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. Christian living faith Handling Life's Problems victory

Trust in the Silence

“Silence is golden…unless you have kids, then silence is suspicious”. Anyone with kids relate to that? Having two kids of my own and working with kids weekly, I can absolutely testify to this! At our house it usually means there’s some sort of mess being made or plot being conspired. Kids…am I right?? 

Silence can actually be deafening can’t it? Silence can be alarming. Silence can trigger our need to take action. 

Having just celebrated Easter this past weekend, this is all still fresh on my heart so stay with me because I really want you to “see” this part of the story!

Friday was the crucifixion; violence, mourning, grief. 

Sunday was the resurrection; excitement, celebrating, joy. 

But Saturday? 

Saturday was silent. 

So often we want to bypass Saturday because nothing “good” seems to be happening. It’s that messy, middle part of the story right? Where there’s disappointment, isolation, hopelessness, unexplainable hurt. 

We’ve come one day away from the trauma and we hear that “Sunday is coming and just wait for it, it’s going to be amazing what God is going to do on Sunday”! And that is absolutely true, don’t miss that. (Matthew 27:45-65, Matthew 28:1-10)

Of course God was at work Friday, it was part of His perfect plan. And of course God was at work Sunday, it was God’s promise fulfilled. 

But, you know what we tend to forget? 

God was still at work Saturday. He was still there in the silence. He was still there in the disappointment. In the hopelessness. In the hurt. God was there! When we’re searching for answers for the unexplainable pain and crying out with total abandon desperation…He’s working to bring it all together for good. (Romans 8:28)

Psalms 94:14 “For the Lord will never walk away from his cherished ones, nor would he forsake his chosen ones who belong to him”

When you think there’s silence, God is speaking in that space. When you think you’re isolated, God is working in that void. When you think you’re alone, God is shifting things on your behalf.

God is always, always at work even when we can’t see it or maybe even feel it. God is still the author of your story on Saturday, just like He was on Friday and Sunday. 

God CAN and WILL do for you what nobody else can do for you, even in the silence on “your Saturday”. 

We remember Friday, we celebrate Sunday. 

Let’s trust God on Saturday

Categories
. Christian living faith Handling Life's Problems victory

Birds and Grass

Leaving my house and heading into the office this morning I counted four different lawn crews working on just a small stretch of road. When I got to the red light I noticed two birds flying not too far above the traffic intersection. This morning, in the short mile and a half road and a thirty-second wait at the traffic light, I felt my trust for God deepen.

God reminded me of His words in Matthew 6

“Look at all the birds—do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food.

Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?

So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?

And why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers of the field. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty more than one of these!”

So if God has clothed the meadow with hay which is here for such a short time, then dried up, and burned, won’t he provide for you the clothes you need? Even though you live with such little faith? So then, forsake your worries!

Matthew 6:26-31 TPT

Can you feel the weight of His words to us?

In our current day and time trusting God at the highest level is a must. We aren’t sure week to week what news headline will shake our nation next, where our economy will go from here, what will “normal” look like!

 Yet, the grass just keeps growing and the birds keep flying.

Those four lawn crews reminded me that God is still making the grass grow. The birds I saw flying above the intersection made the words of Jesus ring in my ears “Look at the birds…aren’t you more valuable to your Heavenly Father than they?”

Let these promises sink deep in your heart. Let them envelop your entire way of thinking. If the grass is growing and the birds are flying, God has your back and you absolutely can trust Him no matter what comes your way.

How can you be sure?

Because if He is taking care of flowers and birds He absolutely will take care of you as His child.

To hear a sermon that takes a deeper dive on this click here.

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. Christian living faith Handling Life's Problems victory

Faith is simply trust

I thoroughly enjoy catchy words, creative sayings, and even tag lines that get engrained in your mind that everyone can relate to. The problem with these catchy and creative tag lines is outside of its context the meaning can easily be lost.

For example the old McDonald’s saying “badabababa I’m lovin’ it” makes complete sense as you are eating a juicy, fresh Big Mac. Add in a large fry with a large coke and a McFlurry, “badabababa” seems to just roll off your tongue! Now if you were to say this as you didn’t meet a deadline, getting a ticket for a fender-bender, or set fire to your kitchen while making dinner…badabababa Im lovinit” would make zero sense!

The word faith is certainly one of these words that, out of context, the meaning can be easily lost.

