Sunday, November 21, 2010

my squishy

Well, this blog usually follows my moods, or seasons in life, so…”I shall call him Squishy, and he will be mine.” (movie reference?! Anyone?!)

This is a ‘squishy’ subject for me. More so because I don’t like to touch it or go near it…like I don’t like to touch squishy things (like tomatoes when you’re canning…gross).

The subject is…[drumroll]….openness.

This=Kayla’s struggle. A major one.

As a person, I like to hold things in and try to deal with them on my own. Then when I think I have it mostly figured out, I reach out to those near me and reach out to the Lord. Wrong order. Completely wrong, but that’s how I work. As a Christian, that’s totally not what’s supposed to go down. Sad thing is, I know this in my heart, but do my actions really reflect that? Chances are I’m not the only one that goes through this cycle, that’s why I’m sharing.

First off, why am I afraid to run to the Lord and be open with Him? Trust. As a fallen person, trust is a tricky thing for me. But He is faithful, and I need to remember that.

  • Psalm 18:1-2—“I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (NKJV)

  • Philippians 4:6—“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let you requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (NKJV)

Also, community is so important. This is something that I’ve known to be so true in my life, but I still hesitate to reach out. As a wise friend said, “that’s what the body of Christ is for.” To hold each other up, struggle with them, keep them (me) accountable, and guide me through the squishy areas in life. The Lord has placed people in my life that can/have/and do help me tremendously….the question is…will I let them?

  • Romans 12:4-5—"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." (NKJV)

What do you struggle with? How can (does) the Lord and the Godly people in your life sustain you?

p.s. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

owning your faith

So, what does this mean? To own your faith?

  • 1 Peter 2:2—"Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…"

This verse is not implying that we must work in order to obtain our salvation, but rather (in my opinion) that we must long for the "milk" or Word of God in order that God may transform us into the likeness of Christ. How are we to know the Father if we do not spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word—His 66 book love letter that He wrote for us?! To own our faith is to long for the "milk" He feeds us daily.

  • Philippians 2:12—"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"

Again, this is not implying that we must work in order to obtain salvation, but that we shouldn't be complacent with just being snatched from hell. To know Christ and Him crucified should be our goal, and working that out—truly knowing Him in that way—should cause us to tremble, joyfully.

  • Hebrews 5:12-14—"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil."

This was me my freshman year of college. I grew up in the church, knew all the right answers, but I was still feeding on milk, not solid food. I was complacent in my salvation, but I didn't know what it meant to truly feed on the Word of God. I had no idea that the Bible could be true meat in my life; that it could make me literally stronger day to day.

Owning your faith is just that, making it your own. For years I lived off of the faith of my parents and grandparents. I knew Jesus, but I trusted my family for feeding me the Word rather than picking up the fork and eating it myself.

This is a challenge to my brothers and sisters that are struggling with digging in to the Word of God. Consider this—would you go one week, voluntarily, without eating anything? How about drinking anything?

If we're honest with ourselves, most of us would not.

So why do we go so long without picking up the Bible?

I feel like this is a topic that is beat to death sometimes, but it's still an issue amongst my generation.

It's time to step up to the plate and own your faith.


Keep on keepin on-


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Popcorn is in the Bible...

First off. No. Popcorn is NOT in the Bible :)

But the dude at the movie theater tried to tell me that it was...

After my friend had purchased her concessions for the movie, the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted anything, and I politely said no. Then his co-worker proceeds to tell me, "You have's in the Bible." Hopefully he was just trying to make a sale.
I then told him that it wasn't...I've read it. It's not there.

Long story short, while this particular instance was a funny moment, how often are we challenged theologically and we can't answer for it? The challenge might not be as simple as "you have to buy some popcorn for your movie because it's in the Bible", but you will have challenges...and you must be ready to face them. What happens when someone seriously refutes your faith and you can't answer for it? Your credibility is shot with that person. Does that mean God can't use it? No. He's God. He can do what He wants.
But that's not the point. The point is, we need to be ready for battle daily. It's time to stop being complacent in knowing about God, and time to starting desiring to truly know Him.

It's time to stand up and let people know that popcorn is not in the Bible...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

africa is the only mission field

I've titled this blog "Africa is the only Mission Field" because that seems to be most of our attitudes when it comes to doing missions—especially us Americans.

