Stop the Hop

20 Mar

Stop the Hop
Lately I have been really bothered by a certain expression I have heard many Christians use.  Maybe you have even used it before. I know I have thought it before….

“I’m just not getting anything from church”

Christians often use this phrase to say that the church’s worship no longer excites them, and the pastor’s messages don’t give them goosebumps anymore. They are no longer excited by the church they’re in, so they hop to another one that will make them feel excited again.
Steven Furtick’s blog “Stop the Hop” deals with this very issue. He says,

“One of the things that really troubles me about the church today is the phenomenon of church hopping and church shopping. It’s a consumeristic mindset towards the body of Christ that grieves the heart of God.”

He goes on to say that we as Christians are living in an amazing time with endless possibilities to advance the gospel. We have the ability, resources, and people. What we don’t have is people who are committed to churches so they can be used for their God ordained purposes.

“If this generation doesn’t make the impact it should, it won’t be because it didn’t have the resources. Or even the passion. It will be because it was too busy hopping to different churches to stop and commit to one where its resources and passion could actually find an outlet.”

My question is when did the church become about what we can get instead of what we can give? The Church is the body of Christ. We as Christians are supposed to come together to give our time, money, sacrifices, worship, praise, prayers and service to God, all in efforts to advance his Kingdom. Somewhere along the way we got messed up.

“If you’ve fallen into the trap of church hopping, let me encourage you: embrace your place somewhere where God can use you. At the end of your life, God’s not going to be impressed or pleased that you saw what He was doing at ten different churches. He’s going be more pleased that you were a part of what He was doing at one church.”

You will never find the perfect church, so give up looking. If the church you’re visiting doesn’t have what you’re looking for, it might be because God wants you to provide it.

“It’s time for us to stop the hop. This isn’t Christianity. Jesus didn’t die so we could sample different churches like varieties of meat on a party platter. Jesus died to establish His church as the most powerful entity on the planet.”

I encourage you to stop the hop. Find an imperfect church where Jesus is and commit yourself to service there. No one can be part of a move of God while they are church shopping. When you commit yourself to the body of Christ and give of yourself, you will see amazing things happen.

 

 

7 years

14 Feb

Do you know where the best place is to find a good love story?

No, it’s not Hollywood. It’s the Bible! This may surprise you, but the Bible is packed with love stories!

One of my favorites is the love story of Jacob and Rachel.

The first time Jacob laid his eyes on Rachel, it is love at first sight. (how romantic is that?!)

Genesis 29:18 says, “Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, ‘I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.’”

Wait… what?

Jacob is willing to work 7 years to have Rachel as his wife! Now that’s extreme!

Jacob fulfills his promise and eventually (read the full story for all the dramatic details) has Rachel as his wife

The men in the Bible set some pretty high standards for Christian men…

Jacob was willing to work 7 years for the woman he loved!

But my favorite love story of all in the Bible would have to be the story of Jesus giving his life because of his love for you and me… it is the greatest love story ever told. Even the story of Jacob and Rachel pales in comparison.

Jesus gave his life, Jacob gave 7 years of his life. These men were willing to sacrifice all for love.

This leads me to believe that we should be looking for this trait in the men that we date and/or marry.

What is your boyfriend/spouse willing to sacrifice for you?

I think too often girls aren’t willing to wait the 7 years for the right man. We get lonely on year 2 and settle for someone less.

We underestimate the power of the waiting period. This is an amazing time to seek God and serve Him fully. Marriage is a big responsibility that changes your whole life. While you are waiting for the right man, you can become the right woman.

What if you knew that God had the right man waiting for you… in 7 years? Would you wait for him? Or would you settle for less in the meantime?

Before my husband and I started dating, he hadn’t had a girlfriend for 7 years. But, this was not because he didn’t want to, it was because he was seeking God and waiting for the right woman. During this time God used him to do great things and become the man he needed to be.

I am so glad that he spent 7 years working for me, even though he didn’t know it at the time. By obeying God and serving him, he was becoming the man that I would one day marry.  I know it was perfectly in Gods timing, because if we would have fallen in love sooner, it would not have been right.

Obviously 7 years is just an idea from the Bible. Maybe your “7 years” is really 1 year or 2 years. Or 7 years. Either way, trust in His timing.

Although waiting can be fulfilling, I will not ignore the fact that it is often lonely. God created us for marriage, with a deep longing for companionship. Remember, loneliness is only a place you travel through, not the destination.