Phrases about faith are said a lot in church circles and rightfully so as Jesus even makes a few like “have faith in God!” (Mark 11:22) We are even told “it is faith that pleases God” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith makes sense in songs and sermons, gets amens from pews and online streams. You can even find faith printed on trendy shirts & Yeti cups in the trendiest calligraphy.

But what does this frequently mentioned faith look like in day to day, hour by hour life?

It is simply trust. Trust that God loves you, is guiding you, and wants the absolute best for you. God desires complete devotion to Him and it all starts with trust.

This trust in God is one of the most powerful things on this side of Heaven. It was trust in God that led Abraham to be called the Father of Faith. It was trust in God that led David to slay Goliath. It was trust in God that led Daniel to not only survive a den full of lions but to influence his culture even when it seemed to have no hope. It was trust in God that led to Peter stepping out of the boat, Lazarus stepping out of the grave, and the leaders of the early church stepping into their calling of proclaiming the great news of the Gospel.

This trust in God is one of the most powerful things on this side of Heaven.

Let this same trust that all the heroes of faith walked in, that is available to you and I, strengthen us to take a step in whatever season we find ourself in.

I encourage you today to see faith for what it is – a complete trust in the goodness of God as your Heavenly Father. He has your back and has never lost a battle or forgotten one of His children. Rest in this truth today and put your trust in Him.

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choices Christian living Handling Life's Problems Sabbath Rest

“A Day Off Will Not Fix It.” part 2

Here is another lie I believed for far too long…

A consistent day off for soul care would make me seem weak, lazy, and unmotivated to the world around me.

How ignorant I was!?

Although hard work is scriptural and honorable, it should not control my life. When I believe the lie of a day off will not fix my problems and it ultimately makes me weak, lazy and, unmotivated – I’m basically taking God and His promises completely out of the equation. I think we can all agree this is not a smart move. Jesus makes this wonderful statement in Mark 2:27

“The Sabbath was made for the sake of people, and not people for the Sabbath.”

Rest and rhythm that turn our hearts towards the goodness of our Heavenly Father was made for our sake. Let that truth and that promise resonate in your busy spirit. We were wired to experience a weekly rhythm of rest and refueling. When Jesus says this in Mark 2 He is revealing how the Sabbath is not for rules, rituals, and regulations. Instead it holds a powerful spiritual component that ultimately bears fruit outwardly.

Let that truth and that promise resonate in your busy spirit. We were wired to experience a weekly rhythm of rest and refueling.

Over the last few years I have thought a lot about why God would wire us with the need for sabbath. Although I do believe many of God’s designs and ways are a mystery to us (see Isaiah 55:8-9), I came across seven miracles Jesus did on the sabbath and I believe they paint an amazing picture of God’s purpose behind it.

Check these out:

1.) Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law on the Sabbath [Mark 1:29-34]

2.) Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath [Mark 3:1-6]

3.) Jesus heals a man born blind on the Sabbath [John 9:1-12]

4.) Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath [Luke 13:10-17]

5.) Jesus heals a man with dropsy on the Sabbath [Luke 14:1-6]

6.) Jesus drives out an evil spirit on the Sabbath [Mark 1:21-28]

7.) Jesus heals the lame man by the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath [John 5:1-18]

So why does all this matter?

It shows us what Jesus is doing on the sabbath as a picture of what He will do in our life through our sabbath.

He brings wholeness to our family (1.), restores what was no longer useful (2.) , restores vision (3.), gives strength for steps (4.), heals our inward working (5.), frees us (6.) and makes things happen that we have been waiting years for (7.). Sounds almost too good to be true doesn’t it? When in reality it is a part of the good news of the Kingdom of God!

Sabbath may seem only a day off, a pause in your schedule, a few moments to yourself where you look around and reflect on the goodness of God…but it is so much more!

It is as spiritual as praying, fasting, worshipping, giving and serving. It is God’s designed way to fill you up with His goodness and grace to take on the journey He has planned for you long ago!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10 [NLT]

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choices Christian living Handling Life's Problems Sabbath Rest

“A Day Off Will Not Fix It.” part 1

Confession time! Here is a lie I believed for far too long…

A day off is not going to fix my problems.

As with most good lies there is a small kernel of truth in it but it is far from actual truth.

What does stopping to refuel, finding the rhythm of refueling, and caring for your soul (all of which we have been calling Sabbath) does is creates a peace within you. Think about that for a minute. What could complete abandonment to true peace do for your weary soul?

If you go to Mark 4 we find Jesus asleep on the boat in the middle of a great storm.

