one this: All things work together for the good of those who love God.

All things are working together still.

 

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

When Your Brother Sins

We’ve all been there.

We’ve all sat across from a brother/sister in the faith at Starbucks, our favorite drink in hand, having a normal conversation when out of nowhere, they say something that you know will have a profound impact on all those involved. It’s those three words that breaks hearts, tears ministries apart, and cause some to walk away from the faith.

What three words could possibly hold so much weight that some would count the faith as a lie and walk away?

It’s simple. The three words that will test your friendship the most are “I messed up”.

It doesn’t matter what that other person did. It could be something that personally affects you (like someone cheating with your partner or lying about you) or it could be something that has nothing to do with you (like sexual sin or an addiction of some sort). Either way, hearing your brother or sister admit to you that they have fallen into sin is heartbreaking (for many reasons). For one, it grieves the heart of God when His children chose sin over Him. In addition to that, you know that engaging in sin bears consequences, some of which there may no coming back from fully. There is now mistrust, gossip, false assumptions, and all sorts of things your friend will now be at the center of.

And take it from someone who was personally in the middle of that circle at one time: when falling into sin isn’t handled well by the church, it can do irrefutable damage to an already hurting soul. 

So then, what should we do when our brother/sister stumbles?

  1. First and foremost, PRAY. Pray with them, right there and then, and pray for them every day afterwards. Ask for a heart to understand what they are going through. Ask God to allow you to see them as He does, no matter how hurt you may feel. While your feelings are valid (especially if it was a personal offense against you), understand that they now find themselves in the center of a storm and most likely feel betrayed by a lot of people.
  2. Encourage them. This will adjust to their specific situation, but look for ways to encourage them, get them back on their feet, and help them walk towards Christ again. For example, if they fell into sexual sin, have that “tough” conversation (in love). Help them set up boundaries so they can’t fall again. Be their accountability. Then encourage them along the way and be there for them when they’re tempted.
  3. Look for tangible ways to bless them. This doesn’t always mean monetarily, but it’s important for them to see tangible proof that they are loved. When I fell into sin back in 2013, I felt so alone and unloved. This couple from our church blessed my (now) husband and I with a completely unexpected gift towards our baby. Some of my closer (former) best friends couldn’t even show up for my baby shower, but this couple’s generous gift was a huge neon sign of God’s love to me when I began to doubt it most. Even if you can’t afford something like that, look for ways to serve your brother or sister.
  4. Most importantly, be there for them. You most likely will be the one initiating the conversations with them. I can’t speak for everyone, but I didn’t want to contact anyone after I sinned. I was ashamed. I felt like an embarrassment. The only conversations I had for a while were ones initiated by other people. I had few friends during that time, but I am thankful to God for those conversations and relationships. Call them. Text them. Show up at their house with pizza. Just be there for them.

The worst thing you could do now is turn your back on them. Are there some people who aren’t actually saved at church and sin without caring? Yes, they exist in every church. (You should still love those people, by the way). However, I’m referring to a believer that falls into sin and is repentant. You should love everyone, but you should especially love your brother/sister that is repentant of their sin and in need of the tangible grace and mercy of God.

Simply put, what should you do when your brother sins? The same thing you should do every single day of your life.

Be Christ-like. Be Gospel-centered. Be Jesus.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” – James 5:19-20

 

Don’t Wait Another Day

This past Sunday, my pastor delivered an incredible sermon (which you can listen to here) about the vision of the church for 2017. I’ve heard many “vision sermons” from a variety of churches, but something was different about this one: this wasn’t just the vision for the church. It was a wake up call.

Too many of us ignore the call of God and the time to stop is NOW. 

(And for the record, I give 100% credit for this idea to my church, New City Church. While I could have just copied and pasted the “sermon notes” for this message [because it was that good], I decided to rephrase it on The Glass House Gospel with my own spin on it). 

In Deuteronomy 1:1-38, we learn that Israel, after being given a plan by God to reach the land he promised them, is hesitant and disobedient. They have questions. They don’t trust God. They want more proof (reminder: same Israel that saw the Red Sea part and bread literally fall from the sky). What should have taken then 11 days time ended up taking them 40 years (14,600 days) because of all of their excuses. They proclaimed that the Lord “hated them” (again, this is the SAME group that God delivered from Pharaoh) and that He had purposely sent them there to destroy them.

God was angered by their words and punished them by not allowing (almost) any of them to enter the promised land: not even Moses.

They should have entered the promised land on Day 12. Instead, because of their disobedience, after 40 years and some days, they were punished and forbidden from entering.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a “Day 12 Christian”. I want to have my Lord say to me “well done, good and faithful servant”. I don’t want to make excuses for 40 years as to why I can’t serve God “today”.

Truthfully, I know there are areas of my life that I have been hesitant in trusting God. Like Israel, I ask for more proof or I say I’ll pray about it more (when really, I just want God to change His mind).

Is there something that comes to mind as you read this, an area in your life that you know you are being disobedient to the calling of God in? Is there something he has made clear to you, but fear stops you from ever taking a step forward?

Don’t be like Israel. Don’t disobey God because His way is uncomfortable or because you’re scared.

Follow Him today. Step into His will today. Trust in His promises.

Don’t wait another day.