 

Set your standards high. Compare the man in your life to Jacob and ultimately Jesus. Is he willing to sacrifice for you? If not, he is probably not the right man.

Be willing to wait. I hate using the word wait because it sounds so inactive. Waiting can be one of the most fulfilling seasons of your life! Before you are joined with one person for the rest of your life, you can spend more time falling in love with Jesus.

Don’t settle for less in the meantime and, if necessary, wait 7 years for the man God has for you!

 

P.S. Happy Valentines Day!!

 

 

 

Decisions, decisions

13 Nov

“You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.” –James 4:2-3

Have you ever had a situation in which you needed God to help you make a choice?

Who to date?

What job to take?

Where to go to college?

Often times when we are faced with a tough decision, we want God to tell us the right choice. We want him to magically reveal it to us, as if there is only one correct answer.

Could it be possible that God is more concerned with the how that who, what, or where?

Let me explain.

You ask God where to go to college, but maybe God is more concerned with how you are going to act when you get to college…

You ask God what job to take, but maybe God just wants you to serve him wherever you go…

You ask God who you should date, but maybe God is more concerned about how you are going to use your relationship to glorify him…

You see, I don’t think God cares as much about the who, what, and where, as much as he cares about the how- your heart and your motives

People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. –Proverbs 16:2

Our best attempts will always lead us in the wrong direction. We need right motives in order to follow God’s plan for us. Only God can purify our hearts to give us right motives…

But when you have right motives, you can’t go wrong

You see, I don’t believe that there is only one person, place, job, college, or whatever your choice may be. I don’t believe that there is only one “right” answer.

I don’t think God only allows one “right” choice and if we choose the wrong one… well, we’re done!

No! God is a good father and he will always take care of his children. He knows we fail and make mistakes. He knows we are sinners and if it was left up to us, we would always choose the wrong way. He knows all of this and he still chooses to love us and take an active interest in our lives.

That is why I believe God will use us wherever we go, whatever choice we make. As long as we have the right motives, he can use us wherever, whenever, and with whoever.

When we have a pure heart our motives will follow in the pursuit of the purposes of God.

 

 If you seek the right motives, the right choices will become evident.

 

So, next time you are faced with a tough decision…

  • Examine your motives
  • Don’t pray “should I?” or “shouldn’t I?” pray “God, give me your heart and your motives in this situation.”
  • Remember, when your motives are right, you can’t go wrong

 

 

Bite-sized Blog: Principles for dating (Part I)

7 Sep

Bite-sized Blog: Principles for dating (Part I)

Today’s Bite-sized Blog comes from, “For the gals: 8 principles for dating” by Jen Smidt. I thought this blog was awesome! Things all girls can relate to and good things to keep in mind while dating.

1. Repeat after me: “You are loved.”

It seems like such a simple concept, but it’s something we often fail to realize. If you are a Christian, you are a daughter of God.

God says to his daughters in Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

God LOVES his daughters.  Even if you aren’t being pursued by a man right now, Jesus is always pursuing you. You are loved by Him, always.

Until you have tasted God’s eternal, steadfast, redeeming love, hold off on looking for a man. You may just end up settling for a quick love that cannot fill the core of your heart’s longing.

 2.      You are less beautiful that you think and more beautiful than you believe.

No matter how much makeup, tanning, teeth whitening, or dieting we do, none of it can change the fact that beneath all of that… we are ugly. We all have a toxic ugliness caused by our sin, which can only be covered by God’s forgiveness and grace.

It takes a humble, redeemed woman changed by God to admit the ugliness of her sin and rest in her beauty in Christ. We must repent of our pride, our shame, our obsession with our looks.

You see, the point is our inner beauty. What God see’s when He looks at us, not what we see when we look in the mirror.

Our sin makes us ugly. However, Christ can make us beautiful.  There will still be times to admit our struggle with sin, but when we find our identity in Christ we will reflect his beauty.

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the fear of God.” Proverbs 31:30

 3. Consider what controls you.

Take a look inside of yourself for a minute. What controls you? What are you constantly thinking about? Or even if it is not so obvious, what is deep down that controls what you are thinking about? (For example: if you can’t stop wishing you had a boyfriend, it may be a thought driven by loneliness.)

Is it fear, loneliness, demand for a man, seeking approval, career, money?