“But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion.

The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!”

Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.”

Mark 4:37-39 [NLT]

Take a moment to picture this in your mind. What stands out to me is even the professional fisherman in the group disciples were scared for their life which means this storm was quite something! Then they cry out with the question so many of us ask when we are in our own storm “..do you even care?”

I do a deeper dive in this when I preached about my own battles of suicide and burnout and you can find that here.

But notice what Jesus does here because it is so important when we find ourselves asking those hard questions. He gets up and stops the storm to the point it’s noted “..there was a great calm”.

How did Jesus do this?! Maybe because He is the son of God? Maybe because He is showing us how God deals with storms? Or could it be Jesus had authority over the storm because what was within Him did not match what was around Him.

Be sure to know this: storms WILL happen. But when we have the peace of God WITHIN us we can deal with everything AROUND us.

Notice in verse 38 where Jesus was when the storm was raging “..sleeping in the back of the boat with his head on a cushion.” He was in a posture of rest. Can you see now, the significance of resting, refueling, and finding rhythms? It’s what Jesus did and as a result He had a peace that surpassed all understanding!

So what about you? How is your sabbath rhythm going?

Sabbath is so much more than just time off from the hurry and the mundane in our lives. It is a rhythm of rest that God our creator put into place (see Genesis 2:1-3). In part two of this I will show you the seven spiritual aspects of sabbath. Until then I encourage you to take a step this week in finding your rhythm of refueling. You will not regret it!

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so he rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.

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choices Christian living Handling Life's Problems Sabbath Rest

Just Schedule It

Have you ever run into a friend out and about somewhere, or maybe they shot you a text or a quick phone call, and y’all discussed hanging out soon? So the schedule hunt begins…

You can’t Monday because your oldest has volleyball practice.

You can’t Tuesday because the new puppy has it’s follow up vet appointment.

You can’t Wednesday because you have small groups.

You can’t Thursday because you have to work on the presentation that’s due Friday.

You can’t Friday because the plumbers are scheduled to come look at the dripping pipe by the washer.

Saturday is out of the question because it’s the community yard sale.

Sunday? Probably not because laundry and getting the house reset is a must before Monday.

Then, the dread hits you. Your schedule doesn’t allow for anything, let alone time for you and your friend to connect anytime soon.

I don’t know about you but I have been defeated by my schedule more times than not! This is exactly why I’m going to nudge you this week to schedule your Sabbath rest time.

This is exactly why I’m going to nudge you this week to schedule your Sabbath rest time.

Seems kind of upside down doesn’t it? To schedule the time where you rest, position your heart to the goodness and grace of God to let Him refuel you. It seems absurd to schedule these moments to eat a great meal, catch up with a friend, or to simply enjoy your favorite activity (or whatever you do for Sabbath). Let’s call it what it is; it seems odd to have to schedule it.

But from my own experience if you do not make it a priority on your schedule, it will never be a priority in your life.

Here are two practical tips:

1.) Start where you are.

You can easily put it off until after volleyball season, or after the busy season at work, or when this small group study ends. But putting off your rest prolongs the gift of refueling. You also run the risk of operating longer on whatever is left in your tank, which I’m guessing is already close to empty. Maybe you only have a few hours a week right now because of prior engagements, so start there!

2.) Find what fuels you in the time you have.

This potentially is more difficult than finding the time to stop and sabbath. Once you schedule it, what are you going to do? If Tuesday from 7pm till 9:30pm is your starting point, what are you going to with that time? Only you can answer this and it most likely will take a good amount of testing. Trying to see what works and what does not will take time, don’t rush trying to figure it out but don’t put it off either! Look at this time like a weekly holiday for your soul. A good meal, a relaxing hobby, a different environment, a great sunrise, a great sunset, a long bath, or whatever fills your heart with the goodness of God!

It’s not about just getting time off from your busy schedule, it is about how you use that time.

Trying to see what works and what does not will take time, don’t rush trying to figure it out but don’t put it off either!

Remember why this matters. Sabbath is important as your prayer life, your alone time connecting with God (i.e. bible study, devotionals), your generosity, and your unique gift to the body of Christ. This is significant so, start today and schedule it because you were not meant to run on empty.

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choices Christian living Handling Life's Problems Sabbath Rest

Where Do I Start?

