The Story isn’t Over

The Story isn’t Over

It had been seven long, grueling seasons in the NBA. Though this player was known for his abilities and athleticism, it had yet to have translated into a championship. He endured a serious injury early on in his career that made him miss practically a whole season. And lately many wondered if he could hold up physically from taking such a beating on the basketball court. There seemed to be a ceiling of how far he could lead his team. Critics and fans alike started to question him as a player. As a leader. Was he too selfish? Did he have what it takes? Can he actually get the job done? Now the athlete we are talking about is Michael Jordan, who many consider to be the GOAT (greatest of all time). Once his NBA playing days were all said and done, he would have won six championships as well as numerous other feats that would set him apart as an iconic figure in not only sports but pop culture. Yet if we judged him only halfway through his career, it would not capture the fullness of his legacy and greatness that was to come. The truth is God is not finished with you yet. The Bible says that He is the Author and Perfecter of our faiths (Hebrews 12:2). The good work He started in you, He will complete (Philippians 1:6)! Yet as human beings bound by time, it is hard for us to see beyond our past and our present circumstances. We wonder if the promises God has for us will ever come to pass. We think...
Being Used by God – Part III

Being Used by God – Part III

Final part of a three-part series. Read part one & part two. There’s nothing more automatic than driving home from a familiar location. You know all the turns to make as well as the shortcuts that even Google Maps doesn’t know. But when you venture to a place you have never been before, you are helpless without directions. You ever turn down the music so you can concentrate on what the GPS is saying to you?! So you can see the turn you have to make coming up? That’s what you call true focus and dependency! Often times the greatest hindrance of being used by God is familiarity. When we become familiar with Him and how He works, we inadvertently put Him in a box. We mistake the same outcomes and formulas with a move of God. Before we know it, we know how to minister and be “used by God” apart from God Himself. We start valuing performance rather than creating space for Him to move as He pleases. Soon being used by God is like driving home from a familiar location. Our greatest ministry will always flow out of a deep intimacy with Christ. Click To Tweet However, did you know that most car accidents happen within a 25 mile radius of people’s homes? In the same way, when we operate out of familiarity, we are headed for trouble. Our greatest ministry will always flow out of a deep intimacy with Christ. Yet familiarity is counterfeit intimacy. Familiarity and putting God in a box is the quickest way to turn a movement of God into a monument....
A Personal Reflection of the Wilderness Season

A Personal Reflection of the Wilderness Season

Photo by Jesse Rinka Photography I entered a period shortly after having kids where I felt like I was wandering in the desert. I had my first daughter at 24 – much earlier than my husband and I had planned for. I quit teaching to stay at home with my two little ones. I battled discouragement and despair while doing ministry in the small church God had called my husband and me to serve. And I had very little community to process, grow, and do life with. I prayed that God would move with the same power I saw Him display all throughout the Bible. And in the secret place, I found hope in His promises over my life. But many times as I waited for fulfillment, it seemed as though He was working wonders everywhere except in my own life, church, and relationships. I stumbled over the temptation to envy others’ blessings, and fell deep into the rabbit hole of questioning His goodness and my identity in Him. It was after years of wrestling through cycles of promise and disappointment that He turned my attention to the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The Israelites directly witnessed miracle after miracle, provision after provision, yet “…they forgot the many times God showed them His love…” (Psalm 106:7). Their journey should have only taken 11 days, but by the time they reached the Promised Land, they lacked the faith to claim it, and instead an entire generation wandered in the wilderness I realized I was looking into a mirror. I was just as forgetful and “stiff-necked” as the Israelites, forgetting His great...
Where Can I Meet with God?

Where Can I Meet with God?

When I first became a Christian the Word of God became the Living Word (Heb 4:12-13). There is no other way to explain it than God’s Word became words of life. Every time I opened the Bible, the words would jump off the pages and stirred a fire in my heart (Jer 20: 9, Lk 24:32). I had never experienced anything like that before. In fact, I had to stop reading the Bible a few hours before I slept because it would keep me up all night. My heart would be so convicted and filled with wonder that it would keep me up for hours. The stories of the Bible would replay over and over in my mind, and my heart would burn with so much passion that I had to pray, “God, please help me sleep! I need to sleep to go to school, so please shut my mind off!” So after a few months, I learned that I had to read the Bible earlier in the day so I could get some sleep at night. Sometimes during school, I couldn’t wait until class would end so that I could run home to open the Bible and meet with God. That was it. I realize now what made reading God’s Word so intimate, powerful and life changing was that I read God’s Word to meet with Him. Not to know more about Him or to gain more knowledge to teach others, but literally to meet with Him. What made reading God’s Word so intimate was that I read to meet with Him Click To Tweet I wasn’t reading...
The Wind, the Earthquake, the Fire and the Whisper

The Wind, the Earthquake, the Fire and the Whisper

When I first started pursuing God I thought I would find Him in a big event. I started my journey with God about 12 years ago at the ripe age of 16. Since I was an atheist up until that point in my life (and didn’t have a satisfactory encounter with God up until then), I figured that God is probably somewhere out there and I have to find Him. I felt a need to put forth a good deal of effort in order to find Him and figured that encountering God would probably happen in some big way: some big ministry event/conference, some big missions movement, and something emotionally or intellectually stirring. I read dozens of books of philosophy and theology, attended every Christian conference I found, prayed between 1-3 hours a day, and participated in outreaches on the streets. A 2 month short term-missions trip in Cambodia during 2013 topped off my collection of encounters with God. In Cambodia, we witnessed people who had never heard of the name of Jesus encounter God through supernatural healing, dreams and visions. We witnessed a prison of 200 prisoners turn itself into a church as each prisoner encountered God, was baptized in the prison, and started a bible study in every prison cell. After a series of adventures, I realize that while God may have been a part of those big events He wasn’t in them. As I take a minute to reflect on life and dream of what may be ahead, I find that I’m not looking for my next missions trip, ministry opportunity, outreach or power encounter. I...
Building Altars In Every Season

Building Altars In Every Season

Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. – Genesis 12:7-8 One of our core beliefs and favorite phrases at Pursuit NYC is that “The best is yet to come.” Knowing that the God we worship is the God who promises to “give life and life to the fullest” (John 10:10), we contend, expect, and believe for God to move in powerful ways in our lives, schools, workplaces, and nations. But I believe that one of the greatest battles our generation faces is struggling with timelines. It’s easy to hear, read, and see what other people are doing these days and compare our lives to theirs. We might think, “I should be dating/married by now… I should have kids by now… I should be at this point in my career by now… I should be this type of person/spouse/friend by now… I should be further along by now…” And while the best is yet to come, I believe that it’s difficult for many of us to love God right where we are. BUILDING ALTARS I imagine that Abraham was confronted with loving God right where he was throughout his journey of faith. In the beginning of his story in Genesis 12, Abraham (then, known as...