These things can take control of our hearts and minds, distracting us from the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that we have a God who gave everything for us and who, even still today, loves us unconditionally.

Don’t settle for less than that. You can search for fulfillment in every job, relationship, and possession that money can buy but you will never find true satisfaction. It is when we delight ourselves in Him that we will be truly satisfied.

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4

 4. Address your “Daddy issues.”

This is something most all of us can relate to. Often, our earthly fathers fail us and fall short of loving us unconditionally.

Whether yours was absent and uninvolved or abusive and abandoning, don’t let him define who you believe your heavenly Father to be.

Whether you have a great dad or the worst dad, it doesn’t change who God is. We all have imperfect earthly fathers. However, we all share a perfect heavenly father.

We have a perfect heavenly Father that loves each one of us perfectly. We do not need to search for a dad-duplicate or dad-replacement in a man. The void we felt left from our earthly fathers can only be filled by our heavenly Father.

Let Scripture reveal to you who God is as Dad and what kind of care He gives his daughters.

And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”     2 Corinthians 6:18

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog as much as I did, Part 2 will be coming soon!

 

 

 

What’s going on at FWP

20 Aug

Hello Everyone!

 
As many of you may have noticed, I have been MIA for the past couple months! Don’t worry I didnt forget about you… I have just had ALOT going on in my life. (Planning a wedding for starters!) Now that I am back from the honeymoon and happily married, I am ready to start normal life again, which means posting blogs on a regular basis again- yay!

 
However, now I am writing from the perspective of a married woman! …but i dont think that will change a whole lot. I will still be focusing on writing to the single/dating girls …. since I have just been through it all (and made it out alive…phew!). Plus, I have many years to go until I start writing on marriage.

 
Whether your single, dating, engaged, or married… I hope you can find some encouragement and inspiration here as I begin posting again.

 

XO, Aimee

Desire for intimacy

21 May

It seems that every little girl has shared the same experience… The infamous celebrity crush! C’mon…We all had them. The guy on that poster which you had on your wall and the one you dreamed of marrying. When you played with your friends he would be your husband… Am I right? It could have been a singer, actor, or maybe he was a real guy you knew.

For some reason, even from the time we are very young, we develop this infatuation for a person due to our great desire to be with them. So how does this happen? Is this some weird coincidence that all girls develop crushes growing up? Or is it “natural”? Could it be possible that this is actually a desire put deeply inside of us all?

As humans, we were created with a deep desire for intimacy. If you look back to the very beginning, God knew we had this desire and that is why he wanted to be in direct relationship with us. God had direct relationship with the first human named Adam. But even though Adam had God, He still blessed Adam with a companion named Eve. (Genesis 2:18) This was good in God’s eyes. Adam had a relationship with God and another human. However, Adam and Eve messed this up when they brought sin into the world. (Genesis 3) This sin now had the power to separate them from direct relationship with God.

There is something put in us that longs for something deeper than the world around us. That is why so many people spend their lives trying to “find themselves”. People try countless religions and groups trying to find some deeper purpose in life. People try to find intimacy in countless, shallow relationships hoping that the next person will satisfy their desire for intimacy. A religion or person never will accomplish this. It is only a relationship with God that will satisfy our desire for intimacy.

David says in Psalm 73:25, “I desire you more than anything on earth.”

Just like David, we all have a desire for intimacy put in us by God that was meant to be for God. However, because of our sinful nature, we get this messed up and try to fill this desire with other things.

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, and division.” Galatians 5:19

Do any of those things sound familiar? Our own desires will lead us to sin. It started all the way back with Adam and Eve. It keeps us from God. Because of our sin, we often try to fill our desire for intimacy with another person. I think this is especially true for girls. Girls will go from boyfriend to boyfriend hoping to finally find that one who will satisfy. God doesn’t see intimacy with another person as a bad thing, He said it was good for Adam to have Eve. However, intimacy with another person is not a substitute for intimacy with God.

That longing we have even from the time we were little girls was a desire for intimacy. Don’t try to fill your desire for intimacy with another person or religion or self-help. The only way our soul’s deepest longings can be fulfilled is by intimacy with the person who created us.

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.” Psalm 42:1-2

Have you been searching, trying to fill your desire for intimacy? Your search ends here. It is a relationship with God that all of our hearts long for. A relationship with God will satisfy all our longings, because He created us and knows exactly what we need.