This week we put up the last of our Christmas decorations and lights. As I was in the attic I found a massive tangled up mess of Christmas lights that I thought I would conquer. The question was, where do I even start? The knots were so tight, nothing seemed to give way, and after a few minutes, multiple tries to break it all free and many angry grunts….I gave up. I ended up throwing the tangled mess in a random box and went on with the task at hand.

I think this is what we often do when we hear the words of God to honor and observe a day of rest and refueling (check out Mark 2:27). Like the tangled Christmas lights our schedule is tight as can be, nothing will even flinch to give way and honestly our to-do list is at capacity with no let-up in sight!

Here’s what we need to know; the Hebrew word for Sabbath comes from shavat, which is the verb “to rest”. Rest does not necessarily mean doing nothing or lying in bed staring at the ceiling or sleeping away the day. Rest is actually more about what you ARE doing more than what you are NOT doing. It’s a change of pace, doing something different, or taking a completely different approach to the day.

Sabbath rest is a rest that turns our heart to the goodness, greatness, and kindness of our Heavenly Father.

But where do we start?

Sabbath rest is a rest that turns our heart to the goodness, greatness, and kindness of our Heavenly Father.

Every answer is unique to the individual, but here is step one: identify what fuels you. What puts a smile on your face? What makes the shift within you to be governed by enjoyment and not the clock? What is something you do that makes you pause in its midst and say “..God is truly good..” and as the scripture says in Numbers 6:24-26 you can feel His face shining on upon you.

This could be a number of things – a hobby, a great meal, a good book, a walk, a day on the water, a day in the hammock, a day on the slopes, a day on the bike and the list can go on and on and on. Remember it is all about pressing pause on work to refuel (rest) in the goodness of our God.

If you have not been practicing Sabbath rest chances are you will not be able to start off with a full day, so start with what you can. An hour, an evening, a morning, a half day, and then pray this dangerous prayer “God, give me the wisdom to adjust my life so I might experience your intended Sabbath rest.”

…pray this dangerous prayer “God, give me the wisdom to adjust my life so I might experience your intended Sabbath rest.”

As a disclaimer these are my raw thoughts…

Recently I preached something that has been working in me over the last four years & I’m sure will work in me for all of my time here on earth.

The thought was on Sabbath and it’s importance to the rhythm of our life. (You can see it here)

I’m discovering as intricate and detailed as all of creation is, rest is included in it (see Genesis 1). Rest and refueling is both simple and detailed, plain and complex, all wrapped up as one.

Over the next few weeks I want to give you the thoughts and notes that did not make the sermon, yet are helping me on this journey. My prayer is you will find your rhythm of refueling through Sabbath where it will not only fill you, but overflow to those around you. After all, that is the purpose of the abundant life Jesus gives…

– Trevor Hersey

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Christian living

The Super Power of Asking and Listening

It sounds easy, but it’s rare…

There are a lot of ways to show we care about someone. We can tell them. We can buy them a present. We can give them a hug. We can do something nice for them.

One of the best—and most neglected—ways to show we care about someone is to ask them questions and then to intentionally, carefully listen to the answers.

“What’s going on in your life?” This simple question opens a dialogue. It says you’re interested in that person. Everyone wants to share their story with someone. An interested person who asks a question could be the best thing that happened to that person that day.

Jesus asked questions all the time. “Why are you afraid?” “What do you want me to do for you?” “Where is your husband?” “Who do you say I am?” He cared about people and asked questions to show his compassion and also to lead them toward spiritual revelation.

“How are you doing?” Technically, it’s a question, but how often do we ask it, receive the stock answer, “I’m good,” and then move on without learning anything about what’s going on in that person’s life? How often are we more interested in what we will say to them than what they are saying to us?

Philippians 2:3 cautions us to, “…put others first and view others as more important than ourselves.” In verse four, we are advised to have, “…a greater concern for what matters to others instead of our own interests.”

If we want to share Jesus with others, it starts with being genuinely interested in their lives. That interest often shows itself in the form of a question.

Be on guard—the question loses its impact if it isn’t followed up with sincere, active listening. James 1:19 says, “…Be quick to listen, but slow to speak…” So often, we’re exactly the opposite. We’re quick to speak. We love the sound of our own voices. We are compelled by the importance of the happenings in our own lives. But we aren’t so good at listening to the circumstances in the lives of others.

Most people don’t listen to understand. They listen to reply.

Stephen Covey

People want to tell someone about their job, their children, what they had for dinner, and much more. They may be dealing with a sickness in the family, financial problems, or wondering about the purpose of life. Everyone needs someone to listen and to care, and we can be that someone.