Very rarely do I hear people talking about—and being excited about—going out in to their own cities to do mission work. Sure, we have the occasional volunteer-at-a-soup-kitchen day, or clean-up-the-park day, but do we ever do mission work in our own town/city like we do in foreign countries? I'm not saying that foreign missions are bad—we definitely need to go to foreign countries not only to be on mission but also to be encouraged by brothers and sisters from different walks of life.

BUT, do we ever get as excited about going down to our Main Street/Downtown to share Jesus as we do when we are planning a trip to [insert favorite mission spot here]?

If you do, then GREAT!!!

However, I think if most of us are really honest with ourselves, we aren't. And why not?

Here are a few reasons I believe we aren't as mission-minded in our own communities are we are globally.

  1. Our Reputation
  2. American's don't need Jesus anymore
  3. Social Media

And now to elaborate….

Our Reputation
When we share Christ with someone, we not only put ourselves out there to be labeled as a "Jesus Freak", but we also have to be vulnerable with people. I think one of the greatest ways to show Christ's love and redemptive power is to tell people my story—my true story, junk included. Just because I grew up in church with loving parent's and a fantastic church family doesn't mean that I've lived a squeaky clean, no hardships, life. People need to know that. And when I tell people that, my reputation (especially in the small town of Licking) has the chance of being shattered. And honestly, that holds me back sometimes.

Here's what gets me: why in the world do I care about what Joe down the street thinks of me, while at the same time, not really caring what Jesus thinks about me?! If I truly cared about how Christ viewed my life, I wouldn't give a what about Joe. But I do. And I think most of us are this way.

Challenge: Do something so radical that people can't help but call you a Jesus Freak J

American's don't need Jesus anymore
Okay, this isn't what it sounds like. Of course, we need Jesus!! The point of this statement is that (as a whole) American society seems to feel like we have already been evangelized, so it's time to move on. We are a 'good' country, so we just need to take Jesus elsewhere…He's done what He can here.


Whether we like to believe it or not, we need Jesus maybe more now than ever.

Just because we have running water and a McDonald's on every corner doesn't mean we are any better off spiritually than people living in the jungles of the Amazon…

That's all I have to say about that.

Social Media
Let's be honest. Most of us would rather tweet a Bible verse that might be read by 37 people [that's how many followers I have J], or it might not. We seem to be consumed with being online rather than being on the streets.

I know this is an area that I really need work in.

We make excuses for being online—I can minister to my unsaved friends by chatting on Facebook, or I can get loads of resources for my youth group. While the internet can be a fantastic witnessing and growth tool, we (I) need to do a better job at moderating how much time I put in on the great Book of Faces vs. how much time I spend sharing Jesus with people.

So. With that said, I hope that I have offended some people. Because if I have, then it means we need to do some work J

Please don't take this as a "Kayla is super against foreign missions…" type of thing. I'm not. I really want to go overseas to do mission work…and I want to go soon. But, I do think that we don't need to dwell on when we're going overseas, or get hung-up on our last trip to Africa. We need to remember those times and press on to duplicate them in our local coffee shop. We need to plan our trip to Peru while talking to the drunk on the corner about how Christ has changed our lives.

Let's stop being so wrapped up in our American-ness that we forget there is a mission field right outside our doors…

Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I had an opportunity to forgive someone today. And I did.
And no, it's wasn't simply for my benefit.
I've heard it said, and I've said many times, "forgiveness isn't for the other person, it's for you." And while I agree with that statement, I must admit that I believe it needs some revising.
"Forgiveness isn't just for you or just for the other person. It's for both people. It's for freedom from the bondage of bitterness."

While having lunch today I realized that I needed to forgive someone, and in my mind I said I needed to forgive them so that I wouldn't feel bitter about the situation. I don't really think that's what Jesus had in mind when He hung upon the cross.

His death wasn't so He wouldn't feel bitterness towards His children. It was for atonement. Justification. Redemption. It was for our freedom; it was because of Love.
Forgiveness is something that we as Christians should be willing to do, not so we can feel better about ourselves, but because we have been shown the ultimate forgiveness.

Moral of the story: don't make forgiveness a selfish thing. Love because He has loved us. Forgive because He has forgiven us.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Outsider

So I visited a new church today. Mainly because I have to evaluate 7 different sermons from 7 different churches/pastors for an Oral Communication in Ministry class. I went by myself, sat by myself, and felt like I was going to worship by myself. It wasn't until right before the service started-mind you, I had been there 20 minutes early-that a lady and her son sat semi-close to me and she said "Good morning."