We all have a desire for intimacy. Point yours towards God.

 

What it really means to be pursued

30 Apr

pur·sue

1. to follow in order to overtake, capture, etc.; chase.

2. to follow close upon; go with; attend.

3. to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish.

4. to proceed in accordance with.

5. to carry on or continue.

If you read any Christian material on the subject of dating, you will most likely hear the word pursue used in the context of relationships. Usually it is that the man should pursue the women. However, I’m afraid that our definition of what pursue means has become a term we just throw around and often ends up misunderstood. Girls understand that a guy pursuing them is a good thing, but what does it really look like for a man to pursue a woman…the right way?

What it’s not:

A texting relationship. This is very popular in our society. If a guy can work up just enough courage to ask for your phone number, he can then just continue to hide behind the phone and send you obscure texts. If a guy is sending you texts but still ignores you when you are in the same room, that’s a problem.  I’m not saying that texting back and forth is a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for talking in person. Texting is the easy way out. If a guy will text you but not call you or talk to you in person, he is not pursuing you.

A Facebook relationship. This goes along with the previous point. If he likes your status, that does not mean he likes you. If you talk on Facebook chat all the time, that is not pursuing you. If he is talking to you, he’s most likely talking to other girls too. Chatting is fine as friends, but if a guy asks you out over Facebook do not let him off that easy.

A guessing game. This is when you can’t tell whether a guy is really interested in you or not. A man pursuing a woman should not be a guessing game, it should be completely obvious! If he really wants to pursue you he will make it known. If he seems to treat you nice one day and ignore you the next, he is not pursuing you. This is where girls tend to do the pursuing, when a guy gives just enough attention. Don’t fall for this. He is most likely a coward and wants you to do the work to pursue him, which is his job.

What it is:

Awkward. To be honest, when a guy pursues you the right way it can be awkward at times. Like when he asks you out on a date face-to-face, or explains that he has feelings for you… it doesn’t always come out smoothly. But that’s okay. After all we have to give them some credit for their courage! There can definitely be awkward moments, but I encourage you to embrace them. I promise you will look back and learn to love all those awkward moments you shared together in the beginning.

Hard work. If you are talking about a man pursuing a relationship with a woman  with the hopes of one day making her his wife… that’s not easy! It’s hard work. I don’t want to get too old fashioned, but he should work to make you feel valuable and special. He should pay for you, surprise you, listen to you, respect you, and show you how special you are. If he wants to win your heart, he had better work for it.

Continuous. A man does not just pursue you the first month of dating, or until you get married, a man is called to pursue you for the rest of your life! If you enter into marriage together, he is still to pursue you. The hard work isn’t over! When a man makes the decision to pursue you, it should be a continuous journey through the rest of your lives.

 

So far I’ve given you some characteristics of what pursuit is, but there is a great picture of what pursuit in action really looks like. The ultimate example of pursuit is found in the story of Jesus in the Bible.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

The truth is, you have already been pursued. Because of his great love for you, Jesus chose to pursue you. He left everything he knew and suffered persecution and death, all because of his love for you. His pursuit of you is continuous and never ends. Jesus has never and will never give up on pursuing you. No one will ever go further to pursue you than Jesus already did. In comparison to Him, no man could measure up; however, his sacrificial pursuit of us is a good example to guide us.

I hope that this helped to clear up some of our misconceptions of what it means to be pursued. Maybe you realized that the guys you thought were pursuing you really aren’t, or maybe you realized you are pursuing him! Whatever the case is, don’t settle for less than a man pursuing you. Embrace the awkward moments, make him work hard, and enjoy it for the rest of your life.

 

 

Is he ready to lead?

26 Apr

Men have a special calling from God to be the spiritual leaders of their families. If you are looking for a godly man to one day be your husband, you need to look for a leader. And he is not just called to lead you, he is called to lead your family as well. Here are some questions to ask about him to see if he is ready to lead.

How is his spiritual walk with God right now?

Is he actively pursuing Jesus? Or do you have to drag him to church? Once you get married, it won’t change. His pattern will continue whether good or bad. A guy with a strong relationship with Jesus will constantly be being changed by the Holy Spirit and trying to be the spiritual leader he is called to be.

How does he handle his money?

Luke 12:34 says, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” What does he spend his money on? It will tell you about his heart. If he can’t handle his money, he is not ready to lead a family.