Listening does more than just allow someone to vent. It creates a relationship. And a relationship may lead to an opportunity to share Jesus.

So, ask the question. Commit to listen more than you talk and to be more concerned about the other person’s concerns than your own. Asking questions and genuinely listening to the answer could be the start of change and healing in someone’s life.

 Be brave and be interested. Be compassionate. Be like Jesus.

Heavenly Father, make me a better listener. Give me a genuine interest in others. Help me ask wise questions and give me the ability to listen with empathy and compassion. Use my interactions with others to show your love. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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Christian living

Housekeeping Matters

The family keeps the house in order…

When I was a kid, my family had fun times. We went camping, roasted marshmallows in campfires, went on hayrides, and swam in almost-always-cold Lake Michigan.

But we also had a lot of work to do to keep our house in order. If everything we did was just for fun, we would end up in a mess. To make things orderly, we all had work to do. My brother cut the grass and took out the trash. I swept and did dishes. My parents worked, fixed the cars, and paid the bills.

If someone in the family was sick, we took care of them. If someone was sad, we hugged them while they cried. If someone was happy, we all celebrated.

Some people may have had maids or yard people or nannies, but not my family. If the work was going to get done, we had to do it.

The family of God is not all that different. Everyone in the family of God has a role to fill to keep the house in order. If the work is going to get done, we have to do it.

Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace...

1 Peter 4:10

Every believer has a gift to be used to serve the house. No one is exempted. God has something for each of us to do to keep the house functioning well, to help members of the house, and to reach the community with God’s grace.

Peter gives us some examples of these gifts and how to use them.

For example, if you have a speaking gift, speak as though God were speaking his words through you. If you have the gift of serving, do it passionately with the strength God gives you…

1 Peter 4:11

There are so many grace gifts given that to make a complete list would be nearly impossible. If you are a baker, use that gift to glorify God. An artist, a carpenter, a computer programmer, a teacher, a doctor—wherever your gifting lies, be assured it can be used to bring glory to God and edification to the house.

Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves…

Galatians 6:4

It’s a blessing and an honor to be part of God’s family. It’s a privilege to be part of carrying out the work of God’s house. When we are committed to working in the house with excellence—using our own unique gifts—we are filled with joy, and the house fulfills its purpose of discipling Christians and leading the unsaved to Jesus. Everything works better when we all work together.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to be part of your family. Thank you for giving me a gift to use to serve the house. Help me work in the house with excellence. Fill me with your joy. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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Christian living

Where Do I Belong?

We all want to feel we belong…

There’s an old sitcom about aliens who come to earth in human bodies to study people. They never quite feel like they fit in (duh!), until they attend the Pendleton Badger football game. They wear Badger shirts and join in the Badger cheers. Suddenly, the high commander understands what it’s like to fit in with humans, and why humans love their football teams.

Sometimes we feel like aliens, like we don’t fit in, like we aren’t understood or accepted. All our longing to belong will ultimately be met through our relationship with God.

Where do we belong?

  • We belong in God’s family. “Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another” (Romans 12:10). When God saves us, we become part of his family. We become his sons and daughters. We are no longer orphans, but dearly loved children of the most-high God. We respect, honor, and love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they do the same for us.
  • We belong in our heavenly home. “But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). We live on earth. While we’re here, we have a spiritual family. But we are destined for better. We have a home in heaven prepared and waiting for us.

Hebrews, chapter 11, talks of great men and women of faith. These faithful people, “acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth.” They were journeying through earth on their way to their heavenly homeland. (See Hebrews 11:13-15.) We’re on the same journey as these people of faith. We are aliens here on earth. Our citizenship is in heaven.

Yes, we all have a desire to belong, to fit in. And we do belong in God’s family and in the church. We find love and acceptance here on earth through our relationship with God and others who serve him. But our desire for belonging will not be fully met until we reach our homeland—our eternal home in heaven. In that place, we will experience perfect love, complete acceptance, and ultimate belonging.

Right now, we’re on the journey home. It has ups and downs, good and bad. But, y’all, the destination—heaven—is going to absolutely blow our minds. We’re going to finally and eternally be in our perfect home, right where we belong.

Dear God, help me remember that this world is not my home. I’m traveling through on my way to my eternal home in heaven. Place me in the family of God and the body of Christ as you see fit. Help me look for belonging from you rather than this world. Give me love and acceptance for others on the journey. In Jesus’s name, amen.