Those were the only words spoken directly to me before the music started playing.

There were hundreds of people there.

Needless to say, I felt very alone in the midst of a crowd. While feeling self-pity at the beginning of the service, I started to think about how I treat those that visit my home church. We do have a VERY small congregation, especially compared to what could be called St. Louis' "mega-church", but people still visit.

And I treat them the same way I was treated this morning.

I overlook people, telling myself that someone else will welcome them and make them feel at home. Maybe if they come back a couple times, I'll go introduce myself and maybe we can be friends. How prideful can I be?!

If every 'Christian' has that thought, no wonder people are turned away from the Church. If everyone has the mindset that "someone else will cover it", nothing will ever get done. And I think that could be a big problem in some churches today-no one is willing to step up in faith and say, "I'll love/serve/give/pray like Jesus did."

One of my favorite motto's is-"Blessed to be a Blessing". It a favorite that I very rarely live out.

My challenge to myself, and to the Christian reading, is to love unconditionally. From this day forward to serve with the heart of Christ; love as He loved; comfort and encourage 'the least of these'.

1 John 3:16-"By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

Be intentional. Love well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not So Typical Rainbow

I saw a rainbow today. Some might not find it odd. It was odd though; it was sunny out, it hadn't been raining, and the only way I could see it was with my sunglasses on. I caught a glimpse of it while driving to work. It was placed parallel to the sun and if I took my sunglasses off, it disappeared. I was amazed.

Then I got to thinking.

Isn't that kinda how it is with God sometimes? The most beautiful things come when He is shading and covering us; when He is protecting us from the "violent rays" of the world. However, we always have to take our glasses off and see if it's any better with less of His help. We find the result blinding.

The rainbow was awesome and encouraging for me this morning; a beautiful reminder of God's covenant with Noah, and His love for me.

Sometimes I question God as to why He hasn't revealed certain things to me, such as the exact direction for my life and who my future spouse is.

Today I realized I need to see and savor the beauty in the "covering" of my life; in the unseen. In the promise that I am His no matter what.

Monday, January 25, 2010

One Crazy Beautiful Sunday

5:30am. Normal people are usually asleep, especially on a Sunday. Not me.

I awoke to the sound of our house phone ringing. Wondering if I should get up and go answer, since I'm the closest, or wait to see if whomever is calling will ring the cell.

*Insert Ringtone Here*

"Jennifer's water broke."
"Jennifer's water broke. Are you even awake?"
"Well, I am now..."

And thus begins my last Sunday home before spring semester '10. With a phone call about my cousin's water breaking. A week ago she had a false alarm. Now the little guy has to interrupt my last good night of sleep for a while. It was a welcomed interruption though :)

So after waiting a few hours to leave--due to Great-Grandma having to teach Sunday School--we ventured to Springfield to meet the little guy.

More like sit around and wait for the little guy.

After being there for approx. 5 hours, with little progress being made on mommy/baby's part, my sister and I decide to make a food run for everyone. 3 stops. 20 minutes max. And what happens.

"Hurry back, he's coming soon."

Wow, thanks for the great timing guys.

Needless to say, within the next hour, we (all 10 of us, other than mom & dad) welcomed Zander Michael Gene in to the world :)

He is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. A perfect little boy.
I'm not sure what was more touching, getting to welcome this new Imago Dei into the world, or seeing the love and joy flow out of my family's heart as we heard the news. It truly was the perfect ending to Christmas break.

7lbs 10oz, 22 inches long. aka: Perfect :)

As my Grandma said--his Great Grandma--"You just want to sit there and hold him, and never put him down."

I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!!

I pray, even now, that our Lord would draw Zander in to Himself and save him from his sin. Even this beautiful little baby is born in to a depraved world and needs his Savior.

I can't wait to tell him about Jesus :)

Love you, Zander!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Passion & Purity

"What has been like water from the well of Bethlehem to you recently? Love, friendship, spiritual blessing? Then at the peril of your soul you take it to satisfy yourself. If you do, you cannot pour it out before the Lord. How am I to pour out spiritual gifts, or natural friendship, or love? How can I give them to the Lord? In one way only-in the determination of the mind, and that takes about two seconds. If I hold spiritual blessings or friendship for myself they will corrupt me, no matter how beautiful they are. I have to pour them out before the Lord, give them to Him in my mind, though it looks as if I am wasting them, even as David poured water out on the sand, to be instantly sucked up."

Elisabeth Elliot, "Passion & Purity"