How does he handle his job?

Does he have a new job every 3 months? Is no job ever good enough for him? A godly man needs to be able to work hard at whatever he is given. Look for a guy who is a hard worker.

How are his grades?

This question obviously only applies to some. If you are dating in high school or college, how seriously does he take his grades? When you are not yet on your own with bills and responsibilities, your grades are the only thing that you have stewardship over. If you can’t succeed or take your grades seriously, that is a bad indicator for the future. The Bible says we are to do our best at whatever it is, like we were doing it for the Lord.

I encourage you to keep these things in mind as you try to find a man who could be a Godly leader for you and your family someday. If you ask yourself these questions and you find yourself encouraged, there is a good chance that you have found a man who is ready to lead you and your family.

 

Worth Your Watch

23 Apr

Check out this 1 minute clip of Pastor Andy Stanley from North Point Community Church.

A few thoughts about the video…

You should have no tolerance for being treated like a commodity!

In case you’re wondering what commodity means, one of the definitions you can find in the dictionary is: A mass produced, unspecialized product.

Mass produced meaning there are tons like it. There are tons of girls who unfortunately let men use them for their bodies. Don’t be one of those girls. Demand better for yourself.

Being a commodity is more than the way you dress. It has as much to do with the inside as it does with the outside. If you have Christ, you are a daughter of God and you are precious to him. You are rare and special creation. You are not a disposable product.

If you are fishing with your body, you will catch body-snatchers! As funny as that sounds, it is true. If you keep attracting the same type of guys, switch the bait you are fishing with. Don’t lead with your beauty, lead with what’s on the inside. Then you will get the kind of guy who cares more about touching your heart than touching your body.

Click here to watch the full message!

 

Vague Prayers and Bold Prayers

16 Apr

Let me start of this blog by saying, I am in no way an expert on prayer. It is probably the area I struggle with the most in trying to find a rhythm with my relationship with God. Some people really struggle with reading their Bible every day, but for me finding the time and place and way to pray has always been my struggle.  However, I realize there may be some of you out there who struggle with the same thing, so I am willing to share my weakness.  I am currently reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson so I have been thinking about prayer a lot recently.

In my short life I have already seen God answer some of my prayers in crazy ways. I have seen God do miracles in my family and personal walk with God. But more recently, I wanted to share a simple prayer that my fiance’ and I prayed. It was the day before Easter and we were talking about our church’s Easter service the next morning. We decided to pray that God would bring 150 people.

The next day at church went really well, we had an amazing response of people who accepted Jesus! After the service my fiancé came up to me and was excited to tell me the attendance number. It was 150. Exactly. Wow! It was so exciting and I almost find it humorous that God would bring EXACTLY the number of people we prayed for.

As I mentioned before, I am currently reading a book on prayer that is teaching me a lot of good principles. One of those principles is:

“God does not answer vague prayers”

If we would have prayed: “God, please bring a lot of people to church tomorrow.” How would we have known if he did? When we pray vaguely, there is no way to know if God answered.  It is because we prayed specifically for 150, that we knew God had heard us, and answered.

When you pray vaguely you don’t give God the chance to really answer your prayers in a powerful way. I like what he says about specific prayers in the book:

“The more faith you have, the more specific your prayers will be. And the more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.”

Because God answered our specific prayer, we can boast about how great our God is! When you pray specifically, you can no longer give credit to coincidences, only glory to God.

As amazing as that is, I couldn’t help but wonder… What if we had prayed for 200 people? Or 300 people?

One thing the author repeats in the book is:

 “Bold prayers honor God, God honors bold prayers.”

Was 150 a bold prayer? I thought so. But I think we tend to dream small because we don’t want to ask God for too much. But the crazy thing, God wants us to! God isn’t offended by our bold prayers, he is offended by anything less. God wouldn’t have been offended if we would have prayed for 300 people. It actually honors him when we dream big.

 “Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. Why? Because there is no way we can take credit for it.”

Praying for things that are completely beyond our ability gives God the chance to show off. And when he answers, no one can take credit for it but Him.

I challenge you to stop praying vague prayers. Pray specifically. Don’t be afraid to pray big and bold prayers, they honor God. And then when God answers, give him all the glory he deserves and tell others.

If you are interested in learning more about the book I am reading, check it out here. I highly recommend it!